Quest Eyes in the Smoke

The hunt for the Beast finally dawns.

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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]

Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Solstice on August 5th, 2019, 9:07 pm

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Summer 72, 519
8th Bell
The Twin Lakes



There had been a storm brewing. It had started at the first deaths a season ago, in the midst of rain and thunder. It had grown as more people died, as heat pushes moist air upwards to linger with cool dry air. Endals, Avora, Eagles… each disappearance pushed that moist air upwards and sucked the dry air down. Soon, those clouds grew huge and dark. Each death made the atmosphere shudder and brought the winds. That black storm cloud had grown in the hearts of the people, fueled by fear, despair, and rage. All season it had threatened to burst. And now the ripples of thunder had an outlet. That hatred stoked by the deaths of those most dear to the city had a target for their lightning to strike. The location of the nest had become known. There would be no further hesitation. All of this ended today. The Beast would die.

The oppressive heat lingered with the steam rising up off the shore of the Twin Lakes, and coated the grassy hill in a fine mist. Hitten had found the highest perch in the area, and coldly observed the eagles and Endals as they flew down from the mountain above, his beak clacking impatiently as he watched. On the ground, Hitten's partner paced, shooting glares at the men and women arriving from the interior tunnels leading into the depths of Sky Inarta. More than a few Inarta quelled at the Wingleader's gaze and turned right back around to return to the innards of the city. This suited Trinto just fine. Most of the people arriving were wide-eyed, weak spined Chiets and Avoras, serving no purpose here other than to gawk at the Endals. This mission was serious. Only those with absolute dedication would be allowed on the trip. The Wingleader has selected the Flights under his command personally, and had picked the best of the best. The Chiets and Avoras accompanying the Endals would be selected with great scrutiny, and as far as Trinto was concerned any Inarta retreating with their tails between their legs at a single glare weren't worth a petch. Wisely, the twenty five selected Endals and the Avoras and Chiets who had passed scrutiny so far were giving the Wingleader a wide berth.

Flightleader Narth Evek, watching Trinto pace from his perch on the hill above, let out a sigh. "It had to be Trinto, didn't it?"

Sitting cross-legged beside him, Yanna smirked. "He's one of the most powerful Flightleaders," she said. "Who did you expect would lead us? You?"

Narth tightened his expression but didn't rise to the bait. The leader of the White Owls was more tolerant than your typical Inarta, a fact that the majority of the city knew quite well and frequently took advantage of. Today, however, the teasing was light. Narth might be among the friendliest in the city to other races, but he and his Flight were also renowned for their skill with medicine. Trinto might be a stubborn chuhn kariil, but he was not enough of a fool to fly into a battle against a monster without a backup to mend any hurts.

Yanna laughed in Narth's face as the Inarta refused to react. "Oh come on now, don't look so glum," she said playfully. "Today is going to be a great day, whomever leads us. This battle will go down in Wind Reach history. Bards will sing of it." Yanna's eyes glittered, bright and eager as she stared down at the group of people gathering. "We're going to find that Beast and send it right back to Dira where it belongs. Preferably in as many pieces as possible." She cackled at the image in her head. Yanna, along with her Flight, were renowned for their skill in battle. The War Hawks showed no mercy, gave no quarter. Yanna was not the most friendly, but there was no better person to have guarding your back; or, more likely, your front as she charged into the heat of battle.

Evek, Narth's Wind Eagle, landed beside him. A moment later, so did Yanna's partner Levi. "How's it look up there," Narth asked, rubbing underneath his bird's neck as he leaned over for a scratch.

Hitten is getting impatient, the eagle replied. I expect he and Trinto won't be willing to wait for much longer.

Yanna chuckled. "About time," she said with a grin, reaching for Levi's saddle in order to mount. Eagerly, the she-eagle ruffled her feathers and opened her mouth to let out a shriek. A wave of shrieks echoed in reply, first from the War Hawks, then from others. Hitten and Trinto both glared at the pair, but Yanna grinned fearlessly despite it. The eagles would be leaving soon. All that was left was for the final members of the hunt to arrive and be evaluated.
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Thuma on August 9th, 2019, 12:47 am


Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

Tensions in the city had been growing for weeks, Thuma waiting impatiently to get the chance to kill the Beast once and for all.

Finally getting Gen to speak to her about what had happened when he encountered the beast proved to be next to useless. She appreciated that he was willing to say anything about it to her, especially with how annoyed he was with her continuous questioning, but he hadn't had a clue about where the beast's nest was better than anybody else. It was a Chiet, covered in blood, who ran into the courtyard at Market Day and claimed to know where the nest was. She died right after telling the Valintar and Trinto was quick to arrange a hunting party and plan an official hunt.

When word got out that Trinto had recruited Yanna's flight for the battle, they were ecstatic. They were going to go down in Wind Reach history as heroes, immortalized forever.

Of course, Thuma had her reservations about it, and so did Yania.


"You know I still don't like this, right?" Yania asked Thuma that morning while stringing her bow. They were sat in the common room of their aerie, preparing for the fight. Thuma paused sharpening her sword and looked up at her sister. Yania wasn't looking at her, she was focusing hard on her longbow and chewing her lip. Thuma sighed.

"We talked about this, Yania. I know we don't know what to expect, but Trinto knows what he's doing. There's going to be enough fighters there to-"

"It eats Wind Eagles, Thum! What if there's more than one at the nest? Huh? What then?" Yania shouted. Thuma stared at her sister with her mouth hanging open for a second, then shut it and looked back down at her sword. She knew Yania was right, anything and everything could happen today. She swallowed and looked back up, Yania's face was drawn and her whole body tense.

