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 The One Jaguar

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Razgril

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Posts : 232
Join date : 2010-12-22
Age : 34
Location : Guadalajara, Mexico

PostSubject: The One Jaguar   Wed May 28, 2014 4:22 pm

The Hunter Prowls

~@~@~@


Feline, amber eyes watched the figure treading through the underbrush with interest and hunger. Silent as a shadow, the large predator prowled the forest ground, covered by the tall grass. It's soft paws nary made a sound as the animal deftly stalked across the forest as easily as a fish would swim in the stream. But the figure the black jaguar kept watch on moved just as swiftly, if not even more so... the great cat was patient, however, and she would not lose sight of the scent of the man. She'd catch up in time. She always did, and this time it would be no different.

~@~@~@

The clearing was just before the hunter, where a small pack of deer peacefully grazed on the grass and green plants that spring had brought. Vegetation was thick and lush as spring slowly made way to summer. The man slowly circled about the clearing towards the east, placing himself so that the wind did not give his pressence away to the prey. He was tall and lean, and yet he moved in a crouch with natural agility and swiftness. The Gods only knew how many years of hunting and foraging he had under his belt. The brown leather headband keeping his hair out of his face was adorned with bits of bone and fur, a small token of some minor victories of the past. His skin was bronze, and his face had a horizontal line painted black across his features from earlobe to earlobe, arching up to the bridge of his nose.

 

His tepoztopilli was firmly gripped in his right hand, and as he approached the edge of the clearing he softened his hold. His chocolate eyes peered through the folliage of a bush, and examined the deer. The herd was small, a dozen or so in total. He could easily identify the does, their bodies plump with life yet to be brought forth to the world. Fawning season was about to start, and soon he would see trails of fawns here and there in the places he liked to hunt in. Wolves would appreciate the abundance of food, he thought. He spotted a large buck, the head of the group. He seemed quite healthy and the man silently admired it's movements. They were graceful, dignified, even. A true prince of the forest. He located a second male a few meters to the left of the first one, smaller, but also healthy looking. Then he laid eyes on the old buck whose tracks he had been following... large enough, but old age and cumulative wounds had left him with a distinctive step in his left side. The man readied his ahtlatl, made from deer antler, and attached it to the grove at the base of the tepoztopilli's handle, his eyes fixed in his prey.

~@~@~@

The sleek, black feline could smell the crouched figure near the eastern edge of the clearing. The deer were unaware of his presence but she could easily follow his trail, as the wind carried it her way. She closed the gap silently, slowing down to a crawl as she approached the exact spot needed for the leap. She licked her fangs in anticipation and lowered her body to the ground, powerful limbs coiling in preparation for a single jump. The prey was unaware of her pressence. They always were. In the native jungles of Nexal she was a deadly predator that was feared by all creatures. In the dense forests of the Cormanthor, her killing capabilities were not diminished in the least. Sharp claws and fangs combined with a tremendously strong bite to make her a deadly shadow. Today she would taste blood and eat her fill.

~@~@~@

The man's armor was chain mail over leather, yet it did not make a noise as he carefully rose up from his hiding spot. He had long become used to it's bulk, as the milder weather of the region demanded warmer clothing. He never would get used to the colder climate, he had decided many years ago. His right arm was pulled back, the ahtlatl grasped by the handle and the shaft of the tepoztopilli balanced by his index finger. His left arm stretched forward, to help him balance the throw and aim with precision. A doe laid big, black eyes on him as she straightened up from her grazing position, but it was already too late. Thought became motion, muscle, bone and sinew moved in unison with a single intent: bringing down the prey.



~@~@~@

Her leap was flawless, sharp claws secured the prey as she landed on his back. She was heavier than she looked, and had no trouble bringing him down to the ground with her. As they fell, fangs sank at the base of the skull where it met with the neck, and powerful jaws clenched. Blood was drawn, flesh was pierced, bone creacked under the pressure and finally fractured. Her prey never saw her, and now was done for.

