It had a strong, but soft leather strap. There were powerful symbols sewn into it, adorning the length of the bag. Inside, it held 5 silver and 5 blue arrows.
When she heaved it over her shoulder, it rested as if it had always been there. Instantly she felt more comfortable, maybe even safer. Much like a hug from her mother who had fashioned the bag for her. Hooked to the side of it was a bow, long and wooden. She easily unhooked it. It felt smooth in her arms. It was of a perfect weight and proportion to be easy to hold, without forgetting its power.
Softly, in the breeze she heard a voice say, “Use your True Aim and the Truth will be yours.” Not understanding the words, but strengthened by them all the same, Meredith ventured further. Further than she’d ever been before. She was afraid, but with the quiver of arrows and the bow by her side, she felt like she could.
Presently, she came to a clearing. A large field spread out before her. It was beautiful with tall grasses and wild flowers. She had the sensation of being completely open and free.
Across the field she spotted a tiger prancing toward her with fangs beared. She lifted the bow, retrieved an arrow, used her true aim and hit the tiger in the chest.
The tiger did not fall. It stood still. Meredith approached it cautiously, with another arrow ready. As she got closer, she realized it was not after her, at all. She reached down and retrieved the arrow. It looked up at her and purred, so she patted it lightly and whispered that she was sorry for striking it.
“Kind maiden,” it said, shocking her. The voice was soft and friendly, but cracked a little. “I am sorry I frightened you. I am just so hungry. Could you share some of your food with me so I don’t have to eat you?
“Why yes, Mr. Tiger, I would be happy to share my food with you, if you will not eat me.”
Together, they walked back through the woods, talking easily about the creatures that lived there, as they shared her bread. The tiger knew much.
“Use your true aim and the truth you will find,” the wind whispered. The tiger raised his head and sniffed.
“Where does that voice come from?” she asked the tiger.
“I know not,” the tiger answered. “But I believe when your arrow pierced me, it restored my voice. I hadn’t know what to ask before when I was a mute tiger. Now I ask, what is my true aim?”
Just then the tiger turned into a man wearing a loin cloth. He shook his head as if he were still a tiger and said, “Your kindness, fair lady, has now freed me. I had been trapped as a tiger for a long time. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Do you now know your true aim, sir?”
“I am a painter,” he said simply. “What is your True Aim?”
And in that moment, Meredith understood.