Faun- Part 6

She walked for quite a while, time ticking away silently, eternal and black. The eternal sensation of her walk had her hooves dragging, stumbling. She felt heavier and heavier the longer she walked. Finally, just when she thought she could not travel any further, she heard the faint trickling of water coming from her right. Instinctively, she turned towards it, slightly limping on her way until she came upon a small underground pool, a stream from above trickling through thin crevices into the caverns below. Thankfully, she waded into this water and sank down, letting the cool water sooth her hot and scratched skin. Relief. She lay there a while, her head nodding, before at last she rested it down and let her eyes close. The sound of trickling water lulled her into a sleep which deepened with her exhaustion, giving her tired body a rest from the frightening ordeal she had been through
Damn! No no no! I thought you gave up…
 
Somewhere in her sleep, the young man’s voice echoed. The words were foreign and, at first, had no meaning. And yet, somewhere in the furthest reaches of her being, the gears began to churn, making sense of a foreign language she had only encountered once. Some magic at work, deep in her being, that she had no control over for it was a magic gifted in her kind. As she slept, a new language entered her vocabulary and settled there, waiting for her to pluck and use it.

In this deep sleep, time passed much more swiftly. When the creature awoke, she felt the same cool brush of the water against her coat, the same soreness and tiredness, but the rest had done her well. Slowly, she pushed herself to her feet and shook her coat out, water flying in a myriad of drops in all directions. Something in her was telling her that dawn was approaching… And oh, how she needed to replenish her energy. If those creatures were still in the woods, she would be in danger but… In her mind’s eye, a reflection of the young man stood. She had seen him clearly once, in the blinding flash of light before the ground swallowed her up. She would remember this young man, and the appearance of his kind. She may have need of it in the future. With a flick of her tail, she hopped out of the water and continued her journey towards one of the many underground exits, seeking the light that would help replenish the vast amount of energy she had lost the previous day.

8bits- Part 6

His legs shaking in fear, sweat constantly finding its way through his pores, the warm blood on his face turning cold and crusty… It was all our lad could do as he witnessed the horrifying scene. A six legged deer-like creature thrusting, shaking in the darkness of the night. The moonlight caressed the Spirit’s horn as it shook left and right, up and down. He couldn’t help but imagine a man being impaled on it, being gutted has the creature moves its head in such an aggressive fashion.
But he was safe… Away from the violent being. Yes, it was safely trapped underneath the strings and between the weights. This man owed his life to the net he just threw.
 
Calm.
 
Finally he could find some peace and silence. He stepped away from the beast and took a seat on a rock nearby. Admiring his recent catch was not possible with such dim light. All he could tell was that his trophy was breathing heavily, it was exhausted, it was done fighting.
 
The beast had accepted its fate. Its breathing came back to normal after a minute or so.
The young man stood up more calm and secure to have a closer look at it. This was it, the product of a fine evening of hunting. Hunting… His father! Thoughts of despair came back to his mind, immediately consuming the pride high of his successful catch. He had another look at his surroundings expect to find or hear his old man.
 
The creature rustled the strings, dragging the weights around. “I thought you just gave up”, he turned around. He saw the unearthly effort this creature was making. The Spirit systematically fiddled with the strings and found a way to release her first couple of fore legs. “No, no. No, no, no!” he yelled and walked towards it. It was pushing itself up! The front part of its body was rising! Another couple of legs followed the path to freedom. It stood up and with an unrelenting force it pushed itself against the weights. “Damn, damn, damn!” he whispered. He knew no better than to take out his knife. His clumsy hands and slow reflexes made the steel fall, burying it in a dense body of dead leaves. His hands desperately hunted for the piece of steel between the leaves, and when they finally found it and he put his eyes on the Spirit, our beast was already standing on its six legs. The man did not know what to think of it. At first, the creature seemed docile, now it has proven itself to be a strong and proud wild beast.
The young man felt the intensity of her stare. He could feel… Ashamed and embarrassed, sad and upset about himself and the creature. Maybe things could have been different? But it was too late now. Somehow he felt this he will regret.

She shone. A show like that has never been sighted before, her eyes blazed with golden light. The brightness flowed through its veins and down her neck like tears on a soft, tender face. A strong current of wind flew through the bushes and leaves and branches, muting everything else. Awestruck by the current display of magic, the man fell to his knees. But the spectacle was not over yet, the Spirit had yet another surprise for him. With a swift move of its head, the trees and branches around them began to move. The sound was that of a thousand human bones fracturing at once, intimidating the frail moral of his. The man brought his sweaty and dirty hands over his ears to silence the hellish racket. The ground underneath the beast shook and began to pour to some under level of Esrazol.  He glanced at the Spirit once more, their stared engaged deeply as the ground was shaking. Their gaze broke as it disappeared as mysteriously as is showed up. It was gone. His catch, his beast, his pride.
 
