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 Post subject: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure! [Complete!]
 Post Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:28 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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The taste for adventure had been in the little Sam's bones since before he could even remember. He'd probably have died of boredom in that dull white wasteland of snow and ice and more snow and more ice if he hadn't had the good sense to hunt for an adventure elsewhere! And even more than that, his grand adventures in the south had won him his trusty adventurin' buddy, O'qui! She never did miss a beat, that one, and when the temperature started to pick up down in the south, she was quick to suggest (in her wonderful barking-y, pointing-y sort of way) that they best start mosyin' on back up to colder climates where the sun's heat wouldn't melt them right out of their skins like it was starting to down in the south.

Admittedly he was a bit crestfallen to miss out on an Expedition he'd heard about during his travels, something about a Rainbow Waterfall, but alas, toasting to death on a rock in the summer heat wasn't exactly one of the little Northern's preferred hobbies (despite that a daring escape from such a fate would have been quite the adventure to boast about...)

So the duo began their epic trek back up to the arctic lands of the North, where, perhaps, a new adventure awaited them in a snow-blocked cave, a fresh set of tracks in the snow, just over that next snow bank, or maybe at the very top of that evergreen.

Only time would tell where such a wonderous thing might be hidden, but if there was an adventure to be had, Hunter and his trusty companion would find it, come O'Quiesa pack or high blizzard winds!


Last edited by Bluestarwolf12 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:26 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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The landscape changed in subtle ways at first, somewhat different types of trees and bushes, marginally cooler temperatures, slightly fewer animals. After a couple days of travelling, the evergreens started to appear amongst the other trees. Another day, and it was evergreens as far as the eye could see, standing tall and powerful like an unmoving army of giants, strong in the face of every winter storm passed, and every one to come.

Hunter recalled walking through a few areas they passed, on his way South. There had been snow in those places then as it had been the dead of winter, but now pine needles were the only things blanketing the ground, covering the darker brown soil with clusters of dried, tan leaves that looked almost nothing like the tree leaves of the South.

The further the two travelled, the more Hunter recognized from his time spent trying to find his way, lost in the white, frozen forest. He'd scratched trees to mark that he'd been there before, and although most of them now showed signs of regrowth in those areas, the marks were still at least somewhat visible on most.

They were getting close.

"You know, O'qui, I never told you this, but I don't really have a home. You know, like a hotspring where you always go back to. I know I came from this way, and I used to live up there, but I don't actually remember much of what it was like or if I lived with anyone, or... anything, really."

The little creature blinked wide blue eyes at him, as though encouraging him to continue, "I know it must be hard to imagine, me living in just one place, settled in with a bunch of other Sams. Heck, I can't really even imagine it. Or remember it." O'qui gave another blink before nestling down by her Sam's side to rest from their travels. "Yeah, you're right, it probably doesn't matter much at all. Night, O'Qui. Sleep good," the yearling said at last before laying his head down to sleep as well.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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Hunter had expected to be awakened the next morning by the light of the sun peaking through the trees, gently greeting him to a new day of travelling.

Instead, shrill, rapid-fire, alarmed barking startled him awake, eyes meeting the deep darkness of early morning. "O'Qui, wha...? Why are you...?" he mumbled as he hauled himself up from the pine needles. The mage-construct stood just a foot away from him, fur bristling as she stared intently into the dark forest around them. Nothing had ever gotten the critter so riled up before, and it set Hunter's nerves on edge. She loved adventure just as much as he did, but they both knew there was a line between adventure and life-threatening danger.

Predator. Probably O'Quiesas. And the duo was out in the open, nestled under a tree. If they ran, they'd be pursued, and Hunter has fairly certain that neither of them could outrun a pack of O’Quiesas.

But he knew from experience that he could out climb them. He'd gotten a fair bit bigger since the last time, and had discovered that O'Qui was actually light enough for him to carry (if somewhat awkwardly given their minimal size difference), so with little hesitation he snatched O'Qui up by the scruff, turned, and began hauling them up the tree. Instantly there was a rustling in the bushes nearby, and suddenly a dark brown O'Quiesa exploded from behind a tree, lunging at them with everything it had. It must have been smaller than most, or really couldn't jump very well, because Hunter just felt its teeth pluck a few hairs off his back leg before it fell back down, and then they were entirely out of range. He set O'Qui on a wide branch, and nestled onto another one himself to get a look at the brown canine.

