506-08-02 Cry Havoc
|RL Date||December 26, 2008|
|Players||Cynara, Matthew, Iain, Leon|
|Location||Keeper Plaza West -- Gateway|
|Crossroads Time and Weather|
|IC Date||August 02, 506|
Plaza of the Keeper North - Village
- This part of the village runs along the back wall of the castle and all of the shops and residences are on one side of the road which leaves great views of the sea and the docks. Rather than cobblestone, the road is made up of handsomely tended wooden planks to help counter the uncertainty of the rocky edges at the end of the island. Once away from the road that leads towards the docks, this is a favorite daytime place for a leisurely walk or to visit one of the boardwalk cafes. A small staircase leads down to the beach area that stretches far out to the east with the docks on the west.
Nighttime spreads across Crossroads City, the stars coming out in the sultry eve to glitter impartially. On the warm evening breeze, a low, rich, throbbing note of challenge rings forth, the call of a Hunter, the call of a Hunt. For those in the open, the other sound that carries in its wake is a baying of hounds, their voices slowly growing nearer, frantic with the chase of the quarry. The sounds stir the blood in unsettling ways, calling to mind primal fears and excitement.
Leaning against the railing overlooking the sea, Matthew's own thoughts were preoccupied along lines that are best left unsaid. With his jacket slung over one arm, it's the sound along the wind that causes the baron to lean away from the railing. It's not an unfamiliar sound as the mage looks in one direction, then the next in an attempt to compare. Does what he hear match with anything seen? Not that it changes anything across his features, a cool neutral with traces of displeasure slowly forming around the corners of eyes and lips.
It's from Keeper North that Leon's steps lead him, long and steady strides, his booted steps falling hollow on the wooden planks that make up the road here. With a book -- brown leather, bound about with a leather strap -- tucked under his arm, his trajectory lends him toward the coffee shop: no doubt evening pastries are in order.
The sound on the wind draws his brows faintly furrowed and his eyes up, toward the breeze's origin, and his steps slow just a touch.
The waxing gibbous moon Minuet rises over the eastern horizon.
Some night to return to Gateway. Iain Arx has been abroad, searching for things that by all accounts don't exist -- and finding them -- and on the evening of what is a triumphant return, he practically floats down the gangway of the small schooner he'd purchased the time and crew of for that brief voyage, rucksack on his back, bow and a nearly empty quiver slung over one shoulder and a small item, a stone, tossed repeatedly into the air and then snapped out of it as he whistles. Good cheer practically radiates off of him.
The whistle loses its melody, drowned by the baying of hounds, and he halts on the docks, still while floods of people mill about him.
"...bloody fantastic timing," he remarks dryly to himself.
"Baron Forester?" Cynara wonders, approaching the man from the other side, carrying her satchel and toting the crossbow she's taken to carrying at night, granted at present, it's hanging off a strap by her shoulder. There is a ready smile of greeting, however she sees -something- in the man's expression that causes that smile to fade. She pauses, suddenly uncertain, a small frown and concern etched on her features. "Is something the mat-- "
The sudden sound causes her to freeze, jerking around to hear the baying of the hounds from...somewhere.
She says nothing afterwards, but her eyes flick over to the master mage.
The people of the city that go about the evening's business start to bristle at the sound of the eerily baying hounds in the distance. The din of the usual mutterings grows quite a bit.
The baying sound grows louder, and now is accompanied by shouts and screams of people. The city is full of activity this warm summer night, and into the scattering of people and activity burst a multitude of hounds, quicksilver gray-black as they flood through the city. The first wave take people mostly unaware, some of the creatures racing on toward their hunting goal, some distracted by the easy quarry provided. It is only at Gateway Plaza Center and the Plaza of the Keeper Center, thus far.
