Featuring Cypress and Harimau
Early Autumn, Y766
Silverthorne, the Ash Plains
Autumn had come to the dry plains of Silverthorne early this year. The few trees were turning to match the coats of the fawnlings. The yellow and orange leaves flew around on the wind that often came through the ashy wasteland of the Plains. Cypress had been sent to patrol the area with another guard, but his companion had become sick and had to return to the base. Cypress was left alone to finish the patrol alone. He had only been out this far a few times, and was getting a bit nervous when vultures started circling. That could only mean one of two things. Something, or someone, was already dead, and the vultures were already feasting. Or there could be something preparing to die. This could mean multiple things, but a common one was a face off battle.
Cypress knew he would have to break something up or rescue someone or drive off vultures, or all three, and was not looking forward to this. He sped up his pace in the direction the vultures seemed to be headed. His ears swiveled to listen for any scuffling or cries, but he heard nothing yet. Maybe he was overreacting. Vultures liked to gather and hang out like civilized animals, right? Who was he kidding. Vultures hate each other.
This was her first time out this far away from the herd, she had left hours ago, telling Feu that she was going for a swim in the river. But in reality, she was about to do one of the stupidest things she could ever think of. She was being an idiot really. A fool.
She huffed as she looked around the rocky outposts where she had heard rumors of the den of a cave lion. Her eyes scanned the area as she grinned, seeing the large shape of the cave lion. She started to tremble though, not having realized how big they were compared to her. She gave a shake of her head before snorting and scraping her hoof on the ground.
The Cave Lion’s head lifted lazily as he spotted her. Licking his snout he hopped down from his warm perch and started to stalk towards her. “I will kill you!” She roared at the lion before leaping forwards, her ears flattened back as she charged the lion.
However, she was not fast enough; and the lion growled and bit at her, grabbing her and tossing her to the ground. A sharp ringing sounded in her ears as an excruciating pain radiated through her. Something warm and wet was dripping down her face as she got up. Her ears, or what was left of them were torn up and bloody.
The lion roared at her as she snarled back, her once destructive thoughts gone as she was now truly terrified. She lung and sunk her teeth into the flank of the lion as the massive beast drug it’s claws against her side, she cried out and released the animal; stumbling away now trying to escape. “HELP!” She screeched.
Cypress ran towards the vultures. Suddenly, a loud roar and snarls following it rang over the flat land. The buck became worried and pushed himself faster, hoping to get to whatever poor creature the cave lion was after before anything worse happened. As he broke through the ash that hung in the air, he saw a familiar form being tossed around by a large cave lion. She screeched for help, and he met her gaze. “HARIMAU!” he yelled, lunging forward towards the creature. He rammed into it full speed, pushing it away from the filly.
“RUN!” he yelled, kicking at the creature and nudging Harimau away. He had only met this filly once, but he had remembered what she had said to him when they had talked. She had seemed so wise then. He didn’t know what had happened. The buck was knocked back to his senses as the large creature swung at him. The beast seemed tired and slow, although strong, so Cypress decided to try and ‘outrun’ his opponent as they fought. Cypress moved quickly, jumping in and out of the way of the cave lion, landing a few harsh kicks to its face and chest.
She groaned and shuddered slightly at the pain before looking to Cypress, seeing her friend there made her relax. But she knew that he may need help. Instead of running off she helped best she could.
She ran towards the Cave Lion and Cypress, as the animal's back was turned to her she land a few bites and kicks and scrapes at the Lion. Grunting a bit as her golden pelt was matted with thick red blood.
She backed up and watched a bit before landing a solid kick to the side of it’s head before scurrying away. She looked up in the sky and saw the vultures starting to circle lower and lower in the sky, and she knew things were going to get nasty.
Cypress tried his best to shove Mau away as she returned, but he was too busy keeping the cave lion distracted. He continued to dodge in and out, trying to outlast the cave lion as well. Soon the creature seemed to deem the fight worthless, and tried to escape. Instead, Cypress moved to block its way and kicked at its throat with his sharp hooves. As soon as he knew Harimau was out of the way, the buck landed a final kick to the cave lion, sending the creature to the ground. Cypress stood, gasping, as he watched the creature draw a final breath.
As soon as he could breath again, Cypress spun to face the filly, eyes flashing with fire, and yet the rest of his face completely calm. He walked, well, limped, towards her slowly, eyes set on hers. “What. Were. You. Thinking?” he huffed, blood spilling from a wound above his eye. The buck turned his gaze towards the filly’s cuts and sighed, his expression softening slightly. “Let’s go find somewhere to get you cleaned up, ok? Does your father know where you are?” His voice was kind and calm, though his eyes continued to give flashes of anger and frustration.
The buck stepped forward to nose the filly’s head and nudged her shoulder to face her in the direction of a small puddle he had seen coming in. “Let’s go. Are you alright?”
“I'm fine!” She hissed and sighed, wincing at the cuts on her face and her torn up ears, her sides were bloodied. She lowered her head shamefully. “Feu doesn't know where I am… I told him I was going for a swim….. I'm sorry Cypress… are you okay?”
She looked up at him worriedly, her tail twitching as she looked over at the bloodied body of the cave lion; her sore ears dripping blood slower now. Her cuts and gashes were starting to scab over now.
