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Halloween Vignette - NIGHT OF THE WOLVES 2020!


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On the night of October 31, 2020, a wave of fell magic sweeps across the world at sunset (wherever you happen to be) - transforming eighty million people (1% of the world's population) worldwide into bloodthirsty werewolves, wounded by silver and fire, not infectious by bite except that they sure have a lot of gunk in their teeth. The great and the good, the big and the small, gone wolfy!

 

"Did I eat flesh?" 

"Only a little!" 

 

Good people act out on their secret desires, bad people on terrible urges, all of it driven by Lemurian magic! While some heroes are busy putting out this magical fire, others are occupied dealing with the Night of the Wolves. 

 

For your October/November vignette, describe what your character does on Halloween Night, 2020 as the world around them gets just a little wolfier. Or is it woofier?

 

Maybe your character turns and can hold back the hunger, maybe your character is now being chased by his supporting cast, or maybe she wakes up the next morning stark naked in a field and has to figure out just what happened...

 

 

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Angelic 

 

Caught outside of Claremont when the fiery wall went up around it, Angelic soon found herself pressed into service on street patrol while the more experienced heroes dealt with the real crisis. (It was by no means the fifth time she had heard those words.) It went well enough and proved no serious challenge - her infrascopic vision made it easy to tell a running werewolf from a running human even without catching a good look at their outline, and even a werewolf's rapid soft tissue regeneration wouldn't save them from having a steel stop sign wrapped around their torso and pinned beneath a heavy object. Werewolves were strong, but she was a product of the finest science the world could produce. She was stronger. 

 

A few hours into the night, when the number of wolves seemed to be increasing but her own assigned sector in Midtown was unmolested, she took a moment to stop and recuperate, listening to status reports from other heroes with similar jobs all over Freedom. She even dropped the 'image' of Angelic, looking for all the world like the teenage girl she was. It was a darkened rooftop and she was focused on the signals about the mystery at Claremont; which was perhaps why the ravening wolfman was able to sneak up behind her and go for the throat. Eira screamed in surprise, throwing her left hand up to protect her face, as the monster's teeth sunk deeply into her flesh, and screamed again as signals of pain and damage flashed into her brain. 

 

And then her right hand lashed out, grabbing the beast by the throat, and she squeezed. She saw the beast's eyes widen in alarm, felt its teeth hit metallic skeletal supports, and felt a hard, feral smile curling her own blue-painted lips as it began to thrash. "You taste that, yes?" she hissed, hardly recognizing her own voice in her ears. "It's not human blood at all, is it, beast?" Her grip tightened as she heard it choke, then cough - and then she hurled it away, so it smashed against an air conditioning duct above with a crunch that might have killed a normal man. And this had once been a normal man - a building repair worker from what was left of his clothes? A tourist who favored a workingman's costume? It was easy to make the calculations but they did not matter. 

 

She advanced on the werewolf, heedless of the shining blue trail she was leaving behind her, and kept smiling as the werewolf rose up on all fours to snarl at her. "I know your mind," she hissed. "You know there is no meat here." She pulled off her jacket, clinically studying the bite marks on her lower left arm for a microsecond before she fixed her pale blue gaze on the wolfman again. "But you know there is something wrong, don't you?" She stamped her foot, a hard, sudden movement, and watched the werewolf flinch, just a hair, and laughed bitterly. "A thing that should not be! Something that looks like a human but is not! Your kind always know." In the last ten years of her life she had never met a single canine not directly powered by magic that could stand to be in the same room as her without showing its distress. Werewolves were it seemed not as magical as they believed. She snarled, showing her own teeth, and spread her hands. 

