The Claw: Fury of Wolves
Fenris, a ferocious and ever changing world of fire and ice, unforgiving as it undoes the life of the weak while the strongest struggle to survive. In records, Fenris is little more than a harsh deathworld of ice, floating in space near the innermost sectors of Segmentum Obscuras. To those who know, those who call it home, Fenris is more than just a world of cold and death. It is a place where warriors are made, gods walk amongst men to venture across the stars and defeat the horrors therein. These warriors are the Space Wolves, who some might declare as barbarians and others heroes’ greater than any other.
High upon the greatest mountain of Fenris’s largest continent, Asaheim, lies the Fang; mighty fortress of the Space Wolves and one of the most impenetrable bastions in all of the Imperium of man. This fortress, this hollowed mountain, serves as home to the Space Wolves, piercing the very sky like a spear pointed towards the great moon.
All; The Fang looms high in the distance, even so far away as it is now, on the mountain cliffs at the edge of Asaheim. You look to it for a few moments before turning to the fire and the other forms gathered around it. It had been two months since you had last set foot in the halls of the Fang, in that time you had traveled across half of Asaheim on foot tracking a great razor-ursid. For some of you, this is not the first of such ventures, but rather a tradition that held its place from your former leader Kjarl. But for others amongst you, the tracking of the great beast was the first true act with your pack-brothers, with your claw.
The journey had been long, you had been dropped at the edges of northern Asaheim to seek the tracks of one of the continents deadly creatures. Clad only in furs and armed only with spears and knives, you had discovered tracks of a razor-ursid and stalked the beast. The creature, from the tracks alone, was a massive one, easily four times the mass of any of you and greater in size, and adding to that it was a wizened beast for it had eluded your pursuit on a number of occasions. One week ago, the hunt came to its climax when you had happened upon the creature, catching it downwind of your scent during a storm.
You and your brothers had come upon the creature, fighting a shifting game of cat and mouse as some took up advanced positions to surprise the creature while others acted as bait. Once, the creature had cornered Tyr along a cliff face, nearly ending the wolf’s life if not for the quick thinking of Keris and Frostulfr, offering their larger brother support to escape the cliff face and climb higher. It had been Krahl who struck the killing blow, shoving Alrik aside and nearly into the path of the beasts massive claw so that he could thrust his spear into the creatures eye, circumventing the armoured bone, and into its brain.
Alrik, Yngvar, Tyr, Frostulfr, Heimdall, Njord, Krahl, Azhad, Hrothgar, and Kjartan; You gather around the fire that you had managed to build, kept mostly alight from what fat remained of the ursid. Over the flames the smell of cooked meet washed over your senses, the smell of the last of the creatures meat that you had taken with you being cooked. The fight had been a truly epic one, something that would impress other claws, of that you were certain. But still, there was but one more task left to be done, to return to the Fang with the pelt as proof of your kill and completion of this task. As you sit around the fire, upon a flat overlooking some of the mountain ridges between you and home, Alrik and Tyr tell tales of past glories, of the fighting on Hecutor for Tyr and the Horrors lurking within a space hulk for Alrik.
Vermundr, Iorek, and Keris; You also sit by the fire, but there is something else on your mind, an obstacle still in your way from here and the Fang. Before you had set off on this hunt, Vermundr had sought the approval of Ragnar Blackmane, liege-lord of the young pack leader’s company. Permission had been granted with amusement, with a word of warning given before the two had parted ways months ago. Others would be watching them, to try and block their success and rob the pack of its glory were it to lax. In these two months, there had been no sign of who, or what, lord Blackmane had warned Vermundr of and now that they were returning to the Fang it was all the more likely that they would soon encounter it.
In these weeks, Vermundr had spoken of this warning to Iorek and Keris, not entirely sure of its meaning but wanting others aware. Now though, you contemplate on who, or what, the warning may speak of and whether or not it be best to reveal this to the others of the pack.
[Hello everyone, welcome to the start of Fury. Not much going on in regards to action, more of a little introduction for you lot; let you interact with one another and recall the last few months of your lives. About seven months ago, the Fist of Russ returned to Fenris and the Pack had been reforged to twelve strong. In the following five months, you had trained together, become a family. For some of you, this has been an adjustment, being the ‘older’ wolves when not so long ago you had been much the same. For others, to be chosen by someone under the eye of a wolf lord, was an honour you had only dreamed of since your trials had ended.
The Fang is little more than a day’s journey away from here; what are your thoughts on these last two months? What about the next twenty four hours, in the case of those aware of the warning?]
Tyr had the full attention of his younger pack brothers as he told them war stories of Hecutor. He was currently at the part where he, Alrik and Morgun had defended a Comms room from inumerable traitor guard before finally breaking their enemy's back as the rest of the pack met up with them with the Inquisitor.
"That's when four Ogryn made their way through the broken blast doors, uglier than Alrik himself, and yes that is possible." he nodded his head to emphasize this before continuing, "They shot at us wildly as they ran into the room, their human allies filling with courage as they saw this and coming back at us with more energy, but we would not have it. We charged at the beasts, howls upon our lips as we cut into them, and they cut into us," he pointed at the huge mass of gnarled scar tissue on the right side of his chest where the Ogryn had torn into him with its massive blade.
He went on to tell about the battles after the rest of the pack had met up with them and their second encounter with the traitor legionaires and finally reaching the final battle aboard the Fist of Russ with the deaths of a few of the legionaires and the escape of the sorceror. "Traitors have no backbone brothers, remember that, they are so weak willed it is disgusting." he leaned in close to the fire so that it lit up his face, "But there is no better feeling then pounding a traitor into the dust and killing them so deep that they feel your hatred for them even after they are dead. You know what I do to traitors and cowards?"
He punched his left hand into his bionic hand as leaned back and looked at Hrothgar who was sitting to his left before saying, "I break them." he stared at his pack brother with a serious face for awhile as a silence came over them all, he strung it out as long as possible before breaking into a large smile and slapping his packmate across the back as he laughed, "Come Alrik you can talk just as much as I can, tell them some stories to ease the pain of looking at your face." he chuckled at his little joke as he crossed his massive arms across his even larger chest as he thought about returning to the Fang.
It was very close, not over 24 hours away, he fancied he could smell the mead and roasted meat in the dining halls. His mind fell back to when he had been cornered on a cliff face by the mighty beast they had been hunting, he was most certainly not the best cliff climber of this he was certain, there was usually never enough space for him. He had had no room to move and knew himself dead had Keris and Frostulfr not come to help him so that he could pull himself higher up onto the cliff face. One of the few times he had thought himself fat, he had told himself to not eat as much when he got back to the Fang but he knew it wasn't going to happen, he would have eaten that whole razor-ursid if his brothers had allowed him to.
He flexed his right hand and looked down at the bionic replacement, moving each finger seperately and then together. He could see part of the scar tissue on his chest and thought about all the scars that their pack now had, they had truly been through much at Hecutor and that campaign had scarred each of them in a different way. Many of them bore blatant physical scars from that campaign, him, Alrik, Iorek, but all of them had been changed mentally. They had lost a lot of brothers to the traitors including their own pack leader Kjarl. At the thought of his old pack leader Tyr fingered the necklace around his neck, his lord had given it to him from Kjarl's own personal armory and it had meant more to the large wolf than Blackmane could have ever imagined.
It had numerous runes of protection and bravery on it but one large one stuck out the most and was set right in the middle, the rune of the guardian, this coupled with Tyr's belief that he was here to protect his brothers and his lord had given him much inner strength and he had yet to take the necklace off after receiving it. Without realizing it his normal hand came up and he touched the large burn mark that covered the majority of the left side of his face and then the scar on his chest. He had suffered grievous wounds on Hecutor yet when he had received them he had thought almost nothing of them, instead using them to fuel his hate for his enemy, now he realized how close to death he and many of his brothers had come to and come out on top.
He smiled at the thought, that had to be one of the reasons Lord Blackmane liked fighting alongside them, they had the luck of an older pack but the burning vibrant and sometimes hard to control fire of the younger wolves, he fancied that they reminded Blackmane of himself when he was young....er. He was getting anxious now just sitting here around the fire, he wasnt showing it but he didnt like waiting here and then heading to the Fang in the morning, his breathing quickened a little bit but not too much as he sat and listened to the rest of the pack talking.
Krahl`s grin had not left his face since the beast had been felled. The spear he had used stuck in his grip like an extension of his own arm, for reasons most wouldn`t bother to guess. Krahl had claimed vigilance of course, for who knew what kind of creatures may come across the party at any time, drawn by the scent of cooking meat or the noise of a group of travellers.
In truth however, Krahl was reluctant to relinquish the feel of such power in his hands. With this very spear he had killed the great ursid. With this kill he had accomplished the Claw`s task. Why shouldn`t he savour this glory?
He sat opposite the fire to Tyr as the older pack brother told his tale, a compelling story of tainted brutes that had given the grizzled wolf the scars he bore down his chest. Cracking a few jokes at Alrik`s expense and drawing a few laughs from Krahl among others, Tyr passed the torch to Alrik.
Krahl took a moment to stare into the fire as the laughter receded. Perhaps only slightly, the grip on his spear had begun to relax, and he lowered the weapon to the ground. Momentarily he noticed a few of the older pack brothers had remained oddly silent by comparison. Not in a cold way, but even so, they seemed distracted.
Bah, it`s none of my concern what gripes they may have. Krahl told himself. We won, and we`ll be home in a day. If they wish to grieve their former brothers I will leave that to them.
The lapse in his attention was quickly put aside as Alrik began to speak.
Vermundr watched carefully for the longest time. He had absolutely taken his duties as pack leader to heart. He hadn't realized it before, but going from what was technically the temporary leader to a permanent one made a huge difference. He scanned over each of the new faces time, and time, and time again.
"So many thin faces in the pack," he said to his two pack brothers Keris and Iorek who sat beside him on a fairly flat but large rock, which had likely been part of the nearest mountain ages ago. Keris was facing in the opposite direction, looking off into the distance. "not that I have much on them really, but I'd say its pretty clear by their faces alone how new they are.
He sat with one arm across his knee, his other hand gripping the thin but strong threads of rope that tied the pelt into a bundle, which lay on the cold stiff ground by his feet, the countless hairs which still looked alive fluttering in the breeze. Vermundr's nose caught the breeze as well, and he turned his head, catching eye of a distant but likely approaching storm. He turned back to face the fire again, surrounded by large bodied Astartes freshly made for war.
"Some of these thin faces have definitely stuck out to me more than others. Krahl is one of course, but I doubt I am the only one of us three sitting on this rock who knows Alrik will not let Krahl's actions go unchecked."
Vermundr had attacked the Ursid himself as little as possible during the fight with it, trying to allow each of the new pack members a chance at experience, as well as further practicing his own ability at giving command and keeping morale.
"Though this venture has taken longer than I expected it to, I am certainly glad we have what we sought for," he gave a hard pat to the enormous pelt, "and with no casualties."
he paused for a moment making sure Iorek and Keris were both thinking the same thing he was before saying it, "Whatever our Lord warned us about, their last chances at stopping our successful return is quickly approaching. With only one day left of travel, any attack or act of thievery would have to be made soon. Likely in the sooner half at that, as I cant imagine any rivals committing their deviant act at the base of Asaheim. "
"With only a day left, I see little harm, if any, in telling the rest of our pack here. It would be better to have all eyes looking sharp, and all toes ready to pounce. Would you agree brothers?"
Hrothgar sits with his pack mates around the fire as he listens to the older wolves tell the stories of their recent battles, listening intently Hrothgar merely wishes that he was a few years older and that he had been chosen earlier as he then could of maybe joined the older wolves when their claw was first made instead of joining several months later on. Hrothgar continues to listening intently to Tyr with a grin on his face when Tyr says about breaking traitors and cowards who have turned away from the All-Father. As Tyr turns and gives Hrothgar a silent and serious stare Hrothgar's face twists into a frown wondering why Tyr is looking at him like that before he ends up laughing and gets slapped arcross the back by the older wolf. Letting out a laugh aswell and slapping Tyr on the back he says in his usual loud voice "That was a great tale Tyr! One day i hope i will be able to top that with one of my own!". As Tyr goes silent Hrothgar turns his attention from his pack brothers and stares in the direction of the Fang, his home.
