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Wolf's Bane || IC || Closed || Not Accepting

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Wolf's Bane



The cold, sweet dessert melted in her mouth and left a thin layer of sticky moisture on her lips. Wiping her mouth, Imelda took another quick bite out of her ice cream, finishing the remnants. Spring had claimed the area, filling the day with a comfortable warmth while nighttime still held the chill of winter. Though she was much more a fan of autumn, the spring had a charm that the short woman could appreciate. Summer was far too hot for someone like her and her electricity bill always made her wallet cry just from cranking the AC down for three months straight. But it would cost more money to move to a colder climate. So, Imelda was stuck with the blistering heat every year.


A horn blared in the street to her left, the sound deafening to her sensitive ears. Jerking, she turned her head to find the source, catching sight of an angry woman screaming out her window at a similarly angry old man in the road. Imelda rolled her maple-colored eyes, focusing her attention forward again. She ignored the vulgar words being shouted at either instigator as best she could; she had more important matters to concern herself with.


Like the local committee of elder werewolves summoning all of the wolves changed within the last five and a half years. They sent a polite request for her appearance via a letter in the mail but Imelda wasn’t fooled into believing she had a choice in the matter; the older wolves were far more powerful than she was and, when they wanted her audience, they got it.


The elder committee consisted of a handful of werewolves all over a couple hundred years old, each one changed over a hundred fifty years ago. And, as their ages suggest, their mannerisms and beliefs were stuck in the old era of men doing everything while women sat quietly and looked pretty. In the four and a half years of being a werewolf, Imelda had grown used to the elders’ treatment but that didn’t mean she had to like it.


Everyone was supposed to meet at a warehouse that one of the elder’s owned on the other side of the city. Imelda didn’t have a car so the fastest way to get there would probably be on foot - harry, wolfish foot. However, she couldn’t just strip down to her birthday suit in front of strangers and shift; she wasn’t one of the werewolves who were out to the public and she wanted to keep it that way. Of course, if the elders decided that she needed to go public or personally outed her, she wouldn’t be allowed to discredit their claims.


Buses and taxis were out of her options for transportation. She just didn’t have the petty cash to spare. So she was walking the twenty odd miles from work to the rendezvous unless a fellow wolf with a car offered to carpool, free of charge. With a tired sigh, she raked her fingers through her short hair, the brown strands soft to touch.


Much to her wallet’s dismay, she’d gotten her hair cut just last week. Imelda had started to debate, on her meager shop clerk’s salary, if it had been a good idea. She really liked the style and how it looked in the mirror, but maybe she could have waited another week? Shaking her head, she sighed again and pushed the remorseful thoughts aside. At any rate, her hair would grow back in no time and she’d be getting another paycheck next week.


She toyed with the idea of piercing her ears three or four times through the cartilage but never really felt up to it. And it wasn’t because werewolves healed so fast. (Piercings didn’t seem to have any affect on a werewolf and actually remained on the human’s body, even though they never showed up on the wolf. Strange magic was to blame.) Imelda just wasn’t really a fan of needles. Hair dye and bleach was out of the question - her nose was too sensitive and the stench just made her sick.


The crosswalk light turned green and Imelda hurried across the street, making sure no car was going to catch her unaware. Sharper senses were a great benefit only when they weren’t being assailed by a plethora of mingling sources. Too many people, too many noisy objects, made it hard to scent or listen for a particular thing.


Imelda wished, not for the first time, to have another werewolf as a friend, a close companion to cuddle with and enjoy the day. She honestly would have preferred a pack for comfort and safety, but packs didn’t exist. She’d practically been laughed at when she’d asked an older wolf about it. Apparently, the concept of packs, while ideal in theory, would only cause power struggles and make many feel like they had no freedom - which could lead to revolts. Imelda didn’t believe that but she couldn’t argue against her elder.


So wolves ran solo unless they made actual friend and family bonds. The only time all of the local wolves ran together was during the full moon for a mandatory hunt. It kept the humans and the werewolves safe, if only just. Always planned well outside of the city in forested terrain, the wolves were led by the elders and maintained a truce that no one would fight each other since a forced change (like one caused by the moon) could make some wolves… particularly grumpy.


Imelda rubbed at her face, stifling a yawn, and came to a brief stop. The warehouse was only a few blocks away and a glance at her wristwatch suggested that she was so far on time. It was getting dark by now. Streetlights had flickered on and the sun was nearly set. Most cars had their headlights shining and after-work traffic had thinned to a more quiet hum of engines and spinning tires.


Wanting to wake up before facing the elders, Imelda took up an easy jog the rest of the way. She climbed the fence, her short stature unhindered by the looming obstacle. Landing solidly on her feet, she shook out her limbs to brush away the rest of her lethargy and make for the wide, front doors. Around the building, she saw light pooling outside into the dark and noted the open entrance.


Several people were already gathered inside, waiting for the meeting to begin. The elders, clustered towards the center, all looked like rich gentlemen in their late twenties or early thirties, their suits and straight postures giving them a stiff appearance. Younger wolves were scattered about the warehouse, some in groups of at least five while others lingered in smaller pairings or alone entirely. Imelda spotted a few werewolves that couldn’t be older than sixteen to eighteen and her heart twisted at the thought of kids being changed at such young ages.


Letting the murmur of several conversations flow over her ears, Imelda looked for a spot to sit or stand without much trouble.

Edited by Narvix

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A slender, olive-toned hand gripped the steering wheel while her other fingers drummed the interior of the car door with impatience. The song playing just faintly through the speakers of her car thrummed with a gentle guitar. Fleetwood Mac was one of her favorite bands-- Stevie being her idol. That, and she was one of the few artists that didn't make Amelia's newly sensitive ears bleed. Amie hummed the tune to "Rhiannon" as the tires crunched over the gravelly side road she'd attempted to use as a short cut.

A short cut that had, unfortunately, caused her to arrive fifteen minutes late.


Amie cursed repeatedly under her breath as her car-- a janky red Saturn with a blue passenger door-- pulled up to the mostly barren lot of the warehouse. Other cars were parked inconspicuously nearby, though none of them were quite as... antique as her own. Amie shut off the car and puffed out her cheeks with a loud exhale.


Tonight she was going to meet the Elders. She'd only met one of them before, shortly after the night she'd forever be marked as less than human. Which, in some sense, she supposed was technically true. Amie rubbed at her neck and stretched out her arms. The Elder hadn't been very patient with her that night. In fact, she'd thought of him as rather condescending and curt, but it was thanks to him that Amie hadn't gone on a murderous rampage the first time she'd been torn from her human body. She shuddered lightly at the memory, and then kicked her car door open. Amie wasn't one to hide. She wasn't going to cower with her tail between her legs in the presence of the older werewolves. She could definitely hold her own.


Her gray-blue eyes settled on the looming silhouette of the warehouse. A cold sweat dampened the back of her neck. She took a deep breath. She could hold her own...right?


It's nothing but another challenge, she reminded herself, flexing her hands until the nails bit deep into her palm. Master it. Prove that self-righteous ass wrong. Glancing into the car's window, she managed to smooth down some of the loose hairs in her slick black ponytail in the faint light around her. She frowned at her reflection and briefly touched the dark freckle below her bottom lip. Her mother used to do that when she was a little girl as a comforting gesture, but now... She closed her eyes for a moment, then exhaled.


The scents of the night filled her nose. Werewolf senses were difficult to adjust to, but she found that closing her eyes and letting the rest of her body focus on her surroundings helped a bit. She could smell the congregation of wolves like it was a giant mothball. It made her nose wrinkle. After a few inhales, Amie opened her eyes again and took off at a light jog toward the other side of the building. There, she picked up on a trail of light until she turned the corner and discovered the entrance.


This kind of party didn't need RSVPs. She glanced at the few werewolves stationed outside the building and briefly nodded at them when their gazes drifted in her direction. "Sorry," she muttered when one arched an eyebrow at her. "Got lost." Amie slipped past them without waiting for a response.


If anyone else had stumbled across this party, Amie doubted the first impression would have been "werewolf meeting." The figures inside looked pompous and pretentious, several of which Amie imagined had the same stick up their backend like the first Elder she'd met. She spotted him amongst the crowd, and scowled slightly. If her luck went right, she wouldn't have to suffer his arrogant lectures again. Though, considering she hadn't bothered to dress herself up tonight (it was a werewolf meeting, not a charity event, for god's sake! How was she supposed to know workout leggings, a loose tank, and a neon blue sports bra weren't "proper etiquette"?) she was prime for the lecturing. Amie pursed her lips and scanned the rest of the crowd, thankful when she noticed a few others hadn't donned a more exquisite outfit.





"Aiden, you're going to be LATE!"

A man rounding the age of forty hollered up the stairwell and tapped his foot when the resulting shuffling didn't share his enthusiasm for punctuality. He looked down at his watch three times in the span of minutes it took for the white-haired teenager to emerge at the top of the stairs, wearing an old, faded gray suit and black tie. The jacket was one size too big for him, though that was typically the case given Aiden's skinny torso. His hair was still disheveled, and he hadn't done anything about the chipped black nail polish over his fingernails.


The older man huffed his breath, but decided not to engage Aiden for what would be the fourth argument that day. "Finally. Let's get a move on."


Aiden grunted his response, but trailed down the stairs and followed his social worker outside. The sunset glittered on the ruby studs set into his ear lobes and highlighted his hair a flaming gold-orange. As he ducked into Jeff's shiny new Sedan, he glanced back at the house and saw two of the other boys standing in the window making rude gestures. They were glad to be rid of him, even if only for a night. Aiden was well aware of how hated he was in the home. Of course, none of them ever did anything about it-- who wanted to tempt the wrath of a sixteen year old werewolf?-- but the looks, the whispers, and the isolation was enough. At least Aiden wanted to be alone, for the most part. They were doing him a favor.


The ride over to the warehouse was silent. His social worker was a nice guy, Aiden supposed, even if he was quite misguided about literally everything. 'You just need to make some friends!' 'Smile more!' 'School will keep your mind off of it!' Absolutely useless ideas, but at least he tried. Aiden couldn't quite say the same for the previous two. When Jeff attempted to strike a conversation about the colors of the sinking sun, Aiden remained silent until Jeff stopped trying.


