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The Endless Hunt, Season 3: "Snakes! Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?"

Discussion in 'Machiavel: Ambition' started by Ravana, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Tusk

    The world around me grows silent, stops suddenly.

    "The Gift" is kicking in again...


    * * *​


    "Of course it's a gift, Master! A gift from you!"

    "From me?"

    "It's easy to dodge your stick if you slow down when you're about to hit me."

    "Tusk... I never hold back. I just try to hit you in a way that won't kill you if you forget to duck."

    Then why does everything move so... so slowly?

    "Many warriors would envy your Gift. A mere boy who can
    will time to slow down or stop!"

    "B-but I... I'm not doing that on purpose!"


    * * *​


    ...it's been three years since the last one, but I remember the trick. Don't move. As long I stand still, time stands still.

    And now I can get a good look at her. Prettier than when we first met. She's happier now? Even half-dead, I can see she has something to live for. I can't heal her, but maybe her friends... yes, friends!

    There are only two ways to travel. Behind me... that's where I came from. They would have passed me, so they went the other way. By horse!

    Time to move!



    Thank God, she's thin. She weighs nothing as long as The Gift lasts. But even when I cool down, she's still half my weight. I can run with a girl in my arms for hours if I must... and I must.

    Her friends are waiting. If she dies, I'll carry her weight for the rest of my life. Which will be a lot... even though she's skinny.

    Shut up and run, Tusk.
     
  2. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Bouldergut

    "Sorry, Reaver... my wife's herbal mix has yet to be perfected."

    Reaver wonders what the herbal mix was supposed to do.

    "It enhances the mind and body by forcing a surge of adrenaline. You may become stronger... or faster. Sometimes so fast time will appear to slow down or stop."

    Manimus asks how Jade came up with the mix.

    "She's the herbalist, so you'll have to ask her. I can only take credit for planting the idea in her head. I told her about a young apprentice of mine. Panicky kid, but he was... gifted."
     
  3. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    In Summary...

    Tusk is running really fast while carrying Silver. He's too pumped full of adrenaline to grow weary anytime soon.

    Bouldergut feels guilty about Reaver's hallucination, so he thought he'd explain his intentions with that funky adrenaline shot.
     
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Tusk and Silver

    Fortunately, while Silver's would is causing her to lose blood, it is more of the long-and-ragged-but-not-overly-deep kind. No doubt she would have thought of wrapping it up herself, but by the time she finished digging herself out, she had already become somewhat addled. Tusk may not be a gifted medic, but no one survives for any length of time in the wilderness without knowing how to do at least that much. So he does.

    Tusk also manages to figure out, from vague mutterings Silver is unaware of making, that she is traveling with a large party–given her incomprehensible reference to a "wardrobe," he wonders if these might be misguided clothing merchants–which includes wagons, dogs, three ostriches and a blueberry bush.

    Tusk assumes most of this can be chalked up to delirium.

    Nevertheless, this indicates that they must have been coming down by the pass, so he knows just where they have to emerge. When he arrives at that point, and can tell in spite of the darkness that they have yet to do so (wagons require draft animals, which leave evidence even untrained nostrils could readily detect), he simply follows the pass upward until he encounters a blueb–uh, that is, until he encounters a bunch of wagons drawn up for the night. Or, rather, until two dozen damnfool dogs start barking their heads off, since the wind is behind him and they smell him first. He slows his pace while the hounds are brought under control enough that he can hear a man's voice rather laconically requesting he state his identity and business.

    "I'm Tusk, and she's hurt."

    Tusk could use some work on pronoun anaphora. Though in fairness, the statement does summarize his business accurately.

    A nondescript, plainly-dressed, middle-aged and apparently unarmed man unshields a lantern. Two paces behind him stands the largest sword Tusk has ever seen, supported by a gaudy maypole. When the sword says "It's Silver," Tusk decides perhaps it's being supported by a person instead, and that it wasn't the sword which spoke after all… though why any person should dress like a maypole and stand in the middle of a hazardous mountain pass in the middle of the night is beyond him. "Bring her," the articulate maypole adds.

    Tusk, not entirely certain of his ground, inquires "You haven't seen a blueberry bush around here, have you?"

