|Bastet Field Trip (Part One)|
|The young Bastet are taken faaaar out into the desert to learn how to better combat the Wyrm. The Guardian Pack of BSDs does not have a good time.|
|IC Date||April 22nd, 2018|
|IC Time||Late Evening|
|Players||Phillipe, Auberon, Niccia, Kele, Paul Barakat, Kenji, Jindulu, Natalie H., Clarisse, Alexander, Viator,|
|Spheres||Bastet, Kinfolk, Ananasi-ish|
The oasis in the desert is a place sacred to the dragons who roam the desert. It is, however, a safe place close to today's goal, and... well, as it turns out, the Tilau who sent out the call has permission from the dragon who guards it of late. In the hour where daylight is finally slipping into night, the sunset painting the desert in a wash of vibrant colors, a massive dire-leopard sits perched on the dragon's usual rock. His coat is highly unusual for one of his kind, pale and shiny gold with red spots instead of black - as though Helios had grown jealous of his sister's children and cast one for himself out of sunlight. Seated next to him is a cat even bigger than he, an ancient Smilodon whose eyes seem to glow and who - from time to time - flickers in and out of reality, but otherwise remains silent. Sitting quite comfortably on the leopard's paws is a pale, slender man with a basket of origami cats in his lap. The leopard occasionally lowers his muzzle to nose and lick at the human, but otherwise is silent while they wait.
The desert was never a place Sparrow frequented. It's vast and flat and sometimes hard to navigate. Which is probably half of the lesson, he realizes. Eventually, though, he sees the oasis the spirits mentioned in the distance. Shifting from feline into Chatro, he makes use of the larger forms huge, bounding strides to cover the distance. With a chirping mrowl as he reaches the oasis, he jumps up onto the side of the rock, scrabbling with huge claws from foothold to foothold, sending small rocks tumbling in his wake until he reaches the top. Only then does he slow, licking one paw to reestablish his dignity as he walks toward Harounw with a flick of his tail.
At the edge of the shadows a black sabertooth is stretched out on the rock, hiding easily in the shadow. Dwarfed in size by the majority of the other cats its demeanor does not seem like one ready to engage in war. Instead the cat dozes between moments of lucidity and it watches over the area. A broad yawn is given as the feline again closes jade green eyes. Stout Lion likes the desert. Getting away from the press of people, the noise and smells of the city. The easy to breathe arid air. He answers the spirit's call on foot, having left his vehicle someplace cozy.
Jindulu pads in to answer the call as well. The spotted cheetah moves in silently yet fast as four paws will bring her in the direction of the gathering.
It is the designated hour, and a grey form comes is crossing the desert at an easy pace that, never-the-less covers ground. When the form is near enough to see, black splotches ripple with the prehistoric-looking cat's movements. That ground-covering pace slows as she approaches the oasis and sees the gathering on the rock. She mrowl-chirps by way of greeting.
A summons like this is not one to be denied, mostly because it is just all too curious! In his breed form, Heaven's-Thunderous-Rebuke otherwise known as Kenji, makes his way through the desert at an easy ground eating pace. Tigers are not long distance sprinters, but it's still faster than walking. Thankfully it isn't as hot as mid-day or that would have been truly unfun. As he pads towards the oasis he does a wide circle, examining the Oasis and who might be there already. Unknown territory and all that. The tiger doesn't approach until he's as satisfied as he can be that nothing amiss is going to happen. As he finally approaches he chuffs a greeting before finding a place to settle down and get comfortable with a longing look at the pool of the oasis. Fortunately Oasis usually have trees, and trees are useful for rubbing shoulders against. A yawn follows and the tiger leans against the tree.
Viator -knew- of this place, having came here before, he remembered the way, taking his car as far as he could, and then..there was the walking. Some might prefer to use their feline form; but he wasn't sure what to expect, and he as always, comes prepared. That MK14 EBR over one shoulder, his machette on his belt, slow, inoxerably approaching, he might be old, but damned if he will be deterred by a hike. "Haroun Tilau." He says to Haroun..he doesn't truly know many of the others..and he is warily watching for the giant dragon. That thing, ill regardless of his own self important, can -eat- him with ease. "Do we hunt then?" He asks, gently touching his rifle..yes, he's talking to a rifle.
Crimson-Rogue had been waiting for this moment since she had left the company of Viator and Phillip the previous night and even more since she had left the company of her sisters earlier, and finally finds her way to the place that had been pointed out. She in her own feline form, smaller than the rest around her and quieter. Lower to the ground and her steps are as graceful as they can be. She is happy to leave the cares of the city behind today to be with her own kind. She chirps in greeting and looks around curiously with her bright blue eyes at those gathered, some she knows and most she doesn't.
The pale man on Haroun's paws with his basket of origami can't help but laugh just a little. There's a quiet chittering sound that follows up to Haroun, but then he falls silent once more. Mind, it's with a crossing of his legs so that one foot is propped up and can keep a small beat for his own amusement. This smirk is entirely too smug, no denying, but perhaps cats can appreciate that art a bit better than some others might. For now, the origami remain undisturbed, but that may change at some point.
Paul approaches more steathfully than most humans normally would, carrying a bag over one shoulder, and coming from the direction of Sunhome to this second Oasis in the desert. He is dressed in sturdy clothing, but not in animal form except for obviously feline ears sticking up through his unruly dark hair, obviously feline eyes, and a flaring of his nostrils which indicate a bit of Robert's handiwork on him for additional senses. He seems well suited to the desert, and comfortable as he gives a bow of his head to the assembled Bastet before moving off to stand quietly by the rocks.
Morning Mist comes to a stop near JuJu, gaze on the arrangement on the rock. Her ears swivel, and so does her head, watching others arriving.
Jindulu nudges Morning Mist when she comes up by her side. A soft chirp follows <<Good Moon, Ghost Sister>>.
