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 The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)

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Morgan Landry



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PostSubject: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:23 am

The breeze of air crept around the trees, wrapping itself around the strong, knotted trunks. Leaves rustled and swished as the wind passed through them in a quick caress. 
Apart from that, no sound could be heard, except of course, the cracking of dead branches when a little animal was stepping on them, or the singing of birds, far away. 


Fenris ducked a low branch and side-stepped a broken stump, her bow held diagonally, arrow notched. She had randomly chosen a bone-tipped arrow, and the white patch contrasted with the darker surrounding colors: bistre, bole, bronze, chocolate, sepia and seal brown for the trees, fern, mantis, malachite and dark green for the leaves and the grass on the earth; the ground forming a  mosaic pattern of green and taupe.


She had been hunting ever since the morning, and until now, the hunt had been good: two hares and six partridges. The sun was starting to decline, but it only made Fenris feel better: she loved the night.


Her leather boots made no sound as she walked through the forest: she knew perfectly where she was stepping. No dead branch cracked, no leaf swished and no bush rustled. 
She moved a low bough aside with a mit-covered hand. 
The elf was wearing a combination of leather and black cloth: a middle-age-like dark shirt that went down until mid-thigh, a pair of trousers the same color and material, and long leather boots. A large belt was buckled around her waist, and she had attached there Caaliareth, her long sword, and Andrac, her black dagger with the wyvern-shaped pommel. Normally, she would wear a hood, but, now she was in the forest, the hood would only reduce her sight range, and that couldn't be allowed when hunting. She had to notice every movement she could. 


Quickly, her head moved to the right, her long hair flying across her shoulders. 
There was movement over there. She couldn't identify it so quickly, but she crouched down in the fern, behind the next bush, her bow's string bent, the white tip of the arrow showing up between the bush's branches. The elf held her breath, shutting her black lips, her nostrils moving like those of a cat.
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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:39 am

Xerio flew through the forest, riding horseback. Leaves crunched, and twigs snapped under the feet on the horse. Xerio glanced his head from side to side, looking for trouble all the way, as was his job. This was his patrol, he had to keep an eye for trouble. 

Xerio looked down at his attire, remembering how he had opted not to wear his regular military outfit. He had learnt with his experience as a rider, that sometimes people would hide from him, if they noticed the standard military armour, if he wore other armour, as he was now, he tended to find what he was looking, well they tended to find him. At that present moment, he was wearing a leather tunic, battleworn, along with similar trousers. On his hands he had short leather gloves, but he was wearing long leather boots. All of it was tanned leather, and was a lot paler. 

His blond hair flew back in the wind as he checked for more signs of trouble. Something wasn't quite right to him, it didn't feel right. Everything was too quiet, there was usually someone moving around, but all he could hear was his own breathing and the sound of his horse. He slowed his horse down, to a light trot, and eventually to a full stop. He placed his right hand on the sword on his hip, he didn't make it obvious, he held his hand just above it, but made it look closer to the reigns, so if someone was watching him, they wouldn't notice it. Then, he cocked his eyebrow as he glanced around. Something definitely wasn't right...

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:05 am

A constant, low thudding rumbled to Fenris's pointed ears, which shuddered spasmodically in response. She immediately identified the animal as a horse.
At that point of the day, it could be either a watchman, or an outlaw. In that part of the forest, they were a fair number of them. They mostly hid in caves and in hidden clearings, but Fenris knew they came out often to rob. 
She stretched the string more and bent even lower down, her chin almost touching the ground. The soft, humid smell of earth filled her sensitive nostrils up, but she didn't sneeze, even though the fragrance was tickling her nose. A fern stem stroked her left cheek. 

It was a tense moment. Every muscle of her body was tight like her bow; she would jump out at any second if she had to.

