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Suffer not the abomination of unlife. (A light in the Darkness)

#1
After finally reaching the damn temple with that cursed shrine to Omni, Feran had spent a few days simply wandering the green. He slowly made his way back through, to some of the less dense areas of forest, performing small hunts on the way, and, as always, paying his respects to Cernunnos as he did.  His small act of heresy still nagged him, as inconsequential as it was.

During his stay in the green, he thought back to when he initially came to this strange realm. He thought back to the dead white realm he had found himself in, and remembered the numerous gates he could see in the distance. He considered what the shimmering portals may have hidden. It was rather fortunate that he had stumbled upon the greens, although the wolfhound, owing to his faith, attributed that to the wyld calling him towards it, to the whispers of Cernunnos. 

 Feran gazed up towards the twinkling stars of the green. He could not recognise any of the constellations, which pained him greatly. His favourite had always been the Sagittarius- the archer, the hunter. This helped to hammer home the fact that he was in another world completely. However, it also brought something else to the surface; curiosity. Feran, despite being a warrior by trade, was also extremely curious. An eager student, he had always leapt upon the chance to listen to another story from Oisin, or Meisgyn, or Braeys. That same curiosity filled him in that moment. It was decided. He would travel through another one of the strange portals of light, and discover what lay on the other side. 

It took him the best part of a week to slowly work his way back to the gate. Each night he hunted, and each night he offered another kill to the lord of the Wyld. By the time he had reached his destination, the wolfhound had truly come to love the wilderness of the green, and silently vowed that he would return before too long. With one last gaze back into the forest, he left the green. 


The Nexus had not changed. Cold, dead, and painfully pristine. It was a stagnant realm, devoid of change and growth, devoid of the very essence of life he had known in Erdreja. His travels within the Nexus were uneventful, the wolfhound jogged the entire way pretty much. He hated the white hellscape, and wished to be gone from it sooner rather than later. Feran had not chosen any gate in particular, he had simply picked one at random and set off towards it. Once he reached his destination, however, he was not pleased. Before him stood the same shimmering wall of light, but something felt off, almost unnatural. It took a few moments for him to get an inkling of what it may be, but it smelt of decay, of rotting flesh. The wolfhounded doubted that this was a portal to the realm of Crom, the autumn ancestor of decay.  Although, he could not be sure. Ever since coming to the strange new realm he had noticed that his senses seemed to be dulled somewhat. He had wondered if what he was experiencing was what it was like to be Human. He knew that their senses were nowhere as keen as that of a beastkin. He hated it, and hoped that soon it could be rectified. 

It was with no small amount of trepidation that the wolfhound slowly stepped forwards and into the gate. 




There was a ripple in the shimmering light of the gate to the nexus as Feran stepped through into the Pale Moors. Almost as soon as the wolfhound entered his  nose was assaulted by a stench that he was all too familiar with; death. The air reeked of decay. He had sensed it to a degree when he had encountered the gate in the nexus. It was a stark difference to the greens, which was full of life and the Wyld. 

There was definitely something wrong with this place. 

Gazing across the landscape of this new, foul-smelling place the wolfhound could see what looked like the silhouette of a town in the distance, or at least another large settlement. He raised an eyebrow, slightly suspicious of the fact that in this land seemingly saturated with death, there was a settlement...or at least what was left of one. Feran decided that he might as well travel towards the town and see what hid behind it's shadowy figure in the distance. If it turned out to be less than pleasant? Well, Feran had the solution to that strapped to his back. 

It took Feran a few hours to come across the first proper signs of life beyond the odd rat scampering through the bushes and the circling avian scavengers he could see above him. He could see what appeared to be a small farmstead, with whom he assumed to be one of the owners working the fields. Rather casually Feran approached, and whoever was working the fields noticed. 

"Oi, who are you?" Came the voice of a woman, sounding slightly ragged with age. She was brandishing the hoe she had been using as if it were a weapon, on edge and wary of Feran. 

"Hey, Hey. I don't want to hurt you. I am Feran Ap Maddyn, a...uh...traveller of sorts, I guess. I just want to ask a question or two..." 

The woman's hostility seemed to waver and she lowered her improvised weapon slightly, although Feran could tell that she was still wary. He slowly stepped closer, upturning his palms to show that he wasn't concealing any weapons. 

"Could you tell me about that city or whatever it is in the distance?" 

"That's Darkshire. Largest place you'll find in this Godforsaken land...only place, mind you. You seem the strong type, they'd welcome someone like you" 

So the settlement had a name, and seemed to be in need of warriors. Interesting. 

"How come it's the only place around here?" Feran asked, curious. 

"Long story kid...or pup...I don't know what the appropriate word is for a beastman like yourself" she replied with an awkward laugh. "Anyway, this place is doomed. Monsters everywhere. Unnatural wild beasts, vampires, demons...hell, even the dead don't get to rest here. They walk the moors, hunting the living" 

Upon hearing this a small growl emitted from Feran's throat. The elderly Farmer raised the tool she was holding again. "Sorry...sorry. Where I come from unlife is...it's heresy. It's one of the worst crimes one can commit..." 

The woman's face seemed to light up with realisation. "Where you come from? You're not one of those primes are you? The ones that appear in the fountain" 

Feran nodded in response. "Get to Darkshire then. If you hate the undead then go there. They need as many people as they can, they get attacked lots. I've heard stories of what primes can do, the superhuman feats you lot are capable of. Please, go there. That place has good people in it, and someone like you would help them so much."

Feran considered her request for a moment. A very short moment. "I'll make haste. Thank you" he then nodded his head towards the farmer and turned to leave. As he did, what was once a rather slow-paced walk became a purposeful stride towards the distant town. He focused on the thought of the people there under attack from undead abominations and he could feel his blood starting to boil as he did, the rage within him swelling. He may no longer be in Edreja, but by the ancestors was he going to continue fighting the enemies of his people. 




