1963-09-14 - Wolf Dreams
Summary: Something wicked this way comes from the wild paths of Asgard…
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
rogue hrimhari 

New York looks at its best in the crisp autumn when just a tinge of honeyed light warms the concrete and tall buildings, and the maples of Central Park turn red, bronze, and copper. This is not that hour. Rain spills down from the heavily leaden sky, intermittent showers rolling in languid curtains that pull back to reveal glistening tarmac and grim sideways. Trash swirls around in the gutters, carried off when the current builds enough strength to stir the chip bags or plastic debris off into the sewers where hungry alligators and goats feast on the trash. Central Park in all its vastness gleams a bit brighter, the pretty shine of a shower washing over the statues and dripping off the bridges.

Trees are not yet yellowed, and the paths slick without being terribly treacherous. Umbrellas blossom universally black in the morning, businesspeople streaming here and there, pedestrians directed to the furthest corners of the park rather than wander around the edges.

Deeper in the shadows, a young woman dances alone. Dances, as much as one can call it dancing, grappling with something that should never have been on this realm in the first place. Brutish and formed of rock or clay, at a distance, that horrific shape of a crude man swipes in swinging blows through a frosted circle of vegetation. The ruins of a morning practice that might be familiar in decades to come - someone performing yoga - lie scattered, and the young woman ducks a punch thrown at her, scrambling to get out of the way. It's deep enough in the park to be quiet and off the beaten path, probably why she chose that glade in the first place.

"Stop!" she snaps, barely evading a branch hurled at her head.


A wolf howls.

While not especially loud, the sound carries quite some distance, heard by anyone in Central Park — or perhaps driving past in the streets surrounding it. It cuts through the air like a knife, or arrow, seemingly aimed at someone — or something — in particular.

That 'something' notices.

The creature of clay and rock looks up sharply mid-battle. The distraction costs him what might have been a palpable hit against his adversary, and he replies with a roar of his own.

A streak of silver-gray flashes across the yoga-practitioner's view, cutting a path through the air that also intersects with the giant's arm. Teeth flash. Something snarls. A large wolf lands upon the ground, not far from the woman, his head lowered and teeth bared threateningly, his forepaws splayed and ears flat against his head.

"Begone," says the wolf in a rich, vaguely English voice. "This one is not for you."


That creature build of stone is not a mere construct, no escaped creation of a laboratory. It's a very, very distant son of Ymir; one of the lesser jotun, still eight feet tall, built with the strength of cinder blocks and rolling hills in the cliffs and aeries of Nifelheim.

The creature shrieks, mouth gaping open, blocky teeth ready to clash and crush. Balefire burns in deep-set grey eyes, a racial memory of hatred for wolves, for men, for the glorious brawlers in Valhalla who occasionally turn out in force to test their matchless vigor and deathless strength upon them.

Teeth break around that deep, hard skin that might be akin to chomping concrete and rebar. Muscles ripple underneath the skin and it twists, attempting to hurl the wolf away from itself. The meaty punch flung with skill proves this is no youthful giant but one at least attesting to combat prowess.

The redhead skids to the side, pulling chips of shattered wood from her hair. Bark flung down, she drops back into a somewhat telling position. Hands guard her midsection, her stance lowered as she balances her weight between both feet. This is proof, somewhat, of a skillful defense; as a combatant, it's a whole other can of worms.

Howling ringing in her ears, Scarlett breathes out a low, long breath. "What lovely teeth we have," she murmurs, then shares a grin that's pearl white teeth and unearthly green eyes. "I'll take you over that, fine wolf. He interrupted my meditation."


The silver wolf turns his head slightly toward the redheaded woman, giving her an appraising look after her compliment regarding his teeth. At the same time, he keeps an eye on the Jotun. "Interruptions are the least of its offenses, blood-crown-ed lady," says he, motioning toward her hair with a brief gesture of his muzzle.

The wolf turns back toward the Jotun and prepares himself for another leap at his adversary. "But they shall be the last," he adds.

Keeping low to the ground, the talking lupine circles the giant — and then leaps with the speed of a lightning bolt at its left knee. Light reflects off his claws as they slash. If the Jotun is lucky, this battle cost it only an arm and a leg — and no more.


The blood-crown‘ed one is far better a title than he knows, though her radiant gaze — a shade this side of surreal, altogether too familiar among other luminaries of the Asgardian Court — flash when the jotun throws a broad, craggy shadow over the pair of them. The clearing isn’t large, a lobe hacked into the overgrowth of the settled woodlands in the park. Hornbeam and maple mix freely over ferns and a carpet of grass that gives way to detritus, small paths cleaved through by irrepressible urban wanderers who don't believe paved routes are the only ones worth taking.