"Mistress Dhaval." Spoken as one hand reaches for the dagger at his side, it's only after the man begins tugging off the gloves that have become more of a mainstay for Matthew. "We have a problem," he says, clipped with a glance over one shoulder in the direction of the Keeper Center and the area beyond. He doesn't elaborate nor does he refer to anything else that might have been on his mind. "Baron Consort!" It's a greeting, if not a relaxed and calm one as he looks back to Cynara and then Iain in the not too far distance.
"I know," is what she says, Cynara, despite the crossbow, drawing out the cold iron dagger Linette had given her from her sleeve, just in case. Golden eyes wander around, catching sight of Leon, and then, Iain a little further back. However, before she says anything the sound of the hounds get closer. She steps a little further back, looking this way and that. Which way? "So much about keeping indoors after dark," she mutters under her breath. But she keeps a little bit behind and to the side of Matthew. While the hounds -sound- like they're getting closer, she can't quite determine from which direction.
The sudden desire to have a higher vantage, out of the press and chaos of unwashed bodies is stronger by the minute for Iain, whose fingers tighten on the leather strap of the unfortunately heavy rucksack on his back as he pivots in place and tries to get a fix on the direction from which the rising tide of panicked voices is coming, head tipped. Impatient with the white noise of shouting that muddies the accoustics of the city, he tucks the stone in his hand into his pocket and begins to cut a path through the crowd, angling his way toward a stack of crates overthrown with a tarp and intending to ascend as though driven to higher ground by that primal, visceral response to the sound of hunting carnivores. Soft, pink and oily, easily digested, thy name is Ape.
"Baron--" Leon returns Matthew's greeting with a hand raised, though it's a short gesture, the motion of one set on edge by the sounds carried across the breeze. His steps quicken, sounding louder on the wooden boardwalk -- thump thump, thump thump -- as he turns them away from the waiting baked goods and toward Matthew and Cynara. "Miss Cynara, I --"
Further pleasantries are set aside, though, as he twists his neck to once again pursue a better vantage of the sounds' origin. "It might -- do you know what that is? That sound?"
Screams are fewer, shouts more, as well as the occasional sound of a sword ringing against the voices of the pack. Again, the hunting horn raises its call, sounding more to the west, and the creatures flood through the city, through alley and back street. Some of those outside are pulled down by a passing creature, while others are ignored completely. The baying creatures spread mainly to Keeper West and East, a few racing toward the castle.
She looks over at Matthew at what he says about the bites, and realization sets in. "I was right, then?" Cynara inquires to Matthew. "What Master Montai-- " She cuts off from her inquiries when Leon approaches, and she looks over at Matthew to let him explain. But she does move away from them both, turning around to rush to the middle of the fray. And once there, she'll start directing people to stay in their homes, shops, or just indoors in general. People first. The Baron was right, they had to try and clear the streets first while the thick of the activity is elsewhere.
Iain is halfway up the stack of crates when he catches sight of a splinter of red hair, flinted blue eyes drawn and narrowed. Recognition causes him to hesitate, and internally the very decent part of him wars with the part of him that's not so decent, and his taut expression admits to that moment of conflict, broken in the end by an exhale as he looks down at the ground and rubs his face with one hand.
"Feckin' figures," is what he says as he abandons his climb and drops back down to the ground, glancing over one shoulder to the southwest with narrowed eyes. One hand uncaps the quiver at his back, fingers slid inside to feel...four feathered quills.
"...four." The tone is disgusted and annoyed. This is what he gets for firing perfectly good arrows at gulls off of the port side of a schooner sheerly for boredom's sake. And by the time he gets to where Cynara was, she's gone...but Leon is there, and there's another moment of surprise. "...you're the Barca's," is what he says, not quite a question. A pause in which he glances at Matthew, then back to Leon. "Well..come on, lad, lets help the lass with it and then look for somewhere tae stand that's nae at biting level." As introductions go it's probably not the most socially graceful, but given the circumstances...
Leon has been identified in kinder and more polite manners: "The Barca's" is a new one, admittedly, and it takes him a moment before the connection between that identification and himself registers. "I--" he begins, picking up to trot after Iain toward his cousin's cousin where she stands in the middle of the plaza.