He was left kneeling on the ground, thoughts of anger and disappointment consuming him inside. The young man teared up and wept on the spot. Silently.

Faun - Part 5

The feel of the rope as it fell upon her back, course and frightening, like a thousand snakes wrapping themselves about her, caused the creature to recoil, throwing her head up and attempting to leap back and away. The cords tangled about her horn and one of her legs, the weights preventing her from bolting as she tumbled back into the netting and fell. For a few seconds she thrashed, confused and suddenly very frightened. What had just happened?! After struggling a while, she finally stopped, panting and cast an eye towards the figure that now stood a healthy distance away, watching her. All she knew now, was that this creature was some sort of predator… And he was trying to make her the prey. She took a deep breath and steadied herself. Under the trees, there was no light to give her energy… She would have to be careful not to expend too much since she had already exerted herself quite a bit this evening.
 
Slowly she rolled onto her stomach and tossed her head, trying to free her horn from the netting. Unable to do so, she cast her eyes down to her tangled legs. This young man did not know much about her kind… He knew myths and legends… She was no base creature, and she had a strong brain to use. She twisted slightly, drawing forward one of her foremost legs and pulling in with another, rubbing the cords against each other and freeing first one, then another of her front legs. With these two, she pushed her upper body up and backwards, drawing up two more legs and shaking them fiercely until they too were untangled from the netting. With four legs free, she was able to force her body up, leaning against the weights as she stood evenly and shook free her final two legs. She stood there a moment, breathing as she assessed her situation, ears swiveling intently.

The boy seemed to not know what to think of her. She had made up her mind now that this creature was dangerous, and it was time to get out of there. She looked down at the netting, at the leaded weights. One ear flicked to the left, the other to the right, tingles running down her spine at the distant sound of soft footfalls. There were others coming. Now was the time. She tilted her head first left then right, lowered her head, and then brought it up forcefully. Her sharp horn sawed slightly into the net that was tangled around it. She began to toss her head, the cords making a soft snapping sound. She knew this would take too much time, but the cords about her horn had snapped, freeing it. She twisted her head, staring directly at the young man and for a second, a golden light began to shine in her eyes, traveling down the veins of her neck, making her entire torso glow brightly as she focused on her energy. A harsh wind rushed through the trees, howling loudly and drowning out all other sound. She tossed her head to the right, the trees snapping and groaning, adding to the chorus of noise. Her hooves dug into the earth as her entire body began shaking, the earth under her hooves trembling, groaning, and then slowly crumbling. She stared fiercely at the boy one last time, before the ground buckled beneath her and swallowed her up, leaving the net lying on the ground, covering the gaping hole where she had stood moments before.

The second she fell into the depths, the forest became dead silent. She fell into a small cave system that ran under the forest and staggered to her feet, breathing heavily. She had never had to use her powers to such an extent before. It had taken almost every ounce of energy out of her, and now she was cast in the shadows of the cave. The light had faded from her eyes and neck, not even that able to guide her. Her hooves were as heavy as led as she began to walk and then to trot, slightly limping forward into the darkness. She did know this cave system… There were a few ways out… This forest was full of strange creatures this evening. Dangerous creatures. She could not stay here… but she did not know how far she could travel before she collapsed… Having used that much energy in one go… It had taken a lot out of her and she was already feeling dizzy from sheer exhaustion. But… She had to… push on.

'Bits - Part 5

Never in his short life have he seen something like it. The strange creature was bathed in darkness, the moonlight could only hit one of her sides; creating an odd shape frightening to his eyes. What was a Spirit, anyway? The spawn of an arachnid with a horse? No, no. Arachnids have eight legs. The additional limbs on the creature were unsettling. He had already forgotten about the blood on his face and his palpitating legs. His heart pounding like a drum of war and his temples pulsating from the stress this sight caused upon him. In silence he prayed to the gods for the creature not to come any closer.

The young man’s father did warn him about this kind of situation:
Avoid sudden movement.
Do not break eye contact.
And most importantly, to be ready for a strike.

 

With his stare fixed on the Spirit’s eye, he slowly reached for the traveling pouch on his back. His hand explored the insides of the bag, searching for that weaved string texture, his eyes on the creature all the time.

He could notice the Spirit was not as scared, unlike himself. The creature tilted its head left right, with a puzzled look. It was curious! Of course, it’s never seen one like him before. The creature’s muzzle was pointing at him, almost dangerously. It could fiercely charge the man any second now.

