Like Father, Like Son
The tale of a Malisyk seeking his sire
The Nasyk did not know how to feel. Consumed by sudden curiosity he had spent the better part of a year searching for his father. Such parental connections meant little to him, to near all Nasyk. So why was this burning need to know of his roots bothering him so? And so here he stood, in a long, grungy hallway with the lights flickering. The apartment complex where his sire lived was... dingy. No, that was too kind. It was a slum, a shithole in the middle of an inexcusable hive of filth. Oh how difficult it had been to find this fucker. How long he'd spent. When the sudden curiosity piqued at his mind, he dismissed it. But as it became more and more incessant he searched. His mother had been easy enough to find. A disgraced Nasyk escort, more fur than fang, more gloss than gore. She'd lived a life in slums similar to these before giving birth to him, donating him to a ‘pod’ of children, and dying some time after. A small note in a cemetery registry was all that remained of her, that and a bag of bones in a potter's grave. But his sire... that had been more difficult, especially given his mother's soft-backed work. Even at the thought his lip curled and he softly snarled, drawing the golden eye of a decrepit old, hunched-back Nasyk janitor. The kind who could never hope to clean anything and so settled to clean the walkway by pushing debris into the halls sides. The janitor, weary, but with the carefreeness of age spoke: "Greetings youngling. What troubles you this evening?" His hand went up, a Nasyk gesture of peace. An invitation to show allegiances, philosophies. A proffered hand, albiet unstable with arthritis and age. The hunting Nasyk gave the feeble janitor no thought, too entranced was he with his quarry. His heart thrummed and his veins burned with how close he was. Spurning the elder, he strode past before stopping, pausing, and mentally kicking himself. He knew the building, but he didn't know which unit his father, his answers, his curiosity sated lay in. He turned and flashed his fangs in an unconvincing smile, his hand sharing the symbol of some philosopher's proverb before swiping past his lips. His gaze darted around, concerned someone saw the furtive gesture. "Apologies elder. I was looking for another Nasyk. Roughly between our years, of middling age and greying fur. He has information that I must know." The janitor chuckled. His golden eyes hazed slightly from age as he bent his fingers for pliability and making a hand-gesture of his own. To an onlooker it might look like he was swiping the misting of spittle from his lips. The motion pantomimed slitting the throat of his lips, wiping unseen blood from a gluttonous mouth. The motion couldn’t mean anything to some, but to the searching Nasyk it was distracting. So distracting he failed to see the elder’s affiliation. “You are one of the believers.” “Yes. and if you seek ‘knowledge’ from one in this building, I will help. I request only a fingerbone should your quarry still be here. A humble morsel so that I may partake in the strength of whatever ‘knowledge’ you seek.” The Nasyk considered, his eyes craning and pupils dilating in the flickering, slum lighting. His neck twisting as he looked back and forth as his tail swung agitatedly across the disgusting-yet-’clean’ floor. A smile breaks with his toothy maw, fully unconvincing in humor and intent. “Who am I to deny an elder such a generous trade for information. Very well. I am looking for Ozheim-” The Nasyk gestures, the name unfamiliar to his fingers and finalized with a gesture equivalent for ‘father’. “Interesting. Not many seek out their elders but considering our entrusted beliefs. Yes. I see why you seek this one. He is down this hall at the end. I believe he is home at the moment.” The nasyk curtly nodded and turned without so much as a thank you as the elder chuckled and continued pushing his cart back towards the closet at the end of the hall. The janitor’s cleaning storage conveniently placed next to his room at the end of the hall. The nasyk strode forward before hammering a knock on the door. “I am looking for Ozheim. Open the door.” Silence. Silence save for the slight creek as the janitor wheeled closer, his hand shaking on the push bar even as one furtively regained the limberness of youth and dug into a concealed compartment of the cart. Another hammering on the door. “Ozheim. I must speak with you, I have money for information you have.” A lie, not just because it was spoken by a nasyk but because it was so blatant in violent intent. The elder cracked his neck and straightened his back slightly as he pushed closer. The third hammering fell silent as the nasyk slid bloodily down the wall. His cry for ‘Ozheim’ choked by the flow of crimson wetting the fur of his neck and soaking into his coat. Several more, expertly placed bullets hit his shoulders and wrists, quieter than a whisper as the janitor strode confidently forward and smashed the young Nasyk’s kneecaps into the concrete. “You sought your father youngling. And so you have found him.” Rolling the cart next to the sprawled and dying sazashi and against the wall, he blocks the view of anyone coming down the hallway. Taking a clean handkerchief from his pocket Ozheim holds it to his sons neck. “Can’t have you wasting blood. I intend to gain all your strength my child.” An almost jocular pat on the wounded neck as his teeth bare in a smile. “You know, this is quite fortuitous. For me. I was just about to end my ‘shift’ and was contemplating some of burgers from the shitty human take-out down the block” Crouching closer, Ozheim nudged his sons belly with his suppressed gun, the Nasyk’s shirt and chest coated in the blood that poured from the ripped open jugular. “In all seriousness, I am sorry child. You are not the first to come for me. Of my children I mean. We are a cursed family. All of our bloodline seek out the truth of Malsyk. They seek their elders. They seek out… answers” Ozheim pulls the contacts from his eyes, the fog of age lifted and his eyes revealed to be a piercing, fiercely intelligent golden amber like the Nasyk before him. “I sought answers from my father. Killed him too. And had you killed me you would have had all the answers i’d written down in journals and in my flesh from the years of killing I have done. And, fate willing, you would have gained all of the strength from my body” He stands, leaving the blood-soaked cloth stuck to the nasyk’s neck. Ozheim then pulled the pass from his pocket to open the door next to the dying sazashi. “As it is, fate swung in my favor child. And since we are both warriors, we know the nature of fate in conflict and death. I did my time, I served and killed and slaughtered. And I’m sure you’ve carved just as bloody a path across the stars with mercenary work as I did. But in the end, we are a bloodline of exponential power. We survive because child must overcome parent. You are not that child. But you will sustain me, keeping me ready and a worthy challenge for the one after you. Or after them. One will succeed eventually, even if I must work in the slums of a hundred planets and sire a thousand brats. And just as this curse pounds fire of curiosity through our hearts, driving us to find our elders to consume their strength, so too does it inevitably drive them to the truth of the Malysk way. The truest and most ancient Nasyk way. The way of lasting power and ferocity. And so too will this curse sustain me past my years and prime till I may be overcome” The door opened as the elder dragged his crippled and soon to be carved child into his horribly cramped slum-abode. “Worry not my son. It will end quickly, your vision will go dark soon. And I will learn of your exploits as I consume your flesh. And, failing that, I will find out all about your live on the Æthernet over a meal of your kidneys. The door closes, nobody cares or notices the blood on the walls or the janitor’s cart left unattended in the disgusting walkway of some no-worth slum on some no-worth planet.
Credit goes so BB13 for writing this and contributing it to Ethnis!