The Stranger: Into the Rising Light

This is the sixth and final story in the life of the Stranger. Stranger is now old. Other deer have taken over from him. He now awaits in the forest for his end which he knows will come soon. This should be a time of rest and relaxation, but old enemies and new problem once again upset Stranger's plans. How he faces these problems brings this series of stories to an end. Please let me know what you through of these stories

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3. ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

 

 

At first they did not notice it, but shortly after Delon was chased out of their part of the forest, other new deer started to show up.  It was Stelar who noticed it first and started asking questions with the deer. Although she and Helos usually ate and slept in the deep forest clearings, one night they brought themselves and their fawn into the clearing where the rest of them were eating.

“Stabo, can I talk to you for a while?” she asked respectfully “There is something going on in the forest you need to know about.”

They all stopped eating and started to gather around them. “What is happening, Sister?” Stabo asked.

“Have you all noticed we are having new deer show up in our herd?” she asked them all.

“I have seen a couple of deer I do not know,” Young Bambi answered. “I did not pay much attention to it.”

“It is not a couple of deer, there are several,” Stelar went on. “They mostly stay in the deeper forest, but Helos and I have noticed them. Not just single deer. There are many doe with this year’s fawns.”

“Where are they coming from?” Stabo asked.

“Helos and I talked to them,” Stelar answered. “They are coming from the forest near the other Man cave. They are leaving because of Delon.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Very sure,” Helos spoke up for the first time. “There are some males, but mostly doe and fawns. When I asked them where they came from they said they came from where Delon was. When I asked why, they told me Delon is trying to put the herd together by force now. He is making them all call him leader. They say before he would listen, but they told me that since Delon returned from his journey, he is different. He listens to no one and argues with everyone. They also noticed he was battered.”

Stelar then looked at the younger Bambi and spoke up and with certainty in her voice. “One thing for sure, Bambi, he hates you and is openly saying he will strike back at you anyway he can the first chance he gets. He says much the same thing about you, Stabo.”

“This is starting to sound all too familiar,” he said out loud.

"Yes," the elder Bambi said. "All too familiar, only now you and I Stranger are too old to take care of this."

“That is not what bothers me,” Young Bambi said. “I remember the stories you have told about Tarro and what he did. It is Delon that is of worry to me. I do not worry about him attacking myself or Stabo, but he may attack our fawns or doe and maybe even you three.”

“What Bambi says is correct,” Stabo spoke up sounding very serious. “We cannot allow this to happen. Bambi please come with me, I want to talk to you alone.”

With that the two large males left their clearing talking in very low voices. Stelar turned and said. “I am sorry to bring you all this trouble.”

“Not your fault,” he said. “You only reported something to the herd leader that may hurt the herd. That is what you are supposed to do.”

He then looked at the elder Bambi and he nodded his head. Both of them understood what needed to be done. If he was three seasons younger, he knew exactly what he do. Now with his age and injuries, he could no longer do it. Neither could the now old Bambi. This will have to be dealt with by the new generation. That was the one thing he hated most of all about getting old. It robbed him of his ability to act. They went back to eating before Stabo and Young Bambi returned.

Stabo looked directly at the elder Bambi and bowed his head slightly. “Bambi, I am sorry, but your advice to Delon is not being listened to. I am not going to allow him to attack our family and maybe other doe and fawns.”

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

Stabo took a deep breath. "That depends on Delon. Both Bambi and I are going to find him. If he will not listen to sense, then he will have to listen to force.”

“What force?” he wanted to know.

“However much force is needed,” Young Bambi said. “Stabo and I are leaving now.”

“Father, may I ask you, Bambi, and Helos to look after the herd until we return?" Stabo asked. "There should not be much going on.”

Both Gena and Galine did not look happy. This was going to be trouble he knew. Unfortunately, like with Razor, he knew this was trouble they could not avoid.

“When you go, stay together,” he told him. “Do not allow Delon to do to you what we did to Razor.”

“Understood, Father,” Stabo said.

He walked up to his son and rubbed his forehead. “I know what you must do, so do it. Protect the herd, you have done it before. Remember, Delon is young, foolish, but he is not stupid. Be careful of him. If we were younger, Bambi and I would do this. I feel Delon is my responsibility and I should be the one to do this, but I cannot any longer. Go quickly and silently. Remember Delon may have friends too, but I doubt it.”

“I understand, Father,” Stabo said. “We will be careful.”

