1964-09-05 - All That for a Cape?!
Summary: Diresmithes are no sweet kitten and hunting one for a pelt makes for an adventure for the Prince of Asgard and his Shield-Maiden.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
thor kelda 


"I've always wanted a Diresmithe pelt…" The warrior-mage muses aloud as she rides her steed. Here, beyond reaches of society on the planet J-PRK II, the wildlife is…frankly terrifying. Genetic anomalies have run amuck and bred like rabbits — and no rabbits ever had fangs quite like the Diresmithe species.

The offspring of Midgardian smilodons and some rabid ice-loving four-legged predator, these creatures sport a pelt challenged by few for resiliency against chill and for silken softeness. The guard-hairs themselves always sport crystalline tips, giving the very fur itself a kiss of frost. Of course Kelda would want a cape made of the fine pelt.

"They're nervous creatures, my liege, and prone to fighting when cornered. Firstly, they run, fast as the northern winds of Midgard, and thus, our steeds." She claps the ungulate on the shoulder fondly and it bawls, rolling an eye back at her. Reindeer? Moose? Ancient Red Elk? Regardless, they're built for hectic traveling over terrain and it's Stormrider and the eldest Prince out in the bluffs of the planet. The huntsmen remain back, ready to attend upon the two as need comes along.

"Your fondness for fur is becoming well known again," Thor says, flashing a grin at Kelda. He leans forward and slaps his steed's neck a few times. The ancient beast snorts at him and rears back, trying to gore the Prince with a massive antler. He grips the animal's prong and twists casually, forcing the beast to settle. It takes an Asgardian to control such a monster — ten feet high at the shoulder and almost a ton of dense muscle, but fleet of foot like few animals its size could manage.

"'tis a pleasure to hunt so readily once more," he says, spurring the big beast into a forward canter. They ride without saddles; just a blanket and a set of simple reins. "If you are ready, then lay the call to horns! We shall run the Diresmithes to ground," he calls to Kelda.

The battle-mage flashes one of her little grins, though it's hardly shy — if anything, it's muted excitement bubbling away in a corked bottle, twinkly and bright.

"Ay, my liege." At her waist, clipped her sash, a small ivory horn specifically for the occasion. At her lips, when blown, the sound carries high and far, akin to the small island shells of tropical Midgard, and the far rolling hills that rise to sheer granite cliffs echo back the sound.

Ears perk and one of the eldest of Diresmithes rises to its feet a few hundred yards away. A coughing roar retorts and the ambient light of the two suns flashes from yellow canines. These teeth are more scythes in the end, serrated where those of Earth's smilodons were not, and then the entire group is on its feet and bounding away. The glittering of their pelt, suddenly apparent instead of blended beautifully into the steppes, draws Kelda's eyes.

"Hie! There and away!" A slap to her steed's rump and pebbles kick up as the creature takes off at a breakneck speed, its spongey hooves clinging effortlessly to the slippery patches of shale amidst tall grass.

"Hah! Hah!" Thor spurs his steed with his heels as they break into full gallop, giving chase to the fast prey. Their quarry moves with great, leaping bounds, much like their much smaller cousin the hare; it looks almost like a kangaroo in full motion, but each scrape of pad and claw against the ground tosses up great runnels of dirt behind the escaping lagomorph.

One breaks away from the others, a big, rangy male with a pelt glittering in silver with the motion of the sprint. Thor whistles at Kelda and points, as the miles fall away with the vast speed of the huge animal.

"How looks him to you?" Thor asks the Stormrider, gripping his steed's mane to stay aboard as it gallops and chuffs.

"Aye, he'll do over all! This may be the one they call Shadow-Thief. I hear tell he partakes of the locals as well! They will thank us for allowing them a night's sleep over worry for lost offspring!!!" The locals, shepherds (for lack of a better word, though they do not herd sheep, not at all — sentient plant growths, of all things), will indeed thank them. The taste of their blood is apparently worth the draw into range of weaponry. Close inspection will prove this Diresmithe stud to be scarred from past encounters.

