The Rift [Riko & Fox of Spades]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Lotus, Mar 21, 2016.

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    If Silas was going to move, he had to do it fast.

    Never had he expected something like this to happen while on a hunt. He'd been awake and out since the break of dawn, wanting to get a good run down on some critters and whatnot to take back to the guild so he could use the afternoon for exploration. But after a wolf had stolen the hare he had been tracking, Silas decided to follow it and wait for the right moment to stick an arrow in its head, for 'revenge'. Little did he know, following the wolf would not get him his revenge. It'd get him in a more dangerous situation...

    The buck rushed towards Silas, flesh, fur, and blood still hanging from his antlers with an intent to kill. Silas snapped out of his puzzled state and sprang to the side of the path, landing with an "OOMF!" in, unfortunately, a thorn bush. Ignoring the scratches all over his face and other exposed skin, he quickly stood to pinpoint the buck, panting in bewilderment, but before he could fully gather himself the buck was charging once again. One second too late, Silas dove out of the way again and felt impact on his calf before crashing into the dirt and brush once again. He clenched his teeth tightly and grabbed for the muscle; it felt wet and it hurt, but he didn't have time to examine it, and forced himself to stand, and quickly.

    The adrenaline rush allowed for him to ignore the pain for now and take off running as fast as he could, hearing the buck one hundred meters behind him, sprinting after him. Dammit, if only I had brought my spear!
    He dashed along and secretly hoped the buck would give up the chase, but oddly enough, he had not. Silas knew the only way he could avoid being impaled was to get to higher ground... but where the hell was that? There were no boulders to climb, and a tree would take too long. But upon seeing a somewhat large pond, without hesitation, he turned and headed for it. This will slow him down for sure!

    Silas leaped into the water and swiftly forced his way into the water at waist-height, and grabbed his bow that was strapped to his back. As soon as he cocked an arrow back, he saw the buck hurtling down the slope towards him. "Just a little closer..." he whispered shakily, sweating... and BAM! The arrow soared through the air and smacked the buck in the chest, causing the animal to 'scream'... but to Silas's demise, it didn't fall, and kept running. He cocked another arrow back shakily, but managed to hit the buck right between the eyes, and it crashed into the shallow part of the water. Still, and dead.

    Silas shook his head and panted, sweat seeping into his eyes, burning them. He waded through the water towards the shore to investigate the buck and touched his bloody antlers, pulling his hand away. Blood, bits of flesh, and black fur stuck to his fingertips. "What the hell..?"
    He actually had time to think, now. The wolf that had stolen his hare was slain by a lone buck, who came charging out of nowhere... then Silas managed to become a target, just by staring in horror. It just didn't make any sense.

    He checked his calf for any serious injuries, but fortunately for him, the buck only managed to nick him. It'd leave a nasty bruise and would be sore for a few days, but it was only a flesh wound. He sighed in relief, for he wasn't in any mood to be a one-legged hunter for the rest of his life. After he retrieved his arrows and gathered his thoughts, he limped all the way back to the guild camp.

    Upon arrival, he was instantly greeted by another member of the camp, a blonde girl with a big scar across her face, "Mr. Hot Shot finally failed at a hunt. I thought I'd never see the day!"

    Silas brushed passed her and shook his head, "You don't even know, Macha.."

    She followed him and thoroughly examined his features, noticing scratches and dirt and sweat... even spots of blood, all over his face and neck. "What the hell happened out there?"

    They arrived at one of the tents, and Silas through his supplies carelessly inside, taking his coat off with a sigh. He turned to the girl with wide eyes, "This ass of a wolf stole the hare I was tracking, so I decided to follow it. Y'know, for revenge, and sell it's pelt for some septims? And you know what I find?"


