How Rindir became an Outcast.
Author: Percy Goodfellow
Chapter: Vignette 2 Chapter 2 The Hunting Game
1. Backstory: 6%
2. Character Development: 12%
3. Scene Setting: 12%
4. Exposition that moves the story: 31%
5. Dialogue that moves the story: 35%
6. Foreshadowing: 2%
7. Symbolism: 2%
The Hunting Game
In the fall a boy from the village, named Palottie set out to deliver a message. By this time Moogy had learned from Rindar many customs and much of the language spoken by the Buffalo’s. To hasten the process Volusia had insisted that they speak the dialect in their daily activities and she had a knack for languages. In less than a month his mother had a working knowledge and between her and Rindar, Moogie was well on the road to becoming fluent.
Palottie was several miles out from the camp, crossing the high plateau where the foothills began to raise up to the mountains. He was taken by surprise when confronted by a young boy who stood menacing him with a spear. He was even more startled when the lad addressed him in the speech of the plains people. “Napoi villuex siroturu,” the younger challenged. Moogy while barely eleven years, had the drop on his quarry, a spear pointed to his chest.
“I come to speak with Rindar…,“ said the older boy. “He’s been summoned.”
Moogy lowered his spear and stood pensively. Then he motioned for the visitor to follow.
“Who are you?” demanded Palottie
“A friend of Rindar’s,” Moogy answered.
“How is it you speak our words when I don’t know your face?”
“Rindar and my Mother taught me.”
“Are you living out here with Rindar?” He asked in disbelief.
“He is teaching me the ways of the Plains,” Moogy answered proudly.
“Don’t you understand that he’s an outcast… no one is allowed words with him…, unless sanctioned by the elders?”
“I am not bound by your rules. I speak with whomever I choose.”
“So what is your tribe?
“One I am oathed not to divulge.”
That wasn’t exactly true but he’d promised his mother to keep quiet about being a Wardarian.
This was unexpected and Palotti lapsed into silence as the two walked together up the rocky slope.
"Your skin is pale and your eyes are blue…"
“Do you know Rindar well?” asked Moogy evasively.
“Well enough… He’s my cousin and greatly admired by the younger men.”
“What did he do to get banished?”
“Has he not told you?”
“He’s tight lipped and not given to long conversations. Can you?”
“It’s no secret… He killed a Wardarian Gamesman.”
“Do you know about the games?”
As a matter of fact Moogy did…. All the Wardarian young men knew about the games…
“Is that where the nobles and their sons go each year, to the plains and enter into combat with warriors of the native tribes?
“Combat indeed ,“said Pelotti derisively… “I don’t know where you get your information but those chased to their death are unarmed and hardly deserve to be called warriors… they are but boys, still on the cusp of manhood.
Somehow, Moogy wasn’t surprised by the revelation.
“How did Rindar get into trouble….?”
“He was chosen as a quarry and we were glad… because we knew the Wardarian chasers would never catch him.”
“So what happened?”
“They cheated…They had a team of four go after him instead of just one. When he was cornered he bashed the skull of one of his pursuers shot another dead with an arrow.”
“That got him banished?”
“The rabbit is not supposed to turn upon the lion…”
“But the Wardarian’s broke the rules first…”
“What else is new… Our leaders just shrugged and told them he was banished and no longer a member of the tribe… they are timid and went on to say if the chasers wanted to settle the matter they could go and find him and do so.”
"Are you kidding? He had the Gamekeepers bow and many of his possessions by that point. Their tracker was dead. They are arrogant but not fools."
“Didn’t it seem strange when the Chaser returned empty handed…?”
“We all knew what had happened, they both rode in with the two bodies slung over their horses… and under wraps.”
“So, what happened?”
“Lord Marcutti said the matter wasn’t settled… that he’d return and deal personally with Rindar."
“What do you suppose he meant?“
"That’s why I’m here. At the time they didn’t want to admit that even with four on one, and him defenseless, that Rindar had eluded the big bad hunters and wound up killing two of them. Luckily it was only a gamekeeper and a tracker but even so the "Great Hunters" lost face and are anxious to redeem themselves."
“What does this have to do with Rindar?”
As they approached Moggy blew his hunting horn, ending with a cautionary note. This heralded from afar that something unusual was in the offing. It was a deviation from the norm that was designed to alert everyone in camp.
What is that all about? wondered Rindar, reaching for his spear. Volusia grabbed Tupa and retreated into the enclosure.
When Moogy led Polloti into the encampment Rindar let out a sigh of relief. The boy was his kinsman and he wondered what brought his cousin out into the edge lands. He wasn’t long in getting an answer.
“What brings you?” asked Rindar after making some appropriate small talk.
