The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Between Marn and Shim, along the Ofriyu Mar river, is a stretch of dense woodland known as the Virdara Woods.
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Syrathan
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The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Syrathan » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:48 pm

Syrathan was reeling. He had to get away from the demons; how had he been so blind? He had been confused scared greedy childish needed to be punished. Stumbling (that wasn't Father) from the scene, barely conscious, anxiety making his body shake (Mother was right), finally ending with him on his knees digging the heels of his hands into his temples and grinding his teeth and squeezing his eyes shut so tightly colors danced but it was a dance of death and threat and it was inside him and he felt filthy. He had to wash himself.

Where is Paragon? Syrathan found it hard to remember what had transpired before...whatever had happened there. I followed a demon. I submitted to it. Mother, I'm sorry. Forgive me. Paragon found Syrathan rather than the other way around, nudging him softly but sternly as was his way. The soft clatter of buckles and items in saddlebags was pleasant to Syrathan, a familiar sensation in a sea of strange events he found himself drowning in. Disappear. Yes. Back to the forest, back to solitude, back to living and surviving and cooking and eating and...what? Purpose was a word as strange as Vanyusha or Not-Father. For now, it would do simply to survive, follow instincts, live, cook, eat.

He would have to find a place to do so. This part of the forest wasn't safe. Keep riding, back to Shim, around the village, live, survive, cook, eat. Syrathan didn't quite remember climbing back onto Paragon, but he felt the gentle tapping of Bastion's claws as he alighted on the perch attached to Paragon's saddle. He still needed to wash but he was so tired and everything was dirty so nothing was dirty and everything was clean and nothing needed anything and...

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Valyr
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Re: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Valyr » Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:19 am

Drifel found himself wandering. Yeah, that was the right word for. He was beginning to think this cannibal hunt was a big mistake, because he had yet to find a clue amidst the brush. He’d gone to the location Alexander had indicated and seen and buried the half-eaten bodies, had even followed the trail of a horses hooves for some time, but had lost the trail when they had passed a rough patch of ground, dried up by the sun’s rays yet too covered in the padding of vegetation to leave decent tracks. He hadn’t yet been able to find where the bastards had begun anew.

He knew that his target did not work alone. There had been clear evidence of a second person walking alongside the horse rider, though he had walked slowly, like an old man. Yet the greatest stumper was this other being didn’t leave distinct footprints. It was enough of a puzzle that Drifel suspected magic. That made matters far more complicated. But what the shit, he’d killed mages before during his days as a merc. Wasn’t as if they were any more immune to crossbow bolts in the back than the next bloke.

Still, paired with the heat, the aches in his joints and the hangover that throbbed in his skull, the old dwarf was becoming increasingly convinced that Alexander had been right to suggest involving the battlemages. Better them than he, running about aimlessly through the woods in pursuit a quarry likely to be his better.

The dry patch extended off the side for a ways, where Drifel knew from years of experience the road between Marn and Shim would be. Deciding to take a break by getting out from the underbrush, he started off in that direction. It only then occurred to him that the pair he hunted had most likely simply taken the road from this point on, disguising their trail intentionally or otherwise amidst the tracks of a crowd. He kicked the cracked dirt in frustration at his inability to see the obvious, as well as the fact that he had no reasonable way to check the whole road for clues.

Well, he could at least check the surrounding area. Maybe they had simply crossed, or… were those footsteps he heard? The dwarf flipped his green hood up to his head, loaded his crossbow and froze. Movement was the end of stealth.

His ears had not deceived him. Drifel was quick to catch glimpses of somebody walking down the road through the brush. One person, and if the clank of metal was any indication, he was armed. Drifel bit his lip in frustration at Alexander’s decision to bury the bodies. He should have thought to ask the guard for an autopsy.

Drifel didn’t think it was too likely this was the cannibal, but one could never be too certain. He decided to do this the most direct way he could think to.

Drifel sprinted forwards, his stubby legs carrying him over the caked earth, before bursting out of the bushes several yards behind the fellow. Drifel kept his hands on his weapon. The crossbow was lifted to a 45 degree angle- a misfire wouldn’t hit the kid, but he was confident he could have it aimed before a sprinter could reach him.

“Hold on there, friend. I’m going to need to ask your name and business on the road today.” Now that he had a solid view, the kid looked a bit to scrawny for a killer. One could never be too careful, so he let the question stand.

Dia Lyn
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Re: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Dia Lyn » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:00 pm

What were the words?

Dia mulled over the answer to this question as he stepped through the underbrush, pushing branches and shrubs out of his way. His journey to the forest had not gone as swimmingly as he had hoped it would. Hunting cannibals was turning out to be far more of a chore than he had anticipated it would be. Already his body ached, and he had numerous cuts and scratches from the rough path he was treading.

In order to keep his mind off of the uncomfortable conditions, he had started to hum a gentle tune his parents had taught him when he was little, and it had been soothing, until he realized that the words to the song had been long forgotten by him. This provided him with yet another distraction as he walked, barely paying attention to the trail around him until a voice broke him out of his trance. He reached down and grabbed the hilt of his sword which hung limply against his waist. It caught the pommel and pushed it away, causing it to swim away from his grasp. He looked down to get a better view and finally his hand found a grip.

