Log:Cat-22 - It's A Public Meeting

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Cat-22 - It's A Public Meeting

"All in favor say 'aye'?"


C.B., Cerise, Count, Dross, Kiril, Olenka, Paz, Sigrun, Teagan, Uschi, Vorpal, and Zhenya.

Uschi as ST.

8 February, 2018

An announcement at Cat-22 Collective has a wide range of Changeling's gathered, to find out more about Hospitality options in Fort Brunsett, and hear about a dream that shines more light on how the mysterious Children of the Sun live.


Cat-22 Collective

Downstairs has been shut and locked for the evening, although some Lost and mortals affiliated with the Collective are probably ushering those in the know upstairs for the meeting.

As per the desc, the space upstairs is a bit different from usual. All the seats are in a circle. Refreshments are provided. (Yes, there is a gender-neutral restroom up here as well.) It smells like coffee and cake and other decent things.

C.B. is currently standing in front of one of the chairs, mug in hand, glancing over a few notes. He has on a green army-style button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up over a black t-shirt, black jeans, and Korean jungle boots on his feet; some kind of chain is tucked into his shirt, and his glasses are silver, ovular and wire-rimmed. He seems tired, and there’s some stubble on his chin, but he’s here, isn’t he? Sure he is.

Anyway, once it seems like people are settling down, he squints on in at the assembled, and grabs a cordless mic that was sitting on his seat. He turns it on and there’s some wicked feedback for a moment. “Hey, uh, folks,” he says into the mic, though he tends to be loud and probably doesn’t really need it. “We’re gonna go ahead and get started here in a minute. Grab some food, drink, or whatever, feel free to take a seat or...whatever it is you’re gonna do.” He waves a hand.

Cerise has found for herself a seat close to the podium, but twisted so that it's back is to the wall. This gives her a good view of the room as a whole and an unimpeded view of whoever is talking. On the ground next to her chair are two items, a paper coffee cup, filled with dark liquid, and a large shoulder bag. Cerise opens up the bag and pulls out a Macbook Air, which is several years old and places it on her lap. As she opens it up and hits the power, she leans down to pick up her cup of coffee and take a sip.

A carafe of coffee, an entire bottle of brandy. This is what Teagan brought from downstairs. They were down there hanging out with Vorpal and Sigrun before the place was closed, and just move upstairs when it does close. They settle down on one end of the couch, stretching out and sprawling like some sort of large, shadowy, disgruntled panther. Their attendant shadows pool around their feet.

Sigrun trots up the stairs with her backpack slung over her shoulder. She's got a winter coat folded over one arm, and is otherwise dressed in a red Steven Universe tee. Gold star on the tummy. Albeit with rounded points. Jeans and a pair of worn combat boots complete the 'look' such as it is. She scopes out a place to set down her things and then does so, draping her coat over the back of her chair and tucking her bag underneath. While crouched down she draws out a bottle of mead, carrying it towards the refreshment table as her contribution to the spread. That done, she brushes off her hands and starts heading back for the circle, "Hey, Mister Alexander? Is it okay if I call ya C.B.? I brought a steno pad and a lecture recorder, but saw the sign downstairs. Do you mind if I record the meeting on it, or should I brush up on my short hand?" Her accent is straight off the set of Fargo.

Paz tends to dress in a pretty standard fashion, with jeans and leather jackets and boots, and tonight is no exception. Not so different from Sigrun, not to mention plenty of other people who have similar uniforms. She doesn't carry anything with her when she comes in, just enters as a swirl of sand, shaped vaguely like a draconic person and wearing tight pants. It's magic. She sidetracks to pour herself a drink and watch the other people filtering in, taking seats, and the like, but doesn't say anything, just gives upnods of greeting to the people who she knows.

Who's that there, lingering at around 12:00/00:00 on the circle of chairs, in a pillar of shadow caused by her own Moon Mantle? It's Uschi. The Ogress is dressed in what could delicately be described as 'a pile of rags', although technically she's got on some dirty black jeans which are more patch-n-floss than denim, and matching battle vest that screams 'crust punk', while showing off her Very Very Dead Left Arm.

Like super dead. Gnarled and translucent pink and left hanging crookedly at her side, limp and unmoving - save for the occasional flake of translucent skin, which flutters off in some unfelt wind and dissipates into puff of dust mid-air. It's... Super weird? The seam at her shoulder suggest that, uh, it may not even be -her- arm.

Yet Uschi scratches idly at her shoulder with her one working hand, and looks around the room and... Waits. No movement to get food, no gesture to help C.B. - although she does stare at him for a second, eyeing his clothing choice. As if she's one to judge! A horn tilts in Sigrun's direction at the mention of recording stuff - but all the Ogress does is grunt; "You trainin' Echo?"

The eponymous cat of the collective, a gray, paper-furred Cymric called Yossarian, has found the highest point in the room to sit and watch C.B. and the others. That's the damaged wooden podium next to the snacks. He perches atop it, perfectly still except for an occasional light twist of his soft-looking tail. Yellow eyes sharp on the crowd.

In one hand, Cerise holds the cup of coffee from which she takes periodic sips, and the other she uses to navigate the touchpad of her laptop. Her eyes lift as Teagan, Sigrun, and Vorpal appear and narrow momentarily before she sets the coffee back down on the floor next to her. A hand lifts to draw Sigrun's attention, "I'm taking minutes for the meeting. There will be copies after."

C.B. doesn't really seem to be looking at anyone in particular -- just generally noting who comes in -- but he squints Sigrun's way when she questions him. "Yeah, call me C.B. Please." Brows raise at her question, and he jerks his head in Cerise's direction. "Work it out with Cerise. She's taking minutes. Okay?" He tries to smile, but it doesn't quite come out right. Cerise seems to have beaten him to it, anyway. He sips whatever's in his mug and glares right back at Uschi when she looks her way. Then at Yossarian. Then he speaks again, into the mic. "Alright, people. Get comfy."

Dross comes up from downstairs, dressed in a long, thin coat in Payne's gray with the sleeves rolled back in a flash of white cuff over a white shirt, suspenders, dark trousers, and boots. A small, white gold pin shaped like twin outward-facing triangles is fastened through a buttonhole in his lapel. The Darkling scans the room quickly, gaze pausing briefly on each person present, including Yossarian, and then takes a seat near the door without a word to anyone.

Speaking of attendant shadows, someone who USUALLY bears a cavalcade of such takes a seat in the very same pool of shade. Vorpal- or, rather, as he appears at the moment, Johnny- seems to think nothing of sitting on the floor, back to the couch Teagan's occupying. He's wearing little of interest- an old bluish greatcoat over a button-up flannel and plain, worn jeans and workboots. As he settles, he reaches into the coat and pulls out a vial of something pale and amberish, which he tips down his throat before smacking his lips pleasantly as the vial vanishes back into his coat.

Not a trace of the oppressive presence that typically heralds Vorpal is felt. He's got it entirely under wraps.

Possibly the only thing of note about Teagan's clothing is a new shirt. Like brand new, because everything Teagan owns wears out really fast. It reads 'I AM AN EXPERIENCE' in rounded text. The rest of them's all the same as usual. Black jeans, black coat, black boots. And now a swallow of their coffee. The Mirrorskin's face shifts and shimmers, and briefly mirror's Cerise's expression back to her exactly as it looks on her face. Maybe even a little like her face. More coffee, and a face as blank as a mirror reflecting nothing at all.

C.B. clears his throat, one hand on the mic, the other lingering on his hip. About to speak, he’s interrupted by Cerise saying something to him. He takes a brief moment to murmur back to him before he starts talking into the mic. “Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and get started. Um. I wanted to start by saying: this isn’t my rodeo.” A brief smirk at that. “A lot of people still think that Cat-22 Collective ‘belongs’ to me, but it never has and it never will. I founded it. That’s all. Cat-22 Collective proper is a workers’ collective run by various people. This meeting here,” and he points to the ground, indicating: here. “is something different. It’s just a gathering of Lost and those affiliated with the Lost of Fort Brunsett and Tamarack Falls to talk about some shit, discuss, air some grievances. So, to sum up: this is not my party. I’m just facilitating here. Okay, we got that? Any questions or comments before I move on?” He glances around the room.

The next arrival, who could it be? It's Count! The hermit leaving his cave for the first time in... well, who's counting really? The beast ascends the stairs, the last of a piece of jerky disappearing behind too sharp teeth and a vividly blue tongue, and golden eyes are already scanning the room. He's wearing black of course, heavy boots, torn jeans and a tshirt with a hooded skeletal figure, perhaps Santa Muerte, and beneath the image the word 'SUBMIT'. Over that he's got a black fur coat that goes down to his hips that is under the final layer of leather jacket. He's dressed for the cold.

"Sure thing," Sigrun replies to C.B. with a smile, "Thanks." She heads back over to her chosen seat and settles down into it. She pulls out her steno pad and pen and her little lecture recorder. She asides to Cerise, conspiratorially, "I like to keep my own notes." Like she's sharing a deep and awful secret. Being from the Summer Court, this is entirely possible. "It started during Model U.N. The Secretery had super bad handwriting. So." She straightens back up and tries to sort out how to turn the thing on. She figures it out, hits record, and the little red light starts flashing. "You can crib off this later if you need," she assures Cerise before setting the recorder down near her feet.

Paz glances around once her drink is poured, watches briefly when CB makes sure to tell everyone that this isn't his show, and then goes to find a seat to settle in and watch. She does it without hurry, moving the large, swirling mass of herself carefully through the room before she settles on a chair and slouches into it.

"Okay, that's fine. I get that." Cerise is attempting to be all nonchalant to Sigrun, but there's an uncharacteristic undertone of sharpness in her tone, just barely there at all. At some point when C.B. wanders close enough, Cerise leans over to mutter something to him, but then the meeting is starting properly, and Cerise sets the coffee cup on the ground, and begins to pound quickly at the keyboard. She's apparently taking more notes than just minutes require.

Uschi... Uschi merely grunts - moving to sit down on her chair, covered in more rags which are possibly the half-feral Ogress' winter outwear. Who can say. He iridescent eyes flicker twixt C.B., Cerise, Sigrun as they debate, although her deadpan attention eventually wavers towards some of the others gathered. As Count saunters in, the Moon lifts a horn in his direction and... Just stares at him. Tiniest of upnods - not so much a hello, as a 'I see you, asshole'. But hell, at least she's recognised and acknowledged someone, eh? All Dross gets is... Uschi sniffing the air in the Darkling's direction, and raising her singularly working right hand to twist some of her hair back behind a horn, scratch there.

