Log:Stones for the Dead

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Stones for the Dead

Logan, Ridley, Gisa and Lulu

5 May, 2017

There are three bodies buried in the Hedgefruit garden. A conversation about death, heights, and stacking rocks as a human impulse.



Lulu has found a place to settle herself. Here amidst the ruin, the little Moth has found a spot for herself and it is atop the Gazebo. Her head tilted as matte black, light absorbing eyes stare up at the Hedge sky. She's braiding her hair in a rare display of taming the wild colorful masses. Is she in of all things? A gown. It's an ancient thing, drapey and flowy and may have once been a lovely evening affair but it looks moth eaten and somewhat decayed. Thankfully she wears her usual fringed shawl over it. Her feet? Bare currently, her boots sitting on the ground next to a bench at the base of the gazebo. It's much easier to climb with bare feet.

And look, it's Ridley. The elemental picks his way through the ruined garden with the air of someone who really has nowhere he needs to be, and has absolutely no interest in getting there quickly. Shoulders rolled forwards, thumbs hooked into his hip pockets and eyes cast ever so slightly downwards he walks in an easy, long-legged sort of lope across the broken path - while the almost omnipresent high-contrast raven drifts along on currents a few meteres above him.

It's the bird which notices the ascending mothling first - tilting it's white, Sume-i head to one side and fixing her with a gleaming silver eye before wheeling along and flittering down to perch - quite uninvited - upon the carefully braided mass of her hair. At least, that might be his intent unless forcibly removed.

Ridley, for his part, does not seem to notice - either the bird, or the girl. Rather, his attention appears drawn to the pair of abandoned boots - to which he meanders along towards then tips forwards, peering down at them most curiously.

Lulu says, “There is another shore, you know, upon the other side. The further off from England the nearer is to France --.." Lulu sings loftily to herself, absently almost half breathing half song pausing now and then to make sure a plait in her braid is straight and smooth before continuing on. Braided, her hair is certainly longer than it appears in fluff moode. "Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance. Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?.."

"Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join... the dance? Well hello." She smiles and reaches up to let the Raven nip at her exploring too long fingers with a smile. "Come to join me appreciating all the lovliness here?"

She cranes her neck to peer below but says nothing. Watching as Ridley approaches the dove gray boots. They may have once been knee high or more but they've collapsed in on themselve,s the soft doeskin wrinkled and set. The soles wore so thin they practically don't exist. In fact, a /close/ inspection will see that someone has simply cut out foot-shaped pieces of what appears to be stick on 'wood' for the soles. They are fuzzy inside and absolutely -coated- in Moth dust. "Hello, hello.." She looks up at the bird. "Have you bothered teaching him yet?" She wonders of the bird. "He does seem so in need of your wisdom.”

The bird disapproves of her hairdo.

At least, that might be the impression one might get from its reaction. At first, the creature - a high contrast white thing with thick black lines demarking its edges - seems to shift and settle itself within Lulus crown - then, apparently not finding things as it last left them, it begins to peck and tug at the various braids either in an attempt to undo them, or somehow reconfigure them into a more nest-shaped infrastructure.

At her questions, though, the bird seems to sniff slightly - then peers down to Ridley before canting his head back and sideyeing Lulu once more; only to cut loose with a rapidfire, stacatto string of what sounds like mildly irritated Gaelic prior to resettling back in to make a nest of her hair.

Ridley, for his part, only then chooses to glance up - hands on his hips and shoulders arching, bending backwards from the midsection to regard both girl and bird for a breath or so. "Oh. Well, hello there;" Crisply, almost brightly - though the Elementals brows lower and thin a fraction at the birds outburst. "Did you forget how gravity worked again?"

Lulu's hair is stubborn and despite her persnickety attentions to their smoothness and straightness the fluffy mass does not wish to be tamed. It takes very little to start pulling out strands of fluff bit by bit to arrange her hair into something between nest and braid. Resulting only in giving the mad little moon moth an even more of an absurd and fanciful appearance. "Oh. Hmm. you know.. that does tingle a bit. Maybe? ..well. All right then." This? All the while. Little words, almost protests that don't quite make it out until finally, she accepts her inevitable fate. Destined to look the ragamuffin.

She sighs and chuckles at the squeaks. She doesn't understand them but she does reach up to soothe the Raven with another few light strokes.

"Me? Oh no. I very well know how gravity works." Her eyes narrow a little and her lips thin out in mild annoyance of the mention of her gravest enemy. "But I wanted to see all of it. All of it. Down there the view is so.." She sighs, "Limited." She says the word in a poof of frustrated dust. "And.. You are. Ridley? Yes?" She looks thoughtful for a moment.

