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Old February 4, 2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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There's a Wild Woman Living Inside of Me (Virhyla Cherhc)

Rhystlin's experience did not extend too deeply into the untamed Ariumite Highlands; her mentor and godfather, Myach, had been fearful of the dangers the two of them might encounter in the vast expanse of wilderness. For a time they had only explored during the summers, with him teaching her how to identify and track varying footprints, recognize certain plants, or practice some of the things she might need to do when attempting to survive on her own. With time, the two had traversed the highlands during the colder climes, but the random blizzards and rainstorms were an ever frequent danger, making her guardian far too wary to press their exploration far. He, she knew, had survived in such weather to the brink of near death in his younger years; knowledge of what the highlands could do to a man made Myach reluctant to endanger his ward, even as she grew older.

But even the weather was not the only concern. There had been several times that Myach had grown extremely alert, noting particular footprints or strange sounds. He had never been one to want to worry her, so she had often been left to guess at the mysterious nature of those frightful clues, the dark and dangerous creatures beyond left only to the limits of her childish imagination. And then there were the bandits, an ever lurking danger, and one only magnified by the fact that they were merely one man and a child.

And so, as the half elf's steps crunched through the highland snow, she could not help but wonder what dangers awaited them now. She was bundled in thicker wools and furs, her new shortbow and quiver strapped around her chest and back, her gloved fingers flexing in an attempt to fight the relentless chill. She kept a thick scarf-like material wrapped about her neck and beneath her cloak, often pulling it over her lower face to fight the potential for frostbite in the nose and lips. Although the weather was tolerable enough for now, one could never be certain.

Rhystlin turned to her companion, unsure as to where to go from there. Ylva was more acquainted with the wilderness and thus she trusted the human's judgment more than her own. She was grateful for the other woman's presence, especially in the wake of her own uncertainty; it was the first time she would be traversing the Highlands without her adoptive father, and she was not confident that she knew enough to do much on her own, even should she not delve too deeply into the expanse beyond.

She pointed into the distance, squinting against a gust of wind that seemed to cut into her eyes and make them water. "This way?"
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Old February 5, 2015, 04:31 PM   #2
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Ylva adjusted her grip on the short bow she carried, straightening to follow the length of Rhystlin's arm as she pointed. For the most part, the highlands--that would always amuse Ylva--were a flat place and rock-strewn. In some ways it reminded Ylva a good deal of the mountains that were her home, particularly now in this winter, with snow strewn across the rocks that made working the soil so difficult. A hard place to live where small patches of dried vegetation were more common than bushes or trees. Not that there weren't trees but those were few and far between. It felt good to have snow under foot though. Snow and rock. It wasn't home but it was close enough.

The small Rhagrhnd woman looked ahead of them at the low bumps and hills that pocked the land. In the distance there, where she could vaguely see a loose patchwork of the local pines, she was just about certain that she could make out a small herd of lowland reindeer. Easy prey for someone such as Rhystlin, who had apparently done very little--anything?--with a bow before. Ylva had spotted tracks for small fowl and a few rabbits but even Ylva preferred to angle her bow towards something a little broader, a little bigger. Besides, the meat of the reindeer would better suit herself and Kael--and Rhystlin, too--than trapping a few scrawny bunnies or punching holes through a couple fluttering pheasants.

"Yes. You see there, hm? The deer." She indicated. Rhystlin would have had to be blind not to see them. "One, that is all we need, yes." All they would need and all they could realistically carry (if it was smaller and they used the small sled hooked to the Rhagrhnd woman for help). In hindsight, maybe it would have been useful to haul Kael along but Ylva's view of him as useful in the hunt wasn't particularly favorable. The man was big and had about as much subtly as a falling tree. That and he had some all important shopping to do if they were going to be able to leave the town behind to get back into the spaces Ylva preferred; the town made Ylva a little edgy and restless.

She hitched past Rhystlin, loosely holding her her bow in one hand as she flicked out an arrow from her spotted quiver with the other. "If you are quiet they are easy things to hit, yes? You want to check the wind, first to hunt then to shoot. If they smell you they will run. If you shoot and the wind catches just so it will miss, hm? Then they will run. They can run...but only when you have your shot, yes?" A flash of a grin towards Rhystlin as she set her arrow on the bow. They weren't close yet to the deer, not where talking was a problem and certainly not where fitting an arrow to the string was as yet necessary.

