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Change is near

Change is near

Life or death? Fight to save your people? Fight to save humanity? Fight to advance science and warfare?

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Topics: , conspiracy, hunter, original, therianthropes, and were-creature (Add Tags »)
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Introduction

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This is a new story line from here. The premise is the same, but it's new characters going through their own stuff.

The world is not as it seems. Therianthropes, those with the ability to change from human to animal or to a creature that’s something in between, have been living among humans for as long anyone can remember. Most humans are completely oblivious to this and those that aren’t are viewed as crazy. There is a government agency that is aware of the therians and has been watching them for years, the department of paranormal research and defense, or DPRD for short. They would like to get their hands on them and dissect them or worse, create an army of were-creatures to send into battle to save human lives. There are also hunters out there that believe these creatures to be a threat to human kind and have taken it into their own hands to try to eliminate them.

If this weren't bad enough, the therians themselves don't get along well with those outside their own species. The territory lines are enforced by numerous patrols and the neutral zones, are the only safe places for those who are trying to protect the therian way of life from the humans who wish to to destroy it.



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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen "The old ways got us nowhere."
Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Outlaw Therian at large.
Character Portrait: Ozzy O'Hare Go ahead, say "What's up doc?" one more time.
Character Portrait: Preston Pendergast A very unfortunate hiker.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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The rain was coming down in sheets. It was a typical Nevada winter and this was usually the extent of how bad the weather got. Most of the time it was just cold here, but tonight it seemed like the sky had opened up and was letting all hell rain down.

Chance had just gotten off work at the bar. He was a bouncer for a seedy little strip club far from the major cities, but it still brought in just as much of the less than savory clientele. The club had been kind of slow tonight so they shut down a little early. As Chance walked to his car, the hair on the back of his neck stood up and he could feel that something wasn't right. He really didn't want to have to deal with this as well as the rain.

He heard foot steps splashing in the water coming toward him. He was in the back of the club and he knew it wasn't any of the dancers, he'd already walked all of them to their cars. He turned to see a man in a ski mask dressed in all black, someone with normal vision probably wouldn't be able to see him, but Chance's night vision made the night time as clear as day to him. Chance smiled a big creepy smile as he watched the guy walk up to him. The man pulled out a gun and pointed it at him.

"Gimme you're wallet and you won't get hurt." The guy ordered as his voice seemed to shake as much as his hand did.

Chance let out a chuckle that soon grew into a creepy high-pitched laugh as he maintained eye contact with the thug. He finally stopped laughing but kept the smile plastered across his face. He took a step closer to the thug.

"Is that really what you want to do, kid? I bet you've never even used that thing. Look how your hand is shaking. Am I your first? No, you don't want to do this, you're just a scared little punk. And you know what?" Chance paused a second looking down and shifting the features of his face from his normal face to the large gaping maw of a hyena filled with razor sharp teeth covered with drool.

The air was suddenly filled with the aroma of the accident the guy just made in his pants. The guy just ran off as Chance's laughing mocked him. Chance pulled out his keys and got into his car. He was already soaking wet and he shook his head like a dog, throwing water droplets everywhere from his ling black hair, before starting hit up and heading for home.

Chance lived in a small apartment on the outskirts of the city. He didn't worry too much about where he lived as long as he could afford it, as the whole state of Nevada was considered neutral territory. It wasn't because of any treaties or anything, it was because none of the tribes wanted to be associated with the state. He could smell something in the air that had the musky aroma of a wet dog. It wasn't himself, there was something else nearby and he wasn't thrilled about it. He was forced into the neutral territory after being kicked out of his tribe, but he was leery of any therian that was in this area willingly. He stopped in the lobby of the apartment building and checked his mail before walking up to the third floor where his apartment.

Chance plopped down on the couch before looking through his mail. There was a small card in the mail that caught his attention, it was from the department of wildlife and it was a warning to keep an eye out for large animals as there had been some attacks recently. It seemed odd that they weren't mentioning the type of animal that was doing the attacking and even weirder that they were warning about large animals when even the average human was smart enough to avoid big animals, also there weren't a lot of large animals in the desert. It seemed clear to Chance that there must be at least one other therian if not more. The scent outside the building seemed to make more sense now, it had probably picked up on his scent and was snooping around. He would have to be careful when he went outside, it could be anyone, even one of the people in his building. He tried to put it out of his mind for now and went to the kitchen. He pulled a steak out of the fridge and put it in a frying pan and seared it slightly on each side before putting it on a plate and devouring it.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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A cloud of dust was beginning to snake its way through the desert towards him. Thank God.

“Christ. I hope the hospital isn’t too far..”

The forlorn hiker thought to himself. He had lost a fair amount of blood and was severely dehydrated. Somehow as he was hiking along this road, advertised in his Nevada’s Best hikes book as an easily accessible trek, he had stepped on a bear trap. It was certain his ankle was broken as well. But now, at least he was saved. He wasn’t even sure that motor traffic was technically allowed on this trail but… oh well. It was so remote, technically being found alive by anything was a blessing.

The dust cloud drew nearer. The shape of the vehicle began to materialize through the heat waves. An old, brown pickup, accompanied with the obnoxious sound of a robust carbeurated V8 with no muffler. Even from this distance the suspension could be heard squeaking in protest as the vehicle careened towards him. The trapped tourist propped himself up onto his good leg, and began to wave frantically, using what was left of his parched voice to hail the driver. The truck slowed to a stop in front of him.

