Rings of Honor

Rings of Honor
Calendar   FAQ   Search   Memberlist   Usergroups
  Register   Log in
How to Be a Werewolf
Goto page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Rings of Honor Forum Index -> How to Be a Werewolf
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:25 am    Post subject: Bizarre Love Triangle Reply with quote

December 17, 2012
AMD Training Academy
New Haven

After everything he had done over the past two days, Jay was taking the day off. A day off from the Crew: Crew business, Crew planning, Crew meetings, Crew training, Crew P.R., and Crew public appearances. There was plenty yet to come - meetings with Maria, mentoring by Ria, promotional work with David Ballard. For the day, though, they left Jay alone.

He was also taking the day off from Sami. She’d attended the Warlord tournament and the Barony challenge - he’d even noted her as his lady of honor, and stayed the night at her place after the challenge. But the walks home the past two days had grown progressively more awkward, particularly after Jay’s “confrontation” with Matt immediately following the challenge, and Sami’s run-in with Candy soon after. They were both keeping secrets, and they both knew it, but Jay didn’t feel like parting with another piece of himself so soon. It was enough that she knew he was a werewolf, wasn’t it? She didn’t need to know that Matt wanted his help in the Outback as well as the Arena, or that he used to be a vigilante - a super-hero - with a completely different set of abilities. The armor had a chink in it, but it wasn’t big enough for her to fit her fingers within, to pry off the entire suit. She left early that morning, and he followed suit. He didn’t call, didn’t text, didn’t make any plans. It was almost like his full moon days, except there were 11 days to go until the next one.

Instead, Jay spent the day relaxing and recuperating. He went back to his home and went back to bed, grabbed breakfast late, took another nap after breakfast, and walked over to a nearby New Haven Turkish cafe for a cup of coffee and falafel wrap. He sat by the window, watching the well-heeled residents in fur-trimmed coats carry silvery shopping bags to and fro while sipping java in a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans. He headed for the Marketplace next, to wrap up his Christmas shopping for the season at Cheeky’s, and by the time he finished the walk back across town, night had fallen on RhyDin.

Jay was still full of pent-up energy, and instead of going immediately back to his apartment, he walked over to the AMD Training Academy’s practice and training fields. This close to the holidays, most of the younger athletes in training had already gone home, and this late into the cold, dark winter season, those that remained had already gone inside for dinner or extra trainer attention. Enough snow had fallen that he could only pick out the various fields in the complex - soccer, football, baseball, basketball, tennis, and so on - by looking for goalposts, hoop supports, and foul poles. Without those structures, the white cover blended all the ground together.

He reached into his pants pocket for his old familiar vice, but instead of retrieving a pack of cigarettes and lighter, he found only his cell phone and a pack of gum. He grumbled to himself as he unwrapped a piece of gum and placed it in his mouth, and then he heard a familiar chuckle.

“Still fighting that addiction, I see.” The Wolf’s voice was mostly in Jay’s head, but sometimes, Jay swore he could actually hear it. Now, for instance. It was rough and throaty, but there was something subtle had changed in the tone. Some of the intensity and ferociousness of the Wolf was gone, replaced by something that could almost be called relaxed. Something that almost sounded like Jay, only just a little more sawed-off and sharp.

“Yeah,” Jay replied without even blinking. “What do you want?”

“Look left, Jay.” He followed the Wolf’s instructions. Instinctively, Jay knew that the Wolf wasn’t really there. It was all up in Jay’s mind, an unusual manifestation of the Wolf’s whispers and pleas and demands in his head. Still, Jay could see Him, dressed in a gray reflection of Jay’s usual attire: a heather-gray ringer t-shirt, faded gray jeans, and low-cut Chuck Taylors in gray and white. His nose was longer, His eyes were a sharper blue, and He didn’t have any of Jay’s facial scars.

“What do you want?” This time, Jay asked slower and with more deliberation, gritting his teeth once he was finished.

“You lost. All that training, all that promotion, all that build-up, all that effort, and you still lost. Do you know why?”

“Because I didn’t-” Jay realized what he was about to say, and cut himself off.

“ ‘Because I didn’t give in to you.’ “ The Wolf pitched his voice higher, mocking Jay. “You say that like I’m something f---ing bad for you.”

“You are.”

“Please,” the Wolf scoffed. “Your strength, your speed, your agility, your healing, your sense of smell, your hearing? All improved by me. And I ask so little of you...”

“You ask my humanity.”

“Not that much, Jay. You have this skill. You spent years fighting evil. And what was your award? Abandoned by your goddess to this godforsaken realm, left to fend for yourself when the Dreams came, when Astrid came. They sent you to jail. You had to fight for the Man, in the Arena and outside, and then you lost eight months. You deserve more. Take it. I’ll even let you be a hero - we’ll only go after the bad guys.”

“No,” Jay whispered, eyes shut as if praying for the Wolf to go away. When he opened them up and looked left again, He was still there. “It would start with that, but it would not end there. No compromise. Not with you.”

“And that attitude has done you so well in life. How are things with Sami, by the way?” The Wolf flicked off the question with uncharacteristic cool.

“Leave her out of this,” Jay growled at the Wolf. He pretended to be taken aback for a second, then howled in laughter.

So protective. I wonder where that comes from?” The howls of laughter turned into barks, and the Wolf doubled over.

“Real funny.” It seemed to shut Jay up for a while, leaving only the sound of shoes crunching through snow, before he suddenly stopped and wheeled on the Wolf. Jay smiled, but just barely - the expression was designed less for showing his happiness and more for showing off his teeth. “Wait. You like Candy. You’d prefer Candy.”

“Well, of course. I-”

“No, no, no,” Jay interrupted, his teeth now closely resembling fangs. “Like, romantically like her.” Jay caught a flash of red in the Wolf’s eyes, and knew he’d struck a sore point.

“I don’t like, or love, or f---, or any of what you’d call romantic s---.” The Wolf’s nostrils flared as He spoke, and He abandoned His position at Jay’s side to get into his face. “Why would you even say that?”

Jay didn’t back down from the Wolf, not right away. He stood toe to toe, cheek to cheek with his imaginary foe, before sliding to the right of Him. Jay sized the Wolf up, walking circles around Him. “I think...as much as you’ve bled into me, I’ve bled into you. So...now you have feelings beyond just ripping the throats out of animals and people. More than just hunger, fear, carnage. Love.”

The Wolf lunged forward, but pulled Himself back, breathing deep, ragged breaths. “Okay, smartass. Why her?”

“She reminds you of you. Desperate, violent, bloody. She killed for no reason, just like you would have me do.”

“Are you sure that’s it, Jay? Are you sure I don’t like her because, deep down, you still love her too?”

“I don’t love her, I-”

“-hate her?” The Wolf interrupted, finishing Jay’s sentence.

“No,” Jay said. He laughed quietly and shook his head. “I don’t love her. I don’t hate her. I pity her. I got over it. I moved on, and she hasn’t. Sami’s right.”

“Are you sure about that?” The Wolf’s smile seemed slashed onto His face, far too jagged and toothy to be kind.

“Yeah. I’m sure.”

“If you say so.” Before Jay had a chance to retort, the Wolf began walking away from him, towards a nearby copse. As He entered the shade of snow-covered pines, He slowly faded from Jay’s view, leaving the man alone with his thoughts. For the moment, at least.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: F.O.D. Reply with quote

((Author's note: contains profane language))

“Let's nuke the bridge we torched 2,000 times before
This time we'll blast it all to hell.”
(Green Day, “F.O.D.”)



Jay found himself lying in bed in a room completely devoid of color. Almost everything was white, bright white: the walls, the floor, the sheets, the pillows, the door, the squat rectangular machine beeping intermittently by his side. The only thing in the room that wasn’t white was clear, a thin plastic tube snaking from the machine to his arm. Hanging a few inches above the monitor was a clear plastic bag with a clear liquid, dripping its way down in carefully measured intervals into Jay’s veins. He turned away, to look out the window, but the light from the sun was blinding, and he could not see outside.

He could smell her through the door, even before he heard her footsteps on the tile, or the twist of the doorknob opening the door. Sandalwood and vanilla drifted down the hall, underneath the door, and into his nostrils. Years ago, it would have been a soothing scent. It would have calmed him down immediately. Now, though, he had to will himself to be calm, sitting lotus-style and taking deep breaths in order to quiet his nerves and silence the Wolf.

She stepped inside, and Jay immediately knew something was different. Something was wrong. She was frowning - she almost never frowned at him, and not right away. She wore the same teal sari, but there were no signs of youth on her face any more. Jay could clearly see her crow’s feet and wrinkles, and there was more white hair than he remembered within her jet black locks. She seemed even stiffer and more formal than usual. She went to the certain of the room and stood there, fixing him with brown-black eyes. Jay turned to face her, forcing himself to smile. She made no such effort.

“Swapneshwari,” he said, throttling the Wolf’s desire to tear out her throat. Still, there was a hint of a growl lurking in the back of Jay’s throat.

“Jesse James Michael Capistrano. Jay. Dreamwalker.” She said the last word with added emphasis, her face falling with disappointment. “This is the last time we will ever meet. You are no longer sacred. You have violated your purity. I can no longer protect you. You are on your own.”

