Enna Part I

What is your purpose in life? Why are you here? What do you want? There are the questions Enna, a young male deer asks himself as he begins a journey that will take him throughout his world. As he travels, he will find his beliefs challenge, his understandings altered, his very existence called into question. He will see and experience events that will change his very notion of who he is. This is part one of a three part journey that will take this young der and change him in ways he could never imagine.

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1. Exile

Enna

By

Wilber Arron

 

"Wham!" he heard close by.

Enna dropped to his knees quickly and hid behind three oak trees. He went completely still. He strained his ears and nose to hear and smell anything. The sound came from ahead, near the meadow. He knew the sound. Man was back in the forest again with his killing sticks. He wondered who was the unlucky victim this time. The only thing he knew was it was not him, and that is the only thing that concerned him.

His ears brought a thrashing sound from downwind of him. The thrashing got louder and then he heard a deer bleating for a short while. Then the noise and the thrashing went suddenly quiet. With the wind, he could not pick up any scent to find out who it was. In a way, he was glad. He did not want to know what deer had just died violently by Man. There was nothing he could do about it anyway. As long as it was not him. He looked up at the sky. The greater light would be gone soon. His father had taught him that Man went home when the greater light left the sky. He decided to rest, sleep a while, and hide.

When he awoke, it was dark. The lesser light had not risen yet. He got up and tested the air for the sights and smells of Man, there were none. He walked toward the clearing to eat and drink. He followed the forest until it opened out onto a grassy open spot in the trees. It was one of his favorite places to eat. As he approached from downwind, there were the scents of several deer nearby. He went to one side of the clearing and started to eat the grass. A short while later, three older doe entered the clearing. They did not have the scent of a breeding deer so he ignored them. He could still hear them talking.

". . . Torco, the poor thing. He was hit by Man and died in the meadow," the younger doe said. He did not recall her name.

"It serves him right," the oldest doe said. Her name was Narna and she was the oldest deer in the forest. "He was chasing a doe in daylight," she went on."It was easy for Man to see him. Males during The Season do not think with their heads, only their loins."

He tried not to laugh. The other two doe were shocked. He did not know why they should be, the old doe was right. She was one of the few deer in the forest he respected or even liked. She said what was on her mind. Other deer tried to fit in more with what the herd thought.

The old doe turned and looked squarely at him. "What about you, young Enna? How long before you are lying in the meadow coughing your life out."

"Not for a long, long, time, Narna," he said calmly.  "Unlike Torco, I do not chase doe in the day. I still like chasing them, however. Since none of you smell ready to breed, I guess I will have to go elsewhere."

The two younger doe looked sternly at him for his rashness. Narna just looked at him and smiled. "I have just seen Mora, she was upset by something, but still seemed pleased with your company. You are not satisfied with just one doe?"

"Not if I can have more," he said also smiling.

Narna understood perfectly. "You might want to try the large meadow then. I smelled several doe there giving off scent."

He slowly walked up to the old doe and rubbed her head in affection. "Thank you, Narna, I will take your advice."

"Just be off the meadow before the greater light comes," she warned him. "Or you will be next."

He said nothing and left the three doe alone. He walked a short way out of the small clearing and through fresh smelling pine tree stand that grew at the edge of the meadow. As he did, he felt the wind change and blow off the meadow. It bought the scent of several breeding doe to him. He saw four doe in the meadow. He also saw three other males there. Two were his age, and one was a year older. That meant trouble. When he approached, he saw the three males with their heads down showing their racks. Only the older deer had a larger rack than him.

This was the first Season he bred a doe. Last year as a yearling, he was too small. This year he was much bigger. His father had taught him some of the fighting tricks he had learned from Delos, the herd leader. Delos taught all his senior males how to fight. His father had shown him ways to get position, and how to kick with front and back hoofs. All these fighting moves had been handed down to senior males for as long as anyone could remember. Narna had told him when she was a fawn, that an old doe had said that the males learned how to fight like this from a deer called Stranger long ago. He was good at fighting, but he was not yet grown fully out. Older males could still beat him. He was looking forward to learning more from his father this year. Unfortunately, his father had disappeared over the winter. No one knew what happened to him. No one knew, he was told, but he suspected Delos knew very well what happened. Delos showed him some things, but not much. Delos, he felt did not trust him. The fact was that few of the senior males trusted him and all of them ignored him.

