[Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

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[Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

Postby Pua on March 4th, 2010, 2:59 am

32 Day of Summer, 508 AV

The foliage blurred past Pua on either side, and he paid it no mind, eyes focused straight ahead as he battered his way through the dense jungle in what he hoped was Taloba’s general direction. Sweat continuously dripped down his smooth forehead, stinging his eyes and making seeing what was two paces in front of him next to impossible. His breathing had long degenerated into ragged gasps that sent fire up his side, and the dull pound of his foot falls jarred every bone in his exhausted body. Pua could hear the reason for his headlong flight crashing through the brush behind him, the Dhani wasn’t getting any closer, but neither had Pua been able to lose him. Pua didn’t dare risk a glance behind, if the treacherous jungle floor tripped him up he knew he was dead. So instead he barreled onward, pushing past the limits of exhaustion on pure adrenalin, desperately trying to ditch his purser long enough to reload his crossbows. Not that Pua thought it would do much good, the small bolt protruding from the mountain of muscle’s shoulder didn’t seem to impair him in the slightest as he stormed along in Pua’s wake. Pua mentally cursed his crossbows’ horridly difficult reloading process, and not for the first time vowed to find a quicker weapon, if he could make it home with his life.

With his vision so hampered by his headlong rush and the sweat dripping into his eyes, Pua was almost didn’t notice the fallen tree across his path until it was too late. Not daring to slow enough to change course, Pua slapped his left hand against the decaying tree, his arm muscles rippled as he propelled is hurtling body up and over. The vault would have worked perfectly had the trunk not been covered in thick moss. Pua’s speed and mass were too much for the limited friction provided by the damp growth and his hand slipped right out from under him. The whole world tilted around Pua as he lost all contact with the earth. The ground was reunited with him only a moment later in the form of lancing pain through his left shoulder. Pua tumbled amongst the leaves, twig and other debris that littered the jungle floor, finally sprawling out against the base of a tree. Pua raised his head just in time to see the Dhani’s seemingly effortless landing. The filthy snake’s lips peeled back into a smile of triumph upon seeing his prey he had hounded for close to two bells fetched up against a tree. Pua’s body trembled as he pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, not because he was scared, but because his muscles were trying to fight through the exhaustion to work properly. As the Dhani neared, Pua desperately flung a handful of debris into it’s face. The big Dhani hissed angrily as it got in his eyes and momentarily blinded him. Pua wasted no time staggering to his feet before once more dashing off into the trees. Unfortunately, it was only moments before Pua could hear something crashing along behind him over the blood pounding in his ears.

Pua knew he was at his limit, his running had become more of a stumble and it wouldn’t be long until he finally collapsed. The Dhani too must have been at the end of his stamina, since he had yet to overtake Pua, but that wouldn’t matter if Pua fell again. Then, ahead through a gap in the tree trunks Pua spotted what just might be his savior, a tree that’s trunk split into three separate trunks twined together. Pua veered toward it. Putting on an adrenaline fueled burst of energy, Pua jumped as he reached the tree, sweat slick hands just barely finding purchase on an outstretched limb. Below Pua yawned a deep ravine. Possibley created during the Valterrian, the overgrown chasm wasn’t deep enough for a fall to be fatal, unless one was unlucky enough to land on ones neck, but the sides were steep and hard to climb. More importantly, the drop was so well hidden by the encroaching jungle that it was almost impossible to spot unless you already knew it was there. Using the branch, Pua swung across to the other side where he more crashed than landed as his over worked legs finally betrayed him. His gambit had worked though, the Dhani, emboldened by Pua’s second tumble, rushed head long over the ravine’s lip in an effort to reach him. At least that would buy Pua a little time. Summoning the last of his strength, Pua staggered and blundered away. When he was a clear of the area, Pua found a Grandfather Tree, one so old that its branches were almost the size of trunks themselves. Relying entirely one arm strength, Pua forced himself to climb about fifty paces from the ground, able to go no further, he collapsed on a branch and passed out, his last conscious thought before blackness claimed him was How did this happen
Last edited by Pua on March 20th, 2010, 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pua
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Re: [Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

Postby Pua on March 10th, 2010, 4:44 pm

...........................
Two Bells Earlier
...........................

