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    version 22: awakening


    OCEANE -- Year 208


    "Because if she had not met him, she knew she would have been searching her whole life for the piece that he filled her heart with." -- Eva, written by Shelbi

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    [challenge] Jesper;
    Jesper, you have left the Isclr Isle barren for too long. I am challenging you for Isicle Isle, if I lose I will leave. If you lose you are free to stay as an advisor if you'd like.

    1 week between posts
    1,000 word max
    3 posts each, you go first
    Challenge will take place in the Isle

    Arabian/Andalusian Hybrid
    Hellhound Shifting, Color Changing
    I, Jesper, accept your challenge and your terms, Sabrina.

    Anglo-Arabian hybrid
    Immortality, Environmental Adaptation, Fox-Shifting

    Starting post to follow.
    The fox grunts when Sabrina's challenge rings in his ears and, echoes through his cave. He hauls himself lightly to his feet then, yawns and stretches every muscle fiber. He shakes his entire body and, when the last hair falls into place, Jesper emerges from his den. An arctic whip of wind greets him and, brushes through his dense silver fur. Springtime on the Isle did not change much. The high temperature does grow milder each day, which allows portions of the surface to melt. However, at night, the temperature plummets and, any liquid refreezes to become a dangerous patch of ice. This would be a slow, calculated duel as, any sharp turns or, reckless speed would risk injury to oneself.

    Once his acute senses locate her, thickly padded paws step out onto the powder dusted ice. Canine limbs execute an easy jog as he heads towards her. Her arrival on Icicle Isle had not gone unnoticed. She sticks near Crevan - a name that makes his hackles stand on end - so, he has watched her closely. Her natural body is equine, of a stockier build than himself, and painted in mahogany and cherry hues, with yellow eyes, and a black mane and tail. She possesses the ability to change her coat color and, can shift into a hound-like form. Her canine body is larger than him (as a fox) and, more closely resembles a wolf.

    Jesper's jog serves to loosen and stretch his muscles and, allows him to assess the terrain. It is solid and slick in some places. He finds that the overgrown fur on his paws helps to keep his legs from sliding out from under him. Before long, the fox sees Sabrina across the barren tundra. The terrain between them is blindingly white with a couple of twigs protruding through the snow and ice. A shimmer of ice is visible, in a few places, where the wind has brushed the snow away. The sky is as silvery gray as his pelt. An ominous dark cloud looms over the mainland. It could easily deliver swirling winds and snow to their dance or, it could stay east and head out over the rough water.

    Jesper focuses on the female. His crystalline blue gaze levels with her intense yellow eyes. Regardless of the form she sports for this duel, Jesper stood shorter than her and, more refined. He decides to partially shift into a light-boned, agile, black stallion. This way, he stands only a smidge shorter than Sabrina as a mare. He has mastered control of his two bodies and settles on a hybrid in which his head and nose are an equine's but, his pointed canine dentition lurk within. He also expends energy and calls upon his ability to adapt to his environment. Jesper grows his hoof wall to create bony, dagger-like spikes from his hooves' soles. The bony growths would offer more traction than his canine nails and, perhaps, could serve a secondary purpose of inflicting more damage during a kick.

    The black steed walks toward Sabrina, head-on. He adjusts his stride to smaller steps as he accounts for the added traction of his cleats. He may move slower but he felt balanced and, much steadier. He experiments with a trot after a few steps and, finds it lumbering but, not difficult. Jesper approaches at this clunky jog and, remains head-on with his bronze-tipped ears flattened to his poll. He might appear as though he is going to charge but, a few horse lengths away, he turns to his left and starts a circuit around her. He keeps his right shoulder facing her body. His left ear stays pinned but, his right ear trains upon her movements. She could decide to follow him with her sharp sense of vision or, she could poise her ready-to-strike haunches at him.
    Jesper follows the track of this circuit though, he adjusts his stride to catch up to and, approach her right hip. He turns cautiously to his right and attempts to draw along her right side, with his left side facing her. After he makes the turn, he lunges forward with as many strides as it takes to align his left shoulder parallel to her right hip. Jesper attempts to gain on her until his muzzle is at her girth. He stretches his nose out and unsheathes carnivorous teeth to nip at her elbow. The action is designed to toy with her instincts and push her forehand away from him. The bite certainly wouldn't shred much tissue but, could scratch some flesh if she stayed where she was or, moved into his grasp. If all goes according to his plan and, her head and shoulders swing away from him, her haunches would have to swing towards him.

