(OOC: This is my first thread for my Non-Traditional RP, Bloody Plains. I explained the background and history on my site and in my characters histories a little. You can join the Thunderstripes, one of their rival tribes, or none at all! Feel free to use any characters, though African animals would make more sense. Also, the thread is titled Reemergence because it is about the Thunderstripe tribe's fight to get their land back and reinstate themselves as a power to be feared.)

"Just grab her slimy little neck and crush it!" Zikomo Darkfang's angry side of his mind told his logical, "she won't have a chance to react!"  Zikomo and Dera sat facing each other in the small cavern that served as her chamber. She was talking to him, but he was only half listening to her as his mind spoke to itself. "No, I can't do that," Zikomo's careful side replied, "she may still injure me with her magic, it is best to wait. Besides, revenge is sweeter when they know who killed them."

"So what do you think?" Dera's question showed that she was finished talking. Luckily for Zikomo, he had a sharp mind, and what he hadn't heard he was able to piece together.

"Well, if we intend to earn the respect of the Bloodclaws, it all depends on our first battle with them," Zikomo answered her, "if we do well in combat, they may see us as worthy opponents and leave us alone. Otherwise, they will only return to reclaim the land we take."

"Your right, we'll need to attack them where their weak," Dera said thoughtfully, "it will be hard convincing Duka of that though. You know him, he loves to fight head to head." She laughed lightly, having no idea of the dark thoughts that ran through Zikomo's head.

"If you don't mind," Zikomo said, "I'll take my leave." He stood up and went for the exit.

"That's fine Zikomo," Dera said brightly, "see you later!" She waved one paw to him to which he responded with a nod. He crossed through winding passages and corridors, heading for the surface. Torches were placed on the walls every 10 feet or so, but it did little to lift the shadow. He breathed a sigh of comfort when he saw the sun. It was large and red in the west, having nearly completed its journey through the sky. He didn't care for the dark of the caves, it grew oppressive.

The entrance to to the Thunderstripe den was built into a giant rocky outcrop that rose out of the ground like a miniature mountain. It was horseshoe shaped, with the door in the middle of the curve and the rest of the area being a flat rocky platform surrounded by the "arms" of the outcrop. This rocky plateau served as the meeting place for the Thunderstripe tribe. (I'm working on a drawing of the entrance so you can understand it better.) Campfires were set up all around on the rock, and the smell of food came from them. Zikomo began crossing the area, looking for food.

"Hey Zikomo," a young hyena ran up to his elder, "Duka wants you and me to go scout around the southern boarder." Zikomo wrapped his arm around the shoulders of the young soldier as if he were an old friend.

"Let's not and say we did," Zikomo wispered to other, "Duka will never know."

"But, what is there is a threat on the boarder?" the young hyena asked, his eyes wide with surprise.

"But there won't be," Zikomo said with a smile, releasing his shoulder, "there never is."

"I guess your right," the hyena mutted nervously, "but what if Duka finds out?"

"Then we both were busy fighting off intruders to the north," Zikomo said with a smile and walked away. The other watched him leave, a mixture of admiration and distrust on his face. Then, forgetting about the wrath of Duka, he went to enjoy the night with his friends.

(OOC: Feel free to jump in anybody!)

Decca had been at see for two fort nights. The tumbling and tossing of the sea waves did not fair well with him, unlike his corsair body guard Dester and his two followers Jultar and Hahn. "Curse these retched seas…ugh. I'm a fox not a sea rat." Decca complained.

"Well I'm a fox too, and you don't hear me belly aching." Jultar sneered at him. Decca just spewed chunks of the same salty fish they had been eating through the whole thing.

"Land Ho!" The spotter in the crow's nest shouted. Soon they were anchored and row boat by row boat, they set camp up on the shore. Decca ran as far inland as he could, Dester and friends behind him. In a strange land under a strange tree, the shaman sat under and rested more easily, not noticing the scouts who had spotted him. He didn't care, he was on dry land.

Duka Flashfire sat in the lowest cave of the entire Thunderstripe complex. The cavernous room was filled almost completely with water. The lake stretched off into the dark, farther than any of the tribe had ever gone. Duka feared and hated the water. The black depths seemed to laugh at him, an empty pit into nothing stared back at him. Duka felt it a challenge to face his fear. If he didn't, he would never overcome it.

