Four Dawns Walk Into A Library
2 April, 2017
Dawns discuss Freehold roles, how to help people, statistics, and, because Gisa is there, the Talmud.
They know Grillo at this library. You can always tell for whom that's the case; librarians are tolerant of regular users. It might be why he chose to meet here, this place of hush, nearly deserted during evening hours. It's not that he's breaking any rules, but CJ has a particular back corner, largely undisturbed, with a conference and study room nearby that he isn't quite using but still has staked out. And no one working there has said much of anything about that liberty taken yet. His laptop case sits on the floor next to his leg, unopened, with his umbrella leaning against it. He sits in one of the plush chairs, book in hand, taking the time before catching up with Gisa to indulge himself in just a few more pages. Even if the fiction section here is lacking, there's still some, and he appears to have found what looks like a suspense novel of some kind, or possibly true-crime. Since it's a weekend, he's dressed down, which still means that he looks two steps away from last month's GQ.
By contrast, it is possible that Gisa only owns one set of clothing, or if she owns more than one set of clothing, that she owns several sets of identical clothing. She trundles in from outside in her heavy black wool coat, unbuttons it, and, yep. Amorphously dark sweater which might have originally been dark blue, dark green, or black, jeans, boots. The only difference is that her wire hair has been twisted back into a braid, and isn't snagging at her shoulders anymore. With that same ponderousness that marks everything she does, she slowly circles the library, coming at last to the back, where she unslings her bag from across her body, sets it down on a chair, and follows that with her coat before greeting: "Shalom, Grillo." Her voice is the movement of mountain ranges, low and steady.
He folds up the book before he greets her. "Shalom, Gisa. How nice of you to take me up on the phone call," he says. The book gets tucked in the pocket of his laptop case, an afterthought sticking out of the side, the better to focus once she's come in. "We're unlikely to be interrupted here. If we want more privacy..." He gestures to the little study room. "They know that I'm in there a lot, and more than a few times, working on interviews so as not to disturb other patrons." And so as not to be disturbed, in turn, a neat trick.
His response in kind to her greeting has the shin on her forehead brightening before dimming to its usual subtly-flickering glow, and more than that, the corners of her mouth pull upward just a little. "Kindness for kindness," she answers him, pulling out a chair and settling into it with an odd grace for someone so... tectonically inclined. Or perhaps that's why she pays so much attention to what she does: when your presence is inclined toward causing accidental damage, taking care to not cause it is a full-time job. "You offered, I took you up on it." When she settles, her subtle Mantle flares and pops: petrichor and ozone, with an edge of lava, one the change-states of earth. "Good. If it is necessary, then we have it." A pause, and her ceramic hand gestures toward the laptop case. "What are you reading?" From someone else, it's probably politesse, but Gisa might actually be asking for reals.
"Disappearance at Devil's Rock. Paul Tremblay. It's horror -- technically? He writes a brand of the stuff I particularly like. It has a realistic edge that makes the dark things darker. I loved his previous book," Grillo says. "This one is no different. It's somehow absorbing, like looking into the world next door that could be." Grillo keeps his voice pitched low, but he's good with words, a natural speaker; it makes a good case for the book, at least in part because his favor for what he's reading is so forcefully stated without trying too hard. "It's a read that makes me uncomfortable with having moved to New England," he says, with only a hint of jocularity about it. "The writer knows the territory, here." His long-fingered hand waves, encompasses the library and the town beyond it efficiently in one gesture. "Do you read much for pleasure?"
It's often difficult to tell exactly where Gisa is looking, on account of that whole 'lack of actual eyes' thing that she's got going on. However, when one is the focus of her singular attention, it's unmistakeable: the flickering lights in her eyepits burn more steadily, her expression animates in a hundred tiny ways that can only be seen from up close, like examining the faults in handmade ceramic or the striations in sandstone. Her eyebrows lift just a little bit, her forehead wrinkles slightly, and she tips her head slowly back and forth. "I see." And, perhaps, she actually does. The silence after Grillo finishes speaking ticks on for a handful of seconds, and then Gisa takes a deep breath, complete with the blacksmith-bellows sound particular to her. "You are asking not if I enjoy to read, but if I read things that are not Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, siddurim." Complete, long sentences. Magic. "I enjoy to read these things, but also, I do read fiction. I like Terry Pratchett. I was very sad when he died."
