((ooc: So I thought I'd start an RP on a personal favorite portion of the Redwall series: the Juska Clans! Feel free to join in (not all characters have to be Juska). ))

It had rained for four days straight.

Mud made the wild-grown fields of wheat and tangled brambles unpleasant trekking in the constant downpour; and yet, the Juskasen hunting party crouched in the tall grass and briars regardless, still as the trees that lined the fields' perimeter, determined to out-wait the elements.

Six mud-streaked, tattooed beasts of assorted verminry - two rats, two weasels, a ferret, and a fox - watched the overcast skies for any hint of the sun's re-emergence, any whisper of a trail or trace of prey.

The smallest of the group, what appeared to be a much smaller rat than his broader, battle-ready companion, closed his eyes. The other turned away from his surveillance of the horizon ahead and watched his face closely, waiting for a signal.

The small rat shook his head, as though clearing away a thought, and reopened his eyes, pricking his ears forward. The other rat looked in that direction, and then, carefully, nodded to their companions. Prey at last: straight ahead. Possibly, a grounded thresh or pigeon.

There was no sound as the ferret and a weasel slowly crept forward through the mud, notching their arrows to red-banded yew bows. Forty paces, thirty, twenty.

No sound, as the strings drew back, and all present waited with bated breath, for the kill.

Adimaro looked up towards the grey skies, blinking as raindrops splashed into his face. Shaking his head, he tilted it back down, pulling the hood of his cloak further over his face. He turned around to look at his fellows, who were also wearing rain cloaks and looking about as miserable as Adimaro felt. They had set up camp in a small copse of trees, a large piece of canvas having been stretched between several of the trees to try and stop the rain. Underneath the center of the canvas Jaecar had set up a fire pit, using the driest wood they could get, which was still damp and burning fitfully.
"Is that fire going to be good enough to cook anything", Adimaro inquired as he stepped back under the canvas.
"It's not really the fire I'm worried about" Jaecar replied," It's our food supply. We're running fairly low on food. We've only got enough vegetables and meat for this one meal." It was a strange site to see the normally happy weasel looking so dejectedly at their food supply. Adimaro frowned and looked past him at the rest of the group. Davidson was currently using a whet stone to sharpen his axe, his rain cloak almost too small for his grand stature. Coulton was chewing on something, a rather blissful expression spread across his face. Jacopo was sitting on a stump out in the rain, actually seeming to enjoy the feel of the drops of water that fell on his unprotected head.
Adimaro stepped over to David, who was the closest to him besides Jaecar, and punched him in the arm. "Hey, lug head, get up. Your coming with me, we're going hunting" he commanded, turning around quickly and stepping away from camp. "And that fire better be bigger when I get back, I want to be able to dry off and warm up tonight" he yelled over his shoulder. David set down his whet stone and hefted his ax, half jogging to catch up with his fox leader. When he caught up to him, he slowed his pace down to match the stride of the fox. "Alright, so the plan is simple. Just keep your ears open, your nose sniffing, and above all else, keep quiet" Adimaro turned slightly and punched David in the stomach to get his point across," understood", he growled at the large rat.
"Yeah boss" was all David said, completely unaffected by the assault upon his gut.
"Good, now follow me." Adimaro turned back around and started off into the field of wild wheat and brambles, rubbing his paw and mumbling something about "stupid chainmail". They walked as quietly as they could away from the camp, Adimaro carefully sliding out his sword as they went. In just a few minutes they were far out in the field, the rain still pouring down, the ground slick and muddy, and the only sound that of the pounding rain. They both kept a sharp eye out for any indication of prey, but any sign that might have existed had been wiped out by the precipitation. Adimaro was starting to get frustrated, looking yet finding absolutely no evidence of prey, when he heard something.
"Stop" he told David, perking up his ears and turning his head about slowly. David squatted down, his ears not as powerful as Adimaro's, so he simply attempted not to get in the way. After around thirty seconds, Adimaro rotated his head and pointed through the grass. "There, I heard something, I think it?s some kind of bird." With a wave of his paw he very slowly started walking towards the sound he had heard, nearly bent double in an attempt to remain hidden. David followed in similar fashion, failing only slightly thanks to his size and armor. Luckily the rain covered the noise he made, and they managed to get a fair distance before Adimaro stopped them again.
"Okay, The sound is coming from the other side of this grass" he whispered," just wait for my signal, then we'll jump out and catch whatever it is over there." He then shoved his face close to David's, growling in a low, threatening tone "Don't. Mess. This. Up." David responded by nodding, making sure not to bump his nose against the fox's. The two vermin then turned to the tall grass that obstructed their view, readying their respective weapons. Once he was ready, Adimaro raised his paw and lifted three of his fingers.