"Excuse me sir," a voice came from behind Duka, "the scouts have news."

Duka turned to the messenger. "What is it?" he asked.

"There are foreigners on the plain," the messenger said hastily, "there are only four that we see, but it is certain there is a boat load of them still at the ship."

Duka stood up and walked out of the cave, beckoning for the other to follow. "Why did those foreigners have to come now?" he asked himself out loud, "just when we have so many other problems to deal with! They always want treasure and glory for themselves." The runner padding silently along behind his chief, feeling it would be best not to say anything.

When Duka arrived on the entrance rock, most of the tribe was already there, including Dera and Zikomo. The roar of conversation filled the air, every beast expressing their opinion on the newcomers. "What are you doing here?" Duka asked Zikomo, "I though you were on a patrol to the south."

"Well, we were going," Zikomo lied, "but we heard about the foreigners and came back."

"The entire tribe is waiting for your command Duka," Dera said.

Duka stood upon a rocky platform that stuck out of the plateau like a natural stage. Most of the talking died down when they saw Duka stand, and the rest was silenced by a wave from their chief's paw. Without giving any reason for his decisions, Duka went straight to business. "I will divide the tribe in half. Half will stay here, and half will come with me," Duka said, "we will not attack the foreigners until they give us reason." Zikomo began dividing the tribe roughly in half, separating them with hand motions in various directions.

"Let's go," Duka said and jumped off the platform. With Dera on his right and Zikomo on his left he lead the half of the tribe away. The scouts who had first spotted Decca showed the rest the way. When they came close to their targets the Thunderstripes formed a large horseshoe shape, sneaking up on the fox shaman through the tall grass. When they were all in position, Duka gave sharp whistle. Everybeast stood, pointing their spears at the foreigners.

Duka, with his two companions still in tow, walked towards the tree where Decca sat. "I apologize for the force in arms, we do not wish to hurt you unless you mean harm to us," Duka said to Decca, "who are you? What are you doing in our land?" Zikomo and Dera stood in silence, letting Duka handle the talking.

Jultar immediately drew his bow and had Duka in his crosshairs. "Put your weapon down Firestorm, they're just cautious." Decca scolded the fox, Hahn snickering behind Dester. "I'm Decca Zeroso, shaman of the sea farriers down there. Those three are Dester, Hahn, and Jultar, my private escort. We, at least I am, are here to explore new lands and of coarse finding new spices and resources to take back home.
Two bloody fort nights on that cursed vessel. I like being on solid ground better than a ship. Well enough of my complaining, who might you be? I'll go ahead and assume your the chieftain of these warriors." Decca looked at the new beasts with great intrest. Looking at their spots and odd rustic gold brown color. "Pareden my ignorance, but what sort of creature are you? I've never seen animals quite like your bunch."

Duka immediately raised his shield when Jultar aimed an arrow at him, but slowly lowered it when Decca began to speak. He explained that he was a shaman, a creature of magic. This caught Dera's interest. She always loved meeting other Shamans, who seemed to be rather rare. Duka, though still wary, felt that spices and exploration were innocent enough reasons to be here. With a wave of his paw he indicated for his warriors to lower their weapons.

"I am Duka Flashfire, and this is my tribe, the Thunderstripes," with a paw Duka indicated the lighting bolt tattoo on his face, "we are all hyenas, which I doubt exist where you come from. We have seen little of your species as well, just a few pirates. You will probably see other new beasts here as well, such as the lions and tigers."

Zikomo looked at the foreigner’s strange clothing and weapons with interest. He could see similarities to the equipment the grasslanders used, but more differences. "I wish I could get my paws on some of their stuff," he thought to himself, "all the rest of the tribe would bow down to me as their better!" On the outside he remained straight faced and static. Zikomo was a master of hiding his feelings.

"You are free to explore and search in our territory, and you are welcome at our home if you so wish," Duka said to Decca, "but, I do not recommend leaving our lands, as the other tribes may not be so friendly. So, if you wish, follow me." He turned and began walking back to the caves, the rest of the tribe following him. Zikomo stood watching the explorers, waiting to see if they would come.

