[M] I had to fall to lose it all

But in the end, it doesn't even matter

POSTED: Wed May 29, 2019 2:10 am

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.

Optime | Wabanaki Coast | Backdated: May 7-8th
NPCs: Brimstone & Jack (Brief) (+4,452)

tNPC: Mathis
tNPC’s animal companion – American Crow: Miny
Cabin

Final Part to: [M] Part 1, Part 2, and [M] Part 3

HEAVY M-tag for torture/violence, language, and gruesome death.

The coyote limped along in the slow, drizzling rain. Occasionally, thunder rumbled in the grey skies overhead. It seemed he would be returning home empty-handed once again. Another night left with a growling stomach. It had only been two days since he had, somewhat, exacted his revenge for the arrow wound in his leg. Two days since he gone without food. It had been hard before with his limp, but, battered, bruised, and with the wolf’s fangs having cut open his flesh and ruined his ears, hunting even rabbits had proven difficult.

His cabin finally came into sight. It was a rundown thing, an abandoned relic that had somehow withstood the passage of time since the humans had been wiped out. Leaflitter collected atop of the moss that grew thickly upon the old asphalt roof. The bricked chimney stood surprisingly firm, though, vines had slowly begun to climb up it again with the onset of spring. The wood that the cabin was built from was stained and faded, and the cement base had turned yellowish-green with mildew. Only one of the glass windows remained, but it was so fogged and water-stained that one could no longer see out of it anyways. Of the rest, someone had kindly boarded up all but one of the windows before he had stumbled upon the little refuge. A creek babbled not far from the porch, and the readily available source of fresh water had been why the coyote had chosen to squat there.

Mathis’ golden eyes grouchily scoured the rooftop for his remaining crow. “Miny!” He barked sharply as he approached the cabin.

From the open window beneath the porch, the black bird appeared, squawking nervous but attentively, “Yes, Boss!”

He growled as he came beneath the overhang, “Go find me some food.”

The crow looked out at the world beyond the cabin. “It raining, Boss!” Miny argued pleadingly.

Mathis shook out his fur, glaring at the bird. “Then you had better work fast.”

Miny shuffled her feet and glanced inside the cabin before looking back at him. “Why can’t wait, Boss?”

He snarled, swiping at the crow. “Because I’m fucking hungry, damnit!” Miny squawked in surprise, and fluttered out into the drizzling rain to avoid being caught by his claws. “And don’t come back until you find something!” He yelled after his feathered lackey.

“Damn bird,” he grumbled as he shoved open the cabin door with a shoulder. “She’s lucky I haven’t decided to just fucking eat her.” His eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness of his cabin, illuminated only by what dim light managed to filter in through the one open window and the fogged one.

The cabin was not large, and the inside reflected as much. There was no kitchen or bathroom, and the living room and bedroom were all combined into a single space. A part of the cabin had been sectioned off for a decent-sized closet, and it was the only other door within the whole cabin besides the entrance one. Abandoned furniture included a well-worn couch, a small dining table that could have fit two, and a broken-legged end table. The bed was a single, flattened mattress that laid in the remains of a broken, wooden frame. A single, tattered, wool blanket tossed over the mattress indicated where Mathis usually slept.

The floor of the cabin was dusty and covered with dirt, empty bottles, and bones and pieces of hide or fur that had been carelessly tossed after a meal. Old leaves were scattered here and there from where they had blown in through the window or had come in through an open door. Wood ash collected around the fireplace that was long overdue for a cleaning.

Mathis hobbled towards the fireplace; his gaze focused on the messy pile of kindling he had collected near it. It was about half-way towards his destination that he stopped, suddenly feeling a dreadful, chilling sensation of malicious intent. It made the hairs along the back of his neck and spine stand on end as he hastily scoured the shadowed contours of his home for the source. He heard the latch on his front door softly clack as it fell into place, and he spun towards the sound, finding a tall, dark figure standing there.

He yelped, and backpedaled, tripping over a haplessly discarded bottle that sent him crashing down on his backside. His eyes were wide as he stared at the silhouette, and his breath came out in increasingly panicked breaths. The Luperci was wolfish in design—thicker than a coyote, smaller ears, taller height—and female. His hands brushed over the sticks and branches of his kindling pile as the intruder turned to face him fully. The way her hair fell…

“You know, you should really be nicer to your companions,” Ragna said slowly. Her words were as cold as the steel of her knife that she drew from its sheath on her thigh.

