|Sparrow||Unfortunately, the Yao Guai in question only comes out at night. This means that the waning moon casts blue light over the wasteland, eddies of dust picked up by the wind and stirring them into little dust devils that dot the wastes. Up into the Wilderness by Salt Creek where ancient dead forest struggles to strangle out the new undergrowth that has begun to grow.
The tribe, more primitive than not, but too peaceful to be raiders, had sent out a desire for help.
It's not wholly surprising not a lot of folks came.
Their the guide is a middle-aged woman dressed in mismatched armor and leather and her long hair shaved into a mohawk. She leads them mutely over the hills towards a ridge where she points and says in her moderately 'decent' English. "Over there."
Sparrow has come with but she's been quiet as a mouse this whole time. Following the men and adjusting her medkits in her pockets. Just coming to make sure folks stay alive. She'd stopped briefly t the Tribe's little shanty village to check on someone who'd caught a fever before they'd moved on.
|Stockton||Stockton stalks carefully in the brush, boots and jeans, his hip holsters full of handcannon and ten mil. It didn't take a whole lot of prodding for the wild man to heed the call of a Tribe. His mother would never forgive him if he didn't help when he could. So he'd mentioned something to Ashur in the Gold Digger Saloon and met up with Sparrow after she was done tending to the sickly. Having a doctor along with a pistol never hurt. And Ashur was well known to be able to take care of himself. Never mind that it might help the former Legionaire's reputation a bit. "You ever considered ditchin' the cloak?" he asks of the other mountain of a man as they follow their guide to their prey.|
|Ashur|| As of late, Ashur's been nursing growing tribal sympathies deep in that compassionate heart of his. When he heard this group was having trouble with a Yao Guai, well, it offered to scratch a whole lot of itches-- he joined up with the small group and didn't even negotiate the pay. Took the first offer without complaint or comment.
He walks alongside their guide with a deathly silence. It complements the sounds of the night-- when the heat subsides, and smaller critters dare to walk, and insects sing. Dead dry pine needles crunch beneath his boots.
"I have an.. attachment to it," he says-- and it must be sentiment given how thinned and tattered it's becoming. "It reminds me of where I came from. And the pride I take in it."
|Sparrow||Sparrow already has Reasoned out to help cover the back's fo the two large bear huntin' men. She walks along coming up beside the guide as she points down over the ridge and a ravine alongside. She shakes her head and looks to the Guide who says simply, "I go no further." She's too lightly armored to be considering even going after the beast and not as spry and young as Sparrow.
The ridge seems quiet at the moment. But there are obvious signs; bark is stripped of some trees, there are bushes that have who swaths of broken branches and there's rotting fish carcasses along the stream that leads off to the Pecos.
Between them the big man will have to make it down the slope to start the tracking; truth be told the slope is the thing keeping the village from being in constant danger no doubt. The scout crouches to hide and Sparrow starts looking for her way down.
|Stockton||Stockton throws a squint eyed look at the other man while they walk, muttering, "Seems counter-intuitive seein' as yah left the life behind," he counters. But he doesn't pry much further, leaving the former Legionaire to his own thoughts as they reach the edge of the ridge. While the Scout crouches low and Sparrow starts searching, the wildman chuffs softly. "Not that way," he tells his friend before pointing to a blind drop off that lands on a gentler slope down with trees sparse along the line to hold onto if footing is lost. "That'll be safest," he explains and moves to hop down the cliff's edge to the path.|
|Ashur||Their guide wisely leaves them; Ashur gives her a terse look, a nod, and then dismisses her from his thoughts, gazing out over the ravine. Sheer experience with the world has given him a decent hold on navigating it-- he can see the stripped bark, the rotting corpses that line the babbling waters. But the slope looks a little treacherous.. he's going to tempt a descent when he hears Stockton correct Sparrow's path, prompting him to re-examine his path and, with a hrm, following the tribal's advice. A bit of walking, a bit of hopping, a lot of holding ensues.|
|Sparrow||Sparrow stops when Stockton warns her and she looks from the eh, okayish, path she was looking at to see the more sure path only down a slight drop. She makes a face but nods as she moves over to find a place to scoot down off the cliff. No graceful mountain going for her. She's a very sensible young woman after all.
The path down is gentle despite the thinness of the path it can be safely walked so long as one is careful. There are bones below of some not so lucky humans and creatures. No doubt what had first made this place tempting for an ancient old bear.
It was about a forty-five-foot drop so the slop doesn't take long to march down single file out into the brush and debris below. "Are we sneakin? I don't want exactly to just have the damn thing charge us out of nowhere." She whispers to her companions.
|Stockton||Stockton waits for them to recognize the path before he simply takes off down it. Leaning down to plant a hand on the ledge, he drops down the few feet to the sloping pathway. Easing down to the right, he follows a small trail that ambles around the mountain and down it towards their quarry. "Easy goes it here, lots of roots," roots that he just kind of leaps over, because he's a nimble bastard despite his size. "Sneakin' is better'n not," he whispers back and drops low, crouching into position to continue his path way down. Stalking the bear like a predator himself.|
|Ashur|| Ashur's in great physical condition-- that doesn't mean army life prepared him for the rigors of reverse mountain climbing. His footing is clumsy as he descends, feet slipping and sliding in loose debris, and at one point his hip impacts a rocky outcrop and it's only his hand on a jutting root that arrests a tumble down. But he steadies, and without any real injury makes it to the ravine's bottom.
