[Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

The story of magic in North America.
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Straken
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[Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Straken » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:56 pm

Lovell's shout came just in time, Keelin looking behind herself and beginning to run simultaneously- The Wendigo jumped, reaching its claws out to try and grab the young woman, whom made a small noise and dove to one side, just barely far enough for the vicious magical creature to miss its mark. Keelin rolled in the snow, trying to get away from the Wendigo but knowing she was also leaving herself fairly defenseless with the maneuver.

"Crap crap crap crap!" she yelled, frantic, before stalling her roll and trying to get up so that she was facing the beast. at least facing it, she could properly defend herself. The staff, normally hidden away in the guise of a small charm around her neck, had now expanded to its full size, and was brandished between the Druid and her foe.

"Melissa! Get out of here! Get to the truck and bring us our weapons!" Keelin shouted, trying to make herself as loud as possible to keep the Wendigo's attention while also getting Melissa to try and be useful. At the very least it would get her away from the Wendigo and to relative Safety.

"R-r-right!" Melissa called back, overcoming her terror of seeing the beast that had left her stranded here. Clumsily she turned and began to run back across the lake towards the truck. Stumbling occasionally on the ice, the teenage girl was determined to put distance between herself and whatever was going on.

Lovell was genuinely scared. Wendigos had been the boogeyman he had been raised with, and now with one standing not twenty feet away from him all of his childhood fears came rushing back. Gritting his teeth, the young wolfman tried to regain his composure before his fear got the better of him. Keelin had gotten away from the first attack and seemed on top of things, and even Melissa had enough sense to act; but the druid had magic, and until Melissa got back Lovell had nothing.

With a rough growl and a huff, Lovell steeled himself and forced himself to act. He would need to do what he could until Melissa returned with the weapons, because for as scared as he was of this beast he knew he was not going to abandon Keelin; he would need to keep an eye out for a stray branch he could grab. Making his legs move, Lovell began to circle away from the cabin and Keelin, ensuring that the wendigo wouldn't be able to get to both of them too quickly. With his teeth bared, and hair bristling, he found himself wishing for the first time that he would change.

The Wendigo was temporarily given pause, as its sneak attack had failed, and now its targets had split up, one running away and the other two causing its attention to be divided. It growled, a hollow, unearthly noise that made Keelin's hair stand up on the back of her neck and caused Siofra to tremble in fright beneath her robes.

Staff still brandished, the redhead slowly reached into the pouch full of rune stones hoping to find something that might be helpful, but looking at the creature before her, she knew all the small pebbles she carried could do was perhaps distract the beast for a moment or two, just enough to potentially give them an opening, either for escape or attack depending on circumstances.

Continuing his circle, Lovell was nearing a small group of trees where, with luck, he could grab a branch, and while it wouldn't amount for much it would still be better than using his bare hands to fight a demon. Now it was just a matter of not drawing too much attention, but not seeming so inconsequential that it just goes right for Keelin; that said, it could also end up considering the man at its back to be the biggest threat and rush him before he accomplished anything.

Step. Step. Step. Each move felt agonizingly slow, and each step made a painfully loud crunch as his boots broke the frozen crust of the snow. Just a few feet more. Finally, he was within reach, and he risked taking his eyes off of the wendigo long enough to find a branch. Luck was on his side it seemed, as a solid enough looking limb was half broken off from one of the trees, but that was as far as the luck went as he needed to grab the branch with both hands as he wrenched it off of the tree.

The Wendigo, for it's part, seemed to be ignoring Lovell. More than likely, it simply didn't see him as nearly as big a threat as the Druid brandishing a magical object right in front of it. The most it did was turn its head a little in order to keep an eye on the young werewolf, but the majority of its attention was still being paid to Keelin.

For now, the end of her staff was glowing, as she quietly recited the incantation for a warding spell to hopefully continue to keep the creature at bay. Regardless, it started to slowly step toward the Druid, its claws at the ready, the otherworldly growl still quite present. In fact, it seemed to hold some power of its own, as a sense of dread seemed to continue to grow upon the two standing on either side of the Wendigo.

Branch in hand, Lovell cast a couple a wary glances across the lake, and saw that Melissa had almost made it halfway across the frosty surface of the lake. Adrenaline had his nerves wired as he turned back towards the wendigo and tightened his grip on the tree branch. The monster seemed to be holding the same as they were, seeing what will happen, and Lovell figured it was too much to hope that it would stay this way up until he had an actual sword in hand.

