Enna Part II

Part two of the adventure of Enna

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1. Chapter Five: Questions

 

He continued his walk away from the doe and walked into the comfort of the deep forest. Although he knew the forest did not care if he lived or died, it did provide him with his needs. It also did not question him, argue with him, or throw him out because of what he believed. The forest only gave him the chance to survive and thrive inside its tree covered canopy. That is survive as long as he was fast enough to evade the dangers of the forest. He understood he had no right to survive, only an opportunity he could make use of. He knew that he would survive in the forest for only as long as he was wiser that everything around him that wanted to turn him into food. That is what he did not understand about those doe. The wise move was to leave the dying fawn and save the others. They let their feelings get in the way and now they all might die. There was nothing he could do about that.

The forest continued on as he walked. There was enough grass and water for him to continue his travels. He went on until he saw through the canopy a number of large birds circling near him. That usually meant something was dead or would soon be dead. He walked as close as he dared to the edge of the forest to put as much distance between him and whatever was dead.  The last thing he needed was to meet hungry scavengers. Sometimes they did not wait for their prey to die. As he walked he could see the forest still ended abruptly onto large open fields to his left. After he put the circling bird behind him, he started to walk back deeper into the forest. The light over his head was increasing with the greater light rising.

He walked for a while until he picked up scents of two male deer. They were fresh and they were blowing in the wind toward him. As soon as he was deep enough into the forest to be hidden from view in the field, he moved onward. It was then he smelled the two deer scents coming closer. They must have either heard or smelled him. He looked around and saw a thick patch of brush just putting on leaves for the summer. He got behind the bushes and got down low. Sure enough, two male deer came following his scent trail. One looked like a three-season male like him. Like him just starting to bud his rack for this season. The other was a yearling male, almost a fawn. As they walked by where he was, they stopped many lengths away having lost his scent. They started looking around the forest. As soon as they turned away from him, he got up quietly and stepped out into the open.

"Looking for me?" he asked.

The two males spun around quickly. The larger male lowered his head, ready to attack. The yearling looked more scared then dangerous. He stood perfectly still with head held up. He did not feel threaten yet. The older male raised his head and looked at him.

"You are not from this herd," he said.

"No, I am from no herd," he told them."I am passing through. I am not looking for trouble."

He could see neither deer did not know what to make of him, they looked at him almost in wonder. The older male raised his head fully. "This is Helscom's herd. You must come with me."

"No," he repeated. "I am not from this herd and I have no interest in this Helscom or your herd."

The male took offense at his answer. "It does not matter,” he shouted. “Helscom orders all deer to come see him to see if they are fit to join the herd. Helscom is our leader. He is the strongest deer in the forest. We are his senior males we look for other deer to bring them to him and make them join the herd. Helscom is leader of the entire forest and all the deer."

He was not going to do that. He would not take those orders. "He is not my leader and you should leave me alone. I said I am not joining your herd. Now go."

"No, you come with us, or I will have to hurt you," he larger male ordered.

This was heading toward another fight he did not want. There were two of them. The young male did not count for much, but while he fought the other male, the younger male could try and hit him in the flank. He had to flee. If he could not, he had to get the senior male to attack him and attack him alone. He looked around and saw how he could do this if the male was stupid enough to do it.

"I am not interested," he said and turned and walked away quickly.

"Stop," he was told by the senior male. "Come here or I will hurt you now," he growled. The male ran up quickly behind trying to make him stop. As the male blundered up behind him, he shifted his weight forward slightly and kicked out as hard as he could with both rear hoofs. They extended full out when they both hit something hard. Pain shot through both his lower legs.  The impact was hard on his legs and then he felt whatever he hit give way slightly. He brought his legs down and turned quickly around.

The older male was falling back. He could see blood pouring out of the eyes, ears, and mouth of the larger male. The large black eyes rolled up and the large male fell over onto the ground and lay still. He looked at the smaller male who started to bleat loudly and turned to run. That male could tell all the others about him. As the young male tried to flee in a panic he leaped after him. In two leaps, he caught him and threw his greater weight into the side of the young male knocking him to the ground. He was on him immediately. Without thinking, he raised up and stomped him hard in the flank four times. After that the younger male was still. He stepped back and suddenly realized what he had done. He had fought almost by instinct and had killed the males by almost without thinking. Both deer were dead. He had killed them easily, much too easily, almost without thought.

