Monster Hunt

April 23, 2017:

Rocket, Groot, Atli, and Toothgrinder go hunting for Skaakarans in New Jersey. This is fine.

Some place in New Jersey

A dirt road between an alfalfa field and woods.


NPCs: Toothgrinder (The amazing Asgardian space goat)

Mentions: Peter Quill (aka Drink-Lord), Loki


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A Dirt Road.

Somewhere in New Jersey.

The world turns in mysterious ways. A chance meeting at a bar led to another at a junkyard, where Atli and Rocket bonded over laughing at Quill and how primitive humans are. Oh, also, a hatred for lizard people who seem to not be gone after all.

Sakaaran's. The galaxy's ninja turtle stormtroopers.

Whatever it is they want with the guardians seems yet to be solved, at least if Atli is to be believed. Tonight she has led them… well. Far, far away. Outside of Gotham. Outside of civilization, and past the foul smell of what seem to be farms on one side of this dirt road, and on the other? A treeline

"Worry not my friends, I am sure the eleventh hour of our quest will be more fruitful than those that have come before it. Loyal Toothgrinder has the scent! And he…he.." There's a frown as Atli tugs at the goat's reins, steering the animal away from the wire fence it took a bite out of, and back onto the trail. She sits astride him, and then looks back to her companions with a boastful smile. "Just recharging. A little snack. I am certain these lizard people are just around the bend." Somewhere a dog barks far in the distance. A farmhouse far away goes dark for the night. It's well after midnight, after all.

"Verrrry close now."

A clear look over at Rocket would be all it takes to show that he's not at all impressed. His patience hasn't really ever been a strong point, and right now it's wearing thinner than the knees on a crawling baby's onesie.

"That's the same thing you said an hour ago," he comments rather flatly, looking with lidded eyes towards the Asgardian's mount. "Look, do you even have any proof to go by that they're even around here? We've been walking for miles and all that walking trash compactor's been doin' is /eating./"

Unlike his short-fused furry friend, Groot bobs his leafy head at Atli's umpteenth confirmation of the Sakaaran trail they've been on. Aside from his usual activities of eating or watching endless streams of movies and television series on his certified IKEA couch, tagging along for the ride gives him something else to do to pass the time.

"I am Groot," he offers as a counterpoint, crunching away on his own bag of chips he's brought along to stave off any other late-night munchies.

When the Groot speaks to her, Atli's brows lift. The Asgardians are gifted with All-Speak, and yet, he sounds as if he always says the same thing. How very maddening. Still, he has proven a great friend, and so have Rocket. The disappointment on her furry friend's face brings her teeth together, and she dismounts, pulling Toothgrinder along to lean in and give him a whisper. "My friends grow weary of your deception beast. Why would you mislead us in our time of nee-"


The sound of a twig breaking.

The sword on Atli's back is drawn to her hand in an instant, and she whirls, cloak and vester swinging behind her with the majesty only an Asgardian might muster. "Woe there, errant traveler! Speak thy name or face the wrath of Rocket the Explosive and Groot the…. Grootly! I, Atli of Asgard, command this!"

"I'll believe it when I see it," Rocket retorts towards his tree-pal. He'd started out on this journey with his rifle ready and in hand, and now it's slung on his back, just itching to shoot something. On the upside, it frees up the not!raccoon's hands for when he wants to snag a few chips from Groot's bag. Hey, if goat-face gets to eat, then who says they can't?

"……" Furry brow arching as he eyes Atli who decides to confer with the mighty goat, he brings up a hand as he leans towards Groot. "…there she goes again," he asides. It won't be the first time he wonders if the true reason Atli's found herself stranded out here was due to her goat conversations. Who wants a nutjob like that around?

His ears perk at the sound, but he nearly gets a faceful of cloak that puts a bit of delay in his being able to grab his own weapon. He's too busy batting the material away.

Thank goodness for family-sized bags. Between the two of them, it gets polished off real quick.

Groot snorts at the raccoon, shaking his head as he also watches Atli converse with her goat friend about their current wherabouts. He likes the goat, but he can understand if they've been heading in the wrong direction for the so-called hunt. One strong will butting heads with another, evening the odds into a stalemate. But he figures goats are like that.

It's kind of like the guardians, to some extent.

