Note: Image associated is made in an AI program
Something had come into Vulf's favourite clearing. A very bizarre something that had scared all the game away.
'Just my luck,' he thought as he watched the strange object sitting on the grassy forest floor. 'Go hunting, get some fresh air, spend 6 hours waiting in a blind and by the time you actually see something worth bagging, a thing falls from the sky.'
Shifting his telescope to view the softly shining metal, he noticed it appeared to be giving off a great heat. The air about it twisted and turned; the grass below was steaming or already burnt to a crisp, and the parts nearest the ground were slowly shifting colour, once glowing and now dimmer. Moving his legs carefully to face the thing, he resigned himself to watching it, as there was certainly no hope of a successful hunt now.
As a quarter hour finished its passing, the grass had finished steaming, the air had calmed, and the metal had ceased glowing some time ago. Vulf was considering ignoring the object as it had done nothing new, that is, until a seam appeared within its body. Watching with apprehension, it became clear that the thing was some manner of carriage, though how it worked would no doubt be some magic, as carriages always needed some animal or even one of the weaker members of the clan to move them.
What stepped out of the carriage was no less bizarre than the carriage itself. It appeared as something like the Herenoids of the far south, though it didn't lumber about like them at all. No, a Herenoid was all huge bulk on two stubby legs and overgrown arms for ripping trees out of the ground. This thing couldn't possibly do that. It was too short, too slender, long-legged and short-armed, and, well, round. Its face appeared to be one singularly massive eye of a strange colour that Vulf had heard of in stories but never seen for himself. Or Vulf had thought that until the creature looked at a part of its arm and seemingly tried to break its eye off.
It twisted its eye around a quarter turn and lifted it off, exposing a much smaller appendage. Staring through the scope, Vulf saw that the thing did indeed look like a Herenoid. Two forward-facing eyes, a nose, and a mouth, but no hair, unless it was hiding under another covering. Did the thing live in what it had taken off, like one of the sea-dwelling Curunon? It seemed to call back to the carriage and more like it disembarked. Vulf counted some 6 of them, tapping each of his own legs nervously as they appeared.
He wondered if he was the only one of his kind that had seen the carriage arrive and if he should get a closer look at the creatures that had exited it. At least 3 of them appeared alert and nervous, scanning the area like watchers. They each held something like Vulf's own weapon, and the others had something like the hand cannons wealthier folk could acquire. Approaching would certainly be risky. Letting them finish whatever they were doing might be more dangerous. Vulf decided to advance on these interlopers, letting himself down from his blind as quietly as possible. Still, it seemed his movements were noticed by one of the creatures.
"Commander, something just moved in the trees, due North, hundred meters."
Vulf heard the noises, not knowing what any of it meant beyond that it had seen some of his motion, like a Girik that heard a twig snap and would stare at where the noise came from. Vulf paused, hearing another creature speak, "Lieutenant, relax. Intelligence already plotted out the areas that the local organisms gathered in. We're nowhere near them."
"Respectfully, ma'am, intel is never perfect."
More unintelligible noise, but Vulf could see one of the creatures was still suspicious. Either he moved now, risked scaring the creatures further, or stayed utterly still. Vulf pressed on, unwilling to potentially starve himself by waiting for these things to leave his clearing.
"Contact, 80 meters. It's, uh, a spider?" The creature stood tall; its weapon lowered as the other two kept their focus on Vulf, "Orders ma'am?" Whatever these things were, they loved to make noise, Vulf thought, slowing down as he approached, trying to act as non-threatening as he could imagine.
"What are you? Oh, that's not good. If it's anything like the ones back home, heat scans would have said nothing about it. And it's massive. Of course." All the creatures were staring at Vulf just as he stared at them.
"Doctor? Are you any familiar with spiders?"
The one who had taken their eye off seemed to motion to another of the creatures. This one seemed frozen in place as Vulf watched its eye shake up and down, chest facing straight at Vulf.
"Is that one showing any aggression?"
"Not if it's anything like our spiders, but that's hardly a reliable standard."