"What have I done," he said to himself.

He looked around and saw no one else was around him. He was not going to stay and wait for this Helscom to show up and maybe do the same to him. He ran through the forest as quickly as he could. He ran for some time until he felt exhausted. He stopped and tried catching his breath. He looked around and did not see or hear anyone around him. He continued on for a while trying to regain his strength. While he was moving, he started to hear loud noises from his left. It was not noises of animals in the forests. These were noises like huge animals fighting. He was walking and suddenly the forest in front of him lit up. He walked forward he saw the forest ending again. He came to the end of the tress and saw another large open field before him. In the field was a huge Man animal moving up and down the field. It looked like it was tearing the ground apart. He looked about and saw another forest across the field. He could easily get to it, but not without crossing the open field in daylight in front of the huge animal. He decided to wait here for dark.

He lay down near the edge of the forest and rested. Now that he could think, he started to shutter. Fighting was always part of being a male deer. Males always fought for position and mates, and he knew sometimes males killed each other. He had not meant to kill Flaros. All he wanted was the doe.  As for Gurren, he had started it. If he had left him alone he would not have hurt him. The older male here was trying to force him to come with him. Again, the male had attacked him. The young male, he had done that on his own. The young male was hardly a threat to him, yet he killed him out of fear he realized. Fear of being discovered. The young male did not attack him or try and force him to do anything, yet he killed him. He had prided himself on not caring about anyone or anything thing, yet he did have a feeling about the young male, the feeling inside him was fear. Fear of himself. If he could kill that easily, what did that make him he wondered?

"Crash," he heard in the distance. This was followed by more sounds. Someone was coming this way, something large. The he heard sounds coming from a different direction. There were many and they were coming toward him.

"He came this way," he heard a deep male voice shout.

"Find him," a deeper voice shouted. "I want his guts."

"I have his scent trail," another deep male voice called out.

Now he was in trouble. He had no way to go except toward whoever was following him. He could easily imagine who it was and why they were after him. They would want to do the same to him and it sounded like they had the numbers to do it. He was trapped. He looked the other way onto the open field. The large animal was still there tearing up ground. He could either stay here and have the males kill him, or run into the open field in full daylight and let that large animal kill him. The males he knew could kill him. Could that large animal catch him?

"Crash," he heard again. They were getting closer and they did not care if he heard them or not.

He got up and after taking a deep breath, turned and ran into the open field as fast as he could. In moments, he was in turned up dirt. It was soft and he had trouble running in it. He looked over to his left. There was the large animal, but it looked to be going away from him. Try as he could, he could not run at full speed. He kept moving slowly across the soft dirt. He looked at the big animal again and saw it was turning toward him. He pushed himself hard to move through the soft ground. Now the animal was coming toward him. He was sure it would catch him, when his feet hit hard ground. He got up and ran as fast as he could. He ran in front of the big animal who seemed to take no notice of him. It kept going straight right past him. He was exhausted now, but he was still in the open. He kept running as fast as he could. The trees were closer and after a moment he almost fell into them. He went several lengths into the forest before he fell over, utterly spent. He lay on his side panting, trying to get air into him. His legs were stiff and would not move. He looked around. He hoped those other deer did not follow him because right now, he could not fight a fawn. Whoever was after him did not follow. Maybe the Man animal scared them.

He did not know how long he lay there panting, trying to get his legs to move again. He had never felt this exhausted. As soon as he could, he folded his legs and rolled over on to them. He lay with his head flat on the ground trying to get his strength back. It was no good, he fell into a deep sleep and after that recalled nothing.

He woke sometime later, it was dark. He could not hear the large animal in the field. He looked around and saw nothing. He got up. He legs protested as pain shot up through his shoulders, but he was able to move with stiffness. He was hungry and thirsty. He got to his feet and started to move away from the edge of the forest. He saw some fresh grass and started to eat it. Now if he could find some water. He moved on carefully. He walked a short way when his nose picked up the lightest trace of a scent. It smelled like a male deer and it was close to him down wind. He spun quickly and took up a fighting position.

"I know you are there, come out," he said loudly.

