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Uk had changed color, from a creamy and fluffy egg white to a muck brown and just as sticky. One would have thought that it would be easy to remain on top of something sticky but it had at first been proven more difficult than she had imagined. It wasn't just due to the slippery mud. Uk was part of the problem. As soon as another tokota tried to come close and from a direction he wasn't prepared for he shied to the side, jumped up and away. But he did stay within the area where she had been told the game would be in. It was a good thing he had a good amount of mane to hold on to. Two times - luckily  before the game had started - she had fallen off and been helped up by a man who never introduced himself. He had helped her both times but had vanished just as quick both times. She never got to say thanks nor know his name. The man had also been smeared in mud, even his face, so perhaps he knew how tricky it was. She wondered who he was.

Now she sat upon Uk again and had all her flags in order for the game to start. She only had to find her teammate. When she spotted him she smiled. It seemed like Dan had slipped in once too given the brown splatter on his backside.

“Spirits greet you, Dan... Are you ready for the game? Have you done this before? I think we had something similar in my tribe... it was a game we played in spring...but we didn't have tokotas of course...and it was only the men..but it was fun to watch still...”

Use a swift and agile Tokota they said. One that was sure on his feet and strong enough to jump through the sticky mud field that was the assigned playground. He had decided to use Sleet. The brown male was strong, swift, agile, and quite competitive. Dan figured it would be a good thing to use a male that was both eager to defend his personal space as well as not afraid of intruding other’s if it was needed to achieve what he wanted. He did not think about the fact that an agile Tokota meant a lot of movement. Lots of movement meant lots of possibilities to slip from the back of the male. Which he had shown impressively by shaking himself as soon as the first mud touched his belly. Before Dan even realized what was going on he laid flat on his back in the cold, wet, sticky brown mud.

By now he had all his gear arranged - which only consisted of a few colourful flags that he had to protect during the game. He let his gaze wander over the field of competitors until he found his partner. The already small girl looked tiny on her dire. She too did look a bit muddy and Dan wondered for a moment how she got on the dire’s back again. He had to try a few times until he was able to jump high enough and Sleet actually stood still so he could climb up again.

He smiled at Tana. “Greetings to you as well. We did something similar in school when we were children. Just without the mud, or Tokotas. I haven’t played it like this either. But I guess it’s gonna be fun.”

While it was still cold and the sun was already setting, Dan didn’t wear a lot of cloth. They would only get muddy and he didn’t want the sticky dirt to ruin some of his handmade fur clothes. Therefore he had only a thin layer of tight pants and undershirt. It would be fairly easy to wash it after the brawl.

For some reason it felt good that this was just a game, meant for a friendly competition. In one way it had a purpose she guessed since it showed the agility of the tokotas and gave good practice for hunts. But this time it didn't require some killing like when they would catch foxes just because they had become so many, shifting the natural balance. The flags that was the ‘prey’ this time was just colorful bits of cloth and the goal was to protect the ones you had together with your teammate but at the same time grabbing the flags of other teams.

There wasn't much time to talk to Dan when the game leader let the game begin. It wasn't much problem trying to get away. As soon as one came storming towards her Uk did a good job bolting and a few times she had to really hang on. One time it was more than close to slip off but then she felt a nudge and she saw the man again. He had the accent of The Others when he spoke.

“Don't worry ma’am...I won't grab your flag...this time...” Then he winked and put his heels on his tawny tokota and aimed for another team. For a few moments she just looked after him before Uk pulled her back into the game but bolting the other way, almost unseating her again.

When they had a short break a little while later to let the tokotas drink if they wanted she had lost one flag, but pulled two from another rider. She rode up to Dan who seemed to have his face all spotted with mud. Perhaps her face was all muddied too. She held up the other teams two flags that she managed to grab. “Look Dan...I took two! I lost one did it go for you?” Her smile faded a little when he didn't smiled back. In fact she wasn't sure she ever had seen Dan look like so much like a disturbed porcupine.

“Are you ok, Dan? Did you fall off? Are we out?”

It was a quick game, and a messy one. Everywhere were the huge beasts running, jumping and skidding through the mud. Even in good conditions it was hard to tell who the other riders were, now with the fading sunlight and the mud sprinkling all their faces alike it grew almost impossible. Dan tried his best to keep his possible attackers in view, spot weaker ones to steal their flags, guard his own and keep a watchful eye on Tana to help his team mate if she’d need it.

