“Early the next morning Rowtag gave me his decision, allowing me to enter Kanti’s trials so that I may have my chance to earn my right to be by her side. Even though I was still far from such a goal my heart raced with excitement, for I was at least one step closer. All I needed to do now was prove myself during the trials, and somehow manage to beat all who I might be set against.
Chogan was not fond of the announcement, and tried to talk Rowtag into changing his mind but he was not as good at convincing Rowtag to see things his way as Noshi was, though honestly, Noshi was probably the only one in the tribe that did have any way of influencing the stubborn wolf.
Before I knew it the trials began, and I found myself nervously waiting for my first fight to begin.”
Achak nervously follows behind Shiya as Shiya tries to make his way through the collections of warriors that were no less than half his size, Achak shaking his head as he looks at each of them over. “This was a mistake Shiya, everyone here is very capable of making you very dead. They are going to squash you and then you will be nothing but a mess on the ground.”
Shiya looks back to Achak with a frown. “You make me sound like a bug.”
“Look at everyone around you Shiya! You are a bug!” Shiya gives an annoyed grunt, Achak beginning to circle him now as he continued to talk. “It’s not just your size, Shiya you are kind and gentle without a mean or violent bone in your body! A warrior’s title is not what you should be trying to carry.”
“If I want to be with Kanti, I must be a warrior.”
Achak looks to the side. “Then Kanti is not for you! There are plenty of other girls in the village for you, ones that don’t force you to be something you clearly are not.”
Shiya holds his hand to himself. “I am a warrior, just like my father was.”
“Even if your father, was a warrior I bet you that he would never have thought that you would or ever should be a warrior.”
Shiya looks to the side, what Achak had said was true enough.
“Achak was right, my father had told me many times that I was not a warrior, that I would grow to be a healer, but my father was wrong, my path as a healer was severed the day I lost control and attacked my own people. One who has wounded and killed as many people as me could never be a healer, and if I could not be that then what else was there for me?
Achak would never understand, I could never admit to him that I had done such a horrible thing, and even if he did know it would not make him doubt me any less than he did right now.”
Noshi interrupts the two of them as he approaches, calling out to Shiya to get his attention. “Shiya, you must fight now.”
Shiya nods his head and he begins to follow Noshi, he looks back to Achak once more before going. “Despite yours and everyone else’s lack of faith in me, I’m going to win these trials.”
Achak sits upon the ground as he worriedly watches Shiya head off toward the center of the battle ground as he calls after him. “Please try not to die!”
“I’m not going to die!”
Shiya walks up to the open center of the gathering where the warriors were to fight before the chieftain and all others that had come to witness the event, all eyes on Shiya as he made his way forward, he standing out so sourly among the other warriors that it was impossible to ignore him.
Shiya comes to a stop as he stands where Noshi had directed him to, he slowly takes a moment to look over his competitor, he easily twice as big as Shiya.
Shiya looks past him towards the platform that Rowtag, Rowtag’s wife, Kanti and the elders of the village sat on. Rowtag staring at him with his usual frown while Kanti keeps her head turned away, not wanting to watch what would happen.
Noshi speaks up to get Shiya’s attention once more. “Shiya, Shiya!”
Shiya brakes his gaze from Kanti as he quickly looks back to Noshi, having realized just now that he had been calling to him. “Yes?”
Noshi lets out a sigh as he shakes his head. “You haven’t brought a weapon with you.”
Shiya lets out a gasp. “My weapon!?” He looks around him trying to spot it. “I must have put it down somewhere and forgotten!”
Laughter begins to rise from everyone that is watching, Noshi once again shaking his head as he motions toward one of the warriors in the tribe that was not taking part in the competition to come forward and lend Shiya his weapon for this battle. “Shiya, you must keep your head out of the clouds.”
Shiya takes hold of the spear the warrior that had approached had given to him. “I know, I just… it won’t happen again I promise…”
Shiya once again turns back to his opponent, the warrior staring down at Shiya with an annoyed frown, as if he were insulted to fight him.
Noshi steps back from the two of them, giving the warriors their space, the two staring at one another in silence as they wait for their moment to attack.
