"A Bone to Pick with You" is a Season 4 thread written March 1, 2015.
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Scorch: The sun was setting in a fiery pool of clouds, casting long, deep shadows over the landscape, staining the snow bloodred and glittering off of the Bewilderbeast ice that made the rebels’ home. It shone on a group of distant figures approaching the fortress, some on two legs, some on four, figures both big and small trudging across the icy ground.
The lead one craned his long, scaly neck backwards, lifting his forefeet up from where he was walking as an animal would. His hot breath misted in the air and he turned to look back at his followers, continuing onward to the gate and circling around the wall until they found an area unguarded enough to sneak over, each helping the other clamber over like specters and dropping into the shadows of the camp.
"Sniff him out," the leader rumbled. "You know his scent. He is most likely inside of his cave." The others nodded in agreement and began moving swiftly and silently towards the fortress.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The king had retired early this evening, feeling exhausted from the strains of the last few days. The choice had been of his own volition, though Mera also had taken one look at him once he returned to his quarters, pointed to the bed, and ordered, “Get rest, Garthy.”
And so he did.
Ayaan: A rustle of dark wings and one of the intruders landed on a ledge, slanted eyes watching the windowsill a few feet to his left, waiting for the light to go out. The others were closing in; one was inside and going through the hallways already, and one was approaching from the right, gripping onto the rough stone with long claws, tail swishing back and forth. The sun dribbled a few more faint scarlet rays across the land before disappearing behind the distant mountain peaks entirely.
Mera Violet Haddock: Mera tucked the children into bed, telling Egil firmly that it WAS, in fact, bedtime, and that he WAS tired, even if he said he wasn’t. At last both the children were asleep, and Mera also could, with a yawn, join Haddock in bed.
Deities, he really must be tired, she thought. He’s already asleep.
Scorch: Curses, the woman is still awake.
The figure crawling to the windowsill paused, flicking his tail back and forth in thought. He reached out a claw and tapped on the glass a few times, irregularly, a quiet tic-tic-tic,making it sound just unnatural enough to garner her attention. He nodded to his friend and he tensed farther, feathers bristling and puffing up.
Mera Violet Haddock: Mera’s eyes glanced toward the window. What was that? While staying at a distance from the window, she tried to peer out and detect whatever it was that might have made the noise.
Scorch: Nothing happened. The intruder gritted his teeth and tapped softly on the window again. Tictic. Tic. Tic, tic.
Mera Violet Haddock: Mera pondered waking Stonegit, but figured it was not such a deal. She stepped closer.
Scorch: There was an earsplitting crash as the glass blew inward, scattering shards all across the ground, letting in a rush of freezing evening air. He vaulted into the room, locating the woman instantly and pouncing on her, pinning her to the floor, trusting the darkness of the room to hide his unusual features. Silence was unnecessary now.
The accomplice on the windowsill squawked and a grappling hook flew upwards, digging into the sill. Someone began quickly traveling up the rope hand over hand. The leader nodded, satisfied, and craned his sinuous neck back to look at the woman trapped underneath his claws.
Mera Violet Haddock: Mera shouted as she fell. In half a second the king was awake, diving to grab his sword resting nearby, and charging toward the unexpected, shadow-covered assailant.
Scorch: Trading the Queen off to his feathered friend, the figure raced towards the King and swiftly ducked under his sword and rammed into his legs.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock staggered back, managing to catch the bed behind him and prevent himself from falling completely to the floor. He recovered quickly, sword turning to lunge straight at his attacker’s shoulder.
Scorch: He hissed as the blade carved a deep cut into his upper arm. He rose to his full height, eyes flashing reflectively in the dark, and he opened his jaws wide, displaying rows of yellowed teeth, turning his head at the last second to spray a gout of fire into the fireplace. The charred wood began to smolder once more and the newly-revealed dragon half-breed turned his head back to face the King, curling his lip distastefully. His body was vaguely humanoid, with oddly-jointed hands and feet, and his skin was coated with coppery orange scales. His dark green eyes looked nearly black and his tail was a hard coil of muscle.
“Let’s not quarrel in the dark like alley cats, shall we.” His voice was a resonant bass. “Lay your weapon down. You are outnumbered.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "You really think numbers help?" Haddock scoffed. He danced with his blade, taking no time to strike again.
Scorch: "In your case? Indubitably."
He narrowly missed the sword’s edge and took the opportunity to lunge his neck forward and sink his teeth into the man’s sword-arm, grabbing and shaking. Another half-breed appeared over the window’s ledge, a tall female wolf with smoky fur and bindings in her hands.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock shouted, hand releasing the sword. His right hand caught the hilt, using it to slice back at the man who is holding and shaking him.
Scorch: Dragging at the King’s arm with his jaws, he yanked hard and threw him off-balance so the sword missed him again, cinching his jaws tighter, trying to drag him to the floor.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock realized that he was being pulled downward. Instead of resisting, he yanked on his attacker, trying to pull not only himself to the floor, but also his attacker… pointing his sword upward to hopefully impale the half-breed in the process.
Scorch: He shifted just far enough for the blade to only travel through skin and the top layer of muscle, skidding into his side, past his ribs and out underneath his shoulderblade. He hissed and reared backwards off of the blade, releasing the King’s left arm and stamping on his right with a heavy foot. “Drop it and neither you nor your mate will be harmed!” he snarled, grinding the King’s wrist into the ground.
