It was all over the news. A wolf had been spotted in Stepangrad and to most of the citizens, it sounded like a fairy tale. A wolf was a creature that was so extinct that none were found in the zoo. The surviving tales about wolves before The Winter told about a creature that devoured humans, and if a human was bitten, then they would be transformed into a large demonic creature called a werewolf. Most thought the sighting was nonsense. It could have been a mutant that had gotten lucky crossing the Kill Zone. Whatever the creature was, security had never been so high before. The Stepangrad City Guard (SCG) were patrolling alongside the Stepangrad Police Department (SPD) through the streets, armed to the teeth as though it hadn’t been a mere wolf they were searching for but a monster. See? A mutant! The Nobles put out an award of 200,000 credits to catch it if the creature had been proven to be one. Alongside SCG and SPD were soon bounty hunters, laying down traps and going as far as to accost humans who displayed traits resembling what they deemed to be werewolf symptoms. Despite the wolf-spotting dominating the news for a week, there were no video uploads or anymore spottings. The only photo anyone had was an unfocused blob, and it could have been a hoax! A dog for all anyone knew. Regardless, businesses were monopolizing on the craze, selling wolf dolls that resembled more of a discolored German shepherd than anything—the dolls still sold. A werewolf movie was in production, starring one of Stepangrad’s famous actors and actresses, Lev Bykov and Zia Fedorova.
A Meeting Among Nobility A Secret Church
The church stood upon the highest point in Stepangrad. It was coned-shaped and the interior was circular. The floor was gray marble, and the altar where a bronze emblem portraying both the sun and the moon was also marble. Half of the emblem’s face was the sun and the other half the moon. No one had ever seen the sun, and the moon was only seen when it was red, shining through the dark, snow-filled clouds that covered the world. The Nobles believed that they were celestial bodies necessary for all life to exist, and it was because of the overcast brought by Man that the two entities could no longer provide for Man or the planet; and thus, the planet and its creatures were dying.
Kneeling before the altar with her hands interlaced in prayer was a young woman with lips painted with the blood of the rose and whose flesh was as white as frost. Above the tip of her nose, the rest of her face was hidden behind a golden mask. The mask wrapped about her head. Her blonde layers of hair pooled at her shoulders similar to how her green and black gown with a sparkling sheen pooled around her. A man quietly approached her from behind and stopped not desiring to interrupt her prayer. The woman’s head rose as she sensed him. Delicately, she rose to her feet as her skirts shrank around her and became narrow down her legs. She turned toward a man whose mask was that of the sun. White, silken robes hung off his shoulders, exposing his muscular torso without shame. He stepped closer to her and she grasped his shoulders, staring into the dark, oval-shaped shadows of his eyes.
“You looked like an angel, my beloved Helen. I didn’t wish to disturb you,” the man’s voice flowed from behind his mask.
“My Xerxes; you will never disturb me,” Helen said before her hand rose to grasp the chin of his mask. She raised it just so that their lips could meet in a sensual embrace. Xerxes’s arms folded around her, holding her firmly in their bout of passion. When she had had enough to drink, she turned her cheek to him and lowered his mask. The man continued to hold her.
“We are not yet married,” Helen said.
“You should marry me now,” her lover replied.
“Only if you bring me the wolf.”
“I have the best hunters in the city looking for it now, and when they have claimed it, it will be yours.”
Helen’s lips twisted happily. “If we sacrifice it to the gods, then Paradise will open. We will see the sun and moon again, and the world will be green. Do you understand how important this is? To the world?”
“I do my queen. It is why I have fallen madly in love with you. You’re so selfless. You are a treasure.”
Helen ran her fingers down her lover’s bare chest and then turned away from him to face the altar. “I must continue praying. Now I must pray that the hunters succeed.”
Xerxes watched as Helen returned to her knees to begin pouring her heart into the world. He wanted that wolf, but unlike her it wasn’t for the world. It was so that he could finally have the woman he desired. She was his only goddess.
GM Note: Players at this point need to PM the GM and discuss how they intend to meet the wolf. I will reveal the wolf's appearance when you do. Once we have the discussion, players will be free to write out their interaction with him. The reason why I am doing it this way initially, is because it would normally require a back and forth, but due to me traveling, I may not have the time or luxury to do that. So we'll discuss how the interaction will go and you can write it. After these posts, however, I will be posting as Sasha (as well as making my GM posts of course!).
The winter winds blew harshly outside. There were no forecasts of severe weather, but-- everyday was severe weather in Stepangrad for all its citizens cared. On days like this, most workers would have preferred to be somewhere warmer, safer. Everyone loved talking about the days of sun and greenery, after all.
For Victor Lumont though, this was no problem. The hidden blessing of working with machinery was basically having giant heaters around you all day at work. And the auto shop was no exception.
From where he was flat on his back under a car, he could make out the familiar sounds of life in the garage. Barked orders from raspy voices. The dragging of metal, heavy footsteps thudding across the floor.
The garage door opened, and a familiar voice greeted them all with a complaint.
"Weather outside's terrible!" Victor could make out the familiar baritone of his coworker, Dmitri. "Near damn froze my ass off outside."
"Sucks to be you." Another of his coworkers, Fabian, piped up. Dmitri shot the older, stockier man a look.
"Yeah, must've been nice being all warm and toasty in here."
"Must've been nice being out all day 'buying new parts for the shop' only to return 30 minutes before lunch break." Fabian smirked.
Dmitri shifted, looking around for a change in topic after a sheepish laugh. He eyed the car Vic was currently under, looking it up and down. "New client?"
"New client," Vic called from under the car. "Belongs to a journalist, or something."
"What's wrong with it? Looks fine to me."
"Yeah, Dmitri, it looks fine, but it doesn't sound fine." Fabian muttered. "Thing was squeaking all the way here! Could hear it from a mile away. Needless to say, news boy didn't like how his arrival to every single meeting he shows up to is heralded by a squeaking car, so he brought it in."
"It squeaks, yeah." Vic chimed in. "Sounds like a dog's toy."
Dmitri smirked, an amused expression lighting up his face as he made his way around the shop, gathering up his own toolkit to try and help out. "Maybe he could drive it around at night and lure out the wolf."
At the mention of the wolf, Vic winced and Fabian let out a disgruntled groan.
"Please, no more of that. Feels like Stepangrad's had nothing to talk about other than that damned thing."
"Why not?" Dmitri shrugged, "It's the newest piece of news we've gotten so far."
"Nothing but media bullshit," Fabian argued. "A hoax gone too far. Hell's sake, even the government's in on it!"
"The government's clearly not in on the hoax- if it even is a hoax- if they've stirred themselves into a massive frenzy over it. The SCG and SPD are practically on every street." Dmitri turned to Vic. "Come on, Vic, ain't this what you wanted? New news?"
Vic paused, having found himself suddenly put in the spotlight. On one hand, it was new- Dmitri was certainly right about that. But on the other, Fabian had a point. Chances were, the media was just trying to stir something up to get the citizens of Stepangrad talking about something other than their jobs and daily routine.
"I don't know, Dmitri." Vic rolled out from under the car, rubbing his stiff neck and back as he sat up. "Fabian's got a point. We can't even trust the so-called real life sighting of it since the picture is so blurry. Remember that old hoax picture where people claimed to have seen a mammoth?"
"Turned out to be a construction site's cranes." Fabian finished, grinning heartily. Dmitri groaned, kicking a wrench out of his way.
"Alright, alright. Spoilsports."
"Besides, doesn't it seem a bit fishy to you?" Fabian brought up. "No sooner than the news about the wolf was announced, everyone's suddenly in a frenzy over it. Large chains are selling merchandise, movie studios are making movies, the Nobles start shelling out cash to find it and the government deployed what feels like every single fucking cop in the force."
"Sounds like a marketing ploy." Vic mused idly. "Get Stepangrad citizens to start shelling out cash. From the looks of it, they've already got the Nobles under their spell."
"Guess you have a point." Dmitri paused, as if thinking a little. "But you can't deny you want to see that werewolf movie in the works."
"The one with Bykov and Fedorova?" Vic chuckled.
"I'd go." Fabian shrugged. "Not because it's about werewolves of all things. Fedorova's a real looker."
"True." Dmitri grinned. "Now you're speaking my language, Fabian."
"What about you, Vic?" Fabian turned to the white-haired man. "You wanna catch it when it comes out?"
"Maybe, if we get time off." Vic shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe Bykov's car will break down at the premiere and he'll have us fix it."
"Now wouldn't that be a fucking thing," Fabian laughed, his voice booming across the garage and nearly shattering Vic's eardrums.
The clock on their wall chimed.
"Would you look at that," Dmitri chuckled. "Lunch break already. Wanna go hit up one of the diners or cafés nearby?"
"Dunno. Do I have a choice to go anywhere else?" Vic smirked over at Dmitri. "Cause last time you asked us to accompany you at lunch, you had us pay for more than half the food we all ordered."
"Nah, my treat this time. Figured we've been working hard. We deserve some nice things in life." Dmitri grinned.
"So, what do you say?"
"I'm in." Fabian gathered up his coat.
"Well, if Fabian's in, I am." Vic took a moment to strip off his gloves and fetched his old cloak, joining the two at the entrance to the shop.
All three men shuffled out of the shop after locking the doors. Though their conversation had shifted to lighter topics, the topic of the wolf remained in Vic's head.
"Wolves, huh?" He pondered the possibility of its existence. The cynical part of him told him it was most probably a hoax- a strangely colored German Shepherd if anything. But he couldn't deny the curiosity.
If it did exist, he certainly wanted to see it with his own eyes.
It was a late night at the Marigold Diner were Kit worked as a waitress. Though she didn't really mind. Business this time of night had a slow, leisurely feel to it. There was only a few customers, mainly locals having just finished their shift and looking for a quiet meal before heading for home.
Kit was a student at the local university, working towards Master's degree in the history field. Though part time she worked here. Bills and whatnot had to be paid after all. Life for a college student was not entirely as easy or glamorous as they made it seem.
But Kit didn't complain. She enjoyed the classes she took and she enjoyed her work. She liked getting to interact with the different people that came and went throughout the week. She had even come to know many of the regulars personally and she enjoyed listening to the many mingled conversations about their day.