He's probably the last to hear it, but he at least crumples the top half of the chip bag close when Atli and Rocket act. Of course, it's more Atli than Rocket at this point; during the intimidation spiel, the tree glances downward, picking and tugging at one end of the thrown cloak over his friend with haste.

The scream amplifies. A thin man, tall, with glasses. He looks like he was wearing a business suit at one point, but the pants are gone, the shirt is a bare tatter around his neck, and his skin is flush with cuts and bruises as she runs from the woods. "H..h..he…!" Then he stops and looks at the monsters in front of him and screams again, tearing out one whole clump of his hair!


He turns to run down the street, and out of the woods behind him a net slams into him and knocks him over, electricity sending him into a fish-like flop on the ground.

There, appearing at the treeline, are six Skaakarans. Their heads tilt, some look at each other, and Atli's face lights up.

"Toothgrinder! Revel in vindication and feast on their bones!"

Once he can see again, Rocket's wrenched his rifle from his back, turning as he extends it with a most satisfying click. His expression falls as a man comes barreling towards them, and even though he supposes being greeted by himself, a walking tree and a crazy lady that talks to a goat would justify that sort of reaction, Rocket's mood's run off with his patience to admit it.

There's a sound that strikes him as familiar, accompanied then by the subsequent flash of light as it fells the near delirious man. The raccoon grips his weapon tighter, the grin pulling at his mouth revealing teeth.

"Now we're talking." Ka-chk.

A moment of bafflement befalls the tree alien with the cloak now balled in one hand, dark eyes blinking as he sees the frightened crazy man run before being suddenly captured by the exact things they've been wanting to find all night.

Toothgrinder may have some credibility left in him after all.

Groot grunts. His hands may be full, but he's ready to kick tail where it needs to be kicked. "I am /Groot/!!"

The answer Atli gets is energy weapons fire powering through underbrush and towards her, goat, Rocket, and Groot! One of them fires his electric net gun at Atli, but the goat takes the blow for her, rolling into the underbrush as electrical current races through it's space goat form! Two more focus on Rocket. Likely because they know his reputation, while another shoots at Atli, who swings her sword about to send the energy flying in every direction but her.

Somewhere in the distance, a corn silo is hit at it's top and catches on fire, an errant torch in the night. Oops.

The ones that fire at Groot revel in the mess they will make of his bark, for surely this great creature cannot withstand their reptilian, spacefaring might!

Right? A few shots later, and seeing how the laser fire isn't really hurting Groot much, has a few of them looking worried.

Rocket dares stand his ground, releasing a maddened cackle as he lets loose with return fire. Then again, given he near simultaneously shoots just as the Sakaraans do, 'return' fire might be the wrong phrase for it. If he's concerned for Groot's well-being, he doesn't show it, but then the raccoon's been with the tree for so long that he knows just how much abuse that bark can take. He's contributed a fair amount to that himself, after all. What are friends for!

There's two of these guys focusing on Rocket and only one of him, as he so often likes to declare. That of course makes it a touch more necessary for him to actually move so he can avoid getting caught in a bad position. Squinting, the tiny Guardian lunges at an angle, still firing as he tries to make the best of his actions. When he lands in a crouch, he reaches behind him to pull out another weapon, squeezing the trigger to release a stream of water at the face of one of the two Sakaraans that have decided to target him.

"….flarkin'- /GROOT/, you got me the wrong gun!" he growls, tossing the Super Soaker aside so he can concentrate fire with his beloved rifle.

Even bark can sting. It's not very clear /how/ it can hurt, but since it's all attached, it has to be connected in some way, shape, or form. So long as he doesn't lose any limbs this time around, he should be fine.

The freshly burnt smell of wood is hard to miss as the towering tree lumbers full tilt at the lucky Saakarans shooting in his direction, growling as he extends and swings his arms out at them. Assuming he's actually aiming for a face, the chip bag will crunch sadly against one.

While reaching out to grab another one, Groot shoots a look over a shoulder. "I am Groot!?" How is he to know which gun is which! They're all shiny and— oh. That one's really bright. Oopsie.

He grins lopsidely. "I am Groot!"