    "Not for four weeks," the first man says sourly. Which doesn't make any more sense to Tusk, but does suggest to him that he's found the correct group of people, at least.

    A small whirlwind of activity follows, in which Tusk learns (1) that these are indeed Silver's friends; (2) that one of them is the talented medic he isn't; (3) the maypole is actually the prince Silver had been looking for (oh, but that came out wrong… :p ); (4) that they don't always post unarmed scholars as guards; and (5) that had he in any way seemed to pose a threat to the unarmed scholar, he would have had arrows in both shoulders and both hips before he hit the ground… and that the unarmed scholar would have caught Silver before she hit the ground.

    Come daylight, Tusk learns that perhaps Silver wasn't as delirious as he had thought.…
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  5. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Bouldergut, Omar, Reaver and Manimus

    …conclude that while none of them knows how to safely traverse strange mountain slopes in the dark, a couple of them at least are able to skin bears in the dark–and that this is a Hunt, after all. Some of them also aver that they know how to sleep in the dark. When the issue of setting a watch against the possible return of the remaining bears is raised, Omar says "I've got it." He then moves a few paces off in the direction in which the bears departed, lies down, and starts snoring.

    "Like, is that dude, like, setting a trap for them or something? He has, like, bigger stones than Bouldernuts."

    "Be sure to let him know that in the morning."

    In the morning, they all wake up. Whatever masterful defensive strategy Omar employed must have worked, as they are not disturbed. Not until they try to figure out how to get back down to the pass they were following–at which point they discover that too much of the slope has been dislodged to attempt a safe descent. Omar volunteers to double-check this, but is overridden.

    Instead, they follow what seems to be the trail of the bears for a couple hours. Around mid-morning, they spot an opening between two rises that appears to lead down in relative safety toward gradually-diminishing forested foothills, beyond which can be seen widening grasslands.

    ---

    Reaver now has one large and one medium bear skin.
    Omar now has one medium bear skin. He still doesn't have a battle cry.
    Manimus now has one brobdingnagian bear skin. He spends the day's hike trying to figure out how to pronounce "brobdingnagian."

    One extra-large, one large, and one small bear skin escaped, as did one of Omar's daggers. All were last seen attached to various bears.

    Anyone not wishing to haul the skins about can offer them to someone else, or can choose to remove less bulky souvenirs if they prefer.

    Bouldergut, Omar, Reaver, Manimus–choose:
    (1) continue to track remaining bears;
    (2) follow the pass downward.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  6. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Silver, Tusk, Jade, and the Caravan

    Shortly after daybreak, the prince's banner is hoisted once more above the lead wagon. Tusk spends a bit of time wondering why two harp-playing storks would try to impale an otter on a drop-spindle behind a gooseberry bush, but decides it probably has to do with one of those inscrutable ways of the eastern nobles he keeps hearing about. He thinks perhaps if the nobles got scruted a bit more often, they'd be better off.

    He finds it incredibly difficult to believe that Sigrelyn and Heverik are actually married. He is informed that this puts him on par with the entire civilized world. He isn't sure how he ought to feel about that.

    Silver is feeling much better today: her left arm is stiff–Jade tells her it will be for a few days, though Silver already worked that out on her own–but she can use it at need.

    The caravan sets off, the prince in the lead as usual. The silver snake-heads on his skullcap gleam as they turn in the morning sunlight. Tusk estimates that they can probably be seen for miles. He also estimates that given the rest of the prince's garb, they don't make the slightest difference.

    Tusk does venture to mention to Sigrelyn–who, in spite of being married to Heverik, seems to him by far the most sensible, not to mention the most experienced, of the Hunters–that he's never heard of a crown like that before, and wonders what it's called.

    "Trust me. You don't want to know."

    While he's not the sort to give his trust easily, her manner suggests that his trust or lack thereof wouldn't change her response in the slightest. Maybe he'll ask again later.

    Sigrelyn gives most of her attention to the sky, allowing the others to handle maneuvering the wagons down the final stretch of the pass… which, as it turns out, takes little more than another hour. The ground rather abruptly levels out following one last switchback, and the party finds itself in rolling grasslands alongside a fairly substantial stream.

    Shortly thereafter, Sigrelyn calls the others together, and announces "They're all okay. They found another way down to the south of here, on the other side of that spur of the range." This proclamation occasions some astonishment from everyone except Heverik, who merely says "Oh, good. I'm sure they'll catch us up eventually, then. Let's start looking for some snakes."

