Logs:Lost History - The Butcher Queen's Door

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Lost History - The Butcher Queen's Door


Characters: Darcy, Eva, Jacob, Mingzhu, Molly and Tristesse with Slip as ST
Date: 2020-05-17
Summary: Some members of the Freehold follow omens and rumors to an unusual Hedgeway on Barracks Street. A werewolf gets his first real glimpse of the Wyrd.
Disclaimers:

The address Eva found for this unusual door that may or may not be the one from Mingzhu's vision is 507 Barracks Street, just on the outskirts of the French Market which isn't precisely bustling at the moment. Not like it should be when the world is healthier and happier and closer to whole. Still, the streets aren't precisely barren either, this part of the city seeing too much regular business with food delivery and various services to just shut down entirely. Luckily, all is currently quiet on this particular block as the quintent of Lost arrive at the specified address. The building is old brick that's stood the test of time and storms, but not entirely unscathed. It's tagged with graffiti that hasn't been washed off or painted over in ages, whatever business used to occupy the storefront looking out over Decatur available for rent, the number for the leasing agent plastered on multiple signs toward the front of the building. This door, though, looks like it might be a personal residence? It's black, with a black gate outside it, two doors to open. A yellowed window fills the arch above the door, a single floodlight angling down toward the sidewalk, currently unnecessary and kept off. It's neither impressive nor inviting. Nor conveniently hidden.


Jacob planeed to meet Eva at the location, and insisted that Mingzhu come along. The word was out, though, and Jacob would have encouraged others to join them. He arrives with the group, pausing outside the building, furrowing his brow in thought. He's clad in his usual expensive, personally tailored charcoal suit, a black silk shirt accenting it. It doesn't matter what he's doing, always the suit. His hair is a mess of dark curls, those depthless, alien eyes taking in the building.

He speaks to the others in that low, accented voice of his, "I can ensure that no locks, cameras, or animals disturb us, but you'll have to remain within eyesight for it to work for you. And, please, be careful. We don't know what we're facing here." The trip to see Ghostmother was paused, after all, when Eva came up with an address. He looks over at the group and grins. "We're going to get answers, today."


Despite the fact that there may be breaking and enterting, depending on the circumstances, Eva is still dressed in her usual nice clothing; today she's wearing a dove grey, lace covered pencil dress with cap sleeves and a pair of black low heels, along with black lace gloves and a matching parasol. Like you do, apparently, regardless of the presence or absence of sun. She is, however, carrying a purse, which is slightly less typical for her. She smiles warmly at the familiar faces, then tilts her head as she listens to Jacob's remarks, then gives a simple nod.


In deference to this being an information-gathering quest, Mingzhu has toned the colours down today. She is dressed in all black save for a handful of accessories, though her footwear is not exactly suited for running. Let's hope that isn't needed. She's walking alongside Jacob, keeping quiet for the moment, but then her white eyes fix on the gate, and the door behind it. She doesn't say anything just yet, but appears.. focused.


Hanging to the back of the group and shrinking to the shadows, unsurprisingly, is the darkling Tristesse, anewcomer to the city who's heard of the expedition and decided to come along to see if she could be of some use. She hasn't said much, other than murmured names and 'nice to meet yous' in a not-local accent. Cold, silvery vapor wafts off her dark hoodie, leather pants, and boots she wears, like a freezer blowing freon, lest anyone wonder what court she's from. Her dark eyes, silver-shot, dart from one face to the next, and then back up at the building they've come to -- there's something a little birdlike in her motions, and like a bird, she seems ready to startle into flight at any motion.


Molly's in a black biker jacket, worn over a Saints crop top, skinny black jeans and scuffed black combat boots. She arrives with her hands tucked away in her pockets, in a loose stride, balancing herself on the edge of the cub, little leaps over a crack here and there. "Yeah. I can hide myself, kind of, if it comes to that, but..." she rolls back her shoulders in a lopsided shrug under the jacket and smiles thinly, eyeing the building. "I'll just go along."


