It was a rainy day in the village of New Port-town, where people of all species lived. Everyone worked in spite of the weather: bison and tigers tired endlessly in the factory downtown, while various individuals tended to the shops and dives that populated the main street. Even paper- boys (usually tiger or wolf cubs) still labored under the buckets of rain that were pelting the town at the moment. Everyone was working; it seemed, except for Kevin Ammaruq. The grey wolf sat by the living room window, watching the rain coming down upon the land outside. Behind him, a fire glowed in its nook, revealing his clothing with an orange tinge: a white shirt with undone buttons, followed by beige jeans. It perfectly complemented his grey fur, and he knew it, too. As his parents were not home from work yet, he decided to head up to the attic. It had been quite a long time since he last ventured up there, and besides, he thought, I'm pretty bored anyways. So he pulled the hatch down and climbed up. It was dark save for a small circular window to his immediate left. After finding his footing, Kevin locked the hatch shut and looked around. He didn't have night vision like some of his feline buddies, so he had to wait a few seconds for his eyes to adjust. Once they did, his tail wagged; there were stacks and stacks of books all across the length of one side. He padded up to them, traced a clawed finger along the spine of an old thick red: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1, it read in gold. Then, Kevin started to walk along the length of the wall, tail swaying; he remembered these old books. A bore, he'd called them."No," his late grandpa would say, "not boring. Masterpieces."Suddenly, he felt something rough, finished by leather. Jerking back to his paw, he found out what it was: a box, sitting alone amid the towers of books. He knelt down to study it.The box contained an old-fashioned lock, with a key attached at its bottom by a silver chain. Curious, he picked up the key, unlocked it and peeked inside. He gasped, flinging the top wide open. There, glowing in his muzzle, was a golden necklace, a pearl set in its middle. He knew what it was straight away: the Pearl of Amaroq. According to his grandpa, it was a magical artifact capable of granting the wearer the powers of the ancient lupine god: strength, honor and dominion over all lands. What he apparently failed to tell his grandson was that it was right here all along. Smiling ear to ear with glee, he put it on and struck a regal pose, with fists at his sides and a proud arching tail. But--wait. There was a letter in the box!Gingerly, he picked it up and read it out loud."Kevin," he began, "I know you may be shocked to learn that the Pearl of Amaroq is indeed real. I have kept it a secret only to be unveiled post-mortem, so you can think of it as my last gift to you. Use its abilities wisely. Signed, Grandpa.""Wow," he said aloud, "so Grandpa gave this to me as his last gift?" He fingered the pearl between two fingers, looking upon the artifact with wide, excited eyes. "Cool."Kevin then bolted down to the living room, his mind trying its hardest to wander elsewhere. The thought of obtaining the powers of a god was too good to drift away from, and whenever he'd ponder about it, his fur would warm with sweat and a battering heart.So, with not much else to think about, the grey wolf huddled up back where he'd been before. The rain had stopped, but there was an eerie fog creeping over the land now, and if not for the full pines that dotted the backyard, Kevin would have linked the frozen grass to the tundra of the frigid North..."Wake up," a booming voice calls, "It is time."Kevin's ears pull back from the fullness, the unpleasantness of the voice. He gets up onto his feet, brushing the dust off of his fur, and looks around.Nothing but pure white awaits him. "Hello?"Two booms that shake the earth answer his call: footsteps. With a racing heart, Kevin turns around.Two massive grey legs tower over him like skyscrapers, both extremely powerful and well toned, an equally prodigious tail sweeping behind them. Slowly, Kevin starts to inch back, and with more retreats, the full form of the god is unveiled: a muscled titan, wearing only a rag to cover his nether regions. The god's eyes are actually glowing gold orbs, boring down into Kevin from above.Then the deity crouches closer to his guest, a shadow of his form casting over the young wolf."Kevin Pittiulak Ammaruq," Amaroq says, "you have my Pearl." His voice is thunder, a cacophony of sound.Kevin is nervous with terror, his arms slightly trembling in trepidation. He gulps it all down."Yes, I do. I'll have your powers, right?"The god laughs, a sound like boulders falling, and picks his claws. "Your elders told you everything, didn't they?" "Mm-hm," Kevin replies, finding strength, "along with many of the tales that you were in, too." The deity sinks to his paws and knees and leans closer to the guest, his muzzle utterly dwarfing the wolf's entire body. "But... there is one thing they failed to mention."Kevin steps back once more, his fur ruffled by the icy chill of the god's breath. "And what is that?"A smirk runs across Amaroq's muzzle. "The transfer of my powers, young one. It is a gift from the Great Spirit himself." A gift! Kevin's tail waved a little at that realization. "B-But what does that