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]

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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]

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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

POSTED: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:52 pm

His shaggy cousin must have caught sight of his flailing arms, or else she was attempting a different strategy. Either way, as he watched her, panting and catching his breath, Norah appeared to be adjusting her trajectory to start back towards his direction. All the while, the white devil was hot on her heels, and Percival felt a bubbling of worry for his cousin stir within the depths of his tummy.

Once he was sure that she was doubling back his way, Percy got down to doing something. The alternative was standing idly by while he watched Honk chase after Norah, snapping at her tail with that hard, cruel beak, and that was doing nothing to quell his concerns. No, the only way he could possibly make himself feel better (and hopefully safe his cousin from certain harm) was to put himself to work and hopefully come up with a way to control their current situation.

All his young life, there was little he could actually control, but there had always been a semblance of it to Percival. Being in a pack, with family and friends to provide for one another and keep each other safe, felt like control in and of itself, though he didn't realize that until after Krokar had fallen and they were made to rely on so many outside factors that they could not possibly regulate.

But as Percy scooped up handfuls of powdery snow and packed them into misshapen balls, this felt a little like being in control.

Cold as the winter had been, the snow was not heavy or wet enough to form very reliable snowballs, but that also meant that their frozen missiles wouldn't hurt the goose when they hit him. When Norah called out to him, her voice a strained gasp that warned of her exhaustion, Percival nodded and then shrugged. "Maybe he'll chase them!" he hollered back, his shrug suggesting that he didn't know what else to do.

And also that he knew absolutely nothing about geese.

To his relief, Norah seemed to be agreeable to (or at least accepting of) his idea. He watched as she bent, the goose still chasing angrily after her, and packed a handful of snow between her two hands and then sent it sailing. Percival watched it arc and fall, missing the goose but managing to slow him down a little. Encouraged by this reaction, the young Parhelion picked up a pre-made snowball and, gauging the goose's pace and direction with narrowed eyes and a pinched mouth, straightened out his arm and sent the missile toward the avian.

It missed, just as Norah's had, but he was not deterred. With his pile of snowballs at his feet, Percival picked up another and then another and another after that, all of them chucked at the goose with little regard for his cousin. "Stop chasing her!" he barked and howled as he threw them. "Get away from her!" Never once did he think that all the ruckus and rowdiness he was releasing might encourage the goose toward him instead. If anything, he hoped that it would only scare the gander away.

[WC — 531]

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

POSTED: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:17 am

WC: 561

Norah was going to need to stop running, and soon. She definitely did not have much left in her, and despite the fact that her claws and teeth were more dangerous than anything Honks could throw at her, he was somehow still terrifying. It was probably that terror that had her continuing to run right now. The adrenaline alone was fueling her legs as she powered through the snow. Maybe if she got back to a path she had already cut through the snow, that would be good. If Honks fell into the rut, he would not be able to flap his wings as well, which she knew was what made up a lot of his speed. There was no way his tiny legs were what had him running after her this fast.

Norah glanced back in time to see Percy's first snowball miss, and that Honks did not react much to it. With a sinking feeling, she realized that they were probably going to have to hit him with snowballs, and with her luck, he would get angrier before he went away. Maybe she should just turn around and face the music. Letting him bite her could not be that bad, could it? She glanced back and caught a flash of his beak from the corner of her eye and immediately derailed that train of thought. Nope, nope, nope. Running forever was her life now.

Ahead of her, Norah saw two evergreen trees that had grown close together. Maybe that would give her a little bit of cover. She glanced over at Percy, gauging the distance between him and the trees, as well as the direction she would need to go when she got out the other side. Then she pulled her arms up to protect her face and charged through the tree branches. They caught on her fluffy fur, pulling painfully on her ears since she was not able to cover those, and she end up with some needles and even small twigs stuck in her fur. That was going to be fun to deal with later.

As Norah emerged from the other side of the large trees, she shook her arms and then listened for Honks. She wanted to run around the trees away from him and hopefully confuse him a little, but it seemed that her disappearance into the trees combined with Percy's shouting had the goose veering off to find a more easily found target. She peeked out from the branches as he skittered across the snow and cursed quietly. Hopefully Percy was ready to run.

Using her downtime, knowing that it was probably going to be brief, Norah quickly made herself a stack of snowballs. Maybe after she had a couple of seconds to just breathe, her aim would be better. It would probably also help if she was not running for her life while trying to throw at a target that was behind her.

