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Hi! My name is Anne. Welcome to my traveling blog! Read the latest stories below or check out the list of previous stories in the blog archive on the right!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wolf in Agony (a short story by me)

Way back in May of 2011 (apparently, I didn't recall but Word says so, and thus it must be true) I was very bored and I felt the inspiration to write a short story in a fantasy world based on the old Vikings.
I recently rediscovered it on my hard drive and I decided that it was decent enough to be shared online with others, as long as I touched up the English a little. I can safely say that my English has become a lot better since then, and the story as it was was no longer satisfactory to me. It's improved though probably still by no means perfect, but I feel comfortable enough with sharing it (which gives me the added benefit of never being able to lose it again). 

The name of the main character is one I often use in fantasy games since I wrote it, and I always try to roleplay this character as much as I can. It's based on some old Norse I found online that I mashed together, so especially the full name at the end is very hard to read, but  I hope you enjoy it :)

Imagine him looking something like this :)
Original here: Bakarov's DeviantArt Page

Wolf in Agony

Snow was whipping across his face as he ran through the foothills.
A blazing snowstorm had been beating the lands of his clan into submission for two days now, and it wasn't helping the search for his newly sworn enemy.
With a look of agony and hate in his eyes he looked harshly at his surroundings, looking for signs of his prey. 
The wolves had to be around here somewhere. It had not been long since he found the remains of their own prey: his daughter Krystin. 
The entire pack set on his little girl as she walked through the settlement late in the evening, having spent her time at a friend's place.
Now she was lying in her own house under the care of his wife Ingnarin, but it had been to late.
When they heard her screams the men ran as fast they could, but she was already dead by the time they got to her. He would never forgive himself, or the guards who guarded the settlement.
It was a long winter, and many creatures were starving. The people had trouble keeping their guard up. It was too cold, and all they could think about was sitting inside by a warm fire with something hot to eat. 
Pre-occupied by their thoughts, they had been too distracted to notice the threat that had come hidden by the snowswept winds.
They had not noticed the small pack of wolves that snook inside, as white as the snow around them. Before anybody knew they were there, they had found their meal.
Normally wolves would not attack humans, let alone a whole settlement. But the long winter had forced them to undertake an act of desperation, and the small girl who just went home had become their victim.

And now Byrnghaer was out here, in search for the pack responsible for the death of his only child.
The guards shot several of them with arrows as the pack fled from the settlement, after they got startled by the noise of the entire clan awakening and rushing to arms.
But the six wolves lying dead back in the settlement had not been enough for Byrnghaer. He would not rest before he had seen the entire pack dead at his feet, had looked on as their life gushed out of their corpses, warm and melting the snow.
Before anyone could stop him or join him, he rushed past the small palisade with his bow and his handaxes.
He slipped to a halt, and took a look at his surroundings.
As the wind played with his long beard and hair, he found himself at the edge of a forest so big, cold and dark, he shivered under his cloak.
The trees were so big and high that he noticed no movements down below where he was standing. The treetrunks were simply to big. But at the top of the trees the wind had full game, and the tree tops shook around terribly, shaking off their snowy load.
This snow slowly fell down into the forest itself, where there was considerably less wind then outside or in the top of the woods.
He looked at the tracks by his feet, and saw his expectations confirmed: the pack fled into the woods.

Several pairs of yellowish eyes stared at the man standing on the forest edge.
The alpha wolf knew they outnumbered the man, but was in doubt about what to do. The lonesome man should be an easy prey, but he smelled no fear in the wind. And so he stayed hidden between the bushes of the forest, watching and waiting.
One of the other wolves in the pack began to get anxious when he started sensing the unexpected aura of rage that seemed to eminate from the man. He crawled further out of sight, but in his anxiety he moved too fast and brushed along a bush, causing it to lose the snow heaped upon it.
The wolf knew he had made a grave mistake, and with his tail between his legs he made whimpering, apologetic noises and crawled towards the alpha male to try and right the wrong.
The alpha male knew their cover was blown. An instictive sense took hold. In the wilderness a pack is only as strong as it's weakest member. Individuals that endangered the pack could not be allowed to stay. As the cowardly wolf approached, the alpha's anger took over and he bit the coward wolf in the neck, ripping it open. It had been too inexperienced and weak of will, and would never be given the chance to become a full-fledged member of the pack. He would have endangered the success of other hunts when they were most needed, and in a harsh environment like Nordheim every hunt was vital for the survival of a pack.
Although he did not justify it accordingly, the alpha male took out a weak chain under his command, securing the pack’s survival.

