Cougar Bear awakens to the smell of cooking Human. No, not cooking, scorching. Burning flesh.
He feels strong hunger pangs and begins regaining full consciousness due to that pain.
Eyes open but it's hazy; sight blurry, can't see, smoke, bright haze, can't breathe.
Cougar Bear is bleeding atop his head near his left ear; ringing in the ears, coupled with unbearable light sensitivity.
Still can't see well, the daylight seems blinding. No; not daylight.
A full moon hovers gracefully over the dark evening skies above the raided Human village he's awakened in.
No sense in letting the good meat go to waste, just got to get ahold of yourself Cougar... His thoughts are disjointed, but clearing up.
Still blurry; "That's too bright to be the moon..." He wonders aloud.
Cougar slowly raises to sit upright, grasping his pained head in one hand, steadying his poor equilibrium with his other. He attempts to look around, but this causes pain in his neck and shoulders, back, and hips. He tries to remember where he is, but this hurts even more - Right where his hand is.
He tries to breathe, but it's painful. Breathing slower, not as painful... it still stings.
He tries to shift his weight, this hurts a lot too, but he is determined to stand up. Even if it kills him.
He is not willing to occupy a lesser body; his Werecougar body is his most capable and honored body left... He almost forgot...! He is mourning for his losses now, and falls again, tears streaming silently down his furry cheeks and whiskers.
He vividly imagines his internal Warrior's Secret Tomb; Elephant bowing on broken legs, one good leg standing firm, head smeared with the smashed corpse of a small mouse with only its snout and tail to lend to what this poor critter was, and the elephant's back is occupied by the greatest Weretiger warrior: His head mangled into a barely recognizable alien figure with a grotesquely protruding stalk eye dangling from socket, tail bent permanently in half, and he is sitting tall and proud upon his wise mount...
They all seem to acknowledge Cougar Bear.
"One last fight..." the virtually corpse-Weretiger speaks sternly, defiantly spiting his mortally wounded body and lifting himself up to stand as this internal vision fades.
But a few days before hand...
Cougar Bear is hungry. Cougar Bear is ready to hunt.
Cougar is a proud warrior, simple minded, straight forward, but above all, he is defined by his strong will, determination, and persistence.
As much a lone wolf as any Skinwalker,
Cougar had been lounging alone, in the form of a cougar, near a remote mountain lake; high up Mt. Olympus. He was not usually content to relax for so long, but after a raging battle with a Wereram, honing the abilities of his Weretiger body, he earned the rest. He devoured the "Noble Ram Man" at his own request. Too a proud warrior to face his defeat, the Wereram demanded that his life be ended. Cougar happily obliged. What the Wereram did not know was that his Weretiger opponent was actually a Skinwalker.
Cougar Bear knows: His death was not in vain.
Cougar Bear grows hungry, and without thinking much of it, shape-shifts into the Weretiger face. He starts quickly off yet stops short of a nearby mountain valley ridge, thinking he should work in his new body. The ridge inspired him to try it out on hooves.
He didn't take as long, to shape shift into his new Wereram body this time, as the first time. Always improving with every shift-in to each body.
He tests it out, gets the hang of it, exercises off the vertigo and...
Takes off running. Through the ridge at a sharp angle, but down the slope into the canyon below which steps down before tapering off into a wide high altitude valley. Running in bursts between the ridge steps and flats on his way down, bursting again at the canyon floor toward the valley mouth.
Cougar's current body doesn't like prolonged runs, but he pushes it out of habit. He's used to the chasing bodies, the predators that run. But this ram body is new and unique, so he plays with it and has fun. Besides, the Ram Man showed to be a good fighter, so this body cant be all that bad - just gotta learn it! Cougar Bear travels slowly through the valley forests until he finds a stream and drinks from it. From where he stands, its hard to believe he is still high above the clouds when he's in a forest valley like this.
The water causes his hunger to grow, and he follows the river toward the falls that drop down Olympus several hundred feet until the water disappears through cloud. Had he not known the depths of the lake below it emptied into he would never have leapt down, but without hesitation, he dove right in, morphing into his Weretiger body mid-dive, because he knew how to swim in it.
The elongated fall reminded him all too much of his hunger, and he did not bother enjoying the drop as much as he would have otherwise. His mind was not focusing on the now, it was focusing on the next meal. When he had his splashed and swam to shore, he shifted back into the Wereram and chewed on some foliage nearby. the leaves and grasses did not satisfy him.
Still at least half way between his isolated lounge and the societies below the foot of the mountain, he knows he'll have a long time before he finds what he is looking for, so he mentally prepares himself.
He is in search of an easy meal, but a picky eater, he wants to have meat. The easiest prey he prefers of around here is Humans. They live in tribes at the foot of the great mountain passes.
Down the mountain he goes, traveling quickly as a Wereram.
He is gleeful of the new body, as he is of any new body, but more - he is gleeful because he won this body in a challenging fight. His Weretiger body suffered a lot of damage in that fight. It was torn up and dying; he had to heal it over most of the weeks following, during which he devoured his adversary's traveling companion, gaining the ability to assume his, weaker, Weretiger "face". A Skinwalker term for each form. However, this is also a good reason to choose his new and virginal Wereram body for a test ride.
That poor Weretiger he was traveling with couldn't bear to see his companion's very spirit defeated, and suffered te worst when he learned what Couger Bear really was. Though he had a supple and athletic body, he was a coward, and cougar did not even bother "limbering up" that face. His previous Weretiger face was a good fighter, he did not need weak faces. Maybe some day he would hone his new Weretiger to be as worthy as his other warrior faces. But for now, he had to experiment with his new Wereram body.
It was perfectly suited to the contours of mountainous terrain with all the comforts and conveniences of anthropic mobility and accessory, Cougar got lost in the enjoyment of bolting down the mountain. He'd traveled so quickly that he was near the base of the massive deistic mountain long before he would expect. In fact, in his haste and enjoyment, he ran quickly past a raging battle not far off his right and he had completely forgotten to hunt the Human village, passing from the river's fertile side into the more flat and rocky terrain that led into a dried up valley where the Orcish tribes had recently settled.
He was now aware that he was much closer to the Orcish flatlands than the foot of Mt. Olympus, where the Human villages were scattered about.
Now, however, he was starving and quite suddenly aware of it. He slowed down to a halt and shape shifted into his Weretiger body.
Not yet completely healed, but it would serve it's purpose in gaining food from the villagers. This wasn't always as tasty as Human, but the Orcs admired warriors and would feed worthy adversaries. Their hunters' choice in meat was usually good enough for Cougar anyways.
