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Nightwatch Weyr > No-Man's-Land > WEST [Wher Search Thread]


Posted by: Ferret Feb 26 2012, 11:29 PM
The trees thinned out somewhat here, although that’s a bit like saying, ‘well, at least the water isn’t too wet’ while standing waist-deep in a river. Judging by the mist in the air and the roaring in the distance, the comparison was completely appropriate. The trees slowly gave way to soft ferns and flowers.

Overhead, branches hung heavy with fruits waiting to be plucked. Some of the earliest trees and bushes had already dropped their bounties, making the way paved with… well… fruit.

The river itself was still full from spring rains and didn’t so much flow through the jungle as it did crash. Fish glittered just under the surface. Spring was past, but some fish were still doing their yearly migration from the sea up into freshwater to spawn. Many of the fish were fat with eggs yet to be laid. Small bones littered the side of the river, signaling that at least one creature was making good use of this river. The waters were deep; it wouldn’t be easy to get across, but there were some rocks, all shiny and slimy with algae.

Better be careful.

If someone fell into that river, they could be swept away.

Posted by: Pensword Feb 27 2012, 12:42 AM
How had Sanders gotten stuck in the group with the girl idiot enough to piss off a wher? Even if it was a white Sanders had heard of Iantsk, and that girl was an idiot. Currently he was glaring at the back of her head, tromping along and occationally growling at plants that snagged at him and giving a kick at the fruit lying about on the ground. He would've preferred to have gone with the gold, green, and sensible girl. Of course Sanders knew that would've left the color balance ridiculous, but he would've liked to have chosen so himself, instead of a absent minded Go with Maebyl and Maesk and that squirming compulsion shoving his body towards the group.

Sanders checked his rifle over for about the twentieth time since they had started out. Something needed to happen soon or he was going to start getting pissed he had agreed to this in the first place. He supposed if it were Sansk though, he would want people to look for them, and so he tried to suppress his anxiety and annoyance to a low broil.

Sansk was anxious too, but more with nervous excitement than anything as hissy as his bonded's thoughts. The connection was putting Sansk on edge though, and he kept bounding ahead of the group, alert and quivering and straining to see and hear everything, up until the point where Sanders called him back to the group.

Back. Sorry. All here... Sansk beamed to the group, bounding back from his minature excursion, getting some impressive height on his final hop before settling down next to Sanders and matching his pace. Sansk leaned heavily against Sanders, and Sanders grunted, shoving his weight back against his wher casually to support Sansk.

Posted by: Kestalì Feb 27 2012, 02:11 AM
The Bronzepair moved through the terrain with the ease and confidence of familiarity; Maesk wound through the jungle with an eye for paths big enough for his bulk and, consequentially, Sansk's, pausing to let his handler hack through tighter spots he couldn't go around. Though with how the Blue was bounding around it didn't seem to matter much if the Bronze took an easy path or not, the younger Wher just ended up making his own trails anyway.

Maebyl kept her eye on the other humans, Norion in particular and Sanders with amusement. "Ease up there, lad," she called, sensing the tenseness coiled about him like a tunnelsnake waiting to strike. Spying a nice-looking bunch of fruit on a low branch, she paused to jump up and yank a few free. "We'll come along something soon," she added. Famous last words, right? "Catch." And she chucked one of the oblong pumpkin-orange noms at him in underhand, biting into her own palm-sized fruit and holding the last out for Norion. "Want one? They're sweet and tangy, watch for the pit."

She looked relaxed but alert, and was constantly stretching her senses as far as they could go, as was Maesk. The area looked fairly friendly overall, but you never knew on this island and it paid to be cautious. The river was already loud even well within the treeline, and promised to grow still louder as they moved ever closer. <Water big,> Maesk commented to all, turning to look back at the others and looking a little comical with his ears poking up through ram-curled horns and twitching about at the slightest noise. <Sounds fast.>

Would be a bugger if they had to cross it. Probably would have to, too, considering the simply wonderful run of luck Nightwatch had been experiencing lately.

Posted by: Firebird Feb 27 2012, 10:36 AM
Well this was fun. Norion didn't know Sansk or whether he would be grumpy at her over the whole "insulting a wher" thing. He and his handler were behind her, even, and walking backwards to keep an eye on them would probably be a really stupid thing to do. The last thing she wanted was to step in a hole and twist her ankle for real. Well okay, the last thing she wanted was to get charged by a wher again, but messing up her ability to walk was a close second.

