Solo Where the shadows lie IV

Cleon sets out on a wilderness expedition with Uta and Indigo.

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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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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 16th, 2022, 3:33 pm

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4th of Summer, 522 AV

“Okay, we are about to go and hunt for dinner but there are a few things that we should talk about first. For one, there will be no talking unless Indigo decides to speak first. She’s in charge of this hunt and will be leading the way into the jungle for us. We do what she does, and pay close attention to her gestures. There are more than a few large predators out there that we might have to contend with so make sure to pay attention to your surroundings. Also before we go out, Indigo is going to help us camouflage ourselves somewhat just in case we happen upon something good to hunt. Animals and people are generally adept at distinguishing human silhouettes out there in the wilds so she’s going to help us disrupt that and make sure we blend into our environment. This will also be an important lesson to remember not just for hunting but if you decide to join the rangers as well.” Uta offered and Cleon nodded in agreement watching as Indigo brought over some foliage along with a large clay jar.

“Stand still.” She said as she started smearing a reddish brown mudlike paste on his face and upper neck, coating his exposed skin up to his eyes, mouth and nostrils. Indigo was very thorough and not exactly gentle but Cleon managed to withstand the manhandling without wincing too much as Indigo worked the paste into his skin before she started adding bits of foliage to his clothing. To Cleon it all seemed a bit random, and inconsistent. If Uta had not just explained to him what she was doing he would be even more lost than he already was, however he could follow along now somewhat with her logic. She was disrupting his most distinguishable characteristics. The slope of his shoulders, his neck, and even parts of his torso so he looked less like a human figure and more like a part of the background. He wondered how long it took her to practice such a skill and with the acuity that she did it, he had to expect that she had worked at it for quite a while as she was reasonably adept. It didn’t take much reasoning skill to understand why this would be important while they were hunting and while roughing it in the wilds in general. It probably helped obscure their scent somewhat and made them harder to spot for predators and prey that knew what to look for when it came to humans. This wouldn’t fool them for long if they were directly looking at him, but it might give him a few ticks of advantage to do whatever he needed to.

He watched as Indigo did the same for Uta that she had done for herself and him. While he watched he tried to pay careful attention to how Uta’s features subtly changes from the mud cover and addition of a little bit of foliage. Additionally she smeared more pace on their machetes, hatchets and survival knifes which he only belatedly realized kind of stood out in the jungle from the way they caught the light.

WC - 530

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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 16th, 2022, 3:34 pm

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It didn’t take him long to intuit why that would be bad in the jungle and he accepted Indigo’s help with the issue readily as she made sure all the important bits on them were covered.

“Okay. I will explain a few signs to you that you must follow absolutely, and as quickly as they are given. This means come” She said curling her fingers. “When I hold my palm up flat, that means stop. If you need to get my attention, tap my elbow. Keep your eyes out for any sort of movement. We will be looking for a small mammal to hunt, but a thing about the jungle to remember is you don’t often get what you are looking for. We will take whatever the opportunity affords us with fish, birds, and mammals being the most preferable as they are generally edible without too many issues. Stay close, and don’t lag behind. Got it?” Indigo asked and then started off into the jungle after both of them nodded. Cleon took the middle position this time with Uta bringing up the rear.

He’d thought he knew how to move silently until he watched Indigo move through the jungle, as graceful as she was quiet, never making a noise that she didn’t quite intend to. Of course he was impressed, but he tried not to let that elation get to him and instead reigned in his emotions by focusing on trying to be just as silent. They weren’t quite ready to stalk yet as they had to put some distance between them and the camp but he paid close attention to what Indigo was looking for, what she was paying attention to, and how she decided to act on that information. She was leading them quietly up a slight incline that progressively got a lot steeper until Cleon was having a hard time scrambling up behind her and had to accept a hand to pull him over a large log and then turned back to give Uta a hand in return.

