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Wedge Antilles

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January 10, Y110

Okay, so skiing at the top of the tallest mountain was probably one thing Wedge should have skipped out on. Too bad he could be as competitive as they come, which meant that his skiing practice with Keith ended up bringing them both there despite the fact that it was the first time either of them got to properly appreciate this particular sport.

It was no wonder that Wedge misbalanced on his skis when he turned to investigate an odd sound and saw an avalanche right behind him, in turn sliding right into what felt like a pile of limbs and other objects in the first available hiding place. The one good thing about it was that the avalanche roared past them while he ensured he was still alive and had everything he was supposed to. One of the many bad things was that it got dark and started snowing almost immediately after that.

“Next time someone mentions a relaxing vacation spot dirtside and we’re both still around, please remind me to ignore it,” he told Keith when he realized his fellow pilot ended up in the same pile-up. “We have to get out of here while we still can. Everyone up for it?”

An inhuman scream punctuated his words about getting out of there, and Wedge winced, remembering he left his blaster back where he was staying. Yeah, if he and his company were getting out of there alive, this was probably good stuff for campfire stories. Ones filed under Moments of Monumental Stupidity, or something along those lines.


@Zidane Tribal, @Keith Kogane, @Faile Bashere
 
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Zidane Tribal

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Skiing wasn't really a sport in Zidane's world. Sure, there were lots of mountainous places, but trying to slide down one of them was a good way to end up in the middle of some monsters. No, better to focus on more practical sports like hunting.

Well, he wasn't in his world anymore, so going to the weird mountain that just popped up and trying something new out sounded like a great time. At least it was a nice distraction from his own thoughts, since skiing was quite weird.

The sticks that he and Cornelia had to use were kind of weird, especially since Cornelia's feet weren't really made to have things stuck to them. It took a lot of care and precision to get those things working, but somehow they managed it and had a pretty fun time racing down the mountain together.

Of course, nothing in Pandora could ever be as simple as that. While they were on a break, the ground suddenly started moving in a way that could only spell trouble. With one glance behind them, the genome and daemon immediately started hightailing it to safety, barely finding a spot to hunker down before the snow started overtaking them.

"Ok, not the first time I've been trapped somewhere in a blizzard," he huffed, shaking off the snow that had gotten stuck in his hair. Someone didn't hesitate to suggest getting down and finding safety, which given the inhuman screech they heard, was probably the smart idea.

"Zidane, this place makes me feel weird," Cornelia whined, "I don't think my magic is working."

"Even better," he sighed, "well, if we just don't fight anything, I'm sure we'll be fine."
 
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Faile Bashere

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The appearance of the moutain had been a perfect opportunity for Faile to test out the capabilities of the chocobos. While the current owner of the stables didn't seem to ambitious, Faile had some ideas of her own. It was going to take seeing what terrain types and conditions the birds could handle, if she intended to eventually market them out to other areas of Pandora. While they weren't horses, they were interesting creatures and she had found herself slowly taking quite a liking to them.

Which was why she was on the back of one on the mountain, avoiding people rushing by on planks of wood, it seemed. Aris alternated between gliding through the air and taking a perch on Faile's shoulder. Had taken such a perch just before the rumbling began. All three of them sat up and looked for the sound, but the chocobo was the first to startle.

"Avalanche," Aris whispered just before the larger bird spooked, and Faile let out a startled yell as she attempted to get the bird under control to make a better escape. There was no getting control of it though as they sped down the mountainside, and Faile was eventually thrown from the bird, just moments before she was collided into. Her daemon let out a screech as he fluttered his wings to avoid the collision, even as it knocked them to a safer location as the snow came down around them, the chocobo long gone.

She was ready to give the whole lot of them an earful once she found herself right side up, but the screech that followed made her eyes widen and she tensed up. That was not a normal sound. Faile's eyes scanned their surroundings as people spoke of finding safety and experience in blizzards. She shook the snow out of her hair before pushing slowly to her feet. "Perhaps this way then," she suggested and pointed, despite it being very unclear at this point which way would be the way down, never mind if it was safe or not.
 
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Keith Kogane

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All it ever took was an instant for the world to turn upside down. An instant of rouring madness, the very mountain itself tumbling down around them as they hid in their tangle of limbs, pressed back against the rocky outcropping that was all that stood between them and a brutal death.