"And who're you?" he calls, not slowing as he does it.
The next scream is close, and the first glimpse of what is causing the chair is caught. Dogs, and a number of them. Large and the grey of quicksilver, these hounds are obviously powerful, and on a mission for something, searching in their terror-filled run through the streets of the city.
"Ask me later." Spoken quickly as Cynara begins to ask that particular question, Matthew is scanning the area as Iain walks up and soon to also include Leon. "Once we get everyone indoors, we--" Whatever he was about to say turns into a shout towards Nara as the mage shrugs quickly into his jacket. Even in this heat. "Get out of the middle of the street," comes the near bellow as he looks to the two men standing near. "Deal with the creatures. Do NOT get bitten. And for the love of Providence, try to deal with the people first," he says, going against the flow rather than follow the fleeing people.
Well she's not -too- much in the center. Cynara's busily shutting the door of one establishment that's on the side the moment she's managed to herd a frantic mother and child inside before securing the wooden appendage and yanking it hard enough so she could hear the click of the latch to secure it in place. "Don't leave it!" she calls out through the door, and she turns around to see....dogs. Large, gray hunting hounds. She freezes where she is, pressing her back against the door as if barring it with her body...but in actuality she's just trying to make herself as small as possible in the shadows of the doorway as the impending rush takes over the street. Golden eyes flick over, jumping from between rushing bodies and the dogs. She's more interested in the latter, trying to keep a bead on a hound or two, trying to follow their progress. Where are they going? What are they looking for?
And the people left outdoors do scramble toward any doorway they can, which does cause something of a bottleneck. The perfect distraction for a rabid dog to pick one of the waiting people out, swarming upon the older man with a fierce hunger, killing him indiscriminately.
"Iain," says the selfsame over his shoulder, a blue glance aimed back at Leon as he catches up from behind. That seems to be all that needs saying, which is fortunate because there's no time to say anything further once they arrive in the middle of the chaos, Matthew's shout cutting a silver spike through the ambient fuzz of confused people.
"Oh ay? Dinna get bitten? Take all of the fun out of it, why dinna you nae?" The lean Guardians' humor is gallows to the core, sardonic and wry and dry as the desert of Sansa Maeja, seemingly cavalier in ways that the glint of the arrow he draws from the quiver and nocks is certainly not. There's a loosening of the sheathed blade behind him, though his jaw sets grimly over that necessity: blades require being a lot closer to something dangerous than he typically prefers. "At least it's nae bugs," he says grimly, though even that jest fails when someone falls to the onrushing predators.
Most citizens are fleeing the pack of animals, some are engaging them. Some will never engage anything again. The hunting horn gives its sonorous, stirring cry from near to Keeper North as the Hounds make the circuit of the city. Their numbers are hard to measure, the creatures hard to see in the dark with their coats. It is almost as if fangs come from the dark itself. A chill like autumn follows the creatures, the scent of woodsmoke and dried leaves. It is wild and terrifying and awe-inspiring, all at once. Those who have a chance to watch the pack moving through will note that some citizens flee while attacked, but on rare occasion, one or two seem to walk right into the jaws of death, willing, embracing.
"...won't _try_ to get bitten," Leon points out with a rueful glance back toward the baron. Iain's answer -- such as it is -- draws a nod and his brows upward, though he, too, begins to help shepherd people toward their homes or other establishments. Or the coffee shop, even.
He lends a hand -- or, rather, a shoulder -- to a pair of youngsters scrambling to keep up with the crowd. He deposits them with the bottleneck -- at least among the others they have more of a chance to scamper between legs and toward safety -- and at the nearby growling turns just in time to see the dog take the old man down.
Rabid dogs are, perhaps, best dealt with arrows. Leon has no arrows. But he has a sword, and the common sense to stake a few steps back from the crowd before drawing it. "Deal with them?" he calls back over his shoulder, sense extending that far, as well. "Baron -- deal with them -- how? They -- can they be killed?"
