[P] [M] Savoureux
For Scott/Thread

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: detailed violence/gore, cannibalism.

[Image: lantern.png]  Wordtober   AGHAST - 10/21

Egregore was glad that Marten had invited him. All three of him enjoyed Marten as a friend and good company, and she had interesting folk that lingered around her as well. Among them was a man named Thread. Upon meeting him, Egregore realized he had heard his voice before. When Blood met her for the first time, he recalled how the man had called her name. That was the cue he took to leave, dragging Polymorph behind him. They disappeared quickly with hardly a trace, for Blood was far more paranoid then. He still was now, but he now trusted Marten enough to accept an invitation for something of a feast.

It was a good time, if not just a new experience with even newer people. He had seen this area before they had set up camp there, their shelters transforming the landscape into something more stable. It was far from the stability Salsola had, but that was what made it a nice change of pace for Blood.

Now, it was time for what some would consider the 'unsavory' part. Mind, by habit, edged on Egregore's consciousness to finish the bounty. There was something they had to do while in this area. Yet, Blood insisted he remain in front. It would be less disorienting this way. If they were to dedicate themselves more to the Shield faction (with the lofty goal of becoming the pack's Paladin), each of them needed to grow more accustomed to this work.

To that end, Blood remained. Tracking the target of the bounty took time, but he managed it more quickly than he had expected. With his muscle memory, locating them was a swift task. As was dispatching them. They were weakened by an infected injury and were on their own. He did not think much of the task, he simply focused on it and got the work out of the way. It brought complicated feelings as he dealt with moving the body, however. He had enough strength to heft it over his shoulder, but something about the rapidly cooling flesh bothered him. When Blood initially fled his home, he wanted to forget about doing things like this. He would have looked aghast upon what he was doing now. But when he tried to leave this work behind, he simply became someone else. Soul. He needed to accept and cope with the fact that all of Egregore's true profession and fate lie in violence, or he would be hiding from the truth. No longer could he live in denial or run from himself... and his true skill for the violence.

"No, not just violence," Mind reminded, echoing within the confines of their shared head.

"<Yes, we are protecting our people now. This is an honor,>" Soul thought to him in Russian.

"<If you say so,>" Blood muttered darkly and aloud to himself.

The long legs of his victim trailed through snow. The heels of their paws would occasionally gouge out some of the white powder, bringing with it dark and wet leaflitter. Mind told him to avoid any sort of wounding that would spill too much blood, and now he was telling him he needed to go back and cover these tracks once the body was disposed of. Egregore sighed wearily. He may not be used to this yet, but Blood was dedicated just as the other two were to joining the Shield faction.
The visit went well enough, though Thread wasn’t the most comfortable host. Having been surrounded by company for so long made the male a bit stressed. Once they were gone however, Thread was able to relax. A deep sigh, followed by a periodic sigh of relief. He was no longer tense, but the man appeared to be tired. As he cleaned up, gnawing meat off bones not quite stripped clean, he noticed a small piece of parchment by the log Egregore had been seated on prior. He held it to the firelight for a better look.

He was by no means a scholar, but the odd man could read and write with a little bit of time an effort. However, he was unable to discern anything written out on the note. Showing it to Kohl, she too had no idea. Figuring it might be important, he set out. A kiss for Kohl and a ruffle of the ears for his ward were given before the man set off to find Egregore. The man hoped he’d catch Marten’s friend before he was too far to be found. If not he could hold onto the note until the next time he saw the grey man with odd eyes.

The patches of snow and frost helped the seasoned warlord track the fella. Reminders of the winter to come. They hadn’t much in the way of foodstores, but Thread had survived cold and ice on an island much smaller and much less forgiving. He followed the tracks in the snow until he stopped at a disturbance. Leaf litter was upturned, and he could smell blood. Not much, but it was there. Dropping down to his hands and paws, the man did not bother to shift as he sniffed and snuffled in the moist, upturned dirt. He could smell Egregore, and one other. A stranger.

Fearing the worst, Thread rose to his two legs and took off after the trail. Two things dragged, seemingly motionless, only jostled by whatever was carrying them and the land itself. Preemptively pulling his hatchet from his belt, the man sprinted, cutting the air with the wedge as he careened himself forward. The smell of ichor fresh in his nose and on his mind, he was geared for a fight. If Egregore was hurt, or worse, whoever was responsible was about to get their bones crushed.

And then Thread stumbled on the scene. Egregore was fine, but he was dragging a body. The man panted heavily, his position more than given away by his sound. “Hey dere,” he breathed out, grip still tight on the handle of his weapon. “What ya doin'?”

He was guilty of murder too, but it wasn’t every day one saw someone dragging a motionless, body.
[Image: wolfmoon.gif]  Word of the day  Catercorner - 11/04/22

Egregore instinctively froze. Someone had caught him in the act for once. This was a very rare occurrence, and definitely one he would have loved to avoid. Marten's father (or other relation, he was honestly not sure) had followed him. Dread filled him. It was a mistake to allow outsiders in and trust them. Blood hated to be faced with proof of that. He just wanted to avoid killing his friends. He liked them and he wanted to spare them their lives and spare himself from the trouble.

"<Shit,>" he whispered to himself. "Ah, heyllo. Just... moving zis forrr... perrrsonal rrreasons..."

The stress blared like alarms in his head. The other two were immediately alert. Soul and Mind were both incredibly shocked and upset. This was not what Blood had intended.

"This is why we're unable to be an Informatore, it's all because of you," Mind groaned internally.

