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Westering Holt
Holt Mistress


Posts : 131
Join date : 2011-06-15

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PostSubject: The Scouts   Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:10 pm

Role Play Forums » 13,398 Season of Hot Sun: Grass, Grass, Everywhere, and Not a Tree in Sight » The Scouts
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The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 20, 2009, 10:21pm

Windsoft gathered her scouts together, and asked one of the unbonded wolves to allow Softling to ride her. They'd be traveling quickly and she wouldn't ask any wolf to carry double at the speed they'd be going.

"Longdusk, be our eyes. We're moving fast, and we have to sacrifice stealth to do it. You keep watch and warn if you see danger approaching," Windsoft said as she bundled the limp waterskins together. "Tallspear, you watch the ground for trails where game is traveling. Those trails usually lead to water at some point. Softling," she turned to the cub and smiled, reaching out to tap her nose gently with a fingertip. "You keep that sharp nose of your reading the wind."

Slinging the waterskins over her shoulder, she quickly straddled Bristlecone and waited for her group to mount up. she cast a grin at Journey, sending him a wave of love and warmth. "We'll return soon, Chieftess!" she said, then buried her hands in Bristlecone's ruff and leaned low.

The wolf launched herself into motion, the ground-devouring lope quickly taking them beyond sight of the tribe, following the path that Silent has pointed out to them.

Re: The Scouts
Post by peachbug on May 20, 2009, 11:47pm

Softling let slip what must have been a very silly looking grin at Windsoft's words, the kind she'd seen Silvercub give Redthorn after letting the wolves roll her into the mud or leaping onto an unsuspecting elf. Stop that, she reprimanded herself. You have to be useful, capable, not a cub tugging on Windsoft's tunic.

Softling turned her attentions back to keeping a firm grasp on the wolf beneath her and her head down, though turned to the side to let the wind sweep her face. If there was game on the air, she would catch it.Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 21, 2009, 5:29am

With Firecat's words planted firmly into his mind, Longdusk nodded at Windsoft. He wasn't really keen on having the cub with them, but at least there would be enough hunters to protect the throwback elfess if she fluked. The scout narrowed his eyes, and scanned the surroundings. Nothing. A whole lot of nothing, for days on end already.

Seeing that Windsoft determinedly went to a specific direction, he couldn't stop himself from asking: *You don't have to answer, but why there?*Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 21, 2009, 8:37pm

Windsoft didn't look at Longdusk, but her reply was quick and cheerful, openly sent so that all of the scouts would know the reason. Windsoft didn't believe in keeping the reasons for a decision hidden. *Silent said water is in this direction, and Stormfire told us to go this way.*

Windsoft paused in her sending, her eyes and attention following a bird that took sudden flight. It was too late in the season for eggs, and Windsoft disliked hunting young, so she didn't pause to look for nests as they ran through the grass.

The days heat had passed and if it wasn't cool, it was comfortable beneath the moons and the stars. She had a good feeling about this foray. Silent had pointed them in the right direction, she just knew it. The only question: how far would they have to ride?

Re: The Scouts
Post by kris on May 21, 2009, 10:01pm


May 20, 2009, 11:47pm, peachbug wrote:
Softling turned her attentions back to keeping a firm grasp on the wolf beneath her and her head down, though turned to the side to let the wind sweep her face. If there was game on the air, she would catch it.


Tallspear rode up beside Softling, liking more of what he saw the closer he got. *Scent us a lake, Softling,* he teased, winking as she shot a look his way before urging his wolf-friend forward. All big startled eyes; yet he liked having them turned on him, and added, *Find us a lake, and I'll let you jump in first,* before going ahead to sight out any trails.Re: The Scouts
Post by peachbug on May 21, 2009, 10:53pm

Softling blushed again as Tallspear rode forward. Could the hunter possibly get any odder? Just like Journey, with the teasing, and all of it felt doubly odd in that she really wasn't sure what she thought. She was not tremendously naiive, but she couldn't read the underlying truthfulness of what he meant.

