In the woods of North America, in particular Montana, you may hear a rumour or two. Of cabins broken into with food and belongings taken, of deer being found killed, butchered perfectly in the middle of the woods picked clean nearly to the bone, of cattle gone missing. Most strange of all of a spree of thefts from bookstores across the Midwest.
Every single one of these rumours will have a name attached to it, perhaps an alias, perhaps a nickname. A police report there, a complaint here. Folk will tell of a strange mountain man who comes to town, spends all his time soaking in drink, sometimes in the company of women who he spends a night with only to leave just as quickly. Driving an old car with a couple hunting dogs at his heels.
There are a few names for this strange man who wanders the woods and hills, but the most popular is The Wolfhound.
Eyes: Green Height: 6' Weight: 200lbs Age: Est 25
Connor McCoyle is how he will introduce himself to most folk. He stands six feet tall and is a noticeably built man, though it’s not always clear under his hunting jacket. He has long shaggy strawberry blond hair and piercing green eyes which have been noticed to reflect light and shine in the darkness, much like the animal company he keeps. Most folk would judge him to be anywhere from his late twenties to mid-thirties, though no one seems to agree how young or old he exactly is.
Soul of a Beast - If you ask Connor, he’ll tell you he’s a fairly good hunter, with a lot of experience. However, his humility cannot mask the curious nature of his abilities. Connor has been known to be very swift, agile, and strong, more so than the average human. Those who notice this in him often dismiss it as good exercise and a healthy lifestyle, though it should be noted that no health plan will let you outrun deer and wolves and go face to face with grizzly bears.
His physique gives this away some, his skeletal structure may not be abnormal at first glance, but extra vertebra, muscle and bone tissue allow Connor to shift into a quadrupedal running stance. With his spine being able to bend almost on half to allow for a bounding spring on all fours.
Hunter's Eye - Connor seems to have a greater degree and range of senses. His eyesight is as perfect as can be, even beyond so. He has been noted to seeing things clearly up to five miles away. Additionally, he has been noted to detect smells up to twelve miles away as well as very reliably identify smells, including the unique scents of both animals and people.
These senses all coalesce together; it would seem, into a sixth sense that Connor sometimes can take advantage of. It is not something he can consciously do or activate, but at times when stalking prey, or even when he is in danger, particularly if he is at all familiar with what he is hunting or being threatened by. Connor has been known to be privy to details or to immediate incoming dangers before they present themselves. That is, his heightened senses often manifest in a sort of premonition-like sensory response. These moments are not consistent and often take long moments of calm concentration; though they have been known to occasionally present at times of extreme stress and peril.
Heart of a Warrior - Besides all this, Connor demonstrates particular skill with his sword, a 41 and half inch blade which he will sometimes call “Mo Bhrón.” He’s been known at times to show up to or fall in with local enthusiast practitioners of swordsmanship, historical European martial arts, or similar groups. Where he very often clears the floor with every single challenger and sometimes wins competitions if he feels so inclined. When folk manage to notice the sword, they often ask what he plans to kill with it, he often answers “prey.”
Besides this Connor is noted for being a prolific scrapper, getting into more than a few bar fights and back alley muggings Connor has picked up more than a few tricks when it comes to hand to hand. Though he was never professionally trained and seemingly fights as wild as his nature would suggest.
No one knows where Connor is from, if you ask him he’ll shrug and say “east of here” but never say where exactly. Most folk tend to notice an accent of sorts, but can’t quite place it. Some have suggested it is a mix of many accents picked up over the years.
It is also unclear when Connor was born, he’ll never tell you. Activities in the Midwest that are confirmed or theorized to be committed by Connor have been clearly documented for at least the last twenty years. However, some mentions, records, notes, letters, both first and second account sources have shown incidents and activities exactly matching Connor’s modus operandi since as early as the 1840’s. Many folk will claim the Wolfhound has been around for seven generations.
Connor, when you can find him, is a quiet individual. Not aloof, nor unsocial, but he often chooses his words carefully. The most you will hear him speak is at a bar somewhere seven whiskeys in, where he may choose to regale to others the story of a hunt or a fight he once got in, before inevitably starting another fight or being chased out of town for being as different as he is.
Folk who meet Connor have noted that at times it has given off a rather friendly and calming presence. Many, at first, would chalk this up to Connor merely being a calm and reasonably personable man. Yet upon a closer look, one might notice that those who find themselves at ease around him really ought not to be;many have attributed his presence to that of a friendly animal, as endearing as a dog.
