The Happily Merry Forest

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RabidFox
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The Happily Merry Forest

Post by RabidFox »

So deep it was in the heart of Gwynedd, so lost was it among the isolation of the forgotten, that no man could find it even if he spent his entire life seeking it. And what would any sane man want with it, anyway? The whole rotten place, the entire frightening scrap of forestry... the world was better off without its biting sarcasm. Hell, even a beast would not want to tread there, lest he find his face splattered in blueberry pie. That is, one that was so steaming hot it might as well have been from a fiery kitchen, searing all the flesh and fur right off the poor mutt's ugly mug.

It was a fairy tale that had been left out too long and spoiled. Maliciously mischievous magic polluted the environment like smog, sludging down the hideously gnarled trees so old they should have been on welfare. There were terribly evil thorn bushes, flowers that somehow lived on despite having wilted forever ago, and mad, feral creatures that made you wish you'd taken that last exit. It was an awful, awful place indeed. But the worst part of all was not its freakishly questionable appearance, but rather the fact that it was simultaneously more beautiful than the most sultry maiden.

It was, without any clear explanation, a forest of two faces, a coin with opposing sides. During one mood swing, it easily classified as a setting for a B-grade horror movie, and yet on the other end of its bipolar spectrum it was hauntingly alluring in its bright-eyed life, abnormally healthy flora, and creepily gentle atmosphere. Turn a corner and you no longer saw pointy bushes and scary trees and undead flowers, but instead a land that must have been a delusion it was so wildly changed.

The trees so lushly green, the flowers a hundred different shades of bliss, the animals pulsing full of ambition; there didn't seem to be a thing wrong spare the extreme mania of it all. A hypnotically tranquil fog hung over the land like an inescapable wet net, its ghostly body an omnipresent God. The eerie notes of a harp faded in and out of the trees... Song birds were singing in warning of its musician.

Unfortunately, on one splendidly unlucky day, there was a most unusually pleasant surprise. If pleasant only to the odd and quirky inhabitants of the forest. A wonderfully unwise merchant had stumbled into the wistful trappings of the ironically merry woodland, and with the merchant was a party of travelers. The merchant had paid these people well enough to protect him and his goods from bandits and highwaymen, and this gang of unwary folk had decided to attempt a shortcut, not wishing to journey any longer than they must. This shortcut, of course, would mean shortcutting their very lives... for why would they wish to die anywhere else but the happiest, most merriest place in the world?

From the laurel shrubs, a Black-throated Blue Warbler sung its husky, rising song, the forest on its best behavior for the arrival of its soon to be late guests.

((OOC: I will be playing as the forest and all of its wonderful residents. We welcome you to join us as any one of the travelers, including the merchant. At the moment, we're very happy to see you. Let's hope for your sake that this doesn't change.))
Last edited by RabidFox on Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by JamesG »

Walking in the Happily Merry Forest this day, along with his merchant and traveller friends, was a Merrily Happy Weasel. This weasel was called Cyril Forthshire, and was, in fact, the most inept, clumsy and dimly spatially aware animal in the whole world, though of course he had no way of knowing this. He was wearing his customary white shirt, with puffed sleeves at the shoulder, and white trousers which disappeared into his brown shin-high boots. Over his right shoulder he carried with him a roughly hewn wooden cricket bat, which the rest of the party was to assume was the weasel's only form of defence in these woods. On his face, he wore a pleasant, slightly drooly smile as he gazed in awe at the wonderful sight that was the Happily Merry Forest. There was a kind of mist over the scene, which was common in Gwynedd, and Cyril could hear birds, and see the wonderful foliage of hundreds and hundreds of plants.

Seeing all this, Cyril commented aloud, in his warm voice full of the Edwinish Accent, "'Allo, dis is a perfectly perfect set of circumstances! You hear dat bird? I think... it is a Fat-throated Glue Warbler. I would recognise that birdsong anywhere. What do you think, misdah?" he asked the merchant, looking to the man whom had paid him to come along. Cyril still was not entirely sure why he had been given money to go on a hike through some forest with this man, but it had seemed such a wonderful opportunity at the time. Unfortunately, in turning to the merchant, his bat swung the other way behind him, and caught one of the traveller's in the nose. The fur Cyril had just smacked in the face with a bat cried out, and dropped his crossbow. The weapon hit the ground, and triggered, sending a steel bolt ripping through the foliage to skewer the Warbler to a tree. Cyril, oblivious to this development, held up his paw, and shushed everybody. "Quiet! Listen!" he listened intently. "I think... it just stopped singing." he said to them profoundly, as if he was giving them a commentary on nature.