And she was watching, and at the first person who willingly gives his body up for food, she stares, horrified. "What the-- " Cynara whispers, peering out from the doorframe as she watches a citizen step forward towards the jaws of death. She opens her mouth, to call him to go back (and what is he doing is he crazy etc), but she manages to stifle it by clamping her hand over her mouth. And then, she hears the horn - and it sounds close. Narrowing her eyes she unlatches the crossbow from the strap of her satchel, and slides her back against the wood, and moves deeper backwards into the darkness so she could go around the building. She'll follow the horn, if she can. It sounds so close....where was it?
Matthew knows what they're looking for. It's also not in this particular part of the city, if his eyes are not deceiving him. As he moves to assist those who are keeping the wise course of action to flee, the baron seeks out the voice belonging to Leon with a press of his lips. Those who go towards the hounds are beyond help or likely salvation as he shouts back to the consort, "You have a weapon. Use it! Priority goes to protecting the people and getting them out of the bloody way!" No puns intended. "And believe me. You do not wish to be bitten by these creatures."
The dogs have already taken a number of people down, none of them having taken any damage here in the early stages of their arrival. Citizens yet scramble to get inside nearby buildings here, some people with weapons drawn to help guard those left defenseless as they wait to get inside.
A week. A full week of sitting saddlesore on stationary horses as the sun sank, and now that it's here the reality of the thing, the dark and horrible spectral sense of being assailed by rabid and ravenous shadows is a terrible, gut-wrenching nightmare of chaotic violence that Iain has time and sense to be grateful he did not encounter in the cloistered, root-knotted woods, beneath the eaves of those fragrant elder boughs...but he'll be damned if he's going to be inside.
"There are tae many feckin' people running about tae be firing arrows from the ground," is the clipped and irritated observation, short blade drawn as his bow is reslung and the arrow slides under his belt. When Cynara moves, he glances over his shoulder at Matthew -- who seems to have some understanding of what's happening -- and then toward the redhead, faced with another moment of debate.
"She's a feckin' loony," he decides for the umpteenth time, just before proving he's also barking mad and beginning to make his way after her, slowed by the necessity of helping several someones up off of the ground.
And whenever that damn horn sounds, his bowels try to climb their way up his spine and throttle his brain like pythons. It is not a good feeling.
"No," Leon agrees grimly, "I -- I believe you. I don't." He has a weapon. And despite the hestiation that sent that question over his shoulder, he now hastens aside to place himself between one of them and those fleeing, and employs that weapon of his. Eyes narrowed, almost squinting, he employs it: a thrust, low, aimed at the beast's head, the quicker to put it out of everyone else's misery.
The first wound of the wild hunt here in the north side of the Keeper's Plaza, Leon's aim rings quite true, the sword piercing both flesh and whatever else of these mythical creatures, stopping the animal in its tracks.
He comes in the wake of the creatures, his harbingers the hounds, his presence an outpouring of all that is unrestrained chaos. The hoof-beat is a sharp crack against the stones, a softer sound echoing as the boot collides with it. The Lord of the Hunt follows his hounds, the horn held in one hand and a wicked long-knife grasped in the other. The wind catches at his cape and sets it ruffling in the air while he crosses the plaza. For all that he is a figure of chaos, amidst its wreaking he sails across it in peace, the calm in the storm.
Where was it? Cynara seems to be unaware that someone's chasing after her, golden eyes looking around wildly through all the chaos. But she's still following the sound. The horn. It had to be the source of this craziness, right? Dogs were dogs but they had a master and it's the master they should be following. Conversations past with the Baron Forester are recalled, including the warning not to chase after the dogs. But what about...? She keeps moving, following the sound and picking up the pace. And remembering, perhaps, a past hunting trip with the person presently following her, the junior advocate reaching up in an effort to pull her hood up her redhair. But the gesture is frozen, when the source is finally spotted. She stops in her tracks, before she emerges from the other side of the building she was slinking around, and stares at the Lord of the Hunt as he progresses through the street.