This oasis does, in fact, have trees. The leopard watches the gathering of cats with lazy pride, nosing down into the shoulder of the human on his paws before lifting his head to speak. <<Brothers and sisters, I am terribly glad to see you.>> There is a rumbling purr that follows, one of those sounds which is threatening unless one is familiar with the noises of big cats. <<It is not enough to be great in numbers, we must also be great in skill and strength.>> Viator's greeting is met with a nod, but there is a heavy sigh when that gun is spotted. Paul's approach, however, gets a low chuff and another nose to the shoulder of the man with the origami, followed by a low grunt and a nod in Paul's direction. <<Tonight is a chance to hunt, but also to stretch yourselves - to learn what works and what does not, with the safety net of your elders behind you.>> He pauses to hopefully let Paul get his origami to rip up, then continues. <<The man carrying the basket is of my pride. He is a child of Ananasa and comes with us to help you. Anyone who seeks to repay his kindness with rudeness or harm will have to answer to me.>> That, too, he lets settle on the night air. <<The papers in the basket contain fox magic that will allow the kin who come with us to understand and speak to us no matter which form we take. The great spirit beside me is Smilodon.>> He stops to turn and bow his head toward the massive cat. <<He has agreed to follow us and supply Gnosis energy to those who may find themselves running out. It is a pack of Dancers we hunt tonight - a Guardian pack that makes its circuit around their widest territorial perimeter. These will not be easy prey. If there are questions, ask them now.>>
The man does, in fact, sit up at that nod in Paul's direction. A single origami cat is taken from the basket. "Catch," Directed at Paul, before the paper is tossed his way, "Tear it and you will be able to understand them. Thank a fox the next time you see one." And with that, he returns to his lazy lounging. Notably, he still does not take one of the origami himself. That can come later, if need be.
The tiger stands up and bows his head nearly to his paws at Smilodon and then turns his gaze towards the Tilau, << Purpose other than kill? >> The tiger asks as he stretches and then shifts up a form, growing more massive as he takes on the killing form of their kind. A stretch and massive paws flex claws out to rake against the earth lightly as he adjusts to the larger form after all the fun and sound effects that accompany such a shift. He licks his teeth once and then twitches his whiskers, << Just kill will alert enemy to further attack. Put whole centipede nest on alert no? >> Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke asks.
Sparrow merely settles to listen. There are no questions from the kit, though his eyes light up at the idea of a hunt. In fact, it's enough to put excited energy into the young puma, and he ends bouncing from one side to the other slightly as he tries to wait patiently through question and answer time.
Paul deftly catches the origami, and bows his head to the leopard, responding in the same language, his body seeming to shift into the proper nuances to go along with the purring sounds from his human throat, <<Thank you, Sir. And I know a fox that I can thank for this>> He doesn't immediate destroy the beautiful origami though, placing it into his bag.
Viator grunts when it becomes apparent, this will not be a matter of hunting down Fomori, dancers are much more interesting prey. He'll simply watch Haroun as he speaks, bonds cracking, muscles reknitting, fur growing as he assumes the form of the walking cat. Some thing he enjoyed so often in the jungles of Asia over long decades. "I wish I had known well in advance, I could have brought molotovs." He says with a soft chuffing, his version of amusement, because he finds the idea of burning things amusing. As his clothes fade away; and his chest rig bulges to his form, he runs his fingers against the stock of his rifle with a claw, eyes closing. "Do we want to purge the hive, or is this Recce in force?" He growls out in wonder.
There is a grunting noise as the black cat stirs, moving between the rocks to come up on Haroun's left side. The great head lolls as the cat licks the human with that basket of magic. It is perhaps a thank you for the aid or just an overly affectionate gesture, or just a taste test. The black sabertooth stretches out again on the side of the rock it has claimed. Lazy perhaps, or just not wasting energy before the hunt.
Morning Mist dips her head to the spirit respectfully. She looks over at Viator as he shifts form, and she eyes the gun warily. Noisy thing. Others have asked the questions though, so she waits for the answer. No need to repeat them.
Crimson-Rogue lowers her head respectfully to the spirit. She is content to listen to those questions that are asked and remains in her smaller form, sometimes you can get further if you are less noticeable and she knows this, she is not as big and strong as the others, but as a healer, that may actually be to her advantage.
Paul smiles at the man, watching him curiously as he listens intently.
There is a flick of ears and twitch of tail from Haroun - feline laughter touched with warm approval. <<Yes, little brother. It will most certainly put the whole stinking Hive on alert.>> Which, it would seem, is the evening's goal in the longer-term scheme of things. <<This will not be the last of these outings.>> The approach of the black cat is met with a nuzzle and a lick. <<By the time I have seen you all grow in skill and strength and stature, we will have purged the Hive entire. But that is a bite much too big at the moment.>> He noses once at the man who settles back on his paws. <<Tonight your task is a simple one. Find the Guardian pack and kill them.>> There is one final pause, but when he speaks again it is with a gravity and seriousness that was missing before. <<We are not wolves. It is not in our nature to bow and scrape and take orders. But if we are to hold our own, we must learn how to work together as /cats/ - to cooperate and to pool our strengths without losing who we are. Tonight, you take that first step. Work together to find the Guardian pack. Work together to take them down. Learn what works. Learn what does not. We will be with you, even when you might not be able to see us.>>
Haroun adds one final note. <<Remember our laws. Honor your Kin and Kind. Do not neglect the kin who have come to help you. They will sometimes be your greatest assets.>>
Jindulu is the stranger here. The visitor answering the call and taking the path off the side road to join the bastet grouping for the hunt. The African cheetah familiar only to the Swara here. She chirps in response to the Kin being able to understand now, and needing to not be forgotten. <<Hello. Hello. I am JuJu Bean. I have answered the call to fight the Asura.>> Sienna dark eyes flecked with gold glance over at Paul as if memorizing his features and his scent.
