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.”
There were quite a few emotions that passed through Luna and he was trying to pin every single one. That's what he did, after all. It was why he was so good at reading people and being successful in what he did back at home to help others. His eyes studied the averting of her eye contact to the way her pulse moved beneath her sun-kissed skin. This wasn't anger and revenge. She was more concerned in helping others and the softness of her smile and voice spoke to it. It was steady and not filled with fury. At least then, anyway. She was a puzzle, for sure, but Devon understood why she was held in such high regard among her people too.
A new emotion arose. A type of acceptance and then her revealing that she would have to come back to London when the time came for he and his Rogues to go. Somehow he didn't think that far ahead despite just beyond keeping an eye on her here with whatever that was that happened back in town then. Tearing her away from her people was not something he would ever want. She meant too much to them and he wouldn't want to drag Luna around with him when she clearly had no desire. She was no part of their cause and he couldn't be responsible in killing her happiness any further.
Once she turned to walk away, Devon reached out and softly grabbed her arm to stop her, stepping towards her to close the gap. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't do that to you. You shouldn't sacrifice leaving just because of this," he said motioning to the necklaces, speaking lowly. "I have people that can handle things back at home while we finish what's going on here. Then we can deal with the whole stuck together forever bit." He smirked and dropped his hand from Luna once he realized he was still holding her. After a brief moment of lingering too long in the closed space, he continued towards camp silently.
The others immediately noticed their presence as they came through the clearing. Some of the Rogues stood up, but they all gathered close around the fire as Devon explained what their next plan of action was. Everyone seemed a little hesitant at first, but none wanted to lose any more people in the fighting, so they were eventually all on board. Arrangements were also made so some of them could return home and continue operating things while he was away. Sarah had come running over and looked like she'd been cleaned up along with some clothing that was clearly from their Gypsy companions. The beading and shells on the colorful dress made a ton of noise with her every step before she nearly collided into Devon. The girl still wasn't much for words though and she stayed firm standing against his chest while he sat on a log with the others gathered.
Devon's eyes landed on Luna as she spoke to her brethren, explaining what they'd discussed in the woods alone. There were determined nods in response from the others and it seemed they would soon all be working towards this new plan. Though, night was coming on within the next few hours and they would need to make sure their camp was safe or as safe as could be given this wolf king was still prowling the region. That and Devon still needed to be sure of what Luna was hiding. He just wasn't sure how to go about doing it. Having a very open conversation about what he'd heard and seen didn't seem like something she would take to well. "Milo," he said quietly to his best friend sitting next to him as the others were busy talking among themselves and preparing for supper. His gaze still remained on Luna while he spoke. "Tell me about the wolf legends again from your town."
Luna's mind was swirling with the next steps. Relieved and ultimately surprised he agreed to this scheme. So focused on her thoughts. That's half of why she didn't jump and jerk away when he took her arm. Why she didn't push away when he closed the space between them. This moment was unexpectedly tender. It gave Luna a moment, to actually look at Devon. See him clearly. Take in his features. Voice. Scent. Something she hadn't had the chance to do until now. His words made Luna's eyes soften for just a second. As she prepared to interject but instead just listened. Consequently not ruining the possible rare moment.
She was peculiarly quiet at this moment. Adding to its warmth. It wasn't until he let her go that she realised how her breath had gone shallow. Or when he stepped away that she noticed how warm she felt. When she was usually the one to make others feel that warmth. Once they got past the hard shell she let everyone believe she had. She was right behind him as they rejoined everyone and suddenly the camp was split in half again as the rogues went to Devon and her pack came to her. Separating them in the process. For now, she didn't think much of it. Just that it was something to work on if they were meant to work together.
"Should we ask Mama and the caravan for help?"
She had just finished explaining the plan to her pack. She didn't growl. And for the most part, remained calm hearing this question. Except for how the gold in her eyes flared. Burning bright for a flash. Until she blinked. But that was enough to shake her pack. Have them falter for one second. It hadn't even been 24 hours since Mama's betrayal. So clearly that was still a sore subject. "No. While Mama and the caravan are a great asset to have. I think it's best to let some time pass before we see her again."
There was a pause after her words. But in that pause were moments of thinking among her pack. So eventually they all agreed. "If we really need the Gypsies..." She paused. Hesitated really as she looked away and eventually huffed. "... I will reach out to Aunt Nadia and her caravan." That sparked an immediate reaction. A faint uproar that showcased how no one agreed. Luna calms them quickly though. Putting her hands up and repeating "I know!" Over their complaints, concerns and comments.
