Logs:A Scholar's Advice

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A Scholar's Advice


Characters: Selah and Tris
Date: 2020-01-03
Summary: Tris and Selah shop for books and exchange a little conversation.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Bookshops like the Bookery aren't necessarily known for being open late, but on the weekends in particular, many retail locations keep their doors open a while longer in hopes of letting those 9-5ers get their errands done after work. The shop isn't deserted although the patrons are few enough that each one has a little bubble of privacy for the most part. Tris in his designer tee-shirt and designer pre-distressed jeans and his just-rolled-out-of-bed-this-sexy-rumpled looks seems like he could pass for a 'slept-my-way-through-school' graduate student since that seems to be about as much attention as he's giving the shelves he's casually perusing, a couple of books pinched between thumb and fingers of one hand. He could be anyone, to most people.

For some, however, the fact that he is not just some normal guy in a book shop is immediately obvious in the appearance of his mien. This Changeling bears raised scars of glowing gossamer thread most noticeably on the right side of his face running temple to nearly chin in a long arc and reaching in like veins trying to get to the bare skin of his cheek through the not-quite-stubble beard that does nothing to conceal the interwoven green-orange-pink gleams of light held on those scars. There are more scars, around the ears, under the chin and down the exposed forearms to wrist. Forearm skin bears places where tattoos are nonsensically rearranged, joined by more glowing line. For anyone getting within two body lengths of him who has the capacity to see beyond the Mask of the handsome Millennial, the intense, dry heat of sunbathing in the desert in the heat of the day is readily apparent, radiating off him.

--

It is actually rare that Selah leaves the 'security' (call it hermetical comfort) of the Cathedral or the convent. However, even something relatively ancient must run errands from time to time. Sure, she has a pair of ghouls, but even they get their time off sometimes. And one is once again out of state. She's wearing a pair of black slacks and a long black coat over a gray blouse. Monochromatic, which makes the bronze tone of her skin all the more obvious. She drifts into the bookstore in an almost eerily quiet sort of way. Someone who knows how to measure their steps, how to open doors, and how to just be... unobtrusive. Though that mere fact might make her more noticeable. Bookstores are quiet, but even so: few enter in nigh silence.

She starts off down an aisle almost immediately. No idle browsing here, but rather the concentrated effort to find something. She casts spare glances at the signs indicating what section is what, moving through the store towards a back corner.

--

Is it the raise of hairs on the nape of the neck? Is it goosebumps tickling somewhere unseen? Perhaps it's just the Beast recognizing a predator of another kind that draws the Changeling's attention to Selah. Tris' dark blue gaze is pulled from the books at hand as Selah turns down the aisle and he takes in the look of the lithe woman. There's a hesitation, slight but there, before the Changeling moves casually to draw closer to the Kindred. "Evening," doesn't sound like a pick-up line, though there is something slightly guarded in the invitation to conversation that's extended as he draws near enough for the volume of the conversation not to have to carry far. The edge of that heat is there, but he's being mindful of his distance, mindful of not inadvertently startling another kind of predator with his own presence.

--

The fact that she's been approached seems to startle Selah slightly. Except her startlement is... strange. It's all in the face and in a sort of shrinking into herself. She draws up straighter, keeps arms at her side, and becomes... very still as she stares at Tris... and then just as quickly averts her gaze. "Hello." There's something about her accent. It's almost some flavor of Middle Eastern, but... off. Like someone playing at an accent in a movie except it's clearly very natural for her. "Do you work here? I am trying to find the books on classic and ancient religion."

--

"I don't." Tris returns after another beat, his head tipping slightly as his expression turns thoughtful, eyes still taking in the woman. "Just patronizing," he holds up his pair of books in evidence. One is a beginner's guide for first aid, the other is a self-help book that might as easily be about relationships as about exploring the self, based on the ambiguous title. Neither book is lofted for long, both going back to his side with the hand that holds them. "But I think I saw the religion section this way." He did appear to be taking his time browsing when Selah arrived; maybe he is still on the hunt for titles of his own, or maybe he just doesn't want to move on to wherever his next stop is.

"I'm Tris," he offers, his demeanor still cautious, but not especially stand-offish, as he turns to lead the way to where he thinks the religion books are. "Is... religion an interest of yours?" There's a sidelong glance back toward the vampire and if there's a little doubt there, or just curiosity, perhaps he can't be blamed. Maybe he hasn't met many Kindred.

--

It's worse: Selah hasn't even bothered with the Blush. She doesn't breathe. She doesn't blink. It's like a wax figure come to life.

A wax figure that moves with the fluidity of a dancer or a fighter. She considers Tris for a moment before following him. It's better than wandering blindly, at least. "Selah," she says, simply. A Hebrew word, but also a name. It might cement the sense of the foreign around her. Beyond, at least, the Beast that lingers. "It is," she says finally. Her words come slow, measured. "I consider myself a... scholar of religion."

--

Just because Changelings see monsters of dream and nightmare in their day to day dealings with other Lost doesn't make encounters with other supernaturals less disconcerting. In Tris, this manifests in his edge of caution. "I... haven't spoken with many like you, so I hope this won't sound strange but... is it a... intellectual pursuit or a spiritual one?" Perhaps he's trying to wrap his head around the concept of a 'religious vampire,' a 'spiritual vampire.' If only he knew how integral it all is to the vast majority of the Kindred. At least he sounds haltingly respectful, if puzzled, about the relationship between scholar and subject.

