Monday, August 19, 2013

Lord of the Herd Sires

She walked among them and tended to their Young in times of strife. She collected their down as it shed during the molt. When the seasons changed, she followed after them as they migrated to the lower lands.  And ultimately risked the human skin she walked in during their Spring Crossings and return to the Winter County; when the waters ran angry with thawing ice.

During her time upon EeDellon, she lived and breathed with them, but I needed now to teach her of one's death.  And I gave to her the vision of the last of his breath. 

Perrie Stevens settled herself upon the overstuffed chair, while I gathered the images required of me.  As her breathing became concentrated and shallowed, the storyline formed just behind her eyes:

Irryilay became agitated as the agents of his pending death moved closer.  He paced through the trees at the forest's edge.  His bugle pierced the silence of the new day.  Steam billowed from his mouth; streaming into the chilled morning air. He sensed an unease as he bolted from the trees.  With his tail up, and another sound of alarm, Irryilay charged at the females of his band, forcing them to scatter.  Bewildered the calves and yearlings followed after their mothers.  He snorted. And trotted up and down the ridge line.  He continued to dispatch them from their comfort, and into the protection of the surrounding trees.

Irryilay paced the meadow. His footfalls muffled by the dry grasses.  With his band out of immediate sight, and safe behind him, he stood finally in silence; surveying his land.  The growing stillness alarmed him. There was no birdsong.  Nor even a sound of their wings in flight. The was no chirp of a Chipmunk. Nor even the flutter of a grasshopper disturbed by his might. No sound save his own breath, and the beat of his heart.

Long snorts of steamed breath trailed upon the frosted air. Then came a whistle from the nothingness.  A sound alien to his ears.  And from seemingly nowhere darkened figures rushed, from all around, to surround his escape.  Irryilay turned around, and around.  Looking upon those whom refused him passage. While they had the look of the Valley Tribes, that is not what he saw in their eyes. Nor what he sensed of the energy around him. 

From the nothingness again, came that alien sound, and an overwhelming dread overtook the lord of all herd sires.  Panic swelled as the humans stood motionless.  Something lingered, but remained hidden.  Irryilay reared and stomped.  And upon his notion to charge, there came a thunderous sound.  Irryilay fell upon the ground in agony. A searing stench filled his nostrils. He writhed in pain.  All the while not knowing its cause. 

"Take the horns from his head!" A craggy disembodied voice commanded.

Nets were thrown and secured to the ground. Irryilay bugled. He breath billowed. An axe was raised and then split into his skull. Blood gushed and flowed into his eyes. His scream filled and echoed upon the air; staccatoed by the pain. A second axe rose, shimmering with the light of the Sun, and then it fell to strike him dead.

But the agents of his death lacked finesse in this kind of deed. It took two more blows to separate the massive racks from the four-legged's bone. But once yanked free and clear, as quick as the darkened figures came, they were just as mysteriously disappeared.

In the cool of a now quiet morning, certain of the Does filtered back out of the forest.  They called to their sire, but no response was heard.  They stomped and hesitated to move closer. Steam rose up from the great sire's gaping wounds, and his crimson blood flowed over the trampled Autumn grasses to soak deep into the earth.  The silence was now solemn.  The loss would be felt forever.  But only decades later would I allow it to be mourned.

NOTE: See the Companion Piece: Lost and Found -- Puzzle Pieces

Blessings, LL Abbott
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Excerpted storyline from The Bead [WIP]
Caged Heart--The Last Heartbound / The Forbidden World Chronicles ~L.L. Abbott
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