When In Falyndar

Do as the Myrians do.

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This is Falyndar at its finest. Danger lurks everywhere - in the ground, in the trees, in the bush. Only the strongest survive...

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When In Falyndar

Postby Colt on February 17th, 2016, 5:52 pm

Image50th of winter, 515 a.v
late morning

Rats. They were small, quick and far too nimble for their own good; tracking them was proving a challenge. The rainforest was unlike anywhere he had ever encountered, thick and tall and claustrophobic. He had to remind himself over and over that this world was three-dimensional, not at all like Cyphrus; here, almost every animal knew how to climb, and he had to repeatedly remember that this world was three-dimensional, and that tracks and trails could suddenly leave the ground entirely and scuttle up the trees.

And with rats already a challenge to follow, trying to find them in a rainforest was like trying to find a set of needles in the entire Sea of Grass. If he hadn't been using the strange "pathfinding" magic to follow them, he would have called it impossible.

His recovery from the journey overseas was incomplete, but was well on its way to full health. The scurvy was receding under an overabundance of oranges, which Itxec demanded he eat every morning after waking up and every evening before going to bed. The Myrian medicine man was much less gentle than any healer Shahar had come across, but that seemed to be more of a trait that belonged to Myrians in general than to Itxec in particular.

They were an interesting people, the Myrians. They were more aggressive than the Drykas, to be sure, although theirs was a different sort of aggression. The way they conducted themselves was almost… animal-like. They jostled for dominance, whether in the form of respect, skill or status. Although Shahar’s Phylonura afforded him some measure of tolerance, it did not afford him respect. The Myrians did not see him as equal unless he made them.

Although his power did not give him insight to the inner workings of the rainforest, Certilop was able to translate her own needs into thoughts he would understand. Just because he couldn’t dense dissonance here didn’t mean that it didn’t exist, and he was younger, stronger and more able to handle the work than she. The most dangerous of tasks were given to her own warriors, of course, but then there were tasks that were too mundane, too trivial to be assigned to the proud warriors of the village.

And so is was Shahar who had been asked to find the rats and eradicate them.

The creatures had come to the forest within the hull of Glorg’s Howl, the slave-ship that had dumped Shahar upon the same shores just as unceremoniously. The rats hadn’t gone too far inland, at least not in great numbers; the vast body of the pests were still with the ship, where they already knew all the little crannies and hiding places.

There were some, however, that had made the brave foray into the jungle in search of better pastures. Their djed trails, although small, were simple enough to see against the dark colors of the earthy floor. He couldn’t tell how many there were, although he would merit a guess at five or less; one advantage to hunting rats was that they preferred to move in groups. If he found one, he could trace that one back to the others.

He was very slowly beginning to understand the difference between djed trails. At the very least, he was getting the ability to tell which one was older and which was younger, which allowed him to pick out one trail in particular and follow it. Snow was wandering at the flank, nose low and ears perked for danger. Since being reunited, both of them had been on almost constant alert, on an unending search for potential danger to prevent what had happened on the Howl. While Shahar’s attention was pointed at the ground and at the passage of their quarry, hers was pointed at almost everywhere else: the trees, the air, the bushes around them, all had the potential for hidden threats. He relied on her to sense what was around them, so that she could rely on him to find out where they needed to go.

They needed to go east. He was taking a chance that the brightest trail was the youngest, and he was following it towards a particularly large tree. It had begun with two trails, but then one branched off into the deeper growth and left him with the remaining one, which was threading over the tree roots and digging at the bark.

Wait. It was accompanied by the sign for stay, both of which Snow understood with full clarity, even if she didn’t at all like it. She pinned her ears in distress as Shahar pulled ahead, her desire to stay close almost overwhelming her. But they were almost upon the first rat, and he couldn’t afford her scaring it off.

Because underneath all the noise of the rainforest, he could hear squeaking.
Last edited by Colt on May 31st, 2016, 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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When In Falyndar

Postby Colt on February 17th, 2016, 6:17 pm

It was scuttling at the base of the trunk, snatching out of a long line of ants that were marching their way down from the canopy. The sight of it wasn’t complete, but there was still a sense of wrongness; rats weren’t supposed to be here, and they weren’t supposed to eat ants out of a marching line.

Shahar let out a low hiss, not loud enough to startle but still loud enough to get the rat’s attention. It paused and look at him, giving off an immediate sense of recognition; it didn’t just recognize him as a Witch, it recognized him as the specific Witch that had travelled in the belly of the Howl.

Come here, Shahar said, holding out a hand in invitation.

Although it wasn’t very excited to leave behind the line of ants, it had eaten quite a few and would be sated for some time; it took only a moment’s hesitation for the rat to obey.

Shahar picked the animal up and held it close, speaking through his skin to clarify what he was hunting.

Your family, he said. How many?