Fenris waited, though. It could be a watchman. 
Finally, she caught a glimpse of the man. It was a blonde elf - a High Elf, ewww - mounting a horse. Since he wasn't wearing the militaristic uniform the watchmen usually had, she deduced it must be an outlaw.
Outlaws had sufficiently threatened her life in the past decades. The world was a better place without them.
She bent her bow, ready to shoot her arrow. The silence was complete. 
A second later, she opened her hand. The bone-tip flew across the air in a straight line, hissing -- just as it was going to hit the elf's leg, the horse gave a jerk.... and the arrow pierced its flank.

The horse neighed in pain, and Fenris rolled back behind her bush, breathing steadily.
She had lost one arrow, but she had others left. Taking one out of her quiver, she knelt down on the earth and notched another one, aiming for the elf's head.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:18 am

As my horse jerked, an arrow planted itself in the horse's flank. I cursed out loud, and then as my horse jerked around, I quickly dived off of the horse, landing gracefully on my feet. I looked back at my horse and saw where it was planted, from there, I quickly glanced and looked in the direction it had come from. Someone was definitely in that direction, however, I would not have time to chase after them. I quickly drew my bow, notched an arrow and fired it in that direction. It wasn't going to hit them, but it would buy me a few seconds. 

Then, without delay I turned and ran into the trees. I swung the bow back over my back, and grabbed the sword again. I drew it out and held it in my hand. As I ran, leaves and twigs crunched under my feet. I cursed, that wouldn't do. I stopped briefly, and with two flicks of the blade, I cut through my boots. I quickly stepped out of them, and kicked them to the side. Then I began running, however virtually silent this time. I grinned, I was used to running barefoot, and I actually preferred it. 

This time, the leaves and twigs weren't crunching, nor did it bother my feet, they were quite leathery soles, which was very helpful. I moved gracefully, darting behind the trees, yet flicking twigs and leaves to misguide my pursuer. Then, I silently climbed a tree quickly, and perched myself in the branches. I climbed around silently, looking for whomever was chasing me. I doubted they would spot me up here, but I still had to move carefully.

I sighed as I drew a breath, and then I held the sword with my feet, and then grabbed my bow again. I notched the arrow and waited. Hopefully whoever was out there, would follow the tracks I had tried to leave behind.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:38 am

The elf landed on his feet, unharmed, Fenris saw with dismay, and she adjusted her position, still aiming at his head.
But the outlaw was surprisingly quick as well. With one elegant, continuous movement, he drew his bow and fired an arrow. Fenris quickly rolled aside -- not too early. The arrow hit the ground where her head had been two seconds earlier. She hissed, her pointed ears flattened against her skull like a wild cat would do.

The man had of course deduced she was there, and had heroically decided to flee. Typically High Elf, Fenris thought. They all were cowards. She waited for him to be sufficiently away before dashing after him. But she didn't run on the ground, now. Fenris spotted an inclined tree trunk and jumped on it with long, elastic footsteps. She didn't stop nor did she slow down as she bounced from branch to branch silently, using arms, hands, legs and feet to propel herself further and further. 
Sometimes, her steps could be heard, but most of the time, it was silenced by the moss that was covering the tree's bark. 

However, the elf (who had kicked his shoes off as well) suddenly chose to switch running on the ground to climbing on the trees.
Immediately, Fenris stopped. 
This was ruining her plan.
What she had in mind was to catch up with him in the trees, then fall down on him with her sword and kill him doing so. If her were to go into the trees too, it was messing everything up.
Breathing calmly, she disappeared behind a thick branch.

This time, you want escape me, she thought as she selected one particularly noiseless, black-metal-tipped arrow. She notched it, put the bow vertically and waited. Sooner or later, the elf would make a mistake -- and she would take advantage of it.
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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:00 pm

I continued to perch on my branch for a while, no sign of movement. Most people, right now, would think they were safe and move on, but I suspected otherwise. Whoever was out there, they were still coming for me. 

