1965-06-16 - Beasts
Summary: The danger just keeps escalating.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
halgrim amber keith kai 

It's dangerous, going out alone at night, through the park. Even with the zombies taken care of, there are all sorts of ne'er do wells about. And Kai? Kai's a diminutive fellow who doesn't even try to come across as a manly man. His feyness plus the fact he scans as prey to those of a predatory nature means he's a walking target. All the time. It must get old after awhile.

Sure enough, a half-dozen rough-looking fellows have him semi-surrounded with a tree to his back. They're bigger than he is. They're armed (one with brass knuckles, three with knives, one with a baseball bat, and the other with a pistol) and they loom over him. Their voices are grabled as they threaten him, but the homophobic slurs come out clearly enough. Kai yawns.

"Heh, gotta love a man who doesn't know when to quit.", Amber purrs to herself as she makes her way through the park towards the nearest bus stop. "He shoulda folded right after the flop.", she chuckles.
And then she spots Kai. "Uh-oh…this doesn't look promisin'.", she notes, veering in the toughies' direction.

Keith spends a lot of time alone in the park at night. His ability to be invisible and to see in the dark mean that he an avoid bumping into people, and they can't see him.

In this particular night, he is taking a stroll and trying to put his thoughts together, trying to figure out his life, hisplace in the universe, what to make for dinner- the uual, when his ears twitch.

He approaches the source of the voices and frowns, coming upon what is obviously some sort of ambush. And the little guy doesn't seem to grasp the danger he is in.

He thinks for a few seconds, and his illusion magic conjures up a sound, coming from somewhere past the trees. It is a growl- the deep, reverberating sound of a predator, coming from the darkness.

Keith waits to see what the reaction is, and see if it distracts the thugs enough to give the little guy the ability to sprint away.

"I'm sorry," says the pistol-holding tough, sneering, "are we boring you, sissy?" He hasn't pointed the gun at Kai yet, but it's there in his hand, an ever present threat. Kai glances at it with detached calculation. From a distance, he's bullet-proof. Up close? Nyeh, that pistol looks awfully small.

The growl, though, that gets Kai's attention. His quick gaze darts into the darkness, cutting through it like it were no more dim than a hazy twilight. His attention is only drawn away from Keith's direction when he's shoved by one of the knife-having thugs.

The leader, the guy with the gun, he looks out into the darkness as well, but he sees nothing. "Did you guys hear that?" For a moment, they look wary, but then they start laughing, like they've got to prove how badass they are.

That growl definitely gets Amber's attention, for sure. Which gives her an idea. Probably not a good idea, but an idea. Rattled thugs, she finds, are often easily bluffed.
"'Scuse my interruption, gen'lmen.", she calls, approaching the group calmly. "But what in th' thunder d'y'all think yer playin' it? Boy's a friend 'a mine. Prolly f' th' best y'all leave him alone."

A second person enters the scene now, and things are a little more complicated. The woman in the Stetson hat comes across as someone dripping with confidence. His main concern, however, is the man with the gun.

He needed to do something about that.

All of a sudden, there is another growl- this one has all of the primal qualities of some ancestral nightmare, deep and resonant. Keith aimed that growl to come from a different angle, one that would allow him to do something without, hopefully being noticed.

He times the growl to come just a moment before he tries to open a Rabbit Hole under the feet of the man holding the gun. If everything goes well, it will look as if the man is there one moment and then, after the distraction, gone. Keith isn't terribly particular as to where the Rabbit Hole leads- he's visualized one of the deserted islands in the Caribbean that he often uses to spend time alone. If this goes as planned, the mob will be missing its gunslinger, and then some actual work can be done towards neutralizing the situation…

Kai glances over at Amber and smiles brightly. "Hullo," he says.

"Hey, I'm talking to you!" This from the knifey thug who shoved Kai a moment ago. Then there's that growl again, and the leader is gone. He just disappears. The thugs look around. "What the—?"

Kai stares. Knifey shoves him again. "What did you do!?" Kai breaks his hand. He just grabs his wrist and twists, and the guy screams.

"Shh!" Kai says, then calls out into the darkness, "Who's there?"

"The hell was /that/?", Amber replies, the thugs and their leader's sudden disappearance put instantly on the back burner. "Y' best come on out right now, ya here?", she calls sharply into the darkness. "Don't make go lightin' stuff up."