He walked out into the open meadow and stood away from all the males. He stood there looking unconcerned; his head high up in the air. The older male Flaros came over to him.

"And what do you want?" the male growled.

"I want one of the doe," he said plainly. "There are four of them and four of us. We each take one doe and there is no need to fight."

"ERRRR," Flaros growled from deep inside his chest and dropped his rack. "All four are mine. You leave before I hurt you."

"No," he said calmly studying his moves. Flaros was going to charge him to make this into a test of strength. He was slightly bigger and stronger than he was, he might win. He had to prevent that.

"Hold on," he said and raised his head. He slowly walked over to the large deer not showing threat. The older deer looked at him and raised his head.  He got within half a length of him, too short a distance to charge. "I really do not want to fight you, but I am going to take one of these doe. You can have the other three."

He saw Flaros' eyes flash red and he started to lower his head to lunge at him. That is what he was waiting for. He quickly kicked out with his left front foot, bringing it up and hitting Flaros in the mouth.

"Crack," sounded through the meadow.

Before Flaros could recover, he leaped forward and brought his rack down in a slash across the neck and chest of Flaros cutting him open. His rack easily cut through the skin and Flaros started bleeding badly from the neck and cheek.

"AAHHHHHH," he cried in pain. His eyes bulged and he ran away in a panic bleating loudly as he went.

He looked down and saw and smelled the pool of Flaros' blood and then calmly and slowly walked up to the other two males. He stood in between them.

"Flaros has left," he said pointing to the fleeing deer. "I am going to take my pick of the doe. You two can fight over the other three if you want. Any questions?"

Both two year season stepped back obviously in no big hurry to fight him. He smiled and looked over the four doe closely. Two were older than him. One was a yearling and one was a two-season deer like himself. He looked her over. She smelled nice, was fairly good looking, but no beauty. A little heavy in the center, but she would do.  He walked up to her.

"Would you like to come with me?" he asked.

"Yes, " she answered. He walked off the meadow and she followed him. He stopped in another small clearing and they both ate the grass. All the while he was looking for other males who would want her. He saw none. He then smelled several other doe getting ready to breed. He ignored them. He had all he needed.

"My name is Enna," he said, trying to be friendly. "What is your name?"

"Sterna," she said. She had a pleasant enough voice. Although she was putting out a scent, she was not yet ready to breed. 

They ate some more grass and drank at one of the small streams that ran through the forest. By then he saw the first sign of light appear in the sky. He nuzzled her softly.

"We should find a hiding place. Man will be in the forest soon with killing sticks. We will hide until the greater light is gone again."

"Alright," she answered. "I will go with you."

He took her to a place he knew near a thick grove of oak. There he lay down. Sterna lay next to him. He again nuzzled her gently and they both fell asleep.

"Wham," echoed from the meadow again.

He looked up and saw the greater light was high overhead. He smelled all around him, but smelled or heard nothing from Man. Only then did he get up and walk away from where they lay. He felt pressure from inside near his tail, so he emptied himself. He looked up and saw Sterna do likewise. The scent of her waste came to him. In it, he caught the scent of a doe ready to breed. He walked over to where she stood and smelled near her waste pile again to confirm it. Yes, the scent was there. He then walked up to her rear and smelled near her back legs and from her tail. He looked at her as she walked away from him a few steps and then suddenly stopped and spread her front and back legs to take his weight. It was an invitation.

He walked up to her and then climbed on top of her. She raised her tail and he slipped himself inside of her. It was tight, but it went in.

"AAANNNTTT," she moaned.

He immediately started to push himself inside of her several times. The more he pushed, the more the pressure built up in his loins. Suddenly it because a rush he could not contain. He came out in a long, spasm into the doe.  As it did he felt her lurch forward. After several shorter spasms Sterna walked forward, causing him to come out of her and he stood again on the ground. He felt exhausted, but full of energy. This doe had been well bred.

He stopped and took several deep breaths before he quietly moved over to her face and again nuzzled it gently. He spoke softly to her.

"We should not move around during the day with Man in the forest. Come back to our resting area and we will sleep until it is dark."

