ScotlandxReader~The White Stag~
From the moment the two of you had laid eyes on it, you had known only one thing: that you would catch it.
You and Allistor had not even reached the age of six when you saw the legendary white stag from your village's folklore. It was breathtaking. Each graceful step was taken in precaution, each tread, a delicate work of beauty. It was alert, but not frightened. It knew the two of you were watching it, yet it also knew it could escape at any given time.
When it had finished grazing on the grass that glistened with the early morning's dew, it lifted its magnificent full-antlered head and bound off into the evaporating mist leaving you and Allistor speechless.
Many years later, both of you were reaching that time where you were considered the proper age to be finding spouses and settling down, but not you and Allistor. Not at all.
Ever since witnessing the elegant white beast of legends, both of you swore that you would hunt it down. The two of you practiced survival skills, often resulting in staying up too late in the wilderness leaving your parents worried sick about your safety. Allistor's parents were stricter since he soon had three younger brothers he needed to take care of. So to make things easier while you trained to become expert huntsmen, you took Allistor's brothers along to go hunting with you.
Allistor's father had exploded and kicked him out when Arthur was nearly mauled by a bear when going on his first archery lesson. As a result, Allistor began to live with you, though your parents had been skeptical since Allistor was technically a disowned heir to his father's lordship. They were even more worried when Allistor had taken up a nasty drinking habit. He never got too drunk, but he drank to excess. It always fell on your responsibility to take care of him when he drank too much. But you didn't care. As long as he was sober enough to remember what his life's ambition was, then you would continue to remain at his side.
Another legend had popped up not too long after you and Allistor had set out for the stag: should a person successfully hunt down the white stag, it would grant its hunter three wishes.
"Why bother thinking about the future when we should be living in the now?" Allistor had asked. "We can worry about that after we catch the stag, aye, ___________?"
You smiled and nodded each time Allistor asked you that. Then, he would smile back, and the two of you would continue your journey.
The white stag was said to have retreated into the northern-most reaches of the Scottish Isles. You and Allistor had continued to ride into the thick mist where the populations began to dramatically disintegrate, and food had become scarce.
Luckily, the two of you had experienced worse conditions, and you were still able to forage for plants or hunt small animals that you could track. All the while, you did these things in silence in fear that the white stag may be listening close by.
One foggy morning, you woke up to the faint rumbling of the ground that you slept on. Quickly, you got up from your blankets and shook Allistor awake.
" he groaned opening one of his green eyes. "Is it morning already?"
You nodded and took him outside. Your heart began to race as you grabbed your bow and quiver and hopped on your horse.
"Oi, wait up, _________!" Allistor shouted gathering his artillery, too. He continued to follow behind you. He knew what this was; whenever you sensed that there was promising game nearby, you would transfix your eyes into one spot, not making a sound.
"What sort of beast is it?" he whispered when you pulled on your horse's reins to stop.
You rose up a hand to silence your friend and drew your bow very carefully. Allistor watched intently as you readied your arrow in a powerful, precise position. You held your breath as you listened for the sound that you give away your prey, your target.
Immediately, you released your arrow, the feathered tips sliding through your fingers as it flew past your bow in the direction of the noise.
You heard a sharp, high cry as your arrow struck dead on target.
Allistor laughed as you rode on ahead to examine your marksmanship. "Ah, ___________," you heard him laugh behind you. "Ye never cease to amaze me."
As expected, your arrow sank into a red stag judging from the noise it made. It was still alive, but it was struggling from the arrow that sank deep into its throat. You brought out your hunting knife and plunged it into the stag's chest striking its heart. It made a short, but pained cry as you watched its dark pools of eyes slowly lose their light.
You smiled knowing this would be your first decent meal in a long time. White stag or not, the kill was a beautiful and well-deserved thing.
After taking the edible parts of the stag back to your camp, you began to cook some of the meat while Allistor fixed your bows.
"Ye know something, ___________?" the redhead said suddenly not bothering to look up from his work.
