|Characters:||Stasya, Conri, Tom as Storyteller|
|Summary:||Stasya and Conri are lured into the lair of a hobgoblin spider who it turns out bit off more than she could chew.|
Link to spooky cave sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxqJuc1HHbg
The Hedge of New Orleans is forever shifting and strange, skyscrapers overgrown with strange thorns, vines made out of metal and the tall towers looking down upon them like looming jagged mountains. Conri and Stasya find themselves upon one of the many roads that go through the center of the city, quite close to the world of men where much of it is reflected if twisted. It's familiar yet strange, sometimes even more eerie because of it. The road they wander along isn't wholly unknown to them and the Lost, it is a road paved with gold, and many have walked on it safely, but some have also never been heard of once they followed it too far. They have been on it for quite sometime, and it is growing smaller. Once wide enough for four cars to drive side to side, it has slowly been shrinking smaller and smaller. The overgrown buildings on either side coming closer and closer. It shows no sign to stop, and where they stand now the path is perhaps fifteen feet across.
Conri was as observant as ever. His milky white gaze was rarely focused on more than one thing as they moved on the trod. He went without armor, opting instead for his regular clothing. "We ain't lost, right?" asks the Ogre. "I know I ain't checked out too much of this place," he admits, "but the road's slimming down." As they walk he keeps looking at the buildings, looking for something in a couple windows before moving to the next.
Stasya may be oblivious to any pop culture references to yellow brick roads, but she does know that this was the road they were supposed to be following. That others had been following, only not to make it where others had. The Hedge can be weird like that, she knows and so it's a very wary eye cast towards the narrowing of the road and buildings even as Conri's calling out the slimming as well. "I don't believe we are, but there's always more directions than one would think. This does seem odd though. Keep an eye out..." And while Stasya may have also eschewed traditional armor, her summer mantle burns strong enough to at least offer some protection should they find trouble.
As their worries amout, so does the Hedge shape itself more sinister. The tall spires seem more omnious, sharper, the shadows darker. The golden path not so well cared for, thorns near the side to promise worry. It only grows tighter as they walk, and the building larger, the rooms more cavernous and windows darker. Indeed, it is almost a relief at first then to hear music. Pretty music. The sound of a wind instrument bouncing between the building, the road now down to ten feet, the two of them almost tight to walk side by side. A contrast to the earlier sounds of the wild, and the distant sound of traffic heard as if underwater.
"If things get hairy," he warns, "I'm gonna get bigger. If things get hairier we have to split." He stops to smile or a beat, flashing those razor sharp smile. He lifts his nose to scent the air, and then starts moving on. "Last thing I need to is to lose my mind all big and wing-y, and- Yeah. You get the picture. You hear where that's coming from?" The question comes as he starts scanning the area hastily. "Unless that's your Mantle playing all that music."
Stasya does indeed hear the music as the path turns rougher, frowning as she pulls a lighter out even as Conri shares his warning. She gives a curt nod. "I'm nimble enough to get out of the way, if I need to." She flicks the lighter open and tries to exert a little glamour but whatever she was trying to splutters out in the breeze and she frowns, slipping it back into her pocket and pulling out her mundane sword instead. Like a scout, the Wizened quartermaster clearly believes in being prepared. "I've never heard a summer mantle playing... flutes? That seems more like spring to me... Would you like to go first?" The road is getting pretty narrow after all. "I think it's coming from the building but I wouldn't want to enter just yet. Maybe go around? If there is an around?"
The road is narrower and narrower, the building taller and taller. They are almost getting trapped. But there is the promise of sanctuary, of safety. The song afterall is so pretty, it can only come from something kind and fair. Nothing bad in the world could produce such notes. Or that is the sensation Stasya gets from the tunes, as the beguiling melody leads her on. Guides her, towards the open dark entrance to what in the other world is a parking garage, a tunnel leading down into a dark cavern of concrete. For Conri it isn't quite so beguiling, if pretty.
