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Old April 10th, 2007, 01:52 AM
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Beast in his Blood

(This is my first time posting a story here. It's something I wrote a week or so ago after a short bout of inspiration.)

Aniri sprinted through the woods, striped in the pale light of the full moon. It wasn't hard for him to track the beast, with ripped trees, broken limbs, and deep claw marks everywhere. The moon peered through the treetops, reflecting off the silver dagger he carried in his hand. Off in the distance, he heard a howl, this one louder than the ones before. Determined, Aniri gripped his dagger tighter and hurried towards the source of the sound.


"This can't go on any longer." thought Rukal to himself. For far too long, he had been forced to watch from the back of his mind as he commited acts of murder. He couldn't help it, his mind was unable to stand up to the overwhelming desire and killer instinct that flooded his mind for the past four months. "No more," he breathed to himself, "I know he can help me. If anyone can cure me, it will be him."

He rode through the damp, foggy morning, making for the village of Illa. His woolen cloak was heavy in the mist, and the mud pulled at the horse's feet. The sun wasn't visible through the veil of white, and seeing more than two meters away was almost impossible. It was, all in all, a miserable day, which only added to Rukal's dour mood.

It had been only two nights since the last time it had happened, but he could already feel the days slipping away until the next time he regressed. He could feel the presence even now, wanting to bite, to tear, to feast. But for the time being, he could supress it. But time mindlessly marched onward toward the next time where his mind would be overpowered by the overwhelming instinct of the beast in his blood.

Rukal heard it long before he saw where it was coming from. A faint sobbing coming from further along the path. As his horse plodded down the road, a figure became visible through the thick fog. Sitting on a rock was a small child, crouching on a rock, crying into his knees. The child's clothes were ragged and torn, and his skin dirty and smudged, as though he hadn't had proper care for a few days.

"Hey, what's the matter?" Rukal asked the child.

The child looked up slowly. He couldn't be more than four or five years old, Rukal guessed. His eyes were red and swollen from crying, and his face was flushed.

"My parents are gone..." The child said quietly, still crying. "My home is gone. They're all...gone."

Rukal thought that the face looked familiar, but he couldn't place it. He got off his horse, reached into one of the saddlebags, and pulled out piece of bread. He extended his hand with the bread towards the child. The child's hands darted out and took the bread, practically inhaling it.

A few mouthfuls into the bread, he started coughing as crumbs went down his windpipe due to his erratic eating. Laughing, Rukal reached back into the saddlebag and pulled out a skin of water, offering it to the child. The child snatched it with equal haste, and quickly emptied over half of the skin.

"So, what was that you were saying about about your parents?" Rukal inquired as the child finished the bread and the water.

"A monster attacked my house two nights ago. It killed my mom and my dad. I barely escaped." The child said, looking as though ready to break into tears at any moment. "It tried to chase me down and kill me, but my mom grabbed it's legs before it killed her too."

"Well, what's your name?"


"Well," Rukal said, reaching into his pocket for a coin. "I want you to take this coin and go back towards the village. That coin should buy you food for a couple of days. Hopefully you can find somewhere to stay." After giving the coin to Iasa, Rukal got back on his horse.

"Umm.... Mister?"

"The name is Rukal."

"Mister Rukal? Will you take me with you?"

A slight pang of guilt went through Rukal's mind, but he instantly knew what his decision was. "I'm sorry, but no. I'm going far away, and it's dangerous to come with me."

"I don't care. I don't want to be alone anymore..."

"I'm sorry, but I can't." It was far too dangerous for Rukal to have a child with him. It would just put Iasa in harm's way.

As Rukal was just about to leave, a horrific image flashed through his mind from two nights ago. A man with an axe, unable to defend himself against the monster that was Rukal. The woman who sacrificed herself to save her child. And he remembered the terrified face of the child as he ran from the house. And the beast within Rukal remembered him too, as the food that got away.

Rukal was all at once horrified, sickened, and wrought with guilt. He had
destroyed Iasa's home. He had killed Iasa's parents. And here he was, ready to leave Iasa crying on a rock, after all the torment he had put the child through.
Turning his head towards the child, he said, "On second thought, maybe I could let you come with me, for a couple weeks at least."

