Deer Trouble

Response to Tammy Drabble #63 – Behind the scenes (Every event in the book is pre-and-succeeded by another, and some might be interesting enough to write about. Something happens behind the scenes, so write about it!)

Disclaimer: I'm not Tammy. 'Nough said.

The graceful doe stretched her long, tawny legs, bounded across the field and over a wooden fence in an effortless leap that seemed almost a choreographed dance of the finest quality. There she joined a herd of "hoof-sisters" who raced with her, enjoying the first warm day that Spring had brought them.

"You'll wear yourself out, Magelet," Numair called idly, but he wasn't really worried. He turned his attention to his journal, cataloguing the experiment, and marvelling at the number of animals Daine had already transformed herself into. It seemed to him that each transformation came faster and faster, and he hypothesized that the time would come soon that she'd hardly have to think about the change. It would simply take place.

He'd never heard the hunters approach, though their dogs were barking. These were noises he regularly ignored. It was the whiz of the arrow that pulled him from his book. Fear shot through his heart painfully, and he lept to his feet before he'd even realized it. Scanning the area for the deer that was Daine, he ran full out, dropping his journal somewhere along the way and managing to smear ink along his brow as he shadoweed his eyes in his quest. "Daine! Magelet!" He called frantically with no answer. When he spied the hunting party, black gift swirled around them, keeping them immobile.

By and by he spotted a doe laying on its side in the tall grass just feet from the tree line. For a moment Numair thought his heart might stop altogether. Then he saw the slight form of a girl crawl to the suffering animal. Daine seemed unconcerned by her state of undress, and wept for the animal she was endeavoring to heal.

Numair hesitated, caught between decorum and relief. He waited until Daine released the healed doe and retrieved her clothing, before he hurried to embrace her.

"Magelet, I think you will one day cause my heart to fail," he told her as he clung to her much more tightly than was probably called for.

"Numair?" she responded, looking up at him. "How long do you plan to keep them there?"

It was a moment before he understood who she was talking about, and then he ceased his spell. The hunting party raced away faster than he might have thought possible.

"I think you fair scared them," she said. "You'll be the talk of the pubs tonight."

"Better they fear me, than toast your memory," he replied, wondering at the way his voice seemed to tremble. "That was too close, Magelet."