Amid the snow, the Wolves of Fenris hunt.
Gene-enhanced, muscular-augmented and fur-clad figures stalked, spears clutched tightly to chests, sniffing and grumbling.
I stalk left, my movements nonchalant, bundled in grey-speckled hides. Across my chest, in a mammoth-hide scabbard, I wear the flaying blade. Fur-trimmed gloves and boots are the only other clothing upon my body. A hood, shaped into the countenance of a howling wolf, is pulled over my head.
I am an imperfect sculpture, unfinished by the Allfather; cursed by horrible scarification, gifted with bundles of taut, oversized muscles.
With a quick, narrow-eyed glance towards my flanks, I spy Vermundr moving towards my right, keeping back; observing the younger Packmates, and we share a nod. Once, our bond had been fractured; but those days are gone. We now regularly confide in one another, honing our skills with blade and axe, jesting and discussing - With a mixture if seriousness and playfulness.
Through the snow flurries, I witness movement. It is cumbersome, moving on heavy, but powerful legs and growling inanely. I know what it is: the razor-ursine. We have stalked it for days, hunting the mountain of caked fur and naturally attained muscle; slavering feverishly, longing to taste his throat.
Even from a distance, it is monstrous. Old, pale scars snake across his haunches, snout and chest area, where it has survived through countless bouts with other beasts; rending and gnawing.
A warbling howl arises from the throats of the Pack.
My own, ululating howl joins the melancholic cries.
The razor-ursine twists around, and I lock eyes.
Black, thin slits meet crimson, beady orbs.
The Hunt is on…
…In the distance, the Fang punctuated the sky. Even from such a great length of land, the structure was immense, a giant to the snow-capped children around it. Alrik Firehawk, sat, cross-legged and dour faced, firelight seeping amongst his scars; bathing his accursed countenance in vibrant orange. He averted directly looking at the flickering, molten fire.
It only sought to destroy his vision, and despite his advanced ocular systems; the darkness still seemed evermore dark after a look into the flames. Distant, bloodcurdling howls sounded.
Instinctively, he seized the haft of his spear, which lay in the snow nearby. His fingers, raw in the cold, crackled and bled. With his free hand, he drew his mantle of furs tighter around his shoulders and throat, feeling snow land upon his exposed torso. Not even his advanced physiology and metabolism allowed him to withstand the winds for long, even he knew that.
When Tyr had finally fallen into silence, the attention was turned upon Alrik. He smiled, his snaggletoothed smile, wetting his lips with his tongue.
‘You wish to know of the Harmonious Descent, dearest Tyr,’ He rasped, looking at his overly large brother. Tyr was forever jovial, his bionic hand humming ominously. ‘Of the nightmares and horrors, which lurk in the darkness? Then,’ He smiled again, thinly. ‘It shall be so.’
‘The Harmonious Descent,’ He muttered, remembering the day. ‘Had arrived on the fringes of our system, and the honour of eradicating her populace, was gifted to Lord Blackmane and his Company. I, along with Iorek,’ He nodded towards the pale-fleshed, claret-eyed Marine. ‘And the grey-haired fisherman, Njoror, were amongst the force.’
‘The Harmonious Descent was a particularly horrible gathering of vessels, a piece of a world, given flight. Over the years, ships had been attracted to it, and lay broken upon the expanse. We stalked through the thing, facing.. Insects, with oversized talons and agility that was akin to the beasts of legend. Purple hided, bulbous of skull..’
‘We clove our way through them, purifying the shattered hallways and collapsed tunnels. With sword, bolter and flamer. The older Wolves led us, Kjarl at the forefront, we following obediently. I was blessed, in not sustaining any injuries; but gifting many upon the Tyranids. Even the white-bastard fought well,’ He added a mirthless chuckle, a deep rumbling from within the depths of his throat.
‘But there was other, worse, things inhabiting the hulk. Outlawed men, bearing foul mutations and walking hand-in-hand with the Xenos, walls that moved and gibbered, crushing men between them. And Astartes.’
‘It was said, that one of the Grey Hunters was taken into the cusp of the Wulfen, gnawing and clawing at his brothers, renting throats and guts. I saw none of this - But rumours spread like wildfire, and it was soon in our ears.’
His eyes, narrowed in resentment, darted from face to face. He hated the newcomers, they were not worthy of their positions in the Pack. Worst of all, was the one they called Krahl, ever-grinning, having nearly killed Alrik…
…The Razor-Ursine roared challenge to me, and my hands tighten around the haft of my spear. It is humungous, thrice the size of even Tyr, shaggy fur draping from it like a cloak. Teeth and claws, like daggers, glisten wetly.
My spear whistles in, embedding itself in the flank of the creature. Blood gushes from the wound, turning the haft of my spear red. It freezes almost instantaneously.
Krahl, young, untested and utterly idiotic, rushes in my flank. I cannot help but to detest the young Wolf, cocksure of his abilities, longing to establish a reputation..
I throw myself in again, striking out once more, spearhead penetrating flesh, drawing more black-red blood. It roars in defiance, launching a tremendous backhand, but I duck beneath its flaying claws. It turns its attention to another of the Pack; and I breath between gritted fangs.
‘Die,’ I manage, chest lifting and collapsing rhythmically. ‘Now.’
And then, as though abiding to my words, it twists. A predatory smile, teeth glimmering in the moonlight.
I am about to launch forwards, but something stops me, rough hands push me aside, and I fall closer to the creature’s clicking claws. It swipes, and then…
…Krahl had, in a matter of seconds, nearly killed Alrik and had stolen the bear’s hide.
‘Why do you grin, wyrm?’ Alrik growled from across the fire, one of his hands tightening upon the hilt of the flaying blade. He pulled it ever so slightly, so the black blade was revealed. ‘What great accomplishment have you partook in, to wear a joker’s smile?’
He could kill him now, if he truly wished… Spill his throat, cut him from groin to nape…
He stood, furs seeping along his back. ‘Know this, Packmate - If you lay hand upon me again, place me in danger, the snow will run red.’
And with that, he retook his seat, snorting in derision.
Nyctophobia- Fear of the Dark Angel.
"No one ever spoke about of those two absent brothers. Their separate tragedies had seemed like aberrations. Had they, in fact, been warnings that no one had heeded?"
'Killing a man is like fucking, boy, only instead of giving life you take it. You experience the ecstasy of penetration as your warhead enters the enemy's belly and the shaft follows. You see the whites of his eyes roll inside the sockets of his helmet. You feel his knees give way beneath him and the weight of his faltering flesh draw down the point of your spear. Are you picturing this?'
'Is your dick hard yet?'
''What? You've got your spear in a man's guts and your dog isn't stiff? What are you, a woman?'