Log:Trouble at the Wayhouse

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Trouble at the Wayhouse

Come to the Wayhouse: We have Cake


Annapurna as ST. Damion, Haruki, Ariana, Logan, Louisa, Uschi, Maggie

16 June, 2018

It is a perfectly ordinary night at the Wayhouse... until an unexpected guest arrives.



Damion is stopping in at the Wayhouse.... because. Seeing who's staying there at the moment, meeting other Lost, catching up with those he already knows. He brought a certain pocket-sized mortalish magician with him, who's no doubt right behind him as he steps into the main room and checks to see where everybody is. He's wearing a gray button up and slightly darker gray slacks, sneakers on his feet. He's not armed or armored beyond maybe a pocket knife, since it's just the mortal world.

What the hell is that dead-armed Ogress of Moon doing here? Didn't she leave a dead hare in the fridge, last time?! Yes. Uschi did do that - almost two seasons ago - and now she is here again; barefoot in the hallway, wearing an oversized rucksack and currently in the process of investigating a lightswitch. With a knife. It is possible that nobody has taught her that sticking metal objects near electrical fixtures is a bad thing -- that, or she's loosening the screws so she can strip copper from the walls.

Wait. Is Uschi tightening a screw? Is she trying to help? She's not saying anything. She's just lurking in the hallway. Again: who let her in, and why isn't she hiding in the woods?

Haruki's sticking by Damion's side. He's babbling a bit, nervous. He's not usually comfortable at the wayhouse. "So are Widget and the kitty okay?" he asks. "Have you seen them recently?" He eyes Uschi, but she's scary so he quickly looks back to Damion and sidles a bit nearer.

Logan is in the kitchen, setting up a bunch of healthy treats he brought in, because no one will ever see him cooking in here. There's everything from carrot sticks to hummus to kale chips to some gluten-free cookies, and he's arranging them all on the tables in here with a whistle on his lips. He's wearing a white jacket with a sort of vintage warmup style going on, red, yellow and white trim at the neck and sleeves and a few pilot-style patches sewn onto it, over a lemon yellow t-shirt and jeans with the cuffs rolled, white low-top Converse on his feet. Occasionally another Lost will swing by and try to steal some of the food or try and talk to him, and he's generally quite amiable, all smiles and dimples. He will indeed grin if he sees anybody he knows, but he is also working. And he's probably there to help out the Waykeeper recruits as well, should they want to be helped.

         Ariana has found a nice seat, about a halfway up the staircase, that lets her look out over the living room (and see the TV), without being too close to everyone else. Her personal bubble has currently expended to include a rather large bit, and she'd prefer if there weren't strange people all up in her business or within ten to fifteen feet of her. Her heels bounce up and down on the step that they are resting on, though if it's a nervous tick, a habit, or just a twitch might be anyone's guess. She tilts her head slightly while watching Uschi, but given that she just got here, she's pretty much just quiet and observing, green eyes watching the going-ons.

Damion slips an arm around Haruki in a comforting sort of way as the boy draws closer to him. He knows how nervous the fractionally older Nakamura can be around Lost. "Wij is fine. So is the kitten. I think they're a lot alike. They can both be kind of brats." His lips twitch a little. "I didn't realize how... broad that diet of the kitten was when I got it for you. Sorry it didn't work out, hon." He spots Uschi doing whatever she's doing, and raises the other hand towards her. "Hey Uschi. Good to see you again." He eyes her fiddling with the light. "Might want ot be careful there. Don't want a shock." His hand is raised towards Logan too when he spots him. Ariana... he doesn't know, and he studies her curiously before nodding her way. "Hello. Don't think we've met."

The lightswitch in the hallway is flicked on and off, on and off, on and off, on and off, on an-- DAMNIT, Uschi. The Ogress grunts to herself, but besides the light show she isn't moving much. Just exerting her power.

Louisa keeps to the living room, a calm and quiet presence keeping an eye on those who come and go with no mind to stopping anyone from going about their own business. Though she's got a notebook on her denim-clad lap with the spine bent back and a pen near at hand, she doesn't seem to be doing much writing with most of her attention upon the others, keeping her watch.

