Chapter 1:

1 - Watch and Learn

Capture the Beast

They remain perfectly still, the slightest of muscle twitches from either of them prone to revealing their position. The misty air obscures their vision, roots and branches alike gnarling across the floor and sky, limiting the mobility of both them and the creature in the open space.

Its humanoid body is contorted, limbs twisting unnaturally around the torso. With the head of a mauled dear, its antlers are a bloody red and its eyes painted a golden hue. The slender being is missing pieces of its body, showing the inside of its long body. It basks in the moonlight's shine, softly letting out erratic breathes as it sniffs its next prey.

The two don't say a word, waiting in silence until the moment to strike arrives. He's told her multiple times that patience is key when dealing with wendigos, but personally, he prefers to deal with them as fast as possible. They're rather simple creatures, fairly easy to dodge if you're quick enough to do so, but this being her first encounter, it's better if she gets experience doing the traditional method. Not everyone is as willing to commit the taboo as him, after all.

Even so, waiting until a wendigo fully transforms is a rather tedious process. The speed in which a human fully transforms into a wendigo differs from person to person, more often than not taking longer than what one had in mind in their expectations beforehand. Because of the unpredictability in their creation, it is mandatory for a wendigo to be under the surveillance of a Venan throughout the entire process of their conversion from human to beast. On certain occasions, the transformation is instantaneous, while in others, months may pass without the human converting. Even in its current state, the antlered being hasn't fully completed the process of transforming, and thus, is loosely labeled a human.

At least, that was the case until just now.

From its foaming mouth comes out a ghastly shriek, piercing the silent air of the still forest. The two remain motionless, crimson blood trickling out of the man's ear. The scream is loud enough to be heard from miles away, all that is prey fleeing from the scene and all that isn't doing the same. What was left of their humanity is far gone now, all traces of it having disappeared with that single shriek.

At that moment, a man became a beast, and as such, can now be dealt with.

A word not uttered between them, the two bolt from their crouched positions, the man heading straight for the beast while the woman circles around. He weaves through the unstable and root-infested floor, his right hand armed with a golden curved blade and the end of his trench coat flapping behind him. Without taking its gaze off the shining moon above, the wendigo swings aimlessly behind itself, a swing with such speed and power that it definitely should've hit the man, but it missed.

No... Had it been anybody other than him, not only would the wendigo's attack have landed, but it would've also sent whoever it was meant for flying into the thickets around. With their speed alone, a fully transformed wendigo outmatches even the most experienced of Venan. Simply put, the man couldn't have dodged the wendigo under normal circumstances, and unfortunately for them, his very existence was abnormal to begin with.

The wendigo swings again, only this time facing the man it's aiming for. It's lanky arm flies wildly at him, the man stood still as a lethal blow is ready to kill him. Dragging along roots and dirt with it, its arm is centimeters from hitting the man, and once again, it doesn't hit. In that moment, a Shadowlurker does what he does best, disappearing into the darkness that overwhelms him. Right before the wendigo can hit it, the man's entire body disappears into the ground under him, black mist replacing what was his corporeal state. The beast lets out another bloodcurdling shriek in frustration, swinging desperately at nothing but air in hopes that one of its swings will land.

Throughout this entire encounter, the woman has been running around the perimeter, running her finger into the soil as she did. Wherever her finger had touched left behind a blinding white light, trailing aside her as she circles the beast and man in the center of her space. In a matter of seconds, she reaches the point where she began, and encapsulating the man and beast inside the circle she's drawn, she steps inside herself and claps her hands.

Rising from the circle she's drawn are large white walls, translucent in a sense but only to those inside it. On the outside, anybody who is passing by would simply see what was there without the three present. In other words, with the clap of her hands, she's made them invisible to the outside world, trapping the three in a space in which only those inside can see what is truly there. Free from his only constraint, the man rises from the shadow under the beast's feet, completely unscathed and gold blade still in hand. The two don't move, waiting for the other to make the first move. As for the woman, she's casually seated about a hundred feet or so away, just barely within the area of the circle.

Taking the initiative, the man throws his blade at the wendigo, missing the beast entirely and instead sticking it into a tree behind. With his only weapon far from his grasp, the man begins to calmly take off his jacket, bearing no thought to the monster that's currently lunging at him. Only inches separate his face and the beast's rotting hand, inches from nearly ripping his head off, but inches will never be enough. Appearing from the shadow of his companion, she pays him no mind, clicking her feet together while waiting for her partner to finish the job.

With his coat in hand, he rushes at the beast for one last attempt to do anything really. Not a scratch has been made to either foe, and not a single attack has come from the man. A one-sided barrage from the wendigo is all this has been, and with the wendigo pouncing towards the man once again, the man looks straight at the hurling monster, a menacing grin forming on his face.

He tosses the coat high into the air, the piece of fabric expanding in size beyond what it originally was. It covers the sky and paints the floor underneath a shade darker, providing the man with everything he needs. Instead of dissolving into the ground, his body simply dissolves into the air itself, the entire area around him contained in one large shadow. He flies out from underneath the coat feet first, and while pointing an open hand towards the blade in the tree, viscously stomps on an unexpecting and confused wendigo.

However, the man's only landed attack on the beast wasn't strong enough to kill it nor immobilize it. With it knowing exactly where he is now, the beast grabs onto the man's leg, his coat now having shrunken back to its normal size. With freakish strength in its slender arms, the wendigo swings the man into the ground in front of it, the impact creating a crater where he's been slammed on. Then once more behind, and once more again in front.

The man's body becomes limp, any sign of life having left on the wendigo's second swing. He lays lifeless in the newly created crater, fresh blood leaking from where he hit his head and body. His partner doesn't react at all to his sudden and quick death, nonchalantly playing with her phone as the wendigo creeps towards his dead body. 

With slobber dripping from its open and mutilated jaw, the wendigo's mouth reaches closer and closer until it's only inches away from the man's body. They go for a bite, but before its teeth and even graze the man's dead body, the man suddenly lifts up his palm. 

In a blink of an eye, the curved blade that was previously lodged in a nearby tree cuts through with ease. Like a strike of lightning, the gold blade flies through the air towards the man's raised palm, and with the wendigo in its path, pierces through the back of the unexpecting creature's head, flying out of its mouth and into his hand. Blood spews out of its mouth like a fountain, splattering the area surrounding it with red before it finally drops dead...

"Are we finally done?" yells out the seated woman once she's sure the wendigo won't get back up.

The man doesn't respond for a moment, the silence of the forest making her a bit concerned. Then, right as the thought that he might actually be dead runs through her mind, he sits up abruptly, his long blonde hair stained with fresh blood.

"Well, that went worse than I expected," the man mumbles to himself as he stands up. Cracking his neck back into place, he looks around for his coat, spotting it next to the carcass of today's hunt. "Did you pay attention this time, Lucelia?"

"I stopped watching once you started teleporting," she responds with honesty, clasping her hands together with interlocked fingers. A murmured chant leaves her lips, one in a language that only she and her kind are well versed in. 

The ground underneath them begins to light up with her words, an overwhelming brightness capable of blinding most shooting into the sky.

"Should've known," the man grumbles as he picks up his coat, looking directly into the blinding light protruding from the ground.

In a split second, whatever life that was inside the area the woman marked with her finger gets absorbed into a ray of white light. The duo drowns in the blinding glow as their bodies disappear into thin air, the wendigo's carcass being taken along with them. 

All sign of life flees the scene and the forest returns to the darkness of night. 

Capture the Beast