The Fox and the Hounded
The increase in Adventurer activity near Shibuya did not go unnoticed, the Palace Land occupation forces increasing their patrols in response. A confrontation was inevitable.
The discovered scouts fled into the Game Reserve seeking cover in familiar territory. One managed to slip away from the group and get out a distress call before the party was harried into Combat status to disable chim links. But he also warns one of the Palace Land officers, Daiyu, was seen with the pursuing patrol.
Its up to you to find them before they pin down and finish off your ally party.
(Scene will be run similar to Remi's festival faux duties)
Now one lone scout, a raccoon dog Cait Sith, sat in the branches of a tree at the edge of the reserve, waiting for the arrival of those responding to his call for help.
Move swift. Move quiet. Nin nin nin. Metal Gear Haru leans from tree to tree with the party that advances. He looks around with his monocle to appraise out the scout for how bad off they are. When the monocle gives him durability status on the equipment his seriousness falls to an earlier memory once it reports on the lower body equipment. "Pantdragon," he snickers. Brain is just in one of those moods today.
The Spriggan makes her way into the area using the agility of a ninja, trying to avoid being seen from anyone who might be lying in wait. Not that she expects it, but you never know.
The Spriggan moves to join the rest of the party that's responding. "We're here to help," She says. For those who know Kotono, it should be obvious by what she means by 'we.'
Having been in the area doing some scouting of her own (not solo, not exactly, but part of an affiliated group of not entirely sneaky people), Fukaziroh responds to the distress call quickly. She rides to the reserve then leaves her peko behind, tying it away loosely to wait for her return... or so it can pull free should she not return before it runs out of convenient things to eat. If she takes a trip back to Fort Ouph for example, she's going to have a bit of a trip getting back here, whereas Sandy can at least be free if it should become necessary.
She comes upon the others, offering a slightly subdued grin. "I hear there's some butt that needs kicking! Sergeant Fuka reporting for butt-kicking duty!" she says, drawing up to snap off a remarkable (and entirely inappropriate) salute to no one in particular.
She looks around for the Palace Landers' forces as she follows the scouts guidance to his position, getting ambushed now would be a reversal, the hope is to ambush the Palace Landers, allowing our scouts to make an exit. The cavalry has arrived, metaphorically. Others have called out aloud, but she'll chim on the NWA channel, whispering quietly so the scout's position isn't given away, "Rescue squad has arrived, Scout," because she never heard his name, "are you safe? If they can hear you, no need to answer, we'll find you." She checks the ground for tracks, both our scouts, and if the scout has any company.
On the NWA chimlink, she offers, "Good work, neighbor, don't worry. We'll do what we can to get your team clear."
"Seems like we got a few heavy hitters. Good." He says, pulling his blade out of the sheath on his back, "Do we know where they are yet? This is our turf and we know they're here, this time I think we've got the advantage."
"If they know we are here we should run with it. Do keep in mind we're here to get our comrade out."
The call for help came and the lizardman one man rescue squad moves out with the others as well. As Rizadoman steps into the game reserve he calls out on the chimlink, " We are nearing your position we will need a more accurate description of your location so we can find you. " Rizadoman was nervous though which could easily be seen by his body language, this felt in some way like they were walking right into the hawks nest. It was just not like the palace landers to let someone get free to use the chimlink. To his own people with him he adds, " Stay sharp everyone."
Yeowang has the right of it. They're going to need to figure out where the two parties went farther into the forest. Hopefully with the Palace Landers focused on chasing down the scout patrol they didn't consider trying to deter their own pursuit. "Everyone was on foot," the scout offers helpfully. "So if there's any animal or peko tracks they're likely old."
Use Tracking to find trails of the two parties - 7
Searching to more generally scout the area around you for clues - 8
Divination could also be used to examine the vicinity for use - 8
Her estimate isn't too far off of Yeowang's. "Take it slow," she murmurs. "Eyes all around. Remember, we're in enemy territory, so pawns can promote at will." Wait, what was that about pawns?
"Me either," Haru says in response to Merek. Despite his mental jingle jangle, he looks serious as his monocle observes a stray leaf. This is what trackers do, right, look at random things in nature? He sniffs it. Smells like Earth. Earth rocks, confirmed.
Fortunately, this time is different.
