Where Anyone is Possible
It had been three days since Beor had abandoned Marik, Jorik and Tyron in the northern wilderness. Yet again. They were nearing Silverhide maturity, but were still not considered ready. Being handed off to the grace of the wilds was a true test of Silverhide mettle, for the far North of Hellifyno was amongst the most dangerous land on the planet. Miles past sacred Skyruler, where the tundra, blistering blizzards, rains of snow and sheer cliffs of towering ice ruled supreme. Forests were few and far between, all buried in mass of pristine snow, few rivers and streams not frozen to iced armor along the white slopes of the mountain. The game was not plentiful this far north either, for only the strong and hardy survived here in temperatures well below freezing and rugged terrain. There were deer, though they were large, hides thick and their antlers huge. Snow-tigers and ice wolves roamed the cliffs and were tough predators themselves, scratching a hard living from the ice, though were also included in the Silverhide pup's diets. They had to eat what they could find and hunt.
It was not the The hardened deer that worried the three Silverhide pups, nor the wolves or vicious snow-tigers. There were far worse horrors in these parts of the world. There still lingered the presence of the darker creatures of the night, where they hid from the world in the blizzards and ice, far from where any normal being could follow them... Unseen... There were other wolf and Lycan packs, and nomad werebear tribes that lived in these parts. Frost trolls too, even the dreaded ice ogres.
Marik came to a stop in the ice, bound to his homid form. The lad had grown incredibly fast and he was strong, a fine specimen of the greatest Silverhide stock. Like his father before him, Marik was tall and muscular, his genetics and the fierce Silverhide regime he had been forced to by Daimyon and Beor, coupled with the intense training received by his 'uncle' Romulus had turned this boy into a powerful beast. His muscles were knotted and strong, full of life and raw power, his stature already akin to that of an older man, yet in the face he looked no older than sixteen-seventeen, chin becoming fluffy with the thick hair that would keep him warm. His body was tailored perfectly to the bone chilling cold, hard torso bare but for the thick cloak of bear fur thrown over his broad shoulders, one he had skinned and fashioned himself. Marik felt that he deserved his strength, his power and body. It had not all been gained through his genes. Marik had desire, burning ambition that caused his heart to pound like a drum of war. It afforded him thoughts of grandeur, urged him push harder, faster, drive himself to be the best. If Beor told him to bench press wolfstone for an hour straight, Marik would do two hours just to prove to himself that he could. In the training bouts he struck harder, he unleashed venom and fury on his peers. He was bigger than the others and knew it, often asserting his dominance over the weaker wolves that would fight with him for the most suculent parts of a fresh kill. He was learning fast and he wanted to go places in this world.
"The mother must have wandered off and died..." Jorik said to Marik, heated breath clouding the frozen air. It was as if ice floated in the very atmosphere between them, the winds screeching as they gushed right through the Silverhides.The slopes were lonely and vacant.
"The altitude drives 'em crazy, she would not live long out here." Tyron agreed, the stocky young Silverhide with messy blonde hair agreed. It was a true fact, the mountains here were incredibly high, those that had adapted to it were monstrously strong, muscles ram packed with energy and able to refuel on the limited oxygen. Those that were not accustomed to such heights would struggle to breathe, tire with ease... It sometimes even brought on insanity.
Marik had spotted the trails of blood flecked in the snow, a female lycan roaming wounded through the cliffs. She had fled from the south wildly, perhaps she had been attacked and was fleeing. Either way, Marik feared for her safety this far north.
"Marik..." Jorik started... His long hair billowed around a hardened face, though his voice did not hold its usual certainty... "Do you smell that?"
"Bears... Shit..." Marik squinted, looking up from the splattered blood in the snow. They had lost track of the fleeing female lycan, had she run into the bear shifters? Bear shifters could present a real threat, especially if they were armed and aggressive. Fully grown... Marik was strong, he bore Silverhide tattoos on both arms, even a few scars and held a spear of wolfstone. He had killed, taken life before... But did that truly make him a man, the warrior he was supposed to be?
The burning scent of approaching bear grew closer, carried on the lashing winds of ice and snow, and through the flurry of powdered white, four towering figures could be seen approaching, moving down the slopes ahead..
