• Closed • Unseen Enemy.

Qit'ria and Nir'wei are sent on a mini-adventure.

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Nir'wei
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Race: Sev'ryn
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Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:31 am

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18th Vhalar, 717.

True enough, working at the Skye Verath Lodge in Rynmere had been a damn pain in the backside. Providing for enough mounts to arm the entirety of the Xiur Skyriders was never an easy task, he could say that much with absolute clarity. However, compared to the Menagerie's daily schedule, it was a damn cake walk. The Lodge's cares extended mostly towards Volareon and Jacadon as far as he'd found, and rarely the occasional Sarkin or other aquatic mount. Regular stables covered most of the regular horses, and with two utter experts of the two primary animals constantly on-hand, the real bulk of the workload was already taken care of by several pairs of competent hands before he walked through the front door. The rest of it spanned a whopping two species, meaning he never really had to expand himself... just follow the same routines day in and day out, which honestly he didn't even mind, since it allowed him to do what Poppy and Gaspard had already spent a good deal of their lives doing - honing their craft to perfection.

The Menagerie, on the other hand, was an utter hot-pot of madness. All manner of horses running in the fields, along with Dinili in their pens, a smattering of Hafrein for long-range scouts. Enormowl taking refuge in the trees making up the bulk of the air troop mounts, Scalvwing Steeds in their own little area on the other side of the Menagerie grounds. Irawaddies swimming through the underwater pens a short distance away for the few water troops, along with Merquestrians. All of them needed attention and regular checks, and without any specific experts on any of them, it all fell pretty much to him since although he lacked a good deal of understanding of these creatures, he was generally more practised.

Traveller normally followed him everywhere, but today he'd taken off into the skies and vanished for most of the early morning. He didn't worry, of course - the Sohr Khal was more than capable of looking after himself without him on his back to weigh him down, and it wasn't in Traveller's nature to suddenly abandon, as he'd already learned. For that day he was out in the field with an Enormowl, tossing seed every time it successfully took to the air with the proper hand gesture, when one of the vets approached from behind. Greyhide, still in spirit-form to avoid spooking the animals, warned him in advance, and Nir'wei spun on the spot just as the young woman reached to tap him on the shoulder. "Yes?"

She recoiled in surprise but recovered fairly quickly. Still, she didn't look very happy. "We've got a new trapper joining us today, and as it turns out, we could really use some more Hafrein in preparation for an expansion into the mountains." He nodded - this had been the top talk for a good few days since its announcement. "Unfortunately..." she paused and winced sympathetically. "Everyone else is occupied. We were wondering if you wouldn't mind accompanying him. He's at the reception waiting for you." Hafrein. Docile creatures as far as he was aware, if tough and durable, which of course made them ideal mounts for the more wild terrains. A chore to hunt down, however necessary, since they'd never provide any real thrill. On top of it, he'd be working with a new recruit, which could go one of two ways - either he was going to be working with an amateur that'd spend the entire day following their tracks, or he was working with a professional that could get the job done in under a trial and ride them back to boot.

"I'll deal with it." He tossed the little bag of goodies to the vet, who just about caught them before the Enormowl landed once more and started nudging against her, expecting more. On the way, he made sure to pick up his short-bow, slinging it over his shoulder in its leather case along with a full quiver. They might not be hunting, but nothing stopping them from being hunted along the way. On that vein of thought, he grabbed his pack, complete with a solid length of rope, waterskin, hunting knife, all the other general essentials. As he'd already learned, it never hurt to be prepared.

Gear gathered he walked straight to the reception and straight through it without a glance to Qit. "Come on, the sooner we get this done, the sooner I can get back and start training these guys. We've only got a few trials, if that, before the Elements saddle up for their expedition, and I don't fancy getting yelled at." If he had Traveller with him, they could be in the Sweetvine Woods in a matter of bits. Well, he could be. Even with express permission, Traveller wasn't a beast of burden and he didn't like carrying more than one person if he could. He was built for speed, after all.
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Qit'ria
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Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:52 am

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"Common Speech"
"Xanthean Speech"


Qit'ria had finally heard that the massive tree was called the Menagerie, which included a wide expanse of grounds around it. A merchant she had sold some hide to told her all about it, or at least the publicly available knowledge. She learned that it was for the raising and training of various types of mounts for some group known as the Ella's Mentals. Weird name for sure. He told her how they were always busy up to their neck, and always needing help. Qit'ria wasn't interested, she hunted animals, not raised them. But as she was about to leave he mentioned how they'd recently announced that they'd be heading to the mountains to gather more of the less common mounts.