Mathis let out a panicked screech as he tossed a handful of sticks in her direction. You! What are you doing here?!”

Hastily thrown, Ragna had little to worry about dodging the projectiles. “You left so quickly the last time we saw each other, I thought I might pay you a visit in your neck of the woods.”

She took calm, methodical steps towards him, and the coyote only scrambled more into the kindling pile. The pieces of wood dug into his flesh, but, they seemed minor in comparison to the threat that was slowly closing in on him. Mathis frantically tossed more sticks and branches at the wolfdog. “You shouldn’t be here!”

“And, yet, here I am.”

She was getting close, too close. “How did you find this place?!” He cried out, searching the pile for a stick or branch that he might be able to use as a weapon to keep the wolfdog at bay.

“Unlike your wretched kind that constantly search for scraps and take advantage of another’s hard work, I hunt for my prey. And you made damn sure that I caught your scent.”

He picked up a branch and swung at her, missing. “You should be mourning that brat of yours, not here!” He wailed, swinging again.

The branch—rotted wood—splintered into pieces the instant it made forcible contact with her side as she descended upon him like a coiled snake onto a rat. Her knife plunged deeply into his shoulder, and he yelped, the high-pitched sound piercing her ears. “We wolves are not weak like you coyotes,” she snarled, her glacier eyes glaring down at him as she pushed him into the kindling pile. A few of the sticks snapped under the pair’s combined weight. “If you thought my son’s death would stop me from hunting you down, you are sadly mistaken.”

Mathis squirmed beneath her and swiped out at her with his hands. She kept her head and neck just out of reach though. “Let go of me!” He screeched.

Ragna adjusted her grip on him, digging her knee into his diaphragm while she snatched one of his wrists. She raised her lips, revealing her fangs. “Did my son say that to you before you murdered him?” Reaching behind her on her belt, she retrieved a thick, flax rope.

“You shot me!” He argued in a wail, not wanting to answer her. He tried to fight her off as he realized she was going to tie him up.

Pressing her other knee onto his other arm, all he could do was continue to scream. “Did my son ask you to let him go before you killed him?” She repeated. His feet scrambled, but, they did nothing but slip on the mess of sticks and branches on the floor.

“Sure!” He tried to bite at her thigh. She dug her knee deeper into his chest, causing him to wheeze and cease the attempt. “Yes! Yes, he did! Let me go, damn it!” Ragna wrestled his wrist into her control and began to tie one end of the rope around it. He tried to fight her, but she held him firmly within her grasp. She secured the rope tightly, and, already, Mathis could feel the coarseness of it dig into his flesh. “I answered you, woman! Let me go!”

Ragna tore her knife from his shoulder in response, causing him to scream in agony. She leaned over him, her breath wafting dangerously over his face, her tone sickeningly sweet, “But I’m not done, coyote.”

She drove the butt of her knife into his temple hard.




When he came to, it was to the loud pattering of rain on the roof and the crackling of a fire. Bleary-eyed, Mathis blinked to force his eyes into focus. He was on the couch, and he realized that the fireplace was incredibly close, too close. The fireplace was lit and there was a pot with something in it hanging over the fire. His brows furrowing indicated his confusion. Pain throbbed through his entire body—nothing new, though, it felt sharper than it had in previous days—and, slowly, he tried to move, only to realize that he couldn’t.

It was in that moment that he realized that his arms were spread out from his body, tied firmly in a way that held them against the back of the couch. The rope that held them disappeared over the back, and no amount of tugging could make them budge. His legs, too, were spread open, though, following the lines of their rope was easier, and he concluded that they were tied to either leg of the couch. Heavy bounders from the nearby creek bed had been placed on the seats next to his own, acting as weights to ensure that the couch was not moved from its new position before the fireplace.

Dread spread through his body as he seemed to realize what was going on. He tried to look over the back of the couch towards where he knew the open window was. “Help! Somebody!” He croaked.

A familiar flutter of feathers reached his tattered ears. “Miny!” He panted out desperately. “Miny, come here!”