"Show me how you...set?...your arrow." Some words still escaped Ylva and if Rhystlin was going to be relying on the little Rhagrhnd woman to supply the proper words for the actions and parts of the bow and arrow, the half-elf was in for a rude awakening.
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Old February 5, 2015, 06:24 PM   #3
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As Rhys undid the bindings and took the weapon in her hands, she imagined she looked clumsy to Ylva; like a child going through a growth spurt, limbs tangling amongst each other, uncertain and ungainly. She had never gotten around to learning the bow from her "father", who had claimed the weapon as his main one of choice, and so Ylva's assumption was correct in that she had no real experience with it at all... that is, except for dragging Myach's through the house with her little fingers wrapped tightly about it, laughing all the while at the sound it made as it scraped against the wood and rushes.

She nodded as her companion pointed out the deer, her breath fogging up in the air before her as she took a deep breath out. Just one, she echoed in thought to herself, certain even she could accomplish that. Could she? She'd have to. It wouldn't do to look like an idiot before her Rhagrhnd instructor, who she felt already had reason enough to see her as a comrade of questionable use. It would be favorable to return to their male companion, as well, able to say she had been successful in this task. She desired a great deal to prove to the two that she could carry her own weight amidst them.

She observed Ylva as she held her bow, noting that the woman did not grip the weapon too tightly. She nodded her head again as she mentioned the wind direction, remembering when Myach had told her the same when he brought her along to hunt game. She took an arrow from her quiver a bit awkwardly, being not so practiced at the motion as Ylva was, and for the moment unfamiliar with the location of the arrows. She then nocked the one she retrieved by situating the groove against the string, holding them against one another with three fingers, the string settled as comfortably as possible within the area of the first joints.

She held the end in position with her middle and ring finger curved about the handle of her bow, her index finger pointed and settled on the opposite side that the arrow was. She glanced to the Rhagrhnd, especially at her hands, hoping to look to them for reference and attempt to reflect what the woman was doing.

"And the feet..." the half elf asked, "should be wide enough apart to grant stability, yeah?" She tried to settle herself into a stance with her feet about shoulder-width apart, hoping that she wasn't spreading them too far away from one another.
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Old February 6, 2015, 12:34 PM   #4
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As Rhystlin took her stance, the Rhagrhnd pivoted, paused in her walk to glance over the woman. The half-elf was taller than herself but not quite by a full foot and the height was refreshing given how much taller the lowlanders seemed to be than herself on a regular basis. Having come from a culture where all were about on par with Ylva's own height, the difference had initially been an adjustment...now it was just another thing in the world of the lowlanders that she had learned to adapt to. Given the smaller height difference between herself and Rhystlin, she at least did not have a lot of reaching to do, her arrow fitted back in her quiver, when she adjusted the other's fingers on the string, around the arrow's nock. "Light grip, loose."

Virhyla stepped back and eyed the other critically, a small but amused grin emerging. To herself she thought it a very rare moment when she got to properly align legs and feet with shoulders...but it was appropriate for someone just learning, to know the easiest way to shoot. Adaptation would come soon, particularly if Rhystlin was not strictly planning to use her bow for hunting...which Ylva suspected she did not. Nonetheless, Ylva grasped at the other's hips and adjusted them, quickly following suit with her shoulders. "It is like you hide behind the bow, yes? All your body, it lines up with the bow. You are straight line from target to bow from here," she tapped Rhystlin's elbow, "to here." She set a fingertip to the arrow point.

"When you raise to shoot, you line the arrow with your eyes so that you see down its length. No closing of the eyes, yes? You close one, it changes where things look to be. You close both...well, you see nothing" Her grin broadened.

"So. Here, we test the shot before we go shoot." She looked around but saw nothing but rocks--not good targets. She licked her lips, frowned, shrugged. From Rhystlin, for a first shot, she was not looking for accuracy. Besides, shooting at a standstill target it did nothing to show you how to actually shoot at something. "That rock. The one with the dead moss." She pointed afield. It was one of the bigger rocks out there. "You draw the arrow back, you bring it close to your chin, yes? So you look down the arrow at what you shoot. Do not hold the bow away, yes? Close. Body is close, but not tight. All...arms, legs, stomach they are not tight, relaxed."