Maggie and Maxwell have been doing chores upstairs. Because hey, someones got to make sure houses are clean. Plus it means Maggie has gotten out of the Sanctuary and down away from all the injured animals that are healing. The Native American woman gives a nod to everyone as she goes to set a bag of trash in one of the cans out back. Maxwell gives everyone a wave as he leans against a doorway, "Good evening all." he states.

Haruki smiles at that. "They're both good friends. A better fit. I'm sorry I couldn't look after him but I think Widg needs him more, and he needs her, and it's a much better fit. And he still got saved either way. It was a good thing you did." He sticks with Damion, and glances again at Uschi. "What're you doing?" Only then, there's Maggie and he's distracted and blurts out. "You're Maggie? You look after the animals?"

Uschi ceases the light show - the hallway switch is kept in the 'off' position - and she turns belatedly to look towards Damion. Iridescent eyes flicker, reminiscent of some nocturnal creature, and for a moment she does ... nothing. Then the knife she'd been poking the lightswitch with is slid back into her waistband, and the Ogress grunts.

"Moongate ain't much use to nobody, who don't wanna get fucked." Oh. What a greeting. Uschi continues, her voice a dry croak, with absolutely zero understanding of what 'inside voice' is, or what 'holding a conversation' might be. "Lightsippers got too big for their boots, on an account of all of them Goblin Miners what crossed over, going and getting their guts turned to jelly by something. Burned out the eyes of them who looked at it. Some cube, behind the wall. It's calling out inna dark, ringin' like a bell - through the Gate. Won't let it close. Something heard its call. Watching in Mischance."

And what a lovely greeting that is.

Logan finishes setting up the food, offering a smile to Maggie and Louisa, and anyone else he may have missed -- but it's actually Uschi he's heading over to. "What was that about the lightsippers, Uschi?" He's casual in his questioning as always, like it's really no big deal. "Did you see them with your own eyes, then?" His gaze briefly moves past her to Haruki and his smile turns up at the edges some, but it's Uschi who has his attention.

Maggie comes back in from sitting the trash out and there's a quirk of her eyebrow when she realizes someone said her name, "Yes, I'm Maggie." she tells Haruki. "I'm the one that owns the Animal Sanctuary." she nods to that.

Damion smiles down at Haruki. "Thanks. And.....I'll make it up to you somewhow." He bends down and kisses him atop the head, then looks over at Uschi. He blinks a few times at her words, head tilting as he tries to decipher them. "....okay?" Then he says to Maggie, "Nice to meet you. I'm Damion." He offers a hand to the woman."

Haruki listens to Uschi explain things. "Sunglasses. Can you overload them on light? Or surround them with that impenetrable darkness and starve them? Ghost through the wall? Surround the area in silence so nothing can get out?" His words tumble out, and thne he spots Logan and offers an uncertain, hesitant, even nervous smile. And wait was he speaking to Maggie about stuff. Whatever he was going to say he seems to have forgotten but he does smile at her. "Nice to meet you, I'm Haruki." He shakes his head at Damion. "You don't have to. There's nothing to make up. Unless you want to buy me a bunch of new clothes and underwear. The cat kind of wrecked a lot of mine."

Maggie gives Damion's hand a shake, "Nice to meet you, Damion. I work with the Waykeepers. I'm an Eternal Recruit. Maxwell over there is my Eternal Mentor." she tells him. Then there's a smile to Haruki, "Nice to meet you as well, Haruki." she tells him with a nod. "I'm going to get back to work on things." she tells them with a smile.

Uschi gives Logan an upnod as the Fairest shines some light in her direction - it may get absorbed into that gloomy Moon Mantle, but in the spot where shadow don't swaddle her like a terrible baby, it glints off bits of bone on her patched up crust punk vest and a crooked cuspid as she considers, mouth agape.

"Yeh. Saw 'em with my eyes -- s'was one, two, many..." One too many, or can she, not, uhm, count? Uschi sniffs in, and moves to scratch at her dead arm - a flake of papery skin peeling off, floating in the air as she continues. "They ain't had nothing but tools to strip copper. Reckon they busted upon some den down there, what held the thing what was calling. Rang like a bell. Black, like a bit of onyx, or one of them thing when they dead..." A horn is used to jerk towards the television in the other room. Nothing said to Damion, but there's a low 'chuka-chuka' to Haruki as he speaks. "...Some things still live on silence an' nothin'..."