"Bring him around!" Norah shouted, hoping that Percy would be able to hear her. Norah then knelt by her snowballs, which she realized was probably a mistake because now she was not actually sure she would be able to stand back up. Her thighs still burned. At least she would be able to throw now, in any case, and her breathing was beginning to slow down a bit.
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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: Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:00 pm

Unlike with Norah's first snowball missile, Honks regarded those that Percy threw (and missed) with considerably less interest than he did in chasing a living, breathing, hot-blooded Luperci. What drove the gander was anyone's guess, though the young Parhelion wondered if there wasn't some sort of angry spirit or impish sprite controlling encouraging him to behave with such ferocity and persistence.

Though he certainly had a lot left to learn about the world and its various beliefs, Percival remembered what Taseko had told him about spirits. And there were certain things that Keabetswe had told him, too, of her own exotic beliefs that made him come to this conclusion. Why else would a goose – a creature that, if he was being honest and crude, was about as much a predator as a deer – exhibit such tenacious hatred and bold courage toward an actual predator?

Hesitating in throwing his next snowball, Percy felt a revelation flop unceremoniously into his brain: if they were bigger and more dangerous, then why in the Goddess' name were they running away from a mere bird?

In perhaps the exact moment that Norah caught sight of Honks' orange bill, Percival, too, glanced that direction and felt a shiver trail down his spine.

With renewed resolve, the youth carried on throwing his accumulated snowballs. He could imagine the feel of his own sickle-shaped tail trapped between the horrible pinch of that flat, tight beak and he felt that there was absolutely no shame for any predator – not he or Norah or even the biggest, baddest cougar ever – to fear that monstrosity.

They were running out of his range and Percy held off throwing any more snowballs, knowing that he could not possibly hit a moose if that was his target rather than a demon-goose. Bending to scoop snow into his hands to form into more missiles, the young Parhelion watched as Norah passed between the narrow space between to evergreens and, for just a moment, disappeared. Keeping up his shouting and jeering, though, Percival caught sight of his cousin again as she peered between the branches.

And then he caught sight of the goose.

"Uh," he murmured, watching as Honks search and then, like a homing beacon, locked eyes on him. "Oh." Standing still as a stone, Percy thought that maybe – just maybe – the goose wouldn't be able to see him if he didn't move. With a horrible honk that pierced his very soul, the young wolfdog watched as Honks stretched out his broad wingspan and resumed his chase with a new foe.

Abandoning his post and his depleted mound of snowballs, Percival ran. And, with more speed than seemed possible or fair, there was Honks. Panting into the frozen air, the young man fled from the goose and told himself that there was no shame in this, though he desperately wanted to stop. When he heard his cousin's call, the Parhelion lifted his head, floppy ears pressed forward, and then made the mistake of glancing behind him.

Screaming shamelessly at the sight of the gander gaining on him, Percival picked up his speed and raced toward Norah's little stronghold with adrenaline, at least for now, on his side. "What should I do?" he barked as he neared, unsure what her plan was.

[WC — 556]

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

POSTED: Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:17 pm

WC: 511

Percival's scream caused Norah to jump to her feet, thinking that he might have tripped and that Honks was on top of him, buting away. As she craned her neck, trying to see him, her knees nearly buckled and her legs shook. Yeah that was far too much running through the snow. With any luck, they would soon be done with that and would have valiantly defeated the beast that was Honks. In the meantime, she had to work fast as her plan formed in her mind. If she had more time, she would be able to come up with something better, but this was what she had and she was going to hope for the best.

Seeing that Percy was not down on the ground, Norah bent back down. Ignoring the way her legs protested, Norah pushed up a mound of snow around herself in an arc, making sure that there would be enough room for Percy to get in with her. It was sloppy and uneven, and not nearly tall enough, but it was the best she could do with the time she had. With the trees at her back, the area was somewhat protected now. Would it keep Honks out? Slow him down a little? She would be finding out very quickly. At least his large body meant that he was not the best at flying, so he would not be able to easily attack them from above. His missing feathers hindered that idea as well, which was about the only silver lining that Norah could find at the moment.

"Get it get in get in!" Norah shouted, her words coming out rapidly and almost mushed together while she moved over so that Percival could get into the little fort next to her. At the same time, she picked up several snowballs and chucked them at Honks to try to get him to back off a little. His wings flapped like mad as he made angry hissing sounds a her, but at least for the moment, it kept him at bay.

It helped that her aim was getting better with a little bit of practice. Standing still was also nice. Each time a snowball hit Honks, he backed up a few steps and then came forward again, only to have another one splatter against his body. She was aiming there both because she did not want to actually injure him by hitting his head, but also due to the fact that it made for the biggest target, therefore giving her the best chance of hitting him.

