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Flame: An Outcast in Two Societies

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Preface

This is a short, poignant story. I don't know whether it will be completed or not. This story was inspired by ScotyBlue's Fan Fiction, Little Flower.


Dedication

I would like to dedicate this tale to ScottyBlue, who always would help me through rough times, help me feel better when I go through bouts of depression, and who gives constructive criticism on my work. Thank you, Scotty.


Prologue

The castaway, the fox that exposed the hypocrisy of his leader, the outcast.

The Flame, the name of the fox. The castaway, the outcast. The one that dared speak out against the fat, lazy, leader...

"No, I'm going to get myself gutted like a fish if I talk like that." Flame's brother, Luteo, was killed for stabbing the leader. They had no parents, being abandoned due to their timidity and lack of a tail. Now Flame had no family, let alone parents. Flame had run away from his tribe, but it was no home to him. He was beaten, taunted, and hated.

"What now...fire?" Loneliness compelled him to talk to himself.

He was the master of fire. with minimal resources, he could get a fire going in seconds. Three weeks before, he had run away. They would not miss him...nobody wants a runty fox wiv'out a tail. With some supplies and a hunting bow, he set out.

After shooting a few fish from the shallows of the lake he was near, and roasting them, he sat down to eat. Then he saw someone.

Chapter 1: Mission

The runaway, the otter that was fed up with his community's low opinion of him, the slayer. Axe in hand, muscles flexed, hate in Xaiger's eyes, he set hs eyes on first prize: a fox, the fox, the Flame.

"Father will be so proud when I show him that I can slay!" He advanced toward Flame.


Flame knew that he was dead. "P-ple-please don't hurt me...p-p-p-p-lease..." he stuttered in sheer fright.

"Shut up! If I won't kill you, I'm going to take you back to Riven Community." Xaiger bound the poor Flame with tough grass ropes and dragged him over back to his home.

                                * * *

After an hour, Flame spat and asked, "Why didn't ye kill me? You 'orrible seabeast!"

"Shut up!" Xaiger whacked Flame on the head with the handle of his hatchet. Xaiger had Flame's hunting bow safe in his bag. This would be a long walk, Xaiger thought to himself.


Chapter 2: Shame

Flame gasped; facing him was a large gatehouse made of grey stone.

"Get inside here." Xaiger dragged him inside a hole that led inside the enclosure. Apparently, this is how Xaiger snuck out unnoticed.

"Stay." Xaiger tied Flame to a tree, as if he was a lesser creature.

"Oi, Frue! I got myself a fox!"

"Hey, Xaiger's got a fox!"

"This is the first notable thing Xaiger's done!"

Xaiger allowed himself a little smug smile. He had done it.

                                 * * *

Xaiger led Flame inside of a small building. It turned out to be a large room with chairs, a stage, and a view of a beautiful garden. Apparently, this was the community's meeting place. everyone was gathered there. They were all otters. Flame allowed himself a small look at the beautiful garden; it was mind blowing to a vermin like Flame. All his tribe grew was food and castor—for making poison. Growing plants to look at? Well, it's pretty...Flame's thoughts were interrupted by Xaiger dragging him along.

"Friends, family, may I present the vermin...a fox, that I captured by myself!" Xaiger announced this as he shoved Flame into view.

The amazed faces of the otters instantly turned to amusement, then wrinkled up in strident and cruel laughter.

"Hee hee hee, be careful not to step on it!"

"Look, it's so tiny!"

"How did you capture it? Did you use a bug-catching net, or did you catch it with your hands?"

"You call this an accomplishment?" The leader's booming voice drowned everyone else's. "Xaiger, can you call yourself my son? I am ashamed! I brought everyone here in hopes of seeing something substantial, but you come with this beetle!" The leader, Duzhlain Riven, had publicly shamed his youngest son, and his older son, Shauz, the future ruler, smirked in a way such that only Xaiger could see the teasing. With tears in his eyes, Xaiger lashed out as everyone but Flame, Duzhlain, and Xaiger left.