 

The werewolf saw her threat display and charged, leaping straight for her throat and bowling he rover with the sheer force of its attack. She took the weight and welcomed it, blocking its teeth with her jacket-wrapped, already-damaged left arm, reaching up lightning-fast to sink her hand into its throat again. She felt the pain again, sensors screaming simulated agony - and moved past it. "Do you feel pain?" she asked it, her hand around its throat squeezing, heedless of the claws that were tearing at her jacket and slacks. "Is there anything behind those eyes?" She squeezed and felt the thing bite down again, hard, her own blue circulatory fluid dripping on her face. "Look at me when I speak," she hissed, and began levitating to her feet, the magnetic dynamos in her outer frame reaching out to the steel structures on the rooftop, pulling her up in a way the wolf couldn't have expected, couldn't have fought - until she was standing, hand on the beast's throat, fingers digging deep. 

 

"Yes. I see it now." She threw the wolf down and replaced her hand with her foot, stepping down with the same magnetic force that had lifted her to her feet, pinning the werewolf to the ground. "Something that was once a man, but is no longer. But I am  stronger than you!" She pinned the werewolf down with her foot, dripping blue from her arm, legs, and torso, until it had passed out. "Puny thing of claws and teeth," she hissed, then wobbled briefly. Perhaps she had taken more damage in that display than she had first believed. Robotically, she bound up the werewolf in some chain-link fence. Then she looked around the rooftop for a utility outlet, nodding in satisfaction when she found it. She removed her jacket where it was wrapped around her arm and studied her injuries - there was indeed some missing flesh, but mostly it was torn, exposing fluids and metal within, even the inner housing of her sinistral dataspike.

 

With a soft sigh, she extended its dextral sibling from underneath her right arm and drove it into the outlet, the electricity inside coursing through her body hard enough to make her gasp, throwing her head back as her eyes glowed white, speeding the smart metal regeneration that would seal up her injuries until she had a chance to fully repair them. She looked up at the full moon overhead, her internal processors noting both the time and the many more distress signals coming in from the region. It was still many hours until sunrise; and much work left to to do. She couldn't afford any more encounters like the one she'd just had. 

 

There were a great many things out that night that were no longer human. And it was her job to keep them under control. 

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Nevermore II

 

Everything was quiet now. Charlie leaned against the corner, slowing his breathing, just like Alek had taught him. He would have been proud if he saw him like this, all quiet, hiding out in the Summers Manor kitchen. Everything was quiet, but it hadn’t really been like that the entire night, had it? His shirt was ripped at the upper right arm, three marks from a claw. Charlie was bleeding from the cuts, but at least he had managed a makeshift bandage from one of Alek’s shirts he had found lying around. Alek could yell later. If there was a later.

 

Everything was quiet now, and Charlie really didn’t like that. If he could hear it, then he could find it. When it was quiet like this, then it was being serious about finding him, not just playing with him. At least he had managed to grab one of his utility belts. The bad news? He had never gotten around to restocking it: The belt had no stun ravenrangs, no staves or remote viewing drones, but at least he had some of his other tricks in there.

 

Then, a sound. Claws hitting the floor, rhythmic steps. Moving slowly, with some hesitation. Heavy, labored breathing. Yeah, it was back. Just slightly peeking around the corner, he saw it again. It was larger than a man, with an elongated snout. Its feet were clawed, as were the hands. It was covered in a thick greying fur. A werewolf. With everything else that he had seen already, Charlie really shouldn’t be surprised, but still. It was a freaking werewolf, and it had been hunting him through the Summers Manor. Everything else he had seen so far? Yeah, he really should have expected werewolves at some point, but he hadn’t.

 

Especially not this particular werewolf.

 

Its fur was greying. It was sniffing at the air, its eyesight not as strong as it might once have been. It was moving slowly, with a limp. And a few hours earlier, it had been Duncan Summers. Even as a werewolf, Duncan was still as sharp as ever, but now? Now he was no longer just an old man. Now he was muscle, fur, fang and claw, and he really wanted to take a bite out of Charlie.

 

The Manor was in lockdown. No one getting in and out, so here he was, trapped with the wolf. Not a great time.

