Logs:Sharks and Shadows

From NOLA: The Game that Care Forgot
Jump to: navigation, search


Sharks and Shadows


Characters: Agatha, Axle, Lita, Emmet Fontenot (NPC), Saulot
Date: 2020-07-25
Summary: A few Uratha (and one wolf-blood) meet at a local dive-bar for drinks and snacks -- with a visit to the Shadow later in the night.
Disclaimers:

Trashking.png

It's not wall-to-wall werewolves. It's more wall-to-wall bikers, truckers, nomads, wanderers, and other people in denim and leather who like to drink cheap well liquors and domestic beers over bowls of pretzels and popcorn. But the place is owned by a wolf-blood and frequented by local Uratha, so it's cool. Nowhere near the French Quarter or other tourist riddled parts of the parish. For the sake of a name, we'll just call it Shark's Roadhouse. The music is a mix of blues rock and some ancient country, the likes of Cash and Willie Nelson.

It has a bar and a dozen or so tables, half the kind that are low down with chairs around them, half the kind that are high up with stools. Pinball machine. Three pool tables. Two dart boards. An ancient cigarette machine -- even if one is not allowed to smoke inside the bar. There's a smoker's patio out back.

Axle is in residence, at the moment, seated at a table with an older fellow with long, black and graying hair. One of the Reckless Crows, one Emmet Fontenot who is a wolf-blood and sergeant at arms of the motorcycle club face of the werewolf pack. Axle is, of course, one of the Fixers, who reside in Little Woods, right across the street from the levees of Lake Pontchartrain. At the moment she is dressed in a white tank top, button fly blue jeans, and a pair of black motorcycle boots. The place has good A/C, but they're also seated at a table under a ceiling fan, so the air is nice and frigid and delightful. A few beers on the table, as well as some half-eaten plates of nachos and french fries, jalapeno poppers and potato skins.

--

Sometimes werewolves need a drink. Sometimes they need to drink a lot. Which is how a very large blonde woman is entering the bar. Those with the nose for it can easily spot the werewolf walking in in rough and ripped jeans in black denim. Lightly tanned skin showing where the denim has been slashed. What looks like actual random slashes on her thighs and not just stylishly done during manufacturing. Still it's enough to show off more muscles here and there. An old AC/DC tee in much better repair hugging the other half while she keeps a black leather jacket under her arms as brown leather knee high hiking boots keep her feet away from treading on broken glass and sticky stale beer and matching the belt looped through her waistband.

With a free hand brushing hair away from her blue eyes, the Rahu woman fingerguns the bartender and orders herself a beer before she twists about to check the bar out and it's very interesting clientelle.

--

Well now! AC/DC's emblem is mirrored on the steel belt buckle that adorns an old brown leather belt worn to keep up Axle's jeans. Visible since she is leaning back on her chair -- at one of the lower down tables -- with her legs crossed in a mannish fashion; one ankle on the opposite knee. Apparently she is in the middle of telling a story to her companion, because she is talking -- quietly enough -- but gesticulating a lot with those creepy-long fingers of hers. The sentence ends and the two of them crack up into easy-going and beer-lubricated laughter.

She looks up and over as sunlight and humidity spill into the place, their table fairly close to the door -- though neither of them sits with their back to it. She watches Lita enter and looks her over -- and if the other woman looks in that direction, the offers a friendly nod and a white-toothed smile, still animated as the laughter of story-telling continues to die off.

--

The beer is served in a pint mug. And a hand in the front of those jeans pulls some spare cash to cover and tip the drink. Eyeing a cute mixed race girl talking and telling a tale. The blonde haired Lita hmms and decides to be friendly. A smile on her lightly freckled features as she grabs beer in hand and makes her way to the woman and wolfblooded biker with her. "Well hi there. Hope you don't mind a girl intruding. You guys looked like friendly people enough I should introduce myself. Lita, Lita Fox!" she offers with more of that creepy expression.

--

Emmet (NPC wolf-blood at the table) appears to be focused on his serving of nachos, which seems to involve mostly him picking all the tomatoes off of it with a dissatisfied grunt, setting them into a small mound of tomato bits on the side of his plate. He looks up as Lita approaches, sizing her up with a brief glance and glancing toward Axle.

The recent-and-former wolf-blood watches and listens to Lita introduce herself. She offers over one monkey-fingered paw in greeting, sitting up in her chair to make the offer. "Hey, mizz Fox. Sofia Williams-Smith. But people mostly call me Axle. Glad to meet you. Take a load off?" she offers. There're four empty chairs at the oblong table, so room for folks to join. And plenty of half-finished snacks (including the nachos, poppers, tater skins and fries) to go around.

Axle picks up a bottle from the table and tilts it back to finish the last swallow of what appears to be some kind of hard cider.

--

Happily, Lita claims one of the offered seats and with beer set down on the table first and the jacket folded and slug over the backrest with most of it hanging inward so it won't fall to the floor, the oversized woman sits herself down.

"Axle? Cool!" Lita beams with more smiles. Emmet gets plenty as well. "Damn I miss places like these. Gyms in NOLA can be just as bad as the bars. Too fancy and full of Belles pretending to be at a ball." she says and actually seems to look relaxed despite the amount of muscle flex that goes into just sitting and slumping a little.

--

Agatha head tell of a place with booze, and that was enough for him. That it had was for werewolves was only a bonus for the Elodoth. He's wearing a tanktop that reveals an artistic rendering of a howling wolf on his right bicep along with a few scars on his arms, blue jeans, and tennis shoes. He lifts his nose, scenting the air before moving on.

