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Dulga Tarata

Six wolf hides, eighty pounds of steaks, forty pounds of choice innards, forty pounds of assorted bones, including tails, skulls, and teeth. The rest Dulga buried in a pit. Maybe it’ll grow into some wild flowers later. It had only been about an hour since Dulga defended her home from the wolves, but she was fairly certain that there was still some shops open this late. At least ones that’ll buy animal hides. But that also mean going into the public again, which means Dulga had to put her guns away. She’d also have to go back to the Continental at some point and see if they could repair her gun, or possibly get a replacement. She’ll still keep her stechkin, but her TT-33 was trashed. Perhaps she’ll upgrade to something with more kick. She saw a new line of police pistols effective even against villains with harden skin, utilizing some sort of high tech eletro bullets so that as long as they hit, they’ll deliver a powerful shock. Of course it wouldn’t be available to the civilian market, but Dulga doesn’t shop there anyways.

She was a bit surprised that the wolves left her motorcycle alone. For beasts as smart as they were, doesn’t even look like they investigated it. Not that there was anything there for them to check, aside from perhaps her scent. Good for Dulga at least; it would be quite a hike if they had somehow sabotaged her bike. Once she had her belongings secure on the back of her bike Dulga got into her seat and drove away. ”Tomorrow I’ll head into the woods and go after the wolves myself. Chances are they’ll wonder what happened to the others and be after me anyways. This way I’ll be more adapt to more random encounters.” Her hunter instinct didn’t like the idea of taking on these beasts without having already set up safeguards to ensure her absolute safety, but she knew this was a habit she had to break out of. Like it or not, whether she chooses to be a hero or something else, things won’t always work in her favor. She needed to learn how to adapt on the fly and be ready for anything without knowing what will hit her first. Otherwise she’ll be letting her enemy take the initiative and that could be her doom. Or someone else's.

As she drove through the night Dulga hooked up her phone to her bike’s speakers. Or rather, the radio she had rigged to her bike. A personal feature she added despite her father’s protests; he didn’t want her distracted by music while she was driving. She understood the risks but music helped her focus. Listening to tunes allowed her to not let the monotony of driving the long and empty roads make her complacent. Though she did switch to some fairly low key piano music instead of her usual EDM stuff; she just didn’t feel like listening to something with a upbeat tempo. As she was driving it seemed as if her radio had stopped playing but realized that it was just playing a new song that had a very quiet opening. She didn’t mind it and let the music play. The haunting piano piece gave her goosebumps. ”Spooky. Maybe I should change it-”

Suddenly as Dulga was driving over a bridge, a wolf lunged out at her. She didn’t even realize it was hiding near the railing; she didn’t expect these beasts to be so close to the roads. It didn’t give any warning as it latched right onto her face, the beast’s fangs digging into her face mask. Her first reaction was to draw her pistol and shoot it in the face, but when she reached for her gun she remembered she had packed them away; she had no weapons on her. Thinking quickly the first thing she did was grab the wolf by the throat and tried to pry him off, and failing that, crush his throat with her hand. It was pitifully easy for her to do; in her panic she had dug her fingers into its thick hide, and with a twist of her wrist snapped the spine, trachea, and contorted the wolf’s neck.

She tossed the beast away as she stepped on the gas going fifty to eighty miles an hour in seconds, but it wasn’t fast enough as more wolves came out of the forest to chase her, and they were gaining speed faster than Dulga was. She could only glance into her rearview mirror but she saw four, six, ten, and then finally fourteen wolves chasing after her, a few even trying to intercept her from up ahead the road. Dulga avoided them as best as she could, grabbing one of her gun cases and swinging it at the beasts since she wouldn’t be able to take a gun out and assemble it while driving. The wolves snapped their jaws at her, nipping at her heels and wheels before deftly avoiding her wild flails. ”Shit, shit!”

Worse was that there was some tight curves coming up. She either had to slow down, which would let these wolves catch up and overwhelm her, or maintain her speed and possibly wipe out. But Dulga had to keep her cool. This was exactly the sort of situation she had to prepare herself for. No guns, outnumbered, at night, by herself. So many others in her class had faced far worse than a wolf pack and survived. Hospitalized, sure, but alive. Dulga wasn’t going to let herself fall behind them. Dulga knew she didn’t have enough control over her bike to make the turns, but she also knew her bike was a damn sturdy machine and she wasn’t fragile either. These wolves might be faster and tougher than a normal wolf, but they were still beasts, and Dulga was a human. A human willing to do things no normal person would be capable of.

As the turn came up, Dulga leaned low to the ground. When she was at just the right position, she grabbed the ground while she was still going eighty miles an hour, lifting herself, her cargo, and her bike off the ground so she could toss all of it over the railing to the road below. Anything to put a bit of distance between her and the wolves. Those animals certainly didn’t expect that as her wheels hit the ground with a loud squeal and immediately burst forward. The suspension might’ve taken a hit but it was still moving, and it’ll keep moving. The wolves also jumped but only after a few seconds had passed, which by then Dulga was already fifty meters away from them and putting the pedal to the medal. It was a fairly straight road from here so she could afford to speed up. And she’ll have to.

