Logs:Vermintide - The Battle of Star Lake

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Vermintide - The Battle of Star Lake

Wherein Hush Sacrifices Himself For The Protectorate

Dramatis Personae

Brant, Hush, Katharina, Kaydin, Kharn, Roman, Turnbucket, and Jackson as ST & Ritemaster.

1 October, 2016


Tracking down Wesley Calder, the Uratha and a Feral friend discover his true intention: to collapse the Gauntlet and bring about a Verge to summon more and more Beshilu into the world. The ritual is only half-successful, with Calder dying to summon forth an Incarna. Hush dies as a sacrifice to The Most Beautiful to destroy the Plague Incarna. They defeat the threat, but not without pretty extreme injury and pain. They also realize that this is only one of the incursions of Beshilu, and must go forth to fight again, at the docks and the Division. Part of the Vermintide plot's ending.

Location

Star Lake, FC01


After Katherine and Lorna got the information to the Uratha and the Ferals that have been helping them, along with Nate's contacts with local authorities, the local Shifter people - now united in a common purpose - are able to easily track Calder's movements. Given that the Autumnal Rite happened just south of this area and the strangeness that seemed so pervasive the night before, on October's Eve. Now, Calder has made himself known, and a wide swath of Beshilu have started to swarm in areas that have otherwise been relatively clear of it, aimed at destroying Loci around the County.

Several intrepid members of the local Uratha community come forward, venturing forth to try to find and fight off Calder, given that he appears to be the source of the Beshilu infestation. Through scent and tracking, they find that his movements take him to none other than Star Lake, a place made sacred within the last year due to the sheer amount of rituals performed at the location, be it wedding ceremonies, Seasonal Rites, or Initiations into Tribes. The air feels thick and heavy, hotter than its surroundings. There is an intense sensation here; those familiar with Verges would note that it feels like there should be one here -- although it doesn't seem to have manifested itself. What exactly is Calder playing at?

Over Blackridge, the group manages to find a place in relative secrecy to look down upon the lake and the forest surrounding it. They can see Calder performing what appears to be a kind of blood ritual, wearing his cloak made out of rat skins stitched into that which can make him manifest the stolen gift of the Change. He's cut his wrist and is bleeding into the lake, calling out words in the First Tongue. Like with most humans, the diction is all wrong and it sounds horrible, but it seems effective enough. As his blood touches the lake, the waters boil and bubble up. It's clear that he's been performing this ritual prior to the arrival of the others. He seems to be affected by something with the occasional starts and stops he makes, and he's surrounded by a group of Beshilu of various design, about six of them.

Oddly, the Beshilu aren't moving or even chittering to themselves. They're just watching Calder - and the lake - with extreme interest. This is Not Good.

As the group is able to find a place to overlook the ensuing Ritual, Kharn creeps out of the treeline about as well as a hulking near-man can. His hair is pulled back and his beard sports a braid. As he looks down at the sight below, tiny symbols dig into his skin and etch their way outward form the black t-shirt that's worn over the set of armor. Blood drips from them, little tributaries that work their way toward the ground. He watches quietly on the outskirts of the group after the various Rites and Rituals are performed. Grimhildr always steals his words on the eve of battle, and today is no different.

Jackson has tagged along with them as soon as he found out that Roman was going. After performing some Rites on the attack party, he puts a wreath around Katharina's neck and says, "So the denizens of the Hisil can't see you," to her. "Unless," and he laughs, "unless - unless you want to fight them, then they'll see you. Oh, yes." Somehow Jackson's grown more cryptic and weird than usual. This is probably attributed to that weird Fetish he's taken to obsessively carrying around wherever he goes. Then he hangs in the background, not completely part of the attack party, but acting as the group's healer and shaman, blessing them with the light of Luna and giving them strength.

Katharina gives Jackson a smile of thanks but is otherwise quiet, the slight grin having to suffice in conveying her appreciation when it comes to his gift to her. The normally cheerful 'blooded is otherwise subdue, not engaging in converation or anything that. Her shiv is in its sheathe and she's dressed all in black with her pale blonde braids concealed by a dark bandana, making her look like some kind of suburban commando. All she needs is the black 'paint' to finish off the image. Standing off to one side, the quiet, semi-pensive fencer waits, listening intently as she does.

