The Stranger: Visitations

In the fourth story in this series, Stranger seems to be finally getting his life on track. Then he is visited by friends and enemies from his past that will cause him much happiness and much pain. New tragedies will test even his great strength. Add to this the fact that old age is finally catching up with him. All of these problems will force Stranger to turn to new and old sources for help to cope with a world seemingly spinning out of control.

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4. A Welcomed Guest

 

 

Two days after talking to Oswell, he was sleeping during the day with Claris, Carie and Stuben. He heard the branches on the bushes snap as some large deer came noisily into their small clearing. Both Claris and Carie were awakened. Even little Stuben got up. A breeze of wind brought him the scent. It was Sinno a four year male from the herd. He got up and walked out into the clearing. Sinno was looking around for someone.

As Sinno walked past him, unaware he was there, he walked out into the open behind him. "Can I help you Sinno?" he called out.

The deer turned quickly. He was frighten by his sudden appearance. “I am sorry to disturb you Stranger,” he stammered, “But something unusual has happened. A new deer has entered the forest.”

“Where?” he wanted to know.

Sinno seemed taken back. “Over by the stream that runs into Bambi’s Forest, in front of the hill I saw Geno on.”

“Did you talk to him?” he asked.

“No, it looked like he was looking for something or someone,” Sinno said. “He was sniffing at the ground looking for scent trails. I do not think he saw me, so I waited until he went past me and came searching for you. He seems young, maybe a two year old, but he is big. One thing for sure, I have never seen him around here before.”

Thank you Sinno, I will look into it,” he told him.

Sinno nodded and took off back down the stream. It was easy to follow his path by the noise he made. He made almost more noise that Stuben did when he walked. Not the brightest deer in the forest. He could feel the others walking up almost silently behind him.

“Have they come,” Carie asked, her voice showing fear.

“No, more than one would come and they would not come from that direction,” he said.

“What are you going to do?” Claris asked.

“I am going to find this new deer and find out what he wants,” he told them. “I don’t think there will be any problems.”

“Should you take Balo with you?” Carie asked.”In case there is trouble.”

“No, a single two year old does not bother me; I do not care how big he is.” he told her.”Just in case, you two stay here. I will be back shortly.”

Before either could object, he took off at a trot going down the hill. He circled around into the forest near the bottom of the hill just before the stream. He kept well inside the trees while sniffing the air.  The wind was blowing from his side of the meadow. He quietly walked along the forest floor until he felt the wind in his face. That is when he heard noise downwind of him. He heard two voices. It was two male deer talking. He could not understand what they were saying. These were not the actions of someone who might want to harm him. He approached as carefully as he could until the wind brought their scents to him. He stopped and took in a deep breath through his nose. It was then he caught the scents. He recognized them and was surprised.

The first scent he knew. It was Duro who he knew liked to bed down around here. There were lots of eatable bushes and the grasses along the stream; many were delightful to eat. It was the second scent that he found surprising. He walked slowly forward making no noise and with the wind in his face so the other two deer could not smell him. He finally saw the two deer over by some trees. Both were talking, no threats and no shouts. They just looked to be having a pleasant conversation. He walked toward them before the smaller one looked up and saw him.

“Stranger,” he said. “I was looking for you.”

“Gorro, I am surprised,” he said. “Is your mother and father with you?”

“Excuse me,” Duro said politely. “You two have things to talk about.” The five year old male turned and faced Gorro and bowed his head slightly. “Glad to see you again, Gorro, and please give Bambi my regards.”

"I will," Gorro said politely.

With that Duro walked away. That was done with remarkable courtesy from a deer that rarely showed a high level of courtesy to anyone, except himself.

He walked over to the large two year old and embraced him. “What are you doing here?”

Gorro looked around to see if anyone could overhear them. “Stranger, I am here for several reasons. The first was my father and mother wanted to be alone. Even Eta is out on her own.”

He looked at Gorro. He could tell something was wrong. “What has happened Gorro?”

Gorro took a deep breath. “My mother lost her fawn. It was born dead. Now she is telling father that like Claris, she does not think she will be able to make another one.”

He just dropped his head and hit the ground with his front left hoof. This was getting to be too much. “I am truly sorry to hear that,” was all he could say.

“I know,” Gorro said sadly. “You and Claris of all deer would know how they feel. Afterwards father lost interest in most things. He doesn’t even train me anymore; he is just too sad. The loss of that fawn really hurt him. That is my second reason I am here. My father cannot train me now, I was wondering if you would?”

