Border crossings sometimes get a little… iffy.
Hunter spends a lot of time on the Dogwood/Vesper border, watching the crossings. Normally it’s some place like Richmond. That’s easier. Folks there don’t generally want any trouble. Right now, though, the wolfen is parked on one of the main crossings over the James. Some psychic has set up a mechanics shop and is offering good deals to fix up things, so he’s seeing a lot of traffic. Of course he’s on the Vesper side because… well, safer really. He could go to Dogwood but why? The mercs who need things fixed, and there are a lot, will come to him.
Of course there are other travellers too. People going to and from. Folks from Dogwood don’t much like D-Bees but sometimes even folk like that have buinsess in Vesper.
It’s just best when they keep their mouth shut.
Hunter has just lifted a man one armed and chucked him off the bridge and into the James river.
“So for the benefit of the rest of you idiots, when I say open your bags for inspection that’s your cue to open your damn bags.”
“You can’t just-” One of the better dressed members of the offending group starts. Hunter turns and flexes his cybernetic hand.
“Uh, right. My bags…”
Ardul casts Hunter a sideways glance, stifling a smirk as she does. If there’s one thing she’s coming to find out about the Wolfen – he … can be rather direct. The winged woman turns her grey eyes to the man who just spoke and steps forward, armour glinting as the dappled sunlight catches it, “Thank you.” she says //very// pleasantly and begins to inspect the contents. “It’s so much easier this way, don’t you think?”
It might take her just a little longer to conduct the inspection than usual. She’s certainly making a spectacle of it … following Hunters display … “This one is clear. Next. May I see your bags please?”
Maddy actually needed repairs! After an incident with some demons in the Badlands (is there any Goodlands) she needs time to repair and repaint her Tits. So what better place than a mechanic’s shop? While the guy gets parts and metal sorted, Maddy has gone for a walk to take in the lovely sights of the river. Unable to find any, she is now watching some people she knows doing guard tpe things.
“Hey, Fluffikins. Wing Woman. How’s it hanging?” Maddy asks as she ambles over, a small tub of what looks like ice cream in her hand that she eats from with a wooden spoon. “So what ya doing?” She peers into any opened bags on offer before nodding to the waters. “That guy wanted to go swimming but too frightened to jump? Yeah…happens a lot.”Hunter looks up and gives Maddy a wave. “Yes. He wanted to go for a swim. Told me so himself.” This is said with an eye to the rest of the group who actually makes processing a little bit easier. It doesn’t take Hunter and Ardul long to clear the rest of them and send them on their way. The wet one may be a bit.
That done there’s actually a lull in traffic and the crossing, so the big grey wolfen leans on the bridge railings. “Just working, Maddy, just working. Babysitting this bridge for the folks in Vesper. What brings you here? I saw Tits when you pulled her into the mechanics shop. She looked pretty banged up.” Pause. “He? She? Anyway, you look like you’ve been working hard.”
+MEET: Skye has arrived via +meet.
As the last of the group passes without incident, Ardul turns to look at Maddy and waves. “Hanging?” Ardul still isn’t quite used to the lingo of this dimension. She’s learning quickly but some things are still beyond her. Looking over her shoulder at her wings, that are indeed hanging there … “Like they usually are?” She glances down at the river, watching the wet one struggle a bit … yes, he’s going to be a bit and she’s not offering to assist him.
“What is that you’re eating?” Hunters already asked the pertinent questions.
Walking along the shores of the river, Skye is clearly not one looking to cross, but rather, just another wanderer out for a morning stroll as she meanders along its banks. The woman’s wild hair is tied back in a loose ponytail as she moves down the Vesper side towards the bridge dressed in a pair of light breeches and a leather coat, and her curiosity is piqued when she hears a sudden splash, and the cries of one floundering in the river. She makes no move to help him, however, instead turning her attention towards the group on the bridge, a smile flashing across her lips, and she begins to move closer…before suddenly stopping as she hears a clang from the mechanic’s shop. Her ears, despite being rather human, almost seem to perk as she suddenly dashes over towards the setup, bothering the psychic with an incessant amount of questions as she bounces around his makeshift storefront, touching everything as she examines it all.