    Tusk looks off in the direction Sigrelyn indicates. After a moment, he says "That isn't local."

    Sigrelyn cocks an eyebrow, then says "You have good eyes."

    Twenty minutes later, her eagle drops from the sky and lands on her upraised arm.

    "I didn't know you could train eagles to do that," Tusk volunteers.

    "It isn't easy," she acknowledges. "He can only count to eight."

    While Tusk is considering this answer, she adds "After that, he has to multiply."

    The caravan follows the stream a ways. Around noon, Heverik announces that he likes the look of the area they've reached and orders the wagons drawn in a circle on a small rise, clear of any trees or brush that would hinder visibility, with easy access to the water. The support staff begins setting up camp. "We can fan out from here. You're all quite free to hunt anything you like, of course–and I will reward exotic specimens of all sorts–but as you know, it's snakes in particular I'm after."

    "Live snakes," Sigrelyn clarifies, for the late additions.

    "Yes, live snakes," the prince continues. "There is an assortment of snake-catching gear in the wagons, along with cages and baskets to contain them"–no one is willing to ask what kind of idiot would try putting a snake in a cage: the question is too obviously rhetorical–"or any other live specimens of interest you come across. The taxidermists are available to process non-living specimens, of whatever sort. Feel free to take advantage of the horses, dogs"–Sigrelyn snorts–"and birds, if you care to hunt with any of these. Ask for anything else you might require: we probably have it somewhere." The baroness rolls her eyes. So do most of the servants in earshot. "Good hunting, all of you," he concludes.

    ---

    Heverik will remain with the caravan unless otherwise specified. His function is to provide supplies and rewards.

    The support staff will likewise remain with the caravan. Their function is to provide support. The hound-master and falcon-master can be "borrowed" for specific short-term purposes.

    Sigrelyn will remain with the caravan unless there's a compelling reason for her not to. Usually, this will involve rescuing people from untenable situations. Fortunately, wells in this region are scarce and the staff was carefully vetted to exclude anyone named Timothy.

    Silver, Jade, Tusk–choose:
    (1) hunt in the immediate area for snakes (or whatever), and return to camp at the end of the day;
    (2) follow some promising-looking game trails to the north.

    Option (1) will always be available for those remaining with the caravan, unless some other event occurs. Every few days, the caravan will relocate to prevent over-hunting the immediate area.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  7. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Jade, Silver, Tusk and Cap'n "Kappy" Rainbow

    "Silver, though your left arm is stiff, would you like to catch some live snakes with me?"

    Silver answers, and the two ladies start walking.


    (Sheila, assuming Silver decided to hunt, she may choose her weapon. I assume she can fire a bow with a stiff left arm or use a one-handed sword in her right hand while carrying a basket in her left. She could carry a bow and keep her sword sheathed so she's prepared for both melee and ranged.

    In addition, Silver can choose a direction [N/E/W/S].

    If she's not hunting, I suppose she and Jade are just hanging out.)


    Tusk joins the two ladies. "...if you don't mind."

    Before the ladies can respond, a bird standing on Tusk's already-turd-ridden falconry glove says, "Raaak? Kappy wanna crumpet!"

    "I told you, I don't have any crumpets!" To Jade and Silver, Tusk asks, "What's a crumpet?"

    "I wish to know what that creature is doing on your arm, besides relieving itself."

    "Oh.. this is Cap'n Rainbow, one of Prince Heverik's pets. I mean, hats. I mean, he used to wear it as a hat, but... oh, no. God, Cap'n! Why would anyone feed you anything purple?"

    Silver wonders if Tusk is a hawker.

    "Not really. But I'm a messenger, and sometimes I use birds to deliver notes. If I could get this bird to fly where I want him to--nope, her--she could send messages even if I don't have a writing implement."

    "Raaak? I love you, Pandala!"

    "Shut up, Captain Rainbow!"

    "Pandala?" Jade says, "That is the name of my maid."

    "It is your maid. Long story short, I was looking for my former master. One of my birds found Pandala, and she told me about your husband. The name Bobo threw me, but I figured I'd join this hunt and see for myself. Baroness Sigre--well, just Sigrelyn, she says--she said Bouldergut is here, so I'm in the right place."

