Cliff was born in the highlands of Yraglac some twenty seven years ago. He grew up on a small farm his family owned. His life was arduous at times and average at most as he learned the skills of hand to hand combat from his older brother Jeff. Since a very young age he never really cared to inflict death or suffering upon others and never really took his training seriously.

He began a violent path in his life that he soon abandoned. At a very young age, his father had scolded him for tormenting the family pet goat with a wooden knife. His darker side wanted to see the animal suffer, writhe in pain as he jabbed it with the wooden knife, When his father John saw him doing this, He confronted Cliff and asked him why he was causing harm to the animal. Cliff felt shame for he didn’t know why he wanted to harm the animal, From that point on he wanted nothing to do with inflicting pain and suffering on others, and although he learned hand to hand combat from his brothers teachings, he did so only for self defense purposes, He never raised his fists in anger against another.

At 15 years of age, his older brother Jeff had left the family farm to pursue his martial arts further with the Sinn Fein army in the next town some 200 km away, Cliff Remained at home with his father and mother Susan. Several years had past and Cliff had spent his time tending to the farm with his father. Some years yielded better harvests than others did, but regardless, Cliff, John, and Susan always had enough to live off of.

A number of years later on one particular day of the summer solstice, Cliff had turned twenty seven. It was just like any other day, Cliff would get up early at the crack of dusk and tend to his chores. By mid day when he was finished feeding the yargnargs in the barn, the sun was at it’s hight. The summer heat was sweltering.

The sky at that moment had with out warning turned gray and ominous as storm clouds formed in a Chinook arch that pulled them over the family farm in a foreboding manner as to signify a darkness that was about to unfold. The wind had surged up to a 40km/hr winds with gusts of 65 km/hr which uprooted their crops a month before their harvest was due. The top soil was being removed like dust in the wind. The air became cold and dry as water began leaching up from the now bare and cracked ground, it began freezing into crystalline structures resembling flakes of snow and falling up as the winds carried it into the gray sky above.

The freezing dry cracked earth, dead of any life was peppering the bleak sky above with flakes of snow that fell up instead of down due to the prevailing winds.

That year the harvest was very poor, they consumed the previous years harvest by late August and had very little reserve food supplies to last them through the winter.

That winter was particularly harsh. Cliff and his parents were suffering the later stages of starvation, Starvation so gut wrenching and so vile it twisted the stomach and pulled it up against the spine, every movement of the body sapped of energy began to hurt as meager strands of muscle struggled to move massive bone and skin. It was easier to sit idle and let it take its course, it was easier to lie down and die. Cliff strong willed and determined to survive managed to carry on tending the farm as best he could. John and Susan grew weak and soon could no longer help him with the chores. His parents lay in their bed dormant each day alive on the cusp of death as breathing became difficult. It was March and spring was in sight, the snow drifts started receding from the dirt road in front of their farm

Several weeks before the worst of the starvation had taken hold… (Early February)

John had told Cliff that it was necessary to begin slaughtering their live stock in order to survive. They had very little to feed their livestock in the previous months and consequently, the four Yargnargs that remained, of 20 that had succumb to starvation had very little sustenance to offer them.

Since John was now to weak to carry on, he ordered Cliff to take his Great Axe from the wall and use it for the task.

Cliff had never harmed an animal since he was a child, he did not want to go through with it now. However, John had ordered him to do so, and he did as he was told.

Cliff than unwillingly took that Great Axe from the wall of their home and stepped outside with it to do what his father had asked.

The Barn 200 feet west of the family house seemed to stretch further and further away each morning of each day. The food rations expected to keep them alive dwindled in supply.

The west facing barn door was covered with frost against the setting sun in the east, it was as cold as the task at hand. Their survival depended on it.

He opened the barn door that cracked repeatedly as the frozen hinges on the frame of the door did not relinquish their frozen grip.

He chose the yargmar in the first stall to take outside. Cliff guided it outside the barn and around to the south side where the barn had cast a shadow from the setting sun in the east. Cliff placed its head on a tree stump that his father had used for the same purpose, he thought to himself one clean swing of the Great Axe and it would all be over. He did so, The Yargnar didn’t see it coming and the stump accepted the edge of the great Axe as it passed through the muscle and tendons of the yargnarg spine

The stump turned red, the south side barn wall in the shadow was blotted with dots and spots of the fountain of red that gushed forwards. It was clean and it was merciful.

The blood of the creature had a palatable smell that made Cliff’s mouth water. A drop that landed on his lower lip at uprooting the Great Axe from the stump tasted better than it had smelled. The taste of blood so fresh and so warm churned Cliff’s stomach to the point of near fainting due to the pain that had worsened with each passing day. The exhilaration of taking a life filled Cliff’s vanes with adrenaline as his heart pumped fast and his pupils widened, he felt stronger than he ever felt since the weakness of starvation began setting in several weeks ago. He felt it consume him in a wave of intoxicating power that surged up from his deepest core and through his heavy heart that sunk to the bottom of his chest in a sensation of fear, anger and remorse all reinforced and strengthened by the taste of blood, the taste of survival.

He wanted to kill again. The Great Axe was his tool for his forgotten purpose on this earth.

That winter, he had slaughtered all their families remaining livestock. It bought them three maybe four weeks, it was not enough, they were on the cusp of spring. weak and malnourished, Cliff’s parents lay in their bed dormant each day alive on the cusp of death as breathing became difficult…(missing piece of the story)

...In the late spring, Cliff told his now recovered father and mother he was going out to look for his brother. And with that his parents agreed, they wanted to know whether the strange events that unfolded and the harsh winter that followed had claimed there eldest son as it had almost claimed them.


Light of Chaos Arjun