It was nearly thirty minutes before the Sedan pulled up to a large building with several cars parked around the lot. Aiden sat in Jeff's car for a long moment, even once his social worker exited and stood patiently for Aiden to follow. Inside were the Elders. This wasn't the first time he'd met them, but this black-tie event felt abnormal. Only those changed in the past five and a half years were invited-- or, rather, mandated-- to attend. That included Aiden by only 6 months. Five years he'd endured the torture of a werewolf. He found it annoying that he had to wait that long while others here could have been turned like, two months ago.


After a few minutes of loitering in the car, Aiden finally slid off the seat and out into the night air. "Thanks for the ride," he said to Jeff tonelessly, with a half-smile that was just as genuine as his voice. Jeff settled back into the driver's seat and waved, but did not leave until Aiden disappeared into the warehouse.


The suit was uncomfortable. He didn't like dressing up, but Elder Mason instructed him quite sharply to wear something that didn't make him look like homeless punk. The choice of words was uncanny, and remembering them now, Aiden cracked a small smile. He grabbed a glass of water and sipped at it in the corner of the room, eying the people whose faces he didn't recognize. There were plenty that he did-- several of whom grinned his way or waved in his direction-- because of the monthly hunts. To those, he returned the gesture, though to the freckled woman standing apart (Amelia, was it?) he barely acknowledged. Last month she'd made it a mission to beat him at the hunt, and although he still won, she'd been a big enough pain in his ass to warrant his perpetual distain.



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He was so, so close.


Flipping his hood over his head, he crept quietly along the corridor, using the table to hide. A quick throw of the knife and the enemy in his way went down quickly.




He straightened, top hat back on. From what he could see, there was an exit in the next room over. Which was good, because he had to get out of this building pronto. It was a nice building, really, with a carpet and lots of different items of interest. Even a a model of an impressive ship and some swords from the 17th century.


"N, are you listening to me?"


He quickly advanced to the end of the hallway. His target was a gold speck in the near distance. The door was locked, but that was no problem for him. His lock picking skills were unmatched and the door quickly opened for him.


"North, we should be getting ready."


Dispatching the two red-outlined enemies in the room, he climbed out of the window and onto the roof. His target was close, but surrounded by bodyguards. That was okay. He was always up for a fight. He ran forwards and-




Northrop Crawford watched in dismay as his video game character was brutally dispatched by his target's henchman. His controller was in the hands of his darling sister, Brittany Crawford, who watched on heartlessly as he swore and wildly gestured his disappointment and anger. So perhaps his reaction was a little over the top, but it had taken him ages to get to that point. Even in video games, stealth wasn't his forte, and he had been found out every time he had tried.


"I can't believe you're still playing that," his sister drawled, monotonous as ever. But, was that amusement he could detect? Probably, he was good at reading people and his sister was good at reading books, a fine trade off as any. "You've been a werewolf for two and a half years and I'm the one to remember the, quote, 'super important meeting we can't miss because otherwise a bunch of overpowered but old fashioned dusty boned werewolves will be on our tail like hell hounds after sinners,' while you get carried away by the X-box."


N turned with a retort on his tongue, only to choke on it when he saw what his sister was wearing. He didn't think he had ever seen his sister wear a dress. In fact, he had no recollection of his sister in anything but jeans and a hoodie. But Brittany was wearing a simple white party dress and a white shawl, for some reason. She even had her hair down, brushed and decorated instead of its usual messy bun, and her glasses were tucked away. She looked like, well, a young aristocratic lady and not a penniless college student, though she still wasn't wearing makeup. Probably because make up was too troublesome, or some reason like that. Before he could comment though, a suit hit him in the face. "Here's your suit," his sister informed him, "You'll look very smart in that if you wear that top hat you love so much. Go get dressed."


The suit was, from what N's inexperienced eyes could tell, a very expensive tailored suit, but not the same one he had been wearing to meetings and parties and whatever he got himself into that needed a suit for the past three years or so. It looked more old fashioned and, whoa, it was in true Victorian style. The shirt, the tie, the waistcoat with a pocket watch hanging out, God, there was even a cane. He grinned; was this what his sister was doing when she went out in the past few days? It must've been hella expensive, it fit so well. For some reason, it never failed to surprise him how much money his sister had. Probably because they lived in a small apartment in the middle of, well, the middle middle class people. But they drove a Ferrari, because, well, N wanted one. And he was pretty sure his sister was actually wealthy enough to purchase a mansion, partly because of their parents. On the other hand... N grimaced guiltily as he shrugged on his coat-thing. N wasn't employed, he was disowned for being a werewolf and, God he was such a mess, living on his sister's money. The closest thing he had to a job was the occasional performances he put on for people at a small local theatre, but, really, who went to theatres anymore?


His sister was the talented one and the only thing N was good for was protecting her, like their father had always told him to do, but hadn't he failed at that as well? And if their father found out about Brittany...




The moment N stepped out of the bedroom, well-dressed in his Victorian era suit, Brittany could tell something was wrong. Probably because N looked thoughtful and his expression was bordering a frown. It almost made Brittany frown in return, but out of worry. Almost. There was, after all, no point in freaking out. As far as she knew, emotions easily propagated and being worried would only worry her brother in return. The best thing she could do was curb his worries and she could guess what he was thinking. "You're thinking so hard my head hurts," she complained, quirking an eyebrow. "Not happy with the suit?" Of course, that wasn't what was worrying him, but she had dealt with her brother for long enough that she knew being too direct wouldn't do much.


"No, never," her brother answered predictably, waving his hand and looking practically scandalised. Dramatic as ever. "But I'm just really sorry for dragging you into this mess. Especially with how the elders are about staying with the times. And how father might react..." He looked like a kicked puppy, worriedly eyeing her.


Ah, a slight miscalculation on her part then; this was about the while werewolf thing, not his usual worries. "Honestly, brother mine, you should think of the positives like I do. I'm now physically enhanced and can turn into a wolf. If that isn't cool, I'm not sure what is," her brother looked conflicted, but the slight quirk of his lips told her that something she said had amused him. She continued, "Being a werewolf isn't much different from being a human, really, no matter how much some might think so and talk about being civilised or sophisticated. In the end, we're all just dirty filthy animals, werewolf or not." Brittany stated the sentence like an definitive fact and to her, it was.


Her brother was grinning now, amused at her brutal honesty. "Dirty filthy animals, eh? Then what's with the getup?"


"It's to test the waters," Brittany informed the other tonelessly, "my recent research—" "—you mean hacking illegally into seemingly secure databases and staring at people creepily, Brit?" Brittany raised her eyebrows at her brother for the interruption. "I did not hack anything since none of it was secure or anything I didn't have authorisation to look into and it's not called staring at people creepily, it's called naturalistic observation." A snort, which she ignored. "Either way, the results state that the easiest and least troublesome way to go about this is by playing the part they want me to. Plus, I know you'll enjoy it and I suppose that was worth the trouble. Now," she tossed the keys to the Ferrari at N, who caught them with a grin, "Are we going to stand here all day or are you going to escort me to the... Meeting?"


"You were going to say 'ball' weren't you?" N asked, offering his arm to Brittany, who took it without hesitation. "Man, I'm so touched," he used his cane-wielding hand to wipe away an imaginary tear before pressing that hand against his chest, "my baby sister is finally developing a sense of humour!"


"I was going to say nothing of the sort," Brittany rebuffed emotionlessly, allowing N to settle her inside the car with an exaggerated bow, "A true British gentleman, I see." Her voice was deadpan, but her words were fond.


"Of course, m'lady and, unlike you, I actually sound like a true Londoner." Brittany let N keep up his lively chatter all the way to the meeting, enjoying the fact that her brother had cheered up. N parked the car with an unnecessary flourish as he did with all things before getting out. He even opened the door for her and offered her a hand out. How amusing. Brittany played along, nothing in her demeanour betraying her good-humour. She quite liked her perpetual poker face and monotone that ensured she always seemed bored or serious. Especially when all the scents hit her, nearly overwhelming in their unfamiliarity. Though she couldn't help but wrinkle her nose a little.


"You seem pretty excited, for going to a boring meeting," Brittany observed as they passed through the doors. They looked to fit right in with the elders, she also realised, looking around subtly. That is, assuming that the elders were the stuffy looking ones that were wearing styles more ancient than N's, which they probably were, considering how old they were.


"It's the thrill of the act, my dear," N replied with a wild grin that didn't match his outfit a single bit. Brittany didn't understand that at all though and merely rolled her eyes. She was already tired of the meeting — her prior amusement had drained away rapidly upon entering the warehouse — and wanted nothing more than to go back home, get rid of the infernal contraption that was this dress, curl up on her bed and sleep. This was proving to be more tiring than she originally guessed and actually interacting with any of these strangely scented werewolves seemed more troublesome than it was worth. Hopefully, she wouldn't have to talk.

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He can remember his first thought when news of the meeting called for by the elders reached his hands. So, now is when they start to care, hm? He found the timing if not coincidence, than enraging. It has been five years since he was changed and forced him to halt in his studies. Although, he was very lucky indeed that his change happened just after finals. The augmented strength of his limbs, no. The augmented strength of his very being and the restoration of his vision was a blessing. However, he learned that the blessing was intermingled with a dreadful curse. He could feel it in his bones when the moon would sing her song and he would be forced to join in her melody with howls in his beastly form. He was thankful however, that his being a werewolf would not interfere with his work. He enjoyed his job and enjoyed the benefits that money would allow him. So it was that with a facade of boredom on his face that he mounted his motorcycle, a Kawasaki Ninja and slid the crimson helmet over his head and closed the visor. His crash suit was a black and navy color that would hug the firm body beneath like a secondary skin. His glasses that he still keeps, he made sure to put in one of the cubby underneath his seat. He no longer needed them no, but he still wore them to keep a semblance of normalcy. Besides, he quite liked how they looked anyway.


He drove away from his condominium, revving his engine as he flew past the areas the local pd don't bother with. He drove for about five minutes when he saw the turnoff and sighed after he came to a stop. He just had his bike washed, but no matter. It's still just a bike. He turned into the dirt road and revved his engine to add some more power and speed. He saw that he wasn't the only wolf to come in a vehicle, seeing cars and trucks of all kinds, including a new corvette. Who owns that one I wonder? he thought as he parked next to a red car with a blue door. "Nice Saturn, wonder why the door is blue though?" he said to himself but shrugged. He kicked out the stand and went inside, pulling off his helmet and replacing them with his blue frames. He made his way through the entrance and saw the congregation of wolves, his nose nearly becoming overwhelmed. He looked around to get his bearings. He saw a couple, though on closer inspection they were probably family, dressed up as something from the Victorian Era. Well, that's definitely new. Everyone here seems to be casual or something along the lines of informal. Well, except me, I'm in a crash suit, he thought with an ironic chuckle.


