• Solo • Bearly Qualified

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Bearly Qualified

1st Ymiden, Arc 718

"Our scouts spotted the bear to the north. Must've wandered down from Bastard's Grove. Or crawled out of some den in the hills. Who knows where it's keeping it's den. Your only concern is that it is interfering with travel from Witherfield to Yaralon. The bear makes the millet-eaters and featherbelts nervous. It raids our supplies at night, and has sacked all the green warriors we've sent after it."

The two archers that had been commissioned to follow her stood at attention. "We'll lead you through the wilderness, but your role will be the most important. That's why we've given you a longbow."

Alora leaned against the quality longbow they'd given her as an advance on this contract. It wasn't a weapon she was familiar with, having a preference for swinging a mace or Ki'Enaq maneuvers. Close combat had been her preferred method of murder until now. She wasn't averse to trying something different, though. Far from it. She'd meant to learn some more ranged combat arts. "So, I take it one of you is going to teach me to use this bow?"

The two hunters looked at each other. One of them smiled and nodded at her, "That's the plan. Mind, we don't expect to make an expert of you within a few trials. But you will learn the basics."

Why did Alora get the feeling that they were grooming her as bait for this beast? Well, nevermind. She had to prove herself at one point, and against some blood-crazed beast was as good a way as any. Besides, she supposed she'd have their backup.

"Well then, boys, let's get on the trail."

They departed from Withersfield within the break, but not before Alora bought some ammunition for her new bow. A quiver of forty good arrows would have to suffice. She also carried a staff-torch, with a sharpened spike carved into the base. It was good to have a fire, they told her, as it would light the way. One of them snickered as the other told her this, but she dismissed their mirth. She already knew what they thought about her. She was the bait, they were the real hunters. She would enjoy turning the tables on them.

They looked for signs of abandoned camps on the horizon. A pillar of black smoke rose in the distance, the tell-tale sign of a campfire gone out. She redoubled her pace, making a longer stride than her two woodsmen. They crested the hill, and sighted the source of the smoke. A campground that appeared to be in disarray. They could see that fieldcraft equipment had been trampled, a lean-to collapsed. It seemed already their search bore fruit. If this was the same bear terrorizing travelers, they'd need only to track it down to its den.

Alora held her bow at her side, while descending the hill, leading the two archers accompanying her. Once there, they all inspected the ground. "Here, the ground is dry but you can see where he tramped the grass and cut it with his claws. This is one big bastard we're dealing with."

The other man looked nervous. And Alora had thought Yari relished the idea of a glorious death. These Witherfield men were of a different stock.

"Let's make camp here then." She suggested. The two men looked at each other for a few moments, then the lead scout nodded his agreement to her.

"The bear might return..." The other stammered.

"Isn't that what we want? To draw it out. What better way than by lingering on its territory?"

"Alright," Said the lead scout, "But keep the noise down and don't set a fire. Bears are skittish around human activity."

"I thought this bear was a problem? If all anyone had to do was make noise..."

The scout shook his head, "Too many would-be woodsmen think they can get by being sneaky-like, not knowing that bears are more afraid of groups. These creatures see loud noises as the sign of a dominant creature. Anyone that tries slinking past a bear, will look to them like prey, ripe for a mauling."

Alora grudgingly conceded his point, then jabbed her staff-torch into the ground. "I won't be putting this light out. I have trouble sleeping without a light."

"Very well, mistress. It's your call..." The lead scout said with a sidelong glance and grin.

Then Alora settled down to sleep beneath the lean-to, which they'd erected once more. They all settled down in a row, taking watches. Within a handful of trills, Alora found herself drifting off to sleep.

When she awoke, all was dark. "Men? Where are you?" No answer. She thought she could hear tramping feet in the distance. "Men?"

A squalling groan issued as the only answer she would receive.

Alora fumbled for her tinderbox. Once the flint and steel touched her fingers, she made a spark, setting it against the torch she knew lay there in the dark. The flame came alive, at which point she grabbed her bow as well as an arrow.

In the darkness, she saw a pair of yellow eyes glinting with hunger. She cursed. The damned thing had tracked her here. She knocked the bow as it's eyes lifted. She traced the geometry of the bear's eyes to find it's center mass, then aimed and loosed the arrow. A meaty thunk meant she hit, or at least glanced the target.

She ran backwards as it reared up ever higher, letting out a tree shaking roar. Another arrow nocked, drawn and loosed. This one missed, whiffing past the beast. She repeated the motion, attempting to correct for how it went astray, and made it closer to what she supposed would've been the bear's rear paw.

