|Dramatis Personae|| |
23 March, 2016
The Spring hollow comes to life...and isn't happy.
Wendell chuckles "Well that's fair enough." The ogre pops another cupcake into his mouth. He stands up to stretch and yawn a little and then sniffs in the direction of his cupcake plate. "Oh hands are easy to share. You got two." Wendell says as he looks at his left hand which is free not counting that little bit of brass around it. He tosses another cupcake into his mouth. THe ogre effortlessly moves his table closer to his post so he can stay vigilant while eating cupcakes, following the words of his friends in Summer.
"I would never hog such a treasure." Avery says rising to her feet and wandering back to the table thinking about blueberries. "Besides, while Kouri and I belong together, we don't own each other, he's free to do as he likes with his hands." She tells Misty with a warm smile as she joins Wendell near the table.
Siri wanders in with Nemo, phone in hand, tapping away as she looks around, holding it up and snapping pictures. The cockroach on her shoulder mutters measurements in a tiny voice, sparks flying from its antennae. Siri glances over to Nemo, noting, "If we can figure out all the variables of the hangouts for Lost, maybe we can create an algorithm or some shit that could figure out where the next target may be, ya know? It'd be fucking badass, don't you think? Prophetic computer." Ah yes, just what everyone needs. "We just gotta give it enough data to work with. So, you know, anything that looks...noteworthy, just keep track."
Geralt is moments after Siri and Nemo. He'd delayed himself out of concidence though curiousity got the better of him as usual. He took a second to dust off his pants as he looks upwards to stare over the room. It there was a touch of wonder there before he shook his head and threw off distraction to dive into the room once more, waving to the others as his form of greeting.
Nemo doesn't need a zappy cockroach! She's already all the zappy all on her lonesome, edgy nerves certainly contributing to the brightness of her glow. If Siri were paying attention on the way here, she might have noticed the correlation between 'I'm in a nice safe place' and 'ZOMG I'm in the Hedge!' in terms of zappitude.
"Dunno if that'll really work, Siri," the other Thothite mutters her way, distracted by taking in the enormous ribcage overhead. Gulp. Dark brows set in a stubborn frown as she continues, "I mean, if I were a bad guy, attacking Court Hollows would be the predictable thing to do, you know? The Rock's been around forever. How else to shake this place up and say 'HEY I'm more powerful than you are, suckers!' right?"
More typical of Hedge misadventures and less of a visit to the Hollow for her, Tock is dressed a bit like a pirate: tricorn hat perched atop her tied-back cornsilk hair, long Hedgespun pirate coat in fawns and russets with golden fastenings, flowing russet shirt to match, trousers, tall boots. A silver woven metal bracelet circles one wrist and a leather strap secures her locket with a stylised alternating current symbol on its front at her throat. What looks like a bat wing is hooked to one ear. Plenty of deep pockets and pouches provide hiding places for supplies, in addition to a pack on her back. A glint of electric blue dances over her skin and what appears to be a steampunk raygun is holstered at her hip. The clockwork girl also carries a quiver of arrows and has her odd compound bow that looks like it was half grown of vines and half built of clockwork itself in her hand. All Hedge time is Be Terribly, Terribly Alert time these days. Healing or fighting, both require quick action. She gives nods to people she passes, but is entirely less pleasantly talkative than usual. "Assume everything is likely to be under attack," she noses into Siri and Nemo's conversation a bit. "I just received news that the maggots have been tunnelling under Valhalla and testing the defenses there for some time, as well. This is just a reminder about how dangerous things are here. No resting on laurels!" She has been keeping company with Summers quite often and it shows.
Glancing over at the newcomers, Avery waves at all the new faces and takes her time to study each. The glowing girl in her soaked sundress ambles over with her glass of wine. "Hello Tock. It seems plenty of folk had the same idea, checking on the other hollows. That's good. Hopefully Spring is quiet and we're all just being over cautious." She chatters lightly, keeping a warm smile in place.
And like a faithful, slightly smokey sidekick, Wish quietly trails Tock, watching all around with great interest and curiousity. She's brought no weapon, is just wearing a borrowed jacket of thick and scratched leather... some old thing from Valhalla stores. It is also a bit big on her. But anyway! This is very exciting! She hasn't visited this place before. It is supercool.
Geralt tilts his head as he looks to Tock. There was a moment of appreciation though, even as he was disappointed his camera was near useless in that regard. He listens intently, looking over the others curiously. "Do you think its likely to likely to actually happen?" He asks looking around, black eyes searching the room for a moment before shaking his head. "Not that I'm against being prepared or trained. Is there a proper way to even fight the ... whatever they are?"
Wendell furrows his brow as he pops cupcakes into his mouth. "Maggots can burrow? They're burrowing in. That's not good....someone should do something about that I guess." He wrinkles his nose at the newcomers. "So what's all youse doing at our hot tub and cupcake party?" He asks as he licks his lips. "We should get a proper exterminator or something huh. Some bug bombs or something. Maybe we can turn all our buildings into tents and gas them like they do." Wendell chuckles.
Misty looks over towards the arriving hordes, so to speak, sitting near the pool, damp, in her tanktop and jeans, with some various knives and pokey things tucked away. Her gaze wanders over towards Avery then back Kouri's way with a little shrug of her shoulders at the company.
God alone knows what has brought the somewhat reclusive Autumn to the Spring hollow. She's been a member of the Rock for almost a year now (of /course/ she's been here!), but aside from Crownings she usually keeps herself to herself. Maybe the member of the Everlasting just needs a hollow to go to, now that her own court's hollow has been effectively blitzed. Wide hazel eyes take in the still-standing hollow, lips pursing. "We had better learn, if there is," she offers as an answer to Geralt. Even if she wasn't asked. Long, bark-covered fingertips are tucked into the pockets over her overalls.
Siri gives Nemo an annoyed look, "Seriously? Can't be done? I'm dissapointed, bug-brain. Where's your fucking imagination?" Tock's comment gets a scowl, "Seriously? Fuck." She taps this information into her phone, "Better check that place out next." Wendell gets a smirk, "Hey Bigfoot. Not the worst idea ever," a glance to Nemo for approval, "Wanna make a bomb with me?" That idea seems to excite her just a little too much.
Brielle enters in from the hedge. The Shadowsoul gives a bit of a smile to the people that she knows as she lets the compound bow rest against her shoulder. Because shit was crazy as of late and she wasn't wanting to be left without a weapon. Her Spring mantle is in full force as well, the soft scent of moonflowers and other springy type smells hang around here. There's also the fact everywhere she steps little flowers spring up from the ground. Sorry all!
Nemo's left antenna flicks away a zzt of electricity as she looks up at Tock, recognition and a splash of relieved pleasure lighting already-glowing eyes. "Well, fuck! Long as you don't die, we're all saved, then, yeah?" As an aside to Siri, she murmurs, "She de-exploded me once. Like, poof! No more gaping wounds!" Tock has a fangirl. The little Summer scans the room for other familiar faces, eyes narrowing here and there, but doesn't leave Siri's side. "AND. My imagination's stuck on stupid wedding stuff. Things need to stop exploding so I can get that over with." Yes. Gentry attacks are a personal inconvenience. Boo hoo. Attention flitting back up toward her fellow inventor, not as enthused, she rolls a shoulder in a lazy shrug and pats the automaton at her waist. "Mr. Sparkles and I are happy to assist."
Ryan has been a bit of hermit over the winter, but for the last few days he's been checking in at the Spring hollow several times a day. And here he is again, leaving behind the cold rain of the mortal world for the warm longhouse. The wizened may be a tad overdressed for the usual pool party, as he's layered-up against the weather -- a hunter green parka over a gray hoodie, with a blue long-sleeved t-shirt beneath all that. Tan trousers cover his legs, while steel-toed leather work boots protect his feet. The unusual addition to this very normal outfit is a thumb-thick length of green, thorn-studded vine that is triple-looped around his waist, like a sort of makeshift belt -- that bit is clearly born of the hedge. The gathering throng, half pool-party, half war-party, brings Ryan to a full stop. He blinks owlishly for a time and takes in the crowd. There's a quick wave for anyone who actually notices the drudge, and then he makes for the great stone table, offering a quiet "Sorry" to anyone he must circumvent to get there.
The spring hollow, so filled with... lets call it 'life'. So much life. We know what you springs do in here, gross. The air in here tonight is full of spring freshness, but there's a heaviness to it too, almost like the air was charges somehow, filled with petrichor and cold springs. It's like being in a greenhouse with a cool breeze wafting through.
