Featuring King Silv
and Stormcaller Tzilan
Summer, Year 761 of the New Age
A fortnight had passed, allowing the rush and thrill of a new king in the herd die down. Silv had kept to his “duties” since the first night of being crowned. Summer was brutally hot to the stag, so he did many of his visitations in the early mornings, or in the late evenings. The moon had become a close friend to the extensively hairy stag over the many seasons that he lived. A hot blazing ball of fire was unavoidable though. Silv had the… honor… or at least he presumed the honor, of meeting with the Stormcaller at high noon.
Standing below a large pine tree the king shook out his thick coat. He could feel it was matted, clumps of sweat, sand, and some stray twigs were tangled in the hair due to his romp in the early morning with some fawns who were being watched after by adoptive does. Thinking of the small fawns, he smiled. How, in some ways, he longed to be a father. Silv felt he had the temperament to be a good father, and even though he was now King, he would have time to dedicate to a family. Of course he had to have a doe to call a mate to have a family. So at the present time he would be waiting for a family.
Sighing and shaking his thoughts away, quick strides carried the king off to a small stream, where he sank into the cool waters. It ran down from the top of Westhaven, leaving the water clean and clear. The refreshing cold feeling that soaked into Silv’s hair was so relaxing. He could almost feel the grime wash off of him. Laying down in the water the stag rolled some against the rocks in the water to scrub the inlaid dirt. It had been two weeks. Two weeks, and he was already needed to meet with the Stormcaller. Silv sighed as he kept scrubbing. Either, he’d done something wrong already, which he couldn’t think of what he’d done outside of his duties, except maybe visiting the soldiers, to watch them train. Or he was being told that a Queen had been chosen, meaning his role would change even more. Of course it could be something totally different. Silv had no idea what was to happen at this meeting of the two leaders of the herd.
His worries melted away though with the flow of the water as he kept rubbing himself clean, wanting to at least be presentable when he met with Tzilan. Groaning gently from the relief this bath brought him, the soaking wet king got lost in the thoughts of flowing water, and thought of nothing else.Tzilan
He knew nothing of the King.
This stag had appeared from nowhere, it seemed, striding in front of the herd and calling them to support him. He asked for power, asked to be seen and heard and Tzilan had listened. The herd was still fractured, still bleeding from the events of the war, and they needed a King. They needed a stag who could stand there and say he was one of them, but he had the ear of the Stormcaller; that he would help decide who might be Queen.
In the great heat of the day, that problem weighed heavily on the lean stag’s mind. The soldiers from the Point and Cape would never accept a doe from the Main Herd as their leader, he knew that much; but since Étain could no longer face leading and Ket had sought peace among the Stormbringers, no other had stepped forwards. It was as though the rank and file were in mourning for their leaders - leaders who were not dead, but leaders who were gone all the same.
Yet with all this, with all of these thoughts and the great weight of the wind upon his back, the stag appeared calm as he walked towards their meeting place. His mane and tail mirrored the weather around them, they were soft and white and trailed behind in the still air; his face was still and tranquil. There were other things on his mind as he drew closer to the meeting place, the questions of who was this Silv and, more important, why had he sought to become King?
He was a Stormbringer; now a holy role, but even before, even for the Main Herd a role of great responsibility. He had left them; left the others whom he had worked so closely with for so many years, and now… now here he was, standing in the cooling waters of a river, grooming himself.
It was so incongruous and counter to his earlier worries that Tzilan found himself rooted to the spot with surprise.
“King Silv,” he murmured, watching the stag. “It is hot today, is it not?”Silv
By the time a voice penetrated the king’s thoughts, he was standing again, doing some grooming by scratching with his teeth, though still standing in the cool waters. Ears swiveled and pricked at the call of his name. King Silv.
Well at least they addressed him as Silv, and not his given name. Shifting his head to look back over his shoulder at who called, most definitely a stag, slight shock registered on the hairy stags face. Oh… I guess it’s noon…
was all Silv could register at the sight of the Stormcaller before him.
