(1939-02-11) Into the Woods Part II
Details for Into the Woods Part II
Summary: Determined to carry out the mission they came for, Rena and Guy make their way into the Forest and meet with trouble
Date: 1939-02-11
Location: The Forest of Dean
Related: Into the Woods Part I

“Nothing to do until after dark, I suppose.” Rena remarks drily as she enters the hotel room. Due to Guy’s marvelous suggestion, they are now sequestered within a hotel (pretending to be husband and wife) awaiting the dark of night to carry out a rather questionable mission in the forest of Dean.
Dropping onto the bed with a small beleaguered sigh, the young Auror props her elbow on one knee and cups her chin in her hand as she thinks. She’s got to figure out HOW the blazes they’re going to get outside when the time comes, undetected.

Guy opens the suitcase to regard the toolkit within, and produces the tow rope from it. He takes off his jacket and hat, and then starts methodically putting knots in it. "As you say. Nothing to do until night!"

Rena smirks. Guy seems to have the escape method covered after all. She couldn't be more grateful to have him along. Another Auror would've probably made a mess of things already.
Reaching into her internally-expanded purse, Rena withdraws her fairly diminutive wand. Some people say that short wands pick people who are lacking in some form of character; but in Rena's case, short, sweet and to the point seems to suit her personality.
"Well there is ONE thing I can do. Just in case anybody decides to get nosey - good practice anyway." She says, flicking a cautious glance toward the door. Concentrating, she gestures rather broadly with her wand, seemingly to encompass the room as she speaks the quieting charm.

Guy glances up, and gives a little terse nod. It would appear he's not _entirely_ comfy with magic, but he just keeps on doing the knotting, "Escape training. One thinks of these things."

Rena notices the look that Guy gives her, and she withdraws her wand rather abruptly, holding it back with both hands. "I'm sorry, Guy…" she murmurs an apology, dropping her chin. She generally avoids using it when he's around, knowing how he feels about the whole thing. "I was just trying to make myself useful. And I can't do the things you can." A pause and a faint smile: "I 'aven't 'ad your training and experience."
Pushing off of the bed, Rena moves toward the window. Parting the curtain with her fingers just about an inch, she peers outside to check the angle of the sun and look out over the dark forest below.

Guy nods, "It's alright. I quite understand. Just… you know… use it sensibly."

The sun is already sinking behind the trees, looking rather red and tired. It won’t be long now.
“I always do,” Rena replies quickly, allowing the curtain to drop back into place. “You know I don’t go around frivolously waving my wand and doing crazy things.” At least, he ought to know that by now. He’s spent enough time with her to have seen how little she actually uses magic to get by from day to day.
Strolling over to where Guy is working, she picks up the end of the rope to inspect the knots. Frail as her hands appear by comparison to the rope, she could have never tied them herself. “You sure this’ll work alright?” She asks uncertainly, peering over a knot at the man. Rena has never done /this/ before.

Guy says, "Well, as long as neither of us falls off! I'm not eighteen to be climbing in and out of ladies bedrooms anymore, you know!"

Rena gives Guy a look and struggles not to laugh. "You - you're always making such an issue of your age," she chides, jabbing him in the side with her elbow. "My only worry is your leg. Aside from that, I've got complete confidence in you - even if you are an /Eton/ man."
Rena knows from past experience that when she barbs and teases Guy about his upper-class upbringing, it usually riles him a fair bit. She can't help herself; or that slightly devilish smirk.

Guy gives a faint grumble, but good humouredly, and then says, more seriously, "The leg might, indeed, be the problem."

Sobering down slightly, Rena's face becomes thoughtful. Her mouth turns into the sort of pout she tends to slip into when she's thinking: "I'm not sure what I can do to 'elp with that." Just about anything she could do would require using magic ON Guy, and she's not likely to suggest that openly.
"Oh! I know - insurance!" She says brightly. "I can make the ground soft and spongy down there at the bottom so that just in case something bad 'appens, we don't 'ave to worry about an 'ard landing, yea?"