Katharina eventually focuses on the bracer she wears, murmuring quietly to those here with her, regailing them of a story of a great warrior's prowess in combat.

Brant has staked out a good position on the ridge, laid down and is watching the ritual with growing unease through the scope of his rifle. "With him bleeding into the water, I don't know that my shooting him will stop the ritual cleanly. It could just speed up whatever he's doing since it's a sacrifice of some sort." The Elodoth frowns, but doesn't turn to look at the others. "You need to get down there and interrupt him properly. I can try a shot if you want, but don't want to risk that until you're closer, so his guards can't delay you as much."

In similar bulky silhouette, Turnbucket accompanies Kharn, made taller by his stetson hat. He treads on snake skin boots, carrying a shotgun in the ready position. Years of sneaking up on bounties has made the old wolf nimble, even if age has started to dull his step a tad. Offering the ginger monster a nod, he swings the gun over a shoulder, double checking a pocket for extra shells. Hopefully, he won't need them all.

Something thin, and pale, stands in the shadows of trees. His hair smoothed back by motor oil, braided with stainless-steel bolts and nuts. Copper wire. A slow drawing motion, "The Most Beautiful..."

Kharn has brought someone with him, and now, Hush stares with dark eyes down at the chanting man, unblinking as his skeletal fingers squeeze tightly around Beaut's pommel. The blade catches light, and begins to moan, growl, whisper and speak to her Wielder - who shudders, who can taste the blood to come, who's eyes barely stay open. "...Amahan'akkal, The Mother of Relief..." Drawing her out in this way has the physical exhertion of trying to lift up Kharn one-handed, "...I dedicate all of their lives to you, My Love. The Most Beautiful. Their blood, will decorate you, like a dre-" A flinch, "A dress." His own Essence pouring forth into the Klaive as She is drawn out, held before his face so light reflects off of Her, and if their group might look over - Hush would be mesmerized by the long knife, coo'ing to her. "I will give you everything they have, My Love. This, I promise. This, I swear." Even as the last words are said, so would his body become overtaken by the blackness, skittering like cockroaches, to help the skin Change.

Roman has been around much but he heard about this. He shows up and when he sees Jackson he's by his side quickly. The massive wolf there to protect his packmate. He stays silent.

The ritual is going on while the group communicates with one another and the various Fetishes are activated by their wielders. No one seems to have noticed them yet, but they are pretty far away and on higher ground behind a rock outcropping. One of the Beshilu starts to stand to its feet and begins to move around the lake. Soon, the others join it, moving to take up what appear to be positions in six equilateral locations toward one another, like a six-pointed star. The human holding the ritual continues to chant along, balling his fist over the lake and unballing his fist.

Calder's form starts to blur slightly and his body begins to shift up into that which looks similar to the Beshilu but also like that of the Rat Ferals that pop up here and there throughout the various shifter communities. It's a bastardization of what Gaia and Luna had intended for their children, however. His human features are still evident, despite taking on a kind of hybrid form similar to the Gauru form. Calder's diction improves considerably at the change.

"He's shifted." comes the toothy mutter from Brant, "And they've taken up positions in a star. That, I can disrupt. If you're waiting for an invitation, mother's not looking, so it's the best time to sneak cookies. Go now." The sniper keeps staring downrange, trying to gauge when is not too late to shoot.

Two fingers dip the old cowboy's hat down as his pack mate descends from the hill. Accompanied by a growl, Turnbucket takes off soon after. His shotgun geld with two hands, ready to swing up into the crook of his shoulder with bad intention.

Pemit from Jackson to ( Hush ): It looks like the organization of this is solely dependent on Calder himself. It's odd, given that Beshilu tend to organize themselves toward larger and more powerful Beshilu spirits or rat-spirits that have been corrupted by the Beshilu, but it seems this human has redeemed himself in their eyes to the point that he's now their leader. Taking him out would likely not only cause the ritual cease, but also foment chaos among the bizarrely ordered rat-hosts, who take orders like a marching army rather than act in an anarchic manner.

