It had been days since she was alerted to the sickness in the grasslands of her horse friends, and stubborn as any skunk, the adolesent had become livid. Illness wasn't something you could just fight[/i], it was something you had to outlive, and from the sound of things, there were not many creatures doing that.
And so, she decided it was time to search for the plants she knew of from her mother. Which lead the young striped skunk to standing on a hillock of dirt, scenting the wind, and squinting her eyes. Limited eyesight made it hard to look , but if she could smell it, she could find it. Of that, she was sure.
The breeze was wicked at the moment though, all she could smell was impending rain, and the faintest hint of willow; but at least that was a start.
Slowly, she began to waddle into the grass and scrub looking for the source of the planty scent.
Last Edit: Aug 12, 2011 15:27:02 GMT -5 by Curiosity
A lone raven skims over the scrub, seeking shelter from the coming storm...
Until something on the ground catches his eye. Kuruk sweeps around in a wide circle and makes a second pass over Aponi, flying lower this time, low enough that she may feel the wind of his passage and hear the soft rustle of feathers.
Finally the large black bird flares his wings and lands in the grass about a dozen paces ahead of her. He would have liked to simply follow her and see what she's up to, but she's slow and he's impatient, especially in this weather. His head cocks and he fixes the skunk with a look that is fearlessly inquisitive. "Looking for something?"
With a shake of tail, the skunkette whirls, eyes squinting, to peer at the large black bird. Now, she'd been seeing a lot of birds lately, all flocking toward corpses, calling out about 'The Chosen', so she's a little wary of this one, admittedly. But she's a skunk. Skunks don't normally have much to fear, so, with a shake of her tail, she snorts, and answers:
"Yeah, lookin' for herbs. You seen any willow trees around? The bark and branches make yer mouth go numb if you eat'em, so I figure smearin' a mash of that on something would make it stop hurting, too."
She squinty-eyed stares at the bird; of course, to her, he's more like a blackish blob. Not his fault that the Spirits made Skunks with bad eyesight.
"What're you doin' around here? You aren't one of them birds causing trouble, are you? Nasty thing, those birds," she adds, before warning, "If you try to cause trouble with me, I'll give you a spraying, so don't. I don't like spraying people anyway, it's rude unless you give proper warning, as long as they give you a chance to give proper warning."
The raven watches Aponi closely for a moment, then fluffs up his glossy black feathers and begins to meticulously preen himself. It's a display of feigned indifference.
"Willow, eh?" One bright black eye sneaks a peek at the skunk. "Kss-kss-kss. Maybe I have seen one, somewhere," Kuruk answers vaguely, after pausing long enough to straighten a wayward primary. "But you don't look hurt to me, skunk."
When Aponi continues, however, even he can't pretend disinterest. His head lifts up and he clicks his beak, considering. "Birds causing trouble, you say? Kraah. How unusual. How interesting. What sort of birds are these, I wonder?"
As for her threat of spraying him... it's as if he didn't hear it. The bold bird actually flutters a step closer and eyes her intently, quite keen on hearing her reply.
"I ain't the one done been hurt, suga pie, I'm tryin' to help some horses what been under some hard time. Their stallion died, a sickness is going through the lands around'em. Th need help, so I aim to help where I can.'
The questioning about bird caused troubles causes the mephit to consder thoughtfully what to say. "I reckon you deserve to know. There's been a mess of crows, although in this case a Murder of Crows fits more. Killing little critters like me for purpose beyond our great design, and it upsets the spirits around us." Aponi sighed, and then said, "They also spoke much about the chosen ones arisen and stuff." Aponi shakes her head, "While I think it nonsense, it is still something to watch for."
A thought though came to her, an sitting, the skunk scrubbed her chin with a paw in thought. "You know, I bet my horse friends could use someone like you as a lookout for trouble. Woulde ye be interested?"
"Sssickness," Kuruk echoes, hissing with distaste. As soon as the skunk says that terrible word, he hops backward and suddenly takes to the air. It looks as though he might fly away right then and there, but after an moment of indecisive fluttering, the raven reluctantly settles down again. This time he perches on a dead bit of shrub, talons gripping the wood. The skunk might not notice, given her poor eyesight, but he's missing a talon on one foot.
"Crows are cowards. Beggars. Thieves." This is more than likely a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but either way it's clear that Kuruk doesn't have much fondness for his smaller cousins. He vigorously scrapes his beak on the branch as if to clean off something unpleasant. "Kraah! Strange indeed. Crows are kill-stealers, not killers. I will watch for them."
The raven looks up and peers at Aponi. He meant watch out for his own personal benefit, and yet... "Ks-kss. I will speak to these horses," he replies with a bob of his head. Kuruk is never one to pass up a potential bargain. "And," he adds generously, "I will lead you to the willow-tree, if you wish." He makes this offer, not out of the goodness of his heart, but because Aponi has given him a wealth of useful information. He thinks it's a fair exchange.
"The horses," Aponi says, cautiously, "are near the river. Careful, as well, you should be of a large boar." Aponi frowns in thought, but decides that anyone civil, as this raven has been, deserves fair warning.
"Let them know you saw me and they will not be hostile. My name is Aponi, and they will know my name."
That said, she takes a moment to groom her face, then says, "If you'd be so helpful, then in return for helping me find the tree, I will gladly catch a mouse for you." The skunk bobs her head amicably, adding: "Maybe even two."
"Boars I do not fear, unless they have grown wings," the raven chortles.
Dark eyes blink and he leans forward on his swaying branch, studying the skunk so that he'll be sure to recognize her if they meet again. "Aponi. Yes, I will remember. My name is Kuruk."
The offer of the mouse (or maybe even mice!) appears to surprise him, but he's certainly not going to turn down a free meal. "Prrruk! That is generous of you. Come, come, follow," he urges the mephit, taking to the air with a few heavy flaps of his broad black wings. "If you lose sight of me, follow with your ears."
Kuruk circles a few times, low overhead, to orient himself. The wind is picking up, buffeting against him, but he's a large bird and a strong flyer. Soon it becomes clear what he meant by 'follow with your ears'--the raven flies toward their destination in short bursts, landing often to wait for the skunk to catch up and guiding her with a series of loud caws.
"Wise words, but I would still take care to watch out; this thing has killed a full grown stallion. If the spirits so will, it may be able to reach even a high flier with ingenuity."
The cries of the raven do give Aponi a better time of following through the grass and scrub than the sight of him; she can make out his shape ahead, but it's so much easier to follow those cries. She waddles along after him, huffing a little as he, being a flier, will always be faster than she, with short legs, big body, and less speed. Still.
"Mice are a small favor, no fur off my back," Chuckles the skunk, though it's clear that Kuruk's opinion is high of it. "We all can use a little meal in times like this; food brings many together."