Angron The Mad
A story about Angron, reimagined by me. I hope you enjoy it. So far it only has one chapter, working on more.
Through the immaterium passed a child, echoing screams within clouds that passed in the breeze, waves pushing it forward as light struck darkness and they melded, shadows streaking the creases. The waves split and the pup was separated from their litter, a catapult of energy throwing them into unreality, a falsehood that was true yet not. Meaningless, yet meaning more than anything. It pierced back into reality, the child back from whence it came. Flames licked the edges of its pod as it passed through the atmosphere. Liquids inside kept them temperate, stopping them from boiling away to nothing.
The pod struck the ground, the earth under it shook and fell around the area, its capsule cracked open and shards of glass strewed the crater it had left. Liquids bled out of its home while it had its first breath. A groan and a gag as it coughed out the viscous mixture that had filled its lungs, tasting the fresh air. It was soft, cold in a good way. The forest it had landed in was loud: chirps of birds, cicadas that squealed in the canopy all trying to be heard. The blessed silence of its pod, the hum of nothing and softness of darkness left it, having left it to an endless barrage of sound that hammered its senses, it sat there crying and let out a screech that shook trees from their roots. Its scream then echoed through the destruction, something which alerted a far worse threat than any mere predator hidden in the green.
“The red beast weeps, hold fast and prepare to attack.” The Farseer’s orders echoed through their skulls, the three warriors getting into a diamond formation as they galloped towards the scream, a siren call beckoning them to finish what should never have started, ready to cull the terror before the first pang of fear comes. “Farseer, this is a mon’keigh, this is true. But will we be enough? Should we not have brought a Wraithlord? Our ancestors, their experience would be paramount.” One of the aspects spoke up, a hint of fear betraying his war mask, he wasn’t moving in formation, he lagged behind..
“It is but a hatchling right now Olahyn, had I brought anything more than what we have, then the mon’keigh would have been alerted to our presence. We are the strong, the powerful. Yet, only a fool can think that numbers cannot defeat us eventually.. Though, what does it matter, it is but a babe unable to fight the elements, let alone three aspect warriors and a Farseer of my might and position.” The warrior nodded, his commander's words gleamed in his mind. As they passed through the shrub, their movements betraying no noise, they arrived at the new clearing. Dust and rocks still not settled, the child screamed louder as it felt them approach, its eyes still closed.
“It seems their king, he grows his young like the Druchii do their own. A disgusting display.” The Farseer told them, he slid down into the crater with grace, walking to the pod. He looked with curiosity at the child, he reached out a hand to grab it. He held it by the leg in front of him, studying the cub in his hands, no mother to save it.
The child was angered by his grip, it screeched louder and louder, the Farseer felt a burning pain in his ears. The noise grated terribly, but he was naught if not steadfast, and observed it, wondering if it would tire of this soon. After a bit the cub seemed to calm, it opened its eyes, opening its mouth and baring its fa- no teeth yet.
The Farseer’s curiosity got the best of him, he reached in to inspect the beast. All he felt was flesh, he wondered when the mon’keigh grew their teeth. As he kept feeling around, he sensed something poke out. He tried to ascertain what it was hiding under the surface of flesh, where their ja- his train of thought ended when the child bit down. Searing pain shot through his body as he felt his finger crack. He attempted to throw it off, waving his hand, screaming in pain.
His warriors held fast, not firing lest they risk hitting their Farseer in the scuffle. He must be able to kill something so weak and frail, right? He said it was no threat himself. Maybe the crack was from it’s jaw, not his bones? “Farseer, do you require a-” one of them began to say when his voice struck their mind.
“Get it off me! Get it off!” His voice drilled into their skulls, the child had moved deeper, now biting and tearing into his hand, growling. When he stopped waving his arm and prepared to strike it, he felt his flesh tear, a pain ate his thoughts and mind as he fell to his knees. An artery let his blood pool down onto the dirt. He attempted to heal his flesh with psychic power, but the cub had now clambered up his arm and grabbed onto his eyes, squeezing for dear life. The aspect warriors rushed down to get it off his face but could do nothing except grab at it, trying to pull it off. A loud squelching echoed when one of the aeldar finally ripped the beast off the Farseer, his face’s skin in its hands as it turned to the warrior, it clambered onto the back of his head and stretched the skin over his throat as it choked him.
One of the warriors drew his power sword and went in for the kill, but before he struck, he felt a weight on his hand so heavy it was as if Khaine himself held it. His bones rotated and creaked, contorting his limbs. Loud snaps as his spine ripped and cracked that were accompanied by the Farseer screeching as he bled out on the ground.
The final aspect grew sick of this charade and fired his shuriken catapult at the monster, aiming without thought only for it to pull on the warrior it was choking. The disc struck him directly in the face, shattering his helmet, leaving the aeldar slumped on the ground. The beast stood over the corpse for a moment, as if contemplating it’s next target. It turned its face to the last warrior, his breathing heavy and laboured, his heart beating faster than it ever had before. The monster's eyes were closed as it stared at him, tilting its head. He felt exposed under its gaze.