With Miyako's help, she picks up something and proceeds to go with it. "Right, low profiles here."
Grinning when she realizes who's actually showed up, Fuka's feeling pretty good at their odds. Even if they end up engaging a significant group of Palace Landers, there's plenty of firepower here. Plus of course people who bring a lot more to the forest than merely firepower. It might come down to a fight, but maybe it won't have to.
Fuka's kind of lousy at the methodical and careful skill of tracking, but she's pretty decent at spotting small details and she's quick besides. Leaving the sussing out of footprints and such to others, she moves out to scout and find paths where larger forces may have left more obvious sign. Since the groups were chasing and being chased, she has a decent shot at coming across a trail at some point where their passage was swift and forced, so the signs are obvious even to her!
Rizadoman follows with the group before Yeowang points out the track and sticks his tongue out to the air for a moment. Then grins and points in their general direction, "They are that way. " The lizardman continues to flick his tongue out every few moments as he continues to make sure he hasn't lost the trail if needed. At the mention of being in enemy territory Rizadoman draws his shield up as he readies for whatever comes next.
"SO on foot? Good to know."
The elf is getting down to business now. she's going to start tracking using her eyes to hunt for signs of the enemy's passing. She also uses a few tricks Shiruba taught her on this...
Fortunately this rescue squad appears to be well equipped with experienced trackers and scouts. A few snapped branches and a throwing knife wedged in a tree trunk and the first signs of recent confrontation to be found. Several trees are marred by an arcing slash that looks like someone just barely avoided being cut down. Once they've got a general vicinity it's not hard to find multiple footsteps spread in running strides, but still stomped on top of each other from one group pursuing another.
As the party moves through the Reserve, signs of smoke rising amongst the trees. In a small grove a trio of hunters, crowns visible upon their brows, have made themselves a makeshift lookout camp around a small fire. While they were smart enough to leave someone to watch their proverbial backs, thanks to the party's sharp-eyed members they noticed the camp before walking into the middle of it. Now the party has a chance to quickly deal with them and move on to find their allies before it's too late. The question is merely a matter of how you choose to.
Use Dark to blind the lookouts - 8
Throw some Alchemy on the campire to smokebomb them - 8
Just do it the old fashioned way with a Physical bumrush before they spot you - 9
She weaves her fingers through a quick series of runes inscribed, almost one atop another, the black-light covered behind a heavily-leafed branch while she casts. When she does so, it is nothing so obvious as a wave of darkness roiling over the camp. No, she sends a wave of lassitude, instead, of the call of one's bed, of the need to be well-rested for the next phase of pursuit, and the hope for a better tomorrow.... It is all so very simple when one understands what Darkness really is.
Spotting the enemy before we're spotted, she will charge straight in. It's a hostile takeover, sometimes you have to be direct. There's not time to be subtle about it, we're on the trail of the ones pursuing our scouts, and this isn't them, so they've got to be dealt with as fast as possible so that we can continue our pursuit. So she strikes fast and hard, brutal is what some would call it, but at least heartless; no mercy, no quarter for the Palace Landers.
She attempts to use her reflexes to rush in and strike at her targets without being caught. Fortunately, it seems to work well. She catches them off-guard, and with the help of her allies, she takes them out easily.
Having spotted sign of the enemy (and with there being FIRE around that's not all that tough), Fuka's unsurprised as they come across the group. The only real question is how to deal with the Crowned and avoid them escaping. Or, hopefully, even being able to call for reinforcements. Screams don't matter, the reserve is probably full of screams. And since they're engaged in battle, it's not like they can chim out for help.
Fuka shrugs. "We got this." she smirks. "Watch my back!" she requests of Haru, well aware of his unfortunate tendency to think himself tougher than he really is. She trusts him with magic, she trusts him with her back. If she's in trouble she expects he'll protect her. But she doesn't trust him leading a charge, not unless he's wielding a fish.
She nods to Yeowang, readying her axe and charging alongside the other front liners. She lets out a bloodcurdling battlecry (which is actually rather shrill) just to help make sure no actual words can be distinguished, and then she's chopping in on the scouts, making sure they're not reporting back to their fellows. Ah well, being red-flagged is going to suck. But that's war!