He knew you were listening so he continued. "All this time, we've been going after this white stag. I mean, we know it's real an' everything, but it makes me wonder if in the event that we could do things over, would ye still have wanted to do this?"
He looked up to see if he could catch anything in your expression. You hesitated to give a response. It was true that Allistor could have lived the rest of his days as a wealthy lord, and you a decent housewife, but it wasn't just the thrill of making a kill that got your heart racing, it was also the time you were able to spend with Allistor.
Yes. You would go with that.
You turned to give your friend your answer when some of the oil dripped onto the parched wood making the flames crackle. You gasped and jumped back in surprise. Allistor, who was watching the entire time, caught you and started laughing.
"Since when did a little oil an' fire scare ye?" he laughed ruffling your thick (h/c) hair on his lap.
You grunted and hit him with the stick you were using to poke the flames.
"Hey!" Allistor cried. "What did I do to deserve that?"
You pouted and directed your focus back on your breakfast.
"Aw, hey, ____________, I'm sorry," Allistor apologized.
You giggled. It was impossible to stay mad at him for very longnot when he was your only real speaking companion on your ever-going quest for the white stag.
"I think this is a good spot, ____________," your fiery-haired friend said pointing out to a clearing in the scattered woods. You had been travelling in the mist-shrouded lands for the entire day. The horses were tired, and you and Allistor were exhausted from trying to maintain your spirits up hoping to catch a glimpse of the white stag again.
After setting up camp and finishing dinner, Allistor sat next to you and bundled up with you as you curled your legs up by the fire. The northern region of the Isles was deathly cold at nightespecially in the winterso it was normal for such a thing to happen. You were looking at the vast sea of stars overhead at the Sagittarius constellation. It was your favorite constellation with it being the Archer, and you often made mental prayers to the constellation asking for safety and guidance.
"Looking at the stars, ey, ______________?" Allistor asked.
You nodded and moved closer to him for warmth. From the corner of your eye, you saw Allistor give you a small smile before looking up, too.
"Ye know, ____________...I've been wonderin' something."
You took your gaze off of the stars and looked into Allistor's bright green eyes to let him know he had your attention.
Allistor spoke again. "The reason I'm trying to catch this white stag is because I wanted a simple goal that would drive me forward." He took a moment to yawn. "So I was wonderin' why ye bother to stay with me. You know, someone as short-tempered an' a heavy-drinker such as me-self."
You burst out laughing as a way of telling Allistor, "Do you really have to ask that question?"
Allistor raised an eyebrow and smiled. It wasn't often he could hear your voice.
"Heh," he chuckled. "I guess that was a stupid question after all." He turned the length of his body to you and hugged you with a warm, inviting embrace.
You flinched but didn't pull back; you would never pull away from Allistor, your only friend, the only one who you had to listen to in such a desolate landscape, and the only one who understood you.
Allistor moved his lips to your ear and whispered, "Care to tell me anyway?"
You blushed. He was used to seeing you do that ever since you had reached a certain adolescent age. At first, he didn't understand why you had acted so strangely around him until he had grown a little older. You chuckled remembering how your mother had said girls matured earlier than boys.
To answer Allistor's question, you ran your fingers up and into his soft red hair that appeared to glow ablaze against the dying fire's light. You looked up allowing your companion to stare into your (e/c) eyes that gave off a golden-red sparkle.
Without even saying so much as a single word, you brought yourself to Allistor and closed your eyes as you felt your lips make contact with his.
It was a cold night, and your lips were chapped, but the heat of your love for your long-acquainted friend burned with a longing passion. In the moment, Allistor gripped onto your hair and pressed you closer to him trying to get more of your warmth and love. You gasped as you felt his hand creep underneath your shirt. He responded by releasing you to take a breath.
He looked disappointed. "It's still too soon, isn't it?"
You giggled and nodded in response.
A smile crept across Allistor's face in amusement. "That settles it, then," he said. "After we catch the white stag, I'm going to make you mine."
