Day 038: Oh, Deer!
Summary: Pontus and Starling hunt a deer and unexpectedly find something unexpected. Well, hullo there!
Date: 06 Jul 2016
Related: None
Pontus Starling Khesu 

Old Growth Forests - The Wilderness outside of Tondc
This is the thickest region of the Trikru forests. It is defined as old growth, with monstrous hemlocks and cedars stretching almost a hundred and fifty feet in the air in most places. The understory is thick with young alders and shrubs, and the life of the forest is the most diverse in this region. There are many outposts in the trees as travelers get closer and closer to Tondc, and the great Trikru settlement lies to the east where the Potomac River once ran wild, but has since changed its course.
Day 038

With time for Pontus to rest and before he disappears again, Starling asked if he wanted to join her on her morning hunt. When he agreed they moved out before dawn to find a good place to settle in the woods and wait for the day catch to wake. The woods are slightly different near Tondc, so there is still a learning curve of the type of game and just when it is going to be around.

This means that Starling is sitting in one of the trees, her legs dangling as she gets comfortable, her bow at hand, her clothing in place, and her hair braided and out of the way. She has fallen silent the last a bit, as if thinking, or maybe just waiting. It's hard to say.

Pontus sat in the tall grass beneath the tree where Starling was perched in wait for the deer to move about before they bedded down for the hotter part of the day. He actually got sleep and all too readily agreed to a hunt. His hands were sore but it kept his mind off things. With the faintest of grins he reached up and ave Starling's hanging foot a swing.

Those blue eyes glance down from the tree and she flickers a half grin, her booted foot is soft, as if she's been working on that leather for awhile. She turns her eyes back to the tiny brook that she is watching and then holds up two fingers, it seems she has just sighted two deer, a buck and a doe it seems. She eases her bow in place and just waits…

Pontus was shit with a bow. He always was, but wanted to be a scout so badly he worked on other skills and found his niche. Let's hope the deer wasn't too tiny. The spear in his left hand hung loosely in his fingers; careful not to move it. The deer only looked slightly mutated which meant they wouldn't taste too-too funny. He shifted his weight to his front leg. He glanced up to her and held up 2 fingers in question if she saw more than that before moving.

There is a tiny shake of her head, as if there were only two, she gives an upnod, about going for the larger of the pair as she shifts just slightly to get a better position for a shot. She will give him time to move up wind before taking her shot. They have done this a few times after all.

Pontus crouched low and crawled forward like a spider sneaking up on her next meal. Slowly his left hand turned the spear in his fingers, and then with a lunge the spear shot forward in a short, lumbering path and skewered the doe just behind the shoulder and through the chest. She bleated and started to run. It was a lumbering gate that wasn't going to carry her far impaled as she was. He knew it was already on and ran an arc to chase his quarry pulling both knives from the lateral sheath at his lower back, and likewise not running in the path of her arrows.

Starling takes a deep breath, narrows her eyes and lets the arrow ago, it flies in a silently deadly arch and takes the buck through the left eye and into the brain. She always tries to make it a clean kill and as painless as possible. It's soon followed up with an arrow to the neck, trying to get the vein.

The noise, the sudden rush of the animals, the wounded doe's cry, they gain the attention of another. A man crouches in the forest, himself with bow and quiver along with a knife. Khesu's light pack, his long blade and bedroll have already been left in Trondc a few hours ago. He slowly moves to stand from the squat to look at fresh deer track in the mossy ground. His dark eyes are watchful but do not see what roused the deer. Instead, Khesu stands very still for a long moment and listens. Only then does he cautiously begin to move in that direction. Not a direct course but using the lay of the land for some concealment.

Pontus was bolting full tilt after the doe. The expression was priceless watching the larger creature rear up and just drop dead. Clearly he was not expecting that. Holy shit that was impressive. Without need to steer clear (and maybe trusting she wouldn't send another at him for good measure) Pontus was in pursuit, knife in either hand, hurdling the downed buck to make a descent at the limping and darting doe.

What he through might be a crouching doe there in the tall grass? There was a diving tackle with both knives out to descend on… a Trikru?! "SHIT!" It wasn't often he was caught by surprise, but in an effort not to descend directly into battle with one of his own. That was…not a deer. The carved scout pulled the knives up and instead landed hard against the tree dropping to a knee, a foot, and an elbow. Oh yeah. Totally fucking graceful.