"I know, Yani, I know that," Thuma spoke calmly, "But we have to try. We can't let it continue killing our people, our eagles. And, unfortunately, the Endals are the city's first defense... this is our job. I've said it before but you don't have to come with me."

"No," Yania said without hesitation, "We're a team, we fight together. If you die today and I'm here, safe in the city, I would never be able to find peace." Thuma nodded her understanding. Even with how tense things had become between the two of them recently, with Yania's newfound interests coming to light, they were still each other's most reliable confidants and closest companions.

They finished preparing their weapons and packing a backpack with essentials - a few meal portions, their waterskins, and a few spare bowstrings. Yania put on the backpack over her longbow and quiver and Thuma grabbed her shortbow with it's quiver and put them both on, then sheathed her talon sword.

They made their way into Shathisae's room, whom had been more quiet than usual for the past few days. Thuma could feel that the eagle was focusing a lot of her time on meditation, and tried not to pester her too much.

Thuma threw the saddle over Shathisae, strapped it around her, then she climbed onto it, throwing her leg over the side. Yania stuffed her backpack into the saddlebag then climbed on behind Thuma.

The eagle spread her wings and took flight, heading down Mount Skyinarta to the Twin Lakes where Trinto had ordered everybody to meet.

Immediately upon leaving the aerie they were hit with the immense heat of Syna's rays. Each summer had been hotter than the last and this one was close to unbearable. Many of the plants that sprouted and opened in the summer stubbornly stayed shut, the landscape was devoid of the wildflowers that usually sprouted and the insects that pollinated them. There was hardly any game worth catching in Thunder Bay, and Thuma had been eating small fish and rabbit for weeks now. Tensions were high in the city, the hunts for food getting more desperate each day.

As they approached the Lakes, the group of Wind Eagles with their riders came into view, with still more making their way down the mountain as well. Shathisae looked for an open spot along the shore and headed to it, catching the air then landing with a heavy thud, making a cloud of dust rise out of the sand. Thuma glanced around, looking for her flight.

She noticed Wingleader Trinto standing atop the hill above Shivias, pacing impatiently back and forth and occasionally looking out among the Endals to glare at the newcomers. His eagle Hitten perched above him, surveying the growing crowd, seeming just as impatient as his partner.

Yanna sat cross-legged on the ground with Flightleader Narth of the White Owls standing beside her. They spoke amongst themselves, their eagles standing on either side of them. Next she saw Yakob not too far away sitting still upon his eagle Palis. She caught his eye and gave him a curt nod which he returned. Darrin sat on his eagle Lenorov next to him, talking animatedly with his hands, none of which Yakob responded to. He may as well have been talking to a wall.

Etti was standing on the shore only a few yards away next to her Wind Eagle Faay, petting her feathers absent-mindedly and seeming lost in thought. Thuma's heart leapt a little bit when she saw her, but she quickly shook the feeling off. Focus. She had to focus. That was hard to do when Etti caught her staring and gave her a bright smile and a small wave. Thuma smiled back and looked away quickly, her face getting hot immediately.


"Why does Etti always smile at you like that? She doesn't smile at me like that." Yania said, sounding offended.

"Like what?" Thuma said, feigning confusion,"She's just friendly." Yania scoffed.

"Yeah, really friendly. There's something you're not telling me, isn't there?"

"There's nothing, Yani," Thuma lied, trying to get Yania to stop bothering her about it, "We hunt together, we fight together, we work together. She is a good flightmate, that's all." Shathisae, who knew the truth, was silently berating her for lying in the back of Thuma's mind. Thuma ignored her.

"Whatever, the truth always comes out eventually." Yania said smugly, to which Thuma rolled her eyes. It was still too early to tell if the something that was between Thuma and Etti was really something, or if it was just a temporary something. She didn't want to make a big deal out of something that might actually be nothing.

The space was filling in with more Endal and their eagles. She saw the White Owls flight all together on the opposite side of the lake than her, with Vosin standing, talking amongst his flight. Next to Vosin stood a woman and Thuma jumped in her seat at her appearance. Definitely not Endal - not even Inarta. She was Symenestra from what Thuma knew about the race. Grey skin, grey hair, long limbs. A lithe thing, her body wrapped in what appeared to be some sort of long purple silk scarf. Of course Thuma had heard the rumors of a Symenestra living in Wind Reach, working at one of the tailor shops in the city. What could she be doing here? Was she meant to be helping kill the beast? In any case, she was with the White Owls and not being openly attacked or threatened, so they must have asked for her to be there.

Vosin's brother Del was there too with the Swiftfalcons, and was shooting daggers at Thuma. He despised her for not ending the relationship between Yania and Vosin. In fact, she hadn't even believed there was a relationship at first, and had never told Yania about how Del had threatened her in the Lookout. He still hadn't acted upon it, but he was not known to be a man of empty threats. Thuma avoided him at all costs.

Thuma watched as her flightleader mounted her eagle Levi, whom let out a loud screech. Shathisae quickly followed suit along with the other Warhawks eagles, then the rest of the eagles along the shore of the lake, creating a chorus of battle cries. Thuma smiled despite the anxiety she felt. Today would be the end of the Beast's terror.
Last edited by Thuma on August 10th, 2019, 6:03 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Tythos Everstorm on August 9th, 2019, 6:12 pm

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Tythos was one very confused green armed Isur as he stood just outside the entrance into the interior tunnels. He stood there with his head turned back over his shoulder to look at the people who just became the source of his befuddlement.

He watched as the small scattering of Chiet cooks; who he followed here in the first place, all retreated back into the tunnels at the first glance of Trinto's stern gaze. It wasn't just Tythos who seemed confused, but even the large Falivan Elk Dog who stood leashed at the Isur's side even canted its head around to watch the other Cooks all slink away, most likely back to the kitchens. "Was I suppose to run... Am I not suppose to be here?" Ty thought to himself for a moment before just deciding to go ask the man with the stern gaze about it.

