Quest Hunting the Beast

A hunting party goes out to hunt a bear. Will they get more than they bargained for? Only time will tell.

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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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Hunting the Beast

Postby Azira on August 16th, 2015, 10:30 pm

The huntress regarded the wreckage sombrely. The cart had been smashed into by something large but the pony that had pulled it was in the worst shape. It had been shredded, so much blood, so much exposed flesh that Azira couldn't believe that a single creature could cause so much damage. She'd heard talk of previous attacks though so she guessed it must be their prey or something like it. If it had the time, she supposed it would be able to shred the beast in such a way. She had no idea how long ago the attack had taken place but she knew that animals usually ate their kills as they shredded, whereas the pony looked like something had just mauled it because as far as she could tell no part of it had been eaten. It was difficult to tell for certain. When Zhol announced that the pony was still warm, she couldn't suppress a shudder as horror and excitement thrilled through her. Whatever had done this couldn't have gotten far.

The teen looked around carefully, searching for the one thing that was missing in the vicinity of the cart: the driver's body. Whoever had driven the cart would have to be nearby. They would have been in the cart when the attack took place and if that was the case, they wouldn't have gotten far before they found themselves meeting a similar fate to the pony. She began to walk around the site of the attack, looking outwards from it as she searched for signs of the dead driver. She imagined she'd find a blood trail, or blood somewhere at least, and perhaps the body if it hadn't been moved.

A movement in the corner of her eye had her gaze darting to it, hand twitching towards her bow in the split tick before she realised it was just Turrin waving for them to come look at something. Her body relaxed although she remained alert as she approached. The print that the Endal had found was large and highly noticeable and she wondered how she had missed it initially. Too busy looking for a corpse.

The foreigner had only invited Khara and Azira over, that much had been very clear, but it made sense. Azira was the hunter and Khara the tracker so it was important that they both see this. The human track earned a raised eyebrow from the Avora. The wagoner had gotten further than anticipated although they could still be dead. Turrin had a point though: this beast didn't seem normal. Her thoughts turned to the unnatural monster they'd encountered during the previous winter but she pushed it from her mind. It was a beast track, nothing monstrous at all except in terms of size. She wondered what sort of a situation they were getting themselves into now.

The man's proclamation that Azira take charge if he died--the prospect of anyone dying was not a happy one--and that Khara take over should Azira die left the huntress staring at him. Surely he couldn't be serious. Her eyes moved to Khara, intending to make eye contact and share a look but her gaze only lingered for ticks before she looked somewhere at the level of Turrin's knees and nodded her agreement. He moved past her, heading back to the group. It didn't seem as if he'd expected any sign of assent from her. To him it was an order, he was an Endal and she would just have to obey. That was the way things were and were supposed to be.

The huntress was quick to follow him, not looking at Khara again as she returned to the group and found Turrin reprimanding Brandon for whatever he'd said. Her eyes moved from one to the other, settling on the stranger as her head cocked to the side with almost bird-like curiosity. What had he said to offend the Endal? Brandon must have made some personal comment about him to prompt such a reaction. It interested her that someone else was willing to take a crack at the half-Myrian. The corner of her mouth twitched upwards before her expression became more serious as she listened to Turrin's plan of action. Her eyes were thrown up and she mouthed the word "expert" after the man did, shaking her head slightly. She wished he hadn't said that. Khara and Zhol knew that that wasn't true--they'd seen her incompetence in the past--but perhaps they'd put more faith in her because of Turrin's words, the same went for Brandon. She hoped nobody decided to be overly reliant on her, especially as she wondered what they were supposed to do if they were attacked from the front. If they were attacked from behind, they'd have time to get into position but from the front? Could Zhol use reimancy fast enough? Azira doubted she could nock an arrow and shoot in time if the beast came out of nowhere.

The girl's head moved to the trees as the crashing started. She stood frozen in place, listening intently and quickly judging that whatever was coming couldn't be their prey. She nocked her bow all the same, making slow, deliberate movements as she focused in the sound's direction. It couldn't be the beast, it wasn't making enough noise but if it was smaller and running then it had to be running from something. Maybe it was running from their prey, maybe not. The arrow was pointed downwards, the string drawn back ever so slightly as she prepared to raise and draw when necessary.

