Closed Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

D'Varrus is in for a rude awakening when he comes across a woman near the Swine Swells.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on April 22nd, 2022, 7:04 pm

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65th of Spring, 522 A.V.

They had attacked during the night. Fierce blue eyed men and women that surrounded the sloop before anyone had even known they were there. D’Varrus had been the first to hear them as they coordinated quietly in the night. Then as they came aboard, the slaver’s heard them too and everything got a whole lot louder above deck. Shouts, screams, metal banging off of metal, D’Varrus wanted to shut his ears to the clamor but couldn’t as he was kept in his jaguar form by a thick leather collar. All he could do was listen, wait, and watch the quickly emptying darkness below decks as men rushed above to join the fight.

Just when it seemed the last of them were about to depart, the man turned around, squinting about the dimly lit hold for a moment before he crossed over to the cage D’Varrus was kept in. Of course, D’Varrus didn’t like this one bit. He tried to shrink away from the man, backing away into a corner as much as was possible while he bared his fangs. The man hesitated, raised a hand and fished in his satchel for something while his eyes never left D’Varrus. He reeked of sweat, the kind that often coated the poor souls that were lead into his cage for demonstrations. D’Varrus wrinkled his nose even further, taking in a breath to growl at the man when he produced a piece of dried red meat that was about as big around as his hand, and smelled faintly smoky. D’Varrus allowed his expression to relax someone although he still kept his lips peeled back around his fangs as he took a couple of sniffs in the man’s direction.

“Easy now Tomva, you know me? I always make sure you’re well fed don’t I?” The man said in a voice that was far from calm. It shook as much as his hands did as he tossed the piece of meat into the cage. D’Varrus took another long sniff at the offering, and then without looking away from the man, devoured the morsel in one bite. This time he did growl, a deep reverberation that appeared to rattle the man even further. D’Varrus almost could have smiled, but he was too busy looking at the sharp stick in the man’s other hand.

“Come on, I’ve got more where that came from. I just need you to take care of a little something. You hear that upstairs? Bad men have come aboard to kill you, and make a pelt out of your pretty, pretty coat. You don’t want that do you? So heres what were going to do. I’m going to let you out, and you’re going to help us take care of these men, and afterward I promise to give you all the red meat you could ever want.” The man said, taking a step closer to the cage as his hand fished inside of his satchel once more. D’Varrus snarled again, but not as loudly this time as he shifted so his shoulders were square with the door to the cage.

“Easy boy. I just need a bit of assurance from you before I open the cage. Here I’ll even put this down.” The man said as he put down the half spear, and then fished out a set of keys from his satchel. D’Varrus studied the man’s face carefully, pointedly looking from the spear back to the man as he got up onto his haunches. Whatever this was, it didn’t seem like a trick to him, although all that did was to make him more wary about what was really going on above decks. Subtly, he got ready to spring into action as the man fumbled with the lock to the cage, but hesitated to turn the key all of the way.

“What do you think boy? You going to help us out there? Give me a nod, something alright?” The man asked cautiously. Their was a noise from upstairs that quickly carried downstairs as a man tumbled through. This man had sun kissed hair with blue eyes, and almost as soon as he hit the ground, he sprung back to his feet to charge the man that loitered by D’Varrus’ cage. D’Varrus watched as the man kicked the blue eyed one back, then hastily turned the key in the lock before yanking the door open. As soon as there was a large enough gap, D’Varrus leapt through clear over the blond man, landing on the edge of the stairs with his front paws. Continuing on with the momentum, he pushed off with his back legs to climb up the stairs in two quick bounds.

Suddenly he found himself above deck, with men on every side fighting, screaming, dying. Something slapped against his flank causing him to jump as the stinging pain radiated up his backside. His little maneuver brought him closer to the edge of the ship so he simply continued on, avoiding men wherever he could as he zigzagged across the deck until he had enough clearance to leap over the side of the ship. Heart hammering, stomach dropping, he saw that there was naught but water underneath him as he plunged into the dark blue. With almost frenzied strokes of his fore and back paws, D’Varrus climbed back to the surface of the water before orienting himself toward the beach which was only a short crossing away.

The pain in his side was intense, but manageable as he saw as quickly as possible till at last he had solid ground beneath him, at which point he began to bound a short ways onto a drier patch of sand before looking back at the ship that he had just escaped. The sloop was now listing badly away from him, towards the sea, and parts of its sail had caught on fire. As far as he could see, the men on board were still in the thick of fighting off the invaders, who by the looks of things now outnumbered them two to one. D’Varrus gave the sight one slow blink before he turned around towards the jungle that seemed to wait for him.

