Scouting, Part One

Josh is seated on an overturned metal barrel, which is just on the sidewalk to the side of the library stairs. A sketchpad is open in his lap, and the young man is doodling quietly.

A loud blatting sound carries up the road from the south, followed by what sounds like a gunshot, and then the sound of a very loud, unmuffled engine revving up an incline. A few seconds later, a puff of very black smoke rises from the trees in that direction.

The sound pulls Josh crashing to earth, mentally. On reflex, the Kin hops off the barrel, taking a moment to deposit his sketchpad before walking briskly off towards the black smoke. A hand wavers towards his crossbow as he pushes himself forward.

A few moments later, a truck tops the hill in the road. Black smoke pours out of three or four pipes run vertically from the underside of the vehicle. The front windows are tinted heavily and there seem to be small, slit windows all along the side of the rear cabin area, cut through the sheet metal with a hacksaw. The faded paint on the side looks like it once depicted an insanely happy cow and "Miller's Dairy" below it. A jake brake blats again, earsplittingly, as the truck slows its careening course into the village.

Josh frowns, obviously, hand touching the trigger of his crossbow, ready to draw, lock, and load any minute. He does back away as the truck approaches, crouching slightly at the approach, but giving himself a lot of room to move.

As the truck screeches to a halt, the passenger side door pops open, emitting a tall, slender young man. His ebony hair is pulled back sleekly into a waist-length ponytail and his olive complexion is smooth and unflawed. He is wearing black slacks and a black silk shirt, his hands encased in thin, black-dyed gloves. As his boots touch the ground, he moves gracefully with the remaining forward momentum from the truck and swings the door shut behind him. He pauses a few feet away from the truck, his keen gaze having already raked over Josh and evaluated everyone else in view on the street (which includes at least three old-timers of the village, rocking on a porch nearby).

Josh pages to Weatherwax and Rowan: What time of day?
Long distance to Josh and Rowan: Weatherwax is gonna call it mid-afternoon.

Josh stands up a little straighter, eyeing this city slicker with a wry look that carries a hint of frost. His hand relaxes some, and he drawls, letting the accent come through. "Help you with something?"

Perhaps drawn by incredibly loud trucks, Rowan apears from out of the Library, blinking a bit in the sunlight.

The man turns a sardonic eye back on Josh. "You the town mayor'r something?" he asks with something of a New England accent. The back door of the truck, out of line of sight of Josh or Rowan, pops open.

Josh allows his lips to grow into a tiny smirk. "More like the goodwill ambassador," he replies, knowing a few others in this town would not have as much goodwill. "Let's just say I feel like helping folks out," he explains.

Rowan drifts backwards a bit, eyeing the truck curiously.

Rowan pages: And theoretically getting further to the /rear/ of the truck.

"Well, we're awfully glad for it," he replies sweetly. "Any more happy folks like you around?"
You paged Rowan with 'You spot two pairs of boots drop to the ground behind the truck.'.

"Lots," Josh drawls. "But, you haven't told me who you were."

Rowan drifts back further, rather morepurposefully heading for the rear of the truck.

"Me?" the young man says with a touch of sarcasm, smoothing back his hair with one hand. "Oh, I'm no one you'd know. Or, actually, care to know, I'm sure." He looks over Josh's body with a raised eyebrow and a definite air of undressing him. "No one your mother'd want to be introduced to."

Two voices drift forward from the back of the truck, murmuring unintelligibly. Then the truck shakes slightly.

You paged Rowan with 'You see four enormous paws hit the ground between the two pairs of boots.'.

Rowan pages: Umm. Any identifiable species?

You paged Rowan with 'Wolf. Definitely wolf.'.

Josh stuffs his hands into his pockets. A moment of anxiety crosses his face at the sidden look. "My mom's pretty liberal, you'd be surprised." He moves a few feet to the left, trying to get a different angle on the dark-haired man.

Rowan takes several quicker strides to get a better view of the back of the truck, and says a somewhat uncertain, "Heylo?"

The young man moves forward with a dancer's grace. "Really? Maybe I should meet her." He stops about ten feet from Josh and rests a hand on one hip. "You can call me Argent."

Around the back of the truck steps a brick wall... no, no, it's a woman. She's about 6 feet 4 inches of solid muscle, and her hands are covered with small scars, like she's driven them through at least one glass window. Her hair is short, black shot with silver, and at least as sleek as the young man's. "Greetings," she intones, her dark gaze ripping through Rowan from the ground up. "Pleasant day."

Josh crosses his arms to he can rub a clean-shaven chin in his hands. "Well met, Argent," he fires back. "M'Josh."