The soldier grabbed his dead comrade’s power sword, standing sideways, his blade in front of him, ready as he waited for the monster to strike, his breath still shaky, his body filled with adrenaline and fear. The child stood and walked off his dead comrade, ready to finish off the screaming Farseer who had regained some composure at this point.
“Where is it? Tell me so that I can strike it, damn you! Damn you all, I hope your soul is taken--” The warrior heard the Farseers last words echo through his mind, he screamed that it was in front of him. The eye sockets of the Farseer began to glow as his hands sparked with psychic energy. He tried to stand up but the child kicked the Farseer's knee, making him slip. It grabbed his hand and pressed it against his head. His armor acted as a cage when the psychic energy lashed and tore through him, the psychic scream echoing through the Aspects mind as his Farseer turned to dust, his armor falling to the ground steaming..
“How… you are, just a filthy mon’keigh, a rotten beast! My… my son! They saw nothing like this, you were meant to die! I saw your corpse, you were meant to DIE-” The Warrior was interrupted when he felt the monster's foot crack his skull. His corpse falling to the ground with a sickening crunch.
The monster hunched over it's mound of corpses, the crater painted with their blood, viscera strewn around the ground like the scraps of a meal unfinished. The creature held a steady breath, the growls and noises of the forest being drowned out as it roared, a screech that echoed through the green. Even the trees seemed to still with fear, in the silence that followed, lest they were next.
The child wandered the land aimlessly, killing what it found, eating what was left behind. Soon it saw that furs kept it warmer than its skin, that tying bits of sharp flint to its hands with straw killed faster. Yet something was missing from its life, it was surviving, this was true, yet there was still something missing. At this point it could stand upright, walk and even run, which was a fine pleasure for it, as was ripping branches from trees and listening to the sound it made.
It had taken to wearing one of the shiny rocks it had found on its attackers, tying it around its neck using string. The way it gleamed pleased it. It took about a week for the child to arrive near anything interesting, passing into a great, barren desert along the way and seeing some strange light in the distance at night. Much brighter than anything its measly rock could produce, a massive beacon shone across a vast expanse, walls that went high into the sky, at least a hundred meters up.
The child wanted nothing more than to visit this behemoth of a place. Thus it’s journey began, crossing the desert that surrounded the behemoth. The night brought immense cold, the child shaking and shivering, running as fast as it could to heat up. It was forced to rest from the pain in its legs, with a hope that maybe the morning sun would make it warm enough to travel once more.
So the child slept, squeezing against its furs in a hope to stay warm. As the morning came, the child woke to a hiss. When it opened its eyes, a long serpent-like creature poked out of the sand and stared at it. It seemed to have a carapace on it’s head, made of rings armoring the tip. No eyes nor a mouth, the rest of the scales were yellow and light brown in a checkered pattern. The kid stood up and began to growl back, hoping it could scare this new creature off. But the scaly beast stayed, raising itself higher, growing ever taller out of the earth. The creature was large, it’s head was big enough to fit the child in its maw twice over.
The child grew anxious of this beast, and so tried to get the first strike in, grabbing what looked like the beast's neck, trying to choke it. The creature appeared annoyed at best, its scales shook and squirmed as the hissing grew louder. The child’s grip softened, it sensed something was wrong, the sand under it shifted like a wave. It couldn’t hold on any longer, the serpent threw its head which threw the child into the air. The serpents tail began to open up as the scales on its tip creaked and moved, a crack as it whipped the air.
Behind it, it heard the dunes shake as sand spilled forth, when it looked back, the kid saw two red globes black in the middle looking back at it. A massive head opened, rows upon rows of teeth filled its mouth, the ivory blades wiggling like a wave in the red cavern. The child's breath grew shaky as it began to fall.
The head didn’t move, staring at the child as the whole of the desert began to shake. A loud blaring siren wail could be heard in the distance. The child put its arms around its knees and hoped for the best if it was going to die, it hoped it wouldn’t do so before it reached the shining beacon standing in the sand. If this guardian was the trial to enter, then such was its fate. But for now, surviving the fall was paramount.
The dunes split as sand flew into the air, a storm of dust forming as the desert awoke. The child slamme into the sand, its legs and arms scraped across the rough surface as tiny rips in its skin collected all over it body, bleeding a drop each from all its wounds. Its furs billowed in the wind as sand filled its lungs. A cacophony of coughs was accompanied by a crash when a hiss echoed through the ground. The siren screech coming from the behemoth slamming into the child's ears. A sand filled scream erupted from them as the head of the beast raised itself through the sand, staring down at the child, its beady eyes looking at the pest as if it was but a toy for the monster to play with. The kid was struck again by instinct: fight, or flight. This time, there was no escape from this situation, there was only one real choice.
The child roared as it rushed the massive scaley titan of a beast, the animal's eyes growing red and bloodshot when it grabbed onto the top of the creature's head, holding onto its scales trying to rip at them to no avail. The beast seemed annoyed, not threatened, it looked to find an easy way to deal with the pest, it slinked back down into the sand out of sight, leaving the kid to cough its lungs out to get rid of the sand. Then, everything stopped for a moment. An eerie silence hit the desert, even the wind stopped. The child looked around, the sand was gone from its lungs. Had it, had it won?
