The Elf enters the town via the west gate and
mingles with humanity. Ladies Rare Undergarments aside, a trip to Darkwind
City is a welcome break from the routine of the Sept (the name for a
territorial location that Garou in a region share) -- so much to see, hear
and smell -- especially smell. A Garou's sense of smell is strongest in
Lupus (full wolf) form, but in homid (humanoid), his heightened olfactory
sense still tells him more about the city and its inhabitants in a minute
than he could perceive in an entire day, before his change.
It took time for him to get used to it, mind you. The first time he ventured into town after his change, he was completely unprepared for the magnitude of the sensory barrage. Suddenly, his nose took in scents that it had never known before and those that were already familiar to him were dramatically magnified. It so overwhelmed his mind that he panicked and ran away from the city and its inhabitants as fast as he could.
But with time, he learned to mentally filter the countless bits of scent information, to concentrate on the ones he needs or wants while suppressing those he doesn't. Now he allows the scents to wash over him and he calmly takes in the knowledge of each...
The elderly man over there has an advanced disease and will probably pass away in the next few months. The Elf wonders if the man is aware of it. The child leaning against the wall on the other side of the road just finished a meal of bread that was starting to go stale and a slab of meat that should have been on the grill a bit longer -- oh dear ... he's going to barf it up in a few minutes. A young woman passes by, with a single glance toward him, but no other change of expression -- but the sudden increase in her pheromone output reveals that she finds him attractive; another sniff tells him that sex now would produce a child and he absently wonders if that child would be a garou should he ... the Elf chuckles and shakes it off.
Suddenly, he smells something that immediately puts him on edge. He stops dead and inhales deeply through his nose. He knows it's not the first time he's smelled it, but it's been ... a year? A year-and-a-half? He stands there ... and remembers...
"The Lord Landholder of this region--" Leader jabs the appropriate place on the map as the Elf looks on "--is oppressing his charges more than is healthy lately. I fear the Wyrm's power is growing there. Go and assess the situation. If practical, I want you to ... send him a message."
The Elf gives Leader a questioning look.
Leader smiles. "What I mean, Pup, is: don't do anything radical like slay everyone in the place and mount their heads on pikes. I don't believe things are that far gone yet. For now, we give him something to ... think about."
The Elf still frowns. Leader thinks a moment. "Ah, I know just the thing! This lord is rumoured to have a very handsome horse. Finest stallion in the region, says the rumor mill." Leader smiles knowingly at the Elf. "Would be a shame if anything happened to that prize stallion, wouldn't it, Pup?"
The Elf nods and the corner of his mouth turns up.
Leader nods back and claps the Elf on the shoulder. "Good hunting, Pup! May Luna guide you."
And so the Wolf breaks into the lord's stable, kills the prize stallion and is just starting to feast on the fine meat when no less than eight of the lord's guards burst in. And the Wolf realizes that his approach was not as careful as he'd imagined. Careless!
In the battle that follows, the Wolf takes down two of the guards, but gets an arrow in the side and two wicked sword hits. The wounds sap his strength so much that he's unable to deal with the remaining six guards and live. So he flees, trailing blood.
He buried his gear in a wooded area near a natural waterfall and he makes for it now, certain he can lose the guards if he can just get there. But it's hopeless -- he's too weak and getting weaker from blood loss. The Wolf remembers the little farmhouse he noticed on the way to the lord's mansion. He detours that way, bursts into the animal pen and quickly kills three chickens, a pig and a cow -- all that is there. He swallows the chickens almost whole, tears open the bellies of the pig and cow, grabs heart and liver from each and gulps it down. Strength returns.
But wait! Someone coming. He smells a human female. She must have heard the commotion. Soldiers further away, coming too. She would give him away! The Wolf takes flight again, leaves most of the meat behind, hopes he got enough to get out of this Bad Situation. He's still losing blood, but not so fast and now he can run, even if not at full throttle. It will do.
A bit later, the Elf stands under the waterfall and lets it wash over him. With a gasp, he pulls out the arrow and tosses it aside. He concentrates inward, calls upon the Earthmother's blessing to heal him. She answers and his wounds close. He leaves the pool, finds the spot where he buried his gear, digs it up and dresses.
He's about to leave when he smells the girl again. She's close -- too close.
The Elf curses his carelessness for the second time this day. Normally, even in Elf form, he should have had more warning of her approach. But he concentrated so hard on flight and healing that he neglected his environment. His ear twitches -- the subtle rubbing of an arrow nock on a bowstring! Easy, now ... calm. She's frightened -- he smells it. OK, use that.
The Elf turns to the bush behind which she must be hiding and smiles. Then he bends down to write her a message on the ground: Please forgive me. The Wolf's need was great. He takes his pouch of gold coins and sets it on the ground -- a "tidy sum" for the Elf, but to this girl and her family, it would mean a new life. Her animals saved him -- he owed her that much.
And then he leaves, praying to Gaea that he guessed right, that the girl would be too overcome by curiosity to launch an arrow into his back.
And for once that day, things did work in his favor.
That episode comes back to him in a flash as he catches the scent -- the very same scent of the girl that day at the farmhouse and later at the waterfall. The Elf looks around. The crowd is thick. He's never actually seen her before, and now, for some reason, he wants to. Despite his keen sense of smell, it's not possible to pick her out among all the people hustling and bustling along the streets. Too many. Damn. If only he were in lupus! And he doesn't have time for this anyway -- he has errands to run before the sun goes down. Have to move along. Try again another day.
So the Elf reluctantly gives up the search and turns his attention back to his duties.
And as he turns and goes on his way, a young girl appears in a doorway and anxiously looks left and right. She could swear that the elf she glimpsed through the window was the very same elf she saw about a year-and-a-half ago -- an elf she found at the end of a wolf's trail. But by the time she realizes what she's seeing and runs out of the building to get a better look, it's too late -- the elf is gone.
She sighs. Someone calls her name. Oops. In her excitement, she quite forgot what she was doing and realizes now she'd better get back to doing it, lest the training master be displeased. She turns around and goes back inside.
According to the sign above the door, this building belongs to the "Fighters' Guild."
Original post to
Darkwind’s Garou Board
as "Wolf Tales (10) on Monday, 29 SEP 2003 09:03