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[Quest] The voice of the Wyld (The trail we blaze)

#1
'Hunt'

The bestial snarl of Cernunnos echoed through Feran's mind as he stepped through the shimmering portal and into the unknown. Once he was on the other side he was filled with a feeling that he had not felt since he had died.

He could feel the Wyld surrounding him. He could hear birdsong, animals scurrying through the trees. He could feel the breeze running through his fur, and it brought with it all of the smells of the forest, of predator, and of prey, smells of the hunt. 

Of the Wyld. 

Feran smiled and closed his eyes, the wolfhound decided to savour the moment. He was home, well as close as he could be to home. He was once again in Cernunnos' domain, a hunter in his natural environment, a bea-

He had something on his face. 

With a snarl Feran gabbed whatever it was that had ripped him from his rather pleasant reverie. It was a piece of paper. "Paper? Well at least now I definitely know that there are others here, paper doesn't just appear" The wolfhound said to himself as he took a look at the parchment, and as he did his eyes widened. It was a map from the gate to some unknown location, he couldn't tell exactly, but it looked like clearing of some kind. Above the images on the map the word "The path to salvation" was written. Now,normally, this wouldn't have caused any sort of alarm. It would have barely registered in the young wolfhound's mind. But all of the words were written in Ogham, a language that was only used in Cymerija and Erin. "Are there others from Erdreja here?" He asked himself as he looked at the map. Maybe if he followed this mysterious parchment's instructions then he could find whoever had written it. There was a very real chance that whoever had created the map was from Erdreja, why else would there be Ogham, a language specifically from is homeland, on some random map in the Omniverse?

Feran looked up from the map and around, scanning the forest that enclosed the clearing around him. He couldn't see anyone, or anything, that could have written the map. Even so, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something watching him. Something waiting for him to unravel the mystery of the map. If so, then who, or for that reason why? His first thought when to the cursed being of light, Omni, the one that had trapped him in this Ancestor-forsaken plane of existence. "It would definitely make sense...fine, I'll play along with your games, Omni..."

The map was actually pretty detailed, so in theory it would be easy to follow. In theory, this was, after all, a forest. Feran knew all too well how treacherous and deceptive forests could be. Although, it didn't seem like this forest was anything like Kappa forest back in Cymerija, and seeing as he'd lived in that death trap for a good while, the wolfhound wasn't all too worried about the prospect of having to wander through an unknown area. 

"Right...might as well get going"
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#2
The Wolfhound followed the map into the unknown, into the dense foliage of the forest. He felt at home, it was good to be amongst the Wyld once more. To hear the sounds, smell the scents, to feel the crunch of grass and leaves beneath his feet. Most importantly, Cernunnos' whispers had returned to him. In the Dragons faith was important, the ancestors were considered in almost all matters, so to feel his connection to the lord of the wyld returning was reassuring. It meant that in the strange world of the Omniverse he wasn't completely alone. As he walked he inspected the map, it looked, based upon the landmarks that he had passed that he could match to the map itself, that it would take about a day to reach the location on the map. "I'll have to camp out then..." the hound muttered to himself. It wasn't that he was averse to camping, it would have been a little silly if a follower of Cernunnos hated sleeping amongst the Wyld itself, it was just something else that he had to prepare for, another variable to keep mind of.  

"Although...if I can create food and drinks, then maybe I can make myself a camp for the night, rather than having to hunt for materials. Makes sense" Feran said to himself as he continued to walk. 

The wolfhound walked until it began to grow darker, partially due to the setting of the sun, and also because as he pushed further into the forest, it grew denser. "Just like kappa" he had remarked when he realised this fact. He decided that he needed to find a place to set up camp, and he needed to get some food. Of course, both of those could be sorted through the use of Omnilium, but the wolfhound didn't want to just summon his food into his hands, no, he wanted to hunt, to feel the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of the kill. That, and he had something that he wanted to do, and that required a hunt. 


He decided that first he would sort out food. He knew that there were plenty of prey animals about, it was just a case of finding one. So he lowered his stance and began to stalk through the undergrowth, sniffing at the ground as he did, trying to pick up on a scent that he could track. He did this for a couple of hours, until the sun had nearly set and twilight approached. 

That was when he saw it. 

A flash, a blur at the edge of his vision, along with a crack which caused his ears to twitch in the direction of the source. 

The hunt was on. 

