Scene Challenge (finished)

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80

Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:29 am

“I've still got it.”
784 words
There had been no fights since Jacques had been released. Only grudging obedience that might as well not have been obedience at all.
Every order was taken with a snap or a growl, but was followed through on.

Pipstrelle debated long and often whether or not to approach him, but when an opportunity came her determination failed her.

After nearly a week of stalling, she finally found the words she wanted or at least a semblance of something that wouldn't make her look stupid.

Then all that day she waited for an opportune time. Ordering him into her cabin would make it seem as If there was an issue.


After a long day of hard work, she found him leaning against the railing, staring blankly at the fading horizon.
"So, Mr. Jacques," she said as she approached from behind "The reports are that you've been behaving."
"Yes Captain."

She turned to study his face, trying to discern if he was hiding any sort of emotion behind the stiff mask that he held tightly over his face.
"So, we're making landfall at Churam in a day's time."
"Aye."

Not a flicker of an eye not a twitch of his lip. Somehow he was managing to control himself in a fashion she hadn't believed possible.
"Would you be wanting to go ashore?"
He glanced sideways at her "Am I allowed?"

She nodded lightly, trying to keep her own emotion in check "If I accompany you."
"I... do not think I'll want to go ashore."
"That's perfectly fine," she shrugged "I simply wanted to give you the option."
He nodded and grunted a little in acknowledgment of her invitation.

"So," she ran a claw along the railing, finding that all the words she wanted had flown out of her head and beyond the top mast far into the sky.
"Is there a matter you need to settle, Captain Pipstrelle, please settle it plainly. I'm afraid my sight into the nuances of conversation has begun failing," all pretenses of a steady internal state fell away and the fox's face twisted up into a hard scowl while his words went harsh and bitter, breaking ever so slight. As if he was fighting against a tightness in his throat.

She bit the inside of her lip for a second, before regaining a few words to herself.
"Mr. Jacques, I'm afraid this will be extremely straightforward if I put it as plainly as you wish. But I've been much more than curious about your time aboard the Lady's Vengeance. The ship and her captain- Lorange- have fascinated me for years. In fact it greatly inspired my career. I've often wished to speak with one of her crew. But since..."
"Since they're all dead but me, you want to talk to me," the anger kept his face clenched up, every muscle bunched against the eye patch and the strap that held it affixed against his fur.

She took a half step back, holding a paw up signaling him to hold his response until she had completed her sentence "Yes, since they have all deceased I was unable to speak to them. I realize this subject must be extremely sensitive to you and you have complete permission to decline the conversation."

"I'll tell you one thing and one thing only. Maybe you can learn from it, Captain," his voice went soft, but lost none of the bitterness and breaking "You might think you can trust everyone on your ship. Trust them with anything. You might think they'll never turn, because they're your crew, your friends even. Don't set your course on that thought. You may know someone, but you'll never really know them. So, be careful how you trust them. Misplaced confidence destroyed the Lady. It may destroy you."

He turned away from her, his shoulders locked up close to his neck and his head bowed "May I be dismissed?"

Stunned by the sudden flow of hard impassioned words, that must've been lurking just beneath his shield of obedience waiting to burst out to anyone who'd listen, Pipstrelle couldn't answer him immediately. It took her several tries to finally release the tension in her throat enough to speak.

"Just... just one more question."

He sighed, a growl hinted at the base of the sound "What?"

"When we last spoke, you said that the reason you wanted to be assigned to the navy was to see if you could make it shipside again."
"Ye-es."
"Well," she tipped her head though he could not see the motion "Can you?"

He glanced over his thick shoulder, for once the slightest sparkle of a lighter emotion dwelling somewhere in his eye "Aye, Captain. I've still got it."
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:19 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:30 am

"Don’t you ever do that again!"
773
The knock was loud and startling. Lionel jumped at the sound, sending his travel bag crashing to the floor.

"Wait, don't come-" he wasn't given the chance to finish as Freeta shoved the door open and stomped in with as much force as her small body could manage.
"Lionel!"

He winced at the angry pitch of her voice "Freeta, what-."

"I think you know very well what, cooky, you're leaving!"
"I'm not...." He glanced down at the small essentials spilled across the floor "...going to be gone for very long."
"But what do you think you're doing leaving? You can't go out there on your own!"

"Freeta-"
"We're you even going to tell me? And what about Achran and Adrian and Avery? What were you going to do about them? Just leave me here with them."

He sighed and crossed his arms "Can I speak, please, Free?"

"No! I'm not done with yelling at you yet!"
"Calm down! Please. Just let me finish. Please."

She flattened her ears back and narrowed her eyes "Fine."

"Did you even hear where I'm going?"

Her ears relaxed and drooped down "well...no."

"The Deepspout tribe called for aid in a battle against the Sykans."