On the plus side? The monochrome corvian fits right in up there - perhaps giving an impression of either being part of Lulu's untamed mane, or simply that the whole mess, bird and all, is some sort of fancy animatronic hat. Whatever the case might be, though, eventually the creature seems to find something approaching comfort - and settles in, tucking its feet under him and squalking aimicably before leaning its head into Lulus fingers.

For his part, Ridley looks on idly - then, with a simple indraw of breath, he bounds upwards - lithely, almost weightlessly transversing the distance from one branch to the other as he ascends to her position as easily as a person would hop up stairs. It's definitely not... natural, but the Elemental seems to carry it through without a second thought. "Oh, don't I know it; though it's less the fact of not being able to see as things being in the _way_. I miss paths that were clear all the way to the horizon."

The observant of eye might notice that the ground has been disturbed in the garden recently -- in three different places. The morbid of mind, or indeed, just the observant of eye might notice the general size and shape of those ground-disturbances is such as to imply that beneath the rows of neatly-cultivated plants lie three bodies.

Well, it is good for hedgefruit.

A woman -- not particularly tall, only about five foot six, but as solid as a brick wall, quite literally -- moves slowly into the garden. Not even slowly, per se, but deliberately. She moves like she means it, like she's thinking about every action and the consequences thereof. Her eyeflames burn steadily in the pits where most keep their eyes, and the shin on her forehead burns steadily. She's carrying a pair of boots in one hand, though, again, for the keen of eye, those boots don't seem to have any soles, just a strap across the bottom at the arch. No greeting for the living, not at first: Gisa moves to the patch where the first, smallest mound is carefully tucked under sprawling leaves, and searches for something in the dirt.

Oh yeah, and then there's today's t-shirt, perhaps evidence of Kyle's influence. In white text on blue, it reads: '#JewishHolidays - #theytriedtokillus #theyfailed #letseat'

"That sounds a bit boring." Lulu opines to Ridley, "nothing at all in the way. How is anything at all any fun." She seems quite fine with her feathered hat. After all, other than the occasional claw prickle, he's not too heavy and quite warm though one hand is almost always up to ensure that if she has to move that she will not be dislodging her fanciful headpiece. "How are you? It is good to see you again. Have you had any luck in finding a translator?" She wonders with a curious expression on her fey like features. She adjusts her shawl a bit with her free hand and scoots so there's room for Ridley to join her. During the process, she spots Gisa and beams, "Oh! Hello, hello there Friend!" She greets the Golem with a wave of her free hand. "it's good to see you again but I believe I have forgotten your name. But I cannot forget your sigil." She touches her own forehead. "She is a Guardian." She tells Ridley as if that should explain everything, even if it doesn't.

Ridley doesn't so much sit on the branch as he crouches there; balanced upon the very balls of his feet, with hands curling about his upraised knees. "I don't know; what's more boring, having a long stretch of empty space where there's nothing to get in your way or break your momentum - or having a whole mess of dreadfully uninteresting things bloking your vision?" The response might seem to come as more of a hypothetical or rhetorical commentary; coupled as it is with a faint tilt of his head and almost imperceptable arching of one brow before he once again shakes it off. "Ah, I've been well enough - floating here and there. As it were." This, with a flick of his gaze down - and, consequently, to the newest arrival and her peculiar harvest. "Hmm. I do not believe we've met. Hello." Maybe it's directed to Gisa; or maybe it's simply said for Lulu's benefit in case the other woman doesn't hear - or pay attention to - him.

She doesn't answer until she's found what she's looking for: Gisa digs up a small rock from the loose earth in the garden, smooths it off with one hand (it makes a clink-clink sound against her ceramic fingers), and then places it neatly in the middle of the first mound. She rests her fingers on it for a moment, and then straightens, her Hedgespun boots still hanging from her left hand. The golem doesn't bother wiping the earth from her fingers -- quite the opposite, she absently rolls it between her digits, as if petting the ears of an old, familiar cat. "It is possible to fill the long stretches of empty space, if you know how." No question is rhetorical to a literal-minded Elemental. Only then does she turn her attention to Lulu, more properly greeting her -- a tiny curve upward of the corners of her lips, and the shin on her forehead glowing brighter. "I am Gisa Cohen, my moth friend. And yes, I am a Guardian. It is good to see you again. Pardon me, I have to attend to them." Setting her shoes down between the rows, she heads to the second mound, there to sort about for another small rock and repeat the process. Some people put flowers on graves. Jews put rocks.