I better go and find a place to sit down then, he thought. He moved around and went to a young woman with short brown hair, noticing there was a space beside her. "Excuse me, señorita. Mind if I sit here?" he asks. Upon closer inspection, his posture freezes and his dark brown eyes widen. No way... "Imelda? Dios Mio! How have you been? I haven't seen you since the last hunt!" He was elated to see her again, forgetting the ramifications of her being here for just a moment.


"So, have you seen the couple that looks like Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn?"

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Imelda blinked as a voice carried to her, an inquiry floating through the air. Turning her head, the woman barely registered who the source was before he was excitedly greeting her. "Oh, hello Antonio," she responded. A small quirk twisted the corner of her lips upward as she drank in his enthusiasm. "Yes, it's been awhile, and I've been alright," she replied. Flicking her gaze to the pair Antonio had indicated, Imelda shrugged at his question. "How about you? Have you been well?" she asked.


Before she got to hear his response, the murmur of conversations died down and silence fell upon the gathered wolves. Imelda quickly checked her watch, noting the time. Exactly 8:00; the elders were starting the meeting. Glancing briefly at Antonio, Imelda gave him an anxious grin before focusing on the select group of older wolves.


One of them, the first to start speaking, cleared his throat. He wore a pinstriped suit, dark blue or black in color with a deep purple dress shirt beneath. Unlike his fellows, he had no tie in his ensemble. His business attire fit with the majority of others, looking much less out of place than her retail uniform of a light blue tee-shirt and khaki pants.


"Welcome. Thank you for attending this matter of business, your presence is much appreciated," the elder started. He flashed a quick smile, white teeth showing from under thin lips. As if attempting to appear more friendly or approachable, the man raked an elegant hand through his dark hair, ruining the slicked-back state to a mild degree. Imelda hadn't met this elder in person, though she'd seen him here or there during hunts. He was charismatic and pleasing from what she had noticed of him. "I suppose introductions are best before things really get started. My name is Carl Reese. Beside me are Jalen Chambers, Edward Roach, Eugene Woodward, and Harry McClain."


As Reese listed the names, he gestured to each elder respectively. Jalen Chambers looked grumpy, downright unpleasant, and lacking the charisma that Reese possessed. His green eyes were striking, however, beneath thin, light-colored eyebrows. His blond hair was as tidy as Reese's had been, the strands never reaching below his ears and tucked away nicely with oil or gel. Chambers's face was all angles and sharpness, further adding to the cold exterior the elder possessed. This man was shorter than Reese, and more agile looking whereas Reese looked like a security guard in his suit.


Edward Roach dwarfed the other four men though, appearing like the Hulk with his burly build and squared jaw. His suit, a simple black design, almost looked like it could tear at the seams in any second should Roach even twitch a finger. His black hair curled in loose strands, combed back and ending at the nape of his neck in a tidy mess. Roach watched the gathered werewolves like a brooding observer, black eyes studying any and every detail.


All five men had light, almost pale, skin but Eugene Woodward and Harry McClain looked the most like each other. Both possessed sun-kissed, light brown hair and hazel eyes. Woodward had the longer hair though, if only by a little. McClain's mop was curlier than Roach's but not so much as to give him a middle school boy's appearance. The men's round faces looked unmarred by frown lines or stress marks and their clothed builds suggested an average appearance. Taller than Chambers but shorter than Reese, Woodward and McClain wore a brown- and a cream-colored suit, respectively.


"All five of us realize this meeting might come as a surprise to many of you," Reese went on, smoothly transitioning from the brief introduction to what he really wanted to say. "I know the subject might not be very... thrilling, for some of you to retell but we are here to discuss your Change."


Imelda frowned, brow furrowing with displeasure and confusion. Didn't the elders talk with everyone already about their Change? What would be the point of bringing it up again?


"There are some pressing concerns that the others and I have come to realize. I feel it is time that you all were made aware of it." Reese paused briefly, sweeping his gaze across the occupants of the warehouse, stopping for a second on someone specific before moving on. Imelda glanced over, spying what Reese had seen. Someone had arrived late. Imelda beamed when she saw Amie, quickly waving to catch her attention.


Reese continued, raking his fingers through his hair again as if it were a subconscious habit. "There is a rogue werewolf, causing some issues for the locals. I'm sure you have all heard or read the news lately."


Nodding faintly, Imelda dragged her attention back to the elder. There had been plenty of newspapers and channels covering the stories about bodies found, mauled and mangled by a strange animal once zoologists and forensic experts narrowed it down to a theory of it being one culprit. But, admittedly, it wasn't the first time such stories had popped up; they'd been popping up for the past five and a half years. They were sporadic and mostly occurred around the full moon but the body count was increasing with rumors of sur-




"We've personally met with the majority of you -" Reese started to explain, but Imelda was starting to tune him out. Five and a half years was a very specific time frame to request. Why that time frame? "With deliberate thought and thorough analysis of - " Imelda swallowed hard, flicking her gaze across the expansive room. "It's reasonable to believe - "


We were all changed by the same wolf? All of us in the last five and a half years? Her heart rate picked up slightly and she hurried to stamp down the moment of fear she was experiencing. Werewolves and the scent of fear did not mix very well. It was a weakness that instinct favored latching on to and provoking a hunt. But... How could one wolf get away with so much trouble for almost six years!


The thought almost sent her reeling backwards. There were several people in this warehouse who had been changed within that specific timeframe. Several people who's lives were changed drastically because of one werewolf. And the elders hadn't been doing anything to stop him? Or were they trying so hard and just not succeeding one bit?


"Now, there are some new faces that I see but not have properly met. When we ask for stories, we will start with you. Do not fret - your stories will remain a private matter and only be divulged to others at your whim," Reese stated. "We cannot afford a rogue to roam the city, not with our livelihood teetering on a thin line already with the public. Our attempts to catch him are... thwarted, regularly, unfortunately. The other elders and I have agreed that it's time we enlisted your help in finding and dealing with him before more serious harm can occur."


Murmurs started rising through the gathered werewolves, various looks and expressions exchanged between individuals. Imelda bit the inside of her cheek, her shoulders heavy. If the elders couldn't catch a rogue, five wolves much more experienced than those newly changed, what made them believe the new wolves could help? Was it the knowledge that they all shared a creator?


Shaking her head, the short woman hummed quietly in uncertainty.


"Now, anyone changed within this past year will speak to me," Reese started, beginning to divide the gathering into manageable chunks. "Chambers will speak to those changed in the year before, Woodward the year before that, then McClain, and finally Roach."

Edited by Narvix

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It looked like stealth was not her strong suit tonight. She held back a grimace as the speaker paused, his eyes-- and a majority of those around her-- swiveled to glance at where she was silently attempting to infiltrate the crowd for a better view. Instead, she held her chin high, careful not to borderline defiance. Yet it still sparkled in her gray eyes as they met the Elder's gaze. She hadn't caught his name, nor any of the others stationed around him, since she'd arrived only minutes after the introductions, but Amelia would be damned if she'd let anyone intimidate her. Especially at such an important meeting as this. Perhaps it was the new wolf still settling within her, but dominance was not something she accepted lightly.


As the Elder continued to speak, Amie took a quick scan of the room. Some faces looked familiar-- like that kid in the corner who'd glared at her upon her arrival-- but it wasn't until a familiar scent drifted to her nose that Amie perked up. She sniffed the stale air lightly until she angled toward a short, brown haired woman next to a Hispanic man. Muttering a few "s'cuse me"s, Amie maneuvered through the throng of werewolves until she managed to fling her arms around Imelda's neck, her chin resting on the other woman's head. She sighed heavily. "I had better things to do tonight," she mumbled, though she gave her friend a small squeeze of greeting. If Imelda was here, perhaps this evening wouldn't be so terrible.


Amie fell quiet and listened to the Elder speak. He seemed like a nice enough guy. She already liked him exponentially better than Grumpypants McChambers next to him. But as he spoke, she felt a heavy dread begin to pool up into her chest, just above her stomach. If what he said...what he implied... was true, then that meant she was changed by the same wolf that mutilated and murdered her mother. A low but steady growl rose in her throat before she realized it. Amie had considered the possibility before, but her mother had died four years ago, whereas she'd been changed only barely four full moons prior to this very night. But how could one wild werewolf stick around for five and a half years, killing and Changing civilians, without anyone getting wind of him?


Something in the air shifted ever so slightly, and Amie felt herself tense in response. It took her a moment to realize that a trickle of fear had loosed from the smaller woman beneath her; she stifled her growl and clutched Imelda slightly tighter, and hoped that the gesture seemed more reassuring and less aggressive than it might have appeared. She drove herself to focus on what the Elder was saying, and soon Amie was able to relax. Sort of.


"What could we possibly help with?" she muttered aloud, lazily draping her arm over Imelda's shoulders as she moved from Imelda's back to flank the woman's side. She considered her own words for a split moment and then amended, "Okay, you can probably help. And anyone else who'd changed in over a year, probably. Not that I'm not up to the task, but..." Amie paused a moment, and glanced over at a few of the other werewolves gathered around. A pretty, but rather thin, young woman caught her eye standing next to some odd looking fellow with a silly hat. Amie had never seen her before. Though, she supposed she could say that about quite a few others in this room. Turning back to Imelda, Amelia finished, "It seems pretty desperate that they'd want to ask someone with such little experience for help tracking down a werewolf that's eluded hundred year old werewolves for years."


As the Elder dismissed them into their particular groups, Amie sighed again. "Damn. I didn't catch this guy's name. Figures I'd get split from you," she commented, giving Imelda a friendly nudge. She then looked to Antonio and nodded. She'd seen him around before, but the past four months didn't afford her much time-- or willingness-- to mingle with many other werewolves that she hadn't known prior to her own transition. Poor Imelda had been her crutch once Amelia discovered the other woman's werewolf status a month or so after she'd changed. "Well, I guess I'll catch up with you two later." With a wave, Amie meandered over to where the speaker stood. It was a miracle she was spared Chamber's presence, and it took all of her self control not to make an obscene face or gesture as he left to form his own group. That was the single blessing she'd received upon having been turned so recently.


