The Giant Wolf of Black Lake

Red River 
Just on the edge of the outskirts, across the river from Cedar Creek

Eric woke up well before he opened his eyes. He knew what had happened, not that it was hard to figure out.

Covered in a nice thick layer of snow from overnight, he lay curled against the roots of a tree.

Things had gotten too close for comfort. The sound of rushing water made him lick his lips, and he willed himself to sit up. His beard was touching his chest now. His hair draped around his bare shoulders, caked in the blood of whatever The Wolf had killed. From the taste lingering in his mouth, he guessed deer. Eric hadn't tasted human since that night, and he was glad his plan was working so far. Truth be told, he lost track of the seasons; how long he'd been out here. He rose to his feet slowly, fluffy snow falling off his naked body, and sighed. Tracking was so hard in the snow. Scents didn't stick as well. Prints faded away. Where had he come from? It was important to know, because that's where all his shit was. It apparently would kill The Wolf to just carry his backpack. Heaven forbid it had any courtesy at all. Scowling, he padded through the forest in the dim light of dawn, stretching as he went. He hooked his left arm in his right elbow and pressed it to his chest until he heard his shoulder pop, then switched arms to repeat. Eric knew very little of his curse, but staying limber after the change was a must. Once upon a time, he would have been frantically searching for something to cover up with. There was no point in stressing about it anymore.

There were worse things people could see, anyway. Eric was a Cryptid, though he didn't know it. Somewhere on the internet, a photo of him loping along the banks of a lake was going around like wildfire, with users upon users speculating what he was. Skinwalker. Forest spirit. Mutant. Proof that Dire Wolves weren't extinct. If he knew about it, he'd probably be furious. Whoever snapped the picture - from no less than 20 yards away - was profoundly lucky that The Wolf didn't turn around for a quick meal.

He ran his tongue over his teeth again, troubled. Stepping over branches and stones, he wondered. Was there going to be a day when he didn't change back? The Wolf had been taking him over as often as it could lately. Two days ago, he had awakened to find that his teeth weren't quite human anymore. Long fangs replaced his normal incisors, top and bottom.

Not hard to hide. There weren't reasons to smile anymore.

They felt strange in his mouth. He didn't like it. What would be next? A pair of fuzzy ears?

He almost laughed.

Eric stood in a clearing, hands on his hips, muttering in frustration. "Where were we last?" He asked The Wolf fruitlessly. Sometimes, it showed him things. Sometimes, he could see images of what it wanted. Generally, it was food. Other things were harder to focus on and interpret. One thing, though. One thing kept him up at night. More and more, it was showing him other wolves. Eric didn't know what it meant. Well, he had an idea that he didn't like, at least.

Inhaling deeply through his nose, Eric twitched at a strange and faint scent wafting along in the wind. He felt The Wolf snap to attention, and looked around, confused. "Whatever it is, just stuff it." He muttered, internally begging the monster to let him be human for a while.

Eric arrived at one of the veins feeding the river. It carried ice and debris out into the roaring currents, and across the water, he saw the distant signs of a town and swallowed dryly. Finding his stuff didn't matter anymore. He was too close to people again, and the forest was bare and dead; no places to conceal himself. A large, lean blood-smattered man with a lumberjack beard and Jesus hair standing naked in the woods would absolutely draw attention. He turned on his heel to jog in the opposite direction, but his body jerked back as something in his foot cracked. Eric looked down to see one of his toenails slowly becoming a claw. "No. We don't kill people. Never again. Fuck off."

Another nail turned.

"Please." Eric ran his hand through his hair, growling the word through clenched teeth.


The human word whispered and resonated within her skull, an understanding reached between the two almost instantaneously. Lip lifted, a silent snarl twisting the pale maw of the wolf that strode down the mountain's slopes, no instruction needed from her human counterpart. The presence of another on her land was not appreciated and would not be tolerated; following the scent and feeling both, the monster's effortless lope made quick work of the distance between her and her prey.

It was when he came into her line of sight that she quickened her pace, the scent of blood thick and cloying in the cold. Old. Not human. Still, it would not stop her from bounding towards him with speed that only a supernatural could achieve, bowling him over with a terrible, thunderous snarl. His form prone beneath her, the crimson-eyed ghost bore teeth at the wolf a single paw placed squarely upon his chest, holding him down and in place.