"You smelled me," a voice called out. In front of him a large five-season male walked out. He was slightly bigger than him. He already had the first sign of a large rack starting to grow.

"You from that other herd?" he asked, "Are you here to try and kill me?"

"No," the male replied plainly. “I am from the herd here. I am Galand, a senior male in this herd." The deer then started to smile. "You had problems with the herd across the field."

"They tried to force me to join their herd," he explained. "I told them no and one of his three- season senior males tried to force me. He failed. They sent many others after me. It was too many to fight so I ran."

"That was wise," Galand said and approached. "We know they have killed other deer that did not obey them. We do not do that in this herd. Artose is our herd leader and he will not allow that. Any deer here is free to come or go as they please."

"That is how it should be," he said. He then looked around. "Is this a big herd?"

I have only been in two herds," Galand went on. He could see Galand was not afraid of him, yet he did not try and push him around. "This herd is bigger than my last herd. We have several senior males, many herd males, and lots of doe and fawns."

"Is there enough to eat for so many deer?" he asked next

"Yes, we have two large clearings and there are many plants and leaves in the forest. There are mostly Oaks and Walnut trees that provide food to us in the fall and winter. The squirrels also eat the nuts from them. In the early winter, we eat in the large open fields after The Season and Man goes away."  

"I do not know Walnut trees," he said. "I am thirsty. Is there a stream around here?"

"Follow me," Galand told him and led him on.

They walked for a while and he saw a high hill in the distance. Down the hill ran a small stream. He stopped and drank his fill. "Thank you," he said.

"May I ask your name?" Galand asked.

"I am Enna," he said.

"Good, now please come with me. Artose likes to meet any new deer that come here." With that Galand led him up the hill. He felt compelled to follow the senior male even though he was in no hurry to get into another argument with a herd leader. He decided this time he keep his opinions to himself.

They went to the top of the hill. As they got close to the top the trees thinned out and mostly berry bushes grew. The closer to the top he got, the more scents of many males and doe came to his nose. As they approached the top, Galand let out a loud call."

"Meet me," Galand called out.

A short while later they entered a small clearing at the top of the hill. In the clearing were five males ranging from five to maybe ten seasons, and maybe twice as many does with fawns. All of them were three to five years old. All of the males were larger than him, some much larger. These were all big, powerful, male deer. All the doe looked well. These were all senior males. It reminded him of Ellis' herd and he remembered what happened there.

"Who is this?" one of the five season males asked.

"Enna," he told them all. "I am new here."

"He ran away from Helscom's herd during the day," Galand reported. "I saw him run part of the way through the open field in front of the Man machine and into our forest. He is fast."

"That takes courage to run in front of Man," the oldest deer said in a soft yet powerful voice.

"Why were you running," the five-season male sneered.

He turned and faced the male starting to feel irritated. "To get away from Helscom and his senior males. I had no desire to join their herd."

"You are not from that herd?" the older deer asked.

"No," he said. "I am from a herd far away. I have been wandering since the last Season."

"Why," the five-season male asked.

"Because me and my herd leader argued and I left," he told them. "I then went to Ellis's herd and did not like how they treated me so I left him. That is when I stumbled on Helscom's herd and ran from him and his senior males. Now I am here."

"It does not look like you fit in anywhere," an old male spoke up.

"No, it does not," he came back. "If you give me a chance to rest here for two days, I will leave and you will not have to worry about me."

"I know Helscom," the older deer said. He would not come after you with his senior males without a reason. I do not know Ellis that well, but I knew his father Ellnor. When I was wandering around several seasons ago I met him."

He turned to face the older deer. "Balin, one of Ellis' senior males told me Ellnor died of sickness last winter. There was a lot of sickness in that herd. That was another reason I left."

Several of the deer looked shocked. The old deer dropped his head and spoke in a low voice. "That is understandable, Ellnor was the only deer I knew older than me."

"That still does not explain why Helscom was after you," the five-season male spoke.

He turned about to face the male again. He was not going to tell them why. Why start more trouble. "That is my affair," he said coldly.

"Oh," the five-season old said narrowing his eyes. "I do not take disrespect from three season males little deer. I want to know the answer and if I have too I will force it from you."

