|Summary:||Hawthorne makes good on a promise to help get Wesson more acclimatized to the Hedge, starting with navigating a trod. They talk about her neighbors, and meet his.|
|Disclaimers:||Real weird frog goblin might be too good.|
The appointed meeting place is behind what appears to be a Bennigan's in the Fairgrounds area, the lettering instead reading O'Flannatooligan's. Legally distinct, even if the menu and decor is the same. We're interested in the weird door back by the dumpster, though. Hawthorne is waiting, dressed in a gray-green surplus military coat that's bulky, some kind of old flak jacket or similar thing, drab enough to not break up his odd monochrome thing going, though he also has on his Simon and Garfunkel shirt, and a pair of sturdy jeans and hiking boots. And a messenger bag with useful things! He has a battered paperback copy of a throwaway 80s sci fi novel in his hand while he waits, only having had to give a terrifying glare at one employee of the place come to throw out some trash.
Making her way towards the back dumpster as instructed, Wesson is also prepped for an outting. A flak jacket of her own is worn, while she has replaced her leather jacket with an olive green backpack that looks like it is meant for some heavy duty action. It also looks weighted with some kind of handle sticking out. If Hawthorne is perceptive enough, he'd notice that the brown belt that hangs off her hips is weighted, perhaps indicating her holster is tucked behind and hidden by her backpack as she walks. She catches sight of him nearly immediately and as she draws closer, the sight of his shirt and book is enough to quirk her eyebrows in slight amusement. "I never took you for a Simon and Garfunkel fan. Plan on taking me to Scarborough Fair, Mr. Robinson?"
The pages shut, marked by a faded old receipt and the book is tucked into his back pocket. The faint glow of his eyes turn toward the voice and he looks over Wesson's current appearance, before saying "Hey, I was born in the 60s. It kind of comes with the territory, probably." He does glance down at his shirt though, then says "Ohhhh, prooobably not, unless we accidentally wind up there. Still some work shoring up this trod, figure that'll be good practice, maybe?" He lifts his shoulders and shrugs a bit before nodding toward the door and putting his hand on the handle, "You good to go?"
She cants her head to the side at him; she really sucks at making jokes. Wesson glances towards the door as she gives him a solid nod. "Right, I'm all yours, Lieutenant," she says that solemnly before glancing back at him. "60s, eh? How disappointing was it to find out there were no flying cars or food in pill form?" She seems to be in a rather brighter mood than usual. Even her flames have a certain cheeriness to their color, bizarrely. "Lead the way."
Hawthorne pauses as the look makes him realize that he did not detect the joke, then says "Oh, oh I see now. Um, it's a bit more comforting that those things did not come to pass. Though 'phones' was a big adjustment period. Now I have the pokemons though." He doesn't. He can not catch them. Pulling the door open he motions her through, then follows, the innocuous doorway seeming to be on a weird double hinge where this entrance opens it backward and into a swirling tunnel of leaves and brambles with an autumnal look to it, and a roughed out path, the tunnel a bit claustrophobic until it opens out into the hedge and maintains the look of that path, while the sides become more open, more permeable, and more able to be... wandered into. "You seem in a good mood," he observes, his tone light indicating it's meant to be conversational, and he picks at a few of the leaves on the walls of that initial warren-like maze and they rustle and float between his fingers until he spreads them like one might a hand of cards and they've been arranged in order of size and color and remain in the air. And do nothing. Crickets. He glances side to side.
"Pokemons," she murmurs thoughtfully. "I always felt we were kind of like them," Wesson muses thoughtfully. When he opens the door, she moves close behind him, her own fiery eyes flicking across the tunnel as she tries to breathe in through the claustrophic feel. When the Hedge appears, her shoulders relax, though she shifts her belt around until her holster hangs a bit loosely on the right side of her hips. She also reaches behind her, groping for the handle blindly until she finds it. With a solid yank, she pulls out (while also unsheathing) a simple but rather long machete. Yes, she has a machete. Seems fitting for the Hedge. At the mention of her cheerfulness, Wesson's lips curl ever so faintly at the corners before she places her hand on her gun. "MacKenzie fixed up Pretty Harry. Looks like a goddamn masterpiece. Its crazy what that Lost can do with metal," she trails off as she notices Hawthorne spreading the leaves. The Elemental leans a bit close to his shoulder to peer over it at the leaves as well, as if to see what's going on. Her eyes then flick back towards him, that curl of her lips growing faintly in amusement.
