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[IC] Gone Hawking

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GM

 

 

 

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

 

Claremont Academy, Bayview, Freedom City

 

12:31 PM

 

 

 

Some of Claremont’s students fit in better than others. There were some who almost entirely disappeared, who didn’t get much attention from anybody beyond their direct circle. There were some that were (in)famous around the entire school grounds. And there were some who, simply through their appearance, stood out.

 

 

Jann Fa-Re was one of the latter. And even if he hadn’t sported feathers for hair, and huge wings on his back, there’d be a fair share of school-wide attention on him. Rumours, gossip, stuff only said behind his back. He was out on the grass training at almost any time, during all kinds of weather (some rumours about him doing it a 4 AM during a snow storm had been spreading around the school earlier this year). Added onto that the fact he had scars all across his body (and added more seemingly by the week), and his general friend circle, and most people didn’t quite know what to think of him.

 

 

And more rumours started brewing, when during the lunch period, he approached another one of the teens known all around the campus. Riley Smith.

 

 

“Hey. Heard you are the most skilled hunter here, correct?”

 

Edited by olopi

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Woodsman raised his head from his book and stared up at the Avian - and thought of rending teeth and claws - avian shrieks and blood in the air - and thought of another boy with wings and a claws - and the words and the blows. There was a reason why he hadn't approached the other student before now. Jann was a good eight inches taller than him, towering over the wiry teen, who as usual was in a darkly-patterned camo hoodie and jeans perfect for urban stealth. 

 

"Yeah?" he said shortly, staring up at Jann as he waited for the other boy to finish speaking. 

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The avian pulled a tablet out of his gym bag, which also seemed to contain all his books, and … a knife, judging by the looks. He flicked it on, clicked a few things, and turned it around, putting it down on the table.

 

It wasn’t exactly a nice sight. An animal’s corpse. It wasn’t directly obvious from the angle of the first picture, but it probably was a deer. The nasty thing about it was the fact parts of the skin had been ripped off, and a chunk of flesh, in what appeared to be one of the shoulders, was missing. The next shot confirmed it was a deer, and also showed some nasty scratches on its neck. Far larger than anything native in these parts.

 

Third picture, a different deer corpse. This time, the scratches went down the entire torso, with various bits of flesh sticking out. And, while the cuts were quite deep, there seemed to be something beyond dried blood where they’d met with the rest of the torso. Jann left the tablet where it was, and then turned to Riley.

 

“Not done by anything usually in this region, correct? Some assistance would be good, don’t know this well. “

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"Could be bear," Woodsman opined as he studied the pictures, flipping through the device's images with his finger while missing the physical reality of homemade Polaroids. "Have to come up a long way for it, though." With a professional's eye, he studied the deer's corpse without a trace of the hesitation that many of Jann's peers might have shown. "Mebbe shapeshifter. Heard they like to play like that." He tapped the deer's haunch where it had torn away at the joint. "Big bear, or shapeshifted freak. Tore the damn thing off." He looked up at Jann and shrugged, handing the pictures back. This was the most fascinating thing he'd seen all day, but he wasn't about to cop to that. "You gotta crew backin' you up?" 

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Jann wasn’t particularly emotive. It was one of the main things people learned about him, either through gossip or dealing with him. And the gossip certainly didn’t lie. He took the tablet back into his hands and stored it in his bag once more, then addressed Riley’s question.

 

“No back-up. Big Prey. Probably smart. Not something that needs the skillset of any of the others. Needs that of an experienced hunter. There are not many I know of here. “

 

“Shapeshifter? The ones who change skin and body, correct? Could be, yes. Does not explain the style of attack. Makes more sense than animals, yes. Would be a different kind of prey, not one to be hunted. Correct? I do not fully understand the limits of what counts as what. “

 

“Either way, would finally be a challenging hunt. Not allowed to leave Claremont on my own at the moment and do not know the area, could use your support. “

 

 

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"All right," said Riley. "I'm with you. Let's go out tomorrow afternoon," he suggested. "Give me time to get my gear ready." There was no point in tiring the both of them out when they had class the next day, not for something that was eating deer. At least, that's how it starts. He took out his phone and slowly paged his way through Google to a map of Wharton State Forest. "I'll meet you out at the park ranger's station, then we'll go from there." That way he'd have a place to chain his bike while they scouted - and he wouldn't be shadowed by a raptor the whole way across town. Jann wasn't the first Avian he'd ever met. 

