Hunting Trip Gone Wrong...

Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest
The wooded areas closer to Xanadu Weyr represent a compromise between man and mother nature, but to the north and west, no such arrangements have been made. The deep woods between the Weyr and the mountains are less traveled, the wider paths fit for man and beast less present. The noises of mankind are barely audible here, brief ghosts on the wind, and the quiet thrum of forest life presses in on all sides. The snapping of a twig, a bird's cry, the low cadence of insects; all of these things seem louder. Closer. The deeper one moves into the trees, the more it becomes obvious that one passes through nature only at her allowance.

The cover of trees is more severe in this area of the wood and only occasional shafts of sunlight lance down through the canopy, the sky visible in brief patches. A rough path has been blazed back towards the Weyr. It does not appear to be a heavily frequented path, but the few who have chosen to pass through this area appear to use it more than other avenues available. Only the very foolish or the very experienced would ever wander far from the path

´╗┐It is early morning at Xanadu Weyr; Rukbat is barely peeking above the horizon, and most of the Weyr residents are only just beginning to stir. There are a few exceptions, such as the young figure stalking through the heart of the forest. He sports a camouflage hooded tunic, a bow in his left hand, and a quiver of arrows slung across his back. A six-inch knife is sheathed in the strap across his chest; the handle of a considerably larger hunting dagger dangling from his left hip juts out from under the hem of his shirt. A young blue firelizard glides high overhead, searching for possible prey. Another 'lizard clings to the young hunter's back, giving another pair of eyes to scan the undergrowth.

Having been invited to come hunting, Kasle has managed to drag herself out of bed before dawn and followed her baby brother out into the forest. She's even taken the time to remove the braids and bells from her hair so that it falls in a kinked tail down her back, tied at the nape of her neck with a leather thong. She's dressed in a simple, earth-toned outfit with long pants and her arms covered in lightweight tan fabric. Though the only weapon she has on her is a short belt knife. She even managed to get Nimare out of bed, though the dark green firelizard whistles softly in her sleep, draped around her friend's neck, "So, what are we looking for?" What game are they hunting, today?

Logain answers his sister with a quiet, but still slightly harsh, "Shh!" barely sparing her a glance. Slate does, however, give the following pair a much more disdained look, glaring at the muttering green 'lizard. The annoyed reptile is drawn back to the task at hand as his counterpart lights on a branch about fifteen feet in the air with a slight squeak, keeping his wings spread and intently staring at a rather large patch of brush just to the left of the small party. Glancing to his older firelizard, Logain quickly lifts his fist into the air, motioning for Kasle to freeze. Dropping to a slight crouch, he draws an arrow from his quiver and nocks it to the bowstring without bringing up the bow just yet. Both blue 'lizards crouch in anticipation, waiting for their master to give the signal…

Kasle scowls, folding her arms over her chest as she rolls her eyes. The gardener mutters quietly to herself, something about bossy little brothers and sleep and work needing to be done. It takes another couple of steps before she realizes what the raised fist means and stops a few feet behind the youngling, watching to see what's going on while Nimare continues to snore away, blissfully. It's too early to be awake!

A quick nod is all the two blues need; they both make a mad dash for the brush, causing as much chaos and confusion as possible, trying to scare out whatever is hiding in there. Nearly as soon as they enter the undergrowth, both of them come barrelling out in opposite directions, their shrieks suddenly having taken on a very different tone. Logain freezes, unsure of how to react to his firelizards coming out of the bush first. His uncertainty is abruptly quelled by a loud, very recognizable, and rather dreaded roar; a wild feline suddenly leaps out of the vegetation, frightened out of a very good nap by two very obnoxious winged pests! Logain quickly recovers from the shock of actually seeing a wild feline so close. He quickly brings his bow to bear on the beast and lets the arrow fly. Unfortunately, the sudden motion in its peripheral catches the overgrown cat's attention, and it barely manages to duck out of harm's way at the last moment. A startled shout escapes the feline as the arrow glances off its shoulder and disappears into the undergrowth. Turning toward Logain, the beast settles into a crouch, its muscles tightening like coiled springs, as it growls darkly at the young hunter. Logain starts to back away from the snarling feline in front of him and quickly tosses aside his bow and shrugs off his quiver. He yanks out his dagger and screams at his sister, "KAS, RUN!!!"

Why did Kasle even agree to come out today? She's no hunter… She doesn't even have any interest in hunting! But… Well, when her baby brother wants to spend some quality time together, who is she to argue? Still, she's bored. She's sure to be scaring off game, though she really is doing her best to keep quiet and out of the way. She just feels foolish and in the way, tagging along like some lost little canine. Even Nimare is out of place! The green sleeps straight through the commotion of the younger blues barreling into the bush, just curling tighter around her friend's neck until the other two explode into the open air and the feline roars at them. Instantly, the green is wide awake, accidentally scratching Kas's neck as she takes off with a shriek of her own, "Wha-" The gardener takes a step back when the angry beast appears, taking much longer to recover than Logain. What are they supposed to do? Their parents told them… What did they say? Then she's being screamed at to run and she straightens, pulling her completely inadequate belt knife and taking a step forward, "No, you run! Mom would KILL me if I abandoned you!" Maybe if there are two of them, they'll be able to scare off the enraged beast?

