He couldn't make it himself, hmm? That's too bad. And who are you lot?
28 March, 2017
The captain of the Harvestmen is going to be doing his own bit of training and evaluation. You know what that means? That's right! Field trip!
It's early, and enough so that the roads near the area were empty. However, a car can only take you so far in this neck of the woods, and you'll have to hoof it up the slope with Mike and Ike. The sun rests on the horizon, its amber lights muted by the sea of grey moving above. It may not be warm, but the signs of Spring are starting to show. The birds are chirping, the squirrels are chittering, and the feeling of growth is obvious. Near the gate there's no sign of the Ogre just yet, but the entrance can be spotted easily enough by the Changelings.
Damion is moving along smoothly enough as he approaches the gate. He parked his car somewhere out of sight, and is doing his best to avoid being seen by anybody that might pass on the road. Why? Because he's wearing a full suit of riot gear, minus the helmet, and has a massive sword angled across his back. There's also a revolver strapped to one thigh, and a hunting knife at the small of his back. But the armor and the sword probably stand out more. He takes a spot behind a tree or something else that can block him from sight, leaning and gettin comfortable while he waits for the rest of the group.
Rorschach hung back crouched like a hobo. Inconspiculous, left to teh dark, and minding his own devices ignored by the world. Truth was the world didn't want to know about him before or after his trip to the Arcadian fight blub(tm) and somehow the world was content to all but ignore him. He was their ugly secret, a banner of the lack of compassion humanity had to offer; the neglect of the hungry and the needy left abandoned. How society hated a reminder of their failings. The cockroach simply loitered and waited.
Kerrigan shows up, not very bright eyed or bushy tailed. The Darkling is dressed in jeans and a leather jacket. Something that she wouldn't mind getting dirty or have holes put in it. Weapons consist of a bow over her shoulder and arrows. There's a knife somewhere on her person. Along side her is a massive hellhound that's wearing a pair of sunglasses. Apparently Alocer and Kerrigan were not day walkers. The woman gives a nod to Damion and Rorschach when she stops at a conversational distance and waits to see who else is going to be showing.
There was someone there, waiting amid the trees without a word until each and every new recruit was accounted for. There are three of them in full. A knife-eared woman flanks the leader to the left, clad in black clothing damn near right out of a comic book that swirls and sways like a bottle of ink stuck to her form. At his right is a short fellow that barely stands a foot high, and is covered head to toe in gleaming, blue armor. The one the middle, the obvious one in charge, leads them to the Recruits, smiling all the while. The long-haired man could've passed for human if it weren't for those pointed ears and empty, black eyes. "Good morning," he calls to the group, voice full of pride. "The Captain won't be able to make it. He's asked me to lead in his stead, and see what you all can do on this beautiful, sunny morning."
Damion nods over to Rorschach when he appears. "Blotto." Then he studies as she arrives with her dog, raising a hand in greeting and smiling her wa. "Damion King." He becomes more alert when the trio appears, standing up straight and considering them. "He couldn't make it himself, hmm? That's too bad. And who are you lot?" His thick arms cross over his chest.
Rorschach was not smiling. He was hiding in what sweet vestigages of shadow remained. Lucky for him his mantle makde for pretty fine insulation. FOr now. For now. The gaunt, skeletal bugman. There was the bright orange glow of his cigarette that, somehow failed to illuminate his face, and the Darkling wandered over almost comically walking hte most circuitous path possible to get there to avoid that damned dawn. The hood was up. The meat mountain, however got an upnod in return.
Kerrigan's glowing white eyes go to the group that parts from the trees. Elves. God damn it. She gives a wave to them, "Good morning." the Nightsinger states. There's a look back to Damion and the woman nods again, "Kerrigan Desrochers." she offers in way of greeting for herself. Then she pats the hellhounds head, "This is Alocer." she tells them. "Shall we?" she asks.
The taller man is the first to speak, and does so after a brief bow. "I'm Lieutenant Yoric Miller, and these are two members of my squad." He clears his throat, and the lady responds, "Blossom Night." The shortest of the bunch answers with an echo that reverberates in his helmet, "Sam." Beat. "Just Sam." Yoric clears his throat once more, and begins moving towards the gate while motioning for the others to follow. "Alright, ladies and gents, so long as you follow me we'll all get home safe, and even enjoy a drink or two. My treat."