"They hunt?"

"In a manner of speaking lass. They don't kill them, they capture alive, either through traps or tactics. Usually they look for females, with or without spawn. Females are good for breeding obviously, whereas the young ones are easier to train. Always good money for those on the retrieval side of things. Less annoyances too I bet. Catch one, drop it off, no need to fuss with training it and all that. Leave that to experts right?"

The man laughed loudly at his joke, but Qit was already turning on heel and making her way out of the town proper and heading straight for the Menagerie. Her breeches rubbed at her thigh wound, but since the healer known as Faith had patched her up, it was already feeling better, if a bit itchy though. The shoulder was a bit better, but it wasn't moving nearly as much. Her pack was slung over her shoulder, her sword strapped to her injured leg, and her javelins strapped to her back. She had a chakram hanging from her waist, and throwing knives in various pockets. Her feet were bare and dirty as usual, but the woman absolutely refused footwear except for in the coldest of seasons.

She never left her camp unprepared, and ever since she'd been hunted, she made sure to always be bit more ready for anything. But she had realized one thing. The merchant said the lands around the tree were for the Menagerie, so it seemed that it was possible that the horse she'd tried to kill belonged to it. Which meant the man with his dragonbird and wolf might belong here as well. Perhaps as a type of guard. Could even be one of Ella's mentals for all she knew.

Upon entering the lands, she realized that this place was utter chaos. Animals were running everywhere, some with trainers, some freely, others being chased after by the trainers. It was a madhouse. And Qit'ria detested it. These people were trying to bring civilization to these animals, these wild animals. She wondered if the animals were smart enough to hate it too. As she walked, unmolested by any of the staff there, for they were all incredibly busy with their own work, she searched the skies and branches for any sign of the dragonbird.

But there was no sighting of it. She did stand in awe of the sheer immensity of the tree though. She had no idea they could get so big, and she was from Desnind, with its enormous forests. It must be thousands of years old. The things it must've seen would be impressive. Would it be bothered by all the chaos around it?

Eventually some disheveled and muddied woman approached her, "Are you the new trapper? We've been expecting you, though they say trappers are always late. Why is that? Doesn't matter. We're so terribly short on Hafrein for the mountain journey. Go up to reception, they'll find someone to show you the ropes." she pointed at a building in the distance before continuing, "I thought you were supposed to be a man? Oh well, doesn't matter, probably misheard. Anyways, go on, its your first day and I ain't got... There you are you son of a bitch!"

The woman stomped off and Qit turned to watch her, confused, seeing that the entirety of her back was clean compared to the front. Qit could only assume he'd fallen face first in the mud. And now it seemed she was chasing after a horse. It had all been so sudden, but it seemed she'd been confused for a different trapper that hadn't bothered to show up. Shrugging, she made her way to reception, where she gave her name, and was told she was hired by a very exasperated looking woman. The woman said she'd go get her trainer, some man to show her how things were done around here.

So Qit stood there in the corner, arms crossed, watching the chaos of workers, customers, and in one case a very large owl looking thing coming and going through reception. How would she ever find the one who'd hunted her here? It seemed most people here couldn't even find their asses, let alone something important.

A man walked in and began talking like he was in charge of the place. And for all Qit knew, he was. Hell, he'd not even looked at her, not that she cared, seemed he was ready to go. Fine by her, she wasn't much of a talker anyways. And she'd had more than enough experience with Hafrein deer to capture one, she thought. She already had a few ideas in mind. This man seemed like a hunter, and he had a bow, though most people did these days. Qit had her mother's bow, but hadn't dared use it yet.

