Woodland Encounter

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Dusk has fallen upon Mossflower Wood, and just off to the side of the path, it seems that a small camp has been set up in a relatively clear area. It isn't anything too complicated; merely a small, single-creature tent and a small fire. Upon a small log in front of the fire sits a relatively young river otter....beside him on the ground sits his traveling backpack, containing only a handful of items; three or four apples, a bit of cheese and bread, and a flask containing water. Simple was this otter...he didn't seem to need a whole lot to live on...thus was the life of a traveller. Talen seems to be enjoying the quietness of the evening...he simply sits there staring wistfully off into the distance, his mind turning over the earlier events of the day.

Little did the young otter know that other eyes watched him this night, and not the unfriendly kind, but neither the friendly sort. Slowly, from the darkness of the woods caused by dusk, another young otter creeps out, though he seems to be dressed more to hide himself than anything else. He crouches down, eyes fixed on the other otter and his backpack as he steps quietly along the ground, coming from behind the small tent. Young as he is, years of experience taught him all that he had needed to be a successful thief, and he figured this stargazing otter would be no different.

Simon walks along the path, the long staff in his right paw thumping against the earth with each step. He was about to find a secluded spot of his own to hole up in for the night, but decides to investigate the firelight he sees up ahead, instead. His stride is relatively confident, but he can't quite help a nervous twitch of his tail.

Talen shakes out of his revelrie for a moment, deciding that things are a bit too quiet at the moment. He reaches down to the pouch on his belt, removing his most prized possession...a small, carved wooden flute...and he smiles down at it, his eyes glittering with pride as he looks it over for a moment or two. "Aye," he chuckles softly to himself, "Yer t'only thing I need right now. Couldn't ask fer a betta c'mpanion...nope." The otter isn't yet aware of the other who has approached his camp...normally his senses would all be on alert, but at the moment he had let his guard down. Clearning his throat a bit, Talen brings the flute up to his lips and softly begins to play a pretty little melody...

Furis pauses for just a moment when the tune starts up, but he quickly decides that this would only make things easier for him. He creeps forward further, his mask covering his muzzle and his cloak dragging silently along the ground. Within moments, he is just behind the other otter, reaching out and delicately grabbing the bag before dragging it back ever so slowly.

Simon's ears perk up as he hears the sound of the flute from the camp, visibly relaxing; someone who can play something as nice as that can't be all bad, right? He steps up his pace, not making any real effort to be stealthy. Moments later, he arrives at the camp, seeing the otter playing the flute. He raises a paw to offer a greeting... and at that moment, he spots the shadowy figure behind him. "Look out!" he exclaims, pointing behind the otter.

Talen had become absorbed in his playing, his eyes closing briefly; it is at that moment when Furis decides to make his move. As Simon appears and yells his warning, the otter opens his eyes in alarm and quickly looks back over his shoulder, expecting to see vermin attacking or something similar. Blinking, his eyes fall upon the shadowy figure, and they narrow just slightly upon seeing his bag beginning to slowly slide away. "Ey! Where d'ya think yer goin' widdat, ya bloody thief?"

Furis's eyes widen as Talen turns and catches sight of him, and he turns and breaks into a run slinging the bag over his shoulder in a last ditch hope to get away rather quickly. Curse those bystanders and their untimely warnings to the ones he was trying to rob. "Sorry, mate! Gotta keep m'self fed some'ow!" He calls back over his shoulder.

Simon drops his own backpack and runs forward, brandishing his staff, his relatively short legs carrying him rather more quickly than you'd think to follow after the theif. "Come back here, you vermin thief!" With his unburdened run, and the thief's burdened one, he may find it difficult to keep up the pace against him.

As Simon begins to give chase to the pack thief, Talen remains where he is sitting; he blinks, staring after the chasee and the chaser. The whole situation seemed to be happening very quickly, and the otter isn't exactly sure what he should do...after a moment or two, he rises from his log and begins to limp lightly in the direction they both had run, leaving his walking stick behind at the campsite.

Of course, Furis hadn't been expecting anyone to give chase, but the moment he hears Simon running after him, he looks back, picking up his speed...only to trip on a rather cliche, obtrusive rock, and slam into the ground with a grunt, dropping the bag as he lands. For a good few moments, he lays there, groaning. He wasn't soft, but that fall had been a rather painful one, but eventually he begins to rise, panting softly.

