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Werewolves Are So Hot Right Now [IC]

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Wednesday, April 2nd
8:34 PM


The night was peaceful. It had been a hard fight, but Spring was starting to break through in Freedom City. The air was warm enough to be on the faint side of pleasant, cool enough to be tolerable. Conditions like this made the ice sled a little harder to keep together, but Temperance was willing to accept such trade-offs.

Liberty Park was usually fairly serene as heroic patrols went. Every so often, there might be an attempted mugging, but the park was usually well-lit and well-trafficked, especially at this hour. If you knew where to go, there wasn't much risk. But those were on normal nights. Lately, there'd been stories of wild animal sightings in the middle of the city - "large dogs" or "coyotes," in the initial reports. But her dad had heard different stirrings in the courts of spirits, upset from some of the primals because "those not of the pack" were in town. And, well, most New Jersey residents wouldn't really know how to tell a wolf from a coyote, would they?

She hung over the park, waiting. A jogger had been attacked here a few nights ago. He survived, but was scratched up badly and was in the hospital for observation. She'd swung by, and found a heavier than usual police presence. Now, it was far from the full moon - just as it had been on the night he'd been attacked. But those in authority still felt the need to keep watch, even if they didn't feel the need to say why. After all, if you grew up in Freedom, nobody really had to say the W-word, did they? You saw weirder stuff all the time.

So Temperance flew over the park, waiting for the sound of howling, and hoping that the night might stay peaceful.

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You couldn't really call her detour a detour. There comes a point where going out of your way on the way home becomes just... going there. She'd read about the attack in the park and maybe it was her situation coloring her vision but she couldn't help but wonder if the attack wasn't done by something bigger than a coyote. Something potentially bipedal and that spent most of it's time without fur. 

 

Maybe it was just her wanting to meet others like her. Maybe it was more of a hopeful wish. She didn't think much about how other werewolves could be potentially.... I dunno, hostile? She wasn't overly hostile unless provoked. The were that turned her didn't go around tearing people up. She almost wanted to believe that the legends had it all wrong. That just being a werewolf didn't make her bad. Maybe a little scary. Definitely scary. It's the reason she's prepared the name she has if she ever needs to give it: Skaere. There were heroes in this city that helped people... Why couldn't a werewolf be among them? She certainly managed to do a little good in these last couple of months. That purse snatcher that peed himself for example. It was a situation a lot like her current one. A woman walking a night, all alone. The jerk comes out of nowhere, snatches her purse and runs.

 

Only she saw it all. She's much faster than a human now and the man didn't get far.

 

Her own musings make Charlie laugh. Hands stuffed into her pockets as her booted feet click on the paved sidewalk. A breeze rustles through and she shivers, a hand coming up to ruffle through her neatly trimmed blonde mohawk. It's short, only an inch or two long but the rest of it is buzzed almost gone, leaving her head feeling rather cold. She puts the hood of her jacket up and keeps walking. She doesn't have much of a destination, really just checking the place out.

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As the Greyhound bus pulled into the station laughter and chatter could be heard from within at odds with the sleepy travelers usually disembarking at that late hour. As the doors swung open a shirtless young man with brick red dreadlocks and a grin from ear to ear bounded out, waiting nearby while the rest of the passengers made their way down the steps. "Now Gertrude, remember, the next time your grandson gives you attitude about resetting your e-mail password you just show him that photograph," he reminded the elderly tourist in a pastel floral top and glasses with lenses a half inch thick, "and ask him who among you has met the genuine internet sensation, ha ha!" Next off the bus was a rotund fellow with a bristling black moustache and a pronounced waddle to his steps. "Arnold, heed good advice and cut back on the red meats," Set told him sternly, the expression softened by a friendly slap on the shoulder. "Serious face, aye? Your learned wife tis only thinking of your heart, chum."

With a friendly word and exchanging of online contract information with each of the bus's passengers, the godling was still shaking the hand of an enthusiastic young fellow who it had turned out spoke three different languages fluently, none of them English, when a much less jolly looking woman with smoldering golden eyes stalked off, glaring at him. "A fortnight and a half, liesmith," Sekhmet grated through clenched teeth as she set sandal clad feet on pavement and ran a hand over her face. "Thy 'Spring Break' was to be a mere handful of days."