Rorschach had eyes on that hound and... focus... distracting ladu. He didn't speak but he could immitate a cicada fighting a malfunctioning toaster and was happy to let the dog know he was not a foodsnack. Gauging from that cragy scar at his throat that was all he was going to be giving noisewise. Shit. Introductions? Well Damion greeted him. He held up a fist to greet the big guy and stepped back, eyes him up, and knocked on his armour like it was a door. A faint skeletal grin widened and he patted Damion's shoulder. He approved.
Damion nods to Yoric. "Lead the well. It's nice to see you've put some meat on your bones, by the way." He follows behind the trio of Harvestmen, absently checking his sword in its sheath as he does. "And don't worry too much about me. I've been in the Hedge plenty of times. I've always come out fine." He pauses, then adds, "For enybod who hasn't met him yet, the roach there is Rorschach. He doesn't talk. Thankfully." He gives the bugman a pat on the head.
"It's nice to meet you, Lieutenant." Kerrigan states to Yoric. "It's nice to meet you guys as well." she mentions to the others with him and then there's a look to Damion and Rorschach to confirm they were included. She then tags along at the back of the group to make sure there was cover back there. Alocer falls in with her as well.
Rorschach ducked hiss headout from being pat. The comment was met with a smirk and one extended finger lacking in any critical groundbreaking offense. He turned to Kerrigan, put two fingers to his temple and gave her a sort of half salute. He was smart enough to turn his back to the street before doing a brief equipment check again assuming nothing. Nothing left to chance.
The gate itself is literally set into the hills, and once passed through all memory of the sun is just that. The air is damp and there's nary a hint of light around. This doesn't appear to bother Yoric and his lot by too much until the wee one starts to glow a steady blue light in the same hue as his armor. "We'll be going from here, Gnarlwood, and will stop at Windwater. The rules for now are simple: if I say jump, you ask me how high. If not, you'll be left for dead, and there'll only be sad rumors of your demise should you fail to follow orders." Yoric still sounds all sun, rainbows, and ice cream, but his tune carries an unmistakable venom with them. Clearly, this Fairest is the life of the party.
"Well aren't you just the most pleasent guy I've ever had the pleasure to meet. We'll all be sure to listen to you, I'm certain." Damion eyes the glowing blue armor, maybe trying to figure out if it's coming from the armor itself or a trick by the Lost. "Do you have any idea if there's anything more dangerous than usual in the area we're going through?"
Rorschach scribbled a note and held it up for Damion and shrugged. He gave Yoric a nod affirmative. He pointed to himself and then off in a couple directions and made a gesture which, cumulativly, volunteered to scout ahead.
Kerrigan listens quietly to Yoric as he tells them the rules and there's a nod to that, "Understood." the Nightsinger states. She then falls in with the rest of the group, giving a look to the other two recruits and then back to wards the front.
The short knight goes off towards the front, and after a flash of his flowery spring mantle he's marching off ahead of the group. Yoric then turns around, walking backwards to get a decent look at the group. "You," he says while pointing to Kerrrigan, "take point." Then to Damien, "Behind her, but give her space." Last he turns to Rorschach. "Go with Knight, and take the left flank."
After reading the note, Damion snorts softly. He nods to Rorschach, then hands the bit of paper back to him. He makes sure his gun is loose in its holster as well. He quirks a brow at Yoric, shrugs, then settles into place behind Kerrigan. He's sure to give her plenty of space. He occasionally glances behind him as he walks, watching for anything sneaking up on them.
Kerrigan gives a look to Yoric when he drops back and he tells her to take point. There's a nod of her head to the man and then she's taking point like she was told to. She looks behind her when Damion and Rorschach are given their assignments and there's a thumbs up from the Lady Sage.
Rorschach took the piece of paper and just... well he ate it. One way of disposing of evidence. Bugs man. To be fair, at least he was mindful about the theoretical footprints left. Swiftly he fell into his spot in the formation. One might say silently but really with a mute darkling it's a moot point. Gloss black eyes remained open and alert under the hood. His antennae swayed softly as if honing in on reception.
