Alrik’s lip bled.
In the suppression of unbridled laughter, he had bit deep into the thin strip of flesh. Now, claret liquid ran into his mouth, slipping between his enlarged canines and sharpened incisors.
The taste which ran into his mouth was beautiful - Causing his eyes to widen, his chest and arms to prickle with excitement.
Krahl was a despicable bastard; fiery-hearted, unable to hold his tongue when in the presence of his betters, glory-hunting..
Alrik’s left hand seized the haft of his spear, which lay in the snow, while he fingered around the hilt of his flaying knife with the other. All he needed was one flicker of movement, and he would gut Krahl. Or, he would give him a mortal injury - One which would fester and puss, which not even the Wolf Priests would be able to heal with their techno-magic.
If Krahl truly wanted to fight, then-
‘Are you so keen for personal glory that you would simply abandon the oaths you have sworn to your lord and your packleader, son of Russ?’ Keris intoned, his voice tinted with wisdom and beneath that, a sibilant warning.
He turned his attentions towards Alrik, eyes aglow, bright, ice-blue. The Firehawk straightened, glaring back with his own, obsidian orbs, red rivulets running down his chin, in silent contemplation.
‘Glory is meaningless if bought at the forfeit of your wolfbrothers. Nor is his lifeblood yours to shed, Firehawk.’ Addressed the Ice-Eyed. Keris had been gifted with a poetic mastery of words; with a wise, cunning mind. Accursed with indefatigable, relentless mind..
Alrik snorted back a laugh, and removed his hand from the hilt of his blade.
‘Damned sage,’ He sneered, a joyless half-whisper, turning his head from Keris. Alrik counted him amongst the closest of his brothers, but found his self-righteousness and pride to be irritable. ‘Then I shall break him upon me knee, no blood..’
In the distance, a great expanse of storm-clouds hung low, crackling and rumbling with thunder and lightning, as it seeped across the landscape.
When Vermundr’s voice barked across the ridge, commanding and guttural, Alrik turned towards the Packleader. Like those in the Pack, he was drabbed in heavy, musky furs. His expression was stony, riddled with determination. Two, heavy braids draped down the side of his face, sodden and lightly dotted with frost. Vermundr nodded his aquiline features, and Alrik returned with a shallow, half-serious dip of his grim countenance.
His ears prickled. The one called Frostulfr, who had been play-fighting over a scrap of meat, took a seat next to him. Yet, he was not. He was distant, weary and alert. His body was secreting warning pheromones, sending Alrik’s senses reeling. It was an horrible, acrid taste upon his tongue and within his nostrils.
When he spoke, his words were loud and careful, treading upon thin ice, the simplest hint of wisdom in his uncultured, barbarous tone.
‘What do you know of division among the Pack, Frostulfr?’ He barked harshly, staring away from the younger Wolf. With each word he spoke, a gout of mist arose before his face. ‘Was you there, when I laid hand upon Bloodclaw Keris, whom I considered amongst my closest? Was you there, when Tyr, Iorek and myself questioned Vermundr, and in turn faced judgment at the hands of Vermundr? Was you there, when I was branded as Oathbreaker?’
His eyes narrowed in contempt. He stood, drawing his speckled-furs tighter upon his shoulders and chest. The hilt of his flaying-blade protruded from beneath.
His words fell into a low, mirthless grumbling.
‘What do you know of division, brother, that you deem it acceptable to pass words of wisdom unto me? I share no bonds with the likes of Krahl, nor shall I do so. Our Pack has survived worse than a petty mongrel,’ He jabbed an angry finger towards Krahl. ‘And will continue to do so. I have no qualms with you, nor do I have any intents of making such a thing. But I will not abide to your commands and suggestions, you are lesser. You are untested. When you kill a man, smell his blood, hear his cries; then perhaps that will change.'
With both hands, he raised a hood of night-black fur over his head. His features were shrouded in confining shadows; save for his chin and mouth, which were yellow and dancing in the firelight.
'Do not interfere with matters which do not concern you, and there shall be no loss of love between us,' Not that there was any, he added silently. 'You have a wise head upon your shoulders, Frostulfr. Use it as you should - Wisely.’
And with that, he turned, stalking away from the sitting Astartes. A grin of accomplishment, one of malice and ingenuity, parted his thin, crimsoned lips.
A simple sentence from Alrik sent all of Frostulfr’s words spiraling into an abyss, he was right to an extent, when he spoke crimson droplets of blood could be seen in the dim light which surrounded them, the blood was running from his lip, he must’ve bitten it which was not surprising considering the cold that was around them. Alrik asked Frostulfr what he knew about division in a pack, although masked as one it was not a question, it was a bellow, a command, Alrik was defending himself from Frostulfr’s words and not replying to them truly. His behavior was curious, maybe he acted like that because Frostulfr was distant, unknown to Alrik. Yet something was weird about how he acted, as he defended himself he also turned his gaze away from Frostulfr, it seemed that he does not want him to meet his eyes, he hid much pain underneath them, Frostulfr could easily smell that now when he was aware of that fact.
