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Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M

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Offline readlliea

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(Potential blood and violence within this thread at any time!)

Damn them all.

This was the one thing that was ringing through his head as the man had somehow managed to get over the barrier. The people who had been betting and watching the two men trying to kill each other when they were shocked to see the red haired man jump into the air, only to stomp on their opponent's face and thrust themself forward at the barricade. The people who ran this join thought they had the walls up high enough for this barrier to keep their fighters in; oh how stupid they were. Woodsly just couldn't believe it took them this long to drag someone in here that would give him a good enough boost. Sure being a tall person had it's perks, but Woodsly needed something to give him that extra height.

Slamming into the barrier as he clung to the edges of it, people rose and moved away. Not sure on what was going to happen. Woodsly heaved himself over the edge and was on the other side for the first time. He was no longer in the pit nor the prisoner cells...he was on the side where the people got to watch but more importantly, this was the side of freedom. The red head didn't stand there long, quickly he was running for it as people shouted and the men who were tasked with watching the fighters were already trying to catch up to him. At one point, there was a gun on a table and Woodsly had reached for it amongst the chaos.

The cold air only registered when Woodsly had stopped running, panting heavily as the extreme adrenaline rush had finally started to fade. His body filled with pain and he couldn't help but yell out as everything finally started to register. His knuckles were burst opened from punches he no doubt delivered, however the broken gun in one hand was coated red with small bits of either skull or potentially brain matter. The chamber was empty so he no doubt had to shoot it at one point. Bruises from previous and current fights were dark, having a purplish hue to them as they littered his body like spots on a dalmation. No particular order, only splotches of darker color against his white skin.

His right side and left leg were bleeding from bullet holes, no doubt from those who returned gunfire. If you can't get your 'dog' back in line, what do you? You shot to kill. After all, that's how those people saw the men they used in their fights. They were just like the dogs in the pits that fought and slaughtered each other. A black eye rested on his face as the world started to blur and fade, trees became foggy and the snow seemed to consume those blobs of brown color. Until finally, Woodsly's body gave out and he fell backwards in the snow with a muffled thud.

The forests of Alaska were still thick, stretching for mile in any direction. Snow coated the ground and the air was terrible cold. To anyone out here at this late hour, to find anyone in the snow was crazy. A half naked, bruised, beaten man that was bleeding was even more crazy. Some wouldn't bother. But maybe..someone would?


Offline Firesblood

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Night was the perfect time to harvest certain ingredients, and Astrid was nothing if not diligent.  The mushrooms that she was after tonight happened to give off a faint glow when the moon was high, and it made them far easier to see through the blanket of snow.  It was frigid out, and she had dressed as much; her features were hidden by a large hat and a thick, woolen scarf wound around the lower half of her face.  She was currently knelt in the snow, digging a cluster of them up when the sound of running alerted her.  She paused, stilled, and held her breath. 

When the footsteps stopped, followed by the sound of something heavy falling into the snow, Astrid straightened with a frown.  The mushrooms forgotten for now, she gripped the hilt of her knife just a touch harder and ventured forward until she could see the cause of the noise.  In the time that she had lived there, she had never seen anyone this far out.  Given her history when it came to other people, she was not willing to take any chances. 

The man was unmoving, and as Astrid drew closer, she could tell immediately that he was in bad shape.  Nevermind that he was improperly attired for the weather, what she could see of his skin under the moonlight spoke of regularly inflicted violence.  She felt a stab of fear; helping him could expose her, and she was running out of wilderness to hide in if things went wrong.  It wasn’t in her to leave a man to die, however, and before she could allow her apprehension to take a firmer hold on her, she was kneeling down and pressing the back of her hand lightly against his skin, getting a sense of his lifeforce. 

Alive, but weak from cold and injury. 

Astrid shrugged out of her oversized coat and covered him with it, then bolted back in the direction of her cabin for blankets and her sled.  Within a half an hour, the injured man was resting as comfortably as she could make him next to her hearth.  With him settled, she shed the extra layers she had put on for her midnight walk, pinned her pale braid up and out of her way, and set about working on medicines that he would need to recover.         


Offline readlliea

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The hours had whirled by before Woodsly's body would finally allow for him to wake up. While he was used to a beating, the man at least would be given some means of warmth in his dark cell that he was confined to between fights. The cold snow and night air, had thrust him deeply into his subconscious. Memories of Wilson being jeered and laughed at, the attempted murder on his life, and every wrong thing that happened at that accursed underground cesspool. Every once of anger and frustration that had built up whirled him around in a nightmare that had no sense to it other than the emotions amplified within it.