He remembered his father's saying: 'Even if the deer is bigger than you, you never back down, it shows weakness.' He smiled broadly. "I like to see you do that."

"Stop it," the older deer spoke up. "Lancin here may be brash at time, but he has a point. We do need to know why Helscom sent his males after you."

He knew now there was no way out of this so without shifting his gauze from Lancin he spoke up. "Very well, since you asked nicely, Helscom is after me because I killed one of his three season males and a yearling male."

That brought everything to a halt. He saw the males and doe looking at each other. the Lancin yelled out. "HA! You expect me to believe that a three-season male like you killed two deer."

With that he started to walk slowly down his right side. As he did he saw it. It was just like what Ellnor did to him that first time. The male was going to try and trip him. He smiled again and waited, pretending he was not paying attention. "You do not have the strength or courage to kill anything!"

Lancin swung his right front leg around. He shifted his weight forward and lifted his rear legs. Lancin's leg slid harmlessly under him., but rather than put his rear legs down, he kicked out lightly landing both hoofs in Lancin's chest.  The impact pushed him back. He spun quickly on his four legs and faced Lancin as he was regaining his balance. He put his face right in Lancin's face.

"You are right, senior male," he growled angrily. "I did not kill two deer, I killed four. One I cut open in a mating fight. One I stomped to death after he said he kill me, Helscom's three season male I used my rear legs to crush his skulled as he attacked my rear, and the yearling male I ran down, knocked over, and stomped on him too so he could not tell anyone what happened. Now I know you are bigger than me, maybe you are stronger than me, but if you think I am afraid of you, you are wrong."

He heard several doe gasp. Lancin looked at him like he was some vile creature and then took a step back and grinned. "He has been trained, Artose, that is for sure."

"Yes, and trained by Ellnor himself. I recognize that move. You were also trained by someone else," Artose said stepping forward.

"My father," he said never taking his eyes off Lancin. "He is gone."

"He is no weakling and he is not stupid," the second oldest male said. "I am Mersin, and I think if you want, you will fit in well here."

He backed away from Lancin and turned to face Mersin. "That we shall see," he said.

Artose looked at Galand and told him in a clear voice. “Take him to the herd male meadow.”

Later Galand and he walked down the hill together. In a way, he was confused at what had happened.

"I do not understand, "he said to Galand.

"What is that?" the large deer said and calmly walked on.

"What did the herd leader mean?" he went on. "Does it mean I can stay? Does it mean they want me to go? I do not understand."

Galand laughed out loud. "What it means is that you have proven you are a deer that is not to be trifled with. The senior males understand and respect that. What you do is your business. I would not try and push my weight around in the forest, but other than that, do what you want."

"Then I can stay for a while?" he said with relief.

"Stay as long as you want," Galand told him. "I would not go back to Helscom's forest, you are right they will kill you after what you did. The next forest is a two-night walk from here I am told, so getting to another forest will not be easy. Other than that, you are free to do as you please."

"What about the other deer in the herd?" he asked.

They do what they want. After fawns leave their mothers, they are all free to do what they want. The yearlings usually have their own group and the two season-males and older have their group. The doe and fawns all have their own group. Later in season the herd males go out there looking for doe for The Season."

"I guess the herd males are always fighting for position, and breeding order like the other herds," he said.

"Of course, come The Season the stronger breed the doe. This happens in every herd I know," Galand told him.

"After the senior males take their pick," he added.

"No, not really," Galand added almost as an afterthought. "Most senior males have paired with one or two doe year-round. They already have what they want. The rest of the doe are free to choose the male they want. They will be fights and you will be challenged to prove your place, but after what you showed us, I do not think that will be a problem."

This place was unusual. Usually the senior males picked the doe they wanted and the herd males got what was left. "Interesting," he said.

Galand then turned and faced him and got very serious. "One thing, you will be in fights, but Artose says we do not kill in this herd unless there is no other way. From what you told us, you were the one attacked and you defended yourself. We have no problem with that. I do have a problem with you killing that yearling male. I think I understand why, but do not do it here.  We run bullies off and killers we throw out if we don't kill them ourselves. Beat a male yes, but try not to seriously hurt them."

"I did not want to kill any of them," he said in a low voice. "However, I will fight any way I can if deer tries to hurt and kill me."