He stops when he spots the first person he recognizes, and gives Axel a two-fingered salute. "Hello there, Gears." Then his gaze moves to Lita. "Can't say I met you before, but good evening to you too. Y'all mind another?"

--

Emmet chimes in, "Emmet Fontenot. I think I seen you around somewhere," in Lita's direction, his beefy hand offered over in an attempt at a fist-bump. The leather cut he wears is adorned with a rampant black bird on the lapel, with 'Reckless' and 'Crow's above and below it. He goes back to picking tomato off the nachos on his plate, bitching, "Next time I'm going to say extra tomatoes instead of no tomatoes, and that way they'll leave'm off."

"Aww. Bitch, bitch, bitch," Axle coos at him, before grinning fiercely. "Help yourself to some eats, Foxy. Otherwise I get stuck carting them home. I swear every damn time we go out, everybody orders two or three plates of stuff and then gets called away like firemen and leaves all the food."

She trails off with a laugh, and then Agatha has entered, approached with his greeting. She perks up even more, although was already in a good mood. "Hey, it's the Agnosticator. Siddown, join the party. Imma pop over to the bar for another bottle. You want something, Aggro?" she offers, nicknames just flowing, but seemingly with no ill intent in her mind.

--

"Lita Fox! Hi!" The Rahu greets as Agatha makes his entrance. Axle earns another grin and an eyebrow raise. "Axle, Gears. Mechanic I'm guessing?" she queries with a suitably curious tone to her voice. Just faint Louisiana drawl in her voice. She does take a couple fries and takes a quick chomp. "I stopped fearing carbs a while back. Buuut sometimes you just get into the habit of missing out on them enough you don't even realise and it's just enough to learn to miss them when you do have some." she says and chuckles between bites and sips of her beer.

Emmet gets a nod. "I been up and down between here and Baton Rouge last few years. Moved to NOLA week or two back. Gas is expensive to be riding a bike back and forth an hour or so each way just for an hour or two of work. Figured easier and cheaper to just move. Can always haul ass back home for anything big. But at least now I can walk to wherever my clients want to meet. Then run their asses ragged." Blonde chicks on Japanese crotch rockets and not in bitch seats do tend to stand out.

--

"Agnosti-what now?" Agatha asks quizzically. He pulls up a chair, turns it around, and cops a squat without waiting another second. "Just some beer. As much as you can gimme. Maybe some moonshine, too." He looks over to Fontenet, head tilting briefly. "Nothing eat, though. Already went hunting earlier today." To Lita he offers a hand. "Hellraiser, Agathangelos Tucker, or whatever you wanna call me in between. At your service and all that jazz."

--

"You got it in one," Axle interjects to Lita, as the word mechanic is brought up. Grinning, she makes a one-handed finger-gun at Agatha and tells him, "Coming right up," before she quits her chair and heads over to the bar to order, fishing in her back pocket for a wallet. What appears to be a velcro wallet that advertises the New York Jets. Potentially someone else's wallet, in fact.

Emmet offers the same fist-bump over to Agatha, before he asks, "You a friend of Max Masson? I think I heard him mention your name. What you do for a living, Lita?" he also asks. And then proceeds to stuff way too many nacho chips and toppings into his mouth at one time. Masterfully so, since he somehow avoids getting any of it in his beard. He's even got enough couth to wipe his mouth with a napkin and chew with his mouth closed.

While Axle waits at the bar, a pitcher of beer is set down in front of her, along with a fresh mug, and then the bottle of cider she ordered. Paid up and with the items in tow, she heads back toward the table.

--

And Lita accepts the hand with an extra smile just like she did with fist bumps. "All my fun names are probably a bit hokey if I'm not in a fighting ring or on a hunt. But that's the downside of full moons and stepping over to the Farsil side. We gotta work harder to make up for the bad names." she admits with a self deprecating chuckle. "But Killa Lita only looks good on a tee when someone else is wearing it. And Spine Explosion sounds way better in first tongue than English. Definitely better than French or Spanish."

"For money, on paper. I take skinny white girls and anyone else that wants to get fit. Train them ragged and drill nutrition into them till they can stand on their own Karenthottery. Off the books. When people let me. I hit the fight rings and see what kinds of sounds people make when I squeeze in just the right manner." she explains.

--

Agatha's grip is light, and likely weaker than the Rahu's. He pulls it away, and leans back in his seat. When the fist from Emmet comes out he leans forward again to bump it in turn. "Max who? Only Max I know is Maximo, and he's just Maximo. Like Cher or Bono. The one word," the Elodoth remarks. A glance is shot Lita's way. "I don't know. I feel like Spine Explosion paints a damn good picture. Terrifying one at that."

--

"Nice. But what's wrong with skinny white girls?" Emmet jokes, pushing another portion of chips and cheese into his mouth after grinning at his own sexism. Wiping his hands on the already balled up napkin, he swallows and says, "I might have to come watch that some time. They take bets on it?" he asks.

The pitcher is put down on the table in front of Agatha's spot, along with the mug, before Axle returns to her seat with her cider. "Maximo? I love Maximo! Did you know his hair has its own national anthem?" she teases, taking a drink of her bottle, since the top was already removed by the bartender.

Emmet confirms, "Yeah, Maximo. Good dude. Glad to meet you... Aga.. thangelos. Sorry, that's a mouthful but I'll get used to it."

--

"Too squishy most of the time. Girl should have some meat on her bones." Lita points out with a grin, not so skinny a white girl. "Yeah, the seedier places always take bets. But they're learning to not place huge odds on the woman in the ring. Sexism can die fast hard when it costs folks money." she adds with a chuckle.