Following their lead, he doesn't make any loud noises.. on purpose, anyway.
|Ashur||But hey, branches break. Really loudly. And Ashur's pretty heavy, so that one snapped real loud, probably.|
|Sparrow||It was indeed and /everything/ in the canyon goes silent. But no bellows whuffle, no chest shaking rumble echoes from the direction the guide had pointed them in. Sparrow goes still and holds her breath but nothing comes other than a small rustle from above. The guide perhaps going up a tree 'just in case'.
Silence greets Ashur's mild blunder and they descend the rest of the way unhindered. Once down Sparrow looks around and cocks her gun. It's darker down here; ambient moonlight dappled here and there but not so forgiving. The darkness allows for the eyes to become a little less useless and the ears to become more important. The cowgirl and the Merc hear the distant sounds of a grunt and a growl and the crack of rotten wood as the Yao Guai searches for food.
Ashur might've heard the bear if he wasn't distracted by the gnawed upon bones that litter this area of the Ravine.
|Stockton||Stockton freezes when he hears the twigs snap, more importantly he can hear the whuffling big brute as it stumbles around out in the wilderness trying to sneak up on prey. There's a click and the whir of the combat helmet's night vision kicks in. His focus turns sharply on the two of them and he hisses, "It's coming. Make ready." Of course he's looking for cover or high ground so he can get a shot off that doesn't risk a mauling. Besides Ashur's much more prepared to take a brutal clawing to the gut. Right?|
|Ashur|| Ashur's eyes acclimate to the darkness, bolstered by the faint sprinklings of moon and starlight that mark the foliage like dew. The trees are dull silhouettes; he finds himself doubting the accuracy of his internal distance measuring as the shapes bleed together. But he can walk well enough, and hear all the crisp sounds of the world.
Except for the bear, which was perhaps the sound most worth hearing. He was too busy looking at a gnawed-upon femur broken in half and sucked dry to listen.
"Spread out and form a triangle on me-- the two of you can fire at a range no matter where the bear runs, so be as far from each other as is reasonable."
It doesn't particularly matter where he goes. There is no way he gets out of this entirely unmolested.
|Sparrow||Sparrow looks to Ashur then Stock and nods once and moves off to find a spot she can fire from behind as they move closer towards the brute. But she has no night vision and only one Revolver. She takes a breath and nods to Ashur who with some help from Sparrow and Stockton's pointing where they heard the sounds he can now just make out a wither in the moonlight, thick gnarled hide patched with black sickly fur. The thing is about seven foot high at the wither; back before the bombs, it's distant Blackbear Cousins would have been closer to three to four feet on the larger end and only weighed about five hundred points compared to this massive beasts gnarled cared and mutated 1K weigh in. Its breath is deep, heavy, like the sound of two huge bellows expanding and contracting to take in the scenes around it.|
|Ashur|| Ashur looks around as the group splits. It's a simple enough plan to minimize the beast's ability to harm them-- clumped up, it could rip and tear and easily assail them all. But by making a triangle off of Ashur, with the two shooters off to the side in the trees and the brawler making a racket to draw it toward him, they can shoot risk-free.
And if it responds, changes directions, and goes for one of them, well, the other one can -still- keep shooting, and he'll go in to help.
Once he's in position, he looks toward that bear's hulking silhouette in the distance. He cups his hands around his mouth and thunders, "Nobody likes you, bear!"
|Sparrow||Sparrow's got up on her perch, crouched with one leg down, the other crooked as she aims her gun and tilts her head. Trying to take her time to aim for a Called Shot while the insane Not Legion is calling the bear out.
The bear stops his whuffling to swing it's massive head towards Ashur, massive nose flaring and a low growling low escapes the beast before it turns to angle it's mass the direction of 'Dinner'.
|Stockton||Stockton doesn't need to be told twice to get out of the way, the Merc splits off in the opposite direction of Sparrow to cover more angles. The big guy tromps about two steps and then switches to something more mincing and quiet. Sneaking to a thick tree he hides behind it with both guns unholstered and in hand. Slides are checked back to double and triple check that there was brass in the chambers. When he's satisfied, he turns around the tree and lifts both guns, sighting and waiting.|
|Sparrow||Charge! Slowly anyway. The old boy is huge and it takes some time for him to get up to speed. Galumphing and breaking anything and everything hat gets in his way he heads for Ashur with a great paw prepping to swipe at the Tribute, er, Ashur.|
|Ashur|| A thousand pounds of death barrels down on the former Legionnaire. The earth shakes and rattles. It rears up and swipes at him, and for a moment, its blurred silhouette fades out and becomes a deathclaw in his eyes-- it gives that same feeling. He reels back, crunching pine cones, as those powerful claws strike the air with such force he's damn near blown another step back. He retaliates with a quick one-two combo, driving his spiked knuckles into its flesh, piercing and cutting with forceful blows. But it's hard to get in on a bear-- all he does is pummel its body, where the flesh and fat and muscle are thickest.