Despite the fact that the two clearly couldn't be reached, the predator continued lunging up the tree, jaws snapping at air and claws desperately scraping at the bark. It looked small as far as O'Quiesas went, and though it didn't look thin, per say, it did definitely look hungry. Alas, the predator didn't just leave once it realized it couldn't reach the Sam and his pet. Rather, it began circling the tree like a shark, hungry and waiting, knowing that they'd have to come down eventually. The sun was high in the sky now, and the dog had paused in its circling, opting to sit and stare up into the tree instead. It had barked and snapped a few times throughout the day, usually whenever it'd heard Hunter or O'Qui shift.

The sun was beginning to drift lower when there was a rustling sound nearby. The dog instantly perked up, clear but distant hope for an injured animal of some sort, or perhaps a rabbit that couldn't climb. Instead, a healthy-looking white Samanayr appeared.

Image

She looked startled at first, clearly having not anticipated running across an O'Quiesa, but then the canine was on its feet and running at her full bore, and instead of standing there paralyzed or running for her life, she shifted her stance and narrowed her eyes, waiting for just the right moment...

Hunter would have missed the movement if he'd so much as blinked. The mare side-stepped half a foot left as the predator entered her range, and swung her head at just the right angle to slash at its shoulder, crimson antlers stabbing and digging into flesh. It yelped loudly, clearly unprepared for such painful retaliation, before running off into forest, perhaps to find slightly less resistant prey.

Hunter snatched up O'Qui once more and slid down the tree, using his claws to slow their descent. "That was AWESOME!" he exclaimed as they reached the ground. "How'd you learn to do that, use their own charging force against them? 'Cause that was really cool!"

The mare didn't reply, simply stared at O'Qui, looking both puzzled and wary of the little one. "Oh, no, don't worry about her. She's not an O'Quiesa, just my travelin' buddy."

She snorted at him as though to say 'fine, whatever', and proceeded to turn and begin wandering back in the direction she'd come from. "Wait, no, don't go! You didn't answer my question! Or tell me what your name is! Wait up!"


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:57 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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Hunter continued to follow the mare for several minutes, not bothering with attempts at being discrete. He wanted to know who she was and how she'd learned to fight O'Quiesas, darnit! And if that meant following her until she told him then so be it!

"C'mon, just tell me! Are you like part Sa'Krien or somethin'? That would certainly fit with the color of your eyes and antlers. You don't really look too scratched up so maybe you don't fight them as much as it looked like you do? Or maybe you're so good at it you never get hurt? Or the fur grew back over your scars? Or-"

Suddenly a dark blue wing flared out in front of his path, interrupting him and bringing his steps to a halt. The mare turned and stared- or really rather glared at him. After several moments of silence, it finally clicked. "You... You can't talk can you?" she nodded her head in confirmation before turning to proceed in her previous direction. "Buuut you could answer yes or no questions, yeah?"

The mare rolled her eyes a bit before nodding yes. "Are you going back to wherever it is you live?"

Yes

"Does your Song live there?"

After a moment's hesitation, No.

"...Do you have a Song?"

No

"You live out here all alone?! With no pets or anything? Don't you get lonely?"

She glanced back at him thoughtfully before giving him a response that he could only take to mean Sorta or maybe Sometimes.

"Well maybe next time I head back South I could find you a proper pet to keep you company! Everyone's gotta have someone with 'em, like O'Qui! Ooh! Or better yet, you could come with me! We won't go too far so we won't get into the super hot areas but then you could adventure with us and stuff and meet new Sams!"

It sounded like a phenomenal idea to him, having someone else watching his back besides the little pup, but the mare looked... apprehensive. "Aw, come on! It'd be so much more fun than sitting in a cave, trapped by a blizzard. Plus there's all kinds of food down there and I bet you could meet a Stallion that'd be happy for you to join his-" her hoof hit the ground hard in front of him cutting him off. She shook her head no and glared at him firmly.

"Alright, fine, no leaving. Got it. Sheesh."

They went back to walking.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:33 pm 
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"I wish there were some way you could tell me your name so I'd know what to call you. I mean everyone's got a name, right? I named me an' O'Qui-"

The mare had only been mildly paying attention, but her head turned curiously towards the colt when he mentioned naming himself. Didn't the foal's parents or Song always name them at a year old? It seemed silly to let a child pick out its own name.

"What? Oh, yeah I named both of us. I don't remember having anyone growing up like other Sams do, so I picked out my own name after I started meeting more Sams since they always asked what my name was, and I didn't have one. When I met O'Qui I'd been hoping to find an Oquiesa pup to train, but then I found her instead and named her them. She's way smarter and a lot less violent, and she goes on all my adventures with me!"

Liberation had stopped listening to the little one fairly quickly. So he was an orphan? Poor little one. He looked to be a Northern, and a little older than a yearling, too, which meant he'd probably started life up here in winter.

Just a little foal, all alone in snowstorm conditions where shelter would probably have been an O'Quiesa den... It was a miracle he was still alive. It was a testament either to his survival instincts or his luck.