"It's also kinda getting difficult to hide the healing sometimes too. Hopefully there's more stuff up to our speeds down here on NOLA. But I'll take money from the monkeys. They're prey after all for me."

--

"Sparkles has a lotta things. Some of 'em I know, some of 'em I do. Dude is plain wild" Agatha lets out a chuckle to that and shakes his head. Lita's words draw a bit of silence from the usually talkative Elodoth. "I know and have heard some things if you're really cruisin' for a bruisin'. Not the small type of stuff, and stuff I can't quite bind or talk to. If you're interested, Backbreaker."

--

"What'd I miss?" Axle asks as she looks toward Emmet, as the subject of skinny girls and healing is at hand. Emmet replies, "Lita's a back-room pit fighter?" with a glance toward Ms. Fox for confirmation.

"Oh, cool! You should meet Stevie, our full-moon Fixer. She loves to beat people up," the curly-haired Ithaeur offers with a shit-eating grin, taking another pull off the bottle of hard cider. "We missed you at the Fixers' pig roast last weekend, Agatha," she tells the Elodoth. "I, uh, did the whole first presto change-o. Tried to take a hunk out of one of my people," she laments with a frown.

--

"I ain't gonna shy from a hunt." Lita states with a grin and a fingergun at Agatha. "You need a hand, I'm good to go. I'll give y'all my number." she states and adds another finger gun to Axle when she gets back.

"She does does she? Well it is how we say hello to each other. But sometimes it is better we tone it down. But I bet this Stevie of yours is cool like you." she points out with a sage nod. "Cub huh. That would explain all the spirits in town going buck wild. Hopefully your packs teaching you how we roll like a pro!"

--

"Can't say I would've been much help for a raging werewolf. I think Sparkles told me about it, though. The roast." He reaches over for a cup and the pitcher of beer. "But, what you said sounds about right. I bit a guy's arm off, and ran off with it for miles. Most I remember is something telling me to do it."

--

Emmet fishes into his little velcro waist holster for his awesome flip phone; he apparently isn't a technology minded fellow. "All right. I'll take some digits," he invites, waiting for Lita to either tell him the number or tell him off.

Axle grins over at him, shaking her head and glancing between Lita and Agatha. "I'm easing into things; just trying to get used to all the... background noise," she explains, gesturing with her hands, making little circles around her head with them. Spirits, voices, whispers, visions, all that good crescent moon jazz, is what she is most likely referring to. "I got lucky; the person I went after is like... a hedge witch supreme. She apparently talked me out of it. While 'Sparkles' and Ramsey -- he's another Fixer," she explains to Lita, before going on to finish by saying, "Were playing defense around me."

--

Lita grins at Emmet and reaches over and punches in the numbers on the biker's phone herself. And will probably do the same for the others when they're out.

Axle's first change is acknowledged with a look of commiseration. "Some people aren't so lucky when they change. Biting arms off..." and the muscled blonde looks to Agatha. "Is actually a soft outcome. Rough as that is. I got raised in the life and even being told about what it's like. Still don't prepare you for it. I ended up getting dogpiled till the frenzy wore me out. It's hard dealing with the possibility of hurting friends. But you can kinda zen your way through the worry. Helps if there's more than one full moon around. But not always. Yoga does a wonder though."

--

"I come from a super religious family, and for the longest got told all those spirits I was listening to and talking to were devils and demons. I still don't know why that spirit told me to rip off his arm. From what I could gather dude just worked at a gas station. I mean, he lived at least. Just, ya know, now he's got the one arm and a fucked up stump." After pouring himself a beer he sets the pitcher down for the others. He pops two fingers up behind his head with his left hand, smiling. "Thought my momma must've slept with the devil and I was going to hell for a good week and a half. I mean, I probably still might if that place is really a thing for even us, but not for that bit at least."

--

"Yeah. It was ... unexpected. I didn't think it could happen to someone my age. I mean, I'm only nineteen, but still. I mean, shouldn't it have happened when I got pubes?" Axle says with a laugh, probably attempting to shake off the melancholy of attacking one of her packmates. She reaches across the table to snatch one of the wedges of potato skin off a plate, dunking it in sour cream and cupping a hand under it while she munches it down. Only nineteen? She must use a good fake ID to have purchased the beer and cider just now.

"Shit, son, Hell is what we make for ourselves in this here life," Emmet wisely interjects to Agatha. Having said that, he excuses himself from the table by saying, "Be back in a few. Got to drain the main vein."

"Jesus, Em. You're so classy," Axle tells him.

--

"Sometimes either the spirit's an asshole. The monkey's an asshole, or probably possessed by an asshole spirit. But it's hard to ignore the compulsion to bite things off. Kuruth does weird things. You gotta kill something but sometimes they get away long enough you run out of steam." Lita reassures. "And yeah. We're balls deep in the South. Finding out that you're A, a werewolf, and B, you’re not the spawn of satan. It's a motherfucker of an eye opener. And really fucking common. So you might just have an edge in the next poor thing that can't reconcile the word a Jesus and Mother Luna in their ear." she says encouragingly.

"Axle's admission gets a smirk. "I was seventeen, twentyfive now. Known folks pop in their early twenties. But there is a limit whatever that is. What you're gonna find soon is that you're gonna need to flash ID, fake or real at a bar for a long while yet. You meet a wolf that looks old. They'll be even older."