Cypress sighed and looked over the filly. “I’m fine. But let's go get cleaned up, then we’ll go find Feu, ok?” His voice was firm now, as this wasn’t really a question. He nudged the filly and started walking in the direction of the puddle he had seen. He was limping, but was more concerned with Mau’s cuts. He tried to hurry as much as he knew the filly could to get to the water.
When they got there, Cypress nudged Mau towards the puddle and splashed a bit on her sides. He then rubbed some of the blood off of her face. “Does that hurt at all? We need to get you to an herbalist…” he thought out loud, looking back in the direction of where the herd would be. “That would take a while though.” He stomped a hoof, trying to think. Blood still dripped from a deep cut on his forehead, but it was just starting to dry.
“It throbs… But doesn’t hurt as much as the emotional pain I feel.” She mumbled and laid down by the puddle, sighing softly at looking at her reflection..” She looked up at him. Her ears hurt and she knew she needed a healer but she was rather not wanting the people of the herd to see her.
“Momma was Hexed by Blackwoods… Sissy was sired by a blackwood…. Feu isn’t my Daddy, A Soldier named Bannon is and he didn’t want me or my brother because of my Momma.” She stood, looking at his cut “Lay down, so I can wash that.” She motioned to the cut above his eye. She swished her tail before tilting her head.
Cypress listened to the filly and gave a small frown. “I’m sorry. If you need anything just ask, ok?” He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have a family of Blackwoods. He didn’t always love his family, but they would be much better… he thought. When Mau told him to lay down so she could wash his cut, he shook his head.
“It’ll heal itself just fine. You should get to an herbalist though. Will you be able to walk ok?” he asked, rubbing the blood off his face and onto his leg. At least there it wouldn’t bother him too much. The buck walked forward and nosed Mau’s biggest scratches. He dipped his muzzle in water and started to clean it off again.
She hopped away from him and frowned. “Whatever… I don’t need anything…” She said gruffly, frowning a bit and chewed on her lip a bit, walking slowly towards the direction of the herd. “I’m sorry Cypress… I think you're amazing and all… But I think I should try to do this myself.” She looked back at him weakly…” Though maybe you could help me to a healer?”
The buck’s eyes showed his concern for the filly. He nodded and hurried to walk next to her. “Of course. I think there is one who usually stays near the outskirts of the herd for just such problems. If there isn’t a healer, I hope there is a soldier who knows enough about herbs to help us as well. If you get to be in too much pain just lean on me, ok?” he nosed the filly’s head and walked alongside her. “Where is your father? We could try to head in that direction so it’s easier for you to get to him,” he suggested.
“I don’t know where Feu or… Nevermind… I don’t know where he is.” She frowned and looked up at him, “Okay. I can do that…” She mumbled and walked slowly next to him, her bloody ears dry now and her eyes downcast. “Feu isn’t my Dad… He adopted me.” She mumbled.
Cypress’s gaze softened. “I’m sorry, Mau. But he is still your father, even if he adopted you, right? He chose to take care of you. That’s pretty special.” He saw the blood still on her torn ears and frowned. “We’ll find a healer soon.”
She sighed and nodded “He’s a kind person… I’m glad my Mom met him.” She winced as she moved her ears slightly. She looked around worriedly, her body aching now. She was growing weak from pain, but she was pushing through it. Even though it was hard on her body.
He saw the pain in her eyes and the hurt in her stride. “Let’s rest here for a while. My muscles are aching a bit. There’s a little puddle up ahead we can stop at. See it? Can you make it there alright?” His voice was calm as he continued walking, moving alongside the filly so she could lean on him if need be.
“Y-Yes I see it… I can make it… I want to be a soldier… I wanna be able to tolerate pain.” She grunted and pushed on, limping to the puddle before huffing and laying down tenderly. She dipped her face in the water and rinsed the blood from her face before shaking her head. She looked up to Cypress slightly.
Cypress shook his head slightly as they walked. He knew that her reasoning was wrong, but if it got her to the puddle he would let it go for now. They arrived a few agonizing seconds later, and the filly dropped to the ground. Cypress knelt and began to help wash the rest of the blood from Mau’s face. He smiled gently at the filly and nosed her cheek. “I’m sure you’ll be a wonderful soldier.”
She smiled a bit and licked his cheek softly. “Thanks Cypress…” She mumbled, her tail curling around her as she looked at her reflection in the water. “Y’know…. I really like this look.” She giggles softly and smiled a bit to him as she mumbled “What were you doing out there anyways?”
He chuckled and stood next to her, keeping watch in case some other beast decided to come around. “Me? I was on patrol. My traveling companion had to return to the herd to get taken care of by an herbalist,” he replied, looking down at the water.
“I’m fine I think…. I think I’m able to keep going.” She looked up at him and chewed on her lip. She started to stand, unfolding her legs she stood and leaned against him a bit. Her muscles twitching as she whispered “Cypress… Thank you for being here for me… That means alot.. Even if I just made a really stupid choice and came running out here… I was stupid and I know it.”
She looked up at him, “I like you…” She said before she grinned at him and limped off quickly. Leaving his side to return to the herd by herself.