His eyes rose to meet the stranger, only to find a dwarf aiming a crossbow at him. Dia froze, unsure of how to proceed. It was then that the question fully registered with him. "My...my name?" He said confused. "Oh! I am Dia." He straightened his posture, standing proudly, and puffing out his slender, bony chest to look more like the hero he sought to be. "And I am on a quest, hunting a man-beast that has sought refuge in this forest!"

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Valyr
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Re: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Valyr » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:19 am

Drifel blinked. So that was why he was lugging that sword around? Theogios save him. The dwarf cringed as he looked Dia up and down. This boy did not look the part of a warrior, especially not one suited to the task of tracking down a killer like this.

“Er…” Drifel blustered, trying to find a polite way to voice his thoughts. His lips twisted beneath the hairs of his white beard. He lowered the crossbow, already convinced that Dia was not much of a threat. “Word’s already spread then? Suppose that saves me the trouble of warning passers-bye.”

“Name’s Drifel. I’m a hunter who lives out here, a friend of mine found the… found the corpses, or what was left of ‘em. Sick bastard.” He spit on the ground in disgust. A classic gesture, but one Drifel found fitting for the circumstances. “My son was spared the sight, fortunately. He’s about your age. Adopted, o’course.” He said, forestalling any inquiry with a wave of his hand. He underestimated the distance to the brush behind him and unwittingly pushed his hand into the leaves. Startled at the contact, his head whipped around before he took a couple steps into the road. “I’m a fair bit too old for that.”

After a brief pause, a leaf fluttered across the road. He spun his crossbow to grab it by the foregrip, pulling the wooden bolt from the load. He did it quickly, his hands moving without the errors that might have plagued others his aged. He hoped it would convey the proper message: he was experienced, and so was the killer. “So... you’re trying to get this cannibal too, then? Do you have any training?”

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Re: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Dia Lyn » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:38 pm

Dia listened to the Dwarf patiently, no longer worried about conflict. This man was far too friendly to be a villain, Not to mention too old. As he asked about his training Dia looked sheepishly down at his weapon. "Well, no." He admitted, giving a light shrug. "But, I made this blade myself, and I've been practicing with it daily...though I've not had a real fight with it yet, I've gotten used to the weight." He said, gently running his hand over the pommel of the sword.

Dia studied the crossbow Drifel had pointed at him only a little while before. "If you are hunting the monster too...perhaps we could hunt it together. Two blades must be better than one." Dia reasoned, giving the stranger a friendly smile. He did not seem mean or cross at all, and for that Dia was instantly thankful.

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Valyr
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Re: The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Post by Valyr » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:17 pm

“Erm, right.” Drifel stammered. He certainly didn’t want to need to look out for this youngster while out on the hunt. This was his responsibility to bear alone, at least until the guard was alerted. “It’s well and good to see Shimfolk taking action but…” As his voice trailed off, the dwarf’s jaw remained hanging open. There were hoofprints heading out into the forest on the other side of the road. They were obviously a far cry too thick to be a deer, but Drifel knew the other folk that lived in this area, and none of them had a horse that would be going off in that direction.

It was an unusual surprise, to say the least. Assuming this was the cannibal’s horse and not a poorly timed camping trip, it meant the killer was skilled enough with animals that he could keep a horse without a pasture, stable, and human support, or that he actually had accommodations and social status of some sort.

Drifel strode across the road to take a closer look. After kneeling to examine the prints more closely, he turned back to the clearing, squinting his eyes as if that would allow him to see through the leaves of the forest. If the cannibal had stowed his horse just across the brush on that side, in the clearing, and gotten onto the horse before crossing… it would explain the lack of a trail. There was enough movement between Marn and Shim that the hoofprints weren’t even remotely out of place beside the road, but going off into the woods like this meant something, he was sure of it.

He took a few steps beneath the trees, making sure the prints actually kept going. The dwarf grew so thoroughly focused that he ignored most of what Dia was saying. His suspicions were confirmed as he kept finding telltale signs of a horse’s continued travel into the underbrush; a difficult journey, to be sure, for a beast of such stature. There were going to be signs plastered on every branch, should one look for them.

With this key detail revealed, Drifel knew the hunt was on. Momentarily caught up in the rush, his protests were silenced. “The cannibal’s been through here, I’m guessing. Look at this, look at these tracks. Unless you know a Shim fellow who comes by here?” Shim was a close knit community, the kind that did not tolerate many secrets. It was a safe bet, if not a guarantee, that Dia would have insight into the whims of his neighbors.

Unless the lord of Kaledin was somehow involved. Drifel’s stomach dropped at the thought, for it was a frightening one. The lord of Kaledin had a presence that spoke of the special kind of power that meant even the most hidebound fools, even the naive and idealistic like Dia, did not interfere with his business.

Though he didn’t really keep the faith, Drifel shot of a quick prayer to Thoegios that such was not the case.

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