There was a moment that hunting became the most important part of her.
Leondra didn’t know when it had happened. When watching and waiting became as easy as breathing. When taking an animal down in one shot became what she expected when she pulled the trigger, rather than what she hoped. When dressing the carcass didn’t cause her any hesitation.
When she ate well on her own, well enough to then help other people eat well. To afford the place she was staying in.
Hunting was important to her family, her family that all had the beast inside of them, telling them to be a predator.
Yet Leondra was the only one. She was the huntress.
It wasn’t that she hadn’t already eaten. Leondra shouldn’t have been hungry yet. As she focused through her sights at her target, her stomach began to tell her that she was hungry again.
The doe was so alive right now. Feasting without worry. No alarm showing on any part of her form. Leondra was ready to pull the trigger when she noticed other movement.
A fawn. This wasn’t the season. For the fawn to be that young… the doe must have delivered late.
Leondra’s stomach protested, but she lowered her gun. Time to find another target.
While Leondra’s mother and sister were lions, her father was not. The blood which coursed through him carried feline characteristics, yes, but it was a different cat. As he continued to be quite proud of his eldest daughter and his wife, Leondra was older before she even wondered what beast her father carried.
The beast was strong in him, much like it was for everyone else in the family.
However, while the other two would enter the pride, take stock of their social behavior, Leondra noted her father’s solitary nature.
These were the aspects she took into her own hunting. Fahana may have taught her, but the moment she could take it on herself, she did.
Then she wondered what it would be like to have a pride. Leondra shook that thought away. A hunting partner. A small party. Surely she could make more out of this. Do better.
Leondra kept that in mind.
Finding game wasn’t the hard part. Not with everything becoming more aggressive. It was surviving. Taking it down. Dragging the meat back.
The wind made bows useless most of the time. Her cousin had to come up with a new method of hunting. Saoirse readied her sword. The creature looked like it had once been a bear. It’s eyes glowed black and its coat moved independently from the wind. If she took out enough of these… how many households could she feed? Keep safe?
In her mind, she kept the picture of the creag. That disapproving look down at her. And then, very occasionally, those long tresses of Toiréasa’s, spinning out in the new winds.
Oh, Saoirse would make it to that house.
Take Toiréasa from it and find a stake of land less likely to crumble out from underneath them. Saoirse smiled, a feral expression.
All she had to do was prove herself.
Saoirse had a lot to prove.
She looked up at Toiréasa’s home at the top of the creag and knew how long it would take her to make it to that household. She could see the disapproval of Toiréasa’s father, even without seeing him. A hand clapped down on her shoulder. She didn’t jump, because she’d known her cousin was behind her.
Saoirse turned away from the view. “Aye.”
Toiréasa was beautiful in a way no one else in the village could compare with. She was also heir to the strongest swordsman and learning his ways. Ways he would teach many, but not Saoirse. If she was going to get his permission, it would be on her own merits. She was already the best in her family. Her cousin didn’t want to go hunting without her. They would be the one sharing a meal, instead of those who were forced to ask for help as the weather changed drastically around them.
They left the village, out into the new snow. Saoirse brought her scarf over her mouth and nose.