A Wolf Among The Sheep

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Viverescribere

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Clarissa Scrivens had been left at home for the day by her family. Her father and brother were out hunting, while her mother and younger sister were out scavenging for the edible berries, vegetables and leaves that would go into the pot with whatever animal her father and brother could find.

She sat close to the fire, focusing carefully on mending a hole in the dress skirt that belonged to her sister. Autumn was coming to a close and the chill was beginning to settle within the small house they called their own. The fire popped and crackled reassuringly as she worked, fabric and needle up close to her face to make sure she was stitching it correctly. They couldn't afford to waste any thread.

It was when a scream ripped through air that she almost lost the dress skirt to the flames as she startled. Clarissa's head shot up at the fearful noise and she immediately ran for the door to see what all the fuss was about. Only at the sight of a large wolf body leaping past did she slam the door back closed. Her heart raced a mile-a-minute as she leaned against the door, eyes searching for a weapon of some kind.

Yanking the nearest, but smallest, chest of drawers across to blockade the door did she leave it to run across the room. She grabbed a pair of her shearing scissors before running through to the bedroom that her family all shared together. Her mind couldn't figure out what to focus on - her own safety, wanting to find her mother and sister, or wondering if her father and brother would be back in time to help ward off this attack of wolves.

She threw herself to the ground and under the low built bed that her parents shared, shearing scissors clutched tightly in hand. Clarissa knew that it would probably make no difference to the huge wolves that were slaughtering people from her village outside, but it made her feel slightly better nonetheless. If they were to kill her, she would try and go with a fight.

Her breathing stopped as she heard the door come splintering down after a few heavy crashes, and her free hand raised to her mouth to try and smother the sound of her breathing once she remembered to continue doing so - if at least extremely quietly. Her thoughts then returned to her family - were they okay? Maybe her sister and mother would be safe if they were in the forests scavenging.
 
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potassiumboron

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That day was really not too dissimilar from most. Though it was the afternoon, the cold chill and darker sky that indicated Winter was approaching had begun to settle upon the village and the neighbouring woodlands. It was, if anything, a distinctly average day for most of the humans who inhabited the sleepy village. The same couldn't be said for the werewolves and for Tate Rivers, their alpha. That day, however average if might initially seem for the humans, had always been the date for the proposed attack; a day where the werewolves were determined to consolidate their dominance as a superior species.

It had been Tate's idea, his omnipresent hatred for the humans stemming from an incident as a teenager where one of his younger brother had been stabbed at with a pitchfork and sustaining injuries that could have easily killed him - all over a simple curiosity over a few chickens that, naturally, the brothers had been eager to steal to sustain and support their pack. The humans hunted for their food; they gathered weapons and would seek out wild boar or deer in the woods; animals that the wolves usually hunted for themselves. It didn't feel remotely wrong or unjust to take a few chickens back to the pack - they had to hunt for food too, after all. Yet, apparently, their efforts to support their own families wasn't acceptable and his brother had almost died as a result.

The unfairness of that incident had provoked an anti-human sentiment around the camp. A sentiment that had always lingered amongst them but had truly erupted after one of their own had almost died and for reasons that were unjust - humans could come into their territory and take away deer that they usually would hunt down, but they could venture into the village? Tate, once he became alpha, fully dedicated himself to encouraging his pack to detest the humans, to understand that they were inferior and their time of assuming authority of the land had to come to an end.

And that day, just a normal day in late Autumn, was the day they decided a war on the humans would commence.

Some wolves remained in the pack, but most descended upon the village to wreak havoc. Panic swept amongst the humans as large wolves ran out from the foliage to proceed a monstrous, frenzied attack on everyone that fell in their eyeline, and those that hid in their homes were discovered immediately when their homes were invaded by the determined canines.

Three wolves burst into Clarissa's home, the door and makeshift blockade doing little to hold them back. One of the three was slightly bigger and that alone would identify him as the leader, Tate. The fact he moved ahead of the other two wolves (two of his younger brothers) solidified it, his brown eyes intense as he immediately sniffed about the home, the overwhelming scent of the humans that lived there clouding Clarissa's own scent. With a faint growl to his brothers to take up a room to search, he headed to the bedroom and braced himself for a human possibly waiting with a weapon on the other side of the door. When it creaked open, the large werewolf initially believed it to be empty as his paws, that had thundered heavily on the floorboards, came to an abrupt stop. He had been about to turn around to check on his brothers when the faintest of breaths sounded, enough of a noise to prick his ears.

Just the slightest of exhales was enough for him to latch onto Clarissa's location, his growl guttural and rolling from the back of his throat as his teeth, sharp and pointed, barred threateningly at he sight of the girl beneath the bed. His stance was offensive, the growl continuing as he lowered himself, preparing to launch himself at the bed to drag her out.
 
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Viverescribere

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Clarissa's eyes moved with the paws she could just about see from her position under the bed. Her hands trembling slightly as she continued to grip the larger sewing needle. She was numb, barely able to feel the pain that was beginning to creep into her hand from the pinching sensation her hold was causing. It was only when the paws stopped moving that Clarissa felt her heart halt. Immediately she began pleading to whatever gods she could, begging them to have the beast leave or at least to provide her with some luck or skill should she have to face it.

Her breathing became sharper as she watched the paws approach her handing spot, knowing that there was no point in hiding now. It had heard her. It knew where she was. The bottom of the needle dug hard into the wooden flooring as she slowly pushed herself away from the edge that the beast was walking towards. Her heart, something she thought had failed on her, began pounding at the vicious rumble that next sounded.