Before the end of day Feran found himself before the gates of Darkshire. He could see archers stationed atop it's walls, standing vigil over the wasteland they called home. 

"Halt!" Came a booming command from one of the guards stationed at the gate. Feran complied. "Who are you? Why do you approach the gates of Darkshire?" 

"I am Feran Ap Maddyn. A prime, I believe is what your people call me. I have come to aid the warriors of Darkshire against the abominations of this land" 

The two guards looked at each other. 

"Prime...they'll want to speak to Atelos." 

"Doesn't seem hostile...let 'em in?" 

"Yeah, let 'em in" 


The guards turned back to face Feran.  "You are allowed access to Darkshire, Feran". The wolfhound smiled as he walked towards the gate which was slowly being opened. "My thanks" he said to the guards with a respectful nod before crossing the threshold. 

"Oh, by the way, Prime" one of the guards quickly uttered before Feran walked out of earshot. "Speak to Atelos. He's usually in the barracks, captain of the guard here. Centre of town, can't miss it" 

"Got it...I'll go straight there" the wolfhound replied before he continued on his way through Darkshire. 


Quote:Just for keeping count. 

Word count: 1480 (according to Microsoft word)
"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"
Reply

#2
Feran looked around as he began to walk further into the town of Darkshire, and to say the least he was not impressed. He disliked towns and cities at the best of times, they were monuments built to commend the destruction of the Wyld, praised as bastions of civilisation when in reality they were the gravestones of nature. For some reason the already ravaged land this one had been built on made it even worse. 

Furthermore, he had noticed that the people of the town seemed...uneasy, around him. They weren't scared by any means, but he could see the suspicious glances, and hear some of the muttered questions and borderline insulting remarks. The humans in Darkshire seemed to regard him with a mix of curiosity and cautious hostility. While it irked the Beastkin, he couldn't really blame them. From what he had heard it seemed as if most of the creatures in this land wanted them dead, so it was only sensible that they treated unknowns in such a manner. 

It took Feran a bit over an hour to find the building that the guard had told him of, the one in which Atelos, the commander of the guard, could be found. It stood out rather well, given the large amount of guards going in and out of the building. The wolfhound walked through the large imposing doors of the barracks and found himself in a large hall, with a desk in the centre. He approached, the elderly man sat behind it had noticed and nodded towards him. 

"How can I help you sir?" he asked with a stern, gruff expression. 

"I'm here to speak to Atelos, I understand that your town here is in need of capable fighters" 

The old man behind the desk looked Feran up and down with an eyebrow cocked quizzically.  "Definitely look the type. You're in luck, he's actually not too busy right now." He then turned and pointed to one of the doors behind him. "Go through that door there, follow the corridor to the end and you'll find his office. Don't try anything funny, beastman. He's stronger than you might think". 

Feran replied with a low growl. "If I wanted to try anything "funny" I would have announced my intent clearly. I am not without honour, human" he said before walking off towards Atelos' office. His footsteps echoed down the corridor as he approached the door. Feran stopped just shy of it, took a deep breath, and knocked twice. The reply came almost immediately. 

"Enter" 

The wolfhound obliged and opened the door, striding into the office confidently. Before him he could see Atelos, standing over his desk, gazing at a scattered pile of reports. He was a somewhat imposing man, with well developed musculature, the look of a seasoned warrior about him.  This was a good sign, it was likely that Feran would be able to find some common ground with the man. 

"What are you here for?" Atelos asked, his gaze still fixed upon the reports he was reading. 

"I am Feran Ap Maddyn...a prime. I have come to help your warriors in battle" 

Atelos' gaze finally moved away from the reports. "Good. You'll have two weeks to prove yourself, prime. Go back to the entrance, you'll be equipped and assigned to a squad. If you perform well, then you'll be considered a member of our fighting forces here. I look forwards to seeing how you perform, Prime" 

Feran chuckled softly. He appreciated the bluntness of Atelos. It was direct and to the point. Military efficiency. It reminded him a bit of the Legion in the Gryphons. They were good men, trustworthy soldiers. He was glad to know that individuals like them existed in the Omniverse. 

"Understood. Thank you" Feran replied before leaving the captain's office and following his instructions. The old man at the desk wasn't all too pleased to see the beastkin again so shortly, he had sort of hoped that the meeting with Atelos would take longer. The fact that Feran had returned so promptly irked him. As Atelos had said, Feran was assigned to a squad and directed towards the section of the barracks in which the many soldiers of Darkshire lived. Before long Feran was stood before the door to his new home for the next fortnight, the beastkin silently wondering what he would see on the other side, how he would be received. 

He let out a small huff before thumping his fist against the door twice. It took a few seconds for the reply to arrive.

"Come in, soldier" 

Feran then opened the door and stepped in. The room actually reminded him a lot of the barracks that Devlin Hawksmoor, the warmaster of the dragons, owned. The beastkin smiled slightly, fond memories of his time at those barracks coming back to him momentarily. Sadly, his reverie only lasted a second or two, as it was  broken by a rather gruff voice. 

"So you're the new hopeful eh? What's your name, son?" 

"Feran. Feran Ap Maddyn" 

"Pleasure. I'm Sergeant Wells. But you'll be calling me sir from now on." 

Well then went to point at the other soldiers in the room, reeling off their names in a manner that Feran could tell was rather practised.  

"Wood, Mason, Carpenter, Weaver, Asterix, McCain and Smith. Your Squad mates for the next two weeks. Your bunk is at the rear, below Asterix. Get yourself settled. Dinner is in an hour, and then after that we have wall duty. Any questions, Ap Maddyn?" 

"No sir" Feran responded, placing his right hand over his heart on reflex. It was a salute that he used to use back on Erdreja. A little sacrilegious as far as the Dragons warband was concerned. It was an old Empire salute, Dragons weren't too keen on the empire. 