“Thank god! Oh thank god you found me!” he yelled to the truck.
The door flew open, and a gigantic figure slowly stepped out, one snakeskin boot at a time. Any emotion that was on his face was well hidden behind a scraggly blonde beard and mirrored aviator sunglasses. As the door slammed shut, he stood motionless, simply watching the hiker. He almost seemed amused.
Suddenly, a twinge of unease began to set back in over the hiker.

“Please dude… help me! At least take the chain off!” He grabbed at his leg, all the activity causing blood to once again ooze from the sides of the metal teeth. His voice grew frantic. “For the love of god, get me to a hospital!”
The man remain standing, callously observing. He reached up to the front pocket of his denim vest, taking a cigrarette out of the box. Reaching into his pants pocket he produced a lighter.

At the end of his rope, in a most literal sense, the hiker screamed in frustration.

“Fucker! Is any of this getting through your thick fucking skull? Do you even speak English?!”

A puff of white smoke encompassed the mans face before the desert winds carried it away. He suddenly started walking towards the hiker, still having not said a word. Tensing up instinctually, the hiker crouched down a bit with a small whimper, before noticing the man was pulling up the metal rod that had been padlocked to the end of the chain.

“Oh thank god, thank you so much! I owe you every-“

The hiker was abruptly interrupted as the end of the chain went taut and took his feet out from under him. He hit his head hard on the gravel road, trapped leg beginning to convulse in sharp pain. He screamed at the top of his lungs, temporarily paralyzed with pain. As he came back to, he realized he was being dragged, by the bear trap, to the back of the truck. “What are you DOING?!” He wailed, frantically trying to grab at the bear trap in his leg, as though that would help. His captor yielded no answer.

A meaty hand grabbed the back of his neck, and began to hoist him upwards. “No! no!” The hiker protested, but he had no say in the matter. The driver threw the man into the pickup bed. As he landed, his head hit the back of the cab. Groaning in pain, he attempted to right himself, and focus his vision. As he did, he came face to face with a man in a park rangers outfit. Half of the rangers face seemed to be gone however, gnawed off by some horrible being of nightmares. The hiker scrambled away from the man, as he heard the chain from his shackle being thrown into the bed with him. Looking back towards the driver, he remained silent and terrified.

The driver finally spoke. “Oh him? Don’t worry. Savin him for later.”

The hiker could only let out a small sound of confusion as the man walked around the truck bed towards him. “Before you go, I want you to remember this. My name is Zeb. And folks like you don’t wanna meet folks like me.” He grinned, even visible through his atrocious facial hair. “Nice meetin ya.” Three swift punches in the face sent the hiker under, slumped up in a heap next to the Park Ranger.

Zeb began to hum a tune to himself as he reached in the cab, grabbing the duct tape he had for live captures. They were always more fun to keep alive for a little while, but they were all made into jerky eventually. Too bad the park ranger was a bit of an impulse, the ranger having startled him as he ran wild. Now he had a lot more meat to treat than he had anticipated. And that, of course, would mean more salt. Guess we would have to go to town for a short while. He hastily duct taped the mans mouth shut, and covered both of them with a tarp, weighted with cinder blocks. Slamming the tailgate, he walked back around and stepped in. The truck started with an ominous belch of black, foul smelling smoke. The nearest town lay north by northeast of here. He turned the truck around and headed back that way.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Gabriel removed his shirt and rolled the stiffness out of his shoulders. Scars striated across his arms, back and chest in pale jagged lines. It had been another long day, but he welcomed the sound of rain outside. The pitter patter against his kitchen window, was enough to put his mind at ease. He ran his slender fingers through his hair and rummaged through the fridge for something to eat. After a long day, he just wanted something simple to eat. He gathered the ingredients and made himself a ham and cheese sandwich. He wasn't a complex person underneath it all, but he was getting irritated at his bachelor-esque life-style. The rain continued to pour down in sheets, which created a heavy mood. As a lone werewolf, he knew better than to introduce others into his world. Co-workers attempted to mingle with him and get to know him on a personal basis, but he dodged every attempt at a prying question in regards to his home life. There was no sense in dwelling on the social life that could have been, since he drowned himself in work every evening.

As if to interrupt his current mood, he heard the voice of a man cut through his radio. It was chopped up, but the urgency in the tone was clear.

"Male-missing- early..." That's when the cop's voice completely cut off into nothingness. Gabriel shrugged his shoulders and continued to enjoy his meager meal. It was pointless to get back into gear and hunt for a phantom of a missing person. He needed more information to go on and he was exhausted from patrolling the grounds all evening. The only thing out of the ordinary, had been a similar scent to his own, but he dismissed it and considered it as work exhaustion. He knew for a fact that there were no other werewolves around, or were-folk. The only reason why he wasn't hunted down right now, was because he gave up his own freedom to work for government agencies. In truth, it was providing him with the stable life he had right now and a steady income. He could live as he wished, without the burden of a family taking up his time, or his income. It was a perfect set up, but now and then that loneliness gnawed at his gut. Gabriel knew better than to give into it and he went back to his office to go over some paperwork. The sandwich devoured, he ignored the lingering scent of what should have been another werewolf.

"It's all in my head..." He muttered to himself and opened up a manilla envelope that contained an older case. It was his families case and his mood darkened. The sound of rain ignored, he focused on the photos that were collected at the crime scene. Gruesome, bloodied corpses of his family, were displayed in a file like freak shows. He went over the file at least a dozen times each night, in hopes of finding a new clue that may have been overlooked. The file had since been closed, but he insisted on working on during his private hours.

He sighed and leaned back in his chair, the painful memories mulled over in his head. Some wonderful scent wafted through the apartment building.