With a flurry of motion, the man jerked upright from the place he had been set hours ago as he took a deep breathe of air. His chest rising and falling quickly before the pain of his aching bones registered, making him wince a few times as a displeased groan left him. The medicine served their role of helping his body heal up, so things weren't as bad as when he had first come in. The fire was the first thing to catch his attention. It's warmth but also it's light, it had been a while since he'd seen a flame that wasn't from a candle, lantern, or some torch. Though his gaze slowly wandered around the room, taking it in.

A cabin like house? Someone's home? Who would waste their time on him? That's when he spotted her, she looked unfamiliar but then again, anyone could've moved into Nome; if that's where they were even at anymore, he had no idea where he was held. So it was all guesses in his mind.

For Astrid she would've been taking note of various scars throughout his features as she had tended to him prior to his awakening. Many claw marks surprisingly but there was also a healed bullet wound to his right leg, suggesting someone shot him there years prior to try and keep him from running. Three claw marks went across the right side of his face, originating from the cheek bone and upper jaw area; something large and powerful swiped form the side. Something equally large had bite him in a few places, though there were three more claw marks going downward on his forehead.

"Why?" Woodsly questioned after staring at her for a few moments. "Why'd you help me?"

IT honestly perplexed him. Wilson had been rescued once before but that made sense, Wilson...for all his weakness, could at least be liked to some degree. Woodsly was just the monster that was made to fight, to pound others into a pulp and try to stay alive a little longer. Why would someone try to help that?


Offline Firesblood

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 The cabin he woke in was small, but meticulously arranged, and smelled heavily of wood smoke and something strongly herbal.  There was little in the way of furniture; a chair, the down mattress he was currently resting on, a table that doubled as a place for eating and a place for her work, and a sturdy brass-bound cedar chest etched with strange runes.  Shelves filled with jars, jugs, pots, and vials of varying sizes covered much of the walls, some with dried herbs or seeds, others with preserved food or different-colored liquids.  Bundled herbs and braided bulbs hung from every available space in the rafters alongside the common, more compact tools one kept for use in a farm setting. 

Astrid was currently focused on preparing the mushrooms she had been after the night before, brow furrowed with concentration as she brushed any dirt from the surface and removed the gills.  A basin of water sat to her left, a tea kettle and a half-filled cup to her right.  Slight in stature and with delicate features, she hardly looked the sort to be able to survive on her own in the harsh wilderness.  When Woodsly startled upright, she immediately paused her work and fixed him with her sharp green gaze, a subtle tension building in her body in preparation for the worst.  His question softened some of that tension. 

“Because you needed help,” she answered, as if it were the simplest, most obvious thing.

Setting the knife aside, she rinsed her hands in the basin and dried her hands on the length of her skirt.  She chose three separate bottles from the shelves and a second cup, which she filled from the kettle on the table.  One by one, Astrid opened the bottles she had chosen, adding a precise number of drops from each into the tea.  Once that was done, she crossed to Woodsly and knelt down, offering it to him.

“I’m Astrid.  Drink this.  It will ease the pain and help the healing process.  Ignore the taste.”


Offline readlliea

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Because you needed help.....

THose words were very similar to what the other woman had said those years ago, that he needed the help and that it was the right thing to do. It boggled his mind even more now..but there was no point in arguing with this one. If she was anything like the person who helped Wilson, then it would be a pointless argument. Taking a breathe in, he exhaled it with a sigh before he averted his gaze from her. The warmth of the large fire felt very nice. Soothing in a way.

Though that was broken when he saw the shadow of the woman cast over him as she approached and he looked to her. Astrid huh? Well that sounded like a name from far away, not any of the Inuit names so..maybe she was just someone who moved to Alaska? Or he could be wrong entirely. The drink could be poisoned but there'd be no point in that being the case. A skeptical brow was raised as he stared at the cup.

"Can't be worse than the so called 'food' they gave us." Woodsly remarked out loud as he took the cup.

Not caring to even smell it, Woodsly drank the mixture. However the heat that hit his throat as it went down caused him to cough somewhat, having ignored the warmth of the cup and he probably should've drank it slower. Oh well. He didn't take note of a taste so, he at least managed to avoid realizing how gross it probably was.

"Woodsly...I'm Woodsly..."he added after a moment.


