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The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

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The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:48 pm

The Work of the Wolf
An Overgrowth Story

The path was a long and arduous one.
Cold wind blew down from the mountains, the mighty peaks surrounded by green pines and capped with a face of unblemished, white snow. I look upon them with wonder … whatever created us, created them as well: untouchable, invincible, and here for eternity.
What else was out there- in this world -that I did not know of?

It is a question I often contemplate, a question I hope to find the answer to one day…

“Logan!” The harsh bark broke my meditation.
I look up to see a scarred, black as night face staring at me with yellow eyes. I didn’t consider myself a pushover, but Marcos always unsettled me.

“Perhaps you could keep an eye open for any potential attacks? Like I asked? Maybe when you’re done scribbling your ridiculous chicken scratch?”

“They are runes, Marcos, we should have a record of this journey. Skaldic tradition states …” I tried to explain myself, but the black wolf was already walking away from me, a snarl curling his lips back to reveal rows of white fangs. He was right, though, I was tasked with keeping an eye open for any potential threats, for the region we were travelling in was rife with banditry and highwaymen. I only then realized that in my meditations I had fallen very badly behind.
A familiar face approached me, a smile on his old, gray face.

“I don’t think he appreciates the finer points of literacy, young one. Even those of his fellow warrior.” The gray wolf said, wrapping one muscular arm around my shoulders while the other hand held a spear over his shoulder. Cinerus was by far the oldest wolf among the group, and his gray fur showed the cruelty of his time. He was missing patches of fur in several places, be they the signature crisscross pattern of crossing blades, or the thin, balding spots of injuries far worse and yet survived. One warm, jovial brown eye peeked out from under a low, tired brow, the other eye lost long ago in combat.

“Sometimes I don’t know why he keeps me around.” I said with a small grin on my face. The old wolf returned the smirk.

“He cares nothing for the Skald, but there are few who can match blades like you can.” He said, tapping the weapon on my belt with the head of his spear. “Now, perhaps if you can refrain from using your skill with words against his, perhaps then he will warm up to you, eh?” He punched my shoulder for emphasis. He was old, but it still hurt. I smiled and took up my position at rear guard, resting one clawed hand on my hatchet.

There were eleven more in our group, bringing our group up to fourteen strong. Fourteen wolves travelling together was a rare sight, and I believe it served as effective discouragement against any would-be attackers on the road.

Ever since Ash was brought low by the one they called Turner, packs like ours were becoming scarce indeed. My hand tightened on the head of my hatchet. How could one rabbit bring down a wolf? Ash, of all of us, by damnation!

We continued down the unmarked path, we had stopped for water twice and to eat once, but so far the journey was uneventful. To say that we were not being followed was foolish. Someone was always watching. We could only hope that they did not find the stomach to gather and attack.
The fact that we were armed should have been discouraging enough on its own. Wolves were not known to carry weapons, and even then we are dangerous opponents. Yet, as I have said before, ever since Turner killed Ash- the mightiest of us -we had to concede to the superiority of weapons. Only a handful of us within the group were armed, however, as this change in combat ideology had happened only recently, and yet there were still those who were too proud to stoop down to the rabbits’ ‘weak, cowardly methods of combat’.

Indeed, all of our weapons had been recovered from enemies we had felled in combat. We were not very practiced with them, but it is surprising how innate their use feels compared to our own natural armament. No sooner had the thought left my mind before an arrow plunged deep into my side.

There was no battle cry, just a second volley of arrows fired from crude bows at a relatively close range. We took cover where we could, but some of us were not so quick to react. Bogos, the youngest of us, coughed blood on the ground as his back was pin-cushioned by the airborne missiles.

Cinerus threw his spear with less accuracy and more fury; the shaft sunk itself deep into a tree trunk, bobbing as the mighty energy from the throw dissipated along the length of the weapon. It took me a few moments to realize that a camouflaged rat had been pinned to the tree through the head. I ripped the arrow from my side with a growl and took cover behind a felled oak.

“Rats!” Marcos roared, spittle flying from his mouth as he equipped his gauntlet mounted Katar on his each of his mighty fists. I looked over and saw what looked like a landslide, as several bushes and shrubs had seemed to have grown limbs and charged us. Rats, no matter of my opinion of them, had developed quite a knack for concealment and ambush. And I have yet to see one alone.

They charged us from both sides when they had exhausted their arrows. A wolf against a rat was a foregone conclusion, but they charged us in droves. Such were there numbers that it seemed as though the hills themselves were closing in around us.

