Logs:Lost History - One Quarter

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Lost History - One Quarter


Characters: Darcy, Eva, Hawthorne, Stasya and Tristesse with Slip as ST
Date: 2020-06-15
Summary: Lost History - the investigation continues.
Disclaimers: Ableist slur use, verbal violence.

Tumbledown Market is bustling with activity this evening. Evening being a relative term here in the Hedge. It was evening on the other side of the door. In here, well. The light tilts toward late afternoon or early morning, the diffuse light of some half-imagined sun sunk down behind the buildings, neither quite risen nor fallen. Whatever the hobs have said about other Lost making their way to the market from places other than New Orleans, there's currently no evidence thereof. The only obvious Lost anywhere nearby are those currently standing just beyond the opening of an alley where a rotund hob slumps against a wall while a larger one prods at him worriedly, a pale pink cloud dissipating behind him. There's also a werewolf with the Lost. This might explain why a crowd is not precisely surreptitiously gathering around the group, trying not to look too interested in the ongoing interaction with one of their own.

Lafitte, in his well-tailored but worn down suit, with his toothy smile and impressive stature, flicks a look between Tristesse and Eva at their follow-up questions, addressing the former first. "I do not know, mon ami frisquet. Nor is it my business to know." Regarding Eva, he says, "All of Tumbledown and the city beyond belonged to Bou-Chérie, during her rather... enduring tenure. If your kind were neither there nor here, it is because she wanted it that way. If your kind are here now, it is because she is no longer able to keep it so. What with her untimely death and all."

The hobs nearby, for those paying enough mind to notice, express a variety of different responses to the talk of the Butcher Queen's demise. Some are openly celebratory and defiant, glad that she's gone, while others shrink and look around as if unconvinced she's truly gone. Some simply pretend not to notice at all while others don't seem to care. They seem a varied lot, though there is at least one commonality among many of them: an eyepatch here, a pegleg there, a missing ear, a grotesque replacement arm, two absent fingers... They're not all whole, some of them.


"It sure look like she took a bit from everyone around her," Darcy says. He keeps his eyes and nose wandering, despite staying in one place and listening to Lafitte, though his ears twitch, too. He's paying attention.


Eva glances briefly towards the others, Tristesse in particular, before turning her attention back towards the suit-clad gator. "What /did/ happen to Her, exactly? Since you seem to be in the know." Her oddly-colored eyes twinkle, even as she gives the gator a wry smile.


Stasya eyes their talkative werewolf. "Or maybe other hobs did. He was just asking for your teeth after all..." The reminder is issued in an almost hushed whisper as she eyes the crowd still cautiously. Just because that one has a peg leg doesn't mean he couldn't be a vicious foe, given the chance! "And if the Queen is gone, who now fills that place?"


The small winter lifts her brows at Eva's look, but stays quiet this time, giving room for their scaly tour guide to answer the questions that her fellow Lost ask. She glances around at all of the other hobs who curiously ogle them.


Hawthorne leaves soft scrapings of leaves that fall off of his charcoal-rendered shape before they burn or wither, making more noise than the changeling himself. He observes the hobs and their array of detriments, but there's more of a clinical curiosity about it than a sympathetic eye, "Simple mutilation is almost never going to be the motive but rather a part of the means, yeah?"


"She's dead!" shouts one of the nearby hobs from behind their table of curios and knickknacks, answered with an excited buzz of cheers and whispers, half-excited and half-paranoid, among the others. Lafitte, utterly unimpressed by the interruption, turns his yellow-eyed attention around the crowd they've gathered, assessing the changing situation. "I do not know, mon fleur, nor do I have any intention of asking. There are certain things for which one is simply grateful." He considers the others as they talk about the pieces taken from the other hobgoblins, at least one of whom is rubbing at the stub where two or three fingers used to be. There are definitely too many fingers on the attending hand. Regarding Eva again, the besuited gator says, "As you might've noticed, our world's been growing a bit now she's gone," with an indicative gesture toward the half-dozen visitors. "Better for business, I reckon." Probably. The look toward Stasya suggests some uncertainty on that point. "The Quarters keep order over Tumbledown now. Good folks. Take care of their own."