While turning his attention to the direction of their destination Hrothgar starts to think on how he misses the fang that has become his new home and where all of his brother-wolves currently reside while not doing Russ's and the All-Fathers work amongst the stars. As Hrothgar continues to think on the fang he does his best to remember the events that led him to where he is now, and what little he remember of his previous life. He remembers the battle in which he had been 'killed' and picked by the Wolf Priests of the Space Wolves chapter to be taken for the trials and tests to become one of Russ's wolves. While thinking on the basic training and the more advanced training after that he remembers that only one wolf within this claw has been beside him from the very beginning and who he hopes will be with him until the very end, Frostulfr.
Turning his head to look at his brother-wolf Hrothgar remembers all the times he and Frostulfr have trained together and their maby brawls other things that are of no importance to the other members of the pack. Finally looking away from Frostulfr Hrothgar returns his attention to the ursid meat currently cooking about the fire they had managed to build, his new enhanced sense of smell picking up the rich flavours that he had some to enjoy over the last few days of eating the creatures meat. As a small bit of saliva runs down from the left side of his mouth Hrothgar runs his tongue over his lips and his new fangs which he is still getting used to. He remembers when they had started to grow after receiving the implants that made him into an astartes he had bitten his tongue on a number of times due to not being used to their size and sharpness, but now he was starting to get used to them. As he continued to smell the flavours and scent of the cooking meat infront of him Hrothgar's inner wolf wanted to force him to leap forward and sieze it with his fangs but he knew he must do all he can to surpress his inner wolf as allowing it to take hold would mean his degeneration from a noble warrior into one of the feral wulfen.
Hrothgar looked left and right at his pack mates before wondering who was going to take the next part of the ursid meat so he decide to try and luck to take part of the meat which he remembered would of been part of the creatures flank. As he reached out towards the meat he saw a hand to his left reach out towards it aswell, letting out a small growl Hrothgar turned his head to see Frostulfr reaching for the meat aswell. With his inner wolf snarling a challenge Hrothgar knew exactly what to do. "Frostulfr! you are trying to reach for the piece i am reaching for! Let us settle this in our usual way! With an arm wrestle. What say you!?"
It was cold, but hell, it was always damn cold on Fenris. Kjaratan rotated his neck around, being rewarded with a few cracks and pops, has he attempted to alleviate the tension. Their task was complete, but not without due suffering and sacrifice, their time in the wilderness had been exhilarating, it had been a test, a chance for him to prove his worth to his pack brothers, to make an initial place for himself within the claw. He had failed in this task. He wasn't even particularly close to the razor-ursid when it was slain by Krahl, albeit done so with less than disciplined decisions. The pack-brother had simply shoved Alrik out of the way and claimed the kill himself. For that he was still considered the slayer of the beast, so doubt, but Kjartan couldn't help but not feel pride for his brother.
Still, he had contributed only so much to this task and therefore couldn't raise complaint to anything his pack-brothers had done. Putting the thought from his mind he turned his head, half-hearing the story being told by Tyr, and gazed at the Fang. A days travel if weather and conditions permitted, although Fenris was a fickle world, one almost with a mind of its own. Once they returned great stories would be told by his brothers, especially Krahl for slaying the razor-ursid, and a number of his other brothers. He would be oddly silent he knew, he wasn't a braggart ... well not as much as some within the claw, but he still wanted great stories of his own.
'Soon ...' he thought solemnly, 'There will be some Ork warboss or some heretic who demands to be killed and I'll claim my stories from their death ...'
His mind somewhat at ease, Kjartan turned his head back towards the fire, just in time to hear Tyr's story come to its relative conclusion as he seemed to pass it onto Alrik. Kjartan gave a general grunt of amusement, the story had been funny even though he'd only kept his mind half-attentive to it.
The journey had been long, it was not a trivial task for Frostulfr and for many of the other pack brothers to track the great Razor – Ursid and slay it. A deadly beast it was, yet still there were other things which presented more danger then this beast and this comforted Frostulfr. He did not bother with the tracking and let the more experienced pack members track it down for him, he understood from what they said that it was a rather large Ursid, this made him even harder to kill and much more dangerous. They tracked it for a long time, none gave up, not the beast and neither did they, it was a wise creature, at least tactically as it managed to avoid them on several occasions but this ended a week ago when they finally traced the creature finding it as he was on the run away from them. Frostulfr managed a smile then, he knew that the journey home will begin shortly.
Unlike Alrik or Krahl, he did not participate in the killing of the beast, instead Keris and he helped Pack Brother Tyr escape from the clutches of the beast by helping him climb up a cliff to escape the beasts range of attack, from there Frostulf watched as the battle unfolded, he saw how Krahl pushed Alrik aside so he would be able to strike the killing blow, although it was a great feat to kill such a beast it still was foolish of him to push Alrik in this way as he would have been brutally wounded easily by the creature if Krahl missed the strike, luckily he did not.
Frostulfr returned to reality, blinking several times he refocused on his surroundings. He was staring at the fire in front of him, it kept his body warm, a gust of wind passed which resulted in him tightening the wolven pelts he had, even for a Fenrisian the weather was never to warm in this time of the year. The smell of the beast did not leave the pack as it was used to keep the fire burning, it was a good pack, he did not dislike anyone here yet but maybe it will change and he also got to keep his friend Hrothgar with him, they’ve been through the harsh training together, and both of them survived each with the others help. Moving forward Frostulf torn a piece from the creatures meat and stuffed it in his mouth, it tasted well. As he sat there he could hear his pack brothers talking, mainly Tyr who was sharing stories about the Hecutor campaign he participated in. Frostulfr reminded himself to keep his senses sharp and not to drown in the pleasure of the kill as they still had the task of returning the pelt to the Fang.
Frostulfr had noticed something; it was not the first time that he noticed that yet it occurred to him every time anew. There was some sort of a barrier between the older pack brothers and the younger. It was weird, maybe they have gone through terrible things in the time before the new members’ arrival. He sighed, he hoped that soon this barrier would shatter and they will be able to act as a whole and not as two different packs.
Deciding that food will take his mind of such things Frostulfr moved his hand towards a piece of the creature’s flank, as he reached out with his hand he heard a growl of dissatisfaction, looking to his right he saw Horthgar, apparently the man already eyed that piece, Frostulfr was about the back away as he did not want to get into a brawl yet it seemed inevitable, snarling Hrothgar shouted at him, challenging him to an arm wrestle for the piece of meat, before he could verbally agreed he already knew that the fight was on, he won’t let this challenge go unanswered. Nastily smiling back at Hrothgar, Frostulfr bellowed back at him, “I accept your challenge!” Frostulfr knew that he was stronger, and bigger. Yet he knew that Hrothgar must have some trick or a nasty plan in mind so it will enable him to win this fight and thus he prepared himself.
Standing up from the stone he was sitting on Frostulfr pointed at it, showing Hrothgar that this was a suitable place for the competition. Both of them knelt on the ground, their heads were now nearly at the same height. Slamming one palm against the other made a small booming sound, both of them grabbed the others hand strongly. Both of them counted to three, “One! Two! The meat would be mine Hroth!! Three!!!” He shouted and then smilingly he began pitting his strength against Hrothgar’s strength. Although less resilent and weaker then Frostulfr Hrothgar was still a worthy foe and he did not give up, he knew that this would be a long and tedious battle as none of them pushed yet but neither let down any ground as they both knew once someone gets the advantage he will most likely win. Although expecting Hrothgar to use some dirty trick he did not expect what was going to happen next. They both continued wrestling with their arms, three minutes have passed and not he or Hrothgar seemed to give an inch, slowly beginning to apply more strength Frostulfr began winning, slowly but steadily pushing Hrothgar’s hand down, as he was halfway to his victory he saw Hrothgar smiling, a second later he was pushed back, stars filling his eyesight, he was confuse for a moment and then understood that Hrothgar headbutted him. The little trickster, he will pay for that! He saw that Hrothgar used the moment to his advantage and began pushing Frostulf’s hand down. A cruel smile began to stretch on Frostulfr’s face, something that his opponent did not notice, with a quickly swung his left arm which was free and smashed it into Hrothgar’s face while succumbing to an endless laugh, he laughed friendlily and full heartedly, he laughed so hard that his belly began to ache and he did not even know why, it was not that funny after all yet he still laughed, This evening just became much more interesting and entertaining.
OOC: We've already worked this out, so no godmodding here :P
Not my best post though, still need to get into that wolfish head.
Amid the snow, the Wolves of Fenris hunt.
Gene-enhanced, muscular-augmented and fur-clad figures stalked, spears clutched tightly to chests, sniffing and grumbling.
I stalk left, my movements nonchalant, bundled in grey-speckled hides. Across my chest, in a mammoth-hide scabbard, I wear the flaying blade. Fur-trimmed gloves and boots are the only other clothing upon my body. A hood, shaped into the countenance of a howling wolf, is pulled over my head.
I am an imperfect sculpture, unfinished by the Allfather; cursed by horrible scarification, gifted with bundles of taut, oversized muscles.
With a quick, narrow-eyed glance towards my flanks, I spy Vermundr moving towards my right, keeping back; observing the younger Packmates, and we share a nod. Once, our bond had been fractured; but those days are gone. We now regularly confide in one another, honing our skills with blade and axe, jesting and discussing - With a mixture if seriousness and playfulness.
Through the snow flurries, I witness movement. It is cumbersome, moving on heavy, but powerful legs and growling inanely. I know what it is: the razor-ursine. We have stalked it for days, hunting the mountain of caked fur and naturally attained muscle; slavering feverishly, longing to taste his throat.
Even from a distance, it is monstrous. Old, pale scars snake across his haunches, snout and chest area, where it has survived through countless bouts with other beasts; rending and gnawing.
A warbling howl arises from the throats of the Pack.
My own, ululating howl joins the melancholic cries.
The razor-ursine twists around, and I lock eyes.
Black, thin slits meet crimson, beady orbs.
The Hunt is on…
…In the distance, the Fang punctuated the sky. Even from such a great length of land, the structure was immense, a giant to the snow-capped children around it. Alrik Firehawk, sat, cross-legged and dour faced, firelight seeping amongst his scars; bathing his accursed countenance in vibrant orange. He averted directly looking at the flickering, molten fire.
It only sought to destroy his vision, and despite his advanced ocular systems; the darkness still seemed evermore dark after a look into the flames. Distant, bloodcurdling howls sounded.
Instinctively, he seized the haft of his spear, which lay in the snow nearby. His fingers, raw in the cold, crackled and bled. With his free hand, he drew his mantle of furs tighter around his shoulders and throat, feeling snow land upon his exposed torso. Not even his advanced physiology and metabolism allowed him to withstand the winds for long, even he knew that.
When Tyr had finally fallen into silence, the attention was turned upon Alrik. He smiled, his snaggletoothed smile, wetting his lips with his tongue.
‘You wish to know of the Harmonious Descent, dearest Tyr,’ He rasped, looking at his overly large brother. Tyr was forever jovial, his bionic hand humming ominously. ‘Of the nightmares and horrors, which lurk in the darkness? Then,’ He smiled again, thinly. ‘It shall be so.’
‘The Harmonious Descent,’ He muttered, remembering the day. ‘Had arrived on the fringes of our system, and the honour of eradicating her populace, was gifted to Lord Blackmane and his Company. I, along with Iorek,’ He nodded towards the pale-fleshed, claret-eyed Marine. ‘And the grey-haired fisherman, Njoror, were amongst the force.’