But we were fighters to the last. It was the only way to be born into a clan, regardless of which clan you were born into. And the only way to leave the clan was to die.

Those of us who were unarmed provided protection for those who were, assuring that no rat came close enough to pierce a brother or sister in the back with a lucky spear thrust or stab with a cruelly curved dagger.

Marcos tore into the rats with unbridled fury. The Katar suited him well, as it augmented his martial skills that he had spent his lifetime perfecting. One rat charged him with a spear on his side as he was repeatedly stabbing another rat in the chest. Marcos turned with lightning speed, turning the spear aside with one hand and stabbing the blade on the other hand deep into his assailant’s throat. He kicked his choking opponent several meters away with a terribly powerful front kick. Those behind the bested rat were knocked backwards by the sheer force of the impact.

Cinerus had unarmed himself early in the fight, but it did not seem to be hindering the old wolf. He kicked the legs out from one particularly fierce rat wielding a crude scimitar with a sweep, and before the rat could regain its footing, slammed his foot down hard on its throat. He gathered the weapon for himself and in one smooth motion brought it sailing overhead and down on the shoulder of another rat charging him with a club. The energy of the motion combined with the strength of Cinerus nearly cleaved the ugly creature in two from neck to groin. A third rat bandit got through his defenses and plunged a spear into his ribs on his blind side, and Cinerus roared in surprise and pain. The spear point had made a nasty gash, but had failed to break through the wolf’s old, hard bones. Cinerus turned away, making the gash even larger but removing the spear from his side. The spear wielding rat had only a moment to savor its victory before William- one of the wolves guarding Cinerus –plunged his claws deep into its neck.

I heard a resounding crack as I swung the hatchet down hard on a bandit’s skull. The body dropped limply to my feet as I pulled the weapon free, trailing blood and brain matter. I disarmed another rat by using the dagger in my off hand to stab through the top of its attacking weapon hand, followed up by a blow from my hatchet to its hamstring. The rat screeched in inglorious pain, but before I could finish the creature off another had tackled me as I was off balance.

This one was big for a rat, almost approaching my height (I was rather short for my kind) but having surpassed my weight. This rat used its fatty bulk to keep me on the ground while it stabbed at my head with a sharpened rock with twine wrapped around it as a makeshift handle. It spit at my eyes to blind me, and it was all I could do to keep the sharp stone from finding my eye sockets or throat. Several stabs had already opened gashes on my cheeks and particularly painful one on my scalp. The next attack stopped suddenly, and I heard a crack of bone. The rat screeched horridly, the stench of its hot breath blasting my senses as its weight was suddenly lifted off of me. I opened one hazy eye to see who had saved me as I wiped the other clean.

Enji the brown had the rat by its (broken) foot, and had actually used the fat creature as a weapon as he swung the screaming bandit in a wide arc. The rats standing around him scattered for cover, and the bandit only stopped screaming when Enji swung the creature into a stout oak tree skull first, the head breaking open like a rotten walnut, one severed eyeball disappearing into the brush.

Enji was a giant among our kind, massive muscle striation evident under his brown fur. He was completely unarmored, save for a single loincloth. He was so sure in his strength that he regarded armor and weapons as ‘weak and unseemly for our kind’. I often joked to him that he was not a wolf, simply a bear that had grown a long tail. No doubt he would rekindle this latest feat as evidence that we wolves should rely on our natural weapons alone. I, for one, was just glad he was part of my backup, or perhaps I was really just part of his.

Enji commanded the most presence on the battlefield, still swinging the broken body of the fat bandit in his meaty paw. He was surrounded by the most enemies, but none were eager to charge the giant. He swung the body like a club, which threw blood over his enemies from the open skull like a reed dipped in water, which only added to his factor of intimidation. He tossed the broken body into the crowd of rats, knocking some over, and sending others into flight.

It was after Enji had tossed the body that the fight changed. We found ourselves pursuing more than defending. The attackers were now in full flight. Those few rats who commanded the others stay were swiftly cut down. Here and there bandits found their deaths as sharpened points of thrown weapons found their backs. The one who had almost killed me must have been their leader. Rats were capable of great feats, granted their leader remain whole.

The din of battle died down to great breaths as those of us who survived tried to calm our blood raged bodies from the adrenaline of battle. Marcos let out a long powerful howl, which we all joined in. A message to all those who heard it was at the most primal level, an incontrovertible threat to any foolish enough to attempt to attack us again.

