1963-09-16 - Moonrunners
Summary: Domino runs afoul of some gamblers in Hell's Kitchen. Hrimhari scouts the city, getting to know its canine population. Little did they know these things would cause their paths to cross. Things buried deep rise to the surface, and cause ripples…
Related: None
Theme Song: "Who Let The Dogs Out"
hrimhari domino 


There's something about this armpit of a borough that Domino simply cannot escape… Maybe it's because she doesn't have a home proper. Or any money. Really, she just has a stash of stolen weapons tucked away for a rainy day. Finding a way to pay for everything has become her primary concern, while keeping a low profile where possible. Staying under the radar isn't so easy for her.

Maybe that's why she hides in places where the locals don't talk to non-locals. What happens in the Kitchen stays in the Kitchen.

Tonight she stuck around one of the bars until they closed, though for good reason. She spent the night playing darts and pool, having discovered that she's actually pretty darned good at them both. It's earned her some quick cash from bets, even drew a small crowd. She's got enough to last her the week, already. Great for her. Bad for those now contending with empty pockets.

That's why a couple of them are tailing her out on the dark city streets at one in the morning. Dark figures in semi-dark clothes, casting long shadows beneath the hazy yellow street lights as they pursue the lone albino.


It is not easy, being royalty.

The burdens and demands weigh down heavily upon those with that kind of authority, prompting them to 'go out among the common people' incognito. In the case of Hrimhari, Prince of Wolves, that is not quite what he is doing here, in Hell's Kitchen, this 'armpit of a borough'.

Strangely enough, this is where his people are — or as close to 'his people' as one can find in a city, without having to visit the local zoo. The prince is in wolf-form — not the terrible direwolf the size of a small horse, but the 'normal' silver-furred lupine, padding down streets and alleys.

Getting to know the city.

And its canine residents.

The conflicting scents in this place are… difficult. It is not just the smell of rubbish, sweat and who-knows-what else, but the magic of this place seems… wounded, to him. Catching an unfamiliar scent, the prince trots down an alley, and stops.


He smells malice.


The white-skinned lady knows better than to get herself cornered in an alley, though she's also either confident or foolish enough to still use the alleys for navigation. Unfortunately for her the two ornery thugs aren't working alone. They had enough common sense to split up their little crew and corner her not with walls but with anger. About halfway down one of these alleys the other two come around the corner and block her progress. Then the pair that are following her step in and block her retreat.

"Long way from home, Whitey!"

"Shoulda cheated in your own hood."

There aren't any weapons drawn yet. Four men against one woman, why would they need weapons? Their confidence can only be rivaled by their anger.

Domino's brisk walk gradually ceases, turning her back to the wall so she can regard the separate groups of men. "Look guys, I get that you're pissed about losing to a lady but you aren't going to find your egos stuck to the bottom of my shoes. Just go home."

"We -are- home," one snaps back. "You're the one don't belong here."

When the first punch is thrown it fails to strike the albino. Where she had been a moment earlier there's suddenly empty space. Space which is unexpectedly filled with the face of one of the attacker's buddies. There's a soft, mushy *crick!* as one guy breaks the nose of the other.

The wounded guy yelps out. The attacker simply blurts out "The hell?!"

Go figure, the smallest one here is also the quickest on her feet.


<The Two-Legs have strange ways of dealing with each other!>

<This lot are territorial — but it doesn't make any sense to this one. It's not the She's fault — the Hes didn't piss on anything. How is the She to know?>

<This one didn't think of that…>

No one but a telepath who can talk to animals is going to hear the banter that comes from a pair of dogs also watching the exchange. The exchange that just turned into a fight. One dog is a golden-furred labrador (older, wiser), while the other is a boistrous… poodle.

Standing beside them is the silver wolf, Hrimhari.

<Hush,> he commands, and returns his attention to the fight. The 'She' in question (i.e. Domino) fights with extraordinary grace, and does not immediately go for the kill. This, Hrimhari notes with approval. As for the two 'Hes'… their attacks, as well as their entire manner, is sloppy. The Prince turns to his 'subjects' and commands:

<Dodger, Mr. Pickles, harass the two Hes. Legs and hindquarters. Remind them… they dishonour their home…>

In a flash the two dogs charge Domino's attackers. Mr. Pickles goes for the ankles of one, while Dodger aims for the backside of the other… and the prince is pleased.