Set shrugged affably, waving to the driver over Sekhmet's shoulder. "True enough, oh Mistress of Dread, but dealing with that alligator cult distracted us well enough and Anna had promised a tour of the city and politeness if naught else insisted we take the band up on their offer to join their tour for a few stops! Had we not that masked miscreant would have gotten away with scaring away those small town real estate investors! Admittedly, I'm a little hazy on the next few days after that party but with nine telephone numbers scribed in marker on arms and legs between us I might only assume--"

The taller Heliopolian clamped a hand over her charge's mouth, halting his rambling recounting on their near month of misadventures abroad from Freedom City and sniffed the air. "Rrrh. Tis a wretched scent on the air..." Her narrowed gaze swept in a wide arc before settling on the nearby Liberty Park, at which point she released the godling to begin walking purposefully in that direction.

Massaging his jaw, Set hurried to catch up. "I told you, Sekhemt, tis simply the bouquet of New Jersey once more."

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Temperance was about to double back on patrol when a terrible howl rang out, splitting the silence of the night. She was still trying to place where it came from when the screams rang out soon after. She took off at top speed, blazing over the footpaths below, keeping her eyes pealed for the disturbance.

She found it soon enough. A man dressed like he'd just gotten out of the office was running as fast as he could, casting whatever glances he could spare behind him. And there, rapidly closing the distance, was a wall of fur and muscle loping on all four legs. The head resembled a wolf's, but was far from perfect - it was somewhat more elongated and warped, like something formed from early fears of predators in the night. It snapped at the air, getting closer and closer to the businessman.

At least, until a bolt of frost struck the earth before the wolf, frosting it over. It didn't make the beast trip, as Temperance had hoped, but it did draw its attention upward.

"What's the matter?" asked Temperance. "Was there no mailman for you to find at this hour?"

The businessman took the opportunity to put some distance between him and the werewolf while it was distracted - but the sudden movement draw the werewolf off Temperance and back towards his prey. It looked like she might need to get up close and personal for this one...

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The businessman kept running, with the werewolf keeping pace right behind him. Temperance wasn't quite sure what this one beast had against men in suits, but hopefully, she could prove that she would be better pray.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a plan full of holes, does it?

She willed some water out of her Camelback, swirling it about in the air until it formed a gossamer curtain. It was plenty thin, and would thin even further when it hit the ground - but hopefully, enough. As the businessman cleared a nearby lamppost, she hurled the water to the ground. It froze on contact, spreading out into some absolutely unseasonal black ice. The werewolf ran across the ice, stumbling slightly... but then its claws dug into the sheet, ripping through the ice and granting some measure of traction. It surged forward, undeterred.

Should have gone for the real hardware...

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Charlie’s head snapped up. Eyes that were once watching her boots as they tapped against the concrete were wide as they stared into the darkness of the forest. The howl made her skin tingle and her heart pound. There are only a few beats before she strips off her coat, tossing it and kicking her boots into a bush nearby. She barely had time to note where she was when she takes off. She didn't bother with the rest of her clothing. She’s taken to shopping a thrift stores and wearing old clothing when she goes out a night, things she won’t mind shredding. Her eyes flashed a brilliant green a moment before the shift happened. She’d been practicing. What used to take several very uncomfortable minutes happens in only a few seconds. Her posture shifted, her limbs elongating. Her form bulked, muscles growing and shifting and rendering her clothes to tatters. Her nails lengthened and sharpened to claws and a bushy tail sprouted from her lower back as her neck thickens.Her head elongated and teeth sharpened with lupine fangs. A fine coat of blonde and white fur sprouted over her body, thicker and darker at her shoulders and up her head in a very mohawk like mane. Her form was still feminine, but now more a mix of wolf and woman. Her head was shaped almost identically to that of a large wolf’s, except more balanced for her size. Large ears swiveled to narrow in on the source of the commotion and her strong legs carried her faster than any human could ever move.

 

When she came upon the scene, Skaere only had time to react. She sees the scared human and the creature closing on it. She acted not as an instinctual predator, but as a human. She placed herself between predator and prey and issuing a loud growl of her own. Her eyes glowed a brilliant green and she bared her teeth in a way meant to make this…. Monster think twice.

Edited by GooseInduced

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The werewolf backed off, taking a step back as it tried to judge the new contender for the prey. Its ears slid back in a brief sign of submission before going back as they were... though there was still a slight tilt to its body, as if it was trying to regain its balance.

"Two... two..."

Temperance looked down to the businessman, who was desperately skidding back as fast as he could - which wasn't much, given that he'd fallen on his rear as the other beast had come loping out of the darkness. Temperance had almost beaned this wolf with a snowball herself, but the fact that it was getting between the other wolf and his midnight snack... dominance? Hunting rites? Or maybe this one was actually on the side of the good guys...

