Reclaiming Oz (IC)
"You wanted to see me, Your Graciousness?" She said after rudely slamming open the doors of the Quadling Palace court room. Standing in the doorway of the court was one of the many soldier ladies of the Quadling country, this particular one was Quilian. Sergeant Quilian, actually, and Glinda the Good- the ruler of the Quadlings' sector of Oz had asked to see her personally.
The kindly overseer of the red lands fluttered from her throne, cloaked in a pinkish flowing gown and delicately holding a rose shaped wand in her right hand. She smiled at Quilian and nodded solemnly. "My child," she started, striding down the centre of the room, heels clicking on the red marble floor "I am in need of a volunteer, a leader of sorts." she laughed and flicked her wand. A flier appeared in her hand, a want advertisement for a group of daring heroes to venture into enemy territory and find a way to deliver out the allies of the Quadlings, the famous Scarecrow and Tin Woodman along with the Winkie army.
"I have chosen you to go to the Winkie kingdom and take up this quest," ever smiling, Glinda nodded towards Quilian who had an unsure look about her. Though she was a hard and unemotional woman, she had great respect for the Good ruler of the Quadlings and was not sure if she was worthy of the task at hand. "Your Kindliness, I'm not su-"
"You don't need to be sure, only I have to be sure of anything." retorted Glinda before Quil had even gotten her words out. She approached the young, recently promoted Sergeant and passed her the flier which detailed the situation. "This will be a fine way to test your new found responsibilities." Quilian stood awkwardly for a moment, holding the flier in both hands. "Of course, Your Grace."
Astride a red haired stallion outfitted with crimson armour and holstering the Sergeant's trusty spear at it's side was Quilian, still reading the flier while entering the foreign yellow land of the Winkies. The poster had instructed her to meet with a Jack Pumpkinhead at the Tin Woodman's palace in this country. Looking up from the paper, Quil eyed all sorts of strange things in the land of the Winkies. It was different to Quadling Country where most everything was tinted every so slightly red, as the Winkies preferred the slightly colder colour of yellow. Golden tree leaves stood out against the black bark, little country houses were built of yellow bricks, even the animals had a sort of yellowish colour to them.
Before long, Quilian found herself at the Tin Woodman's palace. There was some hubbub at the gates, all kinds of people were standing and talking by the walls of the grand castle. refugees that had escaped from the recently conquered land of the Munchkins and the Emerald Region were scattered around the protective stone walls of the Tin Woodman's home, while Winkie folk had set up tents and seemed to be stockpiling resources and weapons- anticipating an attack.
Upon her red steed, Quil looked down on the poor people that had been laid strew across the roads. Their new homes were made of cloth and sticks, all the work of the Reborn Wizard. Though the Winkie Country had not yet been invaded, the place already reeked of fear and uncertainty. It was unsettling, to say the least. Through the gates of the yellow castle she went, leaving her horse in the palace stables, the Quadling Sergeant entered the Palace. Now, where was this "Jack Pumpkinhead"...?
Pad soared through the air relishing the feeling of the air ruffling through his feathers. It was not often that he was able to get out of the forest and into the air and even if he was only on his journey because of the grave circumstances that had recently come upon Oz, he intended to make the most out of it. Tucking his wings the Griffin dove towards the ground and pulled up at the last second, giving a shriek of glee. For him, nothing compared to the joy of flying.
'Okay, you've had your fun.' The animal thought to himself. 'Its time to figure out what happened. First stop, the Tinman's cottage. That isnt far from here…'
Pit. Pat. Pit. Pat.
The sound of tiny feet walking along the cobblestone could have easily been mistaken for a bird looking for it's breakfast. Alas, this was not a bird, nor any animal for that matter; but a little girl made of fine porcelain. It had taken Anastasia most of that morning to gather the courage to take a flier from the pile littered around Quadling county. She could distinctly remember the moment she had read it, the overwhelming amount of emotion she had felt. She had swept off the dirt with her tiny hands, reading it quickly before clutching the paper to her chest and holding it tight. It was hard not to yell, scream, or cry during the moment. Where were her people's heroes when they needed them?
They were in pieces, scattered along her home.
Anastasia shook her head back and forth, bringing her mind back to the current situation. Her fine blonde hair was still tied in the loose braid her mother had given her the previous night. "What will my mother think of me?" the girl cried out loud to herself. By now her mother would have awaken, noticing her only daughter and only family member had left, leaving everything there but the clothes on her back. Ana held back tears, her feet constantly moving on the long journey from her village to the location that was listed on the flier.
A rattling in the foliage near by caused Ana to stop. Her head turned slowly as her stormy sea eyes widened. At the moment in hand, Ana wanted to turn and run all the way home. Into her mother's arms, never to leave the village ever again. "My legs will barely carry me there, let alone back." the girl thought to herself, as her lips parted to speak, "W-w-who goes there!" she called with as strong as voice as she could manage. As she did, a pair of eyes glowed from the bush, causing the girl to be startled. She peddled backwards, holding the large flyer rolled up as a makeshift weapon.