Hawthorne squints with some consternation and flicks one of the leaves with his finger and a little mutter, until it finds the right place. THEN the magic catches and the whole thing sucks in leaves from all around to render some kind of spear or glaive made of tightly wound leaves, jaggy in all the fun spots, which he plucks out of the air, and then produces a small vial of blackish fluid. Some evil concoction? No, just that shitty activated charcoal water. It causes a burst around him of swirling embers and ash to break away from the corners of his smudgily defined edges, until the billowing settles to a circle around his feet when it's done being all dramatic. "Alright. So the first thing to know about navigating here is that the geography is incidental. Set dressing. It will change. There are certain landmarks that you can find with intention, and that's what we're going to do. There's a grove, off of which I've dug a hollow, and we're going to try to make it to that place. As we do, we'll be shoring up this path, making it more stable. Taking care of obstacles, grooming it back, but the hedge is going to start folding in behind us, trying to trap us. So we need to keep moving, and keep to this generally defined path. Trods are useful because trods are like... Training the hedge?" He wonders if that's apt, chewing it over, but then he's walking! There was never a hiccup! Not at all! "I've not met her. Is it a very pretty gun now, then?" He nudges some brambles back with the butt of his leaf-spear as they begin the hike.
When the leaves spring up into a weapon, Wesson is quick enough to pull back. She eyes the glaive appreciatively. Then the embers and ash swirl about him and the Elemental couldn't help but eye the Lieutenant in a rather new light. "Nice," she offers in her husky voice. "With intention," she repeats with a curt nod of understanding. She is quick to follow him, using her machete in a rather traditional manner though she tries not to chop it off just yet. "Trods, like trails," Wesson continues with a nod. "Kind of like how I see gardners train their plants to go in a certain direction." She scans the Hedge. She isn't too worried, but she is wary as hell with her bright eyes on high alert. "Blued steel revolver with copper etchings. Kind of reminds me of, well, me," she responds finally. "I doubt you'd call me pretty, but I am something," her hand drops to the butt of her gun in appreciation. She all but goes 'WANNA SEE IT?!'
"Very much like that," Hawthorne agrees about the gardening, and seems to be doing some sort of calculation as they go, finding the occult significance of different gnarls in the brambles of the hedge, and keeping an eye on the movements that could be hobs or anything else in here. "It's a striking aesthetic," he says, his voice even though there's an almost playful quirk at the corner of his mouth as he breaks the somewhat consternative affect he wears while navigating, and looks sidelong at the other changeling. "Careful of that one, it's more... Move-y.." He indicates some of the snarled branches. "Show me," he assures when she seems eager to show off her gun, pausing long enough to turn his head fully, though his posture remains forward, as if to remind the hedge of the intention.
At the mention of 'striking aesthetic', Wesson's own eyes flick towards Hawthorne's, as if to catch the embers within as well. She was just about to say something when he mentions her gun. That is enough to snap her back into focus as she reaches down to pull it out. It's a light revolver, with a six inch barrell. Blued steel, copper etching of leaves and vines, beautiful craftmanship really. "Don't shoot, it's primed for my hands," she says with a touch of pride, like a mother who is showing off her kid. Flipping it around, she offers Hawthorne the handle. "Be careful," she whispers softly, it is rather percious to her.