Jumping right in front of her was a bigger wolf, with a snow white hide. The beast was as big as a semi-truck and coming right at her. And despite his size he was fast; Dulga was only barely able to see him before he was already right on top of her. She had managed to swing her gun case right into his snout, knocking him aside, out of pure luck. This blow was enough to stop him dead in his track as Dulga zipped right pasted, but soon he was right back onto the chase. The wolf pack was following close behind and already gaining on Dulga. She really wished she had a gun right now, even if it was just her broken TT-33; she could at least throw it. She had to think quick. Flailing with her gun cases weren’t going to do it. She needed something that would put those beasts down, even if only for a little while. She glanced back behind her and saw something glinstern in the moonlight.

Wasn’t long before three wolves overtook Dulga and lunged towards her. She kept two hands on her handles as three hands shot out to intercept the beasts. One went for her face while two went for her legs, one on each side. Each one got stabbed in the face or throat by a broken wolf femur. If it weren’t for the speeds they were moving at such crude shivs wouldn’t be able to break skin, but since both Dulga and the wolves were moving well over hundreds miles per hour, pretty much anything at these speeds would be a lethal weapon as long as it can hit. The three wolves fell quickly as the others avoided their fallen comrades and closed in, more cautious now knowing that Dulga was armed. This hesitation is what she was waiting for.

Suddenly Dulga would lower her speed, making her bike hop and crash right into a wolf. She revved her engines to crush skull and tear off flesh as her bike dropped back onto the asphalt and got close to one of the other wolves. She swung at the beast with a bone shiv, but was only able to cut it’s shoulder. Still it was a deep and bloody cut, enough to cause the wolf to stumble and slow down. He won’t be able to catch up, though Dulga’s shiv snapped in the process. ”That’s four. Five? Whatever!” The wolves jumped at Dulga’s head but she wasn’t going to fall for that so easily; she ducked, swinging a fist upwards to make the wolf sail over her head as she moved closer to a different wolf, gaining speed on it. It tried to run faster but Dulga suddenly accelerated, running it over as it made a loud yelp and tumbled off the road. More beasts were gaining; she couldn’t stay here for long and her road was coming to an end. There was at least four more miles before she’d hit the Otaru, and she hasn’t seen any headlights since this chase started. There were at least eight more wolves plus that big guy, and Dulga doubts a dinky little shiv could hurt him. Still she grabbed a few more bones and snapped them in half, ready to take on more of these curs.

Dulga turned sharply down the road, but she saw four more wolves running towards her. She wasn’t surprised that they copied her tactic to try and close the distance, and with more beasts coming from behind she couldn’t afford to slow down and get sandwiched. The cliff next to her was far too steep for Dulga to try and jump or drive across; there was no other way but forward. All four wolves jumped forward at different angles onto Dulga as she turned her bike sharply, sliding on both wheels and leaning back to try and avoid their claws and teeth. With swung two fists at the beasts, clobbering one, stabbing two, but missing the third as he jumped onto her back and bite into her shoulder, hard. ”Gaaaaaah! Sonuvabitch!” She could feel the blood quickly seeping out of her body as the wolf gnashed into her bones, and so she grabbed it with her free hands and crushed its skull and throat, though this only made it drive its teeth further into Dulga’s shoulders even as it killed the beast.

Dulga nearly lost control over her bike as she writhed in pain. But it was also in that moment that the wolves caught up to her and started to slam into her. She tried to swing at them, but her wound caused her her attacks to be too weak and too slow. They kept knocking into her, trying to push her off the road. A few tried to bite her but she was at least swift enough to make sure they didn’t get a tooth in, but between getting battered around and her gushing shoulder wound she wasn’t sure how she was going to make it. ”Goddammit! Is this how it’s going to end? Fucking wolves!?” Dulga steered back to the middle of the road and charged forward, but one of the wolves managed to latch onto one of her gun cases. Despite the pain, she reached out and grabbed the case, swinging it with enough force to send the wolf off road. She had no idea if it was enough to injure the beast but she’ll take solace of having one off of tail.

The wolf’s bite was strong however, and tore clean through the hard plastic cover. It was her mother’s rifle, perhaps one of the worse guns she could have falling out right now. Unwieldy, single shot, had one hell of a recoil, even if she took this gun out and loaded it there was no way she could get a clear shot with all of these wolves swarming her. In fact, they were already right behind her. ”Dammit. Dammit! No choice then!” Dulga slammed on her brakes to juke the wolves, which worked for a moment long enough for her to take out her mothers’ rifle, sans barrel. It could still work but it would have very poor balance and an uncontrollable spread. As she took the rifle out Dulga grabbed three bullets, one between each of her fingers, plus one which she held with her index and thumb as she loaded it into the rifle.

”You only get one shot.” Dulga said to herself. True she was holding more bullets in her hands, but frankly that was because she was scared of missing. Scared of failing. Scared of not being strong enough, skilled enough, or fast enough when it matters most. Anyone could kill. It takes a true hero to save a life. She needed to be better, or else all she’ll know is death. The wolves jumped on her back and tried to bite onto her wounded shoulder. She slammed the stock of her rifle into its jaw and knocked it off into the path of the other wolves. Dulga slammed on the brakes while doing so, skidding over the same wolf she struck as she was, for just a moment, aligned with two other wolves. She’d prefer a headshot but she wasn’t going to be picky right now; she’ll aim for whatever she could hit. Bracing her rifle against her shoulder even as blood seeped down her shirt, she pulled the trigger. Her bullet flew wide but it did it’s job as it ribbed right through the torso of the first wolf, and still had enough energy to smash into the ribcage of the second wolf. Her rifle also let out an extremely loud gunshot, louder than her usual rifles. It was a good thing she had her earplugs in, but even so it deafened her for a moment.