You rolled your eyes. You always felt that a long time ago, Allistor had claimed ownership of your heart so it would be a waste to wish on something like that. You only wished that you could tell him that.
There was a wolfa savage one. Neither you nor Allistor knew where it could've come from or how it could survive so long in winter on its own. But it was most likely desperate enough to take the two of you head-on. The horses panicked and refused to listen to your tug on the reins, but you persisted and tried to calm down your steed while maneuvering out of the wolf's way.
"Persistent little bastard, isn't he?" Allistor growled after firing an arrow that missed.
Your heart pounded into you throat and eardrums as the jet-black wolf came near. You had one good arrow left, and you couldn't afford to waste the shot.
The wolf must've sensed your urgency because he continued to follow you. You stole a hasty glance at Allistor who had gotten far behind from retrieving his arrows; he looked insanely worried, but you were sure you could take care of the wolf.
Suddenly, the ferocious dark-haired beast pounced onto your horse knocking you off and damaging numerous parts of your body.
"_______________!" Allistor yelled out your name as he saw the wolf tear at your horse, killing it.
You got to your feet and pulled back your arrow. You looked dead into the wolf's eyes that were clouded over in a pearly white haze. With your horse finished off, the wolf snarled and looked at its next target. Its determined eyes remained on yours.
Allistor wanted to call out to you and urge you to fire your arrow, but you refused. You wanted to make the perfect shot. Desperate, he gathered one of his arrows and readied it waiting for the wolf to make its move.
Then, instead of leaping at you paws-first, the black beast made a fast circle around you and pounced on you. The weight of the beast surprised and frightened you. It was remarkably heavy for something that was so hungry for kill. In a swift and powerful motion, the wolf clawed at you tearing at your tender flesh. Hot blood soaked your garments, and you were beginning to feel faint. But despite the pain, your arrow remained unreleased; even when the wolf bit hard on to your shoulder, you held back the urge to cry and tried to focus your aim on the wolf's eye where its brain would be right behind it.
Not being able to risk anymore, Allistor shot an arrow at the crazed beast, and you shot yours. You didn't even get to see it fall because at the instant before the arrows struck, the wolf sank his razor-sharp fangs into your throat.
He didn't want to believe it. He couldn't believe it. Even after he called out ____________'s name and moved the dead wolf off of her body, she refused to stir. It must've been some cruel joke. There was no way she could be dead.
"____________?" Allistor whispered softly as his hand trailed across her mangled body.
Her body was still warm from the blood that was slowly dripping out, but her spirit had left a while ago. She did not die peacefully. There was a look of something on her eyes. Allistor couldn't tell what it was. It wasn't exactly fear, but it wasn't peace or reconciliation. But it was restless.
Tears fell onto ______________'s torn body washing away a few stains of blood. There was still so much he wanted to tell her! So much more he wanted to do with her! He felt foolish. She was there to listen the whole time. She would always be listening to him: his laughter, his constant bantering when he got drunk, his very breath that he took when his chest rose and fell when sleeping. She was always listening.
she was gone.
But then, something in Allistor's heart stirred. All he needed to do was find the white stag. He would wish her back to life. Who cared that he would have one less wish so long as he had _____________ back?
More determined to find the white stag than ever, Allistor grabbed the two arrows out of the wolf's body, hopped on his horse, and rode further into the thickening mist. He couldn't bury _____________ in such frozen ground, but if everything went according to expectations, she would be waiting for him after he made his first wish.
As if by an ethereal sign, Allistor saw the white stag grazing on a hill. The sun was coming up, and the rays that crept over the grassy plane made the white stag's appearance even more majestic.
Allistor wouldn't miss. He couldn't afford to after that tragic event many months ago. His health had greatly deteriorated and he had often talked to himself in the hopes that somewhere close by, _____________ was still listening.
In a perfect motion, Allistor released his arrow that fired straight into the neck of the white stag. His heart leaping in triumph, he kicked his horse and tore after it. The white stag wasn't able to get far as it struggled to get away.