--

There's a long period of silence from Selah. As if she's debating pretending she didn't even hear the question! Finally, however, as she lets fingers drift over the spine of a book they pass, she speaks. "Both," the woman finally says. "Though perhaps more intellectual this time, with the potential to become spiritual." Despite the accent, her command of English is flawless... though some words are, perhaps, a bit over-pronounced. There's none of the lazy 'slang' that is often taken up by natives. No dropped consonants. No lazy flow from one word into the next. "I find it important to keep on top of things."

--

That the silence is perhaps longer than one might normally garner from a question doesn't seem to faze Tris. His patience for an answer, or perhaps for whatever else might come, doesn't seem to waver as the time stretches. He doesn't seem to need to fill the space with words. His eyes scan the labels on the edges of the shelves as they move and he slows when they finally reach the ones that go something like 'Christianity,' 'Judaism,' 'Muslim,' 'Pagan,' 'Atheism,' and so on, with a few helpful subheadings here or there.

The Changeling goes just beyond the section to give Selah a comfortable amount of room in which to browse without the persisting heat of him penetrating much into the space before he leans carefully against a shelf. "Keeping in touch with the now seems like it might be universally important. 'You only live once,' 'carpe diem,' and all that." There's a slight wry edge to his voice. He might, just maybe, be making a joke. "You have an accent," he observes after a moment. "You're not from New Orleans, I take it." He's clueful enough to at least realize that much if not the rest.

--

Stopping before the shelves, Selah begins a slow scan of their contents. Maybe she didn't come for any particular book, but rather a perusal of all the shop has to offer. She doesn't look at Tris once he's stepped out of the way. Instead she just stares at the shelves. Finally, however, she speaks: "Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero." Even her diction of Latin is -precise-. She does finally look over to the Changeling, expression placid. "I am from Israel originally." And then back to the books to look further, lifting chin to read the higher shelves. "I have been in New Orleans for... ten? Yes, ten years. Give or take, perhaps."

--

Like many Millennials, "carpe diem" is as much of the phrase as Tris is familiar with, so when Selah looks at him, his expression is blank. This man is no Latin-speaker nor scholar. He shifts the books he holds slightly, tapping a paperback cover on his thigh. The rest of what the vampire says is comprehensible to him though. "I only got here in November. Any advice?" That's perhaps purposefully open-ended. He might mean about New Orleans, he might mean about interacting with the Kindred or Selah in particular, or maybe he even means about the books she's looking over.

--

"Sign the Accords" is Selah's initial answer. She finally reaches to pluck a book off one of the shelves. It's a scholarly study of the Qaran. She continues speaking even as she reads the back cover. "Many in New Orleans are travelers or transplants. No one truly 'fits in.' It makes it harder, however," she flips the book back over, opening to the first few pages, "to tell what stands out and does not belong."

--

"Already done," Tris can at least give a satisfactory answer on this score. "Although I had heard some concerning rumor about the founders." This remark, though casually made, warrants a straightening and his freehand rising to scratch the glowing scar behind his ear. "Maybe since so many of us are travelers or transplants, we all fit in." If one wants to spin that perspective on its head. "It's a prettier idea, anyway. Even if it's still a lie." But aren't most things some kind of lie unless it's one's personal choice of lie-as-truth?

Perhaps such philosophical questioning is beyond the Crimson Courtier. "What I'm trying to sort out really... is how, even with the Accords, is it best for us to navigate with yours, or the others." There's more scratching on the glowing scar, Tris' expression thoughtful and though his eyes are on Selah, perhaps he's not really looking at her just this moment. "Maybe we all pretend to ignore one another." That doesn't sound like it particularly appeals to this Lost, but it is an option, maybe the easiest option.

--

"Are the Founders of any organized government truly trustworthy? Or are they doing something for selfish reasons disguised by good intentions?" Selah turns toward Tris, clutching the book in one hand that drops to her side. It'd seem she's made her choice. The Mekhet does consider him at length when he expands on the query. "I see." She crosses one arm over the other, clutching at the elbow of the arm with the book. "It is likely best for some -- most -- to ignore one another. However, I imagine being respectful and not outing anyone is to the best."

--

"Depends on the founders and the goals, I guess." Tris rolls his shoulders in a shrug. Doesn't it always? Both hands find an equilibrium with one another in the air in front of him and slightly to the sides, a gesture of peace. He has, in the least, been using (aside from the word 'Accords') vague language that would likely mean nothing more than a weird blink to anyone overhearing. "There's no argument from me on that." At least, not when disrespect hasn't been warranted in some way. He tips his head toward the book Selah has selected as his hands return to his side. "Enjoy your book, Selah," he wishes her peaceably before shifting to walk past (but not near, in so much as the aisle allows) the vampire, his heat briefly intense as he moves past toward the counter that serves as checkout to deal with his own purchases and presumably thence out into the darkness of the night.

--

The heat does not seem to phase Selah as he goes past. Perhaps if he were -actually on fire- or if she had the Blush going. Instead, it'll just leave her slightly warmer to the touch before that awkward room temperature state of a vampire reasserts itself. The woman considers Tris, but only just nods. "I will," she says simply before looking back to the shelves: just in case there is something she missed.