After that small outburst Alrik seemed to get calmer, the tension was lessening, and then Alrik began talking, Frostulfr never expected that, he never expected Alrik to talk about what happened before the new Blood Claws Frostulfr with them joined this claw. Alrik told him that he laid his hands on Keris, he continued, telling Frostulfr how he along with Tyr and Iorek doubted and questioned Vermundr and in return faced judgment by his hands, he finally finished his sentence by adding a small bit of information, yet as small as it was it was an important one, he apparently was branded as an Oathbraker, that was a bad thing, and it could easily explain Alrik’s distrust of others and his actions. He was a physical person simply because he was unsure and unsecure at least it seemed so to Frostulfr…
Alrik continued staring at the distant mountains, still not looking Frostulfr in the eye, some would have taken that as an insult but Frostulfr merely shrugged it off, it was just an act of distrust from someone who really did not know Frostulfr well. While Alrik stared at the mountains Frostulfr saw him tightening the pelts around him stronger to protect from the cold, it seemed to Frostulfr like a chill ran down Alrik’s spine as he recalled those events but was it just his imagination, he would probably never know. It seemed like Alrik was spent, no more words came from him for a few moments yet when Frostulfr was about to reply he spoke again, his words came out in a low and grumbling tone, he was clearly unhappy.
Alrik attacked him, even if not directly or physically, he mocked Frostulfr, he maybe even secretly laughed at him, he emphasized the fact that he knew nothing about division, he was quite amazed by the fact that Frostulfr lectured him, he then again, turned to talk about Krahl ranting about him for a few moments and then moving back to attack Frostulfr verbally, he spoke, telling Frostulfr that he was lesser and untested, he was beneath Alrik’s level and now it was finally clearly seen how Alrik held himself high above the others, he thought of himself as the best thing that every came to existence, at least it looked that way when he spoke those words. He told him that after he would kill a man someone things will possibly change. Maybe he was right, maybe he was wrong, Frostulfr will not know until he would have to kill someone.
He slowly raised a hood, covering his features, making them invisible, the more he acted that way the more it seemed that he is defending himself, he tried to escape what he knew was partially right… His final words came to be, telling Frostulfr to not interfere in matters which did not concern him, in the end before he walked away he complimented Frostulfr, yet this compliment came along with hidden venom, it was as much as a compliment as mockery was and Frostulfr did not doubt that it was intentional.
He stalked away; he ran away from his own problems, he did not want to face them. He was afraid, clearly… Yet Frostulfr was not about to give up, he knew that those things will have to come up at some point and it was better that they would come up now and not in the middle of battle. As he stalked away so did Frostulfr, he followed Alrik, he was not silent and subtle, he clearly let him know that he was walking after him. “Alrik! Don’t walk away like that!” He said, speaking boldly yet in some kind of a whisper, he did not want others to hear his words, they now were meant only for Alrik to hear and he was not about to shame him or humiliate him before the others. “Alrik! Listen to me, I did not command you to do anything, I merely humbly suggested it. I can see your suffering and from what you have said a moment ago I can easily see that it’s hard for you even if you are not showing that. You might be tough on the outside, you might be a brutal and strong man but you are frail, rotten from the inside, and if you won’t cleanse this rot, if you want amputate the corrupted feelings it will only get worse.” He knew that those words might hurt Alrik, he also knew that Alrik might hate him for that and maybe even attack him with that skinning knife of his yet he had to say that, he was bound to Alrik even if Alrik did not like it. They were a pack, and a pack should work together no matter the differences in it.
“Alrik… Look, I will admit, you have been through a lot more than me, you are clearly more experienced and in a way you are truly superior yet I am not as lesser as you think. You may be physically strong, but beneath that mask you are weak as a babe beset upon by wolves. You are confused, and you are full of hate and those things make you think harshly and unforgivably of others. You look at us, the new blood claws from a position above, maybe rightfully yet your ignorance blinds you of who we really are, its true Krahl acted foolishly but you can’t go threatening a pack members life just because he made a mistake, you yourself said that you have been called as an oathbreaker, you know how it feels to be an outcast, shunned and hated, why would you put others in the same position?”
Frostulfr sighed, he hoped some of his words will go through to Alrik, and he hopefully would understand where he was wrong yet at the same time a part at Frostulfr’s mind told him that he was just being naïve. “I know that I may mean nothing to you Alrik, but even though I mean nothing to you, you mean a lot to me, we are of the same pack, which makes us brothers whether you like it or not, and brothers don’t go off killing each others, not even in planned mistakes… Alrik, you must confess to yourself if not to others, admit your actions were foolish, not just those, but the future ones you will make, admit that you might have acted with ignorance in the past, I am sure that even Krahl will forgive you, and maybe in time Keris will forgive you as well if he did not forgive you by now.”
