(1941-06-26) All the Better to Squeesh You With
Details for All the Better to Squeesh You With
Summary: Part 2: Our heroes finally come together, in the depths of the Forbidden Forest. Time to save Camilla!
Date: June 26th, 1941
Location: Lost, Forbidden Forest
Plot: Centaur Civil War
Related: Part 1: Into the Woods Part 3: Out of the Woods

The sun rises into a blood-red sky, the colors ominous and hinting at squalls later in the day. It has been hours, now, and the terrain is beginning to grow steeper, jagged and uneven, but still covered in towering pines. Off in the distance, through the trees and the underbrush, can be seen a tall ridge line. Granite boulders show through the mossy grass, glinting now in the early sunlight like jagged teeth.

The trail that was once so hard to see is now painfully obvious. Trolls are not subtle creatures, and with the advent of that bloody sun, their swathe of destruction is easy to make out. Grayson Loring, his herringbone sweater ripped at the elbows now, two days' worth of stubble casting shadows down the planes of his face, walks on, his wand lifted and aimed forward, like a rifle.

He pauses to look over at his companion, one expressive brow rising. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight," he drawls. And then, completing the old rhyme, "Red sky at mornin'.. Sailors take warnin'." He crouches here, suddenly and without warning, and begins to rummage through his pack. "We should eat." Apparently his idea of a meal is tough hardtack and jerky, and a canteen of water. "We're almost there. Another few hours at the most."

In all fairness to Roe, she's been limping along in the man's wake all this time without complaint.. well, unless you count the occasional muttered oath when she inevitably trips, or skids, or stubs her toe. That ankle's must be hurting her, but she's done as Gray advised and just left it tightly laced inside her boot. Not much comfort, but no worse, at least. She has her wand in hand too, even if she's visibly less 'alert' than her companion. Actually, it's quite a miracle she's keeping her feet at all. She looks ready to keel over. Not built for this whole 'roughing it' lifestyle, you know! But she's doing her damndest, bless her.

Roe's attire is perhaps in an even worse state. Because she keeps falling over. Or tumbling into tree trunks, thank you very much Grayson. The overlarge jacket she was lent by him is intact - even she can't too terribly knacker dragon hide - but her trousers and sweater beneath are scuffed and muddy, with a mossy green smear at one hip. Just to make things worse, she doesn't notice the smudge of dirt she leaves across one cheek as she rubs at her face, following a weary yawn. Oh, food. That's worth a wan smile, and she gratefully drops to a seat on the sloping forest floor. This terrain is killing her.

"Shepherd." Gently correcting the rhyme to the version she knows, the brunette meets Gray's gaze with a crooked smirk. "..Red sky at dawn, shepherd's mourn. That's how I always heard it, anyway." Offering a hand out in a silent, polite request for some jerky, Roe's expression gives way to dismay. "Hours..?"

Grayson doesn't answer immediately. First, he splashes water out of the canteen onto his hand and reaches out, tenderly brushing Roe's cheek and cleaning the dirt away as best he can. And then he draws out his knife and cuts a hunk of jerky for her, passing it over. "A few," he says reassuringly. "We can move faster now. They're almost certainly into their fortress, or encampment, or whatever we're going to find." He squints up at the distant hills, then reaches over to squeeze Roe's shoulder.

"Once we get there, we'll have a better idea of what to do. But I've been thinking on it all night, luv." He chews his lip, then continues. "We're only two. They have us outnumbered by.. we-ell, by a lot." A wry smile. "I figure our only advantage is that they dunno we exist. How do y'feel about one of us acting as distraction, and the other freeing Miss Fawley?" There's a primness in the way he refuses to call her by her first name, even in these circumstances.

"With a bit of preparation, I reckon I can make it sound as though we've an army of Wizards out here." He grins mischievously, his scarred lips twisting upward. "And then when most of them are pissing off trying to kill me, you go right in and get it done. Thoughts?"

Blinking, surprise fading to realisation as Gray thumbs water at her cheek, the young woman then accepts the offered 'breakfast' and sets about gnawing off a chunk to chew on. Stretching her sore leg out in front of her, she tentatively flexes that ankle a couple times before abandoning any hope of relieving the pressure in the joint, sighing and resting her shoulders back against a knobbly tree trunk. "How do I feel about it..?" Still chewing steadily, Roe arches a brow at the dragonologist. "I don't like it one bit, since you ask. But I don't have any better ideas, either."

Finally, she manages to swallow the tough mouthful and clears her throat before speaking again. "As you said, once we know what we're dealing with, we'll be better able to plan. But no, Grayson.. I'm not awfully keen on splitting up, or you being pursued by a clan of trolls. Is that the plural? Clan? Gaggle? Murder?" Shrug. "There could be more of their traps. Likely are, this close to whatever it is they're guarding. How would we find you? How would you manage not to get yourself killed? It's noble and heroic, certainly. But it might also be buh-loody stupid."

