Wulfen's Tale




Originally posted on the Virtue forum, feedback is definately welcome.

Nighttime in King’s Row, the streets were illuminated by the ghostly scintillating colors of the force field ‘war walls’ and the feeble efforts of the city streetlights. But even so, in the back alleys and dirty streets that made up the district now past it’s glory days the shadows stretched and the alley ways and backlots became a place of nightmares and fear.

It was a real enough fear, the presence of the notorious Skulls gangs were everywhere, and the citizenry made sure to hustle to their tenements at night, ignoring the cries for help, or mercy, that sometimes arose from the back alleys.

It took a special kind of callousness, ingrained in the residents, to live in such a place as King’s Row, which is why it is doubly dangerous for people who are not accustomed to the hard facts of life on the streets of ‘The Row.’

People like the young couple walking down the street of High Park, on their way from a post-prom party and rave, unmindful of the dangers which surround them save for a few wary glances and a quickened pace as the catcalls of a group of Skulls who leered at the pretty young blonde woman, making lewd gestures with their hands and bodies to make known their intent for her.

The young man, her date, looked back with anger in his eyes as his girlfriend pulled him away. The Skulls, seeing a challenge, stopped what they were doing and beckoned to him, one of them drawing a wicked knife with a 7 inch blade from the folds of his vest, a gleam shining in his eyes behind the skull mask.

The pair of young lovers did the prudent thing that any citizen of Kings Row, or Paragon City for that matter, would do. They turned and ran, hounded by the footsteps and catcalls of the Skulls as the young couple fled for their lives, turning the corner into a side alley.

From high above he watched them, the ghostly heat shadows of their bodies and footsteps filling his vision, he could smell their fear on the winds, smell the adrenaline pouring through their skin as fear took them. Turning his head, he watched them disappear into the alleyway as he rose, sprinting across the rooftops above the heat-ghosts of the pursuing Skulls. His muscles rippled as he reached the edge of the building, his legs catapulting him over to the next building as he ducked clotheslines and vaulted air conditioning units.

Across another alleyway he vaulted, falling towards the other side and the fire escape balcony. The muscles in his arms screamed as he caught hold of the balcony railing and his falling weight threatened to pull his arms out of his sockets and his body slammed into the balcony. He gasped, then braced his legs on the balcony, pushing off as he flipped himself over the railing and onto the fire escape, sprinting up the stairway to the rooftop.

A scream, the young girl crying out in terror, rose from the alley opposite him as he raced across the roof.

He turned, crouching as a growl escaped his lips. Below him, the Skulls had stopped at the mouth of the alley, backing away as a new scent filled his nostrils, an acrid smell of fire and brimstone, of power not of this earth.

A smell he was all too familiar with.

Below, a circle of hooded men had the young couple surrounded, baleful green fire glowed like eyes from beneath their flowing robes, and the deadly curved swords they wielded poked at the young couple’s clothing, nicking and tearing at it as their droning chant filled the air.

From another alley a figure clad in green and yellow robes stepped, human save for the glowing green fire of his eyes, tattoos stood out on his head, marked in arcane sigils. He brandished his staff, pointing at the young couple as his two red-robed bodyguards took up position beside him.

“These vessels will do nicely...”

His mind swam, transported nearly a year in time in a blink of an eye, he was walking, hand in hand with a beautiful redhead on his arm, smiling and never more happy in his young life than he was at that very moment as he walked her home in the streetlights of Galaxy City.

“Hey Erik, penny for your thoughts?”

He smiled as she held out a penny, a grin of mischief on her smiling face.

“I was just thinking, Sash, that maybe we should go on a trip somewhere, just the two of us, maybe someplace like Padre Island in Texas, or The Rockies for skiing...”

“With what money Erik? You work at the Up and Away Burger, we may have enough to go across town for a movie, or maybe a game or two at the Super Bowl.”

He winced, nodding “Well, yeah but never let it be said I didn’t take you anyplace though...”