The creatures here are always present. Some small enough to not gain a measure of notice, but a few are just too big to completely ignore. Things crawling on the ceilings or scaling the walls that rush away when the glowing blue light draws near. A noise comes from the right wall, sending several rocks and bits of the wall tumbling down. Yoric has moved alongside Damion, gaze cast briefly to the wall. "So, what brings you to the Harvestmen? Was it that fool of an Ogre, or a duty to uphold?"
There's something further in the cave, either small or low to the ground. Two pairs of eyes are staring at the group one over the other.
The woman whispers to the bug, eyes always on the other recruits. "Tell me, bug. Are you with us, or with that buffoon? With us you can truly go to greater heights, and actually do something worth a damn." Beat. "But if you're not up for the task, I completely understand."
Damion just shakes his head Rorschach eating the piece of paper. He keeps as quiet as he can, which is no doubt ocnsiderably less so than the cockroach. He's not on point, but still doing his best to spot any potential threats. The question from Yorick makes him shrug one broad shoulder. "Well. Fighting is what I'm good at. The Harvestmen seemed like the best fit for my particular skill set, and I wanted to do something at least for the Freehold if I was going to join up. So here I am. And what about yourself? Why did YOU join the Harvestmen?"
Kerrigan takes to her point position and she doesn't mind the dirt or the dust. She keeps her gaze forward and searches the darkness through things. When she sees the eyes she raises a hand, signaling them to stop, "Something further in. Two sets of eyes." she states quietly over her shoulder to the others.
Rorschach half envied the little bretheren who got to scuttle away from brightthing and did not have to work under the dayball. He would sign but didn't. He just shook his head no. What? To both. He kept his eyes ears and others on the peripheral. Finally his jaw set and he scratched out on paper handing it to Kerrigan who asked and swiveled his hooded ehad around. The sun grew taller thisch only emphasized how dead or, no, desaturated of colour things were around the bug. He looked back to Kerrigan and arched one eyebow with a tilt of his head to see if that satisfied ehr answer. There was a vague pointing around that she was welcome to share that should she feel like. His attention went back to work. Some people were apexpredators. He was more of an Omega predator: he was interested in being the last one standing. That meant not being the first thing caught unawares. The time, however, was not working with him.
They can see what Kerrigan does, but it's already scurrying away. The things about as big as a dog, but three times as long. The beast has too many legs to count, and doesn't give them time to find out just how many there might be. Yoric calls out, "Alright, people, we're far enough to out there we're gonna see how you all do."
At the mouth of the cave they can see the sun again, and behind them several sets of glowing eyes looking at all of them. Several carvings at the mouth announce the passage back to the gate along with warnings of various hedge beasts and things far too stupid to be serious.
Damion becomes more alert when Kerrigan makes her announcement. He draws his sword from its sheath, holding it at the ready. Notably, fire licks over the blade over the massive weapon. He squints after the scuttling...whatever that was they just saw. Then it's gone. He frowns a little, then resheaths his sword. At the words from Yoric, he shrugs then moves to the mouth of the cave and peers out. "Nice and bright out there." He glances at Rorschach as he says it. "So is the test going to be getting somewhere? Fighting something? What?"
Rorschach tilted his head to let Damion know he was listening. What Rorsch wasn't doing was listening to them. He fanned a bit wide as to not fall out of formations. One thing martys and heros of legend have in common: they're all fucking dead and likely cause they tried doing something heroically stupid. His left hand found the hilt of that sickly Geiger blade that was notoriously a nightmare of rust. His other hand went up to acknowledge the query to him to give him a moment. Twitch...twitch-twitch his antennae went and it looked like he was listening? Maybe identifying a quantity, dialect, pheremone? Something.
When Alocer sees something skitter the flames seem to get stoaked in the Hellhound and his massive head swings up to look at Kerrigan, "I go now?" he asks.
Kerrigan shakes her head to the Hound, "Not yet." she tells him. "Alright, I'm not the only one that saw that. Let's move out." she states as she looks to Damion and Ror. "And I'll put my hood up." she chuckles.
