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  #16  
Old Jul 2nd, 2021, 06:24 PM
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"Hhhhhhh."

"You kn-ow, Robet-aille. You did n-ot include yourssself in that binding. Do you have family? A wife? D-aughters? Do you think you have them hidden from your work well enough to spare them what a-troc-ities I can visit? Hnhnhnhn! Ahhhh...

"La fête va enfin commencer, sortez les bouteilles, fini les ennuis.
Je dresse le table de ma nouvelle vie! Je suis heureux à l'idée de ce nouveau destin!
Une vie à me cacher et puis libre enfin - Le festin est sur mon chemin!
Une vie à me cacher et puis libre enfin - Le festin est sur mon chemin!
"

A cell. A corridor. A gate. Numerous dour-armed and heavily-faced morsels as an escort. No fun, no fun. None of them were clever enough to get close in a show of bravado, everything done at a distinct and respectful range - Word undoubtedly got round. Her initial capture had been messy - A number of agents would be desk-bound for the foreseeable future, if not prematurely retired. Some were tatters in a pinewood box, if they had anything left to bury. The Inspector, wisely, had maintained double a distance than the security detail. Shame, she might have tried to huck one of these treats into or through him elsewise. This did not spare him the dusky purr and shuddering cackle of her vocal niceties, nor were the other Pinkertons exempt from the open and shameless threats leveled at their superior. Did they breathe a quaking sigh of relief when the monstrosity was finally shunted out of their compound? Did they dread the notion that they might have to re-collect her later? Did they feel any guilt on what horror they were effectively releasing into the world?


A Strange, New World!Ahhh, freedom. Of a sort. The thing about bindings is how untenable they are - Invariably, something changes. Something fails. Something breaks. Improper wording, the death of a participant, failure to adhere to terms and conditions. The Shamaness had been smart enough not to use a mere ritual; that had been something of a distinctly primal nature, stitched right out of the fabric of reality. Even the Wendigo had been impressed... Irate, yes, but impressed nonetheless, and gladly devoured the corpse after to ensure that Secret died with her. And now the insufferable Church had layered another manacle atop that! At least for one, she simply had to indulge in her appetites... Now she is expected to curb the Hunger. Insofar as it might 'endanger the group' with 'law enforcement' or some-such (if there's no witnesses left, is it a potential danger?) Hrrmf. A pack animal, she is not.

Even if there are countless other creatures one might call her kin, somewhere behind there in the black void between stars.

The seemingly sightless white of the monster's eyes stare at the Sun, her massive frame a veritable roadblack in the street of Denver. Those that can see her would not mistake her for a hideous statue - She moves too much without moving: A slight and subtle shift of mass, a lumbering drag of long bulky tail over the street's cobblestones, a peculiar weightless flow of her great and wild mane and elongated limbs as though suspended underwater. If the term 'restless' ever could be applied... Though the Spaniard was apparently even moreso since he quickly made himself scarce. While he doesn't even warrant a glance, the Nun, after voicing her not-so-subtle threat that was clearly voiced for the Wendigo's own 'benefit', certainly did; the lingering stare, even void of expression (or the capacity to even express), speaks volumes.

Then there were three. The little bags of meat and muscle posed questions. They desired explanation. She obliges, though her attention begins to rove, surveying the surrounding hellscape of urban blight - A fetching amount of walking meals. Metal and machinery. The cantankerous groan of gear, the churn of blight from smokestacks, the general din of commerce and the stench of human suffering. "I have eaten a n-umber already - Those foolhardy en-ough to think I was a hhhhhweapon. N-ot the sort of weapon they thought, hnhnhnhn. A l-ingering element of Con-federate grey, seeking the apprrr-oval of your 'Lord Marshal.'" The jaw doesn't work or move, but the speech comes regardless. She goes silent, blind eyes trailing in the wake of a particularly fat morsel waddling past - Thick hooves click against the street in a slow shift of stance. "Th-inking they too can be elevated if only they find the proper gift to topple your G-od King. Ahhhhh if only they knew! The empty t-r-ifles of your miserable rock, sssuch a fleeting distraction." Was she this close a moment ago? Surely not. She looms near to prospector and hunter, the stink of rot and death palpable, the plumes of her breath a complete absence of heat. How can none of Denver's citizens notice, opting to merely glide past and take no notice of her? "If only they pulled me awake in the middle of this the latest empire, I w-ould have torn it asunder from the inside out as I have so many others. Do you want to h-elp me find th-em? Do you know what will happen when I do?" The jaws finally split, steadily, the dark ichor of saliva seeping from the edges of the jagged fangs, dissipating in a shadowy miasma when it hits the ground, and the black tongue lolls from between the mandibles in a fashion that polite society might describe as inappropriate. "Nothing good, I can assure you."

"Hhhwho are they? Do you - Name the roaches you step on? The detritus in the gutter you ig-nore? Hhhhh. I ate a captain, s-ome soldiers. Their commanding officer is a major. Ezekiel. Covington. Hrrrrr. One more captain, two more lieutenants, a quartermaster sergeant... And a smattering of sacrificial lamb. There used to be more! Used to be. I am s-ure they are hiding, if they are n-ot still striving to find some... Eldritch relic of mass destruction. Something undoubtedly paltry compared to my. Hnhnhn. Glory. Considering this metropolis is the n-earest, there might be one or two slithering around... Recent or fresh.

"Hhhhnhnhnhn. Girl-meat. I can devour so many in this city. And I sh-all. The drunks and beggars and prostitutes and forgotten and discarded! It is good to see that in all ages, this is a madness that never changes! So much for love thy neighbor. What says your angel of the carpenter's teachings? But if you w-ant me to tear someone apart, I have no qualms with leaving the hhhh-ead. I am, ahhhh, out of practice anyway. I could do w-ith a warm-up. In the meantime..."

"Yes, demon-infested. I am hungry. I always am.


What We Do In the Dark.
The First Night.
 


