Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

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Justinaryn
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:44 am

The griffin was in a bad mood already, before Lo'en started talking, so she had to compete with that when it came to anything she said. This was evidenced in the dubious look he gave her the whole while she spoke, as though he was waiting for her to come out with one of her insults and reveal the true reason she'd flagged him over.

She didn't. He waited for an invitation to peck her eyes out, but it never came. Not, at least, before she was interrupted by some unnatural sounding wail that shattered the relative calm of the twilight landscape so completely even the insects stopped their chatter.

It bothered the griffin at least as much as it did Lo'en. His instincts went crazy and drove him to take flight and get far, far away from whatever it was that made that sound.

No such option. Justinaryn' struggled to sit back on his haunches and stay with his charge. In the process, he did his best not to look frightened. It was unbecoming of a noble griffin to get scared.

"I think, perhaps, we should find a quiet place to sleep the night, and not make a fire."
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
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Jaspenellar
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:53 pm

Her grey eyes narrowed and there was no ease of her tension as Justinaryn' spoke. "You don't know what that sound was? It was so low, I couldn't tell which direction it came from."

Lo'en hefted her bow and in a quick, practised motion, strung the bowstring. She typically kept her hunting weapon unstrung to prolong the life of the expensive elastic string, but as it was her only real weapon, the half-elf felt justified to leave it taut through the night.

She started down the slope towards the copse, the only meager sense of shelter she could reach before it got too dark. Moving at a quick trot and assuming that the griffin would follow, she grimaced at the thought of spending a cold night on the mountain with no fire. Chagrinned at having to acknowledge the bird-brained creature's sense, she instead turned the conversation to the copse of trees. "It might not allow for me to use my bow, but whatever made that sound was large. Probably too large to be concealed in that small thicket, do you think?"
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Justinaryn
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:57 am

The time for games was over. When it came to dealing with the situation at hand, Justinaryn's desire to fight with Lo'en was trumped by his desire to keep the both of them alive. Whatever it was chilled him to the bone, and he had an inclination that it was somehow supernatural.

As much as it grieved him to admit it, he shook his head when she asked if he could tell where the sound came from. He couldn't tell where it came from any more than he could identify what it was.

The griffin's best asset in this situation was his eyesight, and while Lo'en strung her bow and started moving again, he continually scanned the horizon around them in search of anything out of the ordinary. He was looking for something big, a large shape of any kind. Again, he was unable to discern anything.

His companion suggested a copse of trees and he considered it for a moment, and then nodded.

"As long as that's not where it came from..."

There was a tough of fear in his voice. Something in their situation was bringing out the little baby griffin inside him. He didn't like being frightened - it was a rare thing - but the feeling was too instinctual to ignore. Justinaryn' was being forced to remain on the ground in a dangerous situation, and it made him very uncomfortable.
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:15 pm

Lo'en paused as she reached the edge of the copse. Something in the griffin's voice had arrested her, but she turned her hesitation to inspecting the small wooded area. Only about three hundred meters across, the half-elf could not see through to the other side; however on the slope, she had been able to make out the end of the copse, and she judged it to be no more than four or five hundred meters deep, attributing the fallen night to her lack of ability to see through it. The trees were small, hardy, mountainous type, and closely knit. Justinaryn' would have a difficult time fully spreading his wings in the tight quarters. The wandering half-elf would have felt safer sleeping in one of the trees, but lacking thick branches, the trunks themselves were barely as thick as a branch she'd trust herself on, she resigned herself to huddling on the ground, her back against one of the trees and to the majority of the copse, facing outward to the direction from which they had just come.

Truthfully, the weird sound had caught her curiosity as much as her fear, but this was the first time in their travels that she had seen the griffin exhibit fear. Feeling somewhat charitable, even despite her own safety, she offered, "I know you must not be feeling comfortable on the ground here, after... that noise. If you can find a perch in the dark or saw one earlier, I wouldn't begrudge you if you left now."

She had come to know that, even though he could see better than her in the dark, the eagle-eyed creature was a daytime hunter and except on bright nights near a full moon, he preferred not to go flying around at night. Still, his presence was somewhat comforting and she'd miss the extra set of eyes if he took off.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:39 pm

The griffin followed Lo'en to the copse where he nervously made stepping motions with his front paws while hanging around beside her, lifting and dropping one off the ground and then the other, a nervous reflex that resulted from his efforts to stay his fight-or-flight instincts. The sound was gone, and the more time that passed after hearing it, the easier it became for him to get a grip and remain where he was.

He also knew how big the copse was, better than the half-elf did, nor could he see through the trees from where they were or properly judge if anything was in there. He couldn't smell or hear anything either - details which also gradually helped to ease his nerves.

"I will remain with you." He said, without explaining himself further.

