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Dawnbreak
DragonBlue

Ravenous Creatures

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The former Dawnbreak Sherriff had always been a prompt man. No one could remember him ever taking so much as a sick day even before he’d been appointed to the office. So the first five minutes the man was late drew attention. Things got even stranger as the minutes ticked into hours, then suddenly the whole day had gone by without any sign or word of him.

 

One of the secretaries had taken it upon herself to call the man’s residence. His wife said he’d been camping over the weekend, and she’d thought he’d gone straight into the station. It had sent a ripple through the district. It was too early to file a missing person report, but every officer on the force knew something was wrong.

 

It was on the fourth day that a call came in from the rangers. Grim news about remains found in the forest not far off from the campsite they believed to have been set up by the Sherriff. They were asking someone to come out to the scene and help with identification.

Usually a relative would be asked to take on such a task, but Red hadn’t had the heart to ask the man’s wife to do it – not based on what he’d been told over the phone. He’d grabbed Judas – the first officer he’d passed on the way out – and had the man follow him out.

 

That was how they came to be at the crime scene. If it could even be called that. It looked more like an animal attack… worse than that, really. Red had seen a body torn apart by a pack of feral werewolves and it hadn’t been quite so gruesome as this.

 

Other than recognizing a few personal items back at the nearby site, there was no way to identify the remains. Nothing recognizable was left. Parts were missing.

 

“Fuck,” the wolf shook his head, finally backing away from the sight and the smell of it, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this,” Red muttered to Judas, turning his back on the scene as he spoke.

 

 

Kelor

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Judas had known their sheriff like most residents since his childhood. He'd liked the guy, knew he was the responsible type. Enough that when the time had come he had recommended the man for the position. Which was a compliment in it's own right, given that Judas had been recommending someone to be his own boss. He didn't believe the guy to be the type to just ditch or vanish. It just wasn't in character, even Judas had become concerned after a couple days of no news.

 

He would not have argued against going to help Red, he wasn't exactly easily disturbed. He had seen quite a bit in his long life. But the scene which they came to was not in the least bit what the dragon had expected. Blood sure, but he was expecting some kind of animal attack from.what little second hand information he had.

 

"That is from no animal I have ever seen..." Callian mumbled, his gaze lingering on the scene for a moment longer than Red had managed. He was somewhat glad that his sense of smell was not as good as Red's. He turned around to face him after another moment. "It would be too much of a coincidence to not be him..." He concluded with a soft sigh. A part of him had hoped some other poor soul was their victim, someone he didn't know. That would have made it so much easier.

 

DragonBlue

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Red was silent at first. It wasn't from any creature he knew, either. A small dragon could have done that kind of damage, but there was nothing about the scene that made sense were that the case - there was no singed flesh, no burn marks anywhere to be found, no claw markings gouged into the ground. And it would have had to been a very young dragon, considering what space there was available. Red doubted Judas, in his true form, could have possibly reached this spot without snapping trees and branches to get there - it would have left a clear trail in and out, even flying.

 

"I think there's something unnatural out here," Red finally muttered, starting to drift further away from the scene as the wind shifted and blew the unpleasant scent back towards them, "you've heard the rumors cropping up around town. The reports into the station about something in the forest," he trailed off a moment, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously, "my son and daughter-in-law have seen it," Red admitted reluctantly, "its attacked them twice. This is the same creature, I'm sure of it."

 

Kelor

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Judas looked to the trees above them, but coming to the same conclusions as his fellow officer. Even if a dragon had approached human, there would be damage beyond the body. Judas turned back toward Red with a concerned expression, crossing his arms over his chest with a scowl.

 

"Kristofer mentioned it too. I thought he was being over paranoid, hearing rumors of danger and wanting to protect his new job and all." The dragon admitted. He had heard the rumors. At the station, from family, but he had seen nothing to say it was real or any more than over active imaginations. "I suppose we have been fortunate that it has not found our property." He admitted with a frown as he glanced back toward the gruesome scene another time. "I have only encountered a couple things this vicious, and bold enough to attack the same people twice. We... have a serious problem and no sheriff..." Judas mumbled.