The Strangest of Bedfellows.Where would you find a horrible amalgamation of terrible inclinations and endless hungers, stitched into tangible form of things prey and predator? Stalking the inky streets of the city, perhaps, steely hooves an audible clip sounding down the quiet lanes and backalleys interspersed with the crickle-crackle of splintering bone. Perched astride a high edifice, possibly, the long spidery fingers and wicked claws coiled about a metal antennae or outcropping of fortification, the flawless white orbs seated deep in otherwise empty orbits gazing across the cityscape. Slithering its monstrous bulk through an unlocked door, maybe, following some tired worker or forgetful laborer into an apartment, where the next day would find only a ransacked room, floors peculiarly wet with the lingering stink of death in the air and a scattering of torn and stained clothing.

Where is she when Ouzo finds her? Disturbingly, in the middle of a random street in a more poorly district of the city, staring up (one surmises, the leering skull of her face is angled skyward at least). Dim light dying behind the city's wall, giving way to municipal lighting - Here, the less reliable sort, flame ensconced in glass, with only the 'nicer' establishments and those streets broaching toward finer districts boasting electrical or arcane lighting, though the quality varies on distance. It plays havoc with illuminating the area, melding dancing flame, weak buzz, and steady glow, but at least you can tell when you're getting to the less wealthy, less patrolled, and more criminal places. For a moment, she doesn't stir but for the ever-in-motion state of her, and it's a long moment before what would become a familiar crackling sounds. Her great head turns, wild and shaggy mane rippling, blind's eyes on the small mortal. "The last time I wa-s affected by liquor I was dismem-bered and my torso was s-et aflame. Your games of chance hold little thrill to me besides the violence that might er-upt, and your currency is someth-ing I have no use for - I h-ave no need of clothing to veil my womanly attributes. I will loiter th-ere. Perhaps someone will gut you. And I can eat them." Her gaze swivels back to the wall, the milkiness of her eye reflecting the last vestige of natural light before it steals away behind the fortification. "And your corpse. Of course."

She is true enough to her word. She loiters outside the cannery. She loiters inside it. She loiters at the stall, as patient as inevitability, for the re-emergence of the Spaniard. She loiters beside the troll, grinning with the mirth of the dead. She loiters behind the feline, as hungry as a bloodless knife. And then she is outside again, post-meeting, bereft of any meal, loitering in a towering loom above Ouzo. "You're n-ot dead." As plain an observation as any. "Hhhhhhh. Well. Not fully. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. Hnhnhnhn. And I? I have yet to feed. The Y-ard, was it? Train! Locomotive! Iron horse! And now personal conveyance of a similar construction. Keeping up with your kind's technological marvels... Tiring. It was so much easier dealing with you when all you hhhhhhhad was flint knives and hide shields and frantic screams. Hhhhnnnnn, although Lumeria was still an issue... Ahhhh and now I am weak, and delicate, and susceptible to injury. Tch.

"Are we going, then? If it is not a tr-ap, I think I can still pick off someone... Quietly. Like they never existed at all."


The Third Night
 


Academic Endeavours.The problem with learned scholars and mystics, is that they are learned , and usually organized. A collection of the wretches tend to be jealous of their practices, their secrets, and miserly when it comes to their knowledge. After all, it isn't a secret if it is shared. And when those secrets range toward the esoteric... Ech. They can become troublesome.

Personal inclination would have been to corner a number of the things in some side room, rend several apart and see which of the remaining squeals first before they end up having their meat peeled from their bones. But, no, she has to be congenial, and these insects probably have some defenses engrained in their complex anyway. Some of the students were probably mixed directly into the mortar and metal slag to reinforce it. Sacrifice, willing or no, is a powerful component.

The leering skull pans, crossing over the face of the Academy in slow perusal as if some incorporeal weakness might spring forth and allow her to bring the building down upon its inhabitants - A load-bearing pillar that can be ripped away, a conjunction of leylines to tear through to trigger a collapse, something - But of course it isn't that easy. The most simple solution would, unfortunately, be civility. "Hhhhhhh," she helpfully comments, the long cable of her thick tail thumping hard against the paving under hoof, huge even while hunched behind the Jie. "Demons. Por-tals. Eat one. Take advantage of the other. This place could be prrroblematic for me. But useful. Not many hhhhhh, libraries, with references to s-omething like me in the region. J-ust need to find out. Who. And whether it is a use-ful reference. A directory of visitors. Membership. Loaned tomes. Place of residence. Meat!" This is, presumably, a proclamation to the prospector, and the irritation in needing to ask for help demand aid is clear in the movements of her agitated tail. "Be my pr-oxy. Get me inside. I do not n-eed long. Even less with assis-tance from ssstaff. J-ust a question requiring answer. I will, of course, go in anyway."

She does, provided there is no strong resistance to her entry - And she is on good behavior, too. Trailing the Tiefling and Naga, to stand in helpful stillness and stare unblinking (for lack of eyelids, naturally) at the statuesque depiction of an elder demon, to hover at the shoulder (such as it is) of Xizelhesh as she instructs, to survey with piqued interest (in regards to the potential taste) of various depictions of hellborn decorating the room. Or perhaps another day finds her drifting in Nao's wake, invited or not, welcome or not - Prowling the chambers they enter, circling her bronze-skinned contact with predatory interest that is more than likely distinct from the hunter's own, standing across from a particular researcher and simply watching them with some incalculable and potentially undesirable interest.

But this is boring.

At some point, the monstrosity trails behind Xizelhesh, freezes, and curls in an impossible, vertebrae-crackling arc, slender breast and skin-stretching ribs prominent in the air, upside-down skull purring a chill air near to the serpent's face, "Hasss there b-een anyone inquiring after Hidatsa legends? Eldritch relics? Living w-eapons?"

"How about - Demonic reliquaries? World-ending artifacts? Hnhnhnhn, sharp blades?" she breathes past the bronze-skinned cheek of Prometheus, coiling past the man during brief lull in his and Nao's research.

"Any S-outhern gentlemen with a preference for grey uniforms lurking in these halls? Any s-tolen books, miss-ing files, ab-sent photographs?" she duskily rumbles in passing to staff and student and visitor. She seems exquisitely casual in voicing the inquiries, or at least unconcerned with any potential danger in doing so.


The Fifth Night
 


The Remnants of Your Family.The Hidatsa are - Or were - rather the secret tribe. Elusive, xenophobic. They had opted for the dark and wild places of the world, never courted a large population, kept to themselves. And for good reason, for the things they knew, the secret realms their shamans peered into, were places few beings of sentient mind should ever access, and the knowledges gleamed from there-in were not the sort for human minds. But as isolationist as they were, their few numbers necessitated the occasional contact with other tribes...

