Gregory my best friend in S.F. says i should start writing the story in my head. SO HERE GOES! This is just the beginning, this work will probably be very very very long. I have no idea what to call it, but it is what it is. Hope you enjoy it!
The sun was blaring, and the sand radiated heat, making the horizon look like ripples in a non-existant pond. The air was dead still, and heavy. In the middle of this steaming desolation, one figure could be seen, trudging through the sands, sheltered by his makeshift cloak, made from an unfortunate old coyote that had been lured into a primitive yet functional trap, made of rope he had scrounged from the corpse he had stumbled upon a fortnight ago. The skin had to be removed using a combination his teeth and nails, his dulled longspear, and simply tearing flesh from bone and sinew, as he was without properly sharp instruments. To attach the rough cloak, he had simply tied what had been the forelimps under his chin, with the rest of the skin draping over his head and down his back. As the small figure began to ascend yet another dune, the wind slowly picked up, as it sometimes did. Wishing to feel the blessing of cooling winds, he pushed the skin off the top of his head so that it rested on his shoulders, exposing his feline ears and countenance.
He was a hengeyokai, a once-proud shapechangeing race that held close spiritual and magical ties to one animal species, so much so that they can fade seamlessly between a human form and that of their animal. They could also meld both forms and take shape as a hybrid, half-animal half-human. Most preferred to live in as a hybrid, as it offered extra abilities and powers. This hengeyokai was of the cat variety, and was around 17 years old, which in his race's years was the equivalent of a human 6 year old. Although his frame was the size of a child's, his mind had aged to that of a human young adult, if not more so. Creatures mature faster when survival is all you have time to worry about.
The wind was as much a gift as he had hoped it would be. He felt the air caress his fur, and he closed his eyes, momentarily reminiscing about the time before the tragedy that had thrown him into his current predicament. He fancied he heard his mother whisper a rhyme into his ear, the way she would when he was upset. A smile flitted across his face.
A new smell shirked him from his reverie. It was the scent of dried blood and embers, and by his estimate, it originated on the other side of the dune. The pungeunce interested him, as it brought the possibility of clothing, wood to heat the cold nights, and flesh for sustenance. At the start of his trek, he was above eating corpses. However, as time had passed, hunger won over his sense of decency, and instead made an oath that once out of these wastes he would never eat off a dead body again. The young hengeyokai climbed the hill of sand as fast as his worn out appendages could take him.
At the apex of the dune, he saw that his feral intuition had once again been right. Before him lay the remains of a kobold excavation party. Small, reptillian bodies were strewn about in varying levels of dismemberment. A crude wagon was overturned, and although it was burned to large degree, miraculously there was still much left intact. The hengeyokai's animal mind guessed that some wild animals had attacked and overwhelmed the kobolds, while his higher (human) mind noted that the burn marks looked like those originating from an explosion, and since kobolds had been known to be avid alchemists, most likely some chemicals had reacted when the wagon was overturned, sparking the flames. He thanked whichever gods were now watching over him for their bountiful blessing, and gleefully set to work, thoroughly scavenging the fire remains for anything of use.
To his delight, he found some spoilt food, a utility knife, some useless alchemical tomes, several parcels of clothing (too small for him, sadly), some chipped pickaxes, and, feralility preserve us, 4 moderately full water canteens. He practically tore one open, downing its contents with aplomb. He would have downed them all, had he not heard a sound had not reached his ears in 5 and a half years. Stiffening, his ears perked, silently awaiting the confirmation that he wasn't becoming crazed. Sure enough, the small, hoarse, muffled cry rang out again. Following the sound, he came upon a group of torn bodies curled together, as if hiding or protecting something. Rigor mortis had already set into the remaining tissue, so it was a bit of an effort for his tired arms to hoist the corpses off the ground. Underneath, he found the disruptor of the desert's silence: a kobold child, not more than 3 years old. It was a male, covered by very dark brown and blue scales, naked, and extremely frail. It shrieked again, then looked up at this stranger with a face that seemed to ask what his fate would be.
His animal nature called for it's execution, it was dying anyway, and meat is not a gift to be turned away. But his lust for death was stayed by his higher mind, and its desire for a companion to stave off the encroaching insanity he felt daily. He scooped up the emaciated child, and brought him carefully over to the scrounged provisions. Gently, he managed to coax the small creature to consume some of the food and water before it fell asleep from pure exhaustion. The hengeyokai cradled him as he sat, propped against a wheel sticking out of the sands. He gazed at the creature he now held in his arms, excited about the new possibilities that lay before him. Finally, a companion to share his journey with. Truly today was a gift from the gods. As the kobold's body curled in its sleep, the hengeyokai felt his eyelids grow heavy, and not long after, he had joined this new friend in slumber.