The warrior that Shiya faces lets out a cry as he lunges forward to attack, Shiya lifting his hand towards him as the air around him grows cold, the air in front of him rippling as his opponent is hit with a freezing blast of air, the force throwing the opponent into the air and flying back, Rowtag letting out a gasp as he tries to get up to move out of the way, unable to do so fast enough and getting hit by the flying warrior, the two of them falling back and toppling over Chogan and the elders that sat behind him.
Kanti stares at the collection of fallen wolves in shock, she turning from her father and back toward Shiya, she having not expected this from him.
Shiya winces, having not known that he would have flown back that far. “Oh dear…” He calls out to the chieftain. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to throw him that far! Please don’t kick me out of the trials.”
Everyone is silent as they stare in Rowtag’s direction, the chieftain absolutely silent as he stares up into the sky while the warrior that Shiya had thrown and the elders all drag themselves to their feet, Chogan yelling the whole time. “Get rid of him! Throw him out! I don’t want to see his face ever again!”
Kanti approaches her father, kneeling down next to him and looking him over. “Father are you alright? Why aren’t you getting up?”
A smile crosses Rowtag’s face as he begins to laugh, a confused look filling Kanti’s face as she watches her father push himself back up, Rowtag getting to his feet and looking out toward Shiya. “There is a strength hidden inside of you that I have not seen until now, you have made these trials interesting.”
He looks over Noshi, calling out to him. “Bring the next warriors, it is clear who has won this round.”
Shiya smiles happy to be able to progress, having been worried the mishap he had made while fighting would have gotten him thrown out. He turning and running from the center back toward Achak, meeting him with a wide grin on his face. “Did you see that? He laughed and even smiled, I’ve never seen the Chieftain not angry with me before, I think I’ve managed to impress him.”
Achak stares at Shiya in shock. “Since when have you able to do something like that!?”
Aither answers Achak as he approaches the two of them. “He’s always had the capabilities of doing such things, he just needed to come to me first to learn how to control it.”
Achak looks over to Aither. “Just what did he do!?”
Aither grins at Achak. “Shiya is like me, he has a very rare gift from the spirits that grants him incredible amounts of power.”
Shiya looks back to Aither, he not able to see what he could do as a gift as easily as Aither could. “I suppose that’s one way of putting it…”
Aither turns to Shiya. “One victory is hardly something to celebrate over, the next fights are not going to be as easy as your first, in this battle your opponent had no idea of your capabilities, your next opponent will not make the same mistake and will think of a way to avoid falling in the same way.”
Shiya nods his head in understanding, knowing that what Aither had said was the truth, he was up against many seasoned warriors who were experienced with getting out of unexpected situations.
Soon Shiya is called forward to take place in his second fight, he makes his way to the center once more where he faces his next opponent, a very large bear with black fur.
This warrior refrains from attacking Shiya head on, he lets out a roar as he pulls out a blade, moving to Shiya’s right side and swinging it at him.
Shiya ducks down to avoid being hit by the blade, then jumping back when the bear swings the blade down on him with his second attack.
Rowtag seems impressed. “He is light on his feet.”
Chogan lets out a grunt. “He’s as small as a child, everything about him is light.”
Kanti looks back to Chogan with a frown, insulted by the comment. “He is not that small!”
Shiya ducks down to avoid the blade once more, he keeping low to the ground as he quickly runs toward his opponent lifting his hand toward him, the air around him once again growing cold as the air between them ripples and his opponent is hit with a cold blast of air that sent him flying back, this time toward the area the other warriors waited in, they all scattering as to avoid being landed on.
Rowtag nods his head. “He moves like a warrior should, something he was not capable of when I first saw him.” He looks toward his daughter dawning that Shiya had done and learned much just to be with her.
“I did not know it then, but Rowtag later told me that he was anxious to see if I could actually win Kanti’s trials, these events had always been about strength and leadership and never about love, even if someone had entered for love it was very rare that they would win.
Rowtag was not the type that expressed his feelings well, but despite that it was still clear to anyone that loved his daughter very much, he wanted more than anything for her to be happy, but he also knew how important it was to follow tradition and for the next chieftain to be strong.
