Nothing More, Nothing Less (Peregrine x Jackalope)

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Peregrine, Dec 21, 2014.

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  1. The wagon was a ramshackle affair, and it moved through the wilds so slow that it would have been far faster to walk. But the wagon belonged to a tidy group of people, and they had been surprisingly willing to let a stranger climb aboard with them at the last town. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he looked like a pure-blood. It was rare to find an unmutated individual away from some purist community, but, if they left, they left with a purpose. People looked at him, and they saw what he wanted them to see. Enzo had a sweet face with smooth skin, unmarred by the scarring of a wild life, and soft dark hair that was kept neatly trimmed around his head. His clothes were kept in careful repair, and while there was no such thing as the fine fabrics that the nobility before the apocalypse had known, his were as close as they came. People looked at him and saw the runaway prince of some pure-blood family. Being kind and polite to him would have no bad consequences, and if a few people decided to try and grab him to see if he was worth something, well, so much the better. His disguise served him well all the way around.

    Despite his appearance, Enzo was not a pure-blood. That implied some level of heritage, tracing through the countless number of generations separating the present moment from the apocalypse. Heritage he was notably lacking. Even Enzo couldn’t say exactly how many years that was, it had to be somewhere in the range of 500, but no one bothered to keep track anymore. Least of all him. He could say with near certainty, though, that he was the only person on earth who had known the world before the electric wave had come from space and destroyed all electricity and the world as it was known. Big shocker, that one.

    He had actually known the world for a great deal of time before the wave, as a matter of fact. Sometimes he missed the simplicity of life, from back then. Living was never, ever easy, but it could certainly be simple. Simplicity was always knowing where to go to get as much as it was possible to eat, and knowing that the cold would not come and bite off the tips of unprotected toes in the night. Even after five hundred or so years, nothing about this world was simple. It had been plunged back into the dark ages, and it seemed that it was going to stay there for the foreseeable future.

    The wagon wheel hit a rut in the road, jarring him rather violently from his quiet musing as he was tossed a couple inches into the air. His legs swung wildly, and one hand gripped at a wooden board, before the wagon began to roll steadily again. Enzo rubbed his wounded tailbone, before glaring back at the offending rut, slowly falling away behind him. He might be better off walking, but he couldn’t muster the willpower to jump off onto the dirt road. In the end, it really just wasn’t that important.

    Calling it a road might have been a bit of an exaggeration. It was really nothing more than a glorified dirt trail. Even trail might have been flattering, because trail implied it was used consistently enough to keep it free of various shrubbery and other things offensive to the bottom of a foot. This route was lucky if it saw ten groups in a month. Only the fact that people knew this path wouldn’t result in a dead end or some bank that the wagon could not descend made it any better than trying to make their own path through the wilderness. But the advantages of the road were matched point by point for disadvantages, and somehow the disadvantages always seemed a lot more severe than the advantages were useful. Perhaps it was because the advantages were passive, while the disadvantages were quick and, most often, quite painful. Of course, perhaps that didn’t make it such a disadvantage at all, at least to him.

    When things began to go wrong, as was their wont, they went wrong quickly, in a rapid succession that was liable to give an idle observer whiplash. The first, and presumably most accidental, of the events was heralded by the sound of splintering wood. With a harsh crack, the wagon finally folded, unable to make it over the next rut in a seemingly neverending line. The caravan was brought to a shuddering halt, and the leader bent over, checking the wagon for the damage.

