2nd war challenge... do you ever have a drawing where no matter how much you work on it, it never looks as good as you want it to? So frustrating. BUT the deadline is tomorrow, so have to submit it now or never >.<
This takes place before Milvus' other war challenge, and before all the fights she's gotten into! It was meant to be her first war challenge but it took so long to finish >.<It's war! Mad Queen Maud of Skrekrill has breached Grandesque's borders and invaded the aerie. He means to take Grandesque's richest hunting grounds, a prime swath of land bordering the Twistoult forests. If Maud and Skrekrill succeed, Maud will use their new territory as a launching point for a full-scale invasion of Twistoult.
Only you can decide how this conflict will end. The time has come to take up arms and fight for your aerie!
Maud and a few of his human-gryph cronies have gotten their hands on some guns, but they have no idea how to use them. Stop them before they figure it out!
Story comes tomorrow... am too tired to write it out now! BASICALLY, the big weakness to flintlock muskets/pistols? if you get the powder wet, they won't light and they won't work. Just takes the resident aery genius to figure this out and put together a crazy plan to take advantage of this, but he's sure as hell not going to be humble about it...
**EDIT** here's the story! enjoy!
It was early in the land of Windsonde. The sun was just above the bleak horizon, casting harsh shadows across the dusty, dead landscape that formed the boundaries of Skrekrill. The sky was mostly clear, and at this early hour the air still held the night’s chill. Milvus shuddered, fluffing up her fur and feathers, trying to keep the cold out. She stood on a ledge overlooking the wastelands to the south, usually such a brazen encroachment into enemy territory was frowned upon by her superiors, but today she was not alone and under orders.
Behind her two Samhradh crafts gryphs worked at stretched, tanned hides, one in human form to better control the heavy needle. The other, an owl gryph, held up the two pieces of leathery material so the human gryph could easily stitch them together. The ‘water proof’ leather had not come easily, it was stolen from the nearby human village according to the harrier gryph, what was her name… Milvus made herself remember, Kiya that was it. Just because she was out of the Faclair lifestyle did not mean she wanted to forget the manners such an upbringing had installed in her, and a part of this was knowing every gryphon worthy of being accepted as an adult in Grandesque. She looked about the rest of their party, to see if she could name all of them, partly to refresh her memory and partly to ward off boredom as she waited for their mission to begin.
The other Samhradh was Verlidaine, another gryph Milvus had not had the chance to interact with much previously. Pasqual and Syam, both veteran Balach fighters, she knew both from her own short time as a one of them and from the rescue they had performed for her when she had been a fledgling. Skeiiya she knew from her days tagging along with her father, the panther gryph was a talented Slaghre hunter. Skerry was a Maralach, you’d have to be senseless to not know his face in Grandesque! And then there was the white tiger gryph standing beside her, looking out over the barren lands in silence. Milvus had never met him before, but his reputation preceded him. Jessev.
The silence and the other gryph’s proximity started to fray Milvus’ nerves, so casting her eyes around for something to chat about to this stranger, her eyes settled on the pool of water below them, fed by a magnificent waterfall falling from the ledge they stood on.
“I wonder why there is no river leading from that pool,” Milvus started, gazing at the deep, dark water, “it’s as if Mordachae herself does not want to give such a gift to those monsters.”
Jessev turned his head to Milvus, his expression not changing.
“While geology is not a real science, it at least serves as a far better explanation for this phenomenon than claiming a deity is defying the laws of nature to punish a group of gryphons, no matter how big a bunch of meanies they are.”
Milvus didn’t know quite how to reply to this, but luckily (or unluckily) Jessev wasn’t finished with her yet.
“My own limited studies of the rocks that make up the land before us indicate that they are porous, unlike the ground of Grandesque. Although its hard to know if there are any other variables affecting the water supply to the region of Skrekrill, everyone gets so defensive if I even suggest an expedition to better study the topography and ecology of the region.”
He looked at the still silent, stunned Milvus with a tad more interest and continued,
“Wait you are a Balach are you not? Would you be willing to escort me into the foothills of the north westerly parts of Skrekrill?”
Milvus finally found her tongue at this ridiculos statement, saying the first thing that came to mind.
“But that’s the region with the most volcanic activity!”
A dismissive snort came from the crow gryph’s long beak.
“An inconsequential detail, that is why you would go with me, to ensure my safety. I have long wanted to explore that region to either prove or discredit the accounts of ‘lava moths’ that I have heard bandied about by some of the Dearmaad.”
Milvus rapidly put two and two together in her head.
“Jessev, that’s a gryphlet story… its not true...”
“Then why poison the minds of young and otherwise naïve youngsters by telling them of a spectacular winged, fiery beast that one could capture in a jar and use as a night light?”
“MILVUS” came Skerry’s voice, shouting over the roar of the smaller waterfall that ended on this level of the cliffs. Milvus left Jessev without another word, silently thanking whichever Gods she liked at the distraction.
