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lost in the woods.
Swan passed what he was fairly certain was the same boulder for the third time and let out a heavy sigh. He sat down heavily and silently berated himself for his foolishness. His sense of direction was always better when he was in his true form, he knew that. But he'd needed to go looking for food since he'd run out of potatos the day before and, with no luck closer to his lake, he'd travelled a bit farther into the woods than he should have. Then he'd been drawn by the sound of voice, following them even deeeper into the trees only discovering too late that it had been a trio of sprites playing a trick on him.

Now he was hopelessly lost. And hungry, his stomach reminded him with a grumble. He would take to the air and try to find his way back to his lake that way, but something about his curse made it nigh impossible to find before he had to return to it each morning. Sighing once mroe, he leaned back against the boulder and figured he'd just have to wait out the night.

Tags: red riding hood, swan

From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/03/2007 21:52:21  

A flash of red in the corner of the eye is, this far in the woods, usually just a trick of the light. In these woods, though, it's just as likely to be a girl in a red hooded sweatshirt, a bag slung over her shoulder, picking flowers. This time, that's precisely what it is.

She'd been wandering around all day, acclimating herself to her new surroundings. The girl in red was used to living in deep forest, and so those of Pentamerone were nothing new-- just something new to learn. She'd packed herself a nice lunch of fruit and a thermos of stew, and she'd completely forgotten to eat it in her all-important quest for the perfect wildflower to complete her daisy-crown, and it took her tummy's loud protestations to get her to stop and eat. Now it was just a matter of finding a good place to do so.

Coming upon a stand of trees with a big boulder, Red figured that here was as good a place as any to rest and refresh-- it wasn't until she got very close that she noticed the rather exhausted looking young man leaning against the large rock. Surprised, she let out a small "oh", and clung to the side of a tree.

"I'm sorry-- I didn't mean to sneak up on you or anything, I didn't know anyone else was here... if I'm intruding, I can go, I just wanted somewhere to sit and eat."
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/04/2007 11:12:10  

Swan looked up at the sound of approaching footfalls, ready to flee if necessary. But when a girl in a red hood emerged from the trees, Swan's worries disappeared almost immediately. He rose gracefully, skirting a small bow - a little ridiculous given his lack of shirt and shoes - and offering a shy smile. He gestured to the boulder he'd just been occupying in offering. If she needed a place to rest, this was certainly a good enough spot.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/04/2007 14:14:08  

Red is a little scared at first, but at the bow, her face spreads in a wide grin. She gives a little courtsey (despite her lack of skirt... ah well, a courtsey in blue jeans is still a courtsey, right?) and giggles as she makes her way to the gigantic rock, sitting down and taking her little spread of food out of her bag.

"I'm called Rosalyn, but nobody really calls me that, unless I'm in trouble. My mummy calls me Little Red Riding Hood because I always wear my little red hood, and my da just calls me Red because he's not a very formal kind of person, so you can call me Red like everyone else does!" All the while she blathers, she spreads her food out in front of her-- there isn't much, but certainly enough to share. She offers the man a shiny pink apple, and a sweet smile.

"What's your name, then? And what are you doing so far out here in the woods? Are you lost? Where'd the rest of your clothes get to?"
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/04/2007 14:28:25  

Watching the girl - Rosalyn, or Red as she prefered - hovering as if unsure of where exactly to put himself, he listened to her prattle on cheerfully with a sort of bemused expression on his face. Most strangers he met in the woods or near his lake were wary at best and hostile at worst. But Red, she was delightfully friendly and, confusion aside, Swan was fairly certain she was kind. The offered apple just sealed the deal for him.

Sitting beside her perhaps a little too close for casual acquaintances, Swan bit into the apple gratefully as Red asked her questions. A shame he couldn't answer them. Swallowing, he tried to explain as best he could with gestures. The first thing he did was touch his throat, then his mouth and shook his head, trying to get across that he couldn't speak. As for being lost, he looked around then gave an exaggerated shrug. Translation: he had no diea where he was.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/04/2007 14:47:47  

Red watches the young man's gestures carefully, leaning towards him, while eating an apple of her own. She's not exactly the brightest bulb on the tree, but she's always interested in people, so she does her best to decipher what he's trying to get across.

"You can't speak? Not at all? Not even a little? Not even your name? That's awful..." The girl's face falls in sympathy. "And you are lost, aren't you? You poor thing..."

