Brothers’ Caverns X marks the spot
The last chills of winter were in the air, and the night sky was the crispness of a cold clear night. With the soft glow from the caves and the occasional rattle of bare branches the area could almost be taken from some sort of gothic painting. Monty didn't have the inclination to care for the beauty of moonlight and glowworms, the rustle of his boots on the grass, or the shifting crackle of earth beneath his shovel.

The hole was not large, about half the size of a coffin and only a few feet deep. Ample space for the worn chest, its wood stained by years of use. With one last toss of dirt he threw the shovel off to the side and grabbed for said chest, its weight was substantial but he had no difficulty in lowering it down. It was as he settled the chest that an unfamiliar noise sounded, his head jerked up and he peered out into the night.

What few breaths he'd been taking stilled. He felt rather like a deer in headlights. Though he hoped there was no truck, metaphoric or not, coming out of the darkness at him. There was a hint of the feeling of getting caught doing something bad. Not that he was doing anything illegal, well actually he wasn't entirely sure on that. He had not bothered to research if burying treasure around the Brother's Cavern's was allowed or not, as he didn't really care. The treasure wasn't exactly all that amazing either, it was all sentimental. Certainly not a chest full of doubloons, even if there was some gold.

lil yeen :)

Charlie sniffed at some brambles, squatted to take a piss on them, and moved on.

Being a hyena was fun because you're half frightening, half ridiculous. When he was in trouble he could snap his teeth and growl, but most of the time he was just an oddly shaped dog. Oddly shaped dogs were pretty inconspicuous, people weren't calling animal control on him the same way they might a leopard. Life as a roaming hyena was nice, free to do whatever and have fun.

And follow whatever smell you want to follow.

Whatever it was Charlie was following smelled foul. Like rotting flesh, something a scavenger like him might want to snack on if it wasn't also alive and kicking. The dead smell was moving, and that made the hyena very curious.

He thought he was doing a decent job at staying unnoticed —inconspicuous oddly shaped dog style— but a big puppyish paw snapping a twig was enough to break his cover. He lifted it, held it close to his chest, and then the two deer in headlights were staring at each other. Charlie was frozen, big yellow eyes watching the thing, and waiting for it to make a move.
Spotting the animal shape in the darkness wasn't so hard, vampire sight even kindly made out the details enough for him to figure out it was a fucking hyena of all things. He didn't even need to bother smelling the thing out to know it was a shifter. Which made him feel incredibly less guilty, for some unexplainable reason. Perhaps because they were both use to secrets.

He gave the hyena a toothy grin. Alas there were no elongated fangs given the lack of nearby food. Stooping he pulled a key from somewhere within his cloths and clicked open the lock of the chest. The lid would fall open, and given enough time Monty would rummage around with the sounds rustling fabric and clattering of objects.

The chest held everything he was planning to burn for Tempest's funeral, well everything that fit. There was jewelry, robes, even coins. But most of all there was a couple daggers. He was pretty sure one of them had some silver in it.
The person, or corpse, stared back at him and he knew he'd been seen. He half expected the thing to run at him, full supernatural speed, but instead it just smiled. Some might find it unsettling, to be smiled at by a vampire digging a hole, but Charlie didn't feel very threatened. He wasn't scared of anything until it bit.

So when the creature smiled, Charlie's feather duster of a tail started to swish. He took a few more steps forward when the vampire turned its back, nose sniffling loudly to try and figure out what he had hidden in that chest. It was hard to make anything out over the smell of decay.
It was incredibly hard not to spill everything when the thing he needed was apparently near the bottom. But the some luck, and the mishandling of a number of ancient objects he found the dagger. A sword, or even better a gun, would have done the job easier. After all there was only so much waving around and threating a person could do with what amount to a knife.

The blade of this particular dagger wouldn't do much damage to the hyena, but the handle was silver. As such he held it by the sheath, rather like a bat, when he straightened up.

While he had been busy it seemed the hyena had taken the moment to approach, and he quickly brandished the dagger handle first at it.

"Don't come any closer."
The vampire pulled out something shiny, the hyena craned it's neck to see around the figure. No need, the item was then put on full display for him in a threatening show. His ears flattened back when the piece of metal was brandished at him, what happened to smiling bro?