Eight quiet pops sound when Rina pops her knuckles, the look on her face becoming stormy. This is the kind of thing her family - her pack back home - used to try to fight off, among other things, and the fact that it might be happening here. When the others begin to charge towards the lake she runs after them although she keeps to a somewhat slwoer pace. She needs to rely on stealth tactics while Kharn and the other Uratha might wnant to rely on sheer brute strength and that means not crashing through whatever flora might be in their way.

The Champion of The Most Beautiful, a mishmash of Man and Other. He just stares, watching with cocked head and distant gaze, as Brant is speaking and Beaut' is held between fingers with trimmed claws. Essence flows through his flesh, through the hairs, until that burnt tire scent wafts off -- and The Champion's eyes look over the forming star. Quietly, without delay after Kharn takes off to be Leeroy Jenkins, the Changed Hush might step beside Brant and lean down. One hand on the shoulder, "Calder is King, make him move away from the water."

With that, Hush is moving forward, Beaut' in hand.

Jackson stands up on the ridge and stares down at the ritual. His eyes narrow and he glances toward Brant, then over at Turnbucket. He unshoulders his rifle and holds it in a cradle in his arms. "Wait, wha-" he watches the lake. "Brant, if you hit him, don't get his blood in the lake," he says suddenly. Then he brings his own rifle up to his shoulder for the runners, to give them some covering fire, if need be. "Roman, go. I'll remain up here."

Roman nods his large head. He turns and takes off towards the runners. He backs up the rest of the fighters. He rushes towards the fight and he moves quickly. He heads to back up Kharn.

It is then something flies overhead of the wolves, flapping towards the ritualists. He probably is faster since he is flying overhead then the wolves but still Kaydin flies as fast as he can, unhindered by anything that would stop the wolves. He then flies over the enemy forces and is circling to decide on what to do now that he is here. He then dives, turning large and white as he shifts into his warform once more.

His boots slow in the dirt, Turnbucket raises the shotgun to a firing position while advancing. Judging the space between barrel and target, the grizzled Rahu thinks better of shooting too soon and betraying the gathering's position. Instead he creeps closer, taking aim and narrowing in on one of the Belishu.

Suddenly a werebat appears and the Beshilu are starting in on attacking it, moving from their positions. The lake continues to boil and the waters begin to surge upwards. That feeling of a Verge is ever closer. The shot from Brant catches Calder off guard and he spins, his blood spraying against the ground instead of its intended target. He growls and then starts to move for the water itself, shouting, "I will not let you stop this!" in a screeching rat-voice.

The skinthief is still too much a threat, so Brant takes aim once more and lands a second round, this one through the man's thigh. At this distance, he can't tell if the shapeshifted thief has stolen any of their regenerative gift, but one leg and one arm hindered extend the efford required to reach the lake.

The giant wolf starts to keep pace beside Kharn, each step being matched. Eyes narrowing and focusing on the front of their enemies. Bloodeye is the target and he grunts over to Kharn. <<Go for Front Nut. Fight as pack.>> He grunts to the other as he keeps beside him.

Bloodeye - also known as Front Nut by Roman - is a large rat with a single, bloodshot eye. It's far larger than its Beshilu brethren. It stares at Kaydin for a moment, then looks toward Calder as he's shot in the leg, now hobbled. The Beshilu lifts up Calder by the arm and chucks him into the lake. This leaves the Beshilu completely open, but otherwise it accomplishes the task that Calder was intended to make. The Beshilu gives a slight nod, fitful. Calder, one arm and one leg destroyed, cannot paddle his way back to the surface and begins to take water into his lungs.

There's a sudden lull over all things; the wind stops. The sunlight above feels cold. There is a shape that seems to materialize in the air above the lake, something can be seen in the air, only partially visible at first. It looks like a great horned rat-like being, staring down at the lake and the Beshilu. This has the added effect of causing the Beshilu to immediately stop and observe the creature, staring at it and ignoring Kaydin for now. One of them even drops down on a knee.

