Adventuring through twisted time.
And so, The Wind blew. Carrying the shrill screams of people as their towns burned and they themselves were ravaged. The scent of death floated through the air joined by floating embers. The Gypsies always came before the fall. This destruction following in their wake; Making their reputation worse. Until The Wind blew again. And so, from the shadow of the destruction, the Gypsies bloomed forth...
They treaded in with caution. Spade at the front of her pack as they arrived in this new ravaged town. She and her pack always headed out in front of their caravan to survey the land. Be sure it was safe for their families there before arriving. Spade's steady gaze took in the sight before her. In a matter of seconds, she surmised what happened here. The scent of wolves, ash and death. The fear riddled and clearly shaken survivors just trying to process it all and help each other be okay again made it crystal clear. Spade clicked her tongue. Her pack waiting for her command. She gestured her head toward the town and they knew it meant she wanted them to help where they could.
Spade wasn’t friendly. She was often feared from rumours and tales alone all built around her name.
She was violent.
She was merciless.
She was malicious.
She was sinful.
But really if anyone actually bothered to watch her. To look at and see just her they’d see she wasn’t any of those things. Though depending on the moment, she could be if that’s what was deserved. There was some truth to the rumours and stories. Spade wore her heart on her sleeve in actuality. She hid it well and the stories helped. But in moments like this that angry glare that took over the features of her face on a consistent basis faded. And the undying fire in her eyes turned down to a low simmer. The people here needed grace and while she was definitely not associated with the word, she could provide it when needed.
“What should we tell the caravan?”
“Tell them to come halfway.
The people here can’t afford
the backlash of a gypsy camp being here.
But we can help with food, drinks
and entertainment to lift their spirits.
If they come to us.”
She sent three-pack members back to the caravan. All with strict instruction to watch each other’s back. The rest stayed with her and continued to help. Spade wasn’t big as a human so she wasn’t expected to be able to do the amazing feats she could very well do. And so, to avoid people's suspension and curiosity of her she conformed to the ways of humans and only displayed the strength and speed any normal human her size would have. With the trace amounts of silver and wolfbane still lurking in her blood, it was a bit too easy for her taste.
She caught her breath with the rest of the townspeople as they all worked together to move piles of fallen and burnt wooden pillars and crumbled stone. Trying to clear the road as best they could while the people who lived here decided on their next steps. She was rubbing her hands together to get most of the soot and dirt off them when she spotted the notice board. That usual ferocious facial expression reclaiming her facial features as she forwarded her brow. She stared at the poster on the board up close before ripping it off. Curious as to why it hadn’t burnt up with everything else. The only logical explanation she could find was it might have been posted after the raid. This was her old wanted poster. Her eyes keenly searched all the information given. She hadn’t seen the poster in eight years give or take but she was sure this was the one for her head. She recognised the portrait of her wolf anywhere.
She turned the page about to be sure she didn’t miss anything but after a moment she was sure it didn’t mention anything about her directly. At least not any more. The name Spade now just reduced to “The Wolf King”. She snorted to herself. They didn’t even know the proper term. Furthermore, they didn’t even know it was a lady Lupine in the portrait. She clicked her tongue deciding to keep this and bring it to the caravan with her. Her old one was stuffed away somewhere and she wanted to compare the two to be sure.
“They say he can control other wolves.”
An old man approached capturing Spade's attention.
“One look from him is all it takes and now that wolf is his.”
“He came through here like the devil himself.
Tore up who and what he wanted.
Dragged anyone or thing he liked away.
His wolves dancing with destruction as they tore through town.
And then, they just vanished! Out of the blue like they weren’t even here.”
Spade's face changed to that of confusion. Dashed with a bit of concern and swarming with whole lotta anger. She’d only taken her eyes off the old man for a second but now he was gone. Subtly she looked for him but something told her she wouldn’t find him. He left no scent in the air or tracks in the wet mud and soot on the ground. But just like the story he sort of told he left Spade with reasonable distress she hid just as well as she hid everything else.
The sun had long set. The gypsies all crawled from their tents or scampered out of their carriages as the moon rose. The giant bond fire already ablaze while the musicians tuned their instruments and the storytellers began to weave their wild tales as the people from town came in and sat before them. Spade was in her tent. Her eyes dashing back and forth between the two wanted posters. She was clearly perplexed now in private. The posters were almost identical. The old one she’d kept for years had more information than the newer one. It held her name. The status she had within the supernatural world. Distinguishing marks.