The scruffy canine sat exactly where he was, and continued to watch.
Rather remarkably the hyena sat down, a full stop, and Monty had the rather odd idea that the shifter seemed rather dog like in temperament. Were hyena's in the dog family? He had no idea. It did seem to end any potential danger on his behalf if the were was so well behaved. He rather felt that it was a wonderful opportunity to rob the hyena blind. But as an animal didn't really have anything worth stealing the shifter would not be subjected to his pirate urges.

" If you try to go for the chest I will hit you with this. The handle is silver, it will burn you. "

He brandished the dagger in emphasis.

"If you don't want the chest, good. We can share the area for the night."

Could the shifter even understand him? Maybe, it had stopped.
Charlie could understand, there was some of him floating around with the hyena brain and it knew that "don't" meant "no". But more than responding to the words he'd responded to the tone of voice and threatening gesture. He was a cowardly animal at heart, always had been, and he didn't want to risk getting hurt. He'd watch from the sidelines for now, hoping there might be something to eat that the dead creature would leave behind.

As long as the vampire came no closer, the hyena did the same. He did stand again, nothing he did was very specific. Jittery, anxious and quick to change his mind. Still he heeded that invisible barrier, tail flapping while he paced a bit.
Well there was no response, at least not one Monty could understand. The hyena stood up and seemed to pace without coming closer, weather that was an answer or not who knew. But there was no snarling or teeth snapping so Monty figured they had reached some sort of agreement.

Keeping the creature in his periphery he bent back down to try and get some order to the ransacked chest. Viking dress, check. Number of random artifacts including the other daggers, check. Several coins, check. Gold inlaid mask, not check. He swore. In french of course, english just didn't capture the feel of a good swear.

Thinking that anything he had thrown about couldn't have gone far he got down on his knees, not even bothering with the silver dagger as it was all but tossed aside. Lucky for the shifter not in the hyena's direction. He all but shoved his hands at the ground, trying to feel for the object he had lost.
As soon as the vampire turned it's back, Charlie stopped pacing. Bright yellow eyes sought the contents of the chest, nose still working away at the air. Mostly there was the smell of death, and then something old, and beyond that the scents of the world around them. No food, but that didn't dissuade him from hoping.

He didn't come any closer, even when the silver was discarded. Just kept watching, curious gaze now locked on where the person was digging. Excitement manifested in a quick yip.
He dug, he shifted, moved from one side of the pit to the other and yet there was no mask to be found. The more he looked and the less he found panic began to settle in. He needed that mask, the idea that he had lost it was to much to even entertain. The color of his eyes brightened into silver, because of both the heightened emotion and also activating his power. At once his his vision clarified to an almost painful degree, making out every shift of the dirt. The chest was no almost impossible to look at with its brightly colored treasures.

The hyena was almost forgotten as he threw himself up out of the pit. A long string of swears passing through his lips. It was as he blinked away a smattering of tears that his eyes fell once more upon the shifter. In the darkness his eyes were now bright, reflecting the light of the moon and the glowworms.

"Did you see a mask. A golden one?"
Charlie kept waiting, sniffing around as if something might just reveal itself to him. He was nosing a rock when the vampire jumped out of the hole in a whirl of curses. Startled from his latest interest the hyena yipped, skittering back quickly then turning towards the vampire.

His tail lifted, all the long fur on his back and nape stood on end. For some reason this had startled him more than the knife, and the beast's mind didn't like it. Ears flattened he let loose a warning growl, no more shouting.
The shifter beasty had its hackles raised. Puffed up like a cat, which went some ways in disproving the dog notion. It was even growling at him. He bared his teeth right back, because even centuries old vampires could be childish. Given the lack of bloodlusting it was not the most aggressive look.

What matter was that the were was clearly going to be of no use. And therefore Monty turned away. He had a mask to find. And so if not immediately interrupted he would continue the hand in dirt shuffle peering with enhanced eyes all around for the tiniest bit of gold.
When the vampire bared it's own teeth Charlie's lip quivered, preparing to defend himself should the vampire attack. Eventually their little standoff ended, and the vampire turned around again, sifting through the dirt rather desperately. The man turning his back felt like some kind of understanding, the hyena had been given the upper hand (or so it decided) and so the fluff lay flat on his back and his expression returned to normal with a chuff.