"That we understand," Galand said.

By now they had reached the bottom of the hill. Galand then led him past the hill and they walked for a short distance before they came to one of the clearings. On the clearing in fading light he saw many males from yearlings to five-season males. They walked into the clearing and started eating. As they did, a four-season male came over.

"That is Guan," Galand said. "He holds himself up as leader of the herd males. Most likely next Season Artose will make him a senior male. All the deer respect him and most give way. He is big and powerful."

"Respect him I will," he said. "Give way to him I will not."

'Your choice," Galand said.

"Greeting, Galand," the male said. He was slightly bigger than him but not much heavier. He moved well and from the scar on his face, he could tell he had been in some fights. He certainly was not afraid of him or Galand. "Who is the new deer. I do not recognize his look or sent."

"This is Enna," Galand said. "He has fled from Helscom group."

"Wise move," Guan added and pointed his nose out into the clearing and the gathering of males. "What you see here is most of the herd males. At the start of their second season, most male deer come here to live. They either are asked to become senior males by Artose, are killed by Man or predators, or die of old age.  Until that happens, they remain here."

"Thank you," he said with a slight bow. "I do not know if I will stay in this herd or not. I just arrived today."

Guan looked puzzled as if why did he say that. Galand looked over him at Guan. "Could you please come with me."

With that Galand and Guan moved away from him to speak in private. He walked into the field. He noted the other males looking at him. He ignored them and started eating the grass. It tasted wonderful. He had almost eaten his fill when another three-season male approached him. He moved down wind of him and started taking in large breath of air through his nose as if trying to recognize his sent. The male walked up to him within a length.

"I do not know you," the male said with a grin. "You do smell funny. If fact I have never smell a deer like you. You smell like an old doe."

Remembering what Galand told him about fighting he grinned instead. "I am glad I am so amusing to you," he said between bites of grass. "If you are finished acting like a foolish fawn, I would like to eat in peace."

The three-season male came up to him to look him in the face. "You don't think you smell funny?" the male said as a joke.

He locked his back legs and slowly brought his head up until his face was next to that of the fool. "No," he said simply and swept around with his right front leg. It caught the male under his legs and knocked them out from under him. His right front leg hurt, but the male went down on his front knees. He then hit the male with his left front shoulder knocking him down. Before he could roll out of place he walked up and stood his front legs on the down deer's flank, but did not stomp. He looked down at the male who just now realized what happened.

"To tell the truth I do not think I smell funny," he said in a low voice. "I also do not like being made fun of by a three-season fawn. However, since I do not wish to offend, if someone will show me where there is a pond, I will wash this funny scent off me so I am more acceptable to everyone around me."

With that he stepped off the male, turned and walked away. By now Galand and Guan were walking back to him.

"I guess that is what you were talking about," he said to Galand.

"That is correct," Galand said with a smile.

"Galand is right," Guan said smiling broadly. "You are not a deer to be played with."

"One more thing," Galand said. "I heard you when you said you might stay. Is there anything here that makes you want to go."

"Other than foolish three season males, no," he replied. "I do have other concerns, but they are my own."

"Understood," Galand said. "I will leave you here."

With that Galand turned and walked back the way he came. Guan looked at him. "Kisbar is a joker and at times a fool. He does not mean anything with his antics."

"I did not take offense," he said. "I was just making a point."

"Something else Galand told me," Guan said. "Do you have any questions?"

"Yes," he said. "Do you have a pond around here? No sense smelling funny."

Guan broke out into open laughter.

Late on, fully fed, washed, and watered, he walked back onto the clearing. It was about half the size of the meadow of his home herd. Not big enough to feed a large herd of deer over winter. He looked around at the herd. They all seemed in good health and happy, no sickness here. It was nice, but he still did not care about this herd any more than he cared about any of the other herds. At least when the greater light rose, all the males left the clearing and went to their bedding areas.

He slept peacefully by himself through the increasing warmth of day. There was the roar of the Man machine again that went on all day. During the middle of that day he heard barking in the distance There were dogs around. He listened to them for a while and satisfied they were not coming closer, went back to sleep.  He woke as light was fading. He could see into the clearing and noted that the males gathered just before darkness. He felt there was still enough light for Man to see and that meant light enough for Man to use his killing sticks. He waited until it was fully dark before he started to eat. While he was eating, he saw Guan eating. He had some questions for him so he waited until he finished eating before he went over to him.