Feeling through the pouch at her side, Keelin found what she was looking for. It wasn't an especially powerful rune, nor did it have any lasting effect, but, it worked quickly and decisively.

"Lovell, I need you to close your eyes for a second! Just trust me!" the druid yelled at her compatriot, pulling a stone from the pouch- the motion made the Wendigo begin to lunge forward toward its prey, but the stone was quickly thrown into the snow and seemed to explode with a bright, loud flash-bang, almost like a grenade used by SWAT teams to disorient criminals.

The Wendigo gave pause, recoiling and covering its skeletal face with a thin arm and its sharp claws, the lidless eyes temporarily blinded by the effects of Keelin's magic. "Now, Go for it!" Keelin called to Lovell, her ward finished, she cast it on both herself and the werewolf- the effect was as immediate as the flash rune, that sense of dread that had been coming down on the pair being immediately eased as the magical terror the Wendigo created was lifted from the two's minds.

Biting his lip, Lovell's initial thought was that closing his eyes would be the last thing he would want to do, but he could feel something in the back of his mind that was overriding his other thoughts. When he saw Keelin reach into her pouch, he closed his eyes and brought his arms up. Sure enough, not long after she gave him the signal to charge. The instinct kicked in again, and trusting in the druid, he rushed forward. Mid stride, the fear that had been fraying his nerves seemed to abate, now there was just the bestial drive to attack this obvious threat to him and his friend.

Lovell closed the distance with somewhat clumsy steps as his heavy leather boots broke into the snow covered ground. Once he was close to the beast he swung, putting as much of his strength behind it as he could, bringing the branch down on its head. Much to his dismay, the cold and the age of the branch had made it brittle, and while the strike was solid, the wood could not stand up to the force. Roaring loudly, Lovell both relished the solid strike, but also dreaded the position he was back in; once again, he had no weapon.

Before either Lovell or Keelin could react much, the Wendigo spun around- though it could not see yet, the sharp strike of the stick couple with Lovell's yell gave it a very good idea where the young man was. Thankfully, its claws were pointed the wrong way, or Lovell's stomach would have been torn to shreds, but still, the surprisingly hard wrist of the creature hit him squarely in the middle, sending him flying back at the tree he had just borrowed a branch from. Not once, but twice the wind was knocked out of the poor teenager, before he fell to the ground with a soft thud.

Keelin's eyes widened, and she began to run in a circular way, keeping an even distance from the creature, as it twisted back around to try and get its bearings on her again. She recited another incantation, this one an attack spell, trying to bide her time and focus her mana to execute the attack before it was too late.

Lovell struck the tree with a sickening crunch and an exasperated oof as his breath was forcefully knocked out of his chest. The young wolfman was on his knees, bracing himself against the ground with one arm, and gripping his chest with the other. Sharp gasps for air quickened, and then deepened into growls and snarls. His fear was gone, and his fight and flight instinct had settled on fight. Striking the ground, he looked back up, and to those observing he had changed slightly.

With the stress placed upon his body, and the supernatural situation he was in had given him at least one boon; some of his latent werewolf genealogy was kicking in to help keep him alive. His slight stubble had grown thicker along the edges of his jawline, along with the hair on his head, his ears extended a little ways and grown furry, his canine teeth had grown, and his nails became stronger. These were the early stages of the werewolf transformation, and he could feel the instincts holding more sway in his mind. Standing back up again, Lovell snarled and ripped another branch off as he moved to square off with the wendigo again.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Kai » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:03 am

As she ran, Keelin began to notice a change coming over Lovell. It seemed almost familiar, as if she'd seen it before, but it wasn't anything she'd remembered experiencing. She stopped for a second, a little surprised but trying to keep focused on her spell.

The Wendigo stopped moving when Keelin did, its clawed hands moving up as if it rub its eyes for a moment, though with the changes coming over Lovell its attention was once again divided. Fearsome as it might be, with Keelin's ward preventing its magical terror ability, and two magical people distracting it, it became clear that the Wendigo was an ambush predator that mostly went for defenseless prey like deer or nonmags.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Straken » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:38 pm

A fierce snarl grew on Lovell's face. New branch in hand, and firmly within the first stage of his werewolf transformation, the teen restarted his own circle of the wendigo. His was slower, and gradually began to draw him in closer to the beast. As he walked he let out several growls and punctuated roars that were beginning to sound more bestial than before.