"They must be cooking again." He spoke out loud again, aware that he was talking to himself. It was an odd habit, but one that grew over time. He guessed it was due to stress, or the comfortable-ness of being alone. One didn't have to worry about the impressions they made on another, when you lived as a loner.

The scent of another were began to get under his skin, but he chalked it up to stress at work. He suffered from PTSD, so he assumed it was part of his psyche that continued to mess with his thoughts and perception. The rain continued to beat down in thick sheets, the sight comforting to the werewolf. Gabriel walked back to the kitchen and got himself a cup of coffee. It was a day old, but that didn't matter. He just wanted the heat from the cup to warm his senses.

If the scent continued to linger into morning, he would patrol the area again and make reports of any strange findings. He looked back toward the file that lay undisturbed on his desk. There was a nagging determination in the back of his mind, but he knew he'd have to gain some stamina before he attempted to search again.

Gabriel went to his living room and lounged on his worn down couch. He looked around his apartment. It was an eye sore in comparison to his co-workers places, but there were more important things on his mind than aesthetics. He made a mental note t patrol the area in the morning and find the source of the scent, but for now, he relished in his peaceful moment and sipped his hot coffee.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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The next morning, it was actually about noon but it was morning for Chance, there were two distinct aromas in the air. There was the smell of the steak he had made the previous night still lingering in the air and then there was a the smell of another were-creature. There were several tribes in the area around Nevada, but this creature was definitely a form of canine and there were only a few canine-based were-creature tribes around here. His own Hyena tribe was one of them, but this was not another Hyena, the smell was off. He sniffed the air once more to try to identify the species, now certain it was another therian.

"Hmm, wolf maybe?" He spoke, not expecting an answer of any kind, but the sound of a voice helped to make things more real for him somehow. "Isn't there a wolf tribe just outside of the state? Or was it coyote? Either way it seems like a long way to go to attack those people, those attacks were on the other side of the state. But this is Neutral territory, it's kinda crazy to think that I'd be the only therian here."

It was Chance's day off and he didn't have any plans. A social life wasn't exactly possible for him, it was too dangerous to let anyone get close to him. It killed him a little inside every time he thought about this. It was as though his parents were winning in some way. He couldn't pursue love with a human, there were little to no therians in the Neutral zones and even if by some miracle he found another therian, the odds of them being another gay male and possibly willing to date someone outside their own species were too high for him to even think about calculating.

Sitting around his apartment all day only seemed to make him more depressed about his situation, but there was little else he could do. He used to be a one of the best guards in the tribe and now he was reduced to nothing more than a common bouncer at a sleazy male strip club. All of his instincts were telling him to go out and find the source of the scent, but therians weren't known for being friendly with one another and the prospect of a new friend wasn't worth the risk to his life, so he suppressed his instinct.

He went to the fridge and pulled out a pack of eggs, some cheese and bacon and went about making himself an omelette. He was glad that his therian metabolism prevented him from getting fat no matter how much he ate.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Zeb rode along in silence, bouncing and winding his way through the high desert, only slowing down for the largest of obstacles. The manner in which Zeb drove cars could only be considered hard, and this truck was soon for the junkyard. Not a problem for old Zeb, as cars are in full supply all across the state, driven by those weaker than him. It was never a hassle to find one,
just a very long walk, sometimes. This american made monstrosity had lasted longer than any other vehicle he had aquired, somewhat giving credo to the phrase "They don't make them like they used to."

Raindrops began to hit the windshield about the time the forsaken cow track of a road gained pavement. While it may not happen often around him, rain did in fact fall in the desert from time to time. Zeb honestly hated it. No matter what form he was in, he immediately smelled of wet dog and death the instant he stepped into it. It was enough to make him obvious to people knowing what they're looking for. Luckily those people were as few and far between as raindrops upon the desert floor.

As he rolled into the town, his truck didn't even look that out of the ordinary amongst the lines of SUV's and trucks with american
flags plastered all over them. He pulled across the yellow line to roar past people going the speed limit, or in his mind, too slow.
He clipped the bumper off of one particularly plastic clad car, but barely even registered it.

He arrived at his favorite gas station in these parts, simply because the clerk knew who was in charge. Zebs truck pulled up outside at a breakneck speed. He his front fender slammed into the back of a jeep, popping out the back window and leaving a gigantic dent. He evidently broke the latch too as the back door flew open. Zeb put it in reverse, even thinking to himself that he could at least try to be more careful. But wheres the fun in that? As he thought, the truck backed into and over a nearby motorcycle. The trucks size was enough to dampen the impact to a point that Zeb didn't even feel it.

The older man behind the counter inside watched the whole scene unfold, reckognizing the truck and driver for what they really were: Chaos personified. He could be seen turning and yelling to a younger girl mopping the floors. The girl looked up
in confusion before her eyes widened, and she ran in the back. The old man tried as well to run back into the freezer with her, but
was caught by the cheery sound of the automatic door chime. He turned around, looking up at the towering figure. He immediately looked back down. Eye contact was not a good idea. Shuffling slowly behind the counter, he stood slumped and submissive behind the cash drawer. Zeb stood in front of the counter, reaching past him and grabbing several packs of cigarettes in his mammoth hands. One dropped upon the mans head, making him flinch.

