Logs:City Park Swearing-In

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City Park Swearing-In

Characters: Orion and Stasya
Date: 2020-07-05
Summary: A new Changeling gets sworn into the Freehold.

City Park
          This 1300-acre park boasts the usual green space for runners,  
  bikers, and pedestrians among lush green grounds and tree-lined trails,
  but in addition, has many attractions and peculiarities that make it   
  unique to New Orleans. The oldest part of the park is home to the      
  world's largest collection of mature live oak trees, some more than 600
  years in age. One is known as the "Dueling Oak," under which men in the
  1800s would duel.                                                      
          Thirteen acres of the park are devoted to the Botanical        
  Gardens, hosting a large collection of temperate, tropical, and        
  sub-tropical plants, and also the New Orleans Train Garden with a      
  G-scale model train exhibit.                                           
          Carousel Gardens Amusement Park boasts a small roller coaster, 
  a carousel, and other rides, while Storyland is a children's playground
  that features several storybook-themed playground equipment and        
  exhibits. Art lovers can stroll through the Sculpture Garden or visit  
  the New Orleans Museum of Art, which is within the Park's grounds. In  
  addition, there are several sports stadiums, tennis courts, a golf     
  course, and mini-golf course.                                          

Early afternoon in New Orleans, thunderstorms and rain over a sky blanketed in clouds...

Most of City Park's huge expanse has been cleared out by the abrupt onset of thunder and heavy rain as a storm rolls in from the Gulf, but the place isn't entirely empty. Dressed in a generic, fitted blue t-shirt and black jogging shorts, Orion is making his way at a steady running clip down one of the footpaths of the park. There's something about the fresh rain falling in sheets around him that spurs him on, and he doesn't struggle to find his footing on sodden ground... though he is completely barefoot, and mud clings to his toes. Nature and the hunt are all too familiar to him, and after days being spent cooped up in the CCC's guest lodgings, this is a welcome return to his element.

A sudden crackle of lightning coiling draconic across the clouds overhead and a roar of thunder provides an extra jolt to his step, amber eyes burning up to a golden glow. Small but visible sparks of static electricity shudder across his torso and down his legs, redoubling his pace as he returns faster and without any particular destination.

He maintains this pace for a time, eventually coming up to a small and curved stonework bridge that has been set over a waterway among the trees and footpaths. He stops at the peak of the bridge's curve, inhaling deeply of the rain-smell and looking out at the indents of droplets falling over the nearby pond. Being absolutely sodden hasn't really occurred to him, long black hair tied back into a damp bundle that falls straight down along his neck.

The reports of probably afternoon storms didn't really concern Stasya when she also decided to flee the confines of the CCC for the afternoon. The Wizened has an umbrella and contrary to appearances, she probably won't melt even if she did get caught in a downpour. There is however something distinctly unpleasant about soaked shoes and even more so about being struck by lighting and so for the moment, she's sought cover in a picnic shelter not too far from the little stone bridge, watching the rain fall from the relative dry safety, but her lavender eyes do flicker over to the man running her way and stay focused when it's clear the man is Lost.

Finishing up his contemplation of the pouring rain striking the water after a few moments staring out into the middle distance, Orion stretches first his left leg back and then the right, before turning away from the bridge. He places a palm on the stonework as he walks: his expression is relaxed and fond, perhaps departing from his normal impassive visage because he believes he is largely alone here in the vast, somewhat wild space of City Park.

Some instinct does alert Orion to eyes upon him, however, after a few moments spent in reverie. Perhaps, if he were not so relaxed, it wouldn't have taken him that long. Regardless, he looks up and around the area before his gaze settles onto the picnic spot. He blinks once, from surprise or just clearing rainwater from his eyes, and then he's strolling right on over to that area and to Stasya. One of his hands waves up in a slightly stiff wave, an imitation of the custom here that he's not quite grasped enough to be familiar. A peal of thunder sounds, and Orion waits it out before opening his mouth to speak.

"Hello there," he half-says and half-calls over across the diminishing distance between them, "Is the weather always so nice here?" He's genuinely enthusiastic about the storm: aside from rivulets of water running down the contours of his face and his bare feet squelching slightly as he shifts from the stone bridge to muddier ground, Orion is managing a pretty dignified walk as he approaches.

