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Rends the Gar

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Posts : 350
Join date : 2013-08-29

PostSubject: Mirror Images   Mon 08 Sep 2014, 01:27

Rends the Gar stood atop a rocky outcropping, looking to the South to where he knew San Antone, and the battle field where they'd first met Akna lay. Behind him a miasma of ethereal lights and otherworldly chanting pulsed out from the top of the Burned Rock. The Theurges were hard at work and had been for several hours by this point. The Pordigals had been appointed Guardians while the Caern Building was being done, and while they had some help from a couple of volunteer Garou, the Burned Rock its self was massive and to cover the whole perimeter they'd had to spread out.

Rends the Gar and Ear Killer had agreed to take opposite ends of the Caern, so that they would be able to redistribute their strength and coordinate the defense as needed. Anticipating Comanchee retribution, Ear Killer had taken the Northern front and left Rends with the southern section. That suited him just fine. Without their Wyrm corrupted god, the Comanchee wouldn't be any kind of challenge. He could hear sounds of fighting around him, but heard not cries for help so he kept his vigil, keeping his huge gray and red Crinos form laying down amid the boulders and lichen, blending in and keeping an eye on the land below him.

He huffed a bored sigh, then started as he caught a strange scent on the wind. Sniffing again, he couldn't place it but something was off about the scent. Peering upwind, he didn't see any torches or lamps, but when he focused Luna's light revealed a small caravan complete with two rugged carriages of all things heading up a larger deer trail a couple miles to the South. They were approaching the Burned Rock, slowly but surely. Without the aid of lights that was enough to raise his suspicion. But combined with this foul scent on the wind, it was enough for Rends to move to intercept them and take a closer look at least. Slowly despite their apparent distance, Rends rose up to all fours and silently padded down the hill, slinking between the trees and stalking his prey. Now obscured behind the clouds, Luna's light could only reveal twin orbs of glowing rage flitting between the shadows, heralds of a hulking mass of primal might.

It took several minutes of stalking to reach them, but reach them he did just as they rolled to a stop in a small clearing. The clearing was only about twenty yards across and roughly circular. Cover was limited, so Rends shifted back into Homid before reaching the clearing, still out earshot.

The caravan, if you could call it that, was comprised of two small but high riding and sturdy carriages each pulled by a large dark horse. Tied behind each carriage, a dozen half starved and exhausted looking humans collapsed to the ground as they stopped, to spent to even curl up they passed out where they lay. Rends regarded them for a moment, noting that the carriages themselves only seemed to have luggage strapped to their tops and only scant supplies.

Funny. Someone who can afford carriages like that should be able to keep their hired help fed better than that...

Looking over the carriages again, something truly strange caught Rends eye. Rather than the usual light curtains to let a breeze in, the windows on these carriages were covered up with heavy wooden slats. Even in the mild fall weather, travelling like that for any distance would get stuffy and uncomfortable very quickly.

"Silke! Get out here and set up camp! The Masters will be ready to eat soon! I swear if you don't move your lazy ass I'll tan your hide real good this time!"

The man who'd been driving the first carriage called out as he led the two horses off with bags of feed, tying them to a nearby tree then returning to untie the collapsed heaps of humanity behind the carriages. He was a skinny old thing, every hair on his head a tarnished silver color and his skin had the wrinkled, stretched look of someone intimately familiar with the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Judging by the man's walk, he was already drunk. Still, he seemed to be in good condition as he hopped to and fro, unloading luggage and setting up a tent from the first wagon. Rends hadn't seen the second driver yet, but he could hear motion on the other side of the second carriage.

The woman who had to be Silke carried a tall armfull of firewood freshly chopped, then bent down to arrange it and make the fire. Rends paused, forgetting for a moment the bizarre caravan and fixed his eye on the woman. She was young, maybe of an age with Rends. She was tall, with long blonde hair that fell nearly to her waist in a long tight braid. She wore a travel stained men's shirt and pants, dusty hat hanging on her back by a leather thong since there was no sun to fend off. She moved with the surety and purpose of someone familiar with hard work. Her left eye had a dark ring under it, but behind the bruise Rends saw blue fire dancing in the shadows.