Another growl comes now, and this one has a different character from the first: a higher pitched edge woven in the deep canine base, like two different animals are making the sound in unison. It's coming from an entirely different direction as well, somewhere behind a bulky stand of rhodedenrons. The keener-eyed can pick out a pair of baleful, yellow and red glints moving between the leaves, getting larger all the time, to the crunch and crack of dry plants under something large and heavy that's entirely unconcerned with stealth.

Vorpal's hackles rise, and his eyes grow wide. He knows what -his- growl sounded like, and it didn't sound anything at all like -that-. Heavens, what i there /was/ a creature a-bump in the night, and his sound effects had just attracted it? Good job! (he thinks to himself), you've just put everybody in danger.

He needs to rectify the situation somehow- but seeing the little guy breaking the other man's wrist as if it had been a twig, he pauses a moment to ponder. Clearly things were not as they seemed.

For someone like him, it is easy to climb one of the trees. This he does with agility and speed propert to his feline condition, and with silence to match. From one of the higher branches, he seeks to gain purchase and a good vantage spot from where he may be able to spot what kind of beast has those glowing eyes by virtue of his night-sight.

To be fair, the be-gunned thug who finds himself on a deserted island, though very confused, is perfectly safe. The other five thugs, not so much. One is on his knees, gripping his broken hand and screaming. The other four are looking around at the growling. What the hell is going on!?

Kai's attention darts to the growling as well. He heads for Amber, or starts to. The guy with the baseball bat tries to block him. Kai shoves him, and he flies a good ten feet before biffing face-first on the ground. It doesn't make sense. Someone his size should not be that strong. "Amber, get behind me," Kai says.

"Bullshit, Kai, you get behind me!", Amber replies. "'Less you wanna be a Roman candle!", she notes.
Speaking of pyrotechnics, this whole snarly-skulky thing's been fun, but not real fun, and not much of, besides. Amber takes a deep breath and peers intently at the aforementioned rhotodendrons. A heartbeat later, her eyes flash RED, and the flowers burst into flames.

'Beast' is, in fact, the only proper word to decide what's moving in between the bushes. From where he's looking, Vorpal can see it quite clearly, though what he's beholding is less obvious. The creature is an amalgamation of things: a large wolf-beast, not unlike the classic wolf-man hybrid stories speak of, but easily ten feet long, with bronzey pearlescent scales glimmering under its ash gray fur, huge ram's horns curling back from its forehead, and a large mantle of oily black feathers. Its huge claws and sharp teeth, visible as it makes that metallic growling noise, have a faint, metallic shine to them. It's moving a little awkwardly, given its limbs aren't entirely the right length for stalking, but awkwardness means next to nothing when those claws and teeth are in range.

The growl rises to a bellowing roar, the kind of sound nightmares are made of, and the creature bursts through the flaming bushes. They rip apart as it moves, weakened by the burning (not that they would have made a formidible barrier against this thing *before* Amber set them on fire). It heads straight for the one separated from the rest: baseball-bat wielder.

From the sheer size of that monster, it was clear that it could tear anyone to pieces with little effort.

"Fu-" for a moment, he is stricken with fear to the very core of his being. The part of him that was human and mortal reacted as any would have in the presence of such a terror, but the part of him that had, at one point, been anything but mortal keeps him pinned in place, keeping him from running.

The guy may be a thug, but in his heart of hearts Keith knows he can't let the dude get shredded by some horror beast out of the world of nightmares. Situations like these didn't call for cowardice- they called for a contingency plan.

Vorpal leaps off the branch and finds himself at ground level by virtue of a Rabbit Hole, landing in front of the fallen bat-wielder.

"Get the $#@ out!" the Cheshire cat calls as he breaks into a run, heading to meet the terrifying Beast.5r
He is banking on his reflees and preternatural agility- to try to leap over the charging beast's head, and off its body in the opposite direction, so that the monster may chase him and give the others time to escape.

Is he afraid? Absolutely terrified. He's also, at this point ninety-nine percent adrenaline. Maybe more.