The tracker struggled to come up with some quick remark, but settled for just flustering like she always did and lowering her eyes.Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 22, 2009, 11:27am

Since Longdusk usually discarded any of Silent's messages as those of a featherbrained cub, he couldn't suppress a snort. But in this forsaken place, any other direction would've done, too. He shrugged the feeling off, knowing that questionning or arguing would only exhaust them further.
The bird that flew didn't go unnoticed to the hunter, either, and he followed it until it was out of sight. To have any life around here, meant that there had to be water somewhere.Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 22, 2009, 1:21pm

Windsoft chuckled at Longdusk's reaction. **I know,** she locksent to him. **He's never given us cause to pay him much heed before, and he's well past the age when he should have taken his place in the tribe and contributed. Some cubs take longer than others, though, and this very situation may be what he needed to see just how he could contribute. High Ones know he's no hunter or scout!** She glanced over at Longdusk and arched a slim, black brow. **He may surprise us. And if this is the wrong direction, then this failure may be what he needs to pull his head out of it's dream and focus on the world - and tribe! - around him.**


Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 23, 2009, 10:39am

With a firm nod, Longdusk agreed to Windsoft's comments. Actually, he felt a bit relieved because Windsoft had basically just told him that she wasn't sure if she'd believed Silent's outbursts, either. **We'll see,** he replied, actually raising the corner of his mouth in something that looked like a smile, but it quickly vanished again. Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 24, 2009, 6:43pm

((Jumping forward several hours))

They'd been racing across the grasslands without pause for a long while. Morning was still a long way off, but Windsoft counseled herself to patience. She was eager to find water, and despite her words to Longdusk, she had allowed herself to hope that Silent had sent them in the right direction.

But nothing yet.

What if they didn't find anything? What if they did...but it was too late?

'Stop that,' Windsoft told herself sternly. 'We're not completely out of water yet. We're uncomfortable, and yes, starting to feel the lack - but we're not endangered yet. We WILL find water.'

Re: The Scouts
Post by kris on May 24, 2009, 7:04pm

Journey let Bigears stop for a breather, panting along with him. Both elf and wolf were jubilant. After several hours' pursuit, they were about to catch up with the scouts.

He dismounted, poured some water from his skin into his palm, and let Bigears drink. Taking a quick, if reluctant, swig himself, Journey hauled himself back up on his wolf-friend. "Off we go, Bigears," he murmured. "Time to be where the fun really is!"

And Bigears whuffed once and took off through the grass again, letting out short, sharp barks as he caught up with their scouting kin.Re: The Scouts
Post by peachbug on May 24, 2009, 7:55pm

Softling spun round at the wolf's faint barks, her mouth forming an 'o' of confusion, startlement, and then horror. As the wolf and elf overtaking the scouts drew closer, the tracker's nose, aching slightly from testing the dry air for hours, recognized the scents easily.

*Windsoft!* She sent desperately, "What is Journey doing?!*Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 24, 2009, 8:43pm

At Softling's send, Windsoft straightened up and Bristlecone immediately slackened her pace. As the wolf came almost to a stop and danced around to face the oncoming Journey, Windsoft felt a jagged shard of fear slice across her mind. What was her cub doing here? Had something happened to their tribemates?

*Journey!* she sent sharply. *What's happened? Why aren't you with Stormfire?*

Re: The Scouts
Post by kris on May 24, 2009, 10:24pm

Journey dismounted from Bigears, catching his breath. Thirst almost choked him. He reached for his waterskin and sucked liquid from it, grimacing at the awful taste, before he answered Windsoft's send.

**Nothing's wrong, Mother. Everything's fine. I just wanted to join the scouts.** He gave her a wide grin. **Anyone find water yet?**Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 24, 2009, 11:00pm

Windsoft had lept from Bristlecone's back as soon as Journey reached them, and had raced to her son before he'd responded to her send. Now she stared at him, unable to believe his answer, and the additional information attached to that send. His decision to leave the tribe. His willful disregard for the call of his chieftess. And the reason for his disobedience: simple boredom.

