1963-11-03 - Call of the Wyld - Part I
Summary: With them both feeling the need to 'get out' and hunt something, the Prince of Wolves takes Scarlett to the unnamed Realm of the Horse-Lords (Hogun's people), where gut-wrenching devastation awaits them, and a fell mystery beckons…
Related: None
Theme Song: - "Braveheart"
hrimhari rogue 

Fade in…


The Call to a Hunt may come in many ways; it may take many shapes, but always it comes down to one simple thing — it speaks to a need deep inside oneself. That need may be for sustenance. It may be for closure — to see an evil finally put right — it may be to put fuel on the fires of emotion…




More often than not, the need fulfilled by answering a Call to a Hunt is something that defies description, something primal. The only thing that matters is that the Call is answered. This is what brings them here — Hrimhari, Prince of Wolves, and Scarlett, Lady Bloodcrown. They find themselves standing upon a hillock overlooking a valley. The stars above, hiding within a sky of deepest blue, are unlike any seen from Midgard.

For they are not on Midgard.

This Realm's name is never spoken, not even by its inhabitants. Some would recognise this rugged, wind-beaten land of plains, hills and unforgiving mountain-ranges as the home of Hogun the Grim and his people.

It is also home of the tyrant who laid waste to it: Mogul of the Mountain. The valley before Scarlett and Hrimhari used to have homes dotted through it: rustic-seeming huts and stables… now it is all ruins. The scent of magic — 'wrong-magic' — hangs heavily in the chilly air.

"This used to be one of the refuges of the horse-lords," Hrimhari explains to Scarlett; he is in wolf-form, sitting at her side. There are no other wolves around him, for now. "When this one's people alerted him to this… Hrimhari thought you should see it. The dangers here are not giants; they are Men, with magic and demons. …Nothing smells as it should."


It might surprise the Prince of Wolves to know Lady Bloodcrown inherently disavows violence. She dislikes the crunch of bone under her hands, the sensation of two bodies colliding with a fell purpose to maim and harm. He has encountered her in a martial capacity only, perhaps, for the banner of a realm she does not even claim by birth.
Certainly the realm does not claim her.

Not officially, anyways.

Yet here she stands in her silver and green Asgardian inspired leathers, a cloak flowing around her in ragged snaps and pulls. That happens to belong to Midgard, wool and sensible, dusted by the breath of the wind. Her fingers curl around her upper arms, fully gloved, giving no hint to the violence she can unleash.

That’s another thing. She would be considered woefully untrained in weapons, but martial arts are another matter. Someone ought to fix that.

“Demons,” she murmurs. “Actual demons, your highness, as in the denizens of Hell, or another term? I have read in the great library of Asgard about the structure of Yggdrasil, and I know what strange entities some of the realms claim. This would suggest someone called up the dead or trucked with another dimension entirely.”

Neither alternative seems to please her much, given her tone of voice. At least she has very few qualms about infernal entities. They, at least, deserve the justice the soul-thief can deliver in the Lord Protector’s name, if nothing else.


Hrimhari lifts his noble head to look up at Scarlett, then back to the devastation before them. Sitting down, he takes a breath. "The last time Farstrider — the Two-Leg milady knows as 'Hogun the Grim' — sought to retake his home from Mogul, Mogul had hordes of creatures at his command."

He pauses for a while.

"They smelled wrong. This one believes they came from another hunting ground — 'dimension', as milady says. They were… not kind. It is troubling to Hrimhari to behold similar magicks at work once again. No wolf has been able to identify who — or what — has done this."

And he looks back up at Scarlett again.

"None were spared. Not even the young. Shall we go down?"


“They harmed children?” Dangle a rare steak in front of a wolf for the same effect, honoring the keen sharpening of her eyes, the flattening of full lips into a white line. Scarlett bristles. “That can’t be allowed to stand.”

It might be the wolves forced to keep up with the stormy eyed redhead peering down at the foreign landscape laid out before her, a patchwork of harsh natural shades and shapes sculpted by the wind.

Her weight rocks back onto her heels, and she tips her head towards the ruined community. The wind retrieves her braids and toys with them, twisting the thin strands around one another in a serpentine tangle. She doesn’t bother with them, her hood high. “We cannot know what happened from up here. Lead on.”

An afterthought hits like an echo: “Do you intend to purge any hunters you discover?”


The Wolf-Prince nods his silver-head.

