Description: Two wolves meet in the forests of Europe. Two sides of a lycanthropic coin speak on the nature of "curses" and of the prospect of control in the face of the terror of possibility.
The commune of Saverne in Grand Est, France, holds a lot of history. It was once destroyed (and rebuilt) and was occupied in the German Peasants' War by the insurgents, suffered heavily in the Thirty Years' War, was officially conquered by Imperial Germany after the Franco-Prussian War, and finally found itself back in French hands after World War 1.
As a civil township, it has a population of around 12,000 people, give or take depending on the year, while the cultural architecture is primarily French but other aspects of German influence have stained the area long after acclimation back into the French Republic. This includes bars where one can easily find French wines or German lagers. Or any combination therein of both.
Konrad von Sabrewulf is not in a good place, outside the connotation of the commune itself which is a very pleasant place to be. His recent venture at trying to secure coca extract for his alchemical experimentation ultimately was successful, but at great cost. It was not a pretty sight at the gangleader's base of operations in the USA by the time he left and only with intervention and help from a Darkstalker did he manage to make it out and get away without tangling with local police.
The bullet holes have long since healed, but other scars remain. It seems that no matter the path he takes, it seems to lead to danger, injury, and even death. The whole point of trying to cure himself was to avoid exactly that! As such, it is yet another night spent imbibing far too much alcohol in an attempt to keep his inner Beast pacified, dulled, too woozy and incoherent to rise up and cause more trouble.
Foret Domaniale de Bouxwiller, or the Bouxwiller National Forest, is very large and nearby, connected in with the National Forests of Mouterhouse and Niederbronn, the Dambach and Katzenthal Forests, and the Wingen Wood right on the border between France and Germany. Because of this, there is a LOT of area and terrain for quiet mobility and personal thought space stretching many many miles. Konrad doesn't need it that badly. Yet. Hopefully not at all. Still, the drunken older man wanders northward from Saverne, past Ottersthal and Eckartswiller, approaching the expanse of thick green, to simply take in the majesty with his glazed eyes.
The world is very complicated. He isn't sure he'll find a way to protect others from himself or not. His Darkstalker friend mentioned a group that might be able to help, but Konrad simply cannot bring himself to out his condition publicly. This doesn't mean there aren't those that know. There are some very dangerous 'people' that know and Konrad... Konrad is very much unaware of this. In fact, to some, the smell of wolf sticks to him as well as the fumes of booze. There's also that extremely evil aura he has that chi-sensitive masters might also sense or see. Kicking a piece of gravel on the side of the walking path, he growls to himself under his breath and shakes his head in lonely frustration.
Japan had proven interesting. Jedah Dohma's tower stood tall, but the clever noble was playing a powerful game of politics. There were hunters in the area, talented ones, young and strong that had good hearts behind thick heads. The summoner had been delayed, his monster stopped even though the strange magician hadn't been caught himself. And finally, the young Bulleta had continued to make a name for herself on the professional circuit. Violent still, but in ways that were not so beholden to rage and vengeance.
Jon Talbain, Gallon, could leave Japan with a sense of stillness. Still that, while not peace, was something approximating it in his mind. There was still much to do, much to focus on in his own journey. The wolf among men. To heighten his strength and to understand the nature that he had lived with for so long, yet truly understood so little.
Once more does he find himself in France. Once more the Englishman muses on that matter. Once more in a deep and profoundly old wood where he may find solitude. This time, however, it is not exile and insecure rage hiding beneath false wisdom. This time, he is enjoying the wood. He runs, his long claws digging rows in the earth with each contact. He indulges in the sensory milieu all around him. He allows the beast within him to understand things in an immediate way that the man may then make sense of.
But it would seem that even here, even in this place away from people and crowds that Gallon cannot escape everyone. The smell of spirits is pungent. The scent of beast and man and the eddies of chi twist the aura and emotion of the wood. Already does Gallon begin to turn his ears for the tell-tale whirring of SNF drones. Perhaps this forest will escape being burned to the damned ground. . .