‘The Harmonious Descent was a particularly horrible gathering of vessels, a piece of a world, given flight. Over the years, ships had been attracted to it, and lay broken upon the expanse. We stalked through the thing, facing.. Insects, with oversized talons and agility that was akin to the beasts of legend. Purple hided, bulbous of skull..’
‘We clove our way through them, purifying the shattered hallways and collapsed tunnels. With sword, bolter and flamer. The older Wolves led us, Kjarl at the forefront, we following obediently. I was blessed, in not sustaining any injuries; but gifting many upon the Tyranids. Even the white-bastard fought well,’ He added a mirthless chuckle, a deep rumbling from within the depths of his throat.
‘But there was other, worse, things inhabiting the hulk. Outlawed men, bearing foul mutations and walking hand-in-hand with the Xenos, walls that moved and gibbered, crushing men between them. And Astartes.’
‘It was said, that one of the Grey Hunters was taken into the cusp of the Wulfen, gnawing and clawing at his brothers, renting throats and guts. I saw none of this - But rumours spread like wildfire, and it was soon in our ears.’
His eyes, narrowed in resentment, darted from face to face. He hated the newcomers, they were not worthy of their positions in the Pack. Worst of all, was the one they called Krahl, ever-grinning, having nearly killed Alrik…
…The Razor-Ursine roared challenge to me, and my hands tighten around the haft of my spear. It is humungous, thrice the size of even Tyr, shaggy fur draping from it like a cloak. Teeth and claws, like daggers, glisten wetly.
My spear whistles in, embedding itself in the flank of the creature. Blood gushes from the wound, turning the haft of my spear red. It freezes almost instantaneously.
Krahl, young, untested and utterly idiotic, rushes in my flank. I cannot help but to detest the young Wolf, cocksure of his abilities, longing to establish a reputation..
I throw myself in again, striking out once more, spearhead penetrating flesh, drawing more black-red blood. It roars in defiance, launching a tremendous backhand, but I duck beneath its flaying claws. It turns its attention to another of the Pack; and I breath between gritted fangs.
‘Die,’ I manage, chest lifting and collapsing rhythmically. ‘Now.’
And then, as though abiding to my words, it twists. A predatory smile, teeth glimmering in the moonlight.
I am about to launch forwards, but something stops me, rough hands push me aside, and I fall closer to the creature’s clicking claws. It swipes, and then…
…Krahl had, in a matter of seconds, nearly killed Alrik and had stolen the bear’s hide.
‘Why do you grin, wyrm?’ Alrik growled from across the fire, one of his hands tightening upon the hilt of the flaying blade. He pulled it ever so slightly, so the black blade was revealed. ‘What great accomplishment have you partook in, to wear a joker’s smile?’
He could kill him now, if he truly wished… Spill his throat, cut him from groin to nape…
He stood, furs seeping along his back. ‘Know this, Packmate - If you lay hand upon me again, place me in danger, the snow will run red.’
And with that, he retook his seat, snorting in derision.
A bitter wind sliced across Fenris, rumbling howls within her mighty bellow, cut at the pelt he bore around his shoulders, it bit deep into the fur and attacking his very core. Strength found wanting, it snarled and hurried on to trouble others elsewhere.
He sat together yet alone. He liked it thus, just far enough for solitude, close enough to be considered at one with the others
Yet he was alone.
Tyr's tale chased around him, as eyes fixed upon his great form, Ioreks own fixed upon the bionic of his right hand as it gesticulated with gusto. Whole again, stronger in fact.
His own fingers probed delicately around the empty socket running over the great rivets upon the left side of his face.
He would never be whole.
There was a hole in his heart, compassion and love lost, destroyed, torn asunder and replaced with fear and hatred, emotions of the twisted and the damned.
Bitter laughter rippled around his mind
"Silence" strength reverberated in his voice, dominated his own mind with ripples of pure fury. The laughter receede, withdrew to niggle at his subconscious once more. Thought deserted him and his single eye closed and he plunged himself into the calm balm of darkness.
The red eye opened once more and fixed upon a new speaker.
The firehawk, he too brutally disfigured talked of times long past, a name long retired never forgotten brushed his ears and his right hand gripped his hip bone, nails digging into the skin, lips fixing together.
He longed for his pistol, the wolf snarled yet Iorek slapped the sound away, with a spear of thought.
He longed for the emptiness its motion brought, the playful push of the recoil against him, the effortless click that brought death onto his foes.
Two short knives crossed his back, two long fangs, thin and balanced, built for speed and accuracy rather than pure power nudged against his vertebrae.
He had worked relentlessly, speed and pace, his movements lithe his blade strokes sure. He had much to work on... so much to pay for, this hunting trip an irritating aside he wished he could avoid, yet the packleader had spoken, he must obey.
The leash tugged at him, subservience a niggle he had never noticed before, yet Vermundr had grown, an assurance laced his stance as he lounged upon the rock, he would be great one day, it was obvious indeed. The story rose and fell, the teasing asides falling upon deaf ears as Iorek's mind followed his own thoughts that day.
He would not speak of that day
Never... that fallen grey hunter could one day be... dont say it... dont think it
Blood spilled over his fingers as his nail pierced the pure white skin at his hip and he embraced the irritating flare of pain that erupted in his mind.
He longed for solitude yet now words reached his ears. Words in the packleaders hushed tones, meant for his ears.
His own eyes flittered to the other listener, the ice blue eyes of the sage met his own then moved on.
Another that had grown, another reputation that shot forth, another that would go far.
Two blood claws grappled, their arms rock, unwavering, unbending, granite met granite, its strength tested by not taxed as they sought the advantage.
"Some of these thin faces have definitely stuck out to me more than others. Krahl is one of course, but I doubt I am the only one of us three sitting on this rock who knows Alrik will not let Krahl's actions go unchecked."
The older wolfs face was fixed upon the frozen smile upon the young bloodclaws face and Iorek nodded in agreement, yet he spoke not. The animosity was not his domain, that was the packleaders concern, yet he could not condone the young ones actions.
Thrusting a brother into harm to gain a killing strike was ruthless, not a brother he wanted at his back.
The wrestle was ended with a thump as one smashed his face into the others to gain the advantage.
A little snarl bit across his lips and he spat, friendly play maybe, yet it was another he did not want at his back.
Yet he would need them, if Blackmanes words were true... the thoughts were disrupted by Vermundr's own musings
"Whatever our Lord warned us about, their last chances at stopping our successful return is quickly approaching. With only one day left of travel, any attack or act of thievery would have to be made soon. Likely in the sooner half at that, as I cant imagine any rivals committing their deviant act at the base of Asaheim. With only a day left, I see little harm, if any, in telling the rest of our pack here. It would be better to have all eyes looking sharp, and all toes ready to pounce. Would you agree brothers?"
Iorek's bitter laughter rang through the clearing
"With our Lord's decision to run with us he honoured us and taxed us. Those that respect him wonder what metal we bear that lead him to choose us, those with animosity long to prove us suspect, to cast doubt upon his prodgidies. All i can see is they wish for us to return empty handed, bruised, battered and defeated. It would be wise to warn the others, but I would not. Forewarned is forearmed yet I would see how these brothers of ours react when they are the ones being hunted, when the shadows cause a menace. Of our number there are 4 i would walk into russ's hall alongside, if we are to face the serpent once more I would wish to trust all 12. Tell Alrik and Tyr if you must yet I would like to see how that one..."
He inclined his head towards the headbutter who still grappled in friendly animosity with his brother
"reacts to being tricked rather than playing the trickster."
The scar across his chest rippled and seered and he ran an icy finger along its length his eyes moving up to fix upon the mountain in the distance.
There was much to do when he returned... so much to do
Heimdall stared at the crackling and roaring fire, a beacon of light and warmth in the harsh wilderness that was Fenris. He was grateful that the claw had set up a fire for warmth and to cook the meat of the huge and deadly razor-ursine. All that him and his genetically enhanced brothers wore were simple pelts of fur for warmth in these harsh conditions. Heimdall would never get used to it, even though he had spent his entire life on Fenris, either in his former life before the chapter or when he became one of the Emperor's Angel's of Death.
Fenris was one of the harshest climate's known to the Imperium, more deadly than most worlds. This was shown in the quarry that they had tracked, huge deadly and smart it could of ripped through an entire tribe, even unprepared initiates. However he was a member of the pack now, and as long as they worked together they would survive and succeed. He respected his brothers that had fought alongside Wolflord Blackmane, though they were more distant to him and the newer members of the pack.
Alrik was particularly hostile, but Heimdall cared not. He would prove himself eventually, patience was all that was required. A hard thing for him to do, he was used to acting impulsively and was known for his short temper. He had played a part in killing the beast. Not as great as some of his other brothers but still, he played his part. He longed to have his flamer back in his hand, the rush of roaring flames once more. However for now he would have to make do with his spear, one which was close to him even now. They were close to home, close to the Fang. But they still had a little way to go and Heimdall would not let his guard down.
Alrik, spoke to Krhal, who had put him in harms way to get the killing blow. Heimdall felt for neither of them, he wouldn't want Krhal behind him, and he wouldn't want Alrik either, he couldn't trust the new members like a space wolf should. They were all off the same chapter, and the new members had been chosen to fill the void where others had fallen.
Heimdall sighed as he watched two of his brothers fight over meat, three sat away from the group conversing too quietly for his enhanced hearing to pick up. If it was anything important then he was sure that the rest of the pack would be informed. But when? The older marines would converse, plan with each other, but not with the newer members of the pack. It did not bode well in Heimdall's opinion, but what could he say.
He stood slowly, drawing his spear close as he turned away from the fire. He would be vigilant in case some wild beast, or pack, caught their scent and decided they would be a fit meal. Heimdall doubted it, but he would watch out nonetheless. If his newer brothers wanted to fight over scraps of meat they could, and if the older ones wanted to keep secrets that was fine by him. As long as it didn't threaten the new Claw, which he was now a part of and had a responsibility to.
Azahd couldn't help but being slightly disappointed with the way the hunt had gone. As he tore into a final slice of meat and listened to Tyr's tale of the battles of Hecutor, he realised that he was jealous of Krahl. Whilst he would not have liked to have received the same threat from Alrik as Krahl had, the glory which Krahl would no doubt gain from striking the killing blow almost made it worth enduring that. Besides, Azahd got the impression that Alrik was not the most well liked member of the pack, either by his own choice or unfortunate circumstances, so it seemed unlikely he would have much support to carry through with his threat.
As it stood, Azahd still felt like he was not respected amongst the pack, and listening to Tyr and Alrik's tales of past glories, he could understand why. He had no impressive stories to tell, no crowning moments, no gruelling scars to show for dangerous tests of ability, save for those from his feat that secured his initiation, but then again, they all has tales and scars like that. They were nothing to boast about. And whilst he probably knew that striking the killing blow against the razor-ursid would not have made him into an instant choice for pack leader, or made him as respected as some of the other members, it would have certainly helped.
Azahd drew one of his short blades they had all been sent out with, and sheared off a shard of ice from the rock he was sitting on and rolled it absent mindedly over his fingers. They had been out on the borders of Asaheim for two months now, and Azahd was eager to be back in the Fang. As much as all Wolves felt at home in the harsh landscape of Fenris, Azahd couldn't help but miss the familiar hum of the servos in his power armour, the dull roar of his chainsword and the satisfying kick of his bolt pistol with every shell it fired. As much as he could prove himself on the plains here, against some of the most hostile environment and creatures the Imperium had to offer, no amount of razor-ursids he could kill would get him in the annuals of the Space Wolves history, no amount could give him an noble name, no amount could forge a legacy for him.
A great deal of noise was going on around him, Frostulfr and Hrothgar were engaged in an arm wrestle over one of the pieces of meat and three of the senior pack members were having an inaudible conversation aside from the rest of the pack. For the moment he was content to sit round the fire rolling his shard of ice over his fingers. This time tomorrow, they would be back in the Fang, in the great hall possibly gloating about the exploits of their hunt. No doubt Krahl would lead the bragging on that front, and Azahd would have to take a back seat. Still, he would bide his time. He would prove himself, very soon...