Sergeant Wells then left the room, leaving Feran to get to know the rest of the squad. Feran had no major qualms with them, or at least it seemed, they still had two weeks together ahead of them. None of them seemed openly hostile towards Feran, perhaps untrustworthy of his somewhat inhuman nature, but that didn't go too far. The wolfhound appreciated their direct and somewhat gruff military attitude, it was good to see in this strange new world. 

They still had at least another hour to go until wall duty...


Quote:Word count: 1063
"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"
Reply

#3
"So, new guy, why'd you decide to join eh? Always interested in why outsiders come to help" Mason asked after Feran had sat down on his bunk, the wolfkin's sword resting against his shoulder. 

"I was told that Darkshire needs warriors, and apparently 'primes' are valuable in battle...well, that and I heard that this land is cursed with undead. I couldn't leave after hearing that" 

Upon hearing the reply Mason's face went from intrigue, to pleasant surprise, to a concerned grimace. The other soldiers had heard Feran and their faces were now locked firmly on the beastkin, with slightly varying, although similar expressions. 

"A prime...like Atelos? Glad to have you on side. Word of warning though; we've got undead in Darkshire, Ap Maddyn. They fight alongside us. Good, honest men that we brought back to help us because we need every capable hand we can get. Whatever your reason is for hating the unliving, leave them be" 

Feran let out a small growl as he heard this, which set the others on edge, Asterix and Wood reached for their weapons on instinct. 

"You're telling me you denied them the rest they deserved...that you brought them back as rotting, decaying...things!" 

"Look, hound, we had to, ok?" Wood piped up, a hint of anger in the man's voice. "The situation here is dire, and we'll take what we can get when it comes to surviving against the bloody horrors that roam around outside the walls. They don't resent us for it, most of them are glad that they can still serve Darkshire and protect the people they love. I know that some people bloody hate it, ok? I get it, we all get it to a degree. But we have to survive, if even to just spite whoever made the things attacking us!" His voice came dangerously close to a yell as he went on. 

A few moments passed before he added a final quip. "Oh, and put a bloody leash on your anger...it might get you killed one day...not that it matters for you primes" 

"Might have already gotten me killed..." Feran muttered sourly.


The rest of the time until dinner came passed uneventfully. While somewhat annoyed by the wolfhound's small outburst, the other soldiers didn't seem to hold too much of a grudge. After all, someone with a disdain for the undead was the least of their worries. Dinner itself was nothing special. Standard military rations; a simple meal, mostly bland and uninteresting, but something that would keep the soldiers going through the long night ahead of them. Once the squad had eaten they were then told to report to the armoury to be geared up in preparation for wall duty. 

The armour of the Darkshire barracks was a hive of activity, dozens of soldiers and other workers going about the many preparations which needed to be made for the nightly task of defending Darkshire. Feran followed the rest of his squad to receive their equipment. The wolfhound frowned when he was presented with a simple buckler, one handed sword, and chainmail, along with the appropriate gambeson to go underneath. 

"I cannot use these..." he told the quartermaster gruffly. 

"Well, what else are ye gonna use lad? All Darkshire guards use this equipment. Can't go wrong with sword and board, and that chainmail is a damn slight more durable than that flimsy brigandine you've got there." 

Feran shook his head. The quartermaster had misunderstood. He literally could not use this equipment, he had never trained with a shield, his skill with a single one handed sword was sub-par, having only ever used such weapons in pairs. To top it off, he loathed heavy metal armour such as chainmail, as it slowed him down, and one of Feran's main advantages in combat was his impressive speed. 

"I'll use what I have" Feran replied, before tapping the handle of his two-hander. "It's served me well thus far". The quartermaster, unfortunately, took this as an insult to the arms and armour of Darkshire and a somewhat heated argument began. Luckily Sergeant Wells noticed and came over to break it up. 

"Look, let the beast use whatever he wants to. Better he fight with what he's used to than not at all" 

The quartermaster, albeit begrudgingly and with no small amount of hostility, relented. Afterwards Wells gathered the squad and lead them towards their assigned position on the walls. The journey took a fair amount of time, given the fact that the barracks were in the centre of the city. During their walk to the walls they walked in a rigid formation, two abreast, marching in time. It was a strange feeling for Feran, a mix of pleasant nostalgia, and nagging annoyance. The memories of the Dragons military that it brought back were bittersweet. They were good times, indeed, but it just made him miss home even more... 

Either way, he wouldn't have to deal with such feelings for too long, as eventually he was stood atop the walls of Darkshire, standing vigil over the cursed planes of the moors. 


Waiting for the horrors the mist hid to show themselves. 

Quote:Word count: 856 
"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"
Reply

#4
"Its dead..." Feran muttered as he gazed across the mist covered wasteland of the moors, a decaying expanse of despair. 

"You're not wrong, Ap Maddyn. Been like this ever since Arthur decided that Darkshire wasn't worth the hassle...bastard" Carpenter replied, his eyes fixed firmly on the rolling mist. 

Feran raised an eyebrow. "Arthur?" 

"Arthur Pendragon, King of Camelot, one of the other verses. Darkshire was the result of Camelot expanding into the moors. This place used to be beautiful, honestly it was truly a sight to behold." 

A sigh then escaped Carpenter's mouth, and his head dropped a little. "But then the demons came. Too many to count, it was a horrible war, all caused by Diablo, or whatever his name was. After the fighting had stopped, this is what it had done to the moors. Demons still roam around, and there's a load of undead, not to mention Dracula. I guess that's why Camelot pulled out, left us to die here. They couldn't be arsed to supply the resources required to keep Darkshire on it's feet." 

A small growl escaped Feran's throat. The very thought of a king abandoning his people repulsed him greatly. "This king, Arthur. Has he been brought to justice for this?" 

