Ket's audition for second-in-command of the Point Splinter herd. Her strategies may get her beat all to hell, but they work, by golly.
Spring, Year 754 of the New Age
Windborne, The Point
The stag had paused to drink at a fresh spring, immersing himself up to his belly in the cool water to escape the cloying humidity of the swamp. The marshlands had been unforgiving, and his muscles burned from the effort it had taken to traverse the knee-high mud. He let out a long sigh and closed his eyes in order to savor the moment; not only had he found a moment’s peace to relax before the next leg of his journey, his mission had also been a success! He had not only located the does’ splinter herd, but had a fairly good gauge of what their numbers were. The King would be pleased.
A rustle in the foliage brought him to attention immediately. The swamps could sometimes play tricks on those unfamiliar with its nuances, but he was all but certain he had heard movement.
He cut his recovery time short and made haste to get himself out of the pool, splashing his muscled frame onto the bank. Without even shaking the water from his dark pelt, he made off at a trot. The swamp would give way to a dry plain soon enough, where he’d be able to really open up some speed.
There was another rustle, and this time the stag was certain he was being pursued.
The ground hardened beneath his hooves, and he allowed himself a smile. He was home free; there wasn’t a Fawnling in all of the five kingdoms that could match his fleetness. He tucked his hindquarters beneath him and broke into a lope as soon as the trees thinned out onto the dry plains.
… And didn’t make it more than three strides before the doe blocked his path.
“I can’t let you leave.” She enunciated simply, drawing her small body up into a tight stance.
The stag knew her at once. The comically huge ears gave her away. “Ket.” He spat venomously, brandishing his impressive rack like the weapon it was. “So you ARE a traitor. We had all hoped you’d just gone crazy enough to off yourself.” He took a breath and smiled toothily at the sooty little doe before him.
Ket frowned at him disapprovingly and held her ground. “Fighting me is a useless gesture. You’ll lose.”
The stag didn’t even have the grace to laugh before he charged, looking to skewer her on the sharp tines of his antlers. She made a wild leap out of his path, but wasn’t quick enough to avoid him entirely. The newly formed gash across her hindquarters bled freely, rivulets of viscous blood already draining down her leg. Ket rewarded the stag with a swift kick to the ribs before he could turn around for another rush.
The two Fawnlings met again with the impact of flesh against flesh, their teeth and hooves seeking to rip their opponents open. When they parted an eternity later, the two were panting furiously and torn to bloody ribbons. Things were looking dire for the small sooty doe, who appeared defeated despite the furious look in her eye.
“Let me pass and I won’t kill you.” The stag hissed between blood-spattered teeth, a look of triumphant superiority on his handsome face. “You’ve been beaten. I’ve won.”
“I’ve been beaten.” Ket admitted, her purple eyes boring daggers into the stag.
“… But I haven’t lost. I just had to keep you busy long enough for them.”
The foliage behind the stag rustled, and the grim footfalls of a dozen Point Splinter does resonated clearly through the heavy air.
+2 to any stat, +1 exp