Solo The bigger they are, the harder they fall

Thistle's hunt goes awry when a Dek loses her catch

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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]

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

Postby Thistle on November 18th, 2018, 9:06 pm

31st day, fall, 518 AV

Dawn broke through the mountain peaks in an awesome display of beautiful blinding light. Zulrav blessed her with almost no breeze, making her chance at hunting all that much easier. The sunset last night had already confirmed the heat of the upcoming day and she savored the rare bit of sun on her face.

A swift black hawk screeched his presence from high above and when she couldn't see it, she frowned at the bad omen. She scowled and turned her head to the side, trying to get her mind off of the deep foreboding. A hulk of a six foot Dek loomed beside her, his strong naked back a well muscled sight. He must've felt her gaze because he immediately lowered his head and eyes to the ground in proper obedience.

She had a fleeting thought of what a strong and lusty bed warmer he must be but the vapid look on his big dumb face stopped that idea dead in its tracks. Thistle finished loading him up like the silent pack mule he should be and they soon headed out for what looked to be an ideal day of hunting.

The water levels were lowering which meant the animals drew closer to the Inarta seeking to quench their considerable thirst. The eager young Avora could barely check her enthusiasm and she turned to the large Dek once more.

"You filled and brought your waterskin?" she asked patiently, knowing that Dek weren't expected to be over smart like planning ahead.

He nodded quickly and patted his side.

She had loaded him down with a hefty 75 lb 'light starter' pack of gear so they could plan for a hopefully, large heavy haul of animals on the way back. The stolid Dek wasn't breaking a sweat nor did the large load of equipment impede his movement or slow him down.

Though she walked briskly with a long, ground eating stride, he heeled to her right side, a half step behind. He was a well trained Dek, she thought with optimism as they paused to scan the foot of the mountain.

Thistle listened intently, holding her breath to hear as much as she could. A few birds were feeding along the cliffs while still more cruised the thermals in slow, lazy circles. A bit of scraggly bent brush scraped against a rock, dragging its branches like fingers reaching out for help. Bugs buzzed drowsily in the warming sun, still not quite ready to take over for their nocturnal cousins.

Slowly, she inhaled again and noted that the Dek had copied her exact movements with alacrity. She nodded approval at him and returned to seeking. Starting at the left and downward, she scrutinized the ground. Her keen sky blue eyes took in the patches of grass, leaves, dirt, places of wear, rocks and scat.

With a deft hand, she lifted the dirt and sifted it through her fingers. It drifted slowly to the ground, with not a hint of breeze. The dirt crumbled in some spots which meant something had applied pressure to it within a sun's pass. It had a wonderful warm and gamy scent that advertised an ungulate, not a carnivore.

There was so much potential!
Last edited by Thistle on November 19th, 2018, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.


The bigger they are, the harder they fall

Postby Thistle on November 19th, 2018, 2:06 am

Thistle watched the tree tops to gauge the rising temperature and started west in a slight arcing movement from the base of the mountain. She scrutinized the mountainous landscape, her eyes similar to a hawk in their intensity. With a quick motion of her left hand, she gestured to the Dek to crouch his hulking brute self lower.

Something moved in the not too far distance and the unmistakable rack of a ten point buck was pointed directly at her. The Avora froze, going still and silent as the Mountain Skynarta, her eyes fixed with excitement. After an excruciating pause, he bent his head back down to paw at the scrubby grass and finally eat a mouthful or two. The strong young deer raised his head briefly, more out of habit than actual wariness.

It made her wonder that he wasn't as nervous as his kind usually were but it could work to her favor if she played her arrows right. Sweat trickled between her eyes and her thighs cramped up as she held her immobile crouch. Slowly, slowly, she inched forward, keep her shortbow low to the ground. Her fingers slipped the arrow in the notch, not taking her eyes off the target for even a blink.

Again, he dragged his hoof against the ground and shoved his massive antlers into the grass, digging hard. He snorted loudly, his brush of a tail flicking a semaphore of aggravation. The deer shook his head hard against the ground, flicking up sods of grass and clods of dirt clung to his horns as he raised his head. It seemed like an alert motion, but something about the deer wasn't right.