Mera Violet Haddock: "Gareth, drop the fucking sword!" Mera shouted from behind the feathered half-breed’s grip.
Haddock’s eyes burned up at his attacker, and after a few seconds’ rebellious pause, he let the sword go. “What do you want?” he snarled.
Scorch: The half-breed swept the sword away with his tail. “That’s better. Now.”
He turned his head to stare at him with one slit-pupiled eye. “You seem to enjoy collecting lost half-breeds as a pasttime.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I sheltered them since High Central began their violence. Why - are you - attacking me - for it?"
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: There was the hiss of acid as Snag melted the hinges of the door and Stonegit kicked it in, a cross bow in one hand and his ax in the other. He prepared to attacked, but then hesitated, seeing that the violence had stopped…for now. He glanced at Haddock, giving an apologetic shrug. “You know you make my job really hard to do when you lock your bedroom door?” his muscles relaxed only a hair. “You want me too clean his ears with a bolt? Or are you two enjoying a chat?”
Scorch: "Another human,” the dragon growled almost to himself, glancing at him up and down and baring his teeth. “Stay out of this if you know what is good for you, bodyguard. Fern should have incapacitated you; I will talk with her after this is through.” He craned his neck back around to glare at Haddock.
"Sheltered, you say…perhaps I should explain myself more fully, Your Majesty. Do you remember me?” He leaned closer, scalding hot breath and smoke rising from his nostrils. He flicked a tail at the half-breeds in the room. “Do you remember any of us?”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I have hardly met every single half-breed on this globe, you zionist," Haddock spat. "All I have done is offered shelter to your people in the Wilderwest, a safe haven to live without persecution, and have fought to end Central’s treatment of half-breeds. But I DO in fact, remember quite a few of you. My eldest daughter, Odin curseyou, is a half-breed! Get off me!”
Scorch: He snorted and turned to the half-wolf. “See, what did I tell you, Ayaan?” She said nothing, only looking down at him with a neutral expression.
"I do not have time to refresh your faulty memory," he continued, turning back to Haddock. "Nor convince you of the error of your ways. I sense that you would not be interested in either. Instead, let me ask this…"
He pushed his snout in Haddock’s face, locking gazes for a moment.
"Where is Treepelt? What have you done with her?"
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock tried to look at Stonegit and make eye contact, hinting that these peoples’ stay was over welcome.
"Tree is safe with us," he said. "I have ‘done’ nothing with her except given her a home and a community."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "She can meet with you tomorrow…outside of the fortress." Stonegit said seriously. "Until then it’s time for you to leave," he followed up sharply. "I have had one too many rambunctious individuals pull weapons on my King this week and I am…very…tired."
Scorch: "I knew it!!" Ayaan suddenly raged, words marred by a gravelly bark. "They have her here, they’re keeping her prisoner!!"
The old dragon slowly stepped backwards, releasing the King and rising to his full height. “They have agreed to let us see her…that is more than I hoped for.” He looked down at the bodyguard, cocking his head slightly and narrowing his eyes. “Keep to your promise, else we will be back. And tell her that Scorch will be waiting for her to arrive.”
With another aloof, sweeping look, he turned back to the window, jerking his head at the raven half-breed, and the gangly teenage boy released the Queen, following Scorch as the three retreated back out the window, jerking the grappling hook free of the sill and seeming to disappear entirely from the fortress.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock groaned, picking himself up despite the fact both arms stung severely as he did so. He turned immediately to Mera, asking, “Are you okay?”
She nodded with an eyeroll, remarking, “Better than you. Get those wounds attended to. I’m checking on the kids.” And then she brushed out of the bedroom and hurried to where the kids had most undoubtedly awoken from the noise.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Disarming the crossbow, Stonegit set his weapons down and ran from the room. He returned quickly with water an bandages, immediately starting to tend to Haddock without saying a word.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Thank you," Haddock said, trying not to flinch when his left arm was tended to. "It looks like maybe a sword master can’t always handle himself, can he?"
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "You were alive by the time I got inside and you were out numbered," Stonegit said, smirking up at him. "I’d say you did fine." he sighed, making sure he was gentle with the injuries.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Not good enough," Haddock dismissed. A slight grimace twitched on his cheeks. "We’ll be just as outnumbered in the upcoming war and fighting for a longer time… and injuries like this add up quickly. People die that way."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Then…" Stonegit sighed, finishing putting on the bandage, making it comfortable snug. "I will just have to make sure you get healed up nicely beforehand." he pressed his lips together. "They’re dangerous…" he mused. "We should have Pitch or Akkey sic Hel on them, at least that way they can’t attack us again."
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I will hardly set out Hel like a hound on them," Haddock answered dryly. "She’s the goddess. You’re not."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit snorted and ducked his head, realizing the idiocy of his words. “Good gods,” he said, smiling briefly. “That doesn’t make does it?” he sighed, rubbing face, and then looked at the broken window. “It’ll be warmer and safer in the living room,” he said. “I’ll prepare a place for you and Mera.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "That will do for now." Haddock frowned. "Though I suppose those people will not think of returning tonight. Whoever they were."