OOC: hope this works out.

The tense moments of silence pattered by with the rain. The small rat fondled a flat stone in his muddy paw, using his ears to pinpoint the ideal target, and then drew back his arm and flung it, high over the heads of the archer pair.

An explosion of wings and feathers and startled cries: no less than four alarmed wood-thrushes suddenly blew up from the drooping yellow grasses, and the pair - long-toothed snarls gleaming from beneath the cover of their patterned, barkcloth hoods - rose up from the ground just enough to adjust the shot.

The ferret, a tattoo-sleeved, green-eyed she-beast called Agripha, easily took the closest one at twenty paces, but her counterpart, a solid weasel called Gerrath, hesitated on the shot, and flicked a wood-gauged ear in a separate direction. Griff ignored the gesture and surged forward to snatch up the clean-killed bird.

Gerrath stood still, quietly willing some form of a breeze to bring him a scent. The thinner of the two weasels, a crooked-toothed rogue, snarled at him in disgust. "Fool! Because of your hesitation, we've lost the chance for another kill!"

But the smaller rat raised a paw to silence him, watching Gerrath closely. Even Griff, not yet at the carcass, paused to look over her shoulder at him.

Something else was out there.

Without waiting another moment to see what it was, the hooded marksbeast fired, hoping to maybe scare any other prey that might be in the area into revealing themselves.

Adimaro lowered one of his fingers, then another. He got ready to leap forward as he fully closed his fist, only to fall flat on his back as a wood thrush exploded from the other side of the grass, bowling Adimaro over and fighting to gain altitude. David jerked back in surprise, raising his axe and holding it at the ready. As Adimaro rolled over and started pushing himself up, the large rat watched as several other thrushes flew out from the same spot. He looked at them wistfully as they got farther into the sky, when quite unexpectedly one of the birds was pierced by an arrow. David stared as the bird plummeted from the sky, falling alongside the rain into the ground.
"Thanks for helping me up, you thick idiot. At least tell me you got one of those birds?" Adimaro said as he got his foot paws under him and started wiping mud from his cloak.
"Boss, there's somebeast out there" David told the fox, pointing in the general direction that the arrow had been fired from.
"What are you talking about?" Adimaro said, starting to sound angry when he saw only Davidson and no bird.
"What I mean is, I saw somebeast shoot down one of them birds just now" he elaborated.
"Somebeast shot down one of those thrushes? Alright, change of plans, we simply waylay this beast and take that bird from them" Adimaro turned about, and was subsequently struck in the left shoulder by an arrow, which forced him to the ground with a cry.
"Bloody!" David cried, dropping down next to his fallen leader," Are you alright boss?" he asked the wounded fox.
"I'm… fine" Adimaro growled through gritted teeth," But the beast that shot me, they're dead meat." With a little help from the large rat, Adimaro got back to his foot paws again, then, angrily waving him off, he broke off most of the arrow that was sticking out of his shoulder. Tossing this to the side, he took up his sword from where he had dropped it. Holding the sword in his right paw only, he started marching towards where the arrow had flown from, waving David to follow him. A grin started forming on the huge rats face, and he hefted his ax and walked after his commander.
"Alright, who shot that bloody arrow?! I've got something to give you in return!" The angered fox yelled, using his sword to cut his way through the wet grass. Once he was through the obscuring plant life he stopped, spying two beasts in the rain. Pointing at them with his sword, he yelled, "Which of you shot me, so I know who to kill first!" He shouted at them, David walking up and towering next to the fox.

Gerrath hadn't actually intended to hit anything living - but if he were surprised by the stroke of luck or misfortune, it couldn't be seen beneath his hood. He and Griff both turned their attention to the oncoming pair: a good-sized fox that seemed entirely dwarfed by the massive, axe-wielding rat at his heel.