At least she hadn't been ordered back to the Weyr, though, and the trees were at least pretending to thin out a bit. Also, fruit. Free food was always nice, especially with the rationing going on. "Sure, I'll take one," she told Maebyl before taking a bite. Ooh, that was sweet. The fruit vanished pretty quickly.

Be polite to the girl with the big bronze. "Thank you for that." Attagirl.

That river looked suspiciously dangerous. She wouldn't want to cross it in the day, considering how fast it was moving. At night? Shards no. "I think we ought to walk alongside it. Go downstream a ways."

Posted by: Blight Feb 27 2012, 01:55 PM
Do you want to ford the river, caulk the wagons and float across, hire a ferry, or wait to see if conditions improve

Over the sound of the river, it was difficult to hear anything at all. But there were other senses and a wher's sense of smell was especially sharp. A recently killed fish, not even half-eaten, lay alongside the river. Roe rolled from the fish corpse.

Something had been here.

Its meal had been interrupted.

It was probably still hungry.

Just behind Sansk came a long low growl.

Posted by: Pensword Feb 28 2012, 12:52 AM
I'd wait for conditions to improve but this is Nightwatch. Calk that motha it's more than 2.5 feet deep right?

Sanders gave a Sansk a solid affectionate thump on his side. He looked up as Maebyl spoke to him, two little words Ease up. Ease up? Ease up!? They were hunting goddamn potential wher killers. That was not a situation in which one was supposed to kick their feet back and relax. Sanders opened his mouth to say something even as he felt his muscles relaxing and shoulders dropping from their tense squeeze.

"Don't tell me what to do," he said snippily giving her a glare and eyes sharp even his his body was more relaxed. Sanders didn't flinch as she tossed the fruit at him, one hand coming up and deftly plucking it from the air as his other shifted his rifle against his shoulder. He spoke again, voice half annoyed and half at least somewhat light "Yeah, but as Maesk said water big and you're not supposed to eat before you-"

Sanders was cut off as Sansk suddenly whirled around. The wher had been next to Sanders and as he spun around he knocked his bonded down to the ground. Sansk snarled suddenly "wings" flaring and puffing his chest to make himself look bigger. He lowered his head the heavy metal horn on his helmet glinting in the moonlight.

Who there! Snarl growl Mine! Out out! Sansk bellowed mentally, punctuating it with a noise half a roar half a snarl. His claws dug into the ground, ready to find purchase and thrust him forward with maximum grip and force at a moments notice.

Sanders meanwhile hit the ground with a heavy thump, but Sansk had already broadcast to him what he had heard, and though he hit the ground roughly, in a second he had scrambled to a crouch, lifting his rifle up towards where Sansk was facing. He felt Sansk's projected sensations and running through his head at a frantic rolling, but constant, pace. He also felt a tender bruise on his hip where the blue lug had slammed into him with his shoulder. Sanders was used to it though, the awkwardly proportioned wher didn't know his own strength and was overt in his expressing happiness. There was an understood hum of the little accident being a non-event between the two of them.

Posted by: Kestalì Feb 28 2012, 02:49 AM
I'd hire a ferry but who the heck would be waiting around in the middle of nowhere with a ferry waiting for random people/Deep Ones to show up? Caulking seconded.

The Bronzehandler glanced curiously at Sanders, noting the changed posture and increased hostility. A brow quirked at the stark contrast. "Was just some friendly advice, lad," she replied mildly, finishing her own fruit and smiling back at Norion while regretfully ignoring the cheerful, chatty flame sitting square atop the girl's head. Wasn't good to talk to hallucinations while others were around to cast weird looks, she reminded herself. "Tension only wears you out and makes you stiff, after all, but 'tis your choice. I - Maesk?" The big Wher had abruptly doubled back and was already herding her and Norion between himself and Sansk with wings and tail when she heard the sound, and felt her chest vibrate with the Bronze's answering growl as he moved up to flank the Blue.

Dark lips peeled back in a vicious snarl, enhanced by the tongues of fire licking about his horns. The Bronze's blood was up from the excitement of the hunt, and his handler's acrid fearscent stung his sinuses even as she drew both spear and axe from her back and sank into a defensive stance. <Bad thing stay away [vision/sensation of Maesk and Sansk ripping-tearing-flaming threat], Maesk protect kill destroy!> Very eloquent of you, Maesk.