 

She took a wary step forward, and then back again.

 

The man immediately stepped back. His hand was already in possession of the net he brought along. Desperately, he readied it, unscrambling the mess of strings that was formed inside his bag.

 

The creature moved full of doubt and uneasiness towards him, the ears of the beast flickered. It was vulnerable. When the young man found this spot of weakness, he threw the net over the creature. The weights of lead emitted a dry thump and caused the unison crunching of leaves and twigs underneath. Our young lad stood there watching the creature struggle. Whatever was of his father, he did not know or think of.

Faun- Part 4

The strange creature remained frozen for several long, marked breaths as she and the young lad stared blankly at each other. In their eyes reflected a similar alarm, confusion, excitement, and fear. What was this strange creature? Where had it come from? Why was it here? She had never seen anything like him, just as he had never seen anything like her. Each were frozen, staring at each other, incapable of movement for what seemed like an eternity. The thing that finally caused the strange creature to move, was not his movement (for he had yet to move), but a brief breeze that rushed past her muzzle. Blood? Slowly, her head lifted and her body relaxed out of a completely defensive position as she studied him. He was injured. She could smell the blood leaking down his face, and now that she paid attention, she could see it as well. Not only that, but she could sense a dull throbbing with added concentration. It seemed to throb in her leg as well. Had he injured his leg, like she had injured one of hers? Except… He only had two legs, and she six. It was probably puzzling for the lad to watch as the creature just looked him up and down, slowly tilting her head from left, to right, and back as she tried to puzzle him out. But… There was still something about him that made her nervous.

She took a wary step forward, and then back again. The blood on his face strangely drew her, as she would have been drawn to any injured creature, the desire to help flooding her. And yet… She moved away from him again, uncertainly. The strange scents about him made her so very uneasy. Some metallic under tones, some strange zinging smell that was magic remnants. Her sensitive nose picked them up, contemplated them, and sent jitters of uneasiness down her spine. Her ears flattened, then rose again, the sound all around them dead silent other than their breathing and her occasional hoofstep. She was so torn. Something in her was screaming to get out of there, but on the other hand… She just couldn’t bring herself to. It was maddening, really.

8bit - Part 4

The thrill of the moment died when the young man found the source of the noise. With a sigh of disappoint he released the tension of his arm and lowered the knife. “It is nothing but a little hare…” he finally spoke. He looked at the little creature with hatred and embarrassment. “Stupid thing”, he mumbled. “Come to think of it, I’ve not seen father after we climbed the hill…”

He turned around to face the way he came from. Tracing his way back would be a long, complicated matter for the darkness and the roots were unforgiving. He found himself surrounded by a shapeless maze of messy nature, trees, branches, twigs, roots, bushes, grasses and all sorts of leaves were on his way. As he struggled to move between them, he could avoid the feeling of being lost and maybe even doomed to roam the forest for the rest of his days. “Father, where are you?” he thought. He moves his head left and right, desperately seeking another human being standing there, waiting for him, looking for him, to tell him that they will be fine. But it was dark, the forest refused to show anything but near pitch black and the delicate outlines of leaves and branches, slowly crushing the kid’s hopes. Maybe their curious search for the so called “Spirit” would end up on his demise?

The mind cannot be in two places at once. And the poor young lad was not aware of this.  It did not take long for him to get his foot stuck in a root and falling flat on his face.

A sharp pain ran from his forehead down to his mouth in company of a warm, dripping feeling over his cheek. He struggled to release his foot from the clutches of the “evil” root, carefully enough not to twist his already aching ankle. He stood up in a pathetic manner and rested his back against the tree. Maybe he should calm down and pay attention to his surroundings. The crunch of leaves, the breathing and steps of other creatures roaming the forest… He was waiting for any cue, a hint that may give away his old man’s position.

 

A flock of bird-like creatures violently agitated his surroundings; the young one jumped on his place and quickly turned to face the birds. Another unexpected loud sound drew his attention to the floor. Something really heavy had fallen, breaking branches and rustling their foliage. His heart skipped a beat; the sensation of your chest suddenly go hollow wasn’t as intense because of the previous jump scare… “What in the name of…?”  

 

A conglomeration of creatures came out of the cup of a tree. Birds? Bats? What even? They did have wings, that’s for sure. They seemed to frighten the Spirit, for had fallen from the heavens it seemed to enjoy so much. After the Spirit dropped and it’s body made a loud noise as it met the ground, our old man hurried to make his way down the hill. He’s seen it! During the first night!