Ylva plucked out her arrow again and stepped several paces away from Rhystlin to demonstrate a quick shot. She drew the arrow back, paused when it was close to her chin with a significant glance towards Rhystlin and a nod. "You see, yes?" Then released the arrow so that it zipped out towards the rock with a sharp clunk before it clattered down to the rocks under it.
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Old February 6, 2015, 06:37 PM   #5
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Allowing Ylva to correct her grip and stance first, the half elf then took a moment to acquaint herself with the way it was meant to feel: her grip loose, her hips and shoulders parallel with the position of where the bow would rise. She had not realized that both eyes were meant to remain open when drawing the string, but it made a lot of sense; altering one's depth perception did not seem the most effective way to line up a shot. It was hard to resist the urge to do so, however, when she lifted the bow up to test the stance. She would get used to it with time, she knew.

Brown eyes following the direction in which the Raghrhnd pointed, Rhys nodded her head and turned so that her left side was facing the rock in question. She watched her companion as she nocked the arrow once more, listened to the complaint of the wood and string as it succumbed to the pressure of the pull, and heard the whistle of the arrow cutting through the air as Ylva let fly. True to its mark, the arrow plunked and clattered before coming to a final rest. A simple enough instruction. Whether the execution of these instructions turned out to be quite as simple was left to be seen.

Straightening her posture, she attempted to stand firmly but comfortably. She lifted the bow up with an outstretched left arm, her dominant elbow rising to form a "T" shape with her body. She held the bow close as Ylva had instructed, situating it near enough to her face to allow her to peer down the shaft of the arrow. At the same time that she raised the weapon, she drew back the arrow as well, pulling it to her chin as demonstrated. Hopefully it would be as fluid a motion as possible, but she expected that her instructor had made it look easier than it really was for a beginner like her.

She tried not to hold the string taught too long. She could feel unfamiliar muscles in her back flexing, and she knew that commanding them for too long would cause them to begin shaking, thus influencing the result of her shot. Eyeing her target, Rhys relaxed the fingers that gripped the bow and string. She watched the arrow fly with great concentration, unwilling to lower her bow until she saw it make its mark - intended or not.
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Old February 7, 2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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The arrow flew past the rock by a good foot and nearly skimmed along the ground in the process. Too wide, too short. Well, not entirely too short; it would have struck the base of the rock at that height. "If you shot at the deer you go through the legs, hm? Well. If you had come closer to hitting." It was a good-natured rib, said with a laugh rather than an intent to really beat the woman down. "Too tight, too...what is word for it? Tense? It is good to have the line pulled strong but it is good for the arm to be relaxed, yes? If your arm it shakes too much then your arrow it will not have strong flight. You pull the arm too high, too far back. It is why the arrow it went down more than up and at."

She hastily brushed back white wisps of hair as it fluttered in her face. "But some of the trouble, it is the wind. I did not say so--too many things at one time, yes?--but you must pay attention to the wind. Which way it blows and how hard, yes? Then you move the bow up, down, side to side. Can you read wind? Sometimes it is easy, yes? Out on this plain...sometimes easy. The snow, you can see it blew over top the banks if it light, soft snow. Hard, wet snow...that is hardier yet, yes? Hair...you feel the wind in hair if it is down. Where there is grass, you can see the wind push the grass and same with trees. But when the wind it is...not so known...you have to trick it to let you see it, yes? Dirt, grass. You pick it up, drop it, see where the wind it makes it fall. Straight down? Away? Left?" She did not demonstrate, assuming that it was simple enough for the girl to follow and understand.

"The wind it comes in small blows. You wait for the wind, you work with the wind. Let it do your work, yes? Here, you try one more shot and then we will go to hunt. Not much to learn just shooting at the rock. It does not move, yes? It will get dark and cold and maybe it will snow. Better if we do not take much of time."

