The Bite of Icefang
A Tale of One man, Who Lost Everything
(As a note, this story is based upon the character I play in World of Warcraft, Caian on Steamwheedle Cartel Server)
Gabriel was screaming in agony, the High Elf hacking her apart with a wicked blade. She screamed for her husband, for The Light, for anyone to come. Caian was frozen in the doorway, as he had been when his wife was murdered.
The High Elf looked up from his handiwork, Gabriel's screams becoming incomprehensible. "Sorry man," spoke the Elf, his green eyes akin to emeralds, "Just business." The elf seemed to smile, rather cruelly, almost mocking him. He laughed joyously, enjoying the cruel act he had committed.
Gabriel looked from where she lay, her limbs in pieces, pleading for her husband. Caian stared, unable to act, as his wife bled to death, still screaming his name…
Caian woke with a start, his eyes shooting open. It had only been another dream, albeit one that had been reoccurring for the last few weeks. He sat up in his bed, looking at the red stain on the floor. It had been where Gabriel had died, screamed until life had left her and the Light claimed her for all eternity. Caian looked across the room to the door, where he had stood, too scared and powerless to help her. He shook his head, a feeble attempt to rid himself of the painful memories.
Caian left his bedroom, returning to the forge on his property. He picked up a sword and began to hammer it, meaning to finish it. After a while, it was tossed aside, like so many other pieces of work; swords, armour, even horse spurs were a victim in this crime of abandonment. Caian had been unable to focus on his work since the murder, his mind drifting back to Gabriel's last moments.
He turned away from the forge, deciding to wash up instead. He traveled the short distance to fetch water from the well, and took it back to the sink. Caian scrubbed his face, looking in the mirror.
The gray eyes of a young man looked back at him. He noted his long, jet-black hair, too long for his own liking, draping over his shoulders. Caian had let his beard grow out, too miserable and guilt-ridden to even care. His strong, well toned body seemed to fit him, formed by a life working at the forge.
The words of the High Elf rang back in his ears. 'Sorry man… Just business.' His mocking laugh seemed to repeat itself endlessly, the grin on his face triumphant growing to a point of true evil.
Caian grew angrier with each second just thinking about the elf. "Just business, eh?" muttered Caian, shaking with anger, anger at what happened to Gabriel, anger at the Elf with his laughter and those eyes, and anger at himself, for being so weak.
"I'll show him fucking business!" In one swift motion, Caian grabbed the sink and ripped it from the wall, throwing it across the small one room house.
There was a knock at the door, three short raps that cut through Caian's anger, bringing him back to himself. "Enter," he spoke, attempting to mask the worry and shock in his voice. 'Did I just rip the sink out of the wall?' He thought, pondering what had driven him do that. He was usually so good at keeping his emotions in check.
The front door swung open, and a man in a dark cloak walked in, a hood draped over his head, draping his face in shadow. "Caian? I am so sorry to hear of your wife's… untimely death."
Caian sighed, he assumed it was another one of those "well-wishers", the people who made sure the spouses of the deceased didn't do anything rash. "Thank you…"
The man nodded. "I come on behalf of my lord, Archmage Arugal." Caian had heard of Arugal. He was a very accomplished mage of the kingdom of Gilneas, he even served in King Greymane's court. "And what does the Archmage want from me," Caian asked, "I am only a smith. I work metal, not magic."
"The Archmage seeks men to help him fight the aberration known as the Scourge… Surely you have heard of them?"
Caian had heard of those… things. Dead that walked like the living. He had also heard rumors of what had happened in Lordaeron, of the entire nation's death… And then how the corpses had come back to life. "But they cannot attack us, can they?"
The man shook his head. "No, no they can't. Not yet. But they may one day weaken the Greymane Wall enough to do so. They'd attack the weak and young first, growing their forces. Eventually, they would destroy our way of life, the same way they did to Lordaeron. Surely you would want to help your nation deal with these abominations?"
Thoughts of the undead running rampant in Gilneas lurched into Caian's mind, just thinking of the soldiers trying to kill something that was already dead. He blinked, trying to dislodge the thoughts. "I-I suppose so… When does he want me?"
The man rested a hand on Caian's shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. "You, my friend, don't need to worry about that." Caian suddenly began to feel lightheaded. "But you don't look so good… Perhaps you should rest…"
Caian tried to stand, tried to do anything. He knew, somehow, that this man was behind this sudden sickness. But his limbs became weak, his mind slowing down.
Caian started to lose consciousness as the man laughed, his laugh echoing in his mind as the High Elf's had.
Caian awoke his vision still fuzzy, as if he were dreaming. He tried to lift himself, but found himself unable to, his wrists and ankles bound by thick leather straps.
"Ah good… He's awake…" A robed figure moved around Caian, holding what appeared to be a book bound in black leather. "Hello Caian… I'm so glad you could join us…"
Caian began to panic, his gut instantly telling him something was wrong. "Who-who are you? What are you doing to me?"