The lick from the black sabretooth earns a small smile from the pale man on Haroun's paws. Reaching back he offers a small scratch behind her ear before he settles once more to let the cats do as they will. As Haroun completes his speaking, however, the man stands, keeping one hand on Haroun's fur all the while. He makes note of every face that is there, smiles again, and seems to wait.
Paul glances around to alk gathered, especially the ones he hasn't met yet, and gives each a bow of his head in respect. His eyes flicker then to the cheetah, Jindulu, and a smile comes to his face at the introduction. << I'm Paul, Blessed one. >>
Well, that's enough instruction for Sparrow. He glances around to those gathered, and then clambers down from the walk. Lifting his nose into the air he sniffs, tail flicking. <<Anyone have any idea where this Hive /is/?>> He asks then, twisting around to look over his shoulder at the other cats, <<Or a way to find its general direction?>> Seems he's not overly concerned with names. Silly kit.
Viator waits for Haroun to finish andthen looks at Alexander. "Let us first locate the prey, then we should make plans. We do not need to rely on mindless aggression this time." He says and goes to slowly screw a suppressor on his rifle. "Though an Ambush is a wonderful thing. If we can find a place to perform one." Then he'll simply look at Haroun. "In which way do we walk?" I mean come on, Haroun will at least till them which way to go, right? Maybe?
Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke looks over the assembled felines and others, he looks back towards Haroun, << If we are to hunt as a Pride. There must be a leader. I am Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke and know none of you well enough to try to be but offer suggestion. My idea would be to draw them into multiple ambushes. Harry them, make them feel they are winning and draw them further from the centipede nest. Strike to weaken and withdraw, pick off the stragglers one by one. >> The tiger looks at the others, << It seems odd to me to strike like pack of dogs. >> He adds.
Crimson-Rogue speaks up softly her voice is not loud, it isn't her way but hopefully it is at a volume that they all can hear her, <<"I am Crimson Rogue. I am not a fighter as many of you may be, but I am a healer. If you need one do not be afraid to find me, though I will try my best to help those who need me.>> She then pads over towards Viator in greeting.
Paul smiles brightly then at Morning Mist, bumping her back lightly, his hand coming down to carefully stroke her head, his fingertips ending in claws at the moment so he is being more careful. <<Good to see you too>> he tells her, but his main attention seems to be the plans being made, as his eyes are alert as he listens so he doesn't miss anything as he continues to absently scritch lightly on her head.
There is... A lot of chatter for tiny cat sensibilities. <<Why don't we just start with finding them, being quiet about it, and taking opportunities when they arise? Surely some of us have to be good at diversions.>> Sparrow offers, but then he catches something on the wind. <<Rotting wolf.>> He offers in the form of a displeased mrowl before beginning to walk out toward the East. Bold for such a young cat.
Crimson-Rogue doesn't have the most accute senses but does try to also pick up any scent she can. It might also help her locate the others if they get to far ahead.
Haroun loses one Magical Essence
If the black cat smells anything it's not sharing, instead it eventually rolls to it's feet and slowly trots off after the charging kit. She is in no hurry to catch up, sticking to the growing shadows the young one is paced like a chick being followed by a hen.
The tiger looks over towards Morning Mist and nods in agreement with her agreement. Then he settles down, << Is like herding cats. >> He says to himself with a soft chuff of laughter, finally understanding the two legged joke. He looks over towards the others when the introductions are done before he looks towards the tiny cat and then he turns to walk off to the east with the smaller feline.
There is one final nuzzle to the man at his feet, but then the great leopard disappears from sight entirely. The Smilodon remains visible, but simply stands and starts to walk calmly in the direction set by the puma cub.
Catching the lion going in the wrong direction, Sparrow pauses. <<Brother, you head the wrong way...>> He mrowls, low and loud so it carries on the flat plane of the desert, <<East.>> There's a glance to Viator as well, and a flick of his tail that is something like 'follow me,' and then he continues to trotting across the desert.
Stout Lion chuffs, sneezes, rubs his nose in the dirt, and switches to the direction the others are headed in. East it is.
Morning Mist's gaze looks after the one mentioning smelling rotting wolf. She chuffs softly, but then nudges Paul before turning to follow after the small cat too.
Crimson-Rogue covers her nose at a rotting smell and sneezes softly and then moves towards Morning Mist and JuJu, her sisters. <<Smells Rotten>>
Jindulu would chuff a chortle, as the two cats go in different directions. Then they converge, and she decides to move on four paws, picking up the pace once the direction is decided upon.
Viator is not amused when things go tits up from the get go. He can smell the death on the wind, but he couldn't scent the direction. "We should work together, follow the small one." He says, since..Sparrow is a small one, he begins to pace him, rifle carried at the low ready. "Come along Kitten!" He says to Clarisse and looks down at Sparrow briefly. "When we locate the prey, we should drop back and think of a good plan. If their scent carries here over the Dragon? I do not think they can scent our approach." He has a running list of likely outcomes he says outloud, mind dropping into being aware of them, speaking outloud. "A shame I did not bring Molotovs and grenades." He muses to him self, he actually sounds -depressed- he didn't bring those.
It is only once the cats leave that the man follows, in his way. One of the origami is slipped into his pocket and... He is gone. To where? Who knows.
Auberon transforms into a mass of various, colorful spiders.
Paul pushes himself away from the rocks at the nudge, and starts after the others. He notices the one heading off differently, and smiles to himself. He glances over to Viator, and just shakes his head with a grin.
As the cats converge on the eastward direction, the great Smilodon pauses next to Paul with a single, heavy sigh. <<Come, little one,>> he rumbles with all the paternal affection of a grandfather to a favored grandson. The great cat lowers himself to the ground with all the regal bearing of an ancient king. <<The young are often thoughtless. You may ride with me.>>
Sparrow seems happy to lead the way, his ear twitching at Viator as he speaks. <<When he find them, yes we should make a plan.>> He answers with a flick of his tail, <<The best hunting comes from splitting a group. Spook one part of the herd one way and the other another. But I do not think they are easily scared. But some of us are quick, and can lead some on a merry chase, I am sure, while others attack from behind?>> He had hunted with his mother, after all. Never a group this big, but the idea is the same, right?
