[P] [m] Finger puppets without the fingers
#1
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WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
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(181)

Set near/on Fort Cumberland and the woods just beyond it.

The sun was just barely riding the horizon when Julia and Calla had finally come to a stop, before them, the stone structures of what had probably been a building in the distant past. Julia was slumped, her shoulders most likely sore from carrying the brunt of their wares, though Calla's were light, for the most part. Each carried bags of their own, each filled with tiny little trinkets and things they had gathered from their trades and thievery.

Julia had the heaviest since she was usually the one who stole away while Calla was distracting the others to steal their belongings.. Some people, of course, could be so gullible, so oblivious to what was going on. Take, for instance, the female wanderer they had crossed paths with just a few hours prior.

She had, had the majority of what they now carried. Calla had stalled her with talk of fantastical potions, potions she had shown with a great flourish as Loki had taught her. In truth, the potions were really lake water with a little bit of rose water thrown in but it had done the trick and given the sign, Calla had quickly gotten rid of her and the two had been on their way.

That had been hours before and with the sun threatening its downward pursuit, the two readied themselves for camp, minus the fire since neither had bothered bringing flint or steel, just the heavy mallet Julia often carried on herself for protection and Calla, her knives that were near inseparable from her these days, especially when she was with the murderess. Blue eyes stretched to the fuller of the stone structures near by and she urged Julia forward with a slight croon of her head in its direction.

That's when they saw the shadows just beyond the treeline stretching in the distance. Julia was the first to see them and she was ever quick to nod in their direction, tapping Calla's shoulder so that the woman could see with her own two eyes. "Follow me... and follow my lead," she had managed before both stashed the belongings in the bags beneath the croon of an old stone slab in turn for the weightlessness of either of their bags and the lighter foot they needed to get close enough to the strangers.

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#2
Zetsu busied himself with a stick, drawing little images of nothing in particular into the forest floor as Shaamah geared down. The black armor sat against a tree trunk nearby, along with Shaamah's duffle bag of goodies scavenged for Sapient The tekko lay beside the duffle on the ground, in plain sight and easy to grab if he had to. Not that he'd ever used more than his fists growing up, and anything could be a projectile weapon if you threw it hard enough. Still, however, the soldier was antsy. This was too much stuff and too close to Sapient to be stationed here. A scouting venture might be enough to quell his irritation for now.

They would have done better to finish the journey home, but no. Zetsu and his little feet were tired. As Shaamah moved out of the halo of the campfire, to which he had protested the creation of, the mahogany son stood to attention,” Hey, where are you going? Camp is set, we don't need any more firewoo-”

“Was it quality time you were hoping for?” The soldier growled over his shoulder, accusing this massive inconvenience for another one of Zetsu's emotional bias,” Guard this camp with life and limb or you very well may lose both on my return.”

The red son was easily convinced of the truth behind Shaamah's word and turned his head down, the silence of the night laced with the popping crackles of fresh wood on the fire. He was back to drawing in the dirt again, but with much less vigor. Mentally he cursed his father, and shook his head at himself for believing there was anything to the beast other than scouting, fighting and threatening people.

Two shadows on the treeline split, and the dancing flames of the fire backlit Shaamah's exit from the camp. For a moment, the soldier thought to head back to Sapient altogether and leave Zetsu behind. Would the boy even be able to scent his way back home? Shaamah doubted it, but with the goods he had for Sapient, it wasn't worth the risk of losing it.

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#3
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Nothing going on here. Nothing to see.

Calla

Calla and Julia had split up and with good reason.

One was to make for the shadows around the camp while the other made for the camp itself. Calla was the easy choice for distraction while Julia, being so quiet due to both her muteness and the lack of hearing, was the typical choice for the more sly maneuvers which had always worked up to this point. The figures, really just silhouettes against the backdrop of the quickly approaching evening, stood stark against the camp itself, blocking out the view of flames that danced to life after a few moments of insistent pestering. They were still for quite some time before they began moving but she couldn't help but focus on the flames themselves.

They illuminated her eyes from the woods, she could tell, for she had seen the way her companion's eyes lit up from beyond the woods when she approached silently and quietly she turned them away momentarily so that she could focus on the trees until one left.