Alrik was fuming as he spoke, and after a few moments Krahl finally understood why. The hostile stare that the older wolf gave the younger ones seemed to increase twofold once it reached Krahl, and the grin vanished from the young Blood Claw`s face as Alrik vented his rage.
‘Why do you grin, wyrm?’ Alrik snarled, glaring at Krahl. For the moment, they young claw was silent, so Alrik took it on himself to continue.‘What great accomplishment have you partook in, to wear a joker’s smile?’
Krahl narrowed his gaze and tightened his grip as the elder blood claw stood and stared down at him through the flames. ‘Know this, Packmate - If you lay hand upon me again, place me in danger, the snow will run red.’
Following this, he sat back down. The flames seemed to recede as the rant finished, almost as if they were mocking or perhaps emphasising Alrik`s point.
Krahl was silent for almost a minute, before he could take the derision no more. 'You feel cheated packmate?' Krahl called, glaring through the fire. 'You feel as though I robbed you of your glory, is that it? That damn beast was going to kill someone sooner or later, what did you hope to accomplish by pissanting around in front of it?'
Krahl stood and took a step closer to the fire. He drove his spear into the base, causing an eruption of embers and a renewal of the fire`s emphatic heat.
'Next time you have a great hulking mass of muscle and claw bearing down on you, rest assured I will friggin` leave it to you to kill. So if you want to put yourself in front of another monster, you better make sure you`re up to the task on your own, packmate!' He spat the last word, before withdrawing the spear and sitting back down.
He glared at Alrik for a few moments before turning slightly sideways and counting the stars in the sky above the fang in an attempt to calm down...
‘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’ voice was diamond hard and dangerous as he spoke, the tone weighted with the undercurrents of a warning growl. He had not moved from where he sat beside Vermundr throughout the exchange, turned mostly away from the flames and the wolf pelt on his broad back pulled close to keep the firelight from his eyes, his spear lay ready on the rock at his side. The fur was storm-grey; the coarse guard hairs tipped in silver as if the pelt was forever rimmed in hoarfrost and glinted in the play of shadows cast by the popping flames as they were ruffled by the ever present wind.
‘Glory is meaningless if bought at the forfeit of your wolfbrothers. Nor is his lifeblood yours to shed, Firehawk.’
Keris shifted; his crystal blue eyes catching the firelight and reflecting mirror-bright for a moment before he turned his gaze back out to the moon lit mountains. The Fang loomed in the distance like a spear thrust into the heart of the void itself. Keris’ breath ghosted into the darkness as he tasted the wind, the faint outline of a storm hung ominous and low upon the horizon like a stalking Thunderwolf. The moon was just waning and cast oil-black shadows in the lee of the harsh peaks of Asaheim. A hunter’s moon.
‘Have you all forgotten that our task is yet unfinished? Fenris is unforgiving of remiss; perhaps that is a lesson that needs to be re-learned in humility...’
Keris paused and lowered his voice, his next words muted for the ears of his wolfbrother Iorek and his packleader. His eyes found the scared face, pale as the ice that flanked the dark shadow of the Fang. His tone was not chiding, but one of quiet thought,
‘The task Lord Blackmane set upon us is more than a test of our might to bring down the prey, brother; it is also one of trust. I would have not thought that you, Ghostwolf, of all of us would seek to withhold after experiencing the costs of such a choice.’
Keris’ eyes then turned to his packleader,
‘We carry this task as a pack or we have already failed.’
Vermundr stared with narrow eyes once Alrik came out with the feelings he knew were inside him, narrowed merely due to increased attention, not anger. When Krahl acted as the blood claw he was, and stood to refute Alrik, Vermundr's body clicked forward ready to move and intervene.
Keris did not hesitate to speak out, which settled Vermundr back into his sitting position. Vermundr had known Alrik long enough to know that his large pack brother was not wavered by words, only actions. Words, even from respected Keris Hell even from one such as the great Stormcaller, would only stave him off for some temporary amount of time.
As the awkward silence that now lay like a poisonous fog over the campfire settled in, Vermundr moved back to the other matter at hand with his two brothers upon the rock.
"Duly noted brother," Vermundr says with his head turned toward Keris, "Iorek brings up a good point, and it agrees with your opinion. It would definitely be good to see how this pack reacts to being hunted rather than the other way around. I guarantee you the next 24 hours in that case would seem just as long as the last week, but it would be less stress on our eyes, that is for certain."
He turns his head back forward, towards the pack around the fire, "But, I have to agree that if we tell one or more, we should tell them all. Whatever the reasons may be for telling only one or two, the rest would likely see that as us playing favorites even if it actually just testing them."
The bitter taste of arrogance stung the back of his tongue yet again. Stop it, stop acting like you're more than you really are. Puh, testing them, like you have some kind of actual rank experience.
Vermundr let out a sigh backed by a low growl. He again eyed the razor-ursid's giant coat of fur bundled up beside his leg. He spied a knot in the roping, which he felt did not look tight enough so he began to rework it.
"So it is decided then, we shall tell the rest of the pack of our Lord's warning. As I said, one day of stress shouldn't be so bad compared to the last two months as a whole. I'm sure they can handle it. But first, " he said with a heavy breath as he finished the knot and sat back straight, "I should talk to this one,"
"Krahl!" he waited for the other blood claw to turn, "Come here, I wish to speak with you about something."
He knew Alrik would be watching and so he turned an sure enough found Alrik's gaze. Vermundr nodded to him, assuring his fellow wolf that he was not taking the younger one's side and hoped Alrik would understand that Vermundr wished him to relax and be patient with the newcomers.
Said to be one of the most hostile worlds within the realm of the Imperium. Ever changing, unpredictable, the ferocious weather able to kill a man as easily as the beasts that stalked the its lands or swam in its unforgiving oceans. The people of Fenris lived a constant life of survival, never able to let their guards down lest the world punish them. The Imperium would call it a deathworld. Its inhabitants called it Fenris.
The biting wind wrapped itself around Njord more completely than the furs and pelt he wore ever could do. Such was life on Fenris, one could never truely escape the weather, only adapt as best as possible and learn to embrace it. Flecks of snow clung to his shaven scalp, the vestiges of hair starting to grow back in due to the months spent on the hunt, he would of course shave them away once they returned to the Fang.
The Fang loomed in the distance, still colossal despite the distance they were from it. Its mightly battlements and walls part of the Asaheim itself. The moon was in such a position that from where Njord sat the Fang appeared to be stabbing the moon itself. How typically Fenrisian he thought. They had not set foot in the Fang for two long months, two months of hunting the beast across vast continent. He longed to return to the distant halls, cold, dark and without elegance. Home.
The pack had caught up to the beast in time, having evnetually found its trail and followed it before catching its odour on the winds with their enchanced sense of smell. They had fought a dangerous game with the beast, a deadly dance to ensare it within striking distance. Njord has been one of the ones to funnel it towards the bait. Attacking and provoking it enough to turn the beast in the desired direction but not enough to gain its full attention. It required complete trust in the rest of the pack and careful co-ordination. It almost ended in disaster though when it managed to corner Tyr, but the reactions of Keris and Frostulfr were enough to save the older Blood Claw. Krahl had been the one to deliver the killing blow in the end, perhaps rising Alriks life in the process however.
Njord turned his gaze to the roaring fire the pack were huddled around. The wind snatched angrily at the flames, trying to eradicate the warmth it gave to those around it, not willing to let them rest from the its icy touch. Tyr was spinning tales of past glories to the others, telling them of battles with Ogryns and traitors. Njords attention though was on the elder members of the pack. Sat a little apart from the rest of them, conversing in quiet voices. What about he could not discern, but there was clearly something on their minds.
The voices around the fire growled louder abruptly. Alrik having finally lost patience with Krahl, enraged over the younger pack members actions that led to him bringing down the beast. They traded angry snarls with each other, brandisihing their weapons at each other. The pack was not unified at all yet, the elder Blood Claws appearing to not want the company of the new bloods. Had they forgotten what it was like when they first began their new lives as an Astartes?
Despite the altercation taking place, Njord did let go of the feeling something was being held back from them by the elder ones, he turned his golden eyes, so like a wolfs back to the the trio, resting them on the pack leader as he wondered what was being kept from them.
They were disapproving. All of them, Krahl could tell. In truth he did not care as much as he knew he should but at the same time he knew it was important to have their trust and respect. There was no denying that if this pack were to survive, then at some point he and Alrik would have to reconcile, or at the very least come to terms with each other.
Perhaps a sparring match when they returned to the Fang, a good one on one fight to vent both their frustrations and anger upon each other. It would be fun if nothing else.
He gave up counting the stars, there were too many and they kept flickering. The light of the fire on the edge of his vision didnot help the task either, so instead he turned the other way and saw the elder members of the group, talking softly among themselves. Krahl`s hearing was good, but not that good, as clearly the seniors of the pack knew what would be heard and what wouldn`t.
‘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?’ A voice caught his attention, that of one of the older pack members Keris.
Krahl simply shook his head as he replied. 'What youngster doesn`t want a good tale to tell in his youth. Had the situation been any different I would not have put an act like this past any other. I only acted in the heat of the moment, how was I supposed to know the grumpy one had any kind of plan in mind.' He suppressed a grin, not wanting to inflame Alrik any further than he had already.
Something else was said between them and the three of them glanced between Alrik and Krahl. The older wolf Vermundr kept his gaze on Krahl a moment longer than the others, and immediately the young claw knew he was in some sort of trouble.
'Krahl!' He called, confirming the younger astartes suspicions as he looked up. 'Come here, I wish to speak with you about something.'
As Krahl stood, he saw the look Vermundr gave to Alrik, a look of warning maybe? More likely reassurance of Krahl`s impending punishment. As Krahl approached, he dropped the spear to the ground, not wanting to appear hostile to his superior.
'You have words for me I assume?' Krahl said. 'No doubt some speech on brotherhood and duty. Fair enough, but keep in mind that Alrik made the first threat and I would not simply allow such disrespect to go unanswered.'
(Post moved to respond to vermundr)
The packleaders words flittered across his mind to be met with a sharp toss of his head a harsh bark
"As you wish, warn them."
The single eye was blank, his face emotionless, his voice empty and cold as his gaze snapped from Alrik and Krahl to lock with the ice blue stare of Keris
"Your advice is as ever sage, brother, yet my experience,"
His voice bit deep as he raised the one long eye brow
"Blackmane had no problems with secrecy, defined it as a quality that made a leader, so do not talk of my experience. Vermundr has proven him correct in that. Yet I will tell you of my experience, the agony only came when the shield of ignorance was cast asunder. If you tell them now they will wonder why we did not tell them before, we will merely remove the shield of ignorance and unleash a needless pain and suspicion. It may be a test of trust yet so far we have been found wanting, we have not told them, we sit aside and scheme. We were a divided force against the bear, new and unfamiliar, glory was gained almost at the expense of one of our brethren, one who does not love or forgive easily"
"I know not who to trust, is it so wrong to wish to know who would stand beside you and fight or who would thrust you under the bears claws to seek their own glory?"
He let out a little snarl as his eyes turned once more upon Khral
"He knows no remorse for his actions, does not feel any bonds of loyalty tie him to his brothers within the pack. I would have him know that the pack is a brotherhood, that he will met an enemy he did not expect and that someone will be at his back when he stumbles and falls, when his muscle fails him."
Yet you dont not believe that line you wish to be alone
The snide voice bit deep into his mind and his eye closed, his voice faltering as pain bit across his temples as he thrust a spear of reason at the wolf within
"I desire to make things right, to earn my place within the pack once more. Upon Hecutor I dishonoured myself, I will return when I have earnt my honour once more"
bullshit, you desire to be alone
Anger flared but the snide voice was gone, turned tale and fled into his subconcsious. The red eye opened returning to grapple with the icy orbs before him
"How better to do that than with an enemy he did not expect, that attacks when he believes the job is done, will not meet him head on as the bear did, but lies in the shadows?"
