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Old 08-29-2006, 01:50 PM   #149
piosenniel
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
 
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Pickin' flowers with Bill the Cat.....
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The catís ears twitched, picking up the subtle crackling sound of the sticks as they began to burn. He picked his way closer to where the horses were picketed, chuffing as predator does when the prey is scented. The horsesí ears had begun to pick up the sounds of his approach, and he could hear them stamping nervously on the packed dirt. A few whickered, anxious at the unfamiliar sounds.

In the moonlight he slipped quickly along the length of their enclosure, a thing of thinly braided rope strung between staves pounded into the ground. Low to the ground, his ghostly outline rippled behind the scrubby bushes and sparse grasses. A passing phantom.

He was upwind of the horses now, his own strong scent and that of the fresh blood on his jowls went reeking down the night breezes toward them. Their whinnies grew loud, a rising panic taking hold of the small herd.

Some of the fireworks Aiwendil had set were beginning to blaze. The guards near the horses went rushing toward the obvious source of the horsesí growing frenzy. The cat rushed toward the nearest animals, yowling like some devilish beast bent on butchering them all.

As he drew nearer, he leapt, closing the distance between him and them. Claws extended he landed within striking range. A number of the horses reared up as if to strike out at him with their forelegs; others ran raggedly in circles seeking escape. He struck out, though not at the animals but at the rope enclosure, his claws snaring it and bringing a section of it down.

It was all he could do to scramble out of harmís way as the frantic beasts ran at and nearly over him. There were cries from the nearby men as they sought to capture and hold back the rampage. Some were trampled on as they tried to drive the horses back. One came near enough to the cat to strike out at him with his blade, but it was only the flat that knocked hard against his left shoulder. The cat hissed and screamed with anger at the blow and raked the manís arm with his razored claws, causing the man to turn and run.

The horses needed little encouragement to run from the fire and the fell beast. As they did so, the cat ran after them, yowling at them and striking a glancing blow here and there to tender hindquarters if they faltered or slowed. Behind him, he could hear the hiss and pop and bang of more fireworks...the growing yells of the men as they sought to organize themselves in the midst of this growing disaster.

One of them, the bowman, had managed to gather his wits about him. Against the explosions of sound and light he could do nothing. They blinded him with their intensity and he could not be sure that if he loosed an arrow in their direction that it would not bring down one of his own companions. He turned his back, instead, to the blinding lights and sought out the figure of the cat as it raced back and forth behind the horses, driving them on and scattering them. The man set his stance and took careful aim at the low running beast in the distance.

The shaft flew true . . . and save for the fractious pony who kicked out to the side at the cat as he ran along side him, it would perhaps have proved a deadly dart. Instead, it grazed a long furrow along the side of the cat.

The cat screamed in fury and in pain. His task accomplished - the horses in frenzied disarray, as were their owners, many of whom were running pell mell behind their mounts in an effort to catch them Ė the cat left off his pursuit to seek the safety of some nearby rocky outcroppings. His side felt as if it were on fire from the blasted arrow, and his shoulder had begun to ache fiercely where the man had struck him with the flat of his blade . . .

Last edited by piosenniel; 08-30-2006 at 03:25 AM.
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