On Darkened Wings [Irriari]

Death swoops down from above.

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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.

On Darkened Wings [Irriari]

Postby Perplexity on February 9th, 2015, 12:22 am

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16th of Winter, 514 AV
Midday

Bitter winds blew across the jagged landscape. The decrepit stalagmites of the Everstone Forest clawed their way toward the skies of Mizahar. Like skeletal fingers desperate to tear their way from the ground they stood silent and unmoved by the cold of Morwen’s season. For centuries they had been the silent sentinels of the Wildlands defiant in the face of all destruction, even the Valterrian. A recent cascade of snow had painted the landscape in an ephemeral white. It made the grey stone seem that much colder.

High in the skies the beat of wings could be heard as a predator searched the cold Wildlands for prey. It was a vicious thing. It held no thoughts save to fill its belly and survive. At that moment its primary thought was former of the two. It had gone several days without feeding and now the slightest sign of life drew its attention. Some creatures managed to skitter away from its grasp infuriating the beast that much more. Some were swept up in its hunger. Still it was not enough. It needed sustenance and neither the area nor the season were on its side.

Motion caught the beasts attention. Immediately the creature folded its wings going in for a dive. A wild rabbit, barely more than a morsel, hardly enough to slake its hunger. Claws reached out…before the rabbit darted into a hole at the last moment. The winged creature snapped its jaws in frustration before swerving out of the way of a stalagmite. It flapped its wings rising back into the air with an angry huff. Following the trail of an air current it raised its snout and sniffed the air searching for anything that might be appetizing. A scent drew its attention.

The smell of blood, of life clinging to the scents of other strange things. The smell was unfamiliar but it was intriguing to say the least. The beast banked to the left following the trail of the scent. The sound of its beating wings were lessened by the harsh winds that billowed through the landscape. It tucked them in riding the current as it drew nearer and nearer to its newfound prey. Hunger called to it. One way or another it would get its fill. For now it was on the hunt. It was to the point where it was eat or die and the beast had absolutely no intention of dying. Closer it drew as the scent grew stronger until out of the corner of one of its eyes it saw a shift in the grey stone and a color that reminded of its instincts to feat. Stretching out the creature shifted its course diving down from the skies. It emit a roar as it swept down upon its prey.

The hunt was over. A fight for life and death had begun.

NoteHope you're ready Irriari! We're jumping straight into the thick of things. :)

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On Darkened Wings [Irriari]

Postby Irriari on February 9th, 2015, 7:12 am

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Irriari was glad to be away from Ravok and back in the Wildlands. While there was far more danger to be found within the forests and caves, the lack of annoying humans made up for the risks. When she awoke in the forest, there were no merchants yelling about the quality of their wares.

Unfortunately, the zith had grown accustomed to luxuries of living in Ravok. Here, getting a meal required no small amount of effort on her part. Clean water was scarce, and the blanket of snow that covered the ground left her with a much smaller abundance of prey to kill. The hunger pangs that emanated from her stomach provided a focus to the short days and long nights. This singular focus gnawed at the zith, pressuring her to continue moving even though her legs ached and the balls of her feet were developing large blisters. She moved forward slowly, focusing not on the area in front of her but on her feet instead. The snow was an icy blessing that covered most of the sound of her footfalls, but she knew that if collided with a rock and fell, every prey animal within a quarter mile would scatter. It had happened a bell before and she was still annoyed at herself for falling. Her knees stung from scraping against the rough surface of the rock, but the bleeding had stopped a while ago. At least there was no one to see her incompetence.

Irriari moved around the right side of a large pillar of rock directly in front of her, hoping to see something edible on the far side of it. Her short bow was pointed forward with an arrow nooked to the bowstring. Her eyes quickly scanned everything the vista in front of her offered. The telltale movement of prey was missing, and she sighed loudly. It didn’t matter if she made noise at this point. There wasn’t a damned rabbit within miles. Glaring at the next pillar as she strode towards it, the zith reminisced on her more successful hunts in the summertime. Reflecting on the times she had downed a particularly fat buck or boar were one of the few reasons she hadn’t given up. Sheer stubbornness was a factor as well. Zith were not to be beaten by rabbits and deer.