"Looks like its just you and me, Bogdi."

Tythos said to the dog in his native language of Isur while looping some of the dog's leash around his non-green wrist to remove any slack. He wanted to keep Bogdi close to his side to avoid any bird related incidents. When he turned back to look out at the others in the area, Tythos at least looked like he had given the slightest thought in prepared to join the hunt.

Although he loved to be bare chested, the brawny in stature green armed isur donned a set of leather armor today. He even wore a backpack filled filled with about ten days of left over rations from when he first came to the city by ship and a survival kit. When it came to weaponry, he appeared to be holding two javelins bundled in his green hand, and had a hand axe tucked into the belt on his hip.

Before he walked over to where the volunteers seemed to be standing, Tythos held the hand that carried the leash in front of Bogdi's face then snapped his fingers, using the sound gesture to get the dogs attention before patting the him on the head. "Calm down." Tythos just wanted to make sure Bogdi wasn't feeling anxious from the sudden cascading sounds of eagles shrieking.

Bogdi's swaying tail seemed to be a good enough sign, but he held the leash tight just to be sure. After that was done, Tythos approached the other members of the hunt, controlling Bogdi's leash to keep him at his side rather than forward.

"We are here to aid the hunt if possible."
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Turrin on August 12th, 2019, 2:02 am

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Donning his camouflage leather armor, Turrin, with a puzzled look on his face, wondered why Flight Leader Trinto choose him of all people to join the hunting mission to slay the beast. He wasn't in any position at the moment to do anything other than his duties at the stables. He got days off, but he mostly spent it familiarizing himself with the city again, so he was sort of rusty at hunting or tracking. He still made time for his martial skills, but it didn't leave him much time to travel outside the city. He wondered if his former flight leader Naime took piety on him, and she suggested to Trinto to bring him along. He doubted the fiery woman even cared about him, but she was always close with the endal of her flight, so maybe? He hadn't seen her since he arrived in Wind Reach months ago, and he wasn't going to look for her either since he knew that she tried to help him when Aponivi died. However, he was in such a downward spiral; her words comfort and mostly frustrated anger was lost to either drink or depression.

At the moment, he was to ashamed to face her, and he knew there meeting would be awkward. Regardless, it was years, so she can't hold a grudge this long. He hoped. As Turrin tightened the straps on his leather archers gloves, he paused his tying and realized that he was in big trouble when his former flight leader sees him. Knowing the War Hawk flight leader personally, she won't yell at him. She would most likely punch him in the jaw. The thoughts of their reunion was not something he looked forward too, but it was come eventually.

When Turrin finished putting on his armor, he strapped his talon sword and throwing ax to his waist. He put his broad arrows, armor piercing arrows into his quiver, and placed it on his waist. He packed his backpack full of his outdoor survival gear and his trusty compass. Lastly he put he grabbed his short bow, strung it, and held it in his left hand. Knowing this was going to tough mission even without the threat of the beast. The half breed said a prayer to Myri and asked for her guidance in victory over the threat to Wind Reach and over his growing anxiety of seeing his former caste numbers in such large numbers. He will need to be controlled emotionally to get through the next couple of days.

Walking through the dim lighted halls of Wind Reach, Turrin reminisced about the days when he could have just flown to the Twin Lakes. Aponivi would always jump out and dive at full speed out of the Aeries. He remembered snow covered courtyard and his boyish showing off to his dearest friend, and the dark days after the food riots. The memories of his flights with Aponivi and the memories of his days in the mountain city will always be with him, but those days were gone. He needed to keep his focus in the present. Bringing his mind back to the mission at hand, he quicken his pace as he walked through the halls towards the lakes.

Suddenly, he remembered the countless physical drills and the barking of command to keep pace from his former flight leader put him as she used make her flight run through the halls of the city. He started to jog down the halls in his full gear as he imagined her voice urging him to push him. It was trying affair that he periodically had to stop and catch his breath. The other Inarta in the halls gave him weird looks as he quickly made his way to the Twin Lakes through the halls of the city, but he didn't want to hold up the mission and disappoint Flight Leader Trinto, so he picked up the pace and ran down the halls.

Eventually, Turrin made it to the steep stone stairs and stopped for a moment to catch his breath. He could faintly smell the scent of sulfur lingering in the air as he made his decent towards the large gathering of wind eagles, endals, and assorted other castes members gathered in the clearing below. When he made it to the bottom of the stairs, he figured Trinto or one of the other flight leaders would see his arrival to the gathering of warriors, so he thought a good place for a chiet would be in the back. Walking open place in the grass, he took his place by a silver skinned man who seemed to comforting his dog. The chiet didn't want to disturb him, so he glanced over the crowd and saw a familiar face, Endal Thuma. He remembered that Naime was trying to recruit her into her flight, but she must have chosen a different flight instead. He remembered she had a lot of promise as a young endal, and she wielded talon sword like himself. Turning his golden eyes away from her, he scanned the crowd for Naime, but she seemed to not be apart of hunt, so he smirk to himself that he wouldn't be recieving a beat down today.
Myrian, Common, Nari , Aponivi, Turrin

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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Oresnya Cacao on August 13th, 2019, 3:21 am

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There was a fervor sweeping the mountain, something so powerful it had not been experienced since the Djed storm nearly a decade prior. Though the inhabitants of the mountain always worked together to secure their survival, something the Valterrian had necessitated some five centuries prior, there was a common spirit behind each individual’s effort. Wind Eagles and Endal had died, and now other Inarta as well. Wind Reach was calling for the death of the Beast, and the season had seemed to be a preparation for that hunt. The Inarta were confident this would be the end of the creature.