Stepping out of the water, and in a quick moment, not wanting to be dripping wet while they spoke, he called to the wind silently and had it circle his body in twisting motions, taking away most of the water, but leaving the deeply rooted hairs still wet, keeping him cool. Forcing himself to stay composed, but still himself, Silv gave a gracious nod and slight bow to the Stormcaller.
“Stormcaller Tzilan. Yes, it is very hot, this has been a rather dry summer out on the plains. Thankfully not so much here at Westhaven.” Once again the worries and questions of why Silv had to meet with Tzilan so soon after his coronation came back. Why
were they meeting? Nodding to the older stag Silv stepped into the shade of a tree near by and motioned that Tzilan could join him.
“May I ask what gives me the honor of meeting with you today?” Silv wanted to quip up, on this hot day
but he felt that he had better keep the snarky remark to himself. Afterall, he was crowned King, but he knew the extent of his role, and he was sure if Tzilan really wanted him gone, he would find a way. Silv was at a disadvantage here. He may be King, politically he could possibly be higher than the Stormcaller, but he didn’t know that for sure, so he wouldn’t push it, but also he was the youngest. 11 ages he had lived. He was 44 seasons
old. Many of the stags he had fought for this position were seven to ten years his senior. How he won, he didn’t know, but he fought with his mind, and his magic. Force hadn’t been needed, so he didn’t use it. Maybe that said something more about me than I thought
the stag considered.
Feeling refreshed in the shade, feeling the cool water in his hair slowly drying from the natural air, Silv looked at the other a bit closer. He was a lean stag. Wiry, slightly shorter than Silv, and muscled. Many stags had a similar build to Tzilan, and Silv wondered why his family, meaning he and his father, were so… large. Silv was almost as tall as a pure Windborne could get, and he was hairier than many stags in the herd. It was nice in winter, and it made him look more threatening to anyone he had to fight, but there were few others he’d met like him. He still found the cloud like mane and tail of the other rather ridiculous, and it proved nothing to him of any god, but of a certain moment where one became part of their magic. It was something Silv strived for, not to look like the Stormcaller, but to be close to his magic, and to understand it. Yet, that was something many old Stormbringers had wanted. In those few moments of thought, Silv waited for an answer of why he was summoned here.Tzilan
Tzilan followed the new King into the shade of the tree, ignoring Silv’s indication of permission and simply striding into the comforting coolness. He needed no permission from the soaking wet stag - he was the Stormcaller, touched by the wind itself. Though this pale stag was now King he was a youngster, he had not led countless stags and does through the horrors of war. To the former Splinter Alliance Silv was nothing but a stranger.
“I wished to know more about you,” Tzilan replied, calmly watching the stranger’s face. “You were a Stormbringer, yet you abandon your duties to become King. You are young, and yet I was told the members of the Main Herd respect you. Beyond this I know nothing of you.”
The golden stag turned his gaze away now, looking quietly back towards the herd as they grazed and milled in the sweltering summer heat. He had chosen Silv because of them, no other reason; this stag did not seem driven by violence, he had not fought for this position but simply spoken for it. He was respected by the young and the old, despite barely being into his prime.
“I bear you no ill will, Silv. But for us to work together, you cannot be a stranger to me,” he said, his soft voice almost a sigh as he turned back towards the King.
“So. Why? Why did you leave the Stormbringers?”Silv
It was not unnoticed by Silv that Tzilan made no notion of paying him mind. Chest tightening slightly, Silv tried to let it go. Never had he wanted to demand respect from anyone. He knew he’d have to prove himself, not only to this stag, who thought there was some god, but to all of the old alliance herd. Of course, he did have some friends from the old Point Danger, but he knew none from the crazy god praising herd of the Cape Splinter. Those were worries for later.