Sweetwine was a day away on foot, and was the ideal place to find the deer. Her and Kali'riel had found a whole mess of them last season. The boat to Sweetwine, down the river, would be quicker. "We go boat,. Follow river half day. Sweetwine we catch Half Rain deer. Walk back, one trial." And with that stated matter of factly, she left reception, heading toward the part of town that met the river, even if she'd never actually caught the boat herself previously. No need to be too social. It would just put her in a fowl mood.
Created by Yolande
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Nir'wei
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:38 am
Race: Sev'ryn
Profession: Animal Handler of The Menagerie
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:28 am

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He thought nothing of her, until she opened her mouth. Perhaps she spoke in very broken Common? He could only hope, but then again, she seemed Sev'ryn by first appearance, so he turned just enough to look back at her over one shoulder. "You speak the Tongue?" he asked her in Xanthean. The moment he found that she did, he sighed silently in relief and carried straight on. At least he wasn't working with an actual cavewoman raised in the woods by bears or something equally stupid - he'd already met one of those before, and it really hadn't been an experience he wished to repeat. "No boats can run down those rivers, they're too narrow and shallow. We'll have to walk. I've got everything I need for a long journey but if you don't, I suggest you go now, collect all the gear you'll need for a couple night's rest in a tent, and meet up with me at the dock. Once we catch the Hafrein, we'll make camp just outside the woods and make the returning journey the next day. If we're lucky, they'll be docile enough that we'll be able to ride them back, but I wouldn't bet on it."

"Did you notice something interesting?" Greyhide suddenly spoke through their mental connection, trotting alongside Nir'wei in his translucent spirit form, invisible to anyone but him for the time being. He'd taken to that form quite often as of yet, even though anyone looking into Nir'weis eyes or into his mouth would be able to tell he was marked as a Wolf-Walker, even if they didn't know what that truly was. The eyes and fangs of a wolf in his mouth were a quite obvious sign, even to those that had never seen its mark before. "This one has javelins on her back." He hadn't noticed - he'd barely thrown more than a casual glance in her general direction - but now he took the time to turn around and really look at her. It was true - the long points of a small clutch of javelins thrust over one shoulder, but so did many, many other weapons.

"If you're going back to get anything you can throw some of those things away. We're hunting Hafrein, not Sohr Khal... and carrying too many weapons slows you down and makes too much noise. Any prey will hear you at three hundred feet." Unsheathed metal, like the bizarre sharpened metal rings at her wrist, were especially useless for this exact reason... without leather to separate them, they all jangled and clattered against one-another like an entire kitchen strapped to your back. To Greyhide, he spoke back through their mental connection once more. "Javelins don't prove anything. Keep your mind on Hafrein and off weirdos." The last thing he wanted at that moment was to be constantly looking over his shoulder for that person. Besides, they already had a bounty on their head, he'd seen it put up himself just after he reported the whole incident to the Elements upon returning. A much better bounty hunter than he would hunt her down before he so much as sniffed her hide again.

The moment they made it clear of the city and down to the narrower country roads dotted with only the occasional farmhouse or hunters lodge, he stretched out his hand and Greyhide materialised under it, appearing from nothing as if gathering himself together from the air itself. "This is Greyhide, by the way. He'll be helping us sniff down the Hafrein... Stagrein if we're lucky; I hear there's rumour a whole family is lodged somewhere deep in the forest, though I'll wait to see it with my own eyes before I start combing the place for them. We'll have to hope we can pick up a good game trail and follow it to them, and not some blasted Oh-Deer. Those things are vicious."
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Qit'ria
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:01 pm

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"Common Speech"
"Xanthean Speech"


Qit'ria felt her mood lifted a bit as the man switched to her native tongue. Xanthean truly was the perfect language. Common was so... ugly and harsh and... common. She listened to his feedback on her river idea, and inwardly scolded herself. She'd not gone to the river herself to see firsthand if it was suitable for travel. But it wasn't the end of the world, after all, a new hire, a new person might be new to the area. The man certainly appeared to be a true Sev'ryn man. In proper Xanthean, while nodding at the man, "Yes, that is a good plan. " Qit'ria picked up her travel pack, tent secured at the bottom of it where a rucksack might normally be. She slung it over her left shoulder, opposite where her javelins were. She was always ready to move these days, ever since she'd awoke in that mud next to the river.