The Wizened arches a thin eyebrow at that verbal explosion from a nearby hob, then looks back to Lafitte for his response. "Fair enough," Eva murmurs, expression thoughtful, then she smiles at that remark about numbers. "More people are almost always better for business, at least most of the time." A tilt of her head. "Who around her might know how something like that might work - keeping Lost out of the area? You can imagine that we'd be curious about that sort of thing."


Darcy leans over to Stasya and stage-whispers, "They asked. I'm pretty sure the Butcher Queen didn't _ask_." Re: removing body parts. At the mention of the Quarters, Darcy swivels his head slowly back to Lafitte. "Interesting name," given what's on the other side of the Door they came in through. "What're they about?"


"Who says it has to be one or the other?" Stasya raises an eyebrow as she pointedly looks over to the hobs with the various amputations, but then gives a shrug. Her attention focuses back on Lafitte as he answers her question. "The Quarters. Who or what are they?" She'll echo the wolf's question.


The hob who yelled 'she's dead!' draws Tristesse's eye, and she moves that way, offering him a smile of sharp teeth. "How do you know she's really gone?" the Winter asks, glancing down to look at the curios, before looking back up at the hob. "Do you know who killed her? Was there a body?" she asks, glancing over her shoulder to keep an eye on her group as well.


Hawthorne makes a quick sniff, not to detect anything but feeling a tingle of allergies or something, and he glances toward the hob that shouts, pausing a little and then murmurs, "Apparently the news is slower in some places than others?"


Lafitte eyes Eva for a moment, and it's hard to tell if he's wondering how she might crunch between his teeth or how to answer such a tricky question, his reptilian features not really lending themselves well to particularly contemplative expressions. With an idle swish of his tail, he refocuses on Darcy and Stasya, explaining, "The Quarters are four of the finest, most reputable, most upstanding and wise merchants in all of Tumbledown. They are far more generous in their oversight of our sprawling operation than their predecessor had been. Now, if'n you're looking to make an appointment with all or any, ol' Lafitte can certainly see to such affairs." For a price, certainly, though he hesitates to actually articulate that thought while Stasya's right there. Best to look back to Eva who earns a nicer smile. "Please understand this wasn't nothing out of the ordinary for us. All our time here, ain't been no Lost out past the Barrux Door. Never had any reason to think it strange until suddenly there's half-a-dozen of you right here before me." He taps claws thoughtfully against his midsection, a brief pause before he adds, "I could find you a right and proper sage, knower of all things esoteric and odd, but I can guarantee they won't be quite so magnanimous as yours truly and will expect appropriate compensation for their information and insight."

One of the hobs closer to Hawthorne tries to creep up and collect some of the leaves falling from him as it mutters, "What news? What?" as if that were the only reason for approach. Nevermind the theft. Is it theft? He wasn't using these, surely! The mossy hob who has attracted Tristesse's attention smiles a ... well, rather gap-toothed smile. There are a few teeth in there, but they seem more wood and thorn than actual tooth. "I can feel it," it says. "We all can. Weeks and weeks and weeks since she came round to collect! Gotta be dead. Where else would she go?"


Eva gives Lafitte an inquisitive look despite his expression, then gives a small shrug of her fragile-appearing shoulders. "That sort of thing is unlikely to be free, it's true," she agrees. "I'd be happy to speak with someone like that - I imagine a few of us would." She smiles warmly at the reptilian hob. A pause, then she asks curiously, "Does the name 'Ghostmother' mean anything to you?"


Stasya isn't about to be not right there unless one of her companions clearly states they don't need the militant summer's overly watchful eye on things. As for the one suggesting that they FEEL the Queen is dead, the cotton candy Wizened just blinks. "Even if she's dead, that doesn't mean she's gone. A Hedge Ghost Butcher Queen might be even worse." Coincidentally just about said at the same time as Eva's mention of a Ghostmother.


The word 'collect' has more ominous connotations than it should, and Tristesse nods at the answer. "Probably as long as Lost could come to the city. Do you have any idea why she didn't want our kind outside the gate? We're glad for the change," she tells the hob, while keeping a wary look on her group so they don't disappear without her under Lafitte's wing.


