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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5. Training

 

 

As they walked back into his forest Gorro finally broke his silence. “So you think this will end up in a big fight?”

He shook his head in frustration. “I do not see how we can avoid it unless Razor and his males stay where they are. I do not think that will happen. They want control and they think strength and force are the only ways to get it. You can get control with strength and force, but it will never last and it will vanish as soon as there are those that are not afraid of it.”

“How do we stop that?” Gorro asked.

“If they come seeking only a test of strength, we will have to meet it,” he said. “They may be big and powerful, but are they wise? From what I hear, they are not. If they were wise, their herd would not try and run away from them. Unfortunately, they will not make this into a test of strength, but instead just try to eliminate everyone in their path that opposes them. They will be ruthless, and therefore we will have to be ruthless as well.”

“So we beat them with our heads and not with our racks,” Gorro added. “Like you and father did to Tarro.”

“Correct," he replied, "And starting tonight I am going to show you how. First we eat.”

They all walked into the meadow where the rest of his herd was eating in peace. He saw Claris, Carie and Stuben and went to eat by them. Balo went to eat with Stena and Delon, and Gorro ate alone for a while. It was not long before Delene walked up to him and they were talking. None of the other males or females seemed to mind.

“What do you think?” Claris asked him.

“I think we are going to have a fight much like we had in Bambi’s forest and I do not think we can avoid it,” he said.

Carie stopped eating for a moment. “Can you beat them like you and Bambi beat Tarro?”

He shook his head no. “In numbers no, there are too many of them. However we are smarter than they are. That is the only way we will beat them. I will start with Balo and Gorro tonight privately.”

They continued until they had eaten their fill and drank. He then called to Balo and Gorro and led them away from the herd. He did not want other males learning what he was going to teach them. He took them to his small clearing and stopped.

“Most deer fight with their racks; however except during The Season, our racks are growing in skin and we cannot use them. We have other things we can use and they are our hoofs and our legs. Our hoofs are very hard and the edge is sharp like a claw that we can use to cut into other deer. We also have our leg muscles so we can kick hard. If you kick into a deer hard, you can hurt him on the inside. Now watch me.

He walked up to Balo not showing any sign of a threat; then he brought his front hoof up quickly. Balo saw it coming and tried to jump back, but it was too late. He hit Balo under his mouth, but not very hard.

If you hit a deer under the mouth it will hurt. Another place to hit them is in the side of the head. A hard kick to the side of the head can kill a deer. This is very useful if you first trip them using your legs that I have taught you before. Remember this, once you get a deer on the ground you cannot stop to let him get up. On the ground a deer is nearly helpless. It is then you use your most powerful attack, the stomp.”

He went into the clearing and raised his front quarter high in the air and as he came down he hit both his front hoofs on the ground. The combination of the force he used in his leg muscles and him coming back down make a loud thud in the ground.

“Do that to the side of a deer several times and you will also kill him. Remember the other deer can also do the same to you. If you do get knocked to the ground, you must not stay still; you must roll and get back up no matter how much you hurt. If you do not, you are dead."

He looked at both Balo and Gorro and they both looked to understand. He went on with the lesson. “Another trick is this. Balo, pretend you are attacking me from the rear. He turned his back slowing Balo his while furry tale. Balo put his head down and came after him. When Balo was close he kicked out with both rear hoofs hitting Balo lightly in the chest.

“I have seen Bambi kill a deer doing just that," he explained. "If a deer is charging you, and you can kick out and hit him on the forehead, you can kill him. The same can also happen to you if you are not careful.”

He got them to practice on each other for a while. He did not have them kick hard and he had them kick slow. Speed would come with practice. The lesson and practice went on until the greater light had risen. He then sent both Balo and Gorro away to rest. As he walked out of the clearing by himself he caught the scent of a doe. It was Delene. He turned and went over in that direction. Sure enough she was walking away from the clearing.

“How long have you been watching?” he called to her.

 She froze and turned quickly. “I am sorry; I wanted to see what you were teaching them.”

“How did you stay here and yet I did not smell you?” he wanted to know.

Delene looked like a little fawn that had done something wrong. “I stood away from the clearing with the wind in my face, just like you taught me.”