Carpenter shook his head. "No, and I doubt he ever will either. Man's got a whole verse under his command. You'd need a whole verse of your own, and enough resources to be able to wage a war against Camelot." 

Feran nodded in response. If there was one thing the wolfhound knew, it was war. 

It took about half an hour before Feran first saw something. He could see some humanoid figures wandering in the mist, seemingly with no direction.  "I've got something, over there" Feran announced to the rest of the squad as he pointed towards the unidentified figures.

"Good eye there recruit." Wells replied as he examined the figures himself. "Look like zombies. Pretty damn harmless on their own. Better keep an eye on 'em though, they can be dangerous if a horde gets together. I'll get a runner to notify some of the other squads nearby, need to keep track of how many we have and how far away they are."  Sergeant wells then walked off, and Feran heard him shouting some orders as he did. 

Another hour passed without much incident for the most part. Reports did come back from further along the wall about similar groups of wandering undead in the mists. "Alright lads, looks like we might get some action. The groups seem to be converging at one of the weaker points in the wall. Seems to me like they're being controlled in some way by someone, they're usually too stupid to target such areas specifically. We've been called in as support just in case the archers can't deal with them before they reach the walls. Form up and move out!"

"Yes sir!" Feran and the rest of the squad replied in unison before forming up behind Sergeant wells and following him along the wall. It took them about twenty minutes of walking to reach the aforementioned weak-point in the wall. It was teeming with soldiers, mostly archers, and multiple runners carrying messages from different areas.  Sergeant Wells motioned for the squad to hold position before walking off to talk to some of the other squad leaders, along with a couple of higher ranking members of the Darkshire guard. After a few moments of discussion, he returned to the squad. 

"Alright men, we're gonna be stationed just outside the walls, along with three other squads of infantry. We are the last line of defence before they get to the wall, in the event that the archers fail. Steel yourselves, trust in each other, and remember what you're fighting for. Do that and we'll all be enjoying some ale in the barracks after this. Follow me, move out!" The sergeant delivered the last part of his speech with a smile in order to keep morale high. No one enjoyed fighting undead, and he knew that all too well. 

Well, no one, except from Feran.


Wells lead the squad down from the walls of Darkshire and out of one of the imposing metal gates dotted around the city. Wells had his squad form up in a somewhat spread out line, with a small gap between them and the other squads that had been called out to help defend the walls. Feran positioned himself on the right-hand side of the line, so that he could best fight with his two-hander. In the distance he could see a rather large horde of undead creatures shambling out of the mist and towards Darkshire. It didn't take long for the archers atop the walls to start firing, loosing several punishing volleys into the horde, and managing to successfully thin their numbers. 

"They're doing well, but they're not gonna be able to kill them all before the horde reaches us..." Wells muttered under his breath as he gazed over at the approaching zombies. "Right men! Soon the enemy shall be upon us. You will not falter! You will hold the line! You will stand your ground! You are among Darkshire's finest! Now, advance!" 

Upon hearing their sergeant's command the squad marched forwards, moving to meet the enemy with their weapons raised, and filled with a sense of grim determination. 

And then the two lines clashed...

Quote:Word count: 900
"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"
Reply

#5
"Nothing to fear, nothing to prove." Feran snarled as he raised his blade in preparation for the oncoming horde of undead. "FAITH. AND. FIRE!" The Wolfhound bellowed before bringing his blade down on the zombie before him in a brutal strike which caused it's armour to buckle, and he could hear it's bones crack under the sheer force of his strike. It was down in a single hit. 

"Far too easy" he muttered before moving on to the rest of his foes, the beastkin felling them almost as quickly as they came. His squadmates fighting beside him initially were shocked by the large plumes of flame which erupted from Feran's sword each time he struck an enemy, but before long these flames became a huge morale booster, a crimson beacon of justice. They soon learned just how effective Feran was at combating the undead, and rallied behind his strength, pushing the undead further and further back. 

"Alright, hold the line here! We don't want to overextend ourselves and get encircled. Understood?" Sergeant Wells barked over the horrible din of battle. 

"Yes sir!" The squad replied with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. 

In one of the small lulls in battle Feran took a few seconds to gaze across at some of the other squads. They weren't doing nearly as well. They were holding for sure, but didn't have the power of a prime bolstering their fighting strength. Either way, Feran respected them for their bravery, for their unfaltering dedication to Darkshire's protection. Truly, they were examples to be followed. His admiration for the soldiers of Darkshire was interrupted by an agonising scream, and a desperate call for help. 

A soldier from further down the line had been cut off from the rest of the squad, and was being overwhelmed by the countless undead. 

Feran instantly started to move towards the downed soldier. He kicked off with a burst of speed in order to get to his top speed as fast as possible, before settling into a sprint. He could go around the lines and get to the soldier that way, but doing so would waste time. Instead he decided to plunge headlong into the horde, swinging his blade all about him, cutting down numerous undead as he did, and simply charging into others, using his speed to knock them out of the way. A couple of the reanimated warriors managed to get some glancing hits on him, but the beastkin cared not. His mind and body were focused solely upon one thing; rescuing his fallen comrade. He Crashed through the mass of undead with a furious howl, and before him he saw the fallen soldier; armour soaked in blood, battered, broken, but alive. 

"Filthy unliving! In the name of Cernunnos, perish!" Feran screamed as he started to hack down the undead surrounding the soldier, violent bursts of flame surrounding the two due to the speed and ferocity of his attacks. Once he had thinned the crowd around them enough, Feran grabbed the soldier with one hand and roughly hefted him onto the wolfhound's shoulder. He then turned back towards the Darkshire lines. He had his target, now all he had to do was get them both back alive. The wolfhound had a problem though, in the fact that he now only had one hand free to fight with. He could still use his sword, of course, but the speed and accuracy of his attacks would be hampered greatly. The only other alternative was his fists. Sure, the blows had an inferior reach and lacked the gift of fire, but it was speed that he needed. So he snapped the blade back into it's holder and began to force his way back to the lines. 