Byrnghaer heard the snow fall. Suddenly there was a whimper, followed by a snarl, then gurgling. He knew he had found what he was looking for. Slowly he took the bow of his back and put an arrow on the nock, and quickly took aim.

The alpha male spit out a tuft of fur from the coward wolf’s neck, wich was now lying on his side with his still warm blood soaking the ground beneath it. Though his action would have secured the pack's survival, he had chosen the wrong moment. He had not been keeping watch on the man outside the forest, and the other wolves in the pack were too startled by the sight of their leader killing one of their own.
In this moment of weakness, the first arrow hit home. It punched straight through the lungs of the wolf nearest to the alpha male, and it collapsed on the spot.

Byrnghaer quickly took another arrow from the quiver, and fired it into the bushes.
He heard something bark out in pain, and satisfyingly knew he had killed at least one of the wretched beasts that were responsible for the death of Krystin. Krystin would be avenged.
Suddenly five wolves burst out of the forest edge, and came at him full speed.
He quickly drew another arrow, and shot one of the charging wolves. The arrow pierced the chest and found the heart, and the wolf crashed rolling through the snow.
The pack was getting closer now. He threw down his bow and quickly grabbed hold of his two axes.
In the seconds the pack needed to reach Byrnghaer, the Viking touched the runes inscripted on the blades. 
“ODEN!” Shouted Byrnghaer, “Grant me strength!” 

As the first wolf reached him and jumped at his throat, Byrnghaer yelled in a savage rage and turned to evade his attacker, turning his body to be ready to strike.
When the wolf hit the ground and before it had a chance to turn around, Byrnghaer had already embedded one axe deeply into it's back.
The second wolf saw an opportunity when the man had his back turned to him. He jumped and bit firmly into his target.
Thankfully the cloak Byrnghaer was wearing was made of a thick cloth, and the teeth of the wolf did not get deep into Byrnghaer’s flesh.
The man let go of the axe that was planted in the first wolf’s back, and reached over his shoulder to get a hold of his cloak.
A strong pull forward with his strong muscles made the wolf on his back make a big swing around the man as it held onto the cloak.
Before it could react it was bashed in the head with the blunt side of Byrnghaer’s axe, and it fell down in front of the man. Quickly Byrnghaer turned the axe in his hand and rammed it into the neck of the creature, and yanked it back out. The circulatory system of the wolf would make short work of the rest. A big stream of steaming blood squirted up into the air.
He put his foot on the first wolf he killed and with a hard pull he got his first axe back too.

Turning around he saw the last two wolves circling around him in a careful fashion.
After seeing several of his pack being killed so quick by the furious man, the alpha male became more careful in it's approach, and following the alpha’s example, so did the other wolf.
Byrnghaer measured his position, prepared his body to act.
He measured his opponents. The biggest wolf obviously was the alpha male, and his biggest threat, but the other wolf circled around him and if he was not careful, it would catch him off guard.
Slowly he moved his axes around in his hands to get a better hold of them.
He looked at his foes more closely. The alpha male had a very white fur, and he could easily see the red stains on it's head and along it's jawline.
It was the blood of his daughter, of Krystin. In his agony and sorrow, his hate for the wolves became so big he swoar to take hunt down every wolf he could find. They would all pay for the day the wretched creatures chose Krystin ByrnghaersD├│ttir to be their prey!
His hate overcame his good senses and he charged at the alpha male.
“Krystin! Your vengeance is here!” He shouted.
The sudden developments overtook the alpha male for a split second. He was startled by Byrnghaer’s yelling. Realising he was in danger, he growled deeply and ran at Byrnghaer.