He had only moments to explain.

He would never admit this, but Eric peed a little.

By the time it happened, one of his legs had already lost its humanity. Eric had been too busy fighting The Wolf to register the rapidly approaching scent, and suddenly, he hit the ground. Hard.

Eyes flashing yellow as it pushed further, Eric exhaled loudly, yelping and pressing his palm to the chest of the thing that had taken him down. He struggled for a moment, kicking his normal leg out in vain, before his instincts overtook the adrenaline rush.

Animals were afraid of him, as a rule. Even other wolves. They wouldn't even attack him - they just ran. Inhaling roughly, locking eyes with her, he knew. She smelled like him. A wave of images filled his mind so abruptly it made his head hurt. The Wolf was...excited.


Like me.

And she was mad.

Maybe she was here to kill him.

Eric was weirdly okay with that. He'd tried a few times in the past, but it seemed like either he was nigh invincible, or only another werewolf could put him out of his misery. Ironically, he'd written off the whole silver thing as bullshit, and never even tried it.

And, of course, he didn't know what to do. What she wanted. If she wanted anything beyond his face in her jaws. The transformation wasn't stopping, slowly creeping up his body as he strained and choked out broken sentences that made no sense. Bones popped, flesh shifted, and pain wracked him. Maybe The Wolf knew what to do. Maybe it would make everything worse and get them both killed.

Eric wasn't sure if he cared.

How DARE they...

The feeling rushed through the black beast like a sudden bolt of intense lightning. Something was off, something was wrong, and his alpha was confronting whatever it was. Oh HELL no, there was no way he was leaving Alina, capable as she most certainly may be, to deal with whatever it was on her own. Drey had spent the night indulging his primal urges, which left the dawning sun glinting off his sleek, black fur as he made a beeline in the direction the feeling had come from.

To say the hulking canine was intimidating would be an understatement. Already a bit imposing in human form, Dreyden was a monster as a wolf. Ears perked forward, he was a flurry of flashing silver and gnashing teeth as he arrived on the scene. Alina's beautifully threatening form was holding down a strange wolf who seemed to be shifting right underneath her. Drey's hackles flexed like spikes along his neck and shoulders, and he glared at the intruder with murderous intent. The male had never been a "wait to question" sort of person, and the birth of his inner wolf had most certainly not influenced that part of him for the better. Even so, he held back, hovering a stride away as he waited for any sign from his alpha. What came next was her call: it was always her call, though he was poised to destroy should the need arise.

He spoke. He tried, rather. Another snarl cut him off, teeth snapping inches from his face. The wolf had no interest in his words, only in his submission. Tail lashed as bone cracked beneath her paw, an ear twisting Crow's way as he lingered nearby — an acknowledgement of his presence. On a normal day, she might have chided him for following her (again) but in this moment, she was grateful for his looming presence, if only because there would be no chance at escape for this bearded trespasser.

Unfortunately for him, Alina was the opposite of patient. Instead of waiting placidly for him to finish his shift, the Wolf King reached across the metaphysical plane to grasp the wolf's scruff with an odd mixture of a human hand and wolven teeth before dragging the creature to the surface, forcing his shift to hit fast forward until a wolf cowered where the man once had. At some point, the spectre had removed herself from her position of standing over him, circling around until she stood opposite the Soldier, carmine eyes narrowed above still-bared teeth.

That hurt way more than normal.

In less than 30 seconds, which felt like an eternity of agony, Eric slipped away into The Wolf. It sailed forward with glee, all but giving him the finger as they tag-teamed out against his will. My turn, loser!

He'd never had so many positive images swirling in his brain until now.

As he fell away to the broken darkness he hated so much, The Wolf, huge and magnificent, wrenched free and into the cold winter air. Alina released him, and he twisted his lanky body around to land on his paws, kicking snow up. He stood stiffly, eyeing the newcomer warily for but a moment before swinging his gaze to her.

Half a beat of silence passed before he threw his ears back, whined excitedly, and performed some strange awkward combination of a play stance and a submissive body tuck. His tail whipped around, making a deformed snow angel.

In the depths, Eric bubbled to the surface long enough to think, What the fuck are you doing?

