Of Fear and Love
OOC- Hey, I'd love help recreating the events surrounding this post here
Snagtooth definitely preferred traveling by night. Not only did it give him the element of surprise should he encounter any unwary souls camped for the night, but it also cloaked him in a comfortable feeling of solitude.
Snagtooth prefered traveling alone too. There's nothing worse than a stupid varmint for company. He didn't have to share food or weapons with anyone and he never had to worry about someone cutting his throat while he slept.
He also preferred having enemies over friends. You can always count on an enemy to act against you but a friend's betrayal could get you killed.
Snagtooth adjusted the pack on his back and glanced up at the stars.
He was a good navigator. Few beasts cared to learn the skills of astronomy or map reading but as a younger vermin, he learned that knowing where you are and what's ahead of you is the key to both survival and hunting your prey. Snagtooth liked hunting too.
"Just a lil' further ahead" he told himself. Over the next rise would be a river. The sun would be coming up soon and he'd make camp for the day, fish for a bit maybe and then sleep off the wine he stole the day before from some wandering bards. Stealing was easier at night as well he noted.
As the crest of the hill broke, he emerged from the wood line to find something very unexpected.
"Well what do we have here?" He asked aloud.
The hare's burrow certainly hadn't been there last season when he'd traveled this way. The warm glow from a fire illuminated the entrance to an underground tunnel. A small garden had been planted nearby and even a watermill erected to grind wheat and barley for food. It was a very comfortable looking home.
"Guess it's my birthday." He whispered to himself. Come to think of it, Snagtooth had no idea when his birthday was. Perhaps it really was…
Snagtooth passed through the garden and plucked a few ripe greenbeans from their stalk as he crept like a ghost to the entrance of the hovel.
Inside he could hear voices conversing.
Room for one right now. We may expand that as the story advances. Any takers?
"Dalia, get your trowel off tha' table" Riggard the hare insisted. He sat in the corner near the cooking fire carving an otter out of wood. Next to him, on a small table, stood another dozen or so figurines. They were not expertly carved but Riggard had put his heart and soul into making them for his children.
The small dibbun rushed forward and grabbed the trowel. She span around in circles swing the trowel like a tiny sword. Dirt flew lightly in every direction as she defiantly conquered her imaginary foes.
"Run you evil vermin!"
Her mother swept up from behind and disarmed the vicious warrior. "Come now. Sit down and eat. A brave warrior must keep strong."
Dalia ceded, plopped down on the wooden bench and reached out to grab a scone. Her brother beat her to it though.
"That one's mine!" He declared and took his spoils of war.
"Mama!" Dalia complained, "He took my scone!"
"Don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from." She smiled at her children, reached out and handed a second scone to her daughter.
OOC- When do you want to come in?
Creigon Quall last edited by
OOC- I'll jump in if you'll have me.
OOC- Ok. think Snag wants the story to go this direction though.
So maybe you can take one half of the family and I'll take the other?
"Oh I certainly hope there is more where that came from, marm."
Snagtooth stepped into the light. The cooking fire played wicked shadows across his face. As villianous as he was, in this light, he appeared downright demonic.
He looked into the startled faces of his onlookers. He reached out and selected a particularly plump scone. It was still hot in his paws and as he bit into it the steam curled up and about his snout.
"Because I am absolutely famished!"
((OOC: This looks interesting, is this entrance acceptable?))
Not many beasts traveled at night. Sometimes, Tarlish stopped to wonder why. Why not after all? There was a lesser risk of being assaulted, the better chance of finding ones quarry, and fewer bugs and burning sunlight. But many preferred daytime travel, and the marten did have to admit that mossflower was a very gorgeous sight in the afternoon glory, like one great shining emerald…
He leaped from the outreached branch to the sturdy bough of an oak without a thought. Moving through the trees was superior to walking in just so many ways, and Tarlish had been doing it since his very early youth. It was as natural to him as breathing it was, and no beast would doubt it after seeing how he leaped and glided through the trees like an arboreal snake. Whoops… slipped through his mind as he nearly misjudged a jump and overshot a tree crook. Re-balancing himself, he readied himself and carried on. Where to? Who knew. Wherever there was prey for his blade, wherever proper morality could be executed. He chuckled quietly to himself at the irony in that thought. Executed, executed indeed.
he saw light ahead. Before him, through the trees on the ground below in a break in the trees. he could scarcely make it out though, a house? A dwelling? The thought of a house suddenly brought flashing images of hot scones to mind, queuing his stomach to remind him just how hungry he was. Perhaps, well maybe they'd offer me a small morsel. No harm in checking. Diverting course, he swung off the elm branch before him and dropped -caught another limb, slowed himself, dropped again, and tumbled to a clear patch of forest floor with an expert roll. With only the muffled clinking of metal, the assassin picked himself up, brushed himself off, and began making way towards the light in the distance.
Dalia gave a frightened squeak and dropped her scone. She rushed behind her mother, snatching the trowel from her shocked fingers.
"Who are!? What do you want?" Riggard asked in a slightly trembling voice. He hurried his son to join Dalia behind his mother's skirt. She reached her arms around them and ushered them toward the far corner of the borrow.
"There's nothing here sah! Please. We are a poor family but you may take the food. Just please, do not hurt my family."
A thin tongue licked out clearing Snagtooth's snout of the delectable crumbs from the scone. He eyed the hare.
He wasn't too old but the seasons had gotten the best of him to be sure. He could tell that the hare was trying his best to stand straight up and show no fear but the rat could smell it on him. In his age, standing straight up meant curving so far forward that Snagtooth was astounded that he wasn't using a cane to support himself.
"'Ow ol' are you hare?" Snagtooth queried.
"Fifty seasons this year sah'." Riggard contemplated his plight. Had he been 20 seasons younger, he would have sent that rat packing for intruding into his home. He might not have even let him live.