It looked like Kiya and Daine had finished their handiwork, Kiya was already back in her fur and feathers, screwing her dress up into the grey bag that always accompanied her while Syam and Skeiiya held one of the oversized bags open under the waterfall. Pasqual was shaking out the other sack, figuring out the straps while Skerry watched with interest.
“You good to go Red?” Pasqual asked Milvus, offering her a set of leathery bands. She grinned at the massive leopard gryph, glad of his confident manner. She had only been on a few patrols when the war had broken out, and while she was desperate to serve and protect her aerie on the inside she was more than a little nervous.
“Skerry? If I may, I think I’ve spotted a flaw in your current strategy that I may be able to resolve.”
It was Jessev, he had followed Milvus over. Skerry sighed, his ears going back and his brow creasing in irritation.
“Are you aware, that if you and this reeve exchange places in the operation, you can carry at least 30% more water in these bags, which in turn will increase the likelihood of this operation succeeding by at least 12%!”
Skerry spoke in an even, but strained tone.
“Jessev, I cannot be a carrier, I have to be on point to protect the convoy and Kiya from any interceptors.”
“NO Jessev. Now are you clear on what happens when we leave?”
Jessev gave another derisive snort
“Skerry, I have an IQ higher than all of Grandesque combined and a memory that is, for lack of a better term, infallible. I am sure I can remember the half baked schemes that pass for military strategy around here.”
Milvus’ eyes widened in horror at the statement that so casually fell from Jessev’s bill. He couldn’t talk to Skerry like that! But the Maralach didn’t respond to the insult.
“Just to be clear then, for… the peace of my simple mind, you are to accompany Daine back to Grandesque. You are NOT to sneak off into enemy territory to try and ‘observe and improve’ on this mission in case we all ‘die through out own incompetence’.”
Skerry turned back to Milvus and Pasqual, Jessev opened his mouth, and Skerry didn’t even turn around.
“OR to chase lava moths… for Vistle’s sake…”
Syam and Skeiiya had finished with their sack and were dragging it away from the water’s edge. It was about three quarters full, the two gryphs were big enough to carry such a mass while Pasqual and Milvus’ bag would only be half full, to allow for her smaller size and strength.
“Is everyone clear on the plan?” Skerry asked facing everyone except Jessev who was clearly irritated and wanted to continue the previous conversation. The six gryphs assembled nodded.
“The two carrier pairs will fly the water down to the depo approximately five clicks from here. Our sources indicate that Skrekrill’s experimentation with human weapons has caused… problems within the confines of a cave system. They have therefore moved their current stash to an open location, which may be a temporary development. We must take advantage of this while we can, and thanks to… certain insights that have been brought to my attention, and General Skooma’s attention, and even Queen Titania’s attention, we have a means to destroy these ‘guns’ the Skrekrills have collected. On approach to the target, the carriers will drop to as low an altitude over the depo as they can achieve. If any sentries attempt to intercept you, I will deal with them. Kiya will then slash open the sacks with her talon claws, the carriers will ditch the sacks, preferably over any Skrekrills below to prevent them from pursuing us, and we will all beat a hasty retreat back to our own skies. Watch your partner, we are not leaving anyone or loosing anyone toady. If you encounter difficulty, give the signal and I, Syam or Pasqual will assist you. Good luck, all of you.”
After Skerry’s briefing Milvus and Pasqual busied themselves filling their sack. Milvus felt like there were live rabbits in her guts, but tried to hide it. Whether she was fooling anyone, she could not tell. Syam and Skeiiya hauled the dripping sack to the cliff edge before dropping, using the fall to generate lift. As Milvus and Pasqual finished filling their sack about half full, the pair soared into view, their heavy burden slung beneath them.
“You two take off from standing,” Skerry said bluntly. He was obviously keen to be off while the sun was still low, giving them an advantage from the angle they would approach from, “I want to make sure its not over filled for the kite gryph. No use to anyone if you have to ditch it early.”
Milvus inwardly burned with embarrassment. While she couldn’t help her size or strength, or lack of it, she was not enjoying her limitations being discussed so freely. The two gryphs took hold and started beating their wings, trying not to foul each other up in the process. Eventually the strong down beats lifted ponderously off the ground, Milvus grinned to herself, yes she COULD carry it!
“Comfortable with that load? We can adjust it…” came Skerry’s voice from below. Milvus glanced downwards at their leader, and managed a cheeky response through her gritted beak.
“Light as a feather sir!”
Jessev looked up, his expressionless face tinged with a mix of concern and confusion.
“Are you sure you filled it correctly? It should infact be quite onerous to carry!”
I am a huge Big Bang theory, and Sheldon, fan. I think it shows (Jessev is apparently very similar to Sheldon in personality and mannerisms)
After seven years in acedemic science and all the banter that goes around the departments, 'Geology isn't a real science' is my favourite line in that show so HAD to get it in the story somehow!
This has lots of lovely people's gryphs in it