I was away when it happened. The gold ones from the north came down to our valley and killed my kin. They slaughtered them and spent the night sleeping on their bedding. I knew this because I returned in the middle of their feasting. At first I only saw the light of home, I was among them before I realised, before they realised. For a moment I stood frozen, then I ran.
They chased me with whoops of delight. Savage howls and screams filled the night as I fled my destroyed home. I ran without direction, just desperate to get away from the men behind me, to escape with my life. The rabbits I had caught fell from my bag as I leapt from rock to rock, scrambling as fast as I could to the darkness of the woods in the distance.
Behind me the footfalls fell away. I was the fastest of my tribe, there were none who could catch me. Even at nineteen years I was still the best at chasing and catching the rabbits.
But behind me, there was one set of footfalls left.
I tore onwards, fear driving me closer and closer to the edge of the woods. The footfalls were growing louder, gaining. I was going to die.
I could not be quiet, I crashed through the woods gulping air as I did. He was so close now I could almost feel him at my back. Still I ran, for even with my fate so surely decided, I did not long for death.
At the last moment, when I felt his hand brush the furs on my back, I spun and struck. In the darkness I connected solidly, the impact almost broke my arm. He was a brute, a beast of a man, a bear, and he was upon me.
I hit the ground beneath him, crying out in fear and anger. My tribe was gone, I was the last and I would not survive the next few minutes. I screamed at him and clawed at his face in the dark. He struck me once, my head spun. I bit him on the arm, he howled and struck me again. This time I saw blackness and blinding light behind my eyes but somehow I still managed to keep awake. For a moment I was stunned, but he underestimated me. As he relaxed his grip, sure to have bested me, I grabbed the back of his head and slammed mine upward. My father taught me that blow, before he was killed by the one eyed man, the scourge of our people.
The bear above me grunted in pain and his grip slackened. I shoved him off as hard as I could. In his moment of weakness he tumbled away from me and I scrambled to my feet. I did not get far, his hand found my ankle in the dark and I fell again. I kicked backwards and struck him. I heard his grunt and felt satisfaction bloom in my chest. It was short lived. He clawed his way up my leg and pulled me against him. I struggled in his grip but was unable to break free. For a long moment I twisted and turned, his grip never slackened, and the warmth of his body sunk into mine. I became terrifyingly aware of his arousal, the feel of his manhood pressing against my body.
When he pulled the furs from my body I knew a new kind of fear. I had seen what had happened to captives in my tribe. They had screamed and struggled and bled under the hands of my kinsfolk. I had found the act unsettling myself, there was certainly no honour in it, although in time I would have been expected to participate, to prove myself to the tribe, to prove I could be a headman like my father.
Now I was to be under this bear, and he would make me bleed before my death.
I twisted and tried so hard to break his grip, but it was impossible, he was bigger than me, stronger than me, and now that he had me there was no escape.
He tore the last of the furs from my body and pushed me down to the leaf-covered ground. I pressed my lips together. I would not scream for him, I would not give him the satisfaction. He forced my legs apart and reached between us to free his manhood. There were tears in my eyes, betraying me. I was thankful it was dark and that he could not see.
His first thrust missed his target and slid between my legs. I pushed them closed quickly to trap him. For a moment I was successful, then he slipped free. I managed to send his next thrust the same way, his third almost pressed inside me but I bent just enough to stop it. He gave up then, and just rutted in earnest between my legs. I was thankful for that, perhaps I would still die without becoming ergi.
His rutting lasted long minutes. I did not fight him as before, although I was far from willing. I did not want him to try again for inside me.
At last he stiffened and spilled, spurting his wetness onto the ground beneath me. I took advantage of his loss of control to strike out again. He lost his breath as my elbow landed, grunting in the dark as I scrambled away.
I was almost free when his tribesmen found us. They brought torches and held spears at me from every side. I tried to slow my breathing, to be calm in my death.
“Sten.” The bear said from behind me. “Sten.”
I turned and faced him. He was golden, like the rest of his tribe, taller than me and broader. His hair hung down around his head in thick tangles. His eyes looked black in the flickering light. He was looking at me intensely, he looked… pleased? Satisfied? I wasn’t sure, but he was not angry even after our struggle, even after I denied him the satisfaction of my body.
They did not strike, but remained wary. The bear approached me, I backed away but found myself against their spears. The bear took my arm and pulled me with him to the place that I had called home. I spent the night tied to a post, cold and frightened, although I fought not to show it. At one point another of them gave me some rabbit, one of mine I was sure. His smile was smug and knowing. I ate, rabbit was not a bad last meal. I wished I knew why I had been spared. Perhaps they planned a sacrifice to their god. My tribe would give the best kills from the hunt to our god, burning them upon a pyre. They of course were dead when we burned them. It looked as though I would not be so lucky.
The next morning they gathered the valuables, the food and possessions that had been my tribe’s, and headed back to their own base. I was forced to walk behind the bear, he strode forwards with an easy step, confident, certain, and victorious. My hands were tied together which made walking more difficult. The other men would push and jolt me when the bear’s back was turned. They made me stumble as I walked.
One of them grabbed me from behind, squeezing my hindquarters and making me jump as his fingers pressed upward. I yelped in surprise and they laughed loudly. The bear turned just as another of them slapped my rump. He growled in anger and swung his arm at them. The blow knocked them both off their feet. A moment later I was in his arms, pressed against his body as he roared at his kin.
“Niye! NIYE!!” He screamed, pulling me around with him as he spun to catch them all in his gaze. He beat his chest, then mine, hard enough to hurt. “Niye!!”
I tried to break his grip but it was like iron. The bear then turned and kept walking, forcing me to stumble with him, twisted sideways under his arm. He continued on this way for a while before finally letting me walk again. His kin did not bother me further.