"You lay one hand on me, Jacob Taylor, and I'll break your arm faster than you can lose a hand of cards. You ain't so tough when your precious Masters ain't out to give you your fix!"

She spat to the side, setting up tinder and starting to strike flint and steel. The man, Jacob, put a hand to the six shooter at his side, glaring at her. The two locked eyes, and Rends noticed that Silke was unarmed and her wrists had chaffed wounds, as if she'd been tied up.

"You uppity bitch! If you blow my shot here I swear I'll make you regret it! I oughta smack that mouth right off of ya! Some wife you are!"

Silke finally managed to strike a spark to the dried grass, and it blazed up quickly. She let out a throaty, genuine laugh full of derision at the last comment.

"HA! You really are somethin' Jacob Taylor! Claimin' me as your wife when you ain't even able to... heheh... make it so. You ain't even felt a woman's warmth in the whole time I been alive, I reckon, old bastard that you are. So go ahead and make your threats. After all you hit like a woman so it's only fair."

She started laughing again, and Jacob's face flushed with rage. He pulled his gun, then hefted it by the barrel like a club as he stomped towards her. She stopped laughing, clutching for a piece of firewood when she saw the murder in his eyes. Before he reached her, the doors to the carriages swung open and the passengers stepped out as Jacob quickly holstered his gun. Rends settled back down, wanting to watch the Masters for a bit before making his move.

The first one to step out was an oddly dressed stick of a man with dark hair and a short beard. He wore a heavy black coat and pants, a white pair of wings painted onto the back of the coat. On his head, instead of a hat he wore a steel band with a red bauble hanging down from a wire. He cartwheeled in between the two drivers, holding up a hand to both of them with a flourish.

"Hey, don't fight kupo! What would the children think if they heard you? YOU'VE GOTTA KEEP YOURSELVES TOGETHER! DON'T THROW YOUR MARRIAGE TO THE WOLVES, KUPO!"

He went from mocking entreatment to screaming over dramatization at the drop of a hat, causing the two drivers to jump back at the outburst. Silke was first to regain her wits, setting down her impormptu club and going back to tending her fire which had nearly burned out. Her words were terse, angry.

"Sorry, Master Koffra. But we ain't married. He ain't my husband, and I wish he'd die. Hell, I'll make an open offer!"

She turned to the sky, yelling as tears started to trickle down her face.

"HEAR THAT, EVERYONE?! IF THERE'S A REAL MAN OUT THERE WHO WILL TAKE ME AWAY FROM ALL THIS I'M YOURS FOR THE TAKING!"

Without missing a beat, Koffra bent down and picked a blue bonnet, sticking it in Silke's hair behind her ear.

"For your wedding night. Congratulations."

There was a clatter, and from the carriages the rest of the passengers emerged.

Rends the Gar suppressed a snarl and felt his stomach turn. He still didn't know what they were, but at least one of them was obviously Wyrm tainted. It wore tattered clothes, and Rends realized it was his stench that had drawn him down. Wide tusks protruded from his jaws, and his old clothing concealed a large hump on his back. Dirty spoons, buttons and other nick-nakcs hung from threads on his coat, and he leaned heavily on an old walking stick.

Next was a surly Injun man, muscular and with dark hair. A tomhawk and unstrung bow hung from harnesses on his person. He had a look on his face like every single thing he saw was below his already low expectations.

The last carriage had only two occupants. The first out was a large man, about Rends' size with dark curling hair and what looked like a railway spiker hanging from his back. He had the look of a killer, and the sure step of someone who owned every inch of what he saw. He held up a hand to help down the last passenger, a beautiful woman with raven hair and olive skin wearing a simple yet hardy travelling dress.

The large man with the spiker stomped over towards Jacob.