Dulga wasn’t sure if it was luck, fear, or just intelligence, but immediately after that shot the rest of the wolves disengaged. Dulga didn’t slow down but she did look back, seeing that giant wolf watching her in the distance. Alongside him were many others, wounded and disfigured but still very much alive, even the ones she had stabbed, ran over, or crushed. It was somehow horrifying to see; these would wounds that would kill a man easily, but these beasts wore them like battle scars. The only wolves she didn’t see up there were the ones she shot, and even then perhaps they just haven’t gotten up yet. ”Goddamn. Did I even fight wolves or demons?”

Three miles later Dulga went into a rest stop bathroom to patch her wounds. Once more she had to rely on her meager first aid kid, which was only capable of bandaging her injuries, providing very little to actually aid in healing. Her body was wracked in pain and Dulga spent a good twenty minutes curled up on the floor crying at how much this hurts. This pain reminded her of the burns she had suffered over her body, but without the trauma to numb her experience at the time. But twenty minutes was all she allowed herself before she forced herself onto her feet and back onto her bike. The bandages would stop the bleeding but won’t heal the injuries, and if left untreated she wouldn’t be surprised if she gets an infection, possibly losing her arms. Not to mention her shirt was absolutely soaking with blood now, so she was in a dire need of a new attire. Fortunately she knew a place where she could get some discrete medical service and a new outfit all for the cost of a single coin.

It was a good thing it was so late too, if this was done even in the afternoon there would be too many people looking at her. Dulga wasted no time reaching her destination; a little fish shop that appeared to be close. Dulga banged on the door loudly until an old cranky man showed up. He was yelling about why someone would wake him up so late at night, but when he saw Dulga’s bloody figure he looked frighten. But then she showed him one of the golden coins that she had used at the Continental. Then he just looked annoyed. He snorted and let Dulga inside. ”I need someone to watch my bike.” The old man continued to look annoyed but called for his wife to come down. She seemed sleepy and in a language that Dulga didn’t understand, the wife begrudgingly stepped outside and stood next to Dulga’s bike as she followed the old man to his kitchen. There he started to unplug the outlets to his over and pulled it from the wall, revealing a trapdoor underneath. He opened it with a key he had around his neck and Dulga went downstairs.

It was a long, white tunnel with fluorescent lights illuminating the ceiling. She walked quite a bit aways until she appeared to be at some sort of sterile surgery room. There was a buzzer on the wall which she pressed, which prompted a nurse looking fellow to arrive. He looked at Dulga, writing some things down onto his clipboard before directing Dulga to an operating table. He informed her that at the moment, there was no doctor present who could completely heal Dulga up. ”That’s fine. I just need to make sure this doesn’t get any worse.” Easy enough, the nurse leaves and asks Dulga to change into a smock for the operation. She did as she was told and soon two masked doctor looking folks arrived, one who was a surgeon and another was an anesthesiologist. They both had some sort of mutation quirk, but that didn’t seem to hamper them as they operated on Dulga.

Sure enough all they could really do was reduce swelling to Dulga’s wound, as well as to the bruises she sustained, as well as apply some antibiotics for any potential disease she may have caught. She was also given a blood transfusion to help balance out the fluid lost. Finally, they stitched up and properly bandaged her wounds. There was no broken bones though there was a lot of tendon damage, which the surgeon currently couldn’t help her with with his limited expertise and resources. Dulga simply grunted and left two gold coins for them and asked for a new outfit.

And before long Dulga was back on the street. She was dressed in a long black coat, dark grey pants with black rubber boots. She of course kept her mask, though the strap had broken. She’d have to get a new one back at her dorm. She was feeling quite dizzy and was recommended to take some time to rest, but she knew she couldn’t. She needed to go. Now. Perhaps not drive, but she wasn't going to wait here. Besides that old lady was getting really annoyed with her now. So Dulga thanked the two and pushed her back deeper into the night. As much as she wanted to curl up in a soft bed and cry herself to sleep there was much more work to be done before the night’s end.


Really putting Kyra on the spot here. On one hand, she wants to help the villagers, but she doesn’t have any healing methods which won’t take time or valuable spell slots. She’ll have to refrain, at least explaining that she’ll need her energies for something she has to do tonight, but it weighs heavily on her mind.

Which is also why I rolled a total of 1 on my persuasion check... Kyra is just going to meekly apologize for the request and try to find some other alternative. Perhaps a large wolf dog that Parum could ride on at least.

Dulga Tarata

It was quiet. Not even the wind made a noise as night fell and darkness covered the lone house in the mountains. The wolves came out to investigate. Five of them, roughly a hundred pound each and bigger than even a rottweiler. Their sheer size was a result of the scientist who created them; bigger bodies with more strength, tighter muscles, yet at the same time requires sustenance equal to if not less than an average wolf. A marvel of genetic engineering. Shame he was a villain.

The door was closed but not locked. Most beasts wouldn’t know how to operate a normal doorknob. So of course these beasts had no issues doing that, getting up on their hind legs and using their teeth to open the door like one would with their hand. They were stronger and smarter than your average wolf. About as smart as a normal human being. Dulga would now test them for the true extent of their abilities. The first would be their perception; she had strung a thing wire just a few feet in front of the door. The first wolf didn’t notice it but also didn’t trip it. He was lucky. The second one also didn’t trip over it. The third noticed it. Pointed it out to the other wolves by sniffing it; it had a dull and dusty scent, same as the rest of this place. They investigated and found that the wire was attached to nothing; it was just a tripwire.

