(2018-02-25) Foxy Lady
Foxy Lady
Summary: A Rainbow squirrel comes asking for help in the Hedge and gets it.
Date: IC Date (2018-02-25)
Related: None
Player Characters: Audgrim, Bea, Karl, Tyla, with Cobalt as ST

…we fade in to a hot, sweltering day in the hedge… full of razor hot winds that bite at out adventurers as they walk. How did they get /here/? This seems like an treacherous desert, unfamiliar to what any of them remember the hedge around these parts being. …but there it is, still. They stumbled through a small hole in some briar thorns, and found themselves walking along the duney hills of a blisteringly hot desert.

Strange, black buzzards fly over head, crackling with energy. And walls, and walls of thorns raise up on all sides, creating a maze.

Bea is prepared…for the weirdest picnic on earth. She's got a heavy backpack on dangling with ropes and traps, an oversized axe over her shoulder, and a little basket over her arm, from which she pulls out the odd snack. She looks around the thorny hedge with a frown and a shake of her head, "This…this is just all wrong, and I'm gonna have to like start a whole new chapter in my book." She squints up at the buzzards, as if committing the sillouettes of the birds to memory.

This wasn't what Audgrim had planned when he managed to get Bea and Tyla to come to the same spot. He didn't expect a squirrel begging for help, and them deciding that there are more important things to do, like rescuing what needs help. He's noticeably uncomfortable and startles at sounds and shadows, much less confident here than he is back in the real world. He's not been back in the hedge since he escaped. But, Bea's preparedness rubs off on him, so he forces himself to relax and pay attention. "Not very nice," he agrees. "I was at better place. This is not easy to walk in." He pointedly squeezes past some thorns that are a bit too up in his face. Still, he keeps trying to find some tracks or similar, of where the squirrel came through if nothing else.

Tyla quietly follows along, keeping Audgrim between herself and Bea. She's busy trying to remember which way why came from and where they are going, and if any gates are nearby. She's also watching for the squirrel tracks as well since that's something she can actually do. Her hair rolls slowly, flickering occasionally like it does when she is annoyed.

Karl does too follow the group keeping himself in the tail. He is, though, totally unprepared. Or as prepared as a tree can be to such occasion. He glances around here and there, trying to pay attention to any sign of danger or enemies or the squirrel.

The squirrel has been along with them, running, leaping, and gliding just a little bit. But mostly running from dune to dune now. "It's this way- Eeeek!"

Suddenly the sand beneath the squirrel's feet give way, and he's falling down a shaft… And the thorns move, blocking any path toward him. A new wall suddenly sprouting out before them…

Bea jumps back, holding out her axe like a guard rail to try to protect the others. "Oh! Squirrel! Oh man, come back!" She frowns and looks around as the path comes up, and sighs a little, "Well, this looks like a better way anyway, I guess." She starts to scoot around the wall, noting, "I think I see some tracks here, just like…they're almost gone, but someone was for sure here, I think."

Audgrim almost walks right into the wall, hurrying to catch up to the squirrel; he comes eye to eye with a very sharp thorn and slowly backs. Looking where Bea is indicating, he grunts out an agreement, crouching to look. "Around," he gestures. "But could be trap, walk careful." Even so, he does slowly inching around to follow the tracks, on high alert.

Tyla stops and lays down at the edge of the shaft to look down. she has short arms but maybe the squirrel might be able to jump up and reach her, assuming it's okay. She peeks over the edge carefully.

Being the last in the line and a bit out of quick reflexes, Karl just arches a green brow and makes an 'o' with his mouth when the squirrel is gone. When he finally processes it, Bea and Audgrim are already on their way to turn around the wall so he can't avoid following those few that he knows and, once more, he goes in the tail, pretending he's taking care of the rear.

It's a continuing maze of thorny walls, that seemingly grow up out of the sand just to vex the rescue team. Somewhere in the distance they can hear the sound of the squirrel calling to them. Calling for help.

Meanwhile, the sky darkens ever so slightly…

Bea looks up, then down to where Tyla is looking, then around, "Right. Tyla, you should get up and we need to start moving, because this…is looking like maybe that squirrel was trying to trick us, or at least is some bad bait." Whether or not anyone joins her, she is moving slowly, further away from the thorns that she is watching encroaching from above. Her axe is at the ready, and she adds, "Really, we should just, like…keep going…fast, maybe."

"Not good," Audgrim says ominously, looking behind himself and up, having turned fast. "Move move," he agrees urgently with Bea, and he's even taking Tyla's arm to make her go, and nudging Karl along. He's already starting off the only path they can go, the one the footsteps were following, but in passing he grabs hold of a thorn in the wall and yanks it lose, pricking his own finger so blood is drawn. Preparing for eventualities here.