Oresnya, however, was reminded of a story, one every Symenestra child grew up with. Symenestra heroes had hunted a creature, heading out of Kalinad with confidence, but they had ended up the hunted. Many Symenestra lives had been lost before that creature was killed. Oresnya sensed the same fate for Wind Reach, the Inarta, and the Beast. After all, this was a creature that had hunted and killed Wind Eagles. This was no monster to take lightly, and though she was sure the Inarta were doing no such thing, Oresnya was certain they were not prepared for the hunt to come.

Even if Oresnya thought them unprepared, they had spent the season doing just that, and due to the extra draw on resources and the increase in work to be done, Oresnya found herself inundated with tasks to do. Though not one to overachieve or brown nose with her superiors, Oresnya found herself getting to work earlier and earlier every day, just to keep up with the work that came in. Eventually, she found herself arriving before anyone else.

That was where she was this particular morning, up before dawn and stepping lightly through the halls so as not to disturb the majority of the inhabitants who were still sleeping. Her rising was so early today that Bob was not waiting for her when she stepped out of her apartment. It was odd to her, not to begin the day with their usual greeting full of false hostility and masked affection. She liked him, in a way one might enjoy the company of a much older or much younger sibling. That he wasn’t here felt like the beginning of bad omen, and it made Oresnya sullen.

She contemplated the soft way the slap of her feet echoed off the empty hallways and realized those footsteps were about as insignificant as her existence here. Sure, they were the only thing present in the hallway, aside from herself and still air. And emptiness and loneliness. But even though they were there, there was no one to witness them and care, and so they went unacknowledged, insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Just like her efforts at Felicity’s Fabrics. She was handling a heavier load this season than any season prior, but it was still the little things. All the things the apprentices handled were far more important, and so Oresnya’s work went overlooked. That didn’t mean she was about to shirk her duties though.

When she stepped into the shop, she froze in surprise when two faces looked up from their work at a table. Both were faces she was quite familiar with. One was Felicity, her boss. The other was one of Felicity’s apprentices, Hacaw. She and Oresnya had not had the best of history together, but things between them were being slowly mended. Each was making efforts to help the other. Hacaw even flashed Oresnya a tired smile. Felicity just nodded in acknowledgement and went back to working on whatever it was that had brought her in early.

Hacaw whispered to Felicity, but it was loud enough for Oresnya to hear. The Inarta never did anything quietly. “It’s as ready as it’s going to be.”

Nari was still too rapid for Oresnya to catch much of, but she did get the gist.

Felicity looked at the cloak, realized Hacaw was right, and nodded sleepily before standing up and moving to her Symenestra underling. “The hunt begins today, Widow.”

Nodding, Oresnya couldn’t help but get sour about the idea. “It is a bad thing.” She wasn’t sure if her stuttered Nari got the point across. Judging by Hacaw’s proud response, Oresnya guessed it did.

“Don’t worry, Widow. Our hunters will bring it down.”

“Nyranel had that much confidence,” Oresnya muttered in Symenos.

“What?”

“Symenestra story,” Oresnya explained. “It remind me of what is here. Now. Brave hunters. A beast. It end with death. It always do. Lives are the price to pay for the life of a beast. This hunt will end in death, not all of it the Beast’s.”

Felicity tipped Oresnya’s chin up so their eyes met. “Don’t say that. At least, don’t let the Endal hear you say it. Either way, don’t let the hunt end in yours.”

“Mine?” The haze of sleepiness that always began the day melted away in a moment. “What do you mean?”

“Vosin requested your presence on the hunt.”

“Why? I am no use.”

“Exactly! That’s what I said. She’s useless.”

Oresnya glared at that admission from her boss.

Felicity glared back. “You know what I meant. You’re useless on a hunt. But I have use for you here. That’s why I tried to convince them not to take you. Vosin said he saw potential, that there was some use for you. Just come back in one piece. Or at least in enough useful pieces that you still do me some good.”

“Thanks.” Oresnya was still too stunned by the fact that she was being sent to register whether or not Felicity’s words were an insult or a compliment.

Felicity pushed the cloak into Oresnya’s hands. “This is something to help ensure that you do make it back. If it comes down to it, run and hide. You won’t be able to save anyone anyhow.”

Felicity’s words were filling Oresnya with an overabundance of confidence. The Symenestra turned the fabric over in her hands. “What is it?”

“It’s to help you blend in if you end up being hunted rather than doing the hunting.” To demonstrate her point, Felicity took it from the Widow’s hands, threw it around Hacaw’s shoulders, and pulled the hood over the younger woman’s head. As Oresnya watched, the color of the shape mutated, molding itself into something similar to what lay behind it until it was nearly an exact match. Only the odd shape juxtaposed against the ones behind it and the slight sway of Hacaw’s body betrayed her presence. “See?”

Oresnya nodded. “Yes.”

Felicity shook her head as she took the cloak off her apprentice and handed it to her Chiet. “No, you don’t. That’s the point. Now go get whatever else you might need. Don’t keep Vosin waiting.”

Only a few chimes after she had arrived at her place of work, Oresnya found herself being pushed back out the door.

A quick ‘Be safe’ followed her from Hacaw. Oresnya knew she wouldn’t. This was a hunt, a monster hunt to be specific. The point wasn’t to be safe. The point was to bring about death, and anytime anyone tried that, they opened themselves up to the most dangerous aspects of whatever it was they were hunting. The slap of her feet sounded even more insignificant now. She was a fly droning lazily toward a spider’s web, doomed in its existence from the beginning. She tried not to think of Nyranel’s story, of the many lives that beast had required, of the many failures that came before end, but the world had a way of smothering optimism in its crib before it even had a chance to grow.