Instead Silv sighed, knowing he’d be looked down upon, so he just let it go for now, not wishing to argue over his respect, because what was really due to him?
“I know I’m young, and I’m sorry if me wishing to approach being King in a civil manner of words and not violence upset you, but I feel our herd has had enough tension and bloodshed for the time being.” Clipped words fell from Silv’s mouth. He remembered some Glenmore travelers from his younger days, and their proper speech, he’d learned to speak like them, and the crispness of their speech came through now.
“I did not truly abandon my duties, for a Stormbringer now is a religious position. That was not what I did before. It is hard to express to another why I chose to try for king, but it may help to know, that before I became a Stormbringer, I had wished to challenge Morfinwe for his kingship. The time never came, and so instead I became a Stormbringer. Still I waited… I had actually been days away from going to him, finally challenging him, when you surprised attacked us. I did not agree with many things of my old herd, particularly the unequal position of does.
“I had wanted to be king, then go out to you and Etain, asking for a moment to speak. I never figured you would have accepted my proposal then, and many in my herd would not have liked it, but it would have, maybe, saved many lives..”
Sighing, Silv paused, not looking at Tzilan while he spoke. Instead, he looked up Westhaven, remembering those days that seemed so long ago, and yet so close.
“It was hard for me to decide to even stay with this new herd. I took several days to think it over. I knew there was only one way I could stay. I had to be the spokesperson for my people. I needed to know they were ok, that they would be taken care of…” Quick silence choked the king’s words. He could not, not yet anyways, tell of the loss he’d had of his mother, when his herd hadn’t watched out for her. He could not explain how he saw many forgotten, the old, the sick, the young and frail, left behind. It was not just his herd, but others. He’d heard it from travelers that the undesirable fawns were destroyed, forgotten, or lied about and left.
How could anyone understand that this young buck, who had no family to his name, could care so much about so many fawnlings whom he’d never physically met, but felt like he knew in his heart?
Thinking over the cruelties of the world, the king’s eyes had grown hard, losing their soft milky look. Instead they held a determination for justice, and hatred for the disrespect for life. Very few times did Silv seem so changed, but thinking about all the wrongs of the world always upset him.Tzilan
The Stormcaller sighed as the King spoke. Had this child no understanding? Did he think that the Allied herds wanted
violence? Perhaps he had been wrong to choose one so young. Perhaps he should have chosen one of the older stags who had lived through the war as warriors, who understood the pain and sacrifice that all
And to say the Stormbringers were simply a religious position? Had he not seen them standing upon the slopes of Sorghum Peak in the winter, holding back the storm that now raged upon the Cape and Point? Did he not see the Stormsingers running to bushfires in this dry summer heat to cool the air and calm the blaze?
He stared in silence at Silv for some time after the he had finished speaking.
“You are very young,” he said at last, before turning to look back to the herd. “You would have been what, seven, when the war began? You would not have stood a Winter on the Peak defending the herd by then. Perhaps you never truly understood.”
He was silent again for a time, but before the young King could reply he spoke again.
“None of us want more violence, Silv. I chose you because you did not fight; I chose you because you were
a Stormbringer and I thought you might have some understanding. Perhaps I was wrong.”Silv
Sighing, the large and hairy stag listened. Nothing he could say would make the other understand what he did
comprehend of war. His ears flicked up slightly at hearing Tzilan say he had been chosen, because he had not
fought for the position. But quickly again his ears fell at the older stag’s regret. The heat, even in the shade, began to soak into the young stag, and he felt no words that he could say would matter. Not now.
Large head swinging slowly, Silv looked down below into the clearing at the base of Westhaven. He could see fawns scuttling around their mothers; young bucks and does walking off, falling in love; he could see a mass of running fawnlings, probably soldiers training, in the distance; and he could see in the cool shade of some trees, the elders of the community. These were the people he had been given the charge of. To protect. To watch out for. To speak on behalf of. Silv could be a great orator someday, but he still needed to live life, to learn what to say. He still had time..
