Hunter is sitting on top of his bot rather than in it. The location? The remains of a place that used to be called Chester on a road that used to be called Highway 301. Neither of those names are now remembered. This is the main road south out of Richmond headed to the Petersburg Bay. This stretch of it isn’t often used. Most traffic turns west some ways south to better skirt the city. The ruins of Richmond are a lawless and dangerous place and one enters them only at their peril.
Hunter is at the edge of it, at one of the Vesper military checkpoints. His job is to make sure nothing untoward gets through and otherwise monitor the people going one way or the other.
Which is why he’s on top of the bot. Gives him a nice high vantage. Ardul can do the actual checking of the carts and such. There’s a small line at the moment and it’s important to make sure no one is bringing, for example, a bomb into Vesper.
Victoria is holding a piece of rested, pitted metal in her gloved hands, bare finger tipss sliding acrosss it. There are flecks of green paint here and there to decorate it but it has long since even corroded to the point where a sharp tap would cause it to collapse into a pile of red dust. “Che.. Ah…” She frowns, staring at it with some intensity. “Pula… 81?”
Finally Tori shrugs and tosses the shard away into the grass with surprising care. t doesnt’ shatter, at leaast. She is approaching the checkpoint, blue eyes wide as she stares up on the man standing atop his bot. No further words, for now. Just a scrawny young woman with eyecatching blue hair.
The tall, blonde woman – well tall by human standards – is wearing her gleaming armour, it’s polished and most of the damage from the encounter the other day has been repaired. Her large grey wings flex on their own as she waves the cart she’s inspecting through. “That ones clear, Hunter.”
Watching Tori approach. “Anything to declare?” The woman asks, holding a wand of some sort in one hand. “Stand still so ye can be scanned.”
Hunter’s bot has a shadow. A strange, crystalline little shadow. At least Kthzyx is not asking incessant questions of the pilot overseeing everything from his vantage point. Instead, she’s watching the ‘border patrol checkpoint’ intently. Possibly curiously. She’s still a little bulkier than usual, having kept the extra crystals on her person as a sort of portable food supply. Not telling when she’ll find more crystals again, after all.
He’d promised Iinya that he’d allow it a chance to fully stretch its wings, and rather than do so in the city, both Yaren and his little companion preferred the wide open spaces outside of Vesper. It really isn’t of any surprise that the two had strayed much farther than intended, both losing themselves in the expanse of sky and the rush of the winds high above.
It’s a lot more refreshing than the view through the eyes of a rat, no offense to the rats, of course.
Iinya has since returned to its perch on Yaren’s shoulder, both making way back towards the checkpoint that Iinya had spotted from above, and through the winged snake’s eyes, Yaren himself. Particularly he was pleased to see two of his oldest acquaintances made here in this world, and even if it’s in the opposite direction from where he should be going, he thinks nothing of the trouble as he approaches.
GAME: Hunter Greymane has set the pose order to Hunter Victoria Ardul Kth Yaren Elpida
To be honest, Elpida had gone exploring. She heard the name ‘Richmond’ and recognized it from the Olden Days — which for her were a lot sooner than ‘the olden days’. She’d gotten outside of town by foot, good thing her feet regenerate fast, and had gotten to the edge of it when she completly and utterly chickened out and began snaking her way back to Vesper.
That’s when she comes across the checkpoint, honestly, on her way back. Which is why she’s here, huddling under her hood, and hoping to God she can get through this as unharased as possible. Its not like she has a lot of credits to ensure she can pay a fee.The line shuffles forward. The wolfen atop the bot is leaning back on both hands. His long coat is open and the large bore laser revolver on his left thigh is quite obviously on display. It’s not to say that he thinks that he’ll get nothing but criminals and ne’er-do-wells at this checkpoint but…
… oh wait. Yes it is.
Still he appears to have been at least a little bit wrong about that. Recognizing the Tricorn hat of a certain odd being he gives a wave from his perch. Behind Victoria there’s a person with a small animal drawn cart full of what appears to be scrap. It’s not very common but scrap traders do sometimes venture into Vesper from Richmond. No one pays them too much mind if they don’t cause trouble. The animal – some kind of three horned goat like thing – seems a bit restive though. Stamping and prancing in place. Nervous almost. And… well, the drover is probably just trying to bring the animal under control. Probably.
