Click here to read revision 3 of the query.
Hi all. It was a lot to post, so this was intended to go with ver. 3 of the "Crucible of Silver" query:
Crucible of Silver
Silver Squirrel is enjoying a day of fun and games when he meets Sandy Brown, the daughter of one of the squirrel leaders. Silver is terribly timid. He’s had a hard and lonely first year of life and he hasn’t learned social skills. He even unwittingly embarrasses Sandy by implying that she has flees. She leaves red-faced, but he knows he likes her a lot.
A fire sweeps the forest. There are questions as to why all of a sudden, the woods have burst into flames, and Sandy is told to lie about it by her mother.
Silver reluctantly joins the colony, forced out of their homes. As the squirrels resettle, Silver takes refuge in the Lodge where he grew up. This is the home of Jacob, his old mentor. Here, he begins to form an emotional relationship with Sandy, but he’s restless, disquieted by ghosts from his past and a need to prove himself. He chooses rather to head out into the unknown where he finds that he feels more alone than ever.
An unusual friendship grows out of a chance encounter with a crow named Crackle, and this is the beginning of a number of schemes that the crows come up with. Deep down, his heart is pining away for Sandy.
Silver is confused. He doesn’t know what to make of these new feelings. He decides to meet Sandy again at a gathering the squirrels are holding as an excuse to get a look at the new stock. At the point of dusk, the hawk and a night owl, clash while trying to catch the same squirrel. This makes the animals yet more fearful and distrustful of birds, and Silver.
Despite all the problems the crows cause him, Silver takes an injured one named Morning into his home. She too was attacked by the hawk. Silver relates. He wonders about these attacks of the hawk’s and about stories he’s heard of her, if there’s something more going on than can be seen.
He confides in the crows his feelings for Sandy, and they soon begin a matchmaking scheme. They lure Sandy into a game of chase – all the squirrels play at it – only it’s not just a game. Sandy is feeling the effects of spring fever, and she quickly puts Silver in his place, by biting him.
He returns to the crows, dejected. He decides honesty is best and goes nervously to tell Sandy the whole truth. Sandy decides reluctantly to helps the crows, though she fears them so much, and now distrusts Silver.
Time passes and the crows move on, devastating Silver. He is alone again in the dead of winter. His strength is all but gone when a new predator catches his scent, some ermines. Silver flees to the one place where there might be a glimmer of life, the Lodge. He finds it bustling. The community has taken shelter there too. Silver now has no option but to work hard and fit in. The animals are sending out cache-raiding parties. The leaders are presenting a discourse on the dangers of the new predator, Sandy is dreaming of weasel skeletons, and everything that happens seems to keep Silver and Sandy apart.
Old Jacob has choked. Silver is heartbroken and doesn’t know how to cope with the loss, or with the leaders telling him what to do. The whole thing finally comes to blow. The ermines pick that moment to start their assault on the Lodge.
The group begins a retreat. Silver pulls himself together and fights for the girl he loves and saves her in a mid-air chase through top of the lodge. Now the animals are out in the cold with no provisions. They survive the only way they can, even if it means eating old dry bones in the snow.
Silver wants to take Sandy someplace better, but he discovers that Sandy’s mother and the other leaders where the ones who set the fire and caused all this mayhem, this terrible chain of events that lead to their ruin.
Silver’s been used and abused by them for far too long. He storms out, finding that his only remaining food has been stolen. He hunts down the little bird that did it and sits down, perplexed. There, he admits to himself that he just can't make things right. He wants to live, but he just doesn’t know how. He’s ready to give up, and he discovers that there is only one option that has any merit, to forgive.
He takes his idea to Sandy, and together they talk to the leaders and tell them of their forgiveness, and propose a plan to save them all. Soon, a whole expedition is put together to return to their original home that will soon be sprouting with new life. It’s a good plan.
All is going well, until the ermines catch up with them. Their trip becomes a gauntlet of attacks until the group is split up. Silver and Sandy are surrounded. Only at the last moment, the hawk intervenes. She takes Silver in her clawstaking him up to her mate. She’s been planning something for a long time, ever since Silver was together with the crows.
It’s no use trying to get loose. “Our leg bones lock into place,” says the hawk. “That’s how we sleep while perched.”
The hawk’s mate no longer hunts for himself. He’s become old and useless, though once the fiercest hunter in the sky. He was the one that killed Silver’s mother, while hunting in a pair with the female. Silver's terrified, but he taunts the male hawk. He sings of his worthlessness for all to hear, as far as his tiny voice will carry from the hillside. The male is irate. Finally, when he gets the right moment, Silver jumps from the hill.
The female hawk dives and saves him from being crushed. She explains to him her plan to humiliate her mate, perhaps the only to motivate him to live again.
The hawk has completed her plan. Silver is broken at having been used by his worst enemy. This is an offense he doesn’t know how to forgive. Life has taken such a hard turn.
The hawk at last leaves him alone again. He finds Sandy and they take comfort in each others embrace. They contemplate life and wonder what such an unsure future holds. They know only one thing, they yet have a destiny together, and they want to be together for as long as it lasts.