There's a sound of stone breaking, and then another... and then... trickling running water? Those nearest the hot tub might notice it first, a sudden whirlpool and then a rush of water as the bottom of that tum they were so recently in falls out and down into darkness.
A sudden stench, like the worst mouth crusty hangover breath you've ever had, you know the feeling, when layers of dried gook have piled up and you swear your mouth has been used as a urinal/ashtray. That is the smell suddenly wafting up from that hole.
"Rhys just told me before I came over here to check, as well. I think we may well have an infestation on our hands. Goodness knows how far it goes," Tock answers Siri first. "Yes. Assume there will be an attack if you are in the Hedge for the near future, at least. I am not sure overly cautious is a thing just now," she adds to Avery with just that nod of greeting. "We need to get with Owen and formulate a plan for Valhalla. He is our military mind. We had been asking people who were staying there to please seek alternatives out of the Hedge, like the bed and breakfast. I think we may be to the point of making that a telling and not an asking." She manages a small smile at Nemo. It /is/ still in there! "Hopefully. Healers are always a good thing. Always know who your healers are. I think we are more likely to be well stocked with them here than anywhere." Brielle's entrance earns and excited wave. "Brielle! I wanted to check with you if it is okay to shove more residents at the B&B? We need to get people out of the Hedge."
Kouri arches a brow, traipsing back. The slender beauty in the toga has found something, an object swaddled in cloth, and for now is merely staring at the procession of entrants making their way in. There's a glance to Avery and Misty, before the loud crack happens and the pool rapidly drains into stagnant darkness. Looking at that reeking chasm, and then up at the procession of people who's just entered, Kouri's eyes gaze a bit far off into the distance, nostrils flaring. A gentle voice intones, with an air of acceptance: "It begins."
Geralt blinks and grips his bag at the loud noise. Growing suddenly still as he took a second to survey the cause. His hand drawing to his bag as he takes a slow step back. "How often does providence and coincidence become the same thing?"
There's little reaction from Woodbine at first, other than a pleased sigh at the feeling of the cold air wafting through. More her style, bless her little heart. But then the loud crack can be heard and all pleasant daydreams are forgotten. She turns her eyes toward the new hole in the ground, mouth forming a perfect little 'o' of surprise. Of course, being surprised down't stop her from doing the smartest thing she can and summoning up a coating of thorns to cover her like biting little daggers. "I was only hoping for a peaceful night," she complains.
Brielle gives Tock a wave and there's a bright smile, "Of course, I was coming to put up a few notes about that actually." She tells her fellow Spring. Then there's the sound of stone cracking and then that god awful stench that assaults the sense. Thankfully she could just pull a lock of her hair forward and drop her nose into a flower. "Don't get close to that." She calls out. Because it was most assuredly bad news!
Siri jumps at the sound and stifles a reflexive gag. "Awww.../fuck/ me. Not again. Jesus god damn, mother fucking..." she continues to spew out a torrent of increasingly incoherent curses for a moment before taking a deep breath and muttering, "/So/ getting a fucking gun after this bullshit." And then she's moving cautiously toward the tub, asking those closer, "What the fuck is in there? It smells like a syphilitic cunt."
"Weeendell!" Misty exclaims, "The pool!" She's already hopping up and darting back away from the gaping chasm, "What in the hell is that smell.. smells like Cletus' trailer." She says, bringing a hand up to suppress a bit of a gag as the stench sorta wafts up. She glances towards Kouri, and Avery, "God. I'm glad we got out, that woulda been the /worst/."
Nemo nods to Tock, fervently agreeing. "Yes. Healers are good. I can, uh. I suck, but I'm okay enough at the, uh, mundane basics to keep folks from bleeding out." Insectile fingers which can't quite decide how many joints they should have at any given time rise to scratch at the side of her head -- then freeze at the sounds coming from the far end of the Hollow. "Fuck! I really hope someone just farted." Her antennae flatten down against her scalp, tips flaring more brightly. Does she believe her own hopes? Doesn't sound like it. This time, she does NOT follow Siri, and in fact cautions, "Siri, I don't think going toward the potential murderhole is a really good idea..."
Looking over at the sound and the smell drifting from the water, Avery hurries to get close to Kouri and nods at Misty. "Yeah, that's...very not good." She breathes and covers her nose and mouth with her dress.
Wendell sniffs "Ewwww, why's it smell like the retirement home we stuck grandma in. Not good grandma. Bad grandma." The ogre gags as he moves closer to the cupcakes. "Ugh, not even cupcakes can make this bad smell go away." He says as his eyes tear up from the bad smells, too overwhelmed to discern them at the moment. "Is the plumbing broken or something? Should we call the plumber. Do we have a plumber?" Wendell asks sounding worried. He walks out to where Misty. "Uh oh, what's going on?" The fuzzy ogre huffs. "They're messing with our hot tub." He snarls. "That's low. Even for them." He moves closer to get a look but not too close as he is afraid of getting sucked in.
The chasm is deep and dark, but if anyone goes to look inside, it appears to have... walls? Fleshy walls, but that isn't healthy flesh, that is rotting decayed flesh. Wait... did it just move? Wet and glistening and rotting and squelching and constricting.
Then there's a subtle tremor, like a minor earthquake, almost unnoticeable save for the Jurassic Park style rippling of any drink glasses laying about.
Ryan is keeping an ear to the conversation around him, but occupies himself with a compulsive tidying of the big table. At least until that all mighty cracking sounds, and then he looks sharply towards the pool. Or what used to be the pool. "Ummm ... did that just happen?" And then the stench hits him, and the wizened promptly pulls a handkerchief from his pocket to clap over his nose and mouth. "Yes, yes it did," he confirms to himself in a muffled voice, and hops up on the table for a clearer look at the damage. "Well. That's ... unsettling. I don't suppose anyone has a vat of poison?"
Ooookay. That's enough. That's very yes super certainly enough to set the sparkbug's nerves even more on edge than before, Nemo's response to the tremor an immediate and mistrustful stare at anything below her feet. The little inventor sidles oh so casually toward the table a short distance down from Ryan's chosen perch, then equally 'casually' ease-ooze-climbs her way up on top of it. "Um. No, no poison. I have Allen wrenches in metric and Imperial?"
Well, there is being right and then there is being right and /really/ not wanting to be. "Get back away from the pool!" Tock shouts, naturally assuming the worst of the cracks and the intruding grossness even before it starts looking more menacing. "Brielle is also a healer." She knows that one off of the top of her head, at least, having seen the woman in action. The clockwork girl pulls an arrow from her quiver and readies it for whatever may follow that stench into the Hollow. "We have bigger worries than a tub, Wendell. We need to get people out of here, priority on noncombatants."
Misty gives a skeptical look towards the pool, a little more of a frown creeping to her face, "Well.. you guys stay behind Wendell ok?" she says towards Kouri and Avery, "We ah.. prolly gonna have a whole lotta trouble coming real soon.." She says, glancing downward towards the wine glass she'd never quite recovered, then up again, moving to creep herself back even further from the gaping stinkhole.
Geralt watches from the safety of /not over there/ where the smell and hole was coming from. That is until things started to move. He looks to the glasses and then the ground as he let out a short, "Guyyyys." His tone suggesting he didn't like what he was imagining. Yes, he's seen Tremors. 1 and 2. All of them really. He picked up a plate before climbing ontop of the table. "I think that this is a very bad idea."
Brielle is already going for one of the arrows she has. Better safe than sorry! She gives a look to Tock and others and then gives a nod to the Summers that are there. She then moves a touch closer, "Wendell, do you see anything?" She asks the man as she looks to him.
Woodbine takes a surreptious step or two backward from the chasm, though she wasn't entirely close to it to begin with. Her wide eyes appear even wider somehow as she stares at it. "That smells of death. And not the clean death we all should hope for." Says one of the Everlasting. All the same, she's not moving any further back than that. The tremor in the ground has her watching it anxiously. She looks at the people climbing onto the table with a faint furrowing of her brow in confusion.
What a terrible smell this place is. Wish is disappointed. She'd somehow built a mental image that this was... y'know... Springy. All parties and hope and bunnies or whatever. A glance over at Tock, perhaps to gauge if this is a surprise to her as well, or expected... oh and a rumble. No, that's probably a Bad Thing. No, she doesn't think she's going to enjoy today anymore, her rise of anxiety reflected by her mien, as her smokey wolves' ears and tail seem to fleck with embers. "Tock, this bad," she'll state. As if it were not patently obvious by this point, but whatever it is is bad enough to warrant a break in her silence. Like the Hunterheart deems it more than merely bad.