Moving on, the travellers were unaware of the Forest's deadlier side, and were still in appreciation of the scenery, though it was constantly under threat from what was turning out to be their most deadly companion. Mounting respect was growing for the weasel that had managed to shoot a bird without looking, trip over a dangling vine to bring down a tree and accidentally cause one of the magic-users in their group to set fire to a passing innocent Happily Merry squirrel. Only Cyril seemed oblivious to his wanton destruction of the wildlife, still under the impression that the only reason he was out here was to appreciate the wonders of the forest. Little did he know, the forest no doubt would wreak as much havok on the weasel's life, as he wreaked on everybody else's. Cyril had never heard of the forest before now, and knew nothing of its darker side. He was, however, still wondering why he was being paid to be here, and so asked aloud, "Hey, misdah? Why exactly are we taking a nature hike here anyway?" The merchant had already explained why to the weasel twice, but Cyril had a very poor memory when it came to that sort of thing.
Last edited by JamesG on Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Indrick151
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Post by Indrick151 »

There are moments when one must ruminate on their life. Moments when one goes ‘how did I end up here?’ and ‘Where did I go wrong?’ For one particular fur there this was exactly what he was thinking. He was dressed in a worn brown robe, that was both stained and mud caked at the base from walking, and underneath it he had a plain tunic and breeches, His leather boots were similarly mud caked from their marching through this dreadfully unpleasant forest. A dull sword was strapped to his side, a thing that earned him quite a few odd glances, considering they believed him a magic user. To Darren King, it was too green and full of life. That wasn’t to say he had a bad feeling about it; he just preferred the bleak northern ice to this dense greenery. In fact, at times he had to admit that he found this forest quite impressive and beautiful, like that warbler that had been singing it’s innocent song of joy. Until it had been shot by that oaf. His thoughts were now tracing the winding track of his life that had led him here, to protect a caravan for a pittance while a merchant would earn a fortune from Darren’s sweat and aching body.

He had gotten here by ill chance, a journey of discovery to see the wider world and understand what lurked beyond his icy home had turned sour when he had been mugged in the very streets of Glasgow not long after he landed. From there on his life had turned from one of confidence in his skill and power, to one of scraping by, earning whatever coin he could. It was not the life he had envisaged. So now he brooded and made the best use of the time that he could, planning a foolproof solution to his poverty problem. So far the only obvious one was kill the merchant and rob him when this was over.

Thus far Darren had been miraculously lucky to avoid the merry weasel of destruction, also known as Cyril. He had considered a variety of ways to deal with the weasel, just so that they would stop causing destruction left right and centre, though seeing how uncannily lucky the weasel was, he quickly discarded any ideas of disposing of him. In reality there was something that Darren should have been thinking of or doing rather than senselessly brooding, and one of those would have been to keep an eye on the magical aura of the area around them. That would have warned him that this whole venture was quite a foolish idea, but months of simple milk run caravan trips, dealing with bandits and the odd wild animal had dulled his natural fear of hostile magic. And it was such that he was blissfully unaware of the forest’s true nature.
'reality is bending and screwing me over but at least it has decency' - Jackie twisting my words.

'In a war in heaven, Angels fall first'

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Post by FallenLeaf »

Come away come away with the traveling show
come away with the raggle taggle gypsy oh!
We'll raggle-taggle here we'll raggle-taggle there,
raggle up and down taggle everywhere.

From the North from the South from the East from the West,
well the sky is our roof and the road is our rest.
No one to say 'yes', no one to say 'no'.
Run free with the raggle-taggle gypsy oh!


