His final stop came about the same time that she decided to act upon her plan to lure him away from his current path, and she had thrown open the cooler to scoop up a handful of the frozen cubes of ice that lay slowly melting within. Or at least she tried to do so, much of the slippery ice having somehow fused to the blocks around it. She clawed and hit them against one another until they broke, glancing back at the beast as it continued to do nothing.
Ice held in gradually numbing hands, she slammed the cooler shut and raced to be closer to his head, walking along the rocky shallows until the water was nearly at her waist. When he continued to fail to move away, she had let the ice drop from her deadened fingers, stepping back closer to shore before ducking her head underneath the water for a look.
And there they were now, with him greedily sucking up whatever it was about that patch of mud that had caught his interest and Haix wondering if her training plan would even work. She was not even sure he could hear her voice, though the tiny scrap of paper she had dug up on him made no mention of him inheriting that particular handicap. The idea of a creature that would respond to nothing but bursts of a whistle, that there was no way of stopping an opponent from creating a similar noise and no way for it to tell the difference, was not a great one for anything that would commonly be used outside the pit. Even in the pit might have had problems if two pliathor ever needed to fight without ribbons to connect their minds to their masters. Said battle would be a mess of conflicting commands as the beasts struggled to pick out which pattern was their command.
She found herself greatly wishing to witness that.
Just two soft-skins angrily twittering at their beasts, the shrill blasts of the whistle overlapping as they cut across the din of those watching. Would the pliathor even be capable of properly fighting with no way to know what command was being made, their confusion growing as similar commands follow one after another? It was almost enough to make her want to purchase one of the water-bound beasts in expectation of the next aquatic tournament, the few tricks it was trained nothing more than an excuse to call out to both her own and her opponent with random lengths and pitches.
But no, she hoped the island that had anchored itself in place would be able to hear called out commands. If she was to ride on it at some point, she would rather be able to whisper orders to it rather than blare them out to the world with a tinny shriek.
She also had not brought a whistle with her that day. No, the supplies she carried, the massive cooler filled to the brim with water-skinned ice, were only for a piece of the training she had planned for that day. The two bits of conditioning had no words to call out, nothing for the beast to actually obey beyond learning to automatically do them on its own. It defeated the point to be constantly on the lookout for danger and to shriek at him to dodge. It also seemed rather pointless, as what the guild had described the conditioning as sounded like some magical ability to see danger no matter where it came from while also knowing exactly how to avoid it.
He was a giant floating tree-thing, so it would not have surprised her to find some fragment of magic within him. She was not sure it would be quite as useful as the board had claimed, as there was no way being able to sense danger would mean anything if the danger made no attempt to hide itself.
Whatever creature who ran the guild had seemed certain that it was a common ability, having listed it without any species that could be expected to learn it. She almost regretted never bothering to meet the soft-skin she assumed was in charge of the keep-sized structure. Now her first meeting, assuming they did not accept a slip of paper mailed in without her taking the beast and proving that he had learned what she said he had learned, would be an attempt to entertain them.
The crossbreed likely would not care about it so long as whatever pool he ended up in was large enough and in full sunlight, but she found herself wondering what exactly would run such a guild. The training was only for beasts, but all soft-skins she had seen in the hive tended to be beast trainers, never journeying out without at least something small trailing at their heels.
She found herself leaning towards the idea of a crippled beastkin, lamed and useless if not for the fantastic things it had taught its beasts to do. Then again, the fur-less ones to which the soft-skin title fit the best were just as likely, for had it not been one of their ilk that had created the labs in the first place? It would be like them to train for status and little else, not that the hive provided many opportunities for the average inhabitant to do much else. Had she not been a ranger, she might never have been allowed to hunt the beasts that threatened the soft-skins in their tamed wilds.
Naturally, she was always torn between leaving a particularly dangerous beast free for the hilariousness that might ensue when a soft-skin passed by and the bounties they represented. She rarely let a beast free willingly. The credits she could reap from them could be traded for more supplies, more beast like the one floating in the lake in front of her. ((Marsh-9.0 Haix-213.0))
He still had not moved from that spot in the few minutes she had waited, letting her mind drift to random tangents as she did so. She wanted to be sure the crossbreed would want to linger there for the trick she planned to coax from him, or else she risked him fleeing into the path of a ship or something of a similar size with a great deal larger teeth.
A glance done at his roots made them seem to bend and twist in such a way that she could not be sure it was not just the rising light of the sun, and she ducked her head underwater one last time to see that he was still anchored in place. Good, now she just had to hope he was still in range, that his large size would make up for whatever she lacked in accuracy, and that he would react to the ice cubes she began to break apart once more.
His massive size and hide that resembled the thick bark that covered a nyssa meant there was little that would draw his attention that she could throw at him. But creatures trapped in the water rarely cared for the cold, and plants tended to shrivel up in the cold of the hive’s winter. That had led her to using ice cubes, small enough that they could be thrown, just large enough to let some of their cold be imparted onto him before they melted. They also had the benefit of being incredibly difficult to make out when the light was not shone directly on them, not that she was sure that would matter with his eyes hidden beneath the waterline.