Wendell yelps and backs away. "Some kinda monster. A big mouth. Kinda like in the Odyssey with Charybdis. Or just a big big worm." He says to Brielle. The fuzzy ogre brings out the sword in front of him. "Erm, I dunno maybe it looked like a worm or...something." Wendell takes a deep breath. "I didn't know they made hedge monsters that big. THought they was some kinda rumor." Wendell looks over at the magical feasting table. "Gee, I wonder....maybe if someone here really really liked ta eat big vats of posion....." He nods towards Tock. "Yeah uh, everyone this area isn't safe, we're gonna need to get you outta here."
Kouri glances to Avery and Misty, stepping towards them with a glance at the pulsating chasm and the tremors. "Perhaps we should leave." There's a serious expression worn, but no frown, no look of intense scrutiny. It's a blank expression, almost dissociated. "This feels to me like...a trap." Eyes roam the large number of people who arrived just in time for this to occur...
Siri continues to edge forward, stopping at what she guesses /might/ be a safe distance. Tapping on her phone without even looking, she nods "Yeah, sure, gotta leave," she agrees absently, even as she taps notes on the nature of the stinky pool monster into her phone. Gotta have that data for her theoretical prophesy machine. "This is some fucking nightmare shit," she observes oh-so-helpfully.
"I can't, I can help them-the ones who choose to fight." Avery shakes her head and looks from Kouri to the pit. The light in the romm brightens and some of it settles on her skin as she offers a tight, nervous smile. "I don't want to loose our place if I can help defend it instead. Wendell? Do you have a spare knife or something rookie proof by chance?" She asks the warrior, looking at him hopefully.
Ryan is surprised to hear someone speaking beside him, and turns to give Nemo an uncertain sort of smile. "Sorry? I do appreciate a nice wrench set, but I can't think of how they'll help? " Then his attention goes back to Wendell, nearest the hole. "Perhaps we could ..." he wonders aloud, then answers his own musings once he hears what the Yeti has to say about what is down the hole. "No. No, perhaps not." Ryan decides to stay perched atop the table, though he casts about the food and drink for something suitably alcoholic. "Ah." The drudge stoops and picks up a clear glass bottle from the clutter, weighing it in his hand and eyeing the distance to the hole.
Oh but they DO make hedge monsters this big, I mean, just look around you, what the spring hollow is actually made from.
Therea a faint and distant gurgling from that hole now, like when the plumbing goes bad and the pipes groan and strain, except more squishy fleshy sounding. More of the hot tub cracks and beaks and falls down into the hole, until all but a few shards and chunks of stone remain around what can delicately be called 'an orifice' but more accurately described as a sphincter.
Oh Siri... poor poor Siri!
Sneaking so close to the edge there, peering into the hole when...
Okay you know those slow motion videos when a chameleon or frog snaps up an insect? Well, this isn't slow motion.
It's an appendage, let's call it a tongue, a tongue with spikes of bone and barbs, launches itself out of that hole straight to the poor static eyed wizened. It hits her with the force of a city buss, but rather than knock her back it just /splorts/ into her, flying with her as this sticky gooey tentacled tip half closes in on her, barbs sinking into her flesh and then yanking her back towards the opening, slithering her towards that tightening rock jagged hole like a child enjoying their spaghetti. There's a crunch if impact as she hits the rock... and then... there is blood, and braking bone... and little other trace.
Returning Ryan's smile with a frown, the little bug combines worried irritability with wariness and makes a nice emotional cake of Bad Stuff. "Um. Yeah. I don't see how it's gonna help any, either. So..." With the air of one who doesn't particularly want to ask, but does so anyway, Nemo raises her voice to call, "Can some Spring point out EVERY possible exit, so those of us who are fucking clueless can see all the places we could flee when monsters try to eat--" And then the tongue, and the crunch, and a very wide-eyed, spark-shedding bug, antennae flying up. "FUCK! Yes-exits-now-please!"
"Siri, could you please back away a bit?" Tock asks in as level a tone as possible. Close is not good with gaping maws. Nope and nope. She has that bow at the ready because ranged attacks are awesome when you can get away with them. "We might want to wait to antagonise the horrible worm creature until people have a chance to get farther away, and then we can try to deal with it." All of this would be the definition of Too Late when the thing grabs Siri. Antagonising time, definitely antagonising time! "Out! We need people to get out!"
Siri barely has time to yelp with surprise before she's being snatched away, and then all her sour snark and spite is gone, and she's just a wide-eyed, scared-as-fuck woman screaming and trying to fight off this thing that is dragging her down to its ass-mouth. "Heeeelp! HELP ME!!!" She tries to claw and kick at the thing. She even, *gasp* drops her phone in her effort to save herself. But, well...Some things are just too much for a wimpy Wizened to win against.
Kouri goes very pale and very, very quiet. "We are leaving," the satyr says, directly to Avery. In that moment Misty and everyone else may very well not exist. "Follow me." There's an immediate effort made to move as far away from the horrific site of Siri's gruesome death as possible, eyes unblinkingly wide. "We are leaving."
"Siri? Siri?" He backs away. "Oh...FUCK." Wendell takes a deep breath. "Okay we need to get everybody out!" Wendell backs away. "That things comes near me and I'm choppin it, but I dunno what else I can do." He glances at Avery. "Um....Misty has knives. I don't know where they was last though." Wendell frowns. "I don't usually have many weapons on me. It's just been me wit my cleaver. And my teeths. Sometimes I punch things with a them knuckles. You can take them if you want. Not sure if it's much use here." Wendell backs away but not so far back he can't serve as a buffer between everyone else.
"Holy shit!" Misty exclaims as Siri is just rather suddenly gone in screams and tongues and other terribleness, "Yeah, you might wanna." She says with a nod at Kouri's words towards Avery. "Things just got pretty fucked up." She says, keeping some distance from that pit, though not just fleeing off away. "Stick together though, don't go off alone just incase!" she says towards Kouri.
Geralt stares, wide eyed. Looking down over the others from his vantage. "Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck." He whispers to himself in a mantra. Not. Good. That isn't good. No. He shook his head, shuddering. "We shouldn't be here."
Out? Did someone say out? Out might be /hard/.
You see those rib bones that make up the lattice of the hollow? Well, they start to crack and break, splitting diagonally and separating, and from that throat comes a deafening ROAR from inside the bowels of... whateverrthefuckthisisomg. The Traditional Exits are torn asunder as this mouth opens for a moment, and then snaps shut again, briefly revealing the hedge sky outside, so close, but so far, before shutting them in again.
Then the floor heaves, starting to creak and buckle in places, and beneath the stone and bone, one can see edges of pink flesh. Moar tongues?!
Around those jagged ribs turned teeth, the thick vines that have been growing for centuries are starting to unwind.
Ryan's smile doesn't waver when Nemo frowns at him, and he's too distracted to notice anyone getting closer to the new cloaca that's attached itself to the hollow. He only has time to startle when the enormous tongue lashes out to drag Siri down. There's a moment of stunned horror, and the wizened hesitates, clutching the big bottle of clear liquid in his hand, now forgotten.
Bending at the knees, Avery grows brighter, blindingly so and looks to Misty, and Kouri. "Stay close. We'll get out." She tells them both and looks around at the chaos before standing tall and looking to Brielle. She gestures to the Springiest, supposing it's a good idea to get near and protect the lady.
Looking back to Kouri and Misty, Avery runs as best as she can with all the tremors happening to Brielle calling light into her skin until she is blindingly bright. She is trying to provide some blinding cover for the bow woman.
"It just ate her..." Brielle blinks once. Twice. There's not a third time. The Shadowsoul lets out a growl and the black tendrils start to run down her face and the woman is pissed. When Springs act like Summers. Film at 11! She watches her fellow Courtiers and others for a second before she fires the arrow at one of the vines. "If people can't defend then get them out and to safety!" She calls to the others. She ignores the shrieking of the vine for the moment. Although it hurt her flowery self.
Ryan staggers as floor and table rock beneath him, but he manages to keep his feet amongst the ruins of food and drink that are were not knocked off the table. There's a flash of distress when he sees this mess, but the yelling, screaming, and monstrous roaring filling the room are enough to change the drudge's priorities. The wizened tenses, dropping into a couch as his right hand darts toward the free end of the vine-thing that's looped around his waist. His eyes dart around the chamber, trying to make sense of the confusion, and squinting at Avery's glowing brightness.
Them vines! The start dropping from the ceiling, snapping like whips towards the changelings below, lashing out clumsily, but still striking with bruising force. Unlike that tongue, these things are not barbed, but they are lashing out violently, and annoying to hit. Strike after strike lashes down at the trapped changelings, the ceiling alive with writhing masses that have yet to descend, unfurling and untangling and revealing the pink fleshy roof of the mouth above.