Logain tosses a quick glare toward Kasle. He opens his mouth to argue, "Kas, get he-!" A sudden ROAR!!! interrupts the short debate as the feline springs for Logain, teeth bared and claws extended. Logain barely has enough time to let out a startled shout and raise an arm in defense before the beast's momentum reduces the two of them to a snarling, flailing heap on the ground. It's unclear who is winning the fight; drops of blood taint the forest floor as boy and feline struggle for dominance, both of them crying out in a mixture of pain and ferocity. Logain's shouts of pain are enough to override the survival instincts of the young blue firelizards. Orne hesitates, searching for an opening in the mass of flailing limbs, and then dive-bombs the angry feline, fluttering in its face and slashing at its eyes. Unfortunately, he's not quite fast enough to avoid being batted away; the brave firelizard slams into a nearby tree with a sickening thud and collapses into a heap in the grass. Slate, however, has no sense of self-preservation left and barrels into the beast's side with enough momentum to knock it off of Logain. With a ferocity completely foreign for the usually laid back and relaxed 'lizard, he takes Orne's place at trying to slash the feline's eyes. The beast distracted for the moment, Logain struggles painfully to sit up. The front of his tunic is reduced to a tattered, bloody rag. Deep gashes cover his arms, chest, and shoulders, and three claw marks slice diagonally across his face, narrowly missing his right eye. "Here. You may as well use a real knife," he manages to grind out, offering his dagger to Kasle. It is obvious that he won't be rejoining the fight unless he absolutely has to.

"LOGAIN!" Kasle grips her knife in her right hand, fear gripping her heart in an iron fist. Panic makes her hesitant, but she still has enough peace of mind to call to her little green, "Nimare! Get help! Find Mom, Nimare!" She flinches when Orne is slapped aside, her eyes darting after the fallen 'lizard and then back to her pinned brother. Then brave little Slate knocks the feline aside enough for Logain to extract himself and offer her his knife. Her eyes wide, she runs forward to grab the offered weapon, switching her own knife to her other hand and putting herself between the monster and her brother, "Can you move?" Can he get himself to safety? He obviously needs a healer, but she can't spare any attention to make sure that his wounds are not lethal. With the feline distracted by the attacking blue, she lunges forward, aiming for the neck with her knife and the chest with Logain's, hoping to hit either heart or jugular.

"Painfully," Logain manages to grind out, stumbling to his feet. Another roar of pain and fury escapes the feline as its attacker darts out of reach of flailing claws; blood oozes from one of the cat's eyes, giving Kasle a perfect blindspot to slip into. Her smaller knife makes a clean, but non-fatal incision on the side of the beast's neck, while Logian's hunting knife bounces off the animal's ribs and lodges firmly in the shoulder, eliciting a much louder cry, almost a groan, of pain form the feline. It lurches to the side, dislodging the knife from his shoulder. Turning on Kasle, it snarls, its stance far more defensive this time; obviously, the feline is starting to question its chances of winning this conflict. "Kas. Move," Logain suddenly announces. He managed to regain his footing, albeit a little shakily and brings his bow to bear on the overgrown cat, an arrow already nocked to the string. Gazing into the pain in the feline's eyes, Logain hesitates. Finally, closing his own eyes, Logain slowly releases the bowstring. A familiar *snict* meets his ears followed by a thud and one last painful groan. At the rustling vegetation, he opens his eyes, seeing only a trail of fresh blood leading deeper into the forest.

Kasle's heart thunders against her ribs, her breathing a panicked panting. She gasps when the larger knife slips over the feline's ribs, but, somehow, manages to keep hold of it when the beast turns to face her. Her eyes are wide and wild-looking as she raises both knives defensively. Thank FARANTH some of the guards taught her how to fight! She looks over her shoulder when Logain tells her to move, diving to the side when she sees the arrow nocked and pointed in her direction. She watches as the arrow sails in the direction of the cat, just missing as the beast turns to run off into the underbrush. The gardener pushes herself to her feet and runs in her brother's direction, knives still clutched in white-knuckled fists, "Logain! Are you ok?" Obviously, he's not…

"I'll live," Logain answers with a tired sigh and a sloppy half-smile, before wincing at the fairly deep gashes across his upper body and muttering, "Uh, I think." A quiet chirring draws his attention to the downed Orne, Slate crouches next to his fallen comrade, quietly cooing. "Oh, no. Nononononono…" Logain mutters, dropping to his knees and crawling to his injured firelizard, the bow forgotten. He tenderly scoops up the very still reptile, and carefully examines his injuries. The edge of one wing is slightly tattered while the other points off at an odd angle, a closer examination shows that one pupil is tightly contracted and the other is very widely dilated. "C'mon, Orne," Logain murmurs and cradles the 'lizard close to his bloody chest. "Move, squawk, bite me, do something just stay with me!"

Nimare chooses that moment to reappear, chittering in agitation. Kasle calls her green to her and slowly makes her way over to the boy and fallen firelizard, sheathing her knife, "Logain?" Her brows are furrowed in worry for both firelizard and his human friend as she kneels beside them, dropping his knife and putting an arm around her little brother, "We'll get him to the dragonhealers, Logain. They'll get him patched up and he'll be annoying you again before you know it." Her voice is gentle as she tries to reassure the young hunter. Just then, there's a crashing through the undergrowth behind them, and she tenses, whirling so fast that she sits down. Is it back? Has the feline brought friends to finish them off?!

The vegetation parts to reveal their mother, running for them, "Kasle! Logain! Are you alright?!" Without waiting for an answer, she falls to her knees beside her oldest and youngest children, gathering them into her arms, "I was so worried when Nimare showed up. What happened?" It's only then that she notices her son's wounds and she gasps, "Kasle, send your firelizard for a healer. Now!" With a squawk, the green vanishes, not needing to be told twice. More rustling announces the arrival of more of the guard. They make quick work of building a stretcher to carry Logain and the unresponsive Orne back to the Weyr.

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