Author Topic: Ambush Site  (Read 833 times)

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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2006, 01:23:44 PM »
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2006, 03:23:34 PM »
His time had run out. Jarmok knew that the howl belonged to neither wolf nor coyote, though it sounded very lupine. He surmised that it must belong to the same sort of animal that the inky black claws, a handful of which were now tucked away in his bag, belonged. Some shadowrider beast. It was distant, and northerly of his current location.

The lean outlander held his breath and waited to see if there was a reply to this initial missive.

Thump...thump...thump...

And there it was. Further away than the first had been, but from the south. The wind was blowing from the south too, and Jarmok realized that by the sound of the southerly beast, that one must truly be a lot further off that the northerly one. Still, they were both too close for his comfort.

Jarmok's mind, attuned to nature as it had become, assessed his position. If these beasts communicated the way that conventional wolves did, then they were talking to each other now. And if their nose was as sensitive as a wolf's, then it was likely that the southerly one would have his trail already, particularly if they had been charged to monitor the roads. The northerly one might be able to pick his scent out of the very winds. He was not in a very comfortable position. He wondered whether the councilors had noted wolf howls on the night when they were attacked.

His next thoughts were for shelter. He had taken note of an area to the south that looked to hold a copse of trees earlier, but with these beasts on the hills, Jarmok wondered whether that would be a good location to hide for the night.

In fact, it occurred to him now that these obviously nocturnal creatures would have taken shelter in those same trees, to await the end of the day. He might well be walking right into them were he to make for those trees. That southerly beast was no doubt sniffing in that area right now.

It also occurred to him that none of them had been back to this little crevice since the ambush; this spot, then,  might be a better place for him to hide. If they caught his scent and tracked him here, then he could turn into a night bird and fly away, perhaps catching a glimpse of this animal that stalked the hills. Perhaps earning the opportunity to observe them, to see how they tracked, how they moved, and what they looked like.

The plan had merit, Jarmok realized. If he were forced to flight, he could ride high and be out of the reach of the jaws that ran below him. He could, as a night bird, see supremely well in the absence of Kossuth and learn a little about this beast. He could also likely outdistance them as well, not having to deal with the undulations of the land.

He looked back into the ravine. In the last hand or so he had been up both sides of the crevice, and had wandered about the ambush site pretty thoroughly. If these beasts tracked him by his scent, they would no doubt need the better part of a hand to locate him, were he to hide up in one of those trees.

Despite the inherent danger in this plan, Jarmok liked it. Better to have them spend their strength to come to him while he conserved his strength, than to run blind in the hills while they pursued. He did not want to fight them here, though...not in the open and not alone. But the chance to observe them could prove invaluable later. Perhaps this was a breed of animal that had never before visited Threshold.

His mind clear and resolute, despite the danger, Jarmok ran back into the crevice and distributed his tracks and scent thickly around the ambush site. He didn't want to spend too much time in the doing; if these animals were as fast as wolves, then they might be here within the hand.

The area sufficiently seeded, Jarmok stowed his small shield upon his back. So as to leave a discontinuous trail,  he took a running leap (skill roll 24), grasping a high, thick branch, and climbed high up into the largest tree that the crevice offered. He fitted an arrow to the sinew of his bow, and set in, straining eyes and ears for further sounds of the predators.

Or their company. He thought chillingly.
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Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2006, 09:50:13 PM »
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Johan

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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2006, 03:41:02 PM »
Jarmok waited in the tree for at least a hand of time. No further howling was heard on the hills while he waited. The north-blowing wind died down and the rain abated.

There was ought to do but to return home. Jarmok took the opportunity to put as much distance behind him as he could.

A large tawny night bird flew off from the tree and headed south. The hills passed swiftly and effortlessly far below the owl. In this form, Jarmok could hear the occasional howl from afar. It lent him comfort to know that they were so far off that when he reverted to his natural form, he should not have to worry overly about those lupine beasts.

He would not sleep this night, but he should be able to get back to Threshold and greet Kossuth as he surmounted the eastwall in the morning. Then there would be sleep.
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