The sun was setting behind Byrnghaer as he charged at the big wolf. 
The sky became twilight, and it reflected in the wolf’s eyes, and on the glimmering on his teeth. The same teeth that ripped the life out of his Krystin. It gave him a devilish look.
He would wear those teeth around his neck, he would skin the corpse of this hated wolf and wear it in memory of his little girl, and he would hunt wolves where ever he found them.
All this went through Byrnghaer’s mind in the few seconds before Man and Wolf met.
In the next few seconds the wolf did something unexpected. Instead of jumping at the man’s throat he bashed himself into Byrnghaer’s stomach, causing the swing of his axe to miss.
All breath got knocked out of Byrnghaer, and the vengeful Viking fell on his back.
The damn wolf be cursed, to shame him so! Before he could try to get up, he got pushed back almost immediately by the alpha wolf who quickly had gotten up and was now standing over Byrnghaer in an attempt to bite him in the throat.
All Byrnghaer could do was to try and keep the wolf at bay. He had his hands under the wolf’s chest, his axes crossed so he could not strike.

The last wolf in the pack saw the moment of opportunity in this new situation. 
In the seconds the alpha male and the man charged eachother, the wolf had run around the fight and so it took him longer to get into the thick of it. But now he could attack from behind...
The situation was turning grimmer by the second for the proud Viking, as he lay on his back trying to fend off two hungry and angered wolves...

Byrnghaer was staring at the blickering teeth that were trying to reach his throat. 
The harsh environment of Nordheim grew strong men, but he needed all of his strength to keep the large alpha wolf at bay.
Then the second wolf reached him, and bit into his shoulder. 
Byrnghaer screamed in pain, and in his anger and desperation his strength grew so big that he managed to roll over, switching roles between him and the two wolves.
Now it was the alpha wolf who found himself on his back, locked in place by Byrnghaer’s powerful thighs which pressed his legs to the side, and with a sickening snap his front legs broke at the shoulder joints.
He howled viciously and snapped at the man who was holding him down, but his jaws could not reach him.
In the mean time, Byrnghaer disposed of the wolf clinging onto his shoulders. He let go of his axes and grabbed the wolf in the neck, and pulled him over his shoulders. 
He threw the wolf as far as he possibly could.
It landed on it’s feet and immediately rushed at Byrnghaer again but the Viking got hold of his axes in time. Right in the middle of the jump the wolf tried to stop and turn around.
If Byrnghaer had not been in so much pain over the loss of his daughter, he could have laughed at how the wolf suddenly stopped his attack in mid-air.
But now the beast was escaping from him, and he could not let that happen! In a rage Byrnghaer got up and charged after the wolf.
The alpha male could not get far on broken front legs. It would not get away. But he would be damned if he didn't get the whole of the pack responsible for his daughter's death.
The wolf was fast, too fast, and Byrnghaer ran as fast as he could. In his determination, he exerted himself like he had never before. His legs and lungs were burning. They could not deal with the cold air so well, and he started getting chest pains. The world went red before his eyes. Slowly the wolf was getting farther away from him. He realized he would never be able to get within striking distance.
”ODEN!” He yelled, “Guide my axe!” And with all the strength in his arm, Byrnghaer threw an axe after the wolf.

