|Sons of the Wild
Author: Chelsea Aldred PM
The Torakans are a civilised, tiger-like species that walk on their hind legs. The story follows Hiruko and Hayashi on their journey to strengthen the Koudo line. However, their feral ancestors are on the loose and hungry for blood...Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,192 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 05-23-12 - Published: 05-06-12 - id: 3020241
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Come on boys, I want to see more focus! Hiruko, more agility! Hayashi, more ferocity!"
Lukoto barked comments at Hiruko and Hayashi as they fought in hand-to-hand combat against one another in one of the empty fields. Their training had lasted seven long years and they had barely rested between their first day of training and the present day. The one day they had to rest was a gift that felt surprisingly short when it came around but Hiruko was grateful for it nonetheless. His father had been working them from early morning until early evening before dinner so they had plenty of time to practice their combat training.
Hiruko and Hayashi were no longer cubs – they were young adults. Hiruko had just reached adulthood in spring and was now a strong, handsome eighteen-year-old. Barely much had changed about him over the years except for his size. His frame was fairly slim but muscular from the intensive exercise he endured and his chin held a longer tuft of hair than before. On his head, he had two long tufts of hair that flowed vertically before lying across his face. Hayashi was a little taller and stockier than his brother and had stronger facial features. His nose was larger along with the square muzzle he had inherited from Lukoto and had eyes that were narrower than Hiruko's. Hayashi's hair flowed around the sides of his face, framing his strong jaw.
"Stop, stop, stop," Lukoto yelled, intervening. The boys both stopped and their father stood between them. The seven years had taken their toll on his appearance as his fur had begun to look duller and he didn't move as quickly as before. "Hayashi, your stance is all wrong. If you continue to stay as stiff as a board, you won't be able to move quickly enough." Hayashi made a small 'pfft' sound.
"Hiruko's the one who needs to move quick or he might end up taking a blow to the face."
"Yes but that is his skill, you need to move just as quickly or he'll overpower you." He adjusted Hayashi's posture so that his shoulders became loose and he was no longer as tense. "That should help. Now, try again. Remember Hayashi, stay focused but relax your muscles a little."
"I can't relax my muscles if I'm supposed to hit him," Hayashi mumbled, rolling his eyes. He got into position however and Hiruko did the same. They were both completely still, arms raised in defence and ready for their father's signal.
"Begin!" Lukoto shouted.
Hayashi was quick but Hiruko was even quicker. Hayashi took a swing towards his face but dodged it easily. Before Hayashi could blink, Hiruko had swiftly dashed behind him whilst he was regaining some balance and aimed for his back. His brother was prepared this time. He blocked it with his left arm and Hiruko tried again with his other paw. Again, it was blocked. Turning around, Hayashi came back to the fight face-to-face and both of them began aiming kicks and punches at one another, each managing to block the other's attack. It was a flurry of fists, feet and fur and the motion became almost invisible in speed.
Lukoto was watching from the side with interest, one paw holding his chin and an eyebrow raised at their increased potential. Whenever one of them made a particularly good move, he nodded and smiled in approval.
The fight was increasing in tension as both were desperate to win. Hayashi's strength was increasing and Hiruko was barely able to block him through the force. Hayashi threw a powerful punch towards Hiruko's chest but it was blocked. They both struggled against each other's force for a while, Hiruko holding off Hayashi's fist with the back of his arm. Hayashi grinned and for a while, it seemed as if he had the advantage.
"Hiruko, you can't overpower him with force," Lukoto shouted to him. "Use your speed to overcome him!"
Hiruko took his father's advice and moved his block to the side where Hayashi's force flew into thin air. Now Hiruko could make his attack: as Hayashi toppled slightly, Hiruko swung his legs in a low kick that knocked Hayashi to the floor. Rolling over to re-join the fight, Hayashi was now lying on his back, but it was too late. Hiruko had one foot on his chest and was towering over him, fists raised. Hayashi had been defeated.
There was a brief pause in which Hiruko and Hayashi froze in their positions, breathing heavily from exhaustion. Each was gazing into one another's eyes, one with victory and the other with defeat. Hiruko relaxed when he heard his father clapping from the side-lines.
"Very good Hiruko, very good," he said, praising his son. "As for you Hayashi, I see you put your speed into practice but if you ever want to beat Hiruko, you are going to have to learn his weaknesses." Hayashi leant up so that he was now sitting. His expression was frustrated and unhappy.
"Well, at least Hiruko got some advice during the fight," Hayashi grunted. He was definitely in a sour mood now that he had been defeated.
"Come on, Hayashi," Hiruko said cheerfully, ignoring Hayashi's bitterness towards him. "You had advice before the fight. And yesterday, and the day before, and for the past seven years we have been training! It's not like you haven't had any advice from Father at all."
