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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6. FINAL CONFRONTATIONS

 

 

The remainder of summer passed quietly. Both Bambi and him continued training Kena and Juon. They came along well, but not fast as the others. It seemed to him that unlike Stena, Delenn, and Young Faline, Kena took longer to catch on. One thing with Kena however, once she learned it, she never forgot it. Juon had to be shown a few times, but eventually he learned also.

His side continue to hurt, and he felt himself getting weaker. His rack still grew out and as The Season approached. He saw Bambi had very nice looking rack. Bambi told him that his was also large, but not as large as before, but it was still respectable, and no deer in the forest looked to want to fight with either of them. Stabo and Young Bambi again grew a large rack. No one seemed interested in challenging them. His son was now much stronger than him and he was glad he was herd leader now.

Soon his rack started to itch and after he scraped off the velvet, they stopped training with Juon who had a nice rack for two year old. He soon knew the season would be upon them. Although he still felt the urge to breed, he had no interest in chasing any doe. Bambi felt the same way. The season also mean the hunting would soon start. One night after he and Bambi had stripped away their velvet, Stelar and Helos came over to them.

His daughter came up and nuzzled him on the side of his nose like she always did."Father, Stabo and Young Bambi would like to see you in their clearing. They said please come alone."

He looked back at Kena and Juon and through that was rude of his son. He turned to them.

"We must leave for a while, we will continue training later," he told him.

He noted Juon was fine with that, but Kena looked hurt. She knew by rights she should be there, but she wasn't invited. However, Stabo was herd leader and it was his decision. Both he and Bambi followed Stelar and Helos back to the clearing.

"Thank you both for coming," Stabo said. "The Season will soon be upon us, and that means Man will soon be here. I am thinking that at the first sign of Man, I will move the herd as quickly as possible to the location Young Bambi and Helos found. It will take a while for us to get there, so we will not wait until the Man animals arrive. At the first sound that they are arriving, we will leave."

That sounded like a good plan. That is assuming everyone knew about it.

"I suggest calling a gathering of the herd and explain this to them and do it soon," he said.

"I agree with Stranger," Bambi said.

"I also suggest asking Kena and Juon for help," he went on. "They have been trained well enough to help out. That will give you more deer to make sure no one is left behind."

Stabo shook his head no. "I am sorry, Father, but I still doubt Juon's use to the herd. Next Season after he is fully trained, perhaps, but not now." 

That shocked him and Bambi. "I do not understand," Bambi said bluntly. "I have also trained both of them. While they are not trained as well as you, they can still help you. They also want to help. A herd leader should not turn down help if they are willing."

"I am sorry, Bambi," his son said firmly. "I still do not trust Juon yet."

He was about to answer when he heard the clash of racks followed by a cry of alarm. It came from Kena and sounded like it came from the meadow. All of them stopped and ran toward the sound with him lagging back as usual.

He made it to edge of the meadow and saw Juon locking racks with a male a three year old herd male. The male thinking he was stronger, made it into a test of strength and tried to force Juon’s head onto the ground. Juon shifted his weight and pushed hard with his rear legs. That forced the other deer off balance and he stumbled back breaking the lock on their racks.

“You fight funny,” Juon said mocking the male to get him angry. “It had the desired effect.  The older male put his head down and charged with rage. This time Juon met the charge, but instead of bracing his feet, he pulled back quickly and turned to one side. The bigger male, going faster and being heavier, went right by him. As he did, Juon brought his head down and scrapped his rack across the flank of the male causing much pain, but only minor cuts. “

“Aieee,” the three year old male shouted and almost fell to his knees. Juon waited until the male had gone by him and then charged his rear before the male could recover. Again he hit the male hard, but did not try and gore him as he could have. The male yelled again and ran into the cover of the forest. Juon did not follow.

Juon then went over to Kena standing there. “Did he hurt you?” he said looking deeply into her eyes.”

“No, he never touched me,” she answered in a soft voice. “He just tried to push me down. I was going to kick him when you came in and he charged you.”

“Interesting” he said loudly so all of them heard him. That is when Kena and Juon saw him and the others. “Juon, when the male ran past you, you could have dug in your rack and gutted him. You could have also charged and impaled him in the rear. You did not, why?”

Juon was still breathing deeply. “It was not necessary," he said. "He was not here to hurt me; he was here to mate with Kena. I did not have to kill him to stop that, only beat him. Thanks to what you and Bambi taught me, I was able to do that easily. In fact more easily than I ever thought I could.”

“That is part of the training,” the elder Bambi spoke up. “We train hard so when we have to fight, it becomes easier. You did that well, Juon.”

