Racing the Moonlight

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Madame
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Post by Madame »

Seven hundred years ago, the Mud Mark was fairly deserted save for the occasional non-sentient animal and lost traveler. Most of the skinned avian tribes were still busy fighting along the coastline and the beaked avians, already wanting nothing to do with their cousins, were holed up in their mountains in scattered pockets. Besides the fact that most had yet to start moving inland, the mark was an undesirable location. At that time, it was little more than a desert with some scrub brush and a single muddy river flowing pitifully across the area from east to west near the northern boundary.

Hundreds of years passed and the Mud River eventually dried up leaving only a ravine, 50 some odd feet deep in its wake. Climates changed, a new spring sprung up in the mountains and worked its way down to the lowlands, sending a splash of life-giving water from north to south across the Mud Mark and trees grew tall and strong. Avians moved in along with smaller animals and the area became rich with wildlife.

Which all really leads up to our runners coming upon that ravine, carved out centuries before their births, suddenly.

There was a break in the trees and then the moonlight illuminated the nearly vertical slopes leading downward. Maxwell didn't bother slowing down but charged at the ravine as if he were going to try to jump its 20 foot span. Instead of performing the improbable, the bird jumped only a little and opened his wings, flapping hard to keep the descent as slow as possible if only for Megan's sake. He felt the mouse tense on his back as she received her second taste of flight -- the first had been a few years ago when they'd come to a gorge where the bridge had fallen down. Problematic for foot travelers, but most avians didn't care so it hadn't been fixed. The rodent had tensed then too, the beaked avian recalled.

Megan slid off almost immediately as they touched the safety of the ravine's bottom, taking the pack with her. Max really couldn't blame the old girl for wanting to keep her mousy toes planted firmly on solid ground, the secretary bird himself wasn't terribly keen on flying, but he could do it when the situation called for it.

The pair waited at the bottom of the ravine, as much for their new companion as to rest. Max recovered his breath while Megan worked on recovering her stomach which had slipped mysteriously upward to her throat.
Last edited by Madame on Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fell »

Lae saw the ravine coming. It didn't bother him at all. The bird had one way of getting down, and Lae had his. Ravines were nothing new to the rabbit. After all, he HAD grown up in the Black Mountains.

Lae let the bird charge, he himself slowing himself incrementally, then digging his paws in lightly at the last possible second. He didn't stop, though, as might be expected. Lae lept nearly straight upwards, drawing one of his elbow-blades in the air. When he hit the steeply slanted side of the ravine, the rabbit struck it with the small spike protruding from the handle, letting it bite deep. The dirt, as Lae had thought it would be, wasn't hard enough to hold it - good. Lae began a long slide down the ravine, using the staff he held in his other hand to knock any bushes or branches out of his way before he hit them. He only had to jump twice, once for a large rock and once for a fallen tree-limb. Both jumps increased Lae's speed, much to the rabbit's pleasure.

He hit the bottom less than a minute later. All in all, probably a far shorter break than the mouse and the bird had anticipated. Lae knocked his footpaws on a nearby rock, dislodging the dirt and pebbles that had gotten lodged in there during his slide but showing no signs of pain from it. That done, he brushed the dirt off of his elbow blade and sheathed it. It had held up well.

Turning to the other two, Lae offered a paw in greeting. "You've seen another day," he said, his amber eyes glowing still intensely, though now with rather less anger and rather more cautious friendliness than they had been before. The greeting he'd offered was another traditional part of his culture - one used between warriors, which is what Lae assumed the bird, at least, to be.
-Kai

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"Sometimes the fall kills you. Sometimes you wake up before you hit the ground. But sometimes, when you fall, you
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Post by Madame »

"An' I hope t'see another," Megan replied. She took the proffered paw, having situated her wayward organs back into place.

