Full Version: The Time Is Now
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October 6th, 1476


Well that was a new one. Not tigers themselves; Everett's tangled with those before once or twice. Typically the reasoning behind that was to nick some teeth or some claws to be able to bribe some overzealous poacher types when he was getting a better feel of certain circles in the mainland. They also tended to know the land the best and give direct access to a lot of what it had to offer for a pirate like Everett. Those types of dealings hadn't lasted long at all. Usually they ended up with a bullet in their head, for what their help was worth, and Everett never made those sorts of mistakes again. It was all a learning process, to be sure, and there had never been any disrespect for the magnificent creatures involved.

These were not so magnificent.

The faded orange of their pelts streaked with coal were diluted into dark reds and greys. The vibrant amber their eyes might have been before were clouded with silvery-blue that looked like cracked glass beads and didn't hold any sort of softness or tolerance. While they still held their fluid grace it was corrupted in such a way that with each bounding leap their bodies spasmed. They didn't look larger than normal, and two of them actually looked small. Everett had his back to the path where he had come, already having gotten what he came for and then some. These… things hadn't been in the plan. They watched him with deranged, piercing eyes, a pair of them reflecting in the shadows cast from the harsh sunlight above. So far they had only positioned themselves in a stretching line in front of him, the pack mentality a bit strange but certainly the least of his worries.

He tracked which one was where, daring not to blink as apprehension caused his muscles to tense with the urge to flee. So far they were sizing him up with equal interest, Everett making no sudden movements for the gun at his hip or the daggers at his back. He also had a sword with him, and he was sure he might be using all of them at least once before either these creatures died or he did. A shitty way to go, especially out here deep in the jungle without his crew. Some of the former greenhorns he’d brought with him he already concluded were dead, which left him completely alone in whatever was about to happen next. Talon-like claws scraped against the stone of the crumbled walls, Everett shifting his weight to move backwards. Tediously slow steps, one of the beasts starting to growl with a curl of its lips. He grimaced at that, shoulders bunched up in his attempt at discretion without initiating a chase just yet. Everett wanted to see how many there were, and was at least somewhat relieved to know they weren’t circling around just yet.

Three were in front with two off to the sides, shoulders rolling and Everett heard one of them pop as the limb sank down at an impossible angle. It wasn't until the closest tiger roared that Everett made a lunge backwards, and then the game was on. Adrenaline snapped into place, a fluid motion pulling the pistol from its holster to fire at the hip when the beast charged for him. The muzzle flashed with fire, a loud yelp accompanying the echoing blast when the trigger was pulled. Everett saw the thing go down, but he already turned to dash through the clearing into the megaflora of the jungle. Four. A manageable number, right?

Leaves bigger than his torso slapped against him as he ran, bounding over the fallen trees with a firm palm on their trunks that carried his weight over it with legs swinging to hit the ground without losing his momentum. He heard them crashing through the vegetation in pursuit, claws gouging the flesh of the trees in anticipation of it soon being his own. Everett thought he was making good headway, but one of the larger ones knocked him flat on his face with a sickening crackle of bone. He didn't get a chance to cry out when he felt the curved claws digging into his shoulders, the wind knocked out of him instantly. Instead he cursed in his reeling mind, dredging up his strength to shove against the tiger to twist his arm around. Pressure built with the hard ground crushing against his ribs, pain lancing through the left side that definitely was felt through the rush of adrenaline. Everett angled the gun back, shooting blindly and was rewarded with the quickness of it when the tiger let out a hiccuping hiss of noise. Thick, warm liquid splattered across his upper back to soak into his shirt with his own blood.

He twisted around between the legs that braced on either side of him, other hand sliding free one of his daggers and when he rolled onto his back he was greeted with a fairly terrifying sight. The bullet had collapsed one of its eyes, tearing through the cheek and dripping fangs were bared in a painful grimace. Everett didn't wait for it to recover, pushing himself up to sink his dagger into the tiger's skull. Just as he did so he wriggled out from beneath it, the large feline shuddering as it collapsed with a thump. Wrenching the blade free with gritted teeth he pulled himself to his feet just as one of the remaining three leaped into sight. Branches snapped and leaves fluttered to the ground, Everett glancing up to find another one leaping from limb to limb. The way its body moved was bizarre, the rogue stuck in a moment of bewilderment he really couldn't afford. The tiger's body contorted and twisted in ways that didn't seem possible even for all the strange positions cats could find themselves in.