"Alright," she said. Again, they lay next to each other and fell asleep. When they woke next, it was nearly dark. Once again, they got up and emptied themselves. There was still the scent of a breeding doe in her waste. With no encouragement from him, Sterna again presented herself and they coupled as before. This time he felt spent as they finished. They ate from acorns they found on the ground along with some leaves. They said little to each other, nothing really needed to be said. They had done as the Season tells all deer to do. Next spring, she would have his fawns on the meadow. That made him feel good.

Only after it was fully dark did they leave the protection of the forest and walk into the meadow again. He ate eagerly and so did Sterna. Several males came in close to sniff her, but soon realized he had already bred her so they were left alone. As they ate, other males and doe came onto the meadow. None of the doe were giving off scent. The Season looked like it was finishing for now. After they had both eaten, he could smell that Sterna no longer gave off the scent of a breeding doe. His task was done. He leaned over and nuzzled her face again.

"Thank you," he told her. "I hope to see our fawn in the spring."

"Thank you," she replied. "I hope I have a healthy fawn in the spring."

With that, he smiled and feeling full and satisfied in more ways than one, he left the meadow alone and went to a small stream to drink. He was done for the Season. Now it was time to try and put on more weight for the winter.

He wandered through the forest in a vain attempt to find other does ready to breed, but found none.  He came across other males, some older and some younger. None of them talked to him and he did not try to talk with them. What would they talk about. Unlike some deer, he had no friends. He did not care much for the deer in the forest and they did not care much for him.  Most of his time he spent away from others.

Three days passed, the air got cooler. The sky became gray and a cold rain came down soaking him. He hid under as vegetation as best he could, but spent his time being mostly cold and wet. Just after the rain, he was eating on the meadow at night when he noticed one of the senior males approach him. His name was Relnor and he was friends with his father. He still had an impressive rack, and was still bigger and heavier than he was. He was a five-season male. He was in the prime of life. He heard a few speak that soon he would take over herd leadership from Delos."

"Greetings Relnor," he called out. "What can I do for you?"

"Greetings. Enna," the big male said in a deep voice. "Delos sent me to find you. He wants to talk with you."

"Why?" he asked. "Delos never seemed to be interested in talking to me before. Have I done anything wrong?"

"It has to do with Flaros," Relnor answered, looking at him crossly. "He is unhappy what you did?"

That was odd. Since when did a herd leader care about two males fighting over doe. That was what they did at this time. "Why, is Delos mad that I beat one of his senior males?"

Relnor stopped suddenly and turned to directly face him, his black eyes looking through him. He was upset about something.

"NO!" Relnor growled. "He is mad at you because you killed Flaros. After your fight, Flaros was cut so deeply he bled out and died."

Enna stopped suddenly in his tracks. He was taken back. "Flaros died," he repeated.

"Yes," Relnor said as if he should have known. "He is dead."

"I did not know," he stammered out. "I did not think I hurt him nearly that badly. However, I tried to avoid the fight, Flaros did not listen and insisted on fighting. I just beat him, before he could beat me."

"So those two males told us, but Delos wants to talk to you and he is herd leader, so follow me," Relnor said and led him on past the meadow and up a small nearby hill.

He remembered his father telling him Delos and his mate lived there. On their way over, Relnor said nothing more to him, only looked at him with increasing disgust. When they got to the top he clearly saw Delos, he was maybe seven or eight-season male and had a huge rack. He was getting gray around the mouth and chest, but he was still a much bigger deer and much stronger deer than he was. He walked up to the large deer and deferred slightly.

"Thank you, Relnor," the booming voice spoke. "I will handle this."

Delos had gray eyes that he focused on him intently. "Relnor told you what happened to Flaros?"

He swallowed hard and then spoke respectfully. "Yes, he told me Flaros died after our fight. I did not mean to kill him."

"Maybe not, but he is dead," Delos said firmly. "Why did you fight him?"

"For a doe," he said. "There were four doe there ready to breed along with four males in the meadow. I suggested we each take one, but Flaros wanted them all for him. When it became obvious that he was going to fight me for the doe, I used one of the tricks my father taught me to beat him before he could attack me."

"Beating him is one thing, killing him is something else," Delos grumbled.