"Listen to me! I know! Practically every Gypsy knows about Mama and her sister's infamous fallout. But after what Mama did to me who here can say they don't trust Mama a little less now? That you're not consistently wondering if you're next up for one of her mysterious plots. Pondering if marriage was mild compared to what else Mama can make you do without you ever fully realizing it before it's too late."
She never rose her voice. Or showed that she was angry. She was calm, cool and collected throughout. Waiting to see if any of them objected to her words as she crossed her arms over her chest. Her ears twitched when she heard Devon as she lay in wait for her pack's reply. Asking one of his men about the old wolf tales. And while she never gave any indication that she heard him or that she was concerned. She was panicked. "Aunt Nadia isn't the ideal choice but given all of our current concerns regarding Mama she's our only option IF we do need the Gypsies."
She managed to focus back on her pack in time. But now her mind was running. Focused on when she last let her wolf out. When the full moon was. Or the new moon. Or any moon that might affect her and her pack for that matter. She dismissed her pack. Allowing them to continue socializing with the rogues and each other.
"Sorry to interrupt."
She approached Devon. Smiling softly. "I'm just here to take Sarah for a moment. She and I-" She knelt down in front of the young girl and smiled. "-Need to talk... alone." She poked her nose. She normally wouldn't take her away from someone she was comfortable with. But as a wolf, she needed to talk to the Zeta. Know she was safe with her among some other very important things.
Howls at the moon. Worships devils. Eats children?! It all sounded a bit ridiculous to him, but he still knew very little about the world of magic and the beings that came from it. Devon put a hand through his hair and sighed. Somehow eating children didn't exactly seem like something Luna was capable of and he wondered how much of Milo's storytelling was exaggerated by the fear people held for things they didn't understand. He didn't have to think on it hard. The answer was clearly most of it. Still, he knew what that beast was doing to the various towns and its people in the region and he wasn't so sure that this wolf didn't do those things Milo mentioned.
His eyes looked up to Luna making her way over to them. The pull from the necklace always seemed to indicate when she was near and he could feel her presence before ever having to actually see her coming. He supposed that was a good and bad thing. Good because it made it easy to keep an eye on her. Bad because that also meant she knew when he was close and trying to casually keep an eye on someone else when they know you're there doesn't really help in that endeavor. Sarah had been kneeling next to Devon when she approached and though he found it odd to request talking to the child alone, he didn't protest. However, he did stand up and gave Luna a hesitant look. Sarah continued on drawing circles and other things in the dirt while Devon took a few steps away from the girl so she would be out of immediate earshot of their exchange.
"I'm not so sure you're going to get anything from her," he began looking back at Sarah who was still minding her self in a world of her own. "She hasn't said anything else besides giving up her name. I'm guessing she saw something pretty awful. Maybe went through something worse. Tried asking about her parents and she grabbed my hand. I thought she was going to break it, honestly. Then about the wolf and she gripped onto my leg like she was terrified." It had taken Devon quite a few moments to get the girl to calm down where she finally let go and began playing on the ground, drawing strange symbols. He nodded to Luna to follow him as they stood behind the child who was still far off in her drawing. "Do you recognize any of that?"
"Devon!" The interruption of his name was being called by Milo who jogged over to him. "We've got the scout situation worked out with the others." Others he knew meant the Gypsies they were now working with. "We've mapped out the shifts on the perimeter. Hopefully that thing won't show its face while we're all asleep, but with the sheer number of us, I don't think it would take the risk."
"Who knows. With all its successes, it might just have the confidence to do anything now." His gaze went over to Luna then. "We're going to have to figure out where we are getting all these materials from too. Maybe from the towns we've helped at a considerable rate cause it won't come cheap." He nodded to Milo and watched him go off, before bending down to Sarah. "Hey princess, Luna wants to talk to you. I'll be right over there, okay?"
Desperately seeking reason.
Every step closer Luna bore to them she tried to find some rhyme or reason to speak to the pup alone. Without raising any more suspicion. She didn't take Devon's sudden curiosity about Milo's folk tales lightly. A large part of her even blamed that growl he heard her give. While the small and hopeful part of her that was left tried to convince the rest of her it was natural for him to inquire about what they were hunting. In the end, she had no reason to give Devon for her request. Luna was many things but she wasn't a liar.
And lying now would only make the truth harder to believe later.
The look he gave her... While outwardly she appeared unphased by it as she kept a straight face inwardly the was a faint panic and even fainter offence.
Did he not trust her suddenly?
Or did he never really trust her to start?
Albeit, they hadn't known each other long enough to fully trust each other. There was likely a mountain of things they didn't know about the other. And the surface level of trust they did share between them was probably only due to being tossed together and the understanding that they wanted the same thing. They were on the same side.