"Which reminds me, I totally didn't tell you my name, did I?"

Hm. As a matter of fact he hadn't.

"Hunter of the Frigid Tundra. Okay so maybe I did get a little help naming myself since I was just gonna call myself Hunter but then everyone kept asking what the rest was and then I met this Mystic who said it should be related to where I came from and I was gonna go with Cold Snow but then he said I should pick something more creative but I couldn't really think of anything so he came up with the rest for me. And then-"

She had again stopped listening. Hunter, eh? That might explain part of how he had survived, if there was enough Sa'Krien or maybe Sa'Gris in him to allow him to eat meat. It would multiply his food options quite a bit from the handful of plants beneath the snow to the small animals the foraged for them.

It might also have something to do with his interest in O'Quiesas. Maybe with no parents he'd learned to catch food from watching them instead.

It seemed he was now talking about how he'd met the small O'Quiesa-like creature.

Perhaps if this little one were going to continue following her for a while she'd best start listening. Maybe.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:52 pm 
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The longer they walked, the more interest Liberation was beginning to take in the little colt's short but very eventful life. In his less than two years, he'd managed to become an orphan, evade Oquiesas, participate in a Sharian expedition, meet many different magical Samanayrs, explore a considerable amount of the northern and southern lands, befriend what she now understood to be a Mage Construct designed to look like an Oquiesa, and begin making another journey north, just to evade another Oquiesa and meet Liberation herself.

But perhaps the thing she was most interested in was the part that the yearling didn't remember: how did he become an orphan.

From what she could gather, he'd awoken burried under the snow in the aftermath of a blizzard, completely alone and with no recollection of his life before that point.

His description of the location and the scenario sounded... a little too familiar for comfort.

She supposed she'd find out if her hunch was correct when they got back to the rich clearing she still called home, which was now only another fifteen minutes or so of walking.

To her surprise, Hunter had fallen into quiet a little while ago, content with having conveyed the whole of his life's story to the mare, and having apparently run himself out of questions.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:17 pm 
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They'd been walking for a really long time in silence when the mare paused at a break in the treeline, on the edge of a wide, grassy clearing. It was huge, easily enough land to support a full Song. Along one edge of the clearing ran a large grey rocky outcrop from which a small waterfall tumbled into a crystal clear, smallish body of water. A stream ran from the pond to bisect the clearing, sparkling brilliantly in the somewhat fading sunlight.

She flared one of her wings out as though to indicate that they'd arrived at their destination. Hunter's mouth hung open in vague disbelief. "You live here? Alone?! You've got this whole place all to yourself?!"

That seemed to make her wilt a bit, but she nodded nonetheless. She gestured towards the clearing with a swing of her head and began walking past the treeline in the direction of the waterfall. Hunter followed her, if somewhat more slowly in an attempt to take the place in. There was something... oddly familiar about it, but he couldn't quite put his paw on it. Maybe he'd been through here in winter on his trip south? O'Qui ran full-bore past the colt, seeming to take the cue that this was where they were staying for a bit and using the opportunity to properly stretch her legs.

As the mare began to near the waterfall, she suddenly broke into a run, starry blue wings flaring out to push her off the ground and into the air. This wasn't terribly alarming. She had wings, most things with wings could fly, and she was probably headed to the top of the cliff to get a good lookout.

Or so he thought until she levelled out about halfway up the cliff and flew right at it, about one Samanayr width to the left of the waterfall, and then disappeared behind the wall of water.

Panic began to rise in Hunter's chest as he broke into a run towards the pond. "Hey! Are you okay?"

Suddenly a wing poked out from behind the falls and sort of waved at him.

...There was a cave back there!


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:16 pm 
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The already-brisk air began to turn icey as night fell, and with some assistance from Liberation, the trio took shelter in the waterfall cave for the night. She was certain that Hunter had more questions, despite his silence. She could see it in his eyes, his curiosity and excitement for life, as though he knew what it was not to have it and had decided long ago to make the absolute most he could out of every day.

Liberation had only seen that once before in a Sam, that drive, that fire.