Those blue eyes widen as she notices Khesu, but then Pontus is diving in that direction and she let's out a very hi pitched whistle. Both males know that sound, it's a calling attention to friendly's, since well she has gotten into some odd things when out hunting with the older boys way back when. Anyway, Starling just chuckles to herself and moves to drop down from the tree, making her way into the sight of both males as she heads for the buck. What they do to eachother? That's on them.

No sooner than he's coming through the trees and brush carefully than the ruckus comes right /at/ him! There's no time to draw his bow and knock an arrow! Khesu holds, then suddenly jumps to the side, his own long knife drawn and expecting a fight! Unless it's only a deer bolting. What it turns out to be is no deer, but a man - and one whom he recognizes at once. Half crouching, the dark haired Khesu bares his teeth at Pontus and exhales what is clearly a laugh, but without giving it volume. Aye, he heard the sharp, curt whistle come from another. A glance in that direction before he simply sheaths his own knife and offers Pontus a hand back up to repair the other's lack of grace. Amusement is in his eyes.

Pontus winced sharply, and rolled to the ready. Just in case, JUST in…case. There was a familiar sound which only let him know Starling saw it before he did which made the tree sting a little bit more. Looking up into an all familiar face the hunters head hung in humility; a wry, scarecrow grin waxing his expression. He put the daggers one by one in teh rolled sheath at his lower back and then accepted the hand up before dusting himself off. A calloused and recently stitched hand brushed the back of his dome off and he couldn't help but laugh. "Well, at least it was you.

Starling checks the buck before she glances over her shoulder at Pontus and Khesu, she is trying to hide the chuckle and as she is down wind the sound probably doesn't get to the pair. But she does pause for a moment to walk over towards them, and then launches herself at Khesu for a big hug, "Khesu!" She says brightly, clearly happy to see him.

Khesu is not much a touchy-feely kind of man but he gives Pontus a light slap on the shoulder once the other man has his feet. Softly he says, "Aye." Could have been a lot worse if they'd run head long into Reapers. The next thing he knows there's a red-headed mountain lion leaping through the air to tackle him a hug. Khe's a fair bit larger than Starling so she's apt to bounce off of him much like Pontus hitting the tree, but she knocks a laugh out of him. A quick back step to keep his balance and he briefly returns her greeting. Then he's uplifting his chin back in the direction Pontus had come from, "Want a hand?" With the deer, obviously.

Pontus still stands that it would be a bad bad day for the Reapers. Though too true if the Reapers got THIS close to Tondc. He watched Starling bound in like she does all sunshine and scary-pointy arrows while he brushed himself off. At the offer to help he squint looking for the blood trail that should be around here. Somewhere- ah, there were broken branches from the spear and deer tearing through. "Yeah, that'd be great. She got that puck clean through the eye. Damndest thing." He stalked through the brush after the other calling from just a ways beyond, "She didn't make it too far." Kid had a voice like gravel, but it never got to him much. Finding the deer he laid one hand on it's head and with one knife made her agony short. Finally he cleaned it and pulled the spear out with a twist and a pop to break the suction, and slung that back over his shoulder without much ceremony. Some rope for leverage let him start dragging the creature back to the clearing and the doe. "Been a bit." That was to Khesu observing the tardy return. He paused and looked around. He was alone. Khesu got a longer, steady look from the Scout. Pontus nodded, and then went back to dragging the deer. The story to tell was his if he wanted to, but he wasn't one for prying as an opening volley.

Starling bounces back after the hug, a wink to Khesu before she turns and leans up and kisses Pontus's lips once before she let's the males go off after the doe. She pads back over towards the buck she took down and kneels to one side, she bows her head over the animal, touching it's shoulder and then reaches up and pulls the arrow from his eye. She checks the edge before she wipes it down and sits that to the side along with her bow before pulling her knife. The damn animal is about the size she is, so this should be interesting.

What the hell? Dragging the deer back? Khesu frowns at that and moves to go and /pick up/ the dead doe, heft her up over his shoulders, and simply carry it back to where Pontus wants to bleed and gut it out to cool the carcus rapidly against spoiling. No need to leave a trail several feet wide that even a blind, scent deaf bear could follow. An upnod indicates a good branch to secure that rope to if Pontus wants to hang the doe while he works on her, keep it off the ground to drain and cool faster. He glances back to Starling but she's working on a buck and seems to have it in hand. Neither of them really need his help but he can help carry meat back.