Something hops. Oh. Oh, was that a flea? Uschi better not have fuckin' Wyrd Mites...

Whatever Teagan just muttered into their coffee cup isn't -- whatever language it is -- Spanish. Or English. It's something else. They raise their mug toward Paz first, then Count in a quasi-salute, then take yet another swallow of their coffee/brandy mix. They reach their hand out and ruffle the hair of 'Johnny.' Sigrun's explanation actually makes Teagan half-smile, that sort of casually-degenerate smirk that comes and goes on their face as fast as a cloud sliding across the face of the moon. Their Ridiculous Summer Mantle broils, crackles and pops, a distant sound of radios calling medic, medic, and never answered.

Vorpal snaps lazy waves at those faces he recognizes from where he's lounged on the floor- which, honestly, is just about everyone. Why's he on the floor? Why'd he cram himself into Johnny's skin? Maybe he's trying to keep things as comfortable as possible for everyone else. No sharpening knives pestering the background. Just a scarred kid lounging against the bottom of the sofa like he belongs here.

"Cool. That's good to know, CB, thanks. It's good of you to host," murmurs Johnny in response to the disclaimer.

Count does not sniff the air, but he does, periodically, oh so casually, flick his tongue out like a lizard, long and cerulean, tasting the air. It doesn't look weird at all, nope. Uschi gets a flicker of an up-nod from the Chimera, and then C.B. and Teagan do as well as he sips towards an unoccupied section of wa-- oh hey is that a bean bag? Count instead detours towards a bean bag, and drags it a little bit back and then just sprawls in it, getting comfortable with a few less than subtle shifts of his derriere.

C.B. kind of nods to himself, ready to move on -- and blinks it outright surprise at the sight of Count. Possibly the last person on earth he expected to be here. His eyes move briefly to Teagan, then a brief nod to Vorpal/Johnny, but then they're heading back around the room again. "Okay. So, first thing I'm gonna bring up is -- this place, proper. The physical space. Now, I of all people am aware that some things have happened here that people aren't proud of. Myself included." He really and truly seems a bit bummed about this. "So, going forward, all of Cat-22 is going to uphold Hospitality on the premises. You'll see this marked at various junctures in and around the place." The Author reaches behind him, put down the mug, creates more feedback, and holds up a blue plank of wood with a little man stencil spraypainted onto it. "That's our sign of Hospitality. I'm gonna go over our guidelines now..."

Olenka appears last, and with caution. She looks less like she meant to arrive here, than she was merely trailing after some curious people she decided to shadow. Still, once she's upstairs and passed a gaze over the collected Lost, the hesitance in her posture bleeds off. She stays well to the back, all the same, and does her best to be unobtrusive. Her expression is a studied blankness, disturbed only by a not-really-a-smile thing as her eyes take in more of her surroundings. Her silent travels end at a wall, so that she might peer up from behind a pair of thick framed glasses at a Soviet-style cat poster. Nyet. There's a soft sniff from her, possibly amused or possibly not, then she turns to stare at the assembled as she loosens her scarf.

There's a live cat, here, too, who looks quite a bit like any one of those posters. When Olenka takes a glance at one, his golden eyes follow her.

Sigrun wasn't kidding about the short hand skills. She scribbles away at the pad of paper on her knee in a manner that is very clearly not the english alphabet. Her eyes dart to the various speakers as her pen moves over the page. Scribble scribble scribble. The news that Cat-22 is now to honor hospitality brings a broader smile to Sigrun's face. She pauses her scribbling only briefly to 'applaud' the tips of one hand against the heel of the other. On account of the still grasped pen. "Awesome news," she says aloud before resuming her scribbling.

Again, Cerise taptaptaps at the keyboard, barely looking up and around the room, despite the fact that she's positioned so that she can. Then, after a moment, she pauses and lifts a tentative hand, "Do you mean hospitality in general? Or is it a formal Changeling thing? I'm just wondering if I should capitalize or not."

The cat with the thick, gray paper fur sitting on the podium turns slightly to look at Cerise when she speaks. "Capitalize it," says Yossarian.

"Capitalize it, Cerise...yeah, thanks, Yossy." C.B. says with a nod and a smirk. "It's a formal Changeling thing." For the record...he doesn't look /thrilled/ about this. But it's happening anyway. He clears his throat and brings his Moleskine closer to his face. Bad eyes and all. "Okay. First of all, as a result of entering the premises, all agree to adhere to the rules of Hospitality, as set out by the Hosts. In this case, that's myself and any other Collective members who are Changelings. As hosts, Cat-22 Collective promises to: - Give sanctuary: one full days access to rest and recuperate, if sanctuary is claimed.- Give support: within reason, food and drink and necessities to be given freely to those in need.- Be a safe space: no use of Contracts against another, and no assaults or violence of any kind without prior agreement.- Not fuck with people: no surveillance, no stealing, no stalking, no shitty sneaky behaviour.- Not fuck with their stuff: nobody’s things will be broken or used without permission, and accidents that lead to destruction of property will be compensated as seen fit by the hosts." The Wizened looks up again, squinting at the crowd. "Any questions before I move on? These will be posted upstairs in a truncated form, for the record." He's keeping things moving, at any rate. You'd almost think he's done this before...

"Seems pretty boilerplate," Paz says, speaking in a voice that sounds like someone rubbing pieces of sandpaper together, and an accent that's a mix of native Spanish speaker and North Philly. "I just have on question. Does that providing of food and drink include making sure there are things available to eat for everyone? Vegan never seemed to be a problem here, but there are other dietary restrictions. Gluten-free, for instance. Or some of us can only eat meat. This isn't a majorly important point to me personally, I can just not eat here, but I thought I would bring it up."

Sigrun raises a hand at this, but doesn't wait to be called on. "Without getting super pedantic, you'll probably want to tighten up the language around 'use of contracts against another'. Cos things that will cause pain or alter moods or anything like that is pretty common sense, but there are also contracts that can make oneself more charming, or more likely to be listened to and the like. And those tend to fall in a gray area, in my experience. Also does 'shitty sneaky behavior' cover being Separated or cloaked by Contracts of Smoke or the like just in general? Or only if you're being a nosy jerkface with them?" Oh God. She really was in the Model U.N.

"Yeah, I was gonna ask about that," chimes in Johnny. "Especially if you're offering sanctuary. Folks in need of sanctuary often feel like they need to use those sneaky behaviors to move around without folks they're getting sanctuary to escape knowing where they are. Is that going to break the rules? Do they have to walk out in plain view and -then- try to keep hidden?"

Count remains sprawled in bean bag country, settled in for the show, nice and relax-- wait, hospitality?

As C.B. speaks up about this place being hospitality, the beast sits up a bit and locks his golden eyes on the Author of Ill Repute and raises a brow, but his expression turns towards a slowly growing black lipped smile. Count is, or at least seems to be... pleased by this announcement. From a pocket, he produces small bottle of... tequila? The kind one might get on a flight, and he raises it towards Mr. Alexander in a silent toast before draining it, and then finding another piece of jerky on his person.

There is a dissatisfied grunt, as Cerise asks her question. The Moon Ogress' flickering eyes narrow, and she quits scritchin' at her head, in favour of gnawing on a thumbnail between those rather exaggerated teeth. "...Girl, go ask yer Patron when it's time 'bout the shit you don't know, and stop interruptin', if ya don't know how to write good." As if C.B. didn't just tell the Mortal woman the answer! How -rude-, how... Uschi.

Uschi shuts up, in favour of idly sharpening/cleaning her nails as C.B. starts talking about the specifics of Hospitality - vaguely nodding here and there, but with a begrudging look on her face. Bitter acknowledgement of the rules, or what?! A bit of nail is spat out onto the ground, and she shrugs her working shoulder. "...S'the least we could do." A beat. "If anyone fucks up, they 'pologise, get the fuck out, or sort out their conflict with a duel - to be agreed by the Host, 'course. That right?"

Then Uschi turns, and looks at Paz, and wrinkles her nose. Annoyed? It could be that famous Ogress composure weakening. "S'works on one of them, whadda you call it... Case-by-case basis, eh?" Then to Sigrun, Uschi bops a horn in her direction, then Vorpals - a finger scratching at her Very Dead Arm. "Declare yerself, no fuckin' sneaky shit. You want Them to sneak in here? Nah. Gotta be /fair/, and /forward/, or someshit."

Cerise bobs her head as she gets responses both from C.B. and the paper cat, and she makes a few quick additions to the document she's working on. "I'm sure if someone has special dietary restrictions we can handle it, being on top of a restaurant and all." As for the questions on sanctuary and contracts, she lets Uschi and C.B. handle those.

Brash, bright laughter suddenly bursts out from the Mirrorskin on the couch, after they murmur something in that odd language toward Vorpal. They take another swallow of their brandy-laced coffee. Teagan stretches, their broken-mirror eyes glittering, shadows pooling around their feet. Silence once more.

Despite Cerise's very evident cold disposition towards Sigrun, Sigrun's proverbial hackles rise a bit as Uschi's drums the other woman out. Her jaw tightens just the slightest bit, and her eyes flit over to Cerise to see precisely how annoyed she should be on the other woman's behalf. But Cerise seems to shrug it off, and so Sigrun lets it go, returning a smile to her face. Albeit a slightly less sincere one. "That makes a lot of sense, yeah. Declare yourself. That's good. That's real good." She dips her head to resume taking notes.

C.B. blinks a few times at Paz. Maybe, just maybe, he gets this question a lot. "So, the /food/ is provided here by the Collective, some of whom are mortals. They voted as a group to make it all-vegetarian -- vegetarian, not vegan," he points out. "We have tons of options. The only thing that isn't here is meat. Now, look, if you think meat should be on the menu at Cat-22, then by all means, join the Collective proper, and then you can come to committee meetings and have a say. Now, if someone comes here seeking sanctuary, and let's say they only eat meat -- that's a different problem and we'll handle that on a case-by-case basis." As Uschi says, just a little while after her. He squints at the Ogress. Weird. Wait, does he agree with her? "I'm with Uschi on this one. Cat-22 is going to be a place where you declare yourself when you're in the door, and you will be taken care of. Everything needs to be out in the open, and no Contracts used against others."