"A little of both. But you follow me well." Grillo smiles. "Sir Pratchett. So missed. His end was heartbreaking, but his books are a gift. They're the kind that, no matter how many times you read them, you can still find something you've missed. I would repeat that words in the heart cannot be taken, but I suspect you live that so well that my reiteration is silly of me, hmm?" Not every Dawn with a mantle as powerful as C.J.'s comes across as calming. There's a lot of stirring the waters that is more common, a sense of vast inspiration and big changes. His own is different. Sitting with him, that aura has confidence; it's the kind of manner and mystical spark that suggests the better angels are giving those around it a push.
"A death of someone wise or loved is always too soon," agrees Gisa, and then she pauses for a long time, to the point where one might think she's decommissioned herself for a little bit, or gone to sleep, or whatever it is goylomim do when they aren't Defending Things. But finally, she answers: "It would be inadvisable to reveal the location of my shem, even to a friend." Leaning back slightly in her chair, she folds her hands on her lap. "I understand what you are trying to say. Yes. That is so." Her hands unfold, then, and she tap-taps the shin on her forehead. "Tell me about the Custodians. I like Kool-Aid." It's possible she took that literally.
There's a quirk of Grillo's smile when she comes back to life enough to explain what secrets she may or may not reveal. "I wouldn't dream of asking," he says. He sits back and looks ever so slightly sheepish when she requests information about the Custodians. "Well. This is a little difficult, because I am at the grunt level in their ranks. The newbie, as the kids are saying." No, the kids are not saying that. But there's no one to clue in the cricket on his lack of lingo. "They maintain the histories here, the stories of what happened and when and why -- and they find out the truth and information, no matter how esoteric, in order to make plans. Recordkeepers. Maintainers of -- well. Libraries, though not quite like this one."
And the old golem isn't going to be the one to correct him, that is for very certain. Indeed, she nods carefully, as if tucking that piece of information away for later. The kids are saying newbie. "That is, I think, one of the best people to ask." Her hands fold again in her lap with that subtle click-click of ceramic on ceramic. "You are one foot outside, one foot inside. You do not only have the view from inside, which is how it looks from the top." Apparently once you get her actually started talking, out from a group, she will. Or can. Or both. "Oral and written?" she queries, her head tilting slightly to the side, with the creak and squeak of wire hair bending.
"I should hope both oral and written. Not that I lack for skill with either, when you get right down to it," Grillo says. He and Gisa are at the back of the library, quite near to one of the study-rooms, each in comfy chairs as they talk. Grillo's laptop bag has a book jammed in it, and it and the umbrella rest at his feet. "After all, I...well. Oral records are of particular importance to me, as you might well imagine," he says, not quite overtly discussing his entitlement while yet referencing it. "You might say they're my forte. And I'm all too well aware of the problems with written words as the only record, here in the year of Fake News."
And on a chair next to Gisa's, her long black coat and battered canvas messenger bag are neatly set. She has her hands folded in her lap, and her wire hair has been no-doubt laboriously twisted into a braid. "Yes, that is why I ask." Gisa's chest expands, and then contracts, with one of those great, billowing sighs of hers. "One can have an oral history, but not in a diaspora. That is why the Talmud exists. We could not remember, we had to write it down. Though perhaps you could know all the Talmud." Her hands spread out, palm up, on her lap. It could be a challenge, it could just be a flat statement. With her manner of speaking, it's tough to tell.
Jon plodded into the library blotting light in teh door for a moment from mass of linebacker and dufflebag. There was a pause when the door open and an arm held it for DL to walk undr carrying her own bag. He followed. A mantle of adreneline and the rush of tension before a pass play for the last three yards followed him with that immediacy taht suggested trying to push for one more inch. Such was life. By contrast the ice man looked pretty chill. Well...literally and figurativly. He was going to head to one side when something, maybe DIelle's uni-sence drew his attention to their own. There wa sa moment of pause but the grizzled student headed that-a-way.
Dielle does duck under Jon's arm and come in, with only a minor hip-check as she passes by. But when he heads a certain way, she turns to look and her face lights up. She recognizes the two people over there and smiles at them, hugely, and follows the man-mountain over thataway.
"I could," C.J. says to Gisa with no hint of false modesty; it's the simple summary borne of knowing his own capability. "But that wouldn't help an entire culture, I completely understand. There's nothing wrong with having both, but the oral record and the written one are both crucial for us. So far, my one complaint is --" Forestalled. It's paused, because he sees Jon and Dielle entering the library through the stacks, that flash of rainbow in particular drawing his eye. Grillo raises one long, insect-thin arm to give them a signpost welcome of sorts. "I'm sorry, there's our sudden crowd," he observes.