Misty has managed to remain on her feet, and avoid getting smacked by one of the icky vines flailing around down at them as she follows after the glowing Avery. She produces a knife from where it was tucked into her waistband, very deffinately a knife of the fighting variety as well rather then the kitchen sort. "Woah. Is this it's mouth??" she asks, blinking.
The spring hollow is in chaos now. It seem's to have come Alive. Where the hot tub was there is a jagged sphincter of flesh and stone, where Siri was dragged through by a monstrous barbed tongue. The ribs have broken and split into teeth, upper and lower, and the thing ROARED into the hedge once before snapping closed again. The floor is breaking and buckling and the vines from the ceiling are falling down to attack.
All that LIFE, that HUNGER that had poured in here over the centuries have awakened the hollow into something that HUNGERS. Why it has awakened? You dont know yet.
Well. That's alarming. Sudden death like that. Very sad. For all her friendliness, Wish is a Dusk Courtier and death is going to come to us all. Some sooner than others. Surprisingly so. It's unnerving, is what that is right there, the Umbral Hunterheart taking a deep breath and setting teeth, easily keeping her feet as the ground starts to shake in earnest, trying to keep a calm head while... WHAP... and it all goes out the window when the vine strikes her. With a snarl, the slight girl with the smokey wolves' tail and ears bursts into flame, smoke becoming fire, the now only vaguely humanoid hellhound attacking the nearest vine with elemental tooth and claw.
Wendell growls like an angry...well whatever he is. The ogre swings up his blade and charges at the tentacle, moving like a strong spring breeze. He calls out. "LEAVE. MY. FAMILY. ALONE. YOU. STUPID. TENTACLE. THINGY." With that the fuzzy ogre punctuates his targe by bringing it upwards and right threw the vine of the monster. Wendell drags the colossal butcher's blade with a hard tug to send the colossal abberation tumbling down with the sealing with another large animalistic growl.
Kouri trapises over gently to Avery, still wearing that look of nigh dissociation. Watching the chaos erupt, the delicate Satyr reaches out to take Avery's chin, caressing her skin in a momentary gesture. "Be safe," the faun purrs out, turning eyes to the bedlam with a look bereft of reaction as the Hollow seeks to chew and swallow them. At a loss for what to do in the moment.
Geralt stumbles from his perch as a vine drops down. He didn't register it was a thing until that draping line fell down and slapped him like a whip. He staggered off balance before noticing something. Something that caused him to slip off the table and bring his blade down in an overhand grip, trying to stab the... ground? He grunts, buring the knife into the pink stuff, frowning. "Damnit!" He frowns looking around. "I.. I think we're inside it."
So you remember that nasty, fleshy appendage that destroyed Siri from such close range? Well, there are three of them now, and they are covered in rather copious amounts of saliva, and covered here and there with jagged bony barbs. At a greater distance, they are more easily avoided, as they lash out towards Wendell, Tock and Ryan. Ryan wasn't to be ignored forever it seems!
Heaving floor + table + distracted bug = a flail of arms, a zap of sizzly electricity and a very lovely, blue-black-teal-violet iridescent heap of bug flashing the world her glowing ass beneath glittery tights and pleated skirt, the scent of ozone briefly flaring in the air around her. Nemo squeals on impact, then yelps a second later at the pain of being vinetacle bitch-slapped.
"FUCK! Why did I say yes?!" With a swift and increasingly fearful look around at the whole, you know, exits disappearing because teeth and eeee the Hollow's going to EAT PEOPLE aspect of the evening, the tiny inventor quickly gets herself back up onto her feet and braces herself against the table while shouting, "Someone with a big sword! Cut us a way out!"
Tock keeps her bow levelled but does not fire, a few moments taken staring into that hole through which Siri disappeared. And then watching the Hollow seem to come to life. And then getting jabbed with hideous tongue-barbs. She narrows her eyes at the Hollow... "Make a hole! Any way to break out! The Hollow came to life and it is probably serving the Other attacking here! It was a leviathan very likely under her control and she has awakened it! It /will/ consume everything here!"
Dottie had been doing Dottie things, out near the Spring Hollow on this very lovely almost Spring evening attempting to get clippings of Oddments with her best pals Meep, the little fleshy homunculus and of course Herpe who's humming them a tune. A rumble that sounds familar enough it doesnt at first phase Dottie. She thinks it's her, on second inspection the sudden sounds and smells indicate that no, it is not in fact her demonic hunger making those noses but her favorite innaimate pal.. the Spring Hollow. She watches as the massive thing starts to move and the mouth opens giving her a chance to glimpse inside and hear Wendall Bellow. Her head tilts and her chin lowers and tosssing Meep on her back she lets out a wet cackling growl that echoes to the ears of Jazz and she makes a few steps waiting for the next moment when inevitably the giant mouth will open. "We gotta make sure she don't eat no body." She? She who? Poor wacked out Dot, leading the chaarge in. Question is will Jazz follow.
The hollow itself is HUNGRY. It opens it's mouth to roar again, and once again the damned earth shakes! The floor crackles more, and for a brief moment the teeth are parted, revealing sky and... the figures of two lost charging from the outside! Again that sound, deafening from the 'throat', as the room itself starts to tilt at an angle towards that squelching maw! Those that fall, start to roll...
At first, hunger is not wrong -- and then hunger becomes what formed this hollow. Something like a longhouse on first stepping in, it might not be for a few seconds to a few minutes before the casual observer realizes that the arcing beams overhead, worn off-white, are not a new variety of wood or marble but, indeed, bone. The ribcage of some unknown and centuries-dead animal, large enough to house forty people comfortably within what remains of its thorax, died here within the Hedge, and over time, the hunger of the plant life created this Hollow, shaped by the desires of those who come here.
Trudging along, hands in her jean pockets, Jazz follows Dottie. She's barely paying attention until Shit Goes Down, and then she's all focus and attention. She nods at Dottie's comment without a word. Jazz reaches into her jeans and pulls out... a retainer case? But it's swimming in Glamour, dark and bloody. She crams the thing into her mouth and cracks her neck to each side, blood already trickling from her mouth and dripping to the ground where strange little bloodflowers begin to sprout. After Dottie she jogs.
Of all the things Woodbine could have been prepared for, this was not amongst them. In mere moments, everything has turned to anarchy. The whip in the willow-woman's hand starts to writhe, and a sweet scent drifts from the coils as it shimmers and turns into a length of twisting vine. Said vine lashes out, letting out a pop of displaced air as it strikes at an exposed pink patch of the titantic hollow.
And with that last great shake, Wish - well, the fiery hellhound angrily occupying the same space Wish was - tumbles into the maw, disappearing with a howl of rage and the sizzle of burning... whatever this place is? That burning.
Looking to Kouri, Avery's focus slips and the glowing girl looses her footing. Sliding into one of the mouthes she screams out and reaches towards Kouri and Misty with a panicked look as a tight maw closes around her and like Wish, she vanishes from sight. The room is suddenly a little darker.
Ryan gives a yelp of dismay and leaps aside, just as a giant tongue-tentacle slams down onto the table where he so recently was standing. Food and crushed dishware go flying, but not the drudge. This time. And then the whole room is tipping towards that open maw, and while the wizened is still on his feet, the big stone table and the spread upon it are all making their way towards that mouth, each at their own speed. Others are not so fortunate, and Ryan looks about in panic as their situation rapidly deteriorates. "If it opens, RUN!" he tries to yell over the din. There's a flicker of glamour around the wizened as he focus, and then ... nothing happens. Nothing except Ryan's expression going from hopefully expectant to deeply concerned. "Uh oh."
Again the vines lash out, snaking towards Brielle, Dottie, Nemo, Jazz and Woodbine. With varying success, lashing at the two ogresses as they enter through the gnashing maw. Woodbine herself is grabbed around the throat, and hurled down the sloping floor, only to be SHLORPED up by that orifice. As that happens, one might hear the sound of a very angry WISH snarling down below, and the sizzle of burnt meat.
Someone at least is alive down there.
Brielle didn't think she'd live to see a Hollow turn on a court. But guess what, it happened today! She aims her next arrow /up/ and fires it, the sharp head of the bodkin glints right before it buries itself into the fleshy pink part. A spurt of greenish white goop drips down after it's injured.
Exceptionally light on her feet, thanks to a clause she has invoked, and naturally gracefull as well, Misty darts down into the mouth, "I'm gonna go and help 'em out, Wendell!" She calls, moving with grace as she starts to clamber her way down, trying her best to avoid any spikey or crunchy or otherwise unpleasant bits.. aside from the whole fact that going down something's throat is rather unpleasant!