"Can't imagine it was out of her benevolence. She was --" Darcy glances at Lafitte and then at the changelings around him. He seems hesitant for a moment, and then says, "You know. Like. Gentry." He's not sure how bad it is to say what word but that one feels more or less safe.

More or less.


Hawthorne twists his mouth a little, but then decides against saying what he was going to, instead he hefts the bag on his shoulder while the others talk to mister gatorman over there, and his eyes move amongst the hobs and then toward Stasya and seems inclined to agree.


The mossy hob shrinks a little under Stasya's attention, fussing around with the trinkets on its table, rearranging them for display. Tokens, some of them. Others are just junk. Every piece looks like something found or bartered: keychains from far-away cities; magnets for unfamiliar businesses; little ceramic figurines with faces that have changed for the time spent in the Hedge. It shakes its head at Tristesse's question. "She just liked things how she liked things, and that's how things always were, and that's not how they are now, and that's how I know!" It musters an ounce of defiance to flick a look up at the cotton candy Summer... only to quickly return to its fussing.

Lafitte tips a nod toward Darcy in grave agreement when he says that word. "Our Queen was indeed one of Them." He studies the werewolf a moment to try to gauge how much that might mean to someone not bound to the Wyrd, but he doesn't let it distract him from speaking with Eva. "Ghostmother's one of ours. Quiet, most times. Not who I'd likely recommend, but I could take you out her way if that's who you'd rather see." He straightens a bit, shifting his weight, ready to lead the group deeper into the market.


Eva glances towards that mossy hob as it responds to Stasya, then shifts her attention back to Lafitte, tilting her head as he speaks. She then mms at that response, her expression thoughtful. "Why wouldn't you recommend her?" she asks inquisitively, clasping her hands before her. "I haven't met her; I'm just curious."


"Imagine nothing is benevolent here," Stasya will agree even as she glances at the moss-hob's collection of items. "Like all the stories of djinni-demons that offer three wishes only to turn them into nightmares..." Debbie downer, right here. "Is the Ghostmother an actual ghost?"


"Thank you," Tristesse tells the mossy hob, dipping her head in a little bow before turning away to join her group, falling in next to Hawthorne where he stands quiet at the back of the bunch, since the other Lost seem to have the Q and A of Lafitte running at a smooth pace. Her swirling-snow gaze darts back to their reptilian guide for his answers to the questions posed.


After a moment of glancing around briefly, Darcy snorts a little at Stasya's question. "Not unless she's physical all the time. And I'd _p..._ -- ppppppppprobably be really interested to see that." Whew.


Hawthorne glances over at Tristesse and while most are paying attention to the other denizens of the market, he starts to pay attention to the geometry and substance of the market itself. Perhaps trying to find what passes for the logic of the thing, if they are going to venture deeper.


"Don't imagine she's like to know the answers to the questions you're asking," Lafitte answers Eva without skipping a beat with a little flutter of clawed fingers which leads into a gesture with one arm toward the cluttered path off in one direction. "Find her a touch unsettlin', truth be told, but no, no. She's not a ghost herself. Just keeps their company, time to time." As he starts off, hoping the group will follow, he asks, "Now, shall we find you a proper sage or one of the Quarters first?"

The market itself has the sprawl of an old, long-established flea market. The rows are mostly even, kept in neat, parallel lines with regular junctions... until they're not. Sometimes, the interruption is a permanent structure, a building or stall that demands that the rest of traffic move around it. Sometimes, the lines just bend and wobble like whoever was laying them down got a bit distracted. The closer Hawthorne studies the peculiar, irregular patterns, the easier it is to notice the thresholds which might serve as gates to elsewhere tucked in between booths or behind curtains.


"I suppose that depends on how things worked out the way that they did," Eva says thoughtfully at Lafitte's response, although she does start after him, in the market proper. "Who would you consider a 'proper sage?'" she asks. From her expression, it looks as though she's not entirely sold on abandoning the idea of visiting the Ghostmother. She does give the market a considering look as they enter, taking in the layout and the array of stalls and buildings.