The rat didn’t give him a number so much as it gave him the images of three different members of its group. One, a big male that was so dark he was almost back, a lean female that was light brown, and another female with a sandy tan patch of color on her rump. Four rats in all, including the one he held in his hand.

Home, where? was his next question.

The reply was the image and feeling of shelter, from the perspective of the rat. It involved solid ground, he could say for certain, although it also held wooden boxes and items that were usually on ships. The most useful tidbit was the direction in which this home lay, which was almost due east. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do.

“Snow,” Shahar called out. Come.

The dog was all too happy to obey, darting through the foliage to glue herself back at his side. The separation had made her uncomfortable, and as a reward Shahar gave her the rat. It squeaked once in agonized pain as she snapped it from his hand, but then it had disappeared down her throat and made no more sound. Shahar set a gentle hand on her neck, almost as unhappy as her at the necessity of separation; it was when they were separated that bad things happened, usually to both of them. They took a moment to revel in each other’s closeness, and then their guards were back up and attention was turned outward.

This way, follow, Shahar signed. They still had three more rats to kill.
Last edited by Colt on May 31st, 2016, 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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When In Falyndar

Postby Colt on February 18th, 2016, 1:41 am

Finding the next rat wasn’t difficult; Shahar simply had to re-trace the path of the first back to the point that it joined with the second’s, and then trace the new one. He had let his magic fade when he had interrogated the first member of his quarry, but now he reached back inside himself and tapped into his djed once more; he felt the pull of his eyes straining with magic, and he knew from experience that his eyes were glowing with power. He found the second rat under a bush doing battle with a tarantula, and quickly separated the two before the invasive could deal any more damage to the native. It was the light brown one, which settled comfortably into his hands once it could no longer see its foe.

Before Shahar could question it, however, Snow tensed. Something was near.

Turning to face her, Shahar saw his partner with her head held high and her tail rigid. Her gaze was focused on the tree canopy, and on a dark mass within. The Dawnwhisper crouched close, following her gaze to where something alive was lingering on one of the branches, too large to be a monkey. He couldn’t see its eyes, but he had been hunted enough times to know when he was being watched.

It was watching them watch it back, and doing nothing.

Until it waved.

Shahar tilted his head and blinked. He stared for a few moments, then hesitantly waved back. The blob moved, straightening into a four-legged crawl that was undoubtedly woman-shaped. Too skilled to be a stranger. A Myrian.

Another Myrian was perched on the other side of the tree, and she came into view to follow her compatriot. The second one paused to spare a glance his way, but it was a mere moment before she was heading onward to wherever they were going.

Odd. He hadn’t expected a party of Myrians to be out and about in the area, but he would rather them than pirates.

Snow relaxed when they passed out of sight, even more so when Shahar scratched behind her ears. He fed her the next rat and then they returned to their hunt.

Following both rats’ trails backwards was a bit more difficult, due to the longer distance; the glowing threads dipped in and out of existence, vanishing entirely for stretches of time and reappearing clearly for others. Those times they disappeared, he was able to follow the more physical signs of the trail, or at least scour the surrounding foliage until they popped up again.

Until once again, Snow tensed like a coiled cobra, ears flattening and lip curling.

There was something in the air, something she knew and did not like. Her gaze was focused almost entirely on a single point in the underbrush, and Shahar closed the distance between them until he too could see the massive path that had been carved into the forest. And by ‘carved,’ the path appeared to have indeed been hacked into existence with a sword of some sort. Non-Myrian, and definitely non-animal.

There was a single, clear footprint in the soft soil. Large, heavy, and enclosed by what could only be a boot. Human, without doubt, and nothing like the soft, light traces that the children of Myri left behind. There was only one other group that it could have possibly belonged to.

Pirates.
Last edited by Colt on May 31st, 2016, 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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When In Falyndar

Postby Colt on March 21st, 2016, 6:11 pm

All of a sudden, there was a heat rising in his chest that couldn't be contained. Half-consciously, the Dawnwhisper hunched in preparation and pressed himself closer to his partner; it was them, here, in the jungle. They hadn’t left, they were making tracks all over the forest floor, recent, now.

He wanted to hurt this new quarry, they both wanted to kill and make them feel pain––as much pain as they themselves had felt when they had been ripped apart and beaten, starved, tortured; kill them, hurt them, destroy, make them suffer.

He couldn’t remember making a conscious decision to use magic, but he used it nonetheless; Snow’s primal reaction to the pirates was written in the muscles of her shoulders. He knew her so well, mind and body alike; the shape of Snow was as familiar to him as his own shape, fur, eyes, everything. He closed his eyes, basking in his hate, and felt for Snow’s teeth. Not on the outside, but on the inside; her jaw was that of a dog, her teeth that of a dog, and he knew what they looked like. He just had to feel them now, like his own teeth; he had to feel Snow’s jaw, the long, pointed incisors, the snug pattern they fit into when she growled…

He felt the pull and push of his djed-body as it warped to fit his desires. There was pain in his mouth, but it was swallowed whole by his burning fury; by all the Gods watching them, he would sink these teeth into flesh and he would rip the pirates to pieces.