Feran sprang into action and ran full pelt at the creature in a burst of speed that even he didn't know he was capable of. In the blink of an eye he was upon his prey, which turned out to be a boar. With a bestial snarl he grabbed the creature, his claws digging into the flesh, causing the animal to squeal in pain before the wolfhound clamped it's jaws around his neck. Instinct took over and he began to thrash his head back and forth, shaking the squealing, terrified creature until he had snapped it's neck. Feran held his catch there for a few seconds as he calmed down from the adrenaline rush. As quickly as it began, his hunt had ended. With a satisfied smile the wolfhound slung the creature over his shoulder and began to carry it as he searched for an appropriate area to make camp. It didn't take long, within about half an hour he had found a nice little clearing amongst some trees that would make a suitable camp.

Unceremoniously he dropped the boar on the floor and spent about 20 minutes, half an hour focusing on making a camp. By the end of it he had a small fire, a very basic tent, which wasn't much more than a simple cover to keep rain off of him, and a simple bed underneath it. 

"Now..." Feran said as he took the boar carcass and lifted it up. The wolfhound sank his claws into the creatures back and ripped out some of the ribs, his favourite part of the beast, dripping with blood. Next he took his sword and decapitated the boar. Holding the head in his right hand, and the ribs in his left, Feran stepped out into the darkness. 

"Cernunnos" he spoke, softly. "I leave these spoils from my hunt to you. To show my respect, and so that this creature may rejoin the cycle of life and death, of predator and prey.  So that the wyld itself may feast upon it's flesh, as I do tonight" after this he placed the ribs and head of the boar at the base of a tree, before kneeling, closing his eyes and lowering his head as a sign of respect. 

Feran spent the rest of the night feasting on what remained of the boar as he sat by the warm glow of the campfire. It was pleasant. Despite the fact that he was in a strange new realm and isolated from the people he knew and loved in life, he was amongst the Wyld, he could still find some joy in his new existence.
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#3
The next morning Feran woke somewhat early, as sunlight was just starting to filter through the canopy of leaves, creating thin beams of light. The young wolfhound yawned as he slowly got up, scratching the back of his head as he did. "I really should be used to waking up early...over a year with the warband usually does that to people" he muttered before getting out of his bed and stretching out, exposing the many scars that he had all over his body. Usually wounds would be healed completely by a healer, but he'd taken his fair share of heavy blows. More than his fair share, if we're being honest. The front lines are somewhat unforgiving. With a huff he started to put his clothes and armour back on. He sort of enjoyed the ritual of preparing himself for whatever the day may throw at him. After about ten minutes he was fully clothed and armed again, holding the map in his hands. "Shouldn't take too long to get there from here, spent most of yesterday walking" the wolfhound said to nobody in particular as he set off, leaving his camp behind. There wasn't any reason for him to bring it with him, it would just be extra weight, and he could summon another one once he needed it. The walk through the forest was pleasant, and uneventful, which Feran almost found strange. He had become so used to the unforgiving hostility of Kappa forest, it was nice to be able to actually appreciate the forest without the looming threat of predators on every side. Although, saying that, everywhere apart from Kappa he was the predator. 

A couple of hours later Feran came to what looked like the location on the map. It was a clearing with a large mound in the middle, which had a small opening carved into it and surrounded by small stones. "Definitely it...a tomb" he said as he compared what he was seeing to the map. It was a pretty damn close match. The wolfhound took a few small steps towards the tomb and knelt down to read some of the Ogham inscriptions upon the stones. 

"Power requires sacrifice"  "Destroy that which you love" 

The wolfhound frowned. "I don't like where this is going..." he said as he ducked down and entered the tomb, which, surprisingly, was rather roomy on the inside. At the far side of the tomb there was a metal slab, well, a table of sorts, and upon it laid a body. 

One that Feran knew all too well. 

"No no no no, fuck you, Omni, fuck you so hard. This better not be what I fucking think it is" Feran said, panicking as he strode over to the table. On it was Gwen, his cousin, eyes closed and clutching a dagger in her hands, her brilliant orange hair draped over the sides of the stone.  "No...there's no way..." He muttered, holding back some tears, his fist balled up before he slammed it on the stone table.  "Omni...you cruel, cruel bastard" he snarled. He understood what he had to do, what the stones meant when they said 'Destroy that which you love'. In life, there had been no other that he had loved quite like Gwen, and it wanted him to Kill her, or at least destroy her body. The very thought repulsed him, made his fur stand on end and caused a tight knot of disgust to form in his stomach. 

He turned away from the table, unable to bear looking at her any more. With a great cry of anger he punched the wall. Of course this achieved nothing, other than causing a throbbing pain to fill his hand. 