She'd heard the last of the people who knew about her original bounty had died years ago. The lacking information on this new poster confirmed it but it didn’t make her feel much better. She clicked her tongue and rolled her lips together as she tossed both posters into the giant bond fire and watched as they burned to a crisp. She didn’t stay with her people as they danced and communed with the townspeople she’d helped earlier and that brought Mama into her tent.
“So just like a thief in the night you’re leaving.”
Spade sighed at Mama’s words. Glancing over her shoulder at her as she stopped packing.
The silence from Mama made Spade hum. Her silence more telling than any answer.
“You'd be safe with us!”
A long silent breath left Spade. Her facial features slowly tightening as the breath left her. “But you wouldn’t be safe with me. All things in the dark will come to light. One day someone will find out this “king of the wolves” is actually a woman. And what if someone finds out I’m a wolf? One with black fur and gold eyes and matching the physical description of the wolf in the poster? What if my old wanted poster is found lost in The Wind somewhere?”
It was Mama's turn to click her tongue. Trying to convince her daughter she’d still have a better chance with family or anyone really than on her own but Spade was stubborn and once her mind was made up that was usually the end all be all. “Well then tell me. What makes this hunt different from the last?” Mama curried and sent Spade into deep thought.
“I don’t know
there were these rogues in town. Human ones, not wolves.
They’re hunting the Wolf King; One of them had a...”
Spade stopped speaking for just a moment as she peered out the front of her tent at the rogues coming into the caravan camp now. “...sword.” Mama with forwarded brow peered out of the tent after Spade. “Is that Ex-” “-Yes.” Quickly Mama pulled the flap to Spade's tent down and grasped her daughter’s chin. Spade jumped and flinched away from being touched but stopped herself, and with a steadying breath let her mother continue.
“Moonpie in the next few seconds, we’re going to walk out of this tent and welcome those men.
How we treat them, however, is all based upon you and how you answer my questions.
With faint hesitancy Spade nodded her head. Mama riddled out a slew of questions all to do with being sure these rogues didn’t suspect her daughter in any way. Spade would bet her life on them not knowing anything about her other than her being a Gypsy. And so, being convinced that these rogues were just here to accept the invitation of food and drink and entertainment given to them earlier Mama walked out of Spade's tent with a smile. Determined to give them a warm welcome as she always did to everyone. Spade begrudgingly followed but not to welcome them. She never did.
“Smile for once Moonpie.”
“That’s not happening.”
It had been over a week since Devon and the Rogues began tracking the monsters that seemed to be lurking through the region and always they were too late to find them before another town was destroyed and lives had been lost. He wiped the sweat from his brow and looked down to the blood that covered his hands and shirt. None of it belonged to him, but it was mixed from the different people who had been butchered in the pack's newest slaughtering. It had been hours of he and his group trying to pick up the broken pieces of what little life was left here in this small village and it only brought more anger to fill him deep in his gut. Devon felt like he had been failing each of these people and as he watched the townspeople burn their dead for fear of their loved ones turning into those beasts, he swore he wouldn't show an ounce of mercy to these savage wolves.
More and more Devon believed that when the stranger came looking for he and his group, that man knew exactly what they would be up against, but had decidedly left out the details. The world of magic was something Devon and his men were just starting to come to terms with and he would bet anything that this pack of monsters was somehow a part of that world; He was a gambling man after all. His fingertips rested on the hilt of his sword as his normally blue hues shifted a darker gray while the ash and smoke of the fires of the dead wafted into the air. He couldn't stand the sound of flames and wailing women any longer and walked to the outskirts of the village, staring off into the dark forest where he almost felt like he was being watched by the very thing he was hunting.
Time seemed to move quickly as the sun set an eerily blood red. The Rogues moved through the forest and followed the sounds of the music and voices which floated through the air. Apparently a caravan of Gypsies had moved through the town and were offering their condolences in the form of entertainment in some attempts to bring a lightheartedness to blanket the aching the people were feeling, but to Devon it was only a short distraction as he knew more blood would undoubtedly by spilled in the coming days. He looked to those that flanked his sides and didn't want to deny them the chance at a good time. Their failure in capturing the wolves was weighing heavily on them all and a night of revelry was something they were due, even if he himself would prefer bottomless ale and a spot alone and away from everyone.
