Logs:Divergent Paths Cross

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Divergent Paths Cross

Characters: Martin, Mingzhu, and Orion
Date: 2020-07-03
Summary: Two fresh Changelings arrive at the Changeling Community Center and meet Mingzhu.

It is early afternoon on a warm, humid and rainy day. People pass by the Changeling Community Centre with their umbrellas and hoods up, most at a quick pace to get wherever they're going and thus out of the rain.

Fortunately for Mingzhu, she got here before the rain started. The Telluric is settled on one of the couches, laptop in place, fingers tapping away at emails and other business. Then she pauses, glancing up and frowning slightly. The laptop is set aside, and she heads for the kitchenette, to make coffee. Three mugs are set out.

Making his way into the community center, Martin is all easy smiles, easy grins. Easy. Easy. Only his eyes have that hint of wariness, a touch more on top of that. He is dressed in slacks and a blazer, with a white shirt underneath. His black leather dress shoes are the same. He hums "All Along The Watchtower" under his breath as he walks.

Opposite the warehouse that the Changeling Community Center occupies is a rather dirty man wrapped up in a sheer black longcoat, tangled black hair tied back into a ponytail that falls down the nape of his neck. Orion's golden eyes scan the building for a while as he sorts through the contents of a camo-pattern backpack in front of him, still and predatory. Eventually he gets up and crosses the rainy, empty street to push his way inside the structure, a pair of brand new running shoes in dark brown standing out from the rest of his dirty and torn outfit.

Orion strolls in like he belongs in the place, visage comfortably expressionless, having left most of his possessions outside and hidden for the time being. His figure is mostly concealed by the black overcoat that falls to his knees, besides the shoes.

Pressing buttons on the coffee machine, adding pods and such, Mingzhu glances up briefly when Martin enters, and then again as Orion does. Three mugs. She nods to herself. "Coffee, gentlemen?" she offers politely, her tone brisk and businesslike. She tracks their movements out of the corner of her eye, more to make sure they're not fiddling with her laptop than anything else. "I don't recognise either of you. Are you oathed to this Freehold?"

"If you would," Martin replies, something of a smile resting on his lips, taking one of the cups for himself. His own voice is soft, like the whisper of silk on sand and those dark eyes track from Mingzhu to Orion. He offers a tilt of his head in acknowledgement. Claiming one of the seats for his own, he settles into place, one leg planted on the ground, the other across it, ankle to knee.

"As to the Oath? Yes. Though, it is a rather recent thing. Newly arrived and all that." His mouth ticks up, a dark irony resident in its cast. "Though, I suppose introductions are in order, hmm."

"This is an outpost of the Folk?" Orion's voice is rough and raspy, by contrast, as if he hadn't used it much for a long time. His English is fluent enough, and his amber-gold eyes flick towards the offered beverage. "Thank you for your hospitality, good lady. I am Orion." he offers with a half-bow in Mingzhu's direction, looking towards one of the cups and then moving to pour himself some of the hot brown liquid. He is, after all, incredibly thirsty. "I do not know of this Oath you speak of. I had hoped, instead, to barter with you folk in exchange for a bath. And perhaps some new clothes." He looks down at the coat that he's wearing with a wry twist of his lips, tugging at the fabric. Are those... bullet holes? Probably, yes.

Mingzhu works on fixing the drinks. Martin didn't specify so he's getting a flat white, while she adds absolutely nothing to her own, preferring it black. Orion gets to doctor his with whatever he wants, since he's there in the kitchen with her. "Yes, this is part of the Freehold of New Orleans," she confirms to the somewhat anachronistic stone-looking guy, glancing down to make sure he knows what he's doing with the coffee before carrying her mug and Martin's back out into the main room, passing one to the shadowy guy and then settling with her own, pulling her laptop back onto her lap top.

That done, she considers both men. "Barter with what?" she enquires of Orion, somewhat assuming he doesn't have any actual currency.

Martin offers a smile of thanks, claiming the cup with one long fingered hand. He takes a sip, nodding in approval. "Thank you," he says, his voice amused -- though, perhaps that's his perpetual state. His fingers tilt outwards in acknowledgement of the point and he looks to Orion, offering a flash of a smile. "I am Martin," he adds, by way of introduction.

"I don't suppose you know of any comedy clubs or the like around here?" he asks, with a raise of a brow.

