The Dire Board charged, its tusks goring the earth below sending dust and stones spraying out like water. It snorted steam and foam bubbled from the corners of its maw. Fin was the first to react. He ran to his left, pushing Edmin flat on his back in and out of the boar’s path. It shrieked in rage and tried to free itself from the now felled trees that lay on its tusks.
The sound seemed to awaken something in Edmin, who scrambled to his feet. He stared at the creature and without saying a word took off the gauntlets he had been wearing.
He handed them to fin and whispered, “Stay here.”
Fin was about to protest, but he saw the steel in his partners eyes and knew he shouldn’t interfere. It was the same look as when he spoke of fate strings and destiny. Instead Fin watched as Edmin walked toward the hulking creature.
The Dire Boar struggled under the weight of several tree trunks. Fin hadn’t noticed how tall the trees had been before, but as they lay on their side it was impossible to ignore. The boar’s head barely moved for all its squealing, but its back legs rampaged behind like they were another creature altogether.
Edmin continued his approach, a measured pace with light steps. Fin was impressed at his feline like stealth, he didn’t even hear the crunch of dead foliage that ran through the undergrowth.
Edmin stopped walking. He was within arms reach of the boar, its labored breath blew his mousy brown hair back despite the sweat that weighed it down. Edmin reached out to the boars snout and placed his bare hand down on the beast. It paused briefly, one wild red eye resting on him for less than a moment before the thrashing resumed with more vigor than before.
Edmin placed his other hand under the boars eye and whispered something. He kept talking to the boar, increasing in volume until his voice was louder than the boar’s screeching, “Be still!” the boar didn’t stop moving completely, but it did become quiet and its struggle no longer sprayed dirt about it.
Edmin stepped back from the boar and motioned for Fin to approach. Fin did, employing the same stealth that Edmin had used.
“We need to free the boar.” Edmin said simply. Fin just stared, waiting for Edmin to explain. When he didn’t Fin put the gauntlets on and drew his knife.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s trapped, we have a clear shot at killing it.”
Edmin’s eyes went wild, mimicking the Dire Boar’s behind him. “The boar is not our prey!”
“Boars don’t prey on people either, but it went to kill us without hesitation. Why shouldn’t I repay it in kind?”
“Because you’re not just an animal like it is! We have reasoning, it does not.”
“Okay,” Fin sheathed his knife, “what’s our reason then?”
Edmin made a few false starts before he could mumble, “I just have a feeling.” Fin ‘s hand went back to his knife. “Wait! I think this is another moment fate has given us! Just like it brought us together to hunt, just like when I happened to see the stag on the farm! Please just… Trust me with this.”
Fin tightened his grip on his knife and breathed sharply. “Fine.” He looked at the fallen trees and took hold of a sturdy looking branch. “Push from the other side.” Edmin scrambled over the pile of timber, wisely staying clear of the boars back end.
“On three,” Fin announced, “one, two… three!” Fin pulled on the branch with everything he had, the strain threatening to snap tendons and pull joints from sockets. He could hear Edmin pushing and breathing heavily on the other side. They managed to budge the tree just enough for the boar to take over. The slight shift in weight allowed the boar to thrash it’s head and send the trunks flying. Edmin manged to get clear of the wooden missiles, while Fin was struck in the chest and sent sailing through the air.
He was winded, but the armor had kept him from serious injury. Fin pushed at the ground in an effort to regain his footing, but found that he wasn’t able to stand. It took a few deep breathes to clear the blur of his vision before he realized that one of the trees that once trapped the Dire Boar now pinned him down. He lay on his back while the timber prison lay over his torso.
“Edmin!” He meant to yell, but only managed to croak.
The only response he received was a deep growl, followed by a the weight on his chest intensifying. Fin moved his head slowly to the side, his vision filled with dark gray fur. A hands width from his head a black claw caked with dried blood and rotting leaves pushed down on the tree trunk like it was a stick on the ground.
The tree groaned, threatening to break and splinter into thousands of wooden teeth, teeth which would chew Fin up and spit him out as a bloody pulp. That is, if the weight pressing on him didn’t crush him first. But the danger the tree presented paled in comparison to what now stood on it.
The Dire Wolf hadn’t noticed Fin, or if it did, it wasn’t concerned by his presence. Like a dog isn’t concerned by the beetle under its paw when a cat in near by, the wolf was watching the boar - not Fin. Fin could see the Dire Boar, it was facing away from him with its head to the ground being very still. He couldn’t see Edmin, which gave him cause for both hope and concern.
The weight on Fin’s chest became more bearable, causing him to look for the Dire Wolf, but it wasn’t within his limited view. The earth shook beneath him and something passed over him, for a moment it blocked out all light that streamed through the treetops, then it landed. Somehow the heavy beast landed lightly in a crouch behind the Dire Boar, springing into another jump onto it’s back.
The wolf dug its claws into the boars flesh, the thick hide offering a small amount of resistance before splitting and spilling hot crimson blood. The boar kicked in a futile effort to dislodge its attacker, squealing in pain as it thrashed. The Dire Wolf opened its jaws showing its mouthful of teeth, each the size of a two-handed sword. It brought down it’s head on the back of the boars neck at the base of the skull.
The Dire Boar buckled, loosing control of its own body. Something appeared on its snout, propped up by its great tusks. It was Edmin, wielding a sickle in each hand. Even from this distance Fin could see the tremor in his arms. Edmin pushed up from the tusks and swung his blades at the wolf’s head, one of the blows catching the beasts right eye and rupturing it, the other sliced above the left eye, opening the flesh beneath its fur.
The wolf released its hold on the boar and fell to the ground, yelping like a pup. Edmin didn’t follow, instead he climbed up the boar, avoiding its injury. He held onto its tusks and began to speak to it in quiet but gruff tones. The wolf looked to be recovering already, getting up and sniffed the air. One of its eyes were useless, the other had blood pouring into it, allowing for little vision.
“It can’t see!” Fin managed to call from his place under the fallen tree. The wolf may have been blinded, but it heard Fin clearly. Being his only clue, the wolf pounced at the sound, hitting the trunk with immense force. Part of the trunk shattered, fortunately for Fin it was several paces to the left of him.
A thundering squeal signaled what seemed like an earthquake. Regular tremors grew in intensity as the Dire Boar bounded toward Fin. The Dire Wolf turned, open jaws boasting yellow fangs the size of a blacksmiths forearm. It growled, a sound deep and loud that Fin was sure he felt his bones rattle.
The two giant creature clashed. Fin could only see the skirmish in parts as they flashed in and out of view from his position on the ground.
Growling, squealing, yelling and then… Silence.
Something heavy fell, while whatever remained made it’s way over to Fin. He felt the pressure on his chest grow again, but soon it was completely gone. Fin felt the thud of a tree trunk landing a few paces away, but he didn’t move. He waited for the hot breath of the victorious beast.
He did feel it, but not before he heard Edmin’s familiar voice, “So are you going to stay there on the ground or are you going to hunt your Dire Wolf?” Fin sat upright with some difficulty, still finding it hard to breath.
He looked around, he saw Edmin atop a wounded but living Dire Boar, while a dozen paces away lay the corpse of the Dire Wolf. “That one’s my kill,” Edmin continued, hooking a thumb behind him towards the wolf, “so we’ll have to find another one for you.”