Sasha laughed, her musical voice echoing off the walls of a nearby building, “Erik Koln, nuevo-rich big spender of Paragon City.”

“Well I may not be a superhero, but I try...” He grinned sheepishly, besides, “I know a way I can save the day.”

“Oh really, and how, pray tell, is that?”

He turned, getting down on one knee.

Sasha raised an eyebrow, laughing softly, “This better not be what I think it is.”

He grinned, “Well it is, and it isn’t...”

“Uh oh, Erik Koln...This isn’t funny.”

He opened the box, showing her the glinting form of the small ring inside, delighting in the glow from her face as her eyes widened in surprise.

“Is this?” She started, then hesitated.

“A promise ring? Yes it is... I know I’m not the best guy around, and I know we’re starting Paragon U in the fall together, but I was thinking, hoping, that afterwards maybe...uhmm...” He fought with his words, tripping over them as adrenaline made his heart pound in his chest.

“Erik” Sasha said softly, “Shut up and help me put on the ring...”

He smiled, standing up as he gently took the ring, and slid it onto her fingers - reveling in the glow of joy on her face...

Sasha smiled at him “You may not be a superhero, Erik Koln, but you’re mine nonetheless...”

He smiled, and in the glow of the streetlights, took her in his arms and gently kissed her.

As a whizzing sound came from the darkness, there was a THUNK! sound, and Sasha gasped in pain. Her eyes widening, and glazing over as she slumped in his arms.

“Sash? SASHA!!!” he screamed, shaking her as she fell against him, a small dart sticking out of her back...

There was movement from the shadows, figures emerging, their eyes glowing a ghostly green fire from beneath their hoods, Erik turned, his anger overcoming his fear as the green-robed figure in the lead pointed at him.

“He, he is The One...”

THUNK! A ripping pain exploded from his chest, and then a spreading numbness as he looked down, and saw the dart protruding from his abdomen. He wanted to run but his legs refused, and the last sight he saw was of Sasha as he fell and darkness took him.

Chanting filled his ears, pounding against his skull like brutal ocean waves as colored light swam in his vision. All through there was a feeling of weightlessness, and sinister hands touching him, he could hear a sobbing, pleading, a far-off musical voice tinged by fear as she plead for her life, for their lives...


His eyes opened, darkness tainting them except for the glow of streetlamps. Trees surrounded him, and the moon shone high above as the robed figures below him prostrated themselves on the ground, chanting as the earth itself shook with a roar and the green-robed figure in the center painted sigils on the crying face of Sasha.

He struggled, and realized why he had felt weightless, both he and Sasha were floating off the ground, their toes hung in the air a good two feet from the earth as green ghostly energies surrounded them.

“Let her go!” he shouted, aware of the weakness in his own muscles as fear and poison fought his rushing adrenaline and pounding heart. “I said let her go!”

The life mage turned, his eyes glowing fire. “I think not, Erik Koln, you see, you are important to us, yours is a vessel to be cherished, nourished, and harvested...”

“There’s nothing important about me, why don’t you just let us go?” He was aware his voice was turning to a despairing tone as his fear mounted.

“I beg to differ young master Koln, you are The One we seek, you have the secrets we covet, the secrets in your blood, in your heritage that we shall now harvest.”

“What secrets? I don’t have any secrets!”

“Again, I beg to differ, but you do. Your family is of great importance, to the 5th Column, and to us...”

He had heard of the radical group calling itself the 5th Column, a group of neo-nazi extremists whose members were wanted in a number of terrorist acts, but his family was a good family. They went to church every Sunday, participated in Boy and Girl Scouts, and everything.

“Your family holds a secret”, the mage continued “Not only are they sympathizers of the 5th column but they hold an ancient an terrible lineage, one which served the purposes of the Feuhrer, one which serves the purpose of the 5th Column, and one which will now serve us as well. The secret - of the Loup-Garou, the werewolf...”