The figure laughed, opening the dark book. "Nothing you haven't already agreed to. Think of this as your initiation into my army… You will be one of the first Gilneans to fight the Scourge of Lordaeron…"
Caian struggled against his bonds. Questions seemed to fill his mind quicker than they were being answered. He looked around, searching for the constantly moving figure. "What do you mean?"
The robed man chuckled. "You are about to undergo a change, which no human has undergone before. You will be the first of my new soldiers, and perhaps I shall control you far better than I have the others…"
Caian closed his eyes, trying to think clearly. "Others? What others? And who are you? Some form of terrorist?"
The figure laughed and moved closer, so Caian could make out his face. "No, Caian. I am Arugal!" The Archmage laughed, turning the pages in his book. "Don't worry. You are about to undergo a glorious transformation. Many would be jealous of you." Two other figures moved forward, holding Caian down.
He managed to look around, realizing he was in some sort of chamber. He was tied down to a table. The rest of his view was blocked by the two gargantuan figures and the Archmage. Arugal began to chant something from his book, and Caian felt a sensation rip up and down his spine. Caian clenched his fists, the sudden movement of his spine unbearable.
Caian roared in pain, feeling as if his body was on fire. He felt as if his skin would burst, his limbs rip themselves out of their sockets. And his skin… It felt as if it were being stabbed by a million tiny pins. He screamed again, but his voice sounded different, more feral. More like a beast.
The figures tightened their grip as Arugal's chanting reached a fever pitch, causing Caian even more pain. He struck out at one of the figures, the leather straps snapping from the force. The man went flying, colliding into the wall. The other figure leaped at Caian, slamming him down even further on the table. Underneath the hood however, were two yellow eyes, a muzzle, and rows of… teeth?
Arugal grinned from the other side of Caian as the Beast-man roared at him. "Yes…. Yes…. Now, you are another one of my Sons…"
Caian tried to lash out, afraid of what was happening to him. The name of these feral beasts came to his mind, and he screamed it before he knew nothing more.
Caian awoke with a start, lying in his own bed, his skin covered in a sheen of sweat. Had it all been another dream? Another twisted fantasy of his mind? He sincerely hoped so. And if it had been, why had Arugal and that Worgen replaced the dreams about Gabriel?
He sighed, getting out of bed. Caian peered out his window, and realized it was night. He had slept the whole day!
Caian rushed, throwing on clothes and running to his forge. A very important customer would be coming to pick up weapons for the Gilnean Army soon, and Caian hadn't even started!
He wrenched open the door and walked across his lawn, wondering how he could start the bellows this late. Caian peered up at the sky, as the full moon began to poke out from behind the clouds.
Caian scratched his chin, wondering how anything could be so beautiful. Why did the moon exist, he pondered, if all it gave was a light to the night sky? Surely it must have another purpose.
Suddenly he stopped thinking, stopped moving, unsure why he had done so.
A wave of intense heat ran over Caian, forcing him to his knees. His body began to shake, each bone feeling as if it would dissolve into nothing. His joints burned, and his teeth ached as if an orge were pulling on them. His skin suddenly got itchy, as if a thousand maggots had begun to crawl underneath.
He managed to look at his shaking hands, as his nails started to grow rapidly. Caian let out a yell of shock and pain, as his skin started to burn and itch, little tufts of hair poking up all along it. He backpedaled, crashing into the side of his home. He could feel his bones stretching, his skeleton warping. Caian's nose grew into a point, and his teeth lurched downward in his mouth. His muscles rippled, growing and changing. All of a sudden, his senses sharpened, as if he had stepped out of a thick fog.
He tried to scream, tried to do run, tried to do anything, but he was in such pain, all he could do was whimper. His bones finally stopped stretching, the hair stopped growing, and his muscles finally settled.
Caian managed to stand, and he touched his face. It did not feel like his, it felt like an animals. He ran inside his house, and looked in the mirror. A Worgen stared back at him. It was covered in black fur, at least a full head taller than Caian was. Deadly claws curved out from his paw/hands. The most frightening of all, were the eyes. Instead of their innocent gray, they were a sick yellow.
Caian screamed, but it came out as a blood-curling howl. He put a paw to the mirror, wondering what had sparked this change. He suddenly remembered the dream, the pain he had experienced in it. How it had felt so similar to what had just transpired. Caian stared at the beast in the mirror, and hated it.
He hated what had he turned into, what he had been tricked into. He hated the Greymane Wall, and Gilneas, and what had happened to Gabriel. He hated everything; in fact he hated Gabriel herself! 'Wait, what am I thinking? I loved Gabriel!' But Caian felt consumed by rage, the thought pushed to the back of his mind. He roared and howled, thrashing around in his unquenchable rage.
He looked out to the moon, and craved something. He craved food; prey. With a howl, he dropped to all fours, charging into the night like a bloodthirsty predator.
He was no longer Caian.
He was something more.
(If enough people like this, I'll consider writing another chapter!)