"Alright, who shot that bloody arrow?! I've got something to give you in return!" The angered fox yelled, using his sword to cut his way through the wet grass. Once he was through the obscuring plant life he stopped, spying two beasts in the rain. Pointing at them with his sword, he yelled, "Which of you shot me, so I know who to kill first!" He shouted at them, David walking up and towering next to the fox.

They came within ten paces before the rest of the barbaric troupe stood up from the grass.

Six mud-scored, armed-and-ready Juska warriors faced down the two with spears, swords, and hatchets bristling for a fight. Bold black vertical stripes, from brow to jaw, and forehead to chin, marked their unchanged faces, and aggravated tension marked their eerily stone-still stances. Griff and Gerrath flanked to semi-circle their defensive position, bows drawn and aiming for any vital area the others might miss. And the only reason that none of them had yet made a move to eradicate the trespassers, was due to the suddenness of their appearance - one that was nevertheless quickly wearing off.

The larger of the two barbarous rats, clearly the leader, though nowhere near the height of the towering intruder, stalked a few steps forward like a natural predator, hazel eyes glinting a cold green in the uneasy standoff. Unlike the tomahawks clenched in the fists of his comrades, a rusted-and-raided short sword bristled in his own.

The Leader pulled his lips back over his fangs in a challenging gesture, and spat at the ground. "Trespassers! This is Juska land!"

Gerrath, aware that he was the closest to the giant rat, listened intently to the workings of his lungs in the downpour, and adjusted his aim, shifting the arrow-tip a few degrees to the left. The sharp tang of fresh fox-blood alerted his nose, but only for a moment.

Hesari lowered his spear and leaned back on the shaft. The quick jump from the brush had left him with quite a headrush. Fortunately, Hazel had her back to the river-dog. He watched the trespassing duo with feigned interested. And mirth. The smaller one had mud and leaves caked all up his shirt. It was quite a show watching his fake smile and painful gestures. What a comedian.
This entire thing was silly in the nomad's mind. He was new to the tribe, but still thought in his barbaric ways; creatures lived by the same rules he had been raised with. Food was food. There was always enough of it. Besides, the Juska had plenty back at the tent site. Of course they would share some.
  While the other creatures cringed in the rain with obvious disdain, Hesari welcomed it. It felt almost like manna was nourishing him though the moisture, like the sky-water was a sacred power. He shook the wetness from his face and earrings to have more cool sky-water replace it. He smiled and closed his eyes, taking his weight off the spear shaft, head and mind clearing up. That's better…
  Then a beast from in front pushed him back and sent him to the mud.

Adimaro came within ten paces of the two beasts when the sudden appearance of the rest of the Juska  hunting party forced him to halt. With the unexpected change in odds, Adimaro had to rethink his position a little. The first thing he  did was lower his sword, although he didn't sheath it, and he motioned for Davidson to do the same. David was much slower to comply, his heart had already started to pick up the beat, and he could feel his blood starting to rush through his veins. The fox  turned and growled at the rat, which finally got him to lower his ax, albeit slowly. Once that had been accomplished, Adimaro turned back to the Juska and looked straight at there leader, identified by the fact he was the only one to have spoken so far.
            "I assure you, we didn't know this was your territory, there were no markings nor signs to declare this , so we had no idea. Me and my associate were simply passing through when we thought we heard the sound of some birds. Seeing as how our food supply has grown dismal of late, we decided to try our paws at catching one of these birds. It was pure misfortune that lead us to hunt the same nest of birds as you and yours. Now I'm sure that the arrow that did strike me must have been an accident, and I will think nothing of it and leave if we can simply take that thrush that was shot down." Adimaro spoke on the fly, a smile easily sliding into place on his muzzle. To further his point of leaving peacefully, he slid his sword into it's sheathe, spreading his paws wide to show he was disarmed. He immediately regretted the act as it caused pain to burst from his wounded shoulder, but he gritted his teeth and kept his arms spread, determined to look nonthreatening.

OOC-  ??? Wait… I'm confused.

Who is trespassing? Who's land is it? And last of all...