Victoria is staring up at the bot, those blue eyes studying bot and laser-wielding pilot in equal measure. She swallows hard aas she comes close. “I don’t- believe so. What do I need to declare?” She asks somewhat pensively, reaching up to drag her fingers htrough her blue hair and pull it away from her youthful face. “I have crystals I picked up but I don’t intend to do business in Vesper, and I… Mmm…” She blinks a couple times, then squeakss. “No. Nothing to declare.” She fidgets slightly, completely incognizant of the cart pulling up behind her.
Seeing Yaren, Ardul raises her chin in acknowledgement, a slight smile softening her warriors visage for just a moment. The restive animals get her attention just as she’s about to scan Victoria and she glances up at the Wolfen in the bot before looking back to the blue haired woman and running that wand around her body. “You’re clear, but stand to the side, please.” She directs as she moves to the trader.
Something just doesn’t feel right. Call it instinct or call it experience.
“Do you have anything to declare?” she asks, eyeing the cart and the animal carefully, before assessing the merchant themself.Considering that she’s been here spectating for a while, Zyx is starting to lose interest in the goings on at the checkpoint. Moving a little ways off, she plucks an extra bit of crystal off of one appendage then starts trying to encourage it to grow. It’s… not as cooperative as she’s accustomed to, so she’s started practicing when she can. She’s completely turned her attention away from the line of people, carts and all.
Come on, crystal. Listen!
Too wrapped up in her own business. That’s Elpida, at the moment. Justt too wrapped up in trying to avoid undue attention herself to notice something not quite smelling righ. Of course, her snakes are adifferent matter. Anyone close to her, well, they can hear the ratle, the hisses from under the hood of her robe. If something isn’t right, those critters tend to notice it a bit faster than she does.
Upon being noticed, Yaren’s eyes seem to smile as he lifts a hand to wave back at the two. As he nears, his attention goes towards the others awaiting their turn through the checkpoint. He nods in Victoria’s direction, recognizing her as well- the one who helped with those crystals.
But naturally his curiosity can’t help but be drawn towards the creature enlisted to haul a cart. Tilting his head, Yaren drifts a little closer, although not wanting to interrupt Ardul’s duties. “…is this creature all right…?” he asks.Hunter sits up and rests his hand on his weapon. “You there! Don’t move!” He’s seen something. Whether or not anyone else has seen something is a good question but they can check it out. It might be nothing but that’s not something you really want to assume here on the edge of Richmond…
In any case the drover does //not// stop where he is. He bolts off to the right of the path, away from both Ardul and Hunter. The wolfen swears and pulls himself to his feet. The animal continues to stamp and plunge. It doesn’t like something. In fact it nearly headbutts Victoria in it’s agitation.
Victorian oticed the animal’s agfitation which is the only reason why she is able to dart back to avoid being struck when it stamps at her. She squeaks and darts back a few hasty stepss, eyes wide. Her hands are lifted, black fingerless gloves covering them, and she makes a couple vague gestures. “It’s okay… Really.” A beat. “You’re okay. What’s wrong?” She blinks a few times. “Tell me?”
Arduls view of the cart is obscured by the drover, so she misses whatever it is that Hunter has seen. “He said, stop.” the woman commands and gives chase. She’s fast, that’s for sure. Faster than the average human but whether she’s faster than the Drover, time will tell. He did get the drop on her, after all.
Her grey wings beat down, giving her a little lift … but it’s not quite enough. “Halt. I don’t want to shoot.”
SOmething about shooting?!
Elpida’s head goes straight up and she is now looking in the direction of the called out ‘halt’. HEeeey. Something IS going on here. One of her snakes nips her ear. ‘Owwww,” she hisses.So engrossed in trying to coax her crystal into growing, Zyx misses the initial flurry of activity. But Hunter’s voice finally gets through to her and she turns and abruptly chimes a discortant alarm, the crystals that are actually her body shifting through yellow to green rapidly. Then she drops the crystal she’d been focused on and baby-elephant-runs toward the crazy.
THere’s something VERY wrong with that cart.
Thus far it has not quite clicked for Yaren as to the purpose of this stopping point. However it’s obvious that something is the matter, and while he doesn’t know what to look for in the differences of scrap or otherwise, he’s seen the gleam amongst the pieces. Whether that or something else is cause for the poor work animal’s fear is not something he’s very clear on.
But something is definitely wrong, especially with the driver disobeying Hunter’s order.