The sound of music and laughter filled the rows of tents alongside the smells of smoke and food. Devon glanced about and fell on a woman dancing in a veil for the crowd, but was suddenly pulled away by an older woman who seemed to possibly be the one in charge. She hadn't even given her name before immediately inquiring about their time in the village and what, if any, information they had on. He leaned his weight to one side and rested an arm on the hilt of Excalibur, sighing heavily. "No, we haven't gotten any closer to finding the wolves responsible for these murders. Tracking them has proven difficult, but we aren't going to be giving up. We've had difficult chases before and this one has gotten personal." His mind slipped back to the previous village where Devon had lost a close friend of his; An old man that helped the Rogues store their stolen wares and given them a place to hide when running was no longer an option. "You lot should be careful though. A caravan of people on the move might be an opportunity to these monsters."
The Rogues had begun to spread out among the tents and were quickly getting lost in the distractions available to them. Devon did as he had hoped and stayed mostly away from everyone, watching from a distance and drinking deeply from his cup of a wine that was more sweet than the bitter he'd been used to. It was quickly intoxicating him and the rivers of blood he'd seen earlier were washed away as he smiled softly at the others around him enjoying the break from the chaos that skulked about their land.
Upon hearing the remark from Devon to Mama about the Gypsies being more careful Spade Scoffed. A bit louder than she’d intended to but regretted nothing. If only he knew, the monsters he warned of were all right here. Mama seemed pleased by his concern nonetheless. Spade never greeted the man or his men and mostly kept to her own kind. Sitting with a few of her wolves she watched everyone have their fun. The cup in her hands never rose to her lips she didn’t even want this cup to begin with. She handed off the undrunk drink to someone she was near as she stood. Flicking another of her wolves in the back of the ear as he plotted a prank right in front of her. He hit the floor before she walked away and rolled around on the ground dramatically.
Everyone around laughed and even though Spade didn’t she'd admit it was funny. You’d maybe even catch a very faint smirk at the corners of her lips if you looked close enough. But it was gone as soon as it appeared. All the wolves and even a few Gypsies with advanced senses all snapped their heads over to one of the carriages as if a loud noise had thudded through the caravan. Spade was much more subtle in her motion to look over because she knew what had just happened. The sound these gypsies had heard was not loud at all. Buried under the music. People chatting and laughing. Spade let out a gentle sigh. Making her way over she bent down near the front wheel. Let her fingers graze the wood and metal of it. “I can level it tonight. I just still can’t fix it until we find a town that has what we need.”
She gave the family she spoke to a smile. A fake one. All her smiles we’re fake nowadays. But convincing. She stepped away from them a moment and headed back towards her tent. She thought she'd be safe from Mama as she snuck by her because she was busy trying to get the man with the magical sword drunk. She shook her head and shot a harsh breath from her nose but was soon stopped by none other than Mama. She gave Spade a chastising look and once again riddled out a bunch of questions at her. This time in their native Romani tongue not wanting Devon to catch on. Even if he was by chance already drunk. But Spade didn’t answer in Romani. She responded in English with one simple sentence. “I’m just grabbing my tools that’s it.” Mama let her go believing her and returned to Devon.
Spade didn’t even think twice about Mama beguiling this man and the rest of his men into drinking more and more. She figured it was so that if someone did something that was a little less human, they wouldn’t get suspicious because they were too inebriated to not blame the spirits they drank. She grabbed her tools and headed back to the carriage. Just like she said she would. And so, about halfway there she stopped and stared up at the night sky. The moon had peeked through some of the breaks in the trees and touched her skin. She was always grateful when the moon wasn’t full. Tonight, wasn’t any different. She even thanked the gods if any could hear her that it wouldn’t be full for a little while longer. She dreaded those full moon days under normal circumstances. Now though, her dread was worse.
She made it to the carriage and made quick work of levelling it out and making it steady. Honestly, if there weren’t any guests here, she'd had been much quicker but that would take a great display of speed and strength. Which she obviously couldn’t risk. She stood and spun on her heels coming chest to face with one of the bigger Gypsy men in the caravan. Four more brooding behind him. She studied each of them quickly. Then around them even quicker and suddenly her eyes went wide as she surmised what was going on now. Devon had already been grabbed up and sure enough, Spade was next.
They grabbed her despite her immediate fighting and carted them both off to separate tents to prepare them for a wedding against their wills.
The woman who had greeted him and his men when they’d begun to make their way through the camp was making sure they were being welcomed with open arms as she continued to pass around the wine. Devon had completely lost count of how many goblets he’d gone through, but it was enough for him to know that the next one would have him slurring his words and in need of a bed.
