1964-08-14 - Taking One for the Team
Summary: Danielle and Amanda fight another stray portal of nasties, Zatanna arrives in time to finish it off.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
danielle amanda-sefton zatanna-zatara 

"I'm beginning to think that every magic thing we run into is far too unimportant for the likes of Doctor Strange," Amanda notes with some irritation. Today's case is a portal opened just at the edge of the forest near the circus Amanda calls home. Where it leads, she's not particularly sure, and she's never seen the grotesque things slithering out before. All slime, fat, horns and antlers. Disgusting, really. "All I am saying is this could be just as world threatening as someone from beyond the Winding Way coming to Earth to conquer it," she adds, muttering.

At first she was trying to outright close the portal, but when she tried that, the.. things got a little angry and began coming out in force. And she could just leave Danielle to defend them both. So now, one at a time, she casts spells to flick the creatures back to their home plane. She's just hoping they get tired enough to stop trying so she can seal the portal but… it hasn't happened yet. And who knows what else is in there?

Danielle is wearing some of the more comfortable pieces of armor. Shoulders, forearms, shins.. It's an odd look over a peasant blouse and tight bellbottoms, but it's better than nothing. She crouches near Amanda, keeping a partial eye on the disgusting things shambling out of the weird portal. Mostly, though, she keeps her eyes on the trees around them. "You don't take your dog to the vet for fleas," she mulls, "But they're still a pain in the ass." Every now and then, when one of the things gets a little too eager or fast, she jabs at it with the business end of her spear to send it back the right direction. "Nasty little …"


A feminine voice yelps behind them; then there's the sound of skin slapping skin. Zatanna emerges from the brush, flicking bugs and mosquitos from her neck. She's dressed a little oddly; like a showgirl got a hold of a foxing outfit, her jacket in dark grey and a snappy, cute bowtie over the hollow of her throat. Red leggings are tucked into thigh-high boots with a low, practical heel, none of which is remotely appropriate wear for a forester or hiker in the area.

She comes up short when she spots Amanda and Danielle; moreso Dani than the former, because sword, spear, armor, she looks like a hippy who mugged a renfaire performer and stole their gear.

"Oh, uh…. hi," she says, a little cautiously— but she manages a flashing, bright smile, gathering her poise and wits after the momentary suprise. "I wasn't expecting to find anyone else out here," she says, her tone politely neutral— but her fingers flexing once near her hip, a subtle readiness in case the two girls turn out to be hostile to her.

Amanda Sefton didn't even have time to gather up the white outfit she's slowly been putting together for herself when she's out being all magical. She possibly got into Glinda from the Wizard of Oz a little much. Maybe. Possibly. Her hands freeze in place when Zee arrives and announces herself, the green arcane energy emanating from her fingers vaporizing into nothingness. A slug-thing leaps at her, and she twists to avoid it, then throws a knife into the thing's spine. The sound is a horrible howl and squeal before it instantly twists and shrivels. "….that is disgusting."

She turns back, quickly flickering her spell back into life to toss anothe slug away from Danielle. "Hi," she replies, trying not to sound too disinterested. "Welcome to the horror show, run for your life." In any other situation, she'd comment on Zee's unusual outfit… maybe. Then again, she does have to play the stereotyped gypsy woman for her regular job.

Dani is already pivoting when that yelp intrudes… The spear in her hands lifted defensively, with the comfortable ease of practice. After a long moment of returning the newcomer's bemused stare (who dresses like /that/?), she slowly lowers the speartip and straightens up from her crouch. She searches for a witty quip of her own, but comes up a bit short. Oh well. "Who are you?" Not the cleverest, but she gets points for bluntness, right?

"I'm Zatanna Zatara," the dark-haired girl says, edging a few steps closer, and trying for another, friendly smile. Her name's weird, but it's a distinctly New York accent she's got; a little heavy on the vowels, like she grew up in Little Italy or hit the international market a lot. Her hair is /black/, too, not just a deep brown, but a truely raven shade that is a startling contrast to her bright blue eyes.

" ~yawa og~," she hisses at a flopping toad/slug hybrid, flicking her wrist at it. A sparkle of undirected blue magic smacks against its forehead and the creature croaks objection and flings itself back at the portal.

"Er, so, I'm /hoping/ you two aren't here to keep this portal open, because I'm kinda here to close it," Zatanna says, trying to be all smiles and diplomatic politeness. "Unless you are, too, in which case, I don't wanna step on any toes or anything."