The other werewolf snarled, though not as loudly as it had before. It brought its claws down, aiming for Skaere's chest - and the dreadful talons managed to pierce hide and bone, striking close to her heart.

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Before the snarling monster could tear further into its intervening counterpart a blazing, fist-sized sun crashed into its misshapen snout hard enough to force it back. Six feet of bronze muscle followed behind the blow, charging forward with inhuman speed and hands wreathed in golden flames. With a leonine hiss, Sekhmet pressed her advantage, fists lashing out again then a third time, hammering blows leaving singed fur and blackened hide where they struck. Coming in low and surging upward she locked the werewolf in a wrestling hold proven effective millennia ago and honed in the intervening years, pinning the larger beast's clawed arms.

"Know the fury of a true predator, dog!" the goddess commanded contemptuously, pivoting about and hurling the mass of uneven muscle through the air. The werewolf crashed into one of the park's trees with a sharp crack of trunk and bone. Lifting her chin, Sekhmet let loose a savage roar that echoed throughout the night air.

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While Sekhmet handily brutalized the more aggressive and aesthetically challenged of the two wolf creatures, Set arrived not far behind, smart phone in hand, tapping away with practiced speed and grateful for the city's more consistent cellular network.

Set, God of Awesome @readySETgo

Rejoice faithful followers, Set returns to fair Freedom! Also: wolf people! One more and we shall have a t-shirt! #roadtrip #crowdsorcery

Spinning about neatly on his heel and extending an arm, the godling snapped a photo of himself grinning broadly with the second, still standing werewolf in the background, uploading it along with the announcement of their arrival by bus. The phone's flash barely reached past the foreground and with the focus on Set himself the bestial figure behind him was barely more than a silhouette of blonde fur and ripped clothing but in the time it took Sekhmet's opponent to sail through the air his feed was already awash in replies.

Plague of Makeouts @plagueofmakeoutsband

@readySETgo woah metal little bro! totally know what to paint on the tour van now! #pomtour2014

Nile Princess @setzgirl1337

@readySETgo Yay! So glad u made it back! ;) #sohappy #kisses

Queen Nefertiti @setsgurl5492

Blesed godz @setzgirl1337 do u use a autoposter or wat? #fake #calledout

Leo Tarpin @leo0o0o0

@readySETgo Hey I think that's the thing my uncle saw beat up a mugger! #crowdsorcery

Reilly Carpenter @realrcarpenter

So is this like a viral promo for a werewolf movie or what? @readySETgo

Nile Princess @setzgirl1337

@setsgurl5492 SHUT UP real fans actaully follow + reeply!

Shawna Delcroix @sailorcentauri1992

@readySETgo Is that a mohawk? #crowdsorcery #werewolves #hairstyles

"Ho ho, you garner quite the reaction, my new fearsome flaxen friend!" Set called idly as he kept one eye scanning the updating stream of comments and the other on the dazed predator. With a distracted gesture he sent a few tendrils of shadow snaking about the base of the tree to ensnare the first wolf creature but it retained enough of its wits to scramble away. The godling seemed considerably more interested in the other werewolf in any case. "No friend of the cowardly criminal, though, hmm? Unless some other canid contessa sharing your distinctive plumage has been showing the local cutpurses a rough time?" Looking upward his grin broadened even further, the black lines framing his eyes crinkling with merriment. "And Temperance! Truly, thy presence tis a salve for the heart of a weary traveler, oh sublime sapphire!"

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"It is good to see you as well, Set," said Temperance, mostly meaning it. While she wasn't exactly up for overwhelming flattery and the occasional come-on, he and Sekhmet were definitely laying into this werewolf, and had done a hell of a job separating the beast from the businessman. It also gave her a chance to pursue a new offensive. She reached her hand out, feeling with her will for the blanket of ice. The hand wasn't necessary, but it helped to give a shape to her effort. The ice rose up, gathering from a thin sheet into thick orbs. They came to her, and, with a flick of the wrist, fell crashing down upon the werewolf.

Well. That was the intent. Her form may have been off, as they mainly bounced off of the beast's thick hide. Great. Looks like I need to work on my pitching arm.

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For a moment, just a moment, Skaere had thought the wolf might stop but… it didn’t. In fact, it came in fast and hard. Her guard wasn’t as well placed as it should have been and her moment of hesitation was all the creature needed. She let out a loud yelp as it’s claws tore through her skin and muscle, striking all the way to the bone. She took a step back.