Each step back to safety had to be won, with the wolfhound unleashing vicious blow after blow into his undead opponents. He could tell that he was definitely stronger than in Erdreja. With every punch he heard bones crack, he could feel ribs imploding and once or twice he managed to punch the head of a zombie off, or at the very least had snapped the neck irreparably. Once he was within reach of the lines he summoned forth another burst of speed and broke through the horde, emerging from the frothing mass of corpses covered in blood and with a furious scowl on his face. 

"Open the line!" He heard someone shout and a small gap opened to allow Feran to carry the wounded soldier to safety. 

"Bloody hell soldier!" The squad leader exclaimed when he saw the sorry state of the wounded man over Feran's shoulder. He then turned to the walls and waved to some of the archers stationed above them, shouting to get their attention. Before long some other darkshire soldiers emerged from one of the gates with a stretcher and took the wounded man. 

Afterwards the sergeant went over to Feran. "Which unit you from lad? I'll be sure to mention this to the higher ups." 

"I'm Feran, from Sergeant Wells' squad sir.' 

The sergeant nodded. "Roger that. Get yourself back to your squad then!" 

The wolfhound then set off back towards the area of the line that his squad had been holding. They had been pushed back a little without Feran's help, but they were holding well.

"Soldier, where the fuck did you run off to!?" Wells screamed when he saw the wolfhound had returned. 

"Downed soldier sir, couldn't leave 'em behind. I'll take whatever punishment you want later" he replied bluntly before he went about the task of repelling the last of the undead. Luckily for the battered soldiers, reinforcements had been moved from other areas of the wall that hadn't experienced such pressure. With the boost this gave them they were able to see the Undead off, and, by the time they had cut down the last of them, they were finally able to rest with the sun slowly rising in the distance...

Quote:Word count: 994
"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"
Reply

#6
Later, in the Darkshire barracks, Feran was sitting on his bunk, a rather noticeable scowl plastered over his face. Wells hadn't been happy about his actions during his first night of wall duty, and had taken his issues higher up the chain of command. To say the least, it didn't sit well with the wolfhound. Feran chuckled. "The definition of an understatement there...". The rest of the squad were still in the armoury, some of then had taken quite a beating and thus had to  spend some more time going over the maintenance their gear required. Thus the beastkin had been left to ruminate on his fate within the squad's quarters. It was unfair, hell, more than unfair. He had saved the life of another warrior, he had fought tooth and nail like every other soldier in that fight. No, that was a lie. 

He had fought even harder. 

Feran was prepared for whatever punishment he might be given, after all, nothing any mortal could inflict upon him would compare to the torturous powers of that cursed being of light. The wolfhound chuckled. In truth, that was only if he allowed them to. That horrible night of fighting had brought to his attention just how much is power had grown within the OV. On Erdreja Feran wouldn't have been able to achieve such a feat, had he tried then he would have likely ended up as another hero who died trying to save his kin. The wolfhound sighed and looked down at his hands, pondering. 

Why was he so strong? What had caused him to become to powerful? Was it temporary, or permanent? 

Many more questions swirled around his head, none of which he could really answer. The most his mind could offer was an educated guess at best, wild speculation at worst, and if we're being honest here, it was more of the latter than the former. 

Then the door opened. 

In walked sergeant Wells, the sergeant whom he had talked to after saving the downed soldier, and Atelos, standing imposingly behind him. 

Feran stood up and saluted before nodding respectfully to the three men. 

"At ease, soldier" Sergeant Wells replied. Feran nodded again in thanks. Atelos then stepped forwards. 

"I've been informed about your actions last night Ap Maddyn. You are as I expected. Young, foolish, brash, reckless. A wild beast through and through." 

The prime let his words hang in the air for a few moments, allowing Feran's mind to go off on tangents and race manically. It was a little cruel, but every military leader had to at the least have a minor flare for the dramatic, even the stoic spartan. 

"But, sometimes a wild beast is what we need. You're some kind of beastman, correct? And you look like a wolf, a creature known for its devotion to those it considers kin. To it's pack, to it's brothers and sisters, to those who fight alongside it. While I really must emphasise just how bloody idiotic your actions were last night...I must also commend you for your bravery, and for saving the life of a fellow soldier. No punishment shall be issued this time, Ap Maddyn. Just make sure to warn your squad-mates before running off on some insane rescue mission again. Understood, soldier?" 

Feran looked up at Atelos, the wolfhound holding back a grin slightly, although the fact that the docked stump of his tail was wagging like crazy betrayed him. "Yes sir". 

Atelos and the other Sergeant nodded before exiting, leaving Wells and Feran alone. 

There was an awkward silence as the two looked at each other, before Wells sighed and sat down on one of the other bunks. "Right. First I've got to say I'm thankful that we have you. You're a strong warrior, stronger than I could ever be. I can't deny that, no one can. However, we need to communicate, work together as one blade against the darkness, Ap Maddyn. So, if you have anything else going on that could cause issues, tell me now, so that we can work with you, alright?" 

Feran let out a small sigh. He knew that the sergeant was being sensible, that his suggestion was a sound one, but it didn't make it any easier to talk about. 

"To put it simply, sir, I'm what people call a berserker. I have a great deal of rage within me, and sometimes I can lose control. My body will move without me telling it to, before I can even think I've leapt into almost certain death. I'm...I'm working on controlling it sir, but progress is slow" 

Sergeant Wells nodded solemnly. "And what should we do if you lose control, soldier?" he asked with a grave look about him. 

Feran responded almost instantly. "Get out of my way. When I'm truly overcome with rage there is no stopping me. I will kill whoever and whatever stands between me and my target..." The wolfhound then looked up at Wells, a grim severity in his eyes. "If I start attacking the other soldiers, then don't hesitate. Kill me, Kill me as quickly as you can..." 

