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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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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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on June 29th, 2022, 12:44 am

Taz wasn’t sure she liked having that large of a predator at her back. But the Nura and the Caiyha’s mark told her it wasn’t a normal predator. If it was, she could trust it, sense it, feel what it was feeling, but since it wasn’t there to her… it meant it wasn’t actually a jaguar. She’d assumed Kelvic, but it could be a morpher too borrowing a new shape. Taz hadn’t gotten close enough to tell what sort of condition it was in. It wasn’t overly thin, but it wasn’t bulked with stacked muscle like the jungle big cats tended to be. They often had pouches swinging between their legs of padded fat that contradicted the sleek muscle of the rest of their body. This cat, while not ribby, had none of that, as if it had not seen extra meals. She walked to the beach, turning her head slightly in a scanning motion, only to keep the creature in sight.

She liked that it hadn’t slunk away, but that it had kept pace at some invisible marked line that it deemed ‘safe distance’. And she liked that it seemed to be listening as she talked, so she kept talking. “Do you like piglets? They birth so many out here. If we didn’t hunt them the beach would soon be utterly destroyed. The Ixam came with me… those are the large lizards. We use them for riding at the settlement. Well, I do. I’m trying to get others to be more accepting of it. We’ll see as time passes. They like to hunt too. Mostly, though, they are lazy but for some reason terrorizing piglets is one of their favorites. And its good for us too, because if we let the Ixam distract the adults trying to protect the piglets, I’ll get a good shot. You can have the first one I bring down.” She said with a friendly smile. Now, whether or not she could bring one done remained to be seen.

Taz stood at the edge of the sand still in the shadow of the jungle while the Ixam who’d come along with her raced up and down the beach, tearing around natural boundaries, herding piglets this way and that, unable to actually catch any at first. The piglets would need to be worn down, but the Ixam themselves would grow tired too. And if the big pigs got involved, the Ixam ran the risk of getting mauled by some of the big boars who could be hard on the Ixam’s legs and scales. They even sometimes got lucky and tore out their vulnerable bellies where the scales where thin.

“Which one do you want?” Taz asked, gesturing out at the general milling population of pigs. They hadn’t scattered with the Ixam. The beach was theirs and there was no way they were moving. Instead, it seemed as if the quartet of Ixam verses the whole of Swine Swells was facing off for a little late afternoon entertainment. “I’m thinking a half grown one…. big enough to fill your belly? A male so it won’t be missed out of the population for we try not to kill the females because they make more pigs.” She said, glancing back and forth up the beach trying to find a male. “The younger ones its hard to tell which is male. I have to look for … well you know… down there between the legs, and the older ones have a big set that swing out which I can see… the younger ones hardly have anything at all. Oh… there’s two males… they look like they are friends though… I don’t want to kill one of…. Hrm….” Taz kept looking, finally spotting a plain brown sort of mean looking boar with some scarring on one leg. It was fat and grouchy looking, not at all cute like some of the pigs were with their black and white spottings or their wrinkled snouts.

She took careful aim…. It wasn’t paying her any mind…. and pulled back on her compound longbow. It was a powerful weapon whose pullies gave her false strength to draw the arrow. She sighted carefully down the bow’s site, and exhaled softly as she released the razor sharp death arrow. It cut cleanly into the pigs heart, lodging right behind its front leg and slightly down. The pig didn’t even cry out. It was dead before it knew it had been wounded. “Gods, that was a nice shot. I’ll not be able to repeat that again.” She said, shaking her head. Then she turned, laid the bow down on the ground, opened her hands wide, and gestured to the pig. “It’s yours if you want it. I’d like my arrow back when you fetch it. And I still need to bring a bigger one down for me.” She added, making no move to pick up the bow on the ground.

One of the Ixam stopped and sniffed at the dead boar then looked directly at her hopefully. Taz hissed at it, irritated…. “Not yours, Sunshine.” She told the golden creature and the little female hissed, whipped her tail back and forth, showed Taz her teeth and darted off.