“Tits is a machine, silly, neither he or she” Maddy grins at Hunter. “Ran into some shit in the hills. Hair Net…you know Hair Net? She had some demons she got stoned that she wanted to pick up for the bounty but then we met some others that weren’t high. Kicked Tits pretty bad. Got ’em in the end…and a few other places…but it was close.” At Ardul’s question she holds up her tub proudly. “Ice cream! You should have seen what I had to do to get it. Actually…probably best you didn’t see it. You want some? It is Heaven on a stick. Though that’s only because I’m using wood to eat it.” She sticks her finger in and scoops some out. “And now it’s Heaven on my finger.” A finger she thrusts in Ardul’s direction. “Want some?”The mechanic is… well, busy. Hopefully Skye doesn’t knock over anything because some of that stuff is both heavy and expensive. The psychic in question is currently perched on the shoulders of a very oddly painted Titan robot working on the sensor mast, so it’s not like he cna push her away right now.
Hunter hasn’t noticed the commotion there yet though odds are good that he will eventually. “Stoned demons? That’s a new one. What kind of is so potent it makes a //demon// high?” That must be one hell of an opiate. Literally.
Ardul leans back as Maddy shoves her ice cream covered finger in her direction “Uh, no thanks…” she eyes the other woman warily. “And … what did you have to do to ge—” she shakes her head “Forget I asked.” She might be from another dimension but she’s sure she’s intuited Maddy’s intent there.
“I don’t know Hair Net.” she confirms. Well, actually both Hunter and Ardul do know Elpida, they … just don’t know Maddy’s nickname for her. “Did she cast rocks at the demons?” Yeah. Some terms just simply don’t translate.
As to Skye, Ardul casts a glance in that direction “Heads up. Seems we a hyperactive one over there. Might be nothing, though.” She says to Hunter.
Despite the mechanic’s inability to pay her any attention at the moment, Skye’s quite capable of entertaining herself, picking up occasional object, examining, shaking, rubbing them, and generally making a little nuisance out of herself. The strange girl is actually very careful with the different machine parts she’s playing with, and manages to neither break anything nor injure herself. Eventually, the druid grows bored, and tears herself away from the storefront, remembering the bridge. Again, she starts to head towards the bridge, humming softly towards herself as she approaches the group. A glance at that ice cream has a flash of curiosity flashing through her expression, but she keeps her distance for now, knowing better than to piss off the local guard.
Maddy shrugs to both Hunter’s question and Ardul’s reticence. “No idea what drug she used. Just told me that she had turned them stoned. Though we did find some awesome weed.” She sucks the ice cream from her own finger before it drips everywhere. A curious look for Ardul. “Throw stones? That’s not going to do much to a demon. Maybe if you fly over them and drop…” She ponders this before being distracted by hyperactivity.
“Is she fiddling with my Tits?” Maddy muses as she watches Skye running around the mechanic’s shop before she is heading towards the bridge. “Hey, Hyper!” she calls out to the blonde, waving and smiling like they’ve known each other for years. “Do either of you know her?” she asks the pair she is with before another mouthful of ice cream. “Mmm…this is good. Who knew you could get charcoal flavor?”The tall grey wolfen who is the local guard gives the woman a wave. “She might have been Maddy, and no, I don’t know her.”
To be honest Hunter isn’t sure how Maddy responds to people fiddling with her bot. He’s pretty sensitive about it himself. Gunwolves are newish and they’re not cheap to fix. Titans have been around for a bit so at least there’s a decent chance of spare parts and armor lying around. Which is indeed the case for Maddy.
“Stoned means drugged…” Hunter murmurs to Ardul… though he’s not clear now that in this context that’s the meaning that should apply.
“Hello there.” The wolfen addresses Skye. “New to town, I’m guessing?”
“It does, does it?” Ardul murmurs to Hunter, noting that piece of information away “So she intoxicated them? Interesting. Wonder how she did that…” She too isn’t sure how that works in this context, but there it is.
“I don’t think she was playing your bot, Maddy,” Ardul turns her attention to the druid as she approaches. “No, I don’t her. Hello there. Can we help you?” Perhaps she’s lost or new to this dimension. Ardul knows how that feels.
Skye waits until she’s addressed before approaching, certainly not wanting to upset the guard, but when she is, she happily skips over, beaming at the group as she laughs a bit. “Nooo, I haven’t messed with your tits at all!” she answers easily enough, then makes a little face as she glances towards the possibly charcoal-flavored ice cream. Her gaze falls across Hunter, and her eyes move across that arm as she licks her lips, clearly fascinated by it. “New to town is more-or-less correct! Well, new to towns, maybe, is more accurate, hee…I’m a bit of a wanderer, really. And I’m not causing any trouble, just curious! I tend not to come places like this often, you know! Border-crossings and the like.” Giving Ardul a little smile, she shrugs her shoulders. “No trouble, promise! And I didn’t touch the robot either.”
