Qit'ria was too busy relishing in the deliciousness of Rynata's soul that she was failing to pay attention to her surroundings. Nor was she paying attention to really anything else. If she had, she might've been able to sense the connection in her spark to the one she received it from. But she didn't. She ignored the whimper of the woman beneath her that was now wriggling as she awoke. Qit'ria wanted all of it, it was just what she needed to hit that spot within her. Her lips pressed tighter against the woman's as she continued to consumer her soul.
She didn't hear the challenging roar of a large, angry beast. Nor did she see the large, furry beast running full steam at her. She didn't hear the massive paws thundering over the sand, didn't see that her soulmate had arrived, in the form of the large bear. But she did feel when the massive grizzly head slammed hard into her ribs, and threw her tumbling ass over tits into the surf. She rolled through the water, sputtering. She immediately recovered, getting her feet beneath her, a hand planted in the watery sand.
Feral, angry eyes peered through dripping strands of jet black hair at the bear that now stood defensively over Rynata. He was massive, and Qit hadn't seen him for several seasons, having suspected him to have been hibernating during winter. But it seemed he was here now. And he was angry, attacking her. She could feel it in him, through their connection. And in her state, her unbroken feasting, her own spark was furious, and so, she was as well. She snarled viciously at the bear. He was taking her kill. She had to take it back.
She drew a javelin, spinning it about in her free hand until she snapped it facing forward. She charged forward, her teeth bared, the sand slipping beneath her feet, as she ran toward her only friend in the world. The bear charged forward, kicking sand up over Rynata. Qit'ria hiked her arm back, holding the spear steady as she ran. She pressed forward heavily as she heaved it, aiming for the shoulder, hoping to pierce deep enough to hit a lung or heart behind the dense muscle there.
But the throw missed, for Bear Unleashed, changing forms suddenly as he leapt toward Qit. In the bear's place was a large tortoise, flying at her like a stone thrown by a giant. It tucked its head into the shell as it slammed into the woman, throwing her backward into the surf, her chest exploding in pain. As she tried to recover, she found herself pinned under the beast, her lips just barely above the choppy surf. She took in a deep breath before another wave crashed over her.
Another gasp, another wave, her limbs flailing, trying to remove this damned tortoise from atop her. But her blows on him did nothing. She was in full blown panic now, thinking Bear was about to drown her, as the air between waves grew more and more fleeting. Her spark sang out, and she tapped into the totem on her wrist and ripped out the essence from within it, stuffing it into her soul. Immediately the pressure was relieved as she Unleashed, becoming the aye-aye mouse, her first form. She kicked away from the tortoise, swimming awkwardly toward the surface.
Her mouse head with big ears broke through and she took in several gasps. Then the tortoise's beak picked her up by the tail and dangled her out of the water. The tortoise then began walking toward the beach. Qit fought and struggled, squeaking loudly, flailing about, trying to shake free. But the Unleash, an ability she'd only used once before, took a lot out of her. She already had a headache, and after several trills, the flailing stopped, for an aye-aye mouse can only handle so much panic before it just shuts down. Bear lowered the mouse to the sand, then shifted into his human form, naked, hairy, muscular, ginger.
He knelt next to Rynata, "Are you okay?"
He knew she wouldn't be. Surviving a flaying was likely one of the worst things one can experience. It traumatized the very soul of a person. He knew she'd be scared, weak, and he was there to try and calm her down, all the while keeping an eye on his errant pupil's still form.
Eventually, Qit'ria came to, groggy, whiskers twitching as she took in the cacophony of smells that came with this form. Bear was sitting in front of her, cross legged, staring at the mouse very sternly. "Change back. Now. Run, and I will kill you Qit'ria, I swear it." Qit'ria was sore all over, her head throbbed and vision blurry, as she nodded her little mouse head. Slowly, she shifted back to her Sev'ryn form, appearing in front of Bear, naked and ashamed under his glare.
She saw her belongings in a pile next to Bear, but she said nothing. She didn't know what it was she did, but she knew she'd crossed a line.
"If she dies, so do you. Flayers cannot be tolerated Qit'ria."
Bear got up, and went back over to Rynata, scooping her up easily, carrying her back over to where Qit'ria sat, and gently laid the partially flayed woman before him, cradling her gently. He spoke softly to her, trying to coax her into full consciousness, praying she recovered. He was there for her, ready to comfort her, to answer any questions she might have.
And the first tears began to roll down Qit'ria's face. She didn't understand, didn't realize just how much Bear's opinion mattered to her, but she knew she'd disappointed him. She didn't make a production of it, but the tears wouldn't be stopped. Tears that hadn't flowed since her sisters died, over ten arcs ago.