In it together.
4 July, 2018
Velvet and Weaver go in search of Olivia's trail, and find her with a new friend. Part of Olivia's Crucible
Weaver was able to get a hold of someone that has recently seen the Iron Dragon, but that part will wait. It has to. While the pair move through the Hedge Velvet finds it again. The other dragon's scent, and it's down the east bank of the hedge. After a bit of work Weaver is in the air, holding Velvet tight as they search the hedge. "If we find him or her we take care of this now. If we just find him, we drag him back. Then we kill him."
This is a new kind of movement for Velvet, it means that she's not in control of her own body. But quite frankly, it's probably some of the fastest attempts at locating that she's taken part in, so there's no complaints from the woman. Her glowing eyes are fastened on the ground, narrowed as she focuses on trees and brush, looking for movement, following the scent. She guides as they go, lips pulled into a thin line. "If it comes down to us or him, I'm taking him out," she warns.
"It won't," Weaver points out. "If it's plain murder it'd be you first, then me. I can't say I'm any different from him in that way. I'd want him to suffer for a long while first, and then kill him. Savor the moment, and make it slow. Slow and painful." There's a bit too much joy with that assessment, but it becomes irrelevant as the trail leds them east, and towards the the mountain.
"You really don't think that much of my abilities, do you? Just keep adding to the list of people you think I can't kill and I'm going to start killing them to spite you," Velvet warns with a hiss through her teeth. She goes silent, jaw clenched as she stares down along the treelines, gaze intense as she searches.
"I didn't doubt anyone's abilities. I said what he'd do. In other words, not as much an us versus him as much as it'd be divide and conquer, and kill the lover first to make them suffer. It's about the effect as much as the pain and suffering." Must be a dragon thing. "I'm not some weak little thing for you to protect, Velvet," he protests despite being shot to near death and stabbed even worse. "I have been in enough shit in my life to know what I can and can't do." They soon reach Stoneheart, but the trail goes further down the opposite end of the mountain from which they started. The air ctacks, the clouds pop, and soon it begins to rain.
"You are probably more sturdy in a fight than I am when it comes to head to head fighting. I'm not saying you're weak. I'm saying he needs to die." Apparently she has no sympathy left in her for Iron Dragon, where there was once a sliver. Privateers get no sympathy, no quarter. They die. It's that simple to her. She continues to guide his motions through the air, letting him know which ways to follow. "We're going to have to go faster, the rain is going to fuck it all up.
Faster? Weaver has to drop back down, and his next leap in the air is higher than the last. Wings tucked just slightly back as they glide. "I am as much a thing of the night as you are," minus the pain sunlight brings to her world. "I don't need you worrying every moment about protecting me from him or anything else. If it comes down to me dying, it comes down to-" He's cut off by the sound of howling, unsure of the soure. "The fuck was that?" He can't see the source, but Velvet can. A pack of briarwolves are on teh move further down the mountain.
"I will always worry about you. You almost died on our wedding day, you don't get to tell me I shouldn't be worried. How many assassins have I taken out?" Velvet's head shakes a little at that. "It's unrealistic to expent me not to be concern--" Her eyes lock onto the wolves, nostrils flaring. "Briarwolves. We may want to start following. They've got a scent and it might take us where we need to be."
Weaver sighs. The disgruntled sort of thing you hear when you know you're wrong. "You're gonna be the best helicopter mom," he jests while banking to follow where Velvet points him. "What if they're following some other poor fuck? I'm not stopping to save them."
"What if they're following Escapees that maybe saw Olivia? What if they're chasing the scent of Iron Dragon? You want to keep going in this direction, go. I will go after the wolves and their prey." Clealy Velvet isn't afraid to go it alone if she needs to.
"Fine!" Weaver concedes. "Fine. I'm not leaving you alone out here. We're in everything together, right? If I'm here I'm going to stay with you." A crackle of thunder and a bolt of lightning cause him to stop. It flashes right in front of them, and forces Weaver to take a hard left as a it sends a tree toppling down. As he does so they can hear the howling getting louder and much more frequent.
"In it together," Velvet agrees as she starts to tell him exactly the direction that they should start moving in. "Get a little bit lower," she tells him, a click coming from where she's being held as she grabs the launcher from her side and starts to load it up. "I need to be closer."
