Logs:Lost History - Music for Mushrooms

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Lost History - Music for Mushrooms


Characters: Etienne, MacKenzie, Molly and Way with Slip as ST
Date: 2020-05-13
Summary: Some members of the freehold go looking for goblin fruit and find some information as well.
Disclaimers:

There are very few established hedge gates in New Orleans, and what trods exist are still new and not especially well-traveled. The relative wilderness of the local Hedge lends weight to the rumor that there haven't been any Lost in the area for a very, very long time. Until last fall, that is. Now, there's a growing freehold in its second season. And freeholds have needs. Like goblin fruit. Just because everything's been fairly quiet while the changelings have been establishing themselves doesn't mean it will remain so indefinitely, and it would help to be prepared, to have some healing fruits on hand. Just in case. As such, a few members of the freehold set out in search of some wild-growing fruits to bring back and preserve.

The city on the other side of the gate doesn't look all that different from the one they lost leave behind. Not at first glance, at least. The streets are wetter than they had been, and puddles give way to patches of swamp between buildings. Dark, lush greenery climbs up walls, sprouting unfamiliar flowers which sway with an unfelt breeze, which fill the air with an unusual perfume that itches at the edge of memory, that promises answers if followed.


Clearly not the one leading this mission into the Hedge, Wayfarer falls in line with the others as they arrive. He takes off his backpack while everybody else is getting ready, opening it up to make sure everything is in order one last time, because you can never check too many times. Then he slings it back over his shoulders and secures the pack, giving Mack a little nod and smile. "Hopefully we can get some seeds while we are here and grow them in the workshop, huh? Fee would be SO happy with us if we got her some." the Gremlin notes, then glances around, giving Etienne and Molly a smile, waiting to get on the move.


MacKenzie follows up next to Way, her own pack less full. "Yeah, bring a smile to her. Has she even been since we started the upgrades." Tightening her hand on the strap, she looks around, breathing in the scent of the flowers nearby. "I really don't com out here enough." At least, an easy thing to feel at the moment.


Black biker jacket, jeans, combat boots, and a state of sleepless grumpiness, cheap yellow plastic sunglasses perched on her nose. Molly doesn't have a pack. She does have pockets, which is where her hands are tucked away in. She treads cautiously, and gives her surroundings a wary look as she walks, brows knitting above the yellow frames. "I should've ate something before," she mutters, skipping over some puddles.


Etienne gives a nod to MacKenzie, the one other Lost that he recognizes and shoulders his pack. He's dressed for travel in his usual all black but he also has on some leather armor pieces that serve as a breast plate and bracers, protecting his chest and arms. His combat boots squish in the wetter parts of the area as he walks along, burnished silver eyes gleaming a bit, reflecting the light around him. He has a pack slung over one shoulder with some supplies in it, and at his hip, a sword. There may not be any planned danger, but always best be prepared for unplanned danger. He reaches into his pack and pulls out a granola bar, tossing it in Molly's direction. "I've got a couple more," he murmurs, his accent French, though less the creole of the area, and more Parisian sounding.


After a few minutes a huge Ogre comes bounding down the path to catch up to the group. His shoulders are massive, wide enough to lift a truck likely, though if he is strong enough is anybody's guess. "There you are, Mog...come on, we are about to leave." As they are about to head out, Way opens his backpack and reaches inside, fishing around a moment, "I think I have a compass in here somewhere....will this help?" He pulls out a bronze device with a face and a needle.


MacKenzie follows along with the others, letting Etienne lead the way. She stays alert, but has never seen this spot before. Looking at the compass Way brings over, she beams a smile. "Well thats a good start. Does it know the way or just referencial?" Glancing to the others, she seem content to be along for the ride thusfar.


Etienne nods to Way and invites him to bring the compass over. Together, he points out a path and says, "Let's explore this way, and see if there's a path a bit out of the city. While we might find some fruit growing here, my guess is we're going to need to look more to where the garden district is, or somewhere just outside." With that in mind, he lets out a low whistle and a large shadowy fox comes to him from where he was exploring nearby and Etienne climbs onto his back. He takes the lead, making his way through the city and off toward hopefully a more verdant area.