Zeb turned around, shoving the cigarettes into his denim vest. He walked past the various shelves, picking up and looking at a magazine, knowing full well he couldn't even read it. Throwing it on the ground, he proceeded to the aisle with a small selection of groceries.He grabbed six or seven canisters of salt, stuffing them into a backpack he had picked off of another shelf. Slowly beginning to walk towards the door, he gave the old man a look from over his glasses, and the man looked away once more, but gave a nod. He pushed a button for the fuel he had pulled up at. As he walked out, he lit a cigarette. Walking up to the gas pumps he pulled off the hose and began to fill the truck up. He then stood back from the pumps, oblivious to the smells of the two other were folk in the area, only recieving the scents of fine Carolina tobacco and gasoline. He threw the backpack on top of the tarp in the back, which made a muffled protest in return. Not long now until he'd be back at his home, making dinner for himself.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Chance had finished his omelette and took his plate to the sink. As he set it down he hear the distinct sound of metal on metal that could only come from a vehicle running into another. It reminded him that he had to park across the street at the gas station because someone had parked in his spot and the lot was far too small for the size of the building. The direction of the crunching metal had come from the area of the gas station so he ran to the window as quick as he could. He saw the truck backing up into the motor cycle and his Jeep's back window had been popped out and had shattered all over the ground while his dented back hatch swung open as the door latch broke.

Chance flew out of his apartment, but sure enough the elevator was broken. It would have been too slow anyway. He ran down the stairs, tripping over his own feet as he reached the second floor and tumbling a little. He got back up and went back to running, hoping that no one had seen him trip like that.

When he got to the ground floor, he ran through the lobby and got to the door just in time to see an enormous monster of a man throwing a backpack into the back of the pickup. He was about to yell and unleash hell on the large man when the odor of wet dog hit him like a ton of bricks in the face. It wasn't coming from Chance himself, but it was wafting like cheap perfume from across the street. Chance froze in his tracks at the lobby door watching across the street. There was no way he could take on a therian who was that large in his human form, and the odor made it clear that he was a canine of some kind, but it wasn't the same scent from last night. This odor was pure coyote. He waited at the door hoping for the therian to leave and hoping that the gasoline and cigarette the guy was dangerously smoking was enough to block his own scent from the guy. Chance hadn't stepped into the rain yet so he didn't smell like wet dog yet, and hyena didn't have as much of an odor as coyote. Chance's instincts had kicked in, however, and a few of his more animal characteristics were showing through. His lips were pulled back, he was baring his teeth letting out a quiet growl and he had a glare in his eyes that seemed inhuman. Anyone who saw him would be able to tell he was dangerous and anyone who knew about therians could tell he was fighting to keep himself composed. This didn't do anything to help the rumors about his mental instability that were starting to spread through the apartment complex. That was the price for being a shut-in he assumed.

The strange thing that seemed to stick in Chance's mind was the fact that he could still smell the scent in the air from last night as well as the coyote from the gas station. He was able to get a better whiff of it now, and it seemed to be closer. It was definitely a wolf.

"Sheesh, is this neutral territory or a freaking pound?" He muttered under his breath as he waited for the huge guy to leave so he could assess the damage to his Jeep without getting into a conflict.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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It figured it was going to be one of those days. Before he got to enjoy his coffee, he heard the commotion outside and ran to his living room window to check out the scene. His bike was a mess, from what he could see, but it looked like it could still perform. Gabriel cursed out loud and abandoned his cup of coffee to investigate. He threw on a black hoodie and grabbed his pack of smokes, then rushed out the door.

His mind whirled with what sort of damage his bike could have endured. The motorcycle was a gift from his father, so while it hadn't been the best investment, it was something with sentimental value. Gabriel grabbed hold of the bike and steadied it, then checked the amount of exterior and interior damage. The damnable thing could be salvaged, but it wasn't like he had extra cash lying around to do any major repairs. He cursed under his breath and lit a cigarette, the crimson edge created a shadow against his face. His nose crinkled again at the scent that assaulted the air. There was more than one, that much was certain and it put him in a foul mood.

Gabriel moved his motorcycle back and parked it away from wandering eyes. He inspected the exterior again and ran his hand through his hair in thought. Today just wasn't his day. He flicked the cigarette and watched ash flake off onto the muddied sidewalk. The stench of other Therians got to his senses and he looked around for the second one. Several scents mixed with one another, but he recognized one in particular: Zeb.

It couldn't be, but the scent of Zeb was undeniable. His scent lingered in the air, like a bad aftertaste. Memories flooded back of the times he lost his family to the killer. He growled in a predatory fashion, then inhaled the smoke from the cigarette, the crimson edge flared up and created a dim light.

Gabriel stood with a tense stance and glared toward the area that Zeb occupied. He shoved his hands in his pocket and kept his eyes on the figure that dared to enter his turf. Even for a loner, Gabriel wouldn't hesitate to take him one-on-one, but not in public and not in this mental state.

He slid the cigarette across his lips and let the ash fall in an unceremonial grace. Everything in his body screamed at him to attack the figure, but he held himself back, the intensity in his emotions began to cloud his better judgement. Gabriel continued to glare toward Zeb, with the thought that he would be sensed by his family's killer.

Gabriel rolled his shoulders out of their tension and stamped his boot on the remainder of his cigarette. There was no sense in mulling over actions that couldn't be fulfilled. He growled to himself and didn't notice the figure of Chance, until he began to turn toward his apartment. There was nothing that could be done about Zeb, unless he decided to make a foolish move toward him, which would be like a public death sentence.

"Were you injured?" He asked Chance, his tone calm. Gabriel motioned toward the Jeep. He had been so consumed by his thoughts and the presence of Zeb, that he didn't see Chance step into the scene until now.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Chance had finally worked up the nerve to walk across the street when he noticed the other therian was already across the street along with the huge one. He figured neither of them were going to make a scene in public. He began to assess the damage to his Jeep after the large one had driven off. He was still growling as he looked over the back end of the Jeep.