The child had only a seconds peace before the monster flew out of the sand, coming from underneath them where it promptly opened its mouth and caught the kid in its jaws, who fell through its maw. It’s fangs sliced each part of them, agitating the already painful scratches from the sand. It fell through the waves of teeth, its blood spilled and its furs ripping, the child grabbed onto the flesh at the roof. The heat from inside of the beast was unbearable, hotter than anything that the child had ever felt before. It slammed their fist into the flesh as the monster roared, air hit the child like a hammer as the monster tried to blow them out of its mouth. It held on for dear life, its hand turning red as they tried to keep their grip.
The monster roared and everything shook, the child felt its grip loosen as it was thrown off. Slamming into its fangs, the child felt pain like it never had before. A scream erupted from it, their body stuck in the tendrils of the beast. It wanted to fight against the beast, to shake themselves off but with every second the monster only impaled them deeper into it’s fangs. Everything was beginning to lose its color, was this it? So close to their goal, only to be stopped by the guardian of the city…
This was it, the child could feel its life leaking, it’s blood coated the fangs red, the pain melded into an emptiness as the child felt its death coming. It couldn’t fight this, it couldn’t flee either.
The child cried out, tears coating its cheeks, the end seemed near. The siren scream had stopped a long time ago, only its pained yell and the steaming heat of the monster was heard. As the child began to feel its eyes close, salvation arrived. The monster roared, its mouth opening, blinding the child as light struck it again. It heard a loud thud and a crash as the monster was thrown by something, smoking flesh burned with a hiss. A moment's pause as the movement of the monster forced the child deeper over its teeth, fear, a true terror fuelled them to not die just yet.
Another sound arrived, louder this time., an all encompassing sound that could only be described as the air itself being cut and torn, a light that passed through the flesh that blinded the child for a moment. The monster's head flew as a massive blue beam of light struck it, splitting the head off the body, showing it the outside as it saw a massive beige monster with a long barrel and a neon blue smoke escaping off its sides… The fangs released the child, letting them fall to the sands. The barreled giant moving towards it, not walking but sliding through the terrain, a serpents grace with a monsters brute force. Over the dunes, it could see that this monster wasn’t alone: on the horizon came another, and then another, and then another - a whole pack of these beasts.
It stopped near the child as the top opened up and someone leaned their head out, looking at them with confusion.
“Hey Matt, there’s a kid here!” The man said, scratching his head as he stared at the child.
“What do you mean there’s a kid? What would a kid be doing out here?” Another voice was heard from inside, the Child's breath grew heavy and tired. Its eyes start to close, the sands under it now streaked by red.
“Shit, hold on. Hand me the medkit, he looks hurt!” The man leaned back inside before jumping off and running to the child, the kid feeling a sharp pain as something was stabbed into it. The last thing it heard before it passed out was:
“Don’t worry, you’re going to be just fine…” it couldn’t understand the words he spoke, but the voice was soothing to hear nonetheless.
It finally woke, opening it’s eyes lazily, surveying its surroundings, going from the sands to the white light of this room, made up of brittle looking surfaces that reflected the light coming from the roof. Strange contraptions covering it, filling the air with whirrs and noise. As it shielded its eyes it heard a voice, though it could not understand what he was saying. Pushed onto its stomach, held down, not enough strength to fight back, its pale skin cold, left only with a hint of life. What stood in front of it was a large man, same as him, only much taller, lean and frail looking. wearing something it couldn’t understand, furs that looked softer than anything the child had ever worn. Yet these furs were thin, looking more like the skin of a beast than its fur.
The man stood over the young one, brandishing a large syringe, tapping it twice before stabbing it into the kids arm. Its mind going numb as the syringe struck, the pain turning mute and dull. Leaving only a lifeless throb of flesh. He looked over his patient, satisfied, pulling out a strange device, a hand-held metal syringe surrounded by fleshy reds, something resembling a heart at the top of it, the organ pulsing every now and again. The man shook his head, pushing the spike down into the child's chest, knocking the air out of them as it pierced it’s heart. The strange machine began to throb, a hollow pumping sound echoing through the room as it pulsed and pushed. The child's colors returned, life blushed its skin once more and colors returned to its now dampening vision.
The young one felt consciousness begin to drift once more, a slow descent back to the depths. The child turned their head and looked to the man, who shook his head and said:
“Well beast kid, they’re throwing you to the wolves, if you could survive in the wilds then you might have a shot. I hope Etana looks upon you.” The man said, he smiled at the kid. something that it hadn’t ever seen before, the final sight as it drifted back down.
It saw a sea of glowing light flickering through a wave of darkness, its eyes were closed but it saw more than it ever had. The strange taste of violet coated its tongue. To rest in a place like this was the finest feeling, a final resting place for the young one as it felt its life finally nearing an end. And yet, the living would leave no rest for the dead, for now rest was only a dream, it was time to get back up. A pain ran through the child, a searing spike that spread across its body as life returned.