"How arrre you zen, frrriend?" he asked. Mervousness laced in his tone much like the poison in the corpse. He was catercorner to him; much too close for comfort.
He was not satisfied at all with what Egregore had told him. Callously calling the body a thing, when Thread knew that not too long ago the person could tell their name, their feelings, ambitions, and dreams. Bodies were more than an object. They were a person, what is left of every breathing being that exists and will exist. They had lived a life, but were robbed of it in one way or another. In death, the provided, if given the opportunity. Thread’s eyes narrowed, he wasn’t about to kill his daughter’s friend, but he was very unhappy with their predicament.

“I might be jus one man, but I can claim quite a bit of land, eh?” he began, not exactly sure where he was going. Rolling his wrist, Thread felt the weight and balance of his hatchet. The man knew he could throw it and hit a nearby target if need be. “Dat means da deer’re mine, da birds too, and all da animals. If I can run folks off, I own da land, got it?” Thread was drawing a constantly moving line in the dirt of a map he didn’t have, but he knew the land quite well, and roamed it. “Da folks in it too, dere mine; I gotta see if dey’re frens or if I should chase em’ away, ya know?” Thread’s tone was sharp, a little accusatory. In all honesty he was insulted that someone made a kill in his territory, on a person no less.

“Dey coulda’ been one of Marten’s frens, ya know?” he twisted the argument. It wasn’t just him out there, he had his daughter’s habit of befriending everyone to contend with too. “Now, my hands get bloody too sumtimes, but dat’s never my intention,” the crooked man admitted. “Long ago I killed ta eat, ta keep my people goin’. Now I do it ta protec Marten n’ Kohl, and everyone else!” Himself included, but he mattered little when compared to his companions. “So ya better be wounded, dis have better been in self defense.” The man warned, pointing his weapon at Egregore. Anger an annoyance could easily be heard in his words. He wasn’t challenging, nor was he making any real evidence that he intended to kill the grey man. “Exspose yerself! Show me dat yer wounded, if ya can’t den ya better give a better fuckin’ explanation dan dat!” There was a lot of power in that mishapen wolf's voice, it was clear that he probably held power at some point in his life.
Thread appeared totally unamused with the situation, and Egregore could sense a possible ensuing conflict. He very well could fight Thread, but Blood could not muster the desire to throw the first stone. He was his friend, or a friend of a friend at the very least. Marten would certainly be beside herself if he and Thread were to enter a physical altercation. Egregore thought briefly of running, but he was not suited for pursuit at current. He needed to dispose of the body somehow, it was not good for his Job to leave it where it could be found and foul play could be assumed. Besides, there was no telling if he could outrun Thread and lose him well enough in order to properly disappear into the wilds. He had managed to give Marten the slip once before, but he knew that her guardian was a different story.

"I underrrstand zis is yourrr terrritorrry," Egregore ground out, hauling the body closer to himself. "I am sorrry forrr offending you. Howeverrr, I do not feel comforrrtable exposing myself."

To do so would reveal his Hand of Eris. He was glad to have had the time to visit his friends for their gathering, but that did not mean he could trust them with such information. Unfortunately, no Outsider should be allowed to know he was Salsolan. His lips were sealed, whether he liked it or not.

"Am not injurrred anyvay, I admit. Howeverrr, I know she vas not Marrrten's frrriend. She vas enemy of mine, and I had need forrr perrrsonal rrrevenge forrr past misdeeds. She had hurrrt my family, you must understand." He spoke confidently and smoothly with the help of Mind in his co-conscious.

He was, of course, lying. Mind was still annoyed for Blood's previous blunder, but he had a stake in aiding with smoothing this situation out. They could not bring conflict back to their queendom. With a sigh, Egregore gently set the corpse down at the base of his own feet. He was not thrilled to have been stalled like this.

"Vhateverrr can I do to make up forrr upsetting you, Zrrread? I rrrespect you as a frrriend, and vish to apologize."

He offered a verbal olive branch to him now, and he meant it genuinely. It was his hope he could find a way to appease him, for more than one reason.
Thread eyed the corpse, and then the heterochromic wolf. He was unimpressed, and wholly upset. Killing for revenge was so petty, but protecting one’s family was admirable. He couldn't fault anyone for anger harbored towards someone who harmed those they loved. Letting that anger fester into violent hatred was deplorable, demonic. His pack would descend upon murderers, as there was no room for bad blood between shared blood. Though Thread was guilty of killing his own father, he did so as a challenge to lead the pack. He held no love for the lazy man, and once he ruled, Thread ushered his people into a new era.

This act was different. A near complete stranger. A past deed done, brought to the present with new bloodshed. “What’d she do ta deserve death, den?” Thread prodded, his voice less rageful, but still burning. He could boom his voice, and explode if he needed to, but he could see that Marten’s friend did not want to fight. Now that a reason was given, he was wondering if it was really all that necessary. Isle Royale’s morality was not the same as the mainland’s. In fact, no one's morality seemed to line up exactly the same.

The misshapen man mourned for the stranger in an odd way. She could have become a friend, she could have attended their dinner. He could have smoothed out the terrors of the past, and loosened the tension between Chimera and this woman, a woman his guest didn’t even bother to address by her own name. “I’m not from dis place,” he began. “Ya done someting terrible, my people would kill and eat murderers of kin,” he told the man The difference was that all of his people were family. “Dis was a waste of life; dat’s not really someting ya can make up fer,” Thread explained. His voice was weary, he was sad.

Had she attacked Chimera, he’d understand, but that possibility was now out the window. “My people respec da dead by consuming deir meat, and using deir bones and pelt for tools and tings.” Thread explained, cool and calm. “Ya could at least do dat fer her,” he offered. “Fer her, not fer me.”

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