"It is bloody stupid. This whole thing is bloody stupid." Grayson grins like a pitbull, all teeth and his lips pulled back. He's enjoying this. He gnaws on his own chunk of jerky, watching Roe, his hard expression fading to something more tender. "You'd have the most dangerous part, really. It'd all depend on whether I could hold their attention, whether your part works." He considers, then grins again. "As for me, all I'd be doing is runnin' south just as fast as ever I could. I'd probably be home well before you and Miss Fawley."

He turns to look again at the ridgeline, scrutinizing it as though it would yield up answers if he just stares hard enough. "But you're absolutely bloody correct, Roe. It's a terrible plan." His grin this time is more of a smirk, mirthless and full of edges. "Think of it this way.."

He reaches out to take Roe's hand, squeezing gently. "If we pull it off," he says quietly, "You're going to be the most famous Scamander in RCMC history. Nobody's done anythin' like this, two wizards against a whole murder of trolls?" Apparently he likes murder as the plural. That probably figures. "They'll probably give you a medal."

"I don't want a medal." Well, knowing Roe, that's probably quite true. She'd only lose the damn thing. "I just want you to not get killed." Allowing Gray's hand to encompass her own, she returns the squeeze gently with her fingers. "If it's not too much to ask." Settling her head back against the trunk, the young woman casts her eyes skyward, idly watching the gray of night be fought back by the vibrant oranges, violets and pinks of dawn, high above the gently swaying pines. "It's really quite beautiful here, if you take the time to look up." That's something she presumably doesn't do often; careful attention to the path underfoot rather more important for one so clumsy.

"Do you think she's alright?" Unwilling to dwell on the danger of her own place in Gray's suggested plan of attack, Roe guides the subject to the woman they intend to rescue, instead. "I mean, I still think she's alive.. they wouldn't bother carrying her off if they'd wanted her dead. But do you think she's hurt..?" It's worrying her. All else aside, they dragged the woman into this… and now the brunette can't help thinking of one little girl and her birthday party.

Grayson doesn't answer for awhile. He squeezes Roe's hand, brushing his palm along her thumb, his eyes distant as he looks past her — through her. Grave, calculating. He's giving the question serious consideration, it seems. And then his eyes focus again on Roe, and he smiles his lopsided grin. "She's fine," he says quietly. "Think about this — she never drew her wand. She let them take her. And it was a centaur arrow that wounded her."

He lifts Roe's knuckles to his lips, watching her after he presses home a kiss. "She knew they weren't going to hurt her. They want her for a hostage, maybe. Whoever's controlling them." He sounds convinced of this theory himself, his gaze unflinching on Roe's. "Listen to me. Ranger Fawley had a duty to this Forest — that's why she came. None of this is your fault."

Another brief pause. "And I'm not going to die. I promise." This, at last, does not carry a ring of certainty. And he adds on, reluctantly, "..I'll do everything I can to make us both safe."

"That's true." admits Roe, her head still leaning back against the trunk of the tree, though her eyes turn to meet Grayson's gaze and she offers a weary smile for his crooked grin. "She knows what she's doing, we have to trust in that. And you have to remember she said 'no heroics'. I want to get her back, too, Gray. But there's no sense in all of us getting captured. Can I have some water?" The interjection is an afterthought, but also a way of smoothly closing the matter.

"Camilla was absolutely right - this is our best shot at finding out what's going on. So I'll leave the 'tactics' to you, if you'll insist on planning your battlefield." Sighing again, the petite brunette frowns down at her boot, experimentally flexing her ankle again. Nope, no better. Damn.

"I can't help it," Grayson says sheepishly. He passes over the canteen and looks back up at those mountains. "Remember back at the Ministry? You told me you'd be safe, because you had me. Remember what I said?" Grayson grins wryly, absently twisting his torso from side to side and cracking a few vertebra rather noisily.

"Nothing ever goes according to any plan, ever. So long as we assume that everything's going to go off the bloody rails, we're better off than not." He absently turns his knife over and over in his hands. "Odds are good that we'll learn some things up there. You're right — that's really all we know." He stands up, sliding his knife away, and begins packing the hardtack and jerky. "How's that ankle?"

There's some rustling in the woods, the sound of movement, and then Josie appears… riding on the back of a large lion, gently holding on as it walks. She gives a smile of relief as she spots Roe and Grayson, "You're safe! But where's Camilla?" She jumps down off the back of the lion now, looking around.

The lion eyes the two R.C.M.C. agents with bright, blue eyes — an unusual colour for a lion. The beast lifts his chin, looming protectively by Josie's side, but it makes no aggressive moves thus far.

"It hurts like an absolute twa-.." Trailing off abruptly at the sound of rustling in the undergrowth, Roe snaps her wand upward in the direction of the noise. It's too quiet to be a troll, but centaurs can be skillful hunters, in their own territory. Have they been discovered, so close to their destination? There's a hex on the tip of her tongue, so thinly, dangerously stretched are her senses and nerves. She'll never get to her feet in time, so the little brunette simply stays where she is at the base of the towering pine. When a bloody lion appears, her eyes widen and those lips part, perfectly ready to hurl an offensive spell.. anything. She's had enough of this place. Seriously.

