[M] Signs To Turn Back 101
AW for one!

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.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: gore warning, and cannibalistic stuff I suppose.

OOC: Midmorning, northwest of the landbridge to the D'Laniger Peninsula, southwest of the unnamed river forks.

He had tracked them for two days, plodding along slowly finding rest site after rest site. Thread knew not who they were, or what they were doing, all he knew is that they were right on his doorstep, and then immediately stepped away. Was it a group looking to raid him? Or merely a family who decided it was best not to go onto the small landbridge. Whatever the reason, Thread was very annoyed that he hadn’t been able to locate them. He had to give them, they covered their tracks incredibly well.

Very small fires had been lit. Whatever they were used for, the man could not tell. The only thing left behind were the occasional deep track in soil. He was lucky to even find the places where they had stopped. Whether he was just that good, or was just plain lucky was hard to parse. Regardless, Thread believed that whoever they were, they were now too far to be a threat. He also figured he’d lose them eventually. There was no sense in straying too far from home. The man had his ward and his wife to return to. Well, mate was more apt. He and Kohl had yet to hold any ceremony for it.

Love was a rather easy-going affair where he was from, but out in the mainland it seemed that almost every pack and group had strange and strict rules to pairing up with someone. The world off of his island was much slower, and yet so much more chaotic. He felt like everyone would be better off taking a page out of his people’s book. Life was so much easier to endure without so many inane rules to follow.

It was on his walk where he noticed an odd scent. Blood and guts, but he could not find the gore. The man sniffed the air, trying to locate the source. He wandered through the colorful, yet ever-barren trees. Meandering through the brush, Thread eventually came upon a rather macabre scene. Entrails hung from tree limbs, blood soaked the ground. The man could not see any meat anywhere. No muscle, no sinew, nor any bones. He did find a hide though, and the man took it without batting an eye. He massaged his thumbs in it, and then pressed his nose to the fur.

It was not a deer hide, no, not a prey animal. It smelled like a canine, through and through. Saturated in the scent of someone like him. Thankfully he did not know who it had belonged to, but the fact that there was a fellow fella-skinner around did put him on edge. And even more thankfully it was all cold and dried, the entrails weren’t even tacky. This kill was at least a day old, maybe more. Thread rolled the skin up, and stuffed it in his pack. “Sorry dis happened to ya,” he said solemnly. “I dunno who ya are, but I’ll put what’s left of ya to gud use, I promise.” Thread spoke to the deceased like they were right there with him, it was out of respect he held for all life taken.

The man only hoped that whoever had killed the poor soul were making the best out of what they took.
[Image: lantern.png]  Wordtober (Consolation)  ichor

With his friend away from home, Odysseus had no choice but to wander the unclaimed wilderness beyond New Caledonia's realm -- alone with his blades, his thoughts, and the dwindling dregs of his wine.

He was feeling sorry for himself about it.

Del Cenere seemed like a utopia in hindsight, full of interesting people and great booze, but Odie knew he couldn't overstay his welcome with the coyotes unless he wished to join them. The prospect had piqued his interest, but he knew the stockshow presented a friendlier picture of the gang than what was likely honest. And he was no stable-mucker. Staying for the whiskey (and the men) was a bad reason, and Odie was -- at this current moment in time -- pretending he was reasonable.

So he walked around, hungry most of the time, sleeping on wet leaves, rationing out his drink, and waiting. About a week was promised. If he could keep sane in a ship's cabin for a month, he could do this.

Still he wished something interesting would happen, and eventually Odysseus was granted this wish.

It was the scent that he noticed first, too: the putrid stink of days-old ichor and other waste.  Horripilation raised his hackles in a stiff line as he headed toward the source of the odor. When he noticed the pink rope dangling from the branches, he fought the urge to vomit and instead drew his shortsword without his usual flair.

"You," Odysseus barked when he noticed the stranger. His voice was a bit too high, but he set his teeth in a growl. "What happened?"

Someone had been killed here -- or dismembered. The stains on the leaves at their feet suggested far more blood than old entrails could drip. But his amber eyes steadily took in the details, or lack thereof, without even the pelt as evidence as it had been packed away. He wondered if he was mistaken, and those were prey guts hung up for processing, but no. He trusted his instinct in dangerous scenarios, and he knew the smell of canine blood well enough.

The stocky wolf that he stared at now could have been the killer, returned to the scene, or another stranger as shocked as Odie was. The swordsman did not sheathe his weapon, but neither did he point it at the wolf.