 

The wolf stopped, its snout moving as it sniffed at the air. It stopped, ears falling flat behind its head while its lips pulled back, revealing its teeth. It snarled. It had him. With a ravenrang in his hand, Charlie scrambled back into the kitchen, knocking over a pot on the way.

 

With a howl, the wolf set into a run, rushing into the kitchen, fangs barred and claws ready… before falling flat on its face as its feet were stuck in the tripwire between the kitchen table and the wall. Charlie couldn’t keep the grin from his lips as he stopped to stare at the wolf for a moment, while it climbed to its feet.

 

“C’mon, that’s it. Nothing to it, just gotta get up and…” He stopped, trailing off as the wolf came at him. “Ah, damn. Sorry, Mr. Summers!” Down the hall, to the left, shutting the door behind himself. The wolf was already at the door, slamming right through it and… being caught in the black out bomb Charlie had set up right inside the door. The darkness spread out, while Charlie used another door to leave the room. Of course it wouldn’t matter much. The wolf could smell him, but, it would at least give him a second or two.

 

He just had to keep going. Lead the wolf on a merry chase, don’t get caught. Alek had to come back home at some point, right? And werewolves were supposed to turn back to normal in the daylight, weren’t they? At least, he was pretty sure he had read some stories like that at some point. So, keep going, wait for Alek to show up? Sounded like a plan.

 

With the wolf hot on his tail, Charlie led him through the entire manor. Anything and anywhere he could use, he would. Alek was going to be pissed, probably Ms. Summers too, and Mr. Summers if he got back to normal, but honestly, Charlie wasn’t about to lose sleep over sacrificing a chair or two to keep the wolf at bay. He just had to keep going, stick to the plan.

 

It took longer than he thought it would, but finally, he made it into the Rookery. It had taken a few attempts, including some major detours to avoid being eaten, with a few more scratches along the way, but he had made it. Standing at the entrance, he whistled loud.

 

As the wolf came running, he dove into the cave. The wolf was hot in pursuit. Keep him busy? No, that wasn’t really a plan. Not Charlie’s plan, anyway. Sooner or later, the wolf would catch him, and honestly, he couldn’t risk that. No, he had another plan.

 

Alek would hate that plan.

 

Into the cave, through the gym. In here, Charlie was in his element. Swinging from ropes, jumping across the equipment, and the wolf just pushed right through him, heading directly for him. If not for the limp, it would probably have gotten to him long ago.

 

But the gym was just a stop, anyway. So was the lab. And the workshop. At least the wolf didn’t trash those too bad. Alek would probably still be pissed anyway. At least he was getting closer to the final stop: The garage.

 

It had been a while since he had used any of his gadgets, or, well, anything else that could work as a weapon against the wolf, but he had just two left: A tripwire and a black out bomb. The wolf had forgotten all about the previous trap. It was more than an hour ago, and he was hungry. To be honest, Charlie felt bad for Mr. Summers when he fell again, especially when he dropped the black out bomb in his face. He had seconds. But seconds was all that he needed to get out of the garage and activate the security system.

 

The door shut behind him, a massive gate that even the wolf couldn’t move.

 

He did it. He saved himself, without seriously hurting Mr. Summers. It was a rush, it felt great, and the entire manor was in shambles.

 

Charlie honestly wasn’t sure if Alek would kill or praise him.

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Horrorshow (ft. Artificer)

 

“I still do not see what the point of all this is,” Heroditus huffed.  The young Atlantean was walking across the Main Quad of the Claremont Academy, clad in his standard tunic and bandolier, along with a student he had not interacted with much.  There was nothing like Halloween down in Atlantis, with its reserved and conservative culture, disdainful of anything different, and while he found the holiday odd and off-putting, his curiosity was winning out.  “Why all the costumes?  Why pretend to be something you are not?”