"They did worse than harm them," says he cryptically. It is not a thought on which he likes to dwell. Breaking into an easy lope, Hrimhari makes his way down the hillside to the ruined village. As a location, it is well-chosen; it has the mountains bordering it on one side — and paths leading upward — while horse-trails lead down by the river to the village itself. The river is running, although its water is now partly clogged by debris from the scorched buildings.

Hrimhari's paws crush charred wood beneath them, and he grimaces at the sound and the feel of it. The smoke rising from some of the huts is not the right colour; it is darker, almost a purplish hue, and the smell…

The smell is like chalk combined with acid and burnt flesh — and it is strong enough to affect human senses as well. Hrimhari paws at his nose, which only makes it worse.

As Scarlett follows, she will find similarly charred debris beneath her feet — and mostly just that. The closer she comes, the more of it appears. Oddly, there are few actual bodies. The stench of a dead horse off to the left assails her nostrils, and her foot comes down upon something that is neither wood nor stone.


It is a badly charred arm poking out from a fallen roof. Flesh that had once been fair, is now a purple and black pallor, its fingers closed tightly around something…


“Draugr?” The girl is too well read in some ways, steeping herself in the Eddas and the poetry passed down from long lost civilizations to understand one beyond their dimension. She is but a child in crude learnings, but Scarlett must make do the best she can.

Hrimhari and his escort moving urge her to do the same, keeping her pace long and easy. It will be some time before a four-legged Asgardian or Vanir wolf wears down her stamina, and she takes quiet comfort in the pleasure obtained from the simple act of roaming the woodlands. If only they were headed somewhere nice.

“Tell me about the people here. No threats or unexpected dangers, your highness, such as their penchant for brewing poisonous substances in clay pots they coated their arrows with? I should hate to see anyone driven to harm by the mere act of setting something aside.”

Her cloak swirls around her, not yet evidence for her leaving the ground. Surely that he has witnessed for himself on the hunt for the autumn equinox, scarce a month ago as humans reckon things. A lifetime ago, truly.

The survey of a massacred village is new to her. It isn’t one she fancies, though she starts to move among the debris and floats herself up slightly off the ground to avoid disrupting piles of what can be hoped are soot and cloth. Hopefully. Hope is in short supply here.

Gloves are effective when one has to poke at a gripping hand, clutching fingers. She nudges them with a look of sick distaste on her face.

“Norns, what have you woven?” Scarlett’s question is unhappy, truly.


Glancing down with golden eyes at the body lying by Scarlett's feet, the silver wolf pads over toward her, sniffing at the air. It is difficult; every scent in the devastation around them makes the prince want to dry-retch, and he continually shakes his head, pawing at his nose.

But he continues on.

Coming in close to the charred hand, he waits for Scarlett to nudge at the lifeless fingers until… a glint of metal can be seen. It is flat and round, and completely black — but not from char or soot — black, like obsidian. The prince morphs into wolf-man form and uses his hands to pry the fingers apart.

Then he holds the object out for Scarlett.

On one face it bears the raised symbol of a horn-ed skull inside a Norse helm. The opposing side is flat, but marked with runes in a circle. The wolf-prince rises to his feet. "'Twould appear milady is right," says he in a soft murmur, then he lets out a breath, and turns away from her.

"The Horse-Lords of this land embody the ideals of honour. Family. — without the pageantry this one finds in the Golden City of Asgard. They fight with bow, mace, scimitar and spear. Poisons are not their way. Garish displays of magic are not their way."

The slender, silver-furred wolfman stoops down to scoop up a handful of dirt and lets it sift through his clawed fingers. "Theirs is a simpler way of life. They are… as much like wolves as Two-Legs can be. They did not deserve this."

He turns back to look at Scarlett and the Black Coin.

"Why would such people hold onto the trinkets of the Restless Dead?"


“Invocation of help? Fear of being left as wandering shades, or being raised against their will after death? There is no honour in forced service. Those who died honourably in battle,” Scarlett glances to the smoking ruins around her, “would be claimed by the valkyrja, yes? The rest go to Hela’s kingdom, so perhaps there is reason they would want to seek protection.”

The other option spills into the void ahead of her speaking it, like the foul smell betraying a bloated body under collapsed thatch.

Her gaze flickers dimmer, the eldritch green stirred to a darker shade only in comparison. “Or the token marks who did this. Whose forces, at least, would strike. Simple people can seem an easy target. They also might hold something of value. A shrine with its treasure. A retired lord with a family heirloom. Or, perhaps, they wanted to draw attention.”

