|Son of a Bull: Defiance
Author: Link Roc PM
Groz Trollslayer has always believed that his son, the human boy he took as his own, was blessed by the god Tarvos and was meant for great things. When a slave girl threatens that expected destiny, the minotaur warrior is determined to make sure that nothing interferes with the will of the Great Bull.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,304 - Reviews: 21 - Updated: 03-04-13 - Published: 02-04-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3098441
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Despite Rada's beliefs, Groz actually did try to be a father to the boy. When she wasn't around, whether she was called away or off on an errand for him, Groz tried his hand at fatherhood. Raising a human child was quite different than raising a hornling. For one thing, hornlings were naturally stronger and more resilient to the wilderness and the hard ways of tribal life. Another thing that was different was that all the minotaurs of the world had coats of fur that kept them warm during the colder times of the year. Axe only had the hair on top of his scalp, so he had to go hunting animals so that he could skin them and use their tanned hides to make clothing for the boy. Without any hooves on the end of his legs, his feet were more fragile and needed protection.
Minotaurs were not known for being tender and loving creatures. They were a society of strong-willed warriors who used their own power to survive in the world. Strength and toughness was all that they knew. Even when he was a hornling himself, Groz could remember when he would get into competitions of battle with the other youths of the tribe and, no matter the injury, he had to deal with it alone. His father never came rushing to his aide like a nursemaid, willing to bandage them up.
Since the day he brought Axe back to the camp, away from the site of death and blood that was once his village, Groz had been trying to be a father to him. It wasn't easy, especially with the constant mocking from Gotama and others in the tribe, but he did his best to raise the boy strong. Axe was special and every day he could, Groz would make sure that his son would live to see another. It wasn't perfect, but it was something.
Within two weeks time, Rada had managed to, in secret, arrange their escape. With some luck, she scrounged together some supplies: dried meat, two waterskins, a map of the surrounding area, a sword and a leather pack to carry it in. The blade of the sword, like much of the minotaurs weapons, was crafted from a chunk of stone. It was crude and heavy, but the blade was sharp enough to cut flesh and Rada was more than willing to use it to defend herself when it was needed. Thanks to a lie about gathering herbs to help Axe with some injuries from his rough-housing with the hornlings, Rada had managed to stash it all behind an oak tree that lay just beyond the perimeter of the camp.
Very early one morning, before the sun had even managed to peek over the nearby mountains, Rada quietly woke Axe from his slumber and as carefully as they could, they left the camp, hand in hand. Rada knew her plan, but the poor confused child wanted to know what they were doing.
"What about Father?" Axe asked her as they reached the tree. He watched as Rada collected her stolen supplies, hoisting them on her back before taking up the stone sword. "He's going to wonder where we are! Uncle Govinda, too!"
Rada had to hold her tongue. She knew she would have to tell Axe that the minotaurs were not the family he thought they were, but she needed him to be as calm as possible to make the journey. So, to ensure that, she simply told a lie. "It's all arranged, little one. This is a surprise trip, just for you! Your father wanted me to take you on a special journey, to help with your warrior training."
Axe's eyes lit up with excitement. "Really?!"
She nodded. "Yes! Here." She took the map out of the pack and unfolded it, laying it out before the boy. "You see this town, here?" she asked, tapping a dot on the map. Using another finger, she pointed out their location. They weren't far. If they moved fast and had some good luck on their side, they would reach it before nightfall. "Your father wants to teach you about the scouting side of fighting."
Axe tilted his head. "Scouting?"
"Yes. You see, smart warriors decide to learn everything they can about their enemies, or those who could do them harm. When they learn about their foes, they know how to fight them better and keep themselves safe. Do you understand?"
"I think so."
"Well, you and I are going to go on a scouting mission of our own. This town here, it doesn't really pose a threat to the tribe, but I heard the chieftain wanting to learn more about it, so your father suggested you and I can go. People are scared of the minotaurs, but if they see us, they won't be afraid."
Axe smiled, looking so excited. "So, if we do good and come back safe, Father is going to be really proud of me!"
"Exactly! Now, come along, little one." She stuffed the map into the rope belt tied around her dress of simple cloth and took Axe's hand into her free one. "We have a long way to go before we reach town. We need to get going."
Groz awoke that very morning as the sun shined down from the peaks. He rubbed the sleep away from his eyes and gave a mighty yawn. "Rada!" he called. "Breakfast! Give some to the boy, too." He rose from his bedding and stretched, listening to the many crackings of his bones as he did. He had slept relatively well, aside from being disturbed from another time of Axe having night terrors, but he was not worried about it.
The camp was as alive as ever in the mornings. The hornlings, refreshed from a full night's sleep were ready to use their energy in a day of rough housing and and mischief. Gotama was already holding an audience with many of the warriors, but Groz wasn't surprised by that. The rumors of trolls and a witch had proven true and the chieftain needed to organize the warriors in order to protect the camp, should they decide to raid them instead of nearby human settlements.
His stomach grumbled as he looked on at his people. "Rada!" he called again, frowning. "Breakfast! Where is that damn girl?"
"You're in a good mood today, aren't you, Groz?" It was Govinda. The shorter minotaur came up behind him, picking fresh stag meat out of his teeth.
"I'll be in a better mood once I have breakfast," Groz muttered. "Soon as I find that girl, I'm going to-" He shook his head. "Have you seen Rada?"
Govinda nodded. "I have, actually. I saw her and Axe leave camp earlier."
Groz turned to him. "Left camp? The both of them?"
"Aye. I was on guard duty, keeping my eye out in case of anything came around and I saw them leave the camp."
"Why didn't you come get me?!" Groz demanded. His annoyance had quickly turned to anger and concern for the boy.
"I didn't think it was a problem!" Govinda said defensively. "I thought they were going to go get some herbs or berries or something, and I was going to tell them that they shouldn't go out, but I didn't think I needed to."
"Rada had one of our swords with her. I thought you must've sent them both out and gave her a weapon to defend herself and the boy."
Groz was seething. "Why the hell would I give that woman a blade and why the hell would I even let my own son out into the wilderness while the sun hadn't completely risen?!" he roared. "You and I both know that trolls still roam the wilderness before the the sun's light fills the sky!" He looked around madly. "Which way did they go?!"
Govinda pointed to the north.
"You damn fool! Grab your weapon, we have to go after Axe before something decides to make him its breakfast!" He rushed back to collect his axe.
Govinda was close behind him. "What about the girl?" he asked.
Groz tightly gripped the bone shaft of his weapon. "I'll deal with her after I know my son is safe."