Then Uschi just stops, tilts her head and... Says nothing else? The Ogress merely tilts her body a fraction towards the side, spreads her weight evenly between both of her bare feet, and remains ... still.

While others make their introductions and discuss the generally unpleasant situation around the mine, Louisa moves from her comfortable perch. The notebook is closed, set aside with its accompanying pen on a nearby table, as the minotaur makes her way toward the mudroom to see what's caught her eye. Her voice, even soft-spoken as it is, commands attention, that warm southern accent of hers hard to ignore. All she says, though is, "Hello? May I help you?"

         An evening of locals, freeholders and not, means it is all the more obvious that the visitor is .. well, not.

         Not local, and not, it seems, familiar with the construction of a doorknob, though the pieces of it are manipulated in the creature's many-fingered hands with dextrous competence.

         There are at least twelve. Fingers, that is, on each hand. Only six hands.

         When Louisa appears, two of the arms disappear, fading into the shadows which seem to comprise much of the visitor's being. Vaguely humanoid, yes -- in the way that the shadow of a wolf upon its hind paws is vaguely human; in the way that a gnarled tree might resemble a form it never had and never will be.

         Its outline fluctuates, subtance, presence and absence a fluid and mutable thing, and when it answers Louisa, the shadows take notice, stretching inky tendrils toward the mudroom over floor and wall. The shadows do more than take notice -- they speak for it.

         << I claim the hospitality of the house. What is the purpose of this piece? >> It holds up the strike plate, screws dangling, for Louisa to see, a few fingers disappearing to make it easier for her -- and the others, incidentally -- to do so.

"You don't need to if you don't want to," Haruki says to Damion. "It's hard to get nice clothes in my size that don't leave me looking like a child, or too femme. I usually have to get everything tailored. And the cat destroyed everything, apart from the stuff I have in storage, and that I keep for my act. And I hate borrowing Itsy's clothes. He always wears them too big." Creepy many fingered monsters don't really seem to rate with him. He just ignores it, or doesn't notice it.

"Well, you can't join the Waykeepers fully unless you can learn a Goblin Contract. It's why I'm an Eternal Recruit." Maggie muses with a smile. "But it's alright. I still help out. Maxwell has been helping me since I joined last September." she states. Then there's a look to their new visitor and then the strike plate. Wait...what?

Louisa takes half a step back and to the side to make room for the strange guest once hospitality is claimed, a subtle gesture of invitation, of offering. Her smile does not falter for the creature's peculiarity, a warm and steady thing... which, admittedly, grows slightly perplexed as he holds up the strike plate from the door. Which she looks to with a chuckle. "It's meant to frame the catch for the little bit of the door's locking mechanism what sticks out, as I understand it, but that's not really my forte." She dips her head in apology. "My name's Lou, this here's Logan and Maggie and Maxwell," she gestures toward her fellow Waykeepers, not meaning to miss the other folks so much as to mark important points fo contact. "Might we know how to address you?"

Logan apparently doesn't care to quibble with Haruki and Damion right now about who gets the honor of replacing the former's wardrobe, as he is moving closer to the new visitor to the Wayhouse, the light around him gleaming out as he goes, illuminating his path. He doesn't offer the question about the doorknob, since the creature asked Louisa -- but he does ask, "Hello there. Welcome to the Wayhouse." And then, "Are you lost, sir?" He smiles and nods at Louisa, though there's something a little tight about his expression.

Uschi, weren't people talking to her? If she is at all insulted by being left by her lonesome lurking in the hallway, there is no evidence of insult; zilch, zero, zip. Out there in the dim hall, all that happens is she... Remains still, ignoring everyone in turn, except for the Stranger Looking for Hospitality, while holding up that bit of a door.

See? Uschi isn't the only person who's puzzled by fixtures. She does... Nothing. Just lurks in the hall, observing. Don't mind her. Just some Moon. If she's listening to the Waykeepers address the newcomer, she's making no attempt to pipe up or join in.

