Author Topic: A coming of age  (Read 7927 times)

Offline Pojodan

  • Beastlord
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A coming of age
« on: January 06, 2004, 09:01:30 AM »
Prologue

To become a warrior involves physical conditioning, strength, and a will to fight till the end.. these things are taught or come naturally
To become a shaman involves mental conditioning, wisdom, and a will to do the bidding of the spirits... these things are taught or come naturally
To become a rogue involves dexterity conditioning, cunning, and a will to do as one pleases... these things.. well, they tend to just come naturally.

To become a beastlord, however, is something that tends to just happen. Many are approached by the spirit which is sometimes referred to as guild, a totem, or a warder, much of them reject such an image either through denial or simply a lack of understanding what these feelings and images mean.

It was not until the moon of Luclin drew close enough to allow the great combine portals to begin working again that the knowledge that the lost civilization of the Vah Shir held became known to the races of Antonica, Faydwer, and Kunark, allowing them to learn of the meaning of these images and feelings and draw upon them, then only those that had teachings in their culture of shamanistic ways truly encouraged such mannerisms.

The actual timing and method of such experiences, unlike the more straight forward principles of magic and brawn, is quite individual to each that are gifted with such an event... it is also very personal. This can happen at any stage of one's life as well even after one has begun seeking a more commonly taught path, possibly explaining the fighting knowledge as well as the magical knowledge that beastlords hold.

This is the story of one Vah Shir's journey.

Act I: Dreams

Its not easy being a loner in a civilization of social creatures. Ever since his cub hood Kitchi just could never seem to quite fit into the crowd. Oh, of course the other cubs would try to play with him and he'd usually humor the idea for a moment, but one wrong vibe be it from an over zealous pounce or a joking remark about his spots tended to cause him to disappear only to be see again during the next class session.

"He's a rogue for sure" some would say, the choice professions of rogue, warrior, shaman, bard, , teacher, guardsman, or merchant as well as the somewhat lesser glorified beastlord where all well known and taught to the youngsters to encourage choosing one's path at a young age. In fact many Vah Shir are named by their personality which becomes clear at a very young age and tends to not change throughout their lifetime. In fact Kitchi, according to some old texts, means 'mighty', which prove to be a rather incorrect choice given his pensive behavior.

The idea of her son being a rogue was not pleasing to Kitchi's mother, whom, due to her choice of teacher and her husband's shamanistic ways, rather preferred the idea of her son being a shaman in time.. why she named her son 'mighty' is anyone's guess. Oh, she put a lot of effort into it, playing games that involved the use of simple spells such as healing a bruised paw or invoking the strength to lift a particularly heavy object. Kitchi seemed at least mildly intrigued, but could never draw forth any signs that he had the magical gift, much to mother's distress. A son that specializes in picking pockets and slipping through dark, evil places just didn't settle well.

Never the less, Kitchi continued his rather disconnected ways, staying nearby until he could slip back in unnoticed... at least until the dreams began.

At first they seemed like nightmares, waking him in the night with a yeowl and shredding a blanket or two with his claws. Naturally his mother made the effort to get him to speak of the dreams, but never a peep was given. Shortly after this began he starting becoming tardy to his classes and even less present around the other cubs, not even humoring the attempts at play anymore.

And then one day he simply did not show up at all.

Act II: An Unexpected Visitor

Shar Vahl, Shadeweavers Thicket, and Hollowshade Moor where turned upside down by Kitchi's parents... It even became rumor that the aggressive state of the Owlbears is due to their having turned the den mother upside down in her sleep, though no one could quite confirm this.

After the third night all his mother could do was curl up in a corner and cry into her tail which is when an unexpected visitor game to the door, Poren was his name and he sat down with the two distressed parents and began speaking about the recent dreams he had been having and how they lead him to these two.

"Where is your son?" Poren asked as he sat at the small table of the Behlakatz homestead.

"He's... been missing for three days." the mother explains with some difficulty.

"Then it has begun."

Act III: Nightmares

Whatever it was that urged Kitchi to leave him home so far behind was either too vague for him to be certain of or became clouded amid the turmoil of his mind. A strange sort of tug-of-war being played out as the further from home he threw himself the worse and more vivid the nightmares became while, at the same time, the urge to keep going in the same direction only seemed to get stronger, strangely urged by the haunting images.