Should they flee? Turn back and abandon the trek? If the bears were aggressive, this could be a lethal encounter... They were outnumbered and young... No. Marik was of the everborn, son of Titus. He would not back down or show fear before his elders.
"Marik what should we do?" Tyron asked anxiously.
The bears were no longer descending the slopes with care... They were moving with pace, charging... Two of the men tore out into their bulky bear forms, shedding skin to be coated in shaggy brown and white fur, mouths becoming short stocky jaws, hands twisting to razor sharp claws. Two retained their towering human forms, weapons becoming visible, flashing through the snow, axes and maces. There was no exchange of words, the Silverhides were under attack.
"Marik?!" Tyron shouted anxiously, feet bouncing in the ice! The bears were close now and Marik had given them no idea as to his thoughts. Did they stand and fight?
"I'm with you, Marik.." Jorik stated in his voice of steel, hefting his wolfstone spear.
Marik did not need to hear it. He knew. Jorik was his shield brother. They were young, but they had much to prove. They would give these bears a worthy run for their money, a fight they would never forget.
"We fight! Get ready! Fan out!" Marik had never led anything more than the khorrn in the wilds, but it seemed natural. A gift perhaps of his stellar blood.
It seemed the bear shifters of the North no longer feared the wolves who had once dominated these lands so effectively. The first beast thundered towards the young homid wolves, spraying snow in clouds as it barrelled at Marik in a pounce! Young Marik stepped back, swinging his spear from the bottom of the shaft like a sword! The long weapon and its honed wolfstone point dragged across the bears muzzle, ripping the flesh right open!
Jorik threw his spear, the weapon sailing through the cold air to bury with a thud in the fleshy side of the bulky bear still trying to snap at Marik.
As the second burly bear arrived at the skirmish, Tyron tore into his shaggy wolven form, seven foot of young muscle, fur and teeth. The beasts clashed with a snarl, claws and jaws slashing and biting!
Marik took the opportunity of Jorik's wounding of his foe and darted around the bear with strong, precise footing. He could fight and this battle would prove if he was truly worthy of the title he thought he already deserved by right. He was Silverhide, a warrior. Alpha material! Flying around the bellowing bear, Marik drew the sword Beor had given him on his travels, a short wolfstone weapon, crude, curved and simple. Slashing with blade and driving with his spear, Marik clashed with the next bear shifter in his human form. A rusted steel axe smashed his sword aside with a clang and the bear brought the handle of his mace flying down with such power and ferocity that Marik's spear was snapped, wooden shaft splintering with a crack in Marik's hand, the deadly point dropping to bury harmlessly in the snow at their feet. Yet Marik ducked and stepped to the side, wary as he fought the more seasoned warrior with a shortsword, hand and his wit!
Jorik had managed to draw his own sword in the nick of time! As the bear he and Marik had wounded stumbled past, the young wolf twirled and launched his blade! Sharpened wolfstone chimed the air as it sliced through the cold, point, then blade punching through the back of the bears skull. The fuzzy monster reared up onto two thick legs, roaring thunderously. It twitched then crashed forward into the snow, blood soiling the pristine white with crimson paint. Seconds later Jorik shifted to wolven form, clashing armed with teeth and claws with the next homid bear shifter!
The chilled northern air filled with the clamor of battle, snarling and yelping, the tear of flesh and the clash of steel and wolfstone that pealed brilliantly, echoing through the skies.
The seasoned bear roared as he swung his axe at Marik, straight off the back from deflecting a third blow the young wolf had angled at him. Marik stepped away just in time, though the notched blade of the axe scoured right through his face, tearing the hard skin from cheekbone to the back of his jaw! Marik felt the warm, wet blood spurt as his face opened up! but his eyes did not water. His resolve did not waver. Instead he felt the surge of power... The pain inciting, roaring at the Silverhide within, at the sweet rage that lurked below the surface. Marik snarled defiantly and suddenly he too shifted to his wolven form! Only this one was indeed monstrous. As his skin shed, the thick silver coat of the everborn came to life, and the rising ridge which ran along his back like a wall, forming a thick mane of black fur at his neck that bristled. Marik was a fearsome sight, ten feet in length from the tip of a savage muzzle to the end of a tail streaked in black. His orange and blue eyes, mismatched and burning furiously. Marik was truly his fathers son, forged of pure blood and dedication. The bear tried to shift, but Marik was too fast, sleek as he darted in, crashing down with overwhelming weight and raw power upon his prey! Crushing jaws and teeth that could snap steel clamped down over the snarling bear shifters entire human head, chomping through the thick muscle, severing the spinal column! CRUNCH!