"Come on you freak of nature, show me what you've got," Lovell said, his voice rumbling low. "I'm gonna snap off that skull and mount it as a trophy!"

Just be sure you focus on me, he thought as he locked his eyes. After a few more moments, Lovell dropped his shoulders and pushed off; beginning another rush towards the wendigo. Only this time it wasn't without a plan. If it swings, feint right; if it lunges, break left; if it disengages and goes for Keelin, take out its legs.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Kai » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:30 pm

Keelin stayed still for a moment to watch as the change came over Lovell and turned him into a more bestial form. She blinked, but kept her composure and began her slow movements once more as soon as she realized that the Wendigo had settled its attention fully on the young man, having deemed Lovell to be more of a threat than the Druid. It lunged at Lovell, growling in response and baring its fangs- which were much larger than the young Werewolf's. The Wendigo also proved to be quite a bit faster than him, taking him by surprise with another powerful clawed slash, this time the business ends of the creature's claws made contact with Lovell, slicing him rather deeply, though his quick actions meant it only gave a flesh wound as opposed to anything really fatal, still, Lovell's arm was sliced open at several points, leaving it in burning pain and more or less useless for the moment.

However, Keelin did not give it time to strike again, her spell finally unleashed, the staff had grown once again, increasing in length and size quite a bit, her strength was momentarily magically augmented giving her the ability to swing it with quite a large amount of force, the effort being aided by a large amount of light and wind that practically exploded from the staff as it made contact with the Wendigo. A loud, serial cracking sound was heard as several of the Wendigo's bones snapped from the force, but it wasn't going down alone. it grabbed the hunter as it was flung forcibly from its spot, batted like an oversized, furry baseball out onto the lake, its quarry unwittingly along for the ride as it was now airborne on its way toward the lake- flying for much longer and farther than it reasonably should have been before the duo crashed into the icy surface, which shattered beneath them despite its thickness, and the two disappeared from sight.

"Oh no-" Keelin muttered breathlessly, as soon as she realized that Lovell had gone with the Wendigo. "Oh no no no no!" she continued, running out onto the ice and making her way to the shattered hole in the ice, which by now was already beginning to freeze over even as she arrived.

"Oh no, Lovell! Please be okay! I can't go back without you!" she started, not realizing that there were tears beginning to form in her eyes

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Straken » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:33 pm

Lovell's growls were beginning to match the wendigo's. Slashes and blows were traded back and forth as the teen wolf squared off with the demon. When the next slash cut him deep, he roared and could feel his senses slipping further as his instincts sought to try and keep him alive. He was caught completely unaware though when the beast latched onto him as it got blasted by a spell. Before he could fight back he was sailing through the air, and try as he might to fight back the wendigo had it's claws in deep. Then, as quickly as it began, the flight came to its bitter conclusion as he crashed through the ice of the lake.

The shock of the cold was the last thing Lovell was aware of under the ice. With his instincts taking full control, he began to tear into the wendigo with a renewed ferocity. Taking it with his own claws, he grabbed hold of the beast's antler with his good arm, swung his legs into its chest, and sank his growing teeth into its neck; tearing savagely.

Back above the ice time began to stretch on as as the water froze over again. Seconds passed, and then the first minute passed, giving way to two with no sign of a change. "Keelin! I've got the stuff!" called a voice from back across the ice. It was Melissa on her way back from the truck with the Druid's bow and the old sword. As she approached the younger girl, she began to slow and look around. "Where... where did the thing go? And where's Lovell?"

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Kai » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:27 pm

The redhead didn't know what to do when she heard the other girl's voice behind her. Slowly she turned toward Melissa, but all she could do was give her a blank expression of shock, and point silently to the cracked and crumpled patch of Ice, that was swiftly freezing back into one cohesive piece as they sat. In her other hand, the staff was gripped, but only loosely, having returned to its normal size, the only sign of what it had just done being a small amount of blood near the end. Whether it belonged to Lovell or the Wendigo, she didn't know or care at this moment.

"They fell..." She finally said, though she really didn't sound like she believed what she said- she knew it was a lie. she'd hit them, and knocked them in there.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Straken » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:39 pm

Melissa let out a sharp gasp of disbelief, one hand moving up to cover her mouth while the other arm still cradled the weapons. After the initial shock, the older girl began to cast about. "Lovell!" she called, unsure of what else to do. "Lovell!"