There were various reasons for his decision, ranging from his responsibility to keep a watch on her under all circumstances, to his reluctance to show cowardice just because of some spooky sound, to a hint of a desire not to see harm come to the only person he'd known for the past few months.

His fidgeting subsided eventually, and he had a seat next to Lo'en and the edge of the copse, looking around a few more times before laying his head down on his front paws.
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:02 pm

No fire, no dinner, and some wild, crazy, unknown monster in an indeterminate location... she'd had worse, or at least she tried to tell herself that. Lo'en didn't seem outwardly perturbed, but her grey eyes, had there been enough light to see, clearly showed her discontent at the current situation. At least she had a fearless griffin protector- oh no, that wasn't quite right either. His fear seemed strangely palpable at the moment, but the half-elf brushed it off to heightened senses brought on by nerves.

"Someone should keep watch-" Lo'en ceased speaking as a subtle change came over the darkness. There was silence- the last of the summer nocturnal insects had arrested their now futile buzzing. No wind stirred the dry copse trees. Still standing, even though Justinaryn' had taken a seat, the half-elf twisted, leaving her feet planted, but bringing up her bow to a ready position, one hand moving smoothly to the quiver by her side. One part of her rued the fact that she only had five currently made, while the other sarcastically offered that she wouldn't even get one off the bowstring before the big bad monster came to gobble them up.

Anger suddenly flared in the half-elf. The frustration of ignorance out-weighed her fear, and in her characteristic, careless manner, Lo'en started to shout into the darkness. "What are you? Come out here like... like the freak you are, cowardly piece of shit! You want us? We're right here!"

Only the resuming of the night noises answered her call. The half-elf glared into the darkness, seeing nothing, but remained poised to take action.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:20 pm

Justinaryn's feathers stood up on end when all the ambient sounds around the two of them stopped so abruptly it caught Lo'ens attention mid sentence. He didn't hear anything. Nothing at all. Twisting to look around himself, he remained with his butt planted in its spot. It was more important to look like he was steadfast and not make the mistake of chasing shadows than it was to be properly on guard for him.

She called out into the darkness and fortunately nobody responded. Justinaryn' was so on edge, he was ready for anything to jump out of the copse of trees and devour them whole. At least that didn't happen.

Once it was clear to both of them that the silence was a false alarm, he spoke up.

"Congratulations, you've frightened the crickets. I can see who's better suited for watch duty."

Moments later the griffin huffed. Although he knew it was necessary, he didn't like the idea of being on watch. He knew he wasn't going to be able to sleep for a while yet. His huff was a reflexive social gesture, expressing disdain for being assigned a menial task, regardless of the situation or necessity of it. It was the principle of being assigned watch duty that was offensive. It sounded like a job for a grunt.

If anything good came out of his huff, it was a sign that his fear was wearing off. At least if he was busy being prissy, he wasn't being scared.

"Very well. Rest yourself, secure in the knowledge that I don't chase after shadows."
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
It can never be found from without.

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:53 am

"Well, shouting at shadows is better than sitting frozen to the spot with fear, and letting the monster come to kill you while you do nothing." Lo'en huffed in her own way back to Justinaryn. In truth, she felt a little bad for the aviary creature. She was sure that some of his fear was rooted in the fact that he was earthbound, some sense of duty or responsibility driving him to stay close to her when he would likely feel better and more confident in some tree or on some high, craggy perch. The half-elf wasn't beyond sympathy, she just didn't know how to express it very well. She attempted to amuse him instead. "Maybe my shouting scared it away." The absurdity of the statement was not meant to be truthful but her quirky sense of humour offered the griffin a kind of wayward sympathetic gesture.

Lo'en moved to settle down, somewhat close to the beast. The closeness of the trees in the copse prevented her from choosing a spot further away, but she had a feeling their proximity, the nearest she'd been to him in a while, was strangely soothing to the both of them. She set her bow aside, within arm's reach, along with an arrow as she laid down on the ground with her back to Justinaryn'. The excitement from the evening was wearing off and her body was cooling down with the deepening twilight as she tugged her hardy travelling cloak around her.

"I'll be up in a few hours to relieve you." She muttered as she drifted off, her body well-programmed to sleep a while to get rested in whatever short time she afforded it.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:09 am

"Well, your shouting scared everything else away."

The crickets and other insects had indeed kept their chatter much quieter after Lo'en's yelling. In a way, she had more of an effect than the monster, or whatever it was, had. At least with regards to the insects in their immediate vicinity.

Justinaryn' watched her, sitting right where he was, as she got into a comfortable place next to him. She set the bow aside, and curled up facing away from him. Once she was settled in and finished moving around, he turned his large, beaked head back to a more regal position to keep watch over her in a way reminiscent of the statues that could be found around the palaces of his homeland.

