Time/Date :It is currently 13:04 Pacific Time on Sun Jun 18 2006.
Place :Farmhouse Porch (to begin with)
Weather :Currently in Saint Claire, it is a cloudy day. The temperature is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from variable directions at 5 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 30.21 and steady, and the relative humidity is 54 percent. The dewpoint is 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius.)
Moon Phase :Currently the moon is in the waning Half Moon phase (51% full).
A lathe-turned wooden railing runs the length of the porch save where the steps are, well-worn with use. To the right of the stairs, a wide swing is suspended from the overhang which shelters this area; to the left, a small table is the centerpiece for several chairs pulled around it, all of which face out to the front yard and the fields and trees beyond. The spring breezes which blow through hold the promise of new growth to come, filling the space with an openness that includes all of the farm. The low shrubs planted in the rich bed of earth beyond the railing hold new leaves and tiny buds which threaten to burst into color at any moment.
An aging screen door newly refurbished stands between the heavy inner door of the house and the outside air. Four steps lead down to the lane, a number of pots with small flower seedling carefully arranged alongside them.
Vera rubs at her jaw and stands. "If it is, we will make do. If all works well, we will have a distinct advantage."
Vera takes the few steps necessary to leave the porch. "Can anyone here drive?" She asks. There are actually, two cars in the driveway that are normally not there. One is a minivan, sorry folks, no SUV, and a small jeep. There is some sort of straw-man poking out of the jeeps' back seat.
Abraxas eyes the cars dubiously, but shakes his head. "No."
Thump-rattle-rattle-rattle. Thump-rattle-rattle-rattle. The sound of KL's approach precedes her appearance by some moments, but eventually the teenage Ahroun hoves into sight. The sound is caused by the stone she's punting in front of her, her hands shoved into her pockets and her eyes firmly fixed on the floor. A metaphorical raincloud hangs over her, a disconsolant expression on her face. When she gets close to the porch, she finally notices the assembled multitude, and ejaculates a "Fuck me!" of surprise.
Katya doesn't understand the question, but then, it probably wasn't directed towards her anyways. She growls softly at the cars as something dawns on her.
With slow treads, Reggie crosses the road, avoiding the traffic, and walks up the lane to the porch. He's hot, even for the moderate temperate for today's summer day, under his wolfskins, but sweat dots only his head and legs. His scarred brow creases as he performs a headcount of people on the porch, and he declines to add his weight to the porch, standing by the steps instead.
Emma has been there, though quiet, and when she spots the Fury Ahroun, she moves quickly in her direction. A firm look in her gaze, but one of relief as well as she leans in to whisper something to the other.
The two homid-born members of Vendetta show up together, Kevin and Basil walking up from the lane, the two of them keeping a decorous few paces apart yet obviously linked in some way. They arrive just in time to hear Vera's question, and Kevin shakes his head. "Not me," he says, "but Basil, your bike...?" He turns to his pack alpha.
Emma whispers "It's good to see you around. We'll talk later hmm? Right now, I am just glad to have you at my side."
Justin shakes his head, "Can't drive." He says softly then eyes the cars and the newcomers. "Tight fit."
Reggie crooks his head at Vera's question, and offers, words slowly spaced apart, as though he's reluctant to part with even one, "...I have a truck. An eighteen wheeler."
Basil glances at Kevin, with his hands in his pockets and what appears to be a lollypop stick sticking out from his lips. "Yeah. I can drive. I've driven before, and I'm more used to a bike, but I can drive." His posture is a bit more tense than usual, and on this day, he wears a pair of sunglasses.
KL smiles an unhappy smile at Emma, in response to the whisper, and shrugs. She peers at the cars. "I can't drive. But... how hard can it be?"
"I have my car, if necessary," Val states evenly, in response to Justin. "All I need is someone to drive the van, Reggie. Looks like you're the only one who can." The Adren flashes a grin.
Kevin eyes Reggie's corpulent form at Justin's comment, and suppresses a smile. At KL's words, he suppresses another one. "Bags I not go in her car!"
Vera looks over those gathered and after a quick head count, starts giving orders. "Reggie, you will drive the van. Basil, Kevin, Emma, KL, Blackriver, and Justin will ride with you. Ethan and Abraxas, you will come with me in the jeep. Any complaints? No. Then get moving. Its an eight hour drive."
Kevin emits a low whistle. "I wish I'd brought the travel scrabble," he comments drily.
Reggie resigns himself to a ride of hell at Vera's words, walks about the van checking the tires and any loose pieces liable to fall off, then gets into the van, cranks the A/C, waits for the rest to file in, and drives the van after Vera's car, making pit stops only when Vera's car does, to the dismay of the women.
Abraxas sits as far away from the others as he can manage--which, is to say, not very far at all--and scowls the entire journey. To say he's being un-talkative would be an understatement. He looks as though he's ready to bite the first person to address him.
Katya looks very, very unhappy at the prospect of going in the car, almost not getting in. She then proceeds to grab a window and seat and glares at everyone during the ride. About half a hour in, she begins to stare out the window and he eyes glass over as her breathing settles into a rhythm.
Emma sits tightly coiled and oppressively quiet. There is a line of tension across her brow through most of the ride, and it seems she has the energy only to focus on keeping herself under control.
Justin does his best to catch a little sleep on the way down there, 8 hours is a long drive and best to be rested when the group arrives.
Ethan is like Abraxas' bookend--scowly and silent. He doesn't seem any more pleased to be grouped with the metis Lord than the Lord is with him. The ride in the van, from their parts at least, goes by quietly.
Kevin spends most of the journey staring out of the window. At one point he remarks quietly to Basil, "Where I come from, drive for eight hours, you'd end up in the sea."
KL spends the journey slumped down, leaning against the side of the truck as if half-dead, contributing to the companionable silence with her own brand of slowly seething quiet.
