Legends of Thundera
The Story of Kaynar
By Fuuko no Miko
And you thought "Redemption" was dark?
This is even darker.
Thus the rating.
If your eyes get watery reading this, and I don't mean because you're reading it during onion peeling, then I have accomplished my purpose.
And if you think some this is cliché, then you do. Tell me something that isn't to some degree these days.
This one is dedicated to my friend who, in the midst of a conversation, inspired this work of fiction. He's nothing like Kaynar though . For you mi amigo, The New Mandalord!
Addicus might be next.
Narayel was the most beautiful, graceful canine Kaynar had ever known.
A statuesque beauty with soft, fine brown fur, a darker shade serving as a lustrous mane and facial features that would make any creature she would pass by stop, linger and at times gawk to the point of rudeness.
That he was the one who walked hand in hand with her was always a source of pride of his young heart.
No one could believe that she was his.
Kaynar had lost count of how many others had tried to sweep her off her feet, woo her to make her fall for them, offer her worldly riches and social status others could only dream of.
Until they found out about him, of course….then they would abruptly withdraw their offerings at her lofty altar.
Kaynar would smile at this, his little heart fluttering with delight when these would-be suitors discovered his existence. Tongue tied and backing off hurriedly like they were told that the world was on fire. He was a very effective deterrent for these wannabe lovers.
"I love you, Kaynar." She would whisper in his ear. "Nothing will ever change that."
"I love you too, Mama." He would answer her back. And he would be rewarded with kisses and hugs that only a mother's love can provide.
Narayel was the daughter of a prominent jackal clan in the city of Canis Aureus. The youngest and fairest of Lord Magrus-Ra's five daughters, she was also the most sought after by dogs, young and old and the envy of every female in the city. By the time she was 18 she had received proposals that would make even the king of Canis Aureus jealous with their generosity. Narayel was not royalty, but was treated like such by all who knew her. Not that she would ever let this get into her head, for she was modest just as she was beautiful. She would politely turn down their advances towards her and say that her heart was taken.
It was. By a young jackal named Karus. He was not of nobility, but a self-made working man. Narayel had met him while running errands with her father. He had been an up and coming blacksmith who was beginning his own shop. Certainly a far cry from her typical suitors, but his rugged good looks, kind heart and work ethic won her over. This was much to the chagrin of her family who had dreamt of nothing less than having her wed a local landowner at least, or the prince of Canis Aurues at most.
In particular, when one day she had broken the news to them that she was carrying Karus' offspring.
"You will dispose of that disgrace!" Magrus-Ra was livid with rage upon learning of his daughter's pregnancy.
"Never." She had inherited her father's stubborn pride. "This is our child. Karus asks for my hand in marriage!"
"Over my dead body! You shall not taint the name of Magrus-Ra!" her father's eyes burned with anger. "All of your sisters married nobility!"
"You shall be disowned! Disinherited!" her weeping mother lamented.
"My child is worth more than any riches on this planet." Narayel replied bitterly. "Karus and I will raise him together. I do not need your approval."
Alas, that was not meant to be. For Karus had disappeared within a few days of that occurrence. His shop was left abandoned. Not a trace of the blacksmith was to be found. Many speculated that Lord Magrus-Ra had, at best, blackmailed the young jackal into leaving, at worst, having his henchmen deal with the young jackal in the most unpleasant of circumstances. But the lord had many of the citizens of Canis Aureus under his thumb, and not a word was ever spoken of Karus' sudden departure.
Narayel had become despondent, her cries of sorrow often heard in the dead of the night as she would weep in her bedroom at the tower of the family's country castle. She had been exiled until she gave birth, so as to save face from the cruel judgment of the dogs in their city. She would spend her days locked up in her room, guarded, visited only by her mother to console her, and by her father to literally beat some sense into her. For Magrus-Ra was a proud, cruel lord who was deaf to the cries of his youngest child. He walked with a metal cane which he had used to discipline his children and had no qualms on using it to vent his anger at his pregnant daughter. Hoping perhaps, that, she would lose the product of her unapproved relationship.