"No," agrees Gisa when Grillo opines that this would not help an entire culture. Whatever else she might have said is forestalled, waits for later, or perhaps is simply shelved entirely. He gestures, and she turns to follow his gesture, and then to mimick it, raising her arm in greeting to the incoming non-deity rainbow (they're all non-deities if you ask Gisa) and man-mountain. "Shalom."
Jon stopped and popped his earbuds out of his ear and looked at Giza to Grillo and back. The light passed through the Onierophysician as he stood there, ironically casting the occasional tiny prism flecks in his shadow which he will deny until the day he stops breathing. "Umm... Shalom." He didn't know what it meant but it seem sorta fitting with their reverent counterpart. He paused, and there was a furrow of his brow thinking on something and contrary to his presentation at the court meet offered to Grillo and Gisa, "Yo we can bail. Just um... ya know. learning things through osmosis."
Dielle was ignoring the earbuds, but it's why she hasn't been talking to him. "He's fulla shit, we ain't gonna bail, it's a library and we're here to study. But we don't have to be near y'all if we're interruptin'. Also, hi! Nice t'see you!"
"Yours is the kind of interruption no one could mind," Grillo says, as reassuring as he can be. "Though I hope our conversation won't interrupt your studying, if you're here on your own time to get work done. Ms. Cohen and I are talking about -- well, records-keeping and information-finding and its challenges." A very long-winded euphemism for that talk about the Custodians, that is, but a graceful enough subtlety. And then, to Gisa, he finishes his thought: "My main complaint is that I feel a lack of direction so far. I'm not sure I've even met all the others, if you follow me. And I'm someone who likes direction and purpose."
"Of course not," assures Gisa, and she rises to her feet, then. It's a tectonic-paced affair, but it gets the job done. "Please join us. Do not do the awkward thing you are doing. Do the thing of being our guests." It might have been a reference, but Grillo is a cricket, not a teacup. Wait. Gisa's ceramic. Fortunately there's no forthcoming song about a girl in a yellow dress dancing with a blue-suited buffalo. There's just a golem standing by a chair, and a cricket in a chair. "Yes." This to Grillo. "I understand wanting direction and purpose. The last time my people were not given sufficient direction, there were Problems." That sounded suspiciously like a joke.
Jon looks between them and asked, because it's a question a Linebacker would ask, "What like stats and things?" A hand went to behind his ear and with no more fanfare pulled a seat out VERY carefully. Somuch careful attention to detail checking the durability of the chair. Bookbag was dropped onto teh back and a thick book came out with more flags poking aorund teh pages than surround the UN. "Well can I ask a question if you're welcome to questions. Who is your target audience?"
Dielle drops into a chair at Jon's table, carefully putting her bookbag down so as not to break the laptop inside it. "And what are you tryin' to sell 'em?" is her follow-up question to Jon's, because she's more than a little lost. What else is new? She beams at their fellow students of life, because she likes her initial impressions of both of them, or so it seems from the open way she's looking at them.
Now it's Grillo's turn to be lost. "Ah...what audience for what, and sell to whom?" he asks. "I'm not...sure?" The perils of being overly subtle about Lost topics; suddenly, midstream, you might sound like you don't know what the hell you actually are talking about in your efforts to keep things quiet. He puts a thin finger to his lips, and thinks again before speaking. "We're talking about people like us, and the organization among us that acts as custodians, shall we say, to the many kinds of information we're privy to. Gisa was asking my experience with them, as a recruit of sorts. So the audience is us, after a fashion."
"Yes." That's Gisa's entire contribution to the conversation, mostly. She slowly sits back down, folding her hands in her lap again. Look, Grillo said it all, she doesn't need to say more things to just confirm 'what he said.'
Jon shrugged and suggested simply, "Well, if you want to make your information useful to people like us. Maybe ask people... what they need. What they want to know. Start there?" He seemed slightly uncomfortable confering with the great scholars. It was a thought. The ice man shrugged and cracked opent he tome in front of him.
Dielle fishes out a book of her own and opens it. "Oh!" she says brightly, to Gisa and Grillo. "Ain't a club I'm part of, myself. Then again, of the community ones, I ain't part of any of them. Not...I haven't decided yet whether I want to be part of any of them, just kinda looking around, y'know?"
