Breaking Through the Barrier [Nick Mood]

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Jaling
Posts: 882
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:31 pm

Breaking Through the Barrier [Nick Mood]

Post by Jaling » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:18 am

The time had come and Albus’ reasoning for that grin he’s had for a little while now had finally made itself known. There was to be a week long intensive training course that would wrap up this stage of his training. To break through the barrier and into the next stage if they had to throw him through it. Nick had laughed when he said that. So had Albus and the guys. Boy was Nick wrong in thinking it was over the same thing. No duties were assigned for the week and he was told to clear his calendar of any personal errands and while he was at it, might mention to Melody they were going to be borrowing him for the week so he better make that last night a good one. Like they needed to tell him that, but any excuse was a good excuse. Though the phrase ‘last night’ was a little unnerving.

Day 1
The first day wasn’t all that bad, though not what he was expecting. Hell, truth be told he didn’t know what to expect. Nick was just told to meet at the bridge to the Heart at 0500 with enough clothes for the week and some spares. Nothing nice, either. Apparently whatever they were going, or what they were doing, he wasn’t sure, would ruin a fair amount of them.

When he arrived on time, well rested from the dreamcatcher(and satisfied from a morning quicky), with a worn duffle full of clothes and a few hygienics, everyone was all ready to head out. Albus appeared on the monitor overhead and said he’d make it up to where they were headed tomorrow and the bridge was opened. What he saw when he got to the Heart were some guys loading up a couple SUVs and jeeps with camping gear. A sight which did catch him off guard and when he said something smart to one of the guys, he just got a smirk and was told he had no idea what was coming.

The ride, as one would imagine, was not a comfortable one. These weren’t luxury SUVs and Jeeps. The shocks and leaf springs were stiff as a board and lifted high enough one needed to climb to even get into the passenger’s seat. Add to that uneven and unpaved roads that eventually became more trails than roads and it made for one hell of a bumpy time. When they finally pulled up to a clearing and parked in a circle around it, there was already someone there who had camped out the previous night prepping the spirits in the area for their visit. As they climbed out Nick made a comment that he hadn’t had whiplash this bad since a dime he saw back in New Zealand. It got a a few laughs, but there was a kin from the Heart he didn’t know all that well yet who gave him a look like he couldn’t believe that comment just came from a Fury. Alright, Nick was going to have fun with this kid.

Of course, the clearing they parked at wasn't the camping site. Oh no, that would be too convenient. Instead the gear needed to be hiked a half mile up a trail and there was only one guess as to who drew the short straw for that legwork. For the next couple hours Nick spent his time hoofing a week's worth of everyone's gear up a trail through the woods, walking back to the trucks to get loaded up before making the trip again...and again...and again...taking his time each walk back to give himself a breather. To be fair it wasn't like they made him carry everything. Breaks-the-Bough was there to help out for one trip at least. Although it was just the lawn chairs and cooler of beer for the guys waiting on Nick to bring the things up. Beer which was refused to him until all their gear was setup.

"Oh you bastards." Was Nick's reply to that. One that caused a burst of laughter from everyone and only accentuated further by the sound of a can of said beer popping open. Everyone turned to see none other than Breaks sitting in one of the chairs he brought up taking his first sip of an ice cold one. The look on the Ragabash's face innocent as can be.

"What?"

The plus side was while Nick was bringing up the gear, the others were setting up camp. So when Nick came up with the final load and set it down, he moved to an empty seat and sat down by the fire pit in progress. Sweating, but not complaining. Although Nick was looking around for the cooler when someone called out to him.

"Hey Nick! Didn't you bring these bags up like an hour ago?"

Well that got Nick's attention and he got up to look over at the bags and sure as hell, he had brought these up before. Just hadn't been paying attention to what he was carrying up so didn't notice them, or think much of it. People bringing identical sleeping bags or duffels wasn't all that uncommon. The odd thing was he was damn sure he didn't lug anything back down to the trucks. "The hell? How'd these get back down there?"

A question answered with a sound instead of words. A loud belch echoed off the trees and getting a couple cheers and a "Where you been?" from someone. Looking back, there was that Ragabash sitting in the chair Nick had just vacated. Tilting his head and looking at the bags brought up, Breaks shifted his gaze to Nick with a curious question, "What took you so long, man? You missed all the beer."

Fuck me, this is going to be a long week...