All Juon did was smile. He saw both Stabo and Young Bambi look at each other.

Stabo called out, “Both of you come here.”

They both walked up to the herd leader and bowed their heads slightly in respect. Both Stabo and the younger Bambi acknowledged it also showing some respect.

“Juon, you fought for my daughter. Do you wish to take her for your mate?” Stabo stood erect trying to look as impressive as possible.

“Yes,” said Juon with empathies. “I would if she will have me,” he said and looked into her eyes again. They could all see the warmth.

“Daughter, what is your answer to that?” he asked.

“Yes, Father, I would,” she said with equal sincerity.

Stabo took in a deep breath. “Daughter you are ready to go with him I know. However I would like you to come back to our clearing and discuss this with your mother. Juon, you come to my clearing tomorrow night. I am calling for a gathering of the herd. She will be ready for you then. In the meantime, find a spot for you two. The rest of you please come with me.”

They followed Stabo back and when the herd leader was sure no one could hear them he stopped. “Father you are correct,” he said. “Juon could have easily hurt that deer badly, or even kill him. He did not, however. That does show some ability and sense. It also shows how stupid the other deer was. Did he think he could force the herd leader’s daughter to mate with him and I not take offence? Very well, after the Season and the hunts, continue to train him. I can find something for my daughter and Juon to do.”

“Yes,” I agree,” the younger Bambi said.

Kena just look brightly at her father and walked up and nuzzled him on the nose. "Thank you, Father," she said.

"Daughter, I am doing you and Juon no favors," Stabo spoke firmly. "From here on out things will get hard. Ask my Father and Bambi if you do not believe me."

All he could do is nod silently.

Then Stabo looked at the elder Bambi and him. “I just wish I could do something for you two with The Season coming on.”

He smiled and looked at his son, grateful for the thought.“We will both be alright, My Son. I am too old to go chase a doe now.”

“No other doe but Faline has ever interested me,” Bambi said. “I will also be alright.”

They went back to their clearing with Karlene and Gena were lying alone. This year’s fawns had gone. Kena eagerly told her mother the tale and Gena seemed as happy for her as he was. They stayed around for a while as a family. 

The next night Stabo, Young Bambi and Helos started to call loudly for all the deer to together. It took a while to get them all there. It was well after the lesser light was overhead that Stabo started the meeting. He explained what he wanted the herd to do and why. When he was done, there was only one real question from one of the doe from his old herd.

"Why do we have to go so far to hide?" she asked.

"Because there is no place around here that Man cannot get too. It is all flat and open. Man and his dogs could easily find us. Before now, not many Men came and so it was easier to hide. With the new Man caves, many more Men are sure to come."

Most of the deer were frighten that so many Men would come, but they understood what they had to do. There were questions and many more concerns, but there were no major arguments. Both Bambi and him remained silent. It was only at the end of the meeting that Stabo said something that surprised him.

"As usual, I will have help in moving the herd. My Father, the younger Bambi, Bambi, and Helos will be there to help you. We also have a new deer this season who will help and that is Juon who was trained by my Father and Bambi. If I am not here, then ask one of them."

He could see both Kena and Juon smile broadly.

With that the gathering broke up. All the deer left. His family remained together. Soon Juon approached smiling, but a little timid.

“Thank you, herd leader, both Kena and I will try to be of help. For now, I have come for Kena,” he told them all.

“I am ready,” she said. Her scent got suddenly stronger.

"They go, my daughter," Stabo said with a smile. I am sure you will both be of help in the seasons to come."

Kena kissed her Father, Mother and then Bambi and him and went over to Juon.

“Come with me,” he said.

“Take care of my daughter,” Stabo said out loud.

“I will,” Juon said and vanished into the woods with Kena.

“And another generation begins,” he said out loud.

“Let us hope we live long enough to see it,” Bambi said and together they left Stabo, Gena, Young Bambi and Galene alone to go to their places for The Season.

The Season passed in comfort. He stayed by himself. Male deer either with or without doe at this time are not the best company. He found a clearing away from the sights and more importantly the scents of The Season and lay down. His resting place was near the Man cave and from where he lay he could see the cave which remained quiet during that time. There were few fights. Everything seemed at peace. He also saw Uttral cross the meadow and go up the hill on his side of the old forest. She went up, but did not come down again. That is where she must be building her den for the winter. His friend the bear did not join her.

It was on the third night of The Season that he was woken up by a strange call right before the greater light set.

“I am here,” someone called out in a voice he did not recognize. It was a strong and booming noise.