Kouri stares. The beautiful creature is totally at a loss. Avery has disappeared. Misty plunges in after. Tentacles and vines writhe, the Hollow that was so same utterly transformed into a gaping maw. The beautiful thing falls to his knees, staring with limp hands, until those big eyes suddenly relax. A single hand lifts up. Reaching out towards the masses of diseased flesh and the gaping maw, the little Lost closes his eyes and reaches for the fabric of the Wyrd, the twist of Glamour. The flesh craves life, it craves food, it hungers. Kouri gives it what it wants. The warmth of Eternal Spring spreads through the maw around them, soothing and healing it, as Kouri seeks to remove all its fatigue, all its ache...all its hunger.
Wendell huffs. "Okay so an exit you want, an exit you shall have. Wendell moves up to the mouth to chop down a tooth and creat an exit. He gives one big swing but it's only partially out. "Almost there......" Wendell grunts.
Dot is not the kind to start shouting orders. Not for realizies, but she simply says, "Try to get away once out! She's awake!" This to people who seem confused, well, more confused than she is as she slides along the foliage laiden innards of the Spring Hollow. She starts working her way towards the vines that look the most dangerous; that would be the tentacle in front of Ryan. She takes stock of who's doing that making sure that Wendall's given enough room to work on their own. The little creature clinging to her back meeps a few times and at random decides Ryan needs some love. The little Hobgoblin cannot do much but this he can do! So a little Glamour is given and Ryan is blessed with a Hearth contract. So far Herpe is quiet.
Dottie slides into the thorny thing as it lashes and just wraps herself around the thing and yanks.. like pulling a weed, yanking the thing from it's root.
Geralt didn't seem phased as others by the tilting floor. Perhaps it was because he already regarded it as part of the 'beast' or whatever they'd call it afterwards. So as others slipped away into disappearing, he looks towards the exit and Wendell. Seeing one of the vines looking particularly nasty and dangerous, he scrambles up and cuts it with the ferociousness of a wet badger, ripping it away as he stood near Wendell back to the other to try and grant him some protection. "Keep going!"
Tock finally gets a chance to use that long-knocked arrow! "Stand aside, Wendell!" she calls before aiming at that already loosened tooth and hitting it dead-on with a shattering force of her bodkin arrow. The tooth does, indeed, shatter and fall away! It leaves an opening big enough to make a crawling-squeezing sort of escape through to the space between jaw and cheek, at least outside of the bony prison.
Dottie just obliterates one of those poor tentacles, which is now thrashing and lashing out helplessly. Geralt murdered one of the vines. 2 Tentacles, 4 vines left. The tooth/broken rib? It falls out.
One of the tentacles lashes out at Dottie, to no avail, the second to Tock, also useless.
Oh hells no, she's not falling down again! Nemo clings to the table beside her, electricity grounding itself through the stone while the Hollow's floor begins to flipping -move-. Fearful, glittering eyes widen in painfully naked hope at the glimpse of sky between the teeth, a soft sound of choked despair echoing the returning shadows and resealing of the leviathan's maw. It's pure luck that she manages to catch the tentacle's attack in time, instinct to duck, antennae snapping flat against her head as she yips in surprise. When the others batter down that tooth? There isn't a whole lot of 'reason' and 'forethought' going on in that buggy head. A way out exists, and she is bloody well taking it! Bolting toward the hole with a crackling zzt of electricity and ozone in her wake, the tiny woman flings herself bodily toward the possibility of an escape.
Our heroes here are in a bit of a pickle, some have been swallowed, one is dead and the others are trying to break out of a toothy prison, with some success. The floor heaves, tilting ever upwards, and then stops for a moment, gnashing it's jaws, chewing air as it rolls it's floor-tongue, attempting to swallow people again. Thankfully that tooth is gone and doesn't crushes anyone, tho it seems rather angry.
Then, some of that rotting flesh gains a bit of color, and the floor stops moving. For the moment.
There are currently 4 people down the hatch, two people fighting tentacles, and a buncha people GTFOing.
Jazz hurls herself face first at the tentacle that lashes out at Tock, Ogre-raging herself up to impressive feats of strength and power for such a runty thing. She wraps her arms around the thing in the world's least sexy bearhug, riding it now, and preparing to bite with the Retainer from Hell.
Kouri sits back up a bit, panting, looking to the others. "It...worked?" The pretty thing peers towards one of the maws, seeing if they'll open. Foolish enough to actually approach one, on hands and knees, gently touching the flesh of the floor as he crawls. "Your hunger," he murmurs more to the fleshy room than anyone else. "I'll fix it. I'll fill you. I will give you your desire. As long as you give me mine..."
There's a lot of stuff going on and Brielle's watching people get swallowed left and right and she's worried. That makes the Fairest want to hurt something. She aims her next arrow at the squirming tentacle that's flopping about and she plugs an arrow into it, injuring it, but not putting it down flat.
In the middle of the disaster, Ryan catches sight of Dottie and her companions as they move near him. And suddenly he's struck with a feeling of great good fortune. There's no surprise from the drudge, no question of how the zombie girl came to be here, only a friendly smile that is completely out of place. It lasts all of a second before the wizened is forced to deal with the pitching, angled floor, and is suddenly reminded that they're all about to die. Oh, right! An unbalanced laugh bubbles out of Ryan, and he casts an increasingly desperate look around. They have a hole. A small one. And he only has one idea, so he tries again. "Roar at the ground, please?!" he invites the hollow-monstrosity. "Wouldn't that feel lovely?"
Kouri stares, heart pounding. "If that satisfied it...maybe I should do it again, but...if they're alive, if they are fighting their way out, I shouldn't heal its wounds...oh, but I have to do SOMETHING, I don't...I don't know what to do!" The goatling stares at a constricted throat helplessly, eyes wide.
Geralt suddenly feels like an idiot. Perhaps that's why he got slapped some sense by that vine. Stumbling to the side, he blinked. Staring down from the near mouth towards the throat... inspiration struck him. And like the wiry idiot he often was, he ran downwards... into the table, slamming his shoulder into the table. "Feed it the fucking table!"
Dottie slips from Ryan with a little smile in return for the Wizened as she slips by on the doubiously 'living' tissue and towards the thing's throat where she's sliding about to attempt to pull the thing wider. She fights with it, struggling against the things urge to construct and swallow. The roar that comes from the dainty little undead girl would do any Ogre proud, a eral primal thing rattling and wet and so very inhuman. It's a struggle though; she and the Hollow are head to head and there is no doubt she will need help to get those from below out or even see what's beyond the sphinter of flesh as she struggles to keep it open. "GIVE IT!" Just like you'd tell a dog.
Tock lashes her bow to her back and pulls her 100 foot coil of rope off of her bag, only to tie this off around her waist, as well. She hands the other end over to Wendell since strong Ogre may have to help pull them back up or step in if the rope comes untied. "Wendell, tie this off on something stable. If this works...two sharp tugs followed by two sharp tugs and help pull it up, please? We may need strength for this." With that, the electrified Elemental moves over to where Dottie has made some progress getting that gullet open. "I am going down to see if I can help get the others out," she announces entirely too calmly for such a crazy statement, proceeding to make that attempt.
The tentacle with an arrow in it, lashes out against Dottie! This time the barbs striking her flesh, lashing into the ogress as she holds the throat open. The other is wrangled by jazz.
Wendell takes the rope with a shrug and goes to tie it to one of the teeth. "If this thing can take two hits from tha cleaver it's gotta be steady yeah." The ogre clears his throat. "Okay everybody, the way is clear. Head out now. I guess uh, I...might go see if I can't attack this thing from the outside or somethin'."
Kouri stares up as Dottie plunges into the flesh, watching the barbed tentacle shred her while she hauls the opening wide. Kouri reaches out towards her, again beckoning Spring deeper into this place, and under the faun's glamour the ogress's flesh knits back into place. Wounds seal into nasty bruises.
When people call something a 'flashlight' they probably don't mean it in quite the same way Nemo experiences it. Or offers it. While it is nowhere near as bright as a Bright One's glow, that pale blue firefly rump of hers plays 'ass light' very well for anyone attempting to follow her through the toothy gap, illuminating slimy, rotten inner cheek muscles in the instant before the little bug has crawled out of visible range.
Hands and antennae alike feel their way along the creature's flesh until she reaches what feels like its lips, and, with an angry kick at the tooth behind her to give her a bit of a boost, she shoves herself free -- and splat-tumbles down onto the earth of the trod outside, dirt and leaf detritus clinging to skin and clothes thanks to zombie plant-monster goo. The little bug takes swift, deep breaths, kneeling where she fell and gazing up at the thorn-canopied sky with a hunger all her own.