Paul hesitates for just a moment, and then carefully gets onto the huge cat, his body language and tone humble, "<<Many thanks, Blessed one. And they are anxious to prove themselves>>.
Crimson-Rogue truly hopes that the smell doesn't make her sneeze the entire time they are on the way. The smell though does offer reassurance they are heading in the right direction even if it bothers her. << I am coming, Fluffy! >> to Viator.
There is a snort from the black shadow pacing Sparrow, <<Fluffy?>> The Black sabertooth snaps it's stubby tail back and forth in what might be amusement. One large ear is flicked forward the other lays down along it's neck. Great green eyes look ahead and then back at the herd of cats.
Viator's fur is shimmering as he concentrates as he reaches into the soul, recalling on ancient wisdom, and ..it just plain doesn't work. Oh look, a sparkle of power and it fizzles out. "Yes, when we find them, we should draw them away from each other..or at least into our midsts unaware. My rifle will let me draw them were we wish if they lack their own." he says, in a very annoyed tone at the lack of powers working.
Stout Lion finds a nice pretty stone to claw up on the way and trots along, in no hurry, just fast enough to keep up. Unless those damn cheetahs are hauling ass, then he falls behind. << I can draw attention, if others remain hidden, they would see easy prey, many against one. Free strikes if they do not see the ambush. >> Basically the opposite of a common lion hunting tactic of chase a herd toward the ambush.
Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke focuses his will and tries to call upon what he knows of the spirits, hoping for the blessings of additional toughness but all his concentration does is end up making him feel like he is going to cough up a hairball. He chuffs in annoyance softly. He shakes his head and then slows his pace so that he stays with the smaller cats who have the better noses for the time being. He looks over towards the Lion and shrugs slightly, << OR a Swara, would be easier to keep ahead of them. >> He suggests.
<< I am fairly good at keeping still and silent. >> Sparrow says, <<Someone drawing them out is, honestly, a good idea. I'm happy to wait until they're led on a chase and then to attack from the flank. I have no shiny magic yet, only my teeth and claws.>> He is careful to keep his nose up, though, so they don't run into the group before they mean to.
The soft crunch of desert sand under the paws of the big black sabertooth stops and the cat becomes on with the darkness. It continues the silent march to battle splitting its attention between the young ones and the danger somewhere ahead.
Morning Mist's pacing slows to fall in with the spirit Smilodon, and she says sheepishly, <<Honored spirit, I can carry Paul if you prefer. I'm sorry I didn't think of that.>>
The Smilodon tilts his head down to look at the much smaller Swara, kindness glowing in old, old eyes. <<Your thoughtfulness does you credit, my child, but the test was to /account/ for the kin, not to have to carry him yourselves. He and I will do quite well here together.>>
Crimson-Rogue doesn't have all the fancy skills but she can certainly pick up on some quick as she observes the others preparing, and she doesn't want to use all her strength now knowing what is to come.
<UMBRA> Giant Peacock Spider transforms into a giant blue-faced peacock spider. DELIRIUM IN EFFECT. +rules The Delirium.
Paul looks to Morning Mist, <<Maybe should have gotten Bobby to change me into a bird or something. I will call for one overhead.>> He gives her a warm smile, then glances down at the mighty spirit. <<You honor me>>.
Morning Mist dips her head to Smilodon, and then eyes Paul, <<No getting hurt, friend. Lily would be mad at me.>> She winks one honey colored eye but seems inclined to pace along beside the spirit and Paul for now, though she glances around, taking note of everyone's location, particularly marking her cheetah-sisters.
Paul says to Morning Mist, <<Not planning on it, this is you all's time to learn and shine, I'm here to just help. I'll keep up by watching through the bird's eyes>>.
Giant Peacock Spider loses one Magical Essence
Stout Lion learned the hard way to not push ahead of those with armor gifts, so stays just a few hairs' breadths behind the tigers until they have a workable plan, or have to take solid action. (Defensive if anything jumps out this round)
As they continue through the desert, Sparrow starts to recognize this place. Head lifting, his ear twitches and he slows his bounding stride to a bouncing trot. His tail goes still as his ears swivel forward and he looks around. <<There.>> He says, low and quiet, just enough to carry to the other cats, <<That path is their track, it smells of them. They'll be back here, or somewhere on this trail.>> The trampled path in its huge circle is subtle, but it's there, obvious once it's been pointed out. Sparrow lowers his body with a flick of his tail, stalking through the desert as he searches for a good place to hide.
Morning Mist's steps are silent. Wonderfully, amazingly silent. Her tracks are there but not the sound. So nice. She is keeping a close eye on the small one with the nose ahead, so when Sparrow points out the trail, she drops down as well, creeping closer, slowly.
Plodding along in silence the black cat look up through the barrier between worlds and for a moment watches the spider. But as the spider is a friend of Haroun's there is a polite nod of thanks given for it's efforts.
Paul concentrates, sending out the call for the aid of one of local desert birds - many of them he already knows - and gaining its help to fly over the group, and allow him to link with it and watch through its eyes, checking for dangers and anything they can then see ahead while keeping eyes on the cats below. Always a good thing to have eyes in the sky. He manages the link, and smiles, saying a prayer to Selene in thanks, then thanking the bird for its help as he solidifies the connection. He can now see through its eyes. Such a rush the sensation of flight, and he has to adjust his senses from just seeing ahead of his physical body to also seeing the view from above.
Viator drops back to focus, his fur taking on a harder consistency and his eyes open when Sparrow speaks. "Good..we should deploy along the trail." He says, eyes flickering, looking for any changes in terrain. "Alex?" He asks, suddenly turning to the Lion, since he knows he's as aggressive as can be. "You and my brother should be in the positions to lead the ambush. Our faster brethren should be ready to take advantage of the chaos. I will draw them in." He says, kneeling down to begin sweeping his rifle up and down the trail; using the scope to see further then natural eyesight would allow.