"Stay close to the whers," Maebyl told Norion tightly, slashing the ropes holding the extra firestone to her partner's back so it slid to the ground with a thud. She forced herself to relax so she could move freely at a moment's notice. "If we run, ride Maesk." The Bronze could carry two in a pinch, for a time, and she assumed (hoped) the Blue could probably carry Sanders at least. If not... Well, fighting was what whers did. Who was she to deny them some "fun"?

A familiar brush against her mind. <Bring on.> Hah. Well-said, boy.

((Note the fire Mae sees is sentient isn't real. Carry on.))

Posted by: Firebird Feb 28 2012, 10:35 AM
Thirding. No way that thing can be forded.

Enemies now? Enemies now! Or at least something dangerous enough for the whers to take notice of. Either way, something exciting was about to happen and Norion wanted in on it. Too bad she was being ordered near the whers and couldn't just run up and shoot whatever-it-was. Wait, that would be a bad idea even without being ordered not to, wouldn't it be? What if it was a wild wher? Antagonizing two whers in one night would strain even Norion's standards for recklessness.

Norion moved to stand so she could see around the bulk of the blue, but since the only nearby light source was being carried by their group she couldn't see anything. Just shadows and movement that could have been a branch swaying and was more likely her brain screwing around with her. She still held her musket ready to fire just in case, though.

"Got it. Wonder what stupid thing here would disturb a pair of whers, though. Feline, maybe?"

Posted by: Blight Feb 28 2012, 01:36 PM
You chose to caulk your wagon and float it across the river. You lose:
8 sets of clothing
1 wagon tongue
1 wher


Ohshit.

They were looking the wrong way.

The growl raised into a rasping roar as the whers spoke to her. She didn't like that. Not at all. A large shape burst from the foliage from behind the group, launching herself at Maesk. The Feline was easily eight feet long and stood around four feet at the shoulders. Island gigantism had been kind to the Felines, but, even with all her weight, so was nowhere nearly as massive as the bronze wher.

But he was the greatest threat, currently.

He had to be neutralized.

All the while, the growls kept going, seeming to come from every direction at once.

Posted by: Kestalì Feb 29 2012, 11:43 PM
It's ok, I think we have an extra wher around here...

"Don't know, maybe - " Whatever Maebyl was going to say was drowned by the sudden roar.

The Bronze barely had time to react to the - new? - threat, and was only half-turned when several hundred pounds of teeth and claws landed on his back. <Bad wildfur!> Maesk yelped, and twisted, thick tail whipping about dangerously as he moved slightly away from the group, snapping viciously at the unwelcome passenger. His neck was too thick and short to flex far enough, so instead he folded his wings tight and threw his weight to the side, trying to slam the cat against the nearest treetrunk. <Wildfur off now!> he roared back at it physically and mentally, prepared to slam again or roll if the first time hadn't dislodge the feline.

"Don't shoot!" Maebyl cried out has her Wher fought to rid his back of the feral, fear for her partner leaking into her voice. If they tried to take a shot at the cat, there was a good chance they'd hit Maesk instead; melee would be better, but then they'd risk getting trampled or something by the two large predators.

The growls didn't stop, and the handler tightened her grip on her weapons and moved closer towards where the Bluepair had been last, ducking under a wild tailswing from her wher while golden eyes darted between Maesk's struggle and the surrounding forest. This was bad. Did felines move in packs? Or was the feline just coincidence and something else had used it as a distraction to approach undetected? Either way, they were far too vulnerable here, where anything could leap out at them. If they tried to break for the river, they wouldn't be as fast on foot as on wherback, but the water would guard their back and the trees, if memory from years back served her, thinned out significantly toward the banks and they could move around freely and see what was coming. But she couldn't just leave Ma -

Maesk broke her line of thought by shoving the sound of rushing water at her, too focused on his own fight to articulate anything more. Alright then. "Make for the river," she called to the others. "Can Sansk lead?" Assuming something hadn't attacked him, too. Then they'd really be in a pinch.

Posted by: Pensword Mar 3 2012, 03:30 AM
Can we trade Norion with fellow travelers for another wher?

Sanders whipped around rifle raised at the sudden commotion. He nearly shot as those hundreds of pounds of feline muscle threw themselves at the bronze wher. His finger squeezed the trigger but stopped just short of actually pulling a shot off at the now tangling forms of the wher and cat. Sanders saw Sansk twirl around, bunching down and preparing to jump into the fray and defend the bronze with a snarl.