Tried as he might to keep Kanti from falling in love with someone before the trials and getting hurt when her role as the chieftain's daughter must be filled, she had fallen in love with me before her trials, if though I could actually win her trials, then not only would the tribe get what they wanted and gain a powerful leader, but his beloved daughter would also get what she wanted, the small stray that had found his way to her village and her heart.
I continued to make my way through the trials, facing each opponent without hesitation or fear, fighting until I would find myself the victor, my goal of winning the only thing on my mind. Before I knew it I was in the final and most difficult rounds of the trials.”
The next warrior that Shiya faces is a bobcat that chooses keeps his distance from Shiya, it rather clear that if he got too close to him that he would quickly be defeated by the small wolf, he instead taking a bow and arrow and firing it at Shiya, Shiya barely able to move out the of the way and having to keep running to avoid being hit.
Rowtag watches the battle. “I’ve never seen anyone use that weapon during the trials, it is an undependable weapon that will be useless once the arrows are gone. He must be confident in his aim if he chooses to use such a weapon.”
Kanti looks over to her father, a hopeful tone in her voice, her thoughts of Shiya not having a chance in the trials having drastically changed after witnessing him progress through them. “But if Shiya can keep from being hit then he will win easily right? He’ll send him flying just like he did to all of the warriors before him!”
There is a gasp from the crowds that are watching, Rowtag and Kanti quickly turning from one another to look back at the circle the warriors were fighting in, Shiya was on the ground as one of the arrows having pierced through his leg.
Shiya lets out a snarl as he tries to keep from crying out in pain, he looking to his leg for a moment to see the arrow in it before quickly looking back to his opponent who is getting ready to fire another, Shiya quickly swinging his arm in the air just as he lets go of the arrow and fires it, a large wall of ice raising and stopping the arrow from hitting him.
Everyone including Shiya’s opponent stares at the wall of ice in shock, Shiya reaching down toward the arrow in his leg, grabbing onto it and snapping it’s shaft so that it wouldn’t hinder him when he tried to move, Shiya getting back to his feet as he moves past the wall of ice, repeating the motion again, this time large shard of ice raising from beneath his opponent and throwing him off of his feet and high into the air.
The crowds that watched the battle scatters as to avoid having the bobcat land on them when he hits the ground.
Shiya makes his way back to the warriors in wait, a limp in his step from the wound he had received, Aither meeting him with a frown when he arrives. “You were supposed to keep your powers from being seen, not flaunt them like that for everyone to see.”
Shiya looks back to him. “That’s easy for you to say, no one can see the wind so you don’t have to try hard at all to keep people from realizing that’s what your power is. Ice and cold is not so easily hidden.” He looks back to the warrior that he had beaten who is slowly pushing his aching body off of the ground, Noshi looking him over to treat any wounds that he might have. “Besides he had good aim and didn’t give me much of a choice.”
“We’ve been over this, you want to keep your abilities as hidden as possible, the more they know about you the more danger you’ll be in. So don’t do that again!”
Achak scurries over to Shiya as he stares down at his leg that still had the arrow in it. “You should have done whatever you did sooner to keep from getting hurt, not a good thing to happen when your trials are not yet finished.”
Noshi approaches Shiya kneeling down next to him as he looks the wound in his leg over, the arrow having luckily gone through the outside of his calf and not hitting any joints or ligaments that he would need. “You will be fine.” He grabs onto the head of the arrow that had pierced through the other side, quickly pulling what was left of the arrow out of Shiya’s leg, causing him to give a surprised yelp of pain, Noshi then covering the wound to keep it from bleeding and beginning to treat it. “There is nothing I can do about the pain.”
Shiya winces, the medicine that Noshi was applying to his wounds making the pain worse. “That’s fine. I’ve been through worse pain, and for a less worthwhile cause.”
Aither looks to Shiya with a frown. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no warrior that walked with a limp has ever been able to win these trials, you may as well have lost in this round.”
Shiya frowns, that indeed true, he would have a lot of trouble making it through the next fight if his movement was compromised, even so he didn’t want to give up now, not when he was only one fight away from winning.”