Amanda Sefton's own voice is… fairly close to a German-accented-English when she speaks, but there's just something about the way some of those vowels come out… Amanda blinks when the creature is just sort of… 'tossed' back into the portal. That is what really makes her turn around and stare at Zatanna. It's not quite awe, but pretty darn close. Her own magic is very visual, manifesting hands and scoops and auras and the like to toss the creatures back. "Closing," she confirms. "Definitely closing it." She casts a glance to Danielle, surprise written across her features. "I must've been speaking too loud," she says, about her earlier comments.

Dark-haired New Yorker, dark-haired Cheyenne, dark-haired Roma. There's a moral here… somewhere. Danielle grunts softly and shoots a glance towards Amanda in turn, "Aren't you always saying 'words have power'..?" It's an affectionate teasing, but if there's no crisis, there's no harm in relaxing a few notches. "But she's right. We're closing this one up. We've been seeing them popping up more frequently lately." Technically, Amanda's throwing the magic around. Dani has no magic of her own, though the bits of armor she wears … well.

"If you came …all this way," this is added with another bemused glance towards Zatanna's attire, "..to help, we'd be grateful. These things are tedious. And gross."

Zatanna holds her hands up in apologetic surrender, and some of the tension leaves her shoulders. A dazzling, natural smile crosses her face; the words 'hundred-watt' might come to mind. "I really don't mean to step on toes," she says, joining the third point of a little triangle with the other two women. "I heard this opened up and I figured I'd hightail it down here to get it shut before something /really/ ugly jumped out." She examines the portal, brushing a few tendrils of black hair back from her brow, un-necessarily; she's so perfectly coiffed that one might expect a beautician to jump out of the bushes, too.

"Ugh," she mutters to herself. "Where's Strange when you need him," she mumbles.

"Okay. Well, I can help close it up, or deal with beasties, or just stand here and applaud!" she tells Dani and Amanda, flashing another smile. "What can I do to help?" She seems… very relaxed about the whole situation, all things considered.

Amanda Sefton snorts. "I don't think that woman with Strange likes me very much," she says. "Maybe that's why he's not here." Finger splayed out, her hands turn towards each other and a triangle of green energy appears between her hands. She uses that on a tentacle that glorps out of the portal, hurling backwards. "Gross," she says, frowning. "Do you think you can close it on your own? I'm… not god enough to hold them back and close the portal." She seems to deflate a little at the admission. She'd like to think that she's good (and truthfully she is) but multitasking isn't exactly something she's had the chance (or need) to take on. "… and I'm Amanda." She shoots her companion a mock-scowl at the tease about words and power. "And that's Dani."

Danielle inclines her head to acknowledge the introduction. She doesn't contradict Amanda's assessment of her skill, but she does concede, "We were prepared to be out here through most of the night, if we had to." She shifts her position to stand a bit more equidistant between the other two girls, "I'll do what I can to keep them, or anything else, off you both, while you do that… whatever you do…"

Again she settles into a watchful, ready crouch, before musing aloud, "We were just thinking this sort of thing is probably not worth Strange's attention. He's nice enough, but I would think a man like him is probably busy most of the time."

"Yeah, navel-gazing," Zatanna says, rolling her eyes a little. "Don't get me wrong," she says, with the tone of someone rolling up her sleeves mentally. "I like having him around for the world-ending-disasters. But there are region-ending disasters that could be prevented with a /little/ bit of early intervention."

She claps her hands softly. "Okay! I know a rite to close the portal, but it'll take me a few minutes to get the right sense of things," she says, waving a hand vaguely at it. "If you two can hold off the … uglies," she says, wrinkling her nose, "I'll try to seal it off. I'm pretty sure something's going to sense the portal closing and intervene, so be ready for the uglies to get nasty." She folds her legs under her, hovering effortlessly in midair, and rests her wrists on her knees meditatitvely.

"Navel-gazing is a good word for it." She's not sure if she understands the meaning at all - Amanda takes it at face value, and that's good enough for her. Another gesture, another spell, and needles of green arcane energy manifest in an arc over her head. She produces a knife from inside her coat and keeps casting other spells, simply pushing the slug-things back where necessary, but trying to do as little as possible - if something nasty is coming, she wants to keep as much energy available as possible.