"Without consent." Uschi grunts, after C.B.'s last bit about Contracts. Wait. Who taught the Ogress what that word means? Probably had it drilled into her, in whatever Changeling Rehabilitation Centre she stumbled into out of the Hedge. The Moon sniffs in, and starts cleaning her nails with her teeth again.

Paz makes a faint shrug and says, "fair enough. As long as you keep an awareness that the requirements of Hospitality may, at times, require that meat be available to guests. As I said, it doesn't particularly matter to me." And she doesn't really seem to be worried about it, it was just a possible problem that she figured she'd bring up.

Vorpal looks up at Teagan when addressed and gives a wobbly "sorta?" response, before something occurs to him, and he glances towards Uschi. "I'm not arguing that it's a bad idea to discourage sneaky behavior in what's specifically meant to be a safe haven, but you -do- know that Hospitality won't do a thing to stop someone sneaking in that hasn't already been here and been appraised of the rules? It hinges on someone having the rules laid out clear to them- it won't touch anybody here illictly, all these rules only affect people who are honest enough to show up and have the rules explained in the first place. It's not going to stop Them sneaking in one bit."

“Okay. Moving on,” says the perhaps surprisingly efficient C.B. He seems a little more subdued and a little less strident than he often does. “As guests, patrons promise to: - Be civil: accept offers of support with good grace, or not at all. - Be supportive: forgive minor offenses and miscommunications, and don’t exploit goodwill.- Do no harm: as a safe space, there will be no use of Contracts against another /without consent/, and no assaults or violence of any kind without prior agreement. Provoking the staff or other patrons is a big no-no.- Don’t fuck with the people: no surveillance, no stealing, no stalking, no shitty sneaky behavior.- Don’t fuck with the premises: magically or physically, don’t mess with the building without permission, and don’t break our crap. If accidents happen, the offending party will be expected to offer a reasonable compensation for the damages, to be decided depending on circumstance.

Once more, he clears his throat, takes a sip from his mug, and continues.” Any conflict that arises while on the premises will be deal with via duel, with the terms to be overseen and agreed with by the host. In the spirit of nonviolence,” and you can almost hear him gag a little at the word, “default duels include: feats of memory, dishwashing competitions, reciting 20th century poetry about the Spanish Civil War, and who can pour the better rosetta on a flat white. Any violence must be mutually agreed upon and taken care of off-premises.” C.B. lowers the notebook and looks over his glasses. “Questions, comments, concerns?”

Dross remains sitting silently near the door, alone, gaze travelling around the room to rest now and then on each person present, particularly when they speak. At the Ogress' words, he glances at her for a moment, then back to the wider audience as Paz and Vorpal make their thoughts known and C.B. continues his speech.

No objections from the darkling at the back, Olenka merely watches and listens. There's a vague quirk of the brow at the 'no fuckin' sneaky shit' addendum from Uschi but use of contracts and the dietary restrictions don't illicit any response. Then again, it looks like she probably lives on vodka and salty tears, both of which are decidedly gluten-free. Since she's standing at a wall anyway, she leans back into it and tucks her pale, long-fingered hands deep into her fur coat. That leaves the only parts of her not fully enveloped her head, and her twiggy legs, clad in stockings and leather boots. All black.

Cerise's fingers move in a flurry over the aged keyboard as C.B. continues to rattle on about duels. When she does speak in response to Vorpal, she does so without looking away from her screen, "Yeah, that's a problem, but once they get here and see the rules, then they should follow them, and of course, if they've been here already, then they know the rules and it shouldn't be an issue."

Johnny nods along as CB moves point by point through what's expected of the guests. "No, that all sounds good, man. The rules make pretty solid sense to keep us civil with each other.

"Or, you know... if they've been back from Arcadia fer more than ten fucking minutes." Count speaks up from his beanbag. "Erryone knows what fuckin' Hospitality is, don't get lost in th' semantics. See the place marked, You know you Don't be a dick, or you Gee. Tee. Eff. Owe." Says the man who always Brings his Own Meat. I mean, he has a dietary restriction right? Called Carnivorism. See those teeth? He'd probably die if he tried to live on salad.

At these words, Yossarian glances over at Count. His papery tail lifts and thuds against the wood of the podium, just once, very quietly, as if in dry agreement.

Johnny nods along as CB moves point by point through what's expected of the guests. "No, that all sounds good, man. The rules make pretty solid sense to keep us civil with each other." He nods Cerise's way at her point. "That could happen, yeah. Just pointing out it's really more about how we treat each other than protection against unrepentantly hostile forces." Count isn't wrong, either, and his nod just about matches Yossarian's tailclap... thing.

"Telling a bunch of us not to get caught up on the specific meanings of words, that's pretty goddamned funny, Count," Teagan drolls from their spot on the couch. Another swallow of their coffee, and they crack open the bottle of brandy to doctor the cup. No, wait, they're just filling the rest of the cup with brandy at this point.

Uschi's deadpan, stoney-Ogress expression remains constant as C.B. goes through the rules -- the only thing that flickers are her eyes, as she turns and looks around the room. Did she have a hand - singular - in writing-- er, dictating the rules? The Ogress doesn't really seem the pen and paper type; look at the way she glowers in Cerise and Sigrun's direction...

...then around at everyone else. Huh. Maybe that's /just how Uschi looks/. Its only when Count talks, that the Ogress pipes up -- with a bark of laughter; shoulders hunched asymmetrically, horns bobbing through the air. If she wasn't so ursine, the closest comparison would be a hyena. Too big, though.

Then? Super suddenly, the laughter stops and Uschi sits up straighter in the chair - leaning forward, hand braced on a spread knee, as she says, Very, Very Seriously: "The small Beast is correct. These are what make us -able- to come back, to remember, to survive; these agreements, the lights what guide us home. They are... Are... -Important-." And then she stops, but Uschi twitches -- impatient? Maybe a tiny bit. But serious - so serious. Direly so.

"Listen, just from my viewpoint -- Cat-22 is just someplace else people can go that isn't affiliated with the Freehold, the way the Wayhouse is. But these guidelines are here because too much bad shit was happening here, frankly. Some of which I myself was guilty of. Can't support each other if we don't know how we're supporting." C.B. squints. Rules. Feh! But after Uschi speaks, the squint turns on her. "Right, I think we understand what Hospitality is well enough, so I'll hand the mic over to Uschi, who has something she wants to say to us all. I think." Yeah, even C.B. isn't so sure. The Ogress is hard to follow, sometimes. But he's holding the mic out to her anyway.

Sigrun seems a bit dubious of this 'don't sweat the semantics' angle, apparently. One eyebrow goes up as if to say, 'If you say so...'. Nonetheless, she's dutifully scribbing way her shorthand in a manner that totally would have helped them clinch State if she'd been Secretery, thanks Marcy Hopper. (She's not bitter.) Her attention shifts to Tegan, and then Uschi. More scribbling. "I mean," she offers by way of middle-ground, "not getting hung up in the details is great for your sanity, and crap for your neck when there's a death sanction involved. So." Back to scribbling.

"There are plenty of people and things out there who will use semantics against us whenever possible," Paz points out to Count, just after Teagan's words. "We can find reasons to come around and kick them in the head for it later, sure, but Hospitality is an agreement, and the wording and boundaries of that agreement matter. They can be the armor that protects us or the knife used to stab us in the back, and it's the semantics that help determine which it is. I'm all for just using common sense as well, we just have to be mindful. I'm fine with moving on, though."

C.B. adds, glancing at Sigrun and then Paz, "The agreement is a living document and open to revision based on experience as we go along. Nothing is completely writ in stone, pretty much ever." He shrugs and sits. Time for a drink.

Cerise finishes typing whatever she needs to on her document and then she pauses, her head lifting up to stare at at Uschi. While she's waiting for the woman to speak, she'll make a gesture over to C.B. in invitation for the man to join her where she's sitting.

Teagan tips their mug toward Paz silently, then tips it up for another swallow. Mmm, brandy. So much brandy.

Most of what Johnny thinks to say gets said, by Paz or Sigrun or someone else. He's content to sit back and relax- or at least, to relax as best he can. Anyone who knows him much knows that's probably not what he's -actually- doing, not while he's Johnny instead of Vorpal, but it LOOKS like relaxing! So there's that!

What the fuck is this? Uschi looks downright puzzled as the mic is handed to her -- her singular hand grasping onto it, but... It's used more like a baton, or... Possibly a club. There's a 'whoosh-whoosh-whoosh' sound as the Ogress starts idly swinging it between her fingers, lumbering to stand up and look out at those gathered.

"Oh, you're fuckin' fine with it, are you? Good, good, thanks ya highness." Uschi laughs - it's like a bark; raw and bawdy and rough as sandpaper as she looks around. /Fairests/, amIrite? Oh wait, tough crowd, tough crowd... The Ogress sniffs in, wipes her nose with the back of her hand, and treats the room to a harsh 'RUUFUPEHEBR' sound from the mic.

Uschi never should have been handed that thing. She doesn't have a use for it. She just swings it, while barking out Some Words; " Look us us. What one of us, save that nugget of Glamour over there, ain't had to crawl and claw and trick and wink and fight our way out, back through them thorns, eh? And don't matter if yer like Her Fine Ass over there, or like that sad sack of shit here." Paz and C.B. are pointed to in turn, respectively. "It ain't no FUCKING cakewalk, am I right, or am I fucking right? Who had an easy go it it, eh? Raise your fucking hand if you did."

The Ogress jerks her left shoulder. Surprise: her very dead arm does not raise in solidarity.

"...I'm gonna tell yous lot, 'bout a dream I had, then we're gonna talk about what it is we do, to bring each other back home -- no fucking interruptions."

C.B. raises his eyebrows and shrugs, but he takes his mug and heads over to Cerise, stopping at the refreshments first to refill his mug with whiskey. Not coffee. Then he takes up an empty seat next to her for the Uschi Show. He rubs his face with his hand briefly, like he has a headache, but his head jerks up when she calls him a 'sad sack of shit.' "Hey!"

"Small?! You wouldn't know!" Says Count, who, when standing, is a towering 5'6"-ish skinny goth boy. He looks utterly indignant... save for the gleam in those leonine eyes of his, and the faint grin peeling back from those sharp teeth, and.. did he just... wink at Uschi? Like he was flirting? Gross.

Then he lets out an audible groan of exasperation, shaking his head. "This isnt a pledge where the negotiations mean yer left, this is Hospitality, a custom that is universal to-- and then, just when the horned Beast of Winter was about to gear up for a Rant, Uschi starts going and he deflates a little, settling back in his 'seat' and lets his eyes fix back on the Ogress.