He lives almost entirely off of the land, foraging and hunting almost all of his food. Although, he is a prolific and well known thief and raider. When he has the hunger for it, he has been known to sneak into farms to slay their cattle, or to steal desserts and treats from homes. Most commonly though is his habit of stealing from bookshops, Connor professes a love for the written word, for poetry and prose alike, what he does not love is paying fairly.
Though, Connor doesn’t take much pleasure in his thievery. If asked he will avoid the subject, if pressed he will say that to take is his nature. He feels a desire to claim all that is within his ability to take and within his strength to keep. Yet he does not embrace this nature, and often feels guilt for it. For this reason, it is only in the confessional booth that the true scope of what Connor takes is known. What is known is he always pays fairly for drink, as he would put it, “just plain bad luck and bad manners to steal whiskey.”
Besides this, Connor does have a desire to roam, explore, and be challenged. He often pursues dangerous hunts merely for the thrill of it; often not eating all the meat and selling the rest along with the pelts. He does enjoy company, whether it be drinking buddies, the odd fellow hunter, nor the Aboriginal nations he sometimes does business with.
When he does catch what he is hunting, Connor is known to eat the animal raw, though he still goes through the trouble of properly skinning and butchering the animal he will not allow any meat he eats to touch fire. He appears to suffer no ill effects from this. It is also noted that Connor eats primarily meat, though doesn’t shun vegetables and fruit.
He seeks solitude because he feels at home with nature, and at peace when on the hunt. If he truly wants anything, it is only to be free forever.
Mo Bhrón - A large hand and a half sword forged from quality tempered steel. There’s nothing in particular remarkable about the sword in of itself. Only that Connor can wield it with ease.
Bowie Knife - More of a tool than a weapon that Connor uses to butcher his kills.
Mateba Unica - A rather rare autorevolver model that Connor pinched off of a gun collector. It fires .44 magnum rounds from the bottom of a 6 cylinder barrel. Connor is very adept with its usage and maintenance, though no more than one might expect. Though preferring more physical means of fighting, Connor has been noted to say he carries around a gun because he is quote “not a fucking idiot.”
Mac and Brian - Mac and Brian are two Irish Wolfhounds who seem to follow him almost everywhere. They are fiercely loyal and obey commands exactly. Though, it has been noted that the two dogs tend to disappear only to appear later; often at times when they are not welcome or needed. They never seem to need as much care or attention as most other dogs would, nor have they ever seen a veterinarian.
2006 Range Rover - Connor has had this car since 2007, when asked about it, he has said “it's a car”
Cory’s old pickup crunched into the ground, stirring up the dirt, leaves, and other debris. This trail was seldom used, and rarer known. His Toyota Land Rover was old and noisy, but it could handle this sort of terrain, at least he hoped. He couldn’t afford another vehicle until after this job.
He couldn’t remember exactly when he had agreed to do this, maybe it was when he ran out of drinks and couldn't afford more, maybe it’s when he realised he hadn't heard a call from his kids in years, maybe it was when they offered him half a million dollars. In any case, he had committed, bought himself a rifle, hunting jacket, and a licence as well as a tag for a buck and told everyone who’d listen he’d be out hunting over the weekend.
That was a lie, a cover story, just an excuse to be out in the middle of these woods. In truth, he doubted the deer were even in this area, but if anyone asked, he was simply a bad hunter or had been given a lousy tip on their whereabouts. No, instead he had lined the backseat of his truck with material to soundproof it, and tinted the windows. No one could be allowed to see what he had got in the woods.
His truck strained against the lip and crest of the slope and pulled itself up onto flat land, he was close. But as his truck continued on, he heard a loud pop and the car sputter as its front tire deflated. Cory cursed to himself and slammed his dashboard, he’d have to replace it right now with his spare, he would be behind schedule.
He kicked his door open still swearing and got out to inspect the damage, what the hell had even burst the tire? He crouched down to look closer. There, something shiny and metallic under the tire caught his eye. He jimmied it free and looked closer, it was a bard of sorts, made of old rusted nails twisted around each other. Strange thing to be in the middle of the woods.
Cory tossed the thing away and sighed as he stood back up, it was already getting dark. He would need to hurry. He moved to the back of his truck, meaning to get the spare, but something made him hesitate. A feeling, a notion, he thought he heard the sound of leaves and bushes moving by some accord other than the wind.