Kit was clearing away a table after one of her guests had paid and left when the door chimed, signaling that someone had walked in. She glanced up to see a older looking gentleman she'd never seen before walk into the diner. His face was worn with age and his snowy white beard gave him an almost gentle appearance that was enhanced by the warmth that was in his eyes when he turned his gaze to her. But there was something else in his eyes that Kit couldn't quite name.
“Good evening,” she said giving him a welcoming smile. “Please, sit anywhere you'd like and make yourself comfortable. I'll be with you in just a moment.” The old man gave a nod and moved to sit at the counter while Kit finished wiping down the table. After putting the dishes in the back to be washed, she returned to the gentleman.
“Alright,” she said, giving him her full attention. “What can I get for you?” The man gave a slight shrug of his shoulder.
“Just a cup of coffee I think will be fine,” he said, in gruff yet soft voice.
“Just a cup of coffee?” Kit asked. “Are you sure? We have some strawberry pie that's pretty good. I wish I could say the strawberries were fresh but…” Kit gave a shrug. Things were the way they were. The old man smiled, his eyes brightening.
“Then I think I'll have a slice of pie as well.” Kit smiled and nodded. As she went about getting him coffee and preparing a slice of pie for him, the local news channel on the old rabbit-eared tv sitting on the shelf piped up.
“...sightings of the wolf and authorities would like to urge people to keep eye out for the animal and remind them about the $200,000 reward for it's capture.”
Kit gave sigh and shook her head as she brought the man the pie.
“That wolf business again,” she said. “Seems like that's all anybody talks about these days.”
“What do you think about all of this?” the man asked as he started to tuck into his pie. He nodded towards the tv. “Do you believe wolves even still exist?” His eyes watched her intently as he ate. Almost as if he were waiting for something. Kit shrugged.
“Oh, I don't know,” she said indecisively. She leaned a hip against the counter as she looked back at the tv. They had put up the image taken of the wolf, and not a very good one either. “Its hard to say really. Maybe they're like unicorns.” The man paused mid bite and gave her a confused look.
“Unicorns?” he asked with a tilt of his head. Kit nodded, turning to face him.
“Yeah, unicorns. Back in the sixteenth century they made tapestries of them and every culture of the ancient world seemed to have their own version of a unicorn. But then they didn't see one for such a long time that they eventually became nothing but a myth. A fairytale. Maybe the same thing happened with wolves. Nobody's seen one in so long that maybe… they're just a myth.”
The man nodded slowly at her words, though he seemed to be lost in thought.
“That's interesting,” he said. His eyes focused on her again and he cleared his throat. “Well, I thank you for the pie and the coffee.” He stood and held out his hand to her. “And it pleasure talking to you…?”
“Call me Kit,” she replied as she shook his hand. “It was a pleasure talking to you as well mister…?”
“Sasha.” Kit smiled at him. “Hopefully I'll see you around again sometime.” Sasha grinned, looking as if he knew something she didn't yet.
“Oh, I'm sure you will.” With a nod, Sasha turned and walked away while Kit started to clear away his plate and coffee cup. When he reached the door, Sasha paused a moment and turned to look back at her.
“You know,” he said in a soft voice. “Sometimes things in this world aren't what they appear to be. You might find yourself looking at wolf and not even realize it.”
His eyes caught hers as he spoke. Kit sucked in a breath and Sasha gave her a knowing nod before stepping out into the night. Sasha’s words echoed through her mind for the rest of the evening. As she made her way home after her shift had ended, Kit continued to mull over what he had said.
Things aren’t what they appear to be? How could they be anything else? How do you not know a wolf when you see it? In a city this size, a wolf wouldn’t be able to go around without being noticed by someone. A wolf looks like… well… a wolf. But then again, why was it taking so long for someone to find it?
Things aren’t what they appear to be. Kit sighed and shook her head, pushing the thoughts from her mind as she unlocked the door to her apartment. Perhaps she was overthinking things too much. A hot bath and some sleep would help set her mind right again.
She set her purse and keys on the table. As she continued towards the bathroom Kit caught a glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror. One moment she saw her face and the next she saw a wolf staring back at her. The eyes were the same, but they belonged to a wolf not a girl.
Kit shrieked the way you do when encountering a rather large spider. She jumped away from the wolf’s reflection in the mirror and backed into a bookcase behind her, accidentally knocking some books onto the floor. When she looked down at herself she saw… paws? Claws? Fur?
Kit gasped and starting turning in circles trying to see the rest of herself. Somehow, though she didn’t recall how, she had ended up on all fours. And she was covered in fur. A whine rose from her throat. What was happening to her?
Kit’s apartment wasn’t very big and it certainly not big enough for a wolf sized animal to move about freely. As she turned her hip bumped into an end table, knocking it and a lamp to the floor. The sudden sound startled Kit and made her jump, which in turn made her knocking into the coat tree. She yelped as it fell on top of her. As she struggled to get out from under it she heard a woman’s voice.
“Kit? Kit are you alright?”
Kit froze. It was Mrs. Ryan, her next door neighbor. She must have her all the noise Kit had made bumping into things. Kit went back to trying to get the coat tree off of her. She couldn’t let Mrs. Ryan see her like this. The door handle jiggled and turned just as Kit had gotten out from under the coat tree. As she looked up the door slowly pushed open.
“Kit?” Mrs. Ryan said again, her voice filled with concern. “What’s going on? Are you…?” Mrs. Ryan’s voice trailed off when she looked into the apartment and saw Kit. Wolf eyes and human eyes locked together. Kit watched as Mrs. Ryan’s eyes widened in growing horror. Oh no!
“Oh my goodness,” she said breathlessly, backing away from the door. Kit’s ears flicked backwards and she lowered her head. She tried to speak, to tell Mrs. Ryan that it was only her, but only a low whine came out. “Oh my goodness. Oh my…” Mrs. Ryan darted for the door to her own apartment.
‘NO!’ Kit tried to scream out, but her words only echoed in her mind. ‘It’s me!’ Kit’s wolf ears heard a door slam and then a woman’s startled voice through the wall.
“Hello? Yes! I need someone to come to…” Kit’s mind filled with panic. She had to get away from this place. Before she knew what she was doing, Kit had darted out the door and was running.
Claws clicked on the pavement as she ran, her wolf legs carrying far faster than her human legs could have. She couldn’t stop herself. She just ran and ran. Someone shouted at her and still she ran. She darted down side streets and through empty alleyways.
Finally, Kit found herself hiding beside a dumpster in some dark alleyway. Her sides heaved as she huddled against the metal container, her eyes closed tight as she fought regain her breath. Her new wolf senses were overwhelming to her. She could hear EVERYTHING and a mixture of scents seemed to want to fill her nose all at the same time.
What was happening to her? Why was it happening to her? Her eyes slowly opened and a tear slide down her furred cheek as a soft whine rose from her throat. Why?
Kit’s mind was a whirl of different thoughts and emotions. As hear breathing slowly returned to normal, she thought over what all had happened. But… it still didn’t make any sense. Why was she a wolf? She was human. Wasn’t she? One thought made her pause.
That old man at the diner. Sasha he had said his name was didn’t he? He had said something about wolves before he left. ‘Things aren’t what they appear to be’. Could he know? Maybe she should try to find him.
After a while, Kit gathered up what courage she had and left her hiding spot. Keeping to the shadows as much as she could, she tried to find her way back to the diner. Though it wasn’t going to be easy. Kit had gotten lost in her panicked dash through the city.
It was early afternoon, Bran was walking into the E.R. to begin a twelve hour shift. His third that week. Needless to say in his hand was a coffee with plenty of espresso. The doors slid open and the air vent above the door blasted air at him, ruffling his scrubs and jacket. The Stepengrade Emergency Medical Center uniform had plenty of pockets and a thick jacket for the coldest nights. On the left shoulder was the Steppengrade city flag. On the right was the SEMC Logo. It was were navy blue, and Bran wore a matching SEMC toboggan over his long brown hair.
He passed by the people in the waitingroom. No blood meant they were mostly beyond his help. He said hi to the nurse at the counter, Janet, and kept it pushing down the hall to the break room where the clock in terminal was. It was also conveniently just a door away from the ambulances.
"Hey Lance." Said Bran to his usual partner. Lance nodded. Lance was quiet. Bran liked working with Lance. Bran set his coffee down and began scrolling through the analog-style equipment to find his name. Just as he was typing his clock in number the alarm went off for a call. Lance stood up, and when Bran didn't rush straight out the door he seemed to hesitate himself.
"What are you doing? Let's go." Said Lance uncomittally.
"Give me a second."
"You can clock in later we'll probably only be out a half hour."
"No way I'm working a twelve hour shift without clocking in man." Said Bran. Lance shifted uncomfortably.
After the computer gave him the green check mark that he was in the system he picked up his coffee, and sipped it on the way out the door.
All units of Stepangrad Bravo, Charlie, and Delta are to report at the front of SPD HQ at 0400.
The steps leading to Stepangrad's police station were covered in a permanent, thin sheet of snow. The station itself painted white even under the guise of the ice as it towered a mere two stories. Its signage hung overhead, just above the silver trimming of the glass doors, and it glistened even under the gray clouds. Black letters backed by a thin ropes of light read Stepangradngard Police Station. The station stood apart from most of the residential and business buildings, separated by a single parking lot that embraced it on three sides.
Even underneath the protection of the SPD issued parka, the sweater, the long-sleeved shirt, and the bullet-proof vest, Leda shuddered underneath the gaze of the cold. Ice crunched underfoot, the winds of Stepangrad sinking into every crevice of her being as she fell into line amidst the group of fellow patrolmen at ease.
"And here I was, thinking I could get all nice and intimate with my pillow." Leda turned her head just a fraction, side-eyeing a lanky officer garbed from head-to-toe in gear that would make any of Stepangrad 's severe weathered days a cakewalk. She could barely see their face thanks to the added balaclava, but the voice was recognizable. As was the patch of unruly stubble that peeked out just above the mouth hole.
"Sleep is for the weak, Vlady." She replied resolutely albeit she had hoped for the same. Especially with the shift she'd just come from. A night of stake-outs, of following dead-end leads on the wolf, and arresting a group of young adults for falsely reporting a number of wolf sightings had made the night long and difficult. Sleep had been the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when midnight struck.
