The dusk, predawn sky hung heavy with a thick carpet of fog that rolled in from the west at a sluggish pace, akin to the legendary lethargy of the ancient salamander lizards renowned for their fire bellies and glittering opal eyes. Sounds of a wind roiled sea carried from many miles and yet the crashing of waves against great stones eternally fixed in the icy prison of sand and sediment managed to trick even the most seasoned of sea beasts into assuming that the ocean was right at their heels. This amazing ability to echo has caused many a beast who sought the pleasures of the sea to instead find long arid plains or chilled tundra, both increasingly disagreeable with the woefully unprepared who entered and subsequently died in these vast spaces. It was in one of these veritable killing fields that a complete foreigner to these lands had found himself in.
A chorus of irritable song birds chirruping rent the still air, and created a jarring transition from the soothing melodies of the nigh unreachable expanse of brine that would for this beast spell freedom and unparalleled bliss. A pair of bleary pale green eyes peeled open with painstaking difficulty, stuck firm by layers of rheum formed during his restless slumber. None of the feeble light penetrated the thick material of his little tent, leaving him in absolute darkness. As his mind rushed back to him like a cascade of lukewarm bathing water over a dirt-soaked dog’s head, the quarrelling birds shrill debate seemed to become more insistent, making his ears instinctively fold in a futile attempt to blot their ceaseless racket from his besieged mind.
Two white mottled paws flew up to his eyes, deftly sweeping the grimy secretions away and discarding them with a lazy flick of the wrist. Having the peace of further rest successfully stolen from him by the petty argument of some avian fools of indeterminable origin, he forcefully propped himself up onto his forepaws, the fleece blanket that was haphazardly strewn over him slid down to reveal his bare underbelly. A quivering yawn parted his lips wide in an uncharacteristically crude display of his naturally barbaric array of teeth; his body heat gradually seeped away from him thanks to the lack of insulation.
He resisted the urge to simply flop back carelessly into his bedding and return to his dreams, and being unable to take solace in the comfort of his temporary dwellings forever, he made the decision instead to begin the search for his next meal. His belly groaned in protest as he carelessly shook out his sleep-matted headfur and carelessly tossed on his heavy woolen tunic before cracking open the flaps of his petite shelter. The land was still bathed in the steely grey light that heralded the coming of the sun, but even these weakened beams made Aníbal squint and recoil. Crawling out with a wistful sigh, he cracked his sore back and stretched his cramped extremities.
The light scent of body odor clung to his body and made his nose twitch in mild revulsion. He had gone days without a bath. Soon he would begin the arduous task of donning his armor. His guard was down in his current state, and while he was not as aware as he should be, there is the distinct possibility that he is being watched…