When hunter became the hunted

Clementine

POSTED: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:08 pm

Optime | Salsola northern border; late evening (+394)

Used these images for kind of scene inspiration: 1, 2, 3

Kamari crouched low near the copse of birch trees. She had a hand placed on the ground to steady her, nostrils flaring and coming out in soft, wispy curls in the cool, autumn night. As it had for the past week or so, fog had crawled across the land in a thick, low-lying blanket. It created for a rather spooky effect, particularly with the soft, rattling of the trees and their leaves when a cold breeze blew through. The last of the day’s light slipped further and further on the distant horizon, leaving darkness to eagerly gobble up the world in its wake.

Though the moon would soon show its face, the forest on Salsola’s northern border was largely quiet, still. It was too cold for the frogs to croak their tunes or for the crickets to thrum their persistent, high-pitched buzz. Branches creaked, leaves shook, and, occasionally, one could hear the distant rustle of a nightly critter or the hoot of an owl hot in its pursuit.

The scent the Emissary had come across was not one she recognized. It was male, healthy, of wolfish descent. They were likely of average size, judging by how high the mark was on the tree and the Lupus paw prints left on the soft earth at its base. Had the marking been elsewhere, Kamari might have paid it little mind. However, it was on the Salsolan side of the border, which meant that an Outsider had recently trespassed, and done so without springing any traps. At least, that Kamari had found thus far.

It was the second mark like it, and Kamari wondered if some Loner had foolishly decided to challenge the Kingdom’s might and patience.

She stood, brushing off her hands as her cornflower blue eyes roved over what dark contours she could make out amongst the milky, thick fog. Kamari was garbed in her usual assortment of clothing and weaponry, her hooded cloak only helping her further to blend in with the shadowed world around her. Her tall ears flickered where they poked out from her hood, twisting as she heard the soft, faint crunch of leaflitter.

The Shadow turned her head slowly, carefully, until she recognized the other as Family rather than a threat. “Warden,” she greeted neutrally, her voice quieted due to their proximity to the border.

Kamari Kaiser

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Salsola
The Inquisitor
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Songbird
Moderator Community Soul Luperci Sapienza, Vedetta Mate to Krios Royalty of a Fallen Kingdom
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Amongst Shadows
Bearer of Masks

POSTED: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:40 pm

367

She starts in lupus, then shifts to optime. (:

In truth, Clementine was not one for patrolling the borders much — having no natural propensity for violence, despite her recent encounter with a packmate — but she craved new and interesting experiences, which was the closest she might come to explaining her presence there. She knew as well that that simpler lies were easier to disguise and that salting them with truth eased the bitter taste.

Mostly, no one questioned her motives or whereabouts. The Inquisition had turned its eyes outward, and no longer were doors caving in during the course of the night, nor had there been signs of treachery by torchlight… not that anyone had ever come to her door, exempt from suspicion as she was. She left magic to the others, and for the moment her door remained as it always had, unreachable, untouchable by virtue of whom she lived with.

Having intended to go straight home upon returning from one of her many ventures, she nonetheless swung around upon picking up unfamiliar, foreign scents. On four legs as opposed to two, she’d left her horse behind due to the brief nature of the trip, preferring discretion to overt shows of extravagance and wealth.

She arrived in this way, nose to the air, having at some point followed the scent of the Emissary as opposed to other, stranger smells, feeling certain that they were on the same trail.

Emissary Kaiser, She greeted politely with a brief but purposeful dip of her head, keen to show credit where it was due. There was some history in their tangled family lines, she thought, but knew little enough about it to think it was worth bringing up.

Taking a moment — a long moment, really, given her preference for one form — she shifted grotesquely from four to two legs, preferring the utility this brought. This made her copper mane a bit wilder than usual, which was decidedly not her preference, but she was willing to sacrifice propriety for pragmatism.

is it only the two marks, then? She wondered aloud, making her intentions here clear. In the moonlight, she licked her slightly elongated incisors, clearly intrigued by the idea of a possible trespasser. It was bold; bold and reckless.


Salsola
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Lorraine
Mercante light of the North

POSTED: Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:18 am

(+554)

Found the trap! Feel free to have Clementine actually find it! :3

With the initial exchange of greetings between them completed, Clementine began to shift, notated by the familiar sound of pops as bone remolded and changed. Kamari let her sharp gaze shift back to the dark forest ahead of them as she waited, giving the Warden some privacy while also ensuring that they were not taken by surprise while Clementine was in such a vulnerable state. The owner of the brazen urine markings could have been in the area, watching, waiting. The last thing Kamari wanted was for the Queen’s niece to turn up injured, or, worse, dead.

“That I’ve found, yes,” she confirmed with a nod to the Salcedo’s question. Kamari let out a soft scoff as her gaze returned to Clementine, “He must think himself clever.”