The music and laughter continued through the tents as he still kept further away from the merrymaking. Despite his feeling much more relaxed due to the bottomless barrels, he just couldn’t bring himself to fully let go. Not with so much death and not when the hunt was still on. Knowing that there was only going to be more gruesome murders to come from another village made his jaw clench unknowingly.
His gaze was far off as the older woman returned with the communal jug she carried with her. She smiled widely to him, motioning to raise his cup for another round. Devon tried to refuse, but she was insistent and it would be rude to not accept as her people were being nothing but generous and kind to them. He smirked and nodded to her offer, raising the goblet. “Honestly, you all have some of the best wine I’ve ever had and I’ve surely had my fair share.” Raising the drink, the wine went down smoothly, but there was a slight bitterness to it that he noted which wasn’t there before. His features scrunched slightly from it, giving a chuckle. “Must mean that I’ve had enough.”
A sudden tingling began in his mouth which moved through the rest of his body. The grip he’d had on the cup fell away as it went crashing to the dirt below, spilling the small bit of wine that had been left. Devon stumbled slightly, reaching for the tent fabric for some kind of support, looking to the matron in confusion. “Wh… wh…” but before he could question why she was trying to poison him, Devon’s eyes rolled back just as two men grabbed his arms and his legs gave out beneath him.
The world was spinning as he felt himself being carried away. He could feel the tips of his boots dragging through the mud as the once before lively music seemed muffled and far away. Devon forced himself to focus as he lifted his head. The flaps of a tent moved aside and he was dropped down as they entered it. There were hushed voices he couldn’t quite make out and from what he could tell, in a language he also couldn’t understand. “What the hell is going on?” he demanded, mostly to the ground, as he pushed himself up slightly before collapsing once again. Whatever that woman had put into the drink, it wasn’t poison, but some type of relaxer.
The two men who had brought him to the tent reached down to pick him up again and Devon didn’t hesitate to punch one in the jaw, but was quickly restrained as he felt rope being wrapped around his wrists and ankles. They propped him on his knees as one of them kept a firm grip on his shoulder to keep him from falling forward on his face. Whatever they were planning, it seemed he was meant to wait for whoever it was that was in charge and if he had to guess, the woman who was so keen on keeping him and his men drinking would be that very person.
Despite the thrashing and fighting Luna couldn't get away. A very humbling realization for her. She was dragged into a tent. All her limbs held. And before she could even process things entirely a cup was nearing her lips. The scent of the wine hit her and they didn't even get the chance to bring it to her lips fully. Luna regardless of the rumors actually hated transforming. In any way. Most of all she hated using her position as Zeta or her strength over others weaker than her to get what she wanted. Or scare people into obedience.
And so as the cup came close her fangs came down. And with a quick snap, she bit the hand of the gypsy bearing it. She snarled. The men that grabbed her still holding her. Trying to pin her to the ground. She was growing very lowly as to not be heard by any of the guests. Mama entered her tent then checking the Gypsy's hand and telling him how to mend it. He wouldn't change. Luna made sure of that.
"What the fuck mom!"
Mama's eyes went slightly wide in shock. "Watch your mouth, Moonpie!" Mama rarely. If not ever rose her voice so everyone in the tent with them stilled. "Oh, I'm sorry I'll look down at my mouth next time!" Luna snapped back still fighting. Mama shook her head and gestured her hand. All the gypsies in the tent with them left except the men holding Luna in place. "Your father is making sure the rogue's leader is being changed. I'll join them in a second." The tent flap opened as yet another few gypsies came in and began to change Luna. Quite forcefully. And then, a siren came in.
It was suddenly easier handling Luna now. And once she was almost completely changed Mama left for Devon's tent. Leander the Gypsy king was with him. Sneaking him some water after making him change clothes but not doing anything to help him out of this situation. It was his tradition. "Everyone decent?" Mama walked in once she knew it was okay. Excalibur in her hands. "We don't want this. This wasn't a ploy to take it or kill you for it. The world still needs you." She was quick to reassure as she placed the sword down with his folded up clothes along the side.
"You have questions. The answers will come with time."
She came face to face with him. Kneeling down on her knees to study his face. Look him straight in the eyes. Keeping her distance even though they were surrounded by a few other men and her husband. "We're giving you a wife." She said like it was something to be proud of. Something held in high regard among the Gypsies. And it was. Even more of an honor and scarce among them was for the King and Queen to give an outsider their own daughter.
"Mama, Spade is..."
