This was incredibly unusual. She was heading, out a little ways, enough off the beaten path that nobody else would be around, but not far enough off of it to be her normal stomping grounds. On top of that, she had a weapon strapped to her back. A long bow, and a quiver of arrows, bouncing quietly but somehow threateningly along behind her as she moved. Red hair, green eyes, and freckles, were the majority of what showed of her aside from her long green cloak, and the flash of her red All-star sneakers.
But, the unusual thing was, again, where she was headed. She was headed to Lovell Bergman's house. Normally, she avoided the place- it smelled too much of death what with all the hunting and trapping they did. Of course, most people wouldn't notice the smell, but having a heightened magical awareness often made approaches to hunters' places give her a bit of a bad feeling, regardless of how clean the places were kept.
For expediency's sake, she hiked rapidly along the road, rather than taking the more scenic route through the forest, as she was in a bit of a hurry. Something was going on in the forest, which she could not take care of herself. People were starting to talk, and although she did have a limited ability to augment or cloud people's memories of magical events, it was running beyond her capacity to cover up, and something had to be done. Something that required force.
Beyond herself, Siofra was more or less useless in a fight, for anything more than surveillance, so she needed something, no, someone, a bit larger, and stronger than the squirrel. That's where Lovell came in. As much tension as there were between the hunter and the keeper of the forest, Keelin begrudgingly had to accept that he was one of the few people she could trust with supernatural matters such as these.
It wasn't long before her long shanks and swift feet brought her to the edge of what would be considered the Bergmans' 'yard', a bit of a clearing on their property which contained the main house and a few small out-buildings of various purpose. At this point, she stopped abruptly. There was no point in coming any closer, especially since she was technically armed. Lovell would have noticed her by now, and likely be on his way to meet her.
The main building in the yard, the Bergman home, was a stout wooden-framed house with a single door, a few windows, and a total of four rooms inside. As Keelin figured, she was noticed as soon as she entered the property, as a result a loud barking rang out from the nearby shed. After a few moments a furred figure bolted from the shed sprinting on all fours. It was Macy, the Bergman's hound. Excitedly the bloodhound made a B-line towards Keelin before bouncing around the girl as she sniffed the air.
From the house one of the curtains shifted ever so slightly as a more humanoid figure checked what the commotion was all about. The door to the house swung open and the man standing in the doorway easily filled the entire opening. Tall, wide, and wearing brown flannel, the elder Bergman, Henry, stared out into the yard with sharp brown eyes that peeked out from between a messy head of black hair and a full beard. With a wave of acknowledgement and greeting to the Vaughan girl he proceeded to make a shrill whistle, at which Macy calmed down and simply sat where she was by Keelin. His business seemingly taken care of he closed the door once more.
After about ten seconds the door once again open, this time with a bit more gusto, and Lovell stepped outside. "Need something?" Lovell called out, beginning the conversation even as he crossed the fifty or so feet between her and the house. "I don't remember hunting anything I shouldn't've."
When Henry came out, Keelin returned his wave of recognition, and then proceeded to scratch Macy behind the ears as she waited for Lovell to make his way out. Of all the Bergmans, Macy was probably her favorite, as the dog was definitely the easiest to get along with. However, she would have to get back to business once the Hunter came out.
Soon, Lovell appeared, and as he began the conversation he could see the look of concern on the Druid's face. "It's nothing you've done. I'm sure you've noticed, though. Ersee got kicked out of his clan, and has been going on a rampage. He's been attacking Humans, and even letting himself be seen."
Keelin shook her head, seeming a little upset. "The clan doesn't seem to want anything to do with him anymore, nor do any of the others. It's a risk having a lone Sasquatch this close to humans, especially in his state." The redhead paused and looked Lovell in the eyes, not wanting to say any more.
Lovell gave Keelin a tired stare as she explained her visit. With his hands tucked in to a pair of rather ragged jeans, a worn out t-shirt tucked in partially, and rather messy hair, he looked the part of a man who was woken up prematurely from a nap. "I got up from my nap for an ape sighting?" Lovell growled after Keelin trailed off, and followed with a raspy sigh. "Though it's not everyday I see you with a bona fide weapon, and rarer still for you to actually come here. So, seeing as we don't really do small talk, that must mean you want something from me. Could probably give you a gun to use, sure'll take down Sasquatch better than that bow will."
Keelin frowned at Lovell's attitude, and scoffed when he referred to the Sasquatch as an 'ape'. She nearly said something regrettable when the young man suggested she use a gun, but opted instead to be a bit nicer, as she needed him to come along. "You and I both know that guns don't work on them," She countered, turning down his offer of a modern weapon. "These are rune arrows, but even these only do so much. Ersee nearly killed someone, so we have to put him down. You know I can't do it alone, and I know your father has some more powerful relics that only you can use. I need you to come help me. Please, Lovell. I know you hold little love for the people around here but the rumor mill is always active and your family has a bit of a reputation. The sooner we can take care of this the sooner questions will stop being asked and the less likely there are to be accusations."
Another growl, this one more ponderous, could be heard as Lovell scratched his head. Macy, who had now made her way over to the boy, and stared up at him. Looking back at the dog, Lovell frowned and held eye contact with the hound. "What?" he asked, directing it at Macy. Scratching his head some more he looked back to Keelin.