entail?"The god laughs again. He rises to stand on one knee, his eyes glowing ever brighter in the shadow he casts. "I will show you." He offers Kevin a paw. "Come."Kevin scrambles up onto the vast open palm, his feet soon finding purchase on the hills of prodigious paw-flesh. He is carried up to the deity's muzzle, where Amaroq's twin suns study him once again. "You have heard of how I devour my enemies, yes?"Kevin nods. He knows the story of Amaroq and his raids against the Bears; that the lives of several of them were ended in one gulp."I do the same to mortals who are eager enough to gain my abilities," the god tells him, "except,"--he raises a finger--"for the mastication, which is only reserved for prey."Despite Amaroq's assurances, Kevin cannot help but shiver in horror at what he just heard. A god--a divinity--is going to swallow him whole in order for him to get the powers. He drops to his knees, doubles over and almost retches, holding it in at the last possible second. "I-I can't do that," he rasps, looking up at Amaroq, "Is that... the only way?""Yes, my child."He bows down in submtission, his tail curling around one leg, and shuts his eyes as he is brought closer to the god's great lips. The last thing he hears before he is thrown into blackness is Amaroq's advice: "Use my abilities for good, and for honoring the Creator himself."The dream is not over then. It is over when Kevin, now as big and strong as Amaroq himself, bursts from the skeleton of the god with a roar that shakes the heavens----And wakes him up. Right away, he began to notice that something was different: he was no longer inside. Bright, clear open sky, as far as the eye could see. He lifted an arm, which felt oddly heavy. Taking note of that fact, he braced himself onto his rump, his legs coming into view--He froze. His legs were now packed with tons of muscle, every ligament expanded to its strongest size. Beyond him, the ruins of a house--his house--were dormant: wood and metal and furniture everywhere. It was then that Kevin noticed that he was, in fact, naked. Looking down, he saw that his once-lanky white chest had been replaced by a perfectly formidable abdomen, all six of his packs fully defined. He smiled, the expression growing even wider once he realized that he now had the strength of Amaroq coursing inside himself. He got up and stretched, his giant feet-paws crushing the piles of debris, the remains of his former life. Now that he was as big and strong as a god, he could get away with anything he pleased, and then...No, only use it for good, he reminded, covering his eyes for a shameful second. But if I only use it for good, he added, whom will I use it upon?Suddenly, an idea floated into Kevin's head: He could go to Raymond's house and take his revenge on the bear. Raymond was the school bully, constantly picking on others for their size. Once, he even shoved a goat named Shelly (Kevin's best friend) down the stairwell for being "anorexic", for lack of a better word. "That's it," Kevin exclaimed, cracking his knuckles, "I'm going to take that cub down myself!" He froze once more, startled by how deep his voice had gotten. It was almost like Amaroq's now, except for the fact that it was more melodious in tone. Shrugging the shock off, Kevin started towards the bully's house, striding away from the ruins onto the tiny grey road. The sucker lived just down the road in a green-roofed two storey, and he could easily just wait outside and devour him on the moment he'd step out. Surely enough, after damaging the road with footprints the size of construction dugouts, Kevin found the house. Ambling forth to a tree nearby, he took pride in knowing that even those plants could not reach his enormous size. Silently, the wolf waited. Cars honked their engines nearby (as there was a huge traffic jam happening on both sides of his right foot), but he paid them no mind. For several minutes, he put his muzzle close to the door, checking for any telltale ursine scent.Alas, there was none yet, just the smell of old wood and drying pigments. So Kevin waited a little longer. Suddenly, he heard a tiny click. Drawing his head back, he watched as a pudgy grizzly dressed in a white collared shirt and black jeans made his way out. Thinking quickly, Kevin swiped up the unsuspecting bear and dangled him over his muzzle. "Hello, Raymond," he crooned to the panic-stricken figure hanging between his index and thumb, "let's have some fun, shall we?" His toothy smile scared the grizzly even further, which he was glad of, because he needed to finish his revenge anyway. Ignoring the usual instincts of canine diet, Kevin opened his mouth and plopped the bear in, chewing him up to bits. It tasted surprisingly good, he found. However, someone had obviously phoned in the army, because next thing he knew, a green tank had arrived, its nozzle pointed straight at his chest.Kevin cursed and leaped over the vehicle, landing heavily on his knees. With uncaring abandon, the giant wolf got up and headed to the town square. He was breathing heavily now, his booming steps slowing down as he checked behind himself amid the screams of tiny pedestrians. Yep, they're still coming. He bared his fangs, turned around and took three steps forth towards the approaching tanks. Time to show them who's boss. "Listen up, men," Kevin announced, "I, Kevin Ammaruq, will