Logs:The Color of Time - Black Hole Sun

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The Color of Time - Black Hole Sun

And the sky... the sky is broken! Nothing grows except things that eat us!

Dramatis Personae

Dina, Isrieal, Leander, Lex, Paloma, Reiz, Vesna, and Cacoethes as ST.

11 November, 2017

A group of Lost investigate some strangeness in the Hedge. They encounter a familiar face, and nearly lose their own lives.


The Hedge

Rumours have been spreading, via Lost who frequent the Hedge, hobs, and other sources. Strange things are happening. The sky... is not quite right. And so a group of Lost from Sentinel Rock set out to investigate. They don't have to go far.

Even from a distance, the Lost can see what's sparked the rumours. The sky has becoming a shifting swirl of color. Like an aurora borealis but the colors of bright, myriad, and seem to be centered in one area, as if something were forming there, or trying to. The area effected seems to be over a small canyon of some sorts. Tangled vines cling to the canyon walls, but portions are clear, allowing for small, precarious hob settlements, little more than shanty towns, but obviously inhabited. The bottom of the canyon itself is lost in shadows.

The sky churns above it, a rolling swirl of ever-changing color, like a storm brewing.

Dina has some interest in the Hedge. It's where she can get goblin fruit, after all, and that's kind of her thing. Also, it's the best place to go running when you have an ice wolf companion. Usually she's not out this far, however. Dina looks up at the sky, lips pursed together. She's in blue leathers and has a satchel slung crosswise over her chest. The aforementioned wolf, an adolescent white beast with frosty breath, is at her side and glowering menacingly.

Reiz has come along, he's dressed a fair bit differently than street clothes--wearing dark blue coveralls, boots, along with a hooded sweatshirt and large cotton scarf to combat the cold. Along his back is a large gym bag which he's carrying his gear in. The hood of his sweatshirt is down to expose his large plume of black hair, bat-like ears sticking out of it, partially covered by his scarf.

"If anyone gets hurt please let me know, my mantle is weak but I can still heal injuries with my contracts," he also unzips the gym bag and produces what looks like a large assault rifle, yes it's clearly hedgespun. Entertainer though he may be, he comes prepared.

The Autumn Queen is prevelant on the scene, she's been waiting for this chance. To finally see these assholes and that color swirl of a sky is surely a tell tale sign thats it them. She stares up at the mass in what would be excitement were it not for her lack of eyes that show just as empty sockets. The black crown is nestled atop her silvery locks mixed with strands of hay and Autumn leaves that tangle within the exposed ribs in her hollow back. The scarecrow stands poised with that moonlight blade of a scythe in her hand and her black feather dress bound with chains of starlight. A tiny hobrunt with the head of goat skull stands clinging to the ends of her dress and peering around at the others with his little blue glowing eyes.

Something strange in the hedge? Leander would have been more worried to hear of something normal in the hedge! The hedge is BAD NEWS! Still, Upsta, Leander's little Hob buddy, seemed worried about whatever it was and so Leander and Lex approach the area of the disturbance cautiously. The wyrd and the mantle of the two wintery darklings sends a wave of frost and cold that swirls outward through the hedge, coating their surroundings in a glimmering layer of frost, though they do their best to approach quietly. Leander is always well prepared for any trip into the hedge and today is no exception to that. Weapons, blades and tokens are strapped and buckled all over the place as the darkling boy stalks around the perimeter.

Paloma is there with everyone else. There's not a whole lot about her, really. She is a pretty lady but looks about as close to human as she can be at this point without actually being a human. What good will someone like her be? Probably not a lot! She stands back, wondering what is happening. The investigator in her tells her she wants to know but Paloma is confident she won't be much use here.

Vesna wears something at least marginally more suited for exploration that her common outfits, though still perhaps not what a normal explorer would pick out. Slung over her shoulder is a quiver full of arrows, while she holds her compound bow loosely in her left hand as she walks along, looking up at the sky. She looks oddly determined when she looks up at the swirling colors. Her gaze falls to the scattered town beneath it "Should we see if anyone knows anything?" she asks no one in particular, nodding her head towards the buildings.

As the group gathers near that canyon, there's the sudden sound of something rummaging around in the brambles. A moment later, a little gremlin emerges. Three feet tall, with warty green skin and spikey black hair. It's dressed in rags, but wears a backpack festooned with battered pots and pans, and carries a little makeshift spear.

"Oi!" it explains, obviously surprised by stumbling out of the brambles and into a group of Lost. And then it grins broadly, showing two rows of broken, yellowed, but still pretty sharp teeth. It lets out a shriek, "They've come! They've come! We're saved!" It howls louder, "THEY'RE HERE! THEY'RE HERE!"

Dina winces faintly. There is yelling happening, and that doesn't seem good. The ice wolf at her side seems to agree; it bares its teeth at the little gremlin and growls, the noise low and chilling.

