Foul and Fowl

Xanadu Wilds - Windswept Island
Pinnacles of rock rise from the Sea of Azov forming islands with sheer-sided cliffs, fortresses that are nearly impossible to access from the water. As if a giant hand has tossed enormous boulders into the ocean, this tumble of isolated land may be remote and uninhabited, but it is far from lifeless. Ringed by a narrow beach of pristine white sand that lies in the shadow of the sentinel cliffs, the tops are growth-choked and teeming with wildlife. Situated in the south ends of the vast inland sea, the lush rainforest of vibrant growth is temperate rather than tropical in nature with pine, birch and ferns predominant among the hardwood trees.

The only place to land appears to be a nearly bald tower of rock separated from the main island by a deep cleft in the rock through which you must descend to reach the place. Accessible only at extreme low tide, the part of the cleft between tower and island is awash with surf otherwise.

It's been a few days since the Candidates were dumped on this hunk of rock, and Muir has stubbornly continued to truly live off the land, using nothing that the Staff provided. All he's had is what he brought with him, and what he can hunt or forage. Needless to say, the boy is a bit thinner for the wear, but stubborn pride has him sticking with his original plan. Right now, the boy is standing in the middle of the area where the dragons originally landed, his arm lifted as he shouts to Kenpo. The bronze swoops and dives ahead, before he zooms towards the surf, scaring up a duck that was paddling around in the calm surf. Screeching, the duck leaps into the air and flies away as fast as it can, which is /just/ a hair faster than Kenpo can fly. Giving up the chase, the bronze soars back to land on Muir's outstretched arm, wings fanning the air and panting while Muir feeds him a bit of fish that he caught that morning. "It's alright," he murmurs soothingly to his bronze. "Next one.

It might be that Marel has either eaten something that she shouldn't, or her stomach is taking revenge on her for not filling it to its usual requirements, for she's been quiet so far today, one arm often wrapped around her and mouth pressed tight shut in the manner of one who refuses to allow their body to get the better of them and reduce them to throwing up. Her baggy clothes are muddy, her hair matted and tied in a loose knot at the base of her skull, and she generally looks like she's seen better days. And /still/ she manages to find the voice to lecture her twin. "You want him to try Betweening to where they are and get them unawares," she suggests. "Maybe he and Flynn could do a sneak attack that way." Because Brier's teeth and claws won't help them here. Footsteps draw her to a halt just behind Muir, horizon surveyed with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Muir turns his head to look back at his sister, eyes taking in her appearance with a quick flick of his gaze. "You okay?" he asks, shifting Kenpo to his shoulder and reaching out a hand to his twin. "That's a good idea. And yeah, maybe they could. I'm sick of fish already, I'd love to roast a duck or one of those little birds, or something." Apparently he didn't have any of the birds that Idrissa and Hotaru shot, for whatever reason. "Do you want to try it?"

Marel wraps cold fingers tightly around Muir's, yet insists, "I'm fine," with a strength that promises that she isn't about to keel over, no matter how bad she looks. "I'd just like some fish that's /done/ - not uncooked, not overcooked, not maybe-cooked, just /done/," she says wistfully, though not entirely without humour, a self-deprecating smile tugging at one corner of her mouth. She must know that she was not built with living in the wild particularly in mind. "At least we could try one of them scaring a bird towards the other, if that doesn't work…" Green eyes find the horizon again, though this time there's an air of concentration to her expression, and, soon enough, Flynn pops into existence, flying in loose circles above her.

Muir gives her fingers a squeeze. "Well I can cook fish," he reminds her. "If we don't get a bird I'll fish for you and make a fire and cook you some fish. I've got a good method now. I wrap it in these thick leaves that I soak in sea water, so the fish gets salted and cooked at the same time." Think steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves. Yum! "Could do some mushrooms too if you want. I made Mikal that soup the other night, he seemed to like it." Though the boy still looks a bit doubtful. Looking up at Flynn, he studies the firelizard for a moment and then nods. "Shall we send them at it?" he asks, peering around until he spots a duck some ways distant.

"I'll try and catch the fish, then you can cook it," Marel offers, a quiet, tiny glimmer of a smile still lingering. "Fair's fair. You shouldn't have to do it all." Even if it seems like he's better as this wilderness gig than she is. "Mikal's still alive, right?" she teases, aiming to nudge an elbow in against his ribs in jest. "I haven't seen him for a couple of hours. You didn't poison him?" Drifting down, Flynn settles on her left shoulder, the young blue more interested in her matter hair than hunting at the moment. /He/ must be doing well for himself. Her gaze follows Muir's to find the duck, a few seconds of study given it as she murmurs, "Wait. Let's watch to see if it's watching anything that'll scare it off before we go after it."

Muir nods, "Deal," he says, giving her hand a squeeze before he shifts it to clasp between both of his hands. "Your fingers are freezing. Don't you have gloves? I saw the ones you made for Mikal." Then he snorts, eyes narrowing slightly. "/No/, he's not poisoned. Though it took him long enough to even try the damn soup I thought he /did/ think I was trying to poison him. Then Kale wouldn't even touch the fish I offered him. Do people think I'm trying to poison them or something?" he asks, looking genuinely hurt and concerned, rather than amused at her teasing.

"Brier's using one of them as a nest," Marel shares of the state of her gloves, or the absence of them. "Not that he really /needs/ a nest, but he looks comfortable, so…" She doesn't have the heart to demand it back. At his snort and the words that follow, she gently draws her hand back, meaning to throw that arm around his shoulders and hug him close. "Of course they don't; I'm only joking," she promises quietly. What duck? Who cares about the duck? "I guess people are just worried about stuff they haven't prepared themselves. None of us wants to get sick. Some people only trust themselves." Lightly shrugging the shoulder not occupied by Flynn, she insists, "It's not personal. And I /was/ only kidding. I know you wouldn't poison anyone." Knowingly.