WHICH SIDE is the Juska? I thought it was the band of six...
I think I may need to revise my post a tad bit.

ooc: lol, I believe there are two bands of vermin right now: one is Adimaro's non-Juska gang, and the other is Hazel's six-beast Juska hunting party.

To summarize, Adimaro and Davidson (just two of the non-Juska group) went hunting and allegedly crossed into Juskasen - or "Pike Juska" - territory without knowing it. Two Juskasen archers shot a bird, but heard something else, and accidentally shot Adimaro in the shoulder. Adimaro, seeing only the two of them, went to give them a piece of his mind, not knowing that the other four were still crouched in the grass.

Now, there is a standoff, six Juska to the two of them. Things are made worse by the fact that Adimaro wants the bird.

Glad to have you on, by the way ^^. Was that helpful at all?

OOC- Thanks for clearing that up. 😛 It makes a whole lot more sense now.

My post has been edited accordingly.

ooc: So…is Hesari a part of a different Juska group, or mine?? For now, I'm gonna assume he's in mine. Correct me if I'm wrong!

Hazel's eyes narrowed. Though the fox's speech was good for a vermin - almost too good, at that - he talked too much. The fur bristling on the young leader's scruff settled by about a three hairs: he didn't trust the smooth-speaker. Like the lulling hiss of Asuli and all her dirt-gliding ilk, that charmed unwary travelers and the weak down her poisonous throat, this one had a way about him that set off the alarms in the warrior's mind. Even when they sheathed their weapons and stood open and peaceful, the bitter tang of distrust did not entirely fade on his tongue.

The smaller rodent on his side - the only one of the group not pointing his weapon with any harmful intent - looked the pair over. His eyes widened at the fox's visible pain, and though the arrows of the Pike Juska were never poisonous, they did use stone points, that could leave irreparable damage if it were not removed right away. A flicker of concern passed over the beast's features, but Hazel spoke before he could. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," he growled, but likewise, he lowered his sword-point, prompting his followers to do the same. "The thrush is Juska-kill, and your lives are reserved by Juska Law. What we do with either of them is by my will alone."

"But if I may, Hazel?" The other spoke up at last, easily moving between the two parties as a buffer. Unlike the rest of the hunters, he sported no barbaric piercings, nor pelt-wraps of a slain enemy at his kilt. With a tongue as well-versed as a scholar, "I do not believe these two to bring much harm to us or this land, though, my lord would do well to consider the possibility that these wanderers saw no sign of territory, because that sign were removed…by a separate influence."

The group bristled immediately at the insinuation, and turned their heads as one to spot a possible neighboring enemy, as though daring the overgrown field to hide them within range. The alleged shaman held out his paws in a peaceful gesture when he addressed the fox, with brown eyes too large, too easy to betray emotion, for a rat, rimmed with bright-blue borders of paint on the coal stripes. He continued calmly and patiently."Newcomers. I am Crow. This is our Chief Hazel, and we are the Juskasen. Our current enemy leaves no room to squabble with you, nor waste blood; and if you - and you, Hazel - will permit me, I can tend to your wound."

Griff glared as Garreth let his bowstring slack, but didn't say a word aloud. Hazel snorted dismissively and turned away, leaving Crow to deal with it. What a surprise, the peace-making priest DIDN'T want to offer the trespassers' hearts to the gods. But, as much as he didn't want to admit it, the young shaman was right about having more pressing matters at paw.

He snatched up the bird and shoved it roughly into Hesari's paws. The newcomers had asylum for now - but if they had anything to do with their rivals, he would personally make sure that his brother didn't blatantly exploit another loophole in Juska Law: and put their skins on display at the border.