His spot at the dinner table was already reserved, they just didn't know it yet.
He had traveled almost 3 miles on foot in this exhausted face before he could reach the walls and touch them.
Cougar Bear approached the outer walls of the Orc village and rounded them toward the gate where he waited. The wall guards stared him down the whole time, even while motioning others to indicate his presence. After several minutes, an entourage of warriors and a surprisingly and uncommonly fair skinned female Orc, with barely any clothing to cover her legs arms and torso, greeted Cougar Bear, the Weretiger.
The largest of the four Orc Guards spoke,
"Ho wanderer, what brings you to our village?"
"I am great warrior, far from home. I looking for food and for fight!" Cougar responded promptly and confidently. The 'home' part was his nomad's lie, but it generally warmed established people from all races to his requests for food.
The large Orc looked him up and down and balked,
"You fight for food! Ha! You look like PUNY warrior, you a girl? Maybe me eat you!"
Cougar Bear knew how to gain their respect. He had high speed and agility as a Weretiger. This was one of his preferred bodies because it was his fastest.
He was much too fast for them. He spun low into a crouch, whipping the Orc in the shins with his tail and following up with a sweeping kick with the remaining inertia of his spin. It was just enough to throw his opponent's balance off. In the time it took the behemoth's 3 partners to respond, Cougar had already leapt high with a flying kick, catching the stumbling guard's chin with his foot. He dug his claws in briefly and contracted his knee to gain higher altitude and became airborne for a moment.
His heel was rapidly descending upon the closest backup grunt as the group leader looked up from his fallen position, then cried out with rage and readied himself, low to the ground, preparing to lunge into the Weretiger "guest".
By the time he could stand up and barrel after him, Cougar had already broken his first guard's neck, and knocked another one out with a hurricane kick.
"Two on one not fair. For you!" Cougar taunted, his back turned to the larger Orc.
His mockery infuriated him, just as intended, although to better effect than expected and intimidated the other who turned and ran, furthering his taunt and explosively installing raw and seething rage into the gate keeper.
Cougar dashed ahead and took out the third grunt by clawing into his back, severing his spinal column just below the neck.
The initiation of Cougar's last attack prompted the gate keeper, a large Orc Berserker, to charge.
As Cougar dismounted the falling corpse, he was rammed into it from behind, smashed to the ground on top of his own victim. Before he could respond, he is lifted into the air with a massive foot as the enraged Berserker follows up and kicks him. He takes advantage of his feline reflexes and turns to face his opponent, mid-air.
The Berserker was still following through with his heavy launching-kick as Cougar landed gracefully on his feet yards away, and leapt into an all-fours dash.
The brutish Orc sees Cougar Bear charging him and prepares a two handed clubbing fist. Cougar leaps at the Orc's face. The Orc swings his mighty arms upward at him.
In just split second reactions, Cougar Bear squirms, airborne, around the Orc's fists, reaching out with exposed claws, and wraps his forearms around the Orc's shoulder and jaw, swinging around his opponent's mighty weight, but pulling in enough momentum to knock his balance over, and to tear up his face.
He retracts his claws and discovers a claw on his left paw to be snagged under the Orc's collarbone. The Orc cringes on one knee and hollers in pain. Standing, he reaches up and rips Cougar Bear off his head. In this motion, Cougar Bear's claw is dismembered, his paw now malformed, but not without compensation. The Orc's collarbone was dislodged slightly, his jawbone is exposed, and most of the right side of his face hangs in a bloody and tattered mess.
Cougar is flung into the ground and bounces away from the enraged Berserker, breaking a rib and opposing elbow. The impact bent his elbow backwards in an inappropriate reverse bend which would even bother some Trolls out of their appetite.
The Orc was slowly bleeding to death, becoming light headed, but too blood lusted and berserk to cease battle short of death or victory. The expense of being a Berserker Guard. A crowd had gathered at the gates of the village.
Cougar now couldn't expose himself, at risk of his meal ticket, so kept the damaged face and endured the fight. In a normal hunting situation, not that he'd suffer this much damage, but in the event, he could normally shape shift into a fresh body and easily take over the fight.
Now, however, he had to rely on his warrior reputation, his warrior instinct and honed experience, to survive.
They were at a stand off, cougar composing himself, the Berserker out of breath, dizzy from blood loss, still determined to fight, but vulnerable and weak. He heaved and let loose a terrifying, albeit weak, war cry and lunged once more at Cougar Bear. Cougar thought to himself that his torn ligaments guaranteed extra rations after he kills their Berserker. He couldn't think of much else than defeating his opponent and cashing in on honor and glory. Food, that is.
He spun around the attack and swiped the Orc in the back, barely scratching him, but inflicting significant pain. The surface wound was sure to sting.
He was wearing thin, this body couldn't last a lot longer. He needed to end it now.
The Orc spun around and flailed at Cougar, knocking him unconscious. He gave into victory cries and laughter which evolved into hallow echoing cries of regret and agony as he began swallowing his last breaths. Choking on his own blood in the end.
The blood had poured from his body and now fertilized the clay beneath his fresh corpse. Cougar's unconscious body was taken into the village by their Shaman and attended by the village Medicine Man.
If this was sponsored, a commercial would happen right about now...
... Just sayin'.
Cougar was abruptly awakened by a fairer skinned female Half-Orc bringing in breakfast. Cougar couldn't tell what the other half was, if it was Human or Elf, or possibly, though so unlikely, Ogre, it was beyond Cougar's perceptive skills. Beyond his base knowledge of other races, in fact.
He was startled at first and shot up to a sitting position, which lent a sudden realization that he was wounded. Wincing under the pain of his own attempt to speak, "where...?" he muttered briefly as his memory started to pan things out for him.
"You took on a real beating yesterday, challenging our gate guards like that... You're either the stupidest and luckiest warrior in the plains, or you've been traveling for a long time and starving... But you got hurt very bad, you must still be exhausted."
Cougar Bear was, in fact, exhausted. So much so that he hadn't realized she said 'yesterday'. "But I lost today, why you feed me if I lose?"
The Orcish maiden blushed a little and tittered "you killed our gatekeeper, Thugh, Last evening before sunset. It is late morning now."
Cougar blinked twice and got out of bed and headed right out the hut, not even acknowledging the maiden, his breakfast, or his crippling pain.
Sure enough it was several hours after sunrise, and in the center of the huge village was Thugh; laying atop his ceremonial pyre, having been prepared by the tribesmen under the guidance of their Shaman, to ceremoniously meet his maker.