Danielle takes the opposite approach. She has no magical energy to burn, so she starts to move back and forth, using the tip of her spear to jabjabjab smaller uglies into goopy messes, or the butt-end to whapnudge the larger ones to keep them relatively herded. "Last time, it was one big nasty, some kind of stone at its heart. Or brain. Took some doing to get rid of it." Her voice is calm, unconcerned. Between the three of them, it should end within a few minutes. "Hoop, come back here, you…"

Zatanna takes a deep breath and closes her eyes, mumbling under her breath. Her voice takes on a strange, sepulchural tone, echoing despite the close density of the forest nearby. A subtle light glows from her skin as Zatanna reaches her will and power out to the swirling portal's mists to draw them shut.

The forest reacts in a paroxysm of outrage; trees groan and creek, animals scream, and the portal flickers into a darker aubergine shade tinged with ugly scarlet lines.

Nearly a dozen of the 'hoppers' lunge through the portal, croaking and screaming; these are larger, angrier than the curious scouts from before. One of them *RIBBITS* mightily and launches at Dani, slavering with what looks like acidic drool escaping the side of its mouth!

At a simple gesture from her fingers, two of the 'needles' above Amanda's head go flying, piercing the large slug-frog-thing twice in the belly before it can reach Dani. "I have never been a fan of aubergine," Amanda mutters. When another comes her way, she directs another of the needles to stop it in mid-air; both ribbit-things end up impaled and tossed back through the portal.

Danielle wrinkles her nose as the frog-things rush through. So gross. Dark eyes narrow as one of them hurls its slimy body directly towards her, and the young warrior holds her ground… holds… And grins when Amanda's 'needles' skewer the creature. Her feet shift slightly, bracing, and she stabs firmly up into the thing's gut with her spear, then pivots on her heel. She spins, letting the hopper's momentum carry on and redirect, drawing the speartip down and around… to FLING the sludge-body towards a clump of its fellows. Uncertain of her spear's integrity now, she drops it to the grass and pulls her sword free to rush towards another beasty flolloping its way towards Zatanna.

The portal flickers and a foot emerges. Then a shoulder, and an arm, reaching around blindly. Dani and Amanda are doing a fine job handling the scrubs; they're ugly, stinky, and aggressive, but they aren't particularly fast and none of them are terribly tough.

The creature coming through the portal now, though, looks like it's made of sod; rough-hewn flesh patterened like broken earth, with grass and weeds growing through the crevices. Bony spurs mark wrist and elbow— oh, it's /big/. Big enough that it's stooping and awkwardly crab-shuffling through the portal, ducking its head to get through the eight-foot aperture.

The head is shaped like a triangle, with a high crowning point near the rear of the skull and heavy, low tusks along what would otherwise be a jawline. There's no mouth; just a sucking number of teethy tentacles, and four insect-like eyes around the perimeter of the strange head.

It emits a low, breathy roar at Dani and Amanda, like a tuba being blown with no reed, and stands to a towering twelve feet as it exits the portal properly.

Not assuming it will be easy, but not expecting a 12 foot monstrosity, Amanda turns anew to face the portal, clutching her knife tightly in one hand. When the thing proves to be much, much bigger than she had expected, her face falls. "Someone out there hates us." The rest goes unsaid: 'it's probably my mother.' She has a low, low opinion of Margali Szardos, and for good reason. She casts a quick glance Zeewards, but knows better than to demand how the spell is coming along. "All right. Ready, Dani?" Perhaps surprisingly, Amanda barrels towards the monstrosity, posing such a tempting target. But when the thing takes notice of her, she teleports away, taking advantage of the seconds it offers her to try to use her knife. It's probably useless, really, but at least it'll turn towards her and give Dani an opening.

The pair do work well as a team. One might even be tempted to think they actually planned this sort of attack before. With most of the ribbiting hoppers down for at least an extended count, Danielle is able to turn her own attention to this newest intruder. "Just once, it'd be nice of them to start with the bruiser and work down to the slugs," she grumbles as Amanda flings herself towards the new monstrosity. "The eyes, remember!" she calls just before the other girl uses the knife. Dani's own feet are already moving, pounding the battered and slightly goopy earth in a fearless charge towards the creature, sword brandished with both hands. With a satisfying war-whoop, she leaps into the air the instant Amanada teleports, lifting her Asgardian blade over her head and swinging it in a clean arc as she descends, aiming for as many of those wriggling tentacles as she can.