Lex makes his way alongside Leander, in total agreement of the 'BAD NEWS' opinion and wary of what might lie ahead for all of them. It's for that reason he too has come loaded for bear; strapped and buckled to the hilt like this best friend with knives and such as he helps Leander stalk around like a good Winter Boi should. He stays quiet and waits to hear what the plan might be. It's then that the strange little gremlin thing chooses to jump out, howling that they're here. "Ssshhhhh." He puts his index finger to his lip as he watches that thing in major surprise. "we're here." he whispers and grins at Leander. Maybe he should be shocked but... weird things just keep happening!

"We were expected?" she asks the others, glancing around to see if anyone expected a welcome like this. She takes a couple of steps closer to the little creature "Quiet down now, we're here. What are we saving you from?" she asks in sweet tones intended to calm and placate the little creature, though it is maybe less little for her than most.

Isrieal looks down at the goblin and lifts a brow but thats when Tippy pipes up. "Miss Fear saved Tippy once!" She puts a hand down atop his head. "Shh." She says while looking around with those hollow eyes. "What do you need help with?" She asks the goblin in a quieter voice. "Can you tell us what is going on? Who might be the unlucky tresspassers of today." She tips her head up towards the sky. "For we have been waiting for them too.

"We were expected?" Vesna asks the others, glancing around to see if anyone expected a welcome like this. She takes a couple of steps closer to the little creature "Quiet down now, we're here. What are we saving you from?" she asks in sweet tones intended to calm and placate the little creature, though it is maybe less little for her than most. She can't help a little giggle at Tippy's reaction, casting a grin at the Autumn Queen.

"Who were you expecting, honey, Tom Selick?" Reiz frowns a little and sighs, brushing a bit of his long black hair back. "Who was supposed to come? Back up a little and calm down," he leans down a bit as he stepped up and nodded a bit, trying to calm the gremlin down. He's careful to move a bit in front of the autumn queen just in case things pop off.

Communicating wordlessly, Lex and Leander opt to hang back from the group that approaches the little hob, leaving those perhaps more suited to diplomacy to conduct the diplomacy. It's the winter way, after all. "Let every court know its function" and all that. Leander, Lex and Upsta remain near the treeline, simply observing the exchange quietly and watching for signs of potential trouble for the timebeing.

Paloma casts a wary glance around at everyone and then sort of stares nervously off into the distance. Everyone is armed to the teeth and she's there in... well... the clothes on her back and as harmless as a kitten.

The little gremlin gives a shriek as suddenly several of the lost are yelling it to shhhhh. Which is exactly the opposite of what they're trying to get it to do, but it does quiet down after the initial blast of sound. "The sky! It's broken!" It points towards the swirling colors. "There's light in the darkness!" It looks at Tippy when he speaks, and that seems to give it confidence. "Toko will take you!"

The gremline, who apparently calls himself Toko, starts off with a jangling of pots and pans. It heads off towards the canyon.

The closer they get, the more vibrant that swirl of color in the sky seems. Instead of up, however, Toko leads them to a path which leads down. Not towards the hob settlements, but down into the canyon itself. It's steep, and the Lost have to work around brambles, skirt around boulders. Toko looks back, waving them on.

If they follow, he'll lead them to an old, twisted iron gate. The gate's open and beyond it they can see the darkness of a twisted forest. Gloom looms within it, but... but there's a glow of lighti n the distance, somewhere within it. And a flicker of color, little motes in the air.

Noting that Paloma seems a little nervous and underprepared, Leander quietly approaches her at some point or another and quietly hands her a Glock 22, his features lifting in what might be an encouraging smile, though with no mouth it's honestly hard to tell.

Vesna follows the little gremlin with a roll of her eyes "I don't think it could be any louder if it tried." she says at the clanking of its pots and pans. She keeps her voice low, but not exceptionally so, it seems rather pointless with it making so much noise. She follows along easily enough, not that much larger than Toko in the first place, her Dancer nature making any tricky maneuvers or balancing second nature, if anything she looks to move with graceful ease, her tail flicking lightly behind her in an almost metronomic manner. She stops outside the iron gate and peers closely at the metal, poking it gently to try and figure out if it is truly iron of the sort that might hurt Fae or even Changelings.

Dina glances between the faces she's most familiar with - Isrieal, Leander, and Vesna. She lingers near the back of the group. "...Does anyone else feel like this might be a trap?" she murmurs. The white icewolf at her side isn't relaxing, either.

"It might be a trap, I'll try and go first a little bit, and will yell if I see anything," Reiz volunteers himself, readjusting his sweatshirt and coveralls a little. He likely had his tail inside it wrapped around his waist--he wouldn't give something the change to grab him by it or otherwise if things got hairy.

"Hey, gremlin man, waitup!" he started off after it, toward the gates, slowing as he got closer. Weird place.

Paloma looks at Leander for a moment, then accepts the handgun from him. "Oh, thank you..." She smiles, clearly reassured at being armed appropriately among the group. Even if its just a normal gun... and they're going into super spooky places. Time to be a hero! Or something, but Reiz volunteers to go first before Paloma can - which she might or might not have been going to do. She did not know. "It would be odd if it were a trap..." She mutters, mostly to herself.