A man came crashing out of the trees, sprinting for his life until he practically face planted. The teen winced slightly but the man was back up, adrenaline spurring him on as he warned them about the bear--if that's what it was--heading their way before bolting towards the city. Who was he? Where had he come from? Surely, he couldn't have been the wagoner.

This isn't the time for questions without answers. There's something nasty coming this way! she snapped at herself. Her grip on the bowstring tightening briefly as if assuring herself that she could keep ahold of it. She rolled her shoulders, flexing the muscles to free them of tension before she had to take a shot. She nodded along to Turrin's instructions, ready to make a move before the last part and his meaningful look caught her attention. She regarded him coolly for a tick before rolling her eyes and moving to a point behind him. They had better things to be doing than this, especially her as she wanted to strategise quickly with Khara.

She waved the scout over to her to murmur a few words to her, hoping that the other would agree with her or offer some helpful suggestions. "Remember when we took down the moose?" she asked, the Nari flowing from her quickly, perhaps too quickly for the non-native speakers to understand. "I think we should aim for the chest again, hope that that's a weak spot. Perhaps we should also try to shoot at the tops of legs, not as far as the shoulder but high enough that we're likely to hit something, either leg or chest. Hopefully slow it down a bit, what do you think? I don't think trickery is an option and even if we had the time and rope, I doubt it'd work." She jerked her head towards the ruins of the cart to add some credence to her point.

"We could take up position a few foot behind to the others and a bit to the side of whichever end we take so we're at a diagonal to the group. That way we can step out to the side more if we need a better shot and avoid hitting the others. Does that make sense? Anything you want to add or change?"

If the Chiet didn't protest then the Avora would take up position a bit to the left of the group, a few feet behind them, her bow ready to be raised as soon as the oncoming animal made an appearance.
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Hunting the Beast

Postby Khara on September 24th, 2015, 12:43 am

It's not a bear. Brandon's assessment echoed in her head and Khara felt her stomach clench at the thought. The Unforgiving had no shortage of unusual creatures and monsters, but for once - just once - she had hoped the rumors had been blown out of proportion and they were only hunting an unusually large bear that had gone rabid or similar. No such luck it seemed. Someone else may have questioned Brandon's observation, but the scouting trip she had taken with the Kelvic had more than proven he had senses that could clue him into things that Khara simply couldn't be aware of. For all his seeming issues with authority, the Chiet had to admit she trusted his judgement.

She could only spare a nod in understanding at the Kelvic's warning and drew in a breath to answer his question regarding Azira and Turrin when the Endal waved her over. It didn't seem right to leave Brandon's question fully unanswered though.

"I trust Azira," she offered quietly, hoping the simple statement would be enough. The small delay allowed before she turned to see what Turrin had discovered. "And Turrin… He's an Endal." That too would have to do and she hoped Brandon would pick up on all the nuanced meaning there. You didn't become an Eagle Rider if you were some sort of clipped idiot, after all, but Khara didn't know enough about the upper caste member to really say more - it wasn't really her place to anyway.

It seemed Turrin had been studying the same prints she had been and his overall impression was the same as hers, and while she kept Brandon's comment about the print to herself, it seemed even Turrin fully understood what they were looking at wasn't normal. His comments about who would be leader if they should die from the creature was a bit startling and she spared a moment's glance towards Zhol; all affectionate attempts at seeing each other as equals and full trust she placed in the horse boy aside, he was the other Avora, he still outranked her as far as Wind Reach was concerned. He was capable as well and despite knowing she had no right to do so, she felt irked that Turrin either was ignorant of that fact or chose to ignore it. Either way, Turrin was the Endal and as such all she could do was mutely agree to his instructions.

More instructions were given out and Khara unslung her bow from her shoulder and readjusted where her quiver was placed to better access the arrows within. She almost drew an arrow on the Inarta man that came thrashing through the woods and found herself a mixture of glad she hadn't given the state of the man and scolding herself for being slow to react.

A monster. A bear. It was sounding more and more like what they were hunting was a combination of both and Khara didn't particularly look forward to finding out which term was going to be more correct. And it was heading towards them. At least he managed to survive and we won't get ambushed in the woods, she thought to herself, overly aware that that even her internal voice couldn't quite manage the sarcasm it sometimes spoke with, fear laced every unspoken word.