He turned to see the other therian walking toward him. He was one of the more attractive therians Chance had seen since he left home. He was about the same height as Chance the same color eyes, though they seemed much deeper than his, chocolate brown hair and he was sure there was a great body under that hoodie. And something about the way he was growling as the same guy that Chance himself was growling at he found very attractive. The cloud cover and rain made it look as though it was still night time outside as the cute therian walked over, asking if he was injured, he knew that they were both aware that the other was a therian so he figured it was pointless to pretend.

"No, I was up in my apartment when it happened." He said as he pointed up to his apartment across the street.

"So, you're the wolf I've been smelling around here, huh? Not often I get to meet other therians in this area." He said with a little bit of a grin. "Don't suppose you know who that asshole coyote was who did this to my jeep do ya? Because I got an Acme anvil with his skull's name all over it." Chance chuckled a little, his hyena laugh escaping in a bit of a squeak. His face turned a bit red with embarrassment. "Sorry, that happens every now and then, Hyena and all. Name's Chance, wanna go get some coffee or something?"

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Character Portrait: Ozzy O'Hare
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Ozzy wasn't thrilled that his first assignment was in Nevada, but being the rookie in the Therian Protection Unit meant he didn't get to choose where he was needed. There were reports of humans going missing over a wide area in addition to a long string of unexplained murders in the state that the authorities in the area were stumped on. While the cops were struggling to figure out what was going on, it was clear to the TPU that there was a rouge therian attacking humans.

Ozzy was unpacking the last of his stuff from the U-Haul trailer hitched up to the back of his car. He didn't have a lot of possessions so he didn't need a big truck. He brought the last box up and set it in his small one-room apartment. He didn't start his job at the bar until next week so he had plenty of time to unpack and do some recon on the rouge therian. He looked over the file that the TPU had given him before he left Arizona and it was clear that it was a carnivore species and the bite marks on the victims suggested it was a canine of some kind. It made Ozzy a little uneasy, he hated canines. Dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes all of them seemed to have a taste for rabbits. Even in the therian community were-rabbits were assumed to be weak and harmless. It was quite the opposite in fact and were-rabbits were more often carnivores than you would think.

He realized that he was incredibly hungry and he didn't have any food. He went online on his phone and found a local pizza place and he ordered a large all meat pizza before starting to unpack.

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It had been a couple of months ago that Sarah Graves had rolled into town. A young woman from the east that had taken over the old repair shop in town. Sarah had been busy since she had arrived in town turning an old husk of a shop into a working business. And as of a week ago Sarah's shop was open to business.

This was all a front though. In reality Sarah was a Government agent. Her job seemed simple on paper:... Look into reports of werebeast attacks. Though she had been out many times she was no closer to finding anything. And now this damn rain was hampering her trips to the desert.

Sarah knew that something... Or someone was killing people. So Sarah troopered on. This rain had gave Sarah more time to keep up her cover job...

Sarah set about tinkering on an old car a townsmen had sent in. The sounds of her work could be heard outside her shop filling up her time until she could get back out to her real job...

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Zeb flicked away his cigarette, pump snapping off as the tank reached its brim.
He shot a loot back at the convenience store, wondering if that man running
the store really appreciated life as much as Zeb loved taking it. Realistically though,
Zeb knew he shouldn't kill the golden goose. The no questions asked and five finger
payment method was too great to jepordize by bringing harm to the man or his
employees.A wind came and refreshed the air, bringing with it new scents, and one
very familiar one. One that almost made his neck hairs stand on end. The only time
he almost didn't walk away from a buglary. He stood up straight, uncharacteristically
quickly.

Zeb locked eyes with Gabriel, his intense stare could almost even be felt through his
aviators. Slowly he approached, never looking away or changing course until he was upon
the two. Before chance could get past the word coffee, Zeb had placed a hand on Chances
chest and pushed him back. Not with malicious force, but enough to show Zebs raw
strength. His attention never left Gabriel, but he never said a word. He took off his
glasses, revealing two yellow eyes with tiny slits in the middle. Keeping chance at
bay, he slowly walked around Gabriel, a mixture of disbelief, rage, and strangest of all,
respect. An sentiment Zeb has for practically no one. He stopped in front of Gabe, lighting
up another cigarette. He blew the smoke out in Gabriels face, lips curling into a crooked smile,
completed by his crooked yellow teeth.

"Sorry about your little toy there." He said in reference to his now damaged motorcycle.

He leaned in to Gabriels ear, but whispered loud enough for someone to catch the words. "Maybe mommy
and daddy will buy you a new one."

He pressed one of his mammoth fingers right up against the top of Gabes scar as he spoke, increasing
pressure before removing it at the end of his sentence. A low rumble of a laugh reverberated through his chest.
Zeb remained uncomfortably close to the rival therian, hand reaching into Gabes front pocket as he took out
His half full pack of cigarettes. Zeb put them in his own pocket and turned away, still laughing to himself.
Luckily he was able to conceal pretty well that he was pretty sure he had just seen a ghost. If he did hear the
hiker start struggling in the back of the truck, he would have stayed. Maybe even killed both of the therians,
after all, they were right next to his favorite spot. And that spot was his. But the police would surely come
in the aftermath, and Zeb already took out one government employee today... He should really take
it easy. He picked up one of the cinderblocks in the back and threw it violently down in the truck, as the sounds
of struggle stop after the bang. He took one last piercing look back at Gabriel before donning
his glasses and opening the door to the truck.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Sarah Graves
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Zeb was back. It was definitely him. Gabriel thought to himself, while the man dominated the scene. On instinct, Gabriel stepped in front of Zeb and Chance in a protective manner. Chance would be shielded by the form of Gabriel, but it was taking everything for Gabriel not to revert to his were form and tear the fucker apart. The moment that Zeb laid his finger on his scar, he was seeing red. Everything blacked out for a moment and his eyes clouded over with an ethereal appearance. The fight between them would be glorious, but he had to talk himself down since they were in public. To a bystander, it would look as though three friends were conversing and sharing laughs between them.