<UMBRA> The giant peacock spider has followed along in the Umbra. With soft chittering, he begins to build a trap of webbing at one end of the trail the wolves have made in the desert. The webs are thick and strong, and he weaves them with a careful precision, a special kind of art that he takes great care in.
Crimson-Rogue goes into a sneezing fit at the smell of the and whimpers as she looks up at Viator, trying to show him what she sees. <<Blood, Fluffy... all over the trail>> She is clearly concerned as she can sense it more now. As she sniffs at it to show him she sneezes again and growls lowly at it.
Paul_Owl tenses on the large spirit cat's back, and says quickly, <<Beware, danger ahead! There's a pack of /large/ ugly wolves on that circuit ahead, and they are headed this way!>>
After the second time the spirits do not allow him to access his gift, Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke shakes his head, thinking to himself, .oO( I need a mountain sentai... the only reason we will win this is because of numbers and support...) Clearly the big sabretoothed tiger is not feeling all that keen on this plan. Or maybe it's the lack of the protection of Jade that has unnerved him. << I am not your brother. >> is spit at Viator in bit of a snarl but the rest of the other felines going into warning and frantic noises causes him to get a grip on himself. << Be still. Be calm. Find cover and a place to ambush from. Keep out of the wind and let them come past you before you pounce. >> But then he looks back towards the Lion and Napalm and his lips curl a bit, << Attack the smallest one first. Work your way up. Who is the bait? >> He looks over towards the great spirit for a few moments and then starts to slink back as best he can to prepare for ambush in whatever terrain the desert gives them.
The warning is an accurate one. The sounds of yipping and howling and harsh growls are coming from upwind - bone-chilling in their volume as well as their high-pitched timbre. Six Hispo Garou are making their way around patrol, heedless of the web that has locked the umbral door on them. This is the route they take several times a night. Every night. And there's fresh blood on their teeth and matted into what fur they have. So they're not being particularly stealthy. Except for one - the grizzled old battle veteran with bile and blood dripping from his slavering maw. He looks wary. Everyone else is still high off a fresh kill.
The Smilodon stays back a fair ways, watching the goings on with Paul astride his back. He, at least, seems calm, as though all is unfolding as it should be.
With Sparrow's surprise slash right across his face, the Philodox leading the way trips and stumbles, tumbling tits over teakettle in the dust before sitting up with a dazed look that might almost be funny if the situation wasn't so dire. There is a growl when he shakes himself, however, and takes off right away after the scampering babby puma. The pack starts to follow him, but gunshots into the Galliard mean that only the Theurge and the Ahroun follow the Philodox on his puma chase. The Ragabash and the Galliard turn and start to run toward those gunshots, but this alpha... This grizzled, wily old alpha, he knew to be on alert. When things start happening, he's ready - leaping up a series of boulders and letting Bat's Gift carry him swiftly to exact vengeance on the uppity bastards who dared to interrupt their night. It's a vicious bite into the lion-creature, but wolves always seem to forget to account for manes. He lands a hit, but mostly he comes away with a mouthful of cat hair and a /mean/ sounding bark.
The black cat watches from the shadows cause watching is helping in her mind. The head tilts as if bites at the lion then she makes a soft barely audible chuff. <<Stupid wolves, biting at a lion's head is like banging yours on a rock.>> Other then the pithy comments it seems all the cat is going to do is watch.
Morning Mist manages to get to a bush and hide herself before the stinky wolves come into sight. There. Now there's at least one the wolves don't even know exist yet!
Well, two smaller groups are still easier to deal with than one. Taking off for his life, Sparrow turns his half of the pack around so that the hidden cats can /hopefully/ get at them from behind. He may not be a cheetah, but he's quick, and there's something when he moves this fast that is a little bit like flying. It makes his soul sing, the firebird that is his shape in the Umbra burning in his heart and spurring him on. The ones that have been distracted by gunfire he can do nothing for yet, but even a plan for that is starting to form in the mind of the young puma.
<UMBRA> The giant spider is calm as the chaos erupts. Chittering some more to himself, he builds another large trap a few hundred feet down the path, so that the general fighting area, thus far, has one on each end. It's not perfect, but it's something.
High above there is a hooting noise, and Paul uses his varied mental powers to communicate in haste to the group. He won't force into minds unless if they seem to resist, but it would be hard for the cats to know if they heard his voice in their heads or it was vocal. <<You have them split! Three of the wolves went off after the puma, another one jumped and missed the lion, and is moving around in front of us.>>
Crimson-Rogue makes herself smaller and quietly joins near Morning Mist to hide with her sister. she is buring her nose into the dirt to try to keep herself from sneezing again and giving away her position. That taint annoys her nose to no end.
Paul_Owl says, <<Two of them are running toward where the gunshots came from>>.
Maahes' Sword is doing better than last time! He tilts the angle of his body as the silly mutt pretends to be a flying squirel and feels the weight hit his shoulder with a grunt. Flaming spirit fists were much harder to deal with. But.. but.. MY MANE! It tore a chunk off MY MANE! BAD DOG!
Viator lets out a single round, plowing through the air before he backs up, though with Alex staying close; he'll move in support of him, rather then completely splitting off. "Let the faster brethren chase." He barks out, hopefully the Swara hear him, he's a bit busy suddenly, with a ..batwolf right there. "And if you fall, I am putting you on a diet if I have to carry you." He cautions Alex, because he can. He fully seems to be -enjoying- this.
The plan falls apart instantly, Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke is not surprised by this, they always do. The gunfire causes his ears to lay flat and he just looks at the other cat who also hid like they were supposed to and chuffs softly << Remember, smallest one first before it calls spirits. It's always the smallest ones that are the most dangerous in the long run. >>
It's an event in no time flat. The puma is a difficult little bugger to catch. The Theurge gives up on trying to catch him, but summons a good amount of water to try and slick his path. Half of it ends up /on/ the puma, but you know, she tried. The Ahroun and the Philodox are gaining on him, and the Ahroun's jaws have started to foam and salivate with... no, even really excited pupperish saliva should not /glow green in the dark/. That is definitely Not Good.
