(2018-03-02) PRP: Goblin Bugs - The Sting of Summer
PRP: Goblin Bugs - The Sting of Summer
Summary: An altercation at Bea's farm leads to the discovery of Goblin Bugs outside the Hedge.
Date: 2018-03-02
Related: None
Player Characters: Audgrim, Bea, Eddie as ST

----—| Yard - Hippy Homestead - Forks


A few cleared acres of land surrounded by public forest. A bank of solar panels faces the sunny south, propped against a small barn full of animals that seem unwilling to stay fenced. A tipsy geenhouse, metal toolshed and sticky honey extraction room squat nearby. Much of the space is fenced off to protect the neatly tilled field and orchard. Flashing mylar tape and scarecrows flapping in the wind are set up here and there to keep hungry birds and rodents away. Beehives line the fence like strange, multi-colored guards, sending their buzzing maidens out in force. A large meadow of wild grasses and flowers is usually left to grow wild between the outbuildings. Usually there are at least a handful of people busy with some task or another on the property.

A large, round house made with mismatched materials sits near the front of the property, directly in front of the long driveway. The roof is covered with solar panels, and a line of wind turbines twirling lazily along the ridgebeam. Irregular heights and gables, and a few chimneys of metal or brick puffing smoke year round give a rambling, uneven quality to the place. With mismatched windows, and an abundance of doors, this looks like a different house from almost any angle.


It's a busy day on the farm. Spring is coming, or it's already here, depending on how you look at it, and there's a lot of work left to do. Groups of workers go about their appointed tasks, readying the fields and the barns, and the scent of sweat is nearly as strong on the still warm air of the early afternoon as the smell of plants and animals and fertilizer. It's been harder work than it ought to be, with the weather like this. Tempers have been a little on edge. Everyone could use a breeze. A rhythmic hacking sound comes from somewhere out of sight, toward the back of the property, where someone is working on a tree stump.

Bea is hard at work, along with the rest of her workers. She has been using her beat up little car to move heavy beehives around, and those assisting are all dressed in the requisit white bee-keeping coverings. As she works, though, she calls out in the direction of the chopping, "If you guys just want to have some help, I can bring the car and a chain, and we can just try to drag that stupid stump out, even if it is kicking and screaming…Which it won't, because it's dead." This last, it seems, offered as an assurance, mostly to herself. Dead trees don't scream. Fun fact.

Audgrim is here helping out, being useful at least half of the time when he's not wandering off looking at something more interesting, or almsot finishing something before moving to the next project, only to go back after half an hour when remembering he wasn't done. He's now joined Bea with moving the beehives, his muscles getting good use. "Dead tree," he agrees, understanding Bea there.

There's a break in the chopping, and the sound of voices muffled by distance as the folks at the stump talk that over. After a moment, someone calls out, a little breathless: "I think we about got it, ma'am! Just a couple o' stubborn roots, is all!" The noise resumes, chop, chop, cho— "Shit!" someone curses, and there's the sound of tools dropping. "What the hell are—?" another voice begins to ask, cut off by a sudden commotion.

At the curse, Bea stops what she's doing and looks to Audgrim, "That doesn't sound good. I hope no one lost a foot. Axes can be tricky." Not completely unaware that the lack of screaming suggests it's something else, Bea gets her own comically oversized axe, tricky or not, as she heads toward the sounds. "Why don't you come with, 'Grim. Just in case someone needs carrying out to the hospital or something like that." She seems rather disconcertingly unbothered by the idea of lost limbs and hospital visits, which does seem to give some of the newer volunteers just a moment of pause.

Audgrim's tail pauses midair and he looks alertly over at the shouts, sniffing the air too in case he can smell danger. Having no axe to grab, he stalks after Bea as they make their way over to the commotion. "I know how to stop bleeding," he explains randomly. "If someone axe themselves I can help." With this many humans around, he keeps a lid on using powers willy nilly. For now, anyway.

"Get 'em off! Get 'em off me!" a deep voice shouts as they approach, and a woman's voice answers: "Well hold still, dummy!" There's the sound of slapping, and stomping, and a lot of grunting and cursing. The scene that greets to lost is not as gruesome as perhaps they imagined: One big man dances in place, hopping from foot to foot and slapping at himself, cursing like a sailor. Two smaller folks, a woman and a kid of about sixteen, are pitching in with the slapping and trying not to catch an elbow for their trouble. A pair of axes and a shovel lay forgotten on the ground, next to a tree stump that's been whittled down to an uneven spike of dry white wood.

