It had been raining for days now, dark clouds looming over the fields of Kravnje. Occasional thunder flashed through the sky, connecting with the ground. The purple haze it left behind left one wondering if it was even real. The silhouettes of large monsters could be seen with every thunderstrike, mostly peaceful herd mentality monsters used for meat or to work on fields.
Lying in wait for his next kill, Kane hid himself just beneath a big rock on a projected path the Greptodon was taking. If it strayed too far, it would probably notice his presence when he stood up, so he hoped it would pass just by him.
A beast, six meter in height, two legged with massive black legs. It had unusually long arms with sharp claws at each end. The arms were covered in dark green scales. The only exposed area was at the joints, between its upper and lower arm, just a few centimeters. The neck was elongated and also covered in green scales, making it a safe spot for the thing. The head looked like a slab of stone, almost flat, eyes on top of its head and a very wide mouth, full of sharp, rending teeth. The tail was covered in small spiked areas, used to crush and pierce opponents at the same time.
It was strolling casually through the plains, as if being its owner. Greptodonts were pretty rare, but that’s what made them a nice target. The cost to payout factor, tho hunters usually didn’t bother with them since they were hard to kill and often the hunting groups lost a few hunters getting them down.
Kane was as silent as the night, unmoving, unwavering. It walked right past him, almost crushing his head with its huge feet as he peered from under the rock. The camouflage net he had laid on top of him had done its part, blending him in with the surroundings. Muddy terrain covered with leaves and little branches next to a big rock. As the monster passed him, he slowly got out from beneath the rock and the net, folded it up quickly and put it in his backpack that he had put under the rock as well.
Focusing on the monsters trot and the way it was acting, he finally devised a plan of action. An attack from behind, going for a decapitation if it worked. Nothing special, just effective enough.
‘’Soul forge, weaponize!’’ he said under his breath. Two long swords appeared a feet away in front of him, floating in mid air. They lit the area around them up like a fire. He took the swords and stood up, getting ready for a sprint.
‘’Blood forge, incantation!’’ he whispered, a bit louder. His veins burst open and a small quantity of blood mixed with the weapons, crawling towards the blades like small tendrils. The colour of the blades went from a bright white to a light reddish colour. As the weapons glowed and vibrated in his hands, making for a strange, tingling sensation. It had taken him so many years of practice and self taught fighting to finally master soul and blood forging, but it was the one thing that kept him alive in this world and in his profession, if it could be called that way. The only way to make money for people like him was to hunt monsters and sell their valuable parts to someone at the guild.
The greptodon stopped walking and turned around immediately upon noticing Kane’s presence, opening its mouth and snapping its jaws at him. Its legs were visibly tensing up and folding in on themselves, partially. A second later, the greptodon launched itself towards Kane, mouth wide open, snapping its jaws as it flew through the air. At the last possible moment, Kane ducked to the side, stabbing through the air the greptodon was traversing. Kane’s swords connected and he got swept away accidentally, flying through the air for a dozen meter while he was still hanging from the monster's torso connected through the swords that were sticking out of it. He crashed to the ground just beside the monster, his hands still gripping the swords for what he was worth. The monster was lying on the ground quietly, like nothing was amiss in the world, until Kane stood up and tried to pry his swords out. No luck there as it was like pulling a sword out of a large rock. The swords wouldn’t budge at all. A slight nauseating feeling started creeping up his body, from his guts to his head. No matter how hard he pulled and prodded, not an inch. ‘Shit’ he thought to himself. ‘Guess i have no other choice but to do this, u damn thing!’ Kane yelled as he hit the monster with his foot. It was regaining its balance and was slowly getting up so he had no other choice.
‘’Blood forge, blood surge!’’ Kane yelled and more blood was drawn out of him, the weapon starting to glow with a darker red hue, only a hint of white remaining. ‘’Don't make me go to the next level u damned beast’’ Kane yelled again.
He was starting to hyperventilate, blood rushing to his head, big drops of sweat running down his forehead, neck and eyelids. He took the swords again in his hands and tried pulling them out. Slowly they gave way and he managed to pull them out just as the thing stood up. The extra added amount of blood drawn from Kane had empowered the swords and they had begun vibrating violently, so the meat around the swords was ripped loose as he had pulled the swords out.
As its legs and the lower body were huge, it had difficulties getting up, which worked to Kane’s advantage. He jumped backwards for about a meter as the greptodon swiped the area where he stood a moment ago with its long arms and huge claws. It kept swiping at him until Kane crashed the arms to the ground with two hits from his swords, the long claws embedding themselves in the muddy soil, making it harder to pull them out. Kane ran up to the monster and sliced at the knee joints, making the greptodon stumble again. As he was done, he jumped on top of its long arms, running upwards all the way to its head. The scales on its arms were a blessing, as they gave him the necessary foothold to run up without slipping or falling.