Keith braced back against the stone, an arm thrown out, pressing somebody back against the rock, with his feet dug into the ground, as if they were in danger of being swept away.

"I never wanted to come in the first place," he ground out, nerves frayed as he watched the last of the avalanche go rolling by them. But there was no sunlight to be found as mother nature herself seemed set on making them freeze to death. Keith grit his teeth as he finally pushed himself forward, shoving his goggles up to his forehead as he took a double-take at the woman with them..

"Faile?"

Seriously, what were the odds?

But they were all gathering themselves up, and they couldn't stay out here. "Downhill," he said. "We just have to keep going downhill. We'll reach the bottom of the mountain eventually."

As long as whatever the hell made that unearthly sound didn't swoop down to devour them first.

Keith unconsciously pressed his hand to the back of his waist, and felt his sheathed, dormant Marmora blade sitting there, waiting. He didn't have any of his gear -- lot of good it would have done here in the Vales. But he wasn't defenseless, at least.
 

Keith Kogane

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There was no mercy from the storm. Every draw of air into his lungs carried with it a sharp painful chill, and he only pulled up the collar of his winter jacket a little higher, hands tucked under his arms, against his sides, struggling to remember what warmth even was. But he trudged along, looking back every so often to make sure his companions were keeping up. He'd drawn his goggles back down over his eyes, cheeks turning rosy red beneath them. And each step was more draining than the last, legs growing heavier.

Until he looked down and found the snow clinging to him. He tried to shake it off, yanking his foot free with more force as he grit his teeth. It was all he could to do keep moving.
 
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Zidane Tribal

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Zidane shot a glance at the group around him, who seemed familiar with each other. Well, that sure made him feel a little left out, but this was certainly not the kind of situation for that. Not when they were busy getting out of a blizzard.

"Well, just in case we need to scream each other's names for some reason, I'm Zidane and this is Cornelia," he announced as they started their way down. That was the last thing he could say as he tried to bundle himself deeper into his warm clothes to stave off the cold. Compared to the last time he was in a situation like this, he was certainly better off.

Which was what he thought until the snow turned... sticky? Their already slow movements were nearly halted as the snow itself started to hold onto them like glue. As soon as Cornelia realized it, she let out a yelp, hopping from foot to foot in a panic.
 
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Wedge Antilles

Star Wars
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When there was little to see past their group due bad weather, any path seemed like a good idea. Tilting his head in agreement to the young woman’s suggestion, Wedge glanced back at Keith at more solid idea amid complaint about not wanting to come, either way. Granted, he hadn’t been too enthused about enforced rest, either, but it was sometimes safer not to argue.

Keith’s recognition of the young woman made Wedge glance toward the one more or less unknown members of their impromptu team as they got moving, one of them introducing himself as Zidane and his companion, Cordelia. Good thinking, they could get that out of the way while the going was smooth. “I’m Wedge. The others are Keith and - Faile, if I heard right?”

It was a smooth going but a cold one, and Wedge was ruing listening to whoever’d been spreading the rumor about this in the first place. Expert climbers or no, this weather was not helping them right now. There was nothing roaring anywhere behind them, but the cold creeping into his bones was probably just as bad. A glance down made it clear why - a thick layer of snow stuck to his legs, making him much slower than he knew he was capable of on an average hike.

“Seems we’ve got something of a snowy problem here,” He advised through gritted teeth, trying to shake it off his boots and keeping an eye on the rest of those in his group. “Any of you need a hand?”

The way this trip was going, Wedge had a bad feeling they’ll be stuck on this path until everybody shook off the snow. He just had to remind himself, and have the good sense not to say it aloud that, as much as he’d been regretting listening to higher-up prodding and dragging a co-worker along, things could always be worse.

@Zidane Tribal, @Keith Kogane, @Faile Bashere
 

Keith Kogane

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"Seems we've got something of a snowy problem here."

Keith couldn't smother that flare of irritability, or the biting words that followed. "No shit."

Yeah, it was snowy fucking death out here, wind ripping and tearing at them even as they somehow managed to free themselves from that clinging snow. And yet it did nothing to make any step feel lighter. Keith kept his head bowed, cheeks raw and red from the wind, teeth chattering as the cold simply clung.

His words only grew shorter, sharper. Apathy giving rise to frustration. That anger that had kept him going since he was just a kid without a damn person to look out for him.

