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Posted: Mar 5 2018, 10:54 PM
Amon stepped across the new growth of grass almost silently, the sun setting through the trees of the forest where She had bid him meet her. The air was warm, but even though the season was well into Spring, the atmosphere felt like he was walking along an ending. Amon had found his center once again, and Ciaran was mentally present enough to recognize him, to go to work and to even feed the cat occasionally. He had wondered if having Ciaran a little healthier mentally would put him off of this path he had started to walk for Her. It was a shadowy, twisting thing littered with bones and broken pieces, but he had not been deterred. Maybe that should have disturbed him, but Amon had been numb long enough now where only harm coming to his brother could have a chance at such disturbance. What She promised would help him protect Ciaran and himself, because that was what power did. It gave you what you wanted.
He ground out his last cigarette against a flat little stone before he continued. Warm as it was, his hands had gone cold as he walked from the fading light of the retreating sun. Amon stuffed them into the sleeves of his light jacket once his cigarette butt was collected and tucked away in his pocket, to throw away when he got back to the city. His pack was empty, and he expected frayed nerves and nails chewed down so far they hurt, but there was none of that. Nothing. He felt so oddly calm that this had to be right--She had to be right.
There was no other option but for them to be right.
A note left for his brother on the kitchen table had stated he would be out tonight to see a friend, even if that was the wrong word for her. Amon wasn't sure there was a right word, but he had written it anyway and posted it on the table, and on Ciaran's door as well. Both copies were dated so that his brother would know when to expect him, and hopefully save himself a little panic. Even this time away from his twin made Amon uncomfortable enough to tangle a hand in his hair, but he continued on. They would both be better off for this. If he could only learn to pick his gaze up off the floor, to stop letting others back him into a corner, Amon felt he could truly change things for the two of them. That awful old hat had seen something in him at eleven that separated him from his brother, some mark of ambition that Amon had never fully recognized in himself but resented for separating him from Ciaran. Here was a chance to make that arbitrary sorting worth it, he supposed.
Amon continued to walk, pausing only when he came to a small clearing in the woods. He had faith enough in this shadow to believe She would find him if she wanted to, and the marks on the ground and trees caught his eye. There had been magic here, some scuffle that looked as if it could have been muggle tools, but couldn't be anything other than what it was for someone trained to see beyond normal. He let his hand move across the scar of a nearby tree, then slid down to its base to sit, and wait for the moon. She had said to meet her under the moon, and here he had come, nearly numb, but for hunger.
Posted: Mar 10 2018, 07:31 PM
They were not truly wolves who feared the moon, and that was why they suffered so. The aches in the week leading up to it were no more than delicious anticipation, muscle and bone alike yearning to twist into their natural forms. Nergüi revelled in it, stretching her spine out every morning so that each vertebra cracked with a sound like a whip, sharp and satisfying; her skin itched like it was about to split in a hundred places, and she delighted in scratching at it until it blushed an angry red. There was fur just beneath, she was certain, pinpricks of luscious inky black that would erupt as soon as she walked in the silvered night. The days could not pass quickly enough, and when at last the final morning dawned it felt as though she’d lived three centuries only waiting.
It was hours before sunset when she took off, because the way out of the city and into the cloistered wood was long, and Nergüi did not know how to translocate the way these humans did. That was an art the pack had never needed, because where was there to go on the endless plains? Nothing but grass and sky as far as the eye could see, so that travelling one hundred miles would be no different to taking one step in any direction. And now she was used to living this way and would not change it for all the convenience in the world; when these wizards blinked from point to point they missed all that was in between, and she of all people knew that the most wondrous things were to be found between.
The demon boy would come with the moon, if he truly was what she believed him to be, and if he was not then she hoped for his sake that he knew enough to run and to hide, because they were both too far gone now for there to be any hope of retreat. It did not matter where he went in the forest so long as he was there - she would have no trouble sniffing him out, especially when there was no other trace of human in the vicinity to befuddle her senses. What would he smell like to her snout, she wondered? Already she knew the essence of him - smoke and metal and deep gray darkness - but there were more subtle scents that lay hidden beneath and she hungered at the thought of them. Soon she would smell and feel and taste, soon she would race the howling wind and battle the packed ground with every step. Soon.