Rowan stops short, looking at this woman. "Afternoon." He looks fascinated, basically. "It is fairly pleasant, yeah. What brings y'all to town?"

"Josh," he repeats, as if tasting the name. "Joshua? Or just Josh?" He shifts, apparently aimlessly, but it does bring him a little closer to Josh.

A black wolf as large as a horse (well, at least as large as a pony) pads out from behind the door to snuffle at the road and the door to the diner. The woman regards Rowan steadily before wordlessly jerking her thumb toward the mountain.

Josh shifts his right foot behind him, allowing himself to angle away for a moment, like a subtle dance step. "Joshua," he answers to the dark-haired young man. "I-" he breaks off, suddenly, as the large wolf comes into view. His eyebrows raise, pointedly, at the black wolf.

From afar, Rowan oks. Then he does that Corruptor one, then, and prolly gets nossink, but.

You paged Rowan with 'No, no, your hackles rise. They all reeeeeeek of Corruption.'.

Rowan regards the woman calmly, but steadily. And then looks at the wolf. And back to the woman. He narrows his eyes slightly, which should be a familiar look, to Josh at least, and says, "Huh." And holds up a hand to Josh, in that familiar 'ok' symbol. He holds it just long enough for Josh to notice it, and then he lowers it, sticking out his hand to the woman. "I'm Alder," he says, pleasantly.

Argent doesn't even turn when Josh's eyebrows rise. He closes the distance between them in a heartbeat, locking one hand around the wrist of Josh's apparent trigger hand and steps in close against Josh. "You're not to do anything hasty, Mr. Welcome Wagon. We're not here to do anything to this find little town at all. Just thought we'd come up thisaway for a gander around. It's been a while since we'd heard naught from Not-Vienna, and thought we'd look in on 'em, all neighborly like."

The woman closes with Rowan, taking his hand in a grip of iron and stepping in close. "Possibly these will do," she tosses over her shoulder to the other pair of boots. "We won't hurt you if you aren't stupid."

Rowan pages: Would a knife up Rowan's free arm (sheathed, able to flick it out) be too silly? I think it would. Would it?
You paged Rowan with 'Not necessarily. What do you really think? :)'.
Rowan pages: Well. I like it as an idea. But, well, I think Josh and I have a better idea. Rowan's got 3 rage, if I recall the brief stat sheet I made awhile back. He's gonna use one of them now.

A hint of slight disappointment crosses Josh's face. He twists to the side, hoping to get Argent between him and Rowan and Adler. "Oh, do tell, if'n you've been here before."

From afar, Rowan deletes a pose. Hell, I can't think. How far away are Josh etc from Rowan etc?

You paged Rowan with 'More than a delivery-truck length.'.

Rowan pages: Oh, well -- d'you think a Crinos could toss someone that far? I'm in the brute force mood right now.

You paged Rowan with 'Might could, indeed.'.

The Dancer is, apparently, very stupid, as he's moving considerably. Upwards, outwards, into Crinos in the blink of an eye, that sort of movement. And he's shoving the woman at her silver compatriot. Or, perhaps, it's more like tossing. Throwing, even.

Josh pages to Weatherwax and Rowan: WHich is why I moved Argent around. Put him between me and the toss.

From afar, to Weatherwax and Josh, Rowan and Josh, old pals, y'see.

The woman flies nicely. Well, not so nicely. No, no, she's definitely not aerodynamic. She crashes into Argent, who looses his grip on Josh's wrist. They both roll with the impact, though, and come up crinos. Meanwhile, the wolf pounces on Rowan's back and the second pair of boots moves around the back of the truck... smelly, burly, one-eyed, and massive-battle-axe-wielding. "Dumb cookies, aintcha?" he asks around a stub of a cigar.

Josh drops back, the Kin going for his crossbow to load it.. He holds it out in front of him, taking aim.

Rowan, who wasn't exactly not expecting that, rolls with the impact, over and, hopefully, on top of said wolf -- claws in gear already. He doesn't bother responsing to the battleaxe baritone, not yet -- he's /busy/.

The woman -- now a massive black monster -- turns on Josh, while Argent, smooth as a gigolo exchanging dance partners with another, bounds over to Rowan, his left arm gleaming in the afternoon sun -- silver. The wolf twists into a house-sized hispo thing with paws that are more hand-like than before and faces Rowan with a hideous snarl. The axe-wielder moves past the dog-pile-on-Rowan group, toward Josh and the woman.

Josh doesn't hesistate. The man fires his bow, aiming for an eye, if he can.

From afar, Rowan whistles. Fostern, mixture of Coggies and Furies -- Hey, Curse of Aeolus.

