Another beautiful day in the Hedge. Or, well, beautiful day here, at least. The sun is always shining, where the wild roses grow. Bad weather is simply not a thing. And so, as this small band of Lost (+ Max) come across the little river and to the Wild Roses, they can at least take a moment to relax. It's safe here. Relatively speaking.
Logan leads the way, or at least, he tries to. He certainly won't be elbowing anyone out of the way to get to the front of the line as he's far too polite for that. Dressed today in one of his Hedgespun outfits that look made for Prince Charming, rapier included, his light shines out brightly as he smiles at the assembled party. "Well, here we are. I haven't been here before." Half-turning to the others, his bright blue eyes seek out their faces. "Have any of you? Apart from Nana." They are not well-acquainted, but Logan knows that much about her, and grins his wide grin in her direction.
"The White Lady runs a very tight operation," Nana is advising as the group debarks from the belly of her mobile hollow, herself riding in her peculiar travel pod with its many legs and contraptions. "The rules are simple, and fairer than most. Don't go wearing roses, and eschew the color pink entirely. The staff and security wear that, so it's a no-no. Don't go backing out on any deal once you've made it, and don't try to pull a fast one on any of the people here, neither. They can smell a lie on you, and that's a good way to get yourself banned. Or worse. Oh. And if you're lucky enough to meet the Lady in person, you're to pay her proper heed. And a little gift, too, if you know what's good for you." Speaking of smelling lies, Nana's sniffing at the air as though she's on the lookout for just such a thing, herself. She squints a beady eye towards the others when Logan puts the question to them, screwing up one side of her wrinkled mouth.
One of her favorite shirts is red, so today Gisa... isn't wearing it. Look, if it got overwashed it would look pink and it's best to just not. Instead, she's wearing her blue 'Rock Star (of David)' t-shirt. Golem Humor: puns within puns, oh-so-literal. She brings up the rear, taking it as her quite literal solemn duty to be sure no one falls behind or gets dragged off the path by a rogue sapient vine or anything like that. Her only Hedgespun are the ubiquitous hiking boots with no soles on them, and she absently wiggles her feet against the dirt beneath her toes. Not that anyone can see that or anything, but, look, the Earthbones is happy. "Not for a while," Gisa admits to Logan, and quiets up when Nana starts laying down the Knowledge about what's what at the Market. "Thank you, Nana."
Although she has her usual casual clothing on, a hoodie, jeans, and sneakers, Max has the hood pulled up over her head, a small attempt at not drawing the eyes of hobs and other various fae-related things around her. On her back she carries a bow with a quiver full of arrows. "I passed through here once helping another Custodian with something," she replies. She sticks herself in the middle of the group if possible as they wander along.
The Rose Wardens - fairy looking hobs dressed in red - are on patrol, as ever. Three of them stop, and give this little troop a once over. One of them snorts. He's got a pig nose. Then they continue on. It's a fairly normal, uneventful day at the market, and so they are able to enter without any issue.
Logan looks to each person in turn as they speak. Nana's warnings appear to be taken seriously, given his expression and the solemn way he nods. The part about lying gets a slight tilt of the head from him. From Gisa, who also gets a nod, he stares back to Max. "So I'm the only one who hasn't been here?" He laughs. "I guess I need to do more exploring." To Nana, he poses a question. "Do you know which hobs here are the most likely to possess knowledge of the Lost, with the least severe forms of payment?" He glances over his shoulder at the Rose Wardens, smiles, and gives them a single nod before returning his attention to the bionic grandma.
"Fast, Cheap, Good. You can have any two, dear. Here, though, there aren't too awful many vendors. I can point you in the direction of two very likely candidates. One is likely to cost you, but provide you very good information. The other you can likely pay off rather inexpensively, all told, but the information you get back will be of lower quality. Suzy Two-Eyes and Wanda'a, respectively. I can introduce you to either one or both, though if word travels to the other you've hit up the other first, that might up your price either way." Nana's answer is, well. Honest. But possibly not what Logan wanted to hear. In any case, Nana pets her robotic dog that rests in her lap, and offers the passing patrol a wave. "Oh, hello! Good evening!"
Don't tell Gisa that her hair's the same color as the dog's fur, by the by: the Yorkie and the golem both have copper wire going on. She rolls her shoulders at Logan, the gesture as tectonic as it always is. "It is a Market. I do not come here unless I need something." That said, the golem falls quiet again, because, well, she's here just in case things go sideways, or went sideways on the way in, et cetera. The stars of this show are Logan and the Bionic Grandma. Which is my new indie band name.
