Jump to content

World of Darkness: Attrition - A Cousin's Dilemna [Fin]

Sarah Dead-Wolf

Recommended Posts

[evening, 1 May 2009]

This is a bad, bad idea.

It was true. Sarah knew it, knew it in her bones. Every last instinct, both Man and Beast, told her that she was treading on dangerous ground. But then an image would come unbidden to mind, a memory of childhood days shared running through leafy woods and laughter and familial friendship. Memories of times unburdened by blood and all the evils thereof. And those memories kept Sarah moving forward.

She'd tried Declan's place first, of course. He was her friend, after all, and the man she looked up to as a de-facto Alpha even if he wasn't such in name. He was also the one whom Amber would have been most most likely to confide in, probably placing him already in the know. But as had become increasingly the case of late, the little house on the corner was darkened; Owns-the-Night was on the hunt, or patrol, or possibly off in the strange otherworld of the Shadow which was as much home for him as this hard and cold physical plane.

Standing there, looking at those black windows looking out into the night, Sarah was faced with three choices, none particularly welcoming.

The first and easiest, the one her Beast almost screamed at her to take, was to forget the entire thing and go home (or hunting, if that feral thing that lived within her heart had its way). It certainly would be the least risky proposal. But Sarah had a stubborn streak that ran core-deep, and that sort of abandonment wasn't in her nature, either in life or this new unlife of hers.

But she's not your cousin. Said as much. You almost agreed. Beast-fed doubt crept in around the edges, and Sarah audibly snarled at the reminder of what had happened three nights before in that damned chatroom. Prior to the final fallout - over the very issue she was now persuing - the Dead-Wolf and her erstwhile Uratha cousin had something very close to an existentialist debate. Sarah had tried again and again, fingers frantically flying across the little touchpad of her phone, in an effort to convince Amber that she was still her cousin, still that same person at the core. And Amber, with equal determination, had driven the point that both had changed too much to still be those same people, that they were too different now to still be cousins. In the end, Sarah had reluctantly agreed to at least try to consider that maybe they were different enough to no longer be the same people as before.

But she's still your cousin, said something from an entirely different place in her heart. And the words rang true. People change. When those people are werewolves - or vampires, for that matter - they change even more. They're not the same as they started; nobody is. But there will always be that connection between you two: it is not something so easily sundered.

Sighing, Sarah removed option one from the table.

Of those remaining, option two was both safer and riskier. The vampire had talked with Ariel a number of times before, and while she wouldn't exactly say that they were close friends, there was at least a mutual respect and willingness to listen that was often lost when dealing with others of the People. It also didn't hurt that Ariel was a cop; she'd dealt with this sort of problem before, if on a more mundane scale.

Unfortunately, doing so would also break an implied trust. Sarah had spoken to no one about what she'd seen in Amber. If Ariel was unaware of it, then the Dead-Wolf would be once again spreading deeply personal information about someone who was raised by Storm Lords. It would be a major impediment to any future efforts by Sarah to improve her relationship with Amber. And in truth, violating even an unspoken trust tore at her gut.

With a much heavier sigh than before, Sarah forced her eyes to look eastward. Given the bounds that Declan had described, Amber's home pretty much had to be within a certain four-block area over that way - not a good part of town, even if it didn't play host to something capable of ripping a car in two on a bad moment.

This is a bad, bad idea, her mind repeated. Ignoring the warning, Sarah set off toward the east.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Fine," Amber said, squelching the desire to have her phone number replaced. "I'll meet you on our border, at the usual place." She snapped the phone shut and headed out, choosing to cross on paws.

What the hell does she want? Amber wondered. Something was up; Sarah wouldn't call about frivolous shit. Still, all she could do was idly consider it as she ran across the city.

Finally, she reached the border. Tipping her head back, she howled, announcing her presence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For once, there wasn't a wait; Sarah stepped quietly out from behind a tree. "Thanks for showing, Amber," she said, nervousness woven in strands around a core of determination in her voice as she deliberately and pointedly ignored the hungry look in the wolf's eyes. Even as Amber shifted up, she knew that didn't mean anything good.

"OK, preamble." At those two words, Amber knew that what would follow was definitely not good. Still, there was an odd tone to the words, one that sounded almost familiar... almost, in fact, like courage.

"First off, no Storm Lord stuff." Sarah held a hand up, cutting short the near-instinctive response, and there was indeed iron in her stance. "This isn't about showing weakness. It's about something completely supernatural and wrong, so don't throw up that wall."

Sarah's normal gazing place when around Amber was at the ground. She was, when push came to shove, at the dead-bottom of the totem pole, and that's what those at the bottom did. Tonight, she looked an angry Rahu straight in the eyes. "I know what's going on with you. And I know how to fix it for good. I'm offering my help, one predator to another, because it's dangerous to you and me and others to leave you like this. It's not an easy or fun fix for either of us, but it'll get the job done.