The scream of the Skaakaran that is met with Groot's incoming hand is somehow even more dainty than the man who ran out of the woods. He goes flying in a spiral towards one of Groot's tree-ly brethren, and it is the Skaakaran that snaps like a twig. Another is hit by the bag, easily grabbed up, his weapon falling to the ground as she struggles to get his arms free and mumbles in his own language.

The ones shooting at Rocket quickly understand the meaning of pain. One takes a shot in the kneecap - and loses his entire lower leg with a howl. The next one rushes Rocket, meaning to bowl him over, but cold liquid pours into his eyes and he doesn't see the branch in his way.

It is almost majestic how he flies over Rocket's head, a rain of alien blood shooting upwards as more of Rocket's fire impacts him mid-air. It is, in a word, beautiful.

Atli's eyes go wide when she sees what's happened to her goat, and she roars for the call of battle, answering it with a swift swing that extends her sword into spear. A head flies, and the one who thinks to rush her is forced to accept a swift kick that sends him tumbling over the Skaakaran that Groot batted into a tree.


That finally sends that little tree over, and in mere moments, it seems as if the battle is ALMOST won.

Save for that one squirming in Groot's grasp.

Who finally gets an arm free.

Is that a grenade?

The rush one gets from taking down enemies is enough to keep Rocket from throwing any retorts at Groot. Maybe later, once this high's done. But right now he's got these guys crying and bursting- it's glorious. And kind of messy, but hey, at least he's not expected to clean up.

"YEAH!" he shouts, relishing each shot that finds a mark. He decides to put the one that had lost a leg out of its misery with a blast to the face- with a /real/ gun.

Glancing about, probably for more potential targets, Rocket watches as Atli takes out another, eyes tracking the head that goes flying before he brings up his hands (and subsequently, rifle) in a gesture that he's learned represents a field goal in one of these popular Terran sports. Of course, that means that their lizardy foes are pretty much taken care of. Almost.

The fuzzy Guardian looks over at Groot and then blinks. "Groot! Hail Mary!" Yep. Definitely too much football.

Oh. The Saakaran. The one who's still squirming in his branchy grasp. Armed with a grenade. /That/ Saakaran.

Yeah, he should take care of that one.

The celebrating is short-lived once Groot realizes the blinking item in its grasp isn't a cool light for those bumpin' rave parties kids are going to nowadays, gasping inaudibly at the guy because THAT IS NOT COOL. Exploding up is never fun when you're in close range. But he hears Rocket, hears him suggest the Hail Mary right off the bat, nodding promptly as he repositions himself.

Throwing the Saakaran-laden arm back, he musters all of his tree strength into the pass, chucking the lizard thing into the air with a "GROOT!!!"

The Skaakaran flies like he's never flied before. When he was a child, before he was forced into the military due to economic hardship and a reading disorder that made him fail out of a promising school, he had always dreamed of flying!

Atli leaps after her goat, cutting the onory beast free with a slash of her spear, and goes sliding by right as she sees a Skaakaran thrown past. Her eyes go big, as the Skaakaran for his part, looks around for some hope. Some salvation.

It finds the diminutive form of Rocket Raccoon as it reaches the apex of it's arc, it's arm winding back, as if it means to throw the item in it's hand. Now or never.

Oh, that's a nice throw. His buddy's always had a good arm.

Rocket takes aim, following the Sakaaran's flight path, that grin having returned to his face as his clawed finger begins to depress the trigger it so eagerly caresses. Oh wait. What if that grenade's got more punch to it than a standard explosive? The raccoon debates this for roughly half a second before he mentally shrugs. Doing so physically would throw off his aim, after all.

Eh well.

He pulls the trigger, his grin bearing all the madness of a malicious, trigger-happy weaponsmaster who just don't care.

Groot isn't the type to whistle at his own handiwork, but he certainly feels proud of that throw. He does, however, mentally note that it is entirely possible for this plan to blow up in their faces since he didn't really disarm the lizard foe of the grenade.

Thankfully, he can count on Rocket to do the honors.

Happy Explosion Day!

If only Skaakarans could emote better. Instead, Rocket helps him reach a new state of being that sure does emote all over the place. The entirety of his body seems to shatter into a billion pieces, splashing every which way, and showering Groot's front with a fresh sheen of black-Skaakaran innards. Rocket will get his fill too, and only Atli will have gone to far to get covered head to toe. The poor Skaakaran is utterly, totally obliterate.