The woman normally wouldn't be so ready to accept someone else's lead. But this man had no foolishness, he looked to be a hunter like her, and he spoke her language. He deserved the benefit of the doubt. So she let him take lead. She'd watch him, prove herself to him. But the man then moved on to assume she didn't know how to be quiet, that she was some sort of weapon enthusiast that had no business being in the wild. Scowling, she hurried her gait, walking past the man, putting an obvious hop in her step. The javelins that hung over her shoulder did not hang loosely. The leather straps she used separated them, kept them taut against her skin. For added emphasis, she shook the strap and the javelins never rattled. She raised and dropped the chakram from its waist strap. The lightest of slap against her breech covered thigh.

She might not be the best huntress, the best trapper, but if there was one thing she was confident in her ability in, it was walking silently through the tree shaped shadows in the forest. This man's breathing alone let her know that he wasn't able to sneak up on a hafrein. So as they left the city, she didn't speak, rather she watched the lands around her. Qit'ria watched out of the corner of her eye as the man revealed the invisible wolf he called Greyhide. Having recently been hunted by a wolf, Qit'ria wasn't a particular fan of such a creature. And one that could appear and disappear at will? That was a most dangerous predator. The man then mentioned some other deer that Qit'ria did not yet know. Stagrein and Oh-deer. Vicious deer? She'd never heard of such a thing. But that it existed, that brought a bit of excitement to the woman's belly.

She shook her head at part of his statement though, "Following a game trail is good for killing one or two. But you want them alive. We need to set traps. Find a water source. Watch in silence. Trap the escape routes. Spook them into the traps. "



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Nir'wei
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Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:59 pm

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She stepped ahead, bouncing purposefully to show how little sound she made, and he snorted softly with the faint beginnings of a smile. "Maybe I'm not babysitting a half-wit after all." Perhaps he was exaggerating a little, though. "Always pays to assume you are, though. Assume the worst and you'll never be disappointed. Or at least, not as often." He liked to believe he had a fairly broad imagination, yet there were still some who manage to fall to new levels of idiocy beyond what he could expect.

When she objected to his plan and suggested a new one, he shook his head and reached into his backpack. "That'd be a good enough plan, if we had the time. Sadly, that's the one thing we're lacking right now. We set up a small camp, map out every route in the Sweetvine Woods, wait outside one of a hundred water sources and just hope a sizeable number of Hafrein choose that one to visit... it'll take quite a few, perhaps even several trials before we end up getting anything out of it. We're wasting enough time on the journey there and back without spending all our time setting up trap after trap, most of which will never be tripped, waiting placidly for them to eventually come to us when they've got the entirety of the Sweetvine Woods to move around in freely." Instead, he pulled a small bottle from his bag and waggled it before the other hunter.

"Scarf Rot. Sleeper agent that works by smearing it on your weapons, in this case, arrows and javelins. Picked it up from back in the Menagerie." He really needed to learn how this stuff was made - apparently they also had a paralytic imported from Rynmere, made by that horrid little spider he was only glad he'd not met. "With the help of Greyhide, the three of us can bring the hunt to them... and at high concentrations made by the vet, all we should need is one solid hit to deliver the dose. Attack by surprise, each mapping out which prey we take and hitting as fast as possible, we'll be able to systematically take out families at a time, put them all to sleep, hunt them down, tie them up and lead them back to camp."

"Plus," he continued, fitting the little bottle back into a little pocket in his bag, he shook his quiver and pulled out one of the arrows. "This is why I like using bows, personally. You can vary the types of arrows you shoot." This one had a rather distinct head - much broader and more shallow. "Wider head means it doesn't sink as deep. Less likely to sink all the way in and penetrate organs. It'll still deliver the payload and send them to sleep, as long as it hits solidly, but there's little worry of causing excessive damage to prospective new mounts with this. It's really a type of arrow made for hunting smaller game, like rabbits and squirrels. Made to stun them instead of shoot through them and rip them to shreds, because of course that ruins the hide if that's what you're after, and just generally makes a much worse mess than just hitting them with something flat and heavy." Another thing he really needed to learn how to make for future use.