"I am a competent warrior and hunter and can repay you with my skills, or I could obtain goods that you desire. Any beasts that need to be slain and skinned, or enemies of your outpost defeated..." Orion sniffs the coffee and notes the steam rising from the drink, waiting for a moment before taking a sip of his first beverage on this side of the Hedge. His eyes briefly light up at the taste. Uh oh, a coffee fiend in chrysalis.

Towards Martin, the amber-eyed man returns a polite nod of greeting, stepping to one side. He's not quite tall enough to loom, Orion, but he's not a subtle presence either. The intensity of his eyes moves from Martin back to Mingzhu. "I am confident I could provide something of value to your Folk, or at least the minor value of basic hospitality." A beat. The raised question of a 'comedy club' leaves him perplexed, but it's a subtle question in his eyes and he only listens more attentively on that topic.

There is a brief, thoughtful sound from Mingzhu. "Not really my scene, I'm afraid, though I'm sure Google can tell you," she remarks to Martin, leaning forward to set her mug of coffee down on the table beside the couch she's sat on, to let it cool a little bit. Glancing over to Orion, she considers his suggestions. "You'd need to speak to the Queen or a member of the militia to know what needs killing or hunting, I expect." Sure, she could probably offer the shower and a meal based on what the community centre has, but she does hold some suspicions with it comes to unsworn Lost.

"Baak Mingzhu," she offers to Martin when he gives his name, a brief swirl of cold wind around the couch she's sat on providing a nonverbal confirmation of her court.

"Indeed," Martin replies, a small tilt of his head following as he takes a sip of his coffee. "It seemed an option to consider." He offers a small sigh, though the sparkle in his eyes offers a self-mocking cant to the faux-histrionics. At Orion's statement, he offers a tilt of his head, before looking back to Mingzhu. "Needs must and all that," he muses.

"Oh. Well. Thank you." Orion blinks his amber eyes once before drinking down the rest of the coffee in one go, setting the mug down. "I appreciate the direction. Where could I find them, the Queen or the militia?" His hands come to hang down loosely at his sides as he regards the other two with an impassive expression, though his eyes remain alert. The vague nature of the conversation between the other two Changelings is considered for a moment with attentiveness and then discarded without any external reaction beyond another movement of his eyes. He drifts a few steps towards the door he'd entered from as he awaits the response, perhaps impatient to spring into action.

"Generally they'll pass through here at least a couple times a week," Mingzhu replies to Orion, keeping her answer purposefully vague. After all, he could be lying about his intent. "Do you intend to remain in New Orleans? And if so, will you swear to the Freehold?" Those questions are pointed, a slight edge to her words, though she remains sat down - physically unthreatening.

Tapping a few things onto her laptop, she then turns the screen for Martin to see. Good old Google Maps, with a few places standing out as comedy/standup clubs. "Here."

Noting the nature of the interplay and the rest has Martin settling back, though he does offer a sardonic, "Thank you," to Mingzhu, with a certain smooth ease. Taking another sip of his coffee, he lets his eyes drift back between the two, his foot tapping a light staccato. His free hand moves, almost absently to the pattern of some ethereal music only he can hear.

Or he's an oddball. That's a definite possibility as well.

"So I should wait? Hm. Very well. Is there a region where one might hunt game, nearby? I have not eaten in some time, and I am inclined to cook a meal." Orion's discomfort is quiet but audible, though it does not reach his expressionless features. His Mien being carved from stone is probably a compelling reason for this. He stops in his intimations towards departure at being told there's no place he can actively go to, and instead looks about before walking to a wall and seating himself cross-legged against it, straight back supported by the surface. He still has a clear view of the other two, hands coming to rest against his knees in a posture of patient meditation.

"Swear what? Allegiance? Is that required?" Orion pauses for a beat, eyes contemplative as he looks up at Mingzhu, though not entirely disregarding Martin. "Hmm. An oath of allegiance in exchange for showers seems like an unfair trade. My concern at the moment is only in transition: I have only just arrived here. Will your warriors chase me out if I do not swear?"

There's a slow breath released by the woman with the laptop. "No. The Queen is generous in that she allows a short period of hospitality even to the unsworn." Clearly this isn't something Mingzhu is in favour of - but then again she's Winter, she's expected to be paranoid about potential loyalists and privateers. "Hunting in this world usually requires being licenced, which means you need to exist on paper. But, the kitchen is full of food that you may help yourself to, and if you require, there are small cabins out the back which you may stay in for a few days. They have the usual facilities." Including, one would assume, showers.