“You are right. I was barely over seven ages when the war started. I didn’t fight, I didn’t call the wind to protect the herd, I didn’t do many things. But, I had always been around for the travelers, and the outskirts of the herd, listening to them. No they weren’t asking me to petition for them, but they asked that I listened, so I could give an opinion. I became” a small chuckled came from the saddened stag, “a babysitter sometimes when a mother needed time alone. I became friends of those who had no one else. Then, then I became a Stormbringer. There I learned to work together with others, to listen, and react. My war stories, are one. Watching my father be killed in front of me, is the only one I hold. I don’t hold a grudge against the black stag who killed him. I didn’t like my father, but it did make me think, days later of course, how the others in the herd would deal with watching their family die before them…”
The stag sighed and looked to Tzilan, sure that the palomino stag didn’t care what he had to say.
“I can’t make decisions based on solely my experience. I wish to learn, and hear, from you, your warriors, my warriors, and our
elders. We are one herd now. It will take time for the lines to disappear, but they will. Whether I am at the head of the herd then or not, I want this herd, the Allied Herd, to thrive. I accept that I’m young, and that many think I’m incapable of this job. I wish to prove them wrong though. I wish to show you that you made the correct choice.”
Silv felt tired. Not from the heat, not from a long day, just from the strain of knowing that he could never win. That in his own mind, he would always fail at helping his herd. It aged his young face with a frown, something he used to never do.
“I’m also sorry for my choice of words earlier. I didn’t mean that you, or your herd had wished violence on anyone. I was stating what I thought then, and how I felt, just before the war, that not enough was being done to solve our problems… democratically. But words are tricky and sometimes, in another’s ears, they don’t hold the same meaning as the speaker intended.. But what do I know, I’m ‘very young’.” Shaking his head Silv looked back down to the herd below, oblivious to the conversation going on up above their heads.Tzilan
The lean stag nodded slowly as the new King spoke. Neither one of them wished for violence, but yet neither trusted the other - Tzilan had called this meeting to learn more about the shaggy youngster, but Silv had treated it as some kind of punishment or summons. Silv, it appeared, had no desire to learn more about the Stormcaller; he saw the Allied Herds as aggressors but he was trying, at least, to think of them in another way.
“You are young compared to all of us who had our children stolen by your former herd,” he said, slowly. “I think you, all of you who were lead by Fox and Morfindien, forget what was done to us too easily. You remember the fawns, you know they were treated well, but you did not see the bodies of those who did not survive the journey.”
He stopped then and took a heavy breath. He could not know that pain himself; Caelan and Illyrica had both survived, both were strong and well and now growing into their years. He knew well that there were those even from what had been the Cape herd that hated him for not saving their children. He knew they envied him for his living children, and still grieved the ones they had lost.
Silv had lost his father: Tzilan had no father to lose. He had left his mother and father at the Main Herd many, many years before; he had no idea if they were living or dead but did not care. All that mattered to him now was that this peace could be maintained. All that mattered was that the children could live their lives free and equal. Of all those that had lived through the war he had lost nothing but the chance to love a doe who, he felt sure, could not love him.
“I am glad that you wish to see the herd live in peace,” he said, burying the guilt and the hurt at lost love as deep as he dared. “That is all that should matter to any of us.”Silv
His head lowered at the mention of the fawns who had been stolen. His ears turned red, his tell tale sign of embarrassment. He felt shame from the stealing of fawns, but he was embarrassed by his lack of knowing it till he became a Stormbringer. Silv had not known that fawns were being kept at the base of his home. He hadn’t been around when they had been taken there. He’d actually been… Thinking it over he realized he’d been over by Point Danger when the fawns were taken. When he came back, it was late summer, and he hadn’t had contact with anyone. Not until he was brought into the rank of Stormbringer when he turned ten. Frowning at the memory, he recalled that shortly before he had come back, there had been an attempt to free the fawns, by a stag named Jeet. Silv had never met the stag, but he honored him for his act of valor. Silv had been appalled at the idea of stealing fawns, but there was nothing he had been able to do, he wasn’t even allowed to go down to the area where the fawns were kept.