Molly has to free a hand from her pocket to snatch the granola bar from the air, clutching it in long black-tipped talons. She gives it a thoughtful look, head tilting sharply to one side, then the other, then glances over at Etienne. "Thanks," she comments, and starts to unwrap the granola bar. So, she's eating as they go, a little morosely, slowly chewing through the granola while she skips and meanders along the puddles, giving Way's big buddy another curious look. "Yeah, one of y'all with the compass and things lead the way, I'll just tag along," she approves. Chewing.


"Here you go." he offers, handing the compass over to Etienne. "Oh it's just referential. I'm not even sure if it works in here, but it is something to know which direction we are facing." Way replies with a glance to Mack. With a swift motion, the Ogre lowers his hand so Wayfarer can climb into it and get deposited on a shoulder, then a hand is offered Mack...and even Molly if she wants a ride. There seems to be plenty of room on those huge Ogre shoulders. Once all are seated he tells Mog, "Follow that fox, buddy." With that it begins to chase after Etienne with surprising speed.


MacKenzie nods and gets hoisted up onto the Ogre. "I should bring Bax next time..but he's not much for scouting yet." Setting in and hanging on, she watches about as the Ogre leads as Way directs him. Glancing back, she tries to remember landmarks around this place to make it easier the next time out.


The temptations of distracting avenues dims as the Lost set off into the unfamiliar, a proper path selected by guidance of compass and cleverness, accompanied by towering ogre and tenebrous fox. One of the drooping blooms seems to sniff at Molly's granola bar as she goes past, stretching curiously toward the unfamiliar food, but if looked at directly, it slumps back into place as if it had never moved at all. The farther the group gets down the chosen path, the buildings grow fewer and farther between, bricks and siding giving way to vines and trees, paved streets fading into dirt paths, just as spotted with puddles as the trail left behind. The compass demonstrates zero constancy when it comes to finding true north, a concept that doesn't apply to a place like this, but it does twitch this way or that now and then, urging those in the lead toward one offshoot or another. Hopefully, it's keyed into their desires and hoping them find what they want, though the darkening of the paths as the canopy grows denser overhead might prove concerning.

After a while, the gloomy road splits, both leading into overgrowth which has been recently beaten back by another's footfalls, both too dark to see too far down the path. To the left, a lamentation, a mournful song of something that might be sentient... and potentially tonedeaf. To the right, a glint of something luminescent around the bend, a pretty blue cast failing to truly illuminate the darkness. Both paths smell of stagnant swamps. Neither seems particularly pleasant.


Etienne takes the compass when it is handed over, and while it doesn't seem to help with north, he still watches what it does as they make their choices, making note to see if maybe, in retrospect, there is some sort of pattern to the movement of the needle. As the path becomes darker, the Darkling seems more comfortable in this particular atmosphere, and Recieux, while he could likely do without the damp, doesn't seem to mind the dark. It's when they are faced with the dual choices that Etienne considers and then says, "I am always preferential to the less likely path." He nods in the direction of the somewhat tone-deaf mourning song. "But, I'm content to go where the majority desires." He glances back at the trio behind, curiously.


"I'm good. I need the exercise, right?" Molly says with a look at the ogre and a slow stretch of her limbs before raking her fingers back through her hair. As the flower leans in towards her Granola, Molly scowls, and pushes it rapidly inside her mouth with the tip of a claw. Mine. She hurries along with a long stride, occasionally skipping and hopping through the wetter spots. She seems content to follow the others and keep an eye on the landscape. And then, a claw at her teeth, because granola's managed to find its way in there, so she picks. "Yeah, I mean, left's got music, but y'all pick."


The ride is surprisingly smooth considering it is on an Ogre's shoulders. But he is the upgraded model, right? As they follow behind Etienne and come to a stop, Way looks around a little and hmms, "I don't like the tone, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Music seems a good sign, but not when it's off key. In my opinion." Then he waits for the leader of the group to decide, following behind Etienne which ever way is chosen.


MacKenzie leans an elbow on the Ogre. "Unless that tone is like a warning. The glow looks inviting, yet that may be a lure to bring us some impending doom." A glance to the others. "Trust is not easily earned but the voice comes from something that knows speech, I say best of two weevils is that way." A glance to Molly. "I got a Twinky if that helps."