Crap. Matthew may as well say that one word outloud as the Master of the Hunt progresses through the Plaza. But he's also busy. Not too much so for him to shout for those paying attention to him rather than the chaos, "Do not approach nor attack him! Keep back!" Not that he's seen Nara, but he does draw his dagger in case one of the hounds gets something of an idea to approach. Providence willing, they don't. Like it's been said - he's busy doing something good.
"Are you crazy? You cannae just go running off alo--" Iain's hissed reprimand is cut short upon the arrival of that figure of menace, the sight of the Huntsman like something suspended in time, all the world with its insufferable din at a standstill in his mind's eye, like the silence that follows a detonation. Sense returns to him slowly, and with it the ability to be irritated. He plants a hand on Cynara's shoulder and drags her the foot or two backward necessary to plant them against the building. "At least keep your back tae the wall. If we're going tae do sommat stupid we may as well be as smart as we can about it," he says flatly.
Leon's sword strikes true, and for the best: it's as he's drawing it out of the animal, using a booted foot for leverage -- that Lord of the Hunt appears in the square. A jerk draws the sword clean just in time for Leon's other arm to fly, reflexively, to cover his eyes. He gives a soft cry as he does it, his sword raised in defensive posture as people contiue to stream past him and the dog at his feet. "Providence's mercy!" he exclaims through gritted teeth. "Where's the demon things?" His arm lowers, but his eyes remain narrowed -- squinted -- as he searches the plaza for more dogs, clearly trying to avoid looking at the newcome figure.
The substance of legend and dream, or nightmare even, its hitching gait continues across the plaza with an odd grace to it. The Huntmaster lowers to a knee beside one of the downed dogs while sheathing his sword in a slow motion. His black-gloved hand presses into the fur of the beast with a low growl that reverberates and echoes about, dancing in the marrow of bones and along the joints of armor.
Her body is torqued with stress, Cynara's fingers gripping tightly on her crossbow and her fingers seem frozen no matter how determined she is to at the very least take a good look or follow some distance behind. However at the heavy hand dropping on her shoulder, to her credit she doesn't jump. When she looks over her shoulder, the only sign of the fright Iain just gave her was the width of her eyes, from narrowed to dinner plates in a split second. "Iain..." she chokes. "What are you-- ?" Wasn't he somewhere else earlier?! Before she could continue, however, she's dragged backwards a couple of feet, pressed against the wall and her head tilted so she could keep an eye on the strange procession. Order, surrounded by chaos, the hairs at the back of her neck standing. Her chest rises and falls rapidly as she takes several, deep breaths. However before she could say something else again, she spies another woman, another victim, fall into...
Her hand reaches out, grabbing Iain's forearm tightly. "Iain what's -wrong- with them?" she whispers around the lump in her throat. "This isn't..."
"This is merely a creature," Matthew calls over to Leon who seems to be dealing quite.. decently with the beasts. That is, until in the midst of everything between that is surrounding the Master of the Hunt. While not certain what is really happening, he's not the one who's going to approach and ask. One thing, he knows for sure. Not to draw attention with his presence.
"Oh...tha's bad," Iain observes helpfully, when the dark threnody of that rumbled growl penetrates his cellular memory and every inch of him all at once convenes in council and decides with a majority vote that it would be best to be elsewhere with expediency. "Tha's very bad. Very very bad. He is nae going tae be pleased about tha' dead dog. Where is the boy? Where is the Barca's?" In the chaos he's lost sight of Leon, but it's for him that all of Iain's concern is suddenly bent, blue eyes skipping through the dwindling numbers on the street in search of the figure with the sword.