Amelia leaned against a side railing and folded her arms across her stomach in a comfortable, relaxed position, though the rigidness to her spine suggested she wasn't as carefree as her choice of sporty attire. She eyed the Elder for a long moment. Perhaps she'd seen him in a hunt in the last couple months, but his face was barely recognizable. That might have been due to her struggle for control during full moons, however. "I'm afraid I missed your introduction," she said after a moment, her voice cool but strong. Amie held her hand out to him with a polite smile. "Amelia Briarhart, sir. Amie for short."




Aiden rolled his eyes. This entire party was pointless. What the hell was the purpose of gathering them all together like this? Surely there were enough Elders to make house calls and deliver such news in person, without all of the grandeur of a stupid banquet. Aiden didn't seen some fancy party to tell him that some jerkwad was out causing trouble for the rest of them. Hell, he could have told everyone that. Wasn't it glaringly obvious that there was trouble going around with someone changing people into monsters, and they'd yet to apprehend who'd done it? Maybe Aiden didn't quite understand werewolf culture yet, given how resistant he was to accept it. Either way, it smelled like a load of bull.


Aiden pushed off from the wall he'd been sitting against and trudge over to Roach. He'd met Roach a while back, the same way he'd met a good portion of the Elders. For several years, Aiden had been a nuisance to the monthly hunts, and to local werewolves in general. No, not a nuisance-- that suggested he was annoying, but bearable. Aiden was a problem. A giant, fluffy, fanged problem with a raging hatred towards his predicament. There were countless nights Aiden found himself locked in a bloody fight against another wolf for some minor offense. Plenty of the Elders had their turn in subduing him for such infractions. Roach was definitely not a stranger to Aiden's troublemaking, for that reason alone.


Aiden shoved his hands into his dress pants and clipped the shoulder of some weird guy with a Victorian hat as he walked by. Aiden faintly recalled him, though he spent such little time getting to know or remembering who each werewolf was. None of it mattered to him. He scoffed slightly, but made no gesture of apology for the collision.


"This is stupid," he declared to Roach as he halted in front of the Elder, though he kept his narrowed green eyes on Roach's belt instead of on his face. That much he'd learned to do in the five years it took to tame the teenager. "You already know what happened." Most of them knew it simply because it'd been one of the first stories to grace the public about the existence of werewolves. Number six, to be exact. Maybe it was that reason, or the fact that he'd been eleven years old at the time, that allowed Aiden to remain alive. Many others had tried to build a sense of community for him, but every time he rejected it. There were only a handful of other werewolves he'd ever gotten close enough to in order to feel any semblance of a family, but then he got too comfortable, and it met an abrupt and often ugly end. At least after all of those "disciplinary" interactions, Aiden controlled the wolf with graceful ease. Whether or not he employed the control was another matter all together.

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N looked around at the wolves curiously. He recognised most of them by face and name from previous hunts and whatnot though he wasn't close with any. Then he caught a comment made at him. Or, well, was made by someone who had been looking at them not two moments ago. He immediately feigned indignation and pretended to puff himself up like a peacock. "I do not look like Henry the Eighth!" He muttered false-angrily to his sister as he made a few sweeping gestures with his hand, "People from the sixteenth century have absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever!" His act would've probably been more convincing if he wasn't grinning like a loon under his gloved hand. It didn't surprise him that his sister just gave him a deadpan stare. "Those puffy sleeves and spiked collars are positively ancient. Waistcoats and top hats on the other hand... anyone who attended Primary education would know that Victorians have much better formal outfits, right, darling?" N tilted his head at Brittany and smiled benignly.


"Sorry," came Brittany's emotionless drawl. She wasn't even looking at him, but at the gathered wolves in a clinical fashion. There was hint of amusement to the slight narrowing of her eyes and upward tilt of the edge of her lips though. N enjoyed that expression because so far, only he had managed to pull such an expression from her, no matter how small it was. "The only thing I remember learning in class about Henry the Eighth is 'divorced, beheaded, died'—" "—'divorced, beheaded, survived.'" Brittany sighed as N finished her sentence and shook with suppressed laughter, barely managing to stifle it as the elders began to speak. Honestly, it was an old joke that wasn't exactly funny, but the jittery feeling of impending bad news made him laugh more than he usually would have.


Of course, he couldn't help but add, "You would remember more if you had actually bothered to attend class, ya know?"


His good humour quickly vanished as he listened though and a contemplative frown overtook his expression. For some reason, though, his heart lightened at hearing of the elder's failed attempts to catch the rogue wolf. It was immediately followed by guilt, but N couldn't deny that the admission of the elders failures had lessened his own feelings of inadequacy for failing to protect his sister. Something itched in the back of his mind though, with angry intent, but N shut it out with nary a thought. But it twisted in his stomach and left a bad taste of imprisonment-notfree-chained in his mouth. "I'm not too sure why they think we can help, and most of us have already told them how we were changed," N admitted, scratching his head with an confused look.


"Reviewing the evidence," Brittany suggested with a shrug, before explaining when N continued to look lost, "Everyone here has probably told the elders of their change one by one over the years. As such, any clue that they may have or could be extracted from these events are disjointed, missed because they weren't yet looking for it, or maybe even forgotten due to the passing of time. By having them retold, it refreshes their memories and allows them to more easily connect the dots. They probably don't keep transcripts of the telling of the changes."


"Oh, like in those crime shows where they have a wall dedicated to all the evidence and go over it again and again?" N asked with a look of realisation. Brittany replied with a slight smile but her verbal answer was interrupted when someone bumped into N, causing him to yelp and stumble in surprise. "Hey," N whined after the guy when he offered no form of apology. "Man, how rude." A pout developed on his face and he could see Brittany's exasperated amusement at that. N vaguely recognised the guy who had bumped him as Aiden, a werewolf who seemed to continuously cause trouble. He didn't know him personally, of course, in fact, he wasn't really close with any of the werewolves. He didn't want to get close.


N had stayed energetic and polite and cheerful with each hunt, each werewolf who he talked to and talked to him, but he had always stayed distant, pretended things were fine even though he was still occasionally struggling mentally with his wolf after 2.5 years. He kept tabs on every wolf he met, but wasn't like that 4 month old wolf, Anie or something, who looked to the older wolf Imelda for support or Antonio who just clicked with Imelda. He wasn't even like Aiden who shut everyone out with such force that N sort of just wanted to wrap him in a hug. He kept distant, even though he had never had a problem with getting close to werewolves before he became one himself, when they would let him, of course. It wasn't really because N couldn't accept them, it was more because N couldn't accept himself, didn't want to rely on them or care for them because relying on his sister already felt like tethering himself to something he couldn't, didn't want to control and—


"Well, I suppose this is where we part then, Brit," N commented cheerfully, looking closely at his sister for any sign of concern or worry. He didn't want his sister to be concerned, he wanted to be fine without her, independent in the only way he could. His sister showed no sign of noticing his distraction, his thoughts and merely shrugged, waving a hand in goodbye before turning towards the elder she had been assigned to speak with and walking off.


N sagged a little in relief and turned to go to Woodward, greeting the elder with his usual charisma and cheer. There was no use in worrying so much, it was better to do things one at a time. "Good day, sir. My sister said you were reviewing the evidence? I'd, of course, be happy to lend my assistance!" Full of energy yet polite, despite calling the elders dusty-boned and old fashioned, N was not beyond respect or friendliness to them. In fact, he had probably had more conversations with the elders than the rest of the wolves combined and he liked to think that they were moderately fond of him, if only because the warning (lecture) his sister had given him about showing the proper deference to them had stuck. It had, apparently. Stuck with his wolf, too, since from what little he gathered of his splintered recollections, his wolf tended to act like puppy on sugar, sometimes too friendly, but never causing trouble (like getting into fights) or showing disrespect.




Brittany wasn't adapting to her new senses as well as she hoped. Or, well, mentally she was okay but physically it sort of stung. Everything was a little too loud, the scents all a little too sharp. It was discomforting and there was a tension in the air that was literally tangible to her. As in, she could feel it pressing at her from all sides with unnerving solidity. She was calm though, as she approached Reese slowly, yet her mind was running at a mile a minute. Her brother would, probably, blunder through this and try to help as much as he could, but she knew N and he wasn't okay. How could he help anyone else if he couldn't help himself? So perhaps she wasn't good at reading people, and her understanding of emotions usually ended at run when they look angry enough to hit you because you know you're fast and N can beat anyone up.


It wasn't like she purposefully provoked people, but the kids back home hated it when she was honest. Luckily for her, she was extremely fast and N was always the best fighter, quick on his feet and always up for a friendly spar to hone his skills or more training with his martial arts teacher. So perhaps he wasn't as burly as some of the kids back then, but he knew how to fight, to dodge and counter and predict his opponent's moves with impressive talent for someone who don't know the first thing about the structure of the human body so he was never defeated. Her strategy when dealing with the other kids back then had been some strange mix of be brutally honest and run to hide behind N when things go south and take the blame when their father shouted at N for coming home dirty and lightly bruised.


Anyway, N was her brother whom she had loved and known for two whole decades and then some so she could, at the very least, read him. She knew him and N was the twin who cared, the one with the big heart, the one who looked up at her and asked her for just a couple of pennies to give to this poor begger or that unfortunate soul. N did the caring, Brittany scared such people away with her mere stare and couldn't be bothered to care (she wasn't exactly heartless, she just didn't see the point and, plus, it was an encouragement for them to stay as they were and get pitied). She wasn't sure if it was Darwinism or Social Darwinism or something else but to her the poor were poor and the rich were rich and it all depend ended on how lucky, how intelligent, how strong you were to get your lot in life. And that was that, at least, until Marx's society would come along and everyone actually had the intelligence to look after both themselves and their society (like in Switzerland where people were smart enough and well-taken care of enough to vote for the betterment of the country and not themselves). The only exception to that was her brother and that was because he was her brother, and she would take care of him like he cared for her.


And, there was definitely something wrong with N. She wasn't completely sure what it was, but she was worried (though she looked apathetic). Brittany had been expecting N to be glued to her side, that was normal since he was quite protective. However, she had also been expecting N to be making small talk with this wolf and flirting jokingly with that one, but no. That hadn't happened. N hasn't been as should be and that wasn't a good sign.


It had happened before a couple times where N was all cheer and flare, but without the edge that made him who he was. And she had recently taken to noticing how N was twichy, tense or occasionally aggressive when he came back from the nights of the full moon.