--

Agatha shakes his head to Emmet's words, and as the other wolf departs he turns his attentions to the others. "As I've been told several times, I bring Hell with me and I happily wear the horns." To that Agatha flashes a toothy grin. "Some folks do it at sixteen. Some of 'em when they're older. Some of 'em younger. Mine was when I was about 22, give or take. Some folks might even change in their thirties or forties. Shit ain't an exact science. None of it really is, but you learn to love it."

--

Axle wolfs down another potato skin, brushing crumbs off her hands, pausing a moment to pick up a bit of bacon from the plate and add that to her mouth. She wipes her hands on the tops of her thighs, the last few crumbs displaced onto her jeans. "I miss Chicago sometimes, but I got to admit, New Orleans isn't half bad. I haven't met too many Jesus freaks, thankfully. But I could probably quote some good scripture for them. Grand mama insisted we do Sunday school."

Glancing to Agatha, she says, "Should I start calling you Old Scratch?"

--

Lita herself is mostly picking at things occasionally. Carnivore diets tends to make other foods not sit well in the long run. Beats what Vampire haves to put up with. "There's the occasional revival out and about between county limits but I'd avoid it. Lotta Anshega like to get under those tents. Preying on folks still adjusting. Fire Touched. Love them their zealots. Knew a Talon chick loved wrecking their shit up and down the river."

"Still plenty of churches free and clear for you though." the Rahu adds. "Don't ask me where though. I still gotta follow maps around this town."

--

"My folks are kinda like that. Damn near close to the people that do the snake stuff, but not all the way like that. Gathering out in the woods sometimes, going out in the water with whites on, and, man, you learn to wish some of the folks out there didn't." Agatha shivers, a memory he wish he didn't have. He reaches for his glass, and was lifting it to his lips. He stops himself from drinking, and looks at Axle over the rim of his glass. "Who's Scratch?"

--

Axle fishes a cheap pre-paid phone out of the back pocket of her jeans and offers it over to Lita, saying, "Here, before I forget. Put your number in." Thankfully she's still new enough to the werewolf game, still close enough to "human" that she is enjoying the potatoes and nachos and other items on the table, picking here and there at the food in between drinks of cider.

"Old Scratch... Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Debil," she teases, using a fake Bobby Boucher accent for the final name. Glancing back toward Lita, she says, "I left Chicago to get away from the pure. One of them sent someone after me."

--

Lita's number gets punched into Axle's phone and before she can hand it back, sends a test text so Lita has the return. Then with a grin for the darker skinned young woman, lifts the phone in the standard high angle pops a V for victory gesture with the other hand and blows a kiss into a selfie.

Then the phone is returned with a giggle.

"So did your pursuer lose the trail, get stomped by your pack. Or that still up in the air?" she asks with a more serious tone and expression for Axle.

"You know how much time I spent in college trying to kill that accent when I spoke?" it might be a faint southern drawl now at least. "Speaking four languages can really mess up your diction." there's a goofy eyeroll and shrug of her shoulders.

--

Agatha finishes off that first glass of beer while the others talk. He pulls the glass away with a happy sigh, and is already reaching for the pitcher for another drink. "Can say I understand pissing off some Pure, and having to deal with the fallout. Maybe some Forsaken, too, but it ain't so bad." He smiles and after pouring himself another glass he starts downing more beer.

--

Lita's selfie is glanced at and Axle laughs lightly, setting the phone down on the table. "Well, we uh..." Axle lowers her voice and murmurs, "We killed the cannibal dude. Dumped him in Lake Michigan. When I left to come here, Throat-Slicer was still running things." With a glance to Agatha, she says, "I wasn't even the one who pissed him off. It was my ex-boyfriend. But I figured the bastard would end up hurting my family to get to me if I stuck around. So we came down here and put together the pack. Well, we started to put together a pack and then we broke up and he jetted. And the Fixers were born," she adds, gesturing dramatically in the air with both hands. She glances toward the phone as it buzzes, saying, "Emmet says g'bye. He had to run to take care of some business."

--

"Hopefully Emmet behaves with my number." Lita says with a smirk. "And at least you got that problem off your chest. I kinda find having a boyfriend to be more hassle. Or girlfriends. Monogamy’s for humans." she states with a grin. "But you got a pack, sometimes that's all the closeness you need. Anything else is a bonus."

--

"Depends," Agatha comments when he sets the now empty glass down. "Had one try to chop my hand off, but I also may have deserve that. Another might've cursed me. I'm still not sure since I don't speak a lick of Spanish. I know one actually did curse me, and it took a week to set that right. All of those may've been my fault, I have to admit." He flashes a devilish grin, and relaxes back in his seat. "Can be fun, though, and even be a little happy to. Those happy moments make it worth the trouble if I gotta be honest with ya."

--

"He's mostly harmless," Axle reassures, when Lita mentions Emmet and his potential to wreak havoc with her phone number. "But if he gives you any shit, just tell me and I'll sic his sister on him." She glances toward Agatha and laughs merrily. "But yeah. Having a family is all I need... Are you talking about girlfriends or pure ones? It's hard to tell with details like that, dude," she says to Agatha, before draining the last mouthful of cider.

--

"Both. But you can at least date pack. Pure, not recommended." Lita says and finishes her beer. a few of those potato skins are snagged and eaten as well before the six foot blonde stands and pulls her jacket on and over her shoulders. "I should probably roll back home. You guys need muscle for anything, well extra muscle. Throw me a line and I'll reel it all in!" she says and makes her own way to the exit and punctuates it with the sound of a high winding motorcycle engine fading into the distance.