“Iinya!” he shouts, and in response his little pauldron chimes, lifting its head as it lets itself slacken from around Yaren’s arm. Wings tuck tightly against it as Yaren lets its tail curl about his wrist before it can fall to the ground, and with the momentum Iinya goes swinging upwards, unfurling its wings. With proper height gained, the winged snake zips through the air and after the escaping man, overtaking him by cutting in front, circling tightly to keep him from his direct path.Hunter has drawn now. He’s aiming but he doesn’t have a clear shot. Iinya is slowing the runner down. Ardul should be able to catch him in just a moment. Well presumably it’s a ‘he’. The being is swathed in so many cloaks it’s hard to say.
People are backing away from the cart now, mostly due to the fact that the three horned goat thing is making everyone a bit nervous. That and there’s definitely a funny smell toward the back. Smells… well it gives a lot of people a headache. With Baby-elephant crystal thing barreling toward it and chiming in alarm everyone just grows a bit more uncertain.
And what //is// that smell? It doesn’t smell natural. And it doesn’t smell good either. Is that glow at the bottom of the scrap pile?
“Wait! What was that? The cart… Ahh! Get away from the cart! I-I think there’s a…” The bucking animal has stopped panicking and threatening to maul the tiny blue-haired woman and now she is gesturing wildly – flailing, really- as she casts about in front of her. She stares for a split second at all the people running past the cart and affter the Drover. “I hope this is a good idea…” Then she begins to gesture. The girl bends down, both hands outstretched and when she comes up the ground rumbles and ruptures. Rocks spray into the air and the cart lurches, flips and is suddenly encased in a landslide of churning earth. Somehow, it is remarkably controlled and only Tori does more than get dusty, but it quickly disappears leaving ruin ahead of her.
With Iinya providing distraction, that’s all Ardul needs. Her own wings beat down, propelling her forward as she knocks the fugitive to the ground. “I said STOP.” she growls.
“Fugitive secured, Hunter.” she reports as she stands, grabbing the figure by the collar and dragging them to a standing position. Without ceremony, she hauls the culprit back, watching with distaste as the cart is overturned by magic.
Elpida is surprised by this turn of events to say the least and the sheer commotion caused, the rock slide amognst other thigns, caused her to back up several steps like you do. She trips back and falls onto her bottom and stares in the direction of the ‘apprehended fugitive’, hood down, eyes wide. This is all too much to get used to. But slowly, she gets back up on her feet and brushes herelf off. “Hullo again,” she manages to utter, snakes all a-roiled.
His attention momentarily fixated upon Iinya and the escape attempt, it’s only when the ground rumbles nearby that Yaren looks back towards the cart. Oh yes, the cart- but why did Tori have to bury the cart? Hopefully the poor creature that had been harnessed to it wasn’t buried as well, but like as all this excitement isn’t going to help its already panicked state.
He looks at the others, probably seeking some sort of explanation, but when none seems forthcoming, he’ll try easing the goat-thing. Provided it’s not underground now.
Okay.Arrives at the epicenter of the chaos just in time to… um… bodily put her crystally and spikey self in between Elpida and the now-buried cart as well as the recently very riled goat-thing. So now there’s a mastiff-sized crystalline baby elephant (but no trunk, sorry) RIGHT THERE making low, discordant chimes and glinting yellowy-green. At least it seems like it’s facing away from Elpida? There’s a muted //thud// of an explosion from beneath the dome of rock that is covering the flipped cart (and equally flipped coat). Moments later there’s the sound of plaintive bleating. The goat thing is still alive (which makes sense, it wansn’t in the cart) and it very much wants to not be upside down and covered in rocks, dirt and sundry.
Hunter sighs. Well now his checkpoint is a mess. “Hobble him, Ardul. We’ll truss him up for the Justicars.”
It is, incidentally, not because of any particular rule of law and order. If Hunter didn’t suspect the Justicars might want to talk to this man and find out if he has any connections to known hostile groups, he’d simply shoot him dump him back in Richmond and have done with it. Life on Rifts Earth is rather cheap.
“Alright, alright.” He can hear the bleating from up here. “Someone unbury that goat and let’s get moving again.”
Yaren gets a little ‘thank you’ two finger salute. He saw the flying snake thing. That was handy.
“Are those snakes I hear?” He glances down at the line again to see… oh. Yes. Those are snakes.
Tori is flinching away from her rock dome, eyeing it plaintively through her fingers while she waits. A beat… Two… She actually relaxes when the explosion goes off and takes a deep breath, blue eyes widening while this occurs. Then she squeaks and scurries toward the goat thing.