 

But in that next moment, instead stumbling back in a daze, Skaere’s eyes started to glow green.  A low growl rumbled in her throat as the muscles in her chest already began to mend back together. She hardly spares Set a glance, her glare focused on the creature that wounded her. “Hold that thought.†The changes the transformation made to her vocal chords gave her voice a primal growl beneath it. Almost like two tones speaking at once, one human and one animal.

 

It only took a moment for her to sprint forward, the strong muscles of her legs propelling her toward the creature with a clawed hand stretched toward it. She makes a swipe as she passes, her claws digging in deep, tearing through its flesh as if it were paper and making the creature roll with the force of the blow.

Edited by GooseInduced

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Skaere's claws bit into the flesh of the werewolf like it was made of tissue paper. The power flowing through her own limbs was starting to cut through the toughened hide of her rival, opening flaps and tears where before there'd been nearly impregnable skin. Laid out against the ground, the wolf had few places to run as Skaere's assault tore into him. His howl split the night... but at the same time, the pain seemed to be invigorated him.

He rose to his feet, swift as lightning, shaking off the stupor that Skaere's initial assault had visited upon him. His flesh was starting to knit, though Sekhmet's wound remained raw and red. And he tore forward, at full speed, aiming to do to Skaere what she had done to him...

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The enraged beast hadn't taken more than half a step, however, before Sekhmet came sprinting forward with a reverberating roar that rattled the bones of everyone present. The goddess lowered her head and caught the werewolf around the midsection in an unrestrained tackle, knocking it back against the tree and digging into its misshapen sides with claws wreathed in blistering flame, twin handfuls of raw sun-stuff scorching her foe. Taking advantage of its disorientation, she shoved one palm straight upward so that its heel caught the beast squarely in the throat then slipped behind it and pinned its bulky arms, putting force on joints in directions in which they were not meant to bend. "Yield, monstrosity! Thy defeat be assured!" There was something in Sekhmet's low growl that suggested she was really hoping the werewolf would ignore her excellent advice.

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"Business first, hm?" Set sighed with exaggerated weariness, slipping his smartphone away somewhere in the front of his shendyt and turning his attention more fully to the struggling monster in Sekhmet's hold. "Very well! Endeavor not to move overmuch, Sekhmet."

Closing one eye and catching the tip of his tongue between his teeth, the godling raised a hand dramatically before him. As he did, the night sky rumbled threateningly with storm clouds that had not been there moments before, what little night sky that could be seen in the park's refuge from the city's light pollution blotted out above them. "Tis perhaps an opportune moment to make peace with your own gods," Set suggested with a glint of dark humour in eyes that subtly shifted for a moment, becoming almost avian before he snapped his fingers, leaving the thumb pointing upward and the index finger outstretched like a pistol's barrel. Crimson tinged lightning screamed downward from above, striking the pinned beast squarely, preternatural electricity rippling violently through its misshapen frame.

The werewolf collapsed, unconscious and with only Sekhmet holding it upright while Set blew imaginary smoke from the tip of his finger.

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Was that really necessary? ran through Temperance's mind after Set finished cocking his finger-gun. Of course, it was slightly drowned out by her relief that the werewolf was down, but it was still there. The businessman was long since gone, and it was clear that the beast wasn't going to be getting up any time soon. She took a few steps forward, taking a look over it, then shook her head.

"Sadly, werewolves are not my area of expertise." She turned back to the other werewolf, the one who'd been tearing into this one like a pork roast. "And while I would hate to profile, I think you might know a deal more about this topic than I do."

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Skaere snarled, giving a very wolfy nod when the lightening hit the creature and left it unconscious. It made her posture relax some and straighten. She took a deep breath, almost a pant and with a very canine head shake seemed to calm herself down. She took a few steps toward the unconscious creature and the woman holding it but is stopped short by the girl from the sky.

 

"I may be a werewolf but I am no expert. This one is not like me. There isn't anything I can tell you. I'm just glad we stopped it from eating that man." She looked around and noticed that whoever he was, he took off. It's probably for the best. She didn't want any rocks thrown at her today. At least these people weren't judging her book by it's cover. Skaere contemplated taking off, finding her jacket and shoes and going home, but this is the first group of superheroes she's run into. She'd be a fool not to try and make allies or something. 