Achak speaks up, he a little confused. “Why should he walk with a limp when he has three other feet he can walk on?”
Aither looks back to Achak with a frown. “Are you mental? He’s only got one other leg not three.”
“Not if he walks like me, my leg is no good but I get around just fine.”
“Well he doesn’t walk around like an oddball like you.”
Shiya lifts his hands to face as he looks at them, Achak having a very good point. “I used to walk like that… I used to walk for years on both my hands and feet. I can probably move better that way then trying to stand up.”
Aither gives Shiya a frown. “You’ll look ridiculous if you do that!”
Shiya frowns at the comment. “Have you looked at me lately? I already look ridiculous compared to all of these warriors!”
Noshi looks over to Shiya as he speaks up. “You have gone far Shiya, but I think it is best that you give up.”
Shiya shakes his head no. “I can’t do that! I only have one more fight to go! One more victory and I’ll be with Kanti.”
Noshi continues with his warning. “Have you been paying attention to the other fights? Do you know who it is you will be fighting next?”
Shiya looks over to Kanti, he having been too focused on his own progress to bother with any of that. “Whoever it is will be beaten just like everyone else that I’ve faced so far.”
Noshi lets out a grunt, he looks across the warriors, his eyes landing on one of them as he points him out to Shiya, he a huge wolf brown wolf who seems to make the other warriors around him look normal when compared to him. “That young man is Hasson of the Storming Mountain Tribe.”
Shiya stares at the wolf, he indeed looking frighteningly formidable, still though Shiya didn’t believe that he would have anything to worry about. “I’ll beat him just like the others.”
Aither frowns at the comment. “Not when you’re hurt you won’t, take a look at that brute will you? He’s fought just as many battles as you have and he’s not gotten even a scratch from them while you’ve gained a hole in your leg.”
Shiya argues back with Aither. “I can do this!”
Noshi lets out a sigh as he gets to his feet, he motions for Shiya to make his way back into the ring that the onlookers surrounded, he then looking to Hasson and motioning for him to step forward as well.
Shiya moves forward on his hands and feet like a dog, coming to the center to meet Hasson, the both of them staring at one another, sizing the other up to prepare for the upcoming fight.
Hasson stares down at Shiya, he looking even smaller than before now that he was not standing upright. “This is not how I expected my final battle in the trials to be, a small and frail looking opponent who can no longer stand and chooses to attack me without a weapon.”
Shiya looks to the side, having expected he would be facing some kind of giant by the end of these. “This is pretty much how I pictured it would end up for me.”
“You are very determined to win.”
Shiya nods his head. “I will win the right to be with Kanti, I don’t intend to lose.”
“If you don’t have a weapon that means that you will be attacking me in the same manner as your last opponent.”
“I won’t be nice about it either.”
Hasson holds his spear in front of him pointing at Shiya and lowering himself into a fighting stance, Shiya lowering his body and bracing himself for the fight as well, the two staring at each other in silence waiting for the moment to strike.
Aither sighs to himself as he watches them, as much as he hoped that Shiya would be discreet about his powers he doubted that small wolf would be able to accept defeat and contain himself to do so.
Hasson lets out a mighty cry as he swings his spear at Shiya, Shiya quickly dashing out of the way to avoid being hit, Hasson reacting quickly, swinging in the direction that he had been heading to, Shiya jerking to a stop as the blade swings down in front of him, he changes direction and running on all fours toward Hasson, quickly dashing under his legs and moving behind him, Shiya lifting his hand up as the air between them ripples and a cold blast of air blows the large wolf into the air and away from him.
Hasson hits the ground, the large wolf letting out a deep growl as he pushes himself back to his feet, shaking himself off and preparing to continue his fight with Shiya.
Shiya stares at Hasson in surprise, he the first to get back up and continue the fight after being hit with that attack. “Huh… that usually works.”
Hasson yells out as he rushes at Shiya again, Shiya letting out a gasp as he reacts quickly, raising his arm into the air and causing a thick wall of ice to form between then, Hasson’s advance coming to a stop once he runs into it. Hasson grumbling as he rubs his now sore nose, the wolf again shaking the blow off as he moves to the side to try and go around the wall of ice.