The squeal of the mic causes Sigrun to flinch for a moment, then squint one eye and hunch the shoulder on the same side. But she's still taking notes. The woman is unstoppable.

HA! All of a sudden, the glamour Vorpal's been bleeding to be Johnny seems well spent when HE isn't the one immediately picked out as the pillar of Wyrd in the room. His grin could bridge the River Tam, it's so wide. Uschi has his attention as she starts speaking, and when she asks who had an easy go of it? He glances down at his hands and back to her. His hand does not go up, and a somber look settles over his expression.

He's listening.

And after all that talking, Cerise only taps a few words out on the keyboard before leaning over to mutter to C.B., apparently, Uschi is rambling enough that she can.

"I'm tempted to raise my hand," Paz says softly, amusedly, in as much as someone who sounds like a cement mixer when she talks can make it sound amusing. "It would be a lie, though." She doesn't seem to be inclined to take any offense to the snarky remarks thrown her way, or anything else.

C.B. drinks and murmurs something back to Cerise, though his eyes are on the Ogress. The hand not holding the mug runs its way through his hair, serving to both muss it up further and create a sudden shower of electric sparks.

Olenka might not outwardly show what she's thinking as the talking continues with a few diversions into almost arguments or sticking points, but she totally responds to casual insults. Like, her expression almost seems to brighten as Uschi flings a few stinging words around with absolute carelessness. That definitely, if very briefly, warms her dark heart a degree or two. It's more than enough to keep her attention, at any rate, gaze tracking from CB and his cat, to the other speakers and finally glueing to the ogre with the mic.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Teagan's expression is as blank as an empty mirror, and their mouth is full of brandy.

Uschi uses the mic to scratch at her very dead left arm for a few seconds as folk get sttled -- the noise is, uh, something alright -- then the Ogress seems to reach a conclusion. Does she reply to C.B.'s discontent? No. She doesn't let Count finish or apologise for calling him a pipsqueak, or so much of anything -- save give Paz an upnod. Yeah. Fickering iridescent eyes scan the crowd, and Uschi starts to speak again...

"None of us had it easy. Think back, to when you got stumbling home - how'd you get there? Who picked you up? How they treat you? How you treat /them/?... I saw them folk in the Hedge, and after, I felt it in my bones: dream, girl, dream."

It's the damnedest thing; when she gets on a roll? That gravely voice has a certain, hmm, confidence about it:

"...I went, and I walked through the gate of Horn and onto the Skein - there I moved, and I travelled far to find Lilith, the Black Moon, the dream of Mystery. She pointed, and I saw: sand. Shifting sand, reaching out for the enteral - dunes curling up to protect the village below: a tribe, so close to the Hedge around them, I thought they were Hobs, s'only the strength of their glamour rose up, like waves of heat setting the sand alight.

"It were joy, what fuelled this Hedge-bound tribe; real idle-like, and so pure t'were like Dawn was always pressing the horizon, d'ja get me? And from where I was, I saw and I knew: these people, born and raised in the Hedge, they ain't ever felt for nothing like hunger or want, or shame or disgust, for their land was like of of them hanging gardens in them bright books - they were never in... What'cha call it... Doubt - they were never in doubt, not once, 'bout the purpose of their lives, 'cause they had a guiding light: they worked and worshiped and prayed, and they knew nothing else, but the dev- dev... Devotion, of their golden God, the Eye of the Eternal Sands - and their God was good to them, all the time."

The thought seems to confuse Uschi - a god, who is good? Although it /could/ be the complexity of all the words she's finding herself sharing. Regardless, the Moon Ogress' confidence in the content of her dream is unwavering. Un.Waver.Ing -- not a speck of doubt or hesitation, although she does stop to lick her parched mouth and consider for a moment. Words are hard.

If he was listening before, Uschi's introduction to what she's seen of the Children of the Sun has Vorpal rapt now. He's locked onto her while she explains what she saw in her dreams, with the air of a man waiting for the other shoe to drop.

From his perch atop the podium, Yossarian twitches a whisker at the noise of the microphone abrading the Ogress' dead skin. The cat's bold yellow eyes stay on the crowd, roving from person to person, only to settle at last on C.B.

"So you saw the ones that the two we caught were raised from. The Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun. They're born to that life, they grow up in it, and it's a sort of gift if they're turned into Lost by what they think is their God." There's a subtle slurring to the voice of the Mirrorskin, and then Teagan wearily adds, "I mean, I only spent like two hours licking the inside of that dude's fucking psyche. They're not captives. And they're born to the life. We've been talking about trying to go and break them out. But, like I said. They're not captives. That much... is really clear. So, you know. What an ethical fucking dilemma. How do you rescue people who are willing?"

This little explanation of the dream again gets a rapid flurrying of typing from Cerise, the mortal woman finishing up with a pair of punctuated bangs. Her eyes then shift to Teagan, "They need it more than anyone else. They're not willing. They only think they are. They've been brainwashed, but that doesn't mean you can't deprogram them. People escape from cults all the time."

When Uschi describes how she found this information, Dross glances across the room, over the heads of the others seated around the circle of chairs and beanbags and sofas, at the Ogress. He watches her in silence for a little while. Then his gaze moves to Vorpal, pausing for a moment, and then to Teagan, when the other Darkling begins to speak.

That's some dream. C.B., too, stares at Uschi with his utmost attention. He doesn't even notice Yossy staring at him like a creepy creepster. Teagan's words distract him, though, and his gaze flits over to her, then Cerise. "Yeah, Cerise is right. In the end, they /are/ captives. There's more than one way to skin a rat." Rat, yes. C.B. intentionally did not say 'cat,' and he is staring at Yossy. Who is staring back. Might be a warning.

And this is why she brought the lecture recorder, because there's really no hope of keeping up with shorthand at this point. She rubs at her forehead and sets her pen down, after jotting a final note of 'I give up' in actual roman letters. The steno pad is folded up and tucked back into the bag under her chair. While the conversation continues, she rises from her chair to sneak out of the circle and pour herself a glass of the mead she'd brought. Sounds like she might need it. "Oh, look," Sigrun offers aside to Paz as she's walking back to her seat, "Semantics." There's a wry grin offered to the other summer before Sigrun retakes her seat.

Vorpal flits his gaze to Dross when he feels eyes on him. He's calm, but clearly waiting to hear more, something that'll connect what Uschi has described so far with whatever it is he's seen. "I want to hear more of what Uschi has to say before this is discussed."

Yossarian holds the Wizened's stare for a minute, then lifts a paw and licks the back of it once, smoothly, before absorbing himself in a little grooming. Then the cat leaps down from the podium to inspect the snacks table for something that might suit his refined digestion.

Paz is quiet through most of this discussion, though she does give Sigrun a smile when the valkyrie passes by. It doesn't seem like this particular matter is one that she has any interest in debating, but she sure seems interested in listening to the opinions everyone else is sharing.

C.B. squints at Sigrun as she makes that little comment. His blue-silver eyes move from her over to Teagan, then back to Uschi. He readjusts himself on his chair, looking faintly annoyed, and finally remembers to take his glasses off. They get folded up and slid into one of his front shirt pockets.

Uschi turns, and gives Teagan A Look at the interruption. Didn't she just say 'No fucking interruptions'? At least it's taken her out of the thoughtful pause. Wait. Where was she? The Ogress sniffs in, staring up at the ceiling for a few seconds. Takes a while for those words to break loose and start tumbling again;

"...The only time, their God were bad, t'was to them outsiders what were comin' in to their village, like invaders wanting to get that what their tribe had. Their people, their glamour - and so they fought with Others who'd wage war, or Changelings who came to plunder the fruits and tokens and people of their land. Most of them flock, them people raised inna Hedge and devoted to their God, they ain't never known no fear, or felt no whip, or ever screamed for nothin'."

"So, when them outsider Changelings what heard of that golden village and the treasure in the sand, came and took a Child's sister? They ran, and they were chased by the Children of the Sands, who ain't wanna abandon hope they had for the sister they loved - chased far, far, far, much farther than anyone'd gone before; through trod and sea and mountain too, into the lands 'round here. Those two pair of starry crossed lovers, what were whippin' that Ensorcelled woman in the Hedge? Were lookin' for their sister, whom the Ensorcelled woman helped kidnap -- the Children's sister is dead now, I felt it, saw her bones turn to dust an scatter in the thorns. 'cause she ain't had the memories, to guide her back to Earth -- just like them two Children of the Sand we met, what couldn't repent 'gainst something they ain't understood, or remember an Earth they ain't never got to."

Uschi stops, and for a moment she pants - dry tongue licking at an oversized cuspid, as she turns and raises her sole working hand up, mic pointed in the direction of the daybed. At Johnny/Vorpal? Looks like it.

"You, who acts like you're a God yerself: it were wrong, to take a prisoner inna bit of the Hedge you've carved out as your domain. You ain't never let her feel the winds on Earth, see the moonlight on the snow, taste a fruit who ain't Wyrd or nothing. Don't matter if you say you treated her good -- /good/, to who? /She/ ain't thought it were good. She thought it were bad -- and she got squoz'd out by yer gang, 'for she ever learned they were anything real other than what her good God raises her to know."

Are folk talking over Uschi? The Ogress really is, well, /pushy/ about getting the word out there, her loud rough voice ambling on as she gestures to Vorpal, Sigrun and Teagan; "Let it be known - to all free fae, King Charlie, and beyond: it were wrong, to deny them who ain't never got a single chance to know, even a scrap of humanity. You snuffed out her potential, you kept her inna soft prison of dumbness, and you let hope die with her. We gonna kill every stupid motherfucker who don't know their asshole from their true name? Without givin' them a chance to feel the Earth, even once? That gonna make us better, better, uh, /people/? For fuck sakes, when we find Lost in the Hedge, bring them =home=. We got back. Why can't they?"