Her chin came to rest on her chest "Oh, no, oh, Lionel. You can't go back!"
"I have to, Freeta. I just have to know. It's my family!"

She shook her head a little "If I remember, it was a family member who shot you off a cliff!"

"Freeta.. What Trace did... I...it doesn't matter now, alright? I have to know. I have to be there!"
"
The little white fox's shoulders sagged. "But what about us, Lionel? Didn't we deserve to know?"

He patted her back "I just... Didn't know how to tell you. It's no excuse, but I was afraid you'd talk me out of it and I have to do this."

"But I understand, Lionel. If I knew where my family was, I wouldn't let the world stand in my way. But you worry me. If you get caught by the tribe, then they'd kill you."

"They're positive that I'm dead. They have no reason to look for me and I have no reason to announce myself."
"Someone could recognize you, it wouldn't be too hard."

He picked his staff up and clicked it against the floor several times.

"Just because you're crippled-"
"And I am now a cook. They'd never think about that. Anyway, I don't plan on going up and introducing myself, I'll be at the Rican camp."
"Then how are you going to know if your parents and siblings are still alive?"
"My father is the chief and it's his family. If somethings happened to them, everyone will know."

"What are you going to do if something has happened?"
Lionel studied his paws "I don't know, Free. But I just need to know what's happened."

She pulled out a heavy, broad bladed, blue dagger and held the hilt out to him "You'll need this."
He looked up at her in superise "But, that's one of the daggers that you've had since... Since the beginning."
"Exactly. It's useful. So take it."

He accepted it and tucked it into his satchel "I won't loose it."
"Good. 'Cause it's yours now."

"Wait, no, I can't-"
"You just did."

He sighed "If your certain."

"I'm positive. "

She bent down and began to scoop up the scattered items "So, when are you going to tell the young ones?"

He held the bag open for her to dump them in "Do you think that, maybe, you could...?"
"No," her voice was flat and uncompromising

"But, Freeta, I don't know where to even start."
She shoved her face within inches of his, her multicolor eyes like blazing sparks set in ice. "Lionel. If you never come back, it wil scar them. Forever. You're the only the only father they have. If you leave without saying goodbye and never come back..."
She let the sentence dangle on purpose.
He swallowed "Fine. Forgive me for trying to leave without telling you?"
"Of course. Just don't you ever do it again?"

"Never. I promise."

"Good," she finished organizing his sack and clipped it shut "Now get to sleep. And when. You're out there keep an eye on those twins, it's their first scouting mission.

He smiled a little "I'm not worried about the tigers. They have each other's backs."
"And no one has yours, so IM worried."

He wrapped his arms around her in a light hug "I'll be alright. You keep an eye on that crazy squirrel for me then?"
"I always have an eye on him."
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:31 am

"It could be worse."
795 words
Martin realized he couldn't stop glancing at the castaway huddled in the chair. Something about the raw strength in the frame that mixed with the utter loneliness that she radiated; it made him want to comfort her, yet certain of the fact that she didn't want the comforting.

She seemed to sense his eyes on her and lifted her head.

He offered her the kindest smile he had, hoping that she knew it was sincere.
She returned by forcing her lips to stretch out into a weak imitation of a smile.

"Did you get something to eat?"
Her head dipped down.
"The clothes fit alright?"
Again her head dipped down.

He pursed his lips, meeting her eyes directly "So, I do believe there are a few things we should discuss."
Her head tipped sideways, more scars catching the sunlight between her fur "What?"

"Well," he pulled the chair across the table out and sat down, pressing his knuckles against the wood grain and cupping his fingers upwards as if preparing to catch her answers and hold them tightly "First off, where do you come from?"

Lily's face puckered up into somewhere between a bemused grin and sad grimace "I need to go back to Shi-Ree. That's where I was when the ship wrecked."

He wanted to take a moment to wonder why she'd suddenly gone touchy on his question, but there was now yet another issue to be addressed.
"Well, you see, Miss Lily. There's a mite of a problem with that. Queen Aberdeena has ordered that all trade and travel between Naviore and Shi-Ree and Twora be ceased for several months, on the grounds that no one should be supplying the Rebellion with weapons and no possible contractions of the plague can be made."

As soon as the sentence was allowed to hang on the air, he knew something was wrong.
Her eyes narrowed to slits and her expression contracted so that her scars seemed to bunch together while her lip curled back to show her teeth, slightly yellowed near the gum but sharp still.
"The plague is a lie! If-"

"Hey! Easy on there," his fingers fanned out to form a small shield against her anger "The Rebellion is all but over. They won. Why the Queen decided to call for the block is beyond me."
"They won?"
And again her attitude changed, like a confused compass spinning in a room of magnets, from hostile to desperately interested "What happened? Who's in charge now?"

"I'm afraid I don't have the full report, but it's some tiger named... Kif, I think. Know him?"
She shook her head "No. Shift- Rebel Red- what happened to her?"