It awoke with a jolt, jumping back up to its feet only to crash down onto the ground face first, it noticed that there was something on its neck. A hard metal surrounding its neck that it couldn’t quite pull off without breaking its own spine, studded with spikes and chained to a tall metal pole in the ground. Coughs interspersed by groans of pain, it finally got a hint of its surroundings. It heard cheers and whoos, stuck in a massive space that was just sand and bones. Walls that were almost five times its size, with creatures that looked like it, but much taller, sitting atop them. They cheered and hawed, some standing as they howled. These weren’t a few dozen no, not hundreds nor thousands… tens of thousands. A sea of creatures that reached to the sky like nothing the child had ever seen before.
As it looked around it saw a row of empty spaces built into the bottom of the wall, metal bars on these strange cages. While the cheers continued, it could feel something strange about its body. The sand monsters fangs were still stuffed all over it, but there was no pain. It was leaking blood all over ground but it felt more energetic than ever. Never having felt anything like this before it met the stab man gave it a sense of strength. That was, until the bars on the cages rose, moving upwards with a grating screech, waking that which layed in the dark. Yellow and red eyes that hid in the darkness now came out, large furred creatures with teeth that almost out of their mouths. Growls surrounded the child. The kid tried to run but fell as its chain yanked the collar on its neck, forcing it to stay on all fours as it pulled on the chain trying to break it. The growl of beasts and cheers from the crowd mixed into an ear drum shattering concoction that slammed the child's skull with a procession. It’s breathing was rapid, heart threatening to beat out of its chest and a ringing in its ears that just got louder.
Tears started to leak from it as the beasts got closer, fear began to evolve into terror as the futility of what was happening became clear. There was no flight here, only fight: a battle for the amusement of others, survival for itself and only a meal for the beasts of the show. The child got down on all fours and clambered up the pole as far as it could go. The beasts took the bait and one of them pounced, the child grabbed onto its chain with one hand and jumped from the pole, pulling the chain around the creatures neck, tying it to the post and pressing down as hard as it could, a howl that turned to gargling before a snap silenced the beast. The four others watched, as if amused at the child's attempt to fight back. One of them towered over the rest, a large cut on its left eye and rougher fur than the others. The cut one sat down, spectating while the as the rest struck at the child.
One bit down the kids arm, with the Child slamming a fist into the beasts stomach as hard as it could, a sickening squelch that was followed by it vomiting onto them. This moment gave the Child enough time to grab its jaw and top of its head, letting the kid crush their skull in its hands, forcing a last yelp before the beast stopped moving, two were now left excluding the alpha, one having a hungry look in it’s eyes as it jumped down on the child's leg biting deeply into it, its teeth ripping off skin and flesh that it gorged down on, the pain going through whatever was supposed to dull its agony, giving the child a spasm that stunned them for a moment. A squeal followed, as the beast chewed on its flesh. The Child wanted to strike back but was quickly distracted by the third beast that pounced onto it, pushing them into the ground as it tried to bite down on its head, the beast’s teeth surrounding the kid’s face, They were stopped from finishing the Child off by the death grip that it had on the monsters mouth, holding it open as best it could, the strength of the creature immense as it kept trying to bite down. The hungry beast swallowed down a fine cut of thigh, quickly coming in for seconds. The crowd was losing it, cheers and hoots as drool dripped down onto the child's face, a growl from the beast echoing in its skull. It put its legs around the beast and spun, squeezing its hands into its jaw, the teeth pressing down and through their fingers, the pain muffled, turned blunt by whatever was coursing in its blood. The hungry beast stopped for a moment to watch, waiting for a better moment to take another bite. The child held down the monster, letting go of its jaw to dodge a bite. The beast's mouth closed for a moment, licking it’s lips. The child used this, raising it’s arms and crashing down a double blow on the top of the creature’s head that made it squeal, the kid headbutting its headbutting the beast in the face, biting down into it’s cheek hard enough that the clack of it’s teeth could be heard by even the furthest crowd members. It ripped off the flesh and skin, spitting it away and going right back down for more. The hungry beast took its opportunity and bit down on the child's arm, getting another dose of flesh, distracting the kid from it’s attacks. Blood spilled on the crimson dyed sands and the crowd had at this point, grown as wild as the combatants.
The child kicked at the hungry beast behind it, throwing it away. It grabbed the head of the beast in front of it and squeezed as hard as it could. The skull creaked before it finally cracked, leaking brain down into the sands to join the blood, sinew and flesh. The child stood on weak legs, leaning onto the rod. Its leg missing half its flesh, something long and white between the red meat. The child out of breath, its tongue tasting as metallic as the pole that it leaned on, it’s bleeding slowed. The fangs of the desert serpent that dotted its back stopping it from laying down. As the child looked back up at the hungry beast, it seemed to smile, it walked towards the child casually. Not a roar, nor a peep from it, until a cackle rose from its stomach. It jumped onto the child, who ripped out two fangs from its back that it slammed into the sides of the hungry beast’s neck. This did not stop it, only holding its body in place as the cackles grew louder, its maw not quite reaching the child just yet. This did not stop the one who hungered. The beast reached out its tongue, crossing the child's face as it lapped up the blood and viscera that had covered it. Even when it wiped its head clean it kept going, the rough barbs of the tongue ripping new wounds into the child’s face, who at this point had enough, when the beast went in for another lap the child bit down on the hungry one’s tongue, ripping it in half and splashing more blood onto the ground until it turned to a puddle, the hungry beasts cackles growing louder and louder, the blood from its tongue going down its body and dying it’s fur. The cackles kept going, joined by the chorus of the crowd loudly echoing through the child’s head, pain, fatigue and rage mixing until it’s rage hit the peak, shoving it’s hand into the beasts stomach and hitting everything it could on the inside until the beast’s belly ripped open and spilled it’s organs onto the ground, steam escaping from the warm intestines. The cackles began to grow quiet until finally the beast's eyes drooped closed and it’s body turned heavy. The child dropped it and looked to the final cut one with an apathy in it’s eyes.
