(2015-06-30) Strangers in the Mist
Strangers in the Mist
Summary: Alicia goes to check on some snares she'd set the day before and runs across someone in the woods.
Date: June 30th, 2015
Related: None

Early morning, the sun has barely crested the ridge of the horizon. The forest lies thick with a fog that rolls in off the river, a few birds chirping here and there, darting amongst the trees. A young woman dressed in leathers and a black bandanna raised up over her lower face sits saddled upon the back of a Palomino horse, the sound of the horse's hooves cracking sticks and breaking through the underbrush carrying through the crisp morning air. The reins are held in her left hand, her right holding the butt of a winchester straddled across her thighs.

The crack of the twigs, the sound of the horse's breathing brings an alertness to the small figure. He or she is covered completely in a military poncho, but the camouflage pattern is all wrong for the woods. Its gray and black patterns are designed for an urban environment. Not wanting to meet up with any strangers out here in the woods, the figure is busy trying to skirt away from the approaching horse, but not able to keep its movements hidden.

Alicia turns her head as a twig snaps, and within a moment her rifle is up and trained in the figure's general direction, "Well now, that's far 'nough there." She gives a clipped whistle and her horse stops, glancing around as Alicia picks out the silhouette of the camouflage, "You from Camp Hope?" The voice that calls out is clearly feminine but with a firm stern edge.

It freezes in place, the elusive figure , but stays crouched and low, still trying to keep the underbrush between Alicia and it as much as possible. Beneath the cowl of the poncho is only the faintest glimpse of a scarf and glasses covered face. The person responds nonverbally with a simple shake of their head.

Alicia tilts her face a bit, green eyes looking around while the winchester stays trained on the poncho-clad figure. After a moment she nudges the horse with her knees and it canters a few steps closer, "Well you alone then? Anyone else out 'ere in dah woods need to worry about?" The horse draws up a dozen feet away and with a prod of Alicia's knee it turns to the left a bit, Alicia resting her left elbow on the saddlehorn to keep her arm steady.

The poncho'd figure ponders for a long time. And then clears their throat. A rather gruff voice utters from under the hood. "There ain't nobody but me, but I got a pistol trained on you." You can't actually see their limbs, or hands, so that's a definite possibility.

Alicia grins underneath her bandanna, arching a slim eyebrow at the figure in the woods. "Might be so, but you be a firin' it and you'll have half a dozen folks on yah in a few moments. How's 'bout you put your weapon on the ground and I'll'a put mine it its holster and we jus' has a good chat?" As if to signify good will Alicia lowers the barrel of her winchester a few inches, so it is not directly pointed at the figure, but still within range to put back on target quickly.

There's a sigh from the hood. The figure stands slowly, to its full height, still very short. "I don't have a gun," comes the gruff voice. "I'll show you….really slowly" There's movement under the poncho, slow careful movement, as they pull it up enough to slide their hands out from under the edges.

Alicia takes a moment to inspect the hands that come out from underneath the fabric then nods. Sitting up straight in the saddle she slides the winchester into the rifle holster, "Playin' a dangerous game there stranger. What you doin' out here all sneaky like anyhow?" Using her right hand she tugs the bandanna down to reveal her youthful face while her left hand digs into the pocket of her duster. She withdraws a matchbox and slides it open with her thumb before bringing it to her face, using her lips to pull out a toothpick. She swirls it between her lips with the tip of her tongue as she closes and tucks the cardboard box back into her pocket. Leaning forward she rests her arms on her saddle horn and gives the figure a good look over as she waits for an answer.

Right around five feet tall is about the only thing that can be told about the ponchoed form. That and from looking at the hands, that they are somewaht pale. They keep their hands out, in sight. The gruff voice is obviously being altered somewhat, as they speak, "Had to get off the road, there was …people. Didn't know who they were."

Alicia continues rolling the toothpick around in her mouth before tucking it between her cheek and bottom teeth, "Well you really close to Camp Hope, few people out on dah road, ain't nobody gotta be scared of if'n yah honest folk." She smiles faintly and then swings down off her saddle, taking the reins and tying them around a low branch before patting her horse on the neck softly. She turns back towards the figure, pushing the tip of her fedora up a bit with her left index finger, "Well stranger, you gots a name or you just 'The Thing in the Woods'?"

The practiced lie rolls of Azia's tongue like it's second nature. Sure this is a woman, but she said there were others around, and what if they were men, and not friendly.