But the little one proved to be just as stubborn as his ancestors before him. He clung on to dear life by a thread.
He was born with a cry that sent chills down the spine of whoever was in hearing distance.
To Narayel however, his voice was music to her ears.
She named him Kaynar.
Once birthed Narayel returned to the city where she would raise her illegitimate offspring.
That the little pup was a bit of an oddity was to say, an understatement. Nasty word around the castle was that it was the result of Magrus-Ra's repeated hitting of the young jackal while he was still in his mother's womb. He was a little too happy, too chirpy, and very zealous, much to the annoyance of those who had to deal with him on a daily basis.
Narayel didn't care. Her little one was the spitting image of his father. No one would have thought that she had a child, given that she had kept her maidenly figure and that Kaynar had little to no resemblance to her. Thus the suitors returned once she had resumed her post at the city. Once however, that they found out about the rambunctious mongrel, they hesitantly backed away.
This infuriated Magrus-Ra some more.
That the town gossip was that he was the bastard child of a disappeared blacksmith made things worse.
Kaynar, however, was oblivious to this. He didn't care that his cousins didn't want to play with him, nor that his grandfather refused to have him sit on his lap or would throw things at him from across the table when he misbehaved during dinner time. He had his Mama, and it was all that mattered.
Narayel would play with him herself. She made his meals because the cooks were forbidden to do so. She bathed him, taught him how to write, hunt and read stories to him at bedtime.
She had tried to escape their household numerous times, if only for her son's sake, but she was repeatedly dragged back to their place, kicking and screaming. When one of her father's bodyguards hit Kaynar for biting him as he subdued her, Narayel thought she had no way out.
"You will not shame the family name by living in the slums." He had threatened her ominously.
This was after a particular bad beating when Narayel had almost passed out into a bloody pulp from the strikes of her father's cane. And every time she would try to fight back, Magrus-Ra would pick little Kaynar by his neck and lift the pup a foot above the air. His helpless yelping was a form of torture to her already ringing ears.
"I will break his scrawny neck."
She never attempted to escape again.
Kaynar always wondered why his grandfather lifted a stick to his lovely, wonderful Mama. He never quite understood it. His mother was the kindest, gentlest soul. Her bright beautiful smile throughout the years began to fade, her jovial voice started to falter, and her vibrant personality was slowly withering.
Not with him though, because his mama always loved him and cared for him. Every night she took him in her arms, read him his favorite story, gave him kisses and sang him lullabies. In the midst of this she would always tell him. "It's going to be okay little Kaynar. Everything is going to be okay."
When he would get into a fight with his cousins, or get scolded by his grandparents, or just end up in trouble where he would be left crying in the dust, Narayel would take him in her frail, furry arms and whisper in his bloodied ear.
"It's going to be okay Kaynar. Everything will be okay."
When he was about four Kaynar developed a strange history of nightmares and visions. He would wake up screaming, asking the voices in his head to stop. His mother never slept far away from him, and every time he would cry out she would envelop him in her comforting embrace and lovingly whisper. "It will be okay, my Kaynar."
"Lord Cerbero asks for your hand in marriage." Magrus-Ra declared one time during dinner. "And he is willing to take the brat as his own."
"His name is Kaynar, father."
"I will call him what I please."
"Who's that Mama?" Kaynar piped up from slurping his soup which then spilled slightly on the tablecloth, earning him a slap upside his head from an older cousin. "Heeeey!"
"Learn to respect your elders!" Magrus-Ra scolded before the eight year old jackal could do or so say anything. He then turned to his youngest daughter. "Lord Cerbero needs heirs for his estate. I trust you can provide him with as many as his heart desires."
"You are marrying him. This is not a choice."
Lord Cerbero was an aging elder statesman and advisor to the king. He had married one of the highborn ladies of the court. But she had not been successful in producing an heir, which, under Canis law makes one eligible to take on a second wife to produce them. Narayel had met him a few times and he seemed to be a quiet gentleman.
Anything would probably be better than her life here.
