The Friends we Make Along the Way:
People, they say hunting is a solitary profession. Well, they wouldn't be wrong. Often times it is. Just you, the elements, and the prey. You're stuck in this sort of wordless dance between them, all the way until the shot that decides it all. But that's just hunting and while it might go against the name hunting isn't the only thing folks like me tend to be involved in. Sometimes, it's not about a single bit of prey but an entire population that needs sorting out. Sometimes it's not even about an animal but a person that's going too far and messing with the environment that people desperately rely on too much. When it starts going outside of the usual lines that we're all used to, that's when we go from hunting to battle
and battle is something that's much much harder to commit to alone.
But luckily for us, or maybe just me I'm not really sure how other folks in my field usually do things, as long as the field itself is in a place where nature still resides, I'm never really alone
. That's the strangeness of this thing known as nature. She's as fickle as anything. One minute trying to turn you into tiger chow the next minute saving you from becoming a bandit's new score. Animals, they're all much more cognizant than what we really give them credit for most of the time. I suppose it's hard to really conceptualize for people who think of intelligence in purely human
, I mean you get the idea. We view and process thoughts and expressions in terms of language. We communicate with each other through these constructs that are simply inventions of this thing
that we call civilization. Not to say language itself or civilization for that matter is invalid but, in a sense, it's through that distorted lense that we've come to view this formalized version of language as the only
valid means of communicating. Even my colleagues are guilty of this. Animal language, I honestly find the entire thing as a bit of a farce, same thing with Sylvan. I mean, its functional, and the animals due to a certain extent respond to it due to the generalized nature of the various sounds and ques that are baked into it, but it is imposing a sense of formalization upon genuine living beings that have no need for such things. You're making animals talk to you in the human way, not the other way around.
When it comes to communicating with animals, especially the ones that become my comrades for battle, it's honestly much more subtle than that. It has to be after all. You can't have a full-blown conversation in the middle of a life or death situation, which for animals tends to be most of their daily lives depending on the species, and as such you have to send a message to them in a way that they can understand almost immediately. This is the oftentimes forgotten language of the body. The language of slight tells, gestures, eye contact, and maybe just a little bit of skinship to get the point across. It's informal and as such, there's no real way to learn it aside from just doing it, but it does rely on a sense of being genuine with the messages you're trying to put across. The lack of formalization means there are no fancy technicalities to hide your true intentions behind. Communicating in this way is a real exercise of being vulnerable
to another being. Hence why it's often lost in the civilized world where guards must always be kept up high, except for maybe lovers. As such, when you've finally managed to bare your soul to them, and you've shown them your genuine intentions, once they accept the call to your aid those animals who most tend to write off as lesser beings show more loyalty than most intelligent
species could even dream of displaying. Because at that point you're no longer strangers, you're comrades who share a bond. One that's worth fighting for even to the point of death. A fate your newly found comrades will often times meet.
Whether it be hunting or in the heat of battle death is always a constant and omnipresent friend who will never truly leave your side. I don't say this as an expression of grief but more as a matter of fact. You're either killing things or you're the one being killed or your friends are the ones dying. When you take up a blade or a bow that's a truth you'll have to carry with you till death finally decides it's your time to become food for the maggots. Still, acknowledging it doesn't make it any easier. Rather, it's a tax that you have to pay. A tax on your psyche every time you recruit a new comrade to your cause whatever it may be. The looming shadow that hangs over them is now your own responsibility now that you've become the leader of this haphazard pack of misfits. You never go into an engagement wanting
your comrades to die. But wants and realities often have a funny thing of rarely crossing paths and when sword meets sword and claw meets chest plate one single human being can't account for all the intangibles. You see your new friend trying to bite down on the neck of some brigand and for a moment it looks like he's doing well. As such you trust him to get the job done and move on to that spellcaster in the back row who's been nothing but a thorn in your side that's been casting lightning spells as if his life depended on it. You run off for a minute, stab the spellcaster in the throat only to turn around and see that the brigand your comrade was on top of got help from a friend that came in at the last minute running their sword through said, comrade. A comrade who is now nothing more than just a corpse, a wolf corpse in this case, but a corpse none the less.
We're not gods, or at the very least I'm certainly nowhere near one. Our reach is limited, our time is limited, and most of all our awareness is far too limited. It does beg to the question, how
? How does one live a life full of such transient, fleeting, and emotionally taxing relationships? How do you get over the fact that no matter how strong of a bond you've made that they're doomed to either be killed or head off on their own never to be seen again once the job is done? In a way, you really don't deal with it. It's not a great feeling and it never will be a great feeling. Each and every single one of them is and has been in some way shape or form a dear friend of mine that I will probably never see again. No less important than the friendships I've made with people, many of which have been equally transient. A lot of people tend to say it's important to focus on the journey of life rather than where it began or the eventual destination. Maybe it's the same thing with those friends that you make along the way? If it's too much to focus on all the goodbyes, you might as well keep those feelings you shared while they were with you close to heart. Maybe then, when you're actually alone, you can look back on those times and find that you're not as lonely as you thought.