Lulu scoots a bit farther out to observe more fully what Gisa is doing. She is silent the whole while, crouched there atop the gazebo her bare feet conforming to the curve of the limb. She perches there and remains quite still other than the occasional shift to keep the chalk-corvid on her head. Still ever attentive and ensuring she doesn't move too fast. "Hmm. I'm not sure. It just sounds boring though. But even in the thickest wood, I have never had anything blocking my vision." She admits to Ridley and looks back towards Gisa when she finally responds. She lifts her shoulders, "I have never been in the absence of anything. I suppose though that you both have? And you both have not found it so?" The question is honest, thoughtful almost as if considering it heavily.

Lulu tilts her head and her lightless eyes blink a few times. "Gisa. Yes. I remember now. Will you tell me why the rocks?"

Currently, Lulu is atop the gazebo in bare feet, she's wearing what once was a beautiful flowing draped evening gown which has been worn and brushed in places, little rolls here and frays there. She's got a heavy fringed shawl over her shoulders. Her hair was in braids but someone, perhaps the chalk-art raven currently nested in her hair, has pulled out whole tufts to make it fluffy giving her a definite urchin appearance to the petite fey moth. Next to her, perched and poised regally, Ridley is watching the conversation between Lulu and Gisa (While his player is AFK).

Lulu has moved to the edge of the branch she's on to look down and smile to Gisa. The Golem's sigil kindled in her forehead while they speak and Gisa goes back to very carefully tending the earthen mounds, somewhere around four by six and likely a lovely place to easily accommodate the best fertaliZer for most hedge fruits.

"Even in the desert, there is something there. If nothing else, you are there. And you contain a universe," answers Gisa easily. She silences herself while she moves to put a small rock on the third mound, the largest one. "It is all right if you forget. You will not forget my shin, the sigil on my head, and since the next closest person with one of these is in Tel Aviv, you will not likely forget me." She pauses, straightens up, rubs the dirt between her fingers gently. "Would you like the short answer, Lulu, or the long one? The short answer is 'because it is Jewish custom to place stones on graves.'" Confirming, yep, there are bodies buried under those three beds of hedgefruit. Gisa's shoeless, her boots resting near a bed of hedgefruit, and the Earthbones seems quite content with that.

Logan, still new to the Freehold, has plenty of exploring to do. He's probably passed through here before, but now he stops and lingers to take in the...lack of plants. Lack of view. Lack of atmosphere. Lack of almost everything, really, apart from the gazebo and the other Changelings clustered around it.

He is dressed in one of his Hedgespun uniforms, which make him look like a fairytale prince, and the golden crossbow slung across his back only seems to add to this effect as the brightness of his light makes its way into the garden, followed, as always, by shadow. Logan approaches the others politely, and he seems to be listening for just a moment before offering a winning smile to all assembled. "Well. Not where I thought to find my fellow Freeholders gathered, I must admit." Blue eyes move from Lulu to Ridley and finally to Gisa, the only face he knows. He inclines his head to her. "Gisa, wasn't it? How's it going?" His voice is light and boyish and occasionally peppered with those flat vowels that native southern Californians can't avoid.

Not... clustered around it, per se. Lulu and Ridley are up in a tree, while Gisa is drifting around doing Gisa-like things about the grave mound things.

Also, it should be noted, Lulu has a bird on her head. It's a peculiar sort of beast - pure white, yet with remarkably harsh and jagged an outline in the manner of a high-contrast pen and ink brushpainting. For the most part, though, it seems to be some sort of stylized raven; and it's successfully made a nest within the moth-girls poofy hair.

As far as Ridley, though; the Levinquick remains crouched upon that branch, not too far from the girl with the bird; his gaze flicking from her, to Gisa, then back again. "Mn. I don't know;" His own voice? Most definitely Scottish - a deep, resonant sort of undertone with a very recognizable brogue, though there also exists a more whispery undercurrent, like wind through jagged rocks. "There's a sort of beauty in nothingness too; even if it's just the ability to start running and not having anything in the way to stop you. Too many... things about? That just starts getting cluttered."

Lulu nods, "It is quite unique and I don't even know where Tel Aviv is. If Phish doesn't go there I haven't been." She admits lifting a hand to rest fingertips on her pointed chin. She remains interested in Gisa's reply and her wide Vanta black eyes don't blink either. "But yes, will you please, tell the long answer. Which I hope explains why it's tradition. Because I would love to know?" She admits swaying a little setting the floofy wisps of her hair afloat.