There was an uncomfortable air in the room as Wells processed what he had just been told. "Understood, soldier" he said before getting up and walking towards the door. He stopped just shy of it and turned to face Feran."Oh, we're going to the king's arms soon, nice tavern in the centre of the city. You should join us, you've earned yourself a drink" the man said with his usual smile on his face once more. 

"Just a drink? I'll put you all to shame" Feran replied with a cocky grin as he stood up and started to follow Wells out of the barracks. "You wanna bet, hound? I'm sure that if I can't beat you, then McCain or Mason would. Those two have a scary tolerance for alcohol". 

Feran let out a small chuckle. "We'll see then! Loser pays for the drinks?" 

"Oh now it's fucking on soldier, you've got yourself a bet!"

Quote:Word count: 1009
"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"
Reply

#7
That day, Feran and the rest of the squad drank as if the world was going to end tomorrow. Countless flagons of ale were consumed, Feran himself went through no less than five bottles of mead (among many other beverages), and the group spent their time being merry. They told tales, sung songs, and engaged in the usual bullshit antics that you would expect from a group of drunken soldiers (much to the dismay of some of the less inebriated patrons of the tavern). By the end of it all they had learned a lot about one another, and Feran felt that a bond was beginning to form between them, not unlike the brotherly kinship he had felt with the members of his pack in life. 

It was past midday when they finally retired to the barracks and got some rest...

The following night of wall duty was far more relaxed than the previous one, which Feran silently thanked the ancestors for. He had a headache, and while it wasn't the worst he had endured, it was bothersome still. The archers stationed upon the walls were able to deal with any threats that approached that night, and thus Wells and his squad didn't get any action. 

Probably for the best, given the fact that many of them were still feeling the ill-effects of the previous day's revelry.... 


It didn't take long for Feran to fall into the routine. Wake up late in the afternoon, eat, gear up, defend the walls until the sun rose, and then go to the local tavern for a few drinks (only a few, they had all agreed to give their bodies a rest after their first visit), rinse and repeat. The majority of Feran's twelve remaining days within the guard went by without much incident. Most nights the archers were enough to defend the walls, and even when the melee infantry did have to descend the walls and engage their attackers, the fighting rarely reached the same scale as Feran's first battle as a Darkshire guard. During this time Feran and his squad-mates became even closer, they quickly learned how to incorporate the wolfhound's fighting skill and abilities into their tactics, and before long they fought as one cohesive unit, eight men and a beastkin. The soldiers of Darkshire treated Feran as one of their own, a brother in arms, and Feran fought to protect them as if they were his pack. 

They had become brothers on the field of battle, and the wolfhound was glad to be among them. 


Before long the final day of wall duty had arrived, Feran and the rest of the squad were in the mess hall, talking as they ate. 

"Last day isn't it?" McCain asked. Feran replied with a solemn nod. "Don't worry, I don't plan to swan off immediately afterwards. I've come to sort of like this place, you know? I want to stay and protect Darkshire if possible." 

Around the table Feran could see grins and nods of approval. He then felt a hand slap his back. It was Mason, a wide smile on his face. "I've no doubt you'll be accepted into the guard after this, hound, you're a damn good soldier." 

"Aye!" The rest of the squad replied. Feran couldn't help but let a smile spread across his face. He loved the camaraderie that the squad had, it made him feel as if he was back in the Dragons warband, fighting alongside the likes of Ivar Morghun and Scrappy.

It felt like he was home, in some way. 

Before long Sergeant Wells came round to the table, and they went through the usual routine of gearing up, marching to the walls and taking position atop them, watching over the cursed planes of the moors. It was like any other night atop the walls, but for some reason, Feran felt uneasy, it felt like something was...off, for lack of a better word. As the wolfhound gazed across the horizon he noticed that there was an unusually large swarm of crows circling above and around the city. 

"Badb Catha..." Feran growled, the beastkin's fists clenched. 

"Somethign wrong, Ap Maddyn?" Sergeant Wells asked, hearing Feran's growl, something he had learned Feran didn't usually do for no reason, and thus became weary whenever the beastkin did. 

"There's going to be a battle...a big one...I think." 

Sergeant Wells cocked an eyebrow. "Why do you say that, soldier?"

Feran then pointed towards the swarming crows. "Where I come from, Crows are the harbingers of battle, a sign that Badb Catha, the battle crow, is watching...probably the Morrigan too" He then turned around to face Wells. "I've never seen so many at once...". Sergeant Wells stood for a few moments, gazing across the plains as he did, before putting a hand on Feran's shoulder. "I wouldn't worry, soldier, we should be fine.  Just keep watch, put those keen eyes of yours to use, understood?" 

Feran's ears flattened a little before he responded. "Yes sir".


Over the next couple of hours, the swarm of Crows only grew larger, and Feran, along with the rest of the squad, began to notice figures lurking in the mists, dashing in and out of vision. It was concerning, to say the least. Another hour passed, before a runner came barrelling towards Sergeant Wells. 


"SIR, SIR!" he screamed, before coming to an unsteady stop in front of the sergeant. "Sir, massive amount of undead and other creatures by the western section! All available line soldiers are to report to the western gate, orders from Atelos himself, Sir!" 

Upon hearing this, Wells and the squad leapt into action. 

"Alright men, form up on me, we're heading to the western gate, double time. Move out!" He yelled before the squad set off at a faster-than-usual jog, as to not tire themselves out completely before they made it to the gate. Feran silently cursed himself for not acting earlier. He had seen the signs, the ancestors themselves had warned him, and yet he had done nothing. 

Unacceptable. 

It didn't take the squad long to reach the western gate, and once they did, the view before them froze a few of the men in their tracks. 

