Jungle's Lesson

Neli beams over the gift of a larger bow, traveling with her father to Ratchet, boarding a vessel to Stranglethorn Vale.

"Ya learnin' where me and ya's ancestors learn," the hunter says, "they's spirits greet us, but our exilers not."

Aboard the ship, he hands Neli a knife, pieces of wood, obsidian, and binding, “Make an arrow.”

The girl whittles away all but a sliver. Setting the creation in a floorboard crack, she reaches for the obsidian arrowhead and binding. 

The arrow snaps from the tension.

“Thicker.” Maj’atal states.

Gritting her teeth, Neli’s gaze locks on an old tiger.

Maj’atal places a hand over her wrist, “Relax,” he whispers, “you’s aiming high.”

The animal's breath booms throughout the jungle.

Neli lets the arrow fly, embedding itself in the cat's chest.

Maj’atal throws Neli to the side, slamming into the mud as the cat screams. Unsheathing his dagger, he drives the weapon into the charging tiger’s belly. 

Rolling backward, Maj’atal holds his grip atop the thrashing beast.

"Ta Shirvallah!" he roars, driving the weapon through the cat's throat.

Neli watches her father in awe, running her fingers through the tiger's striped fur.

Licking the sticky blood off his dagger, the hunter smirks, "Time for fun. Watch closely, ya's gonna try this next kill."

Maj'atal methodically carves the animal's pelt away, separating its innards.

For almost half a year, the two have been in the shadow of the Vale.

“Ya's got something ta see.” Jal'antu says as the two arrive home.

Leading her family upstairs, the shaman gestures to the center of the mates' beanbag-like bed. 

“Sefi,” she affirms before gazing at Neli, “ya sister.”

The thought sinks into her mind, “My what?”

Neli runs to the bed, captivated with the strangely yellow eyes of the newborn.