Maddy rolls her eyes playfully at Ardul. “Of course she wasn’t playing with my bot, I would have known that.” She slaps her rear with one hand before nodding towards her Titan. “I was worried she was touching my Tits. I don’t like it when they touch my Tits without asking. Who knows what she put on it!” A nod to Hunter’s explanation of stoned. “Yeah, Hair Nest said she got them stoned. Don’t know how she did it. You don’t get too nosey with a woman with snakes for hair.”
And then there’s a bouncing Sky in front of Maddy. “Hey, Hyper! Welcome to…umm…this bridge. I’m Maddy. That’s Fluffikins…he’s /sooooo/ soft. Well…not that metal arm. And this is Wing Woman. She’s like, totally awesome, and can fly and stuff without the use of an aircraft or hallucinatory substances. Hey, want some ice cream?” Maddy again sticks her finger in to get a scoop to offer the new arrival. “They said it was banana but I’m thinking more charcoal…you know, like a barbeque, but my tastebuds may not work. Or it could be barbequed banana. Wandering is cool…so’s trouble.”Aaaaaaaaaah. That explains everything right there. “Elpida.” Hunter says more for Ardul’s benefit than anyone else. He also has a fairly good idea that ‘stoned’ means ‘petrified’. He’s seen her do that. It was actually rather fascinating.
“Could be your choice of spoon, Maddy.” The wolfen shakes his head. “I’m Hunter. This is Ardul.” Aka Fluffykins and Wing Woman. “And that, across the way, is Dogwood. Are you headed that way?”
He really doesn’t recommend it. She looks like she might get picked up by some Knight’s Bannermen and incarcerated but hey if she wants to go his job is just to watch the bridge.
“What brings you by then? Just the sights and sounds?” Truth be told that’s not real uncommon. The two usual types of travellers are people like Maddy – mercenaries – or people who have heard of the wonders of civilization and are looking in on it. Some stay. Some decide they like the wilderness better, but there aren’t many places on earth you can see it anymore and none on this side of the mountains.
“So it is… ” Ardul also picked up on the reference to snakes and it all falls into place. “Elpida. We do know her, Hair Net, you call her?” The blondes wings flex slightly, causing the detritus at their feet to swirl. “I thought Bot meant Robot…” she says to Hunter, clearly confused by Maddy’s actions. Anyway …
She nods to Skye as Hunter introduces her “If you’ve any magic or supernatural ability, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Dogwood. It can be rather unwelcoming…” The winged woman might appear rather stern, it’s a product of her profession. A soldier.
“Did your icecream taste like charcoal when you ate it off your finger?” she asks Maddy, still bemused by the robo-jock.
“That looks pretty delicious…” Skye murmurs, stepping forward as she eyes the ice cream and opens her mouth, but after a moment, she shakes her head, blushing a bit. “Heh, it is a rather odd spoon choice!” She still looks like she’s still considering licking that ice cream up, but she manages to control herself, turning to nod at the wolfen.
“I’m Skye!! And yeah, I’ve not interest in crossing to Dogwood today, they don’t particularly care for…witches, and I’m afraid that I quite fit the role to some extent, even if I wouldn’t call myself such!” Biting her lower lip, Skye sways a little bit in place, thinking, then gives a quick shrug. “I suppose I was just out for a walk and was curious ’bout what was going on! You’re quite the wonderfully fascinating group!”
Maddy’s brow furrows and a full on pout forms as her ice cream is snubbed for the second time. “Fine. All mine then. Don’t say I never offered.” She sucks her finger once more before returning to using her wooden spoon. Maddy considered Ardul’s question deeply. “Hmm…you know…maybe I shouldn’t have been greasing my Tits before using my fingers to eat ice cream.” The grin is soon back though.
