• Closed • Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, and the River Zynyx.

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• Closed • Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Postby Oracle » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:32 am

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15th of Ashan, Arc 718 - Dawn
It was nearly dawn, soft shadows diffused what little light there was in the sky into a deep azure haze. A thick fog lay across the Stormlands like a comfortable blanket. Just beyond the walls of Rharne stood a woman, clothed in a rich indigo cloak and leather armor, her bright amber locks spilling over her shoulders. Karliah was a Thunder Priestess of the Warrior branch, her armor and the leather gauntlets on her arms marking her as such. Perhaps most notable of the woman was not her clothing or appearance but rather the massive feline standing just behind her right shoulder. The enormous cat purred softly, her muzzle dipping low to briefly touch the top of Karliah’s head as a subtle gesture of affection.

The feline was a Zephyrus, a companion and mount that was often seen at the side of Thunder Priestesses and Lightning Knights. Weighing in at over eight hundred points, the massive female cat dwarfed her master considerably. Karliah’s companion did not bear the ostentatious feathered mane and saber-toothed grin of a male Zephyrus, but she was still an impressive creature.

“Hush Vabina, I know she’s late.” The priestess said gently as the cat let out a soft growl. A long leather saddle was lashed to Vabina’s back, allowing for two to ride if the occasion arose. A thick leather collar sat around the Zephyrus’s neck, allowing the rider to grasp the attached metal grips near the nape of the neck. These beasts were not horses; they refused to wear a bridle, so it was essential for a bond based on trust to be developed between the rider and the mount. The cats were commanded via spoken commands, so the collar and hand holds were merely there to help the rider remain balanced while traveling.

Karliah finally sighted a shadow emerging from the direction of the city. She was there to meet with another priestess and assist in the capture of a new Zephyrus cub. This had to be done at dawn when the pride would be settling down to rest and sleep at daybreak. Zephyrus are Crepuscular creatures, hunting during the twilight breaks and sometimes into the night. They tended to sleep during the early breaks of the morning, so it would be then that they would begin their hunt.

Karliah walked toward Vabina’s side and stepped into a dangling stirrup and hauled herself up into the saddle. Her indigo cloak flapped in the crisp wind of Ashan.

“Hop on, we are already running late.” The priestess said to the approaching woman, her voice flat and stoic as if to hide her earlier irritation. The Zephyrus growled faintly, her blue feline eyes almost glowing in the dim starlight.
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Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Postby Lynessa » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:56 pm

A few trials ago, when a fellow priestess approached her about being a candidate to acquire a Zephyrus, Lyn had nearly jumped and cried out in excitement. She had been hoping and praying to get the chance to receive the prestigious mount, but had tried to keep her expectations reasonable. Getting a Zephyrus was not an honor bestowed to everyone, after all.

While a part of her wanted to announce it to the world, Lyn had kept the news mostly to herself. Mostly. She had immediately sought after her stormbringer and decided to playfully brag in front of him. It was rather satisfying considering that Leth had also wanted a Zephyrus for the longest time. The man was supposed to be a member of the cavalier, after all, before being stuck babysitting her.

Unfortunately, all that excitement hadn’t been enough to wake her up on time. Lyn was no slacker by any means, but admittedly she had stayed out longer than she should last night in celebration and once she got home, sleep didn’t come for her entire body was buzzing with anticipation.

It was the loud pounding at her door that finally roused her from sleep.

Lyn sat up abruptly, eyes seeking the window of her room to calculate what time it was. The sky was still dark, but hints of the sun rising could slowly be seen. Cursing out loud, the young woman lepat out of her bed and went to open her door.

Unsurprisingly, Leth was the one standing outside her room, clad in armor. Probably getting ready for a patrol. His blue eyes scanned her up and down, disapprovingly. “You just woke up. Great. Remind me again why is it that you’re the one getting a Zephyrus instead of me?”

“Jealous, aren’t you?” the priestess shot back as she let the knight in.

Closing the door behind him, Lyn wasted no time to start getting into her leather. While most women would balk at the idea of changing in front of a man, the pair had went through too much to try being modest and proper. Fortunately, she had donned her armor a thousand of times before, her movements quick and practiced as she slipped into the protective gear.

“You can’t even really ride a horse,” Leth pointed out helpfully as he tossed her boots at her. “How would you expect to mount a giant cat?”

“Isn’t that what you’re here for?” she replied as hastily sat on the bed began tying the laces of her boot. Leth, even the helper, knelt in front of her and assisted with the other one. “If you teach me how to ride, I promise I’ll give you a ride.”

The knight grinned as he stood. “I’m holding on to your words.” Narrowing his eyes, he stepped forward to tighten the straps on her left shoulder, straightening the crooked armor. “All jokings aside, be careful, alright? As much as I would love to return to my old job, I doubt having my charge getting ripped apart by a Zephyrus in my resume would inspire confidence in my skills.”

