Stupid brother. Why attack No-No? Torunn thought. His father’s blood coursed through his body and urged him to destroy the No-No, but he knew better. It had killed his brother with one stomp, and Torunn knew it could do the same to him. Even if it took two stomps, the result of attacking the No-No would be the same. Instead, he rushed into the clearing and picked up the fat human cub and hefted him onto his shoulders. Torunn sprinted to the edge of the clearing and glanced back at his brother's body. A tear started to well in one of his eyes just as he saw his brother’s body fade and disappear. Torunn had seen many deaths before but never once had he seen a body disappear like that. If he was surprised though, he didn’t have time to show it. A name tag popped up into his vision, reminding him of the impending danger.
The beast must have gone into an enraged state when it lost one of its horns. Torunn sprinted into the wall of tall grass and continued in the direction of his village. The fat human cub thrashed and screamed on top of Torunn's shoulders. His screams allowed the Enraged No-No to follow them. Torunn contemplated dropping the human cub but decided to test one more theory first. He ran in unpredictable patterns instead of a straight line to make sure it was the human cub that was drawing the creature to them. The No-No followed without missing a beat; it’s giant body able to travel much faster in the Savanna than Torunn. Sure now that he wouldn’t survive with a screaming human cub, he dropped it, hard. As suspected, the human cub couldn’t handle any more injuries and passed out. Torunn hefted his limp body back onto his shoulders and soon lost the No-No in the Great Savanna.
Torunn arrived at the outskirts of his village where the clearing started and the tall grass ended. He dropped the soft human cub on the grass side and made a mental mark of where he was. Torunn knew the cub would be seen as a threat to his village without a Mark and doubted his father would grant another. Now safe from the No-No, Torunn did the only thing he could do. Screamed and ran around until he found his mother.
He found her in the Chieftain’s hut with his father and Frode. Freydis reached out and took Torunn into an embrace. Torunn began to speak out and tell everyone what happened, but it came out an indistinguishable garble of grunts and growls.
James woke up with a start and shot his hands in front of his face to guard against the rhino’s foot. His expression screwed up, and his body tingled with anticipated pain. When the heavy foot of the rhino never came, he opened his eyes. Above James was not a rhino’s foot or even the endlessly pristine sky of the Great Savanna. Instead, James saw wooden logs stacked on top of each other, broken up by large wooden beams with various trinkets hanging from them. They fluttered in a comfortable breeze. James's gaze traveled from his wooden sky to the wooden wall and eventually, the dusty wooden floor. Placed on that floor, by someone that James's suspected would use them to sleep on, was a pile of high-quality furs. James vaguely remembered them. Relief flowed through his body as he realized he must be around some friendly Martyrs. That relief quickly turned to panic.
James jumped to his feet and spun around where he saw Dreng, Frode, and Freydis all staring back at him. Dreng wore his regular face of focus that always seemed to be on the edge of violence. Frode’s face appeared to be an equal mixture of curiosity and panic, but James couldn’t be sure. While similar in most aspects, Martyr facial expressions were not as easy to read as a human's. Martyr faces were generally harsher and had a serious tone to them even when they were smiling. The exception to that rule was Torunn, whose animated smiles and chuckles were lively and unburdened.
When James’s gaze fell upon Frey, she gave him a comforting smile. James could see Torunn had made it back safe and was now strewn over his mother's shoulder, fast asleep. She patted his back twice with her heavy hands, and his head rose. Torunn turned his head and looked at his father, then followed the Chieftain's gaze back to James.
“Uh oh,” James whispered to himself as Torunn leaped from his mother’s embrace and charged. Once again, James fell prey to one of Torunn’s perfectly executed flying tackles.
James awoke for the second time that day with a start. This time he was in his hut on his pile of common-quality furs, a fact that was surprisingly comforting. His nerves were run ragged by everything that had happened, yet he felt like he just got back home after a long and terrible vacation. He was happy to be back to his normal life. Of course, James realized that this wasn’t actually his normal life, but he refused to dwell on that fact since he needed a semblance of normalcy. Instead, he laid back onto his pile of furs and tried to figure out how his day took such a harsh turn.
First, he woke up in a great mood since there were no Ingos to bother him. He enjoyed the morning before he set out to find a new place to level up with Torunn. Then they trekked through the tall grass of the Great Savanna until something ran past them. They followed the trail and discovered a human was running around frantically. The other human ran right into the Giant Deer Rhino and got attacked. James jumped in to save it then blacked out. He woke up again in the Chieftain's hut where he quickly blacked out for the second time after being tackled by his game brother.
“To sum it all up, I am weaker than an actual human cub,” James said to himself. He opened his notifications and realized he didn’t pass out the first time; he had died.