HOOOORRRRRK! The hollow's jaws open wide and it /ROARS/ the floor buckling and heaving again, this time trying to deposit it's contents into the ground. The angle is steep and the floor just isn't staying still. Outside is visible now, the thorns around the hollow are flattened and pulverized under the weight of the thing they are inside, but the trod, the trod is visible....
Jazz continues to ride a tentacle, now biting, rending and chewing the thing into bloody shreds.
Dottie grunts as the barns lash out laying her open. Meep, well, Mepp 'Meeps' and scurries under Dotti's shirt in a protected spot and Herpe flies off ehr shoulder through the chaos headed for the hole after the other bug. But there's a reason for that; scouting. The little roach is headed out to just be super-duper sure that the escapee's aren't escaping into something worse. She grunts a nod at Tock; already straining against the natural order of the beast and gritting her teeth as she holds it open; a light at the end of the tunnel for those who can still see. All Tock hears in a sort of ragged snarl is a quiet, "Hurry." The Ogre is strong but she is tiny and she knows she can only hold out for so long. A glance towards Kouri and her characteristic toothy smile though it's more vicious than thankful in the moment. And then the think is horking, and Dottie is holding on for dear life. She knows there are at least three people down there now, including Tock, and she has a weird need to be sure at least one and a half of them come out if not more.. She twists a bit trying to offer a hand down to attempt to blindly grope for people.
VINES LASHING OUT! RAWR VINES ONLY JAZZ GET'S HURT!
Brielle gets the hell out of Dodge while people are still alive. She was sure that there were people that needed to be healed outside. So that's where she goes!
Kouri stares. Fleeing is...not beautiful. Not dramatic. Avery and Dottie, the two he knows best, have disappeared into that gullet. And thus it is with delicate grace and resignation that Kouri closes those gorgeous eyes and falls after Dottie, tumbling downward in her wake gracefully.
Wendell peers outside for a brief moment before taking his blade and pludging that Cleaver into that remaining tentacle like he was going to make some calamari or something out of it. He cries out and brings it by the upper handle into a forward thrust. "We gotta get out soon." Wendell says as he licks his wounds. "I'll take care of these tentamacles I guess."
Belatedly shoving herself up to her feet, Nemo turns to stare at the enormous .. thing .. the Hollow has become, gaping at it, and, because Summer is Summer, now that the whole being terrified out of her wits thing is finished, she scowls, stamps a little foot and scoops up a fistful of dirt to fling at the beast's lips. "Jerk!" One wasn't enough. She scoops up another fistful, blinking in mild surprise at the sight of Dottie's little friend the roach, then frowns to herself and rummages for a stick.
Jazz? Is starting to get fucked up. Snarling atop a tentacle and devouring it as she clings to it, stray lashes from other sources are adding her own blood into the mix. Still, she's in a cannibal frenzy, and determined to take down her prey.
Ryan, who has been on top of the fucking table (to be fair, it is also used for dining) this whole time, reacts to Geralt's plan with a panicked wave of his hands. "Sorry! Sorry!" The wizened hops down, adding, "That ... might work?" And while he starts to move to assist the fae-touched, Ryan never gets his shoulder against the table. Instead he's knocked aside when one of the flailing vines cracks him soundly across the back of the head. "Ow!" Probably it wouldn't have made the slightest difference, as the hollow tilts dizzyingly and the maw cracks open. The little drudge let's himself slide down towards the open mouth, getting out while the getting is good! Leaping past the teeth, he lands with a thud on the churned up earth at the edge of the trod. "Oof!" And there he lies, taking a second getting his breath back.
From the outside, the thing looks like it's straight out of the little shop of horrors, on an enormous and zombified scale. THe hedge around it is crushed, but outside of that ring of damage it doesn't seem to have much range. It's mouth is bleeding copious ammounts of perly whiter fluid, mixed with some green.
Jazz rides her meal to the ground, feasting for a moment even after it goes still, then remembers the rest of the world exists and looks up through bloody dreadlocks. "Well fuck," she says. "In or out? Decisions, decisions." Nemo bailed. Dottie's fighting on. She shrugs and hobbles to her feet, more hurt than she'd like to admit, and heads towards daylight.
No one else seems to be coming out. Save for jazz. The creature, all corpsified flesh plant thing seems fairly lethargic, until it detects something moving to one side, when that happens, it rolls it's massive head like a bullzoder, flattening part of the hedge again before settling back.
Wendell wriggles his way out of the tooth cavity and attempts to climb on top of the thing, cleaver strapped to his back, gripping on every nook and cranny for dear life as he tried to pull himself up and on top of the horrible horrible creature. But nothing of course ever went according to plan. The creature started to shake and Wendell gripped ever tighter onto the creature. Wendell gritted his teeth and took a deep breath, kicking his feet onto the thing to stablize himself. "Aw shit." He grumbled as he looked down at the other two.
Ryan cautiously clambers to his feet. He sees Nemo rushing off to get help, and then Jazz flopping out before the thing closes its maw. The wizened looks up at the enormous plant monster towering overhead, and he is on the verge of going to help the wounded ogre until he sees what Wendell is up to. For a second he can only stare, dumbfounded. And then the plant starts trying to shake the yeti off, and without even thinking Ryan rushes in to try and take advantage of this distraction.
The hollow tries to shake Wendell off with no avail, roaring frustration, until... it feels a lashing pain on it's chin, that whip cracking with crushing force... It orients onto Ryan a moment later and that head comes darting forard, bone teeth bared, lunging after him and... snapping on emptyiness, inches away!
Ryan's rose-vine lash uncoiled from his waist with a raspy whisper, glowing with glamour even as he drew it back to strike. Hiss-crack! Thorns lashed across the monster's chin, causing an inordinate amount of pain for such a light weapon. And then Ryan is all too aware of how foolish his assault on the massive creature was, even if his lash did cause some punishment. Uncertain how he is still alive, the drudge turns and runs to one side, ready to dodge should the thing decide to go for him again. His moment of heroism is completely spent, and now he just hopes to get out of the things reach!
Wendell swings himself up and takes a plunge at the vitals of the foul beast's head. He drives that butcher's blade deeping into the creature's head. He lets out a loud 'kia' as he does it like a very angry yet enthusiastic kid in a karate class. He's breathing heavily and gripping tightly onto his blade as the blood runs down from his arm, staining the white fluff a little like blood on snow.
And of course he grips on for dear life as he figures what's gonna happen next.
Stupid little maggots! The hollow lets out an anguished and frustrated cry! It's the kind of sound that is PHYSICAL in nature, the kind to cause serious tinnitus. The earth shakes and the Thing shakes it's head as Wendell gouges it's skull again and again, things inside of it going /SPLORT/! The earth around the trod shakes, like a severe earthquake, and the ground around it cracks as the constrained creature starts to lash about wildly, scooting backwards, trying to bury itself and Wendell into the swampy hedge floor...
Lucky for Ryan, he does not face another brush with that gigantic maw. He does, however, spot Jazz passed out on the grass. The wizened checks over his shoulder, seeing Wendell doggedly hanging on to the monster's head, and then back to the unconscious ogre. For a moment it looks as though the drudge means to have another go at that behemoth. But then he hesitates. "Sorry," he mutters, and instead he moves to help the wounded Jazz.
Wendell grips on and once again drives in his weapon with a growl. "Why won't this thing go down?" Wendell says with gritted teeth. "Big monster, lots of blood. Thick skin." The ogre bites his lip as he watches the many others make their escape. He sweats nervously but he's already too far entrenched in the battle to make any kind of retreat at this point. "Well...I lived...an okay life I guess..." Wendell says with a heavy sigh as he prepares for some more bad stuff.
Jazz lies prone in the grass, sprawled out and covered in blood. Only some of it is hers. She lifts her head weakly and sees Ryan approach, then watches Wendell continue to go apeshit on the Big Dumb Face. "Sexy," she mutters.
"WHY WON'T YOU DIE YOU STUPID STUPID THING!" Wendell shouts out as he drives that sword in again and again and again, just barely gripping on with one fuzzy hand. Sweat and blood run through Wendell's fuzz. But he's barely noticing with all that sugar and adrenaline running thick through the ogre's veins right now. Every drop of energy and glamour poured into fighting something that even made the little ogre look like a tiny little fairy, albeit with a big knife. And so the equivalent of a little murderous stuffed animal grabbed the blade in both hands and went forward with one more big thrust.
