World of Chaos: Chapter 9

Story by HowlingNightWolf on SoFurry

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#9 of World of Chaos

As always, this story contains scenes of violence and combat, blood, and gore, as well as sexual relationships, often times between creatures of different species. If you are offended by these things, or are not of the legal age to read such things, please do not read this story. Otherwise, enjoy! Let me know what you think!


Aklys and I traveled southwest, following any signs of slaver activity. We typically kept to the trees, avoiding roads and paths best we could, seeing signs of creature trafficking everywhere.

As usual, I rode upon the great cats back, much to my discomfort.

"You sure you don't mind? I feel awkward, now especially knowing that you are, you know, smart." I blurted suddenly.

_I was the one that offered. We can cover more ground this way. Besides, you halflings aren't exactly known for your over-land speed._The husky female voice laughed in my head.

"Hey, I'm trying to be considerate, here!" I exclaimed, feigning indignity. "Besides, I can best any man or dwarf when it comes to traveling through the woodlands!"

Can you best me? She asked, tauntingly.

"I see your point." I replied, grinning. The animal was built for a life in the wild, slinking and stalking amongst snowy mountains and sub-arctic forests. My small two-and-a-half foot build was not exactly designed to run down prey, or savage large predators. Hell, without my bow and hunting dagger, I was pretty much defenseless.

"So, you think it's much further?" I asked, squinting through the trees ahead.

Hard to say. The signs of slavers have grown more and more common as we travel southward. They must have some form of stronghold or camp nearby. The cat projected, glancing around through the trees.

"Don't suppose you could use some of your Naettura magics to help out?" I asked hopefully.

What do you think I've been doing? My keen sense of smell can only get us so far. Your skills at tracking, while superior to most humanoids, can't exactly tell certain things about our prey.

"That might be a compliment?" I laughed, tussling the cats fur between her ears.

Just then a figure emerged from the treeline ahead, bow drawn on us.

I immediately rolled off the cat, drawing an arrow of my own.

"Careful, halfling. You may fancy yourself a skilled archer, but are you more skilled than a dozen wood elves?" a voice said from my right. I spun, aiming at the newcomer, an elven man dressed in beautiful mithril chainmail that didn't make a sound as he stepped from the undergrowth.

He too had bow in hand, arrow trained on us.

I glanced around, seeing a total of twelve elves emerging from the forest.

"Must be truly lonely here in the woods, for you to converse with your cat, so. Unless, you are merely feeble-minded?" the elf spoke again, stepping forward.

"Lower your weapon!" I snapped, aiming my tiny bow up towards his throat.

"I might ask of you the same." he grinned. He had light brown hair that was as smooth and straight as the fanciest of maidens, and his armor was spotless of dirt or mud, despite our natural environment. Goddamn elves.

Even I didn't see them coming! Aklys warned, giving an audible growl.

"Not your fault Aklys, elves are a sneaky bunch!" I told her.

The elf cocked an inquisitive eyebrow.

"Perhaps we have a druid on our hands? Or is there something greater here?" He asked, relaxing his bowstring, and returning the arrow to it's quiver. The rest of the elves did the same.

"My name is Livillios Summersun, Summer lord of Rainhaven." he said with a bow. "Might I ask what a halfling druid does wandering these dangerous forests?"

Summer Lord of Rainhaven. Rainhaven was the last known elvish city in these lands. Claimed to be as ancient as the Sutvalds themselves, the city was a stronghold of beauty and grace in the wilds of the northlands.

Ruled by a council of four, one for each season of the year, they were not a kingdom in the traditional sense, though arguably held the most power of any fortress in the Sutvalds, including Drifa.

"My lord," I said, taking a knee instantly, "I am no druid, though merely a commoner halfling. I am known as Ciara O'Connor, of Northmeadow. my companion and myself track a party of slavers southwards. They took my brother."

