Old February 3, 2008, 12:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ursidae Huntin' (Prism)

End of Fifth Brightening of the Second Cycle,
Month of Ioannes, Season of Summer Era XIV

Ursidae…they are bears, big bears. Fur like a porcupine and 7 feet tall when on all fours, minimum. They are deadly, I’ve only ever seen one and it was busy eating a moose. They aren’t like other bears boy, they like meat. I’m no expert on animals, just which ones to stay away from. You be careful eh? Don’t want nothing happening to our visitors…

The words hung in the back of his mind like an old grandmother’s proverbial wisdom; serving as both a stimulus to his excitement and a catalyst to his fears. He wasn’t sure which. He’d made note to decide later.

Seth ventured off directly north into the Arios wilderness, looking at the crude hand-drawn map Daw-ta had provided him with only once before plowing headlong into the abyss of the unknown. He was thrilled, adrenaline coursed through his veins as freely as blood did, and there was nothing in the world that could make him as excited and exuberant as he felt now. Shouldering his bow over his left shoulder, the backpack straps over his right, Seth was prepared for a good two brightening stint into the wilderness, even though he had the supplies to survive for five.

A small feral grin tugged at his features.

He was garbed in a tan linen shirt, long-sleeved, though the sleeves were currently rolled up around his elbows, blending neatly into his skin. Dark rugged brown pants and black leather boots that skirted the height of his knees entertained his lower apparel, silver buckle slightly gleaming as his quiver was latched securely around his torso. The map Daw-ta had drawn him was stuffed into one pocket, his charcoal papyrus notes on tracking neatly folded in the other. The composite longbow he usually sported was slung over his shoulder, ready to be called upon at a moment’s notice.

Yet for now he proceeded quietly into the dense woodlands. The suns were going to set soon, but he figured he had one or two good candlemarks left to set up camp and get a feel for the environment. His dark blue eyes glittered against the verdant emerald lushness of the forest; a dire contrast between two worlds. Seth moved cautiously, studying the ground and looking for prints. Although he doubted the Ursidae would be anywhere near such preliminary parts of the forest as this, any practice he could get with his tracking lore would be beneficial to the later hunt.
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Old February 4, 2008, 10:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Throwing all cautions to the wind Seth went looking in search of the wild animal that he had been warned against. The dorin knew it before Seth had left, he had a sense for what people were thinking, he had to. Before opening his shop he was a guide and had had learned how to read people. There was nothing that he could say to Seth that he hadn’t already to make him stay. He tried to depress the value that skinning the beast would be but Seth still moved forward with his quest. Alone, in a place where he hadn’t slept for some time. In a place that he didn’t know and was filled with danger.

The weather this brightening seemed to have been on his side for the only shower that happened was when Seth was inside of the shop. It was a quick and light shower that rained just enough to get everything wet. The leaves that Seth would have to push through after he would leave the narrow pathway of traveled people would eventually mark his clothing and himself as being wet. Enough to make him uncomfortable but not miserable unless he was in a grouchy mood.

There were several birds overhead that seemed to converse back and fourth in the trees. Everything seemed relatively peaceful and enjoyable. Looking for tracks proved to be useless unless Seth was looking for small animals. The tracks were small and hidden though every not and then Seth would see the oh so recognisable track of a squirrel on the ground.

His first brightening so far was proving to be empty and he wasn’t getting very far before the suns began to make their way down and the moon making it’s way up. Before too long Seth would look up and notice that the sky was getting darker and in a matter of a candle mark, make a little more he would be case into the darkness that was night.

The birds were starting to die down and the woods were growing silent in their transition between night and day. Though none of the animals in Arios slept they knew their limits and so rested their bodies during the times that they should be asleep. They knew their roles as did the more night time animals know theirs.

The biggest of Seth’s problems at the moment was deciding where to pitch his tent if he so wished to do so. It would be a better idea than staying unprotected in a wilderness that was unfamiliar. Any camper or backpacker would be able to tell Seth that. Even those that haven’t been in the woods much would know this as common sense. Then again, many of these ideas come because of wariness due to lack of sleep, whereas here in Arios it would be present weather or not he camped. One thing Seth didn’t have to worry about was falling asleep.

A little further along Seth would find a small area big enough to pitch his tent and make a campfire. The ground would be rooty and bumpy but manageable if he decided to camp here.
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Old February 4, 2008, 07:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Seth marched onwards into the heart of the unknown, trekking through brushes and brambles and navigating across small cliff sides and ravines as his black leather boots traipsed into the earth rhythmically, each step measured out at a comfortable pace he could keep walking for candlemarks upon end without the slightest hint of weariness. He was a trained hunter, this one. Not trained in the conventional sense, but he’d braved Carmelya’s playground before and climbed to the top of the monkey bars like none other; his skill and hard work ethic was something of admiration amongst the local farmers in Trysvale, and his shot with a bow was continuously improving. He was near dead-accurate when he was cooped up in a still position and had enough time to train his eye to the target, moving or no. That said, such time rarely occurred frequently beyond the first shot, and most of the time for Seth, it was strike or go home after his first barrage of arrows.

Collecting them was Jalat’s Umblat to go through as well.

Shaking his head, Seth noticed the transition between night and day and the strange absence of sleepiness upon him. Instead, he it was replaced by an adrenaline-fueled exuberance and thrill of the hunt as he marched further and further away from society, leaving civilization behind. The words of the shopkeeper, Daw-ta, echoed in his ears, and he took them with caution. The Dorin might have thought him an idiot, but Seth felt he had a decent idea of what he was doing. Decent enough, at least. The simple fact that the Ursidae was three thousand pounds was just a little downer upon the Hunter, who had envisioned bringing the bear back in all his glory, but there were ways around that. He couldn’t possibly haul three thousand pounds of carcass back all this way; but most of that had to be raw muscle.