They didn't have long to prepare and Turrin's sudden shift in attitude - joking even - was slightly unnerving. Khara enjoyed going on hunts as much as any Inarta did; the thrill of finding those first prints, of stalking an animal and keeping yourself unnoticed, of watching the kill be made; but this wasn't a normal hunt. She didn't entirely agree with where he had placed everyone, either, but she was far from any sort of strategist and knew it was far less rational things that made her entirely uncomfortable with the idea of Zhol being so exposed to danger. At least Azira seemed a bit more concerned with an actual plan jesting about shooting their companions.

"Slowing it down sounds good, I think using what remains of the cart as a bit of cover so it maybe won't notice us right away is smart too. The other three should be able to keep it busy enough that you might be able to get in a few good shots at it's chest. I-I've never seen a bear killed before but I've heard they're hard to take down normally and this... " She paused and glanced towards the growing sound of something heading their way. A further suggestion, that one of them goes to the right and the other to the left of the cart lingered on her tongue but died as she watched as Brandon began to move forward on his own towards the line of the trees, clearly having ideas of his own.

"This is going to get messy..." she mumbled. Khara had no idea what the Kelvic had in mind, but it certainly didn't seem to coincide with what Turrin had instructed them all to do. Maybe he had been told something that she hadn't heard while Azira had been speaking with her, maybe it had something to do with luring the animal into a position so that Aponivi could better help them all. No matter the reason, Khara had to trust there was a purpose in it and to focus more on the task that she had Azira had been assigned.

"Let's start on either side of the cart," she continued, only marginally successful from dragging her attention away from Brandon. "It isn't too big that we can't move behind it and join up on one side or the other if we need to. If nothing else it gives us something to move behind if it gets too close." For all the good that might do, her mind finished with, thankfully keeping the comment to herself.

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Hunting the Beast

Postby Brandon Blackwing on September 25th, 2015, 4:02 pm

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The mood had been set, and it seemed Bran nor the endal had any intentions of getting along. Which was fine with the bat; if he did not take him serious, then that was his problem. Khara had at least seemed to take his words in consideration, having given him something of an answer to his earlier query, along with a thoughtful nod at his words. She trusted the huntress, which in essence did not mean all that much. Though he supposed she'd been going on hunting trips with the tiny Inarta, so any skill displayed there might have impressed the scout. As for Turrin... well... An endal... A windbag. Some kind of guy who acted all confident, but was all talk in the end. Not a great asset.

Bran wasn't too happy with his assigned role in the group, really. Stay with the endal and don't pull anything? The petch was he supposed to do then? And why was the endal going to stay in the rear? The tracks pointed to the woods, if it would come from behind them, they would no doubt hear it coming -its prints showed it was large enough for that. Apparently, Brandon's remark of Turrin wanting to hide behind Khara hadn't been too far from the truth. The bat wasn't really sure if he had to be disappointed or make an “I knew it!” face. He decided on both. Then he just sighed and started following the tracks he'd studied with Khara a little further, looking for more clues. Time related ones mostly.

There were lots of small plants trampled, though most had already assumed their original positions again. Sadly Brandon wasn't really skilled, nor knowledgeable on prints, so he couldn't really deduce much from that little information. If the plants had still been in the process of returning to their upright form, even he would have been able to tell the beast and man hadn't come by long ago. Tracking scents was more his forte, though even that was not as good as it could have been. True, there hung some scents in the air, true, one was that of a man, the other of … something else..., but more than that? Recent, yes. But how recent? A couple chimes? A dozen? Maybe half a bell? He grunted, eyes still fixed on the gigantic pawprints of the monstrous creature.

And then, a noise that had been in the background for a while grew stronger at a steady rate; the cracking of twigs, bustling of bushes. Brandon's head snapped up and he slowly raised from a crouch to half-standing, head cocked to listen. It grew louder still, and now the Kelvic noticed the rhythm of the steps wasn't that of two pair of feet, but just one; a person. Brandon strode towards the direction of the sounds, focusing and confirming the beast wasn't on the man's heels just yet. Soon enough the Inarta man was close enough for Brandon to smell he was drenched in salty sweat before he'd even seen him. His nose also informed him that this was indeed the guy who'd been attacked not too long ago. Well, seemed he managed to survive.