It was anything but that, the tension in his body returned three fold and he planted himself to the ground. His eyes glared toward Zeb and he watched every movement like the predator that he was. He pictured himself clawing into his guts and ripping out his entrails, while feasting on the bastard in were form. There would be nothing sweeter for revenge, but he'd make the bastard suffer every moment of it.

He was eerily still, even as Zeb approached him and he shielded Chance from further confrontation. The thought of grabbing coffee left his mind, as he focused on Zeb and his actions. It was the fact that Zeb choose to confront him in public, that he continued to see red. There was no way in Hell that he'd be able to react.

Not without a huge commotion at least and he didn't want to get himself, or his departement put on the news.

The comment about his parents was a tactic to get under his skin, but it was working in its subtle ways. He attempted to fight back the flashback, but the screams of his parents and sister consumed his mind. It was the death of his sister that bothered him the most. He still had those night terrors.

Gabriel didn't move, or flinch, even when his cigarettes were taken from his pocket in a blatant manner. He would be giving Zeb too much satisfaction. The bastard understood his pain, since he was the one that caused it. He remained stoic and unexpressive, even deathly silent.

The two would remain in eye contact, while he continued to stand in front of Chance. He barely knew the man, but he didn't want Chance to become a target for Zeb. The instinct continued to manifest in protective ways.

Gabriel listened to Zeb's words and watched him climb back into the truck. People began to mill around to see what caused such a commotion. A couple cops were called onto scene. One of the cops might recognize him, so Gabriel gently grabbed Chance by his right arm and ushered him toward a cafe. His eyes glared toward the Cafe, their intensity undeniable.

He needed a distraction and fast, or his were form would manifest and wreck more havoc.

"Un-fucking-believable..." Gabriel muttered under his breath and continued to walk with Chance. He let go of his arm and kept himself from glancing back toward Zeb's truck. If he looked back once, he knew he'd be in were form. He pushed the door of the Cafe open and pretended to be a customer, but he was really there for Chance.

"Order what you want and let's go back to my place." Gabriel blurted out, taken aback by his own words. He had just met the man, but he wasn't about to let Zeb claim another victim because of his association.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Chance stayed paralyzed after Zeb had pushed him away. He took note of Gabriel's protective stance and how he stayed in between Zeb and himself. It was clear by the way the larger therian was talking that there was history there and Chance wasn't sure if he wanted to get in the middle of it, but it seemed that now he may not have much choice in the matter.

Chance fought his own primal urge to transform to his therian form, but much like Gabriel, he knew that would only make things worse. He couldn't deny that he was taken by surprise when Gabriel took him by the arm and dragged him to the cafe and told him to order what he wanted and down right shocked when he said that he wanted to go back to his place.

"Okay, sounds good." It was clear that Gabriel was still furious at Zeb. He gave his order to the barista and they waited in silence for Chance's name to be called. As they walked back to the apartment building Chance couldn't help but make the joke in his mind that this wasn't what he expected when he asked him to go out for coffee. He did his best to keep the smirk off his face, hoping that Gabriel didn't see it. But he was so focused on the incident with Zeb that Chance didn't think he noticed. This was one of Chance's little quirks, his sense of humor was always kicking in at the wrong time.

They got to the building and walked up to Gabriel's apartment. It wasn't too much different than his own, definitely the home of a single person. The two of them sat down and Chance took a sip of his coffee before looking over to Gabriel.

"Thanks for the coffee. Nice place, reminds me of mine." Chance chuckled with a bit of nervousness. "So... what's the deal between you and that other guy? I've never seen anyone take a protective stance like that for me before, not that I'm complaining, but he must have done something fucked up for you to do that for another therian. Oh and while I'm here, could I get your name?" He smiled. For a hyena, Chance had a very nice smile in his human form.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Breathe. In, and out. Just until you get out of town. Zeb was trying his best to coach himself
out of making a scene. He still peeled out of the parking lot in a spectacular fashion. Abrasive,
tinny country music began to blare out of the stereo as he tried to use it to cover his howl of
rage. He was still alive.

If Gabe was still alive, then he had had a lot of time to stew. He had to have come looking for
him too, and somehow that asshole must have got lucky and pinned him to that gas station. Fuck.
This is why you don't use the same damn station all the time, Zeb! He punched the steering wheel
with a snarl, caving in the top it as shattered plastic flew across the cab. Not to mention he
had already bought backup. Zeb didn't know who the hyena was, but he saw the way he acted around
him. They were working together, he just knew it.

Well, let them come. I killed and ran off others before them, i'll run them off long after I've
finished the job of killing that runt. He gripped the wheel tighter as he drove along the two lane
highway, well over 100 miles an hour towards his home. A trail of trash and beer cans was escaping
out of the back, and the tarp soon flew off as well. His face elongated as his voice became less human
as his mumbling to himself turned into growls. In and out... He reminded himself. His face soon
returned to his human form. Mile after mile into the desert they drove, dissapearing from the main
highway off behind a gigantic plateu, only accessable through a barely visible offroad track.