Shiya worriedly follows Hasson’s figure knowing that he couldn’t let him through, continuing to raise the ice wall between them and make it longer so that Hasson could not run around it. Hasson frowning as he comes to a stop, turning back to run the other way, Shiya quickly doing the same and raising the ice wall there as well.
Hasson does not give up yet, he dashed ahead and trying to outrun Shiya as the white wolf continued to try and make the ice wall to try and keep them divided, the two eventually running round the entire ring, Hasson now finding himself surrounded in a room made of ice.
Shiya gives a triumphant grin as Hasson, still not giving up, he looking the wall over for a moment and then backing away from it, turning his shoulder to the wall of ice and running forward, hitting the wall with the side of his body cracks running through the ice from the blow, Hasson backing up and preparing to do it again, breaking through the wall of ice on his second attempt, Shiya quickly scrambling out of the way as Hasson makes a grab for him once he is on the other side.
Achak watches as Shiya quickly runs past him, Hasson chasing after him close behind, Shiya yelling out to him as he passes by. “This guy is not normal!!”
Achak frowns at the comment while Aither hits his forehead with his hand, Shiya doing exactly what he had told him not to do, Aither yelling after him quite annoyed. “What did I tell you before coming here!? Don’t flaunt your skills, don’t underestimate your opponent and above all don’t turn you damn back to your enemy!”
“I can’t run backwards fast enough!”
Aither lets out a groan, that not exactly what he was trying to enlighten Shiya on what he was doing wrong. “Oh the way your mind works when it’s in a panic is frustrating.”
Achak calls out to Shiya, there a simple way to stop all of this. “Attack him!”
“I did! It didn’t work!’
“Then attack him harder!”
Shiya reacts without thinking to do as Achak has suggested, stopping his running and turning back to Hasson, quickly raising his hand into the air as a pillar of ice forms and raises, hitting the large wolf and sending him flying back, Shiya doing this again and hitting him with a second attack like just as he hits the ground, sending him flying through the air again.
Hasson hits the ground once again, the large wolf letting out a painful groan, he pushing himself up to his feet and staring over at Shiya through the ice that surrounded him, the small wolf prepared and ready to attack again if needed. The large brown wolf lets out a sigh, he already sore enough from this fight, it clear that even if he did continue it would only result in him enduring more pain with very little chance of victory, Hasson lowering his head in defeat, having had enough of this ordeal.
Noshi raises his voice, announcing to everyone in the area who the victors of Kanti’s trials were. “Shiya has endured the trials and won Kanti’s hand.”
Though these events were usually accompanied by cheers and congratulations, most everyone there remained uncomfortably silent as they whispered and murmured to one another over what it was they had just witnessed.
Rowtag gets to his feet as he begins to approach the center of the ring where Shiya stands, stepping through the cold and ice that Shiya had managed to fill the area with. “You have shown me just how strong your spirit is Shiya. You have proven yourself worthy of not only the title of chieftain once my time comes to an end, but you have earned the hand of my daughter as well.” He holds his hand out for Shiya to take as a show of congratulations.
Shiya smiles at him as he takes his hand. “I love Kanti more than anything, even if a thousand warriors were to have stood against me I would have made my way through them for her.”
Rowtag looks from Shiya and to the wilds around him. “Well, why is no one giving Shiya the praise that he deserves?”
Achak cuffs his hands around his mouth as he calls out his support. “You didn’t die!”
Shiya frowns at him, that sounding more like a remark of disbelief than praise. “Thank you Achak…”
Kanti gets to her feet as she begins to run towards Shiya, running past her father and opening her arms, running into Shiya and wrapping her arms around him, the force of her running into him causing his small frame to lose its balance and fall to the ground. “Shiya, I feared for your safety during each battle! When you were hurt by that arrow I thought for certain that you would be killed in the battle that followed.” She turns towards her father a wide smile on her face. “Father, I could not be happier.”
