I still don't have a title for any of this, much less an idea where it is going. I think that someone has to die and then we have a murder mystery style plot going on, but I really have no idea. Also, I don't really want him to be the main character if I can help it. Him going off and doing a murder mystery plot would be... well, a bit patriarchal, no?
Again some stats for you, courtesy of 750words.com:
Rating: PG-13 - sexual content and violence (still not seeing the violence)
Feeling mostly affectionate and concerned mostly about religion (but only just)
Mindset: Extrovert - Positive - Certain - Feeling
Time: Past; Primary Sense: Touch; Us and them: Them
Dressed as she was in furs, knowing that beneath those there was nothing, the curve of her body and the fullness of her hips as alive to him at that moment as they had ever been when they had shared the intimacy of the darkness. A smile pursed her lips, danced in her eyes, and lit the scene more brightly than did the full moon shining above the branches. Beautiful. Like the smell of cooking food or the fierce wind over the crags in the roof of the world.
Snap back. The treeline approached, sparse grasses slowly giving way to a carpet of heather and mosses before being consumed by the comforting blackness of the deep forest. Already he could see the clouds rushing upwards on the winds to meet him, to enfold him in their embrace, as she had on that night. Across the burning of the wood-bed they had walked, slowly and carefully, all the while carried by the chanting of the shaman. When they met in the middle it was as if it had been ordained, from the beginning of the world. And there she had opened her mouth and his, guided him and led him, and it was as one that they walked back along the embers to the cool moss of the forest floor.
Sacrifice had been made, meat and fruit left for the spirits that blessed them and watched for the Maker of them all, and then had been passed on. The males, led by [Name], had brought stag, both touched by flames and ripped from the carcass; the females, led by their elders, provided the seeded broth and pungent sauces that coated the meat. They ate, as one, their children taken now to sleep and to dream, the group with them but at a respectful distance. They sang. Together. The whole group in a symphony of human voice, punctuated by hollow booms and clattering wood, lusty and strong.
The shaman ceased his communication, nodded simply, and then everyone cheered. Laughter, rotting fruit that had been carefully pressed was passed around and merriment followed. Woad was mixed, dyes prepared, and all shared in the act of daubing one another with the colours and scenes of the hunt and the stories brought from near and wide. He found himself singing the painful songs of [Name] as he danced over mountains searching for the lost tribe of his one true love, the blissful and bitter notes bringing tears to his eyes and causing his voice to crack with sadness. All agreed it was a wonderful tale. She returned with her own keening, no words were made, a story of birth made and children lost, of love strong as a doe and industrious as a beaver, flying high as eagles and sinking into the depths of lakes like giant trout.
It would be easy to lose the track in these high woods, amongst the blank mist that fell without warning and the pines that shut out the light like no other forest setting. Many a man had warned of the dangers and the mystery: that could wrap a man in his own mind for days at an end with no sign of escape. The times when noises seemed to come from all around, when prey was hard to find and the trees of the mountains refused to share their soil with fruit of the earth. They were hard tales, of selfish and jealous needles, of bleeding soil and blasted oaths.
It was for just this occasion that he had hunted before the glacier, had stored the hare and the rabbit on his belt, and had decided on following the treacherous streams as they plunging down from the summit. Though they offered a certain way down they could also surprise and bring falsehood. At any moment he could be faced with a stream disappearing into secret caves or dashing over the edge of a precipice. Others warned against stream-navigation as a matter of course. They preferred to follow tracks of deer or of pine-marten as they could bring a clearing or tall tree that could be climbed. But he was wary of such advice, too often he had seen mega-trees so thick and tall and powerful that they hid the lie of the land on mountainsides, offering their own complications. Pine-martens preferred the barren jealous forest to the warm and forgiving woodland of the lower slopes and plains and deer could be as lost as any traveller and news-bringer in the mists and the fogs.
Dangerous but faithful, that was the way of the stream, the way she had taught him and whispered to him from long before the ceremony. The way he now used to find her again. The warming of the world heralded a change in the season, a return to the verdant life of the lands above the roof of the world and clothes of green for the trees once more. The carpet of leaves from the last cycle still drifted and blew at the base, sometimes deeper than a man, and now brown and wet. He longed to smell them again, to find the familiar tracks through the lower foothills that would bring him to the caves and there to see the calls from different groups. How long had it been since they had been together?
At the end of the ceremony they had slept the sleep of lovers: fitful but satisfying; energetic but life-giving. When he had finished he had returned to her, using all that she had taught him to coax her and support her until she too had finished her own work. Entwined they licked at the sweat on each other's limbs, smiling and sated, listened to the daylight and the waking of the world and then, reluctantly, risen to say their goodbyes.
The boy that they had named together would be old enough soon, he hoped she would release him to his care that he could teach another all that he had learned. When he had left a group, his mother had simply set him free, there was no other to teach him and take him. For a time unmeasured he had wandered alone, learning what he could and marking territory as best he knew to keep himself from starving. When he did find other men they had helped him but none had stayed and none had offered him companionship. He had a knack and a talent for following human tracks, an ability to simply know where to find other groups. And his memory. He could remember news, information and stories. Slowly he had realised that this made him special, unusual and different.