Suddenly, from behind him he heard a voice. Her voice. 

"Feran...you disappoint me. I wasted all that time trying to get your rage under control" 

His eyes widened. Was it actually her? Feran slowly turned around. 

"Not to Mention Oisin, Meisgyn, Plisskin, Thorkin, Chase, Caoihme,...we all tried so hard to help you grow" 

"G-gwen...no, it can't be"

"There's a reason why I'm here. After you and the others failed to defeat the thorn, the Queen of thorns laid waste to the warband. None of us stood a chance...all of our heroes were laid low, even Dwyn was defeated" 

Feran shook his head. "Stop talking" 

"You failed us, Feran" Gwen continued, stepping closer as she did. "You failed me...I'm sorry" after saying this she rushed at Feran, dagger in hand. In response the wolfhound drew his sword, although he didn't have much room to use it on the room and was forced to half-sword it, grasping the hot blade with one hand as he deflected the blow. "Gwen, don't make me do this!" He begged as she came in for another strike, and another, and another. Each time Feran blocked, luckily Gwen wasn't a fighter, and she could barely use the dagger in her hands. 

"Why did you let me die, Feran?" She asked as she continued her assault. Feran refused to fight back. He couldn't, he couldn't bring himself to harm her. It was his cousin, Gwen...how could he? 

Tears flowed from the wolfhound's eyes as he defended against her attacks, eventually a few get through, the dagger singing into his flesh, causing a sharp pain in his abdomen. Gwen laughed. "You really are a disappointment. Maddyn would have struck me down before I could even land a blow. You really are worthless compared to him" 

Feran's eyes widened and he let out a bestial snarl, the rage within him forcing it's way to the surface. If there was one thing that comment told him, it was that this wasn't really Gwen. She would have never said those words, and it offended him to hear them spoken in her voice. He held his blade horizontally and shoved Gwen, which caused her to stumble back onto the floor. He was silently thankful that physically the copy was accurate. He knew that Gwen was pathetically weak compared to him, so he could end this quickly. 

"Don't you ever fucking dare to insult the name of Gwen again!" He yelled as he brought the blade down onto the creature, embedding the edge into it's skull as it burst into flames. The fake Gwen's eyes widened in terror as it let out a blood curdling scream before crumbling into dust. 

Panting heavily Feran dropped his sword. "Omni...you truly are a fucking monster..." He muttered before pulling out the map from his pouch. It had changed, showing now a route from his current location to a new one. 

"This better be worth it..."
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#4
That night Feran slept within the trees near the clearing, it was uneventful, and the next day he woke do a more overcast dull sky above him.  "Wonderful...better than Cymerijan weather I guess, but still..." he muttered bitterly as he got himself ready for another day of hell within the Omniverse "Better not be a torture session like that damn tomb". The journey to the second location from the first took a similar amount of time, although, when Feran set off he had wandered to the clearing to check on the tomb, only to find it empty. No mound, no stones, just an empty clearing. 

"What the fuck..." He muttered, eyes wide."This place is damn strange..." 

Honestly the fact that the tomb had just disappeared like that left him feeling uneasy for the rest of the day. He had been there, the tomb had definitely been there, how in the name of the ancestors could it have just disappeared like that, gone without a trace? He had a feeling that it was Omni, or at least something with his sort of power, fucking with him, trying to mess with his mind and question reality. The simple existence of the omniverse was enough to drive someone mad. 

Anyway, back to the second location. 

As Feran travelled deeper into the forests of the Tangled Green, he noticed that it grew more dense, the canopy began to block out more sunlight, the terrain grew progressively harder to traverse. He actually liked it, the further he pushed, the more the forest resisted, the stronger the Wyld became. It started to feel like Kappa forest

Like home...

Why did the omniverse keep on reminding him of home, of Cymerija and Erin? Maybe it was just where in the omniverse he was. He could recall seeing many other gates in that white hellscape that he had appeared in. Maybe some of those were different. The wolfhound shuddered, maybe some of them lead to cities, he hated cities, areas with wounds from the work of intelligent races so deep that the wyld has left entirely. Dead wastelands which were heralded as paradise. 




By the time that he had reached the second location the sun was starting to set, not so dark that he was unable to see, but enough to make it a little harder. Hidden amongst the trees there was again, a clearing, not as large as the first, and within it stood a tent that Feran knew and had many fond memories of. 

It was the command tent of the Dragons warband. 

