Enna Part II

Part two of the adventure of Enna

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4. Chapter Eight: Gatherings

 

He stood at the edge of the forest looking at the new Man cave. Mersin was standing next to him looking at the white cave Man was building. After the hunts, Man came back to what was Helscom’s forest and removed most of the trees. After they cut them down, they then put the trees on Man animals and moved them away. In the open area, Man put up a new Man cave. Unlike the Man caves they had seen before, this cave did not go away after Man left. This cave stayed and looked as if it would never go away. The cave was long and white and had what looked to be a funny looking tree growing from the top of it. It took Man most of the winter to make it. The Man machines then came and put a Man path next to the Man cave. Man then poured black dirt that smelled awful on the Man path turning it black. The smell was sickening to anyone who smelled it. Every day Men and Man animals would come and work on the cave. Every day the Man cave seemed to get bigger until it was bigger than anything he had seen before except the forest. By the time early spring had arrived, all the Men and Man animals had gone leaving them in peace.

Most of the time he and Mersin or two other senior males would watch the construction. Today it was different. He was not here because he wanted to see what Man was doing. He was here because Curri and Wanna had sent him away. It was time for their fawns to be born and doe do not like others around during this time. He would stay away until tomorrow when the greater light rose. Only then would he go back. He hoped both doe and their fawns would be alright, but there was little he could do. Mersin had also been sent away by his doe for the same reason.

The winter had been mild. It snowed only once and was cold only for a short time. Food was in plenty and no one went hungry. Even the new herd members from Helscom’s old herd seemed to fit in well. The only complain he heard was that sometimes the males from this new group would push their weight around among the herd males. The herd males decided to complain about it which was another reason Mersin was here. It was still good the new deer were here; they made up for the losses suffered by the herd during the hunts.

“It is not like other Man caves I have seen before,” Mersin said. “There are no Men there and no places to burn deer meat. I have no idea what this Man cave can be used for.”

He looked at Mersin and told him, “All I know is that you can put many Men in this cave, which mean even more Men in our forest next Season.”

Mersin nodded approval. “That is correct. There is not much we can do about it except go deeper into the forest and hope Man does not find us.”

Looking at the side of the Man cave he knew they have to go very far into the forest to get away from that many Men and dogs. “I hope you are right,” he muttered.

“I have seen enough,” Mersin said. “Before I go back to Artose, I am going to speak with Delac in the herd males group.”

“You heard the story too?” he asked.

“Yes, some of the herd males complained to Galand that Delac still acts like he is a senior male in Helscom’s herd.

“That is what I heard,” he said turning away from the open field. “I will go with you in case there is trouble.”

Mersin smiled and they both walked over to the herd males. It was still early enough in the night where the herd males were still feeding. They had no trouble finding Delac. He was the biggest male on the meadow. He was standing with three of his herd males from Helscom’s herd in the meadow. All the other deer were standing well away as if either they were ignoring them or they were afraid of them. He thought it was a little of both. As they approached the three smaller males left quickly leaving Delac alone. He decided to let Mersin do the talking.

“Delac,” Mersin called sharply.

“Mersin walked over; his head still up and showing little deference. “Yes,” he calmly said.

“Artose and I have heard complaints from some of the herd males that you are giving orders like a senior male in Helscom’s herd. You are not a senior male and this is not Helscom’s herd.”

“I give no orders, but I intend to prove my position in this herd. I expect the other males to give way to me,” he said looking angered he was being questioned.

“That is not what we hear,” Mersin said coldly. “If orders need to be given in this herd, they are given by Artose or the other senior males, not you. As for proving your position in this herd, you do not do it with just strength. You prove it by using wisdom too. So far all you have proved is that you have a big mouth and know nothing of this herd. Look around you and learn; then we will discuss position.”

“That is insulting,” Delac said and raised his head high up. He thought for a moment the fool would challenge Mersin. He decided to step in before there was bloodshed.

“No that is the truth,” he answered with an edge on his voice. “I suggest you accept it.”

Delac turned toward him with an icy stare.

“Thank you, Enna, but I can handle this,” Mersin said formally to him and then turned back to Delac. “What Enna said is correct. You are warned. Stop acting like a senior male, before we show you how we treat males who think with their racks and not with their heads.”