The unconscious duo wouldn't see the droplet of water slip down her face to mingle with the falls.

~~~~~~
There were more scents. Two. The white one had company.

One of those scents seemed... oddly familiar. Like a very specific prey creature that had somehow escaped.

He didn't care one way or the other, but perhaps this would slow the white one down, impede its judgement, make it slip up.

And when it did, he would be there to 'catch' it when it fell.


((Finally getting into the actual plot, woo!))


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:41 pm 
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After a long while, Hunter finally opened his eyes to... a cave. Shockingly.

He could just see light trickling in through the wide tunnel that lead to the cave's opening. It had been very dark when he had first entered here, so he hadn't gotten any sense of what it actually looked like. A wide pond-sized body of water spanned the open, domed space, and a small waterfall on the far end of the pond filled the cavern with additional soothing white noise. A quick test of the water with a paw told him it was warm. At the other end of the space was a wide, shallow gap in the wall that the water exited through, nowhere near large enough for a Sam to wedge through.

This place was definitely constructed by a skilled Mystic, possibly more than one, and was very far from anything resembling an O'Quiesa den.

Hunter would know. He'd slept in a few before.

Ah, that's right. This place was where that white mare lived. Pretty sweet digs for just one Sam.

He was just about to roll over and contentedly enjoy this luxury of sleeping in... when he realized that neither O'Qui nor the mare were anywhere to be seen.

The colt leapt instantly to his feet and sprinted headlong for the cave entrance, only to nearly launch himself over the waterfall and into the unknown depth of water below. This close, the water roared in his ears and blocked most of the clearing from view.

Fantastic. Potentially die, or sit and quietly hope that the two hadn't been eaten by O'Quiesas. Or worse. They could be having an adventure without him!

Well that just wouldn't stand.

The Mysics what made this place couldn't possibly have been so dumb as to leave out a way for a land-bound Sam to leave, right? I mean you never know, they might've been that dumb, but this place was pretty awesome so they probably were at least a little smart.

The cub edged his way around the full length of the wall four times, pushing on loose rocks and the immovable stone wall in search of some sort of trap door - that was how it worked, right? You push a rock-shaped button on the floor and the whole wall opens up? - until at last he was running out of steam. He leaned his tiring, fluffy frame against one of the bigger loose rocks, only to find that it didn't support his measly weight at all and rolled easily out of his way as though the boulder had been made of air instead of stone.

Mystics were so weird sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:39 pm 
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The tunnel behind the enchanted boulder went on for a decent while, at least a five minute's walk until it suddenly dead ended, which he guessed wasn't actually a dead end because the huge boulder blocking this entrance turned out to be enchanted just like the last one, and moved easily out of the way for the little Sam. Light immediately shocked his eyes as the stone moved, and as he blinked the environment steadily came into view.

And Hunter had no idea where he was.

But, as an expert adventurer and explorer, he'd be darned if he couldn't at least kind of figure it out.

They hadn't been by here on the way to the cave, so he knew he wasn't on that route. It had been like a five minute walk, so the cave's entrance couldn't be too far... The colt closed his eyes suddenly, ears attentive, listening for... the sound of...

Water! Sorta in the distance, but not too too far off, in the South, South-Westy direction. Apparently the Mystic had included this route as an afterthought or maybe just for emergencies, but either way, they definitely hadn't properly considered the needs and limitations of a possible visiting land-bound Sam.

The colt began his trek back to the waterfall, zig-zagging a bit through the trees in hopes that he'd be more likely to spot one of his two queries on his way.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:27 pm 
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Ah, it felt good to fly again, to have the wind fill her wings and carry her. It always seemed like such an impossible thing, for someone as bulky and fluffy as her to be capable of flight, but here she was, safely gliding over the treetops. The little tiny yip from behind her reminded Liberation that she had a passenger, and the little creature's claws digging into her shoulders suggested that they should probably land soon or risk the pup inflicting actual damage.

But the pup (her name was... Oak? O'Qui? Something like that) was a land animal like her master, so it wasn't terribly surprising that she was clinging to the Sam for dear life. Liberation landed in a little clearing not far from their destination, and the pup leapt back to the ground before her first hoof made contact. Alright, so they should probably walk back later.

The tang of the sea could just be detected from here, the northern oceans spreading out just a few miles away, vast and cold. But just a few minutes' walk from their location would bring you thin inlet connected to the sea and fed by its waters. The cold water splashed at her hooves as she came to stand at the edge. The white mare reared onto her hind legs before bringing her front feet back down to spray water in all directions, then repeated it a few times for good measure.

But she was met with still waters and relative silence. Hunter's companion stood close by her leg, staring out at the water and then back to her with curiosity and confusion. It didn't usually take this long, and Liberation was beginning to worry that something bad had happened...

Which was when the water suddenly exploded in their direction, dousing the both of them in water and then a moment later in raucous laughter.

"Soyrry, soyrry!" came that familiar voice between uncontrollable bouts of laughter, "It's just been so long, Lib, I couldn't yresist!"

Image

The mare rolled her eyes pointedly. Of course 'Goon couldn't bloody resist. There was a darn good reason she'd always called him 'Goon.

She shook the water from her fur as best she could then tapped the ground to get the stallion's attention again.

"Ah, yeah, soyrry love. Now what is it that byrings yah all the way out heyre after so long to visit yeyr old pal, Goony? Yrelationship advice? ...An O'Quiesa cayre manual?"

That earned him another eye roll. No, she was here for fish, and she etched a little fish symbol into the gravel with her hoof. It had been clear that the little colt was a meat eater, and... well, she'd wanted him to have something tasty for breakfast. Even if the thought of eating fish was entirely unappealing to her.

"Fish? You got a visitoyr, or is it for that little scyrap a fuyr? Or do you have a visitoyr what came with that scyrap a fuyr?"

Three hoof taps.

"Ah, gotcha'. I see ya' got youyr basket all set to go, how many you got?"

She carefully removed the basket from her person and set it down for the stallion.

"Yup, looks like plenty a' Gleamstones for a full basket. I'll just unload these, and be yright back, yeah?"

Indeed, the stallion was back in less than ten minutes with... a little more than half the basket full.

She stamped her foot in protest, then noticed that some of the Gleamstones she’d paid with were in the basket too. Oh. Oh no.

"I- I’m soyrry… The... I think the Pack... yraided my stores again... I'm afyraid that's all I can give ya' without stayrvin' myself. Sorry, Lib..."

The mare shook her head dismissively, and gave him an apologetic tap on the shoulder. Of course it was them. She nodded her gratitude before nudging the pup along and beginning the trek back to her cave. The O'Quiesas were getting bolder, more desperate. They'd been cutting out pack members that they couldn't feed, like the one she'd scared away from Hunter the day before.

They needed to get back asap. She didn't think Hunter was stupid enough to try to leave the cave alone, but if he'd woken up in their absence and thought something was wrong...

They needed to fly. She ushered the noncompliant pup onto her back and moved quickly to get into the air. She could only pray that he wasn't that foolish, or that perhaps the Pack was in this area instead of near her home...


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:28 pm 
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It was... quieter, lonlier without O'Qui around, without that extra set of footsteps beside his own, sometimes in sinc but usually not, without that other living creature by his side. It wasn't silent of course, not by any means; birds flitted about, tweeting their varying melodies, ruffling foliage in their wake; the wind whistled and jostled branches, stirred up fallen debris; and in general, the world made the sounds that inherently went with life in a place that was almost inhospitable for much of the year.

It was still lonely, and reminded him of that time before he met his friend. That time when he travelled alone.

But it was best not to dwell on the past. Hunter would find the pup and the white mare soon, and all would continue forward as it always did, the great adventure of life, ups, downs, and all! Besides, he was almost back to the waterfall cave! Surely the two would have returned by now.

