• Solo • Jaws of Stone Pt. 1

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Jaws of Stone Pt. 1

Cylus 27th, 720

Larger in every way, Aylune felt the power of this new body. The Kathor. A gigantic wolf, nearly as tall as a man with its head held high. Through its eyes he could peer into the murky darkness with unparalleled clarity, a hawk-like vision in the night, but normal under the son. Its nose afforded him wisdom beyond measure, capable of picking apart the differences between such minutia as the smell of an animal buried in the snow and the dead mulch of frozen plants, or the extremely subtle and complex but vivid array of myriad scents of chemicals given off by the skin of living beings that he could not begin to piece apart. More than as a wolf, the Kathor was showing him that much of the body was chemical in its makeup.

It was no form he could wander in town as, but then neither could he as a wolf without people fetching the guards. It remained in the wild, and passersby pointed when they saw him wandering with a breeze in his wake through the trees--the spirits had begun to follow him, Anak of Air, he knew, for his Spark had begun expressing their concept so purely that even they were trailing his every move, feeding.

Totrial he sought the Shift, and their hunter. A man he’d heard rumor of for his sale of these exotic, crystalline beasts, but hidden deep within the icy desmene of this alpine wilderness. Aylune held his nose to the wind, nares expanding to draw in its caressing touch, nourishing him while his mind fired with vivid imagination to piece it all apart. There was human on the wind, and it wasn’t the red-haired travelers he’d seen Breaks before.

Large feet covered in leathery, frost-coated hills descended down a trail leading deep into the belly of an icy gorge. Aylune’s stocky body remained graceful even as he stepped upon stone to ascend, the elements sharing their affable mirth through kindness and safe passage in a supernatural deference to the creature that shared a bond with them. Nearing a stony trail of dry river rock, Aylune felt the draw of an unsung river ready to burst; the waterfall upstream was waiting to thaw.

Between a thicket of trees, Aylune saw a man emerge, crouched low from the brush. Aylune froze, sharing a stare with the man who hadn’t yet drawn blade nor bow but had both upon his possession, hand upon the latter in case this huge beast was aggressive.

As any animal might, Aylune communicated through body language, though this was adapted for humans to understand. Down came his hind end upon the cold snow, and he lifted one of those huge paws, cutting side to side through the wind. Drawing upon the Echo of his humanity, Aylune spoke to the man from across the dry riverbed, gently encouraging the air to carry his words through the feeling of his voice. “I seek the hunter of Shift, for advice. I am a mage of Etzos, and I have no quarrel with you.”

The man seemed stricken by the turn of events, drawing his bow outright and knocking an arrow, though he hadn’t drawn yet. “A mage, hunting Shift? I don’t have a lot of trust for your lot. Go now.”

Aylune didn’t think the man seemed so ill-natured, so he rose and began to walk towards him. Sight set upon the bow being drawn, he figured the man would fire out of fear, but he knew with the upperhand he could make it clear he meant no harm, and thus get the information he wanted.

Plink. Schwoop. Aylune watched the arrow hurtle towards him, but a sharp spout of wind deflected the projectile away. With a bounding leap and a crunchy, wobbly slide through the snow, Aylune was merely feet away from the startled hunter now. “Relax,” Aylune told the man with his imposing presence baring down. “Help me hunt my quarry, and I’ll give you the hide; I just want the bones.”

Grizzled and old, the stubborn hunter relented with a grumble, twisting to stow away his bow. “Fine,” said the man taciturn.

“May I get a name?” asked Aylune.

“Ain’t have no need, nor care,” said the man.

They began walking, Aylune following the man’s implicit steps before the old grouch got all bundled up in furs and sat by the fire. “So what do you want?” asked the man.

“I’ve never hunted Shift before,” said Aylune. “Tell me about this prey. I’m after the largest one you’ve seen.”

The man seemed to glare, but he nonetheless answered. “That would be the one that controls this territory. I’ve seen her a few times, but I wouldn’t dare picking a fight with that thing. Fool’s errand, that one. I joke about it, but arrows are going to bounce off and as for the smaller ones, I snare ‘em or club ‘em. They’re carnivores, but I heard and I’ve seen them hold prey still to suck the ‘energy’ outta ‘em.”

