Turn Away Bright Eyes

Title: Turn Away Bright-Eyes
Date: October 15, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Grimm's bounty hunt takes him to Phoenix's territory. Tallulah ruins the night with her sunshine-y friendliness!

Night comes early in the autumn time, when just a few weeks since the harvest moon, Luna's eye only just starts to open again. The forest is darker than usual because of the new moon. Normally, this is not the time for wolves to hunt; this is instead the time of Owl and Rat's evening dance, for Raccoon's stealthy paws. For most wolves, this is the time when the pack rests. But Garou are not wolves. And one Garou, known to the humans as Grimm, known to the lupus as Long-Shadow, is hunting.

And his prey doesn't know. Three men breathlessly slog through the leaf covered dirt towards a campfire lit in the middle of the forest, their solar lanterns bobbing brightly as fireflies and casting their shadows up against the bark of the trees. One man tends the fire while another lounges against his travel pack with his leg propped over his knee, picking idly at something stuck between his teeth. Their guns lay within arms' reach, but nothing has alarmed them to the idea they're being watched. Good.

Unfortunately for them, little do they know that their fire sits on the edges of the territory of another monster. It's for this reason that Long-Shadow has stopped in the darkness, waiting.

Monsters are plentiful in this world, to the despair of many unwitting human. An enormous, dark shape moves stealthily towards the group, mixing with the shadows of the night forest. He approaches not the fire, but the hunting Garou, staying low and hidden from the humans, but not hiding himself from the Long-Shadow. The pony-sized wolf moves without fear, though his posture isn't aggressive. He's curious it seems, watching for Long-Shadow's reaction to an intrusion on his hunt.

So stealth. Much dark. Awoo.

But you know who's not stealth? It's Bright-Eyes. The scrawny blue-eyed wolf wanders into the men's camp, right into the firelight, with all the stealth and cunning of a happy puppy. Her tongue lolls and her tail wags as she looks around at the guys like, HEY GUYS, HOW'S IT GOIN :D

Didn't Phoenix leave her back at the Sept Cabana? why didn't she stay there, oh my god

It was almost the right moment. That moment when the three patrolling scouts return to their camp, could have been just the right time to spook the herd. But no. Grimm turns an ear toward the larger approaching wolf. His head dips between his shoulders, shrinking his silhouette to a neutral, unchallenging acknowledgment of Phoenix's presence. For a long moment, he doesn't look directly at the bigger wolf, instead still watching the men and their camp. Which is how, and why, his head shoots back up in alarm when Bright-Eyes bounds right up to the camp without a fear. Or an inkling of who she's approached.

The trio of men sling off their weapons by the fire eagerly - long has their patrol been - and "uneventful" by the report. "Good," says the lounging man without so much as an uncrossing of his leg. "We'll break camp at dawn and start toward Larimar, should get there by fiv- what the!?" The fawn-colored wolf bursting onto the scene tail a'waggin' throws everybody off. Even the man who speaks, who rolls away from the canine and grabs for his gun to point it towards Bright-Eyes. The others scramble, but they soon realize she's not attacking. "Uh… hey girl?" ventures one of the patrolmen.

Phoenix dips his head in return to Grimm's acknowledgement, pressing himself low to the ground to stay hidden from the prey, one ear turned towards them. He's opening his mouth to give the wolf a quiet greeting… but then there's a familiar wolf bounding into the clearing. His head jerks up, and all that calm confidence is gone as his whole body goes rigid, his lips curling in a quiet snarl. Gaia dammit, Bright-Eyes…

Still, the Ahroun stays frozen, watching the group to see what they do.

As soon as the gun's out, Bright-Eyes jerks back, ears going back and fear rippling through her posture. She may be missing memories, but she's not an idiot. She knows exactly what that is. She lets out a little whine — I was just saying hi ;-; — but when it seems they're not going to shoot, her nervousness retreats a little. Her head and body posture dips, she licks her nose nervously, her tail wagging slightly near her legs. No harm! Just hellos!