Stasya blinks over at Darcy. "Here... the ghosts do remain physical. Or physical enough. Still a pain and a half to try and hit them though." Her hand flexes a bit towards her sword at some memory, but she doesn't touch it. Still best behaviour aside from that one time where she intimidated like half the market apparently. "My vote would be for a Quarter. It's best to know who might be in charge of a market so near our home."


"I don't remember why we're supposed to find the Ghostmother, or her connection to it all, but I came to this party late," Tristesse says. "So... whatever you guys feel is the best bet." It's not very useful, and she gives a contrite sort of shrug for her indecision or ambivalence on the matter. "Whoever doesn't want to eat us and would be the most useful gets my vote. Not that those two things are necessarily exclusive." She's looking at you, Lafitte.


Darcy furrows his brow a little bit and then leans over to whisper something in Stasya's ear -- she's closest and has also proven to both be the scariest and the most willing to be scary, so she gets the whisper, as he watches Lafitte.


Moving along with the motion but starting to memorize the thresholds if only bit by bit, Hawthorne says absently, "I don't imagine that this is a particularly valuable piece of information but I can't help but wonder what to make of it if it turns out that there are fewer or more than four Quarters. Though knowing them seems a priority, I agree."


"The Many-Feathered Marquesse," Lafitte poses on the subject of proper sages. "Or Flipspit, I reckon, though he ain't like to advertise himself as such. He just collects things, ya see, and sometimes those things are more words and memories than things." As it seems everyone's falling into step, he picks up his pace ever so slightly, a purposeful sort of laziness that'll get them where they're going soon enough. With a glance back toward Tristesse, a wide grin turned her way over his shoulder, he says, "A Quarter it is. We'll see if Herbert's amenable to guests." He does not confirm how many Quarters there are.


Stasya tilts her head slightly at Darcy's whisper. "Homeboy?" The Russian does not compute the word, but glances towards Lafitte as if trying to piece it. "He's probably only as honest about what serves him anyways. Not just about Ghostmother, but the Queen as well." And they have only offered him a necktie, not a particular ton of bargaining that even if Eva's tailoring skills are quite spectacular. "Which Quarter does this Herbert oversee?" And as for Tristesse, the Summer takes a step closer and reaches out a warm hand for the Winter's shoulder. "None will eat you while I'm standing."


The corners of Eva's lips quirk in a smile. "The name alone makes me want to meet the Marquesse, but it seems that we're going to see a Quarter first." She glances towards Stasya and Darcy, then adds, "I suppose we'll see if we have time to meet with a sage after that, or if that will need to be for another time. I suspect I'd like to meet the Ghostmother regardless, but." She glances towards Tristesse. "She knows about things that bind, I've heard."


The darkling can't help but huff a short amused breath at Stasya's audible echo of Darcy's whisper, but Tristesse follows as Lafitte leads. When the Summer touches her shoulder, she looks surprised, then nods, fangs showing in a small appreciative smile. "Trust me, I don't go down smoothly, anyway," she says, lifting her fingers to bare her talons along with her fangs. Eva's answer to her query about the Ghostmother earns her a nod, as the explanation refreshes the latecomer's memory. She casts a glance over her shoulder to where they've come from, but at this point it's not the fastest way out, and like Hawthorne she looks for other exits along the way as they move at Lafitte's leisurely pace.


Darcy shrugs and smiles at Stasya, as if to say, 'okay!' And then he explains: "Homeboy is just like... dude. Guy." He follows along. "Where're you from anyway? I wanna make a Georgia joke but I'm not convinced you're gonna get it ..."


Hawthorne pauses to examine one of the thresholds behind a stall with a bit of closer scrutiny but hen moves along rather than fall behind. "Herbert." The name is said and then he can't seem to tell if it is appropriate or not. He does squint ahead at their guide just a little.


