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Fargoer – End Of Innocence by Petteri Hannila

Fargoer – End Of Innocence by Petteri Hannila 

Walkers in the Forest

     The hot summer sun scorched the wilderness beyond the unknown expanse. Two girls moved through the forest with sure steps, although no trails or signs of men were visible to guide their way.The girls looked so much alike they could have been sisters. Both were slim and short, as women of Kainu tended to be. Their long hair was as dark as the autumn evening and stood out from their pale, clear skin. Only their noses and cheekbones were slightly tanned by the scorch of the summer.
    The girls were sweating despite only wearing light shoes and belts made of deerskin. From their belts dangled roughly chiseled stone knives sheathed in leather. The Kainu knew iron, but its use was inappropriate for the task at hand. So they’d been given the stone knives for this age-old tradition, a tradition that dated back a long way, to the gloom of history. Countless girls before hadcarried those same knives on the same path that led them now. The girls had both seen thirteen summers. As they had each started to bleed, they were now ready to draw blood and reach maturity.
    Despite their many similarities, the girl running ahead was more heavily built, and her brown eyes shone with a sense of nobility befitting a chieftain’s daughter. Even at her young age, Aure was used to giving commands and getting what she wanted. Not too far behind her ran Vierra, and what she lacked in nobility and stature she made up for with tenacity and sheer stubbornness. In her deepgreen eyes glimmered a determination and optimism typical of the young. The girls had played together since they were babies, and through their childhood had remained best friends.
     Normally a trip to the woods like this would have been filled with the girls’ endless chatter and the occasional laugh. Now, however, they were silent, and the girls were filled with anticipation and excitement. They had waited for this day as the deer wait for the spring. Finally, they would take the crucial step that would bring them from their childhood play into the world of adults.
    The hot afternoon sun forced them to slow down their pace. Summer had been exceptionally warm, and the region was as dry as dust. Gray rocks, yellow shrubs, and tussocks, some still green, were mixed among murky tree roots. Rays of light beamed through the branches, scattering the colors into a flickering and tattered shambles. The buzz of the horseflies and the singing of the birds made music for the spectacle.. The forest floor was pocketed with islets of musty air and the strong, suffocating stench of plants. Nature was slowly withering, waiting for rain.
    The girls’ eyes were looking for signs of water in the dry woods. Finally, they found a river that had dried out to a meager stream. It slowly snaked in between the large rocks and drew the girls irresistibly. The sound of the trickle and the soft breeze tempted them to rest. The plants near the stream were lush and verdant, and Vierra and Aure had to clear their way through the bushes to reach the water.

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