Devil's got a new disguise

P. Norah | St. John's Chokehold

POSTED: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:00 pm

In contrast to his father and his elder brother, Logan, Percival had had little interest in most of the livestock that Krokar once kept. As a younger puppy, he had assisted his father with his Drover duties primarily out of the feeling of importance and maturity that the task had made him feel. But while the horses were magnificent and the goats were fun to watch and the caribou fascinatingly enigmatic, Percy didn't care to learn how to do all the things that Milos took pleasure out of.

As a result, he didn't spend any significant amount of time in Aster's Fields, not like he had within Fiskebyn or up near River Dog Island or around Black Lake. Those had been Percival’s favorite haunts, for they allowed for fishing and swimming and playing with the otters. Black Lake reminded him of what Taseko had taught him about spirits and of life and death and what came after.

But Fiskebyn would always be the place his mind turned to when he thought about warmth and of comfort and of Krokar. He was certain that he had left a piece of his heart there, among the charred ruins and ashy gravesites. All of them had, probably. After all, Fiskebyn had been the very heart of their pack. It seemed fitting that they should sacrifice a small piece of their own out of gratitude for all their little village had given to them.

A sound behind him – a scratching, screeching squawk that could only have been drawn out from the deep, dark depths of nightmares – startled Percival out of his somber thoughts. With a soft gasp, the boy whirled around and the thing that stood before him could only have been a demon.

Bald in places it shouldn’t have been, and fluffed out sharply everywhere else, the goose hissed and charged and Percy’s shrill shriek tore through the frozen air as he ran.

[WC — 326]

The Shoal
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Luperci we were infinite; there was no time in those days
timshel

POSTED: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:36 pm

WC: 810

There had to be something Norah could find to do. She was not good at just sitting around, but the lack of a pack meant that there were so many less things that needed to be done. For the first few days, she thought that having far fewer canines around would mean that everyone would have to pitch in more, but she had not really counted on there being less to do in general. She had also not realized how much time border patrol took up. Sure, they patrolled around their camp a bit, but it was not anything like before where they had miles and miles of border to cover, often having to cross rivers to do so.

It left her with what felt like far too much free time, and unfortunately, she used that free time to think. And to worry. There was plenty to worry about: Milos and Daisy, everyone at the Depot, the livestock animals they did not end up finding, the injured ones that they had found. Including Honks.

Goddess, Norah could not believe she was worried about Honks.

While she had not really been relieved he was not with them during the time between the pack burning and finding him again, she also could not say that it made sense to worry over an animal whose life goal appeared to be to attack as many canines as he possibly could. Bonus points if he managed to get his sharp little teeth on more than one canine’s tail in under five seconds. And he had teeth; the beak was only there to lull unsuspecting Luperci into a false sense of security. No, he had tiny teeth that hurt a lot.

And yet, here she was, worrying that his feathers may not grow back in properly. Some would wait until he molted because they were singed but not missing. It was the couple of places that were missing feathers completely that she worried about because his skin there had been burned. Neither she nor Tak could spot any sign of infection, so maybe they just looked far worse than they really were because a bird missing feathers automatically looked sad and ragged. Kind of like when Lucille went for a swim. No matter what, she came out looking half-drowned. ...Not that Norah looked anything like that when she went swimming. Nope.

Norah had thought that while he was healing, maybe Honks would slow down a little bit. But no, at least, not really. He had allowed Tak and Norah to check him over after chasing them back to camp, but that was after what felt like an entire afternoon of alternately chasing him and being chased by him around the camp before the three of them were too tired to carry on and he finally gave in. Exhausted, Norah and Tak had laid sprawled in the snow for a while after that debacle.

Thinking about that again made Norah realize that they had not really gotten a close look at Honks recently. It was tough to spy on him. Sometimes the best way to get a look at him was to get chased up onto a low tree branch and then looked down at him while he gave her what for from the ground. With a sigh, Norah decided that she should probably see if he was in anything akin to a good mood today and see if she could look at his skin.

For all of a couple of minutes, Norah thought that it might be difficult to track Honks down. Then she discovered how wrong she was. Although she could not see him, as she walked through the woods, she could soon clearly hear his angry honking and hissing. It made Norah wish she could understand goose low speech so she could know all of the angry things he was constantly shouting at them all.

Norah sped up to a jog, thankful that they had cleared some paths through the snow, although she ended up having to veer off to follow the sounds. When Norah caught up to Honks, she came up on the chase in progress at a perpendicular and she skidded to a stop, slipping a little in the snow. First Percy crossed in front of her, and she whipped her head to the right to spot Honks as he followed. The bird was a white blur scrambling along on top of the snow, apparently light enough not to sink in.