Tyla is pretty used to bits of the Hedge growing up around her lately. Dessert is new though, and maybe that's what's throwing Tyla off. Sand just gets everywhere, like glitter. After laying down on the sand there is sand in her wispy hair. Bea gets a distracted nod as she tries to see through the thorns, but when Audgrim tugs on her arm she gets up and starts to follow him, trying to get the sand out of her hair.

Seeing the thorns above and about to crash them down, Karl starts moving. This time he does try to be more useful. Meaning that he runs to save himself and doesn't give his friends one more problem to solve. He doesn't even need to wait on Audgrim or Bea's warning to do it. At least, not this time. His long legs help and in a few seconds, he's just behind Bea.

The walls tower a good twenty feet up into the air. And above them are the crackling buzzards; black and electric yellow. Going upward seems like it would be a bad idea… So the only option is /forward/. But which way forward?

Tyla is able to provide assistance with her sense of direction. Occasionally calling out to Bea as they run when they've already been in a direction. While Audgrim spots an area where the thorns /seem/ like a solid wall but it is actually an illusion, and they can skate through it. And Karl finds a little tunnel that has been formed by … something.

Meanwhile, Bea is an expert hedge delver, and she's able to predict it when the walls of the maze move, spring up, or try to close in on them. She seems to be one step ahead of the maze at all times…

When they finally come to the center of the maze it all seems to stop. The maze stops moving, stops trying to crush them, skewer them, or otherwise murder them.

They come to an oasis in the middle of the maze. A crystal clear pond that steams ever so slightly, with little purple leafed palm trees with bright, bright red coconuts on them. A tent has been set up near the pond… and next to it a cage with golden bars. Inside of it sits a beast changeling. Looks like a little fox-girl.

Left, right, back around, left again! Bea almost seems to be enjoying this, calling out directions, giving out the occasional laugh and…did she seriously stop for a second to taste that weird looking leaf? In any case, Bea is definitely in her element here, and with the help of the others, she seems to feel like this whole thing has been a walk in the park, breathing heavily, but satisfied when they hit the clearing. She declares with confidence, "See? I told you guys that path would lead somewhere nice." The axe is at the ready, though, despite her words, and she eyes the cage with the fox-girl in it. "At least we seem to have found what we are looking for."

There's a few meaningful looks at Bea and Tyla, as the team works as a team, since the two of them ARE working together. Audgrim isn't very subtle on any given day so it might be a bit annoying how he points it out to them, but least he means well with his encouraging words such as "You work well together" or "See? All friends here." When not trying to do this, he's generally being encouraging, inspiring them all to do their best. Reaching the pond, he's immediately in a much brighter mood.

"Water - much better than sand," he declaares, but has the wits to not go for a swim, no matter how tempted he might be. Instead he focuses on the fox girl, and the surroundings. "Is she who we save?"

Tyla just nods to Audgrm, distracted more by keeping track of the twists and turns of where they have been, rather than where they are going; that's covered. Also she's not the mad one. He gets a slight smile here and there though since he is so eager about the whole thing. She may not have been prepared for a trip in the Hedge, having been waylaid by Audgrim in getting there in the first place, but at least she has her lockpicks on her, because reasons that are totally legal, honest!

Karl keeps following the group but since the first attack, ha managed to keep himself closer to the group giving advices when necessary, but mostly remaining silent. When they finally reach the Oasis (Player 1 reference here), he turns his head slightly to the side and blinks a few times. At that point, something changes in him and, strangely, this time he doesn't wait on the others to move forward."Karl is going to save the girl."

"HELLO! HELP!" The fox girl jumps up when she sees people. She reaches out to touch the bars of her cage, but gets zapped. "Ouch!" She jerks her hand backward, and shoves them into her mouth… Well the fingers at least. Owie.

Bea just rolls her eyes at Audgrim's efforts to patch things up between her and Tyla, focusing on the issues at hand, for now. She eyes the fox girl, and motions to Karl, "Just wait one second, in case it's another trap maybe?" She calls out to the girl, "We're here to help, but who put you there, and is there any traps you know of we should watch for?" This clearing, after all, looks a little too inviting. Suspicious looks are shot all around at the tricksy environment.