Rowtag grins, his daughter having not been pleased with him for a while, he turning from her as he raises his voice and calls out to the people around him. “Let’s end this silence! We will celebrate Shiya’s victory as Laughing Meadow’s next chieftain and my beautiful daughter Kanti’s very lucky mate.”
The silence from the shock of Shiya winning is soon drown out by excited and happy cheers, no one wanting to pass up a celebration.
Shiya looks up to Kanti. “No more hiding or running around in secret, just like I promised.” Kanti kisses Shiya before he is able to try and push himself to his feet, Shiya more than happy to allow her to do so of course.
“I had won Kanti’s trials, I had earned my place by her side and my place within the tribe. The thought of being chieftain was of course terrifying, but I felt that I could do anything if it was for her.
The celebration lasted long into the night, everyone that had gathered loud as they celebrated, congratulating Kanti for gaining her suitor, Rowtag for finding his successor, and of course me for winning the trials. Despite the shock I had caused by winning everyone in the end was happy of my accomplishments… everyone but Chogan and the other elders of the tribe.
Eventually the celebration died down and I was finally alone with Kanti, the first thing she did was ask about the strange abilities I had, and although Aither had warned me against it I told her everything that I knew. Kanti was the love of my life, my wife, I didn’t want to hide anything from her. She of course did not believe me at first, and became furious at me for lying to her, but after much convincing she finally realized that what I was saying was the truth, and she thankfully accepted me regardless of it.
Shortly after my victory Aither took his leave of the village, returning to his duties at the orphanage and telling me to seek him out again should I ever need his help once more. After that I started to live the life that I had at one time thought that I would never have been able to obtain.
When I had faced the Ice Source I have wanted to die because I thought that there would be nothing better for me in this life. I had accept how broken I had become and I had chosen to believe that I would never be capable of such happiness as this. For the first time I was thankful that the Ice Source had prolonged my life, even if I was to live as a source I was also able to live as a chieftain, as a husband, and very soon, as a father.”
Achak lets out a sigh as he looks over to Shiya. “It’ll be odd having you as my chieftain… why not that long ago you couldn’t figure out how to even catch a fish!” He uses his foot to scratch the back of his ear while he speaks. “I understand how you wanted to be with Kanti but how are you of all people supposed to lead a tribe?”
Shiya frowns at the comment, a little insulted in the idea that Achak thought that he wouldn’t be able to pull this off. “You’re just going to doubt me in everything I do aren’t you!?”
“Have you seen yourself as of late? You would too if you saw someone that looks as little as you, there are children in this village bigger than you.”
Shiya lets out a frustrated growl. “That’s not true!!”
Noshi can’t help but chuckle at the situation. “As long as Shiya’s heart is in the right place he will make a fine leader, Kanti and Rowtag will both be sure teach him everything he needs to know should he run into any trouble.”
Achak stops scratching his neck with his back leg. “I supposed if a wandering fox could teach him to be a warrior, Rowtag can teach him to be a chieftain.”
Noshi sighs to himself as he looks toward Achak. “If only I could teach you to become a shaman as easily as Rowtag can teach Shiya to be the next chieftain.”
Achak groans at the idea. “I don’t want to be a Shaman! Trust me, you’re better off not leaving something so important to me, I nor anyone else can picture me being any good at it.”
Noshi looks back to Shiya. “Kanti wishes to see me today, I have been expecting such a visit from her since you won her trials, you have been living with her for a month after all.”
Shiya begins to drink some of the warm drink that Noshi would always have keeping warm over the fire in his hut at this time of the day. “Why is she coming to see you? She doesn’t seem hurt or sick.”
Noshi shakes his head no, the situation nothing like that. “No, she believes herself to be with child.”
Shiya spits out the drink before he could swallow it, Achak making a frown when some of it lands on him. Shiya coughing loudly as he tries to catch his breath, looking up to Noshi to question what he had just heard. “Wha… wha- what?”
Noshi is about to repeat himself when Rowtag enters the hut, he looking towards Shiya as he calls out to get his attention. “We should prepare to leave-” Shiya screams in surprise in the middle of coughing, Rowtag staring at him as he waits for him to finish. “Are… you alright?”