be your god from now on!""In the name of the Great Spirit," a voice suddenly calls from behind, "I ask you to HALT!"The boom of that last word stopped everyone in his or her tracks, including Kevin. Slowly, the teenager turned around to see Amaroq heading up to him, one paw still held out in disapproval of his actions. "And no," the deity added, "You are not anyone's god."Suddenly, Kevin remembered the promise he'd kept, his Grandpa's letter. Use the powers for good, both had said. He had failed. He had striven too far from morality's boundaries for his actions to be considered "good". With flattened ears and a drooping tail, he headed into the god's arms, embracing him with sobs of sorrow.And life in New Port-town resumed to normal.A few days later, when Kevin's parents were again abroad, Amaroq visited the Pearl-less teenager, his form now reduced to a regular lupine being. The sight of Amaroq wearing clothes and being only as tall as everyone else threw Kevin off."I have many forms," he answered, when Kevin had inquired about it, "and this is one.""Oh," Kevin said. He scratched the back of his head with his paw. "So... what are you here for? To tell me never to break promises?"Amaroq leaned to one side of the doorway, crossing his arms, his tail flowing around his legs. "Not only that," he said, "but also to tell you of the dangers of abusing a spirit's powers."Kevin's muzzle flung open in shock. "What? I-I didn't! I just used it to devour some--some offender I never liked--" "And that," said the god, tapping Kevin's nose, "is blasphemy of the worst kind.""How?" The teenager crossed his own arms, his brow furrowing, tail lashing the air. "Tell me."The deity sighed. "Well," he began, walking past Kevin, "to start: the bear is not your true adversary."The teenager's eyes grew wide. "Y-You know him?"Amaroq shot back a half-lidded scowl. "I am a creation of the Great Spirit himself," he answered. "Surely you know of the abilities of the divine?" Kevin blinked, nodding. "Yes. Yes, of course.""Well, then!" The god turned around, sweeping an imaginary line with a finger. "Let's continue, shall we?"Kevin couldn't muster a clear answer, so he just stood there in silence."I will just take that as an agreement," Amaroq decided. "Now, to explain why this Raymond fellow is not a true enemy, you need to consider that what he has done to you and your acquaintances was hurtful, but not exactly unavoidable in any regard." "What? How is that avoidable?" The teen's ears snapped back in anger, his snout twisting into a tiny snarl. "You mean to tell me that seeing my friends getting pushed around was avoidable?""Yes," the god answered, "and I will tell you the reason," he added, holding up a paw. "Your strength--your resilience--should be the force that makes you stronger, not weaker." "Yeah, so?""So what I mean is," he explained, twisting a paw, "instead of using my powers to consume him whole, maybe you should have walked away with your peers." He cocked his head, his yellow eyes glinting. "Do you understand where I am coming from?""Y-yes, but..." Kevin was shocked, stunned. How could a god thousands of years old, he asked himself, be so progressive in his reasoning?"Well," Amaroq replied, after Kevin had pressed him on the matter, "times have changed. There are no longer conflicts that are bitter, as was the case back then, so I have learned to adapt to the laws of these times."Kevin put one paw on the wall to his right, a smile spreading across his muzzle. "You are doing it quite well, Protector."Amaroq nodded, chuckling at the mention of his title. "Thank you," he said, clapping a paw on the teenager's shoulder, "and I extend that love back to you." With twinkling eyes, the god continued: "All of us, every one of the Creator's spirits, cherish all people equally."Kevin blinked, his eyes growing wide. "Really?""Yes," Amaroq replied, "everyone is special. Everyone has that spark of potential in there," he elucidated, touching Kevin's chest. "It is up to you to find it or not.""O-okay," Kevin said, "so how do I find mine, then?"Amaroq opened his mouth, and then closed it. A minute of quiet stretched out between them. "Use rationality," he said finally. "I will try," Kevin answered."Good," said the god. He let go of his grip. "I will be off to the North."Kevin briefly checked the windows. Nope, no parents. He turned back to Amaroq. "You're going to go, then?""Yes." The lupine god headed down the steps to the front lawn, his tail lolling behind. "Oh, and Kevin?"He was already on the couch in front of the dead fireplace. "Yes, my Protector?""Whenever you use my Pearl next, please use it wisely."Kevin nodded. "I will."Once it was certain that Amaroq was gone, Kevin got up and shut the front door. For years after that visit, Kevin took Amaroq's quote to heart. As simple as it was, it helped a lot, as he became quite the socially responsible person, even landing a job in the nearby city of Dillon as a support worker.Despite all that, he also found ways to have fun at certain times of the year. And every Halloween, when the moon would rise, Kevin would use the Pearl to transform into the Scary (but Super-Friendly) Big Wolf. He became such a hit that even the local news gathered around to watch him give out candy to the young ones in his huge special bag.It surely was the kind of thing that would have made Amaroq proud.