IV.

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Micca's bloodied muzzle snapped at one of the men and caught hold of a neck. Crack. Crack. Crack. Micca tore pieces of the screaming man and swallowed before moving on to another victim.

More men came.

The ground was ablaze with fire and the cold air was filled with what Aelyn recognised as the sounds of war... Blood leached and stained the snow...

Men's limbs were strewn about like socks, or shoes...

And Micca ate.

Aelyn looked on the sight with horror and backed awy into the forest. He ran when he saw the carnage. He found the tree and endured the daggers of wood that pierced his hands as he tried to force the two halves together again.

"Please!" He begged. "Please, change us back! Change Micca, back!" When he failed, the bark of the tree fell back down with a thud and silence reigned over his misery.

With a gutted howl he screamed and cried in frustration. "Change Micca back!" His cries rivalled the maddened screeches of his brother, "Change him back!--" He begged, "Give him back! Give my brother back!!!"

Only the cold ring of his pathetic echo met his ears and he slumped into the snow, covering his ears with his monsterous grotesque hands. He weeped to himself. He hated himself.

He loathed at what he had become.

The Eldest son knew his duty, he knew he should have stopped Micca, he knew he was too much of a coward to deny the hunger any longer... To deny Micca any longer...

Kneeling in the snow, the beast closed its eyes under the moonlight and prayed.

Strength flexed in his muscles invoulintarily, like his body rebelled against submission, but he forced himself to bow his head. "Give me strength, give me endurance..." The sound of his brother-- his little brother-- Micca's scream riveting through the wind made the Eldest sob, "Give me bravery..."

And with that he used his new body and bounded forward through the forest. Forgetting the frightened, panicked, path he once took when he fled in sight of his brother. He charged and leapt and ran, feeling how each stride relieved the ache of his muscles.

And in no time, he found him.

The monster before him-- Micca-- the splitting mirror image of himself-- The Eldest recognized his little brother underneath all the ferocity and savagery. And he called out to him.

Deaf to reason, Micca charged forward, bounding through the bloody carnage and slaughter he had done. He had laid waste to the mob that approached them with torches and blades... Micca's fur was matted and clotted with blood and stood on end as if the instinct to feed and kill has been twisted into one, and pulsed through his little brother's body like lightening.

"Micca!" Aelyn screamed. No reply. He chased after his brother, who ran towards the village with a hunger in his eyes that made Aelyn sick to his stomach.

He finally caught him and forced him down. Micca snapped at his brother's neck. Mad. Mad. Even Madder than before. Insanity flashed in his eyes, and it was the color of moon light.

"Micca, please!" Aelyn saw the looks of terror from the women and children and remaining men that caught sight of their struggle from their village. He begged his brother, "PLEASE!" When Micca wouldn't listen, Aelyn lifted his head to the sky and held his brother to the earth. "Angel or devil be..." He lifted his snout to the sky and fought back a howl of despare, "take retribution upon me not my brother!"

Then, with a flash of lightening, and a crack of thunder so loud, Aelyn felt his bones rattle.

S H E   w a s   t h e r e .

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