Logs:The Wild Hunt Part 1

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Logs:The Wild Hunt Part 1

Dancing in the Shadows of ARU.

Dramatis Personae

Skip, Agatha, Dresden and Herne with Jazz & DeadZone as ST

Happy Birthday to Skip’s Player!

The Nightwatch and two mages go on The Hunt.


The Hisil of the ARU campus at SH09

Rite of the Hunt
August 29th, 2015
The Hisil
ARU Campus

xxxxxThe full moon shines brightly in the night sky. The clouds are puffy and harmless, occasionally blocking the view of the moon. The summer warmth is only just beginning to fade, and a few trees are starting prematurely to turn orange and yellow.

xxxxxAlexandra, as she's known to the werewolves, or Acacia to the mages, leads Herne and Dresden to the home base of the Night Watch pack. She's glancing around the area, keeping eye on things on the physical side of things. To the two Thyrsii, she speaks softly, "Tonight is the pack leader's moon. This hunt is an honor to be a part of. Remember that, please so I don't have to go to Defilade with bad news." She hugs Dresden, then squeezes Herne's shoulder. "I have faith in you." She wraps on the door, loud enough that an occupant can hear it, but not so loud that it sounds like a hammer hitting solid oak.

xxxxxFor those with keen hearing, there's a distant growling and snarling on the wind. Otherwise, the only sound on the streets is that of the wind and their own natural human movement.

xxxxxMarcus murmurs to Acacia. "If I buy it, make sure my stuff goes to people who can properly use it." He smiles grimly. "This has been coming for a very long time. Since Book killed my patron, and I melted his face for him. I won't offend our allies." He's dressed ruggedly, for fighting in the Shadow; khaki and denim, a survival kit slung on his back in case he gets separated and trapped. He's ready as he gets.

xxxxx"Behave and play nicely with the fuzzies. Yes, Mom." Lee teases Alexandra with a thin smile. He's amused, sure, but that half-smile is the best he can manage under the circumstances; his muscles are twitching in anticipation of what's to come. Then he touches one finger to his cheek, drawing attention to his skin, before he murmurs in addition, "I understand the sacredness of the hunt. I won't dishonour myself, or the consilium." That's said with the resolution of his true age showing through briefly. He's armed to the teeth - bow and arrows, sword, throwing knives. He even has his armour on over the rest of his clothing - all of which is rugged and easy to move in. Slanting a look sideways to his husband, he adds, "No buying it. You promised me a lifetime."

xxxxxThe Kappa Epsilon Gamma house on the ARU campus is well lit -- light shining out to the carefully maintained yard -- which matches the summer transformation of the campus back toward its orderly Pre-Apocalypse state with flowers trimmed and grass mowed. Light pours out on the colony of rabbit hutches and the vegetable and herb gardens that have replaced flower patches, protected from random herbivore vermin by small slate fences. The Victorian style house has a long social porch, which benches and small tables, and while it would have been lit by the windows due the curtains being pulled -- the open doorway spills the most light, this pouring down the stairs leading up to the house.

xxxxxFor those who see into Twilight, the building, like many on the campus due to their age, is more solid than the newer distant building of the neighborhood around the campus. And because of its association with wolves perhaps, it had a resonance of the primal and feral -- and the perhaps sad trappings of parties now past, a streamer here, a sagging helium balloon there. Despite these trapping, there is a heady energy of building excitement -- anticipation for a struggle or contest, anticipation of victory, and the distant roar or a crowd cheering or applauding.

xxxxxThe young woman who comes to the door has a little bit of a bounce in her step, with blonde hair pulled back into a pony tail and dressed in sneakers, jeans and a hoodie in old Aleswich University colors looks like she was likely a college co-ed back in the day. Alexandra receives a smile of familiarity while Lee and Marcus get more curious looks. "Hello there. We'll be going out to the fire pit. You guys want to come through, or should we walk around?" She offers, making a motion towards a path around the house that must be the around she was referencing.

xxxxxNever one to complain about a little extra walking, Alex returns Agatha's smile, "We're all capable of walking around, and *not* tracking outside dirt into the house." She turns and begins to head off the porch, "Agatha, this is Dresden." She gestures to Lee, then to Marcus, "and this is Herne. They're both very good friends of mine." She flashes a smile at both men respectively. "Gentlemen, this is Agatha."

xxxxxMarcus eyes the person who opens the door for a moment, and there's surprise there, but his smile is warm enough, and he chuckles. "We can walk around, yes, No need to make a tremendous mess."