The figure lowered its hands carefully, folding them in front of themselves. A tilt of the hooded head, as the woman tied up her horse. "Don't know who's on the road, near the camp or not," the artificial gruff voice says. "And its Andy. You can call me Andy."

Alicia tilts her head a bit, chewing lightly on the end of the toothpick, "Uh.. huh.. Right well then Andy, if'n yah want, I'm out here checkin' on some snares I laids out last night. You come along perhaps, and if there be any rodents in the buggers I'll give yah one or two for 'elpin' me out. Sound good? Oh, and yah can call'a me Tavers." She tucks her right hand into her duster pocket, thumb left out, left hand reaching up and fiddling with the toothpick between her lips.

Another long pause, the hidden face under the hood just staring before they respond. The hands go back under the poncho, carefully, not trying to cause any alarm. "I don't think I would know what to do with a…umm…rodent," he(?) says. "But…I can help if you'll take me back to the camp. I got stuff I can trade there."

Alicia chuckles lightly, shaking her head a moment as she turns about and undoes the reins from the branch, "You skin 'em and cook 'em of course." Quite tickled, she chuckles again as she tugs on the reins to start leading the horse further into the forest, "Already checked two, got two left. Come along Andy, come along." The horse lets out an annoyed snort at being tugged along after it had gotten a good graze going but follows along with a slow canter.

The small figure takes up a pace near Alicia, but it's obvious they are making sure to stay out of reach. "So you're staying at the camp? I had wondered if I could get in there. I've found some things that I don't need, and maybe could trade them for things that I could use." As they talk, the voice under the hood starts to forget about its disguise, and you can hear the pitch rise somewhat. This is either a boy who's still very young, or a girl.

Alicia nods a bit in reply to the question, "Ayup, least for now. Get a few days rest in mahself then I'll be back out on the prarie for a bit huntin' and scavvin'." She holds up her right hand and loops the reins of her horse over a tree before approaching a rotting fallen log. She moves towards it slowly, then grabs ahold of a thin piece of rope wrapped around one of the branches that leads into a hole in the log. She tugs on it and the trap comes out empty. A slight grumble as the girl kneels down and resets the snare within the rotting wood. Alicia dusts her hands up as she walks over and grabs ahold of the reins again, leading the way to her next trap, "That's how'a tradin' usually works. Bet you can probably find a place sleep there too for awhile you wanted."

Of course its difficult to read Andy. His posture is really the only thing about him that might show what's on his mind, but there's a hint of curiosity about the way the blank hooded face watches you check the trap. "Sooo…what do they want if I decide to crash there?", he asks.

Alicia makes her way through the forest slowly, skirting wide around a tree and indicating with a beckoning motion of her right hand for Andy to do the same, explaining, "Poison ivy." The birds continue chirping as Alicia stays silent for a few more moments and then replies with, "Well, bein' useful for the most part. You brinin' in stuff folks might need, that's useful 'nough I suppose. I brought in a deer first day."

Andy stops short at your gesture, the hooded face turning to look at the viny plant. His head-to-toe covering is probably enough to keep him from needing to worry about exposure, but he still flinches back from the plant. The hooded face looks all around the woods while you remain silent, wondering if there's a lot of those plants around. Turning back toward you, he nods, "Is there…like…a LOT of people there?"

Alicia kneels down by an outcropping of moss-covered rocks, tilting her head back and forth before she plucks a string up from among the moss and yanks. She sighs however as the trap comes out of the rabbit's den empty and takes a moment to reset it among the warren in the rocks, "Well there's a fair few to be sure. Ain't like no city or somethin' but there's 'nough folks call it a proper settlement I'd say." She stands up and glances at Andy before spitting the stump of a toothpick out onto the forest floor, "Welp, ain't got no rabbits to give yah but if'n yah want'a come along I can lead yah through the woods to the gates."

'Andy' looks at you for a long moment. Its rather embarrassing now, but its not like he's going to be able to keep up the charade, so might as well get it over with. You're obviously not a bandit, sooo….

The small figure pulls back the camouflaged hood, a rather thick mane of black hair revealed, bunched up and tied in the back. The dark wraparound shades are lifted, and the scarf pulled down to reveal the obviously female face beneath. "Yeah…", the newly revealed girl says, "I'd like that."

Alicia grins at the woman a bit, "Right, this way then 'Andy'." She puts a bit of playful stress on the name as she swings up into her saddle and clicks her tongue, "Lets go Abby." The horse snorts and shakes its head a bit but starts to canter forward, Alicia resting her right hand on the saddle horn with the reins while her left rests on the butt of her rifle in its holster.

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