~~~

Watch. Wait. Wait. Keep waiting. Follow it. Follow it without sound.

Had to wait. Little one would lead to the white one.

Then finally. Soon. Wait. Keep waiting.

Soon waiting will end.

Soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:00 pm 
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Almost there... aaaannnd... there was no one here. No answer when he yelled up to the cave, no one anywhere in the vicinity of the clearing. Shoot. Well, then, unless the two had been plucked off by O'Quiesas, then they had gone off on an adventure without him! How could they! O'Qui knew darn well that Hunter wouldn't stand for being left out, surely she would have informed the mare thusly!

Fine then. He'd stay here and wait for them. But not without thoroughly investigating the area, because if a Mystic had made the cave and designed the secret passage, surely there were other secrets to be had here!

~~~~~

Almost there. Just another couple minutes and Liberation and O'Qui would be back at the cave. That yearling better still be inside...

~~~~~

Almost there. The small one was back at the white one's clearing.

Signal the others. Line the clearing. Wait. Keep waiting.

They wouldn't get away this time.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:25 pm 
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The little stream didn't seem to hold much in the way of secrets, though the pond's bottom (about three feet deep, as it turned out) was lined with tons of gleamstones. He might need to remember this place if ever he participated in an expedition in this area, though he had no idea whether the mare knew of them or not, and if she did she probably wouldn't be quite so willing to give them up.

He lay down by the stream's bank, letting his now-wet fur dry in the sun's warmth when a Sam-shaped silhouette in the sky caught his attention. Hunter rose to his feet as it got closer, and indeed, it was the mare! But then where was O'Qui? Surely she wasn't following alone on foot?

But as she came to a running, skidding stop near the pond, the pup came into view, clinging to her back like her life depended on it.

Hunter couldn't help the snicker that escaped him.

"Where've you guys been? Not on an adventure without me I hope!"

She shook her head no, but... for some reason there was a sense of urgency about her. Panic almost. Wha-

Suddenly time came to a standstill as the clearing exploded with sound and motion, the forest around them materializing into huge dark living shapes, erupting into barks and howls and white teeth.