Quietly, she slipped herself around to lay diagonally, needle pointing with the sharp end toward the wolf's location. The sight of the claws only left Clarissa imagining the teeth on the creature. It then led her to wonder how she got into this mess. She had heard about the wolves that had come for the chickens all those years ago, but they hadn't seen any since. Now for this... seemingly coordinated attack?

As soon as it had lowered itself enough for Clarissa to see it's teeth, she cried out and threw herself backwards, away from the beast. She struggled out of the other side, briefly realising that it could just pounce over the bed at her instead and immediately threw up the pathetic weapon that was her needle. Her brother's voice came back to her momentarily, reminding her of her strength and quick reflexes. But what use would that be against a wolf as large as this?

She needed to escape. Escape and run for the forest, maybe climb a tree until they got bored and left. Or steal a horse and run for it. Her eyes darted to the door, to the wolf, to the window behind it and then back to the wolf.
 

potassiumboron

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Sadistically, Tate almost derived pleasure from the sight of the other's fear of him and the other wolves at his side, ready to back him up when he made the inevitable pounce forward to tear her apart like he had personally done with a few humans already. Clarissa, he thought, would be no exception to the simple rule of slaughtering as many humans as they could, and now she was all but backed into the corner, she would be just another death to take pride in.

A slight growl initiated his brother to move beside the door to prevent the girl making a run for that particular exit, Tate watching her eyes carefully as his own now glinted in satisfaction and even slight amusement that she was even contemplating escape when all was hopeless for her. He knew that most humans he had come across already had begged and pleaded for their lives, and used every ounce of their being to try and fight him off and, as long as their heart remained beating, they wasted no time in hoping to escape, hoping they could somehow get through the hopelessness they were ultimately faced with. In the end, none of them had succeeded in surviving what was, in Tate's mind, the inevitable.

And Clarissa certainly didn't appear like she would be an exception, not when the needle as an idea of a weapon against them was so laughable that it made Tate grunt in amusement, a sound echoed by the brother remaining at his side whose own eyes had landed on the pathetic excuse of a weapon.

The amusement didn't last long enough for her to take advantage of the hesitance. Only a mere second later had he returned to his offensive stance and began to approach the girl, teeth barred and mouth snarling. When close enough, he launched his attack and propelled himself forward, his sharp canines exposed in the light of the room and heading directly for the girl's neck - though the sudden proximity to Clarissa seemed to stop him in his tracks, agonisingly close to the girl he had presumed, naturally, was a human. He was barely centimetres from her at this point, close enough to feel her shaky breath against his fur; close enough to kill her in seconds. Yet, he didn't even attempt an attack, his head tilted to the side as he differentiated her scent to that of the humans.

He knew the scent was that of a werewolf immediately, but it made so little sense to him that he couldn't allow himself to believe she was one. Why would she be so fearful of her own kind like this? Why wouldn't she just shift to her other form and defend herself against their mistake? And why the hell was she even in the human household at all? The latter was the question that perplexed him the most, struggling to understand who this girl was and why, if she was a werewolf, wasn't she in the pack, rather than living a lie among inferior beings?

His brothers, now curious, soon understood the sudden gravity of the situation when picking up on the scent themselves. Tate, desperate to give the other werewolves as much support as he could, barked an order at them to join in on the action rather than overwhelm Clarissa with their presence, and only when they had charged off did he return his attention to the girl, backing off a little in the hope that his actions would speak for him when he was currently unable to.
 

Viverescribere

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Even in the corner of the room, the furthest possible place away from the window and the door, Clarissa could hear everything. The screams, the cries for mercy. The shredding of skin and even down to the last beat of a heart. It was the most overwhelming situation she had ever been in. There was a time that she had struggled with her sense of hearing, the sensitivity of it. But that was back when she was a child. She had learned to manage it, control and focus on less than she needed to. It had become bearable.

This was not.

Clarissa's hand continued to tremble, but still it kept the needle up high. Yet as he lunged for her, the needled dropped and her hands opened as if she would attempt to catch the wolf to stop him. Her eyes closed and she turned her head away, bearing more of her neck which she would look back on as a stupid mistake. She slowly sank to her knees, sliding down the wallHer blood ran cold as she heard it's paws thud toward her, the snarling ripping through her head.

But when she felt nothing, no teeth on flesh or claw on bone, no warm blood on her skin... Clarissa remained frozen in place, for a moment wondering if it had happened so quickly she hadn't felt anything. Then she felt hot breath on her neck, fur brushing the skin on her forearm. Goosebumps broke out over her skin and Clarissa slowly opened her eyes. She didn't dare turn her head back to face the beast straight on, knowing if she did, she would probably bump her nose against it's wet snout. Not to mention, wasn't it a submissive move to not look a wolf in the eye? Something whispered to her, acknowledging that she should show submission.

Clarissa kept her eyes on the wolf's chest, trying to recover and calm her breathing. Only when she had managed to slow her heart rate considerably did she dare to look up and meet the beast's gaze. Her fingers fumbled on the floor beside her until the found the needle again. Even though she knew it wouldn't do much harm, it made her feel better to have it in her grasp. Despite the creature backing up, Clarissa was fully aware of how quickly things could turn.

