The mud had soaked every drop of the rain, and it ruined the earth. It was soggy, and wet. There were patches where the ground was hollow, and one would sink deep. The no longer wore hard protective skins, even they had been treated to the wickedness of the rain, the flooding. It had been three months now, so far. It seemed fitting, for Thomas was to confront the man he had been running away from these past years. It had been three years since he set eyes on his father, once more.
Thomas had the eyes of his father, a set of piercing green. He had a few whiskers on his hair that differed, but shared the same facial hair, a mix of colours in his beard, but primarily dark brown. Thomas had a rough set of hair that fell down to the bottom of his neck. It had been several moons since he had a chance to cut it. He did not believe in long-hair meant strength. He had enough strength, he would argue. He walked through the stretches of mud, squishing through the plains.
There he was.
There, he waited.
“Has he been waiting for me all of this time?”
A man sat in the rain, his cloak, and trousers on the floor beside him, and his sword in his hands. Thomas’ father was hunting him. This time, Thomas decided to meet him, face to face, to end the hunt once, and for all. He was tired of running, and he was tired of being called something he was not.
“You’re a monster” the ghosts of his past beckoned. “You’re a beast!” they would shout, creating a very large gap between themselves and Thomas. All because of his father’s legend, as the bloodied white wolf.
Thomas however, was the one wearing the cloak now, the one that had seen so much blood it still had the dim colour of sanguine seeped into its fur. Thomas slowly approached the man, standing bandaged, and temporarily fixed together. He had suffered through much, since they last had met. He had fixed his broken bones, and mended his bruises. He had even cleaned his face, before this confrontation. He cleaned his clothes, even though it was raining, and when he was close enough for him to see his father, he could not help but clench his fist. He held his fingers so tightly, he thought they would break. He fixed his stare on his father, and allowed his anger to protect him, and put a wall of strength up between them. He had no time to be soft, not now.
“Thomas, my son. I knew you would not run away forever. You’re not that type of person.”
Thomas thought of something to say but was too slow. Trinson stood up, put his clothes on, and fastened his grim, grey coat to his back.
“How is my sword doing? Are you keeping it in good condition?”
Thomas eyed the sheath he carried on his side for a moment before looking back at Trinson.
“It suits you well.” Trinson announced.
Trinson had a pony-tail that collected most of his hair away from his eyes. There were one or two tufts that fell down the front, but nothing that bothered him. Trinson picked up his scabbarded sword. It laid sheathed in a metal scabbard. the design was intricate, and had his family house imprinted onto the side.
“When you left me, I had to make this sword, a black steel blade. Do you know how hard it was to make?” Trinson refused to let Thomas speak and continued, “No, of course you don’t. You haven’t had a hard day’s work in your life. You had it easy. My mistake. Now, it has come to my attention that you have been sullying our family name. You have struck down a guardian, a friend of mine, and it is something I won’t be able to let go of. You’re my responsibility. I will clean up the mess I made all those years ago.”
Thomas no longer denied his anger, and let it flood through, “I’m your mess? You self-righteous, arrogant bastard.” Thomas reached for his sword, and untied it from around his waist. He took the white-steel blade out of the casing, and when he pulled it out, it rung with the sound of a perfect blade. It had no dents, and was not battered. He pointed the sword to his father and said, “You damned our family the day you let Katherine perform that ritual on our grounds. Mother, she is a part of that tree, alongside those monsters who killed her. Do you realise that? No, of course not. You do not understand the ways of our world. You just like to pretend to.”
Trinson took his sword out of the casing, imitating Thomas, but without a hint of anger in his heart. He pulled a dark grey sword, a ‘black blade’ out of the scabbard. “This blade, is an attribute to my weakness. It is my revenge, and my darkness. The reason for its creation, was to bring you back home.” He faced his sword in the opposite direction to Thomas, affixing his eyes on him, changing his stance, and burying his feet in the mud, and pointing at him, “Dead, or alive.”
Part of Thomas understood this, and let go of part of his anger, as he put himself into this position. He knew he had to be more intelligent than his father, if he was capable of beating him. He had not put in the years like his father did. He had not seen multitudes of battle. He had some catching up to do, but was younger.
They stood head to head, with clothes that weighed on them heavily. They stood with their cloaks fastened, a true marvel to watch. You would have thought they would have died from the cold alone. Both Thomas, and Trinson had been given the markings of the old ones down their arms, and legs. So much so, that they bandaged their body, to hide their markings. Even if the amount was small, that was the thing they had in common, a disgusted feeling of what they had become, by accepting their gifts.
Thomas stood aligned in a good place, not just in body, and though he was furious, he was one with his monster. If you could see their spirit, it would be like the light, and darkness of a person, wreathing around one another, both clutching the sword, together. They stood opposed to the person that created his monster to begin with.
The rain softened for a moment.
That was the moment the battle started.
