The soft buzz of insects had not awaken him from deep sleep, nor the breeze through the trees. The forest around him held a dormant silence about it, as it holding its breath and waiting for something to happen to finish what had been started only hours before. A few birds managed to take up song for a moment before stopping again and the soft crunching sound of shifting rope was an eeriy call of warning to any who dare enter the small clearing of trees.
For a long time, there was nothing but the breeze as a witness to cause a shift of the man that remained silently suspended between two trees. The occational insect landed to investigate, but most were either attracted or driven off by the growing stench of imminating death. Beneath all the blood, skin had paled with lack of circulation, and blooded lips were turning a blue tinge. Breathing was so shallow and light that it was almost unheard at all, and the beat of the heart was nearly dormant.
There was a shift of leaves as a larger creature pushed through the trees to investigate the hung blonde, beady black eyes regarding the situation with a nervous cluck before pulling back. It was unwilling to move forward to investigate properly, the sword and materia jingling on its back a reminder of why this creature had returned… it had come back to master.
Another wiser pair of eyes moved to catch sight of the man, appraising the risks of exposing itself to move closer. One of the first to form the herd, the old green bird finally pushed forward with a soft weeble. It took short careful steps, closing the distance slowly while keeping a keen eye out for predators that could be lurking in the area. It stopped when it could see the extent of damage, and it let out a soft weeble of despair and pushed the blonde’s blooded face with its beak, hoping to draw back consciousness. There was nothing in way of response.
The old green chocobo shifted and tried again, a soft nudge. It sensed that death had not fully fallen on the former master, and its attention remained fixed. Slowly, it shifted and walked to the other side, lifting its head and pecking at the ropes binding the blonde upright. It paused only to investigate the shiftings of many others hidden in the trees.
It finally peered around the trees and then let out a loud WARK.
Almost instantly, the forest came alive with the shifting of large feet, ghosts of the forest coming to life at the call. Chocobos stepped from the forest and weebled at one another before as the moved forward, peering around nervously before starting to take over the grounds surrounding the hanged man. Some shifted and grazed on the grasses while others moved to investigate their master.
Even Sunny, despite bulk, moved with a careful grace to weeble and nuzzle the blonde’s blooded face. Shifting around, the large yellow bird pressed her weight up against the blonde’s injured back, standing as a sort of support and providing a state of warmth to the nearly deathly cold skin. Weebling softly at the other chocobos coming to surround the blonde, Sunny remained stationary as the herd seemed to come to a group mentality that death in trees was not normal.
Several pecked at the ropes that held the blonde for awhile, tugging at the knots and pulling at the bindings as much as beaks would allow. Eventually, most just wandered towards the trees in question and kicked and bit at the ropes, pulling and tugging this way and that. The rope held and so did the trees, but some were saticfied that leaves were pulled down.
An hour later, the progress had simply gone back to pecking at the ropes and pulling at the knots that bound the rope together. A group effort paid off eventually, the more loose rope around the blonde’s left wrist finally coming free and pulling off of damaged skin, freeing circulated back to the hand as the blonde’s arm slipped back to resting against his side again.
Panicked warks rose as the blonde’s body swung in the opposite direction, only a lucky – or unlucky – herd member still pecking at the ropes against the tree cousioning the blonde’s body and preventing it from hitting the wood. Several other birds, both observers and active participants, shifted over and pressed their bodies up against the blonde, surrounding him as a desperate act of protection from damage as others went back to work pulling at the rope and knot until it was finally pulled free as the first had been.
Sunny took most of the blonde’s dead-weight as it fell backwards, and the yellow bird flopped down to the ground to allow the blonde’s weight to settle. Several other females settled in and pressed their weight up against the blonde’s to keep him unmoving and providing warmth to him. Small chicks that were finished grazing ran up and settled themselves in the protective circle of mothers that were protecting the blonde and setting up a guard, waiting for master to either rise or slip away completely.
The herd of many birds of all ages grazed and kept guard, claiming this new territory as their own. Any predator was chased off or harassed to the point of needing an escape from the area. Those that refused to leave and even encrouched on the territory set up were trampled down by a small batch of large males to protect the members of the herd.
With master downed and safely protected with the chicks, the herd of once racing birds slipped into a quiet peace, guarding and grazing as they kept watch. They would protect master until the end.