Delac lowered his head and backed away. He thought the message was clear enough. Mersin turned and walked away. He stayed still just in case the idiot tried to attack Mersin with his back turned. Fortunately for all of them, Delac was not that big of a fool. After Delac retreated a few steps, he turned around but kept his eyes on Delac and his senior males.

He caught up to Mersin a few steps later. “You know I think it might be interesting if we showed Delac how senior males train. I think one training session with Lancin and he be convinced.”

Mersin laughed openly. “That is an interesting idea. We shall see what happens. Let us take a walk around. Lucine did not want me to return until the greater light was overhead.”

Same for Wanna and Curri,” he said.

They continued on their walk and looked at the doe herd. There were already a few doe with new-born fawns. However, there were not many doe in the field. More of the doe were still having fawns. They looked around for predators. There was nothing like a new born fawn to attract them, but they found none.

“I think the hunts and the new Man cave have chased many predators away,” Mersin told him. “At least that was useful.”

The doe and new fawns looked safe for now. Mersin and him continued their walk. It was only later after the greater light had risen high in the sky, that he went back to his hill and started his climb up to the top. He got to the open clearing at the top and looked round. There was no one in the open. He grunted lightly not wishing to frighten anyone. Then he saw the bushes moves from the other side of the grass covered clearing. Two young doe walked into the open. At their side were two small newly born fawns. As he stood there the wind blew their very slight scents to him. Both fawns were males and he could smell his scent in their scent. Both fawns were his. He started to walk up and saw the fawns back up and take shelter under their mothers. They were frightened of the new deer. He stopped and then lay down as not to be so fearful. Both Wanna and Curri walked slowly over to him. The fawns came over and looked at him more curious now than afraid. They walked over to him and looked at him and sniffed him at the face. He gently rubbed the side of both fawn collecting their faint scents. Wanna’s fawn stopped came over and licked the side of his face. Curri’s fawn followed. He felt his insides almost melt and he embraced his fawns.

“I have called my fawn Kelor,” Curri told him.

“My fawn I called Varis,” Wanna said.

“Thank you both,” he barely choked out. “I have never seen such lovely fawns.”

The fawns started to look around his and lost his fear. They wanted to play. Both fawns started to jump up on him with their front legs. They started to push against him. He could feel them pushing against his side. He went to gently push Kelor back. Kelor was having none of it and pushed against him. He then did the same to Varis and not only did he push back, but he raised up on his rear legs and lost balance and fell against him. He pushed him back and immediately Varis pushed against him. There was no weakness or sickness in either fawn. They were both healthy.

“They are both good looking fawns,” he told his doe.

“Will you teach them?” Curri asked.

He slowly stood up. That did not stop the fawn from trying to play with him. He looked at both doe. “When they are old enough, I hope that I can teach them as well as my father taught me.”

Both fawns had now lost all fear of him and kept trying to push against him and he gently pushed back.  The fawns kept this up until Varis and then Kelor stopped went over and lay down next to their mothers and went fast asleep.  He then walked over and nuzzled both doe in sincere affection.

“Thank you both,” he told. “I have never been so happy. Was it bad to have them.”

“It hurt to have him,” Wanna said. “I am happy he is healthy. I wanted you to have a son, and now you have two.”

“It was not that bad,” Curri added. “I am thirsty.”

He nodded. “Both fawn will sleep. Go down and drink. I will stay here.”

“Thank you,” both doe said and left.

He walked out into the clearing and lay down between both fawns. There was only a little room. With their spots and light scent, it be hard to see them, but they were still too much in the open. He knew at this age they be food for large birds and other creatures. He did not want too, but he pushed against both of them to wake them. They both stood up obviously still tired. He barked an order to follow him and they both followed him. He found a spot to lie down where they were in much better cover. Both fawns lay on either side of him. They promptly went back to sleep. He lay there and after a while he fell asleep also.

“Enna,” Curri called out she sounded worried.

“Here,” he barked and both doe came over to him. They were relieved both fawns were safe.

“Do not let them rest in the open,” he told them. “They are too exposed to large birds and other predators. When they are older, they will be too big for the birds. Only larger predators will be able to hunt them.”

“Hunt our fawns,” Curri repeated.

“Yes,” he told them firmly. “At this size, new born fawns are food for all the predators. I will not let what happened to Lacene happen here. If either of you ever feel danger, you call me. I will come.”

“You will protect us?” Wanna asked.

“Yes, as best I can, but you will have to be careful. They are too young to understand. We will teach them as they get older.”