This is getting a little strange. IS this a Lost? he's never heard of one that actually grew extra limbs before, let alone four extra limbs. And definetly never heard of one that could phase parts of its body in and out of reality at will. And parts of other things as well, apparently. He's finding himself wishing he HAD brought some sort of weapon with him. Just in case.

         You know that feeling you get sometimes, around those really high Wyrd folks? That little niggling voice in your hindbrain which warns you to fight or flee?

         Yeah. The shadowed stranger makes even the Wyrdest of the fae in the local area seem like teenagers wearing their parents' clothes, and seems so Fae-rie fascinated by its discovery.

         Still holding the various pieces of the door knob and lock mechanism from the outer door of the building, the creature moves toward the inner mudroom door to step into the living room, height not a problem: it flickers and deforms with shadow's ease, the concept of ducking to avoid hitting its head evidently one with which it is unfamiliar.

         << You may, >> it answers Louisa, after a long moment of studying the latch plate. The others in the room -- blessing or curse -- are beyond contemplation for a good thirty seconds of stillness, before the shadows speak again. << I am found. Are you lost? >> The creature itself still doesn't move, and with no obvious facial features, it offers little by way of physical cues.

Some people are experts at ignoring the way the hairs prickle at the back of the neck, the flutter of panic deep in the gut. Louisa, by both profession and nature, is one of them. No matter the Other's exceptional oddity, she has nothing but genial warmth to offer the faceless stranger. Well, that and a good-humored, rueful smile when her question is answered in a manner both literally appropriate and entirely unhelpful. "We have all found a place here," she answers carefully, mindful not to imply that anyone present might need help finding their way. Lest any worrying offers be extended. "What would you like us to call you?" There's a flicker of attention back at the others, at the living room, a thought to inviting the creature further in... which she does not act upon at the moment.

Logan is standing right there with Louisa, smiling at their "guest." He, too, does not seem particularly put off by the Wyrdness of the creature, at least on the surface. "You must be curious," he suggests. "Have you been to a Wayhouse before? This is a place where /anyone/ is welcome." Yes, he does stress the /anyone/. "But as you already know, we all abide by Hospitality here. That way, everyone can be made to feel comfortable."

The longer it's here, the more certain Damion is that he really doesn't want it here. He guides Haruki with him, backing up away from what he's now fairly certain is either a True Fae or close to it. He bends down and murmurs to the magician boy, "Don't talk to it. It's... probably not safe." He's not leaving despite all that. After all, it's possible it might turn violent or something. And if so, they'll need all the help they can get dealing with it.

Haruki does his best to stay hidden, be unseen, not make eye contact or anything with this creature that makes him feel so uncomfortable. He nods at Damion. He's not going to risk leaving the sanctuary of the wayhouse as of yet. But he is trembling, scared.

Out there in yonder hallway, lurking in the shadow of the door that leads to where the action is, Uschi is trying to remain as still as any other fixture. Sadly, unlike a light switch or a skirting board, the dead-armed Moon Ogress is somewhat conspicuous piece of furnishings. Too unsettling to be a wallflower, Uschi is more like a taxidermy bog witch: not the best conversational starter. There is a lot of staring, but there is no act of violence or gross violation of Hospitality. How civilised.

         The shadows of the room, and of those in it, creep slowly over the floor toward the uninvited guest, a gradual usurpation of 'natural' laws.

         Moving as the creature does, its substance shifting in a vague facsimile of stepping to one side of the doorway, a fifth hand extends to feel the hinges as the room answers, << Call me Seeker. >> There is a slight delay, the all-around whisper's tone that of someone multitasking, and doing it poorly. << Child of sun and shadow: would you like to know what I must be? >> Its extra hands fade, only three arms remaining, to keep hold of the pieces of the mechanism. A slight formality, if it can be called such, enters its posture, the weight of its regard deepening in Logan's vicinity. It waits, though the shadows on the side of the room nearest the television whisper, << Yes, >> and << Often, >> and << Soon. >>

         It waits, and weights, focused on Logan's answer-to-be.

"I would like to know, yes," Logan answers with a smile. One of his 'gifts,' such as it is, is making everything seem normal. Pleasant and ordinary, like it's any other day at the Wayhouse: that's Logan's modus operandi. "Can you tell me, Seeker?" His eyes are bright, fixated on the guest, but peripheral vision seems aware of the others in the room.