That brought the Wolf storming front and center in Jay’s mind, and he did nothing to stop the beast. His lips curled back in a snarl, and he nearly tore the IV out of his arm as he sprung from his seated position, kneeling and very nearly on all fours. “I have always been on my own with you, Swapneshwari! The inadequate training! The cryptic advice! You had to know I was with Astrid, chipping away at that....well, you know. And you didn’t do anything! She corrupted me, and you let her, and then you blamed me for it! And then...you send me to RhyDin! You make me fake my own goddamn death! You make me give up all my friends, any chance of ever seeing my family again, for some crusade that you barely give me any information on! And then you let Astrid come here and f--- with my head, and now I’m a f---ing werewolf! You went away when I needed you most - when I needed those powers most! I went to jail! I fought in the duels like a f---ing animal! I had to go capture wayward magic users to pay off my f---ing debt! I did what you wanted, and all I got back was bull-**** and pain! And then you just come waltzing back in, like you hadn’t abandoned me for three years, and want me to drop everything and fight for you again! No!” Jay felt sobs bubbling up from deep within, and he let them out, pounding on the bedsheet as he wept. “No, no, no! You haven’t been fair to me!”

“Jay, I-” Jay’s leap out of bed cut Swapneshwari off, and Jay saw something he had never seen before in her. Fear. She glanced back at the door, while Jay grabbed his IV tube. The monitor beside the bed wobbled from his forceful jump.

“What could you possibly say to make me feel better? ‘I’m sorry that I ruined your life in pursuit of goals that I wouldn’t even tell you clearly about?’ ”

“I saved your life!” Swapneshwari’s eyes flashed red, but Jay was undeterred.

“You extorted me! I was a teenager! I didn’t want to die! I would have done anything! You might as well have held a gun to my head!” Jay grabbed fistfuls of his hair and yanked, tears still brimming in his eyes.

“I saved your life,” she said, repeating the words in a quieter tone of voice. It did little to mollify Jay.

“Would you have saved me if I had said no? If I couldn’t help you with your little war?”

“Jay, that is-”

Answer me. Would you have saved me if I’d said no, or if I couldn’t help you?”

“...No.”

Jay looked right past her and pointed at the door. “Then f--- off, Swapneshwari.” She didn’t move, though Jay could see her trembling. The Wolf smelled her fear, and seized on it. Jay lunged forward, ignoring the tug of the IV on his wrist until it was suddenly ripped free from his arm. Dark red blood mixed with the IV solution and flowed down his wrist, and he howled in pain as he clutched his hand. Crouching on the floor, cradling his arm, he licked his wound. Swapneshwari took two steps backwards toward the door, before Jay looked up. The Wolf slashed a smile onto Jay's face, his canines stained red, as his tongue darted over his lips to lap up remnants of blood. “I said, F--- OFF!” Jay howled for good measure, and Swapneshwari nearly tripped over her feet as she staggered back for the door. Still facing him, she twisted the knob and practically flopped backwards through the doorway, slamming the door from the other side as soon as she was through. His intimidating howl turned triumphant, as he sank to his knees in a claret-colored puddle.

_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Wake Up Reply with quote

From a deep, snoring slumber, Jay suddenly bolted upright in bed, his bare torso covered in a thin film of cold sweat. He immediately reached for his right wrist with his left hand, cradling it as he sucked in short, deep breaths. Half-awake, and still overwhelmed by the emotions his nightmare had evoked, he began crying quietly. Nearly as soon as he began, he buried his face in his arm to muffle the sound.

That Sami slept lightly was hardly surprising considering her childhood and considering the multiple attempts on her life. Neither was it surprising that when awoken suddenly, consciousness hit her abruptly. Panic bubbled up in her gut and churned waiting for a direction. She didn't bolt right up, though. Instead, she rolled slowly from her side to her back to study the scene with newly opened eyes.

The panic didn't stop and it didn't find a direction as her eyes accepted the shapes visible in the low light. With the rustle of covers, she pushed herself up into a sitting position, her braid of thick dark hair hanging over a shoulder left completely bare save the thin strap of her cami top. "Jay?" The question was soft and gentle.

Her voice pulled him further into the land of the living, and with a sniffle that left him wincing all the while, he pulled his face out of the crook of his bicep. He had not cried long enough to redden his eyes, but tears still waiting to be shed dulled much of the sharpness in his eyes. "Yeah. Sorry. Nightmare." The words weren't quite barked out, but the Wolf made them sound more guttural than usual.

A hand moved slowly, as if reaching out for a skittish animal. It landed low on his back as she leaned forward towards him. Tears. They were startling. That deep inner peace -- the same one that had her trying to counsel Candy in the Arena's locker room -- was nowhere to be found. How could she minister to him if she couldn't tap into it? She breathed out a heavy exhale to try to rid the unsettled energy. "It's okay. I'm here, you're here. We're at Kesey. Everything is okay."

The fast, nervous breaths from when Jay first woke up were quickly replaced by slower and deeper ones. He kicked out from under the sheets and sat with his feet resting on his thighs. With his eyes shut, unshed tears spilled in one fell swoop down his cheeks. It was hard to tell if he was tapping into meditation as a way to calm himself down -- or if he was trying to avoid being caught in a vulnerable moment.

"Okay," he said, as he kept the Wolf at bay, softening his speech. "Thanks."

Still, the well was dry. The ink on her back lay dormant. She was alone with this one. Her hand slowly slid off his back, fingertips clinging on until the very last second. "Do you -- do you want to talk about it or forget it?"

"About why I was crying?" The words rumbled with the Wolf's bravado, but his shoulders slumped when her hand left his back. He opened his eyes, unfolded his legs, and exhaled a long sigh. "I don't know."

"Well, I figure the nightmare was causing that but, yeah." Maybe she should listen to the wolf's rumble in him more often, but she rarely did. As his shoulders slumped, she leaned in further to nuzzle a cheek against the closest one, as if willing strength back into them. "Sometimes they sound silly when you do and they lose all their power."

"Not this one." Jay shook his head, though his posture did straighten some when he felt her next to him once more. "I can't tell you the details - not now. Later, I will, and you'll understand why. But...you have like a mentor? Or a father figure?"

If she had been able to tap into the well, his question wouldn't have stung as badly as it did. She would have, instead, been fully encased in that sense of peace. Her chin came to rest on his shoulder after a sharp inhale. It was released slowly and evenly before she spoke in a quiet, hesitant tone. "I did. Briefly."

"I was in a room. Like, a hospital room, but really really bright - I couldn't see outside it or anything. I was hooked up to an IV machine and I was laying in bed. And my mentor - father figure - father -" Jay kept tossing the terms out in a deliberate attempt to obscure the person's true identity. "- whatever you want to call them - they came into the room. And they told me they were going to abandon me - but they'd always abandoned me, you know? I told them that, and I don't think they were expecting me to stand up for myself. But thinking about that, in the dream, it made me cry."

There was a sense of confidence gained in getting him to open up without that spiritual center, even if he wasn't giving her all the details. Maybe she didn't need that assistance with Jay. Maybe she could just be herself. She tipped her head so that the hard point of her chin was no longer digging into his shoulder and instead let the side of her face rest against his upper back. "What made you cry? Standing up for yourself or the fact that he didn't think you would?"

"Not that," Jay said, whispering into her ear even though they were the only ones in the room. Somehow, the intimate gesture felt...more right than just speaking aloud. "It was...I realized they hadn't been fair to me. They'd never really been fair to me. And...I can stand up for myself now, but I still cried. I never cry." He found himself clenching a fist before releasing it and flexing the fingers in his hand.

"Did you not want to let him see you cry?" Fingers slipped down the outside of his shoulder to curl around his bicep on a painfully slow downward descent.

"No," Jay said, voice dropping down in octave, closer to a bass than a baritone. His muscles tightened, coiling and preparing to strike. But there was nothing in the room for him to attack. No Swapneshwari, no Astrid, no enemies. Just Sami, with her face resting against his back and her hand on his arm. "I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to kill him." The hairs on the back of Jay's neck stood at attention.

Her cheek lifted so that she could find his profile, but that wasn't enough, so she released his arm to set her fingers against his chin to attempt to draw his blue eyes her way. "You wanted to kill him?"

With her fingers on his chin, his head slowly turned so that he could meet her brown eyes. Whatever kindness usually lurked in his blue irises was frozen deep inside them now. These eyes lacked almost all mercy. "He would have done the same, years ago. If circumstances were different." It was as close as he had ever gotten to telling anyone in RhyDin about his past life, and the realization made him blink, then try to look away.

She didn't give up his chin willingly. Her eyes tried to hang onto his gaze even though panic continued to churn. The words, the look in his eyes... it wasn't the Jay that had occupied her bed at the beginning of the night. Candy's words came to mind but she fought back the bitter taste. "You're better than that, Jay."

His eyes darted back and forth between hers and the bedsheets, as Jay and the Wolf fought for the proper response to Sami's words. In the end, he slowly turned his head back so that he could meet her eyes, looking like a scolded dog. "I didn't hurt him. I didn't kill him. But...I let the Wolf off His chain. I chased him out of the room. I swore at him. My IV ripped out when I was going after him, but I didn't care. I let the Wolf take over." The admission broke something inside him, and his last words nearly stuck in his throat. "I'm sorry, Sami."

The determination in Sami’s eyes came crashing down with his confession. They were soft and warm once more. "It was a dream, Jay." Her hand flattened out against his cheek, thumb rolling against his jawbone. "It's not real. You don't have to apologize for that dream anymore than I would have to apologize for the dream I had last week where I walked all the way from here to Sissy's before I realized I wasn't wearing clothes."