Basil takes the easy way out during the ride. Proving that a Bone Gnawer can sleep anywhere, about an hour into it, Basil settles in for a nap that lasts on again and off again for half the ride. "Or in France." Basil mumbles groggily to Kevin.
Vera drives in relative silence, only stopping once for gas and once for food and gas. She gives everyone a chance, a whole 30minutes, to get food and maybe use the bathroom. Feel pitty for the fast food staff. Then they are back on the road again and Vera does not stop until she reaches a dirt road in god only knows where.
"I think I'd prefer the sea to France," Kevin replies, like the true Briton he is.
Never has the Denny's waitstaff faced such challenge as this. A dozen children of wolf and wolverine come sloshing through the door like an unwelcome tidal wave crashing over the hastily erected barricades of civilization - or something similarly dramatic. They flash hateful glances of fear and perplexity at the corner table, thick as it is with the musk of rage, testosterone, estrogen and plain bizareness. The truckers tucking into a late breakfast make their hasty exits; a pair of round-waisted, grizzle-haired fellows in leathers and tattoos spend their meal watching their red shoelaces and not daring to be the first to leave; the girl at the counter keeps the numbers '9' '1' readily entered on the nearby phone.
Reggie assigns one of the van's passengers to do the work of filling up, trusting that even if they're unable to drive, at least one seems able to operate a pump, as he orders a mountain of takeout, filling up the van.
Katya clearly doesn't want to be here. But neither does she want to be outside, alone. And so he sits next to Justin, looking pissed off and miserable, during their stop.
Kevin appears to approve of the late-night hours kept by American diners, and orders himself a hearty meal on Vera's tab, the ragabash as ever giving every appearance of having hollow legs. Unlike many of those present, the low-rage Briton seems to be enjoying this trip, as though it were a school outing rather than the prelude to a dangerous battle.
Justin eats lightly, as if he knows a big meal before battle might not be the best idea for him, particularly with what they are about to face. He does offer to translate for Katya however.
Abraxas eats very, very little, and what he does eat, he doesn't seem to enjoy at all. He keeps poking at the food, tearing it to little bits, peering at it suspiciously, as if he expected to find something else inside.
KL stares at her food, before picking at it rather gingerly, and staring off into space between small mouthfuls as if her mind is a very long way away indeed.
Basil takes a seat right next to Kevin, and has ordered a large patty melt smothered in cheese but minus the onions with fries. The takes his time dining, and enjoying every bite of his meal. He washes it down with coffee loaded with sugar, and remains mostly quiet, aside from occasional bits of chatter to Kevin, and Emma, to a lesser extent.
Once everyone has had a chance to get some food, Vera herds everyone back into their prospective cars. Its about another hour before she pulls up along a dirt road and orders everyone out. "Okay, here is the deal, this is where we start walking. Well, most of will be walking. Justin knows where this place is, so he will lead you to where we went earlier this week. Abraxas, Ethan, and I will be taking the jeep and starting set up on that end. Lets go." And back into the jeep she goes, taking it off road and across some pre-development land and avoiding the odd tree.
Abraxas doesn't seem in the slightest bit opposed to not having to walk the final distance--or maybe just being out of most of the other Garou's company--but he does shoot a few wary, suspicious looks at Ethan as he climbs back into the jeep and crosses his arms over his chest.
Ethan tells the others, "Enjoy the Walk," as he climbs back into the Jeep's front passenger seat. Abraxas' look gets a scowl in return, but he really has no words for the metis otherwise.
Justin grabs a small pack that he tucked under his seat and slings it over a shoulder, "Come on, its a bit of a hike." He says as he looks around to make sure the van is well hidden from the main road. He waits for the jeep to head down the dirt path before he starts down the same route.
Kevin raises one hand in farewell as the jeep party gets back into their vehicle. "Let's start yomping," he suggests to the foot-sloggers.
Reggie looks mournfully from the van to the prospective walk, as he locks up the van, checks the van's empty, and pockets the van key. He looks at the surroundings for evidence of any traffic or members of the public, before he shrugs and starts off after the jeep with slow steps.
Katya is all too happy to get out of the van, and eagerly follows Justin along. "Okay shift?" She asks him in Russian, looking around as they go down the trail.
KL glares balefully at Kevin's cheerful suggestion, and then steps closer to Emma, standing slightly behind her, obviously ready to walk to wherever they're going.
There's not far left to go. The jeep grinds through the soft mud of the pre-development landscape of stunted trees and muddy tire-marked ground. All around is the deep indigo of night, the sun's fingers having lost their grip on the edge of the world long ago. The river's stretched out from one horizon to the other, a mile and a half wide and deep and sluggish as ocean. There's an inlet pressed against its length like a tumour, separated from it by lines of marsh and stone: this is their destination. The inlet cuts into the land and the land cuts into it. The current there is still and stagnant, collecting the river's effluviam. There's no blue in the water there, it's brown and black and covered with a thin sheen of the river's spit. White speckles it, upturned bodies of fly-covered fish and boats of broken styrofoam, and amalgams of bubbly froth and diapers which drift across it looking like ghosts sucked down by gravity. A faint glow, nauseating and gently fascinating the way vomit is, drifts up off the black. Clinging to the northern edge is a recent build-up of gelatinized rubber, the tire yard's gift to this fine assortment. The stench clogs nostrils and claws at the brain, it blots out the river, the dirt, everything clean. It's chemical and rot, ammonia-soaked death. The ground for a quarter mile is blackened and bare, everything that grows there is fried and twisted, and the only animals which limp and spasm through it are the spare parts of frogs somehow melded together, legless or tumoured, bloated or with thirteen eyes.
Emma gives Ethan a smirk as he offers his best wishes to the other group, then moves to walk beside KL. The two packmates move in tense, but ready silence as they follow the leader.
