After days of travel, Anvyl Firebeard has led me to a small village, on the coast of the Howling Sea. The air is cold here and the wind is colder. Luckily it hasn’t begun to snow yet.
A small boat is waiting at the dock with its captain passed out on the deck; an empty bottle lies beside him. Anvyl proceeds to shake the drunken man until he finally wakes up.
Boatman: Huh? Wassermarrer?
Anvyl: Wake up Killian!
The boatman, apparently named Killian, struggles to stand and then greets Anvyl with the traditional Dwarvish greeting: head-bashing. He stumbles a bit after the greeting while Anvyl doesn’t seem bothered in the slightest. Is this drunk really going to take me to an island that doesn’t exist? They talk a little in whispers and hushed voices before finally turning to me.
Anvyl: Get in the boat lad.
I comply and turn back to Anvyl.
Anvyl: Killian’s agreed to give you free passage to the island. Getting there will be easy but you’ll have a rough time getting back as the island’s practically deserted. The Skin-changer will help you but it will take commitment and time.
“Of time I have plenty, and commitment I am willing to give.” I say.
Anvyl: Good! May our paths cross again soon, noble Bjark!
“The same to you, Anvyl.” I say as Killian unties the ropes and shoves off.
We travel for what seems like days in this small space.
Eventually though, Killian shouts “LAND HO!!”. Startled I awaken from a drowsy state and jump to my feet, almost capsizing the boat.
Killian: Careful now!
After another hour or so of travel we arrive at the island and pull the boat onto the sand. The Island is hot with no sign of snow fall. Strange despite it being winter.
After landing, Killian jumps back into the boat and rows away as quickly as possible. I guess I’m left to my own devices now.
I see the bare face of a rocky cliff before me and begin to climb it. In the old tales, sages always lived on top of mountains in shacks, alone.
I finally come to the top of the cliff and see a man sitting near the edge.
Skin-Changer: I have been waiting for you, Bjark.
“How do you know me?” I ask.
Skin-Changer: How is none of your concern, all you need to know is that I do. Now, if you are to master your blessing—
“Curse,” I say, correcting him.
Skin-Changer: Blessing. If you are to master your blessing, we must begin immediately.
“I just finished climbing a mountain.” I tell him.
Skin-Changer: Good. Then you will feel more power when you transform.
“I thought you were—“ I begin but am cut off.
I concentrate very hard and think of blood and the desire to eat flesh. I try to let the beast run rampant inside me, but it is difficult without a real stimulation. Then I feel something in my head, egging the feral side on.
I gradually awaken from a deep slumber and I find myself lying on cold stone covered with fur of some kind; the Skin-Changer sits nearby.
Skin-Changer: So, Bjark. You have finally decided to wake up. Your first test went well. For your next test, you are going to not transform.
The Skin-Changer grabs a knife and cuts his hand. I smell the blood and the flesh, this man practically wants to die. I thrash about as I struggle to control the rage and the beast. Suddenly I feel a calming presence in my mind. Something in my head is holding back the beast. It’s almost like before, during my first test. Finally I lay my head on the ground and close my eyes. I had beaten the beast.
Skin-changer: Good. Good. You are well on your way to mastering your power. However these were just simple tasks. In order to truly harness the power, you will need to practice, day and night. But for now come, you must be hungry
I sit up and follow the Skin-changer who orders me to sit near the entrance to his small cavern. He soon comes back with apples, honey, mushrooms, and water. How he has lived on such a meager diet so long is beyond my reckoning.
We talk long into the night when the fire dies down and we both lay down to sleep. As I lie, trying to sleep as best I can, I remember how the Skin-changer helped me to stop the transformation; now I know that I can control this power.
After weeks of training the Skin-changer and I sit, meditating. I have learned a lot in the weeks I have spent on this island and the Skin-changer thinks I am ready for a final test. Where he got his information I don’t know but I’ve learned not to question anything he says. He told me there is a group of Orc Marauders on an island near Infordest. He says they have taken prisoners. My test is to travel to the island and kill the Orcs but not the prisoners.
I climb onto a raft that the Skin-changer had built long ago and shove off.
Got this posted so I can start on February's RC! I think I included everything I advertised in the last build. I decided to give Bjark a change of attire to the Highland Battler's clothes because....well I wanted to. If things seemed to jump around too much, I'm sorry but I didn't want to spend a lot of time repeatedly training with the Skin-changer. Don't forget to rate and comment!