He smiled, “Of course I will help.”

“Thank you,” Gorro said. “There is also one final reason, and for me perhaps the most important of all. I came here to try and find a mate.”

That stopped him cold. It was certainly a surprising thing to hear. “Why, there are many more deer in your forest than here?”

“I know,” Gorro said with a drop of his head. “My mother and father think I am foolish too, but all those deer know me as Bambi’s son and for that they respect and in some cases fear me. The doe look at me the same way.”

He looked into Gorro’s deep black eyes. They were like his father's. He was obviously still troubled by something. “I am sorry, but I do not understand you,” he told him.

Gorro nodded and looked lost in thought for a moment. “I am not sure how to put this, but the deer in that forest see me as Bambi’s son. They do not see me as Gorro. They treat me as Bambi’s son. They do not treat me as Gorro. I want a mate who wants Gorro. Not a mate that wants Bambi’s son. I cannot find that in father’s forest.”

He nodded with understanding. “Yes, I see now. None of the deer know you here. They will judge you as you without your father. Very well, you are free to look, but I cannot promise anything. Best place to meet deer in on the meadow when the herd eats at night.”

“I then ask permission of the herd leader to stay until after high summer when I will go back to help my father.”

“Stay as long as you like, you are always welcome here. Does Bambi know you are here?” he asked.

“I told him and mother of my plans. My father was not happy, but I think he understands. My mother did not want me to go, but father said under the circumstances it would be best. I think he understands better than my mother.”

 “Your father understands a lot,” he said.

“There is also one other reason. I have always wanted to meet my older brother and sister. Once I become herd leader that, will be difficult.”

He certainly understood the last reason and he agreed. "I can help you with that."

He looked the deer over. Although he was a two year old, he was almost as big as Balo, in fact almost as big as him. He would have a nice rack. He could not believe he had any trouble finding a mate no matter what forest he was in. He would also be exactly the kind of deer Man would want to kill for his rack.

“Come with me,” he said.

As they walked he asked, "Did you have any problems coming here."

"No," Gorro said simply. "I ran into those large animals you told me about. You were right, I think they are too dumb to talk. I did see a Man on a horse, but I was well hidden. He never saw me. Fortunately, there were no dogs about."

"Good," he said. "Have there been any more problems from your father's herd."

Gorro laughed loudly. "There were no problems against my father from any member of the herd. Those bones are still in the clearing where you and father fought. They act as a reminder. The seniors males are still too scared of my father to challenge him. They also remember your words about coming back. I think they are as scared of you as of father. I had a small problem however."

"Oh, what happened?" he wanted to know.

"After mother lost the fawn and father stayed with her, one of the three year old males decided to push his weight around with me. We fought in the open with the herd watching. I easily beat him, using the ways you and father taught me. I knocked him down and then stomped lightly on him as not to hurt him too much. I then let him get up and flee. Since then I have had no problems."

"Good for you," he told the young male. "Although we will never say this in front of other members of the herd, but sometimes to have to stomp on a deer to get him and the others to listen to you. Male deer respect strength and fighting ability."

Gorro stopped and laughed again. "You know that is almost exactly what father told me."

"Your father is the wisest deer I know," he said and led Gorro on.

He took him up the stream past Bambi’s old cave. As they went by Gorro stopped suddenly. It was like the place brought on a memory

“This is where your father and mother use to live,” he told him thinking he might be interested.

“This where my two older sisters died?” he asked his voice showing some pain.

“Yes,” he said simply. Gorro said nothing more and went on following him.

As he got to the small pond he bleated loudly enough to be heard by others. Stena and little Delon came out followed shortly by Balo.  Both looked over the new male for a second before Stena blurted out, “Gorro,” she said and ran up and kissed him. Balo did likewise and the two males both rubbed their foreheads. Claris, Carie and little Stuben came up from the clearing. Claris embraced Gorro like his mother would and Carie just simply bowed.

“I am glad to see all of you again,” Gorro said. He was very happy and it showed.

“What brings you here?” Claris asked.

Gorro head just dropped again and said nothing. He stepped up and said in a low voice, “Let us all lay down in the clearing. This is not going to be an easy tale to tell,” he told them.

They all went back and lay down. Gorro told them the reasons he was here. When he was done there were obvious sobs from Claris and Stena.”