[Image: odiedodie.gif]
Another joined to gaze at the scene. Perhaps that’s what the killer had wanted. Many to see their work, though why place it in the middle of no where if that was the case. The reason mattered not at the moment, as there was a cautious man behind him, holding a sword. With a blade pointed at his back, Thread’s arm ached and his hand itched. They wanted to grab his hatchet to balance the playing field, but the man knew he didn’t have the time to turn around and counter. It could also make him look guilty.

Not wanting to add more blood to the scene, especially his, Thread raised his hands up with his upper arms out to his side to show he wasn’t currently armed. “I dunno what happened,” he told the newcomer. “Found dem like dis, da pelt’s in my bag, d’ough,” he explained. “Gonna bury dem when I git home.” Thread lied to cover his own hide. He planned on respecting the dead in a different way. Probably to keep his wife warm through the winter. His coat was thick enough to keep him toasty, but hers was better suited to the desert she came from. The scene was grisly, even Thread believed that, but he tried to maintain his innocence. “I’ve been trackin’ until I found dis, da trail’s very hard ta follow,” the man explained. “I ‘spected one or two folks, didn’t tink I’d find someting like dis.”

He turned around to face the newcomer, eyeing the man’s sword before looking at him. Thread never dropped his arms, but he was now very aware of how heavy they were after traveling for so long. “What’re ya doing out dis way?” he asked. “Are ya Caldonian?” He knew a few of that bunch now, thanks to his daughter. Thread was warming up to calling Jonk a friend, but that strange horse man’s mate was cold and terse with him. He knew not why, and it bothered him. “I’ve got sum frens out dat way,” he told the stranger. “Dey should know ‘bout dis, considering dat it’s a lil’ close ta deir borders.”

Thread held no ill will to the cautious unfamiliar man, but he did wish for less metal to be pointed at him. If they had met in a different way, he wouldn’t be trying to put tasks in the man’s head. If he was New Caledonian, which Thread was betting on, he’d then want to run home and leave Thread to do the same, but in the other direction. The murder scene was much more pertinant than his wish to compliment the newcomer. It would be better for everyone if they just went their separate ways, or at least put their armaments away. Even with the macabre display nearby, and sword pointed at him, Thread found his interrogator fetching. The markings on the man's face almost reminded him of home. A welcome sight in the big, odd world he found himself in.

Hands raised, empty of weaponry or tool (like a butcher's knife), at the end of long arms. A deep voice responded with an accent familiar yet dissimilar to ones Odysseus heard in the southern swamps, explaining that the wolf had merely come across the scene, which had included a skinned pelt. Odie sucked air in through his teeth at this new detail, his imagination forming a hideous picture of a flayed Luperci. He found himself hoping that the individual had been dead when this all occurred.

He was thinking how difficult it was to read honesty or deception from the back of someone's head when the wolf turned, revealing light yellow eyes and an undershot jaw with an exposed fang. Odysseus frowned, his ears twitching up at mention of the nearby pack -- but did not answer until the stranger elaborated at he had friends there.

After a beat, he shook his head. "I'm not, but I have a friend there too," he said, his stomach twisting at the thought of Battalion coming across a similar scene -- or becoming part of one. His eyes hardened, but he tried to relax his posture for the other's sake, lowering the point of his sword further. "I was going to visit. I can tell them then." He wondered how capable the pack would be at dealing with such a threat, wondered if they had warriors in addition to tailors and brewers.

If he had his way, Odysseus would deal with the threat himself.

Another few moments of tense silence followed before Odysseus sheathed his sword at last, though he rested his hand on the hilt as he stared at the intestines hanging from the trees, a ball in his throat. "You said you were tracking folks when you came across this?" His voice, usually bright and full of flair, remained direct and pointed. "Why? Had you found another victim or signs before this?"

[Image: odiedodie.gif]
As time went on, the answers he gave seemed to be acceptable to the stranger, based on the fact that the sword slowly went away from him. Thread was relieved that the implement wouldn’t be used to impale him, yet anyway. With the weapon away, Thread let his arms fall to his sides, and though he still wanted to hold onto his hatchets, he figured that thought wasn’t a good idea. It was making him anxious, being unable to hold his tools of war, but it was for the best. Ony once on even footing did his nerves settle, though not fully.