Basil pitches the lollypop stick onto the floor of the van, and lights up a cigarette as the jeep drives off. "Anyone else want a cigarette before the fight?" Basil offers, gesturing the cigarette pack around, moving to walk nearly beside Kevin. He takes off his sun glasses, then simply enough, tugs down his head band enough to cover his eye.
"Okay," Kevin says, waving the cigarette away, and walking along beside Basil, with that just-larger-than-normal gap still between them. "I wish we'd brought clothes-pegs for our noses as well as the Travel Scrabble. Shall we shift, or wait?" The question's addressed to Basil, but he glances round the other garou too, unsure who's leading this party now Vera has driven onward.
Justin eyes the burnt looking ground, "You might want to hold off shifting for a while, this stuff can burn your feet and will suck in lupus to have your paw pads half rotted through before we even get there." He repeats this in Russian for his elder. "This thing might be flamable but I don't really want to fight a burning toxic monster. Also watch out, it can play with your emotions, so you might feel drained of energy. I felt it but Vera didn't seem to be effected. Not sure if it's because of her rank or if its a male female thing."
Vera has parked a good hundred feet from the river and is getting Ethan and Abraxas help with some sort of set-up. When everyone else gets there, there are two bright yellow dinghies that have been inflated with CO2 canisters, and a truly massive hook attached to a heavy length of chain. There is also that straw dummy that some may have spotted earlier and it appears to be the bait for the hook.
Katya looks disgusted by her surroundings, but gives Justin a shaky nod. Still not comfortable in homid, she shifts into glabro, boots growing to match her new shoe size.
Ethan shuts the thin Jeep door, gritting his teeth at the stench that claws at his senses. He tries to shake it off, but even the ragabash can't find anything humorous to say as he gauges the scene.
Reggie looks at Basil's offer as though it's a lifesaver, and holds out his hand for a cigarette, then he turns slowly around with uncertain movements, to face the river and crooks his head in the posture of listening. When the rest of the group continues walking onwards, he comes to himself with a jolt and resumes walking with them.
There's not a soul to be seen - it's all quiet except for the broken ribbits of broken frogs, and the violin-strum of crickets.
Abraxas is eyeing the setup with the same suspicion he gave Ethan, and the food. Invisible hackles are most definitely raised.
Emma clenches her jaws as the scene and stench hits her. "Fuck man.." she eyes KL and then Kevin and Basil. For now she seems focused on keeping herself in some kind of forced calm, waiting for the actual action to start.
Basil pauses in his step, staring out over the water for about a minute before turning to Kevin. "Stay away from the water." He mutters, then turns to Justin. "This thing." He asks, with a bit of disgruntled sounding voice. "It's a water thing, right? Like a killer whale? So it could dive at us from the water."
"Righty-ho," Kevin nods, and obediently moves about five feet further from the waterline. He peers out over the river and the inflatable dinghies upon it with interest.
Vera busies herself with putting the dummy on the hook, then she doubles up the dinghies and drops the hook and bait onto that. "Reggie, hook one end of this chain to the jeep and get ready to throw it in reverse. Everyone else, I want you in crinos and get ready to play tug of war with this thing. If this works and we can get it onto land, we'll have the advantage."
KL is distinctly underprepared - she's giving off the air of teenage-daughter-dragged-on-family-hiking-trip, but Emma's probably alert enough for the both of them. She peers at the boats with mild interest. Then her gaze moves to the frogs. "Amphibious operation," she mutters, before shifting up to Crinos at Vera's order.
Justin nods, "The ooze thing is in the umbra, nasty piece of work. The thing here should be... well, hell, I don't know. Maybe part shark part whale? Wouldn't want to fight it in the water." He keeps a bit from the edge, and moves over to the chain. He sets his pack aside, back from the water first. Then he returns to the chain and shifts upwards into crinos.
Abraxas slides up to his birthform with a low, continuous growl that begins building before he's even finished shifting. That tongue of his is quite visible in all its detestable glory, even though he's trying to keep it mostly behind his teeth.
Katya squints at the hook and Vera, as she speaks, and soon follows the other's cue and shifts into her silvery crinos form.
There's a splash in the water, followed by another. Suddenly everything's alive: animals come out of the ground like bubbles. The inlet's shore is alive with movement, as one-legged frogs hop lopsidedly out of the shallow hollows, like tidal pools, that line the water's edge, though none emerge from the black coast itself. Rats and prairie dogs, emaciated, with ribs that could be played like xylophones and eyes as weak and watery as broken eggs, come out of their holes, out right beneath the Garou's feet.
Kevin takes the war-form also. ~Where are the ropes?~ he begins to ask, but as he speaks, the ground suddenly seems to come alive with little creatures darting round his feet, and the sentence ends in a yelp of surprise.
Ethan backs up to behind the Jeep and finds a convenient rock on which to sharpen his claws. The ragabash blurs, twisting up into the war form as ordered. Once his body has filled out and he's stretched and flexed his muscles, those claws are scraped against the stone, sending brief sparks into the night as his gift is activated.
Vera is making one last trip toward the jeep when the ground erupts with dead zombie-like animals. "Ignore them!" She shouts at the top of her lungs, "they did nothing the last time and only serve as a distraction."
Bitter-Harvest curls his lip at the animals, clearly fighting the instinct to squish them. He trails after Ethan, giving the Get a wide berth, and then rakes his own claws against the same rock once he's finished.
"Do you have anything you can lay down for traction in that jeep? Like a couple bags of kitty litter or something, so it doesn't turn into a furry slip and slide?" Basil startles a little when what remains of the wild life at the shore comes bolting out of his feet, then shifts up into Crinos. ~If the animals are controlled by it, can't it see us?~
Emma draws herself up into Crinos, snorting at the smell as it overwhelms her senses. It takes her two sneezes before she can tolerate it, and then she stands at the ready, watching the tow line and standing in a place to be able to grab it quickly.