"The day shifts should be the ones standing here. Why us?"
She turned bodily then, a hand resting casually and absently on one of two 443 Grachs strapped to her hip. "If I had to take a guess, we're going to be continuing the search for the wolf while the others continue the patrol routes."
"Right, right, that horse baloney. It's all because of that video that was released. Honestly, did you see it, it looked like a damn snowman on a cart."
"Of course, but the video was blurry after all. It could have, in fact, been a wolf."
"Or a damn snowman."
Leda turned away then, eyes lingering to the bottom of the stairs ahead of them. The chief of Stepangrad police was making his way down to the bottom step, and at the appearance of him, the officers fell into a subtle silence. He was a thick-bodied man, limbs the size of pillars. Each stride was measured and tight, and as soon as he reached the bottom step, he ran two fingers across a wisp of a blond mustache. The chief looked over the gathered officers once in silence before addressing them, "I know you all just finished your shifts, but it appears that we have discovered a large group of individuals displaying werewolf-like symptoms." The relative hush of the officers steadily rose at the news, "Charlie will handle this report, I want the rest of the units to form a perimeter around the area."
It's what drove the three units across the cold city, through the slip of morning traffic, to a cluster of brick houses. The houses were stout, and pressed against each other as if seeking warmth from the eternally bitter winter. Leda overlooked the windows with a careful eye as she stood diagonal from the closest house's entryway that an officer from Charlie unit had just begun to kick in. The windows themselves were narrow, curtains drawn tight, and weathered bricks were washed with a dark gray. There was a sign on the building behind it, but weather and age had destroyed the once legible font and vibrant lights. The sharp crackle over the radio drew Leda's hands to rest against her sidearms as officers steadily began to flood the houses. Her gaze fell to the door, keeping it as well as the next closest building's entrance in view.
It took only a mere minute before officers left the confines of the houses with suspects in tow. She watched each one being dragged by the neck, by shirt collars, or by the arms and ankles. Each one varying in age, appearance, race. They all looked human, screamed and cried like humans, and there were only twelve. This wasn't her first time being involved in something like this, in searching for and eradicating those with werewolf-like symptoms, but the more she watched and took part in, the more she found herself wondering. What made a person a werewolf exactly? But even that singular question did little to deter her judgement. An order was an order, and even if the twelve weren't werewolves, they were squatters and that in itself was illegal. Nevertheless, she couldn't help but look to the youngest down the line while her fellow officers forced them down on their knees. There was no sympathy as she looked on, but there was a spark of doubt. Surely they were all human, not an ounce of wolf in them.
Tatiana sighed as she pushed through the surgery doors with her shoulder. She glanced over her shoulder, through the slender door windows briefly, she moved to let a fellow nurse through the double doors. He looked at her shaking his head.
The male nurse turned to her as he came through the doors stating, “We lost another one Tat... this is getting old.” He stretched his arms above his head as he looked over in her direction.
She nodded “you are right about that Andrei, at least our shift ended two hours ago.” She had a bittersweet smile on her face.
He raised an eyebrow at her as she pointed to a clock on the wall. She reached up and pulled her facemask down, it now hung around her neck, as she continued “at least we get that sweet over time.” She pulled off her bloody latex gloves and tossed them into the trash bin. She turned to him asking, “wasn’t it, your anniversary today?”
Andrei gasped “Oh, crap! Man, I’m gonna be in so much trouble tonight!” he sighed “maybe I’ll catch that wolf on my way home and I could go home a hero and rich. Bet she would forgive me then.” He winked at Tatiana.
Tatiana grew silent and still, Andrei poked her in the arm “hey, Tat you ok?”
She started “wha- yeah, yeah I’m fine. Just got lost in thought I guess.” She waved his concern off “It’s just interesting you know? I mean I know it’s probably just a fake news story. But, the idea that a wild thing, like that, is still around is kinda beautiful. I wonder are there are more of them out there? And if there is more out there that the city doesn’t want us to know about. I mean they have us all in our perfect little sealed up bubble here.”
Andrei shifted around uncomfortable he whispered, “Tat, that’s dangerous talk.”
Andrei continued “Tat, I’m gonna head home, I’ll grab the paperwork. You head home and get some rest, your talking crazy.” He quickly grabbed the red folder hanging by the doors. He opened it and read a few lines. He began reading the folder as she made her way to the nurse’s station.
Tatiana cursed at herself silently “that’s all we need is to have our home raided again from me spouting off like that.”
She made her way down the hallway, passing Andrei, she reached over to the computer and swiped her card through it. The computer chimed, she spun on her heels walking to the locker rooms. As she walked, she casually lifted her forearm up to her face sniffing it a little bit, she grimaced. She thought she could smell the death and blood on her, of course, she thought it was all in her imagination.
She turned the corner sharply towards the woman’s locker-room and nearly tripped over a scruffy spindly man turned to her and smiled “hello there lady.” He nodded to her “yes mam, the hot water is broke, we thought it was the boiler. We checked that and nope, turns out it’s a busted pipe. Busted right there in that room.” He pointed to the women’s locker room.
“we can let you in to change into some street clothes but that’s it I’m afraid.” He gave her a look of sympathy as he saw her look of disappointment.
She nodded “thank you, that would be very kind of you.”
The maintenance men stood aside letting her pass and she pushed past the door. She quickly grabbed her things and changed, she tossed her dirty scrubs in the laundry chute. She grabbed her bag and hairbrush and quickly made her way towards the door, she came in. She began brushing her hair as she pushed the door open slowly. The maintenance men were missing, she shrugged it off as they were probably on a coffee break or something. After all their trashcan and tools where still around the entrance.
She made her way out the front doors of the hospital, she shoved her brush into the top of her bag. She softly slung her bag over her shoulder, as she began her walk home.
She breathed in, grateful for the ‘fresh air’ but after a few minutes of walking, she slowed her pace as she looked ahead. She squinted her eyes and saw a few men standing around. She shook her head and moved quickly down a darkened ally.
Tatiana breathed out heavily “This ally stinks.” She held her nose, as she tried to watch where she stepped, she was coming close to the end of the ally when she paused. Ahead of her, in a newspaper bin, she spotted an old newspaper. The front page had the wolf picture on it, she made her way over to it and opened the bin. She reached in and grabbed the paper, she ran her hand over the picture and began reading the article about the wolf.
The snow came down slowly. Two hunters were perched on the roof of the Stepangrad City Mall, keeping overwatch over their section of the city for a wolf. It was one blond and one brunet. The blond was knelt at the wall, peering every now and then through the scope of his rifle, while his buddy watched through a pair of binoculars. The bounty hunters had taken over sections of the city, setting up zones. The rule was if the wolf entered any of the zones, then it would be the prize of those hunters in that zone.
“We could have had the wolf by now,” Gennady, the blond, muttered as he patiently surveyed the streets.
“I’m sure the other hunters are thinking the same thing,” Burian, the brunet, spoke.
Removing the stock from his shoulder-pocket, Gennady set its butt upon the snow-covered roof and stood. The blond rolled his shoulders as he walked over to a plastic chair. He swept a pillow of snow from the seat before he deposited his rump in it.
“You got any coffee left?”
“Yes, I do.”
Burian clipped the binoculars to his belt and took a seat across from Gennady. He grabbed a thermos next to his chair, unscrewed the top, and poured the black liquid into it. He then handed it to his partner who cupped it tenderly in his hands. The cup warmed them through his gloves. Burian sipped the coffee straight from his thermos, while Gennady blew on the liquid gingerly.
“So what does a wolf look like any way?” Gennady asked.
“The rumors describe it to be some big dog,” Burian replied.
Gennady stared deeply at the blond, blue-eyed man reflected in the black waters of his drink. Steam rose in a white tail into his face, warming his nose and cheeks. A gray skull cap laid the blades of his hair over his ears. He wore a black, Kevlar tactical vest over a stone-gray SCG uniform. The bounty hunters were recruited out of the SCG and SPD. Whoever was willing to hunt down a mythical beast, and who had outstanding performance evaluations was allowed to temporarily change jobs.
“If it’s a dog, then why the emergency?”
“Maybe because it’s not a normal dog.”
“Apparently not since the Nobles want it as a rug.”
Burian laughed and shook his head: “You don’t know what they want it for.”
“They want to put it on a leash and parade it around.”
Gennady sipped his coffee, while Burian continued to laugh at his far-fetched accusations—were they far-fetched though?
The sudden howl caused the hunters to pause. They stared wide-eyed at each other before Gennady dropped his coffee cup and slid over to his rifle. Burian staggered over to the wall, nearly sliding on some ice as he unclipped his binoculars and raised them to his face. The two hunters began scanning their zone as the creature continued to howl. In the mouth of an alley, Gennady saw it. The black, quadruped creature resembled a German shepherd. Its head was raised to the sky as it emitted a sound unlike anything they had ever heard.
“Center alley, north 300 meters,” Gennady reported.
Burian focused in on the location and responded, “I see it.”
Gennady was making adjustments. He had a clear shot and he had to control his excitement. They were so lucky to have found the wolf in their zone. 200,000 credits!
“Take the shot,” Burian encouraged.
Through the circular sight of his scope, Gennady watched as the beast lowered its head and then turned around. His forefinger gradually started to apply pressure to the trigger until the creature did something he hadn’t expected. It looked at him. Gennady sucked in a startled breath. His blue eyes widened in disbelief. Is it looking at me? he thought.
Burian lowered his binoculars and stared at Gennady. “What are you waiting for? It’s right there. Take the shot!”
The wolf’s gaze seemed to pass through him. He could see those bright blue and white eyes and its scarred face as though the creature stood directly in front of him.
Take the shot!
Burian’s voice sounded distant. Gennady had choked. The rifle stock struck the roof as it dropped. Gennady backed away from the weapon dazed. What’s wrong with me? he thought.
“What the fuck?” Burian whimpered in fear.
Gennady looked over at him and Burian was white in the face. He slowly backed away from him, dropping his binoculars. What’s wrong? Whatever Gennady had tried to ask Burian didn’t come out as words. Brown ears raised in surprise. He looked down at not human hands but massive dog-like paws. Wh-what the hell? Gennady panicked. He fearfully looked back up at Burian and took steps toward him.