Taking a risk Frostulfr laid a hand on Alrik’s shoulder, it was nothing more than a slight tap, it was not aggressive, he just wanted to make Alrik understand that he really cared for him as he did for everyone else in the pack, they were his new family, each of them special in his own way. “Alrik, please… Just let it go, in time you may find us to your liking even if you doubt that… Remove those thoughts of sadness and darkness from your mind and focus on the present, what’s done is dead and you may not change the past, focus on changing the present instead.” As he finished speaking he stayed silent, he was afraid that he might have confused himself in his words and did not make sense.
OOC: Sorry if its a little incoherent I just had to make it with several stops in th middle which cut off my thinking flow :P Just PM me with a question if you want or post it in the Rec thread.
(ooc- This post is done with the ok of both Darkreever and Serpion5)
There was no warning as Keris surged to his feet in a blur of silver-grey rage; the haft of his spear sweeping around to catch Krahl behind the knees, sending the Blood Claw sprawling to the frozen ground. Surprise etched the younger Wolf’s features as he made to spring upright only to be pinned in place as the blunt end of Keris’ spear came crushing down upon his exposed throat. A liquid deep snarl of warning halted further struggles as Keris loomed closer, fangs gleaming in the firelight and eyes as cold as the heart of a glacier,
'Listen well, you mongrel pup, listen well all of you! I will personally drag your worthless arse back to the Fang, stripped and bound like a cur, to explain to Lord Blackmane why your personal glory is more important than the lives of your packbrothers… ‘
Keris’ throaty tones were made all the harsher by the undulating growl that rose and fell in echo to his breathing. His crest of night-black hair bristled like the hackles of a Thunderwolf,
‘There is no place in service to the Allfather or in the Halls of Russ for oathbreakers; nor for a warrior who would seek to place blame upon a brother for his own actions. There is no excuse for such cowardice; bear your choices and failings as a man, not a wet-spined yearling.’
Ice-blue eyes moved from face to face amid the new blood of the pack as Keris continued, his gaze piercing with intensity,
‘There is no room for doubt when steel is drawn and battle joined; a warrior who cannot be trusted to stand and fight at his brother’s side without question does the work of the great Enemy for him and will find himself facing the judgment of the Wolf Priests. Our task remains to be done; mark no day until the next dawn, no ice until crossed, and no foe until his lifeblood stains your blade.’
After a long moment of weighted silence Keris released the pressure on the haft of his spear,
‘Your packleader summoned you for a purpose, Blood Claw Krahl, you will heed his words and show him respect or I will tear out your tongue for your insolence.’
With that, Keris turned and stalked back to where the Ghostwolf sat before dropping back into a kneeling crouch and laying his spear back upon the stone at his side. The fire crackled and popped for a full minute before he spoke again, voice low for his wolfbrother and eyes watching the cobalt shadows,
‘Vermundr made a choice; sacrificing his own honour for the unclouded focus of a single packbrother, for you, Ghostwolf. Can you say what you would or would not have done, brother? Can you see down the un-trodden paths of the wyrd?’
Keris shook his head, the torq around his neck shifting with the movement and his breath coiling like crystal smoke as he sighed. Twenty seven bones, each carrying a rune Keris had carved in the long voyage back to Fenris, were set around its circumference. Bones from the hand he had severed in the duel with the Serpent.
‘The mantle of leadership is a heavy burden; there are times when a decision has no truly right nor trouble-free answer, but still a choice has to be made. It is because Vermundr was willing to make that choice, to cast the spear of his honour knowing he could never call it back, that Lord Blackmane saw the truth of his focus.’
As Krahl came into position, Alrik stood and moved away, Frostwulfr quickly following him. Tyr moved away from them as well, off to stand beside Heimdall. Despite their own conversations, they would all hear Keris's words along with the blood claws remaining around the fire pit.
As Keris was retuning to take his seat once more, Vermundr stood and moved to Krahl's form still laying upon the ground holding his throat. He heard Keris begin to whisper to Iorek, but what was said he did not hear. he loomed over Krahl, not yet letting him stand back to his feet.
"If I have something to say to you, it is likely the pack has something to say to you, not just myself. And if words aren't what you want, physical punishment is what you shall receive as you have just now partaken."
Vermundr leaned his rugged face in closer, his brown eyes narrowed and his brown haired braids swung low.
"Your words to me express the exact same problem within you that caused you to push Alrik in the first place: impatience. You were in a hurry to kill the beast for yourself, you were in a hurry to point fingers, and you were in a hurry to disregard whatever it was I had to say. What if I was intending to congratulate you in your achievements?"