She eyes Orion for a moment longer, clearly less than comfortable, but she's done her duty by making the amenities clear. "Martin, when you're done with your coffee, would you mind showing this man where the cabins are please?"

"Certainly," Marti says, flashing a smile towards Mingzhu and Orion, taking another sip of his coffee. There's a sort of amusement to the smile on his lips. The smile in his eyes? Darker. Sardonic, even, with the cant to them. He takes a moment to finish the rest, before setting it aside. Out of his jacket pocket, he drags out a pack of cigarettes and taps one into his hand.

A glance is shot Mingzhu and Orion as he rises, offering one to either should they wish it, lifting the other cigarette to his lips, but not lighting. At least, not yet.

Having no idea what cigarettes are, Orion only looks at Martin curiously before slowly rising up to his feet. Orion offers a short half-bow in Mingzhu's direction, some vestigial bit of past formalities. "Thank you, Baak Mingzhu, for the hospitality. Should you have need of my services, you need only ask." He is sincere, or at least seems to be, as much as anything ruffles that statuesque expression. He lingers on his feet for the moment, rearranging the lay of his dark, hole-riddled longcoat. His clothing underneath is more simple, visible as he does so: jeans and a dark orange shirt, both much cleaner than the overcoat draped across them.

"Not indoors, please," Mingzhu murmurs to Martin as he takes out a cigarette. Sure, he's probably not going to, but she's making certain. "I would suggest you use this time of hospitality to consider your options, Orion," she addresses the hunter, her tone shifting to a more businesslike manner. "You won't find many Freeholds who will allow a stranger to remain indefinitely. I'm sure you can understand why, given the ever-present threat."

Mingzhu gets an old-fashioned look from Martin, but, he says nothing further. Instead, he looks to Orion. "Let me show you to the cabins. I'm sure you could use a shower and some rest." He looks between the two and then, with a certain casual ease, starts in the general direction of the cabins! Sure. He knows where he's going! Maybe? Probably.

That perpetual amusement lingers on his lips. Perhaps its fixed there?

Orion's petrified expression abruptly thaws at the mention of 'threat,' and a very subtle flicker of electricity twists inside his amber-gold eyes. His languid gaze, surveying the room, snaps abruptly towards Mingzhu. "You mean... /they/ attack here? Regularly?" A smile, hot and furious, melts the man's frozen expression. There's no need to clarify who 'they' are. "And there are opportunities to kill them?" He's entirely too excited about that, given the sudden enthusiasm that he delivers these rapid-fire questions.

"Oh, why didn't you say that to begin with?" Perfectly sculpted eyebrows raising in question, Orion regards Mingzhu with an expression that might just be... gleeful. A child on Christmas morning, except with more expectant violence. "An oath for opportunities to kill /them./ Yes. That..." Orion's tone is somehow sultry, seduced by this sudden suggestion of murder against the Gentry. "...is an acceptable arrangement."

Martin's offer is momentarily disregarded, though Orion takes a step in the man's direction as he waits for something from Mingzhu. Confirmation. Anything. A nod of the head in support of his assumptions is sufficient. He's visibly taut with macabre excitement, an arrow on the string and ready to be loosed.

"Not directly thus far. But there may be privateers and loyalists in every shadow." Mingzhu glances up from her laptop over to Orion as she speaks, her words quiet but serious. "The Freehold Oath is sworn to keep us safe, as part of it includes swearing not to aid Them in any way. It lasts for the season, and is renewed with each solstice and equinox. Give it some thought. It sounds like you would enjoy working with the militia." She nods to Martin's suggestion about going to see the cabins in the backyard so that the hunter can get settled for the duration of his stay. "Thank you." That to the shadowy man, rather than the stonelike one.

"Many thanks," Orion offers in Mingzhu's direction with a nod of gratitude, and impassivity gradually returns to his expression. A fire has been lit in his eyes, however, as he turns to fall into step with Martin after a glance towards the man and a nod to indicative attentiveness and his intent to follow.

"Of course," Martin says, with a tilt of his head towards Mingzhu. With that in mind, he offers a similar nod to Orion and starts off towards a cabin, whistling a jaunty tune! Of some kind. His voice is actually pretty good, all things considered. Once outside, he will light a cigarette, take a drag and plume dark grey smoke into the air with a pleased sigh.