Smiling at his comment, Lyn inspected her get up one las time. Satisfied, she leaped to her feet and placed a small peck on the knight’s cheek. Leth had always the responsible one, while she wad the wild child. “I owe you one.” Without wasting more time, the young woman jogged out of her room. “Wish me luck!”



It took her a lot of running and hitching on some traveling carts for her to finally arrive at the Stormlands. Hopefully she wasn’t too late. Fortunately, it wasn’t at all difficult to spot a large, brightly-colored feline in the middle of the wilderness, a woman with red hair standing next to it.

“Sister Karliah,” she managed between breaths as soon as she arrived. “I am Sister Lynessa. Forgive me I–”

The senior priestess wasted no time to hear her apology. She simply pulled herself onto the Zephyrus and looked unimpressed. “Hop on, we are already running late.”

Pressing her lips together, Lyn took a moment to appreciate the sight of the magnificent creature. She had taken the time to learn all she could about Zephyrus before today, hoping it would help her get an edge on whatever was in store for her. The creature in front of her must be a female, from the lack of its colorful mane and sabertooths. It regarded her with lumniscent blue eyes, with more intelligent than most animal would have.

Awkwardly, the priestess grabbed onto Karliah’s outstretched arm and hoisted herself onto the feline. As soon as she was seated, the young woman could feel the powerful muscles roiling between her legs. Anticipation and excitement hummed once more in her veins, but Lyn knew she needed to keep her head cool. There was a real danger for her today. Zephyrus aren’t exactly known as friendly creatures.

There were at least a dozen questions running through her mind, but the younger priestess figured that delaying the whole journey even further would not help improve Karliah’s mood. Perhaps there will be time to ask later. “Ready, sister.”
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Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Postby Oracle » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:18 am

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The dawn was approaching and their time was short. Karliah leaned down to the long angular ear of the great cat and whispered several words to her companion. Vabina purred in return, before she launched herself forward.

Riding a Zephyrus was a much different experience to riding a horse. The bodies of these massive felines were like great bows, arching before releasing their muscles and limbs, to cross distance in great bounding leaps. It would seem jarring at first to an inexperienced rider but Karliah carried herself with ease. Her body was loose and relaxed, rather than clamping down on her mount to hang on for dear life. She held on tightly to the handles attached to the Zephyrus’s collar, but her body moved to the flow of the feline’s rapid pace. Lynessa would likely not fare as well. At times she might even feel as though she was about to be cast out of the constantly rocking saddle.

Tiny pinpricks of starlight passed overhead, a subtle smear of pink and violet light could be seen in the distance where sunlight was beginning to emerge at the edge of the horizon. The Stormlands passed beneath the two priestesses in a blur, mist roiling in great spiraling clouds as they raced toward their destination.

This would perhaps be the most difficult challenge Lynessa had faced since joining the priestesses, but the rewards of acquiring a Zephyrus would be great. If she managed to bond with the creature it would become her eternal companion, following her into every danger. The Zephyrus were intelligent and curious beasts that could form an almost sibling-like bond with their riders. Vabina herself lived in slept in Karliah’s own quarters, like an oversized housecat. She would accompany her rider everywhere, and protect Karliah to the death. If Lynessa managed to capture a Zephyrus cub then she will have acquired a partner for life.

At last after at least fifteen bits had passed at a brutal pace, Karliah gave her mount a gentle nudge with her thigh and Vabina slowed to a walk. Several yards in the distance a ring of massive boulders could be seen. If one listened closely enough they might detect the sound of soft breathing and the occasional sleepy growl. Seven slumbering Zephyrus females lay curled in the center of the circle of stones. A single vibrant and impressive male lay draped over one of the colossal boulders, his bright violet eyes narrowed to slits as he silently watched over his pride. His lengthy feathered tail was draped over the boulder, twitching occasionally as he gazed toward the horizon. There, at the base of the stone, just beneath his dangling tail slept a large female Zephyrus along with what appeared to be four fluffy cubs sleeping around her.

“Two males and two female cubs.” Sister Karliah whispered to Lynessa over her shoulder. “You shall have your pick of them.” She added before sharply nodding her head for the other priestess to dismount.

“You will have to do this on your own, the rider must do the choosing. It is important that you pick the cub that seems best suited to you, we must ensure that you have the best chance at forming a bond.”

Karliah pointed toward the male seated above the mother and her young cubs. “You must be silent; he will not hesitate to kill you. The mother is equally dangerous.”

Once Lynessa had climbed from Vabina’s back the other priestess nudged her mount and the cat began slowly padding into the dark on silent paws.

“If there is trouble I will return. Good luck Sister.”


And just like that, Lynessa was left alone, only a few dozen steps away from a group of some of the most dangerous beasts that inhabited the Stormlands.
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Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Postby Lynessa » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:23 am

As if the creature itself wasn’t intimidating enough, Lynessa was half-convinced that it was trying to throw her off. While she wasn’t an experienced rider, it wasn’t difficult to tell that riding the Zephyrus was nothing quite like anything she had ever seen. The creature did not gallop as her horse, instead its entire body undulating as they moved through the forest.

