Wayward: Chapter One

From the moment he had released the foul long forgotten creature, Razien had been going at it with all his might. Though it initially dove for him, the Wolf was spared as the beast flew further into Roya. Shrieks and cries sounded not far beyond the towers, Razien couldn’t let his own people fall to this nightmare he had brought about. As selfish as it may have been, he was quick to seek out and find his own kin. The black-furred beauty that had been his wife and his two daughters had been safe inside luckily enough. He did not linger or say much to Tirasha or the twins, Razien no longer knew how to act with her being that he dwelt inside their son’s body. However, he made certain to tell them to stay in a secure space of the tower, preferably without windows. Gathering up a bundle of spears, Razien returned to the streets to spread the warning of this new danger, though it was unnecessary. Any Royans who had been out were now seeking shelter if not already inside, any concern he had for unwanted causalities subside but only slightly.

As he ran for the market square, Razien came across bloody tracks that lead him around the massive fountain in the center of the square. Once he was around the next corner, Razien found the horror that had left the blood. Flesh and fur had been ripped away until the Wolf was no longer recognizable, that blood was on Razien’s paws. Another series of screams came this time further out of the village, closer to the fortification leading into the valley. Rushing passed the furthest row of houses, Razien caught the beast with another of his countrymen at its mercy. It sunk claws into the woman’s limbs before burying elongated hooked fangs into her throat, coming back a gout of gore. Razien reached for his Erkinan but came up wanting, it was as though it had all been sucked away when he had tantrummed against the seal. Instead, he drew a spear and launched it at his target, the creature evaded and thus began the long hunt. Fear of the Goredrinker loomed as a constant in Razien’s mind as he went from sunset to night chasing the creature, but soon enough, it was clear that the old demon would not show his face. Rather, Razien would take the fight to this monstrosity all over Roya until either one was dead.

With the sky darkened, the creature was nearly invisible when in flight, saved for the patch of red marking its wing. Though it had only been a glancing blow, the wound Razien had scored on the beast had gushed wildly with blood like a freshly slit throat. However, the Wolf was not without his own losses in the battle. The scrapes and slashes across his arms and back were not too deep, but they were more than enough to send ripples of agony through Razien with every step. And still, there were burns from his attempt to set the flying demon aflame, they continued to roar before the house he had taken the lantern from. Before he knew it, Razien had scaled the woodpile beside the house and was trying to keep his footing on the tile while launching his final spear at the creature. Again he grazed it only slightly, enough to give it cause for hesitance, but it wouldn’t hold for long, not unlike the tiles below Razien’s feet.

The tiled roof began to give under his feet, had he still a spear with him Razien could have dug in and held his place. For it all to end now, for the finale to come in such a way would be horrid waste after a full evening spent in this brutal conflict. Not only would the creature be able to escape almost entirely unharmed, but he was about to fall into the inferno below. As it began, the lacquered segments of wood sliding beneath him, he could again feel that spark inside of him. Though he had thought it gone, lost until he could give it ample time to amass in him once more, Razien felt a rumbling of Erkinan within. He couldn’t be sure if this would be just one last burst of energy or one pull too many on the Erkinan that would vanquish the body, but he had to use it. Charging the Erkinan energy through him, he again felt capable, not only that he sensed his body pulse with power. Looking back to the hulking figure that had found a perch upon the Tower of Autumn, he grinned with fierce joy.

Razien allowed the tile he stood on to reach the end of the roof, just as it began to tip into the flame below he let the Erkinan flow freely. The sensation was uncanny; the Wolf had never accustomed himself to it even when in his prior body, but in this new flesh, it felt all the more unreal. One bounding step set him safely where the tiles had just slid out of place, another set him on the flat middle of the roof, and the third had him across. Without the least regard for any hurts he could gain from it, he flung himself to the next roof where one of the spears had buried itself. In another simple, fluid motion, he drew it from the point of impact, allowed the flows of soul to engulf the weapon, and released it all at the hideous beast.

In waves, not like water, but almost that of a thick cloud of vapors, Erkinan exploded off the spearhead as it struck. He was off the mark, but a dense haze of violet would itself act as a tool of destruction, not enough to defeat most but definitely impede them. Still at a sprint, the Wolf didn’t stop after having hurled the weapon. There wasn’t time to wait and see, he had to get his paws on this creature now. Tossing himself from the roof, down towards the street, Razien again caught sight of the furred yet winged creature; only now it looked far more ragged. With patches cleared from the fur, lacerations in its fleshy wings, and a thick streamer of blood trailing it, the monster cast the appearance of the undead. Talons swooped low at the descending Wolf but missed their mark in the creature’s desperate haste to have him. With another rushed move, Razien swiveled and launched a burst of soul after his target. The shot went wide but rippled the air around it, the threat should have been clear, yet still, it remained.