Shaking those memories from his mind, Silv turned his attention back to the stag beside him, his last sentence only registering to him with the last few words. Looking at the other harder, Silv thought some. Why had this stag thrown away his home to go off into a herd that was on the brink of starvation?
Silv could not fathom a god to the wind. To him the wind was its own. Yes he could harold it to do many things for him, but still, the wind could never fully be mastered.
“So why did you leave the Main Herd? I don’t believe in a god, I’ll respect that you do, but I don’t want to know the reason of leaving for that. The Cape Splinter was starving weren’t they? Why did you risk it? Going there… had you not joined with the Point Danger… what would you have done if the starvation became too much?” It was a lot of questions, all in one in a way. There was no one question he could think of asking that would answer it all, so it all kind of, jumbled together into one.Tzilan
Tzilan kept his gaze fixed on the fawnlings of the Allied Herds when the new King asked why he had left. Why had he left, those years ago? He was chased out, chased by the very wind that he had been touched by, hounded by the misery and shame of failing to win the love of the doe he had worshipped almost since he was born. He had left because he was weak and because he was a coward; he ran because he did not have the strength to stand still.
Eyes closing, he inhaled deeply; it almost felt that he could still smell the hazy musk of her, the dreamy autumn scent of blossom and heat… his eyes flicked open and his head snapped back to look upon the King.
“I had many reasons,” he said, only the slightest waver in his calm voice. “It was many years ago.”
Blinking, he drew another deep breath, calming himself as much as he was able. He shook his head, ever so slightly, before he spoke again.
“I would have done anything to make sure they were fed. Just as I am sure you would for the herd you lead now.”Silv
Silv nodded, thinking to himself. Though he had not felt satisfied with the answer, he knew he could not force the other to say anything more. Silv felt sure if Tzilan had asked anything pertaining to anything with previous connections to the old herds, Alliance or Main, he wouldn’t say too much on specifics, feeling that what he had between specific individuals was his own business, and no one else’s except the other he had been with.
Sighing slightly Silv looked at the Stormcaller, his milky brown eyes calm once more.
“I hope as time goes on, we can learn to be more open to one another. We must be a leading example to our herd. If we learn to get past our differences for the sake of the herd, then they,” Silv paused and looked away from Tzilan and looked to the herd. “ They will slowly get past their own differences, leaving the herd in a better position to thrive.”Tzilan
Tzilan nodded as the new King spoke, his own gaze following Silv’s to look upon the newly Allied Herds. They were healing already, he knew; slowly, but surely, they healed. He had heard of old lovers reunited from the Point and the Main Herd, he had seen the kidnapped fawns thrilled to be reunited with friends they had made while in captivity.
“In time, King Silv,” he said slowly. “In time.”
The Stormcaller turned back to face the King now, the ghost of a smile creeping at his face.
“Thank you for meeting with me today. You are right, we must work together. This is simply our first step.”Silv
Silv looked back to Tzilan, saw the ghost of a smile, and felt a bit better. Maybe with time, just maybe it would all turn out ok. Sighing the stag gave a nod to the other and looked around them, at the ending summer, and what would soon be the change into autumn, one of Silv’s least favorite seasons.
“Thank you for wishing to take an initiative in erasing the lines.” Silv nodded and gave a gentle bow to Tzilan then righted himself and walked off, down the hill to the herd. Some fawns were scuttling at the bottom and Silv smiled when he reached them. He pawed at the ground in a play fight, but he was caught from behind by another fawn who bit his tail. Laughter erupted down below, and Silv glanced back up at Tzilan and smiled to the older stag, then went off with the youngsters, listening to them babble on and on.