The trees faded in the distance, winding passing through the man's red hair. The ponytail was down, and each individual strand was free to wave. As the gryphon alighted, the man swung off the back and slipped into the underground city. His boots thudded against the stone walkway, his steps taking him deep into a dark alleyway. The practice dummies sat in the shadows, the hustle and bustle of the city never entering the shadows. A hefty warhammer in one hand, and an axe in the other. The man's face was tense, his brow furrowed in concentration. The warhammer swung easily, wood cracked and splintered beneath the force. The axe followed and bit deeply into the wooden shield. The man's concentration grew.


The world raced, his sight blurred and his breathing grew ragged. His chest heaved, his arms ached. He swung through the pain, forced the anger down. Beat the anger into place, deep inside. Harnessed it, used it, but kept it locked away. The warhammer swung in slow motion. The world turned red. He could feel the beast inside, and he grimaced. He concentrated, and caged it. Forcing it down. The world slowly returned to color. Time returned to normal pace. The swings continued, and his arms burned from exertion. "Too used to daggers. Lightweight."


The man sat on a crate a short distance from the training dummies. He looked over his equipment, tightly fitted leathers. He examined his armor, frowning at a few places in the shoulder and chest where it had torn as he stopped halfway through the shift. "More practice. Need to work on it more," he grunted. He strapped the warhammer to his back, and tucked his axe through a loop on his belt, smiling to himself. His canines shone with the firelight. "Gettin' there."


Sielic exulted in the wind in his hair as the gryphon flew north. He got home late, opening the door of his cabin. He stripped off his leather armor, making a note to mend the tears. He set it next to the armor stand, where a newly crafted set of chainmail and plate armor sat. It was ready, but he was not. He found Lyna in the other room and smiled. 


Tomorrow was another day on the path to change.

Author Sielic
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