Windsoft doted on her child. She'd encouraged his curiosity, his testing of boundaries, his energetic approach to life. She'd taken pride in his intelligence and his zest for life.

Never had she thought that she'd raised a cub to be so disrespectful and... and... and....

*YOU FOOLISH CUB!* she 'shouted' at him fit to sting the minds of all around them. She followed the reprimand with a blow to the side of his head that numbed his ear and rattled his brain. It was the first time Windsoft had ever struck him - and it wasn't the blow of a mother to child.

*How DARE you? What makes you think you know what's best for the tribe, or the scouts? I did not call you to this task for a reason, you ravvit-wit! You've deprived the tribe of one more protector, which High Ones only know if they'll need! You endangered yourself by riding across unknown territory all alone!*

Windsoft barely restrained herself from striking him again, she was so angry. She drew back, away from him, and remounted Bristlecone. *Ride in the middle, infant,* she said coldly. *Do not distract my scouts, and do not get in the way. We'll see what your chieftess has to say to you when we meet up with her again.*


Re: The Scouts
Post by kris on May 24, 2009, 11:28pm

Tallspear's heart had flown to his throat when Journey came riding up, out of breath on a nearly-spent Bigears. One look at Journey's wide grin when he lock-sent to Windsoft had made the hunter's hackles rise. He knew that grin, and knew full well that the tribe had likely been in no danger when Journey left. That didn't mean that the tribe wasn't in danger now.

The witless little squirrel--if he'd lead round-ears to their trail, Tallspear promised to beat him bloody and dump him in a patch of sting-nettles.

And then Windsoft knocked Journey sprawling and lit into him with a sending that nearly scorched everyone's ears off. Tallspear saw Softling flinch and, without thinking, reached out to put a comforting hand on her shoulder. He didn't take his eyes off Journey, feeling his lip curl as the youth, shaking from his mother's rage, crawled onto Bigears' back and clung to his ruff--riding, as Windsoft ordered, in the middle of the scouts' band.

Tallspear wanted badly to improve on the blow Windsoft had dealt her cub, if only to assuage his own anger and disappointment. He was fond of Journey--but not so fond that he was ready to excuse him. Falling back from his place, he came up beside Journey. To his credit, the youth cringed and lowered his head.

**I'm sorry,** he sent, shivering; Tallspear noted the submissive posture and kept silent. **Please--Tallspear, I didn't mean any harm--**

**Just hope your foolish chase after us hasn't brought any hiding humans out after us,** Tallspear returned. **Or after those you left behind, all for your selfish intent.**

He glanced through the grass, and urged his wolf-friend forward. He hadn't seen a trail all night, but something told him it might not be long. Glancing up at the moons, Tallspear wondered if they'd find something before sunrise, or if they'd spend another day hunched in the shade, chewing their waterskins for the last bit of water.
Re: The Scouts
Post by peachbug on May 25, 2009, 12:11am

Softling was horrified beyond words or sendings at Journey's cheerful expression as he locksent to his mother, but Windsoft's response terrified her. It was logical, she supposed, but to see Windsoft lose control, Softling could only hunch away from the brunt of the blow and the sending she was witness to. She felt Tallspear's hand, but her mind was still reeling from the explosiveness of Windsoft's reaction.

She had never sent her own mother into such a rage as a small cub, not her father as an older one, and none of the other holtmates. Not even at her worst tantrum or stubbornness had she done something like what Journey had taken in on himself to do. And she'd certainly never been struck for it.

Softling brought her green-gold gaze back on Journey as Bigears slunk slightly ahead of her to ride in the middle. He must have been riding for hours, the tree-wee brained...something. Tallspear drew back, and gave him a look that gave her only the insight of a locksending between the two.

