Skor smiled as he read.Sometimes he simply wandered off into the forest to read.He was unusual for an otter,instead of swimming and roughhousing he preferred reading and writing.However, he was still no pushover, he was half as tall again as a normal otter for his age (fifteen seasons) and much stronger.
He started as his father walked over.Orval Scartooth was a powerful creature taking his name after one of his teeth was knocked out in a battle with vermin hordes.
You know,if you spent any more time sitting here reading I would have thought you were and oddly shaped rock.his father said as he sat down.
Skor laughed in amusement,Maybe but at least I don't spend my day with a bunch of muscle heads like you.
Ha!,Orval chuckled muscle heads? you have more muscle than half the tribe!
Laughing they walked off towards the Holt. As they skirted a tree Orval put a paw over his son's shoulders.You know it's almost time for you to take the sword.
Suddenly Skor felt dread creep up his spine.I-I don't think it's the right time yet.He said.
Orval scowled You have been avoiding this for a while, why can't you just accept the fact that one day you are going to be the leader of our tribe?
Because I don't want to!Skor shrugged off his father angrily.I'm not a warrior like you, why can't YOU accept that I am NOT going to take it?He faced his father,defiance on his face.Maybe I am your son, but that doesn't mean I can handle fighting and killing as easily as you do.
Orval looked at him in dismay.Maybe you can't, but you have a responsibility to our peoplehe said.Do you think I wanted to be a leader when my father told me it was time?,no but I took the responsibility and I have led our tribe to this day.
They stared at each other before Skor brushed past his father into the chamber.Orval stared after him sadly.One day you'll understand.he whispered.
Skor ran into the chamber yelling at an empty room.Why!, why can't I do it!?!He stopped, breathing heavily and stared around.
The chamber was small,built into a hollowed out tree.The was an altar in the middle,the holding place for the sword. Skor slowly walked over and lifted the scabbard off of the altar. He sat admiring the dark leather before he drew the sword. The handle fit like it had been made for him. A dark brown dominated the color of the hilt, with a blue stone set in the pommel. However it was the blade that commanded his attention.
It was beautiful, blacker than the darkest night with runes carved in it that only otters could read.It said You are the wielder of the black flame but beware! He who uses this sword for evil shall meet an end fitting for his crimes beware!
Skor sheathed the sword and laid it back on the altar.Pleasehe whispered to no one in particular.Show me the way. Suddenly he heard a squeal,which didn't concern him to much.Kits commonly got stung by bees when they got too close to the creatures.
But then another scream joined the first,then another,and another,suddenly a deafening amount of screams replaced the first few.And then battle cries.
Skor ran to find a javelin. After belting it on his back he slowly crept towards the balcony to check what was going on.
He wished he hadn't
Horrible sights met him. Otters lay slaughtered on the ground,in their homes,even in the water,where their blood turned the tide red.Some of the warriors were still alive fighting savagely with the vermin that had murdered their friends and families.
Skor snarled and leaped down to the battlefield,he would make them pay for this,they were going to suffer the consequences of attacking the riptide tribe!
As he sprinted towards the battlefield he saw a fox smash an otter to the ground.As the fox raised his sword for the deathblow Skor crashed into him.Riiippppttiiiiideee!!!!!!he roared as he and the fox tumbled around.
Skor leaped to his footpaws.He brought the javelin down intending to skewer the fox,but his adversary rolled out of the way. They faced each other before the fox charged.Yoolahaaaarrrr!!!he roared, slashing his sword in an attempt to slice of Skor's head.
Skor leapt forward and gutted him before he could finish.
The fox gasped and coughed up blood before dropping his sword.Skor pushed him off the javelin, watching the body fall to the floor.
He turned to the otter he had saved.When did this happen?he demanded.
The otter winced. I'm not sure, one minute I'm playing with my little Petunia and then I was set upon by a filthy vermin!
Alrighthe growled. Rally to me!He turned towards the foebeast.
He saw a weasel sprinting at him and behind,a group of rats.Skor waited a moment before he hurled the javelin.The weasel ran straight into it. He uttered a scream as it ripped through him to impale a rat.
Skor sighed, he had liked that javelin,but there was nothing for it.He bent over the dead fox to strap on the fox's sword belt and take the sword.He studied it, a scimitar, nice one too.
He pointed his sword at the lead rat.Riiipppptttiiiiidddeeeeeee!!!!!!!he roared.The warriors behind him did the same.
Together they charged.Skor leaped over the first three rats and before they could turn he beheaded the lot of them with a backhand blow.