What was the vampire looking for? Some of the human mind had snuck back in and Charlie was curious. He took a few tentative steps closer, until he was back where he'd been watching a minute ago. And then he took a few more, quick heavy sniffs in the vampire's direction. The closer he got the stronger the scent of death was, it radiated off the vampire like cheap cologne. Strange, the born were had never been this close to an undead person before.
It seemed he had used up all his luck on not having a greedy shifter fight, as the mask was no where in site. The more time passed without even a hint of it the more panicked he became. It was not an antique like the others, actually it was newly made. He'd commissioned it specifically for the funeral. Without a body, or even ashes, he had nothing to represent Tempest. And he didn't really have a set religion he believed in, but some part of him still deeply believed in a life beyond. Though he was sure she was already there, given Samiel's testimony about her ghost. He felt a strong need to do a full send off, as if by doing so he could but her soul at ease. And the mask, as it was in the shape of her face, was pretty important.

It was the pain in his gums and the tips of his fingers that brought him back around. If he bloodlusted here then the mask really wouldn't be found. He leaned back, bringing his dirt covered hands up to press against tired eyes. They stung from the use of his ability. And he couldn't tell if the tears slipping past his fingers was from the pain or something else. But he brought in one shuddered breath after another each one hitching, as if any minute he was going to break down into sobs.
Charlie had let the hyena take the reins for a moment, and it'd snarled and snapped when it'd perceived a threat. But now that he was closer and the vampire wasn't lashing out, he noticed it was... crying? Sad? Not angry or happy. He didn't know why, he wasn't paying that much attention beyond hoping he'd get lucky and score some scraps. This was unexpected, but it struck a chord of concern.

Ears fell back, Charlie shuffled a little closer and licked at the air then made a small whine.
Once he opened the gates it was impossible to close them. He had been trying so hard not to sink beneath the waters of grief since the night he had blood lusted on Samiel. Keeping himself occupied with leaving the clutch, trying to make a decent home, and now planning the funeral. But a single slip up, in this case the mask, was all that was needed to send him back down. And he couldn't say why of all things loosing a mask was the pin dropping. If it came to it there was a the possibility of doing another commission.

It was the small whine that made him remember there was anyone else there.

He turned tear filled eyes to the hyena.

"ma mère. ma mère is gone. Gone forever."
The vampire was crying, he was grieving. Charlie didn't like that, he had enough human in him to feel a surge of sympathy for the undead creature. He ducked his head at the sight, tail wagging low as he inched closer to offer his support.

He didn't know what a mere was, but he knew 'gone'. Gone was sad.
Through tears and a now fading vision he could just make out the hyena shifting closer. Monty's first thought was shockingly not that the hyena was taking the chance to go for his throat, but rather that the were might be offering some sort of comfort. It was perhaps incredibly stupid of him but Monty reach out, tentatively at least, for a pat a hug anything. The last shreds of common sense keeping him from throwing himself on the creature in a dramatic sob.
It might've been reckless, hyena's had some of the strongest jaws on Earth. He could have opened his maw and snapped at the hand and refused to let go. Luckily for the vampire he wasn't fully hyena.

He wasn't sure about the hand reaching for him, a slight growl rumbled in his throat as it neared. But he didn't bite, and he didn't run away, instead he craned his long neck to sniff at the hand with equal timidity. Smelled like corpse! So so strange. His tail flapped again.
His hand definitely started shaking a little at the growl, but he didn't pull away. It felt rather like holding his hand out to a dog, but one that could probably rip his arm off. Did he have any hooks at home just on in case? He could definitely pull off the one handed pirate look but still he really did hope there would be no biting. Just let the sniff happen and maybe it would all be fine. Was he wearing perfume? Would it matter? Honestly he couldn't remember if he had put anything on before going out. It was a usual habit, so here was to praying the shifter didn't mind the smell of elderberry, poppy, and ocean tones. Which made up his current favorite perfume.
He worked his way at sniffing over the vampire's hand, not even cold wet dog nose was as cold as the skin there. He winced when his nose bopped a knuckle, skittishly he pulled away quickly. The hand trembled, but didn't lunge for him. With a quick chuff he went back in, opened his mouth and gave the palm a quick lick.