It's only in the last split-second she notices the girl clinging to the blue-eyed animal's back and catches herself, looking horrified. "Josie! For goodness' sake.. what are you doing out here?" Mingling fear and relief at having almost attacked the child leave Roe uncharacteristically snappy, and she begins heaving herself to her feet with a grimace and a frown.

At the sound, the snapping of the twigs, Grayson is pivoting as well, his wand leveled, his other hand going to the knife at his belt. And unlike Roe, he doesn't really relax at the sight of Josie — not with that unexplained lion standing there. Moving slowly, Grayson steps over beside Roe and offers her the hand that had been on his knife. His wand is pointed slightly down and away from the newcomers.

"Roe's right. You oughtn't have come." A pause, and then — his gaze lingering on the lion — he says "Camilla's been taken by a pack'a trolls. Call themselves Gugga — or that's what she called 'em." He gestures to the trail leading off to the north. "We've been followin' them all night."

Josie nods almost impatiently as they say she shouldn't be there, and says, with a glance back to the lion, "Yeah, I know, but I wasn't going to sit at home waiting." She looks to Grayson, again, and says, "Trolls? Why would they take her? What happened?"

The lion gives Josie a little rumbling growl, nodding in agreement with the agents. Then he lowers his haunches and leans back as if to sit, but the motion continues as the beast begins to stand upright. All the way, the golden fur recedes, the muzzle shortens, and its whole shape is redrawn until a young man with a mane of his own golden hair stands before them. "Next time I'm tying you to a chair," he grumbles at Josie. He gives Grayson a nod of recognition, while arching an eyebrow at Roe. But introductions can wait. "Show us the way," he says firmly.

Accepting Gray's hand, the young woman rises and straightens, hopping just slightly before setting her booted foot down with care and dusting herself off. She still looks awfully dishevelled, but she's determinedly trying to gather her wits and composure, still eyeing the girl - and her feline escort. "There's no point sending them back now.. it's a miracle they didn't end up in any of those traps already." Sighing, Roe softens her tone, pushing a hand back through her tousled hair. Finding a dry leaf, she pulls it free and flicks it like a cigarette butt, lips twisting in momentary disgruntlement. "..of course, Camilla will probably throw us in one, now. Josie?" Arching a brow, ignoring the fact that it was the man who was addressed, the magizoologist settles her gaze on the lass. "We have as much idea as you, about that. Which is precisely why we're going after her. And, given what we've already seen..?" She raises a forefinger and touches it to her own lips, in the global gesture of 'shh'. "..if you're coming with us - and I don't see there's much choice - I suggest you keep your eyes peeled and be ready to hide. Not fight." Following this, she flits a glance to the lion again. Or.. where the lion was. There's now a young man there. Because the day wasn't already complicated enough, clearly. "And who's your friend?" She looks from Josie, to Gray, to the stranger, aware she's missed something.

Grayson's eyes widen a bit as Lucian transforms; he watches the whole process, fascinated. And he returns Lucian's nod before looking away, scanning the brush. "Lucian here seems to have a few surprises up his sleeve," he murmurs to Roe. "I met him the other night when I went to visit that kneazle kitten." And then he shrugs slightly, turning to gesture northward. "We're not far now. My plan — our plan — was to lie low until we had an idea of what's happening."

"Alright. So you're here, we might as well use you both." His accent is thick Cockney just now, with a few apparently-random deviations into a more Upper Crust English. "Plan stays the same, as I see it. We do a bit of recce, get the lay and the numbers, and then we figure out how to get Camilla out of there." He looks over at Roe ruefully and murmurs, more quietly, "We do need the bodies."

Josie glances back, and then says to Roe, "This is Lucian. My brother, or as close as I've got to one." She nods to both Roe and Grayson at their idea of the plan, "Got it. Let's go, then. I can be quiet." She doesn't show much fear, either, though she must be feeling it.

"You want to be unseen? Everyone gather around." Lucian draws his wand, beckoning everyone closer. "I've taken care of hippogriffs all my life. I know my way around a Disillusionment Charm." He readies his wand, and those that consent to it get a tap on the head as he incants, "Homogenus". The spell feels rather like an egg has been cracked on one's head and is slowly dripping down over them. But as it drips, the target shimmers out of focus, blending into their surroundings.

Roe looks distinctly unhappy at the idea of placing the youngsters in harm's way. But then.. being out here at all equates to 'in harm's way', and they put themselves there. Well, Josie did, judging by the lad's response. She nods up and aside at Gray, in response to his murmured admission, and falls into step just behind his shoulder. Seeing as her 'brought-upness' demands good manners, she does offer a grim nod toward the boy.. right as he makes the offer to cast. It's very possible she might have protested, given better circumstances. But.. she's the weak link, here, with that limp. Maybe it's not a terrible plan.

