Not many people expect a Christmas theme straight out of a horror movie for a costume. Then again few shifters could pull off the Krampus look either. Long elk horns reaching for the sky; the hooded coat, a dirty and deep red like a twisted perversion of Santa’s that stank of decaying flesh hid her face but some if they got close could still make out the features. Eyes; weird, inhuman grey eyes sunken in as though they did not belong to the face - a mask, a gaping, drooping mask of torn stinking hide over a black muzzle.
All in all a rather well done costume if Waya did say so herself. She barely had gotten Ahnah to agree to help her put it together in the first place. For it was truly a nightmare inducing costume. And probably the last time they would sit down and watch some horror flicks.
The most expensive thing was the cloak, as it had cost her a month's worth of hides, and was too bright red at first. A few weeks buried with a rotting hare and well she got the desired effect. A rack of antlers with some moss dangling from the tines strapped to her head. Rusty chains and crude iron bells from the resident lumberjack who chuckled at her telling of why she needed them and Waya was set for a rather scary Halloween. She even dressed Asmodeus in dark rags, chains, a set of old rams horns attached to a bear skull. All strapped to his halter as a Yule goat that accompanied her fittingly.
Scratching at her ribs absently the lycanthrope waited on the rest of the Issoratuyok party.
It was only about the billionth time he asked himself why he decided to participate again. Of course the young man knew exactly why, since he had been regretting to miss it last year for quite a while. Humans were too damn great in glorifying past things. After he had painted himself and Ittuluk as spiritual warriors from the first nation for the last competition he competed in, Dan had decided to go a little bit more ouf ot his zone. Geographically speaking, mostly.
The young man’s choice had fallen on a Samurai - or Bunshi, as they spoke of themselves he had heard - and his Tokota would be one of the japanese fox god things. Ramiel was pretty well suited for a silver fox with his greying tundra coat and the dun and marked made him look a bit spooky in the darkness as well. The only issue was the fact that those fox spirits usually had nine tails. And well, Ramiel didn’t.
Luckily most of his bearwolves were changing to their thicker winter coat, and with a bit additional brushing he could quickly gather enough silvery gray hairs from Ramiel, Soley and Ittuluk to tinker eight fake tails together. It had been tricky work, and he could still feel the super glue sticking on some part of his finger tips.
His own costume was heavy, and with the masked helmet on he couldn’t see a lot of his surroundings. Therefore he had put it on Ramiels saddle for the moment, where most of the traditional weapons a Samurai possessed were stored as well. Only the Katana and Wakizashi - the two swords - were hanging from his weapon belt. Bow, spears and the like hung from the silverish Ramiel, who seemed still not too impressed by his new handler. Dan smiled, he certainly wouldn’t be either when the first thing he did was putting a load of weapons on his tack and attaching eight additional tails.
He had to walk pretty straddle-legged to not fall over all the armory. Feeling more than just a bit silly he approached Waya, whom he hadn’t really seen since the day of the avalanche.
While some refrained from wearing costumes of deities either due to a phenomenon known as cultural appropriation or simply because of their complexity, Kelly did not seem particularly concerned about neither. Of course, being able to shapeshift into anything and everything had its perks and so did practising witchcraft. She had the resources and the skill, so why not?
She had chosen to masquerade as the Egyptian goddess Isis, a female deity associated with magic. And as a friend of hers once said, however hard you try, a disguise is always a self-portrait. Indeed, magic was an integral part of Kelly’s life.
Clad in a flowing white chiffon dress that draped loosely over her waist, stretching down to her ankles, the woman appeared threatening still, despite all the femininity the dress attributed, the tall and well-muscled female looked ready -and willing- to rip your throat out should you frustrate her. Kelly’s usually light brown hair -often worn in soft waves or a fishtail side braid and reaching down to her mid-back- was now black and just slightly draping over her shoulders. A velvet ribbon tied around the back of the head with a small bow adorned Kelly’s hair, the deep shade of blue -reminiscent of a stormy night- making the plain ribbon seem ever so regal.
And while Isis was frequently seen with a ribbon, she often wore Hathor’s headpiece as well, which Kelly didn’t fancy wearing. So she opted out, with a less extravagant but equally majestic crown, made entirely out of gold. The diadem’s design had copious amount of detail work, swirls of metal going around her head and down to her temples, a circular lapis lazuli hanging in the middle of her forehead. Golden cuffs decorated Kelly’s wrists, upper arms and ankles while a golden ankh hung from her neck, taking residence in the space exposed by the halter neckline.
