Log:Songs and Swear Words: Hedge Edition

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Songs and Swear Words: Hedge Edition

Amity, November, Zak

3 October, 2019

Amity is out picking fruit, Zak is lying in wait, and November is doing what Novembers do. When Wyrd and weird collide! Conversation in the Hedge.



      It's just after noon and Amity is taking one of her little jaunts into the near hedge in search of goblin fruits. Even if they lose their power, she likes to preserve them--they make for good eating even if they lack glamour or magical properties and it's a nice way to stretch one's legs, so to speak. Here, in the near Hedge, she even feels (foolishly) safe from the attention of those who lurk deeper in its clutches. The light rain of the morning has given way to pale, watery sunlight and she steps among dewy, damp grasses and stalks of corn with a small sickle made of gleaming bronze. Occasionally, she pauses to crouch down and slice free leaves of coupnettle or murmurleaf or to pluck from the ground a whole jarmyn. Looped over her other arm is a basket which is steadily filling with the products of her work.

Perhaps foolishly, she is not overly attentive to the landscape around her, only pausing once in a while to glance around, looking almost like a deer with its ears pricked up as it searches for signs of predatory creatures. Soon, though, wariness drops away a little and she is humming a song to herself that begins to crest into song. She does not have a lovely voice, at least not supernaturally so. She sings all the same.

      "The fox went out on a chilly night, she prayed to the Moon to give him light for she'd many a mile to go that night before she reached the town-o, town-o, town-o..." Someone is having a lovely time in spite of themselves. Though she seems to have modified the lyrics a bit, perhaps?

      Zak is also in this section of the hedge, probably unknown to Amity. He's taken to weaving in and out of the edges of the Hedge. It's easier to catch a nap or to hide one's self away from mortal authorities when you can simply not be there, under their prying eyes. There's food to be gathered here, if you know what you're doing, too. He's found a spot alongside the trod, jacket wrapped around himself, a blanket draped over his shoulders. He's silent for the most part - there's no running water here, no deep cool pools or swift rapids and it feels a little strange. But he goes where he can, scratches out a living. This is one stop on the ever-winding road.

      His ears perk a little as he hears the sound of a song carrying through the grass and over the stalks of corn. He raises his head, gaze fixed down the road. It never seems to curve, but there's definitely a corner there, for someone to walk around. He stays stock still, gaze fixed, and he almost seems to shrink a little into himself, melting back into the stalks as he finally moves, bit by bit, secreting himself in the grass. Waiting. Watching. To see what comes along. He's still watching as Amity comes into view and he recognizes her. He doesn't move, though. Just waits. Still watching with those unnaturally bright blue eyes of his.

      Safe? Yes. It is always foolish to feel 'safe' in the Hedge. The first sign that the pair may be approaching something dangerous comes not in the nip of chilly air, but in the lack of predictability in their environment, and a subtly upwelling feeling of energy waiting to be set free -- the tension before a lightning strike, or an avalanche.

      The Hedge is mutable, always prone to alteration, but this? One glance at a patch of corn may see it covered in sleeping moths, and the next, nothing. One glance at a trod may seem to indicate that it is going left, and the next, a sign may appear to point right. These illusory shifts and tricks of mind and eye are never truly -dangerous-, but they are certainly inconvenient.

      About the time Amity makes it to Zak, hints of ice and colour have begun to limn stalks of corn here and there, contrasts sharper and more distinct, and faintly, in the distance, very different singing can be heard. While it doesn't have a Nix's power, isn't a siren's song, it's lovely to listen to, and absolutely inhuman. No mortal throat produces notes and tones so pure, so sweet...but they certainly produced the SONG said throat is singing. (https://youtu.be/coEd6Lx_-cY)

      Amity, of course, may remember that distant voice from the Wayhouse, whether or not she wants to.

      Amity's voice falters and slowly drops away as the chill of frost and ice begins to nip at the plants around her and then drops away completely as that very familiar voice wends its way into her ear. She hesitates, glancing up and then left and right, trying to determine /where/ the music is coming from and in doing so finally manages to get a glimpse of Zak. There's a muted shriek and her small sickle comes up in a defensive posture before she realizes that it's the man from the day before who had chased down the kidnapper.