Too bad the mysterious male had picked the wrong Kingdom to play foolish games with.

Seeing that Clementine’s transformation had completed, the Shadow jerked her nose in the direction she wished for them to proceed. It was obvious that the red-furred yearling had intentions to aide her in getting to the bottom of the problem at hand. There would have been no other reason for her opening remark otherwise. “His footprints lead off in this direction. Let’s see what other trouble he’s been up to.” If they were lucky, perhaps they’d catch the Outsider by surprise in this fog.

Kamari led the way with feather-light steps, trusting that Clementine would follow along in the same general direction. She did not voice any instructions on how they would continue the patrol, believing that Clementine’s rank as Warden would have proven that she no longer needed to have her hand held for something so mundane. Kamari paused every so often, adjusting their heading, ensuring that they remained on the right track, and also to avoid the risk of thoughtlessly walking into a trap. Being on the Kingdom’s side of the border might have made a more arrogant or foolish Salsolan complacent, and for a Loner that was brave enough to not only trespass, but to leave his own scent marker? There was no telling what they might expect to find by following his trail.

Along the way, they discovered four more scent markers placed over Salsola’s own, as well as one trap that had been dismantled. It was as they came up to another trap that Kamari suddenly halted, a hand shooting out—causing the her cloak to flutter from the sharp movement—just in case Clementine’s attention had been focused elsewhere. “Wait,” she whispered, her ears standing tall and alert.

The worn game trail had been blocked off by a felled tree—it still had green pine needles on it—where it hadn’t been before. The obstruction forced one to take a less-traveled fork if they wished to remain on the game trail. It might have seemed ordinary, but there was something distinctly…off about it. One more inclined with their sixth sense might have felt the icy tendrils of warning on the back of their nape.

“Let’s swing wide.” It would take a little more effort to blaze one’s own path in the foggy darkness, but, it felt like a safer alternative to the foreboding trail that had been provided.

Kamari Kaiser

Avatar by Despi
Salsola
The Inquisitor
User avatar
Songbird
Moderator Community Soul Luperci Sapienza, Vedetta Mate to Krios Royalty of a Fallen Kingdom
Seeker of Secrets
Amongst Shadows
Bearer of Masks

POSTED: Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:42 pm

514

Also TL;DR Clem's foot is nudging the support of a deadfall trap. Feel free to have it fall, or they can disarm it!

With the keen blue eyes of the Emissary to watch over her – or, rather, not over her – she did not fear the possibility of attack. Too often she thought herself above such pedestrian things, and couldn’t imagine herself dying in such a feeble, boring way. Truth be told, she never considered death or dying in the way many did, too enraptured by her own youth.

She snorted when her companion mentioned the trespasser’s likely opinion of himself but said no more about it. The general feeling in Salsola, a Queendom if there ever was, would hold that men were inferior, incapable or less likely to present rational thought processes, driven by some lizard brain to kill, molest, or otherwise do harm. In this, Clementine felt they underestimated a whole half of their population.

If the stories were true, Lokr Revlis had begun a war that ultimately decimated Inferni and isolated Salsola once again, forcing it to look inward rather than outward.

Following with fleet footsteps, it was apparent that despite her vocational leanings to diplomacy and trade, and her vehement dislike for violence, her mothers had imparted some sense of propriety in her. The way her family walked was almost a trademark; not the catlike step of the Tigress, however, but a heel-toe step that was reminiscent of both dancers and soldiers.

Thus, she did not stumble through the undergrowth, breaking every twig and stepping on every leaf.

She followed in this way, cognizant not only of Kamari’s skill, but her rank. Her aunts were powerful women, and her mothers capable fighters, but for all her pomp and circumstance, a deep-founded respect for the rank and file was as much in her bones as her blue blood.

So close was she on the jackal woman’s heels that when her arm shot out, the Warden had only enough time to stop. Irritation, or something like it, threatened to surface – and did, in the darkness – but this was smothered swiftly and resolutely, ears trained forward in the event that the older woman had heard something. It wasn’t a sound, however that proved the problem.

Her less-honed senses didn’t tingle with the same ephemeral sense of dread, but an everyday sense of caution amplified by Kamari’s knowledge gave her what she needed. It wasn’t so much that a fallen tree was strange by itself, but the angle at which it had fallen and the relative health of the tree; there had been no monstrous winds recently either.

This way, Suggested the Salcedo, arbitrarily choosing to move further away from the tree and the border. Thinking about the tree and every detail to do with it, she picked her way carefully through the pathless woods and bramble, transitioning from a silent, stalking step to something more akin to a shuffle, distributing her weight carefully on the ground beneath her.

When her foot nudged something undeniably unnatural, she felt at last the slow trickle of fear.

there’s something here. She whispered, a curious edge to her voice.


Salsola
The Arbiter
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Lorraine
Mercante light of the North

Salsola