He leaned into the hand, nuzzling against the palm, squeezing his eyes shut. He couldn't tell her the full truth: it was a dream, and it was real. He had actually had that conversation, had said and done and thought those things. Within the half-truth, though, lay the comfort and forgiveness that he needed. "Thank you. Thank you." Maybe someday, he could scrub out the lies he had told, and she would still be as forgiving.

Her lips skated over his in a soft gesture before allowing the hand to drop from his cheek. "I have fun dreams. In the morning remind me to tell you about the one with the noodle eating dog." It was a partial truth of her own. She did have fun dreams but she also had dreams of a fourteen year old version of herself being beaten unconscious in a makeshift fighting ring in a dirty bar, of all consuming fires destroying everything in their paths, of the cold press of steel against her throat as a ninja went to slit it.

"It's Christmas and we have nowhere to go in the morning and I can feel that its going to snow. Let's sleep."

"I'll try to remember," Jay said, as he settled back underneath the covers once again. "Merry Christmas, Sami." Instead of sleeping on his back like before, he turned over onto his side to put an arm around her. He needed her as an anchor, to keep him calm and help him feel secure as he drifted to sleep once more. Soon, after a few minutes, his snores filled up the room again.

((Edited and adapted from play with Samiyah Zayn's player. Thanks!))
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:41 pm    Post subject: Self-Loathing Reply with quote

“When we don't know who to hate, we hate ourselves.”
(Chuck Palahniuk, “Invisible Monsters”)


Jay hated werewolves.

He hadn’t come to this realization at a time when it might have made more sense. There was no epiphany in the aftermath of Soerl’s attack on him in the Outback, or when he had been officially diagnosed with lycanthropy. Nor did it come when he finally turned, after years of pushing and prodding and shoving by the Wolf. Hell, not even nearly getting his arm ripped off by a fellow werewolf on a particularly bad full moon night in August had brought that thought to mind. So if attacks by werewolves and being turned into one hadn’t awakened his awareness, what had?

It was a more or less uneventful day that led Jay to this conclusion. He had been practicing with the Crew trainers in Fists more in recent days, in an attempt to follow up on Matt’s request that he gain rank in the Outback and challenge for Candy’s Opal. Jay had never gone higher than Jade, and his Fists duels were infrequent enough that nearly every time he stepped in the ring felt like the first time fighting. Still, he was starting to get a feel for the ebb and flow of unarmed conflict, the similarities it held with armed fighting and the differences. It didn’t hurt matters that the administrators would now reset the wins over losses for any duelists who lost more than they won in a week. It wouldn’t help him gain rank, but it would help lessen the penalty for losing and allow him to keep plugging away at the long path to Emerald. He could learn from his losses, and still come back next week with a shot to gain rank.

It was with those thoughts in mind that he had entered the Annex that Sunday. Get a duel or two in, see if he could pull out a win, but if he lost, try to learn something from the defeat for his future fights. Instead, he got a little more than he had bargained for.

Most nights, he could block out the vast array of smells that lingered in heavily trafficked, public places. Sweat, blood, booze, food, mud, flowers, candle wax, bleach, baking soda, and the countless other scents of civilization were all background noise to Jay. He’d even learned to ignore the traces of pheromones from people he knew who had been in a place a day or two earlier - it helped keep him and the Wolf from going mad every time they went into the Arena and caught a whiff of where Candy had been days before.

That night, though, there was a rare and yet familiar scent in the area, along with the typical ocean of odors that the Annex’s patrons couldn’t help giving off. He sniffed at the air, taking in the crowd, and then sniffed again. His suspicions were confirmed. Vaguely canine, but not entirely. Werewolf! Jay and the Wolf thought it at the same time. A curious look crossed his face, eyes narrowing for a split-second, before he shook his head and returned to his conversation with Sami about knock-off jackets and his cheap thrift store military coat.

He managed to wrangle a duel in Fists shortly after entering, and it was just his luck that the duel happened to be with the other werewolf in the Annex that evening. His nose tracked the source of that earlier smell directly to his opponent, a short young woman with blonde hair and freckles. Perhaps that’s why the caller had dubbed her “Frecks.”

Even if she hadn’t been a werewolf, he likely wouldn’t have pulled any punches in the fight against her, and neither did she. She hit harder than a girl of her stature should have been able to, and moved faster too. All the while, they were sniffing each other out. Face to face with another of his kind, Jay felt the Wolf slipping further to the surface, growling when struck and scenting the air much more frequently than usual. In the end, she was too fast, too strong, and too tough for him. Still, she hadn’t broken his nose in the course of the duel, and that was enough for him to keep things cordial after the match.

That was, of course, until she had leaned in closer to smell him one last time. With his space invaded, he took the opportunity to whisper to her, his voice low and rumbling underneath the sound of clashing steel and fists.

“You too.” The words were filled with myriad implications. There was a hint of questioning, even though he knew full well what she was. There was an admission, by him, that they shared the same affliction. There was accusation, like she was something evil and unclean. And there was revulsion, both for the beast that she was and for the beast that he had become. They started as an attempt to pull them together, in their shared plight as werewolves, and ended with him pushing away.

She had left with one last look back in his direction, and followed suit shortly after. The Wolf wanted him to track her down, but Jay managed to stifle the urge. He wanted nothing more to do with werewolves for the evening. It was easy enough to deal with being one when it was just his problem. A voice in his head he could ignore most of the time, and one day out of the month where he had to run off to the wilderness and exert every ounce of willpower not to run back into the city and go on a killing spree. It was something he could push aside and hide from the bulk of the world, a secret to tell those few he trusted - or those who had to know, in order to treat his injuries. It was why he hadn’t sought out Soerl, after their initial conversations in the immediate aftermath of his attack. It was also why Jay hadn’t bothered to track the lingering trails of werewolves who had stepped foot in the Inn, the Arena, local restaurants and bars and concert venues. Other werewolves were just phantoms, divorced from his reality. They weren’t real.

Until, of course, he had seen one in the flesh, in a normal situation, and had to interact with them in a normal fashion. It reminded him of what he used to be - someone who fought beasts and bad guys - and what he was now - a monster. He could win a million duels, have a girlfriend, be a popular member of a dueling team, make a comfortable living off of his fights and sponsorships, and that one fact would always remain. He could never really, truly be normal again, or even abnormal in the way he was in his Dreamwalker days. He was the villain. He was the beast, and really, he had only himself to blame for it.

Jay hated what he had become.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: The Poison, Part 1 Reply with quote

“It's not just the pain, the pain in my back
That laughs in my face, my face every night
Or the poison that took my lungs
That keeps me from feeling warm.”


She was there. She was always there. In person, at the Arena, the Outback, the Annex. Or her scent, blood and sweat and leather and oil and pheromones, lingering for days after she had left those places. She was in his head, the object of the Wolf’s infatuation, even though they had only dated for a couple of months. Even though he had been dating Sami for much longer now - for fake and for real.

Candy was there, and she wasn’t going away.

She had caught him on a bad night, when the stress of fending off the Wolf had strained him. The memory of her invading his table a night or two before stuck sharp in his memory like a hot poker, too - he knew she was provoking him, and he tried his best not to engage her. He didn’t say much to her, let her smoke at the table and put up her feet, and after he had left to fight in a duel, he hadn’t gone back to sit there.

So when she had answered his call to duel, he was less than thrilled.

"I'll fight you."

Jay laughed. “I don't think so.”

"Why not?"

“I don't get anything out of it.”

"You get someone t'fight with."

“At the cost of getting yelled at by my managers. There's no money in that.”

"There a no Candy clause in your contract?"

“Not technically but...you're bad for business.”

"Won't break anythin."

Out came the Wolf, as he put a bit of snarl behind his words. “Don't care about that. You wanna fight me? Really fight me? We can step outside. Here, though...all business.”

"Wasn't lookin for a real fight." As Jay stepped into the ring to fight a different opponent, Candy headed for the door. All the while, Samiyah had been following their conversation...
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: The Poison, Part 2 Reply with quote

“And there's got to be more, much more than this.
I got pages of dreams, they're covered in piss
And the poison that took my soul,
It keeps me from feeling anything.”


Jay’s attention lingered for a moment or two on the busy rings, before he turned to Sami, who was just returning from the duel she had finished fighting. A sheepish smile crossed his face. “Sorry. A bit distracted.”

“Whatever.” Even being surrounded by members of the old TDL team Pirates From Heck wasn't enough to make her good mood linger. She flopped down in a chair, dropping her coat and bag on the table.

Not very talkative before, the one word reply shut him down even further. His jaw opened and snapped shut, before he grabbed the beer he had abandoned previously on the table. He took a long, long swig from the bottle, finishing it off.

“Outside? Really, Jay? That was the best way to handle that?” Her voice was pitched low as she leaned forward to slip that envelope from her bag once more.

“She doesn't know the difference between inside the rings and outside the rings. There's no difference for her.” The hairs on his neck stood up, and his lip pulled back slightly, preparing to curl. “The Crew isn't going to pay me to fight her randomly here. Outside, maybe- “ He cut himself off, but just for a moment. His last words came out more as a deep, throaty growl “- she deserves to pay for what she did to that man.”

Envelope and palm were pressed against the table as she leaned in closer, brown eyes lingering on his face. “And you're not judge, jury, and executioner. There's going to be no fight. None. Because she's bad for you. No good is going to come from it. You're just going to wind up exactly like her. I'm not going to stand by and watch that.”