"And that's it. Take it or leave it. Say no, and I'll leave you to deal with this on your own, for however long it takes. Just know that might be a long time, and that one slip will knock you back to square one."

Click to reveal..
Resolve + Composure to stare Amber down. Spending Willpower as this is anything but easy.

(19:56:26) ChatBot: (Sarah_Dead-Wolf) rolls 8d10 and gets 10,6,2,10,10,7,3,3.

(19:56:36) ChatBot: (Sarah_Dead-Wolf) rolls 3d10 and gets 1,4,8.

4 successes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Click to reveal..
Amber's check to not eat Sarah's face out of hunger: 3 sux
1d10=5, 1d10=4, 1d10=8, 1d10=8, 1d10=6, 1d10=5, 1d10=4, 1d10=3, 1d10=7

Amber's check to not eat Sarah's face out of anger: 2 sux
1d10=9, 1d10=3, 1d10=3, 1d10=9

"I'm fine," Amber growled, her voice taking on the edge of rumbling that humans throats couldn't manage naturally. "The job is getting done on its own thanks."

With effort, the werewolf reminded herself that she'd promised to try to be nicer to Sarah. So for once, she decided to explain things. "I have agreed to Declan and Ariel to be nicer to you, so let me be nice and explain something. My increased tolerance of you doesn't extend to you nosing into my life. This thing is rotten, it fuckin' sucks, but I've got it. I've been dealing with it for months now, and without your help. I'll keep dealing with it until it's done. It's fine."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If you deal with it, then fine," Sarah snapped back. "But don't mistake this as nosing into your life. This is keeping a close and careful eye on my own, and those around me.

"See, when something goes wrong - and it does with this shit, no matter how tough and determined someone is - the leeches are going to hunt you down with whatever they've got. And they probably won't be too careful about who else takes silver shot along the way. When they do that - and they will - the werewolves are going to go on the warpath. And like it or not, I'm right in the crosshairs of both sides. Or worse, someone will call me to break my Oath and hunt you."

Sarah turned, starting to walk away, before looking back over her shoulder. "I hope to Luna you really do keep it under control. 'Cause some things are bigger than you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Amber growled softly. Had Sarah actually been Uratha, she would have gotten trounced for lack of honor to one higher than her. But given that Sarah wasn't the People, Amber didn't hold her to the same standard.

She was still thinking about her word to Ariel as she said, "It is about me. I have to do this." It was the closest she'd come to showing weakness. If she didn't kick this herself, she'd lose faith in herself. "People pay for other's mistakes all the time. I don't want anyone else to pay for my mistakes, but I have to do this myself. It's the way I have to do it."

Click to reveal..
Amber's Resolve + Comp check to not eat Sarah's face out of anger: 1 sux

1d10=4, 1d10=5, 1d10=3, 1d10=10


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those were some of the most painfully open words Sarah had heard from Amber in years. Open enough to stop her in her tracks, open enough to turn her around.

In a voice a good deal less sharp than a moment ago, the vampire said, "I get that you've decided you need to do this on your own. But do you even know what you're really up against? This crap can literally hang onto someone for decades. Most folks never break clear of it. Vitae's probably the single most insidious stuff on the planet.

"I remember how important not showing weakness is, and I've got at least some idea how bad talking with me is to you. But even the Storm Lords are willing to get help when a foe is too big, and kicking vitae is like going up against an Azlu nest on your own. You might get damned lucky and pull it off. But odds are, it'll get you killed."

Sarah sighed. She was up against an uphill battle of her own here: getting Amber to accept help. An idea came to mind; it wasn't perfect, but it was something. "If you can accept help from your pack, I can at least let you know what they could do to fix this. Not as simple as if I was doing it, but it can still work. You game?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It's not weakness," Amber said softly. She didn't expect Sarah to understand, not really. She wasn't sure she had the vocabulary to explain it, to really. It wasn't being weak; it was being assured that she could handle herself so that she wouldn't drag anyone else down. She could be weak in front of her pack; she'd called Declan when the silver bomb had torn into her.

But this wasn't about bleeding or wounds. It was about her soul and her own value. It was about whether she'd believe in herself or not. Going down in a fight, where she wasn't in control of things, was one thing. Losing to this was losing to herself, and that wouldn't be allowed. If it happened, she should just turn tail and disappear into the deep woods forever. That's all she'd be good for.

"It's not about that," she added, willing her cousin to understand something she understood herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sarah frowned, trying to understand exactly what Amber was trying to say. If it wasn't about not wanting to show weakness...

...and the light finally came on. "Oh." The word was completely inadequate to the task. "I think I get it," she added with words that fell just as short. But when she looked up into Amber's eyes, her own did show a realization. Sarah had been through her own trials, her own struggles that could have been much easier with help but that she had felt a deep, nearly spiritual need to do on her own - to prove her own worth to herself. For once (and it was a rare thing indeed) the two cousins were on something very much like the same page.

Nodding, Sarah simply said, "Well, good luck. If anyone can do this, it's you." With a small but honest smile, Sarah turned to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...