The Unnamed Saga
The "Shadow" (possible Mielikki Avatar)
Deafening silence in a canopied glade, an unmistakable sense of dread and power, and an inescapable darkness that envelopes like a thick, rolling fog.
The Shadow may be an avatar of the Goddess Mielikki: “Lady of the Forest”, goddess of forests, forest creatures, autumn, and rival to Malar, god of the hunt, evil lycanthropes, bestial savagery and bloodlust.
Feral was not always the raging bundle of hard-to-stop scar tissue he is now. Not long ago, he was an average, albeit aggressive, subsistence hunter in a reclusive tribe of half-lycanthropes that survived hidden in the wild jungles of Chult. After this tribe was captured by slavers and sold as caged prey to an illicit hunting club, he was hunted for sport by masked hunters who revel in chasing and murdering members of races outside of the “classic” civilized races. Exhausted and cornered, Feral sensed his impending death as he listened to the hunters loudly closing in on all sides.
What happened next was like a memory from a fevered dream. Time seemed to stop, then the darkness (or something in it) spoke.
“Your life as you knew it is about to end, little prey. But I hear in the song of your soul the unfulfilled screams of the predator, not quarry. That is a furor I would see returned a hundredfold upon the world. I offer you salvation in exchange for debt. Swear to serve not the divine but the boon of the wild, and I shall anoint you with the primal power to challenge nature’s foes.”
Feral doesn’t remember if or how he accepted, but he must have done just that, for the next thing Feral remembered is hurtling down through waves of energy, falling through vivid images of the world stretching back to the beginning of time before plunging into dark, cold, brackish water. Feral emerged with nearly unbreakable stamina, the snarling powers of a Warden, and general (and perhaps poorly understood) mandate to battle nature’s foes.
During one desperate battle with a cursed Shadow Assassin, Feral challenged his assailants to know who was Athola, and why is he was trying to kill the heroes, only to be cryptically answered “You serve the Shadow.”
After Feral’s blind rage lead the party into an unwinnable fight with elite Blackjaw Gang soldiers, and the party became the prey in a Disciples of Saernclaws hunt, Feral was visited in a dream by a visage of Mielikki as a huge silver wolf which changed into a beautiful woman in jungle garb. In the dream, Mielikki calmly explained that it was her that first encouraged Feral to tap into the power within him: to channel the font of life, to use his ancestral rage, to answer the call of the wild. She offered Feral no power, for the primal energy that Feral channeled came not from her. But she reminded Feral that the strength of rage and might was not the hunter’s greatest asset, instead it was the thinking mind that lets the greatest hunters stand above the howling pack. Mielikki encouraged Feral to tap not only into his ancestral strength, but also to heed the lessons and cunning of his lupine ancestors.