Erik’s head swam, what was he going on about? His family were nazis? He was some kind of werewolf? Some kind of...Monster?

“Please, let us go...” Sasha cried.

The mage looked at her, the fire in his eyes going out as she gasped. He turned to Erik.

Who looked into the eyes of his next-door neighbor, Mr. Bradstreet.

“I watched your family for a long time, Erik, I knew...I KNEW! You had power, and I did not, I was just a fragging loan officer, and you were...you were something else but you didn’t realize it. You would have squandered your power, denied it, or been used as a tool of the 5th Column. But I’m going to make that right, I’m going to make it ALL BETTER...”

Bradstreet turned to Sasha. “You want to go? Of course you may.” He waved his hand as she crashed to her hands and knees on the ground.

Bradstreet smiled. “You may go...to serve as our sacrifice!” he cried as the green balefire ignited in his eyes and he raised his staff, a green corona of energy forming at it’s tip, lancing out and erupting against her in green fire.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!” Erik cried, struggling against the energies that held him as his eyes and ears filled with Sasha’s screams as the fire consumed her, his stomach rebelled against what he saw and forced it’s contents from his mouth as her burning form fell to the ground and the screams stopped. Vomit mixed with burning tears on his face as she died, and his heart seemed ready to explode in his chest.

Bradstreet took a bowl from one of the Circle, scoping some of the burning ashes into it, and turned to face Erik.

“What a pathetic sight, soon that will be no more.”

Bradstreet withdrew a knife, cutting into his own wrist as blood seeped into the bowl, mixing with the ashes of Sasha. He dipped a finger into the bowl, raising a finger as Erik recoiled.

“You will feel no pain.” he intoned as he painted a sigil on Erik’s flinching forehead, “Ama’teth C’sokara Primus!”

Lightning felt like it arced through Erik’s body, his muscles spasmed and twitched as Bradstreet stepped away, he felt his heart race with adrenaline, his bones begin to stretch and pop as his vision went black then came back, outlining his captors in red, their bodies filled with a spectrum of colors as his skin felt like it was on fire.

Erik screamed, his bones chorusing his cries with their agonized popping.

Just then, a black chill washed over him, consuming one of the robed Circle members in ebon fire that threw him to the ground, a figure dashed past him, bellowing a warcry as it somersaulted into the middle of the cultists, swinging this way and that with a gleaming sword. A blast of heat joined the carnage, encircling several cultists with fire as a soft pair of hands caught him and bore him to the ground as his mystical shackles released themselves.

He was barely aware of the soft words comforting as his bones popped and skin bubbled, but he could suddenly hear a soft voice chanting, joined by a hollow booming voice. He felt an energy wash over him, and the popping of his bones slow, and then cease.

Through his blurred vision he saw a cloaked shadow hover over him, the glowing blue from beneath the hood in the empty darkness boring into him as the chant seemed to emanate from the very cloak itself.

“The danger, is past...”

Erik slumped, passing out, the tears still streaming from his eyes as words escaped his lips...


Screams brought him back to reality as his head turned. The Circle members raised their hands in unison as mystical shackles caught their pair of young lovers and lifted them into the air.

A snarl escaped his lips, as he tensed himself, there was no more time to wait, he would have to act, and to act now, his forearm muscles flexed, the spring-loaded blades strapped to his arms responded to the movement, jutting three titanium-alloy blades from their housings beneath his forearm wraps and anchoring themselves as they locked in combat position.

One of the cultists looked up, his heat-ghost intensifying as he realized the danger, his dart crossbow raised and twanged, but Erik was already in motion, his body twisting aside to avoid the dart as he dived off the rooftop, landing in a crouch on top of a dumpster and springing off, powering himself into the first of the cultists, ramming his ‘claws’ deep into the man’s chest.