“It really is simple Hid, they make you look like a girl. And I don’t care why you’re wearing them you son of a snake.” Exasperation exuded from every pour of Anwer’s body. He had been almost constant in his harassment of Hideki’s earrings since the small group had left Taloba three days earlier for their patrol. Hideki, for the most part, put up with the constant badgering quite well. He had been friends with the tall, gangly Myrian for years and knew that this was just his way of reliving stress. He had tried to tease Pua about his much shorter height as well, but a fist in his gut midway through the first day had convinced him that Hideki should be his only target. The lanky warrior seemed almost skin and bone, his above average height made him looked stretched out and it seemed implausible that with his lean muscles he could wield the heavy greatsword that casually rested on his shoulder.

Where Anwer was lanky, Hideki was lithe. He had a strangely beautiful face and combined with his long hair, it did lend him a touch of femininity. The earrings really didn’t help either, but Hideki was Pua’s best friend and if he wanted to wear them then that was all Pua needed to know on the matter. Another warrior would probably be reaching for the two battle axes tuck in the back of his belt at Anwer’s insult, but Hideki just threw back his head and laughed. “I told you sorry excuse for a skeleton, my pops gave them to me and I can wear whatever I want. You are most thankfully not my mother!”

“Would you two at least pretendto keep an eye out,” groaned Pua in response to his subordinate’s constant bickering. Pua sighed to himself, wondering for the hundredth time who he had offended to have been given this assignment. On paper it looked rather simple. Since both Hideki and Anwer were new recruits just starting their three years of service they were going to be given a light mission to get their feet wet. A simple patrol to the relatively empty jungle to the southeast of Taloba. Pua, a three year veteran by now had been given command of the small band. At first Pua had thought that serving with his best friend would be fun, but Hideki, along with Anwer, seemed to treat the assignment as a picnic. They felt that since the Snakes wouldn’t be around they were safe. Pua knew better, the massive scar tissue encircling his left forearm never let him forget the dangers of this jungle.

“You know,” retorted Hideki, flashing a grin Pua’s way, “Sometimes you sound just like you.”

“Yeah,” Anwer chimed in, “Relax, there is noth-“

[DOWN!] Pua hissed. Perhaps it was his tone, or his switch to the Myrian’s animal sound code, but Hideki and Anwer followed Pua down to the jungle floor. Pua’s vigilant and ever roving and ever vigilant eye had spotted movement through the leaf branches. [Steady,] he cautioned, and for a while the only sound was their shallow breathing. The first sign of the intruders was te low murmur of conversation drifting through the trees. Pua racked his brains as to who they could be. The Scout Roost had said there were no hunting parties out ahead of them, and that meant outsiders, probably from Black Rock. Pua signaled the other two to hide themselves and they disguised their shapes with debris from the jungle floor. The outsiders pushed through the jungle towards them, oblivious to the three Myrian’s presence. There were six of them, all armed, and they clearly knew how to use their weapons. Not just lost travelers then thought Pua, they knew the dangers of this jungle. Not that it would save them. Pua planned to let them pass and then ambush them from behind. But as the six intruders were quite literally on top of them, they spoke.

“Hurry, we mussst find one of them before they know we’re here. SSSSSSiku will be pleasssssed if we offer one of their warriorsssss to her”

Stravag! Pua cursed to himself. Dhani here! And they were coming to abduct Myrians at that. The Scoust’s Roost needed to be told this right away. But Pua knew he had a more serious problem, the rookie warriors with him weren’t disciplined enough to maintain cover this close to the hated snakes. Anwer acted first, exploding upward in a spray of leaves. One luckless Dhani had been straddling Anwer’s sword, and the giant blade’s upward swing cleaved the snakeman from groin to throat. Before his first victim had fallen, Anwer was spinning, sweeping his blade horizontally at another Dhani. His opponent managed to get his own blade up in time, but the force of the blow forced him back a step. The other four Dhani turned toward the sudden threat in their midst and didn’t notice Hideki rising behind them to help his friend. The first blow of Hideki’s left handed ax severed a female Dhani’s leg mid calf. Her hiss of pain was short lived as Hideki’s other ax buried itself in her back. The hiss alerted the others to his presence and two Dhani turned to face the new foe. Anwer, in his inexperience, had zeroed in on his opponent, raining blow after blow down upon him, but the Dhani deflected each blow easily. So focused on his foe, Anwer didn’t realize that the final Dhani was sneaking up behind him.