“Poor Faline,” was all Claris could say. "First me and now her."

“There is nothing we can do about that,” he said in a low voice “We might be able to help with other things like trying to find Gorro a mate. I will present him to the herd tonight. I doubt if there will be any problems. I will then take him to meet his older brother and sister in the Man path forest. I never did get there before. After that, Balo, Gorro and I will start with lessons. We need to get ready." He then turned to Gorro, By high summer, I expect you to be as big as your father and be about as strong.”

‘I would be pleased to help teach,’ Balo told them. “It will help me get ready for our friends when they come back.”

Gorro looked confused. “I will explain later,” he told him “For now let us rest, it may be a busy night.”

When the lesser light rose they all went over to the meadow and ate. The Man cave was still dark and no smell of Man on the meadow. All ate comfortably. After a while Delene, Stena’s first child, came over to feed next to them. She was also filling out as a yearling. She was getting as big as her mother. She came over and met the new deer. Several of the yearlings and two year old doe came over the meet the new male, but most had fawns and so were only partly interested. He could see that Gorro was causing some upset among the two and three year old males who were use to getting the attentions of the younger doe. After a while Stuben finished feeding from his mother and then starting playing with the other new fawns.  He kept a close eye on the meetings and playing. He showed Gorro around to the doe. Many looked interested, but then Gorro was as hansom as his father. All the while he kept sniffing the air for any sign of danger. Thankfully for once, all passed in peace.

As the lesser light went down he called Gorro and Balo over. “Very well young male, show me what you have learned. Now push me back,” he told him.

“They locked at the shoulder and he pushed with all his might trying to push Gorro back. “Gorro did likewise. He found himself under considerable pressure by the two year old. He shifted his weight that Gorro countered. Then Gorro tried to get lower underneath him to lift him. He was able to shift around to stop him. They Gorro broke and jumped back and tied to bring his rear legs around swiftly to trip him. He jumped straight up to avoid it. Gorro was not just strong, he was fast. They kept this up for awhile all under the watchful gaze of the herd. He was sure it was obvious to even the older males that they better think twice before taking this two year old on. He could also see why he easily beat that older deer. He also noticed Delene was taking an interest in their activities.

“You have gotten stronger since last season,” he had to admit. “I would say you are almost as strong as your father. You are certainly as quick as he is. There might not be much I can teach you."

Gorro walked up to him, with a big smile. The he looked at him and spoke in a low voice. “You can show me how you and my father beat those four males last season.”

By now Balo came over. Balo had overheard and was looking at him too. "I will need to know that too in case the others come back."

Balo was right, both of them needed to know this. “I suppose you both need to learn that just in case there is real trouble. That is possible now. I will show you both after we get back from the Man path forest. We will need to do this in private.  No sense teaching the other males in this forest. As Bambi and I have told both of you before, you can kill another deer with this. Other deer can also use it to kill you. You must never use it unless you have too.”

Both deer nodded an understanding of what he said.

The next night he walked over to the Man path forest with Gorro. He had Balo stay behind and told him to call if anything happened especially if new males came to the forest. There were no men or dogs around so their journey was short and quick. As he walked through the forest he started to pick up on scents. He first found Veron’s trail and followed it to his small clearing.

“Veron,” he called. “It is Stranger. I have a visitor I like you to meet.”

Veron walked out of the clearing. He was now fully grown and was showing signs of a large rack. Alana was behind him and a new doe fawn. Veron looked over the strange deer and sniffed the air a few times.

“You smell familiar,” Veron said studying the new male carefully.

“Because he is your younger brother.” he explained. “He has come from your father’s forest to visit.”

With that all hesitation vanished and Veron embraced his brother as did Alana. “My name is Gorro,” he told them and I am pleased to meet you.”

“It was then he noticed the hoof marks on Veron’s chest and a few scratches along his side.

“Who have you been fighting with?” he wanted to know.

“Most likely the same group of deer you told me about,” Veron said. “Three new deer came here looking for some other deer. When I told them they were not wanted here they started to push their weight around. Stabo and I had to put them in their place.”

“Are you and Stabo alright?” he asked.

“Yes, they were not much of a problem. One did not go back. When I and Stabo fought two of them, the other tried to charge Stabo from the rear. Stabo kicked out hard with his rear hoofs and hit the deer solidly on the head with both hoofs. The deer went down and did not get up.”