No, not a man, not any longer at least. He withdrew the blades as the cultist slumped, spinning on his heel as his claw uppercut another cultist, slashing him from stomach to face, a scream resounded from the the man’s hood as the mage’s bodyguards stepped into the fray, hurling daggers as they charged.

Erik grunted in pain as the blades sunk deep into his flesh, staggering back as he pulled them free and smiled as the wounds began to rapidly close, he turned, flinging both daggers at the nearest man, the blades jutted from beneath the darkness of the hood as the cultist fell limply to the street.

A sword, it’s edge cutting like metal fire, whipped itself across his back, as Erik turned to face the last of the cultists. The bodyguard closed on him from behind and Erik snarled a feral growl, spinning on his heel as he executed a move worthy of a ballet dancer, his forearm blade-claws slashing the air in a circle around him, the cries of men screaming filled his ears, their blood filled his nostrils, threatening to bring the raging beast just beneath the surface to the fore.

He slashed this way and that, driving shots home as he went berserk on the trio, mercilessly cutting them down as a vision of a small burning figure, calling his name, filled his blood red vision. The men fell around him blood pouring from their wounds.

His victory howl echoed through the streets, causing citizens and gangers alike to scurry for safety, their souls touched by a primal fear of a time when man was not the hunter - but the hunted.

“Well done, well done indeed vessel.”

The mage held his ground and Erik tensed himself, coiling his muscles to spring.

The fire in the mage’s eyes went out. “So, my Wulfen, you have become ours after all, whether you know it or not...it is only a matter of time...” Bradstreet smiled.

“NO!” Erik cried as he vaulted forward, driving his blades home in a shower of blood.

The mage fell, and Erik turned, a growling in his throat as he looked around, his eyes seeing the two heat-ghosts of the young terrified couple. They were so much like he was, weak, terrified.


He coiled as the woman screamed and turned to run, her blonde hair going to a shade of red, Erik sprang, taking her boyfriend down with a lateral press, his throat let loose with a snarl as he raised his clawed hand up to drive it into the prey’s heart.

And he looked into the face of himself...


Erik sat bolt upright, his breathing panting, he looked around the small, barred room in the back of the Atlas Park MAGI offices, his place of refuge when the moon was full and the beast fought to escape his control.

The lingering shadows of the walls heat-ghosts reflected back at him, he stood, staggering over to the water basin and splashing cold water on his face, changing the heat reflection of himself in the mirror as he stared into his own gray-furred, face...

Erik turned, sitting on the edge of his cot before finally laying back down, the dim room lit only by a soft light and the glow from his red eyes as he stared at the ceiling, desperately trying to calm his raging heart and the howling beast that cried for freedom within.

“We’re losing him, aren’t we” Azuria, the MAGI office liason, intoned softly as she watched Wulfen through the monitor.

“Yes” the hollow booming voice of BlackCloak, echoed through the room. “The spell myself and Emerald Enchantress placed upon him halted the Circle’s ritual, for now...He is trapped between, neither man nor werewolf, but both of each, and the war within himself grows in intensity day by day.”

Azuria nodded as the black figure continued.

“Only a stronger sorcerer than I can halt their ritual and it’s progressive weakening, but that sorcerer must also shackle the boy’s beast within as well, the Circle only awakened the part of Erik that was werewolf, strengthened and hastened it’s rise within him before it’s time. He was always, however, destined to become that which he is, and more.”

Azuria sighed, “How long, how long until he sees everyone as prey, until that monster within him gets loose?”

“With each rising moon the beast within him gains ground, gains strength, a month, maybe two, and the spell will fracture and the beast will be loosed.”

Azuria nodded. “And heaven help Paragon City when it does.”

BlackCloak nodded.

Azuria looked up at him, her experience was divination, and the Entities warned her of dire consequences in the fate of the citizenry if the spell progressed. “What—what if we can’t stop it?”
The black figure regarded her for moment. “Then Erik Koln must die...”

Azuria looked back, her heart freezing in her chest as she watched the young man staring up at the ceiling,...