The larger of the two was a figure that Calla wouldn't have wanted to fight. He was as large as her brother, if not larger, with a stocky build that warned of his training and power. The other was more lithe, someone she figured Julia could take if the need arose. Dressed in furs and old leaves, Calla was the typical visage of a traveling witch doctor, minus the fact that she was young, lithe herself, and tall for a woman. Her short hair shielded her eyes for the most part as one of the scents grew closer, both sound and presence sheltered by the early evening light. She let him leave the camp, far enough so that he wouldn't be called back immediately by the sound of foraging from his camp if Julia made herself useful.

When he was far enough that she felt comfortable with alerting him to her presence, she did but not before she gathered herself behind a tree and quietly reigned in her breaths that were momentarily labored by the thrill of this particular game of cat and mouse.

She stepped out, putting up both of her hands to prove that she was no threat before clearing her throat, blue eyes washing over the much taller figure of what she could only assume was a warrior. "Excuse me, I think I'm lost."

Julia

Julia had been pensive about leaving Calla, especially confronting two figures that they had barely been able to really get a handle on before they had left their spot near the stone structures. Despite her hesitation, she followed Calla's orders only because she was higher in rank back home and because she had Julia's secret box still, back home.. hidden, she suspected, though she hadn't been able to find it. When they split, it was with the mouthed words of Calla that Julia conceived any plan of worth in her approach to the shadows just beyond the camp. Skilled, in some ways, in the art of disappearing into her surroundings since she never spoke,

Julia had found it easy to avoid branch and dead leaves in her pursuit to the camp itself, making no noise but the one from her breaths as she stopped just beyond to peer in on its inhabitant. Just the boy, she soon learned, though her attention drew to the surrounding areas in search of anything of worth. It was easier to wait, especially considering she knew Calla would wait in approaching the taller of the two that she had seen leaving only a few moments before.

If there was any chance of getting their belongings without outright poisoning either, it was to wait for them to leave their camp, both of them, and she hoped, in truth, that the stranger before her would so that she could sneak in and out without being spotted.

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#4
His paces lead him further from the grip of the light of the fire and as he moved into the growing moonlight shadow, his instincts began to override his irritation. He took in scents, sights by the light of the moon, and sounds. A blue eye searched for movement, surveying the area as he crossed in silence. It seemed he was most happy when alone, but even he knew that he thrived in pack life. The massive warrior couldn't train or eat to keep his body in tune as a loner, despite his predilection for getting into a fight and his predisposition for the moral ambiguity that allowed such things as devouring his own kind of necessity required.

Quickly dreams of a more solitary life were crushed with the sudden arrival of a woman, arms up and far to close for him to not raise suspicion. Despite her white flag, Shaamah's fists closed tightly and his body grew tense, hackles lifted and nostrils flared to take in her scent. She was met with a wrinkled bridge, a wild eye and a foreboding growl that rested in his throat. Lost? Did she have the tracking instinct of a grasshopper? The sun had just set, Fort Cumberland sat in the distance, and Sapient was a little too close for comfort. By sight and scent alone, the woman should know where she was, and if not? Well, it wouldn't do any good for her to be told. If she couldn't find direction, then showing her the way wouldn't do anything for her,” Lost?” He questioned, echoing her words. She had a chance to redeem herself in that, at least. Shaamah couldn't assume to know her situation, but he could add up all the facts that didn't make sense, and those facts were quickly stacking against her.

–-

“Why does he have to be like that,” Zetsu growled under his breath as he furiously tossed the branch into the fire. Embers danced into the night sky as he folded his arms against his chest, leaning his back against the tree where he say,” You better watch my stuff or I'm gonna kill you,” He mocked, slumped over himself as eyes glared into the fire. Sure, he looked childish, but no one was here. He could vent to the fire, at least. The lapping flames couldn't listen, but they were warm and alive, which was something that Zetsu wasn't used to when it came to company, Who won't you kill, geezer.”

Frustrated, he kicked himself to his feet and paced around the fire. He was getting himself riled up by complaining, he knew it, but he recalled that one day that Shaamah had blessed him with the opportunity to claim his freedom,” Maybe, if I drop a rock on his head in his sleep, then Hibiki will help me drag him to the training ground. I know my brother will side with me for this cause,” Mumbling away, ears perked up and eyes suddenly darted into the darkness that surrounded the camp.