Save for one arm.

The one holding that blinking thing.

It lands right by Rocket, as if the momentum of the Skaakaran's arm carried onward, and the beeping finally, suddenly stops. There's something garbled from it. The sound of Skaakaran language, which then is promptly translated to:

'I surrender!'

Welp. A string of Skaakaran innards drips from a tree as Atli ambles back into the zone of devastation, and she reaches up with her sword to brush it off her shoulder. The goat promptly snatches it up to devour it.

"Surrender? I am unfamiliar with this word. What does it mean?"

Getting showered with alien guts is one way to shut up a cackling raccoon. Or at least this one. Normal raccoons don't cackle. Shh, don't tell him I said that.

"Geeuuuh! Knew I should'a boosted the pulse on this th-" His eyes widen as they fall upon that arm, miraculously in tact and still holding the blinky device. Rocket freezes as it settles in front of him, gone rigid from the tips of his ears to his ringed tail. And then he squeezes his eyes shut as that sound ceases, but the sound that follows isn't one accompanied by an explosion. Cracking an eye open, he then looks down at the thing almost in disbelief, or betrayal. Hard to tell on that furry face. And then he promptly swings his rifle around to blast it point blank.

"Means they give up, although I dunno as that makes much difference now, or if it means there's more skulkin' about," he snorts.

One thing's for sure: that ain't water, and it sure ain't Nickelodeon slime. As a tree, Groot isn't too disturbed by the shower of black, looking down at himself as he slowly shakes his arms out. The excess spatters onto the ground.

He wanders over to where the other two are now standing, wiping off his front as they discuss the very meaning of 'surrender.' "I am Groot," he adds, agreeing with Rocket's definition. The possibility of having more enemies to beat up is usually high around them.

"I am..I am…" The voice is not from any of the three gathered.

Nor is it from the goat.

It grows in volume, deepens in timbre, turns into half a growl. "Iammmmmm……my wife…. KILLL…. QUILLLL…"

There is a sound from behind all three. The terrible rip of space netting as it rips apart. Atli slowly turns, blinking once as she takes a step backwards, her jaw slack and eyes wide. There a hulking beast of scales and antlers rises. Once a man, but now something else. Now something filled with the rage of his wife's betrayal, he had used a very old artifact in his possession to channel a very specific power.

Dwight T. Bardelbee.

Tax Accountant and notary public.

Sometimes Were-Bilgesnipe.

The roar is deafening, and as the situation unfolds it's clear to see why the Skaakarans wanted to capture him. Fifteen feet tall. Five or six tons, it bellows it's anger into a cry that echoes through the forest, one the goat tries in vain to mimic in power and intensity.

"…now /that/ doesn't make any sense! How can you be your own wife!" Rocket blathers without really thinking, half a beat passing before he realizes he has no idea who'd just spoken. The fact that he'd completely glossed over the latter part of that growled sentence speaks volumes in itself. After all, people who want to kill Peter Quill are far from few.

Shouldering his rifle, Rocket turns to look in the direction of the disturbing sounds, blinking as Atli does, his expression near mirroring her own. His first question would have been something akin to 'where the heck did that thing come from?!' And then he notes the shredded remnants of electro-netting and his expression all at once settles back into something more neutral as he nods to himself. "Oh."

Yeah, he kind of completely forgot about the guy while he'd been happily rollicking in violence. The creature that used to be human obviously won't allow it a second time, however, and the Guardian flinches as the thing roars. "Okay. Didn't see /that/ coming."

None of it makes sense to Groot, either. He's left staring, slowly collecting the puzzle pieces together while trying to remember if Atli's cloak is far from salvaging — once he remembers where had he first misplaced it, that is. Maybe he'll get her another one later. Maybe.

But back to the dude who isn't much of a dude anymore.

Yes, that isn't human at all now. No, he is just as not surprised as Rocket when it comes to aliens wanting to kill their good friend Peter Quill, but the transformation is still impressive.

He looks back at the two, bark-covered brow lifting slightly. "I am Groot?"

The momentary astonishment at seeing a creature known to Atli only as a legend drains away, and her sword becomes a spear once more as she thrusts it towards the heavens. Storm clouds roll in as if on command, and without warning lightning strikes her spear and dances at the end of it for more than a few moments, her hair blown back, her eyes alight with the thrill of battle.

