The Cleansing

The Herling

Sgorr felt powerful as he watched Drail fall to his death. He turned back to Eloin and said, "This is our little secret."

With a cruel smirk, Sgorr beckoned for the, now, Sgorrla as he went back to the bridge. He had made sure that everything was in place for the old fool's death, knowing that the Sgorrla didn't see anything and that he would keep Eloin quiet with the threat of her friends dying by his stags antlers.

The small group arrived back at where they had crossed to follow Rannoch and the other fawns as they escaped. It was a bridge that was only a fallen, thick oak tree struck down by lightning one stormy day. The Sgorrla hesitantly scrambled across the fallen oak, nervously looking down. Sgorr growled at their cowardice, and he called to a retiring Sgorrla, "Come here Trahunt."

The old herling shivered as he saw Sgorr's long teeth glint in the sunlight. He hesitantly made his way over to Sgorr, who was waiting at the mid point of the bridge. "Harken now," Sgorr called impatiently as he stomped his hoof down, making Trahunt quicken his pace as he scrambled to comply before he felt Sgorrs wraith doubled.

"You were with those that let the fawns loose, right," Sgorr asked.

Trahunt cowered close to the bark of the tree. Sgorr, growing impatient, didn't wait for the old stag to answer. "Yes, you were. It seems that I have not punished you though. Ready for your punishment?"

Before Trahunt could blink, Sgorr gripped at the old stags throat with his long teeth. The old stags hind legs kicked weakly as Sgorr shook his head to the left and let go of Trahunt. The other Sgorrla and Eloin watched in morbid silence as the old stag fell, blood raining down and turning the water below into a huge mass of the red liquid.

Sgorr strode calmly towards the others, jumping down with a cat's grace. "Well," he snapped. The Sgorrla fell into their ranks and led the way back to the Home Oak. Sgorr stood on top of the highest hill and called for all to gather. Every hind, fawn, and stag fearfully came and waited under the hill as the sun continued to beat down on the land.

"Everyone, there is sad news. Drail was killed by the traitors, and since I was next in line, I'm your new Lord of the Herd," Sgorr said as a thick cloud covered the sun, and a fierce wind whipped at all of the Herling's fur as they shuddered.

"The Draila are now to be known as the Sgorrla," Sgorr continued, oblivious to the weather as he felt the power. He was not afraid of the Mraked One, did not fear the silly stories that Blindweed told to the fawns even after having banned them.

The stags kept the hinds out of a state of flight as they led them back to the meadow, the fawns following dutifully after their mothers. Narl, who had been with Sgorr when Drail fell, came up beside his master. "Lord Sgorr," he said. "The stags are growing restless with just fighting their own kind. They want a better challenge."

"Narl, you may just call me Sgorr. I have something in mind," Sgorr smiled, or what was close to smiling as Sgorr could get. "Gather everyone up and meet me by the forests edge near to the stream."

"Yes Sgorr," Narl said as he bowed his head and disappeared to pick the right stags.

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Sgorr noted who Narl had brought. He picked out a sly, bright eyed young one immediately. He bent down and said quietly to Narl, "That one, the Bright eyed one, he is my new assassin."

Narl nodded as he strode casually over to the bright eyed young one. He bent down and said something to him that Sgorr couldn't catch as the other stags scrapped at the ground with growing impatience.

The bright eye nodded to Narl as he slipped away from the crowd. Sgorr waited until Narl was agin by his side before saying, "I have called you here for a new method of practice. I hear that you are all growing impatient with just training with your own. So, I have decided that we shall do a momentous thing. The Cleansing!"

"The Cleansing! The Cleansing," The stags echoed as they ran after Sgorr into the forest. They came to a clearing where they spotted a wide array of Lera.

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The Lera

It was just a normal day for the woodland creatures, like Sek. The pine marten passed by the two fox cubs that had strayed from their mothers side, yapping and biting at each other in play. The splash of two otters could also be heard as they also played, but with water. Stoats and mink slunk around in the shadows as rabbits dashed and field mice hid.

Sek sighed as he clambered up a tree and laid down on a branch. The forest was suddenly engulfed in black as the sun was covered, making the fox cubs cower and whimper as the rustling of the other animals ceased as they listened. The two otters stopped their splashing as they clambered onto the bank, their heads cocked.

Sek breathed shallowly as he watched some stags come into the clearing where the fox cubs cowered even deeper into a bush. He heard one of them say, "Remember your training," before he realized that it was Sgorr.

His eyes widen as he watched as two stags advanced towards the fox cubs, their antlers swinging down and crushing their small bodies. Sek closed his eyes and prayed that he wouldn't be spotted by the red marked stags. He heard the startled cries of some stoats as they were butchered, as well as the minks. The bushes rustled as rabbits tried to flee in vain, although some escaped from the nightmare. The high bark of an otter made Sek look down at the stream. One stag had cornered one of the otters, as the other jumped into the safety of the stream. The stag gored right through the otter, tossing its body neatly onto a low hanging branch of a tree.

One all of the Lera seemed to have disappeared did the stags stop for the day. "Well done," Sgorr nodded approvingly as he surveyed the area. "Those traitors won't stand a chance against us. Right Narl?"

"Yes Sgorr," Narl answered as the stags left.

Sek slunk down the tree once he was sure that it was safe. A raven flew down next to him, making the pine marten recoil and spit. "Crak. I have some news. Crak. Crak," the raven said as it hobbled on its thin legs.

"Well, what is it then," Sek said as he sat down and calmed himself.

"Crak. Drail is dead, Sgorr leads Herd. Marked one is alive. Herne's Herd have fled. Crak. Crak," Crak said as he looked around the clearing.

"I just saw Sgorr. He sent his stags to kill any Lera for practice," Sek said as he noticed Crak looking at the carnage. "The Marked One is alive? Then he better save us soon."

"Crak. Marked one has been healing, no long fighting. Crak. Crak," Crak said sadly before lifting back into the air.

Sek gloomily watched as Crak flew off before going over to a bush. His sharp hearing picked up the sounds of approaching hooves. Ducking behind the bush, Sek spotted a group of deer. They came right over to him, making shushing noises as they listened as well. Sek reared up and spat at them saying, "Back off. Deer not welcome here!"

"Calm down," one of them said. "We aren't going to hurt you."

"What do you want," Sek asked as he spat again. "Deer always want something from Lera. More pain."

"We do not wish to harm you," The same one said, soothingly.

Sek was shocked slightly that he understood the deer, and that the deer understood him. He shook that off before remarking, "You not marked."

"What do you mean," Another deer said.

"Sgorrla have marked themselves. On forehead," Sek answered as he pointed to his own forehead.

"The Sgorrla did this," A hind asked.

Sek nodded. "Aye. You want to fight Sgorr? All Lera flee, not fight."

"Yes, we want to fight Sgorr," The first deer answered. "Where is he?"

"Two suns to the south,with the Great Herd. Settled around a small lake. Sgorr has the Sgorrla in constant training. He test their viciousness every day on Lera..." Sek answered.

"Thank you," The other hind said as the deer left the clearing.

Sek watched them leave before scurrying towards his safely hidden den, where he would hide until the Marked One and the deer that visited him would kill Sgorr.

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AN : I was sad that David Clement-Davies didn't go into The Cleansing too much. So, I decided that I would write what I think should go in that gap.

Fire Bringer belongs to David Clement-Davies. The idea of The Cleansing does as well.