A lone Weretiger among mostly larger Orcs stood before the pyre, staring at his most recent opponent's lifeless body. A brief rush of pride and personal glory was cut off by a piercing twang of regret... He hadn't wanted to permanently harm anyone, just fight! ... and eat.
A gentle hand rest atop his shoulder, cuing his attention with grace. He turned and met the deep green eyes of the maiden. "You have so much power, you get up after fight like that so soon?" She said, clearly admiring him, more personally than her innocent words revealed; though he was oblivious of it.
"You are strong warrior, let us honor you tonight. I will introduce you to the chieftain. It should be you to light Thug's pyre during celebration."
"It, is... ... It is Honor." Cougar replied shakily, returning his gaze to the pyre.
"Let me show you to the chieftain... umm..." she paused, realizing she didn't know his name yet. After he didn't pick up on her cue she asked, "What is your name, warrior?"
Cougar Bear stood tall and proud "I am called Cougar Bear because I am powerful warrior. Fast and calm like Cougar, strong and unrelenting like Bear."
The Orc girl tittered a little more, highly impressed by this, "My name is Gartha, My mother was a Human, but she died here when I was very young. She used to tell me father was great warrior, but I never meet father. Now I serve our chief with pride and grace."
They talked for a very short while before she left to find the chieftain. Cougar had no social skills and learned only enough language to earn honor amongst warrior tribes. Mostly Werekin. Their conversation was brief and awkward, his experience with the chieftain would be of little difference.
With that, she was gone and cougar wandered the village beside himself.
The day went by fairly uneventful, the villagers gathered around Cougar to offer their admiration or gifts, usually consisting of food or bone necklaces; small festivities spattered the village areas near the pyre and the young Orcs ran about in all directions, often attempting to climb all over Cougar.
Throughout the afternoon, Cougar participated in various activities, at the requests of children and other young villagers, enjoyed telling poorly worded stories of other fights he's won as a Weretiger (being ever careful to conceal what he is, or what else he has been), and competed (but usually lost) in small Orc games of endurance and strength.
During one such event akin to one-on-one tug of war, Cougar was paired up with a giant of an Orc who seemed to have a fierce grudge against Cougar. His body mass was that of at least 3 grown adult Orc men, in great shape with muscles rippling from toe to forehead. His feudal sneer was as fierce as his body mass, making him appear to be thirteen times more fierce than he already was. Which was already thirteen times that of an ordinary Orc!
They stared each other down, fiercely gripping their ends of the rope, eyes locked.
A Spectator, acting as referee, called the start of the match, and both contestants strained with their all. It wasn't much of a match, the giant Orc whipped his end of the rope downward, yanking Cougar, briefly 3 feet into the air, straight to his face in the muddy clay.
The Giant Orc Berserker laughed and boasted, bragging that "this puny werecat couldn't stand against me for a whole second!"
Cougar, in the hospitality and good graces of an Orc village, let slide the Berserker's taunts. They weren't terribly well founded, though given the circumstances of Cougar's recent victory, they weren't unwarranted either.
Cougar brushed himself off and stood up, the Orc had stepped forward, towering before him menacingly, Cougar feigning ignorance, trying to act oblivious to the Orc's intimidation techniques.
This was only successful in pissing off the wrong Orc.
Before Cougar lifted his head half way to meet the Orc's fierce and angry gaze, he found himself looking up at his jaw instead, from the ground, through massive fingers.
Cougar's patience was overextended when he lost the of tug of war. Putting up with the Orc's taunting and bragging was an enormous gesture of respect to the tribe, even if they didn't know it; but now, Cougar's thin patience had been poked through like tissue paper; the final straw had been lain, this patient camel's back was broken.
Roaring like the tiger, he grabbed the Orc's arm and jumped to his feet, prying the grip off.
He then got in the Orc's face.
"CHALLENGE!" He snarled.
This shocked the Orc; that cougar had gotten back up was a surprise - one that was to be expected of fools who dont know their place, that he had just jumped in the Face of a respected Orc champion was flat out inexcusable, but to issue a challenge under these mournful circumstances warranted the welcome of their guest null and void.
"Your Welcome Has Worn Out!! Puny WereCat!" The Orc boomed, his voice thundering in the very core of Cougar Bear's body, possibly in the core of the Earth. He imagined even the core of the heavens themselves was trembling.
Not backing down, Cougar stepped forward, tip-toeing, narrowing the gap between their bodies, and further narrowing the already insignificant gap between their faces. He whispered "you have no honor" and stepped down, returned to his heel, but maintained a threatening composure.
The Orc Champion roared in rage "I Accept challenge! Puny Cat is going to light Thugh's pyre with his body!!!"
The small crowd that formed at the start of the tug of war had quintupled and nearly the entire village was present to witness the challenge, cheering on their Champion Berserker.
The maiden from before appeared as if from nowhere, out of the crowd, and approached the two.
she lifted their arms into the air and proclaimed "The challenge has been accepted, Cougar Bear will be the next to face off against our Honored Champion Berserker, Gorak!!!"
While the crowd cheered and fawned over their champion, Gartha took Cougar aside and told him he was to meet the Chieftain; sternly, "Now."
Gartha showed Cougar to the chieftain's hut and told him to wait a moment as she prepared the chieftain for a visitor. She was quiet about it, barely audible, "there's been a challenge against the champion." "what his name?" "cougar bear." "send him in."
She was gone no more than a few brief moments when an arm breached the threshold of the doorway, beckoning him to enter. Hesitant, he reluctantly did so.
"Cougar Bear!" came a warm booming voice. "Welcome to our village! Gartha tell me you great warrior, defeat Thugh last night! Thugh our best gatekeeper for long time!" In spite of the warmness, the generosity, the kindness emanating from the chieftain, he still spoke critically and accusingly about the circumstances."You great warrior, kill our gate keeper. you great warrior indeed, but you no earn honor. you kill good gate keeper."
The warmth was fading.
"We have gate keepers, they keep us safe from wild animal, from enemy tribe, but now we lose best gate keeper..." This momentary pause left cougar an unpleasant feeling, "You new gate keeper?" This was not as much a question as it was a demand, the earlier friendly expressions had drained completely from the chieftain and he now stared hard at cougar, expecting a favorable answer.
Cougar shrugged "Me no Orc, get Orc gate keeper."
The chieftain slammed his thick staff to the ground. "You come to village, kill our gate keeper, and challenge greatest champion! You disgrace village!"
Cougar was getting excited, now he knew he wasn't leaving here without a fight.
Rather than express his excitement, he shrugged "You win honor back?"