Jaling
Posts: 882
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:31 pm

Re: Breaking Through the Barrier [Nick Mood]

Post by Jaling » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:03 pm

Day 2

Ass crack of dawn...whoever thought up daily military routine needed to be shot, beat and dragged through the mud. If he knew they were going to be waking him up by 'barking' at him he would’ve told them they probably shouldn’t send one of the Garou to do it. What followed was a groggy comment about the man’s mother, his illegitimate birth and...there might have even been a girl’s name in that string of groggy comments somewhere. Nick didn’t really remember. What he does remember is the look the disrespectful comments to a ‘rhya’ got him. Hell he expected that to be the last thing he remembered before waking up the next morning. Last time he’d seen that look was right before Aspasia cleaned his clock good. Although it did do more to wake him up than any pot of coffee could.

It started off the first morning at camp a little rough and he was pretty sure that was the reason he was the one stuck lugging the heavy backpack of water through the trail they were hiking on that morning. Not that he was the only one with a pack on the trail, the others didn't seem as weighed down as his. At one point he thought to say something, but had an Ah, fuck it moment and just cinched the pack tighter and pressed on. These guys were looking for him to complain and he wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

Eventually they came to a clearing and what a view! The trail opened up to a cliff side and as Nick approached the edge he could see for miles around. In the early morning's sun they were high enough to see the sea of trees below. Fog that had yet to be parted still lingering between the treetops that peeked through. In the distance he could see a break in the trees fairly large and wondered if the elevation just dropped or if it was covering man-made roads which would have otherwise ruined this beautiful scene.

"Think the words you're looking for are 'hell of a view'." A bottle of water was thumped up against his chest and Nick turned to look at Breaks and realized everyone had taken a couple minutes to enjoy the view as well. Accepting the water with thanks he sipped at it and went back to enjoying the view.

"No shit. Haven't seen a view like this since-"

"Enter 'your mother' joke here." A kin said down the line.

"Well not your mother. That's for damn sure." Nick replied and gave the kin a grin.

"And it's ruined..." Came the leader's input with a sigh getting more than a few laughs in response. "Alright ladies, break's over."

To Nick's surprise, everyone was removing their packs instead of getting ready to head out. What they were doing up there was explained in full now. During the course of the week they would be waking up at the 'ass crack of dawn', a phrase that got the Ahroun looking at Nick who had apparently added that thought to his half asleep ramblings in the morning. A few stifled snerks followed while NIck just rolled his eyes and nodded he understood. They would then eat breakfast and hike up to this clearing in the morning where they would be splitting off into two groups. One dedicated to hunting and foraging, which was important as he had made sure no one brought any food with them this morning for lunch. The second group would be hand-to-hand combat training in the clearing. When the sun starts getting low, they'll pack up and head back to camp where dinner will be waiting and a night's rest before starting all over again tomorrow.

Shortly after one of the garou took a couple hunters in training into the woods and the head Ahroun gathered the handful of the ones left in a circle and said the rules were simple. Everyone was going to take their turn, use whatever styles they know and corrections will be shouted at them as they went. If he said stop, better damn well stop because they didn't want him stepping in. A Fight Club reference later and Nick was called front and center in the ring along with the kin that had made the smart mouthed 'your mom joke' comment earlier. It wasn't a bad fight. The guy knew a few moves, but was a bit of a hot heat. Nick goaded his sparring partner into leaving himself open on more than one occasion for a good pot shot here and there until the last one Nick got a lucky swing to the other's midsection that left him gasping for air. For a moment Nick thought the other kin was going to try to continue, but they were told to stop and break it up.

"Breaks!" The Ahroun called out while the previous two went to the sidelines. The Ragabash was standing where Nick had been before he entered the circle and had the biggest grin on his face. Nick gave his brother a nod as he got closer wondering who the tricky bastard was going to fight. Not that he had to wonder long, when he got close enough the bastard popped Nick right between the eyes.

"The fuck?!" Nick blinked the stars away while backing back into the center.

"Yeah, everyone's going to take their turn with you, pretty boy. Now fists up!"

As the day went on, that was the routine. Nick versus every bastard there one at a time with breaks only when he couldn't get up quick and even then, they were only long enough to catch his breath and be patched up if needed before being thrown back to the dogs. Every now and again the Ahroun would shout out a correction in his form and even once stopped a fight to man handle Nick's stance to cover up an opening better. The hunters arrived with a couple rabbits they'd found which were cooked up. Not being much for who they had there, it was rationed out and a couple passed so the others could have more. Not Nick, he'd worked up a bloody appetite.

