The War that Never Was. (Angelfowl/Blaze Gamma)
The sun was bright, burning into the back of her neck, she was lying on something hard. Alice coughed, rolling onto her front, pressing the palms of her hands against the ground. She grumbled under her breath, her head pulsing in pain, she clenched her eyes tight against it.
Pushing herself up, something pressed against her back. Hard. Gasping she pitched forward against the ground again, there was a ripple of laughter around her. "The little girl's no match for us!" A voice growled, catching Alice's attention. Looking up, she found herself face to face with a man -- with a muzzle.
His eyes were amber, his face was that of a wolf, he barred his teeth, sneering at her as he pulled back, looking down at her. "Hello there love." His accent was thick, his clothing was rich, but his face -- very much not human. He reached a clawed hand out towards her and she stumbled backwards, pushing herself up only to fall back away from him.
Laughter rippled through the crowd again, Alice winced, feeling something sharp had bitten into her hand. Looking up at the group, she was surrounded. "Please... What do you want with me?" She had to be dreaming, there was only one solution to this. There was no way these people were real and they were -- wolf people. Those just did not exist. She clamped her hands over her ears, closing her eyes. Blood trickled down the side of her face from her palm. She whimpered again, feeling something sharp and heavy collide with her side.
Gasping in pain, they had ripped open the side of her sweater, blood seeped from it. Pushing herself up, she made a run for it, towards a thin part of the group. She was caught before she could make it even two steps. Whimpering, she was pulled backwards, and shown to the group. "This little one, she is our toy for the night." The one with her arm growled out to the group. He held her arm so tight, she could feel a bruise would start to form. Her arm was held high above her head, her feet barely touching the ground and her arm feeling loose in it's socket.
"Help!" She screamed then, trying to pull away, trying to run. "Someone help me!" This had to be a dream, the pain was so real though. "Someone please!"
Wallace sat with a foot on a table in his office. Using the word office made him sound like he was some sort of official, like a tax collector or a sheriff. Truth be told, Wallace was none of these things, and the little shack he operated out of wasn't an office. It was, in fact, a dusty shack, much like he was, more or less, a vagrant with very few useful skills. He continued to sit around, waiting for a customer who would never come. It was how he spent most mornings. He just waited around in the shack, yawning and scratching the back of his head until around noontime, when he'd finally get bored enough to do something.
Sure, he would get the occasional customer, but it wasn't for his advertised line of work, which was hunting down the creatures that go bump in the night. No, he was mostly hired for things like debt collection. He was considered a thug, not that he minded it. Because of this, though, he had made more than a couple of enemies. It didn't help that, on more than one occasion, he may have groped the wife of a client, but that was just how he was.
Today, however, something different happened. A haggard and beaten looking man hobbled through the door at quarter of noon. "Sir," he said, obviously never having run into Wallace Heath before, as nobody who knew him would ever call him sir.
"Hm?" Wallace replied, looking up, a dull expression on his face. "Well you look like you've been through the ringer."
"You have to help! I'm a merchant! I was coming from the east when... Those things... They attacked... They're coming this way!"
Two of the things the man had said caused a glimmer in Wallace's eyes. The man was a merchant, and 'Those things'. A smile curled on the corner of his lips. "Things, huh? Yeah, I guess I can take a look." He nodded to himself, standing and stretching. Even if the beaten man had nothing, doubtless the 'things' would have a few pilfered baubles that Wallace could pilfer right back. Sufficient payment. "You just wait right here, you poor sod. I'll be right back with their teeth," Wallace spoke as he stepped out the door into the light.
The sun had long set before Wallace was able to make it to where he could see his targets. He groaned. "Dammit. Old guy must've been walking for days or something..." He grumbled, before cracking his knuckles under the gauntlets he wore. "Alright, then, time to get the fun started." He smiled. "HEY! UGLY BASTARDS!" He shouted, causing more than one from the circle to turn their fuzz covered heads. "You the ones who attacked that caravan?"
"Yeah, what of it?" One replied. It wasn't easy to see, but the wolf had a red tattoo across his right eye.
"Then I guess it just sucks to be you." Wallace said with a smirk. There was a flash of silver, and a large gash appeared across the chest of the wolf. "Alright, then, Wallace Heath, your neighborhood fleabag exterminator is on the job." He spoke, finding himself already in the center of the circle, surrounded by the pack.
There was a moment of silence, then Wallace heard what sounded like a woman in pain. He looked down, blinking. He hadn't even noticed the young woman he was standing over. "Hm? Hey, you sure you should just be laying there?" He asked.
Alice coughed, blood splattering from her lungs as she was hastely dropped, her shoulder burned and her side ached as she pressed her hands against the bleeding wound. Her head lulled back against the ground and she could feel herself slipping in and out of consciousness. She could not even take a single moment to think about where in the hell she was, the pain was overwhelming her senses.