Muir hesitates for the barest of seconds, and then slips his arms around her to return the hug. And tightens his embrace and sighs. "I guess. I just spent all day on that soup and he acted like it was going to taste awful. And then…I don't know. Just wasn't the response I was expecting I guess." He shrugs and straightens, letting his arms slip free. "Shouldn't expect things of people. Especially not out here. Everyone seems a bit…off." Turning, he peers at the duck again and then looks questioningly back at her. "What if Flynn betweens to it first, and then Kenpo goes second and tries to grab it? He's bigger…"

Marel tries another smile, wry though it turns out. "Let's be honest, Muir… Most things we've had here have tasted awful, no matter what they are or who prepared them." Or maybe that's just her stomach teaming up with her taste-buds to make life difficult for her. "I don't know if anyone is actually /enjoying/ this either, so we're bound to be a bit foul to each other now and then. Getting dumped on a rock isn't supposed to be a perfectly thrilling time, I think. Maybe this is all just to check we won't kill each other." Trying to comfort her twin takes precedence over hunting down the duck, but she allows her focus to find the bird again, a considering look angled over towards it. "See if Kenpo can grab its wings. Stop it flying off?" If a firelizard's weight can offset and counterbalance that of a duck. In the meantime, she sends Flynn off, blue vanishing to reappear right in the bird's line of vision, wings flared.

Muir snorts softly, though the curve of his lips betrays his tickling of amusement. "I guess," he allows, which is his teenage boy way of agreeing with her. "I am having a good time, except when folks are being all weird. I'm having fun hunting and fishing and cooking. It's nice to just focus on surviving, instead of everything else we've had to deal with. No chores, no eggs, expectations, really. It's been nice." A vacation from the stresses of his young life. When Flynn takes off he nods, glancing to Kenpo. It takes the bronze a moment to figure out the plan, and then he vanishes to reappear above the duck, landing on its back and gripping its wings with his sharp talons, piercing feather and flesh. And then hanging on, as the duck explodes out of the water with a shriek, thrashing and trying to get free. "Grab him!" Muir shouts unnecessarily as Kenpo tries to ride the duck, like a rag doll tied to the back of a bucking bronco. Teeth snap as he tries to get them into the duck's neck.

Flynn has got /no idea/ what to do as that battle goes on between bronze and bird, flitting about awkwardly as he observes the proceedings from several angles before diving into any sort of action. It's very evident how little of a clue he has, for he doesn't go to clamp his tiny jaws around the duck's neck or to deliver any other sort of devastating injury, but rather goes to dive-bomb the creature and try to upend and unbalance it. Is he going to try and drag it beneath the water? Marel covers her eyes, either too embarrassed or just /amused/ by the ridiculous sight of two firelizards trying to do in a duck. "If they don't manage it, we're never speaking of this again," she mutters.

Muir lets out another whoop and holler of encouragement, his balance staggering a bit as Kenpo's excitement seeps into his own thoughts. "But if they do, we're telling everyone!" Just then the duck manages to shake Kenpo's grip, but the creature is lamed, and Muir winces at its squawking cries. The bronze regains his aerial footing, so to speak, and swoops in again, using Flynn's help to push the animal towards the water. This time he manages to get teeth around its throat and bites down hard, snapping the spine and the creature finally dies. "To me!" Muir calls happily, bouncing up on his toes and waving, as if Kenpo could have forgotten where he is. Getting a grip on the duck's body, the bronze struggles with the weight and chirps to Flynn to help.

Marel's shriek follows on the heel of her twin's, arms flailed over her head like she could signal to the firelizards where to bring the bird. It's certainly the most animated she's been today, and her excitement is enough to bring Brier from wherever he's been hiding (perhaps straight from her glove), the brown looping his way awkwardly round her, emitting worried little whistles. "They did it!" Marel exclaims, narrowing her eyes and going up on tiptoe to try and get a better view as Flynn, too young and too pleased, goes to take a bite of feathers when the duck goes still. Kenpo's chirping redirects his attention, and though it takes him a couple of tries, he manages to seize enough of the bird between teeth and claws to begin lifting it, wings straining.

Muir whoops and laughs, gripping his twin and giving her an excited little shake. "They did!" he says happily. "I've got wood back at camp, we'll have a feast!" Kenpo struggles a bit with it, almost dropping it into the surf, and then with a directing chirp to Flynn, he takes the bird between and reemerges, dropping it at Muir's feet before he tumbles down after it, pantings and creeling. Scooping Kenpo in one arm, Muir grabs the duck's legs by the other and holds it upside down, watching the blood drip out and stain its feathers. "Guess we should get it plucked and washed, and I'll need to get a hot fire going…" And he grins at his twin, hope in his eyes.

Flynn returns to Marel's shoulder after depositing the bird, shreds of weak feathers still clinging in downy clumps to his claws and teeth, providing him with tufts of a beard. "I'll do that," the plucking and washing, "if you get the fire going?" Marel offers, holding her hands out to potentially accept the carcass and do her share of the work, despite the barest hint of a grimace of discomfort at the thought. Still, she squares her shoulders, not ready to duck (no pun intended) her duty, Brier's whistling cries quieting down as the adrenaline surge begins to die down.

Muir grins, handing over the bird (happily) and washing his hands in the surf. Then, eagerly, he leads the way back towards the camp, to gather the wood and start the fire. And maybe they'll share with the others. Maybe.

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