6 March, 2017
Soleil and Jonah talk business, do some taste-testing of goblin fruit candies, and come up with a slick new move to use in battle.
=====-< << Milk and Honey Farm - Produce Stand >> >-=====
The farm stand at the end of the road is brightly colored, with plenty of big, painted wooden signs along the fenceposts of the road building the anticipation for about a mile out as you approach. Fruits! Veggies! Nuts! HONEY! All are offered to lure locals and strangers alike to pull over into the wide, graveled parking area that leads to the stand. Up the long driveway, one can see the hustle and bustle of a working farm, with a collection of eclectic buildings and people.
The stand itself, more a large shack with a large covered porch, does indeed offer all that it promises. A variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries are offered outside in wooden crates and woven baskets, handwritten cards telling what variety is offered, where it came from (90 percent seems to be from the farm itself) and the price (all more than reasonable). A sign becons to the side of the shack where an observation bee hive has been set in the wall (please ask for assistance) .
The open air area leads to a large covered porch, with windows that can be opened in the summer to let in the breeze, or closed in the winter to keep the heat of the small woodstove inside from escaping. A mish-mash collection of comfy looking chairs are scattered around. A table is generously laden with samples of the produce and baked goods on offer, and free drinks, both hot and cold, with a small box with a sign that reads 'donations welcome'. It seems to be a favorite spot of locals, generally either quite old or quite young.
Further inside, the shop, where jars of honey, baked goods, and a selection of artisanal dairy products (prominently noting that they are all made from Dair-ya Creamery milk). Tucked away are a few bits and bobs by local artists, knitted coasters, handmade cheese knives, etc. Behind the counter someone is always available to answer questions, though there rarely seems to be any consistency, and the often hippy-looking attendant will easily go off on the wonders of world travel and work exchange programs. A small rack offers information on local attractions and offers guided hikes, classes on a variety of earthy, homey subjects, and a treatise on the dire fate of bees.
It's a rather quiet afternoon at the Milk and Honey farm stand. A couple of older folks are just leaving, with bags laden with fruit, veg, honey and snacks. Soleil is, for the moment at least, manning the stand, humming as she tidies things up and makes sure all the displays are just right.
It may just be above freezing, but it doesn't look as if the behorned Ogre cares alltogether. The simple enough hooded jacket he's wearing is unzipped with a white tank top underneath, baggy shorts likely that way by design due to his large size, and a pair of workboots probably custom-made for those concrete busters called feet. "Hello," he calls out Soleil. "Was looking around for you, but got lost a few times around here,' he admits while rubbing at the base of his horns with his left hand.
SOleil laughs and gives Jonah a friendly smile, "Hi Jonah. Good to see you again. If you were looking for me, you should have just asked around town. People know me pretty well, and they'll generally point you in the right direction." She steps over the blood-red bloodhound that is asleep just behind the counter, and moves toward the Old One. "So then, why was it you were looking for me? What can I do for you today?"
"Yeah, tried that. Got weird stares, and stupid remarks like, 'How's the weather up there?'" He shakes his head, a grunt coming from the back of his throat. "Folks how here weird me out anyway. Like they know something I don't." Jonah shakes his head then, and motions off to the side. "You got a place around here we can speak a bit more private like and such?"
Soleil smiles and nods, "Sure, if you need." She picks up a phone and speaks briefly into it, and shortly after a 20-something woman with a deep tan, pachouli smell and German accent arrives to take over. Soleil waves Jonah to follow her, "Come on then. Striker, you coming?" The dog looks up and gives a 'flumph' noise in response, before closing his eyes and rolling closer to the woodstove with a groan. Soleil laughs and shrugs, "Well, privacy it is then." And with that, she's flitting out of the produce stand and up the driveway, not bothering to look back to see if Jonah is following.
Through the farm yard and the full house they go, Soleil taking a moment to shoo everyone out of the kitchen before inviting JOnah to join her in crawling through the cupboard under one of the sinks, and into her garden hollow. With a look around, she waves Jonah toward a quiet garden bench with no hobs nearby, and settles down, turning to him expectantly, "There now, what can I do for you today, Jonah my friend?"