She ended up forming them into a mosaic of ice, the balls holding their shape just well enough to resemble the word. She only held one at a time, dragging the container into the shallows before selecting which one would be thrown first.
A word was called out to him, a force of habit despite it not being a command that was being taught, serving as the only warning she was willing to give him. When he failed to raise his eyes to the surface, she stretched and prepared herself for the throw, repeating the motion of throwing as if to plan exactly where to hit.
Then the ball of ice was in the air, spinning softly as the light from the sun glinted from its surface and the tail of droplets that followed it through the air. Then it was dropping, too low too fast, and Haix had enough time to regret not throwing it harder when it exploded against the side of the beast, the light catching each piece of ice as it separated from the rest. Most fall back into the water from the hit, but enough of it clung to his side that she could see it glittering on the wooden hide.
A rustling began, the leaves moving in defiance of the momentary lack of breeze, and Haix watched happily as the crossbreed did not so much as move as his body rippled, the part encrusted with ice slipping below the surface and leaving the ice to float invisibly away. The rustling stopped, and he resumed his complete lack of movement, apparently content now that the ice was no longer touching him.
Indeed, he had only thought of the ice as it clung to his body, and even then it had taken several seconds for the sensation of coolness to turn to pain before he had taken action. It was not a great pain perhaps, but it had easily stood out against the comfortable feeling of water and soil and light. He would have been glad to have been rid of it had he not merely returned to his earlier feeling of contentment the moment his side began to warm.
Thus it came as quite a shock as a second ball of ice slammed into him when the first had already been forgotten. This time he had to dip his entire head beneath the water to be free of the burning cold that gripped the relatively small shrubbery that grew from his head. Then the third ball hit, scattering cold across his back, then a fourth crashing its way through the branches on his back to scatter tiny mites of cold to replace the batch he had just submerged himself to be rid of.
She was not sure her plan was working. Yes, he was twitching with each new impact, the leaves on his back rustling as if they were caught in a hurricane now that she had thrown another ball of ice, but he still had made no attempt to dodge them. She risked dropping to her hands to look under the water for a sign that his roots were no longer so firmly planted, or perhaps him struggling against their hold.
She was watching as the mud erupted upwards, not so much trailing the roots as completely obscuring them in a cloud that the sunlight could not pierce. She yanked her head free of the water,standing quickly to grab another ball of ice. Now was the true test of her idea, not whether or not he would respond to it, but if he would decide to flee from the cold for a new patch of soil that would be safely out of her reach.
The ball of ice in her hands took a little pressure from her fingers to hold its shape, her body heat melting it far more rapidly than the air would have. A few seconds had passed, or at least she hoped they were mere seconds and not minutes as they seemed to stretch on for far too long, and the beast failed to flee. He was still rustling, clearly agitated in a way that was in no way dissimilar to her own nyssa, when she threw the next ball.
With a patience that was to last less time than an ice cube pressed to her burning scales, the ice ball put an end to the placidity of the false island. He did not roar, though his mouth hung open as if expecting the sound to erupt from it at any moment, the trees on his back twitching as he began to sway and swim in a circle, trying to see where the cold was coming from. He dragged his roots through the cloud of mud, straining to catch whatever was responsible, not quite seeming to understand that the cold could come from anywhere else.
Then another ball of ice hit him, and another. His swimming grew erratic as he tried to dodge the invisible bringer of cold, but still unwilling to leave his source of food. His tendrils whipped through the mud cloud, trailing streamers of it as though he was trying to write in some unknown, looping script.
Watching the crossbreed frantically squirm like a worm in a puddle was amusing despite the waves his movements sent bashing against her legs and threatening to shove away the cooler full of ice. He could kill her easily, the churning water around him broken on occasion by roots that looked thicker than her waist as it swam in circles. She allowed herself a small chuckle, then watched the crossbreed carefully for any sign that he had heard her, that he had changed his course to approach her. When there was none, she tossed another ball of ice at him, the halfbreed’s sheer size enough for her to score a hit as he tried to dive into the water. Then came the glancing hit. It might have been only luck on his part rather than some hidden sense, but a throw that had sent the ball of ice spinning perfectly toward his head and should have shattered there instead struck one of his head shrubs as he ducked beneath it.
It could have been a fluke. Haix ruled it as such as another two found their mark on his hide without an issue, the second leaving a few pieces clinging to his back as he resurfaced that part of his long body. But then came another glancing hit, this one spinning away mostly intact to drift away in the current, pushed on its way by the waves the flailing beast formed.
There was no conscious thought in his mind to recognize the oncoming threat. There was not a feeling of a temperature change before the burning cold struck him anymore than he could pause and think to himself that he knew where the next ball of cold was going to hit. Yet there was something, some spark that screamed at him to drop a certain part of his body beneath the water, some part that made him jerk to one side though his path should have led him to the other.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6