It's the chi that truly gets Gallon's attention. Potential SNF involvement or not, it has a tone to it, it has a roughness that he recognizes on some surface level. The flow of the planet's energy is one thing that even as a human he could feel. As a beast, he finds a more direct attachment to the natural world and its powers.
He moves as lightning, dashing from point to point, stopping to scent the air and take in the forest's sounds. To hear the silence where animals avoid humanity. To feel the twisting of energy in the air that signifies the presence of a person.
He comes to the walking path, a hunched, bestial shade in the night. Though his eyes glow with a golden brightness in the dark, sacred night. He sees the man called Konrad von Sabrewulf, and with no self-conscious fear, he observes this man and his curious nature.
The man that walks along by himself does not walk alone. There is something incredibly turbulent about him, within him, that swirls about like crude oil stirred about within a clear water. It is not a singular being. Not entirely. The darkness whorling about like shadowy green fire is, at least by the man walking along, felt as an invading presence. A possession. It is an old power, an old presence, a very aged and strong chi that has 'infected' the well-dressed man. It may be dull, at present, held back by the chains of purposefully softened senses, but it is absolutely there like some vigilant antediluvian figure waiting for any moment to take control and be reborn. It's an attractive force of chi, at that, in the way that something raw and dangerous pulls in admirers and minions. The very same attraction that cold-hearted killers seem to have on fans and those inclined to aid...or copy. Yet, Konrad walks only with his conscience and that roiling chi bottled away until the next eruption, although there is a spike in that alien chi that might almost be visible as red behind the man's glasses.
It may be surprising for one to learn how long this man has been this way and for how long he has remained off the lists and out of the sights of those that would see him captured, or used. Like some streak of amazing luck, Konrad continues to stay just outside of the dangerous focus of those forces that would take an unhealthy interest in him. He has traveled the world, even, in his recently unveiled quest to seek outside knowledge to help his work. Still... Still this man escapes most notice.
That is not the case today.
The waistcoat-wearing man checks the time not on his phone, but of a pocket watch. The walk isn't absurdly far for those wanting to go for a pleasant hike, but an aging Gentleman takes some time to make the journey so far. Pausing at a wooden bench so placed for such travelers, he sits and removes the bag from his side to place it upon his lap. A glance is given down each direction of the walking path to check for others, and, so clear, he continues the motion. He doesn't think to check the treeline of the woods; it doesn't occur to him in his inebriated state.
Removing a cylinder from deep within the rather new bag, this glass tube filled with a strange glowing green fluid is fitted into that of a syringe. A metal syringe with a large needle probably better at piercing elephant hide than the overkill of a human's arm. Yet, nonetheless, he begins to roll his left sleeve up, past the elbow, up as high as it will go. This medicine, there's something about it. Already his body tenses as if expecting to inject a poison. The inner Beast lashes at its chains and snaps with slavering teeth at the very notion. Still, the drunken man has difficulty with coordination and this draws the process out. His arm is already marked by many injection sites. It is...old knowledge being used to combat something just as old. His left arm twitches, like something just beneath the skin, in aversion to the needle held so close.
The duality of man. Good and evil? A kind and gentle soul exists in perpetual conflict with the base and violent cruelty within his very mind. The man and the beast.
It is a fool's hope and a scoundrel's defense. It is something that he himself had cleaved to in a weaker existence. It is that weakness that he seeks to push himself beyond. In his very human rage he became a beast. In his very human fear and insecurity, he was trapped within the form. The beast did not care, the beast saw the futility of standing in the past while looking only to the future. He had seen that weakness when his present, what he had ignored, was razed around him.
He had grown since then, but he had come to know how far he was from where he could have been. Without self-pity, he exists for the moment. And that moment has found him near a man who seems wholly too familiar and yet not.
He watches, crouched low at the base of a tree. His legs folding under him as he growls to himself. His long claw scratches against the side of his chin as he takes to thought. This man with his pain and his terror. This man with his tools. This man who seems fearful of what he is and yet fearful still of killing himself. It is a curious thing. And it's one thing that Gallon would have left in the night not terribly long ago.