“Stay away from me!” Burian screamed. He quickly drew the pistol at his hip and before he could point it at the brown wolf before him, the beast reacted.
Don’t shoot me! Please don’t shoot me! Gennady begged. He sprang at his partner. His teeth locked about Burian’s wrist and the weight of his body caused the soldier to stagger. Burian shook the beast off and the back of his calves struck the wall. A terrified breath left his lips as he felt his back plummet backwards into cold air. Gennady rushed toward him no longer as a wolf but as a human. Burian reached out to him as Gennady reached out to snag his hand, but instead of feeling the grip of another human hand, Burian once again felt teeth. The brown wolf had snagged Burian’s hand between his teeth.
Burian hung over the side of the mall, hand clenched in the teeth of a wolf. “Oh shit! Oh shit; don’t drop me!” he begged.
Your hand is slipping! Gennady cried. Why aren’t my hands working? What the fuck is going on?!
Burian could feel his glove sliding from between the wolf’s teeth. “Gena! Gena don’t drop me please!”
Burian! His hand slipped free and Gennady watched in horror Burian fall. NOOO!
The soldier landed on a car below. The roof, windshield, and hood caved in around him. The brown wolf barked frantically down at the soldier, drawing the attention of several citizens who started to gather around the scene and point up at the creature on the roof.
“What is that? A dog?”
“Oh my god! Is this man dead?”
“That’s no dog. That must be the wolf. The wolf did it! Call the SPD!”
Gennady’s ears went flat against his head as he backed away from the ledge. What the hell is going on?! Burian! Oh god! Oh fuck! How am I a wolf? I’m not the wolf!
Gennady whined to himself for a few seconds as he tried to gather his wits. His best friend just died in front of him and there was nothing he could do. He was somehow changed into a wolf by…his triangular ears lifted with realization. It was the real wolf’s fault. It turned him into a beast. They talked about it on the news. A werewolf! But it hadn’t been like anything they described. He was just turned into a wolf just like him.
The brown wolf looked in the direction of the rallying cry. Before he hadn’t understood it, but as a wolf he knew what it meant. The wolf was calling him, but he couldn’t help but wonder if there were others. Who else had he changed? I have to stop him and undo all of this. I’m sorry Burian. I’m going to make it right! He raced over to the escape ladder and gazed over the edge at the vertical descent. His first challenge was climbing down.
Wolves were racing through the shadows, nooks and crannies of the city, heading toward the summons. They were lost and confused. The howl was their only hope for answers, but in due time they would discover that they weren’t alone. Wolves started to spot other wolves and follow each other in small packs.
The cry came again, and it was leading the wolves in an evasive pattern. Each cry drew the attention of the bounty hunters, the SCP and SPD. The one-eyed wolf was sprinting through the city, acting as a decoy for the human forces so the wolves could safely flee to the rally point. Shots were fired and human forces were in pursuit on snow cycles, vehicles, and tanks. Even news drones were flying after the black blur that darted through the streets and disappeared down alleys and waterways.
GM Note: If your character hasn’t met Sasha yet, then you might want to meet him while he’s fleeing. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy encounter. It can be a brief one. Those who have already become wolves can narrate the journey toward the outskirts of town. I don’t care how you narrate this. Maybe you and your group were seen. Maybe they weren’t seen. The outskirts do eventually lead to the Kill Zone. There are more wolves who are NPCs than those played by players. @CrowOuttaHell@Equusheart@Jason Demac@WolfSol@kesshowolf
Kit silently padded along the dimly lit side street. She was slowly starting to get use to her wolf body, though sometimes she forgot she was on four legs instead of two. She was beginning to figure out how to untangle the threads of different scents she was picking up with her nose.
She had recognized one scent as her own and she followed it back the way she had come. She slowly sifted through there scents until… there! A scent that was like hers and yet not like hers. It smelled… like him. It had to be him. Her tail gave a slight wag as she felt a small glimmer of hope.
At that moment, a long howl echoed through the night. Kit lifted her head and looked off in the direction it had sounded from, her ears perked forward and alert. After a moment she heard it again. Long and deep. Some part of her suddenly felt the urge to reply back to it. To echo it with her own howl. But a voice in the back of her head told her that perhaps doing so was unwise. Still she felt that she had to follow it.
She moved off following the sound of the distant howl along with, ironically, the scent she had picked up. She was more focused on the howl and scent than she was on her surroundings. She had forgotten that she needed to stay hidden. She stepped out of the side street and into the lamplight.
A gasp brought her back to herself. That was when she noticed the man for the first time. An officer of some kind leaning up against the wall of a building with an almost bored expression. The two stared at each other for a moment, frozen in surprised silence. Then the man shouted and reached for something at his side.
Kit didn't wait around to see what it was he was reaching for. She had started running when she felt a sharp pain in her right hind leg. A yelp tore from her throat as pain raced through her, her ears ringing from the sound of the gun. Kit staggered a bit as her leg gave out, but the adrenaline coursing through her forced her back to her feet. Another gunshot sounded behind her as she ran as fast as she could.
Somewhere ahead of her the howl echoed again. Kit’s ears perked forward as she half limped, half ran.
‘I'm coming,’ Kit replied in her mind.
Tatiana’s eyes shot up from her paper as she heard a loud howl echo through the streets. She whipped her head around, looking up then down the street for the source of the howl.
“Was that what a wolf sounded like?” she asked out loud She placed her newspaper on the top of the newspaper bin as she peered around the snow-covered street. Then jumped as she heard a gunshot, not far from where she was.
“it must be the wolf… they found it.” She brought her hand up to her chest, as she looked out over the street. She noticed mothers bringing their children indoors quickly and slamming the doors behind them. She shook her head, she began running down the street towards home. She wasn’t far she could probably make it, it was only 3 blocks away.
As she turned a corner, she spotted a troop of soldiers, she nearly fell over in her attempt to stop herself. They were headed straight for her, or at least her direction.
“YOU THERE! STOP RIGHT THERE!”
A soldier in the front row barked at her, she turned and dashed across the street. The soldiers yelled after her, but she didn’t stop as she dashed down the adjoining alley.
“if they are after that wolf, no way they would chase me. That reward is too appealing for them.” She spoke to herself as she ran. She spared a glance behind her, they did not follow her, they just continued the march down the street. She slowed her pace as she came to the entrance to the alley and sighed in relief. She saddled up to the wall of the Alley and slowly peered out.
She heard another cry and could feel her heart pounding in her chest, faster and faster. She looked around frantically as she dashed out of the alley. She slipped on some ice, she fell and when she looked up the street, she saw huge a dark blur. She paused in getting up, she just watched it as it ran. It came closer and closer, her eyes widened as it looked back at her. It leaped over her, halted for a moment as it landed and locked her eyes with its own. Then another gunshot and it was gone, she blinked her eyes. The wolf was down the street, she chuckled a bit as she watched it.
“Oh, my God that was a close one!”
A bullet landed uncomfortably close beside her, near her leg, she pulled her legs under her. She shot them a glare, their guns were locked on her! Still, on all fours, she darted into the alley, she had too much speed and ran headfirst into the dumpster. She rubbed her head, with a front paw.
She looked at it, in shock, she looked at her other hand which was now a paw as well.
“what the hell?!” she spun around trying to look at herself
She was hearing so much more, smelling so much more now. She couldn’t think straight a million questions in her mind all at once. Another long howl, she looked up at the sky and ran away from the approaching soldiers
Everything changed so fast. What was supposed to be just another normal day was interrupted by a loud howl- gunshots, and joined by numerous other sounds of the city panicking, its daily routine thrown into chaos.
And that included their routine.
As they were walking out of the diner, prepared to head back to the garage, an ear-piercing howl rang through the air. Fabian winced, placing his hands over his ears.
"What the hell was that?!"
"A dog?" Vic grunted, looking around. Where did it come from?
"No dog makes that loud a sound, dumbass," Dmitri looked around himself, his eyes suddenly glittering. "It must be...it must be the wolf!"
The young man immediately started stomping down the street, looking gleeful. "Come on!" He urged the two other men with him. "You don't want to hunt it down?"
"We have to get back to work, Dmitri," Fabian spoke sternly. "Let the SCG handle it--"
"That's 200,000 credits, Fabian," Dmitri spoke quickly. "Think about how much your wife would appreciate that reward."
That got him going. Fabian nodded. "I...alright. I'm going."
Victor paused again, finding himself in the spotlight once more. The wolf was here- could they even handle it if they found it? It seemed to be a dangerous animal, guessing from the extremes the SCG went to just to find it.
But...there were three of them, and they handled bigger cars.
"Alright, let's go."
The three found themselves crouching behind a few bushes, just near a building. Gunshots and shouting sounded out, slowly nearing them. But what Vic listened for was not the sound of boots, of men's voices and the clinking of their heavy guns.
He listened for the sound of paws, eyes screwed shut.
Fabian and Dmitri, he knew, were crouched beside the building across from where he was hidden. Their plan was to corner it, all three of them, and pin it down as they would a large, feral dog.
Vic had willingly put himself in its way, trusting his old reflexes to be able to get him out of its way in time for Fabian and Dmitri to jump it.
That was the plan, but...the more Vic listened, the faster his heart pounded. Was this plan going to work? Were they dead wrong?
His body curled in on itself, tightly wound- as if he were a metal spring, ready to snap at any moment.
He could make out the sounds of paws approaching.
He swallowed, saliva thick in his throat.
The thudding of paws filled his ears, along with soft panting- similar to that of a dog's.
Only one way to find out.
He opened his eyes- only to see a strange sight in front of him.
The wolf was already there.
It stared at him, its form so bizarrely familiar and yet strange. It looked like some sort of discolored German Shepherd or husky- but what stunned Vic was the look in its eyes.
No, not eyes- a lone eye, the other scarred.
Vic froze. That single second, with the wolf staring at him, filled him with an unfamiliar, overwhelming feeling. His ears rang with the sound of several breaths, including his own. His nose stung with a thousand different unpleasant scents in the alley.
At that moment, he didn't feel like he was staring at a wolf, at something that was supposed to be dead eons ago.
He felt as if he were staring at something entirely foreign.
His coiled body snapped. The wolf took off, again becoming another black blur against the snow white, wintry landscape of Stepangrad.
