Solo Birds of Prey

Celeste begins work on a new model.

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The vast mountain range of Kalea is home of secret valleys, dead-end canyons, and passes that lead to places long forgotten or yet to be discovered.

Birds of Prey

Postby Celeste Arumen on December 17th, 2015, 6:46 am

28th Day of Winter, 515 AV

It'd been nearly seven days of darkness in the iridescent caverns of Kalinor. Even having lived in Sahova, it was quite different from any city she'd ever seen. Much in the same way of the island, the population was deeply divided. Humans were relegated to what equated to a waiting area, restricted from the rest of the city. This didn't trouble the young girl -- not the restrictions, anyway. After all, she could likely find a way around them. No, what bothered her were the places she simply couldn't get to, not even if she wanted. Which prompted a very good question.

When exactly would she learn smaller, more agile models? As in ones that could fly?

It was a natural part of her progression, after all. Surely Riyanna had intended to show her. Thus, one early winter morning she traversed the woven gate to the surface in the spirit of hatching her grand scheme; to study the snowy white owl.

Of course, “she” was no girl at all, at least not for the purposes of her stay in Kalinor. She’d been going by an alias, a boy by the name of Chroma in order to escape the notice of the local harvesters. So far it’d gone off without a hitch. The locals had no reason to scrutinize her and thus she was able to go and do as she pleased. Within reason, of course. It was this way that she managed to obtain some anatomical information on birds in general. After all, theirs was an entirely different physiology than she was accustomed. Going in blind would be problematic.

She currently he, had to wait for a day with fresh snowfall. That was the first requirement. It meant always inquiring about the weather, much to the annoyance of some. But on this morning in particular the land was evenly blanketed in glorious pearlescent snow. His breath fogged before him excitedly.

The sun crept over the horizon; its golden rays were cast across the landscape, igniting each flake of snow in a glittering halo of color and light. He fell onto all fours and shuddered into the form of the lynx, doing nothing to interrupt the stillness save the sound of his warping and shifting bones. The guards looked on in quiet distaste. In a few moments the model was complete and in the predictable way of cats, he arched his back in a long stretch before loping off into the wintry thicket, off the beaten path. Illia, who was always at the fore, wavered briefly before congealing all at once in her own shape. The little purple cat chirped once excitedly before bounding off after its master, tail flagging the air.

Celeste had a singular appreciation for cats. While their spectrum of colors were limited, they more than compensated with the intensity of smells and sounds. She could hear most of the activity around her, from the imperceptible wind as it whistled through the branches to the vibrating snow as the birds danced at its edge. Very carefully, she padded along. There ought to be a clearing nearby. She’d done a bit of investigation and found that snowy owls in particular preferred open spaces or shorelines.

There was a circular meadow not far from the entrance to the city. At the treeline, she slowed to scramble up the side of one promising looking fir. That would give her a vantage point to work with. Otherwise, she’d be unable to spy on the creature without giving it cause to fly away.

Once she found a suitable branch, the waiting game began. It was a total white-out as far as one could see and by then, the sun was high in the wide blue firmament. Her eyes and ears strained to detect any movement below. It was easy to smell birds all around but the distinction between a wren and an owl was difficult to make, especially considering her lack of experience with either.

It required what felt like a bell or more, but a flash caught her eye. With a rustle of wings, the beautiful creature settled into the snow before beginning to peck and kick at the earth below it. It was a beautiful bird of prey, almost entirely white save for a several narrow bands of earth-toned spots. The owl looked about the landscape with sovereignty, as if it were surveying its kingdom. Celeste felt her heart pick up excitedly. This was precisely the kind of bird she wanted to learn, if she were to learn any at all.

As she watched it, she began to review what she’d learned. Birds had hollow bones to aid them in flight. They had more vertebrae than she was used to as well and an entirely different ribcage. Their knees were inverted, too. This was going to be difficult. After all, in order to really see what was inside of it she’d have to kill the creature, which was not something she wanted to do. In just those few moments, she’d already managed to form an attachment with the thing.

’There are visitors,’ Illia whispered in her sing-song voice. Celeste could hear them too, down below. From what she could taste on the wind they were Symenestra. The two of them carried on together in hushed whispers as they made their way through the forest, laughing quietly. The topic they were discussing seemed harmless. Just a couple of kids softly jesting back and forth beneath the trees.

She could hear them freeze at the edge of the clearing. The hackles at the back of her neck bristled in anticipation. They didn’t dare take a shot at her owl. They were only supposed to be on patrol; they’d said so themselves! The lynx stood stock still, quieter than a statue before the first arrow was loosed, cutting through the tension so spectacularly that it stunned her for a moment. Celeste spectated the aftermath in silent horror, the very first shot having impaled the beast directly through its cranium.

There was a triumphant ‘whoop’ from below, but it fell on deaf ears. In her fury she shifted at breakneck speed, calling upon all the might of her tiger model. Celeste had never sculpted djed so fast in her life. The loom of energy inside her worked furiously. It was the fastest she’d ever transformed, even considering the dire situations she’d faced as an initiate in the Testing Grounds. She was better now, more skilled. Oh and angrier too, which in this particular situation only worked to her benefit.

With an incredibly roar, the massive tiger leapt from the branches overhead. The scouts both cried out in surprise. Being on eye-level, she could see them now. Both were as young as they sounded and the one that held the bow had fallen back onto his rear, mouth stretched wide in mute terror. She roared again, flecks of spittle raining down upon the two pale-skinned hunters. They hesitated, broke and ran beneath the tidal impact of all her rage.

There was a momentary impulse to follow, but she thought better of it. Instead the tiger shook its head and licked its chops. That would teach them to shoot an innocent owl in broad daylight. They only wanted it at as trophy anyway.

Oh well. The damage was done and it suited her purposes. Celeste scooped the dead bird up to dissect it later, though the thought gave her little joy.
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Celeste Arumen
let us forever change.
Posts: 325
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Joined roleplay: January 12th, 2013, 5:58 am
Location: Kalinor, City of Webs
Race: Human
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