PM to join A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

An unfortunate accident leaves a group of hunters trapped and in need of rescue.

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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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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on December 13th, 2014, 5:55 am

Never had Khara been more happy to have others around her than in that moment. She'd forgotten, well, not entirely. She just hadn't waited to see if Azira needed her that day. Her excitement over the day off had swallowed up her usual routine of waiting in her room until the time when the huntress would be out working was well past. While some things during Fall had made Khara wonder if she really needed to be worried over the Avora's wrath anymore, she still felt like she had disappointed the other to some extent, especially with the way Azira addressed her. Whatever pitiful excuses had been working to construct themselves were dashed when Sira interrupted and addressed them both.

She needed help rescuing a fellow Endal? That made more the need for a horse make a lot more sense. It didn't sound like too big of a deal, just a lot of work where a few extra people would be more than welcome to make it go by faster. There were far worse ways of spending the day, helping others was always worthwhile, and if Zhol was going there was no way she would refuse. Not that Khara would have said no to the Endal, anyway. Any Endal would have had that effect on her, but Sira in particular. The way the Kelvic had treated Khara as an equal - mostly - while on the hunt last Fall had earned genuine respect for the woman, not just the kind normally brought about by fear.

There was no room for questions, arguments, or anything else though as the Endal began laying out orders and plans. Another Eagle had apparently arrived and Azira would be riding him by herself. There was only the smallest amount of envy in that, but what followed completely obliterated any shred of the feeling. She already knew how Sira flew, even if it was bound to be a bit less intense than the first time if they were trying to take the pony with them. There was comfort there, not entirely as much as apparently being forced to share the saddle with Zhol, but well...

His teasing did not help, it wasn't exactly unwelcome though, either. Khara squirmed in his gentle hold, more playful than an attempt to actually get away. She shhed at him amidst a barely suppressed giggle. She didn't exactly want to make such a scene, and hopefully they'd gone unnoticed. It was a good distraction, though. Not that she was jealous or worried about Zhol seeing Sira undressing, but whether he was aware of the Kelvic's nature or not she knew how uncomfortable the boy was with Inartan familiarity with nudity, and she guessed he was probably experiencing enough discomfort at the prospect of a Wind Eagle carrying one of his friends to suddenly and perhaps unexpectedly be faced with that as well.

She wasn't quite sure what sort of good she would be for the next few chimes. Khara's experience with horses was limited to a few small visits and the occasional pat on the nose, she didn't know the first thing about securing one for flight. Syna, please not more rope tying. Khara almost let the almost-joking prayer be spoken aloud, if for nothing else than maybe Azira's amusement. Either way, her demeanor shifted once they left the stables and she slipped away from Zhol's arm. She wasn't any less nervous than usual, but as it often did she managed to gain some sense of focus. They had work to do.


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on December 17th, 2014, 11:02 pm

Her mouth opened to continue her complaints but shut abruptly at the Endal's words. She stared at her, more than a little wary of what the woman wanted from her. Why else would anyone say they were glad to see her? Sure enough, it was because Sira wanted herself and Khara to be rescuers. There was no way for Azira to refuse to help either. She could refuse but then she'd be ordered to do it and she'd earn the ill will of the woman to boot. The hunters in danger were still alive and there was an Endal involved so if she said no, she'd seem like the worst person alive.

The switch to Common was for Zhol's sake and she had an initial moment of panic. He was coming with them? How?! The Kelvic had thrown a hissy fit at having a two person saddle before and a single person one was a real squeeze for two people but a third would be impossible, or maybe only extremely awkward. Also what was this about a horse?

The solution to the carrying problem was resolved by the addition of another Wind Eagle to their resources but it could only carry one. She was fine with sharing Sira's saddle with Khara but not with Zhol. The huntress knew that the decision was in the Endal's hands though and so she couldn't volunteer for one eagle or the other. Maybe she would prefer to carry herself and the Chiet, the lightest ones of the three, or she might make a different choice. The woman was doing the carrying so Azira would just have to go around with whatever she decided, just like she had to go along with this rescue mission. She had sounded as if she'd been referring to the two teen girls when she mentioned the other eagle, which meant that she was already taking Zhol. Oh Lhex, no!