”Hey!” Norah yipped and Honks made a sharp turn, flapping his wings hard as he changed course, apparently intent on attacking her now. ”Ah crap,” Norah muttered and took off. Honks just barely missed getting the tip of her tail in his beak as she struggled through a deep spot. Welp, at least Percy was safe for the moment.
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Luperci We might be miles apart, but I’ll always carry you in my heart. Home is not a place. It's a feeling. IT'S SO FLUFFY

POSTED: Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:25 pm

There were a lot of things about the world and about life that Percival did not know: bow-hunting and setting snares and tracking prey; tanning leather and spinning wool and weaving yarn; finding love and giving advice and saying the right things. Some of these would come in time, when the opportunity would arise that would provide him with experience or when someone might come along and teach him what he needed to know. But there were others that he had no interest in learning – shooting arrows and tanning leather, for example – and some, still, that he may never have the chance to learn, like weaving and spinning and tailoring.

Those were the things that his father had excelled at; that kept him up long into the night, when the fire in their hearth had burned low and Percy pretended to be sleeping, sitting on his little stool at the loom Milos had said Gavin helped him make, and turning yarn into cloth. Now that is father was gone, there was nobody left who could teach him those things. Though, if he was being honest, he had not been terribly interested in those things either in those better, happier days. It was just that now, thinking back, weaving was the one duty of his father's responsibilities that left Percival with warm and nostalgic memories.

Of course, there were other things, too, that Percival did not know; things besides hunting techniques and life experiences and labor skills. And one of those things was making itself known here and now in the shape of an angry, hissing goose that had no need, as far as the young Shoalman was concerned, to be as horrifically enormous as this one was. What was the point of such a large bird? Why couldn't he be like Sidonia, or the chickens, or those nice, little songbirds that used to sing him morning lullabies throughout the summer?

Huffing clouds of breath out as he ran, the snow slowing him down with every terrible step, Percival chanced a look behind him to see Honks catching up with him. He saw the way the bird seemed to skate over the the surface of the snow and thought that that was very unfair, too. He released another scream as he passed Norah by, missing sight of her entirely in his need to survive.

He wasn't sure how long he kept running before he realized that Honks wasn't chasing him any more, but when he did, he caught sight of Norah and managed a bark between deep, heavy pants. If they worked together, maybe they could both get away. Or... was there any way to appease an angry goose? Percival waved his hand for Norah, encouraging her toward him so they could maybe set up some sort of plan. For good measure, the youth packed a few snowballs between his fingers, hoping that the missiles would, in the very least, divert the bird into chasing snowballs instead of them.

Everyone like to chase balls after all, didn't they?

[WC — 513]

The Shoal
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Luperci we were infinite; there was no time in those days
timshel

POSTED: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:00 am

WC: 563

How was it that Honks did not seem to be the least bit slowed down by the fact that he was missing feathers?! Norah thought for sure that it would mean his madly flapping wings would not be as effective. Maybe it was because she was struggling through deep snow and he was not, but either way, he seemed perilously close to her whenever she glanced back to track his progress.

On one of her quick glances back, Norah saw that Percival was waving to her and she made a wide arc back towards him. Honks was far more maneuverable than she was right now, so she definitely did not want to double back and risk running right into him. It was entirely possible that he could manage to knock her over right now with the momentum he was able to gain while she had to power her way through the snow.

Through the trees, Norah was able to catch flashes of her cousin and it looked like he was making snowballs. Was that his plan? She glanced back at Honks and saw him reaching for her tail. She whipped it to the side, barely avoiding his beak and then stumbled a couple of steps when the action threw her off balance. Miraculously, Honks did not manage to close the space between them and Norah continued on towards Percy.

"Snowballs?" Norah called between huffed gasps of air, glad that Honks could not really understand them. This was definitely better than no plan at all, and at this point, it seemed like they would need to drive Honks away rather than outrun him. It was much easier to get away from him when they still had a barn they could dash into and then close the door to lock him out. The building had even had two doors so they could sometimes escape out the other side and get away safely. Honks was big, but not all that smart sometimes, and that usually worked in their favor.

Out here there was no cover to hide under or behind. Fallen trees would not do; he was at least smart enough to just go around them and find them on the other side. If they managed to climb a tree, she supposed he would eventually get bored or hungry and leave them alone. Hopefully.

Norah's legs were starting to burn, and so as she finished her circle around, she made her way back to where there was already a trail cut into the snow to make it easier on herself. It let her gain a little bit of distance on Honks, enough so that she could reach down between strides and scoop some snow. She quickly turned it into a ball in her palms, not compacted hard enough that it would injure honks, but enough that it would stay together in the air.

Looking over her shoulder again, Norah gauged where Honks was, which was pretty easy with how loud he was being between the sound of his wings flapping and his angry honking and hissing. She turned to make an awkward throw at him, missing his body with the snow, but it did cause him to slow down for a couple of paces.

Hopefully Percival would have better luck than she did, as long as she managed to keep Honks's attention on herself.
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Luperci We might be miles apart, but I’ll always carry you in my heart. Home is not a place. It's a feeling. IT'S SO FLUFFY

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