Slotting the arrow back amongst the others, he glanced back over the other hunter and her javelins. "I hope you've got something other than that, though. I guess if you want to set up traps, you can... I can use my bow to funnel them down into them, and snag the ones I don't manage to hit, but honestly we don't have time for all that. The sooner we're in and out of this place, the better." The sooner Traveller gets back from wherever he'd gone for the trial, the better. If they wanted to watch the watering grounds, he could fly over all of them at once to find where the Hafrein were. Trees didn't grow on lakes and rivers, not in the Sweetvine.
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Qit'ria
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Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:24 am

Qit'ria threw up her hands in annoyance and frustration. This man had the most ridiculous of plans and ideas. She was beginning to regret this new opportunity. She didn't need it, but she knew of her reasons. To find the man that hunted her. To make him feel what it was like to be running like a hare. So she would have to put up with idiots. This man spoke of hunting as if it were just an annoyance, a means to an end. He wanted it rushed, finished and over with quickly? Instead of being careful, prepared. He had his toys, his poison for putting them to sleep. He said he got it from the Many Gerry, the big tree. Perhaps she could get some from there, a sleeping poison would be most useful. Scraff Rot Sweeper Aging. Weird name.

Such a know it all. She found her disdain of this man growing the more and more he spoke. She grunted at him, agreeing to his plan. She had her throwing knives, she wasn't nearly as versed in them as her javelins, but they'd leave more shallow wounds. And she was certain she could sneak up on Hafrein if she were careful. That is if she could get this man to stop talking about how great he is and how his ideas are best for more than a trill. Annoyed, Qit didn't speak for the rest of the uneventful journey to Sweetwine, not when they first made camp near to Sweetwine.

And certainly not as she crept from her tent silently before sunrise. She pulled one of her javelins and struck it in the dirt outside of her tent, hoping that would be more than enough of a message that she'd be back should he wonder. She didn't care really, but it would at least keep him from trying to follow her. She left the camp, keeping her steps light, stepping only in areas where she wouldn't leave obvious tracks, and avoiding the debris. The sun would be rising in a couple of breaks, and Qit wanted to set a few traps.

It didn't take long to find a game trail, and Qit sneaked along it, keeping an ear open for anything amiss. She followed along it, looking for the right kind of bend. And eventually she found it. A sharp bend around a thick foliage of briars and small, close growing trees. Qit picked a spot, just around the curve, where she suspected that if a hafrein were to run, it wouldn't have time to react to her trap. Looking up she smiled. The spirits were being generous today, for there was an incredibly sturdy looking branch over the path. Setting her pack down at the base, she looked up. The lowest branch was a bit beyond her standing jump height.

But maybe there was another way. She walked down the path from the tree, turned to face it, and bounced up and down on the balls of her feet for a bit, psyching herself up. Then she sprinted at the tree, full out. Once she got close, she planted one of her feet on the root and leapt upward off it, reaching up for the branch. And she slammed right into the trunk, and fell backwards in a heap with a groan. Her fingers hadn't event touched the branch. But now she was mad, her pride hurting. She backed up to where she started from and a bit further. Once more she sprinted at it, planting her foot a bit closer to the trunk and trying to focus more on upward height. Her fingers scraped the bottom of the branch before she crashed into the trunk again.

Snarling in frustration, she tried once again. She leapt from the root, and one of her feet found purchase, accidentally in her flailing, against the trunk. She used that momentary purchase to push upward just a bit more, arms outstretched. She got a single hand around the branch before slamming into the trunk hard. But she refused to let loose her victorious grip. Reaching up, she got her other hand around the branch, and walked and pulled herself up the tree and onto the branch. Sitting there, she roared triumphantly. She didn't care who or what heard.

Scooching out along the branch, she tied it at the base, and let a loop of slack hang down. She wrapped it twice around the branch, then hung down another loop, and another. She repeated the process several times using most of her rope. She adjusted the height of the loops several times, trying to judge them to be at the height of hafrein antlers.

