Dracostryx Hunting Subs
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A payment for Celestial-ARPG on DA, I'm not actually sure if they have a PD account yet! This has Bard (DS11408) and Numali (DS9297) in it! I AM a survivalist: https://www.deviantart.com/comments/1/713918766/4830444953
It was official: summer had arrived.
The hot sun bleached the grass the color of bone, shrivelled and baked into the ground. The bare soil was covered in sprawling cracks. The stryx had decided to do their hunt at dusk in an attempt to avoid the blisteringly hot sun as much as they could - but to still have some light as they searched the forest. The calls of insects echoed through the forest as they flew. The air was cool as it rushed over and under their wings, buffeting the feathers on their faces and chests.
Numali led the excursion. She knew her way around the forest excellently. Despite the dim light of the sunset she flew as though it was daytime. Bard followed along behind her, taking his time as he and Achilles scanned the ground and the treetops for any interesting creatures to eat. Achilles, with his human eyes, didn’t help much - but he was trying. He peered out over the stryx’s shoulder as they flapped along. While neither of them enjoyed hunting, they were doing it for their flock. They had been low on food for a while now.
Bard almost didn’t here Numali when she hissed. “There!”
It took Bard a moment to see what she was looking at. The creature was long and thick, so much so that at first glance Bard believed it to be a long, crooked tree trunk. When the tyto looked closer he saw the definition of scales along its length. They were deep green speckled with brown, glimmering faintly in the light of sunset. Following it with his eyes he found the head of the snake - and locked eyes with the enormous beast. It wasn’t that he was afraid of snakes in particular. He was just afraid of things that had the means to eat him.
And by the look of things, the creature definitely had the means.
Numali eyed it cautiously. None of them knew how to tell if it was asleep, gazing into its amber eyes as it rested on a large branch. It didn’t seem to be alarmed by their presence - it didn’t seem interested in them at all, actually. The stryx looked it up and down. A beast of this size would more than feed both of their flocks for a week or so - and they should be able to get a decent amount of snake skin for clothing and bags.
Bard and Numali met each other’s eyes and nodded. They were going to go for it. This was a fight that they could win.
Both of them flew up a ways. They were looking for a good place to swoop from. Get in, stab, get out. If the creature got ahold of either stryx it could do serious damage. This was the best way to keep them out of harm’s way without further preparation. If they took some time they could probably make some kind of trap; but that wasn’t something they knew how to do. Snakes were an uncommon quarry in these parts.
The two of them hovered with bated breath, eyes on the target.
“Ready?” Numali asked, an excited glint in her eye.
“Ready.” Bard’s voice came out cracked. He felt Achilles grip his harness tightly.
With a powerful flap Numali dove first, a few meters ahead of Bard. Wind whistled past her as she shot downwards, wings tucked close to her body. When she extended her talons the creature didn’t know what hit it. As quickly as she struck she flapped away, leaving the snake confused and swivelling around. Within a matter of seconds Bard struck at it as well, nails biting into flesh. The scales provided some protection but not enough.
There was a snap as the beast’s jaws closed on the air behind the tyto. Numali was lunging downwards again. As the creature was distracted trying to grab Bard she grabbed hold of it and pulled it away from the tree it lay upon. As she let go it fell, but not far - the rest of it was still wrapped around the trunk of the tree, bark peeling up under it as it struggled to hang on.
Bard wheeled around and went in for another dive when abruptly the enormous serpent launched open jaws straight at him. Achilles shouted incoherently from the saddle. Though the snake was ready for them, it was not ready for Numali. As quickly as the fight had begun it ended with a killing blow at her talons. The beast fell limp instantly, losing its grip and dropping down onto the forest floor.
The stryx circled overhead for another minute or so, making absolutely certain that it was dead and gone. Once they were sure it was safe they landed gently on the forest floor.
“You’re lucky I was here, huh?” Numali chuckled. Bard knew she was joking, but it was entirely true.
“I couldn’t have done this on my own. Thank you.”
Achilles dropped from Bard’s back and went to inspect the carcass. He poked at it cautiously before bringing out the tools for field dressing.
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