Demon Bear: A Dangerous Curiosity

November 03, 2017:

The Demon Bear has made tracks upon the astral and mystical planes and Robert 'Ripclaw' Berresford, Shaman, finds trouble.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The psychic and mystical planes are always in motion. Always full of energy; energy that is both good, bad and neutral.

Lately though, it seems the scale has tipped more towards darkness versus light.

That darkness comes in the form of a bear. A demonic bear. A being that has been both heavy-handed upon the mystical and psychic planes, and equally stealthily - with nothing more than a sour note upon the wind.

For those that can sense these sorts of shifts and changes, they might have likewise found themselves inundated with odd dreams. Perhaps even nightmares.

It typically takes the shape of a bear, searching, looking, stalking. A mad creature with crazed and glowing eyes and one filled with fury, anger and frustration. It's irritation comes from the fact that its prey hides so well from it. All of this has only helped fuel the rabid qualities and countenance of the beast's. Those unhinged feeling can't help but be echoed across the planes surrounding New York and beyond.

In fact, those unearthly emotions can be felt now - darkness and hostility rolling all about, prickling like fine needles against the soul.


Asleep, traversing the planes beyond the mundane and physical Ripclaw the Shaman, the Ghost Warrior is enjoying the conscious delve in to the dreamscape. His spiritual form a large grizzly that often stops to enjoy the sensation of it's own paws hitting soft grass or dirt. At least while its there. The realm itself is fluid. The untrained cannot grasp or tether to any sort of stability and Robert 'Ripclaw' Berresford at times himself due to the technological aspect and his long time draw away from his heritage can easily find things shaken loose or uncontrollable here.

Today is not one of those days. This day or night or whenever in time. It doesn't matter. He is completely immersed in the unwaking world. It is pleasant enough he imagines his ancestors each and every one of them lived in and out of this on their own whim. Spirits being as real as man and woman.

The quasi-bear-human-spirit's drifting thoughts are interrupted by a strange sensation, a darkness or just the simple touch of it as the borders of the Giizhigong in the distance, as Paradise he was close to suddenly pulls away. A defensive thing when the lands are threatened the Great Spirits who reside there deny entry. Curiously Ripclaw or the bear or the manspirit walks after it, that shrinking boundary only to find it proceeds to go away, his mind nagging at him that something is off.

Something is wrong.

A thump in his chest and he thinks hes awake but hes not. His body is still on the physical plane, if he tries he can taste the mixture of roots, herbs, oils, fire and ash at the back of his throat. The only connection to his 'self' beyond. No. He is still here.

Fear. A chill coils through him. The bear loses some substance to become more man again, long claws, glowing eyes, a shadowed face with the outline of a grizzly head or cowl but standing upright. Whatever is out there has forced him out of peace, pushed back the more totemic aspects of him to reveal his hidden nature while roaming with the spirits.

"What are you?" A thought, a question. Both of these. Language isn't exactly language in this dimension.


The existence here is quite fluid. Shapes form, shapes dissolve. Beings appear and then slide away. One minute the ground is grasslands, the next scrublands, the next a craggy face of a mountainside.

In other areas there's even more fantastical vistas; alien things that might not make sense to a novice's eye, but some that might make more sense to the practiced eye. For Robert 'Ripclaw' Berresford, the vistas around himself are mostly earthen in nature. Things that are easily understood, with nose, eyes and all other senses.

His question, however, doesn't garner an immediate response. Instead the roiling emotions that sit off in the distance continue to seethe with irritation and annoyance. It may feel as if seconds pass, then minutes, then (really) no time at all, when something finally stirs within.

An awareness now peers out from that shadowed place, something animalistic, but also something not. Something that holds the hints of humanity, but severely repressed.

Either way, the bleakness around invites Robert Berresford forward, as a dirt path now bisects the darkness into two. The path itself is winding and narrow, pebbles and stones packed tightly into the light brown dirt of the road.


One learns not to try and force their will upon the dreamscape but to ride with it. In the words of a famous philosopher and martial artist, "Empty your mind, be formeless. Shapeless, like water." As the terrain shifts and changes Ripclaw does not cease his forward stride, he drops to a knee as pathway ripples from shrubbery to mountainside, clutching the angled rockface with strong claws, the direction of the winding trailway remains his course, dirt-to-stones tread upon, no question this time, he just walks towards the growing dread. Steels himself against fear and the unknown as if bound by duty or faith.


Up and up the dirt path goes.

When looking left or right, or even forward, all seems as it should be. There's earth and stone beneath his feet, the hint of sky above his eyes, the echo of shrubs and scraggily trees around him.

Even scents can be smelled upon the imaginary breeze the wafts past him. Soil, water, stone and animal can all be found.

It all stays good until suddenly it's not.

