This is a story about a type of monster called a Blade.

Early one morning, in the grasslands beneath the shadow of the majestic Xalea mountains, my clan and I spotted a pair of grazing buffalo; a bull and a cow. It was a lucky find. Not one of us had eaten anything substantial in a week, and tempers were running high. Without these animals, I fear it wouldn’t have been long before we began turning on each other.

We all knew the lay of the land quite well. A short distance West, a rocky ravine would open up. A few miles North East would be the Cihndaren settlement, Shadowed Steppe, which took advantage of the cool draft from the mountains, warding off the heat of the tropical valley. The rest of the land was fairly flat, and covered by lush, tall green grass.

I shudder as I say that word… Cihndaren settlement. I hate the Cihndar. I don’t just hate them, I love to hate them. The very thought of them makes my blood boil.

I can’t say I know why I feel this way. As far as I know, all Blades do. Don’t get me wrong, we hate the Laborian and Kellwyn as well, but the Cihndar…

My people tried to eradicate them more than once, but we failed. Today, we just don’t have the numbers. We all dream of the day that we will.

In reality, that was the reason food was so scarce. The Cihndar knew that either we would survive or they would. They keep these lands under tight watch. Because we don’t have the numbers to confront them, we have to take great care to avoid being discovered. As their population increases, so does their watchfulness, causing our hunting grounds to steadily shrink.

But enough of that. This wasn’t the time to dwell on our woes. We had food in sight! Back to the hunt!

After we spotted the animals from a distance, I gathered everyone and laid out a simple plan. Most of the clan was to gather North of animals, where they would be upwind, catching the draft that fell from the snow capped mountains. The prey would be alerted to their presence, and would take a defensive posture, but the clan would stay far enough away so that the beasts wouldn’t bolt.

As they distracted the animals, I would lead a small team around them, and we would stealthily approach from downwind. I asked if everyone understood the plan. “Rawr,” they said eagerly. We understand.

There was one who hesitated. He was what we call a “rawr.” An adult who hasn’t yet outgrown the defiance of youth. Finally he relented. “Rawr,” he said curtly, rolling his eyes. This one has been a problem for a while. He had a bad case of alpha-male syndrome. I would cure him of it with the tip of my arm weapon, but as low as our numbers were, we needed him.

His hesitant acknowledgment had to be good enough. I was just hoping he wasn’t planning on doing anything foolish. We couldn’t have this rawr, idiot, ruining it for us. The stakes were simply too high. If we lose this meal, the clan would probably deteriorate into a hunger fueled rage. If that happened, either I would restore order, or they would all kill each other. There’d already been a near fatal fight just yesterday, a product of the clan’s decent into madness.

Well, we are mad all the time. That’s part of being a monster. Still, we need to save it for the Cihndar. If my people keep coming at each other with those razor sharp arm weapons, we’ll never get another chance to strike at our true enemy. That’s why it was so important for this rawr, punk, to behave himself.

Letting the matter drop, I set my mind to task. Ducking below the waist high greenery, I slowly, quietly worked my way around the unsuspecting animals. It took us about half an hour to get into position, and then I found a long stick. Raising it above the grass without revealing my hand, I waived it slowly before laying it back down. We were ready.

After signaling, I waited a few seconds, and risked raising my head high enough to see what was transpiring. The rest of the clan made themselves visible, keeping their distance just as planned. The buffalo gave them their undivided attention, but didn’t move. Everything was going perfectly smoothly. We started creeping toward our prey, hoping that our growling stomachs didn’t give us away.

Closer and closer we silently inched forward. The beasts were distracted and utterly unaware. Another couple of minutes, and we would all have our fill of mouth-watering red meat.

Just then, the most awful sound imaginable assaulted my ear holes. A Blade’s battle cry. I looked up, and the rawr, the idiot youth, was charging the animals. No! I plead silently. Stay in your position!

