"What was your Hunt like?" Kruzz was sharpening the tip of his spear. It was almost time.
Grim laughed out loud and gave him a slap on the back.
"Oh, it was glorious. I stalked the forest for my prey." He held his own spear in both hands and looked from left to right as if he was doing it all over again. "The elder told me to sit and wait. He said that the animal would chose me and that it would come. I waited for about five minutes until I could stand it no longer."
Dax chuckled. "I'm amazed you even managed to wait that long. Many broods are impatient and go out to find their destiny." He smiled and put a hand on Kruzz's shoulder. "But those who wait are rewarded with easy success. Why go out to search for your prey when you know it will come to you?"
"For the hunt!" Grim growled. "You make it very hard for me to like you. I was impressed like all the others to see you fight, but you speak of the Hunt as if it were nothing important. It's a great ritual that determines your worth as a warrior. The lust for blood presses you onwards to find your prey. That is the Orc way. That is how it should be." Grim crossed his arms as if that settled the matter.
"I believe the ritual has merit. It is an important day for a brood to prove his strength to his peers and to be accepted into the ranks of warriors, but I also believe it has its flaws. For most Orcs do not understand the true meaning of the ritual and its spiritual context. You for instance might think that I was a weakling, since the prey I found - or should I say that found me - was an owl."
"An owl?" Grim barked with laughter. He bent over and slapped his knee. "Dax, the slayer of owls!" He continued to laugh and didn't stop, even when Dax continued speaking.
"An owl is an old sign for wisdom. The ritual pointed out a very different kind of strength within me. It did not determine that I was a weak warrior. You yourself said that you were impressed by my skill. The animal that chooses to be your prey says a lot more about your true nature than just your capabilities as a warrior."
"Of course you say that. Your prey was an owl." Grim couldn't stop laughing.
"What was your animal?" Kruzz looked at the strong Orc with big eyes. Dax was smart and there may be truth to what he said, but killing an owl was not what Kruzz had imagined when he thought about the Hunt.
"It was a bear." Grim's laughter subsided and he once again played the part of the hunter, jabbing his spear into the air. "It was big and fierce. When I found it, it stepped up onto its hind legs and roared with fury."
Kruzz could imagine what it must have been like. He wondered how he would hold his own against a bear. "And what did you do?"
"I roared right back into its face." Grim laughed aloud. "And then I charged. It swiped me aside with a big swing of its claws, breaking my spear in half. I didn't know what to do then, but I had to react fast, because the bear was on the attack. It charged, so I jumped up to a tree branch. The bear crashed into the tree below and I dropped on its back. We wrestled until I got ahold of the tip of my spear that was lying on the ground and I jabbed it into the bear's eye."
Grim was on the ground after having rolled around imitating the wrestling match with the bear. Now that was the kind of Hunt Kruzz had imagined. He had respected Grim for his strength and the fighting skills he had shown against the humans, but this tale made Kruzz look up to him in a new light. Grim wasn't just a grunt. He was a beast of an Orc. Stronger than a bear. And that was when he was younger, just of age for the hunt. By now, he must have grown even stronger. Especially, since he did so much hard work in the mines.
"Quite the challenge." Dax stroked his chin with his fingers. "I think I know what your Hunt means."
"I know exactly what it means. It means I'm stronger than a bear. That's all that matters."
"If that's all that matters you should be a renowned warrior. Not many grunts can boast of their Hunt having involved a bear. Especially, fighting that bear bare handed, because of a broken spear. No, no, no. There is more meaning in your story. You're right of course, it shows lots of strength."
Grim gave a satisfied grunt.
"But the symbolism of the bear entails more than strength. It's also a sign for leadership."
Grim guffawed. "You mean to tell me I should be a great leader. An elder of one of the war clans, like Gwarr?"
"On the contrary." Dax's eyes widened as he understood. "The fact that you wrestled the bear and had such a strenuous fight leads me to believe that you are anti-authority. I think the bear means that you are capable of being a great leader, but something inside you is against leadership. That is why you became part of the new settlement near the mines. You have a warrior's appetite for blood and you have the skill to fight, but you still did not choose to become a warrior."
Kruzz furrowed his brow, trying to understand. Grim was speechless. Everything Dax had said was confusing, especially the way he said it, but some of it rang true. Grim had always been a lazy worker. It had been well known in the settlement that he would always get up late and would not listen when given orders.
Dax smiled and seemed satisfied with his explanation. He used the following silence to add some more 'wisdom', as he would call it. "Like I said, I think you have it in you to become a great leader. You just have to defeat whatever it is inside you that is stopping you. You've already defeated a bear, so why not defeat that as well?"
Grim grabbed his spear and growled. "Stop your stupid drivel and stick your bow where the sun don't shine." Grim huffed and left their circle. Kruzz wondered what had made him so made.
"What did I say?" Dax shrugged. "Well, looks like it's time. Elder Worg is coming to get you."
Kruzz stiffened. What would his future bring? He visualized Grim's fight against the bear and then Dax waiting for his owl. There was no way to know until it happened. He would have to go and figure it out.
His Hunt was about to begin.