Survival Camp: Lost in the Wilderness

Skull Rock
Globs of golden sunlight seemed to have dripped through the tops of the trees above and splattered on the jagged surface of this large rock, small patches of shade here and there making it look like a wild feline's hide. The foliage scattered around it's cold stony base rests there as if too dead and sleepy to move, not one pile of leaves or puddle of mud showing any sign of footprints. The rock itself is sheltered in clumps of fresh, springy green moss, and quite a few morning dewdrops. Up close it doesn't really look like a skull, true, but going a few feet back one sees the two lopsided cavities and crooked, horizontal scratch as a very crude mouth and eyes. In a would-be peaceful place, the skull rock seems to leer at you, silently laughing about the fact that it has a visitor.

L'alie bounces off Adinaeth's back, landing with a crunch on the rocky ground. "This is one of my favorite places.. it's also where you'll be starting your walk from. I'm going to need a time keeper to take that stopwatch there, and when you guys are ready to go, start it up. When you enter the campfire square, stop it. If you give up, you can 'forfeit' at any time, and you'll arrive safely back at camp."

Esher dismounts Adinaeth easily, looking around even as he slide-jumps to the ground. With a brief pat fo thanks on the brown's forelimb the young man steps away before turning to Felandre and Meira, displaying a grin that shows all his teeth. To L'alie: "Got it. Here's to not getting lost!" He doesn't sound overly concerned about doing /that/, though.

Meira nods slowly as she slides off of Adinaeth's back, slightly disoriented. Dragon flight tends to do that to her. However, it doesn't take too long on the ground before she's herself again. Or close enough to it. She moves over to look at the stopwatch, frowning slightly. In response to Esher, she nods, "Here's to that!" she says, before pushing the button on the stopwatch.

Felandre still looks shaken from the quick trip Between, and lands with his typical stiffness after such a journey. The instructions are listened to closely, the trader nodding before looking between his two teammates. His firelizards were dismissed before they arrived, likely glad they didn't have to follow after him anyway. "You got it then, Meira? Just tell me if you guys need me to store anything, I got bags to hold a bunch of things." Bags he does have, likely full of all sorts of tools as well as the newly polished knife of his which he then brandishes in a glitter of bright steel. "Last I ever got lost was when I was seven… not that it can't happen, but, I got some tricks at keeping directions. Just stick close."

Ravine Trail

To either side of the path, sharply sloping grassy hills rise toward azure sky. Along the inhospitable landscape, an occasional swatch of bare, grey stone pokes from under the runners of grass, glaring back down, just daring someone to climb up the crumbling side. The path itself is littered with the stone, telling of how tretcherous such a climb would be. Only low shrubby trees even attempt to grow along the walls of the ravine, and even they are stunted and small. Nothing grows along the floor of the ravine, just stone crunches benieth your feet as you move on.

The initial trek through the woods was a wary one, and not just because of the gigantic bugs. Felandre marked the trees as they went with the tip of his knife with the direction they'd gone to keep their pathway marked in case they had to turn back, the trader stopping frequently to try and catch sight of the sun to map their progress and direction. At last the forests cleared and the welcoming rush of the river was found, and time was taken to drink and plan their next course. That being the river's course (at least they could stay near fresh water if they did end up going the wrong way), and it was followed until the river gradually slowed and was sucked up all together by the earth. With the ravine in front of them, the decision was made to go at it, and save for mud and lose rocks, things went fairly well - until a turn onto a trail crossed paths with an angry, spotted feline. It didn't seem keen on a fight though and bolted, though it's enough of a situation to make Felandre pause and settle down on a stone, letting out a rough breath as he scrubs the sweat off his brow.

"Di'ya see that feline move off?" Esher keeps his voice low as the three follow their chosen path, following the trail in the ravine. "Hopefully there en't more up the sides of this place or anything." Despite sounding confident that there aren't, he does look warily up at the grassy hills on either side, shielding his eyes against the sun. "Y'reckon we're going the right way?" As he's done so far on the trek, Esh turns to Felandre with his question, warm brown eyes widened to accompany his query. "I en't much of an adventurer myself," he adds good-naturedly, before squatting to rest, fingers toying with the loose topsoil.

Meira follows, but doesn't seem particularly thrilled about things. "I still say we should've gone the other way. I'll bet there were less bugs that way." though that's all she can manage, as she's fairly out of breath. Too much good food, not enough hiking-through-forests. She was bringing up the rear, being the slowest, so she misses the feline.