    Thomas was a bit of an alarming creature, at first glance. Then again, by the standards of some of the people who now lived in the world, he was almost attractive. His face was distended, unnaturally long, and a second, over-large set of eyes rested where most people would normally have cheekbones. His right shoulder was heavy and awkward, causing him to walk in an almost permanent hunch, and led to a club-like arm that was nearly long enough to drag on the ground. He quickly confirmed that the axle had snapped under the strain of the rough journey, although he was quick to confirm that Ezio’s weight had little effect in the matter, and the six other people who made up the rest of the caravan were quick to gather around. Enzo hopped down from his perch on the back of the wagon, slipping passively out of the way of the other people, all in various states of unpleasant mutation, and almost all of them notably taller than him. They were content to let him go. Other than a quiet willingness to help with simple chores and a surprisingly sweet countertenor singing voice, Enzo had proved himself to be mostly useless on the road. Most notable of the moments had been when Enzo succeeded in crushing both him and the smallest of the caravan members, which wasn’t him, thank god, under an avalanche of fifty pound bags of rice. That wasn’t to say he really was useless, it was simply what he had proved himself to be.

    The axle was cleanly split in two and beyond even their tenacious rigging ability, and the group quickly went about replacing it. But midway through, things went quickly from unfortunate but manageable to getting dangerously close to dangerous. One of the women standing scout while the four strongest members of the group went to work on wrassling the wagon into cooperation let out a faint whistle. Activity didn’t stop, but it slowed to a crawl, and one of the men under the wagon wriggled out from underneath, looking as though he was still working. The signal was foreign to Enzo, but it clearly meant something along the lines of “Someone is watching us and may wish us harm. Best not to let them know we know they are there.” Quite an impressive message for a single noise.

    It took a moment for Enzo to spot what the woman had spotted, but watching the vibrations of her antennae was enough to guide his eyes to the right spot. Hiding in the undergrowth was a man, wearing heavy leather and wood armor and with the glint of old metal on his shoulders. Despite the attempts of the rest of the caravan, it was impossible to act as though they hadn’t spotted him forever. As the four workers one by one gave up on their task and came to stand between the man and the wagon, only an idiot wouldn’t have realized their new and sudden increase in knowledge of a certain thing they weren’t supposed to know. As soon as it was clear he had been spotted the man tried to bolt, tail swinging wildly for balance as he careened over a fallen log, but Thomas moved faster. A stone hatchet appeared in his massive hand, and he threw it with all the force of a trebuchet. It spun through the air, before embedding itself in the fleeing man’s back with a sharp crack. His scream was loud and piercing, before quickly being cut short as the other man whose eyes were more useful than his muscle density clasped his hand over the man’s mouth, and wrenched his head sharply to the side. The unknown man offered no more complaints after that, as was natural for most people with a broken neck.

    But the man, a scout as it happened, had not come alone, and his scream did not go unanswered. Within a couple of seconds there was the sound of heavily booted feet crashing against the ground, drawing closer from multiple directions. The members of the small caravan drew closer together, pulling whatever makeshift weapons they had from whatever hiding spaces they had previously been occupying. Faces intense, they prepared to fight.

    Enzo felt his heart beating in his chest, slow and steady. He waited expectantly for it to pick up speed, to send a rush of adrenalin through his system and remind every cell in his body that it was in a situation that would be deemed potentially life threatening by anyone that wasn’t him. But, against his wishes, it remained calm. This just wasn’t enough to bring a rush of emotions into his body. He crouched behind the wagon, waiting to see what would happen.

    It became clear in an instant that the caravan was hopelessly outmatched. For every one of them there was easily three of the raider band, and that was assuming that there weren’t more waiting in the trees. Any chance that they were going to let the caravan were quickly squashed when one of them found the body of their dead friend. The raider raced back to a man, who was watching the events from a seat made from another man’s shoulders.

    Every part of him was reminiscent of Thomas’ shoulder. Which was to say, ugly, lumpy, and as though it didn’t belong with the rest of him. There was something vaguely catlike about his face, in the upturned nose, big eyes, and heavy jowls, but only if you squinted, and Enzo was quick to readjust his first assessment to “a slug on an elephant’s backside”. His head was lumpy, as though a giant hand had squeezed it and it had deformed like a lump of clay. His body looked like it had once been fat and then been forced to lose a lot of weight quickly, for folds of skin hung loosely on his thin, twisted frame. Long, almost ropy warts grew all over his body, but especially on his head, where they made it look like he had worms for hair.