"Look, I know that you can't possibly understand this -- either of you -- but I was in his head. When I put on a face, it isn't just physical. I literally put on his head. I knew what he valued, what he loved, what he feared, what he felt. I can tell you, because I felt it, that he didn't understand romantic love, but he was extremely devoted to his partner. I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was born to the life he was born to. I can tell you, because I wore his head, that when they were killing that woman, it was both Glamour and worship. I can tell you he didn't have any hobbies. You can both argue with me all you want, but at the end of the day, ain't neither one of you took on yourselves the wearing of his face and the licking of the inside of his brain to get out all the fucking answers in there. I did. And you both can state all the certainties that you want, but I was in there. So you can doubt me on anything and everything else you want to, because I am admitted fucking liar, but do not doubt what I tell you when I tell you what I know from wearing someone's fucking face, because that? That's all truths. And that's literally my entire fucking job, so, you know. Please, tell me how you know my job better than me." Teagan flashes a bright, sharp little smile, casts a little glance over to Uschi, and then away again. "Yes. It's a cult. Yes, people get away from cults. But yes, they are willing. And deciding whose thoughts or feelings really are what they are? That's what They do. And that's my whole point. You guys are so sure that's not what they really want, and that they can't really have the desire for what they become. I'm just pointing out to you the fucking ethical dilemma."

"I mean, if it were up to me, I'd go bust 'em all out and not give a single shit whether or not that was what they really wanted. But I'm the one who's spent three decades cracking open Loyalist cabals and letting other people worry about the ethics later. You guys are the ones with all the moral fucking quandrys. I just figured I oughtta let you guys, you know, know." They spread their right palm out in a sitcom shrug, thickly-scarred surface turned out. "And now I have. So. If you guys wanna come when we go do our work?"

And it's only then that Uschi's words sink in, and Teagan gets up, sets their mug down, and turns to Vorpal, to Sigrun, saying something in a ragged, dead language. Their Summer Mantle's at full blare now. "She would never turn. And if you want me to believe you, Uschi, when you talk about what you know, you can believe me. Or not. I don't care. I know what I know. There was no coming back for her, nor going forward. We could have let her go, knowing all our faces -- well, your faces, not mine -- and where we lived, and she would never have changed, and never wanted to be what you consider free, but she would have come for that one," and here Teagan points to Cerise, "who would have gotten tortured to death for her humanness and her knowing. And then they would have come for the rest of us."

Another handful of words in that sharp language, and Teagan just picks up the bottle of brandy and takes a swallow. "It was the closest thing to right there was."

Count hasn't gone anywhere, he's not not really moved since Uschi started speaking. His attention, or at least his ears are locked on Uschi, an Aural Fixation if you will. His eyes however, never stop moving, watching people as the U-racle talks about her dreams. The longer she talks the more count... remains almost , watching the crowd, skimming from face to face, sitting up just a bit.

In the background, Yossarian slinks down from the podium and over to C.B., on whose jungle boots the cat seems to have a mind to sit right now.

It's a good thing that Yossarian is sitting on C.B.'s feet, because as Teagan points at her, Cerise closes the laptop, and tucks it under one arm as she rises to her feet, "Which doesn't give us the right to behave the same way! Even if everything you say is true, we should have been told, rather than you making the decision on your own!"

Sigrun raises a hand at this point to inquire, "That being the case, why didn't any of you stop it? You were there, Uschi. And you, C.B. And you, Cerise. It's a fine thing to be high minded after an impossible decision was reached when you abdicated your role in making it in the first place. None of you even spoke to me that night. Not even to say you had reservations. Not even to say you believed it was wrong. I'm not one for moral absolutism, but you either had a change of heart since then or a shameful lack of backbone in the actual event. Yeah, I decided the best course of action was to drop the axe. That was me. But not one of you tried to stop me. Not even with your speakywords." Sigrun lifts a hand, as though the implied insult in her words was not in point of fact intended. "But I get it. Regardless of what we did in the moment all decisions we make should be subject to review after the fact. Right or wrong. So now that we've both pointed fingers, what would you rather be done in the future?"

As per usual, when this set of Winters shows up, the Hedgebeast service dog is their herald. Beren the Malamute's wearing his bright blue service dog vest, complete with patches, and it's his furry head that pokes in the door first. He shoulders past the door, and once he's got enough room for his humans to come behind and not step on him, pauses and waits, curled tail waving cheerfully.

Kiril's right behind him, limping a little. The Winter's in his usual parka and jeans, long hair pulled back in a herringbone braid, pale eyes thoughtful. He waits for Zhenya to come in, before finding both of them a seat.

C.B. listens. Frowns. Listens. So much talking...from Uschi and from Teagan. But when Teagan's done, he turns and looks at them and says: "According to who? Who made you the arbiter of what's right and what's wrong? Why was that okay for you to decide on your own? Was time so much of the essence that you couldn't have brought these moral quandries back to a larger group? Even the fucking /Freehold/?" His face twitches involuntarily at that. "Look, these are hypothetical questions, Teagan. Think about -- " And then Cerise is on her feet and saying what she says, and he nods in agreement. Sigrun gets a bit of a wrinkled nose from him, though. He's gone red in the face. No doubt he could say more. Instead, though he says: "Look, let's all give everyone a chance to speak on this issue. What we think, and how we'd like to do things differently in the future. Pass it on your right when you're done, and no interruptions from the rest of you while someone is speaking, please." He stands, forcing Yossy off his feet, gets the mic back from Uschi (somehow). For whatever reason, Vorpal gets it first.

Forcing Yossy off? Yossarian always meant to get off C.B.'s feet at just that moment. Isn't that obvious? Look at the smooth way he moves back to his makeshift observation tower, also known as the podium next to the snacks table.

Bouncy flame-red curls from under a grey knit hat announce Zhenya, the tall Russian separated from Kiril by a few footsteps. Isn't that the truth for their kind? Winter has not entirely chilled her, thanks to the cup of fragrant black tea carried in a vacuum-sealed travel mug the same steely-blue shade as her coat. Let Beren be the welcoming committee, whereas she prefers to give a quiet inclination of her head. More subdued perhaps, but that's hardly bound to be any sort of surprise.

Vorpal takes the mic. It helps- with his Wyrd squashed and hidden, he isn't really all that impressive. Just some scarred kid who looks like he could stand to eat a few steaks. He looks at Cerise for a long moment before he starts to speak.

"We could say the same thing- we should have been told. We're being held accountable for what someone learned in a dream and never told us." He looks around the room. "We held her captive for over a week," states Vorpal. "You knew she was being held, and there was more than enough time to find us and talk to us about this. I am not a hard person to find. Over a week, when we could have done any of the things you said just now, but nobody suggested doing anything of the sort with the Loyalist. Not once." He falls silent again. He's clearly frustrated and fighting to keep calm. "It comes up now, after everything is said and done. After nobody said a single word about this dream, or her treatment. NOW it's all wrong. And maybe it was. I'm not a seer. I didn't get a set of dreams explaining to me what they were doing out there. What I had was a devoted servant of a Gentry we had caught beating a naked mortal half to death in the hedge to break her spirit and feed on her glamour, Loyalists that attacked us for being infidels the moment they found out we weren't devoted to their God."

"Maybe if I'd had the information about where they'd come from, I would have made a different call. But I didn't. You," he says, looking straight at the Ogre who'd called him out, "Didn't tell me. So I didn't bring the Loyalist into the real world. I wanted her as far away from mortals as possible. If she found a way to slip our grasp, she'd have a city full of victims to take back with her. So I kept her in the most secure place I had available, pulled other changelings into helping keep her watched, and fed, and contained."

He looks to CB now. "You want to know what sort of dire time of the essence thing was going on? -We were keeping a captive.- You ever even -considered- keeping someone prisoner? You ever felt the way it -immediately- twists your fucking gut into knots? It's like what -They- do. THEY keep prisoners. THEY force their prisoners to be the way they wanted. And it fucking -tore at my soul- every day I woke up and remembered I had someone locked up in my fucking house. THAT is the fucking time crunch. I'm the Agent of Awakening. It's my job to safeguard the sanity and humanity of the changelings around me, and to judge when someone is so far gone, there isn't a way back for them. You want to know who appointed me Judge, Jury and Executioner? DAWN. Dawn placed me to recognize when hope is lost so that others aren't harmed in the name of blind hope."

He looks around the room now. "There were three choices. Keep her for longer. Let her go. Kill her. I'd already forced more than myself to deal with keeping someone prisoner for over a week. I couldn't risk the integrity of their spirits over desperate hope that maybe she'd change her mind eventually. I -looked- for signs she might. There were none. So it was let her go or kill her. I'd already found her with one mortal being dragged into the Hedge, I wasn't going to risk her taking more. So I couldn't let her go."

"She asked to die in the light. I gave her what she asked for. Maybe there were reasons that could have changed my mind. But you didn't give them to me."

With the microphone being passed around, it finds its way to Paz pretty quickly. She takes it and, unlike many others, doesn't speak for long. "I wasn't there. I haven't been involved. I don't know enough about what happened to pass judgement, so I'm not fucking going to just now. I will say that I agree with rescuing people where we can, if we can, but sometimes we can't. People have to want to change to be able to, most of the time, and taking people who don't want to change and putting them in situations where they might be dangers to others in hopes they'll change their mind is usually not a risk worth taking. Was that the case here? Like I said, I wasn't involved, and I don't know." That's it for her, and she cedes the floor.

Uschi turns and watches Teagan as the Darkling speaks - her iridescent eyes flickering, but her expression unmoving. She just stares, unblinking - presumably listening, although it's hard to tell how much is being processed in a meaningful way. The Ogress may be some Crust Crone of Moon who can walk through prophetic dreams - but she doesn't seem that bright.

Just... Bright enough. Moonlight on snow. Uschi sniffs in, and shrugs her one working shoulder. "You ain't listened. S'not about whot they already knew, s'bout the potential you snuffed out. S'like... S'like... What this guy once told me, inna roadhouse in Utah - there's this /cave/ see..."

Oh here we go.

"An' there's these folk, chained there inna pit - and just think, if you're lookin' at the shadows on the wall, it feels like, yeah; that's life, man. But unless you get the chance, to take off them shackles? You can stand, and you'll look around, and behind you, there's this whole new world - not of shadows, but... /Flesh/. Can we survive on shadows? Nah - not if we wanna suck the marrow outta life. So I ain't talkin' 'bout whatever you think he knew - 'cause what he knew ain't shit. I'm talkin' 'bout /cutting short their potential/, to take off that chain, to walk on this green Earth..."

Tap, tap. Bare Farwalker feet thunk against the floorboards, and Uschi turns to Vorpal and... And she just laughs. So many words! The Ogress wrinkles her nose, and shakes her head. "Youse one Wyrd motherfucker, you know that? I got my dream /after/ you squoze her, mister. Why you tryin' to put some blame on me, eh? You're the big man, with the big domain in the Hedge and all that. Youse think for yerself, innit? If it hurt ya very soul, whatever youse got left, ain't ya think maybe something was wrong?"