Maggie gives a look to the...strange one. And walks a little closer, Maxwell does to. She's wearing her jean jacket with the inner pockets. So lord knows what's going on in it. She's making notes and handing them to her mentor, but she's most assuredly not talking to the thing.

"Seeker," Louisa echoes in that warm way of hers. She eyes the bits of door-fixture still held within those too-many fingers, weighing whether or not it might be appropriate to offer to relieve him of that burden, but that thought is abandoned as the Other's posture--and attention--shifts. With a cant of her horned head toward the voices near the television, she takes another step back to make more room for movement... and to get a better view of how the others are holding up. While the creature's attention is on Logan, the minotaur looks to each of the others present in turn, gauging their emotional states.

Haruki doesn't want to be here. He really, really does not want to be here. He's all trembling and maybe he should make a run for it. Only it has sixty arms and he just has two legs and there's more arms than people here and... at least it hasn't seen him yet.

Haruki doesn't want to be here. He really, really does not want to be here. He's all trembling and maybe he should make a run for it. Only it has sixty arms and he just has two legs and there's more arms than people here and... at least it hasn't seen him yet.

         The shadows nearest Maggie slide away as she approaches, a here-there flicker like the dance of a figure lit by candleflame.

         The shadows near Haruki and Damion whisper in an unknown tongue which feels uncannily familiar, the thoughts of a mad mind made manifest, while those surrounding Logan speak more formally, if no less reasonably than before. << In return for knowing what I must be, you will grant me a favour of my choosing or be cursed in your betrayal. >>

         The sense of weighted waiting resumes, this time heavier than before: the Wyrd witnesses the pledge-to-be.

         No, no. No combat. Only things both parties agree to. <3

"Before we do anything like that," Logan says with a smile, "Let's define what you mean by 'what you must be.' The words are a little vague for my liking. Poetic, maybe, but I prefer to be more straightforward." He folds his arms and shifts his weight. "Can you tell me, Seeker? What is the nature of the thing that I would be granting you a favor to find out, exactly?"

Uschi has become one with the hallway - okay, not literally; but the Ogress is neither speaking nor moving, only watching. If anyone were to look her way and be in a particular kind of mood, they might find the sight amusing. One can be the stealthiest thing in the world, but a six foot something half-feral Ogress lurking in the shadows of a well maintained domestic space can very easily be two things: unsettling, or absurd -- and without the element of surprise... Well, Uschi's just not in her element at all.

Louisa smiles all warm and reassuring for Damion and Haruki, confident when she quietly notes, "The Seeker is aware of the rules of Hospitality and will abide. Just as we will. Nothing to worry over overly much." Nevermind the sidelong look she casts toward Logan and the Other as the exchange deepens toward complication or how her smile falters ever so slightly as the Waykeeper presses back against the encouraged promise.

         For the first time, anger enters the tone of the shadows' whispering, a thousand-thousand tongues decrying Logan as a cheat. The room darkens as the shadows strengthen, an almost physical sensation prickling susurrated menace over flesh, exposed or not.

         << No agreement was made. You will not learn what I must be, without paying the price of knowledge. >> The words are, quite literally, painful to hear, though those farthest from Logan catch only the backsplash of the Fae's displeasure.

         Throughout, its body, if it can be called such, remains still, expressionless, a vessel too small for the force which it contains.

"Don't." Haruki says. "No promises." He's doing his best to hide behind Damion, clinging to him, and ignore those whispering shadows. They're not real. He knows they're not real. It's not like its his first time experiencing such things. "Especially not any open ended promises without the price upfront. No promises."

"Then what is the price?" Logan holds his ground -- or at least appears to. Perhaps internally, he wants to writhe on the floor in pain, but on the surface, his face is a mask. Even the smile doesn't really go anywhere. "What is the price of knowledge?" The light around him beams brighter, but the shadow continues to wiggle and wriggle on through it. If nothing else, Logan is providing Seeker with a distraction, while Louisa tries to keep the others here calm.

Damion winces slightly and touches his head at the pain from the words of the Keeper. He tries to subtly glance around the room, checking if there's anything there that would make a good improvised weapon. Something sturdy and perferably metal. He has to agree with what Haruki says.