The music isn't particularly inviting, but neither is it wholly off-putting to anyone who isn't especially particular about the sorts of melodies they might endure for the sake of curiosity. There's a wet, reedy quality to it that could be nothing more than wind through an odd sort of swamp grass, but there's no way to know for sure without getting closer. Steps squelch now and then as the group traverses muddier patches, muck rising up the ogre's legs--and possibly spattering farther up the personage of anybody who's kept too close, a definite danger of navigating wetlands with a heavy-footed friend. The further on they go, the louder the music, the heavier that scent of rot and the more obvious the growth of strange mushrooms. Spotted wood brown ones with nice neat caps line the path leading into a fetid grove where a slightly hunched figure, just under five feet in height, continues its low, somber tune. It neither moves nor quiets, potentially unaware of the group.


Recieux is less excited about padding through the muck, but endures it with only a vague sort of sigh and a glance over his shoulder at Etienne, "You are taking me somewhere where I can bathe after this." Etienne pats Recieux's neck and murmurs an apology in French as they continue on. He glances at the mushrooms and then notes to the others, "I hope someone knows what we're looking for in particular." Because while he can probably get them there, and back, he's not entirely familiar with what they want to bring home. The figure draws his attention as they get closer and he studies it for a moment before saying, "Excuse me, we couldn't help but hear your song."


"I'm good," Molly says with a grin over in MacKenzie's direction, picking at her teeth for a moment longer before, at last, giving up, allowing the bit of granola to linger between her teeth. Both her hands go back into her pockets, jaw hanging in a long yawn while she waits for the others to pick a direction. Then she follows, in the same light-footed stride, arms out, swinging slightly for balance now and then as she skips over wet patches, trying to find dry, solid ground here and there, just to keep from sinking to deep in the muck. She slows down as they come closer to the music. Her head tilts as Etienne steps forward, blinking. She lifts one leg, and stands on just the one for now, staring.


"Oh...hey hold up, Mog." the Gremlin tells his ride and the big Ogre stops when they come upon the singing figure all hunched over. Other than that, he remains silent and lets Etienne do the talking for now since he was in the lead anyway. Glancing aside at Mack he hmmms, then begins looking around the area at the much and swampage and mushrooms. He motions toward the shrooms briefly and waits to see if there is a reaction from the figure.


MacKenzie looks around for a place to hop down, but decides to stay above the muck as best available. "You know, maybe if we give them something for the singing, they may know a way to other fruits too...." Her attention turns to the singer, curious if a responsewill be added.,


There might still be some faint glimmer of sunlight overhead, but very little of it filters into the swampy grove, the thick canopy of the trees rising up from the muddy ground casting thick shadows below. Colors still stand out here and there, from the bright vines which strangle the lower branches of trees and the pale blooms which stretch toward errant sunbeams, but the only visible fruiting bodies in the area are mushrooms. They come in a striking variety, from the tiny ones with their perfect brown caps clustered around the occasional offshoot of perfect porcelain white to the dark red ones which seem to bear heavy cloaks dipping toward the ground, from the blue ones with the wide brims and thin grey stems to the stout black ones with white-speckled tops.

To the stooped figure which falls silent when addressed. As eyes adjust to the gloom, as the group grows closer, it becomes apparent that the figure has no proper face or articulated limbs. It seems to be a mass brown, leaf-like structures, all slimy and oozing, drooping toward the swampy earth. Its shape is humanoid, as if its head were bowed, as if its arms were folded in front of it, yet it has no proper face, no actual mouth to explain how it shapes the question, "Couldn't you?" in a slow, wet voice in answer to Etienne's words. It offers no response to any inspection of the mushrooms, but it does ask MacKenzie, "Why do you seek?"


"I suppose, if we'd taken a different path entirely, then we could have," Etienne concedes to the leafy slimy mass before them. "But then, we wouldn't have met. I'm Etienne, and these are my friends, and we were searching for some hedge fruit. We were curious if you might know where some might be found, particularly those with healing properties, and if you wouldn't mind pointing the way. We won't linger to trouble you long." He offers a little bit of a smile to the creature. It never hurts to be polite.


Molly studies the stooped figure, then the swampy surroundings, tilting her head in small jerky motions to accompany her gaze's travels. She switches weight from one foot to the other. "Or we could'a plugged our ears, worn headphones..." she comments with a sharp little snort, then goes quiet, gaze tilting skyward towards the canopy overhead. She nudges the sunglasses out of her eyes with a claw and squints, searching.


