Staghorn

Staghorn was enraged.

He sat in front of his tent, where he and Treetop slept, with is closest friend, ally, and second-in-command, ClosedFist. His head in his hands, between his knees, he trembled.

ClosedFist knew not to try to touch him now.

It was the wolf, he knew that. The wolf had taken MonkeyHand, his son. So many people they had lost to wolves!

He remembered them all. AngryMan had gone into the forest. He had not returned. They found his gnawed corpse later, strewn through the forest.

He had wept. He wished he could weep now. Maybe later he would grieve.

Too many. Too many gone. Always, it was wolves.

But Treetop! He could not help himself: He hated her, a bit, for her betrayal, her disobedience in following the hunting party earlier tonight.

But he knew. His problem was simple: He loved her. It was the true love, the once-in-a-lifetime love. And his love for her was because of this very thing.

He loved her because she disobeyed. He could not imagine being with a woman who would obey him. He would not respect her! She needed to have her own mind, to tell him what she wanted.

He knew it was not a good thing, that he was like this. But there it was. He could not help it. He loved her.

He remembered when he first saw her, when she was just a small child. He was a very young man then, only fourteen summers or so. He was smitten with her. He noticed quickly how strong willed she was. She was always in trouble.

Later, when her breast began to form, he found himself staring at her. She soon noticed his attention. It turned out that she loved him too. Once she understood, finally, that she was the kind of woman he wanted, they had mated, and had been together ever since.

Now he knew that small hatred, the hatred of betrayal, for his beloved. Treetop would always bear some shame for this. He would never mention it to her again. He knew it would only anger her, and he had nothing to say. There was nothing to say that would change anything.

The problems is wolves. What to do about the wolves.

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