While Kane ran up the arms, he tried to pierce the spot in its chest but failed so he went for the head as planned. He hit the neck once with full force, without much luck, the blow just deflected and he almost fell off. The greptodon managed to get one arm out of the muddy soil and slashed at Kane, straight with the claws extended. Kane jumped sideways at the last moment and the greptodon hit itself at the other arms joint, ripping its own arm off. It howled in pain as it thrashed around. Grey ooze spilling out from the wound together with a horrific sound, like cutting an animals neck. The greptodon started changing colour, as for why, Kane had no idea, nor did he care. All he wanted was for the greptodont to just die.
Kane ran around the thing, towards its back, cutting at the kneecaps for a second time, making the giant stagger forwards onto its only hand, falling through with the force of the immense weight of the monsters body behind it. Kane jumped up on its back and carved his way up towards its head again, the thing trying to shake him off it, but failing at the attempt. The lost blood was getting to Kane’s head by now, so he needed to finish this as fast as possible. He jumped upwards one last time, placing his swords next to each other, bringing them down on top of its unarmored head. The swords dug in a dozen centimeters deep, stopping at its neck, the head splitting into three parts, a fountain of ooze spraying out. Kane started feeling dizzy and his sight was already becoming fuzzy. ‘’Shit. I really overdid it this time. I have kept the blood surge on too long, but if i hadn’t i would have died’’ he murmured to himself. He felt dizzier with the moment until he lost consciousness and landed next to the greptodon, hitting his head on a rock.
Everything was the same, every time Kane fell asleep. The same dream kept on creeping into his vision. A giant monster was ravaging the land and he stood there, swords in hand facing off against the thing. There were more shapes moving in unison with him, fighting the giant monster, but they were blurred out, everyone except him. The whole group dies each time Kane closes his eyes, but each time differently. However, after wiping out the whole group except Kane, the demon faced him and smiled.
‘’It is almost time. You and me will meet very soon’’ the demon said and smiled, manically. The laughing kept ringing inside of Kane’s eardrums, deafening him until he awoke. His head was throbbing and he was in a world of pain. There was dried blood in his hair and on his forehead and face. How long had he been out? And what the hell was up with that demon and the difference in the dream this time? Did it actually mean anything? Anything more than just a dream. A nightmare would fit the description far better. Kane shook his head and slowly tried getting up, his head a mess. His orientation was off and instead of pushing himself off the ground he just crashed into it again.
‘’What the fuck happened to me?’’ he groaned, lying on the ground, blood streaming down his head. He looks down next to himself and sees blood on a big rock. His head is still throbbing with pain and instantly his vision is blurred again. ‘’Must have hit my head on the damn rock when i fell out of exhaustion’’ he said to himself. He tried to stand up but nausea floods him over. He falls again and lays down for a while, staring up at the purple haze. Suddenly he remembers fighting the greptodon and he look around to see if its still there. To his relief it was lying unmoving a meter away from him. Good, all that trouble only to see it not there would have been a mighty blow to his ego. After all, greptodons had a few pieces that sold mighty good. Kane decided to lay down and rest for a bit longer.
His mind wandered off to the dream he just had. Twenty years have already passed since he was left alone. The helplessness he felt back then, the sorrow, the sadness. Soon he will have his revenge, just a bit longer. All the times he yearned for love, affection, for someone to take him in their arms and say ‘’Everything will be all right, son’’, but there was no one. He just managed to ruin his own mood, how typical. So many times did he have thoughts about letting himself just die during combat, let his blood get used up and leave this God forsaken place. Tears started falling down his cheeks, he could not help it. There was just this empty void inside of him that could not be filled. His parents had left him as a seven year old and gone off to do the kings bidding. Ever since he had to look after himself, fend for himself, live alone, as an outsider.
After a few long heavy minutes, he tried sitting up again, this time succeeding, without the nausea and discomfort. He stood up and walked over to the greptodon. To his displeasure, a little wolfling was eating the head of the greptodon, where he had sliced it in multiple pieces.
‘’Why you little rascal, shoo, shoo!’’ he yelled at it. It just looked up at him with big yellow eyes and started growling. Damn the thing was cute. No way he could kill it. He tried kicking it to make it go away, but then, suddenly, it materialized a bigger version of itself in front of it.
‘’What the fuck?! It soul forged?’’ he yelled more to himself than anyone else present. It looked at him longingly. The weaponized version had a will of its own. It walked up to him and started licking his hand.
‘’By the Gods. What the fuck is going on here?’’ Kane murmured to himself. It drooped its head slightly to the side and shot him a glance, staring right into his eyes. ‘’Does it understand what i am saying?’’ he asked himself.
‘’Hey little guy, do you understand me?’’ Kane asked. It nodded its head. What the hell is going on, Kane thought to himself again, thinking about what to ask next.
‘’Can you speak?’’Kane asked again incredulously.
‘’Sure i can’’ it answered. Kane fainted at that exact moment.
