Enna Part III

Part III of my story

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2. Chapter Ten: Decent

 

So, he was now herd leader. A position he felt he would never have, or even want to have.

“Now what?” he asked himself.

Artose had been herd leader with seemingly no effort, yet somehow, he managed to keep control over the herd. He knew he did that by using his senior males to tell him what he needed to know. There he was stuck. Other than Guan, he had no one. He tried to think if there were any of the herd males he could use, but again, the strongest one was Delac, and he was useless. He could only hope some male from the yearling herd could be useful, but it would be two seasons before he would know that. Until then, he and Guan were on their own. The herds he knew about always had between two to six senior males, he had one. He turned to look at Guan.

“Do you know any herd males we can use?” he asked.,

Guan stopped to think for a moment. “No,” he said plainly. There is Kilbis who is not very strong as you know.”

“And not very bright,” he added.

There is Certist,” who is a five-season male,” Guan went out. “He is not very strong or bright either.”

“Then we have to hope there is someone in the yearling herd,” he said. “One thing for sure, for this season we will have to manage the herd with no help.”

“I know,” Guan said in disgust. “The only thing I can think of is to talk to some deer and tell them to call us if they see trouble.”

“You know the herd better than I do,” he said. “I will let you pick the deer. We will start with the doe. We will go see them tonight.”

With that he found a bedding place and lay down. He tried to sleep, but inside of him he could still see images of his dead family. He had gotten use to lying next to Curri and Wanna and the fawns. Now he was alone and he hated it. He missed the warmth of their bodies, the feel of their fur on his fur, the play of his sons as they tried to spar with him. Inside his body, he felt a new and vast emptiness that threatened to swallow him whole.  The one thing he wanted, the forest had taken from him and did not even seem to mind, as if he was nothing. Well maybe to the forest he was nothing, but he felt he was still worth something.

There was another reason why he wanted to visit the doe herd soon. As herd leader, he would be expected to mate with at least one doe during The Season. As herd leader, he could have his pick of the doe, but he never really looked the doe over for a potential mate since Curri and Wanna came back into his life. Now he had to find one. Eventually his tired head slowed down, the images faded, and he fell into a deep sleep. That was the one peace even the forest could not take away from him.

That night both him and Guan walked through the doe herd. Many of the doe were feeding on the meadow, their fawns staying close to them. Guan was looking for someone and after a while he found her.

“Cara,” he called out.

He walked over to a maybe five-season doe with two fawns standing next to her. The fawns were a male and doe and both looked big and strong. Their mother was heavily built and heavily muscled, but rather plain looking.

Guan walked over and rubbed the side of the doe’s face and she did the same. He thought for a moment he wondered if she was his mate. Guan had never brought a doe to where the senior males lived with Artose.

“Hello, sister,” Guan called out. “You know our new herd leader, Enna,” he said.

Cara bowed her head slightly. “We welcome the herd leader.”

“Thank you,” he said.

By now the two fawns had come over to him. The males lower his head and charged into him for play. He did the same and push back. The little male was strong. Here was a future senior male if any of them lived that long. The doe fawn pushed at his side. She was no weakling either. He leaded over to nuzzle to doe fawn when his nose picked up a trace scent. The scent was familiar.

“I pick up a bit of Lamdoc’s scent,” he said.

“Lamdoc was their father and my mate for three seasons,” Cara said.

“I am sorry, for Lamdoc,” he said in a low voice. “He was one of my teachers.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Why have you come to visit me?”

“Sister, both Enna and I need help,” Guan said. “You know we lost almost all the senior males in the herd. The forest is too big for me and Enna to visit alone. We are asking some deer to keep their eyes and ears open and if they see trouble, come find us.”

“I would gladly do this,” she said. “I would also like Telus, my son, to be trained. He is the strongest male fawn I have ever made.”

He looked at the little fawn. It was hard to judge them this young. “If he does well with the herd males, we will train him. I need good strong males to be my senior males for me.”

“Thank you,” Cara said.

“Do you know any other female who we could use to watch the herd?” Guan asked.

“Turga, the old doe,” she said instantly. “She had lived in this herd as long Artose. She is wise, misses nothing. If you want, I will ask her?”

“Please do,” he told her. “If she wants to talk to me in person. I live on the long hill closest to the pine trees.”