Martin paused for a second to asses the excruciating look in her eyes. Fear, hope, and anger came into a terrible blend in her face.
He hated to crush the hope and substantiate the fear while feeding the anger, but her question could not be avoided.
"Rebel Red is dead. She was sentenced to execution by the former Emperor."

Her gaze dropped to the edge of the table. Tears threatened to go spilling over her scars and leave traces of pain splattered against
the borrowed coat.

"Did you know her?"

Gulping loudly she nodded.

He pushed his chair back and came to stand by her side, letting one paw rest against her shoulder "Hey. She was your friend, wasn't she?"
Again she nodded, reaching up to vigorously wipe away at the tears that were pressing down her fur.
"I'm sorry."

For a few minutes she continued to struggle against the tears and a tight throat before asking.
"You said... Kif was the Emperor?"
"Yeah. Apparently he used to be some big-deal war general a ways back. There's a whole lot going on about his daughters too."
"Who're they?"

He shrugged "Some discharged soldiers. Scouts or something. They were big along Rebel Red and General Matthias. Apparently they were kidnapped as kids or something crazy story like that."
Her tears had dried and her gaze fixed on a small knot in the table "What are their names?"
"Ahh, I've heard several different things, Jade and Jasmine, Dawn Feather and Crystal Rose."
"Jade and Jasmine."

"Did you know them too?"
"Yeah. They're my friends."
"You have a lot of friends," He dug into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief, then held it out to her.
"Sorta," she accepted the linen square and rubbed away the final traces "I guess... I guess it could be worse. They could all be dead."

He wanted to smile, but imagined that it would be less of an encouragement and more of a disrespect for her mourning of a fallen friend.
"Indeed, things could be a lot-"

A shout rang out from on deck

"Pirates!"
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:31 am

"I’ve seen the way you look at me when you think I don’t notice."
804 words
Why do you look at me like that? What are you so afraid of?
What part of me do you see as a threat, what part of this broken body could hurt you?
You built an empire on these broken bones. Your kingdom lies on the foundation of my body.
I cannot move.
I barely can breath anymore.
Why do you let me live?
If indeed you are as afraid as your eyes say you are.
My power was drained millennia ago, my limbs chained to the earth with bonds unbreakable so you could build your city on my back.
There was no battle between us. I thought us friends till that day.
But I do not understand that betrayal nor now do I understand your fear.

I am chained.

Why do you look at me like that? What are you so afraid of?
Why do your eyes glimmer and glow in the dark when you descend to my prison?
Fear and pain strike together, like flint and steel to make sparks that have light a fire of fear in your gaze.
My mind is not as strong as it once was. I cannot reach out to listen to your thoughts.
I am dying slowly, I am trapped without food without water.
I am dying, why do you wait for when the last few ashes of a mind turn completely cold?
Why do you wait for my body to turn to stone, my heart to become a boulder and my mind a collection of pebbles?
I can see the fear, but I do not understand it.
My wings are frozen and my fire a thousand years dead
I cannot be relit
I cannot be recalled from the tides that surge over my conscience and drag me into the riptide of oblivion.

Why do you look at me like that? What are you so afraid of?

Blue eyes
Green eyes
Brown eyes
Portal to another place eyes
Yellow eyes that spin
Black eyes with the stars within
Eyes that hold all the knowledge of the oceans
Why do you look at me like that? What are you so afraid of?


Martin finished translating the instructions onto paper, then leaned back on his heels, as if the ancient language could show somehow through it's own cryptic symbols the story behind the words of pleading agony.
But tragic and unnerving as they were, the real mystery, or the important one anyway was the poem about the eyes.
Blue. Green. Brown. Portal. Yellow. Black. Ocean.

It was an order of operations. But to what end and what solution?
He turned in a full circle, looking around the room.
It was round as the lid of a compass, grey stone with dusty hints streaked across the floor.
Nothing to make much remark of.
But it was plain to draw the gaze to the statues standing in their niches along the walls.

Dragons.
The heavy, wingless earthdwellers that millennia ago had complete control of Naviore, forcing the animal folk to either scrap out an existence beneath the earth or to form floating colonies on the sea.

He supposed the carvers must've actually seen the beasts, but he found them no less fantastic than the pictures of his books. The mad variety between them could've hardly been realistic, though there were only six.

