Date: June 9, 2010
Laurel, Dee and Jo are reunited with the others. They get to enjoy touch of civilization.
Several Minutes Earlier
A hand shakes Cody's shoulder where she's been sitting watch, waiting for Mark to suddenly appear from the thick brush leading to the Sacred Place. When she snaps awake, Wallace is crouch next to her, he gives her a gentle smile. "It's time." Straightening, Cody can see a group of hunters with their spears and bows. "They are very close." The old man says as he gets to his feet and turning to leave.
"Do you tink that these bird know like… everyting going on in the jungle?" Poco's head is tilted back looking at a colorful group macaws as they watch the small group walk along. "I mean… they can fly everywhere. I bet they are the gossipy old ladies of the jungle." He shifts to the side instead of walking under then too. "Bombers of the jungle too. Look out belooow! Plop!" He even has hand movement to go along with his commentary.
Turning a bit, their guide grins widely at Dee, teeth flashing white. Distracted like that his rather large foot catches a root and it sends him stumbling forward with arms windmilling, but luckily he doesn't fall flat on his face. Poco manages to recover and continue to stroll along as if nothing happened.
"They know a good deal," Dee responds, leaning heavily on a stick as she walks. The knee is still in bad shape, mostly because she hasn't stopped walking long enough for it to heal. The pain has slowly become a growing numbness, though, something that's just there, that she ignores as much as possible. "You know I'm 'aving them aim for yer head from time to time, aye?"
It's just so much fun.
Chuckling as Poco nearly nose-dives into the undergrowth, Dee takes a moment to rest, face leaning on the top of the stick. If only she could get a little sleep! Unfortunately, they have to keep moving, for some reason she hasn't yet determined. You know, besides the fact that there are people with guns that have shot at them before.
"I think that's actually one of the first intelligent and actually charming things you've ever said," Laurel exclaims cheerfully, despite the situation and everything that they've been through, with walking on air and trapsing through the jungle with little to eat, no real shelter of any kind, and just their friendship and Poco's thongs… "And it involves bird poop! And arm flailing! Go figure," she laughs a big as she stumbles along, carefully swapping out batteries. "I'm actually starting to get low on batteries… I may have to stop using my camera as often." But it's so pretty! When it isn't being scary. Still, she changes the batteries and keeps it out. Never know when she might need to take a picture of something! She scoots over closer to Dee and lowers her voice, "That was a joke, right?"
And taking up the rear as usual Jo keeps looking behind them every few paces, gun in hand, anticipating the arrival of armed gunmen once again. But then that's her role here, isn't it? She glances up at the birds before rolling her eyes at Poco's trip, nothing like a guide who can't stay on his feet. Her own injury isn't in bad shape, in fact it's semi-healed, and she's able to put weight on both legs. "How much further to our destination? Do you know?" she calls from the rear, attempting to stay focused on the task at hand.
Poco actually turns and sticks his tongue out at Dee, of course, after he does, he gets a large white blob on his head. The young man starts cussing — we'll spare you from what he says — and works to wipe the gunk from his curls.
He's so busy with it, he doesn't register the rustling around them yet. Well, at least til he gets a wooden spear poking him in his guy and he finds himself faced with several dark skinned natives.
"Gaaahhhh!" Poco stumbles back from the little men, his heel catching on something and this time the guide goes down sprawling, his little dog tumbling from his pack with a little yelp. The man doesn't move to get up, only stares at all the little men.
Stepping out of the greenery, an old man with white hair and beard, a pair of glasses perched on his nose, offers then a smile. "Greetin's travelers. You are just in time… well… actually a little earlier then I thought, considering." His eyes drop to Dee's knee immediately.
"No," Dee tells Laurel. "Seriously, if you— "
She stops mid-sentence as the native hunters appear in front of them. Pale eyes turn toward them and narrow, as she hopes this won't be a bad encounter. Yossarian, sensing her distress, peeks out of her pack to take a look at what's going on.
Calming Poco's dog with a thought, Dee leans down to pick it up so it doesn't run off into the forest and get itself killed.
In time for what would be the obvious question, but Dee remains silent, cradling the dog to her. Her thoughts reach out for Bagheera and Bashir, but they are some distance away. Her head tilts as the white-haired man looks at her knee. "It's fine. We were just on our way, through. Jo?"