Rukal thought to himself, "I will make amends to this child."


Aniri saw a clearing up ahead. And there it was. Tremendous, it had to be at least seven feet tall and massively built, though it was crouched over something unseen. It's muscular back rippled with unfathomable power, and the grunts spoke of savage instinct. It was sheathed in fur from head to toe, with a canine tail and wolven ears to complete it.

It seemed preoccupied with it's prize, so Aniri traced a spell to cloak his body and silence his feet as he stepped out from the cover of the trees, dagger in hand. He quietly approached the beast from behind and lifted the blade to strike at it's broad, furry back.


They were but a days length away from Illa, but they were not riding yet. Both Iasa and Rukal lay on their backs in the grass. The morning sun was shining, and the sky was dotted with white clouds. "And that one looks like a horse!" Iasa exclaimed, pointing at one of the clouds.

"Really?" Rukal asked, in mock curiousity.

"Yah, really! The head is on the left, and the tail is on the right. And those are it's legs!" Iasa laughed. Iasa had been very upbeat since the beginning of their journey. They often took time aside to do things such as this, or to explore various rocks, trees, and bushes along their way. Although it cost a few days loss in time, Rukal pressed on enough to make sure they would reach Illa with at least day left to find his friend.

"So, Mister, why are we headed to Illa anyways? You said you had a friend there, what does he do?"

"My friend's name is Aniri. He's a great sorceror." Rukal said, smiling.

"Oh? I've always wanted to learn magic!" Iasa exclaimed excitedly.

"He's got hundreds of magic books that he reads all the time." Rukal grinned, "He has a stacks of books so high, you can't see the top." He exaggerated.

"Ooh, really?!" Iasa asked, wide eyed. "If I climbed up there, could I reach the top?"

"I don't know, I think you might get lost on the way." Rukal chuckled.

"Do you think he would let me read the books?" Iasa questioned. "And don't say I'm too young to read. That's what everyone says. But my parents taught me to read before-" His voice caught, remembering once again the fate of his parents.

"Hey, I'm not doubting you, kid. And I'm sure he wouldn't mind sharing a book or two." He said, trying to turn Iasa's mind away from his parents. "He has a book for everything, he might even have a book that has a way to fix me."

"Fix you? You said before you were sick, but you don't look like it, Mister. Is it really that bad?"

"It is. My sickness is a special sickness. It doesn't kill me, only others." He sighed. "But that's why I need to see Aniri. He can fix me." He turned his head, smiling at Iasa. "Aniri has been my closest friend ever since we were as old as you are now. I would give up my life for him."

"Why would you give up your life for someone else?"

"When it's someone you care about deeply, you find you don't care about what happens to yourself, as long as you can protect that person. Aniri has been with me through many hardships and trials through my life, and because of that, I would give up my life for him, if it were nessicary. And I have a feeling he feels the same way about me."

"I think I understand," Iasa considered the words, "Kind of like how my mom died so that I could live?"

"Exactly. She loved you, I'm sure, and I imagine that she'd want you to have a chance for life." Rukal explained. He instantly regretted expanding on the subject of Iasa's parents, but for the first time, Iasa didn't seem as though he were about to burst into tears. "However, I think it's time we get moving again. We should be within Illa by the end of the day."

"'Kay! Let's go!" Iasa chirped, returning to his upbeat mood.


Aniri lay with his back against a tree. The bark had splintered from the impact, and lay scattered around him. His tunic was torn across the front, and blood oozed from the wound he took. His dagger lie half a meter away from where his hand lay. He was entirely visible now, his spells to conceal himself faded when his concentration was broken. He had forgotten about it's sense of smell.

The beast growled at the one who dare disturb it's meal. It was even larger when it wasn't huddled over it's prize. Over seven feet tall, it's muscular physique was only slightly dulled by the fur covering it's body. It's shoulders were deep with corded muscles that bunched and swelled, then relaxed and receded as it moved its arms. The torso was unfathomably broad, with two great shelves of muscle sticking out quite a ways. It's stomach was clearly defined even through the fur, and it looked like set of medium-sized stones. It's legs were thick like the limbs of trees, but they bunched and thickened as it walked towards the intruder.