A strained chuckle tore from between his lips
"What does a man fear more than that which he cannot see"
The blood claw came forth at Vermundr's command his back arched chest thrust out words laced with defiance
'You have words for me I assume?' Krahl said. 'No doubt some speech on brotherhood and duty. Fair enough, but keep in mind that Alrik made the first threat and I would not simply allow such disrespect to go unanswered.'
A bitter tang of cotempt carressed his tongue and he spat upon the floor with a harsh snarl
"No he called you close as we wished to wonder upon your hideous visage more closely. Have some sense, glory hunter, let the pack leader speak before you assume. However as you seek words, I have words for those that place their own glory before the safety of their brothers, yet they are curses and chastisement not fit for such tender ears. However I would say that someone that would thrust me upon a bears claw merely to steal the glory of the kill is not someone i would call a brother. Personally i would rather embrace the bear."
His fingers stretched to lace through the bearskin hide before turning a wolfish grin upon Khral
"He was certainly a prettier sight"
The cold swirled around him, but did not hold the same bite it carried as a child. There was a time when these winds would have driven him to the comfort of a shelter, to his tribe huddled close around a fire, to a shared hide, but that was so long ago when Yngvar was a child when he was only a mere human. Now he was so much more. Every time he thought of the past he was reminded of this. So many of his own frailty's had been stripped away leaving behind a warrior, a Blood Claw.
Yngvar sat near the fire listening to the tales of past glories as he worked a stone. The slow meticulous work had taken him far longer than normal. It was rough and jagged worked by the most primitive means with most primitive tools, a true hunters spearhead. Forming it had not been the longest part, it was the symbols that were carved into each side. The first a small fang, opposite was his tribe's symbol for an ursid.
Yngvar smiled and watched as Tyr finished his story. As the speaker changed from one packmate to another he reaching into a pouch. From it a chunk of fat roughly the size of a man's hand was produced. The white/yellow stuff bubbled and spat as he threw it into the base of the fire. For a few moments it melted and oozed before finally feeding the flames. It had been carved from a razor-ursid. This same beast's meat was cooking over the fire. The memory of driving the creature was still in his mind. It had been the first real ‘battle’ of the pack.
The claw had tracked the beast for days. Yngvar had assisted but not for the sake of only finding the beast. He had watched and listened to the senior members gaining some experience from the endeavor. He had also watched the others learning more in those days then the entirety of their training. The young Space Wolf had seen the schism that seperated the older and younger members of this pack. Still Yngvar did not know the true reason for it. Perhaps it was the younger ones inexperience, or the older ones mistrust that caused it. Maybe it was that the older ones had seen combat and were forged into a brotherhood, and the young upstarts were seen as imposters attempting to replace those lost before. For whatever reason their differences had not been settled when the beast was cornered. The massive creature lashed out toward its attackers as it found itself cornered against cliff face. After Tyr, the last brother to take the role of aggressor, escaped with the assistance of Keris and Frostulfr it had no one person to vent its rage upon. As it was lashing out toward the remaining hunters the pack needed to coordinate their movements. The memories of his former hunts helped keep Yngvar prepared. He knew to draw the creature's attention from the one who would strike the final blow. As such it was surprising when Krahl moved for the kill and everything almost fell apart. Whether it was impatients or glory seeking that had driven him to shove Alrik aside and strike. Thankfully it had been a kill, if it hadn’t they might be one less.
As the thoughts turned toward that moment voices became raised. Yngvar was brought back to the present. Alrik and Krahl were brandishing weapons as they spat words of hate to one another. It punctuated the schism between the younger and older Blood Claws. Yngvar had noticed there seemed to be an abundance of aggressors, and very few hunters within the Claw.
After several tense seconds a voice called ending the two's confrontation. Yngvar glanced around at the others as silence seemed to fill the air. His eyes halted on The Fang. The massive structure was so close, but yet so far. It was a day away at the most. One day and they would be home, one day and they would be declared a Claw, and still so long until they truly were. They each were bound to each other by the blood in their primarch, and their oaths to the chapter. For the older ones they appeared bound to each other through their past, through the stories they told of the things they had done. Yngvar hoped to one day share that bond as he turned to the spearhead in his hand. Perhaps one day.
Tyr sat in silence and listened to Alrik as he chided Krahl for his actions, Alrik may be blunt with his words but he was honest and Krahl needed to be told that his actions were wrong, he had thrown a brother into an almost fatal position for his own personal glory and that was never ok. Yet Tyr kept his peace and said nothing as Krahl fired back his own hot head response at Alrik and chuckled a bit at how ignorant he was of who Alrik really was, the Firehawk would not let this go until he was satisfied that Krahl had learned his lesson and the wrong had been righted, which could take awhile.
He grabbed his spear and stood up, grabbing the piece of meat that Hrothgar and Frostulfr were fighting over, before making his way over to Vermundr who had just called Krahl over, "I will go and keep watch with Heimdall, it will do us well to have two sets of senses keeping watch rather than one." he looked down at Krahl, the tone in his voice serious, "The pack must always come first little one, the minute you put yourself and your own ambition before your brothers is the one that one or all of us will die because of your actions." he turned back to his pack leader, "I will be outside if you need me."
Tyr turned and made his way towards where Heimdall was keeping watch and as he passed Frostulfr and Hrothgar he said, "I already ate the piece you two are fighting over." the large wolf pointed to his head indicating that sometimes you need to use your head and not just your strength, he laughed and shook his head at the two of them as he passed them by.
Heimdall was by himself staring at the stars, Tyr could tell he was thinking about something so he was quite for awhile as they both stood watch, their senses peeled for anything that could be a danger to them all. As they stood watch Tyr finally spoke up, "Tell me Heimdall, what do you see out there? Hear? Smell? Feel?" it was a strange question but the large wolf knew that by having his younger brother concentrate and tell him what he was sensing that it would make him focus that much more and his senses would be sharper.
Tyr had always had stronger than normal senses, even for a Space Wolf, and it was something he had prided himself on more so than his abnormal size and strength. It was one subtle gift that he had and it had saved him more than once on Hecutor, at the moment all he could hear was the whistling wind and the general violence of Fenris's weather. Yet smells were different, the cooking meat, each of his brothers had a distinct smell to them, and lucky for him the wind was coming right at them so if anyone or anything was out there he would smell them before seeing them.
A fighting has erupted inside the pack, and it had nothing to do with the fighting between Hrothgar and Frostulfr. The wind raged and howled just like the tempers of the two opponents, Alrik and Krahl. The inner fighting made him stop laughing even though Hrothgar was still on the ground rubbing his cheek to ease the pain from the smash he just suffered. He watched quietly as Alrik began to chide Krahl about his actions, he spoke harshly without mercy; he was straight forward and strict with his opinions, unrelenting like the weather around them. A gust of wind suddenly passed by, he heard the footsteps of a brother, he smelled him, it was the one known as Tyr, he passed by them, chuckling while saying that he already ate the piece Hrothgar and he were fighting for. He snarled at him, it was not a snarl that he would give to an enemy, but a friendly one, yet he was right, as he pointed at his own head explaining silently that they both should use their brains more. Frostulfr could not resist, he chuckled and a small wicked smile crept into his face. Tyr was right after all…
Frostulfr watched, seeing that Hrothgar was slowly getting up and ready to retaliate he stretched his hand towards him with one finger raised, it was the same motion which would tell someone to be quiet if it was near the mouth, the objective was the same, to stop Hrothgar from continuing the friendly brawl as they had more important matters to solve. Hrothgar probably noticing the shouts himself quickly nodded towards Frostulfr acknowledging the short truce. He knew that his brother will get his revenge later when he won’t expect it. Probably he will smash him into one of the walls in the fang and smack him in the face as an act of revenge. These raised a small smile on Frostulfr’s face which was rather grim due to the harsh words which were said by Alrik and Krahl.
He looked at Alrik first, his harsh and brutal features clearly visible in the light of the fire, he was eternally grim, rarely smiling and nearly always frowning. It was hard to be at his side, yet in this argument Frostulfr could understand where Alrik’s words were coming from although they sounded extremely harsh and unforgiving. On the other side of the conflict stood Krahl, young and naïve just like Frostulfr probably, he mocked Alrik, asking him if he felt that he was cheated because of the kill which was stolen, this was clearly not the case, even Frostulfr could see that, yet Krahl’s ignorance and maybe even stupidity caused him to speak those words. Such words, form both of them would cause division and trust issues in the pack, those things should never happen as they hampered the ability of the pack to act as a whole body. When one part did not work correctly all the others suffered and when two did not it was even more terrible.
Seeing that the pack leader, Vermundr, called Krahl to him Frostulfr moved to Alrik, he hoped he will be able to start some kind of a conversation with him, and try to understand fully what was going in that brain of his and more importantly he had to know if there was a deeper meaning to the words Alrik spoke and to why he confronted Krahl. Frostulfr got up from his kneeling stance by the icy rock and moved towards Alrik, he passed by the fire, the light quickly falling over him revealing more of his form as the shadows danced upon his clothing and pelts, he took a sit near Alrik yet at the same time in a safe distance, he knew that the man was short tempered. “Brother, a minute of your time if you may?” Frostulfr spoke, trying to catch Alrik’s attention. He did not wait for Alrik to answer or respond at all, he just continued speaking, he was blunt and straight forward and wanted what he thought to be heard, “I understand where you come from Brother, although I don’t know you for long and probably not as well as the others I do know that in this case you are right, Krahl shouldn’t have pushed you aside like that, endangering a brothers life, it was careless and reckless. Yet do you think that your harsh words were necessary; will you real leave your brother to die due to pasts events? You don’t have to like him, but he is your brother, and you must both work together. I am quite aware that you might hate me for the words I am about to speak but please, try and keep your temper under control, such arguments just threaten to divide the squad even more then it is now. I’m saying even more because you are probably aware like me that the squad is pretty much formed out of two groups, the experienced and the new, and not everyone here likes each other… At any rate, brother, Alrik, please, try to keep calm and withstand the foolishness and ignorance of others, if not for us, the new members, then for others like out pack leader Vermundar.” He finished speaking, he spoke rather loudly, but silently enough for others to understand that what he was saying to Alrik was for his ears only and not for everyone. He never liked feeling like a conspirator and a secret keeper so he always kept his voice rather loud.
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.
The snow was probably the best of the enviroment around him as he moved on, slogging just outside of the valley as the first storm-waters began to cascade from the skies in a great booming roar. His eyes were constantly clogged, the water clinging to his pupils and freezing momentarily, just long enough for him to blink the frost away, clearing his vision. The wind was scathing and brutal and he rejoiced in the pain it lent to him. He'd perferred the heat, and everyone in the pack knew it. Not the heat of a warm campfire, not the stale heat that radiated within the Fang -- to desire that kind of heat was demeaning to one of the Rout. He'd perferred anything the exact opposite of Fenris' climate. His Astartes gene-forged biology coped with it in almost every way making even the harshest Fenrisian winters livable for him, if he kept on his toes. Physically he was capable and willing to endure the cold, snow, and wind, but mentally he'd rather be on some desert world fighting in the baking sands than upon Fenris in the snow.
He'd never understood why and his talks with the Chapter's rune preists could only offer one possible conclusion ... his past. They'd found him buried in a mound of bodies clinging to life as the cold slowly froze one corpse at a time. Had the Rout not found him when they did, he'd probably have died upon the icy tundra of Fenris. No matter how much psycho-indoctrination they hammered into an Astartes there were some things imbredded within them, some feelings and emotions that simply couldn't be rooted out. He hated the damn, fucking cold and he would not be ashamed of it.
