Log:Stand Down, Soldier

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Stand Down, Soldier

Logan Brenner, Daniel Dross, Seven

16 May, 2018

Logan and Dross take Seven to the Wayhouse. Dross figures out how to get through to Seven properly.


===========-< << The Wayhouse - Treelined Drive >> >-===========

Masking the one-lane gravel path below, the tall pines, tamaracks and maples of Vermont forest form a dense, protective line, swaying boughs and leafshadow dappling pale grey granite and tawny earth beneath. A simple wooden signpost at the farthest point of the lane reads,

                               "The Wayhouse"                                

in silver-painted engraving above a single curving twig of tamarack over an empty circle.

The undergrowth thins some fifty yards into the forest, and soon enough, a clearing opens up, revealing a weary three-story building of peaked slate roofs, two wings and aging, rusty bricks which might once have been creamier shades than they manage today. Functional shutters line each of many windows, the lawn below them scattered with the comfortable clutter of grills and lawn chairs, games and sporting balls.

A long stable has been converted into a multi-car garage, some few of the doors padlocked, most left available for guests.

Assumedly, Seven sits in the back - he doesn't like it. Too small for him, so he glares grumpily in the rear-view mirror at Logan the whole way, barely looking out the window. The car itself doesn't seem to alarm him much, but he does seem surprised at how quiet it is and how fast it goes, least initially. He doesn't put on a seat-belt either. They didn't exist last time he was in a car.

Once they're reaching the wayhouse, he climbs out and looks around warily. Already, he's starting to wear down those clothes - there's stains on his T-shirt from breakfast. The pants, he's used them to wipe his hands off on, so they're not very clean either. The shoes? His claws has put holes in the front of the new sneakers. The only thing not touched by wild is the nice leather jacket.

WIthout a word he wanders off a bit and bends down to throw up. He did start looking a bit green in the face at the end of the ride but didn't say anything. Apparently, someone has motion sickness.

It's a beautiful May morning: weather in the mid-fifties now, promising to climb up into the low seventies as the sun rises. Sky blue and so clear you might almost believe you could see straight through to the next galaxy over. Dross casts a swift glance at Logan and murmurs something softly -- perhaps just a thank-you for driving -- before exiting the neat golden Prius as well. He shuts the door without making a sound while Seven scrambles off to puke.

Logan flashes his grin at Dross as he gets out of the car, closing the door behind him. His eyebrows raise in an expression of mild alarm as he spots Seven hurling. It wasn't a very long drive, at least. Not at all. You could almost walk here, if there were sidewalks. Which there aren't. "You feeling okay, Seven? We're here now!"

Wiping his mouth off on the back of his hand, Seven does look better. No longer green in the face. He murmurs something about 'Too fast' - maybe it's just not being used to such speeds. He kicks some dirt over his thrown up food, like an animal would. Frustrated about his shoes, he bends and tears them off and throws them into the car. He's barefoot again and looks relieved about this as he wanders off after the other two, looking up a the large building. "Where is guards."

"If you could see them," says Dross, "they would be poor guards, indeed." He walks a little apart from the others along the gravel path that leads to the Wayhouse. Reaches the scratched, timeworn, heavy door made of a slab of oak and pulls it open, standing aside afterward to let Logan and Seven pass through.

"Good point, Dross," Logan says, grin in place. Then he looks back to Seven and says, "This is called the Wayhouse. It's a gathering place for folks like us. A place of safety and refuge. Come on in and I'll show you around!" He disappears through the front door, whistling to himself.

==============-< << The Wayhouse - East Wing >> >-==============

Forming the front, and short, leg of the L-shaped building, the east wing holds the majority of public rooms, the simple country furniture and worn-in couches showing signs of wear and tear and care to keep them from anything worse. Moldings are warm maple stained a honeyed brown, walls plastered and painted in neutral oatmeals, burnt creams and homely golds, and rag rugs cover only the high-traffic sections of the varnished oak floorboards, protecting them from scrapes.

Entering from the front door, one must step through a second door to reach the living room beyond, the small mudroom between the doors a blessing during Vermont's frigid winters. Who would want icy air blowing through the building every time a body went outside? A set of stairs ascends one of the living room walls, the dartboard-bearing door to the basement tucked under its higher end.

A dining room follows the living room like two tiered beads on an architectural string, and a kitchen large enough to cook a hearty meal for many guests is tucked off of the dining room, as well as a small den and computer room, a lavatory, and a few good-sized closets.

Seven is the last one entering - he does make sure he knows where the exits are. And eyes the door as it closes behind him; he even opens it a nudge again to make sure it doesn't lock behind himself. He concedes the point with the guards with a snort and a cunning glance around, as if expecting invisible guards all over the place - and now he /knows/ they're there, too. "What do you do here," he asks coarsely. He still struggles to even formulate whole sentences.

Dross closes the door and walks through the mudroom with Logan and Seven into the main part of the Wayhouse. What exactly one does here, in this big, well-worn, cosy-looking space filled with simple country furniture and some of the first wildflowers of spring standing here and there in vases on the nicked-up tables, he leaves to the Golden Boy to explain. Looking to Logan and his golden halo while he waits for the answer.