“Yesterday the Wardarians showed up and proceeded immediately to take hostages. Ten young men were gathered and are being held in an enclosure. Then Marcoutti told the chief they would be leaving with either your head or the heads of the ten captives. “
“I see,” was all Rindar could think to say.
“You don’t owe the tribe anything,” said Pelotti, “They will probably kill them all anyway.”
“I’ll consider the matter and speak further in the morning."
Volusia stood at five feet six inches and had the pale complexion and blue eyes that characterized a Wardarian. She was an attractive woman with a distinctive look that attracted attention. She came from a family of healers and had grown at her mother’s knee ministering to the sick and broken. The Healers were a strange and enigmatic sort of women, highly esteemed and even feared. She had grown up foraging at her mothers side. The wilderness was no terror but rather an open and wonderful place filled with exciting adventures and warm memories. On each quarter of the moon they would go in search, for days on end, theywould search together for the herbs that went into the making of lotions and liniments for treating maladies that were the bane of human existence.
Somehow she knew the happiness she had enjoyed the past months couldn’t go on. She had developed a growing affection for Rindar and felt safe. More than safe she felt whole. Going about the camp duties, gathering herbs and berries, cooking and falling asleep in Rindar’s arms gave purpose to her life. Plus he was a good influence on Moogy and together they often went hunting for several days at a time. He was good for her son and taught him many of the things that only a father can. Tupa had come back to life and was turning into a valuable helper. Her daughter thrived on the hard life and all the attention she received from her mother.
That night they made love with urgency and Rindar had overflowed with eagerness. When they finished he stood and looked out into the night.
“Tell me what happened to get you banished?” she asked.
“Last summer there came the Hunting Games…Do you know what those are?”
“I have heard stories of them and have a sense for what goes on.”
“Lord Marcoutti is a patron of the sport.”
“He is a swine…”
“You know him?” asked Rindar in surprise.
“We have had occasion to meet,” she replied her eyes flashing in anger.
“Tell me of your experience,” he asked.
“Tonight is no time for that. He is evil and you must live on to protect me .“
“I’ll demand that the tribe take you in payment for the sacrifice I must make. “
“Like hell you will!” she snapped. “It’s you who’ll be caring for me, Now tell me how you got yourself banished?”
Rindar took a deep breath as she crawled up under his arm.
“It began last year…“ and he related to Volusia the long sad tale.
He remembered standing behind the palisade as the games were about to begin. The young boys were trying to appear brave but anyone could see they were trembling with fear and anxiety. He recalled his own experience and the feelings of once standing in their place. In a sense the games were a right of passage for the young men of the tribe just as they were for the Wardarian boys who would be hunting them. The God’s knew the loss of a couple adolescents was not going to have much of an effect on the future of the tribe… where as being evicted from the tribal lands would be a disaster. Beyond the rim there wasn’t much to sustain life, only desert, starvation and death. It wasn’t the cost that bothered Rindar it was the anger and frustration that smoldered inside as he watched the spectacle and the terror that swirled beneath the surface. He had quietly trained the young men for weeks in the skills they would need to survive and for most it would be enough. For one or two however he would have to endure the sight of their heads draped across the saddles as the arrogant warlords returned from the chase.
It must have shown on his face for he saw Lord Marcoutti looking at him.
“So Rindar,” he inquired. Do you have your rabbits up for the run?
Rindar tried to control his emotions but his eyes flashed.
“Now that’s a dangerous look,” Marcoutti observed… “I take it you don’t approve of our sporting and gentle pass-time."
Rindar tried to hold in his hate in reign…
Marcoutti gestured towards one of the boys trembling inside the enclosure. His cloth was wet and urine stains streaked his thighs.
“What do you think the chances are on that skinny slinkier over by the gate. The one who’s wet his pants and appears about to cry. Give me your opinion” he taunted.
Rindar stood Mute. In retrospect it should have been clear what Lord Marcutti was angling for but Rindar wasn’t thinking too clearly.
“If any of you savages had a mote of courage, you might offer your cowardly ass instead of a frightened young boy.”
There it was…that was what Marcutti wanted… not the head of a skinny boy but the head of mature warrior. It would give his son quite a trophy to brag about later.
“So what do you say Rindar… Do you have the balls to take his place?”
Rindar looked up….knowing he being lured into a bad decision and not able to stop himself.
“I’d be honored, my lord.”
If Rindar had a fault it was that he acted in an impulsive and predictable manner. In a sense he knew he was being played the fool and in another he had ceased to care. To say he was duped is not fair to his intelligence but he was still ruled by his emotions and a prideful idealism.
Neither was Marcutti a fool. He saw in Rindar a threat in the making… a hero to the young men of the tribe and a potential problem down the road It was one thing to run down an adolescent and quite another to bring to bay a mature hunter and the chances of bagging Rindar on a level field were slim indeed. But who believed anything about a level field. Certainly none of the elders who groaned when Rindar accepted the challenge.