The change, when it came, was silent as always. Nergüi never screamed at this pain, never howled nor gave in to so much as a groan. Why should she, when it would gain her nothing? The agony of bones shifting was nothing compared to the bliss of them clicking into place, and the sting of her fur shooting through skin was immediately forgotten when it clung to her soft and warm and shining like obsidian. The world over her in a cacophony of smells so that she had to take a moment just to inhale again and again, snout raised high in the air. Why Hell had disdained Wolfsbane so, she could not fathom - Nergüi could not imagine waking up in the morning unable to remember such joy.
He was here already; the scent of blood was strong on the wind. Soon he would lose that disgusting human quality, and then there would be only earthen tones around him, aromas of ochre and red-brown soil. She stretched her forepaws out before her, digging her claws into the ground as she shook whatever dregs of humanity still clung to her coat, and then she was off, loping through trees with her nose pointed into the breeze and her tongue lolling. It was not far - but then, nowhere was far on four feet. When she stopped, it was on the edge of a clearing where the scent had grown overpoweringly strong; had she not eaten every other day for a week, Amon would have no chance of turning wolf. But Nergüi had planned ahead, because she would not make the mistakes of the alpha. Silently, she slipped from her cover to advance across the moonlit glade to where he sat, watching him all the while through bright yellow eyes.
Posted: Mar 15 2018, 10:18 PM
Uncertain of how long he had waited against the trunk of the scarred tree, the itch under Amon's skin was causing him to regret not buying a new pack of cigarettes before he had come out to the forest. His fingers ran red, angry lines down his pale arms--not hard enough to draw blood and not hard enough to soothe the anxiety and anticipation that ran through him. The marks made him feel, in an odd way, comforted. Ciaran wasn't able to hide the marks he made on his own arms from stress, and in this way Amon felt he was with his brother when he couldn't be. Ciaran was so much stronger than he realized, and Amon needed to borrow that strength to commit to what he would do here tonight. The moon was the only clue as to what that experience would be.
Amon hadn't truly known until he looked up by chance, meeting feral yellow eyes across the clearing. His breath caught in his chest and he froze, unable to look away and unable to move. It was a natural fear--or at least he thought it had been--only realizing the peculiarity of it when he was able to put words to his thoughts. She's a werewolf. If I survive this, Ciaran and I will be more different than we have ever been… Amon's brow furrowed, and at the edges of his fear he was briefly aware that normal people didn't make that their first concern when faced with a werewolf. Werewolf she must be; he didn't believe that a single wolf would have come to watch him like this, under the full moon, when they had agreed to meet. Amon was not stupid, and he didn't believe in coincidence.
Still, gooseflesh rose along his itching arms, and Amon's heart quickened when he saw her. He hadn't known what she was when she made her promises to rework the broken pieces of his spirit, but Amon knew he would be lying to himself if he claimed the thought hadn't crossed his mind. She padded silently toward him, and Amon stared, blue eyes locked on her haunting yellow. Run, fool, he berated himself. He couldn't. When breathing came with as much difficulty as moving through neck deep water against a current, running was out of the question. All he could do was look her in the eyes and wonder.
She was terrifying, but a beautiful creature, dark and powerful. She was feral, but not rabid, and Amon could only wonder how he hadn't died several times already. Hands trembling, Amon turned his palm up toward her in a gesture of offering. Change or death. I wanted Ciaran to die first, so he would never have to be without me, a small voice reminded him. Maybe it would be change, but Amon had grown accustomed to the universe having very little regard for what he wanted for himself. Run, run, idiot. He couldn't.
"I brought you a broken thing." he murmured. The only offering left was himself.