He didn’t wait another tick to cross the sandy strand of beach to shelter in the lush foliage, although he resisted probing any deeper than superficially at first as he navigated along the edge of the jungle in the direction that lead away from the ship. Keeping the sea on his left, D’Varrus walked throughout the night for as long as his paws would carry him until finally the ache in his backside was too much to handle.

It was then that he decided to find some shelter along the beach, settling for a thick bush to bed down upon where eventually he fell into a deep sleep.

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on April 22nd, 2022, 7:05 pm

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The sun had been out for a while when D’Varrus eventually opened his eyes, blinking several times as he registered the dull throbbing sensation in his flank. It hurt worse than he remembered, but then again that was to be expected given he wasn’t flush with the mad dash last night had been. While he couldn’t see much within this bush, he didn’t move just yet, instead he remained very still as he twitched his ears about, listening carefully before taking a few wary sniffs. The first thing he heard was by far the loudest sounds. Snorting, squealing, and milling about pigs whom by the sounds of things were not that far from his current position. Their smell was also the most powerful in the area, a not altogether unpleasant smell of their sweaty flesh mingling with the crisp, salty sea breeze. It made his stomach growl, and quietly he tried to stand up, but unintentionally wound up shuffling backwards as he found he couldn’t put much wait on his back, left leg.

Craning his neck backwards he could see the reason plain enough, a medium sized patch of bloody matted fur where he had been struck last night by some sort of blade. D’Varrus limped forward a wary step, holding his back leg up gingerly as he looked about before he took another hesitant step. He tried again to put some weight on it, and found that the pain wasn’t so bad when he was expecting it, but still he did his best too keep his weight off of it as he hobbled along towards the smells and sounds, retracing his wild flight from the night before.

As it turned out, the pigs were not far from where he started his mad flight in the night, and he had crossed much less of a distance than it had felt like during the night. The ship was gone, although whether it had sailed away or sunk to the bottom D’Varrus couldn’t tell at first until he got closer and observed quite a bit of floatsoam washing up onto the beach. At the sight, D’Varrus felt not quite relief tinged with a sense of loss that he couldn’t readily figure out as he stared at that water. He spent several chimes pacing the beach, stewing on just that as he hobbled along, looking for something, anything that might be of use to him in his current predicament. What he came across were corpses. Two to be exact, one with a pot belly, and no hair. The other with a full beard, but with brown hair thinning considerably across the top. Both were dead obviously, and had been that way for quite some time. Their bodies had already began to bloat with a ripe sweet scent that D’Varrus found unpalatable.

Turning over the first he found that this one’s clothes were mostly intact so grasping it by the neck, he pulled the dead thing that used to be a man along until he was well onto dry sand. The other one he didn’t have to turn over to see that his clothing would be useless as there were rents in the back of his shirt that had been carved bloody by some sort of edged weapon. D’Varrus continued along the beach.

It was a problem that he didn’t yet have a way to get this collar off yet, but one he sort of figured he would solve in due time. For now, he contented himself by searching for some things that might be useful to him later when he could change if he was going to survive for any length of time in this strange new environment. On this count, he supposed he had been more than a little fortunate because a large piece of smoldering wreckage had been swept out onto the beach, part of the stern by the looks of it, and bolted to it had been a cabinet of sorts. Pawing it open he found an assortment of water clogged rations, which he picked apart for what little meat there was before continuing on up the beach to find a backpack with a back attached.

It was easy enough to strip off the torso with no arms to maneuver past, and D’Varrus decided to call of his search there and then after hobbling back to the corpse he had tucked away previously with the backpack in tow. He didn’t bother looking in the pack for now, it was heavy enough that he had to figure there might be something useful in it for him, and he didn’t want to bother trying to paw it open just now. D’Varrus was hungry, and he needed to eat something soon. Something fresh that was tantalizing him even now with its scent and squeals.

Problem was this leg of his, but he reckoned he could manage a short burst. He just had to get in close to manage it. It would mean his leg would take longer to heal, but that was a price he was willing to pay for food in his belly. So carefully, D’Varrus hobbled back into the edge of the jungle before he started skirting his way along it to where a large portion of the pigs were gathered. He was almost upon a group of them when he heard something distinctly familiar that at once had his hackles up as he hunched down into the bush, ears teased up.