Approaching the gates of Darkshire was a horde unlike any other. Zombies, skeletons, even demons and strange creatures which seemed to be numerous different animals sewn together by foul magic. It was larger than the force they had faced two weeks ago, and seemed to contain within it creatures which were far more effective in battle than simple, mindless zombies. 

"Wells' squad! Make your way through the gate and form up, make sure there are no gaps in that line, understood!?" Came the booming voice of Atelos, encased in his spartan armour and gripping his spear, a determined scowl visible beneath the prime's helmet. 

"Sir yes sir!" The entire squad responded before hastily making their way down to the ground and out of the gate. They formed up alongside the other squads, each of them gazing at the amassed horde of abominations before them. There was some fear in their eyes, no doubt, but also fiery determination. They would hold, they would not falter. They were the defenders of Darkshire. 

And they would bring these creatures to justice. 
Quote:Word count: 1213
"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"
Reply

#8
"Steel yourselves, defenders of Darkshire!" Atelos bellowed to the line of warriors as he strode in front of the line, marching up and down so that his voice could be carried to all of the assembled soldiers. 

"You are the last line of defence against the oncoming darkness, the luminous blades of humanity! If you die today then you die the death of a hero, and I myself shall see to it that you are remembered as such!" The spartan then turned to face the approaching abominations, and raised his spear towards them. "Warriors of Darkshire, CHARGE!" He screamed. The assembled warriors let out a deafening battle cry, hundreds of soldiers screaming in united defiance against the oncoming darkness before rushing to meet their foe. Feran charged alongside his squad, although he had to slow himself down in order to stay in line with them. The two forces clashed and a brutal melee began, the wolfhound fought with grim fury, snarling as he hacked through the unliving warriors before him. The rest of his squad fought with almost as much brutality as the beastkin himself, each of them hell-bent on showing their cursed invaders the iron resolve of Darkshire's defenders. Initially the battle went well, there was the usual ebb and flow, their line being pushed back, before pushing their enemies back in return. This was, however, before the other abominations hit... 

Feran heard a ghastly, unnatural howl come from within the enemy's ranks, one which made his fur stand on end. It was the sort of howl that a beast made when challenging a rival, one filled with naught but a desire to dominate and destroy. Seconds later a massive canine creature smashed into the defender's line, knocking away zombies as it trampled a few of the soldiers in it's way. It a horror, the creature looked like it was several different beasts stitched together to form an unholy engine of destruction. Feran turned to Sergeant Wells, who gave a knowing nod in return before the beastkin rushed off towards the creature, running full tilt, sword in hand. The soldiers fighting the creature were struggling valiantly, although it was an uphill battle for them. The beast had a man pinned under neath it's paws, and had started to tear chunks out of his flesh when Feran's blade slamming into the offending leg. There was a sickening cracking sound, the creature howling in pain before slamming one of it's many head into the beastkin, who was thrown back and onto the ground by the impact. 

"Filthy creature!" Feran spat as he got back into his feet. The beastkin then let out a furious, bestial howl towards the creature, challenging it. He silently hoped that it still had some canine behaviour, if it did then he knew how it would react to things, generally speaking. The cerature turned it's many heads towards Feran and let out a chorus of bellowing howls in return. 

Feran grinned. His challenge had been accepted. 

The beastkin kicked off with all the strength his legs could muster and charged towards the creature. Surprisingly, it was fast enough to react, bringing a vicious set of claws down, which Feran just managed to block with his blade. His legs buckled a little, the sheer strength his opponent possessed was impressive. He moved his left hand up the blade, grabbing hold of the smouldering metal before pushing up with all the strength he could manage, Feran then slipped to the side as the massive claws slammed into the ground. The beastkin then pivoted and lashed out with the blade, which managed to cut a cash in the neck of one of the main heads, accompanied by an explosion of flames. The smell of burning fur filled Feran's nose. Looking up at the head he had just attacked, he saw that it had now gone limp, although it seemed to be holding on, gurgling as blood oozed from it's mouth. It was tough, to be sure, unfortunately for the beast Feran's physical strength exceeded normal human limits. 

The gifts afforded to primes truly were brilliant. 

Feran's actions seemed to enrage the beast, which started to attack with even more ferocity than before. Swiping claws and gnashing teeth assaulted Feran from all angles. The beastkin managed to block most of the attacks, but not all, and the creature managed to cut some rather deep gashes into his chest and legs. Feran felt the woulds burn with pain as he furiously counterattacked, swinging his blade as quickly as he could, the burst of flame which erupted from his blade seemed to confuse the creature to a degree, allowing him to chain hit after hit in a merciless barrage of steel.  There was a grin on the wolfhound's face the whole time, this fight was the best he'd had since arriving in the Omniverse. 

It was good to feel at home again. 


This battle of beasts continued for some time, but Feran managed to emerge victorious after sliding under the creature and driving his blade straight through it, ripping it apart and scorching it's insides. The wolfhound stood, covered in blood, both his own and the creatures, panting lightly. He was victorious, but the battle was not over, sadly. In the distance, within the chaotic maelstrom of war, Feran could see Atelos fighting one of the amalgamations of flesh. "Seems like they're leaving the bigger beasties to the primes..." he muttered to himself. It seemed like Atelos had the situation under control, and the soldiers around him were holding. He turned back and started to jog towards where his squad had been fighting, just in time to see another monster rushing towards the lines. 

It towered above him, a horrifying combination of what looked like innumerable humans, brought together into one unholy body. It had four arms, one main head, but faces adorned it's body, each of them seemed to be screaming, tormented by what had been done to them. Feran sped up, his left leg screaming in protest as he did. There was no way his squad was able to deal with that thing and Feran knew it. 

Truth be told, he wasn't even sure if he would be able to take it down. 

The thing angered him, brought the rage within him dangerously close to the surface. Not just because it was a horrific abomination, but because it reminded him of the creature that had killed him. Of The thorn, a massively powerful plant daemon, a being which was made of the wyld, but was not in tune with the Wyld. It was corruption made manifest, and it had killed him. 