He whipped around, searching for what he didn’t know, but a very primal sort of fear was begging to boil up in his stomach. He looked around in a panic until he thought he saw something laying still not ten feet away, the grey of its form morphing with the shadows… was that a dog?
Yes it was, a dog, peering at him from the bushes. Must’ve been a stray or a lost pet, probably just curious. Cory shrugged it off, and went back to the task at hand, moving to the back of his truck to retrieve the spare.
He had just pulled it out when another sound got his attention, he turned around to see the dog was right there. His snout wad not twenty inches away from Cory’s face. He was a sheepdog of some sort, or shepherd, Cory didn’t know breeds, but he had a long snout and shaggy fur.
“Hey boy, you lost?” Cory asked, it was after all just a dog. “Where’s your owner, huh?”
The dog tilted his head at him, and Cory reached his hand out to pet him before he ran away. Cory shrugged and went about replacing the tire. He fumbled a tad in the rush that he was, but eventually got the old wheel off and was securing the new one on when the soft sounds of an animal approaching reached his ears again.
He poked his head up to see the shining eyes of an animal peering at him from the brush and shadows.
“Still here, boy? Well I’m about to be under way…” Cory paused, hadn’t… hand’t the dog's eyes been brown and not green?
He heard a soft growl behind him and turned around to see the dog was there behind him, its hackles raised. Its teeth just barely showing, if the dog was there what was…
“What are you doing here?”
Cory turned around yet again and was confronted with a large, imposing man before him. He stood tall and broad, a very built man. His beard and hair were strawberry blond, wild and unkempt, he stared with large green eyes. “I was just… just out hunting, who-”
“-you are not hunting anything,” the man said, and he stalked forward. As he stepped into the dying light of dusk, his features became clearer. Though at a glance he was just a man, Cory saw now how uncanny his features were. His mouth too large, his face just too long, his lips too thin, his eyes flashed and shone in the dim light… like an animal. His voice was deep, clear, with a hint of a growl; and his teeth at first seemed normal, but his cabins were longer, more pronounced, they flashed visibly with every word. And was that a… sword on his back?
Cory panicked and shoved his hand into his waistband, grasping for the Glock he had stuffed there. He had just pulled it free and was lifting the pistol when the man struck out, fast as could be, and caught Cory’s wrist. With a squeeze and a twist, Cory felt his wrist snap and his grip disappear. The pistol feel to the ground and Cory cried out in pain just before the man’s other hand gripped the sides of his face and clamped his mouth shut.
“Why are you here,” an odour of blood, flesh, and wet fur invaded Cory’s nostrils. He sobbed and cried against the iron firm grip on his mouth. The man loosened enough for him to speak.
“P-pick up! Going to make a pickup!”
“Pick up what,” the man released Cory’s wrist and mouth, one hand now gripped a fistful of his jacket and the other pulled a long sharp bowie knife and placed the edge against his throat.
“A girl! Some girl! I don’t know who she is!”
“And bring her where.”
“Pittsburgh some place! I don’t know where exactly! I was going to be told later!” Cory cried, tears were trailing down his face. “Please, please let me go, I’m sorry, I just needed the money, I didn’t want to do this, please, I’ll testify! Whatever you want just please let me go!”
Those green eyes stared at him long and hard, only looking away for a moment as the monster glanced behind Cory.
“I will let you go,” he said, sheathing his knife.
Cory felt just a moment of hope, before the man’s grip loosened on his shirt. And he realized they were standing at the edge of the slope, by the time he thought to catch himself gravity had already taken him.
Connor McCoyle watched Cory tumble down the slope, breaking bone after bone with audible snaps. His screams of pain stopped when the side of his head smacked squarely against a large rock, he then came to rest silently at the base of the hill. Blood pooling from his skull. Food for the scavengers now.
Connor opened the truck and searched the man’s things, he smelled of stale cheap booze and cigarettes and had apparently run out of deodorant a long time ago. He found a cheap hunting rifle, which he took, as well as a pack with some bottled water, some cans of Sprite, as well as a large bag of baby carrots.
He took the snacks, then shifted the truck into neutral. He climbed out and gave the car a shove with his boot, and it quickly began rolling backwards down the slope after its owner. It bounced a few times, flipped over, and came to rest on top of the lifeless body of its former driver.
