TAKASHI was not going to try and climb up in the trees - he was going to charge ahead and see what the commotion is all about.
OK! Your common sense would kick in, telling you that getting run over by a stampeding flock of roughly small dog sized birds is not a fun prospect.
Got it! I will then head back to the trees and hope for the best.
You'd be able to clamber up the tree to the lowest branch, or if you want to hide behind the tree or ...
Ack! But what about our horses... Frak.
ATAIUS: "Let's secure them to the trees and blindfold them so they don't get scared." ATACIUS will do that with his pony.
"You have but minutes before they are near/around you."
ATACIUS: "Wait, we don't have to stay here. Let´s keep moving out of the way then.
If we ride fast enough maybe we ca avoid them."
TAKASHI: "I agree, let's travel opposite their line of direction, and try and get out of their way!"
Is this Stamped heading for the city? Do we need to warn the gatehouse? What about surounding farmers? If there is something I can do to warn innocent people....I would want to do that.
You're nearly 2/3'ds of a day's ride from Skalfier. You haven't seen any farms/farmers along the track you're on.
Ok then I'll ride out of the direction of the stamped like the rest of the group.
GRAIAN: After tying his horse in the trees he readies his sleep spell looking at the approaching horde assessing the threat
Hearing the discussion, Graian breaks his concentration, unties his horse and follows them.
In the two minutes that it takes for the party to decide on their action, the horses become extremely nervous, whinnying and snorting their distress, prancing from foot to foot. The strange croaks of the beach clubbers gets louder and more frantic. It's hard to guess how many there are, maybe dozens or even hundreds. There are less than ten of the large blackbirds and only one monstrous sized bird.
The horses give an extra kick of speed to get away from the oncoming stampede in their haste to get away. You do get out of the way of the stampede as it reaches and wraps around the small group of trees that you had considered taking shelter in. The leaves and limbs are battered as the beach clubbers jump and hop around the copse.
For those of you with sharp hearing, it almost sounded like the monstrous sized blackbird spoke... in human tongue. Saying "Hurry, men are here!"
TAKASHI: "Do my ears deceive me, or do those flying creatures speak in our common tongue?!"
ATACIUS: "We're living strange times friend, so I wouldn't be surprised!"
CALLIN: "I heard nothing except the beating of my heart and the stomping of hooves." Callin says almost breathless. "As much as I'd like to find out what those creatures are, there are dead we must lie to rest."
TAKASHI: "Agreed. Let's be on our way, then."
Um. It's not over yet. I read the situation is that the stampede is just at the trees and you are a little away to the west of it, maybe 20 to 30 yards. Anything you want to do at this point, or see how the stampede plays out?
ATACIUS will look over his shoulder as he rides, to see what the black birds do. If they keep around the copse harrasing the beah clubbers, or leave, or pursue us.
TAKASHI: "Let's continue to put some distance between us and the stampede. Hopefully they will ignore us and keep moving on."
CALLIN: "I'm with TAKASHI, unless they show interest in us, I'd rather finish our assignment"
GRAIAN: Wishing he was on a stable, secure boat rather than this wild creature, brings things back under control and turns to face the woods trying to hear if there are any more recognizeable words being spoken. "Do any of you recognize these creatures?" he shouts to the others
ATACIUS: "No idea what they are. Too bad Oliphas is not with us!" the littleling shouts back.
The copse seems to disrupt the stampede and the blackbirds are quick to snatch up several more of the large beach clubbers. The stampede continues on to the southwest and the blackbirds descend to the other side of the copse away from you. They begin the grisly task of eating their prey.
The monstrous-sized bird though, it leaves its kill on the ground, taking to the air and circling above you for a brief moment then descending to the ground, maybe 10 yards away. The horses shuffle and whinney nervously, shying away. The bird doesn't seem to be threatning though, it cocks its head to one side, then the other at you. You get the definite feeling of its awareness as it looks at each of you. It's feathers are a deep black, with silver/grey flecked through its feathers. Most of its face is lined in the silver/grey and you get the feeling of age in it.
TAKASHI settles his horse, then addresses the GINORMOUS bird.
TAKASHI: "Do you understand our language? We thought that we heard some your flock speaking in our tongue, but this is not something common to us. We mean you no harm, and would speak with you if you are able and willing."
"A human, a little one, a cross of human and elf and an elf. A strange gathering of man-folks." it croaks. "One not seen in a long time. And yet you do not attack us or seem afraid. Another strange thing. You do not interrupt our dinner, and that shows courtesy. Thrice strange. Yes, I speak your tongue, just as my father and mother did, and their sires and maters. We know and have seen the rise and fall of men-folk. That you would speak to me as they did of old is a story I shall pass on to my young. So, four men-folk, what would you speak of?"