They both left quietly from the clearing. They were still mostly in shock at what had happened. He walked away feeling completely useless again.

News of Delon and what happened spread among the herd. Not just the senior males, but many of the doe asked him if Delon would come back and cause trouble. He told them honestly, he did not know, but Stabo and Young Bambi would handle it. Even Karlene came by and asked if it would help if she went back.

"No!," he told her flatly. "This hatred Delon feels has gone beyond you, me, or anyone else. It is directed at the whole family now and we cannot allow this. I just wish I and Bambi could do it."

"I am sorry," Karlene whispered. "I did not want this to happen, but I just could not stay with him any longer."

"Not your fault," he told her. "However, you and the fawns should maybe go hide away from here until Stabo and Bambi take care of this. I do not think Delon would hurt you, but I no longer trust him not to hurt anyone."

Karlene nodded and led the twins away into the forest. He went back to waiting.

Several days went by and he could tell things were on edge. Gena told them it was like when they knew Razor was coming. Most deer did not know what to do. The vast majority would not do anything unless they had too. There was the one bad thing about deer. Most of them only knew how to run from trouble. Very few would go and seek trouble out to learn about it or to try and stop it. Most would just run and hope to get away. Running away merely put trouble off for another day, but it seldom solved anything.

It was night several days later when he heard calls from the woods. “Here, all come here,” he heard. It was both Stabo and Young Bambi calling. At least they were alive.

“Why are they calling for a gathering?” Bambi wondered.

“I have no idea, you think they discuss it with us,” he answered confused himself.

"You mean like you did," Bambi said coolly.

He took a deep breath. "Yes, you are right, old friend.  Stabo is herd leader and he decides like I did."

"I can think of several reasons why Stabo would do this, most of them are bad." Bambi said and walked away toward the call.

He looked back at the doe and the fawns. None of them looked to know what was going on. He got up and started to walk toward where he heard the call come from. It took him a little while to get there and he was one of the last to arrive. He looked around at the gathering and noted that just about everyone had come. He decided to stay in the back and let Stabo and Young Bambi run this. Soon Stabo walked into the center. He immediately noted he was limping and his side was bruised. He could see cuts on his chest. He had been in a big fight and he could guess with whom. Young Bambi also looked a little worse for wear with minor cuts on his flanks. He did not like the look of this.

“My friends,” Stabo called out. “I am sorry to have called you here with no warning, but there are matters to be discussed and it is important you hear about them.”

After the murmuring died down in the herd, Stabo went on.

“As you all know Delon came back here a while ago and tired take back by force his former doe and fawns and Alana and her fawn. We heard that he was still angry and threaten not just the herd, but our families as well. This we could not allow.  Both Bambi and I traveled deep in the forest and found Delon. We had an argument with him. It because obvious that because of his mother and father being rejected by this herd, and then getting killed by Man, Delon blamed all of us and he hated all of us. His behavior became so bad that Alana and her fawn left his forest. Then his own mate Karlene and her fawns also left him. That is what made Delon so mad, he came here to get her back and fought with Bambi. We all thought he had left for good, but we found he was still planning on returning and taking revenge on both this herd and his family. When we got to Delon, we found he was putting together some large males and had talked them to come back here and try to do what Razor tired to do here. He was going to do this despite all the teaching given to him by both the elder Bambi and my Father. We could not allow that either. There was a fight and Delon and one of his males were killed by us. The threat is now over. The other two males ran away. I am sorry this has happened, but I wanted to tell you all about it.”

There was a lump in his throat. Another of his family had gone bad. At least Stuben had realized his mistake and left in peace, He could not believe that Stena’s son could have done this, yet he had no reason to doubt Stabo. He also did not believe that Delon would ever think what he was planning would work. It was stupid. He really did not learn anything Bambi and he taught him. He turned and saw Kalene turn away and walk into the forest alone with her two fawns.

After a period of silence Elkar,” one of the males from the deeper forest spoke up. “What Stabo has said is true. Delon had become someone that would not listen to anyone. All had to be his way, or he hurt the deer. I am sorry he is dead, but I think it was for the best.”

“I do not think so,” Relno spoke up. “With Razor we knew he had hurt and killed those in his herd, and then tried to do the same here, Delon did not do that. He said he would do that, but saying something and doing something are not the same. Delon should not have been killed unless he came back here to harm others.”

He saw Stabo look stunned at the comment. “And was I suppose to wait until he hurts one of my family or my fawns. No, he made it plain to others he was going to hurt us anyway he could.”

