Runner Trip: Southern Feline Encounter

Southern Point
The forest clears here, opening out to a large grassy knoll atop the weyr cliff. The cliffside angles like an arrowhead, pointing due north, over the azure ocean. The neverending seabreeze sweeps ashore, curling its fingers around the point in whirling eddies that tickle your face, and rustle your hair.
It is a winter evening.
Gliding above is a brown firelizard.
You see Apprentice's Tent, Cook Tent, Runner Corral, Master's and Journeyman's Tent, Spellbound, and Wraithe here.
You notice Xinea asleep here.
Dalaynia, Vaedelle, Beka, and Damria are here.
Obvious exits:

Damria comes back into camp. Yes, our intrepid apprentice has had Wraithe out and about, scouting around for a suitable place to build a blind corral. Somewhere the runners can't climb out of, and with plenty of deadfall so they can build a sufficiently strong corral. "Hey, guys. Anything happening here?" she asks, dismounting from Wraithe and tying him to the corral fence. "It's been quiet so far out where I've been. No big cats, nothing scaring Wraithe today."

Sarrol is sitting down near the apprentice tent, working on her journal and just finishing with the updating of her last entry. She looks up at Damria and smiles, "Nothin' goin on here as far as I can tell. I sure hope we get to those runners soon…my project doesn't look too good right now." She giggles and stands, brushing off excess dirt from her skirt.

Beka is here — when isn't she? — with PaleEye. The black and white gelding is quite lathered, and Beka herself looks exhausted, quiver full, bow slung over one shoulder. "I haven't seen anything all day," she's quick to say, regardless of exhaustion. Elven, remember? They can last, even after the most boneweary of—okay. Well. You get the picture.

Will-O-The-Wisp tramples in. Pali was of course, scanning the entire area around camp to make sure there was nothing moving. Shudder. If there had been, everyone would have known the exact second it happened. Pal's hand slips down to pat the mangy looking runner. Heavy purple bags fling to her eyes: anyone notice she didn't sleep last night? She was by the fire the /whole/ night. Not one bit of sleep. But it's apparent she doesn't /need/ it. Cause, look. She looks about as jittery as last night.

Damria looks around camp, taking in every moving apprentice. "Okay, camp's set up well. The corral will house the runners without any problems. Caine's got the cook tent set up. Eveybody have breakfast?"

Sarrol stretches, sending the little queen Chiana into a fit of chittering since this movement has woken her from a pleasant nap. Sar giggles at the gold before smiling and nodding to Damria, "Yup, I've had breakfast at least." And so has Chi…which is why she was sleeping.

Vaedelle eyes Damria. Breakfast? How could she eat food she didn't even know whether it was alive or dead down here? Knowing her, she's prolly pick up a dead trundlebug thinking it was an oddly colored piece of herdbeast. Sweaty and stinky, all Vae really wanted was a bath. She waves to the other appys, adding a nod in Damria's way.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia runs her hand through locks so strewn together and apart, the hand doesn't make it halfway through. Someone needs a bath. "Yeah, had breakfast. Some tubers from the plate Caine brought out last night. Not much more though." Will-O decides to side step a bit towards the smallish crowd. He's still jumpy from last night.

Beka gives a brief nod. "I've had breakfast." And an early lunch. But she's not saying anything. "And me and Pale have alreadyhave practiced our serpentines and mounted archery. I feel good." Unprompted words? Beka must be feeling better than she looks.

In the forest the sounds of movement can be heard, somewhat noisly as a twig sanps here and there. Then a yelp and a muffled curse can be heard. "Sharding razer sharp blades." And then with a sigh Dala steps out into the clearing.

Darmalo comes out of the tent looking remarkably rested, compared to the others. "Hi." he says cheerfully. "And yes, I've had a good breakfast. Got it about a hour ago after I fed the runners and stuff." He beams at everybody. Apparently, the thoughts of a big cat don't scare him. Maybe he's too….. dumb?

Damria nods as each apprentice acknowledges her question. "Okay, today, we've a bunch of work to do. I've scouted an area where I've seen hoofprints. Since it's near water, I think the runners we're looking for might come there to drink. And …. better yet, there's a box canyon I saw. And Wraithe didn't throw a fit, so I don't think there are any big cats denning there right now."

Sarrol strokes the chittering gold on her shoulder to hush her as she listens to Damria's report. "Ooo…this should be good. And maybe I'll actually have an interesting journal entry for my project." She beams now at the idea of maybe being able to see one of the striped runners and document them…or something.