    The next part of his attack targeted her haunches. After all, the hind end is where the horsepower comes from. A quadruped uses its haunches to drive more speed or, to balance upon when rearing. He steps to the right and shifts his weight onto his forehand. The studs on his front hooves anchor into the ice and, with less weight on his hind end, Jesper contracts the muscles of his gaskins to coil hind legs closer to his body. He unleashes them both towards the mare - aiming for her stifle - but, he would be content with a blow to her cannonbone, hock, gaskin, flank or, barrel. Once his hindlimbs return to their position under his hips, Jesper steps away from Sabrina. He picks up the clunky two-beat gait and, tries to draw away. This would force her to follow him in order to attack. Lobes hone in on her whereabouts while the black settles on a distance out of biting and kicking range. Jesper turns so that his right shoulder faces her though he continues to jog on a meandering track in order to keep his muscles warm and supple.
    carnage x bethanie

    A leader who disappears, only to conveniently return when his title is challenged for. Sabrina was raised a diplomat, and therefor she was not a master of battle, but being a hellhound some of it came naturally.

    The stag made her wait longer than she liked, arriving in his fox form that she hadn't known he possessed. He quickly shifts into his equine form, smart on him as she stood taller than him in both forms but equine would be a tougher battle. The bay mare does not waste time to shift herself into her canine form. She would have much better luck on the icy terrain with canine pads.

    It was a risky move having the battle remain on the Isle, but she had grown so accustom to each and every groove. Her paws hardened under the jagged cool ground that she lived in, and though she thinks she is safe on the ice, a mishap in a battle is always looming overhead.

    The equine wastes no time starting the battle, but she has no idea the teeth he bares or the spikes that prod from his hooves. She may be stupid, but she never truly feared another, being a spawn of the devil, and for that reason she stands her ground when he approaches. Though as he nears and his sharp teeth are bared and reaching for her leg her fighting instincts quickly jump in. She leaps away from him, but the suprise from his teeth had her moving slower than usual and for that he sheds some fur off her leg and a small streak of blood drips down. It wasn't enough to make her limp, but she can feel the cold as it clashes against the open wound.

    Her adrenaline was now coursing through her veins, by the time she had regained her footing the black equine had already moved onto another attack, his hind legs outstretched reaching for the same spot as his bite had reached. Again she attempts to jump out of the way, her body completely lifted off the ground, but the length of his leg had the advantage. His blow hits right under her armpit, an unknown spike breaching past her skin causing her to gasp for air in shock.

    When she collects herself her gaze quickly finds him moving away from her, her eyes narrow on him in annoyance. Perhaps she has underestimated this opponent, but still it was too late to turn away. The hound who was twice the size of the average wolf quickly runs after him, the ice beneath her worn down creating a more even ground. It didn't take too long to catch up, though perhaps it would have been faster had the wound in her armpit not lingered. She takes a risk by launching herself in the air, she comes in on him from the side and aims for sinking her sharp teeth into his back but she could easily have miscalculated her pounce and land on his hind end, or even grasping a leg if she had real bad luck.

    Not Afraid To Bite
    Jesper smirks as his ice blue gaze recognizes the hellhound form of Sabrina. She is most often in this form so, he is hardly surprised. Having said that, experience has taught Jesper not to set expectations when it comes to a battle. He watches her close the distance between them. All the while, the black maintains his clunky jog to keep his muscles warm and loose. He keeps his right eye trained on her approach and thus, his right side faces her. Jesper tenses a moment as Sabrina gathers herself and pushes off of the ice to pounce on him.

    He has seconds to decide what to do before she lands. Instead of thinking through a strategy, Jesper allows instinct to take over. He is part-fox after all. He can be very clever. His equine body gives way to his canine body. In a single breath, he now stands several hands shorter than he did as a stallion. He pads to his right and moves beneath Sabrina just as her arch begins to descend. Since she had calculated her trajectory for where he stood when she left the ground, Jesper feels confident that she would not meet her mark - that she would over jump him. Of course, it is still possible for her nails to claw at his side as she descends. However, he does not feel the sting of arctic air against exposed flesh. He waits until her front paws brace for landing before he shifts back to his stronger, equine form. He decides not to waste the energy to partially shift because his fox dentition are no longer a surprise. They would not give him any more of an advantage so, he thought it best to conserve the time. He does expend the energy to regrow the ice cleats composed of bony keratin.