Natalie's attack on the Ragabash hits home, but seems to hurt him more than damage him. It certainly distracts him and he whips around with a low snarl to sink teeth into delicate cheetah belly. That... is a lot of blood. He does not fare so well against the sudden appearance of Kenji, and is thoroughly distracted - and summarily beaten up pretty damn good - from his pursuit of the Swara's pain. Which is good, because it gives the other spotted lady a chance to creep across and heal her sister.
The Alpha apparently picked the wrong lion to have a fight with. Alex successfully pins him to Crinos-body and - despite the alpha's efforts to break free - rips his throat open in a heinous show of violent victory. Viator's shot got off alright, but it's dark. It hit a dull metal talisman around the Alpha's neck and got stuck there. Even with the alpha dead (and sailing through the night sky to bowl his comrade to the ground) that talisman glows a pale and sickly yellow around the bullet it now has sticking from its face.
From their vantage point, the Smilodon looks terribly amused. <<They are acquitting themselves quite well, don't you think?>> Inquired conversationally up to the kinfolk on his back. <<The desert owls should have finished their breakfasts by now, little one. Why don't you ask a few if they wouldn't mind relieving themselves where it will do the most good?>> There is a low, warm chuckle - a grandfather thoroughly amused at the chance to act like he is twelve. "After all, it is much harder to chase or hit what you cannot see.>>
The black cat yawns and idly licks at it's bulging midsection. Not really needed at the moment it takes care of...things...before finding a new vantage point to watch the young savage their prey.
Paul_Owl grins at the huge spirit cat. <<They are all doing great! I'm sure they will make many proud tonight, and by tomorrow morning the spirits will be singing the tale to others.>> He chuckles then, and nods. <<Be glad to do just that. I'll tell them to make sure not to soil any cat fur though>>. And Paul goes ahead and does just that, concentrating to call upon as many other owls in the area that can hear him.
Viator is becoming a pissed off kat, rifle is forgotten, along with a litany in multiple dialects his round didn't bisect the Alpha's brainpan, instead the cat blends into a new form, teeth bared as he goes to slam into the Galliard, claws slicing through the body. "Run!" He suddenly roars at every one nearby, not waiting for others to question, nope, time to go and help others and get some distance between them and evil talisman.
With the Ragabash in such dire straits, Natalie makes a heroic dive for his throat, leaving new wounds where sharp cat teeth have dug into wolf pelt and flesh. Howling in pain, the Ragabash does his best to lash out at the source of his suffering, ripping open a fairly substantial gash in Kenji's chest. Tangling with a tiger is a dangerous game, and the Ragabash pays for it. First with /almost/ dying and spinning into a frenzy. Then with /actually/ dying. It's bloody, it's gross, but that's the way of the Spirals, generally speaking. At least it's done.
Those owls are /damn/ good shots. One misses, but two of them hit their mark. This poor Philodox and Ahroun now have a bunch of bird shit /in their eyes/. That's terribly rude, guys. Just ask 'em. This Ahroun has an especially hard time, pawing at his eyes and whining rather pitifully. The 'dox doesn't see the lion coming for him and ends up with his shoulder sliced open to the bone. He lashes out at that lion, but can't seem to do more than scrabble furiously at Alex without doing any real harm. And, in fact, ends up lionish mince meat. Silly pupper.
Viator's rip through into Chatro quite handily takes out this Galliard - though it is a mess of blood. (There will need to be quite a few kitty baths after this, for certain.) And though it takes a couple of tries, the little puma successfully shows off his death-kitty-in-training status by nearly killing the Ahroun - and, with everyone converging on the resulting frenzy, /actually/ killing it as well.
That Theurge over yonder? Well, she knows a losing fight when she sees one. She turns tail and runs back toward the hive. She doesn't get very far, however. For those who are sensitive to such things, there is a burst of angry cat magic from somewhere in the midst of the fray, an instant before a bolt of lightning strikes the fleeing Theurge and leaves her nothing but a charred corpse smoking in the desert dirt. With that bright light and loud clap, the golden leopard is visible again, sitting very primly right in the middle of the carnage - tail draped over his paws and everything.
It makes for a very convenient hiding spot when the poor young Swara is startled by the sudden light and sound. And he is quite content to turn and purr and lick at spotted ears in reassurance. Cat Dad to the last.
When the fighting is done, and all the wolves are dead, Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke is bleeding from where he was torn open by the foul claws of the centipede corrupted wolf but he looks like he will live. He lowers his muzzle and sniffs the wound before his lips curl in a disgusted snarl. << They are all dead. >> He says plainly then looks over at the little puma, << You fought fiercely. >> He lowers his blood soaked muzzle down in respect, << It could have been much worse if we did not have such superior numbers... it would be better to plan the ambush point better. >> He starts to stretch a bit, an annoyed look on the sabretooth tiger's face.
When finally it is done, Sparrow perks up visibly. Covered in blood he may be, but he seems /excited/ by that fact. His tail swishes swiftly side to side, and when the tiger speaks to him, his ear twitches before it swivels in his direction. <<More planning would have been good,>> He says with a flick at the tip of his tail, <<But there was no more time for talking, and someone had to play distraction.>> If a cat could shrug, that's the gesture that follows in his body language, sitting down, tail over his paws. Lifting one of those paws to his face, he begins the long process of grooming the blood from his fur, <<It got done, and none of us fell. Sometimes, that is the best you can do.>> Very sure of himself for a kit.
Alexander kicks a body. "Numbers, and surprise. But this batch is handled. When they're replaced, expect the next batch to be stronger, and wary." Paul gets off the spirit cat, to get a few things off the nearest spiral. But he first gives a bow to the large spirit, "Thank you for the assistance, and the... conversation and ideas." He chuckles.