Hayashi said nothing as he stood up and brushed the dirt off his slightly matted fur and proceeded with folding his arms.
"I guess we should head back to the house," Lukoto said and began turning towards the direction of the farmhouse. Hiruko and Hayashi followed in silence as normal. However, there was a tense atmosphere this time as Hayashi avoided eye contact with the both of them.
When they reached the familiar farmhouse, all three of them went inside. Hayashi stormed into the lounge and launched himself on the sofa to sulk. Lukoto and Hiruko remained in the kitchen however to leave him to it.
"He'll come around," Lukoto whispered softly. "He just needs to understand his mistakes whilst fighting." Hiruko nodded silently.
Looking around, the kitchen hadn't changed much over time: it still felt old and timeless, as if he could imagine all his great grandparents before him running the kitchen. The table was a little worn with multiple scratches added to the wood over time but each one was a memory etched into their home. Hiruko took up a seat at the table and helped himself to a piece of fruit sitting in the bowl on the table.
"I have packed a lot of our belongings already for tomorrow," Lukoto informed him. "I want to make sure we have everything we need before we set off to town."
It would be Hiruko's first time to their nearest town tomorrow. His father was taking him and his brother to the Jadetree Tournament, a combat competition. The winner would become the next high league soldier of Jadetree. It would seem that Lukoto had been training them both for this tournament as Hiruko had learned only a few months ago when his father had announced it. He had plans for one of his sons to become a well-trained soldier whilst the other would focus on settling down with a wife and children. Of course, if his father was lucky, they would both have wives and children. But it was always good to be safe.
There had been times when the Koudo family had become weak in numbers and in a Torakan society, the family name was an honourable possession. It told a lot about the individual and the Koudos just so happened to be one of the oldest and well respected families. However, time had taken its toll on them and their line was thinning out. Many of the Koudos were greatly dispersed across the land, some in towns and cities, and others in farmhouses, just like Lukoto. Even he hadn't seen his own brother and sister for over a decade.
Lukoto was attempting to bring back the strong Koudo line and it seemed that training his sons as he had been trained by his own father was the perfect way to keep it strong. Towns always needed fighters since there was always something to fight for, whether it was to defend from neighbouring Torakans or even from other dominant species across the land. Most of the time however, other species rarely ventured into Torakan territory and usually kept to their own nation. Many Torakans had never even seen the wolves or foxes that inhabited the land outside the Torakan borders.
"Hayashi, come in here," Lukoto called. There was a pause before footsteps were heard entering the kitchen. He stood a little farther away from them both and said nothing.
"Today, you have both worked very hard, as you have done over the years that I have trained you," his father told them proudly. "But tomorrow will be what it all leads up to. I want you both to prove to me that you can hold the Koudo name with pride. It deserves no less."
They both nodded and for a while, Hayashi relaxed a little. His excitement for the trip the following day had distracted him from his bitterness.
"Where will we be staying?" Hiruko asked eagerly.
"With an old friend of mine," Lukoto replied. "He has been good to me over the years I have known him and has offered to let us stay at the inn he owns in Jadetree."
Despite Lukoto's persistent upkeep with the farm, he often ventured into town a couple of times a month to sell his produce. Their farm mainly supplied grain which would be sold onto the many bakeries and food suppliers. Hiruko and Hayashi were often left on the farm with jobs to take care of. It gave them some responsibility as adults and also allowed them some freedom whilst Lukoto was gone. Their father had gone to Jadetree only last week to sell his latest batch of grain and he had probably arranged their accommodation with his friend whilst he was there.
"Thinking about it, I must go and check on Kamina. I want to make sure she is ready and fit to go tomorrow morning." Kamina was their horse. She was a large, well-built breed and had a beautiful temperament. Hiruko often brought her fruit from neighbouring fields and she would return her appreciation by nuzzling his cheeks.
Lukoto turned and headed towards the back door. Hiruko decided to follow so that he could pay a visit to Kamina. Hayashi, on the other hand, retreated to his bedroom upstairs. He had lightened up a bit since his defeat but he had little interest in tending to the horse.
The pair walked across the back garden towards the stables that lie a short distance off of the farm. It was a very warm day and Hiruko felt the prickle of heat from the sunlight penetrate through his fur. Insects were clicking and whistling in the tall grass outside the farm, the buzz of sounds echoing amongst the fields in a natural harmony.
They reached the stables that were carefully locked inside a tall barn. Hiruko didn't understand why it needed to be so secure since no one was ever around to steal Kamina but it was his father's choice. Unlocking the door, they both carefully walked in so as not to startle the horse. She was standing in her large stable, her head turned towards them.