Wouldn't want to enter the building just yet? Stasya takes that back, or she would if the tune wasn't quite so fascinating as she slips past the Ogre and drifts onwards, straight towards the opening, now humming along with the little tune. "This is the way. I'm pretty sure..." Even as she is edging on the entrance of the actual tunnle, toe tipping on the line of inside and outside but getting much, much closer to passing the threshold.
It's a dark place, the garage. If it can even be called that. The walls seem lined with a fine white satin, the vague outlines of covered cars all that suggests its reflection in the other world. The music comes from inside the dark, where the light from the outside world doesn't reach. Of course it doesn't. This is something sweet and secret. Not something for just anyone. But it is in there deeper, in the dark.
Conri listens to that song intently. He even starts to hum along to it. It was a pretty song after all. He was still looking around when Stasya slips past him, avoiding the wind whipping around his body but not his attention. "Hey!" he shouts to her. He immediately moves to step behind her, wary to place a hand on the elementally armored Wizened. "Cool it, candy lady. Something ain't right here." He looks around, grumbling something incoherent in the process. "Let's not go inside the tunnel we ain't seen before, yeah? You got anything we can toss inside of that, first?"
Stasya might be warm to the touch, but the fellow summer has nothing to fear from those particular flames. She startles as Conri's hand lands on her shoulder, shrugging her way free, but at least it serves to stop her from moving forward even if she seems more irritated than thankful as she glances back to the garage as if that's where she REALLY wants to be. "What's your problem? Besides, we were looking for someone, dah? There's clearly something there so we found it. Just have to go!" And unless the Ogre is going to try and stop her, she steps forward towards what's probably the fanciest parking garage she's ever seen, white satin and secrets and all!
The Ogre briistles at the response, growling as he watches the other Summer. "I got a lotta problems, but that's beside the point. I know I can't stop you, and you'd easily kick my ass. That's beside the point, too. This tunnel don't seem a little too convenient to you?" He lifts his hands and pulls armaments from thin air. Literally. Whirling wind solidified into longbow that he lifts to start aiming down the tunnel. "If nothing happens I'll follow you," he says while pulling back the faux string. "If I'm right I want you to make me one of those fancy cakes with the goop inside." As soon as he speaks he lets an ethereal arrow free into the tunnel.
Stasya gives a snort of agreement as the Ogre mentions she could probably beat him (as long as it didn't come to a flat out strength contest) and gives a shrug for the convenience. "Sometimes stars do align..." And beguiled as she is, she's not really in a questioning mood, waving off the mention of the fancy cake idly. "Yeah, yeah... a lava cake..." She steps forward and not long in, she realizes just how big of a mistake it had been. Conri had tried to warn her. She twists and lets out a hiss of surprise as the satin reaches out to try and ensnare her. She doesn't even drop her sword, just stares down at the fabric that DARES betray her and mutters. "Vile jumped up fabric! Looks like it belongs in the bargain bin at a discount wedding store..."
"Lava what? What!?" Conri knocks another wind arrow, but then Stasya starts going off. "What?" he asks again as something starts wrapping itself around Stasya. He rushes to her side, but then she's already say. "Jesus Christ," the dragon asks. "So, what the hell was that?" he asks while lowering the bow. "All of it."
It shivers and wastes away, broken and torn down. It becomes obvious, all of a sudden. Even in the darkness of this cavern. This lair. It is not fabric that covers the walls and floor, it is webs. Spiderwebs vowen expertly and thick, hard as steel but sticky and seeking to trap them. Flies drawn into the web. Something moves in the dark.
"Cake," Stasya responds calmly as she attempts to smooth out the wrinkles from her brief bout with the satin trap. "And that was a trap. You were right." She's a big enough woman to admit that she was wrong. "I think this means you get two cakes." Stasya always pays her debts, since it's never good to possibly tempt the wyrd, and currently the crimson courtier is just barely holding in that simmering anger as she stares deeper into the darkness. "Even if this isn't what we were looking for, it's too close to the trods. Too easy for others to fall into. We need to take care of this." Emboldened by either her success with the first bout with vanquishing the spider webs or maybe just enraged by it, she heads deeper in, sword held at the ready.