Viator is annoyed, switching back to homid and retrieving his rifle. Starting to..basically pound the Alpha's face into a pulp with the stock. "I was attempting to explain a superior ambush plan, but people do not listen." He grouses, CRUNCH there, bone shattered, he feels better. Also there is every possibility he shattered his rifle's stock, these things happen. Then..he has to go and retrieve the spent brass. "We should leave now. They will be noticed, and it will be hard enough to cover our tracks out here." He says and looks along the trail. "Unless some one can cause a flood here to cover our tracks, it is best we leave." He says before turning to being catherding Clarisse off towards safety of Dragon-Oasis. From there, home..or Sunhome, or some thing.
<<Superior numbers?>> Haroun's question is mild, offered from exactly where he sits grooming the Chatro Swara into a post-battle nap. <<Honored Smilodon had to offer no one Gnosis, Niccia had to step into harm's way to heal no one, Auberon had to anchor no wolf in place to allow a retreat, and I only swatted a cowardly fly that was beneath your notice.>> Sparrow's surety earns low, warm laughter - in the rumbling way of large felines. <<Do not be so hard on yourselves. These wolves?>> He pauses to look out over the bodies littering the desert floor. <<The alpha was their version of Ilani. The lawgiver, the warrior, and the tale-singer were Tilau. The shaman was Akaa, and the trickster was Tekhmet.>> He huffs, amused but not concerned. <<More planning would be better. What else did you learn?>> Viator's foul-tempered outburst, however, causes the great cat's ears to pin back in annoyance. <<Your entitlement and temper do you no credit, cousin. You are, of course, free to leave if you wish.>> But he shows no concern about moving from where he sits. Nor does he fight about the moving of Clarisse. She is an adult and can make her own decisions, he meant only to offer comfort in the wake of fear.
As for Smilodon, he bows his head in a return of respect to Paul as the kin climbs off his back. <<We make a good team, young one. I look forward to doing battle with you and yours once more.>>
Niccia appears with a bag over her shoulder, "Can someone please start a small fire, we should get you all cleansed. Then I need to go eat, it's been almost 4 hours since my last meal." She seems to be joking about the food seems to be. "Oh Fluffy will you be nice enough to gather wood?" Yes that is his new name Viator has earned his stripes and a fuzzy tail and bunny ears.
<<Your idea of a superior plan does not /make/ it so.>> Sparrow answers Viator on a sudden hiss. And with all the stubbornness of a hassled kitten he remains sitting /right where he is./ To hell with leaving. There's a low growl in the back of his throat, but it's mostly to himself, and doesn't interrupt his continuing to clean his fur. The growl stops as Haroun speaks though Sparrow continues his grooming.
Paul grins at Smilodon, "A pleasure, and I look forward to it, anytime!" He hears Niccia, and moves to her, sheathing his blade and taking the vial and it to place them back into his pack. He moves with it then to her, and pulls out a package from the bag, handing it to her, "I'll gather up some tumbleweed for tinder while he gets the wood." She'll find in the pack some beef and fish jerky, trail mix of nuts and dried fruits, and protein energy bars. What Bubasti goes anywhere with no food?
Alexander can, indeed, start a fire. Especially with the book of matches in his pocket.
<< I am more angry with myself. >> Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke says to Haroun, << It took me to many strikes to bring down that Dancer. I do not care if I get hurt, but she should not have been if I had done my job. >> He chuffs in annoyance again but then is distracted by Viator's actions, his ears lay flat a moment before he looks at Niccia, << I will find some. >> And he turns to bound out into the desert on the hunt for dried cactus or a joshua tree he can rip down. It's a desert, but it's not the Sahara, there is still life and plants that can be used.
There is a smile sent after Paul as Nic finds some trail mix to munch on. She sets down bottles of water from her bag, then takes out a bundle of trimmed branches. "You all did wonderfully, no one died. No lasting injuries and no survivors on the otherside. Even your teamwork was not to bad, you covered each other."
Paul says, “Too bad Bobby ain't here, he could just swoosh up a fire right quick like," he sighs a little, and moves about the area gathering up brush, twigs, whatever he can find for the fire.”
Haroun nods toward Kenji - it will be a relief to go through a taghairm and a series of proper introductions. <<That is an understandable response, cousin. I only mean to give you a sense of scale for what you all were able to accomplish here. This was no untested band of puppies.>> There is something warm and calm in the way he speaks - paternal is an instinct he is hitting hard right now with a nesting mate at home near to bursting. <<Niccia is correct. You did very well. I am impressed by and proud of what you have accomplished.>> Sparrow's hissing response to Viator earns him a glance and a flicked ear - the feline equivalent of a single raised brow - but there is nothing Haroun feels obliged to correct. Yet. And though he is content to stand and stretch and pad over to help the babby puma groom blood from his fur, his unanswered question will be repeated when all who are staying have returned for Niccia's cleansing. Paul's quip about swooshing up a fire earns a flicker of feline laughter, however, and a low, purring joke. << I could tell the sky we need more lightning, if you would like? >>
The Smilodon, content to see that his former passenger is safe and busy helping his descendents, makes a mrowl to catch Haroun's attention that, in feline, roughly translates to cub-of-my-little-sister. <<If you no longer need me, I have other children to tend to.>> And when he is met with a low bow of Haroun's head, the great Spirit vanishes.
When Smilodon leaves, he looks around quickly, "Oh! I was gonna see what I could do for him, in return for his aid.. well, maybe another time then." He chuckles at Haroun then, "No, Sir, that's okay, unless Miss Niccia wants that fire a bit quicker, 'n probably a lot bigger too!"
Niccia's eyes follow the leaving Khan till he is out of sight though she says nothing. As she works with one hand the other is making the journey from container to her mouth. Lips licked she calls out, "Thank you Paul." then she spots Haroun, "And there you go getting Calash's blood all over your fingers." humor lightens her tone as she waits for the fire to be built.
