Logs:A Somewhat Less Shiny Hat

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A Somewhat Less Shiny Hat


Characters: Ian, Gast, Slip, Tris, Sabbirah and Kiera
Date: 2020-03-21
Summary: A dragon receives the Spring Crown. It's not as shiny as expected. Which is probably a good thing.
Disclaimers:

The CCC has been active all night. Decorations have been up for a day or two, sure, but the food, that should be fresh and cold or hot, depending on type, and that means someone's got to set it out before dawn. There are also tiki torches to light to chase off the mosquitos and last-minute preparations to perform... but the staff in general seem to be in good moods, probably because they're getting paid overtime and no one's sick, as confirmed by those expensive tests Ian had them all take. The hour is now quite early, not at all dawn, but the backyard is well-lit and inviting, complete with a bonfire and a bunch of food and booze.

Ian has parked himself at a table on the deck, wings wrapped around himself so that he won't accidentally trip someone. Preparations are still ongoing - a staffer marches by with a plate of ham to put in the over-stuffed fridge - and he looks vaguely lost and a little worried.


How long ago had Gast shed diurnal patterns of life? Was it before he emerged from Arcadia - a Darkling anew - or was it before then, leaving ringed coffee stains on old case files as not to risk getting any moisture on the line of coke cut into inhalable portions on his assigned desk? Bags beneath his eyes denote that the origins matter little, as he enters with the posture and gait of someone new to sobriety attending the earliest AA meeting of the day to stave off the cravings of the night. Hence, why even though he expects food and drink to be waiting for him, he has a to-go cup of cheap morning brew in his left hand - held loosely by the rim, and devoid of steam by this point. He's a relatively new Lost to the area - a transplant from further East. His frekles of rust, ink-black hair, and clockwork eye being the most obvious features that mark him as one of their sort. He's in a suit - black with a slate gray dress shirt, and loose tie. He's not all the way strung together yet, and drags his feet over to the amassed food and drink to sort through the whiskeys - picking an American single malt to pour into his cup (to go lid held askew for the addition). He should be partly functional soon, as he dispells the dregs of seeming the sober sort. Has he slept? Or is he at the late edge of his schedule?


The most magnificent thing about pre-dawn shindigs--whether this was meant to be a proper party at this early hour or not--is that one can roll on in from whatever after-party has kept one occupied since leaving the last bar of the night. Which is to say that Slip and her sobriety are somewhat separated at the moment. Let's hope this isn't actually an AA meeting. She won't know what to do with herself. It's been several uncounted hours since she reapplied her make-up, leaving her lips haunted by the idea of a deep, rich red and her eyes with shadowy rings around them like a ghostly raccoon. It suits her casual attire, an oversized black tee shirt with a woman's face on the front--Siouxsie Sioux with her iconic eyeliner--and faded jeans. It suits the way her quiet steps meander, her path indirect as she trails behind Gast by several yards, her eyes on the former detective like maybe he was her quarry rather than--oh, breakfast! Nope. It was the food. She veers off toward sandwiches.


Coffee would probably be a good idea, but there's no coffee in evidence, so it's a good thing Gast brought his own. Should Ian have asked someone to brew a pot? Maybe. Then again, staff have been busy and they're not functioning on overtime paychecks and good cheer alone - there's probably an overworked Keurig in the kitchen and a pot brewing in the staff room. Ian digs his own hands into his glass hair and just... "Graaagh." Yes. Graaagh. With three a's. Too early. He curls his wings in tighter because the damn things are too tall and too long and sticking one out would trip a human who can't see them, though they'd probably blame it on the early morning and lack of light and not their boss, who is trying so damn hard to stay out of the way. This is why when Ian spots Gast arriving, then Slip, he doesn't get up to greet them, just calls, "Morning! Help yourselves! Welcome!" His voice sounds like a mellow acoustic guitar this morning, all thrumming tenor.


The spiked coffee is a two laned avenue toward both inebriation and focus - lanes that, after a point of indulgence, divert into two off ramps as a path is chosen. Gast affixes the to-go lid back into place - no branding on the cup itself, hinting that it might have been acquired via one of three primary ways: home, motel, or small niche shop. The acidic bitterness suggests either the first or second of these options, with nothing added prior to the generous shot of whiskey. He puts the bottle back down and twists the cap back to secure, and takes a sip of his new concoction; letting his gaze wander as he fuels up. To Slip, who arrived in his wake, the slightest of companionable grins - late and early hours both. The solstice of hours. Further afield to Ian, with a double take and furrow of his brow. Vague familiarity. From where? The mien obscures recognition, along with the obscurity of a 'funny fails' youtube playlist perused at 4AM on a slow and chemically altered night. Graaagh, indeed. He takes another sip and steps away from the drinks. And, as hungry as he may look, he detours from the food buffet for now. And lifts his cup to Ian's greeting as he steps toward the bonfire - flame reflecting fiercely in the glossy moisture of his mortal eye, and dull upon the matte and rust of his clockwork eye as the aperture of the pupil shifts with a gentle whir until at its smallest circumference. "Mornin'," he echoes and goes from sipping coffee to swigging it. Momentous occassion and all.


This is one solstice shindig that Tris doesn't have to show up with catering and booze to, so he comes simply as he is. In white designer t-shirt screen-printed with some artistic rendering of ... something and his pre-distressed designer jeans, the Beast's most notable feature beyond his rolled-out-of-bed-still-looking-sexy looks are the raised gossamer stitching lines all over forearms where tattoos mismatch, truncated in places by the extensive scars.

These scars also run down the back of his neck and under his jaw and most prominently down from his right temple to chin, spindly fingers of the stuff reaching up his cheek. And, of course, they all glow. Snatching the light of the tiki torches and bonfire, every inch of those scars are splitting light and casting it back as a very subtle gleam in a variety of colors. With so many different flickering lights in the area, there isn't a single color represented - not even silver or gold. On some stretch of him, there's a bit of each color winking at him, though the colors are predominantly a cool blue laced with purple in the pre-dawn.

It's possible that he didn't arrive alone, but the Winters with whom this Summer whose sunbathing-in-the-midst-of-the-desert-at-high-noon heat that rolls off his frame up to two arm length's away from him spends most of his time are not presently in evidence. His meandering steps take him toward the food, the backyard of the CCC familiar territory by now. Somewhere, inside, no doubt his therapy-trained dogs are standing by with the staff that usually handles them in case of sudden need for puppy-comforts.

His rich voice cuts into the not-yet-even-really-a-conversation, to address the hosting Spring, "You realize it's nearly bedtime." There's humor in the scarred man's face, and he tips his head in acknowledging up-nod toward Gast and Slip.


"Doesn't have to be," Slip murmurs in answer to the comment Tris directed elsewhere, the implication of making a late night into a long couple of days with chemical help not difficult to pick up. She waves her breakfast sandwich in greeting toward the summer courtier on her way to flashing a broad, probably-still-toasty smile toward Ian. It's not difficult to be this cheerful at this hour when you're still tipsy. Food in hand, she moves nearer to the bonfire and her fellow darkling lurking in its light, stilling just a half-step behind Gast where her shoulder can nudge his. "Share?"


"Mmngh," Ian says indistinctly to Tris. "Can't sleep. Tried." His attention flicks over towards the bonfire. "I should... mingle?" That's the right thing to do, right? He moves to get up. Naturally his wings unfurl.

Naturally, right at that moment, a staffer carrying a platter of beef patties comes pacing by towards one of the barbecue pits - and smacks right into one of them, nearly upending her tray. "Oh! I'm sorry!" she says, and rights herself and her burgers, then looks around for what bumped her. To a human, the damn things don't exist. There's literally nothing there. "Clumsy me!" she adds, and hurries right on past.

