The Wyrd doesn't really do much on time outside of what it wants to do, but a season should work. For that time we work with and for each other, and if we should betray one another may the wyrd curse us."
5 December, 2018
The beginnings of Knights of the Harvest.
Early in the morning and one of the recent hires is holding down the shop. Even better: the kids are at schoool. This means Raymond has one of those few things he's almost forgtten about at times. A true day off without a single worry and everything accounted for. He's not at work, nor is out fretting about something or other. So, he's put out a call to Lolly. To come by his place: no funny business nor anything too dangerous. Just potentially annoying.
Raymond can be found sitting on the porch of the house, at least passingly seeming to be bothered by the cold of winter. A red hoodie, blue jeans, and tennis shoes. It's not much to normally keep out the cold, but he's not normal by any measure.
Unlike Raymond, she's bundled up in her customary thigh-length puffy coat, scarf and somewhat oversized fur-lined hat, to keep her poor lilies less squished than a knit cap would do to them. The hat, at least, is taken off as she crunches her way up to the porch, and while her smile is tired, it's still friendly as she finally reaches Raymond and Charlie. "Hi... Making me jealous of your Court, mister." Even her poor little herbs and wildflowers are feeling the chill, paler than usual, despite their attempts to enforce a bit of Spring on her surroundings.
He slowly reaches under his hoody, gaze turning left bit by bit. He produces a knife from under there that's immediately pointed at Charlie as he twists in his seat. "Jesus Christ, Charlene, you gotta stop sneaking up on me," he exclaims with a swift arc that curves the knife down until its stabbed into the porch.
Quite chuffed with herself, the Beast puffs up a bit before nodding to Lolly. "Of course. It's no trouble. I mean, most pins are just that, a length of metal that fits in a thing. Maybe a bit of shaping so it's a good fit. Least I can do for the advice on finding footing with Spring."
This close to the two of them, that meatcake gets the addition of the Flowering's natural scent, sweet lilies of the valley teasing the senses, heady and clean. The cake itself is given a look of mild concern, the expression of one seeing something Not Right (cakes are supposed to be sweet!), and she assures an honest, slightly anxious/amused, "More creative than -I- would have been, that's for sure. I, um, don't usually eat breakfast. There, um, the clouds are light enough for sun to...um. You know." She gestures vaguely at the sky, which is still leaking snowflakes.
"Is there trouble with the Plank, Lolly? Maybe I can help?"
Following them in, she ducks her head again at Charlie's question, an awkward nod. "I, um, yes. Right around the end of December, last year, I guess..." She looks around, momentarily distracted by the unfamiliar house. Visibly recollecting herself while Charlie's busy plating the 'cake', she explains a hasty, "I guess I was doing too much fairy stuff. Czcibor, he said that was why I was getting greener and stuff, why my skin was a little weirder. I just sort of stopped being all that hungry if I'd been in the sun a while, and I feel kind of sickish if I stay inside too long."
"As long as I'm not like a hyena and going to sprout some sort of psuedo-cock, I suspect we'll be alright."
Bomb dropped with a straight face, she grins, showing off pointy teeth. "Do you ever know what will come with it? And, uh, will going to the Hedge.. I mean.." She HAS been sneaking off quite a bit to find new scars.
One advantage of working at a strip club: you get really, really used to nudity and body-related conversations. Charlie's bombshell gets a brief choke and a squeaked out, "I hope so too. Finding pants would be awful," before she nibbles on her lower lip, frowning a little in thought. "From what he said, um, it's like, if you do more stuff to reinforce how weird you are, you'll just be adding little pebbles to the pile. We're -always- changing, no matter whether or not we can see it, or feel it. It's just that sometimes we go too far, you know?"
Glum, her opinion of going 'too far' is fairly obvious. She's not happy about it.
"He said Fate, the Wyrd, um," her nose wrinkles, "it doesn't make it easy for us to go back. Like, don't use any magic at all, using the fruit, even using the little tricks we can do with our own power, for an entire year or something, or we'll have to start all over again. Sucks big-time, but...I want to help people, and I can help them better as a weird green flower person." She shrugs, self-deprecating, but smiling.