Figuring out what Journey had just done was still like smacking her head on a stump, so she just pushed it away. Water, she pressed to herself, water, game, anything... Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 25, 2009, 3:06am

Longdusk snarled at Journey as he went past him to the center of the group. He'd known from the start that the lad was going to give at least SOME troubles. Journey was reckless, troublesome and didn't think about what any of his actions might lead to -- as long as he felt good about it himself. The slap Journey received made him narrow his eyes. It was a well-deserved one, he figured, and if Windsoft hadn't done it, he probably would have.

Shaken up, he tried to focus on what he had been doing but truth to be told, he was getting frustrated that Silent's direction hadn't given them any results as of yet. And now they had yet another cub to take care of.

Fleetfoot had been a troublesome cub, but she'd never defied orders like this. The boy would need some serious punishment when they returned, or he would continue to do his own bidding.Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 25, 2009, 5:07pm

Getting more and more agitated of the trip, and still very much annoyed with Journey, Longdusk was about to tell Windsoft that they'd better give up and move into another direction. The remainder of his water was gone now, too, and Longdusk was thirsty. Flea was even more, and the hunter noticed the wolf was getting restless because of it.

But then, a bit further away in the grass, there seemed to be an opening. Alerted, he looked up, touching Windsoft's mind before urging Flea to move faster. And even before they had reached the open spot, he had already jumped off the wolf's back.

It wasn't a spot, it was actually a trail through the grass, which had been squished under the weight of animals, and they seemed to have moved away from here -- into the direction Silent had pointed out. *Trails!* he sent out, caution mixed with hope and a hint of relief, *Animals passed here, and they all went into the same direction. They MUST have a water source nearby!*Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 26, 2009, 9:56pm

Windsoft pulled Bristlecone up, then directed her to swerve back to join Longdusk as his excited send reached them all. Tallspear and Softling flanked her, with Journey dead center behind. The hours of riding had allowed her initial anger and fear to fade and she no longer wanted to cuff her cub until his eyes were dazed with shooting stars, but worse than her anger was her disappointment - in herself, as much as him.

But Longdusk's discovery drove that to the back of her mind and she grinned at the older scout. *You're right, there must be! High Ones praise your sharp eyes, Longdusk! Let's follow this trail to its end!*

Taking the lead again, Windsoft sent her wolf racing down the trail. The wolves caught their excitement and pushed themselves faster than they'd been travelling before. Windsoft tried to slow her friend, but the she-wolf ignored any attempt to delay them.

It wasn't long before a faint breeze danced by them and Windsoft scented the unmistakable aroma that was water, and fresh, green things surrounded by moist earth. *Water!* she sent, plastering herself to Bristlecone's back as the wolf exerted even more speed. The wolves wouldn't be stopped now, not with the smell of water in their nostrils. Windsoft extended all of her own senses as much as possible, to catch any hint of danger as they flew along the trail that wove through the grass plain that might, just might, have an end after all.

Re: The Scouts
Post by kris on May 26, 2009, 10:29pm

**Nice work, Longdusk!** Tallspear sent as they remounted, grinning at the other scout. He was impressed, and resolved to try to scout with Longdusk more often. There was a lot he could learn from him.

As they followed Windsoft's lead, Tallspear was able to see trails made by larger animals, and silently cheered. Larger animals meant bigger game, which meant a chance at a real hunt--a real kill--to feed the tribe. But when the scent of water drifted past his nostrils, he had to fight to keep from howling with joy.

*Water at last!* he sent to the others, including Journey as well. His friend barely lifted his head, and Tallspear felt sorry for him. Journey was going to face punishment when Stormfire caught up with them--and all the youngster could take hope in was that Stormfire wasn't Sureshot. If he'd pulled such a trick with Sureshot, that chief would have made him sorry he was born.Re: The Scouts
Post by peachbug on May 26, 2009, 11:26pm

The scent of crisp water wisped into Softling's nose only moments before Windsoft's sending. Water! Her mind registered the scent slower than she could express herself, and she could only share in the joy of the find with an open sending of emotion that joined Windsoft's and Tallspear's. *Water!*

'I should have caught that,' a small part of herself scolded, 'So clear on the air now that it was named. I should have seen the trails...but I didn't.' Her self-scolding deepened into determination. 'Real trackers saw these things. I have to pay attention, have to get better.'