“I will tell her,” Cara said. “If you will excuse me, I need to eat a lot of grass to provide milk for these two.”

He nodded and left. He sent Guan away to look for other useful doe while he looked the doe over. They were some nice-looking doe, but none of them caught his attention. He walked through the meadow. He saw no problems. Usually, there were no problems. Nearby he walked over and looked in on the yearling herd. There were mostly young males and a few doe. The lesser light was full and he could see the young males pairing off on each other. He saw several yearly males that looked like they get large enough to help him, but they were still far too young. He walked through the yearlings and back to his resting place.

“CLANG…CLANG…CLANG….” sounded again.

Guan looked at him. “Again,” was all he said.

By now the all too familiar started again; only he could no longer hear anything except the sounding of killing sticks when the greater light was over head. By night it was all peaceful and quiet again. When he went back to his old home he found more dead creatures lying scattered about on the forest floor.

It was several nights later that he went to visit the doe meadow again. Mostly he just wanted to look around. In reality he was still searching for a good doe to breed during the season. He walked through the doe and their growing fawns. He saw no sickness or signs of hunger. They all had enough to eat and all looked like they were putting on enough weight to last them through winter. He stopped to look around. It was a darker night. As he walked behind the hill Artose used to live on he came across a group of young doe. Only a couple had fawns. The rest looked hardly more than yearlings. He walked downwind of them collecting their scent. He was thinking how good they smelled when he saw a young deer running toward him. As he got to him he saw it was one of the two-season herd males whose name he could not remember. He ran up to him.

“Herd leader,” the exhausted males coughed out. “Kilbis sent me, he thinks something bad is happening among the herd males. Something to do with Delac.”

He didn’t answer but ran off. He knew it be shorter to go around Artose’s hill and cross the herd male meadow from behind. He ran as fast as he could. He wondered what was Delac up to now. After he beat him, he had disappeared into the forest along with his herd males. He ran as long as he could before he had to stop to catch his breath. He was in the open meadow. He looked for a deer to get more details off of. He saw Certist and moved up to him.

“What is happening,” he wheezed out of his sore lungs.

“Herd leader, Guan went into the forest to look around. We later saw Delac and his three males follow him. Kilbis told several young deer to find you, before he went into the forest after them. They was a large noise like deer fighting. Then I heard Kelbis bellow and then all was quiet.”

“Show me,” he said.

Certist lead him on and he followed as fast as he could. As soon as they reached the forest, Certist stopped. “This is as far as I go. This is not my concern,” he said and walked quickly away.

He felt like hitting Certist, but he had no time. He went into the woods. He could smell the scent of four deer on the ground. He followed as fast as he could. In front of him he could hear nothing. He moved as fast as he could through the darken forest Even his eyes could only see a couple of lengths in front of him. He moved on until he smelled blood. He walked up and lying on the ground was Kilbis. He ran over to him. He was dead. Blood was still coming from his mouth. His side had been pounded in. He could not stop now. He moved on now trying to be quieter as he traveled. He picked his way around the tress and tried not to make any noise by stepping on twigs or rustling leaves. He moved deeper into the forest following the scent trail.

“I found his scent,” he heard a male call out. It was not Delac.

He has to be here somewhere,” he heard Delac call out.

They were still many lengths in front of him. He crept on getting closer and then a large noise.

“I found him he is….AAAHHOFFF.!” he heard the male call out. There was then a huge crash. Then the noise of fighting deer.

“Get him,” Delac called out. “He cannot fight all of us.”

He had most of his breath back, but now he hurried no longer caring if he was quiet.

“There he is,” Delac yelled. “All of you attack; we have to kill him quickly.”

The noise was not far ahead. He charged forward and heard for the clash of bodies.

“We have him, surround him and all of you hit him,” Delac called out. It sounded almost on top of him. He burst into a small clearing and saw three deer surrounding Guan who was back up against a tree.  Favoring his left side. One deer was just getting up, but Delac and two other were closing in on Guan. He ignored the one deer and went straight for Delac. Delac turned to see him. The male went suddenly white. He hit Delac as hard as he could just behind the right shoulder. The big deer went flying along the ground. He turned and charged another male on Guan.  He never turned to watch him thinking Delac had him. That was a fatal mistake. He charged the male with his back turned toward him He hit him in the rump and the rear legs. The male lurched forward. He heard a snap from both rear legs. He then stood up went after the last male in front of Guan. Guan had already locked against the male’s shoulder. He could not turn away He brought both front hoof his foot up into the belly of the deer. With his hoofs pointed up, they cut deeply into the belly. It started to bleed instantly.