The herd leader's tone was starting to make him angry. "Then he should not have fought me for the doe," he replied angrily."I will fight for a doe like any male will during The Season."

Delos shrugged his large front shoulders. "That I see, no matter Flaros is dead. Tell me, did you have any special feeling for this doe?"

Why was Delos asking this he wondered? "No, she was just a doe in season. She looked nice so I bred her."

"Just like Mora?" Delos asked.

Why was he bringing up her? "Mora was in season. She liked me so I bred her first. That was before I fought Flaros."

"You know she cares much for you," Delos added.

"She has told me that," he said.

"And how do you feel about her?" Delos asked as if expecting his answer.

"She is another doe. I do not feel for her any more than any other doe. Oh, I admit when I was a fawn we ran around a lot, but that changed when I was a yearling. After that, she became no more or no less to me than any of the other deer in the herd."

Delos looked like he was not happy with his answer. "I know and that is the real problem I see with you. You remind me so much of your father. He was large, he was strong, he was wise, and he never backed away from a challenge. He also cared deeply for your mother and the herd.  You do not care much for anyone."

Now he was getting mad. Herd leader or not, Delos was putting his nose into his life. "It is hard to care about my mother and father when they are both dead," he said tersely. "It is hard to care about your herd, when none of them have ever cared about me. It is hard to have respect for a herd leader when you are never told what happened to your own father. You do not like what I do? Well, that is none of your concern."

Delos came forward quickly and put his nose next to him. The gray eyes flashed red. "Every- thing that happens in this herd is my concern," he said letting his voice rise. "I had hoped you be like your father. I was looking forward for you soon to become one of my senior males and helping me with the herd."

He resisted the temptation to break out laughing. "Me a senior male?" he asked in jest. "Me help out with the herd? Help deer that do not even care if I live or die."  

 He had gone this far he might as well tell him the rest. "I do not want to be a senior male, and I also do not want to help with the herd. I will live my life out here as I am now. I am not like my father because I am alive and my father is not. I intend to stay that way, unlike some of your senior males that tend to end up dead in the meadow. That is not going to be me. I am not looking to fight the males in this herd, but if they get in my way for doe, food, or anything else I want, then I will fight anyone, including you. Otherwise, I want nothing to do with any of you." 

Delos took a step back. "You have your father's temper too," Delos said angrily. "Very well, you have told me what you think. Now here is what I think. I think you should leave here. I think you should go to another forest, because I am going to tell all of the deer in his herd to have nothing to do with you. It is one thing not to seek a herd position because you are not strong enough or wise enough to be a leader. Most deer are like that and they cannot help it. You can be a leader. You have the strength, wisdom, and courage to be a leader, but do not want to because you do not care about anyone. I do not need that in this herd."

"So, you are going to force me out!" he yelled right back.

"No," Delos said becoming calm again. "I will not force you out, but you are no longer part of this herd. You will leave because no one will talk to you, or help you, or have anything to do with you. It is like you are already dead to us."

"No change there," he sneered. "That is the way they treat me now."

He looked Delos over with complete disgust and Delos returned the look. "Very well, is there anything else, herd leader?" he asked.

"No," Delos said with contempt and turned his back on him. He walked back down the hill and to his place on the far side of the meadow.

He made his way across the meadow and back to his place. It was nearly day when he got there. He lay down and tired to sleep without success. He was never going to beg Delos or anyone else to live where he pleased. If Flaros was dead, well the only difference was that he had made Flaros dead instead of Man, some bear, the cougar, or a pack of coyotes. It really did not matter. He was alive, Flaros was dead, and he liked it that way. With that pleasant thought his tired body finally was able to sleep.

He ate in the clearing that night. No one came to the clearing, although he did smell some older doe nearby. He was eating some grass when he heard a sound from the meadow.

"HERE!" a large male deer bellowed. "All of you come here."

The call was then repeated. He recognized Delos's call. He was calling for a gathering. He could imagine what that was going to be about. He decided not to go, but instead went back to wandering through the forest. Other than an owl and a raccoon, he came across no one and those two did not say much. He thought nothing more of the gathering until the next night.

Just after the greater light set he heard a crashing noise through the bush. The noise was crosswind of him so he could smell nothing. The noise got louder until finally he heard a familiar voice.

"Enna," a doe's voice called out.