Eventually they packed up and went back down to the camp and for the life of him Nick swore his backpack had only gotten heavier despite all the water they'd drank. It wasn't until they got back to camp and someone went to get a water out of his backpack that they shouted out, "Holy shit, Nick! You're hardcore!" Not having the first fucking clue what he was talking about, Nick looked over and the guy was holding up a couple rocks that had been wrapped in hand towels to stop them from making sounds while they shifted in his backpack.

"Mother fucker..." A nasty glare shifted its way to the Ragabash who had stopped mid-chew like he'd been caught red handed. "Don't you have a patrol you should be on back at the Sept?"

Breaks swallowed and grinned, "Got my shifts covered to volunteer for this. I'll be here all week."

Jaling
Posts: 882
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:31 pm

Re: Breaking Through the Barrier [Nick Mood]

Post by Jaling » Tue May 01, 2018 10:02 pm

Day 3

Restful sleep never lasts. Hell he was lucky to get one night of it. Sure enough tonight the nightmares came back and Nick found himself sitting up straight in his sleeping bag panting for air. The cool morning air that seeped through the tent clinging unpleasantly to his sweat-drenched shirt. He was lucky he had a small tent all to his own. Maybe even because Albus knew he dealt with nightmares. Who knew. Taking a peek outside and he could see the sky just barely starting to lighten which meant he was at least an hour early. Fuck it, he knew he wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep at this point, so he changed out his clothes to some dry ones and got up early to rekindle the embers and stoke the fire along with putting on a pot of coffee, if you could call it that, and prepping things for breakfast.

A couple got up gradually from the noise and smell of food and coffee while others rested until someone went to bark at their tents to get their lazy asses up or miss a meal. A sarcastic comment around the fire mentioned two meals since the hunting party came back with such a small pull for lunch the last day.

As meal time wrapped up and they started to get things ready to head out for the day, some new faces came up the trail from the trucks below. Swapping out personnel who had to leave for other responsibilities and replacing them with other mentors to take their place. Even adding a bit of estrogen to the mix in the process. Not to mention bringing up some necessary supplies like beer and even a special bottle of something for the end of the week. Exchanging greetings and farewells, Nick went to his backpack and saw the heavy stones that were still in there. Picking one up, he hefted it a couple of times while thinking. Deciding it worked for the previous day, he put the stones back in and zipped up the pack. After all he was there for training and as tricky as that bastard Breaks had been in putting the rocks there in the first place, it wasn't actually a bad idea. This he mentioned to the Ahroun before they headed out who approved. Only, Nick brought up after the approval, that it would mean they would be short on water, but Nick had taken the initiative to check Breaks' backpack and it had plenty of room to carry his share of water as well. That got a laugh out of their leader who made sure that was seen to.

The view was enjoyed at the cliff side when they reached it and with a little less fog, Nick could see the previous morning's gap in trees wasn't actually due to some man-made roads, but a lake that only added to the beauty of the scene. Shortly thereafter they split into their two groups and the merciless training that was 'beat on Nick all day' continued. The training he'd been doing from the past couple months and the directions being shouted at him occasionally from the Ahroun were helping. Getting a feel for the more structured fisticuffs way of fighting that refined his own haphazard style and putting it to better use.

Lunch break came with the return of the hunting party with much better success than the day before. Scoring not only a couple rabbits, but an adult doe as well! While a couple members too the doe back to camp to be properly cleaned and prepped for dinner, the rest did as they had the day before and took a lunch break, asking the story of the catch while the smaller game was prepped and cooked. All the while one of the new huntress mentors kept glancing Nick's way. A look he knew all too well. While he knew going for a tussle in his tent at night wouldn't be a good idea, he'd done stupider things before. It would be a good stress release. Plus a week of no action would get his balls so blue they'd explode before he ever made it back to the Sept. So when they wrapped up lunch and got ready for the afternoon's rounds, he wasn't surprised when she volunteered to be thrown around in the ring. Ok, that wasn't exactly what she said, but Nick knew what she meant.