"I'd been intending to wait until we were closer, but you're right, Lucian." Grayson, too, consents to the spell being cast. Absently, he reaches behind him, toward where Roe stands, attempting to take hold of her hand. "Next thing is our scent. As we move in, we'll need to circle until the wind's against us. These particular trolls're more clever than any I've seen. And organized."

Josie nods to Lucian, giving a grin, "Brilliant idea." She holds still while the spell is cast, and then comments, "I gotta learn how to do this." Then, she goes very quiet, as she follows along.

"And stay close," Lucian says as they all vanish from sight. "It won't be easy to spot one another. I'll keep Josie on my back for now. Do you have cord or something to tie us together so we don't get lost?"

Twining her fingers with Grayson's larger ones, the last he would see of Roe is her worried eyes before she shimmers and fades from existence. A concern apparently occurs to her only after the fact, announced by a softly-uttered oath in her disembodied voice. "…bugger. How am I meant to not trip when I can't see my feet..?" Her hold tightens a fraction, a subtle warmth letting her companion know she's moved, quite sensibly, closer to his back. "That's a spectacularly bad idea.." she replies, in the vague direction of Lucian's voice, when he mentions a cord. "Trust me. You don't want to be attached to me."

Rocky Lairs, Forbidden Forest
At the base of the mountains that surround the hidden wizarding valley of Hogsmeade where rock and wood collide has made for many caves and rocky dens for the creatures of the Forbidden Forest to hide away in.

The smell that wafts out of a cave entrance where all of the large muddy footprints lead into is overpowering in its Trollishness. Above and to the right of the large cave is a smaller cave. It's existance is noted by an attention getting flapping of a ripped off arm of a leather jacket. It looks like Camilla ripped the poorly sewn back on sleeve off and tossed it up to catch on some stones. Upon closer inspection the smaller cave entrance is flanked by some runes carved in the stone. R.C.M.C. warnings and observation symbols. The littler cave must be used as an observatory of sorts at one time. The larger cave itself sounds packed with trolls that are settling in to sleep through most of the day.

Still gripping Roe's hand after the hike through the Wood, Grayson crouches down and examines the scene before him. Unseen, his eyes narrow and focus, and his lips turn upward in a wolfish smile as he spots the jacket sleeve. "Smart, Fawley," he mutters. And then, in a hushed murmur that — hopefully — extends to the others, he says "Let's move closer to the smaller cave. See if we can't get an angle on where they're keeping her."

If there's one thing that Josie is best at, it's sneaking. Of course, she's used to sneaking through city alleyways, not forests, but still, she does her best to be quiet and is the unnoticeable as possible. She doesn't even say anything to Grayson's suggestion, just following along.

Lucian remains in lion form as they approach the caves. He's naturally more stealthy with cat paws, and his reflexes are faster in case of an ambush. He stays right beside Josie, in physical contact as much as possible, preferring to keep his "little sister" close where he can protect her. For now he follows Grayson's lead to the small cave, as that seems to be where Camilla tried to direct them.

She's still there and has actually managed not to stumble too badly during the trek. Though it's a good job she notices the change of angle in Gray's hold, or she'd have fallen over him when he hunkered down. Roe casts her eyes thoughtfully up over those symbols, swiftly translating their various meanings in her mind. The noise - and smell - from the larger cave elicits a faint shudder that thankfully only Grayson will be aware of, and she keeps her wand held tight down by her side. There's no argument from her, in regard to his suggested course of action.

Hearing no arguments, Grayson sets off across the open ground. Despite the camouflage, he does his best to keep out of sight, occasionally pressing a palm against Roe's stomach to signal a pause. The pauses seem to be random, disruptions in their path. Perhaps an attempt to prevent peripheral vision from noticing shifting blurs on the ground. He reaches the cave's recesses and, gently sliding his other hand to Roe's elbow, attempts to draw her into a crouch alongside him. He turns away from the troll cave, examining the former observatory keenly. "I wonder why we abandoned this place," he whispers. "Trolls got too dangerous to stay?"

Josie doesn't seem to mind Lucian being so close, at least not so far. She still stays quiet, as she follows into the smaller cave, looking around. Finally, she whispers, "The whole forest has been getting extra dangerous the last few years."

"Who knows. With all the focus on the centaurs of late, perhaps research on the trolls ended up being overlooked, in the grander scheme of things." Whispering back to Grayson, having obligingly hunkered on her heels beside him, Roe is likewise looking over the interior of the small 'observatory'. "They're not usually the most interesting of creatures, not to be unkind about it.." That's rich, coming from the girl who sits in the Centaur Liason Office all day, drinking cups of tea. But it's the truth.

The long tunnel is obviously man made and made for man. More runes are here and there along the walls of the tunnel, like window frames they are carved and painted in the shapes of large rectangles, squares, ovals and circles and when looked at the stone in the center warbles and goes transparent, allowing the group to see down into the Troll Lair below. For 100 yards the tunnel is all your average day trolls settling in for their daily snooze. It is probably strange to see the fearsome beings looking so… domestic as they give their good-nights, tuck in the children. Putting into perspective that these are beings just living their lives as best as they can, totally oblivious to being watched by intruders.