"It's been you two that have been hitting the slaver camps? My men have reported finding camps in ruin. A few of our people have been freed because of your exploits." he grinned approvingly.

"We have been seeking sign of my brother." I said, blushing slightly. The elf lord had a certain graceful beauty about him, though typically a little more feminine than I'd like to see in my men.

"I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. We also seek one of our own, taken by these brutes." he frowned. "I'm rather amazed at the damage a halfling and her pet can cause. You must be skilled with that bow of yours." he added.

"Thank you, my lord. It's been my livelihood since I was a child."

Livillios glanced over at Aklys.

"You speak to your pet as if there is more to your companion than she appears?" he asked.

Aklys stepped forward, standing as noble and tall as she could muster. A strange aura seemed to envelope her, as she projected mentally to all around us.

I am Aklys of the Naettura. Since the birth of this realm, I've watched over these lands.

Livillios' eyes widened, and he himself dropped to a knee, bowing before the noble animal. It was actually amusing to see such a well dressed, clean elvish noble bowing in fealty to a nude beast. All elves followed suit.

"Any who gains the allegiance of the Naettura are friends of the Children of the Forest!" He stated.

I felt awkward, standing in a circle of bowing warriors beside Aklys.

"Th-thanks?" I stated, glancing around.

Rise, Lord Livillios Summersun. Aklys commanded. I was shocked to see the authority with which the cat spoke. Or projected, rather.

"Yes, my lady." he said, standing, awestruck. "Ciara O'Connor, you are no mere halfling commoner, to have such a companion. Do you know the true significance of your friend?" He asked.

"Hey, I just found out she was this, Naettura." I replied.

The elf glanced from the cat to me, eyes wide.

"Come, we would be honored to share camp with a guardian and her companion. We have information that may help in your journey, as well as fresh food, and a warm fire." he offered.

I looked at Aklys hopefully.

We will find no harm with them. I feel a hot meal and warm night by the fireside will be welcome. She projected to me alone.

"Sounds great, Lord Livillios." I said with a bow.

And with that, Aklys and I found ourselves escorted to a well hidden camp by a royal elven warband.


I watched in awe as the pair of great owls swept overhead, dancing and flapping noiselessly against the fading dusk.

Fornvarr fluttered majestically, descending to perch on a large log beside our fire, Noctu following him.

Moments later, Fornvarr had returned to his human form, wide grin on his face.

"Shock is a hilarious look on a wolfs face." he grinned.

"How did--" I began, but he cut me off.

"In common." he stated.

I took a deep breath, focusing on the tongue of man.

"H-how did you do this?" I asked awkwardly.

"Shapeshifting is the art form that druids are best known for. Our connection to the natural world allows us to manipulate our own forms, to adopt those of our beast kin. Extremely powerful druids have been known to take on the forms of the elements themselves." he explained.

"Shapeshifting takes years of practice to master. It comes easier to some than others. Your quick mastery of druidcraft gives me hope, however. You have to find your balance, with the world, and with yourself. We will not try such a challenge yet." he continued.

"W-would our j-journey not be easier if we could fly?" I asked, stuttering through the common-tongue.

"Indeed it would. However, shapeshifting is not an ability to fool around with carelessly. More than one apprentice druid has lost themselves attempting to transform before their time. It will come to you, in time." he replied. "In the meantime, I would suggest continuing your practice in druidcraft." he grinned.

I glanced at the fire beside me, for a moment completely forgetting about it's heat.

Fornvarr had been teaching me a steady set of fire related spells. Bol, a simple spell, made small flammable objects like twigs and sticks erupt into flames. Bolrun, a more powerful version, created flames from nothing, capable of being tossed or forced upon enemies with a touch. I had struggled with that one quite a bit, as flames erupted in my mouth. They were painless to me, but the thought of having a raging fire burning in my jaws was a bit too much.