Ian balls his wings around himself again and beelines towards the bonfire, where there are fewer staff and more Changelings and it's probably /fine/ because they, at least, can see all of him.


The light of bonfire and tiki torches washes out the once-healthy hues of Gast's skin, beneath the rust freckles across the bridge of his nose and his cheeks, giving him a temporary skin tone akin to the burnt shades key to the palette of 19th century realists. The aperture of his clockwork eye stays tight, for the brightness of flame, only whirring to adjust as he turns his head to note other arrivals while he drinks his spiked brew - returning a nod to Tris as he plainly looks over the scars on display. His meager Autumn mantle is likewise washed out by those stronger around him - a distant rattle of dead and hollow branches on the breeze, the fresh air scent of frost melting to dew in a fall clearing; a sense of dread of what might be found by an early jogger. Slip's nudge activates a more sociable setting and he grunts a greeting that extends from his earlier smile. The monosyllabic question earns him holding up the cup to her, his other hand up to about his midsection, palm turned upward to accept a sandwich to take a bite of in turn - despite having sidestepped the food half of the collection. "Guess I'm still here," he quips, quietly. An expectant look to Ian as he approaches, post collision-ish of mortal and staffer - still vaguely recognizing the face - but noting that one of those that preceded his arrival might have something to share about proceedings.


The soft ring of heels clacking upon smooth floor echo the arrival of Sabbirah, who soon enough is stepping out of the center and into the back yard, where the young woman pauses for just a moment. Her dark eyes glitter as she takes in her surroundings, first noticing the bond fire and those nearby before looking elsewhere as her steps continue. Sabbirah's long neck cranes as her eyes fix upon a snack that has been sat out, and as she moves quietly past it her head is once again straight. Her arms lift slightly to lace her pointy fingers together, pressing them against herself just below her chest as she walks about, first getting used to the place she has never stepped foot in.


The smile that flashes toward Slip from the Crimson Courtier is all roguish mischief. "Too true." If he had a drink, he'd probably raise it in toast, but that smile will have to do for now. His eyes fall to the food before rising to rove across the other faces present.

Farther off in the backyard, there are a few of the Asylum night club Lost present. A fearsome man looms over a slip of a one, greyish skin and slightly bulbous eyes giving him a strange mien to be sure. Those two Summers are overshadowed by the Spring Courtier there with the mahogany skin that sparkles like diamonds, her attire fit for the club over this particular party, but then... They probably all just came from work, so.

Tris' eyes come back to Ian and the smile softens. "Mingling is good. You're mingling here." He gestures toward Gast and Slip. He shifts enough that he can reach out a hand and place it briefly on the winged Lost's shoulder. "It's a great party, Ian." Is it? Well, it's certainly bedecked with enough party supplies and plainly the scarred man is going for encouraging here.

As his hand falls away, he moves to offer his hand in Gast's direction, then Slip's, if either has inclination for a more formal greeting. "I don't think we've met. I'm Tris." Keep it simple. Don't mind the feral edge to his bright eyes, or the unnerving touch of violence told in silent story by those extensive stitches of multi-colored glowing scars running along his face.


It worked! Slip smiles, wide and pleased, as she accepts the offered cup from Gast and slides the once-bitten sandwich over in exchange. Her eyes half-lid with undue pleasure as she takes a long sip, drinking more than she probably should if playing nice. Sure, the drink might be more warm than hot and certainly a little bitter, but the whiskey gives it just the nudge her inebriation needs to keep it from faltering too soon. Thankfully, she swallows before the small startled sound escapes her at the server's collision with Ian's inconsistently visible wing.

Slip brushes her right hand off on her jeans before accepting Tris' offer, her shake slightly more timid than one might expect for the ease of her smile, her skin a bit warmer, smoother than it should be, the faint metallic texture taking on some of the heat from the bonfire. "Slip." She can do simple. As she returns the coffee in hopes of reclaiming her sandwich, her gaze flits toward Sabbirah curiously, one too-large ear pivoting beneath her hair to track the stranger's movement. When her attention returns to those at the bonfire, she casually notes, "I have a request from the Wardens. For us. Collectively."


"Ian," Ian introduces himself, voice still low and thrumming like background music. "What is it?" Ian's wings are always visible to the Lost. To mortals, they're just not there, and the effects of them - knocking things over, tripping people - are generally explained away as 'oops' and 'just stepped wrong' and 'the cat knocked that over'. They make sounds, they have their own scent, but every last one of a mortal's senses lies to them about their existence, and sometimes it is unbearably awkward. Imagine trying to drive a car like this. Ian can't even fit in a bucket seat and most cars are just too small and crowded. He's stuck wearing backless shirts and no one knows why except that he's, as one person called it, a gender-fuck, whatever that means. "Hi," he adds, and tries to smile, glass face a little anxious. "What was it? I think I heard the same thing."


Kiera arrives alone, the young redhead dressed in a pair of shorts with lace-up sides, a simple white tee with the words 'Stay Weird' printed on the front in bubbly pink letter, and a pair of white and pink sneakers. Stepping from the Center and into the backyard, she looks a little tired, even raising one small hand to shield a yawn, but no less cheery for it, eyes sparkling and a happy little smile on her lips. In one hand, she's carrying a small, weaved basket. She's still new around here and doesn't -really- know anyone, so as she makes her way towards where refreshments are set out anyone that might look her way is simply greeted with a widening of her smile and a twiddle of fingers as her eyes glide over the still unfamiliar location and those already gathered here. Her mouth shapes into a small 'o' on more than one occasion at the sight of the other Lost, and her gaze might linger just a little on a few of them, just long enough to perhaps be noticed but not long enough for her to be accused of staring. Staring is rude, right? Ok, maybe she stares -a little- at the man with he glowing scars and the man with the wings balled around him. But! Refreshments! Gotta keep focus.


Another tilted turn of his head - another two arrivals. An incline of Gast's chin sends a subtle but acknowledging greeting toward Sabbirah and Kiera in the moment that the mingling begins in earnest. He takes a bite of the breakfast sandwich after the exchange is made, the arch of his teeth overlapping the bite left by Slip before him as he carves out a wider cliff of consumption. The smile he offers to Tris is warm enough, welcoming - sociable. But that doesn't mean he stops staring at or inspecting those scars or the feral quality of those bright eyes as a hand is offered over. A flicker of his gaze to Ian as the name is said aloud - applying reference to visage - before his focus returns to the gesture. "We haven't," he confirms. He moves the sandwich from right hand to left and takes the offered hand after Tris and Slip have finished - his own, smudged in ash (particularly beneath the fingernails) that doesn't transfer between them. He shakes with a firm, professional grasp, and lets go. "Gast. New to the city. Newly accorded." He exchanges food for drink once more and washes down breakfast with cheap, acidic coffee and a bite of single malt whiskey. One expressive eyebrow lifted as he looks to Slip and then to Ian at the mention of a request from without. Curiosity snagged away from this intial mingling.


That walk around the area eventually brings Sabbirah near the bonfire, though she does not yet approach. The slight chin lift from Gast is noted with a no from herself, and then Sabbirah is looking to her side. The sight of smores parts on the table entices her to linger near it, and once she has gathered the ingredients necessary she pokes two marshmallows onto a skewer and turns, heading towards the bonfire now. Once close enough, Sabbirah greets, "Good morning," to those around, her voice dark and silky. The marshmallows are placed against flame and set to burn. Because who doesn't like to peel marshmallow flesh and crunch it?