Connor stuffed everything into his burlap bag, except for the carrots, which he ripped open and shoved a large handful into his mouth. He crunched absent-mindedly for a while, thinking to himself. Mac, the irish wolfhound which had scouted out Cory, looked at Connor expectantly, and was quickly joined by his brother Brian. They both stared, Mac let out a soft wine.
“Here,” Connor said, and he tossed them both a carrot, which they caught in the air and crunched into; tails wagging. Connor waited for them to finish.
“Away,” he commanded, and they both took off. Connor packed up and set out. The game trail that the false hunter had been following was clearly marked, and there were very few ways up to this corner of his forest.
Connor had been watching these strange men come into his forest for some time now, always a group came first and waited for another. He had suspected that it was drugs or contraband at first; which was why he didn’t do much. He didn’t see the point in wasting energy scaring or killing anyone over that as long as they left his forest in peace.
This was different, this was evil, this was praying on the weak. Connor growled to himself, they had caught their catch with tricks and lies, not with skill. They caught her to use and to torture, not because they had to eat. It was needless, it was callous, it was cowardly.
Connor McCoyle didn’t suffer cowards.
He set off bounding down the trail, his feet stepped light and swiftly. He figured he could pick up the tracks of the others somewhere along this route; and find this drop off of theirs. He made his way several miles down the trail before he stopped.
Crouching down now he considered the marks upon the dirt, and focused, the smells of rubber and gasoline exhaust, discarded cigarettes, cheap cologne, beef jerky, wood smoke. Yet there was another pattern, shampoo, acrylic paint. In his mind's eye, he saw the vague shape of a girl, he smelled her sweat cutting through her vanilla soap, her fear; Connor stuck his thumb in his mouth, something he always did to focus. He saw a… clearing, there were men there, five, maybe. Not far, Connor took a big inhale through his nose, sticking it into the air. No, not far.
He bound into the trees, bending down on all fours to run even faster. His unnaturally aligned spine allowed his body to contort nearly in half, his hips clicked up higher to facilitate all-fours running. He cut the ground quickly and near silently. The smells were growing stronger, he heard things now, voices, then breathing, then heartbeats.
He stopped, still now, hidden amongst the brush. He peered through and observed the scene before him, five men indeed, standing around with the lights of a Ford pickup illuminating them, all of them were armed. The seventh was a girl, no older than thirteen, sitting at the base of a tree. Her hands were bound together by rope, and the rope kept her attached to the tree.
“Where’s that fucking deadbeat?” Johnson asked. “He’s ten minutes late.”
“Fuck if I know, I knew we shouldn’t have used that strung out fuck,” Henry said. “I’m going to go take a leak.”
“Be quick, I figure this drop off is a bust,” Jeb piped in.
Henry stepped out of the light and off by his own, only a few feet away from the clearing where he fussed with his belt. He leaned his rifle against a nearby tree. Henry would have been embarrassed to know he died fondling his own genitals, but Connor had no qualms about it as he pulled his knife free of the man’s neck. The blade had entered and severed the nerves between his brain and body, he dropped like a rock and Connor moved on.
He stalked around the edges of the clearing, keeping just out of the light. Carefully he crept to the tree with the girl, he sliced through the rope and roughly grabbed her and pulled her into the shadows. She attempted to scream, but Connor covered her mouth.
“Listen, keep quiet, I will free your hands, run, run far, do not stop,” he said.
Connor felt her tears touch his hand as he cut the rope on her wrists, he let her go and she immediately took off running. He would remember her scent, and find her later, For now he had to finish what he started.
“Deacon, go give the girl some water and take her out for a piss before we pack up,” Jeb said. [color=###2ca8c7]“Nolan, go with him.” [/color]
“What, I need a fucking babysitter now?”
“Just fucking do it.”
The two men left the rest who were huddled around the Ford, they must have been drinking because they slurred their words, stumbled, and seemingly didn’t immediately realize the girl was gone. Connor returned to the tree, crouched next to it as if to pounce. His hand found the hilt of his sword and he pulled it free of its scabbard.
Deacon and Nolan had stumbled over to the tree close enough that Nolan at least realized the girl was gone, he blinked his eyes open and his stupor broke for a moment.
“What the fuck, where is she?”
He barely had time to shout out before Connor pounced, crossing the distance with a leap and chopping his sword deep into Nolan’s shoulder. His voice gave way to a blood filled scream, which was cut short as he topped over with the massive form of Connor landing on top of him and knocking his last breath out of him.