Or so they believed.
Devon might think her the devil when he finds out what she is. She bit back the frustrated growl in her throat and focused on the girl instead. Remaining silent as Devon spoke because she didn't want anything from the girl right now. She just wanted Sarah to know who she, Luna, was to Lupines so the young pup could fully understand that she was safe. She also needed to be sure Sarah didn't say anything about that matter to Devon. Luna hoped to be the one to tell him herself.
She just needed to trust him more.
Kneeling she watched Sarah draw the symbol in the sand. Something about it was so eerily familiar it made her wolf stir. And so she suddenly groaned as if in a faint pain. But she managed to relax with nothing more than a deep breath.
"Something in me feels like I should know this... But..."
She reached down and completed the scribbling with her finger. Looking at Sarah soft but intently. Sarah froze staring at everything as a whole before twisting her mouth and whipping what Luna had added away.
It was wrong. When it should have been right.
"...I don't." She looked at Sarah and then what the pup continued to scribble. Was it a different dialect she wondered? She was pulled from her thoughts when she heard the scout. Knowing her pack would choose to guard the night for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, though she knew she was running out of time to tell Devon what she was.
But she had only known this man for a day. And there were men she'd known for decades who had no clue about the Big Black Wolf inside of her. She shook her head " We can't ask those villages for that. They have so little already." She grumbled to herself and clicked her tongue. "I know who we can ask."
She didn't sound very enthusiastic.
When finally alone with Sarah she sat on the floor and crossed her legs. Watching her softly. Listening to her surroundings to be sure no one was listening in before speaking kindly and sweet.
"You cried to me and I answered. So I assume you know who I am?"
Devon's brow furrowed as he looked to the drawings, completely lost for any meaning of it. Maybe just scribbles of a child. He imagined Sarah needed whatever outlet she could find then in order to break away from the awfulness she might've witnessed and been through. There didn't seem to be much harm in it, so Devon wasn't going to discourage it. He only wondered how long it would be until the little girl found the courage and trust in him to finally speak on what happened to her. It also would help in knowing if she even had any family left to go to. From what he'd seen back in town, he'd have to guess there wasn't anyone for her to go home to.
He watched the exchange between Luna and Sarah. It seemed like some kind of connection was there, almost like they were communicating silently in a way. Still, Sarah remained quiet and Luna confirmed she didn't know what the symbols in the dirt were referring to. His arms folded over his chest in thought. Just another unknown to add to the girl's already shrouded existence.
As Luna thought on his suggestion for getting lumber from the towns they'd visited already, he was glad to hear that she may have someone else who could help in their newly forming plan. Though, the woman seemed resigned to the fact that asking whomever this was was not something she freely wanted to do either. Devon was going to ask her for more information, but her focus seemed to be completely on Sarah now. Precedence was clearly on this girl above the grander picture at large which he found suddenly odd. Hell, what wasn't odd about his new wife?
His mouth parted as he was going to ask more about what her plan was, but she was already ushering Sarah away to talk. Devon's arms dropped and he sighed through his nose, watching as the two went off to be very clearly alone without the eyes and ears of others. Once again the necklace was telling him where she was and also reminding him that he could not get close without her knowing. He really didn't want to break the possible trust they were building now, but his gut was telling him whatever she was keeping hidden was no reason to believe that they truly had any trust between them to begin with.
"Milo," he said quietly, his eyes fixed on the tent the two were walking towards. His friend's gaze followed his leader's and he knew without having to say the actual words that Devon was asking him to do a little listening in on what was happening. "Take a walk."
A sniffle. An extra laugh. A few added words in their normal conversation. It blended right into Luna's pack's normal behavior but alerted her to Milo as The Wind alerted them.
And so there she sat quietly. Her mind running to figure out how she'd talk to Sarah with their little fly on the wall listening in. Luna turned her head and glanced over her shoulder. Even without her pack telling her the goings-on at the moment Luna could smell him near. She heard Devon's quiet instruction to him too. And it didn't take a genius to know what he meant. Milo's heavy footsteps weren't as silent as he thought either. Maybe to a human or another species but a lupines sense of hearing and smell were superior.
Sarah spoke as her gentle hand came to Luna's chin to grab her attention again. Luna blinked as she turned to face the pup. Her eyes were wide but soft as she smiled hearing Sarah's voice. But she was quickly distracted then as she mulled over how to continue with Milo lurking. Her mouth fell agape and closed a few times over as she huffed away what she wanted to say. "I can keep a secret.' Sarah spoke again and it caused Luna's head to snap towards her.
