06-23-2013, 03:38 PM
(This post was last modified: 06-24-2013, 08:55 PM by Kenna.)
April 16th, 2012
Southeastern Bawn's Edge
"Miss Hawkes, I told you once already to put the gun down."
A thirty-something year old man dressed in park ranger tans stood with his hands level with his shoulders, palms facing forward, like you do when approaching a dangerous animal. He was edging forward, sliding his boot toes forward inch by inch.
This edging was not received well, because it was answered with the chk-chak! of a shotgun being pumped. Lola Hawkes, a fire-eyed Hispanic-Native woman in her early twenties, had it leveled with the man's chest. He was twenty feet from the porch of what looked like a large cabin, a house built out in the middle of nowhere, and she intended that he keep that distance intact.
"And I told you that this is private property."
The man continued to edge forward, and Lola answered with the loud echoing blast of shotgun fire rebounding off tall rocks and vast skies and dropping back down to ring in their ears. The gravel and dirt several feet before and to the left of the man's feet flew into the air, and he himself was pelted with rocks up to his chest as a result. He hopped and cussed and stumbled back hastily.
"I'm just mapping, damnit! Miss Hawkes, come on, it'll help the Sept, the Bawn. The Rangers help keep the land safe, even if you don't see it that way, we just need to know the water supplies out here in case something ever happens, like a spill."
"The Rangers can keep their government-gifted land safe all they want. But you stay the fuck off of my property, Tyler, and you keep their noses out of my fucking well. If there's a problem here I'll handle it, or the Sept will handle it."
"We're just trying to help," the man now identified as Tyler said, still backing up toward his truck, parked at the end of the rough untended driveway to this cabin in the wilds.
"Tyler, you can help when you're not wearing that fucking hat and shirt. You're Kin, you're welcome. Off duty. You come here like this again and I'll blast the tires off your truck and leave you to walk your way back to the visitor's center, do you understand me?" By this point, Lola had lowered the shotgun, content that the man's hand was on his door handle. He wasn't coming near her home, her property, and that was just fine by her.
"You'll get reported," the man stated with a scowl that quivered the edges of his mouth just so. "Not to the Sept, but to the Rangers. What would happen if I came back with a truck with buckshot in it? They'd go 'It's that hillbilly Hawkes family again, stirring up trouble, and now destroying property. They've got to go.' And it'll be off to jail or the Rez with you."
"Like fucking hell," Lola spat with acid and hate in her voice, and then actually spat on the dirt in front of her steps, between herself and the truck and the Child of Gaia Kinfolk that stood with the driver's door open. "We've been here for a hundred years-- more than double the time the American government decided they would take over managing this land. We ain't leaving any more than the mountains are-- we're a part of this. Your Rangers are temporary, whether they know it yet or not."
There was a sad look in the thirty-something man's muddy hazel eyes. He knew he was looking at the last of a legacy-- a relic from times long gone that refused to adapt as the world changed around her. Tyler pitied her, but feared her madness. He believed the talk at the station-- the Hawkes are crazy and dangerous, and we're just waiting for the opportunity to evict them from that land. But the paperwork on the Hawkes end was legal and up to date, thanks to Kinfolk cousins in the city. For now, there was this stalemate, and nothing more for the Ranger to do.
So he shook his head, tipped his hat in farewell, and drove away.
Lola watched him go, hand shielding her eyes from the sun, and waited until the truck was well down the winding path off The Homestead and back on the road away. Once content with the distance, she shouldered her gun and went back inside.
November 3rd, 2006
Roxborough State Park
Four teenagers stood in a line, shoulder to shoulder. They were dressed for the chill of the night, but not as heavily as more cautious people would; hoodies and light jackets were the theme. The park was closed, and the young ones gathered at a break of flat pounded land that formed a sort of cul-de-sac off a point where one hiking trail split in a fork to go two directions.
Their teacher for the night, a twenty-something with a wiry untamed growth of beard that he scratched at frequently, was sitting on a log laid down on the edge of this dirt circle, using it as a bench as so many hikers would. The young ones had been standing in formation like this for the past five minutes, quiet, watching their teacher lounge on the log. Their expressions were ones of impatience and aggravation, but they said and did nothing.