"Don't play with me." She finally said, glad her voice held firm and didn't shake or crack. "I don't know if you can understand me, but... Do not play with me."
 

potassiumboron

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Had she chosen to immediately look into his eyes, he might not have proceeded to attack her but it certainly wouldn't have gone down too well. The show of submissiveness was something he not only expected a werewolf to instinctively know, but it was always something he appreciated as the alpha; to have the importance of his role consolidated like that was a matter of respect and he appreciated it. The fact Clarissa seemed to understand what to do was a good sign. Evidently, she was like no other werewolf in that she had obviously been raised amongst the humans or her fear wouldn't be a factor in the situation. If that was the case, he feared that she might not necessarily understand the most basic of wolf interactions so to see the submissiveness was a sign, however minor, that not all hope was lost.

This was a situation he had no experience in. A werewolf raised away from the pack and brought up as a human was new to him and he had no idea how to process it, let alone how to make progress with her. What he did know was that she couldn't remain in the house alone: he couldn't call himself a leader if he left one of his kind behind, regardless of the fact she was essentially a stranger.

Stranger or not, she was a werewolf and that was all that ultimately mattered. He could figure everything out at a later date but for now, his only intention was to get her to follow him - a task he realised might be a tad more difficult than he assumed when his eyes strayed back to the needle grasped tightly in her hand; a sign that she didn't trust him. His hatred for the humans only grew in disgust at what they had reduced a werewolf to - a fearful, distrusting quasi-human who failed to understand what she herself was.

He bit down at the fabric of her skirt in an attempt to just drag her along, giving her unwillingness to do so on her own volition was obvious. When that particular plan didn't last further than a few seconds, ultimately acknowledging the futility of the idea, he let out another growl, this one quieter and tinged with annoyance. He had no desire to transition to his human form anywhere outside of the woods, though that, at the moment, felt inevitable when she either didn't trust him (as was understandable) or didn't understand what he wanted her to do. Desperately, he peered back at the door and then toward her, a slight snarl escaping as a warning; a threat that she had to take seriously.

He had no desire to hurt a fellow wolf but she didn't know that - and didn't need to if the fear of getting hurt was the only thing he had to use against her right now.
 

Viverescribere

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Remaining under the wolf's stare was incredibly nerve-wracking. It's gaze was heavy and penetrating, as if looking straight into her soul and being. Yet there was something oddly human to it. It was definitely not like any wolf she had previously known about, it was much larger than the average kind. But this one was bigger than the other two it had arrived with. And the way they were organised, it seemed unnatural.

Clarissa pulled back at her skirt when the wolf took some of the material between it's teeth, fear driving her to free herself yet stopping her from hitting the animal directly to try and get it to stop. Her own gaze drifted to the window, her sensitive ears picking up a lack of tortured screams and begging. It was over then. And she still stood, in her house and alive. However she didn't know how much longer for. These animals were driven, the attack planned. Perhaps her death would be made a spectacle of.

She startled at the snarl from the wolf, eyes snapping instantly down to where it stood by the door. The sound reverberated through her and jolted her back to life, granting her legs the power to move. Clarissa slowly pushed herself to her feet again and swallowed hard as she took a few feeble steps toward the door and the beast that towered within it.

Licking her dry lips, she made sure to hurry her pace despite wanting to prolong the inevitability of seeing what lay beyond her front door. She didn't want to anger the wolf, should it decide it was bored and attack her once again.

But upon seeing the devastation that awaited them, Clarissa propped herself up against the broken frame of the door. The stench was overpowering, the scent of gunpowder and the copper tang of blood stinging her nose. Acrid smoke burnt her eyes but yet all she could hear were the soft pads of wolf paws and the occasional growl or playful yip. Her eyes searched desperately for any sign of her family, but feared seeing them because that would mean the worst. She had to remain hopeful that they were alive somewhere. Perhaps her mother and sister managed to flee as they were at the furthest edge to collect herbs and berries today. Or perhaps they were one of the first... since they would have been working right on the forest boundary.

Clarissa flattened herself to the wooden frame as another, slightly smaller wolf stalked toward her, lips bared in a snarl and teeth on full display. They were tainted pink, and she could smell gore on it's breath even from where she stood. She had forgotten all about the needle at this point, which was still tightly grasped in a hand that hung limply at her side.
 

potassiumboron

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If there was any further evidence Tate needed to confirm his suspicions that Clarissa had been raised among humans for a substantial period, it would be seeing her reaction to the bloodshed. Any werewolf oughtn't be horrified by the sight of such slaughter when, inherently, humans were simply inferior beings who would make for good prey. Even if Tate didn't harbour so much hatred for the species after the incident with his brother and even if he didn't have such a desire to stamp down the werewolves' dominance and authority, he was still certain that he wouldn't react too much to the bloody sight outside the home; not when humans were always deemed as inconsequential to him.

It was a good way of measuring just how indoctrinated Clarissa was with the human way of living, carefully turning his body around to take in her emotional, horrified reaction; one that just made him angrier. That anger wasn't aimed at her necessarily; not when he could just blame the humans that raised her into believing she was some inferior species and not the werewolf she actually was.

He silently observed the reaction for a moment or two before hearing the familiar snarl of the approaching wolf, able to differentiate between the pack and know who it was by the sound of the growl alone. And while he had appreciated the intimidation the wolves had presented to the humans just minutes before, he reacted to that current growl with a guttural growl of his own in warning, snapping back to the reality of the situation. The last thing he wanted was Clarissa growing spooked and either making a run for it or, worse, trying to fight her way to freedom by lashing out with the needle.