That cupboard is stared at long and hard. Jonah eventually lets out a pained sigh as he tries to fit through it, and bit by bit he comes out of the other side. He dusts of his shoulders and hips when he's able to fully stand, but he's clearly none the lesser from the look of things. "I was expecting something like a break room, but this is good enough. Yeah, I've heard about a few pies you have your fingers in, and it caught my interest. At first how you do it all, but that part is at least a little obvious." To that his gaze flits up to acknowledge his horns and then dart right back to Soleil. "I guess my first question is a simple one, how much more can you add to your plate?"
Soleil laughs and considers, "A break room? Well, I suppose that would have worked too, but people out around the farm don't take 'do not enter' signs very well. There's always someone coming in and out. The hobs are less nosey, since they're mostly just hanging out or visiting or whatever, and don't consider this place 'home' as much. Except the plants, of course, but they're a different story. " She signs and smiles at Jonah, "Oh, I've got lots of tricks for getting things done. Mostly just a lot of help though. But....I can probably help you out. What sort of things are you hoping to add to my plate?"
"I'm gonna wager that if I leaned on the door it wouldn't be opened, or-" His mind idly drifts off before he shakes his head. "Anyway, the reason I was looking for you is pretty simple if not forward. I'm the acting Captain of the Harvestmen, but it's a lot to handle. A lot a lot. Setting up routes, work with and against the various things in the hedge, and making sure people have and know what they need to. Then the scheduling. Dear God, the scheduling. I need help. Not a lot, but I clear as day need it." He lets out a sigh then, "Happy just to get even that off my chest, and like I said it's simple. I need help, and I want your help as an adjutant. I guess you could go with secretary, but it doesn't change most of your usual duties with the Harvestmen. We're still the defenders of Fate's Harvest."
Soleil listens, giving Jonah a sympathetic look as he discusses the trials of running the Harvestmen ship, "Oh, yeah, I bet that is difficult." She considers, then nods and gives a little smile and a shrug, "Yeah, if you need a hand with schedules and stuff, I'm happy to pitch in, that's no trouble at all. I mean, I've got Harvestmen business in the schedule anyway, so it's not like it's an added burden. And of course, I won't shirk on the fighting stuff and all that."
"It'll likely be a bit of extra work if I had to tell the truth. Things like finding all the lieutenants and giving them the info they need, especially if I can't. Then there's giving out relevant info to the other groups and workers of the Freehold. Then there might be seperating the crap I might have to see since I'm also on the council since I'm the captain." Jonah lets out a slow rumbling chuckle, and finally moves to sit down. Although its slow, steady, and with a look at the bench as he comes down. "If you wanna turn it down now, and before you lose your mind you're free to do so," he says while gingerly trying his hardest not to put all his weight down on the bench.
Soleil nods and gives a little smile, "Oh, well that's easy enough. I mean, I'm part of the Greenies and Custodians and Waykeepers anyway, so it's no trouble to share information with them." She laughs at the warning and shakes her head, I think it sounds easier than you think. You're just overwhelmed right now, which is understandable. I'm happy to help in whatever way I can to help keep the freehold safe, and if that means making sure that the Captain has the headspace to get shit done and focus on the important stuff, I'm happy to oblige."
Soleil's smile is met by a brief, fanged one from Jonah as he occasionally steals a glance a the bench every few seconds. "You say that now, but I won't hold it against you if you don't make it through the season. I have a more personal request of you too, and one I can understand turning down." He clears his throat then. "When I have to go out and throw myself into trouble it isn't the worst thing in the world, but I usually like to get in a big meal after. Helps work out all the kinks and cuts. Only problem is most places in town are too greasy and the rest don't like me comin' around. I think I told you about the four all-you-can-eats I've been banned from, right?"
Soleil laughs and nods, "Oh sure. Just give me a text in warning if you can, and I'll kick everyone out of the kitchen and make sure there's enough to heal you up." A pause and she adds, standing and moving to another part of the garden, "In fact, I can give you some healing fruit, if you need?"