The largest one, a monster with enough muscle and strength to finish off the tired child. As the child got onto all fours and began to growl it felt the once muted pain come back as sharp pangs all over its body. Its legs grew weak and its hands felt heavier than ever, its eyes half closed and mind as dense as the walls of this arena.
The beast watched it, yawned and a rumble emitted from its throat. The child waited for it to pounce, waited for it to strike. All that it had ever met would either attack or run away from it. As the wait kept going, the child felt its eyes grow warm with tears. The attack hadn’t arrived yet, only the loud cheers of the crowd and a rumble from the beast. A loud horn went off in the arena, and it felt its legs weakening. A sob came from it, its body grew too heavy to bear, the big beast finally went up to the child. Slowly, with purpose. As it arrived the child felt something awaken in the depths of it’s mind, an infinite rage that overflowed from a well at the pit of it’s stomach, it closed its eyes, finally ready, when it felt something new.
A tongue lapping at its face, a paw on its back that didn’t strike with claws. The barbs a horrid reminder, the paw pressing down on a fang. As the monster kept rumbling, the great small beast hugged it tightly, the rumble grew louder and almost sounded like a purr, which stopped abruptly as the beast pressed down as hard as it could, a loud squeal and an echoing pop filled the arena, before a moment of silence. It was out of breath, tired, done. It fell onto it’s knees with the pup on it’s lap. The beast’s ears bombarded once more as the crowd hollered and hooped, it’s cheers and words falling on deaf ears as the beast closed it’s eyes and ignored them.
When the crowd finally got bored of watching a napping toddler and dead canine the guards came in, holding large electrified staffs, colored and scaled plate armor wearing helmets with wings adorned on them that stretched upwards on the sides. They walked towards the child, the one at the front spinning his staff in his hand as he grabbed the child by the scruff, one of the younger guards putting on a pair of cuffs while the child couldn’t move, whatever it was drugged with was losing its touch, leaving it stuck on the ground writhing in pain. The men looked to their leader for instructions. He paused and thought on it.
“Put some blue moons on him, the Lanista will deal with him.” The leader spoke and cracked his whip, the strike of its lash shaking the earth, throwing sand around the arena. As they put the chains on the cub, it felt itself grow weak and tired. Not enough to sleep, but just enough to keep it lazy and passive. The guards left and soon came a man dressed in colorful clothes that gleamed. He strode to the center of the arena at a jolly pace, grabbing onto the pole in the middle and spinning on it as he blew on his horn.
“Next up, the battle between the two titans of war! On one side we have Grignion The Impaler! And on the other, we have our reigning champion, Oenomaus, The Beastman!” The crowd cheered loudly, whistling and hollering, seemingly forgetting the previous bout in favor of something new.
Dragged off by the guards, he was finally in the city that he had wanted to get into for so long. And all he found here was more violence. They had thrown his beast back in its cage, same as they did to him. His mind felt so heavy, the shackles on his hands felt like the heaviest object in the universe. And yet when he tried to pull on them it wasn’t hard, stuck to his wrists tight enough to leave marks, his eyes half open, his mind half closed.
“Princeps, what is this thing? They don’t look big enough to be an ogryn to me.” One of the guards said as they walked the halls, this one holding his shackles, dragging him by them.
“It is but a beast in human form, nothing human can do that. Those gladiators out there, remember that they’re nothing but animals. This one is just a cub for now, any Lanista would sell his whole family to get something like this.” Their leader spoke.
“You say that like a Lanista wouldn’t sell his family for some idols already.” The third one piped up, prompting the rest to laugh.
“Right right, enough pleasantries. Let’s get this thing to the Fixer before it finally croaks.” Their leader spoke again, the men's backs straightened and their mouths closed.
The halls weren’t very decorated, few of the crowds passed through here and it was mostly only the slaves, guards and gladiators. Simple walls with pillars where they were needed, lanterns flickering, their hiss echoing through the halls. Soon they arrived at the Fixer's room.
The Fixer wore thick layers of cloth, clean, gleaming in the lantern light. His face was covered by a leather mask, glass goggles on the eyes, covered with markings, wearing a worn leather poncho on top.
“Returning so soon Gervhir? And with a new boon, a fresh one at that.” The Fixer spoke, his voice muffled by the mask, coming out raspy and rough on the ears.