    "This giant buck, killing it. Used its antlers like a bunch of swords or somethin'. The wolf was dead, and next thing I know, it's coming after me. I honestly feared for my life for a second," he pointed to the tear in his pantleg, revealing his wounded calf, "and he got me pretty good. I had to take shelter in a pond to avoid becoming mincemeat."
    Silas let out a sigh before plopping down into the tent and reaching for his pack, perhaps to wrap his leg. He glanced up to see one of the guys of the guild walking by, rather aimlessly. What was his name again... Alec Han?
    "Hey, newbie!" he shouted with authority while simultaneously treating his muscle. "Check the snares, will you? For initiation purposes.." Before Silas allowed the new guy to answer, he had finished wrapping his calf and had already laid back to take a much needed nap.




    Enya's stomach gurgled with each step her wolf paws took, hanging her head lower to the ground in exhaustion and defeat. She hadn't seen another city, town, or village in days, and was growing weaker by the hour. She was starving. Rabbits, squirrels, rats, hares, and almost every other small critter was practically mocking her; they would run across her path, stop and stare, then run off again. Because somehow, they knew she wasn't going to hunt them and snap their necks with her sharp teeth and strong jaws. She really wanted to.

    But she didn't know how.

    A low growl rumbled in her throat. What's the point of being in your wolf form for months on end if you can't even hunt and take care of yourself? Stealing chickens and bread from nearby villages wasn't enough. And it lacked the thrill that made Enya even want to hide in her wolf body for so long. Switching to her human form meant she could find help more easily with the other humans, but it only made her slower, and her muscles grew weary quicker. No no, she had to keep going. There had to be some source of food soon.

    If only my deadbeat parents taught me how to catch something... her thoughts echoed; she shook her mane. No use in crying about the past now. It had been a good five or so years since she had fled her village, and it was far too late to turn back now. Yet, it was the only thing she had left to think about, besides food.

    ...and speaking of food, a rabbit hopped around a few lopes ahead, paying no attention to the weak she-wolf behind it. Enya kept walking along, but grew interested in the piece of meat just ahead. Her blue eyes fixated and focused, thinking of her own clumsy plan of how she was going to retrieve it. The more she thought, the more her mouth watered and her taste buds tingled; her muscles tensed, and a new feeling of energy rushed through her legs.

    Almost immediately did her pace quicken as hunger overcame her, and once the rabbit sensed this, Enya was on a wild goose chase with her prey--except the goose was a rabbit. They weaved through trees, ran across stone bridges, spooked birds and other critters.. while the rabbit was fast, Enya was still faster. Just as she was about to take the final plunge and claim this unlucky Lagomorpha as her own, she failed to hear the water of the small stream just ahead... and tripped, scratching her nose on the rocks while letting out a yelp in surprise. The rabbit was out of sight as the she-wolf lay in the water, defeated once again, stomach snarling in anger.

    Alas, she forced herself up once again, limbs shaky from being overworked. Her head was lowered close to the water, lapping up the cold fluid to cool herself before making her way up the slope once again to continue her journey. She'd either die out here, or she'd find a village to seek shelter in. Maybe spend a few days in her human form so she could work a bit for a few septims... maybe she could stop running and make a life for herself.

    After a while of more walking, more thinking, a strong scent floated through the air and clung to her nostrils. That of a dead rabbit. The first thing that popped into her mind was that another wolf or hunter had gotten to the rabbit she was chasing, but no. Maybe she didn't know how to hunt, but she could still tell the difference between a fresh kill and a kill that's been dead for a short while. This scent was the latter, and she quickly followed it.

    There was hope, so she thought. The scent grew stronger by the minute, and after a time, she finally found the source of the blood-smell. She halted; a dead hare lay before her, untouched by human hands or other paws such as a bear or another wolf. It was hers for the taking, and take it she would.

    She approached it without taking cautionary measures, for her hunger was too fierce to allow her to notice a well-camouflaged wire ridden with barbs hanging from a branch down towards the hare. Enya got close enough to wear she could grab the carcass, and started eating away. The more bites she took, the more aggressive and quicker she started to gulp the flesh and fur down. As she was nearly finished, she felt pressure being applied to her neck, and yanked her head to rid herself of the feeling.