Marik reared back from his prey, spitting a mutilated head, beard and wild hair matted with spurting blood from his mighty jaws! Roaring again, he swifty surveyed the battle.
Jorik was on his back, large hindpaws and their sharpened claws lashing up at the massive bear that had him pinned, clawing and seeking a way through the wolf's desperate guard. Jorik was holding up well, though on the back burner.
Tyron did not fare quite so well, locked in a battle of the jaws with a much larger, stronger bear. The two had bitten, teeth and mouths locking together with a crunch! Though Tyron's muzzle was longer, the bear had more power and with a muffled snarl gained the upper hand, dragging a wilting Tyron down and twisting. The bear twisted until Tyron's skin, the muscle and sinew could take no more. There was a crack, followed by a tear as the fierce bear literally ripped the young wolf's lower jaw from his skull! Blood pumped at the victor, painting his fur crimson. Tyron fell still upon the ice which too begain to pool with the source of power that pumped his veins... Deep red.. The wolf's tongue lulled in his mutilated skull and his eyes glazed over, life draining from a broken body.
That was enough to tip Marik. The pure essence of his rage, that sick fury the Silverhide wolves were fabled for consuming his mind, wreaking havoc with is heart. Suddenly Marik seemed to grow, even if it was but an illusion.. His fur started to spark, then ignite with whisps of flame. His bulk and eyes filled with the murky red of the silverhide, the rage magicks consuming him to the core, fur hardening and becoming the mystic Rage hide. The blood armor of the Silverhide wolves.
Marik pounced and just his weight shattered most of the ribs on the right hand side of the bear like twigs! Tyron had barely been dead a minute before Marik smashed the bear, a powerful beast and seasoned fighter, no stranger to these harsh lands and time. His jaws bore the power of mountains, and he snapped at the bear, shattering its shoulder, blood spraying as the fuzzy mass of arm itself was nearly ripped clean from the socket it one big bite! The claws came next, as hard as diamond, hooked and lethal. They tore with ease, ripping right through the bears abdomen so that the contents of its intestines slopped out onto the ground. The beast was dead in seconds.
Marik ROARED! A sound like clapping thunder, the bellow of the Northern winds themselves, that would carry for miles. Great jaws fell open and the sense of power drifting from within the deep cavern of teeth was immense. Bloody and red! With a crackle, a burst of burning red mist, like clouded flame surged from Marik's mouth, slamming into the back of the bear that had shifted, bearing down upon a struggling Jorik!
Jorik wasn't aware of what was happening until it was too late... He was a tough and rugged youngster, but what happened next shocked even him, right out of his thoughts of death, as that had seemed his likely fate..
The rage magicks Marik had fired from his jaws, the sweet clouded web of mist grabbed the hulking bear and as weightlessly as a feather lifted the brute. It kicked and roared, thrashing helplessly in the air, but no one came to save it as the mist began to sink into its body through the fur. Clawed hands of mist grabbed at its arms, slicing into the muscle. Suddenly hundreds of little clawed hands, like misted wolven ones ripped at the bear, tugged furiously like sailors on rope! The sound of tearing hide and flesh was brutal, the crack of bone as the magick tore the bear to shreds, breaking it down. The red claws tore both bears arms from its body, plucked each rib from its side, until there simply existed no ribcage and the bears body slopped and fell limp. Soon the bear ceased with its hapless whining and yelping of pain...
When Jorik looked up next, there was nothing left of the bear but a puddle of blood, matted with strands of torn fur left in the snow... Marik had ripped the beast to literal shreds without even laying a claw on it. If this young wolf was not destined to be their Alpha, then Jorik had no idea who was... He was willing to follow Marik to the very end.