Ears pushed forward, Grimm remains sitting and still as he assesses the scene before him. Patience resettles like a blanket on the philodox as it becomes clear the men in the camp aren't about to fill Bright-Eyes full of bullet holes. ~It would be their undoing if they hurt her,~ he rumbles to Phoenix in a very matter-of-factly observation. For several reasons than just the fact that the men don't seem to realize what Bright-Eyes is. ~Your packmate?~ he then inquires to the ahroun.

Inside the camp, the majority of the men appear to be less nervous once they see the friendly, entreating Bright-Eyes. The leader's gun lowers to point toward the ground, but it remains out and unholstered. The friendliest patrolman slowly lowers down to a knee, holding out a gloved hand for Bright-Eyes to sniff at. "There's a good girl," he says lightly. "How'd you know it's a girl?" one of the patrolmen ask the other. He just gets a look from the man, like Really?

Phoenix growls his assent to Grimm, sounding like a semi truck idling. He snorts quietly, creeping behind a bush to peek over at the gathering. ~Not my packmate. A… cub I've met.~ And feels responsibility for, for some weird reason. Which might be obvious by his aggressive posture and how he tenses when one of the men reaches for Bright-Eyes. You better not hurt her! >8E

Bright-Eyes seems to relax more and more as they don't seem too aggressive, her posture lightening up until her tail is wagging again and she paws at the man happily. ~Are you part of the Sept?~ she asks brightly, sniffing all over his glove and then licking his palm. ~Are you a ragabash? I only know ragabash. Wait! No, I know Ahroun too. Phoenix is an Ahroun! I don't know what I am.~ Growlrowrlwrorawrrlwrrlr.

~Your cub is in the company of dangerous men,~ Grimm remarks to Phoenix before the larger wolf creeps to a bush. The Talon opens his jaws in a wide yawn to loosen up, and he adds, ~Their leader is my prey tonight. But now…~ He trails the thought, looking over to the big wolf with a quirk of his head. It's up to him now.

And, who knew the Garou Mother Tongue was so hilarious to humans who don't understand it? The growling 'talking' amuses the friendly man who doesn't reply with anything that sounds like he understands her. "Where did you come from, hm?" He reaches out more to give her a quick scritch on her head. "Alright alright," scoffs the leader once he watches the interaction. "Everyone who isn't playin' with his new bitch, secure the product and then get the fuck to bed. We're heading out first light." The men laugh at the expense of their peer, but the orders do get them to move on to do other tasks.

~She is kind of dumb,~ Phoenix replies, relaxing as the men move off to perform other tasks. His muscles uncoil, though he doesn't take his eyes off the man petting Bright-Eyes. ~Why do you hunt them? Especially into another Garou's territory?~ he asks Grimm. Not a threat, just an acknowledgement.

Bright-Eyes cants her head, leaning into the scritches with a happy chuff and a wagging tail. She then looks at the others, sniffing after them and following them around the camp with a happy loll of her tongue. ~What are you guys doing? What's the product? Is it food? I'm hungry. I got lost and I can't find home again. Are you gonna feed me?~ As if on cue, her stomach rumbles.

What's worse: that she just walked up to these strange men and started talking Mother's Tongue? Or that she's like 10 feet away from Grimm and Sky and doesn't even notice them or smell them? Some wolf she is.

Grimm rises from his seated position to all fours, his tail lifting with interest when the men start to move. Though he reserves judgment on the ahroun's observation of the cub, he is quick to answer on his reasons. ~Other humans made the request to stop the men. They do not hunt for themselves. So, they ask for a hunter to bring them the prey. This group brings poison powder to the city.~ He turns to stare at the ahroun, adding seriously, ~But. I do not wish to intrude. So I wait for them to move away from your land.~

It's almost as if the man understands her! Or maybe he's just going through the motions of pet care, smiling and reacting to the happy tongue and tail wagging and the stomach grumbling. "Oh, are you hungry, girl? Here, let's see…" He digs around in one of his utility belt pockets, producing a paper wrapped packet that he rips open the top of and pushes out a block of something that smells like a protein bar. Nutty, sweet, and why would any wolf eat it oh god. The other men busy themselves with hoisting a tarp over some packed boxes wrapped with rope and tape, unmarked and set in the middle of the camp where it's clearly visible that this is the product they're moving. The leader oversees this, but stares into the shadows past the fire's reach now, scanning the darkness watchfully.

