Our master raised his head while the rest of us kept our noises to the ground, waiting for his command.
I closed my eyes when I heard him breathe in, his muscular chest heaving with a sigh.
"Servants…" he whispered. The hushed tone was like a crack of thunder in the calm forests of Jamaol.
We shook before him, our souls full of fear.
"Servants," he repeated. "You failed me."
Someone behind me stuttered into life. "But we trie-"
"SILENCE!" he roared, his claw rushing over my head in a blur and then a fleshy crush as his paw smashed against the someone's skull.
"Now, my servants," his voice quiet once more. "You will not fail me again."
We nodded in unison.
"You will go after him again. For the fifth time," He said the word with disgust. "But this time, you will go in groups. Maybe then you won't act like fools. This is your last chance to gain your power. If you fail again, your test shall end, and you will all die."
Our master paused. Then he suddenly became a storm of activity, shoving and throwing us into small groups. We dared not yell out in pain, or he would have raked his claws across our faces.
When he had sorted us, he returned to his high status on top of the rotting stump of an ancient tree.
We waited. He cast a glance over our shaking bodies before bellowing out his final order.
We bolted together in our groups, escaping from the clearing where our master stood, our thin limbs still shuddering with utter fear.