Son of a Bull: Defiance

Author's Note: Okay, so a couple of things...firstly, some of the chapters in this story MAY be short...like, fairly short to REALLY short, depending on stuff. The reason for this is, I'm splitting it up into chapters to help extend the weeks ahead, so that I could create new stories to post up on here. So...YEP, I'm buying time. XD Secondly, I'm trying something out here. In the previous story, I called the major axe that the minotaur father had "Trollslayer", but I know that some warriors get epithets after stuff they've done or what they do. Like, Thorin Oakenshield got his name from using an oaken branch as a shield in battle. So, all these stories are really, really rough, and I'm not sure whether or not to call the weapon "Trollslayer" or keep it with the guy's name...

I've always had difficulty with this part of my character's history. I know only a few things for SURE, and I'm hammering out the rough stuff, and that's what you guys will see here. Hopefully, when I have this down for SURE, i can get it out there and published as serious work. I also suck at titles sometimes, and I couldn't think of anything, so I came up with this.

Having been a slave to a tribe of minotaurs for ten years, Rada had become accustomed to a lifestyle of servitude. At the young age of thirteen, she became the property of the tribe and learned to serve the bull men, quickly and obediently. Since then, when they demanded they bring her food, she brought it to them. When they ordered her to tend to the giant wolves they kept as pets with the other slaves, she obeyed without question. The only thing that they did not order her to do was to lay with them. They did not think of her as the kind of woman to help them breed and spawn more of their kind. For that, she was grateful.

For the past five years, a new duty had fallen in her lap, ordered by Chieftain Gotama himself. Groz Trollslayer, one of the more distinguished warriors of the tribe, had returned from a hunt in the forest with something more than just dead wolves ready for skinning and cooking. He returned with a baby human, a boy, crying in his arms. He had said that the boy had somehow survived a village raid and was the only one left alive, buried underneath his mother and drenched in her blood. Convinced that the boy had become blessed by Tarvos, the god of the minotaurs, Groz pleaded with Gotama to let the boy stay and live as one of them instead of a slave or to leave it and let it die in the wilderness. Gotama agreed, but he thought it foolish and she was forced to become a mother to the babe, as Groz did not know anything about human children. In some twisted way, Rada had become a mother, just like she had wanted.

The duties of forced motherhood seemed to take precedence over her usual slave duties in the tribe. Instead of serving the warriors and hunters or tending to the wolves, her duties consisted of only caring for the child. Groz had come to call the boy Axe, oddly enough, after the barbaric weapon he had lost in exchange for keeping the boy. She fed the boy, cleaned up after him, and cared for him just as any mother would. Groz wanted him to be healthy and kept safe until he was old and strong enough to begin the life of a warrior of the tribe.

One cool autumn night, as the smoke of the tribe's campfires rose into the starry sky, Rada heard the sound of Axe screaming and crying out for help. She sighed when she heard him. For weeks now, he had been having terrible nightmares and waking during the nights. What he was dreaming of, the boy never said, but she knew it must be something terrible. She found him curled up and crying on his bed of animal furs. His black hair had grown long and having never been cut, was reaching his shoulders. He was dressed in clothing made from tanned hides. Nothing grand, but it kept him warm and kept him from running about the camp naked as the day he was born.

"There, there," Rada said soothingly as she knelt down to him. She took him into her arms and held him close. "It's alright, Axe, the nightmare's over. You're awake and safe now."

The child sniffled and clung to her arm.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked, already guessing that he wouldn't say a thing. He hadn't done it before, why would he start now?

As predicted, the boy shook his head.

"Are you sure?" she pressed. "You can tell me anything."

Axe tilted his head back and looked up at her with his dark eyes. They were filled with a bright innocence that was meant to be taken away in the years to come. "Father says that warriors deal with their own problems in their own way," he said.

Rada chewed her bottom lip. Although Axe was young, Groz was still managing to impress some of the tribal life on him. "Well, that's true, but talking to people about something like this, about something that's scaring them, is a way of dealing with a problem."

Axe adopted a sad look. "I don't know. If I told you, Father wouldn't-"

She squeezed him gently and kissed his head, ignoring the filthy mess that was his wild hair. "He doesn't have to know. He wants you to learn how to deal with your problems, right?"

He nodded.

"Did he say anything about needing to know how you dealt with them?"

Axe tilted his head to the side, thought for a moment, then shook his head. "No, he didn't."

"Then you can tell me. I promise, I won't tell him that you told me."

The boy didn't say anything for a long moment. Rada thought that he was going to hold his tongue on the matter and try to go back to sleep. But, he didn't. To both her surprise and her pleasure, he told her about the nightmare.

"I keep dreaming about a lady, a really scary lady." His voice was quiet and shaky. "She keeps holding her arms," he raised his own to demonstrate, "and she tries to grab me. She's got something coming out of her head, too."

Rada frowned. "What do you mean, little one?"

Axe looked up at her and pointed to one of his eyes. "She's got something coming out of her head, right here. It looks like one of those sticks that the others carry around. You know, the ones with feathers on one end?"

Unfortunately, Rada did know. "You mean an arrow?"

He nodded. "Uh-huh. She's got an arrow sticking out of her head."

This disturbed Rada greatly, but she didn't let it show. She only cleared her throat loudly. "W-Well, that does sound really scary, Axe. I can see why it would wake you up. But, you can take peace in the fact that it's just a dream."

"But it's a dream that happens a lot!" he protested.

"Does it?" she asked, concerned. "How often is a lot?"

He shrugged. "She comes to me in a dream every night." He paused. "You won't tell Father I told you, will you?"

"No," she whispered and began to rock him gently in her arms. "No, I won't. Like you said, warriors have to deal with their problems in their own way. You talked about the bad dreams and the scary lady, so maybe that will help you deal with it?" she suggested. "If it keeps happening, I can ask the shaman if there is any cure for bad dreams."

"But-"

"Shh. I won't use your name, Axe." She smoothed out his bedding and helped him lay down. "Now, it's very late and the moon was still quite high in the sky if I remember, so you have to get your sleep. Your father wouldn't like it if a future warrior of the tribe was too tired to carry a weapon and defend the tribe."

Axe yawned, nodding and was soon fast asleep on the animal furs again. He didn't wake up for the rest of the night. Rada watched over him for a short time before going out and looking at the campfires again. Groz was away on a task given to him by Chieftain Gotama, but he would be back soon. In a few days at the least, a week at the most. She knew she had promised Axe she would not speak a word of the nightmares, but what she had heard rattled her.

She needed to tell Groz.