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This northernmost city is the home of Morwen, The Goddess of Winter, and her followers who dwell year round in a land of frozen wonder. [Lore]

The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 8th, 2016, 10:16 pm

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81 Summer, 516AV
Northern Wastes


Fall was almost upon Avanthal yet the serenity that surrounded the ends of seasons seemed absent, at least for today. It was noticed by the Icewatch guards early that morning outside the gates. The annual migration of the Wooly Mammoth herd that passed by Avanthal in the middle of Fall passed that morning instead. It was still Summer and so the very early movement worried the Icewatch. But they noticed something else too. The herd was significantly smaller than last reported. Woolys have little to no major predators stalking them. Perhaps a Talderan Sabretooth could take down one if it wasn't mauled by the herd first. But this level of decimation was unheard of, and impossible for any wild beast to accomplish. The occurrence was reported to Morwen immediately who then ordered a small, but skilled party of volunteers out to follow the heard and find out what went wrong. Are they being hunted by something, or is there a disease ravaging the herd? The group left a few bells after the initial sighting, using trackers to follow the trail to catch up to the herd.

It was a rather small group and so they traveled quickly on horseback. Junco had volunteered to come along and with his hunting skills he was deemed worthy enough in case the group had to take down a predator that was murdering the herd. They ran on horseback, mounts provided by Junco's own Frostfawn Hold. He rode a light grey dappled Frostmarch. The animals temper was fair and so she was easy to control despite Junco's limited ability. The horse was more used to riders than the hunter was to mounts.

The trackers of the group held up the front while the rest of the group followed closely behind. It was a decent day for those marked by Morwen. Fall was coming and so it was warming up very slightly as the day progress. The snow, though, was still deep, especially outside Avathal in the wastes. It would be a bell or two until the group caught up the the herd, but then they would see for themselves how badly the animals were suffering, and hopefully get to the root of the problem swiftly. Morwen herself had picked the volunteers, and no one wanted to let their Goddess down.

OOC Note :
Since we are very late in the season with less than a month left I am going to make this thread go by quickly. The group of volunteers has already left Avanthal and are well on the trail of the herd. Assume everyone has already acquainted themselves with each other. If you have no riding skill and don't want to try and train during this thread, you are riding on the back of a horse being either led by another or sitting on the same horse with someone else.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 13th, 2016, 2:53 pm

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Riding this Frostmarch was perhaps the most difficult part of this trip so far. Junco always told himself he needed to get better at riding horses. Almost everything he does, at least when it concerns his hunting job or helping Avanthal when in need, required a horse. As of now he let the horse direct itself, being able to follow the other horses in the group who were being manned by Vantha who actually knew how to handle the animals. Junco simple held fast onto the saddle, trying not to fall off. He was a big guy, not easily moved, but horses backs move quite a bit when their are walking, Junco felt he could teeter off any moment.

This mission was not supposed to last long, and the group hoped to be back inside the gates by nightfall. The mission started early so they had plenty of time to kill. But because of the small time frame Junco did not pack much. He of course had his Inartian bow and his quiver full of arrows. The 19 arrows in the quiver were tied to the side of the horse like a saddlepack, so that Junco had more room for his backpack on his own back. If he ended up shooting at anything, it was most likely going to be from horseback and so the arrows were easily reached. In his pack though he had a days worth of food, not much extra. His waterskin was filled, though if it emptied finding more water was never an issue with marked Vantha surrounded by snow. He held his flint and steel in case they needed to make a fire as well as his eating knife that handles several different purposes.

Junco had equipped himself with his cloak and boots. Other than that he wore his simple shirt and breeches as well as being armed with his archery glove on his hand and his arm guard as well. He was ready for a fight. Out of all the outcomes Junco could think of for the thinning herd, a preadtor was Junco's favorite idea. Disease would mean the Vantha could not help much unless the doctor that accompanied them had such knowledge, though the hunter doubted. They of course could also be poachers which meant one of two things, there were a group of strangers living somewhere in the wastes, almost impossible for those non marked, but would be annoying to find and take care of nontheless. Or it would mean someone from the city was killing these animals and that would mean the Goddess would be enraged at her people and Junco was not looking forward to that. Although the thought of an animal large enough and strong enough to take down half a herd of wooly mammoths was terrifying, it was also thrilling. Junco lived for the hunt and this would be the most amazing kill yet.

As predicted it was only a bell and a half later when the small group caught up with the herd. They were small, very small, as described, though it was still very shocking to the group who had not seen them as they passed earlier. The herd, usually either friendly or often ignoring the Vantha, seemed more aware of their presence than normal. The group traveled through the herd, wandering between the clustered groups. They seemed well fed, at least to Junco they did not appear skinny, though they did have tons of fur. The doctor confirmed that they seemed well fed.

As the doctor looked closer at the animals he mentioned that he wanted to get closer to one, give it a better inspection, hand on. But as he hopped off his horse, handing the reigns to a nearby group member and stepping close to one young bull, the animal jumped back at his approach and let out a terrifying yell with its trunk. The doctor immediately stepped back, the rest of the group frozen in shock.