He wanted to scold her for intruding in things that did not concern her, but he had to admit she had fooled all of them. He just looked at her. “What I was teaching your father and Gorro was for males only,” he said sternly.

Delene looked right at him. “Stranger, doe have hoofs too,” she told him and walked away. That put him in his place.

He could not make up his mind if he was angry or not with Delene, but he had to admit to himself she had a point. He went back to Claris and Carie to rest. He had no problems sleeping that day.

The next night he showed them more things and then he had them practice. The trick was to teach them to practice without hurting each other and yet still be able to attack fully. He had both Balo and Gorro kick trees to toughen their hoofs and strengthen their leg muscles. Each night for the rest of the spring they fed on the meadow and then practiced until light. He noticed each night Delene would eat with Gorro. During the lessons from time to time he noticed she was watching from a distance. He could have told Balo to stop her, but he did not. Maybe Delene was right. Time would tell.

After practicing for several nights, he could see the two of them improve. Balo was stronger than Gorro, but he was older and more developed. However, Gorro could hold his own in a fight. Gorro was also more aggressive than Balo, and would always attack. That was his father's teaching. Bambi was never one to wait and let the fight come to him. He always go after his enemy knowing  the deer that got in the first good hit, usually won. Balo was more stay back and rather let his enemy make a mistake and then hit hard. After sparing with both, he could tell they were all getting stronger as the spring went on.

Besides kicking he also had them practice with normal fighting. That was mostly locking either racks or shoulder with your enemy and then getting position and throw them to the ground. That fighting when used with the kicks could be deadly, as Tarro and the others found out. Merging the two types of fighting together took practice. That was something Bambi and him did while he and Bambi had recovered from injuries they had suffered. It took a while, but both of them caught on. One night after he sent Balo and Gorro back after the lesson, he stayed around and searched for Delene. She must have seen he was looking for her for she came out of the forest near him.

“Well you have been watching long enough Now show me what you learned,” he grunted in anger. He put his head down and charged her. She turned quickly and started to run, but he caught her or so he through. As he got close she kicked out with both rear legs. If he had not been expecting her to do that, she would have kicked him in the head. He stopped and she turned around again.

“Good,” he said, “Now what about this?”

He quickly lunged at her which caught her partly by surprise. He got next to her and tried to use his greater weight to force her down. He was pushing her onto the ground when she shifted her weight and brought her front hoof up and kicked him lightly in the side of the head.

“That is also good,” he said. “Now listen to me because your life may depend on this. These tricks I show you can help you fight someone who is a little stronger and bigger than you. It cannot defeat someone who is much stronger than you. Most males are much stronger than doe. That is just that way it is. You use these tricks if a large male is trying to hurt you. It will allow you to stop him and maybe stun him for a short while. Then you can get away. However you cannot defeat a male with these tricks. He will simply over power you and kill you. What I teach you can help you get away, but it will not help you fight a male, especially a big one. Do you understand this?”

“Yes, Stranger I understand,” she said in a voice that reminded him of Claris.

“Now one more question,” he asked. “What do you feel about Gorro?”

She seemed surprised about his question, but did not back away. “I like Gorro very much and I think he likes me. He has told me so. He is kind, strong and brave like his father and you. If he asked me, I would be his mate if that is what you want to know.”

She guessed what he was looking to find out and told him. She was smart, and to the point, like her mother and he hoped like him.“Have you told your mother and father about this?” he asked.

She nodded. “I have told my mother, she seems happy for me,” she answered.

“Gorro is a good male; you both could be good for each other. He will also be a herd leader one day. The mate of the herd leader needs to be smart so she can help him. You are smart like your mother, and could be of great help to him. There is one thing. You know Gorro will need to go back to his forest before The Season comes.”

“Yes,” she said, “And if he wants, I will go with him.”

He wanted to make sure she understood what that meant. "That means leaving this forest and perhaps never coming back."

"I know that," she said. "I would like to be around mother, father, you and Claris, but I also want to be happy. I do not see a male in this forest that I could be happy with."

"Has Gorro asked you to be his mate?" he asked Delene.

"When we are alone together we have talked about it, but he told me he will not ask until after the fight with Razor," she answered.