"You say Alrik was the first to disrespect you. Bah! He only spoke to you in such a manner because of your disrespect to him! Even if you had cast him aside to save his life and happened to be able to make the killing strike in the process, you would have owed him an apology or explanation. How were you supposed to know the grumpy one had a plan? Because he's a space wolf! An astartes! On top of that, he is more experienced in the field of battle than you, for you are none at all."
"Some speech on brotherhood and duty. Do not mock me. You have no idea the weight that those two words hold. When the blood of your brothers splashes upon your face in the heat of battle, and bullets continue to rain down upon your position, and it up to you and you alone to stand up out of cover and face the enemies that will not hesitate for a second to kill you and everything you stand for and are oathbound to protect, then perhaps you will know the weight of the words brotherhood and duty"
"All I was going to say to you before you opened your big mouth was advise against trying to start a long lasting conflict with Alrik. Trust me, he will outlast your efforts in that regard. There is no wolf that I know in Lord Blackmane's great company that is more stubborn and strong willed than Alrik the Firehawk."
Vermundr lent out one of his large hands, and pulled Krahl back to his feet, "Verbal apologies wont work with him now, I'm sure. To gain his trust again, it will have to be in the fires of battle, through actions alone."
He turned his head away from Krahl, making it clear he was done speaking with him, and stepped forward closer to the fire speaking to everyone now, calling them back in towards the circle a bit if they were far off,
"My pack-brothers, listen well. Before starting this hunt, our Lord warned of a potential threat. Not everyone in our Great Company looks upon our pack with smiles, it seems. During these final hours traveling back to the Fang, it is likely someone may try to steal our glory, the glory of our pack." He turned his head again to Krahl when he said this as well as pointing to the giant Ursid's pelt still by the rock.
"The beast was able to withstand our hunting for two months. We shall see if our pack of thirteen can withstand being hunted for a mere twenty-four hours. A storm is approaching (darkreever's info to me) and I suspect if anyone is going to try something it will be during the harshness of the blinding weather. It could be one, or it could be a group of many, I have no answer for that. Do not consider us lucky if it is none at all, instead consider us lucky if someone tries to attack or steal from us and we catch them in the act, defending ourselves and showing our superiority. "
"Once we leave this small campsite, there is to be no verbal communication beyond what is necessary to return to the Fang victorious with our our Razor-Ursid's pelt. Everyone is to keep their senses sharp as we travel, eyes ears and noses alert at all times. We shall begin moving again shortly."
He turned and returned to the rock with Iorek and Keris. He gave a deep breath and turned to face them both, "Sometimes I feel we believe ourselves to be Grey Hunters already. Why do we act so? We tell the newcomers act as our older brethren often do, and yet, our company brothers rely on us as Blood Claws to run in headstrong against the odds. Granted, some entire packs of Blood Claws with our company seem to be nothing but a bunch of Krahls, and seeing as we appear to be in our Lord's favor I suppose we must be doing something right."
He gave a short breathed laugh, "Forgive my musings".
Heimdall stared away from the fire as he took a lookout position instead of the rest of the pack, who seemed to be content enough to fight with each other and argue with each other. Obviously the old guard thought themselves above their brothers with their experience. Heimdall was glad to be in their squad, there was no doubt about that. But at the same time they were all just Blood Claws, the older marines may have far more experience than the rest of the pack brothers but they were still just Blood Claws. Heimdall knew that Alrik was fuming about what had happened, and Heimdall did agree with how Alrik felt. But to say that he would kill a brother? That was wrong and he would was lucky a ranked brother hadn't heard him.
Tyr moved behind him and asked what he heard, saw, smelt. Tyr was much more accessible then his other brothers, he seemed to be the kind of brother that you could rely on in a battle. Heimdall nodded at his brother as he moved next to him. "Brother Tyr, I enjoyed your war stories, it is a shame about the sacrifices that had to be made." Heimdall said as he stared into the snow. "I can smell a small pack of wolves, heading away from us upwind, but apart from that nothing. How about you brother? I have heard tale of your senses."
He listened as the pack leader spoke, trying to defuse the situation that was obviously spiraling way out of control. The pack leader spoke of other trying to stop them and this made Heimdall wonder. If there was a threat to the pack as a whole, or even one of the members then why weren't they told in the first place when the threat was spoken to the older members. Heimdall kept quiet however, he wished not to try the bonds of brotherhood even further at the moment. "How do we know they haven't already made their move while we have been hunting? They could have tried some greater feat or such?" He spoke quietly to Tyr, he knew his brother would provide a calm and reasoned answer that others wouldn't.
Alrik’s crunching footfalls were accompanied by a gentler, wary padding. The scent was pungent, of hotheadedness and unfortunate stubbornness, of misplaced judgment and clinging beneath that, the acrid stench of perspiration and the musky tang of furs.
‘Frostulfr,’ He growled, his voice laden with animalistic irritancy, a low, sub-vocal whisper. ‘Persistent mongrel..’