Finally, the man stood and closed distance so he was directly in front of them. Scratching his beard and surveying the teenagers, he said:
"So we have our Cubs. They want me to teach ya something, and what I do is up to me, just so long as it's useful. I was thinking I'd take you all to the Other Side, but then I found out two of you haven't even had the decency to have your Change yet."
One of the two girls among them, a tough and stringy brown-skinned thing, glanced to one of the two boys that was present-- this one a lanky teen with a mop of red curls on his head, glanced at each other. The boy with red hair looked a little guilty and shifted his eyes somewhere else, off into the distance. The girl pressed her lips together with displeasure and resumed her hard stare at their instructor.
The instructor paid no mind to the exchange. "I'm Matthias, one of you already knows me. I'm not really from around here, but your Elders asked me to do this as a way of earning my keep while I hang around. But that isn't why we're here, is it? It's all about your shining, hopeful faces."
The fact that none of the faces shone or looked particularly hopeful only caused him to smirk at his own joke. An arm unfolded from where it was wrapped close to his chest and he pointed to a girl with mass of dense natural curls standing at the end of the line. "Starting with you, what are you gonna be when you Grow the Fuck Up?"
One by one, the teenagers announced themselves to their teacher.
The girl that was pointed to first was almost sixteen years old, and dressed in a beat-up leather jacket and tight black jeans and gloves for her hands. She had a bit of Southern California in her dialect when she spoke: "Teagan James. I'm a Galliard. I'm gonna be a Black Fury," she announced her tribe of choice proudly, because she had chosen it, not been born into it. It was a badge she wanted to wear in her lapel.
Beside her stood a pale young man who looked younger than he was-- he could pass for a pre-teen still with his scrawny limbs and lack of height, but he was solidly fifteen years old as well. His hair was dark and short, his eyes a brilliant blue behind thick-rimmed glasses. He spoke quietly: "Ivan Drugal. Theurge." His glasses were pushed back up the bridge of his nose. "Shadow Lord." He didn't need to say it for the Garou there to know-- his blood was full of Thunder after all.
Next in line was the tallest of the bunch. The gangly boy with red hair, a plain face, and hands that were too big for the rest of him shrugged his shoulders awkwardly. He spoke in a voice that crackled from a recent drop that he hadn't adjusted to yet. "Ed Luske. I'll be a Skald."
Last but not least was the brown-skinned girl. She was tough, with stringy muscles and scrapes on her knees and a shadowy ghost of a bruise seeing its way out on her forehead. She had pitch colored hair cut short, and though she slicked it back habitually it hung persistently in her eyes. "Lola Hawkes," she announced with a proud chin jutted out. "Uktena Ahroun."
"Alright," answered Matthias. He wrapped his arms across his chest once more and studied the four teens for a second before asking: "Who can shift?"
Teagan and Ivan raised their hands. Ed looked a touch embarrassed, and Lola looked a tiny bit defensive but said nothing.
"Good," said their teacher for the evening. Then, with index and middle finger, he pointed to two teens together at a time. "You and you," he indicated to Ed and Teagan. "You and you," this time, to Ivan and Lola. He paired them up-- one Changed with one Unchanged. "You guys are partners. We're splitting up for the night. This isn't a competition, you're not teams, so don't think of it that way.
"You will stick with one another, and you're going to head that way--" now he pointed north with his whole hand. "Just keep going. You'll know when you're done."
"Excuse me," piped Teagan, "but what are we doing?"
Matthias grinned from under that rough brown beard and turned to walk back to the log. As he went, he drew a cigarette from a pack he had tucked in the breast pocket of his flannel shirt. Knees bent so he could plant himself on that log again, and just prior to placing the cigarette between his lips he said, simply: "Surviving."
He lit the cigarette, took his first drag, and exhaled. Then, with brown eyes flashing, he bade them: "Go."
09-02-2013, 02:35 PM
(This post was last modified: 09-02-2013, 02:43 PM by Kenna.)
November 3rd, 2006
Roxborough State Park
"You're about to get your ass left behind, Ivan, and that's a fucking promise."
A pair of teenagers stood in the dark night, with only the swollen Gibbous moon above to cast light for them to see. The night was clear, mercifully, and the moon and stars were bright, cutting pale light across the landscape. But even that could only do so much, and without keen eyes and a sense of ease in the wilderness one would become hopelessly lost to be where these two were.