Once the rescue party reaches the first spot where there is a trap door built into the floor of a nook the scenery down below has changed. The average every day trolls give this area it's space, and even deep as they are there is a glow from the large rectangle 'window'. The cavern this particular window looks down on has a couple of holes in the ceiling and sun light beams down in rays and reflects and glitters off of a hoard of gold, silver, copper, gems, artefacts of all kinds.

There are three figures in this room. On a large boulder that has gold literally smashed into it like some sort of throne there is a figure sitting in it, but the way the light casts keeps the figure obscured. But one of the rays shines brightly close to a massive male troll that is ancient by the look of him. He is riddled with scars and is all muscle instead of the typical pudge found on trolls. Around his neck laying on his scared up naked chest is a leather necklace that is decorated with some tropies of likely kills. Mostly made up of arrow shafts, Centaur in make, there is a pair of wands. Lucian recognizes them as the wands that once belonged to Gage and Kit Hart, the two students that were killed when they blundered into the Dark Forest a couple of years ago. Lucian and Josie also easily recognize the English Oak wand that he's using as a toothpick currently, it's Camilla's wand. His stance is that of obvious gloating as he looms over the witch. Crumpled down at his feet with her wand arm smashed between two boulders. She is just coming to and is stirring after she most likely passed out when her use of magic was taken from her so violently by the massive troll.

"Aw, bugger." Grayson whispers the words, studying the massive, muscular Troll. But if one could see his features, they'd see the flush of excitement in his cheeks, the glimmer of something approaching exultation. He seems to thrive on the tension of the moment. Slowly, his wand-hand comes up, invisible except as a faint heat ripple. But he isn't aiming it at the giant thug. He's aiming it at the figure on the throne. "Josie, Lucian." He's whispering, hoping that the girl and Lucian are near enough to hear. "Don't do anything. Not yet. Not unless it looks like they're going to kill her."

There's a flash of motion, just for a moment, as Josie sees Camilla. Likely she's drawing her wand. She stops, however, and whispers, "I won't." Though nobody can see, her own eyes go towards that throne as well, as she goes quiet again.

Lucian shifts invisibly back to human form, and reaches out to find Josie's arm (well, hopefully). "We have to do something," Lucian hisses. "Look, trolls are stupid and impulsive. I can go in there in lion form and make a big noise, looking like a threat. I guarantee that a whole lot of them will chase me. That'll clear out the cave and make it easier for the rest of you to get to Camilla."

Roe gives it a moment, taking in the scene down below in silence and letting Grayson give the order to the younger members of the group. It's tough, even for her, seeing Camilla like that. She can't begin to imagine how Josie must feel. "Gray.." she murmurs, her voice close by and hushed, "..think that's the face she recognised? The one in the throne?" Oh so helpfully, the one they can't see. Raising her own wand, the brunette focuses her attention thoughtfully between the ranger and the tooth-picking troll looming over her. "Impulsive is stupid." she agrees, gently, with Lucian. "The others aren't in our way. I'd rather deal with these two than the entire cave full, wouldn't you? I vote for stealth." There's a moment's pause before she adds, "..I know you want to get her out of there. We do, too. But, to put it bluntly.. if they wanted her dead, it would be her head between those two rocks. Not her arm. Bide your time."

"Orromo, No!" Comes a deep but feminine voice from the shadows when the brute lifts his free hand looking like he's going to attempt to knock the witch out again. Coins and treasure shift around the 'queens' feet as she stands. Orromo as he was named bows his head and lowers his arm like a loyal dog that was just disciplined.

Fluttering eyelids contort as the pain sinks in as Camilla's conciousness stirs. She stomps a little and kicks her foot trying to vent her anguish without screaming and giving them the satisfation. The kicking shifts a nearby poorly organized pile of treasure and the light in the room shifts and illuminates the smaller darker skinned female troll that is approaching Camilla and Orromo. The Queen speaks in pretty good English. "I am sorry for Orromo's methods. But you understand don't you blood of Craig Fawley? You know, he didn't join the mob that nearly killed me. It is why you are still alive." Camilla is not exactly cohearant and she sounds more Trollish than the troll queen. "Gugga. He told me bout you… I didn't know… you lived. You did this…"

The accusation has Gugga standing up to a fuller height exuding pride. "I did! What? You never even stopped to think that a troll was good enough? That is why! You cursed us! We were better once. But you took that from us! But Gugga will give it back. Wizards and Centaurs will pay for the Bad Treatment of Trolls! Suffer, be HUNTED like us."

His Queens monologue is getting a rise out of Orromo and he puts his hand on top of the crushing boulder and simply just leans on it.

Camilla lets out a scream now as her cracked bones are further pulverized. Wild eyes go towards a place high on the cavern wall and look pleadingly right into the eyes of those looking on. Praying that there is someone on the other side of those runes. But feeling absolutely hopeless all at the same time.