Adimaro waited silently as the leader of the Juska spoke. Each word the rat said made the fox's paw itch to have it's sword back in it's grip, his fingers twitching as he barely held them back from the hilt. Before he could lose control and grasp his sword, a smaller rat, this one without any barbaric trophies and with blue paint on his body, stepped in between him and the Juska leader. The sudden interference of the blue marked rat gave Adimaro a slight amount of hope of walking away from this alive.  He let his arms fall to his sides as the two Juska rats conversed. His ears perked forward at the mention of the Juska's enemy, and his interest was intensified by the rest of the hunting party's reaction. He made mental note of that, thinking it might come in useful later on. His attention was brought back to the smaller rat as he introduced himself and his leader.
          "Crow and Hazel, of the Juskasen, you say? Well, My name is Adimaro, and my associate is Davidson, and that's about it. As for your off of medical aid, that sounds brilliant, I accept. Just let me send my friend off to collect our supplies from where we left them." As Adimaro finished his small introduction, he turned and got in close to David, whispering to him quietly and quickly. "Listen here, get back to camp and grab my pack and yours. Tell the others to come too, but to stay hidden and a safe distance back. I don't trust these guys, and I'd feel better knowing help is just a shout away. You got that?" Davidson nodded to show he understood. after that was established, Adimaro turned back around and looked between Crow and Hazel. "So, what are you going to do for my shoulder?" He asked as David slowly started backing away from the Juska.

ooc: guess its my turn?

"So, what are you going to do for my shoulder?" He asked as David slowly started backing away from the Juska.

Hazel ignored him and turned to his group instead, snapping out orders in brisk Pike. Crow smiled to him ruefully. "With the possible threat of enemies in the area, I cannot risk building a fire here - for all the good it would do." He wiped the accumulated rain from his snout. "But, I always come prepared." The Seer rammed his spear point down into the earth and left it, as though he had no attachment to it whatsoever; then, with one small paw, pressed down firmly on Adimaro's uninjured right shoulder, sinking them both into a crouch.

Slung over his shoulder was a woven satchel, decorated with careful quill and bead-work. From it he drew a roll of green cloth, and when he rolled it out between them, the cloth presented his tools: small tools, of flint-bladed knives and gleaming bone needles; tiny, bulging skin-pouches and capped glass bottles of varying liquid. Crow called over his shoulder. "Lads? I could use some cover."

Garreth and Griff exchanged farewell-fists, and she and Sandface left the group reluctantly to stretch out their coats above the medic and his patient's heads, fending off the rain. Hazel gave the party one last glance, before sending off the remaining two, presumably to he border. "Crow? Ma 'skenu lela o'pa?"

"Adimaro, please relax your arm, while I take a closer look. And no, lela o' weh, ni cha yelu. We'll be fine, brother."

Hazel rolled his eyes and dashed away, after his troop. Crow examined the arrow's entry closely, as though the exchange hadn't happened. "You're very lucky - Garreth wasn't aiming to kill, and that arrow was nearly spent when it hit. Only two barbs down… still, I'm gonna have to pry it out." He poked gingerly at the bruising flesh around the wound, then sat back on his haunches, calmly selecting his tools for the job. "But, Adimaro, where are you from? If you don't mind me asking. Do you and your group live around here?"

Anyone mind if I join in this one? I know it says open, but I figured I'd ask anyways, eheh.  🙂

Hesari wiped the mud from his rudder, but pinched the tribe kill between a few fingers at arms length, to avoid soiling it while he clean up a tad. More politics occured and though he was alert and perceived his surroundings, he tuned out the conversation. Such things were not for a warrior of his place and he despised his comrades for their eave's dropping.
  Wisking off a final bit of mud, he smiled satisfactorily, wiped his paws on his wet belt-rag and clutched the bird in both paws. He glanced up in time to see the larger rodent of the two, backing away. That was strange. They clearly were not Juska. Why would Hazel let him go? As Crow the Crone began mending the young leader's shoulder wound (the otter found it amazing how much mobility that rat's arm still had with that nasty wound), the rat-minion quickly vanished from sight. That wasn't like Hazel to let a vermin go unattended. Especially during tribe wars. Hazel speculated. He mistrusted. That's why the Ferret was good at leading. Words of his vada drifted into his minds-eye. Love everyone… Trust no one...) He had the second half down pat.
  Tentatively, he bowed his head slightly to show respect, but whispered into Hazel's long ear.
  "Excuse meh, chief. What about the fat one. We don't know if he is fetchin' other follow'as. This don't feel right to meh." He paused, waiting for a response, but saw or heard none. He didn't even blink. He continued slowly, but dropping every word like berry barbs. "Why would two beasts set up camp in the woods without knowing where they was goin'? What they was doin'? Surely they knew this was clan territory. See the way that 'un blinks in the direction of his blade? I don't trust 'em."
  And he pointed to the trees where David had vanished.