"So, what sort of things are we looking to barter with for information about Sam?" Max wonders with a small tilt of her head, her bright blue eyes peering between the various Changelings around her. "I'm guessing that's dependant on the vendor... Why don't we just ask someone around who the best seller of information might be?" The mortal slides her hands into her pockets as they wander along. Even though her attention occasionally looks to her group when they speak, her gaze is most on the market around them - watching for any dangers, anything interesting, and somewhat distracted by all the cool things around her for sale.
And the market continues to bustle around them... for all the Changelings might consider themselves important, there sure are a lot of hobs here, and an apparently booming economy. Or, at least, there are a lot of hobs here. Those two over there seem to be arguing over the price of... is that a VHS tape?
Dielle jogs up, wearing a backpack. There's probably a gun somewhere about her person, since it's the Hedge, but it's not seen and she knows better than to make it at all apparent. The backpack looks laden, she probably went on a thrift-store crawl before coming here. "Hey, y'all. Sorry I'm late."
Logan listens closesly to Nana. When she's done, he speaks decisively. "Suzy Two-Eyes, then, if she offers higher quality information. I'll pay what I have to." He smiles at the others to see if anyone has any objections. "Unless one of you has a different idea." Despite never being here before, he's as bright and confident as though this is his one hundredth trip, and everything they do will be easy as pie. A hand is raised in greeting to Dielle. "Glad you could make it, Dielle. We're about to ask one of the merchants for information." So says he.
And as soon as Dielle arrives, the Rose Wardens stop. And stare. And glower. There's some chatter between them. Clearly something has irked them...
"That's what I thought you'd say," Nana offers in a chipper tone towards Logan, "you're such a smart boy. She should be in this direction if my memory serves," says the octogenarian on statin drugs and dementia meds. Whatever the case, Nana begins walking her travel contraption along the path and into the throng of hobs. She's fairly easy to keep track of, since her literal walker is head and shoulders above the more diminutive sprites that inhabit the market. "Coming through, little ones. Mind your feet."
The look that Gisa gives Max is... puzzled, perhaps, though it's often tough to interpret clayface's ceramic expressions, but then she turns her attention back to Logan. "I suggested that Nana come because she has a stall here, and knows the Market far better than I do. She has given the information and that is what I think is wise to do. For you to choose between one of those merchants, Logan. And you have chosen, so we should go." Elementals, man. Dielle's approach makes Gisa's shin on her forehead briefly glow brighter, then subside. "Shalom, Dee." The guards muttering doesn't go unnoticed, and her eyepits narrow a little: she checks Dielle over for pink... well, pink other than what is naturally part of the rainbowcorn.
Dielle is wearing nothing pink, although her hair is braided in rainbow and black stripes under her hat. She's not thinking about that, though, she mostly doesn't think about her hair once it's in a hairstyle. The t-shirt is black, with white unicorns in spacesuits in space, though. "Shalom, Gisa. How ya doin'? Hey, Logan, Nana." She doesn't acknowledge Max at all.
A polite nod is given to Dielle as she joins the group. The reaction by the guards is noted but it's not her place to really do anything about it. Just some information tucked away in her mind. A brow is raised at the look Gisa gives her, questioning, perhaps even daring her to say whatever is on her mind. Then lastly, she looks to Logan, brows slightly furrowing at him.
Logan gives Dielle a curious look as well, his eyes moving to her after smiling his thanks at Nana. Yes, he probably likes being called smart. "We're going to speak to Suzy Two-Eyes," he tells maybe Dielle, but mostly everyone. "I think she will be our best bet. C'mon, gang." His eyes linger on Max near the end, eyebrows raising, as though wondering what's on her mind. But he doesn't ask.
Two of the Rose Wardens break away from their patrols to follow after this little group. Becuase, well, surely they're here to cause mischief. Or worse. But that actually seems to work to their advantage. The other hobs - not wanting to find themselves on security's bad side - track the movement of the Wardens. When they start to follow, the hobs ahead clear out. Or maybe it's sweet ol' Nana doing the trick! Whatever the case, they make it through without much hassle. Suzy Two-Eyes is just up ahead...
The young? woman? sits inside a tent. It looks like some old fortune teller thing, open in the front, with a very lovely rug inside. There are cushions here and there, spread out. In the very middle, in front of a crystal ball, sits Suzy. And oh, Suzy Two-Eyes. What a strange thing, that. Strangest becuase, well, brown-skinned sprite that is otherwise a rather attractive (in context) member of her family. Save for that dead eye of hers, all foggy white. Oh, and that extra eye, on her forehead.