So she was sleeping with him. That was a good sign. Usually deer that slept together, stayed together. That answered his questions.

He walked up and nuzzled her forehead and she returned the favor. “I feel for you like I feel for your mother and Claris. I wish the best for both of you.”

“Thank you, Stranger,” she said. “She then walked off quietly into the forest.

It was on the next night during their feeding that he walked over alone to Stena and Balo. “As herd leader I try to notice things. I notice Gorro and Delene are becoming a pair. How do you feel about that?”

“I just wish she was older,” Balo said.

“You mean like her mother and father were?” he replied.

They both stopped eating and looked at him. They both started to laugh. “Thank you Father,” Stena said. “You always know how to put things. Yes, I think they will be a pair.”

“You know she will have to leave the forest with him, if he asks her?” he went on.

“Yes, Stena said, “And I will miss her, but she has her life to live and she must make the choice. Let her be happy now, because how long it will last we do not know.”

That made good sense from his daughter. “Good, I recommend you telling that to Gorro if you get a chance. When you are done we will continue.”

With that he finished eating then went over to Carie and Claris. He started playing mock charges with Stuben. He was strong, as strong as Balo or Stabo was at his age. He decided he had to start teaching his own son.  Delon was also doing the same thing with Balo who also enjoyed pushing him back. He watched him while playing with his son and suddenly he noticed something unusual. Instead of lowering his head and charging into his father, Delon rose up on his rear legs and kicked out hard with his front feet. He hit his father in the chest. He was not yet strong enough to hurt Balo, but he had never seen a fawn do that. In playing with other fawn yes, they did it all the time but it was always in fun and never when practicing to fight. He went over and looked at Balo who was looking at his son with a mixture of anger and astonishment.

“Delon, where did you learn to do that when you fight?” he asked.

“I do not know, Stranger,” the fawn said showing fear he had done something wrong. "I heard father talk about it so I just did it. Why, was it wrong?”

“No, but you must be careful with your hoofs,” he explained. “You can hit and hurt someone, especially another fawn.”

“I am sorry, did I hurt you Father, I did not mean too,” he said not wanting to anger his father.

“No son, you did not hurt me," Balo said in an even voice. "But Stranger is right. When you are older I will teach you to use your hoofs, but you must be careful like Stranger says. Now run and play with the other fawns, your Father has to go with Stranger and Gorro.”

With that Delon ran away toward the other fawns. As the three of them walked toward their clearing he asked. “Did you see the way he kicked; it was exactly the way I just taught you." he said in a low voice to Balo. "That was not a play kick. That was an attack kick.”

“Yes, Stranger, but I did not show him. I only talk to Stena about it. I only show that when I am here with you and Gorro,” Balo answered looking a bit confused.

“Well he picked it up,” he said. “That is problem as for later. Tonight I will show you want to do if you are knocked down. The lesson continued until the lesser light had set.

As he lay next to Claris and Carie he noticed Stuben was sleeping away from them. Not far away maybe five lengths, but he was sleeping by himself.  He looked at Carie, who looked right back at him knowing what he was thinking.

“Yes he is growing up," Carie told him directly."It is time you started teaching him in the same way you teach Balo and Gorro.”

“That I can see,” he said, “Only right now my concern is what to do if Razor comes back. When I am done with that, I will start teaching Stuben and Delon.”

“You son needs to be taught if he is to follow you one day as herd leader,” Carie told him.

This conversation he did not like. “He will follow me as herd leader if he is wise and strong enough and if the other deer in the herd accepts him as leader. No one has a right to be herd leader. He has to be chosen by the herd unless you want to do it the way Razor and Tarro did it.”

"He is your son, and he should follow you like Gorro will follow Bambi," Carie added.

"When the time comes, Bambi already told me he will present Gorro to his herd, but they will say who will lead them. I will train Stuben the same way, but Balo is older and has more experience, so I will present him first."

Carie nodded. "Yes that is right," she said. "Balo is more ready, but your son should come next."

"Again, the herd will decide who will be leader when the time comes. Besides, after Balo, I will most likely not be here."

He could see he angered Carie who shifted her weight away from him and turned her head the other way. He noted that Claris had heard everything, but had wisely said nothing. He lay against Claris and went to sleep.

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