It's almost a warning, in a way. Dee fully realises that if they have to bully their way through, Jo's going to be the muscle. Still, she's hesitant to start with the beat-downs, because these people aren't hostile so far.
Never know when you have to take a picture— like when pigmys and old men appear out of nowhere! Laurel snaps a shot in the middle of a surprised gasp. The flash had been turned off for a long time, to conserve power, but that doesn't mean she won't have a picture of a group of natives and an old guy. "Wow— where did— wow." On the bright side, they're not the ones with the guns! Wooden spears are a little less scary than guns, but she still looks tempted to put her hands up to show she's unarmed…
Except for camera.
"Oh no— I hope they aren't the ones who believe a photograph steals their soul. They might spear me…" She doesn't want to be speared!!!
The rustling isn't missed by Jo and her gun is squared at the old man, her face with resolve. "Let us pass." It's a simple statement. And then, with a small twitch in her facial features, her eyes soften a stitch and she explains, "We're looking for friends of ours and need to continue on our path to meet up with them. Expecting us or not, we don't intend to stay— " She'd look behind her, but it's not worth taking her gaze away from the old man. Her eyes narrow with resolve.
There's no noise when the hunters surround the party, then a single tanned hand reaches out to tap Jo on the shoulder. "You know, when he was first proposing all this, Mark was making jokes about some guy yelling at people that they couldn't pass."
Donned in nothing but her cargo pants cut off at the calf and a dingy tank top that's been smeared with blood, Cody claps Jo on the back and steps up beside her. She's been granted a spear to carry along with the rifle on her shoulder. Her blonde hair is down to her waist and formed into dreadlocks. Her face has a painted swirl of purple that goes from one ear to the other, framing her hairline. In her ears? Extremely colorful feathers. She looks a little too at home.
There is a bit of a chuckle from the old man, his hands lifting to show he means no harm. "No.. pictures are fine, but don't ask any of them what their names are. That is taboo." He points out helpfully, his British accent thick. "Their name is like a part of their soul, don't you know."
His head turns as Cody steps out of the greenery, his head inclining to her, "As you can see your friends are already among us. Your leader, Mark, is with The Mother of All. He should be about right as rain momentarily. Though it was a near thing." He turns slightly and makes a sweeping gesture with his hands, offering to let them continue on.
"If you would like, we can show you to the village. The rest of your friends are there, as well as food." His eye flick over to Cody for her support, brows lifting a bit.
The little hunters eye Jo suspiciously even as she does, tho Jo does manage to lower her weapon slowly, throwing a small glare to Cody.
"That's what I was thinking too," Laurel says with widening eyes of horror. They aren't taking her camera away, so she snaps another photograph or two, well aware she may have to delete them later, or they may not turn out at all. The canopy casts a heavy shadow, making the lack of flash a disadvantage. It is digital, which can help in editing and restoring…
"We can go to camp— do you have tents? And blankets? And… stuff?" Is it too much to hope that everyone is okay, and the guy who hired her is alive, and that they may actually have tents and blankets tonight? And able to sleep?
"In the flesh," Cody says with a jovial grin on her face. It drops the moment they dwell on the subject of Mark, her eyes drop to the ground and she clenches her jaw. "Mark got hit by the sniper… I haven't seen him yet." Which is Cody speak for, she has no idea where or even how he is.
Turning toward Laurel, she nods to her camera and makes a small gesture with her spear. "That's a digital, right? You wouldn't have happened to be snapping any pictures when we were getting shot at, would you? I'd like to take a look to see if there are any pictures of the …" Silence. "…that shot Mark."
"If he is worthy, he will be healed of the grievous wound he received." Between the old man and Cody, that might be the first time they heard of the fact that Mark had been shot. And Wallace doesn't help as he adds. "He was on death's door when we gave him over to The Mother. The fact that the stubborn bloke lasted long enough, is a bloody miracle."
One of the hunters says something to the white hair man, pointing with his spear at Cody. He then waits for Wallace to translate. "He would like to know if the Tamer of Hair would come long and help the hunters bring in some food? With more mouths, he feels they need to go hunting." A tug on his sleeve stops him and he looks at the little hunter again who says something else. "Oh! Yes…" The Plant Talker turns back to Cody "He thinks your ability could be helpful."
