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Return to Inquisition (M) Jabba x Firesblood

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Offline Jabbathejack

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Roe watched her take the knife and at that moment, he knew she had made her decision, even before she spoke the words to confirm it. He nodded and he turned to the door.

The two Englishmen were already out of the door; he had no idea how much training they had had, if any, yet it seemed that they knew a fair bit about tracking, with the younger managing to pick up footprints in the mud. The young man looked back at his uncle for confirmation and he received a nod in return.

Roe let them go ahead, staying back with Valaria. If he saw them take a direction he knew to be wrong, then he would speak out, but for now, it was better to watch and see what he was up against.

They followed the tracks down past the quay, yet then, they turned and headed back up to the woods. Perhaps the forester was simply heading back to work after his meal? Could they be mistaken?

***

Celyn frowned, sniffing the air. He had tried to keep his actions subtle, for the sake of the two humans. He wasn't sure what the French soldier knew, but it was best to assume that he knew nothing at all about who and what they were.

At times, the trail was faint, but always, he could smell the sweat and adrenaline of the man they were following. He was aware he was being followed, perhaps he was trying to lose them? Throwing another look to his uncle, he turned abruptly off the path, moving to intercept whilst his uncle remained following. It was a technique that they had used often whilst hunting.

Ahead, through the trees, he saw the man they had been following and he broke into a run, ready to take him down. Abruptly, Celyn skidded to a halt, his eyes widening as he realised they were not alone. Soldiers emerged from the trees, their swords drawn.


Offline Firesblood

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Oscar diverted from the same path at Celyn’s look, guessing at what his nephew planned.  It was one of their more common tactics.  With the younger moving off, Oscar gestured at Valaria and Roe to stay with him and kept going on the path they were on, hoping to cut off the man’s escape. 

He kept his footsteps light and quick and hoped that the two behind him would take the hint. 

Up ahead, he spotted the man that they had been after, and then Celyn.  Oscar realized a moment too late that he smelled others close by—and then he saw the soldiers come out of hiding, ambushing the younger werewolf.  Oscar sucked in a silent breath and resisted the urge to growl. 

Without looking, he held up a hand to stop Roe and Valaria, gesturing at them to get back.  Oscar had the element of surprise on the soldiers, but no time.  He didn’t know if Roe was aware of what they were—he strongly doubted it—but the older werewolf realized that he didn’t care.  If he didn’t act quickly, Celyn could be overwhelmed. 

Oscar took a running leap forward, his body twisting and growing in the span of seconds.  Clothing tore to scraps on his skin as he grew two heads taller than he had been, muscle filling out beneath skin that had begun to grow patches of dark brown fur.   To Valaria, who looked on in wide-eyed shock despite knowing what he was, he looked like some sort of twisted amalgamation of a wolf and man, every bit the sort of monster that legends whispered they were.  The sight was indescribable beyond that. 

Oscar attacked the soldiers from behind with a chilling howl, sharp teeth tearing at the flesh of one of the men he had taken by surprise. 

Stirring from her shock and doing her best to swallow down the terror, Valaria brandished her kitchen knife and ran forward to help, managing to get close enough to the back of one of them to stab him through the neck with it.  He dropped, choking violently on his own blood and Valaria paled and took a step back, the realization that she just killed a man seizing her up for a moment.     


Offline Jabbathejack

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There was no time to stop and think, only time to act. As Oscar changed, Celyn was already beginning his, smooth and seamless. He reached the nearest of the soldiers in seconds, his claws slicing deep into the man's throat. The others stared, transfixed, their jaws dropping.

Of course, by changing in front of humans, they had broken a pack rule, but only if they left some alive. Celyn moved onto the next one, snarling with rage. He would make damn sure none of them survived.

***

Roe felt numb with shock at what he had seen. Monsters. Yet there was no time to stop and think. Valaria stabbed a man with her table knife and Roe snapped out of his thoughts. He drew his sword as he ran, hurtling towards the men who were converging on Valaria. He jammed his sword into the gut of one, and turned and headbutted the next viciously before he pulled his sword clear.

