City Stink

Title: City Stink
Date: September 22, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Strange wolves in the woods.

dearest PM
It's sunset in the fringes of Diopside, and the rest of Diopside too. It stinks of the battlefield of Weaver and Wyld, ape civilization building up and toxic waste burning down. He's on a mission to scout out the area for potential threats — specifically the rumors going around that there's some sort of toxic spirit accosting people.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder prowls along the shadows of the broken streets, his dark fur making him seem to slip in and out of the dim pools of not-light. His nose is to the ground, and all his senses are sharpened for any sign of a wild spirit, whether Wyld or not.

His keen ears pick up the distant rattling sound of ape metal on concrete. Could be a spirit! Could be just some crow having fun. Still, it's only about a block away, and he can probably sneak up on it if he's lucky. Get a good look.

Sky freezes, every hair on his being going rigid at the sound, his lip curling in a quiet snarl as his ears swivel. He changes course, all his attention and ferocity focused on The Hunt.

ROLL: Phoenix rolls: 2 + 2 + 0 - 1
ROLL: 3 9 9 = Success! (2) ( Stealthy! … not really )

ROLL: Tallulah rolls: 5d10
ROLL: 1 1 7 7 4 = Failure!

The scraping continues. It doesn't sound like his prey has heard his approach! In fact — CLANG!!! — there's a great cacophany of metal and refuse and oh, wow, yes, that definitely smells like some kind of sewer spirit!

And as he gets his first look to round out his sensitive sniffer, it looks like one too. Some sort of quadruped mud monster rooting around in human garbage. Its tail — if you could call it a tail, honestly — is wagging.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder freezes when the creature's noise fills the night air, and he peers at it from around the corner of the building. His ears turn back as his muzzle wrinkles in disgust. Perversions of Gaia's order… they're disgusting! His already large form bulks up, growing from a pony to size of a grizzly. His massive haunches coil… and he springs out into the open! His enormous claws chew through the battered asphalt as he sprints towards the creature, roaring his battle cry as he goes!

That battle cry gets the creature to whip around and let out the high-pitched yelp of a startled wolf. It scrambles backwards, tripping over its paws, stumbling over the garbage can it had been rummaging through, and falls over in a dirty heap. Clear blue eyes are wide in panic, a muddy muzzle parted in panting fear.
Don't eat this one! the thing's body language seems to say.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunger barrels on towards it, roaring and frothing with the rising battle fury! But as the thing turns on its back, the Ahroun is slowed, his charge turning to a slow lumber as he approaches the thing. He's absolutely massive, seemingly size of a house as he hovers over the sewer creature. He raises a huge claw… and pokes it in the belly. That's a soft belly, why does a monster have a soft belly?

This close up, his sensitive nose can smell that under the foul gunk and stench is… wolf smell? No— Garou smell! Under his claw is a wimpy little unknown garou, her ears flattened hard against her skull, tail curled hard against her belly in submission. Her blue eyes shut hard and he can see she's trembling under his sharp nail. Please just do what you will do to this one fast!

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder's ears turn up in amazement when he recognizes that smell! What. He leans in, sniffing her more… but snorting in disgust when he gets a whiff of sewer. He takes a step back, still the size of a Buick, and barks out in angry-sounding Mother's Tongue, What are you doing? (edited)

The poor wolf is shaking like a scared bunny when he sniffs at her, but when he steps back, she seems to collapse a little. Blue eyes peek at him again, ears flicked back in confused dismay. Her head tilts. What was that?

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder waits. And waits. And waits a little more. But as the wolf just looks at her blankly, he growls and says again, the guttural tongue slow and careful, What. Are. You. Doing? And for good measure, Who. Are. You?