Few things make Darcy more curious than a fairy. Mostly because so far, he hasn't met a fairy he didn't think was damn interesting. He's met the one with the cute long ears, he's met the one looks like a doll, he's met the one glows like a technicolor rainbow, he's met the one looks like the Hulk had a child with Thrall's momma, he's even met one reminds him of his mother. No, not the one that gave birth to him; the one rising in the--oh, no, wait. It's the Assassin's Moon tonight--hidden, lying in wait.

But HEY! There's the fairy moon, just standing there with a buncha other fairies, at least one other of which he's met. Darcy perks and puts a little lope in his step as he walks towards them in his low-top burgundy sneakers, dark blue jeans, petrol-green Henley and a slim black jacket that keeps him cool while warding off the breeze. His mirrored shades hang from his collar and he has a baggie of black licorice bits. Black licorice is life, black licorice is love, black licorice's taste is only bested by the fact so few people like it almost no one's gonna ask him for any.

He slows his pace when he's a few yards away, all smiles. "Now ain't y'all a motley crew if I ever'n seen one." Just because he took his Southern accent into a back alley in L.A. and shot it in the head doesn't mean he can't resurrect it on command. He pops a bite of licorice into his mouth. "Mingzhu. Eva." Sure, the smile's wolfish; but it's nothing compared the predatory air that pulsates just beneath the surface. And he's one of the tame ones! "Evenin'."


Really, they group gathered looks like they're in pursuit of a potentially interesting party, one which welcomes both the well-dressed and the low-key, the rocker chic and the elegant goth. Is that party behind door number 507? We'll just have to wait and see. What all the Lost are able to Ken is that, yes, there is potential for some compelling adventure on the other side: that is most certainly a Hedgeway.


Jacob looks around the group as they gather, nodding as they seem on board with him using his tricks. Darcy, however, gets a long look as he approaches. He doesn't recognize the wolf. But he recognizes a wolf. He studies him a moment, as he greets others, then looks at Mingzhu, "Is he trustworthy?" Since Darcy seems to know her - Jacob seems to trust her opinion.

The turns back towards the gate. And the door beyond it. A little searching and he looks back to Mingzhu, "This could be it." Then, back to the gate. He invokes that Contract, to unlock doors and go unnoticed. He moves forward, motioning for them to join him. He heards forward to open the gate. He reaches out, expecting it to open. Expecting it /so hard/ that he doesn't even question it. Only, it doesn't open like it should. And so he runs right into it. He takes a step back, then, surprised.

"Well, okay then. I suppose I shoudn't be surprised." He looks back at the others. "Plan B?"


When Darcy looks at the door everybody else is looking at, he sees something the others do not. Movement at the top of the black door behind the gate, liquid seeming to ooze from behind it, dripping down the front. As it sinks lower, the red color becomes clearer. It's blood. He need only blink or look away for it to disappear as if it were never there, a trick of the light, a figment of the imagination.


Eva seems happy to greet all of the gathering Lost, offering a cheerful introduction to Tristesse; she then spins her parasol lazily over her shoulder as she first studies the inoffensive door for a long moment. Apparently satisfied at whatever it is she saw, she agrees with Jacob, "Quite likely, unless there are more of them." A small, impish smile, then she glances about to see if anyone else is arriving, unfortunately missing that headlong walk into the door.

As she spies Darcy, her expression turns curious, then she smiles warmly, gaze flickering in brief distraction to that black licorice in a bag. "Hello, Mister Darcy." Her odd eyes twinkle with humor. "Are you sharing?" A nod to the bag. Then she's almost immediately distracted by that question about 'Plan B' and abandons her teasing of the werewolf, offering, "I could see if there's some kind of mechanism to it." Her lips quirk in amusement; perhaps she's thinking less of what's there as opposed to what could be.


Taking a breath, Mingzhu nods slowly. "That's the door," she confirms aloud for all present, assuming they know about the omen and so not going into any further detail. She looks up to the sky, concentrating on the waning crescent. Anyone close enough might see her all-white eyes take on a darker cast, as if the shadow of the Earth that hides part of Luna's body were also darkening her sight.

