" head...Craz...Skrowt...mou...what...what...WHAT...WHAT DID YOU DO?!!"

The raging Ruzenpaw was hit again with a branch.

Ruzenpaw looked down from the tree he was in. He looked at his captor—none other than the fearsome Lasko Catta!

"Fool, ya almost got yourself killed. What mousewarrior in his right mind runs ta get himself butchered?"

"They killed the mouse! I owe him his life! He saved us all! I saw it all happen! He—"

Ruzenpaw's mouth was clamped shut by Lasko.

"The mouse gives ya his life, and you throw it away? Have ya no sense? Warriors need reason, and not just courage. You are not a warrior."

The words stung Ruzenpaw. He had thought himself a warrior to this day. He felt ashamed of himself.

Lasko spoke. "I won't let ya return to the area. You'll stay with me till ya even deserve to wield that spear. I'm keeping it with me. You'll need lots of training before you can go back."

Under normal circumstances, whoever said that to Ruzenpaw would be lying unconscious. Lasko Catta was different. Ruzenpaw could see Lasko's logic, but his hubris prevented him from the full realization of his handicap.

                                       * * *

"First day of training, huh? I'll just have to suffer this nonsense and get back to fighting." Ruzenpaw's arrogant thought rang through his head, arming him with a smug smile and lowering his guard down for what would be the most intense training of his life.

                                       * * *

"Tie the rocks to your feet, paws, and waist, and tie your ankles and wrists together. Then I will try and hit you with my club, and you will block me with this staff," Lasko explained.

Ruzenpaw failed miserably. "If this is what ring a warrior is I even deserve to be one?"

The question rang through his head for the night. To practice austerity, he slept on the ground, on a highly uncomfortable bed of pebbles.


I have reasons for continuing this story. As of now, this is a beta test. I am re-experimenting with it.

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