Reggie continues walking past the jeep, towards the unnaturally black water, stopping when his name's used by Vera, and he looks momentally confused. "What?", he inquires, then reacts with a jolt, "Uh, yes, yes!", suddenly eager to do the bidding, taking the chain and hooking it up to the winch of the jeep.
Truth-Stalker cringes at the emergence of the critters, clearly distracted by them indeed. But he gives a grunt and tries to stomp on any of them right under his feet then looks for the chain, for his spot to hold it to pull, when it comes to that.
Blackriver looks positively distressed by the strange animals, and begins to stomp on them with vigor.
KL joins the claw-sharpening queue, waiting until Brax is finished before attacking the rock herself, her claws striking sparks off it as she hones their edge.
There's no attack, just a look of weak, stunned confusion from the creatures underfoot. The ground wriggles with them, and they quiver with excitement, fear, or hunger; like beaten dogs they cringe before the stampede of Garou, except the frogs which hop madly, erratically, with no apparent purpose. Soon the sound of their croaking blots out the wind, it thumps against the air like a thousand drums and plays in the ear like a beating heart. Dozens of rodents scamper slowly out of the Garou's way as they advance towards the water, and dozens more just lie there, too ill or starved to hide. Those behind them, though, close in, slowly, greedily. They watch the Garou like vultures. Occasionally one slips listlessly away from the group and slinks soundlessly beneath the black water, and does not emerge.
Culls-The-Herd gets a bucket out of the back of the jeep and carries it over to the dinghies and dumps the rather nasty contents over the straw dummy. The smell of fish starts to permeate the air. ~Everyone, grab the chain now. No excuses!~ Order barked out, the Adren pushes the boat out into the water and takes several steps back, getting a grip on the chain is hooked up to the jeep and dummy/hook combo.
Stone-Spirit reaches out and wraps her paw-like hands tightly around the chain, bearing down in a tug-of-war stance as she waits.
Bitter-Harvest slides in not far from Stone-Spirit, and snatches at the chain. He gives the female Get a glance, but his focus is clearly on the chain and the swarming animals.
Blackriver flicks her ears and looks towards the water, almost tentatively taking a step forward. But Cull's order snaps her out of her trance, and although she still seems a bit distracted by something, she grabs a hold of the chain a moment later than everybody else.
Truth-Stalker has already reached out for the chain and makes doublely sure of his grip at the orders by the Sept Alpha. His body tensing a bit as he gets ready to pull his weight in this odd tug of war.
Power-Up's already-wrinkled nose displays a little more distaste still as he steps up to the chain and plants both his huge crinos hands firmly upon it.
Kills-the-Cries moves forward with Kevin, glancing briefly at the rodents and other animals before taking up his stance, and a good grip on the chain, his eyes now on the water and the dummy.
Voice takes his place in line, wrapping the chain around his arms before clamping down--for more traction--and spacing his feet in a wide, sturdy stance.
KL obeys Cull's order, gripping the chain carefully so that her razor claws don't accidentally cut through it, or any similar disastrous mishap.
Reggie settles himself in the jeep, placing his mangled hand on the gearshift and his other hand on the wheel. He braces for action, as he watches what's occurring in front of him, most of his interest on the people who're holding onto the chain. He revs the engine lightly, without moving the jeep, and secures the gearshift into reverse.
As the Garou come to a stop so do the small mammals behind them, slowly, watching, eager. They line up, more coming in behind, metres deep. Rabbits so skinny a child's hand could clench around their bellies lift themselves up on their hind legs, turning their shiny glassy eyes towards the Garou, as groundhogs whimper and mewl. Like the animals clustered around Snow White they wait, eager but patient, curious, and terribly hungry. Above crows begin to gather, darker, blacker shapes against a dark sky, flitting movements against the cloud-wrapped half moon. From the inlet a creeping, quiet song begins to sound: it's humming, soft and tuneful, between lips neither male nor female, and it calls to the Garou, gently, asking them in. The Garou respond with a gift of metal and straw; for long seconds the only sound is the river's and the broken animals' bent whines; then with disconcerting swiftness the river opens for the boat and pulls it in. There's a bristly flash of white just at the edge of the boat, and then it's all lost in the darkness again. Only bubbles remain, limply, lugubriously drifting up to the surface.
~PULL!~ Culls-The-Herd cries out, as she pulls back on the chain. ~Lets hook this fucker!~
Power-Up digs his feet into the moist earth beneath him, and with a snarl, he pulls for all he is worth.
Truth-Stalker throws his weight, in full crinos that is something, into pulling on the chain with a heave, following the barked orders.
Stone-Spirit lets out a fierce growl and then buckles down, legs planting firmly as clawed feet dig into the ground. She pulls with all her strength as the Adren's order, snarling with the effort as she moves.
Blackriver grits her teeth and leans back with all her weight.
Bitter-Harvest snarls, digging his feet into the ground and tugging with every bit of strength he can manage.
KL bends her knees and leans back, taking the strain and then exerting all the force she can muster on the chain, giving a grunt of effort.
Voice digs back claws into the thick mud and rock and pulls back on the chain with everything he has. A snarl escapes the Get's muzzle as he continues to try and drag the thing from its river lair.
Reggie releases the brake of the jeep and stomps on the gas, sending the revving jeep backwards, wheels spinning over the mud.
There's a brief moment of tension on the line. It only lasts a second but it's a second of wrenching force where the screech of the chain itself blocks out the river's siren call, it screams like a man drawn and quartered. The jeep matches it with a mellow, sluggish roar, kicking up on the hindmost Garou a thick film of filth and small stones. Then with sudden place-slipping give the hook comes slapping up along the water, sliding wetly through the soft ground on a rolling carpet of seaweed and slime. The Garou nearly topple over themselves at the sudden snap but the hook has drawn blood, or at least liquid, with small chunks of white and shiney flesh, scale-covered, embedded in its talons like skin caught beneath fingertips. The animals are unfazed: their ears do not twitch at the metal screams and they do not flinch at the shower of mud and rocks, or the tumbling of Garou, they just stand there, expectant and dead-eyed.