Him and six others. 

He rushed forwards and took position alongside the rest of his squad, all of whom seemed battered, fatigued by the brutal fighting. 

"Good to see you alive, hound!" Mason called from further down the line. 

"Same to you lot! But that thing might change that y'know..." 

All Feran got in response was a knowing nod. They all knew that this creature would likely be the end of, them, but still they were determined to fight, steadfast and unyielding. If Feran didn't know any better, he could have mistaken them for members of the warband. 

"Ap Maddyn..." Wells asked in a rather sombre tone. "What's that thing that your people use as a battlecry?" 

Feran smiled. "Nothing to fear, nothing to prove. Faith and fire" 

Wells nodded, before raising his sword. "Men, hold fast! We shall defeat this creature, we shall defend Darkshire! We are the light in the darkness, do not falter! NOTHING TO FEAR. NOTHING TO PROVE. FAITH. AND. FIRE!" 

The rest of the squad echoed Wells' battlecry, Feran being the loudest and most fervent among them. Moments later the monstrosity was within reach and had begun too attack them. A fist slammed in front of McCain, who had just about dodged in time, causing bits of dirt and rock to spray into the air. 

"Alright men, surround it, don't relent in your attack. Remember to spread out so you don't all get hit at once" 

The squad obeyed and encircled the monster, attacking it from every angle they could. This would prove to be useless, however, as each time they managed to land a hit, it was healed within moments. Not even Feran's impressive strength was enough to get through the regenerative capabilities of the creature. The squad had, for the most part, been avoiding the creature's attacks well. There were a few close calls, but their shields and armour helped to keep them on their feet despite the overwhelming strength of the creature, even if their bodies still felt the effects of such an impact. 

Feran knew that things were bad. If even he couldn't harm the creature, then who would be able to defeat it? Their only chance seemed to be to overwhelm it, but that wasn't feasible. The other squads near them were already getting battered by the smaller creatures around the monster, Wells' squad were reaching their limit, and Feran's injuries were starting to affect his ability to fight. But they HAD to fight on, even if it was just to buy some more time. 

Suddenly during the fight the creature attacked Feran with two of it's arms at once. The wolfhound raised his blade to block one side, but was unable to do so for his rear, and he wasn't in a position to dodge either, he had left it too late. As he blocked one fist, his body screaming in protest as he fought against the sheer force of the impact, he was prepared to feel an impact behind him, to get smashed and die, most likely. The impact never came, but he did hear the crunching of bones behind him, accompanied by a scream of agony. When he turned to look he saw Wells, mangled, broken, and dead. Time seemed to stop for a moment as he gazed at the bloody remains of the brave warrior, the remains of a man he had come to respect, one he had fought side-by-side with for the past two weeks, one whom had just given his life to protect the wolfhound.  

The remains of a man he had called friend. 

Feran could feel it. He could feel the fire of his rage spreading throughout his body, he could feel the flames growing. Usually he would have made an attempt to calm himself, an attempt to retain control. Now was not the time for such a thing. The creature had to die, no matter the cost. The wolfhound let out a bestial scream which echoed over the din of battle, before launching himself at the creature, absolutely consumed by rage and bloodlust. His blade slammed into it's torso, there was a small crack, accompanied by the explosion of flame which emanated from the sword. The warrior attacked relentlessly and with blinding speed, becoming a vengeful flurry of steel and fire which was focused solely upon the destruction of the abomination before him, screaming in rage the entire time. 

"RETREAT, FUCKING GET OUT OF HIS WAY NOW!" Mason barked at the other soldiers, who hastily obeyed and backed off. The human knew that this was no longer a fight for them to get involved in, he had been warned about Feran's bouts of uncontrollable rage, and was wary of the beastkin turning on them. 



While Feran's initial assault put the creature off-balance, it didn't take long for the counterattack to come. It reached to grab Feran, the beastkin dashing out of the way, just shy of getting hit, although the abomination managed to grab a hold of his sword, which was now engulfed in vicious flames. The blade was yanked out of Feran's hands and tossed aside, then a fist came speeding towards Feran from the left, the beastkin turned and slammed his own fist into it as hard as he could. There was the sound of bones breaking, and the impact seemed to disrupt the air around them violently. Feran couldn't feel that he had just broken a few fingers, his rage ensured that. The two then entered a brutal exchange of punches, each blow strong enough to shatter a normal human. Initially Feran couldn't get through the monster's regeneration, and the creature had no hope of stopping the hound's furious assault. The two seemed to be in deadlock. 

That is, until Feran managed to get a series of full-power blows in on the creature's abdomen, relentlessly pummelling the area with blunt force. The wolfhound was attacking so fast, and with such fury that the creature's regeneration couldn't keep up. This put the abomination on the defensive, but Feran just kept on pushing, compelled by the fury within him to fight until nothing of the creature remained. Feran endured a couple of hits during the process, but he felt no pain, he would not stop, he was an unrelenting engine of destruction. Eventually the creature toppled, it's body mangled, shattered shards of bone poking through minced muscles and torn flesh. Feran wasted no time in leaping atop it. He saw the creature's face, a disgusting perversion of humanity, and only felt even more rage. He screamed like an insane beast as he pummelled the skull until his own fists were bloody and he had worn down the very skin on his knuckles, by the time he was done there was close to nothing left. Feran threw his head back and let out a deafening howl into the night sky. For those watching it was quite the sight, a crazed beast howling to the moon, covered in blood and viscera. 

He stood still for a few moments as the rage died, victorious, looking down upon his work. Suddenly the beastkin fell to his knees in pain. His entire body was screaming at him, every breath was agony, every movement burned. 

"F-fuck...over...overdid it..."

Quote:Word count: 2320 
"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"
Reply



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