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In the wide open spaces of Faeo there are countless different creatures. Nature has endowed each of them not only with a habitat, but also with a unique appearance. Each is assigned their own role in the greater scheme of things, which nobody has the right to alter: some graze peacefully in the eternally green meadows and pastures, while others prowl tirelessly in search of prey. This is the way it has always been….. But in addition to the wild animals, the gods also created other beings, endowed with reason and with enough daring to question the laws of the universe. Two powerful races have historically fought with each other, as they both laid claim to being the chosen race and both wished to have exclusive use of all the beauty and bounty of Faeo. Their rancor and single-mindedness sometimes knew no limit as they competed with each other in perfecting torture and inventing newer and better types of deadly weaponry. They were ready to throw open the doors to the unknown, without suspecting that death might be lurking outside. Throwing caution to the wind, and drunk on their own sense of superiority, Humans and Magmars tried to outwit nature, but nature did not forgive them this error and turned their creation against the unfortunate creators. It is not widely known that at one time the warlike Kretches were just regular forest dwellers….

The smell of dried leaves disguised the traces of the small beast that the young Kretch had been tracking tirelessly. His hair bristled, wet with the morning dew, but his sharp eyes and keen sense of smell did not let him down, and he accurately distinguished between the hundreds of scents that flooded the forest to locate the sweetish smell of his prey, and he could already feel how his fangs would sink into the warm flesh and appease the hunger that was tormenting him. A rustle. A soft whistle. The Kretch freezes and raises his tired snout, sensing danger. A thick noose twists around his neck. He jumps to one side, trying to throw off his captor, but the slip knot just tightened, squeezing through his thick fur to the tender pinkish skin beneath. The animal howled in fear as before his eyes, which are crazed with fear, some indistinct figures flicker, figures that clearly smell of skin, and something else, something alien to the forest….

In the training camp, preparations were underway for the upcoming tests. Work was progressing at full steam: warriors fastened ropes with steel clamps, ditches and pits were dug, some of which were filled with river water, and heavy stones were rolled in. The Kretch captured during the morning foray was safely locked in the dungeon, pacing from corner to corner, awaiting his fate and trying to find a way out of his dark prison. It was he who was to be the star of the upcoming show. The Kretches had the reputation of being strong and sturdy animals, capable of surviving without food for several days and of defeating predators several times larger and stronger than they. As a result, it was planned to create an army of trained Kretches, which would be a major asset in battle. Every morning the unfortunate animal was mercilessly trained and put through all sorts of exercises and tests. Special exercises were designed to turn the primitive Kretch into a true warrior. They improved not only his fighting skills – training him in weaponry and tactics – but they also tried to develop his brain cells. Initially the blinkered Kretch was slow and withdrawn, but the long and persistent training sessions started to pay off: after a number of weeks the animal already held himself more confidently and even started to show initiative.

The endless experiments, exhausting training, restricted diet and constant exhaustion brought about changes… the Kretch now found it difficult to withstand pain and his consciousness, which previously rejected senseless force, went through a metamorphosis. The first outbreaks of aggression were not so noticeable, but later they became more obvious. The irritated animal might knock the shield from the hand of his warrior opponent during training, and he often threw himself at his pretend opponent in such a way that the opponent was hard put to defend himself. The mindless number of potions and serums with which they injected the already disfigured body of the Kretch caused further trouble. The idea of making a thinking warrior out of a primitive animal was an unqualified success, but it was impossible to ignore the increasing metal capabilities and rancor of the beast. The warriors stupidly underestimated the beast, thinking that they had sufficient time to curb the furious temper of the noticeably more intelligent Kretch. But the guinea pig itself was not willing to wait any longer, his eyes were filled with blood lust, the urge to kill almost choked him….

Nobody remembers anymore how the animal managed to break free. But the result was mayhem: the crunch of breaking bones, deathly screams froze in the air, blood splattered the walls and stained the grass red, mutilated bodies lay about where until recently training had taken place. The Kretch dealt mercilessly with his creators, he not only erased his training days from his memory, he destroyed the training grounds. He showed mercy to no one and turned the training camp into a bloody mess. The Kretch Butcher, which is how he came to be known, was a match for the most experienced warrior in terms of dexterity, fearlessness and his fighting skills, and was even better than some. But the attack on his teachers was only the start of his cruel vengeance. The Butcher used the skills and knowledge he had received to create his own army. He had excellent powers of persuasion and was able, at first, to put together a small group, and later a whole division – but this was to take a lot of time. He was driven not only by revenge, but also by the desire to pass on to his kinsmen the same skills that he had acquired. The Butcher was prepared to guide them. He methodically and patiently worked with is less learned brethren, planning to turn them into warriors like himself, the equals of any opponent in strength and skill. He spent a lot of time on training: the timid beasts who were unused to following commands found it difficult to adjust, but the Butcher was patient, he knew himself what it was like to have one’s life was turned upside down.

Not far from his former training camp, where he had undergone so many excruciating experiments, the Kretch Butcher created an underground city. This was his lair, his new abode. The Butcher was intoxicated by his new-found freedom: he hungered for revenge and he strove to transform the Kretches from stupid beasts into intelligent creatures. But his brain had been irrevocably scarred by his experiences. He had been turned into a monster, and now he wanted to show his creators his ‘gratitude’, by unleashing the full force and aggression of the newly-created Kretch warriors on them. This was his life’s work, his true destiny. The warlike Butcher erased from his mind the days when he was a carefree forest creature, now he was a warrior who dealt mercilessly and cruelly with anybody who crossed him. His army gained in strength and his name became a byword for cruelty and ruthlessness.

 

 


 
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