Posted: Mar 20 2018, 06:01 PM
She did so love to see him afraid; in this, at least, the alpha had not been mistaken. The only way to deal with these human creatures was to have them fear her, and although Amon was different he was still human. Human for now, human for just a little while longer, and during that time he would fear her. And after that...well, that depended very much on how he handled himself over the coming night. Nergüi would not allow an inferior beast to be made from her power, and so if she saw the slightest sign of weakness she would end him. It would pain her, to have invested so much time in a failure, but she could not afford to make mistakes at this late juncture. Hell had, and look where she had ended up. Nergüi watched and Nergüi learned, and Nergüi would survive.
The moonlight was always kind to her, pouring across her fur so that she moved as graceful as a liquid, limbs flowing across the clearing to where he sat, unmoving. It was good that he did not run, because if he had she would have killed him. In that context, it mattered little whether he was brave enough to stay still or merely frozen with fear - either way, he was alive and had a chance yet to see the night through. For a long time, she watched him, head tilted to one side and mouth cracked open just a sliver as though to taste his scent. He knew who she was - she could see the recognition in his eyes, and she was pleased. The demon boy was sharp at his broken edges, and crafty and slippery enough to get through anything. How much more dangerous he would be with her power, how much darker and more beautiful.
When he moved, she clamped her jaws shut and sat back on her haunches to consider him: this ravenous shadow who thought himself weak, this wellspring of terrible power who cowered from the very idea of himself. He knew what he was, and he feared it, but in time she would show him that he should not. In time, in time… first he would have to get that far. The long night lay ahead with all its horrors, blood and beasts and the darkness he would find festering inside his own bones. Delicately, she sniffed at his proffered hand and curled her lips back and away from her teeth, growling soft. The offering was good.
Once more she stood, stalking closer to stare at him as though searching his expression for the truth of what he spoke. He had come, but did he understand now what she meant to give him? Was he worthy of the gift, did he understand what it was he would accept? Not just one night a month, not a skin he could wear and discard at moonset, but a lifetime. An eternity, a history, a pack, a family. Nergüi grinned the wide grin of the wolf, baring all her teeth, then she snapped at his sleeve and pulled, urging him to his feet.
@Cassandra (sorry not a lot to react to - wolves don’t talk)
Posted: Mar 25 2018, 11:24 AM
He watched her lip curl when she sniffed at his hand, saw her beautiful sharp teeth, deadly and purposeful, and suddenly felt clumsy. A pale hand that had once seemed slender and almost delicate now appeared clumsy and without purpose. When he ran his tongue along them, Amon's own teeth felt flat and crude in his mouth by comparison. He was a flawed thing, but she hadn't gutted him with those teeth yet, and so he thought his offer must have been at least worth investigating. All of the hairs at the back of his neck were on end. The moments he sat there in face of this walking shadow seemed like hours, and Amon was shivering, shivering. Realization was a cold thing.
There was always a choice to be made, and this one was harder than it should have been. Death or life? The answer seemed simple, but when choosing life meant something so irrevocably different than it ever had before, simple was misleading. Knowledge sat cold in the bottom of his stomach, impossible to confuse it for hunger. He wasn't ready, with just this small seed of understanding, but that didn't matter. Understanding would come to him or he would die. He smiled faintly. No, that was wrong.
He would die, and then understanding would bloom in his veins and break through the cage of his ribs to reshape him. Every moon, every month, he would be reminded of a difference he would always carry with him. Amon longed to bring Ciaran with him, but he couldn't. In order for his twin to thrive, he needed to die. Until now, he'd been a parasite, feeding off of the light he stole from everyone's eyes. Even Ciaran.
She snapped at his arm, and Amon flinched, but still would not run. Run, idiot. He refused to abandon this now. As far as he had come, the end was still far away. Field mice ran. Amon would not. He got to his feet when she pulled on his sleeve, and left his wand of vine stowed securely away in his jacket. Maybe he could have made a good show with his spellwork. He was talented in curses and charms, and he had always been the sort of man who could fight beyond the appearance of his delicate form, dragging himself angrily off the ground no matter how many times he had been cast down and regardless of the relative weakness of his retaliation.