Taz would wait to see if the jaguar would go fetch the dead pig. If he did, she wouldn’t touch her bow until he was back behind her. She’d stay where she was, letting the Ixam chase the pigs around, until another shot presented itself.

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on June 30th, 2022, 1:58 pm

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Date, Season, Year

D’Varrus was so concentrated on the strange creatures prowling the beach that he almost missed what the woman had said. Piglets? Ixam? Well that explained a few things about why the woman was out here and the strange scents that mingled with her own. He still felt more than a little bit of tension settled across his shoulders as he continued to follow her cautiously. The Ixam of course did not respond to his cuffing. At least not in a way that he recognized, and he supposed that was to be expected given they might be as curious about him as he was of them.

Then there was his gnawing hunger and those things on the beach that looked very much like prey. On those spare few times he had been allowed out hunting by his masters he had greatly enjoyed it, but the game hadn’t been nearly this plentiful or out in the open. He wondered what the catch was, and spotted a couple of boars with tusks protruding from their mouths. It was impossible to tell how sharp they were at this distance, but judging by the way the Ixam approached the group, he had to guess that those tusks could be put to dangerous use in a pinch.

As she continued to speak to him, he decided to get parallel with her a discrete distance away. He was still walking with a bit of a limp, a large patch of fur near his flank matted with dried blood. By this point he was relatively sure that she had not been with the slavers or the raiders which made her something of an ambiguous third party that was asking him curious questions. Of course that made him wonder if she knew what he was, and what tipped her off till he remembered the thick leather collar around his neck. A sign of his recent servitude, and something he wouldn’t be able to get off without a little bit of help. Suddenly the way she was talking to him made sense, and although he was still wary as to her motives, he did settle down somewhat to follow along with her reasoning concerning the pigs milling about the beach.

He watched as she drew on her bow and sighted down on one of the pigs. The bow was like nothing he had ever seen before. It was large, and powerful, and whenever she released that string it darted out too quickly for his eyes to follow. One of the pigs slumped over, and that was that. D’Varrus was impressed and more than a little bit apprehensive of what that weapon of hers could do. He was positive now that he wouldn’t be able to simply shrug off a blow from that weapon now as he had thought earlier. If she hit him with that thing, he was done for.

Surprisingly Tazrae set her bow down, then spoke to the golden Ixam that came up to inspect the corpse. After what he took as a small bit of protest, the Ixam left the corpse and D’Varrus gave a glance towards the woman before slinking over to the dead pig. She was going out of her way to set him at ease which reassured him of the fact that she must have a pretty good idea of what he was, and after seeing that recent interaction with the golden ixam, he could be pretty sure that she was comfortable dealing with animals on a daily basis. Actually, it was probably more than that, but he couldn’t pin down just then why he felt that exactly. His hunger was getting in the way of his reasoning, and it didn’t take him long to close in on the pig corpse.

He gave it a cursory look over, an then grabbed it by the neck with his jaws, dragging it backwards with him towards the woman. It wasn’t as quickly as he could normally carry something of this size but he had to be careful not to flip the carcass over and break her arrow, and his side was smarting something fierce now that he was putting those hind muscles to work. So much so that he had to drag it the other way around, facing the woman now as he pulled it alongside him. Given the fact that she would have already shot him if she was going to do so, he decided to drag the corpse right up to her so she could pick out her arrow before he dragged the corpse a little ways away for his own private feast.

D’Varrus started with the tender bits. The gonads which were soft, chewy and easy to get at. It didn’t take much to separate them from the boars body, and it felt satisfying to get some fresh meat in his body even though he had not brought this down himself. After that bit was finished, he clawed open the stomach and started in on the entrails, pulling them aside so he could get at some of the tastier organs within. He’d just wrapped his maw around the liver when he realized he aught to share and so instead of chomping down, he gingerly pulled it free of the carcass and walked over to the woman where he deposited the mangled piece of liver on the sand beside her, making a slight chuffing sound as he turned about to go back to the carcass before one of the Ixam came sniffing around his pig.