She sits up straight, putting her hands on her hips. "Then I'll just have to help you find your way back to where you came from! Not that it will be very easy, since you can't speak... but I'll do my best to help!" She bites into her apple, determined, as if to punctuate her point. Red doesn't have any friends. Maybe if she helps him, he'll want to be her friend!
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/04/2007 15:12:21  

Watching Red with wide eyes and munching on his apple, he shook his head repeatedly as she just reiterated that fact that, no, he could not speak. At all. Really. And at least she'd understood the part about him being lost.

It took him a bit by surprise that she'd offer to help him find his way, and a slight frown wrinkled his brow. what if she got herself lost along the way? That wouldn't do and he started to wave a hand, that, no, that wouldn't be necessary. He tried to gesture that he could wait until morning and find his way back to his lake, but he wasn't sure that he got all that across. In truth, it just looked like a strange, if purposeful flailing of hands and arms.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/04/2007 15:24:25  

Out of all the flailing, Red gets 'NO NO DON'T!', and that just makes her giggle, a light tinkling laugh like bells ringing.

"Don't be silly! I was born and raised in a forest, I know how to find my way through. Mind you, my forest was a bit different from this forest... but I don't mind getting lost! After all, it's not like I've got anyone to worry that I'm gone!" She forces a little laugh, and then almost instantly, Red's face falls into a pout. She thinks about her Gran, and the way she used to fuss and worry when Red would come home late for dinner. But Gran had been gone for a while now, and Red would just have to learn to live with it... that doesn't mean she won't miss the way things used to be.
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/04/2007 15:54:37  

Red's sudden change in mood, the effusive cheer drifting into a kind of remembered sadness, had Swan concerned. He shifted a little closer, head tilted in question and a hand coming to rest her arm in some small offer of comfort. Red seemed...lonely, and if there was one thing Swan understood, it was loneliness.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/04/2007 17:05:56  

With his hand on her arm, Red's mood changes back to bubbly-happiness as swiftly as it had changed in the first place. She sits up straighter and waves her hands in front of her, laughing. "I'm fine, I'm fine!! Goodness. Listen to me." She stuffs her apple in her mouth and hops up to her feet. It's less out of actually being cheered up and more out of not wanting to bring her new friend down. Put on a happy face! She snatches the apple from her mouth and turns to the young man.

"I'm gonna help you find your way home, and we can't do that if we don't keep a positive outlook, can we? I have to ask you where you came from, though, and you can't talk..." Hmm. Red thinks.
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/04/2007 21:46:08  

Reassured by the return of Red's good mood, Swan found himself smiling and taking a bite out of his own apple, the last the fruit had to offer. Standing, he tossed the core off into the brush and wiped his hands on his well-worn trousers and looked about, trying once more in futility to get his bearings. He could not, for the life of him remember which way he'd come from so he took a breath, hazarded a guess and pointed in the general direction of South. It was obvious he hardly seemed sure of his decision.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/05/2007 11:13:26  

The girl in the red hood frowns. The poor man doesn't even know where he's come from! She shrugs, though, and starts off in the direction he pointed.

"Well, we'll start this way, and if you start seeing something familiar, you'll let me know. Anyway, I can ask you yes-or-no questions, because you can nod, can't you?" Red grins. She thinks herself clever for this plan-- this way she can prattle on and on, and her new friend needn't say a word at all! "Do you live in a city?"
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/05/2007 14:08:35  

Swan shook his head 'no' as he followed Red through the trees, keeping closer than was perhaps necessary. He wasn't sure about the wisdom of this trial and error navigation, but he didn't have that many options to choose from so better to be up and doing something than just sitting on his duff all night. Besides, he thought as he glanced over at his unexpected companion, Rosalyn was a pleasant girl to be around. And certainly not hard on the eyes. He wondered if she might be the one...
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/05/2007 15:49:35  

"Okay. Not in a city. Do you live in one of the villages on the edge of the forest?" While there are quite a few of those, at least it'd be narrowing it down.

The idea of this, if put to Red somehow, would make her laugh until she broke something. Red Riding Hood has always found herself very plain, and the sort of girl who lives alone in the woods is not exactly the glamorous, desirable sort, she figured, so she never seriously considered anything romantic. Not for more than a few minutes at a time, anyway.