Brittany knew that N wouldn't want her butting into his business. He wanted to be as independent as possible so she wasn't quite sure how to help. But constantly worrying over it would do her no good. One thing at a time. She should get this over with first. So she stood quietly behind the girl who was confidently introducing herself to Reese and looked around with caution, taking in the elder first (power, confidence, age) and then the girl who was apparently called Amelia. She'd probably be forgetting the name soon, since she was no good with names (that was her brother's forte: people in general) except those she needed to remember in order to make her life less troublesome. Like the elder's names. She was content to wait and watch for now.

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"Ah yes, well I'-" Antonio was cut off as the Elders called the meeting to order. I suppose we'll catch up later then, he thought with a resigned shrug. He sat down beside her, his eyes momentarily flicking over the rest of the gathering and the odd eighteenth century attired couple. I must stop thinking of them that way... perhaps it'd be better if I referred to them as a pair. Yea, that would be better. Incest, he thought the word with a shudder of disgust. He turned back to Imelda just in time to see her give him an anxious grin, one which he replied with a more relaxed smile before his gaze similarly centered on the old wolves.


"Welcome. Thank you for attending this matter of business, your presence is much appreciated," the elder started. He flashed a quick smile, white teeth showing from under thin lips.


"I don't think we had much of a choice," he muttered quietly so that only Imelda could've heard him. This wolf, he paid particular attention to, not out of fear, but out of calculation. He faintly remembers this man, but he cannot remember where, likely from one of the hunts, he figured. He definitely attempted to seem friendly, though in Antonio's mind, it came across as condescending. If you needed to look friendly, then you weren't friendly. That's it. Case closed. End of story, here let me tell you another one.


"I suppose introductions are best before things really get started. My name is Carl Reese. Beside me are Jalen Chambers, Edward Roach, Eugene Woodward, and Harry McClain."


Antonio listened well to Carl, if only to commit the names and the corresponding faces of the men to memory. He had a hunch that if Mr. Reese is going through the trouble of listing off their names, then there was a good reason for it. He had to admit that Roach looked the most intimidating than the other men. Though Chambers looked like the most unpleasant, Roach would be the most dangerous of them all, he figured. Roach had those calculating eyes that he had learned to be wary of, lest they were calculating how to take him down. Lip-service to Reese and Chambers, full respect to Roach. I would not want to find himself fighting him without good reason.


The other two men, one in a brown, and the other in a cream colored suit resembled brothers. Likely that they are, now that he thought about it. They seemed like twins with their minuscule differences in dress and hairstyle. He wasn't sure what to think of them. Tall and lanky builds, but if they lived to be Elders, he would show them some measure of respect. No sense in letting his pride get him killed.


"All five of us realize this meeting might come as a surprise to many of you," Reese went on, smoothly transitioning from the brief introduction to what he really wanted to say. "I know the subject might not be very... thrilling, for some of you to retell but we are here to discuss your Change."


Until now you wish to hear of our tale? It damned well took you long enough, he thought bitterly. They had five infernal years to seek him out since his first change that fateful night after he was mauled by what he thought was a rabid dog. Of course, once he woke up in a field naked and blood covered, he had no idea what had happened until two days later.


"There are some pressing concerns that the others and I have come to realize. I feel it is time that you all were made aware of it." Reese paused briefly, sweeping his gaze across the occupants of the warehouse, stopping for a second on someone specific before moving on.


Antonio looked over and upon seeing nobody he knew returned his gaze to the Elders, though he didn't miss Imelda's quick wave. Must be a friend of hers, he thought. But to arrive late for something like this? Was that brave or foolish? Foolish. He heard the 's'cuse me' as that person came over and it wasn't until that the woman, he noticed when she threw herself onto Imelda, resting her chin on top of her head. He bristled at the sudden appearance of her. Excuse you! he thought irritably. With a shake of his head, he turned back to Reese, tuning out the girls complaint.


"There is a rogue werewolf, causing some issues for the locals. I'm sure you have all heard or read the news lately."


Yes, I have heard of this. But... Oh, Find Me in the Alps... he thought. Somebody has to be yanking his chain here. Now his mind began to race.


"Now, there are some new faces that I see but not have properly met. When we ask for stories, we will start with you. Do not fret - your stories will remain a private matter and only be divulged to others at your whim," Reese stated. "We cannot afford a rogue to roam the city, not with our livelihood teetering on a thin line already with the public. Our attempts to catch him are... thwarted, regularly, unfortunately. The other elders and I have agreed that it's time we enlisted your help in finding and dealing with him before more serious harm can occur."


This had been happening for almost six years. People thought it was nothing more than a rabid coyote or something along the Canis family. But now here was confirmation that it wasn't just an animal, it was a werewolf. A rogue werewolf. The revelation didn't upset him as much as it did anger him, and the feeling, he felt was mutual around the room when murmuring erupted.


However, what quelled his rising lust for vengeance wasn't his own doing. Instead, he felt fear that wasn't his own, but from Imelda. His hands curled into fists. For some reason, he took the fact that somebody attacked her as a personal affront and to keep himself from wanting to do something drastic, he snaked an arm around Imelda's waist and pulled her a bit closer to him, momentarily forgetting about her friend. So the Elders wanted help in dealing with him, eh? Well. He would be only too happy to oblige if it meant that he could get his hands, or jaws, around the wolf's neck.


"Now, anyone changed within this past year will speak to me," Reese started, beginning to divide the gathering into manageable chunks. "Chambers will speak to those changed in the year before, Woodward the year before that, then McClain, and finally Roach."


"Well then," he said through a growl that was ebbing away. "I will go talk to Roach." He starts walking away from the two women with a wave. He ended up being one of the few that would be talking to Roach, and he wasn't exactly sure how he felt about that. He wonders who was the first one to be changed because of that single wolf. He stood before the tall man and nodded in deference. "Mr. Roach, I do not know if I am known to you. But my name is Antonio Rodriguez, and I've been changed about the time this rogue started doing his carnage, almost six years ago."


"I was walking home from the radiology labs, the sun had just set and the moon was full as it began its ascent into the darkening sky. There is a park I like to go to after a day in the lab that relaxes me. I was enjoying the song birds that begin to come out at night, their song always brings my mind to a state of serenity. However... the birds were eerily quiet. I thought that maybe they already migrated, but that was when I heard the growl. I got up and turned to where I heard the growl, but I saw nothing. At first, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. How I wished that was the case..." he said with a tightening of his fists. "I saw the amber, almost crimson eyes of that wolf. I was afraid, and I pulled the handgun that I usually kept on me in case I needed to defend myself. Was I afraid? You're damned right I was. The beast charged towards me with hardly a growl. I fired at him while I backed away but if I hit him, he certainly gave me no indication. Six shots later, he was on me, ripping and biting away. I screamed and fought to get the thing off of me, but..." he had to sigh, suddenly becoming teary eyed. "I can't remember what happened then, but when I regained my humanity I was in a grassy field with no recollection of how I got there. I guess I was really lucky that my job didn't include working with blood, right? I didn't go to work for a while because I was going out on vacation, funny how that turned out." He shrugged and looked at Roach. "That's as much as I remember."

Edited by Epyon

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[[i'm just going to kind of speed through this as I plan on moving things along. I've waited long enough for responses to what I requested.]]


Amie's presence was comforting. Feeling the other woman's arms about her neck and chin on her head, Imelda felt at ease. Her friend's tighten hold was even more reassuring but Antonio's quick pull on her waist was surprising. Not wanting to make any sort of disturbance, she kept quiet, holding Amelia's arm as Antonio held her waist.


They broke up into their designated groups and went through the tedious chore of recounting each of their experiences. Imelda found it difficult, wanting nothing more than to forget. When it was over, she rubbed her face furiously, doing her best to not be so upset. The groups were dispersing, individuals leaving after talking with an elder and lessening the press of bodies. With a bit of time, Imelda found Antonio and Amelia, smiling tiredly at them both. "Hey, you guys want to head to my place and have a movie marathon tonight? You're free to stay if you're too tired to return home afterwards," she offered.

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As people started to leave, Antonio looked within himself to calm his heart and to take stock of his actions when Imelda started to show fear. Why had he acted that way? He's known Imelda for quite some time, granted. But certainly there was no reason to react like that. He was curious, and just a bit intrigued. He reacted as if she was his mate, if he's reading himself correctly. He might not be, but he has to take that possibility into account. Eventually, he met up with Amelia and soon Imelda found them. He hummed at her offer of a movie marathon. He was off for tomorrow, so why not?


"I'd like that. Want to ride with me?" he asked her. "I have a spare helmet."

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Amelia did not enjoy having to recount her past, considering it occurred merely four months ago and she was still having issues controlling the wolf. That being said, Reese did not seem like the kind of guy to judge her harshly as Chambers had done, and she was thankful once more that she'd had the luck of being grouped with him over the surly-looking Elder not too far away. Reese's presence was calming, and to him she was able to recount in painful detail how she stayed late at the gym one night to train for her upcoming marathon, and took a detour on the way home after discovering some shady characters loitering on a street she normally walked down. Of course, much to her misfortune, the alley she cut across in order to avoid them was far more dangerous. She had woken up about twenty minutes later, bleeding and battered, and managed to drag herself the rest of the way home to patch up. Amie had been too terrified to tell anyone about it until a month after her first change, when she realized the girl she'd met several times already at the cafe smelled particularly different than everyone else.


Amie smiled up at Imelda now as the other woman maneuvered through the parting crowd to where she stood next to Antonio. Without Imelda's guidance, Amie never would have been able to deal with her new reality. The monthly hunts were difficult enough, but having a friend placated her enough that the dominant wolf prowling restlessly inside her could be chained.

"That sounds wonderful," Amie said with a relieved, happy sigh, resting her forehead momentarily against Imelda's shoulder. Her body still felt tense from the emotional upset, but she found comfort in her friend and the rigidity in her body loosened. "I definitely need a pick me up after that crap."


Amie straightened after a moment and just as Antonio offered a ride, she suggested simultaneously, "I can give you a lift, if you'd like." A small laugh rose from her and her bright eyes flashed up to Antonio's for a moment. Then, after pausing long enough to let Imelda consider his helmet offer, she leaned in close to Imelda's ear and whispered, "I have a heater. And Stevie Nicks." She winked at her friend and then gazed around the rest of the lot, watching the others dissipate into the night.