    At the report from his colleague the raider leader snarled, mouth opening abnormally wide. He grunted like an angry animal, before letting out an earthshaking bellow. He lifted an arm high, and his human “mount” was quick to follow suit. The rest of the raiders raced down the hillside, screaming like a group of high monkeys, and in possession of little more grace.

    Still Enzo’s heart remained steady. He cursed it silently, even as his soft grey eyes locked with the monster raider’s own tawny ones. No matter what happened, it wouldn’t remain calm long. He was certain that everything was about to go to shit.
     
  2. "Seriously?" A new voice entered the scene with a loud bark of annoyance and an equally annoyed expression, "What is with you dicks? Is every fucking caravan on the damn planet under constant attack?" The speaker's glare was almost as potent as his scathing tongue, his swirl of blue and brown eyes narrowed into thin slits made all the more threatening by the dark smudges of kohl around them, and it was directed at the caravan, boring into the wagon itself as though the inanimate object had insulted him. A flicker of motion and his eyes were on the raiders instead, however, the man working his jaw with an audible click of teeth. "Every fucking where I go, there's dick-shits like you running amok, crossing my god damned path and making my day worse than it already is. You ever crossed a barren fucking wasteland on no god damn supplies?!" He flailed an arm to the side, showing off the intricate pattern of crisscrossing shapes that ran beneath his skin, split by the occasional upraised platelet of bleached white bone. The natural armor was most significant on the outside of his forearm, the pattern of platelets and natural chainmail disappearing into the rolled up sleeve of his layered clothing to cover virtually all of his body. The most significant pieces, in fact, were on his back, with a few just barely peeking out at the high collar of his overcoat. "Of course you don't. Wanna know why the frag not?! Oh, I KNOW. Because you sit here and block my way while you steal them."

    With that snarl of a complaint, the time for talking was done. Glaring harshly at the raider leader and his pitiful excuse for a mount, the stranger reached up with one gloved hand to his lips, pulling the glove free with his teeth before sticking two fingers into his mouth and giving a sharp, sloping whistle. It started with a complicated twist of a sound, a wheeling spiral that attracted the attention of raiders who were too busy attacking to hear his rant, but quickly shot off into a solid, climbing note that ricocheted up the scales in a great arc. Even after he ceased blowing the whistle continued, its tone perfectly constructed to echo even in such an open space as this. It was a startling sound...but the seconds passed....and nothing changed...
    Until with a gasping scream of deep, guttural terror cut abruptly short, a new figure made its appearance onto the scene.


    Where the stranger was virtually unassuming with his minor mutations and little more than a hefty, bladed staff for protection, this was a nightmare. The creature was at least six feet tall at the shoulder, balanced on a set of sprawled black toes, the front set of which that clicked together in a strange rhythm as the animal reared, its massive tail sloped behind it for balance and its neck arched so that its long skull was perfectly perpendicular to the ground. Below it the man who screamed was twitching in a pool of his own blood, his eyes gone white and his skull crushed with the same, delicate splintering patterns that a human finger did to an egg. The animal itself had a thin, dark hide with a strange horizontal stripe that was stylistically patterned along the contours of its body, but less disturbing than its smooth coat and the hefty, tooth-filled jaws partially opened in an expression too close to pleasure to be comforting, was the sharp, thorny set of horns that covered the entire front of its head in one armored slope on its way to split that ended in a smooth point about two feet past its head. The blood dribbling from one of the symmetrical protrusions on the front gave a very clear indication as to what had happened to the resident squealer.