He recognized the olive branch she was offering him. It wasn't necessary though. By tomorrow, their differences would take a back seat to real problems.

The hours passed uneventfully. Justinaryn' didn't move much, except to occasionally adjust his wings or take a nip at some insect that thought it was safe to snuggle into his fur, snapping it up with the sharp, curved end of his beak. Lo'en stirred on occasion every hour or so, but thankfully nothing bad happened.

After a few hours, Justin had settled into a half-sleeping state himself. Eyes open, he kept his head tucked into the feathers on his chest, and focused on listening for things.
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:15 pm

Lo'en roused herself after three and a half hours, having half awoken each hour as a subconscious check to ensure nothing obvious was amiss. Shaking herself fully awake, she sat up and looked over at the sleepy griffin. She felt amused at the scene, wondering what her siblings would think of her feathered friend. She couldn't imagine what had caught the attention of his master, who was obviously powerful enough to create such intelligent beasts, nor was she inclined to pursue that curiosity.

"Go ahead, fall asleep. Rest up for the morrow, whatever morning should bring."

As Justinaryn' huffed in his way, probably taking her offer to stand her portion of the watch as an insult, Lo'en settled to a comfortable position, remaining seated, with her back against a tree. The night was quiet enough, not unnaturally so, and she resumed her mental musing at her current situation. Although she would not bring herself to admit it aloud, the half-elf found the somewhat constant companionship easier by the day. Admiration lit her grey eyes when he was not looking her way. The magnificent griffin, with reddish tinted fur falling smoothly over his powerful leonine hindquarters was clearly bred as a warrior. The disparity between the soft down-like feathers covering his head and his chest and his long, smooth wing feathers captivated Lo'en, who had only encountered avian anatomy from afar, or lifelessly dead, being plucked hastily for fletching and cooking purposes. She wasn't sure if she would ever tire of studying such a mythic creature. If only he could be persuaded to keep his beak closed. Although it was dark, with little glimpse of the paltry moonlight through the thick canopy, the whiteness of the griffin's feathers seemed to catch the scarcest illumination and offered a soft glow.

Morning twilight brought a thin, grey overcast layer, effectively muting the sun's first rays. The remainder of the night had passed without further intrusions. Feeling a tautness brought on by half a night of sleep, a sense of expectation, and hungriness, Lo'en stood, stamping her feet to work some energy and heat into her legs. The morning was chill and the half-elf expected rain, or at least mist before the sun was fully risen to burn off the moisture hanging in the air. Grumbling to herself and hoping to wake Justinaryn' with her muttering, Lo'en gathered her meager belongings, shaking out her cloak noisily. Goat meat roasting over an open flame sounded real tasty about now.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:49 pm

It was the stamping that woke the griffin up. He twitched and opened his eyes, but remained as still as a statue while he looked around to assess the situation. Everything seemed to be in order. Lo'en was still right where she was when he'd fallen asleep. The air was cold and damp, but he only took notice of that because of how it bothered Lo'en. He was too well insulated to feel it, and he certainly did not envy her. She seemed surprisingly vulnerable when just a bit of cold could bother her.

The griffin stretched his wings and stood up to stretch his front legs by arching his back and spreading his talons out on the ground in front of him. He let out a mighty, silent yawn the way a house cat might, but with a beak and pointed tongue rather than fangs.

Pacing a few steps to wake himself up, he peered around and then stared off into the horizon, perhaps spotting something too far away for the half elf to see.

"Hopefully your luck today is better, two-legger."
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:56 am

Lo'en felt that moving, anywhere, would soothe her restlessness so without further stalling, having gathered her belongings, she started briskly out of the copse. Ignoring the griffin's remark, though without seeming to ignore him completely, the half-elf moved parallel to the wooded area, trotting to get some warmth in her limbs. The damp air was starting to condense, giving a deeper chill to the morning.

Feather insulation would be nice right about now, she thought to herself somewhat sourly, but managed to keep her sarcasm to herself. Another night in the wilderness with an unknown monster was at the bottom of her list of things to do, and if Justin could be of any help locating it, she didn't want to risk alienating him. After about an hour of skirting the edge, the copse ended rather abruptly into a ravine, and Lo'en paused to look down into it. From her distant perch the day prior, she had been able to see around the trees to the far slope, but now that she had arrived, it seemed there was a deep ravine between the trees and the other side. In fact, now that she was up close, she could tell that the ravine deepened to the right, towards the south. Vegetation gamely grew along the clay lined walls, and a turn toward the east, prevented her from getting a whole picture of the structure. She suspected that travelling along the top of ravine would reveal nothing. With an itching feeling that something lurked down in there, Lo'en turned to the griffin.