The wind was tickling at the pair of them, teasing hair about their faces. It wasn't a strong wind but it was ever-present with nothing to break the flow of it across the open tundra. It promised to move the arrow left of the rock but did not seem to gust towards the rock or back towards either woman. It would not fight the forward progression of the arrow so much.
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Old February 7, 2015, 12:21 PM   #7
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Rhys grinned at the woman's jest, mostly because it had been a better shot than she thought it would be. That was enough to boost her confidence. Sure, she hadn't done it. But she knew it was only a matter of knowing that she hadn't done it... yet. The familiar concept of practice had been ingrained in her from the moment her guardian had placed the hilt of a sword in her hand. She knew what sort of effect it would have on the trueness of her arrows, too.

The half elf retrieved another arrow from her quiver and nocked it once more, both pointed towards the ground at first. Too tense, too high, too far back. She would attempt to correct those mistakes the second time she drew the arrow. It seemed that it was more of a concept of control than it was of power.

She nodded to acknowledge Ylva's words. She remembered Myach grabbing fistfuls of dirt and watching how the grains fell as they trickled though his fingers. The other signs; she had not been aware that perhaps those were what he was actually seeing when she had waited, silent, watching his eyes flicker up, down, and into the distance. The wind. So that is what he had been seeking all those eras.

She could feel that wind now, could feel it brush through the hair around her face. The problem was, she was not sure just how much to adjust her shot to accommodate the strength of it; that experience was unknown to her. It was not a forceful gust, however, and she assumed she would not have to avert the arrow too far off. Hoping to take advantage of the wind while she knew its current direction, she lifted her bow and drew again, pulling the arrow back towards her chin and attempting to relax herself more than she had the time before. She peered down the shaft, inched the arrow slightly to the right of what she perceived to be her mark, and let fly.
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Old February 7, 2015, 06:19 PM   #8
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Time and practice. With both, Rhystlin would in time be able to land her mark on the target nearly every time. This time, the half-elvish woman missed for a second time although she did come closer to hitting her mark. Still, the arrow whiffed close to the rock enough to think that maybe it would hit...only that it didn't. But it was closer and higher. Continuing with her earlier observation, Ylva noted this time, "If it a deer, you maybe hit the back end. Maybe."

She gestured for Dragon to follow after her and the pair of them spent a short time retrieving the arrows they had fired. Ylva's cruder mountain-made arrow (wood and stone, these arrows) was easy to find in front of the rock and the first of Rhystlin's arrows was recoverable but the second must have buried itself into the snow at such an angle that finding its entrance proved too difficult to waste much time on. Snow and dark, Ylva pointed out for a second time. They had to be on their way if they expected to get dinner and bring it safely back.

The Rhagrhnd woman led Dragon downwind of the deer. As they walked the landscape close to the deer became apparent. They were moving steadily towards a smattering of trees overlooking an up cropping of rocks. From where they stood it was hard to say whether or not it was just a hill riddled with rocks...or if a steep drop-off awaited on the other side. "They look for shelter, I think. There is storm in sky." Ylva shivered a little...although it wasn't from the biting cold around them. And surely it was cold although a good deal warmer from what Ylva was accustomed to. Bundled in her white furs and hides, her fingers cozy in their gloves, she was far from cold. Cold, when applied to the lowlanders, she found to be laughable.

No, she felt odd. Uneasy. Like someone was...watching?

It was a feeling Rhystlin would become aware of, too. But that seemed...wrong. The Arium tundra was open around them with no other person in sight. The only potential place of hiding was among the trees and the rocks that rose ahead of them but there was no obvious stir of movement with them, not aside from the flush of wind that brushed occasionally breezing through.

Ylva cautioned Dragon to stealth, to moving low and carefully. She avoided the snow when possible, not having worn her iksa and knowing that the crunch of boot over snow would be telling. When she deemed them close enough at hand to the deer, she indicated for Dragon to sit low with her. It would be better if they were amid the trees but then they would be upwind of the deer. Now they would have to rely on slow movement rather than being quick.

And there was the ever present niggle of discomfort building up around them. It was not overwhelming, not the stuff panic was built on, but it was a baseline, a small hairline fracture. Something was out there but what?