Still, I'd managed to learn that one as well in time. Next up was Bolhyrr, a spell which produced a large sphere of flames that could be directed about mentally by the caster. I had witnessed Fornvarr create such a sphere on one occasion, but had yet to successfully cast the spell myself. Other than these, I'd had much better luck with other spells with random tasks. It seemed spells with a cold effect came naturally to me.

"You should be proud. In just a few short weeks, we are already discussing the possibility of shapeshifting. You have come a long way in such a ridiculously short time. You are on level with apprentices who have studied for two or three years, at least." Fornvarr grinned.

"But why? I don't feel like it's that hard." I asked.

"You are magical beast, born in nature. I suspect a natural connection in your bloodline that gives you a basic intuitive understanding of druidcraft that most lack. That is why I felt it necessary to train you." He answered, pulling out a small knife and whittling away at a piece of wood.

Fornvar had been carving wood like this randomly on our stops, creating small wooden beads and feather fetishes. He also gathered various plants and berries, and had taken to mashing them up in a small stone mortar and pestle, creating various dies and paints. I had asked him about it once, but he just said they were for various rituals and spells.

Not once had I used such things in my casting, however.

"We are drawing nearer to your lands. At least, as you describe them. A small wooded valley on the border of the great northern tundra." he stated suddenly, breaking the silence.

As the weeks passed, we had traveled north, winding our way up mountainsides and through mountain passes. Aspen and oak gave way to pine and spruce, and the north winds blew colder and colder every day. I couldn't help but feel joy in the frosty air, despite the lack of winter's snows that I missed.

"Yes. Though, I was a younger pup when we crossed through there. I'm afraid I will not be able to recognize my home, even if I were to see it now." I replied, sad.

"Do not doubt the power of your memory. You will know it when you see it." he grinned, returning to his work, a small wooden bead with wolf carvings circling it.

"Wolves?" I asked.

He glanced up at me and smiled.

"Most humans view them as rabid monsters, feeding on the weak and preying on the innocent. Few have seen their true nature, as caring family, and wise friends. You have proven to me that both are true, the way you talk of your family, your pack. I'm merely trying to capture that side of your kind." he said holding the small oak bead up to the firelight.

"Strange. I've always been told similar things of you humans." I chuckled. "You wear the skins of others like some barbaric fiends, for power or intimidation. You can imagine how I felt when you appeared wearing the hide of a caribou."

He gave a hearty laugh. "Well, I can understand your reluctance to speak with me now!"

"Aatu." he stated, a seriousness overcoming him. "We have one final week of travel in each others company. I know exactly where your homeland lies." he stated.

I glanced up at him.

"My homeland, as I stated, lies near the outskirts of the human town of Drifa. You know where that lies?" he asked.

"Somewhere to the east, on the southern edge of the tundra." I answered, based off of what Fornvarr had told me.

"When we go our separate ways, I will return to the circle there. Know that you will be welcome there, among us. I'd hope for a visit, and if you ever wish to continue your training, you'll know where to find me."

I glanced into the fire. It's heat seemed less severe than ever. The crackle of the flames almost seemed inviting.

"I appreciate the offer, Fornvarr. I must see what has become of my pack. Perhaps one day, I will venture to your homeland." I stated.

"Then I will watch for you." he grinned.

We sat in silence for a while, Fornvarr returning to work on his carving, and me mentally going over the human tongue in my mind.

It was a strange language, compared to my peoples simpler tongue. Our language was just as physical as it was vocal, body language playing a key role.

Soon growing weary from the road and the complex training my human friend had been putting me through, I curled up, picking a place farther from the fire, falling into a comfortable sleep.


I wasn't ready. I felt my sharp claws stabbing painfully in my clenched fist.

A single wooden post had been erected in the center of the arena. I could see through the gates that Vailadriel was bound at the wrists, connected by a long tether to the pole.

My heart was racing. I was dancing between fear and hatred. Fear for the poor elf girl, and hatred of our captors.

Beyond her I saw the gate opposite me, the large crocodilian form standing behind.

I wasn't ready for this.

