The Beast Within

Original post to Darkwindís Garou Board as "Wolf Tales (2)" Fri 18 Apr 2003 14:57

Revised 15 May 2019

The Elf stands before the bowl filled with the strange ointment and peers into it. Peering back at him is your basic elf -- long blond hair, blue eyes, pointed ears, soft and somewhat fragile-looking features -- his own reflection. But he knows that can't be. The fluid is not clear, but creamy; it isn't possible that he sees his reflection in it.

The Elf continues to stare at his reflection-that-cannot-be-there and sees it change, shimmer, become fuzzy around the edges. And then it metamorphoses -- not gradually, but all at once, from one instant to the next. From gentle and beautiful elf into...

...the Elf gasps in shock and takes a step back -- a gut-level reaction to the horrific image he just saw. He can't remember what it looked like, even though it was just a moment ago. Its physical appearance surprised him, but didn't really upset him. The upsetting part was the way the image had, at least for a moment, fused itself to his mind and touched that part of him that has nothing to do with reason, logic, sound judgment, or that which the Elf comfortably and reassuringly classifies as "reality."

No, the image wanted nothing to do with "reality". It homed in on something else within him; something deeply buried in some dark recess of his mind all his life, wild and unpredictable. Something feral. A part of him so well hidden that nothing can ever hope to find it; so well guarded that, even if found, nothing would ever penetrate its defenses; so deep that, even were the defenses breached, nothing would ever haul it up to the light of day.

Nothing would ever accomplish that feat. Until now. Here, in a small clearing in the woods southwest of the City. An eccentric, but somehow powerful Old Man. A bowl of strange ointment. And the image of a Beast therein. A Beast which comes not from the ointment, the Old Man, or the forest -- but from the repressed subconscious mind of the Elf himself.

The Elf realizes his knees are shaking. He bends down enough so that his hands rest on them, hold them steady. He closes his eyes. Breathes in deeply. Forces himself to let it out slowly. Opens his eyes. His knees no longer shake.

The Elf straightens himself and takes another deep breath. In. Out. There. That's better. He glances at the Old Man, who seems to be deep in a meditative trance. No help there, but no matter either.

The Elf takes a step back in the direction of the bowl of ointment and, after a momentís hesitation, looks into it again. Nothing -- just some creamy fluid in a bowl in a clearing in the woods. He can no longer discern the Image of the Beast therein. But the memory of it is strong and no longer subconscious. He is aware of it now. The Beast has risen from its secret hiding place and now resides in the Elf's conscious awareness.

With the initial shock over, the Elf realizes that the Beast is neither destructive nor evil. It stands now in the forefront of his mind, allows the Elf to study it, feel it. If the Elf felt fear before, he now feels only excitement and anticipation. It is said that every creature has one moment in the span of its life where everything it has been and done culminates, one moment where it all comes together. The Elf knows his moment has come. The door is open -- he has only to walk through it.

The Elf extends his hand toward the bowl.