"Pick a big one, yes? See the one with the head crown?" Antlers. "That one. Big and out front from others. A good shoot. Maybe if you miss you hit one behind it." She grinned at Dragon, gave her arm a small nudge. "Rise slow, move slow. Quiet. If he lifts his head you are still. When he lowers, you shoot, yes?" She gestured for Rhystlin to try.

If all else failed, Ylva could see that they bagged dinner with the aid of her own bow.
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Old February 7, 2015, 07:18 PM   #9
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Closer. That would have to do for now, as Ylva's indication of the brightening's aging was correct, and they would need to move along swiftly with their goals if they were to make it back in a reasonable amount of time. She followed the Rhagrhnd closely, then glanced up at the sky in attempt to see the storm the woman had noticed. Darker skies than normal, even for the winter. It was definitely a reason for concern, as storms manifested and traveled quickly in the Arium Highlands. She hoped that the wind would not be picking up soon.

But no, there was something else. Something that crept, slowly at first, up her spine and settled at her neck, causing the hair there to rise as if a set of eyes were settled somewhere there. She glanced over her shoulder without thinking, confused by this new sensation. She frowned, unsure as to why on Telath she would feel this way given the openness of their surroundings.

What confused her more was that Ylva motioned for her to be quiet, to remain unnoticed. Had she noticed, too?

No, she was being ridiculous, she realized as she snapped back to reality. In her nervousness she had nearly forgotten why they were even here. She crouched then, her odd distraction forgotten for but a split moment as she followed Ylva's example and attempted to avoid the snow.

She listened to her companion's instructions and peered in the direction of the buck, nodding in acknowledgment. Slowly, with her eyes planted on the deer, she pulled an arrow from her quiver, nocked, and looked to see if the deer's attention lay elsewhere. If she was clear to move, she pulled the arrow and positioned the bow up, peering down the shaft at her mark. Should the deer glance up, she'd attempt to remain still, hoping that keeping the arrow pulled would not compromise the stillness of her muscles.

And in that moment of silence, that tingle was there at the back of her neck and spine, like cold fingers brushing against the skin.

Ignore it.

When the proper moment was available, she'd release the arrow in hopes of landing a shot that could take the animal down.
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Old February 8, 2015, 11:03 PM   #10
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Rhystlin's arrow shot forward, flung itself into the general direction of the herd of deer. It flew past her original target--the buck with his glorious head of antlers--and the lot of them exploded into a flurry of movement. One went down with a squeal, the arrow embedded in her shoulder, blood gushing as her feet thrashed. Not a killing blow, that one.

Before a shout of victory could escape either Ylva or Rhystlin, a blur of blue fur as light as a summer sky burst through the herd accompanied by a second body just as blue, if darker. The first descended on the fallen doe while the second gave a high-pitched yip-yip-yip of a noise and flung itself at a second doe. Its long nails slid along the doe's flanks but, noising distress, the deer bucked and twisted and narrowly escaped the predator's grasp and bolted out into the tundra with the rest of its herd.

With the deer scattered and escaped, the scene began to settle itself. The two blue-furred individuals were very feline in nature, close to four feet high at the shoulders and six feet from the tip of their nose to the very tip of their tails. The body was slender, as if built for speed, but purely muscular, built for strength. The one already gnawing at the dying--dead--body of the deer Rhystlin had shot snapped large teeth at the second as its neared but allowed its companion to settle in at the body...which they both ultimately began to pick up and haul back towards the out-cropping of rocks.

Ylva snatched a hand out to grab Rhystlin's arm, clenching with a certain elevation of excitement. "Good fur, yes? Good meat, if not fat." She made a noise that clearly suggested she didn't really care if it provided a lot of good meat. She also didn't seem to care that the deer had all run off and that the feline-esque creatures had snatched away the deer that Rhystlin had (successfully!!) shot...even if she hadn't really been aiming at that one.

Without any reservations whatsoever, Ylva started to move after the other two. She kept herself low and her movements careful...but there was no mistaking her intent. With an arrow set to her bow, Ylva had found herself a new quarry.

The feeling of being watched, of paranoia, lingered. Ylva seemed content to ignore it in favor of the cats. Would Dragon?
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Old February 9, 2015, 01:10 AM   #11
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It hit!