She blinked several times as her brow pushed together. Sarah could likely hear and smell Milo spying near too. A silence fell between them as Luna's shoulders fell. Asking a child with a clearly traumatic past to keep a secret. Any secret. Put a foul taste in her mouth and weighed heavy on her conscious. " You won't have to keep it for long. I promise. I'll do my best for your sake to tell Devon myself soon." Sarah didn't reply but instead played with Luna's hair. Which after a while made Luna ask if she also wanted her hair braided.
They stayed in the tent in silence for a while. Comfortable with just each other presence which was a start because it meant Sarah was no longer nervously doodling on the floor. Finally, they exited the tent and were greeted by Tab. He smiled brightly and crouched down low to not be so intimidating. "I made you this" he held up a small wooden doll. A few more minutes passed and before long Sarah was sitting among Luna's pack. Eating and playing with her new toy.
She may have clung to Devon but ultimately, she initially cried for Luna. As long as she was okay and safe Luna was happy. Maybe being around other Lupines for a change will get her to open up to Devon later. She smirked at the site for just one second until she realised she still had that little mouse Milo hiding in the bush somewhere. She rolled her eyes. Luna wasn't just excellent at tracking. She was also good at losing a tale. Being fast and small she eventually slipped into the woods while Milo's head was still likely spinning.
"Has no one ever told you you can't gyp a gypsy?"
She had managed to sneak up on Devon as he was taking a piss. Smirking as she leaned on the tree behind him. "We made up the term " take a walk." She chuckled and looked away to give him some privacy. Crossing her arms over her chest. She was quiet for a second. Allowing him to get himself together. "If you have questions I'd rather you ask them than be spied on. My answer will come when you've proven you can be trusted with it."
She stood up straight and began to walk. Gesturing with her hand for Devon to follow her. "It will take some time for the people I know to gather the supplies we need and bring them to us. So we should message them now." There was a faint anxiousness in her tone of voice. Aunt Nadia and her mother had had a falling out for a reason after all. After walking a bit they came to a clearing near a cliff where one of her scouts waited with one of Devon's.
She removed one of the scarves tied around her waist. Handing it off to her scout. " For Nadia." The scout tilted his head as if he had heard that wrong but then gave a curt nod. He held the scarf up over the edge of the cliff and took a breath. Both he and Luna seemed a bit nervous. Like they weren't sure what response they'd get if any.
"Fuck it. Something Wicked This Way Comes."
The scout let the scarf go. The Breeze dragging it off into the horizon. He took a breath in relief when it disappeared into the sun. But it was premature and Luna knew better than to let her guard down so soon.
A wise choice on her part.
One second there was calm. The next a violent wind attacked the party of four. And only them. Nothing else was affected. Luna quickly blocked her face as The Wind pushed so hard it unbraided her hair. She was very keen on watching the scouts though. They were close to the edge of the cliff; seeing them falter so close to falling lit a flame in her belly.
And so she knuckled up. Digging her feet into the ground she used all her strength and tried to use her speed though she wasn't moving fast at all against The Wind to get to the scouts. Grabbing them both "use the trees in the woods as cover." and tossing them back towards Devon. She felt herself slipping now. Forcing her to get on all fours as her claws came out and dug into the ground. Her wolf fighting to break out and help. It was getting harder to breathe. Harder to calm back down.
"This pull is as strong as your heartbeats."
"It will guide you to each other when you are in need."
"Help you keep the other safe."
Normally she'd have hated to hear those words in her head again. But at this moment they helped. And so, Luna closed her eyes and focused. She let her claws recline. Focused on wanting to leave without Devon. Focused on ways to get out of the marriage. And true to Mama's words the necklace responded to those thoughts and rapidly pulled Luna to Devon.
The necklaces locked together. And Luna grabbed Devon and dragged him into the woods. She found the scouts. Quickly knocked Devon to the ground and climbed on top of him to protect him from The wind. Her scout followed suit. A minute longer and The Wind eventually stopped. Luna tried to sit up and get off of Devon but the necklaces were still latched. Making her curse under her breath as her scout chuckled and began to tease them both.
"Yeah... Yeah, I'm glad you're alright too." She waved her hand at her scout and then tried to pry the necklaces apart. He helped the other scout up and checked on him "let's take a walk." Luna paused a moment to look down at Devon as if to say "See." Until finally they were unlatched. Luna flopped to the floor and stared up at the treetops trying to catch her breath at last.
"So those questions I mentioned earlier. You should maybe ask them now. Probably better than me just aimlessly trying to explain what the fuck just happened."