Laying down in front of it, he dove his head inside once more looking for choice bits while occasionally looking up to scan his surroundings or more often, look at the woman. He was feeling more than a little relaxed now with some food in him, and because he was pretty sure this woman didn’t pose an immediate threat. D’Varrus was still a bit unsure about the Ixam, but because the woman seemed to have a good relationship with them, he didn’t let himself get too worked up if they strayed a little closer to him than he would normally think was necessary.

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on July 17th, 2022, 2:02 pm

She offered him a smile that didn’t show teeth as he brought the carcass alongside. She had settled on her rump by then, next to her bow, and reached out to grasp at the arrow and pull it out of the pig’s heart with a grunt. Blood gushed from the wound and her nostrils flared at the smell. It was a goodly feast, and hopefully he would eat his fill. She said as much. “Eat what you like. We’ll take a few more, some for the Ixam and a small tender one for the Inn. What you don’t want… the Ixam will crunch down… bones and all. They are predators that will digest whatever they want and then just toss up what their body doesn’t want to eat… or pass it on through. It’s a bit gross.” She said with a grin. She made no motion, as had no sense of urgency about her. Tazrae seemed at home in the fringe of the jungle looking out on the beach.

The Ixam, meanwhile, were hunting as well. They were cleaver about it too… culling off one or another of the bigger pigs, separating them, and not openly killing them in front of the herd. Instead, the pigs they picked just seemingly vanished with an occasional death squeal heard from the jungle. One smaller Ixam had a bit of a time chasing a piglet back and forth across the beach, but an older boar ran the little lime green female off neatly and rescued the piglet while the herd was watching. If the jaguar was paying attention, he’d note that was when the other Ixam – the older ones – separated prey and killed it neatly out of sight. Taz didn’t seem phased at the death. There were a couple dozen piglets roaming around, and the beach showed signs of overuse with rooted up vegetation and worn down pig trails.

When the jaguar was halfway through his meal, Tazrae rose, picked up her bow, and waded into some of the jungle foliage that shaded the fringe part of the terrain that divided the beach from the jungle. She moved away from his position, towards the beach, obviously intent on another pig. She sighted again, this time picking a prime young male, and let fly an arrow. It went wide and she cussed softly. Two more arrows went wide and forced her to head out onto the beach to collect them. Then she picked another target, loosened another arrow, and missed again, this time because the pig saw she was up to something and took off with a clatter of little split hooves across hardpack and sand.

Cursing slightly, Tazrae’s cheeks turned bright red. “Did I mention I’m just a novice at the bow?” She called over her shoulder. “So don’t worry about me actually hitting you if I aim at you. Worry about one of my arrows going wide and nailing you while you’re standing behind me.” She said with a grin, raising her voice a little so she could be heard over the rolling in of the waves. The thing about Tazrae, though, the jaguar would soon learn, was that she was an incredibly patient hunter. She didn’t get consumed with failure and stalk off upset. Instead, she settled into a comfortable hammock of sawgrass, let the pig herd settle down, and selected a new target. Taz figured, in her own way, there was a reason Kihala wanted her young boar to live on… so it was time to hunt something else. A sow wandered by about then, the size and shape Taz wanted for the Inn. Normally, she wouldn’t have looked twice at the sow being female and able to reproduce. But the animal had a twisted front leg and hopped three legged. Taz knew very little about medicine, but she would bet the creature had a knee or leg bone broke or severely injured in a very recent accident.

Death would be a kindness, Taz decided, thinking she needed to bring the sow down and put her out of the pain she must be in if indeed her foreleg was broken. Taz rose then, slowly, in a fluid movement, and drew an arrow, knocked it, and sighted in. With the sow in her target, Taz let her arrow fly. The creature didn’t even swish her tail as Taz’s arrow went high, sailing over its head and lodging in the sand beyond. Rather than cursing though, Taz took a breath, drew another arrow, and this time adjusted her aim accordingly and let the arrow fly once more, this time hopefully aiming lower. Just before she released, she exhaled slowly, double checked her sighting, and let her arrow fly.