    The manygot tossed its head up in a bugle, its long jaws opening in what looked like a grin, and with another loud series of clicks from its front hooves, it leapt forward and charged straight into the raiders. Right on its heels, charging from across the way, was the stranger, the man giving sharp whistles and sharp sounds with his tongue to guide his massive steed. The ram wheeled and turned in time with its rider's directions, only Rhodey's strong will and stronger influence turning its eager charge away from a caravanner and back into a raider as Rhodey himself set his own spear-like weapon to use, jumping into the fray with smooth arcs of attacks that spoke of the attention of a master somewhere in his history. There was a beauty to their synchronicity as they drew closer together, but not in the destruction that they intended to wreck as they grew closer and closer together, Rhodey at last turning his attention away from the raiders for a bare moment--weapon lowering--as he reached up with his thickly gloved hand to grab at Littletoes's horn, aiming to lift himself up into the ram's saddle where he would have a considerably greater advantage.
     
  3. Enzo was the first one to notice the stranger, as he made his way around a bend in the trail and suddenly came into view of the confrontation. But, as the screaming tide of raiders came racing out of the forest and Enzo turned away, a frustrated sigh shaking his frame, he caught a figure out of the corner of his eye. Considering the situation it wasn’t all that odd, but it was the only figure other than himself that was currently stationery. The other members of the caravan were moving forward, preparing to meet the assault with all the force they could muster. What was even more unusual was that the lone figure seemed to be speaking. Judging by the weight of his brow and the irate movements of his hands, perhaps ranting would be a better word. However, over the sound of screams, screeches, and grunts coming from the various raiders, it was impossible to make out what exactly he was saying. He quickly resolved the issue by lifting his fingers to his lips, and letting out an unearthly whistle.

    For a moment it seems as though the noise was ultimately going to have absolutely no impact on the coming battle. The raiders were far too enraged and bloodthirsty to even begin considering the merits of figuring out the nature of odd noises. They, after all, made odd noises all the time. And, as long as the raiders kept fighting, the caravaners could spare no time for anything other than keeping a club from splitting their head open.

    That all changed suddenly when a figure of one of the raiders hanging back in the forest came bursting into the clearing, pursued by a beast that made far more sense to appear in the middle of a dark night when one had already been knocked unconscious by something unfriendly than in the middle of the day when one was most certainly wide awake. The raider that the creature quickly impaled on a single sharp hoof would certainly have preferred if the creature was nothing more than a nightmare, that was for sure. Were it a nightmare, he’d be able to wake up again. Such a possibility was now entirely out of the question.

    It did, however, have an effect. Whether or not it was the intended effect was uncertain, but it briefly brought the battle to a halt as everyone stared goggle-eyed at the strange beast. The first one to break out of the spell was Thomas, who used his large, club-like arm to knock the raider facing him quickly into unconsciousness. Then the cry of the creature was met by an equally loud and bestial shriek from the raider captain. He threw himself off of his “mount’s” shoulders, and tumbled with surprising grace for his lumpy form.

    If the battle had appeared hectic and impossible moments before, it was nothing compared with the suicidal scuffle that was now occurring just a foot in front of Enzo’s face. The demon goat horse thing carved a bloody path through the fight, with the stranger chasing after it, whistling the whole while. For a moment the caravaners braced themselves, prepared to fend off the creature as best they were able, but when it turned away from them and began to focus its attention on the raiders specifically. For a moment they watched it, waiting to see if it was going to become a threat, but then a woman with a head that curved back into a single large ram’s horn and hands that split at the elbow into double let out a harsh cry, lunging at a raider that had gotten so distracted by the mount he had forgotten who else he was supposed to be fighting. He was forcibly reminded when the rusted scrap of metal she used as a blade slid across his throat, leading to a massive jagged tear and a flood of scarlet that stained the front of his dirty clothes. “Aaaaaagh!” he declared meaningfully, before crumpling to the ground.

    Surprisingly, other than the demon mount, the thing that was doing the most damage to the raiders was their own captain. He hurtled heedlessly towards the beast, and anything that got in his way quickly found itself anywhere but in his way. He may have been small, lumpy, and lacking any adjective that even remotely related to intimidating, but it quickly became clear how this thing had managed to hold together a group of scoundrels and rogues who would sooner slit each other’s throats than work together. He was terrifying in the way that a rabid dog was terrifying, because he seemed to have no heed for his own safety, and everything that moved was an enemy.

