Keith and Dylan's Challenge

Setting

Survivalist Compound: Front Entrance - Wauconda, Illinois(#1740RJL)

The road curves inward from the gate in the tall stone wall and through the trees, allowing privacy before opening into this quaint clearing. Here, a small, stone cottage rests on the far side of a large, graveled circle, only six feet of grass stretching from the gravel to the cottage's front wall. The little building faces north with a wide, diamond-paned window a few feet to the left of the sturdy, iron-banded front door. Another, smaller window lies beyond the first along the long, front wall. The shutters are more than decorative - painted green, they are also functional and can be closed as evidenced by the metal latches upon them. A climbing rosebush grows rather wildly up a white lattice arch in front of the door. Ivy climbs the eastern end of the building and has almost completely obscured the dark roofing from view all along the rooftop. Another curving road moves off to the west from the gravel circle, leading back into the trees. A few little sheds are lined up to one side of the road, doors closed and padlocked.

People

Auranna
Ahikam
Cale
Crystal
Dylan
Forest
Jeremy
Jin
Johnothan
Keith

Scene

The sound of a Toyota compact in need of a tune-up heralds Dylan's arrival and a few moments after the sound of engine dies away and the sounds of a person exiting a vehicle reach the cottage, the new leopard himself shows up, stepping in from the outside and pausing a moment inside the door, sorting out familiar and unfamiliar scents.

Ahikam finally gets the cloth clean, thoguh it took a lot of work to get it clean again, washing his own hands, and then drying them, stepping back to look around the kitchen, make sure everything looked good, before he turned to Dylan's entrance, nodding to Johnothan in greeting, but moving towards Dylan, sliding down to kneel before him, his head leaning to the side to bare his neck in an act of submission, eyes downcast, "our Nimir'Raj told me that you are in charge of me now." his voice quiet, what fight and spark he had before seemed to have slid away, leaning both him and his beast fairly docile and submissive, even before the leopard he barely knew.

Johnothan drinks about a quarter of the glass before grinning at Jin and nods "YEah, was helping crystal move that block of marble, then had to put the seats back in my van and decided to take a little run." he says, wiping the towel over his face, looking ad Dylan as he comes in, then turning to look at Ahi at the boys words, one eyebrow lifting "He said *what*?!"

Dylan 's eyes get wide for a moment as Ahikam does that and he looks down at the kneeling shifter. The act of token submission is accepted as he leans over and takes scent of Ahikam and then braces the other shifter's shoulders, trying to draw him up to his feet. "Stand." His expression is mildly puzzled as he says, "That would explain the voice mail. The question might be 'what have I done to piss off Forest'?" He looks to Johnothan and then the stranger, Jin, nodding to each and then back to Ahikam. "What else did he tell you?"

Jin tilts his head studding Dylan and well he feels his beast and doesn't seem worried about it, sipping his drink and watching Ahi to see the answer.

Keith walks out of the bathroom in a towl, seeming Keith ran off for a shower before all this started. He looks around the cottage confused, "What's going on brothers?" He looks between Dylan and Ahi, seeming to try to sense anything he can. His energy circles the others looking to gauge them.

Ahikam slowly rises, though he held himself low in submission still, eyes down, not glancing at John at his outburst, "he said i had things to learn, beyond that he barely said two words to me… if you don't want to be responsible for me, i will understand," his body held still and quiet, even his beast was still, "i thought Forest had talked to you already, but if not, i'm in no hurry."

Keith looks upon Ahi raising an eyebrow curiously. "He didn't talk to me… yet anyways." He looks around stunned it seems as he stand in just his towel. His expression seems to scream 'Does anyone want to fill me in?!'

Johnothan cocks his head, listening and watching the happenings, one eyebrow raising "voicemail? And what makes you think forest is pissed at you?" he asks, looking at ahi, feeling and tasting the mans withdrawl, causing his calm slowly crackle and break away.

Dylan gives Keith a faint shrug and looks back to Ahikam. "Alright, first thing. Stop groveling like a bitch. You have have a backbone and still show respect. Second, I absolutely /don't/ want responsibility for you. But that's not my choice to make. when the Nimir-Raj speaks, he's spoken law. Which means that what I want or what you want don't come into it. I guess I'm going to have to see if there's anything salvageable in there or if you're better off feeding the pard." He looks at Johnothan and says, "Just a message that Ahikam was now in my charge. And thus my problem. Which also means that his screw-ups are mine, in the eyes of the Raj. So I either shape him up or we both might end up dead."

Jin watches this then rolls to his feet now "Even submissive leopards are still people and better then feeding the pard. If I hear one more person talk like that around here I will put them in traction. We are a family not a fucking militant wolf pack." he shakes his head wandering to the door now to look for Aura.

Keith looks upon John and then Dylan. Keith listens, not opening his mouth. He then tilts his head interested and then looks at Ahi. "Wow, Ahi you really need to assist us. We know you mean well, but please don't press your luck with our Raj. He's a nice man, but not that nice when he needs things done." Keith then looks at Jin with a grin, "Yes, Jin you are certainly right." He sniffs around grabbing up some clothes he's laid about. He dresses quickly while he listens.