"Let's say you and me go hunting? Maybe this monster will be tasty cooked up over a fire." The easy grin and mischievous glint in her grey eyes made it clear that the half-elf was eagerly looking forward to plunging into the canyon-like ravine, with no regards to what dangers lurked therein.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:25 am

With the expressionless gaze of a bird's face, Justinaryn stared back at her as she proposed they hunt down whatever monster they had heard rumbling the air that night. Lo'en wore a grin, and it seemed like she actually had some plan in mind to do what she was suggesting. Justin still had a hard time figuring out her sense of humor at times of ambiguity like this. As near as he could figure, she just might be crazy and suicidal to want to hunt the thing down.

"I fear one of us would be doing the hunting, and the other would be bait. I refuse to be the latter. Perhaps you can sit back and shower this creature with arrows, but I can not offer much help should you fail at that."

He chose his words carefully. It would have to be Lo'en's failure at archery, not his own inability to hold a bow or take on a monster of unknown size, that would be responsible if something went wrong.
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Jaspenellar » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:12 am

"You doubt so much..." Lo'en made a face at the griffin, completely and willfully abusing her ability to do such actions. As if in defiance, she hefted her bow and started down on a narrow path into the ravine. It wasn't much of a trail, scarcely wider than one of her feet, but the half-elf moved with a practiced grace of a mountainous goat herder. She hardly had to give her footing a second thought, instinctively making her way down into the gorge. Instead she was reflecting back on Justin's words as she trotted down the steep path, occasionally having to jump gaps. A shower of arrows? He must know she only had five at the moment, if he could count so high. She smirked to herself, lightly jumping to a wider ledge as her current path ran out. Given a clear shot at the monster, whatever it was, she would most probably only need one or two. And provided they didn't happen upon the beast at point blank range, either.

Lo'en stood about halfway down the ravine, a good 20 feet or so still below her. Thick, probably thorny scrub brush and the height above made it undesirable to slip and fall into the bottom. The current ledge she stood on was probably wide enough to accommodate the griffin, and it looked to widen even further ahead. The reddish clay walls were moist with the dew hanging in the air, but unless there was a downpour, Lo'en felt fairly secure that the wet ground would not give way under her weight. Did the "great" beast actually balk at the thought of a hunt? She looked up to see if Justinaryn' would follow her from the air.
"She who can laugh at herself will never cease to be amused."

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Justinaryn
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Re: Goats, Griffins, and Gelatinous Stuff

Post by Justinaryn » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:36 pm

Justinaryn' snapped his beak at her when she kept making faces at him, and waited until she had started her way down into the ravine before taking a running start and launching himself into the air over her. He purposefully jumped over her head in order to get airborne, leaving pebbles and bits of dirt to sprinkle over her from his feet.

Several massive flaps of his wings brought him higher up into the air, although with the weather as cold, damp, and sunless as it was, there were no updrafts for him to ride on. It made flying more difficult than usual, since he could not glide and had to continue flapping to stay over the ravine.

The griffin managed, though, and climbed overhead, watching down over Lo'en's descent. He kept his head down, searching over the irregular terrain ahead of her for anything of interest.

The half-elf seemed confident that she would find something in this ravine. She was the experienced goat-herder. Maybe she knew something he didn't.

Sure enough, he spotted a dull gray figure situated at the base of the ravine not too far opposite Lo'en's position. She couldn't see it from her position, through the brush and dim lighting, but Justinaryn's excellent vision let him pick out enough details to know it was a what they were looking for. The goat was hunched over a patch of grass, eating away.

Not bothering to wait for Lo'en, or to signal her regarding his find, the griffin took it upon himself to capture the goat. He was hungry, after all, and one goat wasn't going to be missed.

Folding his wings to his side, the relatively large and heavy griffin angled a nosedive toward the goat and came crashing down through the mist, only feet from the rocky edge of the ravine. The goat looked up in time to see him coming, and bolted at full speed in the opposite direction.

Justinaryn' was quick to open his claws and make a swooping arc to try and snag the goat, but in the cold and heavy air, he had to compensate by flapping several times to prevent himself from smashing into the ground. The goat was quick, and took the extra second it had to bolt in a different direction.

Razor sharp talons cut into the animal's hide, but not enough to get a proper grip, and the goat escaped, much to Justinaryn's dismay. The griffin let out an eagle's cry and ascended a dozen meters into the air before turning around again.

By this time the goat had enough time to find a hiding spot, and bolted into a wide cave cut into the side of the ravine.

Frustrated with his bungle, the griffin huffed and made his way back over to Lo'en, who had no doubt seen at least some of the exchange from her vantage point.
Utopia is not a place, it is a state of being.
It can never be found from without.

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