Climbing back down, she studied the loops that hung down loosely. She suspected they might need a bit of weight to them, so they didn't just blow out of the way of charging hafrein, to ensure they snagged the antlers. She gathered up several sticks and vines, and tied them to dangle at the bottom of the loops. Furthermore, she used her remaining rope to tie a taut trip wire ahead of her snag traps between two trees at a bit higher than her ankles. The plan was to trip some, and snag some, possibly both. Satisfied, she gathered up her pack, and made her way back to the camp, slipping out of the trees, seeing the sun beginning to rise over the smoldering embers of their previous night's fire.
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Nir'wei
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Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:25 am

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The walk was long... and boring. He'd not realized how much, in the few short days since acquiring a flying mount, he really used Traveller to get around. Not everywhere, of course - every animal needed its rest, especially since flying took a lot more out of the body than walking did - but such long distances like these, that took entire days by foot, could be covered in a fraction of that time when flying. For Traveller, flying at full speed as Nir'wei often pushed him due to that wound on his wing, it took a fraction of that fraction! He could swoop over the trees that now forced him to walk around, over hills that he trudged over, skimming straight to his destination instead of carefully weaving a path around lakes, rivers, villages and all sorts. More gnats; more annoyances biting away at his mind. He'd suffered far too many of them already. At least for the rest of their walk, Qit'ria was silent, even if she looked like she really couldn't stand to be in his company. Funny, since he felt pretty much identical.

"You're never normally this tense." He glanced down and met Greyhide's eyes for a brief moment. The wolf felt, and looked, concerned. It wasn't the concern of a friend anymore though. Since becoming a true wolf, and since becoming bound to Nir'wei in a very deep and spiritual way, his emotions had grown stronger, but they'd also grown... more mature. His disquiet was that of an elder, perhaps even a father figure for that of their young adopted son. "Honestly, I thought that he was bad with how he constantly chases after you whenever you disappear for five ticks. Turns out you're just as bad, aren't you." Nir'wei didn't bother to reply, he could feel a tinge of amusement worming its way through all that warm caring. The wolf already knew that he was right. It wasn't his fault, though - Traveller might be a giant beast of a creature, but he had the temperament of a puppy. What if other Sohr Khal ended up pinning him down again, and Nir'wei wasn't around to help?

As the day crept on and the Sweetvine Woods slipped into view, they took up camp just as the last lights faded from the sky. He took the liberty of setting up a small fire between both of their tents with wood collected by Greyhide, arranged in a cone to allow air to reach all of the wood and burn more evenly than a simple loose pile. "We'll start first thing in the morning, I suppose." As Nir'wei climbed into his tent, Greyhide took his place at the tent's entrance, his head just peeking through the flaps to watch for intruders... and to watch Qit'ria when she rose before the next sunrise to go into the woods alone. The wolf's strange blue eyes seemed to hold a little amusement in them and watched Qit with perhaps a little more caution than would normally be necessary, even to a complete stranger.

Nir'wei awoke as Qit returned. "Have fun?" he asked, tugging on his shirt and buckling a bracer to his forearm. "Come on. The sooner we can get these things rounded up, the sooner we can get back and I can start training them." After all of this nonsense, Qit'ria would be able to wander off and take up the next small job... Nir'wei would have to take every single Hafrein they caught today and train them to be war-mounts for the coming seasons. That sounded like a barrel of laughs indeed. "So, let's get started. Lead the way; the further we get from your traps, the better chance we have of catching something today." He didn't bother mentioning how Archailist had followed her and told him what she was doing... that part she could be left to wonder about as they begun through the Sweetvine Woods.
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Qit'ria
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Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:04 pm

Common Text
Xanthean Text
Kashehino Text

Qit'ria's eyes narrowed at Nir'wei as he spoke. She really didn't enjoy the fact of his constant need to take charge, boss her around. But even more so, she didn't like that he knew what she was doing. Maybe he just guessed. Qit'ria didn't think that to be the case, though. She was fairly certain that he'd not followed her. She'd have to keep a close eye on him. There was something more to this man. She was sure of it.

But he did make sense on putting distance between them and her traps. Especially because she couldn't be sure that he could move as undetected as she could. She doubted it. He certainly didn't seem to be the type, particularly with how much he liked to talk. Qit'ria drew a javelin, and held it atop her shoulder, not saying anything to him, just providing a curt nod.