The prickles between her shoulder blades she rarely ignores, though they have not reached that peculiar sensation of a knife slipping between the ribs and teasing, point-first, up her nape. The finely honed awareness for danger does not yet shrill, but she strains her senses.

“I should see if others have it. You must be suffering, does my poor nose already rebel at the foul stench. I do not envy you, friend.” Her face softens for a moment, and then she holds out her cloak, still clasped around her throat. “Would putting this on help? I infuse it with citrus oils; those cut near everything.”

Though if a wolf vomits on her cloak, she’s making someone else clean it.



Hrimhari looks surprised at first — ears straight up, eyes wide — then he smiles and holds out a hand… palm outward. "This one… struggles with vestments at the best of times," says he fondly — he did appreciate being called 'friend', even if he already knew it — and then gives a light shake of his head.

"The nose of the Wolf-Prince has endured worse…this one thinks. Hrimhari shall endure again, but take with thee this one's gratitude nonetheless." His smile lingers a few moments longer, and then fades back to the grim tones caused by the situation at hand.

"If there had once been magic woven about the Black Coin, Hrimhari can no longer smell it," the prince adds as he steps a little closer to Scarlett. "Keep it with you," says he in solemn tones, referring to the coin. "We may yet need — ."

He does not get to finish the sentence.

A sound — so small that almost escapes even the prince's hearing — draws his attention sharply to one of the collapsed huts nearer to the northern border of the ruined settlement. "What — ?!" he exclaims as he bounds away, shifting into the wolf in a single leap. Another half an instant later, and he disappears inside a smoking hovel.

And it is at that moment, that the lifeless hand which had once clasped the mysterious obsidian coin in it… latches fiercely onto Scarlett's ankle.


Sometimes a girl forgets her own strength. The shock of a hand latching around her ankle catches Scarlett before her mind can follow, and the instinctive response manifests.

She raises her heavy boot and stamps down on the bone, full force. In her case, that’s no laughing matter. Even a strong Asgardian shield maid cannot match it.

Bone more than cracks. It shatters.

“Get off me!” she snarls, slamming her heel down hard and wrenching her other leg away with considerably more effort than she might ever need to use. Unless magically connected, the hand separates from the arm, torn away at the wrist, carried off where she can rip it away.

An infuriated Midgardner is probably not in the cards, much less one clenching her fists and looking entirely put out.

Now imagine how useful she might be if taught to properly fight. That said, she stamps across the wreckage of the village after the wolf prince.

“The dead are moving. Trust no corpse, and I will look for something serving as a stake.” Do they have shovels, in this realm? Pity if not, they should get them. She’ll take a spar, if nothing else.


The arm that Scarlett had crushed, continues to claw its way out of the rubble — despite its only being attached to a body by skin and muscle (the bone is utterly shattered). It dangles from the body that crawls out after it — an Asgardian male, one of Hogun's people, obviously, all charred and blackened from the unearthly fire. It reaches over to its ruined arm, and (without hesitation) tears it free — then it throws the still moving limb at the Lady Bloodcrown.

In other huts, the Restless Dead begin to stir — moving slowly at first, but that will not last. Walls fall in when even just a small bit of debris is disturbed by a moving corpse, sending up clouds of choking ash and the dark-purple soot.

The only small mercy in this resurgence of the Dead — or the Undead, rather — is that there are only a few of them. A handful. Most of the people who had lived here… are gone. While Scarlett goes searching for something wooden and sturdy to use — and there are tools around that are not entirely ruined by the black-fires — Hrimhari emerges from the hut at the back.

In wolf-man form.

Bearing a crying child — a living, crying child that appears to be no more than a year old, if it were of Midgard — in his arms. The babe is a girl, naked but for the soot covering her, and she screams at the impending doom threatened by the Undead upon them.

"Wood, or claw!" the prince calls to Scarlett as he reaches her side in blinding speed. "Or natural fire. Either will suffice, but milady speaks truly: we must fly!"

And as the Undead converge upon them, the Prince howls.


“I have unsporting advantage.” Scarlett’s fingertips splay wide as she reaches with the spar and takes careful aim at the approaching dead man, his shambolic walk giving her time to size him up. Cold does nothing to truly slow the dead, not under these circumstances.

Instead she pulls in a deep breath and for reasons all her own, ones she could not ever explain work, and hurls it full bore at the rotten chest.

Accuracy may want, but the spar is not exactly small, charred at one end. It flies true enough given the velocity behind it, the twist of Scarlett’s torso and the leading of her step suggestive, if a little, she’s flung a javelin before.