Dylan shrugs at Jin. "You may in a family. I'm in a pard. And I will do as my Raj tells me. If you don't like it, I suggest you explain to /him/ why you need to interfere in the task he gave me. Or 'put him in traction' and take over yourself, if you're strong enough." He looks back to Keith and says, as though Akiham isn't standing there, "From what little I've seen, I like him. I hope he doesn't pick suicide by defiance. But if he does, he does."

Jin shifts and looks to Dylan "If you kill a member of the Pard I am fairly sure that Forest will put you into Traction himself. I'll be talking to Forest though soon." he shakes his head and then steps outside.

Ahikam looks down, and sighs at Dylan's words, drawing back, "whats the point? thats what i am Dylan, i was only pretending to be other then the low leopard, and hes put me back in my place, i don't care what you do with me, but i will do my best not to get you in trouble, i entered this pard as Omega, if thats how i shall continue to serve, so be it, even the omega has a role in the pard."

Keith looks at Dylan slowly his energy goes from curious rounds to running back to him. It's clear something in Dylan's explaination hit a cord. Tears begin to well up in his eyes. "Yeah.. me… me too!" His voice his hinting with sorrow, though it's clear Keith trying to be strong. He looks down, seeming to attempt to get a grip on himself. "I guess this is what we need. Though why does it hurt?!" His gaze then looks a bit annoyed as he walks over to Ahi. He grips the other man's shoulders looking into his eyes. "Damn it Ahi, I know you can be great. You are not Omega material, you're better than that." He shakes the man with each word. "I won't let you give up!"

Johnothan looks at Dylan quietly for a few moments, eyes turning flat. "I would have to agree. If you keep talking about 'feeding the pard' you're going to make a lot of enemies and wind up seriously pissing off the W-R-O-N-G individual. Besides, unless you want to start something new, the only arguments and disputes that end in that, are fights for the throne.." his warm eyes cooling, only to shift his attention to Ahikam. "Do not take this the wrong way E, but stop that. You were doing good at rebuilding yourself before Forest got this furrball stuck in his throat. I KNOW what you went through, I'm telling you that you are better than this." His attention returns to Dylan, moving towards the man; His energy pressing out against him. "Do you know anything about this ones life? Do you know anything about what he has gone through?" He asks, pointing towards Ahikam, teeth gritted and words coming out with an edge of a growl.

Dylan rolls his eyes at Ahikam and he says, "That's a crock of crap. If you're Omega, it's because you /choose/ to be. And if you choose to be weak, we don't need you. You'll be a danger to the 'family' you claim to care for. Either we're all strong or we're all meat. And being meat is just stupid for one of us. We're at the top of the food chain. Stop acting like some poor, little, abused child and use your balls for more than something for Crystal to tie ribbons around." He shrugs at Keith as though not particularly interested in the pain that comes with growing up and acting like what they are. Johnathon gets a cool look and Dylan replies, in a flat, almost dismissive voice, "Sure, kidnapped, tortured, raped, scarred, the whole nine yards. Now ask me if I care enough about his damage to risk my own life and the lives of others over it."

Ahikam now had the pard fighting over him, he looked for a moment like he might bolt before that placid calm slid over him, and he dropped to his knees again, "you know what i've been through john, Eddy is dead, i am Ahikam, i am a slave, a pet, a toy, an omega… i do not choose defiance, i chose to submit… my bluffs of strength did nothing, why pretend? and John, please… don't get yourself hurt over me… Crystal will need you if something happens to me… if you don't think i'm worth the effort Dylan, then tell Forest, i know he doesn't think i'm worth the effort," he was back at square one, he had been knocked on his ass by what had happened, and he had abandoned everything he had tried to become to return to the comfortable life of submission he had fought against.

Dylan gives Ahikam a rather disgusted look and then reaches down to grab him by the throat, lifting him up by it and straight arming the other shifter until his feet are off the ground. And that's an effort for a guy who's only 5'6" or so! He gives Ahikam a shake and says, "Are you prey then? Do you want to run ahead of the pard and feel our claws ripping into your flanks, bleeding you out? Have your neck snapped and your heart eaten? Where will that leave your mate then? If you want to protect her, be a man. Be a /leopard/. Learn what that means. And you'll find your true place among us."

Ahikam lets out a fearful squeak as Dylan came at him, his hands fluttering up a moment, before dropping uselessly as Dylan shook him, looking like nothing more then a scared child, his head rolling from side to side, struggling to find his voice, "if thats what this pard truely is at its heart, perhaps i'd be better off, i struggled, i left for a year to find out how to stand on my own, so i could return and not be the omega, i tried to find my strength, and what does it help? none of it helped, none of it let me protect my mate from anything, protection is meaningless, might is right, and i will never be strong no matter how hard i fight, as hard as you fight, should the pard turn against you, would you survive? would John survive? would anyone? all i can do is submit myself and hope that the pard does not decide i am tasty."

Keith looks alarmed at Dylan's actions. He reaches out himself, clearly in defense of his brother. He grabs Dylan and growls out, "Let Ahi down, -NOW-!" Seems Keith's temper is rising. "You submitted in every manner. So unless you want my up your ass, I suggest you leave the weak alone!"