Finding a new place to roost, this time on one of the overhanging rock walls, the demon paused to take account of itself and the damage done. All the while, it picked and pruned loose pieces of fur and skin from its deformed body, Razien was busy at work. He had no intention of climbing after it; ascending to those heights would be dangerous, and this thing seemed fixed on coming after him. Instead, Razien readied for the next clash by searching for a new weapon. His final spear was likely nothing more than matchsticks, and the rest had been lost completely. Without others in the streets, he couldn’t very well just borrow a knife or whatever a fellow Wolf would have on paw. It struck him then all at once; within that queer almost constructed cave, there had been a sword. Not only a sword but one that radiated Erkinan as though crafted from the power itself. Looking north to where the cave mouth sat hidden behind the Towers of Seasons, he knew his opportunity was nigh. Never had Razien been so close since that vault-like door had given way and let loose its sole prisoner, he had to make his move.

Again Razien pumped his limbs full with Erkinan, it even ran through his tail, bringing his reservoir all the closer to depletion, and with haste made for the cave. The quick motion of the Wolf sparked the creature’s attention, no longer was there time to lick its wounds, it took flight. With silent grace and uncanny speed, it descended from on high, its talons reaching low and this time finding their mark. Though it struck home, it didn’t quite hit hard enough, the points did not sink in so much as they dug deep rents into the Wolf’s shoulders. Even with his Erkinan burning through fatigue and other irritations of the flesh and fur, the intense stinging overwhelmed him. Dropping to the dirt Razien reeled, this was the first real pain he had felt in more cycles than he could remember passing. For a moment, he had almost wished to be in Karhan’ Dharian, to be far removed from pains of the flesh. But a few scrapes wouldn’t be enough to keep the Wolf down for long; his foe seemed to know that much as well.

Capering over on all fours like one struck with the Feral curse, the bony dark-eyed thing took its measure of the Wolf. Had he a weapon, Razien would have dispatched of the villain before it could lay a paw on him, but alas, even the dullest blade was beyond his reach. Swiping fleshy digits across his back, the fiend curled up into itself only paces away from him. Meeting his eyes, Razien watched as with a sickly jittering of its whole body the beast imbibed the sample of blood. There turned in his stomach a feeling of illness, were this a machination of the Goredrinker then he was taking an utterly new and unpleasant approach to it all. Undoubtedly, the Spiritcatcher would not play such arrogant and vile games with the fluids of the body. As this ran through his head, Razien picked out what he had hardly glanced at while sprinting down the street. Just beside a home, to the creature’s tail, sat a neatly stacked pile of wood but more importantly the ax that likely split every piece of it. There still sat a decent amount of Erkinan in his reserve, it would be a hasty and uncertain tactic to take for sure, but it was his last gambit against this hideously unique creature.

Forcing forth a current of raw power, Razien forced the blood-hungry creature from its resting place. With one great bound, it leapt to just before the cave’s mouth, a perfect distance away from the ax and Razien. Drawing it, the Wolf was suddenly uncertain of how he should hold it; two hands would be best for one not so skilled with an ax, but leaving one paw free would also give him access to what Erkinan he had left. There was no time, seemingly as soon as it had relocated, the monster was again on the attack. By the time Razien realized this, he was forced to instinctively swing with all his might and hope that he would strike something vital and stop the creature for a moment or two. Razien wanted to slam his eyes closed as he pulled the blade upward in an arc; if he hit anything, it wouldn’t be critical he was sure, but his doubts were not often well-founded.

Blood sloshed to the dirt, and from the open throat of the wide-eyed creature came a horrified squelch of pain. It had tumbled over and with furied motions, rose again only to collapse against the sudden draw on its strength, from the hole ripped into it. The fingertips, connected to its wings, sought and found the enormous fissure splitting its throat into two. Staring back, it looked curious and confused, somehow it tried to manipulate Erkinan but only succeeded in forcing the area around it to shimmer and fluctuate. The attempt was something alien to Razien, the vibrations of atmosphere were akin to Torqariyan’s jumping through space but not entirely so. Moving forward the best it could, it looked pleadingly at Razien, as though he could stop what had been put in motion or explain why it couldn’t draw on the Erkinan now. He only met the gaze with his own look of befuddlement, though not for an instant did the expression hold remorse or compassion for the dying thing. Finally, it halted and slapped limply onto its face against the cold dirt, whatever it had been was no more.

For another couple of minutes, Razien eyed the corpse, not trying to determine what it was or what it wanted but making a more essential decision. With it set in mind, he lifted a paw and blasted away the remains with the Erkinan he had left, making sure not to go past his limit. Again he simply stood staring at the spot, now stained with fluid and organic material that sizzled away with the intense power of Erkinan. When he eventually began again to move, it was lethargically, not due to exhaustion or the pain from his open wounds but from a mind overclouded in thought. Stiffly he walked to the woodpile and set down the borrowed ax, making sure to wipe clean the blood. It may or may not have been one of Goredrinker’s Bloodkin, but there was no reason to try to attract him all the same. Then it was on to check and assure the fire before that home was put to rest, it had been attended to, Razien found and was thankful. There remained a calling from the blade, a voice of sorts, somehow feminine if he could place it so but lacking qualities to make it that distinct. Inside he felt a pull towards it even as his mind worked to repulse him from the idea of laying a single paw on it. Yet his mind was still wrought with so much from having stepped back into the world of the living, taking the form of his own child, and vanquishing a foe of whose kind he had never even glimpsed before; it was simple now, he needed rest. Were he to feel that draw to the blade come dawn, he would find himself there taking it up, but before that could be done, he would need rest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s