Slip probably should've waited before taking another bite of her returned sandwich after dropping a promise of intel, but her intoxicated brain notes that food smells good and thus gets priority. Chatelaine-brain catches up a couple seconds later when she's still very inconveniently chewing after curiosity has been turned her way, the burnished copper in her cheeks glinting brighter in the bonfire light for her blushing. She straightens as she draws the sandwich downward and tries to get her thoughts back in order, all the alcohol sloshing about inside of her making it difficult to keep everything in one place for too long. "Just that..." She clears her throat and focuses on Ian. "They would like our freehold oath to include the Accords. I might argue that it would be preemptive of us to incorporate the Accords into our oaths while we're not yet properly recognized in the Accords..." But who's she to make that call? She gives a little wave of her sandwich before taking another bite.


"Slip," Tris repeats, "Gast," and he does spare a quick glance down to his hand, amused to find the ash not transferred but hardly surprised. One dark brow lifts at Slip's words about the Wardens, though this not being his season, he shifts a little bit into a posture that suggests without saying so that he's listening without currently inserting himself into the proceedings. In point of fact, that the Beast is present in freehold dealings at all is something of a quiet marvel given the aloof nature of many a Beast. The scarred man is honestly not an exception to the rule.

His dark gaze flicks from face to face and on back to Sabbirah and on to Kiera. If he caught that stare in his sweep of the still gathering faces, then he's an impish tilt to one side of his mouth. This is a man used to being stared at whether it's for the multicolored glowing scars that are shifting with the way the tikis and bonfire are casting light, or if one were to briefly squint hard enough to see that striking Mask of his.

It's to these new-to-him faces that the Summer Courtier with his mantle of intense heat offers a couple of nods and a quiet, "Tris," so as to make friendly introduction without interrupting. His eyes cut sharply to Slip as she speaks though and something twitches his lips into a slight frown.


"The way it was explained to me," Ian says faintly, "they want to put us officially in the Accords, as a group. This Freehold follows the Accords." There's something poking out of his hair, and not his regular horns. These are newer, sort of fuzzy, and look a lot like deer antlers. They also aren't made of glass. "Or whatever. I guess we'll figure it out?" Go Spring Courtiers, so prepared. "Did they say anything like... how we're supposed to do that? Mine was all..." A frustrated flick of a glass hand, "Cryptic."


"Mornin'," Gast echoes to Sabbirah - tone nearly identical to the last time he'd said it, like his voice box were a slightly dysfunctional recording device, losing the fine details of prior statements along the way in a subtle, internal game of telephone. A grunt of the affirmative as Tris recollects his name correctly - he might have more to say, but there's what Slip is relaying to Ian. He continues to attend the exchange, listening in on the point of curiosity that is the request from without. And rather than offer input immediately, he lets his partly-clockwork gaze wander to the reactions of those others gathered around the bonfire while taking another long sip from his cup. He keeps a neutral countenance throughout. The flickering of flames display unevenly across his discordant eyes. Likewise, flickers of distraction cause his inspection to include marshmallows skewered on the flame, the emergence of antler's on the winged one (were those there minutes ago?), and the table of future drinks to consume - but for the most part, he keeps his attentiveness to the essentials of exchange and audience.


Gast's subtle greeting is answered with a not-at-all-subtle happy wave of her Kiera's free hand as she makes her way to the table holding food and drink, where she sets down the little basket and produces from it a small canteen. Is it rude to bring your own to a gathering like this? Hopefully not. It's just that Amaranth tea is REALLY hard to come by save for what she makes herself. You'll have to excuse her. Pouring a cup of the canteens content into a cup and taking a sip of it, and then grabbing a sandwich of some sort from the table, she makes her way towards the bonfire where most of the other people seems to be gathering. Yay, bonfire! Those are fun. Another sip of tea as she looks between the others and listens in on the conversations going, before the cup is lowered and it's apparently time for introductions proper. "Hi. I'm Kiera," she addresses everyone in once go, strands of fiery hair wisping impishly about her heart-shaped face on the faint, spring-scented breeze that always surrounds her. A short flicker of embarrassment plays over her features, painting her cheeks a faint pink. "Am I late?" The question lingers in the depth of her blue eyes. If she is, she doesn't -really- look overly concerned about it, to be fair. A bite of her sandwich and another sip of tea to wash it down.


The marshmallows are indeed left in the fire for a bit too long, only pulled back once they are charred on one side as the flame laps around to the other side of marshmallow flesh, engulfing it and burning all white away. Sabbirah pulls it closer to her mouth then, examining it and turning the skewer this way and that until her treat has reached the perfect crisp, and only then does she lift the stick to her mouth and blow against it as if it were a dandelion. With the flame out, the woman goes about very carefully plucking at the charred skin, pinching it between sharpened fingers to languidly pull away from the creamy marshmallow beneath. She opens her mouth and accepts the charred bits, then completes her snack and puts the skewer aside, smooshing the chocolate and crackers together around the gooey marshmallows. She gives it just a second to cool before taking another bite, and with it being chewed thoughtfully she really settles in. Inky black eyes take in each person, scanning them as if committing their every detail to memory. Whether it comes across as staring or not, Sabbirah doesn't seem to bat an eye at it.


Slip's shoulders sink ever so slightly with barely perceptible relief when her gaze flicks upward toward the new growth sprouting past Ian's hair. Should she point the antlers out to anyone? Nah. They'll notice soon enough, surely. Her eyes meet his again as she shakes her head. "Mine was just a messenger. Polite--" The word is clipped just enough to suggest some tiny qualifier being mentally applied to that adjective. "--but not particularly well-informed. On our side, I imagine it's as easy as swearing, by the Wyrd, to abide by the Accords, as if our signatures didn't already note as much. My concern--" Her shoulders tighten slightly, a second needed to sort that odd tension out, to straighten a bit in defiance of the long-standing conditioning trying to deny her right to voice. "--is that we would need to see to that wording before we know how we'll be represented in the Accords." Her voice drops a bit, to more of a mutter, as she adds, "Which, I imagine, means a delegation meeting with the Wardens and-or the other primary signatory organizations to agree to our role... here..." Her attention strays off to nowhere and no one in particular--except maybe Sabbirah's charred marshmallow--as she takes another half-step closer to Gast... which places her just a little more properly behind him. Autumn Shield Activated. She'll leave it to somebody else to assure Kiera she's right on time.


The frowning Crimson Courtier, whose mantle has begun to shimmer with summery heat in answer to a touch of mood (no one worry, it's not like he's from the Court of Wrath or anything), opens his mouth as if to speak-- perhaps he has some answers? But whatever words were on his tongue evaporate as his dark gaze finds Ian's hair altered. Altering? Something. The frown vanishes and he grins broadly. "Well, that's done then." He slides his phone out of his pocket and is tapping out a text before he nods to his glass-dragon friend, not watching as he quips. "Looks like you have something on your head, Ian." Just the Crown of Spring. It's fine. If that's not enough deference for a newly minted monarch... well, Summer, amirite?


"What?" is Ian's first response, and "Shit," and he reaches up to poke around in his glass hair, "Get it off?" Did some ash fly up there or something? Glass doesn't burn, he'll be f-- oh fuck. "Uh." He's figured out that there are horns. And they're not dragon horns, which he /has/ and which sweep back from his head like regular ordinary horns that he's used to, curling upwards so as to make sleeping possible. They're fucking /antlers/. "What the-- oh god." Hyperventilation time. He... gives one of them a tug - and the whole set comes off as a single whole... hat. "Oh thank fuck." It's made of natural materials like leather and wood, and the horns seem to be literally growing out of it - and sprouting flowers as they do.


