A while ago I wrote about one of my nerdier pursuits – play by email roleplaying games. It’s nothing kinky, mainly science fiction and fantasy adventure. Earlier I posted one of my characters with the promise to share some of his adventure. Without further delay, here is the opening post for Spirit Wolf: barbarian shaman.
Into the Wild
“You will return to me, dear heart.”
Spirit Wolf could still feel Star Searcher’s warm breath on his neck as she lay naked in his arms, her voice was soft, yet strong and commanding in his ear. The familiar warmth of her lithe body mingled with his and the scent of lavender and heather from her long dark hair made him tingle.
He stroked her hair and stared into the clear night sky. Still at the peak of summer, the air was warm and the sounds of the forest added to the romance and serenity of the moment.
“I will carry you in my thoughts, my beloved. I will not fail you nor our people,” he spoke with confidence and determination. His thoughts did not linger upon the three generations of shaman seekers who had ventured from the village to never return.
Placing a hand on his muscled chest she pushed herself up to meet his eyes, her skin prickling as a breeze rustled the grass of the clearing.
“You are our last hope. Do not let arrogance cloud your judgement. The ones who went before you were as strong in body and spirit as you,” the concern in her deep brown eyes belied her scolding tone.
He kissed her deeply…
Agony swept the memory from him, Star Searcher’s sweet feminine scent was replaced by the thick acrid odour of burning flesh. Clenching his teeth, struggling not to cry out Spirit Wolf held the red-hot blade of his skinning knife to the wound in his chest, his flesh sizzled as the tool cauterised the jagged tear inches above his heart. His last night with Star Searcher seemed years past instead of the few days it had been since he bid his people farewell.
A day’s walk from the village he felt the thing stalking him though try as he might he could not catch a glimpse of it. It made no sound, but Spirit Wolf could feel its malevolence as though he were a child in the dark, convinced a monster stalked inches over his shoulder.
For days he did not sleep. He knew the predator was waiting for him to be vulnerable; instead, he spent his nights in deep meditation, senses in tune to the world around him. Meditation was good for focus although rest alone could not make up for sleep. On the fourth night he felt his strength waning but evidence of a nearby settlement gave him hope of solace, a chance to recover his strength and try to face the creature with renewed power.
But it wasn’t a mere animal that stalked him, it was as intelligent as it was dangerous, it knew the safety the village would offer its prey and once night fell it attacked. It didn’t burst from the underbrush or pounce from the tree tops, it merely appeared.
One moment Spirit Wolf was alone and the next a massive, dark shapeless creature blocked his path. Its shape seemed in flux; first human, then animalistic and then a mixture of the two. It moved with blinding speed. Spirit Wolf barely freed the heavy long sword strapped to his back before he felt the creature slam into him, winding him and knocking him to the rocky ground. His weapon clattered away and Spirit Wolf flailed against the formless mass that weighed him to the ground, biting and clawing at him, rending flesh and drawing blood.
Spirit Wolf knew he had no hope of retrieving his weapon and was unsure it would do any good against the monster but he did know the thing would kill him if he continued to fight with his bare hands. Despite his exhaustion, Spirit Wolf’s mind was clear and focused from days spent meditating. His connection to the spirit realm was strong and he could hear the voices of his ancestors and feel the strength of the wolf pumping through his veins. He focused on his ancient teachings allowing the power to surge through him. Pain and exhilaration assaulted his senses and his form began to change; his already hulking body doubled in size, his flesh transformed into thick hide, his mouth elongated into powerful jaws and razor-sharp claws burst from massive hands.
In his wolfish form he bit and clawed at his attacker and it howled in pain and anger as Spirit Wolf heaved it off him. Rising to his feet, Spirit Wolf’s eyes glowed ferociously in the moonlight and he snarled violently at the monster. The beast faltered and vanished. A moment later Spirit Wolf was on his knees, returned to his human form and his strength draining as his life blood poured from the wound in his chest.
An hour later he was stumbling into a small village, no more than a collection of small mud and thatch hovels and a few outlying farms. He shrugged off the villagers’ attempts to aid him and they gladly acquiesced to his request for a fire in a barn away from prying eyes. The townsfolk were wary of the barbarian, tales of his people made them fearful, the sword at his back and the curved knife at his belt did little to ease their fear.
Breathing heavily Spirit Wolf removed the now cooling blade from his wound and let it fall into the straw beside him. Soon after, weakened and in pain, he drifted into a dreamless sleep propped up against the cool stone wall.