Marcus was ready by the time Simon had layered up. Simon had grabbed an extra jacket and an emergency medical kit. Marcus had basic survival gear. It wasn’t likely Jenine had made it far, but it didn’t hurt to be prepared. The only thing missing was Amoc.
“Where’s our escort?” Marcus asked Simon as they met on the porch of the house.
Amoc’s voice came from behind, unmistakable in war form, causing both Simon and Macrus to flinch.
“Fucking hell!” Simon exclaimed. “You’re the size of a house, how do you do that?”
“Right.” Simon sardonically replied. “Are we expecting trouble?”
“Always.” Amoc preferred to keep things simple when he was in war form.
“Prepare for the worst, be happy when it doesn’t happen.” Marcus stated. “I won’t say no to having Amoc escorting us in war form.”
Marcus was the constant pragmatist.
“Got everything?” Amoc asked.
Simon nodded at the same time as Marcus.
“Then let’s get moving.” Amoc ordered. “If I’m moving too fast, tell me.”
It was around noon as they left the compound behind, headed west as Logan’s group went east. They would both turn south if they hadn’t been able to find anything within a reasonable distance of the compound. The snowfall was heavy, leaving the noon sunlight diffused in a uniform gray blanket. The trees were fortunately keeping the snow from getting too deep on the ground, but Amoc’s pace was making that little relief. They walked, sometimes jogged, in silence, not wanting to mask any sounds that might help them find Jenine.
About thirty minutes had passed when Amoc raised a hand for them to stop. His nose was up, indicating he had a scent. Simon had never seen Amoc hunt in war form before, and thinking of what ‘hunting’ had once meant for Amoc made it mildly terrifying.
This is a rescue, though. However Amoc honed these skills, they work just as well for finding someone lost in the woods.
The thoughts had barely entered Simon’s mind when Amoc shot off like a bolt. Simon and Marcus looked at each other for a moment, then took off running after Amoc. Simon’s lungs burned in the freezing air as he held a full run in the direction Amoc had gone. After only a minute or two, Simon had lost sight of Amoc, and came to a stop with Marcus right behind him. They both stood there, trying to listen for anything, but the snow was blanketing the forest’s sounds as much as it was the light.
Suddenly there was a scream. The direction was hard to figure in the muffling of the snow, but Simon made a guess and picked up running again, Marcus right behind him.
A crash to their front, and a figure suddenly came running towards them out of the gray. It was Jenine, covered in snow and poorly clothed for this weather. She looked like she had just rolled out of bed and into a snowbank.
“Jenine!” Marcus shouted, moving to intercept her.
Marcus stopped Jenine, and she stood there for a moment before seeming to recognize the two of them.
“Marcus!” Jenine exclaimed. “Simon! I… I don’t know how I got out here. I went to sleep… and when I woke up, I was staring at this massive creature with white fur! It was holding my hands… I think it was saying something, but I just… something huge and dark hit it, and I screamed and started running.”
Sudden realization arrived in Simon’s mind. Jenine had been Dreamwalking. Something was trying to wake her up, and apparently had succeeded. Just in time for Amoc to find it.
The crack of a tree breaking in half was heard from the direction Jenine had come running.
“Stay with her, she’s going to be fine.” Simon said as he started running towards the commotion.
“What are you doing?” Marcus asked.
“Stopping Amoc from making a mistake!” Simon replied, now at a full run.
Whatever it was, it was intelligent, if it had recognized Jenine’s Dreamwalking and pulled her out of it. It was trying to help. Amoc might not have understood that. I need to reach him.
Another crash, closer this time, followed by a roar that was not Amoc’s.
Amoc’s fighting it, whatever it is. Another Garou? Jenine had said white fur. Amoc has never said anything about Garou with white fur.
The thoughts went tumbling through Simon’s mind until he reached the site of the fight. Amoc’s opponent was indeed covered head to toe in white fur, and was nearly as big. It wasn’t a Garou; the head was far too different. It was also losing the fight. Simon wasn’t sure how long they had been at it, but its fur was heavily stained red with blood. Amoc had a couple of wounds showing as well, which was remarkable on its own, but he was nowhere near as bad off.
The creature lunged at Amoc, but it was clumsy and slow, seemingly running out of energy. Amoc saw the attack coming and used the momentum to pull it off balance, sending it face first into the snow. He then kicked the creature over on its back, and pinned it to the forest floor with a knee, raising an arm above it for a final strike. Amoc was about to kill it, and the realization snapped Simon out of his momentary inaction.
“Amoc, stop!” Simon yelled, out of breath as he came to a halt.
Amoc stopped his attack. It was only then Simon saw that Amoc’s fist was closed, the vicious claws that could cut through an undead’s spine in a single swipe tucked away inside.
Was Amoc trying to stun it?
“It was trying to help!” Simon managed to get out on the next breath.
Amoc looked back at the creature. No longer clawing at Amoc’s leg, it was simply holding its arms up to try and shield its head. It had stopped fighting completely.
“Jenine was Dreamwalking.” Simon again managed, catching his breath finally. “She told me, something with white fur was holding her hands and saying something. I realized… it woke her up. It was trying to help.”
After a moment, Amoc cautiously removed his knee from the creature’s chest and stood up. It made no attempt to stand or otherwise move from the position Amoc had put it in, seeming to have either run out of energy to fight, or understanding what Simon had just said. Or both. The only sound for several moments was three creatures breathing heavily, breath steaming in the freezing air.
“Is this true?” Amoc rumbled the question to the creature, breaking the silence.
The creature lowered its arms and nodded an affirmative.
“A helpful Yeti.” Amoc remarked. “Rare for your kind.”
The creature made no remark to Amoc’s statement, verbal or otherwise.
“Yeti?” Simon asked. “Abominable snowmen?”
“Yeti.” Amoc corrected, in a tone that said that was the correct term.
“Sorry, just… wasn’t expecting that.” Simon conceded. “But I guess I shouldn’t really have any expectations anymore.”
Amoc’s only response was a grunt. Clearly there was going to be a talk later.
Amoc then reached back down to the Yeti, and it reacted at first by raising its arms again. Amoc’s hand was open, but turned up. He was offering to help it stand, which it realized after a moment, and warily took the offered hand. It nearly fell back down before catching itself, and stood somewhat unsteadily, pressing a hand into one of its wounded sides.
“Can they heal like you?” Simon asked, noting the red gashes across Amoc’s abdomen and legs were already starting to close.
“No.” Amoc replied. “Faster than a human, but not like a Garou.”
“Then we should probably get that looked at.” Simon offered.
Amoc looked again at the Yeti, seeming to consider something.
“Come with us.” Amoc said after a moment. “They can help.”
The Yeti again nodded an affirmative. Simon wasn’t sure if it was out of fear of refusing Amoc, or if it really did need the help. The fact it had gone toe to toe with him and survived spoke of how tough it was, but Amoc had still done a lot of damage. It was intelligent, there was no question about that now. It had helped Jenine. Amoc had said that was rare. There were a lot of questions that would need answering, but for now it looked like Doc was about to get another non-human patient.