Gast isn't one to bat an eye at someone staring - he does a great deal of it himself. Sabbirah and the marshmallows remain a distraction as the latter are skinned for the smore. But for the most part, his focus remains still with the subject at hand around the bonfire; the sinking of Slip as she goes from relaying to voicing concerns to stepping closer to an Autumn shield. He grunts, apparently in agreement with the notion of caution moving forward to meet said request. "Seems wise to check and ensure the wording doesn't leave us vulnerable," he inputs - not too strongly, as he's rather new to the area and still getting a feel for the room. "Gast," he answers Kiera. "And right on time, I think," he adds, for the confirmation of the crown's arrival from Tris. A slight skew of a smirk finding its place upon his lips as he notes the reluctance plain in Ian's reaction - the recognition finally makes itself clear, where he knows the face from.


Slip's focus skirts back to Ian as Tris points out the burden sprouting on the new monarch's head, as glass hands go up to feel about. She breathes a quiet laugh for the emotions that play out, maybe especially for the relief which comes with the crown's removal, but she otherwise keeps entirely quiet for the moment, having already said plenty. Finishing of her sandwich, she again brushes crumbs off on her jeans then reaches over to try to claim Gast's coffee cup again, this time without any promise of even exchange. Or actually asking.


With another melty, gooey, crunchy bite of smore in her mouth, Sabbirah turns her dark gaze upon the current distraction: Ian's growing horns. This causes for a slender eyebrow to arch thoughtfully, and the woman watches with what could be taken as amusement, those dark eyes glittering again, unblinking. She swallows her bite, pausing in taking another, and she examines how it plays out until the horn is popped off. That earns a craning tilt of her head and a wicked grin that shows very sharp teeth within that wide mouth of hers. She is most definitely amused by it. What a fun trick. As her neck straightens out again she resumes eating the smore, doing so in a very calculated, meticulous way to ensure no food smears upon lip or chin. It is a messy snack, after all.


"Mm," Tris only barely looks up from his phone for another moment, glancing up just in time to watch the glass dragon with his own impressive set of horns take off the new impressive set of horns. "Yeah, you can take it off, but it's still yours. You can learn a trick of getting it blended in, too." Except some monarchs never quite did it perfectly and ended up sparkling as a result. It amused everyone but the Winter Season's King, so that's fine. He takes quick stock though, glancing around. "The good news is that not only are we all here to swear to the freehold..." He squints a little at Slip in afterthought. "Accords? Mm." Clearly he has some opinions there but this is not Summer's season, "But you have members of your own court to support you." ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY, Y'ALL. (It's very obvious from the pasted-on smile that Tris is laughing on the inside.)


Sabbirah's assault on the smore draws Kiera's attention for a short moment before the young fiery haired Spring Courtier looks to Gast with a smile at the confirmation of her being right on time. She seems quite happy to hear this, taking another sip of tea and simply nods as to not interrupt those speaking. But then Ian is all freaking out, and her cheeks turn bright pink and a hand is lifted to shield the giggle spilling from her lips from turning into a full-on laugh, just barely keeping the tea from spurting out her nose. She holds up a hand in amused apology, but it takes more than a short moment for her amusement to subside again, and even then she seems to struggle to keep it from re-appearing, lips kept firmly pressed together to keep from starting to laugh and eyes dancing with mirth. She's easily amused, it's fiiiine.

It's probably painfully obvious to everyone that Kiera doesn't know much about accords or the rituals that goes with the Changing of seasons quite yet, but she does her best to pretend, nodding along with most everything that is said and affecting as serious a demeanor as she can manage. Which isn't very. It's probably not fooling anyone.


Crap. People are probably expecting Ian to do... something. He plops down on one of the logs around the fire and sets the crown in his lap. It's getting bigger, proper leafy horns actively growing right in front of their eyes. "Okay." That's a buy-time sort of phrase. He manages /not/ to say 'um'. For a moment, the glass Elemental shuts his eyes and thinks back to the last time he swore an oath. "Same oath as last time except... make it a little more permanent, but not completely. And include the Accords. Uh." His Fetch was the one who was good with words, not him. "How about... I will not knowingly yadda yadda... for a year and a day after I leave the Freehold - should be plenty of time to become aware of problems and threats - and then... so long as I am a member of the Freehold I willl abide by the Accords." He frowns. "We need paper, anybody got paper?"


Gast releases his cup to Slip without any issue - grip loosened and then withdrawn as she takes the coffee-whiskey mix (or what is left of it) from his hand. If he'd still had it, he might have lifted it to the new monarch. His posture shifts without the drink, each of his hands slanding partway into the pants pockets of his suit. Casually observant. A flare of his nostrils as he smells the woodsmoke off the bonfire while Ian considers oaths, as if looking for omens in salted woodsmoke and ash. He doesn't miss a beat for the request, though, fishing his smartphone out of one of those pants pockets that his hands have occupied. It's in one of those 'wallet cases' frequented by the elderly and the practical - only, inside is a clipped notepad. He detaches it along with a stubby pencil to hand over. "I've signed the accords," he admits, freely. "But how does our sort come off as a community, in them?" It's an open question. An angle he hasn't researched himself.


The commotion by the food where Ian stands is something that draws a lot of attention, really. In a celebration that has been largely low-key ramping up to the kind of fling Spring is known for, the motions of the new monarch with his crown pulls several eyes of the Lost of all seasons dotted across the party zone. A slender young man with a shock (literal shock) of white hair begins picking his way across the space. The graceful man weaves around pockets of Lost mingling and socializing to come stand not near, but within earshot of what's going on right over there where the Spring Court is coming into its own. For all that the Changeling looks like the kind of trouble Spring would like, Summer's embrace toys with the air around this young man.


Oh? Suppressed laughter? Sabbirah's dark gaze is now returning to its work of taking in details of each person, and they happen to settle upon Kiera just as the young woman is clearly trying not to let her laughter escape. As if witnessing this sort of expression and restraint was new for the woman, Sabbirah forgets all about her smore and allows it to hang from her left hand at her side, crumbs falling to the grass below and chocolate threatening to drip like oil. Sabbirah glides smoothly over towards Kiera then, only stopping once she is near the woman, but not too close. Though apparently curious, she isn't going to invade her personal space; she'll just teeter right on the edge of it at her side, face turned and watching her, drinking in the reaction as she listens to the conversation around her.


Slip casts a sympathetic look past Gast's shoulder toward Kiera, the amusement shared if not quite to the same degree. It's easy to hid her smile behind the not-quite-stolen coffee cup, one swig taken, then another when she realizes that one last swallow is about all that's left. She'll buy him another later. Maybe. For now, she keeps hold of the paper cup and turns her visual focus toward Ian while one hidden ear remains tilted toward Tris, just in case his as-yet-withheld opinions eke their way into the conversation. The other, its metallic lobe just barely visible past a fall of dark hair, pivots toward the din among the crowd, toward the unnamed stranger weaving through the groups. "I'd never yadda yadda, knowingly or otherwise," she jokes quietly, though the set of her dark brows and the curl of her voice both imply some other question, expectation that might echo the Autumn darkling's inquiry.


Tris, as Ian's friend, should probably be offering some kind of help. But he's just not there anymore, perhaps distracted by his phone, maybe faded off into the background, but soon enough it will become apparent that the Beast is just gone.


Having finally subdued her amusement enough for the hand to be removed from shielding her mouth, Kiera takes another bite of her sandwich and munches on it happily as she continues to listen in to the words shared among the others. "What about something with cake?" she chirps out her suggestion, her gaze settling on Ian for the moment. Because cake is clearly a priority. Clearly...ahem.... She doesn't seem to be joking, either, just looking at Ian with a sweet smile and big eyes as she waits for an answer. Yep, she doesn't really understand what's going on here at all. When she notices the form of Sabbirah gliding towards her, however, her attention shifts to look at the other woman, a warm smile and a happy little wave of sandwich that sends little crumbs flying everywhere in greeting. She does pause for a split-second as her gaze finds those piercing black eyes of the other woman, but the warmth never leaves her features. "Hello. I'm Kiera. I love your dress!" she says, the latter comment exclaimed with a sincere cheer.