It /SHRIEKS/, I would make that word bigger but I can only capitalize so hard. Wendell, relentlessly gouges into that ginormous rotting plant zombie thing, until it';s carved a hole through bone and flesh and brain. With one final cacophonous sound, then thing falls tot he earth with a heavy crash, and starts to sag in on itself, shuddering and shaking and falling to pieces. It starts to collapse in on itself, the hollow falling apart, wild magic drifting off into the hedge around it, the hedge growing more wild and thick... a rotting stench billowing up from the inside of the hollow, from the gullet that their friends were lost inside of. Acid, green and orange starting to burble... Everything just starting to fall apart.
"Oh good, You're alive!" Ryan says as he sees Jazz stir, and he leans down to get a quick look at her wounds, but most of his attention is focused on the battle that still rages. The drudge watches in amazement as Wendell manages to not only stay on the thrashing monstrosity, but to repeatedly stab it in the head. And then there's one final stab, and the huge bulk is toppling over, and Ryan stands and stares. Until the thing lets out its death scream, which causes the wizened to wince in pain and cover his ears. "Ow." He blinks. "That was ... amazing. I was certain he was going to die." He glances down at Jazz. "Will you be okay? I should probably ... go see if anyone else survived." Given what they can see of things breaking up and acid sloshing around, Ryan does not sound hopeful.
Wendell slides down from all that disgusting sludge. He's stained with a big of blood, both his and the other things. The fuzzy ogre plants his sword in the ground, panting, both physically and mentally exhauses. He gets down on a knee to better catch his breath. "That was the longest time I ever spent killin' something....but....it killed Siri....so justice....justice had to be served." Wendell yawns widely. "I'm soooo sleepy but I hope the other springs are safe at least." He pats his Cleaver. The stickers he put on today were already covered in grime.
"Nah, I'm good," Jazz says before flopping back to the ground, though she's still covering her ears after that death rattle to end all death rattles. She just lays there, in no hurry to do anything. "You killed it good, dude. In the fuckin' head."
IN THE TUNNELS SECTION
Landing in the utter gross, Avery's bright light is confined to the smaller space. Breathing quickly, she looks around with surprise at not being dead. Then there's Siri and she tries to wade or walk to the body with a panicked look.
The Hellhound is enraged, snarling, completely aflame, lighting the space up with hellfire and lashing out at its surroundings in a bloodyminded refusal to accept the end. Because as deaths go, this is bullshit and it isn't going to take it. Actually death in general is something it would prefer to avoid, but the beast-that-was-Wish isn't in a position to be making that sort of distinction. Anyway, after a few moments of this the creature seems to calm (relatively), glaring at Avery, then glaring down the path. Then back to Avery. At least they won't be in the dark down here. As for Siri, the beast has no regard. It is an empty shell. Something to eat if it comes to that.
Looking down at Siri, Avery brushes her eyes closed. "We should get her body out of here, or burn it-she doesn't deserve to rot down here." Avery says aloud, looking at the hellhound with her. "Then we need to get out, think we can make the jump?"
THUD. Woodbines unconscious form lands right beside the two of you. She is bruised, but alive.
The Hellhound is completely disinterested in Siri. The living have grave concerns, the dead have nothing to worry about at all. Woodbine is sniffed at, possibly causing the Darkling minor burns. Well, this one is alive. It will get to savour the pain of the beast's touch later. Y'know, assuming we live. The beast tries to drag her a bit by her shoe. That should keep Woodbine from being burned. Much.
"Wait, just...I'll get her." Avery nods to the unconscious girl and looks sadly at Siri's dead body. They'll have to leave it. She leaves Siri's side and goes to the girl being dragged trying to pick her up with a huff of air. "Ok, we need to get out of here." She says and looks to the path.
Down the gullet comes Misty, slowing her fall through a bit of strength, and a little contract shenanigans to keep ahold of things she otherwise might not be able to. She manages to land, blinking just a bit and going "UGH." She calls out, "You guys okay??" though the light might help spot the others.
The Hellhound-that-was-Wish is by Woodbine, having just been trying to drag her a few feet by biting her shoe. It is not entirely successful and now the Darkling's footwear is smoldering a little. Oh well. Misty's here now. She can help carry the unconscious Darkling. To where... dunno. It is frustrating. Fortunately, Hellhounds are really, really good at being angry. Misty is glared at with ember-glowing eyes. And then the Hellhound will start burning claw marks into the side of the gullet. Because fuck you, gullet. Fuck you.
Looking to Misty, Avery nearly sobs with relief and looks back up. "What about Kouri? Was he ok?" She asks in a panicked tone to the girl before looking to Wish. "We need to get out of here, they must think we're...." her lips press together and she joins Wish in beating at the gullet with her fists.
"He's ok when I left, they were trying to cut their way out." Misty says, "We heard her." She points towards Wish, "Can you get her? We really oughta take Siri too if we can." She says with a little frown. "But we shouldn't dally any longer then we gotta!"
The way they came in looks all but impossible to climb out again. Deeper into the cave looms darkly, all around things bubble and blorp.
THE CAVE IS GROSS, flesh and bone and earth, with burbling green and orange stuff around. Technically it's a trod, there is only one path, into the darkness. The group of gals down here have started walking down the trod, which Tock will be able to see, just barely, thanks to Wish's light.
Thanks to some muscling by Dottie and some electric current on one crazy Elemental, a zappy blue Tock makes her way down the previously closed gullet, tied to a 100 foot length of rope. "Wish? Avery? Misty?" she calls as she makes her way down. "I got us a way back up! We just have to climb! Wendell and I broke one of the teeth and there is a way out up there!"
"There's a way out down here too we think!" Misty calls back, they've got bodies they're carrying too it looks like. "The dog said it was a Trod!" she shouts. "Can we make it back up? It looked like a tough climb!"
"If we can get them to at least get the bodies up, that frees us up, they're the priority." Avery says to Misty and looks up at Tock. "Can you help get them out and then we'll worry about us?" She asks loudly.
"Bodies of whom?" Tock asks curiously. "But if we can get them up, then surely we can get people with more climbing ability up..." She jolts a bit as the rope pulls and dips. "Or maybe we should leave the rope here as a back up and try that way first."
"It's Siri. And someone else." Misty shouts, waiting a bit, "It's dangerous. The rocks aren't easy to walk on." says the girl with a separation clause active. "Just be careful when you come down. We should hurry though. I don't think that going back up is a good idea...." She says with a little frown creeping onto her face.
Hefting Woodbine, Avery looks at the legs and to Siri. "I don't know her name either. Let's get a move on. I would say the more the merrier but if your way out is easier Tock, let them know we're alive and there's a trod down here." Avery says and nods to Misty. "Get Siri so we can get out of here."
"The rope does not feel safe right now. I will try to shout up that we are going another way first but who knows if they will hear. We can carry the girls out," Tock agrees. "HEY! We are trying another way out first because the rope does not look safe right now!" Hopefully that will get them heard. "We will have to get to them if we go out another way so they know we are out," she adds before picking up after the others, collecting Siri to help carry her down this dubious path.
"Yeah." Missy says with a nod of her head, "We'll have to be ready to call someone, or something just in case." she says, helping with the Siri situation as she moves to continue along with the intrepid band of worm adventurers through the GI tract of this crazy creature. "So what the heck is going on? This is a pretty crazy attack."
"Nooo idea. But we need to get out. I need to get back up there." Avery says in a worried tone. She and Missy are carrying limp bodies, one alive, one isn't. She looks to Tock and starts down the trod impatiently. They wont need a light, she's got that covered.
Dottie isnt on an uncontroled slide. She's careful and with Kouri coming in after her she's sure to amke sure that the satyrling isn't just falling face first into a pile of who knows what. So Dottie lowers Kouri one handed down, he little zombie creature is particularly strong at the moment and not looking terirbly friendly either, and sort of bruised. "I hate getting eated."
For all the foul smells down here, there is a sudden sent of spring rain on dry earth before Tock touches Woodbine's arm (electricity pulled back on that hand!) and heals her so that she can walk of her own accord. "Let us get down this thing and see if this is an option before trying that rope out again." She gets her bow out again, just in case.
The Cave! Enormous, like being on the inside of a skeletal snake. The walls are a mix of earth and rotting flesh, and the 'path' leads deep into the darkness, with greenish orange bile glooping on either side, over the path here and there, leading far far off into darkness. Things skitterin that darkness, but back away from Wish's light.
"We'll get outa here." Misty says, "I don't really think going up is a great option." Misty says to the other two, not aware of the others that have made their way down behind them yet. "This is the grossest thing I've ever seen though." She says with an occasional urk as she moves along the path, doing her best to not touch /anything/ but the Siri she's carrying over her shoulders.