So Oresnya arrived back at her room in the Darniva Commonrooms, feeling sick to her stomach at the thought of her impending death. She didn’t have many possessions, and most wouldn’t be of use in the wilderness. Unsure if she would be stuck overnight, she unwrapped her hammock, rolled it up, and shoved it into the bottom of her pack. She packed the silk rope she had and her water skin and put her new cloak in top above it all. Not much else she owned would do her any good. She considered the darts, figured they would do nothing to a creature that could eat Wind Eagles, and instead grabbed the shepherd’s sling she had purchased earlier in the season. There was the obvious care and craftsmanship of Benshiran hands. A small sack of smooth, heavy river stones went with it, and she closed the bag.

Feeling like she ought to be bringing and contributing more, she stared blankly at the walls, nearly falling asleep as she did. Shaking her head to try to shake the haze of sleep away again, she splashed cold water from her wash basin on her face and made her way out the door, making it several steps down the hall before remembering the backpack she had just packed. She stepped back into her room, retrieved the bag, then took a quick peek at the piece of skyglass Malto had given her in Lhavit. It told the weather by a light within the glass that appeared behind certain etchings on the surface. Today, it practically lit up her room with how bright it shown behind the etching of the sun. It was going to be hot, very hot. Not that that was any different from the rest of the season. She left it, stepped back into the hall, and kicked up her pace to a brisk walk.

Don’t keep Vosin waiting.

By the time she made it out of the mountain to where the hunting party was gathering, it was light, and the prediction of the skyglass was proving itself correct. The heat was not as oppressive as it would be midday, but it was already uncomfortable. She scanned the gathered Endal, meeting several appraising glares before she found the face she was looking for. Flashing Vosin a smile, she made her way to him, avoiding the few giant Wind Eagles between. While they were not worried by Oresnya’s presence, they were aware of it and seemed annoyed.

When Oresnya arrived at the Endal’s side, she greeted him with a single question. “Why me?”
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Solstice on August 13th, 2019, 11:09 pm


Mist lingered at the feet of the new arrivals as they filed out from the inside of the mountain and dived in from the sky above. Trinto had been watching the arrivals with growing impatience. His temper was nearly to a boiling point, only fueled by his eagle's irrepressible desire for violence. Every eagle in the city was ready for battle, and indeed even ones who hadn't been selected for the mission were floating overhead and perching in the distance. It was a high stakes game today, and Trinto played to win. That said, he bottled the fuel causing his anger to boil, and tempered his temper. Anger served well enough, but it was better fit for battle than strategy.

How many left? Trinto silently asked his eagle, glancing up towards the bird's perch high above him. Hitten's powerful eyes scoured the lakes, mathematical figured dancing in his head for a flash of a moment. All Endals and Eagles accounted for, the bird replied. His answer was crisp and to the point, but Trinto could sense the tension boiling underneath his companion's feathers. Hitten was itching for a fight, ready to tear apart any creature who showed the faintest hint of disobedience, ready to lay beak and talon into the monster who had murdered their people. The two fueled each each other, like oil and fire, and Trinto was holding his temper by a thread.

His temper was not helped any by the appearance of two non-humans and a former Endal crossbreed. Trinto could grudgingly agree to the addition of an Isur, for skill in combat was among the talents the creatures were known for and the dog could make promising bait, but he was all but ready to skewer the krric troo who had recruited the godsdamned Widow for this mission. Although...now that he thought about it, he seemed to remember something about her having killed someone in the Fighting Pits a season or two ago. Perhaps there might be more to her than met the eye. At the very least, they could toss her at the Beast as a distraction. Maybe her poison would burn it on the way down its throat. Though the thoughts lingered, he ignored her aside from a sharp piercing stare as she slipped by. Stay out of our way the look seemed to say. The Isur Trinto ignored, but he flashed Narth a look and a nod in the Isur's direction, and ignored the grimace that flashed on the Flightleader's face. Turrin, however, Trinto stopped.

"You can still use a bow can't you? Haven't been clipped in your time away?" The words came out in a sneer of rapid Nari, as if daring Turrin to not understand his words. "You're with Yanna's flight. Cause her problems and you're beast bait." The Wingleader pointed towards the Yanna where she sat mounted on her eagle, then stalked back in the direction of his own bird. Beneath Hitten's perch, Trinto scanned his collected Wing. The Endals alone would almost certainly be enough, but there were a few Chiet and hunter Avoras lingering as well that might be able to assist in something or another. With luck, it would be enough. Trinto looked up at Hitten high above him, and the two began to debate. Soon, they had reached a consensus that was sent out to all the Flightleaders eagles. From there, the Flights began to gather their tagalongs.

It was probably for the best that Narth had been saddled with the non-humans, he decided with a long, drawn out sigh. While Yanna preened, the man silently mounted Evek and the two glided towards where their Flight waited. The Symenstra was already speaking with Vosin, and it appeared they knew each other. That made it an easy enough choice. "Vosin, you'll take the Widow," Narth said in rapid Nari. He offered Oresyna a brief smile, and Evek even leaned down and gave her a friendly chirp. "Will ride with Vosin," Narth told Oresnya in stuttering common. "Aren gentle wings. Easy flight. Stay safe, okay?" Narth had a sense the Symenstra probably didn't have much in the way of combat skills, and out of the way was the best place for her. "You have skill use in fight?" Narth asked. He would nod and accept whatever answer she gave him before moving on to the Isur.