Despite noticing the wire they were still careless. They would avoid the wire but not realize that they kept stepping on a creaky wooden plank; one that Dulga had rigged with another set of wires. When the fourth wolf stepped on it, it created enough pressure to pull the trigger of her pistol hidden in the shelf nearby. The wolf cried out in pain, followed by angered growling. ”Damn. So they can take a nine millimeter to the head.” Sure enough the fourth wolf suffered from a painful wound that ripped through his ear and lodged a bullet into his skull. Despite that he wasn’t dead just pissed. The first wolf went to the shelf and opened it, seeing the smoking gun and ripping it off the makeshift gunstand. ”How terrifying.” Dulga says as she hears them dismantle her trap.

Knowing that they were expected the wolves were now on high alert, and this allowed them to realize the entire house was rigged with thin metal wires strung about the ground and ceiling. If someone ran through here they’d likely end up slicing themselves against the taut wires. And there was no telling if any of these wires were also hooked up to a hidden gun. The beasts split up into two parties, three going towards the basement and three going towards the second floor. ”Splitting up. They’re either confident or want to find me quickly.” She tapped her chin but let the wolves continue moving through her home. The kitchen had less wires strewn about but had a different hazard, one that the wolves noticed quickly. Oil on the floor. It was spread very thinly so that the wolves could still walk on it stably, but they’d have to move slow. They tried to find a way around but because it was spread so thin, the only way they could avoid it is if they jumped across. And there were wires strung up over the oil puddle precisely to cut them down if they tried. They’d have to move slowly.

The other group managed to reach the staircase and noticed that it was conspicuously devoid of wires. Of course even they knew that the staircase was a dangerous bottleneck; the only way would be forward or backwards, with little chance to dodge if something big rolled down. They also saw that Dulga had apparently hammered nails upwards under the staircase; the wolves could easily cut their feet trying to walk up or if they fell. They knew this staircase was trapped somehow. The safest thing for them to do would be to trigger the trap but from a safe enough distance that they wouldn’t be caught. Alas, there wasn’t anything around the room for them to use except the various wires Dulga had strung up. That’s when one of the wolves went back and got her gun.

With a surprisingly amount of dexterity, even this wolf was able to release the magazine and drop it on the ground. There was still a bullet in the chamber but without a magazine loaded the firing mechanism was locked; an intended safety feature and possibly one these wolves knew of. Or maybe they just wanted to get rid of the magazine so they had two things to throw up the stairs. The lead wolf tossed the gun to the top of the stairs where it hit a low wire, which caused the second and third step to collapse and the top step to swing forward. If a wolf was there he’d be smacked in the face and fall down the staircase. But the only thing that got struck was an empty gun.

The second group of wolves had an idea how to cross the oiled kitchen. The wires were high but the walls were untouched, so they would run along the walls, over the wires, and reach the staircase. It was something they knew they could do well, and pulled it off without a hitch. Now they just needed to investigate the staircase leading down. It was a short height and, just like the other steps, devoid of any wires. They opened the door wide, careful of anything falling from above, and made sure there was nothing behind the door. The first wolf went in a few steps.

And that’s when all hell broke loose.

Three steps down and the wolf triggered a wire trap, one that was hidden close to the corner of the step so the wolf wouldn’t had seen it. Just like the first trap at the door, it was triggered by stepping on a loose wooden plank, and the pressure set off the wires underneath. This trap was liked to the other staircase as well; either one would trigger the same trap, only question was which one did it first. And the wolves were already walking up the stairs when this trap was sprung, causing the steps to collapse underneath their feet. Two were quick enough to jump to the second floor; the third wasn’t so lucky as he fell all to the to the basement, sliced to ribbons by the wires that had been strung about down there. The wolves in the kitchen didn’t have it any easier as the wire pulled on a small lighter hidden between the floorboards; this light created a small flame that was just enough to light up the oil that had been spread out over the floor, which in turn started burning the wood. And there was more oil underneath the floor, and the spark would soon turn the entire kitchen into a quick and sudden inferno. The three wolves had to go downstairs quickly where they were attacked by Dulga herself, who had set up a barricade around herself using wooden boxes.

Despite the wolves falling into her trap they didn’t panic and were just as quick on the draw as she was. Standing more than thirty feet away she fired at the first wolf, who instinctively moved to the side so only his hind leg was hit. It left a painful gash but not enough to slow it down at all. The wires he ran into however tangled him up and as he tried to get away, they tighten around his body and kept him stuck in place for just a moment. A moment long enough for Dulga to line up her shot on him. The other two wolves moved in to lunge at Dulga as a second gun was produced and aimed for the lead wolf. It was her shotgun; one shot and even though the pellets hit the beast dead on, it didn’t kill him. It did stop him long enough for Dulga to fire her third shot which ripped through the first wolf’s skull, killing him instantly.

From the hole that came from the staircase the other two wolves jumped down, using the path their now dead ally made for their own safety. They even picked up his body and used him as a shield as they charged towards Dulga, his dead body breaking the wires that sliced his body into the bones. Before Dulga could even react they were already on her position and bite at her; she was only able to get her rifle up in time to block their teeth, and she could feel them trying to rip it out of her hands. They intended to disarm her, if they don’t end up tearing her throat out. But she didn’t take her eyes off her initial prey; she had two more wolves to deal with first.