He stared into the shadows for a few minutes before he finally broke his silence,” I gotta pee,” The thought of leaving the warmth of the fire combined with a long glance at the items he was ordered to protect had him hesitating for a moment. If he left, he knew something was going to happen. It was just his luck. Man, he had to go though. He hadn't noticed while he was sitting. Two-toned gaze danced between the trees and his charge, before he relented. There was no one here, it'll just take a second. Trotting off into the trees, shadow claimed him and he found a nice place to relieve himself. Just think. He was helping Sapient by keeping the outside scent markers fresh.

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#5
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(---)

Nothing going on here. Nothing to see.

Calla

Calla's words had always been accented. It was easy to displace her presence with a native in some ways but the accented curl of her words also spoke volumes in discerning that she was from somewhere else, somewhere that wasn't here. For a moment, the look in her eyes is caught somewhere between fear and pliable braveness before they settle on the ambiguous task at hand and she looks down to his feet, displaying some semblance of submission to the stranger that was easily feigned in the presence of the man alone. After all, he had her by far with weight and, well, size for that matter. He could crush her if he desired and she didn't want to leave him with any thought toward doing such a thing.

"I was with my friends, a caravan," it's true that he'd smell another canine on her, one who's scent was remarkably different but blended well into her fur. After all, there were times when she had to get closer to Julia than just a touch of her hand or the brush of fur against fur in getting by. "My sense of direction isn't the best. They left me while I was fetching water and herbs and now I don't know what to do. Can you point me in the direction of the closest pack?" Always good to have at least that knowledge, right?

Julia

Julia's hopes were not in vain. The boy, as she imagined, moved before long. She had thought maybe he would grow tired, fall asleep, making it easier for her to approach. It would have offered less chance of getting caught while also offering some semblance of extra enticement when it came to her predisposition of murdering others in their sleep, if she was able to capture them that way. Of course, she had to watch his mouth opening and closing as if he were talking someone else. Everything in her told her that he wasn't talking to her. After all, he hadn't even so much as glanced her way since he had settled and she had arrived.

It was only when he turned away after rising to his feet that she had any inkling to what she was going to do. Her eyes fell to the armor that had been placed by a tree not too far off from the flames. Careful not to step on anything on the off chance he was actually paying attention, she stole herself into the camp, against the warmth of the flame and in the direction of the armor where it lay propped up nearby. She knew already that it would be heavy, that it wouldn't be easy to carry it for miles without Calla's help but she also knew the woman was only several hundred yards away, probably already talking to the other inhabitant of the camp. That's why she didn't hesitate to curl her fingers around the first piece, hefting it up and over her shoulder.

It didn't occur to her that the armor might have had clanking items attached to it, straps that would sound if she moved them. It probably should have.. but either way, she had it in her grasp and she was already making her move across the small encampment.

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#6
There was little reason to relent to her submission, but it seemed she was doing all in her power to appease the soldier. It wasn't as if she couldn't see what he could do. He made very well sure that there wouldn't be confusion in that aspect. Still, she offered to explain herself. A caravan? Fair enough. Amherst wasn't far from here. Plausible. Yet, as she explained that she was left behind when fetching goods? What sort of caravan would leave behind someone collecting a crucial resources? The rungs on the ladder weren't matching up and it wasn't helping her cause. Shaamah's sole-eyed glare narrowed as broad arms crossed over his chest,” Could you not scenttheir trail?”

The tone was definitely condescending and the soldier wasn't trying to hide a bit of it. He'd judge her with what she didn't say, rather than what she did. However, the woman wasn't doing actively doing anything that might warrant defense and with his close proximity to Sapient? He wasn't going to act his true self unless warranted. Speaking of which,” Salsola is to the south of here,” The low hum of his voice spoke, but he did not gesture. Even a child knew the direction of the sun and moon as they would rise or set.

Let her find out the proper direction through her own means. He certainly wasn't going to unveil Sapient to someone so suspicious and if she truly didn't have a sense of direction, then she'd never find Salsola if she tried. Amherst was her best bet for fools inane enough to give directions. Let them do it. In the off chance that she was lying? Well, she'd know exactly how cheeky he was being. A scrutinizing blue eye was ever watchful for that chance in her approach.

-–

“Ahhhhhh,” Zetsu's voice trailed as he felt the sweet release.

It didn't last terribly long, as the boy hadn't had the water or fresh meat that he should have. He didn't know it, but he was following far to close in his father's example, and it wasn't going to do well for him in the long run if something didn't change. As he finished up, he streched and yawned, a high whine trilling from his maw as he turned on his toes back to the camp. He sauntered lazily, but as he did, it was not the crackling of the fire that was inviting him back.