The mare hadn't even allowed O'Qui time to jump off her back when she snatched Hunter up by the scruff and hurtled them all into the air with no hesitation. With the added weight and no running start, though, she didn't get out of range fast enough.

They were tugged harshly downward when an O'Quiesa caught one of her legs, but then she must have kicked it pretty hard because suddenly they were back in the air, moving fast towards the cave and out of range of the snapping dogs.

The mare collapsed on the cave floor once they were safe, flopping weakly on the stone. Her leg hind leg was definitely injured.

But despite that and the vicious barking from the bottom of the cliff, they were safe. For now at least.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:54 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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NO. NO NO NO.

BAD BAD.

UNACCEPTABLE.

HE'D PLANNED THIS TIME. EVERYTHING HAD BEEN PERFECT.

EXCEPT FAILURE.

BAD.

Find another way.

Double back.

Back to where he'd noticed the little one.

Find another way.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:16 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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Thank the heavens that she'd gotten there when she did, that she hadn't stayed with Lagoon a moment longer. The Demon had decided he was done waiting, finished prowling around for her to slip up. He was moving in for the kill, ready to finally finish off the last member of the Song of the Frigid Icefalls.

He wasn't going to wait. If they left the cave again, they wouldn't be able to land safely. Their only hope now was to outlast them, but even then the pack was big enough to send some out hunting and keep most of them on watch.

This would be it. No matter how it went down, no matter what happened next, their grudge feud would finally end and it wouldn't be pretty.

It was just too bad Hunter and his pup had to be caught up in it.

After gathering her energy again, she limped back to the spring at the back of the cave to rest and put her basket down. Hunter had been visibly shaken by the attack. He must not have even realized the O'Quiesa pack was there, watching him. How long had they been watching, she wondered? How long had he been in that clearing, where they'd attacked him so long ago, utterly oblivious to the danger?

It had to end. Their reign of fear and ever-looming threat would come to an end if it was the last thing Liberation would accomplish.

How fitting.

~~~~~

Leave some there. Keep watch. Wait.

Send some hunting. Just in case.

Searching. Small one's scent trail only went one way. Must be a way it came out here.

Must be another way.

Find another way.

There! A rock had been moved! Large. Big hole under it.

Prey.

Finally.

Found the other way.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:41 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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Smell getting stronger.

Soon. Almost. Not much longer.


~~~~~

The day's light was finally beginning to fade as the two Sams lay side by side at the back of the cave.

It was so warm, tucked under the mare's protective wing, squished up against her fluffy flank. It had been a long time since he'd felt like this, like even though there was danger outside, and even though it wasn't leaving, he was still warm and safe. A different kind of adventure.

She even had O'Qui tucked under her other wing.

But she was injured. Not too badly, but bad enough that it would make fighting difficult. She'd've been fine if she hadn't had to rescue his stupid behind. Why hadn't he seen them, smelled them? And he called himself a Hunter! He was such a failure, after all that time evading them, the colt still hadn't learned a darn thing.

And his naive foolishness had gotten someone hurt. But not just that, it had gotten someone who clearly cared about him hurt.

No adventure was worth that.

But he couldn't just leave anymore, couldn't run away so she'd never have to worry about him again. Because then she'd still have to deal with the O'Quiesa pack, would still be in danger because of his stupidity.

Maybe he could draw them away somehow? Take that tunnel leave scent trails for them to follow, distract them...

Suddenly O'Qui's barking filled the cavern, loud, panicked, and echoing. She was on her feet, fur on end. Protective mode. Just like yesterday when the lone O'Quiesa had tried to ambush them. She knew the pack was down in the clearing. She wasn't barking at them.

...Hunter hadn't pushed either of the boulders back into place.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:36 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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The white mare looked startled and confused at the pup's sudden panic, as she well should have been. Maybe she didn't know about the tunnel, hadn't even thought to check them because to her they didn't exist.

If there was an O'Quiesa coming down that tunnel, then there was nowhere for them to go, nowhere to escape to. The pack was probably still outside waiting for them to leave, and the only other route out now housed a hungry monster dog. The mare seemed to realize this at the same time he did, because suddenly she went from fear and determination to looking utterly tired and defeated. She couldn't fight properly with her injured leg, and what chance did Hunter and O'Qui stand on their own.

Then an... odd look crossed her face, and she raised a large white hoof to rest gently on Hunter's head. Confusion fluttered through him, until- his head was yanked sideways as her hoof caught on something. Then she smiled at him, and gestured to the pond.

His reflection. It had been so long since he'd seen it, and it felt just as odd as it did that first time. But there was something distinctly different about it this time, something he hadn't even noticed before.

