The Fury of the Mud Brothers
Autumn, Y762 Of the New Age
It has been about a week since the race to where all the king’s family and the few other families took refuge since everyone’s exile. Danzig woke up from his night slumber, when he noticed his mother and sister was nowhere to be seen. He shook his head with a mighty yawn, he started his morning ritual on stretching out his stiff muscles from the labor work he was helping the others with. Once he stood up and did one last shake, he walked away from the area that his family was living at until proper dens were made for everyone. Danzig was trotting to where he knew water was for a morning drink, but he turned away from the route when he heard movement behind him to the left. He turned around fast and a rabbit jumped out of the bushes and took off. He sighed to himself and started heading to a creak he saw the other day. As he was trotting he lost himself to his thoughts. He wasn’t paying attention to his footing and soon was tripped by a rock in the ground. He fell face first in a pile of mud. Next thing he knew, he heard giggles coming from the right side of him. He was slow to get up, but he was quick to fling some mud at his giggling target.
The day promised crisp, mild autumn weather. The wind was picking up, sweeping through the giant, bowl-like valley where the Haven refugees resided. Clouds passed overhead, creating enormous pockets of darkness spotted throughout the land, though sunlight still managed to seep down into the valley where blue sky was showing.
Beneath the frost-bitten brambles of a honeysuckle bush, a pale buck stretched his jaws wide as he awoke. His mother lay beside him, tucked deeper into the brown, arrow-shaped leaves. Her ruddy flank moved rhythmically with each inhale as she slept soundly. Ronan blinked tenderly towards her, before climbing to his feet and stepping into the bright light of dawn.
The valley was quiet this morning, what with construction of the bridge well underway and dens already starting to take form. Everyone was more relaxed, since the group was settling in steadily, and therefore more easily able to sleep in. Ronan was never one to miss a chance at a morning romp, however. He enjoyed the solitude it provided. So, he made his way to the creek bed, and began to weave among the reeds on the bank, head low as his eyes scanned for frogs or other small creatures that sparked his curiosity.
The sound of hoofsteps soon came from further up the bank, and Ronan perked his ears inquiringly. Peering through the tall grasses, he caught sight of a flash of silver. Making his way towards it, the form of a buck soon emerged. He was trotting nonchalantly towards the water when his hoof caught on a misplaced stone, and he went plummeting into the mud! Ronan held his breath as he watched, but when the grullo body of the brute surfaced from the miserable puddle it was in, the four-year old burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter!
A wad of wet earth was thereafter launched into the air. It sailed through the sky with a whistle, and planted itself nicely against Ronan’s right shoulder. The buck started, rearing and stumbling uselessly backwards, until he too was scrambling to his feet, covered in sludge. With a snort, the brute lowered his face to the ground, held his breath, and dug his nose into the damp soil. Flinging his head upwards, another mucky bundle was tossed into the air. Ronan didn’t wait for it to land before charging his opponent. He broke into the clearing with a battlecry! It was war!
Danzig looked behind him and saw what he hit with the slimy, gooey, it’s-not-coming-out-pretty mud at. Oh boy, was he going to get an ear-full later from this mud attack. “I’m so sorry for hitting you with the mud—I thought you were the rabbit that came out of the bush before I tripped!”
He saw the shock on the other’s face and he knew his words fell on deaf ears. He was worried that he seriously hurt the other fawnling. He scrambled up as best he could and slipped again in the mud. The noise was like that coming from a night of eating too much rich grass: Slurp, Slurp, and more SLURP!
Oh lord, he was so embarrassed with the noise he was making just trying to get up from the sticky mess. Finally he got his legs under him, when he heard the challenge of war from the other fawnling. He turned just fast enough to avoid mud in his eye and got hit in the neck. He was in shock, but then he noticed the other fawnling had a smirk on his face with his mud hit. Oh it was so on now! He hadn’t played mud wars in a few years, since he was in blackwood. He dodged the next fling at him and threw mud at the the other fawnling and charged at him as well, after he purposely dragged his tail in the mud to slime the other when they went past each other. Oh, he was going to get that fawnling with mud, just wait and see!
The pale colt’s eyes grew wide, as he saw his opponent charging him
. Ronan wasn’t expecting the male to return his aggression so readily. Out of instinct, he attempted to skid to a halt; however, he completely forgot about the slickness of the mud. Horror washed over him, as he felt his rump hit the wet surface, yet he continued to fly forward, sliding through the mire. Oh, gods help him! He was unable to throw the brakes on and heading directly towards the other calf!“Look out!”
Ronan cried, shutting his eyes to brace for impact.
He moved out of the way just in time for the other fawnling went past him into the deeper part of the mud puddle. Danzig stared at the other fawnling, before he started to laugh out loud over the look on the other fawnlings face that was the only part not covered in mud now. Oh how he missed just playing in mud without the worry of what other’s thought. He went to the aid of the soaked fawnling and slipped in the mud himself and started to head over to where the other was sitting in the mud puddle lake. It was all slow motion for Danzig but in short order, he too was completely covered in mud. Once he was beside the other fawnling he was giggling. “Well, we sure made a mud pie of ourselves, didn’t we?”
He had a thoughtful look on his face before he shouted out loud, “WE ARE THE MUD BROTHERS!”
Danzig smiled at the other fawnling. “By the way, my name is Danzig, what's yours, mud brother?”
After sliding past the other buck, into the depths of the swampy riverbed, a sigh of relief escaped him. The champagne colt didn’t even want to stand up. He just burst out laughing from where he lay, sunken up to his shoulders in mud. Oh, man, if Ronan had any desire to blend in with the darker stags, all he needed to do was stay as he was now! As he stood up at last, Ronan could feel the soil caked to his fur.