Dylan looks to Keith, not dropping Ahikam and arches an eyebrow. "This leopard was given to /me/ to train by the Nimir-Raj. How I do that is between me and Forest. If you disapprove, you can take it up with him. And if you think you're man enough to stick /anything/ anywhere I don't want it, you can certainly try. Just don't count on getting anything back that your human toy might find valuable." He walks Ahikam to the door, still holding him aloft, opens it and tosses the other shifter out in the snow. "Shift. Go hunt. Bring back food for the pard. Maybe spending some time with your beast will remind you that you /aren't/ human and weak now. Just weak by choice."

Keith looks completely pissed at Dylan's words. "He might be put under your charge, but motivating him by violence is -not- the answer." He then balls up his free hand, clearly ready to go off on the new comer. "As for telling me how I may address you, unless you're above me on this group ladder, I suggest -you- keep your mouth shut!" He then steps a few steps back before crouching in a martial arts ready pose.

Dylan looks back to Keith after tossing Ahikam out into the cold and his eyebrows both lift sardonically. "You don't know where you are, brother? Can't tell? Not so sure? Because I certainly don't see you as being more powerful than me. But if you want to challenge, I suggest we take it outside. Zack said yesterday that he doesn't want his house disrupted by them. As for what methods I use to train that worthless sack of self-pity, that, again, is between me and the Raj. Even if you defeat me (and in an infinite universe anything is possible, if unlikely), you'll have to beat Forest to change that."

Johnothan returns from the spatial shift, blinking and shaking his head..Seeing ahi tossed out of the front by Dylan's grip around his neck and told to shift, hunt for the pard, his own energy roiling under the surface, his eyes already shifted to the chartruce of his beast.

Keith looks at Dylan seeming quite pissed, still in his crouched pose ready to pounce. "You know you're a real dick! At least I teach my students with respect and dignity. You seem quite horrid at understand how to motivate people, though you're right. I don't want to mess up the house. Though trust me, when I -do- challenge you, it will be for the Raj to watch… PERSONALLY!" He growls out the last word. "As for Forest putting anyone under your charge, I'll make sure he knows your abuse of power." Keith brushes his front before looks around the room.

Dylan shakes his head at Keith and snorts. "You do that. And then maybe we can sit around and braid each other's hair and talk about boys. Oh wait, we're fucking /monsters/ not Girl Scouts! I forget around here sometimes." He looks back at Johnothan and just gives him a blank look, neither hostile nor afraid. More like he's waiting to see if anything comes from it.

Forest enters the cottage from outside, having walked by Ahikam after being thrown out the door. His mannerisms are calm and not at all frazzled by what he saw, his beast content in the moment. He hears Keith's words and turns to look at him, "You have something to say to me Keith?"

Keith looks at Dylan as his eyes quickly take on a burning beast passion. "Take that back you fucking scum-bucket!" His growl rumbles with pure anger. He then looks over as Forest enters. "Forest… I…" He barely can speak through his anger. "I find Dylan's abuse of his charge unprofessional and completely out of place!" He stomp a foot of the floor punctuating his anger. "I don't think he's any help slapping around Ahi. He was submitting as much as a leopard should to another…"

Forest looks from Keith to Johnothan to Dylan then back, his gaze heavy with his beast yet his demeanor calm, his presence very easily felt by those within the room. "Are you challenging Dylan's position to train Ahikam, Keith? Are you challenging my decision to put him in charge of Ahikam? Because the way I see it, this pard is weak, I've tried being loving and caring. But it's been against my beast, I've been denying it, supressing it, and look at where it's gotten us." He shakes his head, eyes glowing golden with his beast yet he keeps it in control. "It's time that I start taking control and doing what I should have all along. You may not agree with it Keith, but it's my decision and it's been made."

Dylan gives Keith an amused glance. "Which? The insult to monsters or the one to Girl Scouts?" He actually snorts with laughter when the other man stomps his foot and adds to Forest, "He was submitting /more/ than a leopard should to another. That's the point, Keith. He's all human and no beast. And that's /his own/ fault. And when it breaks free, it will be just as inhuman as he is human. If he can't even recognize and channel his own anger and instincts, he's going to get himself killed. And maybe take some of us with him. If he can't man up, he's too broken to live."

Keith looks at Forest, slowly submitting to her presence. "I challenge Dylan for the position to train Ahi, yes. Though your decision is quite final in my eyes. If anything, I would raise concern and submit." He clears his throat. "Though I'd also like to point out that -I- am an instructor for a reason also…" He then looks back at Dylan with resentment. "I'm talking about how you hint I am not a good leopard with a mate that is human and male!" He just looks insulted seeming to not know what to say now.

Forest nods once when Keith speaks, "If you're challenging Dylan, then take it outside." He raises his arm and points to the open door.

Cale enters the the cabin with a soft furrow to his brow. The elements of eventfulness lingering on the edge of perception and thus provoking his quiet curiosity. But as he enters, he keeps an observant silence, his eyes flicking between individuals as he pauses just inside. A lifts to the door, but as Forest points towards it he pauses and hold sit open. Allowing time for him to take in the room before he commits to a path. Beyond that, his mood seems much improved over the last few weeks, tangible in expression and energy, even though his is kept close. As ever.

Dylan gives Keith another amused look and shakes his head. "Now ask the Nimir Raj if beating me means you'll get to go back to holding Ahi's … hand when he takes a piss. That's a separate issue than you and I hashing out who's on top." He nods to Cale as he starts for the door, seemingly less angry than completely baffled at how strange these leopards are in this pard.