But the world had instigated Gallon, and so he shall instigate back. With his movement the wind, the werewolf seems to appear behind the seated man. He stands tall, not looming as a beast, hunched and sniffling at the air. He stands with a poise, crossed arms, and slightly lowered head of respect. "You are troubled," he states in a blunt, gravel tone. The rasp does little to hide the erudite, if brusque, Englishman that is Jon Talbain. "The forest is dangerous at night."
The tip of the needle nearly makes contact when a voice is heard directly behind the one preparing for the injection. Were Konrad of better mind, perhaps he could lurch away to his feet at the risk of depositing his bag upon the ground. However, addled by fermented fluids, reaction time is slowed and it takes a couple seconds for the man to fully react. The prospective speaker could very well be a mugger. Or a policeman. Instead of jolting to his feet, the drunken man places the syringe back into the bag in a calm slow manner before clutching it with both hands. "So, too, can se city be, ja? Gifen a choice betveen se two, I vould take se forest." The act of speaking, even without facing the figure behind him, is enough to reveal even more funk of alcohol.
There is a pause as Konrad rolls his sleeve back down in a well-practiced way before securing the cuff with a cufflink. It's a golden cufflink that bears the symbol of a withered claw: the Symbol of Clan Sabrewulf. While the name's roots have long since fallen out of favor, there will be those that know their history. The Sabrewulf Clan were famous and damnably efficient werewolf hunters in times long past.
As the cuff is secured, the bag is lifted as Konrad begins to turn his head to look over his shoulder. The man may be in a bit of a stupor, sobering up as much as one mentally can given an unexpected situation, but there's some other part of him that acknowledges the presence -- the very nature of the one behind this presence -- and does not like it one bit. Perhaps this turn of events drawing out the time between injections has a hand in allowing more sense and awareness to wrest free from the crude bonds and measures of control implied, but it doesn't change the fact that the darkness inside the German man pulses to life in a way that is nearly palpable.
Bespectacled eyes lift to meet those of the one standing there and the next couple of seconds seem to draw out into a dizzying crawl. There is no fear to be seen in those eyes or smelt upon the air, but there IS a growing sense of emotion that wells forth: Anger. It is neither territorial or unfounded. It is simply misdirected, yet altogether justified.
"I haf no intention of joining your pack of terrorists!" Konrad growls, almost in a voice completely not his own, as he shifts his weight to push forward onto his feet, but stumbles as the sudden surge of adrenaline lets slip more control than he would care for.
Steady and solid as a sentinel. Otherwise poised and still, Gallon's yellow eyes are the only part of him that seems to move. Even the heavy brush of a tail he has seems still as a statue. Every moment as the man appears to sluggishly assess his own situation while stinking of alcohol and a miasma of ill-tempered chi. It makes for the second move of Gallon's; a rankling nose.
He cannot fault the choice of a forest walk, particularly with the things that he is seeing and sensing coming from this drunken, pained man. And while Gallon may notice the cufflink, he knows little of the history. A young man, orphaned, and a secluded werewolf for decades does not lend one to much awareness of the world outside of one's immediate sphere. Gallon is yet to know the truth of his own bearing. The lack of a curse on his name, and the truth that he is descended from Makai nobility.
When Konrad stands, Gallon's head lifts. An inclination that has his lip curl to show a gleaming fang in the moonlight. The yellow of his eye bright and reflective. A judgmental glare enhanced with bestial implacability. "You are a drunkard," Gallon states. He can feel that anger, he knows it's fueled by alcohol and yet something deeper. However, he cares little.
"I have no intention of inviting you to anything," he remarks, dismissing the claim outright. "I've already promised my time to too many." He may wish to become a little more personable, but the werewolf has his limits. And he already has a violent young woman, and a headstrong monster hunter to consider. He really has no concern for a drunkard that merely has a curious notion about him.
The resulting standoff, if as much poetic spin on it can label it so, is not the most impressive. Outwardly, Konrad is not a very intimidating man. His life was changed in his prime and now his face wears the lines of age emphasized with stress. He is not the most tall and is not the most fit. The aroma of alcohol only further sells the lack of fearfulness. He doesn't wear rags, though. He wears clothing less oft seen outside of commercial circles of those that earn 6-figure paychecks. Despite the ingested potables, he still stands with a practiced posture that might inspire notions of nobility. Such aristocratic tiers don't necessarily exist as they once did, but the reflection is there.