Turning back to the others he addresses them with a friendly smile. "I am Norman Wallace… They call me the Plant Talker. Now… If you would follow me. Your friend… The Earth Mover — ah — , Alexandra… She is already at the hearth that will be your home. Hammocks will be provided for all." That said, Wallace turns to start back towards the village.
They're all worthy of something, aren't they?
Dee looks at Laurel, giving the slightest of nods. Animals are a far better judge of character than people are, and those in the immediate area - and there are many - seem untroubled by these people. Still leaning heavily on her stick, she starts in the direction previously indicated by their welcoming party. Rest first, questions later; her knee's probably already at a point where it'll hurt for the rest of her life. "Tamer of hair?" she asks as she goes, looking back at Cody. "Tamer of hair?"
Chuckling, she raises one hand and waves, somewhat accusingly, at Wallace. "So you're the one who destroyed that lab, then, aye, mate? You an' I should talk. I think we might have something vaguely in common." The ability to talk to non-human living organisms, specifically.
"Wow, plant talker— that explains how…" How the place was destroyed! Laurel looks all excited, tempted to flip over to the older mem cards and see what happened in the past, but they're walking toward the hearth ( a HEARTH ) and the hammocks ( SOMETHING TO SLEEP ON BESIDES THE GROUND!!! ) and a bounce begins to show in her step. They're far from civilization, but a little closer to something that resembles what she's used to.
"I hope Mark is okay. I want to get paid overtime." Cause this is definitely overtime… "Not that I only care about his money or anything, I just…" she looks all nervous as she moves. She didn't mean it like that! She does care about Mark as a person! "Is everyone else okay too? The kid?"
Cody's eyes narrow at Dee for a moment before she turns toward the little hunters. "Yeah, I think going out might be a good idea right now.." she mutters somewhat under her breath. Then she pauses and turns toward Laurel giving her an expression of complete and utter disbelief. The knuckles of the hand carrying the spear turn white and the muscles in her arm tighten so hard that the the tip is shaking. "I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear that…"
She takes long strides toward the thick foliage after some of the scouting party. In the time it takes to blink an eye, she has disappeared.
"What I did was regrettable, but… necessary to protect the tribe." Wallace explains, stopping long enough to let the woman catchup, Jo still staying at the back of the group to keep watch. "Lane was after The Mother…. it had to be be done." There is no real regret in his tone, just disgust for the Elder Lane.
The sounds of village life is already reaching them, they just ended up that close to it. Had they been bad people they probably wouldn't be allowed to get this close. He twists back to watch Cody and the hunters disappear. "I wouldn't mind her, she's been in a bit of a temper waiting for word of Mark."
Poco pads along behind the hunters thoughtfully, after retrieving his dog from Dee… of course, he did think to say thank you… "Hey… do you tink they have more of those loin clothes? I could get into that look!"
The foliage breaks into the brighter light of the village clearing, people talking and joking, kids playing dogs running with them. They can probably spot Jamie running with them… or with the girls getting their hair braided with feathers.
Without Wallace to translate, communication has been difficult at best and impossible at worst for Alexandra and Jamie and the natives. That hasn't stopped all communication though, since basic hand gestures, body language, and tone definitely convey meaning. One of the things Alex is attempting to convey to them is that fire pits are good things.
It helps when you can make those fire pits appear and disappear in the dirt all day long, but she's sitting under one of the overhangs, pointing out how to better build a fire, teepee style, in a little pit, surrounded by some rocks. From the way she gestures upward, it would seem that she's trying to tell them about the flow of oxygen. Whether they get it or not? Well, they've managed this long with their own techniques, so whatever they're doing it seems to work alright!
When the group emerges from the edge of the jungle into the village clearing, Alex squints a little from the shade of the overhang into the bright sun of the clearing, looking to see who all is with them! Oh hey, it's everyone minus Cody and the hunters who were going to take a little detour back anyway! The fire is forgotten as she stands and waves to everyone!
"Oh wow!" Laurel immediately says as they get to where they're lead. It's not a great village, or a city, or even a resort like they were supposed to be going, but it's much more than the jungles that they've been walking through for so long. Click, click, click. Pictures taken here and there and everywhere. Hope Alexandra doesn't mind a snapshot of her in this setting, or all those children running around.
"We'll finally get to sleep tonight! No more sitting up wondering if people will shoot us, or wild animals will eat us!" Cause now they have a whole group to keep watch. A group with spears! Which is better than what they had before— even with Jo and her gun.