Such was the tune that drifted through the dewy morning air as a happy band of gypsies merrily chanted and danced their way into the Happily Merry Forest. Their number was more than one, but less than many; In fact, there were three of these merry musicmakers making music in the morning mist. One of them, a dog clad in flowing cotton clothing of a rather festive purple hue, happily skipped down the road, his cloth-shod paws shuffling the dust as his fingers danced merrily across the holes of a small flute, filling the air with a smooth, flowing melody, ridden by the sharp, jolly sound of the fiddle held by the green-clad tabby cat, who did a merry jig as he happily chanted the words of the song through the merry forest. Both of these, of course, followed the deep, thumping sound of a hand drum and the occasional jingle of a tambourine held by their third counterpart, a large, gruff bear.Clad in red, he lumbered oafishly behind the other two, patting out his rhythm and chanting the words in his deep, voluminous voice.
The trio stopped simultaneously, letting the music suddenly cut off and echo into nothing as their song came to an end. They shared a hearty laugh, and began to converse with one another.
"Hey, I got a riddle for you guys!" announced the dog, smiling heartily.
"And what's that, Fitz?" asked the bear, laughing.
"Alright, Merle. You approach a fork in the road. One path leads to certain death and the other to paradise. There are three guards in the road. One of them always lies, and one always tells the truth. What are you going to ask them?"
"Well, that depends," stated the feline, scratching his head. "What does the third one always do?"
"Well, Roland, he always stabs people that ask him complicated questions," replied the dog, grinning.
And with a hearty, festive laugh, the trio continued on their romp through the Happily Merry Forest.

(The song used is not by me... It's part of the first verse to Scalliwag by Gaelic Storm)
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" ` Proverbs 17:22

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Post by RabidFox »

To the delight of the inhabitants, two parties, not just one, had somehow found their way into the deadly beauty of the forest. Playful eyes glowed dangerously from within the fog, and a small laugh escaped the ghostly mist. A young scout had been observing from high up in the trees, his form obscured by the thick whiteness that permeated everywhere and everything. The sadistic smile that slowly grew on his face was likewise masked.

He then moved with graceful skill from canopy to canopy, feeding the distance between him and the merchant's band. His body clearly built for such mobility, space quickly stretched behind him and widened until he was far out of reach. Left in his wake was but a simple gift. It waited within the arms of the forest, lazily spreading its influence as the folksy bunch approached. Seeds sprouted from the ground at unnatural rates, shrubbery growing to its full size in mere minutes where none had been before. It was thick and impassable, leafless thornbushes that could not be cut through. They massed together, leaving only a single, narrow path to be trailed.

((OOC: Sorry I took so long to reply. By the way, this post only affects the merchant's band. I have other plans for the gypsies. Bwahaha.))

Indrick151
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Post by Indrick151 »

Darren was jerked out of his reverie when he heard the merchant cursing the fact that the trees had become overgrown as they had progressed, and now there was only one path forward. Darren’s ears had flicked at that, and he looked at these trees and bushes as they passed by them sluggishly. They were like a wall. Only it was a wall of tangled branches and vines, and not one of stone. Still it seemed just as effective to Darren. And it gave him bad feelings, crawling all the way down his spine like ants. He looked up at the trees, not liking them for some reason all of a sudden, they were like sullen guardians looking down at him imperiously.

Darren didn’t even like the feel of the shadows in this place. They flickered and changed, they weren’t like the stable shadows of a city, or those of the far north. They were for lack of a better term: wrong. It was not the simple conscious realisation that something wasn’t right, but a gut feeling that made his stomach lurch. This was bigger than him, far bigger. And he didn’t like it. He put his paw in a pocket and felt the blood red crystal that was buried in it, and for the briefest moment he was comforted by it. It symbolised the ability to rip those trees down, to burn the bushes. But he also knew that doing that was not the right thing, no matter how tempting it was.

He had no choice for now but to walk and wait, even though the trees felt more oppressive with each moment. He felt like a rat in a trap. Still, he thought he could just be overreacting nothing apart from this had gone wrong. It would be fine, not all forests were neat and easy to traverse as the lighter ones that had clear roads and game trails laid out for them.
'reality is bending and screwing me over but at least it has decency' - Jackie twisting my words.