Dulga quickly fired off three close range shots from her pistol, each hitting the wolf she had blasted with her shotgun thrice in the chest. Dulga did her best to try to avoid hitting bones; they were hard and dense. She needed to go for gut shots. Even these beasts would pause in pain from that. As for the third wolf, he was too close to shoot; he was already pass Dulga’s shotgun. So she just slammed it into his neck and pressed him against the wall. She did the same to the other wolves as well; two of them may be enough to overpower your typical hunter. But Dulga was not your typical hunter. These two beasts didn’t have nearly enough meat on their bones to weigh Dulga down.

She tossed all three wolves with enough force that they’d dislodge from her gun, and so she kicked the boxes she had barricaded herself with towards them. They were filled with loose scrap metal, nails, ingots; leftovers from her father’s forge. They would provide some minor obstruction as Dulga made a run for it, using her powerful arms to swing herself off the wall and towards the hole she created. The beasts recovered quickly and were on her heel but she was just a few steps faster, climbing up towards the second floor of her house. The beasts had to follow her through the hole as the other way was blocked by fire, and the first wolf that came out was gunned down without mercy. The second wolf however was fast enough to avoid the bullets and lunged at Dulga again, but this time she was prepared; she had an improvised knife made of a piece of sharpen rebar on the second floor, and when the wolf got close she simply grabbed the blade and placed it in the wolf’s path, impaling him through the mouth. With a quick twist, she snapped the beast’s neck as well as her makeshift dagger.

The last wolf didn’t come up immediately, at least he didn’t go after Dulga. No, instead when he came up and saw his final ally killed, he ran. Dulga couldn’t allow him to go too far; these wolves were too smart to let them leave alive. They would learn from what happened here, and that knowledge will spread. Others who would try what Dulga did would have much more difficulty. Fortunately, the beast, in his panic, forgot one minor detail; the tripwire in front of the door. His foot was sliced at the ankle and the beast stumbled. He was bleeding heavily and still tried to make a run for it, but he wouldn’t get far enough. The area around Dulga’s home was wide open for a reason; even as the grass had grown, the beast’s size would now work against him, making him trivial prey for Dulga’s aim. One shot, and he fell.

”Six wolves. They knew how to dismantle a trap and disarm a pistol. Smart enough to bypass simple traps. But still beasts. Fire scares them easily, forward focus, and and fight in packs. Next time I should work on my escape.” The girl says to herself as she gathered up the beasts in her home. No sense in letting this meat go to waste. While the hides were damaged by the bullets and wires, they could still be profitable. She also gathered her pistol, though it was damaged heavily. Those wolves weren’t gentle. She looked down at one of her hands and noticed it was bleeding; when the two wolves lunged at her, her finger had gotten grazed by one of their fangs. Despite that it was a very bloody wound, going deep enough that she could see sinew. The pain was suddenly starting to come to her now that the adrenaline was draining out, and Dulga had to patch up her wound with her meager first-aid kit. She’ll need to head back to school and get it properly looked at.

”Still not fast enough. Eight shots, four kills. Tch… Next time, I won’t have nearly as much time to prep either. Pathetic.” Dulga sighed knowing that she was only able to do so well because she had expected these wolves to arrive, and had plenty of time to get ready for them. Wiring the entire house might’ve been overkill but she had that luxury. She thought about her battles at school and knew that if she tried this over there, she wouldn’t even have been able to oil up the kitchen before someone would arrive to fight her. ”Too complacent. A hunter shouldn’t wait for prey.” She grumbled as she took the spike she had made and sharpened it into a fine blade with one of her father’s leftover whetstones. Once the blade was keen enough, she began the grisly work of skinning and butchering the wolves over a large sheet of plastic tarp.
"I can see if there's any horses the villagers would be willing to offer to us. While I doubt it, perhaps if I can convince them that I can bring the horses back safe and sound, they'll be more agreeable." Kyra said as Parum detailed the plan. While she could ask Leosin more questions, Kyra wasn't really one for talk when she could be doing something. She turns to leave, waving goodbye to the others for a moment. "Before we set out we should discuss any specific tactics we have for facing the half-dragons. I have no doubt we'll be facing them at the camp, regardless if we're subtle or not, and I'd like to know how we'll handle that hunt. Anyways I'll see if I can get us some horses." Kyra knew where she could find some horses, though hopefully the family who owned them still had them. She didn't recognize any of their beasts at the cultist camp so either they killed all of their livestock or simply left them alone, hopefully the latter. They did seem more interested in treasure than pillaging.

Kyra was actually quite skilled in riding. Horse-back Archery was also something that Kyra had some practice in; her father had taught her how to ride horses as well as manage carriages, wagons, and other land vehicles growing up. After all someone had to haul the harvest to town for tax season. Bringing it to the public offices was cheaper than having collectors come to the village. Indeed, it was because of her skill at horse riding that she was a good hunter; during the lean seasons she could easily shoot down foxes and hares as they dash between bushes, snipe birds from the skies, or capture elk. It made Kyra remembered an old fairytale she heard as a child, of elven warriors who rode on the back of white stags to hunt enemies in the forest. A fairytale to be sure, since the last time they had a white stag in these forest, he kept killing off other bucks and kept a herd of females to himself, impacting the local dear population. Her father and a few other men went out to kill it.

"Focus. Find horses."