If he had to defend her against the other wolves he saw as his family, he reluctantly would, just to save Clarissa any unnecessary fear and nervousness. That didn't mean he couldn't offer her a growl of his own, having to rely on those intimidation techniques to get her to move closer and follow his lead. A few barks would rally the attacking wolves together, an approving look in his eyes at the sight of the blood matting most wolves' fur. To him, it indicated that not one wolf had shirked from their duty and, instead, got as involved as they could; something that naturally pleased the alpha who offered his approval before starting to move ahead of the group to lead them back now they had achieved all they came for... albeit with the surprise of Clarissa in tow.
 

Viverescribere

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Unable to make head nor tail of the entire situation, Clarissa watched the interaction between the two wolves with a slight furrow to her brow. It seemed that this wolf, the one that had found her and almost killed her, was some sort of leader. The instant he released that warning growl, the other wolf backed off. Even if it did eye her with a mixture of suspicion and caution. At least that was what Clarissa was telling herself, that it wasn't that the wolf was eyeing her up for slaughter.

Clarissa could feel her body begging to shut down, her legs felt light underneath her and her stomach was rolling with the threat of expelling what she had for breakfast. But she was acutely aware of how many wolves now surrounded her, and how she couldn't show the weakness she was experiencing. At least that was what the Whisper told her.

The Whisper had been in the back of her mind since she turned twelve, something of a secret. She didn't dare tell her family, lest they believed her to be crazy. But the Whisper had become something of a sixth sense to Clarissa, an instinct that she constantly followed after the track record it had of being right.

Her head snapped back to the first wolf at the second growl, finding her meeting it's gaze once more. It was becoming more obvious now what it wanted her to do - stay quiet and follow. "But why?" She asked quietly, moving her hands so they hung in front of her and both clasped the needle length ways. Clarissa raised her eyes to the gathering pack, taking a small step back which led her to slip along the front wall of her house and away from the battered front door.

There were so many of them, her village didn't stand a chance.

As they began to walk, with the first wolf taking the lead, she was slowly manipulated into walking with them. Nudged and bullied forward yet kept in the centre so it wasn't possible to make a break for it.

Her feet dragged slightly until a wolf behind her snapped at her ankles and she was quick to pick up her pace, needle hopelessly yet tightly held to her chest as they continued the pace. It was only when they reached the edge of the forest did Clarissa halt abruptly, needle slipping from hand at a terrifyingly familiar face.

"Lucy!" Clarissa yelled, voice breaking at the sight of the body of her little sister. She fought her way through the cluster of wolves around her, ignoring their attempts to bring her back. The teeth in her skirt or the bodies that caused her to stumble. Her baby sister, drenched in a scarlet liquid and throat ripped open. Her hair, once a light hazelnut brown, was stained black with her blood. She had been seventeen, young and hopeful and very much in love with one of the village boys. "Lucy!" She cried again, as if it would have her sister rise and run to meet her halfway. One of the wolves got a better latch on her dress, which only caused her to turn and hit out at the infuriating beast as it forced her to stop, "Let go of me!" She released all her strength with her attempted hits, uncaring and unseeing to the danger she once knew she was in.
 

potassiumboron

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The shrill scream for her sister broke the relative peace among the wolves immediately, the heartbroken cry of anguish echoing amongst the trees in the woods. The wolves were all naturally exhausted and tired from the outing, padding along in the knowledge that, waiting back at the camp clearing where their pack was situated, was a hearty meal made by those that had remained behind; a meat stew ready to ease their aches and tired bones. It was the only thing that gave Tate some respite from the thought of Clarissa and just what he was going to do with her, able to focus on something other than the girl until her shriek broke his focus and, ultimately, broke the comfortable silence that had fallen amongst the content wolves.

The familiarity and grief across Clarissa's expression was all Tate needed to know, realising that the dead girl on the forest floor was either a relative or a close friend. That didn't mean he had to care about what had happened, but it would make things just that little bit more complicated now Clarissa would be tortured with that image. It would only make her more reluctant to trust them, he knew, which made him want to display his own outburst of emotion... albeit one of anger and irritation.

He didn't do that in fear of unnerving her again, not needing to pile on more reasons for her to distrust him - though the anger did make a brief show when he growled at the other wolf to let the girl go. He wanted to integrate her in the pack given she was a werewolf and belonged with her own kind, not outside it, unknowingly masquerading as an inferior human. Admittedly, he knew that he cared more about it than he perhaps ought to, a desire to help and even nurture Clarissa into the life being almost unnaturally strong, but he refused to think of that desire as anything other than one werewolf simply wanting to help another who was in need of the guidance.

Quietly, he motioned for the members of the pack around him to proceed with the venture back to camp, trusting his second-in-command to take over the guiding duties for him as he instead approached Clarissa, not trusting any other wolf to do so as gently as he did. Either that, or he simply didn't want anyone else to approach her, feeling innately that he ought to be the one to do so. Carefully, he nudged the needle away from her with his paw and settled into a sitting position, close enough to show he wasn't a threat but keeping a relative distance in case the grief of her sister's death made her think attacking him would be a good idea.
 