OOC- I think it's fine. You may have to be creative on this one, though. Check with Red and Dusk to see where they are going with this.

ooc: hello Darius, go ahead and jump in 🙂 And Creigon… Hazel's a dude. XD I'd advise everyone to take a peek at the character page, for quick references!

OOC: Yeah I'm okay with that Darius, also, I might need a day or two to post, I can't seem to think straight right now, so just give me a little time to clear my head and then I'll get back to posting like normal.

OOC- … Ahem Excuse me...

For this occasion, I defer to YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex-lhLUtIXU

ooc: hahaha, I'm sure Hazel would forgive you, regardless!

Adimaro watched as Crow planted his spear in the ground and then stepped towards him, the rat placing his paw on Adimaro's uninjured shoulder and pushing him to the ground. He observed as the medical rat rolled out his tools, several of which he recognized from Coulton's own supplies. The only difference was the lack of metal tools. In fact, as he thought about it, Coulton and this Crow were fairly similar. The aversion to violence, the willingness to help other beasts, medical knowledge. The only noticeable difference was the fact that Crow didn't stink of herb smoke, something Adimaro was fine with.
            Something Adimaro was not fine with was the two Juska beasts who walked over and spread a cloak above him and his medic. While it seemed to be simply two beasts following benign orders, Adimaro saw it as a clever way to have two warriors stand near him while he would be in a rather vulnerable state. He suddenly didn't feel so good about sending Davidson away, even if he was getting extra help. unconsciously Adimaro started to fidget, glancing back and forth between the two Juska standing over him. When Crow told him to relax his arm he only did so a fraction, the exchange that had happened between Crow and Hazel causing his paranoia to climb ever higher.
            "But, Adimaro, where are you from? If you don't mind me asking. Do you and your group live around here?"
The sudden and unexpected question focused Adimaro's attention back onto his medic, which was actually a relief to him, as it gave him a slight distraction.
        " Well, I personally am from further north. Not too far north mind, but I'm still used to a colder climate. As for Davidson, I don't really know, he doesn't talk a lot, and I don't feel like making him tell me. As for our current lodging, we are basically just travelers, and still looking for some place that would be suitable for our habitations" he answered, relaxing a bit more as he talked, "I hope you won't mind a question, but who are you? Not you personally but your clan, who are these 'Juska'? I can honestly say I have never heard of them before."

Davidson backed away until the tall grass and rain obscured his leader and the Juska, then he turned and bolted for camp. While he hadn't said anything, Davidson assumed dire consequences if he didn't carry out his leaders orders, even if he was in the clutches of unknown beasts. Using his great, armored bulk, he crashed his way through tall grass and brush, disregarding the trail he was leaving in the interest of haste. After about a minute of running he saw the light of the campfire, and soon after that he could make out the figures of Jaecar, Coulton, and Jacopo, all sitting around the fire and holding bowls. As he came closer he slowed down his mad dash and walked into the camp, his comrades looking up at him and his rather disheveled state.
              "Dave, it's great to see you again. I got the fire going good, and I made a stew for supper. Here's yours" Jaecar said, dipping a large serving spoon straight into the steaming cauldron that sat over the fire and ladling out a large bowl for the rat, "by the way, where's Adimaro, and for that matter, did the hunting go well?" David ignored the question and simply grabbed the large bowl, put it to his lips, and tilted his head back, downing the stew in a matter of seconds. Tossing the bowl into the slightly shocked and rather indignant paws of Jaecar. "Now hold up there Dave, what's going on here? Where is Adimaro and why do you seem to be in such a hurry?" the weasel asked, glaring at the much larger rat.
              "Adimaro is currently being looked over by some rat covered in blue paint after he was shot in the shoulder by an arrow. There are several other beasts there too, most of them warriors, and he sent me back to get you guys. He says your supposed to stay out of sight but within shouting distance" David told the weasel chef as he walked over and grabbed his and Adimaro's packs from where they were resting, "I'm supposed to return to him with his pack. We'd better get moving, Adimaro sounded urgent when he gave me those orders" David walked past the trio, each one in different states of shock. Jaecar's mouth was hanging open, Jacopo was cursing under his breath, and Coulton stated something along the lines of "Everytime it seems like I'm about to get some rest, something like this happens."

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