A couple of angry grown men in this part of town, likely drunk at that, are looking for blood. They should have been more specific in their wishes as the blood they're searching for..is not their own.

They're also not expecting to get attacked by a lab and a freaking -poodle.-

"What — OW! Git offa me, you stupid mutt!"

"Ty, look out!"

"Yaugh! My leg!"

Suddenly the only one left with any fight left in him is the guy with the broken nose. He's also not thinking clearly at all. As soon as he yells out and charges forth his world goes a little sideways and instead of rushing toward the woman he's suddenly rushing straight into a wall.


The broken nose, and the swearing which results, both get a whole lot worse as he stumbles back and falls to the ground, howling and clutching his face.

This leaves one left, still with his health and all of his various bits and pieces intact. With three quarters of his support suddenly in trouble he panics and draws an old snub-nosed .38 revolver, jabbing it right at the woman's head. Standing far enough away to be out of her reach.

Right as she turns to face the guy, pale blue eyes growing wide.

Then the hammer falls.


Domino's still standing. Staring down a misfire.


<Did you see me!? Did you see me?! This one bit him on the ankles! Just like the prince said!>

<Yes, you were seen,> the older dog replies, pawing at his nose. <This Two-Leg He tastes of unwashed rump and He-sweat all 'round his He-bits.>

<I know! I know!> Mr. Pickles exclaims, practically bouncing up and down. <Wonderful, isn't it?!>

While this exchange goes on, Domino ends up staring down the barrel of a gun. Hrimhari's ears prick forward and he stands stock-still for only a half a second.

In the other half of that second, the Prince of Wolves darts out from the corner and into the fray, crossing the distance in the blink of an eye… he lands on the chest of the gunman, pinning him to the ground. It takes the poor fellow a fair while to realise A) his gun didn't work, and B) something grey and furry just hit him like a… grey and furry truck.

"You are unharmed?" the wolf asks Domino, forgetting himself for moment. The gunman's eyes go wide when the animal speaks English, right before they roll back in his head and he passes out.

"Too many… beers…"


The man with the gun isn't the only one surprised that his Saturday Night Special didn't go -bang.- Domino's every bit as surprised. Maybe more, in fact! Because now she's got herself back up against the wall (never do that in a fight…) with a gun of her own in hand (she's gotten really good at keeping it hidden) and both the sights and her wild stare now focused on a downed man with a talking wolf standing on top of him.

"Oh no..not this again..no, no, no…" she mutters like some sort of personal mantra.

The woman that the wolf had just helped is suddenly looking even more worried than the other four, three of which are now limping and dragging themselves out of the alley with as much haste as they can summon forth.

"Jeeezus, did you see that?! Did you just see a talkin' dog?!"

The ghost lady should probably be in better spirits. Instead she's trying for a much more clumsy retreat of her own, sliding along the rough brick wall before she turns to start running, herself!

Yeah..sure, she smells of alcohol, but not -that- much. No drugs, either. Not even a little bit. She had made a point of keeping herself 'clear' enough to function tonight.


Too late, the Wolf Prince realises his mistake.

This is Midgard, not Asgard. Animals do not talk here — as a general rule. Among the Two-Legs. Humans, that is. Walking backwards several paces, the silver wolf waits for the thugs to leave, and orders Dodger and Mr. Pickles to make sure they leave.

"Hrimhari asks your forgiveness," the wolf says in slightly-accented English. His accent might be considered… European if it were not for the lupine shape of his mouth distorting his voice even more. "You are safe." As he speaks, he stands upright, and morphs into man.

A normal, everyday, human man. With silver hair.

And stark naked.

"They sought you harm, Moonrunner," he tells her with one hand lifted toward her. No doubt his moniker for her has something to do with her complexion, but that might not be all of it. "You fought well."


How do you make Domino, trained from the start of her life in how to be a weapon, completely forget that she happens to be holding a weapon?

Find a talking wolf that can shape-shift into a grown man and drop it in front of her.