A few more miles of bumpy road and they were home. An abandoned telegraph shack, not used since
god knows when. Bones of various beasts and more than likely humans littered the ground around
the hovel. No care or upkeep is being given to the poor structure, made of century old wood and
leaning slightly to the side. The smell was that of rotten meat and trash.

Zeb got out of the truck and ripped the door off in anger. He threw it as far as he could, a few hundred
feet, into the distance. He stomped around to the bed of the truck. The bloody tarp was gone, but the
two passengers were still inside. Grabbing either one by the head he hoisted them out of the truck
mind still fixated on what to do about Gabe. This might be why he didn't notice the hiker flinch
just slightly as he was lifted up. Dragging both of them over to a table with various rusty butchering
tools, he threw the hiker into a pile of discarded furs and bone, setting to work on the ranger
first. As he began to work on the corpse, peeling away skin and flesh, he could only imagine Gabes
head having the flesh removed, his spirit and mind free from his body, and out of Zebs life. If
he thinks he's going to come in here and rain on Zebs parade, he's wrong!

He accentuated the thought by ripping off one of the mans arms, and throwing it as well off into the
distance. He knew the change was coming, he was too enraged to hold it back. Why!? Why is that
little shit back? He was dead. He was sure of it. His face once again elongated as tendrils snapped
and bones cracked, an inhuman roar beginning to reverberate through the empty desert air. He took
the ranger and slammed him against the table, and then threw the body against a rock. The transformation
was now complete, standing at terrifying 11 feet tall and about 900 lbs, it was a good thing his
rage was being contained in this valley. His howl was several octaves lower than a coyote, and
could be heard for miles. The were beast walked up to the now mangled corpse.

Zeb began to feast. When he was angry, he got hungry. Naturally when he was hungry, he ate. It
wasn't worth it trying to cure this old meat anyways. Better just eat it frsh. The sight was gruesome,
the soundscape sickening. Before long, more bones with fresh blood and sinew joined the piles already
there. The vultures patiently circled, waiting for Zeb to take his leave so their feast could begin.

As he assumed human form again, his clothes hung off him in rags, face completely covered in blood, meat
between his teeth. Still panting, he rose to his feet. Now that he's had his fun, he had better make sure
that hiker doesn't spoil as well. Walking over to the fur and bones he had haphazardly thrown the man onto.
He found a pile of bone, discarded fur, but no hiker.

Zeb howled again in barely contained rage. This was not good. As crude and simple of a being as he was,
he had a system, a way of life. The chances of that life continuing just got a lot slimmer. Zeb began
to panic, running into the shack and getting new clothes for himself. Damn, he couldn't even pick up the guys
scent...

Zeb began to reason with himself. The desert gets cold at night, and that little morsel had already lost
blood. He even fell for his fake tourist pamphlet, so all signs of Darwin were pointing towards his
fate anyways. Maybe he was being a little too concerned. That Hiker was dead before he even stepped
in Zebs trap. Yeah... Thats what he would tell himself. He slowly began to walk back to the shack,
only now realizing what a tiring and hate filled day it had been. As the moon rose to greet the stars,
last hues of purple leaving the now black sky, Zeb sat down in his only chair, taking a bowie knife
and picking the pieces of park ranger out of his teeth.


He knew the hiker was probably a goner, but what to do about Gabe and his little Hyena
friend...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Zebulon De'Lature Dupree Character Portrait: Sarah Graves
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Having a history with the man was an understatement. He rolled his shoulders in an attempt to free himself of any tension. The scents from the cafe distracted him momentarily. Baked goods, espresso, all wafted through and managed to calm him down to a controllable level. His anger subsided, but it wasn't without regret. Zeb was back and in full force. He knew the scent like no other. The childhood flashbacks threatened to overrun his mind, but he distracted himself with the scents and sounds of the cafe. People milled around them and got in line to make their orders. Gabriel sat at a nearby table and watched Chance make his order, then nodded in response to his question about his history with Zeb. There was a sense of urgency, but he continued to suppress it and forced himself to make conversation with Chance.

After all, he had just grabbed the man and forced him to walk with him. Gabriel ignored any embarrassment he might have felt from that action, since he knew Zeb was on the prowl. The fact that Zeb was in his hometown again, was enough to make him see red. When they left the cafe, Gabriel walked in complete silence with Chance. It was more-than-likely an awkward moment for Chance, but he was going over what just happened. He trusted his gut intuition more than anything else, but he couldn't shake the uneasiness that Zeb put into his psyche. Gabriel walked with a fast pace and hunched his shoulders over. His hands shoved into his pockets, he realized the petty items that had been stolen.

It was all to get him to react, but the missing items still pissed him off. He grumbled under his breath and focused on the path ahead to his apartment. Gabriel opened the door for Chance and motioned for him to go ahead of him. He looked back behind his shoulders with a heightened awareness and followed him inside.

In his apartment, it was a simple design. Everything had a utilitarian feel to it and the aesthetics were basic as well. His apartment had the typical eggshell white walls, with commercial flooring and outdated appliances. There was nothing grand here, but he didn't bring Chance to his place to impress him.

Once inside, he knew they'd be safe from Zeb. He could at least fight him off, should he attempt to follow them, but he knew that Zeb wasn't that stupid. Everything was calculated by the man, so he knew he wouldn't be that foolish.