Guy gives a brisk nod, "Excellent idea. Can you do anything about noise too? I mean, we're probably going to make a bit of noise exiting."

"I can do another Quietus charm," Rena offers helpfully, now looking slightly anxious. "I'm afraid outside of a room this small though, I'll be far less accurate." How in Merlin's name did such a nervous, unconfident witch ever end up on the payroll of the MLE? "That's really the best bet I've got. Silencio is useless for things like that. That just makes it so the person you do it to can't make a sound with their voice!"

Guy gives a nod, "Alright." He seems to accept the summary, "Ready when you are." He pulls his trench coat back on, complete with the significant weight of the revolver in its pocket

Rena salutes Guy with her wand and hurries over to the window. Pausing a moment, she undoes the rather stubborn latch and then slowly raises the stiff pane to its full height. Once done, she leans out the window and directs her attention and wand to the ground directly below the window, two floors down: "Spongify." She says commandingly. It seems to have worked.

Guy has, meanwhile, moved the bed closer to the window, and tied the rope to one of the legs.
The rope gets thrown out, and Guy swarm…. struggles down, albeit rather quietly

"Rightio," Rena says with a smirk, turning around once more. Stopping an instant, she gives herself a little extra insurance - as she calls it - attempting another Quietus charm. Nerves must be getting to her, however. Her voice wavers slightly and the spell fails.
Abashed, Rena eyes her wand critically with a blush. There's no time for second guessing this. Guy is already out the window and on his way down.

Pausing at the window again, Rena looks down at the man as he shimmies down the rope. Swallowing hard, she maneuvers herself onto the ledge. Once he's safely to the ground, she'll take her turn.

Poor Guy; stuck with this inexperienced witch under his protection as she clumsily attempts to follow his lead while making an escape from the hotel window. Nervously, she edges out and onto the rope. At first, all seems to be well… but then, part way down, she gives a sharp intake of breath as her foot slips and her weak hands cannot keep their grip. Rena falls toward the ground rapidly.

The man is looking around, and fortunately checks his six just in time to spin on his heel, and catch the woman in his outstretched arms. "Ooooph!"

Rena lands safely in Guy's arms, and it takes her a split second to open her eyes, one at a time. She draws a relieved breath and smiles sheepishly at the man. "Good catch, Mister Grosvenor… Thanks." Rena says with a tight, subdued little laugh.
Once back on her feet, Rena tugs her coat straight and pulls herself together. "Alright then," she whispers, casting a backward glance at the hotel: "Let's get a move on." And she begins heading right into the woods where a deer path has made a small depression in the undergrowth.

Guy nods, following on behind the girl, and digging in his pocket for a small flashlight, which he doesn't yet switch on.

"Supposedly, there's a big hill with group of standing stones somewhere in these woods. Problem is, they're sort of half-buried and 'ard to find," Rena whispers to Guy, trying to get through the brush with some difficulty. She could ignite her wand for light, but she knows better.
"That's the general vicinity of where we're going to find Mister Crawley's shallow grave… if it ain't been destroyed by animals and all." She pauses, caught on a bramble. Pulling free, she sighs: "Comes down to it, to save time, I think we'll 'ave to split up when we /find/ the stones. Instructions didn't say where the grave was exactly."

Guy nods slightly and glances back to the pub. He then produces a map and compass from his pockets, "Right ho."

It takes time to put distance between themselves and the hotel, but eventually, the pair find themselves deeply embedded within the confines of the dark forest, and straining hard against the shadows to see.
Rena was going to say something; however, upon turning to speak, she suddenly pitched forward and onto the ground. Catching herself at an upward angle with her knee, she mutters a curse under her breath before exclaiming: "Blimy! Guy - the torch! I think we found the 'ill."