 

DragonBlue

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"The Gregory family seem to think its a wendigo or something similar," Red muttered, rubbing the back of his neck briefly, "whatever the hell it is, its big and its powerful. The wounds it inflicts don't heal normally either," he exhaled slowly. Some part of him had been hoping the thing would just move on and vanish, ceasing to be a problem for the town. Something about Dawnbreak seemed to have attracted it, though.

 

He shifted in place, "We can't leave the position open long, not right now," he said after a moment. Usually it wasn't a subject he'd broach until after the man had been properly buried and mourned - but the circumstances wouldn't permit them to wait.

 

Kelor

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Judas knew he came across as cold, callous, and unattached. A little too business for the taste of many. It was a necessity in his life, and this moment was no different for Judas than any other business issue. Even if they were standing over the mutilated body of a friend. He could be a friend once they had settled the town's new issue, until then Judas had to do what he could to help keep the town from falling apart, especially in the face of this creature...

 

"A wendigo..." Judas said quietly, rubbing his hand over his hair. "It... sounds like it." He admitted with unease. That had been something he hadn't seen in so many years. Well before Dawnbreak. "We need it filled, with someone who has an understanding. It is not something to play with, I am certain that Kristofer will agree that it is a priority." The white haired man admitted, crossing his arms and looking off into the trees as if he expected the damn thing to come back.

 

DragonBlue

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Red shifted in place, tapping his fingers against his arm as he gazed off into the forest, "You're the best man for the position," he muttered after a minute or so, "you and your family know this town and surrounding wilderness better than arguably any other single person around. You're well respected, there won't be any fuss about you stepping in - they'll probably even forgo the election."

 

Kelor

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Judas opened his mouth to share some of his own candidate ideas, but stopped as Red spoke. The dragon intentionally hesitated to turn and face him. "I should have guessed that I would come up," the light haired man sighed in response. He wasn't sure what to feel, honoured, trapped, a little of both. Red had a point, Callian couldn't deny it. Did he really even want to? "I cannot say you are wrong, but under most circumstances I would hesitate to consider even trying for it. I held that position once, I gave it up." He reminded the wolf, hands on his hips as he looked to him intently. "But all of this..." He looked around the ruined campsite. It made him reconsider his stubborn refusal of power positions in recent years. Red was right, the politics would not be an issue. His family's experience in the area could be invaluable, and that he had once encountered such a creature and survived. The problem was - any refusal on his part would defy logic in favor of pure stubbornness. Selfish stubbornness. And he wasn't sure he wanted to take that route. All they really had to do was convince Kristofer to make the emergency appointment... something that would not take much effort if any. There was no excuse for the dragon to refuse.

 

DragonBlue

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"I remember," Red murmured. He felt much the same about the position as Judas. It was a difficult position to hold in any town, but in Dawnbreak more so than others. Their seemingly peaceful little home was anything but below the surface. The scene at their backs was a reminder of that, "I wouldn't bring it up if there were anyone else fit to step up. But without you we run the risk of an outsider coming into the position. Seems doubtful we'll be fortunate enough to get someone sympathetic to the black listers making their homes here."

The werewolf shifted his weight to one side. It was an admittedly selfish request, posing the option to Judas. The dragon likely knew that. But none of the werewolves in town, Savage River or otherwise, had anywhere left to go. Alevskaya had been the final frontier in the western world centuries ago when the dragons and werewolves had first made it their home. Now the humans and fae had colonized the whole of it - at least the most comfortably habitable regions. 

On a further self centered note, Red didn't particularly care to give up modern comforts and regress into primitive living to avoid the persecutions. There were few who did.

@Kelor

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The pressures of maintaining both his family and the department, while not impossible, were something which Judas had been relieved to let go of back then. He wasn't exactly eager to take it on again. As selfish as the wolf's request may have been it was rooted in preservation. Of his family, his people, a motivation which Judas could only respect. Were the situations reversed he would have made the same request. Anything to protect the family. If he were to be entirely honest even Judas did not want to see their town gutted of it's wolves and blacklisted residents. The dragon had always had a soft spot for the unwanted species.

