The Last Man-Eater-Moon in Syann the world upon a Cosmic Beast | World Anvil
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The Last Man-Eater-Moon

Three nights, a mere seventy-two hours in the grand scheme of time, felt like a looming eternity. As the moon waltzed through its phases like a radiant lady on a silver-white stage, I found myself torn between dread and exhilaration. On one hand, there was fear—fear of the nightmares that would follow, the dread of fragmented memories of my actions. On the other, there was the adrenaline-soaked, ravenous desire that the moon's dance evoked. Even as I pen this, I can't help but lick my lips, envisioning warm blood and freshly torn meat sliding down my gullet.   It is all her fault, that dancing silver-white maiden. She draws me toward the beast lurking within, her celestial ballet tugging at what hides in my soul, bringing forth this shameful curse, this disease of impure flesh and crimson longing. She was the one who brought this upon me, that heathen priestess who cursed me with her dying breath. You were full that night, so full and bright, and even then, I was in your thrall. I hunted under your radiant light, stalking the forests, thinking you would guide me to my prey.   Wolves, bears, deer, water buffalo, and above all, tigers. My traps never failed, and their pelts made me a rich man, beloved by the locals who foolishly believed the tigers brought illness upon them. They viewed them as demons, and from their fear, I crafted wealth. Every trap that claimed a tiger with poisoned stakes yielded a fortune, and each year, fewer tigers roamed the forests near the village. I was hailed as a hero, a great hunter who had driven them away. They believed I had slain the tigers with my bow and sword, and that was all they needed to know.   I was a hero, a sportsman, a champion, and for so many years, I thought the moon was my guide—a silent partner in my deeds. But then, she betrayed me. She witnessed my sins, a watcher who seemed to yearn for my suffering.   The moon led me to the witch, that enigmatic woman with beguiling eyes and ever-shifting veils. I met her on a moonlit trail, and I knew she had been directed to me, a marionette of fate manipulated by you, oh treacherous moon, and those vengeful tigers. She claimed I had taken too much from nature, that balance needed to be restored, that she would expose me. I scoffed at her words, telling her that witches were unwelcome in our lands and lunged at her driving my punch dagger into her belly. With the last rattle of her breath she placed a death curse upon me and left me with haunting words, "There is one last tiger that must be hunted."   I paid little heed to her until you, oh traitorous moon, turned full and awakened the beast she had embedded within me. Three long nights of frenzied, fragmented memories and nightmares followed—of goats' pens torn open and farmers slaughtered into bloody ribbons. Three nights of exquisite, gore-soaked power as I transformed into the tiger, reveling in the role of the Man Hunter, the very image I had encouraged the villagers to fear in all tigers.   I knew I was the tiger, and I pledged to hunt the beast down, to avenge the dead. I believed I was clever enough to outwit the curse and the witch's designs, granted a boon I could use to maintain my riches and manipulate the villagers. I considered binding myself when the moon approached, restraining the tiger's bloodlust. I thought that occasional goat and farmer sacrifices to its savage whims would keep me wealthy, capitalizing on their fear and ignorance.   But you,dear moon, had other plans. You sought some form of karmic revenge, and you, along with those very tigers I had poisoned and skinned, conspired against me. You conspired to curse me, to make me your lunatic puppet. You had watched every deed done under your gaze seen as those tigers perished, their spirts they called up to you though seeking retribution for their kindred. You helped make me one of them, no you made me worse then them and all that transpires is by your spite filled designs!   They hunt me now, self-proclaimed heroes, monster slayers. I was the one who slew monsters, who dispatched what people feared. Now, they stalk me. I will turn the tables; I will release the Man Hunter residing within me upon them and feast upon them like lambs. You will not prevail; I will prevail. I always triumph, you wretched dancer of the night sky, no matter the cost.   -Last Journal Entry of Aakash Mayadev, Former Hunter, and the Mad Man-Eater of Dakotta Village in southern Volshara. Confirmed as a weretiger, he was slain by expert monster hunters on the last full moon of Winter-Haunt in the Year of the Glyph.
  (Art by Midjourny)

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