Phoenix's tense attention turns to Grimm briefly, nonplussed by his explanation. That's it? They're poisoning other humans? Pffft… ~Hunt your prey, you have my blessing. But do not let Bright-Eyes be hurt.~ He turns away from the Talon, starting to circle the camp, keeping an eye on his ersatz ward. He's staying close, ready to leap to her aid if she needs the help. He's not very good at being stealthy, though…

~Don't eat that, Stink-Bug,~ he groans, ~That's gross human food, blech.~

Bright-Eyes, true to her name, brightens up and bites at the protein bar. She's careful not to nip his hands, caution in her half-delicate bites as her tail wags. And then, as if this indignity couldn't get any worse, she flops over on her back and shows her belly, tail thumping. Bellyrubs please!!

Though with her head tilted comically back, she finally catches sight of the other lupus…es. Lupi? Lupusususus. Her tongue flops out of her mouth in a happy smile. ~Sky!~ she exclaims. ~I made a new friend! And I had a bar! You should ask for one too.~

The Talon grunts an affirmative to the ahroun's reaction, obviously not bothered by the big wolf's response. Perhaps even agreeing with it. And with that permission given, it's all the signal Grimm needs. The Talon shifts through his forms, going from wolf to near-man in a short span of time. It's in this form that he approaches the camp.

"Atta girl, you got it, here." The man gives her the whole bar(!) and he even gives the bellyrubs as requested. "You know, you could stop playing around with that dog and give us a hand here," calls one of the men as he kicks a stake in to the ground. The deep growling rumble and hulking form of Phoenix catches the stake-kicking man's attention though, and his eyes go wide. "Fuck!" he yelps, scrambling back and tripping on the tarp rope, falling onto his backside. The men look toward Phoenix collectively, alerted like a herd. The leader also turns, and though he bites back a yelp as well, he doesn't hide a colorful swear as he lifts his gun to point to the huge lupus. And it's in that moment that Grimm lunges.

Phoenix freezes like a statue when he's spotted by not one, but two people at once. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuckeroonie. He stares back at the collective men, his eyes shining yellow in the fire light, a monster of a beast lurking in the shadows. Yeah, not at all comforting.

When the leader raises his gun at Phoenix, the wolf lets out what sounds like a roar at the gunman, but sounds like Mother's Tongue to the Garou. ~Stink-Bug! Get out of there now!~ He charges into the camp, hulking up into his Dire Wolf form as he goes, growing to the size of a horse.

All of Bright-Eyes' enthusiasm gutters when she sees the men threatening Phoenix. ~NO!~ she yelps, scrambling to her paws and leaping in the way of the gun's muzzle, as though her tiny wolf body could protect Phoenix. Which, of course, it can't, and which is … possibly … why she changes. She surges up to her own hispo form, snarling in frantic panic, backing up to protect Phoenix — and then rounding as Grimm makes the scene. PANIC!! STRANGE WOLF

Just like that, the peacefulness of the forest is interrupted with the thunderous roar from the direwolves and gunfire. The pistol in the leader's hand barks out a shot that goes wide, missing the fawn-colored hispo(!) that jumps in the way, nevertheless dwarfed by the giant black monster-wolf behind her. Grimm manages to punch the leader hard enough to send him reeling before the others get their wits about them, confused shouting happening as the camp falls under attack. The friendly man is no longer friendly, but frightened and grabbing his shotgun as he scrambles up to his feet.

~Stink-Bug, no! Get out of… here?~ Phoenix is given pause as the poor, dumb, little baby he was trying to save instead turns into a poor, dumb, BIG baby. Since when can she shift??