“Oh Jesus, what the fuck!” Deacon fumbled with his pistol, Connor left his sword buried in Nolan and launched himself at the other man. His fist caught him in the jaw, the bone cracked and Nolan was knocked to the ground. Dazed, but not dead.
Jeb and Johnson had noticed the commotion and recovered from the initial shock, they shouldered their rifles and sporadically opened fire. Connor quickly grabbed his sword and Deacon’s ankle and retreated into the woods.
“Oh God please, please Jesus oh fuck, No, no please, please help me!” Deacon cried, his fingers clawed into the dirt as he was dragged with ease into the forest. Connor felt a stray round catch him in the forceps and he roared in pain, an inhuman and guttural sound. Rage filled him at the pain, and he reacted violently as Deacon screamed in terror. The last thing Deacon saw was the unhinged jaw open up impossibly large, long canines shining in the dim light, he smelt the odour of a bad dogs breath. His final cry for mercy and help was cut short as Connor ripped his throat open with his teeth.
Jeb and Johnson stared in horror into the dark, pointing their rifles every which way for some sight of the creature.
“Sweet Jesus what the fuck is that,” Jeb said. “Deacon! Henry! Henry, where'd you go?”
“They’re all fucking dead man, its fucking game over,” Johnson said. “Fuck this! I’m out.”
Johnson took off running and hopped into the Ford, he reversed it and flipped it around and started flooring it out of there. Jeb ran after him screaming but the truck was already gone.
Connor spat the foul tasting human flesh and blood from his mouth, he sheathed his sword. He took a look at Jeb, watching him realise he had just been abandoned before Connor took off running.
The truck wasn’t able to gather much speed in this terrain but it still took effort to catch up, Connor’s heart was well and truly going now and he felt the rush and adrenaline of the hunt take him; perhaps he got a tad too excited because when he lept into the Ford trucks bed he nearly fumbled the landing and slid right off. He gripped the side for deer life, his hand bending the fibreglass beneath it.
Johnson had very much noticed and was fully panicked, he screamed and sobbed as he took a pistol and wildly shot it behind him. Connor merely had to duck down to avoid it all, he clambered over to the side window which was left open. Johnson was desperately trying to reload, giving Connor ample time to pull his revolver from his hip, cock it, and unleashed three rounds of .44 magnum into Johnson’s skull.
He slumped forward on the steering wheel, pressing down still on both the gas and the horn. Connor made a small jump and landed safely, watching the truck speed down the trail some more before crashing full force into a tree; cutting the horn short. Connor snorted and put his revolver back in its holster.
He took his time going back up for Jeb, he found him in the ground, practically in the fetal position. He was desperately trying to call someone on his cellphone, but there was no signal.
Connor made no attempt to conceal his approach, and Jeb didn’t bother with his rifle. He held his arms in front of him and sobbed.
Connor didn’t bother with him and knocked him out with a punch to the temple. He breathed and called himself, he hadn’t had a proper fight like that in a good long while. The pain in his forearm presented itself, previously dulled by his enhanced adrenaline.
Pulling out his Bowie knife, he dug the bullet out of his meat and licked the wound clean. His blood clotted quickly, though the wound itself would take some time to heal.
He sniffed the air, the girl hadn’t made it far. She wouldn’t make it anywhere in her condition with no fox or water. Connor considered the unconscious man, and figured he should leave the law at least one man to question. So he picked up Jeb and slung him over his shoulder.
He found the girl collapsed from exhaustion, and he picked her up too. He carried them both to the edge of the forest, to a park where people parked their cars before going hiking. Likewise, he lay the girl in the phone booth that was there and tied Jeb nearby with the same rope that had previously found the girl.
Connor phones the police from the booth, have just enough detail to make sure they got out there, and left. He watched as the cars rolled up with bright lights and loud sirens, and watched from the treeline as they all returned to their civilization.
In the coming days Jeb would jabber on about some beast man, a monster, crying and sobbing and not making any sense. He was declared insane but the newspapers loved it, people joked about his stories. Attributing it all to The Wolfhound, an old local legend, that had saved the girl.
Connor returned to his little cave he had made a home in. Sharing the carcass of a deer with Mac and Brian, some coffee brewing on a percolator on a fire. He mumbled to the two dogs.