~@~@~@

The deer had fled the clearing in a blink of an eye, their panicked prancing taking them quickly away from the ambush site. The birds chirped in the canopy of the forest, insects kept singing their songs welcoming the heat of the afternoon, and the smell of blood slowly permeated into the surroundings of the clearing. Warm blood seeped onto his scalp, bright scarlet covering his head. He had hit his mark with enough force to impale it side to side, and had already retrieved the spear, which now laid bloodied to his side, resting on the ground. He felt the warmth of life seep away just as surely as death came to all living things as the blood started cooling off. He ran his hands through his hair, caking it with the fresh blood. He kneeled once more and with deft hands, he extracted the heart of the deer with his tecpatl, the claw at the pommel reminding him how efficient Mictlatli always was. Setting aside the knife, he took the organ in his hands and lifted it tremulously towards the skies, imploring to Zaltec, the Eater of Hearts and Bringer of War to accept his offering. To the Beastlord he sacrificed the lungs and head. To Azul, the Rain Giver, he offered the spilled blood. To the Sun, Tezca, he offered several chosen bits of viscera. The rest he gave to Mictlatli, along the hind quarters, which she greatly enjoyed. The hunter skinned the deer, peeled off the meat from the bones, cut the sinew and filleted the meat he'd take away with him. The rest he left there, for the scavengers of the forest to feast upon.

~@~@~@

The large feline was leisurely licking the marrow off the cracked bones, her belly full of her share. As usual she had performed impecably, catching the wounded deer a mere moment after it had been hit by her companion's spear. She was observing as the man finished packing up and readying to set off. Slowly she rose, stretched herself and licked her chops, savouring the last remnants of her meal. She had been eating well as of late. Prey was plentiful so she had ample oportunity to keep her skills sharp. He had improved as well. She could tell he was now more at ease with the forest since returning last winter. They had travelled for a long time, but the reward was worth it. She still disliked when he had to leave to that place, Shadowdale, and she had to wait in the forest. She could tell something was different from previous times now. She could smell it. She could feel the change in his demeanor. She had rarely seen him like this... his step was lighter, his eyes wandered. She did not know what happened in his thoughts, but as long as he kept improving as he had, she wasn't that bothered.

"Mictlali, we must continue our walk. Tonight we seek the Altar of the Fangs. We will hunt one more prey as an offering to place there."

The great cat tilted her head to the melodious tones of the nexalan language, and purring in her deep, gutural way, flattened her ears, closed her eyes and rubbed her flank against her companion, Hun-Balam. She quickly fell in stride to his side, and the pair left towards the east.
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Razgril

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Posts : 232
Join date : 2010-12-22
Age : 34
Location : Guadalajara, Mexico

PostSubject: Re: The One Jaguar   Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:29 pm

Those Who Hunt Elves

~@~@~@

Hun-Balam did not like elves much. They were cunning, graceful, and tough. They had a refined beauty in them, and that made it easy for them to hide duplicitous, harmful intent. In his previous experiences with elves, and although most that he had met seemed relatively amiable and generous, he could never forget that the fall of Nexal was in large part due to a she-elf. Darien had exemplified what made elves truly dangerous: a great beauty hiding a terrifying power that you would be wise not turning your back to, lest you risk getting slain from the back; and a cunning mind capable of concocting the most devious plans with a will to carry them into motion.

It is known that to truly understand your enemy, you must get to know them well. As a hunter, he had taken ample opportunity to do so in his past dealings with elf kin. He had adventured through dungeons and ruins with them, camped with them in the wilderness, asked them about their stories and their customs, and most had shared what information he had asked for without reservation. He had shared their food as comrades in arms, he had even laid with the occasional elven maid in his younger years. But he had never forgotten why glorious Nexal, with it's white pyramids and pluma woven, colored flags and standards, had fallen.

Dark elves were different, he had been told. More cruel, devious, and brutal than their surface kindred. And thanks to the words of one of their slaves, he had set out to test his skill as a hunter once more, and find if they made as fierce prey as he hoped.