"What do you mean the Thunderstripes are back?" Datva roared. The hulking lion loomed over the cheetah who had brought him the massage.

"That's what I said sir, they attacked our guards along the old border," Eraon, the Cheetah, replied, "the survivors know it was the Thunderstripes."

"This can't be true!" Datva muttered as he paced the ground, "I saw Addae fall with my own eyes! How can you prove it was them?"

"The survivors saw who attacked them. They bore the Thunderstripe shield," Eraon said, "it's yellow, with a line down the middle and blue lightning bolts…"

"I know what their shield looks like you idiot!" Datva turned on the hapless beast in fury, striking him across the face with his long claws. Eraon fell back, clutching his injured muzzle with both paws. After a minute or two of silence, Datva spoke again. "It is clear the Thunderstripes were not completely defeated," he mused outloud. He turned back to Eraon, who was still tending to his wound. "How did they kill my guards?" Datva asked, "they were at full numbers were they not?"

"They were at full numbers sir, but you decreased the guard on that boarder when the Thunderstripes disappeared," Eraon answered, "I said we shouldn't have done that."

"I don't want your opinion Eraon," Datva growled, "but I like your attitude. There isn't many who will face up to the leader of the Nightscars. Just make sure you don't get any rebellious ideas."

"Yes sir," Eraon answered.

"Call together twenty of my finest warriors," Datva commanded, "I want to check up on our old Thunderstripe friends."

"As you wish sir," Eraon said as he bowed, and then headed off to do his chief's bidding.

Datva sat down on a rock, thinking back to the days of the battle between the Thunderstripes and the others. "I can't believe it Addae," he spoke to his imaginary foe, "did you survive all that? Or has someone new rose to command of your tribe? We'll see."

Dester paid no heed to Duka, as he did with most high ranking beasts. "Well if any others are idiotic enough to bear arms against us, they'll either get their skull split by Jultar's arrows or get hacked to pieces by either me or Hahn." Dester took his coat off, the heat of the land was starting to irritate him, his many blades rattel and clanged on their holsters. Decca also followed the rat's actions, rolling it up and rapping around his waist. The golden sheath of his sabre glistened in the harsh sun, his white fur was a good asset, but  also a hinder. No camouflage in the yellow savannah. "May you lead the, Duka?" Decca politely said.

"No matter how great a warrior you think you are, I doubt you would survive outnumbered five  to one," Zikomo sneered at Dester, "but I'd love to see you try."

"Zikomo…" Dera said in a warning voice. Zikomo rolled his eyes, but he didn't say anything more.

Duka watched as the newcomers took off their over garments. They really were unnecessary in such heat. He wondered how cold they land they came from must be. "I would be happy to guide you," Duka replied, "it is not a long way off." Using his natural sense of direction and the position of the sun, Duka soon plotted the path they would take in his head. "This way," he said as he led them towards the Thunderstripe den. The rest of the tribe fell into line behind, leaving room for their guests.

Datva and his warriors thundered across the plain. They were all great cats, hunters born. Their bodies rippled with muscle as their strong legs carried them at a relentless pace. Though Datva was superior to the rest of his tribe in strength, he had to admit that Eraon had him beaten in speed. None of the others could even get close to the cheetah.

Eraon suddenly stopped at the crest of a sloping hill and stood staring down at something. The others sprinted up to him and joined him in his surveillance. "Look sir, see those big rocks," Eraon pointed at the entrance of the Thunderstripe lair, "their all sitting around on them."

"So, you were right," Datva said with a smile, "those lousy lunkheads are back! Now, lets find out who the leader of this mess is."

"Aye sir," Eraon said as he hefted his spear, "right behind you." Datva lead his beasts down the crest of the little hill towards the Thunderstripe camp. He would get Addae, or whatever runt took his place.

Dester sneered at Zikomo. "I'd love to give you the pleasure. Just a warn, I've killed many more skilled than you."
"Yeah! He kill ya in a 'artbeat!" Hahn Backed him. Jultar held his tong, he knew better than to quarrel in such pity. Decca rolled his eyes at the two and Zikomo.
"Non the wiser arn't they. That one hyena better watch his tong around Dester, he may loose it. The rat isn't the one you should under mind. He use to control a large hoard, left it because of boredom." The shaman didn't like his three guards that much, but they did protect him.

