Those Who Weave Souls
Soul Weavers. Humans blessed by the God Tenebras with his strength and power. They were those chosen beings that proved their worth to the God we worship by passing his challenges.
It was late noon and only a few hours before the dark, but everyone is already lively and wide-awake. Everyone in Dusk is helping with the preparation for the final task this year’s batch of greenhorns will take to become what they have dreamed to be. A Soul Weaver.
I am Mihael (NOTE: This is read as MI-HEYL. I kind of like it this way so you have no say XD). I am one of those few left to take the final task and become a full-fledged soul weaver. But unlike everyone else, I am on the far side. The side where you are just waiting to fail because of the things you lack.
The noise of metal being tempered and blades being sharpened to their finest filled Dusk’s late afternoon. The noble’s children, and even those who are in the middle, are being well kept by their parents and family. The swords and axes being made or refined are theirs. The armors, gauntlets and the boots are theirs. The children of the poor will have none. Nothing but the… mercy… the nobles give when they throw the… junk… their children cannot wear.
I was not of a poor family myself. Was justifying that it is now a memory.
My family died the last time a Canis-Ragna set foot on Dusk. Black fur and feathers soaked in blood. Claws and fangs drawing the life out of my family. The unnerving howl it made before lunging onto its next victim. The furious flames engulfing and devouring anything in its path. The destruction and ashes left after a nightmare. The memory of seeing such horrific scene happen before my own eyes will forever haunt my dreams, unless I have avenged my mother and father, and my littler sister.
Reliving the memory now is not the best of things to do. Instead, I forced my mind to focus on reviving the edges of the dull swords in the pile of scrap the nobles has kindly disposed. I hear shuffling from behind me, urging me to look at the person disturbing me from my work.
“Mihael, I brought you something and I know you will like it.” Colt’s voice contained that elated tone and I highly suspect it for another set of junk, though I find it that half of those are useful for me.
This auburn haired young man is a companion of mine. Since the loss of my family, Colt has been that one person who stood beside me. He and I lived in the streets and survived by stealing or by risking collecting anything edible outside of Dusk. I may not say it well but I am thankful to have met him and I see him like the brother I never had.
“Colt I don’t need a new set of junk that needs repairs.” I told him as I returned my attention back to the sword I was currently sharpening. I can already see the pout he is having without having to look.
“Okay then, I guess I will just have to return this flash I was able to steal…” he trailed off, hinting the importance of… Wait a moment
“Did you say flash?” I looked back at him in both amazement and disbelief. His grin grew wider and I cannot help the excitement building inside of me. He showed me a bag and indeed, there is a single flash inside it. Pity it is only one, but I am thankful of my friend nonetheless.
“Do not excite yourself yet, my friend, I still have one more gift for you.” My friend said as he rummaged for something in his sack. Moments later, he produced a black cloth and handed it to me. “And do not worry of someone accusing you for stealing that because I had that made for you.”
His words touched the emotions in my heart. After so long, this is the first time someone other than my family show me concern, become happy when I am happy and share with my sadness.
Surprise took over Colt as I wrapped my arms around his body. A second later, he returned the gesture and run one of his hands on my back soothingly. It was then that I realized that I had been crying. “I will be waiting for you to come back.” his words bringing more tears flowing from my eyes.
He did not say good luck or be safe. He told me he would wait for me, giving me his faith. I would not break that faith. He is the only family that I have, related by blood or no.
Gaining the strength to pull away, I thanked Colt once more then returned to making traps and sharpening my tools. Colt sat beside me and rummaged through the pile of junk and scrap, trying to find something that will be useful for either of us.
Colt did not pass the tests prior this day but I am also thankful that he is still alive. Most of those that fail the tests died while doing the test itself. Because of that, Colt decided to help in the fields with the few morning workers of Dusk and help prepare the fewer soul weavers that stand guard during the light of day.
Hours passed and I am as prepared as I can be. My sword is resharpened for the thousandth time, so are the knives and daggers hidden under the cloak Colt had given me. The flash wrapped securely on my belt. A bag of tools hung on my shoulders. Taking in a deep breath, I said my farewell to Colt before walking to where the crowd is centered, the plaza.
Wading my way through the thick circle of crowd, I was able to make up the tall, dark figure towering over everyone else, Tenebras, our God. His skin is as pale as ash, covered in dark armors. His hair is raven black and his eyes red like that of the furious beast I so loathed and feared at the same time.
“Young of Dusk, it is once again time for you to prove me you are worthy of my bless. The final mark needed for you to become my new soul weavers will be given today once you have fulfilled your last trial. Since elden times, the final mark is to catch a beast alone and bring it here. The stronger the monster, the stronger you will become as a soul weaver.”
“There is also another thing. The Canis-Ragna has returned to our lands earlier this year. Let this be an inspiration to everyone to work faster and harder if you would like to survive. Go now young ones and return home as warriors.”
The dark has started to slowly eat away the light. It was only luck that people of Dusk has developed sight in the night, allowing soul weavers to hunt well in the dark. Some may think that being nocturnal is a deal more dangerous than staying in the light. That may be true at some point, but not on a lot more.
Hunting in the dark sharpened our senses. It stayed in our nature to blend in the dark. Add to it the fewer number of night predators and you will know immediately the good points of a night hunter.
The forest is silent save for the usual midnight music it plays each night. The other hunters began to split up, traveling on their own.
Some may be left to wonder as to what the reason is for bringing a sword and a set of daggers if the only task at hand is to capture a monster either sedated or barely alive. For noble children, it would be for defending their claim but for those who cannot afford the better drugging potion, like myself, it is for buying time to stay alive, or barely alive, and bring the captured beast to our God.
Finding the best-suited place, i start assembling the trap i will use. It is a trigger box, one of the inventions taught to me by colt himself. Setting the knives in the trap save a piece, i tied the trigger line next.