So it begins, he told himself. “Where is Stabo?” he asked.

“In the woods, healing,” Veron told him. The other deer manage to hit him hard a couple of time before Stabo knocked him down and started to stomp on him. The other deer rolled away got up and ran away with the other one. Last time we saw them they were running toward the other side of your meadow.”

“The side of the meadow where the bear has his den?” he asked to be sure.

“Yes,” Veron answered looking at him. “I thought these might be the deer you told me about?”

“I think they are,” he said. “I need to talk to you and Stabo. If I am right, this is only the start. There may be many more of them coming.”

“We cannot fight many more of them,” Veron told him flatly.

“I know,” he muttered. “Look you stay here with your brother and I will get Stabo.”

Before any of them could answer he took off and left them there. He moved quickly through the forest until he came to the next clearing. He passed several deer who were feeding. They looked up as he went past. He came to the clearing and immediately Gena came out and met him.

“How is Stabo?” he wanted to know.

“I am fine Father,” a voice came from beyond the clearing. Stabo came out walking almost normally, but favoring his left side.  He went up to his son and looked him over carefully. There were two hoof marks still in his side. He went back and smelled along the side and thankfully smelled no sickness or injury. Stabo was sore, but not hurt.

“Veron told me” he said to both of them.

“I killed one of them,” Stabo said in a low moan.

“Sometimes that is necessary,” he said still looking his son over. “Do not feel badly. They have caused a lot of pain and suffering to other deer.”

“You think the others will come?” Stabo asked.

“I think so, but I am not sure. Gena, your younger brother Gorro has come from your father’s forest and wants to meet you.”

It was only then he saw the two new doe fawns come out.  Both were cute and both looked at him wondering who he was.  He learned over and nuzzled both of them. It was then he noticed one had green eyes just like Claris.”

This one is Karlene and the other is Charlene,” Stabo said.

How are Claris and Koren?” he asked.

“Both are fine,” Gena said. “Although Claris is starting to worry me, she takes no interest in the males around here.”

That is a problem for later,” he said. “Right now there are more important things to deal with.

They all lay down in Veron’s clearing and Gorro told about what had happened first in Bambi’s forest. Both Veron and Gena were saddened by the news. Then he told his story about the new deer in his herd.

“I am sure these deer must be those from over the hills,” he told Gorro. “We have run across males trying to force themselves on everyone else. They are like Tarro and his group. They tried it in your father’s forest and paid the price for it. What I think has happened is that Razor wanted to see if there were any males defending this forest,  Now he knows how many deer will fight him in your forest and mine.”

“What do we do if they come back with more of them?” Stabo asked.

“First, do not try and fight them. Get your families together and leave. If you try and fight them, you will all be overwhelmed and killed. One of you call us and we will meet you in the clearing near the edge of your forest closest to my forest. Balo and I will join you.”

“I will come too,” Gorro interrupted.

He looked at Gorro.  He was only a two seasons old and still growing.  Balo had one seasons on him, Stabo had two seasons, and Veron had three seasons, Still he was strong; he felt that when they were fighting. If there were three season or younger deer with Razor, then Gorro could certainly fight them. He have to be careful to make sure Gorro would not be over matched.

“Very well,” he answered. “We will gather there and then try and hunt them down two or three at a time. That way we will have the advantage.  We do not fight them in a single group. There is one other thing you all must remember; these deer have hurt and maybe killed many other deer. It is going to be necessary to hurt or kill them. This time it is no game. If we do not kill them, they will certainly kill us.”

He saw the look of shock on Gena and Alana’s faces and their worry. He turned to them. “I am sorry, but this is one of the prices we have to pay for herd leadership. Someone is always looking to become leader in your place. Some deer rather kill than drive off weaker deer. I have seen this before.”

He decided he would not tell them who Razor was. It might interfere in their judgment about what to do with him and the others. Razor had chosen his path. If would be up to him now how this would come out.

“I understand, Father,” Stabo said. "Veron and Gorro just nodded.

“Now let us all rest here and talk things over. Then Gorro and I will return tomorrow night and get ready. Veron, Stabo, for now you two should practice often especially the things Bambi and I taught you about fighting. "

"I was waiting for Stabo to get better," Veron said.

"Start now in any case," he told them. Our best hope is to be better than Razor and his group. They never had any training except what they did among themselves."

Everyone nodded their agreement. Now he had a plan.

“Now for the hard part,” he thought.

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