--

"Tried to date a Pure once, before I knew about all the bad blood. They were recruiting, for lack of a better word. I didn't think much of it until I almost got my-" Agatha stops, and clears his throat. Whatever the thought was leading to causes him to readjust himself in his seat and cross his legs. "Anyway, I guess you could say something like that. Romance and all that's fun with our lot, but always has that chance of going tits up. Part of the fun and all that."

--

After Lita says goodbye and Axle has sent her off with a long-fingered wave, she looks back toward Agatha as he speaks. Those serious brows furrow as she winces in sympathy at his story. "Yikes. Was it because of a break-up or is that how they recruit people?" she asks, unable to suppress the urge to wolfishly grin.

--

Agatha scoffs and shakes his head. "Wasn't so much a break as I politely passed since I don't much like losing out on what I became. I got the shit beat outta me, but nothing bruised other than my ego. It's when she caught me with somebody else not that long after I thought I got away did things get nasty. Nastier, really."

--

"I hate to disparage my gender, but got-damn, some women are fucking psychos," Axle muses. She starts to clean up the table, pushing food items from each of the plates onto one of them, to either finish it off, take it with her, or dispose of it. "That whole, 'if I can't have you, no one can' mentality is for the birds."

--

"I mean, men are too. It's all of us. Just gotta find the person that's your kinda psycho. Your own puzzle piece to fit. Or, ya know, the lot of ya can smash together when not bumping uglies." Another laugh from the Elodoth as he sets his arms behind his head. "Our kinda folks are kind a weird to date, but it can be as much fun as it can be Hell. Usually equal parts, but enjoyable all the same."

--

"God, you're a hopeless romantic," she says with another merry laugh, setting aside the plate of food after stacking up all the empty dishes. It's just another way of fidgeting, keeping her hands busy. Arranging and rearranging the empty bottles, too. "So, is 'Sparkles' seeing anyone?" Axle asks, trying to sound nonchalant about the question.

--

"Can't say. He doesn't dig into my shit, and I don't do the same for him. If we don't talk about it we don't know. It's part o' why he's about the only 'wolf I trust." He then pulls it out his phone, and starts tapping on the screen. "I can go ahead and ask him for ya. Wingman's just one of my many hats."

--

"Yeah, do that, and I'll bite your leg off," Axle retorts, grinning, shaking her head. "I was just curious. He's too pretty for me, anyway. A guy that good looking isn't for everyday use, just special occasions," she reasons, picking up one of the chips from the plate, breaking off small pieces to eat while they talk. "So. Did we trade specs? Last Saturday was a crescent moon... My father's an Iron Master. But I haven't taken any oaths."

--

"We regenerate," Agatha responds. "You gotta be using silver or get a bit more creature. Had one guy threaten to rip my heart out from the back and shove it right up my ass." He chuckles to that. "What do you mean trade specs?" he asks with a tilt of his head. "There really ain't any kinda oaths you take, not all the time. How and what you do to join a tribe is a person to person thing. For mine I set a building on fire with me in it to drive out this magath of drowned lies. I had to get rid of the spirit, and to push it out because it claimed this old asylum for its own. Whatever you do for initiation's probably up to to whoever's over it. Since it's Iron Master it'll have something to do with ya word or wits."

--

"Nice. I just hope they didn't want to like, use the building after the fire, huh?" A small smirk. "Specs. Your tribe, your moon," Axle explains, keeping her voice fairly quiet. Though the noise of the bar tends to drown out most conversations happening around, if one isn't screaming. She leans back in her chair, crossing her legs with one ankle on the opposite knee, crossing her arms over her stomach.

--

"Could be, can't say. I don't keep too much track on most folks. Not like most folks last I heard. I changed under the half moon, and I'm a Bone Shadow. That old spooky, deathly lot." Agatha takes his hands from behind his head to lift them up and throw some haunting in Axle's direction. "I focus more on the spirit side of things, like most of my tribe. Just not so big on meting out judgments unless I got to or to pay a price."

--

"I feel like I'm ignorant as shit. I need to learn how to do stuff all over again; practice and all that. But I'll get there," Axle muses. She perks back up. "Anyway. I don't think I know any other Shadows. Or if I do I don't know they're Shadows. But I'm all about the spirit side of things. You should come join us next time we throw a Siskur-Dah."

--

"I'll think about it. I don't much do the pack thing. Either too many chefs in the kitchen, too many distractions, or people not liking what I might do. Like, 'No, Hellraiser, you shouldn't eat that because you it's evil and weird.'" He scoffs and rolls his eyes. "Can't say I met any others from my tribe around here, though. Most of what I can teach is the weird kinda stuff. I spend about as much time with spirits as I do with the Herd. Ya know, regular folks. Honestly, learning it all's gonna be easy snice you got a pack and all that. People to answer all the questions, and help you with what they went through too."

--

"We're not like most packs; actually, I'm sure people make fun of us because we're a family of freaks and misfits," Axle says, shrugging off the negativity with a flick of her fingers. "But you're welcome if you want to come. Come, go, whatever. Especially if you ever need help or a safe place to chill short-term." She makes the offer, but doesn't belabor the point, merely motions to the bar and says, "I'm going to grab another drink. Just a pop this time. You need anything?"

--

"I've learned how important boltholes are, and already got a few in the city. Some better than others. One much better. Like I said, though. I'm used to being my own devil to come and go as I please. Lack of responsibilities and answering to a thing is freeing. Like being your own boss, but that part sucks for taxes." He grumbles under his breath. "It really sucks." The clouds over his head disappears after his gaze flits to the bar. "How about another pitcher of beer, and I'll down the rest of this one."