Keith looks at Dylan and then to the door. "Shall we…" He tilts his head, clearly ready to fight for his teaching position. "After you, -DYLAN-." He then looks at Forest as he asks, "How I instruct the members has never been under question. Is it now?" He follows Dylan outside. He stops to look upon Jeremy, "Yes, the whole Pard should help. Though instructing was charge to me, unless I am mistaken…"

Jeremy has been sleeping in the other room. He'd done it alone since last night. And for the most part he's been kinda listening when he hadn't slipped outside for check the tires on some of the trees. Finally, Jeremy peeks his head in and looks at everyone. He's trembling, probably not enjoying the emotional turmoil that's been going on. His beast is risen rather high, but he's reigning it under the threat of shifting. He nods to Forest, though that's as close to a greeting as the young man is going give for the moment. "YER ALL FULL OF YER OWN SHIT YA STINK!" Taking a deep breath he says a little more calmly. "IF yer SO fuckin concerned about Ahi, then HELP! Cause from what I can fuckin see, they need the ENTIRE pard's help in becoming something more than stuffed teddybears or fuckin fur rugs for people ta walk on. He needs Dylan as much as he needs you Keith. He needs Me, he needs forest. And so does crystal. This fuckin pard isn't a fuckin free for all. ITS A FAMILY! There's the parents, the big brother or sister, the little brother and sisters. WE SUPPORT each other. We chastise each other. Our weaknesses become apparent and our family helps make them our strengths or helps cover those weaknesses with their own strengths. But we can't survive singly. We need pain as much as love to grow. A child learns the stove hurts by being burned. NOt just by mom saying don't that hurts."

Dylan looks back at Jeremy, somewhat surprised. That's more words than the other shifter has spoken, in aggregate, since they've been rooming together. He nods, finding some of it applicable and other parts … not. "No. We aren't a family. Right now we're a mutual support group for emotionally crippled shifters. And eventually, we're food for the stronger pack that moves in on us. We can have the /luxury/ of being a family after everybody is healthy enough to contribute." He heads out into the snow with Keith.

Forest turns to listen to Jeremy, a somewhat amused look glinting in his eyes though it's quite brief. He then turns to head out the door, "There's a lot of things that need changing around here, not everything can be loving, nuzzling, and otherwise encouraging the type of behavior that has been going on." With that he moves outside.

Cale glances towards Jeremy when he comes out swinging, so to speak and though it seems a touch surprised, he also nods slightly, his expression thoughtful. Dylan does get a return nod, with Cale moving away from the door a few steps. "You two really can't talk this out? What does fighting prowess have to do with who teaches better?" He shakes his head, considering Dylan and Keith.

Ahikam sighs miserably as tears slid down his cheeks, "i don't know if i can be… it just feels like i was putting on the biggest charade… and i pulled you down with me when it shattered," trying to pull himself together and slowly sit up.

Keith walks out of the house seeming quite mad and agitated. He then turns to looks upon Dylan with an intense expression. He begins circling the newer member, "Alright, lets shut your both and bring it!" He motions toward himself in challenge.

Jeremy glares at Dylan and Keith, stepping between them. "This isn't a classroom Keith. As much as you might want it ta be. I've been around different shifter groups. And Keith, you can teach them all you want. When they aren't learning from their mentors. Look at me, Both of you. Ya BOTH want them to be the best shifters they can possibly fuckin be. Ya BOTH don't like what the other's way of thinkin and doin things. But guess the fuck what? YER BOTH wantin the same fuckin things. Ya just both have different ways of doin things. SO okay….Dylan, AHi is YER fuckin student. You train him the way you want ta train him. But I bet as sure as I breathe ya don't plan on LIVIN on Ahi's back and bein there every fuckin second." He looks at Keith. "You…you wanna be a teacher? FINE. If Dylan ain't here? You step yer ass up and start on that boy with all yer wiles and love and whatever fuckin thing you need to get through ta his head. Cause if you don't want Dylan beatin his way inta AHi's head ta get the desired result, then you use what you want to try and get the same results. They need ta strengthen. We don't want little keiths and Dylans runnin around. We want them to be themselves. But we want them ta stand up straight and be PARD!

Crystal held and clung to Ahi nuzzling as the tears rolled down her cheek "I love you…I depend on you, you know that…you've always been there for me…just as I've always been there for you-"looking at the on coming trouble and tugging Ahi away whispering something to him

Cale steps out of the cottage after the three, a concerned look lingering on his face. He doesn't move too far past the door for now. Keeping himself outside of the conflict area. Though he does keep a close watch on matters, his eyes flicking, head turning. A bit like when one watches a tennis match.
"
Ahikam blinks as Jeremy, Dylan, and Keith start piling out, a look of panic sliding across his face, he was supposed to be out hunting, even as his cellphone in his pocket starts to room, looking around at that, and at the fight, and at Crystal, shaking his head, "i'm supposed to be hunting," even as he starts to strip, just letting the phone ring, "i'm sorry Crystal, i have to go or i'm next on the list."