Dulga Tarata

The drive into Hikiddo was quiet but fast. All Dulga had to hear was the roaring of her bike as she traversed the mountain paths. It wasn’t long before she came across a familiar bed in the road and turned into a small narrow path. It was mainly gravel compared to the asphalt, and it was in dire need of replacing, but her bike was able to climb over it until she reached a gate. It was a small gate with just one steel bar blocking the path. Dulga didn’t bother undoing the lock; she simply picked up her bike and walked over it.

A short walk later and Dulga was at her old home. A tall wooden cabin, with tall grass overgrown with vines and moss. Dulga old home. She looked around and at first glance you couldn’t even imagine anything as chaotic as a wildfire could have happened here. But with just a glance Dulga could see it all over again. She blinked, and it was back to reality. Moving on she went to the house, unlocking the front door with a key. It was cold, dark, and musty inside. She flicked the light switch near the door but there was nothing.

”I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. No sense in paying for electricity to here.” Dulga went further inside, taking a flashlight inside a drawer to light her way. Even though there wasn’t really anything in the house; all the old furniture had been either sold or removed. A thick layer of dust covered everything. Dulga made a beeline towards the attic.

One would think if you wanted to hide something heavy and important, put it in the ground. But Dulga’s mother was different; important things were left where she could easily get them. Even if say, her House was burnt down or blown up. Hard to get to a safe buried underneath tons of rubble. Built into the support beam of the House was a steel safe that didn’t even have a key or lock. That was because it was a puzzle box that required not just a knowledge of the box, but also brute strength. Seemingly bare. There were specific spots on the box you needed to press down on, hard. For an average man they would need a wedge and a sledgehammer for the needed force. For someone like Dulga or her father, just one finger.

Dulga presses all of the right buttons and the safe opened. Inside was another gun box just like the one Dulga carried. With this in her possession Dulga set the flashlight down to illuminate the room as she started to put her guns together. Two handguns, a marksman rifle, her shotgun, and now the final weapon from her mother’s arsenal: the PTRD. Single shot, 12.7 caliber, made of modern materials instead of being a refurbished antique. Dulga always wondered why her mother put time and money into buying a modern replica of such an ancient gun. The best she could think was that she needed heavy firepower for cheap; compared to other guns that were chambered with the same bullets or something similar, the PTRD costed pennies. It helped that her mother always had this one belief; that a good hunter only needs one shot. With one bullet you had to be sharp, had to know when to hold your shot, pick your battles, and when to finally take a stand. Someone with many bullets won’t think like that; they’ll think that as long as they have bullets they’ll take as many shots as they could, making up their accuracy with volume. That might be fine for a soldier who only needed to shoot when ordered, but for a hunter like Dulga and her mother, sometimes all they get is the one shot. They had to make it count.

It made Dulga reflect on her previous battle. She had fired twenty-two pistol rounds, six shotgun bags, and eight rubber rifle rounds. And none of those bullets eliminated anyone. Sure, she had managed to hit a few targets with them, but they didn’t defeat the other students. Even the one victory she could claim over Amane was ultimately done not because Dulga was a good shot, but because she was willing to throw away Mamoru for a gamble. In the end all Dulga was good for was barking orders and intimidating people. Which might be fine in scarring off punks. But neither of those things were going to help her defeat Kensai.

Ten years ago there was a villain in the Hikoddo region who wanted to bring back the native wolf and bear population. He thought that modern Japan had destroyed the natural beauty of the mountains and forests, and with his genetically modified wildlife, he was going to raze the towns and cities into the ground so that nature can reclaim them. Sufficient to say a team of heroes put a stop to that, however while they managed to arrest the villain his creations fled into the wilderness and began to breed. Without anyone to command them they simply returned to being wild beasts, but occasionally their numbers would grow too large. More peaceful wildlife conservation groups have been trying to control their population without repeating the same extinction in the past, but it wasn’t that simple.

Though beast they may be, they were stronger, faster, tougher, and smarter than their ancestors. They did not fall so easily for baits and traps, but still retained their savagery and apathy towards humanity. It was not unusual for reports of campers or hikers who have been torn to pieces. That’s where people like Dulga’s mother stepped in. After she had retired as a bounty hunter, so took to controlling the animal population, making sure they did not grow too large that they would attack civilizations, while taking out any beasts who showed an interest in hunting humans. Of course that was a few years ago when Dulga’s mother was still alive. Now no one patrols these woods. She has seen scenes of their activity. Scratches against the trees, droppings in the grass, prints in the dirt. They’ve claimed her home as their own. It was a good idea to bar their windows; if the wolves couldn’t go through the door no doubt they would have tried to smash through glass.

And Dulga knew that by night they would know she was here. Her footprints were on the path, her bike was outside, and she hadn’t bothered to hid her scent at all. Even if this was her home they would think of her as an intruder and try to force her out. Dulga’s bullets were limited; she was going to have to make every shot count. She had until nightfall before the wolves would be at her door. She needed to prepare accordingly. After assembling her guns Dulga walked over to a dusty old box in the attic and opened it, revealing hundreds of pounds of rope and wires.

”I have a lot of work to do.”

Dulga Tarata

After a long train ride north Dulga finally arrived in Hokkaido. Even now it was cold, with a stiff breeze making Dulga wish she had worn thicker clothes. But it was also comfortable. It was familiar to her; she grew up around here so the cold never bothered her anyways. Besides she wouldn't be out for long. Shortly after her train ride Dulga walked into the city of Sapporo, and shortly after took another train for a short ride until she reached a rather high class area. Here where bright lights, shopping malls, fancy restaurants, old fashion and five star inns, the perfect destination for a classy and rich person. Top heroes in japan have recommended some of the local places around here for their hospitality and quality. But there was one place that stood on top, yet at the same time almost very little is heard. The Continental Hotel.