"Crap," Norah said then threw another snowball, "I'm running low!" If they ran out of snowballs, they were done for. It was the only thing keeping Honks at bay, and it was a double edged sword because he seemed to be getting angrier and angrier with each one that hit him. How dumb was this bird that he would keep trying, even during this onslaught! And after she was worried about him when she and Tak found him. The nerve!
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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 28, 2019 1:20 pm

His cousin had been busy, building something of a little snow fort or barrier or something. Percival wasn't really sure what it was, but he was hopeful that Norah knew what she was doing. Because he was fresh out of ideas and any mental power he had left was being used to encourage himself to just keep running. He no longer had the luxury of brainstorming solutions or spouting various ideas, not while he was being chased by a very large, very angry, very fast beast of a goose.

That was why, as he neared the little bunker that his cousin had made and chosen to hunker down in, all he could think to do was ask what he should do. Keep running? That was quickly becoming more and more difficult to do, with his muscles tiring and his breathing labored. Give up and accept his fate? Maybe, but that sounded awfully scary and really painful. Percy could almost imagine how it would feel to have his precious tail pinched between that hard, cruel beak. Maybe running would be better.

Thankfully, his cousin had an alternate idea and Percival leaped – quite literally – at the opportunity to avoid both the agony of running forever and the fear of being mauled by a goose. He slid through powdery snow, squeaking through the little entryway that Norah had left open, and watched his cousin launch snowball after snowball at the enraged fowl. He was panting heavily, his chest heaving widely. With every intake of air, a stitch of pain in his side throbbed and he grimaced uncomfortably.

He had not been paying attention to the dwindling supply of snowballs but when Norah made the sort of exclamation nobody wants to hear ever when trying to fend off an scary, angry foe, Percy was acutely aware of exactly what she was dismayed about. "Oh no!" he yelped, forcing his tired, aching body to action once more, picking himself up from where he had been sitting, catching his breath, to kneel, bent over the snow, in order to mold more missiles for his cousin to continue launching their defense.

"No way, we are not gonna run out!" he said bold, adrenaline kicking in again when he thought of Honks making it past Norah's snowballs to enact his revenge. Working as quickly as he could, Percival packed snow over and over again between his hands and set each newly-made snowball within his cousin's reach. "How are we doin'?" he asked as he worked, staying cautiously optimistic that their plan was yielding some results...

[WC — 431]

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

POSTED: Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:18 pm

OOC: figured we could wrap this up? Of course feel free to have Percy do whatever you'd like to help while Norah goes a little nutso, lol :D WC: 548

IC:
Thankfully Percival was intelligent and immediately inferred what needed to be done. There was no way Norah would be able to stop throwing long enough to restock their snowballs. Honks would be on them in a second. She still tried not to use them too quickly, though, waiting a couple of seconds between each throw. It meant that Honks got a step or two in towards them before getting knocked back again.

"Doing good," Norah said, reaching for another snowball without looking down. It was as if she and her cousin were perfectly in tune. She could trust now that there would be a snowball within her reach every time she needed a new one. "He's gotta quit sometime, right?" Norah said, heaving another snowball at the goose. He seemed to be tiring a little bit, or maybe that was just Norah's wishful thinking. It was tough to tell, really. At the very least, he was certainly making a bit less noise than he was before.

Unfortunately, Norah's throwing arm soon grew tired and there was a quick succession of missed throws. That was all it took for Honks to charge forward, up and over the barrier she had quickly constructed. Norah dropped the snowball she had been holding, and she could not control the barks that left her mouth as she brought her arms up to protect her face from Honks. At the same time, she tried to grab onto him, a difficult task with how hard his wings were beating. She'd had enough.

Finally, she managed to get a grip on one leg and one wing. Still barking, she gave Honks a toss, and the momentum carried her forward a staggered step. She tipped forward, catching herself on the snow wall. Her hand sunk in a little, but it was enough to keep her from falling on her face. Honks landed on his side nearby, and as she placed her other hand next to the first for balance, he righted himself with a flap of his wings that sent a couple of feathers flying.

Shockingly, Honks stayed where he was as Norah barked and snarled. He honked and hissed and flapped his wings and she bared her teeth at him while continuing to snarl. Confidence bolstered by his lack of advancement, Norah leapt over the snow wall, continuing to bark as she charged him. She stopped short, crouched over a little as Honks retreated a step. Her eyes widened, hidden by her bangs, but she managed not to make a surprised sound that might break whatever spell had apparently been woven to make him back off even that little bit.

Another charge forward and Honks went silent, though he managed to somehow look affronted that Norah would dare do anything other than be afraid of him. She straightened up, tossing her head so that her eyes were visible and Honks flapped his wings before settling them against his body, and then he turned to the side as he deciding that his work was done, and Norah did her best to keep her surprise off her face and out of her posture, though it was very tempting to look at Percy to see if he was seeing the same thing that she was.
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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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