Everett lifted the gun, hearing the third and smallest one approaching in the distance, but the tiger snapped its head forward. He tried to throw himself back, duck away, though it wouldn't have been quick enough. Large teeth clipped against his retreating leg, and Everett did have enough oxygen that time to cry out. It was reflex when teeth sank into the meat of his right leg, already the big cat trying to yank it from beneath him. A wordless shout with the burning agony behind the crushing pressure, Everett angling his dagger downwards to try and sink it into the tiger's throat. Seemingly it realized the danger, pulling away in enough time that the blade only sliced across it. It gurgled and spat with a deafening roar at such close proximity, foreleg lifting to swipe at him. In a panic he tugged at the magic within, visualizing the Dealbreaker where he very much wanted to be right now. Something else happened instead.

His eyes narrowed when the air shimmered around the tiger, like it was a ripple in a pond. Everett limped away from the beast as its head jerked from one side to the other, tail lashing madly and blood oozing down its chest. The magic was delayed as the tiger lunged again, the one in the trees dropping down. The last thing he saw was the crazed eyes and an open mouth full of bloodied teeth before he was pulled into the ether. Not that it lasted long, and it was entirely undesirable the moment he realized he was falling through the air. It came with a gust shoving out where he landed haphazardly in the dirt with a grunt upon impact. Trees rustled and swayed with the ebb and flow, moving in unnatural patterns. What the fuck? Everett frowned, a sudden movement from the corner of his eye showing that he had brought one of the tigers with him. It writhed on the ground, large paws scrambling in the jungle debris like it was on fire.

The captain's hand trembled slightly when he lifted the gun towards its head, aiming down the sights and pulling the trigger to stop its weird movements. His leg was drenched with dark and slick blood, and he felt the skin pulling along his back with each movement from his arm. Two. They were following the smell, covering whatever distance the failed teleportation provided. Not enough, it seemed, but with a now fucked up leg it was a headstart he wasn't about to piss away. To a predator predisposed to hunting and in its own element to boot, that headstart didn't mean shit. Everett remained optimistic, even if it only meant enough time to gather his bearings. He heard one of the fuckers getting closer, the shaking of the canopies signifying the presence of the other, and so he turned to face it. This time he threw up a shield just as it snarled and slashed towards him, and there was that twisting aura yet again. Everett realized then it was reacting to the magic, but it was too late.

He watched the atmosphere undulate, pulsing like it had a mind of its own, and when the curved claws made contact the shield fucking shattered. The power hummed audibly, Everett feeling the vibration as the energy appeared to solidify and splinter in a few different directions that sliced through the trees. Fabric tore and his flesh with it, Everett seeing white for a brief second in the absence of the searing agony that rode on its coattails. The force of it had him stumbling backwards, breath burning in his chest as it heaved. "Ah, hell," he breathed, voice strained, and he fixed the tiger with a glare. To hell with it. He tried to teleport again, hopefully this time without a tagalong.

It was a success at the expense of too much fucking force behind it. This time it felt more like a blastwave, as if something exploded when he came out the other side. Abruptly his momentum was stopped by the trunk of a tree, Everett's body slumping against it. Others were groaning in protest, and the ground shook as they toppled over. Vines snapped and fell into piles from where they were pulled by the collapsing giants, Everett absently watching the canopies sway. He didn't know where the remaining two tigers were, and try as he might he couldn't find the strength to hoist himself back up. So he just sat there. His mouth felt dry, and his skin clammy. His vision wasn't doing too great either, but he blinked a few times and it came back into focus. Mostly.

Everett looked down, observing in a detached sort of way how the shredded skin wept. The claws had caused gashes from his chest to his stomach, deeper at his upper abdomen, but at least his insides were still where they needed to be. Mostly. They were straining, and felt tight. A similar sensation, he knew, from when something far worse than these accursed tigers sundered his flesh. Still he held the gun, but the dagger fell to the ground beside him. Everett's face scrunched up as he dragged himself to brace on the tree better, sitting higher up on the ground. Curiously he heard some more rustling, leaves scraping against something solid pushing them out of the way. A few of them were hacked away, Everett hearing the metal sing. Eventually a presence was felt before it was seen, boots crunching over some dead leaves. Not a tiger, at least, but perhaps someone who might finish him off anyways.

