Flashback An Early-Morning Adventure

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 2nd, 2014, 8:33 pm

Fall 31, 508 AV
dawn

Syna had yet to clear the horizon; the landscape was cast in a lightening shade of gloom which hardly seemed to rate twilight. But it was light enough for birds, for the robin singing his bouncy warble, the thrush trilling his soaring melody, and the jay occasionally breaking in with scornful-sounding squawks. Light enough for a raven Kelvic, too, who still thought humans were so slow of a morning, lazing about in bedrolls when they could be up and doing. Didn't they get bored, just laying there?

Intending to stay in human form a while, aspersions aside, Dust put on all the things needed to protect its skin from the outer world -- clothes, shoes, light gloves against the growing chill in the air. Not her hat, though; its floppy brim sometimes blocked her view, and that just wouldn't do, today. Then she bounded through the encampment, weaving between wagons and offering a bright hello! to anyone else already up and about. There were some as bright-eyed and ready to confront the day as she, all busily attending the caravan's beasts, and starting up enough of a fire to heat breakfast before the entourage broke camp.

None of them was the person she was looking for.

That didn't come as too much of a surprise; in the days since they'd started keeping company, Dust had learned that the boy cared little for sunrise. If he never saw another in his life, he asserted, he'd be quite content. But he also loved to travel, and caravans started their days early, so he'd probably be awake at least.

Finding at last the wagon she sought, Dust leaned in over its back, peering at the vague person-sized lumps inside. "Idra?" she prompted, squinting at the smallest of the bunch. He wasn't awake, it seemed; at least, he didn't respond. Another pair of eyes blinked blearily open instead, accompanied by a grumble Dust recognized to belong to Idra's elder sister. An indistinct motion, and then another grumble followed, whining in the way of younger siblings. Idra stirred enough to scowl at Dust... at which she just grinned.

He really only succeeded in looking sleepy.

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 9th, 2014, 2:51 pm

"Gah, Dust!?" Idra disappeared under the edge of his blanket, rather like a turtle pulling into its shell. She counted five heartbeats, waiting, then grabbed at the wagon frame -- but as she moved to boost herself up into the bed, Idra's voice mumbled from under the blanket. "Wha' d'you want? I coulda slept 'nother half-bell..."

Dust huffed. Sleep. Well, she'd leave him to it, if... "Can I borrow the sling?"

A beat of silence, and then a weary groan came from under the covers. "That's what you're here for? Ugh. Fiiine..." The boy threw back his blanket and levered himself up on an arm; tousle-headed and bleary-eyed, he rummaged around in his pack, then finally threw something at her. It smacked into Dust's chest and fell into her hands; she identified twin wrapped around leather, exactly what she'd asked for.

"Thanks!" Dust declared, bounding off and leaving Idra to... do whatever he decided to do with the rest of this lovely morning.

It would take the caravan a while to get everyone up and ready to break camp, never mind to actually start moving on their way. Dust figured she had plenty of time for exploring before there was any risk of the caravan leaving her behind. Besides -- it wasn't like she couldn't just fly up and scout them out, even if she decided to wander around all day. Today, she wanted to try her hand at hunting. Slings were supposed to be good for that, and not only did she have a (borrowed) sling, she knew how to use it! The rest, in Dust's ambitious thoughts, surely followed...

...if she could first find something to sling at.

Leaving the caravan behind, Dust meandered through the undergrowth with no particular destination in mind, trying as she went not to make too much noise. That proved... rather hard. Avoiding one dry leaf just meant stepping on another. She did manage not to snap dead twigs, at least where she saw them first, and dodged around most of the brush. Sometimes she had to push between bushes, which snagged and rustled and sometimes thwapped through the air if she let them rebound too fast. But all told, Dust thought she didn't make too much noise, really...

The going became much easier once she happened upon a trail. In the otherwise trackless woods, this was practically an avenue -- a worn path just about the width of one of Dust's sandaled feet. It cut across the gentle slope, around the curve of the hill; and with only the occasional overhanging bush -- or sapling tree -- to hinder her, the Kelvic's passing went much quicker and quieter.

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 10th, 2014, 2:02 pm

Along the way, Dust mused idly over what might have made the track. It was too large for small creatures like rabbits, she thought, which left the larger -- but predator or prey? She could find no tracks on the path to give a hint; too well-worn, or maybe it was just too dry for a footprint to stick. What the Kelvic did find, as she continued to scrutinize the ground, was a pile of small oblong scat of the type deer might leave behind. So the makers of the trail were probably deer.

But deer, Dust was pretty certain, had to be hard to hunt with a sling. Maybe if she got really lucky and hit one right in the head -- well, first she had to find a deer, anyway. Or anything else.