But the most awe-inspiring piece of the costume was -without question- the wings. The rich plumage that covered the enormous feathered appendages was mostly light brown in colour, with a few darker feathers here and there. They seemed so lifelike it was as if she had grown them out of her shoulderblades. She in fact had. And as if that was not enough shifter privilege already, they were also fully functional -she could actually fly-.
Considering which Tokota Kelly had brought along to the event, it was actually quite obvious. The Toki that stood beside her was as small as a Tokota with dwarfism could be, having a height of just seventy five centimeters. Asungaq all but made up for her size with the amount of sass and feistiness she carried with those stubby legs and in the past few minutes she had made sure there was no shortage of snarky comments that came out of her mouth. Quite fitting actually, as the piebald Toki had been dressed up as a snake, namely an Inland Taipan -coincidentally the most venomous snake in the world-
The winged woman and her Tokota decided to mingle, Asungaq staying close by as they manoeuvred through the crowd, heading towards Waya and Dan with determination.
Seeing Dan approach first Asmodeus gave him an odd look by tilting his head from side to side. The chains and bells attached to his rags chiming drawing the lycan's attention as well to Dan caused a warble of laughter to rumble from her. His costume looked as heavy and real as hers but how he had to walk to compensate was what made her laugh. Even drew out the questioning thought of how in the hell Dan would manage to get on his tokota to close the distance to the little arena that was erected.
Sniffing the night-chilled air Waya decided to close the distance between them just so Dan could stop his silly walk. With Asmodeus on her heels, Waya would make an imposing sight for a lycan dressed up. With them standing in the open a good distance away from the arena few passersby on their way to watch the contest gawked in quiet awe and some fear. Towering over Dan, Waya bobbed her head in greeting even if they didn't leave on a good foot last they met it was good to see an old face.
All in all, Dan felt a little bit pride next to all the awkwardness. He managed to finish his costume on time, and since he did most of it by himself - with the help of some more skillful persons in the tribe - that was an accomplishment. The leathery parts of the armor were almost completely out of hides he had hunted himself, and the weapons were mostly handmade as well. Especially the large, asymmetrical bow had come out extraordinarily well. He had put much work into it, since he planned to use it on his regular hunts as well. The samurai bows were large, had a wide range and incredible shooting strength. Originally they were designed to be used from horses, but Dan was sure it would adapt perfectly to Tokotas as well.
The rattling of chains, mixed with the much brighter noise of bells let his eyes search the source. Not far away stood a fellow tribe member - Waya. Even though her costume was breathtakingly well done and scary as hell, Dan would probably recognize her everywhere after last winter. He had thought himself already dead until she found him, buried deep within the snow of the avalanche. A cold shiver run down his spine that had nothing to do with all the scary people around him.
Dan was glad the lycan approached him. Walking in this beast of an armor was… exhausting. He tried a welcoming smile, but it wasn’t quite as warm as usual. “Waya. Long time no see. Great costume!”
The chilly winter air ran through Kelly’s plumage, the light brown feathers rustling softly under the breeze. Kelly shut her eyes and remained still, taking a moment to revel in the feeling before she carried on walking. The muscular woman was walking with poise and confidence, her strides slow and deliberate. She and Asungaq were walking towards nowhere in particular, Kelly having decided to give the two shifters some time to catch up before she waltzed in. The piebald Toki was constantly scanning her surrounding, to ensure no one she knew would see her like that rather than to find a way out. She was well aware running away wouldn’t end well neither for her nor for anyone who would make the mistake of aiding her in her escape.
With a snap of her fingers -she always had a flare for the dramatic- a glass of champagne appeared on the woman’s hand and Kelly downed it with one swift motion, swirling her finger as it refilled. “And here I was betting you’d be drinking whiskey.” The Toki said with a chuckle, slowly waving her tail, the fabric of her costume gracefully swinging behind her. “I am under the impression 1926 Macallan Fine and Rare is slightly out of their price range, darling.” Kelly replied with an arrogant smirk, voice laced with sarcasm. “Touché.” The Toki said with a soft sigh, sniffing the air.
Asungaq coughed and sneezed, rubbing her muzzle with her paw in a failed attempt to get that awful scent off her nostrils. “What the hell is that?” The Toki asked with a disgusted expression, shaking her head in disapproval. “Nevermind. Let’s make some friends.” Kelly replied nonchalantly, snapping her fingers. Asu felt the world spin around her before she and Kelly were suddenly a few meters away from the two shifters and their Tokotas, the Toki eyeing them cautiously.