"Taylor, what I told you 'bout keepin' that one's mouth shut?! I swear if you don't beat some sense into your woman I will!"

Jacob cowered down, bowing awkwardly.

"My humblest apologies, Master Clairmont! It's just been a hard day, and the young delicate thing isn't used to travellin' so much! I'll make sure she don't mouth off no more tonight sir!"

The big fellow, Clairmont, growled and hit Jacob with a savage backhand.

"ENOUGH! You had yer chance! I don't wanna deal with you fuckin' it up again!"

He turned from the sprawled out Jacob, rearing on Silke. She scampered backwards on hands and feet, terror in her eyes. The other Masters watched, unconcerned.

Silke screamed, tears flowing freely now as the hulking man grabbed her by the braid and raised up a big meaty fist.

No time to think things through and still unsure if they were all corrupted or n ot, Rends jumped out from behind his rock, waving his hands at the motley group.

"Howdy there! Not every day we have strangers up in these parts!"

They all turned to regard him, frozen mid motion in surprise. Rends the gar stepped into the firelight, fingers hitched into his belt and chest displaying his Ranger badge. He locked eyes with the Clairmont fellow.

"Now I ain't one to get between a man and what's his, but I reckon I heard that young lady say she ain't married. And you don't look like her daddy."

He focused his glare, letting some of Luna's rage shine through his eyes as he tapped his badge.

"Now you let her go and take a step back before I beat your ass to next Tuesday."

Rends looked down to Silke, trying to look reassuring and confident. She stared back up at him, shaking her head just slightly and mouthing something to him.

Run. They'll kill you.

He gave her a sly wink as he turned back to the Clairmont fellow.

The Injun stepped forward, looking Rends up and down with a skeptical eye.

"Begging your pardon, Ranger, but I wasn't aware that there were any patrols out here. These lands are well outside the usual routs your kind takes. Did we stumble onto a scouting party coming home from Comanchee lands?"

The lanky fellow with the red bauble walked a slow circle around Rends, scratching his chin as he examined him.

"No. This one's no Ranger. Rangers carry their teeth on their hips, but his teeth are under his skin."

Rends gave him an uncomfortable look.

"I's a Ranger, sure enough. Ridin' out to make sure the Republic's interest in Perdido's still protected. Got a whole troop camped up a mile or so up the road headin' back to San Antone to make our report."

The woman hummed softly, a clever gleam in her eye.

"Perdido, you say? How fascinating. I wouldn't think the Republic would have interest in ghost towns."

Rends cursed himself in his mind.

Clairmont tightened his grip on Silke's hair, enticing another yelp from her.

"I dont' know who you are, you little shit, but you chose the wrong night to play hero."

Without another word, he pulled an old musket pistol from his belt and shot Rends in the chest. Silke screamed again as he collapsed, body convulsing.

The skinny fellow leaned over Rends as he convulsed, humming to himself. His tune was cut short, though, when a claw shot up, grabbing him by the throat and cutting off the song. The others could now clearly see Rends growing in size, laughing as he strangled the skinny man now beating uselessly on the Garou's arm.

"SHIT! WEREWOLF! KILL IT! KILL IT NOW!"

Surging forward, the men started punching, kicking and smashing Rends with spiker, and walking stick in a futile effort to loose their companion. The Injun took just a moment longer to join the fray, but his hands had turned into long savage claws themselves and he tore at the Garou prone on the ground.

Rends the Gar continued to laugh, reaching Crinos and clearing the attackers with a sweep of Ribcage. Still clutching the other man in his other claw and dripping blood already Rends came up to his feet. He let out a savage howl as he felt Ribcage coat him in steely fur, then covered himself in Troll Skin as warts popped up under his armor. The Masters took a reflexive step back, terror splayed across all their faces as they raised up their weapons in warding. Koffra gave one final spasm, eyes bulged out and face deathly pale as Rends squeezed tighter and felt a pop. He dropped the limp body, then stomped a massive claw down on the head, crushing it in a spray of gore.