"I'm Gabriel." He said and listened to Chance's next question. He didn't want to discuss his past with someone he just met, but Chance was an exception. It was possible that Zeb could make him into a potential target, so he shrugged his shoulders at his next explanation:

"You could say that...he's responsible for the murder of my family." Gabriel said, then removed his hoodie. The t-shirt underneath, would be tugged with the removal of the hoodie, which would give Chance a quick view of his scars. Gabriel tossed the hoodie with disgust onto a nearby chair and motioned for Chance to make himself comfortable. Gabriel crinkled his nose at the scent of Chance. It was an obnoxious scent, only because he had to fight back a desire that threatened to ignite. He doubted the man was gay, so he treated him like any other acquaintance. He sat down on his couch and breathed a sigh of relief. The sighting of Zeb would need to be reported to his department and he knew that his boss wouldn't want him chasing after him, without a course of action.

However, Gabriel was known for not following the rules and handling his own issues. He didn't think the departement needed to get involved, or Chance, but it looked like fate had another idea about the matter. Chance would be an easy target, since Zeb knew he was with him. It didn't matter the relationship status, since Zeb knew how to get under his skin.

"I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I'd recommend staying the night. That asshole isn't someone you want to mess with." Gabriel was certain that Chance could handle his own, but there was no sense in jeopardizing something that could be prevented. "Make yourself at home. There's food and drink in the fridge, tv, and a bed to sleep on in the other room. I'll sleep on the couch tonight." He said, his mind still mulling over the events of that night.

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Character Portrait: Chance McKillen Character Portrait: Gabriel Blackmoor
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Chance couldn't help but stare a little as Gabriel's shirt pulled up and revealed both his scars and his amazing body that was hidden under the loose fitting clothes. DAMN! Chance thought to himself as he saw his abs, but also wondered if Zeb was the one responsible for them.

While Gabriel was able to fight back his physical urges, it was clear that he wasn't able to fight back his body's natural reactions to them. Chance also picked up a scent of pheromones, although he wasn't as aware of what it was that he was smelling, just that he suddenly felt a little bit intoxicated by a mix of both his own and Gabriel's.

"Holy shit, dude. I'm sorry to hear that. I couldn't even imagine going through something like that. Not that my family gives a shit about me anymore." Chance said with a note of sympathy for Gabriel in his voice and a note of loathing for his family.

"You sure you want to sleep on the couch? I don't mind sleeping on it, or if you want we could always share the bed." Chance gave a devilish grin. He scooted a little closer to Gabriel on the couch. It was still early in the afternoon and if he was going to be stuck in a stranger's apartment over night, even if it was an incredibly handsome stranger, he was going to have to get to know him a little better.

"So, Gabe, mind if I call you Gabe? If we're going to be stuck together for the night, not that I'm complaining, how about we get to know each other? Tell me a little bit about yourself, take your mind off of what just happened and relax a little bit. I'll tell you anything you want to know about me as well." Chance smiled.

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Character Portrait: Ozzy O'Hare Character Portrait: Sarah Graves Character Portrait: Preston Pendergast
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The next morning Ozzy was feeling a little better about leaving the house, but he still would have liked it if it weren't raining, but given that it was the desert, he was sure that it would be over soon. He didn't want to waste time or fuel so he pulled his motorcycle out of the garage he was renting. He took to the road after observing the map and seeing the pattern that most cops or non-therians wouldn't have figured out.

Whoever was killing these people was attacking in areas that were isolated and the population was next to nothing, yet tourists couldn't seem to keep away. This therian was literally setting tourist traps. Ozzy knew that a the killer would need a vehicle that was inconspicuous, but big enough to get a body into easily, so most likely a truck or SUV which also meant it had to be a gas guzzler and there was one gas station that was in the middle of the all the abductions and Ozzy was almost positive that the therian had been there.

As Ozzy got to the station, there were a few cops there who were investigating a robbery from earlier in the day and it seemed that the guy running the place wasn't being very co-operative, but also seemed to be terrified. Ozzy casually bought some gum after filling the tank, listening in on his questioning as he paid. The man reluctantly told the cop what direction the robber went. Ozzy could smell the scent of three distinct therians, all of them of the canine variety, but one of them was far more pungent than the other two, some much so that he was sure a normal human could probably track it.

After paying, Ozzy got on the road and followed the scent of the robber as he knew that was the therian he was looking for by the way the owner was intimidated. He passed by an old bike shop on mechanic shop on the way out of town and took note of it. The girl he saw working there looked a little out of place, but he couldn't tell why. He put it out of his mind as he went down the road.

Ozzy didn't plan on confronting the therian or making his presence known yet, but he did plan on doing some recon. He got far enough out into the desert to become dependent on tracking the smell of crappy exhaust fumes and the wet dog smell that was oddly able to overpower the fumes. That's when he saw something moving out in the desert. It looked like it was crawling... it was a person.

Ozzy stopped his bike at the side of the road and grabbed some water out of the saddle bag before running out to help him.

Change is near: Out Of Character (OOC)

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Change is near

"Change is near"

The world is not as it seems. Therianthropes, those with the ability to change from human to animal or to a creature that’s something in between, have been living among humans for as long anyone can remember. Most humans are completely oblivious to this and those that aren’t are viewed as crazy. There is a government agency that is aware of the therians and has been watching them for years, the department of paranormal research and defense, or DPRD for short. They would like to get their hands on them and dissect them or worse, create an army of were-creatures to send into battle to save human lives. There are also hunters out there that believe these creatures to be a threat to human kind and have taken it into their own hands to try to eliminate them.

If this weren't bad enough, the therians themselves don't get along well with those outside their own species. The territory lines are enforced by numerous patrols and the neutral zones, are the only safe places for those who are trying to protect the therian way of life from the humans who wish to to destroy it.