The huntress waited anxiously for the Endal's verdict and gave a soft sigh of relief when it came. A glance was thrown Khara's way. Better you than me, she thought her way. At least Khara and Zhol were friendly with one another so it wouldn't be too bad for them. She didn't like the prospect of flying with another Endal and their mount though. At least she knew Sira and had flown with the Kelvic before. The woman probably didn't dislike her but what about this other eagle and their rider. For one wild moment, she was frightened that this Zika was another Kelvic and that she would be riding solo but if that was the case then she would have been warned.

She followed behind Sira but ahead of Khara and Zhol. The sound of hooves echoed in the stone passage and she found herself glancing back at it to make sure it was keeping its distance. She really didn't like equines and she didn't trust it to keep away from her. One backwards glance was all it took to switch her attention from the horse to Zhol and Khara. She would have had to be blind to miss the arm that the man had around his companion's waist and the affectionate way that he nuzzled against her. She shot him a hard look, her jaw set and looked away hurriedly when she realised what she was doing.

What in petch are you doing? It's not as if you like her, is it? She's only a Chiet, an inner voice berated her. Her attention was purposely diverted from the scene going on behind her as they emerged into the daylight. Sira had already begun undressing but Azira hardly glanced at her, too agitated by the turn her thoughts were trying to take. She took in everything else around her instead. There were the Dek that the Kelvic had mentioned, carrying the equipment that she was going to need - saddle, stretchers, harnesses - and there was the Wind Eagle she would be riding, Zika.

Zika did not have a rider. Zika was not fully mature.

She hovered near the others for a chime, taking in the sight of the juvenile raptor that could well decide to throw her off its back and eat her. Why hadn't she been told? Sira had never mentioned another rider so maybe she had been supposed to put things together herself. The others could sort themselves out whereas she would probably be better off introducing herself to this strange bird that saddled and waiting for a rider. He was too young to have taken on many riders so presumably he was inexperienced. This was going to be just wonderful.

The huntress approached him reluctantly although she tried to keep her posture appearing confident for the benefit of watchers who didn't have eagle eyes to pick out her true insecurity. She made a tentative introduction and explained the situation, readily mounting the bird once she had permission. It didn't take long for her to secure herself and then she was just left waiting for the others, looking their way to see how they were progressing.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on December 18th, 2014, 4:17 am

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In a sparkling cloud of smoke Sira went from woman to wind eagle, and right away the dek went to work. They were used to Sira and her antics, it wasn't the first time they had saddled her, and Sira did not fuss as much as usual. Not only did she have an audience, but she was in a hurry.

Sira watched Azira carefully as the woman approached the other eagle and introduced herself. Zika did not appear to give her much trouble, and soon enough Azira was saddled and ready to go. That was good, she would continue to watch her. Sira glanced at Khara and Zhol, and sent them a mental message.

"I hope you two are paying attention. You'll have to take this thing off me when we get there."

Sira wouldn't be shifting out from under the saddle like she had done with Khara and Azira. The medical saddle was to big and heavy and there was a chance she might get caught beneath it. She was not looking forward to the ordeal. An endal was usually skilled enough to saddle a single rider saddle by themselves, but the bulky medical saddle was best done with four.

The saddle had plenty of straps for the riders, and saddlebags full of bandages and other emergency medical supplies if needed. Her clothing and weapons were stowed inside one of the bags, and Khara and Zhol had climbed aboard, it was time to pick up the horse.

The harness was a fairly simple affair. It secured the pony around all four legs and across the belly, and had a thick strong rope with a hard leather handhold at the end for Sira to grasp with her talons. The worst part was taking off.

Sira grasped the rope in her talons and began to beat her wings. She jerked off the ground, but did not climb very high. Sira hated this part. She basically had to semi-hover until the rope went taut and she could safely lift the horse off the ground. Hovering was incredibly difficult, and her least favorite part about when she had to carry things like horses or large pallets of goods or anything else that she couldn't just swoop down upon.