He got up and started to walk toward it. The wind was blowing off the meadow so he walked deeper into the forest. He then moved quietly until he was down wind of the call. Only then did he go to the location with the wind in his face. At he started to get close he saw movement to his right. He knew that form immediately.

“Bambi,” he called out just loud enough to be herd.

The large male came over to him looking puzzled as he was. “I do not know the voice,” he told him.

“Nor do I,” he said. “Let us get closer.”

As they approached the wind was bringing the scents to them. The male sounded large and had a powerful scent. There was also another scent. A doe in season. This doe’s scent was familiar.”

“Carie,” he said out loud. “What does she want?”

They both moved and as they did the scents got stronger. He finally walked into the clearing and there stood two deer. One was Carie. There was no mistaking her outline. The other was a large male deer. In fact the largest deer he had ever seen. He was bigger than he or Bambi. His rack was massive.

“I see you have found a new male,” he called out to his former mate. “Care to introduce us?”

Both of them walked into the meadow together. The male came toward him head up high showing he had no fear of them.

“I am Duno,” the voice boomed. “I am here to challenge for the herd leadership.”

“I take it my former mate is now your mate,” he said breathing in the air.

“Yes, Stranger, for you are too weak and too old to have a mate like her,” he said glaring at him with contempt.

“You are right about that,” he said. “Age catches up with all of us. It is what happens when you are not killed by Man or run down by some bear and eaten.”

“I am afraid of no Man and no Bear,” Duro said bellowing out his power.

“Then you, Duno, are a fool, because no matter how big and strong you are, one killing stick or one hungry bear can kill you faster than you can raise that tail. However, I see you do not believe that. Take it from one who is much older than you.”

“Spare me your words, for you are old and weak, I am going kill you two right after I kill your son Stabo and Young Bambi, then I will kill Balo, and his son Delon.”

“The last two will not be necessary,” he said meekly. “Balo and Delon are both gone.”

“That makes my task even easier,” Duro said with a grin.

“Stranger, may I speak with you?” Bambi asked.

“Excuse me for a moment,” he said.

“Do not try and run away, I can easily catch you,” Duno told them.

“Right now a new born fawn can easily catch me,” he told him. “Nothing special about that.”

He followed Bambi into the woods a short way. Bambi turned and looked worried. “You know he may be strong enough to beat Stabo and Young Bambi,” he told him.

“I know,” he admitted. “That is why I am not going to let them fight.”

“Oh, and how can you prevent that,” Bambi said.

“By killing him first, however this might also get us both killed at the same time,” he admitted. “Are you ready for that?”

Bambi looked at the big deer for a moment as if thinking and then nodded his head. “Yes,” he said. “It was going to happen soon anyway.”

“Get ready to follow my actions,” he said.

They both walked back into the meadow.

“You came back,” he said loudly as if surprised.

“I have never run from a deer like you,” he said. “I knew a deer like you some time ago. His name was Razor. He was big and powerful like you. He also thought he could rule through force and fear. It did not work for him and it will not work for you.”

“We shall see,” the large male bellowed again. “Carie also told me you killed Razor, who was my father.”

That got his attention. This idiot was a member of his family? Another one that had gone bad. He turned slowly to face the large deer and looked him over carefully. “Sorry, I do not see him in you. You also do not smell like him, but I have no cause to doubt your word. You certainly act like him.”

That took the big male back,” You will not say that or I will. . . “

“Kill me!” he interrupted. “I thought you were going to do that anyway. Doesn’t matter, however. I am curious about something. Why did you not take over your Father’s forest?”

The large deer looked strangely at him. He could tell Duno was wondering why he was not afraid or begging for his life. That is what a smaller deer would do. Neither Duno nor Carie understood it is hard to threaten anyone with death who was already half dead to begin with. “Carie told me there were more deer here and the forest was bigger. This was the bigger herd.”

“Ahh,” he said and turned his back on Duno and walked over to Carie. “Let me ask, did she tell you to kill me last?”

“How did. . . .,” Duno started to say and went silent. It was then he realized what Carie’s plan was.

Without turning back to face Duno he went on with a smile. “You see my large, poor, diluted, male; that was because she wanted me to suffer the most. That is why she did not tell you to take over Felon’s herd even through it be much easier. You see your mate here is not interested in the other forest because I am not there. By killing my family before me, Carie gets back at me for throwing her and her son out of my old forest and then not objecting when my son Stabo threw them out here. Is not that so, my former mate?”

“You clever, conceited deer,” she called out. “I hope Duno guts you slowly.”

“Duno is not going to gut anyone, but then you were always too stupid to think for yourself. What you were good at is getting other stupid deer like your son and this large idiot behind me to do what you want.”