Even in a booming city of a cosmopolitan persuasion, there's still going to be some degree of a preference to stay amid one's own culture, particularly for any newcomers or those passing by. The comfort of familiarity. This should make the Wendigo's task easier.

Glass panes looking into store displays fog over in her passing. Animals, stray and domestic, shy away from her vicinity without knowing why. Travelers and citizens blindly swerve to avoid colliding into her as naturally as they breathe. Businesses give way to more residential constructs, edging toward the loftier of lower class and not quite broaching middle - They suffice, but are one bad day away from problematic. It's a neighborhood she had been staking out, watching from astride lofty perches as people of the First Nation trickled and flow through its lanes and streets, the stink of them dragged in through the empty olfactory crevices of her skull. The design of the meat populace was familiar, for the most part - A few she's not seen, not tasted. Some are creatures. Some half-breeds. Indifference to this, eugenics is not her concern, she's watching for clothing. Signifying marks. Deferential treatment. Age. Disfigured faces. Eyes that are wrong. Bodies that are twisted. It took no more than a few hours, but then she knew what to look for - Mostly because when she noticed it, it looked back.

"I have no particular concern or intent w-ith you or your kin," she breathed, brushing aside the dangling trinkets and beads serving as a backroom door; the home had been easy to worm into, the defenses too minimal to ward her, the inhabitants easy to brush aside. The aged medicine man seated on the floor, surrounded by terrified family and loved ones, could have been a skinwalker - The visual cues are there in the orange eyes and feral bend to his legs. But no curses, no darkness lingered in the household. Reformed? Hrrm. Well, it happens. "And! It can s-tay that way, if you oblige me. The Hidatsa. You know them. You knew them. Or you knew of them. They are dead, of course - Do not l-ook at me, I did not do it, hnhnhnhn. I h-unt the ones that did, however - And I will do to them the things your people fear that I do. But I have to f-ind them. first Before I can break them. H-ow did a contingent of Confederate soldiers find so slippery a collection as the Hidatsa? They had such fine wardings against scrrrying - They would have to, the places their magic-users spied into would have found them first. They d-id not bungle a meeting with another tribe. Some~one~ sque~aled~ And any scent I can steal that leads to them, weeell. Hnhnhnhn... That much quicker to putting to bed that issue. So. Unless you want me to f-orce you to watch me flay your grandchildren, you might want to start talking, and pray that I like what I hear."


OOC
 


The Wendigo
 

Last edited by Verdant Glitter; Jul 13th, 2021 at 02:30 AM.
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  #17  
Old Jul 3rd, 2021, 05:40 PM
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August 23rd through ???, 1885. Denver.
Nao
 

The Wendigo
 

The Entire Crew. August 30th, 1885. Cripple Creek Hostel, Denver.
 


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Currently GM'ing: 1,000,000 Ways to Die in the Weird West (it's publicly viewable!)
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 01:12 PM
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Ouzo and The Wendigo, at the Corner of Larimer and 34th
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wendigo View Post
"The last time I wa-s affected by liquor I was dismem-bered and my torso was s-et aflame."
"Oh. I mean, of course. Jie gets dismembered and torsos-aflamed every time he is given rum. Best to start with whiskey and end with whiskey, yes?" He waved along the topic as it were trivial nothing. It was all he could do, really, when confronted with the casual dread of his own insignificance before a nightmare-made-real.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wendigo View Post
"Your games of chance hold little thrill to me besides the violence that might er-upt, and your currency is someth-ing I have no use for - I h-ave no need of clothing to veil my womanly attributes. I will loiter th-ere. Perhaps someone will gut you. And I can eat them."

"And your corpse. Of course."
"Oh, you'll fit right in!" He smiled. Like he was introducing a new friend to the neighborhood committee on tea and cucumber sandwiches. Not an inaccurate connotation, considering where they were headed into. Though when Ouzo went to reach for the cannery door, he paused, then glanced back at the monstrosity. He'd been trying to keep his hallmark nonchalance but his carefree smile had since melted into little more than a queasy semi-retraction of his face with entirely absent eyes. Apparently his capacity for self-deception knew some limits.
Ouzo, Cripple Creek Hostel
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Ouzo was among the last to join them for breakfast, coming downstairs with bags under his eyes and a heavily wrinkled shirt. He'd slept in his clothes again. Despite the spread so tenderly laid out for them, the first thing he reached for was... another cigarette out of his breast pocket. He lit up and spent his first few puffs staring far away. It became clear what he'd been doing during his downtime after only "working" a few hours every day. The conman perked up a bit when he saw the orc in the common room, smiling at her and saluting with his cigarette.

He shared
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoldyNolds View Post
Once in a safe place, the documents revealed the Church brought in everything they needed to operate in Denver by train; their own train in fact. His Footprints was a hellstone train that the Church owned outright and ran from the Empire through the entire Protectorate. It most recently made berth at Denver for something titled Project: Meal Ticket where an agent and an artifact was unloaded. It then left Denver three days ago, headed back to Kansas City where it was to await an update on something called Project: Resurrection... Exactly how many pies did the Church have their fingers in?
his findings with Nao, Jie, and the Wendigo before Marisol joined them, speaking in a hush and peering over either shoulder to ensure neither she nor anyone else could listen in. "Best to not ask Sister Sunshine anything about the poetry of their codewords. I only learned about their operations after, ah... some very particular papers went missing from the convent she was staying in herself, or whatever that place was. I suppose nothing surprising for a clandestine paramilitary nunnery, but it'd be easy enough to trace the break in back to us if we're suddenly interested in the things they'd suddenly had stolen." He was more concerned with the break in than the fact that he'd be looking into Sister Marisol. Not only did she seem to have as robust a dossier on them as Slatterbaugh, and so shouldn't be all that surprised at his skulduggery, but she was something of a spy herself, and was expected to appreciate the need for good intel.

Though Ouzo wondered if any of them caught his phrasing: ... trace the break in back to us, he'd said. Suddenly his breaking and entering was their breaking and entering. More of his famously convenient use of Royal We-s.