One scrawny teenager, looking younger than his years thanks to a late start at puberty, was sitting on the ground with his back against the base of a tall slab of red rock, hidden away in the pitch shadow that it created against the moonlight. The second teenager, his partner for the night, stood with her fists planted firmly on her hips and her feet perched between two rocks on what might have been a dried up pond bed at one point, but now was simply a gash in the grassy land filled up with rocks and pebbles and dry old sediment.
The boy, Ivan, appeared completely at ease. He didn't look like the sort that would survive the elements, for his limbs were skinny and his joints were knobby and he was careful not to break his glasses. Those very glasses were what he was focused on at this exact moment. He had a cloth in his hand, drawn from a hard case that was pulled from his pocket. This cloth, a slippery thing made of blue, was being used to meticulously clean the lenses of the glasses.
The teenaged Ahroun that accompanied him tonight was impatient. She kept walking ahead of him, circling back around to growl at him to go faster, grumbling that he would make them late, that they would lose the challenge, and that she would be scorned because she couldn't keep her Theurge at pace and it was her job as an Ahroun to Lead.
He sighed. He was tired of her. He put his glasses back on his face, but did not stand. Instead he looped his skinny arms around his knees and looked at her with a flat gaze to match his tone when he spoke.
"It's a threat."
She bristled, and he continued.
"You're not leaving me. You know you'd fail this challenge if you did."
"No, fucker, we're going to fail this challenge because you're taking your sweet ass time!" Lola was full of impotent Rage, bottled up from many moons and frustrations gone by that had not yet been able to be released with The Change. She was anxious for it, eager and itching. She wanted to reach out to the Moon, gather it to her breast, and use it to encourage her Change.
Then she could just pick up this scrawny little asshole and carry him the rest of the way.
They had gone about seven miles in the past two hours, and Lola felt like Ivan had stopped caring at the fourth mile. He slowed, he lingered, he took his time taking a piss and catching up to her. The sense of urgency kept swelling up in Lola's chest and anger would fall toward him like bile from her lips, but nothing would remedy it. The boy would not be bothered by the girl, and he wouldn't change his pace for much longer than five minutes to shut her up before slowing himself once more.
So, of course, they would hit a boiling point before this day bled into the next.
"Oh just shut up already," Ivan groaned and pushed his fingertips to his temples. "You keep going, but I'm camping here. I'm tired of hearing you bitch anyways."
Ivan tried to lay finality to his words by slouching back more comfortably against the rock and pulling the hood of his sweater up over his head. He was just pulling the drawstrings when he heard the quick crunch-crunch of rocks under boots. He knew Lola was approaching, quickly, and had just enough time to close his eyes, sigh in exasperation, and pull the drawstrings on his hood to try and close it up before she reached him.
Seeing this maneuver had Lola's temper flaring into a full inferno. She felt disrespected and frustrated, and the girl's patience was no lengthy thing to begin with. She leaned down and shoved her hand roughly into the boy's hood, then seized a fist-full of his shaggy black hair. Fingers wrapped into his hair, and he had barely enough time to shout his protest and grab onto her wrist before she took the shoulder of his sweater in her other hand and dragged-- literally, dragged the boy away from the rock wall.
"Fuck, you crazy bitch, let go!" Feet scrambled to get under him, and he bit into her arm with his fingernails to get her to yield. She said nothing to him, just marched into the night, continuing her trek northward. Her teeth were gritted together, bared to the air. With her jaw locked and her rage kicking around in her chest she didn't bother to form words. She was done with talk, and more than ready for action that she felt was a reasonable consequence for so stalwartly refusing to be helpful to their mission.
"Lola! Lola, let go!"
He tried to pry her fingers open while he marched along after her, head down. One hand was holding his glasses to his face now, as they'd almost fallen off a moment ago.
She would not relent, no matter how much he cried out or pulled or resisted. She was taller than he was, stronger too. His own sense of insult and bruised pride began to build, to push past his typical calm, and his pulling became more frantic.
"No," she finally growled out, but kept on going. The control felt good, and she didn't want to relinquish it.