ATACIUS reins his pony to a halt and watches dumbfounded at the giant crow as it speak to te group.
TAKASHI: "I am not from these parts - I come from farther east. Many of us there still speak of the spirits that reside in all living beings, though it has been a very long time since anyone has recorded any of these spirits talking to one of us. I always figured it was because they just didn't have much to say at the time."
The giant blackbird turns its head to look with one eye at ATACIUS for a moment and its beak drops open, almost as if in a laugh. It then turns its head to look at TAKASHI again.
"I have flown many times around these lands to the mountains and to the seas. I have seen many things and beheld wonders of the air and sea. The lands and the air and the seas hold many surprises and if you live long, man of metal, you will perhaps see them too." it croaks.
"I have always been the curious one of my nest and egg mates, but few times have my meetings with men been peaceful. My nest was invaded not too many suns ago by elves and humans, and many of my children were lost. I did not want to see the remainder lost, so yes, we will speak and if you keep your swords sheathed, then all will be well."
CALLIN: "As my friend says we mean you no harm... I am CALLIN, it is a pleasure to make your aquantance. And for your children that were lost, I offer an appology. If you would like, I could offer a prayer for them. We too are on our way to mourn the Fallin at the hands of men."
TAKASHI: "And I am TAKASHI. The little one who is usually most talkative is ATACIUS, and GRAIAN is final member of our party. May we know your name, or what you are called?"
GRAIAN: Nods acknowledgement to the creature, listens with interest to the conversation but keeps an eye on the ones that are feeding.
"The sun moves in the sky and the season wing from the one to the next. You, too, will die and the next will take its place, so it is with my young and my kind and with all things."
"You cannot speak my name as the wind and the sky and the others of my kind speak it, but I will accept Apsuna as a name for you who speak with tongues and words. Thank you for your courtesy. What would you speak of, man of metal and man of spirit?"
The other birds are delicately cleaning the bones of the clubber birds, but do not seem interested in you aside from looking at your conversation every so often.
TAKASHI: "A couple days ago, we traveled from the Keep to the North towards Skalfier with a caravan. We were set upon by bandits in the night, and almost all were killed. We head there now to bury our dead. However, those that attacked us in the night escaped without justice. Have you seen any bandit camps in your flights over the area recently?"
"Bandits... a strange word that men call their kin who act even more strangely, for no bird of my nest would steal from the eggs in my nest. Another kind, perhaps, but not of same. You men-folk and like do this to each other, when so much stands against you." Apsuna croaks. "If you mean do I see men in metal or men bearing their weapons, yes. These caravans... I see them in fights with the men who arm for war. I see the orcs who arm for war. I see the nest by the sea of many of your men-folk who gather in their ships to float on the seas. It does not prepare for war."
TAKASHI: "I know our ways probably make little sense to you. In truth, sometimes they make little sense to me as well. The best way I can try and explain it is that not all of us that are close together are from the same nest, as you would say. And while these companions are not related to me by blood, I do consider them as part of my nest."
TAKASHI shakes his head in bemusement and chuckles. "How frantic and scattered we must seem to you and yours, looking upon us from above as we are trapped on the surface below. I am sorry to hear that you have not been treated well by others of our kind in the past, but know that if you ever require our assitance, all you need to do is let us know. Perhaps our actions can not make up for the past treatment you have received, but at least we can act as an example of the good that men, littlelings, and elves can do."
ATACIUS coming out of his astonishment says: "You speak the human tongue as your father and mother and their sires and masters you said. Who were their masters? Do you have a master? Where is your nest? Does you feathers have magical powers? Why aren't you answering?"
Apsuna ruffles it's feathers at Takashi's words. "Men folk are always strange, but then we do not wear your feathers and you do not wear our feathers, so how can we know what winds you fly in? We each follow our paths as is laid before us. And your courtesy in speaking to me in peace is of an egg with a good smell, full of potential. I will keep your words as mine, should that ever come."
Apsuna's beak drops again as if in laughter at Atacius's outburst. "Yes, little one, my sires and maters... they who made the eggs to birth my mother and father and then they made the eggs to birth me. Life is our master, the sun and the sky and the winds and the lands all tell us what we can and cannot do. Sometimes master, sometimes enemy, always our giver and friend. As far as my nest, it is not far, in a place of men long abandoned, although lately it has drawn interest, especially from the elvish folk who are lost. As far as my feathers, little one, they are my feathers. It is the sky and winds that give me flight. Are your legs magical that they propel you across the ground?" Apsuna drops its beak again.
GRAIAN looks back at Apsuna, "You say my kin have been showing an interest in you nesting ground, do you know why? We are seeking our homeland, but we are seafarers, is your nest across the waters?"
