Disclaimer: I own the universe. But I let others (BBC/ C. Paolini) think they own little bits of it.

In Which an Arrow is Lost, and a Stone is Found

John watched the deer, waiting for it to stand still. He had an arrow nocked in his bow, ready to draw and fire from his seat behind the rocky outcropping. He hoped he wouldn't have to move; his leg had been acting up all through this hunting trip.

Drawing his bow, John took aim- right at the deer's throat- and fired.

The arrow struck home, and the deer dropped with a strangled cry, sending the rest of the herd bounding away right towards John.

One stag tried to leap over the rocks. It stumbled, and one sharp hoof caught John in the leg. The bad one. John yelped and instinctively kicked at the creature, hurting his leg even more.

"Damn animal," John muttered, swearing more as he pulled back the torn leather, looking at the slightly bleeding bruise underneath. He watched the fleeing deer with a mix of resentment and sorrow.

Stumblingly, John got up and limped over to the dead deer. He pulled out his arrow, or what was left of it. The deer had fallen right on top of a rock, snapping the shaft in two. John glared mutely at the broken weapon.

"Today isn't really my day, is it?" he sighed.

John looked across the trees toward the small hunting sled he'd brought. He used it to carry home what he caught- his leg prevented him from doing anything else.

John stared at it, trying not to focus on the pain in his leg. The little sled seemed so far... Oh, well. It was better to walk over there and bring the sled back than to carry a hundred-pound deer over to the sled.

John sighed and started on his limping mission.

Towing the deer-laden sled, John began his trek back home. It was getting dark, though, and he'd ventured into a mostly-unknown part of the forest. He would have to find shelter for the night.

Looking through the trees, John thought he saw the mouth of a cave, darker than the surrounding gloom.

Pushing through the undergrowth, he approached the rock opening. Peering inside, John saw a pile of moss and what looked like leather scraps, arranged in a thick and vaguely circular pillow. On the pillow was a stone.

About two feet long and oval, it sat almost regally atop its brownish bed, gleaming obsidian with a shimmering of silver across its surface. Slowly, John reached out gently touched its surface, almost afraid he would damage the delicate balance of the shining darkness. It was smooth, and its temperature hovered on the border between cool and warm. The stone resolutely ignored him, continuing to shimmer silver in the fading light.

Carefully, John picked up the stone, taking a few scraps of moss and leather from the pillow to wrap it in. Moving the rest of the stone's cushion, John pulled his sled inside the cave and set up his bedroll for the night.


So, whad'ya think? I know it starts kinda dark, but I promise it'll get better.

Review, please! It lets me know whether it's a fic worth continuing.