Starling doesn't need help but then, she is not going to turn it down, it's not like she is a male who doesn't want to say he needs help. Once they seem to have the doe in hand, she tilts her head to the side and let's her voice carry to the pair, "I want to keep the skin together, on both of them if we can.." She is the clothier/armour after all. She has the buck in a good spot to let the blood drain, but that is take a bit on something this large.

Pontus took the sympathy-victory gesture of affection, returning it, and then started the dirty work of drag- oh hey help! Carrying the deer back the two got it strung and proceeded the fun and dirty part of dressing it. He finally asked, "Heard what happened three days ago to Coesbur?" He eyed the gaping hole from the spear in the side of the deer and arched an eyebrow to Starling. He pointed helpfully, "You can attach a sleeve there or something. See? Helping." well at least he's not lost his deadpan sense of humor.

Khesu eyes that buck Starling is draining the blood from as it lays on the ground and thinks about that. He doesn't have a rope for it. His attention goes back to Pontus, "No. I got to Tondc about mid day. In the north, I'd heard Coesbur was destroyed. Conflicting rumors of by whom." So, he looks pointedly at Pontus to be welcome to fill in some details for him since that was his home. The doe is well in hand as the scout sets to opening it up so Khesu turns back to the buck to sort out how to hang it. "You have a strap to tie the hocks together?" If he has to, he can take off his belt and use it but it may stretch and scuff the leather. Khesu's dark eyes look around for a short broken branch protruding from a tree trunk that is clear enough below to hang the buck. A ceder won't do, but a hemlock… there's one over there that'll work. He goes over to break a dead branch off the side and check the footing.

Starling gives Khesu one of /those/ looks and a smirk when he asks if the hunter has a rope, she shakes her head at him as she moves to pull it from the back slung over her shoulder and tosses it direction when he comes back from the tree he's picked. "I can drain and dress him on the ground, but it takes alot longer as you know…" It's clear she is used to having to do things herself, so has plans for whatever happens. Starling then lets her eyes flicker towards Pontus and the spear wound and she gives a soft chuckle. "Or something, it will be fine, her skin is thinner anyway, make good boots…"

Pontus pointed to a duffel they brought with them and nodded "Yeah. In there. There's a cart with our horses not too far off." Because why be obvious? Pontus went arount the work that needed to be done efficiently and pausing when the conflicting reports came up. He was quiet. Very quiet for a period of time. Finally he said, "Thirty or so Reapers were there. Never seen em group up like that before. Hell of a battle with them on the bridge goin into the city and then? Then the sky rained fire, and then wept ash. About knocked a few right off the damn bridge. It was just… dust and ruin." His expression stilled and while a mask of scars and thought it was still evident that he was not unaffected as the report was suggesting. Quite the opposite if one knew Trikru warriors. The stillness was not, in this case, indifference.

Pontus admitted, "Spent yesterday going back. There was… fuck there was nothing. I broke out the bricks from your family's hearth though. And the sign. Got those back to Benning. You… might want to see her when you get in. Hit her head damn hard in the explosion. Will be alright, but knocked pretty good." He looked between Coesbur's prodigal son and Starling and shrugged. "Thought it might make her and Gideon ease into the move better."

Starling gets a nod. "Hanging is easier and faster." If she wants the help. If not she wave him off. Ah! She does have a bit of rope on her. Khesu smiles and comes to bind the hocks together. The buck is big and heavy and even he may have trouble lifting it by himself. Pontus's news turns Khesu's dark head sharply to look back at the other man. "Thirty?" That sure is a hell of a lot. Then he's quiet to listen, his brows to furrow and his mouth to frown at the strange tidings. Khesu is real quiet as he straightens back up and digests the scout's news. A faint nod about Benning, "What were our losses?"

