Aingeal Clarke

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August 12, 2019

Fort Lee Historic Park

9:00am

 

If there was one thing that Aingeal didn't do enough of it was getting out and enjoying her surroundings. It had been a while since she'd taken the time to take a nice scenic walk in the city or anywhere else for that matter. She felt like she needed to get out and take a breather. Take some time for herself. After deciding that she'd like to get out of the house today, on her day off, she figured she'd go and take a relaxing nature hike. Something else that she hadn't done in a long time. Plus on the upside it would be a sneaky way to get in some exercise.

 

She'd never really been to this place so she was kind of excited to get into the park and start to walk around. Another main reason for getting out of the city and into nature was because she knew there would be less spirits out here than in the city. Which meant that she could drop her guard a little and not have to worry about constantly seeing some dead person as she turned a corner.

 

Her car was parked at the entrance and she had grabbed a bottle of water out of her car before heading into the park. She stopped by the main park map that they have at the beginning and tried to figure out which path she would take. A slight shrug was made as she pulled out one of the folded paper maps out of it's holder, deciding she would chose a path as she walked.

 

After about twenty minutes she found herself at a crossroad's. She unfolded her map and looked down at it, figuring out where she was, and then made a decision to head to the right instead of the left. About another ten minutes later she stopped for a second as she heard some sort of noise. For a moment she figured that it must be some spirit wandering around in the woods. She shrugged her shoulders once more and began walking down the path once more.

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Another day, another artifact hidden somewhere in the fuckin boonies. 

 

Well... it wasn't really that far from modern civilization, but it sure felt like it, and Alec was beyond happy to be there instead of trudging around the rest of the city.

 

The mage sat back, leaning against the knurled bark of the tree trunk on whose branches he was perched, and drifted off to sleep while waiting for his scouts to return.

 

[npc]Hey. Shit-for-brains. Move before I kill you. [/npc] Alec's eyes opened slowly, chuckling as he turned his head to spot a squirrel, angry with the man for blocking his path. Sure, squirrels were dangerous in packs,but they were hardly threats on their own. 

 

[walker] Sorry, bud.[/walker] He'd reply, swinging effortlessly down from the tree branch and dropping to his feet, a hand on level with his feet. He stood, clutching his wrist. [walker] Ah for fuck's sake. [/walker]

 

A little branch had been sticking out of the ground, and had nicked his skin. It didn't really matter much in the grand scheme of life or death, but it was at the very least, uncomfortable.

 

Alec weaved his way through the forest alongside that hiking trail, eyes and ears open for any sign of the thing. 

 

*Crack* 

 

[walker] Oh for the love of... [/walker] Alec mumbled to himself, lifting his foot off a twig he'd just snapped. A quick scan again. Nothing threatening per-se. Just a girl walking on the trail downhill, some movement in the trees above, and a slight rustling of the grass, courtesy of the wind.

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At first this whole hiking thing had seemed like a really awesome idea to Aingeal, but now... Now she wasn't too sure if she even wanted to be out here anymore. Don't get her wrong. She thought it was beautiful. The sun shining through the trees. The fresh air not polluted by the city. However. Hearing sounds of something making it's way through the woods was probably one of the more scarier things that she could think of. I mean she sees dead people! Not too many things scare her.

 

Another sound near her and she stopped again, keeping her eyes straight forward because the one and only thing she could really think it would be would be a spirit. They did seem to flock toward her like a moth to a flame, but she was out in the middle of the woods. She hoped to God that it wasn't some dude or girl who had been murdered and dumped in the woods. She did not want to see that crap today. She didn't want to DEAL with that crap today. However after standing there for a second and not seeing one sign of a spirit she felt slightly relieved, but on the other hand she started to get nervous.

 

It had to be an animal then, right...

 

If there was one thing that she didn't want it to be was an animal. She would totally take a spirit over an animal any day. Spirits just tease and pick on you and maybe want some help moving on to whatever it was that they moved on to. Animals though.... Animals could kill you. She didn't have anything on her to protect herself either. [aingeal]Well this is just perfect...[/aingeal] she whispered to herself. She started to move again, but much slower this time.

 

Isn't it if you start running is what makes an animal want to attack you and make you a meal... I think....