--

"It sounds lonely as hell," Axle points out, but there's no judgment in her tone, per se, and no pity. Lonely as hell for herself if she were living it? She pats the table with her fingertips and gets up to head to the bar, saying, "You got it. It's on Ralph," she adds with a grin, taking out that velcro wallet once more, and tucking it under her arm. She picks up the empty plates and a handful of the bottles to take to the bar with her.

--

Agatha takes the pitcher when she steps away, and no longer plays at pouring it into his glass. He just drinks it straight from the pitcher. Nothing impressive by the standards of the Uratha, but he downs it all quickly enough. Around the time Axle gets back she'll see an empty pitcher, and him wiping away at his mouth with the back of his hand.

--

"You'd fit right in with the Fixers," Axle comments as she returns to the table with the new pitcher, laughing lightly as she sets sit on the table. "Although Fee tends to drink the hard stuff." For some reason she looks a little sad around the eyes when she says that part, and she explains, "Seraphine, one of the pack; she just ran off to explore the world with her boyfriend. I worry about her."

--

Without a second thought Agatha reaches over for the pitcher, but doesn't start drinking again just yet. "I can't see how people do it. Having somebody tell 'em what to do. I can understand if you're connected at the hip, but even that's too much for me. I also ain't got it in me to be bossing anybody around. I'd rather fuck off and get drunk, or go diving for something new. I know I'm the weird one since most every other wolf's in a pack or looking for one."

--

"It takes work, like any family," Axle says, resuming her relaxed posture on her chair with legs crossed, holding the soda she retrieved from the bar and sipping at it, making a small face and setting it on the table. "Meh. Ever since last Saturday, Diet Coke tastes way different. It's one of my favorite things, damn it," she mutters. "Anyway! I don't think it's weird. I think the Fixers are definitely weird," she adds with a laugh.

--

Agatha drank while she spoke, and doesn't add his own two cents for once while taking down large gulps of the brew. He sets it down, and barks out a laugh after a few seconds. "Yeah, see, I hate my family. They think I ran off with a Satanic cult, and keep sending folks after me. Trying to deconvert me and shit like that. Had one guy come around and even try to do the kidnapping to deprogram me. That lasted all of four seconds before I got taller and lifted him off his feet by his throat."

--

"Okay, it takes work like any /normal/ family," she admits with a laugh. "But seriously, I'm talking like, the family you /make/, not the ones you're born with. At any rate... It sounds like they uh... Really care about you," she says, smirking and shaking her head. "Someone needs to beat the fuck out of them with a Bible."

--

"I love 'em," he admits, "Just at an arm's length. If they've even seen half of what I have or know what I do they'd die of shock. Especially my pops, but that's no biggy. I've gotten good at ducking them. I do call every now and again to let 'em know I'm alive." Agatha takes a swig from the pitcher after talking about family. A long swig until he's washed those thoughts away with alcohol. "What about you? You just do the mechanic thing for work, or it's a hobby?"

--

She listens with a gentle expression, picking up the soda once more and giving it another pull, forcing herself to finish it down since she apparently likes it too much. In spite of the new, unnatural chemical taste. At the question, she says, "Back home, it started out as a hobby, became a job while I was in school. Here it's both. Do what you love, and all that. I'm not sure how it will all pan out now. I mean, what happens if I piss off a car's spirit?" she asks with a wry grin.

--

"You do right by it. Speak to it, commune with it, make it happy. It's a lot easier to do that with spirits than it is people. Or you can command, bind, and banish it. Not every little thing'll have a spirit, or at least not one that's awake, though. I do enjoy speaking to the older ones, myself. They usually have a lot to teach, and probably know more than any wolf you'll ever meet too."

--

Axle scoots her chair closer to the table and rests her elbows on it. This turn in the discussion must intrigue her, because she is listening intently now and nodding along with what he is saying. "What's it like in the Shadow?" she asks. "I need to get there soon. I can feel a pull to be there," she adds.

--

Agatha takes the pitcher in hand, and lifts it to his lips. He starts guzzling down the beer, not coming up for air until he's swallowed the whole thing down. He then stands up, and pulls the hem of his tank top down. He curls a finger, beckoning Axle to come along. "No point talking about it. I got some business to take care of and you're welcome to come. Shouldn't be too far from where we're at."

--

She perks up when he rises and beckons for her to come with him, quite like a puppy dog being asked to play. Awoo? Axle pushes back her chair and stands up abruptly, fishing into her pocket for that wallet, taking out a ten dollar bill and dropping it on the table, before picking up her phone and putting both items away. "Dear Diary... Jackpot!" she jokes, rubbing her hands together.

--

Agatha starts walking, and out the door he goes. His hands go into his pockets, his gaze going to and fro as they walk. "Yeah, don't write any of this shit in a diary. Don't want the wrong kinda people looking into your shit." After that the mouth Elodoth goes quiet and keeps on moving. Turning in and out of alleyways as if running a maze.

--

"No worries, the only diary I ever kept as a kid was a list of all the exotics I saw on the street over time," Axle explains. As Agatha goes quiet, she follows suit, making no move to disrupt his train of thought. Eyes roam here, there, as he leads the way through the streets, mental notes made when she spies landmarks -- if there are any -- but otherwise seeming to be content with not quite knowing where they are or where they are going.

--

As they near it she can feel it. A swell of power and a connection to something powerful. It tickles at the back of her neck, a want to run in the lizard brain. Not to run away, but to give chase. To hunt. Agatha leads her to an abandoned house. A ramshackle thing that's only still standing because, like the rest of this neighborhood, it'll take more work to tear it down than it's currently worth.