Sleet got the hang of it rather quickly. He darted straight at another Tokota a few hands taller than him, chest huffed out and showing off the little bulk he managed to built up in the last months. Most often the other Tokotas got confused by the bold approach of the average young male, and so was this one. His rider a tiny red head he’d never seen before, the bearwolf already covered in mud from tail to muzzle so it was impossible to tell which colour it originally had. The beast hesitated only for a second, but that was enough for Sleet. With a quick, almost snake like movement he weaved around the other Tokota and Dan leaned forward to grab the blue flag on the girl’s waist. His momentum carried him a bit too far and he had to push himself rather hard off the girl to remain on Sleet’s back. Dan saw her sliding slowly from the back of her bearwolf out of the corner of his eyes. That meant one team less in the competition.

Quickly he searched the place for his team mate. The dire seemed to have been a good choice. Not only was the short girl an even smaller target on the big and large animal, but his behaviour helped to avoid getting her flags stolen as well. Uk made another big jump. Dan’s eyes widened in shock when he saw Tana sliding down his side further and further. With a yell on his lips he urged Sleet forward to help her. But an opponent was faster. He would tear her down, and then they were out. Even though Dan wasn’t that competitive himself, it did make him upset to lose that fast.
But the other guy did not tear Tana down. Instead, he seemed to help her up again. Something in his face told him that wasn’t the first time they had met. And he did absolutely not like what else he could read in that suspicious glimmer in the other’s eyes. (Which was obviously a lot given the half light of sunset and the few meters distance between them, but still.) Where exactly were those helping hands placed? Dan’s eyes clouded. He couldn’t see it himself, but felt the mud wrinkle along where his forehead did so. WHO was that guy.

When he reached Tana, the mysterious foreigner had already disappeared.  He didn’t even try to smile. Not that he was that upset, but if he could prevent it he’d rather not have a lot of dirty mud in his mouth. “Nah, I’m fine. You? Almost down it seemed. Lucky you that guy” he spit the word out like it was poison “seemed to have a thing for those bright blue eyes of yours”. He couldn’t even say from where the sudden dislike of him came. Not that he knew him or generally had issues with other guys talking to the girls he knew. Just… That guy. There was something odd about him.

Dan was angry. At her. She glanced back over her shoulder. She would have fallen off if it hadn't been for that man whoever it had been. A thing for her eyes? She knew dark spirits could go for your own spirit, but she had never heard of anything going for just eyes.

“Yes, Uk was spooked by another tokota and I wasn't prepared. I thought I was going to fall off but that man gave me a push up. We would have been out of the game otherwise. I didn't have a good enough grip to stay on...”

She leaned over ever so slightly and put her hand on her friends muddy leg. His eyes held both anger and something else. “I'm sorry if I did something bad, Dan.” She felt a bit of a lump in her throat but she forced herself to swallow it down. This had been her fourth winter. Yet it seemed she had things to learn about how men and women could act towards eachother.

“I got two flags, but I lost did it go for you?”

His features lightened up when he noticed what an impact his own stupid feelings had on Tana. He held up both palms in a calming gesture, still feeling her light touch on his muddy leg. “Nonono you didn’t, Tana. I am just… aah it’s stupid. I just had a bad feeling about that guy and his intentions. I don’t know why, I don’t even know him and he’s probably quite nice. Forget it” he shook his head to shoo the dark, confusing thoughts away.

“I didn’t lose any and got one so far. I’d say we try to work as a team. Uk would probably be a good bait, and when he jumps out of reach I’ll try to snatch the flag from the attacker. What do you think?”

He changed ever so slightly, like the skies after a light summer rain, letting the sun come forward again from behind the clouds. His words however, while true, something seemed to remain to be covered, unspoken. But that was a choice one could do...not to say all words. It still felt like she had hurt him somehow.

“Yes, that sound like a good plan...there is one more game round I think. Perhaps the spirits enjoy the game too, and perhaps they will grant us the luck we need...”
scaramouche2802 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016
-squishes them both- 
decors Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2016
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March 23, 2016


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