1st of Cylus, Arc 719 - Morning
Kesindir sat on the ground next to the small fire he'd built the previous night and took stock of his surrounds. The sky was dark, even if the birds were convinced it was early morning, the sun showed no signs of casting its light upon the ground. A typical Cylus morning. A low dense fog clung to the ground coating anything and everything in a cold dampness. Cylus was a season he always disliked, simply due to the fact that it was near impossible to stay warm outdoors. Well, it had been impossible to stay warm. He pulld his cloak tighter around him, the fabric shielding him from the bitter bite of the wind.
The story behind the cloak was one of those fishing stories you tell over a beer in a tavern that's clouded in heavy smoke and the smell of piss hangs in the air. One of those stories that seem way to off the wall to not be true, with just the right amount of detail to be believable. You know the ones, where the one armed fisherman comes in talking about how big of a fish he caught, while you quietly sip that cold brew the barkeep just poured.
The cloak was one of those stories. At least in Kesindir's head it was. Who'd believe he'd cut the cloak out of a fish's stomach? Of course, the bigger question would be why he was wearing it if it was nothing more than fish food. Truth is, he didn't know why. He'd washed it, dried it, and tried it on. It fit really well, and it cut the chill completely. He wasn't going to question why none of the threading was degraded, or why it showed no signs of marring anywhere. Either way, it mattered not for the cloak kept him warm, and during Cylus that was important.
Kesindir had been spending his days aboard the ship with Korva, but for the start of the Arc he wanted a breath of fresh air, and the feel of the cold dirt around him. It wasn't that he disliked staying aboard the ship or anything, it just wasn't what he was used to. He supposed that'd change in time. Much like the fisherman's tale, his enjoyment of the ship would continue to grow.
This trial though, change was in the air. Snowfall. Not wholly uncommon but not necessarily expected either. Plus it was the first of the new Arc so it made it special, in its own way. The fire at his feet flickered, the last of the flames licking hungrily at the remaining wood, ”About time to head out for the day then.” Kesindir stood, dusting himself as he did so, and went about tearing down camp. It was much smaller than it used to be. No longer having a mount he never traveled terribly far from town, and he traveled a lot lighter nowadays. He’d be come quite the fisherman, so food was never an issue, though during freezing temperatures it might be should the waters decide to ice over.
A few bits later and camp was taken down and Kesindir was stomping out the last of the dying embers of his fire. He’d been working on changing up his arrows from standard ones, removing the fletching on about half of his stock. He’d found that with fletching, if he shot into the water, the arrows would act unstable - making odd sharp turns or dives with no real consistency. Fishing with his bow was much faster, more engaging, and generally a bit less of a pain, though at the moment he was seriously questioning going back to using a net and sleeping the trial away.
His bow was still the same, nor much needed to change with it, though it was starting to show some wear the more he used it. His arrows had set amounts of string tied to the ends, which were looked into a holder of sorts, that kept each line separate. It was essentially a leather gauntlet with hooks, and around each hook a small spool of fishing line was loosely wrapped. He could draw an arrow, loop the string as needed, and fire in a somewhat short timeframe and he was getting faster with it each time he practiced.
It’d been close to two Seasons now since he ran into those bandits with Verity, and what had happened then, he knew he needed more capabilities, though fish and moving people were two completely different types of targets. It was a learning process. Much like changing anything you are used to doing your entire life, there are many old habits to break and new ones to learn.
Kes gave a quick shrill whistle and waited, only for a couple trolls, then began walking. Le’kar was used partially as a walking stick, since there really wasn’t any way to carry it with all of his other camping equipment. His tent and bedroll were strapped to the under and upper sides of his pack respectively, and his bow was slung across his back. A trill or two later and the soft flapping of wings could be heard, not by the untrained though, no.
His hawk was far to graceful and quiet on the winds for normal ears to hear. Kesindir though had grown accustomed to the minute shift in sound, especially on the colder, quieter days when other birds and insects weren’t as noisy. He lifted his arm, the leather falconry glove was well worn but still held up, and Dji’Oriq landed gently upon his wrist. The hawk gave a quiet chirp before shaking briefly, Kes assumed to stave off the cold.
Most feathered creatures were much further south than they were, doing their best to outlast the cold chill that swept the lands during Zi’da and Cylus. ”Soon, Dji’Oriq, soon Ashan will be here and the sun will return.” His breath was thick on the cold air, the odd pair walking further south and west of the Town, and into the jungle.
The rivers there were full of a wider variety of fish, at least that had been his experience thus far. Kesindir gave his hawk a slight nudge and the raptor took off with two quick flaps of its wings. It'd be easier for him to use his bow without the hawk hanging out on his wrist. He removed the bow and notched an arrow, as he approached the river. It was quiet, save for the sound of water lapping against the rocks and bank. The river flowed at a decent rate, even though some ice had begun to form on some of the rocks.
Then he saw the fish. Well, two to be exact. Long, almost carp like. Both were swimming slowly down stream. The bow creaked slightly as the tension on the drawstring was pulled back. A soft step, the snow beneath his boot crunching, the gleam of the sun beamed off the water, and a TWANG as the string was released, the arrow whizzing through the air, traveling the short distance rather quickly, piercing the water with a splash. The string that was attached to the arrow slowly went taut as the current pulled on the arrow; Kes pulled the line in, noting the weight to the other end, and a smile crossed his lips as the arrow was pulled from the water with a fish speared right through its center.
”Now that is some fine fis...” a squeak, or squawk, or something interrupted him midsentence as he dropped the arrow holding the fish and notched a feathered one. Now it was more of a muffled oink, but almost like with sticks shoved up your nose. It was a noise he couldn’t quite place, one he’d never heard before. He picked up the fish-on-an-arrow and slipped it into his pack, before heading in the direction of the muffled noises. He crouched low, and walked quietly, the sounds growing louder as he moved further down the river bank. What he saw though, was not something he’d expected to ever come across.
On the bank of the river was the massive body of a crocodile. It wasn’t moving, no breathing, and it had a large red gash along its side, blood still leaking from the open wound. Kes stayed in a kneeling position, far enough away he’d hope to have some time to run should this...thing decide to give chase. Not that he’d escape, he knew better than that, but he wasn’t going to go down without some sort of fight. So he waited, for a bit or two, then more, and more. No movement from the massive beast.
Kesindir picked up a small pebble and tossed it, the small stone bouncing off the hide of the crocodile harmlessly. The creature didn’t move. Not even a slight twitch. So he threw another. Then another. Once he was satisfied the small collection of pebbles had been enough of an irritant to even the most patient of creatures, he approached. Slowly he inches forward, pulling back on the bow string, holding the tension in the line as he raised his sights and aimed. Nothing happened. The crocodile didn’t move. Strange that something this big, even with a wound in its side, would even budge. Unless it was already...
He froze. There was the noise again, but much louder than before. Had the sound been a ploy to draw unsuspecting pray into the open? If it had, he was screwed. Nothing came though. He took a step forward, and then another. The sound came again. Kes circled the, what he assumed to be a carcass now, and on the other side was a small, no more than a foot or two in length, baby crocodile. Huddled up against the carcass of what he assumed was the mother. He raised his arrow at the baby, the tension in the string begging to be released, as the small croc took notice of him and called out again with the same odd sounding cry.