The illumination of a careless sun drifted down aimlessly across the fertile fields of the dawn, casting it's aimless rays across viridian grasses and sweet cobalt rivers alike as the light rippled across the earth's surface from the movement of the whispy clouds. Every once in a while an obelisk of stone would stand tall and sullen against the beams of light, casting long shadows from their craggy surfaces as they held their own against the sun. But these rolling hills supported no oxen or sheep with their plentiful grasses, and the gurgling of the crystalline rivers fell upon the deaf ears of the soil and it's wildflowers. No, it's beauty had become its bane, the sentry noted as his jet black wings beat through the scent rich air. His piercing green eyes scanned the landscape for tracks, or other traces of the enemy, falling over stone and crop alike as they did. No, the farmers had left long ago, threatened by the war that had overtaken the land.*
This was but a small portion of it's magnificence, and it was clear why his king was willing to put so many resources into obtaining it. From these fertile fields to the game filled forests and from the ore rich mountains to the gateway of the ocean, it would be an asset that was second to none. At least, it could be, if only they could obtain it. The raven absentmindedly beat his wings again, feeling the wind coursing through his feathers like the adrenaline in his bloodstream. The rightful king, Aberstine the Adamant, had found his claim at about the same time as a rival nation, who had refused to give up their claim to the almighty lord. Negotiations for the land had begun, but it became clear soon enough that neither were going to loosen their grip by a muscle for the other faction. When the other king turned his ears from reason, his kingdom of Riverslade had been forced to unsheathe it's claws and enforce it's claims upon the territory. It didn't take long for bared teeth and sharpened weapons to meet them in return.
Once mercenaries and soldiers began patrolling the land,most of the solitary farmers and fishers left, with but few a barn, silo, or shack left in their wake. Some Small towns refused to move, and so were sources of frequent skirmishes as the two nations struggled to keep their hold on the areas they had conquered and liberate the one's they had lost. But, at least as of now, both Riverslade and her foe had been neck and neck, the jagged line of captured establishments nowhere near either of the sides, and ensuring combat would last a good deal longer before negotiations would ever be called.
But, in the end, Riverslade would forever rule her rightful lands. There was no alternative. No matter how strong, how resilient, the opposing nation could never ever hope to overcome the great and mighty kingdom! The raven grinned to himself, so caught up in his country's aspirations that he nearly missed the tell tale paw print left in the dust below. His eyes widened when it crossed his vision, and his scanning became feverish as he sought out the next. Soon enough, another pair emerged in the dirt. He was able to track a small path, first from an individual sentry, then two from where the pair had met, then the trodden grass path that led to where the gleaming banners of their foe shone brilliantly, mockingly in the sunlight, bolstered by the sight of a camp of enemy troops, oblivious to the feather lined eyes spying down on them below. Taking note of the landmarks and group characteristics *of the beings below, the raven quickly turned around, speeding through the cloud layer back to his comrades, naught even a falling feather or two left to prove his existence.
It was rushed and out of breath that he returned to the bustling camp, his long talons padding against the ground as he took a second to orient himself, then walk disdainfully through the tents. On his left, two boars made crude jokes while they sharpened their axes, their tiny pig eyes alight with laughter as they squealed their jokes. On his right an emu fit a lion for armor, needing two monitors to hoist it upon the massive feline's shoulders, the reptilians flicking their tongues casually as the avian inspected his work. A roaring forge had been set up in the middle, and a metal faced bear was in the process of transforming ingots to weapons and armor in the makeshift fires.*
But it was a pair of icy turquoise eyes that watched the raven disappear into the superior's tent, , halting for a minute upon the building*emblazoned with the cyan chimera that was her country's insignia before turning back down to the sapphire embedded sword within her ivory paws. With quick, deft movements, her paws slid the sstone upon its silver blade, sharpening it's deadly bite with each stroke. The eyes turned occasionally, watching others watch her with interest, respect, and, from a few pairs, fear. She was called the Arduous Arrow, the Bladed Fist. It was claimed she had taken out a barbarian patrol herself, who, unarmed, had ripped out the throat of the bear leader when her weapon lay at bay, and that she had dived under the ocean to strangle an otter in its own home because it had stolen from her empire. While the likelihood of these stories ever holding real merit was low, one look into her fierce gaze could solidly persuade even a lesser beast that these fictional tales held more truth than one would care to know. Though shorter than many of the males by an inch or two, and less bulky in appearance, her dexterity provided her with a clear advantage over many of the lumbering brutes, while her muscles gave her the strength to plunge a dagger through a rhinoceros's heart. Her signature black gloves, currently on her lap, were tipped with large silver claws, each of which fit in with her own to create a deadly grasp. Her *ears were pierced twice through with small silver rings, and a silver pendant in the shape of a griffon hung about her neck. Few knew of her past, but she was renown within the squadron for her dedication and passion for the kingdom for which the white tigress fought. Her name was*Ciscera, her blade Nimaron, and her ebony and silver armor had been, for many unfortunate souls, the last thing their mortal eyes would ever fall upon.
Time passed slowly, and the soldier soon found her tail flicking in agitation, awaiting the orders that would send the group on the move again. An emu attendant came to check her armor, clicking its beak as the monitor associates waited patiently, then left. A black panther and a dingo debated the ideals of leadership, slowly deteriorating into who had entered the best brothel recently, but her keen ears remained trained on the tan tent before her as the words meanings slipped from kings to weapons to strategy to unmentionables. Within a few minutes, the doors burst open, the equine, canine, feline, and avian commanders shouting out orders as they rallied their troops. The enemy had been sighted! Pack up, then forward march.... To Battle!