Mar 21 12 3:05 AM

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The Ursine Embrace

The ground of the dense forest trembled as the two beasts bellowed thundering roars and charged each other under the clouded, scarcely moonlit night sky. The undergrowth splintered and bursted in all directions, saplings and dead wood snapping like dry sticks under the avalanches of fur and primal fury that left nothing but swaths of destruction in their wake. In the dim light, the two hulking shadows looked almost identically. They both were large, walking upright, and ursine in appearance, with mighty claws and broad chests, their bodies covered with thick fur.

Yet, somehow they were different. It was visible in the way that they moved; both feral, but the one shaken by strange chaotic spasms, the other carrying itself with feral grace and cold fury. Shortly before the behemoths were about to clash, the clouds parted, just for a brief moment, but long enough to unveil more details about the raging combatants:

The first was a truly nightmarish figure. Its features were constantly distorted by uncontrolled muscle contractions, with mad fever burning in its eyes and the bleak moonlight glinting on threads of drool whipping around the monster's muzzle. Its dark fur was sticky with gore and dirt, and had either fallen or been ripped out completely at certain spots, revealing sickly flesh covered with pustules. It wore nothing but a tattered loincloth, with a single dirty feather still clinging to its greasy pelt.

The second, although it was bigger, somehow paled in comparison to this twisted monstrosity. But even if it was not as gruesome and vile to behold as its counterpart, the Furbolg warrior still offered an awesome sight. His brown fur shone silvery under the moon's gaze, pure and almost ghostly, and his claws and eyes gleamed like polished metal. An aura of endurance and primal vigour emanated from the beast, equally admirable and intimidating. Large pieces of bark, ornamented with ursine paw prints and trimmed with feathers, were strapped around its arms, shoulders and torso, not thick enough to fulfil any purpose aside from a decorative one, but still letting the creature appear dressed for battle and therefore more purposefully and menacing.

Then the creatures were upon each other, pouncing, reaching back with their paws, and finally clashing in a thunderous storm of roars and flashing claws. There was no room for parries or feints, nor for careful probing and elaborate footwork. The two Furbolgs met head-on and uncompromisingly, thrashing wildly and exchanging vicious blows. Within seconds, both of them bled from dozens of wounds, as their claws took turns ripping bits out the other one's hide, spraying red clouds of blood into the air with each strike.

The gore-covered Furbolg lunged with bared fangs at the other Furbolg's throat, but the bigger creature caught the gaping maw and jerked the attached head violently to the left, smashing it against a heavy branch that snapped groaningly under the impact.

The first beast went down, but surged to its feet again almost instantly, throwing itself at his enemy with a raving mad snarl. Their massive bodies smashed into each other once more, and under a hail of wild punches and bites, they both went down, together this time. Locked in a deadly embrace, the two monsters rolled over the ground, crushing plants and whirling up leaves, each seeking to gain the advantage over its adversary. The bigger creature came out on top, and reached back to deliver a decisive blow, but a brutal slash left four fresh claw marks on its already heavily scared face, and blinded it briefly. The next second a wild swing hammered against the beasts temple, knocking it aside, off its opponent.

With something like a blood-drunken grin on its face, the twisted Furbolg heaved itself unto the other and lunged at him again. The fangs pierced one of the thin bark plates, crushing it and sinking deep into the other beast's shoulder. If the pinned Furbolg registered the pain, however, he gave no sign of it. Growling defiantly, he wrestled his arm free and brought his elbow crashing down unto his the other combatant's skull. A nasty snap sounded. Dazed, the twisted Furbolg let go of the bigger one's shoulder, blood oozing out of a freshly created tooth gap. A following uppercut send the beast flying backwards.

Free again, the now injured Furbolg struggled to his feet, but his crazed counterpart was already upon him, completely oblivious to its pain and wounds. The warrior jumped back, escaping the wild slash by a hairbreadth, only to surge forward again, ramming his enraged brethren with its massive shoulder, sending the creature tumbling backwards and slamming it against the trunk of a towering tree. As its ursine opponent advanced, the rabid beast sent a savage swing to his face, but the other Furbolg ducked, dropping to his front paws, and lashed out himself. His razor claws cut through fur and hide, piercing several organs before ripping the belly open entirely. The pain was too much even for the rapid beast to bear, and as it stiffened and roared at the top of its lungs, the cry of agony folded in on itself over and over again as it echoed through the night.

It could have ended there. Mortally wounded, with all strength gushing out of the broken body, and numbed by pain, the corrupted Furbolg would have slummed forward, falling to the ground to await a slow and painful death that would have eventually delivered it from the agony it felt.

It never came to that.

The bigger Furbolg, still on his front paws roared and leaped at the the dying monster. Wrapping his arms around its midsection, he lifted the other beast off the ground, and started to squeeze. As fresh agony surged through its body, the corrupted Furbolg uncontrollably started to thrash around, rattling desperate and pitiful utterances, but otherwise unable to fight the iron bear hug it was now trapped in. The ursine warrior squeezed harder, and feeling how the warm organs oozed out of his opponents belly and against his chest, he closed his eyes. Trembling under the effort, his tongue hanging out as he panted, the Furbolg kept going until his victim's spine finally snapped with a sickening crunch, and the corrupted Furbolg finally grew limp in his arms.

They two ursine beasts remained in his twisted embrace for several moments, as the victor stood still, eyes closed and lungs heaving, before he finally released the corps from his grip, letting it gently slide to the ground. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes again, and stared bleakly at his dead brethren.

Then he wailed, for he had just lost a brother.

The End.