I stared out, hoping for some sight of them, or some clue as to where they were. But there was no rustling of the leaves, no snapping of the twigs, no movement at all. I frowned, whoever was chasing me, they were taking this seriously. If someone truly was coming after me. 

After waiting a few minutes, I was beginning to doubt my judgement. Maybe there really was no-one coming after me. I placed the bow beside me for a moment, and then sheathed my sword. I picked up the bow again, and took an arrow out with my right hand. I then, silently, began to move through the tree. It was slow moving, since I had to move each individual branch slowly, to avoid creating sound. I moved further into the forest, further away from where the first arrow had struck. It did mean I had to swing myself around the trunk of the tree though. Hopefully this would put more distance between me and whoever had been out there. I stuck to the thicker branches, which supported my weight, and then moved from tree to tree. If someone was out there, I just wanted them to do something which would give me a sign that they had been there. Someway of me knowing who they were, or where they were. 

This person clearly had no idea who they were dealing with, and I would deal with them very seriously for this offence. It would be fun when I found them...

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:33 pm

Fenris watched the elf's movement closely. He was making extra efforts to be silent, for even her trained ears didn't hear him, and she wouldn't be aware of his presence if she hadn't seen him or taken up his scent. She could perfectly distinguish his exotic, cedar-ish fragrance from the humid and earthy redolence of the surrounding air. It was like a kind of path she could follow for several kilometers before losing it, and she could, thanks to it, make out the other elf's position perfectly even though he might disappear for a second of so from her eyesight.


He had notched an arrow and moved cautiously on his tree, looking around. Fenris, on her side, was well hidden behind a thick branch and a mass of leaves, but she was surprised he hadn't scented her already. 


Perhaps he had a cold.


The woman's muscles were tense from waiting. She wanted to attack now, when he would least expect it, and she knew she hadn't much time. Soon he would be out of range.


When he had his back turned to her, Fenris rose and moved as noiselessly as he was. She positioned herself on a branch, behind the cover of the leaves and advanced slowly, until she was just over him. There, she notched two arrows at the same time.


She waited one second.
Two seconds.
Three --



She fired the arrows. 
Then, without even waiting to see whether they had hit their target, she unsheathed her sword and jumped down on to the elf.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:47 pm

I was surprised momentarily. Just before the arrows struck, I knew the scent was unfamiliar and it was very close all of a sudden. The arrows hit the branch around me and made a crunching noise as they dug into it. Then, there was the sound of a sword unsheathing and a rush of air. I dropped my bow, which then fell out of the tree altogether and landed on the floor, then I pulled out my sword as quick as possible, and then slice it through the branch. It would dull my sword a bit, but my sword was sharp enough and it cut through the branch with little effort. The branch fell away with me on it, but unlike my assailant, I was prepared for it and so maintained my balance. 

The branch collapsed and hit the floor, sending a jolt through the ankles, but I quickly rolled off it and to the side. I stood up as quick as possible and stared at the elf behind me. As she was falling, I realised why I hadn't recognised her scent. She was definitely not a pure elf, she was clearly a mix of elves. And she was evidently a hunter. I wondered whether she knew who I was. I considered telling her, but she had caused so much trouble for me so far, I was going to finish this. Maybe later I'll throw her in jail, but for now, this fight was serious. My bow was close to me, closer to me than it was to her. And the arrow was snapped in half, from the wall. I had enough spares, that wouldn't be an issue. Still, I stood holding my sword in a defensive stance, but would easily switch to an offensive when the opportunity was right.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:52 pm

Fenris had overestimated the strength of the branch, and it cracked as their combined weights pushed it down.
They both fell several meters down, and she hit he ground hard. She didn't stay dazed, though, she rolled to the side and landed on her feet. Her red and black hair flew around her shoulders as she spun to face the other elf.
She growled, showing her pointed teeth, then jumped on him, her sword held high while she used  her dagger as protection.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:54 pm