The jingling of metal.

Shaamah's armor.

“He's gonna kill me, he's gonna kill me, oh no, no no,” From a saunter to a dead sprint, Zetsu scrambled as fast as his body would allow him back to the flames. Just as he was deciding which arm he was going to let Shaamah take for the sake of settling it now, his sights landed on the woman that was loading up on Shaamah's goods. For a second, he stood slack-jawed that someone would have that death wish, but shook himself back to reality and fumbled for his tekko. They danced about as he juggled them, finally taking them into half-grip before charging the woman,” Hey! What are you doing?!”

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#7
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(---)

Nothing going on here. Nothing to see.

Calla

Her blue eyes unabashedly strolled right on over him and to the woods beyond in the direction of his camp, though she was nonchalant about her way of doing it so it only seemed like she was trying to gather her bearings before she chose a general direction to go in. Of course, some of her sentiments toward the giant of a man made her seem like an idiot and she was perfectly content with that, so long as she didn't offer a name or a pack. She was perfectly content with him thinking her an idiot. After all, he would only know her for the next few minutes if that.

She was quick to amble the shake of her head in the negative in regards to his curiosity when it came to whether or not she had scented their direction. Instead, she sighed aloud and stepped closer, reaching her hands out as if she were going to touch him, though she stopped short. "They must have gone through a stream or something. I couldn't pick up their tracks," she answered, bewilderment written across her eyes, her ears that had flattened lightly against the side of her head.

She almost had a fright when he mentioned Salsola, though, and it took everything in her not to swallow that surprise so that her little display seemed all the more reasonable in pursuit of his time and misdirection. He was rude. That much she could give him. Of course, she could be in due time herself, given the right motivation. She crinkled the bridge of her nose and sighed, making a big scene of turning all all four directions, looking at trees, acting as if she were going to walk one way, then turning the next.

In the end, she huffed loudly and pathetically let her shoulders slump. "Which way is South?"

Julia

Unbeknownst to Calla, Julia was almost free of the camp when a shadow from her side emerged like a bull straight out of hell. She half expected him to find her while she was fetching the armor but he came a bit later than she expected by far. She had the time, after seeing him, to dodge the first few blows he rained down toward her but in the end, she had to default use of the armor and whatever metal parts the armor had to protect her from the brunt of the blows offered by the youth at first. A moment. Two moments. She felt herself being pushed back and involuntarily, the armor dropped from her hands to the ground.

She had never really been one for up-close and personal fighting. She had always taken her beatings without putting up a hand to stop them, though in the end, she had cracked and turning into what she was.. well, it was the only thing that had saved her in the end. Her hand was quick to reach down, to grab for her club, tied to her side in a loose sling knot that easily fell loose with a tug and a pull. Instinct dictated she fight back and the desire to kill him was already written in her crazed lavender hued eyes.

Teeth bared, growl rolling from her tongue, spittle following suit, her hand with the weapon raised above her head before she charged him, jumping from the ground to slam into him with all the blunt force of her weight, despite being thin boned. Her assault was driven on the basis that he'd find his place on the ground from her sudden assault. It didn't take into consideration whether or not he'd move out of her way, whether her raining blows with her club with strike home. She didn't answer him, didn't make a move to even listen. After all, she couldn't hear him and she couldn't read his lips right now.

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#8
At the shake of her head and an exhale, she tempted a step forward and dared to reach her hand out to the soldier. Shaamah didn't take well to the closed space and let one aft step put him into a stable stance. The curling of his lips and the wrinkle of his bridge would gift her the idea that she was not welcome and that Shaamah didn't trust a word she spoke. As she carried on, however, the woman continued to speak mindlessly,” You lost them through a stream?” Words were curt. It was that excuse that had him speaking more of his mind than he'd hoped. A caravan, through a stream? The tracks in the mud, the dampening of the earth, the scent of the water carried beyond. The woman was either testing him, or trying to get something out of him and now he was sure of it.

Then, came her scene. She moved around, here and there, seeming to head off and turning back to him in frustration. The woman acted a child, and with dramatic sensation she questioned direction. He growled lowly,” It is where you'll find my patience and my mercy,” Malevolence shined in his dark sapphire glare, his features stern and demanding with intent. The feral nature of his temper was rising in his eyes and the only thing that pulled his gaze away from this woman was the sharp and urgent sound of Zetsubou's voice in the distance. Returning a furious eye to this woman, he dared her to admit her fault, but he didn't come to his son's aid. He wouldn't turn his back to her. Not yet.