    While Jade is mildly annoyed that Pandala has rejected every suitor over a man who has never been to her island before, she remembers Bouldergut talking about a young apprentice. "And you did help Silver out, so I suppose you are welcome to tag along."

    "Dude, those are like, two hot babes! Raaak?"

    "Um..." Tusk explains, "I never taught her to say that!"




    :: Tusk and an annoying talking bird have joined Silver's party! ::
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  8. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Silver Whitestar, Jade and Tusk

    It was a good day, the sun was shining and Silver was really happy to be alive after that disastrous avalanche. That had been the closest that she had ever been to death, even closer than when she escaped the recent fire that destroyed her house in the forests... Now, Silver barely remembered how she had been staggering around and screaming for Sigrelyn and Jade, but she recalled Tusk perfectly and she was very fond of him.

    Silver was laughing and joking with Jade and Tusk, the talking bird was amusing her a lot.

    "What does Prince Heverik want the snakes for?" Silver asked Jade, and then, feeling that her arm was less stiff and feeling better now, she raised her Longsword with her two hands and proceeded to hit a snake right on the head.

    It was a soft blow, just strong enough to kill the snake, and then Silver picked it up and stuffed it inside her basket.

    They were going to stay close to the caravan, but Silver had her axe ready in her back just in case that more bears or something else decided to show up. They were walking quietly together, a snake tried to attack them and Silver quickly beheaded it with a casual slash of her long blade.

    Silver stabbed two more snakes, now she had four in her basket...
     
  9. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    JMH, the Stealth Sketch Artist

    I was there at Roku-Roku Island, but as I was on vacation, I did not sketch the hunters at the time. Two powerful hunters I recall were an unlikely duo.

    [​IMG]


    Also, the maid of the wife of Bouldergut... I did not catch her name, but her reaction to a messenger bird was odd--especially the way she tried on Princess Jade's qipao immediately after reading!

    [​IMG]
     
    Reaver likes this.
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Silver, Jade and Tusk

    "I understand it to be a long and complicated story… at least from the answer Sigrelyn gave me, which was neither." Jade replies. "You could ask her about it."

    Jade considers for another moment, then adds "Though it might be more entertaining to ask Hogar."

    "Why's that?" Tusk asks.

    "Because I think it would be fascinating watching him trying to keep expressions from his face while answering it." Jade wonders if hanging around Sigrelyn is starting to rub off on her. She can't recall the last time she'd had a thought like that.

    Returning to Silver's question, she continues: "I should probably remind you that the prince wants the snakes alive, Silver. At least snakes he has never seen before. You might wish to avoid killing too many, until we find out which ones those are. If we bring back one of each type we find, we can come back and trap the ones he is interested in."

    "Raaak? Kappy want a crumpet!"

    "Show me one and I shall shoot it for you." Jade is still somewhat sour about learning her maid had been conducting a correspondence affair with Tusk, even if he had been her husband's apprentice at one time. Addressing Tusk, she asks "Do you know which snakes we ought to be capturing?"

    "Well… uh.…" He thinks a moment. "I probably know all the snakes around here. Well, most of them. Well, a lot of them." He blushes. "I'm more of a big game kinda guy, y'know?"

    He hesitates a bit, then goes on. "But I don't know what kind of snakes they have in the Empire. So I don't know which ones the prince already knows about."

    Cap'n Rainbow abruptly launches herself from Tusk's glove, swoops low into the grass, and skewers something with her talons. When the others catch up to her, they discover she's brought down a partially-eaten crabapple.

    Something occurs to Jade. "How did your bird locate my maid?"

    "Uhm… I just sent her out with a message describing the guy I was looking for. Kept sending her until someone wrote back saying she knew him."

    Jade considers her longbow. So far the only thing she's seen worth shooting is the parrot. "How many attempts did this take?"

    "Oh… maybe ten? Fifteen? I dunno. A lot. I've been looking for Bouldergut for a long time."

    "I… see."

    Tusk doesn't.

    "Raaak? The traitor must not be allowed to return!"

    "Huh?" Tusk is puzzled. "I didn't teach her how to say that, either!"

    "Raaak? Dude, watch me teach this, like, chicken how to swear!"