He then turned and went after the deer who was on his feet but still dazed. That must be the one who found Guan and was hit by him. He ran over two him, put his shoulder down and hit him the flank knocking him over and over. When the male came to rest, he lay on his side. He did not care. He leaped up and pounded the male hard on the side, and then did it again and again until blood poured out of his mouth like that of Kilbis.

He then turned and went back to the other males. The one was trying to get up, but he could clearly see the rear legs were not moving. The other deer was on his knees bleeding out. Guan was up, but favoring his left side. He went over to him and smelled. He could smell injury and blood in Guan’s left side. He had been hurt.

“They all tried to kill me,’ Guan said, his voice labored to get the words out. “I think they were going to kill me and then kill you. After that, Delac would take over.” If I had not heard Kilbis’ warning, they would have surprised me.”

“They killed Kilbis,” he told him. “Pounded his side flat.”

He could see Guan’s blackeyes narrow. “I will gut that that deer.”

“Not now, you are hurt. I will take care of Delac. I hurt him. Can you walk?”

“Slowly, but yes, I can walk,” Guan said his eyes now full of pain.

“Walk toward the meadow. I am going after Delac,” he told him.

He then turned to the deer sinking to the ground. “You are going to bleed out soon. I hope you die in pain.” He then turned to the other deer dragging two useless rear legs. “You cannot move. You will either starve to death or some predator will eat you. I am going to leave you here. Have nice death.”

“No,’ the broken legged deer called out.

He did not care. He followed Delac’s scent. He could see from his tracks that he was slow and staggering. He was hurt. He moved onto him quickly. He followed the sent and the hoof prints back toward the meadow. As he got closer to the meadow he could hear Delac staggering in front of him. He got to the edge of the meadow and looked out. There, many length in front of him, was Delac staggering. He ran out onto the meadow, by now Delac was crying out.

“Help me, the herd leader is going to kill me.,” he yelled.

That got the attention of males feeding on the meadow. He ran after Delac and caught him. He lowered his shoulder again and hit him as hard as he could in the flank. Delac went tumbling onto the ground. He walked up to the down deer now struggling to breath. He saw other herd males gathering around.

He called out to all who could hear him. “This deer killed Kilbis for trying to warn Guan. All four of them tried to kill Guan and then I was to be next. They wanted to take over the herd and make it like Helscom’s herd.”

“Nooooo,” Delac tried to call out. “It is a lie”

“Goodbye Delac,” he called out and came up and stomped on his side.”

“He is killing me” Delac screamed.

“DIE!” he yelled as he raised his hoof and pounded him.

“Ahhhh,” Delac called out feebly.

“DIE!” he yelled again and pounded him.

Delac stopped screaming after he pounded him the fourth time. He stopped moving after he pounded him the sixth time. He pounded him twice more to be sure and then stopped. By now many males were around him.

“Take a lesson from this,” he called out. “I will meet any challenge openly, but those who kill other deer or attack a deer in a group, I will show no mercy.”

He looked around, the other herd males were stunned. No deer said a word. Many started to step away from as in fear. Then he looked over and spotted Certist. He walked up to him thinking of what he had done. He got into his face. “Thank you for your help,” he said as a joke. “Just stay out of my sight.”

Certist said nothing in return and moved off in another direction. He turned and saw Guan was limping out of the forest into the open meadow. The herd males could see what had happened to him. Several deer walked up to him.

“Four of them attacked Guan together,” he told then. “They hurt him as you can see.”

Guan struggled to get the words out. “Enna is right, Delac wanted to take over the herd.”

The other deer looked around him still not knowing what to do. “Do any of you know where there are healing leaves?”

A moment’s pause and then a two-season male called out. “I know.”

“Get some leaves and bring them to the hill that Artose used to live on,” he ordered. Do it now.”

“Yes, herd leader,” the young male said and ran off?”

“Can you walk any further?” he asked his hurt friend.

“Yes, I think,” Guan said in a low voice.

“Lean on me if you have too.” He told him.