The rest of her soared to the source, Softling's eyes flicking on the deep trails dug by larger animals, much larger than the squirrel creatures they'd found. Silent was right, the crazy wonderful elf was right! The scouts would bring water! The Wolfriders were safe from thirst! All concerns of self-criticism and thought outside the Now were lost to the hunt of this new prey. Softling dug her hands into the wolf's coat. Water!Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on May 28, 2009, 11:20am

Longdusk actually shot a wolfish grin towards Tallspear. He felt proud, relieved and wanted to get to the water as soon as possible, so that they could return. In fact, it might even be a better idea to send a few of the party back to the rest, and guide them here. He was deadly sure that, as soon as elf and wolf had drank, and when he filled some sacks with water, he could get them all here. The found made him courageous, and this felt like a victory.

His eyes flew back to Windsoft. **We should get the others,** he privately sent, including all his thoughts.Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 28, 2009, 11:39pm

**Let's find more than the scent first, Longdusk!** Windsoft laughed merrily, but absorbed all the thoughts and motivations that had imbued his send.

No sooner sent than done: the glimmer of moonslight on water peeked through the grass...and then they were there. The grass ended and a river flowed before them. The five of them paused briefly, then experienced whiplash as the wolves dashed for the water.

The river was low, slow, and muddy. But it was cool and fresh, if not sweet. After quenching her thirst, Windsoft stepped back from the water to think while the other scouts drank their fill and the wolves wallowed.

**Yes, we should get the others,** Windsoft finally answered Longdusk. **And we need to, quickly. But we've been running hard all night and the wolves are exhausted. They need to rest before we ask them to go back. The sun is coming up soon; the sky is already turning lighter. We have to rest, first. A short rest - and then we'll take full waterskins back to our tribe!**


Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on May 31, 2009, 10:43pm

((Jumping forward several hours...))

Windsoft roused from her rest with the sun high over head. She still felt tired, but not as tired has she had been. And, thank the High Ones!, no longer thirsty. But while she was no longer parched, there was no doubt that the tribemates who followed were.

None of them had rested for as long as they wanted, or needed, but they'd rested enough to travel back to their tribe, at speed, without endangering themselves or their wolf friends. Windsoft considered leaving one or two of her scouts behind as she quietly filled the waterskins that they'd brought with them, but finally decided against it. She didn't like separating her small band in this unknown territory, and they'd be able to easily find their way back, now.

*Wake up, my sleeping Wolfriders!* she sent brightly. *Wake up, wake up, and let's ride!*


Re: The Scouts
Post by viola on Jun 3, 2009, 11:43am

Well-rested and good humored, which was not very common for Longdusk, he had been filling up the watersacks even before Windsoft sent out to all the hunters. He'd taken a dip in the river even before that, and his hair was still dripping. He'd forgotten how water plus sun would burn your skin faster, but despite his red shoulders, arms and back, he was rather chipper for his doings.

He agreed with Windsoft about all of them returning. And if they were back, they could freshen up the ones that stayed behind, and move back here instantly. In fact, he thought of suggesting Stormfire to stay here for a day, to get proper rest and lots of water. Come to think of it, his shirt needed to be cleaned, as well. Calling Flea, he waited till the wolf bolted his way -- the animal jumped into the water once more before surfacing, and he shook out the water. Stupid animal, but he knew the feeling.Re: The Scouts
Post by Anna on Jun 4, 2009, 12:16am

Windsoft gave everyone just long enough to wake up, drink their fill, relieve their bladders, and get to their wolves before she slid into position on Bristlecone's back. With full waterskins draped on either side, and the other scouts having their own share of full and wet waterskins.

"The sun is high, tribemates! Our kin are waiting for us. Let's ride and tell them the good news!"

With a joyous howl, for once completely ignoring her usual tendency to quiet and discretion, Windsoft crouched low on her wolf's back as the animal leapt into a fast run.

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