Bea frowns as she takes in the scene, calling out to the man, "Danny, just you calm down a minute. It's just some bugs, and anyway, you've worked with the bees and should just know better than to get all crazy about some little things crawling on you." She pauses a minute, a glamourous pollen-like dust seeming to rise up as she says, "Just you bugs get away from him, and calm down. They didn't know you were there." And then…she frowns, looking like she might throw a little bit of a fit as her orders are not obeyed. She looks off to the woods, taking a deep breathe then moves in closer to Danny and the tree stump, stooping down to examine the stump. "Audgrim, just keep an eye out, there is something weird, and they aren't listening." She takes another deep breathe, then gives the little boy a smile and a wink, asking him in a sort of teacherly way, "Did you know that there are a lot of bugs that live in old rotten stumps like this? Even bees, sometimes." Just because shit is getting weird doesn't mean that little kids need to be scared.

Audgrim was just standing around like a dope, staring with mouth slightly open. His hands are flexing - is he going to hit someone? What's happening? Why are people acting crazy? He mooches closer to Bea, eying the trio that were working on the stump suspiciously, even the kid. In fact, he's eyeing the kid with extra wariness. Small humans, they unnerve him cause they see things so well. "Bugs," he understands finally, and nods at Bea, thoughtful. "Something weird?" He squints towards the forest.

The youth nods and smiles nervously at Bea, taking this as an excuse to step back from the flailing giant. "Oh, I know, Ms. Bea," he says, going to join her by the stump. Not too close to the stump, of course. "You shoulda seen the centipede crawled outa the top, when we started" He holds his hands apart, to demonstrate. As he's talking, Bea finds a little hollow eaten into the tree, down near the roots. It looks like a pretty recent development, and probably wasn't even visible above ground until they started digging around the stump. There's something inside, the crushed husk of some big black… beetle, maybe? Roach? It's hard to tell, and there's not much time to inspect it when things go completely off the rails.

"Don't TOUCH ME!" Danny roars, swinging one big arm and sending Janet sprawling to the ground. His face is bright red, now, even redder where fresh welts rise from his skin. He's covered in sweat, and shaking, and his eyes are dilated. His swings another wild arm at nothing, roaring an incoherent roar.

Aha! This is more like it. Audgrim feels free to start hitting things now - it's what he does best in a situation like this. He growls and moves in to swing at the berserker, but he's holding back somewhat; maybe he shouldn't have, or maybe he's off his game today but the swing he aims for the large man's stomach just kind of glances off and won't leave much more than a bruise, if anything at all.

Bill spins around at the new commotion, and runs to help his mom up off the ground, dragging her away from the raging sailor. His face contains the predcitable adolescent mix of fear, confusion, and anger, and he looks back briefly at the axe by the stump but makes no move for it.
Bea grabs for the nearest weapon, having set her axe aside when she crouched down. Luckily, it's the shovel and not the sharp dangerous objects. "Danny, just you calm down. No one wants to hurt you." But then, well, she's up and swinging the shovel. After all, he might have hurt Janet, and Bill is just a kid. Gotta protect the younguns. She gives Danny a fairly good crack with teh shovel, yelling to the boy and his mother, "You two get outta hear. Danny is just…having a bad day. We'll take care of him."

Danny doesn't so much shrug off Audgrim's punch as step into it, like it didn't even happen. He lets out a roar, spittle flying, and swings one big fist with all the strength his large frame can muster, completely disregarding his own safety even as Bea's shovel collides into his ribs. It's a hell of a punch.

Janet notices Bill looking at the axe, and grabs him by the arm. She looks at Bea incredulously, and seems about to protest, but finally she nods and starts dragging the kid away. The sound of work on the farm grinds to a halt as the other workers hear the commotion, and start heading this way to see what the hell's going on.

Audgrim almost falls over - he gets a fist planted right over his eye. That'll be black and blue and all sorts of colors later, and he's rattled and not a little surprised. Not down for the count though, he moves back in and tries to weave himself close to clock the berserking Danny over the ear this time, but like before it's not much more than a glancing blow. "helvete," he curses and tenses up for retaliation.

Bea notices the commotion, and doesn't trust Janet to keep her yap shut, so she just goes full-on guard-bee. Giving a loud screech, she drops the shovel and leaps onto Danny's back, yelling at him, "Stop fighting, you idiot!" She's all limbs, wrapping herself around him and trying to drag him down by sheer dead weight. "Just calm down! You're going to get HURT!"

"Get him!" Audgrim growls encouragingly at Bea, as if expecting her to do most of the work here. He continues with his pummeling, this time at least not getting hit back as the berserker flails with Bea on his back. It's a solid punch to mans jaw, an uppercut from deep. "What is wrong with you!"

