User:ConcealedWife/Graak the Wendigo
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Title: Graak, Beast of the Blackwoods.
Class: Shadow Sorcerer, Rogue
Background: Worshipped One
Alignment: CN | Size: Medium | Height: 5ft quadrupedal, 9ft bipedal | Weight: 150 lbs
Eyes: Amber | Fur: Shaggy, Dark Grey | Other features: Long Purple Tongue, Antlers. Age: I have long since stopped keeping track of time. I simply live from day to day.
Before the beast
I hardly recall the years in which I roamed as a humanoid. Sometimes I experience the phantom feeling of warm sun on my naked skin or the taste of a home cooked meal on my tongue. I was once a human, not handsome or pretty, though probably not ugly enough to be alone in this world. I had a wife, but its hard to recall her face. Sometimes I feel her presence in my dreams, without actually seeing her. It's more like a feeling that I get when her vaguely humanoid shape enters my dream scape. I find that my dreams about her to bring me a mild sense of comfort.
We had no children, for my wife was barren. I don't believe I minded. We lived in a small village at the base of a mountain. Beyond the mountain lay a large forest that stretched as far as the eye could see. Life was simple - I would hunt while my wife tended to the house. We had a small patch of vegetables that would provide us with nutrition and what leftovers of the hunt we couldn't use would be traded off for other supplies. To earn a few extra gold on the side I would act as a guide for adventurers who would pass through our village on their way to the land beyond the mountain.
We lived at peace with ourselves for many years. It was during a particularly cold winter that I set out with a group of young adventurers. A magic user, a small, lanky guy with daggers and a strong looking man, perhaps a warrior of sorts. They needed my help to find a settlement, deep in the woods beyond the mountain. They mentioned a couple of landmarks that I recognized and while I could not recall any such settlement being in that area, I figured I could help them out. We travelled through the forest for a fortnight before reaching the area the encampment would be in. The encampment and surrounding area seemed abandoned at first sight. With twilight setting in, the group decided to set up a camp of our own on the edge of the ex-encampment and to continue investigating in the morning. I settled into an uneasy sleep by the fire, the icy wind blowing chills up my spine.
I woke to the vibrations of thundering hooves, approaching us at a rapid pace. I shot up, my eyes meeting with those of the magic user, Tabitha, but before either of us could act we were surrounded. Horses black as the night, foaming around their bridles, reared up and trotted around us, the weapons of their riders right in our faces. There was little of a fight we could put up. We were stripped off all our possessions and supplies bar the clothes on our back. The strong warrior had sustained a nasty head wound when he was hit in on the back of his head by the butt of a sword. Putting us out of our misery would have been the humane thing to do. Abandoned by the thieves, with no hope in sight, we began trotting back south, knowing that we would never make it back without food. With time and patience we managed to put up a fire every night so that we may not freeze to death and the powered snow provided us with enough water to survive. With each day however, the speed at which we moved, slowed. Without proper nutrition, our bodies were slowly coming to a halt. I found myself chewing the leather strings of my overcoat in an attempt to stave off the hunger. It was clear the party I was travelling with were worse for wear. While I too was starving, I had a small layer of fat built up to protect me. The magic caster and dagger-wielder were small and thin to begin with. Despite my best efforts to keep the warrior healthy by applying some defrosted moss to his head injury, he was getting worse by the day.
On the twelfth day of our journey, I estimated that we had racked up such a large delay that we were barely halfway back home. The pines had slowly begun to give way to broad-leafed trees, but the snow was ever present. While the dagger wielder could still walk, the caster had been needing support to walk for the past few days. She had contracted frostbite in several fingers and toes and was beyond famished. She passed away in her sleep later that night. We did not have the strength to dig a hole in the frozen soil to bury her. The best we could do was wrap her up in her cloak and bury her in a makeshift grave of leaves and snow just off the trail.
Two days later the warrior succumbed to his injuries after finding and eating a poisonous mushroom. To this day I do not know if he did it on purpose. We couldn't muster up the strength to roll him away from the camp. We were forced to leave him right where he was. The dagger wielder and I did not speak. The desperation palpable in the air with every opportunity that arose for a possible meal. None of these attempts were successful. I estimate it was the seventeenth day of our travel when he collapsed and did not get up any more. I held his body in my arms and cried. I did not cry for the loss of my travel companion - but out of pure desperation, anguish, grief. I realised I would never get to see my wife again. Never again would I leave these woods and walk amongst the living. I curled up on the floor next to the corpse and laid there, awaiting death.
It was not death who greeted me the following morning, but rather a watery sun. I turned over and stared at the dead man beside me, his body stiff and cold. Suddenly, a thought crept through my mind, sneaking past every other thought until it sat at the front, demanding all of my attention. It was a thought that I had pushed to the back just a couple days prior, but there was no ignoring it now. My eyes crept over the corpse again. If I could consume a part of him, I could maybe find the strength to make it through the final few days of travel. I spent a short time rummaging through the forest to look for a sharp rock. Once I found one, I returned to the corpse and glanced it over once more before apologizing and swiftly cutting off thin strips of meat from his arm. At first I struggled to cut into the frozen meat, but I gradually grew more skilled with it. Fumbling with the fire starter rocks I had found many days ago to start a small fire, I stared down at the slab of meat that was once a part of the dagger wielder, closing my eyes, I bit down.
That night, my dreams were filled with nightmarish sprites that laughed sharply as they cursed my very being. I woke up with a ferocious hunger. Before I could even think to contemplate cutting another piece off of the corpse, I found myself face first in its guts, digging through them like a feral wolf, tearing ligaments and breaking bones with tooth and nail until nothing was left.
From that moment onwards, I knew nothing but a hunger-, no, a craving for human flesh. I dared not return home, unable to face my wife after the sins I had committed. I kept wandering the woods in circles, dazed, confused. I did not know where to go. Several times I lied down in the hopes that death would claim me, but death never came. I guess my suffering was not to end. I wandered the woods aimlessly. Without a place to call home, I could never settle down. Days felt like weeks with the mind-numbing hunger plaguing me. I began stalking prey in the woods in a daze - rabbits, hares, deer, humans.
As time went on, I could feel my body adapting to its surroundings. It had begun growing a short fur to cover my skin, an attempt at protecting itself from the cold. My limbs, which I used to propel myself forward, grew longer, my nails turning to long claws for digging prey out and ripping them apart. During a moment of clarity I noticed I had grown much taller than I had ever been. I could reach surfaces I could previously not reach and my head was much further from the ground - not that that mattered, I spent much of my time hunting on all four legs, relying on speed and sheer force to overthrow prey I had stalked up to. The technique took me a long time to perfect but I became confident in my ability to move without making a sound. The curse only added insult to injury, further twisting my physique until I could no longer recognize it in reflective surfaces. My facial features had given way to an elongated snout of sorts, skeletal in appearance. A long, purple tongue lolled out of my mouth whenever I would open it and glowing, amber eyes stared back at me. During this inspection, I noticed two bumps on top of my 'head' as well. These bumps continued to grow, moon after moon, until a set of large antlers sat atop my head.
--- WIP ---
Graak's followers are a relatively large community who have been detached from the rest of society for decades. Out in the primordial woods they call home, they live a completely self-sufficient existence.
It is their belief that Graak, or, as they call him, 'The Mother', lives out in the woods surrounding the village, protecting them from harmful outside influences. To repay the Mother for this protection, they regularly make sacrifices to him at an altar just outside the village.