Guy flicks it on, firstly to look at the map, and then up, "Right. Up here." And the light goes off, once more.

Righting herself again with a faint smile, Rena then swallows. Now that it comes down to it, she's admittedly nervous about having to split away from Guy. Walking in the dark woods doesn't seem nearly as easy or safe now that she'll have to go it alone.
"Well…" Rena hesitates, "Guess this is where we part ways for a bit. S-supposedly, the grave is next to a cut block - square-ish - though I suppose the edges would be worn. " Trying not to sound as unsettled as she's feeling, her wand comes out and she turns away, only to quickly return again. "We should 'ave some kind of signal to call the other over, shouldn't we?" Now she's just prolonging things.

Guy nods, "I'll flash a light. You do likewise." And with that, he's padding away.

"Right…" What a time to have a moment of self-discovery and realize that you aren't particularly fond of being alone in the dark. But, the security blanket of Guy's presence is gone, and Rena must press on alone on her side of the hill as he moves in the other direction.
The sounds of the forest are many and varied. In the distance, one can occasionally hear the call of an owl, or even the strange unearthly noise that the fox makes. Both Rena and Guy can hear each other's receding footsteps; however, there is a strange tendency when either of them ceases to move for sound to continue. Indistinct noise; like another pair of feet moving through the brush somewhere nearby. "Probably a deer…" Rena murmurs, keeping her eyes to the ground and trying NOT to be frightened.

Guy's light flicks off, and he keeps searching, but the looks around to his six are more regular, and after a while, the torch is moved to his other hand, and the revolver drawn. He also starts moving rather quieter, trying to hide the drag of his left leg.

"It must be a deer. It can't be anything but a deer…" Rena whispers to herself, her footsteps slowing until she is barely moving. Fear is getting the better of her, and in all the worst ways imaginable. Her chest is so tight that she can scarcely draw breath, but she keeps hearing that sound, nearer and nearer to her; and further away from Guy. This is Muggle territory. She /can't/ just use her wand arbitrarily.
Standing still a moment with her eyes closed and clenching her hands hard, it takes a moment before opening them again with a small steadying breath. It's almost providential, but there on the ground before her is a worn, square stone jutting up from the earth at a skewed angle.

Rena turns about, ready to flash a light in Guy's direction, but she never gets a chance.
A dark figure looms in the shadows with what looks like an upraised pipe in his grip. A startled half-cry escapes from the young woman, but nothing more as a sickening thud follows quickly when the object connects with her body, brutally knocking the air from her lungs, throwing her to the ground.

Guy hears the thud, and it recalls to him a very particular noise, for he did not go straight into the air, but first to the trenches for a few months. Very, very softly, he cocks the pistol, whilst skirmishing around towards the sound.

When air is forced from the lungs with such violence, the body tends to go first into shock and then into auto pilot. For a few moments, Rena lies motionless, twisted on the ground in a heap as the man leans over her. Two others emerge from the shadows soon after.
"You goddamn fool! I said subdue her - not KILL her!" One rather small man growls, hurrying to crouch over the fallen woman. He grips her shoulder and pushes her straight on the ground.
"She ain't dead," the man with the pipe hisses. "Look." He kicks at Rena's knee now to rouse her.
Auto pilot takes over, and Rena starts gasping helplessly for air, disoriented and trying to claw her way along the ground.
The third man - nearly the same height and build as the one with the pipe - looks around warily, searching the darkness with narrowed eyes, focused momentarily in Guy's direction - though seemingly unaware as yet. "See if there's anything useful in that bag. Money - anything. And keep that bitch quiet!" He orders tersely, not looking down as he simply expects the others to follow orders.

Fire, and move. That's the ticket. Never shoot twice from the same place. And get the fellas skylined against the relative brightness of the night sky.
A shot bursts out. The man with the pipe drops it, grasping his hand.