When she leaned in close, his nostrils flared, and that lip curled back completely, if only for a brief moment. His eyes flashed white-hot when he met her gaze, before he looked away. Still, his words held conviction and anger. “Maybe I should be. No one else seems to be trying. Not the Renegade Barons, not the Crew, not the Guard. Nobody. It just gets pushed aside and ignored. These people -- what the hell is wrong with them?”

She was typically so careful in how she chose her words and the tone she delivered them in.... but the priestess was missing and the hurt girlfriend was left in her place. Her voice was still kept soft but it was hot and lacking her usual empathy. “Because you can't control where it takes you. The two of you are poison together and I don't know if there will be any of you left after it's all over.”

They were practically nose to nose, before he let cooler heads prevail on his side of the table. The nostril flare, lip curl, and growling voice went away, and he leaned back away. “What am I supposed to do? What do you want me to do?”

The whole exchange left her feeling ill. Her fingers curled around the envelope. It and the letter within had never left her mind. “I don't know, Jay. I just...” Her eyes fell and she gave a shake of her head, switching her lines of thought. “I don't want to lose you in all of it. The you I know.”

His hands went up, running through his hair and messing up all the careful styling that had gone into that fauxhawk earlier. “Well, it's easy enough here, as long as I don't challenge for anything. Or in the Outback, as long as I don't have rank to challenge. And - yeah, it was stupid to suggest we fight outside. But if they have me challenge, they're going to want me to fight loyal Barons. And I can guarantee another intercession...”

It had taken a moment for her to collect her cool, to not sound quite so panicked, but she was arriving there. Slowly but surely. “I'm not telling you who to challenge or what to do. I'm asking you to not let her get under your skin.”

He leaned back in again, but unlike before, he was calm, cool, and collected when he did so this time. What he had to say was meant for her ears, and her ears alone. “Tell Him that.”

It caused an exhale of air and her face fell. He leaned back, she leaned forward. “ You're stronger. I'm telling you.”
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: The Poison, Part 3 Reply with quote

“Nothing has changed but now I fight with words
And I can't see so good.”
(Alkaline Trio, “The Poison”)


Never in a million years had Jay imagined he would ever receive fan mail. During his couch-surfing days in California, he would go months without receiving a single piece of mail. He was a hard man to track down in those days -- he had no permanent address or phone of his own. People looking for him had to know the phone number or address of the skate shop he worked at, or the phone number or address of the latest friend putting him up. It was both a consequence of his vigilante days, and a precaution born of them -- the more intelligent monsters he faced couldn’t get to him through his family anymore, nor was it easy to get a fix on who his close friends might have been. He never seemed to stay in one place long enough to make that clear.

That wandering nature had carried over to RhyDin. He couldn’t remember all the addresses of the places he had lived there, and some of the places didn’t even have addresses. He was pretty sure the six months he had spent living at the AMD Training Academy was the longest period of time he’d spent in one place in the city, and if it wasn’t, it was at least the most comfortable living arrangements he’d had. He was paid well, fed well, and if his room still felt like a college dorm, well, part of him was happy to have something resembling the college experience he’d never gotten back home.

And the letters! Jay had gone from being nearly impossible to find, both at home and in RhyDin, to having his own address for fan mail. The Wrecking Crew had aggressively promoted their latest signing, and though he had not won titles in either of his two challenges since joining the Crew’s ranks, that had not diminished his popularity, particularly among younger female fans. The marketing department had pitched him as a brooding bad boy, and the public had bought it, hook, line, and sinker, conveniently ignoring the fact that he had been dating Samiyah -- at least in the public eye -- for four years now. Even with Crew interns sorting his mail, and Crew security double-checking it in the wake of last summer’s death threats, inappropriate items made it through all the time -- lingerie, boudoir photographs (and worse), and letters that might have made a sailor blush snuck through on a regular basis.

So it wasn’t surprising that Candy’s letter had made it past the (somewhat) watchful eyes of Jay’s Crew handlers. Nothing about it immediately screamed “bomb”, “poison”, or “inappropriate picture.” Just another autograph seeker -- or autograph hawker -- trying to get Jay’s signature on several glossy photos. There wasn’t a name attached to the address, but it didn’t matter. Jay breathed in deeply, and the unmistakable mix of smells practically signed the package with Candy’s name for her. It cut through the pen and pencil and crayon and perfume that permeated the rest of his mail, and it almost cut right through him. Jay refused to open it, and the Wolf raged at him, demanding that he tear it open that very second. Eventually, the two came to a compromise. Jay would check on the return address first, and then decide whether or not to open it.

***

Of course, the address was a dead end. A construction site near the docks, abandoned by the contractor months ago. They hadn’t even gotten around to hauling away the rubble of the building they had knocked down before they had given up. Bits of smashed-up wood, jagged and irregularly shaped chunks of cement, and more perfectly formed cinder blocks and bricks sat in heaped up piles on the center of the plot of land, waiting futilely to be hauled off. Concrete pipes stood along the edges of the property, a trivial barrier for anyone who wanted to visit the site. Scavengers and salvage men had long since picked clean anything of value left on site.

Rather than leave, Jay just sighed and took a seat inside one of the bigger pipes. The concrete seemed to amplify the chill in the air, but he ignored it. Instead, he finally opened the envelope that Candy had mailed him.

He read the case notes. He saw the crime scene photos. He saw the face of his neighbor -- his murdered neighbor -- in classic mug shot form. Jay skimmed through the details, then read more carefully, and learned the truth about the man he had never really known. The man he had pitied for his slow, painful death at the hands of Candy. He no longer felt the same about him.

Candy, though? Long after Jay had put the pictures and the manila folder back into the envelope, he sat there with the yellow post-it note in his hand, turning it over and over until he was sure that the glue on the back would wear off on his finger tips. why, it said. why, it answered, and it was a different reply than she had given him last May.

She hadn’t killed his neighbor because she had wanted to. She had killed him because he was a criminal, a villain, a monster who had managed to evade punishment time and time again. So Candy had taken matters into her own hands, slipped a knife into his belly, and let him bleed to death slowly and painfully, the way he had tortured so many of his victims. Jay could understand that. He had spent years as a vigilante, fighting and killing beasts that were similar to his neighbor, in disposition if not ability. Evil was evil, whether it worked in the dark corners of dreams or the shadows of the real world. He didn’t blame her for it. Hell, if he had known, and had been in a similar situation, he might have done the same thing. Still, the discovery confused Jay, even as it disappointed the Wolf, who was now faced with the fact that the object of His infatuation wasn’t the sort to kill at random.

Why had she lied? He asked himself the question, and almost immediately answered it. Because it pushed you away. There was another pause, as he finally slipped the post-it note back inside the envelope. But why did she push me away? It was a question he knew he would never find an answer for -- not from her. He could ask her, point blank, but she would almost certainly never tell him the truth. And it wasn’t the sort of question he could actually seek an answer for anymore, now that he was with Sami. All he could do was speculate. Maybe Candy didn’t love him, or she didn’t think he really loved her, or her work as a vigilante was more important than a relationship. Or maybe she had found someone else, despite her repeated insistence upon not dating. There were countless reasons she could have had for rejecting him, and rejecting him in a method that ensured he hated her. why. In answering that one question, she had opened up a million others, questions that would never be asked and never be answered. He sighed as he stood up, slipped the envelope inside of his coat, and walked away from the abandoned construction site.

***

“Just the envelope, Mr. Capistrano?” The goblin banker at the First Inter-Realm Bank of RhyDin lifted a dark, bushy eyebrow at Jay as the dueler slipped the sealed envelope across the counter.

“Yeah, just the envelope. Don’t really need insurance. It’s not, like, jewels or stocks or anything like that. Sentimental value-type stuff, you understand?”

“Yes, yes, I do understand, sir. No insurance, then.” The banker picked up the envelope and placed it into a safety deposit box, holding it in plain sight as he locked it with a key. He slipped a copy of that key off of the chain and pushed it back across the counter towards Jay. “Mr. Capistrano, I just have one more question for you to answer, and you can be on your way.”

“Yeah?”

“In the event of your unfortunate demise, who should the contents of this box be passed along to?”

“Candy Hart.”

The goblin hopped up in surprise. “The Overlord? Why-”

“Don’t ask me why. Just put it down. If I die, she gets the box. Got it?”

“Yes sir,” the banker said, smoothing out the sleeves of his suit. “The customer is always right.” Jay caught the goblin rolling his eyes as he turned around to take the box back into the bank’s vault, but he said nothing about it. Instead, he turned his head towards the vaulted ceiling and the sunshine streaming through in fat yellow rays, and waited for the banker to return.

((Parts 1 and 2 edited and adapted from live play with Candy Hart and Samiyah Zayn))
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Hero Syndrome, Part 1 Reply with quote

John McClane: You know what you get for being a hero? Nothin'. You get shot at. You get a little pat on the back, blah, blah, blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can't remember your last name. Your kids don't want to talk to you. You get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me, kid, nobody wants to be that guy.
Matt Farrell: Then why you doing this?
John McClane: Because there's nobody else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it.
Matt Farrell: Ah. That's what makes you that guy.
("Live Free or Die Hard")


December 17, 2012 R.S.C.

“You lost. All that training, all that promotion, all that build-up, all that effort, and you still lost. Do you know why?”