"Others might complain of the heat, the humidity or the storms," the corner of Stasya's mouth twitch up into the beginnings of a smile as she tilts her head a little upwards, towards the roof above her where the rain is still loudly falling. "But part of the beauty of Summer is how fierce it can be." She does return the stiff wave, her own more formal, but still friendly enough. "You're new here?" Considering the heavy Russian accent with her words, the Wizened certainly isn't a local herself.

"Two days, I have been in this realm," Orion affirms his status as freshly arrived with a nod that sends a flurry of droplets falling from his face. He finally arrives under the shelter of the man-made structure covering the picnic area, pausing two steps after the curtain of rain which separates civilization and the storm outside. "I am Orion, of the Summer," he introduces himself directly with a short half-bow and a fist clasped over his heart, a more formal and comfortable greeting for him than the modern hand-waving. "Our kin have been generous enough to offer me accommodations at their center while I have gotten my bearings."

Raking a hand over his face to still the chaos of water droplets spilling over his countenance, Orion takes a few steps to lean against one of the support beams of the shelter. "I could get used to this weather," he says wistfully, looking out towards the horizon in time for another crackle of lightning. A responding crackle of electricity flashes across the depths of his eyes.

Stasya's eyes widen ever so slightly at the mention of just how recently the newcomer has arrived. "So fresh and already venturing out on your own? Far braver than I was... Adjustments can be hard. We all have had to make them in some form or other, so we help while we can." There may be memories tied to that, but she is doing her level-best to keep a stone face. She bows her head in return at the introduction. "And I'm Stasya Andreeva, also of Summer. Are you intending to stay in our Freehold?" She takes another glance up at the sky and the clash of lightning. "I cannot guarantee the weather will always be like this. Different storms will come. Some stronger even still."

"It seems many of our kin attach a special importance to this place," Orion murmurs thoughtfully, briefly looking over his shoulder at the picnic grounds before exhaling slowly. "...perhaps I do, as well. Something calls to me, here. But no, it is like any other place I have been to. Far less hostile, even." He comes back to his attention, and although his statuesque features have regained some of their natural marble impassivity, his amber eyes gleam with interest as he regards Stasya. "Ah, yes, I have heard your name from the others. I do intend to stay and to... swear the Oath, is that the phrase?" His head cants to the side to accompany the question, but it is largely rhetorical, meaning conveyed, as he moves along. "I am proficient in the ways of war and the hunt, and I wish to contribute. This place... New Orleans, it is as good as any other place. All of the lands are foreign, here, and so I have no particular destination. This one will do."

Orion hums softly to himself for a moment, appending a more quietly spoken correction to his initial blunt statement of intent. "If you would have me, yes. I will stay. I would like to see how mighty the storms get."

"They do, and yet for the longest time our kind somehow were barred from this city. That's a mystery we are still unravelling," Stasya slowly twirls her closed umbrella in her hands. "And yes, the phrase is an Oath, the sort bound by Glamour and the Wyrd if you chose to make it. You to us and us to you. The words are 'Until Summer gives way to Autumn, I swear not to support the Gentry in any way, not to bring harm deliberately to the Freehold, and to defend the Freehold to the best of my knowledge and abilities.' Simple enough, but that is how I've always preferred things. If you need time to think, that is fine as well. I tend to visit the Center at least once a day. My Chamberlain as well. We can always be around when needed for Swearings." At the mention of wanting to contribute militarily, she does break into a true smile, a small one but still a smile. "It is Summer, and the time to Hunt. I'll rarely turn down an able hand for the militia."

Orion has done enough thinking, and stands straight-backed, again placing his right fist over his heart briefly. "Until Summer gives way to Autumn, I swear not to support the Gentry in any way, not to bring harm deliberately to the Freehold, and to defend the Freehold to the best of my knowledge and abilities," he swears, all solemn dignity and resonant delivery against the backdrop of pouring rain. "I am primarily an archer, though I am using a... mundane bow, at the moment. My ancestral weapon was lost during my escape from Arcadia." A flicker of sorrow, or perhaps mourning, twitches the muscles around his eyes, and then Orion is calm again. "The ways of this world are strange to me, but I am determined to use my skills and not merely take up the resources of your Outpost without repayment."