The Wolf shoved him back down.

Crow held himself as still as possible, though his muscles ached to close the distance. Silver eyes stared intently at every small motion, and he could feel his alpha reach out and drag the trespasser's beast to the surface. To his credit, the wolf within the unwelcomed guest did nothing to fight her, and it almost felt like his emergence was accompanied by sheer relief and excitement rather than resistance. This wolf wanted to face them, but Crow was certain it wasn't in confrontation.

Regardless, the hulking brute's hackles refused to waver, and his lip still curled in a warning snarl as Alina took a position just across from him, with the trespasser now between both sets of fangs. He was careful to move in only a little, reinforcing to the stranger that the white ghost was very much the one in charge and he was simply her large and imposing back-up. That being said, the black monster felt his brow twist a little and blinked in surprise as he took in the tall, lanky, goofy form of the silver beast who now stood where the frightened human had been.

The trespasser's wolf was a even a few inches taller than he was, though his body was a bit scrawnier thanks to his circumstances. There was no doubt in Crow's mind that if the wolf they faced were in peak condition, he'd be a challenge even for the two of them together. The wolf's odd behavior, however, finally broke some of the black male's tension and he tilted his head in a confused "Uh...dude WTF?" motion.

Tension sang in the bitter cold air, the white wolf's head lowering to protect her throat as she watched the wolf tear its way out of its own human vessel. The was a beautiful sort of violence to the shift, an abstract and troubled work of art in motion; others found the shift gruesome, horrifying even, but for Alina, it was a release. An escape, one that could needlessly be threatened by a rogue wolf. He had made the mistake of coming to her home, and so she would react accordingly: put him under control (especially if he shifted so terribly easily) or eliminate the threat to her and her own.

What she was not expecting was for the wolf to recover from its shift and seek to... play? The larger creature tried to both placate her and goad her into humoring his antics. Both failed to appease the Wolf King, pale form rushing forward with another snarl and snapping teeth aimed at his muzzle; she was not a gentle teacher, her patience thinner than what it had once been.

Five years ago, The Wolf was born. But his body was not his own; turned inside out to create some soft, fleshy creature that he would never regarded as anything more than prey, let alone a prison. And the Soft Thing kept him away from his own kind, yet enjoyed the benefits of having him along for the ride.

Growing angry and frustrated, The Wolf pushed harder and harder to come out, to catch scents, to hunt. Hunt for both food and...others. And now, he had found them - at long last. But he was not welcome, not greeted in kind. He yelped as teeth connected with his snout, scraping the skin off, leaking blood around his muzzle. The Wolf scrambled backwards, feeling betrayed, unwillingly sharing his emotions with the vessel he'd been torn out of.

Eric stirred somwhere inside and almost felt...bad. No; he did. He felt The Wolf shrink and wondered for a moment if it would retreat completely. It wasn't that Eric wanted The Wolf to take the beating; it was that he knew he couldn't do much as a naked man.

But he wasn't thrown back out; instead shouldering up beside the beast that lived inside him, a strange, new feeling.

Just stop.

He didn't know if it understood or if it was just afraid. They were much larger than the white creature before them, but neither of them wanted a fight.

So, perhaps coincidentally, The Wolf slouched down into the snow, ears low, rubbing at his nose with a soft whine.

They had never worked together before. Eric had been allowed into a space he didn't know existed, and he frowned inwardly at the prospect, not knowing what it was or what it meant. Why did he even feel bad? The Wolf had dropped a nuke on his life.

Before he felt himself slip away again, Eric wondered that maybe it was because he didn't actually want to die.

The black wolf's hulking form tensed ever so slightly as his King rushed toward the stranger between them. He was ready to leap should the larger beast decide to retaliate, but Crow's muscles relaxed ever so slightly as the trespasser took the hint. A soft growl edged out between his clenched fangs as the other male hunkered down into a rightfully submissive pose, seeming to shrink as much as possible into the ground beneath him. The Soldier was honestly glad the stranger wasn't nearly as off kilter as his initial reaction had hinted, and he wondered if this trespasser had been around any others of their kind at all. It certainly wouldn't seem so.

Silver eyes glanced between the shrinking male and the alabaster form of the Wolf King, waiting for the next development.

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