Louisa, already tall even in her most casual bearing--if not quite so much so as the out-of-place-ogre in the back--straightens further at the palpable prickling of words against skin and ears. The kindness in her features does not entirely disappear, but it's overshadowed by a sternness turned toward the still figure from whence that will emanated, a Look given to the Other to remind it of its manners. "Its price has already been spoken," she reminds Logan. "An unspecified favor of its own choosing." She doesn't want to encourage further correction or clarification from the creature. "A steep price for a sliver of knowledge, but I believe the Seeker is entirely aware of that inequity. Perhaps our guest would prefer some tea instead. There's cookies." Normal things. Not favors. Not souls. Play nice, beastie.

Maggie gives a look to everyone and then the Keeper is moving away from her, she looks in her jacket pocket and then decides to go stand in the middle of everyone. She doesn't say what's in her pocket. She just keeps taking notes. Mainly to report back to November.

In the hallway, the floorboards creak. It's Uschi. She's adjusted her weight. It sounds a bit like the wind blowing through pine boughs. Definitely not an indoor sound. Why hasn't she just left yet? Perhaps, in spite of her serious lack of social graces, the Ogress is curious -- even if the occasional glimpse of her expression suggests very little of anything at all.

         The Fae's attention shifts, the shadows nearest Haruki whispering back his words. << No promises. >>          << No promises. >>

<< No promises. >>                  << No promises. >>               << No promises. >>    << No promises. >>                              << No promises. >>

         Those nearest Logan, abruptly calm after Louisa's timely reminder, assert again: << In return for knowing what I must be, you will grant me a favour of my choosing or be cursed in your betrayal. >>

         It offers neither agreement nor disagreement with Louisa's opinion of its prices, but the shadows nearest the tall woman whisper, << Show me. >>                     << Technique and skill. >> << Cooked food. >>                              << Hospitality. >>        << Learn. >>      << Humans baking. >>                          << Seek. >>

         As before, the shadows avoid Maggie, anger faded.

Haruki shivers as the shadows keep repeating him. Shut up shut up shut up. His lips move with those words but he doesn't speak them. "You want to learn how to bake?" Haruki blurts out. Did he overhear some shadows not meant to be heard. "Cakes. Cookies are good. You should try some of them. They're really, really nice." Since hiding didn't work he's now babbling with nervousness.

Louisa angles a look toward the luminous Logan as the price is restated which seems to advise caution, but it's short-lived given how readily the Other answers her invitation, how eagerly Haruki follows up on that curious response. "Alright," she answers the Seeker, "though I claim no expertise in baking or cooking, only in the gracious offering of those baked goods to kind souls willing to abide Hospitality's Hold." With a look toward the magician, she wonders, "Perhaps another might have some talent I lack?"

Uschi tilts her head, like she was trying to track all the multiple statements of the Other's attention. Does she step forward, try her luck? No, she does not - it's like she's some kinda mega introvert who's spent the last fifteen years in the woods sustaining off of hikers. Hiker's... Stuff. Camp stuff. She must scavenge. Just look at that rucksack - probably got a whole survivalist kit in there. Meanwhile; the Ogress frowns. Riddles, promises, Fae, conversations?! Please her not one iota, if her vibe is anything to go by. Yet? She observes. Huh. Maybe she's a freelance Custodian. She is definitely not volunteering as a baker.

Logan glances over his shoulder to look at Louisa. It's a thoroughly neutral look, the smile frozen in place. Hard to read. "Don't worry, Louisa," he finally says, his voice cheerful. "I know you're eager to show yourself, but you're doing a great job. I promise." Then Logan looks back over at Seeker. "I think it's a shame that you will only take, but not give, unless someone promises you something. That lives up to all my stereotypes. But how about a game? A game of skill?" Logan's smile beams broader. "We could play chess. There's a set here. I bet you'd like it. Or there's Chutes & Ladders. That's one of my personal favorites." He goes to find both games, and a few more while he's at it -- Life, Clue, Monopoly, Apples to Apples -- and sets them out, just like this was any other night at the Wayhouse.

         << Seeker. >>

<< Learn. >>               << Watch. >>

                                             << Observe. >>

         Well.  That answers that.  