“Curious,” replied the Mage. He’d have to learn more about the habits and traits of a Shift while roaming as one, if he could even take a totem of the creature. “What can you tell me about her?” asked Aylune. “Is she the one that takes the form of a ‘Zelroux’?”

“That she is,” said the hunter. “Brutal bitch, that one. Preys on her own kind and drags ‘em away to chew them up and grow more from the fragments. Their hide is thick and made of solid crystal, but they have flesh inside. Blunt force could rattle their brains, for the small ones. Not an option for something that big. You’ll need something strong enough to smash through rock to break her open. Even a Mage like you runs a lot of risk trying to fight her.”

Aylune thought it over, running the scenario through his mind. “My teeth wouldn’t be able to get a good grip on those things. The ones I saw at market were all smooth with very few grooves to leverage, mimicking their chosen animal with that flexible life-like stone. A trap would be the best choice, wouldn’t you agree?” asked the Becomer.

The hunter was quick to say nay. “It’d never work. She’s too heavy for a snare, or whiplash from a sapling, and too sturdy for a bear trap.”

“That’s not where my mind was going,” said Aylune. Turning his eyes up to the steep, hilly side of the ravine, he pointed with his paw. “Stone, up there. I’m a Defier, and with enough planning we could get her the right spot, then...” Aylune waved his paw, asking of his Spark to encourage a shower of embers drawn from the nearby fire, following the expression of his language. They glimmered into life like little fireflies floating down before winking out with nothing to feed their existence.

“Yeah,” said the man with an incredulous look. “As if she’d just stay put while you did that. They’re pretty smart at that age.”

With a shrug, Aylune set his head against the warm earth around the sputtering fire. “I might have to hold her still, then. I think the stone will pull its punches against me, but crush her. I’m not certain how this is going to work, but I plan to try.” Aylune shut his eyes, playing out the scenario in his mind. “It’s been a long trip this far into the cold north, and I tire from it. May I sleep here by your fire?” asked the mage, fairly certain that they had a rapport now.

“Ehh, fine,” growled the hunter, “but I want to know a bit more about your kind before you nod off. How does a man even figure out how to do something like that?”

Oh, another one of those people. Doesn’t trust magic a lick, but jumps at the first chance to be offered it. “When a Spark of a specific Discipline is ready to be split, then a mentor may attempt an initiation. It’s a parasite upon your soul, and it changes who you are. A good candidate would be a strong, calm mind without a lot of damage.”

“...So, you could, split your Spark and share it with me, yeah?”

“Mine’s not ready,” lied Aylune outright. He’d had a similar discussion before with a simpleton; it never went well when he told them they didn’t have the right mind or morality for it.

“Yeah, and I’m a horses uncle,” said the hunter with an attitude.

It was getting awkward now. Aylune rose, leaving the comfort of the fire behind. As much as he enjoyed being around it, this hunter was rubbing him the wrong way. “I’ll be going now to make my own camp, or at least to find a den that isn’t filled with Shift.”

Picking up on the reason for Aylune’s departure, the man grumbled incomprehensibly and blew him off with a wave of the hand. Free of the individual, Aylune spent much of the evening peeking through crevices and examining the nature before finding a small but empty den. Taking the form of his smaller wolf form to crawl inside, he curled up there and peered up at the glittering stars through the mouth of this hidey-hole nestled in the roots of a pine tree.

Last edited by Aylune on Sat May 09, 2020 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1610
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Re: Jaws of Stone Pt. 1

Heya Aylune.

So this thread isn't reviewable for a few reasons. One, you've presumed success at getting the Kathor totem which you weren't yet awarded through a previous review request. You've presumed expert defiance XP, which you haven't yet been awarded. Finally you're overplaying your skills quite flagrantly. Becoming magic can give you an edge with certain skills depending on the form, but it's not a full substitute for them.

I'm not even sure if this thread is salvageable given the issues with the previous thread, and the fact that you wouldn't be able to subdue a Kathor to the point where you can craft a totem from it.

Also, I'd ask that you fix the timestamp, but this thread may not be reviewable at all as it is written.
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