I didn't know how I should end the time with the hunters. This is a part that I'll probably change a bit on the re-write.
The first hunter was easy enough to find, having landed only a short distance away. He’d also worn a mail shirt, though the teeth had torn it so badly that it was near useless now. He’d gotten away with a few broken ribs, and a broken arm to go with a dozen holes from those teeth. At least he’d live to remember this day, perhaps even embellish it for grandchildren. John winced from the pain of his own cracked rib as he helped the man to his feet.
The other hunter hadn’t been so lucky. Staying in the Wyvern’s claws would have been certain death. He’d rolled the bones of chance and chose falling. The little fox pendant still hung from his neck. Hasituur had laughed and let him miss the trees. The god of fate and fools for a fool hunter. He might have done better to follow Kamika, though the hunter’s wolf rarely favored fools.
John took the time to bandage the wounded hunter, and find Marrow. The horse had only run as far as the two mares before stopping. The wound on his neck was deep. What was left of John’s shirt became a bandage to wrap some bitterroot and willow bark to the gash. Marrow had been through a lot with him, and he’d do his best to save the stallion if he could.
With the bandaging complete, he set about cutting the arrows free of the Wyvern. It was grisly work to carve out enough of the body to get the three from there. The one that had dropped it from the sky was nowhere to be found. He completed the chore by hacking off the head so that the lone hunter could claim his prize, though he pulled a couple teeth loose for his own trophy. Marrow wouldn’t come close until he had scrubbed the blood from his hands with sand.
“I’ll take that bow if you don’t mind.”
John looked over his shoulder from where he was fixing the pack on Ryndell’s saddle. The hunter was a few paces away, with his sword pointing at John. He’d managed to find it after being tossed by the Wyvern, and now held it in his left hand.
“You don’t want to do this.”
“And I’ll be taking them two horses too. Gots ta ride one, and the other for the trophy head.”
“Walk away now and you live. You have your prize. You know there’s no way you’ll win if you attack me.”
“I can’t make it down without a horse.”
“You can if you leave that thing behind. It isn’t worth your life.”
The hunter launched himself at John, wildly swinging the sword in his off hand. The blade didn’t even come close before John knocked it away. Turning his own blade sideways, he used the hilt to punch the man’s stomach. As he fell to his knees in pain, the sword reversed again to point at his chest.
“I’ll not anger whatever god counts you among their devoted by killing you. I’ll leave you to bury your Friend alone. Your horse is likely not too far off, if the Wyvern didn’t kill it first.”
“Wyvern? A special kind of Dragon?”
“You thought that was a Dragon?” John let out a soft chuckle. “For starters, Dragons have scales, not hide. Plus they have four legs and wings, not just two. I for one, am very glad it wasn’t a Dragon, or none of us would still be alive.”
“How am I supposed to get my bounty then?”
“I don’t know, and don’t care. Little advice though; Another difference is that Wyverns aren’t solitary like Dragons. Best be gone when the mate comes looking.”
John sheathed his sword, and led the group of horses off the other side of the clearing and down the trail leading to the higher pass. He wanted to put as much distance as he could between himself and the dead Wyvern. Even if there wasn’t a mate, there were still other predators that called the mountain home.
His spirits rose a bit as he crested the higher pass, and started the descent down into Huyroil. The Western facing trail gave him more daylight before He’d be forced to camp.
When he crossed the small stream he decided to call it a day. Walking uphill had been bad, but every step down sent a jarring pain though his cracked rib. Riding would have been just as bad for John, and it was asking enough of the wounded stallion to handle the pack. Marrow wasn’t looking much better either, with the blood having soaked through the bandage and leaving a trail down to his chest.
The stallion was skittish, and tried backing away as John worked to pull the bandage loose. After a few tries he managed to tie the lead to a nearby tree. This let him get close enough to pull the ragged shirt loose, and pour some of his whiskey over it. Letting Marrow finish off the bottle gave him the distraction he needed to sew the gash closed with simple stitches. John even got most of the blood washed out of the cloth so that he could wrap the medicinal leaves in place once more.