"Know pain and malady dire beast, brought to this world by way of a Girl of Lightning!"

The spear points onward. The lightning surges again, more brilliant than any gunfire or explosion. It is the power of the heavens brought by her divinity and heir to Thor's power. It plows into the beast, dances up it's hide. Smoke curls and wafts at the edges until it seems, finally, to be burnt to a crisp.

The light vanishes then and the wind kicks up from the west. And when it does the ashy residue left behind by the lightning cracks. Peels. Falls away. The eyes of the Bilgesnipe open, and once more, it roar, unfaltering or flinching as it rushes forward and half gores the Asgardian in it's horns, tossing her sidelong and through half a dozen trees.

Likely it will catch Rocket and Groot in it's thrashing wake, the creature spinning and stomping and flailing all about.

Dang, but wouldn't that be an awesome effect? Rocket's pretty sure if he ever tried something like that it'd have to be during a real storm, and chances were he'd end up charred to a crisp. Yeah, not so exciting to be worth it.

He's still debating on Groot's question when Atli strikes. After all, this guy was apparently another poor victim of circumstance due to Star-Lord's antics, if Rocket was reading into this right. -wait, what's happening.

His attention snapping back to the present, the raccoon is left staring as Atli goes flying- in the wrong direction. "What th-" It's a blur of motion that he sees and nothing more, and perhaps it's only because he manages to twist his rifle around that he doesn't get outright crushed by the creature's wild movements. He does get sent tumbling, but that's the downside of being so compact.

Impressive display of Asgardian lightning right there. Full points for the execution. Groot likes it, and he sort of wishes he can do that…

…Up until they all find out that it has no effect on the thing whatsoever.

Groot barely catches a glimpse of Atli as she flies by, turning his attention onto the charging Were-Bilgesnipe right when it barrels into Rocket. As much as he wants to check on them, his reflexes are too slow to move from where he's still standing.

Time for another approach, then.

His feet literally dig into the ground to counter the oncoming force, arms extending and lashing out in an attempt to slow down the flailing. "I am Groot!!" How DARE you hit his friends like that!!

It is the clash of the titans. Tons versus tons. Muscle vs… twig? Or something. The sound of the beast slamming into Groot echoes through the forest, and it's terrible thrashing kicks up brush and dust and dead Skaakaran everywhere. Though Atli has no ability to fly, she does have the ability to leap, and with a mighty bound she takes to the air, the power of lightning surging across the blade of her sword-turned-spear as she plows it into the back of the great beast.

With a terrible roar, the creature thrashes, threatening to uproot Groot, but he cannot break the Wooden Warrior's grasp. Still, it is dangerous, and it's tail sweeps wide, at approximately Rocket height, catching him sidelong and sending the The Furred Fury into the woods like a stone skipped over a placid lake.

Most stones sink. This one will find himself coming to a stop against something other than wood.

A great clawed hand reaches up to dislodge Atli, slamming her to the ground and smashing her with a reptilian foot.

That. Frikkin'. Hurt. The raccoon's built tough, but he's still small and it's still flesh and fur under the thin armor that he wears. With everything blurring past him as he's flung into the woods, the only thing he can reliably do is cling to his rifle, which he's pretty sure needs some recalibration after taking a direct hit like that. Funny, that's the first thought through his mind after the string of angry curses before he goes into a tumble, and now he's dizzy on top of bruised.

And then *wham*, he goes and hits something else. Lying upside-down with his feet sticking up in the air almost comically, the raccoon grits his teeth, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment before he opens them again. Waaait, that sound wasn't the kind that one makes when you hit a tree. Because that's totally a sound he knows well. The world is still swimming in his vision, but he pushes himself to sit, finding himself nose to hull with… Oh. Oh.

A rough cry is lost among the noise growing about the clash, roots snapping and rerooting themselves to make up for the losses the more he finds himself losing ground. He's strong, but he's only a tree. Buying time to let the Asgardian and the furred Guardian recover is slipping faster than he expected.

He doesn't expect it to be that sudden, however. Again Groot watches as the flash of a spear nearly blinds him during the counterattack on the creature, the tail whipping out to send Rocket elsewhere as he strains under the pressure, losing his grip entirely the more he gets distracted.