“No bodies, jus’ tracks and small fires,” he explained. “I found tracks and t’ings near my home, I t’ought it odd, cause it looked like dey jus’ skedaddled for sum reason.” The only threat in the area that Thread knew about was himself. He had done his due diligence to chase off any pesky predators or less-than-cordial Luperci. The area around his home was safe, but beyond it there seemed to be a killer. “I followed deir trail, but it was covered very well. I dunno if dey did dis, or if dey jus kep on going. I gave up on following dem when I smelled dis,” Thread continued, gesturing to the tree behind him with a thumb when he talked about the smell.

He knew most weren’t as diligent as he was when it came to protecting his territory. No, diligent wasn’t quite the word for it to the extent of which he did. Spending days to find whoever it was that came, never said hi, and then went. The man was quickly realizing how odd it sounded to follow someone who hadn’t wronged him for so long. Odd to an outsider anyway, to him the idea was secure. Keeping him and his own safe was the priority. "Glad I did 'dough," he added after a moment of reflection. Was he a bit too much? Perhaps, but he had kept his people safe for all of his life. Ensuring the safety of loved ones was all he knew. "Wouldn't've known 'dere was a killer out n' 'bout." The man was trying to justify his reasons for doing something that seemed insane to an outsider, to an outsider.
Odysseus swallowed down bile that threatened to wash acidic against the back of his tongue, an ear turned toward the stocky wolf as he explained his reasons for following the trail he'd discovered. It made sense to him, if in a twisted sort of way, but he refrained from commenting until the stranger mentioned that he was glad he had.

"True," the hound conceded. Fate was a funny thing; he'd met several Luperci who claimed that everything—even terrible things—happened for a reason, sometimes according to a deity's plans. Odie thought that was just a clever way to reassure oneself. Sometimes—most of the time, he would argue—shit just happened, as it had to the poor victim whose small intestine was looped around the bare branches.

He hoped his dwindling supply of alcohol was enough to intoxicate him tonight. He was bound to have terrible nightmares.

He returned his gaze to the wolf, raising a dark brow as he mused back over his defense. "You must be a very paranoid person, amigo," he remarked without judgment. Who else would decide that passersby had dark motives, and that they hadn't just decided to turn back for some reason or another? That the tracks were covered lent credence to the idea that they might have been up to no good, but what if they themselves had gotten spooked?

"Or a very protective one," he relented after a moment, the side of his mouth quirking in the hint of a smile.

[Image: odiedodie.gif]
Words he didn’t understand hit his ears quite often, at least right after he left his original island home. What was uttered by the stranger did not sound like an insult, and Thread wondered what it meant. Whatever the word and its meaning, it did not matter too much, as the man he encountered was no longer poised and ready to impale him through the chest. His itchy battle grip was lessening in severity too. “Been a protector since da day I cud fight,” he explained. “Jus comes naturally I guess.”

Paranoid was a good word for it though, but Thread almost always meant well. Sure he robbed and stole from time to time, but only for things he or his loved ones needed. Sometimes those robberies turned into a fight, and sometimes those fights became fights for his life. He had won every single one of those so far, and he intended to keep doing that. Win. Thankfully there was no fight to be had today, not yet anyway. “My name is Treh... Freh—” He paused, face scrunching up with annoyance as he did. The man mouthed his name a few times, trying to get the motions of his tongue and lips right, so he could say it correctly. The “Th” sound was a difficult one for him, entirely unuttered in his homeland. He knew how to write it though, and that’s how he learned of that mythical sound.

“Thread,” he finally said, after a moment of great difficulty. He was trying to train his tongue to match those of the mainland. “It’s hard ta say it in da way folks do out here,” he explained, ears pinned back a little in embarrassment. He was a very strange looking, and sounding man. He smelled odd too. "What do ya call yerself?"
Odysseus would have liked to call himself a protector, too, but deep down he knew that the only person he really protected was himself.

This was paradoxically harmful. Selfish in his selflessness, the swordsman would not have hesitated to give his life in exchange for any friend or stranger. Had he been in a darker place, he might have sought this killer himself and striven to perform one last heroic act.

But even the small tether of his promise to visit Battalion was enough to hold him, at least this time. Odysseus had broken many grand and sweeping oaths over the years, but never the little ones.

The man with the misaligned jaw struggled to sound out his name, but Odie had heard many accents over many years of travel and did not judge him for this. ”Thread,” he repeated, and smiled. Something as simple as the exchanging of names made him feel a little less on edge, as macabre as their surroundings were.

”I’m Odysseus.”
I'm trying to close some older threads, so do you mind if we OOC end this? <3

[Image: odiedodie.gif]

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