"It's weird hearing you say 'please'," Lovell said matter-of-factly. "Alright, I'll help. That thing stomping around'll make hunting trickier."
Thinking back for a moment, Lovell pondered what sort of 'relics' his dad might have lying around. "He does have that old Viking sword he hooked while out fishing on the lake a couple years back. Think the thing had a rune or two etched onto it..." Lovell now scratched at the faint layer of stubble on his chin.
Keelin's face seemed to brighten slightly, though her mood was still lower than usual due to the dire task at hand. "Yes! that's the one I was thinking of. He brought it to my family to look over when he found it. It should do nicely." The redhead put a finger to her lower lip in thought for a moment, as if she was forgetting something else that she wanted to remind him of.
"Oh, right! Do you have any form of extra protection, aside from being, well, you?" she asked
"Keelin, my family hunts game for a living. We have some blazed orange, some fishing waders, and maybe a couple sets of leather coats," Lovell said as he crossed his arms. "We don't generally make a habit of having what we are hunting fight back. If you want to try some leather, you are welcome."
Keelin quirked an eyebrow, then realized that Lovell thought she had been asking for more protection for herself. "Oh! No, I meant for you! I have my rune cloak, and several protection spells, so I should be fine," The girl spun around, showing off the cloak and reinforcing her protective spells with a faint glimmer that was barely visible, even with the nearly eternally overcast weather. "I was asking if you had anything extra to protect yourself."
"I'll dress warm," Lovell said with a shrug. "So when were you planning on beginning this excursion of yours?"
"I was thinking we need to leave as soon as possible," Keelin stated, looking away into the forest, letting the serene sounds sink in for a moment. "I would like to get this unpleasant business over with as soon as possible, if you're up for it." The Irish-American tapped her foot on the ground for a moment before remembering something with a start- "Oh, Also, I must apologize for my rudeness earlier, I've been upset about this for a while..." She trailed off a moment before getting back to business, "I can compensate you for your troubles, I don't want you to feel like I'm just using you."
Standing stoically as he listened, Lovell huffed lightly. "You can hold onto the compensation offer for the time being. Wouldn't want you getting off easy if this turns out to be trickier than you make it sound," he said as he looked off into the woods in the direction that Keelin did. "And I'm fine to leave whenever, just give me a minute to get some actual clothes on."
With that Lovell turned around and walked back toward the house, and as he got the the door he turned back to Keelin. "Feel free to make yourself comfortable. There are some chairs in the shed by Macy's bed," he told the girl, partially to tease her since he seemed aware of her aversion to the main building where he and his father processed the game they shot. With a swift turn of the handle Lovell continued into the house to get his preparations taken care of.
Keelin crossed her arms at Lovell's attempt at a joke- Of course she didn't want to go near that shed; it stunk too much, at least to her. Sure. the Bergmans ate everything they caught and weren't wastefully, respecting the law of the land and all that, but the sheer volume of hunting and skinning they did was still something Keelin was certainly not fond of. She continued to tap her foot on the ground, hover the pace had quickened slightly as she found herself mildly annoyed.
In order to distract herself, she looked down at Macy, and made a few small noises to attract the dog over, after which Keelin began to once more scratch the hound behind the ears. To which Macy happily sat leaning against Keelin's leg as she panted lazily.
After about ten minutes the door to the house opened once more and out walked Lovell, only this time he was dressed more appropriately for an excursion into the Northwoods of Minnesota in November. Clad in a light brown leather jacket over top of his mainstay green flannel, heavy denim jeans, solid leather hiking boots, and a light scarf lazily draped around his neck Lovell then made his way over to the shed. From the shed he had grabbed his rifle, a reflective band of cloth, and another light scarf. As he returned to Keelin the girl would also be able to notice a handmade leather sheath that held the sword Lovell hand mentioned looped around his waist.
"Alright, I am set," Lovell announced before holding out the scarf and the reflective band to Keelin. "Just in case you end up needing more than that cloak I'll have an extra scarf along, and here is your safety band. Wouldn't want anyone taking pot shots at you out in the forest, now would we?"
Keelin looked at the small bit of reflective fabric with something nearing disdain, having never felt it necessary to make herself any more visible than she needed to be. In all her years roaming the forest (which, to be fair, weren't especially many, but none less than Lovell's) she had never needed a device such as this, but she took it anyway, stashing it beneath her cloak. "If we hear gunshots, I'll put it on," she promised, before nodding her head toward the forest. "Shall we?" she asked, rhetorically, turning on the spot and starting at a jog into the woods at the edge of the Bergmans' property.
As Keelin jogged off, Lovell looked down at Macy. With a light whistle and a nod, the hunter and the hound began to walk in the same direction as the druid. Cracking his neck, he adjusted the gun strap on his shoulder while wondering what the girl's hurry was, unless Sasquatch was nearby the two would probably be better off conserving energy; and not getting sweat induced hypothermia.
He found her, before too long, walking, now that they were in a more wooded area away from Lovell's house. it wouldn't take long for him to figure out why, as he had been so keen to crack wise about it earlier. However, as they disappeared into the woods, Keelin guided them onto a disused looking track, which led away no
The story of magic in North America.
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