Date: June 30, 2011
Shemri and Sora are taken captive by the mercenary group they were sent to spy on. It proves to be a strange sort of captivity, however, as they begin to learn what makes the Pride.
"Hunting the Predator - Captive"
Open Plains [Land of Wind]
The long grass of the plains rises easily 5 feet tall, and it is a truly beautiful sight with the blowing wind. The grass swirls and ripples like eddies and waves on a lakes surface as the wind blows, and the golden stalks in the sun almost glow with a good natured light. The sweet smell of the plains is adrift in the air, and many travelers will stop to rest amidst the stalks for a night.
To the south lies a rising mountain, with a barely visible narrow path beginning up its massive height. Far to the east lays a narrow path, following a small river out of the stalks of grass, and into some distant trees.
The next several hours after Shemri and Sora's capture at the hands of the Pride are fast-paced ones, literally. Knowing that the escaped caravan will most likely result in a pursuit of some sort being sent, the Pride has moved quickly and expertly, covering their trail as they went. Sora was hustled along in the midst of the group, bound to prevent any shenanigans. Shemri, being known by their leader as a stubborn and determined foe, was secured even more tightly. They tied her wrists and ankles to a spear haft and carried her along like a prize from a hunt. >.<; Shemri had quite a few choice words for Tategami and his followers, before they gagged her.
Now, with evening coming on, the Pride has finally stopped and made camp. They set about various chores in a well-organized fashion, pitching tents, setting up campfires, and establishing a watch. Shemri and Sora are left (still bound) in a tent which also seems to serve as an infirmary. The girl who took Shemri's blade for Tategami is brought in on a stretcher, and the clan's medic sets to work removing the hasty dressing that was applied before and substituting a better one. Other shinobi line up to have their minor injuries from the scuffle treated. One of them, the archer, eyes Sora from beneath a talon-ripped, bloody mop of hair. "If this leaves bald patches, I'll have your scalp for a wig. Don't think I won't." >(
Sora unlike Shemri is as silent as the grave. Well, almost silent. When she sees her leader trussed up like a pig, a snort of laughter escapes her. Despite the fact that they might be killed or tortured, she can't help but muse at the comical position of poor Shemri. Sora takes a few deep breaths to keep her composure, but her dark eyes gleam with mirth. But she sobers up quickly. The situation is dire. And already she's planning their escape, keeping careful track of where they are headed, and memorizing landmarks. Once they're ushered into the tent, Sora quietly sighs in relief. It seems they're being given relatively gentle treatment… for now.
Sora does take note of the talon slashed bandit. Her hands are tied behind her, so she can't point and laugh, but she does give the scoundrel a smile, and speaks for the first time. "Or perhaps you should go skin head. Blue just doesn't seem your color." Perhaps she shouldn't provoke the bandit, but Sora does like her hair; it matches Megami's feathers. She'd ignore any retort, but once they're in a more private situation, Sora says to Shemri, "Hopefully something happens before you get an apple jammed in your mouth. Just you wait."
The archer snarls and pulls out a kunai, stepping toward Sora. "Let's see how you look with BONE WHITE!" Fortunately, several of the others step in and push her back. "You know the rules, Hiyayaka," says the medic, a middle-aged woman. "A new lioness is to be treated well. She's not an enemy anymore, and anything that happened before is buried dung." Hiyayaka scowls and gets back in line. >.<; The medic looks over to Sora briefly. "I am called Kinshu. I'm sort of the mother to our little family. Go ahead and ungag your friend there, but don't touch the ropes. Tategami-sama gave strict orders, and there's never any secrets here. Somebody is always watching."
After finally having her mouth freed, Shemri splutters a bit to get the cloth taste off her tongue. "Such jests are not helpful," she mutters to Sora. >P Shemri raises her head and looks over at the girl on the stretcher. "Hoi, you there! Why did you interfere? Did you not realize you might have easily been killed?" The girl smiles, though still wincing at Kinshu's ministrations. "It's…worth it…if…(ow)…Tategami-sama…notices me…" Kinshu ties the bandage in place. "Shush now, Kitto-chan. You're still a bit young for that. That was a very good job you did out there, though."
Sora winces at the archer's reaction. And she does draw her legs up as if ready to start attacking anyone intent on giving her a makeover. Fortunately, Kinshu seems to have good control over these bandits. She nods and says wryly, "We'll be on our best behavior." She doesn't even look to the sky for Megami, and instead closes her eyes. She murmurs quietly, "She's not here yet." She falls silent, listening for anyone nearby. And she wouldn't speak until she's sure they can't be overheard.
"Once Megami is above us, I can see from her eyes. If she's beside me, I can literally fly out. But it's risky. Takes a bit to prepare, and a little while to get decently into the air from the ground. A minute. Should we wait till dark? And how should I help you get out?" The thought of leaving Shemri behind is so appalling that Sora doesn't even consider it.
Shemri pulls a face. "Notice you? Why should you wish for that stinking alleycat to notice you?" :P This provokes a ripple of indignant murmurs around the tent, and Hiyayaka nearly steps forward again. "It is not for no reason that we are called the Pride," Kinshu says above the hubbub, restoring order. "It is good for every lioness to seek the approval of her pride's lion." Shemri tilts her head (as much as she can from her position lieing on her side with her extremities tied to a stick). "Ah. Aha. That is why there are mostly women here?" The bandits nod. "Yes. Tategami-sama chose each of us." Shemri opens her mouth, ponders a moment, then shuts it, thinking better of inquiring just how far this imitation of lion society goes. c.c;
As Kinshu continues treating the cuts and bruises of the bandits, Shemri listens to Sora's scheming. "Take whatever reasonable chance you see and get out," Shemri mutters in reply. "I do not believe Tategami shall kill me. He seems to want me for something, perhaps some sort of game he is — "
"Whatever you're whispering about over there, it won't do any good," Hiyayaka remarks loudly. "You can't escape, not really. Even if you get out of the camp, we'll track you down. What makes you think you're better than the rest of us, huh? Lots of us have tried to escape. I used to try escaping, back when I was a cub. We all give it up sooner or later." Kitto pushes herself into a halfway-sitting position and looks to Sora. "Please, don't think about running away. You're our sister now. Running away will only cause pain."
Sora raises her eyebrows at Hiyayaka's comment. It sounds as if all the bandits were captured just as they were. It changes her outlook on their whole predicament entirely. In some ways these women /were/ Sora. And she might be them one… no, she can't think like that. Sora shakes her head. "There's nothing more valuable than the path of freedom," she says. "War, suppression, confinement, those are the things most repulsive to the Hayato who fly free. Some of my clan doesn't even follow me. There are those who choose to protect Suna, and others who wander elsewhere they wish. For all that, we're the happiest clan, because everyone gets to choose whether they want to work within Sunagakure or go travel the Land of Wind as nomads. We're not forced into a clan because of our birth. Being imprisoned can only lead to malcontent and a life with little purpose. I wonder if you're happier here." She sighs and settles down, no doubt having thoughts of running away. But she can't really see these women as bad people anymore. She almost feels concerned for them..