"...Back, both well on the mend from their previous encounter, Krell and Rekkdyr! Both dealt painful blows by the other! Who will come out on top in this grudge match unlike any this arena has seen before?!" the familiar voice of the announcer called.

I clamped my eyes shut, taking a deep breath. I was beginning to truly despise that man.

My heart was racing. I remembered the two humans, left dismembered by that monster. I opened my eyes, seeing Vail, bound in the center of the arena, fear in her eyes.

I didn't bother stifling this growl. Not this time.

Anger tore through me. How I was going to overcome his natural hide, I knew not. My blade was turned aside by his scales, and the only weak point I'd found was sure to be guarded much closer after our last fight.

I crashed through the gate as they barely began to open, not waiting for them to permit my full form, scooping up my bastard sword that sat thrust into the arena ground.

I rushed forward, just as Krell did the same, reaching for his twin falcatas.

The crowd roared as I chopped at the tether binding Vailadriel to the post, just as Krell rushed forward, chopping high and low. I managed to dance backwards, stepping between Vail and the beast.

She seemed to calm at the sight of me somewhat, though she quickly stumbled back to the wall of the arena.

"I will flay you alive! Wear your skin, your face as I brutally destroy your elf bitch!" Krell roared, chopping and slashing fiercely.

I parried and backpedaled as quickly as I could muster. Even though I'd faced him before, I couldn't believe his speed and strength!

"You will beg for death long before I will give it to you!" He growled, slamming my sword with a powerful chop.

My heart raced, knowing full well I was no match for this fiend. Despite my training, my determination. I couldn't win this fight.

A falcata clipped my shoulder, but the blow was glancing. The smell of blood filled the air.

Krell swept across in opposite directions with his weapons, scissoring with his falcata's. I managed to step back, feeling my blade catch between the two weapons.

A loud snap sounded, and my sword snapped between the force of the two weapons.

I stumbled back, gripping my sundered sword hilt, blade clattering to the ground.

A roar of triumph escaped Krell's reptilian jaws, and he dove forward, slashing and hacking fiercely. I ducked and dodged as quickly as my body would permit, adding a few new cuts and slashes to my heavily abused body.

A sudden burst of light erupted near the crocodile's face, causing him to stumble backwards.

I could hear Vailadriel muttering through the roar of the crowd.

Another flare erupted in Krells' face, and he blinked against the light of the flash.

I rushed forward, slamming my entire weight into the large crocodile, sending us crashing to the arena floor.

I managed to crawl atop the beast, kicking and clawing fiercely. His weapons quickly discarded in the close quarter brawl.

He punched out with large claws, tearing painfully into my stomach.

I growled in fury, ignoring the piercing pain. The scent of blood was all too much, and my heart threatened to thump out of my chest. I gave a demonic roar, just as Krell lurched forward to clamp his massive jaws around my sword arm.

I kneed upwards, slamming into his throat. He gave a strange guttural cough, freeing my arm. His claws slipped from my stomach.

Snarling savagely, I gripped the side of the beasts head, pinning my legs around his torso, pressing them tightly under his armpits, forcing his arms up into an awkward raised angle.

Sitting upon the large reptile monster, I slammed my clawed thumbs into the beasts soft eyes, feeling a strange popping under their sharp points. Blood oozed out from the monster, and he gave a mighty thrash and snapped futilely up at me.

I slammed forward, driving my thumbs deeper into his eye sockets, forcing his head back to the arena floor.

Snarling fiercely, I seething with hatred. How many had this beast raped? Devoured? How many more would he have butchered?

He gave one powerful buck, kneeing me in the back, sending me rolling off of him.

I came up immediately, turning to see the blind crocodile crawling around searching for one of his weapons.

I rushed forward, dropping a knee into his face, sending him crashing again.

A strange, hyena-like cackle escaped my lips, as I danced to the side, avoiding a blind swipe.