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"If only you had access to a master magister, one who had been unraveling the mysteries of arcana since the beginning of all things!" Set exclaimed, examining his fingertips in a show of feigned humility that suggested he had only ever read about the sensation in passing.

Sekhmet grumbled to herself, knowing what was coming. The goddess focused on the unconscious wolf creature at he feet, kicking its side none too gently to ensure that it wasn't simply playing dead. "Speak with haste, liesmith, and save us all thy prattle."

Without missing a stride, Set turned to the more articulate werewolf with a wide smile. "Manners, Sekhmet! Introductions first, methinks. Set at your service, oh bestial beauty, Scion of Storm and Sand, Prince of Power and Perspicacity!" The godling bowed deeply from the waist and when he straightened his thick nest of deadlocks had been replaced with a brick red feathered mohawk resembling the hairstyle of their new acquaintance. "My always charming counterpart tis Sekhmet, Mistress of Dread, Lady of Slaughter, She Who Mauls, so on and so forth. Also something of a cat person, so forgive her any instinctual rivalries."

"Already I would choose her company over yours," Sekhmet interjected, giving her fallen opponent a final shove with one sandal before looking up and crossing her arms.

"Aye, aye. She loves me," Set assured the mortals with an airy wave of his hand. "Now, onto our novice shapeshifters, hm? You strike me as a modern woman my friend, no time for rituals and dead languages! Recruited by an alpha, I expect? A bite, a scratch, a sip of blood? Always comes back to blood in the end, you know. Consider that the lesson of the night, oh splendid spiritualist," he added to Temperance, nodding largely to himself. "Always check the blood. Still! More than one way to skin a wolf or wolf a skin, ha! Belts and cloaks, herbs and ointments, spirits and summonings. Old school!"

Shaking his head vigorously like a dog shaking off water, the godling changed his own visage to that of an odd, black furred animal with a long snout and ears on stalks. "Adorable, really. Let's have a closer look at you, then..." Sauntering over, he crouched to examine the second werewolf, scratching his furry chin contemplatively.

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If Skaere had eyebrows one would have been raised at the rather extravagant redhead and his companion. Their manner of speech was anything but typical and the man seemed to have the ego of, well, a god.

Still, the woman and her irritability with him made Skaere's snout morph into what one would imagine it to look like if a wolf could smile. They felt like an old married couple somehow. Two people who had known each other so long that his behavior no longer so much as made her blink.

Set. Sekhmet. Weren't those name from Egyptian mythology?

She didn't really have time to dwell on it, she was too caught up in Set's changing appearance. Skaere had to be honest, she was a little jealous of the sweet feathers in that mohawk.

"You can call me Skaere." With the animalistic tones of this form, her accent is very nearly untraceable. Only taking shape in the strange pronounciation of of that word. Sounding almost like 'scare' but with emphasis on and 'i' that doesn't exist. "You are correct. An alpha tried to recruit me. But I have no interest in living with a pack.... I live my own life."

She watched Set change his appearance yet and again and with a slight shake of her head found her attention on Sekhmet. "I hope you don't think like he does. I am a werewolf, not a weredog. I have nothing against cats."

Edited by GooseInduced

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Hmmm. There were alphas and packs. Temperance knew those werewolf shows had to be good for something more than muscular young men who regularly got shirtless. Not that she'd knock that, of course. She didn't know why she expected the idea of werewolves being loners - her inheritance tied her to an ephemeral bureaucracy of elementals, patriotic spirits, and Monsters Under the Bed Local 523 ("We Scare with Care"). It was fair to assume that other supernatural creatures had their own hierarchies.

"A pleasure to meet you, Skaere," she said. "I am Temperance, as you might have heard from Set over there." She looked over to the felled wolf and tried not to sound like an idiot. "How many go rogue like this? Is it common for those who've been... newly turned?"

Well, that could've gone worse.

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"Aha, a lone maverick on the fringe of the norm, then!" Set exclaimed, lifting his elongated snout into the air in Skaere's direction. The inhuman head did nothing to alter the timbre of the godling's confident voice. "Well within my domains, you lucky duck you! I applaud your exceptional life decisions!"

Sekhmet crossed her arms and gave the conscious werewolf an openly appraising look from head to toe. "Balancing mortal aspects speaks to ma'at, betrayer," she observed in a warning tone. "Be not so quick to claim her."