Most terrifying of all, however, was the face. The wolven features spoke nothing of the host which the beast dominated. It's teeth were red with the blood from his meal, and it's eyes gleamed with rage and hunger, transfixed on the man who just volunteered to be the second course.

The monster brought its clawed hand, red with the fresh blood from the first swipe at Aniri, back for a killing blow. As it brought it's claws forward at blinding speeds, it bounced against the air to the left of Aniri's head, making a loud thud. Aniri felt tremendous strain on his mind from the pressure his shield spell just endured, but he wasted no time in jumping up and grabbing the dagger, then turning around to face the beast. Along the blade of the silver dagger glowed runes that seemed to shine as bright as the moon in the sky.

Enraged and confused at the same time about what happened, the creature regained it's senses and charged at Aniri, swinging it's claws furiously. Aniri dodged the few that he could, and used his shield spell to block the rest. Each stroke upon the shield tore at Aniri's mind, exhausting him both mentally and physically.

Then he saw his chance. The beast made a horizontal swipe at his head, and Aniri ducked beneath the arm. Utilizing this opening, he thrust his dagger at the stomach of the beast, the white runes on the blade shining bright.


"There is no cure." Aniri said frankly.

"What? There has to be a cure!" Rukal shouted.

"No need to yell." Aniri frowned, "There just isn't a cure. Look, I'm really sorry, but there's nothing I can do. People have been searching for a cure for centuries. If one had been found," he gestured to the overfilled bookcases and tall stacks of books in the room, "I would know."

"No!" Rukal panicked, "There has to be a cure, there must be! I was counting on you being able to cure me. There's no way I can make it far enough away from the town in time. Nightfall is hardly an hour away!"

"I said there was no need to yell!" Aniri raised his voice momentarily. "I've already got a plan. I can bind you here, so you can't move and can't hurt anyone until the night is over. In fact, I knew you were coming, so I've already made the preparations for the spell." Aniri grinned, picking up and displaying a book labeled Second Sight.

"I suppose there's no other choice then." Rukal said, finally calming down. "Where would you have me bound?"

"Follow me downstairs." Aniri responded, getting up from his chair and moving towards a door on the side of the room. He opened it, and a faint light escaped. Rukal followed Aniri down the flight of stairs that was behind the door, and at the bottom was a stone room. The walls, like every other room in the house, were lined with bookshelves, filled beyond their limits of various books from all times and places. In the middle of the room was a magic circle, glowing with various runes and glyphs. "Go ahead and sit in the middle of the circle."

Sitting down, Rukal relaxed, feeling at peace now that everything was under control. While he may not be cured, being bound was the next best thing. Aniri, in the meantime, picked up a book from one of the bookshelves, and was flipping through the pages. "Hey, Aniri, remember that child I told you about? The one that's back at the inn? I was wondering. He likes to read, and he said that he's always wanted to learn-"

"One can't just read about magic, one has to be born with an affinity for magic."

"Well, regardless, would you mind letting him read some of your books? Even if he can't weild magic, I know he'd love to read some of your books."

"I suppose I could let him borrow a couple books, but only if he promises to return them."

"Great!" Rukal smiled, "Is your spell almost ready? It's almost night time."

"Just one more moment...There!" Aniri exclaimed, stopping at a page in the book he was flipping through. "Now, stay still." He knelt down at the edge of the circle, placing the book in front of him, and his hands on the edge of the circle. He began to chant an arcane verse, and more runes appeared on the circle. After a minute of chanting, Aniri stopped, closed the book, stood up, and smiled. "There, it's done."

Rukal smiled to himself as he tested the seal that bound him. Content that he wasn't a danger to anyone, he relaxed, until he felt a sharp pain stab through his chest. His body spasmed as he felt the beast begin to awaken within him. He felt his body swelling in size and power, and a layer of fur growing over his skin. Rukal's face began to contort as it lengthened into a muzzle. He felt his thoughts being pushed away as the beast's savage mind forced it's way up.

His body continued to grow, and his clothing was being stretched to it's limit. He was already covered in fur, and his muscles swelled and struggled against the force of the restraining spell. But the runes only glowed brighter as they kept Rukal sealed.