More laughter. Uschi is holding up her hand -- singular -- and waving it in the air. "All I'm saying: take them what you find /to Earth/, so they getta chance to see it inna flesh, d'ja get me?"

The Darkling with the bottle of brandy in their hand takes another swallow of it, staring at Uschi. They don't take the mic, perhaps counting on their Mantle and their flickering irritation to bring eyes to them as much as needs be. "What I have learned from my time in this town is that no matter how impossible the decision, C.B. Alexander and Friends will always be there to tell you that you chose wrong," Teagan begins. "I told them -- this is going to be rehashing the same things over again. And look: here it is. The same things over again. The same conversation that Cerise had with Johnny. The same bullshit that came after the Ashen Hunt."

"When you don't recognize any authority, what that leads to is this egotistical 'you didn't do what I would like to think I would have done, therefore, it's wrong, because I am the only boy that's real,' which is what happens every time. Who gave us the right? Who gave us the right to make the decision? The guy who gave us the assignment gave them the right to make the decision. And me? I got the right to make the hard decisions the day I got these. Literally. My. Job." The Mirrorskin rolls their shoulders. "This is literally the exact same conversation we had two months ago, and it is literally the same conversation that we will have the next time some impossible thing comes up and people decide 'well, I don't want to pick up the trash, but I'll complain about how it's picked up by the people who pick it up.'"

"Anyway, I'm done listening to this. I know my job, I know how to do it, and it's very clear that nobody is listening to what I know, or trusting me to know what I know or to know what it means. So there's really no point to this conversation. It's not a conversation. You, Uschi, didn't come here to have a conversation. You didn't ask 'what did you know and when did you know it.' You didn't ask 'did you know something I didn't know?' You didn't ask 'why did you make that decision.' You came here to proclaim without the pieces that other people had, when other people had the pieces you had. I knew about the cult. So. Yeah. I'm done here. This isn't a conversation. It never was, and it was never going to be. Brandy's on me." And with that, the Summer heads for the door.

And then Count sits up further... and then he stands and starts too... rant? "What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I'm the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with... with.. Fuck I forgot the rest!"

The beast is clearly fighting back laughter, and well, the expression on his face is clear, incredulous amusement. "Shit, ya'll need to fucking tone down the over dramatic and defensive doom and fucking gloom. Like /way/ fucking down, cuz ya'll at an 11 up here..." and he raises his hand to show. "...and I'd like yall to be down here" And again he lowers his hand, "...at like a 5. Is this how we react to new information? Shit we got..." and he pauses as if to check his memory and when it confirms he continues. "...bootylicious up here talking about dreams and oracles and omens and real knowledge, and fuckin' talking about Plato's damned cave." At whjich point he gives uschi a look that reads 'seriosuly?!' without actually saying it. "And some of ya'll are pulling soap boxes out of yer various downstairs flaps and folds, ready like yer standing trial fer fuckin' war crimes. This aint th' Freehold, remember? Learn how to have a real conversations. Alla yalls." and then he flops back down and pulls a mini bottle of... bourbon from his pocket.

As Olenka listens from where she stands by herself with her back to a reassuredly solid wall, her eyes slowly narrow. What she hears, she absorbs readily enough, it would appear, even if her gaze loses focus. Largely, it's because she's watching the curling tendrils of mist that she's idly exhaling, as a smoker might blow rings while lost in thought. Even when mantles and words get heated, she doesn't really snap to or flare up herself. She's Switzerland; frosty and neutral. There's no interuptions from her and no indication she's picked a side either. Everything is just vaguely interesting, including the two Russians that slipped in during the show. She watches them until they're seated, possibly curious.

As C.B. begins to pass around the mic, Cerise sits back down again, and again opens her laptop. Soon, the woman is typing again, making quick summaries of the points that people are making. Judging by the amount of time that she hits enter, she's using mostly bulleted lists. Then it's her turn to speak and yes, the mortal woman does seem to think she gets a turn at the mic the same as everyone else does. Again, the laptop is set aside to allow her to stand. "Look, I'm not necessarily arguing with the decisions that were made. I know you do things differently and it's too late to change them no matter how I feel about things. But the same people who gave you all authority to make decisions, gave that authority to all of us. Still, only half the people involved were given a say in what happened. There was obviously a plan in place before the interrogation even started. A plan that I wasn't told about and I don't think C.B. was either. I spent most of the interrogation just trying to figure out what was going on. It was wrong to make those decisions about what would happen to the prisoner without stopping and informing the rest of us what you were thinking and it was wrong to go into an interrogation with half the people in the dark about what was actually going on." The mortal's eyes then sweep over Vorpal, Sigrun, and the departing Teagan, "We should have worked together, just the way that Uschi is trying to do now, by telling you about her dream instead of keeping it to herself. If you keep having this conversation again and again, maybe you should think about why that is."

The mortal sucks in a breath and continues, "As for what should happen? I agree with Uschi. We need to /try/ and free them, not just their bodies, but their minds as well."

Sigrun rolls her tongue in her mouth as Teagan holds forth. Watching and listening. She does not turn to go, obviously, and spends some time rubbing at the back of her neck with one hand. The other, very wisely, holds her glass to her mouth and down the hatch with the mead. By now she has had plenty of time to sit and listen and probably count to ten. Summer's and their tempers. When it is her time to speak, she accepts the mic back from Cerise with a clearing of her throat and a murmured, "Thank you." A touch of contrition in her voice. "Literally nothing we say or do at this point is going to unkill that woman. Even if we wanted to, we can't. Uschi's suggestion, on its face, has merit. And I think anyone, if they're being objective, would see that. I'm not speaking, necessarily, of the situation that's behind us. But certainly the situations that we might see in the future. It's not going to hurt anyone to take a moment and ask if a prisoner can safely be exposed to reality in an effort to effect some sort of change in them." Sigrun then gestures over to Cerise, "It's like she says. We can work together and make things better, or we can work at cross purposes and keep having these same conversations over and over again. Is that your only suggestion? I was hoping there'd be more." Sigrun heads to the bottle of mead, pours herself another, and keeps chatting at the mic. "With that said, there's a great way to work towards a better flow of information, trust, information security, and cooperation. It's called a Freehold. And no matter how much those of us who are members-- I'm not, yet, for the record --and those of us who aren't want to cooperate, there's going to be a lot of signal loss, a lot of presumption of knowledge that's common to one group and not the other, that an orderly chair of fealty can fix. I realize most of you aren't even going to entertain that suggestion, but I'd be remiss if I didn't make it. If you are going to hold yourselves apart as a matter of principle, don't be surprised when the aparatus of the Freehold takes you at your word." She toasts the room, downs her glass again, and offers the mic out. Kiril? Dross? She's lost track.

Once upon a time, someone had to perfect the art of wearing that dull-eyed pokerface while DIs barked in his face. And Kiril hasn't lost it since, deploying it now as he listens to the various exchanges with a studied lack of expression, as he occasionally snags swigs of Zhenya's tea. At the offer of the mic, he waves it past. The Soldier has no comment at this time.

Beren the dog, on the other hand, is frowning, ears pinned back. Even the fluffy tail has uncurled to lie flat, never a good sign with a spitz. He does not speak up, however, merely looking up at his Lost with earnest brown eyes, before examining the rest of those gathered.

"Friends?" Uschi tries out the word - it seems foreign in her mouth, like 'amuse bouche' or 'unerträglicher Wichser' could be. "Simmer down there, Summer child -- youse letting the heat warp yer vision. You can see the shadows for the flesh, right? Don't need us to whistle for a Blackbird?..." Whatever Uschi might add next is cut short, as the Ogress vaguely watches Teagan talk, turning her head to get a earful of what Count has to say.

The Ogress doesn't seem to be able to follow the Beasts line of thought. Navy Seals? Al-Quaeda? The man has obviously had some sort of Dream Vision - and yet... "Who the fuck is Plato? This were a kid in Utah named Cricket."

Uschi's slow, confident, ambling attempt to figure out what's happening has her licking her lips, looking all sorts of parched. Lumbering around, she goes en-route for the refreshments -- nodding belatedly to Kiril and Zhenya as she passes, and... Not paying very much attention to the conversation?

Until Uschi hears Cerise. The Ogress grunts. "Bring 'em to Earth. Show 'em flesh." Uh, that might not be the best advice? But no more -- she's looking for something to whet her whistle. Snorting, at the mention of the freehold? Probably a coincidence.

“Okay, first off? There is no ‘C.B. Alexander and Friends.’ Hell, do I even have any friends? There’s no need to make this personal again, Teagan.” The Author makes a face. “The point of this meeting is merely debate. Discussion. It’s not me attacking people. It’s not anyone ganging up on anyone else. Why is it so bad to talk about shit?” C.B.’s face scrunches up. “You all like to pontificate. What, it’s only okay when it goes one way? All that being said, I’d like to encourage folks to come here to Cat-22 and invoke Hospitality and hold meetings that you don’t feel comfortable holding in the Freehold. That’s the whole point of the space. The point of the space isn’t to be put on trial by yours truly. And if you have a problem with me, for fuck’s sake, /say it to my goddamn face/.”

He adds, “Cerise said a few things better than I could have. What kind of message does it send, for example, to keep the prisoner in your Hollow, Vorpal, instead of in a similarly secure but more neutral space?” He looks at the Wyrdly one in question and shrugs. “Look, you and Teagan and probably most of you in this room could crush me in half. Being loud and making a fuss and getting people to think and question and, y’know, use words, that’s pretty much all I’m good at. So that’s all I’m doing. Encouraging us to talk. Some people think I’m too much talk and not enough action. Well, when I take action, I tend to get myself and other people in trouble. So you should probably all be glad that all I’m good for is running my trap. As for the Freehold itself, King Charlie-fucking-O himself has been handing out missions regardless of affiliation. If he wanted all of this to be a Freehold-only affair, then he should have kept it as such. Until Fate’s Harvest rescinds its death penalty, I’ll never be a member.” The Wizened suddenly looks grumpy again, and passes the mic to Dross without ever considering if the Darkling would have something to say (as he very well may not).

Cerise sits back down, opens the laptop and again returns to typing furiously, but she nods approvingly at Sigrun's words as she does so, which continues as C.B. speaks.

"I said it to your goddamned face, you glass-throwing, word-twisting, solipsistic piece of double-talking trash. I came to find you, I told you what my fucking problem was, and you turned it around and tried to make your direct misdeeds my fucking problem. Just like you're trying to make your inaction my problem now," Teagan answers drily.

