Khaldorn knelt down and grabbed a chunk of earth is his hand, took a deep whiff of it through his nostrils and let it fall, crumbling down back to the ground.
The beast had been here recently, he was close.. the hunt had been long and tiresome on the young warrior, and his respect for his quarry only grew with the passing hours.
He rose to his feet and reached behind his back and drew his massive hammer. Staring into the deep undergrowth before him, weighing his hammer in his hand, he whispered a request for blessing from the Earth mother and stalked into the undergrowth before him to face his quarry.
Khaldron walked slowly through the brush, he knew there was a water hole someway to the north and suspected the beast had gone their to quench what must be his growing thirst in the afternoons heat. The beast had been elusive for such a large creature, he had been sure he had it many times during the long hunt, only to be thwarted at the last turn. The elders had always schooled never to underestimate the quarry on a hunt, the spirits of these creatures were strong and to be respected.
He had scoffed at such words as a very young buck, what could mere beasts do against the power of the Tauren. Yet these words rang true in his mind now.
The water hole was before him now, and he sank to one knee, surveying the scene, searching for signs of the beasts passing. His hands ran over the earth beneath him, searching for the heat of the beast upon the soil.
As his eyes searched for tracks, suddenly a great roar burst forth from the brush to his right. Moving quickly to face the noise, Khaldorn was greeted by the sight of the great Kodo bull he had been hunting all this time charging him down. Khaldorn raised himself to meet the beast head on, but he was too slow and the Kodo caught him in his chest, smacking horn against armour and tossing the large warrior aside as if he were a feather.
Khaldorn came crashing down in a bush, the wind knocked completely out of him as he tried to shake himself to his senses. Suddenly the kodo was there, raising itself above the young warrior intent on stomping the insolent young buck who had sought to hunt him. Summoning all his strength Khaldorn managed to roll to the side just as the Kodo's hooves came thundering down upon the earth, shaking the ground around him with its sheer power.
Regaining some of his breath and sense, Khaldorn rolled to his feet and realised that his hammer lay 12 feet away on the other side of the Kodo. Glancing quickly around he stole a glance of a broken trunk and his hands quickly grasped it as the kodo came in for another charge.
Narrowly avoiding another crushing blow from the Kodo, Khaldorn swang his body to the side and brought the trunk crashing down on the Kodo's back, shattering the now apparently rotten trunk. The Kodo let out a massive roar and swang its head aroung to try to catch the young buck with its horns.
Reacting instinctively Khaldorn reached out and grabbed the horn of the Kodo beast with both his hands, and attempted to wrestle the beasts head to the floor. They stood their, for what seemed like an eternity, Kodo against Tauren, struggling against each others power in a contest of wills. Khaldorn was feeling the true strength of the beast straining against his muscles as he dug his hooves into the ground to try to get some leverage upon the kodo to best it, but he could sense the power of the Kodo and even as his hooves dug in for purchase, the kodo found the feet of his own and started to force the warrior back, Khaldorns feet stood firm in the earth but the power of the Kodo forced his feet sliding back through the earth.
He was going to lose this, he could not overpower this creature, but if he let go of it, he would surely get trampled. For a moment their eyes locked, he looked deep into the beasts eyes, and sensed the will and the power behind them, this bull was truly a magnificent beast, Khaldorn thought, as he felt his muscles beginning to fail under the massive strain, when suddenly he felt something familair in the earth beneath him. His hammer!
Quickly reacting, he strained as hard as he could with his remaining strength against the weight of the Kodo, and then suddenly dived to the side as the Kodo's force took it wide past him, suddenly finding the force it was struggling against no longer there. Grabbing the hammer as he rolled he stumbled to his feet quickly, hammer raised high as the Kodo turned to face him. Bringing it down with all his strength, his hammer crashed into the kodo's skull, crushing it beneath.
The kodo's body slumped before him, a soft rugged roar escaping from its mouth as blood seeped from the impact to his head.
Khaldorn knelt before the Kodo and placed a hand upon its head, brushing away the blood and staring one last time into this magnificent, proud beasts eyes. Grabbing a handful of earth, he crumbled it over the kodo's head whispering a prayer for the beasts spirit to the earthmother.
A tear came to the young warriors eye as he observed the animals spirit leave its body.
Today he had managed to overcome his quarry.. tomorrow, who knew. Such was the Tauren way, such was his way.
Hoka hey, brother Khaldorn!
A hunt well done and truely worthy of a warrior of the tribe. To honor the spirits is the very foundation of our life. Your spirit has bested the one of this beast in the great hunt. A part of it will live on in you - the strength of the mighty Kodo is now your strength.
Always remember this prayer, brother:
Whose voice we hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world,
And whose hand we see in all creation,
Grant that we may say,
As Blackhawk said,
That we never take a drink of water
Nor a bite to eat
Without being mindful of,
And grateful for,
Let me put a hunt before you if you willst. Set out into the Barrens and find Lakota'mani, mighty among the Kodo beasts. If you can best that spirit you will be honored by the tribe with the name Earthshaker and you will be accounted for as one who has embarked on the sacred hunt.
He hechetu - that is all.