Eyes that fight for focus stare fully at the one just beyond the bench just within arms' reach. The bag held slips from grip, but is caught by chance by the shoulder strap. The jolt at the bottom of the drop causes the syringe laying just atop it to roll off and forward, under the bench, to stop just at Gallon's feet. "You... You deny being a part of diese Werewolfe? Se attacks?"
Sure, it's incredibly naive to lump any werewolf you encounter into the same group. Then again, Konrad comes from a family that naturally sees such creatures as those wont to do bad things. He, himself, is a creature that would do exactly that if left to its own hunting, after all. Right? "In Japan?"
"Oh mein Gott im Himmel." Honestly, the Bavarian man is somewhat at a loss on how to react. Part of his mind races over the old notes his Clan recorded on dealing with such creatures, but von Sabrewulf has been, to his own knowledge, the only wolfbeast that he knew of in Western Europe and has thought as much for the decades he has spent in seclusion up until recently. It's awkward, to say the least. Does he speak? What does he say? Do you exchange names? Is this a wolf's territory that he has passed into and will this lead to a fight?
"Yes. I've been drinking." It's an obvious statement, sure, but it's acknowledging what is said of him, at least. Konrad feels a shuddering pang ripple over his chest. He visibly winces from it and the flick of his eyes from the wolf's visage to the ground where the green stuff lies and back again betrays his attempts at keeping full concentration on the unexpected meeting at hand. "Do you live here?" From what can be gleaned from hearing such speech, he's wagering not, but...is it polite to make sure? "I don't... I mean." His eyes further dart over Jon's form to mentally take note of size and build and shape and natural armaments.
Gallon speaks with the man. However, there is a rattling of the cage behind the identity presented that threatens to spark into a full fire. Still, there is a small laugh as cognition whispers to Konrad just what exactly he's wound up in and his name follows. Because why not; what could it possibly change? "I am Freiherr Konrad von Sabrewulf." An arm weakly extends to gesture toward the wooded treeline. "Choosing se forest. Ha ha ha..." The laughter rings of an awkward and nervous edge, yet, again, there is no fear. Not regarding Gallon, anyway.
For all of Gallon's stone faced, bestial visage offers of a kind of brutality, the man is lacking in any rage at this moment. He is at a personal peace and he finds this man, with his alcohol odor, his frightened of himself posture and even the withered claw cufflinks, as more pathetic than threatening or insulting. The small blonde girl with a great many guns that refers to him as Sifu is more frightening than this man.
However, the two do stand in contrast to one another. The stripped to the waist Talbain is quite on show with his own physique exposed to the world. The loose pants her wears comfortable and light, kept tied by little more than a colorful sash for adornment. Otherwise, it is just a rather thick layer of vibrant fur that keeps himself insulated against the elements. His family was noble in deed and name and blood, not in wealth or power. He was raised by a man nearly ascetic, a lifestyle he himself has mostly lead in kind. And he stands, a man more comfortable with what he is, opposite one that quails in fright of what is within.
He looks down at the fallen syringes, and he doesn't move an inch from his stone solid arms crossed posture of judgmental haughtiness. He merely growls in his throat and turns his baleful yellow eyes to Konrad. "I have attacked no one that has not brought a fight to me," he answers in a slow and steady manner, biting back bile at the accusation. "Do not put it upon me to defend myself."
His long claws dig into the fur of his bicep. His eyes close and he takes one long, slow breath to steady his annoyance at this man. He should've kept to himself and not bothered with 'helping' a man like this. "I am Gallon," he answers with a heavy French lilt to the name. "Please do not leave you. . .medicine laying around," he growls out, skeptical of the purpose of the vibrant syringe. But he is being painfully polite by his terms in keeping from accusations himself. The rage in him is not the Beasts, it's the indignant Man. Something that Gallon is learning more and more drives him.
And, like that, introductions are made. Regarding Gallon's poise and posture and demeanor and statement to support it regarding the possibility of physical altercation, Konrad is, in part, very skeptical. Skepticism is healthy to indulge it, to a point, after all. Still, there is no mistaking the control exhibited. That, if that alone, is to be respected and wondered after.