If Lafitte catches any of the conversation pertaining to the extent of his honesty, he has the grace not to acknowledge it. He does, however, have much the same reaction to Stasya's question about Quarters as she did to Darcy's use of 'homeboy.' Which is to say that he doesn't quite get what she's asking. "Herbert is one of the Quarters." Tumbledown itself is sufficiently sprawling that one might be inclined to wonder how much of what can be seen along the horizon or glimpsed beyond the corner of one building or another is just the Hedge playing tricks, the market a veritable maze of tents and tables. Several are unoccupied and empty at the moment, the lower activity of his day, this hour leaving hobs to see to other business. Enticing scents tug senses down side paths, promising treats both sweet and savory, perfumes both enchanting and strange. Several of the hobs who are at their stalls hold up pieces--a wooden sword that glints with glamour; a watch whose hands tick backwards; a single playing card, the two of hearts, with a promise of new love, says the seller--and some call to Lafitte directly to entice the alligator guide to bring business their way. And... he does, sort of. He notes a few of the vendors as fine, reputable folk, recommending them heartily, and he's certainly willing to stop if anyone seems sufficiently interested to buy anything, but he doesn't seem to anticipate that, from what he's seen of this lot so far.

"Ghostmother's down toward that corner," he tells Eva, pointing toward a signpost high above the sprawl with a seven-pointed star on it. "And the Marquesse, who I do highly recommend, is right down that way." The direction they're heading, really. Or had been heading. He stops in front of a long, squat building that seems to be pieced together from parts of other walls and held up by vines. He has to duck when he steps in, but it's slightly roomier inside. Vertically, at least. Tiny shops line the walls of the building while the center, which had once been an open space, has become a maze of curtains and furnitue, of wine-racks and paintings and shelves of jars with strange-smelling gloop in them, with little dipping-stick samples in front, for the brave and the curious. Lafitte is tall enough to see over most of it as he calls for, "Herbert? Where y'all hiding?"


Stasya doesn't seem convinced by the explanation. "He's not a dude. He's a hobgoblin." In case there was any doubt, but as for not knowing Georgia she blinks. "Why wouldn't I know Georgia? The Empire used it to fight several wars against the Ottomans... and I'm from St. Petersburg. A long time ago." Long enough that she actually remembers there being a Czar and completely missed the whole Soviet Union thing. As for Tristesse and her fangs and talons, the summer gives an approving nod. "Good!" But then they're coming into the building which their guide has to duck into and the tight confines seem to put her back on edge as she waits to see wherever this Herbert might be coming from...


Eva looks somewhat amused at the recommendations as they're given, giving those vendors a once-over and forming her own opinions. Her gaze follows the indicated direction towards where the Ghostmother resides, expression thoughtful, but she doesn't split off in that moment, at least. Instead she follows Lafitte into the building, peering about. At Stasya's remark, she gives her a wry look. "The state in the United States," she clarifies to the other woman.


Entering the building, that ready-to-fly posture returns to the petite Winter and she makes sure to stand where she can see the door and Lafitte, standing sideways to make the most of her peripheral vision. Her mouth tics upward into a smile at Stasya's misinterpretation of the word Georgia and she quips, "That's not the Georgia the devil went down to, but it is a Georgia." To Darcy, she lifts her brows. "What was the joke? It might go over all of our heads, depending on when and where we were."


"That _was_ the joke," Darcy says with a laugh. And then he rolls his eyes at Stasya. "Oh, please, I've read enough Russian literature to know that they have metaphors and figurative language there," he teases her. When Lafitte starts calling out, Darcy stands on tippy-toes, glancing around.


Hawthorne glances side to side and then rounds toward the door that Lafitte leads them to, and takes a few backward steps so that he is not facing the space of their new host, so will get to be extra surprised, or maybe blissfully ignorant.


"Mostly about snow. Or how disappointing things are," Stasya can't really dispute that she probably has dozens of different ways to creatively describe a snowstorm... or curse out anything. She still hasn't spent much time learning English slang. She steps closer towards Hawthorne, keeping an eye out the opposite direction of her fellow militia member, just in case.