The door's kicked down and dust is kicked up. Then, she can see it. The source of that pull tugging at her heartstrings, telling her she should be on four legs instead of two. "This is a Locus," the Elodoth comes to a pile of what looks like destitute and worthless crap tossed onto top of each other. She can taste its resonance. Obsolescence. Abandonment. Through that invisible pathway Agatha heads, a welcoming hand out for the cub before he departs for what lays on the other side.

--

The pull is felt and her hands feel it first and the most, those fingers aching to reach out and rip apart whatever space there is between this world and another. As a physical response she can be seen to curl and uncurl her fists, shaking her hands now and then as the two of them continue on the trek. Tongue moving over her lips, she stands back as the door is knocked in, and wisely moves to try to pick it up and put it back into position to block the portal left behind. Only then does she move over to join the Elodoth.

"I feel like my spine wants to burst out my back," she says with a fierce grin. Her pack guards its own Locus, but she doesn't mention it. It might be considered rude, bragging about wealth and all that. That hand is offered over and she reaches to take it readily, eyes looking from Agatha past him toward the direction they are heading.

--

Passing from one world to the other feels like an eternity as they fight against that equally thin and massive barrier that separates the two worlds. From the world of skin and bone do they find themselves in the ideal land, full of concept and life perverted. The builds hang high overhead, some of them reaching high enough as if to touch the clouds. Others lower still, small enough that no woman nor man could walk through their doors.

On the other side Agatha's brands are more plainly seen. The Elodoth appears wise, but not as Honorable as most expect of his ilk. He shakes himself, getting used to his own skin after the sensation of passing through the Border Marches. He adjusts the hem of his shirt again, a reflex. Then he drops down to all fours, that ancient form that'd scare a human shitless. A massive rufous wolf with black skin and bits of fur. He turns his lutescent gaze to Axle, and then motions off to the east. ~We go King Trash. Bargain.~ After that he takes off, his gait slow at first to allow the newly made Ithaeur to follow.

All the while, as they stood their she can see them. Most of them are small, or at least appear so in comparison to the Uratha. They're given a wide berth, out of respect and fear for the hunters. Some of them don't look too different than the skin world reflections. Nothing hear can be said to be human save a broken man that's hunched over, his gaze hidden by the light that never seems to touch his face. Despite his size he's rail thin, skin hanging off those seemingly frail bones.

--

The time passes and Axle pants once or twice out of frustration, not from exertion, muscles tense and tight and her hand gripping Agatha's as if terrified the two of them might become separated in the transition. When it ends and the new environment opens up to her senses, she looks up and around with an expression that shifts from moment to moment between awe, terror, wonderment, delight... The gamut.

As he moves down to transform, she steps back and looks around once more, a few small tics or twitches assaulting her. Perhaps still physically getting used to the differences between reality and the Hisil. And then there are the faces and creatures she sees. Eyes roaming, darting, coming back often to specific entities again and again.

It takes some time for her to follow suit and shift; it's still new. She's unsure and fighting what should come naturally. In the end it's a matter of drawing in a deep breath, sighing it back out, and letting it come -- before she's even dropped to all fours, so she kind of shifts and drops at the same time, cowering at first, running in a circle, looking at herself.

Agatha takes off and she realizes she has to get it together and follow after. ~I come.~

--

~Good,~ says the Elodoth, and then he's off. Those years of experience become evident in the way he moves. He is a hunter, and these are his hunting grounds. He's free to move as he sees fit with little to impede him save the skeletons of cars sitting around, and he darts around them with ease.

That same call reaches into the Ithaeur's heart. She's a shadowcaller. A binder. Ritualist. Most importantly she's a master of this realm. Her domain. her kingdom. She has her connections to the world of flesh and meat and skin. But the pull here is like finding a long lost love. A friend you haven't seen in decades until tonight.

The myriad ephemeral around study them as they move, even for those few seconds that they can be see. The attention of that peanut gallery is impossible to ignore with the heart of the witch's moon. They know what she is even if it's all new to her. Her Wisdom, however slight and freshly branded into her fur, is impossible to miss.

--

Where her human self is a mix of races, the wolf part of her takes after her father's form, a gray wolf with a mix of dull colors; black, gray, cream, white, brown. Little to distinguish her from others except for an x-ish scar on her neck where the tattoo on her human self lies in a similar position.

The place calls to her in a way she hasn't felt since the first time she saw a beautiful automobile. It's a struggle to continue to follow after the Elodoth and not give in to the pull to wander off. Phantom scents lure here as she moves, trails that demand to be followed and investigated. She pauses at one point with her ears pricked and her eyes gazing off into the distance.

She snapes out of it and runs to catch up with Agatha. The form is new to her and she runs at times like a gangling cub. Gamboling, romping. Tripping and then looking accusingly at the landscape that supposedly made her stumble, sniffing at it.

--

Not that much into their run and the clouds break. Seemingly literally. The rain begins pouring, the drumbeats of war. The sky combats the ground with millions of soldier that pelt the concrete, dying one after the other in a splash. Many of them do seem alive, minor things. Small and inconsequential. Seemingly dead and discorporated as quickly as they came about. Muthurum. Motes. Meager little specs of Essence barely alive enough to do anything beyond exist.

Some of them even crash upon the ur-wolves' pelts. Some cling on, seemingly along for the ride within the space between heartbeats before falling off to continue their flight to the ground. The larger ones can't be missed. They're few and far in between. Large as a head, but they don't splash when they land. They go about, life brought about by the storms above.