One was a heavy beast, tree stump like legs, a thick frill around it's neck, and three horns protruding straight out from its face. Another had the neck of a snake, a lumpy body like a turtle, and a tail long as a tree.
Yet a third had a small oval head, a thick neck, and a double row of thick, triangle plates down its arching back, ending in a deadly looking spiked tail.
The fourth was the most turtle like of all, a head twice as large as Martin's with a beaked mouth, a back with stubby rows of spikes and jointed plates, then a huge heavy ball on its tail with more spikes.
The fifth was tiny compared to the others, it stood upon a pedestal rather than on its own. It reminded him most of a drey dragon as it crouched on two long back legs while the tiny forelegs clutched to its chest sported long claws. The egg-shaped head had fierce eyes carved into it and small but cruel looking teeth bared. The whole thing seemed to have held its body into balance by the tail as long as its body.
The sixth one had a stiff sail along its back, or perhaps it was a single useless wing grown along the creatures spine held straight up. The head was like a crocodile, long and snaggletoothed. The body was similar to the fifth's, save ten times over as big and many times over frightening.
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:32 am

“You said WHAT?”
910 words

Jon-tai curled over with his stick clutched against his stomach. He had listened to the pawsteps of the other servants scurrying around the halls for the past hour as they finished their tasks for the day, then finally dying out into silence as one by one they retired to their own rooms.
The candle flickered and burned low, casting strange shadows against the back of his head and annoying his weary eyes.
He knew he should've been to bed long ago, but it would make little difference whether he was lying on the pallet next to his mother's small bed, or sitting in the single chair staring at the door. He'd still be wide awake and nervously waiting for her return.

He couldn't help but wonder what Lionel had wanted to talk to her about, so important and so secret that he insisted that their conversation needed to be private. The otter cook had seemed nervous and even had downright stuttered when he'd asked Mei-li to walk with him.
It wasn't the first time they'd talked together and each time his mother had returned with a brighter smile and a lighter step than would've been expected for an otter who'd been working ever since the crack of dawn. When he pressed, she would only tell him that they'd been discussing Jon-tai himself.
It wasn't that he didn't believe her, Lionel did have a deep interest in the boy since he'd been the caretaker for Jon-tai before either of them even knew Mei-li was alive. But he doubted that was all they talked about, the extra sparkle in his mother's eye and the easy sigh she let out now and then for no particular reason didn't seem to spring from a conversation about a child's schoolwork.
He had a few ideas about what they spoke of and each one made him grin and want to tap his feet cheerfully.

The gentle tap of claws outside the door alerted him to Mei-li's presence a moment just before she entered.
"You're supposed to be asleep, young otter," she greeted him. But there wasn't even a pretense of annoyance as she breezed into the room.
"I know. I was just waiting for you," He said by way of apology, his eyes following her around in curiosity as she danced around the bed, straightening the blankets.
Her eyes where glowing with a secret and her entire face seemed to radiate excitement.

A smile of his own crept across Jon-tai's face "So... What did you talk about?"
"What?" She stopped in making the bed, startled by his question.
"With Lionel, what did you talk about? You where gone for a long time."
"Oh," her smile, like a star in the coming night, grew even brighter "Well...There where a few things."
"A few important things?" He stood up, trying to sort out his mother's actions. She seemed unbelievably happy or excited, more than he had ever seen her before. But she didn't want to tell him what had happened.
"Yes, important things," her voice went strangely soft and distant for a moment, then returned to normal "But it can wait until morning."
"Aww, I waited up for you and you're not even going to tell me what happened?" he turned his lip out and dipped his eyebrows down "Stuff ends up happening when you two talk. I mean last time I ended up with a mother."

He immediately felt guilty as he saw the joyous light in her eyes flicker, dimmed by memories of shame.
"And where you pleased with that?" She asked softly, her paws folding together in a tight knot as if she was unknowingly begging him for an answer.

He grinned, trying to restore the smile to her face "Pleased? It was probably the best day of my life."
Then stepping to her side, he threw his arms around her waist and squeezed, not letting go until she returned the gesture.

When they released each other, Jon-tai looked up to find that bright tears where running through her fur and washing over her smile.
She sat down on the bed and he scrambled up alongside her, face turned up with worry at the tears.
Mei sniffled a few times, but didn't bother wiping them away "You said last time you got a mother. What about a father?"

He looked down at the blanket and curled a loose thread about his finger with a slight scowl tracing across his features.
"Well yeah, I got one of those, though I was exactly hap-" Jon-tai froze mid-sentence, his eyes starting to bulge as he realized what she was implying.
Looking up at her he sucked in a loud breath.
"You mean Lionel?"

Tears pouring down her face faster now she nodded, the smile returning in its full brightness, as if the salt had only served to polish it.
"Lionel asked..." He had to gasp for breath several times before he could continue "Lionel asked you to marry him?!?"

She nodded again, closing her eyes and simply beaming.
"What did you say? What did you say?!?" Jon-tai shouted, bouncing up on the bed to look at her full in the face.
She made an unintelligible squeak in reply, her voice lost to the emotions in her throat.
"You said WHAT? What did you say?!?"

With trembling paws she pushed him down by his shoulders, but didn't let go.
"I said yes, Jon-tai. I said yes!"
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:32 am

“Can you stop bringing that up?”
854 words
The rain pattered lightly, tapping against the windows with curious fingers. There was no thunder though and Viper could sit easy as she listened to the gentle pattering and sipped her tea.
Townly slipped up behind the chair, his mouth pressed into a thin line.
"You alright?"