Rends was surprised when the body faded away to dust, leaving nothing but dirty clothing and the red bauble.

Vampires. Never thought I'd run into one out here away from the city!

Rends took note of his surroundings in a moment. Jacob had gotten to his feet and he, the freak, injun and brute had him ringed in with the fire to his back. Silke was crawling around to Rends' right side, her eyes locked on Rends. He was surprised to see that while she was obviously terrified, the Delirium didn't seem to be affecting her. He put the thought aside as shots rang out and he felt bullets bounce off his hide.

The three men and Jacob all started unloading on him, pumping bullet after bullet into him in a useless effort to bring him down. Rends howled a war cry, then swung his club down in a mighty arc and smashed Jacob into the ground with a sickening sound.

There was a blaze of blue light as lightning lanced into him and Rends was thrown off to the side, crashing and sliding under one of the carriages from the force of the hit. He'd forgotten about the woman! Peering out from beneath the carriage, he saw smoke rising up from her fingertips.

"Burn the carriage! It won't stay down for long you fools! Fire hurts them as much as it hurts us!"

We'll see about that!

Putting away the club, Rends rose up, claws braced against the bottom of the carriage. He roared with effort, but was able to get to his feet, holding the carriage up above his head. Again stunned, the Vampires froze. The woman's mouth dropped open and Clairmont started muttering a prayer. The Injun was the first to recollect his wits, picking up a piece of burning wood and throwing it square into Rends' chest. It stung, but didn't catch. With another roar Rends threw the carriage, smashing it into the Injun with an almighty crash.

The freak let out a feral scream, more animal than man as it turned to run away. Rends caught him in two bounds, pouncing on his back and tearing off its head with a vicious jerk. Pain lanced into his back again as a fresh bolt of lightning hit him. He turned back to the last two vampires, Rage burning hot in his belly.

The woman stood with her back to the fire now, raising her hands for another attack. Her hair was standing up on end, power pulsing out from her in waves of spiritual pressure. She was now chanting in some language Rends couldn't understand.

But the man was nowhere to be seen. Then quicker than Rends could track, he felt something hit his side like a train. Once, twice, three times. He went down to a knee from the force of the blows as another fireball hit him from the front. He went tumbling backwards, disoriented. Then something grabbed him from behind, iron tight arms holding him in a headlock.

"TAKE THE SHOT, CLOE! DO IT!"

Still disoriented, Rends was sluggish in reacting but he could see the raven haired woman raising her arms again, a fireball forming between them.

He looked in her eyes and saw his death.

Then he looked behind her and watched as Silke stabbed a burning branch through her chest from behind, screaming in defiance and anger.

The raven haired woman screamed, then burst into flame, collapsing and burning away in a matter of seconds. Clairmont screamed in anger and let Rends go, moving to close with Silke in a moment, but this time Rends was ready. He'd had his time to recover.

He tapped his Rage, keeping pace with the last vampire then overtaking and tackling him with a growl and closing his jaws around its head. Clairmont beat at him, cursing him and trying to break free, but even though he seemed to be made of sterner stuff than the others, once Rends got the leverage he needed it was a simple matter to clench his jaws and smash the head in his jaws. The body disappeared in a puff of dust.

Rends rested for a moment, letting his body heal its self before shifting back into Homid. As he shifted he kept his eyes on Silke, watching her and gauging her reaction. She watched him with wide eyes, equally terrified and fascinated. Once he was back in his human skin, Rends got up to his feet and dusted himself off, still regarding her.

"You know, usually when I do that folks tend to piss themselves and tuck tail."

She gave a helpless laugh.

"You know, I can't imagine why. Seems a perfectly natural reaction to folks like them."

Rends chuckled as he stepped forwards.

"Sorry I didn't step in sooner. I didn't know what they was or what they could do. You hurt?"