"The act of opening that door will not cause an oath to be broken," she volunteers, having presumably divined some cosmic truth from the night sky, or perhaps is just pulling this information out of her leather-clad posterior. "Nor will the act of entering the place beyond it." She blinks a few times, then looks back to the group, her expression mildly confused, as if for a moment she hadn't expected to still be here.


Molly tilts her head and gives the newly arrived Darcy a curiously wary look, gaze fixed on him for a moment while she waits for the other Lost to speak up. Then she relaxes, if only slightly, and returns her attention to the doors. Her brow furrows slightly, watching and listening to the others with a curiously blank expression, while clearly a lot is going over her head. "Was there, like, a reason to think it would break an oath? I don't remember doing any oaths about doors..." she comments, finally freeing one hand from her jacket pocket to scratch lightly back through her hair. She follows along. "I'm not real good with doors. Can we... break it open?" The ogre asks.


Tristesse turns swiftly at the approach of the wolf, rising tension in that always-alert, poised-for-flight posture of hers, but it eases up a little when Eva recognizes Darcy. She gives him a solemn look, before turning back to see Jacob run into the gate; her lips curve upward in some amusement, so she still has a sense of humor under that wintry exterior.

She nods Mingzhu's assessment of the gate. She tips her head and steps forward, touching the gate and bringing her mouth close, whispering something to it, then tipping her head with her ear against its cool surface, to listen.

Those eddying snowflakes in her eyes seem to swirl a little into more of a blizzard, and a few little snowflakes drift through the air around her as she invokes the Contract. She steps away, and turns to the group. "There was a hobgoblin who came out... maybe just before we arrived," she says, glancing down the alley thoughtfully. "He was carrying a bag and a satchel, and had an extra arm. Anyone know anyone with that description?" Probably not. She rakes her lower lip, fangs showing for a moment, before adding, "I think it opens with a song or rhyme. Maybe a nursery rhyme? I can't quite..." Tristesse frowns, trying to remember, but shakes her head again. "Like..." She wrinkles her nose and sing-songs, "da-da-DA, da-da-DA, DA da da da da. Da da-da da da da-da, da da da da-da-da."


Darcy smiles at Jacob. He waits for Mingzhu to determine whether he is trustworthy or not, though he does look at Eva and pull his bag of licorice towards him protectively, letting out an audible mock-gasp. "Share? What's that? It's all mine." He grins, then holds the open end out for Eva.

The werewolf's eyes shift to to the door, looking up at the top of it and furrowing his brow suddenly. His nostrils flare, then he blinks just once to narrow his eyes and -- "Hrn." He squints at them, then back at the door. For a long moment, he stays silent, suddenly a bit serious, and then winks at Molly. _Hey._

"You guys want some help? That thing just flash-bled at me and now I'm real curious." He's less asking and more informing them once the door is open, he's coming in, whether they invite him along or not. But he's _super_ nice about it. Tristesse gets a glance. "Hobgowhat, now?"


Jacob nods to Eva, "None like this, I've checked." He's scoured the city and saw no other door like this one. To be fair, he didn't see this one, either. He focuses on it intently, until Mingzhu speaks. He looks over towards her and, catching the change in her eyes, he narrows his gaze and moves closer, reaching out to touch her hand. When she continues, and then comes to again, he gives that hand a squeeze. "Good to know." He doesn't question that Mingzhu just had some sort of vision, instead looking back to the door. Through the gate. That didn't open.

When Molly speaks, he replies without hesitation, "No! No breaking it down. Just... no." The images that fill his head at the thought of that cause him to shiver brifly. When Tris speaks, he looks over. He shakes his head at hte description question, then hmms thoughtfully. "A nursery rhyme." He listens to the tune, his brow furrowing, but he doesn't seem to recognize it. He suggests, "Maybe you could try humming it again when we get there?" He looks at Darcy as he asks if they need help. He seems suspicious, but he replies, "Yeah, can you get those gates open? I'm not sure brute force is going to answer, but you're welcome to try with her," he nods to Molly. "Just don't damage the /other/ door."