And a white wolf followed it.
Fabian couldn't believe what he was seeing. Dmitri was just as frozen, seeing the wolf storm into the alley Vic was hidden in, pause, and bound away. And, after it, another wolf came running, its snow white fur turning it into a whirling mass clumsily following the black blur.
"Vic?" Dmitri's voice came rushed, breathy- and slightly scared. "VIC!"
Fabian snapped out of it and ran forward, no longer looking for the wolves- but looking for his friend. Victor was gone, leaving no trace of his presence there aside from the marks his boots made in the snow.
Large pawprints remained in the snow. Fabian creased his brow.
Another wolf...and Vic was gone. He paled.
"Could it be...?"
"Fabian..." Dmitri seemed to be realizing the same thing, his face as white as a sheet. "You don't think...?"
"...No. No, this-- this must be a mistake. Those things must have jumped him, dragged him off somewhere." Fabian denied, even though all the evidence was there. There were no signs of someone being dragged away.
"Come on," He urged Dmitri. "We're going to chase those bastards." He forced himself to smile.
Words crackled underneath the startled cries of the civilians. A panicked dispatcher nearly out of breath exclaimed, "The wolf has been spotted at Stepangrad City Mall! I repeat-" and that's when all hell broke loose. The radio buzzed with overlapping traffic, "It's headed down -bzzt- Spotted the wolf near the -crsssh- Wolf -" and then came the haunting cry. It was long, drawled out, and it climbed over the noise of the radio and drowned out the orders of her Patrol Captain's orders. The civilians that they had captured and lined up on bent knees were fleeing underneath the sudden uproar of confusion, and when one shouldered Leda, catching her off-guard, the howl withered away into the noise of the city.
"Ivanova, don't just stand there, move!" One of her coworkers yelled above the constant stream of radio chatter, and it urged her forward. She spun on her heel and booked it, following after the fleeing suspect.
The suspect was a good runner, hell, he was flying and she'd nearly lost him twice, but she kept on. Boots thudded on the pavement, slipped on ice and snow, and she continued the mantra of "SPD, stop or I will not hesitate to shoot!" which wasn't entirely true. There were too many civilians around, many of which stood in her way as soon as they saw the suspect and her hot on the suspect's heels. Like a deer caught in the eyes of a headlight, or so the saying went. She shouldered past them, shoving many as she tried to pick up the pace. Then the wily man, probably around her age, skidded a corner and ducked it into an alleyway. Leda followed without hesitation, grabbing the side of a building so as to keep from slipping and falling, as she made a sharp turn.
Make that the third time that she'd lost immediate sight of the suspect.
Leda trotted down the alleyway, eyes scanning the narrow path before her as her adrenaline gradually steadied. With the target temporarily out of her sights, she finally zeroed in on the radio chatter. It wasn't just the dispatcher now that was notifying both SPD and SCG of the multiple wolf sightings. No, she heard many of her fellow officers of Delta as well as the other patrol officers signaling a wolf sighting. Most of the information was gargled, strained and muffled by officers and guards alike talking over one another just as before. Except, she could finally make out that there was possibly more than one wolf. At least, from what it sounded, if the sightings of the fur color were correct. That didn't sound at all right. Since when had wolves made it into the city? Regardless, wasn't that impossible? Sure, one wolf... okay. It was probably just an overgrown dog with too many mutations, but the reports over the radio, although disjointed, made it out that there were in fact several wolves in Stepangrad.
She turned into the corner of the alley, ready to focus on the current ordeal of restraining the suspect, but instead she came face-to-face with a black wolf. Leda skidded to a stop, hands immediately grasping and brandishing her firearms. The wolf was much larger than she would have ever suspected, and it simply dodged her without a care in the world, even as she'd readied to fire.
In the briefest of moments, a moment that spanned into what felt like an eternity, she caught its gaze as it drew closer. Bright blue eyes rimmed in snow bore into her, saw through her, and she felt her gut plummet and the world fall into silence. For once, in that moment, everything fell into nothing. It was a distant feeling, but as the wolf fled past, that feeling hit her head on. A warmth, nothing like the warmth from the fires and heaters and coats, filled her and she staggered forward. The heat spiraled, coiling in her gut and crawling over her arms. It wasn't burning, nothing painful, and it felt right. As did the waterfall of scents that burned her nose, the numb brush of ice beneath her, and the flood of noises against her ear drums. It ran right by her, whisking up a cold breeze, and she'd barely had enough time to react when a white wolf bounded after it.
Leda fell forward, but caught herself from following by outstretching her... paws. Paws. Furry white paws that shimmered in a soft kaleidoscope of colors. She screamed then, but the sound was stuck on a howl. She jumped back, back paws slipped on the twin firearms, and jerked her body every which way. White fur greeted her, four legs, a tail. It should feel wrong, should feel like a dream, but the snow beneath her pads was real. The feeling that this was reality was all too real and all too warm.
It didn't make any sense. Why, how in the hell--
"There it is!" Her head snapped down the path that the two wolves had come and caught sight of fellow officers charging down the alley. Fear barreled through her, a painful sting in her chest as she realized that the it they were referring to was her.
No, no I'm not. Listen, I'm not the wolf! It went that way! A part of her wondered why she'd even bothered as her words came out in barks and whines. Especially when her fellow men replied with gunfire. "Don't let it get away!" A bullet pinged just a fraction by her left paw, and Leda lurched back. A subsequent shot grazed her ear, and the third urged her to move for all that she was worth.
Gennady had been running along the ledge of the mall when his pointy ears swiveled forward and tail raised in interest. He peered down at a group of young men who had been trying to chase the black wolf. There he was! He was close! The brown wolf’s snout wrinkled and muzzle rolled back to reveal his fangs. Snarling, he wanted so bad to just jump down and tackle the creature. He watched the wolf stop in front of one of the men on the ground, and right before his eyes, one moment he was a human and the next he was a wolf. Gennady’s maw fell in awe. It was the wolf! He saw the black magic or whatever it was happen before his eyes. Angrily, he barked down at the creature as it resumed fleeing.
“You bastard! I’m going to kill you!” he screamed.
He just needed to get down first. A nearby gunshot made him jump and his head snapped in its direction. Running along the ledge once more, he circled around to find a cop firing at one of the wolf victims. He could tell by her limping that she was injured. It was horrific. The protector was about to kill an innocent without even realizing it.
“Stop! Don’t shoot! She’s human!” Gennady cried. The second gunshot made his heart skip. She was lucky the bullet had missed, but he didn’t think the cop would miss a third time. Stepping anxiously in place, Gennady felt his heart racing. He felt it. The urge to do something stupid. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t be able to save her. Whining to himself, he stepped down from the ledge and trotted a few feet away. Turning, the wolf lunged. Sprinting across the roof top, he reached the ledge and sprang off with his forepaws outstretched. “FAAAAAAH-CK~!”
His paws met the cop’s back and then his weight went crashing against it. The cop stumbled forward. The ice slipped under his feet and he fell facedown with the brown wolf standing on top of him. Gennady bit the cop’s hand and wrenched the gun from his grip. With the pistol in his mouth, he galloped over to the she wolf and thought, Oh crap, oh crap! I hope I don’t change back. He might have been SCG, but assaulting a cop was assaulting a cop.
Running next to Kit with the gun clenched in his teeth like a bone, he nudged her shoulder with his own and stammered through the object in his mouth: “U neev to wun!”
The cop looked up and his face was glowing with rage. “What the fuck!?”
He rose to his feet and without his gun, he reached for the next best thing: a teaser gun. He charged after the wolves as he grasped the radio on his shoulder and called it in: “There’s two of them!”
Gennady glanced back and thought, Fuck!
Running over to a drain, he dropped the pistol down it and then ran over to Kit. “You need to move!” He attempted to grasp her scruff between his teeth and drag her. Galloping toward them was a shadow and behind the shadow was another wolf: Victor. The black wolf’s teeth unsheathed as its sprint quickened. Passing Gennady and Kit, he charged straight at the cop who braked abruptly upon seeing the large wolf approaching him.
“Oh shit!” the cop exclaimed. He pointed the teaser at the black wolf and fired. The electrical claws launched and the black wolf shocked him with his agility. Leaping and twisting into the air, the claws passed under the black wolf to plant into the street. Landing, the black wolf snarled as he sprang at the cop. The cop screamed as the creature tackled him to the floor. The black wolf snagged his radio between his teeth and crushed it before he jumped away from him. The cop remained on his back quivering in a petrified mess.
The black wolf approached Gennady, Kit, and Victor. His blue eye looked them over and then at Kit and her injured leg. “You will have to take an alternate route. She’s wounded and she’ll slow you down, but you’ll make it.”
Gennady lowered his head and flashed his fangs at the black wolf before he lunged. The black wolf’s snout wrinkled and with a snarl, he rose on his hindlegs. His forepaw slammed down on Gennady’s head before the rest of his weight dropped on him to pin him down. Gennady kicked and squirmed, growling in a fit of spittle as his teeth snapped for a leg.
“Put your fangs away unless you know how to use them, Pup,” the black wolf growled.
“My friend is dead because of you!” Gennady screamed. “You turned me into a wolf and now he’s dead!”
“I don’t turn humans into wolves! You’re all already wolves!”
The black wolf stepped back, allowing the brown wolf up. Gennady motioned with his head back at the white wolf. “I saw you change him!”
“I awakened him. Unfortunately, I do not have time to discuss this with you.” He then looked to the rest of the pack and announced, “Listen up! If you think you can survive in this city as a wolf, then stay. But if you want to know the truth about everything, then come with me. As clever as you may think you are, you will not survive in this city as a wolf, and if you want to learn how to change back into a human, well…” The corner of the wolf’s mouth quirked in a personified smirk. “I am the only one who could teach you that. The decision is up to you all. I am going to continue to lead the humans away and rally the others. Head to the outskirts and hide until I meet with you. There will be others waiting there.”
The black wolf turned his back to the pack and before he could run away, he remembered: “My name is Sasha. I am like you, but slightly different.” He then raced away.
Gennady’s hackles raised and drool dripped from his mouth as he snarled, “He’s holding our humanity hostage. He’s making it so that we have no choice but to follow him.” He then faced the others and proposed, “We can do what he says for now, but once we learn how to change back, we should kill him and return to our old lives. It should lift the curse or whatever this is!”