Tasted weird, not yummy. Charlie's bright yellow eyes drifted back up towards the vampire's face, and then once again the hyena licked the vampire's hand, timid but with more confidence than before.
He somehow did not have his hand bitten off. Which was exceedingly marvelous, especially considering his vision was going the way of the dodo and the hyena was going from blurs to nothing as the magic trickled out. Surprisingly he still had his sensation of touch, he was sure of this because he most certainly felt the wet tongue brush against his skin. Monty was sure that if he had a beating heart it would have jumped right out of his chest at that moment. And he decided that having a Hyena licking his hand when he was blind was somewhere in his top ten fears now.

On the outside Monty's slightly glowy silver eyes would dull and then fade into a brownish hazel. Unfocused and slightly glazed.
The vampire didn't respond much to his investigation, and after about a minute of understanding the way the living dead tastes, Charlie grew bored of it. He wanted attention now, from this non-enemy that sat before him.

So the canine dropped it's chin onto the palm, and stared up at the glazed eyes. His plumy tail wagged behind him, expectant, but patient.
As everything had gone dark, at least to Monty's eyes, he could not see the pleading face of a hyena. A shame really. But he did feel the weight of its head in his hand. Could feel the shape of its chin under his fingers. And he gave a little scratch. Like tickling a cat. Except most house cats couldn't chew off his whole hand.

With curiousity and absolute lack of self control he would continue the scratching moving his hand towards where he hoped the cheeks would be. Hyena's were basically cats right? Or dogs?
Yes! Scratches were exactly what he wanted. Despite the unsettling and curious scent of the person before him, Charlie relaxed into the contact, tail thumping harder against the dirt. The fur that the vampire's cold fingers ran through was soft, but peppered with debris from rolling around.

Still, soft.
It was perhaps the weirdest thing Monty had ever done, which was saying rather a lot. Well now that he considered it probably wasn't the absolute weirdest, but definitely up there. The feeling on his hand was odd, like rubbing through a plush rug only to find small clumps of dirt. It brought out the urge to clean, and he couldn't help but continue brushing with his fingers. There was a sound of something soft steadily thumping against the ground, and he wonder if the hyena was wagging its tail, and then trying to remember what a hyena's tail looked like.

"bonne hyène??"

It was said with the softest and most confused french.

"No biting my hand, oui?"
The hyena leaned into the scratches, bright yellow eyes gazing up fondly at the vampire. They were friends now, obviously, Charlie was quick to trust even when the dog brain wasn't in control. His tail kept wagging but otherwise the hyena was politely still, happy to just receive the love from the death scented person.

He didn't know what bonne meant, but he recognized some of the other words. No biting, yes of course! To prove that he was listening he craned his neck up to give a few friendly licks to the hand by his cheek.
Monty had no idea at all if the shifter even understood his words. There had to be some human in there, otherwise he was certain things would not have gone so smoothly. A wet and hot sensation on his hand was about the only answer he was going to get. Still it felt like a positive one. So he kept on scratching and brushing his fingers through fur, dislodging any dirt.

He was definitely going to have to wash his hands.

If he could stay like this for a while his vision would come back, and then he could look for the mask and finish up.
The hyena was content. He stopped licking the hand because it got back to petting him. Getting head scratches was one of the best things ever, and it rarely ever happens when your a human. People should start doing it more, people as in non-weres, everybody deserves a head scratch every now and then. That's what Charlie thought, and if he ever met this vampire when he had lips and a tongue that could form sentences properly he'd have to give him a big thank you.

If it was time the vampire needed, Charlie had that. He'd caught a mouse to eat earlier and the beast wasn't too hungry. It could sit and wait.
Give about fifteen minutes or so and sight would start to come back to Monty. It was slow, rather like lights that began to move from dim to bright, until everything was clear. Especially the hyena right in front of him, with his hand still entangled in its fur. He could almost see its tail wagging. Truly an overgrown weird dog. At least it was less frightening to think of it that way.