"A test, and an evaluation." Yoric turns, chin lifted as he looks at each of them for a beat. "The Captain is to be found wanting, and I'll truly see what you have to muster." He then looks off to the east, and narrows his gaze. "We're still to meet at the fountain, but you lot will head west. At present you'll just slow us down, and if you do make it then you'll have proven yourselves somewhat worthy." With that said, he turns off towards the west and moves into Gnarlwood with the rest of his motley.
The bugs speak in far too many voices to all be heard as one. A few things are repeated in that cacophonic chorus, and can likely be heard. Many times. Many times. Many times. It comes with several descriptors, never the same one heard twice. Many times here. Many times around. Many times seen. Many times lied.
Damion frowns at Yorick's words. "Right....well. I guess we'll see you at the fountain then." He watches the three of them leave, then stretches and sighs. "Well. This should be fun. Are either of you good at souting?" He peers into the hedge around them. "Hopefully this won't take TOO long...we'll probably get there before night." Which admitedly is most of the daylight hours away from them. So not saying much.
Rorschach ducked his head down. Now for the life of him the man's never uttered a word to anyone in the Freehold or out on teh street. As it turns out sounding like a goddamned Predator didn't require speaking skills; just a death rattle of clacking and clicking and popping noises. Wow. He's got some, uh, interesting friends apparently. He took out his notebook and started writing quickly for the woman who-was-most-definiately-NOT-Kerrigan-sorry-ma'ams! and started to jot down that looked like a blend of psycopathy and ghost writing. He sircled the pertinant part for her to share: Something about many before nad many lying. He asked in that dronning clatter <<WHO. LIED? Did they try to hurt the nest?>>
Kerrigan turns to look at Damion and Rorschach, "Are we okay to get moving?" she asks them. Ror gets a bit of a peculiar look when he goes all Cicada-ess on them. "Ohkay..." she nods to that. Then there's a look to Damion, "I'll keep on point." she tells him.
Damion stares at Ror as he starts unleashing tht....noise, on the group. "What the fuck, man?" That is one of the weirder things he's heard in his life. And you know that's saying something when you're talking about Changelings. Then he nods to Kerrigan. "Alright...though I think Ror knows something. Or maybe he's going insane, I don't know."
Kerrigan's able to find a lost, hedge squirrel that's tall enough to stand to her waist. The blue-green thing looks at her, and then at the dog. The dog is enough for its scales to shake, and for the beast to run off into the forest. Damion's the one to find the path, and keep the group at least close enough to the trod that they aren't left wandering for God knows how long in Gnarlwood. The canopy does a good enough job to block out much of the sun's light, but the place is always beset by a beam from brilliance from somewhere. There's something up ahead, hidden amid the brush, moving at the same speed as the group.
Rorschach was having trouble finding... voices... so many. He tried again and to agree with them really cause the bugs were not wrong. Maybe it was the dayball, even in teh shade of the cavern time was time was not night. The roach waivered on his feet and had to pause to regain his bearings garnishing no new news on that front. He paused. Was...was that a fucking squirrel!? He blinked and went back to what was working for him and rattled a repeating clakking-trill back. He wrote out something to hand off to the person nearest to relay out 'Lost attacked them befor e lied. We are one hive to them. Seeing about trade Not hopeful, amicable resolution worth a try though' He asked them again <<Trade. What do you want from our hive? What do you want for us to help you first?>>
"You'd make fabulous boots." Kerrigan states to the squirrel. "And a hood." she muses as she pats Alocer on the head, signaling to the huge hellhound to not go after the squirrel. It's already scared. The hellhound snorts at her, "You're no fun." he shakes his head. Then Kerrigan looks back to see what's going on with their progress.
Now that was a big squirrel. Damion does his best to help keep them on track, though of course he has lots of help from the other two he's traveling with. Then Rorschach is passing him a note, and he reads it. "Hmm. So I guess there's a hive of bugs around here. They tried trading with some Lost, the Lost lied to them about something and attacked them. They see all Lost as one hive, but he's going to try and work something out." A pause. "....so, we're about to get attacked by a swarm of your cousins if you can't convince them aren't we, Ror?"
They hear them before they can fully see them. Kerrigan is the first to see them with her vantage point in the front, but the rest start to make their presence known with very loud, very obvious chittering. Those scaled, buck-toothed things just staring down at them in a frenzy.