It seems that Jon has lost Grillo again, or at least he's somewhat taken aback by the uncomfortable advice. "I think -- I -- okay?" is what the cricket ends up saying, fighting against some kind of non sequitur that will only throw things off farther. He recovers, however, when he adds to Dielle: "Well, I have some personal advantages, is one thing I was making note of. Though many of them are in the oral tradition. I do make a hell of an interviewer, though, when I'm in the right frame of mind. But I haven't considered the other groups, either. I haven't yet sussed out which of them seem a good fit."
"I was asking about helping," explains Gisa, her fingers folding together with subtle scraping sounds, like someone's stacking plates in her lap. "Because it fits me. And I do not like a job which is... " Whatever she was going to say, she trails off, instead, and just shakes her head. A smile that is too much, created. "Who do I talk to? To be official? I wanted to find out from you, how you feel, if it is very helpful."
Jon seemed wntirely confused by the cricket and shook his head. "Not even what I- but it's... fine." He shook his head. Wording was not at all his strong suit by a long shot. THe Jotun furrowed his brow and nodded. He went quiet and observed for now. His laptop came out, which wa second hand.
Dielle blushes a bit, and says "Ah. Yeah, it's a thing. Sorry, we're getting in the way of information." She starts trying to study her textbook, but she's clearly not managing to read. She's trying. But she's distracted by both the conversation and the fact that she was assuming it was something totally different than it is.
"I'm sorry, I seem to have lost what you were getting at," Grillo says. "I'm not quite sure what you were suggesting, if I missed the point -- can you clarify?" he asks Jon, perhaps putting him a little on the spot. It might not be surprising that the bug admits to missing points enough to ask for more information; there's no sense of shame in him in not knowing everything. He shakes his head at Dielle. "You -- it's all right. Do you want space to actually study?" he wonders aloud.
Fun Fact: Ogres are not know for patience or articulation. THat he had worked on one of these was a start. There was a shrug. "Man, I thought you were talkin about somehtin else. Ran a project my first year out... um... last year, yeah? Yeah. ANyways, used to run a sort of support group for other people who were brand new. Lotta things we need to know that people don't tell us. you were saying you had all this... knowledge? Not knowing where to start. I was gonna say if it's to help new people talk to them and find out where they are strugglin and maybe start there. Find the actual needs of teh people, but I think what I thought you were sayin and what you were sayin are totally on different pages." He looked to Gisa and still had the same stoic, flat look as always and encouraged, "Really though, it's awesome that your'e gettin involved. I'm sure we could learn a ton from both of you."
As Jon and Grillo talk, Gisa listens. She tilts her head to one side, hair creaking in protest as she does so, seeming to focus in on Dielle. "It is probable that she is not actually attempting to study but is attempting to deflect and feel as though she is not intruding. I may be incorrect, however." The sigil on her head flares and dims.
Dielle points at Gisa and says, "That. Gisa's absolutely right. I find you guys a lot more interesting than..." She stops and looks at the book and snickers. "Statistics. Oh, boy, statistics is booooooring."
"Statistics is fascinating, but its study is deadly dull, especially when there's people to meet," Grillo counters. "The math is useful. But any case, Jon, we were on different pages. Both useful, but your side of things is..." He thinks. "I don't know how much it's happening here. Not with those custodians-of-knowledge, at least, though I could find out I'm wrong. I'm still new enough, as I said to Gisa earlier, that I'm a raw recruit."
Jon seemed to admit his errors easily enough. "That's cool, man. As I said I totally misheard ya. And don't feel too bad a bout it. A lot of people are. Means we got different insights we can bring to the table. Variety of experience can be invaluable or some such."
With all of the auroral auras in the place, it's a wonder that the books aren't just randomly rearranging their words. Gisa stretches her spine, or... something. A complicated system of pops and cracks, like air pockets bursting inside a kiln, comes with the golem leaning back in her chair. She has no apparent opinion on statistics, but seems... subtly pleased... at the fact that she managed to figure out Dielle's purpose in having the book out. "Who do I talk to, for custodial duties, now that I know your opinion? Maybe we can find some direction together, and bring it." Dawn Means Change, after all.
Dielle whispers, "Jon? Those Waypeople are pro'ly the ones you wanna talk to about support groups and shit. Unless it's the Green Party." She says that like she's not a born tree-hugger. Which she kind of is. She glances over at C.J. and Gisa for backup on that.
"For custodial duties? I think her name is Ashe Whelan," C.J. says. "I think. I still haven't met her, despite sharing a profession and receiving a nominal go-ahead to assist. Try her," he suggests to Gisa, then nods to Dielle. "Waylady. That's...her name is Ava? Haven't met her yet." He shrugs. "I remember stuff. And I dance like a dream. My few skills."