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All things here portrayed do not belong to me, but rather to the noble owner from whom they originated, though they hold a special place in my heart, and the manner in which they act or are portrayed is in most parts my own.

Against the colorful leaves and dark shadows of the Forbidden Forest, neither centaur showed up much. The soft moss muffled their hoofbeats, and the way it sprang up following them disguised their tracks. The centaurs didn't pay much attention to that. They were woodsmen by nature, and there were more important issues at the forefront of their minds.

"The humans are threatening our lands." Bane said, aggression obvious both in his voice and throughout his tensed body.

"Oh, aye, no arguments on that." Ronan said amiably. "But we threatened theirs first, you see. No centaur can say that he or she would not do the same as they have, to protect their home."

Bane bared his teeth, and his expression that clearly had more in common with the way a horse looked before taking a piece out of someone or something he didn't like than a human smile. "How do you arrive at that? No human lives in the Forest, and that is the only area we are defending!"

Ronan sighed, a bit frustrated. Bane was a strong hunter, and a good leader for the clan, but sometimes, as now, he did not listen to reason.

"Humans may not live in the Forest, but they do live in close proximity. We have threatened their hapless foals who were foolish enough to wander a bit out of their way. People they consider part of themselves, and respected among them, we have attacked for the sole crime of passing through areas we control. We do not even live in those parts of the Forest where we have attacked them. The same arguments you have just used to say why they shouldn't feel protective about the Forest apply as much to us as to them."

Bane roared: "Then they should understand our stance! Instead of attempting to remove us from the Forest, they should be negotiating. If they are so noble-minded, they would try to offer peace, not war!"

"And to whom should they speak to on peace? All evidence we have given them would indicate any delegates they sent would be executed! Firenze is trusted by them, but has been banished on pain of death from the herd. No other centaur will leave. What else can they do, to remove this viper circling the corral of their children?"

Bane bellowed: "Traitor! As Firenze, you have betrayed the noble race of centaur!" Bane lunged at him, then pivoted around and galloped away.

Bane galloped and galloped, pumping the adrenaline out of his body. Though he had initially been heading for the clan, to gather warriors and drive Ronan from their midst if he had not already left on his own, he soon changed his mind, slowing his pace and heading towards his favorite thinking spot. He was unaccustomed to such thoughts as he was now entertaining. How superior to the humans were centaurs? How different, in truth? Had he made a mistake to send Firenze away? And most important, what, oh, what should he do now?

It didn't take too much brain power, but the self-evaluation to which Bane subjected himself was scathing. He had been wrong. Aggressive neutrality. His idea, and now it would probably cost not only himself but his whole clan. Unless he acted soon, the humans would soon come to drive his kind from their ancestral lands. He could not allow it to happen!

Bane was a centaur of action. Now that he had decided upon his course, he wasted no time in implementing it. Pivoting again, he shot off back to Ronan. It was time for the centaurs to begin to interact with the rest of the world. Bane had just the envoy. 

A/N- I know it's short, and the next couple of chapters won't be much longer, but they do get longer if you hang in there.  So, thanks for reading and Please Review.  I plan to make this my longest story yet, so any good suggestions will be used in subsequent chapters.

If you have to visit,
You’ll want it to be quick
And hope that the employees
Can quickly do the trick.

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