"Gallon." That does little to assuage the man's suspicion that this wolf isn't a local. However, this does provide a bit more sobering context. Clearly the sharply dressed man is mentally fighting the effects of the alcohol. He no longer feels a pleasant buzz. Balance and visual focus issues remain, but that's entirely to be expected. Had he not the experience of already meeting one called a Darkstalker, this meeting might be very different. Instead, the analytical mind of the Baron Alchemist, even hindered by such drugs, puts a few key pieces together.
A quizzical expression wanders over Konrad's face and his eyes glimmer in a light squint. His lips purse as if preparing to speak, but it takes a moment before those words gain form and definition. Despite almost being a question, the words are spoken more as realized fact:
"You know." About him, his curse; that he's different and not just some man with too many drinks out for a walk. He...begins to wonder now if he might share such a gift of detection involving others. That also brings to light mentally, even without confirmation, that it might be easier to figure out what he is than he realized. Or maybe it's a recent development with his alchemical formula losing effectiveness and humanity slowly slipping away.
"How?" he asks, as a follow up, and although it may seem to be a directed query at the ability to sniff him out, he adds more that changes the meaning of the question entirely. "How are you so calm? So disciplined?" Nearly every case he's read about concerning werewolves, from centuries past to the ocassional modern news rumors and tales, werewolves don't seem to have much control. Even his wolven side is wild and untamed, feral and unpredictable, leaving him fighting for control to keep from people getting hurt. It's a battle he doesn't always win.
Konrad takes a half-step closer, the bench remaining a physical barrier to provide some sense of personal space yet, and strains his focus to truly examine Gallon more than just a wary stare or cursory examination. "Are you able to change back? Can you hold it off? Do you maintain memory from one as the other? Conscious control?" The words come all out at once, a flood of inquiry steeped in sudden fascination now that the jarring shock of first contact seems to have mostly abated.
Gallon knows. He can smell it. He can feel it. The power of the Makai's lupine noble is within him, those of a lesser line are clear. He may not fully understand it himself, but he knows. And in answering, he nods once. "You fight. But you fight poorly," he states. He crouches down and, as things haven't been retrieved, he takes up the vial for the syringe to study it in claw.
"I haven't seen my human face in decades," he answers. "You, who has a gift of changing forms, struggles to prevent it. You resent what you have." He snorts. "How human of you."
Very gently, he places the vial down onto the wooden bench. His ears erect, directed at Konrad to hear the slightest motion. His eyes shut, relying on the wolf's sensory suite to guide him. "For years I trained in solitude, depriving myself of all contact and luxury because of my crimes and my weakness. Itself a form of weakness. But the face you see is yet mine."
He lifts his head, inclining to smell the light night time breeze. "I may yet seek a return to my human face. But I have learned that there is no difference in the mind that wears the body. Perhaps it would do you well to learn the same."
Konrad von Sabrewulf physically deflates. It is precisely as he fears and exactly what he didn't want to hear. His first meeting with another facing the same condition as he, there was hope that perhaps he'd learn something new. Perhaps he had overlooked something simple. "Was?" says he, 'what, in German. The man's brow knits in frustration before he mutters curses in his native tongue.
"You may not hold personal humanity in high esteem, but sat is no reason to spout derision at sose who vould seek to maintain vas sey haf." These words are less sour and more...disappointed. Saddened. "Vere it not for vas I know, Gallon, I vould no doubt be many decades buried inside tooth und claw also. I admit sere are a hundred sings I vould like to ask; you are se first to also bear sis affliction sat I haf met."
Putting Talbain's claim to the test, the aging gentleman swivels a bit and has a seat there on the bench and reaches out to gingerly lift the syringe and place it upon his lap. He reaches over to his bag, now on the ground before his legs, and opens it up to remove a clean syringe. Konrad then removes the vial of glowing green from one and places it in the other. He doesn't ask any of those hundred questions, though. Not yet. He feels heavily judged, which is off-putting, and while he may deserve some of that looking down upon due to his drinking habits, he can't help but feel any inquiries would be at least partially twisted.