Before Stasya can get too far, she notices that the Ogre's footsteps aren't following quite as she would have expected. "Are you coming?" But as she turns around, she quickly sees the problem. More spider webs. With a low growl, she glares at the webs. Nobody's got time for this, least of all a sugar plum on a mission of VENGEANCE.
The webs thin, but do not shatter. Strong as steel. The webs are spun from somewhere in the dark, vowen masterfully as Conri is wrapped with layers of it, a cucccon shaped around him in a matter of moments. Like Mr Frodod as he gets close to Mount Doom. "Come come, little ones." a sweet female voice pierces the dark. "Fresh meat! It has been so long." it sounds almost wanton.
Conri was about to say something smarmy to the other Summer. Except he never gets a chance to. The joys of youth, and someone shutting him up. He was lifting the bow, but where he was aiming is hard to see. Just as he was about shout something or other except he soon wrapped up in webbing. He tries to shake himself free, but to no avail. Instead he looks like a giant, white wrapped up maraca as he shakes.
Maybe Stasya was reluctant to possibly hit Conri as collateral damage with her wrath as the spider webs don't fall away as easily as the ones that entrapped her earlier and then suddenly there is even MORE of the stuff in a veritable cocoon and the spider voice is taunting her. Or them. "Maybe if you weren't so lazy about your illusions, your trap would be more enticing. A freaking parking garage, really? You didn't even put out a free parking sign! My hollow gets more visitors and I don't even want them!" It's true... and some of those unwanted visitors have even tried to eat her gingerbread home as it is really delicious and not just spiderwebs pretending to be inviting.
There is a skittering sound, muffled and near silent in the place they find themselves. Before a dark shape leaps down from the ceiling, a large, very large spider with a woman's torso, pale and naked growing out of the spider's head. Her grimace is ugly though, savage and a snarl. Sharp legs striking down, to pierce Stasya through! Yet the Mantle of Summer burns bright, and she draws blood but little else.
Conri wrestles against the might of that webbing, but still can't break free. Eventually he does get out of his predicament. He does the only thing that comes natural to him when fight or flight completely kicks in. He grows up and out, and keeps grownig. Where there was a ball of web surrounding a man a massive dragon big enough to take up a good chunk of the space in the garage. He's still caught up in the webbing, but now it isn't suffocating him as he lets out a mighty, thunderous roar.
Stasya might have gotten knicked in the process, but she'll continue with her rant. "Really? You call that an attack? I met a bear once that hit harder than that. Ended up making him into my rug." She may have required the help of a werewolf to do so cause it was a murderous spirit-claimed fire-bear, but she DOES indeed have a bear skinned rug from a bear that hit very, very hard indeed. With her ire focused on the spider woman in front of her, she doesn't quite witness the full glory of Conri's transformation, but she does see enough in her periphery that she's tries to step to the side to give the dragon a bit more room to work.
There is frustration upon the grimace of the hobgoblin as she seems to have lured something fiercer than flies into her webs. The sharp legs strike out again and again against Stasya in a exchange of blows. Yet the searing Mantle of Summer proves stalwart. The force bearing down on the Lost, but no fatal blow is struck.
Conri roars and thrashes, raging against the silk bindings fettering him to the ground. His mantle flares, and the sound of a distant storm echoes around him as lighting crackles from his reptilian eyes. He eventually breaks free by spreading his wings in their full glory, narrowly missing Stasya and likely taking out any of the dead lights nearby. "Eat you!" he blares at the hobgoblin, turning his lightning-set eyes on the spider-woman.
Stasya is a nimble little thing and as the dragon flares her wing, she'll duck quickly to avoid being accidentally winged by a wing. The hobgoblin reaches out and yet the flames of summer seem to do their job. They came on a mission and by whatever the Wizened holds holy, she's going to see it through. And possibly enjoy the process. "Hey, that tickles! I've taken worse hits during training drills. And the swords they work with might as well be made out of candy!"
The words wear down on the spider creature, yet it does not seem to bite deep into her. The many limbs striking out, yet again she ends up on the backfoot. Indeed the confidence that was once there is fading, the long limbs skitter and claw. She moves quickly, almost too quick for the eye to follow.