~Fuck.~ Escapes says, succinctly, when she's regained her balance. She looks expectantly at Culls-The-Herd, her lips curling into a snarl.
Bitter-Harvest scrambles back up, abandoning his grip on the chain. He says nothing, but his bared teeth would seem to echo KL's sentiment.
Truth-Stalker eyes the situation as he rights himself, and tries to brush off the worst of the muck he no doubt has gained. ~Re-Bait the hook, try again.~ He grunts as he glance around. ~Use the critters?~
Power-Up teeters for a second, regains his balance, and growls, letting the chain drop. At the Silver Fang's suggestion, though, he moves straight back into action, and makes an attempt to pounce on the nearest small creature within his reach.
Voice offera a dissapointed growl, but little else. He eyes the blood and flesh torn from the beast and grins a little. But, it's not enough.
Culls-The-Herd snarls savagely. ~Gaia give me strength.~ Picking up the hook, the Adren eyes the water warily. ~Those who fought this beast before said that the water was not all that deep. While I had hoped to have talens for this battle, they were never made as they should have been. It seems that we shall have to rely on our claws. Reggie, Stay in the car and be prepared to use it. I am going to hook the fucker manually. I need the rest of you to pull me out if this goes badly. Power-up, get me the thick rope from the jeep.~
Bitter-Harvest glances sharply toward Culls-the-Herd, looking as though he's not quite believing what he's hearing. Still, he reaches down for the chain again, without looking.
Blackriver blinks up at Culls-the-Herd, before flicking her ears in understanding and grabbing onto the chain.
Kills-the-Cries nearly falls on his ass at the sudden jerk, but remains on his feel with a frustrated growl. He glances at Justin when he speaks, then at Kevin and back to Culls, tilting his head briefly to one side. ~Good luck.~
Reggie jams on the brakes after seeing the hook waggle its way free across the mudlands, and the jeep shudders to a stop. He leans forward across the wheel, a brief look given to the muddier of the Garou with an awkward, brief grin, then a long, intent, stare at the movement of the black water. After Vera outlines Plan B, he starts inching the jeep forward, giving slack to the chain.
Truth-Stalker eyes Culls-The-Herd as if he can't quite believe what she's saying but only hesitates a moment before quickly picking back up the chain into his crinos claws.
Power-Up abandons his pursuit of a rabbit, and instead strides to the jeep and collects a coil of thick rope with a grim smile to Reggie, then trots over to Culls-the-Herd with it. ~May you have fortune equal to your courage,~ he says as he passes it to her.
Voice does the one thing you should never do in battle--argue with the alpha. Unless perhaps you're a ragabash. ~What the fuck are you doing?~ he asks Vera, though it's not her plan he objects to, apparently. ~At least let me go. Or better yet, the metis.~ He gestures at Abraxas. ~Not you.~
Escapes takes up the chain, and mutters ~Gaia be with you~ at Culls, and then pushes her feet into the mud ready to pull.
Bitter-Harvest gives Voice a look that could curdle milk, but shockingly enough nothing in his body language indicates disagreement. He looks from the Get to his Alpha, expectantly.
Stone-Spirit stands by, still gripping that chain as if it were the only thing keeping her from launching herself dead into the water. She looks to Voice when he offers himself and gives him a hard glare, but otherwise remains silent.
Culls-The-Herd nods her head, lips pulling back in what could be taken as a savage lupine grin. ~Almost a shame that it is another Ragabash, that is showing the most fucking backbone in this party.~
Bitter-Harvest curls his lip back. ~Order me then. I'll do it.~
Power-Up stands up a little straighter at those words of the Elder's. ~Any Ragabash would volunteer,"~ he snaps. ~I would.~
Blackriver cants her head to the side and gives a look around. ~Any of us would do it.~ She snaps.
Truth-Stalker gives a bit of a sudden growl, ~There are things to use as bait that would not cost us so much if lost. Use them first. If that fails then one of us should go.~ He says firmly.
Kills-the-Cries scowls, first at Voice, then briefly at Kevin before looking pointedly off elsewhere, bracing himself for yet more tugging at the chain.
Culls-The-Herd is really grinning now, savage satisfaction on her black-furred face as she glances at Blackriver. ~If all would go, we will all go. Line up folks, we're going in for a swim.~
Bitter-Harvest drops the chain and starts forward at a swift, predatory stalk. His hackles are up, and he joins Culls-The-Herd without looking at her or anyone else.
Stone-Spirit gives a snarl at the new command, throwing her hold on the chain so that it clatters to the ground below. She moves quickly then, her tension and rage nearing its peak as she moves in. She finds KL and moves to run at her side. ~Stay close. We'll work together.~
Power-Up is already standing by Culls-the-Herd, so doesn't need to step forward into line. He meets Kills-the-Cries' glare with a feral toothy grin before turning to face the ominously dark water. ~Travel games, clothes pegs, and swimming trunks,~ he observes.
Only now, though at no apparent incitement, is the fear put back in the long thick rows of animals. They scatter, finally like prey, beating fast retreat towards far off holes in the ground. Famished stragglers struggle away at the speed of a roll, a rabbit pressing hard with its one good back limb, a flutter of useless movement and wasted energy, an eyeless frog moving in black broken circles.
Voice drops the chain and moves to follow Culls. ~What's that quote form Moby Dick? From Hell's heart I stab at thee?~ He gives the metis a white-toothed grin.
Truth-Stalker glares at the sickly water. ~We should try the hook at least once more. Even the best fisherman loses fish occasionally.~ He grumbles but despite that grumble he is follwoing orders and steps up to the edge of the pool, glancing at the other Garou.