Instead, Konrad seeks to turn the tables and asks something else, "So, am I a curiosity to you, sen, Herr Gallon? Haf you any qvestions for se cursed stranger whom you haf discofered?"
Gallon looks at Konrad with a narrow eyed scrutiny. He returns to his cross-armed position. His still, animalistic face holds no sign of the stewing man inside. One that holds very few beings in high esteem. One that dislikes humanity and darkstalker alike. "You do not understand our differences, Sabrewulf," he states, a point of a long claw at the scientist. "I did not know of my nature until I took revenge on the murderers of my teacher. For that loss of control, I lost my human face."
A pause, and Gallon adds, "I would come to realize humanity is no less a beast than I appear."
He paces around the bench, each step smooth and graceful and belying the years of martial arts precision that has brought Gallon to this point. It is predatory motion, a rolling ease of sinew and muscle that could, at any moment, strike with rending claw. But the posture and position of each careful step is that of a master of kung fu. "You are curious," he does admit as he rounds the man. "And your weakness is concerning."
He plants himself before Konrad, and this time he raises his heels and lowers himself down to a more feral crouch. The claws on his feet dig purchase in the path. Down low, he is closer to eyesight, not standing tall above the bench. "You crave strength, as any man. Why do you deny your path toward it?"
"You haf my condolences concerning events of your past." If anything at all, at the very least it can be noted that the sentence spoken there is perfectly genuine. Konrad is, at heart, a sympathetic man that doesn't want harm to come to others, whether physically, mentally, or...spiritually.
He still hasn't become fully used to having anybody witness the administering of his injections, yet he does so knowing that there will no doubt be a question of what exactly it is and why. The process of unfastening his cuff link, rolling up his sleeve to expose his arm, and preparing a spot to insert the syringe's needle follows.
"I don't vish for power, only cementation of identity. I did not fully appreciate who I vas and sose of whom begat me until it vas too late. I simply vant to be Me. I like who I am. My family has alvays tried to help people. Now...I simply vant to keep harm from coming to uhsers. Se sing inside me is unlike all se uhser cases I haf studied, Herr Gallon."
Before proceeding to actually give himself his 'medicine', Konrad offers one last thing: he holds out the unfastened cufflink. His worn aged fingers are a sharp contrast, no doubt, to the digits he offers to hand it over to for examination. "You probably haf no idea vas sat means or who I am, else you vould haf said somesing by now. And, vell, it's okay. My name fell out of household use a fery long time ago." If there's a negative reaction, he'd rather deal with it before he quells the shadow flames within. "I come from a long und famous line of Werewolf Hunters. Sey killed many at first, until... Until sey learned how to create a cure."
"It was decades ago," Gallon offers. Time rarely heals in any true regard, but time's passage allow other pains and pleasures to offer perspective on the past. He still remains, crouched, observing. "And all those involved but myself are long dead."
Gallon leans forward, shifting his weight from his legs, to a single hand planted on the ground, and slowly back down on his other knee. In the motion, he pops a stiff joint in his back, his tail lashing in a moment, before settling again. "You're lying to yourself," he states. "What is it that you search for but strength? Strength to control yourself. Strength to control others. Even your practice, your understanding, is a form of power. For years I sought the same strength, believing if I could, I would be gifted with humanity."
He snarls, inward, and shakes his head. "Was it the beast that wished for revenge? A beast does not bear grudges." He bares his fangs toward Konrad. "A beast is not afraid of itself. But a beast is no different than a man, confine it, and it will lash out."
He closes his eyes. "Ah yes, clearly effective," he speaks in a rough manner, but as dry as any Brit. "I don't care what your family is. I never knew mine," he admits. The kindred moment of kind is enough to go far enough, but not yet to a proper name. "So your family has always been bloodthirsty. Fitting then that you are simply better equipped for it."
Konrad simply smiles grimly.
"I am sure se bose of us could imply conjecture, but se fact of se matter is sat neiser of us were sere. I only know se sings recorded." The man bites at his lip a little as he grasps the syringe and looks to it. "Se sing inside of me... I get se feeling sat it vas sere. Vis sem. Ha ha ha, sat probably sounds silly, but sat is how I feel. Und my point, Herr Gallon, is not to argue se virtues of humanity or se good intentions of my ancestors."