xxxxxThere's a look that Lee gives to Agatha as she comes to the doorway; the sort of semi-distraction of a Mage who is perceiving things with senses other than his physical ones. The scrutiny lasts barely longer than any other normal glance, so it may not be noticed before he inclines his head to the indicated woman. "Greetings, Agatha. As said, we don't mind a little walk, especially on a night like this." He does wait for the blonde to precede them, old-fashioned manners in deferring to a host on their own home territory.

xxxxxIn the backyard, a large fire pit that was once the center of many of a KEG Bacchanalia, is once again alight, a ring of embers separated by internal ring of stone where a low fire burns and then another ring of stone around the center where a tall stack of wood burns in ferocious streams of heat and red and orange with fleck of fire floating up and then winking out like dying stars. The well manicured lawn stretches between the target-esque fire but another ring rises from the grassy terrain. Uneven and strangely arrayed, it takes only a few moments for the former Professors to recognize that the crates and chairs and boards create a "skyline" of the campus around the center plaza with the fire taking the place of the fountain -- as long as scale isn't a factor.

xxxxxBetween the skyline and the fire, awaits Skip MacCormick -- ostensibly the "Battalion Fire Chief" of Safe Haven to those who pay attention to such things, but tonight playing a different role that still involves fire. As Agatha comes into view with those she escorts he rises up from his crouch, chest bare along with his feet, jeans covering his legs. He is large male in his mid-twenties, and with his torso exposed the heroic structure of his musculature looks far more appropriate for a Greek Epic or a comic book than real life. Still, his guarded expression isn't unfriendly for all its evident caution and he makes a gesture of greeting.

xxxxxGiven that the last time that she opened the door to Alexandra, the woman scrutinized her a moment and then flipped out just a tiny bit, Agatha does have reason to pay particular attention to how those that she brings with her might look at her. Her response is to lift her chin in a slight greeting, "Evening, Dresden... Herne... Right this way then..." She moves forward, stepping down the stairs of the porch with a little bounce that has her ponytail swaying and leads the way to the yard where the fire pit is waiting, tended by Skip and she heads towards his side.

xxxxxAlex looks at Skip and moves to his side, her voice even and low as she speaks to the alpha of the Nightwatch, "Good evening, it's a beautiful Rahu moon tonight." She gestures to Lee and Marcus, "As I spoke with you previously, these are my friends who I felt could benefit you in hunting the duguthim, Book. This is Herne and Dresden. They, like me, enjoy traversing the Hisil." She smiles at Agatha, her gaze turning to the other female, before she continues, for all to hear, "Please keep in mind that there is also the area of the former Alae Draconis athenaeum. I don't know what might be on the Hisil side of things here, but there could be spirit bans and such put in place around there. Be careful not to trigger them." This last said more to the mages than the pack. She pats Skip's shoulder then, "I have to return home. I'm sorry I can't go on this little adventure with you." With another smile to Agatha, she turns and leaves, crunching the grass beneath her own bare feet as she makes her way back toward the light house.

xxxxxShe calls over her shoulder, "I'll expect your report in 2 days, Dresden."

xxxxxCompared to Skip, both Lee and Marcus must seem smaller in comparison - both men are only a little over five and a half feet and have lean builds. The former moves with the uncanny, inhuman grace of a feline; each foot falls precisely where he means it to, with only the barest whisper of sound to accompany it. Another look, half-unfocussed, is given to Skip, and Lee raises a hand to rub over his chin as he murmurs, "Interesting." in a thoughtful way to himself. He carefully keeps out of the circle, perhaps sensing something significant about it, unless it's indicated to him that he should stand in a certain place. The fire reflects in his dark eyes; shimmering there, but without the added luminescence of someone with an animal's night vision. A small nod is given to Alexandra, then. "Noted, thank you. I didn't sense anything the last time I was in the area, but we'll keep our senses open." At the mention of a report, that half-smile flickers again, and he pops off a salute that has just enough of a hint of the military in it to suggest a veteran.

xxxxxMarcus is sticking close to Dresden, seeming quite comfortable to be the other man's shadow. He does ask quietly. "Does the objection to outside magical assistance extend to healing as well? I have heard that you heal very quickly, but I would be the first one to say that my knowledge is not very extensive. I'm a botanist." He smiles at that. "If you need better Marijuana, now, that I can do."