By the time Marisol joined them, Dr. Ouzo returned to more pleasant chatter. Like gambling and moving stolen goods. "... and apparently they are 'sprockets' and not 'horseless carriages'. (I mean I would have thought a horseless carriage was just a carriage without a horse but I didn't want to correct anyone.)" Dr. Ouzo's already-thick accent was now further obstructed with mouthfuls of delicious breakfast. "Say, wasn't our first meal together something similar, back in Yellow Ledge...? Ham cut thinner. Maybe a touch more brandy. Anyone hear whatever became of that thight-pantsed fellow? The pisser? Eoin, was his name?"

Later, "Oh! How very rude of me. I almost forgot! The good inspector wrote us to inquire about how The Wendigo is settling in to her new life." He wondered if the pages of Roubetaille's magic book could convey the taste of syrup as well as it did the appearance of ink, but decided against testing the theory. With plates pushed aside and the leather-bound journal laid out, Ouzo flourished a pen and began to melodically narrate his response as it was written. He peeked up at the others every so often with emotive looks that matched the punctuation of his message: "Dear... diary. These past few days... have been an exciting journey... into the everyday life... and culture... of post... attunement... Denver. I cannot... believe... that I even saw... an anthro... -po... -morphic... parrot person... at the market! I wonder... so often... if the others we en-... -counter... think the same... about us? What feelings do they have... besides this wonder?" The gentleman scoundrel went on to write, in full effect, an entire journal entry, if only to force Inspector Robetaille to wade through the minutia of day-to-day inner monologue. No better a cure for hangovers than a touch of mischief. "P... S... Still in Denver... and not eaten... by your extra... -dimensional... nightmare being," he concluded chipperly, adding a dramatic dab at the page for his final punctuation. Then Ouzo looked up to the others and held out the ink pen. "Anyone want to add your own entry? Surely, Miss The Wendigo, I wouldn't speak for you and you can write on your own behalf. I didn't put anything about where we might go next, though..."

"Nao, you've been suggesting a proper bounty job? And something about the mayor? Then there's Slatterbaugh's man... And also Henwright is apparently real and in Denver? He might know more about both Croup and this claw..."

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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 03:31 AM
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Li Jie. Breakfast, August 30th, 1885. Cripple Creek Hostel, Denver.
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Li Jie
Li Jie was extremely happy with his research and progress in the city. He’d even ignored Ouzo’s advice the previous night and had enjoyed rum and whisky. His sore head echoed and rattled with the

He re-lived the past few days as he broke fast at June May’s table. Jie jumped as remembered the grenade he’d purchased from Jino and stashed in his room. He wondered if the volatile projectile was safe. That thing would level June May’s and he’d hate to face her afterward. He’d thought long and hard about buying the six-pack but joked with the goblin about getting plenty of ‘bang for his buck’ buying just one (Really his natural miserliness kept his wallet closed).

Ezekiel Covington, Wendigo’s target, was a common source of comment among the group, one of 26 meals she had planned in revenge for their treatment of her. Jie was curious and so asked about the “eldritch relic of mass destruction” that they sought. "Wendigo, do you know what eldritch relic they seek? Or is it simply that they seek powerful weapons that can replace what they thought they’d found in you?" Jie wanted to understand her motivations, apart from eating folk. Also, Jie pragmatically assumed that these soldiers weren’t nice people and, as he and the Wendigo were bound, that he would aid her in avenging her enemies. Although he’d not appreciate any tortuous dismemberment…

He’d parted ways with Xizelhesh proudly acknowledging her comment, ’The Academy exists to serve enlightened minds…’ and assuring her that he would return after a time. The naga had proved to be a valuable tutor and he hoped to spend more time with her. To discover that the military was a source of information through declassified documents was a surprise, but he’d assimilated that information quickly and continued on. After two days of days of study, Jie had felt much better educated on demons here in the west and had some understanding of the Zone Demonika.

'sprockets' and not 'horseless carriages'

He also overheard the Wendigo’s interaction with the girl Tyrse which he later correlated with information from Sturges about Mayor Munsaidh owning two sprockets, one more than he necessarily required. Now with banging head it occurred that there was a nefarious feel to Denver’s mayor, and that he possessed items of interest to the group. Jie spoke under his breath, "The Mayor owns two sprockets…" In case of being overheard by their virtuous landlady Jie wasn’t going to say much. Meeting the gaze of each of the group he could see that each of their curiosity was piqued. Perhaps relieving the mayor of a sprocket and a book warranted more consideration. As always, Jie’s face told a great deal more than his words. It would be simple for the others to read his intent. Conversely, they’d know he wasn’t the best skilled to lead any heist.

With crazy eyes crossed in an attempt to stave off the looming headache, Jie spoke with Nao, "The Academy was most illuminating. I learnt so much more about demons and the Zone Demonika. Xizelhesh was an exceptional study assistant. But your Prometheus, he gave access to the members only section. Were there more marvelous mysteries in there?" Jie didn’t have that much to reveal of his learnings with the group, although he knew his information would be very handy in every future interaction with demons.

"I thought I’d catch scent of Mr. Croup but…" Jie trailed off and stuffed a flapjack into his mouth by way of completing the thought. Jie was surprised to hear that Ouzo had investigated Marisol’s church and heard him out with a mixture of shock and amusement.

’Henwright is apparently real and in Denver?’

It seemed they had interesting things to investigate everywhere, but two things motivated Jie most. Firstly, Jie wished to find and speak with Henwright (he was the best clue to pursuing Mr. Croup as he’d mentioned Henwright in the note from the demon-man’s chambers); and secondly, he wanted to learn more about Mayor Munsaidh to determine if any of the rumours were true. Jie had promised himself to impress Posey with a sprocket and planned to make good on this.

"So..." Jie finished, smacking his lips and slapping his belly, "...what's the plan for today?"
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Old Jul 16th, 2021, 12:33 AM
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Denver
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It was good to sit around the table with her comrades again, Nao thought as she dug into a very fine meal. It was still strange that this was breakfast food here in the West, as Nao was used to rice, fish and miso soup for the first meal of the day, but it was quite tasty nonetheless. Especially after being cooped up doing research for nearly a full week and snatching quick bites to eat whenever hunger couldn’t be ignored. She listened attentively as the others discussed what they had been up to and what they had discovered. Her eyes widened when she discovered Ouzo had investigated the Church. Seemed like they were up to some shady business and no surprise. She sighed and gave the conman a look. ”Since we are all in this together then, it would be prudent to investigate this more at a later date when suspicion has died down, hmmm?”