‘’Wake up’’ a voice yelled. Kane’s face was all wet for some reason. Was someone licking him? He opened his eyes to see the little thing licking his forehead. He screamed like a little girl and backed away from it.
‘’You! How the hell can you talk!’’ Kane yelled at the little creature. It was rather ironic how Kane did not find it strange to see a ten meter monster and kill it, but a talking wolfling made him squeal like a little girl. Right.
‘’I can not. We are communicating telepathically. Well, at least i am, you are just yelling around, mind you.’’ it said and snorted. Kane just looked at it, incredulously and sighed. Man, he did not need any more things happening in his life that he could not explain. He had enough on his plate already. But then again, a wolfling who can talk, and, mind you, use soul forge, now that was as rare as a behemoth, and those things are rare, like so rare that you can live a thousand lifetimes and not find one rare.
‘’Why did you not attack me while i was unconscious?’’ Kane asked confused. ‘’I was easy prey, an easy meal for you.’’
‘’Why would i eat my master?’’ he replied even more confused then Kane was.
‘’Huh? Master? What the hell you talking about pup?’’.
‘’I do not know. I just came to be, right here next to you, beside this big dinner. You were so kind to prepare it for me, i was hungry as hell. Say, what is hell? I just say stuff i do not know what they mean, but they are in my head.’’
‘’You came to be? How the hell can you just appear?’’ Kane asked. He was silent, no reply. So was Kane for a long moment and then he decided to check his own soul forge.
‘’Soul forge, weaponize!’’ he yelled. A bright light erupted from his chest, forming into two swords. Nothing beside the light seemed any different. Kane took the swords in his hands, and they were lighter. He swirled them in his hands with ease. He went over to the greptodon and tried cutting its neck. The swords cleaved through with ease, like a knife through butter. What the hell was going on?!
‘’Master, how should i call you?’’ the wolfling asked.
‘’Don’t master me you, you, you thing. Whatever you are, you are not normal!’’
‘’Neither are you, master. Should i just keep calling you master, master?’’
‘’Stop it with the master already! My name is Kane, not master. By the way, am i the only one who can hear you?’’
‘’Probably, Kane. I have no idea as of yet, but, what my mind tells me, yes, you are the only one.’’
'’Can you hear me?’’ Kane thought to himself, sending the thought towards the wolfling.
‘’Yes i can’’ he replied. Neat. This was beginning to look good. A wolfling, and he was his master.
‘’He can soul forge, is annoying as hell, and we can communicate telepathically. Hell yes.’’ Kane said to himself.
‘’I will call you Alpha.’’ Kane thought towards him.
‘’Thank you for naming me, Kane. This way we will function better.’’
‘’Tell me what you know about yourself? Any important memories?’’
‘’What i know is, i somehow, am a part of you. I do not know how, but i came to be the moment you fell unconscious. I am your slave, and will follow any instruction you give me. I will give my life to protect yours. That is all i know and am made to do’’ he replied. A part of him? How? Somehow this didn’t make any sense, but it was alright. He did not mind having such a handy beast with him.
‘’Kane, can i finish my meal?’’ he asked. Kane’s mouth dropped open wide. The thing was so funny and sarcastic. He was not much bigger than a month year old pup. But he seemed so mature and serious.
‘’Sure you can Alpha. Dig in’’ Kane replied. ‘’Make sure to leave the bone marrow and any gems you might find for me, it fetches an insane price if done correctly.’’ The pup sure did dig in. Within a few minutes the whole, maybe eight ton greptodon was gone, only half a dozen small gems and a single large gem were all that was worth it from today’s hunt. Kane's jaw almost hit the ground when he saw what had happened. With a loud burp, the wolf had grown about ten times its size, roughly a meter and a half in height and two in length. He was huge and looked menacingly. Kane liked it immediately. He was amazing, and he was all his. ‘’I will not ask where all that meat went, nor will i ask how u grew this big in a few minutes, all i will say is, i love you already. You sure will come in handy’’ Kane chuckled to himself like a maniac. ‘’Let us go’’ Kane said finally after he straightened his thoughts and took the gems, placing them in his belt pouch.
‘’Where are we going?’’ he asked in return.
‘’To tie up some loose ends and then we will see where from there, my new friend.’’
‘’Oh my, how kinky’’ he said as he chuckled. ‘’Damn, he frightens me. He has a sense of humor and is dangerous. I love it.’’ Kane thought to himself.
Two figures were standing atop of a hill overlooking the scene that had taken place, unnoticed by anyone.
‘’Finally you did it’’ one figure said. ‘’I can’t wait to see what you are gonna do. What you will make for yourself, my son’’.
‘’Our son, Nemesis. He is not just your son. Remember that very well!’’ the other person said with a certain tone in her voice, as if threatening. Whatever, my dear. He will be a marvelous asset when he grows enough to do what he was destined to. The two figures laughed and disappeared with a gush of wind.
Thank you for reading!