They were large. They were colored like stone. They were covered in scales larger than his fist just like Eeil had show him. And they were far from a peaceful race. For an hour he'd been battling the large beings, noting the bodies piling up around him like autumn leaves, and amazingly slaying any that came near him. Part of it was his sword, part of it was his speed, and part of it was the desire to protect the village he now called home. Still, Remus knew that for all of his hard work there was not a bit of assurance that everyone was safe. One of them had gotten past him half an hour ago, and he couldn't quite help but feel as if that one made all the difference. Remus quickly struck another down, cutting off the head that was like a mixture of a bird and a dog. The once-again warrior ducked the blade of a large axe and used his sword to cut into the weak wrist of the creature. One quickly learned the weakness of their foe if they wanted to live long.

These were the Egsu he fought, large beings with three sets of legs ending in hooves and large arms that held up monstrous weapons. Their scales were so thick that Remus could have sworn his blade was all ready dulling. The man jumpy a swing of a spiked tail and ducked the slash of a sword larger than a child. One Remus dispatched with his sword cutting off its head, the other he took out by shifting his hand into a large spike of bone and shoving the spike into the eye of the being, thus killing it by ruining the brain. Just like that there were no more foes around him and the feeling of foreboding he'd known previously only doubled with that knowledge.

Remus rose from the carnage he'd created, sword, and arm, coated in a sticky black blood that he couldnt find a way to wipe off. In silence he stumbled back to Nilusk. Such was his fatigue that he failed to notice a few bodies upon the streets. What he did notice though was the corpse of an Egsu before the door of the home of Kalari and himself, and the large bear standing over it. What he noticed more was the blood coating the beak of the Egsu, implying it had paused along it's destruction for a meal. Half of him didn't want to know.

"Filan," Remus managed to say, turning his eyes to the bear, "You came."

"What are these?" the bear asked with a growl.

"You know I don't like talking to you when you have that form..."

The bear stood on its hind legs and soon the large, furry body melted back into the shape of the teenaged friend Remus had lost. Filan was taller, more muscled, and his skin had only seemed to grow darker over the past two years. "This better?"

The shifter nodded before looking to the body of the fallen Egsu, "That, Filan, is an Egsu. Not very pretty are they... How did you kill it?"

"Went for the neck of course... He was coming out of this house."

No other thing could have stopped the heard of Remus quite like that statement did. The women would have stayed in their houses in the middle of a fight...

"Kalari!" he shouted before running into the house.

Before him was the scene he had come to fear the most. The furniture was ruined, everything smashed, Kalari's father dead on the floor with a sword nearby... And there, just by the stairs... Oh gods on high. So much blood. So little of her left. If only he hadn't failed. An anguished sob broke free from him, followed by a shout filled with such pain that none who could hear it would likely be left with a dry eye. The cry repeated, until the whole town seemed filled with the sorrow of the shifter.

Finally a voice cut off the grieving. "Remus? What is going on?"

With the feeling of a strong hand upon his shoulder the man grew silent and gazed helplessly up at Filan. For what was quite likely the first time in his life, tears stung at Remus's eyes. He hadn't cried when his father had died, he hadn't cried when Romus had last the power in his legs, he hadn't cried when he was injured and almost died. Here he was now, before the scattered remains of the woman he was going to spend his life with, his sword fallen uselessly to the floor, and tears stung at his eyes. Filan could hardly stand to see him like this.

"I was supposed to marry her Filan. She was going to be my wife. She's why I didn't go home. I let her die."

Filan shook his head and pulled his bloody friend into an embrace as he forced the man to stand and avert his gaze. "Don't worry Remus. Please don't worry. Would she want you to cry when there was work to be done?"

Remus shook his head but buried his face in Filan's shirt anyway, crying his heart out for all of the pain in his life, not just for Kalari. He knew this would be the only chance he ever got for that. In silence they stood there for a bit, well, almost silence save for all of the tears. It took a lot for Remus to finally release his friend, despite the obvious discomfort. It was not until they pulled away from each other that either noticed the burn marks upon the shirts of them both. With a gasp Remus pulled his bloody shirt off and stared in wonder at the burn marks left there, unnoticed, by the claw he constantly wore. The thing shone a violent red.

"The runes are... supposed to give you strength and protect you from darkness..." Filan whispered.

"I should have given it to her. I should have..."

Filan shook his head bent down to pick up the fallen blade. This he pressed into the hand of his friend. When Remus's grip tightened around its hilt, the totemic man could not help but be relieved. A sudden fire leapt into Remus's eyes, the likes of which Filan had never seen, and took comfort in.

"They will pay," Remus growled, pulling away and looking at the blade. "I will send them back to the dark bowels of Carodos from which they have come..."

"How do you intend to do that Remus?" the other could not help but ask as he followed his friend from the house.

"I will find the dragons of Fort Vesire. They will help us. I'll get them to help us. They have to."

Filan nodded in agreement, "You do that my friend."

Remus paused. They were now outside of the house, and he refused to look back. He'd have to put it behind him, out of mind, or the grief would truly consume him. "You won't come with me?"

"Who will protect the villages if I go with you friend? I will make sure there is a Nilusk for you to return to."

The man shook his head and clutched the burning red claw around his neck. "No. I won't return here. Burn the house so I can't turn back... And give me your bow and sword..."

Filan nodded gently. This was how it was going to have to be. "Clean yourself up first. Set yourself right before you go. And be fast. We'll need help soon."

Interlude 3
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