The ride for her passengers would be jarring as Sira struggled to maintain airborne and ascend directly upwards slowly enough not to hurt the horse. Not all birds could do what she was doing, and most that could were not raptors. Wind eagles were unique that way. Finally, after what to Sira felt like forever the rope went taut and the frightened pony lifted off the ground. It struggled at first, kicking it's feet and whinnying in fear, but Sira ignored it as best as she could, making careful adjustments to her wing and tail feathers so that they slowly began to move forward.

They gradually picked up speed and Sira flared her mark, the feathers on the underside if her left wind shining with light. She had no idea if Priskil's radiance affected animals, but perhaps it would give the beast some courage for the flight ahead.

Thankfully it was not a long flight, only half a bell by air though on foot it would take much, much longer. They passed over a mountain and into a small valley. Sira could already see Zika circling down toward the clearing where they were supposed to land, then they would walk another half a bell to a tree covered cliff inaccessible to the wind eagles, where the cave and landslide awaited.

Sira circled down after Zika had landed, doing her best to give the horse as gentle a landing as possible. It was not easy, and the horse thudded down hard, knickering angrily. Sira set down a few yards away, still clutching the rope so that the horse could not run away, and waited for everyone to dismount and remove her saddle.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on January 13th, 2015, 7:02 am


|.
On it's own, the idea of an Endal striding into a field and stripping off her clothes would have been something he could cope with. It was weird, certainly, and made him more than a little embarrassed and uncomfortable: not just because she was naked, and his cultural upbringing hadn't raised him to be unphased by that, but also because Khara was standing right there. True, the Inarta didn't have the same perspectives on nudity that Zhol was accustomed to, and Zhol doubted she'd feel jealous or angry about him seeing something that in her culture was perfectly typical; and yes, he'd averted his eyes, and he wasn't looking or even wanting to look, but his mind and his thoughts wandered, substituted Khara into Sira's place, substituted the pasture for the baths, remembered the way her body had touched against his when they'd kissed, imagined more than just a kiss...

His face turned an intense, deep shade of red.

In isolation though, that was within his ability to cope. Even the alarming transformation of Endal woman into giant bird filled his mind more with surprise and awe than any kind of negative shock. He knew what a Kelvic was, in principle, but there was being told, and then there was seeing and believing, and those were two vastly different things. His mind filled with questions, and while he knew better than to unleash such a tirade, his curiosity skitted around like a frantic woodland creature, frantically hoarding hows and whys like a squirrel gathering food for the winter.

But then the voice came, and that was too much for his mind to cope. His head was crowded enough already, but usually only by thoughts of his own. When other ideas crept in, it was a sign of something terrifying and bad: the whisperings of magic gone too far, the sickly, twisted voices of people he knew and cared for trying to manipulate him into surrendering to things he should not surrender to. When the Endal's voice sounded in his head, he froze; and for a split second, his rational mind warred with the irrational urge to flee, and cower, and hide.

He pushed past it though, and did as instructed; that Khara reacted to the words as well, proving that the voice did not exist purely in his mind alone, was a faint glimmer of reassurance that Zhol clung to tightly. He watched the way that the dek worked, watched the order that the straps and buckles were fastened in, trying to memorise the reverse for when they reached their destination.

More anxiety gripped him as they readied themselves for flight; his gut twisted in discomfort as he was forced to watch and listen to Asfodel's distress, unable to offer her the kind of reassurance that she needed. He had half a mind to abandon the saddle; half a mind to insist that he spend their flight atop the mare where he could provide comfort; but better judgement prevailed, and all he could do was utter silent prayers to every deity he could think of, imploring them - Lhex especially - to safeguard his equine friend.

His concern for Asfodel was distracting. His mind barely allowed him to relish the sensation of flight, or enjoy the excuse to be so close to Khara, dedicating every stray thought to worry; that Sira's wings shielded Asfodel from view, that he couldn't lean out to keep a constant eye on her for fear of tumbling from the saddle and perhaps taking Khara with him, filled him with frustration. By the time they arrived, it was almost too much, and they had barely made contact with the ground before Zhol had leapt free, crossing the distance to Asfodel to calm her, soothe her, and stop her from fleeing in panic away from the creature that had deposited her so unceremoniously on the ground.