The big man twists and writhes like an animal, trying to buck off Bea, but he's mindless in his anger and can't figure out how to get it done. He bellows and slaps at his back, hitting nothing, then sends the same arm cutting through the air over Audgrim's head, like he can't decide who he wants to crush. Tangled up like he is, it doesn't much matter. Audgrim's blow lands with jaw-rattling force, turning Danny's face up toward the sky. He lowers it, slowly, and fixes the nightsinger with a murderous look. He wobbles one step forward and collapses, first to his knees and then to the ground, finally unconscious.

A half-dozen other workers converge on the location, looking on in shock. "Holy shit, boss! What happened to Danny?"

As Danny crashes down into unconsciousness, Bea disentangles herself from him and deals with the others, "Just nothing…He was just…You know how it is, with like the PTSD and stuff, sometimes. But he'll be fine. You guys get back to work and we'll take care of him." She says this in a tone that suggests that's the best they're going to get, and waits with a stern, matronly look for them to follow orders before stooping down to look at Danny, feeling around to see if she can find any bugs, or see any obvious bites on him.

Audgrim can apply his own reassurance by being charming when he wants to. He rubs a bit at his eye and shoots a broad, reassuring grin at the crowd. "It's good," he rasps. "Get some water for him? He will be fine, just headache tomorrow." He gives his own stare, urging people to act rather than gawk; that usually helps. He crouches on the other side from Bea and starts pulling clothes away to have a look, frowning in thought, the two Beasts working in tandem.

The workers linger around in a semi-circle for a moment, exchanging looks of confusion and concern, waiting for more information. This is largely a new crew, or at least new to Bea. They aren't used to this kind of thing, yet. When nothing more is forthcoming they finally drift away, in ones and twos. The last and most reluctant pair nod at Audgrim. "Water," one says, and they go to do that.

Danny lies on the ground, breathing heavily, thoroughly unconscious. His pulse is racing, but seems strong and steady. He groans a little, and a couple of times he shivers and makes a fist, but he finally seems to relax. He hasn't got much choice. He's covered in angry red bug bites, definitely not bee stings, two on his face and three or four on each arm. There don't seem to be any bugs moving, but Bea manages to pluck another crushed husk from out of his beard. Now that she's touching it, it seems odd. Hard, cold. Like metal, more than chitin.

Bea examines Danny carefully, frowning a bit at the bites, but then focusing more on the couple of dead bugs that she finds. She sniffs then, even gives one a little lick with just the tip of her tongue, and then she shakes her head, "This I have onlyheard of, but it's…I hope we can find the rest of them, since I just want to interview them for my book, and maybe see if they want to come and live in my garden, maybe. But they are like some pretty strange bugs…Goblin bugs." She frowns and considers the stump, then Danny, and finally looks off toward the woods, "But just I am wondering why they have come here, when even now the hedge is so wild and feral they should have all the space they want for their bug-'hold. And why would the Summer ones come here, and not the Spring?" This seems the most troubling piece to Bea, "I wonder just if The Man has sent them, to cause me some trouble, since always he is trying to do that, but knows better than to show up to my door."

Finishing his own examination, he can only determine that the man has some sort of reaction, but he doesn't know from what. When Bea explains what she knows, he looks quite impressed and gives her an appreciative grin. "If something was in that thing," Audgrim says, gesturing at the husk, "and it is in his beard - where is it now?" He eyes the unconscious Danny suspiciously. "Something made him angry. Summer is angry court, right? Iron court," he ponders, letting his mind take it to the only thing he can think of that fits this anger and summer bugs. "We must find where bugs come from, if they do this to people." He too looks towards the woods, then eyes the stump.

Bea nods, "Oh, for sure it is like a Summer bug. These guys, they are weird, and even like a…social insect, like bees are, sort of, or maybe more like ants. And just they mimic the courts, and when they bite you, then you are stuck with whatever emotion comes from their court, so these must have been Summer bugs, since Danny got so angry." She moves ofer to a muddy area, and starts to mix a bit of the dirt and some moss, as well as afew leaves together, then slaps the whole mess onto the worst of Danny's bites. "This should help with the sting, and I think…we'll keep him alone for a while, but he should be fine, I think. And just like you say, we should go see where the rest of those bugs are, since just I think this was like a couple of worker bugs, just out for some food or something. But it would be nice to find the whole group of them."

One of the workers is returning with water and Audgrim reaches for it. Rather than pouring it all over the man, he wets a piece of cloth he tears off his shirt (his shirts never last long), and then wipes the cool liquid over the welts before Bea smears them. He then places the cool rag on the mans forehead. "Get a wheelbarrow or thing to pull him to house," he calls to the workers, sending them to work again, showing he can be assertive if he needs to be. "They live in stump, maybe we need to dig more here. Maybe you can talk to other bugs - they might see them," he suggests quietly. "Must be a gate somewhere near?"