Then, perhaps a hundred feet away from where Keelin stood, a loud cracking began to sound and a portion of the ice began to push upward. After several more cracks formed, a clawed hand shoved it's way through to the surface; it's thick black fur soaked through with freezing water. Sinking it's claws into the ice, it smashed and pulled it's way all the way up. Only, it wasn't the demonic form of the wendigo, and it also wasn't the human form of Lovell; the only thing that gave it away as the young man was the clothing which had begun to split at the seems. This new form was broad of shoulder, with heavy fur bristling through the burst seems and across his exposed skin, his ears had grown pointed, his nose flattened, and his eyes were a deep gold. Fully resurfaced, he dragged himself away from the hole, panting heavily, and coughing up the water from his lungs.

Upon seeing the bestial form of the werewolf, the unwitting Melissa let out a cry and pointed.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Kai » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:47 pm

Keelin was stunned to silence for a moment when the ice began cracking again, but noticing that it wasn't in fact the Wendigo coming up, and recognizing the clothes. She heaved a sigh of relief once she realized that it was in fact Lovell. Although she had never seen this form, she knew that Lovell was a werewolf, and so she wasn't frightened, even if his new countenance was rather intimidating. "This is gonna be a pain..." she muttered, knowing that she was going to have to erase Melissa's memory before too long, but at least her de-facto partner seemed to be safe.

"Lovell! Are you alright?" Keelin called out. While she wasn't afraid of him, she wasn't sure how much control Lovell had over his form as of right now, and opted to remain distant in case the young Bergman was running on pure instinct. Indeed, she took her bow and arrows from Melissa at this point, though she simply slung them over her shoulder instead of holding them at a threatening ready position.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Straken » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:23 pm

"Wait, that's Lovell?!" Melissa said before falling into stunned silence. Shifted slightly, she grabbed the pommel of the sword that was still in her hands.

Lovell had now extricated himself completely from the water; faint steam rising off of him as the water began to frost and freeze. After a few more racking coughs he became more aware of what was going on, but his instincts still had him wired. From off to the side, he heard a noise and reacted. Pushing himself to crouching on all fours, he was ready to lunge at whatever might come at him. A low growl began to grow in his throat.

Whatever it was, Lovell could not quite make out as the freezing water hadn't completely cleared from his eyes or ears. Taking a few deep breaths, he let his nose do the work, and no amount of frost was going to trick his nose. Recognizing Keelin, the werewolf's instincts softened, and his rationale began to return. Lifting an arm, he wiped his eyes with quick, furtive movements. A look of recognition dawned on his as he registered the druid, and almost immediately his ears dropped and he averted his eyes; he looked almost ashamed.

Taking some steadying breaths, Lovell began to walk over to Keelin. His gait was hunched and he almost was walking on all fours. As he moved, his posture straightened and his features began to shift. His fur receeded somewhat, and he was reverting back to the early form of his transformation. By the time he reached Keelin, Lovell was back to normal. Standing in front of the younger girl, he cleared his throat.

"I was hoping for an antler," Lovell's voice was hoarse in his throat as he held out a handful of short, bristley black fur. The hint of a shiver could be seen in his fingertips, a reminder of his soaked clothes, split seams, and blood loss. Though the gashes on his arm appear to have healed to a manageable level, and while still a severe slice, he wasn't going to bleed out too much.

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Re: [Chapter 2] The Dead of Winter: Snow Stained Red

Post by Kai » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:00 pm

Keelin smiled, relief washing over her face, and she took the handful of Wendigo fur from the hunter. "Well, I'd much rather you bring back nothing and be safe than bring back the most choice of prizes and then die." the handful of fur went into a small empty pouch that hung from her waist, cinching it closed with the strap that also held it to her belt.

"Did it-" she started, looking down to the ice with a bit of concern, "Did you manage to..." She couldn't seem to bring herself to say it, after the last time they had had to 'deal' with an errant creature. "Is it gone? For good?" she asked, finally getting over it. It was at this point that she realized that Lovell was soaked to the bone and probably freezing cold, plus he was still injured, despite his natural healing ability.

"You know what, let's get you inside and see if we can't find you a change of clothes first!" she suggested, looking at Melissa and motioning toward the side of the lake she had just come from, to the cabins they had found her in that morning.

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