Roleplaying > Moderated Freeform

Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi

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(because I want to do something)

Inan felt a sigh escape his parched lips. Sounds pricked at his ears, and it wasn't the squabbling of the moadi birds, it was the shifting of rock, pebbles. Footsteps. His mind whirled, he was in no position to fend off an attack, but sometimes mercy could be found in the company of strangers. The desert is always harshest just before reaching the oasis. He drew up his strength, and did the only thing he could do.

Inan whistled. His lips twitched and he moved his tongue as best he could despite the d**ned devil bird's foul enchantment. It wasn't a shrill sound, but rather a weedy creaky sound that fluttered from him, a bird with a broken wing. He whistled slowly, the opening movement of the priest's call to prayer.


--- Quote ---He stepped back to take a good look up where the pebbles had fallen. A rockfall would quite nicely tenderize the group for the birds.

"If he's being eaten alive, why no screams?  If he's dead, little need to rush. " Iskander then fell silent again, intently listening and trying to make out any details on the cliffside.
--- End quote ---

Iskander glanced above, peering into the darkness, but in the moonlight (Tagu's make-shift torch was almost burnt down), all he could see were darkened angles of jutting rock-face and various ledges, and dark shapes. He followed the path of what seemed to be the last of the falling pebbles. Silence again.

Meanwhile the cave-mouth continued yawning its invite. Though shapes and perhaps even some movement could be gauged from where they stood, the cave was too dark to see anything inside clearly. The stench of rotting meat however was over-whelming

--- Quote ---He peered out into the night by the waning light of the fire, praying to see nothing.
--- End quote ---

Yet even as he did, he saw--something. Two birds, though ones not born of nature, somehow had landed silently a mere two dozen feet from Zuan. In the campfire light, their scaled hides glowed and almost shimmered. Soulless black motes for eyes, cocked sideways, began studying Zuan. One opened its bizarre, quartered beak, as if to yawn, a horrid sight. The other began cawing ever so gently, with a sound unlike that of any bird Zuan had ever heard. It seemed to be cooing a lullaby.

--- Quote ---The hunter boldly continued forward toward the cave, another arrow ready to be loosed at a moments notice. Once was a fluke. He wouldn't miss again.
--- End quote ---

And that is when they heard a sound coming from somewhere inside. A-a-whistle? They could all hear it now...a weedy creaky sound that escaped from the cave like a wounded moth, and briefly fluttered upon the night's light breeze.

Iskander shrugged. There was only so much fear he would let birds instill.  "Okay, lets get this done."

With that he signaled to Tagu and entered the cave, talwar and shield at the ready.

Tagu followed obediently...within seconds the others could hear the sound of Tagu retching his evening meal.

The cave was huge, Iskander had seen cathedrals in Abodroc with lower ceilings, and the the main problem was now, as before, the lack of light. Tagu's improvised fire stick was little more than a glowing ember now, but the light it gave allowed  them to at least make out some things. One--the floor of the vast cave was littered with human forms in various states of death and near-death. A dozen or more bodies, some whole, some in parts...lone arms, legs and heads strewn about haphazardly. Two--flies, some rather large, buzzed above and over the feast of flesh in small swarms. Rats (or gods knew what) slithered here and there, occasionally emerging from body cavities.

Corpses corpses everywhere...but no sign of birds.

The stench was an almost physical thing lurking within the cave. Lowering his torch, Tagu could see his boots were slick with black blood and viscera. Tagu retched again, this time dry heaving, and glanced at Iskander sheepishly

Inan, sitting against a wall, noticed the movement and could plainly see the two night-time intruders enter, though there was little he could do about it. The whistle had taken a lot of his energy, and he now lapsed from his Devil's Stare, his unmoving pupils now focused on the two strangers, unable to warn put out their light.

Zuan's eyes widened. The moadi-birds! They were supposed to be but legend! Divine Broker, forgive my uncunning doubt!

As sweat poured down his brow, Zuan's mind hurried to find some way to rid himself of the birds. He studied them, much as their sight roiled his quivering stomach, trying to look for some chink in their black-scaled hides. The one yawned its toothed maw again, the other nudging up against it, almost as if...

Coursi blinked in surprise at his own genius. Of course! They need sleep! Moadi-birds, after all, are no different from any other creature, he reasoned. Now only to provide them their rest.

Slowly, with one hand still training the crossbow on the beasts, Zuan reached into his coin purse with the other and pulled out a cobre. Whispering a prayer to the Divine Broker, he dropped the coin into his gilded coffer, echoing impossibly beyond the walls of the small box. Drawing sweat from his brow, he cast his hand over the fire, issuing a flow of water to cast down over the flames, extinguishing them.

(OOC: Cast Create Water)


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