"Hello," he greeted the Isur in common. "You fly with my Flight. We take care of you. What skills you have in fight?" Narth's eyes went dubiously towards the dog that the Isur held on a leash. "Has dog flown before?" Narth asked hesitantly. He was sure the eagles wouldn't mind holding the dog in their talons but he wasn't convinced on how the dog would feel about that. "Need to control dog if bring on hunt," Narth said. "Otherwise fall." Narth mimed a fall from a great distance with his hands to further illustrate his point.

Meanwhile, Yanna had received her own commands. The sharp eyed woman watched Turrin with a crooked smile as he made his way up the hill towards them. "Thuma! Where's Thuma at?" The Flightleader looked around rapidly until she had caught eyes with her Flightmate. Levi chirped out a mental summons to Shathisae as well, and once the pair were at her side she spoke to them rapidly. "You'll be looking after that one," Yanna said, pointing at the dark skinned former Endal. "Has a strong arm from what I remember. You and your sister could use his bow. Don't be too nice to him, he's a runaway."

Chiets and Avoras were busy strapping gear to the sides of eagles, and Endals were mounting as their eagles stretched their wings. And Trinto and Hitten's scathing gazes continued to watch the crowd. It wouldn't be much longer until they were in the air.
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Thuma on August 15th, 2019, 11:15 pm


Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

Thuma watched the steam gently rise off the surface of Shivias, occasionally getting blown away in a gust of wind. A dozen different scenarios and possibilities for this day ran through her mind, none of them promising. Like Yania had said, there could be more than one of the monsters in the nest. Perhaps it was a whole family of Eagle-eating beasts, or a mother just trying to feed her chicks. Though Thuma knew the right thing for her people would be to slay these killers, she couldn't help but feel a tightening in her chest at the thought of killing babies. As a Warhawk, and an Endal in general, Thuma killed animals to live and earn her keep, but only out of necessity, never malice.

It could be quite the opposite, though. A solitary, dangerous Beast on a rampage, killing anybody and anything it could get it's claws around. In any case, it was a terrifying prospect. This monster had to be enormous to be able to easily incapacitate a Wind Eagle. The battle would be ferocious, and Thuma doubted that all of the Endals and eagles participating in the fight would be coming back to Wind Reach.


"I cannot believe he is bringing that Widow with us." Yania said, looking toward Vosin and the Symenestra. Flightleader Narth had flown over to the White Owls flight and was exchanging words with the foreign woman.

"You're jealous?" Thuma asked teasingly. Yania's gaze snapped to Thuma.

"N-no!" She stammered, and took a second to collect herself,"Just... I don't understand it. She's not a hunter, at least not with a bow, and those people are fragile. She'll snap like a twig! What use could she possibly be?" While Thuma didn't fully disagree with Yania's complaints, she trusted Vosin as a skillful, intellectual Endal. If he saw potential in the Symenestra then she must have some skill in a fight. Otherwise she wouldn't be here.

"Perhaps he plans to throw her at the Beast as a distraction, should he need to make a quick escape." Thuma joked. Yania chuckled.

"I doubt she would taste very good! The poison wouldn't sit well in it's stomach either." Thuma wondered briefly if it would be enough poison to actually kill the monster.

She is here to assist us, let her prove her worth before we consider sacrificing her. Shathisae added, speaking to Thuma without being prompted for the first time in two days. As always, the eagle was right, but Thuma didn't trust that were she in trouble, the Symenestra would save her.

Before she could respond, Thuma heard her Flightleader calling her name. She looked over to where Yanna had been before and met her eye when the Endal spotted her. Levi called Shathisae over to them and she lifted them into the air and swiftly glided to the pair.

When she landed, Yanna pointed to a long-haired man and explained that he would be riding with Thuma. He was familiar, and it took a moment for Thuma to place where she knew him from.

Then it clicked, she had been invited many years ago to join his flight, but had gone a different direction. He was a strong sparring partner, more expertly wielded the talon sword than she. A couple years ago she had heard that his eagle had died. She hadn't seen him since.

Thuma couldn't imagine Shathisae dying, or how she would live afterward. He must have been completely lost after losing his partner, and Thuma felt pity toward him. She could feel that Shathisae understood who this man was, too, and though unhappy with Yanna's order to have to carry a stranger, she felt no resentment toward the former Endal.

Thuma nodded toward him and gave a small smile,
"Come on up, this is Shathisae," She said, petting the eagle's neck, "And this is Yania, my sister." She gestured toward Yania with her thumb, whom was glaring at Turrin as if daring him to climb onto the eagle. They had managed to get a double saddle crafted for them but beyond that there would be no saddle for Turrin to sit on.

"You can hold on to me, but don't get in my way." Yania warned. She knew him to be an able hunter and respected him, but was wary of anybody she wasn't familiar with.

The rest of the Endals were busying themselves with their own preparations, situating who was riding with who and double checking their weaponry. Syna's light was rising ever higher on the horizon, bringing more oppressive heat with it and making sweat droplets break out along Thuma's hairline. It was hot in some places in the city, the warmth of the lava seeping into the corridors, but this was something altogether different. If Morwen's absence continued for much longer, Thuma wasn't sure the city would be able to survive.

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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Tythos Everstorm on August 17th, 2019, 4:16 pm



Tythos stood there as the man he expected to talk to simply moved on after ignoring him. He followed the man with his eyes as the Flightleader moved onto another conversation. Even though Tythos could not understand what they were saying in Nari, he did feel like he learned a lot just from listening to the tone Trinto spoke with towards a darker skinned human.

There was clearly some type of aggression between the two from the poison filled tone Trinto spoke, so Tythos assumed it was Turrin’s presence that caused Trinto to ignore him. Tythos also would not have wanted to not have any conversations with a rival within ear shot.

