Damion's efforts have netted him rumours of a particularly nasty beast deep, deep into the Hedge. The directions he was given were somewhat vague, but then, so was the Changeling who gave them to him, since they were high on painkillers at the time and missing most of an arm. It was definitely in the fen, though, and the creature was definitely something mostly real, and it definitely ate one of the people who was sent out to help Damion find it, so... Good luck, traveler! May fortune guide your way.
Damion takes the lead. The towering dragonman man is fully kitted out. Armor, sword, gun, backpack. After a brief detour to harvest some fruit, he's heading towards the supposed location of the whatever they're hunting. He assumes it's fairly dangerous, having eaten somebodies arm and all. He told Widget she couldn't come with him, since she almost died. Naturally, she ended up sneaking along anyway. With where they were going, he handed out gas masks from his backpack for everybody to wear. And told the imp to stay very close to him. Unless a fight happenned. Then she was to keep her distance and not directly engage. Now he's (slowly) heading towards the relavent spot.
Widget is still really excited for this. She's never been this deep the in Hedge ever and it's Round 2 for giant biting Hedge monsters. Given she's still scarring up from the last time, the imp actually does stay close to Damion. She's still armed to the teeth, armored in a new and unsharked flak vest, and toting a rifle that's about as twice as tall as she is. It's closer to an arquebus than anything else, the imp needing a forked stick to really lift the thing right.
And she's realising you can't eat chips wearing a gas mask. A true shame, that is.
Hien arrives, dressed as he usually does. A navy blue hoodie, cargo shorts of the same color, and no shoes at all. Things may be nearly freezing, but he doesn't seem to mind too much. Despite the danger they're walking into he possesses no arms and armor. When the offer of a gas mask came he shook his head, and his copy did the same. "Thank you, though. I think."
Tally, on the other hand, is... Probably one of the stranger sights at the moment. Wearing a gas mask as the others do, He appears to be standing at about the 5 foot mark, is andrygonous, and looks like a mix of tree and person, with scrunchy features to go with it. And, thanks to the presence of Hien and Damion, the changeling that Damion knows as Patrick and that Hien never got a name for but might of overhead him tell Amity to call him Tally, is masked to some extent, having no impact on the locale hedge between those two colossal powers. But you ever see what looks to be a humanoid hedge beast wearing a gas mask?
The Fen is a reeksome, stinking place, soggy and boggy and wet. The only trods, after all, are those formed by the fen itself, waist deep on a tall man, and who knows what dwells in the murky waters? Reeds are sharp, grasses biting into cloth and skin alike with toothed edges to draw the blood of any unwary enough to come into the twisting, labyrinthine maze of tussocked greenery and temptingly flat earth beyond the boundaries of the path.
While others look in more conventional ways, Damion decides to use a Contract he's not gotten much mileage out of yet. At least, if he can find a hedge beast it applies to. He begins to search around for anything reptillain nearby. It's a swamp, sort, right? So there's bound to be snakes or something here. Maybe an alligator. Though that might be a bit much. He rubs the legs of his imp. "Keep an eye out. And if you see something with scales, let me know."
The scaly creature is about the length of the average human forearm from snoot to tail, and with the noise the group is making, it is currently high-tailing it -- or, rather, swishyswishyswish-tailing it -- along through the water, trying to dart into a patch of nearby grasses where it won't be seen. It lifts the crest of grasses growing on its head, trying to blend in.
He see's it! He see's it! And Tally, the green and dark humanoid tree thing decides... To try and blend in with the greenery around him and shuffle sneak towards the creature. Why?.. Well, why not?
Widget perches atop Damion, using the much larger dragonman as a sort of howdah. She's a little leery of the water right now. But she's at least keeping alert, crackling eyes sweeping her surroundings. She's looking for the big stuff, letting the others handle the little things. Just in case.
Getting close enough to be able to be heard, but not TOO close, Damion concentrates on the... whatever it is. "Hello, Sam... do you mind if I call you Sam? ... I won't bother you for long. I'm just wondering if you've seen anything particularly large and dangerous looking in the fen around here." To the rest of them, it probably sounds like he's hissing or something.
The little lizard-thing pauses, crest flattening, when it hears Damion speak. Tentative, eyeing the rest of the group, it peeks its head out and hisses something in reply.
It says: "You! You're scaring all the fish away!"
The dragon blinks a few times, then sighs. He begins to hiss back to the thing in the water.
"I'm sorry about that. If you help me, I'll give you some fish. How does that sound?"
Damion points it out, and Hien resorts to instinct. He drops low, skulking in the water. Unsurprisingly, the amphibious beast is right at home as he starts to circle around. Between the blue and his natural ability it's difficult enough to see him until Wind aids him further along.
