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Author Topic: The Invaders - A Prologue  (Read 2470 times)

Offline Kitharsis

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The Invaders - A Prologue
« on: July 02, 2010, 03:12:56 PM »
"I know you're out there!"  The woman shouted.  Her eyes darting from left to right.

She was waist deep in murky water.  A mossy bank rises lazily to her right, old tree roots peek through the topsoil.  To her left a swamp stretches out into the gloom.  Ancient trees push through the murk, spreading their wide leaves far overhead.  The sun pokes through the thick canopy sporadically, shining little lights on random patches of the landscape.

Something scuttles into the water off in the distance, probably one of the snapjaws that frequent this part of the swamp.  From the noise it was of a decent size, but the hunting was done for the day.  No need to go tracking it down.  At least not this day.

Her tail flicks through the water.  She was annoyed that he was playing this silly game.  They got precious few moments alone, and he spent them teasing her...

A branch snaps and falls into the water behind her, a handful of leaves float down after it.  With a growl she leaps up onto the bank and scales the old tree.  She hears frantic movement from where the branch fell.  He should know better than running, she always caught him during these games.

Vines and branches fly past her as she leaps tree to tree.  He was caught.  There was no doubt.  She could see his tail bouncing behind him, playfully.

He paused on a large branch, not twenty meters ahead of her.  With a creak of protest from the tree limb he burst through the canopy above, opening a bright hole of sunlight streaming behind him.  She followed suit, opening a hole herself.

"Oh come on!  Don't give up!  I had you, that takes all the fun out of it!"  She yells as she hops closer, branch to branch.  With a giggle she tackles him and they fall to the swamp below.  No laughter comes from him as they land, rather he briskly moves her off of him as he sits up.  Contemplation wrinkles is face.

"Kitharsis?"  She asks, with a shaky voice.  "What's wrong, you're scaring me..."

"Lewellen,"  He says, as he turns towards her.  Worry sits in his eyes  "Theres something odd over there.  I heard something like machinery coming from the west."

Their eyes meet, they both knew what this meant.  "It would seem that our evening is cut short."  She says, disappointedly.  "Can't someone else handle it?  We haven't had time together alone in so long."

"Lew..."  He pulls her close in an embrace.  "We need to tell the Shaman.  Besides, you would have been chasing me all night.  You only caught me because I stopped!"

With fire in her eyes she pushes him off of her, onto his back. "You know darn well that I was right on your tail, mister."  She pounces on him, pinning his hands to the mossy ground.  "And you know what that means.  I'll have my prize before you go running off to save the world."

She leans down for a kiss.  As they part he chuckles.  "We'll finish this next time, you little vixen-"

A loud crash echoes through the swamp, coming from the west.  The sound of machinery rumbles through the area.

Without words the two take off towards the village.  Their toes spread apart and grow webbing as they take off across the water.  Kitharsis was well out in front and gaining ground.  With a smirk Lewellen follows from behind, knowing that she wouldn't be winning this race...

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: The Invaders - A Prologue
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 11:08:32 AM »
As she opens the door to the hut, she sees that the others are already assembled inside.  They are standing in a semi-circle on one side of the room.  The Shaman leans on an old twisted root facing the group of hunters on the other.  Deep furrows crease his brow with worry.  He opens his previously closed eyes and looks in Lewellen's direction.  With a nod he greets her, then turns his attention back to the others.

The Shaman was old, ancient if you will.  When not heavy with worry, his skin was still wrinkled and creased.  Skin covered in scales, that is.  Scales cover from head to toe.  The shaman, being so old, is missing a few patches here and there - scars from battles past and the debt of old age.

His face is that of a human's, save for a nose.  Gill-like slits line his neck instead.  A simple, coarse brown robe drapes from his shoulders to his feet, covering his dark brown skin.  The group of Jataka across from him are much younger.  Lean, tough, and proud.  They are all stone faced and at attention, as these meetings rarely ever bring good news.

The Shaman shifts his weight and leans further onto the root as he opens his eyes.  Staring intently at Kitharsis, he speaks.

"Go on, young one, inform the others of what you heard."

Kitharsis steps out from the group and stands alongside the Shaman, facing the others.  He steals a quick glace at Lewellen, and she can see the quickest hint of a smile flash across his lips.  Just as quick his face turns to steel as he addresses the group.