They both walked off the meadow. He could hear the males mummering behind him. He did not care. He walked closed to Guan and steadied him. They walked in silence until they got to his hill and its small streamlet. He felt Guan stagger and almost fall.

“This is as far as I can go,” he said.

“You can rest here and you are near water and food,” he said. “I will stay near you until you are better.”

“Thank you,” was all Guan could get out. He lay down on the ground and was asleep immediately. The young male brought a branch with many leaves on it.

“Good,” he told him. “I would like you to bring Guan these leaves every night until I tell you to stop.”

“Yes, herd leader,” the young male said.

“Good, the herd leader thanks you,” he said and watched the young male leave. He picked a soft place nearby and rested.

Two days went by. Guan got weaker and ran a fever. Guan must have been hurt worse than he thought. Mostly Guan rested and only moved around to find food and water which were nearby and to empty himself. He stayed nearby to look after him. During this time not much happened either inside or outside the forest. No one came near them. That was fine with him   He understood that only rarely did a herd need a herd leader. If they wanted him, they would have found him. That night Cara and her two fawn came to them. She looked worried when she approached. She looked at her younger brother and shook her head.

“This is what happens when you are a senior male,” she said spitefully to him. “There is always someone who wants to hurt you.”

“That is not fair,” he answered. “Without herd leaders, no one is around to tell the herd what to do. Without guidance, mostly the herd would either run away or stay hidden. The loses would be more. Your brother is a strong and brave deer who is my friend. Without him, the herd would fall apart. I wish I had more deer like him.”

“I worry that he will end up either like Artose and the rest of the senior males,” she said.

“That is possible not just for senior males, but for all the herd deer too. You brother is a great help to me and this herd. Not all the deer are like that. That is why Delac and his males are dead.”

Cara let out a snort telling him she did not accept what he was saying. “That is not what is being said. Many deer accuse you for killing Delac. Some think you were just a killing a rival to your leadership.”

That shocked him. “Delac killed Kilbis and then tried to kill your brother. They had been acting badly since they came to this forest. I got rid of the problem before other deer got hurt. I am not sorry for it. “     

“And you killed him out in the open in front of all the herd males,” Cara said.    

“It was a warning,” he said sternly. “It was a warning what will happen if anyone else threatens the herd.”

“Well many of the herd males did not like the threat,” Cara went on. “Enna, I would be careful if I were you. Many deer are thinking maybe Artose was a better herd leader.” 

He had no problem with that. “Artose was a better herd leader than me. If he was here I give the herd leadership to him. He is not here, he is gone along with all the other senior males, their doe and their fawns, including mine own. I am not doing this because I want to. I am doing this because Artose taught me the herd comes first and I honestly think I am the best deer to lead. Anytime the herd does not want me, they can tell me, and I will go.”

Cara looked shocked. “I understand  now. I though you did it because all males want to be leader if they were only strong enough. You are the strongest deer and that is why I thought you wanted to be herd leader.”

“I wanted nothing when I came here,” he told her. “Artose taught me how to care and why. I know if he could speak to us now, he would agree with me. After all, I have been trained by herd leaders, former leader, and senior males. No other male in this herd can say that.”

Cara walked over to him looking him over carefully and smiled. “You know I was always Lamoc’s doe. He was a good male and helped me with my former fawns. These fawns are his. Next Season, perhaps you will come to the doe clearing and look for me.”    

He looked her over. She was a nice-looking doe. “I might do that, but first we have to live long enough to get to The Season.”        

“That is always the case,” she said and started to walk away.

He looked up and the sky which was getting brighter. “Perhaps you should stay here for this day. It will be in full light when you go back to the doe clearing.”

“Perhaps I will,” she said started eating some grass.

He ate a little more and then went to lie down on a pile of leaves from last fall. He was falling asleep when he heard Cara approach. He then felt her stop near him and lie down next to him. Her fawns lay next to their mother.   This was the best he felt since Curri and Wanna died. He liked it.

The sun was up when he heard it, “Wham.”

He shot to his feet. Cara did the same.

He then heard the sound of Men. This was not the Season. Why was Man in his forest with killing sticks now?

“Arf…arf” he also heard in the distance.

“Dogs,” he cried out. He looked around.

“Take your fawns and find someplace to hide,” he told Cara. “Man is in the forest.”

“I know a place,” he said. “What about Guan?”

