Thaddeus comes across a Summoning gone wrong and runs into Corwin.
Golden Gate Park
Oct 16, 2015
It's a miserable night in the Park. The weather is horrible, and the only ones who could appreciate it are part of 'Providence's Creatures', or something a bit more sinister. It's a night for natural, and the not so natural to collide. A faint scream of fear is carried on the wind. It comes from deeper in the Park.
It's a rare night off for Tad Bailey, leaving the bar in the very capable hands of his employees. He's now on his way back from a meal that isn't one of Cathy's pies, hands tucked into the pockets of a raincoat as he takes a short cut through the park. Until, that is, the bear hears that scream. Frowning, he turns to move that way. The weather doesn't bother him, although the feeling of winter coming has a dark edge to it. Still, right now it's just horrible rain and dark clouds. Right now.
The scream dies, and there is just the howling of the wind, and driving rain. The wind does carry something of a rhythmic chanting, and the atmosphere of the park seems to get darker, and more depressing. There is definitely something not quite right, and Thaddeus can smell blood. Human blood in copious amounts from the scent of it.
Hopefully this is something he can just call the cops on. Oh, who is he kidding? Maintaining human form for now, the bear moves with sudden stealth towards the sound of the scream and, above all, that scent of blood, that whiff of...perhaps death, almost certainly death. He's almost certainly too late...
It's death alright. The bartender runs into a scene pulled from some Gothic nightmare. In a clearing, a group of black-robed individuals stand in a Circle. Flickers of strange red, and orange light shine within that circle. Arcane symbols drawn within the Circle glow a dull red. At the center is another black-robed individual with a jagged, grey, curvy knife. And a body. The body of a teen-age girl that has been bled from what appears to be some very gruesome cuts. The fellow at the center is chanting in some ancient language. Above the body of the dead girl, a coalescing vortex of dull red appears. And what steps through is a picture of a Bad Dream. It's seven foot-tall, and cloven hoofed. It's furry on the legs, and has red glowing eyes, muscular chest, sharp, wicked black claws, and ram's horns atop an evil hairy face. The creature bellows, "I AM FREE!" And begins to start wanton slaughter starting with the fellow holding the knife.
"Why," Tad says to thin air. "Do people who summon demons never think of this?" Then? He shifts, bones changing, fur growing. The demon might be big. The Werebear is much bigger and the first thing he does is simply to step into the clearing, all ten feet of him, bigger even than a natural grizzly in this hybrid form. "Grrrr."
The fellow with the knife is made short work of by the summoned creature. Blood flies everywhere as the 'Demon' rips out his heart, and catches a couple of the people in the Circle. Bones can be heard crunching, and blood continues to fly. What's left of the arcane group scatters, amidst screams and spraying blood. The Demon turns towards the 'Were-Creature', and laughs. It is a deep, evil, maniacal laugh. He says, "I see that I already have servants come to exalt me. Let us create Chaos, and Kill, and Maim, and Wreak Havoc, my Servant!"
Thaddeus Bailey growls, drawing himself up to his full height. Okay, apparently the demon won't be intimidated by his size and his growl, so? So he swats at it, powerful claws designed for climbing...and breaking demons...arcing through the air towards it. The growl stays in his throat. Yeah. He's here to kill and maim alright...
The Demon looks surprised, and dumbfounded for a moment. The Were-Bears claws scour the chest of his target, and draws a black Ichor from the scratch. But the summoned creature responds quickly, and grabs Thaddeus by his arm. He is strong. Very strong, and he twists, tries to hurl the the Were-creature away.
Strong enough to send the bear flying. An innocent tree is struck and turned to matchstick, but it doesn't slow Tad down. For now, anyway. He's mostly keeping it busy so the idiots who thought they could give it orders can live to learn better. Hopefully.