The wolf, in his fear, ran as fast as he could. He knew the man was coming after him and this terrified him more than anything else he had previously experienced
But when Byrnghaer’s axe hit home and plunged itself deep into his hind leg, it knew it was done for.
Howling it looked at the forest edge where he might have found safety, just a few meters away.
It crawled on it's front legs as fast as it could, but with the heavy axe embedded in it's body, it couldn't manage more than a slow crawl. 
When Byrnghaer reached him, the wolf was howling with such terrible desperation, it chilled Byrnghaer’s heart. But he would know no mercy. 
It was in the nature of the animal to hunt and kill, but Byrnghaer cared not. He would have Krystin avenged.
He took his remaining axe into his right hand as he fell onto his knees and quickly slaughtered the wolf that almost got away.
Then in a quick jog he got back to the alpha wolf.
It had been trying to get away as well, but since he could not stand upright, it had been trying to plow itself through the snow headfirst.
The man let his weapons drop, and walked over to the wolf that was now helplessly within his command.
He grabbed a hold of the wolf’s neckfur and pulled it up to his head, so it could face the man who would kill him and look him in the eye as he did so.

The wolf was in terrible pain and could not prevent itself from being lifted from the ground, and he could not claw at the man with his legs broken.
But he could put up a last defense, and that he did. In his desperation the wolf tried biting the man once more, even though he would never be able to reach him.
Byrnghaer looked the enraged wolf in the eyes. They were brownish eyes. Then he laughed at the wolf, but it was no happy laugh. It was a laugh as cold as the winterstorm they were standing in. It held all the sadness and bitterness in the world.
Then he spit the wolf in the face, even though it would mean nothing to the creature as it would have to another man. But he had to ventilate his resentment for the beast.
“So you are the one who killed my daughter”, he said.
“After I kill you, I will wear your skin in memory of my Krystin. The meat I rip from your bones will burn on the same funeral pyre that will take my daughter up to Valhalla, up to Oden where she belongs. Know that your pack is dead, wolf. Know that all your kind will be hunted by me. Know that I am your death, and that I am the death of your kind.”
The wolf howled at the man in answer, and with a quick powerful hit, Byrnghaer broke the wolf’s neck. It was over. 

Byrnghaer threw the corpse of the creature onto the snow.
For the first time after he had seen his young daughter dead, he could think of something other then hate and revenge. 
The sight of Krystin's mangled body covered in wolf-bites flashed through his mind and then froze in place. Slowly he fell to his knees, and tears rolled down his face and froze in his beard.
It was not common for a man to show his emotions so clearly, but he was alone, and he was not ashamed of the love he felt for his Krystin. 
In agony, he howled like the wolves that killed her.
“KRYSTIN! Krystin, my girl, my beloved little girl!”, he cried. “Why did they take you? Why did you take her Oden, Allfather? Why did she have to suffer so? Why could you not take me instead?” 

He wanted to sit there forever and not stand up. For hours he wanted nothing but to freeze to death. But he realised he could not allow himself to follow his daughter into the afterlife. He had to return to the settlement and comfort Ingnarin, his wife, who was caring for the body of their beloved child. He had to make sure she got the funeral she deserved, his daughter, sweetest of them all.
He took up the corpse of the alpha male and hung it over his shoulder, bound together the feet of the other wolves. As he dragged the wolves with him and set to return home, he thought of how much he’d like to cut them up, to grind them into a bloody pulp and leave nothing left of the wolves’ existance.
But he did not do so. He would skin them at the settlement, and he would make clothes of the pack. He would tear out the teeth that ended the life of Krystin, and he would wear them around his neck. And out of the alpha wolf, he would make himself a cloak, from wich the head would be placed on his head, and the paws would hang over his shoulders.
He wanted to let everybody know, to let every wolf know, that Byrnghaer was reborn into a new life. 
At the age of 28, he had all he had wanted in life: a beautiful wife, a daughter he could love. Now his family was torn apart, and his life would never be the same.
Byrnghaer the hunter was no more.

As time passed on, the people of his clan would call him by a new name in secret. They would not dare confront him openly, as all could clearly see the man was not the same anymore and feared what he would do. A darkness had come over him. 
His obsession for the killing of wolves would earn him a new name among his people over the following years.
Byrnghaer GyloirinSvioi was born: Wolf in Agony…

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