Twilight was barely streaming through the trees as Qit led the way into the woods proper. She quickly made her way onto the game trail she'd trapped, but in the opposite direction. Her eyes were constantly scanning the shadows ahead and around her, her footsteps carefully dropped and quiet. Every so often as they passed a tree or bush, she'd slip a hand into her armpit, then rub it on the plant. This was to intentionally place her scent there, in the hopes that if any of the deer followed along this end of the path, they'd smell her, and go the opposite way.

As she continued along, her eyes caught sight of some tracks in the dirt. She bent down, touching them. The dirt was still a bit damp, morning dew, pliable and soft. They were hooves, two long tear drops above two small blobs, that much was clear. And they did seem a bit bigger than the standard deer she normally ran across. That had to be them. She looked at where the tracks had come from, a bit off the path to her left. She stopped there at the intersection, and stooped again. These tracks were deeper.

The creature had stopped. She looked at the foliage within reach of these tracks, and found that none were eaten upon. So why did it.. then she saw the bark on the tree. It was scratched at, bark stripped away in long grooves, from root to eyelevel. A buck had been here, marking his territory. She saw that the ground was scraped away as well, damp. She pressed her fingers to it, then to her tongue. Bitter, salty. Urine marking. He was rutting, she was sure of it. Which meant he was seeking females.

All they had to do was follow the tracks, and they could find several females, who preferred to live together. And if it truly were rutting season, they would find other males seeking the does, competing for them, mating with them. So she stood up and began to follow the buck's tracks along the game trail, not worried about what the bossy man was doing, as long as he was doing it quietly.
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Nir'wei
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Race: Sev'ryn
Profession: Animal Handler of The Menagerie
Renown: +146
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Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:58 am

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He hadn't made how he felt about this job much of a secret. But with Qit'ria in the lead, for the first time, he actually got a good look at her skills. She was good. His attempt at quiet left much room for improvement; his sleeves snagged on the underbrush no matter where he tried to put his hands, and their silence was often broken by dried leaves and twigs crunching under his feet. Greyhide was a mulled shadow, ghosting along beside him and making him feel even more a fool for how easily the wolf traversed the thorny underbelly of the forest with a near-mocking snort every time he looked back at Nir'wei. At least being slight of build and marginally light, they wouldn't hear Nir'wei coming from three miles away... but the chances of getting close unnoticed were very slim indeed. Then again, that was why he brought a bow. As long as he saw them before they saw him and as long as he hit his mark, he'd make a successful trip out of this.

She had good instincts. Being at the front, she always found the marks first - tracks on the ground, scrapes in the trees. He could only tag along behind and nod appreciatively every time she spotted another clue in the trail. No clear signs of droppings, no nibbled leaves or plucked berries, but there were a good few wet stains along some of the trees at the lower levels, and layers of stripped bark on the upper ones. Hafrein bucks would be more difficult to train, more arrogant and resistant, but they'd be hardier. If they were lucky, there might even be a few with the potential to have that resilience channelled into a proper battle mindset; they'd make excellent mounts for the more seasoned soldiers that were more used to having a wild beast between their legs. The females and more docile males would make for better training mounts and for the younger, less seasoned soldiers.

Suddenly, a tingling. It felt like a faint prickling on the inside of his nose, but really it was his Velduris mark working its ethereal hunter-magic. Prey nearby. He was sure Greyhide felt it too, for he stopped dead in his tracks at the exact same moment. However, there was no telling what it was exactly... or where it was exactly... but it also told him that it hadn't noticed either of them yet. Whether they'd caught wind of a rabbit or the Hafrein they'd been hunting, it was time to prepare. "I think we're nearby." Cautiously he drew one of the wide-head arrows from his quiver and nocked it to his bow, one hand holding it firmly against the taut wood while he uncorked one of the small vials and wet the tip with a few droplets of the mysterious poison. They'd never said exactly how much should be used, but as long as he didn't try to fill the Hafrein with the stuff, they should be fine. It wasn't particularly strong, not even a full paralytic, but it'd slow them down enough to make them easier to control.