The only problem with that was Nick was the one that ended up being thrown around! While the garou had seemed to like the wild look his long hair gave him, she hadn't been blinded to the weakness that it was. Nick hadn't been tying it up. So whenever he got in close, his sparring partner would reach out and grab a handful with one hand and use it as leverage to move him where she wanted or hold him still for a quick strike or two before disengaging. While the hair did sometimes fall in front of his eye, it hadn't hampered his sight enough to warrant tying it back. Until now, at least. Taking a few steps back he pulled a small band from his jeans pocket and pulled his hair back into a small ponytail to stop that from happening again. She gave him a wry smile and he returned it despite the growing irritation that stirred behind his eyes. Confident he wouldn't have to worry about that issue anymore, he put his hands back up and moved closer. The girl's strikes weren't the hardest, but she was quick. His strikes met air and after a couple swings she zipped past him, grabbed the convenient handle on the back of his head and sent him ass over teakettle flying. The world spun and he wasn't sure if he heard the sympathetic winces of the others before of after the loud THUD that had Nick tasting dirt and trying to find where he left his breath at.

"Time for a break." said the Ahroun.

Nick could hear the girl start to walk away and he felt something inside snap. Maybe it was anger, maybe it was a second breath or maybe it was his ego being bruised by being laid out by a cute Sheila, garou or not. Regardless, Nick found the strength to start rising. "The hell it is." Nick countered matter-of-factually.

That brought a pause to the Ahroun. After all the break had been called for Nick's benefit, not her's. "You sure you can continue?"

"I think he likes getting beat by a girl." The huntress jabbed almost flirtatiously. Rousing some laughter among the others.

Yet everyone went deathly silent when Nick grabbed a knife that had been used to prep the rabbits on his way up. Some eyes widened. Some narrowed. Everyone watched him. Nick's eyes just focused on his target.

"Walker!" The Ahroun barked to get Nick's attention, causing a couple to jump. It did its job, though. Nick's eyes shot from his target to their leader and he stayed very still. The command that followed was as much growl as words. "Put the knife down, now."

While the threatening demeanor did cause Nick pause, the knife never dropped. There was a nod of obedience, or at least understanding, but the hand not holding the knife is what moved. Raising to the back of his head to grab that convenient handle, the knife then raised and started sawing through it until the ponytail was cut clean off! Not what anyone had been expecting, Nick held each object out to show why he'd picked up the knife, then turned both hands over to let them drop. Eyes snapped to the huntress and Nick lunged at her, aiming low and wrapping his arms about her waist to lift her clean off her feet and drive her down into the ground, knocking the air from her lungs. Raising a fist he swung downward and thrust it into the ground beside her head with an impact that would have knocked her out cold.

There was a long moment where nobody moved. The eyes that looked up at him were a mix of surprise and rage while his own were of unwavering confidence and wild in their own right. After that moment, Nick became keenly aware that there was a presence that was standing uncomfortably close over him. Not finding out until later that had the Ahroun not noticed that Nick wasn't swinging to hit, that arm would have been soaring before it ever connected...with or without the rest of Nick attached to it.

"You. Are. Taking. A. Break!" It wouldn't be argued and Nick didn't contend it. Standing back up and offering an accepted hand to the huntress to help her up, they took a longer than normal break before continuing with different pairings for Nick. Eventually ending out the day a little early to head back and enjoy the fresh game, beer and stories around the campfire to round out the night.




Day 4-7

The rest of the week carried on much the same. Each night he found little sleep as the rage from the garou stirred his nightmares again and again. At one point Nick even turned in a bit early, but only to wake that much earlier. Eventually deciding to just push past the lack of sleep and make up for it with a couple nights under the dreamcatcher back at Melody's place. Though it did aid to push his body past its breaking point.

The sparring matches went on and for the next few days Nick went about camp with funny looking hair until a couple of garou drove up to visit the campsite and swap personnel out in the evening. Having been asked to bring a proper set of trimmers to even out the damage he'd done with the knife, Nick was sporting a new shorter hair style before they left. Thankfully taking that huntress of a garou with them. That look she gave him before she left...if she'd have stayed, he wasn't sure he'd have been able to resist the urge to pin her up against a tree until she was howling at the moon. The fact that he had in no way been discouraging her probably wasn't helping.

All said and done, Nick's body was aching the entire bumpy ass ride back to the Sept on their final day. Especially since he had once again been made the pack mule to haul everything down to the trucks. It had been a good trip, though and there was something noticeably different about him. The entire ride home as he drifted in and out of consciousness in short naps, there was a smile on his face.

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