It wasn’t hard to follow that Indigo was taking them progressively higher in elevation without resorting to climbing any trees. His skill with such a thing was very dubious, he’d had problems climbing both with Tazrae and Uta earlier last season and didn’t think he would fare any better now. Fortunately Indigo didn’t press him to do so just yet, keeping them on the ground as she navigated them through until she raised her hand flat. Remembering the gesture, Cleon stood still and held his own hand up to pass along the gesture then watched as Indigo suddenly crouched low. He did the same, creeping after her as silently as he could muster. However most of his talent had been spent on the streets of Sunberth, not stalking through the jungle so he hadn’t quite intuited yet how to best place his feet where. He tried following instead how Indigo place hers, stepping on raised roots when she could and doing so in an even heel toe manner that didn’t scrape the underside of her boot across the jungle floor.

WC - 521

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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 16th, 2022, 3:34 pm

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His attempt was a little clumsy to his ears as he heard the faint crack of leather , and felt the large roots slightly give under his boots. He tried to keep his feet light by using his hands to distribute some of the weight off onto his bamboo pole however that came with its own minute sounds as the pole crunched through earth to bite at something crinkly underneath. The sounds were soft as rustling but even to his untrained ears they were practically deafening when he was trying to move quietly. The only grace was the fact that the jungle sort of teemed with all sorts of noises with birds chirping and bugs buzzing about. He wondered if it ever got quiet in the jungle and he had his answer a few ticks later when Indigo stood stock still. He stopped moving along with her, not even daring to breath at first until he was holding his breath for long enough that he knew if he didn’t let a little out now he would launch into a loud fit of coughing that would be even worse for them.

Slowly he released the breath he had been holding through his mouth and just as slowly breathed in. Cleon couldn’t hear anything at first aside from his own heart beating quietly in his chest, but then there was a slight rustle from further away followed by a chuffing noise that he couldn’t quite place. It was several chimes before he heard anything else, and that was Indigo shifting her position slightly so she could look sidelong at him. She motioned him forward by curling her fingers. Ahead there as a small space available where they had heard the noise and there, quietly Indigo pointed out a large paw print along with the fact that there were bits of shredded leaves off of a nearby bush. Further on the ground had been disturbed so that parts of raw earth was showing underneath and there were dark patches in the soil that smelled a little irony. Whatever it had been, the creature had dragged its quarry away from them which Cleon counted himself very lucky for. He didn’t want to come face to face with whatever had made that sound. Indigo motioned them forward and they followed her going in the opposite direction of wherever that beast had dragged its quarry.

Stalking through the jungle, he was learning, was a lot about moving slowly and carefully to not cause any undo disturbances. Such was done he suspected to avoid frightening off any animals that would vanish long before the could lay eyes upon them if they didn’t walk as carefully as they did. It was however not the most thrilling, and certainly not what he had imagined his first hunt would be like that didn’t mean he wanted to complain. There was a lot about this trip that he didn’t quite understand yet, but felt he could grasp once he had the time to properly think it over. Like stalking through the jungle, this was all vital insight in how Indigo managed to survive out here on her own, away from civilization. Something he somewhat desired to try for himself.

WC - 538

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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 16th, 2022, 3:35 pm

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As a boy he’d always imagined running away from Sunberth to strike it on his own, but staying with his sisters kept him where he was. Now though that he had the opportunity without worrying about his younger sister Faye, he was more than willing to indulge in this idle fantasy although he already knew he was not quite ready yet to do so on his own. He needed to practice and make sure he understood the material first before he tried such a thing. Cleon focused back on what Indigo was doing, picking her way through the thick jungle until finally they caught their first break. Well, banana for that’s the tree they came across, overladen with ripe yellow fruit that Indigo was quick to pull off a bunch and toss a couple to each of them. Cleon peeled apart his first banana and ate quickly while he looked around. There were actually two more of these trees nearby he saw, much like the first one Uta had introduced him to. If she hadn’t explained that these were edible he would have never figured so himself as the fruit looked so strange to him with its green to yellow color and waxy wrapper. Still there was no denying the deliciousness of the fruit within. It also occurred to him that if they were going to find a curious mammal it would be near this place with its small grove of banana trees, and he suspected Indigo was also thinking the same as she motioned them to follow soon after and started stalking forward once more.