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Released finally from the last wolf on the edges of the pack gathering, Clarissa stumbled briefly at the force in which she tore herself away. She momentarily ran on all fours, scrambling back up onto two feet as she ran toward where her sister's body lay. Once she arrived, she had no idea what to do. She hesitantly fell to her knees, eyes brimming and shimmering with unshed tears as they ran over the scene of devastation before her. She reached out, hand unnervingly still considering, to gently cup her sister's cheek. Warmth had almost seeped completely from it, up close she could see that Lucy's lips had tinged blue, and her eyes remained staring up at the darkening sky.

Clarissa's shoulder's shook with noiseless sobs, her teeth gritting together to avoid any sound of her torment escaping. These are not normal wolves, the Whisper told her, You must stay strong.

By now blood had began to soak into skirt material around her knees and her hand had dropped from Lucy's cheek to her hair, her fingers now becoming stained with the blood of her loved one. She leaned forward, continuing on until she could rest her forehead onto her sister's chest with a heavy and pained sigh.

She was extremely aware of the main wolf's presence, and a flicker of anger was lit within her. Even now. Even now it followed her, corralled her, reminded her it was there and she was unable to be free of it.

Clarissa straightened, eyes running over her sister's body for a few heartbeats. Eventually she reached out to close the unseeing eyes and gently removed Lucy's roughly cut ring from her finger to clasp it tightly in hand. She said everything she wanted to say in her head, not wanting that moment of privacy ruined by the wolf that was imposing itself onto her. Yet, despite the flicker of anger it had caused her, there was a drop of curiosity there to quench the fury that was starting to take hold in her.

"Just kill me already." The words just rolled off her tongue, eyes still on her sister as she addressed the wolf behind her. For a breath longer she remained that way before sharply turning and facing the beast. "Why are you doing this? Just kill me already!" Her eyes were on his, locking onto him as that fury flared up once again.
 

potassiumboron

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Tate didn't know which one of his pack members had killed Lucy but frankly, he didn't really care to know when the girl was just another human to him. The outpouring of grief and the clear injustice across Clarissa's expression at the murder didn't provoke any sympathy out of the serious wolf, who stood a little way away observing the scene patiently. In his eyes, this was simply a scene of grief that shouldn't exist when Clarissa was a werewolf who should never have been raised among humans, let alone develop bonds close enough that she would cry over the death of one. It was evident that she had no idea of her own origins, and Tate had to keep that in mind to avoid growing angry at her.

He wanted to shake some sense into her, to break her out of her grief and force her to come to terms with the fact she wasn't yelling at the enemy but rather, an ally; a creature that wanted to help, not harm, her.

Getting her to follow him to the pack was, at this point, when she was consumed with sadness and her grief so raw, impossible. More so given the barrier his lack of communication with her currently was. Had another member of the pack been in front of him in human form, he would still be able to communicate with them, his barks or growls in this form translating rather well to someone else in their alternate form. It stood to reason that, as a werewolf, Clarissa would understand him... though already, her obliviousness to understand his barked orders to the lower-ranking wolves had made it abundantly clear that she didn't. Evidently, growing up among the humans had only suppressed what she truly was which left Tate growling to himself in annoyance at the only option that remained for him when the option to just drag her to the camp probably wouldn't go down too well.

With an audible sigh communicating his dissatisfaction at the effort he was having to go through, the large wolf that had once been sat in front of her had, within a few seconds, transitioned into Tate's other form, his bones cracking as he stretched his arms out to acclimatise to the sudden change. Only after his muscles and bones had all settled did he set his eyes on the other werewolf, an unwelcoming frown on his face as he, with clear frustration, motioned her to get to her feet.

"If I have to drag you, I will. You ought to be grateful I'm goin' through this effort for 'ya, darlin', because I'm not happy with this," he grunted deeply, his countenance stormy as he tried to keep his cool, his head tilted at the faint sounds of his pack's howls carried along in the wind. "The others have reached the clearing and I need to be there with them so quit crying, put yourself together and get a move on, or I'll drag you along. Oh, and don't look so goddamn surprised by me, I'm not in the mood to deal with bewildered questions about what I am right now, got it?"
 

Viverescribere

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To say she wasn't expecting the transformation that happened before her would be an understatement. As the wolf seemed to mutate, she became frozen in place, still sat as it morphed into a standing human. She had to wonder if she had actually been killed in her house however long ago it was. But then it definitely wasn't heaven that she was in if that was the case. What had she done to deserve a place in this hellish nightmare? Seeing Lucy with her throat ripped out, being lead to goodness knows where for goodness knows what. Her hand tightened around Lucy's ring, the biting pain it soon caused helping her focus on everything before her. Whatever it was that had just happened.

Once the first initial shock had worn off, Clarissa then was extremely aware of the lack of clothing the wolf...- man was wearing. Her eyes darted away from where he stood, body heating and the tips of her ears burning. But no matter where she looked, she couldn't help but continue to be uncomfortably aware of how bare he was before her. Yet the Whisper was there again, attempting to reassure and comfort. And a small part in her mind couldn't help but appreciate what stood before her.

Instantly that thought was locked up and away from her, and Clarrisa was disgusted at herself for thinking such things during this time. Whatever he was, she realised this could essentially be a form of kidnapping. Not that it mattered. She glanced for a moment back to Lucy. Who would be home to miss her now?

"And I'm not in the mood to be lectured by some creature who expects me to be okay with the blatant murder of my baby sister." She answered back, tongue sharp with the anger that flooded back in waves at his tone of voice. Yet her body trembled every so often with the suppressed fear she forced back.