Audgrim is with Bea here - he's suspicious. Nothing that looks this good is that good in the hedge. "Wait," he calls to Karl and to the fox girl. He crouches down and closes his eyes, touching the sand with splayed fingers, tilting his head as he tries to commune with the hedge itself, to catch a glimpse of what might be near. It's hard for him to do this, as it is for Bea - but sometimes you get lucky, and this IS a skill many Lost learn the hard way. There's a few seconds he's focusing, and then he straightens up. "Exit - think it is the way we came in. Water? Poison. Don't swim." He is disappointed about this. "Find no other trap."

Audgrim is with Bea here - he's suspicious. Nothing that looks this good is that good in the hedge. "Wait," he calls to Karl and to the fox girl. He crouches down and closes his eyes, touching the sand with splayed fingers, tilting his head as he tries to commune with the hedge itself, to catch a glimpse of what might be near. It's hard for him to do this, as it is for Bea - but sometimes you get lucky, and this IS a skill many Lost learn the hard way. There's a few seconds he's focusing, and then he straightens up. "Exit - think it is the way we came in. There is Exit in tent too. Water? Poison. Don't swim." He is disappointed about this. "Find no other trap."

The fox girl's ears flatten just a little and she glances between Bea and Audgrim. "I got captured by a big ogre looking asshole. I think he's a privateer or something. I sent Benny— Wait, where's Benny?" She starts to look like she's going to panic a little bit. "Where's Benny??"

Upon hearing both Bea's and Audgrim's warnings, Karl stops middway and stays there still. One of his legs is in the air while the other is solid grounded. The man doesn't say anything, but his eyes doesn't move away from the fox girl an inch.

Tyla nods and confirms part of what Audgrim is saying. "There is a gate in the tent." She agrees. She's not great at lying though, so she doesn't answer the fox girl's question, assuming the stranger can't read her hair flickers from knowing each other for all of a minute. Once Audgrim confirms there are no other traps Tyla gets out those totally legal, really! lockpicks and moves closely to the cage. She works slowly, and carefully to not touch the bars as she picks the lock. She manages it and gets the lock off, but doesn't touch the bars.

Bea keeps watch as Tyla works on the locks, moving back and forth around the clearing. "Oh, well we will find your friend Benny, and just he took a detour or something, I am pretty sure. But first we will get you safe, and then worry about him."

Audgrim is moving along with Tyla, but he's looking around, letting her do her thing while watching the area itself. "Squirrel… we find it later," he says encouragingly, giving the fox girl a quick, broad and charming grin. "You know when ogre come back? Where it go? Would like not to meet, better if we go away fast."

Karl finally moves again and heads close to the golden cage. When everyone is avoiding the subject, he blinks in confusion and turns to the fox girl."The squirrel, you mean? A hole opened in the ground and swallowed it. Karl saw it." He announces with his emotionless, plain and monotonous deep voice.

The fox girl stares at Bea for a moment, not quite believing her, but she's distracted by Tyla unlocking the cage. When Tyla does it there's a strange buzz noise as if an electrical current was going dead. This time when the girl pushes at the bars of the door, it doesn't zap her (though she's tentative). When it's clear she's free she bounces out. And to Audgrim she says, "Oh thank god. I'm sure he's coming back soon, he usually— " But then Karl's showing off Bea's lies and her eyes go wide.

"BENNY!" She shouts, and starts running for the exit into the maze.

Bea glares at Karl for screwing up her totally, completely, perfect and not at all obvious lie. As the fox girl races off, Bea is after her quickly, yelling, "Wait! It's…you're going to get lost, silly! Stay together! We'll find him if you just wait!"

Tyla nods and smiles and just hangs back from the cage and the fox girl, and then she's off and Tyla chews on her lower lip before she's off after the fox girl. Hopefully she can remember which way they came and at least lead her back to where the squirrel fell down the hole. But with the way the maze changed she's not so sure. "Benny came to find us." She calls out clearly so that her voice carries and is nice and distracting. "But he belongs here, right? Let's get you out of the Hedge first, and away from the Ogre. He found his way out once to get us, right?"

Audgrim's chin suddenly rises and he sniffs the air, eyes glowing as he strains his sight and other senses. There's a visible shiver and his tail stops dead behind him, when it's very rarely still. "Something is coming," he warns with a quiet rasp. And then the fox girl is doing the absolute worse thing: running the wrong way. "If you stay with us, we will find him and you both get out of here," he calls softly after the girl, moving after her with a hand outstretched. "He save you - don't throw away what he do."

With the fox girl running, Bea's glaring and everything else, Karl turns his head to the side again and blinks. If he was confused before, now it's totally obvious that he doesn't have a clue on what's going on. But then something changes again in him. Something more urgent than the aspire to understand human interactions."Something bad is coming." He murmurs to himself and starts looking around in an attempt to find something that was not there previously.