Lynessa was definitely doing the opposite of what Karliah was doing. In an effort to make sure she did not get tossed onto the ground. She held onto the Zephyrus for dear life, her heart racing too fast and her mind reeling too much to really notice the direction they were heading.

Before long, they slowed to a stop.

In front of her was perhaps one of the most magnificent sights she had ever seen… also the most terrifying. There were eight Zephyruses in total – one male with its massive mane and the rest were females. This was also something she had read about the creatures, that they tend to group in prides were the male had a harem of females. Most of them were snoring in deep slumber, except for the watchful male. Lynessa followed the other priestess’s gaze, looking at the small cubs snuggled closely to their mother.

Reluctantly, the younger priestess slid down from the blue feline and looked up to Sister Karliah.

“You will have to do this on your own, the rider must do the choosing. It is important that you pick the cub that seems best suited to you, we must ensure that you have the best chance at forming a bond. You must be silent; he will not hesitate to kill you. The mother is equally dangerous.”

And just like that, her senior was gone, without so much as an instruction on how in Ilaren’s name she was supposed to snatch a cub right under its father’s nose. Being silent was certainly not much to go on. Not that it was entirely surprising. Acquiring a Zephyrus shouldn’t be easy – though she hadn’t exactly imagine that this was how it would go.

Unfortunately, the cubs rested terribly close to their father. The male’s gaze mostly focused on its far surroundings, its attention not entirely directed to the happenings underneath. That’s good, though not reassuring enough.

Taking a deep breath, the priestess readied herself. It was fortunate that she had opted to leave her cloak at home, the rustling of the fabric would have alerted the Zephyrus male. And so she went, using the boulders to hide herself from view as she circled her way to the young’uns. Her eyes moved swiftly, from one feline to the other, making sure they were all still deep in the arms of sleep as she approached.

Admittedly, her progress was painfully slow. While her trainings as priestess had familiarize her with the art of stealth, Lynessa didn’t want to take any risk. The young woman was trained to hide from fellow humans and she imagined that animals such as the Zephyrus would have much better senses. Every step of hers was light and she would take the care to make sure not to step on any leaves or branches, anything that might make too many sounds. She would pause every few steps to make sure that the male’s gaze hadn’t turned on her. It took all of her will not to jump every time a Zephyrus huffed in its sleep or shift.

Closer. Closer. Closer.
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Shadows in the Mist (Lyn)

Postby Oracle » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:08 am

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Four blue fuzzy cubs softly grumbled in their sleep as they slept next to their mother. It was fairly easy to tell the males from the females even at this young age. The males sported a fluffy feathery scruff of a mane and the females appeared much sleeker in contrast.

The male closest to the mother looked the strongest. His muscles were well defined and he already was showing the tips of sabretooth teeth beneath his upper lip. The cub could likely grow to be a formidable pride leader, and an excellent fighter. The nearest female cub to her mother was a lithe little creature. She was leggy with long angular ears and a lengthy feathered tail. Her teeth were much smaller and less defined but it was clear that she could grow to become one of the swiftest of her kind. The next male further from his mother was something of a runt of the litter. He was visibly smaller than his brother and his teeth had yet to really grow in to match his sibling. It was not as though this meant he would be no less fearsome once he was grown, but there was a danger that he might never compare to other Zephyrus. Finally the last female was sleeping a short distance from the others on her own in a tiny little furry ball. It was obvious that she was more independent than the rest of her siblings, forgoing their warmth to have her own space. Perhaps she was simply disliked by the others, or maybe she only wanted some solitude. Most notable of her physically was that her horn seemed the longest of her brothers and sisters.

It would be up to Lynessa to make a choice between the four, and she might not have the luxury of judging their individual merits for long. Above her the massive male Zephyrus shifted, his head turned as the wind changed and the Thunder Priestesses’ scent was wafted toward him. She had a couple trills maybe less to make a choice. A low growl escaped the male’s throat as he surveyed the direction Lynessa had approached from. At the sudden sound the cubs’ eyes cracked open faintly to see the woman before them. The strongest male had bright sapphire blue eyes, much like the Zephyrus male that was perched above them. His whiskers flared as if he was trying to deduce if Lynessa was a friend or foe. The lithe female next to him opened her turquoise eyes; they gleamed like jewels as she silently watched the thunder priestess, examining her with a predatory gaze. The little male runt gave a faint squeak, his silvery gray eyes looking at the woman with a wary sense of fear. The lone female cub was already on her feet, her horn crackled softly with anxiety, her radiant violet eyes peering into Lynessa’s own.

The choice had to be made now, because the watchful male had abruptly come to his feet, suddenly realizing that there was something in their midst. His horn hissed and sparked with electricity before he leaned back and unleashed a thundering roar. The sound would likely chill the thunder priestess to her core. There was nothing quite like the sound of an angered Zephyrus. The rest of the pride was waking, coming to their feet.

Lynessa was out of time.
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