Olivia flexes her fingers, shaking one hand at her side, vaguely frustrated. The icy armor that she manages to conjure up is better than nothing, but it isn't going to repel an assault. It's not working like it used to. "CECIL!" she yells over at him, turning carefully in place to watch as many of the wolves as she can manage. She can't kill them all. She can't kill ANY of them if she can't find some way to defend herself.
From above and through all the rain Weaver flies, holding Velvet in tow. He comes down bit by bit, still unable to see who or what might be teh target of the briarwolf's hunt. "I don't see shit," he points out. "Gonna drop down lower and may hit the trees while I move." To that, he comes low enough that at least Velvet can see a man covered in soft, brown scales with claws longer than even Weaver possesses is on the ground. He's currently hugging himself, and rocking back and forth while the briarwolves approach. One of the beasts has made itself known, and is skulking towards the pair. The other is a woman that looks mostly like Olivia, but something is off. She's covered in ice, her presence cooling the air around her. From Weaver's circling she can also make out five more briarwolves approaching the pair from all sides.
As they start to go lower, Velvet shifts her grip. Glowing eyes narrow as she tries to focus on what's going on. A dragon and... "It's Olivia," she growls to Weaver as she focuses the weapon one a few of the wolved that are starting to surround the woman. "Get the fuck away from her," she bellows as they decend, taking shot after shot, launching grenades into the pack. The explosions pop off, one after the other, three of the wolves not even getting a chance to howl and whimper before dropping dead.
Olivia hisses softly between overly sharp teeth, taking up a more defensive stance as the wolves circle her. This isn't going to go well. Her eyes snap up when she hears movement overhead, soon followed by Velvet's voice. Velvet's voice? That can be dealt with later. One thing at a time. Olivia's gaze refocuses on the wolf that's trying to attack her, instead lashing out with sharp icy claws.
Velvet's shots land with unerring accuracy. One explosion follows another, leaving the hedge alight alongside the lightning that comes down. Briarwolf parts, underbrush, and tree bark goes everywhere after each grenade goes boom. Weaver growls as soon as he hears Velvet call that out. "When I call ready, land." She can feel his grip loosen, waiting for her to call ready. The briarwolf slashed by Olivia didn't much like that, and it loses track of what's happening to is packmates. Instead it lunges forward to swipe at the woman, and finds the ice on her body lashing out at it.
"Ready," Velvet says as his grip relaxes. She waits for the drop, landing delicate with a little half run to keep her momentum and to keep from toppling. She skids to a halt, grenades launching at two more of the wolves, setting them screeching back to hell. She aims towards that last one, but with Olivia right there, she can't risk it. The launcher is dropped, freeing her hands for new weapons.
Olivia can hear the explosions and the sounds of voices. The voices are secondary, though. They're less important at the moment. While Velvet takes care of most of the wolfpack, Olivia focuses on the one in front of her, absently inching away from the majority of the flames around her. She steps to one side, finding what appears to be a weak point before lunging at the creature, sharp icy talons ripping across flesh and impaling the wolf viciously, letting it drop to the ground in front of her as she pulls her hands back.
The ice wasn't somethign he'd known or was used to. Much less that much ferocity and terror. Weaver stares her down, an askance gaze shot at the still terrified Cecil. He doesn't matter to the dragon, but the woman does. "Olivia?" he asks when taking a step forward.
"Nicely done." Velvet's voice rings towards Liv as the woman cuts through the wolf. "Not everyone fresh out can take down a briarwolf. But we need to get you the fuck out of here." She'll let Weaver handle that as she starts to move towards the cowering draconic, Cecil. She doesn't touch him, just kneeling down in front of where he cowers. "They're dead. We need to move. Can you walk?"
Olivia's head snaps over towards the pair as she hears them speak, eyes shifting between them with undisguised suspicion. What's only been a matter of days for them has been months for her. This has to be yet another game. Another trick. She shakes her head rapidly, taking a few steps backward, inching back towards some kind of cover. "I'm not going to keep playing these games. This isn't funny."