    Jesper finds himself growing impatient. He would like to chase her down and send her off with her tail between her legs. He can not be sure where or, how Sabrina has landed. He aligns himself as best he can before he accelerates. His limbs alternate in their previous two-beat gait. His stride is clunky but, his ice cleats give him the traction to remain steady across the slippery ground. His ears flatten to poll before Jesper decides to dig into the ice even more. His ice cleats serve their purpose and, in two strides, the black male's limbs execute a canter. His first stride is awkward. His next two strides are slow as he tries to be careful and collected. As he gains on her, he becomes more determined. He charges directly towards Sabrina, not really caring which end or, side of her he will crash into first. His front limbs stretch farther and farther out from under his chassis as his stride lengthens. If he cannot trample her, maybe he can step on her tail or, trip up her legs and knock her down.

    He realizes that this pace is quite reckless and then, he feels his front left heel slide even farther out from under him. Both front limbs stretch out ahead of him while gravity pulls the rest of him down in a heavy thud. The impact causes a throbbing sensation from his sternum and elbows. He will certainly be sore in his chest. His forward momentum sends him sliding across the icy ground on his underside. As for running the hellhound down, he hopes that he has made impact though, he recognizes how imprecise falling down is. Perhaps, he struck her like a bowling ball instead of stepping on or, trampling her. He allows himself to slide until he slows down considerably. Jesper then calculates getting back upright. He digs his front hooves into the powder crusted terrain and pushes himself upright onto all four legs.

    Once standing, Jesper takes a deep breath, which reminds him of the bruise upon his sternum. He shuffles back into motion though his stride is affected by the soreness in both elbows. The black marches towards Sabrina with a cold glare shadowing his light blue gaze. Jesper boldly orients himself to face her. He arches his crest and tucks his whiskered muzzle into his chest as he protects his jugular behind numerous folds of skin. After all, she still has her sharp teeth designed for tearing and shredding. He waits and watches her every move as he braces himself for her counterattack.
    carnage x bethanie

    The hound had leaped into the air hoping to land on the equines back, making it easy to dig her teeth into his flesh. Though the sly fox shifts into just that, the black equine flashes into an orange canine before her. Her jump calculated for a much larger form, it was too late, she couldn't recalculate mid jump. She couldn't waste her attack, and so she reaches her claws down as she leaps over the canine, and attempt to strike him. Though she doesn't feel a tug where her claw would meet his body.

    The hound was not expecting the shift, and due to it she lands harshly on the ground. The breath is knocked from her lungs, and it takes her a moment to re-gather herself. The wound in her armpit not aiding to the lack of oxygen, the hound stands huffing for a moment as the air refills her lungs.

    Her eyes quickly glance over the battlefield, the once snow covered ground is now dug up and ice patches are now peaking out. Her yellow optics quickly lock with her opponent, now back in his equine form, charging right for her.

    He looks uncollected, his pace changing in an attempt to grip onto the now icy ground. He charges her head on and she jumps out of the way from his attempted attack but in that moment the large equine falls. She would have been safe had he not fallen, but the shift of the horses body causes the pair to collide.

    The collision throws her off her paws, but instead of sliding with him she is thrown over the equine. They now stand on opposite sides and she was thankful to have been in her canine form. The equine was a much more sensitive body, and it would take much longer for him to stand up than herself.

    She quickly finds her feet beneath her, and though her chest is sore from the fall, and her arm from the wound she can't slow down now. She takes a couple breaths to calculate her next move, the bold stallion comes at her straight on again and she grins at this movement from him.

    The hound bolts from her spot, charging him head on. The snow that remained flung behind her with every step, shards of ice dislodging from the ground. As she grew closer she could have collided with him, and that is what it looked like she was trying to do but at the last moment she veers to the right. The canine swerved from in front of him, and as she is now on his right side she reaches out her mouth hoping to grab onto his cannon bone. If successful his momentum will pull her with him, though she was prepared to grasp onto his leg. A wound in his cannon bone would cause him to limp, or depending on the damage at least create a discomfort for the remainder of the battle.
    Not Afraid To Bite
    Jesper's experience with canines and, his time spent as one, has taught him that their main offensive tactic involves their teeth. As Sabrina charges head-long at him, the black stallion anticipates she plans to bite him. The only question is: where will she latch on? His jugular vein remains tucked away behind folds of skin and, with his muzzle drawn tightly to his chest, her bite would first have to go through nose and lips. Both lobes pin flat against poll as she continues to charge straight on. For a moment, he anticipates her lunging for his face: ears or, maybe even, eyes. The thought leaves his mind as she dives closer to his right side. His right lobe unpins from beneath his thick mane to hone in on the hellhound. Sabrina could easily leap and attack anywhere from this position and, Jesper could not tell where she would target.