Something was moving in the jungle with him. Something on two legs, and they were close by the sound of it. D’Varrus found it much harder to see in the daytime than he had at night, which didn’t come as a surprise to him. He had gotten used to it over the trip up until this point, and decided to focus less on what he could see and more on what he could hear until finally a shape materialized not far from his position. A woman with something in her hands that D’Varrus deemed to be a weapon. His body tensed as he backed up slightly, tensing his back legs to spring forward even though the position caused the cut on his back side to sting painfully.

D’Varrus gave a deep, teeth chattering warning growl before he bluff charged the woman, taking a quick swipe at her legs before twisting back towards the way he came and bounding a short ways into the jungle. Leg smarting something fierce now, he tried approaching the woman from a different direction to see if she would veer off, or better yet, run away. He wasn’t sure if he had it in him to fight this woman with her strange weapon to a conclusion without getting himself seriously hurt in the process. His best chance was to scare her off before she caused any more trouble than she already had. Lining up for another charge, D’Varrus hunkered down while he waited to see what the woman would do.

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on April 28th, 2022, 4:31 am

Tazrae was out of stores again. With a full Inn, she’d been feeding far more people than she was used too, and it was taking up all her time. She’d learned every way in the book to make stores last, but the truth was she was still running out of things faster than she’d planned. That included meat. And with her energy levels flagging low, she wasn’t in the mood for something actually hard to kill like a tapir or some of the jungle deer. Instead, she was looking for an easy kill at Swine Swells. Taz could more than justify part of the Garden Beach Lounge heading out and doing some hunting. Syka was growing, but so too was the pig population at that particular beach.

Taz dressed for the jungle, took her backpack, and shouldered her quiver and her compound longbow on her back alongside the pack. Then she set out with the Ixam ranging around her, all catching her excitement at the prospect of getting some meat in them. They didn’t particularly like hunting. They liked being fed. But Swine Swells was a whole different story. They could chase piglets from sun up until sundown and it was FUN. Sometimes, if the piglets made a mistake, the Ixam would have them. But if they were fast, the Ixam got a good workout and usually went hungry. They’d get Taz to kill a big boar for them and they’d share it, if all else failed. And they’d leave the beach leaner, wiser, and with half the pigs terrorized.

So Taz set out, primed to hunt, and looking to get a bit of practice in with her bow. She ran with the Ixam rather than ride, using two legs instead of four, needing her hands for the backpack and bow, to do the actual killing. The Ixam stuck with her at first, but humans were slow by Ixam standards, and they soon left her behind, ranging ahead in their eagerness to chase piglets and maybe something even spunkier. It was spring, after all, and the jungle was always fruitful, even to the pigs. Taz concentrated on her running, taking the cobbled pathway rather than a straight shot through the jungle. She liked that the weight of her quiver and bow was making her journey a bit more difficult, adding to her stride making her pay attention to her footfalls.

When she got close to the swells, rather than taking the trail, she ducked into the jungle itself. Then just in case, she pulled her bow, visualized a nice sharp standard arrow, and pulled one from her quiver. She knocked the arrow, and jogged forward, ready for prey. The jungle here felt peaceful, as it always did around this area. She could feel the life all around her and the fragrant smells of the green infused her senses. Taz almost smiled. It would surely be a good hunt. Taz paused, got her bearings, and changed her angle so she would come out on a familiar stretch of beach. The Innkeeper turned hunter took a step forward, listened because the Ixam should be here by now chasing piglets, then took another step, pausing once more to listen. Nothing. No, that wasn’t right. There should be some sound… pigs in the distance playing, at least. She was about to take another step forward when her danger intuition kicked in. In her mind, the gift from last season formed solidly, flashing through her awareness displaying the jaguar that was about to charge her. Because of the gift, she knew which direction he’d come from, and what he’d do… just a heartbeat or two before he did it.

Taz stopped, backed, whirled, and made sure the space she should have occupied was empty by the time the big cat got there.

Then she shoved the arrow back into the quiver, slung the bow over her back, and in the language of the wilds shouted “Stop!” She was Caiyha marked and any wild jaguar would have hesitated, stopped, and listened. Taz tapped her mark which made her in this time and place a friend and an ally to all wild animals that were around. It was the same thing that allowed her to commune with the Ixam and get them to act halfway civilized around the Sykans.