Clarissa looked up to him. All the way up. Meeting his eyes again and matching his frown. "I didn't ask for this. I didn't ask for you to take me away like...like... what? I don't even know what you want with me." She pushed herself to her feet, hands clenched into fists at her side, "I am not being dragged anywhere." She continued, lifting her chin up and straightening her spine. The Whisper softly purred at her actions, as if pleased at her act of defiance. Despite the fear still coursing through her body, knowing for a fact he could probably kill her in a moment if he so wished, Clarissa was proud of her push back. She got the feeling that not many did that to him.
 

potassiumboron

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Ideally, he'd have had clothes on hand ready to change into back at the camp, though when it had unfortunately become a necessity to transition to be able to properly communicate with the girl, he didn't have much of a choice in standing before her, unclothed and bare. He wasn't fond of it either, not when he was attempting to offer her a good impression of himself - despite his sternness and icy cold glares, he was doing his best to be welcoming and accommodating. He just had never been remotely good at portraying himself in that way, less so when he was already irked with the situation and the responsibility he felt he now had to help her.

He folded his arms across his broad chest as she spoke, his indifferent expression, an undercurrent of anger beneath its surface, immediately overtaken by surprise at the challenge. He got the impression that the girl, though naive, wasn't stupid. He was quite obviously the leader of his pack, a fact he knew she was even vaguely aware of given her welcome and appreciated show of submissiveness earlier at the house. To now had that moment of submission turned on its head and taken back was an exceptional and unprecedented circumstance for him, never dealing with any werewolf dealing him such a blow before.

It was the uniqueness of the challenge that made him somewhat impressed that she had the guts to speak up against him. Of course, it was idiocy of the highest order and completely disrespectful to the rank he possessed in the pack's hierarchy, but he was mildly impressed nonetheless. The only praise he could offer her was obviously overshadowed by the anger and disgust he held for her over it, though. All at once, he seemed to snap into action and grab her by her hand to lead her along physically, the immensity of his strength on display as he pulled her along behind him. His muscle were tense, his jaw tight and eyes stormy, but he was doing everything in his power not to snap at her. She was acting like a human and he detested it, but he had to remind himself that she wasn't aware of what she was and so blaming her for her behaviour wasn't entirely fair.

But was she annoying him? Was she a pain in the ass that he didn't want to deal with? Undoubtedly so.

"That girl was not your baby sister, let's just get that straight. I think you'll find you have more in common with me than you do with that human - now for the love of the gods, would you shut up? I'm helping you here, darlin'. I don't have to, sure. But I am so keep your trap shut and be respectful. Do not speak to me like that again or we'll have a problem, you understand?"
 

Viverescribere

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Clarissa held firm in her spot for as long as she could as he approached her, but finally taking a step to the side and back in a weak attempt to keep away from him. The body of her sister still laid behind her, and he was already disrespecting her by having no shame in his nudity. The reminder of such a thing caused her blood to boil and she was seething as the beast snatched at her hand. Clarissa dug in her heels, wincing at the pinching sensation his grip caused as she fought against it. Her head turned to look over her shoulder to Lucy as she leaned backwards and tried to pull herself away from him.

The pain of not being able to give her sister a proper send off, a respectable burial, made it feel like her chest was ripping apart. She longed to scream, yell, even launch herself at his back and cause as much damage as she could with her own strength and teeth and nails. It was the least she could do. She wouldn't be able to inflict half the damage that one of his mutts did on her sister, but it would certainly make her feel better.

Training her eyes on his back as he continued forward, pulling her along, Clarissa was weighing up the advantages to letting all her raging emotions out on him. Her stomach tightened at his words, the surprise they caused allowing him to get a brief break in her attempts to break free of his grip. "How dare you." She ground out, eyes narrowing. Her mind imagined what it would be like to pierce his skin, either with her nails or her needle- Wait, her needle. Her last hope of a weapon was gone.

There's still you. Still your strength. The Whisper hummed, He may not expect anything...

Clarissa grit her teeth, eyes burning now into the back of his head. "I am not your darlin'. And you don't get to speak to me that way, nor about any member of my family. Those mutts may follow and obey every whistle and call you make, but I do not. And I never will." She took hold of the wrist of his hand that was holding hers, squeezing with all the strength she had been hiding over the last however many years. In an act driven with the pain of her loss and the fearful fury of his behaviour, Clarissa rushed forward. With her hold and being behind him, not to mention with the element of surprise (or so she thought and hoped), she attempted to force that arm to twist behind him, looking for the pressure to get him to release her wrist.
 

potassiumboron

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Had he believed that the girl would relent and accept his show of authority? Not really, no. It was beyond clear to him that Clarissa felt no desire to even acknowledge the authoritativeness, let alone accept it. And for that, he blamed the humans. He didn't need a lot to pin blame on a species he detested with every fibre of his being, but witnessing how they had reduced a werewolf to believe she was as ordinary and inconsequential as they all were disgusted him and made his decision to blame them entirely valid. However oblivious they might have been to Clarissa's true nature, which had obviously been suppressed and neglected to come to the surface in their presence, they were still at fault for how she was now; disrespecting and belittling an alpha's authority like it meant nothing at all.

He wanted to help her, refusing to let a werewolf remain behind unaware of her own being. He could have easily left her given the headache she was causing him, but a werewolf needed a pack. Especially a werewolf who had no idea what she was and would only suffer the emotional consequences when those powers eventually came to the surface. She needed support and understanding, and Tate was willing to help. Besides, he had questions that needed answering, like how the hell she had ended up being raised in the village in the first place.