"Well, I figured it would make sense for the camp to be near the river, but it must be farther off than that." Felandre remarks with a thoughtful sigh. "I'm trying to recall just what all was around the camp, landscape-wise, and try to see where it might be located out here. Looks like we might have some open ground up ahead, we might be able to catch a view at the top of this path and see if anything looks promising or if we should head back, I just don't want to run into a pack of felines. My knife can only do so much."

Esher looks over at Meira when she speaks up. A shrug. "Bugs en't too bad. I reckon we're going the right way, anyway." He doesn't sound sure, but then he doesn't sound sarcastic, either - he just says it nonchalently. "Open ground? Felines wouldn't hang around out there, I'd reckon. They prefer catching you by surprise in the jungle." He grins, although his own lack of knife is not comforting. Change of tack. "They wouldn't put us out where there were packs of them anyway. Right?" Er - some reassurance here?

Meira frowns, and looks around. "I don't see any felines… You guys are making it up. Think that I'm just a scared little holder girl." No, just one who has been becoming less fit in her turns away from the hold. "I'm not afraid of any felines." she adds, heading for the grasslands, sure that there are no such creatures here. "Besides, they'd never put us in the way of felines." she agrees, with absolute certainty. Or close enough to it. Though, she doesn't seem particularly interested in splitting from the group, so she stops heading for the grasslands, and turns back around.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they were keeping an eye on us with firelizards." Felandre remarks, "We're candidates. Thread may not be falling, but we're still too important to risk. Still, no reason not to take any danger lightly, accidents can always happen." The trader in time to see Meira moving up. "Than what would that scat be? Ain't wherry, nor the claw marks in the tree up there. There's felines, so keep close. Come on, let's go see what's up there and see if we can't spy something familiar."

Esher grins over at Meira, flicking a look at Felandre. "A great big spotted one it was. Biggest I've ever seen!" No harm in some teasing, right? Ah-heh. Even if she says she's not afraid of them. He straightens up then, stretching his back and arms and looking around. "They would be, I reckon." And now his gaze turns to the skies, as if he'll spot one of the little beasts somewhere. "Alright then. Only one way t'go from here, anyway."

Meira glances up, and frowns. "I'm sure they're watching us somehow." she says, though she's still skeptical. "If they were keeping an eye though, wouldn't they block off a path, if it led to felines, or worse?" As for Esher's teasing, Meira sticks out her tongue, though she shakes her head and moves on from her momentary immaturity, and says, "Well, no good sitting around talking about it. I want to get a decent time on this." she waves the stopwatch. Never mind that she's the slowest of this group, thus increasing their time all by herself.

Rolling Grasslands

Beneath a blanket of short, thick grasses and small, colorful flowers, the land rises and falls in gentle crests and shallow valleys. The occasional burrow appears dug into the side of the hillocks, and the obvious markings of unseen animals are everywhere.

"Woah…beautiful," is all Esher can manage when the trio traipse on, the ravine turning into grassland spotted with colourful flowers. He hasn't the chance to say anything more, however, for the feline he and Felandre sighted earlier leaps at him. Esh actually shrieks, caught out by the creature's speed and ferocity, and tries to simultaneously duck and move to the side. What follows is not too good: the man stumbles and falls, luckily saving him from serious injury. But his left arm, raised instinctively to protect his face, is caught by the side of the feline's paw, raking three short but deep gouges. "Shards!" Just as quickly the feline disappears, leaving Esher to examine the damage, eyes huge in his suddenly pale face. "Shells!" He gets himself into a sitting position, touching his injured arm hesitantly.

The trader's knife is in his hand as soon as the feline leaps from the grass, but there's no trying to attack it and ensure Esher would be alright. Thankfully, the cat's not spoiling for a fight and bolts, and Fel is hurridly shuffling in his belt pouches for a length of gauze and a small vial of numbweed. "Here, it ain't much, but I brought some just in case. I always make sure to have some when I go out. We'll have to clean it when we get back, make sure it doesn't get infected… damn cats are dirty things." Grumbles the man with an obvious hatred of the species.

Meira has still not managed to actually /see/ the feline for herself, and so is still sure it doesn't exist. Though, as she notices Esher sitting on the ground and focusing on his arm, well, she begins to have her doubts. As she reaches the other candidates, she can see the scratches on Esher's arm, and she shudders slightly, though she hopes neither of the others noticed. "Ah, hmm. Maybe we should turn back?" Not that she's /afraid/ or anything, nope, not at all.