Rizadoman nods his head,"Yes the elders of my village use to teach us ancient lesson of slow and steady wins the race. " The lizardman states this as if his ancestors invented the saying. The moment he spots the camp though all thought of slow and steady go out the window as Rizadoman lets out a loud roar filled with rage and anger as he charges in blindly and just begins to terroize the poor camp, trampling over tents as he does. Truely he is in a take no prisoners attitude as he rampages through the camp.
As the party makes their advances, a thick black mist rolls at their feet. Up on a tree, a six legged cat perches with red eyes waiting for the right timing. Tail sways back and forth along with its two trademark infringing tentacles. Eve, a dark sprite summon, holds onto the Wave Arte that Haru has subtly cast with light words. Very unlike Miyako's use of the Dark element, Haru's enchantment is a zone effect. It rolls up like a blanket being snapped up from the ground when the melee engages. Allies are booned with a vision that makes the area glow as if having a black light whereas the Crowned are debuffed with an oily blindless during the initial crash in. They get to hear the terror in the night. Eve licks her paws in delight. Yes. Bring the terror.
And that's when the alchemical smokebomb plops into the fire at their feet, causing a huge plume of smoke to erupt out of the flames, startling all three. The sudden swelling cloud of smoke is only amplified by the darkness cast into it. There's confused shouting, coughing, yelling and blaming each other.
A few minutes later there's not even that. Charged by the more physical members of the group while they're confused, tired and debuffed the lookouts didn't have a chance. Now there's only a smoldering fire and some tombstones to indicate there was ever any enemy Adventurers here. It might not be pleasant but it was the right move, to keep them from chiming the main hunting party that others had come into the Reserve.
Afterwards it's not hard to pick up on the trail once more. The Yamato scouts seem to be thinking the same thing as the Party was earlier, having an advantage of knowing the inner area of the Reserve. And the habits of the animals fostered in it. That several smaller animals prefer to live in thick overgrowth for shelter from the larger predators. It looks like the scouting party tried to do the same, as their trail leads into a rocky gorge overgrown with briars and brambles, hoping it would slow down their pursuers.
Unfortunately it also means the rescue party also needs to navigate this nasty tangle of vines and thorns, there's no time to risk taking the safer long way around.
Herbology could be used to cut through without ruining the habitat - 8
Earth might find a way to use the forces of nature to make a path - 9
Force your way through with Shield, or try to avoid getting tangled in the thorny mess with Evasion - 9
Once the Palace Landers are tombstones, sent back to respawn, the pursuit continues, and through some of the thicker areas of the refuge. Looks like our scouts gave the Palace Landers a hard pursuit, so good for them, even if it's hard for us. But Yeowang is hot blooded, it seems, actually picking up speed as the going gets touch, body swaying and slipping through the brush almost without a hangup, she plans her trail and zips through like greased lightning, in hot pursuit of our quarry.
Fuka had to snort at Haru's taunt, but she put an extra wriggle into her step when she charges at the Palace Landers. If he's going to comment on literally watching her back, well, she's not above being a tease. Indeed, she's not above much, some people would say.
The fight is brief and satisfying, though now Fuka and the others are red-flagged. Well, that was unavoidable. And the palace lander invaders had it coming besides. Fuka sighs, wiping her brow. Then when all is taken care of, she joins the others in pushing on ahead.
At sight of the close tangled press of thorns and heavy brush, she raises her axe once again, only to second-guess. Hacking her way through would be slow and awkward. Instead she pushes forward, removing her coat and stowing it away so she's left in pretty much full armor instead. A rare sight, Fuka in neck-to-toe metal; plate vambraces and boots, a small breastplate protecting vitals, chainmail covering the rest. With no cloth to get snagged and torn on brambles or thorns, she pushes forward into the gorge.
And now there are thorny vines and whatnot in her way. Surely she could sneak through them easily, right?
Right, if you consider getting some cuts and scratches on her body to be sneaking through easily. By the time she's through, she does not look good, nor does she look happy. "Well, maybe I should come back here when I'm itching all over," She comments sarcastically.
Once again she weaves her magic, reaching out with it to simply guide the plants and the earth in which they grow aside, to flow back into place behind them when they are ready to leave.
"This is where we must go," she murmurs, "And we must pass by that which you guard. I ask of you, let us pass."