The spirit creature is about 12 feet tall as it drops into the lake, its body made of a rats twisting and writhing together, its horns curled back over a long snout. It roars once, screaming at the approaching werecreatures in defiance.

Pemit from Jackson to ( Hush ): With the team you have, you might be able to make it out with maybe two or three casualties. If the Incarna gets to the ridge, Jackson will certainly die, probably Turnbucket as well. Rina will almost certainly be killed if she attempts to engage it. The creature is known as Besh'arrath'asah, the Corrupting Plague, a creature once thought to have been put in its place by the Firstborn after they took on Father Wolf's duties, and is conjectured to be one of the fathers of the Beshilu spirits. Legend has it that the creature was once just part of Rat, acting as its plague-bearer to help cull the herd, but then went on to become corrupted by the Maeljin.

In the heat and discord of the moment, as all Hell breaks loose across the field of battle, The Champion of The Most Beautiful stops. Watching the Incarna of Plagues become Manifest, and he watches. Staring in that glassy-eyed, mile-distant way Hush is known to do. Turning his head to look to the hillside, where snipers and, more importantly, The Ritemaster are.

Then, to those fighting, and Kharn gets a rock thrown at him. "Protect Seraphine."

There is no grandiose speech, but The Most Beautiful is held up to his face, even as the Incarna's manifestation causes the world to tear up. "My Love, I make my third, and final wish: Kill the Bringer-of-Sickness." The blade's metal glints red, and there are whispers that stretch outwards from Hush -- before the blade is violently plunged into his chest, jerked once, twice, until the Bound Klaive is snapped at the blade...and the Irraka falls dead.

Kharn is running, Romanwolf loping along beside him. He hears the words, but it doesn't register right away, even after the rock hits him in the head. It's not until he hears the more familiar sound of steel slipping past flesh and bone that it hits him. He doesn't slow down, but he does take his eyes off his target. He sees it. He sees him, lifeless. Being in possession of a few spirits of notable power, he understands the sacrifice and drives his legs even a little harder, gritting his teeth at the thought of his friend sacrificing himself to save others. Shar'suthar is pulled from her sheath in his skin, and while the spirit within the Klaive is still manifesting, even Zi'kur is quiet in the Ralurnim's hand at the thought that She has been awakened.

Nope. Eyes on the prize. Turnbucket doesn't shift attention from the nearest Belishu as he shuffles down the hill. He's seen enough of the People die in his time, knows what it looks like, and doesn't need to turn and see it again. There's a job that needs doing, and he's a man that sees things through. But that trigger finger of his is getting real itchy, its takes a lot to keep from breaking his lethal approach. Luckily, he's got just enough.

As Hush looks up at the ridge, the Ithaeur stares down at him quizzically, then opens his mouth when the blade enters the Irraka's chest. Like Turnbucket, Jackson has seen the People die before. This is slightly different. He presided over Seraphine and Hush's wedding. They're having a child together. He drops his rifle and starts to run at full blast in the direction of the fallen New Moon, before digging his heels in and pulling his hands up at the sudden burst of ephemeral energy from the shattered Fetish and its released spirit patron. He blinks against a sort of mental anguish due to having once held the knife before, having felt the spirit's power. The Ithaeur remains silent and in a huddled mass against the side of the hill.

Roman is running beside Kharn and his eyes are on the one creature but when he hears the sword and the words, he quickly turns his eyes to Hush and sees what happens. His jaw tenses. He doesn't understand what he just saw at all and that really bothered him and it's clear. To him he just watched a werewolf kill himself. He continues running though. Trying to refocus.

KAydin was about to bite one of the beshilu however they began kneeling causing him to turn his head. His gaze widens at the sight of some sort of rat god monster before him. He decides to flap his wings and try and bite at the creature but his teeth doesnt even sink into the skin of the creature.