    Bad. Idea.

    The noose tightened around her neck and the she-wolf panicked immediately, throwing herself around, kicking up grass and dirt with her paws. The barbs dug into her thick fur and scratched at her throat, stinging the top of the flesh; the feeling made her realize she needed to calm down or she'd have her throat slit for sure. Switching to her human form was not an option. The only thing stopping the barbs from ripping through her flesh was the thick fur of her wolf form; if she switched now, she'd bleed out, as the skin around a human neck was just that. Skin. Nothing to protect it.

    But if she couldn't slip out that way, how in the HELL was she supposed to escape without being skinned by a hunter in the next few hours--or minutes?​

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    Everything was starting to get on Alec's nerves, every little thing. What did they mean by he couldn't leave yet? What was some dark fog to a bunch of experienced hunters anyway? And if they really didn't want to send one of their own to help him, well, he figured he could make his way through some forest by himself. Alec Han was no hunter, but he'd been traveling the world ever since he could remember. After all, home was his dad's trading ship, the dirt road beneath his feet, and a tent pitched on the outskirts of town beneath the stars.

    Why was this fog such a big flipping deal? "Hey, Marco, I get it. You guys are busy and don't have the time of day, but it's fine. You've all done more than enough, I can make it back to the harbor on my own, you don't have to worry at all. I'll even write as soon as I get back."

    The dark-skinned man who stood before Alec, simply ran his fingers through his hair and frowned. "It's not that we don't want to help you, kid. It's that we honest to goodness can't help you. Weird shit has been happening down the trail. It's not just some fog."

    "Fog, sleet, it could be a thunderstorm for all I care," Alec nearly raised his voice. "My parents probably think I'm dead." And yes, he would have died if not for the hunters coming to his aid, but he'd already delayed his departure when they told him about the animals in the area growing violent. Now, it was some freak fog hanging over the forest and nearby villages. What was going to happen next week, dragons raining fireballs on them? He didn't want to stick around to find out. And there was his family and fellow traders to worry about too, soon enough, they would assume he was dead and move on. Time was of the essence and he had to leave as soon as he could.

    "But you're not dead," Marco's voice was almost harsh. "Leave on your own, and you will be though."

    A look of indignation flashed across Alec's face, but he held his tongue, he respected them too much to keep fighting. They meant well, and despite his swordsmanship training, everyone in the guild was a hundred times more experienced than him when it came to actual fighting. "Fine. I'll stay put and wait... thanks." And with that said Alec made his way across camp to clear his head and get some fresh air.

    "Hey, newbie! Check the snares, will you? For initiation purposes.."

    Stopping in his tracks, Alec paused to give Silas a blank stare. Um, he wasn't exactly trying to get initiated, but after his spat with Marco, he figured it was time to speak less and act more. "Right, I'll, uh, get to it."


    "I'll come along," came a curt answer.

    "Natashya, right?" Alec arched an eyebrow. She was one of the quieter people in the guild, he noticed she mostly kept to herself when she wasn't speaking to Marco or Krista. "I'm only going to check the snares, I'll be alright."

    The woman gave her head a firm shake. She'd seen Silas limping back to his tent, and the strange things that had been happening left a bad taste in her mouth. She made a mental note to tell Marco to start sending hunters out in pairs or small groups. "Better to be safe than sorry, yes?"

    "Sure. Thanks, Natashya."

    The woman gave him a dismissive wave of the hand. "Now quiet down and focus."

    - Forest -

    "The snares should be right here," Natashya whispered as they moved soundlessly through the grass and bushes. Or more accurately, Natashya moved with the expert grace of someone who'd been hunting for most her life while Alec tried not to stomp down on dry leaves. Every time she heard the familiar crackle, Natashya would wince, but Alec was trying so she said nothing and moved on.