Using thin, but strong rope, Allistor easily lassoed the mythical creature's neck and gave a hard yank making it tumble to the cold earth. Then, he pulled out a knife and went to the fallen white stag.
The white stag's dark eye rolled over and looked at its successful hunter.
"You do not have to bother doing that," it said in a high voice that resembled the bay of a caribou. "This is good enough."
Allistor's knife remained poised at the fallen stag. He couldn't trust the creature that had eluded him and _______________ for years and eventually caused her ruin.
"Whatever you say," the white stag said almost hinting at sarcasm. "You get three wishes. They must all be made here as I am a wild animalnot some confounded lamp that you can carry around with you."
So the legends were true.
"Bring _____________ back to life," Allistor said. "That is my first wish."
The white stag snorted. "I cannot do that. It interferes with the life cycle of the living."
Allistor began to swear. All of his wishes were tied to ______________! He wanted her to say "yes" when they finally went home and he would propose to her. He wanted them to live together and grow old. And
he wanted the two of them to be happy. Now what was he supposed to do?!
"Change of heart?" the white stag asked.
"Nay," Allistor growled in his frustration. Now that all of his wishes had dissolved with the first one, there wasn't much else to wish for.
"______________," he began.
"I told you I cannot bring her back to life," the white stag said with a hint of impatience in its voice.
"Nay. I want you to tell me what her wishes were. That is my first wish," Allistor said. Perhaps he could grant at least one of them in her place.
The white stag rolled its eyes again. "The first was that she wanted to be able to speak. You of all people should have known that."
Allistor winced in emotional pain. He had known ______________ never told him how much she loved him
because she couldn't. But he thought that knowing that he knew was enough. Apparently not. She must have been bursting with so much emotion that she had kept inside her silent frame. The only time he had been able to hear her sweet voice was when she had laughed. It had sounded like the clearest, most beautiful bells that rang only once every decade for some special occasion, a true sound that could never be ignored nor hated. He remembered that when they were young, he had used to play pranks on his brothers to make her laugh. Now, even that was gone.
He covered his hand over his face. How could he have been so ignorant?
"Are you still listening?" the white stag asked.
"Aye," Allistor answered miserably.
"The second was that she wanted to live with you until the end of your days," the white stag said.
Just like me
Allistor thought hurtfully.
"The last one was that she wanted you to be happy," the white stag ended.
"Me?" Allistor asked dumbfounded. He could never be happy now that ___________ was gone.
"Yes, you," the white stag answered distastefully. "Those are much more honest wishes than most I have picked up when travelling."
"Oh, ____________..." Allistor whispered wishing she was here. She had always been faithful to him. She would have followed him to the ends of the earth if he went.
"Second wish, please," the white stag said.
Allistor looked disgustingly at the white stag. It was this vile creature's fault that _____________ was killed. If it had not so enticed them to go after it, _____________ would have never set out with him to hunt it in the first place.
"After me third wish, I want teh kill yerself or make sure you are never seen from another human ever again," Allistor said.
"Fair enough," the white stag said.
Allistor frowned. The pitiful creature was in no position to bargain.
"Third?" the white stag asked.
"I want to be by _____________'s side forever," Allistor said. At least he could fulfill that one wish that both he and _____________ longed for.
The white stag blinked. "You do know what that means, do you not?" it asked.
Allistor sneered at the snowy-white beast. "Are ye sayin' I can undo a wish?"
"No," the white stag replied bluntly. "I am just implying that this wish you have just made means leaving the realm of the living."
"Fine with me," Allistor said. "It's not like I have anything else I could possibly desire with yer stupid rule."
"Ha," the white stag laughed dryly. "This is goodbye then."
"Goodbye," Allistor said.
As if a time reversal had taken place, the ropes began to unravel from the white stag's neck, and the arrow removed itself from the white stag's neck leaving an unscathed surface.
A mist rolled over the northern region of Scotland as the white stag made its way inside the safety of the shrouding moisture.
Allistor was not there when the mist had dissolved into morning sun.
He had already passed on into eternity to join _______________.