This clearly offended the chieftain, who, in spite of his efforts to hide his offense and maintain cordial composure, glared hard at Cougar Bear, brows furrowed, a grim frown painting his thin lips, chapped and torn as they were, the frown seemed to make his blemishes themselves grow angry.
The tension built moment after moment as the silence between them grew louder and louder. The silence was deafening by the time the chieftain spoke.
"We No Lose Honor To Puny Weretiger!" his words growing louder, as loud as he himself was angry, "Puny Weretiger Earn Honor Back or We Eat Puny Weretiger!!"
Instinctual twangs...... Cougar flinches at the word "eat", which the Chief recognized from past battles with other Skinwalkers. Though he said and did nothing... Biding his time.
"I kill champion like I kill guard!" Cougar shot back. "I EAT CHAMPION!!" This confirmed it, but the chief still did nothing, concealing a certain excitement with all his willpower.
However, the chieftain had had more than his fill and demanded Gartha escort him out. "He be tested by champion before ceremony." He turned to face Cougar Bear, "Champion kill disrespectful Weretiger! Lay his tattered body as sacrifice to Thugh!"
Before he knew it, he was back in the center of the village, surrounded by a mix of venomous and amorous Orcish faces and responses.
Being so much shorter than the average Orc, Cougar Bear couldn't see him past the crowd, but he hears the champion boasting somewhere. Near the pyre no doubt.
"I KILL Puny Werecat With One Fist!!!" Cougar could barely see the larger mass over the crowd. He was flexing, posing, and generally soaking in his fame and the admiration of his fellow tribesmen.
"Puny Werecat Not Stand! Puny Werecat Defeated Already! Just not know it!!" Raging cheers and hollers.
Calling an early defeat to cougar bear? His ego pulsed.
"Puny Werecat defeated before Puny Werecat Make Mistake of Challenge!!"
Like gentle waters flowing from a stream into a sudden whitewater rapid, Cougar's ego flooded and surged. A snarl painted his lips though silent as he remained.
Gartha had escorted him this far, warned not to confront him before the challenge began. "Don't do it, don't give in, I can see in your eyes that you have more honor than his words show."
He either ignored her or hadn't heard her at all, for by the time she finished her sentence, he had already begun walking into the crowd, looking for the champion.
"Wait!!" she noticed him leave as her words came to closure "come back!"
He was oblivious to her calls.
"Cat no stand chance against Champion, Gorak! Gorak the Mighty No Lose EVER!" He roared, his boasting seemed to grow exponentially with each volley of egotistical pride. He slammed a huge fist against his chest, emitting a deep war-drum beat across the crowd which responded in kind, creating a miniature shock wave.
Cougar found Gorak standing on the middle step of Thug's Pyre, using it for his own self-celebratory soap box.
Cougar had his chance. He could defame the champion's honor so easily now! "You Disrespect Gate Keeper Thug! Pyre no place to boast!!! GET DOWN AND FACE ME NOW!!!"
He was indignant. He usually prided himself in honorable conduct, and this was a blatantly disrespectful gesture to any of the recent dead, more so of a fallen warrior!
Gorak laughed a mighty roar and ignored Cougar, returning to his gloating.
"Puny kitty cat think it know better how to pay respect!! Puny Cat NO LIGHT THUG'S PYRE! I LIGHT BROTHER'S PYRE!!!" His voice growing in volume and size as he continued his words until he was screaming at Cougar Bear.
Cougar's steel nerve twanged. Brother? Clearly, Gorak was not about to be brought down that easily, if at all. Guilt welled up in Cougar's heart, but he ignored it.
Cougar Bear thought about this, realizing now why the champion had a grudge against him from the start, realizing, now, that he was in for the fight of his life. Not a challenge of debasement and honors.
This was a deathmatch.
In spite of his passionate display of emotion, it was clear the champion had high levels of self control as to not attack Cougar Bear outright. Cougar Bear instinctively realized this meant his opponent was not only a massive and indomitable vessel of combat, not just a highly skilled warrior, but greatly experienced as well. It meant he knew how to pick his battles so as not to engage in a waste of effort. Terribly uncommon for huge Orcs like this, who would usually rely only on brute strength alone.
It meant that either Gorak was a mighty skilled warrior who knew, without a doubt, that he could defeat a Weretiger without breaking a sweat, or that he was as utterly retarded as he was muscle clad.
Cougar silently hoped for retardation, now regretting giving into his own short temper.
He was trapped and now caught in thought...
'Gorak, huh? sounds like a strong name, an Orc of his stature deserves no less. Man look at the size of those muscles, his arm is as big as a hippo! mmmmm hippo... fuck, I'm hungry... god, i haven't eaten since they had a feast earlier this afternoon... it's not long till sunset, maybe they will feed us before the fight?'
... He was shocked out of it when Gartha approached, shaking her head disapprovingly and spoke, "You are great warrior, Cougar Bear, but you have committed suicide today..."
Cougar was not phased, he had an ace up his sleeve that no one was yet aware of. Though preferably wanting to be an ally of course, he has his silent options.
He can sacrifice his seasoned Weretiger body and give the tribe back their honor, he could then shape shift at the brink of death and escape as an insect, thus preserving a potential meal ticket in the future for a different body, though rousing suspicions for future visitations.
He could sacrifice his pride and admit fault, but be exiled from the village... probably not alive.
Or he could fight to the death and use every shape he's got and risk a village massacre...
His thoughts clearly enveloped him, and Gartha prodded his lower ribcage "you have second thoughts, don't you?"
"maybe third..." he responded as if in a trance, unaware of his own words, still engorged on thought. he gazed toward Gorak, but as if looking at a mountain in the great distance.
"You sure you will not take back your challenge?" she queried. Her command of language exposed her Human lineage, but cougar only just now noticed. "you talk good" He said somewhat sheepishly, though unembarrassed.
"You're just fulfilling your death wish, aren't you? It probably doesn't matter what i say, since you're clearly listening to me as it is..." Sarcastic, but Gartha's patience was saintly, yet even still, inadvertently, Cougar tested it; And she was absolutely right, he wasn't even listening anyways, thinking only of the life he knows, fighting... eating... surviving... The Fight To Come...
Cougar was fed up with standing around gawking at an overly boastful Orcish Berserker. Champion or not, brother or not, this showed no honor to his slain sibling.
Cougar unleashed a long and fierce tiger war cry. He stared Gorak down and snarled "NO HONOR" He growled fiercely.