Zatanna's eyes are screwed shut in concentration. On the one hand, it'd be nice if she chipped in on the fight; on the other, she's placing remarkable trust in Amanda and Dani's competence despite only having just met them. She moves her hands in slow, spiralling circles, traceries of light following her palms as the spell grows stronger.

The big monster moves at Amanda and lunges with sudden speed; she teleports away in the nick of time, but just barely, as a heavy fist leaves an eighteen-inch wide dent in the soft loam where her shoes were.

It whirls its free arm at Dani and tries to strike her from the air; it's successful only in preventing the blade from simply taking its head off, and the blow of her sword slashes through doughy, thick flesh with remarkable ease. The big nameless monster shrieks in bellowing pain, but the heavy fist clubs Dani under her ribs and sends her trajectory veering laterally with the force of the blow.

"Dani!" She needs to buy them all some time, especially if Dani is seriously hurt! Amanda draws a second knife from the inside of her coat; that one is thrown quickly to a treea few dozen feet from the portal. The other knife is stabbed down into the monstrosity's good arm. Hoping that pain is enough to slow him down even more - last time was too close for her liking - Amanda teleports as soon as she can. When she reappears, her hands are already lifting, casting a spell.

One knife glows green, and the second responds in kind. Quite suddenly that monster will find a magnetic force dragging his arm back towards the other knife and the tree Amanda threw it into.

Her blade packs a whollop; alas, so does the ginormous monster. Danielle's feet don't quite touch the ground before that fist catches her, and she goes sailing more or less in reverse until gravity remembers she's up there. She lands hard and rolls a few more yards, gasping for breath. "M'fine!" she hoarsely calls back after a few more seconds. She's probably not fine, but she's alive, so start there.

She rolls over and pushes up with one arm, working slowly to one knee. Her other arm gingerly cradles her ribs, then checks to take stock of lesser bruises and nicks. "..ow. Amanda, spear," she calls a suggestion while trying to will her body back into the fight.

The big beast surges towards the injured Dani, but the pull of power at its arm jukes its weight and it awkwardly pitches forward, then stumbles. It lands on one knee, a massive palm pushing into the soft loam for supprt and the hand behind it stretching awkwardly towards the knife ancohred in the tree.

The big beast roars in frustration, loud and basso, trying to fight that powerful tidal current; the knife in its arm slides and separates flesh as it cuts through that thick hide, the roar of pain becoming a higher, more agonized pitch.

"~nog a' swentho get him back through the portal before it closes la'agola ti munti~" Zatanna gets a few tight words out between her invocation's syllables. Sweat beads on her brow and her hands move in smaller, faster circles, racheting the portal shut with each pass of her fingers through the air.

If there's one thing Dani's picked up about Amanda's magical tendencies, it's that the Roman sorceress prefers manipulating arcane energies directly. She doesn't ignore Dani. Not really. But she does cast a glance towards the Cheyenne woman, gesturing with a hand. "I've got this. Don't move, Dani," she insists gently. With the portal ratcheting closed slowly but surely, Amanda gestures again, this time forming a triangle of red energy between her hands. A moment later and a fireball appears hovering above each of her palms. Shooting a glower at the monster - as pointless as that might be - to show the roar of pain doesn't make her flinch, she launches both orbs of fire towards the beast.

Danielle grimaces, mostly in pain. Partly because she understands stabbing a lot more than the energies the other two girls are flinging about. Still, she's trying gamely to get back on her feet and help. But a wave of dizziness helps gravity again, and she sags again, panting hard. "I… I got your back," she assures. "No problem. Just…. just need a moment." She satisfies herself in the meantime by grasping through the grass for her sword. Just in case.

The big beast is fast, but doesn't have amazing reflexes, either. That ponderous, elephantine head swings towards the flickering lights that those beady black eyes catch, but instead of finding a torch it takes two fireballs square on. One hits the broad chest and the beast screams in pain once more, lurching towards the pull of that knife; the other splatters the strange cranium and the lidless eyes are badly scorced, making the big monster flail and cry in pain at the attack. It covers its head with its free arm, turning around in blinded bewilderment at the heat enveloping it.