The creature emerged slowly, showing itself one feature at a time. The sharp claws, the razor teeth, the tangled fur, the eyes beady and wanting to tear the flesh; if Ana had any- right off her body! Fear overwhelmed the young girl. This would be the end of her. She would be abandoned in the forest in slivers of porcelain. Used for a home for a snail, or a collection of fungi..A deep sigh of relief escaped from Anastasia's lips. It was only a squirrel with an acorn in hand. Anastasia gave a weak laugh, as she put out her hand and patted the creature that was not much shorter than she was. "Thank goodness." she said to the squirrel, removing her hand as she watched it scurry away. Now that, that event was over, she could move on with her journey, slowly but surely.
Before she knew it she was at calf level of a huge crowd of rustling people. "Pardon me!" she exclaimed, almost being kicked by a citizen. It was quite dangerous in such a large group for anyone, and for a fragile thing such as Ana, it became even more so. Quickly she slipped through the people and a section of the gate. Her nerves began to grow again, as she made her way to the one they called Jack Pumpkinhead.
Agate sat upon a ledge of a building, in his stone form. He watched a crowd stumble by, and he heard the sounds of their chatter. Even as stone, his senses still worked. Except for feeling. And taste. Just hearing, seeing, and smelling. He looked down and saw a small Chinaling stumbling through, making her way through, narrowly avoiding being smashed to porcelain bits. He watched as she progressed, ready to intervene if necessary, but there was no need. She was competent, and he was still stone.
Agate looked out over the distance, admiring the view he had with his magnificent perch. His magnified eyesight allowed him to see throughout the forest, watching squirrels and bunnies go about the woods. He gave an inward sigh and thought back in time, remembering he hadn't been flesh for over a week. He didn't care though. He had spent over a century and a half as a stone. He had learned to be patient.
Note: NPCs talk in bold
The foyer of the palace was overwhelming, but with a strange feeling of welcome in its yellow stone walls. The sound of a Quadling soldier's boots clicking echoed through the halls of the castle, was there anybody even there? There was nobody to welcome her.
"Hello?" She called out, her brow furrowed in confusion. "Jack..." she looked down at the paper instructing her who to meet, trying to remember the fellow's name "Pumpkinhead?" she finally called out. From somewhere in the belly of the stone castle, there came a muttering, like two people talking. Quil uneasily made her way towards the sound, hoping to find somebody who knew where she should go next. As she walked along the curved corridor which seemed to be built around the entire castle, the vague shapes of a very tall, thin man and an oddly walking horse made their way towards her, Quil stopped in anticipation for the duo a few paces away for her. They stepped into a patch of ground illuminated by an small window far above, taking their obscure forms out from the shadowy path and into her view, honestly she wasn't sure what to think.
Before her stood a gangly figure, which resembled a man, dressed loosely in metallic armour which covered a long-sleeved red gingham shirt and some irritable looking tweed trousers. The man appeared to be constructed from wooden poles, and on top of him was a large pumpkin, with a somewhat silly smile carved into it like a child's first Jack-O-Lantern. Beside the bizarre man was an equally perplexing being, it appeared to be a stallion made entirely of wood, realistically sculpted legs, neck and head, but for some strange reason it appeared to have a saw-horse for a torso. The saw-horse was only barely visible, for on top of it was a large leather sheet which had on top of it a saddle and some satchels to the sides.
The wooden horse whinnied at the sight of Quil, and turned to face the Pumpkinheaded man. "What's this then? A volunteer?" he huffed, "Only one of them so far, if that's the case." he continued, sounding a little disappointed. "I'm Sgt. Quillian of the Quadlings, I hail from the Red Country as requested by her Graciousness Glin-" "Ah! A Sergeant! How wonderful! " interrupted the pole-man. "I'm Jack Pumpkinhead, I'm supposed to be sorting out this little group for a journey into Munchkin territory" The Pumpkin practically giggled with glee, before turning a little sour, "Only, it's just me and the Saw-horse currently." "Well, I've come to help in the infiltration of the Munchkin Country and rescue of-" "The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman! Oh, that's fantastic! I thought I should never see them again if it were only I and the Saw-horse." Jack wittered on for a while about the adventures he had with the heroic figures of Oz, until the Saw-horse gave him a firm kick with his back leg. "Oh yes, well, we need a few more people before we can set off for Munchkin Land, I don't suppose you have any friends back there...?" Jack Pumpkinhead peered around the woman, expecting some company. "It's just me, actually." she said, giving him an impatient look, her eyebrows lowered. Taken aback by her slightly intimidating face, Jack visibly jumped a little "Well, I'm s-sorry, but I'm quite certain it'll take more than the three of us to take on this journey. How about you wait around the castle? I'm sure somebody else will turn up!" The Pumpkin man was strangely optimistic, as though he didn't anticipate the dangers that would certainly be ahead, including his probable death. Deciding to take the chance to rest, Quil plunged herself down into one of the yellow tinted couches which lined the corridor and took a sip of water from a wineskin at her side.