The large needle looks to likely be very painful to insert, yet Konrad does it anyway. His breath catches in his throat and the muscles around the point of puncture twitch in objection. Depressing the plunger sends the glowing fluid into his circulatory system and the glow persists along the vessel for a while before fading. The man's stare goes vacant, as well, lasting for a few seconds; only when he blinks upon return to the present does he remove the needle and place the syringe in his bag. That whorling aggressive chi within loses focus and dims, recedes, becomes less detectable.
For the moment, Konrad's pain subsides and his struggle eases.
"You seem to haf a lot of self control, ja? I vanted to be honest. A year ago I vould not haf considered being so open, especially vis a stranger, but you are se first, eh, sat I haf met. I am sad you do not haf se immediate answers I seek, but I vould be a fool to not acknowledge se merits of your self-attested ability. My ancestors had a cure." He spreads his arms slowly as if to emphasize the obvious. "I do not. Alsough I do seek one, sere is...a fery real possibility sat I vill lose my own face and identity."
"Soon," he adds, softer, trailing off a bit as if saying as much makes the fact hurt all the more.
Gallon finds it is more comforting to be in the presence of people like Bulleta than Konrad von Sabrewulf.
The grumbling low in his throat and chest is more human than beast, annoyance that isn't tempered by notions of propriety. He is beginning to tire of the weakness presented in front of him. A weakness that he sees as only potentially making the results of Sabrewulf's condition all the worse.
The show of the injection, the whorl of chi and the sundering of its building aggression is an insult. A stopgap measure that he finds to merely be prolonging the worst of it. And it is the beast that doesn't care. The beast cannot feel disgust at the lack of pride. The beast would walk away and leave this limping predator to a lamentable fate.
Jon Talbain has learned that Man and Beast are not so obvious. One is not simply the negative aspects, while the other the positive. But he can also see the sickness within Konrad von Sabrewulf may not simply be lycanthropy. His lip curls. He shakes his head. "Do not patronize me, Sabrewulf," he speaks. "I do not wish it from a pitiful whelp." He stands, affronted, and turns his back on the man with his needles.
He holds a hand out to his side, uncurling his fingers and revealing the long and razor sharp claws. "I will offer only this as answer; find your control and find your strength. If you do not, then you may trust I will end your curse in a more natural manner."
"Sat is more san anybody has offered before you." Konrad isn't so naive as to not know a threat when it is spoken. However, the man chooses to respond to it in what, arguably, may be a more direct acknowledgment to the seriousness of the matter. "Howefer, if you vould tolerate se question: How do you know sat vas is in me fighting to control me und consume me from se inside-out is se same struggle you seem to haf conquered?"
As he asks as much, he bundles everything back up and secures the latches on the bag, then rolls down his sleeve and secures the cuff once more. He doesn't ask to be contrary. He's curious just how deep Gallon's perception is. After all, he knew what Konrad was dealing with on a deeper level than most ever revealed. Could the nature of Konrad's infection by the very beast that is graced as the Clan's symbol be nothing more than typical? Or could the frightening potency of the once-live artifact in question present a danger as great as Konrad fears if he loses his battle to keep it contained?
On a basic level of reasoning, Konrad believes there's no simple way of knowing. One can only interpret what they perceive based on personal experiences and knowledge, after all. This werewolf before him whose tone of voice and body language exhibits great distaste of him may not have any answers. Still, Konrad asks anyway. You don't get answers without asking, usually.
"Are you precisely sure it is se same sing? If so, your exhibited level of cognition and control is...honestly some of se best news I'fe had in se past fife years."
The beast would leave a weak thing to die. The man promises a release. Gallon is not one to threaten idly when simply finishing the matter is more to his character. However, he feels a spark of hope, of mercy and of potential strength within this Konrad von Sabrewulf. He could leave now. He has said his piece and he has learned what he has needed to. He could leave, but the question from the afflicted gets Gallon to stop.