xxxxxSkip greets the mages as Professor Fletcher and Professor Landace before getting their Shadow names as they are subsequently offered by Alexandra and telling them his Shadow name is "Kool-Aid" with a straight face. They may remember him from ARU where he was a Pre-Med student, a collegiate athlete and graduated Summa Cum Laude to confusion of many who weren't directly his professors. He explains that they are going to participate in a sacred rite of the hunt that goes back to the time when Shadow and Flesh were still one, and humans still hadn't started painting caves in what would one day be France. As the rite master, his job is to represent the target of the hunt -- in this case Book -- and their job to hunt him across, in this case a chase around the "campus" he built. When the rite has reached its proper resonance, the hunt will be blessed by the laws of the Shadow Wilds and help them find and take down their target -- and a door into Shadow will open for them to cross over until they near their prey -- be it there or in the world of flesh or elsewhere...

xxxxxThat explained, Skip donned a mask, built on the frame of a goalie mask, that looks perhaps surprisingly like The Book looked before his evolution, suggesting that perhaps Skip was aware of that spirit before or had done some research -- until the manifestation of "Roar of the Crowd" - the pack totem.

xxxxxThe spirit of the university stadium had been on the periphery of the Court of Light before the fall of the Unseen Dean, so would have known The Book -- and it in turn greeted Lee in some surprise, referring to him as the Dead Warden with as much confusion as spirits are able to have. The cephalopod faced arthropod appeared this evening in a tweed jacket with leather patches on its elbows worn over a "Go Pods!" T-shirt and shorts that say "Property of the ARU Athletic Department" in a burst of Brass Marching Band Fan Fare -- and it was only a few beats after its surprised reaction to Dresden that it funneled the power of the right into those present and then the doorway into the Shadow opened...

xxxxxThe first thing visible as the gateway opens is Cloud Singer. She zips toward Lee and swirls around him. Her "voice" has the high pitched whine of wind through a small, shallow pipe. She's not speaking, she seems to be crying. While she's normally white and puffy, she's a dark grey color. She seems to completely ignore Marcus, Agatha and Skip as she swirls and flies around Lee.

xxxxxNext, a beagle dog spirit that most would know as The Lazy Dog stops at the entrance. Things have been strange in The Hisil of late, and it hasn't changed or stopped, yet. Then again, that's part of the reason why the target the Hunt calls for was chosen. Whether it will make a difference or not, is up for grabs.

xxxxxA howl comes ripping through the gate. The sound of a spirit in pain... then it stops abruptly. The clarity of moonlight shining on the spirit trees of the Hisil suddenly is no longer visible, and Lazy Dog actually comes through the portal, toward Skip, hiding behind him.

xxxxxMarcus is ready for the promised gate when it comes, though he looks to everyone else for reactions. He seems to have decided that based on what he sees he's going to follow Skip. He looks to the spirits in concern - genuine concern, not just a detached interest. This is a man who lives as much in Shadow as in the Mundane, and he called a powerful spirit friend and mentor.

xxxxxThat flicker of a half smile touches Lee's lips again when Skip mentions his deed name, but he sobers again quickly for the rite. At being greeted as the "Dead Warden" he mutters, "I got better." since really, there's no time for explanations while they do what needs to be done. He's more than ready for the opening between the two worlds to appear, and when Cloud Singer comes shooting out, his hands come away from his sides to run over her cloudy form, an automatic soothing gesture that makes it equally as clear that, like Marcus, this man has an emotional investment in the Shadow and its denizens as far more than simple intellectual curiosity. When the howl cuts off, he looks quickly to Skip. "Your show." he says, deferring to the rahu.

xxxxxSkip slips the mask off and says in a low toned, almost growling voice, "The Father's Law, under the Mother's Watchful eye is clear. The Book has broken the laws of the Two Worlds and has made itself an enemy of the People, of the Tribes of Man and of the Weavers of Dreams..." He gestures toward the mages with this last part. "May our limbs not flag, may our hearts beat true, may our eyes pierce sharp, and may our claws taste blood -- No Rest, No Pause, Until The Book is no more..."

xxxxxAt the end of his intonation his body pitches forward and shrinks inward as he merges with a cracking of bone and twisting of flesh into a tawny colored wolf that howls once toward the Moon and then charges ahead, into the gap, chasing the scent...

xxxxxAgatha watches with wary excitement as the doorway into the Shadow opens, her gaze flicking between the two men who have joined them and Skip, but mostly she watches and takes in what is a new experience for her. After Skip Changes and charges forward, Agatha is quick to follow, to not fall behind.