~@~@~@

The forest canopy was so thick that not much daylight managed to reach the ground. The hunter rarely wandered this part of the forest, for he knew the Ancient Ones patrolled this area. It was nearly a year ago that he had fought in this same area with a warrior of their kin. The fight had been brutal, and protracted. The only reason he had dared to do so was that the Ancient One was alone on his own. Mictlali had made the difference that ensured the success of their hunt, but she had sustained an injury that took a while to heal completely for her troubles. The warrior's heart had made a fine sacrifice to the Gods for he had given a show of skill and fierceness that proved he had been a worthy opponent.

Now, three of them walked along the forest, in the distance. They had appeared just a moment ago from a bend down a forest trail. Hun-Balam was better equipped now, and he had refined his hunting methods over the course of the year. The skirmishes against the undead of the Daggerhills had been valuable combat experiences. The trio of elves seemed to patrol the area with confidence. Surely, they thought themselves masters of this portion of the woods. Males, all of them. The taller one was clad in scale armor, a helmet made of dark metal protected his head. A shield was strapped to his back, and a curved sword was at his hip. The one that followed carried a bow. This was the one that seemed most alert, keeping an eye and ear on the surroundings. His head was uncovered, and his armor was leather. Closing the rear came one dressed in dark robes. He carried but a small satchel, and his head was adorned by a metallic circlet. This one seemed out of place, given the richness of his clothes and finery. Troublesome... perhaps a sorcerer. They surely had sharp fangs, but this hunter knew that a beast's weapons are only effective is they manage to clamp on their victim. His trusted companion looked at their prey with intent as well. The pair silently followed the three dark elves from a distance. The hunt was on.

~@~@~@

They had stopped to eat their rations near a small stream, a couple miles further to the east. They were not careless in choosing their camping spot. There were no nearby trees to conceal their approach, the detritus was mostly fallen leaves, with no tall enough grass either. Just a couple large rocks that the Ancient Ones were using as makeshift seating. Still, this was their chance. The group of elves had started a fire to heat some water and cook what rations they had. They talked in their strange tongue without much worry, for they were assured there were no dangers lurking about. They were mistaken. What made the decision final was that the marksman had reclined his bow and left his quiver and a satchel with his belongings atop a large rock a dozen or so paces away, and the warrior's seating had his back turned to their approach. The mage would have a clear view of their charge, but a better opportunity would not come easily.

Hun-Balam patted the large head of the black jaguar twice, and pointed towards the trio. It was about fifty paces from the bushes they were hiding in to the spot where the prey supped. Mictlali narrowed her eyes and bared her fangs. She did not like it, but she certainly would do it. Her muscles tensed in preparation for her sprint and pounce. Jaguars are ambush predators. They certainly are fast but they are much more comfortable pouncing onto unsuspecting prey and breaking the back of their skull or neck with a powerful bite.

Hun-Balam wielded his pair of macuahuitl, and gave Mictlali the signal to go. He launched himself forward following her lead, using her own mass as concealment to remain unseen as long as possible. The charge was swift and mostly silent.

~@~@~@

Fourty paces. The elves eat their meal peacefully, chatting in their strange tongue amicably.

Thirty paces. The robed one perceives movement and raises his gaze towards their general direction. Red eyes lock onto feral yellow ones, and the Ancient One utters a muffled cry, points in the direction of the charging black jaguar, and swallows his last mouthful. Both of his other companions turn on their spots. The marksman reacts first, throwing his bowl to the side as he starts into a desperate dash towards his bow and arrows. The warrior half-turns on his seat, dumbfounded.

Twenty paces. The warrior says something in the melodious, foreign language of his people, stands up and starts retrieving his shield. The mage stands up, the scout is halfway towards his weapon.

Ten paces. Mictlali leaps onto the warrior with a ferocious roar. The dark elf barely has time to unsheathe his blade and brace for impact, but withstands the initial blow with the aid of his shield. The marksman reaches his weapon and retrieves a handful of arrows. He turns around and takes aim, immediately letting lose against their furry assailant. The robed one starts an incantation, eyeing the large feline with some aprehension.