He quickly ran over to the large deer who was only now getting up. He looked stiff, but better than before.

“Can you run?” he asked “Man is in the forest.”

“I cannot run, but I can walk,” Guan said.

“Go with your sister and hide. I need to warn the herd, now go,” he ordered.

The walked off. He headed toward the herd male meadow. It be the first-place Man would go. There was no clanging this time or sound of many Man machines. He ran until he was only a few lengths from the Meadow. He took a deep breath.

“MAN!” he bellowed out. He took another deep breath and yelled out again. At least there was no deer standing in the meadow

That was the best he could do so he turned and started running back toward the hill Wanna, Curri, and he shared. He reached it and started to climb. He ran upwards and hid in the berry bushes near the opening at the top of the hill. There he stayed still and waited. A short while later he heard the yelping of the dogs as they got closer. Then he heard the noise of Men speaking. There were several of them and they were approaching. As they got closer he heard the dogs start to yelp louder. They might have picked up his scent. He heard the dogs running toward his hill. Then it sounded like the dogs were trying to climb hill.   He heard their yelping getting louder. Dogs would have no trouble in finding him. The he heard a Man yell out loudly and the dogs went back to their masters and moved away from him.  For now, he was safe.

It was only a short time later the dogs started to yelp again.  This time they were louder. They were chasing something away from his hill. The yelping got stronger, then off in the distant he heard at least one dog cry out in pain.

“Wham…Wham…Wham,” he heard nearby.

He hoped that was not Guan and Cara. Sometime later he heard more sounds from the killing sticks. This time it came from the doe’s clearing. The dogs were quieter, but the noise of the killing sticks continued until the greater light nearly set. He then heard the Men and come close to his hill again. As before he heard the dogs start to come up the hill, only this time there were no shouts from the Men. He heard the dogs continue up the hill and he realized they were coming up after him. He got up and started to move down the other side of his hill. He had just reached the open top of his hill when he turned and saw one dog enter the same open space he was in.

The dog was black and white color and suddenly started to run toward him. At least this dog was alone. There was no choice now, he had to fight. He lowered his head and ran straight at the dog He felt something hit the still tender skin of his rack. There was pain from his rack and he heard the dog yell out loud in pain. The dog flew to the side and hit the ground and lay still. A moment later two more dogs appeared nearby. Both dogs came into the clearing and just started to bark loudly. He heard other dogs approach and there was now the heavy hoof pounding of many Men getting closer. He turned quickly to run the other way and was almost immediately confronted by two other dogs. He had dogs on both sides of him. They were all howling like mad.

If he stayed where he was, he was dead and he knew it. He put his head down and ran toward the first pair of dogs he saw. They tried to jump on his back. He caught one of them in his skin covered rack and threw him to the side with a squeal of pain. He kept going straight ahead. As he went through the tress sudden right in front of him he saw a group of Men several lengths away. They had come up the hill too. He went to turn around, but the three other dogs were now chasing him. The Men must have seen him because they raised their killing sticks. He panicked and lunged forward almost blindly. There were small Men and large Men all together. He charged through them. He felt himself hitting one of the Men. The impact stunned him. He staggered but kept his feet and slammed into another Man. He jerked his head to the side and felt the weight of the Man come off him. What happened after that he did not know. He ran past them as fast as he could toward the trees at the bottom of his hill.

“WHAM!” he heard behind him, but felt nothing.

All he could see were trees flying by him. He ran faster than he ever had and kept running until he felt ready to collapse onto the ground.  Behind him were the shouting of Men. His legs gave out and he fell into the small stream that ran from Artose’s hill.

“AHHH, AHHHH,” was all he could say as he tried to get air into his exhausted bodied.

He had never been that afraid in his life. It had happened so quickly. He had no idea what had happened. He knew he had struck two Men, yet he was still alive. He did not feel any pain. He tried to get up and found he had fouled himself like a small fawn. He could not believe he was still alive. With Man that close, a deer always died. He washed himself the best he could from the small stream. He could still hear shouting from his hill, but neither the dogs or Men sounded like they were getting any closer. He was still too exhausted to run, and his legs hurt. The top of his rack was also hurting.

