On Innocence Lost

He remembered rising. The moment, he awoke. The soft background, the sounds of nature. The smell of pine, oak and wood. The smooth touch of the undergrowth beneath him. He did not remember anything else, though. And as he stood up, he found, with an inexplicable sense of dread creeping up on him, that there was much he was seeing, but more he was missing. The sudden cold feeling at his back crept up alongside his nakedness, far along the white gown he was wearing....

Clearly this was some clearing in the woods, though the trees were ancient, and tall towards the heavens all around him, and the grass he had lain upon was mixed with spots of red all alongside where his body had pushed down.

Yet he did not bleed or hurt anywhere he could touch or feel upon his body. As he looked around, he realized that he knew not which direction to take, for they were all foreign to him. Even looking up he saw no help, for though stars shone with increasingly clearness, the constellations he could not decipher. One thing though, he could, and that was the strange rumbling noise coming from his belly. Hunger. He hungered, more than he had ever known, for something to put his teeth in.

He started moving, naked feet one before the other, slowly walking forward. He would find something, or someone, and they´d tell him, where he was. And who. And maybe...just maybe, they´d have something to eat as well.
As he wandered into the forest, he found that navigating it was easier than expected. That he had an expectation of it at all surprised him as well. Maybe he was a woodsman? He continued onwards with a heavy sigh. Many more questions yet, to bear down upon him.

He stopped, suddenly, as his left hand lay on the giant roots of a tree winding itself down from up on high. Something was there, in the distance. Metallic sounds, and voices. Screaming iron. Again and again. Some semblance of civilization? His speed picked up, as he began, at first a small jog, then a sprint through the woods ahead, jumping and manoeuvring out of hidden tree-growth and small animals appearing in his path as he hunted those sounds, not unlike a bloodhound.

And while he did notice something strange with his hand, he paid it no heed, for all things had their time and meaning. Even the mark.

As the sounds grew louder, so too did his realization grow. Those were fighting sounds. The cling clang of iron and steel. Some sort of re-enactment maybe? A historical society?  As he slowed down upon the realization, he came upon the closest site, from where he still could hear more. Screaming now, even.

Unknown #1 - Nimm diesen Stich, Wüstling!

Unknown #2 - Har Har! Eine Leichtigkeit, dem auszuweichen!

He stopped in his tracks. Hid behind the broken remains of one of the giant trees, as the scene before him unfolded. Two..."beings", he wanted to say, for they seemed like people, yet seemed more distant than he could have imagined. While one, clearly wearing what amounted to an assortment of chain mail and leather with some primitive sword, was draped entirely in some sort of yellow-brownish fur with a face he´d thought closer to a bear or animal, the other wore mostly some riveted, possibly up-touched leather, where pieces of much more dense blackish fur shone through, an number of smaller knives all over his body. Both were locked in a duel, with the brown-fur clearly heavily wounded.

Both manoeuvred around one another in an attempt to get a hit in, stepping back and forth, in a deadly ballet of metal. 

Black Fur - Was, sind eure Knochen schon ermüdet? Har Har Har!

Brown Fur - Seine Zeit ist gekommen!

Then suddenly, brown-fur, jumped forward, his sword raised above for a lethal slash, only to have black-fur dart to the side. With a flick of knives and a loud THOCK, one of them landed deeply in the side, where chain and leather did not protect so well, an unarmed hit. Blood flowed, and brown-fur, apparently down for the count, stumbled, reeled back, his sword slipping from his bloodied grasp, as his back hit, audibly, the stumped remains of a tree. It was clear, that he was done for.

Black Fur - So geht diese Epoche zugrunde, und eine neue beginnt.

The black-fur smiled, grinned even, clearly showing his happiness for the kill, and showing a number of deep and dark teeth, licking over them. Then, looking up, he suddenly got to ducking. He looked around himself.

Black Fur - Es riechet deutlich. Ein Anderer im Hinterhalt?

He noticed black-fur looking around. Sweat flowed, and his heart was racing. The strange tongue those creatures were speaking, guttural and broken-sounding reminded him of some sort of fantasy game he once played, during his youth, more film-like, than real. He wanted to pinch himself, but feared luring the black-fur to his position.

But it was too late, as black-fur suddenly turned into his direction, and pulled his knives again, throwing at him, despite the tree between them. In a snap decision he pulled back, falling, nay keeling over and bumping down badly as he bumbled to the ground. The knife had hit the tree, clear as day. Despite this, he could hear the heavy boots walking.

Black Fur - So war ein Tiere im Unterbau!

As he slowly, shaking world and hands, came to his feet, he could see black-fur come round the tree, his knives raised for a quick stab, only to suddenly stand in silence at the sight of him.

Black Fur - Bei Eos! Wahrlich, ein Kahlgeschorener! Hier? Du wirst mir ein hübsches Sümmchen einbringen, Wunderling.

He licked over his predatory teeth again, and raised his knives, slowly stepping forward. He knew that he would not survive if given to this beast. Clearly the creature saw some worth in killing or taking him, and he would not give away the freedom he currently had, for anything. The black-fur jumped forward, and his fists jagged outward, attempting to stun him, or possibly push him down again, but in a reflexive move he spun to the side, just as amazed by his feat, as his opponent was.

Black Fur - Ho Ho! Ein Künstler gar, ein Akrobat. Nun, auf dass es wahre Freude mache.

With these words, he went low again, as if to sprint out of that position for a sudden and fatal stabbing, but he did not wait and took around the tree again. Seeing only more woods, and sounds of fighting nearby, and this creature on his heel, gave him but one possibility, as he ran to the side of the brown-fur, wrenching the sword from the ground as he did, and, turning, only to find the black-fur ready to attack again before him, far too close for his taste.

Black Fur - Wehrhaft auch, wie es sich für einen Wunderling geben würde. Genug.

He raised the sword, while black-fur, clearly dismissing his attempt at defending himself, sneered and raised his knives again. Then, with a sudden flick of the hand, far too sudden for anyone to follow, another knife flew, and as his reflex kicked in, he brought the sword up, to deflect the deadly implement.

And missed.

The knife bit deep into his stomach, as fluids ran through him, and he felt the world begin to lose colour. The weight was too much. Surely, if he sat down for but a moment, all would be fine again. The cold, that spread outwards from his chest, the dulling, increasing waves of pain, the lessened hearing, as he saw less and less clear ahead, his world slowly turning dark, while the black-fur seemed to hold his own belly while laughing.
As the thing fell down, the black-fur inched forward, ever so slowly, he noticed the strange appearance of the strange clear-skinned thing he had just felled. Wearing some sort of half-one-piece gown that opens in the back? What nonsense was this, he thought. Still, maybe he did have some sort of marking to show ownership, and he touched and turned the body over.

Black Fur - Nun, was ist dies für eine seltsame Markierung auf seiner Hand?

He could not even scream, as the black tendrils broke themselves out and tore him into pieces.

He awoke. Unsure. Bloody. Alive. Why? How? He did not know. But he felt, on his body, the pain still rumbling, and as his hand slowly touched his stomach, he found a mighty scar. 

And the marking on his hand, grown, from almost imperceptible, to close to an inch now. Only now did he notice the blood in the surroundings. 

The torn flesh, and innards, hanging or slowly falling from the trees and their fellow forest growth. He keeled over, unable to contain the bile, and emptied what must have been in his stomach before, until he felt he could retch no more, and still it felt as if not enough. 

He had to go on. 
Get away from this place...

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