She couldn’t help but snicker through a mouthful of food as Ouzo started narrating his journal to the Pinkertons. She appreciated the Spaniard’s brash sense of humor; it offset the shivering feeling she still got when seeing the Wendigo. She swallowed and wiped her mouth before replying to the conman’s questions.

”Hai, my contact Bill Boone gave me a bounty on three men, the Navarro boys. It is likely they will be holed up in a town about 6 hours from here. It shouldn’t take too long to track them down. The Wendigo here can have a meal, we can collect the bounty and have some more money to put towards a...Spu ro ket.” Nao sounded the last word out with just a hint of accent. She remembered the look in Bill’s eyes after she had imparted her information about Yellow Ledge. It was exactly the kind of thing he loved and he proved to be quite generous in reciprocation.

”Bill mentioned that the Mayor has two of the things and….” she paused for dramatic effect. ”I have also hired his services to get some of us into the gala Mayor Munsaidh is hosting next week as attendants, legitimately. We can mingle and snoop as much as we like, nobody really pays attention to the help.” She winked at Ouzo. ”As for what I discovered at the Academy…” She gave Jie an apologetic look. ”I’m afraid I came up empty-handed about Mr. Croup as well. However, I did indeed find information on Henwright and portals, some here in Denver and some elsewhere.” She briefly explained what she had learned and then took another bite of food, chewing as she thought.

”It seems to me that the bounty and investigating the Mayor are time sensitive. We know Henwright and the Fae are in Denver and can look into both of them later. We also should at least pay a visit to Slatterbaugh’s man, good manners and all that. I propose we see Slatterbaugh’s man, go after the bounty, and then investigate the Mayor. I also think that if we do leave Denver, we should stay together.” She gave a sideways glance at the Wendigo. ”No telling what sorts of mischief could occur if we split up outside the city. Does that seem agreeable to everyone?” She finished her plate as she waited for the others’ opinions.


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Old Jul 16th, 2021, 11:33 PM
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A meeting of the minds.
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Her ventures - Solo and otherwise - had been fruitful enough. Had there been skin and muscle to convey the emotion, her expression would have been amusement at the child that spied her. Ahh, the minds of the human young, malleable and open! Long simian digits coil, the tipping claws dragging along the bleached line of her own jaw on listening to the little nugget of truth the clerk's sister prised free for her own benefit - The long-fingered hand angles, lowering on the child's head in a single, solitary pat, and her interrogations were satisfied for the time being. And the shaman's own information had been as greedily devoured as any tender, screaming morsel - The coil of those same fingers had swept the air in a clutching grasp and pulled it to her maw, as if devouring the very information from the air. And, when the young woman spoke and presented an offering? The Wendigo only paused on the utterance of the name, still but for the wild lash of the stocky tail. The Fiddler! Fool mortal! Brazen shaman! Itinerant hunter! Hhhhh. The Wendigo had spilled down to a hunch before the daughter, leering skull too close, the black ribbon of her tongue lolling free across the woman's cheek in a wet, chilly streak. "He will break, hhhhh. Hrrrm. But. Yours will not," she breathes frostily, while limbs coil about the frozen meat and - With a bony crack of mandible - bring it to her unhinging jaw and slide it into the black void within. True to her word, the Wendigo rises to her towering height, turns at a lumbering gait, and wedges her great form through the door. No one in the household is harmed, at least physically.

Black hooves, solid as steel, *clunk* against the floorboards of the dining room to give notice of her movements, ever restless monstrosity a languid, flowing mass about the long table. For a moment she's hovering behind Jie, leaned in near enough that the cold of her breath spills across his cheek; sometimes she's spilling around Nao, the flutter of movements too close stirring her hair; at others, the long blades of her claws are furling underneath the armrests of Ouzo's chair, as if to lift it, and him with, though fortunately she doesn't; and still another, she's looming over Sister Marisol, towering form drooping enough over the nun that the willowy curve of furred breast all but rests on her brow.... all in the effort of staring at the meal decorating the table's surface. Surely, only this.

"S-omething to replace m-eeeee, meat-Li Jie. Oh, they thought they were f-inding something delight-ful - The Stag's Crown! The Con-vex Lens! The Twice-Born Candle! His Reflection Removed! Heh. Hhhhhhh. Not sss-ome-thing, hnhnhnhn, alive. Poor little things. Whatever relic or weapon they believe they can vomit into the lap of ... Hhhhh, Lee. To curry fav-or. J-oin his fel legion. Maybe they would be rewarded. Maybe they would be split into ch-unks and divvied among the can-non fodder. Who kn-ows whether they could find any thing of import after the glorious disaster of finding me."

"And. No. I do n-ot know the locations of sssuch relics. If I did, I would be scavenging toward them in the hhh-ope of catching my prey. Or to devour them and add their strength to my mag-nificence."

Invariably, the timeless beast ceases her prowling, stealing a barren corner of the room near a window to fill with her massive frame - The glass fogs, crystalline tendrils of frost spreading across its surface in stark contrast to the streaks of rain on the other side, the only hint of her presence to anyone unaware of her existence. The pale white grin ever-present across her 'face' is the only retort to Nao's jibe concerning splitting up and the mischief that might result. Oh yes. She noticed. She doesn't care, because a glance at the day's newspaper will detail how valid the concern is, but she noticed. "I do n-ot care the plans. But the Mayor steals in-formation relevant to my awakening. He knows. Ssss-omething. Confederate contact? Erstwhile scholar? Herald of the Sun? I can and will peel the skin from his meat until he spills more than just blood and screams. If I must eat these bounties first, I will. Succor is always. Always. Welcome."

A pregnant pause follows, before the creature leans with a crickle-crack of vertebrae and bone towards Ouzo. "That book is rrrr-ightfully mine. But look. No fingers. I write in claws. It tears pages. Ask the Inspector where his family lives so I may visit, hnhnhnhn."