"That was my first plan. T'cause a distraction, let Roe fetch Camilla. But Roe's the one who reminded me — this's bigger." Grayson doesn't sound particularly happy with his own words. "We won't let her come t'harm. I want Lucian and Josie ready to cast knockback hexes on that big'n once we go in. Roe, be prepared to cast the Imperturbable Charm if you can. If not, start throwing cannon curses at the big one." He speaks with a quiet authority, as one used to being obeyed. "I know you both love her. But we have a mission. We came here to learn who's behind all this." And he nods aside to Roe, though of course she can't see it. "The one on the throne," he agreed quietly.

Lucian can likely feel the tension in Josie's arm as Camilla screams, as she struggles with instinct to charge in. But, she knows better. She's lived surrounded by larger, more powerful enemies. She nods to the plan, and says in a whisper, "I'll be ready. But I'm not sure how well knockback hexes will work against a troll that big."

Thankfully, Roe cannot see Lucian's scowls. What does she mean, impulsive is stupid? Is she calling him stupid? What a-…oh, wait, she was agreeing with him. Grumble, grumble. "I didn't come here to learn anything," Lucian says to Grayson. "I came to rescue my friend. That comes before anything else. Josie, you concentrate on getting that rock off of Camilla's arm. I'll handle 'Tiny'."

Considering swiftly, with a glance to that door, Roe shakes her head. Then remembers she can't be seen doing so. "A Body-Bind Curse would be better. Stupefy, even. We three," The three eldest, presumably, "..take one each, the less disruption the better.." She trails off, though, when Camilla casts that helpless look. Just for a moment. "Josie.. Gray's right. Impediment Jinxes, if you're good with them. But someone still needs to get to Camilla. Lucian.. can you take her weight, if we clear you a path and get that rock moved? Grayson can cover you down there and Josie and I from up here." She's surprising herself, the evaluation of the situation is quite evenly spoken. Not as authoritative as Gray, but undeniably pragmatic. And nobody can see how pale she is. Bonus. She doesn't bother pointing out to lion-boy that it was Camilla's order to get the information. They all have their own reasons for being here.

Grayson nods slowly, and then — like Roe — remembers that it cannot be seen. "I like that plan. Top marks, Scamander." Not least, likely, because it keeps Roe and Josie well away from 'Tiny' down there. There is genuine approval in his voice, however. "Alright. Let's get over to the trapdoor and let the ladies get into position up here." He doesn't directly address Lucian's own plan, except to be heard shuffling toward the trapdoor. "Everything's going to happen very fast once this door opens," he says quietly. "Now that we know what we need to know, priority is getting Camilla out."

Josie looks between Lucian and the others, and then nods, stepping over to get in position. She glances to the 'window', and says, whispering, "Does that mean we can cast spells through it? I never took ancient runes, but think I saw that in some book somewhere." Then, she nods again, and says, "I'll get the rock, then join the fight if it isn't over yet."

Lucian peers over curiously at what Josie is indicating. He squints, then winces. "I remember this. Professor Flint taught us the hard way about this rune. It's a ward against dangerous magic. Spells designed to inflict harm will bounce right off. I wouldn't try casting any Cannon Curses through these windows."

Looking up at Josie's whispered question, Roe frowns to herself as she notes the runes. She didn't take the class either. Maybe she should have. Luckily, it seems Lucian, at least, knows what he's looking at. "So Josie can safely cast through there to get that rock lifted..? Good." It'd be more than any of their lives are worth if that girl gets hurt in Camilla's presence. "I can't climb down, with this bloody buggery ankle.. but I can lean through the trapdoor, once you two are clear."

Over by the trapdoor, Grayson looks back blankly. "Well," he drawls after a moment, "Let's hope we don't need them to, eh, Lucian?" His posh English accent is back, just for those few words, and then he looks past Lucian to Roe. He just stares at her for a long, silent, moment before quirking his scarred lips in a grin and shading her a wink. "We've a thing to do, haven't we?" His hands are on the trapdoor's mechanism now. "I'll feel better havin' you watchin' my back, Rowena." And with that, he prepares to open the hatch.

Josie looks to the rune again, and then back to Lucian, "Thanks for the warning." She sounds more confident now, now that they're doing something. She steps over to the window, getting in position, ready to cast the spell.

Lucian stands at Grayson's side, wand at the ready, prepared to drop through the trapdoor as soon as it's open. He repeats the plan, mostly to himself, for clarity, "Go after the big guy. Josie moves the rock. I grab Camilla. Run like hell. That about right? What if the one on the throne joins in?"

"I'll aim for her.." murmurs Roe, in a gentle aside toward Lucian as he worries aloud. Is it comforting? Who knows. Disembodied voices are rarely much of a reassurance.