Shiya looks over to Rowtag as he beings forcing an odd sounding laugher. “I’m fine, just choking for no particular reason that you should become concerned about.”
Rowtag raises an eyebrow not sure what he meant by that, he simply returning to what he had been trying to say. “We should prepare to leave, the others will soon be ready to start the hunt.”
Shiya nods his head as he quickly gets to his feet, this task one that Rowtag would not often take him on, as his experience with hunting was so poor that he would always seem to unintentionally warn their prey of their presence and cause it to runaway. “Oh, I get to go today?”
Rowtag nods his head. “Well you’ll never be able to hunt if you don’t eventually learn how. As my successor you should be leading the hunts at this point.”
Achak frowns. “So then you’ll all be coming home empty handed again?”
Shiya looks to Achak with a glare. “Hey!”
Rowtag does not disagree with Achak, he just shaking his head as he steps back from the entrance expecting Shiya to follow him, Noshi looking back to Shiya who is right now getting up to leave. “Do not let what I have told you keep your mind from the hunt. Rowtag is right, you have responsibilities to fill while in your position, leading the hunts is one of them.”
Shiya sighs as he gets to his feet, this of course one of the many things he was learning in regards to his future title. A chieftain after all had many responsibilities, this only one of them. He bids both Achak and Noshi farewell as he begins to follow Rowtag, the chieftain looking back to him and noticing the sullen look he has on his face. “Do not doubt yourself, a Chieftain has many tasks and no successor has ever appeared that knew them all without having to be taught. You will be just fine.”
Shiya glances toward him. “Were you this hopeless when you started learning?”
Rowtag shakes his head no. “Not even close. Of course my situation was much different than yours. As the chieftain’s son I knew what was expected of me and was taught what must be done at a very early age.” He looks back to Shiya. “But that did not mean I was perfect, it took many hunts before I was able to lead a successful one. You may be worse than me but you are a quick learner, you did after all become a warrior in only six months so that you could take part in Kanti’s trials. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be able to complete this in such a way as well.”
Shiya gives Rowtag a smile, over time Shiya had learned much to his surprise that the chieftain was a lot kinder and supportive of him ever since he had became a part of his family, Rowtag always looking out for him and more than happy to teach him everything that he must know.
Rowtag brings something else up, there never seeming to be any shortage of things that would require both his and Shiya’s attention. “You remember that we will be leaving tomorrow to attend the console correct?”
Shiya nods his head having not forgotten, it going to be the first time he would ever have to attend something like that. “Kanti has been reminding me every chance I get, I don’t think I could forget about that even if I wanted to.”
They soon reach the other warriors, they letting out sighs or shaking their heads when they see that Shiya is accompanying them, Shiya giving them a weak grin while Rowtag gives them a stern frown. “I’ll have none of that, none of you were impressive when first joining the hunts either.” He points to one of the wolves. “You even more than the others, it took you years of hunts before you finally stopped leaping at everything as soon as you saw it and figured out that you needed to wait for the right moment to strike.”
The warrior rolls his eyes while the others around him all begin to laugh at the reminder. “Where is Megedagik? He should be here and ready to leave already.”
One of the warriors speaks up pointing across the village. “He was here but his father called for him. I’m sure he’ll return soon.”
“Alright then, prepare to head out. We leave as soon as Megedagik gets here.”
Rowtag looks back to Shiya after giving the others their commands, he now speaking specifically to him, trying to give him advice that could help him before they headed out. “The problem you have when hunting is that you do not think like a wolf.”
Shiya looks back to him a little confused, Rowtag continuing to explain. “Attack as a pack, track using your senses, your sense of smell the most important, our prey will hopefully be big and enough to feed the village and usually they will be among a herd, that does not mean thought that we go after the biggest and strongest animal we can find. We search out the old or weak, separate them and then strike. The strong survive while this weak parish, that is the law of the spirits.”
Shiya sighs to himself it a lot to take in, Rowtag continuing to explain. “When it comes time to attack your prey you must face your enemy in the form equal to that which they come, that is also the law of the spirits, weapon meets weapon while claw and fang meet claw and fang. The key to hunting is to depend on your instincts, the animal spirits gave us these forms so that we could survive the wilderness.”