This time, Lola did stop. She stopped because the hand wrapped around her wrist was joined by a second, and those hands had begun to grow. The hair on his head grew shaggier, took on a different texture (but stayed that same pitch black), and his bent curled body grew and hunched more severely for her grasp on his hair, for the moment, kept him stooped.
Eyes widened some, but not by much, while Lola watched the boy change. It looked like a painful, difficult thing. It wasn't at all like seeing the Cliaths change. They tended to be smoother, faster about the transition. Ivan looked like he didn't know the order in which things went, for his face was still squashed like a human's but his mouth was trying to hold too many sharp teeth.
She let go, finally, and took a few steps back from the boy that would be Shadow Lord. Her arms were at her sides, fists balled up tight, chest out and chin high. Even in the dark he would see the whites of her eyes-- she wasn't sure if she was seeing a Frenzy or not, and knew that she would need to Change to handle him or otherwise face death.
Unfortunately, her skin did not prickle and her vision did not bleed red (what she'd been told the indicators were that you were going to Change) when Ivan reached forward quite suddenly, surged from his crouched and curled posture toward her.
Giant hands with impossibly long fingers, tipped with similarly long black claws, wrapped around her body and lifted her from the ground. She went up about four solid feet before she felt herself being shaken. Her head tossed around, threatened to strain or snap, then was pulled back forward and her nose was brought to touch the wet black tip of a young Crinos's muzzle.
He did not roar or bellow, though. He didn't open his jaws and chew her into pieces. Instead, with ice blue eyes that followed from his human form to his War one boring into her, he growled. The sound carried mutilated words, garbled out through teeth and a tongue that weren't made for language, pushed through black lips that curled far enough to show pink gums.
"Lisss-ten. To. Me."
With her arms pinned at her sides, her feet so far from the ground, and impossible strength wrapped around her body like a vice, Lola had no choice but to comply. She stared him in the eyes, though, refusing to cower for the skinny little asshole that wouldn't listen to her.
"We ccaahhhmp. Cahhmp here. Ohhh-kayyy?"
She didn't move. He shook her a little so that her head bobbed involuntarily.
And so, the pair would return to the shelter that the rock wall had provided. Ivan feeling empowered, keeping his War form, and Lola sullen but more compliant than before.
November 4th, 2006
Roxborough State Park
The night was bright for the bright full moon in the sky, but the patch of earth where Ivan and Lola slept was shadowed by a slanted cliff face. The Shadow Lord boy had slept in his Lupus form, a scrawny looking adolescent wolf with fur black as pitch and a muzzle as broad and strong as a fighting dog's. Lola, of course, was left in human skin through the cold night, and even with her flannel shirt and down vest she would have shivered and frozen in the elements. But she'd slept pressed to the wolf's side, and though he was still young and rangey in shape he kept her warm enough to sleep.
They'd been asleep for perhaps four hours at the most before a terrible sound punctuated the air and woke them both with a start, and Ivan with a yip.
"What the fuck was that?" Lola demanded to know hazily."
The noise burst again, and this time continued. It was as screaming, snarling, roaring sound. Two animals, not just the one, fighting somewhere within the mile's radius. The teenagers were snapped awake all at once: this, a mix of feeling the cold of a November night all at once since their bodies had parted, and a realization of the only logical thing that sound must be.
Two Garou, fighting and fighting hard.
Ice blue and very dark eyes met, and Lola's eyes widened while Ivan rolled and snapped up onto his four feet.
"Jesus fucking Christ," Lola swore and pushed herself up onto her feet. Ivan had already taken off, lanky legs cutting him through the grass and trees faster than Lola could keep up. But rest assured, she did a fine job of trying. Lola was a very fit, very athletic young woman. She was preparing for a life as a Warrior, and has been since she was old enough to sit still in front of a Garou willing to teach her a thing or two.
She lost sight of Ivan, for the black wolf blended with the night naturally, but he had gone downhill into the shallow ravine peppered with jutting diagonal rocks and patches of trees, now becoming quite bald of their multi-colored leaves. Her feet snapped twigs and scraped pebbles, but she didn't care to try and keep herself quiet. She only cared about her long-legged stride and keeping a strong, consistent pace.
This may be why she nearly trips over Teagan's body.
