Acilino was always calm and collected. Being a leader and a mentor meant that keeping a stable discipline was extremely vital, especially in the vast open plains of America. Of Hispanic origin, Acilino was able to escape the horrid creatures on two feet and into the wild. He learnt how to survive on his own, and eventually began to build his own herd. Acilino stood broadly at about 15.5 hands in height. He was of a typical dun coloured pelt: his rough mane and tail that easily whipped about in the wind were of a dark brown, almost black hue. His torso was light brown and his legs the same darkness as his hair, with opacity decreasing upwards. He had a thick line of sienna, reaching from his mane to his tale in the middle of his back to add to his appearance. His muscular build and young age meant that he was a terrific fighter and was able to defend his herd numerous times (his name meant ‘like an eagle’, and so his agility was incomparable). As his family grew larger, the number of mouths to feed and look after increased. Of course his alpha mare Jemsa helped with the running of the herd, but in the end it all rested on the main stallion. Acilino had two foals with her, his eldest and about to start his own herd, Domingo, was the exact same colour as his mother, a beautiful dark bay with one white sock on his left foreleg. Then there was the 1 and a half year old filly Leosia, who was a mixture of both her parents, and ended up a wild, lively buckskin: a deep dark brown mane and tail and a much lighter body. She was born in the summer, of which the lands were in the middle of, and Acilino had a very important decision to choose that could make or break his herd.

The sun pierced the now arid land that went on for miles and miles. Nothing but dried up dead grass and hot dirt could be seen below the cloudless blue sky. Acilino gazed into the distance, hoping for a sign of nature; he didn’t think the lands would dry up this quick, erasing all knowledge of where he was, but he had a responsibility, one that he must abide by. Acilino raised his long, crested neck into the sunlight and sniffed the air. A hot breeze lashed at his sensitive hide, but the stallion ignored the pain for he found the scent he was looking for: the smell of fresh forest and running water was just in the distance.

Swatting flies with his tassels of a tale, Acilino turned 180 degrees to face his herd. There were six mares in total, three colts and three fillies. The young ones were the most important to be kept safe and alive, as they were his precious progeny and he could not bear for them to come to harm. Acilino trotted diligently towards Jemsa and nipped her lovingly on the whither, then whinnied in a soft tone. She understood it was finally time to get moving (and alerted everyone else), especially because not long ago Domingo had spotted two, two legged animals on tamed horses following his father’s herd conspicuously. Acilino began walking in the direction of the forest he discovered, and prayed there was a sign there that would tell him where to go next.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”- Theodore Roosevelt

Myria, a small but tough mare with a dark, grey pelt (also an escapee), was in charge of the foals and with Acilino’s permission, allowed them to canter ahead to the stream of loud rushing water that echoed off the trees. The herd had made it to safe grounds, and even better Acilino knew exactly where he was. The herd gathered next to the cool water, all parched from the long journey from their territory, which those strange animals took over. Acilino knew he was no match for them, and made the wise decision to move his herd to lower grounds .The steed lowered his head towards the stream, his front hooves gently brushing the surface of the water. There was plenty to eat here and plenty of shade, but the creatures were close behind and Acilino wanted to lose them. Judging by the stream he used to play in as a young colt, he remembered there were two paths he could take. Following the stream downwards led to a lush, grassy clearing completely surrounded by trees; there would be bountiful amounts of food and water for his herd, but with every dream comes the plain reality. Aemilio was the nemesis of Acilino. He stood at 16 hands high, and his coat was of a rich, glossy black. He had a thick neck, large hooves and a highly muscular body, with a threatening personality. He and his herd owned the clearing led by the stream. Acilino had beaten him once, but had left him badly injured after the fight. He was sure he would be able to defeat him again, but the clearing had its misfortunes too. Sometimes its land was prosperous, even during this type of heat, and sometimes it was as dry as his own hooves. If that became the case, his entire family would starve as it would be way too risky to turn back with the creatures on two feet looming closer.

The other path led to a secondary forest, with a large, beautiful glade in the very centre. It was always rich in supplies, but the journey would mean another endless amount of miles of aridness with minimal food and barely any water. Acilino feared that his children and his mares would collapse and die along the way. He needed to make a decision.

“Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you. ” – Frank Tyger

It was nearing nightfall, and Acilino ordered the mares and foals to rest here for the night. He watched as Jemsa nuzzled Leosia who lay underneath her protective body and instantly fell asleep. Domingo stood watch and made sure the strange animals weren’t anywhere nearby. Acilino stomped his right front hoof and snorted in frustration, sending clouds of dust up through the trees and into the wonderful, cool , night sky. His conscience was tormented by the decision he had to make. What would be the better alternative? Both paths were a gamble, and choosing the lesser of two evils was almost an impossible decision. By day break, Acilino would have made his choice, and being the devoted alpha that he was, would do everything in his power to keep his family safe.

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