It was an ancient time, an ancient place… long before modern man felt the need to place ink to parchment and brag of his achievements. Man existed, yes, even thrived with his empires, yet there were other breeds with arcane knowledge and supremacy that caused man to only stand in awe and tremble in the shadows at their powers.
The monolithic mountain towered over the surrounding lands, and as tall as it stretched to the heavens, so did its interior dive deep into the belly of the earth. Here, deep within its confines, the future was born.
“Please, Mother…I can take no more…it tears me apart,” the girl’s pants erupt full of exhaustion and despair.
“Tis but little more child, little more,” the elder woman, weathered with age, kneels between the soon-to-be mother’s propped legs, hands and arms streaming with crimson as she dives deep to help the passage. “Give me your all, once more child, once more…….Yes……Yesss……Yessssssss.” The girl releases a final scream, horrific in length. Slowly, does the shriek die, and then become reborn as the new child enters this world, his screams replacing hers.
With the child’s wail, two forms step forward from the shadows, both awaiting this moment. “Mortimus,” the old hag’s voice renewed as she stares deeply, transfixed on the newborn’s features. “Come, see what our breeds have created together…. come and see the future.”
Mortimus, his stern features showing puzzlement, strides his powerful frame towards the hunched woman that grasps the child. “I still do not understand all this witch. What have we done here, besides damn our souls for allowing the breeds to mingle blood?”
“Damn our souls?” the Witch’s cackle is short, yet powerful as her voice builds, “we have all been damned for so long, does it truly matter anymore? No, your son’s seed…” her voice pausing as she turns to drag her glance to the other form hanging back against the darkened walls of the chamber, “Yes, you Halus…your seed implanted within my daughter has given us this chance for survival. This tiny child, with our combined blood-lines, our combined powers, allows our breeds to survive this wretched war that wreaks this world. Our once powerful kingdoms now lie in ruins. Most of our clans and covens lie destroyed through the power of the leech Emrys and his thirst for dominance. Even now, he has no doubt released Penduran to sniff out our blood and feast on our flesh. Perhaps, we shall not even see the morrow…and with our death, our kin shall flee and hide in fear. What chance have they against Emrys’ blood sucking horde, if even we have been vanquished? No, all is lost to us. Perhaps a few of our breeds will survive through fear and hiding, but our great days of power are gone. Gone, at least, until it is this little one’s time.” Her eyes wide as she again stares to the child, envy dancing in her features, “Yes, little one, your power will be great, and through your lust for breeding shall you begin the new generation, the new era of our joined breeds…the Werewolf and Witch as one.”
The witch’s gnarled finger beckons for Halus to come closer, “Come …take your child. You must go, for I sense Penduran weeds his way close now. Take him and find him shelter with the non-breeds, for should you be caught with him all is finished.” Her eyes lean hard to his as her calloused hands present the child to his arms. “Do not think you can escape this Halus…they will come for you. Make sure the child is safe. Now go.”
The witch’s bony hands begin to trace the air with symbols of an unnatural grace, and in front of them all, a swirl of deep blackness materializes. Halus’ eyes cast quickly to his father and with Mortimus’ approving nod; Halus and child disappear into the mystical void that then closes as quickly as it opened.
“So Witch, …ah…forgive me…Morna…I should at least call you by name once before we die together…he is close, is he not?”
“Yes, Mortimus…very close….and so I must ask my final favor of you.”
Mortimus’ brow lowers as he awaits her words, unsure of what she may ask.
“You, my friend, cannot be turned by the vampire’s kiss as your blood is useless, alas even poison to them, but I and my daughter are vulnerable. Even as she lies dying here, she could be turned back with their power. Oh, and I hold too many secrets for them to only take my life. No, they will no doubt turn me into one of their wretched kind in order to extract my knowledge. Mortimus, you must take my life now by severing my head and also protect my daughter by taking hers.”
“Morna, you babble as always, what if we survive this?”
“We cannot survive, you know that. You must, and you must hurry, for they come through the entrance to here even as we speak. Can you not begin to smell their diseased breath?”
Mortimus’ nostrils flare into the air and as his upper lip raises into a snarl, he knows the old witch is right. He nods his final farewell to Morna and closes his eyes, concentrating on the change that must take place. Great dagger-like claws grow and replace fingers before his eyes open quickly again. His voice much deeper now, “Goodbye Morna, I will see you wherever it is we go.” With those words claws slash with such a force that head and torso are severed in one swipe, and again his eyes close allowing the change to continue. Muscles twist and contort, bones stretch as skin spouts thick tufts of coarse brown fur. Teeth transform as his jaw elongates into a sobering, frothing muzzle aching for a taste of flesh and blood. Yet, as he makes his way to the lifeless form that has bared his grandson, the demonic horde streaks through the monolith’s tunnels leading into the deep underground chamber and are upon him. Turning, he greets them with the full fury of a beast that has nothing left to lose. The howl that emits from Mortimus’ maul rumbles the very structure of the chamber, flooding through the tunnels and out into the night as he rips and shreds his path into the wave of assault. And somewhere, babe in arms, Halus glances back over his shoulder as he hears his father’s final battle cry.