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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 09:12 PM
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August 30th, 1885. Denver.
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By the time Marisol joins the posse in the sitting room at the Hostel, any talk of Ouzo's Church foray has been silenced and the conversation moves on to relatively more communal matters. The Sister seems decidedly... cold to the group. It's no secret she would perhaps not be here in the company of a group of people the Protectorate had arrested only a short time ago and were cleared under mysterious circumstances arranged by an Ore Baron. And then there was The Wendigo. No matter where the creature went in the room the nun's eyes couldn't help but follow, keeping tabs on her quarry, the thing they had been divinely and inexorably bound to, at least for the time being. Even when she got so close to Marisol as to invade her personal space from behind... perhaps her eyes couldn't physically lay vision on The Wendigo from behind, nonetheless her attention was cemented onto the beast's presence and the others might have noticed muscles going taught, a free hand straying ever so slightly towards one of the many crafts of war hanging on clips from her vest. Perhaps something meant to directly deal with an entity such as this? Or perhaps something as simple as a grenade, who was to know?

In any case, her mood was frigid. Responses were either short-lived, if they came at all, or filled with derision and dissent:

"You're honestly suggesting we don common waitstaff outfits and trespass into the Mayor of Denver's soiree for no other reason than to ste--" Noticing June May sashay through the room refilling drinks and plates, Marisol clammed up conspicuously, waiting for her to pass. Playing it cool did not appear to be in her skillset... Once the proprietor had retreated into the kitchen she resumed, if at a hoarse whisper. "-- steal a sprocket and look for some book for The Wendigo?! This is a criminal act! Although... the Church has heard the rumors of Munsaidh's questionable activities; disappearing for days... meeting with unidentifiable figures... and decommissioning the starscope is quite odd and entirely inappropriate." Desperately trying to find some way to balance the necessity of sticking with the group to keep an eye on The Wendigo and also justify the most definitely illegal activity, she seemed to eventually find what she was looking for. "I suppose if it means we can uncover the Mayor's true motives and evidence to prove his innocence or guilt in any suspected crimes, it could be warranted, by the slimmest of margins. As long as no innocents are killed! Or eaten."

On the subject of meeting with Baron Slatterbaugh's agent Marisol simply hmmph'd noncommittally and focused on her breakfast and The Wendigo's movements with equal attention.

When Henwright and the claw-gauntlet was brought up she seemed mildly interested, TN13 PER (Empathy) test

at least on the surface, and shrugged. "I've heard the name. Henwright is supposed to be some sort of retired adventurer? If he has something to do with this demonic artifact and this Mr. Croup, then it stands to reason we should find out what we can."

Marisol scowled at the mention of the Navarro bounty. "How'd you even... that's sensitive Empire business!" The general consensus of tracking them down seemed to calm her. A bit. "I suppose if it means they'll be returned to the gigaprison where they belong, then I'd be willing to see it done. Gatterburn, you say? If we leave after breakfast we should be able to get there shortly after lunch and see them secured in Denver's jail before bedtime. Stock up and meet at the Southern gate in twenty minutes?"



left-aligned image
It was, in fact, about two o'clock in the afternoon when the group reached the outskirts of Gatterburn. The rain had not let up, and the fact that it kept them relatively cool in the uncomfortably warm late summer weather was tempered by the fact that they were, well, quite wet. Even those of them that perhaps had the foresight to bring ponchos, riding umbrellas, or other forms of rain gear had to deal with their mounts sloshing through the mud along the trail and their legs sticking out away from their bodies. Marisol had donned a new habit; this one was covered in waxed waterfowl feathers in both black and white that followed the color pattern of her previous outfit and seemed to keep her dry, although it still had a long slit up each side of the dress. As it turns out the style not only exposed a healthy amount of her toned legs up to mid-thigh, it also allowed her to mount and ride her exquisite, jet black stallion without sitting side-saddle.

Before they reached their location the group broke from the single-horse riding trail and stole off into the nearby scrub-plains, the gently rolling landscape keeping them relatively hidden from any other trail-riders they might come across. Finding a small stand of fernbush at the crest on one such hill, their silvery conical flowers stubbornly hanging on past their seasonal call to drop and spread their seeds, the group gathered up under the cover of both the grey weather and the foliage to survey the small line of buildings that lay about a mile in front of them:

The entirety of Gatterburn was smaller than even Yellow Ledge, if such a thing was possible. Seven structures in total, and that included two small wood or tool sheds. The church's cross on the roof would have stood taller than the building it was precariously perched on, had it been on the ground. As it was the front wall with the door appeared to be the only one still standing, the other walls and most of the roof had collapsed in on itself. Had it been whole, however, it still wouldn't have held more than twenty souls. Most of the other buildings were in a similar state; either partially or entirely caved in. One might have been a general store. Another a small feed warehouse, by the wagon wheels and barrels stacked outside it. The largest structure was a three-story mill. An aqueduct brought water in from a nearby hillside to the Northwest, ostensibly with some sort of well, that continued to pipe water into the structure. At this distance the group could also see water pouring out of several holes at ground level. The flows had already eroded small streams into the earth and continued to do so as they carried water and soil through what passed as the main avenue all the way through town and out towards the Southwest.

From this distance it was difficult to tell if anyone still inhabited the town. If Boone's intel was to be believed at least one old woman was still present, though no signs of life were immediately visible. No horses were tied up within sight, and any hoof or footprints would be incredibly difficult to find in the rain. It would take either Li Jie, PER (Seeing) Success! And a sharp eye, Jie had. The rain would have quickly washed away most signs of passing, if there were any. However, a few things were picked up by the keen prospector. The first being the faintest wisps of smoke wafting out from the southern-most building, the feed warehouse. The giant hole in its roof allowed what appeared to be a controlled campfire or cook stove to vent its white wood smoke. The second detail was... manure. As they circled around to the North several piles of animal manure made themselves known to the tiefling. They lay in the wet mud on the North side of the mill, close to the wall. It wasn't easy to tell their exact age at this distance, but they appeared fresh enough to not have caked and dried yet. A day, perhaps? Less?a sharp eye, an expert tracker, a closer look, or some other means of investigation to uncover any clues that may or may not be hiding nearby. Or the posse could simply wait and see if any movement caught their attention.

"Well... what now? Are we to just sit here, in the rain, and wait for the Navarros to saunter out and surrender themselves?" Marisol, it seemed, was not advocating for the wait-and-see approach...