Claws clicked on the floorboards, and Mathis had a chill run up his spine. Ragna calmly moved into view of her captive. On her outstretched arm stood a crow with the yellow piece of plastic tied to its leg – Miny. Ragna stood off to the side of the couch, her glacier eyes looking to the dark-feathered bird. “Whatever you choose, remember what we talked about,” she whispered to the corvid.

He glared at Ragna, struggling against his restraints. The sight of his tormentor made the stench of fear only that much thicker in the small cabin. “What?!” His gaze rounded onto Miny and anger was in his voice. “What did you—what did she tell you?! Answer me, Miny!”

“Well?” She asked the bird. Despite Mathis’ demands, Miny did not move from Ragna’s arm, nor did the bird speak.

Mathis snarled at the bird’s disobedience. “Whatever she told you, it’s fucking a lie! Come! Here! You dumbass bird!” He demanded, his eyes wild.

“Go on, Miny, your master’s calling.”

The crow shuffled its feet and then turned its head to Ragna. “No.” Miny looked to the restrained coyote. “Not Boss.”

He jerked against his restraints. “I am your boss!” He seethed. “I’ve fed you and your fucking brothers! Peck that fucking wolf’s eyes out, Miny!”

Miny held its wings away from its body and bobbed its head aggressively at him. “Not! Miny! Boss! No have listen! Wolf set free!”

“She can’t do that!”

Ragna raised her free hand, offering the crow a chunk of raw meat that she’d been holding. The corvid greedily accepted it. “You may go now,” she told the feathered.

“Miny!”

The bird looked at Ragna, and the wolfdog nodded, jerking her head towards the open window. With a hop, the crow was airborne, gliding past Mathis.

Mathis squirmed to try to see where the bird had gone. “Miny, get back here!”

The crow stopped at the table that had a few more scraps of a freshly killed rabbit left on it. Miny consumed the last two chunks, turned, and flew out the window into the rain.

“Miny!” Mathis screamed, realizing with a terrible, sinking dread that his only companion had abandoned him. Miny!

“She’s gone,” she told him, “Not like you’ll be of much use to her much longer anyway.”

“You turned her against me!” He accused, struggling against his restraints.

You turned her against you. I merely removed the wool that you pulled over her eyes,” Ragna argued with a cruel, ghost of a smile. “Now.” She moved out of his view, and he heard the scraping of metal against wood. When she returned before him, it was with a metal rod—one that he had often used to stoke a fire in the fireplace—that she slapped against her palm. “I believe I owe you a promise.”

His eyes widened fearfully and the rope restraints dug into his flesh as he pulled frantically against them. “What are you—!”

CRACK!

Mathis screamed as his kneecap and the surrounding bone shattered. “You’re lucky,” Ragna said through his breathy wails. “If I had enough room in here, I’d shoot your ass full of arrows.” She sneered as she leaned in. “But I think I like this way better.”

CRACK!

The metal rod struck his other knee, and he let out another ear-piercing scream.

“It’s more personal.”

“Please!” He wailed, “Stop!”

Ragna let out a heated, breathy laugh. “This is only the beginning, blaze-nose. You signed up for the full ride when you killed my son and put a hole in my marten.”

His gaze tried to follow her as she moved around the side and around to the back of the couch, her glacier eyes focused intently on one of his hands. “I’m sorry!” He breathed out in ragged, pained breaths.

She tapped the back of the couch with the rod, causing him to flinch with how close it was to his head. “No you’re not,” She whispered into his tattered ear. Ragna grabbed his wrist and twisted it so that it was held with the palm up with the back of his hand pressed firmly against the wood of the back of the couch.

“I am! I’m sorry! Please! I’m sorry!” Mathis cried out, struggling to fight her. His arm was bound though, and he couldn’t run away. He curled his fingers into a tight fist, perhaps fearful of her fixation on his hand.

“Open your hand,” She commanded like she would a child.

“I’m sorry!” He refused to open his hand. “I’m sorry for killing your son! I won’t do it again!”

Rage spiked through her icy veins. “Of course you won’t.” She swung the rod down, breaking his knuckles, and he threw his head up in another pain-filled scream as his body writhed, wanting to curl in on itself, only to be unable to with the restraints. “He’s dead, remember?” She swung down a second time, and he let out another scream.

She had wanted to break his hand first, but, she was flexible.

With his fingers positioned oddly now, Ragna used the rod to forcibly pry them open so that she could have access to his palm.

“Why?!” Mathis wailed. “Why are you doing this to me?!”