Isrieal keeps Tippy close beside her as he trots along and she stays behind Reiz since he's offering as he offers to take the lead on following Toko into those gates. Yet she doesn't stray far from Reiz either in case something were to happen. Her black gaze stares towards the lights in the distance of the forest.

At the gate, Toko stops. It seems afraid of it, fidgeting around nervously, which just causes those pots and pans to clank more. "In there! Toko no go... the flowers. The flowers, they eat people!" It looks at the group, "Maye not you, you are big! Big strong Lost things! We used to collect the flowers but now they eat us. And the sky... the sky is broken! Nothing grows except things that eat us!"

It's clear the hob isn't going beyond the gate. It's scared.

And the gloomy forest of brambles, thorns, and skeletal trees isn't exactly welcoming. Yet those motes of color dance in the air, and there's a glow from within. /Something/ is in there.

"You're Toko, huh? I'm Reiz," Reiz pauses and gestures to himself, holding his rifle in his free hand, pointed at the ground. "Well, it sounds like the usual kind of hedge plants, to me--there are plants in the human side which try to eat things too, for carbon--though I imagine the plants here try to for their glamour," he shrugs.

"Well, nothing to be gained by sitting here," he starts inside going at a slow pace, pulling his rifle up and holding it at the ready in both hands now, though still partly pointed downward to be safe.

Isrieals not intimidated by the appearance of the forest, she lives in a worse area. "They eat you?" She asks with a crease of anger in her brow. She likes hobs yes, and hobs like her. Tippy pulls on his ears and runs around in a circle. "Oh noes!" He calls before running and vanishing beneathe Isrieals dress. He's not going to get eaten! "Its them isn't it? I don't see the point in them doing something like this. Its cowardly." She steps through the gates slowly and keeps an eye out. "We won't let them to continue doing this." She tells Toko.

Vesna smiles as she watches Tippy run around for a little bit, apparently familiar with the creature and amused by his antics despite his potentially gristly appearance. Her attention is quick to return to the forest though, her mood seemingly mercurial as she grows more serious. "Has anything they've done so far made sense?" she asks Isrieal as she steps through the gate, following a little ways behind Reiz. She's no front line combatant with her lack of apparent armor and a bow as her weapon of choice.

Leander looks initially wary at the sight of Iron in the hedge. On closer inspection though it appears to just be some sort of an illusion and he looks a little less worried. As unworried as Leander ever looks anyway. An almost palpable aura of shadow and gloom lingers around him at the best of times. At the mention of hobs being eaten by the flowers within, Leander reaches down and takes the hand of his little hob buddy, Upsta. The little guy looks like a small humanoid, and could easily be mistaken for a toddler by those caught unawares. His skin is grey and lightly scaly and his eyes glow bright blue. More than that is hard to make out, since he's dressed in a black shozoku. He saw it on a poster that blew into the hedge once and thought it was cool.

"Plants? Ah. Well, those are something of a specialty," Dina admits. No backing out of this one. She starts to head through the gates. "Hobs are familiar with plants that try to eat them. This sounds like a recent mutation, however, and that bears investigating at the very least."

The gates themselves are harmless, but the forest beyond reeks of danger. Those that step through will notice a sudden change. The darkness grows, the twisted trees blocking out even that swirling sky. Yet there's color. Exotic plantlife has taken over, and where there are blooms, they are large, unlike anything seen in the mortal world. Blood red, mostly, although a few have taken on blues and purples. The oversized petals drift, as if caught by a breeze, but the air is still.

They seem to still be on a pathway, which winds through the forest. In the distance, that glow seems brighter, throbbing slightly. A steady rhythm, similar to a heartbeat.

When she steps into the forest, there is a slight shift in Paloma. She seems a bit galvanized, as if she is no longer afraid, as if she is intent on success and nothing else. It seems that knowing there are yet worse things out there than what she is walking into can do a lot for a girl, apparently. Doesn't stop her from white-knuckling the handgun, though.

Isrieal stares into the darkness, she can see well in it with those eyes of hers. She picks up on those colorful plants and the throbbing light in the distance. She looks to Vesna. "Remember what I said we have to do?" She asks her. Not wanting to say aloud in case one of the beings is listening. "Should we cut a plant to lure them out or anyone have an arrow to shoot at the light?" She suggests.

Dina exhales, dipping her hand into her satchel and removing a serviceable knife. "Well, I would like to take some cuttings," she admits. "For study. I can give it a try and see what happens?" She is a little reluctant. Hobs got EATEN, after all.

As the head through the gate and into the dark and ominous looking forest, Leander glances around at those strange and apparently hob eating flowers with a look of some concern. I mean, it's pretty hard to read Leander's emotions honestly, mouths are important for that. But if you've spent time with him then the slight creasing of his brow and the downward pull where there ought to be a mouth are a giveaway. Still communicating with Lex in that strange, wordless way Whisperwisps do, the two boys peel away from the rest of the group as they head into the woods, fanning out to cover more ground as they scout ahead for signs of danger or ambush.

"You want me to get their attention? I don't have a bow and arrow, sadly, but I do have this," he holds his hedgespun AK-47 up. "It's not suppressed however, so if I pull the trigger whatever is here is going to be alarmed," he turns toward Isrieal, perhaps trying to see what she thinks about the idea.