Marcos eyed us all with those piercing yellow eyes of his, his chest rising and falling with every great breath he took as the black fur on his back rose to give him a truly frightening appearance.
“Muster!” he called out, and we gave our names; most of us.

Bogos, the youngest, had fallen prey to the rats. It mattered not that he was wounded and unable to fight. On the contrary, slabs of his arms and legs had been rent clean of flesh, likely carried off to be consumed, and a ragged gash where his throat should have been. The ground around his body was black with bloody mud. Cinerus, clutching his bloodied side, kneeled to close the youth’s frightened eyes.

We had accounted for eleven total, which meant that along with Bogos, two more wolves had fallen but their bodies were not found. We feared the worst, but were delighted to see their faces again- and more savagely -what they had brought along with them as they approached through the trees.
Bommel and Driver both had taken hostages. The hostages’ hands had been tied, and they struggled against the superior strength of their captors as their bald tails twitched anxiously, black rodent eyes twitching nervously. Growls sounded from the wolves, and we formed a circle around them. We feared no second attack, for both Bommel and Driver had assured us the rats had scattered far and wide.

Marcos knelt before the two of them, surprisingly calm despite his fiery and merciless nature.
“I know your kind. This was no simple bandit raid. You were sent; you were paid.”
The two rats remained silent, one staring down to the ground trying to contain his sobs, the other fruitlessly attempting to match Marcos’ stare, its ugly mouth full of crooked yellow teeth bent into a snarl.

Marcos slapped the angry one, “Tell me, and I will make sure you are sent to hell in relative pain.”
He received a gob of spit to the eyes.

I was so sure Marcos was going to rip his guts out that I was greatly surprised when he simply snickered and wiped himself clean. He then turned to the sobbing one, then to Bommel. He nodded, and Bommel handed the whimpering rat over to Marcos. The rat wailed and pleaded, kicking at the dirt as he tried to resist Marcos’ strength, but it had no say in this tribunal of superior predators. A look of confusion crossed over the angry rat’s face. The whimpering white rat twisted and pleaded and begged and cried, but Marcos held him fast. He hushed the white rat and whispered in its ear.
“Easy now, easy now…” the assurance calmed it somewhat, before Marcos bit into the ear and tore it from the head.

The white rat’s head rocked back, unleashing a screech of pain and crippling fear: just as Marcos had planned. With one black clawed hand he reached and grasped the white rat by the throat, and slowly dug his clawed digits into the soft flesh. A crescendo built amongst us wolves as the claws drove deeper and deeper, drawing blood. The other rat tried to turn away, the horror of the slow agonizing death his compatriot was enduring too much to bear. But Driver grasped the rat’s skull and made him look upon Marcos’ terrible work.

The rat’s scream had turned to a slow gurgle, and Marcos had reached deep enough to tear the throat out with a forceful yank. The wolves howled and spat, and Marcos kept the white rat’s head tilted back as the last of his blood spilled like a fountain over his companion, the angry rat’s expression turned to utter fear as the crimson splashed over his face, shocked and appalled at our intolerable cruelty.

Marcos dumped the body onto the ground unceremoniously, then knelt before the stunned and bloodied rat.
“Are you going to tell me now?”

The scowl returned to the rat’s face. “You bastards … I hope you all die the most horrid –“
A slap more forceful than before slapped the saliva from the rat’s mouth.
“I will never tell-“
The next vambrace backhand removed a tooth.

When the rat showed signs of continuing, Marcos nodded to Driver. Driver brought the rat to its feet, and with a frightfully powerful kick, she broke the rat’s leg. Driver forced the rat to bend down on its knees, one whole and the other shattered. The rat howled in agony.

Another slap; this rat showed loyalty unusual for its kind. Even the hint of bodily harm was enough to get them to ‘spill their guts’.
Driver punched the rat in the ribs from behind. A crack sounded that made me wince. The rat wheezed in pain, but finally broke.

“The rabbit! The rabbit from … the south! …” he gasped, desperate for mercy. Blood that belonged in his body flowed up to his slavering jaws.

“Who?!” Marcos lost the visage of patience. He grasped the rat around the throat.

“White … banner! … Crossed blades … over … wolf … head!” Marcos turned to look at us. We all knew that flag.

“Prepare a pyre for our dead.” Marcos said, leaving the rat at our mercy.
___

We were simply going to slash the rat’s throat and end its misery when we found a slab of bloodied, orange furred meat on his person. Bogos’ name had barely reached my lips before we had halted the execution. We could not end it this way.