"Mora," he called.

At once the noise increase and soon he saw a young two-season doe coming through the forest toward him. She looked to be in a hurry. He bleated once and she came right over to him. She looked upset.

"Enna, you have to leave," she said in a hurry.

"I know, it is because of Delos," he told her. "He told me he was going to tell the herd not to have anything to do with me. They blame me for killing Flaros, not that I care."

"That is not all," she said looking emotional. "He said to the herd that he blames you directly for Flaros, and that the herd is to ignore you, never to speak with you. He says you are dead as far as he is concerned."

"I already know all about that," he told her as if she was a fawn.

Mora looked at him with more hurt in her eyes than anger. "Did you also know that several of the senior males lead by Relnor have said they will come here and run you out no matter what Delos said. They say you do not belong here. They will chase you out or kill you."

"Why is Relnor so angry at me?" he asked. "He is going against Delos. That will not make the herd leader happy."

"I doubt if Delos cares one way of the other about what happens to you, no matter what he told you," Mora said. "Did you not know Flaros was Relnor's younger brother?"

"Ohhhhhh," he said. "That explains it."

"He is getting several senior males and they are coming to get you," she said.

If all the senior males came after him, he would have no chance at all. He was a good fighter he knew, but even he cannot take on that many deer at once. Together they could easily kill him. "Well then that is it," he said. "I can beat maybe one or two of them, I cannot beat them all. They can easily kill me so it is time I leave."

"That is not all," Mora said and he saw tears in her large black eyes. "Delos told me what you told him. You told him you no longer care about me or anyone else in the forest?"

What could he say. He liked her once, but now he felt nothing for anyone. "Yes, it is true," he admitted. "I am sorry, but I will not lie to you. Whatever I felt for you is gone, and I cannot get it back. I do not know why this is. It just is. It is best if you leave now and forget you ever knew me. I just hope our fawn is born alright. If I could care about someone, it would be you."

Mora took a step back and broke out into tears. "I always hoped one day you come back to me, Enna. I care for you." With that, she turned in a hurry and ran off into the forest alone.

For once he felt disgusted with himself. He had hurt her and she did not deserve that. It was still better that he told her the truth instead of lying to her. He recalled the days as fawn and yearlings when they ran together. He did not know what had happened, but he had grown cold inside of him after his father died. He tried to have feelings for her, but he just could not. Maybe Delos was right, maybe he did not belong here.

He stood there and tried to think. They would be here soon to throw him out. He decided he would not allow them to do that without him saying goodbye in his own way. In an instant, he realized exactly what he needed to do. They wanted him gone. Well, he would go, but he would go in his own way. He started to move off to the meadow. If they would come after him, he could guess which way they would come. He got to the edge of the meadow. The lesser light was just coming up. The wind was blowing in his face. He would wait and watch.

For the rest of the night, nothing happened. As the lesser light set and the greater light rose, he quickly moved away from the meadow and deeper into the forest. He slept in a different spot that he usually did. He remembered from his mother how they used to sleep in different places when he was a fawn. She had told him they did that so no hunter, either Man, or the others, could easily find them. He would use the same means to do what he wanted. All he felt was anger now inside of him. As he saw it, the herd blamed him for something not his fault. Now they wanted him gone. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he could feel something again. He found he could feel hatred build up inside of him for Delos and Relnor and all the others in this herd. They were going to hurt him, they would find out that he hurt them right back, and now he knew how to do it.

As soon as the greater light set he walked near to, but not out into the meadow. He felt the direction of the wind. It blew from the side of the meadow. He got up and moved to a hiding place downwind of the edge of the meadow. Any deer that approach the edge of the meadow looking for him would have their scent blown to him, but his scent would not be blown toward them. Just like his father taught him on how to avoid Man. He knew his father would not like what he was going to do to this herd, but he did not care anymore.

The night wore on and just after the lesser light was overhead, he smelled the scent of two deer coming across the meadow. One was Relnor, the other male he could not recall his name. He got down and stayed still. Sure enough, the two deer crossed from the meadow into the forest near where he would enter and leave the meadow. He slowly got up, and as quietly as he could, started to walk toward the place he bedded down.