 

After a minute or so of slow walking she heard the sound again and stopped just like before. She began to look around at the area in front of her, but saw no sign of a person or of a spirit that she could see anyways. A moment later a cougar jumped down right in front of her, staring at her glaringly. Her hands began to shake slightly and she took a small step back, trying to rack through her brain of what she should or shouldn't do.

 

I guess I should have watched some of those shows on Animal Planet....

 

Knowledge was everything and she had little to no knowledge about cougars. Did she drop down and play dead? Was she suppose to take off running? Am I suppose to just stand here and hope it doesn't think I'm it's lunch?

 

For fuck's sake....

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Alec turned his back to the trail and wandered into the woods for a few minutes, occasionally stopping to ask woodland creatures if they'd seen a great predator.

 

Most of them told him to shove it where the sun don't shine, and to stop interrupting their food gathering time, but at least one friendly little bird said it had seen a powerful beast prowling along the path. Alec immediately thanked the creature, turning and sprinting back towards that little trail. He arrived approximately three seconds before the cougar dropped from the trees in front of that girl he'd seen walking before.

 

[walker] Ok. Think, Alec. How do you fix this? [/walker] Alec scratched at the back of his neck, staring down at the confrontation below him. The cat started to advance slightly, and he threw caution to the wind. [walker] EULALIAAAAAAAAAAAAA! [/walker] Alec shouted the first thing that came to mind... which just so happened to be the war-cry of the badger lords of Salamandastron... and jumped into a slide down the hill, attempting to land behind the creature.

 

[walker]Ow. Ow... Owch![/walker] Alec was hitting lots of tiny rocks and branches as he slid down the hill on his butt. The mage tumbled as he came out of the slide, standing up and dusting himself off. [walker] Uh... Hi.[/walker] Alec said, a small wave to the woman on the other side of the big cat.

 

Said cat was, as one might imagine, not impressed by Alec's display of bravery and foolishness, and turned to face him, growling. He really hadn't thought this one through.

 

[walker] ... Good kitty? [/walker] Alec said questioningly. The cougar prowled closer before crouching back on its hind legs as though it were ready to pounce.

 

[walker] Or not. Nope. Not good kitty. Bad kitty. [/walker] Alec got the words out pretty quickly, backpedaling as he spoke. His goal was to draw the thing away from this girl before trying to interact with its mind.

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As the big bad cougar kept coming closer to her her mind kept trying to think of the best way to handle the situation, but truth be told she wasn't exactly too sure what to do or how to get away with minimal to zero damage done to herself. Lucky for her though there was someone nearby and that was somewhat of a good thing for her, or at least she thought so.

 

” EULALIAAAAAAAAAAAAA! ”

 

The sound of what sounded like someone yelling some sort of weird war cry was almost as scary as the cougar in front of her. Then she figured it was probably more weird and surprising than scary. The predator in front of her would probably be more worse to deal with than a weird guy who yells war cries. However, having someone intervene between her and a cougar was better than nothing at this point because she still had no idea what to do if she were still facing off against the cougar on her own. She'd probably end up as a snack, lunch, or dinner.

 

”Ow. Ow... Owch!”

 

[aingeal]Are you freaking serious...[/aingeal] she said her words in a soft whisper as she watched the mystery man slide down the hill in a not so hero sort of way. She almost started to laugh out loud, but held back her laughter as she watched the man land on the other side of the cat. She waved back at the guy and then moved her eyes back to the cat in front of her. The cat though had turned to face the guy instead. A slight wave of relief washed over her, but was quickly replaced with fear.

 

Great... now this guy is going to get mauled by the cat... then I'm probably next...

 

” ... Good kitty? ”

 

[aingeal]I really highly doubt that this kitty is a good kitty. In fact I really really hope you have a better plan than falling down a hill,[/aingeal] she half said the words jokingly and seriously. She stood right where she was, half scared that if she made anymore noise that the cat would turn back around to her, but also half scared that she was about to see someone get killed by a cougar. Neither of which seemed like something enjoyable to be apart of.

 

What in the hell am I suppose to do...

 

Aingeal felt like it would have been so much more awesome if she had had some other give bestowed upon her besides seeing and talking to dead people. That wouldn't really help her in situations like this. She was helpless in situations like this. She reached over to her left side, reaching down into her small purse that she had brought along with her. She had no idea if mace would do anything against a cougar, but if push comes to shove she'd be willing to try anything. She pulled out the can and armed it just in case.