The baseball bat thug, scrambles to sit up, his eyes widen. There's a beast bearing down on him! He screams, high-pitched and terrified. Then Keith jumps in front of him, and he doesn't have to be told twice. He gets to his feet and bolts into the darkness, leaving his baseball bat behind.

Kai steps back and gives Amber some space as things start catching fire. Kai says, "We have to protect these idiots." Sure, they were going to try to victimize him tonight, but they're just stupid humans!

That leaves three thugs left. Two of them are dragging the one with the broken hand to his feet. Yeah, they're tapping out.

Terrified, Amber? No, not yet. She's too damned /angry/ right now to be terrified. The beast makes the mistake of revealing itself, along with all of that lovely, lovely, oh-so flammable fur…
"That tears it!", Amber growls, and fixing her gaze upon it, her eyes flash RED again. Oh, this is going to raise a hell of a stink…..

When Vorpal lands in its path, the beast's interest cuts to him. The baseball thug might as well no longer be there, and his bid for freedom goes uncontested. As Vorpal vaults over its head the creature turns, twisting like a reptile and trying to bring its weight around. Its moving too fast, though, and is just too heavy, and its jaws miss their mark entirely, though Vorpal can surely feel its breath on him. It slides to a halt, half-turned, and it was probably going to continue the chase—except now its fur is…on fire. It growls and thrashes for a moment, and then flops on its side, rolling itself to smother the flames. And oh yes, does it smell. The scales under its fur, easier to see now, are unscorched.

Vorpal lands and quickly crouches, turning around to see if the jaws of death are coming for him- but fortunately Amber has saved his tail by giving the wolf-demon a bad case of hotfoot.

He reaches for a rock to grab, and when he finds something with enough heft, he throws it with all of his might towards the beast's head. And then he turns tail and begins to run the nearest tree, to entice the monster to chase him again while the others flee.

Could this creature climb? Vorpal was going to find out.

"Wait!" Kai says. When the beast rolls to put itself out, he tries to put himself between it and Amber. "It's intelligent. Don't be too quick to be a murderer." He's keeping an eye on the beast, though. Mindless things usually run around when they catch fire instead of having the presence of mind to put themselves out. Don't ask him how he knows that.

"Who are you?" the Elf asks the beast. Hopeful, but also ready to beat feet if needs must.

Oh for crying out /loud/! Of /course/ Kai's gonna turn sentimental now this…whatever is on the ropes.
"His name's /Bar'b'que!/.", Amber growls, stepping forward with every visible intention of applying the all-important sear.

The rock bounces solidly off the beast's head, but it just growls about that, an insult added to injury. What it wants, is the source of its injury, and that's not Vorpal. Smoking and smelling god-awful, it climbs to its feet, those hateful yellow eyes darting between the path the fleeing hooligans took, and Amber and Kai.

When Kai starts speaking, it looks straight at him, ears up. It listens, intent on his words, and in response stands up full, impossibly tall and more than a little ugly with its burned fur and feathers. Now that it's not barrelling around after anyone and its fur missing, two things are easily visible which weren't before: there's a huge, diagonal scar running across its sterum, and a thick, bronze chain around its neck, from which hangs a rough, wine red gemstone, easily the size of a lemon, with shining metallic inclusions.

And it speaks, or, seems to. for Vorpal and Amber it's sound woven of several others; a susurrating, bleating, snarling, gutteral croaking that rises and falls. For Kai, it's clearly understandable, but something out of place in a physical form, because it's spirit speech; four of them, all trying to say the same thing at the same time. ~You speak the language of spirits?~ Its eyes narrow. ~Or do you have the all-tongue?~

Perched on a branch once more, Vorpal freezes at the strange sounds coming from the creature. He remain suspended from the branch, unertain of what to do next… but at least there seems to be some sort of communication going on. Maybe.

"What is it sying?" he calls out from atop the tree, down to Kai and Amber.

He wasn't coming down quite yet. Just because something could speak, it didn't mean it couldn't also eat you.

Kai tells Amber, "Just let me talk to him." Those big blue eyes are so painfully sincere. Kai is made of sentimentality, alas. Even smoldering beasts get a chance. "I'm from the Higher Realms," he tells the beast, like that might answer his question. He holds up his hands to the beast. Please not to eat the Elf, sir. "I'm Kai. They're scared of you; they don't know what they're doing."