Esher is still in obvious shock, staring at the blood seeping up from the wounds. "Oh, shells." It's not horrendously bad, but it's not exactly good, is it? Swallowing, he tries to regain some composure, taking the numbweed from Felandre gratefully. "Thanks, Fel. Lemme just…put this on first." He manages to work the vial open one-handed and applies it, wincing. Next the guaze, which he manages to wrap around his arm with the help of his left hand once the numbweed begins to take effect. "It'll last until we get back to the camp." Swallowing again, he tucks the end of the gauze into the crude bandage and then carefully gets to his feet. "We can't turn back now," Esh says to Meira. He eyes the way the feline went, then surveys their other options. "Where now? I think we should pick up th'pace." No jab at Meira intended.

"It's pretty open, and there's a lot out here by the looks of things." Felandre murmured as he stood up straighter, trying to use his height to see just a bit farther. It looks like there may be a water shimmer way out there, no guarentee if it is though, or if it is, if the water's any good. Might be worth a shot, though. Other than that, it's more of the grasses and braving whatever we can't see, or head for the mountains and climb."

Meira frowns, and looks back towards the ravine trail. Alright, so that exit is out… But there are still three others. The mountain climbing, that gets a reaction from Meira. "I think… The campground isn't on any mountains… Is it?" Avoid the climbing. "I say we head for … that other thing … the water shimmer." she nods, eyeing Esher once more. "Which direction did it go?" she asks, curious, and apparently convinced that, yes, there /is/ a feline. "I think … we should /not/ go that way."


The grasslands stretch out like open arms, a rich carpet of tall grasses, rippling in the breeze like the waves in the ocean. The grasses produce delicate flowers in a rainbow of colors, attended by the hum of insects ringing softly in the ear. The grasslands seem to carry on forever, the sweet smell of growing things like nectar to the bee.

Spotted Wild Feline snarls menacingly.

Meira staggers backwards almost immediately at the growling feline, backing further away as the feline circles around Felandre, her eyes wide. Well, she certainly can't deny there's a feline /now/. She moves forward slightly, without thinking, and draws the feline's attention. Like Esher, she too instinctively raises her arm, staggering backwards, and landing on her rear. Miraculously she escapes unscathed, through no action of her own. It appears that the feline is more interested in Felandre at the moment.

Spotted Wild Feline drops into a crouch in the grass.

The knife is bright in Felandre's hand as he moves quickly to stand beside Meira, glaring wickedly at the feline with his own lip curled into a snarl. "Get AWAY!" He bellows at the cat, brandishing the blade and trying to scare off the animal instead of going right at it, determined to keep as near to Meira as possible and protect her.

Spotted Wild Feline slinks in a circle around Felandre.

Meira seems to want to keep away from Felandre at the moment. Nothing personal, there's just a wild feline between them. "I … don't think it understands." She backs carefully away, wishing for something to hide behind in this big flat grassland area. "It… I… What now?" she asks, glancing to Felandre. She hasn't had to deal with felines like this before. She's not exactly afraid, well, she /is/ actually, but her main problem is that she has no idea what to do.

Spotted Wild Feline slinks in a circle around Meira.

"Don't keep moving away!" Felandre hissed back at the girl while keeping an eye on the cat. "It'll come after you if you're seperated." He may not have dealt with felines before, but a predator is a predator, and he'd had his share of scrapes and scars over the course of his life. "Just keep close." The knife remains at the ready, eyes fixed on that spotted bit of murder.

Meira glances to the feline, then to Felandre, eyes wide. Slowly, cautiously, she inches closer to Felandre, keeping an eye on the feline at all times. "I… What if… It… Okay." she says, discarding each question after only a word or two. "Whatever you say." she says, not at all as sarcastically as it sounds. She hasn't really had to deal with too many predators in the kitchens, and her only scars are from misplaced cuts, with kitchen knifes.

Spotted Wild Feline flattens its ears and growls.

"Shame its a bit scrawny, would make a good pelt…" Felandre mutters, a forced little chuckle escaping his throat in an attempt to try and smooth the prickly situation they find themselves in. "Get outta here, cat. We're too much effort for you." Reasoning with a cat? Yah, right Fel, it's just ganna leave because you tell it to. But, he has no options. Turn and run, it'll attack. Attack it, and it's going to turn into an even longer, painful day. So he stands and bides his time beside Meira, watching and waiting for the cat to make the first move.

