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Trouble Brewing at the Rookswood

The humid, bronze-tinted Babbage air was especially pronounced in the lamplight of Port Babbage tonight. The light failed to penetrate the shadowy alleys and between some of the crates and barrels.  Shrouded figures often darted or walked between these shadows in the dangerous hours before dawn and tonight was no exception.

Snow tried to ignore the oppressive heat and to keep his breathing quiet as he stalked his prey, the pre-teen fox working with Prometheus.  Snow did not know his quarry’s name, but it would not matter for long.  The fox, the fake-fox as Snow thought of him, made its way to the Rookswood Brewery and to its locked double doors.  It waited near the building, hood over his head and ignoring others that passed along the way until the clock struck four.  The fox stood up and fiddled with the lock for only a moment, and then darted inside.

Snow scratched at his eyepatch while he considered this change in his target’s behavior.  He had never seen them enter the Rookswood before to reach a contact, but he knew that Lilith had lived there once and so had Cyan.

Scouting?  Snow pondered from his hidden vantage for a few moments and then grinned to himself.  The Fox was alone.  Snow emerged from the shadows in his fully transformed state ready for blood.  The wolf had no intention of allowing this fake-fox to escape with his life tonight.

Snow made his way inside the door, sniffing before he entered since he did not trust his eye alone.  All he could smell was the intense scent of alcohol and his prey faintly within that.  When he glanced inside he saw a tiny figure disappearing into darkness of the main corridor.  Snow moved quietly towards the corridor that would lead to Lilith’s home, passing hundreds of empty crates and bottles that littered the walls and floors of the Rookswood. 

Snow was halfway across the room when the door slammed behind him.  He growled in surprise, turned, and found that the fake-cougar Kuga was charging him.  Letting out a roar of fury, Snow got ready as Kuga tackled him and the two fell to the floor in a flurry of claws.  Blood stained the already dirty floors of the Rookswood.

While the two battled ferociously, giving no quarter to the other, the acrid smell of smoke began to overpower the smell of alcohol.  Snow took his eye off his opponent for a moment, seeing a human man standing beside the fox, a man that Snow had never seen.  His momentary distraction was enough for Kuga, who bit down on Snow’s collarbone.  The were-cougar’s teeth might as well have been made of silver for the pain that spread through his body.

A bear’s roar came from the front door and Kuga broke from his hold on Snow.  As the bear charged forth, Snow tried to get ready, but nothing could prepare him as the bear instead turned to attack Kuga. 

Snow was shocked, but after a moment realized that this wasn’t Prometheus that had arrived to help Kuga.  This was Baird the Bear, the one who currently owned the Rookswood Brewery. When Kuga tried to tackle him, the bear swiped him aside with a powerful strike that sent the fake-cougar to its knees. 

Just as Baird was going to crush Kuga, a pressure wave from an explosion rocked the building and pushed Baird off balance.  While Baird feel backwards with an undignified grunt, Kuga fled towards the growing fire and the explosions.  He shouted something in parting, but Snow couldn’t hear it over the ringing in his ears.

Snow was aware enough to realize that his wounds from the were-cougar were not healing and that the Brewery would soon be a fiery grave. His instincts told him to run and lick his wounds for now, and he acted on them.  Baird was roaring after the vandals, but his roars did nothing to stop the spreading flames that were destroying his business.

Snow went out the way he came, but he had not expected to find the militia had arrived so quickly.  Three of them were there, armed and taking aim.  The wolf in him let out a howl of rage to unnerve them before he fled, but Snow felt two tiny bolts strike him in his chest.

He managed to run for a few steps after that before the numbness began to spread throughout his body and he fell to his knees and then over paralyzed.  He was vaguely aware that the men were reloading now shouting they’d found the ‘bear’.  Snow couldn’t warn them, nor could Baird that they had the wrong people.  As the faint light of the lamps faded from his sight, as he could no longer see the flames that would bring down the Rookswood, Snow wondered how humans had managed to do this to him.

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