 

“So you can find out who you really are, yeah?,” Davyd replied, smiling broadly.  The young Ukrainian-American had always enjoyed Halloween, as any good theater kid should, but his metamorphic powers gave him so many new ways to enjoy it.  At the moment, he was wearing a tuxedo, white tie & tailcoat, and a black opera cloak with a red lining, though his face remained his own.  “Are you a knight, protecting others?  A robot, embodying and advancing technology?  An agent of liberty, casting a light to guide the tired and poor to safety?”  He shifted smoothly as he spoke, to a Russian bogatyr, then a manga-style robot, then to the Statue of Liberty.  “Are our choices in costume provocative?  A reflection of how we truly see ourselves?  Of how we would like others to see us?”  More smooth shifts, from the robed Statue of Liberty to a bikini-wearing Statue of Liberty, to a mirror image of Heroditus, then back to his original form.  “Or is it just one of many choices, part of a… a quest to find your true self?  That may not be what Halloween started as, but it’s beco-”  He paused, cleared his throat, “it’s become something mu- mu…”

 

And then a throat-clearing motion went throughout his entire body.

 

Davyd’s metamorphoses, though smooth and flowing, had still unnerved Heroditus somewhat.  Shapeshifting was something other creatures did, not Atlanteans, not even Surfacers.  He had turned away when Davyd shifted into a copy of himself, and did not see what was happening.  But he did hear it, and now turned back, “Davyd?  Are you alright?”

 

The Atlatean turned in time to see the metamorph’s body shifting again, though this change was not as smooth as the others.  Davyd’s feet had twisted and burst out of his shoes, revealing themselves to be covered in short fur and the toenails had thickened and elongated into nasty claws.  His hands were in a similar state, but his face was going through an even greater change.  Short fur was sprouting over all of it, the tops of his ears were coming to a point, his nose turned up and darkened, and his lower canines were growing into horrible fangs.  Strangled growls escaped his throat, but as Heroditus reached for some device from his bandolier, the growls became more intelligible.  “I’m… I’m not… this… is… not… me!”

 

With each defiant shout, Davyd willed himself back from wolf-man to his human form.  He steadied himself, hands on his thighs, breathing slowly to dispel the dizziness and mild nausea.  “Hoo, haven’t had that happen in a while.  I thought I was over those involuntary changes, but-”  He turned and saw Heroditus was slowly backing away.  He rose to his full height, “hey, hey, it’s okay, yeah?  That happens sometimes, but I AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

 

Another spasm, this one intensely painful, brought Dayd to his knees, grasping his head.  Heroditus looked on, still drawing components from his bandolier, both fascinated and horrified by the Lemurian magics he could see playing out on his classmate.

 

Davyd thrashed about on the ground, ripping at his clothes, feeling like his entire body was on fire.  He could feel the bones of his hands and feet painfully elongating, muscles stretching almost to the point of shredding then rapidly thickening, and long fur sprouting from his back.  Claws emerged bloodily from under his nails, spine and shoulders warped, his pelvis and hips changed to something that would allow him to run equally comfortably on two legs or four.  His whole form had nearly doubled in size, but perhaps the most horrifying changes were those to his head and face, twisting his features beyond human: the skull partially imploded, while jaw and nose stretched into a canine muzzle, filled with fangs.  His ears elongated and came to points, and his eyes shifted to a fiery yellow color.  Through it all Davyd could do little more than scream in pain, his scream rising in pitch as his vocal cords stretched before shifting to deep howls.

 

Heroditus, no longer fascinated by the scene before him, had radioed his fellow squadmates for assistance.  None responded, as they were either dealing with their own lycanthropes, or had themselves changed and were on a rampage.  “I know this is not you, Davyd,” he had assembled one of his transmutational devices, and had aimed it at the ground under and around the shapeshifter, “I can see the foul magics at work on you.”  The soil buckled and heaved itself up around him, wrapping his limbs in compressed earth, “hopefully this will hold you until you can fight it off.  And I know you can, you did it before.  Fight it!”.