Left his mind screamed out at him. His eyes and skull jerked around to his left, staring into the blindness of the Fenrisian storm. Nothing was there. He gazed for a few more moments, not halting or slowing his pace one bit, but nevertheless his eyes scanned the pack's left flank. His instincts had been in an uproar for the last two hours, he could feel eyes staring at them from almost every angle. He'd tried to put it aside as nothing more than anxiety on his part as he wished to reach the Fang with their prize. That excuse lasted for about as long as it took to create it. Still, if there was a threat out there he had no doubt that they could handle it. There could be no true foes upon Fenris, nothing that a pack of the Rout Fenryka couldn't kill.
He could feel that the others had felt the eyes as well, most might have tried sniffing for a scent but it would be futile -- the storm would mask it. His anxiety was reaching a high as he swore he saw something in the snow, a looming shape that seemed to just fizzle into nothingness. He did what he always did in these situtations ... he opened his mouth.
He chuckled at first, 'Brothers ... ever get the feeling you're being watched?'
He waited for no replies, the storm would likely drown them out. Hell he wasn't even sure they could hear him, 'Maybe its your mothers? I've told them all to stay at the damn hut, but they don't listen. Stubborn wenches just like the rest of you.'
Acidic he knew, and likely to recieve a reprimand for it. He mentally shrugged, promotion was the furtherest thing from his mind -- solid warcraft and bloodshed were his only thoughts. Anything beyond that was merely unnessecary politiking, something he wished to have no part in.
As the spectacle was made Yngvar sat with his stones in hand. The Claw was divided, and it appeared that nothing would end that this day.[FONT=Verdana]The blood claws begin to stir as the order was given. The fire was doused as Yngvar slipped the stones back into a pouch. There was one left that he wished to make, but it would take time he did not have now.
The storm caught the Claw as the last climbed from a valley. As they began to trudge on Yngvar glanced back. Through the falling rain and ice he could see water moving below. Within minuets the valley would be filled with a rushing river fueled by the storm overhead. The thought sent a shiver up the young blood claw’s spine. He turned back to their original course and began the long march. Yngvar pulled the furs close trying to keep at least some of the wind and rain from chilling him.
Memory was what drove Yngvar forward. Seconds before vision had been lost he had found the Fang. Since then he had moved forward with the others keeping the wind to the same side. For three hours he had walked in silence. It was not only because of the orders from Vermundr but because of the storm itself. The howling wind and beating rain/sleet made it almost impossible to communicate. The entire time something pressed at the back of Yngvar’s mind. He would glance around from time to time. Each time he expected to see something, someone he did not know. Each time he only found the familiar shapes of his packmates. It felt like they were being watched, being tracked from just beyond the edge of the young Space Wolf’s vision. The feelings made Yngvar pull his furs tighter, even though it did little at this point he had been soaked from head to toe for over an hour now.
Yngvar halted as others did. Ahead was a sudden change. Instead of the stone and ice there was sheer darkness, a strait drop. Below there would be icy water gushing much like the valley they had crossed and a certain death. A small smile came to his lips. “It never can be easy,” he whispered looking over the drop. The view betrayed no depth, and barely betrayed the width.
So... Krahl grinnedas he stood before the only crossing point, Who`s first? "I will go," Yngrar replied over the wind and sleet. The young pack mate hid how much he wished to be out of this storm and away from the feelings of being watched. Others began to step forward forming the first to go across the chasm.
The first group to cross were Keris, Alrik, Hjord, and Yngvar himself. The young Blood Claw moved first. He stayed hunched low, nearly walking on all four to keep the wind from effecting his balance and progress. Constant glances to the path would warn of ice that could hinder or send the four to their doom.
The young blood claw moved first. He was hunched low nearly on all four to keep the wind from effecting his progress. Constant glances to the ground would warn of any ice on the path as the four made their way.
It was close to the other side that Yngvar glanced up. There against the far side stood a figure. There was nothing about this phantom that he could tell. There was only shadow covering the form. The young Blood Claw halted as he watched. Behind him the others had gotten closer. A voice spoke from behind which made Yngvar glance. The face he saw was that of Keris. When his eyes returned to the other side there was nothing, as though the phantom had never existed, but there was something in the pack mates' eyes that told him it had been real. When they reached the far side Yngvar knelt down where the phantom had existed. If there was sign it appeared that the rain and ice had concealed or removed it. He turned to Keris. "You saw it didn't you," the younger Blood Claw asked, "It wasn't just some play of light and shadow. You saw that phantom, that man did you not?" His senses were sharp as he scanned the surroundings. Listening for the reply.
In the future, please only use the standard text size and font, and make sure that more than half of your post is in the regular colour. - darkreever
Tyr smelled the air while attempting to make out shapes in the distance. He could smell them clear as day, the shadows that their forms played against the moonlight becoming a bit clearer now that he could smell them. He could smell the wolves and clearly pick out three creatures, one was ancient his scent filled with wisdom and experience yet it was clearly close to dying, the two young ones with it aware of this fact.
He smelled the different scents of his brothers too, each one of his older brothers had a distinct smell to them now while the newer claws still all smelled like eagerness and barely contained energy. A smile crept across his face, they were all not so far from that stage of their careers, after all they were all still Blood Claws even if Lord Blackmane did fancy using them as a younger guard sometimes.
Movement behind him made him turn to see his brothers packing everything up to begin moving out. He had to admit he was giddy now that they were on the move again, he hated staying put and not doing anything, yet they were moving now and according to Vermundr there was still yet one test that awaited them before they got back to the Fang.
The blizzard around them was bad, he could barely see in front of him and the wind was playing with his nose and ears and to make things worse they now had to cross over a short pathway over a gaping chasm. This was one of those times he was thankful for his weight, the wind was not strong enough to shake him from his footing and once the first group was almost across he, Iorek, Hrothgar and Frostulfr made their way onto the pathway.
Tyr brought up the rear of the group he was with and saw Hrothgar lose his footing in slow motion, his hearts stopped as he saw his brother begin to fall over of the edge but Iorek and Frostulfr were there stopping him from falling. Tyr quickly made his way over to them as they all began to slip, his two hands grabbing the shoulders of Iorek and Frostulfr and pulling them back to safety along with Hrothgar. He nodded at the three of them to continue moving and they did, finally making it across the pathway yet as they did a flash of lightning illuminated six ape-trolls blocking their path forward.
Tyr grinned in anticipation, he loved to fight and this was most certainly going to be a good one. The leader of the trolls let out what sounded like a battlecry and the other five charged them, he saw movement to his left off the cliff side and spun around in time to plant his metal fist into the face of one of the trolls coming up over the cliff side. The troll stumbled back as it cried out in pain, Tyr's fist flying into its face again as quickly as the other one had before grabbing his spear from his back and getting into a fighting stance.
It hurt it always hurt, Hrothgar stared up at the sky from his back after receiving a punch to the face from his pack brother Frostulfr. Slowly pushing himself to his feet he scanned the surronding area with his steel-blue eyes in search of the back brother that hit him, seeing Frostulfr wasn't to far away Hrothgar started to make his way closer getting ready to pounce on him before his pack mate raised a hand to stop. Stopping in his tracks his ears only just started to pick up the arguement going on between his other pack brothers about what Krahl had done earlier, when he had pushed Alrik out of the way of the Ursid and into the way of its claws. To Hrothgar such a thing was uncalled for as while you may gain the glory of the kill you could also end up loosing your pack mate. Prefering to stay out of the fight Hrothgar made his way over to his original seat and takes his place again before he shifted his eyes back towards the fang and once again his thoughts returned to home as he allowed his fellow blood-claws to go about their arguement not noticing Alrik pounce on Frostulfr and injure him.
It was time to leave as the pack was finishing gathering up what was left of the meat and dousing the fire. Pushing himself up Hrothgar looked around at his brothers before picking up his spear, Hrothgar then made his way over to Frostulfr and waited until the pack set off in the direction of the fang. For three hours they walked and for those three hours Hrothgar remained silent as he thought on what his first battle will be like. Would it be glorious and heroic? would it be brutal and would he loose many of his pack brothers? and more importantly would he himself survive it? All these thoughts swirled inside of Hrothgar's mind as he tried to picture what exactly it would be like to fight in his power armour for the first time in a true battle. Eventually though his trail of thoughts were intrupted as the pack came to a halt infront of a narrow stone path connecting two sides of a valley together and let out a small growl as he realized crossing such a path even when they weren't in a storm could be dangerous due to how small it was let alone with ferocious howling winds and rain battering them.
Hrothgar stood with Frostulr, Iorek and Tyr as he watched Keris, Alrik, Njord, and Yngvar cross over the narrow path way one infront of the other with no problem. After they had crossed the narrow path it was him and his three pack mates turn with Tyr at the front followed by Frostulfr, himself and then Iorek. Carefully making his way across the path he was only half way to the other side when he stood upon a small stone and lost his footing making him overbalance and tumble from the path. The world was moving vertically as he stared at the sky cursing to himself about dying in such a pathetic way, two mighty arms clamped around both of his wrists stopping him from falling. Looking down from the sky he could see that Frostulfr and Iorek had put their own lives indanger to save him and noticed that Frostulfr has almost joined him in falling it if had not been for Tyr. After being hauled back onto the bridge Hrothgar let out a sigh of relief before looking at his three brothers that had saved him. "Thank you brothers for saving me, i promise i will do my best to repay you all ten fold in the coming years." With that Hrothgar made his way to the otherside of the path while the rest of the group started to make there way over.
Hrothgar let out a throaty growl along with his inner wolf as he saw the six huge forms of trolls infront of him and his brothers and quickly drew his knife from its sheath at his waist. With several throating noises from the tallest troll the otehrs start to charge at them deciding to not let the troll built up momentum Hrothgar let out a howl to the wind and charged towards the one that was charging at him, raising his spear in his right hand Hrothgar put as much weight behind his spear as he could so he didn't over balance and aimed the tip of the spear towards the jaw of the troll to distract it so he could sweep in low and plant his knife into the creatures stomach.
As eager as he was to be out of the blizzard, Krahl was not so arrogant as to think he had any right to impede on the others` position to lead. Two groups had gone across so far, leaving Krahl and four others behind. Vermundr was among them, the pack leader ensuring that everyone would be accounted for. It looked at last like it was time for the last group to cross. Krahl began to approach when a bone chilling howl stopped him dead in his tracks.
'That was no wolf...' He muttered. The others had heard it too, spreading formation and looking into the blinding wall of snow. After a few moments he saw them, sillhouettes of towering figures, vaguely humanoid but at the same time very different. There were six of them, and Krahl could see they would never be able to make it across that narrow bridge until all of the creatures were slain. Vermundr had clearly seen this as well, and met the creature`s advance with his own charge.
Krahl would have followed suit, had not a target already begun to advance on him. It swiped a massive claw for his head, but Krahl was more nimble than the brute and managed to evade the swing. He focussed, trying to ignore the biting wind and swung the haft of his spear into the creature`s thigh. It impacted, and Krahl`s wrist jarred from the sudden shock. It was as though he had swung the weapon into an adamantium wall! With a growl the creature took another swing, and again Krahl managed to dive out of the way. Trying to put some distance between him and it was difficult, he could not go much further back without risk of falling off the cliff edge. He had to coax the creature into overcommitting and try to get behind it. He hoped it was as stupid as it looked.
Feinting twice, he jabbed the spear into its shoulders, inflicting only a shallow wound. It roared in fury and stepped forward, batting the speartip aside as Krahl aimed for another thrust. In a moment of blind desparation, Krahl threw a punch directly at its face, hitting it squarely in its left eye. It recoiled immediately, scratching at its bleeding face while the space wolf clutched his broken knuckles on the ground in front of it.
Recovering first, Krahl dove to the side and recovered his spear. It was on top of him almost instantly, but its hasty advance was its downfall as Krahl managed to spin on his back and impale the spear through the creature`s cratered eye socket. It was still and silent, but still standing. Had he killed it, or was it just stunned momentarily? In any case, the spear was stuck tight so if it had survived Krahl was now in a tough spot...