'In a war in heaven, Angels fall first'

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Post by JamesG »

Cyril barely noticed the rapid growth of the thornbushes, and subsequently, he tripped over one such bush, as he had begun to stray from its prescribed path. His face hit the dirt, but he was soon on his feet again. Falling over was something the weasel accepted as a natural part of his daily life, hitting the dirt at least twenty times a day. Smiling blandly, he continued on as if he had not even noticed, now following what he thought was the correct path through the forest. The merchant was saying something about trees being overgrown, which made Cyril laugh. "Oh, come on, Misdah! It's a forest! Bound to find some trees and bushes in a forest!" he grinned inanely at the merchant, and turned around to start walking backwards, so he could look at the fur behind him. "So, my dear misdah companion," he began, his voice, ever permanently sounding like it was blocked, addressing Darren, "What brings you with us on such a lovely walk?"

Cyril's own opinions on the situation were much less troubled than those of his companions. Cyril was not a magically in tune creature, beyond his extraordinary ability to cause complete havoc, and his extraordinary luck in completely avoiding serious harm once he had done so. Fortunately, besides already killing off two inhabitants of the Happily Merry Forest, the forest now seemed to have the weasel under control, for now, making him follow its own paths. He was, however, quite aware that there was someone else in the Forest. Mainly, because they were making quite a racket, and Cyril peered this way and that, trying to find the source of what he heard as approximately three voices, accompanied by an aerophonic musical instrument, and a percussion manual operation metallic hand-held drumming device. Although if Cyril were ever to try and express this opinion, it is most likely he would not get past the second word, being rather challenged when it came to complicated words.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Post by FallenLeaf »

Wandering deeper into the Happily Merry Forest as they conversed and joked, the trio's spirits seemed to decline with each step. Perhaps it was the humid, musty air that drifted slowly between the trees, perhaps it was the thick, wilted underbrush. Whatever it was, something about the Happily Merry Forest seemed somewhat... Depressing.
"I'm not too fond of these woods, says I," announced Roland the Cat, his head turned slightly so that Merle the Bear could hear him as he lumbered behind.
"And why's that, Rol'?" asked Merle.
"I don't really know," said the tabby, scratching his head. "I think it might have something to do with the fact that the sun isn't shining through the leaves above, or that the wind hardly blows through this stagnant place."
"No, that's not it," Fitz the Dog chimed in. "But I'm pretty sure that the fact that everything here looks dead is slowly making us feel that way," he said rather darkly, contrary to his chipper nature.
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" ` Proverbs 17:22

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Post by RabidFox »

They were watching, they were waiting. Their souls, their minds, their bodies -- All hungered for the thrill of the kill.

He could feel it. All around him, some kind of strange vibration. It pulsated through the air, reverberating through his very being. Broken images scattered all out his mind, and sounds screamed in his ears. Everywhere he'd ever been, everything he'd ever seen and some things he hadn't was now each and every bit of it consuming him. Flashes of light, strings of music, fullness, emptiness. It was as if the entire world rested deep within him, awakening now for a reason that he couldn't even begin to fathom.

A red fox he was and just only that. He'd joined this party of travelers in seek of money. Nothing more. One would think that a simple man such as he, with bland thoughts and bland feelings and even blander goals could never be so full of interesting things. But there he was in the Happily Merry Forest, in the heart of Gwynedd, at the mercy of his own mind now bursting with so much color. Reds, blues, yellows, greens, all the hues of life and all the shades of death splattered haphazardly on the canvas of his soul. He attempted to scream, but nothing came out spare the faintest gasp.

The fox had fallen behind, and his companions were already quite a ways ahead of him. At the moment, he had been forgotten. In a few seconds, the earth began to remember him. Beneath his feet, under his soles the ground softened to mush. Lost in his own private little world, the man was far too gone to notice. His legs started to sink, the bog it started to swallow him. It had not been there before, but it was now, and the wicked thing thirsted after his life.

It wasn't long before the evil had taken it.

((OOC: These things the fox sees and hears are occurring only in his own mind, though, the bog is real. He cannot be saved, and has disappeared into the earth. If someone were to backtrack, the bog would still be there, but there would be no sign of the fox.