“Because I didn’t-”

“ ‘Because I didn’t give in to you.’ You say that like I’m something f---ing bad for you."

“You are.”

“Please. Your strength, your speed, your agility, your healing, your sense of smell, your hearing? All improved by me. And I ask so little of you...”

“You ask my humanity.”

“Not that much, Jay. You have this skill. You spent years fighting evil. And what was your award? Abandoned by your goddess to this godforsaken realm, left to fend for yourself when the Dreams came, when Astrid came. They sent you to jail. You had to fight for the Man, in the Arena and outside, and then you lost eight months. You deserve more. Take it. I’ll even let you be a hero - we’ll only go after the bad guys.”

“No.”

February 1, 2013 R.S.C.

Jay had asked the Crew’s P.R. people to help him write a letter explaining why he had challenged Rakeesh, and why he had turned down the anonymous bounty offered to anyone who challenged Rakeesh with Candy’s Overlord grant. He knew he wasn’t eloquent enough to say what needed to be said, but working with them, they had conjured up a manifesto that put forth the reasons for his challenge, the reasons he had entered the Overlord’s grant tournament, and what he hoped would come from the challenge, win or lose. He wanted to win badly, but he accepted the fact that he might lose. Either way, he hoped that his challenge would inspire others to stand up to Rakeesh, and his misguided mage registration idea.

February 9, 2013 R.S.C.

In the end, he had fallen short.

He had held the lead for a portion of the match, and then just as quickly, it vanished, slipping through his fingers as his desperate attacks were swiftly parried away. He had been battered and bloodied, wounded in the shoulder and the midsection, and the liontaur’s greatsword pommel had smashed him in the nose, breaking it yet again. In the end, he had dashed his shield upon Rakeesh’s defense, shattering it into shards that had sliced up his hand, and been forced to kneel by a slash to the leg.

Still, he was unbowed. Rakeesh had offered him a hand, and Jay had refused it. Jay stubbornly clung to his guns, keeping himself from falling further by slamming his mace into the sands of Twilight Island.

“Stop this. You're going to start a war, far worse than the one you think you're fighting.”

There was an offer of détente, but Jay refused to listen. Instead, he struggled to his feet as the wards healed him, though the blood on his clothes would not disappear so quickly.

“No. I will not compromise. You can say what you want. I've heard what I need to hear.”

Jay felt like there were a million eyes on him as he left the ring. A million disappointed eyes. They were saying they were proud of him, proud of the stand he had taken even in defeat, but he knew better. They had believed in him, trusted that he could take away Rakeesh’s barony and bury the mage proposal once and for all, and he had failed them. He began meditating outside of the ring, trying to raise his spirits, but it was no use. Instead, he waved Candy over for a brief conversation.

“I'm sorry.”

It wasn’t enough. Rakeesh was going to challenge for the Overlord’s mantle, and there was nothing Jay could do to stop him. His shoulders slumped as he futilely tried to clear his mind, whispering words he no longer fully believed in.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Hero Syndrome, Part 2 Reply with quote

February 10, 2013 R.S.C.

He walked in to the Great Helm Tavern, his head held high, defiance and disappointment burning brightly in his sharp blue eyes. He clutched his coat tightly to his frame until he was a good ways inside, before he finally removed his hat, gloves, and scarf and stuffed them in his jacket's pockets. He stopped once he was under a chandelier, and stared intently at the rest of the patrons of the Great Helm.

He’d been expecting anger or disappointment, but found friendly greetings from some of the Helm’s patrons, and that had thrown him off. He did his best to smile his way through it, but his own pain and discouragement made it hard to work through.

He managed to make peace with Apple and the Barony of Seaside, much in the same way that he had made peace with Matt and Rhiannon and the Barony of Battlefield Park the night before at the challenge. They had stood up for him, and in return, Jay made the same deal with Apple as he had made with Battlefield Park. He would not challenge for their titles. Though his initial approach towards Apple and her partner had been brusquer than he had intended, he had eventually won them over, much like he felt he’d earned the respect of Rhiannon during the challenge with Rakeesh. He’d even been offered a shot of tequila. Unfortunately, that wound up being the highlight of his evening.

The Crew rolled in soon after, and the tension between the team members roiled. Tension between Tical and Maria. Between Maria and Ria. And Jay’s dislike for Myria’s obnoxious admirer didn’t help matters any. Pretty soon, matters between Ria and Maria boiled over, and Ria stormed out, leaving Jay with the distinct impression that the Crew was coming apart at the seams. The pressure was too much. He squeezed the glass bottle he’d been holding in his hand until it burst. Cue profanity, and a bleeding hand. He wandered away from the rest of the Crew, muttering apologies all the while as he searched for a first-aid kit. Steve, Fio’s boyfriend, had patched up his hand, even as Jay had whined and whimpered through the process of pulling glass and disinfecting the wound. Embarrassment and anger mixed, and he had left without saying goodbye to anyone from his team.

February 15, 2013 R.S.C.

"I have never asked you for more truth than you are willing to give but you cannot lie to me."

"You're wondering about my hand..."

"Yeah."

"I squeezed a beer bottle too tightly over in the Great Helm Sunday."

"A beer bottle? Why?"

"I just -- I went there because I didn't want people to think I was just going to tuck my tail between my legs after that loss. I wish I hadn't lost, but I don't regret fighting. But -- I let them down. I really did. And then Myria's evil little -- whatever the hell that thing is, her abhorrent admirer, kept bugging her. And then Ria and Maria got in a fight, and Tical, and..."

"But that's what they do. They've been fighting like that in public for as long as I can remember. You cannot let that get to you."

"I don't know, I don't know all that much about their history before I joined. This...it's not just in public. I may not be in the inner circle, but I'm not stupid. It's not that, though. That's not the thing that bugs me most.”

"Then what is it?"

"Rakeesh. Myria's 'crush'. They're not good people, but I couldn't do anything to stop them."

“Okay. I don't see how either of those messes are your responsibility. It's nice of you to want to help out but why do you own sole duty to cleaning them up? And is that girl that is in love with Myria really that bad? She seems kind of funny.”

"She's undead. She tried to gather up my blood after I cut myself! Rena had to take it away from her… Rakeesh -- Rakeesh will get his, sooner or later, but no one seems willing to stop that monster.”

"Okay. Yeah. Maybe she's bad. Rakeesh will get his. You did what you could. I'm sure Candy has something up her sleeve for Sunday and, if she doesn't, maybe you can take another shot. But you can't run around RhyDin fixing every problem. There's far too many of them."

“…I'm not fixing anything, though. I'm just a pretty face in a Crew jersey making money for myself."

"You're fixing me. That's sort of a big job. You have the fame, you're making the money. You'll figure out what you want to do with it. Answers to these types of questions don't come overnight.”

“..You're fixing me, too. Or at least, keeping me from breaking."

“You only needed a little bit of sunshine in your life, Jay.”

“You're more than a little bit, Sami.”

February 18, 2013 R.S.C.

Candy lost. She had tried to Test Rakeesh with the Crew’s own Tical, and she had still lost. It was a loss for her, for Tical, for the Crew, and for the city. In the minutes and hours following the match, the Arena’s corkboard filled up with responses on the challenge, including one from the newly returned Neo. He had asked for anyone interested in dealing with the Myr’khul problem responsibly to contact him.

Jay had.

He’d left a short note on the corkboard near Neo’s own reply, a simple, hand-written message.

Neo,

Call me.

JJMC


And Neo had called. Of course, Jay had spent far too much time as a vigilante, and far too much time around Candy’s paranoia, to just talk on his own cell phone. He let Neo introduce himself, and then immediately hung up, only to call back a minute or so later on a payphone at a nearby diner. Once he had Neo on the line again, he asked the man a simple question.

“What do you know about the Myr'khul?"


((Feb. 15 dialogue edited and adapted from live RP))
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:08 am    Post subject: Hero Syndrome, Part 3 Reply with quote

February 26, 2013 R.S.C.

When the Wrecking Crew first hired Jameak to serve as Jay Capistrano’s handler and bodyguard, the half-orc was under no illusion that the job would be easy. A decade spent fighting a two-pronged guerrilla war against the humans and orcs who refused to give his kind a homeland had disabused him of the notion that anything in life was a cakewalk. But even he had reason to second-guess his latest career move, after his first day at Wrecking Crew headquarters. They marched him up to a conference room first thing in the morning, where he met with two lawyers, a doctor, and the Crew’s PR chief. Then, they asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Only after the ink had dried on the document did they tell him that the man he was responsible for watching over was a werewolf. Jameak barely listened to the doctor’s explanation of what lycanthropy was; he was too busy reconsidering his decision to take this job. Eventually, though, he decided to stick with it. Werewolf or no werewolf, the Crew was paying him twice his bouncer’s pay, and providing him with the silver weapons necessary to take Jay down if he went rogue. Jameak also decided that if he could survive fighting off a squad of heavily armed orcs for two days with nothing but a shovel, his wits, and a rainforest for cover, then he could easily take care of a rampaging werewolf when properly equipped.