Sansk no! You'll just get in the way and hurt Maesk! Sanders quickly ordered the wher mentally. Sansk halted, still crouched down to the ground, long legs coiled and eyes whirling orange and yellow.

But-

I know you're worried, Maesk can handle himself! Sanders ordered, torn on which way to face his rifle when the growls were suddenly all around them. Maebyl shouted at him not to shoot. Yes he knew not to shoot at his allies thank you very much and he didn't need her giving him the insatiable urge to not shoot at all even at the enemy. Maybe Sanders really should've explained his particular blight to his companions to avoid any unfortunate orders such as those. Sanders' hard head would not admit to his own faults though, and so Sanders chose to respond very maturely to that and now the order to head towards the river.

"WHO DIED AND MADE YOU LEADER?! I'll do what I fucking want!" Sanders yelled, at the same time actually heading for the river as told to.

Sansk protect! Sansk kill the growlings! the blue growled eyes flashing red for a moment. The bulky blue was trembling in tense energy and fury, and Sanders tightened his mental connection, murmuring calming phrases, as the blue surged ahead a few meters to assure the pathway was clear.

Posted by: Firebird Mar 3 2012, 12:44 PM
I don't know if they'd take her. Maybe we could strap her in front of the wagon with the other wher?

It was probably a good thing Maebyl gave the order to not shoot, because the moment Norion noticed the feline-bronze tangle she put her musket to her shoulder and started looking for a good shot. At the bronzehandler's shout, she lowered her arms and moved away from the pair to stand by Maebyl.

"How deep would you say the-" she started to ask, only to be interrupted by Sanders' yell. Yes, yelling was clearly the thing to do here. She hoped the noise wouldn't attract more large predators, though from the sound of all those growls there were enough already there that one or two more wouldn't make much of a difference.

"She has the big-ass bronze. That makes her the leader," she said to Sanders in a tone that was clearly trying to be snappish without raising her voice. Still, she followed him to the river. Maybe they could drown the big feline or something? Get Maesk to hold it under?

Posted by: Blight Mar 5 2012, 12:25 AM
The growls----all of the growls----were cut off by a gasp when Maesk smashed the Feline against the trunks. Even as the noise seemed to come from every direction, there was only one voice. The Feline got air back into her lungs soon enough and clawed her way to the whers back, searching for better purchase. Normally she would have gone for the neck, a quick kill, but that was impossible with the way the creature was thrashing around.

Her roars raised in urgency as the others started to vanish towards the river, but she didn't dare abandon her prey. She'd already lost the element of surprise. She started to bite at Maesk's wings instead, knowing that wherry wings contained large veins. Just one wrong bite and it would be bye-bye Maesk.