"Otherwise, I can shoot any of these things you want," he nods.

Vensa glances over to Isrieal and gives a little nod of her head "I remember. Shame I don't have the gear yet. I'll have to talk to my friend about that and see if I can't hurry him up." she says "Still, we have other means." with that she reaches into her small backpack and pulls out a battery, licking her thumb and pressing thumb and forefinger to opposite sides of the battery. A moment later a spark becomes an arc of electricity that jumps along her body and limbs without seeming to hamper her in the least. She then draws out an arrow and fits it to her compound bow "I could say hi." she says with an oddly cheery tone.

Silently and oh so stealthily, Lex and Leander fall back away from the group and try to do a bit of scouting around to see what there is to see in the area without being noticed. He closely shadows Leander though, letting his friend take the lead.

Isrieal thinks for a moment. "That thing is beating like a heart." She points out. "If you want to shoot at it, maybe we should try. Shouldn't matter if its an arrow or not." She points at the flowers again. "Let's fucking destroy these too while they're at it. They aren't good right? They're eating all the hobs right? Let's do it." She lifts her scythe to strike one down.

As Leander and Lex break away and fan out, they'll find themselves in darkness, those flowers lurking around every corner - around, above, below. When passed, those petals wave, reaching out almost aggressively. Due to their bright color, however, they're fairly easy to avoid. And so they continue.

Dina exhales and approaches one of the flowers. She eyes the bulb and reaches out to take hold. This is the same lady that grabbed a life-leeching arrow, and she's kind of expecting the worst again.

As they come upon the weird, beating bulb, Paloma's curiosity gets the better of her and she reaches out, her finger being pricked upon a thorn which she swiftly snaps off the plant it grew upon. "Let us see what you can tell us, hedge..."

"Alright, here goes," Reiz steadies himself with his feet apart and back hunched a bit as he brings his rifle up and fires a single shot at the beating 'light' in the distance. The sound is a bit loud in this otherwise large space, even for as wide open as it is--a significant PAP and clatter is heard as the gun's action cycles--a lone dark object buzzing off into the light itself.

As they draw nearer to the source of the light, Leander winces a little, sensitive darkling eyes barely able to look at it even through the wayfarers that are perpetually perched on the bridge of his nose. The shadowy boy lifts an arm to shield his eyes, peering at the...whatever that thing is. It's pretty hard to make out honestly and getting any close is just going to hurt more. Averting his gaze, Leander gestures to Lex, before continuing on, trying to move in a broad circle around the lightsource to root out any hidden dangers.

Lex and Leander break away. The rest of the group moves forward. Reiz lines up that rifle and takes a shot. It rings out, but... nothing happens. it's almost as if the trees themselves shifted slightly, blocking the bullet. Or that could be a trick of the eye and Reiz is just a poor shot.

Meanwhile, Dina's off approaching the flowers. She reache sout to snag one and the petals lash out, growing darker, and a dark ooze weeps from the center of the bloom. Dina's prepared, however, and manages to snag the bulb without getting touched. Expert gardening. The plant immediately begins to wilt, letting out a hissing shriek that fades off.

Meanwhile, Lex and Leander cut around, appraching the souce of the light.

"Should I be surprised that didn't do anything? Did you miss or is there just nothing to hit?" Vesna teases Reiz as the shots of the gun seem to have effect but making the plants sway. "My turn." she announces and draws back her arrow, lining up a shot of her own for a moment as a light breeze stirs around her, causing her hair to flutter slightly as she releases the arrow.

Having had a little more time to get closer and steal a few tentative glances at the source of the light, Leander glances to Lex, before silently turning to make his way back toward the rest of the group. The sound of a shot ringing out causes Leander to wince slightly and pick up his pace. Hurrying back towards the group as fast as he can. Upon emerging back upon the path, the boy explains quietly "It;s err...like, the erm, the light? Looks human-ish"

"Fascinating," Dina murmurs as she transfers the bulb into a glass container from her satchel. She tucks it away again and approaches another plant. "There are around a dozen different species, I've never seen before. Some are similar to existing species, but they've all been mutated. There's a lot to study, here.

That moonlight blade of Isrieal's flashes in the darkness as Isrieal draws it down upon one of the large flowers, slicing it it apart with the intentions of destroying it. She looks towards the light at the sound of the gunshot that seemingly has no effect and then she looks towards Vesna to see what the arrow does.

"I uh, couldn't see," Reiz mutters sheepishly to Vesna and stands aside nonetheless as she fires, squinting to make out what is happening through the light source they're trying to get the attention of, apparently. He however stays silent for the moment and watches as Vesna's arrow sails off, apparently right on target.

"Showoff," he mutters under his breath.

Leander hurries back, but those brambles don't make it easy. Meanwhile, Dina collects her sample, so deftly! Isrieal swings that blade, severing another bloom, which drops to the forest floor and begins to wilt. Still, it doesn't disappear - it's a valid specimen.