Much to his surprise, though, Jay turned out to be far easier to deal with than anticipated. The fact that he was a werewolf meant Jameak was not needed often for bodyguard duties. Only when Jay made appearances at large events, like signings for Crew merchandise at local sports shops, did the half-orc appear, smartly dressed in a dark suit, tie, and sunglasses. Jay seemed genuinely humble, slightly embarrassed at all the female attention he garnered, and incredibly unlikely to lash out with violence for no reason at all. As for Jameak’s PR duties with Jay, things were easy there as well. He was a walk in the park compared to the rest of the Grazianos. He stayed out of the public eye when he wasn’t visiting stores or fighting in the duels, and though there were moments here and there where his behavior at the duels had been less than ideal, it hadn’t been a problem thus far. Jameak’s deft (and at times, intimidating) touch with the local papers, combined with the fact that there were more interesting stories within the Crew for them to pursue, meant Jay’s minor misadventures stayed under the radar.

For Jameak, the hardest part of the job was the mornings after the full moon. It wasn’t because Jay was at his most dangerous at that time. In fact, his fatigue after the nights the Wolf took over made him arguably less dangerous than any other point during the lunar cycle. No, it was tough because it required Jameak to get up early and drive all the way to Battlefield Park from New Haven. He’d throw on his blue and silver Crew track suit, brew a strong cup of coffee for his thermos, and rub the sleep out of his eyes on the drive over. He would pull the nondescript black sedan into a parking space for one of Battlefield Park’s nature reserves and keep a sharp eye on the hiking path entrances. Usually, after about 15 or 20 minutes, Jay emerged from one of the tree-lined pathways, dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. Jameak would ensure that there were no other people in the park or photographers in the area with telephoto lens to snap a picture of the duelist. Depending on how tired Jay looked, he’d either walk alongside him back to the car or give him a shoulder to lean against as he staggered back. Once inside, Jay slept it off as Jameak drove back to the AMD Training Academy, the car’s stereo blaring orcish thrash all the while. After dropping Jay off, Jameak usually went back to his place and crawled into to bed as well -- Jay typically didn’t leave his dorm room at all the day after the full moon, so Jameak’s work was often done before 10 a.m. on those days.

When the time came for Jameak to pick Jay up after February’s full moon, the half-orc had actually managed to plan ahead, laying out his clothes and setting his coffeemaker the night before. He managed to leave for Battlefield Park 15 minutes earlier than usual, pulling into his usual parking spot with plenty of time to spare. After about 10 minutes of waiting, he started to second guess his decision to head over so early. There was no sign of Jay anywhere, and he knew it would likely be another 20 minutes at least before his charge came out of the woods. He reclined the driver’s seat back, sighed, and turned up the stereo.

Five minutes later, a blood-curdling howl drowned out every other sound in the vicinity. Jameak punched the on-off button on the stereo, threw open his door, and half-rolled out of the car with his gun drawn. His eyes darted between the two primary entrances to the hiking paths, but also swept over the rest of the thick forest nearby. The unearthly baying had silenced all birdsong in the woods, leaving only the crackle and crunch of branches snapping and underbrush being trampled on. The noise was coming closer and closer, and he tensed, his weapon at the ready.

A figure emerged from the trees, and Jameak immediately turned his gun on it. A split-second later, he saw who it was. Jay, as human and as naked as the day he was born, cradling a broken arm and sprinting toward the sedan.

“Don’t shoot!” Jay shouted, still running at top speed. A second later, the true source of the noise became clear. Another ear-splitting howl came from within the trees, followed by its source. A second werewolf, his grey fur mottled with streaks of blood, bolted through the underbrush towards Jay. He tried to dodge the werewolf, but in human form, he was no match for the beast’s strength and agility. The werewolf knocked him to the ground with a loud thud, then reared back with his razor-sharp claws. Jameak’s aim swiftly switched from Jay to the werewolf, and he fired off three quick shots. One whizzed past the monster’s face, grazing his cheek. The second missed entirely, embedding itself in a tree trunk behind them. The third landed solidly in the werewolf’s shoulder, eliciting a scream of anger and pain. He whipped his head in Jameak’s direction, roaring at the top of his lungs. Jameak kept the gun leveled on his foe, and snorted quietly. The beast’s eyes danced between Jameak’s face and the gun, before he finally turned back on his heels, yipping and whining as he dashed back into the forest.

Jameak holstered his weapon and ran to where Jay was lying, groaning and clutching his arm. He lifted the injured man in a fireman’s carry and, carefully but quickly, hauled him back to the car. He kept Jay draped over his shoulder as he unlocked the doors and opened the back one. Jameak slid him across the vinyl seats, hastily buckling him in before throwing open the driver side door and gunning the engine. The half-orc glanced back at his protectee.

“This is gonna hurt, but I’ll get you to the hospital. On my honor.”

Jay nodded, before being thrust back in his seat as Jameak threw the car in reverse and peeled out. The tires screeched and wailed as he flung the car back into drive, spraying gravel everywhere as he headed towards the reserve’s exit.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject: Hero Syndrome, Part 4 Reply with quote

February 27, 2013 R.S.C.

Two days had passed since the werewolf in Battlefield Park had broken Jay’s arm, and the Wolf still craved violence. He didn’t much care whose blood He spilled. He didn’t care that Jay’s doctors had told him to quit dueling for at least three weeks. No, the Wolf wanted to maim and kill, plaster cast and doctors’ orders be damned. One way or the other, He was going to draw blood tonight.

Running into Harris and Rakeesh hadn’t helped Jay or the Wolf’s mood. The blue-haired man got flipped off, while the liontaur got mostly ignored, save for a dirty look. They weren’t the real reason he was here. Violence was.

“Glass to duel,” Jay called out in a voice that was cold and calculated. Hide the bloodlust. Let it out when they least expect it. It took some time and some convincing, but he eventually convinced Bayliss, Sami’s friend, to fight him, even with a cast on his arm. There were jokes about breaking another of his limbs, and about him using his cast as a weapon, but he brushed them aside. Someone was going to get hurt tonight. If Jay had his way, it would be him. If the Wolf did, it would be someone else.

In the end, it was a wash. He had, in fact, used his cast to clock Bayliss in the jaw. She, in turn, had broken his nose yet again. He’d let the Wolf come out in that fight, and she’d had to resort to water magic in order to protect herself. When the fight finished, Jay was barely able to hold back the beast. He skittered back to the edge of the ring, bowed hastily to Bayliss and Kheldar, and fled the ring after a quiet apology for her. He was trying to get the hell out of Dodge, get his coat, get home, call the doctor and clean up before Sami found out.

Except he’d forgotten that he’d texted her to come there. Sometime during his fight with Bayliss, she had arrived. Once the fight was over, Sami had spotted him, his shirt ruined and reddened, his blood beginning to crust under his nostrils. He began trying to treat himself for the broken nose, tipping his head back and pinching his nostrils despite the pain.

“...I'm sorry.”

“Have a seat.” Sami’s voice brooked no disobedience from Jay, and he did as he was told. He let go of his nose, trying to sniff at the air but only wincing and whimpering with the effort. His eyes darted around the Outback, looking anywhere but at her. She began cleaning up after him, ignoring his small mewls of pain. “Is it broken? Your arm, I mean. I'm pretty sure your nose is.”

“Yes. Both are. The doctors set it and put the cast on yesterday.”

“Why are you in a ring tonight?”

“Because...I deserve to be.” He slumped in his chair, and watched as her shoulders sagged.

“Jay... you know that's not true.” From her tone of voice, he knew she had immediately parsed out what he had meant, and he winced at how spot-on she was with her assessment. He pulled up out of his slump, though he couldn’t quite bring himself to meet her eyes.

“Why isn't that true? I keep letting people down.”

There wasn’t a full answer from Sami -- not then, and not there. Only a promise to talk later, once they were back at her apartment. Once the Crew’s doctor had looked at him. He sighed as he stood up with Sami’s help and headed for the exit, dodging questions from other members of his dueling team.

He was disappointing everyone this month.

((Edited and Adapted from live play))
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:58 pm    Post subject: Hero Syndrome, Part 5 Reply with quote

February 27, 2013 R.S.C.
Evening


Showering with a broken arm wasn't the easiest thing in the world for Jay to do, but he had at least had some experience with it. Sami had helped wrap his cast in a plastic bag, and avoiding getting water anywhere near his right arm had been easy enough. More difficult to deal with was his freshly broken nose. The Crew's on-call doctor had reset it, and stuffed a couple of pieces of cotton up his nostrils for good measure, but it was damned hard for him to wash off without getting them wet. Still, he had managed to make it through his shower without further incident, though it had taken nearly twice as long as usual.

When he was done, he grabbed a towel off of the rack and dried off carefully in the shower, before stepping on the bath mat. Sami had insisted that he throw away the bloodied Crew jersey he'd worn that evening, but a plain gray t-shirt he had left over at her place last week had been washed and dried and laid out along with his basketball shorts, socks, and underwear. He put them on, much slower than usual since he was effectively one-armed, and sat down on the toilet seat. Keen ears listened to see if she was still awake, or if she had went off to bed without him. He hoped fervently it was the latter.

Christians called it 'centering prayer'. But it was the only type of prayer that the Maraharans practiced. Through his shower, she sat cross-legged at the chest at the foot of her bed with eyes tightly shut, repeating her sacred word and allowing herself to be transported in her head to her sacred place. In her head, she jogged down a street in Seaside, taking a turn that didn't exist to enter a house that had never stood where she pictured it. She entered in the back of the large house. A cook gave her a cookie as she snuck (no, not snuck, here she was a welcomed guest) through the kitchen and into the study of the great man who lived there. He laughed with good cheer when he saw her. She rambled through all of her thoughts and feelings to Him until they were all spilled out and then they sat in silence. Vacant of thoughts. Whenever one would enter, she'd return to her anchor, her sacred word.