Hawthorne gingerly accepts the handle and inspects it, keeping his fingers well away from the trigger and trying not to smudge it all up too badly, instead inspecting the vinework, and he says "That's pretty fancy, and, I'd imagine, good. Though I don't know much about guns, so that's just a guess!" He then offers it back, eager to make sure it is back in the right hands and he looks ahead. His feet resume picking up and he moves a hand, forcing the leaves back from the path and further off the trod. In the distance, a stable clearing seems to be taking form. Hawthorne adjusts his glasses, saying "We're getting close. Do you want to try orienteering us toward that point there?"
She takes the gun back eagerly enough to slip it back into the holster. Shifting her machete back to her right hand. Wesson moves to follow him until Hawthorne suggests that she navigates. The gun metal Elemental doesn't hesitate as she moves forward with intention, mimicking Hawthorne. The fire that makes up her eyes however, studies the Hedge and trod as one would tracking an animal or a criminal. Like a hawk, her eyes focus with intention as she waves her machete to draw the brambles back and away from them. "I think its through here," she offers back towards him.
Hawthorne observes the way that Wesson intuits the direction through by study and deduces the path, outwitting the alien geography of the hedge to bring them into the grove-like clearing on the trod, stable ground which Hawthorne is familiar with, and they find a squat figure with a face like a toad, a red stocking cap on, and a kitchen knife in one hand, peering at a doorway. Perhaps one that it should not?
Once they break through to spot the squat figure, Wesson blinks and stops short, machete still in hand. She glances towards Hawthorne questioningly, before turning back to face the toad-face fully. She is tense and still on high alert. "Hello," she greets with her deep, husky voice. Her eyes narrow at him. "Be a good little creature and drop your knife," her body tightens with her quiet threat, like a spring coiled to such tightness.
"Say whaaaat?" answers the hobgoblin, weird bulbous eyes widening as he turns and looks over his shoulder like an upsetting owl. "Oh shats. No way. That's my murderin' knife. But also my door openin' knife. Can't have it! Weirdo." His body turns the rest of the way around, face staying stationary. It's incredibly upsetting. He hunkers a little. "Back off, toots."
Hawthorne stands still. Watching. What even is this? He looks to the side at Wesson to see how she will handle this. Slippy G starts tossing his knife from palm to palm.
A sidelong glance towards Hawthorne as the Hobgoblin refuses to move, and Wesson clears her throat. Well damn, that didn't work. She narrows her eyes at the creature and his knife. "I'll give you one more chance," she hisses steam slipping from her lips. Suddenly her machete snaps to the side to slice into the Hedge bramble next to her, cutting it off completely as she destroys it. Her lips curl up into a wicked little grin, her eyes never once leaving the Hobgoblin. "Now *this* is a knife. Are you sure you want to play, little man? I don't want your little butter cutter. Just get the fuck out of here, or I will show you what kind of doors my knife can open."
Blink. Blink. The frog goblin's mouth draws wider and he seems to be... Trying to tell what game is being played at here. To anything else, Wesson would be damn well terrifying. But not this stone cold killer! Or.. Whatever he is. A little flourish of his knife and a weird frog tongue droops out the corner of his mouth while he straightens his archaic looking clothes with his free hand. "Are you... Flirting with me? What's.."
From a bit to the side, Hawthorne watches, leaning on his spear and is just either dying laughing on the inside or in a daydream.
As the Hobgoblin seems to enjoy the show, Wesson pauses as she blinks yet again, yanking her machete from the trunk before letting her arm simply drop by her side. "I, wha-, I'm not flirting," she snaps back with more annoyance than anger. Her fiery eyes snap towards Hawthorne only to find him laughing as he leans against his spear. Wesson can feel the rising heat of a blush creep up to her cheeks, which makes them tinge a deep purple like warmed up metal just before it hits that red-hot color. "I-," she begins, awkwardly. "Alright, alright! Let me guess, you guys know each other," she bursts out in embarrasment before reaching over to suddenly shove Hawthorne by his shoulder in amicable indignation.
Hawthorne weebles a little at the shove, but manages to get his taciturn grumbly expression back. "What? Oh, yeah, this is my new neighbor. I've been building a hollow out of that one," he nods toward a different door in a tree trunk all Halloween Town style, and says "He hasn't thrown any too-loud parties yet." The hob gives a little tip of his red stocking cap, like the biggest fucking weirdo, and then says "Call me Gustavo."