Corwin is taking a stroll through the park on a miserable evening. He's whistling a tune known as 'Spanish Harlem' when he comes across the clearing with the combatants. "Oh Damn! Damn! Damn! I shoulda stayed in banking." He watches the robed people flee, and then focuses on a tree being turned into kindling. "Damn, I shoulda stayed for one more drink." He pulls his sword, and focuses on the battle before him.
The Demon closes on the Were-creature with gore-covered claws, swinging wildly. "YOU WILL WORSHIP ME INSECT!"
"I'm a bear, not an insect," the bear says in an Oregon accent, dodging the demon and swinging back at him. Yeah. What Corwin sees? Two monsters fighting. And bickering. "I *eat* insects," Tad points out, then swings a "hind" paw upwards towards the demon, on one foot for a moment, and he's not pulling that. He's aiming to disembowel.
The Were-Bear's aim is good. Black ichor flies as his swat connects. The summoned creature goes flying, and lands on his back. But, he is up in an instant. And he laughs that evil, maniacal laugh from earlier. "Since you won't serve me as is Right! I will rip your heart out, and feast on your Blood, and your Soul!" The cloven-hoofed monstrosity heads right towards Thaddeus with claws out.
Twisting to the side, the bear takes a claw, although it's not close to his heart - and he's a werebear, it starts to heal pretty quickly. With all of his force, he follows up by driving his furred shoulder into the upper chest and face of the demon, unless it manages to evade.
Corwin watches the combatants tussle. They are both not natural. But one is bleeding red, and the other is bleeding black. He doesn't engage immediately. The furry one seems to be holding his own.
The demon is struck, and ends up flat on his back. It is up quickly, but not quite as quickly as before. The Creature roars, "YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT, INSECT!" The Demon wades in with claws flailing.
Remember that tree? The bear twists away from the demon and lifts what's left of it with clawed paws. Ooh. It does make a very good club, aimed for the demon's head.
The wood just shatters against the monstrosity's head. He laughs, and lunges for Thaddeus' throat with his claws. It's a reckless, confident attack.
Those paws are handpaws, and yes, the bear can grab with them. He tries to grab the demon by the wrist with one of them, and then slash at its throat with the other. They're very close together now, which Tad is definitely regretting. Why? Demons stink.
The Were-Bear's grapple, and attack is devastating. A horrendous, Evil Howl can be heard as black blood flies everywhere. The Circle of Summoning flares a bright orange, and the Demon dissipates in Thaddeus' grasp. He does leave behind the stench, and the ichor, however.
Thaddeus Bailey shakes himself like a dog to try and get the ichor off. Eventually, he seems to give up and, either not having noticed Corwin or not caring what he sees, reverts to human form. That...doesn't get rid of the ichor either.
Corwin takes a defensive stance with his sword towards the ichor-covered man thing. He looks stunned. "Shit, I shoulda guessed something like this." He looks around, "Mind telling me what the Hel....Err, what the Sam-Hill is going on?"
"Idiots summoning demons they have no idea how to send home or control." Tad looks where the circle was to see if there are still bodies or if they got conveniently blown up.
The clearing is a mess. Dead bodies, and quite a few body parts all over the place. And for some it stinks. Really stinks bad. Corwin tries to hide his surprise at Thad's transformation. To anyone with any sense he fails. "Really? I had you pegged for a mountain climber, and some sort of art aficionado. How much trouble have I bought here?"
"Enough that we should get out of here. I'll toss the cops an anon." He sniffs a little bit at Corwin. "And maybe I can work out what *you* are."
Corwin gives a critical look over of the scene. He smiles, and puts up the sword. "You're right. Things will get hot enough around here even if you don't toss them the call. What a frigging mess, and I am harmless." He gives a wink, "For the most part anyways. By the way Thad, your a Surprise, and at the moment, a bit of a mess."
"I'm definitely a mess." He moves away from the scene, not pulling out his cellphone. Because that's too traceable. "Most of the time, in fact."