She craned her neck to look up at him.
"I'm fine. It's just rain."
"Good. I Just wanted to make sure."

She paused, her eyes narrowed slightly "I can handle myself, thank you very much."
"Well, I didn't..." he trailed off awkwardly "I didn't want you to be in trouble and not have any help, Tess."
She flinched obviously at the use of her real name.
"Please don't use that."
"What, your name?"
"Yes. My name. I'm not comfortable with it. You haven't told anybody else have you?"
"Well of course not. You told me. Not anyone else. I figured that if you wanted someone else to know, you'd tell them."
"Thank you."

"Y'know, I don't quite understand why you're so touchy about your name though," He leaned against the back of the chair, his cloak draping over his shoulders and the hem stretching over his elbows.
"It's... that's just how it is. I don't want anyone to know."
"Not the best reason, but it's your name."
"Yes. Thank you."

For a second they simply regarded each other, a few questions playing in both their eyes, like dark stars beginning to catch a few sparks. But before one lit up a scuffle outside the door distracted them.

Wesley scampered in and nearly crashed into his brother.
"Make her leave me alone," he whined "Tell her it was just an accident, pleeease."
"Well, wait, what did you do?" Townly caught his by the shoulder and gently forced him to stop bouncing up and down nervously.
"I accidentally dropped Callie's music box."
"Well, why did you have her music box in the first place?"
"It was making a funny clicking noise and..." Wesley paused to whimper a little "she asked me to try and fix it and... I dropped it... now it won't make any noise... and she's mad at me."
"She gave it to you to fix?" Viper took a sip at her tea "Her fault that it's gotten broken then."
"But now she's mad at me. Really, really, really mad."

Wesley's ears drooped over and it was evident he was truly upset over both Callie's anger and the destruction of the music box, but before Townly could comfort him, Cassandra's heavy foot fall sounded outside the room and a half second later the angry ring-tailed cat stormed into the room, ruined box with springs and gears hanging out of the lid gripped in her paw.

Her face puffed up in anger as she drew in a long deep breath, but before she could vent her steam on the younger weasel, Townly stepped in front of her.
"Watch it Sinc. You asked him to fix it. You know how he is."
"Yes, I know," She hissed "He's the clumsiest oaf ever to bumble across this earth. But he was sitting down. On the floor. With cushions. You can't tell me that it was an accident."
"You saying he did it on purpose?" Townly glanced down at his brother, who was on the verge of tears as he stumbled over a apology.
Her lip curled over her teeth "Exactly. Vindictive little-"
At that point Viper threw herself to her paws, setting her cup down just quick enough to avoid spilling it.
"Captain Sinc. You asked him to help you and if I'm hearing correctly, he took as many precautions as he could. If you wanted the box fixed competently and without further damage you should've taken it to a repair shop where someone who has made it their job to fix such things."

Cassie should've taken the flashing green eyes and burning coalfire ones as a warning and left the matter as it was. But she was stubborn as any of them.
"He could've fixed it if he wanted to. He broke Great Aunt Fila's violin. Twice. It's fine now."

"I didn't mean to break it!!" Whether he was referring to the violin or the music box was uncertain, but the tears where rolling through the blond fur like a salty flood "And I only broke a few strings. I can fix the strings. I don't know anything about gears and stuff. And.."
Townly pressed Wesley down into the chair, wiping the tears away "Calm down, Wes. We know you didn't mean any of it."
Turning back to Callie, Townly clenched his jaw "There was no reason to bring the violin up again Callie. He's beat himself up long and hard over it. He knows how old it is. How important it is. He was thrilled when Rolland said he could play it. Now every time you bring it up as if its a viable argument against his very existence!"

Callie stepped back, her own face hardening "Sorry for trying to have a normal life in my own house. It's hard enough without a pack of criminals running it."
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:33 am

“STOP TALKING.”
750 words
Achran walked from one end of the room to the other, chatting to himself and bouncing a little every few steps.

Avery whimpered, pressing her head against Lionel's tunic. "Make him stop."

Lionel patted her back sympathetically "he's only talking, Ave, it's nothing to get upset about."
"His voice hurts my ears, Lion, he's too loud and squeaky."

The otter cook sighed deeply, reminding himself that the little eagle's hearing was much sharper than his own.
"Achran? Could you come here, please?"

The squirrel bounded to his side with a flick of his brushy tail "Aye, Lionel?"

"Achy, you're being quite loud and it's hurting Avery's ears, could you please tone it down?"

"But, I'm all tha way o're 'er, 'ow kin she be upset aboot me?"

