Story for the Day: Tepu and the Hind
This is a piece of something I wrote a while ago. I might turn it into a book. I might not. :D
Tepu was called by the villagers, and though he had been cast out by them only a few years hence for his odd manner and magical abilities, he observed that their entreaties were genuine and agreed to the summons. When he came to the village border, he was met by the elder, a small and gnarled man blind in one eye who walked with a cane and a limp. He imparted that the hunters of the village had succeeded in capturing one of the doe, a mythical creature bound to the aegis of Mlys as Tepu was. Although Tepu had never seen the land of his birth, as he was not one of its usual citizens, he was familiar with the gift of unanimous speech his birthright bestowed and was called to utilize his powers with the rare creature.
“Where are you keeping her?” Tepu firmly asked as he was led toward the village square.
“The creature is being kept in the empty stables just beyond the hall,” the old man replied, pointing to the structure with a quavering finger.
Tepu sighed for the disregard of the doe’s consideration and shook his head in disappointment that those who had raised him had not changed their uninformed ways. “Why have you captured her? She hasn’t done anything to you.”
“You must understand, boy, our enemies are upon us. They have killed nearly half of our tribe. If we can somehow find Mlys and ask for help, we may survive this war.”
“And you think this doe will lead you there?”
“The creature may have information on how to reach the entrance of the Fey kingdom. We must attempt to recover any insight it may have as to how to reach Myrellenos.”
Tepu exhaled in disdain for the task forced upon him and though he would not enjoy the interrogation of an undoubtedly terrified doe, he must do something to assuage her fears and end her confusion as to why she was being held as prisoner. He left the elder’s side, feeling little need for a civil farewell, and walk toward the stables. The villagers scattered at the sight of him, recalling the strange occurrences they had witnessed when he was a child regarding his abilities. He was blameless to his birthright, an outcast of Mlys for being human and a pariah to society for being one of the Fey. He was only good enough for either nation when they required his assistance and he was shunned by the villagers for being candid in his conviction to be unlike them.
He ignored the stricken stares of the villagers and entered the stables to find the doe sitting within a small cage. The imprisonment contrived was easily escaped but the creature within its hold was too frightened and bemused to notice the poor craftsmanship of her confinement. He neared and observed the doe clinging to the bars as if to use them as a shield against him. Her four hooves were tied together, her wrists were bound, and the branches protruding from her forehead were attached to the side of her cage. Her eyes were bright and large, her arms delicate, and her body emaciated. He did not believe she had been starved by the humans who had entrapped her, as she had been in the settlement for little more than a day, but he felt that perhaps her arrest was so easily done because of her malnourishment. Her legs bucked when Tepu drew close, as if she were attempting to escape him, but her many confinements kept her from moving more than a few inches. She was enclosed in a tight pen and could do nothing more than hide her face behind raised hands.
Tepu reached into the cage and placed a calm hand onto her hide. He stroked her delicate brown pelt and extended the forthcoming touch to her long golden hair. He hushed her and said nothing until she removed her hands from her face. He was treated with unwavering gawps of horror but his kindly manner and calm voice soon assuaged her worries.
“There is no reason to be afraid,” he said, gently stroking her pelt. “Are you harmed?”
The doe shook her head and eyed Tepu with a careful glance.
“You look hungry,” Tepu said with concern. “Here. Take this.” He reached into his pack and retrieved an apple for her to eat. Her eyes grew large and eager but she refused to reach through the bars to take what he had offered her. “It’s all right,” Tepu said, handing her the apple.
“Is this a trick?” the doe said in a small voice.
Tepu gave her an affable smile. “No. No trick.”
“You are a human?
The doe looked at Tepu as if she were searching for something. “You have no stones?”
“Stones?” Tepu said in bemusement.
The doe looked away with indignity. “Humans have stones,” she whispered. She moved her golden locks to the side to reveal a circular blemish marked on her shoulder. “I hide from humans with stones.”
“I’m sorry that those who look like me treated you this way,” Tepu sighed.
“Sorry? But you have no stones. Why are you sorry?”
“Because someone must take responsibility for the cruel actions of others.”
“But you can understand me,” the doe meekly said, beginning to smile. “You are not like the others.”
“No,” he said, sharing her cordiality. “Here. I can see you’re hungry.” He lobbed the apple through the bars and simpered to see her attack it with delight.