Narayel looked at her son who was eagerly eating his miserly food. The two of them had never been allowed to share the meals of the whole family. That they were even allowed at the dining table was a surprise to her. Although she thinks this was more from spite than anything else. That her father enjoyed seeing the look in Kaynar's eyes when they wandered across the food he is not allowed to touch while trying to make do of what he was served.
"Is there good food in his house Mama?" the young jackal piped up. He was still quite hungry but his plate was empty and he was forbidden to take anything else. The young female jackal tried to quell the tears that began to form in her eyes.
"I accept." She mumbled almost incoherently.
His Mama had a rare smile on her face the day that they packed to move in with Lord Cerbero. He had sent one of his personal guards to pick mother and son up. Narayel tried to appear pleasing to the old statesman. For despite the numerous beatings she would get, it was hard to disguise her natural good looks. That and she tried not to look too battered and beaten to her son. He often smiled when he saw her in a condition other than her bruised self. That was enough motivation for her.
"Are we going to live in a castle Mama? Is there going to be more food?" Kaynar eagerly asked as they rode on the Har. They had been travelling for a few hours now to the stateman's private property outside Canis Aureus. Being the second wife she was not allowed to live anywhere near the first spouse.
"Yes Kaynar." She murmured atop his hairy head. "Everything will be okay my little one." Narayel spoke that more to convince herself than anything. She was hopeful that this life would be a little different. Hopefully better.
"The har are tired." The burly bulldog who served as their escort declared as they got by a patch of forest. He hopped down his Har and led it to one of the streams close by. He tied it to a tree as it drank. The bulldog also went to Narayel and Kaynar's har and led it to the water as the mother and child got down.
Kaynar happily wandered off to where the hars were, watching enthusiastically as they drank from the stream and a number of freshwater fish swam by. He didn't get out of their house much and this was the farthest he has ever been.
"Stay put Kaynar." The bulldog barked as he walked over to Narayel and grasped her firmly in the arm. "Lady Narayel, we need to talk."
She eyed the bulldog skeptically but obliged. She looked over to see her pup playing amongst frogs and butterflies and went along with the bodyguard. Narayel was but less than a hundred yards away from Kaynar when the burly dog tackled her down and attempted to cover her mouth.
"Shut up and he won't be harmed!" the bigger canine snarled as he tried to pin her down. "I do like my bitches feisty." He laughed as he attempted to dominate her. The jackal kicked and struggled against her aggressor. She sank her teeth on his hand which allowed her to temporarily protest.
"Lord Cerbero would have your head!" she screamed as he tried to cover her mouth again.
"He lets us do as we please." The bodyguard finally got her wrists pinned over her head. He positioned himself above her and tried to undo her clothes as she angrily thrashed beneath him. "Stop fighting! Or I will kill your whelp!"
Both dogs looked up to see Kaynar a few feet away from them, his mouth agape but dripping with blood. For a second Narayel was in greater fear that her son had hurt himself, only to see that the blood was not his, but rather a dead, mutilated pheasant on his one hand.
"What are you doing to my Mama?" his tiny voice demanded.
And for the first time since the day he was born, the female jackal heard her son release a primitive sound, a howl that sent shivers down her spine, made the hairs rise on the back of her neck. This sound seemed to have stunned the bulldog too as the young pup jumped on him, sinking his claws and teeth on his mother's attacker.
Kaynar had gone right for the jugular.
The bulldog growled as he tried to pry the pup off his neck. But Kaynar had sunk his fangs quite deeply and started to draw more blood from the bodyguard. Narayel quickly got to her feet and searched for anything that she might use as a weapon to defend them. She managed to pull a large hunting knife off the dog as it finally yanked Kaynar off of him and threw him on the ground. The small jackal tried to pounce on the bigger dog again but his mother had put herself between the two of them, using all her strength to plunge the hunting knife through the bulldog's thick leather armor.
"Run Kaynar!" she screamed as the bulldog staggered. "It will be okay son. Run! Run!" she cried as the other dog, bleeding profusely, managed to get a muscled hand around her neck, trying to choke the life out of her with what strength he had left.