Then again, twenty seasons younger and he wouldn't have had a home to intrude or a family to protect. Why did he have to wait so long to enjoy the truest pleasure in life a beast can experience? To have a family is to have peace. This rat was threatening to take all that away.
"'Sah' is it? You a hare of the Long Patrol are you?" Snitching a greenbean from the colander, he nibbled away at the tip of it as he circled his prey, inspected it for weakness. Sure enough, the back and arms of the hare showed the paperthin scars of an experienced fighter. No doubt water rats, corsairs, were responsible. They were always plundering the coastline with their ships. They'd kill here and there until some badgerlord would get annoyed and go to war with them. Snagtooth despised the corsairs. No, firm ground was where he belonged and he had no intention of even trying to sail. Turning his attention back to the beast before him, he continued his inspection.
Undoubtedly, this hare had seen his fair share of water rats, corsairs, and sea battles. He'd come out alive too. Snagtooth excepted that it wasn't for bravery he was still alive though.
"No sah. Not anymore" Riggard's heart ached as he thought back on his old freinds. He'd seen far too many die under the blade. He had no love for violence or war. "I left my patrol sah many seasons ago. I was tired of the fightin' and scared I may never see the day that my younguns grow up and have their own families."
"A deserter?" Snagtooth laughed. He had encountered a select few hares of Salamandastron in his day. They had been fearless, dedicated fighters. Snagtooth had altered his plans for the day on more than one occasion because of a Salamandastron hare. This would not be one of those time. The idea of a Long Patrol hare being cowardly enough to desert and then ignorant enough to admit to it was truly funny to Snagtooth. "And I thought that the hares of Salamandastron knew no fear!" He mocked.
Try as he might, Riggard could not think of a solution to this dilemma. There was nowhere to run to and he couldn't hope to fight this rat. He was too old, and the vermin too cruel. He would not win. Besides, Riggard was tired of running and his young ones could never outrun the beast. His only hope was to appeal to the remote possibility that somewhere in the cruel heart of this rat, he could stir some sentiment of empathy for his plight. Perhaps his family could bring a twinge of guilt to this intruder. "I fear no death sah. I fear for mah family, sah." The old hare stared glumly at the floor.
"Well then, you won't have to worry about this at all then." Snagtooth swung the sword and it connected with the elder beast. The sword's iron bit deep into the shoulder of the hare, bringing him to his knees. It was a death blow and Snagtooth knew it. Without even removing the blade from the beast, he brought his snout cruelly close to the hare's face. "Tell the devil that Snagtooth sent ya!" He chided and watched as the eyes of hare clouded and then rolled back.
The dibbuns were crying, not entirely sure of what just happened, the mother screaming, and behind him, close to the door, he heard a gasp.
He whirled around. Why was he so stupid? Throwing his name out like that to a dying beast. Raids and thievery are normal in Mossflower and hard to punish. They can put a price on a name and a face though. Whoever this witness to his crime was, he had to silence them. He rushed toward the door.
OOC: Looks like I'm done here then! Well played Snagtooth. Always a pleasure role-playing with you!
JSF16: I think you're up now!
The scream of a young creature was one never forgotten. The piercing cry, the verbal loss of innocence reached the martens ear, bringing all thoughts of violence and death to his mind. He moved quickly now, sprinting full-out. He could see the scene. A square of light, the door lay wide open. A beast stood there, a blade in its paws. From within came screams of horror. Two things happened for Tarlish. His heart thudded at the shrieks of the babes, while his mind gladdened at the thought of destroying such an abomination as a murderer. His sword left its sheath with a faint whisper of steel upon steel, and he came to a standstill just yards from the doorway. The ray had just turned to ran there, staring out into the cold. He saw Tarlish. Tarlish grinned, and twirled his blade dangerously.
"So, a killer eh? A murderer, eh? You fancy yourself to be a tremendous fighter eh? A killer of innocents, yes?" A dark laugh cackled out of Tarlish's increasingly giddy mindset. "Oh, dear rat, I am going to enjoy killing you. I will enjoy killing you so very much." His white teeth flashed pearls in the moonlight, and he took a dangerous step towards the rat, sword at the ready.
OOC - So both of us need to leave here alive. Preferably, both beaten pretty out of shape. Enough for me to risk my name getting out but not willing to die, and you enough that you exact revenge by putting a price on my head and name. Sound good?
"I 'ad no quarrel with you marten." Snagtooth wiped the blood stained blade on his fur. It didn't help much as the blood of the innocent hare had already splattered a red sheen across this coat. "But I claim no glory in war nor plunder, and as such, my name cannot be left on any crimes. You have witnessed both mah' crime, and mah' name. For that, I cannot let you live."
With his eyes focused on his new problem, he stepped backward into the hovel and grabbed an unlit torch from the sconce on the wall. He lit it in the fire and stepped back outside.
"Since you enjoy watching me at work," Snagtooth began as he closed the hovel's doors, "Behold my coup de grace!"
Snagtooth slipped the bloodied sword into the handles of the entrance and the used the torch to light the hares' home on fire.
As the tongues of the flame licked up the wooden side of the burrow, snagtooth pulled a second blade and a knife from their scabbards. "Come now, it's time I showed you the way to Hell's gates!"
OOC - Perhaps you could save the hares inside and let that be why we both get away alive.
What do you think?
"To hellgates? Rat, you have blazed your own path just now." Tarlish said maliciously before assaulting his target. The movement was a compound one, with an initial flick of his wrist which sent a pawful of sand travelling from a pouch on his belt, to flying through the air at the rats eyes. Simultaneously, Tarlish had slid in close; the needling point of his sword piercing towards the rats chest while his lower leg swung out like a club to knock the rat on his feet.