With that both doe lay down next to their fawns who now law between him and their mothers. It was warm for them. He did not mind. He looked at both fawns and licked then. Unlike the fawns he had made in his old forest, he knew he would stay here with them. He knew he cared about them. What he wanted was for them to care about him. He hoped he could teach them as other had taught him.  He looked at their mothers and then nuzzled each fawn again before falling asleep, more content than he had been in years.

“CLANG!” he heard off in the distance. The sound woke all of them

“CLANG!” sounded again. He stood up wondering where the sound was coming from.

“CLANG!” came again. The sound was coming from the Man cave where Helscom’s forest had been.

“CLANG!”, CLANG, CLANG,” repeated again and again.

Every time the noise came, they all shook. The fawns were scared and so were the doe.

“Enna,” what is it?” Wanna cried.

“I do not know,” he answered. “It is a man noise. I have no idea what it is for.”

In between the loud clanging noise, he could head the sound of Man animals nearby. There were also the shouts of Man he could hear. A large number of Men were coming together near that Man cave.”

“I do not know what it is, but we will stay still and hidden. If Man does not see us, he cannot kill us.”

The noise continued for a while and then stopped as quickly as it had begun. After a short period of quiet, he could hear the shouting of Men like when they hunt. After their hunts, sometimes Men would all shout the same thing at the same time. That was happening now. He could hear it in the distance. There was also other noise he could not place like some large bird call. The sound of the shouting and the bird calls were nearly the same. After a while there was quiet again. The shouting and the bird calls stopped, but then his nose started to smell burnt meat in the air. There were other smells. They all smelled like food. The Men were eating. He wondered who they were eating. There was more shouting all day. After the greater light was over head he heard a sound he was all too familiar with.

“Crack,” he heard. It was a killing stick, but it was not in the forest. It was coming from the Man cave.

There were more killing stick noises through the rest of the day. It did not sound like Man was hunting, only using killing sticks for something. The killing stick noise went on until the greater light was setting. Then he smelled more food cooking. As the greater light set, he could see bright lights from the Man cave. There was more shouting together until the lesser light rose. Then he heard the Man animals roar and go away. After the lesser light was high overhead, all the noise stop and there was quiet from the Man cave again. He had never seen or heard anything like this before. After it was quiet for a while he got up.

“Feed yourselves and the fawns,” he told Wanna and Curri. “Then go down and drink. I will stay here. When you get back, I must go find Artose. Maybe he knows what is going on.”

“Will this happen tomorrow?” Curri asked.

“I do not know,” he answered. “That is why I need to talk to Artose.”

The doe fed their fawns who were by now very hungry. After they fed, the doe ate the grass at the top of the hill until they were filled. Then they left. He took the fawns into the cover of the bushes and started playing with them. The fawns seemed to easily forget what had happened during the day. They just wanted someone to play with. He let them play with him and then run around as fawns will do. Later Curri and Wanna returned and found the fawns tired out and ready to sleep. He left them there and went down the hill looking for Artose and the other senior males.

As he came to the hill Artose lived on, he saw two of the does feeding. “Where are Artose and the others?”

The doe point up the hill. He climbed quickly. He found them all at the top of their hill. Lancin, Percin, Artose, and the others were playing with young fawns. As soon as he approached, the playing stop and all the senior males came over to him.

“Did you see anything?” Artose asked.

“I saw some,” he told them and told the others what he had seen during the day and night. He tried to leave nothing out. When he was done, all the senior males looked at him like he was out of his mind.

“All that noise came from one Man cave?” Artose asked.

“Yes, they were using killing sticks, but it did not sound like they came into the forest. I know they were not hunting.”

“What was Man doing?” Mersin asked. “I have never seen or heard anything like this.”

“I do not know,” he said. “Could it be a new way of hunting.”

“More likely they are hunting something besides us,” Artose said. “We will have to make sure we watch carefully. For now, there is nothing more we can do.”

Lancin spoke up abruptly. “If that many Men come into the forest, the herd will have to flee.”

“No,” Artose told him. “The herd will not flee unless there is more danger than this. Now we stay where we are.”

He could see Lancin. The big male shook his head. “Artose, if Enna is correct about the Man cave, if danger comes it may be too late to flee.”