Shiya looks back to Rowtag. “What if what we’re hunting doesn’t have claws or fangs?” Rowtag frowns at him, Shiya letting out a weak laugh. “It was a joke, I know what you mean.”
“So it will be a fruitless hunt again then?” Shiya looks toward the voice that had spoken up, spotting Chogan now standing near them, the old wolf staring at Shiya with a disapproving frown. “This will be the fifteenth time you would have returned with nothing because of him.”
Shiya frowns at the comment while Rowtag speaks up to defend him. “To be fair not all hunts result in prey being tracked, regardless of Shiya’s inclusion or not.” He looks back to Shiya. “He’s only caused us to fail at catching our prey nine times, which before you speak up, is much less the amount of hunts I managed to ruin when I was learning.”
Chogan shakes his head. “You were a child when you were learning to hunt, he is not a child, he should have no excuse.”
Shiya keeps silent, though he knew why his experience with such things was so poor he didn’t really want to bring it up with anyone. Rowtag though did not seem to need an explanation from Shiya, he having faith in his ability to pick up on things. “Shiya was able to win my daughter’s trials, with enough time he will be able to complete this task as well. The spirits trust that he is the best to replace me as Chieftain, I do now question nor doubt their decision.”
A new voice adds to the mix. “You should doubt them.” Both Shiya and Rowtag turn toward a larger wolf that had come to stand by Chogan’s side. “He won the trials not through skill, but through strange powers that he refuses to explain to anyone. How you look past this fact and allow you and your people to stay in the dark Rowtag I do not understand.”
His name was, Megedagik, and he was Rowtag’s lead warrior, which made him the strongest and most skilled member of the tribe in concerns to fighting. He was also the son of Chogan and seemed to share his father’s distrust and dislike for me.
Megedagik had also taken part in Kanti’s trials, but he had lost to Hasson in the round right before mine. He would have undoubtedly had no problem with losing if it were not for the circumstances involved with me winning. Though my skills had clearly impressed the chieftain and most others they raised concern with the tribe’s first warrior.
Unlike his father Chogan who’s reasons for disliking me were because of background naivety towards the tribes cultures and rules, Megedagik disliked me because he saw me as a threat, of something that was a danger to everything he loved, and because of that I could not dislike him in return like I did Chogan, because Megedagik was right to be cautious, and wise to be afraid. After all, I did destroy and kill everyone in my own tribe, who’s to say it would not happen again with this one?
Rowtag gives Megedagik a hearty pat on the back. “Though he won the trials in a manner different than how they have been won before that doesn’t make him any less capable. If the spirits did not see him fit to win they would not have let him progress.”
Megedagik raises the concern that he was constantly bringing up with Rowtag. “I do not like that he refuses to tell us how he is able to do such things!”
“He is your leader, you will be following his orders once he replaces me as chieftain.”
Megedagik argues back with Rowtag. “How do you expect me to follow the orders of someone I do not trust!?”
Rowtag shakes his head as he looks from Megedagik and to the warriors that are waiting to leave for the hunt. “We will discuss this another time, right now we should leave for our hunt.”
“I will hear out your concerns when we return.” Megedagik gives Rowtag a frown as he nods his head to agree, he waking past him and preceding to give orders to the waiting warriors.
Rowtag places his hand upon Shiya’s shoulder. “Do not worry about Megedagik, as it did for me it will take time for him to warm up to you. He is a dependable first warrior who will serve you well when your time as chieftain comes.”
A nervous look fills Shiya’s face, the idea of him becoming chieftain still an unbelievable overwhelming thing. “Yeah…”
Rowtag pats Shiya on the back to get him to start moving along. “Come, we should be on our way.” Shiya follows Rowtag, the large brown wolf looking back to Shiya. “Do not let his words bring you down. Many will doubt your position no matter how many times you are to prove yourself, it is the same for even me. Just do what needs to be done and lead our people to the best of your ability, we could not ask you for anymore than that.”
Shiya answers him with a smile, though the thought being himself being the next chieftain was a frightening one, Rowtag always had a way of making it feel not as hard a task to learn as it actually was.