Wiping the sweat that formed on my forehead, i began to listen to my surroundings. Another perk of being a nocturnal hunter is the heightened sense of hearing. If you know what you are doing when you are trying to hear the surroundings, rest assured that you might catch one of the best beasts in the forest.
Strong hunters do not hunt in groups so you may skip the ones who move in herds. Docile animals are heavy like some predators, but unlike them, the former move in slower pace. Lastly, hunters are silent footed. If you hear a rustle, thump or snap that is not made by the wind, you should start tracking it down immediately.
Minutes passed and there is still nothing to take important note of. I am tempted to relocate but a twig snapped a little farther from my location that piqued my interest. It was quite heavy, but moves fast and silent. A smile crept on my lips as i follow the trails it left.
I stayed hidden in the shadows, occasionally seeing some soul weavers on their eternal hunting.
Soul weavers hunt predators not to keep us safe, it is only second priority. Their true purpose is to acquire power for their looms by using the souls of the monsters they have slain and fought.
Moving silent enough, i managed to pass through the weavers unnoticed. Some may find it weird to hide from our comrades but , in truth, it is actually the most sane thing to do. We learned that lesson long ago. Being careless only gets you killed, so if you let noise escape you, they may mistake you for a beast and kill you.
“The ragna was also seen here. Search the area and whatever happens, do not approach it alone” the oldest weaver voiced out. His words has my body to stiffen. The ragna, the Canis-Ragna, is here in my proximity. My hands clenching and unclenching themselves, trying their best to contain my emotions.
Deep in my mind, i buried all of the memories and emotion that makes me remember that day five years ago and the day my family died. The day the beast i now loathed saved my life.
I was still a boy when we found a lost cub. I thought it was a normal cub from a normal hunting dog so i took care of it. My father and my mother telling me they are proud that i was taking up responsibility. I loved the cub and it was not long for it to feel the same for me.
It was when the cub was a year old that fear struck my household. The cub i brought was destined to become a murderer. The cub i have is a Canis-Ragna, one of the most feared beasts that roam the night and soar the skies. The fact that it is developing its wings is enough to confirm the fear.
My father ordered his men to kill the growing cub, but my love for it tells me otherwise. So one night, i slipped out of Dusk and returned my cub to where i found it.
It was not easy to make him go away. My heart broke with each attempt i did, with every stone i threw at him to make him leave. Yet still he wanted to come back to my side. Eventually, i gave up and pulled the cub to my heart. But then they had to come.
My father and his men found me and tried to kill the cub i cared for. In an attempt to save him, I let him go and urged him to run away as I did my best to slow down my father and his men. Being insistent, I used my own body to stop their approach but was surprised of what my father was capable of.
The cub looked back to me after he heard my groan of pain when my father pushed me out of his way. I could hear his silent growling but my shouting urged him to run away.
Three years later, exactly a year ago, the ragna cub I took care of grew into the strong beast it was destined to be. But there is one problem, Dusk was its home, and he was bound to return home.
The ragna broke into our manse, alerting every one of its presence. Out of plain luck, I was the first person to see it. It approached with caution, but when he registered my scent, he whimpered and begged for my touch. Then the nightmare has to start...
My father came in the room and saw the beast I was trying to shelter. None of us expected what happened next. The ragna jumped on my father attacking the man using its claws and fangs.
Shouts of pain and the noise of furniture and pottery being broken called the attention of the guards and the passersby. To prevent further casualties, the people of Dusk decided one final solution. It was to burn the manse together with the beast. Together with everyone and everything in it.
Guardsmen filled the room where me and my father was, sending the ragna into a panic. Its wings opened and fangs bared a defensive stance as he tried to protect me from them. The confusion led to a holocaust, a massacre of blood that will forever haunt my memories.
The flame has spread beyond control, its fiery fingers clawing the wooden beams that support the ceiling.
I was left alone in a flaming death. My father lay lifeless amongst the pile of dead men. My mother and my sister entered the now blazing room, trying to save me from the collapsing manse. The piercing scream that escaped their lips sparked their death. The ragna heard them and attacked them all the same.
The cub I raised and cared for was the very ragna that ended my family.
Everything seems to have stopped, time seemed to have stopped. Different emotions battled inside me, sadness, fear, surprise but I knew one thing, I am at the point of rage and insanity.
I took the sword on my father’s dead body. Slowly and silently, I approached the monster who destroyed everything I have and everyone I loved.
As if sensing another danger, the ragna looked to my direction, curiosity in its eyes. I lifted the blade above his head yet the beast stood still, waiting for what I was to do.
The sound of collapse prevented my blade from swinging, reminding me that a raging fire is engulfing my home. I looked above, searching for the source. Cackling flames has weakened the foundations, turning them into ember. The beam above me cracked yet again and before i knew, the piece of heavy, burning wood is already on its way to end me.
A strong body pushed me out of the way, knocking us far from where I was about to meet my death. The force of the fall put me in a daze, about to lose consciousness even. Darkness crept around my vision as orbs of red appeared in front of me.
The shouts of Weavers not far away pulled me out of my memories. It was not a good time to reminisce; there was never a good time. “The Canis-Ragna, they have found the ragna.”
Shivers ran through my skin. They have found him fast. My jaws tightened as I contemplate what I must do. They have found my Aster, and I know they will take his soul if I cannot stop them. He may have been the reason why my family is gone, but he is not one of those who chose to betray me and my family by setting up a fire. Even if Aster did not kill my mother and sister, I doubt we could have survived the fire. It was fear that turned him into a monster that night, and he will become a monster again if I cannot find him fast.
Retreating back into the shadows, I began my pursuit to chase the weavers that are hunting one of the few members of family I have left.