1963-10-06 - Undermining the Economy
Summary: The Wolf Prince feels the days a'changing… and is the best person to play dodgeball with.
Related: Wolf Dreams
Theme Song: David Bowie - Underground
rogue hrimhari 

Cold, wet, and stony: the autumn is settling in with a vengeance, perching like a harpy above the Big Apple and considering the best way to take a bite.

True, it's only cold by summer's standards. The temperature still hovers around 10'C, and yes, learn metric. Dampness coats the windowpanes and the cars parked in the streets of more populated areas, but out here m the county, even the grass is stippled by a trace of dew. Leaves bounce under a severe flogging of miserable rain, the sort that creeps into everything and between the fur. It isn't strong but it is steady, and even the puddles are weary and heavy.

Farmers till the fields at dawn, but the overcast skies keep them mostly confined to their barns and garages with other chores. It feels much earlier in the day than it truly is, thanks to the absence of light. It's here, then, where hedgerows crisped and rusted warn that October is coming and the birds gather on wires to mourn the absence of insects, that peace has broken away.

One of those weathered, handsome barns is collapsing in on itself, actively crashing to the ground. It's not one of the old wooden things on the landscape, left to molder, but instead staved in by some unknown force near the foundation. The roof groans and sags, a large spike of wood drunkenly leaning towards the horizon. Then a huge tire goes bouncing past, followed by a spray of oil and metal innards of a tractor flung or jettisoned some distance. The lack of smoke and fire would prohibit the probability of an explosion.


The Prince of Wolves is… troubled.

<This one had hoped to spare himself trouble with Jotuns by this… sabbatical in Midgard,> he informs the two wolves — Asgardian wolves — flanking him. All three of them sit upon their haunches, observing the destruction of the barn with grim expressions on their lupine faces — ears directed forward, tails unmoving, fur rippling.

The silver wolf in the centre — the Prince himself — lifts his head and glowers at the barn (or what is left of it). <The Two-Legs of Ice and Clay have made their intentions clear,> says he to his honorguard.

<For the Two-Leg Mortals' sakes…>


Another sound of tearing and crunching reaches an unearthly pitch and three more tires go flying out in opposite directions. The bouncing wheel headed south lands in a skid past the unharvested corn. Another small rubber tire goes flying like a discus, wet in the rain, landing off in a depression probably serving as a lake after a few more weeks of rain like this. Then there's the biggest tire, the partner to the first, that comes churning up the dirt towards a cabal of wolves.

Unless the occupants can see through wood, they probably never intended to launch their battle that way.

Another few seconds and the strake holding up the roof collapses, wood snapping, shearing off a whole floor like a wedding cake dumped by a butter fingered servant. Slews of forgotten tools, old moldy wheat, and burlap sacks spill out, and the wall bulges outwards, snapping in the middle, a crash that resounds almost to the horizon.

Or near enough. Lights come on in a farmhouse up the way, distant enough the occupants can't help to know what exactly happens yet. They can shout colourfully and no one will hear the little silhouette peering in vain down at the remnants of his new barn. Unaware, too, that a ladder javelins into the ground. Dust and grit clots the air in a thick cloud, giving cover.


The wolves disperse.

With military precision, and yet natural grace, the two guardwolves dart to the sides, while the Prince, leaps straight for the large tyre flying towards them. Hrimhari catches it in his jaws, twists, and uses the object's own momentum to hurl it back at the destroyed barn…

And the creature(s) causing the destruction.

<Mind the Two-Legs,> he commands the wolf to his left, nearest the farmhouse. <They will not smell you as an ally.>

<This one thinks they stink of fear,> the other wolf retorts — a female — her attack slowing to get a closer look at the threat before them. <They stink of prey.>

<So they do,> Hrimhari replies with a low sigh. <But not yours, nor the Jotuns.> And he quickens his pace to dart at the barn.


It's a fullsize tractor tire, and moves ponderously over the rutted earth, slowed in part by the tillage and the muck churned up in destruction. But roll it does, eventually colliding with the collapsed barn. The basso collision of an elephant and a falling ice sheet produces a strange, deep noise that tears at the innards.

Impacts that strong take what little structural integrity remains and hurls it aside. Bouncing stones and crushed wooden shingles rain down, and then they too are mixed and tossed with the soil.

Immediately the Prince might notice the wrongness of the formation. It should lie flat on the ground, in a jumbled heap, but instead the middle is falling in further.

Second, to the noses of the wolves, the air is thick with dust, wood, and not a great deal more to betray living animals in the area. No, this is a stranger concoction: rent soil, crushed stones. The world lacks ice or fire, narrowing down possibilities.

No obvious entrance welcomes them because the heap of material is no longer in a cohesive form. Though the shifting state of things creates what look like… Maelstroms. Twisting bores that churn purely with solid matter, winding down.


<Back away!> The prince hisses.

The two guardwolves obey without question. Slowly, very slowly, the trio advance upon the apparent sinkhole where the barn used to be. The wolf to the right of the prince swivels an ear toward him.

<Are there beasts of Midgard capable of molesting rock and soil in this manner, Sire?>

Hrimhari snorts.

<There are…> says he, carefully. <But none would have cause for such an attack as this. This… is something else. Something…> He snorts again. How the air, clogged with dust and debris, assaults his nostrils. A snarl escapes his lupine lips, making them quiver.

<Jotuns.> Not of ice. Of earth.

<Orders, sire?> the female wolf inquires, already leaning forward with her head bowed, ears flattened against her head. <How can we fight the earth itself? …if they do not show themselves.>

<We cannot,> the prince replies with reluctance, and he starts backing away, his golden eyes glaring anger and death at the sinkhole. <Return by the Paths-Wyld, Thorn-in-Paw,> he tells the she-wolf. <Inform the remaining packs…>

He hesitates.

<Inform the remaining packs… their Prince summons them to Midgard. …This one will not suffer another loss of a mortal warrior, like Mr. Pickles.>

Never again.

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