The wolfhound slowly walked towards the entrance of the long rectangular tent. From within he could see the warm glow of the small magical lights which hung from the roof of the tent. "Don't ruin this place for me...Omni..." he said as he continued to walk, sitting on one of the benches which lined the edge of the tent, staring at the throne at the back of the tent. A smile crept across his face, he remembered how Dwyn sat in that throne. It was specifically made to be too narrow for most people to sit in normally, so they had to hand one leg over an armrest. There was actually a groove in one of them from so many Ri Ddraig's having sat in that throne in such a manner. Feran had many fond memories of the tent, of friends, of drinking and singing and being merry, of great rousing speeches before battle, and of solemn vows taken by members of the warband. 

For some reason, he felt himself compelled to sing. 

"When darkness falls around you, I will keep you safe. I will raise my sword for suns dawning, and chase the night away, and though darkness hides the nightmares, I will not be afraid, as the dreaming of suns dawning leads the way"

As he did a message began to appear in the ground in front of him, some unknown hand slowly carving the Ogham. 

"And if all the world's against you, I won't make a sound. But to raise my voice for sun's dawning, and lay them to the ground, and if every friend's a friend in need, then every friend is saved as the dreaming of sun's dawning lead the way" 

His voice then grew louder. "Won't you light the way...to...the dawn?" And slowly it returned to a solemn mumble "Won't you light....the way...to...the...dawn...?"

The wolfhound let out a defeated sigh.  “It sounds so much better when there’s a warband’s worth of people singing it…” his head dropped and his eyes widened as he saw the Ogham that had been carved into the dirt.

‘All Oaths are dust. Cling to them no longer’

“For fuck’s sake…don’t tell me I have to ruin this place…” Feran snarled as he stood up from the bench, looking around the tent. Of course this cursed place wouldn’t just let him enjoy part of his old life. Oh no, it had to make him suffer by forcing him to burn all that he loved to ashes.

He turned to the throne, beside it stood the banner of the Dragons, emblazoned upon it were the twin red and white dragons of Cymerija and Erin. It was to this banner that Dragons swore oaths of loyalty. It was a symbol of the land, and, within the dragons, the land and the people are as one. So, by swearing an oath to a symbol of the land, an oath is also sworn to the people of Cymerija and Erin.

And, if he was right about what the map wanted him to do…then he would be drawing his blade against the people of Cymerija and Erin. Although, how much did that matter now? He doubted that anyone else from Erdreja was in the omniverse

He chuckled. Maybe all of his oaths really were dust…

“Fine…” The wolfhound snarled as he drew his sword, gripping the blade tightly with two hands. “I’ll burn the banner to ashes…but know this, Omni. A simple banner being burned will not  destroy my loyalty to Cymerija and Erin…” Feran then brought his blade down in a simple overhead strike, cutting through the wooden structure of the banner and causing the fabric to catch alight as his sword burst into violent flames.

With the deed done Feran sheathed his blade, and turned away from the throne, slowly walking out of the command tent. As he did he checked the map, and, sure enough, it had changed to show him a new location, one that seemed to take him even deeper into the forest.  A smile crept across the wolfhound’s face. “Good…” 
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#5
That night, after putting out the banner fire and making sure that the rest of the tent wouldn't catch fire Feran decide to spend the night there. Most of it was spent reminiscing, dwelling on old memories. Well, I say old, to him "old" was as recent as a year ago, but for somebody who's only five, that's a long time.  He sat upon the throne, his right leg draped over the armrest as he drank from a large horn of mead that he had conjured.  "So...this is what it looked like to Dwyn, eh?" He asked no one in particular. "It's actually kinda comfy, for being a narrow plank of wood...I can see why he spent so much time in the evenings sitting here" The wolfhound took a large swig from his horn and laughed. "Imagine if they could see me now! Me, Pup, sitting in the Ri Ddraig's throne! I don't think I can even name a beastkin Ri Ddraig!" 

He took another swig and sighed. "Not that I ever wanted the title of Ri Ddraig...I didn't even want the title that Maddyn practically created, Cu Ddraig...I think the only one I ever wanted was faction champion.." The wolfhound chuckled, although there was a note of pain hidden behind it. "Another thing I'll miss out on...". This continued until the moon was high and clear in the night sky above the forest, at which point Feran decided to turn in, and slept within the nostalgic confines of the command tent. 