Her blanket is dirtied, tossed aside. Long strips of raw earth, pungent and wet, reveal where the jotun probably landed and skidded to a halt. A shattered glass bottle provides danger to bare feet, and the other scattered proof of a morning well enough spent pokes out from grass or under a broken log. Whatever stepped there was heavy; probably also the stone kin there.

The jotun circles slowly, all brute force and a hint of intellect beyond. It's not without reason the higher examples of his race have been taken to wife by so many Asgardian men in the past, though /he/ is hardly a stellar beauty. Not even in his mother's eyes, unless his mother was a glacial boulder. Light shines from the lupine claws, and the jotun gives a rattling, brutal howl that makes the ground shake and might well throw off two and four-legged individuals. A tremor that rises to a localized quake is rather severe, and the stone giant slams his fists down even as Hrimhari goes for his knee. If that blow hits, even glancing, then the strength is horrendous and its effect enough to rumble through the resonance in the ground. Bones shake, sinews ache, and it's the very worst kind of vibrations.

Do jotuns bleed? Well, sort of, but in this case, it's a gooey semi-liquid clay business pouring out, the essence of him remembering the ice and salt that bore Ymir.


Scarlett, for her part, knows the better part of getting involved in a battle with presumably superior combatants. She circles around the edge of the clearing, ducking behind a slim tree and returning back again. If Hrimhari's circling was clockwise, hers is then anticlockwise, winding around in tidy circles to counterbalance him. It's a simple flanking effort, but splitting a jotun's attention can be wise.


As the Jotun's blow descends upon him, the wolf's body twists sideways. It spares him the impact of the blow, but costs him the crippling damage he would have inflicted himself.

The Jotun's efforts do, however, connect with the ground. It causes a rumble to be felt through this clearing in Central Park and some small distance beyond. It swivels on the ball of its foot, attempting to track both the silver-furred wolf and blood-crowned woman… but given that it proves impossible to watch them both at the same time, it opts for the supposedly easier target:

She of the blood-red hair.

"Make haste, young one," the wolf says to Scarlett from the opposite side of the Jotun. "What this creature lacks in wit, it makes up for in tenacity. Flee, lest ye die."

In that moment, the Jotun reaches for one of the nearby trees — a younger tree, to be sure, but a formidable weapon all the same — and pulls it up by its roots.

Dirt and pebbles fly in all directions, much of it landing on the woman's ruined yoga mat and belongings.

Raising the tree above its head, the Jotun strikes at Scarlett… while the wolf behind it leaps for the back of the giant's neck…


Society has a different name for what she is, rather than what the next few years will call her ilk. Flower-children, hippies; that's not for another few seasons, at the very least. Bohemian, dreamer. Tree-hugger, that's still on the horizon, but nature lover is not.

Her eyes narrow when the jotun pulls out the tree, and Scarlett's expression cools into a wholly unimpressed mask. Roots and raw earth, torn leaves, all leave an unpleasant aftertaste, and she darts sideways with an ease of motion defying the fact her leggings are bound to be utterly dirty by the end of this.

"Alack! Too much to hope for the sweet strains of diplomacy," she says, the vaguely English accent of the belle's voice easily mistaken.

More notably, she wheels on the jotun and holds perfectly still, waiting for him to strike. That precious second or two renders her vulnerable, painstakingly.

Until she spits out an epithet in a language that sounds like fire, and strangely it's Old Norse, perfectly understandable to almost no one outside the other realms. But it amounts to an aspersion on the jotun's lineage, and hints he might be made of moss.

The giant lunges for her, a burst of energy, swinging that tree violently in a sweep meant to throw aside everything in its wake. Hrimhari might see an opening to the back of his calf, had a jotun an Achilles tendon, though he risks being caught up in branches. The rumbling still bounces the ground, trees shuddering in mute sympathy.

Redheads are fiery, this one apparently has a death wish. She drops beneath the tangled branches in a dizzying back bend, catching her fall to swivel on the ball of her foot to see if she can knock the thing off its feet.



As the redhead goes for the giant's legs, the tree-trunk whistles overhead, flinging dirt and leaves in all directions (some of which ends up down the back of Scarlett's clothes.

Insult to injury, that.

At the same time, the wolf collides with the Jotun's head, but in a perfectly controlled — indeed, graceful — manner. As fur strikes rock, the wolf's body shifts. Limbs extend, paws turn into hands, all in the space of a second and a half. A veritable wolfman wraps his grey-furred arms around the giant's head, his legs around the thing's arms, pinning them (or at least trying to).