Darmalo looks interested, indeed. "Ooh, then we'll be riding out today? Or is it within walking distance?" Now, that would be a disappointment, it would, cause he wants to be out riding. It's shaping up to be a really nice day, it seems.

Dalaynia slips into her tent briefly after checking on how the apprentices are doing, glad to see that things are moving quiet nicely. After a few moments she comes out with a bag that looks similar to a healers.

Beka leans against PaleEye's shoulder, watching with quiet eyes and silence. Instead, she watches Damria and Dala with an air of reserved quietness. Best leave all her energy for riding - and archery, which she's getting back into the hang of, apparently.

Damria grins and gathers Wraithe's reins. "Okay, gather up the long knives and your lunches and water. We're headed over to assess the canyon and start building. Everybody ready?" She mounts Wraithe, mostly because she's already packed. After all, she's been out and around and such since just before dawn. And she packed the things she thought she might need, just in case something else was hungry.

Sarrol could jump for joy! But she won't. Instead, she calmly nods to Damria, disappears for a few short moments to collect the required things, sets those things down, and slips over to the runner corral to get ahold of Grey Shadow and saddle him up.

Vaedelle groans as she gathers all her energy to stand up after carousing around in the woods for an hour. It'll be the day a feline kills her before she'll admit to being lost. Vae disappears into the appy tent to grap her knapsack with her supplies, that she should've unpacked but didn't, and throws in a small lunch. Sighing, Vae goes to fetch Spellbound for a /long/ day.

Dalaynia slips into the corral and brings out Cognac, she gives the geldings neck a rub and then begins to saddle him up. Securing her back behind the saddle she swings up with long practiced ease, not even giving him a chance to shift.

Darmalo goes to collect his runner from the corral. Bringing him back, he saddles and bridles him, nicely efficient, yes. And then gathers food, drink and a couple of long knives. He's not sure what Damria wants them for, but he's got his share.

Sarrol gets her things and mounts up onto the now-saddle Grey Shadow, giving the runner a pat on the neck as she settles herself into the saddle. "Well, I'm ready," she says, double checking really quickly to make sure she has her project journal with her as well.

From Spellbound's back, Vaedelle straps her pack to the back of the saddle and yawns, laying down across Spellys behind. She was calm enough not to be spooked by such an action, she had figured out. Making sure her feet were inside the stirrups and the reins looped around the horn of the saddle, Vae closes her eyes and enjoys just a few seconds of shut-eye. Hopefully no one would go as far to spook the poor runner.

From PaleEye's back, Beka quietly settles herself into the saddle, patting PaleEye's neck lightly, watching the others with an amused look pulling the cords of her face. Hmm. "Well, Pale, here we go," she murmurs, clipping her pack to the D-rings of the saddle, checking her longbow, and moving the sheath of her longknife forwards just a tad.

From Wraithe's back, Damria nods as everybody staddles up and mounts their runners. Since she's ready and eager to be off, she figures everybody else is too, even if some of them look less than enthusiastic.

Shaded Path
The path winds through the forest. To the north, the ocean glitters through the trees, while the sun-dappled shade deepens through the thickening forest just south. Individual dragonweyrs branch off the path. Southeast is the Weyrhall, while to the northwest, the trail widens out to a clearing…
It is a winter late night.
You see Wraithe, Cognac, Will-O-The-Wisp, Comet's Flame, PaleEye, and Spellbound here.
Obvious exits:
Northwest Southeast

From Wraithe's back, Damria walks Wraithe down the path they carved earlier in the week. Now and again, she turns to make sure everybody's in line and following her. "Okay…. " she says in satisfaction.

Sarrol has her runner moving along at a good pace along with the others. Yes, she has been ready to move from that camp for quite awhile now. She's beaming really.

From Cognac's back, Dalaynia follows along, content to let Damria lead this, she needs the opportunity after all. This Master is enjoying someone else having to deal with all the fiss and trouble for once.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia trots her skittering runner in. The poor thing looks as if it'll flip out if something decides to come into his path. Pal, of course, reflects the same. Tipsily she holds to the reins for support they cannot give. Eyes bounce to anyone; Vae, Beka, Sarrol. Hands slip to pat the edgy runner's ruffled mane. Obediantly, she says nothing, and follows. Be a /good/ girl Pal. Don't run in the other direction.

From Comet's Flame's back, Darmalo just follows. Comet's behaving, so there must be nothing out there, not really. Least not within smelling distance.

