Running. Running as fast as he could, as far away from the others—his former tribesmen. That was all that was on Arei’s mind. The gray timber wolf frantically glanced over his shoulder as he ducked under branches. He could just barely see his pursuers, roughly sixty feet out, and quickly closing in. Stumbling over himself, panting heavily, Arei finally broke into a clearing, his eyes wide with fright as he panted. He could hear the leaves rustling all around him, accompanied by the loud, jeering taunts being thrown at him. His paws quickly fell down besides his longsword and shield, ready to grab them if anyone tried to rush him as he circled on the spot. His eyes scanned through the clearing, ears swiveling as he tried to figure out exactly where in the brush his hunters were to no avail. Finally, he stopped, widening his stance slightly. “If you’re going to chase me all this way, at least come out and fight me!” he said as he beared his fangs and snarled.
Scathing, vicious laughter echoed around him as one of his pursuers—Balsic, Arei thought it was—said “Oh, aren’t you so brave and tough? Then why did you run? Unless you’re scared?” Their remark was met with snickers and jeers all around Arei.
Instead, Arei instantly swiveled around, facing where they were. “I didn’t kill him!” he said through gritted teeth, as his eyes narrowed, hands going to his side to grab his light crossbow.
“Sure you didn’t! Then why’d you run?” he heard Balsic call out at him as he braced the stock of the bow against his shoulder with his left paw under the foregrip. Leading the front towards the brush, Arei tilted his head to the side, closing one eye, as if to aim. A second later, he squeezed the trigger—the crossbow loudly clunking as the bolt whizzed through the air. He heard a yelp followed by a dull thunk as the bolt pierced wood. Arei lowered the crossbow in disbelief, his left paw grabbing the string, pulling it back until it finally clicked. Before he had a chance to pull out another bolt and load it in, he heard Balsic suddenly shout towards him “That’s it runt! You’re dead now! Kill ‘im!”
The sudden shout took Arei by surprise, barely giving him enough time to drop his crossbow and draw his sword and shield as he saw a figure rush out of the brush, charging at him with a spear. Deftly stepping to the side, Arei watched as their spear dug into the dirt, giving him enough time to fully draw his sword and quickly swipe along the warrior’s chest before they could react. Arei felt the blade catch on their armor, prompting him to pull as hard as possible—feeling the blade cutting into the armor—as the fighter yelled in pain before falling to the ground limply. Feeling his breath get caught in his throat, Arei exhaled, his attention too focused on the one he just fell to react to another one charging towards with a shortsword, feeling the blade jam itself into his thigh.
Wincing, Arei instinctively leaned towards the blade, narrowly dodging a second attack. He held the position for a moment, seeing out of the corner of his eye another figure exit the brush, seemingly about to throw their spear at him. Arei quickly raised his shield up, squatting down slightly as he braced for impact—one that never came. Instead, he felt the tip of a spear being thrusted into his back, jerking his head backwards, seeing both Balsic and another figure exiting the brush. Balsic rushed towards him, rapier at the ready as he lunged forwards. Arei caught his blade his his own, prompting the wolf to snarl in anger. He didn’t have long to think before an ear-piercing howl echoed through the clearing, disorienting him, and causing him to miss the mote of fire being hurled directly at him. It hit him squarely in the chest—the impact from it knocking him to the ground with a loud grunt.
Panting heavily, Arei weakly tried to muster the strength to get back up, but was quickly greeted with one of his former tribesmen pointing their spear at his neck, warning him not to move. He took the hint as Balsic climbed over him, squatting down—pinning him beneath his weight. The two locked eyes for a moment as Balsic growled. “We weren’t going to originally kill you, but seeing as you’ve killed one of us, you don’t deserve that,” he said. “Instead, I think I know exactly what you deserve, runt.”
“And what might that be?” Arei said through clenched teeth.
Balsic simply chuckled, not bothering to grace Arei with a response. Instead, Arei saw his vision quickly being engulfed by the pink slobbery cavern of Balsic’s maw. Arei felt him take his entire head in at once—the last of his energy draining from his body as he went limp. He could feel Balsic quickly and effortlessly gulping him down, coating his entire body in a sticky layer of saliva. By the time his head was thrusted into Balsic’s maw, he finally passed out. Much to Arei’s surprise however, when he opened his eyes next, he wasn’t in a tight, acidic inferno—rather, he was in an ornate banquet hall, sitting at a table. The table before him was set; however, he noted the lack of food. Uncertainly, Arei looked around the room, oblivious to the hyena sitting across from him, giving him a bemused look.
After a second or two, they finally made their presence known as they cleared their throat. Arei instantly looked at them, silently gasping, his mouth agape. “Where… where am I?” he said, trying to suppress his nervousness. The hyena didn’t respond, prompting Arei to tilt this head. “Did… did you not hear me? I asked where am I?”
Pursing their lips, the hyena deeply inhaled and exhaled. “You’re dead,” they said, giving Arei a cold and calculating stare.