"It is far more likely that any outsider would jump at the chance to you all out." Callian's agreement was accompanied by a defeated sigh. Although a pointed use of the word you instead of them was fully intentional. He knew where Red's priorities lie. "What kind of man would I be to take that chance with my neighbor's lives? You are right, I do not see another option today." It had been a pattern with his life. He knew plenty who would not have such a hard time rolling the dice on the situation, or passing it off to the next guy to avoid the responsibility. Heck, some of his kids would have easily refused with hardly a speck of guilt on the matter.

Of course, agreeing left him inheriting this wendigo problem among other things. Preventing this scene, which he made himself turn around to face once more, from happening again was the goal. No matter how unlikely it would be given how quickly and horribly these attacks seemed to go.

@DragonBlue

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Red nodded solemnly, turning himself to look at the gruesome scene once more, "For what its worth the pack and myself will be in your debt," he acknowledged quietly, "I'll pick up any slack I can to ease the burden for you," he tightened his arms over his chest. Even with an old family friend it wasn't a position he liked to put himself in. It wasn't a job he could assume himself, though, even if he wanted it anymore than Judas. 

 

@Kelor

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Were there not a destroyed camp and a body in front of them he might have chanced a joke about the pack causing him trouble. It seemed... distasteful given the current scenery. "We have a lot to figure out, let us hope that your estimation of the towns support is true. I do not believe this wendigo will wait for an election." The dragon put his hands into his pockets and took a deep breath. "And at this time, I believe stopping that is our biggest priority."

@DragonBlue

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"Seems doubtful it will," Red agreed in a grim tone, "and it seems to be getting bolder. If we don't get this under control swiftly we'll have the feds coming into town poking around," the wolf frowned. At best that sort of intervention was a hassle, at worst... Well, Red didn't really want to know what the worst case scenario could be at that point. They'd all heard stories. 

@Kelor

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The dragon scowled at that. It would be a challenge to fend some off, depending on the interest level of the agent of course, and all the more reason for Judas to take the position quickly. "I think we can all agree that we do not need their company. They have a nasty habit of sticking their noses into others' business. Of course, they will have a mayor and a sheriff to make things...difficult for them. That much is certain." Sure any difficulty from the town could be chalked up to police jurisdiction wars between locals and feds. He hoped, anyways, but he knew there were some more intelligent ones out there who would get suspicious of him. He hoped that it wouldn't come to it at all. "The sooner we clear this scene and make this arrangement official... the sooner we can focus on hunting this... thing." Judas knew they needed to get the news to people like Kristofer, and they needed a story to quell the rumors once it got out through town. People talked around here...

@DragonBlue

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"We've kept them out of here and at bay this long," Red murmured, "we'll manage to keep it that way somehow," he said, admittedly with more confidence than he felt. That was an effort that had become increasingly difficult over the years. It had been different when the pack and a few scattered, lone supernaturals had been the primary inhabitants of the town. Numbers had grown over the years, though, and the more of them came to stay the more difficult it became to divert unwanted attention. 

The wolf watched the activity around the site. The forensics team was wrapping up their preliminary survey and preparing for the coroner's team to begin gathering what remained of the body... which wasn't much to speak of, truthfully. It was going to be difficult to concoct a story for this, "Any ideas how to write this off?" he asked, "I'm not sure the standard animal attack is going to cut it this time." 

@Kelor

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Judas wished he could feel the confidence which Red's words expressed. Despite the worry that they both felt, that threat was not immediate. At least, he didn't believe they had been planning to come out. He hoped there was not some hidden correspondance that said otherwise. He supposed he would find that out when they got back. After they figured out the answer to Red's other question. How do we write this off? 

"Even our largest animals are not this... savage. I do not suppose we could convince the whole team here to bend the truth on the condition." Judas sighed lightly. Bending the truth would have been an understatement. But any other explanation he could think of would not be enough or draw unwanted attention. "Regardless of the explanation it will cause concern in town. The best we can do is convince people of a particularly nasty animal, and hope that they do not try to hunt it down themselves." Some rabid out of control bear and some rumor management... it wasn't the best plan he'd ever had.

@DragonBlue

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