Or a vorpal umbrella through the eye of a stone giant. Amora can attest to it.

The undead ends up pinned at the pelvis and leg by the arc of the wood, and it can flail about all it likes. That great chunk of wood won’t let it free any time soon.

A swift look about confirms the influx of others, more of them. “Fire,” she murmurs, “always with fire.” Dark eyes flash a luminous auroral green, and she gestures. “The child. Take her for now, I can endure the flames better than it looks, silvered prince, unless you bid me be airborne with her now.”

Did Hrimhari not know she is the sky’s daughter before, he will now. She gives no hesitation there, twirling on her toes and running for one of the more intact homes of wood and thatch, perfectly serviceable. With her back to him, there can be little to no doubt of her purpose or its results.

Flame licks over the grasses, and sinks into the wood strake yanked out from the mass. It crunches as it burns, torn free, and she waits until the flames dance merrily before rising. Let the wolf children howl, beloved and fair. Let them seek revenge.

She, as a child of Midgard, turns to the oldest weapon of man to purge the blight. Let’s see if they can catch her on the wing.


"Bare your claws, Bloodcrown," Hrimhari encourages Scarlett — as one giving permission, knowing her reluctance to use violence. It is a stance he applauds… until the situation calls for claws, and naught else. Quickly he scoops up a partly-charred blanket and wraps the child securely in it — as if he had done this sort of thing countless times before.

Under fire.

Then, to put some distance between himself, his precious bundle and the oncoming undead, the prince lets go of the babe, morphs perfectly into his much larger wolf-form, and deftly catches the wrapped child in his mouth.

As strange — and dangerous — as it may seem, he bears the babe in his gaping maw with ease, nary a scratch upon her Oriental skin. Even her crying abates. As smoke fills the air along with more flames, the direwolf leaps over one lunging corpse, skids to a halt upon a broken wall, then leaps again. And again.

Try as they might, the Undead are unable to lay a hand upon the wolf, or the baby. All Hrimhari tries to do, is get the child away; true, he might have passed her to Scarlett, but for reasons he lacks the time to voice — he lets the Bohemian belle 'bare her claws'.

As the flames rise higher, Scarlett will find herself surrounded. Mangled hands grab at her, burning eyes glare at her. Undead already on fire mindlessly — or perhaps not-so-mindlessly — come at her with raking gestures and salivating mouths…

Hrimhari takes a run at a taller building, leaps onto it with ease — and then practically soars into the air… and out of the decimated village. The massive leap bears him toward the untainted grass outside the settlement, where he turns to see how Scarlett is faring…


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 99


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 97


Dancing among the burning corpses of Hogun’s people does not fill Scarlett with great joy. Some would exult in such odds… Hogun, for example. Fandral. Sif. Thor.

Alas, Scarlett of Midgard is not known for her paroxysms of violence. Truth will tell in the blood. Truth will tell in the moment of stress when they shamble and crawl and gallop towards her, a lone woman so veritably alive compared to them.

Life beckons.

A rampant shudder runs through the young woman facing them, circling, and she allows no opportunity to be hemmed in. Without consultation for her surroundings beyond the slightest glance, she darts airborne, opening up a distance that barely skims their head. Enough for her to effectively leap towards one of the buildings, hitting the dusty, dark ground at a full run. Already her calculations tell her what to seek: a wooden spar, another of them, or a metal pole of a certain length.

Not a pole. No, a spear. Fashioning such might not be a possibility, but she plunges into the wreckage and snatches at a fire-hardened lancet, thrusting her knee to the weakened underside of the structure to break it with a snap. Already the undead follow, undaunted in their pursuit of food. Some move faster and others slower, but she holds that staff as tall as she is, pointed downwards.

The first swipe is not heartening. Did Hrimhari expect her to unsheath her claws and show her teeth, he might worry greatly at this uneasy pup, barely blooded.

Her defensive posture sweeps aside one of the undead gracelessly. The zombie tumbles over simply due to the strength, but it allows three more to close within the exposed left flank to strike at her simultaneously. They practically bubble over one another, one snapping at her calf, another seizing her upper arm. Dead fingers grip her like iron around the arm. The third clambers above the second, flames bubbling along its rotten flesh and its bones, smoke acrid and sickening billowing in her face.

Something changes. More concretely, something breaks in the howling void of her mind, and the face-to-skull encounter awakens a torrent of memories bursting from the void.