The lightness that evoked the feeling of a sun high in the sky is soon lost and the shadows slowly creep in. The trees lose their leaves, the sky loses its blue, and the colors around the area becomes washed out. Varying shades of brown can only be found now. Darker here, lighter there, a monochrome existence.

It's only as the path ends at the entrance of a cave that the emotions of fear, rage and madness, can be felt full-force. In fact, it's like a wave. It rolls outward from blankness of cave's interior -

That empty space, however, doesn't last long. Before Robert can step a foot inside the entrance is suddenly filled with another presence. Another being.

A being that resembles a brown grizzly bear, but isn't. Not with the amount of insanity found within the glowing eyes.

Then there's a second shift and the bear sets one front-paw outside the cave entrance. The claws upon that paw are like sickles and the edges of those talons scream with an odd song -

An aria of anti-life. A song bemoaning the loss of free will, of enslavement, specifically for a person's soul.

It's not long before a second front-paw joins the first and instantly, the full form of the bear pours forth.

A glance is all that's needed to show this definitely isn't a typical bear - shadows make up the torsos of the bear and it's truly only the bear's head and four legs/paws that hold any real substance to them.

The muzzle of the bear crinkles back, exposing blighted ivory teeth - a challenge within that expression.

—-

The swirl of darkness has the man-spirit turning to watch it as if his eyes could pierce, they do not. His senses have likewise been drawn in, smothered to just the now, just outside of the cave. In a way this was very much trap, an entity from beyond, old and powerful has just drawn him in.

Ripclaws heart thumps in his chest. It is hard and it threatens to wake him, he almost goes with it, lets those silver threads draw him back but he doesn't. His lips curl and the bear cowl shows just a row of sharp teeth, his own red eyes changing coloration, hues from red to a blue; the Ghost Warrior is drawing on his own spiritual reserves; he cannot reach beyond the shadows, the veil arond them.

"You… " He whispers, Odeha, Tallhorse, they all spoke of such a creature and wished it upon Robert that he never meet it in his lifetime.

A crackle of electricity dances off of Ripclaws body, lines of glowing ether start to etch across his torso shoulders and down his claws, illuminating the dagger long blades. They are not on par in size with that of the Demon Bear, no, he looks like a cub before such a beast. "I do not fear you." This is a lie. Ripclaw is old world at his core, superstition runs through his veins, it is real. "Blighted beast. It is not your time."

The psuedo-man bear crackling with spiritual energy straightens up, tries to appear tall. Still not before the titan. He imagines this is what Coyote must have felt like when he faced off against the giants that formed the lands of man.


His fear is something that the bear can identify; whether in this place, or the real world.

The thud of the man's heart is heard. The scent of his worry smelled. The uncertainty in his voice listened to.

It's only as the man finally begins to speak, that the bear moves again. The shadowed creature rises to a two-footed stance, showing that he's far taller than Ripclaw. He starts off at twelve feet, but then he grows even taller, wider. His head rises toward the mud-colored sky. The shadows that make up his torso likewise shift and move. Within that movement shapes can be found; a hooded eagle, a hobbled horse, the lined face of a chained and broken man. Those images don't last long, however, not when a flock of shadow-crows appear and scatter the imagery away. Those sharp-beaked creatures turn their reddened eyes upon the smaller Bear-Man, before they too fade back into the darkness.

The crackle of energy and those last words from the Shaman are enough of an answer for the bear. To it the challenge it offered was accepted and now, the bear must prove to the man that he does not belong here. That the bear, itself, is something to fear. That Robert Berresford is lying to himself when he says he does not fear it.

And so, the Demon Bear, with his soul-stealing claws attacks. It's almost a careless or negligent seeming attack - as it simply swings one great-front-paw downward, intending to slam and pin Ripclaw down, into the dirt and stone pathway beneath their feet.


Resolve does not cancel what lies beyond the surface, even the lingering amount of it. The stand off is a primal thing, the growth of the enormous ursine causes Ripclaw to step back, thats all it requires in hestitation for him to be struck. The hit crashing down with such force that the Shaman can barely move in time, the tips of claws flay through one of Ripclaw's shoulders and rake down the arm, blue energy ripples forth in waves down his limb and ribs.

Atop the 'Elevator' Brooklyn… Ripclaw gasps, a tear opens along his chest and down his shoulder, sliced meat showing as blood wells forth in droplets. His mutant healing factor attempts to seal it immediately but falters, something more than a simple wound it remains open. The bowl of burning embers in front of the cross-legged, seated and straight back chalk-white skinned native erupts in a large flame then dies down. He does not awaken from his trance.

