Blood and Thunder


abby6_icon.gif barbara_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif

Scene Title Blood and Thunder
Synopsis The Ferry makes an ominous discovery on its doorstep.
Date July 13, 2011

Halfway Between Pollepel Island and New York City

Early morning fog settles low in the river valley many miles south of the Ferrymen's northern stronghold. Dewdrops cling to summer leaves painted pale blue by a combination of moonlight and what little sun creeps silver-gold over the horizon. It will all burn off by midday when the air gets so hot even the birds do not leave the shade of the forest trees, but right now the weather is still pleasantly cool, making it the best time to patrol the ridge overlooking the valley.

And it is a good thing that they do. From their vantage point, the four dark silhouettes on horseback have a misty view of the newly-erected tents and the small figures moving between them in the purple dawn. Twin pinpricks of light bleed through the fog like fireflies that have forgotten to turn themselves off — headlamps belonging to military trucks draped in camouflage netting, and of these they count a dozen or more.

At this distance, the camp is quiet. The vast space between the bottom of the valley and the top of the ridge dampens the rumble of engines and the sound of human voices. Every so often the echo of a dog's bark cuts through the morning's stillness, though that is all.

On the back of her gray mare, Eileen tightens her grip on the reins. Leather bites down across her palm and knuckles and turns her skin death white.

Abby looks down from on top one of the more gentle horses, binoculars up, peering through them as she carefully moves them centimetre by painstaking centimetre trying to get an idea of people present, weapons and whatever else. "Maybe it's just an exercise. Fort Drum does that. They take them all out and they do exercises in the wild, to simulate real time combat in other countries with similar if not identical terrain"

She's trying to find a silver lining, of which, likely there is none. "Or maybe they're getting ready to set up some llamabots and cat bots" This, she hopes, is not what they're doing. Please don't let them be doing.

"No matter what they're doing, I don't like the looks of it," Barbara remarks a bit quietly from where she sits, a bit towards the back from the rest of the gruop. "Even an exercise could end up coming a bit too close depending on what they're doing training for." And that, at it's core, is what bothers her more than anything else. "If it's the robots, I suppose we better start hoping they haven't water proofed them yet." A bit of a grin is forced at that, looking between each of the other three women present.

"It doesn't seem to be as big a group as I would expect, at least." As far as she can see, and to Barbara, that's enough of a silver lining that she doesn't feel like pushing her luck wishing for more. She purses her lips, bringing her horse a bit closer up to the others, for a bit of a better look.

"I have to admit, it does not look promising." Huruma, usually the one at the fore of the pack, so to speak, defers to superiors when they come on patrols; this seems to mean that they simply will ride ahead of her, and she stays a half-horse behind them. Other times, she grabs the reins. Pun intended. Eileen's presence puts her back and to the right of the younger woman, perched on the back of a firm black gelding. He seems bored far too easily by all this standing around, tipping his head around in a distracted motion.

"They are probably camping for th'sake of scouts." Huruma leans forward, and the horse creeps into frame beside Eileen's mare. The woman on his back picks up her own binoculars to check something, the movement practiced and short. Moreover, she looks more like she is lounging on her beast rather than sitting there. "Shark bots?" Huruma laughs smoothly, suddenly trying to hold the sound back. This isn't supposed to be funny! "Much too close. Even if it is not suspicion putting them here, they need t'be herded elsewhere…"

Eileen's hand not clutching the reins drops to the wolf's head cane she keeps sheathed at her side like a sword when she rides because it is. The more time passes, the more likely it becomes that she will one day use Kazimir's legacy for its intended purpose, even if it's a little heavy for someone of her size to wield effectively. Her thumb curves along the wolf's gums, the edge of her nail clicking between each tooth.

"Moving them changes nothing," she says. "Heller continues to have them under his command, ready to point them toward Pollepel at any time. One word and they march.

"This camp and everyone in it needs to be destroyed."

Nooo! Use it for good Eileen!

Abby lowers her binoculars, looking over at the brunette with lined brows and lips gently pursed. Easy enough to know that she doesn't particularly like Eileen's words or the train of thought that would logically follow said words. But liking, and agreeing are two seperate things and she's not quite the young woman that she was when she first sat with the Ferry. Fingers curl around the binoculars and she lifts them again, going back to looking over the camp. It becomes a Special Activities issue, that's for sure, and council.