Eva mms at Mingzhu's words about oaths and says quietly, "It makes me wonder if the reason there weren't Lost here for so long is because they promised to leave. Which then makes me wonder if the other side of that promise was broken, which is why we could come back. Or, on the other hand, it could be that someone found a loophole. But that's neither here nor there with regards to this specific gate, given that opening it won't break anything." She gives Molly a wry look. "Breaking doesn't usually work, unless you can convince the door that it wants to be broken."

As Tristesse puts her cheek on the door, the Poisonpetal tilts her head inquisitively. "Is that the actual rhythm to the rhyme? I can't quite place it. It isn't exactly 'Hickory Dickory Dock.' Maybe 'This Old Man? Her eyes twinkle at that, then she quite deliberately sticks her tongue out at Darcy's possessiveness over his bag of licorice. Looking back towards Jacob, she mms again. "Well. Let's try to sort the rhyme first. Then I can try tampering with the door if that doesn't work." Because tampering with Hedge gates is a /fabulous/ plan.


There is a question about whether Darcy is above board? Mingzhu looks to Jacob, then to the wolf, then back again. "He hasn't been an asshole so far? I can't speak to his whol self." Then she looks over to Molly. "The omens related to an old oath being broken," is the explanation. "Unsure if it's already -been- broken, or will -be- broken in the near future. So I thought it best to check." Check with who? With what? Her eyes slowly brighten to their usual white, and she lifts one shoulder in a slight shrug to the discussion about forcefully removing the gate.

"This isn't exactly tucked away somewhere out of sight. There are people around who could see or hear," she points out, taking up position next to the wall with the black graffiti on to the right of the door, one shoulder propped against the brickwork and arms folded. This is so very much not her forté, and being from New York she hasn't a clue about the nursery rhyme. So, she takes out her phone and searches for nursery rhyme tunes on YouTube. "Listen to some of these and see if they sound the same?" she suggests to her fellow Winter, holding out the device towards Tristesse.


Jacob looks over at Eva and considers, "Or perhaps the other way around." He doesn't say more on that at the moment, instead focusing on the rhyme. He shakes his head, admitting, "I can't remember any with that sound..." When Mingzhu speaks, he smirks and nods, then grows thoughtful. "That could be an important difference." When she points out the obvious, that they're gawking, he nods in agreement. "Let's tone it down and figure out how to get past the gate." He pulls out his cell phone and looks to Tris. "Can you hum it for me again, Tris? There's this app on my phone that's supposed to convert it to songs. Maybe it'll pick of something. I've never used it, though, so not sure how it works." He offers his phone out.


Molly shrugs as people put down her brilliant 'brute force' plan, and contemplates the door again, shifting all her weight onto one leg, boot raised to rub behind the other calf. "Right. Convince it. I mean, other than threatening to, like, draw some dicks on it or something?" That's plan B, if brute force doesn't work out. She frees a hand, the tip of a claw scratching very lightly against the side of her jaw. "'Cause like, can't you just force this door without touching the other one? That should be alright, shouldn't it?"


Taking the phone from her fellow Winter, Tristesse listens for a few and shakes her head. "No... It's more... it's a bit esoteric, I think. I don't know how I know it," she says, then hums it again for Jacob, a skeptical look given to the phone he holds out to her. "I think it needs to be a recording," she says, bending down to unzip a little compartment in her boots.

Straightening, she moves forward to the gate and licks the lockpick she's pulled out, glancing over her shoulder to the alley beyond, before working at the lock mechanism with the slim bit of metal.


"Shit," Darcy says, suddenly. "That really does sound fucking familiar. I'm gonna be thinking about this for days now. Fffff--" Nothing worse than a song stuck in your head you don't know the words to. Jacob's question gets a shrug. Then Tristesse is applying a fine touch to the gate and he rolls his shoulders back. Folding the top of his licorice bag and tucking it into his pocket, he steps closer to the group, and he _grows_.