    "Through here," she whispered as they made their way through the last of the underbrush. Ahead of them were the snares they had set up, and caught in one of the traps was a wolf. The hunter noticed her fine coat, and nodded in approval, it would be sure to earn them some good Septim. With the strange things happening in the woods, it'd been awhile since their last good catch and it was nice to see things going their way again.

    Unlike Natashya, seeing the wolf caught in the snare made a shiver run up his spine. He was no hunter, and the thought of the poor animal being skinned back at their camp didn't sit well with him. But it was the circle of life and he knew better than to protest. Instead, he lowered his eyes, away from the wolf and her struggling. "Make it quick alright?" He knew he didn't have to say it, Natashya had probably been doing this for years, but he wanted some sort of affirmation from her, he just wanted to hear it.​

    "Of course," slowly, the woman approached the struggling wolf, her expression the epitome of calm and collected. She mumbled something quietly, Alec couldn't make out the words, but judging by her tone of voice, he figured it was an apology of sorts.

    Natashya reached for the machete at her hip and unsheathed it, and Alec looked away.
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    Enya had to think of a 'plan'. This was where her human form came in handy without her actually switching to it. Although she was stuck in her wolf instincts, she was still able to think like a human, and would use that to her advantage. She stood their and panted, attempting to calm herself down even more. Taking a whiff of the air, it didn't seem like anybody was around, at least not at the moment. She didn't hear any suspicious movement other than a few curious squirrels and the occasional flapping of a bird's wings. Other than that, she was safe to think.

    She tugged gently on the barb-ridden noose, feeling the sharp spurs scratch at the surface of her skin. Snorting, she slowly directed her attention up, and saw it was attached to a branch. A strong one, so berserking her way out of this wasn't going to get her anywhere. Upon inspection, she couldn't help but admire the rather odd trap. Whoever made this was either an amateur or just someone looking for a new way to do things. Whatever the reason, it worked.

    Enya looked back down and let out a small whine, the wolf starting to take over her mind once again, but she forcefully calmed herself once more. She lifted a paw and squeezed it between her throat and the barbs, attempting to loosen it up by pushing it away. Due to the angle, it wouldn't budge much, but for the sake of her existence Enya kept trying, even attempting to move around slightly to add to the affect. And it would move very slightly, every little moment. Okay, if I keep doing this, I'll be able to switch and be out in no time!

    However, reassuring herself must have jinxed her, and she heard movement in the bushes nearby. Not long after, she could see two figures; a male hiding nearby, and a female approaching her rather calmly. The she-wolf abruptly went into full-panic mode and flailed around, heart beating out of her chest. As the woman got closer Enya snapped her teeth together and growled, yelped, whatever; all in attempts to scare her away. A glint caught her blue eyes, that of a blade being unsheathed. Enya knew there was only one way to stop the inevitable.

    "Please, wait!"
    At the blink of an eye, the wolf was no longer, and a woman with black hair, blue eyes, and black clothing took its place. One gloved hand was outstretched towards the woman holding a machete, the other was between the wire and her throat, stopping the barbs from slicing her jugular despite the fact that they were painfully scratching at the rest of her neck. But since there were no vitals in harm's way, she ignored the slight burning and looked up at the woman with pleading gaze. "Please don't kill me!"

    At least with this angle, being on her knees and all, she could now more easily loosen the trap around her neck. She pulled her outstretched arm back and did so with shaky limbs before freeing herself, but still being rather shaken, fell back and held up her arm in defense once again, the other grabbing at the leaves behind her just in case she needed to quickly hoist herself up and run.​
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    Thick fur turned to skin and bone before his very eyes and Alec gaped at the bloodied woman before them. He'd seen magic before, but never had he seen an an animal shapeshift into a human. "Hey, hey!" He threw up his hands in a gesture of goodwill. "We're not going to hurt you. We're hunters not murderers." And while what he had said was true, Alec had known Natashya and the rest of the guild for just a little over a week. There was a lot he had yet to learn about the hunting group, but he was willing to vouch for them, they'd saved his life after all.