"Then I guess I'll just have to see how I keep changing, and hope I can keep my handle on it." Easier said than done. "The magic helps keep me and mine aline, and I already don't like going there much. The fruit? Honestly, thanks to you that stuff's been a lifesaver. The lady that used to be with Sara nad I handled most of that since it was too much for me to understand." Ray's staring down at that meat cake, and eventually takes a bite.
It's not as bad as he was expecting, and he takes a few more bites. After clearing his throat he looks between the two women. "Speaking of helping, that's why I wanted to talk to the both of you ladies at once. Easier for me, and simple enough to get it out of the way. Both of you know about Fate's Harvest, right? The freehold."
"I swore in with the Freehold before I went away. Promised back in not long after I came back. I almost didn't re-up, though, when the Crown changed." Blasted curiosity.
"Is it terrible that.. I want to know what'll come next? If I'll get scales or horns or something?" she says, then sighs.
"What do you need a hand with, Ray?"
Lolly nods to Raymond, agreeing, "That's what I figure. I, um. I heal people, mostly, or try to make them feel better. I help out at the hospital when I can, but I have to be kind of sneaky there." 'Lolly' and 'sneaky' don't really belong in the same sentence. "Czcibor, he said it was all the time I spent messing with the fruits, with the healing stuff, that was making me more fairy-like and all." Giving him an odd look when he mentions the freehold, the decidedly NOT freeholder Spring nods, expression a blend of patient confusion and willingness/encouragement. She's listening.
To Charlie, she supposes aloud, "I dunno if I'd call it terrible. It's your life, you know?"
Lolly's answer of faerie changes proves suitable enough that Ray neither adds nor detracts from it. "You both could do a lot of good for the freehold. As members of it, as healers, and since you both get that plant smart stuff the Greenies could definitely use the help. All of it." He carves off another piece of meat, pointing his fork at Charlie and then at Lolly. "I know it ain't the only way to help, but it's a way to make sure you and your help are always know and on call. God knows I can use the help when things go wrong or weird in the hedge, and I know I'm not the only one," he says before taking another bite.
"I worry about going too far." Charlie admits, smiling at the lovely green Lolly. "If I'll lose -me- as things come back." Plopping a slice of 'cake' on her plate, she smooshes it up into a mess and adds a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. It's not bland, but she did go by the notion of not being able to remove it if it was 'too much'.
"I'd love to be able to heal again. I've been having discussions with fire and metal in my shop. I think we've come to an accord."
"And I have plans for a greenhouse, but it'd have to be in the Hollow, wouldn't it, Ray?"
Lolly makes a face once it's clear Raymond's playing the role of recruiter, but doesn't interrupt. Nibbling on her lower lip again by the time he's done, she just shakes her head. Czcibor said there were lots of fairies, um, lots of them who were pretty far gone, in the freehold. Not many like Vorpal, wherever he is, but..." This is serious concern here, and she's looking at Raymond like he has the answers to the universe. "How is that -safe-? Like, he took me to the Wayhouse. I've seen the promise, the, um," word, word, what's the word, "pledge people take, all the rules you have to follow. None of them stop those people from, oh," she looks frustrated, and afraid, "burning down your house in a fit of pique. It just says they can't kill you. How are we supposed to -trust- them?"
"Because there ain't much to stop someone from doing that no matter what. Mortal, Changeling, hobgoblin, whatever. What stops them from doing that, usually, are the people like me. Same way that the same thing stopping mortals from breaking their own social contract is that the cops'll come knocking your door down." Another bite, and he sets the fork down. "And if I-" He stops, clearing his throat as the warmth of his mantle spreads out in bloom against the two Spring courtiers. "What I mean is, most people aren't that stupid or crazy. The ones that would be are gonna be a danger, freehold or not."
Great. She's dating the po-po. "Same as you trust anyone else.You do, but not deeply, until they earn it or prove they aren't worth it." Charlie says, taking a bite and leaning back against the counter, one foot crossed over the other. "It's good that there are people that make sure that sort of decency is kept to." She turns to fetch some milk from the fridge, pausing and grimacing when she moves wrong. Shaking it off, she grins. "And then you've got idiots like me. The Hedge is a fascinating place. Full of scents and things and..." Prey. "it's enticing."