It's unsettling to say the least, but at least present company is exempt from the effects of Lunacy. Bone twists, flesh wrenches, there's snapping, cracking, popping. he's got a bit more hair now, definitely looks bulkier (though his clothing still fits normally) and when he glances over at them, his honey-brown eyes have turned a haunting, jaundiced gold. His teeth are sharper -- closer to fangs -- and when he flexes his fingers, drawing attention to them, his nails could pass for short claws. Cans everywhere beware, need he not an opener. Around him, there's a heaviness to the air; a pressure that weighs down on courage and fearlessness.

That sensation of predation that was just under the surface before has shredded through his skin and become the predominant factor about him. He glances around, and when he speaks, it comes out with a bit of a snarl, and a casual shrug: "Just in case."


Let's hope nobody's watching all of this. The sound of far-off voices, of a conversation down the road and around the corner pitching upward into laughter, excitement, might cause the group standing around to worry. It's a reminder that they're out in the open, exposed, with one of their own picking the lock to a security gate while another grows inhuman features without any Mask to hide them. Somebody checked to make sure there are no security cameras pointed this way, right? Should anyone check now, it looks like they're safe. It seems, for the moment, like nobody's looking. Not from down the road, not from any windows, not even with technological assistance. Sometimes, luck works in your favor.

Like with that click marks the tumblers falling into place and the gate springs open by half-an-inch, no longer held in place by its latch, granting access to the much more confounding door behind it. It, too, has normal locks, but hedgeways don't much worry about those things. Typically, all a Lost needs is to expend some glamour to make the handle turn, to make the door open into the Hedge. This one, rumor would have it, might prove a little trickier.


Jacob looks over at Eva and considers, "Or perhaps the other way around." He doesn't say more on that at the moment, instead focusing on the rhyme. He shakes his head, admitting, "I can't remember any with that sound..." When Mingzhu speaks, he smirks and nods, then grows thoughtful. "That could be an important difference." When she points out the obvious, that they're gawking, he nods in agreement. But Tris is already on it, moving to pick the lock his magic couldn't open. He glances around the street to see if anyone's paying them extra attention, and looks up at the building, scanning for other threats. When Darcy changes, he looks over at the wold and mutters, "/Not/ drawing attention to ourselves is the goal here." He looks back at the door as Tris gets the gate open, his expression growing almost hungry. "Now to get it open."


Eva's lips quirk into a smile at that threatening of the hedgeway with phallic graffiti, and her eyes twinkle. Tristesse's response about the rhyme has her making a thoughtful noise. "Well. We could ambush the hob. Or someone could sneak after it and record whatever it sings." Darcy's remark is met with a wry look. "Forever," she agrees. "Worse than the song that never ends." Those odd eyes gleam impishly as she suggests /that/ particular earworm, then she blinks at that sudden change in the werewolf's stature before wincing a little at the snap and pop of bones. Her expression is more curious than not, however, although she does glance about at the echo of voices, just to check their immediate surroundings before returning her attention to the gate behind a gate.

Stepping forward a bit, her fingertips don't /quite/ brush the surface as she frowns slightly, and offering, "If the rhyme is a recording and we need to find it, then I could try to see what I could manage with the hedgeway in the meantime? No guarantees, but I can try it now, unless someone else has something else they want to experiment with, first."


Frowning slightly, Mingzhu turns her gaze to Darcy. "Please don't. We need you to look human," the moon requests quietly of the slightly-less-human-looking uratha, her freaky white eyes fixed on him. "I'm sure you guys must have a rule about not showing humans things they shouldn't see. Otherwise everyone would know about you." It's a guess, but given most of the supernaturals types she's met have a similar point of order in their governance, she's hoping for the best.

She turns away from Tris as the other Winter starts lock picking, her body positioned to obscure it from any eyes looking from one end of the street. Let's hope nobody is observing from the other end, right?