These images where, at first, familiar ones, unpleasant ones, sights of the other cubs at school laughing at him coupled with dizziness and blurred vision as though caught in a whirlwind of taunting youth. This he woke up to with a shriek under a bush in a far corner of Hallowshade Moor. Each night the foliage of choice became more foreboding and the screams he'd make upon wakening became louder as taunting children became ferocious monsters that instead of pointing and laughing, bit and tore as his fur.

Whatever he was running after had to either be his death or his savior.

At last the lands turned from harsh grey to lifeless brown and the young Vah Shir's stride became staggered and drunken, his throat parched as even when he had access to water before this desert the sight of his own reflection generated fear stronger than his thirst.

Why the strange, twisted creatures here did not attack him or even seem to notice him as he struggled along was surely an act of pure luck or by the will of something beyond himself.

Fur disheveled all over his weary frame, whiskers bent and some broken, ears perpetually slicked back on his sore head and tail more or less dragging along behind him, Kitchi finally stopped in the middle of seemingly no where and fell to his digitrate knees, a course, hapless cry uttered from his sand encrusted throat.

‘If death was drawing me here please, dear spirits, please take me now’ he silently begged despite being too young to even fully understand the concept of death.

With a last, heavy wheeze he fell to his side, a burm of sand quickly forming over him.

Act IV: Spots and Stripes

Growing up in a Vah Shir family has its rewards, as a rare few of Norrath can attest to. The whole community becomes your play area and everyone around you is your caretaker and friend. Food is plentiful, warm beds are everywhere, and the baths... oh the baths are exquisite. Nothing like the warmth and smell of someone you care for right there as your fur is cleaned by their raspy tongue. Some may believe that such a method is overly time consuming, but to most Vah Shir it's quite the honor and pleasure to both give and receive this communal cleaning.

Except something is wrong.

For the last half an hour Kitchi had been resting under the tender care of this shared attention, relaxing under the warmth and scents in his nose but suddenly the smell-… it no longer seems right. Over the next few breaths the scent becomes more and more foreign until he finally opens his eyes.

Like a drop kick to the face it all comes rushing back: the taunting, the teasing, the tripping, the falling, the biting, the tearing, the blood soaked paws and the pain… the agony.

He gasps, head bolting up, only to be greeting by the face of a Vah Shir! A tiger striped Vah Shir but... wait... no.... what? This Vah Shir... or whatever it is, gives the frightened young male a strange, yet caring look, head tilting to the side along with a low rumble that, curiously, calms Kitchi down despite the horrific sights in his mind and the confusion twisting it all into one spiked ball of pain in his now throbbing forehead. A low groan utters as he slaps both forepaws onto his cranium, ears wilting back under the rough pads, his rosette adorned tail squirming agitatedly along the ground beside him.

This doesn't make any sense.

Just then the tiger faced creature rises to its feet…its paws… all four of them. One of Kitchi's eyes peeks open and peers past a jagged whisker at the creature that's straight out of story books and paintings back home. A tiger, named after the distinction similarly patterned Vah Shir call themselves, just like how he's referred to as leopard patterned.

Despite himself, just then realizing that what was left of his schooling clothes are now gone leaving him naked in the presence of this feral creature, he feels compelled to follow the tiger and does so. Without looking back the tiger strides on at a casual pace while Kitchi stumbles along through what seems to be a narrow cave deep within the sandstone rocks of the desert he had been wandering through. It isn't far before something reaches his ears that make him recoil in shock. It is a sound that has been there, in the background, in every dream, nightmare, and hallucination he's experienced since this whole ordeal began, always repeating itself and yet never consciously noticed due to the multitude of other strange and disturbing images and sounds spilling through his mind...

... a soft mew.

Act V: Death

What settled into Kitchi's throat at this point was a cross between unexplainable relief and terrible disappointment. A tiger cub? This was his savior?

The bruised and bedraggled young Vah Shir fell down to his knees at the side of the indent within the sandstone that seemed to have become the home for this pitiful little cub and it's mother. The pure desolation and un-livability of this place hardly even crossing his mind now as he stared down at the helpless little thing.