Just in case it's not clear, the forest has two sides, and the appearance of it can alter unsuspectingly. The merchant's band is traveling through the Happy Side while the Gypsies apparently have ended up in an Unhappy Part.))

Indrick151
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Post by Indrick151 »

Darren almost snarled when the idiotic bumbling piece of brain dead meat known as Cyril chose to talk to him. But he bit back his temper, giving a strained smile to the clueless weasel. He had grown patient with most furs since his departure from the arctic, but there was still one group that he had a particular dislike for. And that was idiots. Dirt brained imbeciles who couldn’t even fathom the difference between safety and danger. Still it wasn’t like he had anything better to do than talk to this clumsy oaf.

“I’m here for the money. Nothing more, I need the coin to get by and go home. This guy offered me the most for my services. Simple as that.â€
'reality is bending and screwing me over but at least it has decency' - Jackie twisting my words.

'In a war in heaven, Angels fall first'

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Post by JamesG »

Cyril returned the fur's strained smile with a pleasant smile, still walking backwards in order to speak to him. Despite the dying fox being in his plain view, Cyril somehow failed to notice his sad demise. In fact, anyone would have a hard time convincing the weasel that the fox ever existed. Cyril's memory, especially for people, was remarkably poor, and he was also stubborn enough to refuse to believe that any of his companions had disappeared. Besides, he was more focussed on speaking with Darren. He considered Darren's question, before answering carefully. "I don't remember much of the wherefores, misdah. I know I too have been paid to come along, but why, or where we are going, I am not sure. I do all sorts of odd jobs, I suppose. I've been a judge in a pole-climbing contest, I've been an adventurer, I've been a sail...er, you know." Here Cyril seemed to lose his customary cheer for a second. He realised he had not wanted to mention that last word, and so bluntly changed the subject, returning to a merrier tone. "I take all sorts of work. This has been the easiest yet!"

Of course, as with all of Cyril's actions, his method of walking backwards landed him in trouble. Tripping over a root, he pitched over backwards. This was ordinary for Cyril, whom fell over every ten minutes, but it was less regular for him to fall into a bush of thorns. He cried out in surprise. Picking himself up, the weasel rubbed his head, and jerked his paw backwards when he felt something wet. His paw was red, and as he felt his head again, he realised he was bleeding. "W-what?" the mustelid turned to look in absolute shock at the bush, then at the merchant and Darren. "I-I..." he mumbled to himself, before hoisting his cricket bat into an 'en guarde' position. "Be very, very careful, misdahs!" he warned the rest of the Party. "The bushes in dis forest are made of razors!" This was an unusual event for Cyril. Normally, he was never in harm's way. It seemed the forest, however, was determined to end the weasel's run of good luck.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Post by RabidFox »

Somewhere out of the gypsies' sight, hidden beneath the blanket of shadows there came a quick, hurried rustling sound. A pouncing plop was followed by a dying shriek and then there was a vicious flapping. Sniffing, tearing, chomping, crunching. It was a chorus of blood thirst that had spoiled rotten in its wait. Time had infested it with ravage craving and paranoia.

Tension boiled up from the depths of the strained darkness, rising to the surface and filling the air like hot steam. It wafted, the murder, the death, over the distance that separated the killer from his audience, and it threatened to greet them. It whispered harshly in their ears that it would like to shake hands and become familiar, that no one was a stranger in its house for too long.

From behind the wilted brush came a furred figure. It walked quietly on all fours, and was draped in shadows worn like a ghostly garment. Blood stained the critter's maw, and its eyes shone in the dark. Within them one could spy an uneasy peace. The beast was barely recognizable in its body shackled with starvation, the skin and bones of what might have been a coyote once. Whatever it was now its mind belonged to a different world, its soul broken down to little bits of black and red, and its heart a martyr's withered will.

A flicker sparked in the dog's consciousness, and dull, golden eyes turned to the band of merry, merry men. There was not a thing for a moment, and then the creature stepped forward, curiosity imploring for its attendance. Realization lit up its spirit as a wildfire chars pines, and a set of jagged teeth were proudly shown in a happy grin. A fang here and there had beautifully gone astray, but mattered it not as the silverware was more than adequate.