Max bowed his long neck. "We'll live to see the night through together, then," it was the only response the secretary bird could think of to such an odd greeting. The rabbit was some sort of warrior (after watching him make short work of the ravine's steep slope there could be no doubt about that) and he obviously wasn't from around these parts if he was running from the flock, as well. He seemed a decent sort, anyway. True warriors tended to be, the avian and rodent had found in their travels, as they at least had a moral code and didn't go around murdering everthing that moved. But as he was a warrior, the bird assumed it would be best to be forward and direct with him. Most didn't care to bandy words when the situation called for action.

"My name's Maxwell and she's Megan." The mouse waved briefly in greeting once more. "Sorry for the inconvenience," he continued. "We were camped near the river and the flock spotted us. Since I can't fight off an entire tribe, we figured it'd be best to run."

"Yeah, we didn' mean t'break up your meetin'," Megan piped up. "We weren't really expectin' t'meet anybody else in this mark 'cept the natives." The mouse's sensitive ears perked up and she looked toward the top of the ravine. "I thought the guide said the birds wouldn't come down here," her expression was one of confusion and Max stepped forward to protect her. As he did so, something cracked under his large talons. He spared a glance down and saw in the moonlight he was nearly standing on top of the carcass of some half-buried animal. Lovely.

Present problems first, though. "Stay back, belle," he hissed to the mouse.

"You don' have t'tell me twice, beau," she replied, already in the shadows of the opposite side of the ravine, using their pack as a shield.
"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
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Post by Fell »

Lae looked down at his paw, confused, when the mouse grasped *it* and not his wrist. Strange... he thought. At least she seemed to be familiar with his greeting, even if she did cast an odd spin on it. That wasn't unknown. Lae smiled at her briefly.

The bird bowed his head briefly and introduced himself. He seemed not to be familiar with the greeting; a bit of a shame, but he seemed a decent sort and appeared to be a fellow warrior-brother to boot. Lae returned his head-bow, thinking it one of the b- Maxwell's customs. "I am Lae Sunan, son of Thanh Sunan," Lae said, voice grave. One's ancestry was no laughing matter, after all. "And don't worry about breaking up my 'meeting'," the rabbit continued, eyes flashing with anger (though not anger directed towards his curent company, but instead towards his memory). "It was -not- of import." The rabbits ears were standing up straight, both showing off their heavily tattooed interior and Lae's current frustrated anger with the girl who'd threatened his brothers. The rabbit snorted.

Then the birds came. Lae whirled, his staff at the ready. He sensed the mouse and bird stepping back towards the edge of the ravine; a good idea. Lae followed them, walking slowly backwards. "You can fight?" Lae asked the bird, though he anticipated an affirmative answer. The rabbit drew his staff close, raised one strong footpaw up and then appeared to kick off a section of his staff. It clattered to the ground not too far away. Lae wasn't concerned with its location at the moment, instead readying his staff-turned-spear and looking up at the approaching flock.

"We should move," the rabbit stated. "There may be a cave somewhere along this ravine." Though the avians could still attack, they would be bereft of their ability to attack or dive from the sky. That was a good starting place. And if they found a narrow enough cave mouth, they could bottleneck the flock. Hopefully luck was with them tonight.
-Kai

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"Sometimes the fall kills you. Sometimes you wake up before you hit the ground. But sometimes, when you fall, you
*fly*." -[i]The Sandman[/i]

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Post by Orothe Naroom »

Nightz stopped and looked up into the sky at one diving down at her. She snarled and held out her palm, "Fae Bat Lm Ls!" She shouted as a fire blast hurdled out of her hand and hit an evil Avian, knocking it to the ground with smock and burnt feathers falling afterwards.. She smiled and ran towards the other characters, desperate not to be left alone after finally finding civilization of some kind.
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Post by Uhlsaun Torrahel »