Weaver has been through a lot the last few weeks, he doesn't seem all too happy at the response he gets. He growls, that much about him is unmistakable. "Olivia fukcing Utridge, I really don't have time to for nay fucking games right now. We need to leave, and-" He shakes his head before that rage overtakes him. "If we have to act like children that's what it's gonna come down to." Mirroring a threat he's told to her a million times over in their youth, "Liv, if I gotta drag you to go, I will." Cecil looks up to Olivia, her visage much less something to be frightened of when compared to the briarwolves. Then the beast realizes his lack of clothing, and hastily turns away. "I'm- I'm okay. Where can we go? Where are we!?"
Velvet presses three fingers to her forehead and closes her eyes as Weaver starts to go off on Olivia. She has to take a deep breath, composing herself and focusing on Cecil. "Don't worry about clothes. Worry about safety. You're in the Hedge. There are safe places and unsafe places. Right now, we're in an unsafe one. I can explain more when we aren't likely to be attacked by another pack of those wolves." She pushes up to her feet and gestures for Cecil to follow her before she turns, walking towards Weaver to thwack a hand against the back of his head. "Hey, Captain Insensitive. She's not sure she's out of her fucking Durance yet. Look at her face." She knows that suspicion, clear as day. "Threatening her is going to make her join you, just like it wouldn't have worked on you when you were fresh." She glances to Olivia, expression impossible to read, but there's a certain level of relief in her eyes that even she can't hide. Or isn't bothering to. "You don't have to trust that this isn't a game. You don't have to trust anything other than your instincts. Do your instincts say that you are better on your own?" She gestures to the one wolf that Liv took out. "Or are you safer with me?" She gestures to the rest of the pack around her. "You have a choice. Make it fast."
Olivia pauses as she inches back a bit, posture shifting. At the moment, she looks very much like a terrified, caged creature. "You can try. But I like being alive. You're not going to drag me anywhere. I'm not going to fucking DIE HERE." She has no idea where she is. As far as she knows, she's where she has been the entire time; in The Borrower's realm. And there's no way Weaver could be there. Olivia's eyes snap over in Velvet's direction as she begins to speak, now-blue eyes blinking a few times as she listens, keeping a 'safe' distance between herself and the two illusions. They have to be fake. She thinks, processing the question for a few moments before nodding slowly. "...alright... which way?"
Weaver stops as Velvet warns him. His growling remains, something else bubbling beneath the surface. He takes several deep, smoky breaths, wings tucked in as he steps forward again. "A man took you, Olivia. He looked a lot like, but had grey scales. I don't know what he told you, but you were taken. Like me." Then a a hand is pointed to his wife. "Like Velvet. I have fallen for a lot of bullshit lately, but I believe that this is the real you, Liv." He needs to believe it lest he spiral further. There's a vault near the top of the mountain. THrough that and we can go to the lakehouse or the hotel." While Cecil doesn't speak for Olivia he seems trusting enough to follow them. It's better to say follow Velvet. The sight of Weaver's snarling, scaled visage does not make him the slightest bit happy, and he hids behind Velvet. "I'll go, but stay there." He points further ahead. "All the way over there."
Velvet pauses for a moment to reach out and take Weaver's hand, giving him a little bit of a squeeze. Supportive and warning at the same time. "I'll scout ahead, I need you to stay behind the group and keep from anyone sneaking up the back." Also, he's scaring Cecil, and Cecil seems to have been there for Liv's escape, so he's getting a big of respect tossed in his direction from the woman. Appreciation. "Like he said, top of the mountain. We shouldn't stop until we get there." She grabs the grenade launcher and tosses it over a shoulder, preparing her pistols at either side of her hips. "Keep the claws out and the armor up, you might need then again," she tells Liv.
"He told me...." Olivia trails off, thinking. It's been a while ago now. What did he tell her? She looks thoughtful, the sound of ice crackling quietly surrounding her before her eyes return to him. "He told me it was your fault." The statement doesn't seem to sound accusatory, at least. Her head turns again, looking up towards the mountain as both Velvet and Weaver give the same suggestion. It's the same landmark she was aiming for anyway. May as well tag along. Strength in numbers. "Not the first time," she mutters in response to Velvet's suggestion to be prepared.