A chill ran up his back, giving him a start, that seemed to have no origin though his mind interoperates it as just sheer hopelessness. This can't be the answer to all his troubles... can it? A glance is thrown towards the mother of this hopeless little furball, though she seems to be standing and staring further down the cave blankly, so Kitchi's eyes return to the sad little animal in front of him. His hands lower down and he takes to crawling his way into the indent in the rock before turning himself around to sit beside his hero.

A scowl slides across his dappled face, askew whiskers splaying and twitching stiffly, one torn ear joining the other in laying back on his sand crusted head fur.... the chill in his spine returns and this time it says something to him... something that makes these nightmares, visions, and hallucinations all seem very, very real.

The cub squeaks softly as Kitchi scoops it up from the sandy ground, his heart starting to race and breathing quickening; he has to get out of here now! His eyes look up towards the tigress just in time to see her walking back the way she came admitting what amounted to be pure horror into her cave as though it where a dinner guest, hissing as it's serpentine body scraped across the sand. This being was the very avatar of Kitchi's nightmares, it's long, serpent-like body having no legs but a pair of arms jutting out of it's upper body that stood like some twisted crossing between a man of legends and a viscious snake of horror stories, it's scaly skin just reeking of evil and malice. In each hand was a set of metallic claws, glowing a strange blue and seeming to cascade a fine mist down to the ground, the creatures wrists protected by a metal guard that seemed to be a part of the weapon.

The cub squalled.

Kitchi screamed.

The Shissar stuck.

Act VI: Life

Everything was spinning, flashing, churning in and out.

Is this death?

One by one Kitchi's senses came back into focus, sight being the slowest to clear, hearing being little more than a loud buzz, a myriad of scents that made so sense seemed to fly past his nose all at once. The overpowering need to vomit made him double over and cough violently into the grass but nothing came up, not even bile.

Grass? With a few more blinks of his eyes his vision cleared, presenting him with a view of the perpetually daylight lit grass that his paws joyously groped. He's alive! But wait... what happened to the snake creature? The cub? The tiger? Where are the scrapes and bruises? A glance to his palm showed that even the scar that he got some weeks earlier from a play area incident was gone as well.

His head lifted to look around himself, panting heavily from being so overwhelmed a moment before, taking stock of his situation. The grass was green, the trees short with large leafs, some large boulders strewn about, a familiar place. A look at himself confirmed that he was again naked, though his fur seemed perfectly laid and clean other than where he had been leaning against the grass while retching. Another glance around is given as he catches his breath, trying to make sense of things... why is he in Shadeweaver's Thicket? Off in the distance a familiar symbol is spotted though the leafs of a large bush... Shar Vahl. Home.

Irregardless of his vivid memories and apperant rebirth clear on the other side of town from the direction that he had ran away towards, Kitchi can't help but feel overjoyed at knowing where he is and that familiar places are so close by. But what if this is just a dream? A trap? A deception?

With a feral groan the young Vah Shir pushed himself up, his wobbly legs feeling as though they'd never been used before but still containing the strength to carry him towards home. So, with the gait of a drunkard and the determination of a hunter, Kitchi lurched and staggered his way towards the entrance to his brethren's home town. The closer he got, however, the less he ached to go to his bed but to seek out something else somewhere within the city walls... somewhere within the palace... someone... that can tell him what happened.

Act VII: The begining

The sight of a naked Vah Shir stumbling through Shar Vahl wasn't exactly an unexpected sight, though usually such individuals usually had a grim determination about them and knew where they where going, a sight that every young Vah Shir would ask about but quickly learn to just accept. This young male's utter bewilderment in his stumbling was enough to draw attention, however, and Kitchi was approached by each guard that he passed by. While he desperately wished they could aid him at the moment there simply wasn't any way for them to since he didn't even know where he was trying to go.

Eventually the royal palace was subjected to his presence and the king, seated on his throne, already having been informed of such a thing, could only grin slightly and brush a large paw through his mane fur as his subjects peered at the stumbling youth then back at him.