Aiden remained scowling at the others as Roach listened to their stories. When the one guy, Antonio, began talking, the white-haired teenager rolled his eyes so hard he gave himself a headache. "What a drama queen," he muttered, though a warning glance from Roach made him stifle his other comments into a growl and look away. He never offered any more detail into his own transformation, both because they didn't need another retelling of the same account and because there was no way Aiden was going to talk about it in front of everyone else. Thankfully, the boy kept quiet until the end of the meeting, at which point he grunted, "Thanks for nothing" and stalked out of the warehouse faster than any of the others.

His social worker was late. Aiden slumped up against the side of the building, arms crossed, a dark shadow across his face.

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A woman pedaled furiously through town, her muscular legs pumping steadily. She was late! What would the Elders say? She already knew, of course. She was supposed to be the dependable one. She was always punctual, always. With her job, though...


It was expected she got held up every once in a while. Working as a detective for the local Police Office did that. And she was up to her neck in paperwork involving a certain werewolf. Not enough DNA evidence to track down any certain person. Bodies too mangled to identify...It was a mess back at the office. That's what she got for being a homicide specialist.


But she was "off" today. Work never really stopped, but she was given a few gratuitous breaks now and then. She worked hard to catch killers. She spent personal funding on needed lab equipment for the Forensics department. Niamh cared about putting killers where they belonged.


That wasn't why she was late, however. Well, it sort of was. She had stayed up well into the wee hours of the morning, reading over the pitifully slim case file. Although many had initially dismissed it as a dog attack, with the outing of werewolves, there was no denying this was the act of such beasts. Like herself. Although, Niamh herself was never really a violent person. Intense? Yes. But not particularly violent.


The woman sped into the dusty lot, racing towards the door. A rough slam on the brakes, and she was dismounting and bolting to the door. The poor bicycle was discarded near the entrance. However, Niamh was smarter than to burst inside. Instead, she slipped in, gently opening and closing the double doors. It would be enough for everyone to notice. Not much got past the ears of Elders.


Oh censorkip.gif, the meeting was over! Niamh panted in the doorway, her face beaded with sweat. She had been practically flying to get over in time, but had been late anyways. It had been enough to exhaust her, and all for naught. She knew what to do without even thinking. Head low, shoulders slumped, Niamh's green eyes peered from beneath her eyelashes.


Hopefully she wasn't told to shift and grovel. She'd only seen it a few times, by much younger wolves, but it was humiliating.

"My apologies, esteemed Elders. I have disrespected your time and wishes by arriving at such a late hour."


She stepped forward, hunching a tad lower as she did so. I wasted your time, my elders. As an apology, I offer my spare time, as well as my strengths, to your service." Although not much of a talker, Niamh was a sincere person. If she had to repay her debt with manual labor to please the elders, then she would do so. Otherwise...what could they possibly want from her?

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Patting Amie's arm as she rested her head against her shoulder, Imelda gave a sympathetic smile. "You're welcome to stay at my place for a few days if you want; we'll have a movie marathon each night and some crazy boardgames," she suggested. When both of her friends offered a ride with them simultaneously, she gave an embarrassed smile. The helmet sounded nice but Amie's whispered temptation was too good to ignore. "Sorry, Antonio. Amie's heater and Stevie Nicks outshine the helmet tonight. Though, if you're willing, I wouldn't mind a lift to work in the morning," she replied. "Some of my coworkers don't believe I'd hang out with a guy who owns a motorcycle, much less ride one."


With transportation sorted out for now, Imelda exited the warehouse with the others. "We'll see you back at my place, Antonio. I've got a large movie collection so we shouldn't run out of options." Waving, she eased the passenger-side door open and plopped herself down in Amie's car. "So, tell me, what were those better plans of yours? Did it involve a special someone?" she started, grinning. "You know, there's still the hot stuff at my work who's been eyeing you for months now." A giggle broke from her lips before she silenced it and shook her head. "Anyways, how are you holding up?" She wasn't asking about tonight, more the past week in general since she last saw Amie.




Reese was about to reply to Niamh but Chambers cut him off. "You offer services to us without even knowing what was discussed tonight? That is either very honorable or very foolish of you. Devious creatures would take great advantage of your ignorance, pup," the Elder grumbled. "Bah! I don't have the time for you. If you didn't care to show up on time, I'll not waste another breath!"


The man stalked off and Reese watched him leave, frowning with his lips pressed into a thin line. After a moment, he turned back to Niamh. "Though I agree with his rough advice, I still feel there was a better way of approach. Niamh, you are a police officer, are you not?" A rhetorical question, really; he knew the answer. "If you aren't already, I'd appreciate if you could focus as much effort as you can on related cases with possible werewolf suspects. In the next couple of months, I'd like to hear of your findings. Of course, don't get yourself fired on my behalf. I just want to see how the human authorities are responding to all of this." With a nod, he clapped her shoulder and left.

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He chuckled, meeting Amelia's eyes when she and he offered a ride at the exact same time. He listened to Amelia's counter offer and he pouted, knowing he lost when she mentioned that she had a heater and Stevie Nicks. "Well hell," he said. "Can't compete against a heater and Stevie Nicks, can I?" There was a playful smile on his face as he spoke and he shrugged. When Imelda mentioned she could use a lift to work in the morning, he perked up ever so slightly.


"Sure, I can do that," he replied. "I've no early appointments tomorrow, so that won't be a problem." He then parted from the two women and waved in response to Imelda's wave. Movies sound like a great idea. Though food would also be good. He slid his helmet on after putting on his gloves and then revved the engine to life. He drove off first and went in the general direction of Imelda's house. He hasn't been there in a while but he still remembered the way. He stopped at a place that had really good pizza and chicken wings. He hummed, Imelda liked the meat lovers, so did he. But what does her friend like? He hummed. He ordered three large pizzas, one meat lovers, one supreme, and a regular pepperoni pizza. He also ordered five pounds of lightly sauced chicken wings. He paid for the food and about twenty-five minutes later, he was driving to Imelda's house, making sure it was in a proper container so it would stay hot. The detour would hopefully allow the women to get there first.


He parked on the street in front of her home and revved his engine to announce himself. He gathered the food items and then walked to the door.

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The pale woman's face burned bright red as she was scorned, her gaze flicking downwards. It was as if all the freckles on her face had connected into a single, very red freckle. She still wasn't terribly used to being bossed around. Not like this. To be admonished by older and stronger men was...terrifying for a woman her age. But she could take it.


Packs were different anyways. They were more like a family. Granted, Elder Chambers was the disgruntled uncle of the "family". She knew better than to respond. Instead, she held her tongue, gaze respectfully downward. It was only when a hand rested on her shoulder did she glance up.


"I...yes. Thank you for having faith in me, Elder Reese." She stammered, a weak smile twitching on her face. Another submissive gesture. She was starting to get the hang of this stuff, after five years. "It's all...difficult to make heads and tails of. DNA evidence is coming back, but no genome has been successfully sequenced yet." She paused as an idea struck her. Perking up somewhat, Niamh raised her gaze to meet her Elder's eyes.


"I have an idea that could help me track the culprit down. It won't be easy, but..." She cleared her throat, her hands ducking into the pockets of her jeans. "I had meant to arrive early. The killer's scent was familiar, but too stale to recognize. If you could, if possible, hold the next meeting a little longer, it would help me sniff out this rogue."


A glance behind her, and Niamh wilted. Most the other wolves her age had already shuffled off. She didn't think it was any of them, but...Wolves were naturally social creatures. She had looked forward to catching up with everyone. Oh well. It gave her more time to read up on case files.


As the years went on, it seemed as if Niamh was becoming distant with the Werewolves her age. Perhaps she was too quiet. Or too abrasive? She didn't know. It would be another night of take-out and beer. Alone.


"And, if you wouldn't mind...Could you fill me in on this meeting? It was about the Rogue, right?"

Edited by shadow_claw

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Amie grinned at Imelda's acceptance. With a wink at Antonio, she followed the shorter woman outside and unlocked the blue door for her friend. The door swung open with a defined metallic groan, to which Amelia winced. The Rustbucket, as her car was so fondly called, certainly lived up to its name. She slid into the driver's side and cranked the car to life, which sputtered a few times before falling into a general hum of proper function. Stevie sang softly through the speakers after a moment of brief silence.


Amie's blue eyes tracked the other cars and vehicles as they left the parking lot and disappeared into the night. She even waited for Antonio to leave before easing the Bucket from the lot and onto the street. There was no mistaking the look of concentrated caution on Amelia's face as she surveyed their surroundings; she had the right mind to do so, as her car was painfully easy to follow, and there was no saying what kind of folk the other werewolves were. After she'd been turned into one, she could never be too careful.

Finally, after a few moments, Amie relaxed a little and offered Imelda a goofy smile. "My better plans were literally anything else but spending the night with the Elders," she answered with a soft laugh. She turned a corner and added, "Though, tonight is turning out exceptionally better than I could have ever planned." At mention of Imelda's coworker, Amie snorted. "Oh please," she said, almost rolling her eyes, "Hot Stuff couldn't handle me. I'd like someone with a little more than a brick for a brain." Then, her smile faltered slightly. As much as she enjoyed joking around about dates or the possibility of them, there always lurked the reminder that such activities were near impossible for Amie at this point. Becoming a werewolf had severely challenged her self control; could she even trust herself to become passionate and aroused with a human that could easily fall prey to a dangerous predator? It was for the best, Amie reminded herself, that regular humans did not get tangled up romantically or sexually with a newly fledged werewolf. But her other options might as well be just as restricted, since she hardly knew many werewolves, let alone any that'd even want to bed her.

Imelda's other question broke through Amie's haze and she blinked slightly as they came to a stop outside Imelda's house. She put the car into park and sat for a moment, staring out at the dark of the streets around them, trying to pick out any dangers of the neighborhood. "I've been...okay, I think," she said, and this time her voice was softer, almost strained, the earlier playfulness of it gone beneath the sudden tide of responsibility she carried for her changed existence. "I don't think anyone suspects me at work yet, but at least I've stopped breaking the chains on the leg presses." Amie's job as a personal trainer gave her complete access to the gym, and she found that rigorous exercise often helped stave off the most violent and unstable tendencies of the wolf, though in several of her extreme workouts she'd busted a few pieces of equipment. She gave a half-hearted chuckle and exited the car.


