Collab with *TigressDesign
: sketch and background, I did the lines and colouring. Damn this is so overdue XD
Summer, Year 756 of the New Age
Windborne, The Spit
Man, I Feel Like a ManSummer was intolerable for the big doe. The thick muscle she built over summer was a layer of insulation she did not need on the isle of Windborne, a place known for its intense summer heat. Her pelt was charcoal-dark like the cinders of brush after a fire, and it soaked up the summer heat greedily. Étaín spent a lot of her summer days wading in the surf, and sheltering under the mangroves of Point Danger. Spring and Summer were quiet seasons on Point Danger. Rarely did a stag bother the herd of does outside of rut but there was always one intrepid soul who had to just come and take a peek.
Nobody would call Étaín
Above is É's point of view, go and read!
The ever present summer heat beat down from above, and had Tor paid better attention in his lessons he’d have summoned something resembling a breeze to cool the sweat streaks beginning to mar his mahogany hide. He’d spent a lot of the morning bounding and expelling excess energy, but now it was simply too hot to do much more than meander at a more reasonable pace. Sure, he could have found a tree to rest under, but with no company save a grumpy looking koala that was no fun either.
Dark tipped ears twitched at the sound of something glorious trickling over rocks. Water. Haven creek. Skidding only half controlled down a steep shaly slope, dodging immature gums as he went, he soon found himself in a deep valley beside the granite-stone creek. Not bothering to stop at the edge, he promptly dunked himself into a pool beneath a small waterfall. Bubbles rose about his ears and tickled his stomach, and he was nearly nose to nose with a startled fish before he rose towards the surface again.
Throwing his mane back off his face, he paddled to the edge and heaved himself out again, shaking the excess moisture from his coat. Rich reds and browns glistened in the sunlight, and he was much cooler. To continue in search of those pesky does that liked to camp out beyond the Spit.
The terrain did not allow him any faster than a bouncy trot, but at least his antlers would not snag. At 6, they were nothing too impressive yet, but Tor was taking no chances. They were still in velvet after all. The surrounding environment slowly changed as he approached the coast - eucalypt giving way to paperbark as the soil turned to sand, and dry grey-green grasses swayed in the wind. There was at last a breath of wind, smelling strongly of salt, and he knew he was close.
Pace quickening slightly - or maybe it was just an additional eagerness in his step - he rounded a particularly large boulder to stop dead. Some ways off there was a doe, at least he thought it was a doe. There’d be no stags out here, but she was indeed a sight. Tall - very tall - and dark with stunning patches of white. She might not have been the picture of beauty, but there was some allure to her to be sure.
“Ho there fair maiden!” he called out cheerfully, not so foolish as to think approaching her immediately would be the wisest course of action. He very much wanted to - he wished to get a better look at her afterall, and she a better look at him. But you could not make more than one first impression, and he did not want any doe to think he was hasty at anything.
The doe’s reply was less than encouraging. “Fair maiden?” Her voice was more akin to a growl, and she looked none too happy to see him. Tor could not understand why, he was young but full of so much promise. All the other young does back in the main herd were hard enough to get through. He was bay, like Duathail himself, touched with the whitest snow. Was that not handsome? He’d flattered her, she could at least flatter him back.
“You are a maiden are you not?” She was, at least unless some beast had gotten ahold of the poor stag’s manhood.
He continued to get closer so he might not shout at her - kind of him, surely - however she bunched her not inconsiderable muscles and pinned her ears. “The Point is off limit to stags. Return to your mother, colt, or she’ll be one son less.”
Tor pouted, but was not particularly deterred. Yet.
“Well that’s not very fair! I thought you does were all about equality,” he huffed, puffing his chest out. Despite what his actions might suggest, the stag was not stupid, just somewhat lacking in common sense.
She looked none too pleased at that. Tor wondered whether bantering words would even be worth his time - she seemed more like the physical type. Nothing wrong with that. “And the day I find a stag that is my equal, then that is the day a stag might set foot on Point Danger. Now leave.”