Weaver takes that hand and that polite suggestion, and moves towards the rear. As he passes Cecil the other scaled Changeling gets a long hard look, and his shadows are as weird and Wyrd as usual. This sends a shiver down Cecil's spine, nad he hurries after Olivia and Velvet. "Is he gonna eat us? He looks like he might eat us."
"He came from the same place you just came from. Seeing you is a hard reminder for him. On top of the fact that his cousin was kidnapped and brought there... he's not in a good place. But he won't hurt you. He'll just glower." Velvet pauses, giving Cecil a once over. "You'll learn to do it yourself soon enough." She starts to lead the way towards the peak of the mountain, careful eyes sweeping the landscape for traps, pitfalls, and enemies. She glances towards Olivia for just a moment before refocusing. "It's only been about a week since the reception," she notes in a strange tone. "How long has it been for you?"
Olivia thinks for a few moments at Velvet's question, watching the other woman warily. "Longer than a week," she says drily. Her head turns slightly, glancing back towards Weaver as he follows along, still not entirely certain if she's following the pair into a trap of some kind. But she's going to be ready if she is. "Couple months, maybe? I stopped counting. The sun didn't always set. I didn't sleep a LOT."
Weaver reminds silent as he trails them. He shapes the hedge around them as they move. Plants growing higher, shadows reaching longer. It doesn't help that it's raining like hell right now. Cecil doesn't much like nor him. Even if Velvet's fairly high herself she's a better bet than Weaver not to be a keeper somehow. When they reach a what looks like a normal, antural rocky face Weaver whispers something, and a rock slides away to reveal the entrance to his Hollow. Inside, the golden walls are covered in vines, and much the earth below has been left untended as plants grow ithout boundary. Several racks, tables, and other manner of presentation are all around in this place, and past that are three doors. He stops at the left-most one, turning to the group. "Hotel or house, Liv?"
"I would have prefered that it was no time. But a couple months is better than the alternative, I suppose." Velvet doesn't sound happy about it though. As they find the hollow, she steps aside, tucking the guns back into their hiding spots. "You guys go first, I'll take up the rear to cover the exit.
Olivia pauses just outside the hollow, hesitating. Going inside is going to narrow her routes of escape. She shifts, fidgeting outside the door as she weighs her options. Her fingertips drum against her leg, a quiet tinkling sound of ice on ice. "I... don't know," she says slowly. "House I guess?" Fewer people. Better security.
Weaver nods, and moves away from the left door. "Home it is." He steps towards the center door, and it opens to reveal Weaver and Olivia's bedroom. Which, unsurprisingly, has not really been slept in for the last two weeks. "We can talk more later, but after you wake up we need to have a long, long conversation about Dietrich."
"Dietrich is the man that grabbed you," Velvet explains to Olivia as she waits for the others to go into the door. "Once we get through, let me know what you need to make yourself feel comfortable. Weapons or whatever." Making sure that Olivia knows that nobody is trying to take away power from her. Just give it. It's what helped her when she first came out; Having choices. They'll get Cecil set up too, with clothes and somewhere to sleep. But for right now, she just wants to get everyone safe.
"...I don't know who that is," Olivia tells Weaver. Velvet's explanation does little to enlighten her. The familiar sight of home softens some of the paranoia, the small spark of hope brightening a bit as she looks between Weaver and Velvet. It may not be HER room, but she recognizes it readily enough. She looks back the way they came, trying to process fully what's happening. "This... this is actually the way out?" One hand rises, a single finger pointing at the door as she steps towards it. "That's it?"
"Way out? Kinda. Sorta. This is my Hollow, and this is my house. You've seen the house before, but-" Weaver doesn't get teh rest out as Cecil goes barreling past him to run into the house. It doesn't take long, and the sound of the fridge opening and much of the contents being moved around. "Gonna kill him," Weaver grumbles while following after the Beast.
"Try to remember when you first got out," Velvet tells Weaver with a sigh as he heads into the hollow and towards home. She pauses, her eyes lingering on Olivia as the woman points. Her head slowly bobs, just once. "It is," she assures. "I think it's high time that you got to go home."
Olivia watches as Cecil goes running past, a somewhat incredulous look given. That's probably not the wisest action, but. She just shakes her head a bit and moves forwards towards the door, pausing just briefly before stepping through and returning to the familiar house. It's going to be a long night.