Kelly walked up to the group, Asungaq following her closely. The Toki was slightly intimidated by everyone’s massive size but she would not let it show, knowing -or hoping- Kelly would keep her safe no matter what.
Letting out a series of whines that sounded like a dog's rough attempt at saying thank you Waya again bobbed her head. The action of attempting to speak hurt her throat so she remained silent for the rest, using hand gestures to convey her thoughts. Turning she gestured towards the arena with an outstretched hand and started walking towards it to get in the line for the costume contest. The jingle of bells and chains were an ominous announcement to their arrival and even had a man fall back in fright at her walking behind them. Asmodeus walking a head even playfully butted with his rams horns a few bystanders to move them out of their way.
The small group managing an even pace to the arena till a woman and her toki blocked their path. Tilting her head Waya was confused by the rich looking costume and the confidence that looked like arrogance as she strode towards them with drink in hand. Who and what… The toki was obviously a snake but she had never seen the outfit the woman wore before as her education was lacking in middle eastern history. Coming to a stop Waya waited to see what she wanted then it hit her, their third party member. Well they had never met so it was no surprise she was absolutely clueless on the woman. Letting out a gruff bark to tell Asmodeus to stop and come to her side she waited on the woman to introduce herself since she wouldn't get anything lingual from Waya's blackened muzzle.
The young man was a bit confused at first when Waya didn’t answer, but instead whined. The puzzled look on his face soon vanished, as he realized that the shifter probably couldn’t speak in her more feral form. Did she speak to him back when she dug him out of the snow? He couldn’t remember exactly, his body had already been in the process of cooling out. His memories were foggy.
Therefore he followed her gesture with the paw, admiring the complexity of her costume. Next to her he felt childish, what was dressing like an ancient warrior before now felt like playing ninja. “Hunted those horns by yourself? Must have cost you an arm and a leg otherwise” he stated. Living from the things he hunted himself and trading them for crafted things with the tribe members were the most common thing for Dan to get stuff, and he knew that a lot of the tribe members were the same.
Waya stopped, Dan halted next to her. One hand on Ramiel’s side, he looked at the newcomer. It took him a moment until he understood that this had to be the third of the tribe’s members that he was planning to meet tonight. But that costume! Those wings looked amazing. He quickly glanced at Ramiels glued additional tales.
“How on earth did you do those wings? They look like you stole them from some Roc or something” He expressed his awe.
“Hello Waya, Dan.” She spoke, giving the two a nod of acknowledgement. The woman’s demeanour was calm and composed despite the sly smirk that adorned her features, perhaps serving as a gentle reminder that disguise is always a self-portrait. “I’m Kelly. Isis for the night.” She stated bluntly, having seen the perplexed tilt of the woman’s head. ‘Interesting choice of attire.’ Kelly thought to herself, her expression morphing into a rather serious one. ‘At least she’s caught up with Austro-Bavarian folklore.’ She nodded to herself, her expression reverting to an amused one. “I’d shake hands but you appear to be quite uncomfortable with the weight of your armour, darling.” Kelly said with a friendly smile, scanning the man with her eyes to emphasise her point. Sure, he could handle it -with a few chuckles from the rest of the group- but she decided not to appear mean-spirited.
The smirk on the black-haired woman’s face turned into a smile, expressing pride yet not showing arrogance like she usually did. She quite liked this man, this far. Kelly slowly moved the left wing towards Dan, careful not to touch him as it was very likely he would fall over with a mere push. Stretching the bottom of the wing to showcase the rich plumage, the feathers began changing colour from light chestnut to vibrant green and rich blue hues. Starting from the tip and moving upwards, the whole left wing was a lovely mix of blues and greens within seconds, reminiscent of a peacock. “Homegrown.” Kelly said with a small smile, winking playfully.
“Your costumes are well crafted. Rather accurate as well.” She stated in the same blunt tone as before, there was no need for neither flatteries nor lies and there certainly was no need to be a sarcastic arse. Kelly hastily scanned her surroundings, sniffing the air with curiosity. An all too familiar scent was wandering in the air but there was no time for games. They had a competition to attend. “Shall we?” She asked plainly, gesturing to the line for the costume contest with a little smirk on her face.