He lifts his hands up, shaking his head. "Thanks, but I don't have much of a place to store stuff like that." Jonah drops his hands into his lap afterward, and flashes a fleeting smile. "My only home's in the waking world, and I haven't had a Hollow in two years. Closest I have to one, even then, is the one we've all been using for the Freehold for the last couple of years. If I could do that chipmunk thing I'd probably just do that, and store 'em all in my cheeks."
The image of Jonah chipmunking fruit gets a delighted laugh from Soleil as she imagines it. "Oh well, if you ever need any, feel free to let me know. I'm happy to give healing fruit to whoever needs them. They're simple to grow, and usually I just cook 'em up for jam anyway." She shrugs and grins, "But anyway...Tell me something...I've been curious, how did a prophet, such as yourself end up running the warriors? I'd have guessed you'd have been more prone to heading the Watchers?" She plucks a fruit off of a seemingly random bush and starts nibbling on it, adding as an afterthought, "If you don't mind me asking."
"When things started up no one wanted to throw me out, and that was a good sign. Last, I don't know, two decades for me has gotten me more attention than I'd like." Oddly despite the length of time mentioned, he doesn't look that much older than mid thirties. "Like you've already gathered, the seeing things isn't as perfect as it should be and I'm one of the weird ones. Now imagine a group of that. Every vision just a piece of a puzzle. The puzzle never stops growing, changing, and becoming. Something. Everything. Nothing. All at once, and never again. Reminds me too much, and I'm gonna give that a real hard pass."
Then he opens his arms, presenting the figure of his upper body. "I can throw my weight around, that's kinda obvious. So I did the same for the folks around here, and it got attention. The good kind, at least. So when I get the call up I do as I'm told - mostly. I keep doing it, and do whatever I can. I watch out for the privates under me, and I'll even take a few shots for 'em." Beat. "I got the scars to prove it. It's just that when you get up to second, you don't think about what that might mean until you get another call up, and the votes put you up." A shrug follows that.
"So here were are. Not the biggest fan of the politics, but whatever it takes for Fate's Harvest, I'll do it. Along with leading the Harvestmen until I croak. Just hope it isn't anytime soon, at least."
SOleil grins and nods, "Ah, well, that's good then. You seem to be doing a good job so far. I'm glad for your doing it. I was just curious." She grins and adds, "You seem unlikely to kick the bucket any time soon. Which is lucky for all of us, I'm sure." She settles back and considers, then says, "It seems like we're getting some new people in town, so hopefully we'll be able to get some more Harvestmen. That way, there's less risk to everyone...Spread it around, or whatever."
"I don't need sight to know that it never really works out that way. Least not lucky enough for it, anyway. Like draws to like, and stuff like that. We get big enough, somebody somewhere's gonna wanna challenge that. Call our bluff, or make us prove we're as strong as we appear." He then leans back, legs outstretched. "And I'll probably get some kinda idea when I'm gonna die, so who knows. My only prayer is that it's not as some formless thing without the slightest pretense of wisdom. What about you, sprite? Why'd you join the Harvestmen?"
Soleil laughs at the question, "Oh, well, I'm just a joiner by habit, I suppose. I figured I was out in the hedge so much anyway, I might as well be useful about it. So I wander the trods with a bit more purpose than dinner or curiosity these days, and I suppose that's a good thing. I suppose, in a way, I'm just trying to put out as many roots as I can, so I don't just wander off forever." She shrugs and gives a wistful little smile, "Besides, being in the Harvestmen means I have someone to help me learn to whack things better." She makes a hitting motion with her hand, even with only an 'air weapon' it's clear she's not got the form of someone highly skilled in combat.
"I figured with the wings you'd be more about hitting things away from you, same for getting hit in the face." He shrugs, a chuckle escaping him. "How's about this since I hate charity? I can train you more on using those fists if you're serious, and you can hook me up with food from time to time. Everything I heard about your cooking's had me wondering, and what's the worst that can happen? I've only ever knocked out a sparring partner once, anyway."
Soleil beams at Jonah, laughing a little, "Ah well, that sounds like a fine plan, if you like. And I'd certainly be happy to learn a bit more skill with fighting. Mostly I go for the tackle and hang on method of fist-fighting. Though I am /pretty/ mean with a hoe, if I do say so myself." This is said in a joking tone, with a wink added for good measure. The talk of her food gets a mischevious grin, "Oh yeah, what have you been hearing? Don't you listen to folks. No one has /ever/ found a toe in my food, no matter what they say...At least not a human one." She adds a firm nod to emphasis the seriousness of this statement.