Ragna tapped the rod against his exposed palm in a testing manner against it. “I thought it was rather obvious.”

“Just kill me!” He insisted in a yapping cry.

Another tap. “Not yet.” She swung back.

SMACK!

He cried out.

CRACK!

Some of the bones in his hand broke.

CRACK!

A few more.

Please!” He sobbed, “I’m begging you! Please stop!”

Ragna laughed coldly. “Why, does it hurt?”

Mathis let out a high-pitched whine, perhaps fearful of what she might do if he answered, “yes.”

She snorted, disgusted by how quickly the grown man had been reduced to tears and begging. With his one hand left badly mangled and already swelling, she moved to the other side of the couch towards his other one. Realizing this, the coyote began to plead again, “Please. Please, no. I’ve had enough. I’m sorry for killing your son.”

“Stop lying, you long-earred bastard,” she snarled, forcing his wrist to be angled like she had the other. “You’re not sorry for killing him, you’re sorry that you didn’t get away with it.”

CRACK!

The coyote wailed, fingers twitching as his palm was struck once.

CRACK!

Twice.

CRACK!

Three times.

“God, please,” he sobbed through pained gasps. “Stop. I shouldn’t have killed him. Just, stop. Please stop.”

Ragna moved his wrist so that his knuckles were angled against the edge of the wood, where his fingers joined the rest of his quickly swelling hand. “No.” Her eyes were full of ice as she glared down at his fingers.

She swung the rod.

When his fingers were bent backwards, she finally came around to the front of the couch again. Mathis’ chest heaved in agonizing gasps and his head was bent from the ordeal of having his kneecaps, hands, and fingers broken. Realizing she was standing in front of him again, the coyote raised his head defeatedly. “Are you…going to kill me now?” He asked softly.

Ragna stared at him. For all of the pain and torture she had caused him, all those screams and yelps and wails of agony. It still didn’t satisfy the seething anger that clung to her heart, didn’t sooth the loss of her innocent child. She could have lost Skadi and Sindri too. Glade could still die—could die to infection like Snorri had—if they were not careful. She wanted to beat him senseless, but she would not let herself fall to become one of them; a mindless, rage-filled, barbaric animal.

Everything had a reason.

“I let you off with a warning when you trespassed onto my pack’s territory,” she spoke slowly. Her words were cold. “I spared you, and you returned my kindness by not only doing so again, but by killing one of my children and injuring my marten.”

Mathis stared at her through exhausted, tear-filled eyes. “I’m sorry.”

Her ears flickered as she heard the sound of liquid boiling. “You know, I’m really tired of hearing that phrase from your mouth.” She turned, making her way over to the kindling pile. He watched her brokenly, too spent to get worked up about what she was about to do to him this time. She sifted through it until she found a sizable branch of her liking. Ragna tucked the metal rod under an arm and thwacked the branch against her palm to test its strength. It was solid. Accepting this, she moved out of range of Mathis’ limited view, retrieving the last of the rope that she had brought with her. She tied one end to the branch, securing it in a notch.

Returning before him, she stood between his spread legs and gave him a sharp smack with the metal rod to his stomach. Instinctively, Mathis gasped, and Ragna shoved the branch into his mouth. He protested, naturally, pulling his head back, trying to push the thick branch out with his tongue to no avail. Ragna put a knee on his thigh and pushed her weight down onto him, tossing the rod to the floor. She looped the rope around his body and tied the other end of the branch in such a way that the rope would secure the branch and keep it from being dislodged.

The coyote swallowed with an open mouth, shaking his head—or, attempting to at least, it hardly moved now with how she had secured the branch—and trying to get the branch out of his mouth. He crunched down, but, the branch held firm. Fear began to take over once more.

Ragna stepped back. “You slit my son’s throat, and he likely died not understanding why he couldn’t breathe right.” She moved to gather Mathis’ wool blanket and a few pieces of discarded cloth that she had taken from the closet, eventually making her way over to the fireplace. She reached in, using the blanket to pad her hand from the hot handle of the pot as she withdrew it from the fire. The liquid inside continued to softly bubble. “Slitting your throat would make it far too easy for you.”