What happens then scarce matters. War is ugly, a hideous business, and the skalds never capture concretely how disgusting its demands may be. The way she recoils with three of them upon her may never be spoken in poetic terms. Will they sing of the way she hurls herself to the ground with jarring force, slamming onto her shoulder and rolling, the momentum crushing the second of Hela’s foul creatures to the ground? Nay. None shall herald her reaching for the burning creature, how her own leathers seethe and smoulder with the same wrack, but her pale skin remains as untouched as cream.

The moment her pupils fade away in a wash of auroral fire, and the sly curve of her smile promises death, she leverages that terrible strength of hers to the arts of the gymnasia. She flies into a chokehold without mercy, the scuffling bringing down a wall of lifeless limbs and creaking bones upon her. For the nonce, the redhead vanishes below the deathless wave.

Flames and groans crackle together, a grim chorus accompanying that tide, and beneath she fights her way through with fists and elbows, eventually yanking a sword free from a rusted belt where the owner fell. It cleaves a breathing space perilously needed, but the neat, fierce strokes and the slam of her palm into vertebrae and ribs with precise force to break keeps that opening available to her. There is something of the whirlwind to it, executing turns that answer each opponent or several, bending and twisting with a nearly sensual tempo to some inner magic.

Not without consequence: she bleeds from a dozen superficial cuts, and her garments are burnt, torn, scored like a ragged banner of a siege to be raised from the pole. But inexorably, one by one, she tears them down with her own bared hands.

And the light of the gods seethes in her countenance, so terribly familiar. So terribly not.


"By the Dread-Wolf…"

From a place of (relative) safety outside the settlement, standing on a rock jutting out from the side of a hill, Hrimhari watches Scarlett — Lady Bloodcrown — embrace the warrior within her. He remains still in direwolf form, although he seldom manages to make it appear as terrible and foreboding as his father, Fenris.

The Dread-Wolf by whom he swears.

Hrimhari cannot seem to escape his inherent nobility, even when at his most terrifying… and it is something for which he is very grateful. Watching Scarlett, however, re-awaken something inside that is so very much alike to the 'Dread-Wolf' within himself… gives the Wolf-Prince pause.

<This one always knew why thou wert 'Blood-crown-ed' to his eyes,> he murmurs in the recesses of his mind. <Thou art truly more wolf than Two-Leg.> His eye turns toward the baby girl carried safely in his maw, and he remarks:

<Behold that which hath saved thee, little pup… that wolvehearted She hath paid a price for thy freedom. Thou art bought by blood and claw. This one wonders what it will mean…>

Hrimhari does not go to Scarlett's aid; she does not need it. Not in this moment, at the least. The Undead that remain are even now succumbing to the flames — flames that will purge their stain from this once-upon-a-time place of refuge.

And for the lady and the wolf… their journey is only just beginning.


Blood and gore leave her completely soaked and stained. They who descended upon her did not leave her unmarked. Far from it, those befouled fluids smear her shins to the knee, soot streaked over the charred leather finish of her scratched breastplate. Chain mesh comes out the better, resistant to broken fingernails and hooked fingers.

Scarlett leans hard against the discarded, broken staff, a thing used to sweep aside limbs and punch through bodies. It lost at least two feet of its length, forcing her to stoop over and catch her breath in a most undignified position. The truth is she still lives.

The jumble of limbs might move, but any encroaching on her earn a harsh crack of retort, her boot slammed into the centre of a hand and twisted back and forth until the fine bones crush into the flattened soil.

Give her several minutes to address this, and the immediate reaction is flight for the nearest water source. Sickness overtakes her, not the biliousness of a pregnant mother early in her term, but absolute illness of her stomach defying the stench and reality of what she has done.

Not so unfamiliar. Dignity doesn’t care as she retches until her stomach is completely emptied, and the shuddering pangs overtake her. Dignity gives no concern for the almost frantic wish to wash off the stiffening gore, at least to the point she can move and not think of the gobbets of fat or flesh belonging to once-peaceful villagers and captive souls.

Her hair is ragged, pulled from its braids, and still she carries that faint sense of battle-light about her, stolen from her own past and another shadowed source still whispering in parts of her mind formerly quiet. Sleep will not come easily tonight. But at least a child lived. One. Surely it’s enough.

Tell it to the dead. Her trudging march up to wolf and child is met with vastly haunted eyes still glittering an unearthly shade, fire and ice, face fair and shoulders tense. “Which way?”

The only question she can muster is uncommonly terse, a touch hoarse. But Hrimhari is still the wolf prince, in any form, and his lead shall this misbegotten scion of Midgard follow.



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