      "God, you gave me a fright," she says in a quiet voice and lowers her arm. "You should have said something. I nearly walked over you, you know." The voice is still singing and Amity is starting to break into a cool sweat despite the fall chill to the air and wintery snap that seems to be settling across the area around them.

      Zak tenses, bit by bit as the environment begins to change around the two of them. The ice and frost isn't much to his liking (but maybe he shouldn't have come to Vermont or the Hedge, in that case) and it makes him feel distinctly uncomfortable. So does that charge of /something/ in the air and the distant, singing voice. It's not something human and his throat works in a slow swallow - but then Amity spots him and yells.

      "Sorry," he finally answers, voice pitched low, "I prefer to see before I'm seen." Which is kind of weird, but OK. He glances up, eyes narrowing. "Who is that?" He doesn't receognize the voice. "And who are you, for that matter?"

      The singing continues, but not that song. It's an entrance theme for a TV show, after all; they aren't meant to be -long-! It shifts toward RWBY, instead of Slayers, because clearly, singing animated show songs in the Hedge is the way to go. (https://youtu.be/1iSTJYIXYao) She even hums the instrumental parts.

      "I'm Amity," she replies quietly and crouches down as she spots something harvestable near the other Changeling. She snips the leaves clean and tilts her head, listening as the music changes. She frowns. "...It's the Waylady. Lady November. From the Freehold."

      "Waylady..." Zak makes a little noise at the back of his throat, "Got it. I'm Zak." He shifts his weight a little, scooting away from her sickle and her harvesting. The music is still there and he doesn't know if he likes it or not. "She going to want anything from me? From us?"

      A second distant voice joins the first, interrupting the singing with a rough caw and a curt, "Will you SHUT UP already? Okay! I changed the fucking channel! I get it!" The voice is male, and doesn't sound human either, but in this case, it's less 'wow that person's godly powerful' and more 'wow, that person sounds like a talking bird.'

      The singing, notably, does not stop.

      That bird-voice gets pissier, and a little defensive. "What, you can watch imaginary girls in cute skirts and I can't watch a little somethingsomething on the Nature Channel?"

      "Nice to meet you, Zak." The one-sided argument gets a stifled giggle from Amity as she stuffs the goblin fruit into her basket. Straightening, she sets the sickle inside as well, resting it on top of her harvest for the moment. One hand shifts to her hip and she looks down at Zak. Shrugs.

      "I don't know. She didn't seem to want anything from me before, but..." She hesitates, glances back as if worried that she might be overheard. "She's very close to being like. Them." She doesn't need to specify who 'them' is, she hopes.

      At the mention of them, Zak's face twists a little. It's something between fear and desire and then he shudders and wraps his blanket a little tighter around himself. He's got one ear for the singing-slash-argument, one for Amity, "Not sure I want t'meet her, then."

      The bird-voice goes silent then, and the pair may catch a glimpse of something white flashing in the distance, but after THAT, the singing DOES finally stop, with a quiet, barely-audible, "Oof!" followed by a peal of friendly laughter, wild and free and fey. Possibly Fae.

      See, she can't be THAT terrifying if she says something like 'oof' now, can she? .. can she?

      Unfortunately for Zak, he may not have a choice. A large white crow comes winging down along the path, more the size of a raven, really, with black eyes and vaguely iridescent scales on his feet, though those are tucked against his belly, mostly out of sight. He backwings, hovering poorly, since crows aren't exactly meant to DO that, then twists to caw, "HEY! Snowflake! Get your sparkly butt over here! Found that chick you talked about the other day. And...uhhhh...a scaly thing." Lowering his voice, the crow tells Zak, "No offense, and don't eat me. Dealing with HER is bad enough."

      Amity thinks that she absolutely positively CAN be that terrifying, thanks. Regardless of oofs. She straightens as the crow comes swooping down the trail, free arm crossing tightly across her body, almsot protective as she tries to steel herself for the presence of what, to her, is an emotional hurricane.