Everett's eyebrows lifted almost expectantly, tilting his chin up until his head rested against the tree and his gaze found whoever it was. With the sunlight cutting lines through the foliage it took him a moment of squinting to discern the familiar face of none other than North Christiano. He hadn't lost enough blood yet to think he was hallucinating or having some kind of fever dream. If North of all people was the first thing to pop up in that scenario then he really fucking lost it. Whatever the slaver might have been saying or asking about Everett wasn't going to waste the breath. It was already becoming more difficult to hang on to it. "Tigers," he forced out through clenched teeth with an ache in his accented tones, "two of 'em left." His knuckles were white with how intensely he gripped his handgun. North's voice faded from his perception after a beat of silence stretched between them, Everett's focus flicking to the dark shape coiling itself in a nearby tree.

Like liquid it moved, the tiger more silent now than it had been before. The length of its body spiraled as if it had no bones at all, lowering itself closer to the other captain's flank with hopes of jumping upon him. Everett pointed towards the feline with a near lazy rise of his hand, not even sure that North was paying attention. He must have been, because he turned to look with his head tilting up to see the tiger pouncing. Everett still had no idea where the other one was.
In a situation like this, North wasn't saying anything at all. He'd frozen in a half-step like he had every intention to keep on moving through, and hadn't expected the answer to be so immediately in front of him. He didn't bother speaking, because despite how it would be natural instinct to ask what was going on or make small talk, North was also a professional, and one that especially knew not to waste someone's breath beyond what they'd even had left to keep themselves alive. The wounds looked grave, beyond grave, and the blood loss was severe. Enough to tell him not to expect a miracle, but not enough for him to consider grabbing a stone and finishing the job as mercifully as possible. Even despite his second nature assessment of injuries and necessary procedures, the predicament of coming across a practically-shredded man (and one he did not care much for at THAT) was still very much fresh in his head, and took absolute center stage. In the moment that he wasn't doing anything but just standing there, his cutlass in his left hand and his right hand dangling at his hip, he was formulating and organizing the most immediate details in a shorthand manner of thinking.
An Enemy.

It was a wonder he'd do anything here, seeing as the injured party WAS an enemy of his, after all, and it was impossible to know what idea he aligned with concerning whether he thought this attacker was worth the investigation or better left to finish their job.
"Tigers," a shorthand response that didn't quicken the pace of North's heart more than it already had been, ever prepared, but it was important information that helped shape the chaotic ball of ideas, like the blocky colors upon a sketch. Raw, the largest shapes mapped out of what he thought, but not yet what he would do about them. Before he could make any start towards that fine detail however, the hair on the back of his neck stood up like he'd been watched, and the sensation of eyes along with the slow start of a point from Everett spun the slaver in direction of where he assumed the gesture would be aimed for. It was that quick gesture that had given him about a second or two to act before the lunge. North dropped his cutlass like a hot coal before he even registered what he was looking at and pulled a long hunting knife from his hip to strike when it lunged for his chest. Instinctively he moved backwards in the sand, his heavy boots scuffling at the earth as he attempted to parlay in some way, to avoid the brunt of the hit. To avoid going down. But he didn't go far, and with a thrust of the blade, regardless of position, he sought to ram it into the side of the animal's skull, into the temple, into the ear, into the first thing that swung his way.


ROLLING FOR: EVD; Full if success, Partial if close fail, None if far fail
He could have left him like that, once the Rogue captain was able to focus on the blur that lunged towards the other human. Everett was able to focus because the large, cursed beast dropped down to spring at the one left standing. Maybe he posed a more immediate threat to them, standing there unafflicted with his cutlass brandished, or maybe they latched on to the most movement. Whatever the case may be, Everett saw an opportunity present itself like he was parched and stranded being shown a glorious flask of water.


It was a distraction. The word rolled around in his mind like a mantra, some sort of rhythm to keep the one of his body continuing even as it sluggishly pumped blood from wounds he hadn't had the time to properly inspect. The sword was lost in the overgrowth, glint of a knife replacing it but it skidded off the side of the mutated tiger's skull. Still it roared, in pain and rage, and Everett watched almost listlessly as the other man lost his footing. Large arms were braced against it, keeping snapping jaws at bay even as claws started to grip and tear into his meager layer of clothing.


Everett could use it to try and drag himself away. Whatever strength he had could carry him as decently as it could, through the rotting portions of the jungle, and he could hope that it was enough. He took a breath that shook in his chest, swallowing against the dryness of his throat, and he raised the gun instead. Bracing it as best as he could with blood-slick hands he fired once or twice towards the writhing form trying to gain more leverage than it already had. It could become discouraged, get wounded, or at least provide enough of a chance for North to get out from under it with the knife he still held.

ATK: Shootin' at that there cate in the last paragraph