Meanwhile, Vesna lines up that bow and shoots. The arrow disappears into the darkness and then there's a scream. It could be female, although it's difficult to tell. It's definitely pained. As that scream sounds, those motes of color floating in the air grow momentary brighter. The exotic plants stiffen, petals coming together before spreading out again, even hungrier.

Vesna frowns as she hears the scream of pain and gets a sudden sinking feeling. "That could be Luna." she says suddenly, eyes wide. With that she is suddenly off like one of her own arrows, moving with a fairly impressive speed for such a small Lost, her footing sure as she moves along as though the path were a perfectly smooth track.

Isrieal follows off after Vesna while Tippy clings along at the bottom of her dress, nearly getting dragged but he's not about to let go.

Dina scurries over to the plant Isrieal's just reaped. "Pardon me," she says, because she doesn't want her head scythed off. She plucks up another sample from the ground. "Please don't destroy all of them. There's so much to learn here." The scream gives her pause. She glances at the ice wolf at her side, Volk, but he stays right where he is.

Reiz looks disturbed at the scream, reaching up to brush at his elongated, wide ears as he tries to follow along with Vesna's speed as she sparks Elegant Protection and runs off in that direction. He likely can't keep pace with how fast and easily she's moving along, but he'll be trying to back her up.

Leander blinks once, slowly, his expression slightly vexed as he watches that arrow go whizzing off towards that distant light, swiftly followed by the scream he was half expecting. There's a slight sigh, though Leander doesn't hurry off after the others at this point, not overly eager to come face to face with the source of that light again.

The path is twisting and there are obstacles, but nothing the Lost speeding forward can't overcome. And then they're in a clearing. In the center, a giant tree grows, brances gnarled and twisted, expanding up to mingle with the brambles above. And, pinned to the tree... no, /impale/ on the tree... is a familiar young woman, radiating light. She'd be familiar to those who saw Luna before. Because it's Luna, except there are no flickering rainbows this time.

She radiates light, and there's a starlight-like aura about her, but the light seems to be dimming. She's impaled on a spur of a branch, shich juts through her chest, poking out the front. And now she has an arrow through her neck, helping pin her to the tree. Yet... she's still alive.

Her eyes, half closed, catch movement as the Lost enter the clearing, and she makes a rasping sound. "Do not... do not..." Her head slumps a little bit.

Paloma follows along, unsure about what is going on. Most of these people have tools and knowledge and skills, but she just has... a loaner handgun. "Uhm, why'd we shoot her?"

Isrieal does her best to look indirectly at the light. It hurts her eyes and she finally sees Luna for the first time. She's tired of this mystery though thats for sure. "Do not, what?" She asks the girl while stalking nearer to her. "Can you tell us what the hell is going on? Are 'you' causing this?" She gestures towards the forest and the strange flowers.

Dina plucks up another sample from the mess on the ground. She glances over her shoulder in the direction the others ran. Her blue lips press together in a line as she thinks. There are healers there. She could get more samples. On the other hand... that's just cold. Someone's hurt. Dina sighs, lowering her knife and heading in the direction the others went, adjusting her satchel. Volk the ice wolf lopes along next to her. Once she spies Luna, Dina goes a bit more pale. She's very pale to begin with, mind you, so it's not a huge difference. "Oh, no."

"Oh my god," Reiz stares at the source of the light, peering over at Vesna. "It's a good thing I was stocking up on fairy juice, because me and you both have to try and put her back together," he sighs. "C'mon, lets go, try to get her down," he gestures to her as he approaches the tree where Luna is impaled.

"Damn it, no, no, no! You're coming back and staying this time." Vesna calls, rushing to the edge of the clearing and then leaping as high as she can, a large flap of her wings carrying her much much higher into the air than she could possibly hope to jump, the wings spreading out as she glides towards the tree, attempting to avoid any intervening problems by simply flying over them. Foolhardy perhaps, but Vesna has rarely been accused of exceptional logic or planning.

It doesn't really look good for Luna. A spur of a dead branch through her chest, an arrow in her neck. Her body's sagging, even as some of them rush towards her. She manages to murmur, something of a gurgle, "She's... coming. Her... garden... is tainted. She... wants... yours." And then she passes out, her body sagging, held up only by that protrusion through her chest.

A messanger's life is a rough one, apparently.

Isrieal doesnt really trust it for a second. "Does anyone else find it odd that she's always at the center of all of this?" She asks while pointing to Luna. "Maybe the anwser to it all lies somewhere within her. She does look around some, looking for this other 'her' that was mentioned. "And the fact she's always alive after all that." She points to what all shes impaled with. "Well whoever wants our things, they can't have it."

"Bring her down here, lets go," Reiz drops his rifle and sets it aside as he holds his arms out, motioning for Vesna to try and un-hitch Luna from the tree and bring her to ground level so they can work on her. He remains at the base of the tree for the time being.

"If you can get her down we both can try to stop the bleeding, hurry."