 

Lycan!Davyd strained at his bonds, snapping slavering jaws at the Atlantean.  He wanted to run, to hunt, to kill… no!  No, he was not an animal!  Not a monster!  He would fight this!  Deep in his mind, buried under the rage and horror, Davyd heard his classmate, and struggled against whatever external force was acting on him.  His eyes were the first to turn, shifting back to their original gray color.  Muzzle and limbs shrank, fangs blunted, shoulder and hips reoriented themselves, fur fell out and turned to ash.  He lay there on (and partially under) the ground, able to do little more than pant with exhaustion.  “Wha… what’s happening to me?”

 

“You have been affected -- infected -- with some sort of Lemurian curse,” Heroditus replied, still keeping his transmuter active.  “I can see it racing all over the campus.  Maybe beyond.”  He shook his head, dreading the thought.  “Your own protean nature seems to aid you in fighting it off, and with what I know of Atlantean mysticism, we may be able to- to… no.”

 

Heroditus stopped mid-sentence, seeing what few others could: the curse, washing over Davyd again.  It had been gathering strength, determined to bring this mortal under its power.  If someone fought off the curse after it had affected them for a time, that was one thing.  But to shake it off before it could even fully take hold?  To not be fully unleashed, never run, or hunt?  To never wonder if you had attacked someone -- a friend, a loved one -- while under its effect?  To never wonder if you had consumed human flesh?  To not have all that lingering psychological damage?  No, that would not do at all.

 

Davyd barely made any sound this time, too exhausted from the prior changes, though the sounds his body made more than made up for any lack of vocalizations.  The curse had failed in changing him, so now it was breaking him down before rebuilding him.  He wrenched one arm free from its earthen bond, in time to see the fingers fall off as the flesh from his hand peeled away to reveal a wolf paw.  His eyes bulged, blood streaming from the sockets, and then fell from his skull, pushed out by fresh, hungry golden eyes.  His teeth, which had elongated and sharpened before, were now being pushed out of his head, as wolf teeth erupted through.  More skin split and sloughed off, revealing a furry hide beneath, and his mouth split into a Glasgow grin as a wolf’s muzzle poked out.  

 

“Dayvd, fight it!,” Heroditus pleaded, but to no effect.  A similar change was happening to Davyd’s mind, breaking down his sapience and leaving behind only the more primitive instincts, which the curse then ramped up to inhuman levels.  Wolf!Davyd struggled and thrashed against his earthen bonds, shaking off the gore that had been his human form, until he was free... and facing down the Atlantean.  “Davyd?  Davyd, fight this!  You can fight this!”

 

Davyd was no longer there.  Now there was only the Wolf.  Not a natural wolf, not even a prehistoric dire wolf, but the horrific archetype.  The thing whose howl echoed through dark forests, filling primitive humans (and proto-Atlanteans) with a primal fear as they huddled around their campfires.  Amaroq, Cerberus, Fernrir, Marchosias, all variations on this theme, all visible in this giant beast that dominated Claremont’s Main Quad.

 

It lunged at Heroditus.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rebellion

 

It felt weird. His body covered in fur, it should feel weird, but it was… stranger than that. Like there was something more. Something under the fur, under the skin. It was like a voice, gnawing at the back of his head. Telling him to bite, to rend, to kill… to eat.

 

But it was not a voice. Not really. It felt off to call it a voice. It was more than a voice.

 

It was a howl.

 

The change had come so suddenly. Elliot had been in his room at the Elysian dorms. He had homework. Why should Elysian Academy care about something like Halloween? If anything, it was just a good night to cause trouble, as Elliot’s teachers had pointed out several times. It was just a good tradition for the magically inclined members of their community. But Elliot? He had to focus on his tactics homework. Calling it tactics was generous. How to best cover for someone more important than you, take the fall. What to say to the lawyer, what to say to the cops. It was incredible how eager Elysian was to throw some students under the bus for the sake of others. More information to remember, more that he could use.