Pontus considered and said, "Losses, 4 down. 3 ours. Tried to mitigate our losses best as we could. Wren's down for a bit, but not out. Benning took a hit. Wren's second…" He paused and simply sumed up, "Wren's got a second now. She is healing up. Got tore up more when we dropped the near-dead kid off at his camp. She'll do alright I think. No permanent casualties." He looked at his arm. It was a stitched scrape. Khesu's been there when he was flayed apart. Pontus shrugged. "We're fine. Big talk with the Skai-camp. The Mountain's not happy that we're 'cavorting' with gun-toters. Made that much clear on Coesbur. Lot of us not happy about the alliance, but, it's Heda's call, not ours. She leads, we follow. Now? Now we are moving to Tondc. Some have started heading for Polis." he shook his head. The scarred scout was not pleased about it, but what else was there to do? It was what it was, and what it was was hard on everyone.

Khesu gets the back end of the buck up but he has a hard time getting the whole thing up enough to carry it. Starling is going to need to give him a hand because the ground is pretty uneven and Khesu can't get a good grip. But if she helps, between the two of them they can move the carcus over towards that tree. There he's going to have to muscle it up or get Pontus to help lift the big ass buck. Dead carcuses are limp and damned unhelpful with lifting.

"Wren, but he'll be fine?" Yeah, not liking the idea of Wren being bad hurt. Pontus gets a blink or two for some of the latter details, much of it news to him. "Skai camp? Those the strangers who fell." Must be. More furrowed brown about 'gun-toters' and what the Mountain Men have decreed and apparently enforced. Khesu goes quiet, not looking too happy.

Pontus tilted his head with admiration and concern. "Monsters tried to club him down. Swelling's been goin down though." He paused and said of his adopted brother, "e can still give his opinion. He'll be alright. When he stops having an opinion then I worry." He wasn't one to waste efforts and worked while he answered his many questions. "Yeha. Skaikru we're calling them. Turns out it's…complicated. I don't like it but the world don't worry too much about what I like. Wren's been rallying sympathy for their people calling it 'unintentional'. Arlin's rallying against them calling them 'invasive'. End of the day? Indra said we're working with them so we're working with em. After Coesbur though things are… interesting."

"Ah." Khesu gives Pontus a glance as he listens to the other man. Starling sees he's having a little trouble moving the buck and she's quick to lend him a hand to move it. Outstanding. Between the two of them they hoist that big boy up and hook his back legs on the short branch notch to hang him by the rope tied around his hocks. She's already opened up the carcus so Khesu finds a thick enough stick to wedge sideways between the ribs to open up the cavity to finish cooling down. Then he'll assist her with the skinning, working one side. Between the three of them they'll have them dressed down and can get them back to the cart in fairly short order. "I should go and see Wren." This warrior offers no opinion what-so-ever as to what he thinks of these skai people he hasn't met, yet.

Pontus reluctantly admitted, "Wren's second is one of the Skaikids. it's not sitting well with folks, but she's done alright so far. Surprisingly. I think what's happening form what I can tell is the Skaikru are throwing their own people away. Don't respect em none too much. We have people who stirred shit up and other people making decisions without consulting them. Kinda feels like 2 tribes to me. Very disorganized. Most of us? Just don't want their stupidity getting everyone killed. Already down two villages. Not keen on losing Polis, Tondc next."

Pontus gets another funny look at mention of Wren's Second being one of these skai strangers. Khesu frowns at that a bit himself, then sighs as he helps finish up the deer. He steps aside, the skin now off and cleans his knife as best he may out here without water or oil. "Aye. Things that might divide us are dangerous things indeed. We must remain one against our enemies." Much of this bears thought. An upnod to the two deer, "Ready to haul these to the cart?"

Pontus replied "Nah, but I'm ready to bring the cart to the deer." Ignoring that he still sleeps on the ground, why work twice as hard? He took off for a few minutes and finally came back with a couple horses hitched to a small cart. With not a great effort were the deer loaded into the back and room made for Khesu and his things to join them. "C'mon. We'll get back to town. Set you up a place to camp. Got lodges there they're lending to us. Bathhouse too so you can clean up from the road. Get this out to Caro to cook up. And we'll share a beer and a story of where you been."

If Pontus can get the cart back here, all the better. He does indeed help load up the meat but at the offer of a ride on the cart, Khesu declines. "No, I'll walk. But sha, I'll take you up on the rest of it." There's a hint of a warm smile for Starling and once they get that cart going, Khesu will come along a little ways behind., Even this close to Tondc he prefers to be a cautious man and drops a little distance back watchful. Cleaning up and having a drink sounds right fine.

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