Faun- Part 3

The Kirian’s ears pricked as the young man changed direction. She turned with him, treading on air as softly above as possible. It took almost all of her concentration to split her attention between following and keeping the wind flow beneath her hooves. Where was this creature going, who walked on two legs and not four? His scent just barely wafted up to her through the trees, carried by a light breeze. She had never smelled anything so… different. It was very unlike the creatures and nature that normally surrounded her. There was the familiar woodsy smell… but there were also many scents about him that she had never experienced and hence could not identify.

She followed him until he halted below, creeping upon the bush he had heard rustle. She creeped overhead, listening and listening, straining to pick up some sound or indication of what he was doing. What was he? What did he want here? Why did he come? Would he leave? Would he return? So wrapped was she in her thoughts, that she did not pay attention to where one hoof slipped through the cracks of a breeze. All hell exploded in the air around her as a small flock of Noctias  were startled from their homes. They flew straight into the air about her head and up towards the sky, the beating of their wings a loud thrum. It was plenty enough to make the Kirian’s concentration slip.

The breeze vanished from beneath her hooves and she went crashing into the canopy, vanishing from sight of the older man in the wink of an eye. A panicky snort escaped her as she tumbled through the branches. With only a few seconds to spare, she managed to wrap her will about the branches of the trees around her and they bent just a little to stop her descent completely to the floor. Ungracefully, she tumbled from these lower branches and landed in a heap of tangled mane and tail upon the ground, slightly winded.

She dizzily sucked in as much oxygen as she could, her eyes shut tight before the slightest sound made her eyes flash open. Without thinking, without wasting another breath, she shot to her feet and bounded several steps away, stumbling slightly and wincing in irritation at the zinging ache that was spreading over her. However, her reaction was well marked… for not a few yards away stood the very creature that had drawn her to follow foolishly…

Yet even now, in her pain and a sudden, confusing fear, she was curious about this strange creature. And so she stood uncertainly, her head with its horn angled towards him and her body language defensive, but in the lines of her face and the tilt of her ears could be read wary curiosity, and a burning desire to understand.

8bits- Part 3

What a thrill! With the darkness and silence through the night. What a thrill! Anything could be hunting him in the dark. The young man walked slowly through the deep and dark forest with his heart racing and his throat beating. And the sensation of cold through his body and that chill going down his spine… He’s never been this excited? Stressed? Worried? He could feel every single beat of his heart, the blood rushing through every vein he had. He sensed all the leaves beneath his feet, the breeze caressing his skin like an insistent and passionate lover.

 

The exhilarating sensation passed off quickly, as the words of his father echoed through his head. “Tread lightly” “Keep your knife steady”“Don’t be afraid to unsheathe your sword if things get tense.” Every single of his father’s advice gave him a few days before.

He had never been hunting before. He had not taken the life from anything bigger than a chicken, yet he stood there, gripping on his knife like it could protect him from whatever was out there.

 

The young man lurked through trees and bushes hoping to descry the precious creature. Although he has never seen a Spirit before, the description was inside his head.

 A deer-like creature with certain variable parts: horns, hooves, manes, tail. According to rumors, a Spirit’s aspect changed with the elements they controlled. The boy didn’t know what to with himself; the creature could have almost any form.

 

A sudden rustle snapped him back to the current time and place. Something had moved in a bush northeast from his position. He reassured the grip on his knife and, exercising extreme caution he moved on.

 

His old, wrinkled body has been weakened by the years. Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, he coordinated his clumsy and heavy steps. The higher he went, the worst he felt. The life of Inn keeping had surely ruined the muscular body he achieved in his young years.

The tanned leather cuirass was getting hot on the inside and it was crushing his inflating chest. Huffing and puffing he arrived at the top of the hill, where his son stood a few moments ago. “Boy’s getting quick and good ol’ me’s getting weary. This adventuring fuzz ain’t my trade no more”, he thought to himself as he sat on the top to take a breath. As he directed his eyes to the glowing moon something caught his sight. He could not believe the magnificence that stood before his eyes.

 

There it was! The creature he’d be looking for the whole night, the creature that had destroyed the purity and calm of the night. Before hunting after it he decided that watching it would be more prudent than just jumping towards it. He stood there watching, listening, waiting for the perfect moment to come closer.

Faun- Part 2

Listen.

The abundance of animal-sounds that had formerly flooded the wood abruptly faded into silence. The abrupt and unnatural muteness made the whisper of the wind through the trees seem eerily loud. The hum of life that traveled in the veins of the leaves which formed the canopy seemed to vibrate and transfer to the Kirian. Try as she might, she just couldn’t rest. Something was… out of place.

Listen.