      "Oh, she's speaking about me, is she?" There's a faint smile. "Good to know I made an impression, I suppose." Gotta get the snark in while she isn't having trouble doing anything but standing there stock still and waiting for instructions.

      Oh. Fun. Zak recoils a little into the stalks as the white crow comes swooping down on him, almost like he's ready to spring. He's more human than fae, but there's still a niggling little voice at the back of his head screaming for him to find a deep, dark pool and dive into it and hide. He narrows his eyes at the crow and his fingers twitch. Maybe he /should/ eat it.

      "My name is Zak," he replies to it with a bit of a rasp, "And I'm not going to eat you. Yet."

      The crow, still wary of, you know, strangers who may want crow-kebabs, keeps his distance. "Well, yeah," he tells Amity, confused. "You're new. She's gotta make sure you're safe." Zak's threatening 'yet' gets an eye-rolly, "Yeah, yeah, you're a bundle of fucking sunshine. I get it. Don't attack HER, either, 'kay? She's just out here to make some stupid cape or some shit."

      As for November? Yeeeaaah. No. The living ice sculpture is definitely not human. HumanOID, sure, but if a human were that delicately built, they'd be dead. Humans have to worry about silly things like bones and muscles. Here in the Hedge, as with Zillah, it's simultaneously worse and better than seeing her out in the mortal world. On the one hand, the casual power it takes to manifest so many minor changes on a whim...not cool. On the other, uh, it doesn't hurt the brain as much to see her here. Here? Here is where she -fits-. There isn't that jarring sense of -wrong-ness, of seeing something out of place.

      The stalks reflect the colourful creature's soft white radiance and ever-shifting aurora, as she walks around a corner of the trod, myriad miniscule sparks of splintered rainbows just...yeah. Suffice it to say that she would make an excellent centerpiece on somebody's table, or a very expensive statue in an art gallery, if statues had colours floating through and around them, that is.

      "Amity, lovely, what a pleasant surprise." Yep. Definitely the same voice, the Irish in it giving it a lilt even beyond its innate musicality. Her colours are as warm as her tone when she steps forward to touch the shorter woman's cheek, frigid digits sliding down to give her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. A friend greeting a friend, her posture says. She steps away without waiting for reciprocation, studying Zak with a tilt of her head and a light, "And Amity's friend..?" while lifting an arm for Yrrh to land on. The crow, for the record, mutters the entire time about cold feet.

      The chill of November's approach still makes Amity tremble a little. Here, the other woman does not feel nearly as /wrong/ or out place. It is less overwhelming, in some ways. Still, Amity struggles not to automatically correct her posture, not to curtsy, not to do something /wrong/ that might earn her a scornful word or worse. And yet... and yet she anticipates the other's arrival with a keen excitement. November is so /beautiful/ and awful and wonderful in the real senses of those words that being around her hurts in a way that Amity cannot help but yearn for even though she knows better.

      "Waylady," she says and unable to stop herself, dips into a curtsy. The touch of icy fingers is cold and warm all at once and a blush springs to her cheeks as fingers trace down the line of her face to touch her shoulder. She dares not reciprocate, not without permission and so she only smiles a painful, anguished, yearning smile. "It's lovely to see you again. This is... ah, he helped us recover a baby yesterday. A Privateer tried to snatch one in broad daylight at the Market. He had a lot of nerve, that one." She'll let Zak decide if he wants to give his name. More polite that way, she figures.

      Zak watches Amity's and November's exchange with a look that wavers between disbelief and pained. Amity goes from a woman out on a stroll to someone straining for approval and waiting for a word or a gesture or anything that will show she has favor. He can't entirely blame her - some of his memories, as fuzzy and distant as they are, are... not good. But pleasant enough. Still, he wasn't an attendant; he was a member of a pack. A group. Not something human or anywhere close to civilized. He starts to shuffle to his feet, acutely aware of just how much power seems to come off of November.

      "My name is Zak," he says to November, "And I don't know Amity. Not really. Just... kinda met her yesterday with that whole baby thing." He looks a little uncomfortable. Like he wants to bolt. His voice has a bit of that alluring quality to it. It's not like it was yesterday, but there's still a touch of something that almost makes one want to just listen to it. But it's not full of power - and it's certainly nothing compared to November, at least right now.