The first part of his clothing to give way was the side seams of his shirt. Stressed beyond it's limits, the threads began to snap, down the side due to the continual swelling of the chest and back within. His pants soon followed, the seams on the upper legs snapping as the legs became corded and bunched. His biceps soon broke through the sleeves of his shirt, looking like small melons under the fur.

The runes on the seal became brighter and brighter as the change was underway. Aniri soon had to cover his eyes from the blinding light of the circle. Then, he heard Rukal give a howl, and a flash of light filled the room. Aniri was knocked away, into a nearby pile of books, as the Rukal broke through the restraining spell. Slightly dazed and slightly blinded, Aniri's vision recovered in time to see a massively muscled figure running upstairs, making a thunderous cacophony as he leapt from step to step.


Rukal howled as the dagger penetrated his stomach. His paw came down and batted Aniri away, sending him and the dagger into the grass. His thoughts screamed in horror as he watched his body act under this primal mind. He clutched at where the dagger struck, but instead of a wound, there was only a silver glow.

Battered and bruised, Aniri got up and limped towards his dagger. Picking it up, he turned once again to face the monster. It returned a hateful stare back, and Aniri smiled slightly. He took the silver dagger, turned it's blade inwards, and thrust it into his chest.

The beast howled in pain and doubled over, clutching where the silver glow pulsed. In Rukal's mind, he could feel the unwelcome presence weakening. He could feel the body weaken, grow smaller. But the beast still had tremendous strength, and standing back up through the pain, it charged at Aniri.

Aniri removed the dagger from his chest, leaving a similair silver glow. He felt the beast's anger and rage, welling in his mind as the beast charged. Still smiling, he dodged most of the attacks, only having to shield himself from a few. He already felt himself becoming faster and stronger. His body began to grow, his biceps becoming the size of oranges and his chest becoming deeper. Through his torn tunic, a defined stomach was becoming visible, and his legs quickly began to push as the fabric of his slacks. His body also began to sprout fur across his skin as his face began to lengthen to the shape of a muzzle.

He felt the beast's rage tearing at his weakened mind, but he remained in control for the time being. Aniri found he became strong enough to block the attacks rather than just dodging them, and soon he was tearing through the remains of his clothing, fighting at equal strength with his weakening opponent.

Rukal's mind started to gain control over his body again, and the fighting stopped for a moment. He was getting close to his normal size, and the fur was disappearing rapidly. His mind was dazed and his body was exhausted as he watched Aniri's body take the form that Rukal's had taken every full moon.

Using the last claims he had on the control of his body, Aniri leaned in close and embraced his childhood friend. "Goodbye" he whispered, then he pushed Rukal away. The savage instinct was too much to fight off, but the transfer had been complete. The beast howled and took a step to where Rukal lay in the grass, and Aniri smiled in his mind. A white glyph appeared on the ground where the beast had stepped, and a blinding light engulfed him.

Rukal sat up, his eyes still adjusting from the change from blinding light to the pale moonlight. But he saw what had happened, and Rukal wept for his lost friend. Aniri had sacrificed himself to destroy the monster and to save Rukal. He screamed into the night, angry at himself for getting Aniri involved, for getting him killed.

He then heard a cough from the grass in the center of the clearing. He rushed over, hoping that who the beast had captured for food was still alive. Covered in blood lay Iasa, but his wounds had all been healed. "Must've been a farewell gift from Aniri." Rukal said aloud, smiling.

Iasa slowly sat up, holding his head and appearing dizzied. "What happened?"

Rukal knelt down and hugged him, still smiling and still crying. "Our friend saved us both."

(What do you think? Comments and constructive criticisms are always appreciated. )
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  #2   Add to arpeejay's Reputation   Report Post  
Old April 10th, 2007, 03:57 AM
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Very cool!

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Old April 10th, 2007, 10:40 PM
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I agree. Although I usually like the ones that continue for at least a few chapters, this will be one of my favourite short stories. I also am not a big fan of the jumping back and forth in time/perspective style, but this one is so imaginative and well written that I thouroughly enjoyed it.

Well written, well done. Apreciate your sharing with us. Look forward to your next.
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