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Searching the Savannah [Dusty & Dunes]

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Hoofbeats, grass rustling, and paws padding: for weeks, it was all Akila heard. After the first few days, she had started to pick out the rhythm in it.

Her own hooves stayed at a steady pace, and these were the beat. The ridgeback dog traveling beside her provided a softer, more frequent percussion, prone to accelerando as he noticed particularly interesting smells and trotted off. The ebb of the grass in the wind whispered its part, or else swelled to uproar, and this was the melody. The zebra, singing as she made her way across the grasslands, was only singing the harmony, as far as she was concerned.

She had been out in the hot, dry open for quite a while now.

Akila knew how to survive on her own, even during the most punishing of dry seasons. She was heavily-built, and stood about a head higher than the other zebras in her herd, including most of the males, which would have been enough to set her apart on its own. The ginger stripes, however, might as well have been a flashing neon sign. Few enemies decided to risk a fight with the giant red zebra as she barreled towards them.

She was a natural choice for a tribal warrior, and a natural choice for such an important mission – though she still had doubts of how legitimate this “spirit hunt” really was. She was in search of a port to take her to the land of these mysterious “ponies” her aunt had spoken of, but she had no trail to follow. Wild creatures were easier to find; they moved, and left prints behind. This "sea-port" was doing her no such favors. She was growing frustrated with the search.

This was not the first time she had struck out alone on a mission; she was occasionally sent to dispatch with particularly bothersome predators. Those hunts often took weeks as well. All the same, so much time alone, with no word spoken and no sign of her goal, had begun to take its toll.

Jelani had caught the scent of something. He bounded off now and again, tail wagging furiously with the excitement, until Akila called him back. She didn't know what it was he was trying to track, but she was starting to get irritated. His erratic movement was breaking her concentration. Even after he returned and fell back into pace with her, it took some time for her voice to rejoin the weeks-long savannah symphony.

Suddenly, the dog froze in place, sniffing at the air. His tail stood straight up, as did the fur on the back of his neck. He growled softly, warning her. Akila ceased her humming and stood stock still. Whatever Jelani had caught scent of, it was either something dangerous, or something unfamiliar. Perhaps it was both.

Wordlessly, Akila crouched down next to him, trying to catch sight of this new threat through the waving savannah grass.

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long before she can see the unfamiliar or dangerous thing, she hears some thing... singing? And it was moving her way.

(don't know if she can even under stand him. XD)

"Oh, not now for songs of a nation's wrongs,

not the groans of starving labor;

Let the Crossbow ring and the arrow sing

to the clash of the flashing sabre!

There are free ranks on the tented banks

of the guarded ocean;

And an iron clank from flank to flank

tells of armed lads in motion!"

As the singing pulls close the monster of a pony named Dusty comes in to view Huge, is under stating him. Even in his home he was the biggest and tallest pony he new and the horn did nothing to make him look more tiny! And as he sings up on his hat a rattle snake swings it's tail in time with his song, on his neck is a bandana with a shattered moon on it. His nose has a huge gold bull ring it in, his lift ear has a bite and over his lift eye is a rather bad cut mark. His right ear has a tone of gold rings in it.

His fur is a dirty white but his mane and tail have a zebra like mix blue and purple in them.

"And frank souls there clear true and bare

To all, as the steel beside them,

Can love or hate withe the strength of Fate,

Till the grave of the valiant hide them.

Each seems to be mailed Ard Righ,

whose sword's avenging glory

Must light the fight and smite for Right,

Like ma's olden story!"

He was, for all points an outlaw. He has bits on his head and has token even more from others. but from it all he was not evil. Fare from it, some can say he was good as they come. Just how he did good was not so nicely seen. He may take from the rich to give to the poor, but in the eyes of the world he is just an outlaw with a heart of gold.

But as he walks on, he has no clue he is heading dead for the mare named Akila.

(ug, this sucks! Ah'm so rusty! XD Sorry. Ah really need to get back in the swing of this.)

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(Pfft, rusty my foot. You're fine. :P ))

Akila frowned as she strained to listen. Something was coming closer. Something... something was singing, and obviously making no attempt to hide itself. In Akila's experience, the only things that did not move quietly on the plains were those which did not need to. Elephants and lions came to mind, but they didn't sing. Was this another zebra?

Slowly, carefully, she raised her eyes above the grass.