She had no way of knowing the Jaguar was not wild and nor an actual jaguar, but something else… something sentient. Tazrae had no way of knowing the language of Nura was not one Kelvics spoke, not naturally, not without being marked by Caiyha herself. But then again, she had no way of knowing something was off about the jaguar… not until she shouted at it in Nura and threw out her senses to feel its mind… to judge its emotions…. and felt nothing.

If she hadn’t been living with an Ocelot for the last season, the thought of a Kelvic wouldn’t have crossed her mind. But she had been living with one and coupled with the fact the jaguar didn’t even register on her Phylonura reach… she knew there was only one thing it had to be. So she switched to Common and filled in more words. “Stop… I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just here hunting pigs. Please don’t attack.” She said, having no idea if the creature even spoke common. Kelvics were not rare in the world, but Kelvics were incredibly rare out in the jungle. And she’d not heard of anyone new in the Settlement … especially not a Kelvic. “Are you hurt? Do you need help? I have food, supplies, and friends here… we live in Syka… just south of here. We nurture the pigs on the beach and hunt them lightly for food.” She said gently, trying to make eye contact with the cat before it charged again.

“I put my bow away, and the only other thing I have is a hatchet and some butcher knives for the pig if we kill one. Are you hungry? We can take one down for you first.” She said, throwing her voice out… wanting the cat to hear her clearly.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
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And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on April 28th, 2022, 7:29 pm

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D’Varrus did stop, but not because he understood what she had said, but because she had said it with such conviction that he had to wonder why she was trying to talk to him. That certainly the reaction he had been expecting from a slaver, or hunter that might be after him. So he hesitated for a moment before taking a cautious step forward. Head low, back slighly arched with his hind legs ready to launch him forward, he inched towards the woman as he slowly realized she had disarmed herself. Then she spoke something he did recognize, but the tension in his shoulders didn’t go out just yet.

This woman was rich in scents, and some of those smells he had picked up further along the beach. The idea that this could be a trap to get him to lower his guard was not far from his mind as he twitched his ears about trying to listen in on anything that might be creeping up on him. Then he almost thought about changing before he remembered his predicament, and made a chuffing noise in the back of his throat in response to her statement.

With that said, he relaxed his posture somewhat as he laid belly down on the jungle floor, panting and tail swishing as he studied the woman carefully. He didn’t know yet what to make of this woman, but if what she said was true, then he was luckier than he had initially thought. If there was indeed a settlement nearby, then perhaps he might actually have a chance out here. He was fairly sure by now that none of the slavers had survived the night, but just to be sure none of them had made it to this settlement she mentioned he would remain cautious. Having enjoyed his brief taste of freedom so far, he was in no hurry to trade one chain for another.

If the woman approached him he would get up, and back away a bit into the jungle before laying down again, conserving his energy. He didn’t try to disguise the fact that he didn’t trust her, however he was past trying to attack her. D’Varrus was pretty sure she had not come to this place alone, in fact the smells on her seemed to confirm that, but they were unusual enough to him that he couldn’t readily discern what it was that had come with her, and he was pretty sure he didn’t want to find out the hard way.

In his waiting, and watching to see what she would do, he managed to regain some of his energy so that when she was ready to go, he was too. Of course, he waited until she had a sufficient lead on him before padding after her towards the swells, sniffing occasionally and keeping his ears on a swivel as they came out onto the beach. There he almost jumped out of his skin when he spied what one of the smells belonged to. A massive lizard like creature that definitely looked like more of a predator than prey with its long claws, and rows of sharp teeth.

D’Varrus noticeably stiffened at the sight of several of the creatures, hackles raised as his eyes flicked from the woman towards the creatures on the beach, some of which whom obviously noticed him while others seemed more intent on a few piglets. As they had not strayed far from the cover of the jungle, just on the periphery of it, he of course thought about diving back into the foliage in hopes of getting away from whatever this was. However, he decided for the moment to stay rooted to the spot, wanting to see how the woman would respond before he made any rash decisions. Like it or not, he could use the help she offered as this pain in his flank wasn’t getting any better and in fact felt like it was getting worse every time he had to burst into motion. So if he could avoid that, he would, but only so far as his distance between him and these others could assure his safety.

He quickly decided that vocalizing the same chuffing noise he had tried with the woman earlier couldn’t hurt around whatever these creatures were, though he was ready to growl if one got a little too close for his liking.

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