Towawrd Keith, he replies, "We're just getting to know each other."

"Well…./Fine/.", Amber growls, eyes turning back to their usual soulful blue as she steps back. "But tell that damn …whatever it is, it makes a hostile move, I'm gonna ignite his innards.", she says, stepping back, but keeping her eyes on the beastie. "Ugh…..burnt hair….my least pleasant aroma…'

The beast's lip curls at Amber. It can definitely understand her sentiment, even her words, in its way. It glances up at Vorpal when he speaks, then back down at Kai. The strange language continues, a bizarre and garish chorus to anyone who hears it without understanding it. ~They should be.~ It stares harder at Kai, and one of its clawed hands twitches. ~*Prey*, should be.~ It struggles, because Kai is the epitome of prey, and most of this beast knows this. Most of it—but not all. Its eyes shut, shakes its head and pants, recovers with a shuddering breath. It regards Kai down its muzzle once more. ~High Realms? Then you are Ljosalfar?~ It looks around them. ~Why come to this disgusting place?~

After a few seconds of the beast not lunging at anyone, Vorpal takes the Rabbit Hole express to land close to Amber, just in case things get nasty again.

"That thing with the fire? Super neat, by the wy," he says, by way of introduction-not-really-an-introduction.

"Yes," Kai says, curls bobbing as he nods. "That's right." He's answering some of the beasts grunts and growls. "Ljosalfar. I'm here because it pleases my Lord, Prince Loki Odinson." Of course, it's not even the main reason he's in New York, but it's a reason, so it counts, right? He glances to Keith and Amber with a fleeting smile. See? It's going so well! Honest. He then looks back to the beast. "It isn't safe for you here. These two are powerful." Amber he knows is, and Keith? Well, he's just going to say he is, too. "Perhaps tomorrow would be a better night for a hunt."

Amber says, "Just did what hadda been done,sir." Amber replies to Vorpal, tipping her hat. "Nice move with the backflip, by th' by.", she winks. "Now, what in th' /hell/ is /that/, and how come it can understand Kai?",she inquires."

The beast is intrigued, to say the least, to hear Kai say that name. ~Loki, devourer of hearts. Bearer of the worst of all marvels.~ The beast's expression doesn't make it clear if it thinks these are good titles or bad ones. Maybe they're just the titles it thinks most relevant.

It tilts its head, surveying Vorpal and Amber. Of course Amber's abilities need no introduction, and maybe Vorpal's don't either. A predator knows that plenty of prey have a vast collection of tricks up their sleeve, and the best ones are never revealed out of turn.

It snorts, lowers itself back to the ground. ~I can speak the Surtr-child and Freyja-child's tongue. I choose not to. New human speech is vulgar, and I am forbidden the old words.~ And with that, it turns to go, walking a little gingerly.

"That's my baby," Kai says with a nervous little laugh. In the spirit-tongue, 'baby' might translate more closely to 'mate.' As the beast turns to go, Kai exhales slowly. No one need die tonight. New rule tomorrow. "It's an old creature of an even older time," Kai says to Amber. Despite that he knows he's quintessential prey, there is respect in his tone as he says it. He rubs at his eyes and says, "Yeesh, I could sleep for days. I should get heading home, myself."

Amber says, "Yer…Yer..Jus' gonna let it go?", Amber all but splutters to Kai. "'Case you ain't realized. that goddamn thing's /dangerous/.",she growls. "You're really gonna let it go? Shit, son, be it on your head.", she sighs, tipping her hat to all and sundry. "Pleasant night t' all y'all.", she says, then adds ominously, "Kai, you an' me need t' have a clairificaion session, right quick!"
With that, Amber takes her leave."

Keith is about to thank Amber for the compliment when the conversation takes an interesting turn, and…

Wait. What? They're letting it go?

As people (and creatures) start retreating, the Cheshire Cat watches, rooted to the spot by the sheer surreality of it. "… I am glad we had this conversation," he says to the air, to no one in particular.

A few seconds pass before he adds to himself, "I need to find a different park."

The beast doesn't turn at Amber or Keith's words, though one of its ears twitches. It's listening, for certain, even as it shoves between a smokebush and its neighboring yews, and is lost to their immediate sight. The sound of its heavy footfalls fades not long after.

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