Rowan pages: Mind? I'll pose it -- blus Blur.

Long distance to Rowan: Weatherwax okies. Go fer it.

Rowan starts growling, ~Fuck thiiiis,~ and fog begins spilling out of his fur, enveloping the general area fairly well. He himself a bit harder to see -- he seems to have begun blurring around the edges -- he dives for the hispo, claws, as the saying goes, bared.

The woman takes the crossbow bolt at the juncture between neck and shoulder, and howls, releasing a blast of ichor from her mouth that spatters Josh and starting sizzling, burning holes in his clothing. The axe-wielder takes a step backward with a snarl. "Watch where ya breathe that shit, 'Bane!" The wolf launches in to bite at Rowan's midriff, but takes a slash across the face. Argent leaps for Rowan and misses hooking that silver arm around his throat, glancing off his back with a fist. The axe-wielder takes a look at the encroaching cloud of fog and steps back against the cab of the truck.

Josh mutters "Aw, shit," and backs up more, going to strip off the clothes that were hit before it burns through to his skin. He drops the crossbow to do that, reaching for a stake in his backpack as a sidearm.

Rowan growls some more, and rakes at the wolf's stomach, jaws darting out to try and take its neck. He can't do much about silver arm except snarl in frustration.

Rowan pages: 'at's another rage.

The silver arm punches into Rowan's kidney, resulting in a searing burn as well as the impact. The wolf flings itself backward and dodges Rowan's snapping jaws. The axe-wielder curses and flings himself onto Josh, knocking him to the ground and wrestling with him as the woman is lost to sight.

You paged Rowan with 'An' that's a level of agg and a level of nonagg.'.

Rowan growls, ~Fuck /you/, and /you/, and /you/, too," at no one in particular and rounds on the man with an arm stuck in him, slashing for entrails and underbelly.

Josh is not nearly as strong as the axe-wielder, but he makes a try, putting his hands around the man's throat in an attempt to squeeze.

Apparently, Josh has inadvertantly gotten a good grip on the axe-man, since he purples and chokes. He pounds a fist into Josh's face and pushes himself up -- levering off Josh's chest -- suddenly, knocking the wind out of him. "Fuck fuck fuck," he wheezes, "Fall *back*, you stupid motherfuckers. We've got enough for now." He drops back in the general direction of the truck, just as the truck's engine revs. Argent elbows -- with the silver arm, of course -- Rowan in the chin, stepping aside from the slash daintily. ~Temper, temper~ he chides the crinos.

You paged Josh with 'That's a point and a mild stun.'.

Josh's eyes bulge, and he drops onto his back, majorly sucking wind. He struggles to breathe with tears forming in his eyes.

You paged Josh with 'He didn't hit you squarely enough to do any breaking damage to your nose, but you'll have a shiner.'.

Pain threshold reached and then some, Rowan just howls, and dives at the man fairly incoherently, despite its being entirely obvious he's losing and they're leaving.

In the next few moments, Argent weaves a merry dance around Rowan's raging form before catching hold of the departing truck and clocking Rowan soundly across the face with that damned silver fist. ~That's for you to remember The Sociopaths by, Good Boy. Next time, I'll have you both over a barrel. That'll be fun.~ His laughter drifts back over the roar of the truck engine. The truck, moving through the fog, mows down a couple of trees, damages Old Man Davis' porch and knocks the town sign askew as it careens away.

Rowan spends the next several minutes pelting after the truck, despite there being no chance of catching it. Once he finaly calms down, he growls quite soundly, and then heads back to town, to find Josh.

Josh is on the ground, just getting up from being stunned. The Kin is breathing hard, and a huge yellow-purple shiner is over his right eye.

Rowan has shifted to glabro, the wound in his side gaping. "Fuck the fuckers," he says, almost calmly. "You want the Touch on that?"

A couple of old folks poke their heads out of their houses to make sure the ruffians are gone. Muffled curses drift out the front window of Old Man Davis' house.

Josh frowns, shaking his head. "GEt yours seen to, first. I'll get better," he says, rising. His voice is soft, quiet, devoid of any emotions.

Rowan snorts. "So will I, Josh, and you know it. Besides," he adds, attempting a smile and failing, "It'll calm me down."

Josh lifts a shoulder in a shrug, looking to the side aimlessly. "Go ahead."

The Dancer takes several very deep breaths. Slowly. After a minute or so of this, he puts his hand on Josh's shoulder, closes his eyes, and lets the healing come. Silently, a warmth creeps over the Kin. Eventually, Rowan opens his eyes. As predicted, he's /much/ calmer now. "Right. That was a good one. Thanks."