“That sounds familiar,” Bambi said.

“Too familiar and too painful,” he said out loud. "It is the same as what we did when Razor came here with his males."

“All I am saying is that Delon did not deserve to die,” Relno said.

Marco then walked forward and spoke loudly. “I remember Delon as a fawn. I watched him grow up with Stuben, and Delene. I watched Stranger and Bambi train him and the others. I also heard the arguments they made about being herd leader. Delon was a fine fawn and young male, but something went wrong, just like with Bambi’s son Geno and Stranger’s son Stuben. There is no fault here. What it shows us is that some can learn the ways of being a good herd leader and some cannot. Delon could not, but that did not mean we had to kill him.”

This was starting to remind him of what happened when he chased Kregus onto the meadow to be killed. The herd had wanted him and Claris thrown out of the forest. The herd was always ready to make up their minds on things they had no part in. You have to live through a problem to be able to understand it, not just hear about it.

He saw Bambi’s ears flick forward showing his interest before speaking up. “You are correct; my son Geno did go bad and forgot all I tried to teach him. However Geno did not try to hurt anyone except me and Stranger by sending Krono to our forest. He never tried to hurt anyone else in this forest. This is why Stanger and I did not try to kill Geno, but instead chased him away. Delon did threaten the herd and our families. Geno was wise enough to leave. Stuben was wise enough to leave.  Delon was not wise enough and so remained to be a threat to the herd. It was like when Tarro attacked my family in my old forest. He had to be taken care of and Stranger and I did so. Delon was such a threat and Stabo and the younger Bambi did so. There is no difference.”

He then spoke up. “I always tried to teach my family the herd was the most important thing. The leader and his family and friends are here to help the herd, not the other way around. When the herd is attacked, it is the duty of the herd leader to defend the herd, even if it costs his life. Bambi’s son Veron knew that and he died doing it. Gurri and Jolo knew that and they died doing it. Balo and my daughter Stena knew that and they died doing it for their herd. Delon did not learn that and was ready hurt or kill to get his way. Delon was son of my daughter. His death hurts me as much as my own daughter Stena. Still, no one is above the herd. This is why Balo, Stena, Delon, my mate Carie and my son Stuben were sent away when they proved they did not learn this and instead cared only about themselves. With the exception of Delon, the others left and went in peace. Delon did not go in peace and made the other deer around him want to leave. Even his own mate left him. After he was chased back, he openly said he wanted to hurt us anyway he could. This, my friends no herd leader can never allow,” he stopped for a moment to clear the lump in this throat. “I think Stabo and the younger Bambi did the right thing. Not because Stabo is my son, but because Stabo protected the herd as any good herd leader will do.”

After he spoke there was silence. He turned away so they would not see his eyes cloud over. He wished Claris was with him then, but she was not. Old Bambi came over and nuzzled him on his back.

Bambi turned quickly and called out loudly,”That was well said, by a herd leader that has also paid the price to do the right thing many times.”

Stabo then stood up as straight as possible and turned to face as much of the herd as he could. “Very well I understand that some of you feel I have done the wrong thing. Let me say that this was my decision alone. Veron’s son Bambi helped me, but I decided what had to be done as herd leader. If you wish to have a new herd leader, I will step aside now. I recommend you give the herd leadership to Verson’s son Bambi. He had proven he cares for the herd and he has proven he is ready to lead. Many of you know I never wanted to be herd leader, but after Veron was killed, someone had to do it until others were ready. Now Bambi is ready. I ask you all to accept him as your new herd leader.”

There were sounds of shock from the other deer. He was surprised and now he understood the real reason behind the gathering. His son had done that perfectly. He knew he was going to turn the herd over to Young Bambi this fall. This was the perfect way to do this. He turned back to the herd and watched.

He noted Marco, Relnor and two or three of the other larger males stepped aside and were talking in private. There were other mutterings from the herd. What was the problem? There were other small groups of deer in discussion. Even the doe and the yearlings were talking. This was not anything he had seen before. It was almost like they disagreed with Stabo. This went on for some time with the groups talking to each other. Finally Relnor walked out from the groups of males and went to the center of the group.

“If I may speak,” Relnor called out.

“Relnor may speak,” Stabo said looking at the others still in discussion.