She continued at this pace for another half bell before stopping to rest her swollen feet. Irriari leaned her back against the trunk of a nearby tree and breathed deeply, focusing on ignoring the pessimistic thoughts that threatened to overtake her. No one was trying to kill her for being zith and hunger had nothing on that – for now. If she didn’t find food within the next day she was unsure that her stance on the matter would hold. Fighting the stupid humans that loathed her was exhilarating. Fighting the limitations of her tired body was not. Ten chimes rest was long enough. She checked the tightness of quiver strap out of habit and began to trudge forward. Her pace was slower than before, but the break had done wonders for her frame of mind. As she began to plot the direction she should head in next, a loud roar from above broke her concentration. The zith threw her bow to the side and began running forward, taking no time to look back at whatever had made the noise. For a few seconds, she thought that she might outrun it. That hope was shattered as a weight crashed into her, forcing the zith off her feet and into the snow. The air burst from her lungs, and she landed roughly on her right shoulder and hip. A panicked, pained noise escaped her lips at the impact and she pushed at the ground with her hands and feet, desperately trying to put some distance between herself and her unknown assailant.
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On Darkened Wings [Irriari]

Postby Perplexity on February 16th, 2015, 1:05 pm

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As the beast dove down from the sky it crashed into its prey a bit harder than it intended. The result was a screech that was as ear splitting as it was frightening. Razor sharp claws swung at Irriari from behind only to miss as she darted away eliciting another shriek of frustration from the creature. The predator rose into the air until it was at a high enough altitude to ride a current and dive toward the frightened Zith. The creature opened its maw taking in a breath that was followed by a gurgling noise. Within a few seconds a putrid smelling stream of bile spewed forth from its mouth splashing onto the snow barely missing the red haired Zith. The stench of the bile wafted up on the wind carrying with it the smells of disease and decay. The snow sizzled melting quickly. Whether it was from the warmth or because of an acidic property there was no telling just yet.

Another screech came from the beast. It had set its sights on Irriari and was in hot pursuit. It opened its maw presumably to douse the Zith in whatever disgusting concoction jet forth from its innards when it had to stop. Several large pillars of stone barred its passage so close to the ground. Talons clacked against rock and wings beat furiously to slow its momentum. Ravenous and hate filled eyes glared down at Irriari from a distance. The Zith had escaped.

For now.

Clambering up the stone face of the stalagmites the creature perched atop one and began scanning the landscape. It fluffed its wings adjusting its footing readying itself for another descent. From that vantage point, Irriari would be able to get a clear look at the thing that had attacked her. Its head was as white as sun bleached bones. A sharp beak extended outward, the tip looking capable of ripping through flesh just as easily as the talons that scraped into the stone holding it atop the stalagmite. Coal black feathers fended off the cold. It looked a sickly creature pulled from the depths of a twisted nightmare. To describe it, the thing looked to be a bird but its large size and obvious intent on bringing death and carnage said it clearly had a taste for raw, red meat.

It sat. It waited with a stillness that was unsettling until movement caught its eye. The birdlike beast shrieked expanding its wings leaping into the air. It would have to keep to the skies until a clear swipe at Irriari was possible. No matter. It would hunt. It would keep hunting.

The chase was on again.

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On Darkened Wings [Irriari]

Postby Irriari on February 20th, 2015, 4:44 am

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Irriari looked forward, trying to make sense of the forest of stalagmites in front of her. If she had been a better tactician the zith might have been able to glean a route through the pillars that would allow her to escape whatever was chasing her. In her panic, she only saw only the few pillars in front of her. Her path resembled one a frightened rabbit might take—mindless, erratic, and fueled by the knowledge that survival depended only on the speed and distance that could be covered. A loud crash echoed behind the zith as something scraped against the ground that she had occupied only a moment before. She continued bounding forward and used the adrenaline pumping through her veins to distract herself from the pain in her calves and upper thighs. The zith were not runners. Walking was only an option when hours of flight had ravaged a zith’s shoulders and wings. Walking was seen as a human limitation- one that kept the lesser beings chained to the ground and away from the wonderful thermals and skies.