“If he is correct,” Artose came back

That did not sit well with him. He felt that Artose doubted what he told them and he did not like that. He knew what he saw and he told them as best he could. To be doubted by the herd leader did not make him feel good.

He went back to his hill after eating and drinking his fill. By the time the greater light rose, they were all sleep again. On this day, nothing happened, all was quiet. It was the same for the next few days. For the next few risings of the greater light, nothing unusual happened.

He was going to just forget about what happened when one day after the greater light rose. . .” CLANG!”

They all became wide awake.

“CLANG!” just as before.

As before, the noise went on for some time. As before, when it stopped the Man animals came back. Again, there was shouting together and the strange bird call. Then scent of burning meat and odors of Man eating. As the greater light passed over head he started to hear Man noise. This noise was from in the forest. It sounded like many men.

“Wham,” sounded the killing stick.  The sound from the killing sticks was not as loud as when Man hunts deer during The Season.

More Man noise followed by “Wham. . .Wham.”

He could smell the Man scent getting closer. There were several different scents. The noise and the killings stick were getting closer.

“Hoi ya hey naw yow,” he heard. It sounded like it was just below their hill.

“Do not move,” he whispered to Curri and Wanna. “Man is nearby; we must stay hidden.”

Both doe shook in fear. He had a desire to get up and run away, but he knew he most likely be killed if Man saw him. He stayed still and tried to remain calm. This was not easy.

For what seemed like a long while, the Man noise sounded near.

“Wham” came from the bottom of the hill.

Then the sound of Man moved away.

“Wham,” sounded again only further away. The noise was moving toward Artose.

“Du ya yo hey,” he heard a Man shout.

“Wham” again and even further away.

The sound of killing stick lasted until the greater light was going down. Then the noise of the Man animals again and then there was quiet. As the greater light set, there were no lights in the Man cave. All was dark and silent.

“I think it is safe to get up,” he told Wanna and Curri.

He got up and went into the clearing and smelled around. He smelled no trace of Man. Both doe fed their fawns and then started to eat the grass. Following that, he stayed with the fawns while they drank as before. He liked playing with the fawns. It made him feel happy on the inside. As they got older he pushed back harder and harder in their games. Neither fawn looked afraid to come after him. That was good. He played with them until both doe returned and again went looking for Artose.

“Enna,” Curri called out as he left. “When we went to drink, we saw a dead squirrel at the bottom of the hill. It looked like it had been struck by a killing stick.”

“Then Man was not after deer today,” he realized. “Look after the fawns, I am going to find Artose again and try to understand what is going on.?

As he walked over to the hill where Artose bedded, he came across other signs of Man. He saw another dead squirrel and a dead crow. Both were hit by killing sticks. These killing sticks were not as powerful as the ones Man uses on them, He also saw tracks of many Men. Three sets were large, but there were several sets of smaller tracks. The tracks led right by Artose hill. He stayed at the bottom and called out.

“Up here, Enna,” Percin called down.

He climbed the hill and thankfully found all the doe, fawns and senior males alive and well.  He spoke up loud enough to be heard by all. “As I walked over, I saw several dead smaller animals all hit by killing sticks. There were also tracks of many Men.”

“I am sure they were not looking for deer,” Artose said. “Man went after the smaller animals today.”

“They did not even pick up the dead animals to burn and eat them like they do us,” Lancin said. “All Man wanted to do was kill. What about next time. Suppose next time they come from the Man cave just to kill us. I think we need to flee deeper into the forest.”

“I see no reason to do that,” Artose replied. “Man has not come after us.”

“Do we wait until they do,” Lancin argued. “Suppose they go after the fawns next time?”

“I am getting concerned,” Percin told them. “Man has not behaved like this in the past. Suppose he is going to hunt all the time and not just during The Season.”

“I do not know,” Artose said.

“If this continues, we may have to move,” Mersin said.

“Move where?” he asked. “This forest is surrounded by open fields. We cannot run far before we are out in the open.”

“Enna is right,” Galand spoke up. “If Man comes into this forest in large numbers, we have no place to go to.”

Artose answered sharply. “This forest is not that small, we can hide the herd in it if we have to.”

He was not so sure and he did not feel like risking Wanna, Curri, Kelor and Varis to make sure Artose was right. “I am not so sure,” he said out loud.

“Are you questioning me?” Artose snapped at him.

“No,” he snapped back. “I am telling you what I see and what I feel which is what a senior male should do.”