Spotted Wild Feline looks at Felandre

Meira has already reached Felandre, but she continues to move slowly, only stopping once she is sure that Felandre is between her and the feline. Well, he has a knife, which is more than she has. She peeks out, frowning. "Maybe if we're really still… Maybe it'll go away again?" she asks, uncertainly.

Spotted Wild Feline flattens its ears and growls.

"About all we can do… just stand here and look just as menacing, make it think we're not worth the effort." Felandre murmurs down to her, his mouth pulled into a tight, flat line as he stared fixedly at those two slitted, hungry eyes circling them. "…so what's it gonna be, cat? Too much of a coward to attack, or just afraid of being weak if you run?" He continues to talk, eventhough the cat can't understand, if only to keep himself calm by doing so.

Spotted Wild Feline drops into a crouch in the grass.

Meira glances to the feline, and then back in the direction that they had just come from. "If we try to leave … will it chase us?" There is still the mountain path, after all, even if Meira would prefer not to take it. "What does it want? It's just … there … walking and watching and so on… Why doesn't it /attack/?" Not that she wants it to attack, however.

Spotted Wild Feline drops into a crouch in the grass.

"No idea," Murmurs Felandre as he takes a good look at their surroundings and the cat standing in the path they'd taken, "How about we try moving, just a little, away from it. Very, very slowly. This must be its territory, it's the same cat we saw at the ravine, I recognize that one patch." Tentativly, he begins to raise one foot to take a backward step, hand tight around his knife hilt.

Spotted Wild Feline looks at Felandre

Meira nods slowly, stepping backwards very carefully, as if one wrong step, one snapped twig, might send the feline into a rage. Her voice is hushed to a whisper, and her eyes wide open. "Very very slowly." she repeats, as she takes another tiny step. She's trying to control her breathing, and her racing heart, but it's clear she's afraid. "Trian… he was teasing… I was sure he was…" she rambles.

High Plateau

This surely would be runner heaven if they could stomach that bridge. High up above anything else, this plateau is covered in high, sweet grasses. Stunted trees and scrub brush dot the plateau. Far away you can see the jungles steaming faintly and a volcano rising out of the canopy. Immediately to the south is a grassland if you can get there. To the north is a swinging rope bridge.

Slow steps away from the cat seemed to do the trick, and soon there was no sign of the beast, lost in the sea of grass. Their trek carried them to the hills, the landscape slowly rising ever upward into a steep climb carrying them up to a level plateau. The sight, though, only makes Felandre sigh. "Jungle… wonder if its the same one we came from… I don't recall seeing any bridge, but then, the trees were too thick to see much of anything."

Meira follows close behind Felandre, jumping suddenly, and crying out, "The feline… It's got me! Help!" However, on closer examination, it appears that her pants leg has simply gotten caught on a branch, from one of the stunted trees. She bends to unhook herself, hiding her blushing face. "Er… It… ran away." Honest! There's even a scratch on her leg, from the tree. Not a particularly deep or nasty looking one though, it's hardly even bleeding. After her little scare, Meira makes sure to stick close to Felandre, eyeing the plateau, and the wobbly looking bridge in particular.

Felandre glances over his shoulder at the shout, hand to his belt where the knife sits, but the false alarm sinks in and he exhales slowly. "I don't think it'll come after us all the way up here, especially not over that bridge. Not that I wanna run from it, but… we know what's back in that grass. A whole lot of nothing and cats."

Meira nods slowly, glancing back to the grasslands. "Right… Not /that/ way, then." She seems to scan the plateau, looking for another path. Bridge. Grasslands. Bridge. Grasslands. "I… Hmm… Looks like the bridge it is." she says finally, her cheeks still faintly pink from that whole false alarm thing a moment ago.

"…you want me to go first, or you want me to keep behind you?" Felandre asks, a bit quietly as he looks back to her, running a hand back through his hair. "I got some rope with me, enough that one of us could tie it around our waist and loop it over the bridge, just for some extra security in case the wind picks up."

Meira frowns at Felandre's question, but doesn't answer. She feels bold enough to move away on her own now, if not particularly far. She heads over to the bridge, testing it carefully with one foot. "I … rope is good." she says, moving back from the edge. "I suppose now is a bad time to mention my fear of heights." Boy, it'll be fun if /she/ impresses. Learning to fly, in particular. "Ah, could you? Go first, that is."

The coil of rope is removed from one of the larger pouches and offered over to her, "It's strong, honest. Strong enough to hitch a runner." Once he's make sure she's cinched safely, Felandre makes the first, tentative step onto the bridge, testing it with his weight. "…stupid big feet, gonna make this tricky." He can be heard to mutter as he picks his way inch by inch, wary of the bridge's movements.

