Get Off My Lawn

Title: Get Off My Lawn
Time Period: January 8, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The Fairbairn farm looks miiiighty tasty.

Dusk is a rather beautiful time, with the sun just barely lighting the horizon around Dornie, the clouds hang dark and low, part from being backlit by the sunset and part for being heavy with potential rainfall. Apart from a chill in the air, the only thing marring a rather lovely night is a large, dark shape that cuts in front of the view as it wings its way toward the nearest farm.

Unfortunately, that farm happens to belong to a certain widow, but dragons aren't known for their cultural sensitivity.

The first real sign that something's gone wrong is the desperate bleating from the sheep as the hind feet of the Green Tail land hard against one of their number. The dragon's wings carry it away from the farm, but not far, as it circles around to drop the slowly dying sheep into the branches of a nearby tree.

And then, it's coming back.

When his day's deliveries are completed, Beisdean doesn't always return to the Fairbairn farm. But today, he has a package to deliver to her. Dusk finds him on his horse, galloping up the road that brings him to her farmstead, just as he sees the dragon snatch and carry away the sheep.

He stares for a moment, then presses his heels in to Iago's sides to urge the gelding into a full run; near the house, he pulls up on the reins, not quite waiting for the beast to come to a complete stop before he's throwing himself out of the saddle into a run. "Mrs. Fairbairn! Dragon!" he calls, hoping that one of the other hands is around and it's not just him and the petite widow against the scaled beast.

There's a pony present.

It's a beast of indefinite colouring, patchy faded grey and darker brown, stocky as only highland creatures can be, and quite ignorant as to the potential danger nearby as it charges through snow, white ice kicked up merrily. It wears nothing that indicates ownership, no bridle, saddle or branding, and thus isn't of Rowntree ownership and is certainly a stranger to these farmlands, but what do ponies know of these concepts. It entirely misses the first shadow that the dragon made, or else its merry frolic would probably turn into something more desperate.

But it does kind of glance enough to see the shape of a horse and rider bolting for the nearby building.

No sooner is racing for the door than the widow herself emerges, shotgun in hand. Mairi isn't a fearsome sight by any means, but there's something to be said about her preparedness. It was almost as if she already knew something was wrong. The metal-and-wood is gripped tightly in hand as she does a quick visual search of the skies for their foe.

"I must have the worst luck in the world…" She mutters before turning to Beisdean. "We need to scare it off. I don't have another weapon, but maybe a torch…?"

The dragon dips low and seems almost lazy, at first, turning to the side enough for the tip of a wing to ruffle the grass. But, the blood on its talons takes away any impression of it being out for a peaceful flight.

It seems to be ignoring the humans, for the moment, but passes near enough to them for them to hear a low growl when the beast spots the frolicking pony out there. It's posture shifts so it's feet can take aim for the animal out in the snow.

A torch. Beisdean doesn't really want to get close enough to it that a torch would be more than a candle's flame in the dragon's perspective. But he nods and begins to move toward the barn. His long legs carry him there quickly, and he leads Iago into the building as well to get him out of the open.

Inside he grabs a pitchfork and a burlap sack, winding the latter around the former for a makeshift torch, then setting the burlap ablaze after a few shaky-handed mis-attempts of a match before closing the barn door for extra measures and starting toward the dragon and the lonely pony. "That's not yours, is it?" he says of the unfamiliar beast, glancing to his employer.

The shadow on the ground tickles all prey-like senses the pony would have.

Its merry trot slows, turning without much in the way of agility to track the shape of the predator in the sky, a toss of tangled mane until it sort of realises that it is both a dragon, as well as a dragon that has seen him. A hesitation ensues, before it makes a rather unponyish decision and starts with speed for the buildings.

"No, and I pity whomever owns it…" Mairi says, eyeing the dragon's approach. "We just need to scare it off. Maybe if we can get the pony running away the dragon will chase it out of the farmlands. Hate to do that to a—" She trails off when she sees it running, instead, towards the buildings.

The widow's eyes widen. "Nononono, not this way!" Her grip on the gun tightens and she aims upward in the general direction of the dragon before firing—it's mostly just a warning shot, to startle the dragon. Or maybe even the pony, should it be skittish enough.

And the dragon follows, turning slower than the pony, but still ends up heading right for the buildings. The warning shot cracks through the sky, and the dragon rears back, saving the pony from the bad breaking weight of its feet.

However, it lets out a deafening roar in reply to the shot and a breath of fire flows out on it. It isn't enough to set anything ablaze, except the pony's tail, which just happens to be within the range of the fire.