His ears waggled against insects that weren't there at this hour of the morning and stamped an angry hoof against the ground. The buck turned his head sideways -like a bird- to pin her with his strange look. There was no question now that he was looking birdlike directly at her!

Deer didn't do tha---

Suddenly he charged directly at her with a strange bawling sound that was half moo and very angry half honk! Thistle rose smoothly and loosed two arrows in swift succession, reacting more out of instinct than any purposeful aiming. The petching thing was hell bent on killing her! What was going on here?!

Thwack! Thwack!
Both arrows landed in the left eye, embedding themselves to the feathers. But it was still charging! It didn't even slow down!

The Dek stood up rapidly, the usual way to threaten any kind of grazer but he seemed utterly unfazed by neither the double arrows in his eye or the enormous Inarta brandishing a pair of Talon Swords. Panic lurked in her stomach, uncurling itself rapidly like a snake clenching itself to attack.

The size of the man seemed to spur on the buck to much greater efforts to reach them even faster! Thistle nocked the arrows as the massive buck was nearly upon them.

Thud! Thud! Two arrows caught the insanely raging deer in the chest and he dropped to his knees less than five strides from her and the Dek! All the adrenaline left her in such a rush that she slumped to the ground in terror, relief and triumph! She did it! What the petch was wrong with that thing? She wiped the sweat from her face as she tried to get her breath back. Looking up at the Dek, he just stood there in surprise. Not fear, not anger, just a mild form of surprise that the creature hadn't run from his mere presence.

Thistle's eyes crinkled in an almost smile and she shook her head, sharing in his disbelief and her own surprise. Brushing the grass and dirt from her backside, she stood up and moved to her downed prey.

Her curious eyes looked carefully for any sign of why the normally placid, timid animal had charged at the sight of something small in the sparse grass. The muzzle was lightly frothed with foam but there was something peculiar about the animal that she couldn't quite figure out. The eye was glassy in death which was normal, the ears were fine, the horns and hooves were solid. It was normal for an animal to foam at the mouth a bit after a sudden run when they were thirsty so .... wait! That's it! For all that effort, there wasn't a lick of sweat ANYWHERE on him! She nudged him to his other side, walking around the downed beast and leaned in to get a closer look. Tentatively, she reached out two fingers to pinch his skin and it stayed in place! No gradual slide back to check for anything, it was like a small pointed peak that stayed immobile.

Scowling, she poked down the area she'd pinched and the area sagged strangely. This had to be the most extreme case of dehydration she'd ever seen in a living creature in her entire life! She recalled the black hawk bad omen earlier and a superstitious shiver shook her despite the growing heat and rising sun.

The sun made her realize it was nearly time for her noon meal and most definitely time for a long drink. Thistle made a shooing motion to the Dek to indicate he could sit. As long as it was a bit of a distance from her. There was no way she'd hold down her food having to sit near a smelly, disgusting thing like him.

For a long brief chime, she scanned the horizon to make sure no predators had shown themselves. She kept her guard up fully and stayed very alert between quickly snatched bites of dried meat. She unsealed her waterskin to slake her thirst. She didn't realize she was so parched until the water touched her throat.

The Dek sat a few strides away, chugging his water until he held it above his mouth in a futile effort to squeeze out a few more drops.

Idiot! She shook her head with contempt that he would blow through his water ration so quickly. The day she met a smart Dek, she'd probably die of shock. She carefully replaced the stopper on her waterskin and finished half of the dried meat with fierce hunger.

Tiny biting insects buzzed around her head and she stood quickly, waving a hand in front of her face. She mindfully retrieved each precious arrow, always with cost in mind. Best to throw the buck on the Dek and the carry on with the hunt. She tied the hooves together and called out to her male companion,

"Dek! Pick up the deer and hoist it over your neck."

Covered in dripping sweat, he lifted the buck over his shoulders effortlessly and her eyes were drawn to the play of rippling muscles in action. Her mouth had suddenly gone dry again but she was sure it had nothing to do with the unseasonable weather. Again, he caught her watching him and he bowed his head, his gaze to the ground.