"Remember the time when I found your sword? Without it, you would be lost!"

Duzhlain sighed. "Everyone knows that it was Shauz who found it. Stop taking credit for your better's hard work, because no one is impressed. Little runt."


Chapter 3: Flashback: The Adventure of the Sword

"Shauz, d'ye think that the vermin probaly hid Father's sword?" Xaiger asked as they walked farther and farther away from home in search of Duzhlain's missing sword.

"I dunno, Xaiger. But when our friends gave 'em all a whippin', they disappeared for a while and came back without the sword. So probably, yes."

"A good place to hide it...this is a grassland area, not many places to hide a gem-studded sword. But...what about that cave?"

"Yes, the cave, why didn't I see that cave?" said Shauz exictedly, feigning happiness. However, he was worried that if Xaiger foud the sword, Father would like Xaiger more, and more favor means a new heir...

"Let's go, Shauz!" Xaiger pulled Shauz into the cave. "Hey, look! Two passages! You go here, I'll go there."

The duo split up and went in each passage.

Shauz was not lucky. A tribe of nearly blind cannibal weasels attacked him, but he was able to scare them off with a spark he accidentaly made. He was then confronted by a python, which grasped him in its strangulatory hold. The python was obviously not of stable mind, what was it doing in a cave? And thus did Shauz have the deadliest wrestling match of his life. As soon as he broke free, he ran to the end of the cave, and all that greeted him was a rusty old knife. He screamed and threw the knife at the rocky wall, creating a spark. At least he could not get out without being eaten by the nearly-blind cannibals.

Was Xaiger lucky? No. There were no creatures to maim or kill him, but the cave was full of pitfalls, holes in the wall, rocky tables above him, etc. His exceedingly keen eye and bright torch (which Shauz, in an act of foolish bravado, had bravely declined) helped him see the sword that was just within his reach.

"Shauz! Look! The sword! I found it!" exclaimed Xaiger as he rushed out of the passage. Fear, jealousy, and rage coursed through Shauz's mind. How? How did he find it? I am better than him in all ways! Will father prefer him over me?

What Shauz said was, "Excellent, little otter! Let's go home and show Father!" He said this while hatching an evil plot inside his head. "Here, I'll carry that heavy sword for you."

"Thanks, Shauz!"

When they arrived, Duzhlain Greeted them heartily. "My sword! Congratulations! I cannot thank you enough!"

"Yes...I know. It was a lot of work finding this little piece of work. Before I found it," and that part was stressed a bit, "I had to wrestle a deranged python, duel a cannibal, and protect Xaiger."

Xaiger was speechless. It is an understatement o say that he did not expect this. He could not make his mouth let loose the thoughts that coursed through his head. WHAT?! I FOUND THE SWORD...I DESERVE HIS PRAISE!

"Son, I am exceedingly proud of you. You are the greatest warrior I have ever known."

As they walked away together, Xaiger finally found the words.

"Stop! it was me! I found the sword! I don't know why, but he's lying!"

"Xaiger! How dare you! You know full well that I found this. Stop lying, you little dwarf," Shauz snapped.

"For lying, and for insulting your elder brother, you must stay in your dormitory chamber for two days. And," Duzhlain added, "you are forbidden to own your own sword. FOR LIFE."

Xaiger got under the covers of his bed, and wept bitterly. He cursed his father, his lying brother, and his family and friends for not defending him. Why would they? Shauz exceeded Xaiger in every possible way, he was older, and far more respectable.

"Why is society so unfair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Xaiger cried to the heavens desperately. He wished he could drop dead right now.


Chapter 4: A home?

Xaiger had long since left, leaving Duzhlain and Flame alone.

"Fox, where do you come from? What is your name?" Duzhlain asked, a bit forcefully.

"I am F-Flame, and I come from Mossflower. I ran away from my tribe, and I have no home. I am not a killer, so please spare me..." Flame replied, obviously in immense fear.