Molly draws another blank at the sound of the song, humming something akin to it after she hears the doo-dah-dah, but clearly not quite the right thing. She just stands there on one leg for now, watching Tristessa at work on the lock with interest, leaning forward and tilting her head for a better look at the other Lost's technique. The peeking is only interrupted so she can crane her head and give Darcy a slightly wary look at the transformation. Eyes narrow. Nostrils flare. But her hands push back into her pockets, nonetheless. As the door open, she looks it over, then the rest of the group. "I could hide us, but y'all would have to be real still and quiet, and I ain't sure this is the place for that," she notes with a jerk of her head towards the rest of the street. "No idea. Sure it doesn't open the regular way?"


Tensing at the sounds of Darcy's preternatural shifting, Tris glances over her shoulder to make sure none of the others' bodies are the ones making those noises at the hands of the werewolf, and that it is in fact just the werewolf. She straightens when the lock's tumblers find their way to open, tucking the lockpicking tool behind her ear beneath the shadows of her dark mane. She frowns and sings to the door, the little nursery rhyme without the words she doesn't know, to see if anything happens now that they aren't on the wrong side of the gate, and seeks to open the door.


Darcy doesn't seem concerned with Mingzhu or Jacob's objections. "I still look human." Mostly. The chances of normal people wanting to come close to him right now, anyway, are unlikely. Darcy doesn't _look_ much bigger and most of the changes they can see -- the fangs, the claws, the eyes -- can be tricks of the light. It's the aura, that sensation of being hunted, that people will stay away from. "I'm not going to be caught unawares walking into a situation where I am literally the person least in the know. I've been doing this a long time." Or, at least, dealing with it his whole life. "You do your thing. I'll do mine."


Hedgeways should answer the gift of glamour. The handle Tristesse holds should turn so that the door can open into the Hedge. It doesn't. Nothing happens at all. The door accepts the glamour, but does nothing with it, greedy thing that it is. The voices in the distance die down to a distant murmur. A door on Decatur opens and closes, the chirp-chirp of a car unlocking assuring that somebody's out and about. Nobody looks this way, though. Maybe that predatory aura helps.


Jacob nods to Eva as she suggests checking out the Hedgeway. "I can take a look at Twilight, see if there are any clues there." He glances back towards Mingzhu as she speaks to Darcy, then to Molly. "We might need to break and regroup. There could be those watching this place, too, in which case they've already seen us and we should be ready." When Molly speaks, he looks over. "I don't think it would help in the long run, but we might need it later. You never know. He glances towards Tris a moment, nodding yet again. He looks towards the door behind the gate, now open, and smiles.

He turns, then, moving back to Mingzhu, murmuring, "I'll be back." He touches her hand briefly, and then steps into the shadows, away from the gate, to begin to gross over into Twilight. And fade away.


"I'll wait, then," Eva replies frankly. "Since what I want to do is a matter of having the door's attention - or at least the parts that I want." Whatever /that/ means. She seemingly idly twirls her parasol, even as she gives the street a once-over, checking to make sure they haven't garnered an audience yet. Nothing yet. Then she glances towards Darcy, perhaps trying to see if the black licorice has made another appearance.


Jacob fades into Twilight. Anyone who can see beings in that state will still have an eye on him as he passes right through the black door and disappears. Everyone else simply sees the disappearing part. The Helldiver is gone.


Frowning slightly at Darcy, Mingzhu leaves it at that, trusting - reluctantly - that he knows what he's doing, even if she's a touch alarmed by it. "I think my part here is done," she voices as Jacob fades out of sight, the Winter closing her eyes briefly. "I'm not comfortable staying with so much going on. Do you have anything else you need me to do?" she asks the group. It is possibly no surprise that doing all this out in the open is making her uncomfortable.


Molly's holding back, keeping her eyes on the street, occasionally shifting, head craning to one side or the other to peek both ways. Her attention returns to the doorway and the other Lost trying to get it open, but she's a fidgety and impatient thing. Out comes her phone, tap tap, scroll scroll. And then, as Jacob fades off, she blinks. "The fff..." And since nothing else seems to be working, she takes a step closer and decides to - knock? Knock. With the bony knuckles of her talons. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap. Because 'Shave and a Haircut' is clearly the secret knock. It might be.