Letting it writhe in the heat. Amanda teleports away, kneeling at Dani's side in an instant. "You hold still," she scolds gently. She casts a look up, to make sure that hideous thing isn't coming this way. Checking to make sure Zatanna is all right. "We'll get you home and patched up," she promises, doing all she can do to make herself sound confident. Seeing Dani in so much pain is… not good for her. But she has to be strong, right? "… I hate to be that person, but that spell finishing would be very useful right now." Ritual magic was never something she got into. It would be, likely, very obvious for someone like Zatanna how exactly Amanda's spells work. She draws off energy from an arcane dimension to do what she needs.

"I'm fine," Dani repeats, even in the middle of another wince. "I been through worse. Hell.. shoulda thought of this before," she mumbles. A monster like that huge bruiser has to have at least /some/ kind of brain. And with the fire keeping it slightly panicky, she decides to give a little nudge of her own. Danielle takes a deep breath, then stares hard at the big beast. Her mental powers lash out, roughly, with little energy spared for finesse, to latch onto the thing's alleged mind, and drag whatever /it/ fears out into the open. A real-as-life challenge on /this/ side of the portal, if a bit… wavery.

The fireball leaves the monster staggered, in pain, and disoriented, so when Dani hits it with the full whammy of her mental talents, the big creature is convinced that all hell itself is loose on this side of the portal. Animal insticts kick in and it flails, looking for somewhere to shelter, to get away from the magic wielding women and the weapons they have. The portal is open for a moment longer, so it roars and lunges for the slender opening. There's a *crunch* and a series of painful sounding noises as the big beast wriggles through the swiftly collapsing hole; but Zatanna's final words fling it clear through the portal just as the hole in reality closes, and with a *ffsssssssss*POP* the breach betwen worlds dissolves with a hissing upsparkle of red and aubergine smoke.

Zatanna drops out of the hovering position and hits the ground right on her rump, squeaking in pain. "Ow!" She opens her eyes carefully, then gives the clearing a sheepish look.

"Amanda? Dani? Are you two okay?" she calls, getting to her feet and brushing her rump off.

Relief flows through Amanda when the thing flees. Dani has not used her power as long as the two have known each other, so she's not entirely sure what happened there. Fire drove the thing off? Excellent! She glances down at Dani. "You keep telling me you're okay isn't going to make me believe you any more," she grumbles. She's the worrier between the two of them. "We're alive," she answers back, looking up only briefly. "Dani's a little banged up…. I'm going to take her home to patch her up." Regardless of the complaints she'll surely get! "Are you all right, Zatanna?"

Danielle sags when the portal finally pops shut and the forest is caught in that moment of total stillness. "I'm fine," Dani repeats again, albeit even less convincingly than before. "Just .. need a moment to catch m'breath." She eases herself flat on the ground, her head pounding almost as much as her battered ribs. She intends to say the following: 'That was good work, and lucky for us, Zatanna, that you came by when you did. Thank you, and if you ever need a hand, just ask.' What comes out is somewhat less compelling: "Guhrk fbbZnah. Dhsk."

"I'm fine," Zatanna says, though she looks a bit pale and shaky; she touhces her wrist to her cheek and brow, her hair clinging a little to her forehead. "That took some work. Something was holding that gate open from the other side and I didn't have /any/ leverage," she complains.

She gives Dani a concerned glance at her incoherence, then exchanges a worried glance with Amanda. "I've still got a little in the tank," she says, weaving her fingers. "I'll get you two home. You did great out here," she tells the girls, flashing a brilliant smile at them both. "Way to deliver. I owe you both a drink!"

"~emoh ot latrop~," she declares— and a sharp-edged portal, clearly defined, leaps into existence near Amanda. "That should be a safe one-shot to your apartment. Thanks again," she remarks.

Amanda Sefton could have easily teleported herself and Dani with little efforts. She blinks at the portal, then looks up to Zee. "Can you help me carry Dani through? It… might be a bit cramped with three of us in there, but we'll make it work." She can see the shakiness in Zee; Amanda herself is only holding herself together because in her mind, Dani needs someone to be strong. She's rather ready to sit and not get up if she can handle it. "I think we all need a rest and some food… and the least I can do is invite you over as a thank you."

Vaguely catching the word 'carry', Dani tries to rouse herself enough to protest again. But despite her protests, she doesn't have enough time to muster the strength to prove it. The 'home portal' drops them back into safety and civilization, and the Cheyenne is much less grumpy when there's an actual bed underneath her. She's fine. Totally fine. Just need a quick rest to catch her breath, that's all. Nothing to fret about. Amanda frets too much, after all.

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