The Feline's grip was looser than she would have liked. Unfortunately for her, Maesk's Blight was affecting her paws already; she snarled as blisters started to form on the pads of her feet. WHAT WAS THIS?! THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.

~~~~~~

It hadn't been visible from further away, but now that Sanders, Sansk, and Norion were closer, something was obvious: there was something very wrong with the way the reeds lay along the river bank.

For most of the river, the reeds and other plantlife were perfectly normal. But, in one section, they were all lying down, as though some great weight had been placed on it. A small furlough lay right in the middle. The river was calmer there, the perfect place for someone to moor a boat, if only for a short amount of time.

There were other signs too, but only if a person looked closer. It would have been easy to think that the fruit fell naturally from the branches, but it generally didn't have human bite marks taken out of it. The fruit was browning around the bite, though. It had been here a while.

Posted by: Kestalì Mar 5 2012, 11:56 PM
"Well sorry for trying to keep us alive!" Maesk snapped back at Sanders, not taking her eyes off her wher even as she backed in the direction the others were going. Maesk, roll! she sent when the tree-slam didn't work, tensing despite her will to be ready and relaxed. Watch your wings!

<Wildfur OFF NOW!> Still yelling at the feline - maybe it'd be scared off? - Maesk followed his handler's instruction, and with a roar threw himself to the ground, grinding his back and hopefully the cat into the dirt for a few brief moments before lunging upright again, unwilling to expose his more vulnerable underbelly for longer than that. <Mine run,> the Bronze pushed at her, hissing warningly at both the cat and the stinging pain of soil gritting in the scratches and slashes on his back courtesy of the feline.

Not until you do. Maebyl hadn't missed that the voice was - or seemed to be - singular, despite its transdirectionality, and felt just a little tension ease out, though she didn't drop her guard. Maybe they'd make it out of this in... Well, mostly whole, at least. Maesk had already lost a few pieces thanks to "wildfur's" claws.

Posted by: Pensword Mar 10 2012, 06:08 PM
Sanders honestly didn't think they should've left the bronze and his handler alone to deal with that giant wildcat, but there had been an order and Sanders couldn't disobey so he would obey as hard against his better judgement and Maebyl as possible. If he had thought that there was real serious danger to the wher he might've been a bit less petulant about it, but he didn't so nyehhh he could do whatever he wanted... within the parameters of the order his blight bent him to.

All childishness aside, Sander's attention was turned back to the river. Okay, going to the river had turned up something interesting but that did not make Maebyl the default leader, nor should the size of her wher as Norion suggested. Sanders could a guess as to how she had insulted the white wher. Sanders cast a critical and weary eye around before he moved towards the bank and it's flattened reeds. He tried to surmise what he could but he was more comfortable reading rock and its composition than trying to read plants and reeds and mud. Maybe there was a campsite nearby if they had docked here.

"You..." Sanders said, failing to recall Norion's name as quickly as he would've liked, "Keep an eye out and your gun ready. No surprises when my back's turned, I'm going to have Sansk see if anyone's around..."

Yes! Sansk! What do!? the blue wher perked up tail wagging hard enough to make his hips wobble back and forth as he came up to Sanders, the wherhandler climbing out of the bank.

Alrgiht Sansk, I need you to use your nose. Smell around where those reeds are flattened out... DON'T fall in the water. You're looking for people that are not in our group. Who you don't smell around the weyr okay? Then come up here if you don't find anything and smell around these fruits... Sanders picked up the piece of fruit he had noticed with the bite mark out of it, holding the bite up to the blue's blunt nose.

Yes yes good will look and smell! Sansk said with a loud snort and huff. Sansk snuffled around the fruit and Sander's hand nipping him gently once before he began shuffling down towards the bank, head lowered. It wasn't very hard to lower his head, as his hind legs seemed to tip him all in that direction anyways. Sander followed a few steps behind, his rifle in his hands. He kept his eyes mostly on the river and far bank, though occationally glancing the length of the bank on their side. He was putting his faith in Norion to be alert enough to catch anything on their side of the bank and jungle before it became an issue.

Posted by: Firebird Mar 10 2012, 06:33 PM
Norion was just happy that there didn't seem to be any more felines there to attack them. It was either that or this one's pack was trying to confuse them by gasping just when the one attacking Maesk was, and she didn't want to give felines that much credit. She also didn't want to think that they would be that smart, to think of doing something like that. Felines were bad enough when they came up to your shoulder. Thinking and working in packs would make them an outright terror.

She listened to Sanders, of course. Being a wherhandler meant he outranked her by far, and besides his orders made sense. She could watch for danger while his wher investigated the weird going-ons here. Whers were good for that, better than canines since they could understand complex orders. Something in this patch of flattened grass had to have traces left over, if that fruit turned out to be a dud or had been left by a friendly.