Dester sat on a stool with his three companons around a fire. Decca sat with Duka and Dera. "I'd love to hear any tales you have. A little knowledge of this land would be most helpful." Dester stood up and moved to where Zik was sitting.
"So you spotted dog, what have you to do here? I kneed to practice my blade skills" Once Dester became bored, trouble followed his wake.

As Datva and his minions drew nearer to the Thunderstripe encampment, they saw that there were some beasts that were a bit out of place.  "So, the Thunderstripes have foreigners with them," Datva smirked, "I guess those old dogs couldn't take care of themselves."

"Aye sir," Eraon answered almost mechanically.

"You there! Thunderstripe scum!" Datva shouted as soon as he was in hearing range, "I see that some of you survived the beating we gave you! Who is your leader now?" His eyes scanned the crowd of hyenas, looking for any that might stand out as a chief.

OOC: Meerkats live in desert like areas, I hope it's alright if I use one… I can always change my post if not.

BIC: Commander Mallard stood in the underground barracks of Velanore’s Watch a remote watch tower far north of the Thunderstripe encampment “What do you think Sharp?”
The beast Mallard was speaking to remained in the shadows of the moderately lit room “It’s a cause for concern sir with the aggressiveness between the tribes rising it’s only a matter of time before one attacks us.”
The middle aged Imperial rubbed his chin “Yes and Quard Outpost is over three days march from here… The Thunderstripes seem to be the more passive of the local tribes go see how they’re faring and help them gather some intelligence we both can use… assuming they don’t jump the bow and start firing at you.”
Sharp stepped from the shadows, the young adult meerkat held his helm in one paw and bow in the other “I doubt they will sir, they seem relatively reasonable for the type of beasts they are.”
Mallard turned as another Imperial came running down the spiral stairs from the watchtower above “What is it?”
The Imperial knew that what he had to report was of significance but not a matter of life or death for them “Sir, the flight scout from Quard reports unusual activity to the south, sounds like the hyenas are getting ready to wrestle each other.”
Mallard looked at Sharp “No sense in wasting anymore time, get going.”
Sharp headed for the tunnel that would eventually lead to the exit from the underground part of the watch “Yes sir.”

Sharp walked out from the rocky outcropping that hid the entrance which closed behind him leaving him to put on his helm and run south towards the Thunderstripe encampment with his armor shining like a lighthouse on the open ground.

(That's perfectly fine Belarus!)

"Well, most of this land looks like what you see now. Tall grass and scattered trees," Duka said in reply to Decca's question, "the ocean where you came from is to the west, and to the the far east it's almost all rock and sand." He paused for breath a moment and then continued, "the nearby tribes include the Bloodclaws and the Nightscars, both dangerous enemies of ours."

Zikomo gave Dester a sidelong glance as the rat drew near. "My position?" he asked, "I'm kind of a commander. As for practice, I'm sure you can find a willing participant somewhere around here." Zikomo knew that Dester was challenging him, but he didn't let on.

All the tribe turned to face the Nightfangs when they heard Datva's shout. Duka stood up, seething with anger. This was one of the beasts who had humiliated his tribe and killed his father. And now, this lion was coming back for him. "I am Duka Flashfire, son of Addae," Duka said fearlessly, "I am now chief of the Thunderstripes. Do what you will but we will hold firm."

A ripple of conversation went through the crowd of beasts. Several pointed north at the shining figure which was approaching on the horizon. Duka looked at it with interest. He wondered who would wear such visible and heavy equipment on the plains.

Decca peered at the large cats. They reminded him of the wild cats back home, though some here were leaner than the others. "Are thous the Nightfangs? They look  like a nasty bunch." The shaman squinted at the shining one.
"Now what blazing idiot is that? I wouldn't be surprised if he gets heat stroke before he gets over here." Decca mused to himself.

Jultar had his bow drawn, an arrow aimed at the head of a spotted cat. Dester walked up beside him. "Should I take the shot? I'll be able to send this arrow through and through that skinny ones head."
"No not now. Leave them be. Only when they attack shall we will get involved. We'll send them a message."
"What kinda' message sir?" Hahn asked.
"One of my 'special' messages, heheheh!" The rat laughed evilly. The whole three laughed evilly, and Decca saw this.
"The cats better have close watch on there scouts tonight. The collector's bloodthirst needs to be quenched." The fox told Duka, as if he knew about the rat.