He continued on to the doe clearing and looked around.  He did not see Cara or her fawns. He lay down at the edge of the clearing and tried to recover his strength. It was getting dark. Behind him he heard some strange bird with a loud high low call. He had not heard that before. Soon he could hear no more Man noises from behind him. He felt into a deep sleep and awoke as the lesser light as overhead. He waited near the doe clearing for the rest of the night and still did not see Cara. When he asked, the herd doe told him no one had seen her since yesterday. That made him more worried. He went back to Artose’s old hill and stopped.

“Guan…Cara,” he called out.

He waited and then bushes started to move. Out from the forest walked Cara and her two fawns. They did not seem hurt. He hurried up to them.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“I am just frightened,” Cara said. He could see her fawns were also shaking.

“Is Guan with you?” he asked.

Cara burst out crying. “No,” she sobbed

“What happen, I heard the killing sticks near here?”

“I do not know,” she continued to weep. “We were moving toward the doe clearing when we heard the dogs. We tried to run, but Guan could not. He told me and the fawns to run away. He would get the dogs to follow him since he could not run. We ran until we got to the edge of the forest and then hid in the wood. It was awful. Man went into the meadow with his dogs. Man used the dogs to frighten some of the birds. When they tried to fly away, Man used their killing sticks on them. There were many Men, both tall and short. I do not know how many birds they killed. Then as the greater light started to fade, they stopped and went back the way they came. Then I heard the dogs bark again and another killing stick. I waited until it was dark and decided to come back here to find Guan.”

“I have not seen him,” he told her. “Man chased me off my hill and almost killed me. I am not sure what happened, but I have never been so close to Man before. I am alive, but I do not know why.”

“I am afraid Guan had been hit,” Cara told him.

“If he was dead we would see signs of it. I do not smell death around here. Usually when Man kills a deer, there is blood and the smell like when you empty yourself. I never saw, smelled or heard anything.”

“He turned around and once again bellowed into the wood,” GUAN.” There was no reply.

They searched the area, he found some blood with Guans scent, but no other sign of him. After sending Cara back to the doe clearing, he followed the path the Men had taken back to his hill. He smelled the scents of many Men, but no Guan. Maybe Man took Guan with them. He went to the meadow of the herd males and was immediately called by two deer. One was Certist and the other a three-season male called Lakco.

He went over to them and he could tell they were concerned about something. “Is anything wrong?” he asked.

“Lakco saw something very strange,” Certist told him.

“When the Men and dogs came, I hid in my usual place in the woods. Just before the greater light set I heard Man and dogs come back into the meadow. What was unusual was they were carrying two Men. They stopped in the meadow and put the two Men they were carrying on the ground. Nothing happened for a while and then there was a strange bird call that went from high to low. I never heard anything like it.”

“I heard it too,” he told Lakco.

“We all heard it,” Centist told them. “Go on.”

Lakco nodded and continued his story. “Other Men then came and they were carrying something. They put the Men lying on the ground into it and then carried them off. Then all the Men left the meadow.”

“I think maybe two of the Men were hurt,” Centist added. “Men are not carried, they walk.”

That started to make sense to him. “Yes, I think they were hurt,” he told them. “Man came and I think Guan is gone. They also chased me on top of my old hill.”

“Guan gone?” Centist repeated.

“I think so,” he said and then told them the rest of the story.

“You fought Men,” Lakco said in amazement. “No deer has ever done that and lived.”

“I do not know why I am alive,” he told them. “I was more panicked than anything. I did not fight them as much as ran into them. I did not intend to fight Man, it just sort of happened.”

“I have never heard of a deer that was that close to Men and lived,” Centist said. “What do we do now?”

He thought about it for a moment. “Everyone here needs to stay alert. If you see any sign of Man coming, go into the deep woods, especially if Man has dogs. Tell all the herd males.”

“Yes, herd leader,” both Lakco and Centist said together.

There were several days of quiet in which nothing much happened. Guan just disappeared from the forest no one ever saw him again. Just what happened to him, he had no idea, but he was sure Guan was gone. That just left him. He went back to living on the long hill.  Some of the herd males lived there also, but none of them bothered him. Then one day, it happened again.

“Clang…Clang…Clang,” and again the whole Man thing repeated.