She walked on and on, for what might have been a boring distance except that the Kelvic was too busy looking to be bored. She investigated every copse of brush the trail passed by -- or through -- peering between branches and around roots for any sign of life. Life that wasn't bird or bug, anyway. Dust was quite certain any bird would be a guaranteed miss. There were plenty of them about, ironically enough, keeping mostly to the upper branches and peering down at her. Bugs, too, from bitty little gnat-type things to obnoxiously whiny mosquitos to a large beetle-type thing which bzzed up out of the shrubbery and landed on the side of a tree. The name of that one escaped her... but what was in a name, anyway? The raven Kelvic knew it as good to eat, and she pounced at the thing on a whim.

Snatching the beetle up, she rendered it dead with a quick pinch. Rather than shifting to eat it, she just popped it into her mouth. It crunched... interestingly... between her teeth. The poky bits were more annoying on human gums, and the flavors were... different... too. But not bad. Actually, it just reminded her she hadn't eaten breakfast yet. That realization inspired Dust to poke around the tree, looking for another, but she also gave up after just a few moments. She was supposed to be hunting rabbits. Or something.

Something not beetles.

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 17th, 2014, 10:50 am

The trail continued on, down the far side of the hill. Dust padded forward, the occasional grinding of pebbles beneath her feet seeming loud in the Kelvic woman's ears. She tried not to step on any rocks, to avoid the noise, but at best only wound up rustling grass instead. Walking quietly was hard work! Those attempts also required she keep her eyes on the ground at her feet. A flash of motion at the edge of her vision was Dust's only notice of a rabbit -- and by the time her gaze darted to it, the small animal had disappeared, leaving only a vague memory behind.

Well, that wasn't any good. Walking softly was useless if her targets ran away before she even saw them. She'd just have to not worry about that right now.

As she neared the base of the hill, Dust noticed the trickle of water over stone. A thin little rivulet cut a tiny channel into the soil between two slopes, winding its way around rocks and reeds like wispy miniature trees. She paused to look for footprints in the mud alongside, but found none; the ribbon was pretty small and shallow for drinking from. Only wasps and bees and butterflies seemed to congregate here, and not even very many of those.

Augh. The raven Kelvic sat back on her heels, sling held loosely in one hand, and contemplated the flowing water. She never had trouble finding rabbits as a raven; where were they now? Human feet were just too slow. Dust sat there for a while, grumbling to herself, and finally decided she just wasn't going to succeed in hunting this morning. But -- that didn't mean she couldn't still play with the sling!

Hopping back up, she set about inventing and executing plan B.

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 17th, 2014, 11:24 am

First... well... she did need something to sling with, a truth Dust was more than a little chagrined to realize she hadn't accounted for before. Fortunately, exactly nobody else was here to notice her slip. She walked down the stream for a while, picking up rocks as they struck her fancy -- pretty white-and-blue rocks, rounded rocks, funny-shaped rocks, an odd reddish one or three. She stuffed her pockets and filled her hands, and when she held as many as she could possibly carry, Dust set about finding herself a target.

It needed to be something she could recognizably aim at. Large boulders seemed in short supply out here, but she did find a likely-looking oak, an old and grand tree with a knothole at a convenient-seeming level. The Kelvic decided that would suit her just fine. She had to go around a bush to get a good distance from it, though, with its twigs sticking up in what seemed like all the wrong places. But she couldn't expect rabbits or deer or anything else to just stand out in the open for her, either -- otherwise, she'd have already found some! -- so that was okay.

On a whim, Dust left most of her rocks there and retreated a little further into the woods, putting her back to a skinny pine tree and peering around it at the great big oak. She would be sneaky. Grinning at her own playful conceit, Dust crouched slow and slunk forward towards her 'target', creeping from bush to bush and pretending she would catch it by surprise. Reaching her designated shooting point, the Kelvic dropped the one rock she had kept into the sling, stood up slowly and prepared her grip on the weapon, then at last whipped it around and released the rock --

-- which sailed off somewhere past the tree she'd meant to hit, judging by the crackle of brush which was all she heard. Dust huffed after it, then leaned down to snag another rock, one of the pretty white ones. Maybe this one would be lucky.

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 17th, 2014, 12:32 pm

In her eager pretense of hunting the tree, Dust had also forgotten to pay attention to her stance with the first stone. She set about correcting that now: one foot forward, one foot back, body at an angle. Slinging arm back. Line up on the target. Something like... that, she thought, as she looked down the range towards the tree. Dust fixed the knothole in her vision, that point she absolutely desired to hit. She would hit it.