Bitter-Harvest snarls in return to Voice, a fast, grating version of Melville--except Melville never hissed. ~To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.~ Maybe that's not entirely a quotation. He turns to face the water.
Blackriver drops to hispo and lightly pokes Truth-Stalker with her nose. ~We should fight together. Safer. Better~ She follows the crowd, looking happy to finally get to the fight.
Reggie, secure in the jeep, begins to grin when the stranger suggests Abraxas, and he leans forward over the steering wheel, intent on the play much as a baseball fan would watch a dramatic attempt at a homerun, then he settles back in his seat, as the game takes a new turn, and Abraxas won't go alone.
Escapes doesn't say anything, but steps to the edge of the river and flexes her claws, then checks over her shoulder for Stone-Spirit.
~Maybe one of us should still carry the hook, Reggie or someone sits in the car, and we can hook it if we get a chance during fight.~ Kills-the-Cries suggests, his displeasure with the plan obvious even as he takes up a spot of his own, readying himself.
Voice rumbles out a thick laugh, nodding to Bitter-Harvest. It seems the Get understands, either way. ~Yeah, that,~ he says, and his eyes gleam golden in the night as his taloned feet hit the water.
~Suck it up, Silver Fang,~ Culls-The-Herd snaps in Justin's direction. ~Reggie, stand ready with the car. Everyone else, line up.~ Once the Garou have formed a fairly straightly line at the water's edge, Vera starts to wade in and expects the others to follow.
Bitter-Harvest seems all the more furious at Voice's laugh, but his attention is elsewhere now. He wades after Culls-the-Herd--quite close, in fact, though not enough that he's treading on her toes.
Power-Up, almost certainly not by chance, finds himself alongside Kills-the-Cries. ~Here goes nothing,~ he comments to the Bone Gnawer. ~I bet I get the fish and you get an old boot.~ And he steps blithely into the water in the wake of the two Shadow Lords.
Voice matches the Shadow Lord metis' steps, bookending Culls' the Herd.
Truth-Stalker does indeed seem to suck it up, as he has to steel himself to putting foot in the gunk. He takes a deep breath, which is probably a bad idea, then concentrates hard as he steps forward into the ooze, moving along with the group.
Blackriver makes sure Justin is near her, and eagerly wades in.
Stone-Spirit moves into the water with her packmate at her side. She snarls viciously as the disgusting filth of the water soaks up over her fur, and watches intently both the water, and the alpha.
Kills-the-Cries settles into the grim walk into the water, waiting one moment before striding forward as to not gather up with all Vera and Abaraxas in one spot. ~Reverse Normandy.~ He mutters to Kevin.
Reggie's grin disappears, and he snaps his hands to the wheel when Vera addresses him. He relaxes slightly enough to be able to flex his fingers after Vera turns his attention off him, and he watches the march of the swimmers.
Escapes follows her pack Alpha in, hissing as the disgusting water strikes her fur. Her claws are stretched out ready to strike...assuming anything she can actually hit appears at any point.
As the line of garou wade in, Power-Up suddenly lets out a sharp wordless cry, and he bends at the waist, his hands entering the water in an evident attempt to attack someone or something that's just below it by where his legs disappear under the surface.
Stone-Spirit lets out a snarl and starts flailing and slashing at the water immediately around. ~It's on me. Has my leg,~ she calls out. And then she starts really focusing her attacks, sending those sharpened claws down into the water to try to slash at the ooze and slime grabbing her leg.
The water is still and thick with sludge. It's warmer than it should be, an unhealthy heat comes from it, radiating off the surface of the water, making things blurry and indistinct. The smell is oil and chemicals, a deep, nauseating, inorganic smell. As they move deeper diapers butt against them like small aimless boats. Despite the complaints of a few, the water is still, and thick.
Blackriver's body tenses as she's covered in the slick, oily water, the smells and feeling irritating her skin and brain. When Kevin and Emma call out she eagerly runs to claw at the water around their feet.
Truth-Stalker goes on heightened alert, as he stays keenly aware of anything near him and looks to the water's surface to find a target. The line as it is, means that he can't get down to help Power-Up or Stone-Spirit without breaking the line and for now he holds his place and moves forward in the muck. ~Better not be a prank.~ He grumbles as he glances down the line to watch for anything obvious.
Bitter-Harvest turns his head sharply, growling in the direction of the two that have apparently been snagged. He gives a little jerk in place, as if just stopping himself from moving toward them, and curls his claws.
KL slashes away at the area that Stone-Spirit is attacking - it's rather undirected, but she's putting a lot of effort into it, anyway.
Kills-the-Cries doesn't hesitate at all when he sees his packmate in trouble after hearing his cry, and steps forward a few sloshing steps to strike into the water with his clawed mitts with a snarl.
~Abraxas, try and grab the Walker,~ Culls' orders, eyes fixed on the water. ~Justin, KL, help Blackriver.~
Bitter-Harvest needs no further encouragement. He bolts toward Power-Up, teeth bared, and attempts to latch onto his middle and pull.
As the center of the line is attacked, Voice speeds up a bit, curling inward to hopefully help encircle the metaphorical Moby Dick. His claws plunge into the thick, murky depths hoping for a strike.
Truth-Stalker moves to help Blackriver as ordered but snarls out, ~Who feels something, who is under attack, or is it just trash under the water?~
The stillness of the water is suddenly broken as the mild thrashing of Garou struggling for footing is replaced, on one end at least, by the massive, bludgeoned uprooting of Voice-of-the-Unspoken tumbles nearly out of the water, slung backwards five feet; he goes under but snaps up immediately, luckily finding his paws against the sharp rocks of the riverbed. Two Garou converge on Power-Up, while Stone-Spirit only gets one: there is a tug-of-war at work with werewolf flesh as the rope, and though the strain is fierce no ground is gained or lost, though the ground is slippery with grease and algae. There is, still, a sense almost of expectancy over the place, a dead, dreary kind of calm.
