Owls & Ashes

Boarding in a Winter Weird(er)-Land

A Parody . . . ?

Heavy snowfall, swirling in bitter-cold winter winds, blankets the landscape, coming down so thickly that it mounds and drifts in waist-deep powder. A few snowcats and tractors make their way up and down groomed slopes, their lights barely piercing through gloom and near-whiteout conditions. Well after sunset, the mountain is closed, and the day’s riders and skiers have all retired to the restaurants, bars, and hotels at the base.

But one figure still lopes across the powdery landscape, walking here and there on broad feet, mostly dropping to all fours and bounding across the snow. With eyes and ears attuned to the wintery night, darkness is no obstacle. With the battery-warmed suit (and an insulated oversize CamelBak full of warmed blood), the cold is certainly no issue. And with his form adapted to the conditions, the deep snowdrifts and punishing winds and white-covered steep slopes are no impediment at all.

A furry pelt bristles out of cuffs, collar, and pantlegs; long-limbed forearms reach down to the knees; and broad, thick-fingered and long-toed hands and feet support him as he claws his way uphill, snowboard and boots strapped to his back. Even with the lift chairs shut down for the night, he is determined to make it to the top. This Yeti-like figure stops for a moment to turn his head, peering downslope at the rumbling snowcat on the groomed paths, laughs softly to himself, and resumes his course.

As he reaches the peak, he tips his head up, gazes at the last rocky promontory marking the mountain’s height, bares a snouted mouthful of fangs in a grin, and bounds to its top on all fours. At its height, where he can go no further, he tilts his head back and takes in a deep breath of the biting cold air, exhaling it just as coldly, then turns to sit down and unsling his board from his shoulders.

Stuffing his reshaped feet into the boots is a slight challenge, but a larger sized pair to accommodate their fit was a good forethought. He yanks the laces taut, tightening the boots firmly around his feet before stepping into the bindings and ratcheting them into place.

With a little fumbling of his broad, pelted-and-claw-tipped hands, he manages to unhook the CamelBak’s nozzle from over his shoulder and bite down (carefully!) onto the mouthpiece. The taste of blood, hot and metallic, spills into his mouth and down his throat; the richness of Vitae is somewhat faded for being away from its vessel for so long, but it will have to do for now.

Maybe I’ll look for an Apres-Ski, later.

He grins into the wind and licks his teeth clean, snickering at a memory of old Mountain Dew commercials full of extreme snowboarders powering down cans of soda before taking on a daylit groomed hill under clear skies.

He flops back into the heavy powder, briefly flailing arms up and down in a parody of snow-angel making, then props himself back up and adjusts his gear as he stands. Below him, the rocky outcrop meets the ridge, transforming into the long, wide, snow-covered slope. Across his shoulders, the ridgeline sweeps across the mountain to other, far-off runs. Below, the steep double-black diamond branches into the groomed slopes and attendant Snowcats at the right; moguls and a rocky throat in the middle; and to the left, a sudden steep dropoff into night and the snowy valley below.

Fuck the Ordo. This is his night; no research, no duties, no tasks, and besides which, his advancement is what has enabled him to be here.

Fuck the All Night Society and all the other Kindred. They’re back in the bay area, huddling in town, while he rode up here in a rented, insulated U-Haul van; Rickard would likely laugh his ass off, or at least give a grudging smirk and snort.

Fuck the Sixth, and One through Five, and Seven, and any others. Hell, they probably would applaud his choice to do his own thing anyway . . . or at least flap their smoky, shadowy wings.

He raises his head and draws in a lungful of icy air, throwing back his head and spreading his arms wide as he bellows out a rolling, wailing howl that is picked up and echoed by far-off wolves. In a Snowcat far downhill, the driver peers out into the dark, unsure if he really did hear something or if it was just his imagination.

And fuck all your overpriced ‘season pass’ bullshit, Vail!

Jan Farkas—Gangrel, Nomad, Savage, Yeti-looking vampire, rebel snowboarder—leaps forward off of the rocky height of Thimble Peak, aiming the tip of his snowboard into the blizzard night, and goes bombing down the hill, laughing all the way.

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Zsander

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