The Wayhouse is not empty, actually. A few other Lost linger around: a green-skinned Ogre is playing checkers with a Fairest with hummingbird wings. There's even another Waykeeper on duty, somewhere in the house. But Logan seems perfectly comfortable in here. Then he whirls around, hands on hips, vibrant eyes focused on Seven. "So. Welcome to the Wayhouse! This is a place open to all Changelings, and other known persons with Changeling affiliation. It is public neutral ground. You can live here temporarily, if you want. There's no fee." His smile broadens. "Hospitality is in place here. It's my job, so long as you're here, Seven, to make you comfortable and get you situated within our world. Follow me and I'll show you around!"

Seven stands absolutely still and folds his arms over his chest, in a sort of defiant gesture. Like he's not going to go anywhere just because the Shiny one says so. And he seems a bit confused. "I can live here." It's only half a question. "But what do I do, here?" He seems reluctant to go anywhere because he doesn't get it. Like he's not sure he belongs, at all.

Dross moves toward Logan and Seven, looking back and forth between them as he steps around the hard angles of the furniture. Not far from here, that game of checkers seems to be proceeding amicably. "What do you do anywhere?" he asks.

"That's all up to you, Seven." Logan leads them on a tour of the house: bedrooms, kitchen, even the workshop in the basement. They end up back in the living room again. "How do you want to contribute to Changeling society? The first question should probably be, what do you even /know/ about Changeling society?" There's a quick glance to Dross, then Logan sits down on one of the sofas, waiting for the others to join him. The Fairest and the Ogre glance over their way, but they're too tied up in the game to care about the conversation.

Eventually, Seven gives up and moves along. He studies the place scrutinizingly, and seems to take some interest in the workshop, lingering down there before joining them upstairs. He sits down on the love-seat, and realises he can sprawl out on it - so he does. Like a lazy, relaxed animal, eyes half-lidded as he watches the other Lost in the room. He doesn't bother the Ogre and the Fairest except staring at them a bit too long. "I can fight." That sums up what he can do, apparently. "I don't know what a changeling is." He doesn't seem to care too much either, dislodging some leftover breakfast between two teeth with a claw.

"A blank slate," says Dross. He's looking at Seven, but the comment seems to be addressed to Logan. He takes a seat... or, well, really more of a lean... On one of the arms of the sofa where the Waykeeper sat down, perching there like he's prepared to get up again and walk out of the room at any moment. At the checkers table, the Ogre says abruptly, pleased with themselves, "King me."

"You said you knew what you were. What did you mean by that?" Logan asks Seven casually. Though he seems to nod at what Dross just said, even though he's not looking at him.

"I'm a soldier." Seven seem very sure of this. It defines everything about him. There's nothing else in that mind of his than to fight, and after that, fight some more. He frowns, and sits up, leaning over his knees and looking down at the floor like he suddenly has some pained memories; he rubs the back of his neck and makes a snarling sound.

Dross watches Seven closely as the wolfman jerks up over those memories. When he starts to snarl, Dross says, in a sudden, sharp tone, though still without raising his voice: "Stand down." It's evident from the way that he speaks that, although quite a bit of time may have passed since he used it regularly, this was once a normal mode of communication for him. He pauses, looking from Seven to Logan... Then, sounding more like his usual self, he continues, "You're in the reserves now. These are barracks. Listen to Logan. He's an officer here." If you can call Waykeepers officers of the Wayhouse...

Logan looks from Seven to Dross in mild, amused wonder. "/Very/ authoritative, Dross," he says, his tone almost teasing, but then he nods his head. This all makes sense to him. "Dross is right, you know. As of this moment, I'm your superior officer. And you need to be filled in, before you endanger the entire mission and all of the other soldiers. Understand?"

Seven sits up straight at that and shakes out of whatever thought was brewing. "Reserves. Barracks." He turns to watch Logan expectantly, like he's half awaiting orders. Or being told to do nothing. "Yes." He understands, nodding at Logan. He gets the debriefing part before a mission - he seems to find that comforting. Dross figured him out here.

When Logan looks at him, Dross returns the Fairest's curious blue gaze until Seven starts to speak and elicit further instruction from Logan. For his part, Dross goes straight back to not saying anything at all. Just watching the other two-- and, now and again, sparing a quick glance for the other inhabitants of the Wayhouse.

Yes. Logan, smiling away, now takes this as his cue: to explain everything about being Lost to Seven. Why they are what they are. Arcadia. The Hedge. The Gentry. The Wyrd. The Courts. The Freehold -- that last, he puts a lot of emphasis on. "As a Waykeeper, I can make introductions and get you Pledged to the Queen ay-sap," he says cheerfully. "I strongly encourage you to do this as soon as possible, Seven, for your own protection as well as everyone else's."

Seven listens with rapt attention and concentration throughout the whole thing, but has very few questions. In the end, he seems a bit overwhelmed by it all - it's like he entered a whole new weird world in a sense. But it also does answer a lot of the questions he had. He doesn't outright jump on the pledging part though - he's careful. But he doesn't reject the idea either.

In the end, he gets up, mutters a farewell of sorts and goes about exploring his new home.