Camilla's voice is filled with pain but fueled with willpower. "So help me if I had my wand Orromo!" But any further bravado is cut short when the large troll stands back up straight leaving the boulder so he can very deliberately pick his teeth with the point of Camilla's wand again. This ruins her zen! With a growl in the back of her throat she plants her feet on the bottom boulder and then suddenly she begins to rapidly shrink and grey, white and black hair sprout and then there's a little grey fox struggling to get it's paw free. Without knowing there is a rescue mission on the way the Ranger is attempting her own escape. Her animal form is a fox for a reason, she's not started to gnaw at her captured paw, yet. But that certainly seems emminent.

The transformation of their prisoner has Orromo dumbfounded. Camilla's wand is sticking out of some 'tooth cheese' even though his hand has dropped to try to grapple with the dexterous and bitey little fox.

Gugga can't help but chuckle and laugh at Orromo trying to get the fox under control. "Fawley. No where to run. Gugga has won!" The queen of trolls lifts her hands up victoriously and in her right hand is an ancient scroll that is clutched with some level of reverence.

Grayson begins to hoist up on the trapdoor, but suddenly stops, a few inches from its place amidst the stone floor. He reaches behind him, whips out his knife, and hesitates. Unseen sweat beads on his brow as he creeps the knife forward ever-so-carefully and snicks across with it. There is another pause while he waits for some dire thing to occur — all of this perfectly unseen, of course — and he breathes out audibly.

Lifting the trapdoor wholly, he lowers himself through until he's dangling, then scrambles down the cleverly-concealed slots, moving aside to make room for Lucian. But the situation is changing rapidly in the room, and he has no time to wait. Or so he convinces himself, anyway. Still just a blur against the stones, Grayson's wand comes up, he levels it at Orromo, and bellows, "Petrificus Totalus!"

Waiting until the right moment, Josie is quiet, her wand pointed at the rock. As soon as Grayson drops, however, she does the flick and swish motion that every first year is taught, saying, "Wingardium leviosa."

Orromo goes rigid and his jaw snaps shut and Camilla's wand goes flipping through the air. Camilla has seen this and there's a quick shifting and enlarging and she's back to human form. The wand has fallen just out of reach so she begins kicking at the pile of coins to try to get it to roll her way so she can kick it closer. Her face is contorted in pain as she struggles but then instant relief when the boulder suddenly lifts and bashes Omorro in the face on its way up and on his way down.

As the rescue mission becomes obvious Gugga's laughter is cut short and that scroll in her hand is fumbled with so she can open it and read what ever is written.

Lucian wastes no time following Grayson, but he is still climbing when the man begins the attack. Grumbling, Lucian hops down, skipping the last few slots. Seeing as Grayson seems to have handled Orromo quite handily, and Josie has done her job with style (good girl), Lucian tucks his wand away. There's a time for magic, and there's a time to get your hands dirty. He sprints across the cave, still covered by the Disillusionment Charm, going first for Camilla's wand. Having another witch slinging spells can only help. "Cami," he hisses a whisper as he puts the wand right into her hand, "It's Lucian. Can you walk?" He doesn't wait for an answer as he tries to hoist her up to her feet. Whether she's running or he's carrying her, they're getting out of there.

Once the spells start flying and the boys have - presumably - descended to the cave floor, Roe arranges herself by the trapdoor hastily, leaning down through it to get a clear line-of-sight on Gugga. fumbling with that scroll. Good grief, it's a warzone. Not really. But the closest she's come to one. Levelling her wand on the troll, the little brunette flings a cast at the self-made 'Queen', her well-spoken tones perfectly clear and audible in the echoing cave. "Petrificus Totalus!" She can't see Lucian sprinting for the injured Ranger, but she guesses that's what's happening, given the lack of additional incantations.

There is a splash of coins and treasure as the Queen of the Trolls goes rigid and falls backwards. Her eyes straining to look corner side towards the presumed direction of her attackers. She is growling out words but her locked jaw makes them completely indescernable. Try as she might she just can not get the proper pronunciation right to whatever she was just trying to read off of the scroll.

Camilla makes an approximate guess to where Lucian's cheek is once she's on her feet to land a very quick smooch before she limps along with her invisible body guard. The arrow that grazed her calf yesterday is still tender and while she will, "Bloody run if I must." it's still a bit painful to do so. They will have words later for why he is even here in the first place!

"That's my girl, Rowena!" Grayson is smiling hugely, though it's still unseen. His wand is leveled at the other entrance to the room, and he stands by the 'ladder' out, clearly intending to cover the group's retreat. As an afterthought, he twists his wand-tip toward where Gugga lies. "Accio scroll!" There is a scrambling sound, and for a moment it seems as though Gugga will hold onto it, but a second later it zips through the air and slaps into Grayson's hand. "Righto. Up the ladder, Fawley, Lucian. I'm right behind."

Josie laughs as she sees the rock hit the falling troll, then watches as Camilla is guided to safety. Though, after a moment, she turns her attention to the treasures in the room, looking to see if she can see any trace of the centaur's relic in the few moments they have.