And it usually worked. Usually she would lose her anger. She wasn't abandoned, she wasn't lost. She was here. Here she was safe. But tonight, there was only anger. No matter how many times she returned to her sacred word, it would reappear, threatening everything else.

It was the loss of a noise rather than the introduction of a new one that startled her. When the shower turned off, her eyes flipped open. She remained seated there on the trunk, shoulders slumped with the emotion. But maybe he heard her breath. Too rapid to be that of her sleeping.

He sat silently on the porcelain seat, trying to listen for her. Was she sleeping? Was she waiting for him right outside the door? He could hear her breath, but the door muffled the sound, made it difficult for him to tell if it was just her sleeping, or if she was actually still awake. The Wolf whimpered in his head, distraught that the plugs in his nose made it impossible for Him to smell anything. Finally, Jay sighed softly under his breath, stood up, and opened the bathroom door. Once he had left the room, he leaned against the wall beside it, eyes shut and arms folded against his chest. Maybe he could fall asleep standing up, then and there. Maybe he wouldn't have to face the wrath that he knew was coming.

How much time had passed since the water had shut off? It could have been ten minutes, it could have been an hour for all she knew. All she was certain of was that it was too long and she had to check on him. But even after the decision was made she struggled to move her muscles. Bare feet landed on the floor and she headed for the doorway. Yoga pants, a strappy pale blue cami, and her dark hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun.

He was holding his right arm up with the left, the cast heavier than he had anticipated -- especially with how tired he was. His usually faux-hawked hair was messy, half-wet, and entirely unstyled. A few locks of brown hair hung down into his eyes, perhaps hiding the puffy darkness ringing them. His nose had swollen up, larger and more distorted than normal. He heard her get up from her meditation in the bedroom and walk out into the main area of the apartment, towards the bathroom. Towards where he was standing. He shut his eyes, as if that might make him invisible to her.

She took a lean against the wall opposite of him. The battle with anger had left her exhausted. Still, when she spoke, she took care to keep it from sliding its way into her voice. "Why did you get into that ring?"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He had given one answer to that question earlier in the evening, but this time, he gave another. "Because I wanted to." He unfolded his arms and walked back into the living room, where his blood-specked blue sling was draped over his military jacket. He put it on with speed and ease that told of how often he'd had to wear one.

His first response had stung but she knew how to deal with it. She'd wrapped her hand around his and led him out of dark places before. This answer, though? This one hurt. For a moment she remained in place, trying to refill her lungs but then she turned, following him those couple of steps, her arms crossing over her chest. "So you just do what you want? Even if it's not safe?"

"I told you before. I deserved everything I got tonight." He flopped down on the couch, head turned in the direction opposite of where she was standing. "I wanted to get hurt, because I deserve it."

Sami sunk onto a fleur de lis print armchair. Certainly a thrift store find. She was a true RhyDinian. The woman of unknown bloodlines sitting in her little apartment full of a hodgepodge of furniture to fit her mishmash style. "You don't get to do this." The words were spit out, suddenly full of anger and fire.

"I don't get to do what?" Where Sami was full of blood and rage, the Wolf in Jay was nearly dormant. He was sated by violence -- both earlier in the week and that night -- and unable to smell anything, Quietly, He sat in the back of Jay's mind. Tired and shaky fingers went up to rub carefully at the bridge of his nose.

She shoved herself to her feet. The panic of seeing him bloodied and sporting the sling had caused the anger but logic had sailed away. She didn't see the connection. At least not now. Instead of him battling with inner demons, it was her turn. Her fight against the anger, the fear... it was lost. She shook her head in frustration. "Look, I know I pushed my way into your life but.... you didn't exactly stop me. At any point you could have but you didn't. And now it's too late! You don't get to just do what you want and screw the consequences... because you're not the only one that has to live with the consequences anymore!"

His immediate response to her words was to curl up in a ball on the couch, left arm wrapped around his frame as if desperately attempting to protect himself. He buried his face in the crook of his right arm, and if his ears had been more wolf-like in human form, they would have folded down. It was only with every ounce of willpower he had that he didn't whimper. "...I'm disappointing you too, aren't I? I just disappoint everyone..." The plaster and his busted nose made the words more difficult to understand than usual, but not impossible.

As badly as she wanted to rage against him, he made it impossible for her to continue. Anger was easier than admitting to herself much less him just how attached she was. She sunk back into the seat like a deflated balloon, considering the question. "No... I don't think so. I can't get past just how scared I am to figure out anything else. You're my--" She choked over how to continue. All of her hair was up. There wasn't even anything for her to toy with anxiously. "...you're my best friend. I can't lose you. And here you are talking about doing what you want to do and how this is what you deserve. I'm just scared."

"Sami..." The name came, and he looked up at her as if ready to say more, but whatever additional words he might have had to say just stuck in his throat. Instead, he pushed up and out of his seat on the couch and walked over to the armchair she was sitting in. He knelt in front of it -- in front of her -- and rested his cheek against her knees. "I feel like everything's coming apart. The city, the Crew...maybe me. I'm...afraid. There's things I've done, things I have to do, things I'll have to do, and I'm afraid it's going to push you away. I've..." He swallowed deeply, feeling like he was on the verge of tears, and he clenched his left hand into a fist to push them aside. Only then did he dare to look up at her with those piercing blue eyes of his. "I've given up too damn much. I don't think there's much more I can give... Not you."

The usual warmth was missing from hers. Vulnerable and raw, she met that look, fingers reaching out to brush over the top of his palm. It was a feather light touch but she needed something to prove he was real. His words only stirred up more panic in the pit of her. "I don't understand what you're saying. What is going to push me away? What do you have to do?"

"I never told you how I came here, did I? Or much about what I did back in my Earth?" Jay was stalling, and he knew it, but he could feel his heart at the top of the roller coaster hill and he was doing everything he could to delay the inevitable -- that plunge towards the ground. The truth he would have to confess if he wanted to stay with her.

Her hands fell back into her lap. There was enough room in that over sized chair for him to have a sliver of space if she scooted over... but she didn't. He could dump her politely if he was sitting beside her... on his knees before her, it seemed like much less of a threat. Still, though her eyes brimmed with tears with the fear of what was to come next. "No. No, you haven't."

"I didn't come here because I wanted to. I was told to come here. I guess...maybe it would have been harder, to make that sacrifice, if...I hadn't already been disowned." Jay sighed, letting a warm breath escape. Seeing the tears in her eyes, he looked away from her, at a meaningless blank spot on the wall. "You remember that mentor I was telling you about? In that nightmare I had?" He looked up to her just briefly, to see if she nodded her head yes or shook her head no. Either way, he continued. "It's...it'd be strange if it was anywhere but here, but...she...she told me to come here. She...was a goddess. Maybe. I'm not so sure of it anymore, after years here. But...I almost died when I cracked my head, years and years ago. She saved me, but...I had to work for her. She was...like, a Hindu goddess of dreams and I...was like an extension of her will. She...gave me powers. I used to walk through dreams like you walk the streets of RhyDin, no sweat." He lifted his head off of her knees, pulled his own knees up to his chest and tucked his head against them for what felt like an eternity. He finally looked up at her, tears frozen in his blue eyes. "Sami...I was a vigilante. Like, a super-hero." He wanted to laugh. How ridiculous those words sounded coming out of his mouth. As soon as he said them, though, he knew there was no other term to explain what he had done. What he had been.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps if he'd told another woman, she may have questioned his sanity. But Sami was raised -- if not born -- in RhyDin. She had a magical tattoo inked into her back. She was a warrior-priestess. The concept was hard to soak in but it was not mindblowing. Her elbows landed on her knees and her head sunk into her hand as she ran over it mentally. Again and again. "What were you doing in people's dreams?"

"I fought...creatures. Evil things. Night hags, night mares, incubi, succubi. The sorts of things that disturbed people's sleep. I did it a little while while I was here, but I'd stopped by the time I met you. She'd taken it all away from me by then." His tone turned bitter, and he grabbed across his body for his right arm with his left hand, trying his best to wrap himself up in a hug.

"I don't understand." Her hands dropped back into her lap so that her eyes could focus on him, studying his form for a moment before forming the question. "You had a job protecting people and killing bad creatures? How is that going to push me away? And what do you have to do?"

"I...I can't stand by and do nothing while the city is roiled with turmoil. While there might be bad things bumping in the night. Do you remember when the city was beseiged by people's dreams run amok?" He jerked a thumb back toward his chest. "I was there. I wasn't much use, but I was there, all the while fighting this f---ing voice in my head." He jabbed an index finger into the side of his head. "I ended up going into debt, got the crap kicked out of me, landed in debtor's prison. I broke up with Candy, told her it was because she wouldn't be safe around me because I was a werewolf, but it wasn't just that." He looked ready to say something else, but a wave of shame washed over him that was so powerful that it wiped away the desperate look in his eyes, caused him to look down and to the left, away from her.

She knew of the incident. She hadn't been in RhyDin for it. She'd been safe in Icecrest but letters from home had described the city's struggle. Still, though, it seemed she was missing something. Her panic reached a crescendo. "What, Jay? What was it?"

