Small knocks at the door rang through the mans house, late in the evening. After a few trills of quiet grumbles and a thud, the door came to be open, the man inside looking at the young girl - who looked at him with a serious expression. Clawed hands rested on the door frame and her predatory gaze stared right through him. Yet fear was not the look that spread across his face, but a smile.
"You're late" he spoke, the same confident smirk spreading across his face as the first time he and Ela had met just trials ago. She had been looking for a teacher, someone that could train her, and had been sent his way by a friend of his that she crossed paths with. Now, the Mortalborn was here, and she was ready. But first they had to go somewhere quiet, somewhere they wouldn't be disturbed.
Turning around for a trill, the man handed Ela a long, heavy item - wrapped in cloth to cover it. Whatever it was weighed a lot, and was very tall. Ela knew somewhat of what it contained, but no specifics. This kind of thing wasn't her specialty at all, being out in the woods most of her life. Yet here she was, about to learn a skill that had truthfully never crossed her mind to learn. Though, she could do worse on the teacher front. From what she had heard he was skilled at what he did. Only she would be the judge of that, however.
Eventually the two made their way in to the woods, the pure weight of the item in her arms making the girl tire. She wasn't used to heavy loads, despite being somewhat above average strength. Eventually, the trainer gestured the girl to stop, Ela lowering the cloth covered item to the floor before kneeling in front of it, catching her breath.
"Tell me, girl. Do you know who i am?" the man spoke, lighting a torch to keep the area visible. Resisting a sigh, the girl shook her head. Back came the smirk to the man as he spoke in a thick accent, though not one that Ela recognized. "I am Alfredo De Tolero Filanthro, the best weapons teacher in all of Scalvoris! And you, girl. Who exactly are you? You are not like other humans, your eyes are cold and vicious, you have razor sharp claws and a seasoned look to you. So why are you here?"
Ela looked to the man with cold eyes, the trees around them silent and empty of life. It had been long ago that she decided her claws were the only weapon she would need to fight the creatures in this forest. Yet here she was, learning to use a weapon from a strange man in the woods. It was his questions that really wound her up, however, reminding her of the argument she had with Karem earlier this season.
"I'm Ela Wolfsdotter, and I'm here to learn a weapon" she spoke in a serious tone, her eyes meeting the man. She then raised her hand to show her claws, examining them. "When I first grew these, I decided that I didn't need a weapon. That I was a weapon, and that to hunt it would be unfair to use a weapon if the prey can not. But now...I need it. Just in case."
After a few trills the man chuckled and raised an eyebrow to the girl. "Tell Alfredo something, miss Wolf-whatever. Do you have horns?" he asked, his eyes showing no sign of a joke, just an amused smirk. "Are your teeth filled with a deadly venom, or do you hide wings on your back that allow you to fly? Perhaps a tail with a sharp end to help you fight, no?"
When Ela was evidently confused, the man elaborated. "These creatures are born with their own weapons, some like yours and some with more. They are faster, they are built for the strength of a hunt. But do you know what we are built for, girl?" he asked, before approaching and putting one hand on the back of hers, closing her hand to a fist gently.
"We are built for weapons. Our hands are like no others, our skill in combat above that of any predator out there. They may not be able to pick up a crossbow and shoot it, but you can not gut an enemy with a horn, or eject poison from just a bite. You are not gifted with those forms like they are not gifted with these hands, these weapons."
Eyes slightly widened, Ela looked down at her hands. These were her weapons her entire life, and yet she had been using them wrong. While trying to thrive with her claws, she had been hiding away from the potential she really had. But that was all about to change, she would learn to use this weapon before her and slaughter all who stood in her way with it. Man, beast - it didn't matter. None would forget Ela Wolfsdotter - Apex of Scalvoris.
Alfredo then let go of her hand and lowered down, handing her the cloth-wrapped item. As she held it, he unwrapped it, revealing a Two-headed axe of good quality. Ela looked at it, curiosity in her eyes. She'd seen many weapons, but never used one. Today would be a big first for her, and she felt the nerves getting to her. This weapon would grow to mean a lot for the pup.
"This, girl, is you now. Any weapon you use will be a tail, a venomous bite - a horn" he explained, letting go of the weapon for Ela to hold and try out as he reached for his own Axe. Gently, Ela moved the axe around, finding its weight and adapting to the feel of a weapon in her hand. For the mortalborn, the feeling of a weapon in your hand was a strange one. But this weapon could provide something that Ela had never dreamed an axe could give her. This could be her chance to become the true Scalvoris apex. The weapon that would slay the Ishkahl.
"Now, I want you to swing the axe around a bit. A few simple swings. Alfredo will show you" the man ordered, firmly but with a smile. He raised the axe above his head and swung it down, stepping forward as he did, giving the swing more power. "You move forward and make more power, like so. Now you, Miss Wolfsdotter."
"You know, you can call me Ela" she spoke, her eyes refusing to make eye contact with the man as she tried to make a neat swing with her axe, but instead swung with little power to the right. As she kept practicing, the man circled around her, correcting her stance and posture, straightening her back and moving her feet to be in a better position. "No, girl. I feel a different name for you. A name that matches your cold stare and sharp claws, none of this 'Ela'. Do you hear of great beasts called Ela, girl? No!"
Unsure of whether to be offended or not, Ela stayed quiet as the man pondered a name for her. She swung her axe down, this time the hit being moderately straight, though had it been used on a person it would have done minimal damage to them. Still circling, Alfredo raised an eyebrow, before telling Ela to swing again, and again, until Ela could barely hold the axe. Alfredo moved closer to her and put a hand on her chin, raising her eyes to look at his.
"You, miss Wolfsdotter, don't want to be just 'Ela', do you? I see it in your eyes, girl. That ferocity, that bestial nature. You are special, very special. Ferocious and fierce" he explained, voice just above a whisper. "You are more than you know, girl. So tell me, what is your name? It is not Ela, it is not Miss Wolfsdotter. Those are human names, but you are not human. So what is it that you want the world to remember you as?"
Ela kept her eyes on him, occasionally glancing down at his lips as he spoke. An alien feeling washed over her, but she didn't know what it was. A desire for the man, yet not in the way she usually desired. It wasn't his blood she wanted, not the warm flesh of his freshly-slain body. But him. She wanted him, to teach her more and to keep talking. To stay with her.
Snapping out of her trance, Ela finally glanced back to his eyes. Who was she? It was a question she had been unable to answer to Karem, and one that had torn her life apart just by having to answer it and being unable to. Yet now she knew. She knew who she wanted to be, but she wasn't there yet. She knew what her goal was. But how did she summarize that in a title? She wasn't the Apex yet.
"I don't know" she admitted. She hadn't thought about it, yet it made sense. A name to remove the humanity from her, to show her as the Predator she wanted to be. She would always be Ela to some people, but the man was right. If she was to be the predator she wanted to be, she needed an alias like one. After a trill of thought a smirk spread across Alfredo's face.
"Then allow me to give you a name, girl" he spoke, causing her to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. "You are no longer Ela Wolfsdotter. You, are Bloodclaw. And this axe is your Horn."