Closed Beasts and Burdens (Azira)

Zhol and Azira try to calm a farmer's llama drama.

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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Beasts and Burdens (Azira)

Postby Zhol on August 27th, 2015, 4:55 pm


|.
Oh no. Oh no you don't.

After today, after everything, after all the tested patience and the barrage of insurmountable and undeserved disdain, there was no petching way that Zhol was going to allow Azira to have some kind of heroic blaze of glory death. A blaze of reimantic retribution perhaps, but not some noble heroes death that would forever overshadow anything about her. Zhol's fingers clenched around the sword with determination. Either the leopard died, or he and Azira both died, lost and forgotten in the wilderness as a monument to their mutual stubbornness and stupidity.

The corners of his eyes crinkled, a subtle wince at the tugging sensation in his mind, and the coppery taste at the back of his throat. A slight sniff and a dab at his nostril with the back of his hand confirmed his suspicions: a tiny crescent of crimson lingered against his knuckle, the herald of an aspiring trickle of blood that would leak onto his lip if he allowed his head to tilt too far forward. He pushed it outside of his mind, along with the faint breath of distant voices that brushed against the back of his mind, and the prickle of feeling in the pores of his arm, where djed eagerly waited to be unleashed. All else aside, this was a hunt, and Azira was the huntress. If she said slash, Zhol would slash.

He repeated that concept over in his head like a mantra. Slash, not fire. Slash, not fire.

An arrow launched from Azira's bow, thumping into the leopard's flesh with a sound that made Zhol grimace. The creature snarled, seeming more enraged than hurt. An icy feeling of dread wrapped around Zhol's heart and lungs as he contemplated the foe that they had challenged, clearly a little too close to the limits of their capabilities for comfort, and for an idle moment he wondered if they had made some grievous mistake, challenged some supernatural beast, or some creature beloved by Caiyha and under her divine protection.

He shook that thought free as best he could. It was just a beast, just a normal, angry, scary, incredibly hard to kill, ruthless, predatory beast. A dead beast, no less. He and Azira merely needed to convince it of that impending truth.

Slash, not fire.

A moment of opportunity fluttered open like the canvas door of a pavilion and Zhol surged, lunging at the creature with as much might as he could muster. He swung, hoping to carve a rending cut through the flesh across the leopard's ribs, but as it ducked and recoiled from Azira's worryingly ineffective arrow strikes, the blow swung worthlessly wide, and a quick shift of the weight on his feet and a change in the direction of the sword barely managed to find the creature's flesh at all, an over-extended jab sinking the blade tip into the leopard's skin a mere inch or so.

Larger than an arrowhead though, the blade strike earned the leopard's attention. It turned and swiped, sending Zhol staggering backwards, barely managing to keep his footing on the uneven floor, swatting with his sword to stop the beast from making any rash decisions about pouncing or getting too close. The edge of his sword nicked at the leopard's foreleg a little above it's viciously clawed paw, but that only served to aggravate the beast further. From this close, the way the leopard's lips curled as it snarled provided Zhol with a far better view of it's razor-sharp teeth than he had ever hoped to see.

Another arrow from Azira saved him, this time striking with enough force to make the leopard sway a little on it's feet, a pierced muscle or a pierced lung perhaps - something to make the mighty creature ever so slightly unsteady. It's muscles rippling beneath it's fur, the leopard retreated a few steps, it's keen eyes shifting from one potential prey to the other. Zhol didn't know what thoughts were roaming through it's mind. Was it trying to decide which of them was the greater threat? Which of them was the easier victim? Was it even capable of thoughts on such a level, or was it merely trying to decide which of the two-legs was more or less capable of causing it pain?

Whatever thought or instinct prevailed, Azira seemed to be the target it chose. Zhol's eyes widened as he watched it's gaze lock on her, it's hind legs recoil ready to spring and pounce. He was already in motion before he even knew what was happening, a few long strides closing the distance towards the creature as it began to launch itself forward. Extended before him, his sword managed to pierce it's way into the creature's neck, just slightly in front of it's shoulder; but it was the momentum that did most of the work, Zhol letting his final strides barrel him into the leopard as it left the ground. As the beast twisted in the air, it lashed out with a limb, and Zhol felt it's razor claws bite into the skin of his arm. He staggered, instinct lunging out with his sword almost as if it were a cane that could help him rediscover his balance; but the sword found flesh instead of the ground, the leopard twisting on the ground where it had landed. Zhol drew back and stabbed again, and again, no aim, no precision, just relentless blow after relentless blow, desperately trying to make as many holes in the creature as he could before it was able to find it's feet again. Another desperate swipe from the creature buried it's claws into the flesh of Zhol's leg; he responded in kind, swinging wildly with his sword, and felt it cleave it's way into the leopard's neck.

He wasn't sure what he'd severed - an artery, a ligament, a throat; there was too much blood and matted fur to be sure - but as breaths heaved their way out of Zhol's lungs, they ceased doing so from the leopard. Zhol retreated, a few staggering steps quickly turning into a limp as pain informed him of the punctures in his calf. "Shoot it again," he grunted, between his lungs' efforts to refill, managing to hobble backwards far enough to press his back against the tree for support. "Make sure the petching thing stays dead."

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Beasts and Burdens (Azira)

Postby Azira on September 6th, 2015, 9:34 pm

It was dead. The petching thing was actually dead.

Her gaze flickered between the big cat and her companion, not sure which of them surprised her more at the moment. Her surprise aside, Zhol did have a point that she should ensure the creature was truly dead and would stay that well. She had no desire to have it spring back to life when her back was turned.