From Spellbound's back, Vaedelle is still laying on Spelly's rump, Spelly plodding along at her own slow pace.Vae sits up as the convoy of herders begins to line up and take on some speed. One thing Vae did /not/ want was to be thrown off the back of her runner.

Weyr Clearing
The strong breeze blowing in off the ocean rustles the leaves of the jungle trees that surround this sandy clearing. To the north is the main structure of the Weyrhall of Southern Weyr, where the dining hall and infirmary is housed. Paths wind through the trees, northeast and west around the Weyrhall to the Southern riders' individual weyrs; south toward the Weyr lake and feeding grounds, and southeast to the hatching grounds and Southern Hold.
It is a winter late night.
Perched on the edge of the Weyrhall's awning is a green firelizard.
You see Wraithe, Cognac, Will-O-The-Wisp, and PaleEye here.
Obvious exits:
Beach Weyrs Weyrhall Lake Forest Path

From Wraithe's back, Damria stops for a moment as the reach a clearing. "Okay, guys. Down this path toward the lake. That's where I found the prints and the canyon."

From Cognac's back, Dalaynia pauses Cognac as she glances in the direction indicated.

Sarrol nods to Damria, taking mental notes as she's not daring enough to pause and write this stuff down. Grey isn't used to this new place yet so his ears are pricked up and his tail is quite high. He'd be prancing if it wasn't for the fact that Sarr knows his movements too well and has a good hold on him.

From Comet's Flame's back, Darmalo nods, ever the willing follower. Actually, to him, this is great fun. "Can we move out of a walk?" he asks hopefully, though, if not, he'll be good natured about being turned down.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia looks as if she's settling down a /little/. But no, never guess from her looks. She'll jump off her saddle and atch onto you if anything happens. Each step and trot of the runners bring both the ears of rider and runner to perk around for things lurking in the silence. What an /awful/ experience for the apprentice. But you know…there's a part of this poor, little, girl that wants to go out and find the feline so maybe, just maybe, she can find out if they really look like her Sper.

From PaleEye's back, Beka is just riding along, minding her own business, listening and tweaking the top of her longbow idylically. Pale's having a good time, plodding along — surprisingly mellow. Especially for Pale. Must be all the exercise…

From Cognac's back, Dalaynia lwans over in her saddle a bit to scratch at an itch on her calf. She glances out a bit as she watches the others.

Just as they clear the forest, a soft coughing sound is heard. It's very faint. Very faint and somewhat above them, or so it seems. Wraithe goes wild and with a startled neigh, leaps from his walk into a dead run. Even though Damria's first in line, the last one in line becomes a target and the cat leaps from the limb of the last tree towards the back of Comet, who neighs in fright and leaps forwards, nearly running into the runner in front of him. He's frantic, what with nice big teeth and claws a few yards behind him on the ground now.

From Comet's Flame's back, Darmalo almost can't control his runner. He's almost out of the saddle as it is in his surprise. One foot's lost its' stirrup and he's off balance. Almost, he screams in fear, his fun day turned to horror. He's riding a borrowed runner and it looks like the both of them might be dinner. Now, that wouldn't be much fun, now would it?

Cognac rears up into the air with a shrill scream as the feline leaps into their midst. Dalaynia frantically grabs onto the saddle and grabs a fistful of mane to keep from being tossed off. Due to her precarious postion she is nearly unseated as the runner stays up… and up.. Squeezing her thighs tight against the runner, Cognac leaps forward and lands with a jarring thud and Dala is tossed up onto his neck "Beka!! Shoot it!"

Grey Shadow starts to neigh in fright after hearing the weird noise. And then the cat jumping out of the forest just triggers even more reactions from him as he rears up, eyes wide. Sarrol's eyes are as wide as the runner's as she hangs on for dear life. Grey lands, but only briefly, as he's rearing up again.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia screams. Yes. The loudest, mmost atroucious thing oyu ever heard. There she goes. Will; well, don't even /ask/. What do you think hes gonna do? Sit there? Naahh…he rears up, and Pal clings for her dear life. Ack. She's not gonna do a thing more other than "Daaaaaarrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmm!" And then a few more screeches. Wildly, she ends up frantically holding Will down. And then more high-pitched, roaring screams burst from her. What is she to do? "Daaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll" Yes. Hear Pal gasp. Hear Pal yell. Hear Pal blow everyone's eardrums out.