The element of surprise worked to Clarissa's advantage as the werewolf, unsuspecting of the attack, let her wrist drop in pain, cursing aloud at both the agony of it and his own stupidity in getting lost in his thoughts and inner efforts to calm himself. Clarissa had the chance to run and forge an escape from the alpha, who cradled his arm with his unharmed one with a growl emanating from his throat as if preparing to launch an attack of his own. Instead, he lifted his fingers to his mouth and blew, a high-pitched whistle sounding loudly and echoing throughout their part of the woods.

It would be followed by the heavy thuds of paws against the forest ground, growing louder and sounding heavier the closer they approached the scene. Tate turned away to focus on his arm, flinching everytime he moved it when pain shot up the limb, though the wolves that arrived seemed perfectly aware of what their alpha wanted them to do.

One wolf, intimidatingly large and whose grey fur was still matted with the blood of those he had attacked, launched forward and sunk his sharp teeth into Clarissa's sandal. He was careful not to accidentally bite into her foot when Tate had warned the travelling pack members not to hurt her... though he didn't think too carefully when tugging at her sandal in the hope of getting her to fall back so he could drag her along.
 

Viverescribere

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While Clarissa wasn't one to take pleasure in seeing someone - or something - in pain, she took immense satisfaction in his pained curses. With the tension on her own arm released, she wasn't about to hang around to see what he would do as a result of her rebellion. Not after seeing what she had just done. This man, whatever he was, could shift into the body of a wolf and easily kill her if wanted. Anxiety shot through her at the mere thought, realising she hadn't really given just cause for him to want to kill her before. But now, defying him and potentially injuring him the way she had done.

A part of her, albeit the part she suppressed long ago but noticed was waking back up in his presence, wanted nothing more than to return to her submissive state. To drop to her knees and apologise and plead for a mercy she doubted she would get. However there was another part of her, mainly from the Whisper, that fought back and grew furious at that push for submission. Why bow down to a man that she had never met before, who didn't deserve her respect and her loyalty? The Whisper had cooed in its pleasure at her showing her strength, proving that she was not as physically weak as he may have thought her to be. Her brother had helped her master this strength, not afraid of his sister's unnatural physicality.

While she may have been strong, Clarissa was all too aware of the lack of stamina that she knew she would need to get away from him and his pack of wolves. Were they all like him? Shapeshifters too? What had the woods been hiding for all these years? How could her village not have known the threat that lurked within the forest they used as a lifeline?

A coldness swept over her at the piercing whistle and Clarissa threw a look over her shoulder to see him partially turned away with his one arm cradling the other. Satisfaction was a momentary feeling, as the surging numbers of his pack reappeared. Nausea rolled in her stomach and she turned her head back as she attempted to put on another burst of speed. She was quick, but lacked the distance in her legs, and knew she would be hunted down soon. They would be aware of what she had done to their leader, and gods knew what would happen to her if they did catch her.

She was agonisingly close to the tree line when she felt the pressure on her sandal. The sudden jolt to her leg which caused it to stop caused her to come crashing to the ground. She had just enough time to throw her hands and forearms out to try and break her fall, landing heavily on the thick grass.

Hissing at the pain that shot up both her arms from her elbows and the throbbing from the left side of her hip, Clarissa released a few choice curse words of her own. They were soon replaced by yells as she was dragged back, eyes widening and hands scrambling to grab at something to stop the inevitable. Growls and low grumbles sounded all around and Clarissa twisted to look over her shoulder, fighting awkwardly to keep her skirt down with the one hand. Her free foot flailed around for a moment, looking to strike whatever she could until a second wolf took hold of the sandal on that foot too.

Clarissa released one pained yell of frustration, a humanised version of a grumbling growl escaping afterwards as she hung her head in defeat. She didn't dare look up when they came to a stop, pausing with her head and upper body just a little way from his feet. She panted softly, glaring darkly at the grass in front of her as she allowed her hair to shield her face.
 

potassiumboron

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The alpha wasn't fond of the fact he had to rely on his pack members to help him deal with a single girl who oughtn't to have been more difficult than a human given her inability to properly access her true nature. In fact, as he quietly watched the two wolves dash past him to retrieve the escaping Clarissa, he felt a pang of embarrassment that he wasn't the one to bring Clarissa into camp. As the leader, he had made it clear in the village that Clarissa was under his responsibility; he was the primary wolf responsible for her. He had no qualms in relying on his pack for assistance - in fact, he valued the feeling of succeeding as a collective group, it strengthening the precious bond he held with the people he saw as his family, whether they actually were by blood or not.

It just infuriated him to have barked his orders to his pack that the girl was his responsibility, only to have to reluctantly go back on that to seek help because he had been caught out and hurt. It was embarrassing and there was no way of hiding that fact as he made his way to the clearing, trusting the two wolves to adequately deal with Clarissa. Ideally, this wouldn't have happened. Introducing her to the pack by having two of the larger wolves physically drag her in wasn't going to help Clarissa acclimatise to them, and when he wanted things to go as smoothly as possible, having the girl harbour even more of a reason to be stubborn and unaccommodating was a headache he really didn't need.

He forced a smile when reaching the clearing, dropping his injured arm and trying to ignore the pain. He didn't need anyone really knowing that Clarissa had hurt him, for his own ego and pride if nothing else, and so despite the pain at having to swing it naturally at his side to act as normal as possible, it was pain he was willing to go through to avoid the inevitable concern and confusion from his pack. He wanted to inform them all that everything was going to be okay - to tell the ones that hadn't left for the mission that everything had gone perfectly, and that the new addition to the pack was part of a mystery that he wanted and needed solved.