With the steadfast strikes of trained precision, Zetsu's tekko battered the armor that topped the woman's form. Slowly, he was gaining ground, but that wasn't what he needed. He needed that armor back or it was his hide. Without thinking, he continued to beat into the heavy leather, unknowingly damaging it's core pieces, bending it's shape and biting pointed, metal teeth into it's surface. There was no relent until the collapse of the armor came with a jingling thud, and he stepped back. There was only a moment to take in what he'd done to the leather,” Why did you do that? Why did I do that!?” He pressed his hands to his head in shock, his fingers still holding the tekko but loosely. This stranger, however, wasn't in the way of backing off.

Falling short of ready for her strike, he stumbled back, catching his feet in the leaves that littered the earth. A thud echoed through his chest as he met the earth on his side and the heavy thrum of the club dropped against the small soft space between his ribs and his hips. Pressed against the ground, with no wind in his lungs, he wheezed a whine of pain and curled beneath her. Wincing, an eye darted up, looking for a sign of anyone that could help, but all he found was his shadow stretching onto the trees where Shaamah had once left. Why was he always alone?

There wasn't any more time to find help. The strength in his arms failed him once, but the gritty scrape of dirt came from beneath him. He was finally on his feet again, and he swung around to face the woman that bore her weapon into his side. A wide swing stretched out from his shoulder, simply gaining space, but it did nothing but ruin his balance. Fumbling to right himself again, a hand curled over his waist, as if it would do something for the pain,” You don't want him to come back; Get out of here!” The youth in his voice stretched hoarse over the rapidly undulating flames and he dropped the tekko to the ground, but the glisten of the fire against her eyes found him fighting more of a beast, than a person. He could see Shaamah in her eyes, and something in him churned. His stomach twisted.

Bracing his arms before his face, straightening his spine and keeping the weight to his back leg, Zetsu formed up. Hackles lifted and despite the civility of Sapient, a feral growl rumbled in him. Fists balled tightly and lurch in his shoulders brought a barrage of powerful strikes to meet his new enemy with the speed of the beat of his heart. If she was anything like Shaamah, anything like the man who cursed him by his birthright, he'd make sure she knew what she was getting herself into.
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#9
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(---)

Nothing going on here. Nothing to see.

Calla

She wasn't sure how long she could last with the current going-ons. The brute was no more interested in helping her than she was in keeping him here, though she had to do her best to give Julia some time. She had not heard anything their way in some time, though she was quite sure that she would if something went sour and she prayed to the gods and all who were holy that Julia would get into their camp unseen or heard and get out with valuables that rivaled the brunt behavior of the warrior who stood before her. She was no fighter, at least not yet, and she had no desire to remain this far from pack lands with a bull on her backside and Julia injured, as she supposed the girl would be if she had any trouble worth noting.

The warrior perked up at her approach, his fur bristling and she could tell by the way his tail stiffened and his ears went back a little on his head that he would attack or defend himself if she got too much closer so she made no move of it short of keeping what ground she had already taken which still kept her within distance of his grip if he decided she was no longer worth his time, effort, or ingenuity. But that's when she heard his companion's call for help and the look in her eyes changed from desire for help to momentary indecision based on the alert nature of the stranger's body language.

He did not tuck tail and run in support of whoever it was back at the camp and that gave Julia time to gather her wits about her and get out of there before either of them started that way. Because Calla might have followed the beast back but if she was caught, truly caught, within the giant's grip, she wouldn't stay there to protect her. She would run and leave the girl to her vices and never look back again. "Be that as it may," she started, her voice low enough that it withheld any emotion she may have been feeling in reference to Julia, her partner, and the situation back at the man's camp, reason for his partner to call for him through the woods.

"If you just point me in the right direction, I would be more than happy to get out of your hair."

Julia

Julia knew she was in some sort of trouble but the thrill of the battle at hand and the feral desire to kill the boy was too much for her. She wanted to claim her trophy now, so that she could steal the armor, battered as it was, and make her clean get away but the boy was resilient enough that even as he battered the armor and his clawed knuckles dug deep gauges into the leather, as firm as it was, he was gaining ground and she was forced to fight back in the only way that she could. He was shocked, so full of it that he let down his guard, and that's when she struck, knocking him off his balance so that he staggered back and the brunt of her blows wailed hard into his side, his ribs and diaphragm and she was left sputtering a snarl that sounded unearthly coming from the lips and snout of a deaf canine.

