“The winters were cold, and quiet. It felt like if we spoke, we would break some spell, and the Jotun would arrive and storm our cities, take our fighters and our food, and leave us with nothing…”

The beastchildren listened, eyes wide. No matter how many times they heard the story, they listened. Revered Storyteller’s name was earned, as are all Beastmen names, and though names change as they grow – she had held hers the longest. She had found her Calling long ago.

An unnamed beastchild sat in the back, a goat, holding on to every word. Revered Storyteller had long taken an interest in him, and she knew his coming of age was soon. It would be time to test his calling.

-weeks pass-

As she neared the end of the night’s story, some of the beastchildren wandered out, though most waited respectfully for her to finish. Her voice faded from the room, and the sound of hooves and feet and shoes told of her audience standing and leaving – all except one, with whom she had locked her eyes with for the duration of the last act of her story. The unnamed goat-child waited patiently for direction, drawing on his past observations of nights such as this to know he should wait.

Revered Storyteller raised one hand and beckoned, her fox ears twitching. The unnamed child came forward.

“You know what this meeting is.”

The goat-child waited, saying nothing. It was an obvious statement, one not worth responding to, and so he did not.

“You are an intelligent beastman, deceivingly so, and one who holds on to every word of my stories.”

A slight nod, acknowledgement. Time to make a grand, educated guess.

“You would see the standing of beastment everywhere rise. You would see us respected, as all citizens of the Empire should be respected.”

It almost was entirely a guess, but a safe one. All beastment wished they were given more consideration than they were, than with the slavery and scorn with which the Empire currently welcomed them. This goat-child paid the most attention to the stories in which there were poor relations between beastmen and the Empire, and that had been enough for the old fox.

The goat-child spoke. “More than anything, I would like to see beastmen in the Empire. Not accepted in it.”

Revered Storyteller’s brow rose, and she paused.

The goat-child saw his mistake, and rephrased. “I would like to see beastmen as… Not something special, in the Empire. I would like us to be seen, and for it to not be assumed that we are slaves, worth nothing more than the muscles in our back or the strength of our arms. I would like us to be seen.. And for the sight of us to not be something abnormal.”

Revered Storyteller smiled.

“I think I must give you a name.”

The beastchild nodded, as if accepting a great burden. And, to he and his entire race, it was.

She thought hard, for minutes, the crackle of the fire the only sound in the room.

“For now, you will be called Beefstick.”

The goat-child frowned. It was a slave’s name, of the most common sort. It was not the type of name one gives to someone who has just been told they will be acting almost as a diplomat for their race. Revered Storyteller saw his expression, and nodded sadly.

“The change you make in the name of our race will not be big. Most of your actions will not even be a story, and they may never be recognized. Your name will change, and one day you may be known as Little Changes, the one whose millions of small actions became the movement upon which the recognition of our race is founded.

“But today, and for what is likely to be many years… You will be Beefstick. And as you are underestimated over and over, and prove yourself and your worth over and over again, your name will change the name of our race.”

And Beefstick smiled.


Animus Lost Kissarai TotallyLegit