Approaching it quickly, she stayed on the tips of her toes as she drew close to it on the off chance that she would have to dodge claws or teeth. There seemed to be the odd twitch in one of its limbs as signals kept firing but the rapidly spreading blood pool at its neck told her that it was finished. If the animal was playing dead then it was doing a damn good job of it and so the huntress stepped in quickly, slashing her blade across the cat's neck and gouging deeply enough that knife ground across bone. Better to be safe than sorry. She absentmindedly cleaned the blade on a unsullied patch of fur as she stared in wonder at the creature. Now that it was dead, she could appreciate the deadly beauty of the thing, the claws, the teeth, the glossy fur. This was the animal that had caused so much trouble and she had been the one to find it and kill it rather than the other hunters.

Her eyes travelled back to Zhol.

They had done it because the teen couldn't have managed it alone. If she'd found it by herself then she would likely have done something extremely reckless and her life probably would have been forfeit; there was very little room for mistakes in hunting. It was a miracle that she had survived today, just as it was a miracle that she survived any other time. Although at least this time that the other Avora had contributed heavily to the fact that she would live past today.

"Well, I guess we made a new porcupine," she joked, waving at the arrow shafts that stuck out of the big cat's hide. "Just as cranky, now just as dead," she commented, laughing at her poor attempt at humour. At least now they weren't in a life and death situation so she was free to laugh this time. Scrutinising him, her expression became a little more serious as she took in his panting form and what looked suspiciously like blood starting to trickle from one nostril.

"Are you okay? You have uh..." She gestured vaguely in the direction of his nose before realising that he probably didn't have a clue what that was supposed to mean. She pointed towards her own nose before adding, "blood." Azira didn't know how he'd managed to start a nosebleed. There was no way he'd whacked his nose while dealing with their prey unless it had occurred during his escape from the tree or something.

The huntress stared at him, wondering what to say. She should thank him but it wouldn't be an easy thing for her to say to him. She'd called him useless after all, had talked up her own skills and had petched up big time. The one who had succeeded was him and if she admitted that then she would have to admit that she'd failed.

I'm sure he's dying to tell everyone how poorly I performed on this hunt. It'd be great payback for me treating him like shyke, she groaned internally, beginning to chew her lip in her discomfort. The girl just needed to swallow her pride and spit out just a few little words that were sure to taste like bile to her.

"Th-thank you... for... for killing the... yeah," she mumbled, gradually trailing off as she towards the leopard and found herself unable to meet his gaze. If her awkward speech somehow failed to convey her embarrassment then the colour rising in her cheeks was sure to make it highly obvious.

Her gratitude expressed to some degree, the huntress moved things forward as quickly as possible as she attempted to reassert some control over the situation. The teen turned her attention to the leopard, assessing how many places it was bleeding from and seeing if the blood had congealed in any of the older wounds yet. Leaving a blood trail when they carried the cat back would be far from ideal. As for how they'd carry it back... they'd probably have to tie it to a branch hefted between them. The rope she had to hand was currently attached to a porcupine; a porcupine that they could no longer bring back with them. The leopard was what they needed but the loss of the porcupine's meat would be hard to bear. The best she could hope would be that they could leave it covered up and hope they could come back for it--and that nothing ate it in the meantime.

She moved to undo the rope, sighing heavily as she approached the prone porcupine. "We can't bring this back with us," she explained. A needless explanation given that Zhol could work it out for himself. "We can't take both and the leopard is important so... I hope we can come back for the porcupine. I hope nothing eats it before we return," she told him as she set about working on the knots.

"Can you find a branch to carry the cat on?" she asked him, mentally adding that they'd have to find a way to deal with the differences in their height. If they didn't then the branch was going to end up at a very awkward diagonal. Maybe she could carry it on her shoulder and Zhol would carry it under his arm... or something. They'd work it out.
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Beasts and Burdens (Azira)

Postby Izuyanai on May 1st, 2016, 8:10 am

Secret :
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Grades

Name: Zhol

XP:
Wrestling 1
Observation 3
Animal Husbandry 1
Socialization 2
Hunting 1
Broadsword 1
Reimancy (fire) 2
Shielding 1
Intimidation 1
Climbing 1

Lores:
Llama Wrestling
Basic Care of External Wounds
Don't Fear the Inevitable
How To Walk Through the Wilderness
A Good Leader is Aware of Their Flaws
The Price of Self-Worth
Identifying Ground Porcupines
Identifying Snowshoe Leopards
Not Good With Heights
An Outsider

Penalty:
Over giving: Nosebleed (Less than a day)
Wounds from the leopard: Arm and Calf (5 days)
Scratches from the wilderness (5 days)
Mild bruising from too much adventure in one day (5 days)


Name: Azira

XP:
Socialization 2
Tracking 1
Tactics 2
Climbing 3
Scouting 1
Hunting 2
Weapon: Short bow 2
Knot-tying 1

Lores:
I Work Alone
Zhol: Flamethrower from the Sea of Grass
The Art of Creative Interpretation
Big Cats Like Remote Habitats
A Shattered Past
Identifying Ground Porcupines
Life is Unfair

Penalty:
Scratches (5 days)
Ruined boot (Should get that mended)

Collective
Rewards:
One snowshoe leopard:
Meat for the Aviary
Common to Medium quality pelt


Notes: Exciting thread with much angst and much adrenaline rushes. Great writing! Zhol, you might want to check how Shielding works, I believe it has to be over or around something. I took your writing to mean that you wove it in front of you. Azira, it really amused me for some reason that you lost it and started laughing during the fight. Nice touch of character. The situation felt alive and perilous.
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