Either someone's already called the guard or the guard has seen for themselves what's come down for dinner. Heavy hooves pound out a rhythm that has much to say on the subject of urgency, Algernon's borrowed grey gelding frothing at Kuu's flank. Having utilized the buddy system, as is wise in emergencies draconic and otherwise, Fogg and Wartooth are en route down the snow dusted road to Mairi's property with their wits about them and firearms and all of those kinds of things that are useful against dragons.

Grim in the face and dignified of hat, Algernon suffers one of those rare moments where time and perception slow in tandem to account for the shaggy grey lump of pony rolling ahead of flame. And rage.

This time, when his horse begins to balk, he rakes his heel in and forces it on forth, inspiring a shriller whinny than a bootheel is probably worth.

It has been a long week.

It is about to get just a little longer, judging by the fact there was a Green Tail busy circling about over the farmland. Jorn has a personal problem with it being where it is. Like any sane horse, the dun mare under Jorn gives a rather wary noise when she realizes that they are going to be heading onward still. Kuu stamps alongside the gelding, though when Algernon forces it forward, she takes Jorn's own heels to note and follows at a clipped pace.

"Whose bloody pony is that?" Jorn manages to croak out above the noise of flapping wings in the air, and hoofbeats below him. It may, however, fall on deaf ears if Algernon's urgency is any indication. Kuu presses on, while her rider keeps his eyes on the beast spewing flames.

"Ah, Christ," Beisdean swears, eyes narrowing to steal himself against the blast of the rifle as he stares at the dragon coming their way. A worried look is thrown over his shoulders at the buildings — specifically the barn, since he just put Iago there for his own safety, though it might have been safer and smarter to ride the gelding himself, as the horse is much faster than Beisdean can be on foot.

"O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright," he says under his breath when the pony catches fire. To Mairi, he raises a brow. "Do torches ever scare them away? Isn't that like throwing snowballs at a yeti?" Probably not the time for rhetorical questions.

He runs further forward, not so much in hopes of attacking the dragon or saving the sacrificial lamb pony, but to hopefully at least keep the creature from getting closer to the buildings, his pitchfork-slash-torch held defensively above head.

There's fire everywhere, up ahead and also more distressingly, behind. As a result—

The pony's butt is very warm.

There's a shrilling horsey sound from prey, wiry black hair curling and ashing when flame flicks the flying tip of it. Pounding through the snow, its aim is probably to bash into whatever interior space it can find, headed straight for the two-legs who just happen to be in the way of sanctuary. Except in conscience mind it does occur to Cruikshank that he is, in fact, a pony owned by no one and they have weapons, so he takes a sharp veer off in panicky redirection, too frightened to actually feel anything positive or negative when he sees the soldiers come riding closer.

"I have no idea if torches would even scare them away, I just figured it would be better than you being unarmed," Mairi says honestly, though the spray of fire has her stumbling back a few feet for safety's sake. As the pony comes barreling towards them, she idly considers shooting at it, but when it veers off, she takes aim at the dragon once more, praying it comes close enough to the dragon to at least deter it from being so close to the buildings.

"Not on my farm," she mutters.

It's good news for the pony that other things are getting the dragon's attention. A man with a torch, a woman with a gun, a couple soldiers riding in, it's enough to get the creature looking cornered.

Its rearing is as close to reversing as the great dragon can get with any sort of speed, and it ends up landing in the snow on its hind legs. The runtier forearms slam into the ground with much less force, but it's only a precursor to a much more powerful blast of fire. It shoots out a few feet above the ground, melting the snow and making things downright painful for anything not quick enough to duck.

The flame catch on the barn doors, but a shot from Mairi has it cutting off the attack for the moment, as it lumbers backward with a roar. But it isn't running off, not yet.

Whose pony indeed. Algernon either doesn't hear or chooses not to answer, the heavy tag of his coat swept black after hoof and snow. The pony is running out; he has, at some point in the last week (or in the last sixty seconds) somehow convinced his mount that he has more to fear from him than he does a towering, armor-scaled beast made of fire and leather.

So he is riding in, approach angled into more of a pass and circle-round to the right than a true charge when the dragon balks. He's managed to unholster his revolver somewhere in this process, a single shot popped off inaccurately in the 'butt' region as he draws level and past it. At a distance.