Gods dammit. She really didn't want to be attracted to such an idiot meathead. Angry with herself, the young Avora strode quickly back to the mountain side, hearing his quiet steps properly behind her as he should be. Hopefully, out of sight, out of mind. For the briefest of chimes she could swear she felt his eyes on her backside, but she really didn't want to look at the dumb beast.

She needed cooling if she was gonna make it through the hunting day so she gestured for him to head upwards. Going to the lower half of the mountain would hopefully raise them to a cooler climate and get a bit of relief from the biting insects attracted to the fresh blood.

Keeping an arrow notched, she motioned for the Dek to stomp his giant feet and flush something. Mountain goats couldn't see directly in front of them so this was the best level to be on when flushing them out.

The tall man stomped his feet again and Thistle saw four flashes of white against the rock!

Thwack! Thwack!

Her arrows caught two of the four and they dropped from the sheer heights, hitting the ground in duplicate.

Score!! Today seemed like a VERY lucky day for hunting! The air was a little cooler up here and suddenly something white jumped at her from the cliff height!

"Stand back!" she warned the Dek, as she stepped aside swiftly. What the petch was up with the animals today?! She scowled and watched the ram run face first into a boulder, sliding to the ground, dead.

Concern turned to superstitious fear and young Thistle sent a silent prayer to Zulrav for her safety.

"I need to get those cleaned so you can carry most of it. Drop the backpack over here while I go get the ram to bring it near the two goats."

He nodded quickly and did her bidding wordlessly. She needed to get closer to the mountain side stream and get these skinned and cleaned before the long, exhausting and sweaty trek home.

Thistle was rifling through the pack to get out her things for cleaning and skinning, clearly distracted from any thought of further danger.

"SHYKE!" the Dek yelled as a wolf knocked him and the dead buck over the cliff to their deaths.

Her mouth hung open in shock, horror and then rage that her buck and her muscle was gone.

"Gods dammit!" How would she get back two goats and a ram by herself?! The blistering hot day made itself felt in a burgeoning sunburn over her face, arms and shoulders and sweat dripped from the end of her nose. Thistle giggled hysterically, not sure what to do with herself.

If and that's a big if, she could get back the three animals after cleaning and skinning them, would it pay for a healthy, VERY well-trained Dek in his prime? He HAD to belong to someone to be that good. Because now she had to pay for that shyte stinking petching Dek! She curled her lips in a snarl of frustration at the situation she found herself in.

She looked around her carefully in all four directions, checking cautiously that there were no more flying, attacking, crazed animals lurking. The young Avora took out her tent and put the dead ram on it as best she could as way to drag it closer to the running water.

The water was cool and felt so good on her hands and arms as she worked to get enough water in the pot to keep things going. Next she rolled it over on its back and slit it from throat to anus in a clean cut, careful not to pierce the delicate fascia beneath the woolly hide. She held up each leg one at time, separating hide from fascia and paused to rinse her knife in the pot nearby. The biting insects were ferocious on her growing sunburn and Thistle gritted her teeth to keep going. She rubbed an aching, burnt arm over her forehead and paused to catch her breath. The sun was moving faster than she'd like. As much as she longed to be cooler, she needed to get out of here before nightfall with three bloody animals, attracting every predator in Wind Reach!

She put down the knife and took several long swigs of the icy cold water. Closing her eyes, she squeezed out the last drop. The young hunter sighed and moved to refill her waterskin with cold fresh water again. The water levels were definitely lower and she scowled in concern.

The Avora picked up her knife and separated the sinew points from the bone, carefully peeling back the hide from the meat. Her back ached and her shoulders protested through the entire skinning process. The entrails needed removing, sorting, rinsing and storing. Several bells later, she finally got to her feet and limped her way over to her back pack.

Sunburned, sore, tired, hot, aching and dripping with sweat, she finished the last of the animals. She tucked the last hide into a neat roll with the others and paused to admire her hard day's work.

The total day's tally was two goats, a ram and the infuriating loss of a fine ten point buck and a dead Dek she'd have to replace.


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