I stomped down on his wrist, pinning his arm to the ground. I dropped all of my weight on his elbow, drawing a loud snap.

He kicked away, his left arm bent at an impossible angle, hanging loosely from the side.

"You bastard!" he roared.

I scooped up one of his discarded falcatas, chopping as powerfully as I could at his one good arm.

To my surprise, the limb flew free from his body.

A bloodcurdling roar erupted from his lungs.

That hideous hyena laughter came from mine.

I leaped forward, kicking him in the chest and onto his back. I grabbed his upper jaw with my free hand, prying his lower jaw open with my clawed foot.

With a bestial growl, I thrust his falcata deep into his mouth, through the back of his throat, piercing him the the ground.

Krell gave a few horrifying death convulsions, before falling still, blood soaking me and the arena floor.

I stumbled backwards, giving a bestial roar to the bloodthirsty audience.

"R-Rekkdyr!" Vailadriel cried.

I turned back to see her cowering against the arena wall, the fear in her eyes growing more intense.

I gave a violent shake, turning away.

"Well, the Civilized beast has proven to not be so civil!" the announcer cried, amusement in his voice.

"I suppose monsters can't be changed that much."

These words brought me back from my blind fury. Krell had to die. It had to be done. Skempta's words echoed through my head. This isn't you! Killing a helpless creature!

Had Krell been helpless?

I growled, angry at myself. My victory over Krell should have been a relief.

A soft hand cautiously touched my face gently.

I opened my eyes to see Vailadriel before me, a soft smile on her lips, though here eyes screamed caution, and fear.

She was terrified to be that close to the demonic beast that had ferociously mutilated his foe with an almost jovial glee.

"V-Vail..." I sobbed, tears swelling in my eyes.

She silenced me with a soft kiss, her tiny lips meeting my huge, bestial ones.

The audience laughed calling out hideous names of insult to the small elf girl, and her bestial companion.

"It would seem the Gnoll got his prize after all! Wonder how the dainty thing looks, speared on a monster hyena's--" the announcer was cut short by the thud of an arrow as it slammed into his chest.

He tumbled downward into the arena, landing in a crumbled heap on the ground.

The audience erupted into action, standing and drawing weapons of various types, each rushing for the exit in the stands. I dove around, blocking Vailadriel between me and the wall, gripping the blood coated falcata in hand.

Arrows flew from the exits, and the gates all burst open, crossbow wielding guards spilling into the arena.

One made the mistake of stepping to close, and I cleaved him in half with the hacking sword.

A crossbow bolt slammed painfully into my chest, but I ignored it, roaring.

Most of the guards seemed interested with what was going on in the stands, however, leaving a few to take aim at me.

"Drop the weapon, gnoll!" one roared.

I growled in response, gripping the weapon tightly.

Another bolt flew, but I chopped it out of the air.

A third struck me in the shoulder painfully.

Just as another one hit me in the stomach, a hail of arrows flew from the stands, raining down on the crossbow wielding guards.

I dropped to one knee, the combined pain and blood loss of my injuries finally catching up to me.

"Vailadriel!" A melodic voice called out, as the world swam away into darkness.

World of Chaos: Chapter 10

_Aatu_ The sun rose high in the sky as we peered down into the tundra below. Far to the east, We could just make out what appeared to a human city, what must have been Drifa. I glanced off to the west, beyond the tundra, where the Sutvalds curved up...

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World of Chaos: Chapter 8

_Skempta_ Rekkdyr was not up to this fight. I doubted whether I'd be able to take on the two newcomers myself. I circled around to my gnoll comrades weak side, the wounded forearm dripping with fresh blood. I caught a feral, almost wild look from...

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World of Chaos: Chapter 7

_Rekkdyr_ "Your arm is looking better." Skempta grinned. I glanced down at the mess of scab and angry red flesh that was my forearm. "Thanks to Vailadriel." I replied, glancing up at the arena. I could see my bastard sword thrust into the ground just...

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