He mused upon this as he stepped foot into the clearing. Looking around, he surveyed his domain, examining it expertly with all the trained eyes and scrutinization of an amateur. Taking off his pack, he quickly took out the tent and unrolled it, allocating the stakes to all four sides of the structure before nailing them down with the edge of one of the taller poles meant to be added inside the tent for height. He’d pitched a tent before; Seth wasn’t an idiot, and any simple fool could just about manage as well as he was. The fire too, after a quick collection of wood and the added addition of one of the small paper balls Daw-ta had given him, and a ring of nearby rocks, Seth dug out a small burrow for the fire before lighting it with the flint and tinder he’d bought at the store. Throwing his pack inside but keeping his bow near him, Seth sat down and glanced over his small camp.

Stepping up, he examined the edge of the clearing, eyes scanning the bushes, the trees, getting a feel for the immediate environment. He also kept an eye out for any tree that would be easy to climb in a pinch should something happen.

With the base of operations set up for his first night, Seth played it safe and decided to keep it safe, staying within the camp site and mostly just inside his tent, listening to the occasional sounds of the wilderness as he waited to see how his body would adjust to the absence of sleep. He was guessing that, if he rested enough and gave himself time, his mind and body would adjust just fine and he’d be more alert during the second day of his hunt.
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Old February 7, 2008, 09:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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In his hometown Seth may very well have been an accomplished hunter, but here in the woods of Arios that didn’t matter. The things that Seth may have killed off of this island were normal for the most part, even if they were slightly dangerous in Trysvale the danger upped it’s self here in the Ariosan wilderness for the animals here never slept and so were more often than not mad. Wild animals were fierce in these woods which is why most hunters went off in small groups, that way they could watch each others back, and if one missed the other may hit. Seth however was more used to the ways of his home and so went off alone without seeking aid from any of the locals besides asking an trails men where danger may be. It was not that he wanted to avoid the danger, but walk to it. If the locals had known of his intentions they would have assumed him mad too from lack of sleep.

The boy thought that he had the advantage in the woods over the animal that he wished to hunt. Time would tell if he had a righteous reason for this or not though the outlook of many would be that he will never return to the town. The dorin wouldn’t be the only one to think Seth an idiot, he would be the laughing stock of the town if they had known. The consequences of what he was trying to do, and alone would be regrettable and likely something that the locals would have to tell other mainlanders to ensure that they are compliant with what they say. Seth may very well go down in Arios stories to keep visitors from wandering into the woods alone.

Looking at the map Seth would see that he still have a few candle marks treck before he reached an area where the Ursidae had been marked on the map. It was entirely possible that there would be none there when he got there, they moved with their food source.

The fire lit immediately even in the slightly damp wood from the light drizzle of earlier. The small ball of paper and twigs that he had bought lit in an instant with an amazingly brilliant flame that burned quite long all things considering. The lowest sticks caught first before the fire started feeding on the rest of the wood. It was simple enough for Seth to collect branches that had fallen on the ground or pulled off of trees. He was after all surrounded by wood. He wasn’t an amateur that much was for sure. He built a place for his fire to be safe and dug a hole. He wouldn’t burn down the forest if he was lucky, not that it would matter…it would be back shortly. Seth however wouldn’t have these properties.

For the most part the night was uneventful; the screeching of bats could be heard in the night sky over his tent. The most likely reason was the bugs being drawn to the flame of Seth’s fire. Every so often the shadow of bat went over his tent flying in front of the fire. A porcupine walked by his campsite and left without doing anything interesting. Near the crack of dawn a howl could be heard in the distance and the bats began to leave and everything grew silent.

Morning came, Seth had survived his first darkening of his hunting trip.
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Old February 14, 2008, 10:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The brightening came, and Seth found himself stirring awake from his idle daydreaming. His body had fallen into a peace repose, almost as if taking a nap, though he did not feel the sleepy weariness bearing down atop of him. Keep this up, and I should be alright, he thought to himself as he began to break camp, kicking dirt across the smoldering flames of the campfire and beginning to withdraw the stakes from the ground and put up his tent. He folded it eloquently and set it aside into his backpack, before dipping into his rations pool and pulling out a few wafer crackers and some cheddar cheese. Slicing it expertly with his small knife, he allotted a few out for his breakfast before taking a few sips of water skin.

For Pracenda, he’d cook a warm meal, but for Rosyun and lunch, he’d be eating cold.

Shouldering his backpack and taking off his bow, he preeminently went ahead and nocked an arrow against the yew string, keeping a firm grip upon the wooden object but not yet drawing pressure or tension upon the composite construction.

He’d have to keep an open eye out as he went deeper into the Arios wilderness. Conferring with Daw-ta’s map, briefly, he struck out in a northwesternly direction, foraging his own path through the mildly protesting bushes and shrubbery that littered the forest’s floor. Sunlight beamed down through the canopy high above, gnats and small insects hovering and fluttering abuzz within the piercing rays of light that broke through the emerald sea looming over him. Seth’s senses were attuned to the forest now, his ears heard every purr of the forest melody, his eyes saw every nook in every cranny, and his smell took in the piney aroma of the fresh woodlands.

He was ready.
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