From PaleEye's back, Beka doesn't even think. Really, truthfully, she relies on instinct naturally — but almost never like this. In one fluid motion, she's leaning forwards — for Pale's rearing, a thunderously huge sight — and reaching back, grabbing three arrows, tucking two between her knuckles. Knowing that the gelding's not returning to the ground, she turns, fitting arrow to bow, lining the bow parallel to her arm, gracefully sweeping the string back — and she slowly follows the airborne, pouncing feline, until she's dead certain she has a killing blow. And then — arrow is loosed, two black-fletched arrows quickly following the initial green one. "Goodbye," she murmurs, the calm in the middle of the hurricaine, before yanking down on the right rein, sawing on Pale's eyes - and he eventually comes down with a perilous thundering of heavy hooves.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia's eyes barely can catch the glimpse of the thing. It may be ugly and mean to others, but for one moment, one frightening moment, she sees beauty. And although the 'wisp is dodgin this way and that, she screeches out "Noooooo!" Last moment. It was only it's natural instinct! It thought we were preditors to it! And that's exactly what they were…them humans. She leaps almost at once from her runner, woh pauses for a moment in puzzlement, before running off and getting himself tangled in a bush. Pal, she stands there, gawking. How /coudl/ she have hated the image of the thing? It was extremely precious. It was life. and was gone. Horror, masked with greif, crosses onto a terror stricken apprentice.

From Wraithe's back, Damria frantically reins Wraithe in and turns him in a tight circle, bringing her and him back to the others. Her worried eyes take in the disorganization and disarray. Rearing runners and nearly unseated riders. Her eyes also take in Beka's shot and the arrow sticking out of the cat's side, right through the ribs where the heart is. "Wow…." is all she murmers, though she's trying /very/ hard to keep Wraithe from bolting again. One almost silent cough is heard and the cat lies still, a beautiful spotted feline of golden brown and black. Big ears, sharp teeth and very sharp pointed claws lay twitching for a moment before lying still.

From Comet's Flame's back, Darmalo slips from the saddle as he tries to control Comet. Not his fault, neither of them, but having lost a stirrup in the first frantic moment, and with Comet being bunched behind other runners, he rears…. and there slides DArmalo, to lie groaning on the ground for a moment or two. He's winded, but not really hurt.

Sarrol relaxes a bit as her runner finally calms down slightly, though still unnerved. The cat is eyed…and so is the beautiful fur. And, having no compassion for such animals whatsoever, she calls out, "Can I have first dibs on the fur?" If so she said it first. Yes. Sarr can be greedy when it comes to rare and precious things. Mwahaha.

From PaleEye's back, Beka yanks Pale around in a tight circle, head up and moving; the gelding prances the circle at an unbelievably fast spin that most runners never perfect — but he's an agility runner, and lifts over his haunches obediantly, working off nervous energy as Beka gives a satisfied smile. "I want the hide as a throw-rug," she calls out, almost cheerfully, before nudging Pale closer to the carcass. "Oh, don't be a wuss," the huntress-Herder states, throwing away her stirrups and dismounting. "Mmm. Very pretty pelt." Sarrol gets an Eye. "I killed it," she states, possessively.

From Will-O-The-Wisp's back, Palia's legs move quicker then her brain. She beside the beast, staring down at it, staring up at the others, then staring back down. How /could/ they. She..she just couldn't take it. Her eyes meet a glare at Beka. Evil. Cruel. Mean. She..she…"You are /not/ going to skin it!" and that's all your gonna hear from the girl as she sits, poised over it. It didn't deserve this…

From Cognac's back, Dalaynia brings Cognac under control but her eyes go wide as she watches Darmalo fall off and leaps off the runner to go running for her precious son. Her eyes ablaze as she listens to people fighting over a dead animal, when someone could be hurt.

Palia slides down from Will-O-The-Wisp's back, landing on the ground with a soft thud.

From Wraithe's back, Damria slips from Wraithe's back and snubs him down hard to a nearby tree. "Stay there!" she commands him, as if he has any choice. She runs over to Darmalo, sparing only a glance in the way of the cat. It's dead and can't hurt, and that's all she cares about. Flinging herself down next to Darmalo, she calls his name. "Darmalo! 'Malo?"

Sarrol dismounts from the calmer Grey Shadow and frowns at Beka. Hmph. "Well…would you be willing to sell the hide then?" Sarr has actually saved up some marks. Then she's aware that yes…someone could have been hurt. Okay…the hide issue can be settled later. For the moment she regains her right mind and steps over to Darmalo, "Are you hurt?" She's partly a healer person so she really should have gone to him first instead of the dead cat.