Grimacing, he held his sword ready for the next, but the others had scattered, running headlong into the trees. Pale and shaken, Roe turned to Valaria.

"Are you hurt?" He whispered hoarsely. He reached out, almost involuntarily and embraced her, yet he wasn't sure if it was he who was offering comfort to her or requiring it for himself. He gave a ragged breath as he released her.

In the distance, he heard a cry and he knew that one of the monsters had caught a straggler.


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria started back to herself at the sight of Roe going after the men who were on the verge of attacking her.  She shook herself and cursed her stupidity; there would be time to think about the fact that she had just killed her first man later.  She crouched and pulled her knife out of the dead man’s throat, prepared to wield it against anyone else that tried anything, but what remained of the men between Roe and Oscar were running in fear. 

Oscar disappeared into the trees after them with a snarl, leaving the two humans behind. Valaria stared after him, body wracked with subtle but involuntary trembling as she clutched at her bloodied knife.  Roe’s voice drew her attention, and she immediately embraced him back when he pulled her close, managing to shake her head in a wordless answer to his question.  She clung tightly to him for a moment, taking comfort for a moment before he let go of her. 

She reached a hand up to his face briefly as she inspected his head, concerned that he might have been hurt.  “You?”

Valaria noticed the blood on her hands at that point.  She’d never killed another person before.  She reasoned that it had been necessary; those men had every intention of killing them and hadn’t hesitated to try.  She chided herself.  She had asked Roe to teach her how to fight for a reason.  If she couldn’t handle killing a person who was attacking her or someone she cared about, what was the point?   Slowly, her shaking began to subside.

Valaria turned away, looking at the dead men.  Stepping over one of the bodies, she grabbed the bow and quiver of arrows, then stripped a sword belt from another and put it on.  She picked up the man’s sword and slid it into the scabbard.

At least she wasn’t unarmed now.

--

Oscar killed one man and ran after the next, trusting that Celyn would take care of the ones that he had chased after.  It didn’t take long to overtake the last of the soldiers, and the older werewolf made short work of him. 

He turned and headed in Celyn’s direction just to make sure, following his nose to where his nephew was to offer support if needed.   


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Someone else's blood." Roe assured her as much as he could, but he hardly felt confident right now.

Now that the monsters had fled, he could scarcely believe what he had just seen, if it weren't for the bodies that lay scattered and the shreds of what remained of Celyn and Oscar's clothing.

The shadows were beginning to lengthen and Roe frowned, looking at Valaria.
"We should get going. I don't want to be anywhere near these bodies when they're found."

***

Celyn bounded after a fleeing soldier, his paws landing hard on the man's shoulders and driving him face first into the ground. He finished him off with a snap of his jaws. Standing, he took a minute to listen and smell the scent on the wind.

Satisfied that he'd taken out the last of them, Celyn turned and made his way back to the humans, shifting his form back as he went. Naked as the day he was born, yet showing no shame at his own nudity, he approached them.

"I'm sorry that you had to see that." He shrugged, wiping the blood off his hands. "But I felt it was necessary."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria nodded, surveying the bodies around them when Roe did.  It looked like some curious blend of beast attack, a number of them mauled while the others bore obvious sword wounds.  When Celyn and Oscar had said that they were werewolves, she realized that she hadn’t really believed it.  It had only been a concept, a claim.  Seeing them change right before her eyes had been an experience that she wasn’t sure she had been ready for.

All the same, whether it had been frightening or not, they had helped them.  She murmured an agreement to Roe when he said that they should go.  Staunton would be waking soon, if he wasn’t quite already. 

As Valaria was turning to make her way back, the sound of someone coming towards them through the trees alerted her.  She grabbed the bow and knocked an arrow just to be safe, poised to shoot if it was a straggler, but it was only Celyn.

Celyn, who was naked a baby and absolutely indifferent about it, as though he often went strolling about through strange woods and dead bodies in just such a state.  Valaria’s eyes widened and her face turned a deep shade of red, but she carefully replaced the arrow in her claimed quiver and fitted the bow over her chest, keeping her eyes diverted.  Tonight seemed to be a night of firsts; her first kill, first time seeing a naked man—those didn’t usually go hand in hand, did they?   