As he shifts, an arm shoots out to block the large foot from crushing his friend, perhaps accompanied by a loud /snap/, twig and wooden shrapnel flying through the air like unprocessed confetti.

The Were-Bilgesnipe bellows in victory as it hears the snapping of limbs from this thing that dares grapple with it, and though it thinks it has crushed Atli, and destroyed Rocket, it knows it is not yet done with Groot. It leaps, a short motion that puts it's weight on the tree-man like a cat giving a pounce, and with a sharp creaking it drives poor Groot beneath it. It's maw opens, big tusks leading the way to a mouth filled with a chomping blight of blocky teeth and curled fangs up front. Oh no. It is an omnivore. Not even plant people are safe from it's monstrous woe.

As that mouth opens to deliver a killing bite, to snap Groot's head off and use it as wooden chewing gum, there is another sound.

It is the sound of defiance that none have been able to silence for thousands of years.

It is the sound of a creature more dangerous, more hungry, than this half-Bilgesnipe monstrosity could ever know.

It is the sound of a space goat.


The clack of hooves precedes it's mighty leap, and then suddenly it's curled horns lead the way - right into the creature's mouth.

There's a sharp intake of breath by the Were-Bilgesnipe. Or, it tries, at least, but Toothgrinder is blocking it's airway. Indeed, the goat's battle cry continues to echo, but now in the creature's throat, it's horns lodged there, it's legs flailing outside it's mouth.

There is a great thrash of panic as the Were-Bilgesnipe lets go of Groot and stumbles left and right and clear of the treeline, away from Atli and Groot. From her place in the mud, Atli raises a fist in triumph, her eyes lighting up at the goat proves to be the more dangerous beast. "Yes!!!! Choke this foul creature with the taste of Asgardian goat glory!"

While this is all going on, Rocket is having an intimate moment with a spaceship. He wasn't kissing it, honest. He was just trying to get his footing. Really.

He's completely unaware of the goat-vengence that's occuring this very moment. This is opportunity, and it's become very clear to him that a monster that big is going to need equally large firepower. …okay, so maybe a ship is overdoing it, but you don't look a gifthorse in the mouth. Whatever that means. Terrans have weird sayings. If anyone's still home, they're about to be made homeless and/or unconscious shortly. Then it's a matter of firing this baby up.

From what he's feeling right now, the arm is going to need to be replaced. It's just too bad it doesn't regenerate as fast as it could have to stop the thing from jumping on him. Wood groans, cracks under the weight as Groot tries to shove it back with his other hand, failing once the Were-Bilgesnipe opens and tries to close its tusk-filled jaws around his head…

…But the bite never comes. Initially, Groot is confused by the approaching sound and the consequent follow-up of the space goat literally butting its way into the building dramatic tension. He has to smile at the hoofed creature who valiantly takes his place, staggering to get to his feet the moment he and Atli are freed. "I am Groot!!!" he cheers with her, encouraging the asphixiated gouging of their enemy.

It takes some doing, but the human bits of the creature - the thumbs - come in handy. It is able to grasp, shake, and pull the goat free. Suddenly confronted with this tiny thing that caused it so much pain, it roars! And so does Toothgrinder, right before leaping from the beast's grasp to smash it's horns into it's nose!

Atli comes flying in next with a leaping slash that rakes across it's belly and sends a shock of electricity up it's spine, and as it staggers and breaths heavy, it looks like the tide might finally be turning.

Then, there is the sound of something whirring up in the forest, and the beast turns to look towards the ship's spotlights, one claws hand coming up to brace it against the blinding light. "KILL QUILLLLLLLLL!" It bellows! Atli answers by turning and heaving her Jarnbjorn Reforged into it's side before looping an arm under Groot to help the great tree-man gain his footing.

"I know not what that light is, but it is fixed upon our enemy with a blinding ire!"

Inside the cockpit, someone is cackling like a madman. One who doesn't know Rocket might think that the raccoon's been knocked a bit loopy, but this is perfectly normal. The ship hovers, angling around as he tries to find a better shot. At least the thing is big, so it's got that going for it.

