From the memories of Kalameet
Big Chief Bagoomba
Year of New Peoples
“Hunting has opened the earth to me and let me sense the rhythms and hierarchies of nature.”
We were attending the decennial Great Hunt, held this year within the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba. The last Great Hunter, Aarnith of the Koshiva had died in a rock-slide the previous year, so the position had been vacant for a while. We politely listened to the story of his last triumph before the introduction of the hunters began.
As Bengoukee named each hunter from the Great Tribes, he stopped when he came to the shu tribe of Yilgoma. Apparently, the tribe had not sent a hunter this year and no one knew why. So Bengoukee asked for a volunteer to stand in for the Yilgoma hunter. One man, a white tiger katanga named Mali of Big Chief Bagoomba’s tribe came forward. Still needing bearers, Bengoukee appointed Black ChaosBlack Chaos, Yamboya Mosswalker, Shere Khan, and I to help him.
The rules were we could help the chosen hunter as much as needed, but we could only get one kill and an unlimited number of captures.
Our first task was to determine where to hunt; we chose the jungle as we figured the best prey would be there. Since we only had thirty-six days for our journey, we decided not to travel too deep—but five days into the jungle we found an ideal spot in the form of a lagoon or watering hole.
In the morning we discovered that we had company, some hunters from the distant Zantira tribe had arrived and tried to claim the area. They talked a lot of smack, but gave up and moved on after the first uneventful day of hunting. The next day we had to fight off some small garuda who had found the area. They all fled, but we soon found what they had discovered: a small den of wild dogs. Most of the pups were dead, and the mother was unable to recover from her wounds even with Black Chaos’ assistance. But we did find a puppy which we were able to recuperate. Yamboya claimed it, but it followed Black Chaos like a puppy would.
A few days later we had our first real success in the form of a small herd of antelope. My awesome prowess with the bow allowed us to take two of them alive, although one needed to be killed out of mercy as it had a broken leg. Mali did the deed.
Several days later, we were attacked by a giant constrictor snake. Before we could react, it encoiled me and began to squeeze. It didn’t even seem to notice when the others began to hit it. This didn’t last long though, and soon we were in a horrible battle with it, while it tried to drag me into the lagoon. It took us a long time to kill it, I was deeply submerged by then and could see the remnants of what must have been its nest at one point now deep below the water.
Yamboya saved me with some quick thinking, and bad luck on his part. Next we had the horrible ordeal of trying to collect the carcass of our prey from the bottom of the lagoon. Even with all of us helping, it took several days and lots of rope and vines. Bringing the whole snake back was obviously not an option, so we decided on just taking the head.
With a good kill and a capture under us now we had to get at least one capture to stay competitive. The next day we were in for a real threat, when a Great Eater of Beasts Garuda appeared. We would have been killed for sure, but it didn’t seem interested in us at the moment. Instead it simply bit the trussed antelope and feasted. It then noticed our attacks against it, and after some lazy attacks against us, it decided to flee. Shere Khan wouldn’t let it go though, and a lucky shot brought the beast down.
Now with a Great Eater of Beasts as a kill, Yamboya spent some time rending so we could take the skull back instead of the snake’s head. It was a few days later before we had our next luck. This time a mated pair of lynx came to the watering hole. Some quick thinking on the part of Black Chaos casting a spell to put the creatures to sleep meant that we had two live captives now.
Our next few days there were rather quiet, that is until suddenly the lagoon erupted with a spout which spoke to us. The guardian spirit said its name was Sil’thimling, and it had been watching us. It offered us a chance to see what creature would come there next. When we immersed ourselves in the water we learned that the next creature was a beautiful white leopard. We prepared for it, relying on Yamboya’s ability to speak with animals to get it to come with us peacefully. When it arrived he tired this, but unfortunately he was not convincing enough. Black Chaos’ sleeping magic was likewise ineffective. Mali dived on the creature, and the two creatures began to struggle. Shere Khan helped as best he could as well. Meanwhile Yamboya trussed the creature up, apologizing as he did so.
Now with an awesome live prize as well as an awesome kill and a few additional live captures, we decided to start back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s village. The progress was slow as now Shere Khan, Black Chaos, Yamboya, and I were taking turns with the live captures or the garuda skull. Mali helped some as well, though some taboo prevented the Hunter him from actually touching the kill in the competition.
We were two days away from the mountain tribe, and passing through some tall grasses when the grass suddenly came alive. It restrained Mali and Yamboya, though the rest of us were fast enough to avoid getting stuck in the strange growth. From hidden nearby, came a group of nubari led by someone Yamboya and Black Chaos found familiar. It was Rakid, the disgraced son of Radumpti the chief of the Koshiva. Nearly two years earlier Yamboya and Black Chaos had stopped Rakid from becoming the new chief of the Koshiva under mysterious circumstances. With him were a hand of hunters, and a witch doctor. They also held a shu female who bore the markings of the Yilgoma tribe.
The horrible man demanded our prizes and used some additional magic in order to obtain them. They absconded with all we had caught or killed as well as Yamboya’s monkey friend Garudabait. Once we were all free, we gave chase, but were unable to find the group. We did find the shu in a stream bound and nearly drowned. Garudabait did not turn up.
Knowing that the only place that the men could be going was to Big Chief Bagoomba’s we headed there. Upon our arrival, we learned that they had already begun passing our trophies off as their own even though Rakid was not even supposed to be in the Great Hunt. We objected, and Bengoukee stepped in. He took us all on a quick trip to the Dreamlands, where we spoke to each of our prizes spirit forms. Even those creatures we had simply captured were there to speak with us. After we gave our explanation of what had happened, Rakid gave one as well. His was…far less believable. When the ghostly form of the constrictor snake assaulted him, he lost all control of himself.
When we returned to the real world, Rakid was suffering from the after effects of his up close and personal experience with a spirit as Bengoukee pronounced us the winners of the competition. The Council of Tribes declared Rakid an exile for attempting to murder the Yilgoma hunter, and for disrupting the Great Hunt. Radumpti was not pleased with his son. Mali was given a great celebration, and we were all honored as well. The best news of the evening was the return of Garudabait, who had been casually discarded somewhere when the sleeping monkey had awoken.