veer or vanish

POSTED: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:17 am

AW It's evening in a small valley, and it's warm and overcast. Your character is being chased by a mysterious pursuer.

Endless grey above him, lush green beneath his feet, Silas ran.

His breath rattled out in uneven pants, but his gait was steady -- not a sprint, but quicker than a jog that suggested patience or leisure. His eyes, green as the forested valley surrounding him, were alert and ever-shifting. He was constantly on the move, not hesitating at splashing through streams, or hooking his arm around a tree branch to swing across gaps of stone. His was the ground-eating, enduring lope of a predator built to exhaust his prey.

This time, however, he was being chased.

Silas did not know who or what pursued him now. He'd woken to an overcast sky, a monotone grey painted at its very limits with hints of rose-gold hues, and felt eyes on him. Sheathing the ill-gotten iron sword and slinging his tentroll over his shoulder, he'd marched onward -- but so had his pursuer. Eventually he'd broken out into a run, not daring to look back.

Back in Utah he'd been chased like this before: coyotes ki-yiing on his heels, separating him from the rest of his crew because the scavengers could only ambush and outnumber. Zacchaeus would have mocked him for not standing his ground, but the kid never had known how to call it quits. The thought was a sharp pang in his chest, and he was suddenly collapsing against a tree, wrapping an arm around its bent trunk, peering down at a short drop of rock. He sucked in air, then snapped his teeth together and threw himself down into it, the bushes raking at his dirty tunic and breeches, and then he was running again.

POSTED: Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:41 am

He hadn't known, when he first thought he saw the man, but the longer this went on the more Grievous was convinced to his purpose.

Though he had found himself pleased to return home, the goings-on of Salsola proved to be as meddlesome as ever. Idrieus seethed about the promotion of the new Director, and despite the sudden and tragic deaths the pack now seemed more focused on an upcoming celebration and all these other little things which took precedence over the unsolved. That was weakness. Salsola could not stand to see itself weak. It was their way to crush and overlook such nature.

Sometimes, though, things came back.

Grievous, out searching for herbs in places he thought they might be found, had instead found himself upon the trail of someone else. It was old and almost forgotten to his memory, but not enough that he felt keen to abandon it. This seemed important. He was only further convinced of this when he began to hear noise at a distance, large enough to wake his instincts to chase.

He was forced at several points to slow and sniff out the trail, and each time this happened he struggled to realign its familiarity. It had been a very long time since the war with Boreas, and he had been a boy still – he had yet to realize the grave nature of his pursuit, though had recognized whoever he was following seemed to have reason to run. Suspicious, Grievous increased his pace.


masks beneath masks until suddenly
the bare bloodless skull
Salsola
The Henchman
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
supernova

POSTED: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:44 pm

Fugitive -- such had become his identity since the war. From autumn to autumn, the fallen soldier existed in a continual state of justified paranoia, certain that every shadow in the wood meant harm. He covered his tracks the best he could, hardly slept for worry of ambush, revealed little to those he worked with for only what pay would be worth it. And in the end, he knew that a simple fluke could spell his death: a far-flung scout, an ambitious trader, an innocent gossip, all could cross his path and bring news of his survival to his captors.

Salsola would not permit the continued existence of an escaped slave. Even Inferni (whose fate he was ignorant of) would have ample motivation to destroy him if he was discovered.

Silas ran because he had reason to run, and his hidden pursuer chased because they had reason to chase. His mouth went dry with his quiet panting, and the longer he ran the longer he was certain as to whom would chase him down. No one would follow out of sheer curiosity; someone must have recognized his scent. He had not been careful enough; he should have fled west, far west, or even crossed the sea if he wanted to guarantee his survival.

But no -- part of him said he deserved this, part of him did not want to abandon Zacchaeus' ghost. His nephew's voice persisted in his dreams. He still did not know if it was real.

