The Far Side of the World: Obrexia
Holden’s Port was easy enough, he had come with a throng of transient workers, and he didn;t look to far off from them even if he was a bit more broad. He brushed away a few offers to work, he might have taken it if he had the time, but the new moon was too close. He wasn’t sure if the boat would have made it in time.
He had been told D’or was the next port that would be a good call, but there was no way he would make it there before the new moon, his only hope was to dive as deep into the woods as he could and pray to the Gods that he wouldn’t encounter anyone.
He ran as hard as he could once he was outside the sphere of influence of Holden’s Port, he pushed himself hard, barely stopping even as the taunting moon rose and fell again. He spent the day foraging and thinking if he could find a cave to hide in, something to keep him hidden, but then he thought he might shift, and get lost in a cave and never find his way out. That was always his worry, to awake in a trap or cage.
The day drug on and he kept up his movement, less fast as he had seen no sign of people and he wasn’t as worried, it wasn’t until the sun was coming down that he saw it, a plume of smoke not far off, he cursed his fortune, he turned the other way and ran. He thought he was going back the way he came but a couple of sprinting turns and he came face to face with a pair of children who had been foraging. They looked at him with scared eyes, but neither moved an inch. Shane must have looked terrifying, his eyes were wide with panic and worry, he knew what was coming and the face of these children made it all the more painful. He sprinted at them and vaulted over their small forms, his strength allowing him to do so with ease, he was always more powerful close to the new and full moons.
Shane woke up with a starle, he was no longer in the Obrexian woods, but a vast plain. Nothing had color, it was as if the landscape was drawn with charcoal on white paper. He got to his feet and saw a few trees in the distance, he sprinted towards them, but every step was slow as if he was running through water.
A roar was heard behind him, he turned his head to see and it was a werewolf, like something he had seen during the war, massive with grey fur covered in bright red blood, the only color he had seen in this landscape.
He tried to get away but his steps slowed even more.
He turned around fully now, intent to stare down his death rather than flee from it. He reached to his waist and pulled out his sword and held it in front of him, waiting for the creature to gore itself on his blade.
The were swatted the flat of the blade with the back of it’s hand stripping it from Shane grip with ease and sending it flipping through the air, it never hit the ground but instead faded into smoke and disappeared.
It grasped him by the neck and hoisted him off his feet. The huge furry hand closed around is neck and shoulder, and he could feel the pain of his life being crushed from him.
A voice came from next to them, and he wanted to gasp that he wasn’t doing anything but instead the wolf stopped. The squeeze was loosened and eventually the wolf dropped Shane to the greyscale grass below. He coughed and wheezed and got his breath. He looked up to the wolf and then to the voice. Standing before him was a youngish Helian man glad in rotting armor. A halo of pink runes crowned his head, every step he took lit the grass below him in pink fire that died out as his foot left. Shane knew this man, even though no one had seen his face in centuries. Hesser the Horrid, of the sect, the greatest evil Helios had ever known.
“Why do you fight my gift human? Is this not what you have always wanted? Power, Speed, resilience. No enemy stands before you.”
Shane listened to the words, the voice was not demonic it was sweet and confident. He did not expect what amounted to a devil to sound personable. He relaxed his shoulders but quickly tensed again and scurried backwards.
“I will not be swayed by you! The Six watch me!”
Hesser feigned fear and looked around and upwards as if he was fearful of being smote, but he smirked and stood tall. “They only watch Shane. It is up to us to mold the world, we tried once and if the gods were so powerful would I be standing before you?”
Shane wavered for a moment. “You-you cannot poison me with your words.”
He clutched his chest, and he could feel his mouth wet. He tried to speak but practically choked on some liquid as if he was drowning in something. He coughed and leaned forward and blood spilled from his mouth. The red color a stark contrast to the landscape.
“You may not hear me now, but we will have more chances to speak. I will see you again when the moon is full, and we can see how strong your faith is.”
The sun touched his face, and he jerked upright in a panic. He could feel it before his vision could clear up, the stickiness on his skin from dried sweat and blood. He didn;t wipe his eyes, he knew his hands were covered in blood. He got to his feet and the cool morning air whipped across his bare skin. He sat in the middle of a hamlet, or what was left of one. Bodies were everywhere, at least pieces of them were.
He called out, and no one responded except the birds.
He went to the closest home and pushed open the door, inside was a scene he did not wish to see. War had been horrible, he had seen death and gore but this was far more because he knew all of it was because of him. He found some clothing, it was all too big for him, the father of the house was a fat man. He managed some boots that fit and even a cloak. There was an axe leaning against the door frame, it hadn’t even been touched.
He walked back out into the hamlet, he would need to hurry in case people came and found him. He gathered some food and went to rush off but heard a sound from inside one of the smaller houses. He inched to the door and peaked in, there in the center of the house were the two children he had seen in the woods. This was good, they were alive, some sign, but then he saw the wound on the boys chest. The fact that he wasn’t dead yet meant the worst. He stood in the doorway now, sure of what he had to do.
“Are you hurt?” He asked coldly.
“No, just my brother, the monster got him.” She said without looking.
He took a sharp breath in. He had already killed this boy...what he was doing now was just a mercy.
“Whats her name?”
“We haven’t been able to get her to talk Captain.”
The Captain removed his helmet and tucked it under his arm as she walked over to the small girl. She as flanked by a couple of his men, more just to keep her from running off somewhere. She lowered himself to her eye level and set his helm down. She was wide eyed and covered in blood, but it wasn’t her own.
“I am Captain Ard, can you tell me your name?”
The men flanking her seemed surprised to hear her speak, but they weren’t family men like the captain, he had a way, a tone about him that was nurturing, even if tha tone was far from the brutally efficient leader he was.
“Mary. That’s a pretty name. I am sorry to ask you but can you tell me what happened? An animal did this?” He knew she had said wolf monster to the traveler who had found her and the destroyed village.
“It was a wolf...huge like a house of fur. Tristan saved me.” She spoke flat, there was almost no emotion in her voice. “But then it was a man...and he-” Her voice broke and her wide eyes shut tightly. She pressed her hands to her face.
The Captain put his hand on her shoulder but only for a brief moment before letting it hover there. “This man, he came after the animal?”
“He was the monster. He said so.” She sobbed but there were no more tears.
“He said he had to. He said he had to kill my brother.” She shut her eyes again and the captain placed his hand on her shoulder again and inched closer to her. She fell into his arms, and didn’t mind the feeling of the cold armor against her. “He kept apologizing, he kept saying he was sorry.”
The captain looked up from the top of her dirty hair and looked at his Lieutenant who was waiting not far. It didn’t make sense, if it was a wolfman, it wouldn’t turn back into a human. What was this? “It’s a man. Track it like a man, put our best on it. I want it done an hour ago.”
Mary looked up at him, her eyes wide, and some moisture had come to them. “You can’t he’ll kill you! Like he killed everyone!”
“Don’t worry child. We will find it and kill it, like we’ve done others before. We’re monster slayers and we’ll make sure you are never scared again.”