“Indeed, get this kid looking good enough to sell. The Lanista will bid quite a lot for this one.” Gervhir said, pulling out a wooden pipe, putting it up to his mouth as one of the other guards lit it for him. He took a deep drag of it.
“Hm, this one is strange. Their flesh isn’t tender like a child’s usually is, the muscles have already developed and their wounds have clotted faster than any humans should.” The Fixer said out loud, more to themselves than for anyone else.
“It looks human enough from here, but you should have seen it in the arena. Broke apart those Welfen like nothing, the last one even seemed to imprint on it from the smell of the blood.” Gervhir told him, with a large sigh as smoke left his mouth.
The Fixer paused and began to open up the kid on the table, to see if he had sustained any organ damage in the brawl. As he put the scalpel onto him, he had to push with all his strength to start to cut. The kid tried to fight back but could do nothing, as if his body had been disconnected from his mind. Any movement he attempted to make would do nothing. As the Fixer kept going he opened the chest up, his eyes widening as he took a step back. The rest of the guards did the same, only Gervhir stood still with shock. None of them were surgeons but they had all seen the insides of a man, and… that was not a man.
“I… I cannot fix this Gervhir, I don’t even know what I’m looking at. Ribs shouldn’t be like that! What are these organs? This thing isn’t human!” The Fixer said, putting away the expander, the chest closing itself. The cut from the scalpel didn’t even leave a scar.
“No one would buy something like this, it would be burned in an instant, F’shala, we will never speak of this again. Bandage it, clean the wounds to make sure it- who even knows if this thing can have infections. I just, I’m leaving now. You will be paid to say nothing.” Ghervir said, his voice shaken as he left, the guards that flanked him silent.
F’shala stood there, bandaging the child with a loud sigh as he felt fear go through him. Whatever this was, if it was able to kill four Welfen -- and wasn’t Mother in that group of Welfen? No one had beaten Mother before…
F’shala did as best he could, fell into his chair once finished, took a deep breath and sighed hard. He observed the thing on his table, whatever he was… Mutants like him were rare. And as F’shala watched, he saw something strange happen. The flesh began to return, as if being sewn back to health, the skin connecting itself with fibers not unlike a seamstress sewing cloth. A noise soon echoed through his chamber as the flesh fixed itself, bones readjusted with loud cracks and snaps: the squelch of meat growing. It made him uncomfortable, like nothing else had.
As the kid felt a hint of strength return he began to resist against the cuffs on his hands. His strength was almost fully gone still, only a small spark left of his might. As he pushed at the bonds, pulling his hands as far apart from each other as he could, the cuffs began to bend and groan under the pressure. His lungs grew cold and his breath heavy before he finally had to stop.
“You’re not breaking those kid, they do something to your nerves. Who knows what, they’re from the golden times. Ain’t no thing able to beat things from the golden times.” F’shala said, pulling out a box from which he grabbed a cigarette. As he lit it he chuckled. “You probably don’t even know what I’m saying, do you? You don’t look like a city kid. What’s the point of talking to someone who can’t understand.” He sighed as he took another drag, his cigarette’s smoke drifting fast.
The kid looked at him, squinting his eyes as if trying to find something deeper than the surface. But he found nothing, his eyes going to the ceiling as he waited, taking a glance at the man as if asking when?
This unnerved F’shala, he wondered if the child did understand him, if so, what else did it know? This child… this mutant could be hundreds of years old, could be a monster in sheep's clothing waiting to leave its wool. And here he sat, just waiting for the guards to arrive.
“You know, life isn’t going to be too good for you. You’ll be a slave, at best they’ll give you a bit of practice against other ki- men… other men strong enough to give you a challenge, Or maybe he’ll just have you thrown into the arena until you pay back whatever price he paid for you.” F’shala said, spitting the butt of his cigarette into a pot. “And who knows, if you’re lucky enough you might become a Fixer like me. Someone who’s fought enough fights to know what someone needs to survive, and what they don’t.”
F’shala looked at the child. He may as well have been new. Only a few scars were left on his body, only small remnants kept not unlike trophies on a rack. He stood up, hearing something in the hallway: the sound of chains and steel plate rattling, the guards had arrived.
Three large men entered, looking to F’shala who gave them a nod. They grabbed the child by the neck and dragged him away, through the brick halls and up the stone stairs to the highest floor, where the walls were covered in fine silks and paintings. They passed by slaves wearing silks so thin they barely covered anything. The guards had to avert their gaze, the child meanwhile only looked for a way to get out of this. The cuffs holding him were unbreakable at his current strength… if only he could find a way to gather enough might through the blocks in his mind. Every movement was difficult, even blinking required dedicated effort. Each breath was an exercise in itself, it felt like he had a mountain on his back, pushing him into the ground so hard he could not move even an inch. His captors seemed not to care about his predicament, throwing him down to the ground in front of their master.