Jonah was all smiles until he heard about the toe. His mouth set into a line as he looks at the woman to his side, gaze narrowing. "You're joking, right? About the toe? Only thing I heard was too many vegetable and healthy stuff. Which, hey, I'm fine with. Means I don't have as much to work off. Body parts, not so much and never."
Soleil's brow furrows, giving the impression that the notion that people are spreading the word that she's limiting foods to /healthy/ things is much worse than rumors about body parts in her food. "What? Who said that? I mean, sure, there's plenty of veg and stuff in what I cook, I /do/ run a farm after all, but...I mean...I run a youtube channel where my most viewed playlist is me taste-testing and showing people how to make the most obscene of county fair foods. Who on /earth/ would think I'm sticking to healthy?" Harumph. As if to prove her point, she starts digging in a pocket, and comes up with a little cardboard box, opening it and offering it to Jonah, "Here, try a candy. That one, probably, with the white chocolate rippes. You'll like it." She points at the one suggested.
The rection elicits a laugh that's stopped cold when she's searching around. The box presented to him is given a bit of undue scrutiny. He leans forward a bit, and even sniffs at it while staring at it. His gaze moves back to her, brow quirked. "Couldn't I just eat all of them?" the greedy bastard asked.
Soleil shrugs and offers a sickly sweet smile, "Well, you /can/ but...I'd suggest a bit of moderation. Some of them are a /little/ bit experimental. I'm still working out the kinks on the dactyl flavor. But I'd love for you to try them and share your thoughts."
Jonah grunts in displeasure at her response, clearly not a man used to moderation. "What's the worst that could happen? I can't see? Half of my body goes numb? Pfft, I've suffered worse, and worse is still to come." To that end he grabs the box, and upends it drop as many as he can in his mouth. At the least, Soleil gets to his cheeks puffed out if that's what it takes. Then he starts crunching down with those chompers, waiting for whatever effects may come.
Annnd...At first? Nothing really happens. All together, it's a weird, probably gross combination of flavors- chocolate, fruits, florals, some hard to define fishy taste, the searing burn of wasabi. But after a few moments, Jonah starts to feel pretty darn good. Like, 'five shots of tequilia and a good song on the jukebox' good, and a bit hyper. Maybe even a little hallucination going on.
Soleil winces slightly, but watches with a morbid kind of fascination, "Yeah...so, probably you aren't the best choice as taste-tester, it seems. Do you want to lay down? Maybe we should get out of the garden and get you some coffee and a proper meal, or close to a toilet, in case you start puking. That was, like...so many goblin fruit candies." A beat and she adds, with a slightly academic curiousity, "How did they taste though? Did you notice any good combos? I've been thinking of going like a 'half and half' thing, but I'm not set on it yet. And it /will/ be interesting to see how all those fruits interact with one another. But you probably shouldn't planon driving or anything any time soon."
At first, he looks fine. The defining word being looks. No dilation of pupils to see, but the ever growing smile is answer enough. "What're you talkin' about, Sprite? I'm the best test-taster in the fuckin' city, and they taste fuckin' great!" He throws his arms into the air to emphasis that point, and hops right up outta his seat. In a second he turns to look back at Soleil with a dumb grin on his face. "They're just- jus' amazin', just like you! Tastes jus' like that time I got hit by that truck, but it's all on my tongue." He hooks his fingers in the side of his mouth, and bares all those white razors called teeth. "See! Id jud lid di thaid! ANATHIN!"
Soleil covers her mouth with both hands in an effort to stiffle the laughter this display causes. Must. Be. Serious! "Oh dear. Oh...My goodness. Right. Well, at least you're a happy drunk, I suppose. I'm glad you liked them. And you must be right, best taste tester around. I'll get you the comment sheet before we part ways today." She gently tries to start maneuvering Jonah toward one of the exits of the hollow, some of the hobs in residence giving the toothy giant wary looks and 'do you need help' body language to Soleil, though she waves off any hobbish assistance for the time being.