“I am SO sorry. Can you still walk. Oh, gosh. You’re so big… Come on, it’s okay. Just a bit of dirt and rubble.” Tori is hilariously tiny compared to anything capable of hauling a cart but Tori is determined to help the thing. It does calm when she gets closer at least. “That was close,” she breathes quietly, blinking.
“With pleasure.” The winged, blonde woman says, scruffing the person she’s got and forcing them to the ground near their command post. It’s a matter of moments and they’re bound.
Turning to survey the wreckage of the checkpoint and Tori. “Well you’ve got the goat, please keep moving. You were cleared.”
“My thanks for the assist, Yaren.” she gestures the Tricorn hatted figure forward. “Do you have anything to declare?” There’s a degree of amusement in that question … but you know, she’s a soldier and she rather does enjoy routine.
And … yes, those are definitely snakes … “This is a most interesting dimension, Hunter…” she calls up to the man. The line slowly starts moving again.
So many snakes. All a writhing and hissing now on their guard.
The gorgon brushes herself off and gets back to her feet. “..very ineresting,” she agrees, quietly, “And confusing. And terrifying. And completely, utterly unreasonable in every way. What the hell was all that about?” she asks, the words out before she can even stop herself. It’s been building, you know. Her eyes go towards Victoria. She, she recognizes.
Oh. So that’s why the cart had been promptly buried. Yaren’s eyes are wide as he looks at the mound of earth as he comes to this realization. He also finds himself suddenly seated beside the poor goat-thing, which he absently pats. Well, that could have been a lot worse, couldn’t it!
Iinya flits back towards the group, circling before neatly landing within the curve of Yaren’s hat, poking its head out over the front point. “Well done, Iinya,” he says, casting a glance and a brief wave back at Hunter before he slowly moves to get back to his feet. It’s a strange sort of movement if one’s watching closely enough, as though he’s not so much using his feet and hands to level himself as he is being hauled up by the arms.
“This one will help Tori,” he says to the blue-haired woman who tries to get the creature loose. “It is good that Tori covered the cart. This one would not want to think what would have happened otherwise.” Which leads to other questions, but he supposes that those will be asked by whomever Hunter and Ardul bring the cart’s driver to speak to. And speaking of which…
Yaren nods at Ardul as she motions him forward. “This one is happy to help,” he says, but he pauses at the question, hatted head tilting. “…declare?” It’s obvious he’s not sure what she meant by that. “This one is glad to see Hunter and Ardul are well, and does not mean to interrupt.” Nnno, that’s not quite what she meant.
“Ah, yes. I have the tri-goat and it’s time to move along…. Of course. Forgive me.” Tori nods slowly and then looks to the checkpoint. It doesn’t take too long to free the goat, not with Yaren’s help, and she gives him a quick nod and a sheepish smile as the digging is done. “I don’t want to either. That’s why I, um, didn’t let it,” she agrees. Soon enough she is back on her feet and taking a deep breath. “Time to be on my way again then… Oh. Elpida! Join me? I was just heading to town. And now we have a goat!”Zyx straightens to standing bipedal when Elpida stands and states her confusion. “To what purpose would one bring …” She pauses as tries to search for the words, but can’t find any, so instead makes a sound like crystal wind chimes, “to a populated area?” She looks around at everyone, then plucks another crystal free and offers it to Elpida. Maybe she’ll seem less … unlike the others?
Maybe she should go back to hiding by Hunter’s robot’s feet.“Well, someone brought a bomb to my checkpoint.” Hunter says dryly from his perch in response to Elpida’s question. Yaren gets waved on through the line as well. Hunter’s pretty sure he doesn’t have anything. The pile of rocks will have to be moved out of the path he’ll do that later after the line has died down a little.
As to why someone would do that, well Hunter doesn’t say. Maybe Zyx will ask later and he’ll have to explain local politics. She seems to have a fairly decent grasp of it all things considered. She just lacks the vocabulary.
“Looks like you got yourself a goat, miss.” That’s to Victoria and… well it seems like she does. Once freed from the rock and rubble the goat-thing, relatively well trained actually, just starts walking wherever it’s led. At worst Tori can probably sell it.
Though she may not be likely to.
At any rate Hunter sits back down and resums his watch, motioning to Ardul to get the line moving again.
Back to the routine.