Dylan laughs and shrugs at Keith, his own power and attitude alert but not angry. He glances aside to Jeremy. "If I have to live with him to get him to straighten up and act like a man, then I will. If I have to drive both of us to distraction, I will. And if I can't make it work, I'll ask Forest for permission to end him myself. Because /I'll/ be the one who failed and I should be the one to live with it. As for the fight between Keith and me, that's about position and dominance. It would have come no matter what. Now scoot on out of the way so you don't catch a stray hit." With that, he advances on Keith, suddenly moving inhumanly quickly, unleashing a flurry of blows.

Keith looks at Jeremy seeming still quite pissed. "Yeah, yeah. It all makes perfect sense Jer, but until I know he's above me or below me. I think my way of teaching is going to be -THE- way of teaching I take." He then looks pissed once again, "Killing someone is -not- the answer!" He then jumps to action himself, attempting to defend himself and look for an opening.

Crystal nuzzles Ahi and kisses him one last time before nodding and letting him up to collect his clothes and scurry to pocket them under the van before answering Ahi's cell for him as she scurries to her work on the statue.

Ahikam watches the two men starting to fight, over him or not he knew he was a cause of it… stripping quickly, but this far from the moon it was difficult to shift, even as stressed out as he was, his mask of calm was gone, and he rose, leaving his mate with a sagging heart, dropping down to all fours as he tried to get his scared beast up

Moving in at speed, Dylan throws a series of punches with the speed and strength of a shifter behind them. Four blows attempted in the blink of an eye, all aimed for the center of Keith's body in a series of attacks designed to be punishing and debilitating, hoping to hamper the other leopard's mobility. His expression is still calm, though his beast is surging now, like a great cat throwing itself against the bars of a cage, trying to swipe at something on the other side.

Ahikam took several tries to get his beast up, though it was difficult as it was so far from the moon, and his beast was low to begin with, but finally a few hundred yards off, he collapsed as he brought his beast out, bones snapping as he growled and whimpered, skin melting away as fur pushed its way out, and soon he was finally in his black leopard form laying among the snow for a moment, before he slid off into the forest to hunt.

Keith has Dylan attempting his attack, as Keith takes on a defensive tactic. Keith avoids Dylans first attempt with ease dodging out without effort. Though it might have also been that Dylan's aim was a bit off. He then attempts to block the next attempt though it slips in hitting, but softer than the other leopard might have liked it to hit. The next attack hits with the same glancing motion before Keith parries away the last. "Damn, you're fast. But seems not fast enough!"

Dylan begins to loosen up and get into the rhythm of the fight. He's aggressive, throwing another set of quick body punches then a low, nasty kick towards the knee and finishing it up with a tight, fast uppercut. He's smiling now, faintly, obviously enjoying the contest as serious as it is and his power seems focused, if a bit agitated. Apparently in this, at least, he was trained to keep his self-control well.

Keith see Dylan's advances and attempt to block what he can see. He seems to block off some punches and seems to miss the kicking block, grunting before getting a clear uppercut to the face. "Damn it!" He then steps a few steps back, getting ready to bum rush himself next time.
[
Crystal is keeping her back to the fight trying to ignore her surroundings as she chisels and chips away at a marble statue try to zone everything else out.

Auranna comes out of the cabin having cleaned up a bit and just scowls at Dylan muttering to herself about not having waited and then does turn to watch a little, eyes watching the fight.

Dylan grins wider as his blows start to have an apparent effect. A right hook, a left cross, a jab and knee strike towards the hip. His style is obviously synthetic and syncretic, combining moves in a way that suggests he was probably taught by somebody who had some flavor of military hand to hand training, rather than anything formal. He winces as he takes those shots in return, but sometimes you do have to bleed to win. And he /really/ wants to win.

Keith seems to get hit by Dulan's right hook punch before dodging out of Dylan's left cross mistake on the second. Though it seems futile as the jab hit does connect with a "oof!" coming from Keith's mouth. Luckly, Keith avoids the fourth attack, being it's an attempted knee strike by Dylan's own mistake. Keith's eyes begin to glow a bright green, showing his beast. He throws out some formalized punches and kicks, alternating between all four of his limbs. Seem his training was formal martial arts!

Dylan's grin fades away as the two trade a series of exploratory punches and kicks, with Dylan attempting another pair of body punches, an elbow to the solar plexus and then another kick. He seems intent and focused, recognizing that perhaps he has a more serious challenge on his hands than he thought. He may not like Keith's style of dealing with weaker pard members but he can't fault the man's ability to hold his own, at least against Dylan.

Keith seems to be quite well at avoiding everything, but the hit to the solar plexus! He grown in pain, though throws out a series of punches toward Dylan's mid-section landing only his first. Clearly his beasts energy is rabid with rage, though they seem to be an even match. Seems Dylan might be Keith's near equal. Though Keith's not giving up until needed.
Ahikam comes padding out of the forest, dragging a deer by the neck, he was a good hunter now atleast, but he hadn't taken his fairly traditional blood bath, barely a mark on the fallen doe's body, her back and neck broken, taken down clean and fast… he looks at the two brawling, and pads nearby, but not too close, dropping the kill, spoils for the victors, and turns to pad towards Crystal, head low as he flops down to a lay nearby to watch her work.

Ahikam looks to Auranna as she wanders over, letting out a sad mrwl to her, rising after a minute and slipping closer to nuzz into her side lightly, before flopping down on the ground again, the deer laying near the two combatants, spoils for the victor, or whoever else wanted them.