Murrpau Alti'uin was the last to leave, she was a bigger target than her, she hesitated about how to catalog these creatures, friends, she settled on. They were being chased by Avians so they weren't enemies and needed her help, so they must have been friends. She unfurled her great striped wings and ran, launching herself off of the ground as soon as the tree cover was gone. Quickly she caught up to the fox girl. "Need a lift?" She could easily carry the two of them, even if she was hungry. Food, she made a mental note. Must get food. Her stomach let out a loud growl. And soon.
[color=purple][i][b][center]"Please, would you tell me why your cat grins like that?"[/i][/b][/center][/color][color=gold]
[right]-Alice, from Alice in Wonderland
About the Cheshire Cat[/right][/color]

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Post by Orothe Naroom »

Nightz heard her stomach growl and her stomach growled in response.. So we're both gonna have to find food.. maybe we can work together.. She thought. Nightz shook her hand, a few sparkles surounding her, moving towards her back, "Fot Acba La Rot!" The sparkles all focused on two points and for a faint second, wings shimmered, but quickly faded, her body lifting a little off the ground, "I've got it... Which way you going?" She didn't know if she could trust her, but Nightz didn't have much choice, eventually she was going to tire herself out, there were just too many creatures in the area to take them all on.
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Post by Uhlsaun Torrahel »

"Not sure, which way." Her rabbit friend and the "good" birds were long gone by now and the bad guys were covering ground fast. "Any way that's away from them!" She nodded her head at the screeching Avians before taking off in the opposite direction.
[color=purple][i][b][center]"Please, would you tell me why your cat grins like that?"[/i][/b][/center][/color][color=gold]
[right]-Alice, from Alice in Wonderland
About the Cheshire Cat[/right][/color]

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Post by Orothe Naroom »

Nightz didn't think twice, she sprinted towards the girl and away from the evil birds, anywhere to be safe and not alone. She was hungry, her powers were become less and less effective, and it took some effort just to keep up with her, "Is there any place we can hide, or that they don't like?" There was no way they could out run them all, or at least she couldn't, and standing their ground and fighting would only take out a few waves before they were exhausted, and if the Avians wanted something badly enough, they weren't going to stop.. She tried to think of some spell that could come in handy. A darkness spell.. some shroud.. she thought, trying to think of how to use one.
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Post by Fell »

Lae's conscience was starting to get to him. He knew that the damn "you'll never find love" girl and that ungrateful tiger were out there too... And that he'd left them behind. It wasn't major, but... it was starting to get under his skin. There weren't many options, though. Plus, it wasn't like they were *inconspicuous* with the entire flock on them. Still... Damned flock already knows we're here, but the half-wit might not be able to put the pieces together... he thought, somewhat angry at the memory of the half-wit. Even if she DID have a reason, she'd been *annoying*. But... Still....

Letting out a soft oath, Lae thrust his spear into the wingjoint of an offensive avian, twisting his shaft quickly. A sickly sound of popping bones and ligaments, along with a cry of pure anguish, rewarded his actions. Lae wasn't done, though. He planted his spear, then, using it as leverage, sent himself into open air, twisting as he did. Lae drew in one long, powerful, leg, then whipped it out at just the right time. That avian would be looking out through a ruined face for a while...

Landing, Lae raised his spear again, then brought his paw to his mouth and let out two short, sharp whistles, followed by a long one that rose sharply at the end. A cry of position. Hopefully the half-wit would know that much. Lae put his hand back down and readied himself for the next happy-go-lucky bird that felt like taking him on. After that last particular display, those around him seemed a mite unwilling. Still... More would come soon. Lae glanced over at Maxwell to see how he was doing with the flock.
-Kai

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"Sometimes the fall kills you. Sometimes you wake up before you hit the ground. But sometimes, when you fall, you
*fly*." -[i]The Sandman[/i]

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Post by Madame »

Max's crest and wings were up and flared, giving him the appearence of being almost twice his already formidable size. Megan was sheltering behind the pack, a small dagger that wasn't much use held in her free paw. I have to keep them back... the secretary bird thought, imagining what the fiends would do to the little mouse if they got hold of her. I have to fight them... Max was no longer in the ravine. All around and above, there were avians lined and shouting. This was The Pit. He had been thrown back in. Trapped once more.