"It is an area well suited for nesting and protection" Apsuna replies to Graian. "The walls keep us warm. However, it would have something to do with the leaves that you men-folk and elves like to collect in places and carry around. The elves and a few men-folk in their metal skins came and killed many of my children, an invasion! But they left with a few leaves. Others have come and left after we've flown them off, but these were dour and determined to find the leaves they were looking for. Since then, I've looked for another nest, and I've seen elves lurking about, but they do not come in the numbers they did that one time."
CALLIN looks to GRAIAN for some kind of explination. "What significance do Leaves have with the Elven people? So much so that they would attack and kill for them?" There is no anger in Callin's voice just ignorance.
ATACIUS: "Maybe it's not the leaves of a tree or plant the bird is talking about..." he says more like thinking to himself than speaking to his friends. "Apsuna, are those leaves you say bound together? What shape are they?"
GRAIAN: Catching on to what Atacius murmured "Of course, how foolish of me and these walls, Apsuna, can you tell us more about them and what the rest of the place looks like?"
Apsuna opens its beak again. "The leaves I speak of are not from trees, they are the leaves that you men and elves love to carry. Small things, the size of your heads, squarish or rolled up. My nest is in a place that contains many of these, on the walls and ground, although they fall apart from the wind and rain. "
Apsuna ruffles its feathers. "Even so, your kind seems to be obsessed with them. Others killed my children for them." it croaks.
ATACIUS: "I'm sorry to hear you lost some of your kind. Sometimes people's obsession for knowledge make them blind to other's suffering. If you grant us permission, I think we would like to take a look at the place you've made your nest, after we're done with our errands."
Apsuna cocks its head and looks at each of you carefully.
"You have been far more courteous and interesting than any other men or elves I've known and you are the first little one I've made words with. If you are as courteous at my nest, you would be welcome in peace. Bringing men of metal or war will mean a broken trust."
Apsuna moves so that it is facing a NW direction. "It's is but a short flight for us, although you might take a bit longer on foot or your horse. It is not hard to find, as the things that your kind build to house your leaves is visible from far off. At least for me." Apsuna drops its beak open in silent laughter.
The other blackbirds have finished their meals and a couple have taken flight to rest in the tree, squawking to each other.
"My children grow restless and I am hungry!" Apsuna croaks. "Should you find our nest in your travels, you would be welcome. And a bit of food, like one of your younger feed animals, is always welcome!"
TAKASHI: "Many thanks for your word, trust, and time Apsuna. We look forward to seeing you again in the future!"
TAKASHI smiles, then bows to Apsuna.
"Wind and Sky be your friend." Apsuna croaks and then flaps its wings to take off. The brief gust of wind ruffles your hair. Apsuna flies over to the clubber bird corpse still waiting, grabs the body with its talons and with loud croaking, flies off towards the northwest. The other blackbirds croak and take off as well, circling higher and flying to the northwest. In only a few moments, their black bodies disappear in the sky.
ATACIUS: "Ha! A giant talking bird! Can you believe that? I don't know you fellows, but since I left the Direlands, this is the most incredible thing that's happened to me! And we've been through a lot lately.", the littleling exclaims excitedly. "From what Apsuna said, my guess is the nest is some kind of ruin. A castle that used to hold a library? Maybe a wizard tower!", he rubs his hands in anticipation.
"I'm sure master Notebana would be interested in this place. Maybe I can get him something from there. He'll appreciate that, yes. Oh, and there's this thing between Thom and Tarn. Well, first things first.", he distractedly mumbles aloud as he watches the birds fly away.
GRAIAN: Watching the birds fly away is also wondering about what might be there, hopefully the place has not been plundered to such an extent there is nothing useful left. Turning to the others, "Interesting indeed, maybe after we have finished this unsavory, but neccessary, task we could carry on to the ruins, after all we will be somewhat near there. Atacius, Thom and Tarn?"
ATACIUS: "Huh? How do you...? " He was so rapt in thought he did not realize he was speaking aloud. "They're just aquaintances from Skalfier. Let's say I'm acting as a broker between them.", he adds with a wry smile.
TAKASHI: "Perhaps we could travel in that direction, but it would be courteous if we could provide Apsuna with an animal to their liking, though. What a day. Shall we resume our travels and get the unpleasant part over with?"
CALLIN: "That was an interesting encounter indeed. And yes I agree we should bring an aminal to them as a gift of peace." CALLIN then looks in the direction they must go to bring peace to those who have already fallen. "Yes, let us finish that which we have started"
GRAIAN: Moving his horse forward to resume the journey turns to Atacius "Broker, that is an interesting term, so much leeway..." he says with a slight smile