“Look, I really don’t want any trouble.” the man said sitting on one of playground’s tyre swings. He was dressed in the gym-dude uniform most werewolves learn to appreciate after their first few transformations, with a zipup hoodie, sweatpants and sneakers, small duffel bag in the sand on his right side. Richard thought he looked to be in his late twenties, which really could mean that he was anywhere between that age and somewhere close to a century. Werewolves aren’t immortal, they just age real slowly and are a pain to kill and if he had been turned young…
“Yet here you are” Richard sighed, “People who don’t look for trouble usually don’t wander into other pack’s territory and behead one of the pack’s candidates. You do realise we have to act right?”
“Yeah, I do,” the man said and sighed, as Richard drew closer and sat down in one of the other swings he caught the man’s scent, there was no trace of fear in it which surprised him, “But for all that it is worth it wasn’t meant personally to any in your pack. John Spade had a 1 million bounty on his head for murder, I collected it.”
Richard looked down on the duffel bag then back at the man in the swing. The pack had known John had had some kind of trouble he was fleeing from, hell, he’d said as much when he came looking for them, but they hadn’t looked to much into it. They had decided that they would deal with it when and if it came back to haunt him. They just hadn’t thought it would happen so soon.
“What did he do?” Richard found himself asking, kicking at the sand underneath the swing. The park was a smart move, it was neutral “don’t fucking-touch-this-ground”, all the clans and the cabals and the covens would be out for blood if they heard two werewolves had duked it out at lunch in a public playground even if they were the only people in it at the time. In here, during daytime, they couldn’t touch him.
“He killed some important people down south,” the man said, “I don’t know the full details, I don’t really care to be honest, but he off-ed some witch’s son and at least one vampire. The coven and the clan wanted to make an example, so John got 1 mill on his head. He would have used your pack as a shield and then run somewhere else once you were weak. I know it sounds cliché but I think I did you a favour here.”
Richard smiled a tight lipped smile, “I suppose you did, but now we have a conundrum. On the one hand, you did us a favour, on the other, we will look weak if we let one of our own, even one at fault, be killed without repercussion.”
They sat there in silence for a while as a trickle of families entered the playground.
“Looks like time is up” the man said.
“Yeah” Richard sighed as he saw a family coming towards the swing set, “I’ll cut give you a deal, if you head into the woods over there, I’ll duel you for this, a proper Holmgaang and if you win you go free, no hard feelings. If you try to run, we will have to track you down.”
The man stood up, smiled at the family as he took his duffel bag and nodded at Richard who also stood up from his swing.
“No hard feelings.” The man said.
“None, Moon’s honour.” Richard said.
The man nodded and then walked away in the directions of the woods.