(( feat. my aurin babies hopefully maybe we'll see how it goes ))

“Ow-”


She twitched awake, warmth pressing into her cheek. A pulsing sensation in her forehead grew into a painful throbbing and she felt dampness running down her face. The warmth became a wetness, the pain spread from her head to her arms and feet and the buzzing in her ears turned to a torrent of rain as she weakly lifted herself onto her knees in the puddle of mud.

A hand came away from her face covered in red and brown. Ouch. Pieces of memory drifted back together. She’d been running through the brush, putting miles between her and a small mob of angry crimson legionnaires. A branch came at her through the haze and…

She looked up- yeah, there was the dirt trail her unconscious body had pushed down the slope. Good thing she’d had a soft landing - though lucky she hadn’t fallen face first and drowned. Shudder.

Taulin took several deep breaths - slowly, in and out, giving herself a half minute to stop her head spinning. Then began to push herself up-

“Ah!” She doubled over in agony, her arm feeling like it had been stabbed through. Crap. Had she broken it? Twisted it? Crap. Deep breaths. Gritting her teeth she waited out the pain.

Minutes passed. Her heart started to quiver. There wasn’t time to hang about. Wilderrun was dangerous enough during the day, but even without the sun as reference she could feel the evening dragging on. She needed to get to an exile camp within an hour, maybe.

Okay. Okay.

With effort (stupid, stupid, sticky mud), she began to drag her reluctant feet forward. She’d managed to tumble into a shallow pit - the slopes now treacherous, a thin trail of water sliding down to collect in the bottom. She reached out with her good arm to support herself against the incline.

Her injury protested at each slight movement, which was unavoidable no matter how hard she pressed it into her stomach. As she clawed her way upwards she twice came close to passing out again, her vision fading as she gripped on for dear life. She wasn’t failing here, to slip into some Snoglug’s stomach (did they have stomachs? What did snoglugs eat, even?) Pressing on with what fortitude she could muster, she all but squirmed over the ridge and proceeded to vomit in a bush.

Crap. Getting dark. Crap.


She trudged through green and yellow, not a bit of energy left in her for running. Her pistols were out, for what good they’d do were a pumera to get the drop on her. One could be stalking her already for all she could see, and she grew increasingly twitchy at every gust of wind through the branches and leaves.

Her arm was definitely broken, though not as badly as it could have been. She must have fallen on it, or it had got mangled up as she’d tumbled down the hill. The pain, at least, had subsided enough to let her head clear. She kicked up a few puddles, stomped on a few twigs. Better. She even attempted a quick selfie to upload later, but the lighting was terrible. Art.

The dommies were long gone, far behind her, with a good few hundred boxes of supplies now up in smoke. Not a bad day’s work, really! She attempted to spin the pistol and immediately regretted it as it went up in the air and she had to bounce it against her bad arm a couple times to catch it. Ow, ow, ow.

Some miles later, the shadows ahead of her were interrupted by rays of colour and light piercing through, the telltale sounds of crackling fire and boisterous chatter drifting down the wind; unmistakably exile. She cracked into a grin as she picked up the pace, pressing onwards towards-

Crunch. What?


Camp Theta was in the latter stages of the evening, meaning all but the sentries (or at least a handful of them) were getting quite comfortably hammered on the keg of ale that’d been lugged out by the Granok engineer. “Gotta grease my hinges,” he’d remarked with a nod and a wink. The corporal on duty had managed to at least keep the volume down, though a couple of jokers still thought it funny to kick off another round of “Shhhhhhh”es every now and then.

Theirs was a quiet, safe little haven tucked away on a ridge looking over the miles of jungle. Any assault would be more trouble than it was worth, considering it was primarily an observation station and the weather made for poor observing regardless. Still, orders were orders. May as well make a holiday out of it.

The occasional rustling of bushes nearby wasn’t unknown, generally a result of one of the more brave razortails skulking around for something unattended. Neither was it uncommon to see disturbance from the brush as a pack of pumera caught whiff of trouble. Occasionally something got too close to the moody Girrok nearby, the noise from which would raise some eyebrows.

Even the more sober guards nearly dropped their weapons entirely as a blur of purple fur whizzed by - pursued by a flock of peeved Ravenok. Shouts went up. Confused feet stumbled in disarray. The jungle exploded into a cacophony of gunfire and loud screeching.