“Witch! How cool is that!” Maddy gets a little excited herself sometimes. “I’d call you Witchypoo but then people would know you’re a witch so probably best I still call you ‘Hyper’. Ain’t nothing wrong with being hyper.” A mouthful of ice cream but that doesn’t stop her talking. “Oh…you meant my ro/bot/? Sheesh, Wing Woman, are you trying to confuse me on purpose? Yeah, Elpida…Hair Net. Who else would I mean? She’s not too bad for a scale skinned monster with autonomous hair. Would hate to have her loose ends though.” A gentle nudge of Ardul with her elbow. “She thinks we’re fascinating” she smiles. Then a brief pause before, “That’s good, right?”
“That will do it…” Ardul says to Maddy, still bemusedly watching the woman. “And yes, I meant your robot… ” She won’t answer the bit about trying to confuse the woman. Maddy seems to be able to do that all on her own. “We’ve worked with Elpida, recently. She’s certainly an asset on the team.”
Skye gets a frown from the stern looking woman “Nice to meet you Skye. Do you live around here, then? If you were just out for a walk?” Maddy gets a nod from the blonde. Yes, fascinating is good. She thinks, at any rate.
“W-Well, I don’t really think of myself as a witch, actually…I mean, I guess I qualify, but its simply one of the many names I’ve been called. Some kinder, most less so! They REALLY don’t like my kind over there in Dogwood, even if I don’t cast in front of them, even if they don’t know I can! They often enjoy assuming things, although truly, they’re not wrong to some extent!” Skye taps her chin, considering, then frowns slightly. “I wouldn’t say I live around here, specifically…I don’t really have a home. Like I said, I wander! Really, I live everywhere. But, I’d LIKE to live in Vesper. Glowtown, specifically! Have you seen it? Its so pretty when it glows at night!! Homes are costly though, and I don’t make THAT much plying my trade! I sleep wherever I can, right now.”
“I don’t have a home either” muses Maddy between (and during) mouthfuls of ice cream. “Just me and my Tits for the most part. Wandering around. Doing jobs. Getting paid…sometimes. Just bestowing my kindness on the world, you know. And as for the creeps in Dogwood…don’t let them bother you. You look human, which is more than these two can say, so you could probably walk around okay. Though, really, we should tell those Dogwoodians to grow up. The world has changed and you can’t drag it back centuries no matter how many walls you build.”
Maddy grins at Skye. “You should hear the names they call me. One of the common ones is ‘Yu-ova-dere’. I mean, what language is that even? Never seen Glowtown glow though I guess it’s got the right name if it does. Which is different than Sweetwater. Ever been there? No water. No sweets. Just desert. I think calling it ‘Sweetwater’ was wishful thinking.”Sweetwater? Hunter mildly looks over at Maddy just because that’s a name he’s not heard of and that’s actually kind of uncommon given the amount of travelling he’s done in the last eight years.
“Magic’s not illegal in Dogwood.” Hunter points out. “Just frowned upon. As long as you don’t use it much and stay out of the smaller towns and generally out of trouble you’ll probably be okay in the Kingdom. In the more rural areas they get… superstitious, though. Comes of fighting demons all the time but… can end badly if you’re not careful.”
Hunter’s not sure if Ardul’s been there. As she is she might get around okay in certain districts but it wouldn’t be pleasant.
Ardul has not been into Dogwood yet. Nor does she wish to. The rumours are more than enough. Maybe one day, she’ll venture over there.
“There’s work a plenty out in Sarens Rest and some to be found in Vesper. Just ask around.” She frowns as Maddy mentions one of her nicknames, silently mouthing it, her eyebrows rising as she works out what it is.
Maddy … is strange.
“Where is Sweetwater?” She asks of both Hunter and Bot pilot. “I’ve not heard that name … ” which means it’s nowhere in the local area.
“Besides, Skye. There are places in Vesper you can exchange your labour for a place to stay.” There’s a certain Bed and Breakfast that’s been doing that for a while.