After a quiet moment of staring between the animals and the group the doctor backed off and got back on his horse. They then resumed their wandering, though the animals continued to act frightened of them. They all acknowledged this was strange as the Vantha protected the animals and had never done them harm.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 13th, 2016, 7:22 pm

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Their group was small and so Junco could bear witness to everyone's reactions. He himself felt horrified about whatever had done this. Being a Frostfawn, born and bred, animals were his life. Yes, he killed them for a living, but he also cared for them and they served as family members and companions, like Bastian who sulked slowly by his side, reading the tension in the air. Junco was a hunter and that meant he knew when and where and what was appropriate when it came to animals and their livelihood.

The doctor spent some more time examining the animals from a slight distance. At this point they had huddled close together in a tight circle, their few young nestled in the middle. It was so strange to see these animals, huge looking things with large tusks and a mass of fur, only 4 feet tall. Junco himself could ride them, they could probably carry his weight. They were hunted at times, but mainly they were protected and herds were used for cattle within the walls for food and fur and milk rather than being hunted wildly. Their tusks of bone made them seem a little larger and more ferocious but all in all they were gentle and currently very frightened creatures.

After a small while the doctor exclaimed to the group that he could see no evidence of sickness or starvation or anything of the sort in the mammoths. He did mention that one Wooly seemed to have a slashing injury of sorts, while another seemed to have been stabbed by something, though he said the injuries were minor and would heal fine without his help, which was good because the animals wouldn't let him get near them anyway. And so the group as a collective decided to trail backwards, follow the trail back to where they came from, hoping to find a body perhaps that would give them more clues to what had occurred. They soon set off back that way.
Last edited by Junco on August 29th, 2016, 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 21st, 2016, 3:29 pm

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Their tracker sped a little ways above the rest of the group, following the tracks in the snow. At first junco thought any one could follow those tracks, they were large and pushed deep by the Woolies heavy body weight and density. But as they got farther and farther from the group the tracks slowly got smaller until they were only small indents in the snow that Junco had trouble spotting. To him they sometimes just looked like strangely shaped snow, or like nothing at all, but their tracker insisted these were the prints they were following.

Junco was still struggling on his Frostmarch. Her griped the reigns with both hands whilst also clinging to the horn to keep himself balanced. He knew it was an obvious sign of a beginner to hold the horn of the saddle while riding, but he felt if he left go he would slide off the horse's back the next time it took a step. It was so much harder whenever he tried to shoot from the back of a moving horse.

It was a a little over a bell later when the group passed by the Avanthal Gates once more. They waves at the Icewatch standing guard and Junco whistled a few calls to let them know they were backtracking and had not found the cause yet. Of course the calls were not that detailed, a direct translation would be more like 'nothing' and then 'backwards' but to a skilled hunter or Icewatch member, the information would be correctly assumed.

The group continued along every once in a while Junco would ask the tracker how the tracks were looking and he always received the same answer, 'Heading in the predicted location towards their Summer nesting spot." Which was a good sign. The herd might be early, but at least they weren't off track.

He would ask some questions of the veterinarian who was with them as well, "What do you think caused the injuries?, "You are sure there was no disease, animal or made made then?" or "How many of the herd do you think was killed?". Thankfully the doctor had answers to each question. He stated again that the injuries were caused by a weapon of some kind, he was unsure, though, if they were animal claws or teeth or humanoid weapons. He was certain there was no illness and he estimated a rough 10-15 numbered loss in the herd.

The ride was long and mostly boring and silent. Though about five bells into their trek back something dark dotted the horizon. It wasn't a circle of trees and it wasn't moving so it was no living thing. But it was large and seemed to be a collection of many items in a small radius. Some looked rather large. The groups reaction could be felt throughout the members, they were perhaps finally getting to something interesting.

As they approached it quickly became obvious they had found what they were looking for. The largest and most obvious item in the site were the bodies of four dead and mutilated Wooly Mammoths. The group began to rush to the site when that information was clear and as they arrived a scene began to unfold.

The Woolies, one a child, were skinned, rather poorly, and it seemed their killers were not very good at butchering the meat, though much of it was still taken. it was obvious now that the killers hunting the herd were of a humanoid nature. for no animal could do this.

Junco got off his horse and knocked an arrow in his bow just in case. He began to walk around the site to take the massacre in. Everyone else did the same. Quickly the group began to notice as well remains of weapons. Arrows and broken skinning knives, there was even a snapped javelin. All of this was clearly Vantha made, and the emotions within the group soon turned dark and heavy as they realized it was one of their own who had done this injustice. Morwen would not be pleased.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 29th, 2016, 1:27 pm

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Junco dismounted. He swung his leg and weight over one side of the horse and plopped down into the feet of snow below. He wavered a bit on the landing, but regained his footing rather quickly. Everyone else at this point had dismounted as well to get a closer look at the massacre. Even the horses seemed uneasy, reading the tension in the air from their riders.

Immediately the doctor went over to the nearest Wooly that lay mutilated in the snow. The rest of the group examined something as well, whether it was another carcass or a discarded weapon or tool. Junco himself went over to another Wooly. This one looked smaller than the rest, two feet tall maybe. It didn't look like a baby, but Junco was sure it wasn't full grown either. He shook his head in shame.