Dylan finally succumbs to the same same sort of frenzied flurry of attacks that Keith seemed to falling into and the two trade blows for quite some time, brutal and painful hits at the cost of any thought of defense, seemingly even matched until Dylan's feet fly out from under him as he hits a patch of near frictionless ice as they circle. With a surprised yelp and a short (if instructional) lesson about gravity and momentum, he tumbles back and is laid out unconscious by a rock outcropping. Whether said bit of yard art is now dominant to him is a matter for the Nimir Raj to decide.

Crystal had workd up a sweat chiseling away at the statue getting it smooth in places and adding rough details, tears running down her cheeks. She put her chisel in a pocket and reached to wiggle her fingers before putting down her hammer as well and turning to Ahi with outstretched arms.

Auranna snorts a bit at Dylan and then shakes her head a bit. She looks at Ahi and for a moment, she almost pulls away, but she doesn't. She opens the shell she was starting to form around herself and leans down to run her fingers against his cheek, and then stands again. She watches Keith for a moment and shakes her head refraining from adding something.

Cale is a silent observer of the fight, still and quiet. Displeased with it, yet it is what must be. His eyes flick and follow the trade of blows in rapid darts and within, the energy inside of him warms. But this far from the moon, he keeps it under a firm hand. Tightly controlled. As the fight ends, he breathes out lowly and steps towards Dylan. "Let's get him inside," he says, moving up to crouch and gather Dylan up.

Jeremy disappeared at some point during the fight. The scents take him into the cottage.

Ahikam glances a moment to the end of the fight, not seeming too happy, or too sad with the result, he expected Dylan would take it out on him in some way later, his attention turns back to Crystal as she puts stuff down, slowly rising, leaning a little against Aura, before he started to pad toward Crystal, his tail wrapping around Aura's leg, a little tug, but then hes pressing into Crystal'a body, laying down there against her.

Crystal wrapped her stone dust and chip covered arms around Ahikam and pulled him close to her into her lap to hold and cuddle and nuzzle, just to be with him while she was allowed. Kissing and nibbling on his ears.

Auranna shakes her head, "I owe him a butt kicking later." she mutters a little and then does follows Ahi over to Crystal and looks at her for a moment, "Hi, Crystal." she says softly.

Cale steps in carrying the knocked out Dylan. He's not much with first aid, but he's not too concerned. He'll take him over to the couch and settle him down there, then go into the kitchen. Wetting a cloth, which he brings out to lay over the man's forehead. He has a general air of displeasure about him as he goes about the task. Though after that he's content to let Dylan's body bring him back, divesting himself of jacker and bag, laptop drawn out, which he begins to work on in the meantime.

Jeremy is no where to be seen. Well…unless you go looking for him and sniff him out. He's apparently under the bed with all the pillows and blankets.
Dylan blinks a few moments later and puts a hand to his head, though of course he's mostly healed at this point. "What the heck did he hit me with? I never even saw it coming." His eyes focus and he winces faintly and starts to sit up, fighting off a momentary wave of nausea. Whatever doesn't kill him heals. Usually quickly.

"He knocked your feet out from under you and you hit your head on a rock," Cale supplies. He pauses his typing to glance over, considering Dylan. "Was that the end of this or will you need a referee next time?" He arches a brow. Still, he seems quite displeased with the whole thing.

Jeremy is still hiding.

Dylan shrugs, winces at having done so and says, "It's not settled between us. And it has /nothing/ to do with the job the Nimir-Raj gave me." He sighs faintly and says, "Why is it so hard for people to accept the idea that we're not human and not so …passive and weak… here? And why is it a bad thing to seek your proper place and expect others to do the same?"

Cale considers that as he turns his attention back to his laptop. "Not all of us are as aggressive as others. Though I get your meaning. Me? I don't have a great urge to forge a place. I suppose I still think more like a human. Or maybe I just don't want to be on the inside enough for my place to matter all that much." His shoulders roll. "Though I can't speak for others, only myself."

Dylan grunts at that and says, "Well, we're not human any more. And I can't pretend my beast doesn't exist. And damn it, if this is my pard now, it's my job to help make it strong and healthy." He leans back against the couch. "Admittedly, you're better fighters than you look like, as a group."

Cale smirks faintly at that. "You'd be surprised. Though I think you and I are probably equally matched.. roughly. I took courses in self defense for the discipline. The training itself was a perk." He glances towards Dylan. "As floofy and ridiculous as some of the folk are here, they're strong enough. The problem is organization and communication. THough it seems some of that has fallen away as well.. hopefully it'll stick and get better. Personally, I think you and Keith should combine forces rather than being at odds. What is it you're fighting over again? Besides dominance."

Johnothan returns from his walk out in the woods, coming in the back way; Stopping to grab a drink before walking in on the last question, his eyes widening slightly at Dylan's 'predicament' though a faint smile touches his lips before disappearing. "You're wrong. We're not 'just' human. We're something considerably more than human. But Cale is right, regardless of whether you are Lycan or human, who deep-etched it into hardened plate steel that you *have* to be a violent, agressive animal? Yes, we're predators, yes we can be violent. But we ARE also human. Yes, most any group is, it's to be expected. The stronger help where the weaker can't. Crystal is an Art major, she's not a combatant. It isn't in her nature to fight. So what? She is better at other things than someone else. A few days ago she was approached by another group who commissioned an important work for them. And now? Now she's confined to this piece of property like a newborn shifter, confined to a "Shifter house" From what I've been told of the conversation she was given, with prettymuch the exact same consequences!"

