Mera and Gracie are not far away, sorting through sticks.The others are closer to the treeline, searching for fallen materials. Shadowy figures begin to appear in the gloom beneath the leafy canopy. The children seem oblivious until blue hued forms drift past clumps of thorny bushes and into the clearing from the surrounding trees. When the last figure drifts past, thin vines snake from clump to clump. The Drow, intent on the children before them, never see the openings close.
The children back away from the newcomers towards the big tree. Their small forms create a half circle around Tomi, Ru and the trunk. The children assume defensive positions as Ru slips closer to Tomi.
The young Gargoyle concentrates as he watches the approaching foe. His skin tinges grey and his small wings seem to expand a bit, becoming leathery as well. Chloe raises her hands to ready a spell, but before she can do more than flex her fingers a large blue hand encloses her wrist. He smiles at her, satisfied with her apparent shock at capture, until her soft flesh changes beneath his touch. Chloe bats her eyes and giggles, then collapses, becoming nothing more than a marionette without strings.
There is a series of quiet pops and the glamours disappear. Wooden poppets wearing clay pendants stand between the Drow and Tomas and Ru, who remain unchanged. Tomas slips his hands under the smaller boy's arms. Ru flexes his knees surging upwards in a practiced move that lets the young gar lift them both from the ground. Tomas strains to gain the branches above their heads, fighting a dread that they wouldn't make it.
Closing his eyes, the boy surges upward, frantic at the sight of a Drow reaching for the pair. Hands close about his waist and Tomi screams in anger,lashing out with a clawed foot. It takes a moment before the boy realizes he isn't being pulled down, but passed upwards. He stops struggling, trying to see who is helping them. There is a rustle in the leaves and a small wizened face raises a gnarled finger to her lips, signalling silence. She points down. Leaves shift slightly, opening a view yet screening the boys from below.
Far below, Drow seek a way up the tree. Thrown ropes slip from limbs. Climbers find no sturdy beanches for their weight. What seems to hold, suddenly bends, giving no foot hold.
The woman grins at the boys. Her weathered face creases with her smile and she leans close to the trunk of the tree, nearly disappearing from sight. She whispers something and leaves begin to rustle. She interlaces her fingers and the sound increases. The boys look around warily. She points to a mass of vines as they writhe, weaving themselves into a tight hammock. Leaves bud, growing rapidly to fill the swinging bed. The woman motions for the boys to climb in. They look down again, seeing some Drow turn while others begin to hammer climbing spikes into the trunk. The tree shivers. The small wood brown woman motions more urgently to the boys.
A slthering draws their attention. All three watch as a glistening black diamond shaped head rises from the leaves. It flicks its tongue in greeting and nestles itself on the hammock. Ru tugs at Tomi's hand and the pair join Viper. The woman motions and two demifae dart inside as the Hammock grows into a large cocoon, closing itself tight. Insdie, Ru holds out his hand and Viper slithers up his arm. His bare hand touches Tomi's stone flesh and the boys share a thought. Trust. Viper watches the demifae as they dance among the leaves. The vines thicken, becoming wooden ropes instead of flexible vegetation. The two draw swords and disappear through the leaves to watch for the enemy.
The boys stiffen as thoughts touch their joined minds. warily they open. Alise strokes her son's mind while Stoney holds both boys in a warm mental embrace.
Where are you Tomas?
The boys try hard not to giggle. High up in the tree. He looks around. We are... A Treelady made us a nest and hid us. Viper and two winged people are here too. Ru reaches out, seeking his parents.
Your ma'man and daddy are proud of you, Ru. Just like Oncle Stoney and I are proud of you both. Now... stay put. We have someone coming to get you. Alise sends a feeling of love and pride to the boys.
The boys nod. Tomi makes a face when he realizes they cannot see them. Oui Ma'man, Pa'pan!
With the closing of the caccoon the Woodwife looks upwards. Pike has settled on the top of the pod, watching upwards as well. Wish drops down from upper branches. She motions to the pair and then scampers upwards, watching for the signal from Raina's dragon.