A swipe of Mictlali's claw catches the warrior square on the face. The helmet absorbs most of the impact, but a pained yelp and streaks of red closing forever his right eye confirm damage was dealt. An arrow whistles by, missing it's mark, but two more bite deep at the jaguar's flank. The incantation of the robed one is complete, and as he points a finger towards the panther, a green bolt flies forth. Mictlali is suddenly frozen in place, restrained by some magical force.

The warrior stumbles back but has no time to catch his bearings, as a veritable rain of blows catch him on the side, back, legs and head. He rises his shield and swings his blade with what might be a cussing in the dark elf language, but the warrior facing him weaves in and out avoiding the dark elf's blade. The marksman shouts something as he lets loose another volley against their assailant, and the warrior adjusts his striking angle. This time the blow lands, but it is lessened by the chain mail armor the hunter wears. A small cloud of sand is caused by the impact.  The elven warrior lets out a surprised yelp as cactus spines strike him back. The hunter is protected by primal magic, hishna... the magic of tooth and claw. A couple arrows find their target, but their bite is lessened in a similar fashion.

The mage lets out another spell, this time against the hunter. A sudden daze assails him, and he is disoriented. An arrow misses and another strikes him. The hunter tumbles away to avoid the thrust of the warrior's blade, positioning himself to the warrior's flank. The mage continues his incantations, but the hunter evades an acidic arrow, and lands several more blows on the warrior that cause sparks of flame and electricity to fly as they land.

The melee is frantic, and the hunter is struck by another spell that tries to assail his mind, but he withstands it. More arrows continue flying, but by then, Mictlali manages to break free of her bonds and rushes towards the archer. A blow to the knee crumples the warrior to the floor and the obsidian edge of the macuahuitl finds his neck, partially severing his head. The mage tries to flee but is overtaken by the hunter after a short chase. The drow is put out of his misery with brutality. The more bloody the hunt, the better after all. The marksman is the last to perish, Mictlali clinging to his side as the hunter splits his head in half with a downward strike.

The only sounds on the small clearing are the running water, the growls of the panther as it feeds, and the cutting of flesh and cracking of bone. With his engraved tecpatl, the hunter claims his prize. He cakes his hair in the blood of the dead elves and paints his hands red with it. With consumed motions he takes several bits from the bodies and offers them to the Gods, as he does every time. From the warrior, he carves out a nice, juicy piece from his tights. He showed strength, and the hunter will relish it, honor it, and make it his. He finally removes their hearts. He will offer them to the Altar of the Beastlord in the Fangs a couple nights from now, exhulting the God for his favor in future hunts. The pair licked their wounds briefly, and healing ointments were applied with liberality and haste, for they were not going to tarry on territory where other Ancient Ones may prowl. They left the remains for the animals of the forests, and started their march home.

~@~@~@

Hun-Balam did not like elves much. They were cunning, graceful and tough, but they had a refined beauty in them. Dark elves were different, he had been told. More cruel, devious, and brutal than their surface kindred. In the end he quietly had to admit to himself that this was true. Their ears sure made more beautiful necklaces, like shards of igneous obsidian under the sun.
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Razgril

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Posts : 232
Join date : 2010-12-22
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Location : Guadalajara, Mexico

PostSubject: Re: The One Jaguar   Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:37 pm

A gruesome sight greets anyone nearing the entrance from the deeper Starwood towards the Starwood tunnel.

Hanged on crudely chopped and vertically propped wooden posts from the fore legs and neck are the brutally desecrated remnants of a Cormanthor White Stag. A male on it's prime.

Those studying the corpse find the following:

(WARNING: Graphic content):
 

Hanging from the neck of the stag is a wooden sign, engraved in the common tongue:  

Quote :
[The days of Myth Drannor are numbered.This will happen to you when the Dark Ones come calling.  No one will be spared. Evacuate your young while there is still time.]
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