Frowning slightly, Skye looks down at her boot-covered feet sheepishly, her fingers toying at one of the pouches on her belt loop as she gives a little nod. “Y-Yeah, I know…I mostly traveled to the villages, kept to small places, and…superstition got the better of a lot of people. Terrified townsfolk I never wrong have accused me of all sorts of crimes! They just get caught up in spooking themselves, don’t think about how I-…my magic could help against the demons.” She gives a shrug, trying not to let it get to her, then nods quickly at Ardul. “Heh, yeah! I just gotta find the sorts of work I might be good at! Peddle my wares a bit too, I’ll have a look around and see if there’s some place willing to put me up, least, til I can get a place of my own! Wanderin’ around is fun, but Vesper’s really beautiful, and I’d love to have somewhere to come home to! Home’s a nice word…”
“You’ve never been to Sweetwater?” This seems to surprise Maddy. “Hmm…I wonder if it was all in my head? There’s a lot of space in my head so I guess it could be in there. But, yeah, superstitious people are crazy…touch wood. you’d think they’d take all the help they could get with demons. Oh, you mean Grans, Ardul? Yeah, that’s a cool place to hang and get work though I’ve got this job with some hoity toity lady who doesn’t want me tramping her farms. And then I freelance when there’s bounties. Oh…and there’s pirates too. And slavers. And…shoot…plenty of stuff to do out there even if you’re roaming.”“Vesper and Dogwood fought a war about, oh, seventy years back. Still folks around who remember it or so I hear. Dogwood lost… and that kind of memory sticks.” The national memory of //what sorcerers and dragons and such can do// is terrifying to the people of Dogwood and not without reason.
“Pirates got shot up, thank goodness. You heard that too, right Ardul?”
The wolfen stretches and sits up. “Anyway if you’re looking to sell things I’d head that way, toward Vesper proper. Lots of potential customers in the City.”
“The Pirates base was taken by the Vesper Armsmen the other day.” Ardul agrees with Hunter. “From what the town crier says and general rumour, they’re base of power here in Vesper is pretty much done.” beat “But the demons from the mountains are still an issue. I understand that Vesper is offering extra bounties.”
Maddy’s question about Grans gets a nod “Yes, that’s the name of the place. Grans Bed and Breakfast. I’ve not really been there myself. I spend most of my time out in Sarens Rest or on guard duty, like today.” A wistful look crosses the blondes face “Home … yes, it’s a nice word.” And it’s a place she’s not likely to see again.
“I’ve been to the city proper a few times, there was a glowy shop with all sorts of odd designs, and they had soooo many weapons, but I couldn’t really buy any cause I don’t know how to fight with anything beyond my bare claws! I guess I could use some formal training…” Skye inspects her own fingernails, certainly not the claws she claims at the moment, but for a master of altering her own body, such a transformation is certainly no issue. “And…maybe I should wait to go hunting bounties, although I suppose I might be able to help fight a demon or two! I can at least offer support from a distance! Grans, huh? Hee, I’ll have to check it out, it sounds like a nice place!” The wild blond moves over towards the edge of the bridge, half-hanging over the edge as she looks down towards the water. “And Saren’s Rest, I’ve only heard tales of, never been myself! I’ll haveta see if someone can take me, sometimes. Gah, I have so much exploring left to do! Thank you for the history lesson ’bout the war though, Hunter, I never knew! Don’t learn much history in the woods.” She glances over towards the wolfen, and a strange look crosses her face. “…Maddy’s right, you DO look reeeeally soft!”
“Is that what happened? No wonder they don’t like strangers” Maddy muses – life makes sense now! Well…a little bit. “Next time I go out I’ll bring you along, Skye. How does that sound? Plenty of room in my Tits for a traveller or two.” She peers at the supposed claws but just shrugs it away – just a figure of speech, right?”
Maddy puts fingers to her forehead and narrows her eyes. “I…I think the mechanic is trying to contact me. Like a voice in my head. Nope…that’s just me. The mechanic is waving his hands.” And sure enough he is waving his hands to get her attention. “I guess he’s finished. Lovely to meet you all. I’m sure we’ll run into each other. Good luck with the roaming, Hyper. I’ll look for you at Grans.”Good timing as well because another group of people is coming up to the crossing. “See you later Maddy. Looks like I have more ‘customers’.” Nice to meet you Skye. And good luck finding a place. Vesper’s pretty big… as things go. I’m sure there’s something for you…”
Hunter waves and turns to meet the newcomers.
“Next time, Maddy.” Ardul watches as the Robot Jock starts to move off, shaking her head to herself. “Claws, huh?” she looks to Skye for a moment, considering her carefully. She’s a little reserved around the magic user … “Well take care, Skye. There’s a lot to explore.”
The blonde follows Hunters suit and turns back to her duty. She’s got bills to pay after all.
“Of course, and thank you all for your advice! It was really nice to meet you!” Skye waves at the group, then turns back towards the Vesper side of the bridge, heading back down towards the water. Walking alongs the river’s edge, she keeps her eyes on the feature, almost as if searching for something beneath its surface, as she heads off into the distance.