A stream hissed over loose stones ahead. Rather than splash through it, Silas leaped to the other bank with a stumble. Dripping water would spread his scent on the ground. He would need to find a greater obstacle to deter his pursuer -- as well as pray that his pursuer could be deterred in the first place. His only other alternative was an ambush -- and any Salsolan or Infernian on his heels was certain to be in better physical shape than the ragged loner.

POSTED: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:25 pm

For some reason, he thought of winter – of snow and cold air, and the smell of burning wood. Grievous let the thoughts stew in his mind as the pursuit went on. His body moved with mindless step, carrying him onward with greater speed.

It was a man, this he could tell, and a wolf beyond this. Yet more too did he think, something more important was there just waiting for his memory to scrape clear the dust and find that connection. Grievous was terribly concerned by this. He struggled to find why, even as he began to gallop.

By the time he reached the water he realized whoever he was chasing was actively trying to lose him. He didn't need to find the source – this was not Salsolan land, and Grievous had no reason to care. As he slowed to try and pinpoint which direction his fleeing target had gone, he found deeper marks left by some heavy weight. Grievous stuck his nose above them and finally, with a stronger marking to illuminate his memory, thought he knew who he was chasing.

A dark face and mean, hateful eyes flashed in his memory.

The slave. The damn Boreas wolf.

The man who had killed his aunt and stole a child from their holiest of people.

Grievous bristled with fury. He showed his teeth and shook his head like a bull, spraying spit as he snapped at the air and cursed his own ineptitude.

He picked a likely direction and ran.


masks beneath masks until suddenly
the bare bloodless skull
Salsola
The Henchman
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
supernova

POSTED: Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:50 pm

He was flagging. His throat was raw, gulps of air doing little to soothe burning lungs. Adrenaline would only serve him so long; his mortal body would falter without regard to his desire to survive -- if that even remained intact. It would be a simple thing, to let his aching body collapse, to feel the kiss of dirt against his cheek, to let his foe catch him. He wouldn't have to worry about being found or being chased. It would be done.

Silas tore through a thicket, thorny branches snagging his tunic and pulling free fur. He untangled himself, spitting, and jogged a few more yards. He slowed, looked back.

No -- it wouldn't be done. He doubted that the Salsolans would just kill him. They'd already had the chance to do so once before, but evil wanted suffering. The Crone had already done terrible things to him, and threatened worse. He panted, an ache pulsing through his entire body with each contraction of his heart, his ears ringing.

Silas reached for the last dregs of his energy, fear clearing his mind. He returned to the branches, raked the thorns across his arms, and shook his blood along a short trail. Clamping his fingers over the seeping wounds, he doubled back around again, then cast his gaze around wildly, picked a direction, and fled. His tricks would fool only the single-minded, but hesitation would afford him a few more seconds, and that might be all he needed.

Of course, if they now knew that he was alive, confrontation was an eventuality. He could only pray that he might rid the world of some sinners before he fell.

POSTED: Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:09 pm

The longer he ran, the more Grievous began to recognize a growing fear of failure. It rushed upon him as he sucked in the old forest and its undisturbed ground, and when he spooked a small family of deer into flight the wolf knew at once this was true.

All of his efforts came a sudden stop, sending him skidding to an abrupt halt. He stood there, bristling and full of malice, breathing in heavily through his mouth.

It seemed unreasonable to him. Were he a man fleeing not merely a lost war but a much more terrible act, Grievous would not have lingered so near the home of his enemies. In truth Salsola was not terribly close at all, but with his growing depiction of the world through his travels it became apparent to Grievous that many more places seemed suited to someone wishing to disappear. The more he wrestled with this concept the more he came to read it as something more brazen and arrogant than things like guilt and loss created in man.

He fell back onto what Salsola might have taught him. Sometimes it was easier to rely on the greater knowledge of his people in scenarios that baffled Grievous' lack of understanding.

To this imagined challenge, Grievous offered his own – howling a bellowing wolfsong that was sure to carry to wherever the escapee had managed to flee.


masks beneath masks until suddenly
the bare bloodless skull
Salsola
The Henchman
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
supernova

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