The world beyond… Ripclaw's knees wobble under him and he drops to one of them. His snarl audible, he battles away his terror and the pain only to launch himself up and at the larger creature's chest, teeth and claws trying to fight. His limbs feel heavy, weighted as if he is under water though, he is losing his connection and the Demon Bears slash is seeping through his very spirit, his will. "Abomination! You are an unwelcome." Perhaps the wrong approach but he is in essence backed in to a corner.


The energy that surrounds Ripclaw acts like armor - or perhaps a better definition a barrier - and while those soul-stealing claws scrape the man from shoulder to arm, Ripclaw (thankfully) will find his soul safe.

For now.

The Demon Bear allows the smaller Spirit Bear-Man to launch himself up at him. The Demon Bear doesn't seem the least bit afraid, nor worried. It just watches Ripclaw with those mad-glowing eyes.

In fact, Ripclaw's teeth and his claws, hit the Demon Bear, but instead of flinching, or howling in rage, all Ripclaw finds himself attacking are the shadows that compose the Bear's chest and torso. Those shadows part away, deftly avoiding the attacks, and before Ripclaw can fall back to the ground, or find other purchase upon the bear, the shadows reach out with human-seeming hands and grab him.

Now, Robert Berresford, will find himself hanging from those shadow-human-hands, and with their touch ice begins to form upon his skin, within his veins. It feels like the bite of frostbite and it's spreading -

Only, those last words of his, those are enough to cause the Bear to show something more than just calm madness. Now rage flickers upon its features with the word abomination. That's enough that the Demon Bear brings up one if it's great paws and literally slaps Ripclaw out of those shadow-hands and away. As soon as the man's falling through the air, the Bear drops to all fours and stalks after -


It is the status bestowed him alone that saves him right now from the soul-devouring thorns jutting from the Demon Bear, the Ghost Warrior is a man or woman who is fated to protect spirits and the Earth, to battle against the Old Ones and Demonic Giants the Gods before Gods sealed away, a vanguard and warden. This only goes so far though. Today he has found himself a fledgling in the timeless war, the lightning like spirit energy is dashed off like a torn apart garment filtering away as that open wound festers. Ripclaws form in turn begins to shrivel as he is gripped up by those icy clutches, his body slackens and is further battered in it's tumble after that swat.
The flopping and slapping of his form across the ground skids to a halt, no longer garbed with his Shamanistic empowerment Ripclaw knows this is a lost battle. He cannot awaken himself yet, he is trying so begins to run. One arm hanging limply at his side, the other clutching it. The warrior… feeling small, runs. Every ounce of his pride now wounded, bleeding out like he is in the material world…


It's not the spirit world that needs protection here -

It's the protector.

Ripclaw runs and while other predators might give chase because of instincts, the Bear's instincts only allow it to feel amusement. Even with that amusement, however, it does still give chase. Only because it wants to.

It knows its the stronger being between the two of them.

With the size of the Bear, it doesn't take long for it to catch-up to the scrambling and somewhat cowed man. Truly, it's only seconds before one claw-tipped paw reaches out and slams down upon Ripclaw. That paw pins the man to the ground, caging him within those sickly talons, and pressure can be felt too as the Bear leans his weight into that hold.

Another handful of seconds pass until the Bear's face appears above Robert's own. His glowing eyes focus down upon the man and then the muzzle likewise comes close. Warm fetid breath can be felt and while there were no words exchanged throughout this whole fight, now the Bear speaks.

Or something within the Bear speaks.

"Foolish man." A rusty voice says, deep and crackly from disuse. "You are lucky you are not what is sought."

And with those words, the force that's exerted from that paw increases ten-fold. Bones flex and compress, ribs find themselves possibly cracking, maybe even splintering, and that pressure will continue to increase until Robert Berresford finds himself forcefully banished from the astral plane and sent back to the real world and his body.


Ripclaw regrets not being a better student right now. The words of his mentors echo through his mind but they're foggy, far away and hard to draw to the front. There are ways, rites, incantations and techniques he should know but they slip away. The training not instilled enough in to him, its like trying to form a statue out of beads of sand.
Ripclaw grits his teeth and locks his eyes on the Bears' own. The breath only causes his nose to curl upwards, hawkish features contorting, "You are… a thing of the past.. and broken. There is no future for yo… " Crack? Yes. A snap and Ripclaw's eyes widen and he screams out. His body dissolves in to mist and smoke.

Brooklyn… a cry of pain and Ripclaw collapses on to the concrete, clutching his chest and rolling to the side only to draw knees up in to a ball, a shuddering wrack of pain courses through him as blood pools around his body, forms a crimson bed around him and he fades in to unconsciousness. One without travel from his physical form.


As Ripclaw falls unconscious a rumble echoes out from the mystical plane - the sound laced with both laughter and warning.

Warning to never come back, but if he does - cruel humor will be there waiting for him.

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