But that was not how you treated someone who offered you a gift, even if she was a shadow, a demon, a wolf. This was more than a gift, it was a pact, the sort of thing that could only ever be written in blood. Tonight it would be his, and he was fearful and, underneath it all, exultant. Amon had sealed his bargain with her more than a month ago; long enough for the moon to move through a birth and another death. He nodded, and stood ready to follow her where she led him, every vulnerability exposed.
"You are beautiful," he told her, like a child would tell his mother.
Posted: Mar 28 2018, 04:56 PM
He was afraid of her, and it was good; instinctively he turned away, and Nergüi could see how every muscle shivered in agony to be so close to something so predatory. Soon she would no longer be the hunter to him, but he would fear her still and that was precisely the way it had to be; building a pack was pointless if she had no control over her children, after all. Amon was merely the first of many, both those who would be made by her and those who would shelter in her shadow, and they would all learn that to obey was in the interests of every wolf. Her decisions were never reckless, her commands never trivial, and everything had a purpose. This fear, too, had a purpose.
She let him wait a time while she considered, sat back on her haunches with ears pricked at attention. From this distance the smell of him was almost more than she could bear - had she not satiated herself every night for the past week, she very much doubted she could have seen this through. Would Hell have seen it through? Nergüi scoffed into the night, lip curling over a long, shining white fang. Hell did not plan. Hell would have eaten him. Hell never learned. Grief and regret over her demise had at last given way to disgust - she had brought it upon herself, like every alpha in every pack since the beginning of time itself. The story of the wolf did not have to cycle through these same phases over and over again - there were other paths, and Nergüi would map them one by one.
“You are beautiful,” - the words fell feather-soft between them, but she only snickered in response, a sound like a rush of warm air stuttering through her nostrils. It did not need to be said - she was liquid darkness from her snout to the tip of her tail, terrible and stunning all at once. Regardless, she did not begrudge him the sentiment, not if it reassured him to voice it. Soon, you will be beautiful yourself. In this form her tongue would know no language, but her eyes said it by how they glittered sulphurous in the pitch-black night of her fur.
But the moon would not wait, proceeding heedless in its inexorable journey across the heavens. They had one night for this and one night only, so that perhaps the July moon might hold a new child in its silver embrace. Nergüi stood and shook out her fur, revelling in how it felt to cling so low and so powerful to the ground, to have a mouthful of weapons and razor claws on every foot. What would he look like as a wolf, she wondered? With careful, prowling steps she circled him, considering this collection of sharp edges and angles that walked like a human being. Not as hefty as Hell had been, certainly not, but in all probability standing taller than Nergüi at the shoulder - and somehow, she could not quite imagine him in any colour other than black. A lanky wolf, then, a thin shadow of the Earth. It would be fun to find out the truth of it.
At last she stopped just behind him, head tilted and eyes narrowed in concentration. The placement of the mark was of the utmost importance, for with the first bite Nergüi would describe the path for which he was intended; this was always the way, even with Hell for whom the mother wolf had made no choices. She’d been a beast from her stomach more than anywhere else, with an appetite to devour the world in its entirety. Nergüi had been meant for balance from the start, which was why the pack had nipped her on the back of the neck. But Amon...where did Amon fit? All her hopes and plans for the future fell on him, first wolf she would make, embodiment of her power. A powerful place, then, a place of strength. With mouth hanging ominously open, she reared up and planted her paws square in his back, using her bulk to drive him to the ground even as her jaws clamped shut around his shoulder. Muscle tore and bone crunched and blood flowed salty and sweet all at once, but she was not here to eat, she was not here to eat. Unless he ran, she was not here to eat.
Posted: Apr 2 2018, 01:03 PM
Was this what she had always been offering to him? In one of the rare instances of Amon's life where he could not find it in him to look away, he stared, transfixed by this incredible predator of mutable form that still knew his words. A wave of nausea came over him at the sight of her ivory fang from under the curve of her dark muzzle. His wand was not even an afterthought when faced with a being like this, her golden eyes promising him more than anyone had ever cared to before. A soft expression of air was her response to his sentiment, proof that she understood. Despite his embarrassment, Amon's wide blue eyes were locked on her as if he feared the last of his soul would escape through them should he look away. It wasn't true, not with the significant piece held still by his brother...but she and Ciaran had become his only tether. The fear he felt was almost enough to turn his stomach, but it was something. It was something.