Moving towards the nearest squirrel, Damion immediely shifts into an angled upwards swing, catching the beast at the left hip and slicing upwards through its body, exiting the right shoulder and leaving it to fall into two pieces. He immedietly returns to a ready guard, beginning to weave his sword around him, the flames of the blade leaving trails as the corpse quietly sizzles from the heated wound.
"Charlie's in the trees!" Kerrigan points up as the squirrels start chittering like the hellish creatures they are. "I wasn't going to make anyone into anything. Now I might have to." she frowns. There's an arrow nocked and she zeros in on one of the ones in the tree. "Alocer, Blood for the Blood God." she tells her hedge beast as she looses the arrow at the Squirrel, knocking it dead.
Once the Hellhound hears that he settles into a posture that means he's about to rip something apart, "SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!" he growls out as he tears after the ones on the ground. He's a little too excited and misses the one he was after.
The squirrels were already angry at the Changelings because Changelings. However, two of their number are dropped, and they go from angry to pissed. These Lost gotta die. One of the remaining few in front of Kerrigan launches at her, and gets a good bit of her armor in those vicious teeth. One tries to jump down at Rory, but catches nothing but air. The other, however, gets lucky, and takes a good chunk of flesh on the fall. Alocer gets the worst of it as they dart at the dog like they've practiced this before. Almost as one they dive on the dog, and right where he's blind they take a good hardy bite out of the dog. Sadly, that squirrel gets a burned mouth for its trouble.
Rorschach took a bite at one with-WHAT the everliving shit!? Boy has little stabby mandables like cheek implants?! Who did he pisss off for his durance to get that?! Ugh. He didn't draw the blade unless he had to. It was probably not even safe to have on his person. He drew the Geiger blade which was a nightmare of blistering rust. Yes, he nicked the squirrel, but there was a near maddening glee in his eye, or a shitton of painmasked in savagery. He nicked it but it began to...burn. Almost instantly the wond started to become septic and acrid, blistering. He didn't fight the short fight, he fought the long one. From his right hand though, black inck? Shit, blood like liquid graphite started to pol in his hand and drip onto teh colour leeched ground and into teh slate grey grass beneath his feet. One of those little shits seems to have landed in teh back of his shoulder and took a chunk out of him.
There's only a single squirrel on the dragon, for whatever reason. He's the only one there actually wearing armor, so he quickly scans his companions. The flaming hellhound looks like he can probably take care of himself, and the emaciated looking bugman seems to have more on him than Kerry. So he swiftlys closes in on the melee between Darkling and squirrels, and with more precision than you would expect froma weapon that size swings the blade to slice off the head of one of the hedge beasts. "Well, at least they're not very tough." He gives his weapon a spin. "Come on, you little scaley bastards!" It's like he's trying to draw the attention of the attackers towards him instead of the other three.
Kerrigan sees red when they bite her hedge beast, "Now I am going to make you into something." she growls as another arrow is nocked and she shoots the one that had bit her. Does she seem phased that she's bleeding, maybe a little, but she wouldn't be out here if she was afraid of being hurt.
Alocer on the other hand takes his bites like a champ and shakes the squirrels off as best he can. He does clamp onto the one that burned it's mouth, stomping it's head into the ground and then ripping it in half before spitting it's body out.
Since it looks like the remaining squirrela ttacking Ror is about to die from....what the hell did he do to that thing? Anyway, it's about to die. So he turns his attention towards the pair attacking the hellhound, stepping towards the flaming dog and cleaving one in half. He glances over at the cockroach. "How you holding up there?" He seems to ahve taken the most punishment, and is also the most fragile looking of the small group. So it's a bit of a concern.
Their numbers are thinning, but these Changelings stepped into the wrong neighborhood. Maybe? Maybe. The beasts are relentless, and don't seem to skip a beat when trying to attack the Changelings. However, they can't seem to find purchase on anything save Rory. While it may be poisoned, the wee beast has one more attack left in it before death takes it. Although after taking that one bite out of the bug it falls to the ground, rotting from the inside out thanks to that grievous, irradiated wound.