As soon as they were inside, Amie flung herself onto the couch, her face stuffed into a pillow. A long, drawn-out moan rose muffled from the pillow before she turned slightly and said, "I've honestly considered wearing a shock collar. Do you think that'd work?"

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Imelda laughed with Amie about Hot Stuff, tossing back her head. "Yeah, that's true. You certainly give people a run for their money but, hey, only the best get my Amie," Imelda smirked. "If they don't meet your standards, they have no chance against mine," she grunted, nodding once. The waver in Amelia's smile hadn't been missed and Imelda gently nudged her companion, a silent reassurance to the woman. When she finally answered Imelda's next question, her voice was quiet.


Turning in her seat to better face Amie, Imelda lightly prodded her friend's arm with a finger. "Okay is better. Not breaking gym equipment is great! I probably sound a little like a broken record but, it'll take some time. You've made progress, more than I did at that time I think," she commented. Shaking her head, she stepped out of the car at the same time Amie had and moved ahead to unlock the front door.


Her home was a cozy little condo with an empty driveway and 2-car garage full of storage boxes and other trinkets that desperately needed to be organized. Only a single story, the living room was three times the size of the open kitchen and twice the size of the master bedroom. There was a second bedroom but, with how small it was, it may as well have been a closet. The only bathroom was in the hallway. Despite the tiny size, the leaky faucets, and the creaky floorboards, Imelda was comfortable here and had grown fond of her home.


Listening to Amie's groan from the three-seat couch Imelda had scored at a second-hand furniture store, she hummed faintly with thought. "I doubt it. They don't really work on dogs so, I don't think they'd work on werewolves..." Shrugging, she stepped into the kitchen and opened the fridge to scrounge around for juice. "Want some?" she offered, holding out the carton of cranberry juice and shaking it.


Grabbing a glass out of the cabinet, she poured herself some, setting aside another if Amie wanted it. "What do you want to watch first? I think it's fair to assume we'll outvote Anto when he gets here," Imelda grinned. Her sensitive ears picked up the approach of a motorcycle, soon followed by a punctuated engine rev right outside. Speak of the devil and he shall appear... "Good. He didn't take forever," she commented. "It's open!" Imelda called, knowing well he would hear her.




Reese watched Niamh's body language as he listened to her words, measuring her tone of voice. "I can try to extend the next meeting. There are no guarantees though as the other Elders also get to decide what is discussed and for how long," he replied. Nodding, he sighed. "Yes, tonight was about the rogue. We tried to get everyone's stories at the same time so we could compare any similarities we noticed - or differences. We wanted to learn how the rogue was hunting, when it was hunting most, and if it has any allies. However, by the sounds of it, it might just be the one rogue running around," Reese explained.


Glancing around, he made note of the lack of an audience and nodded slightly. "To be quite frank, the Elders and I have been... negligent, in dealing with the matter properly. As a result, it's inadvertently changed the lives of many." He paused, staring past Niamh as if trying to see something else. Blinking, the illusion was gone and his gaze had refocused. But his eyes were amber. "I wish I could say I've tried, on my own, to fix the problem but I haven't. Politics are a nasty business, officer. I'm sure you already know this," he commented, almost idly.


"Now, get home. Get rest. When I call you next, I'll find out what you've been able to piece together or learn." He dismissed her with a wave and started for his car.


[[Next post, I'll skip forward and get everyone into the same location again. :3 It'll be fun.]]

Edited by Narvix

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[[i'll be moving the thread forward this week. Was hoping for some replies before then but, eh. You'll definitely need to respond to the next thing though.]]

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Niamh, knowing her place, stood in silence until her elder finished speaking. Her green eyes remained trained towards the ground, as was customary. Only when Reese began to talk away did she look up, nod, and head towards her own car. Many already knew the circumstances of her turning. It was...not a pleasant one. Compared to others, at least. It was mainly spoken in hushed whispers down the line, as most gossip was. On particularly bad days, Niamh's own thoughts drifted to her turning.


She brooded on it as she mounted her bicycle. It hadn't been a good night for her, that night. Her jaw tightened as she began to pedal, her neck straining slightly. Soon enough, reality was dealt with on a second layer of thought. Niamh was quickly swallowed by her own memory.


It had been a standard job, really. Or was supposed to be. At that time, she was struggling to climb up the ladder in police politics. And she was young. Even though she'd already been on the force for two years, nobody was really respected until at least five. Especially not women.


So she got the dirty jobs. Mainly domestic disputes or stray animals Animal Control couldn't or wouldn't mess with. But that night...that night was different. Local teens, the loitering shadows of the park well after hours, had been hospitalized due to dog attacks. Of course she had to try to track down the stupid mutt.


She pulled up in her sad excuse for a vehicle. A rusted out Ford Explorer, the old thing shook and rattled like it was ready to drop at any second. Nobody wanted to give a rookie a squad car. So she drove her own, sad vehicle most of the time. And payed for gas. At least she could write it off on her taxes. '


Sliding out of the car, Niamh donned her usual uniform, this time equipped with a large flashlight and a taser. Nobody thought it'd be a good idea to give her a gun. It was just trying to sniff out some dog, after all. It's not like she was supposed to track it down.


The "crime scene" was a forensic disaster. Deciding the culprit wasn't worth trying to identify (it was a dog, duh), nothing had been roped off. Instead, the park was closed and a cleaning was scheduled for the next day. Tomorrow. Niamh was just supposed to track down a dog.


Except, it wasn't a dog.


At the playground, where the wannabe delinquents had been loitering, there was...a whole lot of mess. Suffed shoes in mud, blood and rain alike, all smeared into the ground. But one thing became evidently clear.


Those footprints were too large to be a dog's.


It was only when she leaned in to investigate, flicking on her flashlight, did she realize something was wrong. She'd never seen pawprints that big. Not on a dog. A bear, maybe. But bears didn't venture into town. Kneeling near the clearest footprint, she ghosted her fingers over the massive imprint. A snap of a branch behind her, and Niamh spun around. What ensued next should have ended her life.


Should have.


The massive thing that hurtled at her was too fast and too strong. Her steel flashlight didn't stand a chance. It crumpled light a tin can against the monster's head, the beast totally unfazed. A massive paw threw her into the mud and then quickly was thrown onto her chest. Her ribs cracked under the pressure almost instantly. A chocked scream hissed out of her, as did the rest of her air. The rest was a gory, nightmarish mess.


It wasn't the cleaning crew who had arrived. Instead, it was a small group of Elders. They had their eyes on the park as well, but arrived too late to keep Niamh from getting hurt. With the injuries she had sustained, Niamh should have died overnight. Instead, she lay the the whole night, wheezing in her own blood. Overnight, gushing mortal injuries lessened to oozing flesh wounds, and then to scrapes. By morning, the only evidence anything had happened was the mess in the park, and Niamh's own fractured memories.


An angry honk jarred the woman from her thoughts. Jerking into reality, Niamh slammed to a halt before she rode into oncoming traffic. Not that it would have killed her. Now in a sufficiently sour mood, the officer cycled home in silence. She needed rest. And a beer. Something to quiet her thoughts for a few hours.


Work could wait.


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Antonio waited patiently for an answer to his knock, which he got almost immediately. Okay, great. No help for me, he smirks, shaking his head helplessly. He balances the four pizza boxes on one hand so he could open the door. He can't blame the girls for not coming to help, they don't know that he detoured to get them food. He turned the knob and pushed it forward with his shoulder. He stepped inside the house and let the door close behind him, though he did take the time to lock it before headed towards Imelda's kitchen. "I brought food!" he says, skirting around the living room. He set the pizza boxes on the counter and arrayed the extras so the napkins, plates, and dipping sauces for easily access. Especially the napkins because Imelda can be real ornery about them. He finally removed his helmet and gloves and set them out of the way so nobody would trip over them.


Antonio then went to the bathroom to wash his hands before eating. He came back two minutes later and got one piece of each pizza and six wings with a ranch cup.

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[[Time skip time! Let's roll forward a week!]]


"Man... I don't know why we're here. What's so important?"


Imelda stretched her arms out above her head, yawning. Some of her joints popped, provoking a satisfied grunt from her lips. Around her, Adien, Amie, Antonio, and Niamh did their own thing. All five of them had gotten another letter in the mail the other day, saying it was urgent and signed by one of the Elders. Though, the Elder hadn't seen fit to name themself. Honestly, Imelda thought it was going to be some kind of hazing from older werewolves but, on the off-chance that it was an Elder, she thought it best to come. After all, it would just be her luck...


Stifling another yawn, she idly straightened out the yellow tank top she wore, fiddling with the bottom hem and making sure it covered the top of her denim shorts. Satisfied, she glanced at the others, placing a fist on her hip. "If no one shows up in the next fifteen minutes, I'm leaving," she stated. It had just grown dark, clouds sweeping over the sky and blotting out most of the fading sunset colors, leaving the empty park to look grey and dreary.


Time ticked by and she pulled out her phone, tsk'ing. "What a waste of time," she grumbled. Stuffing her phone back into her pocket, she flicked her maple gaze at the others. "I'm outta here. Anyone wanna come with me for a drink?" she offered.


As if in answer, a twig snapped. Straightening her spine, Imelda huffed. "Really? Now they show up?" she mumbled.


But there wasn't another sound.


Gradually, the hackles began to rise on the back of her neck. Something wasn't right about this...


Instinctively, Imelda touched her tank top again, hazel bleeding into the maple brown of her eyes. "I... don't know about you guys..." she started, voice hushed as she began looking about at their surroundings.


The wind shifted and her nose twitched. She smelt it the second before she felt it. A form burst out from the trees, knocking her to the ground before she could recognize what hit her. Grunting, she landed hard on her back, pain flaring in her shoulders and belly before she rolled with the momentum, using her feet to launch the object away.


Two others had jumped out at the same time, one at Antonio and the other at Niamh. All three were darkly colored, browns or blacks in the night, and very large in size. Most of it wasn't fur, from what Imelda had felt.


Rolling to her feet, Imelda kept her assailant in front of her, risking a glance at the others to see what was happening. In a practiced motion, she slipped out of her tank top, fur already making her back itch. Her jaw ached like Hell and her feet felt cramped in shoes that would soon become too small. But she couldn't exactly strip while facing down a werewolf already twice her size.


Modesty a notion of four years ago, Imelda hurried out of the binder she wore, diving to the left when the werewolf came at her. Spinning on her heel, she sprinted at her attacker jumped, grabbing his shoulders before getting a headlock on him.