- - -
The silence was deafening. The howling winds had subsided, the distant crack-boom of thunder had become a gentle, ominous rumbling. Vermundr and Iorek watched him, with narrow, contemptuous eyes. Alrik’s own obsidian orbs wandered, flowing over the landscape and the dark, threatening silhouettes of his brethren. And then, they drifted onto Frostulfr. A sudden ache struck through him, weaving through his limbs, causing his mouth to slowly open.
The younger Wolf lay, staring upwards, through eyeless sockets, tears of blood running down the cheeks. His face was tight, contorted in agony, the lips peeled back in a soundless cry. The Cretacian blade, in all its blood-soaked glory, lay hilt-deep in a muscular throat, rich claret seeping outwards from the ragged gash. The Geneseed, the blessed genetic data of Russ Himself, was a mangled heap within.
Frustratingly, his fingers opened and closed. From the brutalized form of Frostulfr did his eyes move, slowly, methodically absorbing the sight before him. His hands were slick with blood, ropey viscera dangling from between gauntleted fingers. Purple, the colour of distant flowers, highlighted against green the colour of the ocean..
Acidic bile rose in his throat, an inhuman howl rising upon the horizon, drifting on the winds.
He blinked, flabbergasted at the sight before him, biting down on his lip again, cursing sub-vocally, and then -
- It was gone. The fire flickered, dancing across Keris’ muscular form, bathing him in gold-orange. He stood, stoic, shoulders wide, a snarl upon his lips, between the downed Frostulfr and Alrik. The corners of Alrik’s mouth twitched, forming a nervous, anxious smile. From there, it became an enraged snarl, his fangs bared, glimmering in the moon and firelight. He gave a snort, his breath misting and sparkling before his face, and marched away.
‘What was that?’ He asked himself, when out of earshot of his brethren. Somewhere, amongst the gorges and forests, a wolf howled its lament.
Vermundr gave the order to move, a throaty growl which echoed over the barren ridge. The fire was doused, the meat gathered and the pelt bundled. Alrik retook his spear, firm hands slipping around the long, oaken haft. In the month or so since he had crafted the weapon, shallow grooves had formed along the haft, perfect indentures for his fingers.
In his mind, the sight of a broken, murdered Frostulfr replayed. Had it been an hallucination, a side-effect of his bloodlust? Perhaps it was something else, did the Psykers of the Imperium not suffer similar visions, that drove them to madness and extermination at the hands of the Inquisition?
Feebly, he attempted to banish such thoughts. He was no Witch, his mind was not weak enough to conjure up false realities..
Again, the image flashed through his mind, coalescing before his eyes, before dissipating..
Now, the Pack were moving down the ragged rocks, rain slanting in amongst them, rendering them as tall, muscular shades. Down the ridge, they moved, at a pace, the storm licking at their heels. At the base of the ridge, they broke into a sprint, Alrik lopping on the right flank, his mind clouded. He watched the forests and mountains, every wary of larger, more powerful dangers.
They moved, at a pace, in a staggered, fur-clad line. Their movements were slow, careful; those of an hunter, those of born-again slaughterers. Keris was a phantom, ghosting Alrik’s movement, keeping eyes fixed upon him. The Sage, his ice-eyed brother, had a keen sense and a strong mind, and had tailed, or ran alongside, Alrik for a while now.
The path ahead narrowed, thinning out into a ledge, a deep, oily darkness spreading off. Alrik and Keris, accompanied by two of the young-bloods, traversed first. Alrik was in the van, his spear thrown over a shoulder, running both hands across the sharp, dark rock. His boots, seal-leather and wolf fur, were sturdy and unwavering, made of finer stuff. The ground widened, leveled out, until they were in a ravine, Keris and the younger Wolf, Yngvar, spying something.
A flash of lightning, and something was shown in the bright, silvery-blue light. Six things, to be precise. They were huge, their movements languid and lumbering, clumps of white and grey fur clinging to their broad bodies. Fangs and claws, more akin to daggers than bone, gleamed threateningly. The centremost beast, taller by far than the others, with scars decorating its chest and face and eyes the colour of a storm, bellowed inanely and the creatures bounded forwards.
That particular beast, horrid as it was, circled left, staring intently upon Alrik.
Alrik broke off from the Pack, bounding forwards, with an howl of excitement upon his lips. The ape-troll, massive as it was, moved with shockingly alien agility.
It darted forwards, claws spinning, fangs dripping spittle. Alrik matched it, his contracted, reddened face awash with anger, rain running along his scars.
His spear was quicksilver, a blur of metal and wood; striking the beast between breasts. Blood erupted from around the point, glittering, splashing over Alrik’s face. The warmth was beautiful, as was the taste upon his lips and the tang within his nostrils.
And then, it.. Chuckled..
The ape-troll backhanded Alrik; sending the Firehawk bouncing away. His cheek opened up, a trickle of blood escaping from a slender, shallow cut.
Alrik was back on his feet instantly, wielding the broken haft in one hand, drawing the Cretacian with his other. The ape-troll lumbered closer, the scars upon its face rippling, as the creature let out a long, keening roar.
The Wolf of Fenris darted forwards, cracking the haft over the beast’s skull. His flaying knife was liquid metal, licking over the creature’s hip, drawing another gash.
Before he could strike again, massive paws seized him, dragging him closer. He was pressed into stone-hard muscle, that stank of blood, dung and perspiration, and felt dagger-like claws sink into the skin of his shoulders.
The Firehawk refused to cry out, refused to allow the others to see any form of pain - That was a weakness, and he did not need the newcomers to believe him lesser.
He smiled, and chuckled hoarsely.
In the crushing embrace, Alrik could do nothing but ram his blade into its gut. Again and again and again.
Keris could feel his wolfspirit as it prowled deep within his soul, echoing his own tension as his cold eyes bore into the hulking warrior before him. What has your wyrd by the scruff of the neck that you would risk my ire like this, you snaggle-toothed bastard? I am going to pummel your hide bloody before dragging what’s left back to the Priests by the hairs of your insolent arse…
Of all of Keris’ packbrothers Alrik was by far the most impetuous in nature; his belligerent manner and volatile temper in keeping with the hallowed spirit of Ferki, the notoriously more bellicose of Russ’ two wolfsiblings, where as Keris’ wolfspirit was more akin to the wise and watchful Geri. To anyone outside the warrior-brotherhood of the pack their quarrelsome rapport gave the impression of being tenuous at best but, in truth, the bond between them was one of the closest; the pale scar on Keris’ flank attesting to that.
The Firehawk finally turned back to face him and, for a heartbeat, Alrik’s dark eyes were hazy and unfocused; disorientation and concern marking his scarred features before the mask of cynical superiority slipped back in place. Keris felt a shock run up his spine; the hair on the nape of his neck stiffening in response as the beast that shared his soul gave a low growl, suddenly cautious.
He gave his wolfbrother a measured gaze as the pack broke camp on Vermundr’s orders, staying close by Alrik’s side as they moved out. Keris had seen that look in another’s eyes before and poured over his memories if his wolfbrother had shown any signs of walking that path previously. Until the Claw had completed its task and Keris could speak with the Firehawk alone, he settled on keeping a careful watch on the older Wolf as the frigid winds brought the first rumbles of distant thunder.
The winds tugged at his form, dragging at the storm-drenched fur draped about him with a giant's strength as Keris tasted their icy bite on his cheeks even with the short growth of coarse, black hair that he had allowed to cover them. He would shave it back when they reached the halls of the great company again in keeping with the tradition for the youngest of Russ’ warriors, but for now it served to keep the worst of the lashing shards from his skin.
The power of the storm coursed all around him; the cold was no bother to his gene-forged body and Keris felt the elemental wrath stirring the beast deep in his blood as he loped along in the company of his wolfbrothers. The planet mercilessly challenged every creature that drew breath upon its wrathful form; only the absolute strongest survived and the Wolf King would have his world no other way. This was the distilled and untamed spirit of Fenris, his beloved homeworld, and Keris honoured its feral glory with every beat of his hearts.
The storm had rolled across the high peaks of Asaheim like a hunting pack in full pursuit of wounded prey, swallowing the Claw up as they pressed onwards towards the towering shadow of the Fang. The wolfspirit in his soul bared its fangs in empathy to the rage of the deathworld. Something set it on edge, pressed at the very limits of his senses like a predator skirting the line where firelight meets darkness. Keris had felt the eyes in the storm, yet the scything sleet limited vision and the fierce winds whipped any scents away into the steel-dark clouds above them. He endured the restrictions on his senses begrudgingly, trusting in his packbrothers and the instincts of his wolfspirit.
After nearly three hours of pushing through the teeth of the storm, the Claw found its path hampered by a gorge that seemed to fall away into the dark heart of Fenris itself. A narrow arch of stone bridged the gap in defiance to the brutal elements, carved away by over centuries until it soared across the void like a boarding grapple holding one iceskif to another.
Keris padded carefully behind his wolfbrothers in the first group to cross; crouched low to the stone and each step placed with a surety of instinct and balance. His elk-hide boots were soled with the skin of the deep-sharks that hunted the breaking of the pack ice, yet even with their added purchase the stone was murder-slick with wind driven sleet. The storm clawed at them, whipping the shards of ice into billowing curtains and howling through the darkness under their feet.
Keris kept his eyes locked upon the far side of the path, his wolfspirit wary and suspicious. For a moment a shadow loomed in the swirling winds on the far side of the gorge and Keris felt the flood of endorphins spike through his bloodstream in response to the snarled warning of the beast in his soul. One of the new members of the pack, Yngvar, made to pause ahead of him. Keris gave a deep-throated growl of warning,
‘Do Not Stop!’
The Blood Claw pushed onwards, tossing a glance back at him that showed he had seen the figure as well. The younger Wolf turned to him when they had finally set foot on the far side of the abyss as Keris pulled his spear from its sheath across his back,
‘Aye, I saw it.’
Keris’ tones were thick with the underpinnings of battle arousal as his eyes scanned the storm around them without pause,
‘Skitja… Russ gave you wits along with fangs, brother, use them. No mere men walk these peaks, much less in a storm that would take the fur off Morkai’s arse!’
Lightning split the clouds above them, illuminating the broken expanse of stone before them and the six hunched figures that stalked forward. Patches of matted grey fur covered the creatures’ bodies, their twisted features betraying the maddened hunger of near-starvation and their gait a lumbering motion of simian-parody. A hunting throng of ice-trolls, the sub-species not as potent as their larger parent breed but a ferocious foe none the less. The largest of the group bellowed a bestial cry of threat, its scarred face turned towards the Firehawk in challenge. Keris gave a vicious lupine grin, ivory fangs flashing in the lightening of the clouds overhead. Looks like Alrik has finally found something as ugly as he is.
There was a scrapingof talons on stone as three more of the lumbering brutes heaved themselves up from the lip of the gorge right behind the second group of the pack to cross the stone bridge. Keris bared his short fangs in reply as the entire throng launched itself on the Wolves with a chorus of maddened roars.
Keris caught Frostulfr stumble and go down under the lumbering bulk of a troll out the corner of his eye, but before he could turn to his packbrother’s aid he found two of the brutes angling towards him in a snarling rush. The creatures were frenzied in their headlong charge, nearly trampling each other in order to be the first to engage him. Keris choked up on his spear, the haft carved from the pale bone-spine of a seawurm with an adamantium rod at its core, creating the illusion that the weapon was far shorter than it actual was and tensing the corded muscles in his legs as they neared. The lead troll made to lunge the moment it was in range, only to roar in agony when the monomolecular edge of Keris’ spear point came smashing into its shoulder as its prey’s reach suddenly doubled in length.