 

I really hope this guy knows what he's doing...

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Alec shook his head slowly as he saw the woman reach into her purse and retrieve mace. 

 

It would probably just have made the damn thing angry. The mage backed up against a tree, just as the cougar attempted to pounce. Claws extended mid-flight, and Alec dropped to the ground, rolling to the side. The cat's front right paw was stuck into the wood of the tree, and his left was swiping at the mage, who now stood just out of range. 

 

The cougar let out a low growl, pulling its paw free from the wood of the tree, and prowled towards Alec once more, who was now backing up again. Ideally, he wouldn't have to even get too close to the animal to stop its movement, but if push came to shove, he'd just have to play god with its mind. A short incantation muttered under his breath produced a slight gust of wind from the mage's hands, mostly to create a distraction. The spell wasn't strong enough yet to have meaningful physical force without significant preparation, but it could at the very least disturb some leaves a short distance away. 

 

The cougar's head snapped to the side, staring at where the gust of wind had hit. Alec took that opportunity to get some height on the thing and climb a tree, motioning to the girl to run in the other direction.

 

Of course, climbing a tree when faced with an animal which apparently quite enjoyed tree climbing and dropping from branches was not a great idea, but Alec was pretty much out of those this week, which was a realization driven home by the snarling face of the cougar, just inches from his own, up in the tree. 

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Seeing him shake his head as her hand reached into her purse was enough to make her hand stop and her brain rethink the situation. Of course mace wasn't going to do diddly squat to a freaking cougar. The best chance either one of them probably had, or so she thought, was if either of them had a gun. The problem was that more often than not she never carried a gun on her and this whole ordeal made her wonder why she never did and would probably end up making her do so from now on.

 

Both her hands wet up to her face to cover her mouth as she wanted Alec quickly dodge the cougar. If the cougar didn't do anything to her she was sure that she would end up having a heart attack from all the stress that was building up. She had already been freaking out about maybe seeing some unfriendly spirits, but the cougar was more of a threat to her than any old ghost ever would be.

 

Aingeal still stood exactly where she had last stopped. Attracting the cougars attention was the last thing she wanted and she had no doubt in her mind that if she took off the cougar would more than likely be inclined to chase after her. Her eyes had been on Alec as she noticed his lips move and then the slight wind come from his hand. This development made the whole situation even more interesting.

 

Hmmm. He must have abilities or powers... or whatever...

 

Slight relief was felt as she realized this because it meant that one of them was at least armed with something. Her ability of seeing the dead wouldn't have really helped either one of them in this situation. Her eyes had stayed on the cougar as it's head snapped, being distracted by the rustling of leaves. Then her eyes went back to Alec and saw him climb the tree and then motion for her to run.

 

She hesitated for a moment, wondering if it was actually the smart thing to do, but then turned and began to run away. As fate would have it being clumsy and trying to run in the woods wasn't a really good predicament to be in. In fact it was probably one of the worst things a clumsy person could do, but with the adrenaline pumping through her veins she forgot for a split second just how clumsy she was. However, it only took that split second and a root from a tree to make her come back to reality as her body fell forward.

 

Teeth bit into her bottom lip to keep herself from yelling out in pain, but she laid still for a moment, hoping that the cougar was too preoccupied paying attention to the mage to even notice or hear her fall.

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The snap of branches drew the attention of both mage and beast, mage recovering first. Hands reached out to grab the jaws of the cat, holding them shut. [Walker]Why hunt bipeds?[/walker] Alec asked, guttural growls translating his thoughts to the animal's mind.

 

[Npc]Slow, good meat, and easy prey.[/npc]

 

Alec nodded and realized the creature was correct. Humans were definitely slow enough to hunt easily. [Walker] Would you...[/walker] Paw swiped at his face, and Alec leaned backwards to avoid it, releasing his grip on the beast's muzzle.[walker]...stop that! Trying to help you. [/walker]

 

Another swipe, then the beast stopped and listened.

 

[Walker] Would you still hunt if you were given food? [/walker]

 

Alec was now hanging upside down from his knees wrapped around a branch as the beast stopped, seemingly midair and turned to face him. Clumsy lady was still in danger if this didn't work.

