Not again! the farmer moans as he inspects his field to find signs of animals eating some of the crops once again. It isn't very much lost, but every bite the monster eats is a bite the farmer can't eat or use for seeds.
Sekreas! Get over 'ere! The farmer shouts at his farm hand. The young man brushes the dirt out of his black hair and walks up, spade still in hand.
What is it?
Damn varmint's been chewing on my field again! Yer the one who wanted to leave it be! The farmer spits on the ground, and eyes him angrily.
It must be some mistake....
I ain't hired you fer makin' excuses! Tonight, I want ya back here. We'll be lookin' fer whatever's been ruining my crop, and we gon' make sure it don't come back, got it? Before Mr. Sekreas could argue, the farmer storms off to grab more tools to replant the dead crops.
Sekreas picks up one of the ruined plants. He notices the marking on the bottom of the stalk appears to be from some kind of shearing action, like the creature has a feature other than teeth or ragged claws to attack the plant. Also of note is that while the sandy soil is not solid enough to hold a clear impression, there are a couple distinct
Y shapes on the ground. Could it be a bird?
What in blazes are ya doin'? Sekreas is startled by the farmer behind him.
I was just looking at the markings. I think it could be an aquatic creature, given the signs.
Then I'll git some nets to string to the southeast. Come this time tomorrow, we'll be eatin' seafood! Sekreas' lie worked, and after he helps the farmer string nets around the bottom terrace, he takes off to his house, to research the various types of birds documented in a bestiary published by Piata Academy.
The farmer was waiting when Sekreas arrived at his terrace.
What took ya?
I was reading how to best handle the creature once we've captured it.
What makes ya think we'll be takin' prisoners? There ain't nothin' you kin learn in a book ya can't learn elsewhere! Take this. The farmer hands Sekreas a knife, and pulls out another from a holster.
Jus' remember, if yer too weak ta kill it, yell fer me! I don't wanna replace yer hide yet. The farmer walks off towards his nets to wait for the imaginary swimmer, and Sekreas walks to the highest terraced field to watch for signs of his bird.
Not even an hour after he started waiting, a rustle nearby draws Sekreas out of his thoughts. He looks over to see a plump yellow bird rummaging through the field. He gets up and creeps closer as the bird neatly chomps on the plant stalk with its beak to fell it, then proceeds to eat the fruits off of it. Sekreas is so mesmerized that he almost forgets his plan until he hears footsteps from a couple terraces down. The farmer! Thinking quickly, Sekreas pulls out a sack he concealed under his vest, and slams the open end down before the bird could react. It immediately begins squirming and chirping as loud as it could.
Sekreas, ya 'kay?
I'm f-ahh! The bird's beak pierced the bag and firmly clamped down on a finger as the man rises to his feet. He barely manages to tie the bag closed before it could escape.
Damn it, ah said ta yell if ya wan't able ta handle it! The farmer picks up the pace to kill the bird as Sekreas recovers his finger from his catch. Thinking quickly, he jumps off the side of the terrace as the farmer nears, and slides down the side before the farmer could realize what happened.
What're ya doin'? Yer crazy, Sekreas! Good, the farmer thinks he's chasing the prey. 3 more ten foot terraces to slide off and he'll be too far for the farmer to catch up. The bird pierces the sack again, and gains a very firm hold on the wrist this time, but Sekreas won't stop, can't stop, if he was to save this bird's life from the farmers of Torinco. He runs mostly eastward for the longest time, eventually reaching a small cave at the foot of a mountain range. Once a safe distance within the cave, he releases the bird from the now ragged sack, and it proceeds to scratch him with it's clawed feet before taking off deeper into the cave.
Hey, wait! Sekreas tears a piece from his sack to staunch the blood pouring from his wrist, and carefully ventures after the bird. He flinches with every slight sound and every imagined sight as he wanders the dark cavity. Eventually, he reaches the end of the cave, with his target cowering in a corner.
I'm a friend, little bird! He slowly approaches.
Whoa! A blast of heat flashes by Sekreas as he jumps backward. The bird wasn't apparently cowering from him, he realizes as he turns to face a toadstool, glowing in the dark a short ways away. Another blast rockets towards the bird, but Sekreas dives to protect it.
I haven't come this far to let you die now! A piercing pain shoots through his back as the heat burns through his vest. He can barely stand as the bird returns the favor, flying over the toadstool before falling onto it, crushing it in the process. The toadstool attacks the yellow creature as the smell of burnt feathers overpower the cave's musty smell, but Sekreas takes advantage by driving the farmer's knife into the toadstool as hard as he could, only pulling it out when the creature finally turns dark and falls to the floor. He looks over at his bird, clearly hurt by the encounter.
Are you okay? The bird chirps and eyes him in a different way. He reaches into a pocket and procures some dried fruits and nuts, which he offers to the bird. It happily scarfs them down as he inspects the damage. Good, the feathers should grow back soon.
You'll be safe here. He gets up, but before he could leave, the bird dashes in front of him, blocking the way out.
What? The bird gently nudges his leg, and makes a strange cooing sound.
You don't want me to leave? The bird hops over to a corner and sits down. Sekreas walks over and cuddles up with it. His mind continues to race after the bird had gone to sleep, and after some thought, decides it to be a new species, given that it doesn't match any description in the many bestiaries he's read. He decides to call it a Rappy, after the sound it makes while it's asleep.