This has Rina unsettled, much like the time she tried to take on a nasty with several of the others. But, unlike last time, she's not running away. No, she's in fact running faster as she notices Calder, her intended target, is already being steadily plinked at. Growling, the blooded beats feet, althoughs he does pause for a second when she notices that huge... thing. Ugh. Cue the swearing. Okay, maybe her plans have to change. At this point in time, she doesn't realize someone has already laid down their life to try and end this once and for all.

The snapped blade falls to the ground like a useless lump of metal and wood. Because it is. Now, all of the gravity, all of the power, essence, and Beauty the blade once held is lost in a second. Lost to an Irraka's pragmaticism.

The whispers come from all directions, and they are -terrible- things. The voice of women, undertoned by Beasts. Capital B. The howling cacophony of Murder. Blood. The smell of it rises in the air, and without any warning or patience, a geyser of blood explodes where Hush's corpse used to be -- erupting into the air, and causing the battlefield to begin to rain blood, and the geyser begins to swirl, violently at first, froth turning pale and white forming the long arms of a woman. They stretch outwards, until they geyser melts into a constantly flowing dress of the Reddest Red, with a hood that has an empty void. Staring at the empty space is magnetism. It is gravity. It is The Most Beautiful Thing...

...and her voice stretches across the distance with a cold empathy that would make Marjorie pause. Her gaze felt, staring across the ugly, wretched, beastly creatures beneath her - before focusing on The-Bringer-of-Sickness...and one hand stretches out to grasp at the nothingness of air, where blood flows from The Dead, from her gown, and forms a thin, red, blade. Murder is a thing felt, and The Most Beautiful gives no speeches -- but strikes at Her Enemy.

With the emergence of the massive spirit from the destruction of the blade, the plague incarna turns to look about the battlefield as the Beshilu start to move forward to attack the others. Spotting the Ithaeur coming down the hill, it howls something that sounds vaguely like a curse against spirit-binders in the Spirit Tongue, then sends a torrent of black rats with their tails tied together in Jackson's direction. The rats bite and slash at his flesh, knocking him flat to the ground. They swarm over him, ripping away his skin, tearing muscle and bone and then dissipate like the ephemeral beings they are.

There's a shake in the earth as the creature starts to step out of the lake, dragging Calder's corpse with it.

The Most Beautiful, in all of Her Glory, watches the Rat God blast the Ritemaster. One might see Her head actually shift from one side, and then jerk towards the Bringer-of-Sickness, "Miiiiiiiinnnnne..." Her voice is a cacophony of angry hisses at the harm against one who held Her, at the death of Her Wielder, and that empty hand violently lifts upwards -- jerking Corpus from the Incarna's form, and it falls as blood that moves towards Her. Becoming part of Her gown.

Boom! Shots fired. Though still far enough away to cause some of the buck-shot to scatter wide of his target. Turnbucket manages a glancing blow at the nearest rodent thing, advances on dusty boots towards the enemy with purpose. His pace slows, allowing the front guard to rush past him. This will give him an extra few seconds to peel off another shot before forcing his hand towards an up close encounter.

The giant wolf rushes through and moves ahead of Kharn. He moves to make a side attack and another to confuse the spirit. He slips through and is within the things defense. He's there to confuse the thing and he's right in the creatures face.

With Roman distracting the spirit, Kharn rushes in with his Klaive, bringing it to bear against the creature. He shouts something about its impurity, as Kharn is often wont to do when fighting creatures like this, and the blade bites deeply into the spirit's now-corporeal hide. The creature lashes out blindly, striking Roman with a plague-tipped claw.

One of the rats surges forward and slashes at the werebat creature with its claws. Pieces of the creature's claws break off and jam into Kaydin's flesh, sitting within it. Splinters of infected bone. The creature howls in pain.

The man bat lands on the ground and tries to bite at the beshilu but his teeth snap at empty air, causing him to growl at the creature. He then turns his gaze to the other people as they fight the giant rat god.