         The shadows hold an air of expectation, curiosity, patience. Who knows? Maybe knowing how to bake human cookies will one day be of critical importance.

         Those nearest Logan remain silent.

         Those nearest Haruki whisper encouragement, since the magician had been pointed out by Louisa as a potential source of knowledge. While the majority of its body, so to speak, remains where it has been, the three arms extend in flicker-stretch unnatural motion, replacing the dismantled doorknob. In payment for knowledge? Tired of holding them? Unclear.

"Cake's easy." Haruki says with a bright smile. "You need flour, eggs, sugar, butter." He heads into the kitchen. "Do you give away lessons for free? You're here to learn? I think all of us are. And we trade knowledge, and that's good. So here's the knowledge of baking a cake. Cakes have so much, so many different meanings. And there's lots and lots of different types." As he speaks he gets out the ingredients he just said he needs. Wait no, he washes his hands first, then he gets the ingredients. "And you use the same amount of each of them." Out comes the measuring cups, and the mixer. Preheat the oven. "Only the oven needs to be hot for when the cakes go in so we put it on. How you mix them is important. You've to whisk the eggs until they're super fluffy and light. Cream the sugar and the butter together. Sift in the flour. Gently mix. Grease the baking tins so they don't stick." He provides examples of everything he's doing.

The smile Louisa offers Logan shows a touch of amused bemusement which lingers as the Seeker shows interest in pursuing its peculiar curiosity toward the kitchen. Her shoulders tighten for just a moment when those arms move too quickly, too strangely, but relief follows when the fixtures are all replaced. From where she stands, some distance off, it all seems to be in working order. Surely something which merits keener--and more expert--inspection later, just to be safe. Without further hesitation, she follows Haruki, though she gives the magician sufficient room to work, taking up an out-of-the-way spot where he can teach cake-baking to a Fae. As one does. It's a good thing, and she is most certainly grateful.

For the time being, Logan ignores Louisa. Games put aside, Logan strides towards Seeker, wherever it ends up going -- be that into the kitchen to follow Haruki or elsewhere. "You're welcome to our Hospitality, Seeker, but this is a two-way street. Believe it or not, you're actually frightening or confusing some of the others." He smiles, as he so often does. "It's both uncomfortable for us, and it makes it harder for us to satisfy your curiosity in a way that doesn't feel forced. I know you won't harm anyone under the laws of Hospitality, but we would like to learn from you too."

Cake? Uschi ... Oh. The Farwalker is moving out -- unhelpful in the kitchen, unaware of the complex moral lessons to be learned from Chutes and Ladders, and unwilling to spend much time in the presence of a Very Curious Other, the Ogress creeps through the Wayhouse. Is creeps the right word? She doesn't make much sound, but it's difficult to come across as inconspicuous in a well lit, densely populated domestic landscape. Hardly any conifers to hide behind, for one thing. No goodbye to anyone, no further word about Mischance Mine wither - Uschi walks on over what could possibly be her millionth mile in stoney Ogress silence.

"Maggie, I'll walk you home." Maxwell states as he looks to her. Then he's moving for the door, looking at the gathered and holding his hand out to the Native American woman who the Keeper like creature is avoiding.

Maggie for her part gives a nod to him and gives a smile to everyone, "I'll see everyone around." she tells them. And for her part she walks right past the shadowy thing and out the front door with her mentor. Voila!

         As before, the creature's motion is distinctly unnatural, its 'walk' more of a vague facsimile performed by an imperfect actor flicker-slide-reshaping with sudden leaps and jerks.

         It doesn't speak.

         It doesn't speak when Louisa moves to watch Haruki.

         It doesn't speak when Haruki explains about cakes, though the sense of -watching- is intense, its presence felt more than seen.

         It doesn't speak to Logan, either, until Haruki is finished and there is nothing else to learn, however long that takes.