"I- I have horns?!"

~~~

The pointy things sticking out of his head weren't distinct enough yet to tell whether they were antlers like his Sire's, or Double Horns like his Dam's, but that didn't matter right now.

What mattered was that they were long enough and sharp enough to inflict damage. Maybe, just maybe, they did stand a chance. She'd been saving that trick for the Demon, had been practicing it on the pack members his pack had cast out. Hunter had seen her perform it, but with literally no time to practice...

Which was when the click of claws on stone dragged them from their hopeful optimism. The Demon had arrived.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:39 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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The great beast prowled in through the gap just barely large enough for it and into the broad Mystic-carved cave. Its eyes seemed to glow a sickening yellow in the dim, rippling light trickling through the waterfall, numerous scars, recent wounds, and bare skin standing out like badges against its pitch grey fur.

It didn't snarl beyond the occasional lip twitch, didn't move quickly as its huge claws clicked slowly, languidly towards them.

It was savoring it, the feeling of having the three little creatures at its mercy, its long sought-after query finally pinned and unable to escape.

Image

...Hunter knew this O'Quiesa.

It was the one that had been hunting him, that first time! The first creature he laid eyes on after digging himself out of the snow!

But... No... He'd seen this monster before that.

It had been called... the Demon. By who, though? Who was-

His birth Song.

The mare had been in the Song, not his mother, but... She wasn't dead.

His eyes grew huge in sudden understanding; why she'd left to get him fish, why she'd been so kind to him, why she was mute, why she had such a strong hatred of O'Quiesas...

"Liberation of the Final Twilight," he said at last, resolve creeping into his voice, "The last surviving member of the Song of the Frigid Icefalls."

"I will not let this monster lay a paw on you. Not now, not ever again."


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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((Advance warning that this post does contain some minor violence, so if it will make you uncomfortable, please skip this post. <3))

Time stood still, the cold forgotten as adrenaline rushed through him, preparing him for the life or death struggle laid out before him. He didn't have the brute strength or the size to pose a threat to this creature. But that wasn't the plan.

He paced forwards, slowly, eyes never leaving the Demon's. He could see its muscles shifting beneath its patchy but thick fur, but it didn't move.

O'Qui was a couple feet to his left, ready, waiting for a command, fearless in the face of danger purely because of Hunter. If he would fight, so would she, without question or hesitation. He almost wished she wouldn't.

"Alrighty then. Let's dance. O'Qui, distraction."

The little pup darted forward, faster on her feet than Hunter had ever seen anything move before. It was clear that the beast wanted the Sams, not the pup, and at first it didn't react beyond a quiver of temptation, a step forward. At least until O'Qui leapt up behind the beast and chomped hard on its tail, clinging with all the jaw strength she had and hanging her whole weight from the creature's tail.

So she had learned from that one time she accidentally bit her own.

The Demon let out a yelp in surprised pain and whirled on O'Qui only to find that she and its tail were well out of reach of its mouth. But it didn't learn that quickly, and proceeded to whirl repeatedly in place, fury blinding any rational thought it may have been capable of.

Hunter seized the opportunity and lunged, horns burying themselves in its side and shoving it sideways with the force which, combined with already having been disoriented by the rapid enrages spinning, knocked the huge O'Quiesa off balance. But the yearling had misjudged the distance between the hidden tunnel and the cave's edge, and it was too late when he realized that the roaring in his ears was more than just the rush of blood.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:46 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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((Some more very minor violence and death mention. Again, do not read if this will make you uncomfortable!))

They- they just vanished. It hadn't gone how she thought it would, everything moved so fast, O'Qui rushed forward, the Demon responded too slowly then exploded into pained rage, and then Hunter leapt and- and then all three tumbled over the falls.

It couldn't- she just couldn't process- she'd envisioned this long, drawn out battle, wounds and scratches and biting, a true tooth-and-nail fight to the death. Not a simple distraction and one attack and then- just... gone. Down into the water below.

...Oh no. Not down there! Even if Hunter had survived the fall, the other O'Quiesas were laying in wait for him!

Liberation stumbled to her feet in hurried panic, hobbling as fast as she could manage to the edge before spreading her wings and leaping out.

There were at least half a dozen O'Quiesas in the clearing, scattered about, all eyes trained on... not her. Oh no. No no no no!

There was red in the water, and none of the three were moving. Neither were the surrounding O'Quiesas, all frozen to their places, trying to decide what had happened and what they should do. Liberation would answer that question for them. She landed with an intentional thud on the grass, facing the huge pack, and let out the most blood-curdling screaming roar she could manage, tossing her head and flaring her wings, all fear forgotten.

Most of them fled instantly, their alpha slain and a crazy, dangerous Sam threatening to do the same to them was just too much for them.