xxxxxMarcus is right on Agatha's heels. Admittedly, he watches Skip's transformation with curiosity and attention, but he isn't easily pulled off-mission with the long-awaited vengeance so close to hand. His expression is determined now, as he transitions from the mortal to an environment he may know even better.

xxxxxWith a last gentle, soothing touch for Cloud Singer, Lee is gone in a blur of speed after the others; it's easy enough for him to catch up with his own body honed to as near perfect as he can makes it. As he moves, he's getting his bow ready and drawing an arrow to hold it very loosely knocked. He's obviously preparing for conflict, his face easing into something calm, accepting, understanding that -now- is the moment in which he gets to enact his vengeance and bring justice to answer the actions of Mister Book.

xxxxxThe portal seals closed behind the mages, Cloud Singer, who cries louder as Lee presses on behind the Rahu, and Lazy Dog waddles along claiming the rear. As soon as the portal closes, there's a frightened "yip" from the spirit dog, and he takes off as fast as he can.

xxxxxThe Shadow is unforgiving tonight. The darkness is nearly palpable. The moon is completely obstructed here. There is very little light but thankfully, the coat of the wolf taking the lead is light enough that it reflects what light there is, making it possible to keep up with him as he sniffs out the target of The Hunt.

xxxxxThe spirits in the area are too skittish to be much of a problem. They move out of the way, recognizing the authority of the wolf leading and the Thyrsii following. Eyes, for those that have them, lower. Many shrink or shy away.

xxxxxThe tattered remains of the ARU library has already been picked clean on this side. The spirit of the building itself is long gone. There is energy, though. Powerful energy pulsing off the wreckage. The mages see, with their spirit sight, the spiritual energies that are radiating from within the mess. The wolf even sees the bleeding of excessive power.

xxxxxAt this point, Cloud Singer has fallen silent, and for the first time in Dresden or Herne's presence, she's petrified. There are no other spirits in the area that can be seen, heard or sensed in any way. It's as though the energy that pulses out of the rubble repels them. As the foursome, and the floating rain cloud move around the mess, a small opening is visible. After a thorough examination, it's the only chink in the armor. In they go. At first, it seems as though the small tunnel leads no where, but eventually, like a mudslide, the erosion over the past two years, has created a bit of a mess. Skip is the first to feel the barrier on this side of the dead athenaeum. It's like slamming into a wall that quickly turns to elastic, but doesn't make for a comfortable few moments as Agatha hits him from behind, then Lee hitting Agatha from behind and finally Marcus hitting Lee from behind. The pile up tests the strength of the severely damaged Spirit ban. Cloud Singer, now nearly frantic around Lee, though still silent, discharges static electricity and the ban cracks.

xxxxxLike spider-webbing that etches across a wind shield, the spirit ban begins to give. There's no time to react as it cracks, shatters and the four fall further into the pit. It was not like this the last time Dresden was here. The spirits have moved things, but that's the way things go. The sensation of a powerful magath is present in the center where the mummified corpse of Dresden lays in the center, vines, branches, leaves and more hang in a scattered fashion around the room, almost completely undisturbed from their entertaining slide into the room. The walls seem to be held up by nothing more than wild vines thick with thorns that range in size from 1 inch to 6 inches. Cloud Singer shrieks suddenly. Her "body," for lack of a better word, begins to stutter, then it implodes, leaving nothing more behind than a puff of smoke. Behind her, a small spark bounces around like a moth against a light bulb. It gives off small sparks of electricity all the while giggling maniacally.

xxxxxSkip was still trying to mentally account for the collision with the magical barrier that impeded him, when it gave way and he was sent deeper into the ruin that was once the center of magical scholarship in this part of Maine. His ears lay back and his tail comes up sharply as he is assailed by the resonance of the Magath book -- one ear turns toward Cloud Singer's ... he assumes discorporation, not demise, then he takes a few careful steps toward the desiccated corpse.

xxxxxHis body shifts like quicksilver, limbs filling out and lengthening, facial bones turning inward, hair thinning and withdrawing into the growing limbs until its his human form crouched in front of the corpse, assessing it with a trained medical forensic eye, and saying, "You must be one of those people from the other timeline, Professor Dresden, because this smells a lot like you. I assume it’s not a clone, perhaps you left yourself some vital weapon or clue."