Jonah reaches for her wrist, although not with enough force to pull her away from her task should she protest. "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I wanna see somethin'. Can you- can you fly?" He asks, leaning slightly to the side as he makes slight jabs at the air with a finger pointed to her wings. "Like a bird? Or like, like a plane? Can you do the Superman thing too?" His question comes with him grabbing at the neck of his tank top, and ripping it down the middle as he tries to get the point accross. "Up! Up!"
Soleil allows Jonah to manhandle her, as long as he isn't hurting, and laughs a little, fluttering her wings for his benefit. "Fly? No, I wish I could, but...I can only fall really gracefully, I'm afraid." She seems just a touch sad about this, but hides it well with a smile as she gently continues trying to guide Jonah toward a place safer than even this well-guarded hollow. "Be careful, boss. You're going to need a new outfit before we get you settled, and I'm afraid my stock of clothes in your size is...rather limited."
"No," he shouts with several terse, violent shakes of his head that have his horns swinging this way and that with it. "No. No boss or captain or none of that stuff unless it's like on the job, or I'm all official like." He then looks down to what remains of his shirt, and simply shrugs. "Better 'an when I got stabbed. I even gots the scar to prove it." He then points to his left side as he lifts his arm in the air to literally prove it, and lays jabs his thumb at a slightly crooked, lightning bolt of a scar. When his arm comes back down he stares at her, gaze narrowing. "I got it. I got it." His attention momentarilly shifts to the hobs, and then back to Soleil. "What if- what if we go somewhere with some room. I can-" He then leans foward, whispering, "I can throw you really really high, and then you can fly."
Soleil looks slightly alarmed at the shouting, backing up a step and watching Jonah warily before giving a little nod and a sympathetic smile, "Of course. Jonah. No need to stand on ceremony anyway. We're just friends hanging out after all." She eyes the scars with some genuine interest, wondering, "Was that a bar fight or a fight fight," in a half-joking tone. The offer of being thrown for fun and flying startles Soleil, but after a moments thought she shrugs and says, "Sure, why not. There's plenty of room in the maze," she motions toward the garden maze at the center of the hollow, heading that way and leading Jonah along, if he allows it.
Jonah follows behind her, but it takes a bit of doing. "No bars! Wish he had a bar. Broken bones are always better 'an bleedin'. Bleedin's this big mess." He grunts, mood sobering at least for a moment. "Gotta clean it up! Orion hated mess. Said it means they can find us! Dick. Dick, I say!" He grunts again, attention going to and fro as he stumbles along behind Soleil. "But no bars. Was a sword. Hate swords too. Pieces. Of. Shit. Stabbed me with the piece o' shit, and then pulled it up. Like I'm some kinda meat switch! Dick!"
Soleil gives Jonah a slightly concerned look, but says hopefully, "At least you got some good stories out of it?" She considers, looking up, then around, and finally says, "Here should be good." It's an open-ish area, a 'room' in the maze with only a little reflecting pool and a dead end. "So, right...Flying? Do you really think you can throw me that high?" She's clearly trying to get JOnah back onto a cheerful, happy, 'lets throw people for fun' kind of mood.
"Hmm?" he asks when looking back to Soleil fully. "Yeah? Oh! Yeah! Oh hell yeah!" Fingers interlaced as he stretches them forward, head tilted left and right next. "I've done this a few times before, but it's usually throwing a guy at another guy. By the way, best move. Scares 'em shitless. They'll be without shit when you're done, and you even take out two guys at once! Yahtzee!" He then gives two thumbs, smiling like a jackass all the while. "Just get in a position that works for ya! And get ready!"
Soleil nods and laughs, "Oh, I wish I was big enough to throw people at other people. That must be fun." She gets into a 'cheerleader doing flips' sort of position, ready to be launched by Jonah. "Maybe you can help me learn how to do that with, you know, /small/ people." A beat and she adds helpfully, "I'll want to go straight up, not toward anything else." Just in case.
