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Two big brown eyes stared at the group of young tauren. A scuffle broke out between two of the adolescent boys, and the eyes watched in wonder as freshly grown horns locked in contest. The larger of the two used his size to his advantage and threw the other to the side. The smaller tawny tripped as he flew to the side and landed in the dirt with a thud… and a crack.

The young bull stayed sprawled out in the dirt for a moment, stunned from the impact. Shaking his head back in forth, he rose to his knees. His breath stopped as he saw his horn lying in the dirt next to him. The beige hand touched the broken horn lightly, and tears welled up in his piercing blue eyes.

The winning bull stood with his large hands on his waist, smirk spread across his face. The other tauren stood in awe at him until one spotted the broken horn.

“Ahiga! What’d you do? Look! It’s Creb’s horn!” As this was yelled the smirk disappeared from Ahiga’s face. Looking around at the group nervously, he backed away from the fighting ring and towards the bushes.

“I… I didn’t do anything! He broke his own horn! If clumsy over there had fallen gracefully his horn would still be on his head.” He nodded quickly, convincing himself that the story was true. “I can’t get in trouble for his clumsiness!”

Creb’s horn was grasped firmly in his hand now. Shaking angrily, he stood and turned to Ahiga. Head lowered, he pawed the ground with his hooves and flared his nostrils. The collective silence of the once boisterous group added to his anger. The tauren’s mouth opened widely as he let out a huge bellow before charging at his opponent.

Broken horn in his hand like a club, Creb ran toward Ahiga. Before he could strike the other bull, a flash of grey flew from the bushes behind Ahiga and tackled Creb to the ground. The small girl tauren stared into those blue eyes as she sat on his chest. Her own eyes pleaded with him as strained grunts escaped her throat.

The tawny bull pushed the girl off and rolled away, eyes burning with tears of embarrassment instead of anger. The dumb one had interfered again, and he would never be able to live this one down.
Years had passed and the group of young tauren passed through the trials of puberty with no further scuffles after that day. The elders had come down hard on Ahiga for his actions, but even harder on Creb for his outburst and outright attempt at pure violence. The girl tauren only received looks of pity.

After that day she followed the group no more. Creb’s embarrassment and anger was the final blow to her desire for acceptance. Instead, she spent her time outside picking flowers and learning the way of potions from the elders. Although they doubted her intelligence, they did not object when she observed them doing their magic.

She never shared her secret with them. When she ventured out into the plains surrounding the village, she allowed no one to follow despite their worries of her being attacked by the wolves and cougars that roamed. They would never know the joy she had running freely with the grass crunching beneath her paws or the feelings of pure ecstasy that sent her sinking her claws into boars.

There was one she wished to tell her secret to. Ura was never able to suppress the stirrings deep inside her after the day she stared into those blue eyes. Every day she asked the earth mother to let the gift of words be hers, and every day she awoke disappointed. All she could do is watch him leave the village with the other males... and follow under the cover of night.

Creb was training with the warriors now and was often away from the village war veterans. Their guidance allowed him to curb his anger over his broken horn, and he was soon the best fighter in his year. He was honored by the gift of strength given to him, but he could never leave the training field without feelings of emptiness. After a long day sleep came in restless bursts. His dreams were always of the same cat with sad brown eyes staring at him from the bushes.

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