"Yeah or maybe we could play along with the song." he suggests with a smirk as Way grabs his backpack and opens it up to begin looking inside. "I might have something musical in here. Or I could build some drums...or a flute maybe?" The Gremlin glances over at the mossy thing and asks, "Do you have maybe some reeds we can use? We could get a nice jam session going on here. If you would like that." He remains on the shoulder of the big Ogre, not climbing down just yet.


MacKenzie nods as she pulls out a pot and a spoon from hers, tapping it. "They may like that, song would not be so..sorrowful. Or we could just follow their directions. Im willing to be an audience if that is all thats asked for as well."


The oozy figure seems to groan thoughtfully, an unsettling burble escaping at the end, at Etienne's greeting, at the explanation offered. It gives no sense of actually seeing anyone, but the Hedge has a way of assuring everyone feels watched. "What would you heal?" it slowly muses at the darkling. It might be rhetorical. Something within it seems to ripple, but the movement passes as a drop of thick fluid surface and drips lazily downward. "What is here--" Which includes reeds, yes, in addition to the flowers and mushrooms and the gloomy, damp space. "--sees regular use. I am not its keeper."


It may be rhetorical, but Etienne answers anyway, "Wounds done to flesh." He glances around to the various reeds and mushrooms, studying them thoughtfully for a moment or two, and then glancing to the others. "Do the mushrooms have any sort of healing properties, for creatures made of flesh?" He then adds, "Or any other interesting properties?"


Molly's gaze reluctantly pulls away from the canopy, returning to Etienne with a blink and a flat stare, silent for a couple of seconds. "Just flesh? But I've no idea. So many different mushroom's here that one's gotta be good for it, but if I had to guess I'd say most of them ain't going to do you any good if you don't know 'em," she makes a face, scrunching up, nostrils flaring as she starts looking around.


"That sounded like an invitation. Was that an invitation?" Way asks, checking with Mack before he climbs down from the Ogre. He whips out a multi-tool and saws through one of the reeds, cutting a few pieces, each a foot long. Then he goes to work making instruments out of them. "Oh this is going to be awesome. You are going to love it." the Gremlin claims to the mossy figure with a sage nod. It doesn't take him very long to get a few basic recorders done to hand out to people, anybody who will take them. "You have no idea how amazing this will be."


"We cannot know but by doing," answers the man-shaped mound when asked about the nature of the mushrooms in the grove. It issues an almost pleasant sound, like a half-gargled, "Ah," as Way takes to the reeds and begins building, promising something interesting. It cannot turn its head to look, but its inherent stillness does lend it an air of patient waiting.

Elsewhere, beyond this segment of mushroom-laden marsh, subtle movement might be heard by those not focused on the quick construction of interesting instruments. Footsteps, perhaps. Not particularly regular, but in a practiced pattern, hitting patches of dry ground much the way Molly had.


Etienne seems to have little to no interest in the instrument building, and when it doesn't seem like anyone knows if the mushrooms are useful, and the creature doesn't offer further enlightenment, his attention turns to their surroundings. It's then that he notices the footsteps and murmurs, "Someone is coming." He then turns Recieux toward the sound of the approaching footsteps and he and the fox make a quiet departure to the perimeter of the area in which they currently stand, scouting while the others play music.


"How 'bout asking? You know anyone who knows?" Molly asks of the lumpy mound inclining her head to the side. But her attention's a fleeting thing, quickly snapping away to search the surroundings with curious, narrowed eyes. The hands at her side swing lazily back and forth, claws stretching and curling. "What were you singing?" Time to make casual conversation, apparently.


When Etienne takes off, Way stares after him a moment, then shrugs. "Not him." he notes and hands one of the reeds to the Ogre. Mack has her pots and spoon, so she doesn't need one. "Okay Mack, you for drums, Mog and I will take the wind section, right big guy? How about uhh, can we do the star spangled banner or something? Do you know The Rose? I think that could be fitting. Just follow along." With that, the Gremlin begins to serenade the mossy creature with their OWN music. Is it good? Probably not, but it is a joyous noise!