“None of us know what Man is going to do,” Mersin said in an even tone trying to get everyone to calm down.

He had enough. He was not going to risk his doe and fawn on what Artose thinks. “I am going back to my hill,” he said and walked away.

He made his way down the hill until near the bottom he heard footsteps behind him. He turned to see Lancin coming down the hill. He stopped and let the big male catch up with him.

“Artose should have not treated you that way,” he said in a hush as if the trees were listening.

“It made me angry,” he told Lancin.

“Do you think we are safe here?” Lancin asked/

“No,” he said bluntly. “Now Man is not hunting deer in the forest. How long will that remain. I will not risk my two doe and my two sons on this.”

Lancin smiled he saw it the same way he did. “I agree, we are too close to Man here. We need to go someplace else,”

“Do you know someplace?” he wondered.

“Yes,” Lancin told him. “If you walk across the meadow where the herd males live and keep walking for a while, you will come to a long hill. Just beyond that hill are the tallest oak trees in the forest. It is well hidden, has plenty of food nearby, and has water that is easy to get to. It is also far away from Man.”

“Sounds good,” he said. “I am not ready to go yet, but if Man keeps coming back, I will go there, Artose or no Artose.”

“Myself, Mirol, and our two fawns will join you,” Lancin told him.

“I like that, but we will not be friends of Artose if we do go,” he knew.

“That does not bother me like it once world of. I think what he told Balan and Lamoc during the hunts got them killed. A good herd leader does not do that.”

“I have seen that before with my own father,” he said. “But you are right; a good heard leader does not do that.”

“Then we will talk later,” Lancin said and left.

He continued to walk back to his hull when he sensed another deer behind him. This one was quiet. He wondered if Delac was following him, but this deer was more skillful than that deer. It really could be only one deer who could do this. He turned around and faced the way he came.

“I hear you Mersin,” he said loudly.

He heard some branches break. Then the large form of a male deer glided out of the brush before him. “You are getting better at listening,” the senior male said in admiration.

“Thank you,” he said with a slight bow. “Now why are you following me?”

“I noticed you left the hill looking angry and Lancin followed you. What did you two talk about?”

He felt like telling Mersin that was his business, but decided to tell him the truth. “I left because I did not like the way Artose treated me. I do think we need to move further away from Man and I was discussing with Lancin where to go.”

Mersin walked up to him and spoke lightly into his ear. “I agree, that was unfair of Artose. You told us what you saw and what you felt should be done. I also understand your fear about your doe and fawns. I am also afraid for Fancene and our two fawns. However, I am not ready to leave yet. I do not think there is enough danger to make this necessary.”

“And how many of our dead bodies will it take to convince you?” he asked.

“I do not think it will come to that,” Mersin said looking shocked.

“I do not agree,” he said. “I will tell you plainly that if Man comes back here again, I will leave with my family.”

Mersin just stood there and took a deep breath. “I will not tell you what to do.  I do understand your concerns. Just try not to anger Artose. I think this new Man cave and Man in our forest has bothered him more than he is willing to admit even to me.”

“I still respect Artose,” he explained. “I still will do what he asks, but I also will take care of my own. Tell Artose that.”

“I shall,” Mersin said and left.

He looked up and saw the first trace of the rising light. He ate quickly and went back to his family. He was still not happy.

Again, several more days went by before once again it started soon after the greater light rose, “CLANG. . . CLANG. . . CLANG.”

Again, the Man animals came, again the shouting and bird calls, again the smells of Man eating, After the greater light was over head, again came the sounds of Man in the forest and the sound of killing sticks. Thankfully, Man did not come up their hill and they were all safe again. When he went to see Artose again that night he was determined to tell him he was leaving with his family whether he liked it or not. As before, as he moved towards Artose’s hill he found smaller animals like squirrels, a racoon, some birds all lying dead on the forest floor. It was as if Man just went through the forest and killed as he pleased. He got to the hill and climbed. When he got to the top, he saw all the senior males and their doe and fawn. What he did not see was Artose.

“Where is Artose,” he asked.

Mersin stepped up. “When we heard the Clanging noise, Artose said he needed to know what Man was doing. Rather than send anyone else, he went himself. He has not come back.”

“Why him?” he asked

“Because he felt that after Lamoc and Bala did what he asked them to do and died, he could send no one else except him” Mersin went on.”