"Drive him to the cliff-face, my liege!" Kelda, in turn, risks releasing her own steed's mane to point towards a sheer wall of stone that naturally curves into a basin of sorts. They'll have their prey well and cornered here, if they can keep abreast of the rangy thing.

Thor guides his mount slightly eastwards and gives it a bit more head to run, until the monsterous steed is frothing at the mouth and venting steam through its nose with each galloping stride.

He arcs around, moving swiftly; in another thousand yards, he is ahead of the bounding Diresmithe, and plants himself in the creature's path. It wheels and runs backwards, only to see Kelda bound over a rise.

Back and forth it goes, until Kelda and Thor have it pinned between them; with nowhere to go but up the cliffwall or through the two of them, the massive, fanged lagomorph snarls furiously and claws at the ground, making itself as big as possible and lashing a tail in the air.

No small wonder the locals are concerned about this gnarly beast. It knows better than to attempt to climb the nearly-vertical natural walls of the small dead-end. Kelda's mount, drawn up short, flails its hind-limbs in a rearing motion before snorting and dropping its head. Those humongeous antlers prove a sturdy, spear-pointed shielding and the Diresmithe looks instead at Thor and his steed, nearly winded as it is.

Large black eyes narrow, slitting to inky lines, and it lowers itself to the ground, clearly contemplating the Asgardian prince over the warrior-mage. In her robes, she'd be far the more easier conquest, but perhaps the creature won't go softly into the night.

"It will resist my ranseur — your hammer may prove the better of the weapons here," the blonde exclaims even as she's got the weapon's wicked tip pointed towards the Diresmithe. The crackle of ice crystals forming in the air around its edge marks the spell ready to be cast from her.

|ROLL| Thor +rolls 1d20 for: 9

|ROLL| Thor +rolls 1d50 for: 45

|ROLL| Kelda +rolls 1d20 for: 20

Thor needs little encouragement other than that; he dismounts his steed with a vaulting leap, ignoring the beast as it snorts and gallops half a league away with great leaps.

He grins and whips his hammer in his hands, lazily building momentum, and when the angle is best he twists from the hip and flings his hammer square at the Diresmithe's face.

Much to his surprise, the Diresmithe is not merely settlign down; the second he is in range, it leaps upwards a solid thirty feet with a fifty foot horizontal clearance. It vaults Mjolnir's path, the hammer crashing fifteen feet deep into the rock behind it, and the parabola of its descent brings it crashing down against a surprised God of Thunder. Both hit the dirt with tremendous impace, and Thor grunts in pain as he's mauled with claw and pummeled by massive footpads. He gets his hands inside the Diresmithe's jaw, avoiding those serrated talons, and at least keeps it from crunching down on his exposed skull.

|ROLL| Kelda +rolls 1d20 for: 16

|ROLL| Kelda +rolls 1d20 for: 13

The foreboding begins with the sudden rapid retreat of Thor's mount. Kelda risks a glance over her head to watch its antlers recede rapidly into the distance and then —

The great beast has her charge pinned to the cold, hard earth and her own steed is rearing up once again, its cloven hooves darting about. A sudden spin beneath her nearly unseat the battle-mage and it's luck that makes a single hind hoof collide with a solid THUNK against the Diresmithe's skull in passing. Another quick WHUMP signals contact with the creature's shoulder and the thing makes a gargling snarl of dismay. It's difficult to roar when an Asgardian's hands are conflicting with one's uvula.

"FLEA-BITTEN BEAST, CALM THINESELF!" A sharp yank on the reins wheels the ungulate around again and then Lady Stormrider dismounts, her ranseur balanced carefully. Of course, her own steed bolts like the hounds of the seven hells nip at its heels, and the flash of Boreal's Tear as a brute weapon rather than delicate spell-focus whips at the Diresmithe's ribs, leaving a scratch. A SCRATCH.

Thor sets his shoulders and his jaw, ignoring the lash and pound of claw and paw against his stomach and chest. The Asgardian armor holds, but it's still painful, as mighty as the beast is.

He props one knee against the monster's sternum and sets his shoulders properly, then with an immense grunt of effort starts forcing the creature's jaws apart. Angry, salivating growls turn to mewls of pain as he reaches the limit of the Diresmith's jaw motion and keeps going, the lagomorph's eyes rolling in agony as Thor pushes it away from him. Surprised by Thor's resistance, it tries to pull away and Thor lets it go abruptly.