It was sort of a crouch walk which Cleon was not unfamiliar with doing, but in combination with his burning feet, it was more than a little bit slightly uncomfortable. Cleon was still unused to these heavy leather boots that felt like weights on his feet and he suspected he aught to start practicing wearing them around the shop more often just so his feet would feel a little bit more used to them. He could still wear his sandals in his off time, but he needed to get acquainted with walking in these boots sooner than later if he was really going to rough it out here. He made a mental note to do just that as he followed Indigo along, remaining very cognizant of where she placed her hands and which plants she avoided and which she pushed aside. Of course he knew he couldn’t possibly remember it all, especially without an explanation to go along with it, but following a season veteran it was as she said earlier. Do exactly as she does, and don’t question it. Simple logic that he had no problem following, after all she was more in her element here than he was back in the settlement. He just continued to watch and hope that he’d be able to eventually puzzle it out in order that it would make sense to him.

They slowed down to a crawl not long after, with them having to leave aside the bamboo poles in favor of crawling forward on all fours in an effort to keep in line with the low vegetation.

WC - 532

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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 16th, 2022, 3:36 pm

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Cleon hoped they were getting close to their quarry. His lower back was starting to hurt something fierce, and his whole body was starting to ache besides. It was hard to think clearly under such circumstances, but he tried to keep his mind empty anyways as he tried to reason out why they were hunkering low. Then Indigo gestured at the ground as she brought them to a stop and it took a chime for him to realize what she had been pointing at. A subtle impression in the ground. A paw print, though not one he recognized. A partial print there was not every much to determine from that marking for him, but it seemed to have clued in Indigo to something so he continued to stare at if for another chime, leaning forward to touch the dirt around it. The ground was soft here, damp and when he pressed his fingers it left an impression not so different from the one they were studying now.

He withdrew his fingers from the soil and took a closer look, realizing this impression must be relatively fresh considering the state of this ground. A good rain would obscure it otherwise and it rained all the time in this jungle though there journey had been relatively dry up until this point thanks to their outerwear. That was the fortunate thing about Isuas he thought. It held up well in the jungle so that must be why it was a staple here in the jungle. He remembered something else Uta had said about it holding dye really well, but that was aside from the point of jungle survival unless there were some colors that were better out in the wilds. There was no reason to think that wasn’t the case either considering they were all dressed similarly in muted colors that didn’t stand out from their surroundings which made Cleon feel that much safer. Indigo gestured for them to follow her a short ways along and they did, Cleon adopting her crawling pattern now that their movement had slowed down drastically.

At least he was getting the hang of walking in these boots. He noticed rather quickly that Indigo had a tendency to stop in unusual ways, almost like her body was ready to stop at a ticks notice regardless of her posture so he started paying more attention to how she carried her weight, ensuring that she remained balanced throughout her movements. Of course when he tried to mimic this it wasn’t so easy as copying her directly. His weight was different after all, and he found he had to pitch his back at an angle while he crawled along to avoid having his backpack settle across the back of his head. He supposed that meant he didn’t properly secure it to his person as Indigo and Uta had no such problems, and he made a mental note to practice with that in the future, making sure his backpack would stay where he wanted it to regardless of circumstance. For now, his position reacquired him to improvise which he did with his sidelong maneuver. Fortunately they were moving at a snails pace which wasn’t exactly demanding on his body though his arms were beginning to cramp up with their unusual position.

WC - 549

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Where the shadows lie IV

Postby Cleon on July 18th, 2022, 6:52 pm

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Grade Award!

Cleon:
Skills:

Camouflage + 1, Hunting +3, Logic + 3, Planning + 1, Observation + 4, Stealth + 3, Socialization + 2, Tracking + 1, WS + 5

Lores:

WS: Keeping silent while hunting
WS: Minimizing distractions
WS: Making sure there is a clear group dynamic
WS: Breaking up your silhouette
WS: Using mud to reduce shine
WS: Blending in with muted colors
WS: Disrupting distinguishable characteristics
WS: Animals can recognize humans by shapes
WS: Hand sign for stop
WS: Hand sign for come
WS: How to crouch stalk through the jungle
WS: Paying attention to ones surroundings while sneaking
WS: Balancing ones weight to avoid making excess noises
WS: How to stalk while crawling
WS: Examining an animal print on wet ground
WS: Using context to determine when the print was made
WS: The importance of securing ones backpack properly

Feel free to pm me with questions or concerns about your grade, and don’t forget to edit your grade request! :)
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