Until something dark and monstrous emerged from the whiteout in front of them, a living shadow within the snow. Keith saw the flash of jagged teeth, and he was quick to pull his knife from its sheath, the hilt engraved with a glowing purple sigil. Finally, something he could fight.
 

Wedge Antilles

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It was harder the further they went, and Wedge could see it in the toll it took on the group. He stayed quiet for the most part, keeping out of it and only quirking an eyebrow up at Keith. Yeah, he’ll admit to that one. Later. Provided there’d be a later in the first place.

What he didn’t expect was to face a strange creature in the middle of the storm. He’d heard of these Grimm showing up in the Vales lately, but didn’t anticipate having to face one, as well. Not for the first time, he regretted not bothering with the blaster. Thankfully, he did remember not to go unarmed entirely, and a knife in his boot came in useful to help the group fend the creature off.

Who would need a blaster on a skiing trip, he thought sarcastically as they managed to fight the Grimm off. Apparently, those of us in Pandora do.

Once it was defeated, Wedge paused long enough to ensure those in his group were all right. Zidane, Faile, Keith and two companions were all accounted for, thankfully, but they’d be probably safer getting the hell out of here before anything else showed up. While the storm didn’t let up, the road became much easier, and Wedge turned on the first path they could see, following along with the rest.


 

Zidane Tribal

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"Oh, back off, at least he's trying to keep the mood light," Zidane snapped at Keith. It was odd, just how much he wanted an excuse to yell at someone. Usually he was trying to stay lighthearted, but right then and there, he was hoping for another excuse to get confrontational.

"Zidane, maybe you shouldn't try and start fights," Cornelia muttered, gently pulling on his arm. That was probably a mistake, since he immediately turned his attention onto her.

"Shut it, I don't need your advice," he said, "I'll handle this however I want without you whining in my ear."

"I... I know you don't really feel that way," she said, even as her hand dropped from his arm. It didn't do much to improve his composure, but it gave him less to complain about as they continued down the mountain. In fact, when some creepy monster showed up, he was relieved. Something to take his negative energy out on.

The fight wasn't anywhere near the most dangerous he'd ever been in, even relying on just his regular thieving skills and fighting abilities. Despite being hurt a bit, the group was still alive and able to continue. That counted as a win in his opinion.
 

Faile Bashere

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"Or perhaps you should focus on us finding shelter rather than dictating what he should do," Faile snapped back at Zidane. Was she coming to Keith's defense? Not in her eyes, but the frustration was growing under her skin, forming from the sudden tired weight baring down on her. Faile tried to comb some of the extra sticky snow from Aris's feathers when he became too weighted down and settled in her arms as well as her own hair when it started to stick to her face.

When Zidane spoke next, Faile's eyes flashed, unaware he hadn't been speaking to her. "You'll handle what, exactly? Last I checked, you were no better off at directions, nor did anyone make you leader of this group!" Her teeth may have been chattering, but her words were hot.

She would have been last to see the Grimm and probably the first injured if the peregrine falcon in her arms hadn't yelled with a flutter of his wings, "Watch out!" She managed to dive away from it's long spindly arm just in time. Aris flutter hopped out of her arms to give her the room to unsheath her knives to fight the thing.

When it was taken down, she felt clearer, less heavy. And while she knew she shouldn't have yelled as she had, she would not apologize. "Onward?" She asked, though she was slightly out of breath.
 

Wedge Antilles

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This one was unexpected, and not only because Wedge didn’t notice they were in trouble until it was too late. None of them, it looked like, noticed paw prints in the snow until the falling snow made them visible and until creatures resembling the hounds pounced. Whether it was because they separated during the fight, or because they were too busy trying to get away, or everything put together and not helped by the ongoing snow storm, when Wedge turned to check on those still with him, he realized Keith wasn’t among that number.

“Likely happened when we were jumping off the ledge to get away from the hounds,” he murmured, glancing back before turning toward the next visible path and motioning Zidane and Faile along, waiting long enough to see if either of them would suggest a better route. “Come on. Remember where we are.”

He didn’t only mean the peaks. Pandora was a strange world, and he was fairly certain everyone present knew how it worked, perhaps even better than he did. While Wedge himself didn’t notice what happened to his co-worker, which is hard to do when you’re trying to fight off the hounds, he had no doubt Keith would catch up or resurface somewhere sooner or later.