The one known as Twin is the one Rina chooses to target. Her shiv is brought to his shoulder, right at the crook where it meets his neck, the pointed weapon puncturing deeply. Not as deeply as she hoped it would but it does cause some damage. While she's dealing with him the chaos continues, not forgotten by the Uragarum but it has dulled to a slight buzz around her now that she's finally gotten herself into the fight.

Seeing that Katharina has attacked one of its compatriots and given that she doesn't smell like Uratha, one of the Beshilu charge her from the back and slash at her with wicked talons, cutting through her clothing and leaving weeping scars along her flesh. The fact that the giant spirit god isn't being defended does seem like something of a point of consternation to the creature, however, and given that one of their number was plugged by a sniper has it jittery. Despite it being a spirit, it's still a spirit with an animal nature; animals becoming jittery generally spells violence. Ontologically cornered, this one.

Jackson pushes his hands back against the soil and kicks himself up to his feet. He stretches his hands out and brings them down, creating a maelstrom of flame around the lake. Sort of. It's not a particularly powerful maelstrom, and certainly could be a little stronger, but it does cause some of the Beshilu to flee away from it, dodging away from the spirit, Roman, Kharn, Kaydin, and Rina. He forgoes his healing to do this, and starts to stagger in Kharn's direction.

The Beshilu cowed by the sudden fire that disappears as soon as it appeared - though the flames have started to catch on the trees and begin to spread - the rat god points down at Roman and growls at him, narrowing its eyes. A tendril of essence slides out of the finger and probes into Roman's mind, instilling him with a kind of primal fear, freezing him in place.

She flows, like a tsunami of blood, passing by corpses and drawing their fluids out as she does so. The Most Beautiful passes projectiles. Swinging swords. Stretching out that weaponized hand and ramming the spire of crystalized blood through the Bringer-of-Sickness...and even at the Manifestation might try to fade, The Most Beautiful watches, and there is that spidery pause as the void where a face should be turns over the Uratha. A job well done. Her voice, that loving, coo'ing, murderous voice, before the hooded Incarna turns back to Her Enemy - "There are no strings on me." - and the crimson waves that make up The Most Beautiful's gown begin to jerk and violently twist, to follow the other Incarna into The Shadow.

With the two massive spirits disappearing into the Hisil, Turnbucket continues to advance, firing his shotgun at the Beshilu. He manages to blast one of them in the stomach, causing it to double over in pain. The creature gestures toward Turnbucket and growls out something low.

The giant wolf feels the fear leave him and then the bullet. He howls over his shoulder towards Brant. A thank you. He takes off towards the strongest one he can see and claws towards it.

The big Rahu charges at Chitterscourge as it mills about near Katharina, leaning forward with his blade to slice the Beshilu's head from its shoulders. The creature falls to the ground and its head rolls into the lake. Kharn then moves to flank Katharina. The other Beshilu seem to be ignorant of her presence, save for Twin, who sports twin tails, likely the source of the nickname. Which it was probably given in Beshilu pubs back home in Beshiluworld. Which is a real place.

The big rat that Brant shot howls in fury and begins to charge the hill. It's fast, but not particularly fast enough to cover one hundred yards in a span of six seconds. It does pass Jackson, who stares on after it for a moment before shaking his head and continuing to stagger injured in the direction of the melee.

There's a window of opportunity that Rina has to take now and she darts away from Kharn even as he steps in closer to her. Frowning, she raises her shiv and goes to stab Twin between their shoulders but, again, the weapon doesn't go as deep as she hoped. Damnit.

Jackson quickly draws the Glock 22 pistol from his back and fires a shot into the body of the Beshilu that Kaydin just attacked, putting it down. The rat screeches and collapses into a heap. As the bullet casing is ejected from the firearm, the Ithaeur leans down to pick it up gingerly and tucks it into his pocket, making a face as it burns into his skin.

Twin, with Katharina attempting to kill him with that shiv of hers, makes a chittering sound that sounds vaguely like laughter. It shakes its head and brings raking claws against her chest and carves into her. This one's talons seem a little less brittle and remain on the creature's hands. It leans its head forward and growls.