Despite the sea of grey above and the cascade of watery soldiers Luna shines through. Her light shining subtly, but not to be ignored. Like the pillar of attention on a stage, bathing the world below in her light, however faint. Perhaps this was another night fated for the Cub, Luna's gaze on her and all below her domain in askance observance. Despite how little attention that wanton goddess gives to each and every one of her children, however many there may be, it's as if the touch of a mother's love breaks through the clouds. A kind hand guiding along another of her many children.

Agatha isn't completely heartless. Mostly. He slows when she stumbles, but doesn't help her up. He simple waits for a few moments and then bounds off again. ~Faster,~ he barks out in First Tongue. ~Before Helios' rise. Not far.~ And it isn't. The stench of garbage is easy enough to pick up with her new nose well before they see anything beyond the homes, cars, and human presence so caught up in the current tumultuous times.

--

Those myriad birthed entities draw her attention now, and she shakes out her fur again and again, dislodging the passengers, paws gingerly placed as the motes land in their path, which slows her pace at times, especially as she runs with nose to the ground. She stops all at once when she catches sight of the moon. If she doesn't howl her heart feels like it will burst, so she gives in to the desire to call to the falcate form above them, singing out to it.

Faster. Hurry? She doesn't even want to stop looking at the moon, let alone continue onward. But she tears her eyes off Luna's sickle-shaped face and starts after Agatha once more. ~Smells bad!~ she communicates; an understatement.

--

An understatement to be sure. The rank odor is impossible to miss, and only grows stronger. A wafting stench that turns into a cornucopia of rancid filth. A trash site in the real world. A kingdom of stink on this side, and beyond repugnant. The reason their hear becomes apparent quickly enough. A giant pile of shit left behind.

Plastic bags, trash cans, appliances, toys, wrappers, still rotting food, and even a few body parts can be seen in there. Human body parts. At the top of it all sits one trashcan, larger than the others and wide enough to fit one of the wolves in their current forms.

Agatha steps up now, sporting blood red eyes and a pair of horns on his head. The gargantuan pile of trash shivers. A voice comes from it; loud, obnoxious, and chorus of vaguely human voices. ~Speak, halflings. Who comes to my court,~ rumbles the corpulent pile of garbage.

--

She sneezes several times, as if to clear her sinuses of the stench. Over time, she'll grow accustomed to it, but for now it's an almost painful thing, and she pauses to rub her snout with a paw, shaking her head and running a short distance back the way she came, before forcing herself to move back to rejoin the Elodoth. She shies away from Agatha when she spies the change, the horns, but remains in the vicinity, ears perking as she hears the manifold voice, head cocked as her attention remains in that direction, to watch the interaction.

--

~Hellraiser,~ he growls. He points his snout to Axle, and adds, ~She's new.~ There are no eyes to see. No central point to look upon and assume it's looking at anyone thing. However, its looming presence can be felt. A long, scrutinizing stare. ~Why are you halflings here?~ Agatha flashes his brands, they give off just a bit more light in challenge to the spirit. ~To find That Which Screams in Twilight.~

The spirit remains silent, but the trash rumbles and moves. ~Bring things of value. Wanted and loved. Needed. Destroy them and burn them in my name in the world of meat.~

--

She lowers her head and steps closer to the creature, nose touching at its perimeter, not quite at the pile of trash, eyes rolling to look up and over at it out of her peripheral vision, as if to suggest, 'I'm not looking at you. I'm just checking this place out.' Then she creeps back away and moves to stand near Agatha with her head up and ears swiveled in the direction of the legion of voices that come together to comprise the one dialogue.

~What your name?~ she asks, unable to suppress the curiosity any longer.

--

The place is chock full of trash of all kinds. Each and every bit of it reeks. Burns the nostrils. The kind of fiery smell to put some hair on chest. The spirit doesn't notice it, or at least doesn't appear to care too much. It does, however, send that stench her way, and that repulsive funk clings to her like her fur. She's gonna need multiple showers to get this stench off of her at this rate. ~The Crown in the Wastes,~ it responds. ~This is my land, halfling.~

--

Her head lowers out of respect; in fact, she mimics a sort of lupine curtsey by stretching out her front legs and laying her head down onto them with her rear end up in the end. ~Thank You Crown in the Wastes,~ she replies, hunkering back, moving back up to her feet and backing further away while stealing a glance at Agatha as if for a sign of what to do next.

--

The giant wolf that is Agatha chuffs, and lifts his snout. His gaze hasn't left the spirit. ~It'll be done by the next half moon.~ The Elodoth's eyes breaks away to look to the other werewolf, and he jerks his head to the side. ~Let's go,~ her growls and starts heading back the way they came.

--

With a tentative wag of her tail, the other wolf eagerly moves to join the larger, rufous furred creature -- quite ready to be quit of the stink of the place, in spite of her curiosity about this creature that the Elodoth brought her along to meet. Only once the two are well away from the site of the mountain of refuse does she ask, ~What you seek?~

--

Agatha shakes his head, and the horns disappear in an instant. His eyes return to their normal amber hue, and he keeps his gaze ahead as he moves. ~Information for information for more information. Knowledge. It's what I live for. What I hunt.~

--

~Delicious prey,~ is Axle's response to that. Once more she falls silent and continues the trek toward where the pair came into the Hisil -- relying on Agatha to guide them back, especially if the scent of their trail to the garbage mound has been thwarted or faded in the strange landscape. And once more her attention strays, but it's a little easier to avoid the temptation to wander off into the distance this time. Another time, though.