Embracing the Beast might have been a long time coming, but it was soon apparent that Vallaunius had a lot to learn.

A lot.

Because it was just like grade school all over again, setting everything on fire. It was instinct. Harnessing the urge to kill with his hands – other than to gesticulate portions of a spell – just was not within him.

And it was supposed to have been a special thing between him and Alaan. Their first kill together. So what did Val do?

He set the bear on fire.

Alaan may have chosen not to say anything, but Val could see the disbelief in his lover’s eyes, the Why did you DO that? balanced precariously on his tongue. The two had stood there amidst the stench of smoldering bear fur, regarding each other, no doubt wondering if the moment had been ruined.They ate, anyway, which ended up being far more intimate and enjoyable to Val than actually killing barehanded (a terrible pun, even by his standards).

Still, he was going to have to learn the proper way to do things. Vallaunius made sure to wake up early the next morning and set out with one purpose in mind. One of the (many) good things about their new home was the plentiful hunting.

I can interact with the world differently under the guise of the Wolf. He was psyching himself up as he stalked after a black bear. The mage was calculating, full of strategy. He was confident he could safely pick this one off – it was resisting the urge to nuke everything within thirty feet that was the challenge.

The Beast whispered to him, listen to me. A different kind of instinct took over and guided him. And as the hot blood spilled into his mouth as he finally ripped out the bear’s throat, all he could think of was, I want you to be proud of me.