 

[Npc] No starve?[/npc] Alec shook his head. [Walker]Let us go, or come with us, and you'll be fed well.[/walker]

 

The wild beast seemed to understand and Alec hopped down from the tree, extending a hand in friendship to the thing. It nuzzled against him, seemingly calm. [Walker]Miss? You ok? [/walker] Alec called out into the woods. The beast sniffed at the air, searching for her scent.

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The fall she had taken resulted in a cut on the palm of her right hand and a somewhat sore left knee, but nothing seemed to be broken or too badly injured to hinder her from getting up and getting the heck out of there. After waiting for a minute and realizing that she wasn't getting mauled to death by the animal she figured now would be as good a time as any to attempt to stand up. She stood up slowly, wincing at the pain in her knee, and turned around to see what had happened with the man and the animal.

 

Her jaw just about dropped to the ground as she saw the animal actually showing some sort of affection toward the guy. It confirmed her thoughts that he must have some sort of ability and for that she was completely and utterly thankful. If it hadn't been for him she probably would be dead by now. The mans words were apparently directed at her and she stood still for a moment and looked down at her hand, seeing a little bit of blood sliding down her finger.

 

[aingeal]Just scratched my hand a bit is all,[/aingeal] she paused for a moment as she moved a little bit of her weight onto her left leg, wincing. [aingeal]And I think I did something to my left leg. It hurts when i put too much weight on it,[/aingeal] she replied to him, but still stood there motionless. It wasn't that she didn't trust the guys abilities. It was that she didn't trust the animal that just tried to make her into a daytime snack.

 

Internally she sighed at herself.

 

Just another normal day...

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Mountain lion was pacified, seated next to the broad-shouldered man. Alec's hand ruffled the fur atop the beast's head.

 

[Walker] Remember. No eating her. [/walker] The mage growled his words in the beast's language.

 

It replied, slightly offended Alec had thought it would renege on the deal. [Npc] A quick snack at the cost of security? I am no fool. [/npc]

 

Alec nodded in understanding and walked towards the girl when she replied. The beast plodded along, not far behind.

 

[Walker]Sorry you got hurt. I didn't plan for anyone else to be up here. [/Walker] Alec noticed the fear evident in the woman's eyes.

 

[Walker]He won't bite. Do you need some help to get home? [/walker] Alec briefly looked at the leg. It wasn't a compound fracture at least. Didn't mean it couldn't be a sprain, and he definitely didn't have the skills to heal or even detect a fracture.

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The sight of a wild mountain lion being as calm as can be next to someone who would more than likely, in any other normal circumstance, would be considered as food is something of a sight to see. In her regard though it some what frightened her. That someone had the ability to make a wild beast bend to their every whim. Her next thought was that he must be extremely powerful and that was something that she knew was a good friend to have. Someone that was a powerful ally. Not that she ever much got into too much trouble... Well. Other than coming across something that would want to eat her randomly during the day. She faintly chuckled at herself and her train of thought.

 

After it seemed that the two had some what of an interaction between each other the man walked toward her. Her eyes mostly stayed on the mountain lion following along behind him. It must be his buddy now, she thought. It would be an interesting thing to have such a powerful animal to walk along side you or at least she figured it would be. There was one thing she knew for sure was that it would be a better feeling than having the dead following you around constantly or popping out of nowhere at the most random times.

 

"Sorry you got hurt. I didn't plan for anyone else to be up here."

 

"It's fine. I'm the one who should probably take a lesson away from this and not wander around in the woods on my own without any form of protection," she replied to him as he stopped in front of her. She pressed her right hand against her stomach to try and stop the bleeding coming from the palm of her hand. She stood there, keeping all, if not most, of her weight on her right leg.

 

"Do you need some help to get home?"

 

There was a hesitant moment before she answered him. She barely knew the guy and now he had a mountain lion following his every order. It wasn't like she had the option to not ask for help. With her leg how it was it would probably take her the rest of the day to get home. With this man's help it would hopefully only take an hour. Risks were apart of life and she wasn't afraid to take them. Damn the consequences. "Yeah, ya know what. It would be really nice if you'd help me get home. Ii mean... if you really don't mind that is," she replied to him.

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