GM Note: How we venture to the city outskirts is up to us. Use this round for other wolf players to get caught up and acquainted for when they reach the Kill Zone perimeter, there will be action. @CrowOuttaHell@Equusheart@WolfSol@kesshowolf
Everything seemed to erupt into chaos around her. All at once she heard people shouting followed by more gunshots, some far off and others close by.
One by one Kit started to pick up four other scents that were like hers and the one she had been following. They each smelled different and yet there was the same underlying scent. Wolf. The word entered Kit's mind just as she finally recognized what the scent was. They were wolves.
“Don't shoot! She's human!” someone shouted behind her. Who had said that?
Kit stopped and glanced back to see a man pointing a gun at her. Kit gasped and braced herself for the shot. But it didn't come. A brown colored wolf had jumped onto the man and was now fighting with him.
Then suddenly the wolf was beside her, nudging her and telling her to run. The next few moments passed in a blur as they ran. Kit struggled to keep up until the wolf dragged her out of sight.
Some time later as a large black wolf and another joined them, Kit took the opportunity to lay down and rest. Damn, her leg hurt so bad. As the black wolf spoke, Kit realized that she recognized that blue eye. Sasha. But before she had a chance to respond the wolf that had saved her before lunged at Sasha. Kit watched helplessly as Sasha quickly put the other wolf onto his back, clearly the better fighter. She could only lay there and let them sort it out. Once Sasha had run off again, Kit slowly stood and limped over to Gennady.
“I'm sorry about your friend,” she said softly. Her ears drooped as she lowered her head with a soft mournful whine. She didn't know who this person was, but she still couldn't help but feel sad about his death. “But… I don't think Sasha is responsible for all of this.” Kit looked to the wolf that was Viktor. “Perhaps… Perhaps there's more to this than we are able to fully comprehend at the moment.”
Kit's mind was a whirl of thoughts. All thought stories she had heard over the years. And that book. The one she had been searching for over the past couple years, but never could seem to find. Maybe they weren't all fairytales.
“Nothing is what it appears,” she said, echoing Sasha's words again. Kit gave a small laugh. “Perhaps we’re like the unicorns after all.” It felt strange saying ‘we’, but somewhere inside Kit knew it was right. They were wolves. She was a wolf.
Kit turned back to Gennady her honey colored eyes pleading with him.
“I know you don't want to hear this,” she said softly. “But maybe Sasha can help us. Maybe we should give him a chance before making that kind of judgment.” Kit knew that she was asking a lot from Gennady and she would probably deserve it if he decided to turn on her. But she didn't want to see Sasha killed. And for whatever reason that was unknown to her, Kit wanted Gennady to stay with them. After all, he did save her life.
Tunnel vision had set in quite fiercely as a set of four paws padded harshly against the snowy landscape. Victor could no longer tell what he was doing- his eyes intently focused on the black wolf running in front of him. All he knew was that his vision had gone lower and he was moving faster. His mind was still overwhelmed, adrenaline pumping through every vein in his new body.
He couldn't handle processing everything around him- the cold wind that ruffled his fur, the stone path under his paw pads, the heavy, industrial scent of Stepangrad around him. He always thought he had been used to Stepangrad's atmosphere, but to experience it with an even higher sensitivity was almost too much to bear. And so he ran.
A loud buzzing cut through the air, causing Vic's ears to ring- and for him to snap back to reality. It took a split second for him to realize that it was the electrical claws from a police issued taser.
Springing into action, he hauled himself out of the way as the black wolf he had been chasing dodged it and pounced onto the cop, crushing the terrified man's radio between his teeth. Vic paused momentarily- he'd expected the wolf to just savage at the cop's throat and end him right there, like any feral animal. But he'd effectively kept the cop from radioing in any more backup- a sign of intelligence.
As if that wasn't enough, he finally noticed the two other wolves. Two other wolves, one brown and the other tan. It wasn't just him.
Now that the black wolf wasn't moving, Victor skidded to a stop, catching his breath- muzzle open and blowing out puffs of air into the cold wind. He had planned on pouncing on the black wolf and demanding answers from it but it seemed like the brown wolf they were with had beaten him to the punch...and failed at doing exactly that.
One thing the black wolf said, however, branded itself into his mind.
"I awakened him."
Awakened? What could he have meant? They were wolves? That was impossible, wasn't it...? Victor recalled his life so far- and he was human for pretty much all of it, until now.
The black wolf- Sasha, he had introduced- left them with instructions to run to the outskirts to hide before racing away. Vic debated giving chase, but he was already gone by the time he made up his mind. It at least gave the white man-- no, white wolf, a chance to get a better look at his companions.
The brown wolf- the one Sasha had defeated- was quick to speak against him, proposing that they murder the wolf the moment they had their human forms back...an interesting prospect, but not one that would net them answers as to why they turned into wolves.
The stench of blood reached Vic's nose. As he turned, he noticed the tan wolf's limp and her injury, and felt his ears droop as she pleaded with the brown one.
"You're right. We have no choice."
He finally spoke up, catching his breath as he approached them both. "We can't go back to Stepangrad like this with the SCG and SPD crawling all over the place. We have an injured member as well."
He shifted a little on his paws, still somewhat unused to his new, hunched form.
"We need to get answers from Sasha. So we can stop this from happening to anyone else in Stepangrad."
Tatiana shot straight down the alley, retracing her tail, she skidded as she rounded the corner of the alley. She shook her head as she dashed down the street, she looked to her left and right. This couldn’t be happening, this wasn’t possible. She couldn’t go home; her father would not recognize her, Hell, she couldn’t even open the door. She broke her concentration when she heard a female scream.
“HELP, THE WOLF IS HERE!!!”
She stupidly stopped and watched the woman, clamber into her front door, screaming for help from. Tatiana’s eyes widened as realization finally struck her. SHE was the wolf, her back bristled and she growled at the woman.
“HELP! PLEASE, SOMEBODY!!”
the woman cried as she fell into her house, she kicked towards Tatiana. Tatiana rolled her golden eyes and huffed, as she turned her attention to the rest of the street. She spotted a few men peeking out of their front doors brandishing brooms, knives, bats and other various household weapons. As she stood there, some of the men were getting braver and coming out of their homes. The corners of her mouth moved into a smirk, she shook her head and she was off again. She flew down the street, as a white blur, no one could touch her. Her hackles settled back down, into her sleek coat as she ran, she could not help but think of her mother.
“momma turns out you were right all along. There are wolves, we are wolves… would you be here running beside me?” a tear came to her eye as she continued “Had you stayed with us and not gone out to the kill zone?”
She shook her head, trying to clear her head of all the thoughts running through them.
“Wait the kill zone, that where I have to go… I gotta get out of this city!” she huffed to herself as she ran
She came to an intersection and slowed to a stop as she looked from one sign to the next. She panted as she looked, causing a cascading plume of misty clouds to billow out of her mouth. She had never felt so alive before this moment; she found the street she was looking for, she took a step forward and paused for a moment. She took in a breath and let out a…
When she ran out of breath, she looked around herself, she began walking towards the street she had previously picked out before then paused once more. Her nose twitched; she sniffed the air, the ground and followed a few steps this way and that. That scent was so familiar, what could it possibly be? Everything in this new body could do so much more, she realized how dull humans must be compared to the rest of the animals living on this planet. She looked up and there was her father, she was holding a bag of groceries and he looked terrified. Her ears swiveled back behind her and she let out a soft whine, she slowly made her way over to him. He backed up; his back was now against an apartment building wall as he dropped the bag he had been clutching.
“dad I’m so sorry… I have to go.” She barked and yipped at him softly
She rubbed his knee softly with her head, she leaned on him for a bit. She wanted so badly to talk to him to hug him, regained her balanced and she dashed off down the street. He hesitated but placed his hand on her head. She let out another longer whine, as he patted and stroked her head.
“there there you must be terrified, everyone yelling and shooting at you… you are quite a beautiful creature, but you really should get out of this city. It really is no place for a creature like yourself. We, humans, are stupid and greedy, go be free. Go be where we taint anything anymore.”
He smiled warmly down at her
She looked up at him, she leaned back on her hind legs. She was standing upright and leaned forward on him, enveloped him in as much of a hug as she currently could. She licked his bewildered face and pulled away from him. Back on all fours, she darted off, she stopped and turned to look at her father one last time. She tilted her head back...
"goodbye father." she barked back at him.
Then she dashed off towards the edge of the city didn’t think of anything else she just ran as fast as she was able. She blurred past alleyways, crowded streets, empty streets, police officers. She was free, nothing to hold her back, nothing to go to. She stopped about a block away from the kill zone,
“where am I supposed to go now? Yeah I leave but then what?” she looked up towards the sky in wonder; she waited for an idea to hit her, and hoped no bullets would hit her instead.
The chilling wind was numbing. A phantom feeling of fingers brushing through her snowy fur as she bounded down the alleyway, the cold no longer lingering. It felt right, but this instinct, fed by adrenaline and fear, didn't. Running from her own, her comrades, felt wrong. Yet she'd tried, stopped for the briefest of moments to try and converse with the handful that had caught sight of her, but of course that was useless. Words were distorted into barks and yips. From there, it only made sense to run. Get out of the line of sight, regroup. Figure out how she had become a wolf. But that was just it... run to where? The Kill Zone would mean death, but if there was no way to turn back then remaining in Stepangrad would mean the same fate.
She would have mulled over it more, let worry and dread coil in her gut, if it wasn't for the sharp crack of gunfire and a yip of "FAAAAAAH-CK~!" It propelled her forward, ears flattening against her skull as duty took over. The gunfire wasn't from the group following her, no, which meant that someone else was in trouble. To protect and serve.
Adrenaline gained her distance in the pursuit as she blindly navigated through the alley, focusing on her now sharpened hearing. It was difficult, at first. There was somuch noise, but once she'd honed in on the sound of gunfire, it made things easier. That is, until the gunfire abruptly stopped. Still, she ran on until she finally caught up to a huddle of wolves. She hadn't expected them, let alone so many, and she quickly dug her claws into the ground, almost tripping over the human officer in the process.