Vesna lands on the tree adjacent to Luna, crouching down with unearthly grace, arms wrapping around the poor messenger Lost. Her wings surround her some, unfurled wide. It might or might not hide the fact that she kisses the near dead Lost on the lips as she tries to pull her away from the tree, using what little strength she has, with the ample grace she does process to do so as gently as possible, wings ready to help glide the small distance down to the ground gently with the other Lost.

Dina reaches into her satchel and dashes toward Luna and the others. She pulls out three preserved fruits that look like small red eggplants. "Here," she announces, coming to a halt. "I just have the three on me."

Luna droops, her life ebbing away, her breath wheezing around the arrow through her neck. But then Vesna's leaning in, delivering that kiss. Luna doesn't respond, at first, due to being pretty much unconscious. And then she's stirring. She starts to return the kiss, even as her light shifts. Rather than a glowing white light, colors start to emerge, swirling around her. Pastels, now, but life is coming back slowly.

And then Vesna and Reiz are pulling her off that branch. She lets out a scream, swhich echoes through the air, but there's words in it as well. "Don't! Don't! Don't!" But it's too late. She slides off and crumples to the ground, or into waiting arms. She crumples.

And even as she does, a bright light bursts from that wound on her chest, colors bursting forth, swirling together, and then shooting up. Brambles and thorns actually move out of the way to avoid it. And above is that swirling sky.

That burst of color shoots up, into the sky, and that swirling mass above shifts. Growing more aggressive, looming closer. At the center, it grws brighter, and there's a crackling in the air, and then an explosion of light as something begins to open.

Leander heads on up the path toward where Reiz and Vesna are looking over the stricken form of poor Luna. The darkling boy's sensitive ears pick up on something the girl manages to gurgle out and, had he a visible mouth, one might almost imagine Leander's lips pursing thoughtfully. "Garden?" the boy murmurs thoughtfully. "It could be like, y'know err...Her Ladyship?" Leander suggests, before casting a sudden glance over his shoulder, as though naming her might summon her somehow. Luckily it doesn't! "Seems like...y'know err, this all kinda seems like one of Their plans, right?"

This is right about when that column of light goes coruscating skyward, causing Leander to flinch backward a little and cover his eyes from the brightness of it.

Isrieals not one to interfere with death or heal so she stands guard around the perimeter as the others work on Luna, again. When the color bursts forth from her she squints her eyes, starring up into the sky as the portal begins to open. Is it good or bad? Good on the one end that they can finally see where these freaks are coming from she supposes. "Oh course its one of their plans." She tells Leander. "But they've been untouchable before now, maybe now we can finally just fucking show them who /not/ to fuck with."

Paloma stands towards the back. There's a lot going on. Some girl stuck on a tree and not in a good way, and lots of people doing fairly crazy things. She does her best to not draw any attention for now. "Why do we want to go poke things like that? That sounds pretty dangerous."

"That was a load bearing prisoner, I think," Reiz reaches over to snatch up his rifle and sling it around his back for the moment, getting down to his knees before Luna. She's obviously got a huge sucking chest wound still, so he's going to see to that.

"Alright anyone with fruit, or tokens or trifles that can restore glamour or heal injuries get your ass over here," Reiz strips his gloves off and places his his long pointed black nailed hands against Luna's side, focusing his energies into the touch, his nails denting into her skin, as if some kind of injection is happening.

"Leaping to conclusions is like, y'know, what got an arrow through her neck" Leander responds quietly to Isrieal.

Vesna looks up to the sky as the blast of light seems to open something. She is helping support Luna, but quickly passes her off to Reiz "Battle Medic." she names him for the moment, quickly drawing out an arrow and firing it at the apparent entrance or opening. It might be rash of her to shoot at something without knowing what it is again, but she doesn't care at this point. It's most unlikely to be a friend coming to help.

"If you don't poke things then things are just going to poke right at you. They want us afraid and we most certainly shouldn't be. They are intruding on /our/ territory. I'm not going to be okay with that." The Queen shakes her head. "Just because she got an arrow through the neck doesn't mean we should just run forever either. What might you suggest however? That is neither of those things?"

Dina also comes to kneel by Luna, producing another knife from her bag - a smaller paring knife - and slicing up the amaranthine. She puts the fruit to Luna's lips and coaxes her to consume it. "Eat. It will help," she tells the wounded woman. In the meantime, the ice wolf's hackles are up and it's snarling up at the sky.

"In my shoes, walking sleep--in my youth I pray to keep, heaven send hell away~ o/`" Reiz is actually singing as his pointed long black nails sink into her skin and her tissues begin to mend and the bleeding wounds would begin to seal themselves up from inside, somehow--all of that glowing glamour energy flowing into her via the contact!

That rift forms in those swirling colors, even as the Lost are trying to heal Luna. Some fruit gets passed down her throat and Luna's stirring. Just in time to realize that she's off that tree, and that the sky is opening up on them. She gasps, "Nooo..."

And then it starts. There's a flash of color from the sky as the rift opens. And then there's a swarm. Bird-like, but the side of medium-sized dogs, they swarm out of the rift on etheral, colored wings, jaws chomping. A dozen of them, swooping down from the sky. Behind them, a figure. Light and darkness, swirled together. Humanoid, but hoving near the rift, powerful.