~Something has me,~ Power-Up gasps a little redundantly as he continues to slash at the water by his legs, while he tries to yank the leg which is evidently being attacked free by bracing his other leg on the riverbed and pulling with all his strength.
~Shup up and fight Clean-Claws!~ Kills-the-Cries shouts without turning around, slashing at the water with his claws in an attempt to hit whatever is beneath it, working closer to Kevin. Despite not hitting anything to his knowledge, the Garou succeeds in kicking up a torrent of water. ~Tentacles!~
Culls-The-Herd snarls silently and trudges forward, aiming for the center of the inlet. Her hands search through the muddy water, looking for a target to ram the giant hook in to.
Bitter-Harvest shifts his strategy, shouldering into Power-Up while sliding into a crouch, one arm wrapped around the Ragabash's waist. The other grapples for whatever has his leg.
Truth-Stalker lunges deeper into the water, not going to pull on Power-Up but instead trying to move further in to target a body length or more down to try to target what likely as a grip of Power-Up.
Voice shakes the little birdies out of his eyes and tries to draw a breath. It takes the stunned garou a moment or two before they will obey, but he is soon back on his feet and moving back toward the line.
Stone-Spirit continues her snarling as she is aided by her packmate. Claws continue to strike down into the water as she seeks to tear and thrash apart the slime below. ~Yes. Something is *grabbing* me,~ she replies with effort strained through her voice.
Blackriver continues to slash and tear at the black slime below her, snarling and tossing her head in mock bites at the air but not daring to put her head under the water.
Reggie watches the bathers play in the water, as he drums his fingers on the steering wheel.
Escapes seems confused about what she's supposed to be attacking, but decides to strike at whatever Stone-Spirit is attacking, for the moment.
It doesn't take long for the wet battlefield to erupt in chaos. The enemy is invisible but everywhere: they can all feel it now, beneath the thick foam and detritus, roiling around, mad now. In a half a second, with a sudden wrenching show of force that nearly pops limbs from joints, Stone-Spirit disappears in a cloud of bubbles. Voice is on his feet and ready to go; Power-Up is fighting an even struggle though the sound of wrenching stretching muscles seems almost audible even beneath the terrible splash of black water. Everyone who wants one has a piece, now: claws tear bits of flesh and bone, full of fur and scales, superficial though at least clear filmy blood is drawn. A rat, slung about by its tail by the fury of Kills-Cries' claws, goes slinging from beneath the water's surface, to crumple on the land not too far distant.
~I've found it!~ Culls-The-Herd bellows at the top of her lungs and placing both clawed hands on the hook, drives it into the water and her target. She is attempting to shove it as deeply as she can manage into the soft flesh she has discovered, rather then 'hook' it.
Bitter-Harvest seems only more enraged by the struggle, though he keeps an even effort on clawing at the water and holding onto Power-Up.
~Told you... I'd catch it!~ Power-Up howls with wild gallows humor to Kills-the-Cries as he abandons trying to keep his balance, relying on Bitter-Harvest's strong arms round his waist to hold him upright, and redoubles his efforts to either free his leg or else haul the part of the subaqueous creature that grips it above the surface so he can take a free slash at it with his claws.
Escapes drops to her knees, trying to find her submerged packmate, clawing at anything that feels tentacly, and reaching, intending to tug Stone-Spirit back to her feet, or at least clear of the water.
Truth-Stalker does his best to wade through the madness, doing his best to get to where Culls-The-Herd is, focused on trying to help her since she seems to be a bit off on her own as these things go. He gives a roar and a growl as burns rage to try to get to the Sept-Alpha's side to aid her in her fight against the body of the 'thing'.
Blackriver lets out a roar as she continues to slash and claw at the fish thing, putting more energy into her attacks. She glances once at Truth-Stalker, making sure that he's alright.
Stone-Spirit finds herself submerged in the vile waters, but it doesn't stop her attackes. Wherever she is held, she thrashes at, claws propelling through the water in an attempt to damage it enough to find release from it. If she's stuck below with it, then she'll at least kick its ass before she's done.
Voice sees Stone-Spirit go under, and whatever sluggishness remained in him disappears immediately. He lets out a roar that rivals Culls' call, and then he launches himself toward where the other Get was. He goes under after her, adding his own claws, and teeth, to the effort to free her and pull her out.
Kills-the-Cries doesn't even notice the unfortunate rodent he sends sailing through the sky, and redoubles his assault on the unseen beast. He leans forward further and cries out in a rage, focusing rather intently on freeing his packmate of the terror from the shallows.
And as Power-Up struggles, suddenly his body seems to jerk, and take on an extra level of strength. He no longer relies on Abraxas for balance; instead he plants his free leg firmly on the river bed once more, and his claws, instead of flailing at the water rather wildly as they have been doing, strike into the oily liquid, more focussed, more targeted. There's rather a strange look on his face.
Whatever the cause, Bitter-Harvest doesn't seem to care. He frees the arm around Kevin's waist and burrows headfirst into the water, trying to reach the enemy.
Stone-Spirit comes thrashing up back above the water line like a fish at the bottom of a boat, a wild flipping slapping motion that allows her another breath but doesn't free her, and she sinks back down; her efforts though have given Escapes time to slide in after her, almost underneath, and though the water slows her limbs her sharpened claws slit through fur and scale like they're slicing ribbons. Voice, with a mad thrashing rush like a child storming through the shallow end, all white water and fury, comes down almost on top of her: he sinks his claws deep into its flesh and comes out with handfuls of dead rivergulls and spine-snapped toads. Kills-the-Cries rakes ribbons of flesh away from the top of the creature, where it's close to the surface and his arms can snap like pistons, trying to peel it from his packmate; though Power-Up doesn't need the assistance. With one quick, surgical move he snips down like a heron taking a fish and though there's still an iron grip like a neanderthal's arm against his leg, it's an arm now severed at the shoulder. Blackriver goes diving and gets a mouthful of water and filth and filmy blood. Culls-the-Herd has landed her hook.