"You're right. We have no choice." It was a whine, but she understood it as if the wolf had spoken in English. Leda stepped carefully around the officer, observing that the human was intact and from a different shift than her own. He seemed relatively all right. Scared shitless, but alive. Then she turned her head to the three wolves, one of which she'd seen running beside the black wolf. They too looked fine, safe, and- her nose crinkled, lips peeling back to flash a sliver of fang as she scented blood. It smelled more acrid, heavier, than she remembered it. One of them, the tan wolf, was wounded. Leda stepped forward to the trio, but her head snapped back and her ears sprang forward. Her assailants were closing in fast, the distance she'd gained quickly receding.
She stepped forward, a little less hesitant now, and neared the other white wolf. She'd heard the end of the conversation. The name Sasha wasn't familiar, but that detail wasn't quite as important as the last tidbit. To anyone else? "Wait... you're all-all human too?" Leda leaned forward, shifting her gaze amidst the canines before her. That possibility gave her a bit of ease. Not that it made the situation any better, but at least she wasn't the only one. That was much more comforting a thought then believing that she had been the only one effected. Of course, that only brought on more questions. But the noise of the pursuers was getting closer to the point where the cop on the ground could likely hear them. They needed to move.
"We need to get out of here." Leda turned her snout up, angling it to where she'd came from. Her eyes fell on the tan wolf for a moment, "I have about five officers on my tail, but you, your injury... a distraction would be a death sentence and the exits to the alleyways may already be barricaded." Her tail flicked once, twice, "That leaves the sewers."
Gennday’s ears went flat against his head and he looked away from Kit as she gave her condolences. For the whole moment that she spoke, the brown wolf didn’t look at her. He instead dwelled on the death of Burian; the internal anxiety he felt being a wolf in a city that was hunting them; and the fear of never being able to change back. When Kit took the side of the black wolf, Gennady’s hackles raised a little. He said nothing in response, but he thought, I can’t trust her. She’s sympathizing with the creature who has turned us. She must have given up hope.
You’re right. We have no choice.
Now the wolf who he had seen turned before his very eyes was siding with the black wolf. What was going on? Was it the curse? Was he the only strong one? Did the magic sway them to take Sasha’s side? He was starting to feel alone in his mission. Civilians…what a pain in the ass.
You stop it, by killing the wolf! Gennady wanted to tell Victor, but he decided not to speak. If they were all against him, then they didn’t need to know what his perspective was. He was going to play their game for now. Once he was able to change back, he was going to kill that black wolf and free them all.
Gennady was distracted from his silent plotting by the distant howl of a wolf. His triangular ears swiveled forward and his head raised with alertness. The howl hadn’t been Sasha’s. It was a different wolf.
“Is that another victim?” Gennady wondered aloud. “If she keeps howling like that, then the SCG and SPD will surely find her and kill her.”
He then looked back at Kit and her wounded leg, and then over at Leda as she shared her plan. His nose wrinkled when she brought up the sewer idea. “We don’t know what lurks down there, but I guess we have no choice.”
Looking between Leda and Victor, he told them, “You two should take her and go. I’ll go find the straggler, and we’ll meet you at the outskirts.”
Gennady waited for their acknowledgment, but he didn’t wait for any protest. The brown wolf raced away, paws hissing through the slush. He hoped that he could get to the wolf in time and that he didn’t find her dead.
Kit's ears laid back with a soft whine as she watched the brown wolf that was Gennady run off to find the other wolf. She didn't find his silence reassuring. He said he would meet up with them after retrieving the straggler, but he hadn't officially said that he was coming with them. There wasn't time to dwell on that however. Kit sighed and turned back to her two remaining companions.
“I suppose we should get out of here,” she said. If there were officers on their tail, they needed to move before they got caught and killed. Kit looked to the other she-wolf. “Let's get to these sewers of yours. Then once we're in the clear, we can make our proper introductions.”
Kit limped off towards the sewers. She winced as pain shot through her leg with each step. Damn her leg hurt. She wanted so much to just lay down and rest, but now wasn't the time.
The voice of another wolf briefly caught Victor's attention as he turned, noticing yet another one coming towards them. A bit of panic welled up inside his chest- there were even more of them? Just how many did Sasha plan on turning, the entirety of Stepangrad?! They had to stop this!
Nevertheless, his ears caught the sound of far-off howling. It sounded different from Sasha's-- his gut sank at the thought of it being yet another confused citizen turned wolf. Victor shook his head free of the thoughts as the brown wolf announced that he would round up the straggler, and their party would head to the outskirts. He caught the hint of discontent in the other wolf; Vic didn't exactly sympathize with Sasha- but they literally had no choice. None of them had any idea how to turn back, and Sasha had curbstomped the brown wolf. If anything, what they needed was answers. Whatever happened to Sasha afterward, whether he lived or died under the brown wolf's wrath, was none of Vic's concern.
The only thing he was concerned about were the civilians of Stepangrad. Like Fabian and Dmitri- what if they were turned too, and forcefully evicted from the life they've known all these years? Simply put, Vic didn't want this happening to anyone else.
"Understood." He muttered before Gennady raced away. The scent of blood pierced his nose again, and the thought of having to wade through the sewers only served to make it worse. It was already terrible as a human- but how much more as a wolf?
Nevertheless, Vic had to remind himself that once again, they had no choice.
"I agree. Let's move." He turned to address the other white wolf.
"Lead the way, with the injured one just behind you. I'll follow just behind her."
It was a little trick he, Fabian and Dmitri always did when one of them got injured; two uninjured members at the front and back to help ward off any potential dangers to the injured one in the middle. The narrow passageway of the sewer would also help in this situation, he felt.
Tatiana’s fur bristled slightly as her ears swirled around picking of every noise around her. She picked up some radio chatter about wolves spotted, her body tensed for a moment as she listened closely. Then her ears moved a bit picking up a new sound, unified synchronized marching edging closer towards her direction. Her eyes flashed around her trying to find an escape, she spotted an alley. She took off down the darkened alleyway, her claws scrapped the cracked concrete under her. She ducked behind a dumpster, she panted as she tried to think of the best way out of this place. She jumped, surprising herself, as she recalled the wolf
“that’s it, if I can find him. I’m sure he has the answers!”
She turned her head looking, around the brick corner of the alley, down the street. she edged out of the alley, walking alongside the buildings she passed. Trying her best not to be noticed, which seemed damn-near impossible. She laughed a bit to herself
“yes, find the animal that the whole city has been looking for, while a bunch of people are trying to kill you. Brilliant!”
She shook her head and sniffed the air, which gave her pause, she looked around herself. She could have sworn she smelled, something she should know but couldn’t quite place. She began going through things in her head, nothing was fitting this smell; not food, not tobacco, not alcohol, not gunpowder, not ani- wait yes, it was animal! She lowered her head smelling the ground, her head paced back and forth as she tried to find it.
White ears perked up at the distant howl. It wasn't like the first. It didn't sound as confident, as sure of the fur on its back. Another one, it must be. Just how many are there? Leda tilted her head, eyes shifting to the brown wolf--Gennady--as he spoke her thoughts aloud. Yes, if that wolf kept making a racket like that, they'd attract the entire city. It wasn't a bad thing, to get the heat of both the SPD and SCG off their... tails, but still, another human who was stuck in the body of a feral animal just like them deserved better than being gunned down. It's why she was glad when Gennady proposed an addendum to her plan. It released a tension in her shoulders that she hadn't realized she'd had as he ran off to aid the howling wolf.
The two that were left behind looked to her expectantly, and she nodded. She made her way to the drain, eyes darting every which way as she then passed it and trotted down the expanse of the alley in the opposite direction that she'd heard the SPD and SCG coming from. She moved steadily, pausing a few steps for Kit's benefit. They couldn't risk slowing down, but they also couldn't risk more damage to Kit's leg if they wanted to get everyone to the outskirts alive and well. "We'll have to cut back around. The only way into the sewers is through the manholes, but as we are now, they're too heavy for us. However, a section of one of the roads by SPD was recently blocked off. The manhole was open last I saw." She craned her neck, glancing behind at Kit. It was risky, incredibly so, to go anywhere near SPD, but it was either that or try and cram each other down a narrow hole in the drains. "If need be, can you run?"
They neared the corner, and she slowed down significantly. Heightened senses or not, the fact that her hearing was not enhanced didn't ease her mind as she peeked out from the corner against the wall of a building. It seemed the alleys were still clear of fellow humans. It was either due to the multiple wolf sightings, or the howl of the wolf from earlier. Either way she picked up the pace, leading them around to the adjacent alley that would lead to the back of the street that led to SPD.
Every now and then she heard the telltale crackle of a radio and the occasional shift of a firearm, both of which made her ears shoot up with alertness. The sounds were close, but she'd quickly realized that she was hearing them from parts in the alley so she gradually gave them no attention. It seemed they were, for now, in the clear. Attention had been focused on the howl of the wolf it seemed. That is, until the sound of a heel scuffing against cement resounded somewhere ahead. Leda stopped then, eyes roaming the alley ahead. It narrowed down toward a street roughly thirty feet ahead. Her eyes moved upward then, catching sight of a human posted atop a roof that looked over the alley. The human, likely one with the SCG based upon their attire, hadn't yet spotted them and so she slowly moved against the alley's wall. "Up above, to the right. First roof from the street." Moving slowly with the wall scraping her right shoulder, she led them to the alley mouth. The overhang of the roof hid them just enough, but once they'd reached the mouth that overlooked the street, Leda found that there was no more options to hide. "We have to run from here on out. The human on the roof will likely see us as soon as we make a run for it. We need to cross the street."
Kit tried to keep up with the others as best that she could, pushing herself until the pain in her leg became almost unbearable. She knew it probably wasn't wise to do so, but she didn't want to slow them down. Not when there were men looking to kill them. When the she wolf they were following turned and asked if she could run, Kit gave a nod of her head.
"I sure as Hell can try," she said, determined.
Kit stayed low at the sound of officers above them as they continued to move. At Leda's words, an officer above them and the need to hurry, Kit nodded her head and prepared to bolt. She only hoped her leg wouldn't give out. Just hold up a little longer.