The Firehawk was courteous, if anything. He allowed the younger Astarte to finish his poetic, downgrading discourse, his reddened lips peeling back over razor-edged teeth, his hands bunching into powerful fists. When Frostulfr was done, no longer having words of brash wisdom, Alrik’s hellish countenance flushed with vibrancy and cruel urges.
He surged into action - Clenching Frostulfr’s wrist, twisting until he felt bones grind against one another, but not break. The flat of his palm shot upwards between them, pummeling into the other Wolf’s chin, snapping his head back.
‘Idiot,’ Alrik sneered, bringing his knee up and in, clapping organically against Frostulfr’s side. ‘Not so wise, after all.’
He balled his hand, and struck Frostulfr’s unprotected gut. Once, twice, five times. His attack was unrelenting, brutal, ungracefully beautiful - Filled with raw, undulated, contempt and rage.
‘I humiliate and discriminate for one reason,’ He spat, striking Frostulfr’s cheek with a tremendous backhand. ‘One reason - I enjoy it.’
Alrik’s hand came from Frostulfr’s wrist, and with it, he pawed at the Wolf’s ribs. In a show of inhuman dexterity, he twisted on the ball of one foot, and rammed his elbow into a muscular torso. Frostulfr stumbled backwards, his breath escaping in shallow, pained gasps. Alrik launched forwards, barreling Frostulfr to the ground; following closely with a thud.
His fingers were sinuous serpents, dancing around the other Marine’s throat, snapping shut. Bruises bloomed across the warrior’s body, vivid purple against pale, frost-coated skin.
‘You should have left me be, whelp,’ Alrik grumbled, pushing downwards. Frostulfr’s head impacted bodily with the ground. ‘I beg for no forgiveness from Krahl, nor do I want any such thing,’ He threw back his head and let out a harsh, mocking laugh. ‘Perhaps I will bless you with a gift for your insubordination..’
He unfurled his fingers, standing unsteadily, rocking back and forth for a moment. He regained his composure, a wafer-thin smile of malice and enjoyment, slowly seeping across his face. Surreptitiously, Alrik licked his lips and pulled his pelts tighter about him, staring down at the blackened-and-blued Marine beneath.
Once again, Alrik rained blows into his brother, who lay, sprawled, jerking under each impact. Alrik was seething with anger, bellowing Fenrisian curses and incoherent, illiterately so, insults. After a scarce several seconds, he staggered from Frostulfr, snorting echoingly. His eyes danced from face-to-face, but his smile did not move.
His eyes went to the prone form of Frostulfr. A thin line of claret seeped from a gash in his cheek, where knuckles had scathed flesh. ‘Lecture me again, Frostulfr, and your tongue will hang from my belt,’ His voice was trembling with anger. ‘Lay hand upon me, and that will be the last time you can do so.’
His attentions went from Frostulfr to Keris. His smile dissipated, and then returned. Front teeth having attained a ruddy pink, highlighted against the white behind. Once again, he tugged at his furs, sniffing at the stiffened prongs of hair.
‘I spilt only a little, brother. I am sure that Lord Blackmane will not care.’
His laughter, an heavily accented, mirthless sound, ebbed across the ridge, weaving down into the vales and gorges.
The laughter halted abruptly, and his features became dour, all warmth and mockery fading away. His eyes locked with that of Iorek and those of Vermundr, and he bade them both a subservient, semi-respectful nod.
He hawked between his feet.
‘They are not ready, Packleader, these are not warriors. Lambs amongst the Wolves, children in the hides of men.'
Keris gave a solemn nod as Vermundr returned to the rock; his brother had grown in his role as packleader and Keris favoured him with an unguarded smile, a smile that faded like a man pitched from a dragonboat into the icy fangs of the tempest churned worldsea.
Keris slowly rose to his full height, the haft of his spear creaking under a white knuckled grip. His features were a cold mask of disapproval, anger bleeding of him in palatable waves like thunder from an imminent storm. The wolf in his soul was utterly still, its teeth bared in a soundless outpouring of fury.
Like their home world of Fenris, the outlook of the Wolves was one of harsh lessons of survival and principle. A boy-child, still wet from his birth, who did not grasp at the haft of an axe was cast aside. A youngling who did not learn to respect and read the unconstrained humours of his home would find his lifeblood frozen in the howling winds of a storm, coursing down the gullet of a fearsome beast, or staining the snow red as the land thirst brought forth the murder-make. Keris’ stern and forceful warnings moments before had been driven by a deeply rooted devotion to each and every one of his wolfbrothers, their lives tied together by the blood of Russ that flowed through their veins. No action taken without cause, no censure without purpose. A lesson enforced with the sharp clarity of pain and submission, not unwarranted brutality.
‘You go too far, Firehawk.’
Keris’ words held the same warmth as the tempest winds of Helwinter and his stride took him past Alrik to stand between the larger Wolf and the beaten Blood Claw,
‘Get on your feet, Frostulfr.’