The Compound Longbow was a beast of a weapon. There was a reason Tazrae chose it. With its series of pullies and redirected power, a baby could draw it back and yet it flew with the power of three longbows of its size, tripling the velocity and the power for its arrows to pierce things like tough pig hide and armor. The sow didn’t even know she’d been hit. One moment she was simply standing, and in the next breath she was dead with an arrow through the heart. Taz inhaled then, let her breath even out and came forward to claim her prize. The sow was big. Taz did something then, and the compound longbow vanished from her grasp. One moment it was there, and the next it was gone. Then Taz was drawing a jungle knife, which she made slits through the sow’s forelegs and slide the hindlegs into the forelegs, each on its own side, between the muscle and the bone. Then, she slit the hind legs that were thrust through the forelegs and cut off the pig’s tail, sliding a bit of that bone through that new slit. Then, carefully, she slide first one arm into the circle of legs she made on one side of the pig, wiggled into the space next to the pig’s belly, and slide the other arm through the other circle of legs she’d bound together. Then with a heave, the whole carcass came off the ground and up onto Tazrae’s back, as if she were now wearing a backpack of meat. With the hinds wedged through the forelegs and locked in place with the bits of tail bone, Taz had formed a perfect backpack to carry all that flesh back with her.

Normally she’d have one of the Ixam to carry it and rope it to their back, but the half-feral lizards were busy snacking on piglets and chasing them up and down the beach. Taz turned, started back up the beach towards the jaguar, and paused just outside of his sphere of comfort… or at least what she deemed was an acceptable approachable distance. And it was then she noted the collar. Standing there awkwardly, with a pig on her back, Taz cleared her throat. “Did… you want me to show you the way to Syka? And…. Help you with that collar?” She asked, knowing better than to question him like she actually wanted too. Where did he come from? Who had hurt him or left him here alone? He looked injured, but she couldn’t be sure. Taz wasn’t much of a healer.

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Last edited by Tazrae on August 1st, 2022, 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on July 20th, 2022, 10:23 pm

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D’Varrus was still uncomfortable, and slightly confused about the situation he found himself in. All he knew essentially was that he had been brought very far from Ravok to where by chance he found himself now. This woman was not of the men that brought him here, nor of the people that killed those men. She smelled different. Unique. Something he couldn’t quite place which was odd for him for he was used to his humans smelling relatively the same. Except that man whom bought him. He smelled warm in a way that had tickled D’Varrus’ nose when he took a deep sniff. This woman, she was different. She knew things. Things she shouldn’t, and that got D’Varrus curious. That curiosity was enough for him to linger around to eat his carcass instead of slinking off to some secluded corner like he would have on any other occasion.

He followed her eyes out towards those things she kept referring to on the beach, watching them as he gorged himself quickly on the carcass. Once he was starting to feel a little better with some food in him, he started in on the pig’s fat neck, swallowing great mouthfuls as he leveled his eyes out towards where the Ixam were busy corralling a piglet only for the green ixam to be chased off by a boar. Meanwhile other larger ixam chased a pig into the jungle before he heard a pained squeal, then silence. It was interesting to watch to say the least. Kept for most of his life secluded in the KRI he didn’t even realize people hunted their meals until they started taking him out more with that strange man that smelled different. They always wanted some sort of demonstration, and they almost always had an animal ready to release so it wasn’t particularly difficult to run down whatever they had picked out for the occasion. That wasn’t really hunting, but it was about as close as he had ever gotten personally. Till now.

As D’Varrus started cracking into the pigs shoulders with his powerful jaws, he watched Tazrae out of the corner of his eye. She was moving again, preparing her bow, her focus back on the pigs. Curiously she didn’t just shoot the nearest pig like he would have. She took her time examining the group. Deciding he realized, like she had before with this boar. He wondered vaguely what factored into her choice, a little confused by the fact that she didn’t go for the easiest shot possible. Perhaps this was fun for her, and she was making sport of it. That seemed to him to be the only logical option, so that was what he settled on as he cracked into the bone, crunching apart the shoulder to pull it apart from the rest so he could get a little more leverage on the collar meat.