Conri roars again, shaking the founding with his rage. Where Stasya has words for the hobgoblin all Conri has is anger and a hunger nearly as big as his size. Without waiting another moment he lunges forward, jaws wide open. Like an aligator he snaps his jaws, rending whatever flesh he can get a hold of.
So uhhh... there's a dragon. And while Stasya may have been doing JUST FINE with her words and anger, it sounds like Conri's gotten a lot, lot angrier. The cotton candy wizened backs away again, but she's not given up the fight! She tries to weave an overwhelming illusion to distract all the hobgoblin's senses, but her luck has apparently run out for the moment and there's a loud "Gahhhh!" As suddenly she's the one not sure about what's happening aside from being Behind a dragon. Probably.
Put on the backfoot and given oppertunity the spider creature sprints towards the closest wall and skitters up it with impossible and apparant ease. Into the dark, leaving webs between her and the duo. Running away, to fight another day. With easier flies.
He has its blood in his lips, and Conri isn't that much different than any other predator. When the spider starts to scuttle away he roars, "Kill!" right behind it. He trundles after it, slowly building up speed. Then he's immediately put to a stop as he gets stuck in the webbing. As he roars impotently and fights against being stuck the hobgoblin's able to get further and further away.
Don't mind Stasya. She has NO idea where spider woman left and actually doesn't even hear the dragon roar his challenge. Being really good at something can suck when it misfires and the wizened is left rubbing at her eyes for a moment. Eventually the overwhelming stars do clear and she's able to blink her way back to sight. "Did you eat her?"
Conri's still fighting against that webbing, even when it look like he should stop. He doesn't give it a rest until Stasya calls out to him. He turns to her, his reply a snarl and a pissed off growl. With the eight-legged danger now gone he shrinks back into his usual self, still very much pissed. "No," he grumbles, and croses his arms over his chest in a huff. "Can you help me get out of this stuff?" he asks while trying trying to lift his feet from the webbing. "This is the only pair of shoes I got.'
"Shame," Stasya sounds really, genuinely disappointed that her companion wasn't able to put a crunch end to their foe. Or at least squash her like the annoying bug she was. "Stand still. I can burn it away." Now that they have more time, she'll stick to the more mundane methods and pull out the not so trusty lighter. It works well enough though to burn some of the webbing free. "We can get you another pair of shoes." Among the many things Stasya is, a brownie is one of them after all. "I'm more than half tempted to try and burn this place all to the ground."
"Yeah, I don't have anything right now so that ain't gonna happen." He bristles again,a nd finally sighs. He's slowly calming down at least. In his frustation he responds, "Forget it" Conri's out of the shoes as wings sprout from his back again. He does keep his clothes on, and even they go with him. He shrinks down and flutters about, a tiny faire small enough that cat could swallow him whole.
As the adrenaline and rage both begin to fade, Stasya is reminded that as much as she might have taunted the hobgoblin, she does hurt. At least a bit, even if it wasn't as bad as it could be. "Yeah, I've about had enough of this spooky place. Let's get back and we'll make a report." And possible come back with more reinforcements to make sure creepy spider lady really is good and gone. When Stasya can burn with more than just a flimsy little bic lighter.
The faerie nee dragon flitters about until he lands on Stasya's shoulder. He has to shout to be heard, but at least she can get a good hearing of him yelling, "Run. Gonna flood that eight-legged bastard!" Hard to say if the shouting is because of his msall stature or that anger controlling him. As soon as the words leave his mouth she can hear water start rushing into the building behind them and it won't be long until it starts making its way outside, too.Stasya startles a bit as the faerie lands on her shoulder, but he's light and it's practical in order to hear him. She gives a nod and while she might not be running full speed, she does trot briskly, a pace that she can keep up for a good while. Once she hears and then begins to see some of the water, nobody needs to tell her twice to get the hell out of dodge. "That's at least one possible thing that could have been causing the trouble. Someone else will do another pass tomorrow just to check for any other... surprises."