At last he was forced to take his eyes off of her, and Amon walked through the night dappled with the silver light of the full moon across his jacket. His wand felt cold against the right side of his chest, but Amon continued to move. There was none of the grim determination of a man headed to his grave--not as he had expected--but rather a silent peace. He felt mostly still, with a gentle undercurrent of anticipation and fear. Even his fear had cooled against his heart like his wand had done.
Not even the cold was enough to numb Amon to the feeling of her paws on his back. A split second of panic gave way to a cry strangled by the impact of her jaw on his shoulder, and nausea took him again at the sound of his own cracking bone. Never in his life had he experienced anything so terribly, exquisitely painful. Heat moved through his veins with the response of his blood rushing to the site of his injury, and Amon shivered violently at the contrast. This was a curse and a blessing. He could feel her gift and his doom moving through him along with that wicked warmth to settle another light behind his eyes. He could recognize the unknowable in a person's eyes; he stole that knowledge every day.
Amon struggled, warm blood seeping through the front and back of his shirt. He had to do something; he knew he had to move. If he lay there like a rabbit, she would consume him like one. Ciaran. Amon found strength in his twin, who had always been a far stronger reflection than the one he could find in the silver of a mirror. How could he allow himself to be consumed when Ciaran depended on him? How could he, after all this time, prove that he was too weak to be worthy of the change she'd brought to him? Every muscle in his body protested, but through his gasping, white-hot pain, Amon attempted to scramble to his knees, to get out from underneath her.
Posted: Apr 4 2018, 11:49 AM
The scent of blood flowered in the air all around her and her nostrils flared, eager for more; even satiated as she was from her week of gorging, a living kill was a hard thing to resist. But resist she must, because the demon boy had earned himself at least the chance to fight for his existence. It was not enough that he should accept the wound and it was not enough that he should refuse to run; he had to survive, against the odds and all on his own. With that in mind she clamped her jaws a little tighter, revelling in the crack and crunch of splintering bone - it had to hurt, it had to drive him near insane, it had to bring him to the very brink of death because otherwise how was he to be reborn? The moon was watching and always judging, and Nergüi could not afford to be too lenient.
Already his struggling had disappointed her; why should he seek to escape from all that was promised to him? Besides, it was illogical - he was bitten, and so there was no recourse save death. It did not matter, in the end; if he preferred to die rather than receive her gift, then he would, because she’d worried at his wound until it gaped wide and shone both scarlet and bone-white, so that only the fiercest sort of will would save him. This was not the procedure in her homeland, but then the packs she knew would never turn one as old as him. Children were more malleable and would almost certainly conform so long as they were brought up as wolves from the start; adults, on the other hand, were prone to instability if they did not want the power with every fibre of their being. That desire, if Amon had it, would save him.
Perhaps, then, it was not so bad that he struggled; perhaps it was simply that same desire driving him from beneath the paws of a predator. All creatures regressed to instinctive states under such extreme duress, even humans who supposed themselves so highly developed, so mentally and emotionally advanced. No matter the masks they wore, no matter the behaviours they learned to affect civility, not a single one of them could hide what they truly were: beasts, of muscle and sinew like every other beast, born from the Earth and thence to return at the darkening of their days. Did Amon not writhe like a trapped animal? Were those human sounds that he made? In that instant, he was prey like all the others.
But there was no need to oppose him and no need to linger; her task was done, and whether he lived or died was now entirely up to him. Nergüi released him with a wet snarl and stepped off onto the grass, tongue sweeping across her muzzle with meticulous care to lick up every single drop of blood; why waste, after all? For a moment she stood frozen, studying how he twitched and shivered as though trying to decide whether he was worth the effort. Then, silent as always, she laid her ears flat against her skull and turned to stalk away into the darkness, head held low to the ground.
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