The bull charged him, and he screamed in bloodlust filled glee. The cow took off into a sprint West toward the ravine. The idiot! I could only hope that the bull would kill him, though I knew that wasn’t a realistic expectation.

At least we’ll have the bull, I thought darkly. Still, I wanted the cow as well. I couldn’t run fast enough to catch it. It was too far away for me to use a lightning strike on.

Maybe I can do enough damage to slow it down, I thought. So, I raised my arm and unleashed an arc. The bolt struck its left hind leg, though not very well. It tumbled, tried to lick its wound, but then remembered it was being hunted. It got right back up, and continued in a dead run toward the ravine.

I managed to gain precious few seconds. And the beast didn’t seem quite as quick as it was before the strike. The best news, however, was that I was familiar with the ravine. Now that it’s been slowed down, there was at least some possibility that I could catch up with it.

I ran South West as fast as any two legged creature could, knowing where the ravine led. By the time I reached drop off of the sheer granite wall, there was no time for a cautious approach. It was now or lose the beast forever.

I dove from the cliff just as the buffalo thundered by, catching it about the neck. It bucked furiously, and I found myself too preoccupied with holding on to strike. It took only a moment for it to shake me loose. It then attempted to ram me. I rolled out of the way just as its thick skull slammed into the granite behind me with a bone jarring crash.

Unfazed, it then tried to stomp me. I again managed to evade, but before I could counter with my arm weapons, it charged off again. This time, it was well within the range of my lightning strike. So, I lit it up.

The current burned deep into its hind quarters, causing it to falter. It was still alive, though, but not for long. I leapt high into the air, intoxicated by the thrill of the kill, and fell upon it. My arm weapon sliced through its vital organs as though they were but a mirage. I then watched in total satisfaction as the life drained from it.

I instantly realized, however, that my people were far away at this point, and there was no one to help me. So, I grudgingly hoisted the thousand pound animal onto my shoulder, and began the laborious trek back.

By the time that I arrived, the other animal had been dispatched, and divided up. The whole clan, hungry as they were, was waiting for me to return so that they could begin eating. All of them but one. The presumptuous young adult had already began stuffing his face with one of the buffalo legs.

Such uncouth behavior was completely unacceptable, and I let him know it. Marching straight up to him, I declared, “rawr!”

He glared at me. “Rawr!”

I won’t translate that as it’s not entirely appropriate. Needless to say, I was furious. “RAWR!” I shouted.

“RAWR RAWR RAAAWR!” he shouted back.

Can you believe the nerve of this guy? He almost cost us the hunt, and then he couldn’t even wait until I got back? I was the one who brought back the animal which would otherwise have been lost because of his mistake. I organized the hunt in the first place! He couldn’t show me any more respect than this?

“RAAAAAWR!” I reproved.

He glared at me for a moment, and then brought the animal leg down on my head, snapping its bone and splattering me with gore. With that, he’d gone too far. He had to die. I was about to strike him down when I heard the whole of the clan erupt into laughter. Well, the Blade equivalent. Some may think it sounds like snorting. At any rate, I realized that they were right. It was pretty funny. So, I joined in with them, and we all laughed together.

They laughed, he laughed, I laughed.

They laughed, he laughed, I laughed.

They laughed, he laughed, I stabbed him in the throat.

All went silent as he fell to the ground, clutching his ruined windpipe, gasping for air that wouldn’t come. They watched somberly until he finally expired. Then they looked at me. They looked back down at him, and again at me.

The clan then broke into a roar of laughter so loud that I feared the Cihndar would have heard from their town miles away. Thankfully, they didn’t, else I likely wouldn’t be telling you this story.

When the laughter died down, no one objected to me taking the portion that would have belonged to the rawr. Our clan managed to survive another day, and I got a little extra food for my trouble. So then, I suppose that the day didn’t turn out so bad after all.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this story. There will be many more to come, please check back on the 20th of each month. You’re also welcome to join me on Facebook! Until next time.

© 2022