Both Thomas, and Trinson ran at each other. Thomas stepped heavy, lunging so hard he slid through the mud on his third step, and Trinson swung his sword around. It sliced the hairs over Thomas’ forehead, but Thomas did not falter. He did not blink. He thrust his sword forward, and forced Trinson to move to the side. They met swords on the second bout and sparks from the two blades shot everywhere. The impact of the swords were epic, and after the hit, the blades ran across one another, as the men prepared for the next move. Thomas grabbed his first knife from his pocket, and so did Trinson. They let loose the parried swords, and swung with their alternate hands. Thomas dropped his blade, and grabbed Trinson’s arm, squeezing his wrist so tight, that he caused him to let go of his blade. Trinson dropped his sword, and threw his fist. His sword landed downwards in the mud. Trinson punched Thomas, his fist, connecting to Thomas’ cheek, a punch so hard that it freed Thomas’ feet in the mud. Thomas lost his grip in the floor. That was when his father grabbed him around the waist, throwing him to the floor. He leant on Thomas’ back, and fastened his arms around his neck, “I’m sorry it had to end like this son.”
Thomas gasped, reached for something, anything, he tried to wriggle. The rain, worsened. He was losing his breath.
Thomas unfastened his cloak, he swung his head back as far as he could. He hit something, but could not see. Trinson loosened his grip. Thomas slid out of his cloak, and rolled away from Trinson. He grabbed his sword, and stood up. Trinson did the same. They took a step back, before Trinson took his own cloak off, to imitate him.
They stood opposing one another, like two different colour flames. They panted, but quickly calmed down. Trinson’s nose had blood dribbling from his right nostril. Thomas got lucky, hitting him in such a place. Thomas had two straps, one from his shoulder, down to his waist, and one wrapping around his waist. The straps had three sockets, for his knives. Two of which remained. Trinson, had a knife on a belt around his leg, and two around the strap on his shoulder. One of which, was missing.
They seemed like equals.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have taught me how to fight. You can go home, if this is too tough for you, father.”
Trinson smiled. “That’s the boy I remember, still a cocky little shit.”
Trinson raised his sword to his left, and Thomas did the same. One sword face the right, and one the left. They moved around each other, like wolves fighting for leadership.
“I don’t want to be the bloodied white wolf, I don’t want to be remembered as you.” Thomas cried.
“Then you should have thought of that before you stole my sword, and cloak!”
“What was I to do!? You were killing me! Do you realise what you were doing, trying to pull my monster out of me?”
Trinson refused to believe him. He trusted his own word, and his own word, was right, to him.
Thomas could see the look on his father’s face. He could not believe that his father did not believe him. He purported it was time to show his father why he was living up to his father’s name.
Thomas dug his sword into the mud beneath him. He started untying his bandages with his teeth, and laid them on the ground.
“Did you not think about the weather? You will die if you take your under-layers off.”
Thomas smiled. His stare, still aimed at his father.
“I met Grandfather during my spiritual travels, you know.”
Trinson clenched his weapon tight, “You don’t have the right to speak of him.”
Thomas took out the ritual blade, he had in one of the three pockets of his straps. He cut his hand open, a very fine cut. He slid the blood down his wrists, down his arms, and through every marking he had on his body. He stood there, and though his eyes were green, something about them felt wrong. He looked at Trinson, as if he saw six of him. Trinson gulped, “When did you mark your whole body? Why would you do such a thing? This thing was dangerous enough with the arms and legs.”
“I am the son of the bloodied white wolf, but I am not him.” Thomas grabbed his head. A sharp pain pulsated through head.
That monster within him, that was so balanced, completely took over. In an instant. The markings around his body gave them both enough energy, for his monster to come out.
“What vile nature is this?” Trinson asked.
“Thomas, what have you done?” Trinson pleaded.
Trinson held his sword with two hands, and faced what was in front of him. Thomas stood, in a strange fashion, a little crooked, “We, come from a place much older than your gods, Trinson. We are older than the first ones, and certainly stronger. We may not seem like it, and you may have chose to bury us in the ground as a failure, or a monster, but we are not so. Here, we are weak. Thanks to you, for the first time in the dozens of lives that we have had, walking on this earth, I have been able to hold this body, as my own, and not be a part of him.”
Trinson looked in awe. It was something he had been searching for, for a very long time. Answers to the questions in his head, but suddenly, he felt a horrible, stomach churning sensation in his stomach.
“No, you’re not him. Thomas, fight it!”
Trinson rushed forward, swinging his blade, in a fury. He swung from his right, and Thomas seemed to move underneath it, without a second thought. Trinson swung again, from his left, but Thomas pushed his fingers against the sword, and pushed it away from him.
Trinson jumped a step back.
“Everyone, it’s him. He finally reached for control. I need your help” he bellowed a shout that stretched to the trees behind him.
Thomas was faced with more than one foe.
Berenger ‘the bear’, Delbert ‘the stag’, Griswald ‘The Raven’, Nilvar ‘The boar’, Rodric ‘The fox’,
Six of them stood in front of Thomas.
Six of them, took their cloaks off. They stood as the people who protected their nation, from both humans, and anyone who threatened their mother’s world. By mother, a woman called Lisbett created this order. She stood as one of the last remaining völvas. She knew something was going to come, but wasn’t sure when. It looks like it found them in the end.
“So these, are the six bastards that no parent wanted. I bet you must have thought she really loved you? Aren’t there supposed to be nine of you?” Thomas beckoned,”Trinson, why is it that you received a last name, but the others didn’t, if you’re all equals?”
Trinson whispered words in an archaic voice. There was a battle to happen here, and it was going to be the end of all of them, or the end of one.