To her misfortune, however, it doesn't work. Either the brambles are too certain of their role, or she isn't talking to them in a way they're able or willing to hear. In either case, her magic does nothing.
With a sigh, she steps aside for those who are smashing or cutting their way through, following in their wake.
He sheathes his blade once the fight is done, and then moves with the group up to the brambles. He has a shield with him, he doesn't usually have it active but he pulls it out of his inventory, and then pulls a machette out of his inventory as well, intending to hack his way through the brambles while using the shield to keep himself safe.
Rizadoman looks at the tangle of vines and thorns ahead of him and shakes his head, "We have no time to waste on being careful." The lizardman scales harden as he charges into the thicket full on forcing himself through without hesitating. The thorns can't seem to pierce his reinforced scales and the vines can not slow down the overpowered lizardman.
"They won't holdout forever." The familiar figure of the quipao clad foxwoman is standing off to the side of the group. A flick of a tessen fan to cool herself as Daiyu surveyed the situation, then looked aside as two more of her footsoldiers came around the side of the formation. "We've confirmed there's no back entrances, Lady Daiyu. They have to still be inside."
The hulijing's eyes narrowed behind her spectacles. "Then we wait. Either they will come out, or we taken them once they're too tired and starved to resist."
Your missing scouting party is hiding in the cave. But you'll need to deal with the Palace Land hunting party surrounding the entrance before you can do much to help them. You've got plenty of options, but time might be running out for your allies as they're already worn down from the chase...
Attack the Palace Land troops with whatever you deem fitting - 9
Get into position between the troops and the cave - Evasion or Shield 10
Someone stealthy and brave/reckless enough can try Sneaking up on Daiyu to distract her - 9
"I. Call. Dibs." is all she says, before she twirls about and fades into the shadows.
She emerges from the shadows a few feet behind the Fox-lady, still grinning. At an angle designed to keep her distracted from both the rescuers and rescuees. "Ah, what an honor it is, to see you again, fairest of vixens. Whilst it pains this one to ask you to tear yourself away from your duties... one's own duty requires it."
She grins and takes a formal bow, fist cupped in hand. When she straightens, she has a pair of familiar-looking war-fans in her hands. "Would the Young Mistress care to trade pointers with this unworthy Disciple?"
One minute you see her, the next minute you don't.
Then she reappears alongside Miyako, although she doesn't say anything. She just bows and then smirks at Miyako as if choosing to let her take the lead here.
Spotting the Palace Landers planning on starving our scouts out, she breathes a sigh of relief. No time now for rerets, she charges in hard, and leaps into the fray with a flying roundhouse kick that cleans the clock of some lowbie Palace Lander, sending him spinning and staggering to fall to the ground, where she can finish him with a throat punch. This is not MMA, she's constantly reminded, and they'd kill her if they could, so she's not holding back. Her onslaught is brutal and she's totally committed to it, engaging one enemy after the other with hard punches and devastating kicks.
That should get their attention.
Rizadoman looks at the crowd and is about to call out he will handle the Kitsune before Miyako does. There is a grumble as he looks at the others, "Fine." Stepping forward he throws his shield at one of the mooks before he grabs it out of the air and it splits into his twin blades. "Dance with me you honorless scum!" Moving and weaving between the agents of the palace land he slashes multiple enemies before finally he stops moving and every slash mark he created bursts into flames.
With that guy down, his damascus sword is pointed directly at one of the other Palace Land soldiers, "You dumb assholes don't get it, do you? We're never going to stop fighting you. This invasion of your's will last forever until you all give up."
He rushes the Salamander, dropping his shoulder to check him to the ground as he approaches, "When you respawn back home, you'd be better off staying there!"
After forcing her way through the briars (and collecting a few scratches along the way), Fuka stops to observe and listen. The Palace Landers talk about the whole scouting party thing and sound like they're being awfully cocky about it, all grouped nicely in an area and all that. Perhaps Fuka could rush in and try to throw herself in the entrance to the cave but that's a bit tankier of an action than she's entirely comfortable with just at the moment. Especially with the recognizable fox-woman present. The extra danger provided by a Named Crowned makes her decide she's better off being ranged support, at least at first.