Nana, chatelaine that she is, plays the part of social lubricant to this whole enterprise. Her travel contraption hisses to a pneumatic stop outside of Suzy's tent, and the bulb at the top of it all blooms open like a water lily. Nana and her walker come hobbling out on unsteady feet, and she scoot-scoot-scoots her way towards the open mouth of the tent to peer inside. "Suzy, dear, I brought you a guest. His name is Logan, and he's a very honest and good boy. He has some questions that I'm very sure you can answer for him. I'll vouch for him, and back his credit too if it comes to it. You be as nice to him as you can under the circumstances, hmm?" Nana then scoots back from the entry and makes a little beckoning gesture of the hand, ushering Logan forward. "Remember what I told you, dear. Nana will be right outside."
Logan And the Bionic Grandma on their traveling show! Gisa trundles along afterwards, bringing up the rear as per usual. She keeps an eye on the guards, and tries to fly casual. As casual as an Elemental can fly. Not so casual, basically. Obvious flying casual. Look, casual conversation! "Did you go to the thrift store today?" she asks Dielle. Ha Ha Guards We Are Just Here, Carrying On A Talk Like Normal Persons Do. She's like... a chatelain't.
"I totally did. Got some good stuff, too." Dielle grins at Gisa and adds, to Logan, "Hey, I've got some stuff, if you need bargaining power. I went shopping today." She adds, "The gun is in there, that's not part of the bargain, but anything in the bags from the Goodwill are fair game." That's where she takes off the backpack.
Max wanders over to the guards to chat with them, heading away from the group. She speaks quiet enough to not be overheard.
Logan places one hand over his heart and offers Suzy a perfectly gallant, prince-like little bow. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Suzy." That light of his shines and sparkles like a beacon, just making him all the more handsome. He will take a seat across from her on the rug, if that's what required, though he does peer into Dielle's backpack first, smiling and nodding at the rainbowcorn. "Thank you, Dielle." Turning back to Suzy, he asks, "Shall we talk your fee first?"
Nana scoots her walker back towards her travel pod and begins thumping around inside of its cargo hold. She manages to shoulder up a seemingly large burlap sack overflowing with things in precisely the way Santa's bag should of physics applied. How she wrestles it onto her back is anyone's guess. How it remains there, similar. But she scoots her way towards Gisa and Dielle under the stooped back burden of her goblin cache, rattling and jangling like an ambulatory junk drawer. Or a Goodwill, if you will. "Allow me to chip in, too, dears." When standing still she bears a striking resemblance to a mushroom made entirely out of recycleables.
Of course, the tent is made for hobs. The sprite kind of hobs. Which means the five foot entrance, and six foot ceiling inside this tent is wholly spacious. For hobs. For these changelings, well. At least one of them is going to be haunched over!
Suzy Two-eyes looks up, at Nana. Her third eye - the one up top - squints. She stares for a long moment, at Nana, before she offers a smile. "Okay, Nana!" she says. The voice sounds wholly childlike. She might be five or six years old, by human measures. She then fixes her eyes on Logan, and she stares at this man, long and hard. Really, it's as though she's seeing right into his soul. There's no attention paid to Gisa or Dielle - not yet. Her focus is singular. "One secret, small as you'd like. Something you've never told anyone," she says, and makes a little gesture with a little hand.
The golem is only five foot six -- quite short for a golem, overall, but quite tall for a woman when she was mortal way back when -- and her eyebrows perk up, and Gisa busies herself looking at Dielle's sweet thrift shop swag, not paying attention overmuch to the interplay between the hob and the Fairest.
Dielle is taking some kind of guard position, so she can watch the proceedings, but also keep an eye on others. She's aware of their escort, although she doesn't understand it. She does start scratching the back of her neck, as some of her hair is poking out of the braid and sticking her. She eventually gets annoyed enough that she takes off her hat enough to shove the braid up into it. There. No hair on her neck. Much better!
Logan is pretty tall, but he's also sitting. So that helps. A stiff sort of smile on his face, he nods his agreement at Suzy. "Very well. Now let's discuss the details of the deal." The smile broadens. "We're looking for information on Samantha Whitaker of the Soundless. For the price you're asking, one hopes the information will be of the useful sort."
"Details?" Suzy echoes, blinking a few times. She looks around the room once more, as if she might have missed something, and then it's back to Logan. "You already came in! And you're sitting on my pillow!" she complains at the man. "Now you owe me for that!" she declares.
When Dielle takes up a guard post? Gisa does the same. She doesn't need to be talking now, she seems quite content to be quietly on guard duty with her bestie.
Logan looks at Suzy blankly, but his smile never wavers. "Okay. Well, I'm happy to give you the secret, but I don't want to give it to everyone else here." His smile gets even wider. "So just let me know the best way to impart the information, and you'll have it right away."