    Briefly, as he watched the little creature hurtle towards the much bigger one, plowing through the crowd of bandits like a locomotive through a snowbank, Enzo found himself wondering what he was doing still sitting on the side of this fight. It was as though he was invisible, some silent, ghostly observer that watched everything but no one actually noticed. Even a bandit that was flung only a couple of inches from his feet by a mighty smack from Thomas only shook his head to clear the ringing in his ears, before picking up his fallen weapon and throwing himself back into the fray. He was gaining nothing just sitting here. It wasn’t as though he was afraid of getting hurt. By this point in his life, Enzo had been through so much pain that he didn’t even register simple injuries at this point. As a matter of fact, Enzo welcomed pain. At times, he sought it out with a single-mindedness that made masochistic seem like a moderately unhealthy habit. And a fear of dying was certainly out of the question. Normally he would have jumped into the fight the moment it started. Or, at least, at a point when he was certain that no one who would live through the hour would see him shrugging off wounds that would have laid a mammoth flat.

    But as he stared across the field and once more saw the strange little raider and the demon mount and its stranger, Enzo began to realize that the answer was pretty simple. This wasn’t his fight. He wasn’t needed. He wasn’t even wanted. All he would do was take a kill that belonged to someone else.

    Well, screw the beast. If Enzo wanted in, he was going in. And he was about to do just that, when the final thing went wrong for this poor little caravan. What went wrong, exactly? The leader of the raiders finally made it to the beast, just as the stranger was throwing himself onto its back. The raider threw himself at the stranger’s feet, and the momentum was far too much for the stranger to maintain his grip on the beast’s small horns. They tumbled to the ground, rolling together like a couple of furious ferrets, but the stranger was not as skilled in ground combat as he was at controlling his mounts, and after only a couple of seconds the bandit raider was on top. He punched the stranger once, twice, three times in the face, rendering him thoroughly unconscious. But he had dared to take his eyes off of an opponent he really should not have forgotten, for a second later the beast’s head closed over the raider’s head, and his skull exploded like an over-large pimple.
     
  4. There was a long pause as Toes lowered his head to the ground, jaws still tightly clamped around the raider's skull and legs spread carefully around the body of his prone rider. The moment hung in the air, thick and tense with the slow realization that the marauding group was as headless as their leader, but as the mount slowly unlocked its death grip and the crumpled mash of skull, flesh and blood slumped to the ground with a squelch, a different sort of anxiety began to spread. Large, dark eyes raised, a soft rumbling sound between a purr and a laugh serenading from the creature's broad chest as it spread its jaws wide, showing off a plethora of teeth all painted a sickly, thick red. One foot shifted, carefully dragging backwards until the heel butted up against Rhodey's shoulder, the twin toes that faced in that direction twitching down to slightly nudge the man's skin. One poke, then two, and Rhodey didn't so much as flinch, and with a crack of realization that filled the air with a soundless boom, Littletoes opened his jaws even farther and howled its excitement.

    Strong legs bunched, hoofed toes digging into the ground as the manygot leaned into its haunches, its long tail lifting slightly before it leapt forward and towards the nearest standing man. The raider got the full force of the animal's barbed horns, his body crunching backwards with enough force to crush metal as he tumbled in a bone shattering roll into the caravan's broken wagon. Littletoes only spared the man's broken body a brief glance as its eyes turned from the spike of ribs through cloth to the next toy. Again and again he charged into the fray, diving after any living body in its view with the adrenaline-fueled exuberance of a puppy chasing a ball. Each encounter left bleeding, broken balls of flesh and bone in the mount's wake, raiders ripped apart from tooth and hoof, travelers crumpled with the creature's heavy charge, men trampled, women speared by one long weapon when the buck reared up and clicked his toes together into a deadly point, slamming his entire limbs through anyone slow enough to be caught.

    A massacre was left by the time the manygot was, more or less, alone. Its brown and cream hide was stained red, and oddly enough blue, from its kills, and it shivered in pleasure and distaste all at once at the feel through its fur, taking a moment to fully shake and send droplets of color flying. Toes hummed, a deep sound that rattled almost like its purr, and with a long stretch, opened his mouth in a deep, thorough yawn that ended with a swipe of his long tongue. Clearly feeling rather satisfied with himself, the buck took a moment to lick at the fur over his shoulder before turning to one of the more humanoid of the bodies, giving it a long sniff before grabbing ahold of one meaty leg and, a foot bracing against the rest of the body, jerking his body to wrench it free of the socket. It took some doing, and a couple times to resituate and pull from a different direction, but the billy was left to walk victoriously away, teeth sunk deep into the thigh of his snack. Only then, wandering back in Rhodey's general direction, did Toes catch sight of Enzo.

    He paused, quite the sight with his saddle slightly askew and only held so well by a mixture of a breastplate and a tail trap, his reins hanging uselessly on one horn, and an entire human leg dangling out of his mouth, but while he gave Enzo a warning glance, he didn't so much as take a step towards the man. The manygot returned to his walk, settling near his rider's unconscious body as he began to eat, one eye lazily landing on Enzo from time to time. He wasn't dumb enough to bother attacking something like that--the only thing Enzo would serve him was as a continuous buffet which...all things considered...he was okay without at the moment.

    ---

    It was another hour before Rhodey began to stir, and by then Littletoes had taken several rounds through the corpses, casually picking off the best pieces and his favorite parts to gobble. What was already a disgusting scene was therefore even more gory and disturbing by the time that Rhodey groaned and began to sit up. He was greeted with a wagging tail and a smiling manygot, the animal happy to greet his owner with a mouthful of hand. Rhodey stared for the longest time, meeting his pet's eyes with a deadpan expression before, with a long groaning sigh, he flopped back on the ground. "Damnit, Toes...can't even hold off a little bit?" The manygot gave a rumbling yip in response and, satisfied Rhodey was fully alive, set back to gnawing on fingers. Rhodey, meanwhile, rolled his eyes and reached up to rub a hand down his face. Oh well. It wasn't like he cared that much anyways.

    After a few minutes the man sat up again, taking his time to get to his feet after a thorough investigation of his aching head. It wasn't all that bad at all, he decided when his fingers came back bloodless. His mutation provided a natural defense for this sort of thing anyways--it was rather lucky on the raider's part that Rhodey had been knocked out at all. Or, he mused as he glanced down to a pile he assumed was the raider, maybe not that lucky after all. Once on his feet the man gave the area his first real look, noting with mild displeasure how many people lay dead...and how many lay mauled, with his bottomless pit of a mount the probable cause. He sighed again, rolling his eyes, and leaned down to grab his weapon, pulling it free from the bodies that had landed on top of it. He was just opening a small panel on the side, reaching for a hook and latch system that helped to collapse it into a smaller, more reasonable size, when something on their feet caught his eye. The man turned with no small amount of surprise, staring at Enzo with a wide-eyed stare even as he took on an instinctive defensive stance. Nearby Littletoes stiffened at the automatic response, turning his aggressive stare to the source of the distress...only to give disinterested harrumph and completely ignore them both. Rhodey, nearly as startled at Toes's reaction as he was to the fact that Toes had left something alive, felt his jaw drop slightly before snapping it shut with an audible, and annoyed, snap, turning to glare at Enzo instead, "The hell did you do?"
     
  5. The moment the stranger hit the ground Enzo felt the change in the air. But he seemed to be the only one, for the fight continued on. Perhaps the various combatants were too occupied with their own struggles to realize that there was now a much greater danger facing them. If they all turned at once and faced the manygot they would undoubtedly be able to fend it off, but they only noticed the danger one at a time, and one at a time they could not dream of facing it. The caravaners, catching glimpses of the creature rampaging through the raiders, did not worry. After all, the stranger had come to aid them.

    But the manygot did not care about who was helping who. There was a reason these creatures were normally exterminated on sight, and only thrived far away from civilization. They didn't even consider their own young worth helping, and would as soon eat it as aid it. And, when the moment came, the caravaners fell as quickly and easily as the raiders. There was no doubt that the got sustained some wounds, but it was not nearly enough to stop him.

    Enzo watched the whole thing from the sidelines, clinging to the edge of the wagon with white-knuckled fingers. Now, as in no point during the fight, he felt his heart pounding within his chest, hard enough to cause tremors to run up and down his legs. The wonton destruction, both to the good and evil, the sheer violence, the loss of Thomas, Renee, Alan, and Gillian, kind, hard working people who had let them travel with him for no reason. Everything stacked on top of him in a glorious rush of emotion. He couldn't breath as the people before him slid to the ground in a pool of blood. Fear, anger, uncertainty... excitement.

    And then, there was nothing left between himself and the manygot. They were the only ones alive, and its dark, bloody eyes turned to look at him. Enzo braced himself, waiting for the manygot to charge, to lunge at him with sharp hooves and teeth, and send the pain shooting through his body as he screamed. But the moment stretched on, and Enzo began to realize something. The manygot sensed the abnormality in him, and it knew he wasn't going to die. Perhaps it was a bloody creature, only interested in killing. But Enzo doubted it somehow. Perhaps the creature simply knew that, while strong, even it couldn't beat an immortal.

    It was almost a disappointment, and it wrecked the heady flood of emotion going through his body. He was cold and distant again. Briefly he considered attacking the creature himself, forcing it to defend itself. Even a lunge in the right direction would certainly be enough to set it off. But, as he watched the creature strip the flesh off of the human leg, before splitting them open with a strong bite and licking out the marrow, a better idea occurred to him. He moved back to the broken wagon, and sat himself down in the back. This creature and its stranger were interesting. They seemed to draw chaos like a magnet, and that intrigued Enzo. There was no sense in going for a short moment of pain when he could create something more profound just by following these two around.

    The stranger was undoubtedly still alive. If he wasn't, the manygot would have left, wandered away with its prize. He would wait. Enzo's eyes fluttered closed as he listened to the rhythmic sound of the creature ripping apart its meal.

    They snapped open again when the stranger's voice reached him. He held still, perched on top of the wagon, watching the interaction between the two. It was odd, to say the least, but Enzo wasn't about to question it. It may be odd, but it was also new, and new wasn't something he got a lot of anymore. The got still seemed to have no interest in him, their strange, silent arrangement still held for the moment. Well, Enzo was about to test that. This would be interesting.

    "We reached an agreement," Enzo replied nonchalantly, shrugging one shoulder. He hopped down off the wagon, stretching out the kinks that had formed from sitting perfectly still on the uncomfortable surface for over an hour. "I'm going to be traveling with you for a little while, since the manygot seems to have exterminated my previous ride."
     
  6. "A-An agreement?!" Rhodey sputtered, expression warring between disbelief and fury as he hissed like a disturbed cat, brows knit tight and one arm flailing to the side. He spit twice, once in tongue tie when he thought he would say something, then again several moments later when, having calmed with a hand running over his horned head and a suspicious glare between the two, he turned fully to the side and spat as though some great conversation had been had and ended. Littletoes seemed to agree, his own behavior a strange mimic of the action as he lifted a prehensile lip, bobbing his head several times before spitting to the side. Abruptly the manygot was moving onto his feet, a soft chittering purr in his chest as he lifted from the ground in a motion that was a far flung cry to an old world camel, the illusion only broken by the remnants of a wrist dangling out of the animal's jaws.

    He approached his owner with the boldness of familiarity, that same familiarity returned by Rhodey as the man accepted the affectionate nibbling of his hair by a creature that, mere minutes ago, had picked his way through two caravans worth of murder. One eye still on Enzo, the rider lifted a hand and ran his fingers across the thick, short fur of his mount, tussleing his diminutive beard on his way up to give on long stroke along the manygot's powerful neck. This was a silent exchange, a question in a shift and a reply in a brush as the two engaged in a familiar dance of subtle languages. A grip of the faint excuse of a mane on the steed's neck, a careful tug of a musty braid tucked at the man's nape; a abrupt turn and a light shove at a powerful shoulder, lip raised in a hissing sneer, replied with a rattling hiss of a much more intimidating caliber, lip curling up and ears laying back, only to flick immediately forward in a teeth-baring grin that could only be described as a laugh.

    Rhodey scoffed, blowing a huff of dust from his nostrils, and Toes made the laughing face again, obscene amount of teeth gleaming in the violent expression, but Rhodey clearly took no threat from the display of mauling capabilities and boldly reached up, gently smacking the animal on the nose, right to the side of the armored bone that curled in front of and over his soft nostrils. "We don't take passengers." He announced at last, only now turning to face the other human again. He looked far less than pleased, his nose curled up in distaste, but Toes had little interest in explaining himself ( and even less interest in actually eating the freak ), so Rhodes supposed there was very little to keep the fellow from following along...well, short of Rhodey killing him.

    The rider's frown deepened and he hefted his weapon in one arm, never completely turning away from Enzo even as he finally opened the hatch he had been seeking prior and, with a quick flick, twist, and a long tug on a metal wire, two ends of the spear slid into the center piece. He locked them with two quiet clicks and snapped the housing shut, tilting the weapon to check that the release had popped up in the process. Finding it to be just so he returned the entire contraption to where it usually rested at his side, and waltzed up to Toes. He didn't pay Enzo much attention again until he had pulled himself into Littletoes's saddle, quickly adjusting everything and checking the manygot's packs ( luckily only one was damaged, and the gash across the side could be repaired in transit ) before casting his eyes back to the other. "We won't wait up either so if you want to travel with us--gots know why--you'll just have to find a way for your scrawny butt to keep up."

    A grin spread across the mussy mutant's face at that, teeth baring in a gleaming expression that was scarily similar to his mount's, and he crossed his arms over his chest as Toes--eager to get on the road again--abruptly turned off the beaten path. "Oh, and we go cross country. I do hope that's alright."
     
  7. Enzo’s only response to Rhodey’s aggressive words was to shrug. At one point, before life had taken a turn for the worse and the world as it had been known came to an end, Enzo had frustrated people to the point where they would actually attack him, just to see what it took. Now that Enzo had made his decision, a scary look and the clear vexation of the man he fully intended to follow wherever he might roam wasn’t going to be enough to chase him away.

    He set off after the retreating figure of the manygot and it’s rider in a steady, ground eating stride that he could maintain for hours. The got’s pace was hardly more than a walk, as there was no need to push the creature unnecessarily fast, and its cloven hooves were meant for going straight up the sides of mountains rather than across the relatively level terrain of the forest. He would have to pay attention to where he was setting his feet, just to make sure that he didn’t trip, but he was also significantly narrower than the manygot, and could pass through places it would have to go around.

    Enzo traveled along behind Rhodey with the same calm, empty expression that he had worn while riding in the back of the wagon. It wasn’t so much that his mind was somewhere else as it was his mind was nowhere, allowing his body to move cleanly and instinctively through the forest without distraction, and the time to pass by quickly. Enzo had done several lifetimes worth of waiting, and he had no choice but to get good at it.

    So he walked, and he waited. Waited for something to happen, for the manygot to stop, for Rhodey to start speaking, or for some dark, unknowable thing to come out of the forest. He waited for anything that would break up the monotony of life.

    Hopefully his decision to follow these two would pay off soon.
     
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