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Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

Over all manner of Beast, Sol gave Man dominion, such dominion as Sol claimed over Man himself.

In the Age of Darkness, when Man became as an animal, it passed that animals became as Men. These things were, perhaps, manís folly made incarnate, false children of the false gods Man himself had forged. Having turned his back on the Creator, Man would soon find Creation had turned its back to him.

Whatever the cause, from brute instinct and the predator cunning came the seeds of a terrible intelligence. Not one, not once, but many, and many times over, were such creatures born, a new race to fill the empty places of the New Earth. Their bodies changed; they rose to stand like men, their paws, in mockery of Manís grasping, grew thumbs. These new Beasts seemed the half-breed spawn of Man and animal.

At first, these inheritors carried on Manís legacy of self-destruction, predator and prey in the same violent cycle despite newfound intelligence. Oblivious to their potential, heedless of their quickened wit, for a time the Beasts behaved no differently than they had before. In the plains they did battle, fang against tusk, horn against claw; so too in the forests, in the dark marshes and darker jungles.

Man, housed in his rude caves and clutching at his meager fare, paid little care to the newcomers. Greater horror had he seen, and what matter for him was it that of all the creatures he hunted and that hunted him, some now were different? Much had changed, and much had been forgotten.

So Man, hapless and helpless, left the Beasts to breed, to war, to thrive, and to learn. In time, they formed the rudiments of their own civilization. More bound to look to Earth than Heaven, their ways were those of nature. From living trees and weather-worn rock they made their homes, and silent glade and grove were, for the Beasts, as churches. Here they gathered in reverent convocations, worshipping their Mother Earth, studying the powers that had shaped them and still coursed through the world.

But even as the years rushed by, still the Beasts did not win mastery over the world. They hunted Man and harried him, but never sought his destruction. Gone was Solís solemn law that they bow before Man, but in their ignorance they saw their fallen lords as no more than another mindless animal, or perhaps some distant kin half-awakened to the truths the Beasts had found.

Humanity had long since sunk to the farthest depths of barbarism; his waning ended; a new cycle began. Rock turned to tool, stick to spear; from caves he came back to the air to build simple huts and crude altars. He clothed his nakedness in the skins of his prey. Mates became husband and wife. Families grew, and gathered to tribes. Manís tongue remembered speech, and from speech came plans.

Just as Man had watched his unknown enemy gather itself for the war to come, so too did the Beasts abide Manís return. The Beasts were too scattered, too bound to the unchanging earth and steady turn of seasons, to note that now Man hunted in packs and claimed prey beyond the small game of the past. Man became emboldened and proud, for of the mindless animals, no creature great or small could escape his hunger.

In this pride, Man began to hunt Beast. And so the Beasts took notice. At ritual gatherings, a sacred pact was made. No words were spoken, for as the flock turns, as the spawn returns to its distant home, each Beast simply knew the will of the others.

In unison, though in separate packs or as solitary predators, the Beasts fell upon Man. Across the world a second human harvest was reaped, though in this war Man fought back with savagery the daemons had not faced. Pushed once to the brink of destruction, to the depth of despair, Man no longer would cede his world to invaders.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

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