Keris did not move to aid his packbrother beyond his words; he would not dishonour the younger Wolf by such an action, his unflinching gaze never wavering from the scarred features of the Firehawk in open challenge.
Alrik; You finally turn your gaze away from Vermundr and Iorek and look down to Frostulfr, if anything to pull him back to his feet. What you see when you look down though, it robs your limbs of strength and halts you in your place. Frostulfr stares up at you, his eyes missing and face contorted in a rictis mask of pain and suffering. The flaying knife you had been gifted lays buried in his throat, having carved apart the geneseed within. Your eyes fall to your hands, stained with your brothers blood, but the hands are not your own. Through the dark blood, you can see the deep purple of ceramite gauntlets chased in a sickly green, an unintelligible declaration calling out in the distance.
Within a single blink it is gone, your hands are your own and Frostulfr is alive. Keris stands between you and him, whatever words he had said lost to your ears after that sight. Was that a vision of things or maybe some sort of hallucination? You turn away from Keris and Frostulfr, your mind awash with that troubling sight.
[What was that? You had wanted to beat some sense into Frostulfr in your own way, but it would never have gone that far, would it?]
Keris; As your eyes bore into Alrik, he finally turns away from Vermundr and Iorek to stare at Frostulfr. Something is odd though, for the briefest moment the Firehawks eyes were glazed over. But then they were normal once more, his expression though, it flashed from worry and confusion and then back to a sneer to hide what truly lay hidden within.
[You know Alrik to be many things, blunt to friends the least of them, but that had been different. And what of his eyes? What was that?]
Tyr; You stare out into the distance, eyes making out features in the partial moonlight of the night. On the air you also catch the scents of wolves, and can make out a distinction of three creatures. Of the three, one is far older, likely near its end whereas the other two are much younger and knowing of the elder’s time coming soon. You hear Keris’s words to Krahl and everyone else, all but feeling him take the younger packmate down to the ground and cannot help but recall how Sigurd had actually done much the same to Alrik.
All; It is finally time, time to leave this fire and return to the Fang, return to your home. Gathering your things, the last of the meat is taken and the fire doused. A look beyond the edge of the continent shows a great storm, likely to come here in a few hours time. Casting one last look to the land ahead of you, you set off to return the ursid pelt to the Fang.
Making your way down from the flat outcropping at the edge of Asaheim proves no challenge, and crossing the valley at its base little more than a race. It is not long before the storm makes way to the continent, smashing into the land with cold, sleet-like rain and howling winds. For you, it was good fortune to have crossed the valley when you did, for in minutes it became bogged down by the storm waters. As you trudge onward, you cannot help but feel as if there are eyes on you; but try as you might, you cannot find anything through this storm and the winds throw scents about like ships on the sea.
Three hours of moving, of taking care to traverse the land and get that much closer to your goal. You come upon a narrow path of stone overlooking a great drop, the rain has made the path, barely wide enough for one of you to traverse, less than appealing to cross but there is no other way.
Keris, Alrik, Njord, and Yngvar; You opt to be the first group to cross the pathway, for though it is barely wide enough for one of you to walk on, it does appear sturdy enough to take the weight of several of you. Through the sleet, Yngvar finds himself staring at a figure on the other side of the path, and a look to Keris indicates that he had seen the figure as well. Had that not been the case, you might have just taken the image as a play of the winds, for one moment you saw someone and the next it was gone, but you were not the only one.
[Keris and Yngvar; was that a man you saw or just a play of shadows in this storm? And if it was a man, what was he doing and where did he go? Better yet, how long had he been there, was he the one following you?]
Tyr, Hrothgar, Frostulfr, and Iorek; Once Keris, Njord, Alrik, and Yngvar make way to the other side of the path you go next, crossing without a word. Despite your care, Hrothgar slips mid-way along and nearly plummets to a likely death on the jagged rocks below. The quick reflexes of Iorek and Frostulfr save Hrothgar, but the storm nearly takes all three if not for the larger form of Tyr keeping Frostulfr steady.
[That was more certainly a close one now wasn't it? Good thing you have such a big brother to make sure your ass doesn't do a swan dive into some stone.]
Vermundr, Krahl, Kjaratan, Heimdall, Azahd; When Tyr, Hrothgar, Frostulfr, and Iorek are nearly across the narrow pathway, you prepare to follow suit and be about your way when a howl picks up over the winds. You turn and see a number of lumbering figures walking through the rain, behind where you had come from. There are seven of them, seven ape-trolls native to the continent but rarely seen outside of the winter seasons. Each one is three meters tall, bedecked in gray and white patches of fur, with great gleaming claws of a double row of jagged fangs. With another roar, this one from the other side of the chasm now behind you, the trolls charge at you.