"Achran, you know she has very senstiv even hearing. So out of respect please calm down."
"But I dinnae want to be quiet. It's too quiet already."
A touch of a frown creased Lionel's brow "For you maybe, but for Avery it is very loud and she's just a baby, so she has a hard time."

The squirrel sighed in loud frustration a scowl twirling over his face in a sudden fury "Fine."
Then he stormed off, muttering under his breath. "Oi, 'e don't mean be quiet, 'e means shut up!"

Avery whimpered again "Now he's mad at me."

Lionel patted down the feathers on her back "No, he's not, he's mad at me. Anyway, he needs to learn to respect others."

After a few minutes of storming around, Achran found Adrian neck deep in a book.
Still angry, the squirrel pretended to trip over the snake's tail.

He was rewarded with a loud hiss of pain and anger.
Laughing hysterically he dashed away, bounding up to the nearest window sill and out into the training yard. Whooping and hollering he ran until he reached the woods.

He ran up the trunk of the nearest tree as if it was even ground. Then catapulted himself off a branch into space.

Agile fingers reached out for the fragile tendrils of the branches the next tree over.
He caught the very top of it and used the momentum he had built up to swing closer to the bole of the tree.

Laughing and panting, he leaned against the rough bark, letting his eyes fall halfway shut.

Slowly, he felt the quiet and the stillness grow around him. There were no voices, not a breath of wind. Not a bird or a bug to disturb the smooth stillness. He was completely alone, though he was just a hundred yards from the scouts school.

A long shudder worked its way down his back to the tip of his bushy tail.
He wrapped his arms around himself and shouted to break the suffocating non noise. Then he began to leap from tree to tree again.

He didn't stop until his entire body burned from the effort and his lungs blazed in his chest.

Too exhausted to even cross the yard, he collapsed in the crook between a large tree and a thick branch.
His ragged breath hurt his dry throat, but the sound was sweet. NOISE was wonderful. Why anyone would ever choose staying quiet over yelling was beyond him.

He closed his eyes, focusing on his own hoarse breathing. It was slowing down, but still quiet loud. He made it louder so he wouldn't have to hear the awful silence.

The burst of energy drained him. His eyes closed.
Just for a moment, he was just testing them for light leaks, nothing more.

But when he opened them, he realized that the sunlight was gone.

Shooting to his paws, he stumbled through the dark, trying to locate the lights from the school.
Where was it? Where was it?!?

It was too quite. He couldn't find the lights!

There! There they where!

His fur catching on brambles and stray twigs, he raced heedlessly across the yard towards the long building.
Breathless, he collapsed on the kitchen doorstep.
The door creaked open.
"Achy? What are you doing here? Where've you been for the last three hours? I've been worried!"

Pushing himself up from his stomach, Achran sat up, blinking in the light up at Lionel. "I... Fell asleep, out beyond the yard. I didnae mean to."

"Oh, come on. Get inside you, there's still some dinner left."

Still shaking a little, the young squirrel scampered into the brightly lit kitchen and up onto the counter.
"So, what's fer dinner?"
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:34 am

“I don’t want to.”
816
Darkmoon was not a morning creature. Never had been.
Of course she had never slept in when she was sleeping outside. The earth and air around her was far too cold for an unmoving body to cope with. But when she was allowed a bed, blanket, and pillow, she refused to rise before the sun had completely cleared the horizon.

So why was she wide awake, staring at the curtained windows that faced her bed in the pre-dawn hours, feeling so, so cold?
Shivering, she tugged the blankets further up, until they where under her chin. But it didn't make any difference. This bed, in fact, this room was far too large for any one creature. With the huge floor to ceiling windows that took place of where the wall would be, the couch that took up a goodly bit of the wall to the right, then just the massive rug that covered the wood floor in front of the bed.

She closed her eyes again and desperately tried not to remember how it was when he'd yank open the curtains and bellow his enthusiasm to the pale morning sky.
Ten years hadn't made it any dimmer, and she could hear him.

"OH, IT'S SUCH A WONDERFUL MO-ORING!!"

Then as if that hadn't brought her jarringly out of a beautiful doze, he'd strip the blankets back, leaving her shivering against the pillow.

But now, now that he could never return, she wished he was there to pull the blankets off and root her out of bed. Surely the air couldn't be any colder than the bed, which had all the warmth of a stone tomb.

The cat felt something hot trickle down her fur and reached up to brush away the tear.

She began to scold herself inwardly; a touch of cold was not worth getting so worked up over. She just needed to start setting a fire before she went to bed.

Defiantly Darkmoon shut her eyes and determined to go back to sleep.
Slowly she began to drift in and out of awareness. Warmth crept vaguely around her chest.
Sighing, she wriggled deeper, enjoying the soft heat that the blankets had began to retain.

She was on the very brink of falling back asleep when a light patter caught her ear, and the senses she had trained for alertness to danger brought her wide awake.