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“Thank you. I will be there in time, and bring appropriate equipment. This may turn into a longer hunt if things do not go great. Will message you if anything comes up.“

 

And with that said, Jann turned away and disappeared, as quickly as he’d appeared in the first place. The rest of the day was uneventful, even if Riley did get a few looks by some of the people that had issues with Jann.

 

The next day

Wharton State Forest

 

As soon as Riley had chained up his bike, Jann dropped from a nearby tree, and walked up to him. The Avian looked a lot different than the day before. On his back, a large quiver, holding what appeared to be javelins, and a rather large amount of them even. Oh his hip, attached to a belt, a more classical quiver, holding arrows. A variety of pockets all around his waist, at least two knives. On his torso, a metallic armour of sorts, covering most of his torso, as well as a darker, seemingly thinner material running down both his arms.

 

His pants were a plain gray, somewhat tight, but loose enough to not give away whatever he hid under them. (And judging by his get-up, it was at least something). In his hand, he held a backpack, in a green-tone grey. Probably a hiking backpack, judging by the amount of pockets that were visible.

 

And of course, his face, blue and red lines running down from his front towards his chin. As he approached Riley, one of his hands went into his backpack, seemingly searching for something.

 

“Good to see you are here. Have only arrived recently, not had time to scout yet. “

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Woodsman nodded in approval at Bird of Arms's choice of attire. The wiry teen was himself dressed in a green and brown poncho that seemed to blend in almost perfectly with Wharton's colors, the Claremont uniform underneath colored to match. He had his crossbow fastened over his back, strap across one muscular shoulder, and on his waist hung a single well-polished hatchet that looked suitable for chopping wood - and other things. Jann could see gear underneath the poncho, tools and other things on the belt, but it was hard to make out while Riley was still dressed. "Right. Let's see th' kill spot first - go from there." 

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As he listened to Riley speak, Jann pulled out a large piece of fabric, in a similar green to his backpack, out of the latter. Once he slipped into it, it became more obvious that it was what could loosely be called a shirt, fitted to adjust both to Jann’s physique and his equipment, managing to conceal the metal fairly well.

 

“Okay. Is some distance in that direction. “ He pointed his arm westwards, taking some time to find the exact position. “Will take some time to travel there. Can walk, or can carry you there. Should be able to.”

 

 

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Woodsman stopped dead on his way towards the woods. "No." He didn't look at Jann as he spoke, instead continuing again into the forest. He followed Jann's directions as they went but didn't seem like a big talker himself. With bow in hand and costume on, he fell back into familiar habits, automatically taking cover behind the biggest trees as they went in a regular pattern that kept the two boys moving in a slow, delberate stutterstep towards their destination in a way that would make it hard for anyone to follow their tracks. Riley's breathing was slow and regular as he went, his pupils round as he disappeared into Woodsman, a man perfectly at home in the forest. 

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Jann didn’t further reply to Riley’s statement, instead leading the way, with only a few words for clarifying directions, embracing the silence himself. He moved with precision and finesse, almost floating along the ground with light steps, occasionally turning his head to either side. There were some clouds up in the sky, but it was still bright enough for visibility to not be affected, at least in the parts of the forest the two currently were in, where it wasn’t too dense.

 

It took perhaps 15 minutes, and there were no incidents on the way. The corpse still was where it had been found originally, and even if it had decayed a bit since the time of the photo, it was still recognizable. The area wasn’t particularly densely wooded either, a tree every 10 to 15 feet, a fair amount of sunlight still shining through.

 

“Told people to leave it. May have some more recent tracks here, but might find something. “

 

And with that, Jann began to work. He crouched down, and carefully treaded forwards, his eyes peeled to the ground.   

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