Yet, Clarissa was brought to the clearing before he had a chance to inform everyone what was happening. He quietly smirked in satisfaction at her defeated expression, offering a quick nod in appreciation over at the helpers as he began to change into some clothes, like most other wolves from the mission already had upon transitioning to their human forms.

"If you try to run again, you'll just be dragged back so I recommend not being an imbecile," he said cuttingly, a brief gaze around the pack confirming that they were all peering across curiously, listening to every word that was said. "...You might wanna sit up, you're not making the best of impressions right now. Someone, get the girl some water, okay? And she'll have a bowl of stew - you ain't so stubborn that you're going to refuse my offer of food, are 'ya? Because you're already disrespected me once - I ain't standing for it again, 'specially not in front of my pack."
 

Viverescribere

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Refusing to move or speak for a good few seconds longer than was probably best, she released a tense exhale in an attempt to control her emotions. Surrounded by all these people, who she was all to aware were also transitioning back into a human form, who she didn't know or care for. Who could easily rip her to shreds should they wish to. Who weren't her family and obviously wouldn't care about what she had just gone through or had just witnessed. Who wouldn't care who she had lost.

Clarissa carefully pushed herself up off her front, continuing to ignore him for the time being as she checked herself over. The only blood on her belonged to her deceased sister, her dress was torn and shredded in places but still kept her modesty. Her elbows were sore from where she had landed on them and she knew to expect a bruise of some kind on the left side of her hip. Her hands were filthy, the one covered in dried blood but both covered with dirt which was also caked under her nails from her attempts to stop them dragging her along.

Fully aware of the eyes on them, she turned her head to meet the multiple gazes. She could see curiosity brimming in all of them, tainted with some suspicion and caution. A muscle in her jaw jumped as her own eyes narrowed, bristling at the thought this exchange being a spectacle for those watching.

She turned her head finally to acknowledge him, her glare icy and jaw set with the promise of a continued, stubborn fight. "I don't think you're one to be giving out advice on best impressions." She drawled.

While she may have been sat, seemingly in a submissive way and with him looking down on her, she refused to be as intimidated as she once was. The fact she had managed to potentially injure him sent a surge of confidence through her, helping her on her path to realising what she could truly be capable of if she accepted her unnatural physical strength.

At the thought, her eyes flickered to the arm in which he had once cradled before they met his again. Her eyebrow raised in a silent question: How is it?

"It's not disrespect if it's deserved." Clarissa then said softly, head tilting to the side in a mock-innocent manner.
 

potassiumboron

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Aware that the entire pack were observing the exchange between their leader and the stranger, Tate found himself praying to any higher beings there might be, urging them to shut Clarissa up to save him the embarrassment an open defiance would bring. Despite his inner prayers, he knew better than to place his trust in some otherworldly, omniscient being when Clarissa would no doubt defy them too, his annoyingly satisfied smirk being wiped from his face the very instant she glanced at his arm. The look itself wouldn't provoke any shock from the observing werewolves when none had been privy to when the injury had been sustained, but Tate knew what it meant.

He knew precisely that the girl had made a deliberate move to look at the arm he had once cradled in agony just a minute or two prior; an eyebrow raised to purposely taunt him, to force him to reach the conclusion that she harboured no respect for him and, instead, wouldn't hesitate to hurt him again. She had the confidence to do so after successfully mounting an escape from him - what was to stop her attempting a similar effort later on in the night? The truth was, nothing would stop her from attempting to leave if she held no fear or respect for him as the alpha.

And the proceeding defiance was proof of that, his expression now clouded with unparalleled anger as he was forced to listen to the faint murmurs of shock from his pack. Some were too shocked by the girl's idiocy to react to it; others offered supportive growls to their alpha whilst other growls took on the note of intimidation to help scare the newcomer into submission. No matter the level of support, nothing could save Tate from the embarrassment the defiance brought him. It wasn't devastating to him when the girl was raised elsewhere and had no knowledge of the pack hierarchy, but it was also true that, innately, she ought to take into account his dominance and adhere to it. The fact she defied the most natural of behaviours perhaps disgusted him more than anything else, and for that reason alone, a statement had to be made.

He appeared calm as he made the distance up between them, only for that calm disposition to snap just as quickly. He forced the grieving girl to her feet and pushed her against a tree, grabbing her by her jaw to prevent her from moving or struggling against his stronghold. It wasn't ideal but after the refusal to behave, he had no choice but to react in this way, to save his reputation from coming under discussion by his pack.

"I'm your alpha, do you hear me? Your alpha. You don't speak to me like that; you don't look at me like that. You respect me, whether you feel it is earned or not. I can be a good friend and protector to you, or you can make an enemy of me. I recommend you don't fucking do that. This is your final warning. Next time I won't be so... understanding," he snapped, keeping his voice low enough to spare her the embarrassment of the observing pack from hearing her chastisement. With a slow breath to calm himself, unwinding and unclenching his tight jaw, he took a step back from her with a warning glance, only removing his hand from her chin when he could be sure she wasn't going to stupidly run again.

"Now, I'm gonna go get cleaned up properly. You sit down by that fire and don't move an inch - or my brothers have my full permission to chase you down, and I can't promise they won't tear you apart in the process."
 
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