The look in those pale eyes is one that any budding hacker would know well: Hard crash. This device is most definitely not recognized… She's starting to crack, and it isn't pretty.

"That's -enough,- Control! How am I supposed to get anything done when you keep fucking with the levels?! Kill the test, I'm not playing your game anymore!"

There's a sudden spike in her adrenalin, the addition of a cold sweat, tension flowing through her muscles with a shortness to her quickened breaths. Where the wolf had morphed from an animal to a man this pale woman is morphing from a person into something decidedly more feral.

Without any warning she turns the .32 caliber Mauser on herself, pressing the short barrel against her own temple. Her eyes are wild, looking for all intents like someone who is suffering from a seriously bad drug trip.

"Kill the test now or I'll kill it for you!"


This woman smells mad.

And not the angry kind.

And yet… she smells wounded. Scared.


It occurs to him, belatedly, that he shape-shifted into a (relatively) hairless, naked man, and so Hrimhari's form sprouts fur, his features taking on more lupine characteristics. He raises both his hands in a placating gesture, golden eyes twinkling with a profound understanding.

"Open your hands, Moonrunner," says he in tones soft and warm. "Open them and lo'…" to demonstrate he turns his grey-furred palms upwards. "The fear that you hold… is not there. Only what you imagine to see. Hrimhari is no agent of evil; this is no test — save that of the wits of a few vagabonds. Breathe the air, Moonrunner."

And he takes a deep breath, again demonstrating.

"Touch the earth.

And the prince crouches down to place one palm upon the ground. As he stands up again, he extends an arm toward the woman, as an invitation of sorts. "This moment is thine, and no one else's; let no one take it from you."


More shifting. Hair..-fur- growing where it shouldn't, in ways which it shouldn't. The angles of the face, the taper of the ears, the termination of the teeth…

The voice.

It's a hidden world full of secret triggers with this broken human. Where but a moment ago she was about to fall off of the deep end she's instead looking completely spellbound. Lost in a trance. Hypnotized.

When the wolfish man holds an arm toward her Domino responds in the only way she knows how to, an automatic response seemingly programmed into her. Slowly, she reaches her own hand out. Sets the pistol into Hrimhari's palm.

Her only physical link to her own twisted world. Abandoned and forgotten.

It may not have been the reaction he was looking for but it does serve its purpose. She stands down, though she's clearly not all there.

When she next speaks her voice has grown quite soft, asking "What do you want from me this time?"


As soon as the gun is placed in the Wolf Prince's hand, he lifts it curiously to his face, and sniffs at it. Immediately he reacts as though having sniffed ground pepper corns, and fights the urge to sneeze. But it is not quite the gunpowder in the bullets that has him reacting so.

It's the fear.

Hrimhari has no talent for psychometry; much of what he gleans from this firearm comes from observing Domino as she brandished it. In the end, a few moments later, his golden eyes find hers, and he lowers the gun to his side.

As soon as the gun is lowered, Hrimhari reaches for Domino's hand with his other, and says: "They pulled your fangs, clipped your claws and made you theirs… For all they have done, Moonrunner, you still have both once again. You will take back what they took from you."

He smiles.

"And you… will be whole once more." The prince takes a breath and adds, finally: "If you ever need me, seek me in the East Village. Call for Hrimhari, and Hrimhari will come."


During the investigation of her weapon, taken not two weeks ago from a drug dealer on the corner of the street in Greenwich, Domino remains riveted in place. No words, no motion beyond her breaths which now come slow and steady. She still has yet to look away from the wolfman, only blinking when necessary. As if she's awaiting her next command.

What she receives instead she almost doesn't know how to process.

Domino blinks, the motion firm. It's a reaction more akin to being mentally slapped across the face.

"What..?" she nearly whispers, suddenly..seeming confused.

(East Village. Hrimhari.)

Finally her expression relaxes somewhat, slowly looking down at her own hands as if expecting to find actual claws there in place of chipped fingernails. Something about the man's words continues to resonate within her mind, leaving her with so much to think about that she simply doesn't have any further response to give.

Safe, disarmed, she slowly turns to walk away from the strange figure and leave the alley as far behind as a distant memory.


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