This couldn't be real, her mind was screaming at her. There was no possible way this could be real. She looked down at her hand, there was a neat looking cut running down the middle of her palm from the top left edge to the bottom right edge it was a clean cut but it was bleeding profusely. There was pain, there was blood, Alice wondered how she would even still be awake at this point. Coughing into her hands, there was more blood.
Looking up, there was a man standing over her, there were a few moments where she was thoroughly confused as to where that man came from. She did not know who he was and what he was doing here. She whimpered for a moment, and then he had spoken. Furrowing her brow, "Not that I have a-- a choice." She coughed, rolling onto her side, keeping pressure on the wound she had received. "Help me." She breathed, coughing again. "Please."
"Eh?" Wallace blinked, looking down at her. "You know something, you really should be careful of who you ask for help," he said, rolling his shoulders. "I mean, what if I were some crazy highwayman... Or one of these ugly mutts?" He asked.
The wolves, who were already starting to lose patience from being ignored, were now furious. They were not used to being ignored so casually by such small groups of prey, but being ignored and insulted? That tore things. One of the wolves swung at the man, who casually ducked off to the side while continuing to talk to the fallen young woman, as if the pack wasn't even there.
"Anyway, who the heck are you?" Wallace asked, giving the bloodied woman the once over with his eyes. He couldn't make heads or tails of the way she was dressed or the way she kept her hair. Her whole appearance was an enigma to him. "So what, are you some kind of performer or something? Because you're dressed REALLY weird, you know that?" As he continued to talk, Wallace nonchalantly dodged multiple attempts on his life by the circling pack. "And shouldn't you know better then to be traveling alone outside of a city? Come on, it's dangerous out here!" He threw out an arm, as if to emphasize his point.
One wolf lost his temper after being dodged for the fourth time. "You damn human! STOP UNDERESTIMATING US!" He roared.
"Oh for goodness' sake's, choke on you're teeth," Wallace sighed, backhanding the wolf with a heavy gauntlet as he lunged forward. There was a rather uncomfortable sounding crunch, and the wolf rolled to the ground, blood pouring from his distended jawline.
The group of wolves seemed perturbed. By this point, two among their ranks had been incapacitated. They didn't want to take a chance with a third, at least not on a night like this, not when they were such a small pack. The group remaining picked up their fallen comrades and fled into a nearby woods.
"Damn piss-ants." Wallace grumbled, watching the pack flee with their tails between their legs. Metaphorically, of course.
"Whatever... So... Who are you, anyway?"
Whimpering, Alice curled up into a ball, she was grateful for the monsters to have left but she was trying to stop the bleeding in her side. "I am Alice.." She coughed, curling up, drawing her knees tightly to her chest. Pressing her hand to the wound on her side, she felt it was hot, bleeding and hot. Could that mean it was already infected? She wasn't a nurse, she was a lowly librarian. And she hadn't read any medical books in years, furrowing her brow, she tried to move the remains of her sweater over the cut on her side.
"Help me please... He sliced open my side... my hand..." She whimpered, the pain flaring when she tried to push herself up onto her knees. Closing her eyes, she whimpered, shaking her head. Dizziness was trying to overtake her, but she would not let it. The ground was slice with blood now, she was amazed she was still coherent, she had bled out so.
Taking a deep breath, she attempted to push herself up onto her knees again. Swinging herself up, she rested her head on one of her knees, closing her eyes, trying to tame the pulsing pain in her side. Where the hell was she? The road was dirt, the lamps that she saw were torches. They had to be old, had she been kidnapped and taken to an old city that kept it's customs? As far fetched as it sounded, it made more sense, though the wolf people -- they could have just been dressed up.
Yeah, dressed up. Alice cleared her throat, coughing once more, blood splattering into the dirt. "It hurts."
"Geez, you dumb or something?" Wallace asked with a frown. "You need to sit still if you're bleeding like that." He spoke, running a hand through his hair, exasperated. He picked up the woman carefully. "I guess it is my luck, coming out all this way for nothing but some half dead cook who dresses like a nutjob..." He sighed as he made his way back to town.
By the time the next morning came around, Alice would find herself in a chapel, her wounds dressed and bandaged.
"For the last time, Wallace, who are these people?"
"I don't know," A familiar voice replied. "Look, the old man's a merchant, the chick's... Look, I don't know, she's some chick!"
"You can't keep bringing vagrants here, Wallace." The first man said in a stern voice. "This is a chapel, not a clinic. I don't have beds for every time you bring in some lout off the street."
"Look, the old man's a client, the chick's probably a friend of hers, an-"
"By God almighty, a client? Then I definitely don't want them in here!" The man sounded exasperated. "Your clients always bring trouble!"