When Danzig came over and and announced their status as newly-appointed “mud brothers”, Ronan beamed. “Ronan,”
he answered, but a devilish look crossed his countenance soon after, and the filthy youngster began waddling awkwardly towards solid ground. Over his shoulder, he called, “Come on then, brother, I’ll race you to the good part of the creek! We’ll see who gets clean first—I sure hope you can keep up!”
After a good, hearty laugh, he tripped, and plummeted face-first back into the wet earth, rather absurdly.
Danzig gave the other stag a large smile, “Ronan is a good name!”
Danzig noticed the mud was starting to dry and the heat of the day was starting to bother the stagling. He was quick to agree with his newly-appointed mud brother on getting cleaned up before the does would catch wind. He could imagine the scolding of how filthy they were. The pale does of the king’s harem especially were picky on dirt. A random thought hit him, since everyone lived in heaven now and the title of king was gone; what was the king now? What would happen with his does? Danzig heard a noise and came back to reality when he noticed his new brother tripped into the mud. He sighed and helped him to the solid dry ground and chuckled. “Race is on,”
with that Danzig took off like a raven after a shiny object.
After he was scooped up and assisted to the grassy bank, Ronan hardly had the chance to nod his thanks before the other took off! With a yelp of frustration, he shook himself viciously and charged forward, hooves digging into the soft ground. They flew across the hillside together, but Danzig was holding the lead. Ronan only prayed he didn’t fumble again, as he gained on the grullo. His heart beat hard against his chest, and his lungs heaved, but he felt exuberated! The fresh wind on his face felt like Óganach’s blessing, and it spurred life in the young stag.
The tall reeds soon thinned out, and the crystalline water came into sight from where the two raced parallel to the stream. Ronan began to angle his strides down the slope, and prepared himself to hit the water where it met the grass with only a small, sandy bed in between, instead of a horrible mud bed. Other fawnlings were stirring, and several were already taking a morning drink nearby, but embarrassment didn’t keep the pale buck from his desire to win the race, and so Ronan flung himself forward, splashing into the cool surface. Happy to have the dirt coming off at last, he hadn’t even payed attention to who had won. Quickly after realizing it, Ronan glanced around for Danzig.
Danzig’s legs moved like a hummingbird's wings. He put all his spunkiness into his legs to put him in a good lead ahead of Ronan. He felt alive, like he was back in Blackwood. No worries, no bullying, freedom to speak his mind if he wanted to—just pure freedom in general. He could do as he pleased and it was the best thrill since moving with his mother and his siblings to Haven. In short order, he made it to the water before his new mud brother hit the water. With all the speed he put into the gallop to the water, Danzig slipped on the sand and hit the water. He was up to his back in water on his side. He gasped, but as his breathing steadied, he noticed that Ronan had caught up and got to the water. With a wicked smile, he flung his tail fast enough to hit Ronan with a large splash. “WATER FIGHT!” Danzig got up quickly and started to splash Ronan without a care to the other fawnlings that came to drink the once clear water that is now a muddy tea color. Danzig was laughing and having the best time ever.
The buck caught sight of Danzig in a heap of cinereal fur in the shallows. The poor thing seemed exhausted. Wading over to him, Ronan smiled cautiously and asked, “Are you alr—” but before he could even finish the question, the other brute had popped up and swept a wave of cold water towards him with his tail. When Danzig cried out, Ronan couldn’t help but be startled, but he soon commenced in the fight. As they splashed and play-fought, the pale colt picked up on a growing sense of exemption in his companion. It showed through his big smile, and Ronan felt overcome with joy at the sight. He loved seeing release in others—it gave him a sort of selfish feeling of fulfillment.
As their game slowed, Ronan pulled back and returned to the grass on shore. Panting, he looked around. The sun was high in the sky, though still cast late-season shadows over the valley. The other herd members had mostly retreated from the area, avoiding the ruckus scuffle. “Well, I suppose that’s one way to get clean,” Ronan chimed to his new friend, and twirled his stunted tail contentedly.
Hunger had begun to gnaw at his belly, and so he felt it was time to bid the grullo farewell for the time-being. Ronan gave a few swift swipes of his tongue to his champagne coat, aiding the air in drying it, then dipped his head to Danzig. “Perhaps we can have a rematch tomorrow, brother,” he said deviously, and turned to go.
DanzigAfter the water fight and cleaning off the rest of the mud from their coats, time was leaving the happy staglings. Danzig had the best time in since Blackwood! He was so much happier now that he'd found Ronan. After the boys settled into grooming their coats dry, Danzig noticed his stomach was rumbling along with Ronan’s. After Ronan spoke about getting clean, Danzig smiled at the other stagling. “I agree, its better then when mothers groom us!” With another laugh, he said, “I have had the best time today!”
He heard Ronan’s stomach give a bear of a grumble when the buck mentioned a possible rematch. He watched as Ronan was turning to leave and cried, “YES! I would love a rematch, and maybe you will win next time!” With everything they had been through, they really needed more days like today. “See you around brother! I really had a good time.” He turned away and started to trot to where his family was grazing at in a distance after he bowed to his newly-appointed brother in farewell.
Ronan chuckled as they parted ways, and took off toward a patch of good grazing. His legs were a bit sore, but his heart carried him like a bird across the meadow. The day was far from over, but so much had happened already. What would he even do next? Ronan's mood brightened as he thought of his mother. 'Yes, I shall check on Luz, and I'll tell her everything!'
he thought, sighing with the crisp, autumn breeze.
The mountains that encompassed them yawned in the cold light. The last of the birds sang in the trees that clung to the outskirts of the valley. Haven cupped the fawnlings gently, while its sweet breath tousled their manes and tails as they all played blissfully in their precious home.