Lolly doesn't look like she's been swayed quite yet, but at least she hasn't said an outright no. Frowning down at her hands and fiddling with the fingernails, currently painted with little happy whales and seashells, she picks at the polish, then gives Charlie a worried look when the other woman acts like that. "Are you okay? What happened? Do you need some help?"
Looking to Raymond, the sweetly-scented Spring tries to explain, "It's, like, yeah, I know there are big scary things out there, but why would they go after me when -- no offense -- the freehold's chock full of much more, um, you know, 'interesting' stuff to get? It just...it just feels like I'd be painting a giant target on my back. Like, heeey, we saw you at that freehold meeting. You're one of THOSE people." She shifts her weight in the chair, uncomfortable and vaguely afraid.
"I don't mind cause Ray digs scars."
"Think of it like a pack. You're always safer with many than one. If only because there's more for the bad things to chew on first."
Uh oh. Fear evaporates, exasperation taking its place. "Charliiieee. You're a healer! You know the damage under the skin's always worse than what shows up where we can SEE it." Her first attempt at scooching her chair back fails, by dint of the leg getting stuck on the floof of the coat she has dangling on it, but she gets up the second time and moves to stand near the other woman. "Let me help you." Yep. That's a demand. "Please." Softened (barely) to a request? Barely. D'aww. Big earnest eyes.
Glancing back toward Raymond with a twinge of guilt for ignoring him, Lolly brushes a few strands of lily-white, sweet-scented hair out of her eyes, then heaves a mildly disgruntled sigh. "'Normal' wouldn't be eating sunlight."
"Normal ain't horns and ashen skin either, but here we all are. What I'm getting at is that despite whatever fears you might have, you can do a lot of good." He lifts his hands, and nods. "The both of you. Yes, we've Springs and a scant few members in the Greenies, but more will never be a bad thing. Especially knowing what you two know. THis isn't a thing you have to decide on now, Lolly, but give it some thought."
"As long as you aren't licking the sunspots on a floor, we're good." Charlie teases, then sighs. "I know. Tissue damage, hemorrhage, infections... I know." Glancing at Ray she makes a face, then sticks her tongue out at him, cause there's going to be an 'I told you so' somewhere.
Grabbing the edge of her shirt, she pulls it up enough to display the long cuts form the centipede that tried to mangle her and Signe. They've been cleaned and smeared with her go-to green goop, but left out to breathe uncovered.
"Maybe when Winter comes around," Lolly concedes, reluctant. "Autumns are a little creepy." So sayeth the Spring, diametric opposite that she is. The prospect of giving the freehold a test drive doesn't appear to thrill her, but her expression's no worse than vaguely unhappy.
Once Charlie gives permission, the green-skinned healer rolls her eyes and points out, "I'm a plant person, goof ball. You're the furry one. If I have a messy plate, I'll let you lick it for me." She tries to keep a straight face, but ends up giggling, then shakes her head.
Lifting her hands up to tighten the two messy buns she wears, long bangs a straight fall on either side of her face, the young woman closes her eyes, then frowns in concentration, lower lip between her teeth, getting to work on Charlie's cuts. It takes her a little under half a minute, what with the occasional verbal check with Charlie to see how it's feeling, whether she's gotten it all. When she's done, drained, she whooshes out a quick breath and plops back down into her seat. "Phew. Reminds me why I work with fruit potions so much." She laughs, half at herself, but seems pleased to have succeeded. "That stuff's exhaaausting."
That stuck out tongue gets a frown. He can't meet nor make up for either of their magic, so while the healing goes on he finishes off his slice of meatloaf. "Speaking of fruit potions," he says after grabbing a napkin. His hands are cleaned off, and then his mouth with a swipe of the napkin that's set on his plate. "That's the other reason I wanted to talk to the two of you. Both of y'all are still kinda new from what it all seems like so I'll ask without the nonsense. What do you two know about motleys?"
Charlie holds still, wincing - expecting it to hurt, of course. When it doesn't, and the magic of the spring washes away the injury, Charlie pats herself down. "So much faster than how I used to do it. It was more like bumping a metabolism up so it would do the things it usually does, just faster." She explains, sliding over to bump Ray gently.
"Can you teach me how to heal? Or do I need to spend more time meditating on Spring in general, like for that bit of working that can refresh someone?" Yeah, wasn't JUST the tea, Ray!