"Easy, girl," he offered in little more than a whisper, keeping himself firmly in the pony's line of sight, his hands sweeping smoothing strokes down the side of Asfodel's neck, and down the soft fur of her muzzle. "The ground is beneath your hooves again. Be calm. Be still." Asfodel's frantic motions began to ease. Zhol tried to smile, and found the expression harder to come by than it would otherwise have been. "That's it, good girl. You have done me proud, like I knew you would. Rest a spell, we'll have work to do soon."

A few more moments were spent with the pony, soothing her nerves, before Zhol gently led her over to where Sira had landed. Perhaps what he had done was disrespectful; perhaps he should have attended to the eagle, to the Endal first, freed Sira from her saddle and left Asfodel to her own devices. He didn't know these things; didn't understand such things; didn't care. Asfodel was here because they needed her help, and Zhol was here to help her provide it; if Sira didn't like the order of Zhol's priorities, she could petching well mount her rescue without the both of them.

"Asfodel should be calm, for now," he explained, gaze switching between Sira and Khara as he spoke. He found himself distracted as his eyes settled on the latter, and couldn't help the small glimmer of a smile that crept onto his lips. "Lets deal with this saddle thingy. We have to unfasten the bracing straps first, right?"

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on January 16th, 2015, 1:57 am

Things went about as smoothly as Khara had imagined they would. Though even with the somewhat panicked pony, the undeniable joy of flying had brightened her spirits beyond anything else. It was conflicting to see Zhol was unable to really appreciate it to the same extent she had, but she knew very well why. She couldn’t understand it from the same perspective, but she knew how the boy regarded the animals of the stables. They were like family to him in a way, and she had learned just how important that was to him. So, naturally, it didn’t surprise her at all to find him rushing off to tend to the pony as soon as they had landed.

Only a slightly amused shake of her head came before she immediately turned her own attentions to Sira. She thought of offering some sort of explanation to the Endal for his actions, but thought better. It wasn’t her place to make excuses or provide reasons for him and she had no doubt that the Kelvic’s intuition would lend some answers immediately anyway.

The bulky medical saddle was considered once she was on the ground, frowning slightly at the overall complexity of it. She had watched the Dek carefully as they had secured it in place, but some of it obviously would take more than just the two hands she possessed. Still, Khara knew it was best to get started rather than leave anyone waiting longer than need be. As she began loosening the straps she looked over to where Zika and Azira were. She wanted to call out to the Avora, to ask how her flight had gone, to find out if it was as thrilling as she had hoped it had been. It was every Inarta’s dream to become an Endal, really, and getting to fly by yourself with an Eagle, even a young one, certainly seemed a step in the right direction.

She offered a smile and a bit of a questioning look to the Avora when she managed to catch the huntress’ gaze, thinking that shouting it out to her wasn't exactly a great idea. Khara returned her attention back to the saddle, tugging at a particularly stubborn clasp that she probably should have asked for help with. A thought came to her and she turned her thoughts towards Sira as the Endal had instructed her to do the last time they had all worked together.

"Thank you," she tried to project, hoping that Sira would hear her. "I don’t know if Azira will admit it, even to herself, but I think having her ride Zika probably meant a lot to her." No sooner had the thought left her head than Khara felt an apology for being so bold to say anything of the sort crop up. She kept it to herself, though. For once she actually felt like it was worth speaking out of turn to say something, now to just hope she wasn’t wrong.

Thankfully before her mind could run away with the urge to apologize anyway, Zhol returned. "I think I have it started," she said and nodded towards the clasp she was struggling with and waited for the boy to begin helping her undo it. "Shouldn’t take long now," she stated simply; a reassurance to Endal, Horseman, and herself as they continued to quickly work to free Sira from the saddle so they could set out. .


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on January 22nd, 2015, 10:31 pm

Her mount didn't seem eager to stay on the ground, ruffling his wing feathers often adjusting his feet under their combined weight. It made Azira's attempts at watching the others terribly uncomfortable with Zika jostling all the time on his back but he didn't seem to notice or care.