The elders knew that lurking somewhere in the outlands was a hunting party of Wardarians. It had happened before and would happen again. In a sense the Noble did the elders a favor in removing a strong leader who might soon step up and challenge their authority. Lord Marcutti was determined to bring Rindar to bay and do it quickly. He had a special team consisting of a Umbali scout, a Gamesman and finally Marcutti and his fifteen year old son. They had been training for this moment for the past several weeks.
There is no doubt that everyone suspected treachery and Rindar began to reckon the form it would take once he started thinking more clearly. This wasn’t the first time the rules had been infringed on but what good did it do complaining.
In the past when the Wardarian’s went to such lengths their prey was taken in in short order. There was nothing new in the strategy . The Elders were naturally afraid to call them on it and the Lords were too proud to admit that they had to cheat. And so while both sides knew the rules were being bent, neither would admit to it. The hunters wanted to take home some trophies and not overly concerned about slanting the outcome in their favor. With the heads strapped across their saddles they could tell any story they chose when they got home.
The way the game was supposed to work was that a single Wardarian chased a single Buffalo. The Buffalo got an hour head start and the hunt lasted seven (days). If the Buffalo was caught his head became a trophy. At the end of the chase, if the Buffalo successfully eluded he got to live. There was one last unspoken rule and that was that the quarry was prohibited from killing his pursuer. This infraction resulted in expulsion from the tribe.
“So what happened,” asked Volusia?
“We were released and fled in different directions. Normally I would have chosen a safer route but I had given the best avenues of escape to the others. On the other hand there was a route I had considered once that might have advantages to a stronger runner. That was the one I chose."
"Soon. I realized I had an Umbali tracker on my heels. That was not a good development and I could hear the horns giving signal to the direction I was taking. My only hope was to stay far enough ahead and anticipate where they intended to place the snare. I guessed right and skirted the flank. Below I saw the gamesman laying out the ambush. I took a stone and surprised him crushing his skull. Then I took up his bow and entered the blind he had prepared and awaited the scout. When he arrived I shot him through the neck.”
“Cheater,” she said smiling.
“There is no justice in the games,“ he replied seriously.
“What about Marcutti and his son?”
“I never saw them.”
They fell silent enjoying the warmth of each others arms.
At length Volusia inquired. “What do you intend to do now?"
“What can I do… I am the cause of the tribes woe and must return to accept my fate..”
“So you’re planning on just walking in there throwing up your hands, letting them bind and cripple you and then turn you loose and make quick work of the matter”
“Something along those lines…what other choice is there?…”
“You can start thinking like a warrior and not some puppy whipped savage. “
Her rebuke stung him. He pulled away and got to his feet…
“Already you have handed them your head… What a disappointment you are…"
He set his jaw in defiance and took a prideful stance. Then came the realization that she was up to something and a growing sense of awe came to mind.
“And what exactly would you propose?”
That he would even ask a woman such a question showed how much he had fallen under her sway. Every day he had come more and more to understand Moogy’s deference and moreover understood its meaning. If this wasn’t enough he found himself in love. It was not something he ever expected to happen. He had seen the “Woman Spell” come to others and always attributed it as a sign of weakness. Now the dread that he would no longer be able to protect his new family filled his heart with foreboding.
“Tell Pelotti you will appear…have the families of those with captive children to do what they can to seal the compound from the inside…Then present yourself unexpectedly and having done so….run quickly for your life….Have an escape route planned and supplies and weapons hidden along it. Let the Great Spirit show you opportunity, and deal with your pursuers as the occasion presents itself…maybe at night… you know better of such things than I do."
There it was…just as he suspected…“This woman is an instrument of the Gods.“ “Hmmm, said Rindar, stroking his jaw…. Not a great plan but with the help of the Spirit Kin… "
“I’ll tell My Cousin,” he declared with renewed confidence. He knelt before her, eyes filled with reverence.
“You're a gift,” he said kissing her forehead. Rindar felt his eyes misting and he departed fearing he would make a fool of himself. He went outside and saw Moogy and his cousin sitting beside the fire. He paused still thinking about what Volusia had said. Her plan had merit even if it was a bit far fetched. Still this strange woman had delivered him from despair.
She is a medicine Woman, he reminded himself and communes directly with the unnamed. If they have sent her a message of their will then perhaps all is not lost. He felt the fear lift from his heart replaced by some optimism.
“Will Rindar be killed?” a quiet voice spoke up.
“You should be asleep Tupa,” answered her mother.
“Will we be alone again…?”
“He isn’t dead yet… We've given him hope and beyond the mists he's much esteemed. “
"Character Template of Volusia" [E]