As instructed, we gathered any firewood we could find and hastily erected a pyre to honor our fallen dead, with a slight addition. Squirming, broken, but alive, was the rat that had partaken of Bogos’ flesh, tied to a heavy log beneath the funeral pyre amid dried branches and kindling. Driver had broken the rat’s jaw and gagged it for good measure, to keep it from spewing profanities during this most reverent dispatching of one of our own. Atop the pyre was laid Bogos’ body, with his possessions intact, for the journey into the afterlife was long and hard. In death, Bogos would avenge himself of his attacker, this poacher who had dishonorably taken advantage of him in his last fleeting moments of life.

As Skald, I had offered blessings to his spirit that was to depart. His ancestors were to receive another member, taken before his prime, before he could demonstrate his warrior skill and right. I asked those ancestors to accept him, although he died without the ability to defend his honor, the same could have happened to any one of us but that the gods alone had deemed otherwise.
I erected a rune-stone to his name, and we set the pyre alight. To those unfamiliar to our ways, we seem cruel, unjust, and wicked. But we were shaped as the gods shaped us, act as the gods intended, and honor the ancient ways of combat and justice.

And Vengeance.

Such is the work of the wolf.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby daxtart » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:36 pm

Nice story, I notice that not not many people are visiting this post. What a shame, it is such a good story too.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:23 pm

daxtart wrote:Nice story, I notice that not not many people are visiting this post. What a shame, it is such a good story too.


Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby EPR89 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:08 am

This was a great read.
Kind of makes me want to play a wolf in an alternate storyline.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:06 pm

EPR89 wrote:This was a great read.
Kind of makes me want to play a wolf in an alternate storyline.

Thanks! It means alot!
I gave the wolves a sort of Nordic theme, I feel that fits them really well.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby 1337m347 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:53 am

Dude that was incredibly good. Like seriously, that was some really good writing; and I liked how it revealed a bit of wolf tradition. If you're willing to, I think'd be cool if you tried writing out a similar story pertaining to the rats, showing off the "throw bodies at something and maybe it'll drown in our blood" mentality I assume quite a few of them have. And you could actually start intertwining these stories if you felt so inclined, 'cause they're pretty believable.
If you are planning to have a much bigger plot line going on, I have a lot of faith in you to do well.

Good job man.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:08 am

1337m347 wrote:Dude that was incredibly good. Like seriously, that was some really good writing; and I liked how it revealed a bit of wolf tradition. If you're willing to, I think'd be cool if you tried writing out a similar story pertaining to the rats, showing off the "throw bodies at something and maybe it'll drown in our blood" mentality I assume quite a few of them have. And you could actually start intertwining these stories if you felt so inclined, 'cause they're pretty believable.
If you are planning to have a much bigger plot line going on, I have a lot of faith in you to do well.

Good job man.


My face as I read this Image
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby Korban3 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:45 pm

While I love that this is so well written and that you explored wolves as more than just mindless killing machines, I was thrown off by the use of weapons. As far as canon OG lore, wolves find the use of weapons humiliating and shameful, displaying a weakness of the natural body.

Well written for sure, but it doesn't quite fit OG wolves. Maybe a band of isolated, outcast wolves, maybe. But not the usual type. Keep up the awesome writing though.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby Sehiro » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:39 pm

Great job. I'm no official reviewer, nor I studied to become one or anything, but I used to read a lot and, if this matters, I think you have a genius for writing.
Again, great job.
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:12 am

Korban3 wrote:While I love that this is so well written and that you explored wolves as more than just mindless killing machines, I was thrown off by the use of weapons. As far as canon OG lore, wolves find the use of weapons humiliating and shameful, displaying a weakness of the natural body.

Well written for sure, but it doesn't quite fit OG wolves. Maybe a band of isolated, outcast wolves, maybe. But not the usual type. Keep up the awesome writing though.


I think the wolves are re-thinking that strategy. To have ALL wolves reject weaponry would make them one-dimensional and boring. There are always those who dissent in opinion in any culture.
Thanks, though!
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby DaveEscape » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:26 am

Sehiro wrote:Great job. I'm no official reviewer, nor I studied to become one or anything, but I used to read a lot and, if this matters, I think you have a genius for writing.
Again, great job.


Thanks, man; I am always pondering writing professionally, feedback like this helps me ALOT
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Re: The Work of the Wolf [An Overgrowth Story]

Postby daxtart » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:34 pm

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19510&p=212426#p212426
Go here, they are making an OG role play, and I am sure you could contribute to it :D
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