One of the flock pounced forward seeing the distant look in the big avian's eyes and was rewarded with a swift kick to the face that included four deadly talons. Silence. Max said nothing as he followed up the attack on the bird who was now screaming, one of his eyes gouged out, with two more powerful kicks. The avian fell to the ground, writhing, and the secretary bird stomped down on his head until it cracked open and his talons felt the warmth inside as life completely left the body. Many of the flock had already back up after the vicious display, but now that Max's mind had returned to his fighting ring days, he did not wait for attack.

The only important thing now was to protect Megan and that meant getting rid off all of these birds. Killing... one of the flock put up his wings to block and an audible snap was heard as Max crushed him against the side of the ravine, opening his stomach and moving on. Look at me killing now, Karim. Look at your little Majid...

"No! Please! I didn't mean it!" one of the flock who was too slow to take to wing pleaded as Max's kick knocked him down.

"I'm sorry I have to hurt you," the secretary bird replied sadly before stomping this one's head to a pulp, as well. He was sad that these birds had to be hurt, but they were bent on hurting first and in such a world it was "I must kill you before you kill my friends". He felt no guilt in the act of killing. It was a natural process of a fighter and one day he would be killed similarly. Look at what I can do, brother.
"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
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Post by Fell »

Lae was pleased to note Max's battle prowess and his mercilessness without the pleasure that sometimes comes with it. Those who took true pleasure in killing, his clan taught, were no longer warriors but monsters. Pleasure in winning and pleasure in killing were two entirely different things. Lae himself didn't care if he had to kill or not, but rarely found the need to. To be fair, it might be kinder to kill, given the way Lae fought, but he hadn't been trained to fight humanely. He'd been taught to fight *effectively* and *quickly*. Killing something took time. Making it unable to hurt you took less, usually, though oftentimes those so disabled wished he'd just finish the job.

A new avian dove for the rabbit, ignoring the warning cries of his flock mates, who'd seen both bird and rabbit in action. Lae laid his ears back, taking aim. The bird came at him with its arms open. Stupid stance! Lae thought testily as he rammed the butt of his spear into the birds throat, partially crushing it. The bird went down. Lae followed up his maneuver by shattering the things wing with two well-placed, harsh kicks.

"Hey! Like I said, can we move down this ravine?" the rabbit called over to the mouse, having created for himself another lull. Some of the avians who'd seen bird and rabbit in action several times now were flying back, warning their flock mates to do the same "if they wanted to keep their wings or their lives, depending on which warrior they took on". So perhaps moving wouldn't be quite as necessary as previously thought, but Lae was never one to see a bright side to battle. "Never expect the enemy to retreat until they do. Until then, assume they're going to be fighting and dying to the last man." It had been yet another teaching his clan had drilled into him. Therefore, until the entire flock left or until they were all dead, Lae would plan for their attack.

I wonder if the half-wit and the tiger heard my signal... the striped warrior rabbit thought coldly before snapping his mind back to attention.
-Kai

[img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v243/Ichii_Ayame/BANNERFell.png[/img]

[url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=12969#12969]Lae[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=12974#12974]Zephyr[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=13424#13424]'Nique[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=14366#14366]Fenix[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=14402#14402]Junan[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=18160#18160]Sari[/url] ~ [url=http://www.twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?p=19753#19753]Niah[/url]

"Sometimes the fall kills you. Sometimes you wake up before you hit the ground. But sometimes, when you fall, you
*fly*." -[i]The Sandman[/i]

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Post by Orothe Naroom »

Nightz quickly pointed to the noise, "This way!" he said to the tiger as she started sprinting in the direction... She sent a message in his mind, hopeing she chose the right mind path to his and not another.. "We're on our way, hold out for a bit longer" She could try to speak into peoples minds, but hearing was too complicated, though she made sure a mental image of her and her glowing cyan eyes was with her message, so the figure knew where the words were comming from.