 

He felt it inside before he felt it outside. The gnawing hunger, the howl. He fell to the floor. His skin was crawling, something scratching at him from the inside, something breaking out. His entire body stretching, contorting, changing. It hurt. It hurt so much. It was nothing like when he put on a mask. It was nothing like when he put on a mask. This was something else entirely.

 

His body stretched. His clothes tore. His mouth stretched, his teeth grew into fangs. His fingers sharpened, becoming claws. Elliot threw his head back and howled to the sky.

 

Several others from all around Elysian Academy joined the howl. He was not alone. Not the only wolf at the academy. If Elliot had known more about what was going on, he would not have been surprised.

 

The rebellious wolf crashed through the door, into the hallway. Along the hallway, several other wolves broke free from their rooms, crashing into the hallways. One was on fire. One was breathing green gasses, its eyes glowing green. A third had massive, bat-like wings. Some part of the rebellious wolf that had been Elliot recognized them as some of the other students. The part of him that was the wolf howled and rushed down the hallway.

 

His claws scraped against the floors as he moved. The first of the wolves, the one with the green breath, noticed him. It launched itself at him, its green spit flying all around it. Where it fell, it made sizzling noises, small green vapors rising. The floors and walls burned away from the corrosive substance.

 

The wolf with the green breath clashed with the rebellious wolf. He could feel the claws digging into his chest, his fur stained with the red blood. He howled in pain. Almost like a scream. He pushed the other wolf back, into the wall, digging his claws into its shoulders.

 

The werewolf with the noxious green breath and spit bit Elliot in the right shoulder. He could feel the teeth tearing through skin, flesh, blood… and then, it burned. Whatever the wolf was breathing, it burned, seeping into his body. With what strength he could muster, the rebellious wolf slammed the other into the wall once. Then again, harder than before. And again, and again, and again. Cracks started to form in the wall. The noxious wolf clawed at him, its movements growing ever more desperate.

 

Elliot faintly registered that the burning werewolf and the one with the wings were fighting, moving wildly through the hallways, but at the moment, he was occupied.

 

He slammed the noxious wolf into the wall again, and the grip of is jaws slacked, ever so slightly. Its attempts to tear Elliot apart weakened. He howled, and using the other wolf as leverage, Elliot broke the wall with its body, sending it flying through the building. It finally let go, lying still under the rubble of the wall.

 

The rebellious wolf’s shoulder burned. The feeling was slowly spreading to its arm that hang limp by its side. It stepped back from the hole that was once a wall, staggering a few steps before noticing the other wolves further down the hallway. The winged wolf’s fur had been burned away in several places, but now it stood above the burning wolf, lowering its head to lock its jaws around its opponent’s throat.

 

With his arm flailing behind him, Elliot slammed into the winged wolf, raking his claws across its face. It fell back, before using a wing to slam Elliot into a wall. The burning in the arm would not stop, but neither could he. He was strong. He would lead this pack. He would be the alpha. No more hiding what he was, what he could do. He was not a follower, he was not an Omega. He was an Alpha.

 

But so was the winged wolf.

 

It recovered far faster than the rebellious wolf had hoped. It tore at his weakened arm, drawing a yelp of pain from Elliot. It pulled at him, sending him flying into the ceiling. He fell to the ground once more, hard. He was on his feet faster than he should be, clawing and biting at the winged wolf. He would win. He would lead.

 

The winged wolf wrapped its arms around him, its claws digging into his back. Elliot howled in pain. His fur was slowly growing more red than grey. With a powerful pull from its wings, the winged wolf set off, catapulting the two towards the ceiling, into the ceiling, through the ceiling, putting Elliot up between them, using him as a shield.

 

They broke into the night sky, up to the full moon, flying higher and higher above the Elysian Academy.

 

And then, it let go, and Elliot fell.

 

He would not be the Alpha. He would not lead.

 

But the next morning he would wake up in rubble, and no idea what had happened.

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