Keris howled as he threw his weight into the thrust, twisting as he did so to turn the brute’s momentum into the path of its fellow. The troll behind it shrieked in anger as careened headlong into the first, going down a thrashing mass of limbs and storm-iced fur. Keris lunged at its exposed back before the pair had even come to a stop, driving the tip of his spear into the base of the brutish creature’s thick neck and seeking to sever the spine before it could untangle itself from its wounded fellow.
Vermundr trudged through the miserable weather at the front of the pack, spread out as it was. He was surprised to find himself joyful amidst the storm. A bubble of laughter boiled inside of him, and knowing the sound would be drowned out by the storm and winds he let it out. He laughed for several reasons. The first and foremost was because the icy sting plowing into his face was just ridiculous. How could someone call this their home? It was probably more uncomfortable, and perhaps even more formidable than the Alpha legionnaires, which was the second reason he laughed. The final reason was because he needed it. After seeing his pack continue its legacy of infighting even amongst new members who hadn't been on Hecutor, he needed it.
A kept a grin even as his pack mates crossed the thin bridge in front of him. He was glad to see some team work from them when it was needed, as several from the second group reacted in the blink of an eye to save Hrothagar from falling to his death.
He turned to face the ape-trolls as they made themselves known, and still his grin remained. He noticed peering through the sleet, that his brothers on the opposite side of the bridge were encountering enemies as well, an ambush. He laughed and shouted out loud even if his packmates still could not hear, "These foolish beasts think they can outwit Astartes in the art of battle! How adorable!"
He gripped his large callused hand around the metal handle of his battle axe that hung at his waist beneath his furs. It felt as if his fingers stuck to the frozen metal instantly, fusing with his weapon. It may have been painful if his hands weren't already numb.
He drew it and his knife together raising them in front of him and charging at two of the trolls coming at him, shouting a battle cry in case any were near enough to hear him, "Glory for all who want it now, brothers!" There were plenty of targets this time, there would be no stealing of kills or sparsity of struggle. Everyone would have their chance to kill one of the trolls.
While running he noted the height of the Trolls, approximately three meters made them one to two feet taller them himself, so low blows would be easier. However, he noted second, their arms hung low, so low swings would likely be easily blocked. They hunched and stepped with heavy feet. They were not nimble to any degree. Almost within reach he noticed several more details before striking, these creatures were not being affected by the weather conditions as he and his packmates were. Their teeth and hands were their weapons, and their bellies were paunched.
The predicted swing of the arm flew over his head as he dived low, but his right arm swung high sending the blade of his battle axe clean into the Troll's gut which spewed blood as he pulled his weapon away continuing to move forwards to get behind it. His knife came around, held in his left hand, and punctured the troll's lower spine. The first of his targets dropped dead onto the snow covered ground.
Any smile or laughter he still had left was gone in an instant as he saw that these 'silly' beasts were in fact a significant threat. He saw some of his pack falling and tumbling with the creatures, some of them clearly had been wounded. He found no humor at any of those under his command being killed, especially by some disgusting ape-troll on their own homeworld; not even an enemy of the Imperium. He noticed Some of the figures getting achingly close tot he cliff's edge.
He took this all in in just couple of seconds before he heard the roar he was waiting for. His arm swung behind him, the head of his axe turned to the ground knowing the Troll's long arm would be coming in low. Though he had guessed correctly and blocked the first arm, he hadn't expected the troll to swing with both at once, and so the other arm still came crashing into the side of his head sending him to the ground disorientated.
He stumbled trying to stand up, his furs getting in the way of his movements. The troll pounded its large hands into his back as he tried to regain his footing again and again. I let out caws that sounded like something between a large seal and a human each time it brought down its fists and claws into Vermundr's backside.
He couldnt think, there was no room to think. Face back to the ground, then feet scurrying, then face back into the ground, then feet scurrying. He did the first thing he could think of and took his knife which was amazingly still in hand and ripped his fur cloak at the sleeves, allowing the wind to take hold and fly into the Trolls' face.
The fur was quickly knocked aside but it served its purpose all the same throwing the troll's focus off for the slightest moment. Vermundr was back on his feet, axe and knife again at the ready.
The winds whipped at the exposed flesh of his face and torso. He knew dieing in the freezing storms of Fenris was definitely possible, but he would rather die at the icy grips of a storm he could do nothing about, than be the pack leader who's group of blood claws was found dead by the hands of an apparently too tactically savvy troll clan for them too handle...
Azahd watched as events outside his control spiraled into madness. Alrik toppled Frostulf and pummeled him into submission. Azahd flinched to watch the scarlet fluid stained the pure white blanket of snow. Blood, Astartes blood flowed free and uninhibited and it pained Azahd to watch, but Alrik's blood was up, and to aid Frostulf would only serve to prove Alrik's point; the newer members were weak, and undeserving of their place. Vermundr was done rebuking Krahl, and Keris had also brought Krahl low and now intervened for Frostulf. All the other fresh bloods seemed to fair better, integrating well with the existing claw. Azahd for the moment watched the scenes unfold and listen to the warning given by Lord Blackmane. The blade of ice continued to roll over Azahd's knuckles, and he absorbed all that was happening with an almost casual indifference. Mistakes were being made, trying to bond with the Firehawk and acts of selfish glory were amongst them, and these were things that Azahd could learn from.
Once again, events moved forward relentlessly. It was time to go, time to go home. Azahd watched the brothers around him move into action, glimpsing some curious silent exchange between Keris and Alrik but thought nothing of it. The two seemed like fire and ice from Azahd's brief experiences within the pack and was not keen to stand between the stream of emotions that joined the two like a chord. Azahd was the one to put out the fire and then the pack was left alone with nought but the like of the stars and moon and the howling of the wind. And yet, something pricked on the edge of Azahd's senses. Barely palpable but defiantly there. A fleeting presence. Possibly some predator drawn by the smell of roasting flesh. But the pack moved quickly and the fire was already out and almost immediately the presence disappeared. *A phantom in the snow* Azahd thought *Nothing more*. Time to move.
The claw trudged constantly for hours. A storm rose up like an angry cat and spat wind and hail and ice at them. Rain and ice whipped around Azahd.Even as a native Fenrisian, this storm still chilled him to the bone. Who on earth would think to make such a hostile environment their home. Surely such a thing was madness. As the trudged on, Azahd became increasingly cautious. Dispite his best attempts to settle his mind, he couldn't help but fell they were being watched. But this storm was playing hell with his sense of smell and it drank all sound, even from most of his battle-brothers. Still, there was unmistakably something out there, just beyond the veil of ice and rain.
The claw reached a natural brigde of perma-ice and stone, but in this storm, with the holwing winds and the rain that turned to ice on contact, crossing it was less than inviting. However, the claw stil split up again, and the first half started to make their way across. Just as Azahd's group was making ready to cross, an feral howl rose up from the storm. Azahd could feel his wolf-spirit snarl at such a direct challange. Azahd was still unaccustomed to keeping his wolf-spirit in check, but managed it whilst he spun to see what manner of creature had challanged them.
There was not just one shadowed form in the storm but several. From the size of them, Azahd judged they were a troll of some sort. Big bastards. This wasn't going to be easy. Again a howl rose up from both sides of the valley, and the beast charged. Azahd issued his own howl of acceptance and rushed to great them. Two beasts were comming straight for him. Both looked to swipe him, and so Azhad dove feet first into a slide in the ice and snow. He slid right between the pair and came out the otherside unscathed. As the two started to turn, he took hold of his spear and lept into the flank of one of them and struck it with his spear. THe creature howled and swiped at him but as quickly as he had struck, Azahd jumped back.
This exchange went on for several minutes. Azahd could hear the sounds of his pack-mates fighting and the howls of creatures as the were sturck by the Astartes. Azahd could barely get a stirke in against his two assailants. When the oppertunity presented itself wiht one, the other was always ready with a strike, giving the other time to recover. One Azahd's part he had remained largely unscathed. A few shallow marks from the trolls razor sharp claws, but nothing more. But this fight was testing, and unlike the trolls, the feirce weather was making the fight all the more difficult for Azahd.
Again, one of them swiped for him and Azahd jumped back to avoid the swipe. Then, an unholy howl rose up to his left. The second troll had moved around and was now charging for him. In front of him was the rapidly recovering troll, to his left the second, and to his right a sheer drop. Then quick as lightning, the idea hit Azahd. He stood, bold as brass in the face of the charging troll and howled back at it. Such impudence from it's supposed prey seemed to enrage the troll and it's speed increased. In a few moments, it would have cannoned into him and sent him flying off the edge. But at the last moment, Azahd spun out of the path of the troll. Cleasrly realising it's fate, the troll tried to stop itself, but Azahd struck out with the point of his spear to the base of the creature's head. The force of the blow, sent the three meter tall monster stumbling toward the edge. At that moment, it looked as if the creature would surely fall off the edge, but Azahd had not time to watch and be sure. The other troll was ready to attack again and it wasted no time doing so. Again Azahd side-stepped a hammer-blow swipe and grinned a feral smile. He was enjoying the thrill of the fight...
Tyr nodded as he agreed with what Heimdall smelt, obviously there was nothing else out there or he would tell the blood claw. One thing that Heimdall didn't understand was to why the elder blood claws thought themselves above the others. Admittedly they had combat experience and had fought and bled in the name of the Emperor and the Wolf, but they were still blood claws, like the rest of them.
The group soon moved out, moving forward in groups. The storm that was coming hit them hard and followed them for hours, causing all senses to be pretty much useless. Heimdall could hear the howling winds, and could barely see his brothers in front of him. They were getting closer and closer to the Fang with every step though, soon they would be rejoicing in the halls of the legendary keep.
Heimdall was in the rear echelon of the group, the place he preferred to be. In training he would always volunteer for a rear guard action when applicable, and wished he had his trusty flamer with him, then the snow and ice could feel his rage. He would have been good if he had it with him at the front, lighting the way for the others to follow. Heimdall had grown up on Fenris, but in all his years of training and before he had never experienced a storm of this magnitude. He felt his annoyance rise within him, they were being to damn cautious and slow. He could be in the halls by now, drinking and feasting to tales of their victory.
He knew the Wulfen spirit wanted him to snap, to abandon the others and make a push for himself to the Fang, but he ignored it. He had a claw to look after now, brothers whether they be by choice or not. Soon the Claw reached a natural looking bridge, made out of ice. The groups set across in their smaller divided echelons, Heimdall's would be the last to cross the frozen ice bridge. Heimdall stopped as they waited, keeping a lookout as best he could, but it wasn't good enough. he could see, hear or smell anything thanks to the storm, and he let loose a snarl of frustration at this.
Then he heard something, a roar it sounded like. Out of nowhere the group were besieged by some form of trolls, they seemed unaffected by the blizzard, and smashed into the rear echelon. Heimdall faced a creature bigger than him, and before he could even bring his spear to bear on it it stuck its claw into his leg, and raked down it. Crimson blood flew freely out of the wound, the Troll had some in it claw while the rest stained the ground he stood on. With a howl of anger and determination Heimdall leapt straight at the troll, knocking it backwards with the butt of his spear.
The troll quickly regained its composure as Heimdall led a series of lightning fast hits on it. The troll was barely scratched as Heimdall sliced with his spear, and with a roar it swung a fist at him. Heimdall ducked underneath the blow, stabbing his spear upwards into the trolls arm. It howled in pain as it grabbed hold of his spear and yanked it out of its arm. Dropping the spear on the ground it charged at Heimdall, who barely had time to pull out his knife before it was upon him.
Heimdall ducked and slashed at its legs, hoping to knock it off balance, but the troll kicked him backwards, Heimdall slamming into the snow. He rose quickly and leapt forward to meet the troll head on once more, darting in with his knife and causing blood to spray as he sliced the outside of its leg. Heimdall rolled underneath one of its punches and grabbed his discarded spear, turning to face a charging troll head on. Heimdall would end this fight soon, once he had repaid the troll for injuring his leg.
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