Mister Wagoner was gone soon enough, explaining what he'd seen in just a few lines, then dashing towards the city, adrenaline giving him more than enough energy to keep it up. “'May Dira lose your trail', eh?” the bat muttered, staring at the mark on his left palm, “She never does though. She never does.” He shook his head lightly, then started walking again, but not towards the group. In the meantime, Turrin explained his new plan, loud and clear so everyone could understand and hear, and Brandon's not-so-positive impression of the endal only became more negative. Was this guy seriously going to stand around waiting for the beast to show up? No traps, ambushes or what have you? Well. It seemed tactics were no prerequisites for becoming an eagle rider. Of course not; all those haughty petchers had to do was attract the attention of one of the giant eagles. What did skill have to do with it all?

“Well, serve as bait if you want, I'll gladly make use of you that way, blockhead,” Brandon muttered, stalking down the path the man had emerged from. He was looking for a good place to lay an ambush himself, since no-one else was going to. There were lots of trees suitable, though Brandon wanted one with enough leaves where he wanted them, so he'd be able to stay out of sight when the monster approached. Judging this from the ground was a little challenging though, so the bat decided to climb the nearest tree, launching himself towards the branch hanging closest to his head, fingers wrapping around it, securing him easily. Getting up was no problem; with his arms hauling him up, and his feet on the trunk to give him extra leverage he managed in no time at all.

It wasn't high enough though, and the Kelvic clambered to the next branch in a similar manner, repeating the process until he guessed he would be about three to five feet above the monster's back, well, if the beast was as huge as he believed it was, that is. If he had to guess, Bran'd say he was currently about fifteen feet above the ground, which was all things considered quite high. The tree he'd chose wasn't really suited for an ambush though, and the thief carefully, though swiftly, traversed the branches until he reached another trunk, one which had a lot more foliage to cover him. As far as Brandon could tell, scent wouldn't betray him either, so now all he had to do was wait, and jump onto the monster's back as it thundered past, baited by the idiots, the scout, and the huntress. That was the plan anyway, and Brandon drew the dagger strapped to his ankle in anticipation. If he could plunge the blade in the flesh of the beast, he'd have a good handhold, making it easier to cling onto the monstrosity. A deep breath was taken as the bat felt his heartbeat start to rise, and his muscles ache. He was ready.
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Hunting the Beast

Postby Verilian on October 27th, 2015, 9:15 pm

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Brandon was the first one to catch sight of the beast, though his view might have been obstructed by the leaves and branches of the tree he was hiding it. It was a bear, or at least, it had been. It was large, for a bear, but perhaps not as massive as the rumors made it out to be. Certainly larger than it should have been, but not due to any natural reasons. The creature was swollen and bloated, like a corpse left out in the sun. Patches of fur were missing in places in its body, and in those places the flesh was rotting.

The beast rumbled toward Brandon's tree and then past it, not noticing the Kelvic up above. It was not moving incredibly fast, and seemed to have trouble running properly, moving at an awkward gait. Just before the tree it stumbled, slamming into the ground. Something jutted up through the patch of fur on its shoulder, the pointed end of a broken branch. Zet had indeed slowed the beast, though that was all. It seemed not to be bothered by the pain, otherwise it might have tried to get the branch out. Instead it climbed back to its feet and lumbered on. This would probably be the best time for Brandon to ambush it, if that was what he intended to do. Either way, the creature continued on as if nothing had happened, rushing toward the rest of the group.

It appeared between two large pines, lumbering out onto the open ground between the road and the treeline. It let out a sound that was something between a roar and a gurgle when it saw the people waiting for it, and then charged on. It seemed unconcerned that they were armed, or that there were many of them, just as it was unconcerned by the makeshift spear sticking out of it, or the possible kelvic on its back. That did not mean that it was unaffected by these things, it simply just did not seem to care about them. The spear certainly slowed it down, which meant that even if it could not be killed, it could at least be stopped.

The bear ran straight for Turrin. He was the most threatening looking of the bunch, or perhaps it was because he was the largest, or simply because he was the one in the most direct path of the beast. It charged head on, and though it’s flesh were rotting and one of its eyes was nearly falling out, the fangs in its mouth and the claws on its feet were sharp and deadly as ever.
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