"Because mine is no different from any man's. It is only more obvious," Gallon says.
He looks up through the breaks in the trees. Up to the night sky. He could be gone on the wind, faster than the light coming off the moon. But he remains a moment longer. He looks back at Konrad, now asking for hope and answers beyond what Gallon knows he can offer. It took him years to find himself, only to realize that he had not done anything of the sort. That the beast, the dual thing that he believed he was is not so clean cut.
"I am not you. Nor are you me. Find what strength you need to, Sabrewulf. That is all any can seek."
"Of course. It is not fully vas I seek to know, but, in its own vay, I understand vas you speak of." The man folds his hands together and leans back against the bench where he sits. A thousand thoughts cycle through his head in turn, swirling about in a maelstrom of wonder and wont for understanding.
"Herr Gallon, I do not know you and chances are sat I vill nefer see you again. Perhaps, sen, sat is vhy I feel se need to be up-front und forscoming vis you. I am fascinated by sis meeting. It gifs me a LOT to sink about. In se spirit of sat, knowing my name it should be easy to find vhere I lif which is only a couple hours from here by car, less if also by train. You...probably sink sat I haf spent decades fully suppressing sis creature visin me, but enjoying my human identity to visit a lovely town like sis is a rarity."
He lifts and pulls his bag onto his lap before sliding the shoulderstrap over his head. "If you do decide to drop by for a fisit, know sat, vere I to be sere, I may or may not be he whom you haf met here. I often do not remember anysing during my bouts of...alteration, yet my uhser half seems to alvays remember it all. So... If you meet not Konrad but instead se 'Uhser', I simply ask sat you treat it as a first meeting. Sere is a chance he- I...may attack a fisitor of such being, like yourself. I do not know. But you vill at least find my land seems to avoid prying eyes and privacy is a delicate and oft-abused sing sat I can offer."
"Simply meeting you raises so many questions I did not know vould be." The man shakes his head at this. Already he's beginning to fully sober up. It takes a lot of alcohol to do much and it never lasts too long. "And I vould enjoy discussing sese matters furser, if you are amicable to sat." He doesn't really expect that to happen, but he puts it out there anyway.
An invitation. Gallon considers. The direction is on his way. The purpose is another soul looking for insight. This one hadn't fought with him yet. Which, as Gallon thought about it, was more off-putting than seeing the truth that comes from conflict. Conflict he had avoided for so long and thus left him woefully bereft of understanding himself.
He looks out, heaves a heavy sigh, and grants the thought an noncommittal nod. "Perhaps I will," he agrees, adding, "And attack if you will."
Gallon does not offer much else. There is no chastising, no more judgment in him as he leans forward, lowering to the ground and digging in. "On another night," he tells Konrad. And then, he's gone. The wolfman rips over the ground, bounding over earth and off the heavy old growth trees. A bounding beast and man that leaves a whistle of wind in his wake.
And somewhere in the long distance, a faint keening howl on the night.
"Oh meine verdammte Scheisse, was zer Holle," says Konrad after many many seconds pass upon being left alone and lifts his hands to his face to rub along his temples and eyes. "So, sat happened." His arms fall heavily to his lap and he sinks back against the bench all the more. His stare goes blank as he looks in the direction of the forest as he becomes lost in thought.
He doesn't really feel like continuing his hike, he is mostly sobered up, and he doesn't really feel like drinking anything else. Maybe he should just go home. He just injected himself, so he should be okay for a few hours more, at least. If he had married in his youth rather than living everything like a nonstop party, perhaps none of this would have happened. The Konrad of today would have been a very different person, wouldn't he?
"I vonder if more Werewolfe haf as much control und stability. I can't be se only one fighting a demon, can I?" The self-spoken words pave the way for a very deep sigh. He feels so tired now. So heavy. So dense and immovable. Standing is a very hard thing to do for some reason. Bracing a hand on his right knee, he rises with a grunt and adjusts his bag at his side as he prepares to head back south toward Saverne away from the national park's border.
"Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Gallon. I truly vish you se best of luck fighting your own troubles."
Log created on 21:25:15 01/13/2020 by Gallon, and last modified on 12:03:15 01/15/2020.