Tatiana Volkova  27yrs  female  
Titania raised her head up, surveying the area around her. Her ears flattened to the back of her head as she nervously shifted weight from one paw to the next. “I have got to figure this out. If I just sit here, I might as well paint a target on my back.” She took in a breath and lowered her head and tried smelling the ground again, she opened her mouth slightly as she breathed deeply into her nose, her jaw twitched slightly as her eyes widened. Her jaw stopped moving, as she suddenly came to the realization that smell was a wolf. Her tail wagged happily behind her; she now, had a scent of a wolf, she finally has a direction and something she could follow. Now hopeful in finding this elusive creature, she followed her new nose to the best of her abilities. Sometimes having to go back and retracing her pawprints because she lost the scent.
Her ear twitched with the sound, her head followed her ear's swivel. Eyes widened as she spotted a soldier squatting down and aiming at her. She froze there for a moment, coming to the realization she could very well be dead in the next few seconds. As she looked down the barrel of his gun, her eyes moved a bit as she noticed him starting to squeeze the trigger, eyes flashed with anger when she spotted a smirk on his face. She felt a deep growl in her throat, was that her? Her hackles began to rise, making her look; bigger, meaner, and deadlier. Her lips curled back, exposing her fangs in a snarl. what was going on? Noticing the man’s smirk quickly faded, replaced by a frown then…
The shot missed her, barely, concrete flakes chipped off the street ricocheting on her shoulder. Then all at once, she moved, on pure ancient instinct. Even before she knew what was happening, she was on top of the guy; snarling, her white, sharp fangs where inches from his exposed neck. He was crying, her nose was assaulted by a strong urine smell. She jumped off the man, she dashed down the nearest alley.
After she had been running for a while she slowed to a stop, she panted hard and sat down. What happened back there? She recalled to herself as she looked around at her surroundings, could have killed that guy. What was she thinking? Then she paused “he was going to kill me… it would only be self-defense, right?”
She rolled her eyes “now what?” it seemed she could not get a minute of herself, she looked down the street and doors were being slammed shut. She sighed “I know who they're gonna call…” she stood again and began to run down the street. “Damn, I lost my only lead because of that jerk!” she softly cursed to herself as she ran “now what am I gonna do?!” as she continued to run, she began hearing a scream here and there, either out of surprise or fear.
What started as a rumor about a wolf became breaking news throughout the city. There was not just one wolf, but an outbreak. It was believed to be a were-disease that turned humans into wolves. To keep the disease from spreading, the SCG and SPD were fully activated. Soldiers marched through the snowy streets and those who were human were ordered by mass notification to remain in their homes or be shot. Sasha was forced to take desperate measures. He awakened officers and guards. He led packs of wolves—some purposefully cannon fodder to draw the guns of the patrolling forces. In a storybook, Sasha might have been declared the villain for doing such a thing, but this was reality, and he had to save as many wolves as he could. The once busy streets became quiet and filled with the resonating ratatata! of assault rifle fire.
Gennady immediately noticed the change in activity. Hiding under a car, he watched booted feet trudge by. There were no civilians. They were probably ordered off the streets. Damn. There was no place to hide. At this point, he wasn’t sure if he could find the straggler.
A dark-grey wolf darted into the street. It looked frantically left and right in fear and confusion before its blue eyes settled on him. Don’t come over here, Gennady thought. His muzzle rolled back, revealing his teeth in a threatening manner. The wolf desperately bolted toward him and three seconds after, there was a loud bang and the creature went backflipping across the street. The noise made Gennady jump. Fuck! What was that a sniper? he thought.
The wolf was very familiar with that role, and because he was familiar with it, he knew that escaping the sniper’s crosshair was going to be a pain in his furry hide. This was a nightmare. Why hadn’t he just stayed with the others? The dumb wolf that had just ate a bullet before his eyes could have been the stray he had been looking for, trying to stupidly lead the enemy to him. Panting softly as his heart nervously raced, a multitude of plans were cycling through his mind. They all came down to waiting. He had to unfortunately wait for another wolf to draw fire before he could attempt his escape.
His ears swiveled forward as he heard barking that sounded 100m ahead. Sliding one forepaw forward at a time and creeping along with his hind legs, Gennady low-crawled next to the
vehicle’s tire and gazed down the street. There was a pack of wolves attacking the guards that had just marched by. Overhead the sniper was firing again. Now was his chance. The brown wolf bolted out from under the car into the nearby alley. Brick exploded behind him. The result of him barely making it out alive. Now what? He wanted to get close to that pack for the old wolf might have been closeby.
Staying close to the alley wall, Gennady brushed his flank against it until he came to the mouth and peeked around the corner. For being a four-legged beast, he still felt like a guard and his training was to out-stealth other guards. The fact that he was low to the ground gave him a big advantage. He quickly dashed next to another column of parked vehicles and moved alongside them for cover. As he moved down the street, he heard the barking and gunfire growing in volume. Gennady stopped when he felt he was close enough and lowered to his belly.
Seconds after, the black wolf darted from the alley in front of him. Briefly their eyes met, his blue eyes with Sasha’s single one. Gennady was actually happy that Sasha had such a recognizable face. There weren’t any other one-eyed scarred-face wolves in Stepangrad. The brown wolf ran behind the car and raced after him.
“Old man!” Gennady shouted, chasing his tail. Glancing back briefly, he noticed that there were other strange wolves trailing behind him. “Hey! I’m talking to you!”
Sasha answered, “What are you doing here, Pup?”
“We went underground.”
The black wolf’s paws slid across the ice as he abruptly stopped. His ears and tail were raised as he turned to regard Gennady in surprise. “What?!”
Gennady’s ears lowered a bit—had he said something wrong? “The sewers…I just wanted to tell you.”
Sasha bore his fangs and growled, “That’s suicide.”
Gennady growled back, “Where else do you expect us to go? The city is locked down. There’s guards and police everywhere. They’re just going to surround your position and pick you off until there’s nothing left.”
Sasha raised his head to quickly check their surroundings as he mused over the ordeal. No matter what it was suicide, but the brown wolf had a point. Top-side was becoming just as suicidal. “Come.”
Sasha led the wolves into an alley and they surrounded a manhole lid. “Step back.”
Gennady and the other wolves gave the black wolf some space. Sasha slapped his paw down on top of the man hole. Each strike cracked the cement around it, causing the fragments to leap around it. Suddenly, the lid popped up and the old man caught the edge with a human hand. The wolves stared in amazement and gawked at Sasha in his human form. He really was an old fart! Setting the lid aside, Sasha looked to the pack. “Get in. Quick.”
Gennady glanced to the others who were all hesitating to leap into the sewer. Sighing, the brown wolf decided to be the first, muttering, “I have bigger balls then all of you.” Walking over to the black hole, his snout wrinkled at the rancid odor that breathed from it. Turning his head as he nearly vomited, he shook his head and whined up at Sasha, “That’s like crawling into an asshole! How are we supposed to even breathe in there?”
Sasha answered, “Exactly. That’s why it’s suicide, but it’s our only other option right now. So get in.”
Gennady’s hackles raised with disturbance. The worst part was that his canine nose smelled it stronger than he would have as a human. “Boje moi…” Gennady moaned (Oh my God) before he finally leapt down into the funky darkness. For a moment, no other wolves followed as they waited and listened.
“WHAT AM I YOUR POINT MAN? GET YOUR FURRY ASSES DOWN HERE! THE FASTER WE GET THROUGH THIS SHIT HOLE THE FASTER WE GET OUT!” Gennady angrily screamed.
Sasha cracked an amused grin at the pup’s spunk. Other wolves started to reluctantly drop in uttering a bunch of blarghs!, Oh god!, and Urgh! Sasha waited until every last wolf was inside before he climbed down and closed the lid behind them.
A Price Set in Blood A Secret Church
The grand church doors opened, and the man with the sun mask, Xerxes strolled in with bounty hunters following behind. Gripped in each of their fists were the scruffs of dead wolves. Helen raised her head and slowly rose from her prayer position. Her painted lips parted in surprise as Xerxes walked over to stand next to her. The hunters laid seven wolf bodies before her.
“There you are, my queen,” Xerxes presented.
Helen approached the creatures in awe and lowered to her knees before them. Running her hand across their fuzzy pelts, she responded breathlessly, “They are beautiful.”
“I am glad.”
Helen stood then and faced Xerxes. Her hands went behind her back to pull down the zipper of her gown. Her gown tumbled, dropping like a curtain to her feet as she stood nude an unabashed before her lover and the shocked hunters. Xerxes took an eyeful of her pale and shapely body and ordered the hunters, “Leave.”
The hunters quickly took their leave nearly stumbling over themselves. Xerxes shrugged off his own robes as he walked over to Helen. “When’s the wedding?” he playfully questioned.
Helen grasped his mask and whispered against his lips, “Now.”
The two nobles embraced over the bodies of the wolves.
She looked around herself as she ran, she found herself relieved that she had run literately into the other wolves after rounding a corner too quickly and not paying attention to what was in front of her. But made a note to do a better job of looking around corners before she turned around them in the future.
Tatiana looked down into the black void, the first whiff hit her nose. Immediately her nose wrinkled as she took a few steps backward recoil in repulse. She shook her head, that smelled awful, her attention was torn away from the depths of the sinkhole when another wolf began angerly yelling. A soft whine began in the back of her throat, as her ears pressed against the back of her head. Her eyes widened as she saw the angry, brown wolf jump willingly into the unknown putrid depths after saying something about balls.
She glanced back at the leader, the first wolf, Sasha and saw that he was smiling towards the angry brown wolf. She spared a glance around her, as she heard rapid gunfire all around her, she took a few steps forward. “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” she bitterly asked herself as she peered again into the open manhole. As another wolf leapt into it, she sighed and took a deep breath and jumped.
She landed with an unpleasant squish between her pads, which sent a shiver up her legs. She reluctantly let out her held breath and gagged as she took in her first breath of sewer sink. Had she anything in her stomach it would have no longer been there. Her eyes teared up “oh, God… let’s get out of her as soon as possible.” Her eyes looked up at Sasha closing the lid to the fresh air behind him as he climbed down. As the last of the light was snuffed out her eyes, they began to change. She looked all around her; she could see but it was a different kind of sight, she asked to no one in particular “is this night vision?” she looked over seeing Sasha rejoining the wolves below. At least it was quite down here, the muffled gunfire could still be heard but her ears felt better.