“I might stand out here in this heat equally as long as you - maybe even longer. What were the words of our Kingdom’s foundation? Freedom for all? Am I not free to walk on our hard won lands?” he replied, though casting a cursory glance at her threatening horn. It was rather monstrous, even in velvet. It was not branching like his own, seeming more like a very long pointy skewer. Tor did not want to have any holes punched into his hide today. Not when it was looking so glossy in the summer sun.
“Since you have not won this land, I will not let you pass unless you can win it from me, and you won’t win that right today,” she replied in the same menacing tone, which Tor ignored. If she was going to attack him and risk her velveteen horn she’d have done it already, or so he guessed. She did not look like one to suffer fools. Good thing he was not a fool then.
“More’s the pity, I did so want to seek the dangerous secrets of the Point,” he replied slyly, deciding that though she was no classic beauty he would not come all this way to simply turn tail again. “I guess I’ll have to stay here then. All day. You don’t mind do you, maiden who refuses to be called fair?”
There was a flash of momentary rage in her eyes, and he wondered whether he’d pushed too far. She did have quite the attitude on her - he liked fire in a doe. A little spirit never went astray. She did not spring at him however, and he relaxed his unconsciously tensed muscles. He was foolhardy perhaps, never stupid.
Instead of grunting some reply, she moved away, as if to ignore his presence completely. Had the tide been out he might have made a mad dash for it, just to see whether she could keep up with him. Tor liked to run, with the wind in his mane. Had he known the doe’s aversion to getting wet he might have risked it also, but in this respect he was clueless.
He contented himself with wandering a little closer, not that he was out of earshot in the slightest, while maintaining a safe distance for her temper. The day was not completely at a loss - here he had a doe with nowhere to go, and as prickly as she seemed, it was better company than an equally prickly echidna.
“So tell me a little about yourself,” he began, not truly expecting an answer. That was fine, he could talk all day even if his audience was less than forthcoming with a response. “No? Here, I’ll start us off. My name is Tor, I assume named thus for the high craggy places my mother and father liked to romp, or thunder, as you know how the herds are about their weather names. My hobbies include long runs on the beach, mountain climbing, exploring and wombat racing. Oh, and talking to un-fair maidens such as yourself. Now you try.”
As the tide level continued to rise, Tor watched with amusement as each time the waves lapped at the fluff on her feet she’d take a begrudging step closer. Closer was good - providing it wasn’t too close too fast. She truly was no attractive beast, not in the true sense of the word, but she was at least amusing. And very... different. There were certainly no does like her back in Westhaven. Her horn made an unsightly mess of her forehead, and she was bulky in all the wrong places, but her coat was pretty? She was a doe, this was fact, and being the only one around made her instantly more attractive.
“Come now, nothing? I know you are not mute, though you do a very good impression of a stag. It is a most commendable trick. You aren’t so rude as to deny me your name, oh un-fair maiden, when I have given you my own?” He leaned as close as he dared, eye to eye with her atop the small rise.
She bunched and leapt up suddenly, and he wisely danced back on his toes to try and maintain the distance. Fixing him with a glare that could melt the fur off a dingo, she growled slowly, “I think it’s best that you leave now.”
He clearly picked up the malice in her expression and her tone, but he had achieved little here. Such a waste... “Come now, there’s no need to be like that. I was only making friendly conversation. Don’t you does like that either? Maybe I won’t be exploring the dangers of the Point after all, they must be awfully dull if you have nothing to say about them.”
That was the line that should not have been crossed. He knew it before the words left his mouth, but it was not in his nature to back off when he knew he should. He was half ready for her attack, and flinched back enough so her teeth did not get a grip on anything but air - thankfully. His nose was already scarred from a fight the previous season, and his neck as well, he did not need to add to the collection. He sprang back, powerful haunches bunching and propelling him forward. He did not run away as such, stopping some distance from her and looking back.
“Till next time then, my un-fair maiden!” And then he did bound off tail flagging, offering a very nice view of his very white rump.
Étain (c) *TigressDesign
Tor & Fawnlings (c) *Ehetere (Myself)