Evolving the Predator

This forum exists as an archive for stories relating to what would later become the World of Imarel from back in the AOL days and stories from early IRC. This time frame is considered the two Anthalas Chronicles. (1995-2006).
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T.A.Saunders
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Evolving the Predator

Post by T.A.Saunders » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:25 am

Written by T.A. Saunders 10/29/1997

The first rays of morning were peering through the shuddered windows of Firedrake Keep like so many miniature angels seeking to break the monotony of darkness that the Shar’Vaire warrior of imposing stature had so much preferred. Dare’chon Dur’lane, like other Kal’aire was not adversely affected by sunlight like vampires were. Notwithstanding, it was still somewhat of a discomfort given an adjusted focus on the dark, however.

His pre-dawn battle in the second annual Tournament of the Shadow Lily had proven fruitful, having defeated Fallon by a respectable margin. This did not come easily or without price however. His ribs were bruised and his abdomen was freckled with the fragmentation of buckshot from her shotgun, which he had met at close range.

Despite this pounding, Fallon looked a hell of a lot worse. His penchant for severing limbs and disemboweling took more than its toll upon the female werewolf, though healing took care of most of that damage afterward.

This sort of condition was hardly a rarity for the brawny Kal’aire, having always prided himself in combat prowess; nobody could argue with his formidable death match record after all. Something felt different about winning as of late. It wasn’t that it was easy or without challenge, but it was lacking in fulfillment. This he considered as he ascended the winding staircase upwards the bedchambers, he shared with his new wife, Jas’lynne.

Upon his bride moving into his Keep, he was introduced to a plethora of things and sights. Just this sort of intimate living broadened his horizons a good deal. Dare, even as he coiled his sinewy torso down upon the edge of the mahogany canopy bed found his cobalt gaze drifting to the wall where he had once had a weapon rack. Now in its place was this grand bookshelf that looked like something found in a wizard’s library, filled to its corners with various works and tomes, not all of which were magical.

Arms wound upwards and extended while he shed the finely meshed shirt of boromandite chain; a few pellets of buckshot that sneaked through plinked against the flagstone floor as if to be similar to a localized hailstorm upon the tinned roof of a shanty. On most nights, he would simply shrug this off and allow regeneration to take its course. Now he shared his bed with his precious wife, whose senses could literally hone in on a mouse’s footsteps, should she be of the mind to, so great care was taken to not shed his armor so thoughtlessly.

With a minor wince painted upon his rough-hewn countenance, he shifted his line of sight to the diminutive form curled up already within the covers; she hadn’t even flinched. This drew a relaxed expression upon his cocoa-dark features as he ever so gently draped the chainmail suit over a nearby chair.

He found himself studying her, reveling in her peaceful quietude of slumber. Champagne tresses spiraled out like rays of the Sun upon the silken pillow of which Jas’lynne’s head rested upon, radiant features as ethereal as ivory displayed the perfect portrait of an angel; the one that had thrummed the song of his heart for longer than he could remember. It was such an irony that she looked to be such an angel, when indeed her infernal origins as a succubus deigned her quite the opposite.

How he wanted to be more for Jas’lynne. Her wisdom and razor sharp wit required satiation as much as her physical hungers. Granted he could always make her laugh even when in the fits of absolute rage, or quell her while in the ferocious grips of frenzy. These things were only facets; there had to be more for them, less as time wore on she grow bored with him and wander elsewhere to satisfy her desires.

One of the many people that taught him swordsmanship, Hirotika always chided the headstrong Shar’Vaire for not expanding his mind along with the sheer, brute force he commanded. Now, those things of study he neglected out of the blindness of immaturity now screamed their taunts at him from the obscure depths of his conscious.

There were responsibilities and wishes upon him now; he was a veteran commander, a role model to many of the Pack and a husband. The time had come to silence the brume of ignorance and replace it with the lucid sharpness only sought knowledge would harvest.

Rising silently from the bed to strip his form of the rest of his clothing, he wound a path through the darkness to that bookcase. Dare made a mental note to not even ‘think’ about removing one of those books that had a rune of ‘any’ kind upon it. Jas’lynne, like his father had taken to booby trapping her spellbooks with runes of fire and rotting plague. The Kal’aire Avenger had no wish to explain to his wife why the hell did he just get blasted across the room and buried into a flagstone wall this early in the morning.

Amid the creeping rays of sunlight that shot through the shudders like so many comets streaking to Oblivion, the divested dark form of Dare’chon reached up for a single text that was bound in a unadorned creme colored fabric. The title upon the book was scribed in mossy lettering, Tales of Zorah’s Grace and Wanderings.

This whole portrait struck a note of irony within him. Here he was, unclothed, unsheathed of those things that he is, about to embark on a personal quest that would over time make him more than what he currently was…or so he hoped. With a faint shake of his head that sent a veil of silver-shot raven hair tumbling over his broad shoulders he tried to elude the apprehension of the whole concept before him.

With a knit brow of focused determination, Dare’chon found his way back to the bed and within its soothing silk and fur wrappings. Taking a moment to ignite the lantern that rested upon a nightstand beside him he delicately opened the book and began to read. Fiery orbs of gasoline-flame narrowed in perplexity at some of the words utilized in the work, unknowing of their meaning directly, but managing their definition by the content itself.

This struggle to quell his hankering for wisdom carried long into the rising sun of the oncoming day, ever so symbolic of the new dawn rising within the Avenger. His personal evolution was only beginning to spin its cocoon. It would be many more times such as this before his efforts would come to burgeon forth. For all the struggling of the knowledge he absorbed, Dare’chon Dur’lane made himself learn. His most formidable opponent, Ignorance was now being called out onto the battlefield of his mind.

… and Dare hated to lose.
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