It leaps backwards, smacking a shoulder intot he rock wall, and laps at its face with whinging, angry snarls, before turning flat and furious eyes towards Kelda and Thor. The God of Thunder brings his hammer winging back to him with a gesture, ignoring scratches in his legs seeping blood.

"'tis quicker than I suspected," he admits, moving to flank it again.

With seasoned concern, Kelda refuses to lunge again at the creature, not while the eldest Prince is forcing those jaws away from his face. Strings of spit break as the creature retreats and she grants Thor a tight scoff at his comment, her own weapon held as a pike against any abrupt lunges or swats in her direction.

"The local did recommend to remain seated upon our mounts, my liege. A critical error to make our PART!!!" The word comes out loud and sharp as the Diresmithe snarls and skitters forwards in a mock charge. It seems to know what a pointy weapon looks like; maybe the locals have been defending with spears? "Would that they scar," she comments with a toothy grin of her own, high on adrenaline and the dancing of danger, referencing the weeping slices on the Prince's legs. "You can say that you fought one hand-to-hand and escaped with naught but your life." The Diresmithe rrrrowls again, looking between the two of them. A laugh and Kelda continues. "Do claim that the creature removed the armor from your body. The doves of the court do titter on about what wounds you hide beneath your battle-gear." The cackling reels overtop the angry creature's sounds for a moment.

Thor gives Kelda an even, thin-lipped look, and flicks a backhanded swat at her flank when she throws her laughter to the sky.

"I need not embellish tales of my valor, Shieldmaiden," he reminds her — though he flashes a grin at her saucy taunting. "I care not what the fluttering of courtiers discuss. Asgard is a hall and land of heroes, not of hand-wringing hangers-on."

"Now attend the beast; a pike may serve well to bring it down," Thor advises her. "I will lunge and chase it to you. Set yourself as if receving the charge of a wild boar; if you can impale it, between the two of us we shall bring this best down yet."

He circles more, then when Kelda indicates she's ready, Thor brings the crackling wrath of nature itself to wrap around his hammer in a fury of electrical discharge. A great, pealing boom of thunder splits the air around him, and like any good animal, the Diresmithe rears and whirls away — running straight at Kelda!

The swat is taken and Kelda dances a side-step away, still chortling.

"Oh, no embellishments? My liege, you lie akin to one of the resting mead-hall hounds with ear a-twitch in Midsummer's day sunshine." Still, she does ready herself, that smile taking on a rather serious cant and becoming far more of a battle-ready grimace. Indeed, having the creature impale itself will spare most of the pelt's integrity rather than singeing with lightning or slashing its hide open.

A nod and the final press is on. The Diresmithe certainly wasn't expecting the resounding EXPLOSION of noise from a cloudless sky and the propensity to flight o'er flight takes its mental helm. A decidedly shrill snarl and the thing bolts!!! Kelda bends knees and braces herself. It kicks up dirt and then…the collision is violent.

Thor will see the creature slam full into the razor's edge of Boreal's Tear, spread of tines and all, and then the Lady Stormrider disappear beneath it. Dust and torn grass flies and the little incline is of no aid in her case. A sharp cry!

Thor flings himself skywards with a vast leap of motion, his stout legs carrying him upwards to eclipse the sun for a moment. At the apex of his vault he flings Mjolnir at the beast's back with a grunt of force. Poor Kelda will no doubt not enjoy the effect of that impact as she's crushed under most of a ton of mass and bone, but the hammer works to drive the beast fully into Boreal's Tear, pinning it to the weapon like a butterfly against a card. It screams and thrashes, haemhorraging blood, and then tries to sprint away.

The mighty lagomorph makes it five running strides before it collapses in place, the weapon's tines protruding from rippling shoulderblades having slashed square through its heart.

Thor lands and rolls heavily through the dirt, and sprints towards Kelda. "Stormrider! How fare you!" he shouts, concern on his features.