      Shifting his weight from foot to foot, the crow complains, "Why couldn't you be fire-hearted instead of a fucking popsicle?" under his breath, feathers fluffed and roused to keep himself warmer on his icy perch.

      "Because my -Lady- was a popsicle," the rainbow answers, with an air of answering an old, old argument. The smile she flashes Zak is echoed with a ripple of colour, every pigment in that hide of his, his clothes, appearing briefly somewhere in the ever-changing swirl of colour through her flesh, hair and aurora. "November an Nua. Waylady of Fate's Harvest, yes, but 'November' is well enough."

      Her colours flicker through Amity's a moment before she turns her head to tell the other woman that, "You needn't curtsey, lovely, though if we do come across hobgoblins, I suppose it wouldn't hurt." With a glance at Zak, she 'confides' that, "They tend to think I'm Fae. It makes life easier, unless they learn otherwise."

      Turning on the ball of her foot, the mercurial creature laughs again, light and fey, and moves with light and fluid grace, taking an easy pace back toward the direction she -had- been singing from. "You're welcome to join me, of course," she calls over one icy shoulder, "but I'll understand if you'd prefer your own company. In your shoes, I certainly would."

      "I'll keep that in mind, Waylady. It's just... instinct. My apologies." Amity doesn't want to join her. But also she wants to be with the other, desperately so and the impulses war in her head for a long moment before she can form a reply.

      "Thank you, Waylady. I still have to find a bit more hedgefruit before I consider my day done with, though, so I have to decline. My apologies." There's tangible relief in her voice. Relief that November is leaving. Relief that she managed to say 'no' to someone. She takes a breath. Glances sidelong at Zak as if waiting for him to approve. Or disapprove. Why does she care? She shouldn't care.

      "Not sure I'd want anyone thinking I was one of them," Zak replies, voice low and even and maybe a little resentful. He's being careful in his words, but there's more to this than just the usual. He's met other changelings in his life, but it's the first time he's seen so many that have gone quite so far down that wyrd path. He sucks in a breath.

      "I'll pass for now. I should be gettin' moving, anyway. Can't stay in one spot for too long." He shrugs, "Might need to go back beyond the Hedge sometime soon."

      "Instinct that makes you child's play to manipulate, darling," is the faerie Ancient's blunt reply toward Amity as she continues down the trod, though her tone is still bright, open and warm. "Speak with the local Blackbirds, or find an Oneiromancer to aid you in your dreams. Your training is a beacon to those who would prefer their servants already-broken-in."

      For Zak, she turns, walking backward, and states a simple, laughing, "I hadn't much choice in the matter. By the time I reached your strength, they already did," before picking up those icy, petal-like skirts and running, Yrrh left to flap himself into some semblance of flight, squawk and caw out, "THAT WASN'T FUNNY!"

      "I'll do that, thank you." Amity feels a touch of relief as she watches November hurry away. It's strange, seeing her like this. She feels so strange and distant and yet... familiar. The advice is good, too. Perhaps she should talk to Nathania or someone else she can trust to help her with her dreams. She raises a hand to wave in farewell.

      "Do take care, Waylady."

      Zak is left to stare after her and her crow companion, not quite sure what to say or what to make of it. She's strange. But aren't they all? He starts to collect his belongings. Time to get moving. "I'll see you around, Amity..." He nods at her, "I'll... I'll be around, you know?"

      Amity blinks slowly as Zak speaks and then tries to smile. Like most of her expressions, it is not expansive or really all that expressive, despite her efforts. She dips her head slightly.

      "Do take care, Zak. Come by the Wayhouse sometime, alright? There are beds. And hot food. It might do you good." She raises a hand to wave in farewell to the other Changeling. "Be safe."

      "Always am," he mutters in reply, "Thanks for the offer... I might take you up on that."

      Maybe. He's still wary around other people and he takes time to trust. So for now he just gives her a little nod as he hitches his bag on and heads off down the trod, looking for a gate. Time to step back out. At least for a little while.