But there's no time to think as there are weapons being turned on the group. The poor guy going for the shotgun gets the briefest sight of a car-sized wolf leaping at him, before Phoenix's teeth bury in his arm holding the shotgun. There's a sickening crunch of bone, and the man is left standing with just a bleeding wound at the shoulder, and his arm is hanging mangled out of Phoenix's jaw.

The Ahroun drops the arm and roars ferociously. ~SUBMIT NOW IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!~

Big Dumb Baby's eyes are rolling in panic, every fur puffed out like a dandelion. And when the guy's arm gets ripped off, she lets out a screeching bark, pedaling backwards toward the trees with her ears flat. ~NO KILLING NO KILLING,~ she wails, now backed up against a tree as she watches one Hispo fuckin' wreck a dude, and one Glabro punch another dude out.

Grimm's focus is on the leader at the moment, but it doesn't mean he's unaware of the carnage that ensues near him. His Glabro-sized hands clamp on the man's pistol wielding hand while the other covers the man's mouth, grappling the smaller human. Meanwhile the other men are focused on Phoenix, being the biggest, scariest, monstrous being that's just torn off the arm of one of the men and left him bleeding on the leaf-covered ground. Of the remaining three men, though, two of them lose their nerve and turn to flee, and the last one fires at the giant hispo out of sheer terror.

Phoenix turns on the other men, bloodlust in his yellow eyes, saliva dripping from his jaws as he roars at them, ready to tear them apart for daring to attack him! But Bright-Eyes' cry gets him to falter, and he turns an ear back at her, glancing back at the terrified cub. He looks back just in time to see a gun trained on him, and in the instant the man pulls the trigger, the huge Hispo is darting in, jaws wrapping around the man's arm again as it fires blindly into the trees.

The poor gunman is overrun by the huge Garou, and he stares up into the jaws of death as Phoenix holds his arm in sharp teeth, growling angrily.

Bright-Eyes is cowering, flattened against the tree, eye whites bright rings around her irises. She is one big puppy. ~Please be good, please don't kill, please no more blood no more no more please no more!~ She's shaking, and she's one hair trigger away from foxing.

The scents of urine and feces, gunsmoke and woodfire, blood and fear create a potent mix in the air. The rifle shot rings out and ricochets somewhere into the trees and brush. The man's scream as the black hispo closes the distance in an instant sounds shrill in the blood-pounding rush in the ahroun's skull. It's the scream of prey, familiar and harsh all at once. Even in miraculous moment where Phoenix doesn't manage to tear the man to pieces, the gunman faints dead away, swooned by shock. Seconds pass, no more gunfire sounding out, no more roars of direwolves. In the light of the scattered fire, the friendly man gasps for breath, still alive but his heartbeat and pulse weakening with every beat that drips blood out of his grossly amputated limb's socket. Into the firelight, Grimm steps back in from the shadows, his Glabro expression as serious as his namesake. The leader of the group isn't in his arms now. He takes a look at the dying man, looming over him. ~Take the cub away,~ he advises the ahroun.

When the gunman faints away, Phoenix lets his arm go, his whole being quivering with the urge to hunt, to kill, the feel a prey's life end beneath his jaws. But he holds back, turning back to Bright-Eyes now that the battle has ended. His ears turn back, and he noses towards her. ~No killing. No more blood. It's done.~

When Grimm gives Phoenix that command, the Ahroun's eyes turn harshly on the man, and he snarls like he's about to snap in anger. But a moment later, he quells himself, snorting in agreement. He turns back to Bright-Eyes, taking a step towards her. ~Come. You don't want to see this.~

Bright-Eyes is quivering, tail latched against her belly, eyes rolled up toward Phoenix, every breath exhaling in a whine. But she manages to bob her head in a tight nod, skittering toward him and hiding under his bulk, letting him lead her away from the scene. Poor scared puppy. She doesn't know what to do with herself.

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