There's a quiet granny cackle from under the mushroom head of what was definitely other people's trash. The cackle implies approval, though of what or who is unclear.
Suzy continues to stare, until the man seems to agree to the price. She gives a nod, and a smile. "One secret for one seat on my cushion. And I'll hear your troubles, with this... Samantha Whitaker of the Soundless," she says. The terms of their deal laid out, Suzy then makes a little motion with a long finger, urging him to draw closer. She leans in, over the crystal ball, towards the man. She turns an ear towards him, a long, elfish ear. "Just whisper it," she says.
Dielle moves away, watching Nana and Gisa look through her backpack. She only moves three paces, far away enough to not hear Logan's secret. And in the meantime, what's in her backpack are used CDs, used DVDs, some of those seriously cheapass sponges, a couple tiny statues that are scary beyond belief: a clown, a bunny and a cute little girl that looks like she might kill someone.
And as Dielle does, so does Gisa, stepping out of the way, or, well, out of range. She watches the other two women with their piles of Stuff, sorting through it, but doesn't touch the Stuff.
Logan, still smiling, leans in and whispers in Suzy's ear. Whatever he says is fairly brief, because he leans back again shortly after, looking fairly satisfied that he has fulfilled his part of the bargain. It was a pretty broad bargain, to be fair. The smile is given at the others as well, as though to reassure them that he is there and has everything under control. Of course he does.
Suzy is ever so eager. And when the whisper comes, her eyes go wide (all three) and then she gives a gasp. "Oh my goodness!" she declares. Then she leans back. "Well! That was delicious. So yummy," she says. Then a big smile comes. "So! What do you want to know? Samantha Whitaker of the Soundless?" she asks. "Never heard of it. Can't tell you about it."
Dielle moves a bit closer, again, when Suzy speaks out loud. She's still in guard mode, but now she's trying to listen in as well, since it's not about Logan.
At first, Logan still seems pleased...but then his smile goes a little stiff. "What do you mean, you can't tell me about it?" His voice is still so very nice and pleasant, but there is something a bit hard right behind the polite words. "If you know nothing, can you point me to someone who does?" Who likes to throw their 'money' away? Not Logan.
"Can't sell you something I don't have," Suzy says, laying it out as simple as she can. There are rules about all this, afterall! At the next question, she squints, and considers, and then gives a little shrug. "Maybe," she says. "But... Maybe you can tell me what you're looking for?" she asks, squinting at him. "What's a Soundless?" she asks.
Dielle leans in and says, "I think you owe something to Logan, if you want the information. Seeing as how you took payment for something you couldn't deliver. I'm relatively certain that a seat on a cushion that plenty of others have sat on isn't worth whatever secret you were told." Her voice isn't particularly mean or anything, she sounds friendly, with a tiny bit of steel under it.
"This is why I wished to discuss terms first," Logan says pleasantly, after Dielle chimes in. He's sitting there with a straight back, keeping the polite mask on at all costs. "But you demanded payment anyway. The Soundless are a Freehold about 20 miles away from Fate's Harvest. Samantha Whitaker is a member of this Freehold. One of the Lost."
Suzy narrows her eyes, and leans forward, to stare at Dielle. "Terms were set! He sat down, started asking questions," she says, in that child's voice of hers. "You don't walk into my tent and sit down, for free!" she declares. There's a huff that matches her immature indignation. Then she takes a breath, and refocuses on Logan. She squints at the man. She considers. "Freehold?" she asks. "Twenty miles?" she asks further, and that one seems to totally perplex her. Good chance they don't use 'miles' in the Hedge. She gives a slow shake of her head, seeming to not understand any of it. Then, her third eye flashes open further. "Oh, oh... other Lost you seek?" she asks. "Other Lost. Other Freehold..." she muses.
Dielle says, "And look, now you're in possession of even more information. Logan, she doesn't know anything. We should go find someone who does, or go home and try to scry it out for ourselves." Her voice is entirely unimpressed. "We're spinnin' our wheels here, she's not bargaining in good faith."
Logan continues to smile. "I know you can help us, Suzy," he says, "which is why you have such a high price. I paid willingly, and I'm sure that you have something to offer us in return. Please, think hard." His brilliant blue eyes shine like the light dancing around him as he leans forward slightly. "You would be doing us a great service."
Suzy Two-Eyes is trying to concentrate. Trying. But she can't help but look off again, at Dielle. "No one is making you stay! Go do your scrying!" she says. Huff! Her eyes are back on Logan, then. "Don't know a Lost named Samantha Whitaker," she assures. "Might know about... Other Lost," she declares. There's a quiet moment of consideration, as she stares at that crystal ball again. "Not cheap," she says, as she looks up once more. "Want to know of them?" she asks. Then a pause. "Another secret. Bigger. The biggest," she declares. Then a pause. "And one month servitude. You come clean rugs," she says.