All of the falling and tumbling and running around has shifted the light within the trove quite a lot. The throne is now fully illuminated and shining with all of the bits of mashed treasures into the stone. On the front of the stone there was a natural little notch and much rather like the Stone of Scone within this little nook is what looks like an obsidian rod that has a granite center with leather wrapped around it. Either end of the rod does flare out and it looks remarkably like the handle section of an archer's bow. Small bits of silver sparkle in their constellation like shapes on the obsidian.

Once Camilla is ushered up to the observatory she looks through the window, "We can't go… not yet. Keep them stunned and just … give me a minute. We can't leave them here to continue their plans. This is our chance to end — owww." She leans against the wall and quietly starts to use her wand a bit clunkily in her off hand to start healing up.

Josie grins, not that anybody can see, and says, "The artifact, the centaur one, it's there, under the throne!" She raises her wand, sorely tempted, but thinks better of it, not wanting to mess things up trying to copy a spell she's only seen used a couple of times.

Camilla leaps out of her skin and blinks towards the disembodied voice. "Josephine Alexandra Fawley-Bates-Davies!!"

Lucian is still at the bottom of the makeshift ladder, having helped Camilla up. "What artefact?" He glances back to the throne. "That black rod thing?" What could possibly be so interesting about that. But if this is what Camilla was going on about, he knows damn well that she'll try not to leave without it. She's nearly as stubborn as he is! With a grunting sigh, he dashes back into the midst of the petrified trolls once again to try to pry the rod free of the throne.

Roe clears the way for Camilla to climb into the observatory, rather than be trampled. Gray follows shortly after, his arrival announced only by slight breathlessness.. and a rather err 'earthy' scent after spending a full day and night in the forest. The little brunette reaches out, managing to blindly find his shoulder and squeeze it in reassurance with her fingers. But then Josie and Camilla both offer valid points. Well, Josie does. "What plans..?" she enquires. There's an awkward silence at that outburst from Camilla - oh yeah.. forgot that part, didn't they?

Omorro grunts and a large finger twitches, curling up and slowly. Beady eyes following Lucian's path to the throne. Tic-Toc!

Josie flinches a bit, at the shout, and says, "Lucian tried to stop me, but he couldn't. Don't blame him. And you can yell at me later." Then, looking back, she calls, "Careful, he's unfreezing!"

Camilla looks every bit the shrewd mother as she wags her wand in the general direction of Josie's voice, giving her a squint that reads that the riot act is coming when they get home safe. "Rowena!" The name is a beg for her to stun the troll again as she's not certain at all of her ability to cast right now. "Grayson, can you apparate Orromo to the Centre? Rowena, Gugga? I'll get the kids out."

Lucian grips the obsidian rod, expecting quite the struggle to remove it. But when it slides right out, he tumbles back, landing on his rear. "Oof," comes the disembodied voice. He starts to rise, when he realizes that he's right next to a sack of gold. A sack. Of. Gold. The Fawley Farm has been suffering ever since his father made it his favourite target. Indecision doesn't last long. He tucks the artefact into his belt and wraps his arms around the sack, hoisting it and turning to run as fast as he can for the trapdoor, all too aware that his new prizes make his position quite visible to the trolls.

"And we figgered they'd be safer with us than.. not." Gray's voice joins the discussion. After a pause, however, the large man's tone sharpens. "Where's.." Josie's shout clears the matter up for him before he even finishes his question. Oh. He must have missed the lad slipping by him. Not inconceivable, given they all remain invisible for the time being.

Roe, fortunately for those prone to impulse, is faster. She drops to lean through the trapdoor again at that plea from Fawley, flinging another stunner at the twitching troll, though with less finesse this time. "Petrificus Totalus."

Nodding, then remembering she can't see that, Grayson frowns to himself before answering aloud. "..alright. Doesn't seem like the best idea, Miss Fawley but.. if you say so." That Cockney drawl is back, full force.

*BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM* A heavy 'knocking' bangs on the door. The sounds of worried and groggy trolls woken up by the ruckus is only slightly muffled through the door as it rattles. It's a good sturdy door, but it's not enough to withstand the battering group of trolls for long. The observatory tunnel close to the door starts to dust and crumble. Then there's a woosh of stone and dust and the way out is blocked.

Josie jumps, then retreat quickly from the collapsing tunnel, moving closer to where Camilla is sitting. "Yeah, don't think we're getting out that way." She keeps her wand in her hand, but still sounds confident. If she's scared at all, she's good at hiding it.

Grayson and Roe scramble down the 'ladder', the latter dropping the last couple of feet and landing heavily on an already twisted ankle. But now's not the time to complain! Hobbling over the mounds of gems and coins and artefacts without so much as a passing glance to them, Roe half-skids to her knees beside the toppled form of the Troll Queen, firmly grasping her massive forearm and vanishing a splitsecond later with a loud *CRACK!*

Grayson, in turn, hastens to Orromo's side, though rather more gracefully takes to one knee in order to claim a hold on the behemoth of a troll. "Come on, then.." he mutters, mostly to himself, before they, too, disappear.

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