    "What did you say?" Jade is now eyeing Cap'n closely.

    "Raaak? Dude, wa—"

    "No, before that!"

    "Raaak? Kappy want a fuc—"

    Jade had never actually cuffed a parrot before. Silver, Tusk and Cap'n Rainbow all stare at her in astonishment. None of them can think of anything they especially want to say at the moment.

    Jade can. It's particularly unprincesslike, not to mention both anatomically and taxonomically improbable. Which confirms her in her opinion that hanging about with Sigrelyn is having an effect on her. Tusk blushes again; Silver's eyes widen. Then Silver leans in to whisper: "Careful. You don't want to be giving the prince any ideas for new banner themes."

    Jade shakes her head, astonished at herself now. "You're right, my dear." Looking at Tusk, she says "I think your parrot may not have the best judgment about who it talks to."

    Tusk is abashed. "Honest, I had no idea it knew words like that!"

    An arrow leaps from her bow. At least now they'd have some rabbit for supper. "That isn't quite what concerns me." But she does not explain further.

    "Tsweee-whoo! Kappy want a strumpet!"

    "Oh, great, now she has a lisp." Tusk inspects his bird for signs of damage.

    Jade says nothing. They head back to the camp for the evening.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  11. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Silver Whitestar

    "Say what?" Silver said, awestuck to hear this- "Prince Heverik wants the snakes alive?"

    "Yes!" Jade replied- "Like I told you, we are looking for species of snakes that he has never seen before."

    Silver was now sorry for having killed four snakes so far- She now started to simply hit the snakes on the head with her sword strong enough to cause them to pass out. The snakes looked dangerous, indeed different to all the snake species that she had seen before... maybe Prince Heverik wanted them to research new medicine or something?

    Two snakes captured, three, five, seven...

    Captain Rainbow was still talking when they arrived back at camp, having collected many snakes so far.
     
  12. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Bouldergut, Omar, Reaver and Manimus

    Having conquered the barbearians and descended from mountains into foothills, our intrepid foursome spend the day looking for things to hunt. As evening approaches, they reach the conclusion that there ought to be something interesting around, given the profusion of small prey animals they encounter. Though perhaps the lack of predators explains the profusion.

    Manimus is bored, seeing nothing he considers worth killing. Omar is bored, seeing nothing he considers able to kill him. Boulder is partly bored, seeing nothing that falls into either category. Reaver asks "What are those?"

    "Those," when the others follow his pointing arm, turn out to be small, sleek rodents.

    Manimus asks "What are what, dude? Is there, like, something hiding behind those, like, mice?"

    Omar says "I don't know." Presumably he's responding to Reaver's question, not Manimus'.

    Boulder shrugs.

    Reaver: "They're too long for mice. More like squirrels."

    Manimus: "Du-ude, did you, like, get hit in the head or something? Like, who cares if there's squirrels hiding behind those mice?"

    Omar: "Too small for squirrels."

    Manimus: "Like, that's what I'm, like, saying, dude. Squirrels can't hide behind those mice." He considers that if Reaver were more awesomely manly like himself, maybe he'd get more babes and pay more attention to non-boring stuff.

    Reaver: "The fur has an interesting pattern. Looks nice and soft, too."

    Manimus: "Like your head, dude."

    Boulder: "It would take an awful lot of them."

    Manimus: "A lot of what, Bouldernuts?"

    Reaver: "Has it ever come to your attention, Manimus, that babes like soft, pretty fur?"

    Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Just about… now, Reaver thi–

    Manimus: "Oh, hey, du-u-ude! Like, awesome thinking!"

    About bloody time, Reaver does not say.

    Manimus: "Then, you could, like, totally get yourself some babes, dude! Yeah, sure, I'll help ya out with that! What are buddies for?"

    Reaver grinds his teeth.

    Boulder: "Besides, if they breed fast enough, we can use some for snake chow."

    ---

    Bouldergut, Omar, Reaver and Manimus:
    - Try to collect some of these critters? (And, optionally, prevent Manimus from killing and skinning the entire catch out of hand?) Or just bed down for the night?