The horse that they were bringing with them was secured, Zhol and Khara climbed into Sira's saddle and once Sira began to beat her wings, the raptor beneath the huntress took its cue from her. It staggered a few steps forward, wings beating to send them skywards with a greater rapidity than the Endal was managing. Zika circled for a few moments, clearly observing his companion before he started off on his own. His flight was initially smooth, no doubt because he was unused to a rider, but it evened out after a chime. The Avora had gripped the saddle with her knees and hands, clinging to it as the Wind Eagle got itself into the air. Her grip was firm but she kept the tension out of her arms and legs, not wanting to put the muscles under any unnecessary strain. There was no point in her getting a cramp at an inconvenient moment should both the straps and her grip fail. It was an unlikely event but she wasn't going to be stupid. She had survived as long as she had by not being an idiot and she wasn't about to start now.

A backwards glance was shot at her companions to check on their progress but after that she kept her gaze to the sides or in front of her. Twisting her body was an uncomfortable and disorientating experience as well as a needless one once she discovered Sira flying in sight behind them with a horse swinging back and forth beneath her. Azira found the image amusing but she could also see how the horse might not be having a good time. Equines weren't supposed to take to the air.

The flight seemed surprisingly brief, her only warning that it was coming to an end occurring when Zika began circling downwards. They descended ahead of the others, Azira having time to free herself from her mount and rub life back into stiff and wind chilled limbs. The Endal landed nearby, Zhol almost vaulting from his saddle once they touched down and rushing to check on the horse. She shook her head, unable to understand the panic he seemed to be in over the creature. Yes, it had no doubt had an anxious journey but that didn't mean that he had to get so overexcited. She watched him for a chime before turning her attention to Sira and managing to catch Khara's eye. She was surprised to find that the scout had been looking her way. The other smiled her way and shot her a questioning look. The teen answered the smile belatedly when Khara had already looked away and it quickly dropped off her face again.

The space between the two eagles was quickly crossed, the huntress hurrying to the aid of the Chiet. Sira was waiting to be freed of the saddle and Khara was left struggling to open it alone because Zhol had been stupid enough to run to the aid of a horse that wasn't going anywhere and didn't need anything at present. He needed to get his priorities straight in her opinion. He'd gotten the idea though by the time Azira reached Sira's side. It was clear whose help the game scout wanted and so with a soft sigh and without a word, she moved to work on another section of the saddle.

She worked rapidly, taking bitter frustration out on the various straps and clasped as she attacked them viciously. She didn't consider what had caused the emotion but instead used it to fuel the task that needed to get done. This was no time for socialising when the eagle needed to be freed so they could go about their rescue mission. Time was of the essence and she wasn't going to slow things down any further. If Zhol and Khara wanted to keep the higher caste member then so be it; it was on their heads.

The saddle was well secured and so there was more to unfasten than she had first anticipated. She worked through though with grim determination until Sira was free of it. It was only a matter of getting it clear without damaging it and then Sira could change back into her human form without the risk of getting caught under it. She could probably shake it off by herself without their aid and so it was only a matter of getting out of the way so as not to get caught by it as it fell. Azira gave her the room, checking over her gear in order to appear as if she was doing something useful, an aloof glance offered to the pair beside her as she waited for the plan of action to be announced. Sira knew more about this situation than she did after all, maybe Zhol did too.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on January 27th, 2015, 1:11 am

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Sira did turn her head to look as Zhol jumped off the saddle and ran to assit the pony. She did not say anything about it, however, but a part of her mind stored that information away for later. She didn't have time to worry about random foreigners at the moment, they had work to do. Khara was down a moment later and was examining the saddle, trying to figure out how to get the thing off. When Khara's thoughts entered her mind, Sira's head snapped back to the chiet. Interesting.. Sira had left herself open to communication with her riders, it was only common sense that she do so, but she had not expected Khara to actually say something to her without prompting. The girl was growing bolder.

"She did well. Zika had no complaints.. well, no more than to be expected."