As the son traveled cautiously through the woods, try as he might he could not stop the reverberation of his footsteps. Every dry leaf or twig that cracked beneath the wary pressure of his foot, shuddered and crumbled, sending tiny vibrations outwards, gathered by roots and drawn up through the trees, making them sing and shiver and groan. The leaves vibrated with nervous energy, as though the wood itself was aware of the mysterious dangers that lurked that evening.

Listen.


The repeated calling, and calling, and calling of shivers and tremors finally caught her attention. Something was happening. Somehow, the energies in this wood were trying to tell her something. Something important.

I’m listening.

She lifted her head high, sending this voice thought shivering through the trees and woods about her, vibrating in the very fiber of the wood and outwards. She was not in-tune enough to tell exactly what was wrong, or where it was coming from. She did, however, know that a mystery abounded in the woods and that the fragile balance of the peace she was used to hung before her, suddenly uncertain. Wait… What was that? A breath of wind had brushed up through the trees, carrying the scent of the men in the woods. She did not recognize it. It sent strange thrills of… fear? Excitement?- coursing through her body. She rose to her feet soundlessly and strained for sound. What was here? Who were they? Why were they? Curiosity ripped into her, cutting past the fear and excitement and becoming just pure bewilderment. She didn’t understand what was happening, or why she suddenly felt so nervous. Should she run? But where would she go? Why should she run? Should she investigate? But of what danger would she put herself in to sate her curiosity? Lost in this whirlwind of thought, she briefly lost track of what the wood was trying to tell her. Her element was not strong enough. The leaves shivered, run, run away, run- But she did not hear them.

Suddenly she tensed, a shock flashing up her spine and paralyzing her as directly below a soft “crunch” sounded- a foot falling on a single dry leaf. There! It was there. She remained frozen in place, listening intently as the soft steps slowly passed under her, paused, and continued. She made not a sound, not a movement, not a breath. She should run. She should be safe and run. She should… should… But… Her thoughts tangled themselves up, curiosity building and building. What was this mystery? Suddenly she moved, flitting across the treetops, not stepping on leaf nor branch as she focused with all her might on walking upon the small gusts of wind that stirred the leaves instead, to remain soundless. As the son traveled below, the ghostly form traveled above, letting her curiosity override any other sensible thought in her head.

8bits- Part 2

Twilight and evening have had been quite loud that night. Something was odd, off place. It was not a calm, peaceful night like the ones that came before it. Leaf and root crunched beneath some creatures’ feet. It was not any kind of little creature that disturbed the wood’s peace. Something big and obscure lurked the forests that night.

 

Father and son sat there and opened their travel sacks. “Remember, we can only have one a day. This elven stuff must have some shady magic behind it. Makes your stomach feel ill”, his father grumbled. The young one just nodded and took a ration out of his sack. Rations are a presentation of a complete meal, destined to be preserved for long times, being extensively used by travelers, adventurers, wayfarers, scouts and/or merchants. This one had roasted ham in honey gravy and short bread for dessert. They opened the containers and began chowing down with a lot of effort, the preservation process made the meat compact, dry and hard to eat. If only they could heat them a little bit…

 

None of them stopped looking around for any sign of the Spirit, not even meal time was a reason to put their guard down. With their eyes peeled and their senses sharp they chowed, as if a Spirit might show up in the middle of the night, right before them.

 

Suddenly, a beacon of light appeared in the darkness, completely perturbing the perfection of the night. The ray of light was projected from a few meters up from the hill. The ray disappeared as quickly as showed up, but it still couldn’t be missed. The young man and his father shared a silent glare and silently agreed to go check it out, a slow nod from the old man, a quiet authorization to move on. They stood up slowly, trying not to make a single noise. The situation was complicated, for the latest days have been dry, leaving the twigs and roots weak and crunchy.

The men made their best effort not to produce any sound as they climbed the hill in the darkness of the night. Both were scared out of their minds, said sighting has not been ever heard of. Would this be their last moments together?

 

The beacon of light in the middle of the night was unsettling. Crawling towards the source the creatures went. Wherever something awful happens, those creatures seemed to follow. Or was it vice versa? Probably worth stalking… 

 

The son was already on the top of the hill, staying low and cautiously glaring at the horizon in search for movement. A small bird flew and interrupted the tense silence between the night and the man. He made a gesture to his father; he was going to climb down to the other side. Treading slow and steadily he descended, containing his breathe not to alert anyone in the surroundings. “Where did that bird just come from?” he thought. Tracing it back, by the pattern of flight, he estimated a spot. Once he was on a steady ground, he unsheathed his knife and proceeded into the dense woods.