Dylan shrugs and says, "Ahikam. The Raj wants me to train him. Keith wants him to be babied. I disagree." He waves Johnothan's words away. "She was confined, as I understand it, because she can't control her shifting. In public. With the bloodlust and the hunger that comes with the beast, she could kill somebody. Or get killed by the cops. And bring them all looking for us. It's not a damned kiddie pool or a great big cat sanctuary. We need to be /careful/ and smart. If Crystal can't be that. Or Ahi, then they need to be dealt with accordingly."

Cale furrows his brow slightly at Johnothan. "It isn't in my nature to fight either, but the point is that everyone should contribute something to the whole. I have technical skills that I'm trying to leverage. Those two need to find a place. Almost every time I've come here, they're doing all of nothing. In the sense of nothing productive. If Keith was in charge of training them, he's done a poor job so far. If they don't know how to do anything, they need to decide what they want to do and learn it." He glances towards Dylan and grins faintly. "Good luck with that one. I don't envy you the task and I wouldn't fight you for it."

Dylan sighs and nods. "We can agree on that at least. It's not a job I wanted. But it's one I'll do to the best of my ability until the Raj tells me otherwise." A faint frown, "I just wish I knew why he gave /me/ this task. Some kind of test, I guess."

Johnothan takes a drink of his soda, sighing after swallowing, looking at Cale "Perhaps so, yes. But if things would actually settle down before 'the next big clusterfuck' befalls, they just might. I've talked with them off and on. Considering a number of things that each one has been through, both recently and since becoming a shifter, I'm not suprised they're as broken as they are. From what I hear, crystal hasnt had what you'd call a completely stable group ever. Everytime things seem to settle down, and she starts to think that Pard is safe, pard is protection, pard is family and good…*something* happens to have it shattered, wiping out what little confidence she had built up in the notion of your group being your safty, your sanctuary. That happening to you often enough and you begin to loose the idea of hope. Then on top of that, Talen being killed, then lets talk about her being kidnapped, held for ays by the same group who has been taking shifters…who later wind up dead..If they show up at all? Abused, drugged to the point that her beast was nonexistant. Being told that they could do this for weeks, for months, possibly FOREVER? YOU have your other half stripped away from you untill it's barely a whisper on the wind to you, reducing you to little more than a new kid in a school full of bullies. See what it does to *YOUR* psyche! How long could you..either of you hold out from something like that???"

Dylan gives Johnothan a frankly unconcerned look. "I. Don't. Care. At all. Her damage is her damage. I'm not obligated to give a shit. We've all had bad things happen. Sometimes a lot of bad things. And it's no excuse to be a child or a pretty, pretty princess in defiance of all of your instincts and thousands of years of tradition." He pauses and says, "I know that's heartless, but that's where I am. I have no reason to care. And I don't. Except that she's making things harder for the rest of us."

"That just proves the point that someone should have taken them both firmly in hand," Cale tells Johnothan. "Considering how much you know of this, you would have been a candidate to work with her. But no one has. Instead, they're left to wander around here, remaining children. I'm not interested in comparing hurts, the same as I wasn't when she tossed them in my face out of the blue. The point isn't who is hurting the most, but what people are doing about it. I've got my tasks, that will hopefully do a lot for all shifters, not just us." He glances towards Dylan then and says, "You're new. Fresh. Perhaps he thinks someone impartial and not invested in emotion will do the job better."

Dylan stands, a bit surprised that he's not too dizzy to move. He shrugs and says, "Maybe it's a sign of trust. Maybe he's ticked about the window. Either way, I could have done without the 'honor'." He smirks a bit and then heads for the door. "I need to get a few things from place."

Johnothan shakes his head, teeth grinding slowly for a moment before he looks at Cale, speaking slowly for a moment as his tone returns to somewhat resembling normal. "Perhaps so, but dealing with situations this delicate takes more time than a few weeks. You're acting like a few sit downs and therapy sessions can erase months and years of underlying difficulties, and make everything as if it never happend. That isn't the case." he says slowly, a trickle of a growl in his throat. "No, it seems as if everyone is wanting some miraculous 'let me talk to you…ok its all settled, you're healed and strong. Now you can move forward' cure. Sorry, things don't work that way. And the more traumatic an event is, especially if it gets piled onto another and another in succession, it makes it more difficult to heal." his tone begins to shift, taking on a deeper, yet obviously held in rage. "Now, excuse me, I need some more air before I do something to ruin Sacks Furniture, and either have a body or a corpse lying around." with that, he heads to the front door, his right hand resting at the small of his back, clenching into a fist just above the outline of the holster

(Back outside)

Ahikam looks up at Aura and mrowls… he didn't want to be a leopard right then… he wanted to be a human, his voice was important to him, and he didn't have it right then… he slowly, gently detangled himself from Crystal, moving off of her, but not far, bones as flesh starting to snap as goo rolled off of him, fur melting away as he returned into his human shape, collapsing down face first into the gooed snow, falling unconcious, no food and shifting so soon…

Johnothan comes through the front door, closing it firmly..nearly slamming it; His eyes a glowing chartruce instead of their normal color. He stands on the porch, chest rising and falling in rapid succession, his right hand hidden behind his back, moving off to the side away from the door, heading away from the group gathered.