Agate felt his stone turn from stone to flesh, a transition so natural to him that it happened almost before he actually thought of doing it. He let himself fall from the ledge, his sleek form blending in with the building for a moment before he flapped his large wings once, sending an air wave down at the crowd three stories below. When it reached them, it simply blew their hair around a bit, knocking one man's hat off. The gargoyle shot off before a single soul in the crowd could look up at him.
Agate sailed through the streets, his body agilely spinning through the buildings before he came to rest above a window, staring in as a stone statue at the scene taking place below him. Two people seemed to be conversing, but he couldn't hear them through the thick glass.
Pad soared through the air, speeding as fast as wings would take him towards the man who went as Jack Pumpkinhead. After he had arrived at the Tinmans cottage, he had quickly discovered what had happened to the noble figure. Kidknapped, of all things! Naturally he had asked around on how he could help with this tragedy, and he was not dissapointed. It turned out mister Pumpkinhead was looking for volunteers to help with a rescue attempt, and the very thought of such a feat made Pad quiver with both nervousy as well as excitment. He was almost there now, he could see the crowd of people in plain sight. After a while of searching, however, he realized that he had absolutley no clue where to start! The Griffin sighed and decided he would just have to ask for directions. Swooping down, he landed among the crowd, and to his surprise the people all began to scream or shout and back up, attempting to distance themselves from what they called "the beast". Pad of course, was most certainly not expecting this reaction and only sat on his hind legs, unsure of how to continue.
Without much more hesitation Anastasia spotted a woman and another person who she believed was Jack Pumpkinhead. "What an odd looking fellow." she giggled, her small porcelain hand pressing against her delicately painted lips. Quickly as she could muster she made her way over the man as the woman took heed into heading into the castle. "Perhaps I should follow her? Or should I approach Jack?" the girl questioned, as the sounds of human's screaming now filled the local area.
Panic now swept over the girl as flashbacks of her village being smashed to bits replayed in her head. It took all her courage to turn and look to see a large creature among the people. A large griffin, sitting upright was what Ana soon made of the creature. Though she had never really seen one with her own eyes, the stories she was told was enough to make any person tremble with fear. Anastasia took only a second to turn back around and run full speed towards the man she assumed was Jack Pumpkinhead. The thought of her tired legs and upcoming exhaustion not in mind as she dove onto the man's leg. A soft cry escaped from her mouth, "A-are you Jack?" she questioned, looking up at the man as her fingers dug tightly in.
The Sergeant hadn't long been sat down before a couple of bizarre creatures appeared. The first was a truly rare sight in the lands to the west, a griffin that had descended upon the people outside the Winkie castle and was causing many of them to panic. The second was a small person made from china, Quilian had actually heard of the curious folk- they lived on the outskirts of the Quadling Country in a little village which had fallen prey to the attacks all over Oz unfortunately.
Quilian remained seated on the yellow sofa while Jack Pumpkinhead slowly turned to see what all the commotion was outside, people were shouting and there wasn't really many guards around due to the war. It was up to him to take a look a the situation and he wasn't very comfortable with that...
The gourd headed man took a step outside only to see a griffin sitting quietly in the town square as refugees and citizens alike ran around like headless chickens. Jack raised an arm slightly, about to protest against the noise and panic, but he was made to pause by something that had attached itself to his leg. What was it? How on earth did it attack him so stealthily? It turned out to be a little porcelain figure. "A-are you Jack?" She squeaked, her big glass eyes staring up into the cut-out holes in Jack's head. She was quite adorable to him, but that didn't change his shock. He really hadn't anticipated anything that was going on. "Y-Yes, I'm Jack!" he finally spat out. His attitude quickly changed to that of gladness when a thought passed through his fruity mind, "Oh, you don't happen to be here for the rescue mission, do you?". Concerned about what was going on outside the palace walls, Quilian and the Saw-Horse appeared in the entrance standing beside Jack Pumpkinhead.
Quilian didn't say anything, but the Saw-Horse blurted out "What's this? A little girl who could smash if the wind blows to hard? And what is that?" he was referring to the winged creature in the background, the wooden horse approached the griffin with the confidence and pride of a lion which probably looked a little silly.
The optimistic Jack Pumpkinhead was a little off-put by the Saw-Horse's rude demeanor, to say the least, but since a permanent smile was fixed upon his face he couldn't really express himself.
Pad was looking around anxiously, afraid of what he might have done to upset the townspeople. He had only been looking for directions after all, he hadn't meant to scare them... Then again, swooping in from the air may have had something to do with their current panicking. Looking around, he began to stand up to see if maybe he could find someone a little more helpful when he saw an odd looking creature advancing towards him. At first he had supposed that maybe it was just one of the silly statues that some of the non-bestial races created which was made of wood, however when he realized it was walking towards him, he quickly stood alert with his talons extended. What was this creature coming towards him?
"Who...Who are you?" He asked cautiously, keeping his distance. In his head, his arrival to go on a great quest had not at all looked this way. Now he was wondering if perhaps he should have never come. Only 5 minutes he had been in this place and already the towns people were screaming and there was a strange, wooden horse advancing towards him. Honestly, what had he gotten himself into?