    Ahead of him, Natashya said nothing to reassure the frazzled girl. But she sheathed her machete and slid into a more relaxed stance. A shapeshifter messing with their snares, troubling, but not a big enough deal to make a fuss about. They could set new traps and all would be as it was. "He's right, stop your sniveling. We hunt wolves, rabbit, deer, and other game. We don't harm humans, not unless it's for self-defense."

    "Geez, Natashya... cut her a break, yeah? I bet she's scared out of her wits." Alec couldn't believe how matter-of-fact his companion sounded.

    Alec was ignored as Natashya continued her volley of questions. With all the weird things going on in the woods, it was best to be wary. "What were you doing messing with our snares?" Suspicion. "You wouldn't happen to be the strange creature going around injuring hunters, would you?" The woman took an intimidating step towards Enya as her eyes narrowed into suspicious slits.

    "Natashya. That's enough, Marco said animals were behind the attacks."

    "She's a shapeshifter, those angry deer could have been her."

    "Marco said they were normal animals." Alec wasn't the bravest person out there but he brushed past Natashya and spun around so he was standing in front of Enya. Was it a smart move? Probably not. But he couldn't bare to see the hunter pouncing down on a scared girl. Perhaps he was too naive for his own good, but he just didn't have the heart to see the whole thing through. The young man winced when he noticed Natashya glowering at him, her lips pulled back into a tight frown. "I'm sure we'll get more information if we're less scary, um, right, miss?"

    Natashya shrugged before her icy gaze flitted to Enya once more. "Alright, why are you here and what are you doing with our snares?"
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    Once Enya witnessed Natashya sheathing her weapon, she sighed in relief and rubbed the back of her neck to relieve herself of the itch from the barbs. Her eyes quickly shot up to Alec, who was defending her and reassuring they weren't going to end her life right then and there. But that begged the question: why not? They're not... afraid of me?
    As she shakily lifted herself up off the ground and dusted her clothing, she flashed a cautious glare. All her life she was taught that her kind was a burden, and the work of apostate, rebel mages looking for new tactics to claim the world as their own. Some crap like that. But Enya had been running so long, that maybe something happened, or maybe shapeshifters were treated differently in these parts. Like pests, but nothing to be worried about. Interesting.

    "Geez, Natashya... cut her a break, yeah? I bet she's scared out of her wits."

    Enya couldn't help but snort at this comment. Scared? Not in the slightest. Not anymore, anyway.

    "What were you doing messing with our snares?"

    Enya grunted and searched for an answer, "Uhh-"

    "You wouldn't happen to be the strange creature going around injuring hunters, would you?"

    Just before she could become even slightly irritated at the sudden interrogation, Alec stepped in, trying to keep the peace. The two bickered for a short moment and soon enough Enya found herself in 'one-of-those' positions. It reminded her of the time where she was about to beat the living hell out of Iona in her lessons, but one of the boys defended her honor. Except in this case, Enya was not the attacker; she was Iona.
    She snapped back into real-time when the question was thrown at her once again, Enya looking up at Natashya with a somewhat confused expression on her face. Her gaze flitted momentarily to the snare and mostly-eaten hare carcass beside it before glancing back up to the woman.

    "What the hell does it look like I was doing?" She slipped, and quickly shook her head. "I mean, it's complicated. I was hungry, there was a carcass, thought I'd have myself a free snack."
    This sounds so stupid to them, they have no idea.

    Before she'd give them the chance to speak, she corrected herself a third time, and stood up straight, giving Natashya and Alec an authorative glare. "Listen, it's a very long story, I'm exhausted, I'm practically starving.." her face relaxed a bit, and for a split-second she considered just walking away right then and there. However, it hit her. Maybe this would be the last encounter with other people. What if she starved? Not to mention, these are the first humans that could give a shit less about shapeshifters.. that was pretty odd, but a big advantage.