She moved her hands around in precise movements, her fingers bending, turning, twisting with her wrist as a darkness mist appeared around her and the tiger.. "Drns Sru Akes Hod!" the dark mist completely covered them, though it took intense concentration not to make it look too dark.. She didn't want a black blob moving in the air, but she didn't want it partly see-through either. She knew she was definately going to have to rest after this incident was over.
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Post by Madame »

(( Okay, because it really hasn't been made clear and things are confuzzled in my writing, can we just say that the flock is a group of skinned hawks? I have no idea if they're beaked or skinned. Maybe I missed that detail, but from Fell's last post, it would seem to indicate they're of the skinned variety. ))

"T-to the west is a c-cave," Megan squeaked, rather less haughty than her usual self. She'd seen Max fight on hundreds of occasions -- death matches were what the secretary bird specialized in before they escaped -- but she'd never been so close to the carnage. When he'd gutted the flock bird, she'd actually felt a bit of the dying hawk's blood spray onto her. It was unnerving how cruel and deadly her friend had become. But then, there's nothin' so pure an' cruel as a child.

Where had that thought come from? The mouse shook her head. Not only was Maxwell older (granted in 'avian' years he was probably younger), he wasn't close to being a child save perhaps in mind on occasion. Her voice became firm as she gulped down her fear and stared directly at the violent warriors, Max and the rabbit, Lae. "The guide said there's a cave t'the west that we c'n go through t'reach a town. It's dangerous, but given all this..." she gestured vaguely with the dagger to the bodies littering the ravine, both alive and dead. "We should get goin' soon. No tellin' when that lot'll wise up an' attack you both in large groups."

"I'll lead," Max's simple, direct response. "You should stay between Lae and I, belle. Lae, will you guard our backs? It shouldn't be too far to this cave, we're already fairly far west in this mark. Megan, if the flock tries to attack...run to the side of the ravine and cover yourself. Lae and I will deal with--" He broke off as a pair of hawks, disregarding their fellows, dove, each sporting a spear. They were aimed at the maid, not the warriors.

Megan felt the breath go out of her as she was buffeted out of the way by a pair of powerful wings. Max, for his part, opened his beak in a breathless scream -- pain was to be suffered in silence -- as one of the spears sank into his thigh. The other spear missed and hit the ground. Unfortunately, the hawks had made the mistake of coming so close and daring to try to murder Megan. Before they could take off again, they were both buffeted, one getting knocked to the ground and the other smacking into the side of the ravine, dazed.

The secretary bird dealt with the one on the ground first, crushing his neck before moving on to the other. He ripped the spear from his thigh with his beak and whipped it snake-like at the flock-member to give the spear some force. It hit the other bird bluntly on the chest and Max bore down on him, not bothering to kick this time but ripping out the hawk's throat much as he had ripped out the spear.

Maxwell used a wing to whip the blood from his eyes before turning to his friend who was regaining herself. "Are you all right?" he demanded earnestly, keeping an eye on the avians above while trying to search the mouse for any wounds at the same time.

"I-I'm fine, beau," she gasped. "Let's move." The pair nodded to Lae and they started moving west.
"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
~Molly Ivins (R.I.P.)

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Post by Uhlsaun Torrahel »

Murrpau Alti'uin caught sight of her friends in the midst of a fight and trying to retreat. She let out a bone-shattering roar and forced herself to move faster, running on the air. As soon as she came within reached she swiped a great claw at one of the skinned hawk avians, crushing his skull, and killing him instently. She followed the body down to earth. Let the others fight she needed food.
[color=purple][i][b][center]"Please, would you tell me why your cat grins like that?"[/i][/b][/center][/color][color=gold]
[right]-Alice, from Alice in Wonderland
About the Cheshire Cat[/right][/color]

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