Still lying disguised on the jungle floor, Pua cursed again as he drew his two hand crossbows from the specially made belt pouches at his waist. Taking careful aim, he sent a bolt speeding at the backstabbing Dhani’s back, the twang of the crossbow lost under the sound of steel ringing against steel. The bolt flew true, slamming into the Dhani’s broad back dead center and severing his spinal cord. The strong warrior collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut. Hearing the sound behind him, Anwer turned and never saw the sword of his first foe as it came crashing into the back of his skull. Hideki didn’t see his friends death, his twin axes blurred in front of him as he desperately fended off the thrusts and jabs from the spears the two Dhani were attempting to skewer him on. Pua rose from the ground to face the Dhani the slew Anwer. The snake stalked toward him warily, it had seen what Pua’s bolt had done to his companion. Pua raised his other hand crossbow and fear flashed briefly in the Dhani’s eyes. The Dhani charged, and Pua fired. The bolt punctured the snakeman’s guts, spinning him around, but not dropping him. He turned back to face Pua, “What now little man?” he hissed through the pain. Pua dropped his now useless hand crossbows. A smile of triumph flashed across the Dhani’s face.

A few paces away, Hideki was having troubles of his own. The two Dhani worked their spears in unison, keeping Hideki in a frantic defense while slowly pushing him back. He knew something had to give, and soon or he was dead. The lead Dhani, a true monster of a man, even in his human form, savagely jabbed his spear at Hideki, who twisted away but not before it grazed his side. Instead of backing away again, Hideki clamped his left arm down, trapping the spears shaft between his bicep and ribs. He brought the ax from his other hand crashing down upon the wooden shaft, shattering it. The second Dhani took advantage of this opening and ran her spear through Hideki’s middle. Hideki coughed up some blood as he painfully turned to face his murderer. He smiled a bloody grin at her and with what little strength remained surged up the spear and brought both his blood axes slamming down on her shoulders.

Though clearly pained, the wounded Dhani came relentlessly toward Pua. For his part, Pua remained where he was, and calmly raised his right arm to point at his foe. When the Dhani was almost within reach of him, he jerked a finger and the Dhani’s head snapped back, a bolt from Pua’s bracer crossbow wear his eye had been. Pua turned from his slain foe just in time to see his best friend fall in a crumpled heap with his Dhani killer. Pua looked up at the same time as the final Dhani. Their eyes met, and both understood the rage smoldering in the other’s eyes. Pua jerked his left arm up and fired his last crossbow. The small bracer bolt didn’t even seem to faze the giant Dhani as it ripped into his shoulder. He just walked slowly and calmly towards Pua, massive hands clenching and unclenching as if already anticipating the feel of Pua’s throat. With his crossbows empty, Pua had no chance against this overgrown monster and he knew it. Without a second thought, Pua turned and fled into the dark jungle.
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Re: [Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

Postby Pua on March 16th, 2010, 2:19 pm

Pua clawed at the blackness that threatened to steal his awareness, fought the urge to surrender to the deep sleep his body so desperately needed. He estimated that only about fifteen chimes had passed. Pua’s aching muscles screamed in protest as he forced himself to sit up against the tree trunk. Moving stiffly, he set about slowly reequipping his weaponry. From its compartment on the outside of his left belt pouch, Pua pulled out a small bundle of bolts for his two bracer mounted crossbows. He slipped four out before replacing the bundle within the secured pouch. Carefully, he fitted a bolt into each of the slides and primed them to fire. The two remaining bolts he tucked behind his belt, where he could reach them easily to reload quickly if he needed to. Chances were good that he would need to do just that. The small size that made the bracer mounts such a convenient backup weapon severely limited the power that they could produce. The big Dhani had already proven that he could shrug off the impact; Pua was going to have to hit something important if he wanted to bring the Snake down. Pua spared a brief, mournful thought for his hand crossbows that lay out of each amongst the carnage he had fled from.

Pua needed to get back and report to the Scout’s Roost what had happened, especially if this was not an isolated incident. If the Dhani could get such a large party around behind Taloba, then chances were high they could do it again. It needed to be investigated and stopped immediately. First however, there was a Dhani wandering all alone in Pua’s jungle and Pua wasn’t going to rest until he took vengeance for Hideki and Anwer out of the Snake’s hide. Gingerly, Pua’s protesting muscles lowered him from the tree. Quickly gathering his bearings, Pua slipped from tree trunk to tree trunk as he made his way as stealthily as possible back towards the ravine. As he moved them, Pua’s muscles began to loosen once again, and as he approached the crevice, he was once again moving with his natural fluidity. Pua observed the split in the jungle floor from behind a tree ten paces away, resisting the urge to rush up. The Dhani had now had the better part of forty five chimes to pull himself from the ravine and Pua didn’t want to stumble into an ambush such as the one his patrol had used to such effect earlier. After another fifteen chimes with no movement, save a lone bird which had flitted briefly onto a nearby branch, Pua cautiously crept forward. The Dhani, he knew, didn’t have any weapons with him. It would be trying to close and grapple, a fight Pua would surely lose.