    - In the morning–choose:
    (1) Stay in the foothills to the left of the valley;
    (2) Stay in the foothills to the right of the valley;
    (3) Go down into the valley;
    (4) Skirt the valley and head toward the open plains.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Reaver and Manimus decide to return to Roku-Roku Island to rescue some trapped miners.
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Bouldergut and Omar

    "Well, Omar... guess it's just you and me."

    Omar takes the dagger out of his mouth, and mumbles something about the cute, fuzzy creatures. "...a sign..."

    "A sign?" Bouldergut scratches his bald, boulder-like scalp. "I thought you were looking for dangerous game, Omar. What exactly are these creatures a sign of?"

    Startled perhaps by Bouldergut's booming baritone, more and more fuzzy purplish heads start popping from holes in the ground and from hollow trees. There are dozens, scores, hundreds... nearly a thousand of them! They start to charge the remaining men.

    "What the...?"

    Omar grins. "Yes!"

    Waves of the little critters run right by Bouldergut and Omar.

    "Omar... do you know what these creatures are?"

    "Lavender lemmings!" He turns in the direction they're headed in. "This is the big one... Elizabeth!"

    "Who's Eliz--?"

    "A WHORE!"

    And with that Omar runs full sprint toward the cliff's edge. Like the lavender lemmings, he does not stop.




    (Bouldergut heads down to the valley, hoping to catch up to his wife, find out what became of Omar, or both.)
     
  15. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Silver, Tusk, Jade & company

    The first day of the Hunt ends uneventfully; the second is much like the first. As it turns out, none of the snakes captured is unfamiliar to Heverik–whose familiarity with serpents seems remarkable indeed–though he seems no less generous for all that. Bounties, while not immense, are paid on each one returned; since these are familiar species, they are quietly and efficiently dispatched and turned over to the taxidermy wagon, whose efficiency can be seen the following day when, to the surprise of the Hunters, around mid-morning they see a snakeskin kite flying over the camp. They are also pretty sure the prince didn't have snakeskin cuffs on his jerkin the day before. Considering the extent of his traveling wardrobe, it's difficult to be sure of this, though.

    It also happens that none of the snakes they catch are venomous. Tusk warns against overconfidence: he knows there are at least one or two species around here which are.

    Bounties are also paid on rabbit pelts, a fox pelt, feathers (pheasant, mostly), plus token payments on anything that goes into the cook's pot. By the end of the second day, Silver and Tusk are starting to get a fair bankroll. (As is Jade, but she's less likely to care.)

    Silver finally gets an answer to her question about the prince wanting live snakes, too… she thinks. Well, it's an answer, unquestionably: she just isn't sure what to make of it. What she's told, when she interjects it into a conversation with the falcon-master involving the use of hunting birds, is this:

    "He wants them to stuff down his pants."

    She's so surprised she doesn't follow up on it immediately. Later, she mentions it to Jade and Tusk. Jade says "That's what Sigrelyn told me, too."

    Tusk decides at least one person in the caravan definitely needs to get scruted more often.

    The third days seems likely to prove a repeat of the first two: the prince has already announced they'll be moving the camp farther downstream the day after. However, while inspecting the day's take, a smallish, velvety-green snake, whose scales blend so well into moss that Silver nearly overlooked it, turns out to cause the prince great excitement.

    Fairly yanking it from the basket, he runs it across and over his hands, exclaiming: "Beautiful! Absolutely lovely! A completely new species… and what texture! I've never seen scales this fine, this soft before! Almost satiny! Here, dear, you must feel this!" He extends it to Sigrelyn.

    She asks "Shouldn't you check to see if it has fangs first, honey?" She eyes the cubit-long serpent suspiciously.

    "Oh, of course: you're right, dear," he says… and wiggles one of his little fingers in front of it until he gets it to bite.

    "No, perfectly harmless," he pronounces. "Now run it through your hands!"

    After he has convinced everyone he can find to stroke his snake (a few of the servants discover important tasks which, in their judgment, require immediate attention), he has someone dig through one of the wagons for what looks like a bird cage covered in fine chain mail. With evident reluctance, he places the new specimen within. He sends the servant off to get some mossy stones, then grills Tusk on what little he knows of its habits and diet… which isn't much. He does volunteer that it is locally known as a "treebeard snake," and that as far as he knows it's typical size for an adult.