The next morning he continued his wild goose chase deeper into the forest, each step bringing the world around him closer to kappa. oddly he had sort of missed the oppressive and hostile darkness of kappa forest. Perhaps it was because he'd spent so much time training with Chase and the rest of the bloodied claw. 

"Well...I didn't just train...there was that one rather nice she-wolf..." he muttered to himself with an uneasy chuckle, before his ears perked up and his eyes widened. The wolfhound had been struck by a somewhat terrifying realisation; he could have a child back on Erdreja. 

"Oh that's just brilliant" He snarled as he felt the rage within him begin to bubble closer to the surface. He could have a child that he would never meet, he'd gone and fucking died. After all the time he'd spent saying that he wouldn't be like Maddyn in that respect, the father that he had only seen once in his life, and he was too young to even remember all of it. The bastard of a hound that had abandoned his mother in the cruel ice of the wastes. He'd promised himself that if he ever sired a child that he would be better than Maddyn, that he would actually be a father damnit!

With a furious Howl Feran drew his sword, his rage having burst through any mental barriers he had as he started to take out his anger on the area around him, slashing at trees and even felling those that weren't massively thick, and those that he didn't were scarred by charred gashes in them, all the while snarling with terrible fury. He was furious at himself. How had he let this happen? How could he have so easily broken a promise like that, even if it was to himself? "I need to be stronger!" he yelled before embedding his blade into a particularly thick tree trunk, the sword consumed by flames which where slowly climbing over to the tree itself. "If I was just stronger...If I just had more power...I could have won! I could have beaten that cursed demon!" the wolfhound snarled, his rage starting to subside. "I wouldn't have broken so...so many promises..." He took a few seconds to control himself, breathing slowly as he looked down at the floor. 

It was true what they had always said to him. Even though he was strong, he was still a pup. Young, impatient, and unstable. 

With a grunt Feran planted his foot against the tree and pulled his sword out. "The plants here are healthy...the fire shouldn't spread too far..."

Thud 

Feran's ears turned in the direction of the sound. "Fucks sake, Ap Maddyn you dumbass!" He snarled, as he got himself into a ready stance, his blade rested upon his right shoulder. Of course his howling fit of rage had attracted some beast within the forest, how had he let himself lose control like that. It was one of the first things that Kappa forest had taught him...that Chase, his cousin, had taught him. 

Thud 

The sound was growing louder...the beast would be upon him in a few seconds, and luckily he could tell from which direction. Feran turned to face the source of the sound. He had two choices, run, which really wasn't an option as far as he was concerned, but if he absolutely had to then he would, or face the creature head on. Doesn't take a genius to figure out which one he went with. 

Suddenly he saw a hulking form charging out of the darkness, batting away the trees like they were nothing. "Right, no way I can take that head on" Feran muttered as he braced himself, preparing to dodge. Just before the creature reached him he dashed away in an impressive burst of speed, skidding a little through the grass as he stopped himself. From this angle he could now clearly see the creature, a massive scaled quadruped. It looked like it was heavily armoured, and it's large tail had a sort of club on the end of it. 

"Avoid the back...but a frontal assault doesn't seem like it'd work..." Feran muttered as the beast positioned itself so that it's rear was mainly facing him, but in such a way that it could still see him. There had to be chinks in the armour...maybe underneath? But getting there was going to be a task. Feran rushed forwards and the creature swung it's tail around, the wolfhound moved his sword to block but the brute force was just too much and knocked him to the ground almost instantly. With a grunt he pulled himself to his feet. "Not fast enough..." It was obvious that he had to push himself in this fight, otherwise the creature would wear him down. Crouching slightly, Feran prepared himself to attack, the beast bringing back it's tail, winding up for another strike. Once he saw it moving to attack he pushed off of the ground with an explosive force that propelled him at about twice his maximum running speed, once he was close to the beast he slid underneath and drove his sword into the softer underbelly, causing it to roar in pain. Feran chuckled through grit teeth before drawing his sword along, cutting a deep gash into the beast's abdomen. As he pulled his blade out the creature stumbled and Feran scrambled out from underneath it before it fell to the ground. 


He stood for a few minutes, panting as he gripped his sword. It wasn't a long fight, but he had pushed himself further than he should, using a burst of speed like that twice in such quick succession was risky. "Definitely need to become stronger..." He muttered before dropping to the floor, resting against the carcass of the strange reptile. 

Maybe it would be best to rest before continuing.
"Feran, what if you come across an enemy you cannot harm?"

"Hit them harder" 

"OK, but your sword can't hurt them" 

"Get a better sword? Or a really big stick"
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