Pua made it to the ravine’s lip safely, and peeked over the edge. There was no Dhani down there, it had been too much to hope that the gods forsaken beast had broken his neck in the fall. If he wasn’t laying in wait, then the Snakeman must have headed off into the jungle, probably hoping to make it back to the safety of Zinrah. Pua sighed; things just couldn’t be easy for him just once, was that really so much to ask. Pua began casting about, looking for a print or a broken twig that could mark a trail. Pua was not going to let the Dhani escape. Pua missed the pile of clothes laying half hidden under some leaves that lay at the bottom of the ravine.
………………………………….
The Dhani knew that Pua would come back. The Myrians were so predictable that way. Once they had prey within their sights, they zeroed in on it with the exclusion of all else. His dappled scales blended seamlessly with the various other debris that littered the jungle floor where his immobile form was stretched out. His thermal readings had picked up the stealthily moving warrior quite some time ago and now he waited patiently for the bald young man to stumble close enough to snare
………………………………….

Try as he might, Pua just could not find a trail to track, it was as if the Dhani had just vanished. There was not even scuffing along the chasm’s lip from someone pulling themselves up. As he was pondering this, his foot encountered something that was far too solid for jungle detritus. He glanced down and saw the monstrous coil. A snake that large would be huge, just like the Dhani he was stalking. Shit thought Pua. He tried to step back but the Dhani was too fast for him, it wrapped its powerful coil around his leg and jerked him off his feet. Pua thrashed, trying to free himself but the Snake held on relentlessly. In a desperate effort, Pua fired off his bracers crossbows. His own thrashing and the snakes writhing made aiming impossible, one bolt missed completely, sailing uselessly into the jungle, the other bolt struck the beast at such a shallow angle that it skipped harmlessly off its thick scales. The constrictor looped another coil around Pua’s legs, limiting his movement. Pua’s frantic hands found the crossbow bolts he had tucked into his belt earlier. He jerked them free, dropping one in the process. The other he stabbed at the undulating snake. The Dhani hissed more from anger than pain, and the bolt snapped in Pua’s hand, leaving the tip embedded within the Dhani. Despite Pua’s best efforts to get free, the Dhani managed to wrap another coil around Pua’s waist, who was clearly outmatched on the ground. Another quickly pinned his arms to his sides and the Dhani began to squeeze the prey struggling within its vice like grip. Pua’s exhausted body finally betrayed him as the oxygen was slowly cut off from his body. His struggles became less and less effective as darkness began creeping into the edge of his vision. The last thing Pau saw before succumbing to the darkness was the Dhani’s snake head floating inches above his own, snake lips peeled back in an eerie grin.
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Re: [Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

Postby Pua on March 20th, 2010, 5:46 pm

Sense of touch returned first to Pua where he floated within the darkness. At first, intense pressure, but it quickly slackened to a more bearable dead weight. A warm wetness splashed across where he thought his face might be. Smell intruded next upon his peaceful oblivion, a coppery taint. As his oxygen deprived brain struggled to make sense of these new sensations, sight shattered the void. The blackness scattering into a multitude of colored dots that swam within his sight. Slowly they faded, revealing an upside down woman cleaning longsword with a piece of cloth. Her lips were moving, but no sounds reached Pua over the blood thundering within his ears and his gasping wheezes as he tried desperately to suck much needed air into his lungs. Pua’s muddled brain had just begun pondering why a woman would be standing upside down when the events of earlier that day came crashing back to him with the force of a hammer blow. Looking down his body he saw the Dhani’s coils still wrapped around him, it’s headless neck leaking blood, which is what he surmised he felt running down his face. The woman was Myrian, streaks of grey running through her black hair marked her at closer to his father’s age than his own. She looked vaguely familiar, but Pua, in his current state, had no name to place to his savior’s face. “Tck, pathetic,” she sighed exasperatedly, “you couldn’t handle one little snake by yourself?”