Their owner was an older man, his beard peppered with gray, his face scarred and his body rough. It seemed more like he was another gladiator than someone rich. He stood up, the guards got on their knees and looked to the ground. He grabbed the child by the neck and squished his cheeks then looked into his eyes with a dead stare. The kid quickly got sick of this, with a loud growl he opened his mouth and bit the master by the hand, breaking skin and ripping flesh off with a jerk of his head. The master dropped the child as he staggered back, a yell erupting from him, one hand on the arm of his chair and the other staring at his wound, a surprised look on his face. The guards grabbed the child and held it down to the ground, shocked.
“Did you idiots break those cuffs?! I spent more suns on those cuffs than the three of you combined, and tripled!” The master shouted, his face curling in rage as he bared his teeth, looking ready for a fight as his blood dripped onto the ground.
The guards checked the cuffs, a green light was flickering on them. They all looked back at their master in fear and one of them finally spoke up. “Sir, the cuffs iz working..”
The master’s eyes widened and he looked at the child on the ground. His blood coated his face and it was chewing on the flesh he had ripped from him. He saw the look in his eyes, not that of a man. But a monster. “Call Lanista Zimri, he’ll want this one. That one dabbles in… these creatures. Fighting Welfen like it’s nothing, I saw the wounds it took. Fixers are competent, yes. But they’re not witches..” The master said.
A servant came over with alcohol and bandages, the old man sitting down at his throne while he was healed.
“Now put it in a cage or something else, keep those cuffs on until it’s sold. Zimri can deal with it once it's his.” The master said, laughing. The guards left, one of the slaves sitting at a golden contraption, holding something to her ear as she spoke. The child was stuffed in a cage next to the throne. After a few hours, with the colosseum fights ever continuing, the master merely spectating, the child got bored, deciding to sleep while he could. Dragged to a re-enactment of its first battle, those things seemed quite similar to the people he was around right now. They were different though, taller and thinner, moving faster than these people did. With sharp ears. For every day that passed the child had felt stronger.
Finally he was woken by the slam of a hammer on his cage, throwing him forwards and squishing him against the front of it. A young thin man stood in front of him, looking at the cage with an inquisitive look in his eyes. Like a beast weighing its prey. He had long blonde hair that reached his shoulders, blue eyes that gleamed like shinies. The child wondered how long it’d take before this young man looked like the master he’d taken a bite out of.
“Don’t get too close Zimri, this one bites. I believe it might be a kind of ogre child, like the ones you use.” The master spoke, his voice changed to the visitor, as if he was trying to lure him by speaking as his elder.
“This isn’t an Ogryn, their proportions are all different. This isn’t a human child either, the musculature is too well defined and the body is developing too fast. Look- here..” The man had been holding a cane, and pushed it into the cage, pulling up the fur coat the child had been wearing. “Look at the skin here..”
“Are those... stretch marks? I’ve only seen those in my spoiled slaves and my wife!” The elder laughed, he wasn’t sure what to make of this.
“This means that, whatever this child is... it’s growing at a rapid pace, its body is having a hard time catching u-” While he was distracted explaining, the child had bitten the cane clean in two.
Zimri froze, awed, staring at him like he was a golden wonder.
“I’ll take it, what’s your final price?” Zimri said, a hand in his pocket followed by a jingle of coins, a wide smile on his face.
The elder smiled as well, crossing his legs as he put a hand under his chin, tilting his head. “Well, well... you really have taken a liking to this one, haven’t you?” The master told him, looking up in thought. “Let's go with… three hundred suns.” He looked back down at Zimri, whose expression was steadfast.
“That’s, quite a lot for a child like this, isn’t it Bokhtar? I’d pay three hundred for a grown and experienced warrior.” Zimri’s face turned sour, his smile shifting to a scowl. “Well, if it’s such a simple child I may as well keep them then, shouldn’t I? I mean, if they are so useless, there’s no point in selling them. I’ll just throw it to the beasts until someone dies. I didn’t lose more than fifty suns buying it. May as well profit, right?” One of Bokhtar’s servants got on her knees and started massaging his legs, eliciting a happy groan from the elder.
Zimri bit his lip, thinking for a moment. “I will not go above two fifty, anything more than that isn’t worth it. You’ll make your money back five fol-” Just as Zimri got to the crux, he was cut off by Bokhtar.
“Five fold? Oh, sweet child, the cost of fixing them, the cost of putting them through to an actual apothecary, you just do not understand the costs of life do you?” Bokhtar stated. Zimri followed:
“Such is life, two fifty. That’s my final price, and if you don’t give me that then I will personally see fit that all my gladiators fight only in the pits owned by Zaheem. I think your brother would enjoy that, wouldn’t he?” Zimri said, pausing after he was done before pulling out a pipe, stuffing it and lighting it. He took a long good puff.
Bokhtar clenched his fist, the squeeze audible through the room. Biting the side of his mouth, he sighed. “Fine, two fifty it is. I hope this beast was worth it.”
Zimri smiled again, filling a bag with the right amount of coins and then handing it to a servant, who passed it to Bokhtar. He nodded, then whistled and a massive man -- an ogryn -- entered. Taller than all the others in the room, he hit his head on the alcove as he came in. “Grab the cage buddy, make sure the kid inside doesn’t go anywhere. And don’t hurt him okay?”
