He who runs with the wolves
As he huddled in the cave, he thought back on his decision. Maybe it was hasty of him to run away. Maybe he should have swallowed his pride and just apologised to his father.
But then again, he had done no wrong! He had just done what he had been taught to! Nay! His decision was right! There was no place for him where he was told to follow his heart and do what was right and yet get reprimanded for doing so!
The cold breeze wafted into the cave, and Walker shivered as the breeze caressed his limbs. His stomach grumbled in hunger and it echoed along the walls like a bear wailing in pain.
He looked out from the entrance of the cave, it was pitch dark, and yet his hunger compelled him to venture out in search of food. He grabbed the makeshift spear he had fashioned out of a branch and stepped out of the cave.
The wolves howled. He could hear them nearby. They were probably hunting something. If he could track them, then he could scare them off and take the spoils for himself.
He flew towards the sound. Flitting from tree to tree, like a gnat jumping from buffalo to buffalo.
As he got closer to the sounds, he realised that the sounds were not hunting noises, they seemed more like the wolves were in combat.
“What had the nerve to disturb wolves in the dead of the night?”, Walker wondered.
He landed on the branch at the edge of the scene, getting a bird’s eye view of the situation.
He had heard the stories before, but this was the first time seeing it. A human head perched atop a lion’s body, bat wings flapping madly and the scorpion tail flailing about, a manticore truly was a fearsome sight.
The wolves were fighting the manticore and it was not looking good for the wolves. The manticore was using its wings to whip gusts of air at leaping wolves. It was engaged in combat with two wolves while simultaneously using its tail to impale any wolf unlucky to stray in its path. The wolves launched their numbers at the manticore, but it was to no avail. The clearing was littered with the bodies of fallen wolves.
Somehow as he saw the battle, he felt bad for the wolves. He felt his anger rising at the sight of their situation. As he looked on, he wanted nothing more than to tear into the manticore’s flesh. His breathing quickened as the riastrad took over him. His trembling hands cast away the makeshift spear, as they started to warp. His garments ripped as his physique rearranged itself, his arms and legs grew to the size of tree trunks, his nails gave way to claws. He wailed in pain as the riastrad changed his body. All clear thought left him, as his mind got enveloped in a red haze.
The wails transformed into a howl as he launched himself off the branch.
He hit the manticore like battering ram. Such was the impact that the manticore was swept off its feet. Before it could get back onto its feet, he was atop it. In one swipe, he ripped the wings off its back. He crushed the tail with his foot. He grabbed the maw of the beast, one hand on each jaw, and he tugged. Ripping the beast into two.
He flung the remains away as he walked away, bathing in its blood and offal. Slowly the riastrad faded, his body returned to its original size and proportion. The surviving wolves gathered around him, baying at the same time. The oldest of the pack took a step forward and met his gaze. As their eyes met, Walker felt that he could hear the wolf’s voice in his head.
“OUR GRATITUDE FOR AIDING US, O’ SCION OF EARTH! WE KNOW NOT HOW WE CAN REPAY YOU FOR THIS!”, the Alpha wolf spoke.
“WE HAVE BUT ONE THING! OUR ALLEGIANCE AND BROTHERHOOD!”, the Alpha continued.
This was how the child that cast away his family found himself adopted by a different kind of family.