    She bit her lip, and slowly bent down to pick up the carcass, lifting it up to examine it with fatigue glinting in her gaze, "I know you've got more of these lying about, and I'll be sure to find them, without getting caught." Enya abruptly shifted her attention to Natashya and Alec, glaring at both of them for a long moment. "Then you'll have nothing to set them off. You'll run out of septims. And with this animal problem you mentioned, hunting and making more traps will only be a danger to you."
    Smugly, she smirked.

    "Buuuut, if you give me a little something, I'll leave them alone, and I'll tell you what I was REALLY doing with them. It's your choice," Enya dropped the carcass and shrugged. Her proposal was somewhat threatening and secretive, but she wasn't asking for much, really. And it wasn't even that big of a secret. She just wanted some food in her belly and a place to stay for a little bit, until she got back up on her feet, or something. She found that the only way to do that was to leave people in suspense. That's how she got out of most things on her travels.​
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    In her current predicament, it would have been wise of Enya to stay quiet, but instead the girl had the gall to make threats and demands. Gutsy, Natashya noted, gutsy but stupid. Still, credit where credit was due. "Big words for a girl on the opposite end of a crossbow," the hunter flashed her a toothy smile, but the amused expression quickly melted away into indifference and then annoyance. Natashya had never been one to take threats lightly, and the smug look on Enya's face as she gave them her demands brought a tight frown to her lips.

    "Alec's right, we're not murderers. But you should watch your words, we're not exactly... how do you put it, goody-two-shoes heroes." And with that said Natashya stared the girl down, her fingers never leaving the hilt of the machete. The hunter wasn't going to instigate a fight, but if Enya tried anything at all, she wasn't about to play peacekeeper either. Anyone who threw an attack or dealt a punch should prepare to take it as well. "Your threats are nothing but hot air. If you want to take up arms against the hunter guild, be my guest, there are plenty of people in the guild who'd be able to get some good Septims with that pretty pelt of yours." Harsh. Natashya bit back the rest of her words and tried not to let the girl's initial demands get the best of her, she was good at keeping calm and collected, but when she lost it, Natashya really lost it. Never a good sight.

    "Don't be careless with your words, and maybe we'll play along."


    The last part made Alec arch an eyebrow. To be honest, he'd been expecting a fight to breakout at any moment because when Enya started making her demands, he could have sworn the tension skyrocketed right past the treeline. He'd be preparing to leap between them too, this outcome, was favorable. He didn't like the looks both girls were shooting each other, but he understood where Natashya was coming from as well, the wolf girl had threatened the guild, and during his short stay, he'd learned that to most of the hunters, it was their home.

    The sound of crunching leaves echoed through the forest floor and Alec watched as Natashya made her way down the dirt road instead of through where they'd originally came. The woman walked for a good few feet before looking over her shoulder and shooting them a pointed look. Alec bristled, wondering what was going to happen next. She was nice enough, really, but he was still mostly a stranger to them.

    "What are you two waiting for? An invitation?"

    "Oh... right," he mumbled as he rubbed a nervous hand through his hair. "Um, I think this is our cue to get going." The young man scuffed the tip of his boot against the ground and waited for Enya to start moving, he made sure to walk alongside her. "They're not bad once you get to know them," he tried. On his trips across oceans, Alec had always managed to make the strangest assortment of friends and acquaintances, his father always said he was far too friendly for his own good, but really, he wouldn't have it any other way.

    "Not the friendliest people on earth with their bows and knives, but they saved my life." He paused to shrug. "Just don't start threatening people, alright? Do that, and I'm pretty sure you'll be okay. Anyway, I'm Alec and that's Natashya over there." He stuck out his hand in a friendly gesture. "I know it's the most standard question of all time, but what's your name? I doubt you'd want to be called wolf girl all the time, right?"

    The crunching of leaves continued and as they walked on, the cluster of tents known as base camp eventually came into view.
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