         << Discomfort is repaid: remove your iron. >>

Haruki should have his own youtube channel. Well his own baking youtube channel, since his current one is filled with bunnies. Baking with Haruki and special shadow guest monster! Make friends with food! "Cakes are important. They are food and they are delicious. They can be as simple or extravagant as we want. They can be all sorts of different flavours. We use them for celebration, for special occassions, to welcome new neighbours, and friends. They're like sharing bread and salt for hospitality, but much tastier. They're passed down generations. They're memories of childhood and people long gone. Every cake has a different meaning, different tradition. Tiny bit of salt goes in to enhance the flavour of the other ingredients. You don't want to overdo it though. And now we add the flavours. I'm just going to put in a little vanilla. It's made of flowers, and that has meaning too." And in goes some vanilla extract. "And now we pour the batter into the baking pans, making sure they're greased." Did he already do that? "And the baking pans go into the oven." Yeah this takes some time. A lot of time from Haruki. "And now we have to wait for it to bake." Iron? Was it asking him?

Logan shrugs a shoulder and smiles. "I do wish you'd say 'please.' But sure. Fair's fair." He glances briefly over at Haruki as he goes on and on and the smile gets a little bigger. Then, whenever it is the creature speaks to him, he reaches into his jean pocket and pulls out a small golden case. He holds up the case, opening it to show Seeker what's inside: a set of cold iron bullets. Then he places it on one of the end tables nearby. "It's no longer on my person, at least. I don't know where it needs to be to make you feel better, but I guess I could take it upstairs." He seems in no hurry to do so, however.

Louisa keeps her quiet for the moment. Watching, waiting. Enjoying that warm, toasty scent which begins to slowly make its way from the oven as the cake begins to bake. She doesn't do a particularly good job masking the disappointment Logan's contentious behavior inspires, but neither does she issue any objection, deferring to the senior Waykeeper. And remaining ready to respond should things go bad.

         Again, the shadowy Fae is a silent observer, watching and listening to Haruki's impromptu cake talk show YouTube channel. It offers no interruption, and no indication that learning to bake a cake is any less important than learning anything else about the mortal world.

         In the end, half an hour or more (depending upon Haruki's cake!) passes with no response to questions, no speech, no sign of life beyond the creature's patient watch over the oven and the slow changes occurring to the cake-to-be within its heated depths.

         When the cake is complete, a fourth arm manifests, shadows writhing into solid form, to flicker-step place a shadow-soft ring before Haruki, a simple band of darkness which thins when placed in too much light.

         With a swifter flicker, it departs, shadows whispering in its wake:

            << Hospitality. >>                                      << Hospitality. >> << Hospitality. >>                                << Hospitality. >>      << Hospitality. >>

                    << Hospitality. >>

Haruki sits on the floor, watching his cake for however long it takes. He'll babble more about cakes for a bit but ends up in silence, just watching, waiting. He absently picks up that shadow-ring. "You should take the cake." He says. But he's talking to nothing. And once it's gone he starts shaking and shivering and trying to hold himself together.

Logan watches the creature depart, that mask-like, neutral expression on his face. When it seems to be completely gone, he reaches once more for the bullets and pockets them. Then he heads over to Haruki, attempting to put a golden hand on the smaller man's shoulder. "Haruki, are you okay?" He glances around. Where'd Damion go? "I need to leave soon, but I want to make sure you and the others are coping alright."

"You are captivating," Louisa tells Haruki once the air is a little less tense, the shadows once more back to doing what they ought to do rather than obeying the odd instruction of that otherworldly awfulness. "And remarkably gracious." The Bishop's smile is a genuine thing, lingering long after she falls quiet. Tempting as that cake is, she sees to checking over the Wayhouse, making sure the place and, more importantly, its occupants are all well as can be expected in the wake of such a guest.

Haruki blushes at what Louisa says, and she has such a pretty voice and he replies. "Not as so as you." He's still trembling uncontrolably. "It was your idea. Bake the cake. It was a good idea. It didn't even stay to eat any. Or to watch it be iced." His shaking stops a little at Logan's touch. "Is anyone ok? How can anyone be okay after that. It was like Vorpal. Only nicer."

Something about Logan's smile grows a little stiff. He pats Haruki's shoulder. "They're powerful, Haruki, but remember: one doesn't have to play by their rules. If I'd kept doing that in Arcadia, I'd still be there now." He gives the shoulder a little squeeze, then lets go again. "I can give you a ride home if you need one, Haruki. I'll be outside." Leaving his healthy snacks behind -- I mean, they're for everyone, after all -- Logan and his light depart the Wayhouse.