He winced as blood splashed his back.No time for that,he scolded himself as he stabbed another rat through the chest.
Soon the battle became a blur.He stabbed,slashed,and sliced all who attacked him.He even laughed once,a crazed laugh that scared him almost as much as it scared his enemies.
Soon he saw the battle was lost.The warriors behind him were tiring,and he could see hopelessness in their eyes whenever he passed them.Soon he realized they needed to retreat or they would be cut down. Retreat!!he yelled. Back to the Holt!
The warriors behind obeyed without question,hurling themselves into the water.
Skor threw a spear,smiling with satisfaction at the agonized scream before he jumped into the water.
He followed the current into the secret entrance to the Holt.
The once happy mood of the Holt was gone,replaced by despair.Halls once filled with happy kits chasing each other had injured otters in them.And the little pools once used for taking a refreshing soak were filled with blood from wounded warriors trying to ease the pain.
Skor's heart shook as he beheld the scene.
He quickly located his father among the few strong enough to fight.Orval was covered in blood and grime. Slashes on his breastplate and a small cut on his tail. Besides his wounds he looked older to Skor,and sadder.
Orval gave him a hug.I am glad you were not among the dead.he said sadly.
Skor returned the hug. Father how could this happen?he asked.Vermin have always been trouble but never has anyone mounted an attack of this scale before.
Orval snarled.It is the Beasts son,those bastards have returned to ravage the land.
Skor was puzzled.The beasts? he asked. I thought they were defeated seasons ago!
Orval beckoned Skor over and sat. No, many seasons ago I was a member of the Freedom Brigade.We were dedicated to keeping all goodbeasts free from the threat of vermin,but the Beasts were different from any other vermin bands we had ever encountered.The Beasts were much larger than any other enemy force we had encountered and much more dangerous. Their leader was a monstrous creature called a wolverine. His name was Gorval the Slayer. In the final battle Gorval was slain and we thought the Beasts were defeated but now.... I see we must now destroy them once and for all.
Orval stood.You must lead the wounded and the helpless to the brigadehe said.I and our able-bodied warriors will stay and distract them while you escape.
Skor rose.Leave!?he shouted. That's nonsense I won't-
Yes you will !Orval snapped before Skor could finish. We will lose! and do you wish for all of us to be slaughtered?he snarled.His tone softening he put a paw on Skor's shoulder.It is time for me to leave you sonhe hugged Skor.Your mother would be proud.
Skor felt tears blur his vision.Goodbye father he whispered.
Orval held him at arm's length.Before you go take the sword, and something else I have for youhe ran into a room while Skor waited.
Soon his father emerged with a bag in his paws.If you have the sword you should hold the armor he said solemnly.
He revealed the contents to Skor, who gasped.
There was beautiful black armor in the bag.Embroidered with the riptide tribe's symbol it gleamed despite the weak light.
Also take thisOrval said,passing him a dark grey cloak.
Skor put on the armor. First he put bracers on his legs and dark boots on his footpaws.Then he put on a dark breastplate with the riptide symbol etched in the chest.Then he put greaves on his forepaws and strangely only one plate for his left shoulder.Lastly he added the gauntlets. After all the armor was in place he threw down the sword and scabbard that had belonged to the fox.
After putting the cloak above most of the armor.He gave his father a salute.Don't worry father I will bring our tribe safely to the brigade, then I will make those scum pay for what happened here.
Orval nodded,a tear in his eye. Eat, then have them pack and go immediatelyhe said.
Skor relayed the news and those that were leaving began to eat.While they packed he went to the altar and wordlessly belted on the sword.
Come now little onehe said to a little otterbabe that was struggling with his pack. We need to leave soon.
I don't want to leave!the kit wailed.Skor felt terrible,especially since he nearly felt like crying himself.
He picked up the babe and brought him to his mother. Neither do Ihe told the babe.But sometimes we have to do things no one likes to survive.
Alright!the announced.Are all young'uns accounted for?
Grunts and murmurs of yesgreeted him.
Skor blinked back a tear,he was going to miss this place. Okay then it's time to move out!
Slowly they crept out from the back of the Holt and into the woods.North towards the Freedom Brigade.
As Skor and some of the other warriors kept lookout in the procession Skor turned. He saw his home,and he saw his Father waving to him, hidden from the sight of the vermin.
Skor blinked back a tear as he waved back.Goodbye fatherhe thought.I will see you again.....someday.
Then he turned and led the remainder of his tribe into the darkness.