Orion relaxes from his straight-backed stand again into something less militant, once again leaning against the wooden support beam with his shoulder. "I have met some of the others. We seem to have a vibrant community here. It's more of us than I have seen in one place than I have encountered in... some years." A beat, as he considers. "I will set out to discover the lay of the land, next, I think. I understand the Hedge needs taming in this locale?"

Stasya stands near statue still as she witnesses the Oath, the faint shimmer of summer heat thickening with each word until at last the Oath is finished and she gives a nod. "Very well. Welcome to the New Orleans Freehold, Orion of Summer. If you need assistance with how to oathforge a bow, or perhaps find a hedge spun one... there are those that will be happy to assist with showing the ways. Or we do have a few Makers that might be able to make a more exceptional one that relies less on the Wyrd." She nods again as he mentions his next plans. "Yes, we're still establishing the trods. We do have a newly appointed Hedge Guide, Simin. You may wish to speak with him if discovering the Hedge is where your interests lay. He may need some assistance."

"I have heard the name while I was having dinner at L'Auberge the other evening," Orion nods thoughtfully at the suggestion of contacting the Hedge Guide. "I will endeavor to do so. I appreciate the guidance. What I have will suffice to allow me to contribute, but I shall strive to remedy the situation soon and reach my optimal efficiency." A deep inhale and exhale follows from Orion. "Thank you, Queen, for your welcome," he straightens and half-bows again to mark the sincerity of the thanks, but it only last a moment. "I will endeavor to procure my own lodgings so I am not occupying the guest quarters at the Community Center. They have been a great boon to me upon my arrival, however, and I find myself having a great appreciation for the wisdom of their arrangement. I may be found there, should my services be required for anything. I am very willing to help in whatever capacity I am asked." A pause. "Especially if it involves killing the... Gentry." He's frozen out his tone of voice, but even underneath the cold, the desire for violence is apparent.

Stasya rolls 3 successes on Changing Fates to aid Orion.

"Optimal efficient is definitely something to strive for," Stasya's Wizened heart can fully get behind that as she reaches out to give a gentle brush to Orion's shoulder as he bows and the Witch whispers a few faint words, more the stirring of the fallen leaves than anything else. Whispers of fame and fortune and glory. "Make our Freehold proud. And the Gentry..." While he might be icy cold, her own anger flares up. "If they encroach on our territory they will soon learn that we are a force to be reckoned with. Once captured, we will not be again."

"We will carve our brands upon their nightmares, as they did to us," Orion solemnly vows in response, nodding in agreement with this sentiment. "I will do my best to represent the Freehold in what capacity I may." Then he looks down at his drenched runner's clothing, a sardonic smirk gradually twisting his lips. "...though perhaps not like this," he quips, unusually wry. A brief flash of Summer rises to the surface of his skin, heating up his clothes and flesh. Gradually, steam begins to rise from his attire as he flash-dries it with his own abruptly enhanced body heat. "Mmm, that's better," Orion murmurs, his focus returning to Stasya as his head tilts back upwards to level his gaze. "Is there anything else I ought to do, now than I am Sworn?"

Stasya can't help but laugh just a little as the Summer flash dries his clothes. "Next step for blending in, you may want to acquire some shoes." She taps the toe of her own foot with her umbrella. "Although I believe there are some humans that claim running barefoot is healthier so..." She gives a little shrug. "Seek out Simin when you have a moment. If you wish to join the Militia, that can be arranged as well. But otherwise, your time is your own. Enjoy it. We'll let you know when you are needed."

"Thank you. In that case... I will go and put on some shoes." Orion offers a subtly-laughing smirk to Stasya by way of response, pushing off the support beam and offering a wave. "I look forward to spending time in the Freehold," he offers up by way of farewell, taking a few steps backwards until the rain strikes him before turning around and inhaling deeply. And then he's off running again, silhouette moving back over that arched stone bridge and disappearing among the trees.