Dielle offers Suzy a look that says that she's taken Suzy's measure and she's entirely unimpressed. "Yeah, Logan, I'd advise not, but it's your choice." From the way she says it, it sounds like she thinks Logan would be soft in the head to take that crappy deal. She doesn't bother talking to Suzy, however. That look of contempt said it all.
"These Lost," Logan says. He doesn't tend to show much doubt. Usually likes to appear as though he's in complete control of the situation, and now is no exception. "Are they related to the Soundless? And if I agree to this price, and am disappointed with the exchange, is there a return policy?" Yes, he just asked if there was a return policy in the Market. Why shouldn't it be like any other market, right?
"I don't know what that is! Soundless," Suzy Two-Eyes says to him. "You keep asking, I keep saying the same thing. Can't tell you about that because I don't know what it is," she says, annoyed once more. "But, other Lost. Not part of... Fate's Harvest..." she says, and then imitates gagging, finger down her throat and all. "Do know about other that comes." Then a pause. "No return policy."
Dielle shakes her head. She says, very quietly, "Logan, this is a /bad/ bargain. And if you're gonna do it, you damn well better set terms, including that she has to protect you from everyone and can't give, trade or sell you to the Gentry. I...Please don't do this. We have other avenues and she already has one of your secrets and additional information as the price of sitting on her damn cushion. Please don't do this."
Logan wets his lips. "Could someone else fulfill the bargain for me instead? Just curious." A beat, and then he adds, "Then I could give you what you want...just not from me."
"No resale and no trades!" the little hob says, quickly, and passionately. "Don't care for Gentlemen, don't want them coming about," she says. "And don't change deals after made," she adds, staring towards the entrance to the tent, at Dielle. She watches the woman for a long moment, then looks back to Logan. "That can fulfill the bargain," she says, pointing to Dielle. "You or that one. Either or." She smiles, an actual smile, as if her accommodating the man should be lauded.
"Don't look at me. I have no confidence in your abilities and only half-confidence in your honesty," replies Dielle. Then she glances at Logan and she shuts her mouth and shrugs. She's said her piece. It was a heartfelt plea. That's what she can do.
Logan smiles again. "Let me sleep on it," he says, standing up now, bending himself so he doesn't hit the ceiling of the tent. "I may be back to renegotiate. You seem like a very smart and fair merchant, Suzy, and I'd like to keep our business relationship in tact." It's exactly like he's talking to any other investor, apparently.
Suzy raises up both hands, palms up towards the sky, lifting them to her shoulders and then giving a faint shrug. Such is business! Soon as he's up, though, she blinks. "Oh, oh!" she says. "I can offer something..." She lifts thumb and forefinger, putting them very close together. "Small. Very small. If you give me it's name," she says, with a nod towards Dielle.
"It." Dielle's voice is cold and flat. "My name is Deez Nuts. And I invite you to suck my dick." Don't tell her now, but she doesn't have one. Well, not attached to her, anyway. She offers Logan a warning look, and for a few moments, one can truly believe she started as the Summer Court before going to Dawn. But she turns away, because one does not offer actual harm here if one values one's life.
Logan's gaze moves wonderingly over to Dielle, but his expression doesn't change. He laughs a little, but not at her. More at Suzy. "I guess we're done for the day," he says, nodding his head once. "Thank you for your time, Suzy. I'll be in touch." Then he turns to move out of the tent, standing up straight and tall once he can.
"Awww..." Suzy says, and gives a pout. That's the last Dielle and Logan will see as they leave. A pouting sprite. "Good bye! Good bye, Deez!" she shouts out of the tent.
Meanwhile, just outside, those another two Wardens have joined the first two. Seems Dielle's words have attracted just a bit more attention.
Dielle shakes her head and rolls her eyes. She starts to the exit, ignoring Suzy, the Wardens and anyone watching. She's not talking, she's just walking, keeping her hands in sight and open, and every so often, saying something quietly uncomplimentary about Suzy's honesty in business. This is not a satisfied customer. Luckily, the fury disappates about halfway to the exit, she she looks over at Logan. "Thanks for not taking that crappy deal."
Logan looks back at her for a very long moment. It seems as though this entire exercise may have tried his patience, possibly on all sides, but his appearance barely reflects this, beyond that slightly stiff quality that echoes in his smile. "You're very welcome," he says. "Thanks for looking out for me. I hope we can find another way to get what we need."