The pirates had carved themselves a small clearing out of the forest itself; plants were slashed to pieces to give way to their enterprise. The crash of the ocean let him know that they weren’t too far away from the shore, but the shore didn’t give them what they needed; the pirates had come into the forest to resupply after their staggering defeat days before. No doubt they were preparing to leave the jungle for good if they got their supplies.

If they got their supplies.

Shahar and Snow hung back at the edges of the clearing, listening to the pirates’ movements and occasionally glancing through the foliage. Shahar kept himself slow, allowing the hanging plants and leaves to slide soundlessly over his skin as he circled his quarry step by inching step. The soft, wet earth of the rainforest lent itself to stealth quite well; his footfalls were absorbed by rotting plant matter and damp dirt, and the plants themselves were like a thick curtain to hide behind while the general noisiness of the animals around him covered up almost everything else. He suddenly realized how much easier it was to be stealthy in the rainforest than it was in the grasslands, and he sent up a prayer to Caiyha. All-Mother, your beauty knows no limits.

Snow crept further behind him; her white fur would be easier for the pirates to spot, and so she was careful to leave a buffer zone in between herself and her Drykas in case she was discovered.

“Wood,” one of the pirates said. “Last call; over by the stream, ya? Get that timber over here and we’ll be outta this damn forest in no time.”

Someone was moving to obey, someone who crashed through the forest with a desire for speed over stealth. Someone close. Shahar followed that noise.

She was fair-skinned and short, with freckles spilled over every inch of skin and red hair that fell over her shoulders in messy dreadlocks. She was walking toward a pile of cut wood that had been hewn straight out of a nearby tree, and Shahar’s Phylonura clenched at the sight. That was wrong, although the sentiment didn’t do much to change what he already felt.

Distract, he signed to Snow. They were hunting different prey now.
Last edited by Colt on May 31st, 2016, 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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When In Falyndar

Postby Colt on March 21st, 2016, 10:34 pm

It was easier to get closer to the she-pirate than it would have been in Cyphrus, but the pair still took precautions and didn’t hasten their approach any more than was necessary. If they alerted her to their presence, she would alert the others, and that would not do. Her focus was on the chopped timber in front of her; she was wrapping it up in a long chain, presumably to make it easier to drag back to the ship.

Shahar approached her from the right, Snow from the left. It was a formation the two had used many times before, when they wanted to kill silently; Snow was a bit closer and padded close enough to let the white of her fur flash through the undergrowth. The she-pirate paused in her labors, looking up with a perplexed frown. Snow allowed herself to be glimpsed a second time, and the pirate tensed, reaching for the hilt of her sword.

Shahar looked at his own cutlass, stolen from his captors on the day of his escape. He knew little to nothing about using the weapon, but he knew that it had a sharp edge.

The fur-lined scabbard made drawing the weapon entirely soundless.

With the pirate entirely focused on Snow, Shahar was free to creep up behind her. She hadn’t drawn her own weapon yet, which ended up being the mistake that cost her life; gripping his cutlass by the spine with both hands, Shahar sprang forward, looped it over her head and dragged backward with all his might, embedding the blade into her throat.

She didn’t even have time to scream; she simply collapsed to the ground with a wet, disbelieving gurgle. Shahar braced a knee against her collarbone and forced her deeper into the ground, not willing to take chances. She flailed about for a bit, but then she stopped moving and died.

One down, several more to go.

Snow perked up in sudden alarm. In another heartbeat, the forest was coming alive; animals howled in distress and made to flee, and in their place were whoops of joy and war. Myrians.

He almost facepalmed. Of course. The Myrians were out here for the pirates. That was who he had seen in the trees. They knew about the intruders and were here to stop them. And here he was sneaking around outside, while they were handling it the most efficient way: with a war party.

Snow lowered her head in fear, but Shahar placed a reassuring hand on the scruff of her neck. The Myrians knew what they were doing.

The pirates shouted and began to scramble for their weapons as their enemies descended, and then the battle began. The Myrians were fierce, experienced and skilled, and divided their quarry into single individuals that could not work together.Some stood their ground, and others chose to flee into the forest––a decision that Shahar knew would cost them their lives in the end, no matter how good they were with a blade. The rainforest would swallow them whole, in time.

But it was the sound of seashells that gave him pause. One of the pirates that was fleeing carried with him a dreadful clatter of seashell over seashell; Snow tensed at the noise, lip curling in memory of what that sound meant.

It was him. It was Fish. And he was trying to escape.
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