The death throes are short as the creature's mighty heart gives way to death's impalement and it slumps to the ground. Its blood, violet in color, slowly puddles around it and hangs in droplets from the weapon's spokes.

Kelda herself rolls to her side, wheezing for air and attempting to remain upraised upon one elbow. The Diresmithe gore paints half of her face, stains her hair — now thoroughly mussed and beyond saving — and her mage-robes took the brunt of damage. Thank the gods for the plated-leather beneath the kirtle; it is cleanly-split where the talons of the creature slapped home and thin scratches to match those on the Prince's leg can be seen upon her own ribs and upon the bicep of her left arm. A victor of battle, this one, and she coughs when she finds her wind.

"Hela's tits, you had to bring it to bear atop me?" Her glacial-blues find him and she blinks, still dazed by the passing impact of the creature's weight.

"You had the spear," Thor points out — but he offers her a hand up, twisting from the hip to help leverage Kelda to her feet. "The hammer flies swiftly, but the creature — I've seen few beasts to match such agility," he confesses. "I had hoped the weight of the beast would serve to impale, but it seemed to standoff atop you. The lash of claw and fang could have been much worse if it were not flattened against your form."

He glances at the Kelda-shaped imprint in the soil.

"You seem to have weathered it well enough," he says, flashing a grin.

Once on her feet, Kelda takes a moment to stand there and place one hand to her forehead. Oof. Nothing like having one's spine momentarily realigned by the weight of a Diresmithe. The other rests upon Thor's breastplate and she's heedless of it.

"Yes, weathered. Next we hunt, you can play landing cushion for whatever beast we corner." Finding by sight the fallen form of the Diresmithe, she sighs, her shoulders dropping. "Damn that pike placement. Tsk, but so be it. Perhaps a shoulder-cape rather than a half-cloak." A small smile curls her lips, smeared as they are with purple blood. "Still, I shall wear it with pride." Her palm still rests against his pectoral.

"I am sure the artisans can salvage it," Thor assures Kelda. "An old hunter taught me years ago to strike behind the forward limb on many animals. The hole is perhaps larger than preferable… but it will likely still serve to make a fashionable accoutrement. The beast is quite large," he points out, walking towards the twitching, wheezing animal.

He gives it a mercy blow to the temple with his hammer, killing it easily, then grips the spear's haft and with a grunt of effort pushes it the rest of the way through. Once there's a blunt end visible opposite, he withdraw the blood-coated weapon, wipes it on the beast's fur, and passes the icy standard back to Kelda.

"Enough fun for now. Call the huntsmen to our position to skin the beast, and once we have a harvest of it we will return to Asgard," he tells her.

Realizing that she was indeed using the Prince as a leaning post comes when he moves. A minute stumble and Kelda blushes faintly about her cheeks. She flanks him in his travels, respectfully and slightly behind, and watches the Diresmithe meet its final fate.

"Indeed, the huntsmen will pass some time removing its pelt. It was fearsome in battle. Its size is no less daunting now," she observes as she takes back her ranseur. It'll receive a thorough cleaning once they've returned to Asgard's hallowed halls — after she thoroughly cleans herself, of course. She will not go about with hair lightly dyed to lavender from the beast's blood.

The small ivory horn appears once again in her hand and after a cough, she blows it thrice, signaling the huntsmen. A distant echo, deeper than her own instrument, is returned and the Lady Stormrider nods to herself. "They shan't be long. I hesitate to think they were far behind us to start." She leaves Thor beside the Diresmithe to climb to the top of the gently rolling crest of hill. There — the small figures are approaching quickly and with their two lost steeds in tow! Huzzah. Silhouetted by the sun, Kelda glances back to Thor, that sphinxish smile on her face again. "They have retrieved our mounts, my liege. And here I supposed to have you carry me back."

Thor assists Kelda until she finds her balance again, then grips her arm reassuringly before stepping away so she can find her own path. He turns to look to the distant bellow of the horns, following her to the hilly escarpment. He waves a return at the small figures, hoisting his hammer overhead to catch the sun.

At her comment, he grins at the blood-spattered warrior. "And here I thought you were concerned about the titterings of the court," he says — then laughs, a booming, bassy tone that carries easily around the rolling, low hills.

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