Confused, tears began to form near Kaynar's eyes. Heeding his mother's plea he took off for the darkness of the forest, howling in emotional pain, tears cascading down his cheeks and the blood dripping from his mouth he took off without direction.
Lupus wasn't sure to make of the little jackal that he found passed out in the middle of the forest.
He was too well dressed to be a peasant, though his scrawny frame was too malnourished to be a well fed son of an aristocrat.
A pendant on his person showed that he belonged to the clan of Magrus-Ra, one of the wealthiest clans in Canis Aureus. But he was covered in blood, although he didn't have any wounds to show that they were his. Bones of a bird were in his tiny grasp.
Was he lost?
Either way, he would make for a very good ransom should his family want to pay for his return.
Lupus rubbed his scraggly goatee. A very good ransom indeed….he could certainly use the coin to buy a new set of knives. The ones he had barely cut through butter, and the last time he checked, no bandit ever pulled off a successful heist with weapons that were rusty.
"Mama…" the little one mumbled as he seemed to wake up. "Make the voices stop…Mama…" The jackal sat up with a start, howling as he did, a sound so chilling it made even the bandit's skin crawl. He cried out for a good two minutes before snapping out of an entranced state. Kaynar glanced up to see the dingo towering above him. He growled and tried to get on his feet, putting his claws up in defense. He did this for about ten seconds when he collapsed in a heap again, clutching his head and once again screaming. "Make it stop!"
The wild dog raised a brow. This kid clearly doesn't have all his bolts in place, or so it seems. After writhing for a minute or so he regained his bearings and looked up at him. "My Mama…Mama."
"Kid I don't know where your mother is."
Kaynar bolted, taking off for some random direction and Lupus began to feel his payday slip from his hands. Cursing under his breath he took off after the jackal. After what seemed to be a very long run he had paused into an empty space where the bulldog lay lifeless in a pool of blood. The hars were still tied in place.
But Narayel was nowhere to be found.
The young jackal felt to his knees, as though his world began to crumble before him, piece by little piece.
Lupus wasn't sure to make of the situation. He took a look at the har, the belongings still on them and the dead dog.
If there was one thing the dingo bandit was, it was opportunistic. He looted off what he could from the har, threw everything else away and grabbed the knife still protruding from the bulldog's side.
"This will do for now."
He then took a look at the jackal that was in a trance. The younger dog then clutched at his head and started crying about the voices again.
Lupus wondered if the pup's family even wanted him back. One theory in his head was maybe the little one's family sent him and his mother here to be disposed of. His mother likely sent him to run and tried to fight the bulldog off. Perhaps she got injured and in the course of looking for her kid, died somewhere else herself.
What was he going to do with this one?
His suspicions were confirmed several days later when he heard the gossip in the local marketplace. Magrus-El had sent his daughter out to be married to Lord Cerbero. Rumor was that they were captured by bandits and that the bodyguard was killed. The patriarch of the jackal clan however, didn't offer any rewards for the return of his daughter and grandson. He was apparently overheard to say that his kin were better off dead anyway.
The dingo felt bad for the little tyke. He didn't seem to have his head screwed on right and was perpetually hungry. He didn't speak much, other than the occasional maniacal laughter of his and to ask where his mother was. Lupus did look around the forest for any dead female dogs but found none. He wondered if she had gone looking for son and got lost somewhere.
He was stuck.
For about a year, Lupus let Kaynar tag along with him. He's never dealt with a child before so he let him sit in a corner to wait while he pulled off his robberies/mercenary missions. And every time Lupus returned Kaynar would have some small animal in his mouth, usually ripped in small pieces. He didn't seem to mind the animal blood that typically stained his shirt. He also has a penchant for rocking himself to sleep singing "It will be okay Kaynar. Everything is going to be okay."
This creeped out the older dog to no end. He's had his share of dealing with a few loose cannons, but the fact that this pup, who could be no more than ten years old would do things like this unsettled him greatly. He didn't know whether to be sorry for him or be afraid of him.
It was a dark, ominous day with the threat of rain was imminent when Lupus would witness the extent of Kaynar's instability.
They were walking by the town plaza, examining a new place to pull off a heist when a crowd started gathering around the Hangman's noose.