“No,” she managed, shaking her head with a glance at Roe. “T-thank you.  They could have killed us if you hadn’t—” Fire, the smell of burning flesh, agonized screams, Valaria swallowed and forced the memory away. “—Or worse.”

Oscar came through the brush next, just as naked as Celyn, and Valaria abruptly turned away, feeling somewhat mortified.  Funny, she thought, that she should be more bothered by that, than seeing them in their other shape.  The older werewolf looked at the bodies and then his nephew, oblivious to the young woman’s discomfort.  “You’ve done well.  They were soldiers of some sort, I’m sure of it.  The last one I killed plead in Spanish, I think.  I don’t speak it, myself.”

Oscar leveled his gaze on the girl, frowning at her back, then looked to Roe.  “Glad you both are alive.  I…ask that you keep what you have seen of us here quiet, Mr. Roe.  Your master is aware of us, of course, but we broke the rules of our pack tonight, changing in front of you.  I apologize for that, but we were left with little choice.”



Offline Jabbathejack

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"I won't be telling no one, I assure you." Roe grunted at the older... werewolf, if that was what he was. "Not that anyone would believe me if I did."

He seemed tense though, despite his words; if they had broken their rules, then killing them both would remove all trace of evidence. Best to play dumb and save both of their lives.

"Got any spare clothes?" He nodded towards the younger of the two, noting how muscular both them were. "I hate to point it out, but you two sort of stand out."


Offline Firesblood

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Oscar grimaced at Roe’s question, glancing at Celyn.  “Our things are still in our saddle bags, in the stable at the inn.”

Valaria’s hand rose to cover her eyes, her thumb and index finger pinching the bridge of her nose.  There was no way either of them could walk back into town like this.  “If you give me a description, I can retrieve some of your clothing for you.”

Oscar smiled slightly. “That would be most appreciated, thank you.  We forget how…uncomfortable nudity makes humans.  It’s a strange quirk of yours.”

Valaria’s mouth thinned faintly.  She was still several shades darker in the face than usual.  “I suppose that depends entirely on perspective.”

Oscar actually grinned.  “Aye, I suppose it does.  We should go.  We don’t want to linger around here any longer than necessary.”

The young woman nodded and headed back in the direction of town, taking the path that they had come rather than using the road; it was far more discreet that way, and there was less risk of running into someone traveling on the road.  She stayed close to Roe, even going so far as to slip her arm through his, finding that she needed a little more assurance and comfort than just the earlier hug after everything was done. 

When they reached the edge of town, Oscar gave them a description of their horses and which saddlebags their spare clothing would be located in, staying behind to wait as the two humans headed to the stable. 


Offline Jabbathejack

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Roe squeezed Valaria's arm gently as they made their way back to the small town. It was fully dark when they reached the inn, giving the werewolves a better chance at hiding as they waited for their spare clothes.

"I guess they better have multiple sets lying around, the way they get through them."

He gave a shakey bark of laughter; it was a ridiculous thing to say, especially in this sort of a situation, but Roe felt as if he could either make light of it all or go insane. He felt he had picked the preferable option, all things considered.

"My dear, I confess... this has been a very strange day."

He led the way into the stables, finding the chestnut mare and bay gelding that Oscar had told them about. Hanging up at the back of the stall was their tack, the saddle bags slung over the saddle. Inside, as the werewolves had said, was a fresh shirt and trousers for each.

***

As the sun dipped beneath the horizon, Staunton opened his eyes. He pulled himself out of the underwater cave that he had stashed himself and he swam for the shore. Stepping out onto the beach, he shook himself off like a dog, wringing the water out of his hair.

He made his way back to the inn where his horse was stabled, hoping to find a change of clothes before he met with the others. He paused in the doorway, finding Roe and Valaria.

"Good evening."