C.B. was about to sit down, but now he's on his feet again. Beet red to boot, sparks flying from his ears. "Ex-fucking-/scuse/ me, Teagan? Do we need to take this outside, as per the rules of Hospitality?" Lightning crashes in his blue-silver eyes. "Or do you want to see who can play 'Can't Buy Me Love' on the banjo better? Either works for me."

When the mic comes to him, Dross accepts it gingerly, as if it were a grenade. He takes a moment to look around at each person in the room, seeking to meet and hold, however briefly, their gaze. Then he looks down at the microphone and thumbs it off. Maybe that means no one will hear him, except the keen of hearing or those sitting very close.

The Darkling says, in a low, even voice, "We agreed to be civil to each other, did we not?" He glances at C.B. and Teagan here, and then, oddly, perhaps, at Count. "The place of understanding," he says, looking now at Vorpal, Uschi, Cerise, Sigrun, Paz, and then Olenka, Kiril, and Zhenya, Yossarian... "is hidden from the eyes of the living. But better sought listening than by speaking." Although... He /just/ spoke, didn't he? Dross hesitates, then adds: "Better by doubt than by certainty." Finished, he turns the microphone on again and hands it to his right, as requested. To Zhenya.

"So I'm guessing the answer to the question 'is taking them outside of the hedge the only suggestion' would be 'yes'. I'll suggest it to my court, an to the Crown when I see him. You have my word." Sigrun sets her glass down and rises from her chair again, reaching for her coat. She starts to slip it on casually. She asides over to Cerise, "For the record, I'm sorry we got off on the wrong foot. If any of these busters give you too hard a time, lemme know. Freyja's kids gotta stick together." The lecture recorder is still rolling at present, but it seems she's sort of figuring this isn't going to lead to further productive conversation.

Navy Seals and Al-Qaeda? Give that man an upvote. Or, in Zhenya's case, an upnod concealed within the roseate nebula of her hair flowing around her shoulders to exaggerate the miniscule gesture. The lone gesture of interest to differentiate one of the tail-end Slavs coming to a meeting at full burn. Voices form such a fascinating chorus from the abrasive tenors to the higher mezzosopranos scoring their own kind of song, tone and timbre distinguishing each speaker in their time.

When the Moon Ogress ceases her comments and the Mirrorskin takes up the speaker's staff of sorts, followed by a succession of others in their lunar phases, she is paying keen attention. Distinguishing that is not the easiest of tasks with the ephemeral woman, those eyes too Wyrd-altered to reveal much emotion or direction. Otherwise once seated, she is still to the point of immobile, for all that other Russian lures her to return the assessment. Soon, but all things in their time. Giving her a microphone leaves her staring quizzically at the object, the tremulous silence enfolding her for a time. A shake of her head, it's held out for someone else to take. Figures. Winter and their damn silence, or taking the advice of the Darkling who addressed them to heart.

"Chiiiildreeeen!" Count calls from his comfortable seat in the beanbag, after popping the little plastic bottle from his lips. "This is what I am talking about. For fucks sake..." his head is now turned, looking directly at Teagan and CB. "You two are lice Acid and Bases..." take that high school level education "...and should probably simmer away from each other, but you know, just some unsolicited opinions here..." and he just trails off before speaking up and asking "Oi, Ceebs, you turn off the sprinklers or is this place still non-smoking?"

"That sounds like an ad home in 'em tack." Uschi croaks, scratching the seam of her Very Dead Left Arm with the neck of a beer can she's picked up from over yonder refreshment tray. A long peel of skin flakes off her arm, flutters in the air, and disintegrates into dust. A second later, she's taking a sip from the very same beer can.

The Ogress' eyes flicker as Dross speaks, and... And then Uschi goes quiet nodding slowly - turning to peer at Zhenya, and all her... Complicated Fairest-ness. As Count speaks, she turns and glances from him to Teagan and C.B., but she says nothing still. Gee. Maybe Uschi's word quota's been maxed out. Or Dross is secretly in charge.

"Non-smoking, as a general rule," C.B. mutters, but he's actually reaching into his shirt pocket for a cigarette of his own. "Tonight, light the fuck up. I don't care." He certainly is, now that Count mentions it. He's already sat down again, tapping ash onto the floor as he smokes. Although as Sigrun heads out the door, he adds, "I, for one, would like to learn more about the Children of the Sun thing before I start stating my opinion about what to do with them. Truly." He rubs his face with his hand. "I know no one believes me..." Whatever he was going to say trails off. He gets to his feet again, heading over to the refreshments now for a beer or three.

Hearing Uschi got the dream -after- actually seems to settle Vorpal some. "Oh. Well. If that's the case, then there was no way that I could have had that information before I made the call I did, and it's certainly not your fault." He considers Uschi's words- it's... pretty clear he's upset and trying to stay calm. "You're not... wrong. It'd have been more fair, to her, to take her to Earth and let her see what was there, and if I'd found her doing anything besides torturing a mortal for something she could pick off the trees, it might have occured to me. I was preoccupied with making sure she didn't get her hands on anyone else." He has more thoughts, but Sigrun covers them more calmly and better worded than he. He listens to Cerise, too, shrugging a little. "Yeah. Maybe working together would have changed the outcome. I don't think so. Not -this- time. In the future, we absolutely should, and I'm sorry I didn't fold you all in better. I'm- kind of new to the whole leadership thing. I'm used to being accountable for one person. Kinda... still working on it."

"Nobody suggested any other place to hold her, man. My Hollow is the most secure place I had. You can't -leave- without either a chain of different contracts, or the ability to open Trods. Again, man, I wasn't thinking about what message I was sending, I was trying to make sure she couldn't get her hands on anybody else- something nobody said anything about, all freaking week. And for the record, man," Vorpal intones towards CB, peering up at him from dark-ringed eyes. "I get that you didn't intend for this to be a courtroom? But when someone spends ten minutes explaining things to a room full of people and finishes with "it was wrong of you to kill that person", it sure as fuck -feels- like a trial."

Vorpal rolls up to stand about the time that Teagan and CB start to scrape metaphorical flint and steel over the room full of tinder. His Mask is- literally- starting to crack. The flesh that isn't the whorling patterns of scars across his form is starting to collapse into shadows and phantoms as he moves, and the more that fades, the more heavily the same sense of "holy fuck what IS that" that Paz gives off starts to double down in Vorpal's particular flavor. "Thank you for talking about this instead of trying to knife me in my sleep. Not that you lot specifically would do that, it's just kind of SOP for dealing with self-proclaimed Gods you think have gone off the deep end. If anyone wants to talk about this more, I'm usually a few blocks northeast from here at Aspire Arena. Come find me. Promise I won't break you in half. And if anyone's fucking nuts enough to want to try to raid the Eternal Sand's fucking village..."

He moves to stand near the stairs down and speaks without turning around. "Might help to have a God at your back."

The only response is a lazy-cat smile from the Summer Darkling. "I ain't agree to shit," Their attention slowly turns back to Sigrun when she speaks, again, but that back of the mirror stillness has returned. "And I can't be civil to that hypocrite. I tried. I really, really did. So many times. But for all he comes to people saying 'you wrong,' he ain't ever wrong. This whole jawn is set up so he can be right, alla the time." Mirror-blank, but Philly thick, that accent. "Literally completely unsolicited, Count, so, like, fuck off."

"Y'all know where to find me if you wanna talk about all the shit I learned from being in that guy's head without being presumptive dicks about it, or the next time you want shit taken care of and someone to yell at afterwards," Teagan drawls, and pats the ring holsters on either side of their hip, as if checking, once again, that the bloody token machete and the cold iron one are on their hips. "It's a statement of what he did, Uschi. I ain't know your jawn, but all that's shit that happened to me. But I guess we ain't countin' sins if they're on the 'wrong side,' are we? We just clutchin' our pearls and gaspin' 'bout civility. Y'all as transparent as good windows." The first two fingers of their left hand are kissed and held out to the room. "Peace, motherfuckers."

Paz finishes her drink and gets up to get another, but continues not to share any of her opinions on all of this. It's a good way for her to learn a little bit about the people who hang out around here, and to catch up on some of what's been going on. She spends a few moments looking over the drink options, then glances toward Sigrun, shrugs, and pours herself some mead before going back to take a seat again. All the while she watches the speakers and listens to the conversation carefully.

"No offense, Vorps, but I don't recognize you as a leader," C.B. says, lifting his head to look Vorpal in the face. "I'm not Freehold and I'm not a Dawn. To me, you're just a powerful guy. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, y'know. Everyone being on more or less the same page, it can be a good thing. Healthy discussions, even arguments, those can be a good thing, too." Oh, is Teagan talking again? His nostrils flare. "What are they even talking about, anymore? Why even bother to come?" This is mostly muttered to himself as he rubs his face.

Cerise eyes Teagan as she leaves and then the woman sits up a little straighter, "Yes, we need to know more about Children of the Sun. We have the dream, but is that enough? Is there a place that we can do research? Do you all have a library or anything?" Yeah, Cerise's first proposal is to spend an afternoon in a library, reading.

Pearls? At that, Dross seems, if anything, faintly amused. But he says nothing further, perhaps taking his own advice as his pale gaze skims the other faces in the room.

"Because I asked them to, C.B. Because they're Summer, and because I value their opinion. Because they wore the skin of one of the Children of the Sun and have better, first hand, literal and visceral understanding of one of their actual members than any of us here. Combined. They're brassy, and argumentative, and crass, and a pain in the ass sometimes. But the fact that they left means that one of the best sources of information for the questions you're now calmly putting to the table just stormed out of here to get sloppy drunk. Sigrun doesn't level it as an accusation, precisely, more a chain of causality brought about by recent events. Bring him up to speed, rather than calling him out. She then turns to Cerise, "I'm not Freehold, so I don't know. But it will be the first question I ask. I know Damion King expressed a similar desire to do something about the captives. As did Paz, sorry for speaking for you." A nod over to the presently taciturn draconic. "As did Teagan. Again. Why they were here." She then looks to Uschi, "Did your dreams suggest any... location? Where they might be found? They could be anywhere in the hedge, in theory."

"Teagan's lack of ability to have a civil discourse is not my responsibility." C.B. says this so coldly and so civilly to Sigrun, it's almost like it came out of someone else's mouth. He gets up suddenly and walks to the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

The slamming of the door is enough to make the Hedgedog woof in surprise, and then look embarassed. Kiril reassures him by ruffling his ears, and then leaving his fingers laced in the heavy rill of fur around the malamute's throat. The Soldier gives Zhenya a sidelong look, unreadable. Does this pair charge by the word?