Lupus shrugged it off. He was never a fan of public executions, especially because he was familiar with most of the dogs they displayed on there. He was about to turn round the corner when Kaynar stood planted there, his eyes affixed on the platform.
"Kaynar." He spoke firmly, knowing the boy's tendency to stare endlessly into space. "Come on, there is nothing to watch here."
The enthusiasm in his voice alarmed the older dog. He turned to see the executioners escort a young female up the steps of the platform. She was a beauty, despite her obviously disheveled state. Wearing the rags they supplied for common criminals she was led up the noose. Her eyes were vacant of any expression; her arms covered in bruises, barely healed wounds and whip marks. There were no tears in her eyes but he could tell the pain and suffering in them. She looked as though she was welcoming this death with open arms.
"Mama!" Kaynar pried his hand off Lupus' grasp on him as he made a mad dash for the platform. The little jackal tried to squeeze through the growing crowd. "Maamaaaaa…"
"For the crime of murder of a noble citizen of Canis Aureus, for the humiliation and disgrace dealt to the family of Magrus-Ra and Lord Cerbero. The people of this kingdom hereby sentence you Narayel of Ra to death…."
Narayel was hearing nothing. She regretted nothing. When she was captured for stabbing the bulldog and saving her son, she felt as though she had already died and gone to hell. They had kept her in a dark, damp cell with little food, and a hay bed for comfort. The guards took their turns punishing her in whatever way they had seen fit. Their fists and words showed her no mercy. The only thoughts that kept her alive throughout her entire painful ordeal were that of her son, hoping and praying to whatever spirits that existed that he was safe from harm.
She closed her eyes as they placed the noose around her neck.
Perhaps in another life…it will all be better, she thought with a sliver of hope. Perhaps she can be with Karus again.
Her only regret was not being able to hold her son for one last time.
Narayel looked up, catching a glimpse of a young jackal struggling through the crowd.
Her eyes lit up as she saw her child. Instinctively she tried to loosen the rope around her neck but the executioners on each side of her held her back. Narayel fought, trying to free herself as Kaynar pounced on the platform. The young jackal went on the offensive as the thunderclap above seemed to signal a sense of foreboding. He clawed, scratched and bit anyone who even attempted to pull him away from his mother. Narayel on the other hand struggled to loosen the grip of the noose upon her.
All hell broke loose, and the city guards jumped into the fray, trying to separate mother and child. A third aggressor leapt into action as Lupus fought off some of the guards, his brain scrambling for a plan, any plan to get them out of this chaos.
The rain then started to pour, and a loud thunderclap rumbled across the sky.
Lupus managed to pry the jackal off a guard who was strangling him, the force sending the two of them tumbling across the platform. One quick thinking guard dog pulled the lever that opened the trapdoor where Narayel stood as she kept trying to escape.
"It will be okay Kaynar….it will be okay…" were the last words from her mouth when the rope tightened around her neck.
Lupus was able to cover the jackal's eyes long enough to keep him from seeing his mother's demise. He thrashed and struggled, howling again in a sound that blood curdling cry of his. The dingo rapidly dragged Kaynar away as guards tried to search for the two of them. The rain had become a thunderstorm rapidly and the fugitive and his ward used this to their advantage.
It took a good half hour before Lupus was able to escape with the young jackal. They hid amongst some empty baskets behind a stone building.
For the first time in the twelve months that he had known him, the dingo saw the jackal cry.
Kaynar was mumbling incoherently as the other dog watched him. He was clutching at his head, once again asking the voices to stop, and from time to time he would speak in a soothing tone the same thing his mother would repeat to him.
"It will be okay, Kaynar." He said to himself. "It will be okay."
"Heeey look who's back." A female white wolf announced as the main doorway to the dungeons opened. Two heavily armed prison guards escorted the prisoner down the hall to the welcoming bellows of the other inmates. Instead of snarling angrily at their catcalls, the prisoner just laughed maniacally, its ear splitting sound enough to call attention to every occupant in that closed, damp enclosure.