Lola's toe collided with a human shin, but she managed to catch her balance and halt her momentum quickly enough to avoid falling down or spraining an ankle. She stumbled to a stop and turned around to look and make sure she wasn't seeing things.
Sure enough, there was Teagan, laying still on the dirt, rolled onto her left side with her legs jutting awkwardly at the knees and one arm twisted behind her like a rag doll. She was missing her throat, and her belly had been torn wide open and chewed thoroughly. Her clothes were torn nearly asunder save for her pants and tank top. Lola stared hard for a second, and her face took on an ashen hue.
But she did not lean over to vomit. She didn't rush and feel for a pulse, because there was no way this girl could be alive. She didn't go slack at the sight of the carnage or buckle under the emotional weight of losing a comrade. Instead she whipped her head from side to side, squinting through the sparse moonlight to try and discern where Ivan and, no doubt, Edward were.
She didn't have to look hard, the splashes of blood glinting moonlight and clear path of broken trees was easy enough to follow. And follow she did.
Precisely twelve minutes after she was awoken by the sharp sounds of Wolves killing each other, Lola stumbled to a stop from her dead run with arms swinging, gasping for breath and steaming with sweat. The air from her lungs made sudden, pluming clouds in the air before her as she stood and stared.
There was Edward, crunched down and naked with his right arm wrapped up on top of his head and his face aimed at the ground. He had claw marks down his sides and his left arm dangled limp at his side. He shivered and panted and steamed. Ivan was crouched nearby him, in Crinos again, with his big hands awkwardly laid on the Fenris's arms and back to shelter him from the frosty temperatures.
Again, eyes met between the skinny young boy and the stringy young girl. They sucked in cold air from the night and spiraled to come to full understanding of what had just happened.
June 29th, 2014
Signs had started appearing around Castle Rock and towns surrounding the area. Simple but professionally printed, well-formatted.
Offering services in solar power and rainwater harvesting. Full installation and education is always included at no extra cost. Be self-reliant, and save money doing it.
Lola could be seen around these places hanging the printed advertisements up, in grocery stores and hardware stores and garden centers and community gardens as well. She looked sturdy and healthy, infuriatingly to some (unsurprising to those that knew her) back into a shape that was very near to original. The only real noticable difference to when she reappeared was that she now walked around with an infant swaddled and wrapped up against her chest-- all that was visible was a head full of dense black hair.
She was approached twice while hanging posters throughout the first week. What is it exactly that you're selling? How do you guarantee your work?
Initial invoices were drawn, and Lola began the meager trickle of income when launching your own business.
July 4th, 2014
Lola didn't subscribe to patriotism. One could only imagine why a Uktena wouldn't be on-board for celebrating the Good Ol'e Red-White-and-Blue.
It did happen to be the day that she started up her patrols again. Hector had tagged along with, largely because he wanted to and could, but probably a little bit to watch and see how his mate did out on these long walks while still not sleeping reliably and pouring much bodily energy into feeding their infant. Naturally, she did just fine.
They ran into some others visiting the Caern's bawn, received congratulations on the newborn.
This, ultimately, would become a standard day in the life until business could pick up.
July 12th, 2014
It was a full moon, hanging fat and particularly large in the sky above. The radio mentioned a 'Supermoon', said it was passing closer to the earth tonight than it typically does in its orbit. Lola had lulled little Raksha to sleep against her chest while standing out on the back porch and watching the moon rise.
Hector had come to her from a run and hunt to exert some of the Rage that welled and swelled and burst in his chest. He met her at the porch, smelled of sweat and the trees. Rage tamed-not-gone, life and passion stoked. They'd laid the baby in her crib and gone to their room.
Let's not blame young people for what happens under the impossible pull of Luna's fullest and nearest swell.
July 18th, 2014
Family left at home, back on The Homestead, Lola was finishing up her first actual job. Hair tied back, sweat slick on her forehead and shoulders, she stood in the fenced back yard of some $500k house in Boulder. A couple in their fifties had called her and set up the first project that she'd scheduled. A small couple of gardens now occupied a quarter of their yard, easily navigated and well marked. A rainwater barrel was now built into the bottom of gutters, which she'd cleaned out for good measure.
She came home with her first check and a bloom of self-sufficient pride.
As it turns out, the Homestead didn't fall apart while she was gone, and working for human money wasn't so terrible after all.