Kamina was a very stocky yet beautiful horse with a dark, rich brown coat and a black, glossy mane that hung daintily across her thick neck. There were creamy white marking just above her hooves where the hair was very long and her rump was speckled with white markings also. Her tail flicked briskly at biting insects that were common during this time of year. Hiruko and Lukoto's presence caused her to whinny gently in fondness for them.
"Hello, Kamina," Lukoto greeted her with an enthusiastic tone. Kamina seemed to understand his tone of voice and bobbed her head in response. As Lukoto secured the door open to let fresh air run through the stables, Hiruko got closer towards Kamina and stroked her long, velvet nose.
"Good girl," he said in a soothing voice. "I brought you a little something." Hiruko raised up a hand that held a shiny red apple. Kamina snorted in appreciation and bit into the crunchy, sweet flesh of the apple. She finished it quickly as Lukoto approached to check her over. He leapt over the fence keeping her in and began to examine her. She was a valuable assistant to Lukoto and any injuries sustained during her journey tomorrow would not benefit the farm.
"You've got more than one load to carry tomorrow," Hiruko spoke to Kamina reassuringly. She allowed Lukoto to lift each hoof in turn and carefully scrape away the building mud inside.
"Me and Hayashi are coming to Jadetree too this time, isn't it exciting?" he continued. She nibbled at his forehead with her lips cheekily. "Hopefully we won't be too much more weight to pull, no more than the plough puts on you."
"I'm sure she will be perfectly capable," Lukoto assured him. "After all, she's a strong girl." He patted her shoulder firmly. Kamina snorted and proceeded to nuzzle at Hiruko's cheeks.
"She looks fit and ready for tomorrow," he said as he leapt back over the wooden poles. "The journey should be nice and smooth for her. Do you want to give her a ride just to give her a little exercise for today?"
Hiruko nodded and went to collect her saddle and bridle that hung upon a nail embedded in one of the wooden pillars of the barn. Placing the bridle over her large head, Hiruko adjusted it in place and then slipped the metal bit into her mouth which she opened willingly. Next, he slid the leather saddle over her back and began adjusting the buckles and belts accordingly. As he was fiddled around with the saddle, Kamina stood obediently, allowing her rider to get the riding equipment ready. Once he had finished adjusting the stirrups to his leg length, Kamina was ready to ride. She stamped her hooves firmly with impatience and glanced at Hiruko who leapt over the fence himself. The horse stood steady, ready for Hiruko to mount onto her back. Holding the reins tightly over her shoulder and placing one foot in the stirrup, he hoisted himself upwards and lifted his other leg over her back to be placed in the opposite stirrup.
"I think you're ready to go," Lukoto confirmed. Kamina bobbed her head in agreement and snorted. Hiruko smiled, excited to feel the movement of the wind across his body as she moved. His father opened the gate and she walked out steadily. Her muscles rippled against Hiruko's heels and he felt her impatience to gallop wildly into the fields.
"Now, I don't want you two to exert too much of your energy," he advised them. "Take it slow today." Nodding, Hiruko steered her out of the barn and into the fresh, grassy air. He kicked gently at Kamina's sides which signalled her to head out towards the field. She sped to a fast trot which allowed Hiruko to bob gently with her rhythm, feeling and moving with her in fluid motion. It wasn't long before they had reached the long grass of the nearest field, the sun bleaching the tall blades a sandy gold.
Hiruko glanced behind him to see the small figure of his father in the distance watching them ride. Now he was out of his father's way, he was ready to let Kamina fly. "Come on, Kamina," Hiruko whispered in her ear. "Let's show my father what you were really born for." His heels kicked at her sides and he bent forward in his saddle. It was like an accelerator had been built into Kamina for she sped from trot to canter to gallop and they were racing across the long grass and into the next field covered with short green grass.
The wind nipped at Hiruko's side tufts and brushed over his shoulders. He could feel every movement that Kamina made, her hooves pounding the ground in four beats and sending the pressure upwards through her body. Hiruko had to work too, moving his body with hers so that it was more comfortable for the both of them. He was smiling as they stormed round the field with effortless grace. Their hearts raced. The adrenaline pumped through their veins and fuelled them to go faster and faster.
They continued for another few minutes before Hiruko gently pulled the reins and lay backwards slightly in his saddle to slow Kamina. She slowed to a halt, her breath strong and fast and her nose flaring. Hiruko patted her neck with praise. "Good girl," he told her through his own shortened breath. Turning to see Lukoto as a tiny speck in the distance, he walked Kamina over towards him. His father would certainly scold him for disobeying his advice. But Hiruko didn't care; both he and Kamina had enjoyed the freedom, the thrill of racing wildly.