A stroke of luck, Turnbucket turns and fires a blast into the back of the charging Beshilu, causing it to slump down against the hill in a mess of blood and viscera. The Beshilu remains there, eyes going glassy, staring at the ground and the sky. Turnbucket gives a slight nod up to Brant and touches his hat toward him, then continues to head toward the melee.

With the triple tailed beshilu collapsing into a heap with a back full of buckshot, Brant turns his sights on those rats engaged in melee. He's not particularly worried about the wellbeing of the Uratha, since they'll regenerate, but Katharina just took a nasty hit from one. Blam Blam Blam echoes across the lake again, the rounds tearing through the twin tailed beast and dropping it to the ground as well. The now-empty retaining clip flies free with the characteristic *Ping*, followed by the sniper producing and loading another clip into the smoking gun.

Roman rushes at the last and lifts his claws. He doesn't hold anything back. He tears it apart and then stands in the wreckage. Narrow eyes glance around and grumble. He rushes towards Jackson now. Pack first.

The man bat shifts to human form and begins to look to the others. "I think I could use some wolf training so I can be a better fighter." He then moves to help jackson who was hurt. "I can heal people if I hold onto them for a few minutes." He offers to those present.

Katharina takes a deep breath of relief when the threat's over only to immediately regret it. Those claws rended flesh pretty deep and it burns like a mother fucker to breathe in in more than quick, shallow breaths. Thankfully it'll heal quickly, just a matter of a few days, but that doesn't help with the pain. Looking down, she takes stock of the ruined shirt, the only thing keeping her kind of modest being the sports bra she wore under it, but even that didn't really escape damage. "... ouch."

Jackson looks at the carnage and then the water. He shakes his head and mutters, "This place is fucking defiled." He pushes bloodstained hands -- his own blood, really -- through his hair and looks down to Roman. With a brush of his hand against Roman's shoulder, he gestures tiredly toward Hush's prone body. "We need to," he takes a deep breath and stills himself from wooziness. "Prepare a funeral for Hush. But there are more incursions. We just need to take his body for now. That's the best we can do." There's a brief pause, and he says, "I can also heal, but it takes a lot out of me."

As the last beshilu falls, Brant scrambles to his feat and runs down the path. He slows and stops as he reaches the spot where Hush fell, searching for the material shell of Beaut. He gathers the pieces up and looks at the ravaged body of his tribemate. "He should be buried with these, but you're right. We've got to get moving, check in on other beshilu hotspots as this ritual will have them in a frenzy everywhere."

The big Roman rushes towards Hush's body and stands beside it. He can carry him. He'll be the shield for the warrior to come home one. While he doesn't understand the sacrifice all wolves are warriors. He grunts and growls quietly to the others around him and bows his head, waiting.

It is only now that it dawns on Rina that someone has died and she looks upon the fallen, her eyes immediately filling with tears. Not knowing what to say keeps her silent. No need for words, however, as her expression says it all for her.

Giving a slight nod to Brant, "You're right." Jackson turns toward Kaydin and says, "The docks and the Division. Those two places are hotspots of Beshilu activity," he glances down at Roman and shakes his head. "I'm sorry, it's -- I've sensed some incursions around the area but haven't thought about it, which shows an extreme lack of Wisdom," he presses his lips together. "But we need to make it to one of those places. We can use the pack's jeep, and if you wanted to come along, Kaydin, you can always fly. Thank you for helping us. I realize you didn't have to." He gives a quick nod toward everyone and then lifts his hand, turning it into a circle. "On the bounce, everyone. Good work, but we can't rest on our laurels."

He leans down and takes out his knife, allowing his body to shift back into Hishu. This just causes him to look more woozy than he did before. He cuts off the ears of the Beshilu that was rushing the hill and tucks them down into his bag, glancing back to Brant and Roman, then Rina. Swallowing thickly, the Ithaeur nods to her. "Talk," he pauses. "To Sera. We'll schedule the funeral soon, after all this is over. I'll perform it. I married them and I'm the closest thing we have to a real priest. So," he trails off, shaking his head. "C'mon everyone. There's nothing more for us here." Just bad memories now.