"Eugh, this things got less a vocabulistics than Groot. And /that's/ saying a lot," he mutters. Poor idiot. He'd have to take a number for Quill. But unfortunately he's messed with Rocket and his friends. The targetting systems light up, and Rocket thumbs the ship's guns to fire. He's helping.

Space goat antics! They need to have Toothgrinder with them more often — he comes in handy. Groot gives a bellowing cheer for Atli's attack, slipping on his own footing when he swings his attached arm too hard.

The lights make him squint, shielding his face with a hand as he sees how bad the Bligesnipe is taking it. "I am Groot," the bipedal tree replies to Atli confidently, looking in the same direction as she does once she helps him regain his balance.

If anything, he knows Rocket is crazy enough to bring about a whole ship to back them up.

And maybe it's a good idea to, you know, not be in the line of fire.

Trusting the raccoon to aim at the large target, Groot clumsily tries to pull Atli further back from where the beast is standing. "I am Groot!"

Necro-ship fire blasts the creature the moment it opens it's mouth in a defiant roar, catching a whole lot of energy right in it's mouth and faceparts. It staggers as Rocket unleashes hell upon it, and Atli raises her hand to the sky to once more summon lightning to her spear, still stuck in it's thick hide. The dance of energy is beautiful, and it's a good thing that Groot was dragging Atli sidelong, for a wave of backlashing energy suddenly explodes from the beast when it seems to have absorbed to much power.

Rocket's ship will be sent careening sidelong for a crash landing, Atli will find herself flying along with Groot, to land in the nearby alfalfa field, a messy muck that at the very least puts out any trailing fires that might have caught onto them.

When the dust settles, there is no more Were-Bilgesnipe, just the beleaguered form of a cross Tax Accountant, who has even less clothing now than he did before. He half sobs, half coughs, and then loses consciousness.

Toothgrinder dutifully comforts the man by licking his cheek.

Rocket hadn't seen that coming. The alerts that sound across the panel serve to warn him of the impending energy expulsion too late, and he even his efforts to keep the thing level are just as nixed as his options to maneuver away, given the ship itself isn't that big. It tilts further on its axis than proper gravity can function, and Rocket having been too eager to shoot something hadn't bothered to strap in, so he goes flying out of the pilot's seat.

Good news, it's not so big that he can get flung far. Bad news, it's…not so big that he can get flung far. One might have caught a brief glimpse of him against the viewport before dirt erupts as the necrocraft plows into the ground before its wing catches to keep it from going any further.

Loping away from the area doesn't get the tree and the Asgardian out of range of the explosive backlash, the wave of energy running up and through his body as he pushes him downward. Groot lets go of Atli upon impact, flying, falling, crashing across the messier parts of the forested plane and into the field of fluffy green.

Despite what they have just gone through, he /really/ likes the alfalfa smell. He's going to lay there for a while longer, brushing his hand over the closest patches not immediately underneath him.

What can Atli say to the giant tree-man as she rises? At first she is perplexed at his alfalfa groping, thinking perhaps she is witnessing some sort of plant love. Then Groot begins eating it. She retains a thoughtful expression in the face of this blatant cannibalism and reaches to the sky. Lightning strikes again, this time wherever her errant spear went to, now that it is not in some monster's hide.

A moment later another flash of power strikes her hand, and she once more has her weapon. The haft of the spear begins to shrink until it is just a sword again, and she cautiously wades through the alfalfa and back to the road.

"Woe, Toothgrinder. You know not where that man's face has been. What have I told you about putting your mouth in unfortunate places?" Despite her chastisement, she cannot help but be proud of the beast for his role in this victory. She gives him a pat to his side, shaking his entire frame. "Go now, find our small friend. If not for his bravery I think we might all be licking dirt this day."

Toothgrinder stares blankly ahead for his time, and then he turns to bound off towards the ship. Atli her for her part, kneels at the man, turns him over, and gives him the measure of scrutiny that takes a great concentration to summon. Right now all she wants is mead, food, and revels. Instead she finds everything that is the opposite of those things.

Her face screws up in anger, and she puts her sword away at her back. With a sharp pull she takes something from the man's neck. "Hel's Bells. Gorgingal's swinging sack! Alfheim's flouty fools!"

Groot's only fortunate that his tiny friend has not seen him burying his face in alfalfa sprouts, not that that isn't the strangest thing the tree has done.

