This story is a part of a bigger universe, which for the time being, I’m calling ‘The Tobin Countyverse’; please read the following stories before diving into this one.
Volk- the soul hunter
Darkness and its stories
Thank you and happy reading!
WRITTEN BY AYUSH
As narrated by Yenwe, the lord of souls
I’m old, as old as the first death. Not older, though, because when there were no beings, there was no me. I too was a part of the tranquil soundlessness, which breathed inside virgin Universe’s womb.
Well, this story is not about me. It’s about a man and his misery, as all good stories are.
Rooj was an old man when his village was devoured by the plague, which the scared villagers called ‘Qho’, which meant death. Rooj and his brother had been guardians of this little village, which lay in the cradle of Oputa Mountains.
Rooj never married, neither did his brother. When Rooj’s brother began to show the signs that Qho had laid its ‘bloody’ hands on him; Rooj decided to leave the village with his sick brother.
Two weeks from Rooj’s departure, the little village would go to sleep, forever in the arms of the majestic Oputa.
No one had dared to walk past the mountains. It was said, that once past the mountains, one would reach Darvoza, the woods of nymphs.
Darvoza was just called the woods of nymphs, because in truth it was ruled by a pair of Dichailais. Dichailais were humungous cat-like beasts; who were known to be masters of a deadly fighting technique called, Nagumi.
Dichailais were considered one of the most intelligent races of beings, and some villages even worshipped them as minor deities. Dichailais loved to spend their time amidst natural surroundings. Art created by a Dichailai rivaled that of Hmaad, the goddess of art and wisdom, herself.
The only bad thing about Dichailais was that, they were very particular about vengeance. They took it with intellectual pleasure.
The two Dichailai brothers, who ruled Darvoza, were called Eishek and Patu. Eishek was the elder of the two, and was built like a burly mammoth. Patu on the other hand, was quite toned and athletic. Both had bright purple flesh. A hue, which was considered a symbol of dominance amongst the Dichailais.
“Humans, what has brought you to Darvoza?” asked Patu, in a grave voice.
“Qho, swallowed our village, my brother here is sick; we’ve come for shelter,” explained Rooj, who had just stepped in Darvoza after walking along the rough terrain of Oputa, for two weeks.
“You’ll have to leave humans, this is no place for weaklings,” said Patu, his stern voice, sounding oddly calm.
“When my brother gets well, we’ll leave,” said Rooj, holding his spear tight enough, while a spear rested on his back tied with a scruffy rope that ran diagonal across his bare-bosom. Rooj was old, but ‘ripped’, nonetheless.
“Hmmm…so you’re the stubborn kind, well I like you. Let me propose something…” said Patu as a stark grin occupied his, serious for long, cat-face.
“What do you propose, O lord of wisdom and strength,” Rooj tried to sound as polite as he could be.
“A fight, hand-to- hand combat, you defeat me, you stay, you don’t, you don’t,” roared Patu.
Rooj looked at his feeble brother, than with a subtle glare in his eyes; he untied the rope and threw the spear hung on his back, aside.
He then turned the spear, he was holding, up-side down and struck its tip so hard on the grassy ground that it stuck there, standing in that very position. He then bowed before the stuck spear.
“So it’s the spear of your father, very well,” said Patu, as a sly smile flashed below his whiskers.
Patu was a master of Nagumi, nothing Rooj could do was any match to the artistic yet deadly fighting technique of the Dichailai. The fight, hence, was pretty one sided. While Rooj’s week brother, laid to a side and coughed. Patu played with Rooj as if he was a ball of threads.
While Rooj was trying to brawl at Patu, there was something disciplined in every movement that Patu made against, Rooj.
Patu wouldn’t have killed the old guardian, but that wasn’t what Rooj’s sick brother thought when he saw, Rooj kneeling helplessly before the ‘godly’ fighter.
“Rooj!” he called, as he threw the spear lying by his side towards him. Rooj caught it and before Patu knew it, he pulled the stuck spear of his father from the ground.
“Cheating? I said no weapons, that’s so human of you,” said Patu, as both the spears went through his bosom, killing the beauteous creation of the All-father, in an instant.
The august figure of the feline being, lay before the brothers; and as Rooj took away his spears, the bloodied mark of wounds on Patu’s bosom stared back.
“Eishek, will come for us,” said Rooj’s brother.
“I know, but first we need to hold a funeral for the spirit of this departed warrior,” said Rooj as he asked for the bear skin water sack from his brother. He then walked around the fallen warrior, sprinkling water on his way.
Rooj, then sat beside Patu’s lifeless form, with joined hands and chanted-
“Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (I bow to the Lord who lives in the hearts of all.)
Rest easy, warrior”
Rooj stayed at Darvoza, for the next five days, while his brother’s health condition worsened until death came as a welcome, on the fifth day.
Rooj had lost his village, and now, the only family he had. He had nothing to fight for anymore. He had nothing to hide from anymore. So, he decided to surrender himself to Eishek. He wanted to end this for once and for all. A chop from Eishek on the back of Rooj’s neck, and Rooj would’ve never been able to see the world again.
And here, I stepped in.
Poor Rooj, he was going to present himself to Eishek; but then he crossed ways with a hermit who was smoking loto, a unique plant found in the woods of Darvoza. That was me.
“Rooj, am I right?” I asked, not that I didn’t know.
“Yes, how do you know me?” he asked, looking suspicious.
“Let me get straight to the point,” I began, “you gentleman are going to die anyway, so what better way to spend afterlife than to serve me, what say?”
“Serve you in the afterlife? Who do you think you are?” he countered.
“W-h-o d-o y-o-u t-hink I- am?” I said as I kissed him on his forehead.
His eyes began to glow; and it was in those glowing eyes that Rooj saw my true form. The true form of, Yenwe, the lord of souls.
“What do you want me to do?” he asked gasping for breath.
“I want your soul to hunt souls for me…I want you to be my soul hunter,” I said.
And thus Rooj would forget everything about his life. Everything, until I want him to remember and he’d serve me as the soul hunter, Volk; his body clad in a white fabric.
Rooj’s soul lost everything except his stubbornness. He’d take advantage of his power of soul hunting and turn himself into man. He’d do so thrice, and every time I’d go to bring him back.
If it was some other soul, I’d have destroyed it; but it was Volk, I loved him. I loved him very much and mind you, I’ve loved him for ages and beyond.
The story of Volk will continue…