"Never!" he shouts in return. "Never do that to you! Like you too much!" And with that said he moves down to place one hand on her backside while the other holds her thigh. He squints to get a better view of the sky above. "Up," he whispers. Again he utters, "Up..." And after just a second she's already in the air, but Jonah's still right below her. In the next breath she feels him push off at the apex of his jump, and sends her flying to the sky above.
Soleil laughs at Jonah's assertion that he'd 'never do that to her', but then she's moving upward, and so is he, and she gasps, wobbling a bit as she startles and then stabilizes herself. And finally, "WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! YIPPEEEEE!!!" She's screaming in excitement at the top of her lungs as she kind of does the...opposite of a skydive, heading up into the air. As the pull of gravity shifts, and she starts to come back down again, she reorients, and a little flare of glamour can be seen sparling like fairy dust from her wings as they start to flutter, giving her a bit of control over the fall, so she glides along, back and forth, like a leaf on the wind, even managing a little loop-de-loop with a bright laugh of delight before eventually flitting to a landing at the edge of the reflecting pool, almost over-shooting and falling in, but catching herself just in time. Clapping her hands she gives another little laugh of delight, saying breathlessly, "That was /so/ fun. We should make that, like, our signature move out in the field. Or, anywhere really. I'll take any excuse to do that.../So/ fun."
Jonah, for his part was careening back down like a giant, grey meteor, but the fall may as well have been a painless bump into a door. He's already standing back up when Soleil finds her way back to the earth as he dusts himself off. He leans forward, peering at her for a few seconds too long. "Yer yankin' my chain, or nah? You let me throw you at 'em, and I'll marry ya. Even beat up whoever. Just point me at 'em, and," his voice was raising as he stands back to his full height, and then he slams his fist into his hand. "Even do more test-tazin' too."
Soleil laughs and rolls her eyes a little bit. "I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not the marrying type. I /will/ totally let you throw me at people though. It'd be a handy trick to have in our pocket, don't you think? I mean, I could stick firecrackers and stuff in my pockets and just drop them on peoples heads or something. They wouldn't know what hit 'em." Now that she's got Jonah somewhat calmed down, she once again, gently and subtly, starts trying to guide him toward one of the easier to exit doorways in her garden, rather than back through the kitchen sink. "And I'll remember that you offered to be a taste taster, though we might work on the tasting system a bit. Just to make things a bit easier, you know?"
"Easy's for babies, sprite. If I wanted easy I'd be normal. No!" he shouts, fist bumping his chest as he walks behind Soleil as best he can without getting too distracted. "I am god!" Or a general nutjob. "Weebgweegen won't stop for nothin'! Nothin'!" Another proud thump at his chest, "And direcracks are fangerous! How you gonna make me pie when you got no fingers!?"
"We've already established that when the worms eat my fingers, I'll just trade some goblin for new ones. I imagine that losing them to firecracker damage would be just as easy to replace." Soleil responds in an oh-so-reasonable tone. The god comment gets a somewhat belated bit of consideration as she wonders, with a surprsing lack of disbelief, "What are you the god of?"
Jonah leans forward, visage somber. His eyes are nothing but white empitiness, but for a fleeting second the twinkling of his mantle can be seen there. "Lotta thing. Big things. Bigger things!" he roars with his arms spread wide. A finger's laid upon his temple then. "We're crazy. We're all crazy. Some of us just got it locked away is all. Hidden. Key in the ocean. No more. Kaput. But whatcha gonna do when you find the key? Whatcha do when what you find opens your eyes to more, gives ya more? It's a whole, strange, an' wide world. You just gotta open the door? And if ya can't do that, well, kick it down. Smash it. Break it. Because alla the shit ya can learn is worth it all. Just gotta be willin' to let it all go, and let it wash over ya."
Soleil bites her lip and considers that, nodding a bit and glancing toward the gate that leads ot to the trod. "Right. That makes sense. That must be..lots of fun and super interesting, kicking down the doors and all that." She waves one of the hobs over, whispering something in the little fellow's ear before starting to back away, "Listen, I have some traps to check before supper. Why don't you let Glim here get you a snack and a nice place to rest for a bit, and I'll be back later." She doesn't really wait for a response, just heads toward the gate, grabbing a machete and a rather heavy looking backpack from a shed on the way, and slipping out to the trod with a little wave.