He stood there watching that interaction until an Inarta with a rather bushy red beard riding atop the eagle Evek landed. When the bearded Inarta started speaking in common, that peaked Ty's curiosity enough to glance to the Symenestra among the group who'd be riding with someone named 'Vosin'. He was about to walk over towards her until the bearded Inarta greeted him.

“Ah, Greetings. In a fight I am a well practiced wrestler and lesser skilled boxer, so I’m not afraid to get up close." He then made a gesture with his green arm to show that he'd use it as a weapon when needed. "I also have lesser skill with a javelin.”

Tythos glanced down towards Bogdi with a raised brow at the falling gesture. “No, we’ve never flow before. But he’s trained enough to follow basic hunting and protection commands… those were why I first got him long ago.” The threat of falling caused the Isur to start thinking about ways to keep Bogdi from struggling, or at least keep panicking at the first touch of a talon.

“I think he’d be fine. I’ll just have to point at the eagle who will be grabbing him and command Bogdi to protect them. A trained task should distract his instinct to keep him docile enough.”

Bogdi stood next to Ty while wagging his tail, clearly interested in winged creature the stranger talking to his owner sat upon. Tythos reached out with the hand holding the leash to pet the dog on the head with the back of his green knuckles. "Sit". He spoke out in Isur which caused the hind end of the dog to press down against the ground. The command was used as minor proof that Bogdi could at least follow some commands.

"I'll just need... you.. to.." Tythos looked back up at Narth upon realizing he'd not introduced himself. "I don't know your name. My name is Tythos of the Everstorm family of the Coglias Clan.... you just need to point me to the eagle that will be guiding us so I can tell Bogdi to guard and get familiar with them."
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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Turrin on August 19th, 2019, 4:04 am

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The golden eyed chiet watched the mist linger as the ground as he waited for his orders. Flight leader Trinto seemed to troubled with the situation with the hunt as he surveyed the group of hunters in the misty clearing by the twin lakes. He started going through the crowd and surveyed the volunteers and people who are willing to risk their lives for the city in the clouds. When he reached him, he thought the endal was going to keep walking, but he stopped quickly asked if he could use his bow, but he added the fact that loosing his wind eagle would effect his archery skills. Bring up Aponivi was a sore subject for him still today, so he clenched his jaw in anger and looked Trinto straight in the eyes. From all the years that he lived in Wind Reach, he learned that most endals were just lucky fools.

If the wind eagles didn't pick them, they would be walking on the ground like the majority of populace of the city. However, they felt that they were special because they were picked by a eagles. Most Endals were just arrogant bastards who only became flight leaders because they survived long enough to lead the rest fools in their flight. Turrin knew that he included himself in this opinion as he looked at Trinto. It might be his anger talking, but if he was endal this conversation would have gone differently, but he needed to keep his cool if he was going to survive his former peers and the beast.

Turrin gave Trinto a nod with no expression on his face and said in broken Nari, “You no worry. I follow orders from endals. If you need bait, so be it. May Goddess-queen guide your and mine bow in victory. Endal.”

Turrin waited till Trinto turned his attention to Isur to turn his back on the flight leader. Trinto pointed in the direction of Yanna, and he made his way to the woman. He looked at her and noticed the woman was smirking at him. He wondered what the woman thought was so funny. He knew that the endals would take great joy in tormenting a former endal especially now that he had no ability to do retaliate against them, so he walked up and looked up to her. He wasn't going to be her prey, but he knew that he had to play by the rules of the city. When he reached them, the endal woman, who was smirking at him, turned her attention away from him, but Thuma was the one who greeted him.

When Thuma turned her attention to him, she gave Turrin a small grin. He relaxed his demeanor when he saw her welcoming smile. It was surprising that she was being kind to him, but she was endal, and he was chiet, so he needed to still be reserved around her. When she introduced the wind eagle as Shathisae and the woman behind her as her sister Yania, he said in nari to Thuma, “Nice meet both. Good seeing you, Endal Thuma. I mount quickly.”

Walking over to Yania, he put his short bow around his shoulder. He assumed that she was a Avora hunter. When she gave him a warning not to get in her way, he gave her a nod and said in nari, “No worry. I can ride with legs. Hold on if unexpected happen in air. No get in way. Turrin handle self. OK.”

Grabbing the saddle on the base of the second seat, he lifted himself up with his arms and climbed up onto the large saddle behind Yania. He knew that he was cramped for space behind her, so he adjusted his quiver and talon sword, so they wouldn't hinder her movements. He kept his hands at his side, so he didn't make Yania uncomfortable and with his hands found a place to grab onto saddle under his legs if he needed to hold onto something for normal flight. He doubt that he would have no issue not falling to death because they were quite cramped together in the seat. The former endal didn't say anything to the second hunter because she seemed annoyed at him, so he just stare out at the clouds and waited for the flight-leader Yanna, Trinto, or Thuma to tell him their next move. He knew if this beast was as dangerous as everyone said it was. Not everyone in the large hunting party will be coming back alive to Wind Reach, so to keep his mind from these dark thoughts. He kept looking at the clouds in silence and thought of happier times. caste.
Myrian, Common, Nari , Aponivi, Turrin

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Eyes in the Smoke

Postby Oresnya Cacao on August 20th, 2019, 2:30 am

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Vosin smiled at Oresnya and the stupidity of her question. “Because I can. You have your uses, and a pair of hands to help me patch the hurts when this is all said and done will go a long way. Besides, light weight makes for a good flying partner.”

