The rain had slowed to a near sprinkling, only the occasional tree dew sputtering tiny craters into the slopes of grime. The sun was begging to free itself against the dark clouds, shoving its rays through small gaps in the hazed tree clearing. The only sound that remained in the forest was the heavy breathing of the two worn-out rivals who had been fighting with a restless ferocity.
Blood and sweat steadily beaded along Ronin’s cheek and brow, the searing pain pulling his torn body toward the softened earth. With one last twinge of hope, he thrust his sword quickly before himself into the gore-spattered clay and mud, stopping his body short a few inches before the blur of brown. A gasp of pain escaped his reddened teeth as he came to an abrupt halt, suspending himself above the ground with the last of his endeavor; he heaved for air, tensing his sides—they quivered unsteadily.
“It ends tonight, samurai! At last, my reign of tyranny will be complete, and your soul will finally be under my control!” screamed Takai as he waved his bloodstained sword in wide arcs above his head, “Oh, long have I awaited this moment since the day you first escaped my grasp!” He mocked Ronin as he struggled to support himself, kicking dead remains of nearby vegetation toward his face.
Ronin sputtered as he slowly dragged himself from the grunge, his body slumped and aching from the fierce blows he had received. He clutched his face as his head dangled from his shoulders, wearily swaying from side to side. As if from nowhere, a sudden gale of wind arose through the trees and stirred clods of loose till and brush about; it swirled at the center of battle, creating a small vortex. Ronin’s fur began to shift and sway insistently in the burst of atmosphere as he tensed his body. As quickly as Takai’s face had first been filled with twisted pleasure, it seemingly exploded into anger as his weakened foe began to stand on his own.
“That day will never come, evil one!” Ronin managed to whine through heavy wheezes, “You will depart this life never knowing control of this world!” As he gradually lifted his head up, his eyes had begun to glow a deadly scarlet, a candle-like radiance emanating from his ragged fur and tattered cloak. In a flurry of rage, a swirl of red energy spiraled out from deep within his gashes, bolting in intricate curves around him like lightning as it tore bark off nearby trees and burned small kindling and leaves; arcing himself backward, he screamed in a fit of blind rage, his lengthy, black hair matting itself against his back with blood and sweat. The streaks of crimson began to take shape, a new shape forming around him—it was a werewolf!
“There is more than one whom can play that game. Prepare to meet destiny!” In a similar fashion, the marred wolf lord took stance on the ground and pounded his paws into the dirt stamping out their pattern into the ground; a new breeze rushed to engulf the remaining debris and mire. A black stream of lightning streaked from his matted fur, whirling around him until a new form loomed around where previously the evil lord had been, it’s shape a similar twisted beast as Ronin’s. “Finally, the true power I seek is revealed!” the new form snarled; it bore its fangs in a twisted smile.
In a blur of red and black, the two titans dashed toward each other desperately, the clang of hardened steels humming from their first blow. A brilliant flash of light overwhelmed Ronin’s vision.