“Stabo, we do not want you to step aside as herd leader,” he said flatly. “It is not that we do not think Young Bambi can lead, it is that we still think he is too young to do so. We need an older deer that has more experience to be leader. There are many things happening we do not understand with Man. It appears Man will be back in greater number this season. We need someone who can lead us to safety when Man comes back during The Season. Someone who has done this in the past. Stabo has done this, Young Bambi has not. In two or three more seasons, perhaps Young Bambi will be ready, but I do not feel he is ready now with the new threats from Man.”

That was a surprise. Many of them knew Veron was younger than Young Bambi when he brought the herd to this forest. He looked at Young Bambi. He was as shocked as Balo was when the herd rejected him. At least there was a reason for Balo, there was no reason to reject Young Bambi.

“My friends,” he called out. “I have trained this Bambi. His father Veron trained him. The elder Bambi has trained him. This Bambi is ready to lead as was his father. I would not tell you this if I did not believe it was true. Young Bambi is ready to lead.”

“I must agree with Stranger,” the elder Bambi spoke up. “Yes I have trained him; yes I have watched him grow up. He is as ready as his Father was when he took leadership of the herd here.”

There were more discussions within the herd. More conversations were held. More groups moving around. Finally Marco came forward again.

“We hear the words of The Stranger, Bambi and Stabo. We still think that the younger Bambi needs to have more experience to lead us. When Veron brought the deer here, they were all young and did not know as much as we do now. We now see many new threats.  For this reason we ask Stabo to remain as herd leader and for the young Bambi to help him for now.”

Stabo looked bewildered at the response. Stabo wanted to give it up. Young Bambi looked angry as if rejected. He walked over to Stabo and motioned both Bambis to join them.

“I did not expect this to happen, but the herd has made a choice," he said in a low voice."Stabo you must remain as herd leader. The others ask it of you. Bambi, the herd asks you to wait, but they did not reject you.”

“What do you mean they did not reject me,” the young male spat out. “They just told me they did not want me. Now I know how Balo felt.”

“No,” the older Bambi said to him like he was his own fawn. “The herd told you they did not think you were ready to lead, not that they did not want you. You will be herd leader in time, but not now.”

“I almost feel like walking off into the deep woods like Balo did,” the Younger Bambi said shaking his head.

That made him angry even if Young Bambi was not serious. “Then you would be no better than Balo. I have always told you the herd will tell you when you are ready. The herd told you that you are not ready now. The herd also rejected our advice. This bothers me, but there is nothing we can do about it now. Accept the herd's decision and learn from it. You will be herd leader here some day.”

“If you say so,” Young Bambi said.

“No,” he told him. “You must say so and you must say so now so the others will hear.”

He could see how this tore at Young Bambi’s insides. He felt he was being rejected now by the herd. The young male took several deep breaths and called out loud.

“Please hear me,” he yelled out. “I will not lie to you and say I was not disappointed at your decision. However as Stranger and my Father’s father taught me, I must listen to the will of the herd to be a good leader. If you do not think I am ready to lead, then I will stay and help Stabo until you think I am ready.”

“That is why you are not like Balo, Delon and Stuben,” Relnor said to the herd. “That is also why one day you will be ready to lead.”

“Great,” Young Bambi said under his breath and walked out of the gathering with Galene and their fawn behind him.

With that the gathering was over and they all went back to their bedding areas. He did not get much sleep that night.

Over the next few days many more deer came from the deeper forest and started to mix in with their herd. It soon became obvious that the herd would need to spread out much more to prevent over feeding. It also became obvious to him and the older Bambi that this many new deer was sure to bring Man in greater numbers.  The herd would be spread out so much, it would be difficult to control or know what was going on quickly. Normally this would not be a problem. If Man was about in greater numbers, it might be. Bambi and him saw the problem at about the same time and went to see Stabo.

"I know, Father, but I can only be in one place at a time," Stabo answered to their comments.

"Then you are going to have to get help," he told him. "That is what we trained both Young Bambi and Helos to do."

"Younger Bambi knows this part of the Man path forest well," Bambi added. "Both Helos and Stelar  know the deeper woods better. I suggest you keep Young Bambi here, Helos and Stelar closer to the other Man cave, and you stay someplace between them."

"If they find trouble, they can always call," he said.

"And we still need to find hiding places for the herd," Stabo added.

"I think it is time for Younger Bambi, Helos, and You to have a meeting to work out a plan," Bambi said. He obviously had a plan.

"We cannot move the herd in an instant," he said. "Now is the time to plan and search."

'"Fine, we will do this tomorrow night," Stabo said.

That was another problem caused by Delon even after he was gone.

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