Time to fall back on an old classic, Fuka figures. Crouching, she holds out her hand, palm up, and begins to chant. Calling upon fire, she summons a globe into her hand, feeding more and more power into it. When the globe is big and round and glowing fiercely she abruptly stands. "FIYAAAAAAABALL!" she cries out, hurling the globe at the largest concentration of the enemy she can reach with a good pitch. And given her experience, that's a rather long range indeed. She doesn't bother aiming for Daiyu, since Miyako called dibs. That's fine, there are plenty of choices to roast, and she can soften them up before the melee fighters get in range.
"Artillery fire, inbound," Haru says in a capital command voice, arching the fireball to rain down hot destruction to the Palace Landers in coordination with the other fire magic.
A long ear twitchs. Daiyu might of heard footfalls storming up the incline... But a familiar voice speaking up as Miyako steps out of the shadows grabs her attention. "Oh, it's you." A cant of the head, as Daiyu is not foolish enough to take her eyes off an enemy by bowing. A brow raises. "How quaint, you found a pair to your pilfered--"
And that's when the fireball artillery goes off, startling the hunting party and sending them scrambling out of formation.
"--Tsk.. How careless of me to be so easily.. sidetracked. If you will excuse me." Tails whirl as she spins towards the cave, only to come to face with Kotono who has put herself between the vixen and the cave opening. "Huh." She steps back to recompose her balance. "It would seem a couple of pawns have still managed to threaten me in check."
The soldiers try to scramble back into order, but the relentless rush for them the Yamatan adventurers, driven by their desire to help their trapped allies (and lets be honest, some revenge), is more than they anticipated. With better numbers and strengths they don't go down easily like the lookouts did, but they are routed pretty handily all the same as they're forced to defend themselves from attackers who are not holding back. Fists, feet, blades and even shields fly. The two that had been surveying the cave rush to help, only to be warded off by the elven ranger's sharp shooting.
It doesn't take a strategist to realize they've been outmatched, but it certainly helps. The brutal assault has left her patrol a wreck, the ones fortunate enough to not get utterly obliterated back to spawn. "Alas, there will be no catching up between us tonight. FALL BACK! We have nothing left to gain here." Daiyu herself does one of her dervish moves with her fans, forcing both her own confrontors keep back. Long enough for her to leap away and make a hasty retreat of her own.
Turning to look at Miyako, Kotono looks quite down. "Well, we did what we could anyway. Maybe next time we'll get her?"
Fuka cheers as the Palace Landers sound the retreat, though she's not entirely sanguine over what's happening. They have to retreat back into Shibuya, but they have reinforcements there. The heroes here can't pursue, and she'll be quick enough to point this out should anyone try to do more than to harry the enemy into moving faster. "We just need to get our scouts clear. If they get reinforced, *we'll* be the ones trapped!" she states, perhaps surprisingly reasonable.
Fuka, voice of reason. Who'd have thought? "Still, good going!" she grins, even giving a high five to Haru and (if Erufu's not done with her bow) the pooka archer as well. Ranged DPS for the win?
The Enchanter is no tactician, but it doesnt take one to know, "We bought ourselves a window and our objective was always the safety of our people. Lets tend to wounds, ensure mobility, and evacuate to a safer location." He sounds almost composed. Must be the monocle. Big smile as similar thoughts are filtering through the ranks. Capital day.
All too quickly, however, it seems to be time for the fox to scamper. "Such a pity," she says, taking another bow. "We shall have to dance another day."
But the last time he ran into her, he told her what would happen if they crossed blades. While he never makes it to her, he does continue to throw his weight around, forcing Palace Landers to either retreat or die.
"It's moot. Our objective was to rescue the scouts, not to kill one of their field commanders. She's too slippery anyway." Kaydon says, "The objective is done. Lets get the scouts and get back to base."
Rizadoman slices through the palace landrs and turns to help with the foxy lady just in time to see her running away. "Coward!" There is a growl before he looks at the others who seem to already be on top of helping the scouts. THere is some grumbling but finally he adds, " I am glad that we were able to get here in time. It would have been a shame if something had happened." There is some more grumbling as he grabs one of the still breathing, "Go. Go back and tell them that we are coming for Shibuya. We are coming to take back our city so don't get comfy." Then as if he had a strength of a thousand men he throws his messenger in the direction that Daiyu ran, to help the poor palace lander catch up.