Then it slashes with the talons upon each hand… at its eyes. The attack is vicious — brutal, even — and deep. Thrown off balance by Scarlett's assault, the Jotun topples backwards, unleashing a blood-curdling roar of anger and pain…


A lithe girl has no chance against an eight-hour tall statue. She might as well fight the David and hope to win. Though the weak point of the Michelangelo masterpiece is the ankle, and she might bring the most celebrated marble in the world crashing down, come to think…

A wolf ought not to, but a man wolf hybrid moves like quicksilver to deliver nature's wrath in a perfect fusion. Her eyes widen and if shock is apparent, she knows better than to stall in a fight. Her heel collides with the narrowing bones and predictably rebounds off, those the shift in posture gives her an ideal position to get out of the way. But her dress and leggings are horrifically assaulted, diaphanous skirt torn and dirt spattered.

Abominable. "Cur! Go back to your miserable tunnel, and…" There went the blanket, under a huge blocky body as the thing tumbles and its lifeblood flows to gnashing teeth and harrowing claws. No part of her own there, those wounds open up thanks to Hrimhari's sustained assault.

The thing bellows and howls, shaking them in its death throes and leaving a shallow crater puddled in the softened earth. It sinks down as its eyes dim, and those rough energies go surging back towards the realm from which they were born.


As the Jotun dies, and its body returns to the earth of which it was made — even if it wasn't the earth of 'Earth', so to speak — the wolfman crouches upon its chest. He brings his head so very close to the giant's face so as to watch the light fade from its ruined eyesockets, and then murmurs (just loud enough for Scarlett to hear):

"For my family."

Several moments later, the wolfman rises to his feet, his tail coiling about one of his legs, his clothes… nowhere to be seen. He rolls his shoulders, lifting his lupine head to the sky with his eyes closed… and softly hums.

His voice is a rich baritone, his melody simple and sorrowful, and his words in Old Norse — honouring the fallen. When the song is done, he turns his head regally to look upon Scarlett, and raises his chin.

"When told to flee, you stayed to fight. Yours is the soul of a warrior, blood-crowned one. Yours, too, is the gratitude of Hrimhari."

A pause.

"Have you a name?"


The jotun's dissolution leaves a pile of dirt, a fading cracking of boulders from his torso and arms, these crumbling even smaller when time wears on. It looks for the world like someone tried to landscape the semi wild loveliness of a spur of the planted trees of the park.

Scarlett glances around for signs of anyone approaching under the steady mizzle, though most of the wiser residents ran for cover or shuddered at the construction project. Sometimes they know to turn a blind eye.

So too, the beautiful chords cause her to still utterly, reduced to the observer and witness. Sentry, as it were, though she tips her head back as though to catch the last of the resonant notes. Old Norse is not her best language; she's a student of it, catching one word in four or five, straining to feel the familiar among the unknown. Her lips shape certain verbs, pinning down what she may. Such beauty may be for others, but she can reflect by offering a faint echo here or there, for a chorus she understands.

She yet hums when the wolf prince of Asgard turns to her. His lack of clothing causes not an arched eyebrow; again, bohemian, child of the wandervogel. It's a movement built upon the notion of natural. Though this might take the cake, and run a league or two past 'normal' for even them.

"Scarlett," she answers. "It would be wrong of me to permit you fight on my behalf against a jotun without lending what little assistance I might."

The choice of word is telling. At least it could seem such.

Then the slaying blow, the acknowledgment, comes clean. "I owe you a debt of thanks for dispatching that thing. Though please tell me it did not harm your kin?"


"I will not tell you," is the wolfman's somewhat cryptic reply, given in a flat, polite — if emotionless — tone of voice. Walking nimbly down from what remains of the Jotun, Hrimhari approaches Scarlett, his tail coiling upwards behind him. Eyes of iridescent gold study the young woman before the wolfman opens his mouth to speak again.

"A fitting name," says he with a nod of approval. Tilting his head to one side, his ears focused upon her, he asks: "This one is curious — whence came you, Scarlett? I had not expected to find one who is versed in the Old Tongue. Are you of this world, or nay?"


"You are entitled to your secrets, and forgive me if I asked to far." That offense done means none is taken, and the conciliatory position with her hands swept to her sides speaks to Scarlett's apology, as much as she vocally asks, "I apologize, did I do wrong against you." The slim gestures hold a very definite gravity, an awareness of the physical that comes with the nuanced application of athletic efforts.

Enough she can be trusted to kick out the feet of a jotun, at least /trying/. Whether or not she did entirely depends on the keenness of one's senses in combat, and determining with whatever difficulty whether she had any momentum in a moment that was already wild and mad enough.

