2 – Young Buck
It was an average day in the Forest. The birds were twittering, the mockingbirds flitting from tree to tree, changing their tunes as a shining sun rose over the canopy of trees. A fox peeped out of its den, emerging slowly and shaking its bright coat, yawning away the night’s slumber. Suddenly its ears pricked up, the fox’s whole frame freezing, bracing itself on hearing a disruption. It scampered back into its den as a figure broke into the clearing.
Young Buck walked briskly, seemingly in no direction at all, but with purpose in his stride. He looked around the cluster of trees and sat down at the trunk of a willow. He unshouldered his back-pack containing his meagre supplies and produced a water-skin from which he took small, scant sips. He was running low on water again. The man, aged perhaps thirty or thirty-five, sighed at the thought. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand, and readjusted the green bandana on his head. Buck slung his pack onto his shoulder once more, and rose. It was no surprise. Water always ran low, food always became scarce. His need to hunt was essential to his survival.
Behold, your life is this, he thought to himself, Accept it and live thusly.
Buck’s was a tragic tale. A king who was thrown out of his own land, his property seized by conquering, ruthless scum. His people, his loved ones, his loved one – massacred in their hands. He had a resolve to take back what was his, but Buck felt – and knew, in a sense – that this was wishful thinking, an empty intention. How could he stand down the vile conquerors? When he was a lone man? All the same, Buck touched the sword at his side, caressing it. A gift from his father. An heirloom.
One day. One day, the chance will be yours.
For now, however, he thanked his unfortunate Fortune that he was alive – and he intended to stay that way until he could form a plan of revolt.
Of course, Buck would have started there and then – his planning – if he didn’t have to suddenly run for his life. From the horizon, a blinding whiteness was engulfing everything. It devoured the wildwood, the land that he was tramping on.
Everything, into whiteness.
Herds of animals bounded passed him, and he followed their better sense of direction. But, as the stampede progressed and the whiteness drew nearer, Buck found himself tiring. Where the other animals bounded over fallen logs and avoided standing trees with agile ease, his legs could only take so much tripping and gouging. He eventually fell over, the wind knocking out of his lungs on impact, and the whiteness engulfed him…