Corwin follows the bartender, "Somehow, you don't strike me as the type that volunteers for 'messes'. You just end up in the 'wrong place at the wrong time?"
"Heard a scream, figured somebody should check it out. I ain't. Most of the time I'm the guy people come to with questions about werecreatures. Or for beer." Which he has definitely proved himself an expert on.
Corwin chuckles a bit. "Definitely 'wrong place, wrong time'" He produces a flask, "No beer here, but this has Maker's Mark bourbon in it." He shakes his head, "Man, life has gotten weird lately. What has changed? Stuff like this is unheard of as far as I know."
"Nothing's changed. You've just wandered in. But you don't smell like a normal human. And normal people don't carry swords," Tad points out, far too cheerfully now he's away from the smell of death.
Corwin chuckles a bit, "Well, I've live a hundred and five years there about. I haven't aged since D-Day. I'm hard to kill, and the carrying swords thing." He pauses a bit, "It's a sort of 'Game' that folks like me used to play."
Thaddeus Bailey shrugs. "I thought I was smelling an interesting aura." Normally people who sense such things talk about seeing them, but then. Bears, not known for great eyesight.
Corwin gives the fellow a curious look. "So..how do you do what you do? That was a tremendous display of....Power. And why have I been in this area for years, and years....And now all of a sudden 'Life' goes topsy-turvy? You changed into something out of old legends 'Oh pourer of drinks'. He looks very serious, "What gives?"
"Ya can't have been paying any attention, then." Note, whatever Corwin is, he's probably lacking in any supernatural senses...otherwise he'd have pegged Tad, for one, right away.
Corwin gives a cynical laugh. "One has to notice something, before one can pay attention to it. Maybe I've been to wrapped up in my own life. A person can be paying attention to the wrong things. It leads to erroneuous conclusions."
"Always." He tilts his head. "I've smelled an aura like yours before, but the person it belonged to didn't stick around."
Corwin nods, and takes a pull from the flask in his hand. "Through out the Time my kind have walked, and fought, and sought some damned thing called the 'Prize'. It's a gathering of Power. It's a kinda Magic. I wasn't shitting Ya, Thad. I haven't aged since June Sixth, Nineteen Forty-Four. I got stitched by a Kraut Gestapo and woke up relatively Immortal." He grins a bit, "But Shit, I got nothing on what I just saw you do."
"I turn into a bear. You think I'm going to call you a liar?" Tad notes, with a bit of a grin.
Corwin laughs heartily, and offers Thad the flask. "Well, I guess I'm not in a place to judge. It's very impressive."
Thaddeus Bailey takes a swig and hands it back. "Eh. It's not all good, trust me." Okay, so immortals. It's niggling at him - he's going to have to check the books later.
Corwin looks very curious for a moment. "So, You can actually turn into a full bear? Like brown, or grizzly, or black, or what? How does this work? I did see something like this with what one could only describe as werewolves, a while back. Ya'll all part of the same fraternity, or what?" He takes the flask back, and applies himself to it. "Nah, there's different kinds, and a lot more wolves than bears." Tad shrugs. "And yeah, I can. Not as useful in a fight as what you saw, though."
Corwin nods. "I see. Or I can guess." He stops a moment, and gives the Bartender a questioning look, "So, all the old fairy-tales, and horror stories, and boogey-men are real then?"
"No. Just...most of them." He studies Corwin for a moment. "But I figure you can hold your own." Swords and prizes might seem silly, but...a sword is a particularly handy weapon against the supernatural. When you don't have claws.
Corwin ponders an instant, and then laughs. "I can still come by and have drink every once in awhile?" He studies his companion a moment. "You need to go home, and take a bath."
"I definitely do. And I'll serve anyone as long as they don't try to bite customers. Or hit them with swords. Or any other form of violence." Tad grins and then starts to walk away. So much for his dinner plans...
Corwin watches the Bartender walk away. "Good deal. Didn't a I mention I was mostly harmless? You'll have no problems from me."