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria smiled at Roe’s words, shaking her head slightly.  “I guess that they would have to.  Though given their level of comfort without clothes, maybe they don’t wear them so much at home?”  She had no idea, of course.  She had no knowledge of their customs or their views—hell, she’d really not even had a notion of what they were, despite them saying as much. 

“It has been a strange day.  I get the feeling it won’t be the last, or the strangest,” Valaria replied gravely, following after Roe once he’d spotted the horses.  She shot the older man a glance, worried; he had been through so much this last week.  Was he going to be alright?  They found the spare sets of clothing for the werewolves, and the young woman tucked them underneath her arm with a soft sigh.

As she was turning to head back out of the stables and to where the werewolves were waiting, Staunton made his appearance.  He had been safe then, hidden.  She hadn’t been certain if the man they had chased and the soldiers who had ambushed them were the only ones, but if they weren’t, wherever Staunton had hidden for the day had apparently been out of reach. 

“Good Evening, my Lord,” Valaria replied, uncertain of how to begin telling him what all had happened; he would need to know, of course.  “It’s been an…exciting afternoon.”

Exciting, said the woman spattered with blood and carrying weapons she’d recovered from dead men, standing next to a man also spattered with blood.  “Celyn and Oscar arrived earlier…as did some of Don Alejandro’s soldiers.  The soldiers are dead now, thanks to their help.  But um…” she paused, looking down at the clothing she was holding. “Their clothing doesn’t change with them, so…”       


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Soldiers?" Staunton frowned, his gaze travelling between Valaria and Roe, his expression only lightening once he was satisfied that neither had been injured.

"I owe them my thanks." He nodded, gesturing to the pile of clothing that was under her arm. "Go on, please, I will catch you up once I've had the chance to change myself."

He went to where his own horse had been stabled, finding the saddle bags slung on the stable door. Inside, he found a fresh set of clothes, yet instead of changing inside the stable, he headed outside, walking into the woods and away from both the inn as well as where he knew the werewolves to be, not wanting to be disturbed as he changed.

When he was ready, wearing a fine black jerkin over a linen shirt with black britches, he headed back. Standing by the stable, he waited for their werewolf friends to emerge, hopefully fully clothed by now.


Offline Firesblood

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Valaria murmured a quiet sound of acknowledgement at Staunton’s words and left the stable without argument; unexpectedly seeing two naked men had been plenty enough for her for the one night, without adding a third. 

With the clothes tucked close, the young woman backtracked the path that she and Roe had taken when they left the werewolves behind, eyes darting cautiously about her just in case there were any more soldiers or scouts who had chosen to remain in town rather than participate in the ambush. 

She spotted Celyn and Oscar, making a concerted effort to keep her eyes fixed on their faces, and handed them the clothing she had found.  “I hope that these will do.”

Oscar accepted them and divided the pile appropriately. “They will do just fine, thank you.”

Valaria turned away and waited, picking a point on the horizon.  She wondered idly how long they would be sailing; she had only been on a ship once, but it had taken less than a week to reach her destination.  Meanwhile, Oscar quickly dressed, shooting an amused look to Celyn behind the young woman’s back; cagey little thing, full of the propriety that was fraught in human society.  He had the feeling that her eyes would have jumped right out of their sockets had she come home with them as was planned.   


Offline Jabbathejack

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Once they were both dressed, once more in simple and durable peasant clothing, Celyn led the way back through the trees towards the coaching inn and the docks. It was getting closer to the time when their ship was due to leave, along with the tides.

"Hopefully, we'll get no more trouble." He smiled at Valaria, his expression light hearted and confident. He was confident that, even if they were attacked again, they would pose no problem.

He slowed as they reached the inn, recognising Staunton. The vampire's clothing seemed as posh and pristine as ever, showing no sign of a long journey at all. The only surprise was that his hair seemed to be damp and Celyn could smell faint traces of salt water over the scent of a dead man walking.

"I appreciate your assistance." Staunton smiled as he approached. "If there is anything I can do for you or your kin."

The vampire's eyes flipped to rest on Oscar before settling back on Celyn as he continued softly.
"You have only to ask."