Question was if the rest of them would be able to make it off the mountain or if, like Keith, they'd be resurfacing places other than this at some point in time. Wedge supposed there was only one way to find out, and that was to keep going.


@Zidane Tribal, @Faile Bashere
 
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Zidane Tribal

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Well, the unexplainable anger at each other was dying down, which Zidane was all for. He hated snapping at people, even strangers like this group. Unfortunately, nothing could ever be easy, especially in a place like Pandora.

It started with the unnatural stillness, something that Zidane was more than aware was just wrong. Even in the middle of a snowstorm, he was positive that things didn't just quiet down like it was. Then the attack started, and they barely had any time to make their escape before getting torn to pieces.

The group had to run, escaping death by mere inches as they sprinted as fast as they could through the deep snow. The next time he thought about going on vacation, he was going to slap himself.

At first, he didn't even know what Wedge was talking about, only taking stock of their surviving members after a pause. "Wait, wh- oh no," he muttered. Not that he had much time to get to know Keith, but he wouldn't wish that fate on his worst enemy.

"Let's just get off this damn mountain," he said, pulling his jacket just the slightest bit tighter around him. He could feel the blood pooling out of him, this was going to be even more difficult the longer this went on.
 

Faile Bashere

The Wheel of Time
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Faile would have blamed the unusual snow for not seeing the attackers, if they hadn't been invisible. The eerie silence had her on edge when it started, and she saw a footprint just moments before she was attacked. Luckily, Perrin's hammer protected her from what sounded like gnashing teeth long enough for her to knife the thing pretty solidly.

What it didn't protect was Aris, still encumbered by the snow, and both he and Faile yelled as a claw caught against his back. She quickly scrambled to him and scooped him up before fleeing with the others. You couldn't fight what you couldn't see, and Faile was starting to hate this place more and more. Was Pandora simply meant to torture her?

It took a moment for her to realize Keith was missing once they were safe. She was Shushing Aris as he made pained noises, gritting her teeth herself from the identical wound on her own shoulder she could feel. She pulled a felt bag from her pocket and dumped the training treats into the snow before pressing the bag into Aris's wound to stop the bleeding.

"Oh stop moaning. You're lucky your not dead," she snapped at her daemon when he yelled, "And if you aren't quiet, the rest of us may well be. Where's Keith?"

She was almost appalled at how nonchalant they both were about him being missing, and it showed. "Are we not even going to loo-" she started to demand, but cut of sharply from the pain. They couldn't risk going back with those things out there. Faile very sourly followed the others. She only hoped Keith was okay.
 
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Zidane Tribal

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Now that they weren't under direct threat of attack, Zidane glanced back at the team and noticed that they were in pretty bad shape. He wasn't the only one who'd taken damage. If only they had a healer like Dagg-oh wait, the snowstorm, that wouldn't have even mattered.

Even better, he couldn't even pretend there was any chance of fixing things if they'd just had the right people. Well, a medic probably would've been useful, but not a magic fix-all, which was what he was really hoping for.

He cringed as Faile suggested looking for Keith, already feeling guilt climb up his spine. "If we were in any other situation, yeah, without question," he said, "but here? If we tried, we'd end up joining him." Better to just put their heads down and keep going. It was a terrible thing to do, but he couldn't act like he wasn't terrible after all the things Morgana made him do.
 

Wedge Antilles

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Wedge quietly bowed his head in agreement with Zidane, eyes sweeping around them and their path. He was right. They were not only unprepared to go back, they no longer knew how to do so.

“If I thought we could handle it, I’d be the first turning back,” he added, hefting his knife in his hand and thinking that swordsmanship, or at least, practice with cold weapons, were now on his to do list in spare time when they we re off this mountain. “If we can help each other, do so. If one falls behind, keep going. It seems there’s no path for us to use once we’re moving.”

They could see it for themselves if they checked it out. The strange snow storm didn’t let up since they started down the mountain, and Wedge could no longer see their tracks, nor whatever those creatures were that attacked them in the first place.

In fact, none of them looked like they didn’t need a medic as soon as they were off the mountain, and Wedge’s morbid curiosity wanted to know what else could come their way. Would it be more creatures, more snow, or another danger entirely? Given their current state, any of the above would be a problem they may or may not be able to handle.
 
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