Following orders and uncaring about Rena's struggle to regain air, the smallest of the trio shoves her onto her back again with a vicious kick and then plants a boot in the middle of her chest to keep her still. Although weak and completely confused, she reaches up and claws at his leg, trying to get him off.
Just as her bag was turned upside down to dump its contents unceremoniously on the ground, the shot rips through the night air, hitting the lumbering brute with the pipe. One of their own is disarmed and injured, and that's enough to switch things up in a hurry.
"Fuck it… FUCK THIS!" the wary one snarls, shoving his brother - for these are indeed the three Curtis brothers the police are searching for - off of Rena. "Get to cover!"
The brute, Chris straggles around to the other side of an inadequate tree, and George, the smallest of them dives behind a skewed log. Jasper in the meantime finds probably the most effective shield in Rena. He drags her to her feet and locks his arm around her chest to brace her against himself. In the faint light, an ugly prison-made shank gleams as he presses it against her throat: "Back off! You out there. Get back or this one dies too!" His voice is desperate, and there's the look of animal terror in his eyes.

He gets as far as 'this one dies t-' before his head is thrown back, with a third eye between the other two. And whilst the flash lights up the airman, he's in motion again, this time zigzagging up the incline, crouched down low, expecting return fire, although it's clear there won't be any. At least, probably not. But old instincts are back. The Hunter is Home from the Hill. Or home _on_ the hill in this case. Fire and maneuver, maneuver and fire.

And so ends the plight of Jasper Curtis and his endeavor to regain freedom. He sinks to the ground in a slow, appalling way, releasing Rena from his grasp. Still halfway incapacitated, she finds herself on her knees again. However, now she's desperately looking for her wand on instinct. It's fallen amongst the brambles - she needs it, doesn't she?
"Jas!" Chris roars, holding his own bleeding arm. He isn't the brainiest of the trio, and being under duress seems to have knocked his intelligence back another foot or so. He makes a dive for the shank lying next to his brother, as if he could possibly use it to any good effect. George, meanwhile, remains frozen behind his insufficient barrier a moment longer before suddenly jumping to his feet. He's going to sprint for it like a rabbit.

Guy points the gun, as he tops the rise, "Freeze, you little beast! Do you _really_ think you're faster than me?" Says the forty year old in a trench coat. "Step away from it, and run. I don't shoot men in the back."

Abject hatred flashes in the man's eyes as he stares down the barrel of the gun. For a moment, his instincts seem to tell him to take on the old man and rip him apart. However, with a snarling curse, he turns abruptly and follows his fleeing brother into the trees. They vanish into the blackness beyond, leaving a dead man, an injured woman and the triumphant, armed soldier in their wake.
For her part, Rena is still struggling to breathe, holding one arm across her midsection as if in terrible pain. At the moment, she's nearly keeled over on the stone of Marvin Crawley's grave, her arm braced on the stone and her forehead resting against it. Everything is scattered around her. Her wand, her money, and her gleaming engagement ring, all tossed into the dirty loam of the forest floor.
"G-guy?" Rena calls out weakly, finally finding her voice but unable to turn and look at the moment.

Guy scoops up the wand, and crouches down, the gun following the fleeing men. It's clear he _is_ considering shooting them as they run. He reaches out to slap the wand straight into the witch’s hand. "Yours."

The wand is back in her hand, but Rena does nothing other than grasp it. Turning around slowly and painfully, she sits on the ground beside the stone and shakily glances up at Guy. To be honest, she's afraid to look at him. Her expression is difficult to read in this light, but she stammers at last: "Y-you saved my life."
It's hard to say what Rena is expecting now. She almost wants to cringe away, anticipating that he will berate her for getting into such a horrific mess in the first place.

Guy spares a glance to the fallen man. Taking in the position of the knife, and of the hole in the forehead. He doesn't bother checking for a pulse. "Damn close to blowing YOUR head off too, but he was showing so much of his head over yours and I had a clear line of fire. Revolvers not great for that sort of job, but dammit, I gave them a warning shot."