She was, though, very friendly. Red didn't even seem to mind that he was missing his shirt or shoes, or that he was strangely clingy and couldn't talk. Any person, given a certain amount of time, was a potential buddy. The girl figures, maybe if she helps him find his way home, he would help her in return, if she ever needed it. And it's just fun to be nice, isn't it?
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/05/2007 16:10:51  

No, again. No village for him. He'd tried it once a while ago, but it had been far more trouble than it was worth. Certain villagers had gotten the wrong idea about his noctural schedule and while he didn't quite understand why they could ever confuse him with a leech, he didn't have the words to protest otherwise. So back to the cabin by the lake for him.

And once more once Red helped find his way. Oblivious to her thoughts, Swan smiled, another one of those small, shy curve of lips, and he took her hand as they walked. Strange how soft his was in comparison to hers.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/05/2007 17:14:23  

"No. Okay. Well, at least we're getting somewhere! Do you live in the woods, then? Nothing wrong with that, I was born and raised in a woods like this. Never been to a city myself! Wouldn't even know what to do with myself in a place like that!"

Red feels a hand slip into hers, and she turns to smile up at Swan. Yay! He wants to be friends! This is a good sign! The girl giggles and pulls him along through the woods. It's weird, but she seems to know where she's going... or at least to have a strange affinity with her surroundings. Red has actually never gotten lost in the woods before. Any woods. Ever. It's not that she's a good tracker, or that she knows how to read things, it's just bizarrely intuitive. Not that Red knows that this is strange.
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/05/2007 19:56:00  

When Red mentioned the woods, Swan nodded enthusiasticly, his smile growing a bit wider. Finally, they were making progress. Maybe Red had the right idea after all. She certainly did seem to know where she was going. Somehow. Swan didn't really question it. He was intimately familiar with instinct in his natural form.

He thought to help matters in some way, so he tugged Red to a stop, trying to explain that he lived on a lake. He pantomimed swimming to her as best he could, hoping she'd get it.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/05/2007 22:42:38  

Yes? Yes! "In the woods! Good! Now we're getting somewhere!" Red jumps happily, giggling. To be perfectly frank, she had no idea where she was going with the twenty-questions business, but she's not about to admit to that. She's just glad that it worked.

The girl squints at Swan when he mimes at her. "Swimming... you live on water? A river? A lake?"
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/06/2007 08:57:24  

Lake! Yes! Swan was nodding madly when she got to that last one, tapping his nose to let her know she was spot on. He was grinning now, hope rapidly replacing his doubt. At this rate, they might actually find his lake before dawn.
From: [info]lil_red_hoodie Date: 02/06/2007 20:28:57  

"A lake!" Red laughs and jumps up and down, clapping her sweatshirted hands together. VICTORY! This only serves to prove how great her idea is. She might actually get this guy home!

"Fantastic! So you live in a lake in the woods. Now all we have to do is find the lake. That shouldn't be so hard." In theory, she thinks. "I mean, water goes downhill, right? So, if we just get to somewhere low, it will have to be near there! That's assuming that anything works normally around here. These woods are so strange! I keep feeling like something's watching me, you know? But I turn around and nothing's there. Maybe it's just the trees here. They feel so different from the ones back home. I wish one of the trees here would have a swing like the big old oak I had, the one my father made me. It was so much fun! When I was small, he used to come home and put me on it and push me until he couldn't push anymore, and then Mum would open the shutters and le-e-ean out the window and yell 'TIME FOR SUPPER'..."

Red doesn't stop to think when she really starts to talk. There is absolutely no pause between what's being processed in her mind at any given time, and what comes flying out of her mouth. At least it's not creepy horrible silence and spooky wolves howling or anything! And they're making good time... on getting wherever it is they're going.
From: [info]cygnetsong Date: 02/07/2007 06:18:04  

There was that bemused look again. Red seemed perfectly content to carry on a conversation with herself, and Swan had no real problem with that - hardly as if he could contribute - but it was just somewhat of a task keeping up with the girl. Like, he could have tried to tell her that, in these woods, at this time of year, she was most likely being watched by some kind of faery folk or another, but before he could even begin to mime that, she'd already bounced onto a different subject entirely. Ah, well. Maybe he'd warn her later.
Community: [info]pentamerone
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