He hopped to his feet, walked over to the window. It was his way to distance himself from bad news, from the disappointment and defeat he knew was soon to come. "I was in prison, no way to pay my debt. Some pro-Prop 37 group offered to spring me, if I worked with them to hunt down dangerous mages. Capture them. I..." He winced, and seemed to shrink as he stood at the windowsill. "I'd say I had no choice, but that's a lie. Most of them were dangerous. Many of them evil. But not all of them. I..." He shook his head and covered his face with his left hand. "So you see why I have to work against this? I have to make up for what I did."

Prop 37. Another horrific moment in RhyDinian history that she was glad she had missed. Friends had written her, though. Friends who had been personally impacted. She drew in a breath through her nose, letting her ribs expand with it but instead of releasing it evenly, it came in a huff of an exhale. The priestess took over even while Sami herself was still grappling with the news. "Life isn't like that. There aren't these balance scales adding up your misdeeds in comparison to your acts of selflessness. You made a mistake. You learned from your mistake. You take that lesson as you move forward. If you wish to work towards that cause that's fine but doing so out of desperation and because you believe it will allow you to make up for what happen...? Well, that's the wrong reason."

With a slow, halting gait, Jay walked back to the couch he had sat on before. He dropped like a stone into his seat, burying his face in his hands yet again. "...What am I supposed to do?" His eyes peeked through his fingers at her, dread causing his voice to tremble. "What you are you going to do, now that you know?"

The panic had left and it had taken the anger with it. He was afraid of losing her? That was a first in her life. A breath was drawn in again through her nose, concentrating on filling up every lobe before a slow steady exhale through pursed lips. "We've been nearly inseparable for more than six months, Jay."

"Yeah, but I'd always been holding that back from you. It was a way to keep distance, keep you from being mad at me, or disappointed or..." Jay dismissed whatever words came to mind next with a wave of his hand. "But I know now that ***'s gonna happen, no matter what, and it's how we deal with it that makes or breaks us. And I..." He'd been getting up and down quite a bit this evening, but shaky arms and legs pulled him upright one last time, and carried him over to her armchair. Instead of kneeling like before, he sat down at the foot of the chair, his head touching the armrest and looking up at her upside-down. "I'm ready to face it. Really ready. I've pulled that wall down. You know what I was, what I am, what I will be. What now?"

The outside of her leg brushed against his shoulder. The touch felt electric. The Wolf never frightened her. She could stomp her foot right in his face. But Jay terrified her and excited her. There was the panic once more. But an entire different cause created it this time. What now? Her elbows fell onto her knees as she leaned forward, burying her face in clammy palms. "I don't know. I don't know. I know I love you. I know you're my best friend. I know I need you in my life."

Jay twisted this way and that, first with his head and then with his upper body as he tried to catch a glimpse of Sami's face. It was no good. Her hands hid her from view too well. Still, he turned around, scooting and pivoting on his rear end so that his whole body was facing her. His voice was gentle but firm as he spoke. "Sami...I need to see your face."

It took a moment. A sniffle was followed by her dragging the heels of her palms down her cheeks to catch stray tears on their path down into her lap. A breath was taken in and held.

His eyes drank her in, from head to toe. The tears in her eyes, the worry and fear he had brought out in her, the desperation that always seemed to lurk in the background. They took in the pale blue cami she wore, the way her hair was up in a bun that betrayed the care she usually took about her appearance, the yoga pants she wore for comfort. His eyes suddenly widened, and he gasped, despite his best efforts to hold back. His palms pushed against the floor to propel him to his feet, and he seemed to sway in place for a second as he regained his balance. "One...one second. One more thing."

He moved quickly for the bathroom, opening and shutting the door behind him quickly. He gritted his teeth and whimpered as he pulled the cotton plugs from his nose. He threw them in the trash, retrieved fresh and clean ones from the medicine cabinet and pocketed them, before staring at his face in the mirror. The Wolf lurched sluggishly to life, His sense of smell returned, but Jay growled at his reflection in the mirror and the beast receded. His sense of smell slowly returned -- the wet towel he had left behind earlier, Sami's citrus-scented body wash and gardenia shampoo, the unique mixture of spices mingling with grapefruit, orange, and tangerine that made up her apartment. And beyond that door he could smell her, pheromones, sweat, the "spring" fabric softener she always used. He fumbled with the door before he finally managed to get it open, and he walked back across the apartment to her armchair in a daze. He crouched beside the armrest and leaned over, burying his face in her hair, barely able to stay upright. He winced as he breathed in deeply.

He walked away and she exhaled. Her shoulders slumped, a leg shook in an attempt to keep control. Brown eyes followed him as he crossed back towards her chair. The rest of her didn't move. Not even when his face was buried in her hair. "Wh--what?"

His voice was low, husky, but betrayed no signs of the Wolf. It was Jay, and Jay alone, who whispered in her ear. "You're my best friend, too. I need you as badly as you need me. I...I gave up my friends back home, my family, jobs, freedom, sometimes my dignity. I gave up so much but...I can't give you up." He took one last deep breath, and forced himself to pull back so that she could see him. The tears that had been frozen, locked away in his eyes were spilling down his cheeks. "I can't. God...I love you."

A sob was choked out, both hands jumped up to cover her mouth as if to muffle it. Her eyes shut tightly but it did little to stem the gentle flow of tears. A breath was taken in and then let out before she could open her eyes. When her eyes met his, her hands immediately crossed the distance between her mouth and his cheeks, cupping them firmly. "Then don't give me up. That means taking care of yourself. Please?"

He nodded slowly, feeling his eyes half-shut as she touched him. The nod would have been enough to answer her, but he spoke anyway. "I'm not. I won't. I will. I will take care of myself. I swear."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Later...

Her legs were draped over the peeks of his knees and she leaned back against the arm of the chair to soak him in. He was safe. He was here. She reveled in that. When her eyes reached his arm, though, the smile dimmed. "Should I ask? Sometimes I don't know if I should ask because you need to talk or if I should just distract you with happy thoughts."

"How I broke my arm, you mean?" It took him a moment or two to put together her looking at his cast with the question she had asked.

"Yeah." There was a touch of huff in her tone. The frustration with him making a reappearance briefly as her eyes studied the cast.

"Full moon. Same werewolf who messed up my shoulder last August." Jay shook his head, sighing. "He's farther gone than me. Given in more to the Wolf. It makes him dangerous, but it also makes him stupid." He paused briefly, then suddenly began talking again, faster than before. "I usually can avoid him."

"You're not gone at all." There was no anger but it was firm, unyielding resolution. The iron will that Master Lee could see beneath all the layers of cheer and sunshine which helped him make his decision to pass the Mark to Sami. The tone dared him to challenge her because on this she would fight tooth and nail.

"Yeah." He both shrank from her words, and drew strength from them. She believed in his ability to stand up to the Wolf, even in the face of his constant doubts about the monster lurking within him, and it never ceased to amaze him. "Can I tell you something?" Jay didn't wait to hear her answer before he continued. "The Wolf...sometimes, He tempts me. Like...I used to be Catholic, and they'd tell us about how the devil tempted Jesus and how He resisted, because...well, he was God's Son. I'm obviously not that good, and...anyways, the Wolf belittles me when I fail, when I lose a fight or a duel, says that if I gave in to him more, I'd've won. If I win, he says it's because of Him. But...he tries to get me to give in more. Says that we could do good, the way I used to, if I'd just let him out more than once a month."

The Maraharan priestess was well versed in a multitude of religions and, in fact, one of the members of her weekly lunch group consisting of priests, priestesses, shamans, monks, holy men/women was a Catholic priest. She seemed to understand the reference. "He's a Mean Girl. I always tell the girls I teach martial arts to that you do not engage Mean Girls. That's what they want. They crave for you to be as weak as they are. The only way you win is by being confident in your own strength and sense of worth."

He nodded, then dared to lean forward to press his forehead against hers. "I didn't give in to him -- because you believed in me." His eyes were wide, blinking slowly and almost rhythmically as he sat there in close proximity to her.

"I'll always believe in you. You have us. You have this. That makes you ten times stronger than he is." Her eyes drifted shut and though her nose was nowhere near as sensitive as his, she drew in a breath through her nose, enjoying his scent before continuing. "He is a dog on a leash. You are in control of that leash. He can keep whispering the opposite into your ear but I'll be here whispering the truth."

"Yeah." The word came quietly, wavering, falling off the tip of his tongue and vanishing fast. He waited for something else to come to mind, but there was nothing more to be said. Instead, he leaned back just slightly, enough to reposition himself so he could tilt his head and kiss her.

Her hand reached up once again so that her fingers could curl around his cheek through the kiss. It was twinged with desire and a thread of desperation still. Maybe she'd never completely be rid of it. Reluctantly, her fingers fell from his face and the hand dropped back into her lap as the kiss ended. Sometimes there was no amount of words that could help restore strength, sometimes only sleep was the answer. "Come on. You've had a long couple of days. Let me take you to bed. You need some rest." Her legs fell off his knees, feet landing on the floor as she swiveled away in order to rise to her feet, stretching out a hand to him.

He took the offered hand with a grateful smile, and a muted "Thanks." As soon as he stood, he realized she was right. Fighting off a werewolf, a broken arm, a broken nose, and then confessing one of his deepest secrets to the woman he loved had left him utterly spent in all ways. His movements toward the bedroom were more lurch than walk, but eventually he found his way inside.

((Edited and adapted from live RP))
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Rings of Honor Forum Index -> How to Be a Werewolf All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum