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Dead Before Daylight is an Alternate Universe Urban Fantasy role play in a world where supernatural creatures and humans exist side by side – at least, some of them do. Creatures like witches, pixies and satyrs live and work as openly as any human. They commonly hold positions of power in government and are afforded every right and protection.

Other creatures are not so lucky. Those believed threats to humankind and other benign creatures are still persecuted and oppressed. Beings like vampires and werewolves are still forced to live largely in hiding, as they are not afforded the protections of law.

Such blacklisted creatures have created a haven for themselves in the small city of Dawnbreak; but their sanctuary is becoming increasingly threatened by the arrival of outsiders. In the meantime a menacing power is lurking in the forests and increasingly beginning to threaten the town as people begin to go missing, and mangled bodies are beginning to be discovered in and around the woodlands.

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 Apparition, TAG: Red Redford / OPEN
The last sliver of afternoon sun had disappeared beneath the ragged horizon of trees crowding the shore across the mottled water. The ice was starting to break apart, leaving beautiful and strange patterns of dark water across its opaque canvas and the cold powder settled on the railing of the deck glittered before becoming dull.

Twilight advanced quickly as darkness took hold, the distant lights of the village the only sign of company further down the shore. Staring through her own grey reflection upon the tall window, crimson eyes glared out into the inky nothing beyond the glass. She knew the great room overlooked the slope of the yard and the wharf buried under last nights fresh snow but the sickle moon had passed behind a cloud and there was nothing for her to separate in the gloom.

Silence reigned over the dim lake house.

Patiently its occupant stood, as still as a faded mannequin by the multi-story windows which dominated the living space. A small, lily-white hand rested upon the back of the leather armchair in front of her, a thumb brushing across the stitching as a tiny muscle in her wrist flinched under the skin.

Even that minute movement halted when the sound came again; a guttural, strained howl which echoed through the trees, bouncing off the ice on the lake and escaping into the frigid air.

The first time she had heard it, the young woman had been sitting on the sofa, reading by a single end-table lamp. But as the chilling noise shattered the cold night she had jerked to her feet with a gasp, whirling to turn off the light immediately and plunge the house into shadow.

The fox inside her mind was pacing, the plume of its tail low and tight against its body as wary instincts were set on edge. Not even in the depths of the Aokigahara, where the most horrifying of yurei were said to lurk, had the newcomer ever heard a creature such as that...

Shinju waited for several minutes staring unseeing into the night until it came a third time and now her spine stiffened.

It was louder, the direction had shifted and it was getting closer.

Releasing the breath she had been holding as she moved, the argent-haired vulpine whirled away from the windows, her pennant flaying in the dark as she lunged for the door to the deck...

-----


As the hem of her robe brushed against the dry shrub, making the fabric hiss, she regretted not shedding the garment before her hurried exit from the house.

The kimono was double-layered satin, cream in color and embroided with gossamer, white stitching which embossed a faint sakura pattern over the cloth. It had been an indulgence some months ago, reminding her of a yukata which had belonged to her mother displayed in her father's room; now she was ready to hang it on the nearest branch and leave it out there for the crime of making her tense at nothing for the fifth time...

The white figure strode quickly and lightly across the frozen earth, her bare feet having long since turned a shade of indigo under the alabaster skin which was creeping up her ankle. She hardly felt it though, poising at the start of her next step to lift her face to a passing cool night zephyr and breathe deeply. The weather dampened the scents outside and the absence of them made her scalp prickle.

The ghastly sounds had fallen silent and had not come again since she had changed direction from the lake side to head up the slope towards the boundary line alongside the road. Here there were large piles of peeling tree trunks stacked, the earth scraped down to the soil where the machines had cleared the corridor for the fence. She had been using it for firewood and now as she passed the stump that had served as her anvil that morning her little hand snapped around the handle of the axe embedded there. The wood gave a squeak as the metal was yanked loose, air moaning around it as she swung it once, testing the balance of her grip.

Her hand traced the wide band of her obi belted tight around her waist and tucked the sagging neckline of her robe tight to her breast again to soothe the prickling bumps spreading across her skin there. She smoothed her hair around her face as strands brushed her lashes and caught in the mascara there. It was the only accent marking her stark contrasting silhouette in the night as her ghostly countenance moved silently through the treeline...


DragonBlue

It hadn't taken long at all for rumor of the newcomer to filter past Red. Usually the wolf didn't pay too much mind to the comings and goings of strangers through the town, so long as they didn't cause any trouble. Dawnbreak had long been a sanctuary town - though the influx of humans and fae looking to get out of the city was posing a threat to that.

It was that hovering potential threat that had lured Red out. This particular newcomer was an odd one. No one had actually seen them, at least no one that he had spoken to. He'd just heard the rumors about the purchase of a particularly expensive lakeside home that had been sitting dormant for quite some time now. That in and of itself was hardly unusual. It was the adjustments made to the property that had spiked Red's interests. Apparently the new owner's first move had been to erect a fence around the entire property, closing themselves in completely.

That was extremely odd for their little community.

Of course there was all sort of speculation flying about town. Gossip was a major pastime in Dawnbreak, and the odd circumstances of the newcomer's arrival made fodder for weeks. It hadn't taken long for the stories to start becoming wild.

Red knew it was likely that someone who just preferred their privacy had settled there, but all the same when he finally got a chance he went to go check it out if only to sate his own curiosity. Besides, one could never be too careful. If the stranger had moved in looking for trouble the werewolf would rather nip it in the bud.

It was cold when he pulled his truck off onto the side of the road about a half mile away from the property. Red tucked his sidearm into the holster at his waist, just in case, and then hopped out to begin cutting a track through the forest towards the house. Before long the wolf started to notice how quiet and still it was - almost oddly so. Similar to the way the woods became when it began to snow... but there was no sign that a fresh bout was coming in. The sky was only patched with clouds, and the air didn't smell like it usually did before precipitation.

Though it was a bit odd, the werewolf shook it off and tucked his hands into his pockets as he trudged onward. Before long the lakeside manor came into view through the trees. Red approached until he was as close to the fence as one could get without leaving the cover of the treeline. From there he started to pace along it, simply observing for now. He wasn't actually expecting to find anything that night.

It was about that time he heard the first lilting howl, a sound like nothing Red had ever encountered in a life time roaming these forests. The man halted in his tracks, gaze snapping towards the sound. Suddenly the unusual stillness he'd observed before didn't seem so benign.

The sound echoed through the quiet night and slowly faded. Red stayed in place, waiting for a time, straining as he listened to his surroundings. A branch fell somewhere in the distance, then there was nothing else. Finally he began moving again.

Nothing happened for a time and then suddenly he heard it again. The wolf was vaguely aware that the light which had been on inside the house he was investigating suddenly switched off, but he was too fixated on the howl - wondering if it was the same creature that had attacked his son and his fiancee twice now. A third howl ended that train of thought as Red realized that whatever the beast responsible was, it was coming nearer.

No longer particularly concerned with being discovered by whoever resided in the manor, Red turned around and began cutting a path back towards the road. He was calling it quits for the night rather than risk having a run in with whatever the hell was out there.

Ronin_shinju


The air became cooler the higher up the sloping acreage she climbed, her breath began to mist as the warmth rushing from her pastel lips collided with the chill. Her white knuckles had blanched pink around the axe handle and even the tip of her lily-white nose was reddening.

The werefox paused in the lee of a newly budding birch which had been brought low by the heavy snow weighing its branches. A line of gooseflesh ran up the inside of her thigh as the folds of her robe shifted in the evening breeze and she shook off the feeling by letting the axe handle slide out of her grip. Deftly catching it at the end of its length to swing it upright, her white hand flashed in the dark as she caught it now in a reversed grip and laid it flush along the length of her bicep, the loose sleeves of her robe enveloping it in the breeze. The weight of the axe head was not in her favor, too heavy for her blows to be quick, so she chose to use it defensively if need be as she changed course.

Near the peak of the slope her bare toes touched upon the gravel stones of the driveway and Shinju stayed on this path as she closed the last dozen feet to the gate. A demure figure who nearly seemed to glow under the lone spotlight illuminating the entrance- she walked swiftly on the balls of her feet, steps light and barely crunching the scoria underfoot. Her red eyes were like a bloody wound in her stark face as her chin tipped back to look right into the lens as its aperture whirred. Its fathomless, cycloptic eye panned across where she stood even as her own glare flickered out through the metal bars to check the road beyond.

Several moments passed as Shinju regarded the panel before stepping in close to the keypad mounted to the camera pole and punched in the PIN. The motor sounded deafening loud in the stillness of the night, the rollers scraping like broken glass in their track for what felt like several moments. The albino was quick to put distance between the noise as soon as the gate had slid back far enough for her to slip through.

The concrete of the road felt like walking on a frozen lake, the shock of the cold making her gasp in her throat. She went still at the sound of her own breath, letting the exhale slid out of her nostrils slowly while she peering into the black tree silhouettes surrounding her.

Another breeze brushed past, its cool fingertips caressing spider-web strands of her hair to catch in her lashes and cling to the corner of her lips. She ignored the irritations, instead focusing on the cloying, ashen smell of exhaust, engine grease and tire rubber which wafted past. Her chin whipped to the right, realization kicking in and Shinju did not hesitate to begin pacing down the middle of the dark road towards the evidence of the recent vehicle...

After a few hundred yards the faint imprint of the tire treads still pressed into the forming frost told her she was going the right way and her step quickened as her back lowered and her hips dipped. Her advance towards the truck was almost like a dance, her gait on point and silent as the white kimono streaked grey in the dark with her darting movements.

Shinju reached the driver's door and stood against it slowly, her silken-sheathed shoulder whispering as the decadent fabric brushed the paintwork and handle. The cabin was empty, she saw with a split-second glance past the edge of the window. This emboldened her to try the latch, suspecting it might be locked but relying on small-town familiarity to give her an opportunity to inspect the contents of the truck...

-----
Red Redford

This post has been edited by Ronin_shinju: May 11 2018, 05:20 PM

The vehicle was indeed unlocked, though there wasn't much to be found inside. A few CDs in a holder attacked to the sun-visor, a dirty sweat shirt on the floorboard of the passenger side and a folder full of blank forms from the sheriff's station were all that could be found in immediate view.

Back in the forest Red was making his way back to the truck. His senses were still straining, but so far there had been nothing since that final cry drawing too close for comfort. Even still the wolf couldn't relax.

Clouds of mist crystallized in front of him as he paced towards the road. There were too many places for something to conceal itself in the forest. He wanted to be out in the open where something was less likely to sneak up on him.

It didn't take long for Red to make it there. The treeline came to a stop about fifteen feet away from the road itself. He trudged through the snow, flexing his hands against the cold and tucking them into his pockets as he made his way onto the shoulder of the asphalt.

He made it a few steps before he took note of the footprints. Someone had been walking there, and recently judging by the crisp outlines in the snow. Red didn't think much of it initially. Some kid had probably snuck off to get stoned only to be spooked home by the howls.

That suspicion was short lived, though. Red rounded a bend that brought his vehicle into sight and he realized the door was open and someone was leaning inside. The wolf slowed some, withdrawing his hands from his pockets as he made a near silent approach, "Can I help you?" he raised his voice to announce himself while he was still a short distance off.

Ronin_shinju

The isolation of the lakehouse had perhaps made her complacent in recent weeks as she had learned few visitors invaded the area- most took the hint offered by the new fenceline.

Or maybe she was too focused on pawing over the truck for clues. Her nostrils twitched as she breathed in the aroma of the driver- male, the strong musk of wolf nearly overpowering the human pheromones and then there was the gun oil tang. She immediately went for the glovebox, assuming the gun was in there, but found none. Which meant the owner of the vehicle was roaming around in the dark. With a sidearm.

The papers slid against one another and she shifted a page with a fingernail, her touch deliberately delicate. It was blank, no pre-filled information to be found. She was reaching for the sweat shirt when the night air changed on an eddy. The chill crept around the back of her thighs where the robe shifted and fluttered, a strand of her hair falling against her cheek. With it came the scent of warm skin, cold metal and juniper pines. It was strong, making her jaw tense under her cheek. When had the intruder gotten close enough for her to smell him so strongly?

The voice which carried through the cold night confirmed her mistake as it called out to her. Immediately the white crown of hair could be seen streaming like cobwebs in the dark as they stepped back, clear of the open passenger door. It was a woman, pale as the snow around them from her hair to her robe belted tight around her waist. The axe she moved closer into the fall of her garment became lost behind the silk. A pair of eyes the color of blood watched him, flashing merlot in the glow of the headlights as they dropped to his hip and back up to his face.

Her chin tipped up ever so slightly and the breath trailed from her lips as she replied: "You can tell me why you are parked at my property." The voice was clarion, with an accent thickly flavored the words to match the shape of those eyes.

DragonBlue

This post has been edited by Ronin_shinju: May 14 2018, 12:28 AM

Red continued to approach even after announcing himself. His gaze lingered on the young woman that pulled away from the vehicle, into plainer view just by the door. She was an unusual one with skin such a pale white that it made the red of her eyes almost seem to glow even in what dim light was cast by a crescent moon.

Her answer caused his chin to tilt up ever so slightly in acknowledgement. So this was the mysterious newcomer he'd come out to investigate. Red licked his lips with that realization, still sidling closer; though as he drew within about forty feet of the woman his pace began to slow.

"I own property around here," he answered. It wasn't a complete lie. His family did own a little place off the lake - but it was off on the other side. Blatant honesty didn't seem like a wise route to take at the moment, "thought I heard something strange. Could've sworn some kind of animal raced out in front of the truck so I pulled off to check it out."

Ronin_shinju

Closer now she could see him clearer in the darkness; he was was a swarthy-skinned man with dark eyes and hair and he brought the canine scent with him.

Wolf.


Her eyes flinched at the corners, displeased by the lupine being on her territory, the expression forming a thin line between her brows.

She did not bring the axe out into full view as he approached, slower, but closer all the same. It was enough to make the white figure take a step back from the open passenger's panel, now fully revealed by the silvery light of the moon. She barely stood as high at the roof of the truck.

"Mm." a soft humming sound of agreement came from her throat and she nodded, once, the movement stiff. "I heard a strange animal... It seems to be gone now."

Although her voice was almost musical to listen to, rising and falling with benign inflections, she let the silence hang in such a way that it became pregnant with her unsaid conclusion: You can leave now...

The wind was threatening to change direction and she did not want to be standing out on the open road with nothing but an axe if this lycan was territorial.

Her luck ran out no sooner than she had assessed the threat; the cold zephyr crept across the icy lake and raced up the driveway to the road with a rush of stirred snow flakes so suddenly it made her robe audibly flap with its impact. She sucked in a sharp breath through her teeth and watched the dark strands of his hair ruffle with it...

DragonBlue

This post has been edited by Ronin_shinju: May 14 2018, 03:38 AM

He eventually came to a halt a safe distance away from the stranger. She didn't look like much at a glance, but the werewolf knew that appearances weren't everything.

His gaze slid over her again, taking note of her state of dress. About that time there was a shift in the breeze, and he finally caught a full whiff of her scent. Neither human nor wolf. A fox.

That was something he hadn't come across in a while. Wolves had dominated the town for centuries now, and while they didn't go out of their way to harass other shifters, their presence seemed to keep many of them away.

"I'm not so sure it is gone," Red answered, turning his head to look back into the dark woods, "you hear that?" he asked - inquiring about the sheer lack of sound rather than anything audible.

Ronin_shinju

As surely as she had caught his scent she knew he now had hers as the night air died down, having wrought its chaos on the situation. But he did not snarl, did not posture his personal space and if not for the aroma still coiling in her brain she might have thought herself mistaken...

That little crease on her pristine brow deepened, forming a knot of flesh between the powder of her brows. She turned her head to stare out into the dark trees beyond her fenceline, as if she were considering the unseen outline of the lakehouse deep within, dark and silent. Her veil screened away her profile from him, only the faintest tip of her obsidian lashes could be seen fluttering as her gaze inspected the shadows.

"This property is often quiet."
she told him quietly, although something underneath her words hinted that she agreed with his assessment. Ever since she had taken residence at the house the forest surrounding it had not been abundant with wildlife. It was peaceful to her.

Now it took on a sinister shade.

As if that was the revelation it had been waiting for the looming shadow rose up from the snowdrift across the road, its figure climbing between the silhouettes of ragged pines. Up, up and up it stood until it was surely eight feet tall, shoulders conjoining with the trunks in a behemoth stature. Jagged antlers scraped the bark and shattered the snow from the boughs as it leaned back its deaths head grin and loosed that cry again. Now her gaze was riveted to it, red eyes wide and over-bright by the light of the moon. Breath poured from its wide maw, its ethereal presence catching her attention. In a heartbeat she decided; if it breathed, it bled.

"Abunai!" her voice rang out beneath the howl and she suddenly moved, a ghostly blur in the dark as her light step drew her back from the truck even as there was a moaning sound. Punctuated by a wet --Spl-MACK!--ing sound as the beast severed its cry in a gurgle. The axe handle was at an angle, stuck across its chest where the head had buried into its shoulder.

"The deck entry is unlocked!" she called to the wolf as her back turned to him in a flaying of her white hair. The flash of lily-white legs as she leapt at the truck, the vehicle barely rocking as her toes touched upon its roof, springing off the B-pillar and over the roll-top fence to disappear into the thick foliage of a pine.

She did not mince words and her voice did not come again, only the branches rocking in her wake gave evidence she had even been there...

Within the fenceline the robe hit the powder at her heels, sliding down her calf as she hunched low into her sprint. Leaping a fallen log, the Change rippled over her like a hot flush. Soft fur washed across her cheeks, her lips darkening and elongating as her delicate features reconstructed themselves. The wet pop of a knee joint reversing and the sound of the air brushing across soft fur, then a moment later the white fox landed several feet away still running.

It took Shinju less than a minute to dart through the trees, streaking out of the undergrowth near the shoreline and her bright pelt made her nearly disappear against the dim ice of the lake until she broke for the backyard. Up the stairs to the deck fronting the huge floor to ceiling, two-story windows of the Great Room and her steps changed their gait half-way up. By the time she reached it, her hands were human again, the hair receded from the back of their pale palms as she opened the door handle and slipped inside...

DragonBlue

"Nah, lady," Red shook his head once, "quiet is one thing. Winter nights are always quiet around here but there's still sound - I've lived in these parts all my life and I'm telling you this kind of dead silence ain't natural," the wolf shifted in place as he finished speaking, visibly unsettled by a sort of instinctual prickling - he didn't know exactly what it was or why he was feeling it, just that something was badly wrong. He was certain it wasn't just nerves from hearing those bizarre howls, though.

Red was about to tell the young woman to get herself home when the thing made its appearance.

It lumbered upwards into view. He turned towards the motion, momentarily freezing from the shock of what he saw beginning to tower above them. Red had spent a good four decades roaming the wilds surrounding Dawnbreak. In that time he'd seen all manner of beasts, both commonly known and even a few that many didn't believe existed; but this monstrosity was like nothing he'd ever encountered before.

There were a number of details that stood out, but in that moment it was its head that Red found himself fixated on. A massive, twisted rack of antlers sprouted and spread above an emaciated, partially skeletal head; its mouth and cheeks were mutilated and torn as though they'd been gnawed away. For every split second he noticed some unsettling new detail until suddenly the woman hurled the axe in her hand at it.

Despite the unwieldy nature of such a thing the little fox shifter left it lodged thoroughly in the creatures chest - and it didn't even phase the thing. Even with the axe lodged in its chest the beast only let out an enraged sound that made even the werewolf's blood curdle.

The woman ran and in an instant Red turned on heel to do the same. She dashed into the forest and he followed on her heels, hurtling various obstacles in the wild dash for what they both hoped would be the safety of her home. They were both quick but the fox was even swifter as she shifted in mid lunge and took to a small, lithe form that streaked off and all but vanished into the snow - Red followed suit a split moment later, leaping and shifting without pause. Even still the beast crashing through the forest behind them was uncomfortably close.

Red followed the fox as they drew back within sight of the house. She already had the door open and was slipping inside as the wolf came tearing up the stairs. He dashed in on her heels, sliding to a less than grateful halt as he came skidding in and lost traction on the wood floors.

As he righted himself the wolf shifted back, beginning to resume the form of a man as he turned to look out the windows, "What the fuck is that?" Red breathed as they both watched the beast that had followed them back.

Mindy G



The fox streaked through the night, the sound of larger paws pounding the snow in her wake telling her that the wolf was on her heels. The sound of his gait was nearly lost underneath the ear splitting sound of a pine cracking through its juniper trunk, the high pitched groan the only warning as it came down mere feet from crushing the fleeing Shifters. A stench like the legendary nuppeppō of her homeland choked the air as she sucked in hard breaths, only fading as she got closer to her yard.

When the wolf came skittering into the room at her back, his claws squealing and scratching at the floorboards as he nearly went sliding into the raised hearth almost comical. If they had not been hunted by the most foul beast she had ever encountered. Slamming the door behind him and locking it, the skinny white figure of the albino took a step back, her head craning to glance up at the height of the large windows. All of a sudden she felt very exposed by the open view of the dark outside.

"What the fuck is that?" the wolf said breathlessly and her head whipped around to stare at him a moment, her fragile shoulders still rising and falling hectically with her own gasps. As if she had forgotten he was there a moment, her wide red eyes swept over him, getting as far as his chest until she realized he was naked.

She tore her gaze off him and back to the windows, hands raising in front of her in an expectant stance, like it might come crashing through the glass any moment. Her eyes focused in the dark house, trained on the yard outside and the hulking shadow that seemed to be lingering near the little wharf at the bottom of the slope. She watched it pace, changing direction several times, still trying to take in the grotesque details in the moonlight.

"If I knew..." she replied in a hoarse whisper, her voice trailing off.

A long, tense moment passed where the fox and the wolf did not seem to care that either one was stark mother naked, instead standing there still and waiting...

Then with another gut-clenching howl the beast leapt from the wharf, the crack of the ice breaking as it hit the thin surface echoing and the shape of it began racing out onto the thawing lake. It disappeared into the treeline of the opposite shoreline, the tracks it had left torn into the ice marking its path. She was about to let out a breath when another cry came, this one higher pitched, almost elated as the sound of a buck roaring undercut the call...

"Soredesu kuwaseru..." she murmured in realization as he muscles let out their tension. Then in English: "...It is feeding..."

She shivered, not from the cold, and turned to drag a sherpa throw woven with a native raven motif from the back of the leather armchair nearby. She held it out to him with her head turned away, looking somewhere out into the kitchen. She did not make a move to get herself anything until he took it.

As she stood there behind the chair, holding it out to him in a rigid arm, the musculature of her form glowed like she shed her own inner light by the faint moon. The fine lines carved into her biceps, her sculpted shoulders and the hint of rippling serratus muscles under her breasts (which she had one forearm clamped across tightly) said she was slight, but toned and obviously highly active.

It was the only moment he had to look her over, for as soon as the blanket was out of her hands and swept towards the rough-hewn banister stairs and fled up to the loft. Her steps could be heard above on the mezzanine as she headed to one side of the house, probably her bedroom, and emerged belting a bathrobe around her waist. There was a glistening in her red eyes that said she had just stifled the urge to cry.

"Are you hurt?" she asked, her voice trembling through her accent as she lingered on the bottom step, watching the tall windows again...

DragonBlue

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