The gypsy entering the tent to give his message was cut off. Mama was quite the peaceful leader along with her husband. But she was called Mama for a reason. The kind and loving expression she was giving Devon flipped to a look of disapproval and disappointment at hearing her daughter being called Spade. The messenger dropped his head. "Sorry. Luna is ready." She nodded and thanked him for the message. Checking his now bandaged hand since this was the same Gypsy Luna bit. Careful to not indicate that he was bitten.
She stayed on her knees with Devon. She knew what questions must have been running in his head. What anger was swirling beneath the surface. Except this wasn't why she was clearly contemplative in front of him. She knew Luna could be a very big culture shock to anyone. Even more so to a man forced to marry her. She wanted to prepare him somehow without being ungraceful or frightening him. Luna was better met than explained.
"You two will fight. You won't always get along. I can't even promise that love will come. But this is what The Wind our god, wants. At least for now." She finally stood up just as another messenger came in to tell her it was time! She began to leave but she stopped suddenly.
"I'd imagine you've like many have never seen a desert rose."
She spun to face him once again. "Not many know what they look like because they're wrapped in a ball of hardened thorns. Only getting sun in breaks of space through its protection. To see it's rare and beautiful you've got to first see the thorns. And then you must be willing to fight through those thorns just to reveal the arcane and one of a kind flower within." She smiled at him. Knowing her words would eventually make sense. If he paid enough attention to his... wife.
"Now. You should smile. It's your wedding after all."
Devon eyed the people moving in and out of the tent, but didn't do anything rashly as he wasn't exactly sure what they wanted with him in the first place. However, he could take a most assured guess that it had very much to do with the sword that was an extension of himself. The fact that he was apart from the weapon was already making him more anxious than he currently was in this frustrating situation. He could feel that it was somewhere nearby; The pull of it always apparent when it was close. The Rogue never once assumed the Gypsies would want anything with Excalibur as they were meant to be keepers of peace, or so for the most part. Still, he couldn't imagine any other reason why they would want anything to do with Devon if not for that. Perhaps the only reason he was still alive was because its true source of power was not unlocked unless an ancestor held its hilt.
'Perhaps his bounty?' His thought was interrupted though as another older man came into the tent who seemed completely at ease with what was happening inside. The several men around him seemed to straighten up a little more as this man entered which Devon did not miss. He let out an annoyed breath as he came closer and could see a bundle of clothing in his arms. A single eyebrow rose as the Rogue looked from the man and to the clothes before he scoffed with a defiant smirk. "I'm not putting those on." But apparently, he was. Some minutes later and he was in the foreign feeling garb that was colorful and beaded and so not like him. The men had untied him, but were keen on staying near as he changed, making him more than a little uncomfortable as he made sure to give them plenty of side eye before turning his back and accepting his predicament. He was grateful for the water the older man had given him which was hidden amongst the clothing in a small satchel, though Devon wouldn't show it no matter how much he yearned to get the bitter taste of the drug out of his system. Frankly, he wasn't particularly excited to drink or eat anything any of these people provided again.
Once he was bound and on his knees again, the matronly woman who held some station among these people came through the tent in bright spirits, though Devon's eyes instantly focused on what she held in her hands; Excalibur. His earlier thoughts began to circle in his mind, but halted once she revealed that it wasn't the sword they were after. A look of confusion passed over his features as the woman lowered herself to be eye level with him. She seemed incredibly pleased with herself as a moment of quiet passed before revealing the intentions of this whole charade. "A what?!" This woman had completely lost her mind. A wife? This was the very last thing he was expecting to hear. In fact, he'd much rather be fighting for his life over the sword than being forced to marry and marry a complete stranger, no less.
The entire thing was such a shock, he hadn't been able to say a word as she seemed to be introducing his soon-to-be, as if some riddle. It was only after hearing the word wedding leave her lips did Devon finally find the sense to begin his objections. "I am not marrying anyone! Have you people completely lost your minds?" Devon attempted to get up, despite being bound and still flanked by the men who had been charged with watching him. There was a lot of foul and colorful language that began to spill from his mouth and no amount of pulling at the ropes that held him was going to help get himself free as he felt his skin burn from the resistance. Somewhere around the time when he cursed their God and told the people around him where the God could stick this little marriage arrangement did a rag come around his mouth and was tied tightly to keep him quiet. There was nothing that could be done. None of the Rogues would be looking for him because they were all off having a good time and would assume that he was too. He was a victim to whatever game the Gypsies were playing for now and so he stopped fighting and waited as the ludicrousy around him continued.