"I do not even know myself," observes the oozing figure in its slow, soggy voice. It proves entirely untroubled by--and potentially unaware of--the darkling's departure, focused instead on the words turned its way. "I was calling to the ones below." Which it might yet be doing when it joins in with Way's song... in its atonal way. Its contributions are not precisely joyful, but it does, at least, seem capable of following the intention, even if its execution is ill-timed and off-key.

Etienne and Recieux are only momentarily rewarded for their curiosity, locking eyes with a spindly-limbed hob in a wide-brimmed hat. It stills in its steps and looks from the man to the fox, from the fox to the man. Until it hears the music. Its translucent-pale features scrunch up in confoundment before it moves past Etienne and into the grove. "What in the whattin' what are you doing!?" Its voice is creaky, its clothes are dark, hiding most of its soft white skin. Its hat is robin's egg blue on the top. "You're gonna get him riled, make him think he's smarter than he is." He tsks with annoyance at those playing. "Stop that! Stop that!"


And then there's a hob going by, and Etienne raises a brow as it starts fussing at the others playing their music. He takes another look around, just making sure that there aren't more coming, drawn by the Country Bear Jamboree going on in the clearing, before he turns back to watch.


"The ones below." Repeating these words, Molly glances down, and carefully shifts where she stands, lowering one boot, lifting the other, then again. Like she's making sure she's not stepping on anything. "What are those?" She stops at the sound of a new arrival and looks up, tilting her head as her gaze pivots from the music playing towards the hob, giving the latter a long blank stare. "You one of them ones below?"


Interrupted, there is irritation in his tone as Way stops playing in order to respond to the new arrival, "Yeah? Who in the who'in who are you?" A short pause, "WE were in the middle of a song, bro." He keeps the reed flute near his lips as if about to start up again any moment. "Is there a really good reason not to keep playing?" giving the blue hatted hob a chance to give a good answer, side glancing at the mossy one, "hold that key."


"What?" the blue-hatted hob squawks at Molly. When she lifts her second boot, what might be a hedgebug scurries off toward the nearest tree to hide among the roots. Otherwise, the ground seems secure and steady, nothing else squirming underfoot. When the music stops, the mossy figure continues to sing. For a few seconds. The note eventually tapers off, concluding in a wet sigh. Satisfied? Forlorn? Those two shouldn't sound so similar, but it's really difficult to tell. The spindly hob stalks closer to Way, stretching its arms out wide, and squeaks, "Because this is my farm! You're in my farm. You've got my Wise Man all worked up. It's gonna take me weeks, weeks to shut him up. Always with his questions. Or worse! His answers." The hob sways as he groans. He starts toward the 'Wise Man' as he mutters under his breath, something about, "...why the doors were locked..." and "...nothing but chaos now..."


"He was singing before we got here," Etienne points out to the hob with a slightly wry twist of his lips. "We came looking for hedge fruit, and we found him singing and stopped to talk. We weren't aware this was your farm." He remains where he is, watching from the edge of the clearing as the hob sways and groans and carries on. He doesn't seem particularly apologetic, however.


Molly glances after the runaway hedgehog, then down at the ground below, prodding it with the toe of her boot while licking her lips. Then she looks up again. "The ones below? Said he was calling to the ones below," Molly replies to the hob's squawk with a shrug, holding up her talons in an unconvincingly apologetic gesture. "Yeah, was singing before we got here," she confirms, hands pushing back into her jacket pockets. "You grow mushrooms or something?"


As the spindly hob comes heading toward him, it gets a low rumble from a big Ogre as warning, but Wayfarer waves it off. He stares up at the blue-hatted one and hmmms, "Oh yeah? He works for you?" A glance goes to Etienne and Molly as if curious what we should be doing here. "Maybe we should talk to the wise man and not the corp-ish farm owner?" he remarks with a grin and heads over to the mossy hob, "Hey, are you happy here, buddy? Is this where you want to be?"


The hob, steering well-clear of rumbling ogres, issues a worried whine at the update from Etienne about the state of the Wise Man. "Course he was," it mutters, accepting that observation with the unwanted weight of omen. Thin shoulders sink with relief at Molly's addendum. "Oh. Those," it replies with dry relief. With a flap of a spindly arm about the swampy area, it explains, "The mushrooms. Says he can hear 'em creaking underneath." The hob doesn't seem to buy it. Straightening, it turns to address the group as a whole, one long-fingered hand against its narrow chest. "I, the one and only Mycologist of modest and mostly local renown, grow mushrooms." It turns a flat look to Way to inform him flatly, "He's a mushroom. I'd consider selling for a good talking mirror, though. That's the going rate for one of those, right now. Fair." Not that the Wise Man hasn't also deigned to speak for himself, wondering slowly, "If we cannot be happy where we are, can we be happy anywhere?" Which earns an eyeroll and dismissive wave from the farmer.