Sira glanced over at Azira who had quickly come over to assist. All three of them were there, and while it took some figuring out, they eventually managed to unfasten all the straps and slide the saddle off Sira's back. The moment it was off Sira shifted, engulfing the four of them in sparkling smoke. As soon as it was clear Sira began digging through the saddlebag that held her stuff, pulling out her clothing and gear. She pulled on her bryda first, then her boots. Next came her belt, and sword, then her vinati. Her quiver she clipped to her belt instead of her back that way she could pull on the katinu and still have access to her arrows. It was cold out, and she would need the cloak for warmth. Once she was dressed glanced at the others, then motioned for them to follow.

"Zika is telling me to hurry up. The cave isn't far. Get the horse and follow me."

She didn't bother with her usual speech of everyone being equal like she did the last time she'd been in the wilderness with Khara and Azira. For one, it wasn't a hunt, and then there was the fact that Zhol wasn't even from Wind Reach, so she couldn't really trust him to hold his own in the mountains. More importantly, in a rescue operation, someone had to take charge and that someone was Sira.

Sira set off into the forest, following the same path the group of hunters before her had taken. Sira had been given explicit directions, and Zika could guide her from above if necessary, so there was little hesitation in her step. Khara could probably easily pick out the foot prints of group, considering they were only a few bells old, and Sira didn't find it particularly hard either.

"Sira," Zika's voice sounded in the kelvic's head. "Something is wrong.. I.. I don't know what. Something is off, but I can't tell what."

Sira stopped, glancing up at the sky. She couldn't see Zika, but she was sure he was up there. Off? What did the Wind Eagle mean?

"What do you mean, off? Is somebody hurt?"

"No.. but he, I don't know. Something is off. Hurry."

Sira considered the eagle's mysterious words for a moment, but decided not to share them with the group. Not yet. "Off" wasn't enough information to get everybody worried over, but Sira did pick up the pace.

"Come on, let's hurry."

It didn't take long to reach the cave, a quarter bell, maybe half. It was a mess. Several large stones and a ridiculous number of smaller ones blocked their path into the cave, and Ivak only knew how deep the rubble penetrated. Sira ran up to what she thought was the mouth of the cave and shouted at the mess of rocks.

"Is everybody alright in there!? We're going to get you out. Don't worry!"

Sira thought she heard a muffled response, but couldn't be sure. Zika hadn't said anybody was hurt, but the Wind Eagle was oddly silent, emitting only a worried sensation across their mental link. Sira thought she understood. Any time Aidara had been in danger Sira practically lost her mind. That's probably all it was, she told herself as she turned back to face the others.

"Alright, let's start clearing away some of these smaller rocks, and then we'll have to figure out how to move the big ones."

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on January 27th, 2015, 2:22 am


|.
Zhol could feel the burning judgement in Azira's gaze every time she looked at him. It may not have been a pleasant sensation, but it was certainly a familiar one. He wasn't sure why Azira disliked him - or everyone else, for that matter - quite so much, but it seemed as much a part of her being as Khara's nervousness, or Drusilla's inquisitive nature, and so he accepted it as such. Azira was what she was, and if she disliked him purely because of what he was? There wasn't much he could do about that which hadn't already been tried; no use wasting thoughts and frets on something so clearly futile.

Besides, his actions with Asfodel were something he was content to be judged for. To the Inarta, the horses in his charge were just mindless animals, mere drudges by comparison to the eagles and other birds that the Inarta so revered. Zhol new better though: if horses were anything, they were the children of Wind Reach who weren't yet Yasi. They struggled with their emotions, found themselves scared and startled by things that their minds weren't mature enough to understand; they deserved sympathy not disdain. Asfodel had needed Zhol to calm and reassure her far more than anyone else needed him; and by Sira's own admission, even her Kelvic abilities were of little help, so it would be Asfodel out of all of them who was needed most of all. If the Inarta would judge him for understanding that simple truth, the stupidity was theirs; Zhol was the one with his priorities straight, if they expected this rescue to succeed.