By all accounts the Continental is a fine place. Rich food, find decor, luxurious beds, and all the fine entertainment one may ever want at one's earliest convenience. They are a franchise that spanned the entire world, with hotels in ever major metropolis in nearly every nation from the USA to Russia, Egypt and Thailand, in major cities like Rome, New York, even Mecca. But being a hotel isn't the reason to their success. In truth, the Continental is a sanctuary, safe haven, and neutral ground for all sorts of vigilantes, criminals, and heroes alike. While not criminal in-and-of itself, they associate with criminals peacefully, serving them with the same level of respect and honor as they do with heroes. And of course, none of this could be easily proven even to the most dedicated of investigators; it's not unusual for a criminal under a guise to book a room, just as well it's a unfortunately regular occurrence for gung-ho heroes to break the Continental's rules of hospitality and start a fight because of "justice".

Of course the politics of the Continental were of no concern to Dulga. She didn't really care about how they operated as long as they did. And she needed to use their service. The girl walked through the front entrance where she was greeted by the doorman, nodding his head to her and calling her "Madam Tatara". This wasn't unusual; the doorman often knows everyone who comes and goes into the Continental, especially if they're guests. Dulga stopped and bowed her head to him.

"Good afternoon. Is the chauffeur here?"

"Of course. Shall I call him up?"

"Please do."

The doorman led Dulga to the receptionist and informed her of the request. There Dulga gave the receptionist some information about herself, including her name, age, and business. "Tatara Dulga, sixteen years old. I'm here to pick up a vehicle." Subtly she slid a single gold coin towards the receptionist, who just as subtly took the coin, added a bit of information to her request, and asked Dulga to take a seat while the chauffeur arrived. Dulga did as she was told and waited on one of the couches, watching people come and go. These people were not particularly unusual in their demeanor or appearance; you had people in business casual attire lounging around and conversing with each other, families with children off to their next attraction, weary and tired travelers looking for a warm meal and soft bed. Hard to believe that just about everyone here was either an assassin, mercenary, or vigilante. Even the children were likely here to unwind after a long stretch of grueling training and conditioning.

Soon a dark skinned man arrived and asked for Dulga by name. She stood up and followed him outside where her ride was; a old fashion motorcycle belonging to her father back when he was an apprentice. Despite it's age and not having a single original part since it was made, it still worked fine, drove fast, and could haul a cart through seven feet of snow up and down a mountain in the middle of winter on one tank of gas. If Dulga didn't know better she'd think this thing had a quirk where it just won't breakdown. And for better or for worse, it was hers now. Dulga's father gave to his wife, and she gave it to Dulga after she died. Dulga technically didn't have a license for it but that didn't mean she didn't know how to use it, and the Continental wasn't about to card her either. She took her keys from the chauffeur and handed him a gold coin. As he pocketed it he asked Dulga a question.

"Is there anything else you'll require?"

"Tutoring. I'm not doing so great in my classic literature courses."

"I'm afraid that is not one of our services we provide."

"Hmph. How unfortunate."

Loading up her belongings, Dulga put on her helmet and drove off. Now that she had her bike, she'll have to drive further into the wilderness of Hokkido to actually reach her home. Made Dulga almost teary just thinking about it. Almost.
"Seems like we weren't the only ones who's attempt at subterfuge failed. This is going to be a problem... I doubt we'll be able to pull off that trick a second time, especially not after our rather bombastic escape." Kyra sighed as she mulled on Leosin's answers. They already knew that the camp housed a dragon hatchery, though information about the other two half-dragons were invaluable. One was bad enough, but two? The odds were not in their favor. "Black dragons... Do they use necrotic energy, or do they breath fire as well? I know Cyanwrath had used lightning and he's a blue dragon." Kyra asked curiously. Dragons weren't really something covered in her books.

"In any case, what is it that you'd ask from us Leosin? If it's to infiltrate the camp again, that goes without saying. The fact they're so close to Greenest, growing dragons... I have no doubt they'll attack again, even after they had already robbed us. And next time they won't be looking for treasure, but fodder for their beasts. I hope to end them before it would come to that." Kyra says as she rests her hand on the pommel of her sword. Though vengeance was still on her heart, her time spent with her father helped her temper that rage into something more focus, concentrated instead of just blind feelings. To that end they needed a plan. "Of course that's easier said than done... How are we suppose to get back inside of the camp without an entire army of cultist and mercenaries on us, as well as the half-dragons and the purple cloaked leaders?"
After finishing off the last man, Kyra went out of her way to make sure the others were dead too. She wasn’t going to waste time giving them any proper rites; let the wolves feast tonight. She took away their swords so that no other brigand could make use of their remains, and soon joined the others on the trip back to Greenest. Now with their pursues dead and gone Kyra could guide the party quickly back, using hidden hunting trails that provided a quick and safe route back home. As she moved through the forest Kyra couldn’t help but pray to Chauntae as she walked.

”Oh Great Mother, is this the path you have set for me? I would have been more than glad to… Continue leading Greenest in quiet peace, to spend my days in calm teaching the children and giving sermons to the old, toiling the fields along my father and kinfolk. I know that defending one’s hearth and home is also our duties, but please tell me, is this my path? Is this the way? To descend into the ways of beast and mad men, to cull them all for the sake of our prosperity?”