Cake? Ian looks up and squints at Kiera, then cracks a grin. "I mean. There's probably cake on the buffet table." He shoves up and dusts his backside off. "I'm going to scribble something up and if any notaries happen to be around please come by and give a hand. For now: Party time." He shoulders his way to the side to go sliding towards the Center itself, so as to get those pen and papers he needs. "Oh! All of you are welcome to stay, we have room!" he calls back, his voice carrying easily, like a trumpet.


Gast refolds his phone case without the fresh notepad he'd handed over. He likely has spares. He slips the phone, and his hand, back into his pants pocket of his gray fitted suit. Attention going out - briefly - to those others around them drawn to the appearance of the crown, as he awaits an answer to his question. No additional greetings paid in the meantime. Just a brow-raise for the addition of 'cake'. He gives a slight nod - scribbles, and open inquiries for notaries to pitch in. Further scrutiny is all his question likely implies he seeks. And the state of him - tired, with tie already loosened - is amenable enough to partying. It's an opportunity that pulls his attention toward the drinks table for a second visit, now that he's handed off the dregs of his spiked coffee to Slip. "Good luck," he offers Ian - neutral and serious enough in tone that it might be a genuine wish, rather than just a polite gesture. His notepad and pencil return to the case of his phone, which in turn returns to his pants pocket.


"Thank you," comes the soft voice of Sabbirah as she turns her body slowly to face Kiera, and now having done so she looks the woman over once more from ear tip to toe. She even leans in a bit closer to the woman to slowly inhale that scent of vanilla and roses, which brings a very faint smile to her lips. As she pulls away to stand tall once more, Sabbirah offers her name, "Sabbirah," and then looks back to those who work on writing. She'll stay for longer to sign what they agree upon, but for now she fades into the background.


Slip tracks Ian's departure a bit more directly than that of the summer beast who slipped off with minimal notice. She doesn't follow, doesn't press, certain the new monarch needs a moment to adjust to the weight of the crown and all the responsibility suddenly thrust upon him. Her ears shift and pivot to follow various threads of conversation around them as the party proper amps up, but her gaze goes to Gast, tracking his consideration of the drinks table and offering an unsolicited, "Yes." Without waiting, she heads that direction, throwing out the empty cup on the way so that she has both hands free to pour a bit more of that single malt, without any coffee to contaminate it, for both herself and the once-detective. And, with a glance about, to anyone else who might care to partake. The farther they get into proper morning, the less acceptable their drinking becomes. Best to see to it now!


Ian's reply has Kiera's attention shift to him again. She looks a little confused, blinking a few times, though the smile stays undiminished on her lips. She probably meant that cake should be included in the oath...somehow. Her lips move as if to speak, but then the word 'party' is spoken and any words she might have had on the subject remains unspoken - which is probably not a huge loss to the conversation as a whole - and her eyes widen and her lips shape into a little 'o'. Party...that words she understands, unlike several other terms flung about in the flickering light of the bonfire. "Ok. Good luck." she offers, echoing Gast's words, as she waves her sandwich at the new Monarc as she watches him depart to....write stuff? Probably write stuff. Then back to Sabbirah, whom she'll spend a little more time talking to, a silvery, tinkling giggle sounding out from where the two women are standing on more than one occasion, before Sabbirah slips into the background and Kiera turns to make her way towards the table holding drinks with a cheery spring (hur hur) to her every step. Any more, and she'd practically be skipping the short distance from bonfire to table. Can you really blame her, tho? Spring is here! Everything is great! And nothing bad ever happened.


A grunt that might be thankful as Slip makes the trip to the drinks for the both of them - and Gast watches her go to collect them before the crackle of the fire, exploding splinters into ash and charring greater expanses of wood to what will soon become ash, draws his gaze. He stares distantly into the fire, tracing shapes into the ephemeral of the flame's fleeting existence - himself, shadowed only on the side not facing the fire, to be fully exposed only as the sun will rise over their occasion of monarchs and oaths. A brief pondering noise, an 'mm', is made as he seems to acknowledge a point made by the bonfire as it consumes its fuel. He steps away from it, a little closer to the bar for his distance from the crackle. His gaze - half-clockwork - returns to sweep over those remaining.


Whatever Kiera had meant to snag from the plentiful selection of drinks, Slip offers over a red solo cup containing about an inch of an amber liquid, which she might find to be a lovely single malt whiskey should she choose to take a taste. Lovely and potent. There's surely a bit of burn to it, more than one might want at this hour, but maybe the carmel notes make up for it. Whether the offer is accepted or not, the darkling will, in the end, have enough drinks poured to pass one over to Gast when he moves closer, as she steps away from the table to let the other early morning drinkers pick their poisons. "You're still here." It's not quite a toast, delivered as a matter-of-fact observation. There's something unspoken in the off-center smile she turns to him, but her focus ends up settled on Kiera as she lifts her cup more properly and says, "To our hatless heads," in celebration of the crown ending up anywhere else. Poor Ian.


After quite a while of hemming and hawing, probably with Slip looking over his shoulder, Ian comes trudging back. By this point, staff has cleared out and the drinking is well underway. "Here's what we've got." The paper gets laid on a picnic table, complete with many corrections and edits, and Ian drops onto the picnic bench, wings spreading and drooping to either side. The Crown gets set on the table next to it.


Gast steps to meet Slip as she aways from the bottles with drinks. He takes his as unceremoniously as he'd given over his own coffee drink - just a natural habit of passing things back and forth. "When I swear the oath, I'll be here awhile," he retorts - a warning or an out, said with an edge of humor. A crooked smile answering her own before he takes a long sip off the whiskey. And he lifts his drink to the toast of the hatless, despite being of the wrong season to have been a candidate. It seems a pleasant thought to honour. The camera-aperture of his clockwork eye whirs gently as his pupil widens, away from the brightness of the flame. "May we relieve the burdens of that heavy hat, whichever ways we are talented to," he adds. Then he takes another drink, as if the cup were fresh for the toast. The time that passes is spent likewise, by Gast. Drinking. Even eating a little while they await the return of the newly crowned monarch from their scribbling. He allows the gravity of the rolled out paper to pull him into its orbit, wordlessly casting his gaze down upon the surface and reading.


Slip isn't a notary. Neither is she sober. However, she is exceptionally good at assisting others as a matter of habit, nature. It's what Arcadia made her. Of course, she assists with a drink in hand. That's what she's chosen for herself. It's important. Which is probably why she heads over to get a refill when Ian sets the crown down and lets the others get a look at it. And maybe why she snags another for the new monarch. The first bit of work's nearly finished. He's due a little fun, right? The second cup is nudged his way when she joins the gathering around the table, not voicing her approval of the work she'd already signed off on. Instead, she stands ready. And watching Gast. Is he sure about this?


Ian squints up as Gast reviews it - and oh dear god, alcohol? He takes that right away and tosses it back in a quick gulp. There's a sigh afterwards that resembles the fabled sigh you get from drinking a fresh cold can of soda. "Oh my god thank you," he says to Slip, taking a deep breath in the aftermath. Holy hell that was good.

"What do you think?" he asks Gast eventually, wings jittering behind him, crossing and uncrossing themselves.


Gast takes his time, eyes tracking from line to line - a careful inspection of what's been proposed. And an agreeable grunt along the way, which indicates that he likes something within it. He only takes a break halfway through in order to take a sip off his red solo cup. Approaching the end, he's nodding slightly to himself - amenable to the conditions proposed, and the idea of sticking around (though the conditions of coming and going appear rather flexible). He glances up from the paper, to Slip, and waits a moment before answering Ian. "It puts most of my concerns to bed," he admits, with regard to his earlier questions. "I'd swear it," he adds. "I mean, I will." A correction added late as it sets in that he'll be remaining for a term. An apologetic smile for the flub that appears too crookedly cocky for his own good.