Gorak's fans had dispersed to a safe distance almost instantly. Gorak kept a cold, frozen shoulder. "No Honor? YOU Have No Honor. You have SHAME! SHOW ME Your HONOR!" and Gorak turned slowly to face Cougar Bear. "SHOW. ME. YOUR HONOR!!!" He roared, bearing his teeth and fangs and hippopotamus sized muscles.
His arms lowered, begging Cougar to strike, Cougar's ego wouldnt ever allow him not to. He leaped at Gorak, claws first, mouth wide open, snarling.
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A single back handed blow was all it took to send Cougar over the village walls. His ego damaged far more than his body; his mind falling apart, grinding, cracking, tearing at the seams. He could see only red, his Skinwalker eyes overflowed with emotion and rage, burning bright crimson red, betraying and exposing his shape shifting capabilities.
He clattered on his feet and rolled across the ground, turned, and rushed the walls, rapidly clawing over them with ease, leaping at the height of the massive walls and shape shifting into a rattlesnake half way through his descent, which slowed his fall enough to land unharmed.
All eyes being on Gorak, no one noticed this feat but Gartha. Stunned, disbelieving, she cleared her eyes, and when her vision returned, there was no longer a snake but a Werecougar. Cougar Bear caught eye of her and was stunned for a moment. Their eyes met. Locked. He was momentarily paralyzed by her catching him in the act, knowing he lost the element of surprise. He solemnly bowed his head, for but a moment, then made a mad dash toward Gorak.
Once he was within range, he leapt into the air at him before Gartha shook her shock and shouted, "Gorak!!"
Gorak turned to face Gartha in time to greet Werecougar claws. His forehead and left cheek quickly shredded and bloody.
His shock was long and indignant, he couldn't comprehend what had just transpired, staring at a Werecougar with fierce blood red glowing eyes. Gorak's lip quivered, his mind was swirling and nauseous, his voice betrayed his ferocity "who? who you?" his eyes were now childlike, still in shock.
Cougar Bear morphed before the whole village into his former, favorite but damaged, Weretiger body; his eyes unable to change, the intense, raw, passionate rage controlling him now, his fur changed color, grew longer, and started becoming striped, as his snout molded shape. Eyes blazing red.
The crowd gasped and fled in fear, Gorak's shock slowly waning, his eyes gradually gaining focus, ferocity; rage.
His eyes crossed, then focused on Cougar. An epic battle cry replaced his childlike question.
There was a massive quaking in the immediate area at the emanation of Gorak's voice and Cougar's matching rage took form as well. Gorak slammed his foot forward and roared, his foot initiating the miniature earthquake, his roar so massive, itself, as though carrying the shock waves of the Earth further.
He leaped at Cougar. To Cougar's dismay.
Cougar watched the massive Orc Berserker launch himself 6 feet into the air. Rushing Cougar, just like that, pummeling Cougar's head into the earth. Seemingly impossible for such a large mass!
In the midst of the action, Cougar's Skinwalker instincts snapped his favored body to a weaker, 1-eyed, "face" of another Weretiger; a great feat of his kind to morph face so swiftly, so quickly, so instantaneously and in such short notice, a trained repetition of transformation to a single face.
Dead. Dead; although that face was lost upon impact, Cougar was able to evade death once more: While in the moment between killing him and raising his fist from the crater where Cougar once stood, Gorak could feel Cougar Bear morph, again, into his preferred body. He was once more the faster, stronger, leaner, meaner Weretiger.
His clean face belied the blood stained and brain splattered crater, which confused and infuriated Gorak. Now he was in an equally blind furor rage as Cougar, and swung his stronger, right hand; Head on Hippo-on-Head Strike.
Cougar backflipped to try to match the inertia and absorb damage, then clawed the gigantic fist, latching on, and biting, getting an early start on, hopefully, acquiring his new face.
The crowd that had fled the city "watched" from beyond the city walls, feeling every blow Gorak landed upon the Earth, feeling his every enraged step and stomp, some villagers even climbing up to look over the top.
Gartha and few others who had fled to their homes now peered out their windows and door flaps or stood beside their homes and watched the epic battle in awe.
Cougar Bear didn't get to chew more than a thin sliver of the back of Gorak's hand before he found his own skull near-mortally crushed, between sheer forceful muscle and the dark, bloodstained, rock hard, dry clay. He could hear and feel his skull cracking.
He had to shape shift, to preserve his favored body, he had to morph out of it.
An excruciatingly painful snap and crack as bone dislodged from his face.
His ego split between his favorable body and self preservation.
Excruciating pain induced shape shifting. He doubled back in a single leap at the initiation of the morph, thereby quadrupling the distance between he and Gorak because as he shifted, with his blood was everywhere, his face mangled and marred
from sliding out while jerking; bone showing around his left eye, which
protruded from his skull more than it should, his snout utterly
flattened and crushed, limping in places it shouldn't, and his body
rapidly shrinking: His size and mass shrank into a small mouse amidst a single forcible jerk of his body.
He meweled feebly and collapsed from a residual signal his presumably lost favorite body initiated.
His mind raced, though he appeared to have passed out. He could feel the Berserker slowly approach with each and every thudding footfall.
He could feel Gorak was no more than 4 of his giant steps away. Another thud. Three steps away, and Cougar's mind was blank; he wasn't even aware he wasn't thinking, just utterly gone, had he not been alive, had he not been so unaware, he would have though he was dead.
One more vibrating step.
Next, his body exploded in blood, gore, bone, tissue, and all other manner of living organic material as Gorak stomped him in with his 1 foot wide heel. The aged, seasoned, and experienced Cougar Bear has seen much worse, though never been as badly beaten all at once...
Cougar's Skinwalker instinct was so powerfully developed and honed, he involuntarily shape shifted into a flea just before the moment of true death.
Still mind blind, still. totally unaware, utterly blacked out to all of the universe, the flea instinct took over and he bit Gorak's foot and devoured some blood.
The nutrients of the blood restored some cognizance and he realized, in great pain and miserable sorrow, that his most powerful body had just been slain.
He morphed into an Elephant and trumpeted loudly, tears gushing hard and fast. As he morphed, he was lifting Gorak into the air upon his back, eyes as teary as red, and as ever Red.
He stood on his forefeet, raising his hind legs, throwing Gorak's center of gravity forward, while lifting his head and trunk. Naturally Gorak compensated, and when he did, Cougar stomped his rear legs down, and flicked him off with his trunk, launching him off his back and over his tail. Not far flung, but with enough force that he skidded into the city walls. Cougar trumpeted again and charged Gorak, in hopes of goring him with one of his tusks and ending this fight now.