"I will let you stay, but only if you can do something for the tribe. Do you have any skills that would even remotely benefit us?"

"I-I can grow stuff..." Flame offered. He was an excellent gardener, because that was the only thing he was valued for in his old tribe. Then again, the tribe did not do much gardening.

"Then you may stay. But if you displease me in any way," and here Duzhlain's mood grew darker, "you will be banished!"

"Y-yes, s-sir."

"Cellado! Come here." Duzhlain called out the open window to a young otter passing by.

"Yes, Leader?" Cellado replied. He was probably the same age as Xaiger.

"Take this fox around and show him all the areas of this community. Show him his dormitory, and the gardens. Make sure he has a job there. And keep a close eye on him."


Chapter 5: Sonntario

Fire flickered in the dark woods of Mossflower, illuminating the surroundings brightly. Tents were pithed, apparently made from rags. Voices were heard, chanting in low voices. There was a whine from a babe, who was immediately pacified by a young beast. Suddenly all grew quiet. A beast, similar to all the others, stood on a tree stump. His mere presence commanded attention from every beast in the camp.

"Squirrels of the Nomad Tribe of Doa'Faerali, I stand here today to make an important announcement. We have entered the Sights of Evil, a place in Mossflower Woods where vermin abound and evil lurks in every corner. The berries are poisonous, the fish will devour you piece by piece if you dare to step into the water, and a wolf lurks about, rendered mad by Hellgates-knows-what. You must stay within camp boundaries, and little children who are not ten seasons old are not allowed far from the central fire. Should a threat enter the camp, the Spear Squad will take care of the matter. Juvenile warriors, stay out of it," the leader announced. A young beast hung his head, and spoke out.

"Chief Sonntario, why can't we fight? It'll save the lives of many squirrels here, and we're able to fight as well as any of you!" The juvenile warrior squirrel, Fenlon, spoke with such force that everybeast bore a look of submission on their face—but not Sonntario, the chief.

"Fenlon. You cannot fight these vermin. They are born to kill, demons from Hellgates will bow to them. You are yet o mature into a warrior. You must think in multiple dimensions when it comes to the safety of this tribe. I cannot let you do this. Moreover, I sometimes wonder why I even let you young'uns wield weapons." Sonntario said these words calmly, but with an edge.

"Sonntario! We have the will to fight! We are willing to sacrifice our lives for the tribe!" Here a roar of assent rang from the juvenile warriors.

All of Sonntario's wrath broke loose. He stepped down from the tree stump.

Sonntario was a tall, muscular squirrel, with intelligence to match his strength, but some things set him apart from others. He was missing one tooth, root and all. He had a sizable diamond-shaped scar on his thigh, almost as if his skin was ripped off there. But the thing that set him apart the most was his lack of a tail.

"Fenlon! You would not meet diligence expectations in training, but you are willing to sacrifice your life! Fighting is more than bravery and power! You are rash and immature, and you are yet to become a warrior." Sonntario's words made Fenlon hang his head in submission, and Sonntario's anger subsided.

"Fenlon, let me tell you a story. Twenty seasons ago, before you were born, I had my tail, my tooth, and my scar was not there. But here is why I look the way I do now."

"Sonn, vermin are coming. They killed Nöir. They want to kill us all!"

"Don't sob, Longtail. How far away are these vermin?" Sonntario asked.

"A week. We have no weapons to fight them."

"There was a certain temple nearby. A mysterious beast lived there, Hellgates knows who or what he was. All I knew was that he had weapons That we could procure. When I sought out the temple, with a good three days of searching..."

Sonntario entered the temple. A vast room, with nothing in it, was illuminated by a strange fire. A voice echoed though the chamber.

"A beast has entered the Temple of Lar'Lazarna. He seeks that which will give him power. What be your need for power?"

Sonntario bravely responded, but with a barely noticeable tone of meekness in his voice.

"I need your weapons for my tribe, because vermin are coming and we have no means to defend ourselves."