Norion held her gun pointed at the ground, but ready to raise it if need be. "I got your back, bluehandler. If that feline breaks free and comes at us it's getting one in the head." And humans came at them she would give them a warning first. One warning.

Posted by: Blight Mar 10 2012, 07:44 PM
Still reeling from the first smash, being ground against the ground pushed all the air from the Feline's lungs. She promptly lost interest in clinging to Maesk and scrabbled at the ground instead, struggling to get up so she could breath. As soon as the huge Bronze had moved, the Feline made a mad dash for the safety of the trees.

Well, a limp, really.

One back leg dangled uselessly, the bone cracked by the wher's heavier weight. More insidiously, dots of blood decorated the ground. Maesk hadn't laid a claw on her yet, but he was killing her all the same. Internal damage was a nasty thing. But the Feline wasn't done yet. If she could just get to the trees, she'd have a chance. High ground, that was what won battles.

And she had everything to fight for right now.

~.~

To a wher's sensitive nose, the river was FULL of smells. Fish and water dominated the scene, but there were the new smells of fresh green things growing. Fruit laid another tone on the world.

Over it all was the scent of humans, leather and strange new plant-smells that were completely foreign to the wher. Almost everything----the fear and surprise sweats of humans-----were out-competed by the water.

Only one thing managed to cut through it: gunpowder. Someone had discharged a weapon. It was strongest near the river, marking it as the likely place for someone to stand while shooting. The smell continued downriver. They had fled that way, as fast as they could.

They had a good reason to run and flee from this seemingly idyllic place.

Posted by: Pensword Mar 15 2012, 12:43 AM
~Gunsmoke~~Powder~~River~~That way~ Sansk projected bits of images and ideas of sounds to Sanders, the blue's mind focusing more on parsing the various sents out from the muddle of river and jungle. Sanders "listened" quietly hand on Sansk's head. After a moment of staring off into the distance downriver before he turned snappily back to Norion.

"Whoever they were headed down river, firing guns of some sort..." Sanders said with a frown. Maybe more giant felines had attacked them, Sanders certainly wouldn't have wanted to mess with any more than one or two of those, especially if they didn't have whers. On one hand they should wait for Maebyl and Maesk, but if they didn't follow quickly any chance they had of catching who Sanders assumed were at least bandits if not the wher kidnappers. He stared off down the river for a moment more before saying, "Comeon, let's go down the river a bit and see if we can surprise them..." Sanders moved over to the reeds where they were all broken and disturbed, picking up a few and moving up to some open ground near Norion. Setting down the reeds he arranged them quickly on the ground.

Sanders straightened up, looking down at the arrow he had arranged onto the ground.

"Hah, who fuckin' says I don't have good ideas eat that shit up," Sanders said smugly to absolutely no one, putting his hands on his hips. After a moment of looking at he realize Norion was still there and returned to his scowl. "Well c'mon, Maebyl'll be able to follow us downriver with this when she's done playing with kitties." Despite his word choice his tone wasn't condescending, he was just still a little miffed at her ordering them to split up which he still thought was dumb.

With that Sanders rejoined Sansk, who chimed in with a forceful, I lead!!! Sanders more than happy to follow his wher down the river.

Posted by: Blight Mar 29 2012, 02:50 PM
The acrid stench of gunpowder got stronger the further Sanders and Sansk traveled down the river, getting to the point where most people would have been able to smell it. But they wouldn't have been able to smell the blood that dotted the ground; a wounded animal had traveled this way, breaking off small branches around knee-level to Sanders, and leaving red blood in its wake. A lot of blood, in fact, although human eyes would've had difficulty seeing it in the dark.

The small creature hadn't managed to get far. The dead Feline cub lay directly in the path, one leg ripped open by a bullet. Large blue eyes-----it was very young; far too young to have traveled far from home without the aid of sheer fear----stared up at the sky through the tree branches. It had gone cold hours ago.

THINK

A dart buried itself in a tree trunk right in front of Sansk's nose, missing him by a few scant inches. A strange smell seeped off of the red shaft, which didn't look like any native wood. Sanders and Sansk didn't even get a chance to respond to this strange new thing.

The next darts were aimed better. Two more of the red darts hit the blue wher in quick succession. Almost immediately his limbs felt heavy; he could try running a few steps, but he wouldn't get very far.

Sanders was... well, honestly not any better off. Another dart, this one marked with blue, hit his shoulder. It was a courteous drug, though, and gave him ample time for his curse of choice before the world dissolved into bubbles.

By the time Maebyl, Maesk, and Norion got there, nothing would be left except for a dead Feline cub and a dart in a tree.

Posted by: Firebird Apr 5 2012, 02:19 PM
Norion could think of any number of perfectly good reasons for why someone would be firing a gun in a jungle. Felines, wild whers, monster felines that are stupid enough to attack giant bronzes... Less reasonable was why someone would even be outside in the middle of the night. She was fairly certain their three groups of searchers were the only ones stupid enough to risk Deep Ones and predators without the sun to light an escape route. That left bandits and other ne'er-do-wells, and that was worth investigating.