[These things are tough, and unlike you the storm appears to not phase them at all. You do not have much room to fall back on, but being who you are that matters very little. Vermundr, unlike the others you have your axe with you to wield alongside your knife, meeting two of the trolls head on in its charge. Krahl and Heimdall, before you have much of a chance to react a troll is on top of each of you. Krahl manages to dodge a swipe, but Heimdall is not so fortunate and a trio of slashes bite deep into the furs, grazing his side. Kjaratan favours better, able to plunge his spear into the chest of a charging troll, but that does not stop it and it crashes into you, sending both warrior and creature sliding towards the cliff-side. Azahd faces off against a pair of trolls, sidestepping and smashing the back of ones head as its weight keeps it going forward, hopefully over the cliff.]
Keris, Alrik, Njord, Yngvar, Tyr, Hrothgar, Frostulfr, and Iorek; You do not hear the roar from the opposite end of the chasm, but a flash of lightning does illuminate six ape-trolls blocking your path forward. One of them, a meter taller than the rest and with great scars across its chest and face, looks on at the lot of you with a hint of intelligence in its eyes. It bellows out what, were it a man, would be little more than a warcry and the five alongside it run at you before three more jump up from the cliff side.
[Alrik, that massive troll, likely the leader of these things, stalks forward to you and you alone. Maybe it can feel what happened before, maybe not, who knows with a creature like this; have fun. Tyr, Iorek, and Njord, you are closest to the edge of the cliff when the three hidden trolls leap up. Tyr is the least caught unawares, planting his metal fist into a trolls face before it can do much. Hrothgar, Yngvar, and Frostulfr, you meet three of the trolls charging towards you with spear and knife. Frostulfr, one troll lunges towards you, and before you can react a sharp pain in your side robs you of strength, the world blurring in that instant. Before you know it, the troll is on you and its taking all your strength to keep those fangs from sinking into your neck. Keris, you watch the troll jump on Frostulfr, but before you can help your packmate two such creatures come at you and force your attention.]
[Alright, as I mentioned before these things are tough. Do not expect to be able to kill them in a single post; maybe two so expect to be seeing something from me. Obviously, its probably gonna be a bit more for those of you who are fighting more than one, or are Alrik, but you never know.]
Krahl lay in silence for a few moments, letting the weight of what Vermundr had said sink in. He had wanted to strike Keris back for his cheap shot, but he was not so foolish as to think he could best a veteran of a prior campaign under these circumstances. For the time being, he accepted humility...
When the group began to stir, Krahl accepted Vermundr`s hand and rose to his feet with the older wolf`s aid. The pack leader then gave a warning, a grim reminder that their pack was not without rivalries and that their could be opposition on their return to the fang, or yet before...
--- --- ---
It had not taken a great while before the approaching storm had finally caught up to them. Krahl thought of the valley they had crossed not long ago, and how horrifying it would have been to try and cross it in this. He could see the sillhouettes of his packmates against the blinding snow, but distinguishing them was guesswork at best, for the wind made sound and smell as unreliable as his hampered vision. Three hours had passed since they had started to move, and so far it seemed as though they were following a faded trail. He couldn`t see anything that would count as a landmark, and there was no hope of telling direction from the stars.
So far though, everyone seemed to have the same instinct, and Krahl had no reason to doubt his pack`s sense of direction any more than he would doubt his own.
At last they reached something that had more detail to it than the colour white. A sheer drop was in front of them, with the only way across being a small rocky path.
'So...' Krahl grinned. 'Who`s first?'
- - -
It was unexpected, surprising even. He moved quick striking Frostulfr who did not expect such an attack from Alrik. Blood, its metallic taste filled his mouth as it gushed from a wound in his cheek. Alrik, he stood above him, bellowing, shouting, raging, explaining how he enjoys humiliating and discriminating.
Pathetic lies, Frostulfr knew that he hit the right spot; he knew that he pressed right where it hurts the most. He said that Frostulfr should have left him; he threatened him not to lecture him again. Empty threats, nothing that a sane man would manage to back up, Alrik knew better than that and Frostulfr knew that Alrik will not be able to harm him like that. The chapter’s code of honor forbade it and no one was stupid enough to ignore the code of honor.
Alrik moved away, laughing. His laugh sounded unreal, fake. The man was not truly happy with his action at least that’s what it seemed to Frostulfr. He knew that this made end like that; Alrik was the type who showed their strength physically.
Suddenly Keris was in between Arlik and Frostulfr, his presence calmed Alrik down, and now Frostulfr knew why and that strengthened his will and resolve. The sage commanded him to get on his feet.
The pain was not terrible, he had worse and thus he slowly stood up, stretching out his body and trying to see if any severe damage was caused.
Nothing of note… Several bruises and a wounded cheek.
Frostulfr spat, a red stain now decorated the white snow which began to disperse as the chemicals in Frostulfr’s spit began to work. He stood up pushing himself from the ground with his hands. As he stood he look at Alrik, a crooked smile spread across his face and started laughing uncontrollably, muttering in between laughs, “Alrik, you are even more pathetic than what I first imagined.” He could not stop laughing from Alrik’s reaction to his words it was unexplainably funny to Frostulfr.