Someone squawks an abrupt, "What!?" from somewhere within the maze of stuff when Lafitte calls for Herbert a second time. A long beak with a curled point on the end peeks pasta split in a couple of hanging sheets, shaken to spread them apart before the rest of the person follows. Short and plump-bodied and wiry-limbed, a hob with an oversized, scraggly feathered pelican head comes out. He wears a long purple skirt, the waist of which sits high upon his round belly. He blinks at the group, rubs a hand ineffectively over his feathered head and then looks to Lafitte. "Customers?" comes out as nearly a squawk. "You know I'm out of the stuff until someone gets me some more of those little blue ones, Lafitte."

The guide gator clarifies, "Our new friends here wanna talk with a Quarter. About our dear departed Bou-Cherie." After a beat, he adds, "They came through the Barrux Door."

"Oh," says the pelican hob. He brushes his hands on his chest, rather than getting anything on that regal gown of his, and straightens a little. "Oh. I see. Well, then. Welcome to the all new and muchly improved Tumbledown Market. I, uh." Blink. "How... how'd you get through the door?"


"I sang it a song and put it to sleep," Darcy tells Herbert with a tilt of his head and a quick, wolfish smile. "Opened right up."


Eva's gaze flickers to Darcy's response, twinkling, the corners of her lips quirking with humor. "Magic, of course," she replies. "Isn't that how everything works?" She offers a little bow - yes, an actual bow - to the hob, then she says, "Pleased to meet you. What /do/ you know about Her? I imagine there's a story as to how you came to be in charge, as well."


"Sure, take all the credit," asides Tristesse with a smirk for Darcy's quick reply. She doesn't say what her part was in discovering the song, though. She gives the pelican-headed hob a nod of her head. "Seems like it's doing great under the new management. How many of you Quarters are there?" As Hawthorne suggested, there might be more or fewer than four, after all.


Hawthorne turns and sees Herbert. Pauses. Adjusts his glasses, then steps to the side a bit so that the talkier members of the expedition can find out things. It could be worse. They could be dealing with some kind of shoebill situation. That would definitely have ended in violence.


"Little blue what?" Stasya hones in on whatever the stuff might be. Whatever the Quarter might be selling, must be important, right? "And yes, they sang a song and we walked on through. Magic." The scraggily pelican at least isn't immediately terrifying and seems polite enough. For Now.


"Ah, right. Of course," Herbert answers to Darcy. His beak turns toward Eva as he sets his hands atop his belly and rolls his shoulders back. Nevermind that this pushes his head and shoulders up against the curtains he came through. He doesn't seem to feel this detracts from his regalness and authority. "Old magic, yes, yes." He puffs up a touch more for her bow, pleased with the formality. "I know she was a wicked queen who took more from her subjects than she ever gave, and whoever rid us of her has my eternal gratitude. No profit we could make that she wouldn't claim." He makes a sound like he's trying to hmpf but it doesn't work quite right with his anatomy. With a blink toward Tristesse, he squawks, "Three," but is promptly corrected by Lafitte who notes, "Four, inclusive," before backing away further, giving the group space to chat with their new friend. The alligator's attention settles on Hawthorne, a steady curiosity while he listens to the conversation.

Herbert doesn't seem stuck on that count, instead addressing Stasya, "The mushrooms!" as if that were sufficient information. "Myco brings 'em in every seventeen days. Two more. Then I can make the stuff. Very good stuff. Stuff for forgetting or remembering." He drifts for a second before refocusing on the group, on Darcy in particular. "You don't belong here. No laws against selling you. Not how I like to make my profit, but no law against it. Careful, careful." Another shift of attention, back to Eva this time, "Was that all you wanted to know?"


"Now law against _whatting_ me?" Darcy lifts both brows high and there's a sudden, low rumble that starts in his gut. It's not scary because it's there; it's scary because it shouldn't be audible to everyone -- but is -- and it probably shouldn't be coming from a human being -- shocker, he's not. His lips peel back over his teeth, the rumble turning into a low, guttural growl. "There a law about _eating_ folks around here?" Yikes. Darcy isn't the scariest werewolf, to be sure; but then, some monsters are sweet.