The patter sped up as it came closer and Darkmoon sighed again, this time cursing her awareness of her surroundings.

Quietly the door creaked open and the cat tensed. A brown shadow bolted into the room and burrowed under the blankets, curling up close to Darkmoon. She nearly gasped as the tiny icicle of a paw pressed against her neck. But instead of squirming away like her skin desired, she caught the little fingers and began to rub them while blowing out warm breaths over them.

She was rewarded with a giggle that warmed her to the core and banished any thoughts of cold and loneliness.

Eyes that where blue as the center of the sky peeked up at her, framed by the blanket as the little body snuggled deeply into the bed.

"Morning!"

Darkmoon couldn't help but smile down at the eyes "Good morning, sweetheart."

The eyes blinked at her in confusion "You're not grumpy?"

"I'm never grumpy," Darkmoon protested, pulling on an indignant look "Just inarticulate now and again."

"In-in... inar-"
"It means I'm bad at talking and making things clear."

"Oh, I guess. You don't like to talk."
"Mmm, sometimes, when I'm having a bad day."

"Can we get up?"

"No," Darkmoon answered, wrapping her arms around Shyshie "Why on earth would we do a daft thing like that?"

In turn the kitten curled her arms around her mother, content for a moment to lie still and warm. But after a moment she asked again. "Can we get up now?"
"No-o."
"Why not?"
"Because I don't want to. That's why."

Shyshie sighed and threw her head back "Can I at least open the curtains?"
Darkmoon closed her eyes "If you really want to, you can."

For some odd reason, the girl compelled herself out from the warmth of the blankets, leaving a cold spot next to her mother.
Darkmoon watched her dance across the rug, her nightgown swirling around her tiny body and felt a prick.

How could someone be so much like someone they had never met? How could a daughter imitate a father who had died before she had even been born?

It was something Darkmoon couldn't understand, at least, not without a great long think about it. Thinking long about Browntrout was impossible. Too much darkness followed that path of painful memories.

As if to purposely to draw her mind away, Shyshie tugged on the cord and the curtains fell away from the window and the pale pre-dawn light slowly filled the room.
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:35 am

“What did I ever do to you?!”
750
Wesley stood enjoying the cool breeze that came off the hills, thankful that, for once, it wasn't tainted by the scent of salt.
It was hard to believe that the rest of Skwali was a barren desert, what with the sweet greenness of Yeris.

He pulled in the deepest breath that his narrow chest could hold, then let it out slowly. For a single second forgetting every worry and danger of the past months.
The gentle singing of the river, mixed with the soft evening wind created a tiny world that felt nearly perfect. The ripples on the surface of the water caught the light, like dancing faeries.

He felt lighter. Like he might just be able to survive this mystery, if not solve it.

His feeling of slight euphoria faded when a soft raspy voice behind him began muttering.

The sound startled him, bringing down the small dike that held back the fear and it all washed over him again.

The voice continued muttering. He turned, but saw nothing.
Nerves began to build again. His throat tightened as he glanced around, but only saw empty waving grass.

Something rustled closer to him, low by his paws.

He backed away, eyes darted wildly, trying to find the source.

"Who's there?"

The muttering voice rose in volume, but the words had no coherency to them. They were utter nonsense spaced out between raspy hisses.

A rising feeling of nausea rose in the pit of his stomach. He needed to leave. What ever it was, he didn't want to find out if it was friendly or not.

He glanced around one more time before turning towards the township.

His heart froze.

Cold dull eyes peered at him from underneath a scaly hood. A forked tongue waved slowly, tasting the fear.

Instinctively Wesley spread his paws out in front of him in a thoughtless attempt to shield himself.
The action brought a roaring hiss from the snake and it began to mutter and hiss again, the words still indistinct.

Wesley backed off slowly, his teeth chattering uncontrollably.
The snake slithered towards him, its long coils dragging in awkward turns on the ground.

"Leave me alone!"

The mad reptile continued on its slithering path towards Wesley, forcing the terrified weasel to back away further.
Wesley felt the ground soften as he slowly stepped backwards, as he continued it turned into mud and pressed up between his toes.
Glancing over his shoulder, he realized that he was coming perilously near to the edge of the river. The ripples across the water no longer looked fun, but seemed to race and gasp, sucking hungrily up at him.

"Please," He choked as the snake relentlessly continued, it's glazed dark eyes fixed on the shivering weasel "Please, I didn't do anything! I didn't do anything to you! Please go away! Just go away!"

The snake pulled itself up, its head still weaving an unnerving pattern back and forth. It seemed to hear Wesley's plea and consider complying by leaving.

Wesley's breath caught in his throat and as the snake still did not move, he decided to slowly edge off to the left, hoping that the insane creature wouldn't notice his movement.