D’Varrus didn’t quite get jokes, so when Tazrae made hers it went completely over his head as he stiffened, his tail straightening out behind him as he stopped chewing on the carcass for a moment to look at her while he sorted out what she had just said to him. In the end he decided it wasn’t some weird threat she had made since she didn’t swing around to face him, only smiled which made him briefly confused as to what he had missed in her comment. He was slow about returning to the carcass, but when he did he started to eat even quicker than he had before, gorging off large strips of flesh until finally he felt that his great hunger had been sated. His eyes didn’t leave Tazrae for a moment while his mind still worked slowly, playing back what she had said over and over as she went to retrieve her pig.

She had a unique way of dealing with the carcass that he wasn’t able to piece together until she was actually finished with it. Afterward it made perfect sense, but while it was happening he was more than a little curious about why she was cutting it up the way she was. He was full from his meal, and laying out on his side, the one that hadn’t been scored by a blade as he soaked in a bit of the hot spring sun. Then she was turning about to approach him, and he sat up somewhat, ears twitching as his eyes focused on hers. A slight shift and his feet were under him although he didn’t stand up, not yet. Wasn’t sure if he needed to, or what this woman was about at the moment. She said something then. Something that confused and surprised him as his ears twitched again. ~It would be good to get out of this collar. Still, what was this Syka she mentioned? Was it a city like Ravok? D’Varrus wasn’t so sure he wanted to go back to a city, but perhaps he could make that choice once the collar was removed.

D’Varrus cocked his head slightly to the side as he regarded her. Noticeably she didn’t flinch away from his gaze, and that reassured him somewhat that she wasn’t up to anything nefarious. He took in a deep breath through his nose before regarding her with a slow blink of his eyes as he rested his chin on top of his paws. It was a learned gesture, one that had been reinforced by liberal beatings down at the Kri but there were no more handlers to abuse him hear. Those blue eyed men made sure of that. He took in a deep breath, and then waited to see what Tazrae would do.

Once/if the collar was removed, D’Varrus found himself confronted with another pressing choice. Whether to change or not. It would make it easier to communicate with her, and there was so much that he wanted to find out about this place but it would render him significantly weaker than he was in this form. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to be that vulnerable around her, but in the end the former won out over the latter because he had to find out about this Syka before they made their way to it. There really was no other way. One moment he had been starting to sit up in the sand after his collar had been removed, the next he was crouched there in his human form, his wound aching anew as he stood up and grimaced slightly from the pain panging its way up from his buttock.

Putting a hand on his lower back as he pushed his chest out to stretch, D’Varrus stayed with the gesture till he felt a satisfying pop, all while looking at Tazrae with eyes similar to those in his jaguar form. He rolled his neck next before finally clearing his throat. Blood stains around his mouth and upper chest didn’t make for the prettiest sight, but he thought of none of that as he started to speak with the woman. “Thanks… for the pig, and removing my collar.” D’Varrus said, practically forcing the words out as it had been a while since he had last spoken common. Petch, it had been a while since he had last been allowed to assume human form. He rubbed at the part of his neck where his collar had been as he continued to stare at her. “You mentioned something about Syka? Is it a city, or…?” He let that question draw out as he studied her features.

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Trouble comes in leaps and bounds (Tazrae)

Postby Tazrae on August 3rd, 2022, 3:23 am

Taz wasn’t an experienced hunter, but she paid attention to her betters. She’d picked up a bit of knowledge that way, like how to pack out meat when she was on her own, especially when all the Ixam were being lazy or reclusive. Her own backpack made a neat pack worn backwards across her stomach like a mother would carry a child. And while it wasn’t the most comfortable of things, she could pack both the pig and the backpack back to The Protea and get it put up. But first, the big cat needed tending. Taz knew it and only walked over to him, halting out of his comfort zone, and disentangled herself from both the actual backpack and the one formed of a carcass.