Hopefully, the gunners have better luck.
|Sparrow||Sparrow takes aim and despite losing some of her visibility she manages to get a lucky shot in on the bear's head but it hits the blunt end of the creature's skull and barely does more than piss the bear off and it roars angrily in Ashur's face with gross saliva and the smell of rotting flesh coming from itits's massive toothed maw.
Then Stockton's hit and takes off an ear of the massive creature and the beasts eyes burn with insane rage as another hole opens up in its side black blood sprays stain the wretched creatures hide and poor Ashur who's now in swiping distance.
|Ashur|| The golden-skinned pugilist is damn near shadowboxing. He's superimposed the memory of the deathclaw on the bear-- it swipes right, he ducks left; it tries to jab him with its claws, he spryly hops aside; it growls irritably and lunges at him with its slavering snapping jaws, and he pivots on a heel, spins, and steps into its side. The bear briefly loses sight of him from the sheer fluidity of the defense..
But when the spikes of his knuckles jam into its groin, and literally rip the poor bastard's twig and berries off in a gorey evisceration of manhood, it knows he's there.
|Sparrow||Sparrow takes aim but she's sort of confused because this is not at all what she expected. She doesn't want to shoot the Legionnaire even if she is mildly confused about why it suddenly looks much more.. inappropriate than it did a few moments ago. She's staring. The bear is not happy, in fact, the bear is about ready to flee with nothing between its legs. Sparrow at this point is trying to hide the fact she's puking off the side of the boulder she's behind.
Old Grizz is old, he's lived a long time, but no one had ever dared go after /those/ bits. Those precious bits. As soon as they're gone the massive beast tries to lumber away. But it's et it's fair share of Tribals and even lost wandering faction folks of all sorts.
|Stockton||Stockton watches confused like as the man and the bear get it on like an eighties wrestling promo. There's tossing and turning and reaching, Stockton's eyebrows lift sky high when Ashur grabs the bear by the dick and literally rips it off. Not much surprises the Merc these days, but that is eye opening. And it takes him a minute to realise that he should do something about it. Like put the poor Grizzly out of its misery. "I'm..sorry," he mutters under his breath before lifting the handcannon for a third bullet that rings off in the distance and embeds itself into the creature's skull, scrambling its brains and ceasing it's miserable existance. With a fwump, the dickless bear finds the dirt and peace. The half-tribal wildman stands stalwart for a moment, trying NOT to relive that moment over in his mind. "Cripes, I realized y'all were repressed, but...didja have to...that?" He shakes his head and quickly reloads Serenity.|
|Ashur|| Ashur stands bathed in the blood of the bear. Fragments of its skull stick to his armor, tufts of fur, a part of its ear-- and clutched in his hand, held up to the pale moonlight that filters through the trees, is the beast's very manhood. He's feral, scowling at it with a wild fire in his eyes, lips peeled back from grinding teeth. The bear limps away and the other two put it out of its misery..
And Ashur roars, as loud as the bear ever did, a primal scream at the top of his lungs. He crushes his trophy and throws it aside. He turns, and walks back to where he last saw their guide. "The beast is dead, and the tribals will know our power," he declares with a solemn arrogance. It's time to return.
Yeah, they're a little repressed. And a little intense.
|Sparrow||Well there's tat whole climbing up thing. But the tribe's woman peers from her spot above and calls down. "Is good. We will bring up beast. Make stew." they're not going to get many caps, the Traibesman don't have much money. About twenty caps a piece and some peace of mind that this tribe at least is safer from one of the wild threats that linger around this area.
Sparrow comes back from behind the boulder, wiping her face on a kerchief and sticking it away in a pocket before anyone can comment on it. She reloads reason and just stares at Ashur for a long moment and then looks at Stockton, her eyes are huge. 'Did you see that?' she mouths to the Frontiersman gesturing after Ashur.
|Stockton||Stockton makes quick work of swapping out magazines and taking a few big-ass bullets from his pouch to refill the first magazine. That gets stowed in the leather holster on his belt and he shifts his stance as both guns go back to their place at his hip. "Yeah, it's dead..." and humiliated in the afterlife likely. The feral roar? That much at least, the Merc can appreciate about the former Legionaire. At the eyeballing from Sparrow he just blinks twice. Yeah. He saw that. When he reaches the tribeswoman he nods, "Feast well." There's a gesture from him to her that's probably along the lines of hands on shoulders and a head butt. He'll take whatever payment they've mustered without fuss and promptly looked to find his way home.|