He looked around at Lancin, Guan, Galand, and Mersin. “Are we going to look for him?”

“No,” Mersin told him. “He said if he did not come back we were not to go looking for him?”

There was nothing more to be done. He walked in and lay down by himself and told what he saw. “I saw smaller dead animals in the forest again. I had come to tell Artose I was going to move my family.”

“So was I,” Lancin added.

“Crash,” they all heard below them on the hill. This was followed by more leaves being crushed and branches breaking. Artose was quieter than this he knew. He ran over to the edge of the hill and looked down. There was Artose coming up the hill, but he was limping.

“He is hurt,” he called out and ran down the hill.

The big deer was limping on his left rear leg. On it he could see a gash running along the side of it. He came up to the big deer and leaned against his hurt side to support it.

“Lean on me,” he told the herd leader.

Together they got to the top of the hill. Artose was barely at the top when he lay down on the ground. It was then he saw what happened. There was a long bloody gash across the top of his left rear shoulder that was still bleeding. He looked at it. It was made by a killing stick

Mercin came up to Artose and looked him over. “This is not bad” he told him. “I have seen much worse. The black stone Man uses in his killing stick did not go inside of you.”

Artose nodded. He was still in pain. “It is not bad,” he said.

They all gathered around and Artose told them what he saw.

“Before the clanging stopped I found a place near the edge of the forest that I thought was safe. I looked. Just as Enna said, soon many Man animals came up to the Man cave and many large and small Men came out. They all went inside the Man cave and started shouting. I even heard that strange bird call Enna talked about. When they were done, all the Men came outside and starting burning meat and then they all ate. After they were done, three large Men and many smaller Men got killing sticks and walked over to our forest. They had no dogs just the large and small Men. One of the small Men must have seen me because one of them shouted, pointed at me, and then raised his killing stick and pointed it at me. Next thing I felt a pain along my left, rear leg. I was still able to run and hide. The Men could not find me. As I watched them, the smaller Men were using their killing sticks on anything that moved. They killed squirrels, birds, and anything else they could see. Then they moved away from me. I waited until it was dark and came back here.”

With that, Artose laid his head down and rested. The herd leader then looked up at him. “You were right, Enna, we have to leave here. It is not safe. Those small Men will kill anything they see, including our fawns.”

“Artose, rest,” he told him. “It will be several risings of the greater light before Man comes back. We can call a gathering of the herd and tell them what we will do.”

“Yes,” Artose whispered and then seemed to fall asleep.

“I know where they some leaves that will help him heal,” Mersin said. “I will get them. We will talk about this after the greater light sets today.”

Two nights later after the rising of the lesser light, all the senior males went out and started to call the herd together. The senior males told everyone in the herd they should attend. By the time the lesser light was overhead, the entire herd including this year’s fawns were gathered in the meadow the doe used to feed. Artose came off the hill still hurting, but healing.

Artose stood in the center of the herd with his senior males near him. “As you all have heard, Man is now coming into the forest from the new Man cave. Many more Men than before. Not only are more Men present, but they are now killing anything they can see. Many of the smaller animals have already been killed. I have also been hurt by Man. This is not like the hunts in the past when they killed deer only during The Season, but now they want to kill for the entire season. It is no longer safe to live near the new Man cave. For this reason, I am going to suggest to the herd that we move deeper into the forest to get away from Man. All of my senior males also feel this is necessary.”

“Where will we go?” one of the herd males asked.

Artose answered in a strong voice. “We will go past the meadow the herd males use to the long hill. Past that hill are thick woods that can better hide us. So far no Men have gone there.”

“There is not as much grass there as on our meadows,” and old doe said.

“I know,” Artose answered. “However, it is still close enough to the meadows where we can still use them to feed. We will only be able to use these meadows at night.”

“When will we leave?” another male asked.

“As soon as this year’s fawns are strong enough to make the trip. Most likely in late spring. Until then, anytime you hear that Clanging noise, hide like it is the time of the hunts.”

“I disagree,” Delac called out loudly. “It is not necessary to go. I and males from Helscom’s here will stay. Any deer that wants to stay can join my herd.”

He was thinking how Delac might look good with his front hoof shoved in his face. The others must have seen him looking.

“No, Artose told him in a low voice. “If that fool and others want to stay, fine with me. They can die here if they want.”

“Are there any other questions,” Artose called out.

There were none.

 

 

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