“I’m dead?” Arei said as he leaned forwards, tilting his head.
“So who are you then?”
“Raesliv, the god of revenge and vengeance, amongst other things. And you are Arei, a warrior from the wolfkin tribe located in the Dedure Mountains.”
“How…” Arei began, stunned into silence by Raesliv.
“How do I know that?” Arei nodded in reply, prompting Raesliv to smirk. “Because I’ve been paying attention to you, Arei.”
“Why? What’s so special about me?”
“What you did.”
“What… I did?”
“Yes. To make your tribe so angry at you, to the point they would hunt you down and devour you, more specifically.”
Arei balked, before angrily standing up and slamming his paws on the table. “I never did anything though!” he said, snarling.
Raesliv unamusedly looked up at Arei, before motioning for him to sit down. Arei complied without a word. “Tch. If you didn’t, then why are you here? Why is it you want revenge so badly then?”
Stammering, Arei stared at the hyena. “Because I’m innocent! They accused me of killing the elder in an attempted coup, and then tried to kill me for it!”
Deviously smiling, Raesliv turned to look at Arei. “Would you like a second chance then, since your first one was robbed so quickly from you?” he said, rapping his fingers across the table.
“Why do you ask?” Raesliv didn’t respond—Arei got the hint. He sighed, pursing his lips. “What is it you want from me?” he finally said, cautiously eyeing the deity.
Raesliv’s smile turned into a grin. “Smart. At this point, nothing. We can discuss the exact conditions at a later date, but for now, just exact your revenge.”
In the back of his mind, Arei felt like this was a trick—that Raesliv was lying to him—but the desire to get revenge outweighed his common sense. After a second, he stuck out a paw towards Raesliv. “Fine, I’ll accept you offer Raesliv.”
Raesliv flashed Arei a devilish grin as he took his paw and shook it. “So we have a deal. Good luck out there Arei,” he said, as a pulse of white light went from his paw and into Arei. Before he could say or do anything, he saw the room slowly twisting and morphing, growing darker, as his fur grew damp and the pungent scent of acid flooded his nose. He instantly realized where he was—trapped inside Balsic’s gut. Gritting his teeth, Arei felt the slimy gut walls press down around him, preventing him from moving as he felt acid lapping at him. He winced—the acid being more of a nuisance than anything else—as he thrusted his elbow into the gut wall as hard as he could. Balsic loudly gagged as the walls around him constricted, pushing him up and out of the wolf’s gut. A second later, he felt himself land prone on the ground in a slimy mess.
Before anyone could react, Arei quickly leapt up, grabbing his sword, pointing his other hand at one of the pursuers. He felt that surge of energy rush through him as he said “Etdryic Byes!” Instantly, a bolt of white light streaked from his paw and into their chest. They yelped loudly, drawing the other’s attention away long enough for Arei to swipe with his blade and bring down another one of his attackers, before tilting his head upwards and howling. All the others except Balsic fearfully looked at Arei, quickly scattering back into the brush. Balsic worriedly started looking around, trying to see if anyone was still there to support him as he watched Arei draw closer. Instantly, he started stepping away, ultimately tripping over and beginning to crawl away, until he eventually hit a tree.
Balsic instantly looked up at Arei, eyes wide with shock at he started begging. “Arei, please, I-I-I was just kidding about the entire eating you bit! Trust me!”
Arei shook his head as he pounced on top of them, pinning their arms to his side. “Ironic, how the tables turned so quickly like that,” he said. “Well, I guess it’s only fair I return the favor to you, isn’t it?” Balsic’s eyes suddenly went wide with fright as he realized what Arei meant. Before he could say anything—before he could react—Arei suddenly lunged forwards, engulfing his entire head in one motion. Arei’s tongue quickly went to work, licking every bit of his head, ensuring it was all coated in saliva, prompting the wolf to struggle. Ignoring it, Arei simply began working further down the wolf, gulping his head into his throat. He could feel Balsic trying to escape—to force his way out—to no avail, as he slowly forced his chest into his muzzle.
He could feel his throat muscles squeezing and working around Balsic, forcing him into his gut. He could feel the wolf’s head slowly filling the space inside his gut as he tilted his head upwards, letting gravity help force the rest of the wolf down, as he continued gulping. Bit by bit, Arei could feel the rest of the wolf’s body spilling in as he went to work coating his legs and tail. Shortly after that, Arei had managed to fully gulp down Balsic as he sunk down into Arei’s gut. When he felt the entire wolf in his gut, he slowly stood up, rubbing and kneading his distended gut as he burped, feeling Balsic vainly trying to struggle. He didn’t care though—Arei knew he wouldn’t be able to escape as he sheathed his sword again, and looked up to the sky. He had a few more hours of daylight, he guessed. Enough time to find somewhere to stay for the night, or set up camp if he couldn’t. Looking around the clearing, Arei knew that he was alone once again, as he began casually walking through the woods, feeling his stomach churn at Balsic. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be exiled, Arei thought to himself, as he set off once again, eager to start his new life.