The answer didn’t seem very satisfactory to Oresnya. Surely, there were more capable hands than hers. Her work in the Infirmary had been minimal, little more than emotional support for a friend and lending a helping hand here or there for menial, meaningless tasks, the kind Dek could have done. Sure, she could sew, but even her accomplishments in that were rudimentary at best. Her face must have said she doubted his sincerity, because he caught her by the arm and gave her an encouraging smile.

“I mean it. You will be more invaluable than most. Most, if not all, the Endal are concerned with the honor and glory of killing this thing. Don’t get me wrong. They recognize it as part of their obligation to the city and want to protect its people, but one more reason to be praised wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the others are here for personal reasons. They knew some of those who died. They won’t be focused. They won’t be thinking straight. In the heat of things and in the time that comes after, they won’t be calm enough or focused enough to do what needs to be done. But you, you don’t have any attachments here. You care for no one, and no one cares about you.”

Oresnya glared at this comment, though it was mostly true.

Vosin missed her vehemence and continued on, unaware he had said anything remotely offensive. “I can trust you to keep a level head. When I ask something to be done, I know you’ll do it as best as you can without distraction.”

That was a fair assessment. “I suppose that makes sense, but I’m sure you could have found a steadier pair of hands.”

The Endal shrugged. “None with as long of fingers as you have. That could come in handy. Besides,” he gestured to a man with a half burned away face making his way between several of the Wind Eagles and they Endal who rode them, “Leo has been singing your praises all morning.”

Oresnya looked to the poisoner who was distributing a few glass vials to the choicest hunters, those deemed by the flight leaders to have the best bows, the steadiest hands, the keenest eyes. Their aim would have to be impeccable, but an arrow tipped with the venom would be sure to do severe damage.

Vosin held up a single vial of it, enough to coat an arrow head. “I managed to convince him I needed one. It made me feel safer having it around.”

Oresnya looked at the fruit of her labors of the past season. It was a small glass vial with a glass stopper. “Why did he use a glass stopper? It’s more likely to spill.”

Vosin smiled. “Because your bite is too vicious, Widow. He said the venom kept eating through all the corks he was using. He warned us not to spill any on our Wind Eagles.”

Oresnya nodded at that bit of wisdom, then ducked behind Vosin at a surprising rush of wings. When she looked to see what had caused it, she saw a beautiful all-white Wind Eagle had landed next to them and was calmly preening feathers back into place.

Her eyes widened in appreciation of the sheer majestic size of a Wind Eagle up close. “My God! He’s so white. Why is he so white?”

Vosin winced at Oresnya’s first words regarding Aren. “You can’t just ask a bird why he’s white.”

Oresnya ignored him, still stunned by Aren’s size and graceful calm. “He’s more gorgeous than any Wind Eagle I’ve seen.”

Chuckling at something his bonded said in reply to that, Vosin smiled and nodded. “That you’re allowed to say any day.”

Oresnya was about to say more when a big-bearded man came gliding down on his Wind Eagle and landed next to them. His smile reminded her of Bernard, the resident strongman, troublemaker, and joker on the ship she had sailed on for two years, The Bonnie Dot, and she took an immediate liking to him. His Eagle seemed to give her a chirp more friendly than most Eagles had, and she flashed a fanged smile back at the glorious creature. There was a thrill in being among so many of them, especially in the realization that they were all prepared for battle. She listened to the man’s brief words and appreciated the effort his broken Common showed.

She did her best to reply to him in his own language. “I happy go with Vosin. Aren is good flight, I am sure.” At his final question, she shook her head honestly. “No, I not fighter. More use after fight. Help with hurts.”

The man, Vosin’s flight leader by the way he was commanding the others, nodded at this, seeming undisturbed that she would be no use in the actual fight, and made his way on to the others. Vosin held something out to Oresnya. “Here’s something to make the flight a little safer.”

Turning the object over in her hands, she smiled at its simple craftsmanship. It was nothing more than a small metal feather with a hole punched through the shaft of the quill. She tossed it into the air and caught it in her hand. For something made of metal it was light, but she saw in no way how this could make flying safer. “I hope you don’t expect me to fly with this.”

Her flight partner laughed at her and shook his head at her ignorance. “No. It’s supposed to make a fall not so bad.” He shrugged. “Or so they tell me. Maybe it just makes the splat at the end a little less messy, a little easier to clean up. Put it in your hair. It’ll make me feel better if I have to push you off. Even if it does nothing.”

Oresnya glared at Vosin again, and this time, he caught it. Rather than be upset, he just grinned back at her. “They’ve assured me it works. I think they tested it on a Dek by shoving them off the Edge of the World. He didn’t even break a nail, though I think with his temper, everyone was hoping it wouldn’t work.”

That brought a smile to Oresnya’s face, because she knew exactly who Vosin was talking about. That would be Tawn. He had got his shirt ripped and his nose broken for having given lip to an Endal last season. Oresnya had had to patch things up for him. Figuring the feather couldn’t hurt, Oresnya pulled together a healthy amount of her cobweb-colored hair from the back of her head that was thin enough she could thread it through the hole of the feather but strong enough it wouldn’t break.

It took her several attempts to thread it through, something she thought should have been an easy task considering her profession, but that it was on her own head made it a bit more of a challenge. Pulling together two more bits of hair, she braided them together, then incorporated that braid into a larger one that pulled most of her hair back out of her face. She didn’t want it in her way, and she certainly didn’t want it in Vosin’s way.

As Vosin saddled up, Oresnya scurried up quickly behind him, so subtle in her Symenestra ways that Aren had to look back to see if she had mounted. Seeing his passenger there, the massive Eagle spread his wings once to feel for any drafts, then beat them against the pull of gravity. As they lifted free from the earth, Oresnya sank forward into Vosin, wrapping her arms around his waist and letting the invisible hooks in her skin sink into his skin to hold her in place.
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