Offline Firesblood

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Astrid merely raised an eyebrow when he commented about the food, but declined to ask who ‘they’ were.  It was obvious that he had been mistreated, and though she did not know the depth of it or the precise length of time he had endured abuse, she could tell it had been a while and the damage to his body was extensive.  Being largely unaware of the goings on of Nome itself, she didn’t much care to make any assumptions or guesses as to where or what he had run from.  It seemed that humans were much the same no matter what part of the world one lived in. 

Given that he *had* endured something terrible, Astrid doubted he would appreciate being asked about whatever trauma he had been through.  They were strangers to one another, and it was a rare person indeed who opened up immediately to new people.  He would be recovering for a time; if at any point he felt comfortable enough to speak up as to his experience, she would listen and ask questions then.

Despite hesitation, the man drank the tea she offered him.  Her brow furrowed in concern when he drank too quickly and began to cough, checking him over to make certain that he hadn’t torn any of the stitches she had put in him.  She nodded in satisfaction when he finished, then rose from her kneeling position in favor of getting him a bowl of stew from the pot in the fire. 

Woodsly, he introduced himself.  Astrid turned back and handed him the bowl, then returned to the table to pick up what she had been working on.  The mushrooms required quick preparation, for they were quick to spoil.  “Welcome to my home, Woodsly.  You are safe here,” she assured him.  “You lost a lot of blood last night before I found you, and you will be weak for the next few days between that and the hypothermia, but none of the bullets I pulled out of you hit anything vital.”

She didn’t mention the long-term internal damage that she had sensed, but the essences and tincture that she added to his tea would take care of that in time.  She finished with the mushrooms and put them up in a jar of clear liquid, then returned to Woodsly’s side with a small jar of paste.  “May I see to your bruises?”


Offline readlliea

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The check over felt a bit unnecessary but he didn't refuse, he didn't know anything in medicine. A bowl of stew was soon offered to him and honestly, real food was very appealing. Accepting the bowl, he did handle this better as he knew that this was much hotter than the tea. While he wasn't wolfing it done, he was eating a bit faster since he was a good deal hungry; blood less tends to do that to ya.

"They're bruises, can't really do much about those." Woodsly replied as he paused in eating. "They go away eventually on their own."

That's how he always handled them before...just leave em be and the pain would stop. The pain would eventually go away as would those dark spots that dotted his frame. Finishing the bowl of stew, he felt some disappointment that the only good food he had in years was gone but that was life. Good things ended and he really didn't think it would be wise to ask for more.

"Guess those fools were too drunk to shot straight." Woodsly remarked in regards to how the bullets hadn't hit anything vital.


Offline Firesblood

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Astrid shrugged and set the jar aside on the table.  She wasn’t going to force anything on him.  “Suit yourself.”

Seeing his bowl empty, she refilled it again in case he was still hungry; she had only given him a little to start with, uncertain of whether he would be able to stomach too much or not.

When he spoke up again, Astrid frowned.  It was clear that wherever he had run from, they had not been willing to let him go—they would have been happy to kill him if they had been blessed with truer aims.  She felt another stab of nerves at the thought that someone might come looking for him, but few would have expected him to survive the Alaskan freeze with barely a stitch of clothing and a handful of bullet wounds.  Fidgeting with the length of her braid and uncertain of what to say, Astrid turned away again and busied herself with cleaning up what she had been working on.
 
“Luckily for you,” she finally answered. “Whomever they are…do you think they will come after you, or are they the sort to assume that they did the job well enough to not bother?”

That was a safe question, she thought.  It wasn’t directly invasive, anyway.   


Offline readlliea

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"They probably won't bother." Woodsly replied. "They'll think if the cold doesn't kill me, then the wolves or bears would. Idiots don't realize I already survived a bear attack..dumb asses."

Granted he survived thanks to the first person who helped Wilson but still. A bear hadn't killed him yet. Accepting the bowl of stew again, he ate a little slower since he got something in his stomach and there wasn't a reason to eat fast now. There was clearly enough food to have a second helping.

"Besides, they'll probably just abduct some poor sap somewhere to replace the empty cell I left." Woodsly adds, clearly displeased. "So...why are you out here in the forest then? Not many people go out at night."