A little shimmer of dust breezes off her when she looks back to Ridley, the dust hitting the edge of the Dusk's mantle and turning to embers and ask then nothing at all. "I'll ponder nothingness I suppose when I've nothing else to ponder. But until then there are so many new things to learn." Then Logan catches Lulu's eye and she blinks wide-eyed and cooos covetously. "Shiny."

"Hello, Logan," answers Gisa, bending once more to pat the stone on the largest of the graves. "It is good to see you again. You are as shiny as ever." She abently rubs the palms of her hands together, rolling bits of dirt between her palms contentedly. A golem in concert with her familiar dirt. Ahh. "We are here to tend the garden and remember the dead. At least, I am. We are still within shloshim, and since they have no family I stand for them." Her head turns down toward the graves. "They were the victims of the murderer that was apprehended last week." That's the explanation, there.

When Lulu asks, Gisa's eyes light and shimmer; the shin grows all the brighter. "There are a lot of reasons. A rock is more permanent than flowers. When you leave flowers, they go bad in a little while, and must be cleared. But a beloved bubbe may have a small pile of stones on her grave over years; it shows that many have come to visit and pay their respects. The graves of many soldiers in the IDF graveyards in Israel look like small fortresses." There's a distant look on Gisa's face when she says that, and she shakes her head slightly, going on, "There's also an old superstition that putting rocks on the grave helps the soul stay in the beit olam, the permanent home. We weigh our dead down so their souls don't wander where they shouldn't. If a restless soul has not gone to God, then it ought not haunt people." And, well, these souls have plenty reason to be restless, even if Changelings don't usually leave ghosts. "But my favorite story is one that I heard at a kibbutz about... sixty years ago. Shepherds, before the common Jew was literate, would use stones to count the sheep they had brought with them, because they could not write it down. And so when we put a stone on a grave, we are asking God to place that soul in his shepherd's sling. As Abraham would have counted his sheep, so God will count, and so watch over, the soul that we mark."

Pretty long-winded, for a golem. At the end of it, she scuffs her foot in the dirt absently. "And it helps. It feels solid. It feels lasting."

Logan is definitely shiny. Almost too shiny, as in his light is almost too harsh, like looking into the sun...except the undercurrent of shadow is constantly dimming it down. His smile deepens at Lulu, dimples showing and all. A curious look is given to Ridley as well at his talk of nothingness. But when he hears Gisa's explanation as to what she's doing, his expression grows more solemn. "Oh," he says softly when she explains about the murdered victims, and he stands there with arms folded and head slightly tilted as she goes on to explain why stones are left on graves. "I always wondered about that," he tells her when she's finished, bobbing his head. "What an interesting tradition."

"Mn. We had cairns - similiar enough after a fashion, but different." This, from Ridley, as he spares a quick glance towards Logan before returning all attention to Gisa. There's a slight shift, an almost imperceptable readjustment of his posture on the balls of his feet before he continues. "Usually they were left as markers - piles of rocks or megaliths or what have you that were said to delinate ley lines, or faerie tracks, or what have you. I do remember a more practical story about it though - where, before going off to battle, every man would lay a stone in a pile; and if you happened to survive you came back and took up your stone again. The rocks that were left were gathered up and used to build a memorial for the ones that died.." He pauses again there, just for a moment, before shaking his head as if to clear it. "In the service, we sometimes ended up using rocks to bury the dead simply because digging wasn't practical - ground was frozen too hard, or we didn't have the time or equipment. It's not the same thing as coming back around and laying stones regularly, though."

Lulu is mesmerized by the shiny for a long moment. Leaning in, farther out as she does only to stop and blink when a heavy weight on her head reminds her not to just drift off and probably faceplant because of the little moth's fascination. But the family weight and likely ensuing corvid chastizing are enough to draw her back to attention and looking back to Gisa.

" I had thought perhaps that as part of it. But it's all very .. practical. Isn't it. Poetic and Practical. Though Thank you for telling me Gisa. If I ask again will you tell me all of those things?" She wonders airily. "I would like to remember."

Ridley pipes up about his own people and their customs and she blink towards him with wide eyes. "No. It's not the same. But it's an interesting and practical approach as well. But how would you know which was which? When was one a grave and the other a ley line? "

"Don't fall over, moth friend," offers Gisa gently, "though I might catch you, I might not be fast enough." Her chiding comes in that same gentle monotone as all her speech, laced with that lovely Israeli accent that is her birthright. "It isn't different from cairns, no, not very much. Except that we keep building them. I mean, they do fall down... " Gisa rolls her shoulders; the gesture is tectonic, really, a rise and fall of her shoulders like a mountain range pushed up and eroded away. "It is nice to know that some traditions are a bit more universal. People are always people." She takes a step over toward Logan and pats the air near his arm when he goes more somber at the news she has to share. There, there.