Finally, the Mycologist turns its attention squarely to Etienne. "Whatcha in the market for? Healing? Hurting? Stranger tricks still?"


Etienne gestures to the others present when the hob looks to him for answers and says, "I lead the way." He's not up for doing the negotiating, that's not his area of expertise. He leaves that up to the others, instead, keeping guard and keeping watch over the area while they discuss the Wise Man and the Farmer's crop.


"Calling to the mushrooms?" Molly asks, glancing down again. "That makes 'em grow any faster?" She wonders, idly curious about agriculture, though she returns to paying attention to their surroundings for a while, still more than slightly wary. When Etienne seems to discard responsibility for negotiations, she blinks. "Hmmmm." And shrugs. After a couple of seconds, she scratches lightly at her jaw with the tip of a finger. "Healing, right?"


"Oh, a talking mirror?" he asks, looking around, "Does anybody have a talking mirror on them? I really want to take the talking mushroom home." Way states, still looking between the others. "Maybe we can negotiate here? Can I build you something? Like what if I could automate your harvesting so you can go about doing what-ever it is you do and not have to worry about that?" The question about what they want and he nods in agreement with Molly. "Yeah healing stuff is what we came for."


MacKenzie digs through her bag. "Between the two of us we could automate nearly anything right now. " A pause as she waits and nods, Molly and Way having already answered.


The hob's eyes narrow at Etienne, nearing accusation at the admission of leading this group here, but it follows well enough to the others more readily answering its question. "Whatever it is I do," it mutters beneath its breath before reiterating, firmly, to Way, "Talking. Mirror. Fair price." But he and Molly both confirm their interests, and it makes a sort of click-click noise, gesturing toward a stretch of deep, arterial red mushrooms with droopy caps that look like dramatic capes. "I can spaaaaaaare... half-a-dozen-to-eight if you leave me and my farm alone. Come see me at the Tumbledown like proper." With a nod, then, to MacKenzie and Way, dark eyes set on the latter, it confirms, "Can negotiate there. Under the right and proper auspices of the market. Much as anything's right and proper anymore."

The Wise Man, answering Molly's inquiry, slowly relates that, "Singing brings friends," with another burbling sigh at the end.


Etienne looks back at Molly. He was never the captain of this ship, just the navigator. He leaves the bargaining to those better suited to polite methods, with a small shrug in her direction, and a careful study of the farmer with that burnished silver gaze. He does ask, however, "And what is the Tumbledown? And how would we get there in order to visit properly?" That piques his interest while the others discuss helping out with horticulture.


Molly, the one with the claws and the lean hungry feral look, doesn't seem particularly eager to take over the negotiations, so she just nods along after initially piping up, agreeing with the others with another slight shrug. Though she does peek in Way's way, thinking for a second before cracking a sharp toothy grin. "Hey, if you got a mirror, I can turn it into a talking mirror," she winks, the corners of her mouth twitching. The mention of Tumbledown draws another look, an arched eyebrow and a curious stare.


Brows furrowed, Way is pretty sure none of them have a talking mirror just laying around. "Damn, okay...well that is something we'll need to work on. Does that price change?" he wonders of the farmer then looks around a bit. "What is Tumbledown?" the Gremlin wonders, curious expression on his features. Then an idea comes to him and he asks, "What do you want for some of your soil here?" Squatting down he runs his fingers through the soil to see how it feels. "Can we have some?" Then Molly makes her comment and he stops. "Really? Hold on. I might have a mirror in here somewhere." He opens his pack and starts to dig through it up to his shoulder. "No...nope, not that....AH!" Indeed Way pulls a mirror out of that damn bag, handing it to Molly...


MacKenzie considers. "So he wants us to go there and trade our skills ? But if we just leave his farm, we can have shrooms? " Hands slip into pockets. "Well Im game if you are. I have some tools. And could always animate some of his."