When he moved to spin around, she took that chance to step back and he regained his footing in that tidbit of time, dropping the weapon he had intended to use upon her in turn for his fists instead.

That brought a crazed, loony grin to her maw, sharp teeth grinding, as he lurched forward with fists and claws in an attempt to rain blows upon her. He was large, she was smaller. His height, weight, and the force of his blows slowed him while she had speed on her side and advantage.

The first few blows were painful, one striking her in the shoulder farthest from him, the other catching that very same arm but the others went over her head as she ducked, grabbing hold of his arm upon one of his swings with both of her own as her teeth went searching for the inevitable bite she had been waiting to inflict upon him. Her jaws enclosed sharp teeth around one of his fingers and she knew what it was by the claw that cut against her cheek.

In an instant, her head was ripping and twisting and biting with all the force she could muster, feral growl writhing from her throat with the taste of blood fresh upon her tongue and the pain in her shoulder and arm flaring heat against her fur.

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#10
No matter the ground he had gained before, despite the fact that he was riddling her with blows, she was unstoppable. The steadfast woman ducked beneath the flurry of fists that he threw wildly toward her. From below him, she took one of his arms. The jerk brought him off balance, lurching over to one side with a startled grunt. In cunning malice, she latched onto the first bit of his hands she could find and the ivory that cut into the joint of his knuckle exploded in fire and lightning. He growled as he tried to pull back, his eyes glossing over with the pain.

There was no hope for release. The woman's head threw in all directions, Zetsu's arm thrown wildly around, pulling his arm at his shoulder and taking him off of his feet. The anger he had grown into, the sudden feral nature that passed through him was gone immediately. His growl was gone, shriveled up into trepidation, echoing from the campsite,"AAAUGH!" His wailing cries were unfurled with real pain, real fear. Shaamah's armor was gone from his mind, and the fear that came with it's theft. The heat of the fire turned cold and his skin rippled with the waves of pain that coursed through him. Grabbing his forearm with his free hand, he fell back as she tore at him. Still, she wrenched and twisted at his hand, her jaws locked as the blood started dripping to the earth and down the silver reaches of his fur.

“Let go! Let go, please!” Terror, screams and sobs filled his throat as he did anything he could to get her off of him. He couldn't pull his hand free of her teeth, so in desperation, he put his hand against her head and tried to pry her maw open. He couldn't get a grip. His own blood prevented his grip, swirling with her saliva and her bubbling growls. In one last impetus act to free himself, he curled forward and bent at the knee. Rearing his foot up, he coiled and sprung, bringing the heel of his foot down upon her head.
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#11
She'd been the wiser to not approach him further, showing enough wit through for his suspicions to raise. Were she really as foolish as she played, it would have been an easy moment to knock her from her feet. No, she was guarded. The azure eyes that danced beneath the earthy fringe atop her crown were calculating. It was a silent stand off between the two of them as Zetsubou's hollers broke the silence of the night. With each note from his son's throat, he bristled further. His blood growing his, his teeth slipping from the veil of black lips. Yet, at her hesitation to near him, his mind's eye; the veteran's instinct rang out. She was apprehensive of him, and by sight, she knew what he was capable of and how willing he'd be to do what he needed to. Then, her voice broke the ear-ringing silence that had come between them at his threats and in between Zetsu's yell.

She sounded calm. Too calm, despite the chaos that was unfolding beside the fire.

A pallid, thulian tongue slipped over the concealed teeth, vanilla with age and dripping with drool as a growl rolled through him. They were being swindled and this was the ploy. It explained her casual stupidity and her insistence, despite fact. Now it was time for him to take a little bit of ground from her. Without the tekko in his grip, he stretched his hands at his waste as shoulders curled forward. He hadn't been completely fooled, but he'd allowed the thieves to get where they needed to be,” My price for theft is blood, cur. Pray tell, is it wor-”