"I heard machinery while in the swamp just a few moments ago.  I was out past the Two Twins and well into the wetlands at the time.  I climbed to the canopy to get a better look but -"

Kitharsis cuts himself short, with a cough he continues.

"But I thought better of exposing myself to the outlanders, and quickly ran back to the village to report..."

Lewellen relaxes.  She hadn't notice that she had tensed up while Kitharsis was speaking.  It is a well known fact that hunters were not allowed to be engaging in relationships.  If it was discovered that the two of them were involved one of them would have to step down from hunting.  It was this way was because the hunters were also the guardians of the village.  There were a breadth of dangers in the swamps.  If a couple were killed while out on a hunt their children would be left orphans.  For the sake of the children and to not burden the rest of the village one parent must stay behind and perform a less dangerous task.  To Lewellen and Kitharsis, such a fate would be worse than death.

"Proposterous!  There hasn't been any warnings from the other villages.  We're not close to any resources that outlanders would want!  Why would they come here first?"  Sade steps forwards, challenging Kitharsis's claims.  A few others grumble under their breaths, not willing to believe his claims either.

"Enough, Sade..."  The Shaman waves him off dismissively.  "This is not open to discussion.  A team will be sent out to investigate Kitharsis's claims immediately.  Sade, Kitharsis, and Teal, you three will do this.  The others will stand ready in the village.  That is all.  Make preparations and leave at once."

The Shaman exits the tent, leaving the hunters alone inside.  Sade crosses his arms in front of him with and shakes his head.

"Lets hope you're wrong about this, Kitharsis..."  He mutters.

"Hope won't get this done any faster.  Make any preparations you need and meet at the west end of the village.  Be quick about it."  Teal was one of the older hunters and one of the less lenient.  Kitharsis was glad he was coming.

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: The Invaders - A Prologue
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2010, 03:06:23 PM »
The flap in the back of the tent slides open and and just as quickly shuts noiselessly.  Kitharsis had just finished preparing his pack for the scouting mission and was pacing through the tent.  Lewellen places her hand on his shoulder and the two lock eyes.

"Be safe."

"I will.  Once this is all over we'll finish what we started in the swamp today."

A blush colors her cheeks as she pushes him.  He barely budges as he wraps her up in his arms for one final embrace.  Just as quickly he is out the door and jogging through the village.

Lewellen stands in the middle of the dark tent and sighs.  Just a routine check.  Probably some offlanders who got lost and are looking for supplies.  It's probably nothing...  No threat at all...

She hopes.

Sade and Teal are already at the west end of the village, waiting for him.  Kitharsis nods to both of them as he adjusts his pack slung across his shoulder.

"Now that we're all here..."  Sade says, sarcasticly.

"Kitharsis," Teal addresses him, before glancing at Sade.  "I'm sure you both realize the gravity of this scouting mission.  We'll be travelling by air until we catch sight of them.  From that point we'll meet on the ground a good distance away and approach on foot, depending on the situation of course."  He studies their faces for a moment.  Satisfied, he steps back from the two of them.  "On my lead."

Teal tightens the pack over his shoulder before stretching his arms out to the side.  Feathers sprout from below his scales as the scales themselves shrink away.  His body bends and curves as his legs shrink and a large beak overtakes his face.  In moments a large bird is standing in his place.  It's talons are long and sharp and its wings large and expansive.

Kitharsis and Sade follow suit and before long the three large, dangerous birds take off into the sky.  They circle higher and higher, the village growing small beneath them.  The sun shines on their back as they lazily veer off towards the Two Twins.

Kitharsis has always liked flying.  He rarely had occasion to take to the sky, as most of the hunting took place in the thick forest of the swamp.  It is a shame that the only time he gets to fly is for such a forboding reason.  Nonetheless he still relishes the feeling of the wind on his wings.  The freedom of flight was invigorating.

His joy is cut short as he catches a glimpse of metal off in the distance.  Teal and Sade notice it as well not moments after.  Teal quickly swoops below Sade and Kitharsis and circles down to the canopy. 

The three sit perched on the treetops, eying each other.  Wordlessly they nod in agreement of what they saw.  The feathers fall away as they climb down the to the muddy swamp floor below.  Webbed feet touch down and barely leave a track on the soil.

Silently, the three hunters run through the swamp.  The sound of machinery hums away in the distance, growling louder with each step.

"I still wish you were lying, Kitharsis..."  Sade whispers.

"Don't we all..."  Teal returns.  "Now quiet!"
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 04:38:41 PM by Kitharsis »