Simon slides to a stop next to the fallen figure, giving him a good solid whack in the stomach with his staff when he tries to get up. "Can't have you wandering off and warning your friends," he says, standing between him and the bag he dropped. "Who knows what sort of mischief you vermin are up to."

Talen eventually approaches the two, his limp causing his travel to be a bit slower than usual. As he finally reaches where they are, he sees Simon swinging his staff at the downed figure, and he lifts a paw, "Stoppit mate, that's enough," he replies, somewhat gruffly. He still isn't aware of the thief's identity, but to him it didn't matter...all he sees is one figure attacking another who seems to be defenseless. "E's down, y'don't need t'hurt 'im. Thank ye fer yer help..." he replies in a more gentle tone. He stands over Furis, peering down at him sternly...his arms fold against his chest, his tail swiping the grass behind him. "Mate, if'n you were 'ungry, y'coulda jus' asked me fer food, y'didn't have to steal it..."

Furis grunts loudly when Simon's staff collides with his stomach, knocking him to the ground again, where he stays. His hood and mask are both up, which makes it very easy to see why anyone would mistake him as a vermin. Even his rudder is covered by his cloak when he attempts to rise again, chuckling at Talen's remark. "Heh..fergive me if'n I don't believe ye, /mate/." The last word is said venemously, almost with a hint of hate in it.

Simon's ears splay back at the otter's rebuke, but he steps back, staying his staff for now. Still, he watches the cloaked figure carefully, ready to start bludgeoning him again should he try anything. "More than you lot deserves," he mutters.

Talen smirks lightly. "S'far as I r'member, I wuz sittin' there mindin' my own business when -you- tried t'steal m' bag, so if anyone's gonna have trust issues, it's gonna be me," he retorts. "I dun care what or who ya are, mate, t's not a wise decision t'try an' rob travelin' folk. Y'never know who is gonna react an' try n'kill ya..." He glances over to Simon and lifts a paw to him again in a 'calm down' gesture. "Oi c'n unnerstand bein' 'ungry, mate, really I can, but y'gotta go about gettin' food a diffr'nt way..."

Finally, Furis is able to stand, and he turns to face the two, one paw reaching up to pull the mask over his muzzle down, and it is only then that the black furred woodlander is actually recognizable as an otter, and not, in fact, a vermin. "Trust me mate," He says bitterly, his blue eyes boring holes through the other otter. "I've learned t' handle m'self by now, an' I've tried other ways." His eyes suddenly drop away from Talen. "Only one I c'n trust is me."

Simon blinks a little as the stranger pulls down his mask, obviously not expecting to see an otter under there. A weasel or a stoat, sure. Maybe even a ferret, but not an otter. "I don't care what you've learned or who you can trust, it doesn't excuse stealing from unsuspecting travelers."

Talen is definitely a bit surprised to see a fellow otter looking back at him from behind the mask, though after a momentary look of surprise, his eyes fall to his bag which still lies upon the ground. With a bit of effort, he leans down and retrieves it. Rummaging through the bag, he removes an apple, a piece of bread and a small piece of cheese. "Well, mate, mebbe it's time fer you t'change yer philoserfy." He tosses the food items to Furis. "Sometimes y'might be a bit surprised what 'appens when yer polite an' ask fer things." Looking to Simon, he tosses him an apple as well. "Thank ye, mate, I appreciate yer 'elp. Name's Talen, by the way. 'Ave an apple." With a small chuckle and grin, the otter turns and begins to slowly make his way back to his small camp, the limp in one of his paws quite obvious as much as he tries to hide it.

Furis can only stand there in utter shock for a good few moments, having caught the bit of food that he had gotten. However, his keen eyes quite quickly notice Talen's limp, and after stowing the newly recieved food in a pouch beneath his cloak that is just barely big enough to hold it, he rushes forward, more or less maneuvering himself under Talen's left arm, putting his right arm around the otter's shoulders and supporting Talen with his own strong body. "'ere mate, lemme 'elp ye," He says softly, his gaze on the ground and his hood still up. At this angle, all that Talen can really see is his muzzle sprouting from the confines of the hood.

Simon gapes for a moment at Talen, who is a far more generous creature than himself in such circumstances. He's startled out of it, nearly dropping the apple tossed to him. He meeps when he sees the strange otter rush forward, once more brandishing his staff... only to receive another shock as it seems the thief is helping Talen rather than attacking him. He watches them for a few moments before letting out a small sigh, following after. Just in case the thief needs to be reminded not to take advantage again, he tells himself.

More to come soon!