I smiled as she dived at me. Whilst so far she had been an excellent tracker, now she was slipping. She was treating me as if I were one of the animals she would hunt, if my prediction were right and she were a hunter. 
She held her sword high with one hand, and a dagger in the other. I tutted and then stepped forward and went into a roll, rolling right beneath her. Then, with a casual flick of the sword, I went for the arm holding the sword.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:56 pm

The elf's sudden roll destabilized her and her sword hit the earth. She took it out with one swift movement and turned to face him again. He tried to get at her arm, but she aimed a circular kick at him.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:59 pm

The kick landed on my chest, but I saw it coming so had time to tense my muscles. It knocked me off to the side, but failed to do much more than that. It would definitely bruise however, and that annoyed me. I disliked bruises. I pulled an arrow from my quiver, a few in fact, and threw them at her, using them as a distraction. Whilst I stepped forward again, and was arcing my sword upwards.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:07 pm

He was incredibly quick at shooting arrows. Fenris jumped to the ground, however, one of the arrows pierced her shoulder. It was held back a little by the leather of her clothes, but it sunk in nonetheless. She cried out in pain, her eyes shut tight, then her yell subsided in a deep growl. Breaking the arrow off, not even bothering about the blood gushing out of the wound, she raised her sword just in time to parry his blow -- and yelled out more, because the impact went back onto her wounded shoulder. Staggering back, she drew her sword out, moved several footsteps away, and made a circular movement with her blade, before going back into a combative position.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:25 pm

I stood back in awe as I smiled at this girl. She was clearly determined. Even with the broken arrow, which I was actually impressed with myself. Partially because I hadn't even used the bow, I had just thrown them as if they were stones, and one impacted like that, I surprised even me. I laughed at that. Then when she just snapped it off and carried on, that was bravery. I took a step back as she was prepared to attack again, she was clearly in pain, so I said to her, "Why are you doing this? What are you achieving by carrying on?" I then went straight back for it, and lunged with my sword for her bad arm. If she was injured, best to take advantage of it.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:32 pm

As he came closer, aiming for her arm, she attempted a bite at him. Her teeth were sharp, and the people who had suffered her bites wouldn't say the contrary -- well, those who were still alive.

But then, the elf surprised her by talking to her.

"What?" she asked with the melodiously deep accent of the dark elves. "You're an outlaw! The world is a better place without your kin! I've suffered enough because of you!"

Swinging her sword with a war cry, she attacked again.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:35 pm

I stepped to the side out of bite, and then placed my sword in the path of her own. Her attacks were becoming sloppy, she was injured and so she wasn't acting rationally. With the bite I could have cut her head off, but I didn't. I never planned on killing this woman. 

I stepped back after blocking her strike though, and then couldn't help but laugh at her words. "I'm an outlaw?!" I looked down at myself, and could understand why she'd say that, but I still couldn't help but laugh, how wrong was she...

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:37 pm

The laugh destabilized her even more and she lowered her sword.

"Well, what are you then?" she asked with a determined look.

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:41 pm

I stepped back forward to her, and with a sweep off my sword, I flicked my blade between her body and her blade, and then attempted to pull the sword from her grip. My laugh had stopped, and I gave her a very serious look, staring deep into her eyes. 
"My name is Xerio Tathviel. Commander in the military of the Kingdom of Albion. I lead the Armed Cavalry. And you just assaulted a high ranking official of the military. The Penalty for which is very dire. I could have you killed right here on this spot, I could have you spend the rest of your life in prison. You're not in the best of positions right now."

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PostSubject: Re: The forest can't be without it's jackals (private)   Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:45 am

Fenris immediately denoted the touch of hauteur in his voice, which could only mean he was an aristocrat or at least part of the high society of Albion.
But if he really was the one he claimed to be, why was he dressed so simply?

"You?" she asked. "Commander of the Armed Cavalry? Where are your medals and your armor, then? Where are your men-at-arms?"

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