By now he was sure every deer in the forest knew what to do. He stayed in the long hill and waited. Just like before, just after the greater light was overhead it started. He expected a few sounds of the killing stick, but instead he heard something different. The wind blew scents of dogs, many dogs. He heard the sounds of many Men calling out. This was much louder than before. He went to a place he could look into the herd male meadow and what he saw frightened him as nothing before. Instead of a few Men walking, he saw many more Men, in fact more Men than he had ever seen in the forest before. He saw the dogs run into the tress on both sides of the meadow. He saw many Men going into both parts of the forest. Soon the sounds of the killing sticks started

Instead of a few sounds of the killing sticks he heard many more than he had ever heard before. Man was hunting in the forest in greater numbers than he had seen in the past. Occasionally he saw some of the herd males chased into the open. They did not get far before being killed by Man. Man seemed determine this time not to kill a few deer. From the number and the sounds, Man looked like he wanted to kill every deer in the forest. Soon there were similar noises from the clearing with the doe. Many, many, killing stick sounds came from there. There were more sounds of killing sticks than he had ever heard before. Then something happened that really bothered him. Instead of taking any dead deer away, Man left all the deer exactly where they died. He was not interested in burning and eating them. Man just wanted to kill every deer he could find. The sounds of the hunt continued until the greater light set. Then all the Men went home leaving the dead behind them.

As soon as he was sure Man had gone, he came down from his hill. He slowly walked into the meadow of the herd males and looked. The dead lay everywhere. He did not want to know who they were. He had no idea what to do. It was like he was walking in a dream. He could not believe this was happening and yet it was. He walked on and looked.

“YOU!” someone shouted. “You did this.”

He turned and looked and there was Centist and two other herd males. The three of them walked up to him. “You did this,” Centist repeated.

He was shocked. “I did this, I killed no one.”

“No one except Delac and two Men,” Certist shouted at him. “You hurt or killed those Men and the other Men came to kill us because of that. You are responsible.”

“You are crazy,” he told him. “I ran to save my life. I ran into two Men, yes, but I do not think I killed them.

“Then why this?” Centist said. “Man never hunted like this before. This time Man did not want our meat, Man wanted us all dead. Why, because you hurt Man and now Man will hurt us back. Do you know how many deer died today? Most of the herd males are dead. If they are not lying out here, they are lying in the forest.”

“Not just here,” a female voice called out. “Man came and killed many doe and even fawns. Even Rurri, my daughter.”

He looked, it was Cara. She only had one fawn with her.

Cara looked at him with a hateful stare. “Many doe are dead. Man just killed them and let them lie there. This was not hunting, this was just killing. Now Guan is also dead. Every deer you have even been close to is dead including Artose, the senior males, your own mates and fawns, my brother, and now my daughter. You are not a herd leader, you are the bringer of death to this forest. Go and leave us in peace.”

“Yes GO!” Certist shouted at him. “We do not want you any longer.”

Now he was getting angry. “You blame this on me,” he shouted. “That is foolish.”

“No, it is not,” Certist said.

By now he saw other deer started to gather around him. Mostly herd males, but a few doe. All of them were getting closer to him

“Yes go” another male yelled. “All of my friends are dead because of you.”

“Go,” a doe called.

He started to feel them press against him. He would not put up with this. He turned violently kicking out and clearing a space around him. He then pushed his way to the front of the deer and then turned and faced them. He was getting bitterly angry. Not only did they now not want him, they blamed him for the death of all these deer. He got out in front of the herd and lowed his rack.

“You think you can attack me,” he called out. “I am not herd leader around here for my looks. I am the strongest deer of all of you. You want me gone. Very well, whoever wants to take my place can come up right now and challenge me.”

“You are stronger,” Certist said, “But you are also wrong. Yes, you can beat us and you can remain herd leader because of your strength just like Helscom did. You brought Man here with your actions. Every deer that has been close to you is dead, even your two mates. You are bad to have around. Now go, the herd tells you, you are not wanted.”

He looked around. “I do not see the herd here. I see a few frighten deer who is blaming what Man did on a deer that was no part of it. Your blame me for the deaths of my family and my friends. You even compare me with Helscom. That is an insult that I will not accept. Be thankful I do not treat you like Delac. If you want me gone, then here is what you should do. Tomorrow night, call the herd together and ask them. If the entire herd wants me to go, I will go. I will not stay where I am not wanted. Now get out of my way unless you want to see other reasons why I am herd leader.”

With that he turned and walked through the many deer around him taking note of no one. He crossed the meadow and headed toward the long hill.

He did not even look back.

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