Leander blinks once as the sky seems to open above them and a cloud of horrors burst forth. There's a quiet, mumbled "Fuck..." as Leander's hand moves near instinctively to the pouch at his waist, producing a handful of black bladed shuriken which are tossed in quick succession at what seems to be the leader of the oncoming swarm. They 'thwip' through the air at high speed, several of them finding new homes within the...hovering angel thing. Weird.

Fuck, indeed. Those giant rainbow birds, with sharp beaks and apparently completely dedication to their task, swarm out of the rift. The Guardian follows, wrapped in color, in light, radiating power. It begins to chat, forming something, but Leander's quicker. He throws those shuriken, and the aim is true. They shriek through the air, impeding in the Guardian, in its chest and throat (just like poor litta Luna), and the Guardian gurgles, light flashing as it thrashes around, trying to pull that weapon out.

And then it retreats, or falls back, or simply disappears through that rift. Alive? Dead? It's hard to tell, but it's gone, thanks to Leander. The rift closes behind it, as well, although colors continue to swirl in the sky.

Six of those beasts escaped, however, into this world. They spread out, darting down at the group. Vesna and Leander manage to avoid them, but claws and beak lash out at Paloma, Reiz, and Dina's Volk. Those claws are no joke, either, tearing through clothes, at flesh.

Isrieal, meantime, lets off blast of that intimidation she does so well. The birds no enaged already flap in the air, and then turn back, not even sure where to go now that the rift is closed. They're down from a dozen to five, but... Izzy's gone. Somewhere in the chaos, she disappeared. There's a rustle in the brambles, largely drown out by the flapping of those rainbow death machines.

Though Paloma may have been caught unaware by the flying crazy beasts of doom, she does not go without a fight (not that she was dying)! She preps her handgun and takes a shot at one, winging it pretty good. She doesn't cheer or celebrate. A bit premature for that, so she just prepares to shoot again when she gets another shot lined up.

Vesna makes the fight look like a dance as she easily moves out of the way of the creature that flew at her, drawing back another arrow and putting it in its side as it flies off once more, a little spark of electricity following the arrow for an instant, though not latching on long enough to reach the creature that she is trying to shoot down. She keeps one eye on Luna to make sure nothing goes after the still prone Lost.

Dina gets up and summons up a caul of frost over her hands. Traces of it run up along her arms and over her body, bracing her from further attacks. She gathers ice in her fists.

In the meantime, the wolf leaps up and snaps at one of the colourful creatures, teeth clicking as he misses entirely.

Reiz is stabbed in the shoulder by one of the long beaked birds, his coveralls staining with blood along with his hooded sweatshirt. Oh well, it was likely a cheap one from target, anyway--he just knows he'll never get that much blood out of it. He tries to push it back with the butt of his rifle and flips the fire group on the side of the AK to full-auto.

His yellow cat-like pupils narrow into slits as his widened and he begins growling as he lets the rifle unload, in full rock-and-roll, targeting one of the birds. He's bleeding, others are hurt too, if he doesn't do something--they're going to die. The entertainer's dancer-like grace shows itself as he slinks low and brings his shoulders down, bracing himself for the weapon's fire nearly expertly.

The heavy clatter of the AK begins to drown out all noise and thought.

The Guardian, the rift, is gone, thanks to Leander, but the birds that Isrieal didn't scare off are still attacking. Relentless. Paloma pulls that borrowed gun and shoots, hitting one of them, which falters but doesn't go down. Vensa aims that bow and fires again, an arrow smacking another. Like the first, it doesn't go down. They're strong, these rainbow murder-machines.

The one that attacked Vesna, however, suffers a jolt, wavering in the air but still not down. Dina follows suit, putting up that ice barrier, and then Reiz is firing. The bullet thumps into the bird and it spins in the air, leaving a trail of color behind it.

Most of them are injured, now, yet none of them have dropped. The rift, at least, is closed, and no more are coming through, but these things... they're not here to sing. They're here to kill.

As for Luna, she's alive, thanks to the healing efforts and fruit shoved down her throat. She's out of it, but she's stirring slightly.

Leander manages to steer clear of the beaks and talons of the birds that wheel and swoop around, pecking and tearing at the small group. Even so, his expression appears vexed as he looks over the chaos of the scene. his expression darkening somewhat a flurry of snow blusters through the darkling boy's mantle as he raises a hand, sending spears of ice flying toward the nearest of those birds with a shimmer of glamour.

Galvanized by her earlier shooty-business, Paloma continues on with the shooting. She fires at the same - or probably the same? THey all look the same - flying monkey bird-bug-thing. It hits, fortunately. Perhaps all of her training wasn't for absolutely nothing!

Vesna gives a little groan of frustration as the creature engaged with her swoops around fairly skillfully. She glances around to see the others doing... not terribly, but little progress seems to be made in the fight, and the creatures are dealing nasty blows. She hops back from her own opponent for a moment, performing a graceful spin and letting another arrow fly at the beast harrying Reiz, lodging an arrow firmly in its side.