Gorak was stunned but only gently, as he quickly rose to his feet before Cougar could even cover a quarter of the short distance between them. He lowered his arms again and readied to launch the elephant into the sky. Cougar Bear came to the very sudden and horribly shocking realization that he has tremendously underestimated Gorak's strength and, only just now, realized not only what he was preparing to do, but that he would be tremendously successful in doing so!
He couldn't slow his inertia with this less and awkward body, so Cougar attempted to jump, breaking 3 of his legs while twisting his massive body, and launched into Gorak; as he flew, he shape shifted into a Whale; upon impact, like a whip a 10 ton whale snapped into Gorak. He crushed Gorak into the ground and fell on top his legs and torso, thereby pinning him down, but knew he hadn't much time, and had to think of a shape that could hold up to Gorak.
His thoughts made no progress before Gorak lifted the huge Baleen-Cougar Bear, off of him, raising him above his head: raising up a foot, stepping up to a knee, from a knee to affirm his feet upon the ground and stand mightily up.
Cougar's blackout was fully over and he snapped back to reality. His eyes, wider than ever, glowed no more. As Gorak began to throw him off, he shape shifted into his Werecougar face. His... now... most powerful and honored body.
The launch successfully sent him all the way back to the Human village, which now lay decimated and in ruins, villagers' bodies mostly charred on a huge pyre.
The villagers outside the walls of the slightly evacuated Orc village observed the flight of Cougar Bear, the Werecougar, and cheered mightily.
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Inside the superconscious mind of the primal Skinwalker instinctual consciousness, the body of a Weretiger with one eye missing, a mostly hollow mangled and shattered skull. The vital parts glowing; where vital, quite little was glowing indeed. No, glowing, brain function above the stem, heart crushed between crushed ribcage and spine.
As though alive, yet not alive. The two minds connect, a Werecougar and a dead, dying, yet-in-stasis Weretiger... Acknowledging each other. Passing the torch, the Were tiger hands his shattered open palm to another, leaner, Weretiger who was also face-mangled and partially brainless, but otherwise in much better condition. He carried something; red drops and streams coating the fur of his forearms where he cradled this dark and crimson mass.
The one eyed weretiger falls limp, and his fraily bound dismemberments and fractures fall apart to the floor, disappearing into void-ness. The leaner Weretiger approaches the Werecougar solemnly.
He hands over the mass of small mouse; guts, skull, tail... corpse. The tiny head turns only to nod, and lie down gently, fading into void.
The Weretiger raises his head, revealing a mangled skull, snout, jaw, eye sockets... one eye remains, and surprisingly, enough brain matter for partial cognizance. The eye is rolling wildly and staring at the Werecougar between fidgets. They nod to one another. The Weretiger places his right fist upon his chest and his left arm onto Cougar Bear's shoulder. Cougar's shoulder is then occupied by the large trunk of an elephant.
The elephant lifts the body of the Warrior who is on the verge of death onto it's back, bowing it's head and kneeling down on his good leg, in spite of his three broken ones.
Cougar Bear's Werecougar body reaches out toward the newly fallen warrior, who will continue to be remembered here in this superconscious void between awareness and observance; atop his noble mount who forever stands guard the Warrior's Secret Tomb, dead to the world. They are barely alive, in stasis within the genetic void, of one warrior who will never forget:
The smeared mouse guts across the forehead of a broken elephant who is mounted by a fallen half-alive corpse of a Weretiger, fading into void, but not fading...... ... ...
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The Warrior's Secret Tomb was shattered like glass as Cougar awakened to the smells.
Nighttime had fallen, contrary to Cougar's light sensitive eyes perceiving daylight.
He composed himself and remembered the fallen bodies he'd lost. Raging tears flooded his icy blue Skinwalker eyes. He was too mournful to express anger, but the rage was no less now than it had been before, just dominated by sorrow.
"One last fight." He said, defying the mortal wounds upon his body. His new most honored body... It wasn't enough though. Once standing, he shape shifted into the Wereram and began eating the slain and scorched Humans. He did not even question what had happened to the village. In this world, everything can change in the blink of an eye. If you stop and stare, it might kill you.
His Wereram body wasn't in great shape either, but healthier than his Honored Face. He needed this body to win, but needed to heal both.
Engorging himself on corpses and shifting into multiple fighting bodies and slowly healing them with food, he was oblivious to the approaching Orcish Shaman. Oblivious to the company brought alongside.
The Shaman had no place as a warrior and was no threat to Cougar Bear, had signaled his companions to remain at a distance as he approached first. Cougar Bear had cycled through 2 more bodies before noticing the Orc, and suddenly and swiftly shifted to the Werecougar. The shaman laid down his staff, kneeled, and held up both hands as a gesture that he did not come to fight and would not respond in kind. Cougar Bear calmed, but remained poised.
"Skinwalker..." He spoke, sternly, unfriendly, but with a certain respect and admiration. "You have much to learn... We want to teach you." This was the cue for Gartha and the Chieftain that it was safe, and they revealed themselves. This erased Cougar Bear's poise and he sat down, cross legged, exhausted.
The shaman spoke. "This very strange... We never help evil Skinwalker kind." He was clearly not here of his own volition. Gartha placed a hand on his shoulder, and he sighed. He then retrieved his staff and became cross legged as well, laying it across his lap ceremoniously, then said, "Let's all sit, Thunder Doom."
The chieftain had such a name! Cougar Bear thought.
Orcish names were well earned and often changed.
This name... it had such power and presence, Cougar was humbled, and subtly sighed.
Thunder Doom spoke sternly. "You know Shadow Wolf?" That name incited fireworks of mixed emotion.
"The social one..." Cougar muttered, half astonished and half admirable.
"He try to make Skinwalker tribes... stupid." Thunder Doom interrupted "He is HONORABLE."
Cougar Bear recoiled. The chief was absolutely right. Though Cougar had never met Shadow Wolf, he knew many things about him, and had chosen to remain behind on Earth at the end of the world as well, just like Shadow wolf and his polar opposites, the Lycanwalker gang, along with unknown scatterings of other Skinwalker nomads, whom Shadow Wolf sought out and taught his ways.
There was a silence, everyone hesitant as to what to say next, but Thunder Doom had an agenda and was thinking hard about the next step.
He was reluctant, even downright offended that it had come to this request.
"Eat Gorak, we teach you. Refuse, you die now." His own heart, as though pranged at this request, got the best of him and he stood abruptly, and walked away.
There was an awkward silence; a pause that seemed to stretch out, while the shaman peered deeply into the eyes of his rival and nemesis.