The little creature perks up at something Damion says, skittering up the tussock to get closer to the dragon-man's eye level. It flicks its tongue out, bright blue, then fixes an intent look on the water before hissing something in reply.
It says: "Fish! Yes fish!"
Widget taps her feet against Damion, getting his attention enough to point vaguely behind the group. "Something? Maybe?" The imp grips one of the dragon's horns, leaaaaning to try and swivel herself to look at whatever that potentially was. Hm.
Quiet sloshing comes from the Darkling's area, however he's hard to notice and the sound is mostly swallowed up by the ambient noises, as he moves as quietly as he can manage in the stomach high water, keeping his head slightly above it and trying his best to both listen... And sneak closer. He's probably a dozen feet or so to the left and in front of them, closer to the reptile
Damion smiles a little at something then hisses at the lizard thing again.
"Fine. I'll bring you fish if you help me, Sam. I'm looking for a large, violent creature. It attacked somebody I know recently. I hear it's hard to keep track of."
The little lizard abruptly flattens itself down into the weedy grass, coincidentally, right when Tally feels fear take hold, and hiss-growls something at Damion before sprinting deeper into the grass to hide.
It says: "It's here! Hide! Egg-eater! Hide! Hide!"
Blinking a couple times, Tally /looks/ at the lizard, before he shudders once, hard. His eyes flickering towards the people he came with, he shudders once hard as the enchantment overcomes his piddly will... And Tally breaks. Turning suddenly, he leaps a surprising fifteen feet, his feet trailing over the water before he starts trying to swim through the waist high water away.
Straightening up, Damion looks behind him. "Right. Of course it is." He lifts Widget off of his shoulders and places her... somewhere that seems relatively safe. "Hide. Take a shot if you can get it, but don't engage." Then he turns, smoothly drawing his zweihander in one quick motion. The black looking bone blade bursts into flames after being unsheathed. "Sam called it an egg eater. Maybe a snake."
Damion runs his eyes over the water, trying to spot where the creature might be. If it's big, it must displace a lot of water, right? You'd think you could see that.
Run, run, run... And then something hits his knees. Of course, Tally? Tally is terrified. Running away from his companions, so he doesn't even think of it, instead flooding his legs with mystic power and calling upon the power of the agreements between oaths and punishments, to send himself flying again, doing a backflip over it and landing on his feet... Thirty feet further, beyond the creature, and still a running.
Rearing up out of the water is, Widget's favourite, a large and fangy serpentine beast, with scales the colour of old logs, rough and irregular. Its body is about as thick as a human waist, head large enough to nip off heads in a single bite...and Tally gets lucky. After the merest flicker of a look that way, it plows through the water toward Damion, submerging as it goes. Unfortunately for it, the dragon is too nimble! Its strike misses, leaving Damion with a scrape of scale against his armoured thigh. Long scale. That thing just keeps coming.
Hien splits, and darts further around the beast. His clone does what it usually does, and immediately starts clawing at the beast. With that opening the real Hien leaps up, and brings his blade around in a crescent pattern to slash at its backside.
As the creature slides past him, having missed with its strike, Damion brings his massive blade overhead. It's not a precise, speedy move like Hien used. It's instead just raw strength, bringing the blade down to chop deep into the scaled hide of the beast, trying to sever it. From the size of it, he doesn't expect that to finish it off yet.
Running, running, running... Except its wading, wading, wading. And then Tally the tree person launches himself up and into the air... And misses his target, even as he swells over a foot taller and becomes more sizeable, the illusion straining to cover his body now, the three hundred pound man... Smashes into Damion's arm, probably knocking him slightly sideways and breaking Tally's nose
Widget hisses under her breath, watching the combat start. There? No. There? No. Ther-yesyesyesyesSHOOT NOW! THe trigger is pulled before the swamp gets hit with a thunderclap of noises. It's not as bad as her big gun would've been, but it's still a sledgehammer to the ears, denting the water and spreading the mist away from the flame coming out the muzzle. Gremlins load their guns hot, common knowledge.
Hien's clone stays on its attack, and tries rending away with its watery claws. Hien, on its end, ditches his blade in the beasts hide. Right as the single-edged fox blade leaves his left hand, that overlarge sprout sabre finds its way in its right hand. As soon as it touches his skin it starts crakling right away.
The serpent jerks, thrashing, under the combined hits from the group of changelings, then falls ominously silent. With a sudden hush and a creaking crack of stress, a good handspan deep of water suddenly solidifies, trapping the combatants where they stand.
Damion tries to spot the reptile under the water. The sudden spread of ice makes him grunt in startlement. He briefly tests the strength of the ice, then raises a fist and smashes it down into the surface, shattering the frozen liquid near him into dirty chunks. Climbing up onto the surface of the ice, he begins to walk over towards Widget. "This thing is trickier than I thought. Maybe I should have came alone."