In the distance, she saw it, whatever it was. It was vaguely zebra-shaped, but with a remarkably hulking build, no stripes, and... a horn? Akila's heart began to pound. Some of the foul, twisted, creatures she had dreamed of -- the ones that had been the reason she was sent on this mission in the first place -- had horns. Po-nees, her aunt had called them. The all-too-familiar feeling of rushing adrenaline washed over her. She ducked back down.

"Hatari, Jelani," she whispered. Danger, Jelani.

It was approaching. She snorted softly and pawed the ground. "Ewe Mola tuepushe na mahasidi." Save us from the evil ones. She wasn't usually much for spirits or prayers, but with a threat approaching, she decided not to risk going without.

She could pick out some of the individual sounds now. She'd been given a crash course in pony language by her aunt and one of the more well-traveled elders, so she could even understand some of the words.

" ???? ?????? souls ?????

To ???? steel ??????? them,

?? love or hate ???????? strength of Fate,

?????? grave ?????????????????????


whose sword's avenging ??????

???????? fight and smite ?????????

??? ma'??????"

Despite the elders' best efforts, Akila had really only bothered learning the words she found interesting. And the words she understood made it clear to her. This... creature was dangerous. It walked with no caution in the open and boasted of its prowess in battle. It feared no lion, no gryphon, no forest-beast. It was either a very strong fighter, or it wasn't going to last long on the savannah anyway. In either case, it would be upon her soon, and she had no means of escape. Stealth was not her forte; surprise would be her only option.

Akila steeled herself. She looked at Jelani, and gave the barest nod to her left. At the signal, the dog took off to the left, to flank this creature. At the same time, Akila burst out of the grass like coiled fury. Head down, she charged.

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Dustys singing was cut off by the sound of his pet sake, calamity, swinging his tail in anger.

“What is it lad?” he looks over the grass. It was hard to see for him, thanks to him being colder blind and Akila made her fall in with the grass. But his ears are good and he works out something is rushing him, and with some fast looking he can make out something running at him.

“What the?” Not wasting time he moves. Akila finds her hooves failing under her, then one is pulled tripping her over herself. “They never see it coming do they calamity? Never rush a pony with a horn.” The sound of barking pulls his gaze away from her and like that she has power back over her hooves.

(for the tussle ah'm going to keep the post's short. It just works best like that for me, win they get done with this ah'm going back to my stranded sized posts)

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((Getting back on track!))

Akila scrambled back to her feet, confused. What had happened to her? Why had her hooves suddenly lost contact with the ground? She had initially harbored doubts about her aunt’s warning, but now Akila wondered if there wasn’t something to this theory of the evil “po-nies”. What power did this creature have?

She heard Jelani barking as he circled around this creature. Together, they had hunted any threat that the tribe had faced, and defeated them all. Jelani did not know fear. He also didn’t know about mysterious zebra-levitating po-nies. She didn’t know what they were dealing with, and didn’t want to risk her best friend’s life. One of the most important lessons for a warrior to learn was when not to fight. Too often had she stared into the funeral pyres of those who had not learned it.

Jelani! Simama!Jelani! Stop!

She heard the grass quiver as Jelani froze where he was. Dogs who didn’t respond to commands did not live to hunt on the plains for long.

Akila glared at this newcomer through the grass, examining him. He didn’t look unlike a zebra, except for the horn and lack of stripes. He had a snake on his back… a pet? A familiar? Whatever the case, it was not a good omen. Snakes were known to consort with evil spirits. (She wasn’t altogether sure she believed in evil spirits, but now wasn’t the time to chance it.)

She backed up, cautiously, never turning her back to the stranger. “Uniache! Usiniguse!Leave me alone! Don’t touch me! Not knowing if the stranger had understood, she tried one of the po-ny phrases she had learned. “Go away! Not predator!

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Dusty backs up, taking in the Zebra mare. "Ah don't want to hurt ya too. But ya jumped me!" he gives her a hard long look, then pulls out some water "Water, see?" he drinks it, then lays it down for her and backs up, he hopes this can show her he don't want to do harm. He was lost as lost can be, and well she must know the way more then him. So best make a new friend! "Me" he pokes his self "don't want to hurt you." He sits down, doing nothing that may make her think he is going to hurt her. "My name is Dusty. And ah'm lost."

He keeps from looking at her to hard, it is rude to do. "You may not under stand me good, But ah don't want to hurt. To fare from help. If you help me, ah well help you with what ever you wish. name is and ah well do it."

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