The shaman was next in line to speak, however, and had to gather his patience to say what must be said.
"We will give you advantage, you will win. But you must belong to us now. No more Skinwalker." Cougar's feet had just been inadvertently but firmly placed on the same path as Shadow Wolf; he was just not yet aware of it. "We can give you potion and elixir to boost your power. Time to decide."
And the shaman followed suit of the chief, who was evidently trekking back home, seemingly alone in spite of the distant following shaman.
Gartha remained. She had taken a severe liking to this person whom had dishonored her village and killed her friends. In spite of this grievous offense, she was growing fond of Cougar, and secretly hoped he would give her sons through Gorak's body.
"Don't mind Severskull...-" Another powerful name!- "We wish to be your people now, we wish for you to be our Gorak, replace him by being him..." She held back personal words and continued her designated job.
"If we cannot convince you to join us, and return to the village before the Chieftain and Shaman order your death, I will shed no tears for you." She accidentally spoke her heart and turned away. She knew she couldn't keep talking, she'd fucked up, and had to follow suit too, but cougar stood up first.
He shape shifted into the Wereram, the first time anyone has seen him wear this face.
He followed suit first as well, and Gartha embarrassingly accompanied the strange guest back home, explaining the plan on the way.
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Whence they caught up with Thunder Doom and Severskull, Gartha called out, alerting them of their success, and the two slowed their stride.
As they approached, Gartha began explaining.
"You will have to show us your faces before we reach the village, so we may decide who you will be while you are here until we can fulfill our plan." She said, motioning the shaman and chief to wait on him. "How many faces do you have left?" she asked bluntly, without consideration for his pride, but recoiled at her own words when she heard herself speak "I'm sorry, I-" Cougar bear cut her off nonchalantly, "It fine, I am still mighty."
"My faces are few now, lost 3 good ones in fight before..." He paused, looking off in the distance, remembering the fight, the pain, the adrenaline, honoring his secret shrine.
The three Orcish tribe members waited on him, the shaman quickly growing impatient. "We need to know a good face for you while we prepare you!" He reminded.
Cougar Bear blinked out of his daze and slowly shape shifted out of his Wereram face into a small Werebear cub. "Too young to fight" He growled, then, slowly shape shifting into a Werebat he complained, "Not easy to move in, terrible fight." He flapped his arm-wings a couple times and lifted off the ground slightly for a moment. "Not fun flying... can't see, sounds hurt..." He said.
Shape shifting quickly into his Werecougar face, he reported "This face needs to rest..." Then shifted quickly into the Weretiger the village witnessed flung high over the perimeter walls. The body was still clearly wounded, "Too hurt." He complained.
He then shape shifted slowly between various mammals, birds, and reptiles, a frog, and an ant, before the shaman stomped on him. "We no need insects! Show us your true face!" He challenged, but Thunder Doom forcibly pulled him aside and glared at him, eye to eye, though remaining silent. He looked down to the smashed footprint, the soft and dusty earth protected Cougar enough that he suffered no damage, but was stunned for a moment.
They waited a few seconds before he wearily shape shifted into the rarely witnessed true form of a vulnerable Skinwalker. He rose slowly from the ground, transforming his ant limbs, absorbing them into his body, and losing discernible features and color, then finally becoming pitch black and slender. He grew to about 4 feet tall with no genuinely distinguishable features save two black stick arms and two black stick legs, protruding from his stick-like body. His head was barely more than a nub atop his otherwise shoulder-less arms. He opened his eyes and Thunder Doom recoiled at the stark whiteness of them, hollow but lucent. Severskull, too, was aback at the white color of this Skinwalker's eyes.
Gartha was not nearly as familiar with Skinwalkers to understand their reaction and spoke up, "What is wrong? You both look as if you see a ghost?" Thunder Doom bowed and shook his head, but remained silent. The shaman stepped beside her and spoke lowly, "The color of Skinwalker eyes tell their nature and their emotion, they cannot hide their intentions in this form, or intense feelings even when in shape of animal or person... do you remember Lycanwalker attack?"
Gartha was shocked he would bring it up, but she nodded as she remembered the glowing red, orange, and yellow eyes of the mysterious Werewolves who killed many of her people, along with her own mother, when she was very young. "I remember the glowing red eyes..." she spoke quietly and solemnly. The shaman was predisposed to hate Skinwalkers from his own past experiences and accused, "Skinwalker has red eyes because red is rage, anger, evil."
Gartha peered over to Cougar's luminous white eyes with great inquiry. "Do not be fooled!" The shaman said, trying to remain hushed. She ignored him and said plainly out loud, more to herself than anyone else at all "White is the color of innocence and protection." Without realizing it or noticing, she had smiled at Cougar Bear before turning to the shaman, "Maybe not all Skinwalkers are-" she quietly began, but he huffed and turned away from the group. She turned desperately to Thunder Doom, not knowing what to say, but pleading with him never the less, eyes wide with hope.
The chief was uncertain and weary, but felt that the Skinwalker could be trusted, if not for his eyes, then for his peaceful behavior during the trek back home and compliance with the instructions he'd been given so far. "We no want fights until right time." He began, addressing Cougar Bear. "Go with Bear cub face. If not good for fight, good for plan until fight." Cougar did not seem to acknowledge him, but after several seconds, there was evidence that he had been slowly shape shifting into the Werebear immediately as asked; however as slowly as he changed, it was proven true to the chief that a unmorphed Skinwalker was, in fact, mortally vulnerable, and he tensed up with anticipation, a subtle desire to snuff him out then and there. One less Skinwalker to have to worry about. But he held fast and kept his word. He was not about to dishonor himself.
They waited several minutes before Cougar was finally done, and spoke gruffly, "We sure this work good?" while examining himself. "Worry not Cougar Bear, remember our plan and follow us into the village." Thunder Doom assured him, though Cougar was not, in fact, assured. Unsure, but dedicated, he did not deviate from his instructions. Torn between his natural instinct to simply eat them and his acute desire for the perfect warrior body, he walked slowly behind everyone, allowing the shaman and Gartha to walk ahead of him. As she passed, she slowed as well.
Still walking faster, but attentive of Cougar's pace, she stopped some 5 yards ahead and turned to him. "Is something the matter, Cougar Bear? You seem distracted...?" She asked. Cougar became self conscious ten times over. Firstly that he was, in fact, distracted; secondly, by what: his desire to devour her, her chief, and their shaman was surely not a welcome thing to admit. Furthermore, his distraction was significantly inducing self consciousness by his split between the honor and admiration he held for these people versus his chaotic Skinwalker instinct. Lastly, he was caught between himself and himself, having never actually consciously felt self conscious; a strange new awareness creeping over him caused him to halt all together and stare, dumbfounded, at Gartha.