This proclimation brings a sour look to Barbara's face. It's no secret she typically isn't a fan of such bold and direct, visible measure, and the way her gaze lowers down towards the ground in front of her says the same is as true now as it ever is. She lets out a heavy sigh, eyes closing for a moment as she tries to think over some sort of logical retort, some other way that this situation could be handled with less bloodshed.

Perhaps predictably, an argument that's as solid as she would like doesn't come. So, still with that sour look, she gives a bit of a silent nod. Her way of saying so be it, what needs to be done needs to be done. For once, she's not going to argue.

Huruma's hand runs along the length of her horse's neck, fingers scratching at some of the fur under his short black mane. She watches, from the corner of her vision, Eileen's hand on the wolf's head cane. The defensive motion says something about the cane itself, if not Eileen; normal people wouldn't be reaching for a normal cane, if they felt threatened. At her words, Huruma peers back over the landscape, her tongue running over the edges of her front teeth, lips upturned at the corners.

"Attack from the wilderness. Not the River." The dark woman's voice is low, attention through her binoculars again. She sounds, well- excited by the prospect. Far more than any of the others. She talks of it as if it were a vacation she hasn't been on in a while. "So much for pacifism. It has been much too long, really."

Eileen coaxes her mare back into motion. Its hooves knock loose small pieces of rock and send them skittering down the slope into the underbrush as it moves along the ridge. The trees at their backs ensure that, although they can see the soldiers through their binoculars, the soldiers cannot see them — only bands of white beech bark peppered with black and the light streaming down into the valley between them.

"They drove us out of the city and into the catacombs beneath it," she says. "We've been burned alive, stood against walls and shot, made to suffer slow deaths by fever sicknesses. Now we finally have a chance to liberate our people and see all of them safely across the sea. The blood of Heller's men will buy us the time we need."

"So we're going to go ahead with overseas plans" The very reason a handful of them had gone through back routes to other countries to search for people willing to help. Willing to do something. "I could go down now, I could burn it all. Nothing they could do. Burn the trucks, the tents, everything" The people, it goes without saying. Something inside her died in the last month or two, Huruma knows it, has felt it. "Say the word and I'll do it" She'd slip off the horse and make a run, turn into the living flame that the formula gave her the chance to turn into.

Barbara's face is stuck in a permenant grimace it would appear, leaning forward a bit on her horse as she looks back down at the camp. "If this is to be done, that would certainly be a quick and easy way to do it…" Barbara muses, before shaking ehr head. "But we have no idea what they're parepared for and equipped with, Abby. If they have negation gas, I'd rather not risk losing you to it once they pop it. This is something best left to special activities to scout and act upon, I believe."

Huruma lags behind the others, staying atop her horse to peer out at the river valley. She considers it for what seems a long time to her, but it is only a few seconds for them.

The gelding turns around at her command, coming down alongside the rest in time to catch what Abby says, and Barbara's reaction to it. "It is too dry. You would burn much more than our enemies. Though if brute force is necessary… I will suggest not t'discount you. I would much rather do it as quietly as possible." Quiet can mean many things.

The eldest of the four possesses a firm tone all her own by the time she finishes, though not condescending in the least. The black horse pulls out just a bit away from the group, picking his way along. A hum comes through Huruma's lips, and amidst the talk of burning, and killing, and whatever else, she parts them with a murmuring cadence that cause her horse's ears to perk, and his tail to swish. It might be a song, with a rather marching beat to it. Fitting, maybe.

"Soon, Abigail," Eileen concedes, soft beneath Huruma's singing, "but not today." Her hand drifts from the hilt of her cane to her mare's neck, pale fingers on pale hair. The jangle of horse tack joins the sound of Huruma's voice, and the voices of the birds waking in the trees as the path winds back into the forest and hooks north in the direction that they came.

The song lends strength to the energy building in the air with all the power of a stormfront the likes of which no one has sensed since last November, and although there is not a prophet among them, they can already feel the promise of approaching thunder in their bones.

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