His senses paid off. A few minutes later they found her - a lone female temporarily broken off from the rest. Her thick brown hide blended surprisingly well into the surrounding foliage - they could have easily walked right by her, if they weren't already on the lookout. He whispered a quiet breath of prayer to Karem and, whether in reply or through sheer dumb luck, he managed not to accidentally trip and fall as they drew within range, Nir'wei crouched low and Greyhide in tow, looking everywhere at once for signs of the rest of the group. There were definitely more, the tingling in his nose made him feel like he was about to sneeze, though he felt no need to. This was just another stroke of luck; if they took one down quietly while the rest were away, they'd have at least one bagged even if the others all got away. "Go on, you take it." As much as he felt the need to make use of the new arrows and poison just for the sake of having it, Qit being at the head gave her the clearest shot... even if it was with a javelin of all things.
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Qit'ria
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 7:42 pm

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Qit'ria saw the doe from a fair bit out. The huntress found it quite odd that she was out here alone. It hadn't detected them yet, which was lucky considering 'somebody' was practically stomping through the forest with how loud he was, snagging on branches and the like. Even talking? All it took was a momentary change or even a lull in the wind to carry a sound to the doe. And if she startled, the rest of the family that was surely nearby would be gone as well.

Nir'wei wanted her to take it down, which was fine with Qit'ria. She soft stepped through the brush, taking a round about route, eyes constantly looking for other deer. A lone female might be waiting on a buck to come and mount her. Which would be dangerous for them, getting ambushed by a rowdy buck. Qit'ria moved into place, so that she was off to the side and a bit behind the doe, feeling the soft wind around them, thankfully in their favor. She had to rethink her normal method, since she was going for a maiming and not a lethal blow. That meant the entire middle and front of the animal was off limits. Any strike there risked organ damage.

That meant haunches. Strike it in a rear hip, temporarily cripple it. She readied the throw, having to do it from only the waist up. She couldn't afford to take the extra steps to ready the throw by skipping into it or stomping it forward, it would draw the attention of the deer. Stealth strike was key. Gripping it, she waited, focusing on her breathing, watching as the doe bent down to eat. She took a few bites, popped up to look around, and then returned down once more. The moment her teeth clamped around a small weed, Qit'ria's arm snapped forward. She let it roll off the inside of her hand, to guide it straighter by touch. There was a very slight whistle to it, one that didn't normally accompany her throws, and she smiled. That sound was just like her mother's throws. She was improving.

It streaked across the way, and sunk right into the muscle high on the back hip, just ahead of the joint. It knocked the deer over, and Qit'ria was already rushing forward as quiet as she could, in order to quiet the injured deer as quickly as possible. The striking point allowed the deer to move its hind leg back but not forward, so standing with its back legs became near impossible. Qit leapt on it like a spider monkey, avoiding the kicking front legs. She wrapped one arm around the neck of the deer, and with her spare hand, gripped around its snout and mouth. She squeezed hard, clamping its mouth shut so it could moan for help. Then she began to apply pressure on its throat, cutting off its breathing. She straddled it sideways, on her knees, one above and another below its torso. As it kicked, and fought, she adjusted with it, and kept squeezing. It fought and fought until the kicks were slower, lesser, and then it fell limp.

Immediately Qit'ria released her hold on it, not wishing to kill it. She moved off it, seeing that its chest was still rising and falling slowly, shallow breaths, but breaths nonetheless. Pulling her coil of rope out, she cut a length of it. Using this, she tied its forelegs together, which she then tied to its uninjured back leg. She examined her work, realizing that if it awoke when they went for the rest of the herd, it could still cry out and warn them. She had no way to know when it would wake up. And the rope she brought was too thick to tie around its mouth in any decent way. She untied her top, then bent down by it. She tied the straps around its mouth several times and secured them, then used the thicker cloth that covered her breasts to cover its eyes. This would help to keep it calmer, keep from crying out, and still allow it to breathe. She wasn't worried about it starving or running out of water. They wouldn't be that long.

Standing up, she yanked her javelin free, wiping the blood on some foliage. She then turned to Nir'wei, before nodding her head eastward, into the wind. She hadn't found signs of tracks yet, but if searching blind, best to not be smelled first. Once more, she dipped into a crouch, and began to lead the way, hoping they could find several more this time.
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