They were not more than a mile from the imposing village walls, Thunder Doom and the shaman, Severskull, were already prepared at the gate, now waiting on the two. Cougar could see, even from so far away, that the shaman was agitated, and complaining to the chief. At least this distracted him from his self consciousness, he continued walking, oblivious to Gartha's concern for him, which she did not verbalize, but the sympathy in her eyes would have given her away had he been a more social specie than a Skinwalker.
Gartha abruptly stopped when she noticed Cougar Bear was no longer advancing toward the village.
"Cougar...?" She asked hesitantly. A thought struck her in that moment and she blurted out "We need to give you a new name..."
This comment dissolved his self-consciousness and he approached her with curiosity, "Why I need different name?" He asked, stopping beside her.
She tried to sidestep the question and began walking hurriedly toward the village, saying "Let's return to the village and let our Chief and Shaman prepare you."
Cougar bear scratched his head and followed, picking up the pace.
When Gartha and Cougar Bear reached Thunder Doom and Severskull, she initiated the scenario:
"Tell the village that we could not find any Skinwalkers, but a victim of his... evil." She had to force herself to denounce him, even if indirectly by the guise they had conceived.
Thunder Doom commanded the guards to wait inside the gates while Severskull inspected the guest with Gartha.
Severskull spoke with authority, "Tell us your name Sk- Weary traveler!"
Gartha immediately interrupted Cougar as he was about to speak his actual name, "This young Werebear is too exhausted from his encounter to speak! We must attend to him and attempt to recruit him!"
Severskull scowled and proceeded as planned, "Very well! You may allow him to a guest hut. Find out what you can about him!" Then slammed his fist on the village gate 3 times.
It slowly opened and gradually revealed that the village appeared to be deserted. Evidently everyone had gone to rest for the evening.
Before the guards permitted them entry, 3 separate scouting groups had arrived and immediately reported to Thunder Doom's hut. One guard spoke off hand "Ah, the scouts return from Skinwalker hunting!" And laughed to himself. Severskull glared at him as he ushered Gartha and the yet-renamed Cougar Bear through.
The guard chuckled and shrugged, staring the shaman back.
Inside the guest hut, Gartha told Cougar to come up with a name for his Werebear face.
"Why I need different name? I have proud and strong name already, why change?"
Gartha sighed, slightly frustrated, "We already know 'Cougar Bear' is a Skinwalker... We would not tolerate your face without suspicion... and we would be right! You must be able to hide in plain sight."
Cougar bear sat on the straw heap of a bed then laid down with his eyes open. Gartha approached, but remained standing.
"Severskull helps mothers come up with names for the babies in our village, you would be better off letting him help. His naming would surely be recognizable to our people, and put them at ease with you more quickly that way. I am currently needed in the chieftain's hut to help coordinate our next scouting mission..."
She looked directly into Cougar's, now plain and unlit, dark brown eyes. "You've stirred up our warriors and scouts into a frenzy, and Thunder Doom and I must direct their energy away from you if we are to earn your power for our people... They will slaughter you as soon as they know what you are! We cannot allow them to find you out." She immediately left without waiting for a response.
Cougar-the-bear-cub thought about a new name and came up with a few powerful ideas, rolling them silently on his tongue. 'Bearclaw', 'Bigcub', and inspired by the chieftain himself, "Thunder Roar." He said out loud.
He considered the alternative, 'Ursa Doom', but only inspired himself to chuckle quietly in his deep, growling bear voice.
After several minutes of thinking up names with his eyes closed, he found himself drifting off to sleep.
Dreams of his former faces, the pain of their memory still freshly slain in his Secret Tomb.
No focus, something dark and foreboding on the fringes of his awareness.
The Elephant gores him awake!
Cougar Bear shot up to a sitting position with a stabbing pain in his side where he was gored in his dreams.
As it turned out, it was the end of the shaman's ceremonial staff, firmly jabbing into him.
Cougar swatted it away angrily, and then focused on the slightly familiar face. He growled, "Why you do that?"
Severskull chuckled maliciously and spoke, "Stay down, cub. The scouts are sent out, the village sleeps. Gartha says you need help getting new name." He pointed his staff at Cougar's face, "Punybear."
Cougar growled low and menacingly, "Too weak!" Severskull grinned with genuine glee at the response and persisted, "Cubfuzz." He said more sternly, to which Cougar deeply scoffed. He turned his head slightly away, as a gesture that it was not fit either.
Severskull laughed with the same malice as before, "Black-cub, then!" Cougar turned his head back to look at him, then subtly shook it, closing his eyes. "Tinycub!" Cougar spoke, "No. Thunder Roar." The shaman laughed with genuine joy now, "That's not fit for you! Too young, and unproven!"
"But your names are weak! I am not weak!" He responded. Severskull grinned maliciously, "Ah, you need name which tribe will respect. Choose Bearchild or Little Bear, or I cannot help you!"
Cougar scowled and grunted in frustration. "I do not like the names." He said quietly. "Very well, Little Bear, I have decided." Severskull responded plainly.
Cougar stood up, "I did not choose that!"
Severskull stepped back 3 paces and said, "Then choose!"
Cougar decided the argument was a loss, and conceeded to the shaman's decision. "Fine." Was all he could say any more.
Severskull stared at him for nearly a minute, taking in his face and form. "You will call yourself Bearchild, I will give you tribe name, after. Villagers will respect name I give you. They will feel familiar with name you speak to them. It will convince them you are worthy ally."
Severskull's cunning begins sinking into Couger's understanding. He does not respond, but concedes to the decision.
Gartha entered. In her arms were 2 half empty food sacks. "The scouts bring food to honor our guest. But you must not eat yet, we will introduce you tonight during the night time celebration. If you offer the food we've given you, the village will have more respect for you tomorrow. Do not worry, Cougar Bear-"
Cougar growled resentfully "It Bearchild now..." He said, and turned away.
Finishing, Gartha said "Do not worry, it is not honorable that we take the very food we've given you, but it would be a good gesture for you to offer it tonight. Bring the food sacks with you when the fire is lit."
Severskull chuckled under his breath as he departed. Gartha explained that he was needed to prepare the nightly ceremony.
"And Cougar Bear... I will respect your honorable name between us. We need only name you to hide you. I will protect your identity by using the name Severskull grants you tonight, but when we are alone, i know you as Cougar Bear." She smiled and left straight away.