"I SMELL FRESH MEAT!" Comes a booming voice from inside of the tent…. and coming out of it is a man of about seven feet tall, and just about as wide. Clearly a stonebones ogre. Pulling a large axe out.

Bea wheels around, her own large axe at the ready, "We're tough and gamey!" Yell the Knight of the Tongue informatively. She's leaving the fox girl to her own devices at this point, there's bigger fish to fry, it seems.

Audgrim doesn't have time to see if the girl is stopping or not; he whirls around and faces the ogre. "Helvete," he utters, realising he's unarmed against a huge monster with an axe. Even so, he's raising his fists and preparing to fight if needed, grinning a mad grin.

"Faen, helvete… This will hurt," Audgrim growls even as he lunges at the ogre, fingers curled to use his claws against the beast. He dives in, and manages to rake the larger creature a few times, but that is one tough monster.

Upon seeing the Ogre coming out of the tent, Karl heads as close as he can to the palm trees and touches one of them."Rise, my friend, and fight." He says as he steps aside while the whole tree unroots himself and starts gaining sentience.

The Foxgirl squeals in fear when the ogre appears. She lurks right at the entrance to the hedge (literal) maze (very literal). Oh no. Meanwhile… the Axman turns upon Bea.

Bea doesn't even hesitate, she just raises her oversized axe in both hands, hefting it awkwardly as she races toward the Ogre, yelling, "You are a bad man!" Because one is not always that creative when in the heat of battle. She does, however, manage to get a good whack in with that axe of hers, and takes just a second to look rather proud of herself.

The ogre laughs a little bit and he turns toward Bea after she axes him… And he axes her RIGHT BACK. And it looks like it should hurt… but he only catches her on the side.

Tyla keeps an eye on the fox girl, but let's be honest, she doesn't know her and they did what they came here to do which was free her. But her friends are they other way so she checks her pocket to make sure has a bone, moves a little closer to the edge in case she bolts, but mostly just watches for now.

Audgrim is working himself up. He and Bea are beasts, maybe that explains some of their willingness to get their hands dirty and being beaten up; he whirls around the ogre, slashing fast and furiously with claws at any weak point he can find while muscles grow. They rip the shirt he's wearing, and threaten to ruin his coat too. Even so, when the ogre falls flat with a thud, making the ground shake, he looks momentarily surprised. He shakes off some skin off a claw, making a eww-face.

The ogre lets out a growl … but he's suddenly finding himself missing some bowels… So he takes a step and well… He falls forward, into the sands.

Tyla for now just keeps an eye on the Fox girl, and makes sure she doesn't make a break for it, but if she does she'll head after her.

Bea lets out a yelp as she dances away from the axing Ogre, almost scolding him, "That wasn't very nice, jerk. I'm gonna cut off your hand and keep your axe for myself!" But then…Audgrim just rips the ogre with his bare hands, and Bea is left to gawk in a mix of awe and frustration. "Oh wow. That…was a really good job,

Audgrim." She seems to be looking at the violin-player in a whole new light. And then she's sizing up the ogre, a practical, professional look as she wonders, "Do you think we can carry this carcass back? He'd grow, like, just a ton of blushberries."

Karl, that was until now behind his servitor, arches a green brow as he assimilates what had just happened. A few blinks later, he touches the palmtree gently."You can rest again, my friend." He murmurs and then he heads to meet the rest of the group."Bea. You are hurt." He says upon getting close to the bee.

To be fair, even Audgrim seem to be somewhat in awe of what he just did. He's probably never realised how much damage he can do under the right circumstances and with a bit of luck. He is quick to check out the others though, and before Bea even gets any other ides, he's ripped his shirt off (it's already broken), and he's making bandages. Sure, she might just heal herself probably but it's instinct as he moves to tie up that wound she has. "Everyone alright?" he calls. "And I can't carry. Not /that/ strong," he says dryly. "Karl, how strong are you?"

The fox girl looks like she might be more afraid of Audgrim and Bea now. She says, quietly, "The tent is a gate … I think it leads downtown… That's where he got me from…"

Bea looks at the others as they start to talk about her wound, touching her side and wrinkling her nose, "Oh, sure, it's just a scratch though I think, and I have some blushberry candies and stuff, so it's not really a big problem."

"We should go," Audgrim says, looking at the ogre corpse for a moment but not bothering with it; kinda hard to drag an ogre corpse around if they get out in downtown. "It's alright," he tells the fox girl, giving her his most rascally, charming grin which probably isn't that comforting because he also has blood on his face and his hands. "We go home now." And he's off towards the tent, glancing to make sure the others are coming.

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