The hatch pops on the grounded ship, and unfortunately its pilot is not aware that that end of it happens to be several feet off the ground. Rocket stumble-stands at its opening, one hand clutching his head and the other on the release panel. He takes a step forward, which turns out to be onto air, and then goes falling out of the ship for a graceless landing in the dirt below.


But the alfalfa, it's soooo good!

Amid his munching, Groot blinks at the flash of lightning, the presence of the spear-turned-sword returning to Atli's hand rounding his attention back to where they have been flung. Sitting up, the tree mumbles to himself, taking another moment to gather his bearings before pushing himself up from the field.

Carving a deep path into the alfalfa, the tree alien eventually catches up to where the goat has previously been with their former alien enemy — the man who now wears little and is totally knocked out from all of the excitement. Atli's swearing makes Groot frown, visibly wondering what can possibly be the matter now?

It's Rocket's tumbling from the ship that makes him switch gears, steadily picking his way over to the spot the raccoon has fallen. Hopefully the goat doesn't try eating his friend or something. Never can tell with space goats.

"I am Groot?" he asks, crouching down to try righting the downed Rocket.

The space not-raccoon will find himself landing on dirt alright. But it's dirt on the back of the space goat, which dutifully carries Rocket over to Groot for a visit. The cursing concerns Toothgrinder as well, and so he trots along over to Atli, who whirls around to face them all.

"I know now why this malady has come upon us, dear friends. It is.. it is my fault. For while this man sought to destroy the infamous Drink-Lord, I have no doubts as to where he obtained the power to do so. His form was somewhat like a Bilgesnipe, a creature I know only from my grandfather's tales. But there can be no mistaking what turned him into this foul abomination. Or rather, who.

Her hand thrusts forth, and in it the broken leather of a necklace, dangling from a trinket that depicts two serpents in a rectangular fashion, each nibbling on the other's tale. Similar to the ouroboros, but certainly holding a Nordic bent in the art department.

"This is the mark of He Who Is Most Miserable. This is the mark of Loki!"

That must have been a bad crash. The world's still moving. Smells funky too. Oh, wait.

Rocket finds his position adjusted so that he can see the goat that he'd apparently landed on as it trots off. The tiny Guardian himself dangles from Groot's grip before he's set on his feet.

"Yeah, 'm okay," he mutters towards the tree as his eyes track Toothgrinder to where Atli is. He gestures with his head for Groot to follow, kind of regretting the movement, but there's no help for it. His body just feels like one big bruise, but it's not the worst he's ever been through.

"Huh? It was a malady?" One'a these days he'll figure out why Asgardians talk so weird. Rocket squints at Atli as she goes on. He's got a headache as big as he is tall, and trying to translate Asgardianese into layman's terms isn't helping. He'll just wait for the punchline. When the pendant is shown to them, the shrewd look doesn't fade. Actually it's more a look of a raccoon that's trying to make out the details on the gently swinging thing while trying not to hurl his guts on the floor. He belches, thumping his chest a bit before he folds his arms.

"So…yer sayin' Loki did this? Seems like a lot of trouble for him. I mean, that guy's a nobody, right?" He jerks a thumb at….it takes him a moment to locate the accountant's prone body- oh hey! still in one piece too! "So was this because Loki's got it out for Quill too, or is he just being…Loki."

Well, he could have been a little gentler with Rocket, but. One arm. A gentle, firm scruff still works, seeing how fast the raccoon is able to stay on his feet once he touches down.

He follows Rocket (and the goat) back to where Atli is, leaning foward to inspect the trinket she holds out for them. He's never seen anything like it before.

"I am Groot," Groot says thoughtfully. He's not even sure why Loki is even important for this scenario, but it's definitely something to be a little concerned about.

Of course, because it is one of Loki's trinkets does not mean he is the only foul culprit in this scheme. Still, Atli's mind drifts backwards to just before she fell to this world. Of watching Loki the Disgraced stab her grandfather through the heart. Her jaw sets, and she looks to the trinket herself, holding it in both hands.

"I do not know if he did this, fair friends"

First she looks at Rocket, then at Groot. Finally, Toothgrinder, who has resumed licking the face of the downed, unconscious man who was their menace.

"But with your help, I mean to find out."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License