"You're a bonne hyène. très bien"

Slowly he'd try extracting his hands.

"I need to find Mon mask now."
They sat together for what felt like forever to the hyena. He felt very oblivious to what was going on with this vampire, but he knew this was helping. Charlie really only ever wanted to help.

Some more words were spoken, almost understood. Très bien was somewhat familiar, and heartening. Good. The hand left his shaggy mane and his tail slowed in it's thumping, bright yellow eyes shot back up to the man. Find. Mask. Well okay then! Charlie was great at finding things. The were stood and shook his fur, then slapped the ground with a big puppyish paw.
He got his hands back without any incidents, excellent. It would best if he didn't use his ability again, although it meant searching with only the enhancements of a regular vampire. Better then being blind a second time. As for the were, he had almost expected it to wander off now that pets were over. Instead it stood up and slapped the ground in some sort of theatrics. The meaning of this action was lost on Monty. It did result in a raised eyebrow.

"que fais-tu"
His friend looked confused, said some more stuff that he didn't quite get. This was so hard, usually when he tried to communicate in hyena form it was with his family and they always knew what he meant.

He stuck his nose to the ground and sniffed himself in a circle, then chuffed at the vampire. Make sense?
Thankfully for them both Monty was not a complete dunce at charades, and managed to gather that the hyena wanted to help look for the Mask. Which earned a few exclamations in french.

"You want to help look for the mask?"

Honestly had no idea if were noses were better or not but any help was good. It wasn't like he had all night, he still had to get back home before the sun rose.

"Its a gold mask, in the shape of a woman's face."

His hands moved to give the general 'this big' motion.
Help! Yes! That was exactly what Charlie wanted to do! He slapped the ground again, tongue lolling out of his mouth.

A mask, gold, “this” big. He would try his best, it would be better if he had a scent, but “something that smelled like metal and also this dead guy” was the best he came up with. So he began to pace around, nose to the ground and sunbeam eyes flicking back and forth over the earth. Anything that glinted caught his attention, but the mask was apparently not eager to be found.
He watched, somewhat bemused as the hyena sniffed around, for a minute or so before getting busy himself. It was back to the all fours hands brushing through the dirt. There were a couple gold doubloons that he tossed aside uncaring. But alas the mask itself did not show up.
Ah! Something shiny flew through the air!

It was just one of the vampire’s gold coins, not a mask and not “this big”. After staring at it with his head cocked, cautious and curious, he decided it wasn’t worth his attention and went back to searching.
There was something oddly friendship building about looking for a lost item together. Just having the sense of the other in the back of his mind eased any panic he felt over the fact that the mask was still not showing up. His hands and knees were scrapped up and the outfit ruined however. And there was the subtle ache for blood. If he couldn't find it in the next twenty minutes he would have to give up.
Vampirate was in luck, Charlie spotted something else shiny and this time it wasn't a coin. He rushed towards it with a chuff, fluffy tail wagging low behind him. It was closer to the entrance of the area they were in, just far enough from the probable area and buried just enough to go unnoticed. The gold was dusty with the cavern dirt and debris, but it was definitely gold and this was definitely a mask!

He scratched at the ground next to it with blunt claws, squeaking excitedly.
The digging of claws and the squeaks, mostly the squeaks cause he didn't know hyena's could make that noise, caught his attention. Honestly he was expecting more coins when he got up and meandered over, eyes still scouring the ground as he walked. So when the flash of gold caught his eye by the Hyena's paw there was no immediate reaction. But as it became clearer he let out a cackle of half mad delight.

"You found it!"

He all but dove for the mask and Hyena. A hug was worth any chance of sharp teeth in the circumstances.
The loud exclamation surprised Charyena, he yipped and skittered around and in place to avoid getting tackled by the vampire. The hyena brain didn't like all the sudden movement, but the bonding they'd already done kept him from fighting or fleeing. His fur puffed up high on his back, hackles raised, but then he settled and crept back over next to the vampire to watch what would happen next. And hopefully receive his reward for being helpful, whatever that was :)
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