"Hey, Gustavo," Wesson murmurs with that purplish tinge still burning her cheeks. She coughs and clears her throat. "I'm Wesson," she offers. "Hawthorne here is showing me around." She then looks back towards the other Elemental, eyeing him once more to see if he is still laughing. "A Hollow? That's pretty cool." Finally she moves to approach the tree with the Halloween door. Wesson reaches out for the door then pauses this time, reigning her impulsive Summer heat in after her last embarrasment, as she glances back at Hawthorne to see if she should do it. At least she is a quick learner. "Show me?"
Hawthorne is not still laughing. He was barely ever laughing! That would have been undignified. He then nods and says "Yeah, it's not quite there, yet, but it's a start. Good to see you, G," he waves to the hob, who goes back to using his apparent keyblade knife on the door on the other treetrunk. Opening the door after fiddling with it a little, Hawthorne says "Sure, sure." The froggoblin turns his head 180 degrees to watch them go and says "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"No promises, Gustavo," Wesson calls over her shoulder as she flashes him a wicked look. Turning back to Hawthorne, she finally moves to let Hawthorne move in first. "Hey, you're way ahead of me. I don't even have a Hollow," of course not. "And I have a feeling it's going to look way better than my apartment. And my office. They're one and the same," she explains to him.
Inside is... Kind of like outside but.. Cleaner? It's trees, a great number of them, very tall, and the gold and blue hued light of twilight filtering through leaves down onto a forest floor of nothing but autumn leaves that seem to constantly fall but never obstruct. The sound of rain can be heard outside the boundaries of the place, and there's the start of some stairs spiralling one of the central trunks. A little base camp is set up with some tools in case they're needed. "I mean. It's real rough. I'm clearing more space but.." It's still quite a bit larger than most hollows. "Your place probably has walls?" He says it in an amused tone then props his spear up when he's sure nothing has broken into the space in his absence.
As she steps in, Wesson moves to the center of the place as she looks around. The dappled light from the twilight, the warmth of being in a dry place when it is raining outside. "It's actually nice," she murmurs, honestly in that monotoned voice. "It's you, in Hollowed form," she muses as she steps up to the stairs to look up, her fingers tracing over the trunk and steps. "My place does have walls," she agrees. "But you can still hear my neighbors fighting, or fucking," she frowns slightly. "I prefer them fighting. Easy feeding when I 'knock to check in on them'." Wesson turns to face Hawhtorne as she steps away from the stairs. "My place also doesn't have twilight streaming through the leaves and the sound of rain lulling you into security. Bring a Fairest here and you can sweep her off her dainty feet."
Hawthorne makes a quiet grunt at the assessment that it is him, but he also can't exactly dispute that. He does give a little snort though and says "It's going to be much larger. Though I guess 'sweet bachelor forest pad' works as a property value driver upper," with a dry tone. Moving to the stairs he starts to climb them, and says "Once these get taller, I've started shaping the trees into shelves."
"Just as long as you don't start fighting loud enough for your neighbors to hear," Wesson returns in a solemn tone. "I see you got plans," she murmurs as he moves up the stairs, following his ascent. "A whole library up there?" Wesson asks, her tone sounding impressed. "You'd have enough space for your books," she agrees. "Then get a record player for your Simon and Garfunkle too. Maybe a lava lamp or two," her tone takes on the slightest tinge of amusement. "That will definitely raise your bachelor pad value.""You keep saying awesome things, but why do I feel like somehow I'm being made fun of," Hawthorne asks musingly, and then he nods, saying "Library. Towers. Using the trees rather than having anything inside. It'll be big enough to hold... quite a bit. Once it's done anyway." After a long moment, the other elemental picks up his spear and hangs it between his shoulders, arms over each end. "There's not much of a tour to give, but if you want we can rest a bit here for a bit, then I'll let you take the lead on getting us back out along the trod the way we came, for practice."