Rorschach was determined to go down kicking with every sinew of his being. The second to teh one he was fighting manages to find a fortuidous opportunity and bit clear into his thigh. Nature fun fats: Bugs were good protien. THey seemed to put the roach on teh menu. He kicked it off. He could feel flesh tear and that only let the puddle of viscous black start draining out of him. Face pale he turned to Damion and makde a clakking sound which came out sounding more like a quiestion. His boneless body crumpled to the ground like a discarded jacket. Fitting really. The world got dark and the pallid bug could think of one thing as the tunnelvision was claiming him: Fuck you dayball. fuck. you.
Kerrigan has gotten to the point of seriousness where there's no witty commentary between her and her Hedge Beast. Which is usually a bad sign for the Dusk. She nocks another arrow and kills the other one that was on the hellhound. Once that's done, it's down to Alocer to take the last one down, and with that she turns her attention to Ror.
Alcoer grabs the last one in his jaws and bites the head off of it. He lets the body flop around on the ground and then turns to walk over towards Kerrigan and spits it out at her feet, "For the skull throne." he tells her as he sits down on his haunches.
Oh shit. Well, that answers Damion's question. He glances around once quickly to make sure that there are no squirrels left. Nope, that's all of them. He quickly shakes off what he can from the blade and sheathes it, then moves towards the collapsed roach. He settles down onto his heels, and feels at his neck for a pulse. Well, not dead yet. "Shit. I hope you know how to stop somebody from bleeding out, Kerry. Or have some Hedge Fruit we can force down his gullet. Cause he doesn't look very good."
"A little dying never hurt anyone. Sides, Roaches are going to be here long after we are." The Dusk tells Damion as she kneels down beside Rorschach. One hand digs into her pocket for a stashed bag of bandages, apparently someone came prepared! "And I do. Though generally when people are on my table they are already dead." the woman muses as she works on the bug. "Bugaboo, you'll be just fine. We'll get cha back to where we can heal ya up nice and proper." the Nightsinger coos.
Gnarlwood has quieted down, or at least more so after the melee. Things have settled down, and a dozen dead hedge beasts are littered around. Well, eleven and a quarter. The one Rorschach stabbed is fizzling as it melts away with a funk not meant to be smelled by anything living. Further down the path they need to go they can hear sounds similar to the squirrels, but it's quieter. Softer.
While Kerry is working on keeping the bug alive, Damion very carefully removes the blade from his hand and sliding it back into its sheath. Thank god this armor has gauntlets. "I am so glad I have a revolver. I won't really be able to use my sword carrying this guy to where we're going." He glances at the mortician. "You seem to be a pretty good shot with that bow, while we're on the subject. And you have a good dog there."
Kerrigan is focused on bandaging up the Bug. But she nods her head at Damion, the symbols on her skin moving as she works with the bandage. "Thanks. I try to keep up with it. I'm not Legolas level of bowman though." she states. "And Alocer is my meatshield. He signed up for it when we left Arcadia." she tells Damion. "Let's get going so we don't get washed out of recruit school." she tells the men.
They have to help Rorschach move, but at least he isn't too heavy. Along the way they see the source of the noise, and likely the reasons for the squirrels ire. There's a nest of those scaled things, now abandonded for the time being. They have about half a kilometer to go unil they reach the fountain. Yoric and Blossom are standing near it, and Yoric is drawing something on the ground. Sam is occupied with staring into the fountain, completely ignorant of the other group's approach. Yoric, however, seems to take note of them, and drags a foot over whatever it was he was drawing in the desert. "I see you lot made it, and just in the nick of time. I was worried I would have bodies to take to the Freehold."
Kerrigan had helped with getting the bug up and moving. Then she'd tended to the wounds of her hedge beast. Because Alocer was like her overgrown hellish toddler. The hellhound reclaimed the head, carrying it in his jaws as they made their way to their destination. There's a look to Yoric when they approach and there's a chuckle, "Not this trip. But the week is still young. There might be a body or two by the end of it." the Dusk smiles brightly at that.
Damion is strong enough and Rorschach is skinny enough he could probably support the apparently again passed out bug easily on his own. Once they arrive, he caarefully eases Ror down onto some grass ot the like where he'll be comfortable. "We came close to having one anyway. Pack of squirrels. They seemed to really find Ror appetizing for some reason. Thankfully, he seems as hard to kill as an actual cockroach so he held in there." He glances up at Yoric. "Fun test."