Part Two: The scene: Just inside the mighty gate at the border of OFG's lands
The caravan was just coming into sight. A mighty carriage led the baggage train that stretched for miles. The scouts has been reporting it's progress for two days. OFG stood at the front of the welcoming party. At long last the geese blew their opening notes of greeting on silver trumpets. The turkeys heaved-to and opened the gate. The ground shook as the carriage rolled in and creaked to a halt in front of them. Banners flew overhead as the welcoming company stood at attention.
The carriage door open and Bourbon of the Red emerged. He was an enormous man. Fair of skin and hair with eyes like the sky before thunder. He looked as if the ancient Teutonic gods of his people crafted him from the shale and ice and ocean of the north. Some of OFG's welcoming party took in a sharp breath when the man stood to his full height. He reached at least 7 feet tall.
Formally he walked toward OFG and saluted her.
“I bid you hail and most hearty welcome Bourbon of the Red!” OFG announced for all to hear. “Let it be known that this warrior is our guest and will be afforded all of the hospitality of this Good Land!”
“Good Sister and Ruler of the South!” Bourbon replied, “I bring you gifts from the North and I thank you for your welcome.” As he finished his greeting Bourbon's personal guard pulled an enormous trunk from the carriage and brought it forth. The welcoming party murmured and whispered, knowing that the trunk contained a most valuable treasure - an elixir as fresh and pure as the driven snow. Some of the pages jostled each other to get a better view but were silenced by a sharp look from Colonel Ti.
Formalities over, OFG stepped forward and grasped forearms with the legendary man. They greeted each other like brothers in arms.
“Come!,” She beckoned “We've started the Yule log and the banqueting tables are being filled. Refresh yourselves after such a long journey.”
“Yes, yes, of course, but first... show me these beasts you spoke of...show me the enemy.”
In the background the young ducks had rushed forward to help Bourbon's pages unload the baggage train. Their knees buckled as they tried to unload his battle armor. The cuirass alone required five young ducks to carry it into the Great Hall. Other ducks rolled great winches and pulleys to unload Bourbon's implements of war.
OFG and Bourbon of the Red passed among the buildings to reach the high hill. Passing the barracks Col Ti barked an order and immediately two young soldiers dressed in fine armor presented themselves.
“Here they are,” OFG said proudly to Bourbon, “you remember my youngest two, I'm sure. My Fighting Uruk-hai Princess Bearkiller and Zander Hannibal Bonecrusher.”
Kai stepped forward on long legs and careful paws, shaking her mane and flashing her teeth. She bowed low to Bourbon, but kept her eyes on him the whole time. He did not miss this slight and laughed, tossing his head. “She keeps her insolence, OFG, you must watch this one.” He said, his tone light as he reached out and touched Kai's chin. “She's cut her teeth in battle but she has yet to learn the ways of a true warrior.”
Then the large man turned his attention to the young, dark prince. Zander's bright eyes stared right at Bourbon. The young pup stood proud, broadening his shoulders and keeping his ears straight up. The man towered over Zander but the pup did not flinch.
Zander's birth had been foretold by an oracle of the land many years ago. An ancient hen had made her way into The Great Hall on gnarled feet to tell OFG of the vision. On a stormy night long ago the old hen had seen it. That night the thunder shook the ground and lightening cracked the sky open. In the blazing sky she had seen a warrior as fierce as the wind and more terrible than the hour before the breaking day. He came on flashing feet that fell like drum beats. They called him The Black Death. Coyotes in three counties would heard his howl. And fear.
OFG heard this telling and pondered the words. She then set out to find this pup, this dark knight, this Black Death. At long last she found him being raised by wise women on an island far to the East. He looked so small back then, but OFG knew when she first held the squirming pup that he was the one. She rewarded the wise women well and named the tiny one Zander Hannibal Bonecrusher. He bore the weight of the heavy name and those ancient generals would be proud.
“Ah, yes,” Said Bourbon nodding, “The Black Death. He will be a strong warrior.” The two looked intently at each other for a moment before Colonel Ti growled low under his breath. Zander inclined his head and then trotted back to take his position.
The young warriors fell in line as the party made its way to the high hill. The enemy could be seen below, moving about lazily, unaware of their impending doom.
“This is where we fight,” Said Kai breathlessly looking down on the enemy.
“This is where they die,” Replied Zander, dark eyes unblinking, staring intensely at his prey.
The still scene was broken when suddenly Bourbon of the Red raised his voice and bellowed, “"ihr seid Schweine!" He stood at the edge of the forest and began shaking his fist and hurling insults as the pigs. He did this for well over an hour even tho the pigs had run off long before.
The first flakes of snow started to fall.