The white wolf wanders the woods, nose close to the snow-covered ground, every breath that escapes creating a mayfly cloud, dense at first before disappearing in front of it. Its dark eyes scan the clearing. There’s a smell there that it doesn’t recognize, a musky, earthy scent, and the fire in the center of the open space is barely burning, no matter how much the figure hovering over it tries to breathe life into it. The snowstorm has left no dry tinder, and the sun is setting.
You will die soon, the wolf considers, and it is about to turn and return to its cave, to the dry darkness inside of it, but he pauses when the figure turns and sees it. It has been silent, and so it lifts its head, ears up, to its massive size. It is no small pack creature. And it is not usually caught.
The man’s skin is red, where it can see it behind a mess of a beard, long hair, a ridiculous hat. There’s a crimson flannel shirt underneath a leather jacket, and it all seems too thin for this terrible weather, this settling cold. The wolf stands still, because there is an axe by the man’s feet, and he seems to notice it and toss it away, to the other side of the fire.
“C’mere, boy,” he coos. “Got some mutton.”
If the wolf could sneer, it might have. It is not a lapdog to be lured with treats and promises of affection. Although there are certain truths it cannot deny: that it hungers. Game has been scarce, and even the handful of cured meat scraps in the man’s gloved palm is inviting. Also, it is hard not to admire that the man’s eyes show no fear, even as it steps forward into the clearing, looming over him, easily the size of a bear.
As it takes the food with one swipe of a large, pink tongue, the man seems to move over just a bit, and it sits. Now there is another detail, that the man’s leg is twisted at an unnatural angle. “I fucked up,” he drawls, trying to pull his coat closer around him, attempting to even out the shudder in his voice. “Came out to chop some wood, took a wrong step and toppled into a one-way trip down that ravine.” He smiles, which is a strange thing, given his words. “Glad one of us is gonna do some good from that meal. You’re probably gonna last longer than me.”
The wolf turns its head to the bleeding horizon that is slowly going darker, stars blinking into light as if to regard them. It should go. It should leave this open, chilling air, let the natural order of it all take the man or leave him as it sees fit.
But it can’t.
“Oof,” the man says as it presses itself against him, dropping to the ground, careful of the mangled leg. It remains there, giving the man a pointed look. “What…? Do ya…want me to…climb on?”
It snorts, unmoving.
“Welp, eaten by a giant wolf or freezin’ to death. Either way works for me, I guess.” The man gingerly picks up his leg, easing it over the creature’s back, and haphazardly gets onto the back, gripping dense fur in uncertain, careful hands. It turns and trots over to the ax, taking it in the massive jaws, kicking snow over the small fire. Better to be safe.
“Ya ain’t a regular wolf, are ya?” the man asks, close to his ear. It responds only by taking off into the thick wood, a streak of blurred white, leaping over fallen brush and bramble, trying to beat the fading light. And winning.
The cave is dark, but there are openings where the moonlight comes in, casting shadows on the walls. The wolf lets the man lower himself to the ground, and when it lies beside him, it feels hands stroking his fur, a grateful and reverent touch. “The name’s McCree, by the by. Jesse McCree.”
The wolf curls around him like a warm blanket, massive head finding a place on the uninjured thigh. Should he try anything, it will know. And it is faster, more deadly, than some frontiersman.
Perhaps if Jesse hasn’t done anything stupid like go for the axe by the time morning comes around, it will show its human face, its sturdy, stocky form. And perhaps it might tell him that he can call it ‘Hanzo.’
Okami has a very
unique art style, heavily inspired by Japanese watercolor painting. The OkamiOfficial Complete Works
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it’s funny how Okami was heavily inspired by Zelda, and then BotW comes out w/ a mute hero awakening from a 100 year slumber weak and weaponless, a painterly and Japanese-influenced style, and an open-world environment filled w/ sidequests and the opportunity to finish areas of the game at your own pace.