"Only because I missed you guys soooo much." He cackled as he tried to gnaw the mouth guard before him. This earned him a smack across the back of the head from one of his escorts. He didn't seem to mind however. "Hey, watch the head, mutt. That's my prized possession!"
"Shut up Kaynar." He yanked the chains that held the jackal in place. The trio stopped when they reached a desk where the prison warden sat, a stack of papers in his hand.
"Welcome back, Kaynar of Clan Ra." The older dog started reading off the charges listed upon him. The dog jerked as a wad of spit found itself on his face. He reflexively slapped the jackal's mouth in response, drawing a streak of blood which seemed to please him more than infuriate him.
"You know Kaynar is not a member of any clan, Captain. Do not disrespect me by referring as such." With his tongue he licked the trickle of blood by his jaw. "Mmmm, haven't tasted that in a while. Tasty…if I do say so myself."
The warden sat back down and arranged the papers in his grasp. "How many robberies and assaults did you pull off this time eh, Kaynar?" he squinted upon coming across a particular line. "Murder of Magrus-Ra, his wife, half a dozen of the household help…Lord Cerbero…and his entire staff….who's your accomplice you vile beast?"
"You insult me, Captain Qimmiq." Kaynar appeared offended. "You don't think I can handle those sad little weaklings by myself?" a smirk appeared on his blood-stained mouth. "You may have missed a body count or two, by the way, for which I apologize." he sighed in mock repentance. "All that killing made me quite hungry."
The two other soldiers almost visibly shrank away upon hearing this. The jackal laughed, sensing their discomfort. "I can't say they didn't have it coming." He smiled as though in reverie. "Oh but you should have seen the look on the old man's face when I was ripping his heart out…a thing of beauty no painter can ever quite capture. " and with that he started laughing maniacally again before the superior motioned to take him back to his cell. Kaynar was in tears of laughter by the time they had thrown him in his old hangout. He didn't quite stop until the door shut closed and the guards have gone far and away.
His dark corner of the dungeon in Canis Aureus was home. He was in it more than he was out from the time he was about fifteen. He left it from time to time but returned to it sooner or later.
"Did you miss me old friend?" Kaynar spoke as he stretched his limbs once they were out of his bindings. A skeleton of a dingo sat in a macabre position on the bed right across him. How long it's been there was anyone's guess. "So sorry you couldn't come to the party. You just had to meet up with your bitches in hell too soon huh?"
On the wall Kaynar had carved with his claws the semblance of a face. A beautiful face of a female jackal he once knew, and whose memory forever burned in his head.
"I got them, Mama." He spoke to the etching on the wall. "Every single one." He snickered to himself as he examined the remnants of blood on his claws. "I came back to tell you that I did it! I even have a souvenir!" he paused, squinting as the figure on the wall before him seemed to manage but a sweet, simple smile. From a hidden compartment of his clothing, Kaynar pulled out a still bleeding, warm heart. "Funny…I never thought Grandpa had one of these." He snickered as he violently shook the organ and put to his ear. "I wonder if it works."
He giddily laughed as he leaned against the wall of his own little piece of hell.
"It will be okay Kaynar. It will be okay."
"Of course it will be Mama. Everything will be okay."
Too dark you suppose? Don't say I didn't warn you. Besides, this is Kaynar. I doubt he ever grew up in suburbia with the picket white fences and neighbors that brought you home made pie.
Criticisms are welcome. Flames will be blissfully ignored. If you didn't like it or think it's too disturbing, there's plenty of fiction out there you can read.
Yes, OMG, I didn't write smut. Hey, someone has to get their brain out of the gutter from time to time ;-).
The white wolf in this fic is Ylva, from the story "Redemption" chapter two. Lupus, Magrus-Ra, Narayel and Qimmiq are my original characters. If you wish to borrow them for your fics, do kindly let me know. I'm very negotiable with sharing.
The har referred to in this fic are those horse-like things that Claudus Lion-O and Tygra were riding on in episode 1. The name har was coined by The New Mandalord and first appears in his written work "Assassin of Thundera."
Reviews are welcome and encouraged! We love them! Thank you for reading.
April 27, 2013