He calmed down and moved towards his spear which lay on the snowy ground by the fire. They all began to move, Vermundr’s orders were clear, they had to get the pelt safely to the Fang as someone was after that same pelt which they earned by hunting the damn Ursid for two months.
The fire was doused quickly, the rest of the meat gathered and belongings taken. They left only the smoke of the fire behind, nothing else as they began to move towards the Fang. A storm was following them and they had to move out quickly, no one wanted to be caught out in the open when a storm hits and by the look of it the storm was moving quickly and will probably reach them within several hours which gave them barely any time at all.
They all quickly moved, making their way out of the valley quickly successfully escaping the storm behind them. The storm arrived, howling winds, pouring rain, it all made moving forward more difficult. The land in front of them was virtually invisible due to the storm and in this hard time he felt something awaken inside of him, his senses sharpened, his heartbeat quickened. He was no longer blind, he just could not see… He smelled it all, like a second sight it was… Magnificent.
He knew that something was watching. something or someone was following them, the thing’s gaze always on them as they moved on. He ignored those feelings as he could do nothing about the fact that they were being followed.
The storm grew fiercer yet they were closer to their goal now, the Fang was within reach, just a few hours away and they will be back at the warm Fang, indulging themselves on good ale and food…
Yet now a new obstacle blocked their way. A narrow path, barely traversable by man or beast, a long drop down awaited those who slip which made the path less than welcoming but they had no other choice, the narrow path was the shortest and right now the only way to reach the Fang thus they had to cross it.
They split to three groups, his group consisting from Tyr, Hrothgar and Iorek. The other members of the pack split to another two groups. Keris, Alrik, Njord and Yngvar passed the narrow path first, reaching the other side quickly. It was the turn of the second group to pass, Frostulfr’s group. They moved on but suddenly something went wrong and despite the carefulness and care they took Hrothgar managed to slip and nearly fell to his death.
Frostulfr leapt from his place, grabbing Hrothgar’s hand, he saw Iorek on the other side, taking the other hand as they began to pull Hrothgar back from a likely death yet Frostulfr’s stance was not good and he began to sleep threatening to drag Iorek and Horthgar with him but a firm hand grabbed his shoulder and straightened him up, helping him stand firm and steady. Looking back Frostulfr saw Tyr’s large and imposing figure behind him, he smiled and nodded a thank you as they finally pulled Horthgar back up. This was a close call and nearly ended tragically yet they survived and now moved on to the other side.
A flash of lightning, a new scent hit his nostrils, vile, disgusting. Frostulfr looked as the lightning illuminated six new figures, ape like hairy creatures. Trolls. They were blocking their way forward “Was it the threat that Vermundr talked about?” Frostulfr wondered yet he quickly dispersed those thoughts as redicolous there must be something else awaiting them if they defeat the beasts.
Suddenly one of the beasts let out a rage filled roar, something which resembled a warcry. Not a moment later the trolls which accompanied him charged forward, five in number, as the “leader” marched towards Alrik. Three shadows passed by his line of sight, more trolls… They stayed hidden until now, it was an ambush!
Frostulfr heard himself snarl in hatred and rage as they were faced with this new obstacle. As his heartbeat quickened its pace he could feel his senses sharpen even more, his bestial side slowly taking control over his instincts and thoughts. His only goal now was to eliminate the threat.
The trolls charged at them, he stood steady and firm with Hrothgar and Yngbar. He bared his fangs at the incoming trolls. Pulling out the spear from his back he was about to counter charge the trolls yet one of them lunged, a sharp pain filled him, his vision blurred and quickly refocused as the rage forced him to fight on. The next thing he knew was him on the ground with a troll on top of him. The creature’s breath was vile; the smell of rot and death plagued it.
Frostulfr felt his strength seeping away as he tried keeping the trolls fangs at bay, his hands pushing the face of the beast away from his neck. He felt like his muscles were about to explode, his face turned red from exhaustion. The beast was extremely strong and stubborn. He felt as he was consumed by hatred and rage as a beast was unleashed inside of him. He snarled again and spat at the troll’s face, the acidic spit spread across the beasts face as it howled in pain and rage. His feral instincts guided him, he quickly let loose of the trolls face and kicked it away with both legs while it was blinded. Frostulfr rolled away and stood up, his instincts were sharp now and he saw his brothers fighting, each of them had their own enemies. He refocused on the troll in front of him which seemed to begin calming down and refocusing on Frostulfr. Roaring in rage the beast inside of him told him to charge and so he did, listening faithfully to the wolf inside of him as he charged at the troll and leapt towards it with a knife in hand hoping to carve the face of the beast out.
OOC: If it seemed like I god modded a bit throw me a Pm and I will quickly change it.
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