(Just a note, they're the Nightscars, not the Nightfangs.  :P)

Eraon set an arrow to his bow at lighting speed. He pointed his weapon right back at Jultar. "Come on fox," he snarled, "just try it." His cold eyes glared unblinking into his opponent's face.

Datva ignored Decca and the rest. Duka was the object of his focus. "So, you're Addae's whelp?" Datva smirked, "do you dare challenge me, Datva Nightscar, or are you a wimp like your father?" His massive paw reached for the handle of his blade. He drew his sword and pointed it at Duka. "Come and fight me!" Datva roared.

(Whoops, sorry about that! Also, there are so many names starting with D! Duka, Decca, Dera, Dester, Datva!  8/ lol)

Duka looked confused by Decca's comment. "What do you mean collector?" Duka asked, "what does he collect?" Before he could hear the fox's response Datva called out in challenge. Duka felt his temper rising. Now this lion was insulting his father! Duka's paw tightened on his spear. He gritted his teeth in rage.

Before he could answer the white lion, Dera pushed her way to the front. "Duka is no wimp, and neither was Addae," she shouted angrily, "you're the wimp! You never would have beaten our father if you didn't gang up on him with the other tribes!" Duka was impressed by his sister. She was a firm beast when she got angry.

"She's right Datva, you are a coward," Duka growled, "now let's see if you can face me in fair combat." He stepped off the rocks around the entrance of the caves and walked through the high grass to face Datva. He held his shield high and his spear ready. He swallowed his fear as he approached the hulking lion. "This is for you father," he muttered to himself.

Jultar made no movements as he stared down the cheetah. "Come kitty cat, make my day." He whispered. Dester made a wry smile.
"They have acted against us Hahn. Time to get involved." The rat said merely.
"When?" The two asked in unison.
"Tonight. Well catch a scout and I'll give him back."
"Intact?" Hahn asked.
"Alive?" Jultar asked.
"Neither." Dester spoke Coldly. Jultar gave a toothy grin at the cat. He pointed at him and made a slicing motion with his thumb across his throat.

Decca answed to Dera, since Duka was occupied. "The rat takes the bones and body parts of his targets. Sometimes they live, mostly they don't. Tis a grim scene."

Eraon stared at the conversing pirates with a smirk. "Oh, did I hurt your poor little feelings rat?" he asked, "as I recall, your beast pointed the bow at me first. Also, telling your enemy your plan is about the stupidest thing you can do." He kept his bow trained on Jultar. He wasn't going to let himself be shot unawares.

Datva scowled at Dera. "Shut up girl," he growled, "unless you would fight me in place of your brother." He smirked at Duka as he come closer. "So Duka, chief of the Thunderstripes," Datva smiled, "you will fight me? Fool." Raising his large blade Datva charged. He roared as he sped towards the hyena. When Datva reached his opponent he slashed at Duka diagonally using both paws on the handle of the blade.

Dera listened nervously to Decca and Dester. "It sounds nasty," she squeaked, "at least he's on our side." She jumped in surprise as Datva turned his anger on her. She had just yelled at him a second ago. But, she already felt her courage seeping away again.

"Leave my sister alone and fight me!" Duka growled. Unfortunately, it seemed Datva was only to happy to oblige. Dera gasped on horror as the giant sword swung at her brother's head. Zikomo grinned a smile of triumph. Dera breathed a sigh of relief as Duka raised his shield and blocked the blade. He reeled back under the force of the blow. A chip of the shield went flying, narrowly missing Duka's face. Zikomo clenched his fist in disappointment. He said nothing out loud.

Duka lowered his spear at charged at Datva. He stabbed at Datva's waist, and the again quickly at the lion's shoulder.

Sharp stopped as he watched the lion burst out in an assault on the hyena chieftain taking a chunk out of Duka’s shield “Blazes, blasted cats haven’t come this far north since they ganged up on this lot last time!”
Sharp took his helm off an latched it to his belt then began to run towards the conflict stopping several pawsteps away from the furthest onlookers from the fight “What in hell’s gates is going on here?”

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