Offline Firesblood

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Astrid nodded, feeling a little better at his assurance that they likely wouldn’t bother.  She eyed the scars on his body, the places where it looked as though he had been mauled or raked by sharp claws; she had wondered about that, but she wasn’t the sort to pry.  Her head tilted slightly when he went on to mention the cell he escaped, the likelihood that they would abduct someone to replace him.  What sort of place had she moved to? 

She wet her lips when he asked her about what she was doing there, topping off her cup of tea in an effort to borrow a moment of time to allow his prior words to sink in.  “I prefer to be alone, away from people.  I live in a way that few understand, and humans are prone to disliking and mistrusting what they do not understand.”  She paused, taking a long sip from her cup.  “As to why I was out at night, the mushrooms I was looking for glow in the dark.  It’s easier to see them through the snow.”

It was going to bother her, and she wouldn’t get a lick of rest until she asked.  “You said…you said they would abduct someone else to put in your cell…where did you escape from?  A jailhouse?”


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At her question on if he was from the jailhouse, he couldn't help but laugh. The laughter did cause him to wince as he felt pain go through his whole body. Well that was a stupid thing but then again, he hadn't had a good laugh in a while.

"No no, if it was a jailhouse I would've sat there till I rotted. There ain't no point trying to get out of one of those." Woodsly replied. "Ever head of illegal dog fighting rings? Think that but instead of dogs, it's people forced to fight one another to live another day in shitty conditions. That's where I was."

And with that, it also explained his horrible condition. Forced to fight other people for entertainment, with no care given to those who were forced into the life style. Taking a few more bites of the stew, he listened to Astrid's answers though he paused. Humans? Was there anything other than animals, insects, and humans? What?

"The way you worded that...don't you mean people in general? Why use the world Human like, you're not one of em?" Woodsly asks, tilting his head with a raised brow.


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Astrid remained silent as he laughed, noting the pain he registered for it.  He went on to explain that he had escaped a fighting ring.  Given the penchant many had for blood sport, it was a sad fact that such things existed.  Some were more civilized than others, at it seemed that whatever they had set up in Nome was not counted among them.  For a brief moment, the steel in her was evident; her eyes flashed with anger and her gaze fixed on the door, as if looking through it.  Her hands briefly flexed, and then almost immediately the tension melted from her frame and she returned to her composed self.  “I cannot imagine how awful that must have been for you.  I am…sorry that they did that to you, Woodsly.”   

Unable to stand still any longer, Astrid started pulling certain bundles from where they hung in the rafters.  Several empty jars followed, along with a mortar and pestle.  She worked through his question, glancing sidelong at him briefly before focusing on her project.  It would be stupid to tell him what she was, that much was certain.  There was plenty enough superstition to go around, and it didn’t matter if she had helped him, sometimes a person’s fear was stronger than their gratitude. 

“I don’t consider myself to be one of them,” she said placidly.  “My view of people is bitter, I must admit. I haven’t had much opportunity to see the kindness in them, only the worst of what they can do.  Obviously, you know what that feels like.  I’ve experienced it enough that I’d rather not be counted among them at all.”

It was still the truth, but only the safe parts.   

“How is your pain?  Do you need another dose?” she asked, trying to change the subject.


Offline readlliea

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"Don't try to, you'll waste your time." Woodsly encouraged. "Don't be sorry, Wilson got us into a mess cause he was too....too submissive to figure one choice out and we got grabbed since we were far away from other people."

Wilson..ah yes, Wilson. The blasted fool couldn't figure out if going back to Nome would've been worth it. So living out in the woods was what got em nabbed in the first place. Glancing away, he ran his fingers through his red hair. Though his brownish gaze glanced to her as she started to answer his question. Didn't view herself as one of em eh? Well, that was admirable he supposed?

"Welp, you aren't gonna like me then. I'm a pretty bitter person." Woodsly retorted.

He was right. After all, he came to in the pits..forced to fight to stay alive and get food that wasn't even food. All he was, was a bitter and angry person. But hey, it's what kept him alive and that's how it was going to be.

"The pain is fine, I can handle it." Woodsly answered. "You don't need to use up more on me yet."


Offline Firesblood

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At the mention of this ‘Wilson’ character, Astrid stopped working and looked at him again, trying to decipher what he meant.  It sounded as though they had both been captured and put into the pit, because of an altercation that…Wilson landed them in?  Because he was too weak to fight back?  Was Wilson still back there fighting for his life, or had he already been killed?  In any case, whomever this Wilson was, it was clear that Woodsly blamed him for his ills.  Choosing to avoid this particular line of discussion, given Woodsly’s obvious distaste for Wilson, she went back to her work, tilting crushed herbs into one of the empty jars. 