xxxxxAgatha doesn't realize that the portal has sealed behind the group, her attention is entirely on the realm of the Shadow. As she first arrived her steps faltered, just barely, with taking it all in and even a brilliant mind and vast imagination can't prepare one for what is there. She stays close to Skip's side, watching and wary only to smack into Skip's back when he hits the barrier of the ban. Finding herself sandwiched between Skip in wolf-form and two men she's just met - that's cause for a little awkwardness as she's scrambling a little as the magical barrier gives away and she falls with a startled yelp. It takes her a moment to disentangle from the group that falls, getting herself to her feet in a bit of a scramble as she looks around, "What happened?" Looking then at Skip and the corpse as she hears him.

xxxxxMarcus oofs a little as the pileup occurs, more in surprise then at the mild discomfort. He doesn't freak at the temporary disjunction of Cloud Singer, she'll be back after all. The mummified corpse obviously gives him the willies, though. He glances at Dresden and then back at the body, and nonsense spills softly from his lips as he gestures complexly with his fingers. The Rote he invokes is Forensic Gaze, one of those things he keeps promising to teach Dresden.

xxxxxMarcus murmurs. "Devoured by spirits after the death of the Dean left you too weakened to flee, Dresden. Basically, death by Essence attrition."

xxxxxThere's a grunt as his forward motion ends with Lee between Agatha and Marcus; though he quickly adjusts so he doesn't fire the arrow prematurely into Skip's fuzzy butt or anything else equally dire. Having cat-like reflexes currently prevents him from landing in a heap when the ban breaks and they fall through, though there's a small snarl as Cloud Singer discorporates. Sure, he knows that she'll reform, but it's the principle of the thing. A little glance is given towards his own corpse - he doesn't seem to be bothered by being confronted with his own mortality, and he says, softly, "The me that was the Warden here didn't survive the fall of the Halls of Light. The only reason -I- did was that I Awakened. The spirits of my Brood who remained arranged this." he nods in the direction of his body, but his attention is focused outward towards the vines as he does a slow circle, keeping his senses open - physical and mystical both. There's a faint smile given when Marcus clarifies the means. "Well, I hope my essence empowered them to get away from the bastard."

xxxxxThe little spark continues to bounce, his laughter maniacal as he fires a shot off at Skip first, nothing that can do any damage, but more like static electricity.

xxxxxSkip lunge toward the spark with inhuman grace so that the mote is close to the tip of his nose. He shows his teeth. "Spark me again little brother and I will make a snack of you." It’s a threat, but not necessarily menacing -- more like a Knight warning a peasant to watch where his shovel loads go or a Samurai warning a fisherman to watch the fish on his shoulder line. "Where is The Book? I can forget about this misunderstanding if you give me something else to kill."

xxxxxMarcus comments quietly. "The little guy is not very sane even by spirit terms. It diminished itself to shoot static at us." He's moved to stand with Dresden, and hand reaching out to rest on his husband's arm. To the other, he murmurs. "All will be resolved, soon."

xxxxxAgatha's expression is pensive as she hears Marcus speak about what happened to the corpse and she watches between the strangers that she's only just met a moment with a small frown line very visible in her forehead. Her attention returns to the spark as it bounces around, confused by it's behavior and giggling she actually jumps slightly as it fires a shot of electricity at Skip, not because it startles her so much as because she's anticipating the reaction that Skip has to this.

xxxxx"If it doesn't try Kool Aid's patience to the breaking point, I -may- be able to do something for it later." Lee murmurs, as he studies the little mote. It's obvious he would prefer to help, but he also isn't going to interfere with the werewolf doing what he feels he must and is right in his own territory. Then he looks to Marcus, and he nods. "For all of those harmed by it, yes. Including the versions of you and me who fell here." He's still got most of his attention turned outwards, keeping an eye out for incoming threats more serious than a tiny, out-of-place electrical spirit.

xxxxxThe small spark continues to bounce around, giggling like a lune, comprehending nothing that is said to it. It bounces into Skip's nose, though doesn't shock him. The sparks that were originally coming off of him, are no longer sparking. It stops bouncing around, and kind of rolls away, disappearing into a crevase in the wall of thorns, which draws everyone into looking around the room some more. A gateway is visible just behind a thinner barrier of thorns and vines. It doesn't shine with magic, but the scent of the magath is that way. Just a while longer and Lee will be able to exact vengeance. Just a while longer and one threat against the Night Watch will be gone. Just a while longer...

--End Part One--
Continued in:
"The Wild Hunt Finale".