Two Hunters Walked Into the Woods...

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Red Sinfonia, May 13, 2016.

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  1. It was an unlikely day, as far as Levani was concerned. The beauty that sprawled upon the emerald floor and quipped about the eternal canopy in the forests of Asdenni betrayed the horror that lurked in the shadows. A smooth breeze tickled the skin of her neck and teased her short, unusual, silver hair, rooted with strokes of black, but even its playfulness could not subtract from the way her muscles stiffened.
    There were things that stalked amongst the dust, she knew. Terrible things, nightmarish things, things that sought relentlessly to tear open the veins of the nearest creatures and drink down their rushing lifeblood for no other reason than hatred. She shrugged her cloak closer to guard against the shudder of disdain that wracked her, like a ripple across her hackles.
    The last dregs of bleariness draining from her, Levani took the moment of silence to muster her strength and wrap her hands tighter around her magnificent staff, an elongated piece of wood decorated with glowing, green runes. The butt of it struck the ground, clearing power down through the dirt and giving it shape. Building up her will, she allowed it to flow through that which connected them both, and offered it to the living and inanimate things beneath. It stitched between them, quilting a blanket of animation and thought. She allowed it to become what it willed, fought against her desire to force her own image upon it; cleared the depictions from her mind until beneath her feet rumbled with the power and life it had been given.
    A golem split from the ground, a canine combined of plant and rock and dirt, its eyes the tumbled gems of another world. Runes that mimicked her staff, the two inexplicably entwined, ran along its sides and back, giving it will and thought. Gifts from She and He who gifted Levani herself.
    The rumble had no doubt garnered the attention of her quarry, which Levani had intended, and she listened as they squealed and chirruped at finding new prey.
    One by one, they broke into a run, on mutant, slick limbs, before tumbling into the traps she’d spread about moments before. When the vines and roots moved to strangle their movements, the construct she’d summoned darted forward and began ripping out their throats. They all watched her from their struggle, their hatred the only living remnant in their eyes. Deer, foxes, wolves, all of them, their flesh tattered, their bones broken, giving way to a growing, black sickness from within. It dappled their skin and worked its way deep into their soul. Their bodies broke as they fought to escape, fought to rip her apart.
    There was hardly anything left of them except for their anger and their pain.
    Without a moment’s mercy, Levani pulled the curved blade from her leather trousers, and joined her partnered creature, spilling the blood until the fight and madness bled with it. When it was finished, there was only silence. No birds, no insects. Just her breaths as they pulled in and pushed out.
    The sounds of the wood crashed like a wave when they resumed again, a welcoming, peaceful song. Levani took this moment to lean against her companion, her head cocked back to gaze up at the ribbons of light that streamed from the canopy above.

  2. A sudden crash in the woods, the third this morning, woke Aria once again from her slumber. Shuddering, she quietly slid off the straps that bound her high in the tree, safe from falling while she slept. A rotting clump of branches untangled themselves from her sturdy birch and tumbled to the earth. Flinching, Aria watched as the tumbleweed bounced back and forth towards the ground. It crashed onto a shadowy being, which snarled, baring fangs that seemed to ripple down its whole figure. The huntress rolled her eyes and laid back down, indifferent to the infernal monster beneath her. She had collected her quota of prey for the entire week, and had no interest in accruing extra points by going above and beyond what was deemed necessary. Besides, she had almost cleared out the population in this valley a couple weeks ago, but the beasts sprang back more quickly than ever before. She would not be short on prey, not for this season at least.

    Suddenly, the canine crouched menacingly on the forest floor jumped upright, its ears swiveling grotesquely like the antennae of a moth straining to catch an echo of a whisper. Aria's ears strained as well, joining the beast in its search, but she smelled the signs before she heard anything. Metal. Rot. Fresh cuts on wood. Bile. Blood. A slaughter. Not too far in the distance, swung under the canopy of trees, a stone monster and a young woman fought side by side, laying waste to the foul... things... that besieged them. The girl swayed and wove like a willow tree, but her arms bore the strength of solid oak. Her staff pulsated enchantingly with a rhythm that seemed to beat to an ancient song, one that Aria knew in her heart.

    Tha sed ssaian du dha rairyas nuul
    eln wua fadaina dha ssirrrder sessaias...

    She shook her head. This was not the time for a chant of death, not a battle hymn. She had nothing to do with this altercation. Rather,
    she sealed her eyes shut and let her lips whisper a soft lilting tune, of birdsong and everfree love. Of safety and self-awareness. Minutes
    passed but crept along in the stealthy way that hours typically do, measured by the gaps between each heartbeat. Aria pried one eye open
    and gazed upon the aftermath of the carnage. The woman was gazing up into the trees. She scrambled back when a bird leapt from one
    branch on the adjacent three to her own, before the jay burst forth with a wild, scat-like trill.
  3. A quiet sigh had spilled like water in a whispering brook from Levani’s lips as she’d watched life around her resume, either starkly oblivious to the darkness that had nearly consumed them, or too busy with their ways to pause and bow to death. It was on that note that a bird released a shrill one, a sound that nipped the woman’s spine and alerted her to a different presence.

    The golem at her side jerked, its head quickly tossing a glare up into the trees, causing Levani to follow suit. Her staff poised above the earth, preparing to plunge into the soil and send energy shattering through its reaches, when her gaze outlined the figure that perched amidst the canopy. At first, her body did not react - though it was not the malicious constructs of the plague witch, or even the plague witch herself, she did not immediately decipher its identity entirely until several seconds after her golem did.

    While it did not relax, Levani opted to, if marginally. The staff lowered carefully, resting against the grass beneath her feet, but it hummed with energy, conducted by the current at her fingertips. The silhouette in the trees had not moved as of yet, and had made no aggressive displays. Levani doubted any violent intent, but her golem posed with care, forming a physical, defensive barrier between the shadow and Levani.

    The shape was human, that was for sure. Someone who found an easy home amongst the branches, which Levani could not help but respect. However, they did not appear as though from any of the local tribes. Regardless, she sampled the languages of her knowledge. “Harynni? Jaqueza? Vurunn? … Hello?” The words were spoken with a lulling, languid voice, each vowel and consonant with a stark purpose on her lips. The accent was her own.

    Hoping that the language she’d chosen had struck a chord, she continued. “You are not a familiar of the plague witch, yes? You are safe from me and mine,” she assured, a gesture to her companion relaxing the creature into a neutral, watchful stance.
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