"Time will show the promise of this cub." he uttered with a soft chuckle.

Kitchi, however, merely kept going, downstairs and into the bowels of the palace where the guild trainers resided.

"He's here." Poren uttered after looking up from the note that he had just written for this moment. The others in the room, also mulling over their various projects, glanced over towards the Animist with mild skepticism. They had all heard the story of the cub that had seen the Claws in his soul quest, but with the number of sad disappointments that had come and gone in recent times it was difficult to believe that it was even possible. Now that the world below had opened up with the reactivation of the Combine portals and four other races had begun to adapt the ways of the Beastlord it had been a popular thought that, perhaps, one of them might have the strength and the will necessary to wield the Claws that, thus far, no Vah Shir had displayed the aptitude for.

Poren simply ignored this blasphemy, after all, the visions he had where quite strong and the mannerisms of this Kitchi where exactly as the visions of the ancestors had described. Instead he strode up to the door, flung it open, and there stood a wide-eyed, haggard, and heavily breathing Kitchi, clutching his chest fur as if he expected it to fall off at any moment.

There was a general gasp from those in the room. Poren merely smiled. "Come with me." he instructed the youth when his eyes had focused up at him.

"Wh-.. wha-?" was all that Kitchi could utter as he backed off a step and turned so that the elder could lead the way, staring up at him in a state of wonder and fear.

The walk around Shar Vahl was long and slow, filled with a lot of talking on Poren's part, including a visit to the local tailor for a set of blue long sleeves and an olive green pair of pants, and near complete silence on Kitchi's part. At first he simply could not form words to speak and then he simply found no reason to, other than for the occasional confirmation of what the elder was saying seeing as how he seemed to know exactly what happened to him. What was most remarkable is that, though all this talking hardly any of his real questions where answered and there was almost no mention at all of the significance of the glowing claws that had struck him and the cub down.

"He's part of you now." came the answer to the unasked question about the cub.

"How can that be?"

"That cub is, as some would call it, your spirit guide, or your soul warder, the one that is as much a part of you as you, yourself are."

"But what is he?" Kitchi demanded in a slightly more raised voice.

"First," Poren instructed with a raise of one paw, "You must learn how to tame yourself before you tame him."

Great... more questions unanswered. Kitchi could only sigh and stare downwards as they descended the stairs down into the palace, having returned here after their stroll.

Poren could see that there was a long road ahead, but that was to be expected. "Here.. take this." he handed the youth the note he had been carrying around with him all this time, "First of all, you must become a registered citizen of this great city, that's the first step." And with that, the door to the guild hall was opened, this time without the gasp or raising of eyes. Poren simply returned to the side of the room where he usually resided, having many things to take care of, leaving Kitchi there to stand and mull over what he had been told.

It took about a minute, but Kitchi finally read the note, looking up towards the guild master, clenched his paws in determination, and stepped forward...

Offline rorith

  • Wildblood - 70 to 74 Beastlord
  • Feral
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A coming of age
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2004, 11:33:51 PM »
Is there more coming of this? I love the story.


Those who fear the dogs of war, have never met the cats...

Offline Pojodan

  • Beastlord
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A coming of age
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2004, 12:57:10 AM »
Well, the end of the story is, essentially, when the the character first became played by me in game at level 1 (Hence the guild note and talk of becoming a citizen).  Continuing the story would mean writing a whole novel :P
Perhaps someday I'll get around to it.. make this story the prologue and churn out a nice little book, but my current RL scene makes writing such a thing too much for me to commit to.

Then again.. who knows.. If inspiration strikes I'll try writing a chapter.

Thanks for your support rorith  :)

Offline Soriab

  • Arch Animist - 75 Beastlord
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  • Agro what aggro?
    • Final Empire
A coming of age
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2004, 05:15:55 AM »
Wow, thats awsome.


MORE Please    :roll:  :wink:

Offline Rarrum

  • The Kitty of Doom
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Re: A coming of age
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2005, 06:47:52 AM »
Very nice story for sure.. thanks for sharing it!

Offline Kivuli

  • Elder Animist of Shar Vahl
  • Ravager
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Re: A coming of age
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2005, 05:25:57 PM »
VERY good writing.