A nod greets Herbert's description of the Queen, then Lafitte's correction is met with a wink. "Do the four of you make decisions together, then? Or is each of you in charge of something different?" Eva asks Herbert, tilting her head inquisitively. At that remark directed to Darcy, she clarifies, "He belongs to us, actually, so selling would be right out." Her white-traced, violet eyes flicker briefly towards the werewolf. "There do tend to be rules about violence in Markets, although they vary."


"Well, that makes sense," says Tristesse regarding four quarters, with a wry smile. "Forgive the silly question." She puts a hand on Darcy's shoulder when Eva says he belongs to them. "We're not looking to sell but we'll let you know if we change our mind," she says helpfully. "Maybe for a Prius." She might actually be enjoying this. "So no one knows what happened to the Butcher Queen, just that she's gone? It sounds like good riddance for that matter, so congratulations on that. Are our kind welcome then, again?"


"Nobody wants to see the big, bad wolf," Stasya says maybe not too convincingly as she stands behind the growling Darcy. The cotton candy Wizened has already established sometimes the sweetest looking can have a bit of a bite to them, at least something Lafitte should remember. "And only blue stuff. Not pink stuff? Sleepy stuff?" Stuff like cause the hob to fall asleep right next to the gate.


As that inhuman sound rises from Darcy, the ceilings in here seem to get higher as the corridors grow even more cramped. Menacing. It's certainly not Herbert's doing. He doesn't seem troubled at all by Darcy's displeasure or Eva and Tristesse's claim upon him, murmuring a satisfied, "Good good," to the lot of 'em as if the werewolf hadn't just threatened to eat him. He taps a finger to the side of his beak at Eva's note about violence, which probably covers eating folks. "Oh, oh!" is squawked somewhat cheerfully for Tristesse. "Your kind were never not welcome! Good business. Good business. Just none through the Barrux Door. None from the City. The City belonged to the Queen. The Market belonged to the Queen. Everything belonged to the Queen. Nobody went one side or the other that didn't have her say so. And none of yours ever had the say so to come into the Market from the City. Or into the City from the Market. Or anywhere else in the Hedge nearby. It was hers, both sides of the door, and there wasn't anybody to contest it."

Herbert's hand comes up to rub high on his beak, close to his eyes, as if he might've had an itch. His gaze flicks toward the way the world looms over them. "Could you calm your, uh. Wolf, was it?" He points up above them, to the way the Hedge is responding to Darcy's emotions. "But no. No pink. Only blue. No sleeping. Just forgetting and remembering. A few days out yet. If you want the pink stuff, check with Wayward. AH! Right, right." His hands resettle on his stomach as he gives a little shake and refocuses on Tristesse. "Now, I want you to think about this, yes?" One finger comes up from the stack to point at the others who'd mentioned 'magic.' "If it was old magic that let the Queen have her way and the Queen's way is no longer the way, what's that say of her magic? And what's that say of her? I say she's dead, and her death has undone what she did."


The way Darcy's head swivels when Eva says he belongs to them would make Linda Blaire jealous. he's about to say something when Tristesse puts her hand on his shoulder and just... digs in. Stasya's comment goes unremarked upon, and then Herbert speaks, and Darcy shrugs Tristesse's hand off his shoulder. "I am calm, you bag-throated fat little bird-midget, believe me, if I weren't calm, not a single person in here would be able to do it." And then he just turns around and with a bone-rending sound as he shrugs his shoulders, shoves Tristesse and Stasya out of his way. He doesn't do it with _strength_, he does it with _size_.

Almost a foot taller now, honey-gold eyes turning a glassy, jaundiced yellow, black claws and teeth that look like they could bite through concrete, Darcy makes his way out of Herbert's shop. There's a palpable wave of predation that wafts in his wake; a sensation that it is _best_ if one is where he has been and not where he is going; not that there's any choice, if he wants to find them. He snaps his teeth at Lafitte as he walks by -- SNAP -- growling something about putting beaks in uncomfortable places.


Eva grimaces a bit at Darcy's response, shooting him another apologetic look, then turns her attention back at Herbert, giving a small shrug of her thin shoulders. "You heard his answer," she says, frankly with regards to being calm. It seems she's planning on giving the werewolf space, as she doesn't go after him. The remark about magic has her expression turning thoughtful. "I suppose it depends on what's still running the Barrux door, doesn't it."