    He continues to march forward with conviction. He did not fear Sabrina or, the damage one could sustain in a fight. Her attack unfolds next and, does so too quickly for him to predict. He feels the warmth of her breath which is quite distinct when compared to the normal air of the Isle. Her breath warms against his right fore's shin just as his right front hoof falls in place under him to bear his weight. It is a warning and yet, it is too little, too late. The sensation lasts a mere second before her teeth sink through his skin and, into the cannonbone and, tendons that encompass his lower limb. He closes his eyes and grunts as the pain receptors in his brain receive the first wave of signals. Jesper instinctively wants to pull his leg away but, an inner voice reminds him that doing so could cause more damage. He forces himself to stop moving and, does his best to balance his weight across his other three limbs. The piercing pain gives way to a crushing strength as her sharp teeth slide through the connective tissue until they meet bone. The pressure between her mandible and maxilla are a force Jesper has never felt before. He is certain of this: if she wanted to, she could break the bone. He focuses upon his breathing to avoid losing all concentration to panic.

    The dog has a literal bone in her mouth. Jesper takes a deep breath and attempts to work through how to get out of this predicament. His tendons have been sheared by her sharp dentition. At this point, any sort of struggle could add just enough force to break the leg completely. After a couple of breaths, he decides upon his move. Given the hard, icy terrain, Jesper draws his haunches underneath him until he assumes a "sit". (His skills at getting into this position have far improved since he first tried to copy Merida.) From his sit, Jesper allows himself to roll to his right, towards Sabrina. Falling on top of her from a standing position, seemed like a sure way to damage himself more than necessary given the unforgiving landing. Jesper hopes to crush some of her beneath his equine mass. She may be a super-sized wolf but, his mass would be significant if he lays on top of her and pins her to the ice. At the very least, maybe Sabrina would release her hold on his cannonbone to spare herself being crushed underneath him.
    carnage x bethanie

    P.S. A little research on the strength of a wolf's jaw revealed that a wolf could break a bone. Since Sabrina is larger than a wolf, it is definitely possible here. I am giving you permission to break Jesper's cannonbone, if you would like.

    As she dives out to the right she takes a moment to calculate her attack, her eyes staring at his leg. She didn't have much time before her opportunity passes and so she takes her chance and jumps at his front leg. Her mouth wraps around his leg, just below the knee joint, and internally she is screaming with joy at the correct grasp.

    Unexpectedly the stag pulls himself to a halt, and though she was initially able to grasp onto him with her teeth she didn't have to fight a battle of staying onto the moving leg. Why does he make it so easy? But regardless his tactic she hasn't a moment to spare and her teeth quickly pierce through the thick of his skin.

    She can nearly feel the blood pulsing through his leg, and if she hadn't reminded herself it was just a battle she might have considered enjoying a meal. Alas, it was a battle, and she sinks her teeth further into his leg, she can feel his bone now. She had only ever attacked deer and it surprised her how thick the equine leg truly was.

    It seemed to be only a few breaths that her mouth grasped his leg, and before she knew it the ebony equine was sitting. An odd position to see, something that certainly would have been easier to do in his fox form, then again breaking his leg would be easier in fox form as well.

    Had he given up? She can't ponder the thought and so with one last effort she drives her teeth further into his leg until she hears a snap. Almost simultaneously the horse pulls his body to the ground, and she finally realizes his tactic after all. She hadn't enough time to remove herself from the situation, her teeth still sunk into his leg.

    She feels the weight of the stallion press against her, this time regardless of her pride a whimper could be heard throughout the kingdom. Her grasp on his leg was released, but it her position in his leg may be the only reason she didn't die from his weight. It was an odd position to fall on her, though her hind end was pinned between ice and body mass, the front half of her body was spared. The canine was a much more forgiving body than the equine and her mind instantly told her to pull herself out from under him.

    She frantically paws at the ice ground, but somehow it seemed that there was just enough space for her to pull out from under him. Her back end was nearly numb at this point, she pants heavily as the adrenaline pumps through her vein. She was tired, and couldn't feel her back anymore, and Jesper...well he lays there with what she imagines is a broken leg...? The two stare at each other, almost both agreeing the battle was over and one would be crowned victor.

    Not Afraid To Bite
    Winner: Jesper

    Rubric/Critique: https://drive.google.com/file/d/16fgc3MC...sp=sharing

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