Dina whirls in place, flinging a shaft of ice from her hand at one of the birds, which swoops to avoid it. Volk has a bit more luck, jumping up again and sinking his teeth into the pretty little morsel that's been plaguing him. SNAP.

"Vesna! get down!" Reiz keeps his auto in full auto--swinging it around to fire on the bird attacking Vesna, his rifle lighting it up like a christmas tree! Eat it, big bird!

The rainbow murder machine in front of Vesna attacks again, digging in, but there's a blast as Vesna hits it. And then a second blast as Reiz fires. The thing dissolves into a mess of colorful feathers. In the meantime, the others are attacking. Four left, one on Dina, lasting out. One on Reiz, even as he fires. One on Paloma, who seems pretty adept at avoiding it's claws. And one lashing down at the wold, which bites back at him.

Some of them are injured, dripppping black ooze, but they're still up, still attacking with beaks and claws. Other than the one Vesna and Reiz just obliterated.

Leander frowns when, despite their continued efforts, the birds are still up and flapping around. They're luckily mostly avoiding him, though some of the others have got some nasty looking tears and gashes opening up as the creatures go about their work. Growing low on glamour as he is, Leander reaches for his boots, soon producing a pair of hedgespun knives crafted from twisting, razor sharp icicles. He darts forward and strikes the bird closest to him, catching something vital as he does. It goes down with a lame sort of squawk.

Everyone is fighting hard to save the day or at least stay alive. That includes Paloma who is doing a whole lot of both and desperately hoping to not die. Sadly, she only wings the flying bird-thing again, nothing fatal, but its probably slowing down!

Vesna drops to the ground quickly at Reiz's shouted warning, shifting as the bullets fly over her, and popping back to her feet an instant later, all seemingly part of her dance like steps. "That's better." she smiles as her opponent is shredded by bullets and begins to turn to feathery dust "See if we can't capture one of them!" she shouts to the others, but now isn't the time to hold back with Reiz looking to be in serious condition, so with a little stirring of air around her, she lets loose an arrow that strikes Reiz's rainbow bird in the eye, felling it quickly.

Dina flings her hand out to throw more frost at the bird that's pecking at her with a frustrated grunt. Volk snarls again, backing down and rearranging himself for another nimble leap up. Too bad his jaws snap shut on air, though.

"Ah!" Reiz has to stumble back as Vesna's assault destroys the bird in front of him--there's another bloody wound on his chest, and he's not looking or feeling good. Now that both Vesna and himself are free of direct assault, he pulls himself up and focuses next on the one attacking Dina--the spray of bullets evaporating it's head into a colorful mist!

It's like Kentucky Fried Chicken in here. Birds are exploding, slashed at with weapons, stabbed at, shot with a bust of bullets. Rainbow colored feathers rain down on them. But there's still one flapping, on active, and it's engaged with Dina's pet, Volk. The two of them lash at each other, ducking and weaving, zipping and zagging. The bird and wolf both seem unharmed, caught up in their battle.

Meanwhile, Luna's stirring, pushing herself up. There's confusion there, but she finds her feet, nearly falling over.

The birds are thinning out! Leander is actually pretty good at this. It's a bit more of a 'battle' than he normally goes in for, but he is a Knight of Utmost Silence, this is kind of what he is for, right? Knife in hand, he zips quickly across the area, he knife soon lodging in the head of the last (?) of the creatures. There's a surprised chirp as it falls to the ground with a soft thud.

And then thre's silence. No more flapping wings, no more clawsa nd beaks lashing out. It's them, surrounded by feathers and mosts of light and dead bird carcasses. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Luna struggles to stay upright as she looks around, then fails, collapsing back into a heap. And the forest is silent, other than the Lost.

Dina lets the ice dissipate from her body. She stoops down to inspect some of the feathers on the ground, picking them up and holding them up to the light. "Same feathers as the ones fletching the arrow that hurt Luna the first time," she says. Volk has picked up one of the birds in his mouth and is chewing on it, crunching up its little bones.

Vesna tilts her head at Dina's words "They are?" she asks, and crouches for a moment to grab up a handful, hiding them away in her pack for the future before going over to Luna to make sure she isn't in immediate danger. She wants to collect some more feathers, they'd be perfect for a project she is working on, she thinks, but wants to make sure Luna isn't in any more immediate danger before doing so.

Feathers. Feathers everywhere. Rainbow feathers, and probably some downy stuff you find later in your pockets or even more awkward locations. The birds are downn, Leander stabbing the last with a glinting blade. Winter are quite, yeah, but they sure know how to murder.

Luna's semi-conscious, half away, but easily lead, slipping off repeatedly. She's let to Leander's safe place, losing consciousness again. When she awakes, there will be questions, on both sides.

In the meantime, it's easy enough to harvest feathers, as well as flowers (although the flowers bite if one's not careful, and who knows what venom they have). And the sky above the canyon? It swirlls, a storm of color, before fading off. The offering impaled on the tree apparently played a part and now, gone, it no longer has an anchor.

The hobs cheer, but there's a sense of nothing /really/ being resolved. A sense of this being merely the beginning.