Slip dips her head in a shallow, well-practiced nod that isn't delivered quite as crisply as she imagines it, habits loosening under the assault of early morning whiskey. And the whole night's worth of drinking that preceded it. Still, she looks pleased to have been helpful to Ian in this particular regard, maybe standing just a smidge straighter in evidence of minor pride. Her intoxicated smile skews leftward when Gast looks her way, edging toward smirk without ever arriving. "No easy excuse," she tells her fellow darkling, though she leaves out the rest of the thoughts around it. He's smart. He'll figure it out. With a nod to Ian and a glance to the rest of the gathered Lost, she agrees, "I'll swear it."


The delighted smile that appears on Ian's face is relieved and slightly intoxicated - whiskey or wine on an empty stomach is fun, and no, he hasn't eaten all morning because anxiety. "Okay then." He lays a hand on the crown and recites the oath, reading it right off the paper because honestly, his voice might tremble if he doesn't. Glamour spills out of him, marking it properly, according to the Wyrd. When it's done, he slumps and takes a shaky breath. As long as the hat's not on his head, he's not in charge, right?


Along the way through the morning and toward the light, Gast has seen fit to straighten up his tie. He looks mostly put together, despite a pallor to suggest inebriation and the smoky bite of whiskey on his breath to back that up. There are still bags beneath his eyes, to note. "Guess not," he retorts, to Slip, smile and all. That's two Darkling declared sworn, at the very least. He straightens up with just a touch of unbalancing sway to his posture, attempting to at least try and give the initial reciting of the Oath its respectful due. He doesn't go so far as to put his hand on his heart, though - he's not so chemically altered to forget the difference between an anthem at a sporting event, and a speech such as this. Nevermind the fact that his heart tics and tocs within his chest, rather than beats. He gives a nod in place of applause. Good job.


"So..." Ian looks past them towards the other Lost in the area. "Don't suppose I can have another cup of something - maybe wine this time? I think I'm stuck sitting here for this shindig." Two Darklings Oathed, and one Elemental - it's a good start, but the list is long and there are plenty of people here yet to swear. "What else do we need to do? I've never done this. No one's done this. Except maybe Jules." Must not hyperventilate. "He was the Winter King." Until just now.


Slip's glamour joins all the rest as she swears on the antler crown. Applause might not be an appropriate conclusion, but maybe a toast is? Wordless, mind, but she does lift her cup to upend its smoky contents... even if the swiftness with which she drinks that whiskey evokes a quiet cough at the end. "You're doing great," comes out just a teensy bit raspy when she looks to Ian, offering encouragement to counter his slump. "We prolly shouldn't wait too long before sending someone to the Wardens. And you might wanna think about..." There was a thought! She had it! And then it floated off on whiskey river. Give her just a second... "Things. Later. Tomorrow. Cuz today? It's for celebration. There's wine. And cake." It's a question. Would he like some? Would Gast? Why are her hands clasped behind her back like that?


"I think all you need to do is order it so," Gast quips, on the subject of more to drink. Though he expects that the Spring of the two Darklings is already up to actualizing this. And he finishes off his current cup as Slip provides an answer to what needs doing, and how to emotionally cope with what lies ahead. "And be prepared to share the burden. Find people who are good at what they do, and put the weight of it on them," he advises, after Slip. Whom he inspects, briefly, squinting at her posture as he offers over his cup. Likely a yes on the wine and a no on the cake. "But there's no rush for any of that, today," he adds, concerning the duties ahead - somewhat reluctantly, in tone. "The former King isn't here today?" he asks, moving on to curiosity to cover the reluctance of delaying work.


"I am not going to order people to do something I can damn well do myself," Ian grumbles... and then scrubs his face and looks up to Slip hopefully - only to furrow his glass brows as he recognizes her posture. "Hey. You okay? You're looking kinda stiff and stressed."

Gast's question gets answered with, "I think he's social distancing," in an aside with a wince. "This stupid bug is going to make Autumn so full of glamour this year." Ian makes a face because that's not /his/ preferred type of glamour, but it takes all types.


"I'm offering," Slip points out on the wake of Ian's first words toward Gast. She takes the autumn courtier's cup without thinking about it. Not until she's ask if she's alright. Blink. Why wouldn't she be? Oh. Uh. That. It's silly, really, the way her shoulders go slack on command and then settle into a reasonable posture. "Not stressed," she promises. Without any clarification about that reflexive shift. Blame the booze, right? Right. Speaking of! She slips off toward the drink table to find an appropriate bottle of wine. Something white and crisp and bright, well-suited to a spring morning, to all the promise ahead of them. The cake can wait. For now, she delivers drinks. And then plunks herself down. If she's sitting, she isn't serving. Which means she's a little safer when she asks the newly crowned monarch, "Are you alright?"


"Of course not. It all comes down to how much you can juggle, alone, under all that weight," Gast concedes to Ian - or seems to. If Slip is the good cop, offering respite and drinks - he must be the bad cop, feeding anxieties in the name of preparation and duty. And the buffet of emotions his season is so utterly keen on? "Hard not to overindulge at the grocery store," he admits. There's been no shortage of glamour - not that fear is ever hard to come by in the paranoia urban quarters, these nights. Unashamed by utilizing the opportunities at hand, so long as he's not making things worse. And he watches Slip for her answer to Ian, veiling his curiosity well, even without a drink to hide behind, and watching all the same, even after she's off to fetch the bottle of white.


Damn, with these two on his side Ian can't help but stay on the straight and narrow - or at least the well-behaved-in-public. "Okay, good," he says to Slip, watching her go. Once she's sitting, he takes the wine and reaches out to pour some for everybody because, like he said, do it himself when he can... mostly. "I dunno. I nearly had a heart attack there. I don't need more horns. My heart's still racing." That damn crown is now bigger than Ian's own horns and he eyes it a bit warily, setting aside the bottle now that drinks are poured for them all. In the meantime, a woman with satyr horns is now speaking the oath with perfect, painted lips, and Ian gives that the attention it deserves for just a moment.

Once that's done, he looks towards Gast, then Slip, then confesses, "I'm a Dragon." He sounds like a Nightsinger but those horns and wings don't lie - and when Keepers work their evil magic, well, why not both? "I've been scared spitless since I heard about this crown thing that my greedy side would grab it and hang on. If you - or anyone else - see me even /think/ about not stepping down when the Seasons change, you've got my invitation to kick my ass in the righteous way it deserves."


Slip would be both delighted and dismayed to learn she's been filed under Good Influence for Public Behavior. The wine she's offered only inspires half of those emotions, her smile so very pleased as she gives the cup a little swish, gives its contents a little sniff. "I'd be terrified, too," she admits on her way to taking her first sip. When he turns to mind the oath-swearing, she keeps an ear angled that way while she looks to Gast. It would really be a great time to indulge in some side conversation, a brief exchange while the monarch's momentarily occupied, but no, she just smiles his way, steadily, much like the eye contact she maintains.

Her head turns to match the facing of her ear, that alignment seen only as a shift in how her dark hair is hanging, when Ian confesses his particular strange nature. "Best thing about summer's that they won't letcha keep it without a fight." Okay, maybe not objectively best, but certainly in this context, at least! With a curious tilt of her head, she wonders, "Do you worry more about wanting the power, the attention, the pretty symbol competing with your own pretty horns?"


