attarra

“When I was a boy, to become a man I was sent into the wild, as is custom among my people. I would survive from the land. I would walk and survey and conquer it with every footfall forward. To know it, and learn it, for this was the place I was destined to rule. I ate from the many varieties of berries and fruits that grow wild in my valley. Caught fish and drank from the crystal clear rivers which flowed from the mountains. The land was generous in its bounty, and I thrived easily. I had thought myself king of those lands already, and through my own fault, failed to see the signs that I had walked into a kingdom that was not my own. Uugra and Manto were the true kings of that part of the valley, where the bigeye were plentiful and swam into shallow natural pools making them easy to catch. I didn’t even hear them approach. It was Uugra who first grabbed me, here, by my arm, and pulled me from the pool. I had never felt power like that before. He tossed me onto the rocky shore, far enough away from him that when I quickly took mind of the situation, I thought I might be safe and would escape. Manto was waiting, and batted me to the ground with a single blow, his claws shredding my side. Pain and blood became my reality, but more pressing were the two kings of the valley who now wanted me dead and devoured. They closed in on me and forced me towards the steep slope of the mountain behind me. It was then I knew that this was the challenge, this was not just a fight for my survival, but a challenge of my heritage, a challenge for my kingdom. I thought of my father and his father. My death would end the line, and it was a disgrace worse than death. So I reached down and grabbed a stone, jagged and pointed, and stood my ground. The two were impossible fast for the size, and attacked in unison. Manto came in high, but I was ready. I slammed my stone into his side will all my strength. I felt the warmth of his blood on my hands and he fell into his brother. I evaded Uugra’s bite and again struck Manto, this time near his neck. His roar of pain made Uugra pause, and again, I pounded the great bear with my weapon. Manto fell, and took the stone with him, lodged in his mighty spine. Uugra charged and reared, trying to grab me and sink his teeth into my neck. His teeth were so close to my face and I was quick enough to grab those crushing jaws and force them back. I could see my blood on his fur, and would not let him taste it again. My blood. The blood of the a king. The blood of the king of this Valley. That thought… it enraged me, and the thought of my survival was overcome by the fierce display of disrespect this beast has shown me. So I screamed at him, a deep fevered bellow, and dug my fingers into his fur and clamped my hand around his jaw and forced the two away from each other. Uugra fought hard… but it was not his fight to win, and he knew this as I tore his jaw clean off him. He stumbled backwards over the body of his now dead brother. I landed a top of him. I pounded his chest with my fists. Then picked up another stone and continued my assault. I was striking him past the time he had stopped moving. His ribs broken and his chest soft from the near endless barrage. I passed out between the two, from exhaustion of blood loss… I know not which. I tended my wounds, cleaned myself in the river, and made my way home. I had survived and staked my claim. As a gift, my father gave me these, the crowns of two former kings to carry on my shoulders, and to protect me. Uugra and Manto… they made me into the man I am today, the King of the Valley.”