Jorn turns a similar arc around the backside of where the dragon lands, grimace deepening when the creature lets out a second burst of flame. This one is not like the one he had to fight off the road- it's healthy, hale, and heading onto thin ice. Kuu angles away from it in her gallop, craning to a stop when Jorn loosens his heels. There is nothing he can do about the barn, and his hands seem to waffle between ranged weapons- he settles on the bow at his back for the sake of bystanders, rather than the rifle hastily hung from the saddle.

He plucks an arrow from the hunting quiver near his leg, nocks it, aims, and fires in the same direction as Algernon. If they can get it to turn, t'would be a small boon.

The roar of fiery breath draws a blind swing of the torch from Beisdean even as he turns away and stumbles back. "Keep shooting!" is probably unnecessary but reasonable advice given the proximity of the creature. When he sees Algernon with his pistol, Jorn with his bow, Beisdean decides to make sure the other men have a clear shot — by getting out of the way.

Torn glances are given to the barn door and the burning pony, but his first instinct is for his own horse inside the barn, and Beisdean runs to the water pump, fetching a pale and hurriedly pumping enough water to thrown on the doors to dampen the flames.

A dark shape in the darkening sky comes swooping above the dragon, growing larger not only with increasing nearness but because it is shifting from a raven to an eagle, and it cries out, a sharp keening, to try to draw the dragon's attention from the men and woman below, swooping to distract the creature, but zigzagging to avoid the blast of fire the greentail promises to deliver.

As long as the beast is distracted…

The pony has no clear concept where to go. The farmland is open space, and the tree line seems like too much distance should it get a wild hair— scale— to chase him down again. Indoors still seems like a good enough bet, and it canters around in wide arc to at least put the structure of the house between it and the predator now that the dragon is down. By now, its tail is only smoking gently as opposed to being actively on fire.

When this is all over, Mairi's going to blame it all on the pony.

When the fire blazes past them, Mairi ducks low, the petite woman diving to the ground. When she catches sight of the barn doors caught up in the blaze, she's on her feet again quickly, shotgun brought about to face the beast.

"Oh hell no," the petite widow snarls as she takes another shot.

In the sky, the first dark shadow is joined by a second. Another bird, this one a kestrel, gives a cry and darts back and forth to try and aid the other in confusing and distracting the Green Tail.

The butt region is pretty sizeable, as it turns out, and first bullet, then arrow hit against the scaly hide and the dragon turns away from the barn and stumbles back, its tail smacking into the wooden fence holding in the cows. Luckily, the presence of a dragon in the new gap keeps the animals from taking advantage. For now.

On the ground, it's a lumbering giant, clumsy and thick. But is surges forward a few steps before it lifts up into the air. The beat of it's wings fans the flames of the fire Beisdean works to put out, but luckily, it flies away from the barn and off toward Algernon and Jorn.

It doesn't look up at the eagle cry, but the addition of Mairi's shotgun makes it push up higher, where its wing bats the kestrel out of the sky, sending the familiar tumbling back toward the ground. The collision doesn't seem to deter the dragon much, and soon the two soldiers have bloody claws heading right for them.

Rather than place his life in the hands (hooves?) of an unfamiliar mount's willingness to not throw him to the ground at the perfect time for him to be snatched up in bloodsoaked talons, Algernon wheels into an abrupt halt and dismounts. Rifle unsheathed from the saddle after him, he does not actually have to whip the horse across the rear to see him bolting off in whatever 'awayward' direction strikes his stupid animal fancy.

The snow is deeper than he anticipated afield, but he's able to keep his footing for the few seconds he has to head right for the talons headed right for — them. Presumably with intent to be overshot, and not with intent to be severely mauled and perhaps eaten. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, he has the rifle braced up to his shoulder and a round in the chamber before he's quite finished fording through the snow and into a turn back and up to aim, fire, reload. Again into the butt. Hopefully Jorn is not getting any ideas.

Jorn seems to put more stock in his horse than some men he knows, though while the dragon is lifting up into the air, Algernon is not the only one to dismount. As much as he likes moving faster, he likes a live Kuu more. He takes the bow and quiver, knocking his rifle onto the ground and dismounting, his sheathed blade clamoring at his thigh. His mare takes off as the gelding did, in whatever direction she was facing when his boots crunched into the earth.

Dragons are not generally smart enough to realize such treachery as aiming to be overshot, but that is what Jorn also intends to do, moving tightly under the oncoming shadow of wings, bow straining back once he gets where he wants. The arrow's tip is drawn almost level to the wood when he lets it fly, aimed at those sharply taloned feet, though honestly- he'll settle for anything.