Gast takes his poured white. He doesn't state a preference for or against this kind of wine, as any might suit his state and desire. But he drinks it slowly, while the three converse. "You've got my word," he promises, to the request from Ian - in a dry enough way that he might be serious. He's likely serious. He sits, taking a spot at the table rather than remain standing and leaning as he's so prone to. It implies that he's in no hurry to get anywhere, doing his best to set matters of work and duty for more distant hours. And he watches Slip's regard as if trying to recall something - what might constitute average behavior. But that last question she asks Ian, the humor in it, it earned further smiling and a reprieve from scrutiny as he chuckles, slightly. It's a raspy sound, like he's got rust in his lungs to go with the clockwork eye and the tic-toc of his heart. "Is Summer a pressing force, out here?" he asks, as a more practical-curious follow up. "Do they have numbers?"


Slip's point about Summer actually makes Ian relax some and break into a smile - she's right. The Summers would kick his /tail/ if he tried it. Her question takes a moment to answer and while he does that, his lips click against the cup and he sips a bit of wine and thinks. "It's... well... the Winter King's hat was shiny. I like shiny things." He seems almost sheepish about it. "This hat," he looks towards his own, "this Crown will be easier to give up, I think." A slouch of relief and he looks over at Gast, and cracks a smile. "I'll hold you to that." Not literally - technically he could Seal that promise, but Gast could unseal it with just a thought, so no point in wasting the glamour. "They have... a lot of people? Sort of? Summers are a /presence/. You walk into the room with them and everything is dimmer than they are and you forget for a moment that there's really only one of them in the room - they feel like an army. I'm friends with two of them, they helped me burn my house down." A debt which Ian will always be grateful for. "I'm sure there are more." Some of whom are coming to swear the Freehold Oath.


"They text," Slip informs Gast. Nevermind that she's got the wrong they. And the wrong definition of numbers. It's only when Ian answers what was actually asked that she catches up and lets out a little, "Oh," of realization. And then a little beat of laughter. And a knit of her brows as she considers attempting an explanation. But there are more interesting things being discussed. Like a desire for shinies which she doesn't judge. Not in the least. Those paying particularly close attention might catch a bit of resolve at something Ian says, but she does't give that thought any voice, keeping it--greedily--to herself for the moment. Especially when she's distracted by the house-burning. "Razing the past?" sounds more like a prompt than a specific inquiry, a nudge for more information.


A serious, subtle nod of 'consider it done' - Gast can abide by Ian holding him to that promise. Despite professional attire, he doesn't keep a formal posture as he sits, leaning more to one side, legs stretched out ahead of him. He nearly returns to laughter at Slip's 'text' comment, but keeps it in at a smile. "I hope they like the Accords as well you do," he says of Summer - voice still carrying the slight rasp that his chuckle activated. And he does get around to the point of the scorched house after a reassessment of Ian and the crown on the table. "Building a better future?" he adds to Slip's question, regarding the house. The old law enforcement section of his brain comes to life a little later, and he adds, "Insurance scam?" Not that he sounds critical of such an act, maintaining the same casual tone that he's adopted for the conversation since the start. Only slightly flippant, at the worst end of it.


"When I got back from Arcadia," Ian says quietly, keeping his voice down because the Darklings can hear him just fine, "I ended up very close to where my Fetch was performing. I went in and killed him." The barest sliver of something a lot like hate glimmers there under his carefully controlled, quiet voice. "I tried to undo the damage he'd done, but security ended up rushing me out of there, thinking I was him. They took me home. Thing is... when I was in Arcadia, I was in a House. His House." His voice gets even more hushed. "I was an ornament on a goddamn shelf. I didn't move for years. I /grew up there/. I got home? And my Fetch had been living in a house that was an exact fucking replica of my Keeper's House." A sharp shudder jitters through him and his wings rustle and shift uneasily. Ian sips his wine to calm his nerves, then focuses on the two Darklings to add, "Tris and Robin helped me burn it down."


Slip issues a quiet, "Mm," of agreement for Gast's observation about Summer's potential attitude toward the Accords, certain there's gonna be a whole lot to unpack in that regards both sooner and later. But not right now. For the moment, all of her attention is on Ian, eyes slightly widened with clear curiosity. Until she winces at the detail about the house, at the profound cruelty of that realization. She breathes, "Shit," quietly as she takes a moment to try to understand that awfulness. "I can't even imagine. I'm so sorry I brought it up."


Confessing murder of a magical creature to a former detective? Gast doesn't blink. His grunt that he answers it with indicates that he approves of the initiative taken in performing the act, though he doesn't go so far as to voice anything similar on his end to relate - doesn't even bring up his fetch. "Good call - burning it, I mean. Fire does a good job of eating up the evidence of what caused it," he reviews, at the practical end of things. Bonfire still flickering away in defiance of the dawn. "Though, that's mostly a boon when it's someone else's property. He weighs those points and takes a drink after baring a sympathetic smile. He lets the other two guide them away from the subject of the Accord and how the Summers might see it, for less dutiful subjects. Like traumatic personal histories.


Ian looks... honestly grateful to be understood and his bizarre methods in that instance even appreciated. "Thanks. It's fine, it happened and now it's past." A smile flickers up and he looks over at the crown, which... seems to be done acquiring swearings at last. "I'm sorry for bringing the discussion down. It's just... I have a strong appreciation of Summer, thanks to those two. I know you're right, Slip, they'd never let me keep it, and hanging on would be a bad idea anyway." His smile flashes up, suddenly merry. "So... Spring parties. Celebrate what we are, be happy, at least for today." This really does seem to be it - hear oaths and drink. Ian can get on board with this.


Slip's smile arrives slightly before it should. Maybe she reads that relief in Ian's expression before his own smile surfaces. And her smile grows with impish curiosity as she looks to her fellow darkling to wonder, "Why, Gast, have you ever burned down someone else's property?" with genuine interest tucked behind teasing amusement. She keeps an ear turned toward him even as she looks back to Ian and insists, "That's good," of his appreciation for Summer. "Means we've got a good community. And that we'll have little to worry about when the seasons turn." But she doesn't linger on the politics talk when the call for happiness is made. Cup lifted, she calls for a toast, declaring, "To who we are, who we'll become, and those who'll help us get there." She steals a soft, sidelong look toward Gast just before she drinks to that.


"No harm in assessing those you appreciate," Gast comments. Though the assessed may beg to differ, when friends treat friends to interrogation. He doesn't voice any such concerns. And when Slip asks after his history with fire, he pauses to think, before supplying, "Never an entire house." Which is a vague enough 'yes'. He lifts his half-finished glass of white, at Ian's stated decision and at Slip's toast honoring it, even as it sets matters of duty for another hour; the freckles of rust beneath his eyes framing his discordant gaze and its steadiness despite inebriation as he submits to the will of the room and continues to indulge - not that he would likely have stopped drinking, regardless. He meets the glance from Slip, and drinks to her toast, cutting a half down to a quarter as he hides the smile that comes to be.


Never an entire /house/? Ian smothers a laugh and drinks deep of his wine, then reaches for the bottle to refill it. "Gotta love that answer," he comments cheerfully. "Can I ask why you two came here? It's pretty clear you sort of know eachother." A nod towards Gast, then Slip. "No offense I hope. It's just... you behave like you might've known each other for a while?"


Slip delights in Gast's answer, firelight glinting prettily in the odd distance of her eyes. Maybe later, she'll press for an exhaustive list and the stories to go with it. For now, she tips her cup toward Ian when he reaches for the bottle again, happy to have her drink topped of while the sun creeps a little higher in the sky. "He's stalking me," she lies without missing a beat. To her king. As one does. More sincerely, she explains, "I've been here since January. New year, new life." Or something like that. Nevermind the eyeroll. "But we've known each other for years. Or did. Back home." That seems like the right point to shut up and look to Gast, to gauge how much he's comfortable sharing about the overlap in their pasts.