Bea nods at that, "Oh sure, there are a couple of them," here she pauses and furrows her brow, "Or at least there were, before we set that stupid trap for ourselves. But still, probably it will be no problem to figure out where they are coming from. But first we should deal with Danny, and maybe check in on Janet and Bill. And just get all this cleaned up." She waves toward the various tools and the half-chopped stump.

"If he wakes up he maybe still dangerous," Audgrim warns, and bends down to help lift Danny up when some workers come over with a cart. Getting him onto it, he looks for Bea for where to take the man - it's her home after all. He nods, and picks up the shovel and other tools. "Leave dead wood?" he asks, eyeing the stump. "Maybe cover up, so nobody go here. Tell everyone to leave it, cause there are poison bugs."

Bea nods at that, "Oh, for sure we will want to lock him up in the cellar for a little while, until he can behave. But just…we'll tell everyone he needs a quiet rest alone…in the dark." She considers the stump and then nods, "Oh yeah, maybe I will look at it a little closer, and see if there is any more of those bugs I can use to do a good drawing and maybe some dissections so that they have just like a full page in the book." She considers the crushed bug she's holding, musing, "I bet this would make a hot and sour soup just taste /super/ good and spicy."

"Nice dark cellar," Audgrim agrees, not particularly sympathetic. Or rather, he's not really thinking that way when it comes to a person he doesn't care about. He makes a gesture to get them moving but lingers behind with Bea, leaning in to look at the crushed bug. "Anger soup?" he jokes. "Maybe best eat carefully. And no weapons around."

Bea laughs and shrugs, "Maybe, but maybe also it will just add a little heat, like Summer, you know? And a little anger is not a bad thing, sometimes. Like if it was in some pre-fight dinner or something, just before a battle." She shrugs as she considers the possibilities, "I will do some experiments, but maybe just lock myself out in my garden, so only the trenchmint will feel get hurt if I get super mad like Danny did."

"Yes, best you try first yourself - I can stay and watch and if you get mad and start killing flowers, I try to knock you out," Audgrim promises, both joking and not. Seems reasonable. Having picked up all the tools, he ties the reminder of his ruined shirt around it, since it's hot enough not to wear one anyway; upper body is riddled with scars, most of them old and faded but some newer and more obvious, like a big one on his upper left chest which must've gotten there not long before he escaped. "Don't think I am summer," he says suddenly. "I am not very angry." He might not have chosen a court, but he knows which one he's probably not, at least.

Bea nods at that, considering and confessing, "For sure, I am Spring," as if her strong mantle didn't make that clear, "But still, I am like a late May Spring, and just have a little bit of Summer in me, I think. And sometimes I wonder if maybe…" She trails off, not willing to fully voice the thought. With a shake of her head, she smiles and grabs Danny's feet, "Well, let's get him to the basement, then."

"You are a bit like autumn, too," Grim notes to her quietly, giving her a beastly grin, having seen that side of her. "But everyone is a little of all of them. I can become angry, but I am not /angry/," he muses, lifting the man on the other end. "I am not sad and don't want to hide. So not much winter either." He heaves, and they get the man moving, to get him to safety - his and others.

Bea laughs at that, "Oh, well, maybe I am a little like Autumn, just because of my book and my garden, but still, I am for sure not one of them, since I am not smart like an Autumn, and anyway I just drive them all nuts, because I talk too much and am always trying to be nice to people, instead of scaring them." She considers Audgrim, "Well, when first I met you, I guessed you would end up in Autumn, but since I know you a little better, I am not so sure any more. And if ever you wanted to be Spring, then for sure there is a place for you there, and we would /definitely/ throw a party to show you how glad we are you are with us."

"If I join one," Audgrim confesses, and also divulging the fact he's not even sure he /will/ join a court, "think Autumn. I like Spring - I can fit in there. I like making people feel better. But mostly people like us I like to make feel better. Humans, I want them to understand it is dangerous. People not scared enough." But, he's definitely not decided yet. He grunts a bit, Danny is heavy, and without supernatural strength he's just slightly stronger than normal people. "People walk through doors. Or get bitten by bugs."

Bea makes a mental note of Audgrim's current inclinations, an almost visible cataloging of information. "Well," Bea grunts as she does her share of hauling Danny, "It is good for people to know, and that is for sure, but still, I think it is better just to make sure that they don't /want/ to go get bit or walk through some doors, and just because they are having too much fun with other things, which make them happy."

Audgrim considers this, thoughtfully. "Like when I play violin," he realises, and indeed, he's still giving this some time and not just jumping on the first court, listening to people. "Maybe I do everything," he says and grins. "Being autumn does not mean I can not do fun things, right?"

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