Leaving behind the sound of gunshots and savagery, the pony finds a place behind the house.

Soon, it's a man.

Though no one is around to witness, it's a strange sight, all that thick muscle and fat falling away in a ripple of skin to reveal Fletcher Cruikshank, the cotton of his shirt plastered tp his skin, as is the hair at his brow, and steam lifts off over-heated form almost in a cloud. He gasps in at the shock of cold, clutching the pony skin to his chest as he slumps against brickwork and wood. And absently just, you know, checks his own posterior, but he has no tail to be injured on behalf of.

He doesn't peek to look at what's going on. He does glance at the sight of a horse in retreat.

When the kestrel falls, the eagle shrieks angrily, continuing its attack strategy of 'zig and claw, zag and peck' even though the dragon is retreating from her primary concern — Beisdean.

When Beisdean has thrown enough water and beaten the fire down with his gloved hands enough to open the doors, he throws them open to ensure any animal inside can breathe. Iago, not restrained in a stall, comes running out, but the man catches the reins to pull him to a stop.

There fire not completely put out, he ties his bay gelding to a stall post, then resumes his work at putting out the fire, trusting the other men and Mairi to kill the dragon.

The kestrel did its task of distracting a little too well and before the bird has time to react, he is sent to the ground with a powerful swat of a large wing. While the bird doesn't get up right away—it still moves where it landed on the ground, which is a good sign at least. Even if the familiar is alright, for the most part, his mistress gives an enraged cry when she sees the bird go down.

Mairi holds her ground, keeping herself between the dragon and the barn with only a quick glance back to Beisdean to see that he's handling the barn. She moves away from the barn, putting a little distance between it and herself, keeping the dragon in range as she keeps the weapon aimed in its direction. Her next shot is towards the dragon's feet as well, or at least the ground near it to startle it and perhaps drive it into the air again. If that works, perhaps they can get it to fly away. Surely it wasn't hungry enough to want to deal with all of this.

As each shot hits and each peck and scratch harries, the dragon roars louder, but it's a single shot from Algernon's rifle hitting the soft underbelly of the beast that ultimately changes it's plan from attack to escape. It shoots out fire downward, drawing a line between it and the men and setting sleeves and loose fabric on fire before it makes quick work of lifting itself up and out of range before it turns to fly back over the wilderness.

With the threat in retreat and Beisdean taking care of the fire, Mairi's only worries are the gaping hole in her fence and the bloody, broken and swiftly cooling carcass of a dead sheep tangled up in the branches of a near by tree.

A gout of fire flushes down in a line across the snow after pursuit and the dragon departs, leaving Algernon to squint specutively after the direction it's headed in. Difficult to know whether or not it'll die overnight, or how far it will get before it does.

Even harder to guess what else might be out there.

Breathing hard, rifle muzzle dropped to his side, he swivels his focus down in search of Jorn to measure out the shape he's in. As for Fogg — the Englishman appears to be unscathed, clothing unsinged despite the crackle and lick of feeble flames at a few deadened shrubs dried out enough by the blast to burn. "Alright over there?"

Jorn has zero issues with running from flames, even if at a distance he probably looks rather strange, high-sprinting out of the way like a deer. It works, at least, and he only smells like burning. No burned skin, but come embers have scorched charcoal smears on his chest. He watches the Green Tail flap its way elsewhere, squinting and rubbing the back of his hand over his forehead. His lungs give a slight heave, to re-set the timing of his breaths.

"Ja." Is what comes out as he glances back to Algernon, and then up towards the farmhouse. He finds the rifle he knocked from his saddle, stowing it under an elbow before making his way towards Mairi. "Barn?"

Soon, there will be a hunting party organised. For now, most people are probably content to let it go.

Including Cruikshank, who basically just listens for the sound of growls, hissing roars, gunshots. Smoke is rising from the barn and that should attract human attention, so he simply braces himself, and wraps pony skin back around himself once more.

That same mottled grey pony can then be seen headed for distant tree line, its tail in singed scraggles from what it used to be.

Perhaps Mairi would answer Jorn's inquiry, but she's distracted. With the dragon making a full retreat, she now has the freedom to move about as she pleases. The redheaded woman makes a mad dash for the fallen familiar, kneeling down to examine the bird—who just seems more stunned than anything. Scooping the kestrel up into her arms, she turns back to check on the work. With Beisdean taking care of the flames from the barn, things are mostly back to normal. She'll have to see about getting that fence fixed later.

"Thank you," Mairi offers towards the two men. "I think things should be just fine now."