"Most of a condo, once. And a couple of cars - does an RV count?" Gast specifies, to a point. His brow furrowing as he considers the classification of a roving home. And he hardly hurries to justify or explain the acts, shrugging in conclusion, undecided. His initial answer to Ian is easy enough, though is preceded by a glance at Ian, "I'm a private investigator, of a sort." Translation, 'unlicensed'. "A case brought me abroad." And, without missing a beat or ruining the bit. "Stalking was just an opportunity provided by my movement. We got in touch within a week of me showing up." He really hasn't been here long, but he is a signatory. And now, additionally, Oathed. "Miami," is what he confirms, to the conclusion of Slip's take. He doesn't seem all that anxious regarding the details - jaw perhaps wired just a little more tight than before - and neither does he rush to expand further on the details provided. "How long have you been in the city?" he asks Ian in turn. "Were you able to get a job after the house burning, or was the insurance payout generous?"


"RV counts," Ian says firmly. He looks amused, though, and he looks between them with something approaching delight. The question's been asked though, and he says, "I popped out in November. Apparently my Fetch was rich. So... I built this place, then we burned the old one down. The insurance is still finagling with the lawyers." And will be for a while, no doubt - that house was worth a mint. "I wanted someplace the Lost could come when they first get out that would be /safe/." That's important, from the emphasis. "Speaking of, you guys should bring new arrivals here unless you're unsure of them in some way. We'll at least give them food and counseling and a place to sleep."


Slip's smile sharpens with keen amusement when Gast runs with her little fib, not wholly inacurrate in its substance. But aside from a nod to confirm their shared point of origin, she says nothing more about their history. "Oh wow," escapes her before she can censor herself when Ian reveals how recently he returned from Arcadia, but she rolls with it, noting, "This is a lot of good work for such a short time. Not all freeholds--" Of which she's seen a few in her time. "--come together so quickly." With a glance toward the housing, she wonders, "Are those just for anyone fresh from the hedge..?" She leaves off what she really means to ask, if borderline destitute underemployed transplants are welcome to them as well.


It counts. Gast accepts that ruling with a nod that overrules his earlier shrug. And he leans back in his chair to look about when Ian states that he'd had this place built, and fairly recently at that. "I'd assumed someone had negotiated for the property," he admits - not that someone had built it to purpose. There's a tone to his voice for as much - respect. "You've come a long way in a short time. And cash well spent - bar and hot tub considered, I mean." A crooked grin to offset more genuine emotions that might bolster the pride of another. He is Autumn, after all. And again doesn't go so far as to relate what his initial months out of the hedge included. Though, he does look to Slip, here. "Will do, boss," he says to that later suggestion of bringing new sorts by - half-serious enough that he's treating it like an order. And when Slip asks after the housing, he follows the question to Ian without adding anything - curious to the answer as well, but maybe not for the same reason.


Wait, now Ian is the arbiter of what counts when burning things? This could be problematic. "Anyone can live there," he answers Slip firmly. "If we were crowded I'd give preference to the married couples, but since we're not, all those houses back there are free to move into." He cracks a grin. "This place used to be a warehouse. I had money and didn't know what to do with it, so I spent it, and money can do a /lot/. Thing is... dragons don't like cash. We like cold hard coin." The grin goes impish. "And hot tubs and swimming pools." And shiny hats, apparently. His new hat is not nearly so shiny as the Winter King's, though it is quite flowery. He glances at it and sighs. "If only I'd realized it was the shininess I wanted. I wouldn't have avoided the Winter King so hard. I kept having the urge to just... yank it off his head. Which is a bad idea." The wine has successfully loosened Ian's tongue. "Ahem. Weird urges aside... um. We've got closets inside if you guys want to grab bathing suits or something. And spare equipment. Just because you're not fresh out of the hedge doesn't mean you shouldn't be welcomed."


A note of agreement escapes Slip before she catches it, marking her agreement with Gast's approval of the addition of bar-and-hot-tub to the center's amenities. His glance her way is answered with an uneven shrug that might be read as a maybe had a question been asked. A thoughtful, "Mm," answers the assurance that anyone can move in, though her thoughts are derailed at the comment about married couples, a little laughter bubbling up at some passing thought she doesn't share. "Who doesn't?" she quips of hot tubs and swimming pools as if she has a collection of her own. Which she might, in a sense, if the swiftness with which she takes to covering that comment with a deep swig of wine is any indication. "There are more effective methods than yanking," seems to be her out-of-place serious contribution to this conversation, like maybe she could give a short lecture on how to convince other people to give you their things. The invitation to change, to make use of the facilities, has her looking between the pair. "I was considering sleep, but..." She could be convinced.


"I was married once," Gast quips. "Do I still count?" It's said in good humor. He says nothing more to colour an intent that he would move in - he's been here a week or so and his suit is laundered. He must be set, at least temporarily, in quarters. He squints, briefly, as if trying to imagine a warehouse in place of what's here now - and either fails or succeeds without fanfare when he returns to focus. "Feel free to send any of those unwanted non-coins my way," he says. This segues into more curiosity. "Why were you so keen on avoiding the Winter King?" he asks. A short exhale from his nostrils that might be a chuckle is added to Slip's notion of effective methods. When he's considered, along with the option of making use of the facilities, he shrugs within the shoulders of his suit. "Rain check?" is his proposal, likely sharing in lax energy from the early morning. Not negating the possibility of hitting up the facilities - but, rather, delaying the occasion. His word isn't final, regardless, given the tone of inquiry.


"I'm greedy," Ian says wryly. "I mean it when I say his crown was very, very sparkly. I kept thinking I wanted his power, and... that would be a threat to the Freehold. But turns out all I wanted was his hat, because now I have the equivalent power and I don't feel a damn thing except relieved and mildly annoyed." Hats. "Sleep is fine too. It's been a long morning. I haven't slept since last night." A toast towards Slip, then Gast, then Ian downs the last of his wine and flexes his wings to make sure he's not too wobbly to stand. "I need to not fall down and break something," the glass man decides.


"Saaame," Slip laments of the lack of recent sleep in a manner that suggests she's reintegrating with this generation just fine despite growing up in another. When Ian lifts his cup, she follows suit reflexively, finding there's a good bit less remaining than she'd expected, which might leave her sufficiently disappointed that she's considering making bad decisions. Like more drinking. But, no, the dragon has a point. Walking is gonna be hard enough already. "Rain check," she agrees. "But I do think I'll snag one of those houses--" Tiny as they are. "--until I can afford a place of my own again." It's been a rocky couple of months, clearly. "Thanks, Ian." Looking to Gast, she tips her head ever so slightly toward the community center, the easiest exit, possibly offering to see him out. Or stalk him in kind. Who knows. Really, she should probably use her words more.


"Most are," Gast says of greed, without so much as a hint of negative judgement in his voice. Just a point of face. An understanding sound follows, when Ian answers the question on that basis. "Relieved that you just wanted the hat, annoyed that you got what comes with it instead," he assesses aloud - perhaps a little more inebriated than intended as he spells out the obvious so plainly. He's the third to lift his cup, and finishes it in short order - downing the last that he'll down of the white wine, for now. He sets the cup down - and he looks to the houses, for his curiosity before returning to the matter of farewell. "Good luck," he says to Ian while Slip offers thanks - echoing the sentiment he'd sent with the new monarch to craft the oath. And he concedes direction, nodding at Slip as he heads toward the direction of her own incline.


"Go for it," Ian assures Slip. "It's what they're for." Gast's assessment gets a rueful smile and a nod of agreement. Then? To his feet he rises, carefully clinging to the edge of the table, just in case. Balance takes a moment to acquire. Then... out he sidles from the picnic bench and towards the CCC, maybe to get his own bathing suit, maybe to just pass out. He does pause to pick up the crown. It's sort of important, now that a bunch of people have sworn oaths on it.