He watched her actions, but there was no real aggression. Not yet. Maybe it was beneath the surface, carefully concealed. Taz wasn’t sure. But she’d take her chances, setting down both burdens and approaching him carefully, hands extended with her palms open. She knelt beside him and carefully extended her hands, working on the collar buckle. She had to pull it a bit tight before she freed the buckle and then pulled the leather free from around his throat. “Nasty thing, this collar. I’d leave it here to rot if I were you.” She said, shaking her head, and then carefully backing up.

When he thanked her, she smiled. “You’re welcome. I didn’t expect to find company on this trip.”

Taz wasn’t exactly shocked when he shifted. She’d been living with an Ocelot for a while and was used to the woman coming and going in multiple forms. She simply stood politely, watching him, then knelt beside her backpack, opened it, and pulled out a small box that looked like it would barely fit in her bag. She pulled it free easily. Glancing up at him, she offered him a slight smile and set the box down on the ground carefully. “I have one more thing for you, if you’ll let me see too it.” She said simply, flipping the box open and revealing a plethora of medical supplies. “It’s my jungle medical kit. I have some liquid that will clean out your wound. I also have some herbs that when mixed with water will make a poultice that will keep infection and insects out of it.” She said, reaching into her backpack and pulling forth a waterskin – which again shouldn’t have fit – and a tin cup. She dumped a packet of herbs she took from the box into the tin, splashed a few glugs of water into it, and using a wooden stick from the kit began to stir. The mixture turned sticky and almost like mud, though it was obviously made of plant material. Then she removed a small bottle of what must be the liquid she promised and a rag. “I don’t do stitches or bandages well. I’m no healer, but just cleaning it and packing it with this material will see you to Syka where you can actually get it looked at.” She added, rising with all the items in her hands.

She walked to him again, offered him the cup with the mixture – stick still sticking out of it – and then opened the bottle of liquid and dumped it onto a bandage which she was going to use for a rag to clean the wound with. “This stuff will sting. I’m sorry, but it will mean you will heal a lot faster.” She said, keeping her eyes low and her demeanor non-threatening. If he allowed her, she’d gently clean his wound, pour more of the stinging liquid over his torn flesh, and then pack the wound with the poultice after trading him for what he held and giving him the bottle of cleaner. The wound was at such an awkward angle that she wasn’t sure she could actually bandage it and keep the poultice in place. So instead, she padded it with bandaging and retrieved a spare pare of her loose isuas pants from her back and offered them to him. “You aren’t as curvy as I am, but I have more flesh on my bones so those should fit you… if a bit too short and too loose across your hips.

He didn’t look big. He looked starved.

“Syka isn’t a city by any means. It’s just a small settlement of like-minded people that live outside the boundaries and politics of such places as Syliras or Riverfall. We have about fifty people… some tourists. We’re self-built, have rules, and don’t allow slavery. There are good people there…. I am an Innkeeper… I rent rooms to people who need places to stay and cook for them. That’s why I’m out here hunting. My meat supply was getting low. Unfortunately, my Inn is full for the season… it’s a small place with only six rooms. But I can help you secure a place to stay tonight and there’s bungalows to rent for more permanent housing. There’s even jobs available. They’ll let you work a bit at a job before demanding rent for a bungalow and things are very inexpensive. We’d welcome another Kelvic. We already have a few that visited this season. I had an Ocelot for a guest for a while. She was lovely.” Taz added, waiting then to see what the man wanted to do.

“Do you have a name? I’m Tazrae, like I said… I’ve only been in Syka a couple of years, but I really like it. They helped me build an Inn and loaned me money to get it up and running.” She added, happy that the Kelvic spoke and had the means to communicate. “I don’t think your wound will give you much trouble if its seen too, but you should really get one of the doctors to look it over.” She said, looking thoughtful. “They don’t charge either. The founders pay them a salary.” She added. “The Founders are like the three men that started the settlement. You’ll like them. Good people.” She added, then waited to see if he wanted to follow her back to Syka.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
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