Hawthorne looks up from where he'd been in thought and having been watched by the alligator-man, and his ashes-and-embers eyes glow a little bit while the tension escalates with the werewolf and the pelican and all the psychoactive hedgestuff starts doing its thing. Then he shrugs a little, a faint half-smile of 'whatchagonnado?' crawling across his lips. He's either thinking about what he's going to fix for dinner or playing some 4D future-vision chess, and they might be the same thing.


"And I think that might just be our cue to leave. Thank you for your hospitality," Stasya gives a little bow and begins to try and make ushering motions to the rest of the group. The way the world is looming above them has the witchy wizened looking anxiously up at the sky as if it could possibly start falling. But since Eva's still aksing questions, she'll stick with the changelings and not the wolf for the moment.


The darkling's eyes widen as Darcy storms out, and she turns to Herbert to murmur, "In his culture, 'bag-throated fat little bird-midget' is totally a compliment," she says wryly. She nods at the words about magic. "We're glad to be back in the city, for what it's worth, and to be able to see your fine market." She dips her head in a small respectful bow, then follows the other out, staying to the back to give Darcy his space.


Herbert starts when Darcy snaps at him, leaning back into the curtains further, just enough that it starts to part around his head, leaving feathers and forehead partly hidden by a delicate floral pattern upon soft white sheets. He watches with both concern and curiosity with another flicker of attention to the ceiling where a shadow slithers after the werewolf, down toward the door, disappearing into the rest of the gloom. One hand lifts from his belly to give a little push-push gesture toward Lafitte to nudge the gator out after him, just to keep an eye on things. In case guards need called. Or he needs help finding the door. With a grumble of disapproval, their guide follows after Darcy, the door now tall enough that he needn't stoop through it, exaggerated in answer to the heightened emotions feeding the Hedge.

"Well," is all the Quarter says for a moment. When he straightens, he looks between those remaining, settling on Stasya first with a little bird-grunt of acknowledgement for the gratitude. To Tristesse, he says, "Yes. Most of you would be quite welcome back." His beak lifts as he considers Hawthorne's quietude for a moment, but it's Eva where his focus remains the longest. "Yes," he draws out. "Very curious, isn't it? Why would her old key still work if the rest doesn't? Hm. Curious, curious. Ah! But you asked a question, and I will answer. We Quarters decide what needs deciding as it needs to be decided, which is to say that some things only need one voice and some need four. Will you be needing anything else?" He seems to at least have registered the intention of half of them to head out.


Eva mms. "Something to consider," she says, then tilts her head at his response about the Quarters. "Thank you; I appreciate that information." Glancing to the others that seem to be heading towards the exit, she drops into a small bow again with a smile. "I believe we're done for today, but hopefully we will have a chance to make acquaintences again in the future." Straightening, she turns to exit.


Herbert disappears promptly back into his personal junk maze when it's clear everyone's leaving, with a nod toward Eva, at least, in parting. Under other circumstances, it might be difficult to navigate the unfamiliar maze of Tumbledown Market from the squat building all the way back to the Barrux Door without a guide without getting lost a time or two, but the group isn't so far separated from Lafitte and Darcy that they can't follow. Even if they can't see either of the impressively tall figures directly, there's a prickly, predatory wave in the werewolf's wake that makes him easy to track. Thorns on their vines grow thicker, sharper. The eyes of watching hobs seem hungrier. Everything seems angled inward, like it's closing in behind them. Really, they'd probably be well-served by either picking up the pace or stopping to meditate, and the latter just doesn't seem like a good solution right now.

Once they get back to the beginning, they'll find the alley has been cleared of the pink smoke and its Wayward occupants, the door again closed. Some powdery residue clings to the floor, to the walls, but there seems no threat of surrendering to sleep just for passing by it. Not for anyone above two feet tall, anyway. Once everyone's gathered, Lafitte opens the door for them, easy as pie, without needing to recite anything. "You all come back here any time and find ol' Lafitte." With a nod toward Eva, he adds, "I look forward to my new cravat."