“I disagree.  Two people embittered by other people have common ground upon which to build.  We may agree on more than we don’t, and that will make this whole arrangement far more bearable than it would be otherwise,” she replied, shooting him a short, dry smile. 

She nodded when he declined extra pain relief.  Some people didn’t like the tired feeling it gave them—it was why she had given him such a modest dose to begin with.  If he could handle it, she wouldn’t press.   

She stopped suddenly and stared ahead with narrowed eyes, as if she were listening for something.  She couldn’t be certain what, but something had triggered her wards. 

“I’ll be right back.”

Setting aside the mortar and pestle, she immediately went to the farthest, most cluttered corner of the room.  She shifted several things aside and withdrew an old, well-used rifle, loading a few rounds and pocketing a few more just in case.  Grabbing her coat but leaving her hat and scarf behind, she opened the door just enough to peek through, then stepped out and closed the door behind her.

Packing the gun against her shoulder, she ventured down the short steps and out into the snow, scanning the trees around her with a keen eye.  It was likely an animal, but with Woodsly’s presence and the story he had given her, one couldn’t be too careful.  The woods were silent and snow had begun falling at some point since the last time she had been outside.  She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling out the break in her protections.  Once she tracked it down, she turned and headed straight for it, gun locked against her shoulder and her finger seating itself against the trigger in preparation.

Sure enough, it was a bear. 

Astrid immediately relaxed, lowering the gun with an annoyed sigh.  “You again.” 

The bear blinked at her expectantly and sat gracelessly on his haunches.  Muttering some colorful curses under her breath, Astrid stalked back to her cold storage shed and dug out some of the salmon she had stored there, then retraced her steps back to where the bear still sat, holding it out to him.  “You should be sleeping.  Bears hibernate, remember?  It’s suspicious, you walking about while the rest of them are holed up in their dens.”

The bear whined at her, taking the offered fish in his teeth with a strange care. 

“Now go on,” she demanded, pointing back the way the bear had come.  “Learn how to fish, stop bringing down my wards, and for the love of the gods learn to act like a bear.”

The bear nosed at her coat with another whine, then turned and loped back into the woods without a backward glance.  Shaking her head, she leaned the rifle against a nearby trunk and crouched down to the ground, holding her hands out.  She murmured something under her breath, and the broken ward jumped back to life, re-forging the protections she had put down after coming across Woodsly the night before. 

That done, she turned to make her way back to the cabin.     


Offline readlliea

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A red brow was raised at her words. Was that true? Could he still get along with people who had similar situations? It wasn't something he thought of and honestly, it probably wouldn't have ever come to mind. Though he couldn't get any other words out as something seemed to pull Astrid's attention. Watching her gather some things; including the rifle, he sat quietly until she was gone. Great...if those assholes were out there, then she'd be outnumbered.

A annoyed sigh left him before he got up to his feet, wrapping the blanket around his shoulders; he figured it would be better than nothing. There weren't any shoes his size so he figured he'd just have to risk it. If any of the block heads were out there, he could probably steal a pair of boots from one them. Opening the door allowed the cold to hit him and he was quick to take note of her boot prints in the snow. One thing that did come from living in the woods for a while, he knew how to track; she was kind enough to teach him how to do that stuff before saying goodbye to Wilson.

Taking care to not make noise after closing the door, he stepped into Astrid's boot prints. Doing his best to not break the already made hole in the snow. A point came when he was able to hide behind a tree and he felt a great deal of unease growing as he spotted the bear.

Why is she talking to it? Woodsly thought to himself.

Once more her words brought up that confusion in his mind, the way she talked about some things..it hinted at something else. Was that really a bear then with how she addressed it? Keeping himself hidden as she went to fetch something, Woodsly debated on if he should try to scare the bear off but with no weapons or anything like that, he knew he'd easily be mauled. But she was right. Bears hibernated at this time..this one looked wide awake...why? Sure enough, she returned with a fish and sent it off.

That's when she did something...pretty darn shocking. The area looked...different where she was at. That wasn't right....things just don't look different all willy nilly. As she reached the tree, Woodsly jumped out of his hiding spot and was now standing in front of her.

"Yeah, I know I'm not crazy enough to imagine or see what just happened. So..mind retelling me why you seemed to refer to people as something you aren't?" Woodsly questioned, his tone was serious.