The young woman nonetheless remains still, her chin lifted after the proper measure of apology is given. She isn't the sort to, presumably, cower. Her shoulders slip back, posture alert but easy, even as she considers this stranger, this unknown before her, and the ruin of her yoga blanket. "I am born of this realm. By your speech and your understanding, I hasten to call it Midgard and request whether I should grant you proper title and recognition." A slight smile touches her lips. "You speak too kind a word for me, though my words in Norse are but a child's babbling, yet."


The wolfman smiles.

"You are short an offense if you wish to exchange it for Hrimhari's forgiveness," says he, his timbre low, his tone gentle. "Think no more on it." He walks a few steps to the side so as to keep Scarlett in his line of sight, as well as the mass of earth that had once been a lesser Jotun.

"I am Hrimhari," he replies to her question. There is a moment's hesitation, and his left ear twitches visibly. "And I am of Asgard." As far as titles and terms of address, he says nothing — for now at least. However, the topic appears to trouble him, despite his efforts to conceal it.

He continues: "You seem to know something of it, which is gratifying." After that, Hrimhari turns his head a little to look at the ruined clearing. Bending down, he picks up one of the shredded and trampled items — possibly a yoga mat? — and sniffs at it curiously.

"What, prithee, is this for?"

And he sniffs at it again.


The redheaded huntress of fine fruits and souls tips her head.

"Then think no more upon it, for I am glad of the fair company. Though I am not truly a warrior's soul; I seek the path of peace and mending rather than causing harm." Such may be apparent in the way she engaged, by largely not engaging, a very useful tactician of playing as… bait. A lupine mind might recognize that immediately.

For surely a litany of other tells define her to one such as him; the neroli citrus scent under the definite scent of grass and a touch of perspiration, then the underlying effects of herbs and, if he has the capacity, magic. It's a powerful craft of venerated mysticism buried in her very blood at the moment, but its calibre blends illusion and shape-shifting to a degree. It may be recognized or not. The tattered state of her attire is given a survey as she looks at the torn butterfly wings and checks the damage of her nylons. That might be more dangerous than anything. "I profess welcome to you in this realm, if you mean well upon its people. I ought to wonder if you seek your princes." That might well treat too.

When he reaches for the mat, she turns to fetch up the broken glass of the bottle, a touch careless among the shards. Telling, too. "I was meditating. A practice to clear the mind by adopting… well, martial stances."


Both the wolfman's ears prick upwards at Scarlett's reply, particularly at her description of meditation with martial stances. "You see the eye of the storm then," says he nodding his head, his tail swaying from side to side a little. "Tranquillity in the midst of chaos is a most noble pursuit."

He glances down at the ground.

"Which makes the Jotun's intrusion all the more offensive," he admits.

Pacing over to a patch of grass, Hrimhari settles down on his haunches — not quite sitting, as such. It is more of a crouch. With one hand he touches the earth beneath his claws, while resting the fingertips of his other hand against his lips, thoughtfully.

Golden eyes gleam as they study the blood-crowned woman.

"There is something of the Seidr about you, young one," says he, his head tilted a little to the side. "I see it in and around you, the touch of the arcane, as firelight reflected in water. This one is pleased to have met you, milady in red."


"One strives to remain in the calm of the center, though it is a difficult task. Chaotic forces strive to stir up the people here, and I fail as often as succeed in attempting to calm the ungoverned passions setting many at cross-purposes."

A kindred spirit who understands the tranquil aspects of violence is a rare gem indeed.

"It came. It no longer remains. I fear for the state of the park and those enjoying it, and shall have to add another duty to a board fairly groaning with them." On the other hand, dancing on the cloud tops can no doubt wait. Something passes with the Asgardian and the soil, and she watches with veiled curiosity, knowing the better to peer too deeply.

"It should." A pause follows. "I sing, sometimes, to the Sisters." Only three of them, those weavers by the well, at the foot of Yggdrasil. "May they weave you a fair skein this day, my lord. As your path carries you through this place, tread light and the road rise to meet you."


Still crouching on the ground — one hand with fingers splayed pressed into the earth, the other hand upon his knee — Hrimhari seamlessly morphs back into the form of a large, silver-grey wolf. His golden eyes focus upon Scarlett and he raises his head in a regal manner.

"Hrimhari is honoured," says he, his voice low and resonant as the earth. "And the hunt beckons." Rising to all fours, he pads forward a few steps and halts.

"When you run, run with the wind. When you sleep, sleep with the earth. When you fight, fight with the sun. And when you sing, sing with the water. Breathe deep. Seek peace."

He intones the words as though reciting a formal benediction — something encompassing the elements, speaking of them as companions upon a journey. In English, some part of it may be lost in translation, but not enough for it to lose all meaning.

Having spoken, the silver pads away. He looks back over his shoulder, just once, and gives Scarlett a nod. This is one meeting he shall not forget.

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