He kept quiet, especially when Sira took charge again; he retrieved Asfodel when instructed, and dutifully followed along at the rear of the group as they trudged their way across the rugged terrain to the cave they were seeking. Asfodel was far more sure-footed than he was, and so Zhol compensated with caution, careful to watch the paths that the three Inarta and their shorter strides took, trying to judge the muddy and root-tangled ground, keeping his eyes open for loose stones and slippery surfaces; but mostly he relied on the pony's instincts, keeping a loose hold on her, enough to make sure she was pointed in the right direction, but loose enough to let her plant her hooves and weight on the ground that she felt was safest for her to tread. At one point, as a particularly slick patch of scree slid free from beneath his boots and turned a careless step into a stumble, Zhol considered hopping onto her back and letting Asfodel do the walking for the both of them; she seemed far better suited to it than he. He knew better though, of course: from the sound of things, Asfodel would need all her strength when they arrived.

When they finally arrived, the sight of the landslide robbed the air from Zhol's lungs. It was one thing to understand the concept - he had been warned of such things as he'd journeyed across Kalea on his way to Wind Reach in the first place - but it was a different thing entirely to see one. It was one thing to understand that rocks on the ground were made of the same stone as the mountains; it was another thing entirely to see the mountain having crumbled and collapsed. Such behaviour was not something he expected of stone; it was solid and absolute, not feeble and breakable. What caused such things to happen? How likely were they? How safe was he, sleeping at night with an entire mountain of what was now apparently fragile stone suspended above his head?

As Sira commanded that they begin to clear the rocks, Zhol didn't need telling twice; he was here for a reason, and until Asfodel was needed, he'd focus his efforts wherever else they were required. The first few rocks he selected were modestly sized, enough to help him gauge the weight of the stone, but quickly he switched to larger objects, trying to target the heaviest ones that he could lift on his own. It wasn't pride or arrogance, but instead a simple strategy: he wasn't sure how Kelvic strength translated into their human form, but he was definitely stronger than Khara, and maybe even Azira; if he concentrated on moving the rocks that they could not, they'd progress in their task much faster.

Not for the first time, he lamented the fact that it was fire that had come so naturally to him when he had been inducted into reimancy. Had he been more like his mother, or if he had been able to hone his skills and gain more control in the years since, perhaps he might have been more use in this situation than merely a set of muscles. He wrestled that frustration, and twisted it into his arms, forcing the agitated energy into his biceps with every rock he hefted from the floor.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on January 31st, 2015, 10:00 pm

There was a strange tension to everything, it seemed. As far as Khara could guess it was from the situation they were all willingly heading into. She had managed to hear the sigh that had left Azira as they had been removing the saddle from Sira, had caught an unfamiliar look that had shown itself for only a bit. Azira wasn't typically warm or overly good humored in most situations - though Khara had seen her on at least some better days - but it wasn't her typical fire that was presenting itself, either. Zhol too was a bit of a mystery. He was far more focused than Khara had ever seen him, though it came with a bitter air that also seemed entirely foreign to the girl. She could only guess that she was acting not entirely like her usual self as well.

Sira's rather abrupt nature seemed at odds with what Khara had previously experienced around the Endal as well, but at least that she could chalk up to not really knowing the Kelvic so well. Her commanding nature was at least in line with what the Chiet expected of the highest caste member, especially in a situation where clear delegation was needed.

The path they followed was an easy one, the footsteps the hunters had left easily spotted among the well worn trail, but Khara continued to try and anticipate where they would move - more out of habit than anything else. It gave her something to do as they walked, trying to decide how tall or what gender the hunters were by their footsteps. Truth was she was having a bit of trouble even discerning just how many there were. Was it just two? Or was it three? If they had slowed she may have been able to get a better idea, but as it was they were following where the hunters had gone and that was enough.

As they came upon the rock slide Khara felt herself take in a sharp breath of air, not quite a gasp, but still clearly startled. She had seen rock slides before, plenty of them when out in The Unforgiving and other areas around Skyinarta, but they were usually older, the damage they caused either small or large already nothing but a faint echo as far as nature was concerned. The hunters, in her opinion, were quite lucky they hadn't been at the mouth of the cave when it had happened. But what had caused such a thing...?

There wasn't any time to really spend on such wondering, Sira's instructions were given and the sense of urgency behind them couldn't be ignored. Khara wasn't the strongest but she set about quickly moving what stones she could, focusing on the smaller ones as instructed first. She wasn't the smallest among them, but something told her that out of the four of them she was the most likely to be the weakest.