    Over supper, the prince hands out the usual rewards, after which he makes a somewhat long-winded speech praising Silver's discovery. He pulls out a much larger purse than those he's bestowed to date and hands it to her. The purse itself is a work of art… she supposes. She's not sure if she wants to go around openly displaying something made of alternating bands of purple velvet and diamond-patterned snakeskin, even if it does have silver braid ties with real silver caps on the ends, drawn through a medallion, also in silver, sporting a different coats of arms on each side.

    Inside is a hundred gold crowns. More money than Silver has ever imagined seeing in her life. Not that the hundreds of silver thalers she'd already piled up weren't already more than she'd ever seen.

    "There's twice as much if you can find a female for me to breed it with; more, if you can procure a nest of eggs," the prince adds. Silver doesn't mention she hasn't the slightest clue how to tell a female snake from a male; she figures it's worth finding out before setting off tomorrow, though.

    Finally, with great solemnity, Heverik brings forth a copy of the headgear he's been sporting recently: a tightly-fitting skullcap, with alternating blue and white panels, topped with two snake heads facing in opposite directions. He taps them with his finger, demonstrating that these do indeed rotate, just as his own does. He places the cap on Silver's head, intoning "Huntress Silver Whitestar, I hereby induct you into the Honorable Order of the Amphisbeanie."

    As the applause rises around her, Silver is at a complete loss of words. First of all, she's never been inducted into an Order before, and second, she doesn't want to risk offending the prince.

    Sigrelyn helpfully leans over and whispers "You don't have to wear it all the time. Only at formal functions."

    She looks like she's about to laugh herself sick.

    To distract herself, Silver inspects the purse. The gold coins, at least, look very nice. She turns the medallion back and forth. She's no expert on heraldry, but one side is clearly the prince's signet seal: she can tell from the two quarters featuring the three-petaled flower, though what the other two quarters show is impossible to make out given the size of the details. Just as well, probably. Besides, she's seen it stamped on every container and piece of equipment the expedition carries. The other she's never seen before.

    Uncertainly, she asks Sigrelyn: "Whose arms are these?"

    "Yours."

    While Silver is trying to think of something to say to this, the baroness gets up, sets the cap's crest spinning once more with a flick, and mentions that she was sure she had seen some feral wineskins trying to sneak in under the wagons somewhere. Since Sigrelyn had not specifically mentioned drinking to Silver since the trip began, she figures this meant she ought to capture and secure one or more of the skins before it got into anything important.

    The next morning, the caravan packs up and heads downstream.

    ---

    Silver, Tusk, Jade–choose:

    (1) continue to hunt near the caravan a while longer;
    (2) follow some promising-looking game trails northward.

    Tusk mentions that there's some bigger game to be found in the hills to the north. He doesn't know if the snakes there are any better or not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  16. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Silver Whitestar's new Coat of Arms (as designed by Hogar, personal pursuivant to Baroness Sigrelyn Drachteving):
    [​IMG]

    [For some reason, I can't figure out how to insert images into a post any more. I'll fix it when I find out.]

    [I got it, Ravana! ~LS]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2012
  17. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Silver Whitestar

    Silver had barely slept at all that night, as she was so excited that she could hardly believe what had happened. When Silver had joined the Hunt she was expecting no more than something fun to do with her otherwise useless life, having absolutely no idea that she was going to earn so much money as rewards and also a Title and her own Coat of Arms from Prince Heverik himself.

    That night Silver dreamed that she was walking through the forest beside her father, and he was saying how proud he was to see what had become of his little woodcutter girl...

    Silver tried to find the female Treebeard snake the following days as the Caravan was advancing downstream, but it seemed that this snake species in particular was very rare and it would take a lot of luck to find and capture another. Meanwhile Tusk had been talking to her a lot, the conversation describing the many events of their lives, and they were good friends now.

    "We should go and check out what we can find in those hills to the North" Silver told Tusk after having breakfast together- "I am good at surviving in the wild, and who knows what we could find for Prince Heverik! Would you come with me?"

    Silver's battle axe and Longsword had seen little action so far, so maybe they could find something interesting to Hunt...

    Special note: Thanks for creating and posting Silver's Coat of Arms!! =)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Tusk

    "Yeah, I can help you, Silver..."

    Jade stays behind, but unfortunately we're still a party of three.