Again, Cerise watches someone storm off, but this time it's CB. She frownsd at the changeling man's back and then once again sets the laptop aside moves up to the podium, and takes the mic. "Alright, look, we've done a lot of talking tonight and a lot of things have been said. I think the feelings aired here today were /good/ and what was said needed to be said. But we haven't exactly discussed the issue or how to move forward. We need to do that and it won't get done today. I propose that we break for the night, take some time to think over things and then meet again in a few days time to discuss how to proceed, provided that we do this with the understanding that it will be a discussion of how to move forward and how to deal with the Children of the Sun and that it won't be rehashing who did what or why. Can I get a second?"

Vorpal turns at the top of the stairs to listen to CB, and shrugs. "Yea, I know. But I'm trying to act like one, and part of that is taking responsibility. So I'm trying to. And while conversations, arguments, aren't bad things? There's a lot less pointed ways to start them." Sigrun addresses his questions, and CB storms off, and Cerise chimes in. "I'll second that. I'm leaving either way, and I'd rather be part of the "what comes next" discussion than not."

Zhenya raises her black tea to her lips, doing better with the travel mug than she does a microphone, evidently. Words don't come cheap and unless she and the man with the malamute are oligarchs, too expensive to manage under the circumstances. Her face is shielded by the lazy roil of her flame-bright, quasi-gaseous hair. Passions stirred are enough to keep her somewhat on edge, bleak and cool. A short, slight shake of her head is all Kiril gets.

Paz answers the apology for speaking on her behalf with a raise of her glass of mead. "I know more about the topic than I did when I got here, a fact for which I'm appreciative to everyone here," she says in a dry, rasping voice. "Sure, it's been combative, but I sure as fuck don't find that to be a problem. There's not much point in kicking corpses, though, and I think that's the point we're at now with the things that already happened. I'm more interested in what we're going to do about this shit going forward, at this point. I agree with that lady," she gestures at Cerise, "whose name I either missed or forgot. Sorry," she says to Cerise, evidently sincere. "I agree that trying to have a conversation another night about what to do is likely to be more preductive. Give people a chance to simmer down and all."

Leader? Uschi snorts, and drinks some beer - iridescent eyes flickering as she looks towards Vorpal all... Blankfaced. When Cerise speaks then Sigrun, the Ogress shakes her head. "What for? The ones what came out here're dead. The folk who stole their sister are dead. The sister is dead. They ain't left their land hardly ever, s'only luck that I knows 'em. Some shit like this? Gonna stay buried in the sand -- they ain't never hurt nobody who ain't hurt 'em first. Nothin' to gain, sniffin' round in their business."

Uschi watches impassively as C.B. storms off, then slowly turns and looks back around the room. A glance to Count and Dross, then Kiril and Zhenya, then... The Hedgedog. She makes a tiny grunt in it's direction, a bestial 'no worries mate', not that it couldn't be interpreted in a million other ways.

Then the Ogress bobs her horns, and says to Cerise; "Watch the horizon, but don't act on 'em. They ain't =our= problem. Look closer to home. S'the Winter Market, or it -should- be. We oughta be lookin' for a safe Hollow 'round these parts for free folk to claim, and checkin' the Trods for travelling merchants lookin' to trade for the season. See what we can do, to protect what we got going here."

Count lets out a loud and dramatic sigh. He even rolls his eyes, and plays tiny alcohol bottle roulette with his pockets again. coming up with a cherry cordial chocolate in the shape of a bottle instead. What'd he do, raid the little basket on the counter of a liquor store? Yes, he did. Does he have any useful commentary? It seems not! Apparently Count is here to be the peanut gallery and mock the commotion, which is incredibly helpful. Right?

"So lemme get this all t'gether and tell me if I missed something. There's this group of folks that worship Mister Sun, an a buncha folks caught up to them beatin' the fuck out of someone, and decided to capture them. You kept them prisoner fer a week, another one of us mind you, no matter their loyalties, which is frankly fucked up, but at least that is acknowledged." and He gives a nod towards Vorpal "And, during this time I'm gonna assume that there was questioning of various methods. At the end, you killed the prisoner. Now, Uschi is telling you that the person they were beatin' was someone that wronged them good. What did ya do with this bastard that was 'rescued'? I mean this sounds like an epic clusterfuck, but this detail is niggling me."

C.B. comes back out from the bathroom, looking paler and wetter. He heads back for his drink, then sits down again, staring at the floor and lighting up a fresh cigarette.

"Thirded," Sigrun offers with a nod down to Cerise. NOW she zippers up her coat, yessir. Then she's picking up her recorder and her backpack, turning off the former and stuffing it into the latter. "If you find you missed anything, Cerise, I'll hold on to the recording for a couple days. It has to be deleted soon, for obvious reasons." Sigrun then announces, "I'm staying at the Wayhouse, if people need to find me. At least for now. Good night, everyone, and thank you for your conversation." She adjusts her backpack a bit and starts to make her way out.

Cerise eyes Count, "It may be messed up, but maybe that can be discussed privately later. Anyway, we have a second on a motion to adjourn and pick up discussion later. All in favor say 'aye?' Of course, if you want to hang out and chat more you can, but not officially, yeah?"

"Aye," comes with a heavy Slavic cant, a black silk answer out of the starry-eyed Fairest next to Kiril and his fluffy white hedge-hound. One word on the record as her primary contribution, one can be satisfied with that important voicing of opinions. Distant as her constellation-dappled throat and cheekbone, she wordlessly resumes the critical business of partaking of that tea.

Dross looks at C.B., then Yossarian. Then at each of the others... To Cerise, he simply nods.

C.B. gives a throaty 'aye,' but he doesn't lift his head. Apparently smoking, drinking and staring down at his boots is a lot more interesting.

Uschi grunts in acknowledgement as Sigrun says her goodbyes - how civil of the Ogress! Beer is chugged, and her asymmetrical shoulders shrugged as Count speaks. It's a shame, but Uschi doesn't seem to understand with Cerise - the most sensible and human and bureaucratic of the bunch - is talking about. Aye? Who's eye? Why is everybody dealing with eyes now?

"...Dunno, the fiddler with the brand on his hand what was dumb inna market, he was there and he took her home. You were there too, girl." Uschi croaks at Cerise - not unkind, just, well, rough. "What happened to the human woman? They tried to quiet her, or somethin'? I was scoutin' the trod, didn't pay her much mind."

Paz finishes the rest of her drink and then gets up to go too. Since she's a bit curious about the answer to the present question she doesn't hurry, just drifts toward the exit in a path that takes her toward Sigrun as well.

Olenka is not unaware of the proceedings, even if she's been a less than active participant and well insulated by just being unfamiliar and not connected to whatever's transpired with the beatings and the imprisonings and the torturings and that stuff. Standing off by herself also helps, and being a slippery Darkling that wriggles deceptively from mind the moment a person's attention leaves her is a definite plus too. She's about as solid as the mist she exhales. There's not a peep from her, not even an 'aye'.

Yossarian looks at Cerise and narrows his slit-pupiled eyes. The cat doesn't speak, but he does let his tail hit the podium one more time, with just as soft a thump as before.

Cerise waits until she hears a decent amount of responses and then holding the mic lightly in one hand begins to look around. Then Yossarian tail thumps and Cerise points at the cat. "Alright then, meeting adjourned! If you were here, give me your email info and I'll make sure you get a copy of the minutes and a notification of the next time we're meeting." and with that, Cerise sets down the mic and wanders off, apparently expecting everyone else to do the same.

Cerise remarks as an aside to Uschi after she wanders off, "They erased her memory. The mortal woman's."

Did the Mortal girl not hear her? Uh oh: Uschi starts lumbering over in Cerise's direction: one, two, three, four, five, six feet of looming Ogress breathing down her neck. "Girl. Tell the tiny Beast what happened, with the human lady they took what was being whipped for being bad and not telling 'em what they were--"

... Uschi. C'mon. Stop talking and /listen/. What is she, slow?! Yes. Uschi is slow -- but when she realises what Cerise said... Uschi just grunts, and nods, and looks over to Count, shrugging. Them's the breaks.

Dross stands and walks over to C.B., on whose shoulder he rests a hand, just for a moment. Nods to Uschi, Vorpal, whose too-blue eyes he briefly seeks to meet, and the others, and slips out the door.

"You wiped her... you /WHAT?!" No Coutn is shouting, but everyone is leaving already and he just stands there, on his feet again, now, looking visibly upset... "You fucking what..." he's looking around looking, incredulous, disbelieving...

"I'm sorry." Cerise apologizes to Count ruefully before wandering off some more to begin packing up her stuff. She then begins to pack up her stuff, throw on her coat, and then head to the door. As she passes by C.B. a hand reaches out to brush his arm in a gesture that is warm and familiar, but she doesn't pause, heading on out the door.

With the crowd rapidly thinning out, Olenka slips her hands from her pockets, puts them to the wall behind her and pushes off. There's no hurry, but when she picks her moment (when Count starts shouting), she glides to the stairs and with a final look over her shoulder, she descends. At no point does her expression change, staying the same sort of thoughtful hard-face that reveals very little.

Uschi just... Shrugs to Count, looking, uh, impassive. Does she not care? Does she care so much it's impossible to express? Is the world a disgusting nightmare, on Earth and in the Hedge? Uschi finishes her beer - and for a second? A /second/ it's like she's going to crush it... Only she doesn't. She just throws it in the direction of the recycling. It probably won't even hit the mark.

"Ain't us, squirt -- s'them and the funny little Wizened with the brand, and you know he ain't the smartest." Low blow, Uschi. Her voice has taken on a worn out, dry quality. Hell, she might be losing it. "These folk 'round here, they need... Stronger sense." Then Uschi moves, thunks Count on the shoulder, and starts to head out.

Count is left all but alone, looking... shocked? Confused? Annoyed? Angry? Yes.

He grunts at Uschi and just gives her an upnod and shaking his head. "This is the shit that happens when people go around talking about how we aint human anymore. It becomes a mantra, so we aint human, so we don't have to act like it, so fucking freeing right? Let's all just commit atrocities and act like were some how above all that morality. Like we got rights to do all this stupid shit..." now he's more mumbling to himself than anything, and he heads out himself.