OFG stood alone in the dark next to an impossibly hot fire. She stood with clenched fists looking down at the sad rubble of what was left of one of her war hens. She had sent her best trackers. They could only recover just enough of the body to correctly identify the slain war hen. The fallen was of no importance to many - but all were important to OFG and the Farm.
It had been determined that a war party had crossed the electric line from Fox Central into OFG's lands. This incursion, this abomination signaled the first beat of the war drum. Her retribution would be dire. Swift would fall the varmints and OFG would not rest until one of her foe's heads adorned each fence post the length of her lands.
She was lost in her hate when the young captain approached, saluted her, and stood to attention not knowing if she was aware of his presence or not.
How could she not.
The young captain, dashing, handsome, bold. Strong of form, valor - undeniable. He had a head like a steer and was built like an ox. It was said that after early morning maneuvers when he stood, his breath steaming in the dawn, he looked like a bull. Some whispered this and none said it to his face. His dark eyes danced beneath a black mask. Fleet of foot, steadfast, with unwavering courage. They called him The Black Death.
He had grown into the prophesy that surrounded him. Noble of birth, he came from the lines of HemHammer BearSlayer. The wise women of the East who raised him had the scrolls to prove it. They could tell the family names. They had foretold his coming. This young captain would rid the land of the vermin that brought war.
Without warning OFG suddenly whirled about and grabbed the young captain's great head.
"Whom do you serve?" She demanded in a whisper that sounded like a howl. The smell of burning fur and flesh rising.
"This Good Land!" Replied the young captain unflinching.
"We don't back down.. " She continued the oath, giving him the mark and daring him to show pain.
"Death first!" He cried with conviction.
"We don't surrender...."
For the first time he met her eye, "I would have you kill me before I surrendered your lands to any."
All who served her took the mark of the warrior. It was a cruel tradition necessary for an unkind world. It was not uncommon for lessor warriors to lose consciousness. Some disgraced themselves. But the young captain, this dark prince, had not wavered. He showed no weakness nor did he acknowledge the searing pain.
OFG stepped back and looked young Zander in the eye.
"Go," She commanded, "Go and bring me the head of our foe. Go, Black Death. Live your name, Zander Hannibal Bonecrusher. And do not return until you do this. Make our lands safe. It is time for our enemy to die.. Now."
With grace unusual for one his size the young warrior turned and bounded into the night. OFG could hear his war howl shake the darkness. The night filled with dread.
Colonel Ti stepped from out of the shadows.
"One day he will succeed me." He told her.
OFG continued to look into the seeing darkness and replied, "Not yet, old friend." She turned and looked into his war scarred face. The years were taking their toll. His greatest enemy was not all whom he slain but the passage of time. They held each other's gaze for a long while.
Softly he said, "One day. Soon." He stood next to his liege and together they heard Zander's howl.
The night feared.