Cynara's query is met with a single sharp shake of the head. "Feck if I know lass, but it's probably better we dinna learn. /LEON/!" He tugs his forearm from that vise grip only to use that arm to shepherd her along the wall ahead of him, blade held in the opposite and close to his side. "Come on. Come on. Back toward t'others."
Tiny red flowers begin to appear growing from the ground where blood was shed by the hounds, following slowly the path of their destruction.
The fallen dog? That would be Leon's work, and he's not so far away from it, now, though the Huntsman's approach sees him back-stepping with a pained look across his features and his eyes shut tight -- or squinting, at the very most. He nearly trips when his heel finds, instead of wooden boardwalk, some vestige of a person, but he catches himself. The hair on the back of his neck stands on end with that growl, and he spares a squinted eye to search for the source of his name. "Come where?"
The Huntmaster's leather-clad fingers graze through the fur and gather some of the blood upon the dull fabric, creating a sheening gloss. The gravelly words might be the clatter of an avalanche about to begin. Of all the fallen dogs, this one is chosen, and while his hand works upon it, the fur falls away, and a youth lays there, white as a sheet, blood painting the ground about her. He reaches to close her eyes and rises once more. The rest of the hounds that have succumbed to wounds are ignored, but another figure is approached, the girl who proffered herself to the beast. The creature uncoils his whip and snaps it at the dog still mauling her, driving the hound away that he may approach and kneel.
The shouting of Iain does bring some unwanted attention from one of the pack which swings around and stalks up to the pair of people pressed up against the building's wall, teeth bared and a low and menacing growl aimed at Iain and Cynara.
"What? What happe-- " She freezes, watching the Huntsman rise from the corpse of the dog, and for some reason, her face turns ashen. She knows what Iain's saying is true, that this was bad....but it has to be very bad when the young woman's face has gone from pale to -gray-. "Oh no. Oh no. Oh Providence. Leon!" She doesn't need any herding. Cynara tries to jerk free from Iain's grip so she could run to her cousin's cousin. And when the transformation of the dog is complete....her worst fears are realized. Her heart falls to her stomach, closing her eyes. But the moment of grief is short lived, because before she could go anywhere with her errant companion, a growl sounds somewhere in their vicinity. She turns around slowly, to see one of the large hounds turning towards the both of them.
The baying of hounds has not fallen away, but indeed the screams and shouts of citizens are almost completely gone, the streets cleared of all but the dead and dying, whether human or canine. The pack seem to be moving mainly to the north of the city, and the areas left behind are falling to a heavy quiet when the violence has passed.
The snarls from the hound in front of Iain and Cynara continue, the beady eyes of the creature watching. Stalking. Waiting for that perfect moment to strike.
The tightening of Iain's grip on the sword in his hand is prelude to his inserting himself between she and the onrushing hounds. He is painfully aware of the sorry shield he provides, with a build as slender -- he would say scrawny -- as his and almost all of his proficiency with a weapon geared for ranged combat rather than close-quarters squabbles with a blade, but it's what he has and can provide, though there is undoubtedly an internal part of him wondering why in the hell he felt it so necessary to rush back to Gateway today, loudly reminding him that he is not cut out for pretending to be a hero.
Those moments during which he repositions himself prove fruitful in the end, giving him time to observe the transformation of the hound, the nature of what lies beneath fur and hide, and while he doesn't lower the short sword in his hand that revelation does stay his hand, leaving him squared off against one of the unnatural beasts, doing his best to look as though he's a cut of meat that isn't worth the trouble of downing. The sword gleams liquid and blue in the dark.
There are voices, still, and more than one calling his name. Leon follows them with a hand leading the way until, back to the Huntsman, he finally pries his eyes open. And he sees, then, the dog snarling before Iain and Cynara; he has not seen, it seems, the other's transformation, for he stalks closer with longsword raised. "Keep her back," he cautions the Arx, approaching the creature from its side, sword poised to strike.
There is a moment or two more of just growling at the pair before the hound crouches down quickly before launching itself right toward Iain, making to take him down by the neck. The quick kill.