She didn't immediately follow Sanders and Sansk downriver, though. She wanted to be sure that Maebyl knew they were wandering off first. It wouldn't be good to make the bronzehandler think they had fallen into the river and been swept away or some other unpleasant thing, so Norion was hesitant to just leave.

"We're going thisaway, bronzehandler! Catch up when you're done with that monster," she finally settled on shouting before turning to go follow Sansk.

Only, they weren't there anymore. Norion grumbled and walked downstream, her musket held ready to point at any predators that may spring out. To her annoyance, they never did materialize out of the darkness. Really, how fast could a scent-tracking wher go? And wait, was that a dead feline there? That was something worth waiting up to point out, wasn't it?

And was that a dart? What the fuck was going on here and where were Sanders and Sansk?

Posted by: Kestalì Apr 6 2012, 03:19 AM
((Hope I got everything right, if I assumed something wrong, like scents, I can edit.))

Maesk didn't waste a moment once the cat was off and running; not bothering to pursue the probably doomed feline - he'd seen its leg, and knew injuries like that usually spelled death in the wild - he immediately ran to Maebyl, made her turn around with a shove of his snout, and simply grabbed her belt in his teeth and took off running. You're going to get a crick in your neck for this, she chided at the absurdly high angle he had to hold her at, unconcerned with her mode of transport. It wasn't her favorite, but being on his back would only aggravate his wounds and wouldn't be a good idea with a giant feline still running around that liked to get the literal drop on whers, and it wasn't that big a deal with the underbrush already thinning.

In fact, it didn't take long before they burst out of the forest altogether and hit the river. Neither Norion nor Sanders and Sansk were anywhere in sight, however, which mean they'd veered too far, though luckily the Bronzehandler recalled they'd been drifting left and was able to direct her partner in the right direction. Maesk was forced to turn on the run, which due to his momentum and sheer size sent him skidding dangerously close to the edge of the bank, but then he got his feet back under him and off they went, his handler still dangling from his mouth with her legs curled up away from the ground and the wher's churning paws.

"Dang, boy," Maebyl commented when Maesk finally growled that he had the others' scent, "you really booked it didn't you?" It had taken them a couple minutes to find their trail, but it wasn't much longer after that they finally caught sight of Norion. The blood and gunpowder trail he'd told her paraelleled theirs had the woman worried by then, however; so it was a relief to see Norion unharmed, but the absence of the Bluepair sent a spike of dread through her gut. "Where're the boys?" was her first question, not even waiting for the Bronze to lower her feet back to the ground. "Did they go on ahead?"

Mine, Maesk growled, directing her attention first to the dead cub, then the dart Norion had noticed, pointing with tail and muzzle. Fur long-short dead, red-stick smell strange. Blue and His here, now gone. Has red-stick smell with theirs. The implication was clear, and she didn't need Norion's tale to know what had probably happened. Not with so many other Blues already gone AWOL.

"Shaffit!" Maebyl whirled and kicked the tree, her ire flaring suddenly and violently, then cursed some more while shaking the pain from her foot. "If this is that boy's idea of a game, I'll strangle him myself!" Not really, but she'd rather be angry than scared, and the fact was she was terrified that Sanders and Sansk had been captured while she'd been unable to save them, and the thought only made her madder. She wanted to punch something, shardit! Preferably those thrice-cursed Takers!

Calm. Maesk bumped His hard with his shoulder, then raised his head and let out a mental and physical roar that about deafened Maebyl standing close beside him. Sansk! Where you and Yours? Answer!

But even as he called, even he didn't expect an answer.

Posted by: Firebird Apr 6 2012, 05:07 PM
Norion heard Maebyl and Maesk before she saw them, and by the time she realized that it was them, she had her musket halfway to her shoulder. The combination of the giant feline and Sander's disappearance had her on edge more than a little bit. She did drop the firearm down to rest by her hip when she saw a wall of bronze instead of a feline, though.

"Sorry about that. You startled me a bit, is all. I dunno where the boys are. They went off after the gunpowder, and I dallied a bit because I didn't know how you'd react if we all vanished on you." Fat load of help that had done. The bronzehandler had still had to look for her, and now they were missing a wher and a handler.

Norion walked over and tugged the dart out of the tree. After a moment of wondering what to do with it, she held it out to Maebyl. "He might have been disappeared, if this has anything to do with it. Hopefully still breathing, but if not I am going to rip someone's fucking face off." She was clearly angry. It would be easy to assume she was angry at whoever had spirited away their bluehandler and wher, but a good part of it was anger at herself. If she hadn't waited, she would have been there with them. She could have stopped it or at least seen who it was, or that's how her reasoning meant.

She didn't want to think that if she had been there she would have likely been disappeared as well, or possibly just dead.

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