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on February 15th, 2015, 10:31 pm

Stepping quickly out of the way had been a wise decision because the moment the Kelvic freed herself of the saddle, she shifted. Sparkling smoke cleared to reveal Sira's nubile form. The huntress regarded her causally as she sought clothing to cover her, arming herself as well in preparation for whatever might lie ahead of them. She assumed that the Endal would take charge now despite what she'd said about equality on their previous hunt. This was no hunt and so the same rules didn't apply. It came as no surprise when her authority was asserted, even if the order was a simple one, it was still an order.

The teen followed without protest, the woman having gained enough of her respect for that much. Khara would follow Sira's authority naturally and Zhol would be forced to come with them or end up in trouble if he tried to resist. He didn't seem like the resistant type though and a quick glance back showed that he had complied with the order like the two teen girls had, following obediently behind with the horse in tow.

Their new leader seemed to know where she was going, no doubt because she was in communication with the other Wind Eagle. He apparently knew where the hunters were trapped and so even though he wasn't visible from their viewpoint below the forest canopy, he probably played an important role in guiding them. The eagle no doubt had a fair idea of what they were heading into and Sira too but whether or not such ideas would be shared with them seemed unlikely. They hadn't been told anything so far and surely they would have been given something at this stage if there was any intention of letting them into the loop. So they weren't to know what to expect. She didn't know if that meant the situation was worse than the Endal had let on, or whether she was just being paranoid. It was odd all the same. Whatever the reason behind it. The situation didn't seem quite right.

When the Kelvic sped up, only telling them that they should hurry without giving an explanation, Azira's suspicions grew. She watched the woman more closely, searching for any signs of subterfuge but she didn't see anything more to make her think that there was more going on than they'd been told. It left the huntress puzzled, especially when they reached what was obviously the site of their rescue mission and there had been no new strangeness to Sira's behaviour. The idea that she might have been imagining things grated on her but she felt that she was right.

I'm as right about this as I am about Zhol and Khara. It's that obvious, she told herself, glancing back at the pair without thinking. Her eyes darted back to the wreckage of the landslide, a thought of Focus! echoing through her mind. Rocks, she should only be thinking about rocks and their removal. If Sira acted strangely again then she'd been on the look out for it. She wouldn't get distracted again, she'd observe while she worked that was all. If it's so obvious then why didn't you know about Khara and Zhol sooner? a part of her sneered and was judiciously ignored. There were people who needed her help and there was no point in getting caught up in little things now.

The place was eerily quiet, no signs of life behind the wall of scree. It made her wonder if there was anyone behind it still alive. Would they pull all the rocks away and only find corpses? How many of them were there? She didn't even know. They'd been dragged into this situation totally blind. They'd find out what they were facing after they cleared although the debris away.

The huntress set about selecting rocks, choosing ones from as high up the pile as she could. Pulling them from the bottom seemed to be inviting trouble. What if there was one little rock preventing more of a slide? Her footing was chosen carefully so she could stretch for the ones she wanted, throwing them back behind her or dropping them heavily at her feet as she worked up to bigger ones. There were still plenty of large ones that they wouldn't be able to move working alone. They might be able to shift them if they worked as a team or maybe the horse could be put to such a purpose. Why else had Sira brought the creature? She hadn't brought it for a flight for the fun of it. The horse would make everything easier but perhaps the Endal had some other use planned for it. There was no way to know about the horse unless she asked and the other two didn't seem to have the nerve to ask or were too preoccupied with the heavy lifting.

"Were you planning on using the horse to shift some of this or did you have other plans for it?" she puffed as another rock was deposited at her feet. The Avora didn't bother to speak Common for Zhol's sake. She was asking because she wanted to know and he could do the same if he so desired. She didn't have to be accommodating. Three of them spoke Nari and one spoke Common, which gave them the right to speak their native tongue as far as she was concerned. Besides, he was in charge of the horse so presumably Sira had explained things to him or he wouldn't have brought it so willingly.
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