Then, the ground shook, and the bear began running after her. She would have used her comfortability with the dark to navigate the darkness. Yet, if only she'd not lit the torch, her eyesight would've been more adjusted to the pitch black that met her eyes then.

She didn't look back, but ran through the trees. She chose the thinnest and most dense copses to jump through, hoping beyond hope that it would slow down the old hunter. She could hear his footfalls from behind, breaking branches with every stride, groaning its displeasure.

Alora took the moment to sling her longbow over her shoulder. This was immediately shown to be a mistake, as she tripped over a fallen branch, pitching forward into a graceless roll along the hill. She looked up at the bear, which stopped shy of trampling the Naer. It rose to its hind legs again, trying to take stock of its prey, glowering over her.

She flipped onto her feet in one motion, and threw a kick at it's midsection. When it's maw came down on her shoulder, she elbowed it in the snout. Furiously she fought with elbows, knees, legs, and claws. Then, as it reared back, she let loose her shadow form, halting the bear for snapping forward. Then, she bolted.

She didn't get four meters before a series of fiery arrows flew out from either flank of the beast. They arrows sputtered as the heads found purchase in its hide. Alora didn't wait, but took more and more steps backward, so her shadow form would not return to her and interrupt the bear's sudden paralysis.

More arrows flew out from the woods,this time colliding with the skull of the huge bear. The creature fell to the ground with a resounding thud. The sinuous form of Alora's shadow made its way back to her, merging with her physical body once more. She took a torch out of her belt, then lit it with her flint and steel. She saw the faces of her so-called 'men' who'd supposed to have been aiding her.

"Appreciate that, Naer. We really couldn't have taken this monster out without your help."

She stood, dumbfounded, with a scowl for them. "Next time you need bait, ask for some milkmaid from Withersfield to pick flowers in a given area. I'm a warrior, not a lure for wild beasts."

The lead scout smiled, and handed her a pouch full of gold. The fifty nels that had been agreed upon. Thus they parted ways.

Alora wasn't in the least bit satisfied. Someday she'd undertake real contracts, not bait for the game of backwoods idiots. She stormed off into the night, letting her torch light the way.
word count: 1468
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Re: Bearly Qualified

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Points awarded: 10xp

Running: Running backwards.
Running: Don't look back in flight.
Ranged Combat (Longbow): Firing down center mass.
Fieldcraft: Baiting predators with your self.
Tactics: Flanking for archers.
Leadership: Good help is hard to find.

50gn, and the Longbow (Normal Quality, since it was given to "the bait" and they didn't want to waste a Good one if you ended up getting mauled)

+10 points since you fought a BEAR empty-handed, and survived a mauling.

-Multitude of scratches and bruises from going leaping into the brush
-Severe bite wound on left shoulder; not bone-deep, but damage was done to the muscles and tendons; you need professional medical attention for that within 3 trials of this post, or it's going to leave lasting muscular/nerve damage, and it'll take 14-21 trials of light duty before it's ready for constant use again

Bear-fighting, bear-baiting, bear-shooting... my my my, you were a busy girl, eh? This was a fun read, I like how you didn't have Alora as the center of attention the whole time, just the center of these two bastardly hunters' plans! Clever little story, and she really earned her money, here. You didn't overplay her, but you did undersell the damage you'd have taken, which we talked about before.

Hence the nasty wound on your shoulder that she needs to get seen to. It was a BEAR, after all, and a fucking big one. On the plus side, you got some extra renown out of it!

Now, regarding the Gift of Shadows/Shadow form stuff, it's an easy-ish mistake to make. Just keep on top of the lore and when in doubt, ask people who know. The Chat ALWAYS has people in it who can help out, it's one of the best points about the site. Remember that the Gift would have dropped the bear instantly: immobilized all senses, left it helpless, but you wouldn't have been able to kill it or even be near it, and would have had to withdraw it within 30 bits. Aside from that... good job!

I really need to read up on Yaralon Lore. Looks like this will be a popular location!

Oh! Nearly forgot. I saw in your CS that you added the XP Points for this story BEFORE it was seen to by a Reviewer. I wouldn't do that, just in case something comes up that means it doesn't get reviewed. Best to wait for the review, THEN update everything.

Your review request is here. Also, please indicate on your request thread that this has been reviewed by using the button below (just add my name at the end). Thanks!


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  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache


  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
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Re: Bearly Qualified

This completed thread has been reviewed by a Yaralon mod.

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