Rolling his grey eyes, Set turned back to the fallen beast. "I'm hardly handing out pamphlets door to door, Lady. Merely making conversation. More on topic, all that infects this fellow be questionable taste in fashion accessories." Indicating a strip obscured by the misshapen brute's coarse fur, he clarified, "Wolf hide belt, I'd wager. My elder self did something similar with-- well! Never you mind, I do go on."

"Snakes?" Sekhmet hazarded, something suggesting a satisfied smirk briefly touching the warrior goddess' bronze lips.

Pinching the bridge of his suddenly human nose between two fingers, her charge sighed and muttered something under his breath. "One must admire the dedication to theme, at least... Regardless, this was done quite intentionally, it would appear. Feral, aye. Rogue? I wonder."

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Skaere gave Temperance a nod. "Good to meet another face that doesn't run screaming." She laughed a bit, but there was an edge of bitterness detectable even under her animalistic tone. "I do not know much of other kinds of werewolves. But it is not the full moon. It is very possible for new wolves to give in on that night, but my kind are not naturally man hunters, more likely to stick to chasing rabbits and deer."

Her ears twitched and turned toward Set and Sekhmet as the two steal her attention. She wasn't quiet sure what the two of them werr getting at, but some of it seemed to involve her. Perhaps she should best be careful around Sekhmet. She seemed distrusting and Skaere didn't want that to bite her in the back later.

Still, that creature. Vibrant green eyes scanned over the unconscious werewolf. She took a few steps toward it and by proxy Set, crouching on thick muscled legs to see the belt like lump in its fur. "What should we do with it?" She asked, almost feeling bad for the thing as she looks down at its beaten form. Though her instincts knew better, it was dangerous and they couldn't let down their guard.

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Temperance knelt down to explore the beast's fur. Sure as Set had said, there was a thick protrusion around the waist, with a fur-covered nub that felt a hell of a lot like a belt buckle. "Well," she said, "I suppose it might help if we got a better idea of the man under the beast skin."

She began fumbling with the protrusion, and couldn't help feeling like she was doing something quite obscene. But eventually, she managed to slip her fingers into what felt like a gap in the flesh - one that yielded far more easily than flesh should. The belt came flying off; in her hands, it resembled a long strip of pale hide, with tufts of fur running along its length and a crude iron buckle at the end. And on the ground lay a young man, no older than 16, somewhat thin, quite gawky, and very, very naked.

"Well. I don't suppose anyone has some spare pants."

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"An overrated garment," Set scoffed with a wave on his hand, his body language unconcerned and dismissive while his eyes remained fixed upon the strip of hide Temperance had pulled from the misshapen creature's waist. "Ah, mayhap I should hold onto that, oh liquid lovely...?" the godling ventured, a note of trepidation creeping into his self-assured voice. "Wolf straps be not known for high standards of mystic containment."

Nose wrinkling with distaste, Sekhmet looked away from the exposed youth. "Ugh. Though I would rarely see the betrayer handed any object of power, tis some virtue to his warning. The sallow youth has not the look of a master craftsman."

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That was exactly why Skaere took precautions. Transforming shredded the clothing, leaving one vulnerable to the elements and completely naked when you had to change back. It's the reason she was so dead set and determined to get her hands on some morphic molecules clothing. It wasn't much. Little more than some small shorts and a tank top. But it was far better than having to change back on the fly and walking the street naked. The morphic molecules made the clothing fuse with her Werewolf anatomy, reverting to its original form when she returns to her own.

 

"No pants here." She laughs, and it's mostly true. None she can get to at the moment and certainly none she would give the unconscious body. "Where would he get something like that? You think he made it? How?"

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Temperance studied the wolfskin belt in her hands. It seemed very crude, like someone hadn't even taken the time to fully denude the flesh before tanning it. And yet, the hair felt as smooth and vital as if it was on the wolf, even while the leather felt thick and resolved. The clasp on the belt was fairly neolithic, one step up from ore that could be smelted over a fireplace, with markings on it in a language she couldn't perceive. It was, at the same time, entirely too simple and entirely too complex for a modern teenager to make in their spare time.

"This doesn't look like amateur crafts," she said, "and if he were a wizard, I think he might find better things to do than run around parks looking like Lon Cheney." She willed some water out of her pack. "I'd hate to do this to somebody while they're without pants, but..."

The water hit the young man's face - gently, but still with enough effort to be felt. He stirred, as if from a deep sleep - then swiftly realized where he was, and what he (wasn't) wearing. He swiftly stuck one hand over his sensitive materials between looking at the others. "Who are you? Where am I? I - hey, you're Set! I read your Tumblr, like, every day!"

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