Behind her, the zith heard the sound of water hitting the hard packed snow. A half second later, she heard a distinct sizzling sound. It made no sense. Rain couldn’t simply fall in such a concentrated spot. Even if it could, rain didn’t mimic the sounds of hog fat falling into a fire. The noxious scent hit her as Irriari darted behind a larger stalagmite. If she wasn’t so worried with simply surviving to see the next day, the foul stench would have knocked her to the ground. In all her time in the wilds, she had never smelled anything so disgusting. The odor was reminiscent of rotting skunk mixed with the entrails of a dead deer. Gagging as she ran, Irriari looked back for a second, desperate to identify the beast that was hunting her. The zith could only keep running for another two chimes at most before her legs failed her. With useless legs, she wouldn’t even be able to push herself skyward. The situation was a no win scenario, and one the Elders had cautioned her about time and time again. ‘Don’t run’ they had said ‘Stand and fight, even if you’re injured you can try to prevent the enemy from injuring another colony member.’ While the advice made sense, the Elders were not her. There was no one to save but herself and even if there were other zith to consider, her own skin was a priority.

Her right foot hit the snow and caught on a rock beneath the surface. There was no way to right herself-- Irriari fell forward, arms stretched forward in an attempt to catch herself before her entire body hit the ground. Her palms hit the snow first and slammed into the rocks below. The impact reverberated up to her forearms and elicited a small screech from the zith. This was no way for a warrior to die. No one told stories about the brave girl who ran away and slipped before being devoured. Or perhaps the Elders would talk about her so that they could weave her tale into the ‘cautionary’ collection of stories that were told to all young zith. The message of such stories was abundantly clear¬: You can be foolish on occasion, but don’t ever be this stupid. Irriari pushed herself upwards with her fingertips and bruised palms. Her knees had taken the rest of the fall, but they didn’t ache too much. Small blessings. She breathed heavily as she began to run again and dared to look back for another second. Her eyes scanned the area directly behind her for a moment, taking in everything but only truly noticing the things that moved. Nothing. She stopped running for a moment and pressed her wings against a nearby stalalmite. She searched the sky directly above her head, truly expecting that it would be the last thing she would see. Again, nothing. Had she made it all up? Perhaps she had ingested one of her own poisons and was hallucinating. It would certainly explain the sizzling pseudo-rain. Her eyes moved westward, scanning the top of the stalagmites and the skies above them. There. The realization that the beast existed was a hard pill to swallow. Another three seconds passed. It was a petching vulture, but of a larger size than any she had ever seen in the wilds. Irriari knew that she couldn’t wait any longer. She grabbed an arrow from her quiver and slung her bow off her right shoulder before gripping the two in her left hand and pushing her feet off the ground.

This point was critical- as fast as she could fly, the zith knew she was vulnerable as she ascended. She stayed as close the stalagmite as she dared, hoping that the vulture would be hesitant to attack something so close to the pillar. Irriari gained speed as her wings propelled her further into the sky. She neared the top of the stalagmite the zith breathed in and drew her arrow to her bowstring, pulling the bowstring back as far as she could manage while flying. The strength behind her arrows were less than if she was steady on the ground, but her aim was about the same. The vulture was further away than she would have liked, but she loosed the arrow anyways, hoping that it would deter the beast or scare it away.

Taking no time to see if the hit landed, the zith reached her arm back and drew another arrow from her quiver and gripped it with the bow as she began to fly away from the vulture towards the direction of Ravok. Her wings were strained under in the chilly air, but she was determined to put some distance between herself and the vile creature.
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