Kyra stopped for a moment to listen, not just for some sign of her goddess, but in case there were any pursuers. When it all seemed clean she continued to move and pray.

”Is it my divine duty, to protect my flock, to hunt the wolves? When beasts of destructions burns the land, do I take up the pail to quell the fire, or the blade to halt the dragon? Give me a sign oh Great Mother, so that I can temper this flame in my heart. I know the hate that I hold is a vile and corrupt thing, but I cannot stop it’s fury without some guidance. Should I continue to seek vengeance to right these wrong, or must I stay and heal the wounded? Please, Chauntae, give me a sign…”

And then they were home. Or at least Kyra was. Greenest; though damaged and scarred, it was recovering quickly. Or maybe it was just Kyra being so distracted by her anger that she didn’t realize something so very simple; Greenest can heal without her. It was a hard pill to swallow. She was just days before the formal inauguration to become the new Head Priestess of the church, where she had spent nearly all of her days preparing for. To guide and teach, to pray and protect. All it took was one day to throw that all away and yet… And yet Kyra felt more uncertain, now more than ever, and not because of anger but because of hope. Greenest would survive without her. Though it may be a tragedy, the people here were not so weak that they couldn’t heal from something as devastating as a raid. Indeed Chauntae’s many portfolios covered not just nature and agriculture, but healing and community. Instead of questioning if what she was doing was against Chauntae’s teachings, perhaps Kyra needed to witness the strength of her lessons.

Most of the party returned to the keep, but Kyra herself choose to return to her home. She wanted to check on her father and sure enough he was there, sitting on the wooden bench in front of their house drinking from a waterskin. ”Dad…” Kyra was only able to say that much before he came over to Kyra and embraced her in a hug. She hugged him back and looked to his face, seeing that it was red and puffy. He had been crying. “They told me you left two days ago. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. I… Don’t ever leave without telling me again!” Quietly, the two released each other and just looked, smiled, and chuckled. They were just happy to see one another.

That night Kyra and her father tried to have some semblance of a normal dinner. Compared to other homes, their house wasn’t too damaged; their door was kicked down, and they lost two barrels of arrows and two longbows belonging to Kyra’s father, but aside from that they didn’t seem to bother taking anything else and mostly just trashed the place, which Kyra’s father David already cleaned up. For dinner they had rabbit ragout, Kyra’s favorite meal. Over dinner Kyra spoke to her father about her doubts and thoughts, and he simply reminded her of what he told her a few days ago; among everyone in Greenest, Kyra was the only one who could afford leaving the village to fight this great evil. Greenest could take care of itself right now, but Kyra needed to do what must be done.

But what she needed to do, or what she thought was the right thing to do, was what Kyra was most confused about. Her naivety to war and bloodshed was most apparent here. Without the initial rage and anger that fueled her arrows before, she worried that she was losing herself to some sort of wild beast inside of her. And yet, to Kyra’s surprise, her father encouraged her to embrace this beast.

“Kyra, you should know that Chauntae, much like nature itself, is not just warm sunny days, flowers, and a bountiful harvest. Chauntae covers nature both beneficial and beastial, like the wolves who would hunt sheep or a storm that could tear down a house. And let’s face it; you can’t escape this anger inside of you. So you need to tame it. Control it. Use it, don’t let it use you.”

David stood up and grabbed one of his few remaining bows and arrows, motioning for Kyra to follow him. She did so and together they went off into the woods to hunt. But this wasn’t just a usual hunt; David wanted to teach his daughter what it really means to chase prey and be part of the land. These wasn’t new lessons to Kyra; her father had taught her these things before. But it was only how that they were truly starting to make sense to her; he had always been naive to the true nature of their world, even as enlighten as she was suppose to be. Learning from books could not beat learning through experience after all. For hours it felt like Kyra and her father trained in the woods, until they returned home to rest. David was tired, and Kyra knew she could easily rest and wake up before he would. As the two retired to their beds Kyra fell asleep mulling on these new thoughts, new lessons, with a new sense of purpose.

When Kyra woke up she immediately went into the usual routine; she went to fetch some water, start a fire on the stove, and made a light breakfast. They still had some supplies here; such as salt, cabbages, and a bit of game meat. It’ll be a very light breakfast for today. As Kyra was cooking she heard a knock on the door and went to go check it. One of the guards wanted Kyra to go speak to the governor. ”Sure, just let me finish making breakfast.” Kyra finished the soup and helped herself to a small bowl with a few slices of toasted bread before heading out to meet the governor. Not surprisingly, the others who went with her to the camp were also there. Brannor, Torus, Parum, and Orchid. What a strange group that has come to Greenest’s time of aid. Just like a classic tale of heroism and adventure.

The governor showered the party with praise and offered a meager reward for their efforts. Kyra of course was going to initially refuse, but she also knew that the people of Greenest weren’t simply going to let Kyra give back that money. They were far too prideful for that. ”Thank you, governor. I’ll make sure to spend this money responsibly.” Soon after one of the monks came and asked for the party to see Leosin. The priestess nodded; as much as she wanted to rest and heal this village, there was much work to be done. ”Alright, hopefully Leosin is doing well. He wasn’t in the best of shapes when we first found him.”
Yeah sorry for the lack of a post. I’m working on a big post single handily.
I think Kyra has an extra one @Ryonara, though obviously not on her person since she has her father's longbow. I can lend it to you when we reach Greenest.
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