There was silence for a bit.

"Are you willing to give your life for these weapons?" the voice asked.

"Yes, yes I am! My life is nothing in the face of many!"

"I hate to take the life of one as noble as you. But I need a sacrifice."

"Anything, anything!"

"Give to me your tail, a patch of your skin, your tooth, a beaker of your blood, and your word that these weapons shall only be used in self defense."

"It was a painful sacrifice, but for that act, your father and mother and the rest of us would all be dead. And you would not have been born. Learn well, Fenlon, and I shall ordain you with the title of warrior. But for now, you must keep your combat to a minimum."

Fenlon nodded his head silently.

"Squirrels, the meeting is adjourned. Sleep well, stay safe, and most of all, stay wise. Doa'Faerali du-coi und'ocos!"

"DOA'FAERALI DU-COI UND'OCOS!" The chant rang out through the tribe, and after bedtime, all was quiet.


Chapter Six: Gardening

Right when the sun rose, Flame stepped into the garden carefully, when someone called him.

"So the runty fox is the new help I'll get 'round here! Come 'ere, you!" A female otter yelled for Flame to come.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"If'n ye wanna do sumthin' useful, come an' water these flowers."

Flame looked at the asters, roses, peonies, and other decorative flowers. "What are these?"

"By HELLGATES! Ye call yourself a gardener, and you don't know these flowers?"

"Forgive me, ma'am, but I only have ever grown vegetables in my tribe before..."

"Then go bother Varzina over there by the vegetable garden, by HELLGATES!"

Flame ran over to the vegetable garden, and was greeted by Varzina.

"So you're the help I was expecting? Wonderful, come on!" Varzina was an elderly female otter. Flame was surprised that she spoke kindly to him.

"There's a sizable patch of soil over yonder. You can have it for yourself. But today, can you fetch me some peat over by the bog?You know where it is, right?"

Flame nodded his head and then ran in the direction of the bog. "I'll be back by noon!"


Chapter Seven: Rise of a Leader

Duzhlain gazed at his fur, strands of grey permeating the brown monochrome of his hair. He was getting old.

"It is time," he said to himself. He called his assistant.

"Pogin, make plans for the coronation of Shauz. I'm too old to rule any more."

"Yes, Duzhlain. And, there is something I must tell you."

"Out with it, fellow."

"Do you remember when Shauz found your sword, seasons ago?"

"Yes..."

"Shauz's minion told me all. It was Xaiger. Shauz stole the sword and the honor for himself. I know this!"

"Minions...?"

"Shauz's supporters make an army, commanded by the young prince. He is the real ruler in terms of power. I have told you this, and I have never lied before."

"Don't talk rot!"

Suddenly, another otter entered the room.

"Well, well, well, look who revealed my secret." Shauz menacingly walked into the room, with a large sword in his hand.

"Shauz! What are you—" Duzhlain's words were cut off forever. Shauz killed him with a single blow from his blade.

"Oh, my goodness!" Pogin shared in horror as he was also slain.

Shauz decapitated the body of Duzhlain.

                                   * * *

Shauz's minions did a wonderful job of herding all the otters into the grand hall.


"Otters of the Community. Your leader, Duzhlain is dead!" Shauz held up the head of the former leader on his spear. Screams rang out from the crowd. Shauz's bodyguards surrounded him, guaranteeing him safety.

"I am your leader now. If any of you step out of line, you will be killed! I am Lord Shauz, the Leader!!!"

Flame ran out of the room. He was unnoticed.

Chapter 8: Turmoil

A community guard nailed a plaque onto the front wall of the town hall. On it, "Ten Commandments" was written.

~ 1. NO ONE SHALL SPEAK OUT AGAINST LORD SHAUZ. 2. ALL BEASTS MUST ENLIST IN THE MILITARY WHEN THEY HAVE SEEN FIVE SEASONS. 3. NO MOTHER IS ALLOWED CONTACT WITH HER CHILD AFTER AGE FIVE.

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