Meira nods slowly, and makes sure the rope is secure, giving it a couple of tugs just to be on the safe side. The safe side is better than dead side after all. She follows Felandre cautiously, stepping out onto the bridge. "Alright. Let's do this." she says, trying to put on a brave tone that she obviously doesn't feel.

Felandre picks his way further across the bridge, inwardly grimacing as it wobbles under their combined weight. At one point, he very nearly slips, his big foot not catching the full footing underneath and nearly sliding off the side, but a quick tightening of his hands on the ropes stops him, though the pain of locking elbows and shoulders makes him hiss aloud.

Meira jumps backwards, nearly slipping herself. "Ah, erm, are you okay?" she asks, her concern overcoming her fear for the moment, as she slowly but surely moves across, towards Felandre. "Do you need a hand?" Must… be… helpful… Keep… fear… at bay… Never mind the fact that there's probably not much she could do without making things worse.

Felandre flashes a quick grin, perhaps a bit too quickly, but then he's turned around again. "I'm good… I'm good. Just gotta be more careful with these big boat feet." He adds with a little chuckle. Halfway now, halfway. Further he travels, picking his way carefully, making sure to very cautiously place his feet from then on.

Meira is making her way across the bridge, frowning slightly to herself. This is not her idea of a good day. "I… You sure you're fine?" she asks, before sinking into a concentrated kind of shuffling walk, while muttering to herself. "Okay, across the bridge… Just a little further… Keep going… Careful now…" she mumbles under her breath, adding "Don't … look … down." in a sterner-toned mumble, still to herself.

"Almost there," Felandre confirms as they near the end, though he pauses to take a careful step over a missing board. "Careful with your step here, board is missing." He makes sure to warn her over the wind, moving forward enough so she has room but close enough in case she'd miss it. A good jump could land him on the other side now.

Meira stumbles slightly across the bridge, gripping the rope so tightly that her knuckles turn white. Yep, she's clumsy, this is something she's always known. "I… Okay… Just a little further…" she murmurs, frowning at the wobbly bridge.

Deep Dark Jungle

The trees hang in so thick they seem to reach out suffocating branches. Needlethorn grows tightly, pressing the trail into less than a narrow footpath, a trap for the unwary. Bright-plumaged avians cluster around on the fruit-bearing trees, tossing the rinds of their discarded lunch to the foliage below. Everything smells of rot and fermentation. Just discernable through a tangle of bushes to the east is a small hidden trail.

Brighid follows meekly behind Harleanne, "I'm fine." Her bout of tears earlier has left her very biddable. She's got scratches from passing too close to the thorny plants, nothing serious, but enough to sting.

Harleanne sighs loudly and motions toward the volcano — up until the point where it comes alive. She blinks and opens her mouth speechlessly, then turns around. "Right then, not back up that way!" Back the way they came. So much for height.

Brighid nods and follows, tears running down her cheeks.

Meira makes her way in from the west at a fairly rapid pace, frowning back the way she'd come. There was a feline, and a bridge, and, and and… She stops, to take a deep breath, nearly gagging from the smell of rot and fermentation. "Ack!!" she coughs, and peers around, hand over her nose. "Well, how did I get /here/?" she asks, frowning.

"I don't know," Harleanne says, rather cross — someone's not enjoying herself, that's for sure — nodding back to the way Meira just came from. "But can you tell me whether it's worth it to go that way?" Adora fans a wing a little, half trying to help, half trying to protect. Brighid's being nearly in tears is just grating on Harley.

Brighid sniffles again, rubbing her nose as a tear rolls unheeded down her left cheek, "D-do you see any way out yet?" She's deffinately about to cry again and River rubs his head against her cheek comfortingly.

Meira glances about, and frowns. "I… It's supposed to be difficult, right?" she asks, looking around. "There's… Um… I don't know." she frowns, and looks around. "Maybe there's a hidden path or a secret trap door, or maybe we're supposed to walk and walk until the riders come and get us? I don't know!"

Harleanne frowns a little at Brighid, then looks at Meira, then sighs and nods a little. She points southwest — "We went there and THAT didn't go well," she points west, "You came from there," and then she points northeast "and we just walked in from that way." She frowns again. "Shards, lets just plow through some of the bushes over here, it looks like it might let up a bit." She starts walking to the east; the tangle of bushes isn't so intimidating after all that needlethorn.

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