There's a sound like a dying rabbit as Widget gets a lot of ice to some very unprepared places. Well, /that/ woke her up. Chitterchatter. So c-cold! Widget looks up at Damion, dropping her gun and holding her arms up to him. For yanking purposes.
"Ack!" the jewels have been chilled sufficiently now that Tally has decided he wants out of the water. Yep. Immediately. Shrinking abruptly, he's suddenly loose as he hops up onto the ice and looks towards Damion, chattering his teeth... "Damnit, Damion... You said thi-hi-his would be fun." And then he starts scurrying over towards Widget... "Fidget! Gimme the gun! I'll get Hien free."
The clone keeps at it, even while frozen there. It's not like water hates ice that much. Hien, however, is not that fond of it. His relatively tiny mantle flares and his shadow stretches out over the ice. He's there, and then in the blink of the eye he's up and away. Up, up, and away. He's high in the sky, and well above all the action as a tiny dot in teh sky.
Widget is tugged out of the ice by Damion, shivering and giving him a hug. "Set up gun." The imp points to her bigass gun, crouching to sort through her stuff. No no no YES OKAY. Man, she's glad she never used these things. Lighter, firework, duct taaaaape and go! Into a not-too-close hold with thee!
Blood is a delectable treat, yes, and Tally's broken nose is dripping a lovely amount of it. The sequence of events goes as follows: Widget drops her firework down a hole, at which point the ice suddenly becomes regular water again, everyone splashes down INTO the water, and the serpent comes shooting OUT of the water to latch its fangy maw right onto Tally's arse. Arse and thigh, technically, but it went with what was fleshy and available. Tally feels a growing heat, an itching burn crawling through his veins. On the bright side, the serpent is above the water?
"Ahhh!" Tally suddenly screams as he feels a hot pain flash through his ass and thigh, but mostly ass, and he falls forward from the impact, barely managing to stop himself from keeping his mouth open to scream in pain... And he /hurts/. He burns. And he is half underwater. On the plus side... the boys are intact?
So, he isn't screaming under water. That would be stupid. But a malicious form of mischief crosses his eyes as his eyes remain open under water... And then, he weaves the illusion. What sounds like a fart comes from him, and then something truly, spectacularly and horrifically epic in its lethality comes to the fore. It smells like someone injected the pure, raw essence of vomit into a distilled form of two hundred year old rotting sewage. And the taste. Oh god, the /taste/ that poor snake gets... Its pure, utter rot mixed in with burning flames with a hint of skunk essence. Its all this and /worse/. There are no words to describe the utterly horrific stench and taste, except this... Tally must of had some reason to smell so horribly in his past, because this scent is something that is particularly fae like in nature
Damion curses briefly when he's dropped back into the water, whirling around in time to see Tally be bitten by the snake. And while him with an assfull of fangs is pretty amusing, it's also bad. He charges at the serpent, swinging out his blade once more to slice deeply into its body. Then he's hit by a wave of... whatever that is, and fights down the urge to vomit. "Jesus christ!"
Hien was one in the air as quick as a bird, and he's about to start free-falling soon. Before he does he blinks away again. His elemental brother continues clawing away, and at that moment Hien has his spot. The Beast ends up right at the bests flanks. The spot is open, he steps into the blow, and thrusts forward. The crakling blade roars and is only deafened when its fully hilted in the serpentine hedge beast. When the beast stops moving his visage softens, and he rubs at its bleeding side with his left hand.
Out of the water? Aw yeah! Now is Widget's time! She hefts her rifle onto the support, swining it around like she's trying to take down a plane. Big gun. Big boom. In her sights. Ready! Ready! Re-
Widget is proud. She helped, probably. The beast is holding up okay. And because Damion is stronk as hell right now and Widget weighs nothing, she's taken to using the massive carcass as a gun platforn and a dry place. Just in case. Anyone want snacks? She brought snacks!
Damion considers the now dead serpent. But first things first. He checks to make sure the others are feeding Tally a steady amount of healing fruit to keep him breathing. Then moves away from the group. His already large frame begins to expand, and in moments he's towering over the rest of the party. He pauses, then looks around the water. "Sam? If you can hear me, I'll be back to bring you fish later." He bends down, grabs the snake by the tail, and loops it over his shoulder. Then he starts to walk back the way they came. And he puts Tally over his shoulder if needed. Or just drapes him over the dead snake, where people can reach him to feed him.
Hien offers up a few words in something that clearly isn't English, and then removes his blade from the beast. He looks over the boodied thing for a few seconds, and then shoots out a grossly long tongue to run it across the side of it. After lapping up that bit of hedge beast ichor he draws his tongue back. The sword is shunted off to nowehere as he moves to retrieve his other blade. The Tail is sent off too, and Hien lets out a sigh. His watery clone comes by he side, and then when Damion starts moving he does the same in turn.