Still very much not herself, Rena listens to Guy with a miserable expression now. He is angry - and rightly so. "I'm so s-sorry," she tries to say, forcing back tears quite hard.
Reaching up with her hand, she runs it along her neck uncomfortably. Withdrawing it, she finds it decently smeared with dark, sticky blood. "Guess he scratched me," she murmurs, not nearly as concerned as she ought to be, probably.
Now her glance falls on Jasper's dead form on the ground: "Oh… oh lord!" Her clean hand goes to her face, covering her mouth as she shrinks back. "What-what do we do about 'im??"

Guy puts an arm around the woman, "Well, rather hoped you'd have some idea about that. Worst comes to the worst, we tell the police, but I was rather hoping you could deal with things… you know. More discretely."

Undoubtedly, Guy can feel Rena's whole body trembling as he puts his arm around her. For a moment, she leans her head against him, trying to pull herself back together. "I-I'll 'ave to think on that one," she says unhappily, not even sure where to begin.
After regaining a little equilibrium, she works on gathering her things into her bag once more, not bothering to clean the dirt. She can deal with that later. Noticing something smooth and round jutting from beside the stone of Cooley's grave, she begins scraping away at the loam with her hand hurriedly. It's a lack-luster triumph, but it is indeed a human skull. Guy can probably only wonder what kind of macabre bent Rena must have deep down inside that she gives one final yank, pulling it from the ground and then promptly dropping it into her bag with the rest of her things.

Suddenly, the stillness of the night air is broken again as multiple voices can be heard shouting from perhaps an acre or so away. These are followed by the crack of gunfire.
"Gods, it must be the searchers," Rena gasps, struggling to her feet again. "After the other two… Guy! if we get out of ‘ere, maybe they'll think a stray bullet got /this one/." She says desperately, gripping his arm.

Guy pauses, then nods, "Right. Let’s get us back to the inn." And he takes her hand, and leads her unerringly in the right direction. He does pause once to remove the two casings from the revolver and put them into his pocket, before adding two new rounds.

It's hard going for Rena to follow in Guy's wake, as well as he may be leading her. Gunfire rips through the night air several more times as they flee the scene, coming to a stop after a short time. "Guy," Rena gasps as she nearly keels over once: "Broken ribs 'urt bad when you breathe, right?" She asks with a wince. The girl may be a mess and a bloody nuisance (quite literally) but at least she's a trooper and still carrying on.

Guy pauses, immediately, and risks a brief flash of the torch. Checking for more red stuff. Then the light is gone. "Yes. Yes, they do. I'll take a look when we get back to the inn, but there's not much to be done for them."

A terse nod is given. The cut on her neck has largely stopped oozing by now. Mostly, it's the pain inside bothering her and hindering her movements as they plough through the brush. "Worst part is going to be getting back up the rope," Rena almost whimpers. But she'll have to do it. There is no way she can enter the hotel again looking like this.
"I know I'm more trouble than a handful of bees," she manages through clenched teeth as they draw close to the forest edge and the inn comes into view. "I owe you my life, Guy. I'll pay you back someday. I swear."

Guy waves a hand, "If I'd thought it out, I'd have made you put a repelling spell to blades on yourself, or whatever it is you do. Least I could do, anyway." The man doesn't add that it wasn't her life he was initially worried about, but her virtue.

Rena is in no shape to be casting spells by the time they reach the Inn. It is an excruciating struggle to get back up the rope and into the hotel room, but with Guy's help near the end to get over that last obstacle of the window sill, she manages. Once in the room however, the pain is honestly too much to stand without blacking out, and she just crumples on the floor for a while to catch her breath. She can deal with her coat and everything in a while when she's better able.

Mission accomplished, thanks to Guy's heroics… Marvin Crawley’s grave was located and proof retrieved; but, at a very steep cost. Rena is likely going to catch it when she gets back to London.

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