Very slowly he walked toward the two males. He reminded himself these were both senior males and as such were most likely stronger and more experienced fighters than he. They could kill him. The main difference between them was that he could plan like his father, and not just react like the others. It took him a while, but soon he had gotten close to them. Close enough where their scents were strong Soon he could hear them moving. They did not seem to have heard or smelled him. He picked his way along the ground, taking great care not to step on any twigs, or branches and make noise.

"Do you see him?" he heard Relnor say.

"No, but I sure smell him," the other deer said. "He has been here recently. You know he might have already left."

"If so, what we do becomes easier," Relnor answered. "I am not going to have that male in this forest after he killed my brother. Delos should have let me kill him before."

"The herd would not allow it," the other male said. "Remember those two males said Flaros did challenge Enna after he offered to share the doe with him. If Delos allowed you to just kill him, the herd might turn against him. Now if he refuses to go, then yes you should kill him, but not until then."

That was plain enough for him and any regret he felt about what he was about to do vanished. He just stood silently several lengths away from them. He moved very carefully until he got close enough to charge. He saw a rock on the ground and it gave him an idea. He waited until they walked around his bedding area and turned their back to him. He then kicked the stone with his right front hoof. It went through the air and crashed several lengths away from him. Both deer turned their attention to the sound. That is what he was waiting for.

He charged out of his hiding place head down and rack pointing forward. Relnor had time to turn his head to see him. "Look out. . .." Relnor started to say before he crashed into the exposed hind quarter of Relnor. He felt his rack go into the flesh. At once he slashed cutting his rear and flank open. He then moved and slashed out to his right along the side of the other deer. Neither blow was meant to kill, but instead causes pain and loss of movement. He turned his back and kicked out with both rear feet into the side of the other deer hitting him soundly. He moved forward lifting his head up quickly and catching Relnor in the side.

"BAAAAAAAAA!" both deer screamed together. Relnor collapsed onto his rear legs. The other male fell over from his blow and lay on the ground. He could kill both of them if he wanted to. He stood several lengths in front of them so they could not attack him by surprise.

"I hear you want to kill me," he said with glee. "Well, here I am. Kill me if you can, but you cannot now can you. I however can easily kill both of you."

Relnor tried to lunge at him, but he had no strength in his rear legs. He easily jumped back.

"I will gut you," Relnor said with hate in his voice.

"No, you will not," he said with a huge grin. "I am leaving the forest, but I want to make it clear to you and Delos that I am not leaving because of what you say or what you told the herd. I am leaving because I want to. I am going far away where I never have to look at your faces or smell your scents again. I just wanted you both to know that I could beat you like I beat your brother. Be thankful I do not want your lives. If you are lucky, maybe you can both survive the winter and be healed by spring. If not, it means nothing to me just as I meant nothing to you and this herd. Goodbye."

With that, he turned around and ran away from them and deep into the woods. He knew that there was a hill in the distance with an open space beyond that. Once past the open space there was another forest, He would go there and see what he could find. No matter what happened, he knew he could never come back to this forest. They kill him on sight. Maybe that was just as well.

When the greater light rose, he kept going. He would not rest yet. They might chase him, but he doubted it.  He’d take the chance that Man was not in the forest. He moved as quietly as he could, but he concentrated more on speed that quiet. He had heard no Man noises anywhere near him. He kept moving. He ate some grass and drank in the many small streams. Through it all he kept going as fast as he could. It was near the setting of the greater light that he saw the hill in front of him. By now he was exhausted. He felt safe enough now to rest. He found a well-hidden place behind some short pine trees and lay down. He could only pick up the sounds and scents of small creatures in this part of the forest. There was no scent of deer. He closed his eyes and tried not to think of what Delos would do if he caught him. Sleep came quickly in any case.

He woke as the greater light set. He emptied himself, and quickly ate some leaves. He felt his strength coming back. He climbed the hill quickly. The trees started to get thinner and shorter the closer he got to the top. When he got to the top, the trees and bushes were barely tall enough to hide him. As the greater light disappeared in front of him, he saw over the top of the hill. There was another forest, but there was a large open space he had to cross. Not a tree to be seen. If he was lucky, he could cross it in one night. He decided not to wait. As soon as it was fully dark, he moved off.

One life was gone, a new one beginning he thought as he went down the hill.

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