"Not these ones," the second voice said, as if the source of it was grinning ear to ear. "These ones were attacked by wolves."
Alice's body was slick with cold sweat, her heart pounded in her chest. Pain clouded her mind, and made her eyelids feel like lead. Her clothing clung to her, she shivered, the cold sweat chilled on her skin. Rubbing her arms, she drew her knees to her chest, everything was pulsing in pain. It was dull, but pulsing. This was not real, it could not be real, this was an unfamiliar bed.
No one was with her when she cracked one of her eyes open. Sleep clung to her vision, making it hard to see anything in the room. Alice didn't want to be awake, this was not her home. She did not recognize this place at all. How did she get there? She had never seen this place before. Bile rose from her throat and she fought the urge to throw up.
Lying on her back, she stared up at the dome ceiling . It was made of old stone, she didn't recognize this place. It was an old building, but it was like the library building on campus she had the pleasure of working inside. This building looked older, better put together, she pushed herself up. Her side flared in pain but she could only keep herself moving. She had heard voices.
Her shoes laid next to the bed and she moved to pull her boots on. She still wore her sweater and jeans but there was a bandage tightly bound around her side. Moving forward, she headed towards the doorway. Who was out there? Where was she exactly? So many questions passed through her mind as she continued towards the doorway.
Opening it, the light blinded her as she covered her eyes from the light. Two men stood beyond. She winced walking forward. "Where am I?"
"Hm?" Both the men turned to the door simultaneously. Even though the two had similar heights and builds, and both wore a long black coat, neither of them looked more different from the other. The first man's brown hair was cut several inches from the scalp. It appeared to be well kept, with a part just to the left of the center. His eyes were a warm and welcoming brown, and his skin was a little pale, clear sign of a few too many hours spent inside the stone halls. His long black coat had white borders, and met under his well shaven chin, revealing a clerical collar. A man of the cloth, doubtless.
Standing across from the priest was a man who seemed to be around the same age. He had shaggy and unkempt black hair and looked like he hadn't shaved his face for a couple days at the very least. Compared to the priest, he had a rather rough and edgy look to him, as if he'd been in more than one fight in his day. Indeed, the rough looking man was the one who had saved Alice from the wolves just the day before. In spite of his jagged demeanor, his eyes seemed to shine in the darkened hall, matching the color of a clear sky.
"Yo!" The second man was the first of the two to speak up, turning to reveal the rather plain clothing he wore underneath his black duster. "Looks like sleeping beauty's up!"
The priest took a hand to his face. "Could you be a more miserable human being?" He asked, shaking his head. "Ma'am, you should really lie down. You were injured pretty badly, and I don't want you tearing your wounds back open. I've done what I can, but you really need to see a doctor before moving about."
"Eh, she looks alright to me!" The rough man spoke, his eyes moving up and down Alice. "You know, she's pretty cute."
"Get out of my church, you lech!" The priest spoke loudly, kicking the man who'd paid her the compliment right through the heavy double doors. "AND DON'T COME BACK TIL TOMORROW!" He shouted.
Frowning, Alice cautiously moved, watching the large double doors swing closed as the man had kicked him out. She held onto her side as she moved, wincing with each step. Closing her eyes, she took a few deep breaths to calm her pounding heart. Stepping towards the older man, he did looked to be a man of the cloth. Could she trust him then? That was a long shot, she had only just woken up in the middle of those damn monsters.
Where had those monsters come from anyway? She was not at home anymore that was for sure. This place was so much older and their clothing was like the reanactors she saw every year when she went to the Fairs. "I will ask again." She said softly, closing her eyes for a moment. "Where am I?"
Alice shifted her weight, feeling pain springing up in her right leg the longer she stood on it. Had they hit her there as well? Or did they just scratch her hand and her side. Everything was a dull pain, but a pain nonetheless. It hurt her to move, but she continued to watch the clergyman because she wanted her answers. This place was not home, this place was nothing like her home. And the pain in her side told her that she definitely was not dreaming.
"Hold, please, your wounds are not yet closed!" The priest spoke, walking over to her and laying two hands on her, one on the side of her arm, the other on her back. He held both hands open, supporting her, but not gripping her. "I will tell you where you are, but I ask you sit down." he spoke as he led her back to the bed. Once he was confident that she was properly seated, he closed his eyes. "You're in a small chapel in western London. That man, Wallace, he's a wolf hunter by trade. He found you near dead while out on a hunt, from my very limited understanding of the situation." He explained, opening his eyes to look on the woman's face.
"Now then, as for me, My name is Dominique LeBlanche. My parents were refugees from France, and since their passing, I've been working in this chapel. In any case, what about you? What is your name? You were certainly dressed suspiciously before you came in here. I've never seen fashions such as those... And your dialect... I can only barely understand it, so please, speak slowly."