The thick roil of his voice was brought short by the wild, strained screams from Zetsu's throat, and on instinct, he struck. A wide swung arm was thrown through him, muscles sliding beneath sinew as momentum was brought toward her. Well, if he was lucky, then they'd have run his bastard son through with a blade and saved him some time. Nevertheless, his armor was there, his tekko and his supplies. Rather than stay here and deal with her games any longer, Shaamah offered her one last, heavy glare, and spun around. Charcoal footpaws loped over brush as he took a straight line through the forestry for the glow of the fire.
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#12
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Feel free to light PP Julia if you need to. xP Obviously, I want her to get away. WITH the armor but whatever you feel is necessary. Worse case, I can change things. Let me know if I need to. Tongue

Calla

Calla had never come into physical contact with someone as large as the man across from her. She had never even conceived that she might be forced to protect herself against a man who had such raw presence that she knew he was dangerous without ever actually trading blows. Her lessons were few and incomplete and even the small training she'd done in the past was meaningless when faced with a situation that could have meant death if she wasn't remaining aware of her surroundings, the placement of her feet or even the way she spoke to him.

The shouts from camp were what drew her attention initially and she forgot to feign ignorance on her part when it came to the situation at hand for fear that Julia might be hurt, that Julia would turn her over in a heartbeat if she was captured. That fear inevitably fell away as more present thoughts accumulated at the forefront of her mind... Like Shaamah inching in her direction, his fists balled and his entire presence both on alert and coiled like a spring ready to batter her into a bloody carcass on the ground before him.

When the sounds of screams came from the camp, screams that were surprisingly not Julia's, Calla's small, faint smile failed to make its way across her lips and her eyes triggered by the sounds, settled firmly on Shaamah. When he came at her, fists flying, she thought she was going to die for the thought was firm in the back of her mind, seeds planted by the man's indelicate approach in her direction and when he came, it was like a mountain rushing her. Fear, perhaps, and adrenaline were the only thing that saved her from a prickling blow that would have knocked her out cold. She fell back inconspicuously, flat on her ass, and as the screams grew more tumultuous and fearful, the man's attention thankfully turned from her and his eyes and body were drawn toward his companion that had been left back at the camp.

Eyes wide, fearful, and more than a little perplexed by the situation and her luck, Calla rose right after he did, keeping some distance between her steps and his as she followed him back toward the camp.

Julia

Julia had taken blows before from bullies and shop keepers, from merchants and food salesmen who thought it was in their best interest to beat the girl because she was deaf and couldn't hear them curse behind her back, because they thought she was stupid when in fact, she was one of the most intelligent individuals they probably had ever had the possibility of meeting, at least in her eyes. She was stubborn, illogical, hard to pinpoint and to hold onto. Perhaps that's why it had been so easy, along with all her other training from her father, to get herself in a position that made it possible for her to claim her rightful treasure, one of his fingers.

She felt her teeth enclose around one, sharp canines dutifully clinging, tearing, ripping at flesh why the mongrel screamed so loud that she felt the vibrations running through his hand and into her mouth, along with the taste of blood that was so fervent in flavor that she probably could have gone for another finger at that point. With her initial bite, he came off his feet and onto his knees, his hand and arm bent where she had grabbed him, forcing him down with all her weight and her snared bite against his finger.

Hounds were often trained to kill foxes before their masters could, to hold the little beasts when they scratched, clawed, bit at them, if their masters couldn't reach them. Instinct and drive toward getting what she wanted was second to none. When he wrenched back, trying to reclaim his hand, she tugged and pulled harder, feeling teeth gnash into bone. Blood joined spittle and the ground was soaked with it, along with the underside of her jaw and her hair, stained red in places where she was forced to shake and snag at him like a.. well, dog. He begged and she didn't hear him. See him. No, she had only three goals. Get his finger, kill the bastard and steal away with both the armor AND the weapon he'd used on her and the armor now that she had seen the damage it had done to the leather and metal bits.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite happen like that. He was wry, forceful, even through their little bout and she, despite being stubborn and sharp witted, hadn't noticed him maneuvering himself to get the drop on her. A foot crashed into her head, rebounding off of her ear with sent a sharp ringing, blinding flash of white before her eyes and she shook harder until she felt flesh and bone crack, yield and rip away, force of his kick knocking her back to the ground but also lending her the force needed to rip the appendage from flesh and bone. at the joint just beneath the knuckle.

It took only a few seconds to realize what had happened, between the screams and tormented cries of the youth in uncontrolled pain and the new 'treat' she held in her mouth. She jolted to her feet, staring him down, Cheshire grin pointedly snaring over her fangs and she grabbed hold of the finger between her lips and shoved it down into her old, worn hoodie's pocket for safe keeping.