As they walked closer, another figure joined Lukoto. Though the figure was barely recognisable from a distance, it was undoubtedly Hayashi since there was no one else on the farm. They approached the barn and Hiruko dismounted Kamina whilst still taking hold of the reins to lead her forward. Hiruko had obviously disrupted them mid-conversation as they stopped talking and turned to face him with stares.
"If you've strained Kamina too hard, I will not be happy, Hiruko," his father said sternly, crossing his arms. However, his tone wasn't angry or frustrated. In fact, it was closer to sarcasm.
"I haven't," Hiruko replied, leading Kamina back into the barn. "She needed the run anyway; she's been in her stable for a few days now without a bit of exercise." Opening the door to her stable, he let go of Kamina's reins and she obediently walked in.
"He's good with Kamina, aren't you pony boy?" Hayashi mocked. He had certainly cheered up a bit since their sparring and was back to his sarcastic self. At least it was better than his silence. Hiruko sneered at him whilst taking off Kamina's saddle and reins and returning them to their place on the wooden pillar.
He then picked up one of the brushes and began brushing down Kamina's coat to take off the sweat she had built up during her exercise. Her eyes opened and closed slowly, peacefully. Their run had certainly let some energy loose. Hiruko was beginning to feel it too as his eyelids became heavy and his muscles tired as he took each brush stroke.
"I was just discussing with Hayashi," Lukoto told Hiruko as he secured the gate behind him. "If you both reach the finals of the tournament, maybe they will decide to make both of you soldiers for Jadetree." Hiruko and Hayashi looked at each other with interest.
"It would be interesting to have the final round against my little brother," Hayashi said with a grin that exposed his sharp, pearly canines. "Provided of course that he could reach the finals."
"May I remind you who won the last sparring round?"
Hayashi's smile instantly faded and there was a menacing frustration in his frown to replace it. His silence informed Hiruko that he had hit another nerve with him.
"I will train harder," Hayashi spoke low and with confidence. "And I will beat you at that tournament, no matter what it takes." Hiruko didn't let his brother's big mouth distract him but somehow, his words threatened him. The tournament meant more to him than Hiruko had originally thought. He cared about the tournament himself as he didn't want to disappoint his father and his life would be set out for him doing what he did best. However, he wouldn't go so far as doing anything to win, not if it meant dealing with his own brother. His own blood…
Lukoto broke the tension between them by leading them out of the barn and locking the door behind them. The door made a small click to confirm it was locked and they all walked towards the house, tired from a hard day of training. Hayashi walked further ahead and made it through the front door first, plunging himself into the sofa cushions when he got to the living room.
Hiruko stood over him and grinned. Hayashi responded with a confused frown which soon turned into a smile. "So you'd do anything?" Hiruko taunted him, grabbing his wrist and pulling him up.
"Anything," Hayashi replied and they both broke out into a friendly spar, bobbing lightly on their toes. Hiruko spun a kick at him which Hayashi dodged. Hayashi then used his turn to take a blow towards Hiruko's chest which missed as Hiruko swiftly moved out of its course.
"Even kill your own brother?" Hiruko said this jokingly but he was interested to hear how Hayashi would respond.
"I wouldn't go that far," Hayashi laughed, narrowly dodging a low swing from Hiruko and blocking his other paw which aimed for his chin. "However, if you did sever my chances, I wouldn't be as kind as I am being now."
Blocking a strong paw, Hiruko pushed the fist away from his face. "Kind? Such a word does not correlate with you," Hiruko laughed. "'Hayashi the Kind'. Nope, it just doesn't fit." They continued sparring, throwing mocks at each other in between attacks and blocks.
"I was thinking more on the lines of 'Hayashi the Cruel' or 'Merciless'. Hayashi stood down for a moment and laughed. At full force he took a flat palm to Hiruko's chest, knocking him back and winding him momentarily. Using this hesitation, Hayashi took this moment to grab Hiruko's arm and swing him to the floor.
Hiruko lay on his side, clenching at his rib with the slight pain shooting through his chest to his waist and looked up to Hayashi who was towering over him. A small grin curved from the corner of his muzzle and he snorted. Bending over and moving his face closer to Hiruko's, Hayashi whispered in a low voice. "When the time comes, you won't be joking about those titles."
Hiruko sat up in surprise and watched as his brother walked off without even a second glance at him. Brushing himself off, he stood up and stared in the empty space where Hayashi had walked off. In the background, Hiruko heard Lukoto grumbling something about how the lounge was too small for sparring sessions. Hayashi had not taken his previous defeat lightly, but Hiruko knew it had only made him more determined. Next time, he would not underestimate Hayashi's potential.