Spring is cool, yo. Charlie gets a nod and a brief, "The second one. It's an extension of the same sort of thing," before she looks to Raymond, too. The Summer's question gets a brief shake of Lolly's head and a blush, along with a correction of, "Not -new-, just stupid." Thinking, counting on her fingers, she quickly adds, "It's been, like, almost four years since I got out, but I, um. I didn't know anybody else like us. I'd, um. I didn't even know how to get into the Hedge, you know? Or do the strengtheny hidey stuff, or that freeholds were a thing. I know motleys are, like, people pledged to help each other out, but not much else. Czcibor had mentioned his, back in Vienna."
"I have no idea what you just said," Raymond says to the woman that's bumped him. He shrugs, and leans forward to rest his arms on the table. "Lolly has the gist of it. Changelings pledges to help each other, be there for each other, and what have you. Some band of brothers type stuff, like that Vienna sausage guy." The obviously not well-travelled Fairest doesn't even attempt to say the name. "I wanted to create one again. I haven't really done it since Sara and I left Boston, and haven't felt a need to until I got to know you two. I want to create a Motley between at least the three of us, Freehold or not."
Charlie furrows her brows as she smooths her shirt back down. "Sort of like the little Pledge we have between us? To make sure both businesses make it through the holiday slump? Or is it something more, since there are more people in it?" she asks, leaning to grab her plate to munch on the cake while they talk.
"Four years, Lolly? Have you got any of your memories back?" she asks, tilting her head - trying to gauge the physical changes to what the other lass might've regained.
"Oh, gosh." Lolly's brows jolt up and she blinks at Raymond, surprised, then narrows her eyes in sudden suspicion, trying not to smile. "You sure you aren't asking just 'cause we can heal you?" Turning her head to waggle a hand in a so-so tilt, side to side, she admits, "The dreams have been getting stronger the more, um, the more fairy-like I get. I...um." The sweetly-scented lily shifts her weight, uneasy. "They scare me. I can remember stuff about being back in, um, fairy land-" some education gaps still exist, clearly, "-with the fairy who took me away."
"Gentry," Raymond notes. "Since we're all some kinda fairy-thing now." He scoffs, crossing his arms in a mild bit of upset. "I'm not sure why I'd do it just for healing. I trust you two, and I like you. Life's not that complicated." A lie he must tell himself often. "It's like the pledge for our places, yeah. Except it's for each other, and nothing more. It doesn't have to be some forever more thing, and probably shouldn't. THe pledge I mean."
"I have dreams of being low and having grass in my face. Tall grass. Blurs of running. Hunting. It's vague." Charlie murmurs, finishing her slice of the meatcake and rinsing the plate to leave it in the sink. "Do it by season. Or solstice and equinox. So every couple months we can figure out if it still works for where we're at or if we want to change it."
"The, the forest for me." Subdued, Lolly nibbles on her lower lip. "The smell... it's, I can't describe it. There were other people, other flower people, and plant people. My name is Lily, and I remember having to, um." Whatever it is, she swallows and skips past it. "I could tell when IT was coming, we could always tell, because it...it was like me. I don't know what flower it was, or moss, or greenery, or-" she's frustrated here, frowning, "-whatever the heck it smelled like, but sometimes, I wake up, and all I can smell is that perfume.
She's quiet a little while, but eventually agrees, "I, um, I think I'd like that. The pledge, I mean."
Between the two of them doing the post-traumatic stress tango Raymond clears his throat. "I think we can wait a while to keep talking about Arcadia," says the only one that's said nothing of his stay. He clears his throat, gotta make sure his voice is clear. "The Wyrd doesn't really do much on time outside of what it wants to do, but a season should work. For that time we work with and for each other, and if we should betray one another may the wyrd curse us."
Charlie nods to Lolly, thinking. "Simple, seasonal, flexible. I think that will work nicely, Ray." Says the super inexperienced Pledge maker. "Does the Wyrd take the intent of time from us, you think, instead of itself? Does it have a self?"
Gulp. Lolly squirms where she sits, straightening a bit when Raymond starts to speak the pledge. Serious stuff time. She glances at Charlie, then back to the Summer, confirming, "I agree to this pledge," before looking back to Charlie again, expectant.