The Rut took place in the last day of autumn. It was a fight among young bucks that wanted to prove themselves. Once in the early ages it was called the breeding season, for it was a good way for a buck to show off his power and so to ensure himself of a good position in the herd, and also a nice looking doe for a mate.
All the young deer wanted to enter The Rut, for their actual leader, Duran had been
chosen in his early years to be the succesor, after his brilliant performance. They said he had beaten all the other deer. They said he was the only one still on his feet. Based on how well they did in the fights they could choose a doe to be their mate. Usually the doe had to accept as well, but it was considered a honor to be chosen, so the family urged the does to accept even though they didn’t always want to.

The old does used to say in hushed voices that Aida, Duran’s mate, hadn’t wanted to go with him the first time he asked. Aida was the fairest doe in the herd, and she had many proposals that year. Talla once heared Ena, the oldest doe, saying that Aida made Duran and the others wait for a hole month, in which they had to stay in
human form, so she could make up her mind. At first they all tought she was joking,
for after The Rut, all the deer would remain in their deer skin, for the winter would
come and the nights would be longer and colder. It was a safe precation and one of the deer laws, that’s why most of the bucks changed in the first day of winter, and few remained in their human skin as Aida had asked. But after a couple of weeks many quit in their pursuit and to her satisfaction, by the last week of the trial month, Aida had only five brave deer still fighting the cold. She took turns talking with them,

taking long walks in the now peacefull forest. And against herself she came to like
some of them. She understood the need for The Rut, but still felt like it wasn’t much
of a choice for the does.
But luckly for her, that year the winter was awful. And near the end of the trial the
frost came. It was hard even for the deer that had fur, and even Aida thought for a
while that maybe she had gone too far with this trial, for even her powers had
weakened, and she had never been so cold. Even though the deer-man made sure the fire kept burning, it wasn’t enough. And so after the coldest night, in which the cold wind cut her skin and made her bleed, all of the deer changed, and she was left the only one in human skin, for the next day was the last of the trial.
In the morning when she woke up, she was surprised to find that she had been
covered with tuja branches that had been defrosted. And that embracing her from
behind, so that her back was always warm, was Duran sleeping. Since that day she
never left his side – or so they said.
It had been ten years since Duran became the leader, and so it was time for a new one to take charge of the herd.

#thedeer&thewolfgirl #2