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Post by FallenLeaf »

The three were silent, save for the occasional snap of a twig or crunch of a dry leaf as they walked deeper into the woods. Soon, the foliage overhead had become so thick, that not even a sliver of sunlight could shine through... Assuming, of course, that it was daytime. To the gypsies, this was lost knowledge; they had lost track of time, and, indeed, had lost their way.
Suddenly, the brown dog at the head of the group stopped abruptly.
"What's wrong, Fitz," asked the tabby cat behind him.
"Shh. Listen," came the canine's reply, as he pointed in the direction of the sound. Off in the distance, the trio could make out the distinct, bloody sounds of the hunt... But it was unlike anything they had heard before. Murderous snarls and violent thrashing filled the air along with the dying cries of prey brought to its end. For a moment, the sounds echoed in their ears as they stood, frozen in place, but soon died down into an eerie, deathly silence.
"Let's go..." muttered Fitz, taking a step forward.
"Good plan," said Roland, as he and Merle began to follow behind.
It was only a moment before the dog stopped yet again, this time, not for sound, but for sight. Around the bushes up ahead, a figure had stepped into sight. It appeared to be a feral coyote, weathered with age and draped in what looked like a thin, tattered black cloak. The creature stopped, right on the trail just ahead of them, and turned its misty yellow eyes toward them. The animal was both beautiful and fearsome to behold, and the three stood silently, too afraid to approach, too mesmerized to run, even as the creature bared its skewed fangs into a twisted sort of grin.
"What... the hell is that?" muttered Merle, from behind the others.
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" ` Proverbs 17:22

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Post by RabidFox »

Excitement tingled its spine, fired up its brain, and greased the gears in its legs. Thoughts strained to thin, focused strands, and emotions narrowed into primitively simple drives. The beast was hungry. It was starving. Lost in need and desperation like a stranded child at the bottom of a dried up well, all it could fathom was its own misery and a chance to end it. An opportunity in a Stygian dystopia was brighter than Sol and more tempting than a succubus. The dog edged nearer, the gap between predator and prey no more reassuring than a tattered shawl in the Arctic.

It growled, and the sound was somehow more empty than the saturnine quiet. Then, with the clumsy charm of a reanimated corpse, it beset the asylum of distance in a bewildering blitz. As if obeying some ridiculous instinct to abhor felines, Roland the Cat had become the mark of its vehement want.

((OOC: The coyote has just attacked Roland. You may detail the attack how you want and decide your reaction. I don't mind a little power playing in this particular instance. Just don't outright kill the beast. Though, of course, you can attempt to harm or murder him and what-have-you-not.))

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Location: Corner Two, white gloves.

Post by FallenLeaf »

They all saw it coming. It seemed to take forever. Every motion, every flicker of light, every fur that bristled on the canine's back, they saw it clearly. Yet, there was nothing they could do but stand frozen as the coyote began to charge.
Fitz, at the head of the group, stood his ground even as the wisp of mangled fur flew by his head, lunging onto Roland.
The feline stumbled to the ground, yelping in fear as he pushed with all his might to roll the animal off of him. The dog went sliding to the side, but soon lunged back, and was right on top of the feline once more.
A bloodcurdling scream echoed through the forest, choked out when the beast clamped its weathered jaw upon the cat's throat. Thinking he had suffered the worst, Roland curled up, submitting to the voracious beast's strength. Much to his surprise, the predator was lifted off of him.
Merle, in fact, had grabbed the creature by the scruff of its neck, and now held it at arm's length, staring it down.
"Well, you're a bad dog, eh?" said the black bear, glaring a little.
"Don't screw around with 'im, man, he's dangerous," said Roland, as Fitz helped him to his feet.
"Well, what'll I do with 'im?" asked Merle
"Get rid of him," suggested Fitz.
"How?" asked the bear, suspicious.
"Kill it or something."
"Why?"
"Because it tried to kill Rol'."
"No... I don't think I will," siad the bear, looking at the coyote. "I think I'll just hold him here until he settles down a tad."
"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" ` Proverbs 17:22

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