Bokhtar spoke up: “Hold on, the cuffs stay with me. You want to keep it asleep, you find your own way.” He said, Zimri merely putting a hand in his satchel and pulling out a syringe. He filled it with a green viscous fluid from a vial, tapped the needle and went to the small cage.
He knocked on the side of the cage. The kid wondered what was going on and leaned out to see if he could attack it. Zimri merely grabbed his hand when he reached out and jabbed the syringe into his arm. The cuffs pressed against the bars as the fluid was squeezed into him. Zimri threw the syringe into the air as he pressed the top and bottom of the cuffs, opening them. In a swift motion he grabbed them and caught the syringe by the needle with his other hand. He held out his hand and one of the slaves took the shackles from him.
“Now then, I will be off. Have a nice day, Bokhtar, I hope to see you soon.” Zimri said, walking away with his brute in tow. The child, though, was restless, with the manacles gone his mind began to return to him, his senses finally coming back, his body able to move again.
His emotions unfurled as well. Whatever they had injected into him had no effect, and he was able to move his hands to the bars. Pulling at them with ease, they began to open up with the screech of metal bending.
Zimri looked at him, confounded as he attempted to escape. How in the seven cores could he break open a steel, barred, cage? As the kid began to exit it he put a hand in his pocket and pulled out a small candy. He kneeled down to the child’s level and with a smile unwrapped the sweet and offered it to him. He seemed suspicious of Zimri but looked at the colorful morsel. As he leaned his mouth in to bite the man's hand for daring to do this, he absentmindedly tasted the candy. Instantly his eyes brightened, and he grabbed it to put it in his mouth. He let it stay there to savour the taste.
“If you stay in your cage, I’ll give you more of those, kid.” Zimri said, pulling out another candy. He pointed at it, then the cage. The child seemed to understand, and Zimri smiled.
The trip from there was uneventful, a calm before the storm. Zimri had come in a very expensive vehicle: a four wheeled steel machine that could move without the use of a horse. The loud sputtering engine crackled to life as Zimri put the key in. The massive ogryn sat on the roof of the vehicle, one hand on the cage and in his nose, picking at it.
“Hi little fren.” The lumbering giant spoke to the child in the cage, who took a look at the gentle beast in front of him and proceeded to ignore it. “Aw, you no like talk?” The Ogryn asked, his smile turning to a frown. He hoped to make a new friend.
“Kid doesn’t understand you, too stupid right now Jon!” Zimri told the Ogryn, leaning out the window of the driver’s side.
The city was bustling, Zimri having to dodge through dozens and dozens of people on every street. The houses were shoddily built: cracked bricks and squealing doors. Bazaar stalls were erected on the sides of the road with men yelling the price of spice. A smell of grilled food emanated through the street. Hooves clattered as Zimri took a look around for something to eat, his stomach joining the roar of the engine. He stopped near a street food vendor, a tiny restaurant built into the side of a wall with a hand cranked meat spinner, a middle aged man cutting chunks off it onto a flatbread.
“Hey! Six skewers pal, and make it choppy! I have places to be and hungry people to feed. I don’t care what the price is, have five suns. Keep the change.” Zimri blurted out quickly, the vehicle skidding to a halt on the road, making the sand in between the cobbles fly into the air. The man nodded as Zimri took out a short hand sized bit of rope, putting five coins into it and tying the end before passing it to him. They quickly got the food they wanted and so desperately needed, with Zimri getting one, the Ogryn getting three and the kid getting two. He was a growing boy after all.
The Ogryn swallowed down his food quickly, barely caring to chew it, the child instead studied it. The outside was soft, but inside was meat for sure. Everyone else seemed to eat it whole, so he may as well. Taking a curious bite of it, he tasted the red fruit, meat and bread melting in his mouth. The flavors were indescribable, fatty and crunchy while being tender. He had never had brown flesh, nor even seen it. He couldn’t even take a guess at what animal had meat like this, but he wanted more. He quickly finished the first and slowly munched on the second one, wanting to savor the taste, keeping the sandwich in his mouth as he nibbled on it lightly.
“You eat that fren? If no, I eat!” The Ogryn said, eyeing the prize as he reached forwards slowly, as if unsure of if this was alright. Yet drool already pooled on the roof of the vehicle. Zimri quickly hit said roof, whistling at him.
“Don’t do it Jon! That’s his, be a good boy and sit still! You’ll get your real meal when we’re home!” Zimri said, anger showing in his voice. The Ogryn grumbled, shook his head and ignored this, hitting a hand against the bars of the cage.
“Fren, gimme food!!!” He yelled, a hungry smile on his face. Zimri sighed. The collar on the slave’s neck had a small light on it, which turned from green to red. Jon’s eyes went wide as crackles of electricity rippled through his body. A scream came from him as the vehicle stopped, the giant slamming into the roof of it.
The people on the street looked on: a slave was being punished. They had smiles on their faces as they watched the Ogryn try to rip the collar off, to no avail. Crackling lightning was almost visible as it jumped through him.
The child looked on, pushing himself against the edge of his cage holding his food with both hands to protect it from the giant. When he took a sniff, he smelled something burning, with Jon’s skin starting to darken in places. It was here that the child realized how brown flesh was made.