After a time the tiger comes back dragging a dead joshua tree into the middle of their 'camp'. That done he finally lays down on his side and starts to lick his wounds, but he has a lot of personal grooming to do as well.
<<Dogs are very easy to make chase.>> Sparrow finally answers Haroun as his Kuasha comes over to help groom, <<Also, large groups should probably talk more before heading off. I was impatient.>> It's a simple thing to admit for him, not coming with any kind of apology or shame. It simply /is/, in that easy way of feral born youngsters. Mistakes are well and fine, not worth being upset about, especially when no one died.
Alexander is glad he has a match, because he certainly doesn't seem to share the fire affinity of certain other Simba. But he does manage to get some heat and flame going.
<< I have no problem with Cahlash's blood, dear one, >> Haroun purrs toward Niccia. <<This is Asura-tainted blood.>> It's a quiet, mild statement, but he does not budge. <<The wolves have forgotten the difference. Let us not make the same mistake.>> There's even a flick of tail for a feline grin. <<And you're going to cleanse us all, anyway, aren't you? Sprinkle some on me too and we'll be fine.>> He goes back to his grooming, listening to kittenish conclusion with a warm rumble of approval. <<A lesson well-learned, flicker-bird. You will do better next time.>> And though he doesn't stop with his grooming, there's a wink in Paul's direction for that witty reply.
Interestingly, if anyone bothers to look, the corpses of the fallen have vanished along with Smilodon - though a /careful/ inspection might turn up some wolf teeth and metis claws... and one homid canine left behind.
Paul drops what he has found in a pile close to the others, then sees what the tiger brought, and moves to it. "Thanks, Sir," he says as he starts to break up the dead branches enough to stomp down on the trunk to make it ready to fire up.
Alexander looks around and.. meh, bodies handled is bodies handled. So instead he relaxes and waits for his turn at a spirit spit bath
Sparrow falls quiet then, flicking his ear, pleased that he's given a sufficient answer. There's fur to groom, and he focuses on that. This cleansing thing can happen at whatever pace it needs to.
Niccia chuckles softly and bows her head to Haroun before she starts the rounds with wetted branches and her tribes addition of some potent smelling incense bound up in tightly wrapped linen. She sprinkles and waves a bit of smoke over bodies furred and homid alike. She takes her time to make sure it's done to the best of her ability, less haste more precision so it doesn't need to be done again.
Alexander feels the burn! No, really. As the cleansing chases away the taint, there's that sensation of pain as he gets a good a good scrubbing, metaphorically speaking.
Haroun is patient with the cleansing, ears flicking with an unavoidable cat's annoyance at being spritzed with water. He's got good enough manners to keep that annoyance from causing any more intense reactions, focusing instead on the grooming of the puma for whom he is most directly responsible. Once the blood is mostly gone, he nudges Sparrow in the shoulder. <<Go on, then, flicker-bird. Get your trophies. You've earned them.>> He nods toward Alexander and Kenji as well, since it looks like Paul has already gathered his. <<Thank you, Niccia.>> There is much leopard-ish nuzzling of mama-cat. <<There is plenty of food at home, I can guarantee you. I've left Cenn alone in the kitchen /all day/.>> So there might be pastries popping out the windows at this rate! Or something. <<Anyone who is hungry or in need of a place to rest is welcome to come, too. There are plenty of rooms I can open for the night.>>
Paul feeds the fire Alex got started, then as the smoke moves over him he inhales deeply, and relaxes, letting it cleanse whatever traces might be on him, especially spiral hair and/or body parts.
Sitting still through the ritual is easy. Though bright, kittenish eyes do watch Niccia intently. When it is all said and done, he just tilts his head and twitches his ear in a 'that's it?' sort of expression. No tingling or burning for him, just smoke and the sprinkling of water. Slightly damp... Anticlimatic. But then there are trophies to get. Standing, he bounds over to whatever is left of the Ahroun to claim that for his own.
As she finishes sprinkling the cats she drops a hand on the Khan's shoulder to help him heal. Then off she goes, "I do love Cenn's cooking. I'll be glad once the cub is born and I can go back to eating what ever I like and not gaining weight."
Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke chuffs his thanks at Niccia's cleansing and at that point goes about grooming himself with more vigor, wanting the blood and such off before it dries, and he also spends more time licking his wounds but he doesn't try to heal them, letting it heal naturally at least as far as he is concerned. The heat of the fire though is welcome as nights cool off fast in the desert and it's not quite summer yet! << I am of the Court of the Emerald Mother. >> And he introduces himself, << Rited Heaven's Thunderous Rebuke. >> He looks over at Sparrow and then Haroun, and the others, << I do not know the ways of the Gai'nan well. I apologize if I offend anyone. It is not intentional. >> And then the tiger is touched, and he is healed, and he looks down at his side and lowers his chin to his paws, << Thank you. >>
Alexander does gather a few trophies of his own. He does, after all, live with a pair of crafters.
Paul gives Heaven's a deep bow of his head as he introduces himself, and then replies, "I'm Paul Barakat, kinfolk to those who walk the dark sands of Khem."
Kenji says to Paul, << We met, at the wolf's den. >>
<< I do not believe anyone here has been offended, and it is good to meet you more properly. I am rited Haroun - if you ever need to reach me, this is how the spirits will know to find me. >> But he is also walking toward home, mrowrling a soft 'come along' to his cub and leaving the earlier invitation open.
<< I'm Sparrow. >> He offers to Heaven's, but that's as much time as he has. Then he's trotting after Haroun with a proud bounce in his step. So pleased with himself. Then again, he'll probably pass out the minute they're at home.
Alexander does shift back to feline as they head out, but only after he speaks up with the introduction. "Alexander Ataia, Maahes' Sword." and does not feel the need to add Tribe, because, well, obvious.