Pua was far too grateful to be alive to be shamed by such a simple jab, and so ignored her. He gingerly extracted himself from the late Dhani’s embrace, careful of overused muscles and the massive bruises he felt forming from his most recent hug. “Must…” he gasped through his ragged breaths, “…report…Scout’s…Roost.” The woman merely cocked an eyebrow at him a he rolled over and pushed himself up on his hands and knees. She jerked her head northeast, gathered up the decapitated snake’s tail, and set off for Taloba, dragging the Dhani carcass behind her. Pua pushed himself up into a lurching, stumbling semblance of a walk and set out after the woman. Luckily for Pua, the heavy body slowed the woman down to a pace that he could manage. Neither of them spoke as they trekked the Jungle toward their home city. The woman most likely was to disgusted at Pua for so easily being bested by a Dhani, and Pua was too busy trying to catch his breath to expend valuable air on useless dialog. As Taloba’s walls came into view betweens the trees, Pua finally was able to place a name to the older woman’s face. She was Giana of the Spring Mist, a fellow scout of his mother, and Pua had occasionally seen the two spending time together. That explained why she had been out in the jungle then; she had most likely been on a scouting mission. Pua was truly fortuitous that she had noticed his plight at all.

Once through the city gate, Giana led him straight to the Scout’s Roost, pausing only briefly to leave the snake carcass at the gate house. Pua would have headed there immediately anyway, his information was to important to dally with, but it was good to see that Giana at least took his news seriously, if not Pua himself. Pua was seated across from a couple of clerks, one from Rahi of the Tiger Eyed’s spy corps, and the other reporting to Heda of the Creeping Vines’ scouts. As Pua unfolded his tale and it became apparent that I wasn’t just a list of excuses to cover a young warrior’s in abilities, runners were sent out, and Pua was forced to retell this story as officers from the Army arrived to fully debrief him. And so Pua found himself, with only one bells worth of sitting through a vast string of questions, leading a large and heavily armed contingent of the army as well as Giana and another scout he didn’t know but was said to know the region well. They pushed slowly through the jungle, some clearly unhappy with their exhausted guide’s pace.

Finally, with much grumbling, they came to the place where they fight had erupted. The bodies had not been disturbed, it seemed. No animals had yet ventured to take advantage of the easy meal, and more importantly, no Dhani had come and discovered the fate of their kidnapping party. The warriors fanned out and encircled the area while Giana and the other scout examined the corpses. Pua sank against a tree trunk to rest. Once the two scouts were satisfied with their investigation, the ordered the warriors to make to litters in which to return Anwer and Hideki back to Taloba. The Dhani corpses, which had been sitting in the jungle heat for the better part of eight bells by now, were deemed inedible and to be left to rot. Pua would have liked to bear the honor of carrying Hideki’s litter, but in his current state it was just impossible. He settled instead for walking beside it and knew that his best friend would understand. The somber procession returned to Taloba as the sun sank beneath that tree tops.

………………………………….

Pua silently watched the flames climb into the darkened sky. When they had returned the previous night, Pua had personally gone to both Anwer and Hideki’s families. As their commanding officer, he felt it was his duties to inform their relatives of their loss, as well as to acknowledge that they had died honorably, in fierce combat with their enemies. He had spent most of the night with the families, first with Anwer’s kin, and then longer with Hideki’s as a member of the Spirit Falcons and Hideki’s best friend, he had been asked to assist with the funeral preparations. First light had already touched the horizon by the time Pua had finally made it to his bed. So exhausted was he that he slept undistureb through the entire funeral celebration, and had to be awakened to attend his cousin’s pry’s lighting. There, standing amongst so many others, Pua felt alone as he watched is best friend’s corpse burn. His left ear still stung a bit, and the fire light played off one of Hideki’s earrings where it hung in remembrance from Pua’s left earlobe. Nipa, Hideki’s half sister, bore the other of the set similarly. And still the flames licked the night.
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Pua
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Re: [Flashback/Psuedo Training]Frantic Flight

Postby Cayenne on March 24th, 2010, 11:05 pm

Image

Well done! An excellent thread... displaying why Myrians train so hard from childhood to their death to survive in such a hostile environment. Death is always lurking around the corner, in any of a thousand forms. Good characterization!

I hereby award the following:

Wilderness Survival: 3 XP
Weaponry - Bracer Crossbow: 2 XP
Leadership: 2 XP
Tactics: 1 XP
Tracking: 1 XP
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