This animal was less mutilated than the rest it seemed. Young meat was never as good as the aged kind, Junco knew that as a hunter. But the fur of a young animal always tended to be thicker or warmer or both. And so this one was fully skinned. Junco thought the job was done rather poorly. Like the hunter had the same skinning skill as Junco himself, or a little more maybe. There were strips of fur still clinging to the rotting meat, deep cuts into the flesh where the skinning knife plunged too far. It was an awful job, and made the death even more sad.

"You think it was kids?"
another member of the group has walked up to Junco as he was examining. "They did an awful job, at almost everything. Look at those tusks. They are sawed off, that's not how you harvest tusks." The hunter was pointing to the bones of the animal that protruded from its face. he was right, Junco has yet to notice. They were sawed off with what must have been a bone saw. The cut was jagged and uneven. Junco wasn't sure how tusks were supposed to be collected, but he was sure it wasn't like that.

Perhaps. Aspiring Frostfawn hunters may have tried to take down the herd as a practice run before they were old enough to accompany an actual hunting group. Despite their size Woolies were a rather easy target. They trusted the Vantha and were often protected by them. They never would have suspected this kind of cruelty from one of them. Junco shook his head once more. "Maybe. Though it makes me sick to think one of our children could have done this." The hunter beside him nodded solemnly in agreement.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Junco on August 29th, 2016, 1:36 pm

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After a good few chimes the doctor announced his findings. It wasn't much new news as it was obvious what had occurred. However he did mention the deaths were perhaps a day or so ago judging on the body temperature, decay and insect infestation. That wasn't long back, but long enough that the group who did this was long gone. The group leader instructed everyone to collect as many of the discarded tools as possible to bring back to Avanthal for the Icewatch to look over and determine the next course of action. Junco was sure it would be quickly taken up as a priority.

His backpack was mostly empty and so Junco was able to stuff a good amount of broken and forgotten arrows as well as one dull skinning knife and he carried a javelin in his hand. It was likely left behind because it has become bent, Junco was unsure how they managed to accomplish that. He stuffed it into his quiver.

The remounted for the journey back to the gates. Although the group was sure if they backtracked the herd more they would find more carcasses, they also knew the scene would be similar to this one. Whoever did this was untrained and not very careful. There would be nothing new to gather from another viewing of a massacre.

Junco's remounting was a bit difficult. He is a dense man and heaving his weight up a few feet and around an animals back is harder than it seems. Riding back was uneventful and the group was noticeable quite. They were in slight mourning and were trying to think of anyone who would fit this kind of behavior. Like Junco, he assumed no one was coming up with much.

They reached the gates quickly enough and the group headed straight to the Icewatch. They would need to fill in the watch on what they had found so the militia could start working to identify the culprits.
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Konrad Venger on September 24th, 2016, 10:31 am

Rewards

Junco :
XP:
Riding - 2
Observation - 4
Tracking - 1
Logic - 1

Lore:
Icewatch Guard: Observing Herd Migrations to Deduce Possible Problems
Duties in the Icewatch: Usually Requires a Horse
The Mystery of the Woolly Herd, Summer 516AV
Woolly Mammoths: Huge and Fierce-looking, But Gentle Creatures
Logic: Deducing the Culprits from the Bloody Scene of Slaughter


Click Me! :
Damn, dude... this one was a downer. Far too close to real-life, y'know? The last few posts, detailing the mutilated and butchered Woollies, even the wee ones... heartbreaking.

Looking forward to the continuation of this plot. Wantin' me some JUSTICE, damnit!

Oh, and please make sure you go back and edit your post in the Request Thread to reflect the fact this one is now done and dusted. PM me with any questions and later 'tater!

||Common||Thoughts||Pavi||Fratava||Myrian||Other's Speaking||
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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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The Wooly Migration

Postby Jasmine Stormblood on September 26th, 2016, 4:16 pm

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REGRADE


Here are your grades dear. Do let me know if I missed anything.

 
Junco
XP
  • Riding- Horse: 5 XP
  • Observation: 5 XP
  • Logic: 5 XP
  • Investigation: 2 XP
  • Socialization: 2 XP
  • Tracking: 1 XP
Lores
  • Wooly Migration: normally in fall
  • Junco: not used to a mount
  • Talderan Sabretooth: able to take down ONE Wooly if not injured
  • Junco: lives for the hunt
  • Wooly: not usually skittish and scared of Vantha
  • Logic: Wooly's have much fur but do not appear starved
  • Wooly: gentle giants with ferocious tusks
  • Logic: Wooly's not always hunted wild, often used for fur and milk
  • Observation: tracks farther back fill with snow
  • Migration: Wooly numbers down by 10 to 15 animals
  • Investigation: culprit appears Vantha
  • Logic: young meat not as good as aged meat
  • Wooly Mammoths: easy targets despite size
  • Logic: bone saws not used to harvest Wooly tusks
  • Logic: culprit untrained and not careful
  • Investigation: attack at least 24 bells prior
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