The Mycologist, again, regards Etienne with suspicion at the admission of unfamiliarity with Tumbledown. This time, however, that distrust gets cast across the whole group as that sentiment is echoed. "What is' Tumbledown..." the hob mutters under its breath then lets out a creaky sigh. "Tumbledown Market is where I sell my mushrooms, where I thought you were from. Only little Lost things that come through here are from Tumbledown." Its whole body sways with what seems to have been intended as a head-wobble. "Until soon. Lately. All your weird smells and strange footprints. And farm invasions. And songs." It watches the mirror-fetching with restrained interest, curious but skeptical. "My way is not your way. I cannot tell you how to get there." Looking to MacKenzie, it says, "Careful, careful. Only six-to-eight." Which is to say, yes, she can pick them herself. They break off at the stem easily, should she try. Unlike amaranthine, with its scent of cinnamon and hope, these mushrooms smell of beets. "Devil's Bargain, that's their name. Good in pie. So sweet."


"I'm new to the area," Etienne says to The Mycologist, though something about what the farmer says catches Etienne's attention. "You said there were other Lost, that come from Tumbledown, until recently. So there were other Lost from Tumbledown before, say, the fall of last year?" One brow creeps up again. He's aware of the mirror goings on, watching idly, but it's this Tumbledown and the potential that Lost were moving through it that intrigues him.


"Yeah, I was outta town a while," Molly says, distractedly, alongside Etienne's new to the area announcement. "I mean, I like getting paid to leave places," she continues, reaching out to accept the mirror from Way. "Can you make that seven-to-nine and we promise we won't sing on our way out?" Negotiating. Then she holds up the mirror, glances at Way. Glances at the mirror. Glances at the hob. Glances at the mirror. Salutes the mirror, points a finger at her own reflection in it and goes, "Hey, girl, how's it goin'? Looking good!"

"Me? Hey, thanks! You too, hot stuff!"

She looks at Way. She looks at the hob. Big grin. "Talking mirror! Right?"


"Uhhh yeah. Yeah that is a talking mirror." he remarks, pointing at the mirror that DID just talk. "There you go, bro." Way says with a bit grin as he waits now for permission to gather up some soil from the location. "Does that work for you, big guy?" the Gremlin asks putting the reef flute away. "We promise to give him a good home where he can sing and we can sing and be happy."


"Still. Always," the Mycologist answers Etienne. "Your kind are always scurrying about the market." Its spindly fingers make little scurrying motions that aren't terribly different from a shooing sort of gesture. "Not-from-Tumbledown. That's new." And, by the sound of it, irritating. It looks ready to agree to Molly's terms--oh, how quiet the Wise Man has been without anybody making music at it!--but then she makes with the talking mirror trick and its lips flatten out so thin that they disappear entirely. It's eerie. When it speaks again, the flat, pale surface of its face seems to split to allow it to do so. "That does not work for me-big-guy, no." Narrowing its eyes, it looks to Way and reasserts, "Talking mirror. Tumbledown. Fair. Price." It shoots a look to Molly to draw its line again. "Six-to-eight." Then to MacKenzie. "Six-to-eight!" Its eyes stay there as it makes more of the scurry-hurry gestures.


"I see," Etienne says with a nod when the Mycologist answers his question, but then he falls silent again, thoughtful about this new bit of information. He watches the exchange with the mirror with a slight shake of his head. But he seems content to wait, for now, for the others to finish their transactions before leading the way back.


"Look, you can make it say whatever you want!" Molly adds, her grin quivering wider as she glances from the Mycologist to the mirror. "I like what you did with your hair," she tells her own reflection, winks. But she's not going to push it, so she just tosses the mirror back over in Way's direction with a small shrug, hands returning to her pockets. "Alright, we'll only sing a little bit on our way out, then."


"Hey okay, six-to-eight. That is fine." he says with a nod toward the others. "And I find a talking mirror for next time." Way says with a smile, casting a glance over at the mossy creature. "I'll be back to get you and we will sing all you want. Okay?" He even tries to give it a fist bump, but that is something which fails miserably since it isn't clear where it's hands even are nor does it know HOW to fist bump. He does start digging up some of the soil, watching the blue hat guy in case he says otherwise, stuffing it all in the other pockets of his backpack. "OKay lets go. We'll be to Tumbledown."