He held her chin gently and looked her face over, growling to himself when he came to the black eye. She blushed and swatted away his hand.

"I'm fine. Hell, I'm more than fine. I'm finally free of them..."

She looked over the battlefield, her gaze settling on the chunky splat that was once Jacob. She turned back to Rends, looking him in the eye.

"Who are you? What are you?"

He paused before answering, considering his words.

"I'm jest a man tryin' to do his best. I got a few names, but you can call me Sylvester. Sylvester Clemons."

She nodded her head, holding up a hand for him.

"Well Sylvester Clemons, I'm Silke Kräftig. I seem to find myself suddenly alone in a Godforsaken wilderness, my captors brutally murdered by a rather handsome terror of the night. Might I prevail on my knight in shining armor for shelter for a night?"

Rends suddenly realized how close they were standing, and just how very blue her eyes were. Thankful for the Luna's red light and the red campfire, Rends blushed and took a half step back.

"Uh, well, I reckon it was my duty to step in there, but you don't owe me nothin'. 'Sides, I'm a big nasty werewolf. Ain't you sceered?"

She huffed, locking eyes with him.

"Mr. Clemons, I've been among big nasty monsters my whole life and you're hardly the biggest or nastiest thing I've seen. But you are mighty handy. Besides, I made a promise to you. You saved me from my nightmare and I am a woman of my word. I am your wife, Sylvester Clemons. Big nasty werewolf or not."

Before Rends could react, she grabbed him and pulled him in for a deep kiss. For a moment he forgot everything else and got lost in the smell of her, reveling in the new emotions welling up in him. He didn't know how long the kiss lasted, but after a time their lips parted and all he could do was stare at her for a moment.

"Uh. Ok then."

Just then he heard a distant howl, an urgent cry for help. He perked up his head

Zoe's in trouble! I'm closer to her than Ear Killer...

He turned back to Silke, who was now regarding him with a quizzical expression.

"I reckon you got friends out there then?"

"Uh, ya. I actually gotta run and take care of some..."

He looked around at the shattered caravan.

"Werewolf business."

She nodded, stepping back and suddenly awkward as she surveyed the damage.

"Right. Well I reckon I'll just..."

Rends noticed that one of the horses was still there, the other having bolted at some point. He approached the animal, but it panicked and kicked at him when he drew near. Instead he drew back, approaching Silke as she gathered some saddle bags of food.

"Once the horse calms down take it and ride back south. Go as far as you can. You ain't safe here. Others of my kind and worse things are around tonight, and they'll kill you on sight. Stay in the brush, stay quiet and don't light a fire. Find a place to make camp and stay there. I'll find you tomorrow."

She nodded, shouldering her packs.

"Just cut the horse loose. If there's that much nasty stuff around maybe it'll draw sometin' off my trail. I don't have time to wait on it calming down anyhow."

Rends nodded, then cut the horse free with a swipe of his knife. It bolted off to the east, screaming and crashing into the forest.

Silke had a couple of saddlebags and three canteens of water, along with an assortment of other necesseties. Rends couldn't help but admire how quickly she'd adapted to the situation.

She walked up to him, suddenly nervous.

"You will find me right? I can take care of myself, but I don't fancy bein' out alone here with nobody. You don't seem the type to fight for a woman then abandon her, but I been surprised before..."

Rends could see the fear in her eyes, and he smiled down at her as he gave her a quick kiss.

"Damn straight I ain't. I can track better than any man alive, and I'm only an alright tracker by our standards. I'll find you before noon, and then I reckon you and I gotta have a bit of a talk."

She visibly relaxed at his words, smiling with another glint in her eye.

"I reckon. But first I gotta thank you like a wife should thank her husband for saving her from those monsters."

She winked, then walked off to the south, looking over her shoulder as she went. Rends smiled as he shifted to Lupus, sprinting off in the direction of Zoe's cry for help as soon as he was able. As he charged to the next fight, he let out a wordless howl of praise and thankfulness to Gaia.
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