Cale exists the cottage not more than a few moments after Johnothan. He glances over towards where he's going, noting, "You can assume all you want about what I think, but if you want to know what I really expect come talk to me when you've calmed down." That said, he walks towards his car. Though as he notices Ahikam, he pauses and frowns, starting towards him and the others, one might assume.

Crystal reluctantly let Ahi go but soon as he was done shifting she rushed to him with a gasp, taking him into her arms and meticulously cleaning the goo off with her hands and washing her hands in the snow "Aura…knife…deer over here…need blood for him…" then gives Cale a glare, this was her mate and she'd take care of him. "We don't need your help" she says to him. pulling Ahi into her arms then.

Auranna nods and pulls the deer over, her own blood forgotten and the nail marks in her hands healed. She shakes her head, "And keep him warm." she says softly, her other thoughts forgotten for the moment.

Ahikam was nude then in the snow, though soon in Crystal's arms, a strange peace over him as he laid in her arms, virtually in a coma from shifting back only a few hours after he had shifted into animal form, especially with no food, limp in his mate's arms.

Johnothan turns and levels a look at Cale "That depends, how long of a timeframe you want me to calm down in." he says, his words hot, then hearing crystals response and looks at her. "He didn't mean you Crystal, he was speaking to me." energy prickling as he works on getting himself under control…Taking in slow breaths and releasing them until his hand draws back from behind his back, a strange impression on the inside of his hand for those sharp eyed enough to note it before it disappears; The young man's eyes moving to Ahi, blinking "What is he doing shifting back so soon??! He shouldn't try that for several more hours!" his voice comes out a little harsh, but restrained, as if he were trying to get control of himself and draw his anger and his energy back into him.

"Relax," Cale says to Crystal hands lifting lightly. He pauses without encroaching too close, simply observing for now. "He's all yours. Best to get him in there." He glances towards the cottage. "Just wanted to say that a lot of mistakes have been made. Plenty of my own. We should probably talk eventually, but now isn't really a good time, obviously. Some time." He looks at Johnothan. "You think I expect instant results. I don't. Everything takes its own time. But taking the time isn't the same as doing nothing, that's what I was talking about. If someone has been doing something, enlighten me. Otherwise, get off my case."

Auranna looks at Johnothan, "Probably trying to prove a point." she says and then shakes her head, "lets get him inside, get him some blood, and food as soon as he wakes." she says softly. She still intends on talking to Forest as soon as she can, though she isn't going to voice it now.

Johnothan blinks for a moment or two, still obviously swallowing down whatever had crawled up his throat, those feline eyes fading back with each deep breath in, only to be held for a moment before exhaling slowlythrough his mouth. Giving Cale a nod. "Alright….And yes, I was trying to work with them, but like anything..It takes time. More time that anyone has given them to absorb, digest and come to terms with recent events. Now, a new 'fiasco' arises, one thats quite obviously set things back..And looking at Ahi..sighs "Doing more damage than fixing things. Leave him Crys, I'll get him" he says slowly, bottling the rest of his energy and welding the cap down over it.

Crystal she curled around ahi protectively and scooted away from cale before reaching a hand out to grab the antler of the buck and drag it over "Was making progress…everything gone now…" she turns from Cale not one to hide her emotions there were always right on the surface for everyone to read. She was lost, afraid, and betrayed, hurt and sorrow filled her now. She stabbed the neck of the buck with her chisel until a fountain spurted from it. For a moment she looked green before she bent to take a moutful of the blood and Kiss her mate, letting just a small bit of it into his mouth as she cradled him possessively trying to get his unconscious body to recognize her and except what she was offering.

"Sounds to me like we could all do with a long sit down and hash out to get people on the same wavelength," Cale comments generally. "Considering how hard it is to get a sense of what's going on." He turns then, walking towards his car. "Might suggest that to Forest." He's content to leave the young one in their hands. Too many cooks has already been passed as it is.

Auranna looks at Cale and nods, "I plan on talking to Forest." she says and looks at John and then to Crystal and Ahi, "Give him some and then lets get him inside."

Ahikam was fairly limp as he laid in his mate's arms, the doe hadn't been bled, its blood still warm, Ahikam's lips parted, accepting the blood, his throat working as he swallowed, some badly needed sustenance, he had not eaten since those steaks he had prepared nights earlier in his own home.

Crystal continued to feed her mate as she took her wintercoat wehere she'd tossed to off and dragged it to drape over him. the blood flowing from the deer slowing as she fed him and sucked more blood out, mouthful by mouthful. She didn't take any for herself her focus was on Ahi right now, nothing else mattered.

Ahikam drank, slowly but steadily, though he was not going to wake up, a little blood dribbling from the corners of his mouth, his body still, handling the cold well with her that close, but he did after a while start to shiver tiny bit, even with the coat… weak as he was, he would not die from this, he only needed time.

Johnothan gives a shake, banishing the remainder of whatever was bothering him and jumps from the porch to make his way over towards crystal then kneels down beside ahi, slowly scooping him up in his arms, giving a look to crystal and smiles "he'll be alright crystal." he says, walking towards the cottage with ahi.

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