A Grimm Stroll in the Dark:
The wind howled like the souls of the tormented dead, whipping the snow into a blinding frenzy just outside the stone archway. Grimm watched the weather from inside the small and decrepit structure that Lady Wessex had found to shield them from the blizzard. Warmth began to thaw out his limbs as the small coal stove contraption the Lady had brought kindled to life. Grimm looked at it dubiously as he judged the amount of coal in it to the weather outside. Grimm had never been an optimist; life in the slums of a major city beat that kind of mindset out of him early on. Besides, it was hard to keep a positive outlook on life when you couldn’t feel your toes. Shivering, Grimm huddled into the musky fur he wore and moved away from the open door. He knew that the skin would start smelling soon as they had not had time to properly cure the hide of the Wolfe, but at least it was something to battle the wind until then.
Lady Wessex sat across the coal stove from the entrance with her back against the wall of the building and studied their surroundings. The place made her feel nervous, a large stone warehouse in the middle of a primeval forest filled with decaying wooden crates, their contents gone or rotted way. Something just didn’t feel right about it all, but she hoped it was just a lost way station for travelers. Then there was the large machine in the corner that looked like nothing so much as a steel cage. Strange or not, the building would keep them alive until the weather passed at least. She watched as Grimm moved to the fire and hunched into the hide that she had stripped from the Wolfe. A slightly evil smile spread her lips as she luxuriated in the warm winter clothes and boots she had taken to deal with the weather. No reason to tell her companion that a heating augmentation had been built into the expensive winter gear.
“Will this little stove be enough to outlast the storm?” Grimm asked, his doubt dripping from his tone.
“There is dry wood here if the coal runs out hunter, the stove will be sufficient unless the storm is a true monster. Anyways, I have read that death from the cold is rather pleasant. At some point, you just go to sleep and never wake up.” The Lady advised.
“Wonderfully comforting thought, thank you for that,” Grimm mumbled as he hunched as close to the stove as he could without lighting his tattered clothes on fire. Between the fight with the aberrant in town and the tussle with the primordial wolf the night before, they had left his long coat and fine clothes in a state of shredded rags. Grimm continued to mumble to himself as he settled and drew out a large curved dagger and began to clean it. The methodical practice began to calm his mind and body as his habits took over. Once the knife was in proper order, he withdrew his augmented shotgun and started the process on it as well. He had been lucky that he hadn’t lost the small tool kit he kept to work on the firearm in either of the battles. Finding another would be hard enough in a city much less the woods.
Lady Wessex watched with interest as Grimm began going over the shotgun with a set of fine tools, cleaning any dirt, blood, and gore from the large hooks that allowed it to lock into an opponent’s flesh. The pistons and gears that drove the hooks came next as Grimm went over them making sure the actions were clean and in good repair and that the connection points where secure and undamaged. The actually machinery that drove the pistons was next in line to be taken care of and Lady Wessex had to fight her growing weariness as she watched the aberrant hunter work. His motions were sure and practiced and he was meditative as he took care of his weapons.
Sleep snuck up on the Lady as she watched Grimm work on his weapons. When he came out of the calming state that the work dropped him into, he found her curled up with her large cloak used as a blanket and her pack as a pillow. The expensive clothing still looked incredibly good even with the dirt and grime it had accumulated in the past day. Grimm silently wished he had a set of clothing like that, doubtless it would be better in this blizzard than the scraps that he still wore. Maybe he could bully her into buying him some in the next town they reached.
Satisfied that his weapons were in good repair and convincing himself that he would wake up if they fell asleep, Grimm found the most comfortable position he could on the cold stone floor and pulled the skin tighter around him. The musky scent of the great predator actually worked to calm the hunter’s mind and he allowed his lids to fall closed and drifted into an exhausted sleep.