Well, it hit the wrong target. But that was besides the point. There was still a sense of jubilation at the cry of the dear as the arrow hit its shoulder. But swiftly afterwards the flash of blue overtook the animal, and Rhystlin didn't even have the time to seek out a second arrow. It was pointless now, and a sense of disappointment washed over her as she realized their kill had been stolen right out from under their noses.

She wasn't exactly sure what the animals were, but she wondered if there were more. They were likely faster than her or Ylva, and quite possibly stronger with the musculature they exhibited. They looked to her to be pack animals as well, and it felt unlikely there would only be two.

She turned her head with some measure of surprise at the strength with which Ylva gripped her arm, her eyes widening at the excitement that had lit up her face. She wasn't upset that their food had just disappeared? She glanced back at the felines, noting the vividness of their fur. She could see why Ylva was so taken with the color, but she wasn't certain it was worth the danger. She glanced around herself, still aware of the odd sensation of hidden, watchful eyes.

Rhys attempted to pursue her companion as quietly and closely as she could, if only to attempt to touch her arm in order to grab her attention. She wasn't sure if Ylva would even bother to look at her at this point, but if so, she'd point to the sky, and whisper quietly. "Hurry, no time." Either the storm or the darkening would overtake them soon enough, and she was not eager to be caught in either.... or both.

In the hopes of facilitating a swift kill, the half elf took an arrow from her quiver as well and placed it against her bow, crouched and at the ready in the event she might be of any use. She hadn't landed any marks so far, that was for sure, but let it not be said that she wouldn't try.
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Old February 9, 2015, 08:43 PM   #12
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Ylva glanced back at Dragon as the other's hand touched her arm. Caution over storms and darkness had evaporated in the wake of the new excitement. The thing was, Ylva could see the usefulness of the fur, could feel the thrill of hunting something she had never been seen or encountered. The fur would be excellent when added as trim to her clothing, something that might help blend with darker rocks or in the heft of the night itself. And the creature...? Having never seen one more, she wanted to hunt it, to tackle it. And why not? She'd stalked wild cats before and wolves. She'd fought with them. She could kill these beasties, even just one, and they'd at least have something to come away with.

She frowned and was about to issue her own argument, to dismiss Dragon's fears, when the half-elf nocked another arrow. The frown quickly blossomed into a wide, feral grin. That was when Ylva raised her bow, drew the string back and released.

And quickly found out that these animals were smarter than your average cat.

The arrow, you see, thunked itself just short of the wild creature she'd been aiming at, landing instead in the meat of the deer that they were dragging. Ylva bit off a highlander curse and shook her head, about to nock a second arrow, when the heads of both creatures raised, releasing the deer, to peer in their direction. Right at them. The blink of the golden eyes was unmistakable--both Rhystlin and Ylva had been spotted.

A chorus of laughter-like yips rose up from the pair, only to be echoed by what might have been a third and maybe fourth coming from the rocks and trees they had been dragging the corpse to. The two dragging the deer did not budge, but a third wraith-like figure slunk out from the trees to glide forward in the general direction of the two women. Unease was heavy in the air, a stifling feeling that rippled up and down the spine. Stalked. They were being stalked, hunted.

Ylva's expression was smug as she tightened her next arrow onto the string, drawing it back to her chin. She watched the creature as it began its hopping loop of a jog towards them, getting comfortable with the wind and the landscape, and released the string.

This one found its mark, dropping the large feline to the ground. But it was up again just as quickly, the arrow jutting from its shoulder. Limping, it kept its pace, determined, as the laughing yips rose up in the sky louder, louder. It sounded like there were so many...
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Old February 9, 2015, 10:13 PM   #13
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Rhys was actually shocked that Ylva's arrow had missed. It was not that she expected Ylva to hit every target, but somehow Rhys had been convinced she wouldn't have to release an arrow of her own. She hesitated, only to find that Ylva had changed her target, and so she turned to face the one that began slinking from the trees. The sound of others around them, however few at first, made her wary and sent the sprawl of chills racing back up her spine. The beasts were closer than she would have liked.