Truth-Stalker growls a warning. ~Culls-the-Herd! Its surrounding you!~ Even as he continues his mad lunge deeper to try to get to the side of the very person he just warned, cutting his way with his claws if he as to, doing all he can to fight forward through the muck and the creatures.
Once more pulled under, Stone-Spirit is fueled by rage as and frustration as she becomes like a giant rag doll to this beast. Unleashing that rage upon it, she drives her free limbs into a whirlwind of attacks upon anything that ends up remotely solid and beneath her.
Power-Up howls out in triumph in strangely archaic, though comprensible, Mother's Tongue. ~Die, thou evil creature, and let this place be cleansed of your deviltry!~ He goes splashing through the water towards Culls-the-Herd, the severed tentacle still gripping his leg and trailing in his wake. ~Do thou pull up thy fish, Warleader, and I will pull with thee!~
Since his original target is moving, Bitter-Harvest comes up out of the foul water with a snapping, growling start, and plunges after Power-Up. He's going to his alpha.
Blackriver looks up and sees the Get and Fury pileup on the creature from the deep. Eagerly, she begins to head towards it until she hears Truth-Stalker's cry, and turns to rush to aid him and the sept alpha.
~No fucking shit!~ Culls howls out in return. ~Reggie, the truck!~ Even as she calls out, the Adren lashes out at the soft flesh of dead-things that surrounds her. Claws driven by Rage and frustration.
Voice pushes the dead foul and frogs out with gushes of black and white water. Dead legs and wings flip upward, surreal against the night sky for a moment before landing with dead splashes. The Get does not stop. He digs like a mole, trying to gut the miserable thing.
Escapes continue her efforts to free Stone-Spirit, letting out a roar of pure rage as she redoubles her exertions, her arms driving spray in all directions, like grizly hunting salmon.
Kills-the-Cries looks up when he hears Power-Up's odd call, then look towards the others. The Garou starts down further into the muck with the rest, following where he thinks the tentacle was, yelling to echo Vera. ~Step on it!~
At the cry, Reggie sets the jeep into action, starting it rolling slowly backwards, taking up the slack until the chain turns taut, then he presses on the gas.
More than one Garou follows Kills-the-Cries' order: very gradually the chain goes taut, arching up above the water line like a tug's tow, filthy now with foam and polystyrene; also Bitter-Harvest's paws come down straight on the creature's slimy skin, slick and lumpy as pomade, like he's walking on a carpet of dead fish. He finds no traction and he hits the water hard, four-legged now and with the thing slipping chains of flesh around his arms. Power-Up, unlike Bitter-Harvest, makes his way neatly, almost mincingly, with practiced ease slicing through the water like the Cutty Sark, passing the Shadow Lord with ease if he chooses. Culls-the-Herd lays into the thing that's squeezing her like a fist, her palms hitting water with a resounding slap that's more sound than fury, despite the rage in her eyes; it's Clean-Claws who really gets his hands dirty, digging in deep and carving his way through small dead things, their round black eyes dark as the water. The two members of Havoc endeavour to do their totem proud, and the fierceness of their assault sprays water as hard and wild as a weedwacker in a swimming pool - the efforts of the Fostern Get are almost an afterthought; Stone-Spirit's paws find the ground and she emerges in rage and fury, draped in a cloak of rodents and fish, sewn together in long looping scintillating rings and hanging luxuriously from her shoulders, all fur and scales and dead wild eyes.
Power-Up pages to the room: So is the hook and chain actually pulling the creature, or some of it, above the surface?
The insult rather than the injury seems to drive Bitter-Harvest into a snarling fury of teeth and claws. He turns on whatever bits of the monster he can reach, straining against whatever hold it attempts.
Finally free of the waters, Stone-Spirit takes in large, gulping breaths of air; which while not the freshest, is still a far cry better than the plagued water she was submerged in. Clueless to the plans that erupted while she was underneath the surface, she scrambles and looks posed to continue going back to shred at the beast that had tortured her so.
Truth-Stalker is doing his best to carve his way through the flesh to get to Cull's side, and release the squeeze on her. His claws digging and slashing with a fury most might not imagine 'clean-claws' capable of, and with a hint of desperation in his actions as he tries to carve a route.
Blackriver lets out a roar and runs towards where the monster seems to be. She claws at in wildly and moves to sink her razor sharp teeth into its rotten flesh.
Kills-the-Cries seems to have given up on the tentacles and is charging head long into the water as fast as his water logged legs will carry him, sloshing on the right, trying to move past both Truth-Stalker and Vera.
Voice gets one look at Stone-Spirit and proclaims, ~All you need's an Easter bonnet, now.~ The quip is accompanied by a grimace of teeth and then the Get is off, sludging through the toxic bath to the alpha's aid. He picks and chooses now, aiming his strikes more carefully to try and help cut her free.
Her packmate having escaped the clutches of the evil rivermonster, Escapes turns her attention to the Sept-Alpha, at the centre, striding towards her, hoping that that's where the vulnerable bits are. If it has any.
Reggie studies where the chain's disappeared into the water, and slowly increases the gas to ease the thing out of the water without, hopefully, just ripping another chunk out of it.
Small animals continue to be tossed from the water, carved from the thing with heat and hatred. With a crunch and a heave Voice pulls from the thing the entire carcass of a dead dog, its hindquarters showing bone, its face still perfectly preserved in dull, lolling blankness. It's apparent now just how large the creature is, it spans dozens of square feet, spread across all the Garou there, amoebic and vile. Slowly, slowly by inches, it crests the water line, the rodents and amphibians falling away from it like dried up flakes of skin.
And then I went to bed. I think we won, in the end.