Less than a week passes before Maj'atal brings Neli back to Stranglethorn. The two move across the jungle with the seasons, studying skinning, charting maps, and Neli's growing obsession, honing marksmanship ability.
Six years pass in jungle, bringing Neli into her twelfth year of existence. She sees her mother and sister only during infrequent trips home.
With the thousands of arrows fired from her bow, Maj'atal acclaims her proficient with the instrument.
They begin tracking animal packs for a few weeks at a time, studying their interactions.
A few months later, Maj'atal and Neli encounter a pack of raptors near Grom'gol.
Neli strangles a tide of feeling within her core, not having been this close to the reptiles since the passing of her father’s during the abandonment of her birthplace seven years ago.
“Come,” her father says in a low voice, “stand tall.”
Maj'atal approaches the pack, spear held above his head.
The reptiles hiss, looking up from their kill.
Neli cringes with a roar from the raptors, glued to her father's leg.
Maj'atal maintains his broad pose, continuing at the same pace.
The raptors retreat, keeping their distance from the trolls.
Neli's eyes them in disbelief, mouth open.
Maj’atal kneels down, severing the hind leg of the panther with his dagger, “Let’s go.”
Neli still hears the heartbeat in her ears after walking away, “What’s that for!”
Maj’atal smirks, blood dripping from the limb slung over his shoulder, “Says who can do what. Who’s in charge. They's remember.”
“I want one.” she whispers.