When Ylva's quarry hit the ground and rose right back up again, Rhystlin lifted her own bow, drew, and let fly. Perhaps it was the anxiety that was rising within her as the chorus around them grew louder, but she did not take the time to test the wind or waste moments peering down the shaft of the arrow. Instead, she let instinct guide her movements, hoping that with each arrow she released she'd get a feel for where they were going.

"Ylva..." Rhyslin growled in warning, her chest rising and falling a little more rapidly now. She came up from her crouched position finding that it was no longer necessary anyway, taking a step back as she drew another arrow from her quiver.

But where would they go? They would never outrun these beasts.... And it didn't matter if they brought this one down, because they'd never be able to reach it or haul it all the way back to Sancta Nova with a herd of predators on their backs.

"Ylva, we need to leave!" Her sense of urgency was rising, and she was ready to let another arrow fly if she had to, if only to slow the pursuit.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:58 AM   #14
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Rhystlin's arrow shot forward, flew towards the cat-like creature as it scrambled awkwardly to gain ground with its uneven gait. When the cat went down again, it was clear that it would not get back up, courtesy of the arrow sunk beside Ylva's. Rhystlin had, luckily enough, hit the cat. Was it dead? No. It writhed on the ground with shrill laughing yips--the laughter of the noise made Ylva's stomach churn, so at odds with the wound and the situation as it was--trying to get up but unable to gain purchase with the ruined shoulder.

Like Dragon, the Rhagrhnd woman had placed an arrow on her string, readying it as the two creatures still staring at them, now walking, now jogging, *in their direction. Ylva took a step or two back. The non-stop chorus of yips in the air was unsettling, nothing like she had ever heard before. Not in her time in the mountains, not in her time on the Arium tundra. Whatever this was, she'd never before encountered it.

Which had been the appeal the moment she'd spotted them.

She sucked in a breath and managed in a somewhat even (but still a little shaky) voice: "Dragon. Do not run. What is it you know of the hunter? If you run, you are prey. They run you down, jump you, kill you. They eat. If you stand, if you fight, you are the hunter. You are the one to fear. You have the bow." With that said, Ylva's hands, shaking some, lifted her bow again, drew back on the string and she loosed the arrow there. It sunk into the neck of the one running out in front, dropping the animal.

She wanted to run, Ylva discovered. She wanted to run very much. The fear rising up in her was intense nothing like she'd felt before in the face of a beast before. She tried to focus on her breathing, on staying calm. She had faced many beasts before. She had tangled with a chidrth. She had fought with only a dagger a hungry wolf. What had she to fear of two cats?

Ylva released a second arrow, missed the other cat. It was close now, half the distance from where it had started. With two of the visible three down the yips in the air had somewhat decreased (the first one on the ground was still writhing and crying out in pain), but it still sounded like a chorus of laughter all around them.
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:48 AM   #15
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Well that had hit. It was about time she could assume some use. Perhaps it was the adrenaline that was now pumping through her veins, cautioning her to be alert and - afraid. Very, very afraid. It was at this point she would have given anything for the lightning fast reflexes her guardian had always seemed to have. What she wouldn't have given, as well, to have those herself right now. What would Myach do?

But she didn't need her guardian. Even though she could see, hear, almost feel the fear in her companion, the woman's advice was something she knew Myach would have said. Although it took every ounce of her not to ignore the woman's sound advice, the strength in those words seemed to eek into her and give her the courage to stand. She was right. She had to be right. And so long as they stood together, they were doubly strong.

She nodded, her breathing ragged. "Do I aim for the head?" Perhaps the question had an obvious answer, but even though the head was a simple concept, it was not a simple target; small, and always moving. Perhaps the neck and shoulders were better, but a waste of arrows? Her quiver had supposed to be able to hold somewhere between 12-20, but she was too afraid to think, to remember. She only hoped they would not run out soon, given her own likelihood to waste more than she put to use.

She let fly at the cat that Ylva had missed, hoping to buy the two of them the time it would take to retrieve another arrow, and another, if necessary. If they were lucky, the cats would be smart enough to realize that with the death of their fellows, it was more sensible to back away.

But if they weren't lucky... well, there would be an endless horde lurking in the trees beyond and the two small women had only put a dent in them. As she nocked another arrow, she hoped to the gods that wasn't true.
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