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She hated the park. It dredged up bad memories and left her feeling hollow. But orders were orders, and she was already on rather poor terms from the previous week. So Niamh was sure to be promt today.


Leaning against one of the scrubby trees, the young detective smoothed her slacks with a sigh. It was getting late. She had put off paperwork to do this. The others around her seemed just as irritated. They all leeched of one another's energy, tuning in to each other to adjust how to act. Humans did this, but it seemed the pack was especially sensitive. They were likely all on edge for the same reason: hazing. Being on the younger end of the pack, they were prone to being coerced into uncomfortable or downright dangerous situations.


But Niamh was used to it. The force, no matter what was said, hazed. It was usually pranks or dumb stunts. Nothing too bad. Being a woman, however, Niamh had been given harsher treatment. But that was all water under the bridge now. Hazing from older wolves, however, was a very real possibility.


Niamh lifted her pale gaze to Imelda, interested. A drink sounded like a nice time. It gave them time to bond and catch up.

"Sure, why not."

As soon as she finished talking, however, her hand flew to her holster. In seconds, her pistol was out and a shot was blasted at her assailant.


As she was thrown to the ground, the air rushed from her lungs in a wheeze. The hot buzz of adrenaline clouded her judgement, making her skin feel too tight for her body. No, not yet. She couldn't shift. Not when she could hear and smell Imelda doing the same. They needed at least one person to go on the defensive, and that woukd have to be her.


Rolling to her feet, Niamh readied her gun. This wasn't right. Something was wrong but she couldn't put her finger on it. Even though she resisted, her pale green eyes flooded with yellow. She couldn't suppress instincts, even if she held onto this form.


"Is everyone alright? Group up, don't get seperated!"

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(Very late, sorry Val)

"It is strange that nobody except us is here," he replies to Imelda, even though she wasn't really speaking to anybody in particular. He kept his head on a swivel, his mood not improving much since it wasn't a very good day at the lab. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with one of the Elders who didn't even have the decency of being there on time!


"Where is this censorkip.gif***?" he growls as Imelda makes her gestures of impatience. "Imelda, really, you look fine. Stop fidgeting," he scolded with a little bit of mirth. "I'm shifting, maybe I'll be able to smell him and let you guys know when he's close. Cover me, yeah?" He stripped out of his clothes, and began to shift. He groans painfully as his body pops and cracks to form into the beast. He kept his pistol on top of his pile of clothes and he kneels as the shift progresses. He hated how long this transformation takes, why couldn't it be quicker? It would probably hurt less.


Imelda spoke again, something about meeting up for drinks. Huh, that sounds good. Unfortunately, that's when all hell decided to break loose. Imelda straightened, that much he could see and he's sure the others straightened as well. Then he saw a familiar beastly form. "A-am-bush!" he gritted out through elongated fangs. He was only half way through his transformation, his hands already had the claws but he could still use his gun. The retort of another gun sounded loudly and he cursed. They were going to have some more company soon because of that but there is no helping it. He managed to grab his gun and started firing into the form charging for him. His icy eyes shown with hatred as he unloaded half of his magazine into the monster with barely a stagger to its charge. He was knocked back by the force of the muscled mass. His gun was knocked away from him but he wouldn't be able to use it anymore, his paws have formed enough to prevent use of it anyway. Damn it! I'm not ready to go yet! He risked a glance to the others in their group and made a silent plea for help. He's a sitting duck right now, all he can do is back pedal and offer minimal retaliation.

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Amelia stretched an arm over head, humming some tune just under her breath. It'd been stuck in her head all day after hearing it over the radio at the gym. She was still dressed for a work out in her snug fitting shorts and blue sports bra. She was also wearing her fingerless gloves that she'd put on during a biking session that had been needlessly interrupted by these summons.


"What Antonio said," she chimed in, pushing herself into a lunge pose. She felt nice and limber during her cooldowns, and the smile of satisfaction remained on her face despite the tone of annoyance as she said, "Can't think of anything we in particular did to get called out from everyone else that was at the meeting the other week."


Amie was just about to knock back a gulp of water when Imelda mentioned drinks. Obviously, it wasn't about water, and a grin flashed across the brunette's face as her blue eyes glimmered in excitement. Dancing was her absolute favorite form of exercise. "Oh, count me in," she sang, knocking her hip playfully against Imelda's. "Gonna find me a honey to do some dirty--" Her voice very abruptly trailed off into the soft, rumbling sound of a growl. Amie straightened up stiffly, the muscles in her neck and jaw tightening as the tension of anticipation wound through her. The gray blue of her eyes began to melt into an icy-white from the center outwards.


About ten feet away from them, Aiden leaned against the rough bark of a tree, his arms folded. He, too, shifted slightly in that moment, his chin tilted up with nostrils flared. The conversation previous had gone unnoticed-- or rather, completely ignored-- by him until this moment. He'd busied himself by staring up at the dreary clouds and pretending the idiots around him didn't exist. If the summons from the Elders hadn't made its way into the hands of his social worker, he wouldn't be stuck out here, forced to listen to the censorkip.gif*ing of the younger werewolves. But his social worker was determined to get Aiden assimilated somewhere, even if it meant among other werewolves. How irritating.


But now, something was happening. Something he hadn't expected. His eyes, naturally a muddy hazel, seemed to brighten into burnished gold as three massive shapes bolted toward them. The woman named Amelia was frozen, looking torn between wanting to shift and knowing that doing so would put her at an extreme disadvantage. Aiden knew if she tried, she'd likely be killed for taking so damn long. He growled under his breath.


"Damn it," Amie snarled, ducking gracefully as a wolf barreled past her. It went straight for Imelda, who launched it away with her feet. A surge of primal rage flooded her body, and sent her flying for Imelda's assailant with a sharp check of her shoulder as it reached for her friend. She was startled, though, at the sound of gunfire, and looked wildly around at the others when Imelda grabbed the werewolf in a headlock. The other woman, whom Amie could not remember the name of, was holding off a wolf with her gun, but Antonio's weapon was knocked away in his partially shifted state. Without hesitation, Amie loosed a guttural snarl and raced for him. His werewolf had rolled back onto its feet, bleeding in some places but looking absolutely raring for a fight. As it made back for Antonio, Amie thrust herself into a reckless sprint and barreled into the beast's furry belly mere moments before it would have latched its talons into Antonio's backside. The force unbalanced the werewolf, who staggered to the side and slipped onto one knee. It growled and snapped its teeth at Amie's face, but she recoiled back enough that its jaws made no contact. The sound of its teeth clicking together seemed to send an electric shock through her. It was like a chemical reaction; she writhed, scratching and biting, as the sports bra began to tighten around her expanding frame. She couldn't help it. They were in danger, and her wolf was howling to be let loose, and the adrenaline of the fight-- as well as the pain, for the werewolf's claw slashed a neat cut across the meat of her upper arm-- completely overpowered whatever semblance of control Amie might have had over her inner wolf. It was going to burst free whether she wanted it to or not.



Aiden, on the other hand, kept to the dark of the tree's shadow. There were only three werewolves, and five of them, and so far the others were holding their own-- for the most part. It wasn't until Amie began to lose herself that he curled a lip with disgust. Amateurs. While the others were distracted, Aiden slipped free of his dirty tee shirt and torn up jeans. He didn't wear much clothes, both because he didn't own many to begin with and because he had the common sense to be prepared in case situations like this presented themselves. Being woefully under prepared had gotten him into this situation in the first place.


Eyes bright, Aiden relaxed his body and let the change overtake him. It stretched at his bones, pulled at his muscles, sending sparks of pain ricocheting from the tips of his fingers to the bottoms of his feet. A deep ache settled into his jaw and he worked it open, massaging the muscles that spasmed with the shift. His nose pressed in and flexed, and soon he could feel the cold air against the wet flesh of canid nostrils. The prickle of fur stabbed through his skin like needles, until a large volume of fluffy white fur sprouted from every which inch of him and settled over his body like a sleek mane of moonlight. Different shades of gray spackled one side of his face and a portion of his spine. The sounds of blazing bullets and snarls contorted in his ears as they morphed larger, deeper, widening the depth of everything in his audial range, and soon he could hear each pant of breath of the wolves fighting tooth, nail, and bullet only a few yards away. Somewhere in the tussle of Amie and Antonio, Aiden heard her squeal with pain, and it sounded neither human nor wolf like.


It took a few moments, but it was considerably faster than expected. Perhaps it was spending the past five years in and out of wolf form, forever shifting, that lent a hand in his efficiency. For a kid that seemed to hate werewolves as much as the rest of the world, he spent an awful lot of time as one.


Nearing completion, Aiden stepped forth with a large, fur-covered foot-- or paw, almost. He tossed back his head, and a loud, throaty howl warbled out from his open jaws, challenging the three unknown werewolves still fighting amongst the others.

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Strong hands gripped her shoulders, the heat of pain flooding her flesh as claws left behind punctures. Pitched over the werewolf's head, Imelda hit the ground with a wheeze. An eruption of repetitive sounds pierced the noise of furious growls and colliding bodies. Gunshots. Hazel eyes narrowing, Imelda suppressed a groan as her jaws stretched, reshaping into a muzzle. Fur sprouted from her skin, her hair melting into a fluffy mane.


As her shorts ripped and a thick tail freed itself, she allowed her opponent to nearly bear down on her. Locking her legs around the male's waist, she dug her claws into his chest, causing him to snarl. She deflected his wild hits before driving her elbows into the ground and rolling them over. Faster than her assailant, she landed several blows to his face, neck, and chest before he could successfully catch her wrists.


Imelda heard Amie's squeal and Aiden's howl. Niamh and Antonio's gunfire had either completely ceased or was temporarily paused. Struggling, she tried to bite down on her attacker's arm but he fixed his hold and snatched her throat, throwing her into the ground once more. With significant weight on pressing on her throat, Imelda gasped for air as she kicked her legs, gouging the male's side with her hind claws.


Free, she hacked and gulped air while rolling onto all fours. Scurrying away, she stumbled towards Niamh and her opponent, tackling the other werewolf as she moved defensively in front of the female cop. Glancing over her shoulder, Imelda surveyed Niamh's condition. Fully wolf, she couldn't speak. Huffing instead, she glanced from Niamh to Aiden to her original attacker. Maybe Aiden could finish what she started while she helped Niamh.


She trusted Antonio to take care of Amie.

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