She had enough time to bend down, to grab hold of her club and to jump back into the fray where she made an attempt to straddle him, to hold his good hand down and her fist was raised, club in hand and ready to deal a death blow, when the freight train of a figure stormed from the bushes right toward her, her eyes going wide but otherwise no fear shown. Two for the price of one, huh?

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#13
Heel to head, his foot met her with the force of dire urgency and raw, terrified instinct to escape this bear trap of her teeth. What unhoned instinct had given him, however, was not in his favor. The force of his heel had rung through her jaw and sent her backward, her teeth sinking that last measurement into his finger and tearing the digit from his hand. There was no respite. Pain shot through him as he crawled backward from her, with only one hand to guide him. Dirt and leaves scattered beneath him, dust clouding up before being carried off.

He was able to get back to one knee, his other leg sprawled out as a wave of hot agony coarse through him. Lurching over, he gripped his wrist as two-toned eyes finally had a picture for what she'd done. Syrupy blood dripped from his wound. His grip on his wrist cupped the blood flow in his forearm. Leaning over himself, he screamed again. Even when Shaamah had broken his nose, there hadn't been a pain like this. It was the worst thing he'd ever felt in his life. No training pain could compare, and were he of a righter mind, what Shaamah had been attempting to teach him all these years might have clicked. There was no time for recollection, there was no thought in his mind but the pain, and what way he could get rid of it.

Julia, on the other hand, was still quick to finish what she had started. Zetsu saw a flash of red, then black, and when he opened his eyes he was beneath her. Her thighs on either side of him, and the twilight sky behind her. Only the ringing of blood called in his ears. The hot orange glow of the fire outlined her figured, the club that was lifted above her head and here eyes glowed fiercely in the night. His own arms caged his face as he turned away, his expression twisted with expectation of what was to come.

When nothing came, he cautiously opened an eye and peeked through his arms. Hot blood dribbled on his face from his hand as his heavy breath heaved. The boy hadn't even known he was holding until his lungs screamed for release. She wasn't even looking at him. Warily, he turned to follow her gaze, eyes alight with dread and the flesh beneath his fur growing pale. There was a demon in the night headed there way, and Zetsu, for once in his sad life, was glad to see the man.
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#14
There was footfall behind him, likely by that she-wretch that had stolen too much of his time, but the pressing matters were ahead. Branches slapped him in the face and he turned his crown down as he rushed past them, no room for moving them out of the way. It would only slow him down, and he wasn't very fast to begin with. He gulped down deep breaths as he moved, powering his muscles with the air they needed as his lips frothed at their corners and a snarl sounded with each inhale, curling in his throat.

Bursting through the brush, he leap low to clear the short distance from the verdant bushes that surrounded the edge of the camp. Powerful legs caught the rest of him upright, cemented to the earth as the trenches his claws raked through the dirt changed the direction that all of his weight pulled against. Atop Zetsubou was a female, club arched and primed, and wide eyes gaping at the suddenness of the furious entrance.

No words slipped from the soldiers roaring throat, only the thunder of a threat and a promise, the fury of dilated pupils and an irritated, lifted coat. His shadow stretched across the campsite, thrown wildly by the flames that seemed to lift higher with the chaos that unfolded. Dust riddled the firewood and crackled in the blaze, as a broad charcoal hand whipped through the smokey haze and wrenched the club from her hand following up to bright her to the earth with a stiff shoulder. A firm grip was released on the weapon, sending it sailing away from them both and the woman that had been tailing him from behind, and Julia was knocked from her quarry roughly to the earth.

Zetsu's tongue hung from his mouth, a pale gray from terror as he struggled to get out from beneath his aggressor. It seemed she relented to the new challenge, with her prize of the young man's digit won for now and Zetsu scrambled away, only to be in the path of his father's call to arms. A lone, blue eye sought to access the situation, but the soldier wasn't so daft to leave his back to where he'd came. Paces back found Zetsu under his feet, and the soldier offered the whimpering boy a kick. The warm hues of the boy's coat were dulled with dirt as he rolled away, tumbling to a halt and gripping at his gut with a moan. His foot space free, he came to face the two women that sought to rob him. One he knew to be a liar, the other? Well, she was soaked in just as much dirt and blood as his wretched son. Lips reached back from the vanilla canines that glistened and shivered with saliva through a throaty roil.
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