But the wolf just looks bewildered, rolling to her belly and creeping down to lay as flat as she can. This one is confused, this one is sorry, what are those sounds? This one has never heard them before. As she prostrates, something jingles against the pavement under her, and he can see the way the fur and muck of her neck seems to be restrained, collar-like.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder tilts his head at the creature before him… and he finally lets out a long, annoyed sigh. Great. A cub. Just what I needed. At the jingling, his ears perk up. He moves towards the scared wolf again, his massive jaws going for her throat… only to push under her chin, nosing it up so he can get a look at what's under there.
With great annoyance, the Garou's form shifts again, and he becomes a huge ape-man crouched over her, brushing the muck away with his newly-formed hands, seeking out the collar under her fur, his hackles raising more and more as he starts to realize what he's seeing.

The wolf squeaks when he lunges for her, but when once again she isn't dead, she thumps her tail weakly against the ground. But then, he shifts and her eyes widen, nose working overtime. You changed! You were a wolf! Now you're a man! She doesn't seem to react to his seeking her buried collar.

Whether or not she can register the disgust on his face doesn't matter to Phoenix. He's shoving away months of muck from this poor creature, and finding an even worse sight: A collar! He growls audibly. A pet? You were someone's pet?? Ancestors be ashamed… He shakes his head, his eyes piercing down at her look of amazement, and he frowns at her. Why so awed, pup?

The poor wolf still can't understand his words, her ears flicking forward and back as she cants her head. Still, her nose strains forward, sniffing at him. You are a man-wolf??? Wow! This one has never seen a man-wolf! Sniffsniffsniffsniff. She's like an over-excited puppy now, tail wagging faster.

Phoenix finally sits up, his hands off her neck to let her stand fully upright. He suppresses a smile (badly) as she sniffs eagerly all over him, smudging her filth all over his bare, dark chest. Am I really the first Garou you've met? he asks, the words a deep growl in his throat. As she sniffs at him, his massive hands run through her fur, rubbing away the days of muck, revealing a surprisingly beautiful coat beneath.
He smells like nothing she can remember. Nothing like the city. Dirt and trees and fresh water… and blood.

Under all that sewage and muck is such a lovely fawn-colored coat to go with those blue eyes. She's probably a very pretty wolf: trim but powerful. Her nose is working overtime, sniffsniffsniffing until she sneezes and backs away a step, ears flicking slightly. She's gone from enthusiastic to somewhat nervous and off-put, though even she isn't entirely clear as to why, if her body language is to be believed. She looks afraid and confused, haunted but eager. Are you bad? she seems to ask. (edited)

Phoenix stares at her, non-plussed by that body language. Oh, he recognizes it. It's just… not one he's used to seeing on a grown wolf. So he leans forwad, placing his hands on the ground and shifts quickly back to his large wolf form. There he is, towering over her, smelling of blood and muscle and feral strength… and he leans in to glomp her muzzle with his own and hold onto her.

When he shifts, she looks briefly enthralled and excited before panic sets in again as he lunges for her! And then he closes his jaws over her muzzle and she stills, her tail dropping slightly…then wagging a little. She squirms slightly, licking at his muzzle and apparently readily accepting his dominance.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder holds her, gently but firmly for a moment, and then snorts. Seemingly happy with the arrangement. He lets go of her muzzle, letting her lick at him a little, enjoying being the top of the food chain again. But he's doing that scary body-changing thing again too soon, reaching around to grab her by the scruff.
Hold still, he growls, seeming to grab… not her fur, but the thing around her neck? What's he gonna do—
With a grunt and a burst of strength, he snaps the thick leather of the collar in two. And suddenly, she can breathe!

She blinks as he shifts again, and then squeaks as she grabs for the Hurting Thing. As he yanks it, she yelps, snapping her jaws at the air in fear and pain as skin and blood and fur comes away with it, leaving a raw wound behind. Even worse? There's a thin band of silver on the inside of the collar. Enough to drive any Garou a little mad!

When it's gone though, she's limp in his hand, whimpering. Some of the wound is already healing but that silver definitely did some damage that will take a while to heal.

Phoenix's sigh of relief turns into a surge of anger when he sees the silver just inside. His skin burns at the touch of it, but he grips it tight in his fist. WHO DID THIS?? he bellows, all his fury at this horrid crime turned on the one thing nearby: the poor little wolf.

And when he roars in that weird language, she yelps and squirms out of his grip, skittering back far enough to fall over the trash can again. I do not know! she exclaims without thinking, some deep recesses of primal ancestral knowledge starting to work their way to the fore. Her phrasing is clumsy, her pronunciation atrocious, but there it is, Mother's Tongue.

Phoenix's anger is replaced by a look of surprise. His jaw drops open in a very human expression. Ah! he cries, breaking out into a smile, The Mother's Tongue! You do speak it! he says, throwing his hands in the air.

The… Tongue Mother? she replies warily, her jaw working awkwardly around those syllables. She's still hunkered down on the other side of the trash can, barely peeking over at him. Poor puppy. Speaking what is I doing? I hear you?

Phoenix's smile falls and he's back to that resting scowl. He kneels down, trying to make himself look smaller (not an easy task). Yes, we are speaking the Mother's Tongue. I was worried you were too young. Or just dumb. But you are Garou! You are Garou… He looks at her collar, frowning at the human writing on it.
He looks back up at her, searching. Do you have a name?

She follows along with his words with an intense concentration, resting her chin on the can. Garou? she echoes. I am what is Garou? But when he asks her name, she just tilts her head slightly. Don't know, she admits.

Garou is… ah, big question. Phoenix scratches vigorously behind his ear, looking thoughtful… then he shakes his head and smiles at her. I will tell you later. You don't know? Did no one give you a name? Were you born of a wolf mother?

…Don't know, she says again, looking ashamed. I do not remember. Do not remember anything. Am here, am remember only here, one day, no past.

Phoenix blinks at her for a moment, trying to process this. You… do not remember? No no, cubs always remember, even from before First Change. You just remember… differently? He shrugs, looking at her hopefully.

She shakes her head, a very human gesture. No remembering. Nothing. This one here, this city. Before that, nothing. I try but… She flops back onto her butt and scratches at her injured neck with her hind leg. Nothing. She finishes, getting to her paws and shaking off. But then she peeks at him, ears flicking back as she hunkers slightly in apology. Wish this one could help.

Phoenix's expression goes flat, and he just stares at her for a moment, his intimidating glare making her want to flatten. He stands presently, shifting easily back to his wolf form again. Follow, he says, with all the air of someone who expects to be obeyed. He takes her collar gingerly in his teeth, and starts to trot off towards the edge of the city, back towards the forest.

She does flatten again under his expression, and when he turns to go, she hesitates. She looks down at the garbage at her paws, where she had been hunting for a meal. But there is no meal as interesting as a Garou man-wolf. So after some hesitation, she starts after him, running with a slight hunker as she trails after his long loping strides.

Her new wolf friend is silent as he trots away into the wilderness. But he doesn't stop at the forest edge. Nor does he stop a little ways in. Instead, he takes her on a long journey through woods, skirting trails, around mountains… without any kind of discussion. It's going on an hour by now… will this trip ever end?

It probably doesn't help that her apprehension has once again melted away into a bottomless curiosity. She's sniffing everything, loping ahead, circling back, running down side paths, falling behind, circling around… By his count, she should be well into her maturity by now: at least an adult. But she acts like a puppy in a lot of ways, boundlessly fascinated and enthusiastic by everything she finds. Her tail has been wagging nonstop the entire time. It's making him tired just thinking about it.

Phoenix trots along like a mother cat amongst her kittens, following the smaller wolf's activities with his eyes, and a mildly amused swing of his tail. He's amazed at how she can be so energetic, even while being so clearly underfed. The wound around her neck is healing nicely, thank Gaia.

It's another two hours of traveling before Tears-The-Sky-Asunder finally stops. They've crested a small hill, the trees clearing so they can look out over the treetops of the forest beyond. The bigger wolf drops the collar on the ground and pauses, his tail wagging with lazy swings.

Unlike a puppy, her energy does have limits, and it's not long before she's plodding along behind him, only half-heartedly sniffing at new plants as they go. By the time they get to the hilltop, she's panting and she flops to her belly beside him. That's a lot of trees, she says.

His tail gives a quick wag at her words before stilling. And it's mine, he says proudly. A moment of silence passes, and then he tips his head back and lets out a loud, long howl that echoes over the trees.

A few moments pass, and two answering howls return, faraway and echoing across the clouds of green and yellow before them. He returns with another three short howls. Then he stands.

Come, he says simply, picking up her collar and making his way down the hill towards the forest, You will meet my pack.

She blinks a few times. Yours? she asks. You own it? And when he tips his head back to howl, her ears flick back in surprise. Partway through his howl though, she adds her voice to the mix: a warm, mellow tone at a higher pitch than his. The answering howls get perked ears and a little shifting of paws. There are more? Garou like you? she asks as she follows.

Not Garou, he mumbles around his mouthful, wincing a little when the motion has him touching the silver. Or is that from a small surge of sadness? But they are my pack.

Not Garou, she echoes curiously. Her nose works a little at his emoting, and she moves to bump his side lightly with hers. Or, well, his belly. He's tall! What is pack? Friends?

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder glances down at her at the bump, his tail wagging gently for the attention. He even steps sideways, giving her a gentle bump in return. Friends. Family. Home. The pack is everything to a Garou.

She manages not to stagger under the bump, her tail picking up its own wagging. Friends, family, home, she repeats, tasting the words curiously. I wonder do I have a pack, she muses.

You would know, he replies, as they make their way into the forest, the sun rippling behind the leaves above.

Oh, she replies, disappointment radiating through her. Then no pack. No friends, family, home. Just this one. She sneezes softly, padding under the canopy of leaves with Sky, tail dragging a little.

He looks at her, noting just how different she looks. It's like her ebullient self and this sad figure are two different wolves. But he says nothing.

Soon, she spies motion in the distance moving towards them. Tears-The-Sky-Asunder sees it too, apparently, because he drops the collar and picks his pace up to a trot. No, a gambol. He's gamboling. The motion resolves itself to two gray wolves who are bouncing towards them, and they meet Tears-The-Sky-Asunder with full body tackles. He goes down with them, the trio snapping and wrestling, tails wagging like mad at their reunion.

Eventually, the smaller of the two gray wolves breaks off from the tussle, spying the newcomer. Her ears perk up, and she sniffs intently in her direction, not moving from her spot. Are you safe?

She blinks and watches him turn into a puppy as he greets his pack mates, her ears perked and her head canted. Her tongue lolls in amusement, her tail wagging, but she sits where she is lest she break up the reunion.

When she's spotted, she ducks her head down in submission, rolling onto her back. She sure smells like apes and the city and filthy Wyld pollution.

The smaller gray wolf tilts her head when the newcomer rolls onto her back, and she drops her head down as she advances, sniffing closer and closer. When she gets closer, she growls, showing her fangs at the filthy smelling newcomer wolf.

The newcomer flattens herself a little more, trying to resist curling into a protective ball and instead showing her throats and belly. She whines hopefully, tail wagging ever so slightly, trying to placate the female.

Her flattening down only seems to get the she-wolf to growl louder, and when she gets close enough, she lunges for the newcomer's belly, teeth bared.

But she is knocked aside by Tears-The-Sky-Asunder, the huge, dark Garou looming over her, showing fangs that are bigger than her head. The she-wolf's posture changes immediately, hunkering down, ears splayed and tail tucked. She makes pitiful noises as Tears stares her town. The other wolf hangs back, his own posture instinctively submissive.

She can only stay open for so long! When her belly is in immediate danger, the newcomer bolts to her paws and hunches, tail wrapped around her haunch as she skitters away from violence. But then the big Garou has saved her from Certain Doom and she hunkers behind him, hiding in his shadow. Her ears are flat, her body dipped down, her tongue licking her nose in submission.

The she-wolf mirrors the newcomer's posture almost exactly, eyes turned up pitifully at Tears-The-Sky-Asunder. Eventually, he relaxes, stepping forward to nose gently at the she-wolf, who immediately takes to licking submissively at his muzzle, her body slowly uncoiling from its submissive posture to placate him.

The he-wolf slinks towards the newcomer next, moving carefully and watching Tears with quick glances. But when he gets close, his submissive posture changes to one of hesitant dominance as he goes to sniff her over.

And she hunkers away from the he-wolf, radiating fear. She smells like city stink and blood and fear and Wyld. As he gets close, she skitters away several feet, hunkering down near the ground and protecting her vitals.

When she skitters away, the he-wolf doesn't give chase. He stops, lifting his head and his ears at her, tilting his head curiously.

Tears pulls away from the make-up session he's having with his packmate, looking between the two of them. He lets out a huge sigh, and trots carefully towards the newcomer. I am sorry for how my packmate acted. Please do not be afraid. They know you're not to be hurt now.

She bolts under Sky, hiding under his massive body. i did not do anything why is she mad what did I do, she babbles. She looks at the two lupine pack mates, a whine escaping her throat. No friend family home, I go, I leave, she rumbles softly. But she can't quite bring herself to leave the safety of his shadow yet.

Both the packmates are looking at her now, the she-wolf still laying on the ground, the he-wolf on his feet. They don't seem to be picking up on her fear the same way Sky is. The big Garou puts a paw on her side when she talks about leaving, and he snorts. You are a new wolf. They did not know if you are friend or foe. They are not mad, they're just wolves.

i am just wolves, she protests, hunkering into his paw and peeking out. But slowly it seems to sink in that they're not acting hostile to her anymore and he can feel her muscles untensing. I am not attack? she asks softly, tail still tucked.

No, you are Garou. Better than wolves. Smarter. Stronger. He says it with such casual conviction, too. Like he can't imagine someone saying otherwise. You will not be attacked. I will hurt them if they try, and they know it now. Let them greet you. He slowly takes his paw off her, standing still and watching her.

Garou? But I don't change man-wolf, she says in confusion. just wolf, no man. As he releases her, she carefully climbs to her paws, still hunkered down a bit, and creeps out from beneath him. She sniffs toward the male first, since he's the least threatening, keeping a low, submissive profile as she approaches.

The he-wolf's ears were starting to swivel elsewhere, but as she starts to creep towards him, he turns his ears back to her. He stretches his head out, sniffing at her, but his eyes are on Sky. The big wolf takes a seat, watching the interaction.

Emboldened, the he-wolf creeps towards the newcomer as well, posture high and confident. He gets close enough to bump his muzzle against hers, if she'll let him.

The filthy little wolf sniffs at him, tail slowly uncurling from her rump. And as he gets close with no outward signs of hostility, she seems to be relaxing. Her tail starts to wag and she sniffs at his muzzle and his neck and body, starting to trot around him, taking in all the scents of him.

He sniffs right back, his posture high and interested. They circle each other, taking in each others' scents. He gets a big whiff of her city stink and sneezes, hopping back in surprise with a glance to Sky. The big wolf just lets out an enormous yawn, so the he-wolf tentatively steps back in, trying to stick his nose under the newcomer's tail.

She doesn't seem to mind the invasion, instead just doing the same to him. Sniffsniff!! Her tail wags excitedly and she bounces at him, playful and hopeful, scampering in a circle before dropping into a bow, wagging like crazy. She even chuffs at him.

He returns the gesture, bouncing about in front of her, his tail wagging as he lunges in and tries to get on top of her, his body language happy and open. The she-wolf even rises to her feet, hopping in and bouncing with them, though a bit more tentatively than the other.

Sky hangs back, his tail thumping lazily against the ground, watching his family get along.

The newcomer bounces and rolls, yipping happily. When the she-wolf joins in, there's only a moment of wariness before she opens up again and nips at her playfully, until all three are roughhousing and rolling around.

Eventually, she extracts herself, panting, and flops over to rest. I go back soon, but this is fun, she says, resting her head on her paws.

The two wolves try to keep playing with her when she flops over, but when it's proved that she's too tired to continue, they start wrestling with each other.

Sky opens his eyes when she says that, his ears turning towards her. Go back? Go back where?

City, she replies. Home box. Find food. Hungry. She yawns and sneezes, a paw scraping at her muzzle to drop a bunch of muck off her fur. Eugh.

Sky flicks his ears when she says that, peering silently at her. Then he heaves a great sigh and rolls to his feet. Come, he says to her, trotting off into the forest. The wolves pause in their playing, watching him walk away, before they fall into step behind him.

She flicks her ears in response and gets to her paws, following as well. Where we go? More trees?

To hunt, he says, glancing back at her, But first, to bathe you. You stink like the city. You'll scare away the prey.

Hunt? she asks in confusion. She shakes her fur, slowing a little, then speeding up to keep up. I stink like city because I live there!

Then you shouldn't live there, Sky replies, like it's the most obvious thing in the world. He snorts. You stink. Like a stink bug.

She slows again, and speeds up when he starts to lose her. Is that bad? Stink bug? She sniffs at a tree, then speeds up so she can run beside him, looking up at the enormous wolf. But I live there, she says, uncomprehending.

He looks down at her as he trots along, his pale eyes looking so big on his enormous face. Why do you live there?

She looks up at him, her own blue eyes blinking in response. …I live there, she replies in confusion. There is where I live.

He looks away from her, eyes turned to the forest ahead. In the distance, she can hear running water. You should live in the forest. In the wilderness. It's where wolves and Garou belong.

Her ears perk, then swivel back. I am not a man-wolf, she says hesitantly, one ear tilting. I belong in city stink. I have no pack here.

As stoic as Sky is, he still has the wolf body language. His ears droop a little when she says that. Very well. But you will eat tonight before you leave. And you will have to be clean before you can hunt.

She just seems confused though. unsure of what to make of him or this conversation or any of this really. I am hungry, she admits. And I would like a wash… She just looks like such a lost puppy right now. A sad lost puppy.

Sky glances her way… and shifts towards her. He'd lean on her if he wasn't so much bigger than her. Ah well. Maybe this will be comforting at least.

When they get closer to the river, the two wolves take off at a run, tongues hanging out and gamboling down the bank to splash through the water. The she-wolf stays in the shallows, pouncing on fish as they go by, trying to catch one. The he-wolf just dives right into the deep end, paddling around as happy as a clam.

Sky keeps his sedate trot down to the riverbank.

She does at least seem to maneuver closer to him at the attempted comfort, her tail wagging slightly.

Once they get to the river, she watches the other wolves for a moment before trotting after Sky. She sniffs at the water, patting at it lightly with a paw. She looks at him for a moment then takes a hesitant step in. Has she ever bathed before? Because she doesn't seem like she's sure of this.

Sky watches her, ears turned towards her. Can wolves look bemused? It's water. It's clean. He pads into the shallows, the top of the water coming up to his belly, and turns to look at her expectantly.

She paws at the water again and follows after him at a slow clip, unsure of how to walk through this water that is up to her haunches. She shakes her fur a few times, dancing a little in place. Cold! she exclaims.

Sky chuffs, an unnatural sound for a wolf. He's laughing! Yes, rivers are cold. Come deeper, you'll be safe. He steps towards her, nudging at her haunches with his nose.

She yips in surprise as he pushes her closer. She scrapes on the ground, paws wheeling slightly, but he gets her up to her neck and she squeaks, paddling frantically. She splashes around, unsure of if she wants to swim or run back to the shallows.

Sky sits calming in the shallow behind her, watching her paddle around. His tongue lolls out of his mouth, happy to see her starting to swim. And maybe a little schadenfreude.

The he-wolf paddles over as well, happily churning along through the river, and he bumps her with his nose in greeting. Yay! We're swimming together!

Flailing! But over time she seems to be getting used to it, and she starts to bounce and frolic a little more. And, thank god, the water is washing that muck off of her. In time, gamboling with his packmates leaves her squeaky clean and very pretty, fawn-colored with a soft cream underbelly.

She finally crawls out of the water and shakes off, flopping on the bank with a wide yawn. That was fun, she says.

While she's getting clean, with the help of her wolf friend, Sky wades into deeper water and lays down until just his head is above the running surface. The she-wolf climbs up onto his head, crouched… and uses him as a springboard to try and pounce on fish! She does this over and over, and he just seems to be happy with it.

Water is good, he rumbles happily, eyes closed and basking in the cool water running over him, Are you ready to hunt?

She watches this, bemused. How strange! But when he asks that, she cants her head. Hunt what? Food? I have not seen any metal boxes around here.

Sky opens his eyes, tilting his head curiously, making the she-wolf scramble to keep her footing. Metal boxes?

She opens her mouth… and then looks confused after a moment. Metal boxes. Like… I was looking through earlier. When we met. I was hunting. She cants her head at him, confused.

Sky stares at her passively, silent for many long moments before responding, //The Bone Gnawers would love you.

He snorts. No, that's not real food. I will show you how to hunt real food. (edited)

She tilts her head again. Real food? She trots over to sit beside him in the shallows, looking out over the river. Okay. I will hunt real food… What does it look like?

It can look like anything, Tears-The-Sky-Asunder replies, closing his eyes for a little longer. 5 more minutes, mom! All that matters is that it is slower than us. We catch, we kill, we eat. That is the way of the wolf.

She jerks back slightly at that, ears going flat against her skull. …Kill? she replies softly. No… that's okay. I'll… no thank you.

Sky's eyes slit open. You don't want to kill? Where do you think that food in the metal boxes comes from?

Humans, she replies, hunching up as she backs up a little. Little cakes and veggies don't need killing.

Sky makes a look of disgust. Cakes and veggies are not proper food for wolves. We need meat.

No, she replies again, backing up a few steps. I'm not a wolf. I'm not anything. The more they talk about this, the more she seems ready to bolt.

When she starts to back up, a growl begins in Sky's throat. You're right. You're not a wolf, you're a Garou. And as a Garou, you must learn to value both life and death. He rises out of the water as he speaks. The she-wolf yelps as her perch is disturbed, and she falls into the water with a splash.

No! she exclaims, shaking her head hard. As he rises and growls, she keeps backing up. I won't! I won't kill! I won't!! Her voice comes out in a keening yelp, all her muscles tended and ready to bolt.

You will hunt, Phoenix growls, his lips pulling back in a snarl, each sentence punctuated by a stomping step up the riverbank, You will kill. You will eat. Because you are Garou!

Every step bringing him closer seems to bring her closer and closer to wild panic. No! she cries again. I AM NOT GAROU! And that seems to break the spell; she turns in blind fear as it chokes her, bolting into the forest so fast it's like she barely touches the ground.

Sky tenses when she turns to bolt, his hackles raising, and he has to hold his urge to give chase back. His wolf packmates tense, watching their alpha for instruction. The poor Garou stays un-chased as she disappears into the forest.

And off she goes, a ghost in the night. Or day. Or, whenever. It was nice knowing her for all of a few hours!

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