Beka quietly swings her gaze from Sarrol, to the dead cat — then to Darmalo, whom - in all the chaos — she hadn't seen. The blood drains out of her face, as she stares at the boy, dazed, not moving, letting Pale dance behind her in fear of the scent of the cat - looks like she's frozen solid in fear, staring at the slumped-over Darmalo.

Palia watches the dead thing, waiting for it to get up and flee. They were gonnaturn it into somethng horrific. "NOOOOOOO! You /cant/. You are /not/ stripping it of skin!" She doesn't care if no one listens. Shes yelling, and loud. Hands caress the giant head. Oh,it was beautiful. And it was going to stay beautiful, in its present shape. Then no one can dispute over it. "DALA!" she yells out. "I swear over Faranth that if this thing is skinned that I' gonna leave! An, an, an never come back!" Well…

From Comet's Flame's back, Darmalo is dazed, but not out. He finally takes a deep breath, and opens his eyes. "Wow… that was close." he says, feeling ribs and such for anything really painful. He shakes his head slowly, wincing as he does so… At least he fell gently, or so it seemed, as if in slow motion. "I'm okay…" he says, though he sounds just a bit shaky.

Beka turns, and uncermoniously whacks at Palia's head with the brunt of her longbow. "Shut up!" Cough. Yes. That's Undignified!Beka.

Sarrol rolls her eyes at Palia, "Snap out of it! We've got a possibly injured /person/ over here!" She looks at Darmalo, "You sure you're okay? Don't move to quick. Does anything hurt?" Eyes search him over for any serious cuts or scratches. Yes, her training is good. She knows just what to ask and look for….even if it's usually an animal she's looking over.

Dalaynia is still a bit shaky looking herself, her preciousson could have been killed. "Are you sure?" she says softly as she checks him over herself. Palia is ignored for the moment, there are more important things then dead felines at the moment. She places a hand over his eyes for several moments before removing them and watching him closely.

Darmalo nods. "Yeah, I'm fine. " In other words,….. mom, don't fuss so. He sits up gingerly, pushing off helping hands.

Damria helps Darmalo to sit and breathes a sigh of relief. She grins at him. "Fun, eh?" Only kids would think so, wouldn't they?

Dalaynia is going to fuss, she had the living daylights scared out of her. "Take it easy now, and you had better tell me if you start feeling nauseous." This is said with a stern look.

Beka quietly eyes the cat. "Well, someone's gonna have to hold Pale while I toss that thing onto the back of my saddle.." And won't /that/ be interesting? First, just seeing Beka use those muscles of hers to toss it up there.. and then Pale's resounding bucks of terror?

Darmalo really wants to shrugs off his mother's concern. "I'm fine." he says with a pained look. "How's Comet?" Maybe he can divert his mother's interest.

Damria chuckles. "Well, he looks okay, sounds fine. Come on, stand up, we'll check your runner our and go on. After all…. it's not that much further." Sarrol looks at Darmalo and then at Dala. Um…yeah…how is Comet? In fact…/where/ is Comet? She's the acting beasthealer here isn't she? Well…sort of at least.

Dalaynia eyes Beka "We're not having the feline with us. First off it'll spook off the wild runners we are hoping to catch. And if that things smell is all over…" she sighs and shakes her head and gives a wry smile. "Thinking of your runner before yourself?" she sahkes her head a bit. "Go see for yourself then." she says as she gestures to the shaken runner trembling a little further down.

Palia doesn't want anyone taking it. It's no ones. Its itselfs. And since itself is dead, no one can reside over it. It should just have nature take toll on it. Not have theiving scoundrals take the thing and tear it up. So, her hands grab a point somewhere between the head and body, and she begins dragging it towards the forest. She may not have strength, but such things as adrenilin power her to pull it at a current speed veloctity of 1 handspan per 2 seconds..

Darmalo stands, albeit just a little shakily. He's never really been thrown before. Walking over to Comet, he starts by checking over his legs and hooves. Everything looks okay to him. "Comet seems okay." he calls, grinning as he stops his own shaking.

Palia tears stack up on the ground, and as she kneels to the ground, a stacked sign is placed at the place of death….

~~~> Sign-Feline A small piece of wood, but with words written all over it. Here rests the death place of a feline, who valiently died in the face of danger and paril from the human race. May it rest in peace.

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