OOC
Ongoing Effects:
  1. Marisol's Novice: You inspire calm and courage in your friends and allies. If you are conscious and they are within sight of you, any allies gain a +1 bonus to all Willpower-related tests.Inspire Talent!
  2. -1 to any tests affected by the inclement weather!

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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 11:42 PM
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Li Jie. Breakfast, August 30th, 1885. Cripple Creek Hostel, Denver.
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Li Jie
’…the bounty and investigating the Mayor are time sensitive. We know Henwright and the Fae are in Denver and can look into both of them later. We also should at least pay a visit to Slatterbaugh’s man, good manners and all that. I propose we see Slatterbaugh’s man, go after the bounty, and then investigate the Mayor. I also think that if we do leave Denver, we should stay together.’

Jie appreciated Nao taking charge. He also considered it essential that they all stay together, especially since they were warded. He grunted his agreement, still bear-headed from the excess of the previous evening. Helpfully, the proximity of the Wendigo, and it’s frozen breath, helped to clear his head for when the Warrior Nun arrived.

Jie really didn’t know much about Nun’s and the ways of the Church, but he was learning fast. It became apparent that Marisol’s virtues were impeccable, and she’d need convincing to behave in a manner like their rag-tag bunch. Jie admired her righteousness and decided then and there that he liked her, but he glanced at Ouzo and frowned, realising that the group were accustomed to using any means to complete their contracts. The free rein they had helped and Jie would be loathe to have to change their behaviour, even if it could be changed. He smirked at Ouzo and nodded in agreement with himself. Marisol must assimilate and it seemed she might convince herself that certain courses of action could be rationalised as “for the greater good”.

’I've heard the name. Henwright is supposed to be some sort of retired adventurer? If he has something to do with this demonic artifact and this Mr. Croup, then it stands to reason we should find out what we can.’

"I agree. But as Nao says, there’s not much time to complete the bounty and investigate the Mayor." He assessed her interest in the claw-gauntlet before adding, "Henwright can wait." The desire to investigate demons and in particular Mr. Croup had never left Jie but in Denver it was balanced against getting a sprocket and racing back to see Posey, if only for a night. He also sought the next payday and so was entirely content with their chosen course of action.


’Well... what now? Are we to just sit here, in the rain, and wait for the Navarros to saunter out and surrender themselves?’

When they arrived in the vicinity of Gatterburn, Jie stroked his wild beard before offering a strategy. "We might see something while circling around to the north. There’s more cover that way… and Nao might find a good spot?" He raised an eyebrow at the sniper. "The other four of us could advance in the cover of the hills and aqueduct. When we get there we try to flush them out, Nao as cover?" Jie frowned as he was concerned (as always) for his friend’s safety. He’d be ready to stand as shield in front but first thought to uncover anything about their quarry that he may. As they walked, he carefully scanned the ground ahead and the buildings of the tumbleweed town for details that might prove helpful in the coming fracas.
Following The Wendigo'And if we circle around to the north, might we use the western buildings to go immediately to the general store? The most likely place for fugitives, given the smoke, with the least amount of open ground, to give us cover. I can certainly manufacture a facsimile to give them cause for flushing, don't you worry, Jie,'

Jie nodded his agreement at Ouzo's wink and prepared to move with the Wendigo.

'Mmmmake your decision quick-ly, I am bored, and eager to eat someone.

Who is coming with me? Who will slow me down?'


"I will follow." Jie's preference was to be at the front to put his body between Nao and Ouzo and any threat, but when it came to the Wendigo?! It had repeatedly reminded them of it's immortality and Jie couldn't know any better. He'd need to see it in action. Perhaps it was invulnerable and more capable of protecting itself than he was himself. He beckoned the creature move forward towards the General Store while he followed quietly behind, staying ten yards back and Stealth rolled 3,4,2 =9attempting to stay in cover and out of sight. The rain waterfalling off the rim of his hat would work equally well to disguise their movements but might also hide their bounty from them.

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Old Jul 24th, 2021, 10:36 PM
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Gatterburn
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Having two new members join their posse slightly dampened Nao’s enjoyment of the outing, especially since one was more likely to eat them than help them and the other...just rubbed Nao the wrong way. She was sure the nun had her good points but she was very stiff and seemed to want to play by the rules. Nao was only a fan of rules if they helped her get what she wanted. But at least for now Marisol did seem willing to go along with them. Her snootiness about investigating the mayor still rankled, especially since Nao had gone to some trouble and expense to legitimately get her and her friends into the party. ”Next time I’ll just let the Wendigo crash the party and terrify the information out of people. That’s what I get for trying to be considerate and not cause a scene.” she muttered under her breath. Although, imagining a bunch of high and mighty politicians and well to do society members running screaming from claws and teeth did cheer up the bounty hunter.

When they reached Gatterburn, Nao snorted quietly, highly unimpressed. She nodded at Jie’s suggestion. ”Excellent idea, friend Jie. I can find a spot with some cover from rain and sight and keep an eye on all of you.” She glanced pointedly at Marisol and the Wendigo as she said this, implying that she’d be watching their backs but also watching them. After trying and discarding a few places, Nao found a perch to her liking and settled down to wait, gun at the ready.