Dottie isn't wobling but she's clearly battered; black and bluebruises are raising against corpse pale skin as she looks around and sniffs recoiling with a little gutteral noise. "Not so bad. Didn't chew. Let me go first? Can someone carry Meep?" She pulls the head sized little hobgoblin off herself offering it to someone as she looks about and eyes the path.
Setting Woodbine down, Avery calls more light into the space. She's tired of being in the belly of the beast. "Let's move please. I'll take Meep, let's go." She says looking to Dottie. Her glowing skin doesn't show bruises really so it's hard to gage her bumps and lumps.
"Dottie, you look like you could use some healing if you don't mind?" Small blessings of mantle flares! That fresh rain scent rises again before Tock's non-electrified hand rests on Dottie's shoulder to heal her, as well. As soon as this is done, her hands are back on her bow, at the ready. "Let me know if anyone sees trouble. Shoot first and ask questions later in this particular circumstance."
It smells so bad in here! Eventually people might start feeling light headed. So gross. Blorp blorp. Oh look, ancient half digested bones over there! Is that a briarwolf skeleton in the goop? Blorp blorp.
Meep is light, the little Rut content to cling with long spindly arms wherever he's put to cling to. Occasionally frightened little meepmeeps escape him and ragged little breaths but he's being a trooper all things considered. Tock's given a little smile as the black and blue fades away to almost nothing at all. Still, tiny or not, Ogres are best for tanking and so the Zombie turns to start slowly making her way out of the primal innards of the Hollow. "I wonder what woke her. It was so sudden." The digestive tracts scents make her nose wrinkle and she pulls her shirt up over it but the rest well. It's all digestion baby. Without any further argument the vacant headed zombie starts making her way, slowly, along though she does mutter for people to make sure no one gets light headed.
Kouri isn't commenting on the fact they're in a rotting, decaying digestive tract. The elegant thing merely traipses straight over to Avery and takes her in his arms, holding her tight.
It should also be noted that Kouri's attire for the entire incident has been a white linen cloth which is probably no longer white. A mere toga. Kouri clings tight to Avery before murmuring... "This...is not beautiful," at their surroundings.
Misty continues along as well, huffing and puffing a bit as she hauls the dead body over her shoulders, sighing just a little. "The smell is the /worst/." Misty states, "And I'm gonna need to bathe for a month straight I think. Ugh." She says as she tromps along with the crew through the long, gross, nasty passage.
Holding Meep in one arm, Avery holds onto Kouri with the other, her temper winding short. "Be disgusted and distraught later." She says with a seething hiss. "Let's just get out of here to be horrified." She looks after Dottie and tows Kouri along, wrapping her fingers tight around his wrist. She isn't losing him again.
"I believe that the Hollow is the remains of a Leviathan that very likely was a servitor of the Gentry who attacked the Autumn Hollow. My hypothesis is that said Gentry or her servants awakened what remained of her," Tock replies to Dottie's musing as they press onward. "Which, in addition to being very hungry, is likely why the attack was as vicious as it was." Her lips twitch in an almost-smirk at Misty's comment. "I will have to share with you my bath blend that I came up with after that entire bog of mud and muckmonster and decaying tree-zombie-corpses incident. That was a hard one to get out of the hair and skin."
Kouri doesn't even react to Avery's temper. He nods his head...the Fairest complying easily. Kouri is like a child, utterly detatched due to the trauma, things only faintly registering. There's no further quips. His hand clings tight in Avery's grasp.
"Yeah.. I think I'd like that. A LOT." Misty says with a sorta gag at a particular blurp of stench that bubbles up from below. "Oh god." She murmurs. "Was everyone up top okay? Did they make it out alright?"
"Aww.. but I liked her." Comes the strange Lament from the zombie girl. She blinks, "Maybe I could too. ora probably doesn't want me smelling like this, and I know Meep needs a bath." 'Meep.' comes the hobgoblins reply. Dottie keeps ranged a bit ahead, not far but enough that there's a moment to prepare should she run into something head on.
It's a LOOOONG path, winding and there are a few places where some creative maneuvering will be required to not step into the goopy bile. If it does touch, it will inflict chemical burns, and eat away at clothing. Eventually however... there's the scent of a sea breeze, and they will find and exit... another sphincter. That will require some more maneuvering and pushing to get through, puuuuush. But eventually,t he group should make it out, alive, on the shoreline in the hedge, near the winter hollow and the lighthouse. All of you smell bad. SMELL BAD And it doesn't come out easily. Like being sprayed by a skink, but smelling more like bile and intestinal grossness.
"I keep quite a bit of it on hand. It is...unfortunately frequent that I need super strength Hedge stench remover with my Knighthood duties," Tock observes with slightly narrowed eyes. So many bad smells, it is almost hard to remember the past bad smells with the overwhelming current ones. Lots of picking steps. Lots of caution. Lots of shoving. Once the clockwork girl is free and identifies their location... "I should go check on the others that were up front to make sure they got out and know we are out. More people should keep Valhalla comms on while in the Hedge so we can communicate more effectively," she muses. And never mind what 'around back' was to the others' 'up front'. Never. Mind.
"Let's get Siri to the lighthouse, I dunno where else to take her yet." Misty says with a little sigh, "Where can I come to get some of that stink remover stuff?" she asks with a look towards Tock, "Valhalla?" she asks with a little squint. "I'll come by soon. Very. Very. Soon." She states.
Continuing her determined march, Avery looks to Misty and shakes her head. "Not in the hedge...Maybe Abraham Butter's office?" She suggests eyes tight. "I don't trust the light house. We should all take a dip in the ocean, real world side. Cold or not, getting the initial stink off will help and we all have people to check in with. I'm sure."
Dottie sighs, out, they're out. "I feel like Shit." She complains as she looks around wobbling. Looking to where Misty is and then back towards Avery hlding her arms out. "I'll take meep now.." She sniffs the air, "I've got Herpe keeping an eye on the others. I'm going to head that ay though. To be sure.
"If you feel safe going there, considering...I can be found there often, yes. If you would like a Hedge-free option, I work at the Gilded Hills Airfield and attend university at St. John's," Tock informs Misty and anyone else interested in anti-stink bath concoctions. "There are occupied tunnels under Valhalla, now, however. I am recommending that people spend less time there until that is resolved. Only those for defense, healing, and manning the radio. Essential personnel. Hopefully we can deal with that issue quickly and decisively, but there is only time for one catastrophe at a time." She nods to Dottie. "We should go together. Safety in numbers whenever possible."
"Yeah, the cold doesn't bother me so much. But you're right, that's not a terrible idea." Misty says with a nod at Avery's suggestion, "I dunno how I feel taking a corpse out onto the streets is all until we get something figured out." She says with a little scrunch of her nose. "I'll find you yeah." She says to Tock, looking around a little, "You guys be safe, I'd come too but I want to make sure Siri is taken care of, ya know?"
"I guess we should leave her under watch then? I feel weird about leaving the body alone. Maybe we could call Melody and Abe?" Avery sits down abruptly and pushes her hair back from her face. "It's spring, why is this happening now?" She asks the universe at large and lets out a heavy sigh.
Kouri sits down with Avery. He's quiet amidst the stench and horror, squeezing her hand. "It's not," he says quietly. "It's not Spring yet. The Equinox has not passed. We are still in Winter," he intones. "It will be Spring....in two days."
Dottie heads off with Tock, letting brighter minds do the thinking.
"We can at least wait until we have a car or something right outside to take her where she needs to go." Misty agrees with a little nod of her head at the two, "That way we can do it nice and quick ya know?" she says. "We can get in touch with them too, prolly a good idea."
"Mel will be dream patrolling, and Abe? He might be asleep for all I know. All I want to do is shower and sleep. Poor Siri." She murmurs and looks over at the body. "I wish we would have gotten to meet properly. Let's get to the Lighthouse, get all of us cleaned up and we'll see how much better we feel with a shower and clean clothes so we can get Siri off to how ever we handle death. I don't even know."
Kouri nods, standing elegantly, helping Avery up. He didn't know Siri either, and has little to say, staring off into the distance.
Misty nods towards Avery, "The Lighthouse then, but we won't linger any longer then we have to. We'll get ahold of Mel and Butters in the morning, I can if you want, or whatever." She says with a little scrunch of her nose. "And bathe. Lots and lots of soaking. And tomato juice, and whatever else.."
"It's bile? Orange oil and soap." Avery suggests taking Kouri's help. "If we stay till morning we sleep in shifts. I don't want to lose anyone else." She suggests and leans into Kouri.