Hefting the white pebble in her free hand, she slid it into the pouch and let its weight pull the sling down. She would bring it up and around, release the rock, and the missile would hit the tree. Dust did bring it around, and released the stone... only to have it whump into the ground near the base of the tree.

All right. White was not her lucky color...

Contemplating the pile, Dust picked up a blue-gray pebble instead. She paused to study its shape -- blocky, a little thicker on one side than the other, but with a huge chip out of one edge. But that didn't really mean much to the Kelvic; it was a rock, a rock small enough to fit in the sling pocket. So in it went.

Feet... there. Arm... there. Gaze... there. Dust stretched her arms and ran through a couple of pretend swings; it couldn't hurt and might even help, right? Then she lined up on the target and launched the third stone -- which didn't just sail past the tree, but went off somewhere well to the side, in a tremendous crash of disturbed brush.

Augh! Blue wasn't her lucky color either!

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 17th, 2014, 1:00 pm

Okay... what about a red one?

Dust plucked a red pebble from the pile. Slightly shiny, threaded through by muddy green, it was vaguely round but with a bite missing from one side. Or, well, what she could imagine was a bite, if there was some kind of lizard that ate rocks. She could imagine that, too.

This one went into the sling's pocket, and Dust went through the steps of orienting herself on the target yet again. On envisioning her red stone striking the bole. On --

Something made the hair on the back of her neck stand bolt upright. Something... Quiet. No more chirping birds seeming to chortle over her misses. That sense of being stared at by someone, somewhere. The Kelvic twisted to look around and behind herself, to find the watching eyes...

She caught a pale glimmer, one which launched into motion before she could resolve it, all pounding legs and open jaws. "Ai!" Dust shouted, wordless startlement and sudden fear, instinctively bringing the weapon in her hand to bear. A whip of her wrist, and sling and stone came crashing around into her attacker, a resounding crack and a flinch her rewards for the act. And before the noise even faded, the Kelvic reached inwards for her other form, for the escape and security she associated with winged flight.

Light bounced from the surrounding trees. A beast crashed into empty clothes. A pale-feathered raven found herself dragged to earth by the confines of the shirt her human shape had worn only a heartbeat before. A very short heartbeat. Struggling out through its neck with desperate urgency, Dust launched herself into the air and charged straight for the first tree she saw -- the very same oak she had been throwing stones at.

Only when she was landed and (presumably) secure did the raven Kelvic even try to take stock of her new situation.

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Last edited by Dust on August 17th, 2014, 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Dust on August 17th, 2014, 1:16 pm

Below her, a very confused wolf snuffled at empty cloth in its limp huddle upon the earth. Its fur was nearly as pale as the raven's feathers, white speckled with soft gray and tawny brown. Long legs and overlarge ears hinted at growth still to come, while a scrawny frame and insufficiently fluffy fur suggested hunger. Hunger enough to drive the wolf towards strange loud noises, instead of away...

The raven clung to her perch, claws digging into the oak's thick bark, and squawked her ire at the yearling wolf. She scolded it up one side and down the other, pausing only as needed to breathe. Dust could tell the wolf didn't like the raucous noise she put up, in the set of its ears and tail, but it didn't care about the raven, either. As long as it didn't try to eat her anymore, well, that was just fine by her.

Eventually, the wolf decided that its disappearing prey wouldn't reappear, and however appealing the scent left behind, the clothing couldn't possibly be made into a meal. She watched it go, lapsing into silence in its wake. Other birds, little singing birds, resumed their normal chatter and activities; the raven remained still and quiet. Syna climbed higher into the sky, dappling the forest with golden light and green shadow, colors the white wolf could hide in no better than the white raven.

Eventually, the raven decided it was time for her to go. She dropped to the earth and turned human again, putting on human clothes and gathering up the sling. The last thing she did was drop the red pebble in her pocket, before retracing her path through the woods, now cautious and wary and alert all throughout the walk.

Red stones were lucky. Just not the way she'd been thinking of...

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An Early-Morning Adventure

Postby Nightmare on October 9th, 2014, 5:30 pm

Dust :
Skills Amount
Observation +4
Socialization +1
Land Navigation +3
Stealth +3
Tracking +1
Hunting +2
Weapon: Sling +3
Intimidation +1


Lore
Stealth: Avoid Twigs and leaves to maintain silence
Tracking: Signs of a deer trail
Eating a beetle in human form, yuck!
Stealth: How to make noise with every step
Tracking: Footprints in mud to find a quarry




Loot
+1 lucky red pebble



Additional Comments:This was a fun thread to read! Not often do I read something a get a smile just by the antics of a single character. :) You did a very good job with this thread and I really appreciate that you acknowledged the inherent danger of the Wildlands. I hope you enjoy the grade!


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