She set the pot down and readjusted her grip, covering both of her hands and padding them from the heat of the pot. Ragna walked methodically back to where Mathis was restrained. “And you had this convenient pot and a creek nearby.” She sneered as she stood before him again. Mathis began to struggle, groaning, incomprehensible words coming from him as he realized what she intended to do with the pot. “So, open wide, coyote.”

Boiling, hot water steamed as it poured over the pot’s lip.




An irregular drip against his forehead woke him, and when Mathis came to the second time, he likely wished he hadn’t.

He was still tied to the couch, and his limbs ached from being forced to maintain the spread-eagle position for so long. His throat was on fire, and it sent a constant signal of pain that somehow overloaded the rest of the injuries he had received since the wolfdog had found his hideout. At the very least though, he didn’t have the branch shoved in his mouth anymore. Mathis’s gaze eventually came to focus on his tormentor who stood before him once more, her eyes piercing him with their cold, predatory stare.

Thunder rumbled outside.

“How’s the throat?”

Mathis was in too much pain to answer anything more than a pained gasp. It wasn’t like he could form words anyway though.

Ragna grunted. “No begging for forgiveness now, are you?” Blearily, he watched as she went to retrieve something—a stone and his knife—before she came back to him. She kneeled before him with the two poised to strike one another. Looking down, he noticed the sticks and branches of the kindling pile had been stacked all around him.

She looked up at him. “I’ve heard that fire works pretty well on coyotes up here.”

Steel struck against flint, and sparks rained down on the kindling between his legs.

With a bit of coaxing, the fire grew, and, even in pain, Mathis struggled weakly against his restraints. Ragna spread the fire to two separate piles on either side of Mathis, and let it grow. He groaned—the best he could manage for a scream with his burned throat—and it only grew more insistent the more the fire crackled.

Ragna stood, watching as he squirmed and groaned frantically as the fire jumped closer to his flesh and fur. “Mathis Ashworth, tell the devil that Ragna Eklund of the Boreas Wolves sent you.”

As he continued to mutedly scream, she left the cabin for Mathis to be burned alive.




Ragna and her two horses had watched the cabin from a small incline across the creek. Rain pattered down around them, and when she saw her patch job on the roof cave in from the fire’s licking flames below, she knew that it wouldn’t be long before she could return. The rain grew heavier, Nature perhaps realizing that it had a fire to put out before it had a chance to possibly spread to the nearby forest. The water was cold, but she felt almost numb to it, numb to everything really.

Steinarr was never coming back. Her firstborn son. She would never hear his laugh again. She would never find amusement in his antics again, how he protected her, how he reminded her so much of Snorri. She would never be able to hold him in her arms again. She would never get to see him grow up.

Her son was gone.

She had failed to protect him when he needed her most. He had been murdered by the hands of a coyote she had sought to spare.

Glade, her only companion and friend that knew of her dark history, her only comrade left from her old life. He had barely escaped with his life. Another inch, a deeper puncture, either, both, and the little marten would have been dead.

Had she not been spotted by the crow, had she not made it back to her home when she had, she could have lost Skadi and Sindri too.

Her entire world, the fragile world she had rebuilt for herself outside of Boreas…it could have been completely shattered in one day. She could have lost it all, everything that she had ever cared for, had ever loved.

Gone.

Because she spared a thieving coyote’s life.

She had paid him back in full, but even Ragna knew that it would never undo what was done, nor would it satisfy the grief that she had internalized so far down into her icy soul.

When she finally went back into the burnt cabin to check on Mathis, she was able to confirm that he had died in agony. Ragna left quietly, her work finished. She mounted up onto Brimstone and tugged on Jack’s lead, pointing the two horses back towards the Vale.

A stab to the shoulder for the wound he had put in Glade.

Two busted kneecaps to make good on her promise to make him crawl if he ever trespassed onto Vale territory after her warning.

Two broken hands that had once held her son still.

A burned throat for slitting her son’s.

Fire because she could not make him feel enough of the pain she felt, not just for her son, but for everyone she had lost to the coyote kind.

Turning his pet crow on him, making him feel that awful dread of being abandoned, betrayed, left alone with the thing he feared the most in that moment, it was payback for the overpowering fear she had felt racing home, of what she felt in the aftermath of what else she could have lost, all because she spared his life.

So long as coyotes lived, it seemed she was destined to never be free of their evil.

Ragna Eklund

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
User avatar
Songbird
Luperci Scout II
Do not go gentle
into that good night

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