    "Raaak? Which way did he go? Which way did he--?"

    "Not 'he,' Cap'n. We're looking for a female Treebeard."

    "What's he look like, Raaak?"

    "She!" I can't believe I'm correcting the grammar of a bird.

    Silver asks me to be patient with out feathered friend, then tells me she's also curious. "So," she asks me, "how do you know if a Treebeard is female."

    "No beard," I tell her.

    "Raaak? No beard..." Cap'n echoes.

    "Nah, I was just kidding, the difference is subtle, but the markings--"

    "The 'power' character. Kill him, raaak?"

    "We can't kill him--I mean her! The prince wants to breed the snakes, dummy!"

    "No beard, but a mustache. Big arms, big belly. Markings, raaak? An angry face and the 'power'..."

    "What...?"

    "Kill him!"

    "Silver... does Bouldergut still have his hair?"

    Silver doesn't know why Tusk is asking this, but then she realizes that the parrot's ramblings match Bouldergut's description.
     
  19. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Silver, Tusk and Captain Rainbow

    The Captain kept talking for very long as Tusk and Silver, having departed from the Caravan after informing Sigrelyn of their Hunting intentions, hiked and climbed their way up into the hills to the North. Soon they could feel the solitude and the wilderness of that region, the Captain kept asking about the Treebeard snakes and then, some three hours after leaving the others behind, Silver drew out a bottle of wine from her purple riding hood and began to take one sip after another.

    "You sure that you want to drink wine now?" Tusk asked, a bit worried by this- "We may find more bears, poisonous snakes or something..."

    "I'll be fine!" Silver replied, the Captain shrieked that he wanted to try the wine and then, after crossing a shallow river of very cold water, Tusk and Silver walked into a dark forest- "Look, maybe the Treebeard snakes like trees and that's why they are called that name... we could find the female around here, somewhere."

    Tusk could not hear bears or anything else that could be dangerous, and even though he knew that Silver was an expert on forest and trees, these were not her home forests after all...

    Twenty minutes later Silver had finished her bottle of wine, and now she had opened another- It was clear for Tusk that his friend was now quite drunk as she was laughing and beaming as they walked between the trees, and so they kept searching for the snake and venturing deeper and deeper into the hills and the forest. The day was getting cold, maybe it had not been such a good idea for them to go there without the others.

    "There!"

    Silver had suddenly spotted an unknown species of snake with dazzling green skin, which looked very valuable and was just about to hide into its burrow. She dashed beside Tusk to try to catch it, but then, roaring with rage not far from them, a great brown bear rose on its hind legs and decided that it wanted to attack the latest intruders of his territory!

    "Watch out!" Tusk screamed.

    Silver then finished her second bottle of wine, took the battle axe that she was carrying on her back and charged to take on the fifteen hundred pounds brown bear-

    "He's mine!"

    The bear was charging towards Silver and Tusk, they were alone...
     
  20. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Silver vs the Brown Bear

    Tusk was sure that he was just about to see Silver torn to pieces by the bear, which had stopped and then rose to its full height once again: The monster was at least ten feet tall, roaring with rage and ready to attack with those huge, vicious claws that were still covered in the blood of a recently killed prey. Silver was laughing, perhaps thanks to the effects of the wine, like she was taking on a chicken instead of a terrible bear.

    "What are you thinking?!"

    The bear raised one of its claws to crush Silver with a single blow, Captain Rainbow was making a hell of a racket, Tusk was dashing to help his new friend... Then, with surprising agility Silver rolled on the ground like a ball and she passed between the hind legs of the bear. The monster was confused and lost a split second trying to decide what to do next, a moment of distraction that was all that Silver needed to deliver her own attack:

    Silver jumped to her feet behind the bear and delivered a devastating blow with her battle axe right on the spine of the monster, causing a fracture and fatal nerve damage. The bear roared in pain, turned around and tried to hit Silver with its right claw, but then her Longsword flashed and the bear's sliced off arm was sent flying through the air...

    A fatally accurate attack pierced the bear's heart, and soon the monster collapsed and died a few seconds later.

    "Tusk, let's cut the bear's skin- I want to make a new coat!" Silver said quite casually, removing her blood-stained axe from the dead bear's back- "Now, where did that green snake go?"
     
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