“You cannot say that about me you worthless…..” Duno yelled and charged his unprotected rear.

“No. . .” Carie started to say, but it was too late. He kicked out with both legs as hard as he could when the large male approached. He felt his two hoofs impact Duno’s forehead knocking him senseless. He also heard a loud pop from inside and immediately was covered with waves of pain. His front legs collapsed and he fell to the ground. Bambi immediately charged Duno and knocked him off balance and on to the ground. The stunned deer did not have a chance to move before Bambi started to pound his side hard with his front hoofs.

“I will kill you myself,” Carie shouted and charged him on the ground. She hit him in the side. The pain stunned him for a second. Carie reared up and kicked out hitting him in the left side. The pain was more than anything he ever felt. While he was trying to get up, Carie took immediate advantage She then raised her hoofs to pound him. As she went  up on her hind legs, he put all his strength onto his rear legs and pushed up as she was coming down. It drove his head and his racks deep into her chest.

“AHHHHHHH,” was all she said before she pulled off of him. Instantly he was covered in blood, her blood. She backed away and started to run. She bounded three times before she fell over and lay still.

He fell on the ground. He felt something coming up his throat. He coughed up some blood, He forced himself to stand up and look over to Bambi who was still pounding Duno. Soon Duro stopped moving.

"That is enough my friend," he said. "He is not getting up."

Bambi turned around and took one look and him and looked shocked. "Are you alright? You are covered in blood."

"Not my blood," he said with relief.

Bambi looked out at Carie lying motionless nearby. "She does not look like she will be getting up either."

A few moments later he heard a loud crashing through the bushes and into the clearing ran Stabo and Gena. Both looked shocked at what they saw. He then looked at him and took a step back in horror.

"Father," Stabo called out. "Are you alright? What happened here."

It did not take long to explain, by the time he was done, Young Bambi and Galene ran into the clearing. He explained everything again. As he finished, Stabo walked over to examine Carie. "She is dead, she bled out where you drove your rack into her," Stabo called out.

"I know," he answered. "A lot of her blood got on me. I need to wash it off. "

"This one is dead also," Young Bambi said looking at Duro. "His side has been pounded in."

"That was me," Bambi said sounding exhausted and out of breath.

He looked over and saw his friend walking  favoring his left side. Bambi suddenly stopped and hung his head low. He started to breath quickly trying to get in more air.

"Out of breath," Bambi said wincing in pain. "Legs hurt me."

"Are you alright?" he asked the big deer.

"I feel strange," Bambi gasped. "I feel pain in my chest and I feel like my body is tingling."

He then saw a look of severe pain on Bambi's face. His body became rigid. His head shot up rapidly. He looked at the large back eyes that seemed to roll up in his head. The large deer fell over onto his right side like a fallen tree. He hit the ground with a crash and lay still.

"Bambi," he yelled out just as Gena yelled, "Father!"

They ran over to the big deer who did not move.. He shook him and tried to get him to respond. "Bambi!," he yelled out. None of it did any good. The big deer was still. It took him a moment to realize, Bambi was gone.

"No," he moaned and sunk down on his knees. He buried his head in the still warm side and cried like a lost fawn.  "He is gone," he called out between the sobs.

Gena started to wail also, followed by Galene and the others. In that moment he felt alone in the world. They were all gone now.  He remained there for some time sobbing until he raised his head and looked to now the only Bambi in the forest. "Get Stelar, Helos, Kena and Juon and bring them here."

Bambi nodded and left with Galene behind him.

They all arrived a short while later. All of them looked over the big deer's body that was even now becoming stiff in death. There was much sobbing and anguish, but nothing they could do. The big deer was gone. Soon other deer came and looked, not believing it. After a while they were left alone in the clearing with his family and the other dead deer.

He looked at the others still in disbelief. "I never thought I would be the last of us to go," he told them. I have known Bambi since the day I came to this forest. He was the one who invited me to stay, the one that pushed your mother and me together. He was my closest friend over the years. I feel empty now," he said.

His daughter finally came over and nuzzled his nose and neck. “Come, Father, there is nothing more we can do here.”

He turned and kissed his daughter “Yes, child, you are right,” he said and walked back to the others. Now he only wanted to leave this place and never come back. He did not want to see the scavengers do their work on his friend and the others.

As he walked near Bambi’s body he stopped and leaned over as to whisper in his ear.

“I hope the price was worth it, my friend” he said. He then looked up and out across the still burnt meadow. “Take care of him,” he said in a low voice. “He was worth it.”

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