Winter's Fury
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Author Topic: Winter's Fury  (Read 425 times)

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Winter's Fury
« on: May 25, 2020, 01:20:46 PM »
Badgerlock was not much of a storyteller, but that didn't mean he lacked respect for the art form -- it didn't mean he lacked knowledge of what it meant to tell a story, and the importance of doing so. And so when he was asked to tell one, he hesitated just a little bit, his shoulders rolled, his expression went resigned....but he nodded, and settled in, and went quiet for a moment as he struggled to come up with the right words.

"Once there was a buck -- or, really, maybe he was more of a colt -- who thought that all the swamp's problems were carried on his shoulders, and that somehow, he held the key to solving them." Something settled in his voice as he told the story, Nighteyes shifting at his side, slowly folding himself up at Badgerlock's feet to wait out the rest of this tail. In doing so, he provided a warm, comfortable reasurrance against heavy hooves. Badgerlock only shot him the briefest look before he settled fully into his story.

____________

The swamp's problems were his own, and he decided this because of two things: the dreams that sometimes plagued him at night, nothing like the straightforwardness of the one that named him, and the word of a...a friend who thought he could achieve anything. Perhaps his friend's words were meant to encourage him to find his own path, but instead this buck took them to mean he had a great destiny that he had to find, follow, complete. There was a great task he had to achieve, before he could find peace.

The probem, of course, was that he had no idea what the task was. His friend couldn't help him, and his friend was flighty anyway; a fool who followed his own business, and was rarely around long enough to offer much more than a cryptic statement. He was a fool --

this was said fondly, though, without judgment

- and fools make good friends, but kin learn either quickly or painfully not to rely on them.

What this buck needed was guidance. He needed a leader with a purpose of his own, someone with a great destiny he could step in to take on as his own, a master who could use him as a tool to enact the change he was destined to make happen. He needed the head of a great tribe.

So he set off across the swamp, young and sharp and determined, and explored what it had to offer. He spoke to tribes that fought to bring balance and neutrality; he spoke to tribes that wanted to bring joy and excitement; he spoke to tribes that just wanted to feed the world around them, to leave kin with bellies full and satisfied. But none of these were what he was looking for, which was simply someone who could tell him how to live his life, who could guide him so that he didn't have to guide himself.

Not until he found his way into the deepest, darkest part of the forest, to a place where Winter fought with Summer; a place that was harsh but lush, with a ruler more than happy to take a new tool under his wing.

And so he became a sharp-edged thing, a tool used to cut.

Perhaps he couldn't find his destiny in shaping the swamp, but he found one instead in shaping this small corner of it. When the Winter seized power, he was there to make the transition smooth. He was there to keep a certain kind of order, to make sure no one stepped out of line or stepped into thteir territory. He fought more than he did not, until he became a buck deep-grooved with scars, both on the outside and the inside. They were too many to count, and they did more damage than could be seen.

Time passed. He grew into a buck. His dark coat was streaked through with the marks of what he'd done, and what had been done to him, and even young as he was, he started to grow weary. A buck can only fight for so long before it sets into his bones, and he wanted to lay down the battle, or at least take it back for himself.

A broken tool, though, isn't much use to any master. Winter wouldn't tolerate a weapon that wouldn't cut, and wouldn't easily let go of something that was his. He had the option to mend his buck, to sharpen an edge which had grown dull, or to make sure he'd never be of use to anyone else, either.

The latter was easier. The buck, despite his brutal uses, was still naive in enough ways that he trusted Winter to love him. Winter, despite his gentle moment, was still brutal enough to smash someone to pieces -- as Winter well should be, perhaps. And he kept a plot of poison, mushrooms which thrived even in the cold seasons of his power.

Perhaps he did care more for his tool than either of them thought. If the cut to the buck's throat had been a little deeper, packed a little thicker with poison, it would have killed him. As it was, it drove him down into a deep sleep, until the height of Winter's power melted away into spring again.

And it left a mark.

____________

It sounded like a fairytale; it was, perhaps, his way of separating himself from a more complicated past. As he finished telling it, Badgerlock lifted his jaw to show off the angry old scar along one side of his throat.
(icorn by blinded by silence!)