Logan's gaze moves from the ground back up to Ridley, listening for awhile, and then to Lulu. A smaller, more subdued version of his smile appears on his face as she speaks. She's kind of adorable. Then he shifts his smile over to Gisa at her air-pat. "I know. Death is a part of life, in our world and in all of them, I guess. Do you need any help?" Gisa probably doesn't, given what she's doing, but Logan is the type of person to ask anyway. "The good thing about death," he continues, "is that we can appreciate life more fully in its wake. But I always like to see the silver lining," he adds with a grin.

And yes, Ridley does flick his gaze towards the teetering Lulu - though the arm raised, ostensibly to catch her should her teeter overtake her totter, does withdraw a breath later as he shifts his attention towards the squaking raven as well. "Mmn. You can't; that's the problem. It's why people _Still_ are arguing about what Stonehenge was there for. I mean, have you met many Scotsmen thesedays? We're the poster children and bannermen for the 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' kingdom." And he seems oddly proud of this, too."

Then, on to Gisa. "I think so; and that people make the best of what they have available. Even as chidren, we liked stacking one thing on top of another. Somewhere along the lines, someone ritualized that instinct - it stands to reason that if one group somewhere came up with the idea, another group somewhere else would have had similiar ideas. Given that everywhere has rocks." Pause. Beat. "And children."

And then, finally, a quick glance is shot back to Lulu before he shifts his focus to Logan. "Hmn. Yes, well; dead is still dead - but you are right, it happens to everyone. I guess that's why worrying about it isn't that big of a deal."

Lulu smiles at Gisa and shakes her head. "No. I won't. Don't worry. Gravity will not win today!" She sniffs a little and then her head tilts a bit. She considers the Golem and Golden one below before turning her gaze back towards Ridley. "I should be on my way." She reaches up over her head, patting about for a moment, and then gently helps to dislodge the Raven on her head. She smiles, "I should be on m way, hmm, perhaps if you look close you can see yourself in Logan though?" She offers before looking down and then frowning. "No. I don't want to climb down today. Don't worry. I won't fall." She promises the group fo them and once the Raven has lofted off her head she walks towards the edge of the gazebo and like she's caught on a breeze that doesn't exist the fluttery bits of her clothing warping with the wind she's off. Gliding off whimsically to do whatever it is Lulu's do at Midday. Without her boots.

Her head shakes slightly. "Thank you, Logan. But no, not at the moment. They are buried and fertilizing hedgefruit. A fine way to spend eternity." Gisa looks over the garden, and for a moment, there's a distant look on her face, but then she turns her attention back to the rest of them. "The right kind of death is its own kind of hope. These were not. I find only the silver lining that there will be no more." She raises her hand and wiggles her fingers at Lulu in farewell. It doesn't look like a natural gesture on her -- she's clearly mimicking a motion she saw from someone else. "She forgot -- I will take her boots, and give them to her," she sighs.

"Anyway. Yes, I have stacked rocks. Humans stack rocks, so Lost do as well. How are you both?" SUBTLE ELEMENTAL SUBJECT CHANGE.

Well, leave it to the golden Lost with the quickchanging light and shadow to take subtle subject changes in stride. Logan says no more on death, boots or anything else. Instead he puts his yellow boot up on a stump and rests his arm on it, looking instantly at ease, like he's been here like this all along. "I'm doing really well, thank you! I've been exploring the Freehold and the boundaries of the Hedge a little, just to get my bearings. And I've met some interesting people. There certainly are a lot of us here in this corner of Vermont, aren't there?" He is looking at Gisa with his bright, friendly, penetrating gaze as he says this, but he does smile at Ridley as well, not leaving him out of any potential conversation.

"I suppose so; but the question then becomes - what will they do at the end of it?" At the end of Eternity, perhaps; though Ridley's tone of voice remains somewhere between the casual conversational and abruptly serious. His attention flicks to the raven as it darts away from Lulu, however; then the solid blue eyes follow suit to Gisa and Logan - and, ultimately, Lulu's boots as well. "Ah. I'll bring them to her - I'd figure she has to come down sometime, and she might miss them." And with that the Levinquick... drops... stepping off the edge of the gazebo and landing on the ground below with all the easy grace of dismounting a stair; first heading for the boots then, providing he's not obstructed, taking off in Lulu's direction in a long-legged lope.