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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 11:55 PM
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Ouzo at BreakfastWhen Nao shared not one, but two jobs with the lot of them, the conman perked up. "A hunter of true bounty! Nao, I could kiss you! (Ahm... though out of perseverance for my reputation, let's not. I daren’t be seen as any, you know, libertarian…) We are blessed to have some traditional work outside of dank, infernal mining shafts. Like hunting brigands. And impersonating staff to burgle a wealthy and inevitably well-guarded estate."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wendigo View Post
"Ask the Inspector where his family lives so I may visit, hnhnhnhn."
"It would be my pleasure, Miss The Wendigo. P.P.P.S.... Miss The Wendigo... kindly asks... upon the well being of your family... and sends regards." Ouzo gave a painfully false smile to The Wendigo, trying to seem quaint. Amidst the excessive facade and without looking, he continued writing in very, very tiny letters: "DON'T. GIVE. LOCATION. PROBABLY. WILL. BE. EATEN."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sister Marisol View Post
"You're honestly suggesting we don common waitstaff outfits and trespass into the Mayor of Denver's soiree for no other reason than to ste-- ... -- steal a sprocket and look for some book for The Wendigo?! This is a criminal act!"
"(It is quite the DIS-honest suggestion, but...) Sister Marisol! Of course petty theft isn't all we'll be doing. We will be serving another greater good. Perhaps the most important good. One that simply cannot be discounted. (So quick to judgment, sheesh.) ... We will also be handing out drinks and keeping a ready supply of clean bar ware."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sister Marisol View Post
"Henwright is supposed to be some sort of retired adventurer?"
What a Ouzo rolls a 15 on his COM/Empathy check on Marisol's reaction to the claw and Henwright, succeeding!terrible liar. As if he didn't already know she was deep into the business of keeping secrets. "Here's to retirement in our line of work, no?" Dr. Ouzo grinned wide at catching the nun's lie of omission, raised a shot glass that must've appeared at some point during breakfast, and downed its contents.
Ouzo in the Rain
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Perhaps unlike the others, Ouzo came prepared. He held in one hand an umbrella, and in his infinite wisdom, opted for one of a dark, pale blue, so as to blend in with the rain. A bit of cleverness on his part, he was certain. He wouldn't be caught soaking wet on a bounty job. The mud was atrocious, so he had to step carefully so as to not get too sullied. They might as well have been in those grimy mines all over again.

Once they'd traveled about a mile out from Gatterburn, if anyone gave Ouzo the Spaniard any look for approaching a stakeout and bounty hunt with an umbrella, he gave an exasperated sigh. "Very well!" He dramatized, before folding up the umbrella and trading his dryness for Ouzo rolls a DEX/Stealth check to approach Gatterburn, rolling a 13! If this roll fails at any point, his Scouting re-rolls it to a 15!a more sensible modicum of stealth.

"The general store to the south? With manure around the mill to the north...?" He repeated, when Jie shared his astute observations. Leave it to the smart one to look for signs before delving in. "The mill seems to be their largest building. If the manure is any sign of where they keep their steeds, then we would do well to disturb that nest last, lest their mounts give early warning of our presence. Huntress Nao, if you were to take sight from either northeast or northwest, instead of due north, might you have sights on both the front and rear of the mill, as well as the general store, and the path between? We'd be grateful for the cover, should their crew be spread between buildings..."

"And if we circle around to the north, might we use the western buildings to go immediately to the general store? The most likely place for fugitives, given the smoke, with the least amount of open ground, to give us cover. I can certainly manufacture a facsimile to give them cause for flushing, don't you worry, Jie," Ouzo winked.

When Nao mentioned letting the Wendigo go ahead on her own, Ouzo chuckled, appreciating the thought. Then he considered the matter a bit more. Then he groaned. "Ah... perhaps best if the Wendigo goes with, ah, company, yes? For backup? Only if the Navarro Brothers travel with any, ah, folks of lesser means..."

Hunger, of all things, was worse than any itchy trigger finger, and the conman didn't want to have to justify any unnecessary bloodbath to his own meager conscious, much less to a nun with an uzi.


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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 03:59 AM
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A Ramshackle Hideaway!
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"I do not th-ink you un-der-stand the reclusive n-ature of the Hidatsa, nun. They were very good at n-ot being found. By anything. Yet sss-ome grey demon-worshiping remnants finding annnnd ssslaughtering them. While your meat-sovereign steals a tome regarding th-em from an arcane academy. Is not sus-picious? Maybe you know more than you are l-etting on. Maybe you are n-aive."




There is one upside to the persistent rains - The heavy torrent surges through fur and over hide, at first drizzling away in thick rivulets of bloody scarlet and darker gobbets of knotted viscera until, presumably, what stains the Wendigo's hide is washed away, carrying with it the pungency of decay, death, and gore. Unfortunately, it leaves behind the stink of wet animal instead, mitigated solely by the crystallization of moisture with her permanently frigid aura, tiny shards of ice breaking away from the thicket of water-logged fur and mane, frozen plumes billowing from the long crevices of her skull's olfactory. Massive hooves easily surge through the muddy terrain, unperturbed by the damp chill soaking through her hide or the filthy squelch under-hoof rapidly caking into her animal legs, slumping into a perturbing four-limbed trot when the necessity arises. It's fortunate her great stride and seemingly inexhaustible stamina, or at least unwillingness to voice discomfort or fatigue (does she feel these? Can she?), allows her to keep pace with the mounted humans - No creature under the Earth's skies would likely tolerate her attempts to ride it. None would likely survive the attempt. Soon enough, the lumbering monstrosity is hunched above the others, staring bland and blind at the gutted remnants of a... Village? Far too generous a label for this dismal site.

"This is sad, hnhnhnhn. I've devoured herm-it-ages that housed larger pop-ulations."

Helpful. Not helpful. Inconsequential. The slender knife of a fingertip's claw picks at something between wicked fangs, the normally dormant length of a slender ear twitched as the quartet of human(oids) weigh their options, formulate their plans. A patch of reddened fabric that might have once been blue is flicked away, the long jaws slowly hanging open as minuscule icicles materialize along its length with the outward usher of a tundra breeze. "Ech. I pref-er the swapling's preference. Though, of course, I h-ave a predilection for resurrection. I think most of your quaint species crump-les when cut, shot, stabbed, broken, and tends not to get back up. Mmmmake your decision quick-ly, I am bored, and eager to eat someone.

"Who is coming with me? Who will slow me down?"

The Wendigo is not a pack hunter. Her method is fairly straight-forward - Much like her stride once everyone is satisfied with the proceedings, favoring no Stealth Roll: 7+2=9 - Oof!intentionally stealthy advance beyond her natural influences or cover-to-cover venture, moving with the assured, perhaps foolhardy confidence of the presumed invulnerable... Which, in a roundabout way, is not entirely wrong. Even if her skull was spontaneously removed from her shoulders and ended this weakened shell prematurely, she would invariably return - Hopefully, without the constrictive Hunt restricting her lethality, or any binding to a mortal cadre. Regardless, the lumbering gait pulls the personified Hunger toward the ramshackle buildings, intent on the general store, the thick of her tail lashing behind her.


OOC
 


The Wendigo
 
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