No one could challenge the rule of the mighty predator. The forest, full of wild game, clean rivers, and cool caves, was the young tiger’s domain.
But one day, strange people, smelling of hot iron, came from across the river, where the blue flags flapped in the breeze. A dart plunged the beast into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he tried to lunge and tear his enemies to pieces, but he was chained down.
They fed him bitter blue water, pricked his paws with needles, and took some blood samples. The once powerful tiger grew weaker every day. One day, he realized that his time had come. Whimpering and trembling, he crawled into the corner of his cage. Calming voices from people dressed in white robes filled the tiger’s ears, then blurred, then faded, then went silent. The beast was dead.
He came back to his senses, filled with an unknown power, awakened by his own horrendous roar. Leaping to his feet, he heard his chains snap. Someone was shouting, others were hurling various objects at him, but the tiger was unaffected. He grabbed the bars of his cage and tore them apart.
Nothing could stop him on his way to freedom. Only once he was in the cool forest again did he realize he was walking on two legs. His fingers were lengthened, and his center of gravity was shifted to straighten his back, but his head was swarming with unfamiliar, complicated thoughts.
Ever since, he has hunted the Dokhts. Whether he seeks revenge or is merely interested in their activities, it does not matter. Once, an Adornian lord helped him remove his collar, a hated reminder of his captivity. The broken steel yoke became Claw’s Catalyst. The former tiger now serves the lord, as much as a wild, freedom-loving animal can.
It’s good when you have a place to come back to. When you feel like you are the center of a miniature universe known as “family.”
An experienced trapper once lived with his family in a small forest cottage. He was never in need of anything and also had some money to spare, not only for gifts for his wife and sweet children, but also for some strong ale to celebrate successful catches. Once he got carried away and only woke in the morning. The trapper hurried home and was ready to be confronted by his wife. But, when he arrived... Blood was everywhere, and his family had vanished.
In horror, grief, and rage, the trapper rushed through the forest, not knowing what to do, praying for everyone to come back. Overtaken by desperation, he wished for some animal instinct that would let him find his family. He pulled animals from his traps, mixing their blood and teeth and his tears into a sad, bitter cocktail.
No one knows how long this continued, but when the man left the forest, he was no longer just a trapper. He became Fang, a nocturnal killer who terrorized the nearby villages. He would have remained an animal, not only on the outside, but inside, as well, if the local lady had not recognized him. The lady was interested in the sciences of the mind and the emotions and decided to help the hapless beast. Her heroes captured Fang and she spent many sleepless nights in his cage. Her conversation and encouragement helped: the pain lessened, and the wolf regained his senses. The grateful hero entered the lady’s service.
Everywhere he goes, he carries his little boy’s favorite toy with him, a threadbare stuffed rabbit. Stroking the doll soothes his soul and brings him a measure of peace.