But after he had managed only a few scraping inches, the snake narrowed in again on his steps and with a raging hiss of fury struck out at the fleeing weasel.
Wesley only had a second to scream before the venom filled fangs punctured the arm he had thrown up at the last second.
The deadly liquid injected deeply into the bloodstream of its prey, the snake fell back on itself, a few drops of its own venom dribbling out over its lips.

For a moment and a half Wesley stood, the agony racing through his arm to fill his body with excruciating fire that seemed to burn away at his heart, growing with every beat until the intensity seemed to be tearing his mind apart.

The world gave away from beneath him as he was ripped away from reality and dumped into a burning void, ice trailing away in his mind as his sanity turn to salt.
He could see the sky reeling around over his head, then become distorted as he was swallowed by the water.
He went tumbling end over end, unattached to anything, his body at the mercy of the swift waters of the river.
He was paralyzed, unable to breath or move or think, he could only see the waters receding into darkness.
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Postby TheSongOfTheStars » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:36 am

“-SIGH- “I can’t reach it.”
792

Martin stared up at the edge of the ravine, wondering vaguely how it was suddenly over his head and rubbing at the sting in his palms.

He shook his head, trying to clear it and noticed his hat smashed in on the ground.

Sigh.

He flicked out the caved in mess with the tips of his fingers, eyes still trained on the edge of the ravine.

It was roughly four feet above his head. Nine feet in all. Too sheer to climb easily.

He glanced either way up the narrow ravine; on the left ended in a flat dead end, on the right the walls came closer together until they met overhead in an arch and formed a dark steep tunnel.

"So," he said aloud "Not helpful either way, really."

The otter captain tipped his head to one side, trying to get another angle on the problem. Instead he acquired a stiff neck.

Oh well, he supposed the crew would come looking sooner or later. But it was rather embarrassing to have to be pulled out of a ditch. Certainly not a comforting situation for those who had to depend on him.
Martin didn't even want to think about what would be running through Coe's mind when he found his captain down a hole. Nothing positive, that's for sure.

Something cracked from beyond the rim of the ravine.

"Ahoy!" Martin shouted, hoping that it was one of his crew "Any creature up there?"

There was a wild scrabble of paws on dirt and unfamiliar female face appeared over the edge. "Yes?! Hello!!"

He paused for a moment as he looked up at her in surprise. "Uhh, miss, I seem to have-"

"You're stuck! I-I'll be right b-back w-with a rope!" She disappeared from sight.

Martin's eyes didn't leave the rim as he wondered about the strange otter. What was she doing out here on an unhabituated island, apparently alone?

He wasn't allowed to wonder too long however. A long rope slithered down the rough wall of the ravine, moments later.
"Tie it around your middle!"

He quickly obeyed, "Alright! I've go-"

A mighty tug cut him off and raised his boots off the ground.

He swung his arms out to catch the edge and with the help of the help from the rope, mamahed to get his boots over the rim.

A trembeling female otter clad in a shredded green tunic helped him stand up "Are you ok? How did you get here? Do you have a way off the island?"

Martin smiled at her "Yes, there's a ship. And your welcomem to come miss....?"
"Lily. My name is Lily.Who are you?"
"Martin. Captain Martin Trevoiant," he bowed slightly "Thanks for the save."
"Of course. But you're going to get a chance to repay me. I want off this place."

"I would be more than glad to offer you passage off the island."
"Great. Where's your ship at?"

"Ah..." Martin glanced over his shoulder, then around at the rest of the dense forest.
"You have no idea do you?" Lily gave him a slightly exasperated look.

Martin shook his head, his mouth twisted down with a pained look of embarrassment.

"Well... what kind of bay was it in? Was there a big black rock or was the sand white?"

"The sand was white. You know the way?"
"I've spent the last month stuck on this stupid island," she replied with a shrug of her shoulder.
"So, I'll take that as a yes."
"Take it as a yes."

She took a step forwards. Then stopped "I have to get some things from my... hut, or whatever."

He nodded "Of course."
"Its on the way," she sounded like she was trying to excuse the minor detour.
"It's fine."

She nodded her head tersely then continued walking.

They went through the dark shadows of the old trees, then broke out into a lighter younger part of the forest.

Martin blinked as the sunlight caught on her fur, highlighting the many scars crisscrossing every inch of visible fur.

Lily seemed to sense his gaze resting harder on her and turned, eyebrows up. "What?"

He shook his head quickly "Nothing."

She turned over on her heels and crossed her arms over her chest. It took a huge effort on the captain's part not to stare at the more obvious marks on her fur.

"Its just some scars," she snapped "nothing major."

He nodded again. Then frowned. "How long have you been here alone?"

She seemed to almost break at the sudden question "A-a month."

Martin couldn't help but wince; a month by yourself, totally isolated, with very little hope of the possibility of seeing someone else's face or hearing another voice. Sounded like torture to him.
Last edited by TheSongOfTheStars on Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:58 am, edited 24 times in total.
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