"May I ask you some questions about the herd?" he said in a respectful manner.

"Of course, I suspected you would," Guan said.

"I saw your males eating before the greater light was gone. Are you not afraid that Man will see you and use his killing sticks?"

"No," Guan said with confidence. "Man only comes here during The Season after we strip off the skin and expose our racks. Then,we are much more careful."

That was his next question. "Do you lose many deer to Man or predators?"

Guan took a deep breath. "Last Season we lost several males. Mostly two and three-season herd males chasing doe into the open during The Season. Man was waiting and several males and a few doe were killed."

"And other predators?" he needed to know.

"We have a bear that live near Helscom herd that comes over to hunt here, especially just after The Season and before winter. A cougar will come occasional from the nearby hills. They mostly go after the fawns, the yearlings, and the old. Other than that, we are left in peace."

"Any problems with doe during The Season," he asked next.

Guan nodded his head. "There are lots of fight. You see a scar on my face from Sabin's rack. We fought over two doe. I won, but he gashed me. I ended up breeding both. Sabin was later killed by Man after The Season. You and I will have no problems getting the doe we need, nor will the larger males. The smaller and older males do without."

“That is like every herd I have seen," he said.

"I suppose so," Guan said. "I have never been in another herd. I have not wandered about like you."

"That might be a good thing," he said. "Still I was able to learn much and it has helped me some."

"But not has not helped you enough," Guan said looking at him. "Something is bothering you on the inside. Care to tell me what it is."

"I like to know that too," they both heard and turned to the voice. Coming out of the darkness was Mersin. He was quiet and approached from downwind. He never heard or smelled him. That deer was quiet. He stood maybe half a head taller than he and was heavier. Along his flanks and shoulders, he saw huge muscles. Mersin, might be older, but he was still in good shape.

He first approach Guan how bowed his head in respect. "Guan, I must ask you to excuse Enna and me. Artose wants me to ask our new deer some questions."

Now what, he thought. He did not want to answer questions. It only got him into trouble. This was not good.

"Of course," Guan said quietly and walked away.

As soon as Guan was far away Mersin looked at him. "Walk with me, Enna."

He felt he had to obey so he followed Mersin until they were well into the forest. The Mersin stopped. and turned to face him.

"Enna, something is bothering you. I know this. No deer travels like you do or goes through so many herds without a reason. Artose and I want to know what that reason is."

"Ohhhhhh," he moaned openly. "Mersin, I rather not tell you. Every time I tell someone this, it makes other deer dislike me. My herd leader did not want me around. Ellnor, before he died, tried to change me and trick me into staying with his herd. There was a group of doe I told and they threw me out. I do not want to do this."

"I understand," Mersin said. "Both Artose and I have both lived a long time, longer than most deer. We have seen a lot of things in our long lives. Maybe we can help you."

"Why should you care," he came back with. "It will not change anything if you care or not."

"Maybe, but since it does not matter if we care or not, Artose and I choose to care. Now please tell me."

He never heard an answer like that before. He felt trapped again.

"Then you might as well lay down," he told Mersin. "This is going to be a long story."

Both him and the old deer lay down a length apart and he told him his whole story from the time his father died until now. He left out nothing about what he did, what he felt, and what happened. The greater light was well up before he was done. Mersin only stopped him when he was not sure about some point. Otherwise the old deer let him talk his lungs out. When he was done, he had emptied himself as fully as when he emptied his gut.

"I understand," Mersin said when he was done. "I will not advise you on anything your said, but someone will come to talk to you who might be able to help you. You see, I have heard this story before, but not for many seasons. The deer that will come also knows this story very well. I will tell him about this and he will come."

That confused him. "Who will come?" he asked.

"Why Artose, of course," Mersin said and got up and looked down at him. "He can help you, I know it. He helped me, and he helped himself. Now he will help you."

"But why would he want to?" he said. "What would it matter?"

"It does not matter," Mersin said walking away. "As for why, it is because he wants to."

With that he was left alone, confused, tired, and a bit scared. 

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