But one remained.

It didn't look like anything special. Simple brown fur, body littered with scars a lot like the Demon's, smaller but just as fluffy.

Its eyes were not full of fear, nor rage, nor hatred, nor bloodlust... but if Liberation would dare go there... She'd call that emotion in its eyes hope. It lay down before her, eyes still fixed on the water, waiting. Okay then. She kept an ear pointed in the O'Quiesa's direction for any sudden movements, and turned to examine the water.

Hunter's small fluffy body lay atop the Demon's, horns- or should she say horn- dislodged from the great beast. At least she assumed that was where the horn missing from his head was. The mare carefully removed him from the water and placed him gently on the bank. None of his limbs were bent at odd angles, no blood stained the grass, and- and thank the Elementals, he was breathing.

Suddenly something nudged her leg, and she whirled in fear, terrified that the Demon had come back to life, just to find O'Qui by her side. She looked worn and exhausted, and appeared to be avoiding putting weight on her back left leg, but she wasn't bleeding anywhere either. She, too, would be fine.

The mare collapsed to the ground beside them, pain returning to her and exhausted herself, Liberation gladly welcomed sleep.

It was over. It was finally over.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:01 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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Hunter awoke to the dim light of early dawn, and his body immediately protested when he tried to move.

He... was back in the cave, snuggled up and warm, and-

But, no, that couldn't be! He'd gone over the falls with the huge black O'Quiesa! That was a really big fall! Was he dead?!

Or- or had it all been a dream...? No, but that would mean the beast was still out there! Had he failed?! Had he been tossed off and the Demon had eaten Liberation and O'Qui!?

He tried to move again, had to find out what had happened, when a weight over him that he hadn't noticed before applied more force to hold him in place.

"Woah there, champ. I ain't done cuddling yet, and I know for sure you ain't done sleepin'."

Hunter stopped struggling and his eyes widened.

He knew that voice. He knew that voice very well.

For a long moment the yearling struggled to find words before finally squeaking out "L-Liberation? You- You can talk again?"

She grinned at him from ear to ear. "All thanks to you, kiddo. Thanks."

"Now come on, go back to sleep. I can tell you need a little more of it."

"Aw, do I have to? I've been sleeping for so long already!"

"No buts, kid. Sleep. If you do, I'll have something special for you when you wake up again."

Hunter had never intentionally fallen asleep so quickly in his life.


((Just like one or two posts left oAo))


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:22 pm 
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Blue of the Howling Stars
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When he finally woke for the second time that day, light was streaming into the cave with full daytime force. It wasn't as warm, as he could tell it was O'Qui by his side instead of Liberation, and for a dazed moment he considered curling back up and going back to sleep.

At least until he remembered the mare's promise, and was on his feet in a heartbeat. Where was she? What could the special thing possibly be?

Her voice carried through the cave from near the entrance. "Oh, good, you're awake! I hope you haven't been up long, I just got back."

"No, I just woke up, where'd you-"

And then he couldn't breathe.

"You like it?" She asked hopefully. "It seemed like it would suit you, tough little adventurer that you are. One of your horns broke off in the fight, so I had Lagoon use that for the clasp..." Liberation continued rambling as she draped the carefully cleaned and crafted cloak of O'Quiesa fur over his back. "It's a little big right now, but I know you'll grow into it, especially if you're anything like Champion.

And if I've learned anything at all about you by now, it's that you're just like your father, even if you never got to know him. He'd be so proud to see his son wearing the Demon that took him from you. From us..."
Her eyes were growing misty, but just as quickly she blinked it away. "Now come on. I got us more fresh fish and berries. It's time for a proper celebration!"


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 Post subject: Re: The Hunter's Arctic Adventure!
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:36 pm 
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That night, the trio gorged themselves on food and went over the short but momentous fight in every excruciating detail possible. The brown O'Quiesa Liberation had seen had wandered off while they'd all been asleep as far as she could tell, but then she saw it again on her way to visit Lagoon and though it also saw and smelled her, it didn't flee or become aggressive in any way.

She'd be keeping a close eye on it.

Though O'Qui had been injured in the fight, she recovered fairly quickly. There was still a minor limp in her step, but nothing that would really slow her down.

The next day, after much deliberation and debate on Hunter's part, he and O'Qui finally decided to set out on their own once more. One day they would visit Liberation again, but for now, it was for the best. The mare had promised to start looking for a new stallion to settle down with ("You can only live in complete solitude for so long, Lib."), and Hunter had promised to return home soon with lots of phenomenal new stories to tell.

The future shined before them, bright, hopeful, and filled with plenty of new adventures awaiting them over that next hill, just beyond the rising sun.

((Finished! At long last! 8D))


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