This is what Jacob was made for, to pass through doors barred to others. He can feel it, the lock which keeps this door bound. It pulls at memories that aren't there, at the empty spaces within him where the thorns took from him when he fled Arcadia back to the mortal world. It feels so profoundly right and so distinctly wrong both at once, to do what he was made for, to be reminded of what he is and all he's lost. It makes the otherwise short journey, the act of simply stepping through the otherwise locked door, disorienting. More so, perhaps, when he finds he's whole and tangible again. In the Hedge. Not a part of the local Hedge that he's ever seen before, but a Lost knows the Hedge when they've crossed into it. Usually. Now, certainly. The alleyway echoes with sound, with voices and commotion, a promise of life further down. Past the tall, lumbering hob with over-large eyes looking down at him and calling, "Hey! You ain't sposed to be here. Boss! BOSS!" Jacob is almost crtainly not the boss this guy's calling for. It sounds like somebody on the other side of the door behind him is knocking shave-and-a-haircut.


Tristesse lifts a brow as Jacob fades. She leans against the gate, then turns to Mingzhu when the other Winter asks what else she can do. She smiles at Molly's knock, then adds, "Speak Friend, and enter, maybe?" she quips, another small half smile at the effort at levity. "No cryptic riddles in another language to be read by moonlight, right?" she says, glancing at Mingzhu then back at the door. No such messages. She'll wait for Jacob's return. "Be safe," she tells Mingzhu with a nod, and then to Darcy, while they're all waiting, "Did you bring enough to share?" She's a darkling. Of course she likes black licorice.


Darcy watches Jacob fade. He sticks his hand in his jacket and holds the bag of licorice out, open-end, towards Eva and Tristesse, but his jaundice-gold eyes remain fixed on Jacob, well-after the man slips into Twilight. His expression can be summed up in: 'huh!'.


It's what he was made for. Once Jacob enters Twilight, he sees the door. Open and waiting for him. Everything else is forgotten for a moment as he heads towards it. He doesn't even hesitate before he jumps right into it. And then he's flying. It's a high more intense than any druggie will ever know. Worlds swirling around him, and him part of them. He breathes it in. And then he's dumped out on the other side.

The voice has him looking towards it, his eyes widening. He gets a glimpse of his surroundings, those alleyways. He looks at the hob and says, urgently, "Where am I? Is this Tumbledown?" Brief, and urgent, and then he's scrambling to his feet and looking back towards that door. He doesn't want to meet BOSS. He looks back at the hob for the answer, though, waiting before he dives back through. As he waits, he hears something. A tapping? Is that shave and a haircut?


Eva smiles warmly at Mingzhu. "You've been wonderful and thank you, but if you can't think of anything else to add right now, I think we'll be all right. We can text you with questions after all, yes?" An inquisitive look. Molly's knocking at the door has the Wizened shifting over to make space, her eyes twinkling at the pattern. The offer of licorice has her brightening, and she quickly grabs a piece, not /quite/ stuffing it in her mouth before the werewolf can change his mind, even as she turns her attention back towards the door, waiting patiently - or, rather, she at least appears to be waiting patiently. Those with extremely acute hearing might notice that one foot is tapping very softly, if restlessly, against the ground.


"Of course. Let Jacob know I've gone home," Mingzhu requests of Eva, a small smile offered along with her words. Then she lifts a hand to the others, and turns to head off. Down and left along Decatur Street, heading into the more populous part of the district so she can get lost in the crowds. Just in case anyone was watching or tracking those who have been here today.


On the other side of the door, the towering hob with the big eyes and even bigger arms gives Jacob a queer look and says, "Course it's Tumbledown," like it didn't even make sense for the Fairest to ask. The calls for 'boss' are answered with, "Innaminnit, innaminnit," the owner of the grumpy tenor not particularly alarmed by the calls to attention. "Ain't never seen nonna your kind come through that door afore. I don't think yer doin' it right."


Jacob pauses right next to the door. He's about to jump back through. But. But. He looks up at that towering hob, his curiosity piqued. More piqued by every moment that goes by where it doesn't seem something's about to eat him. The 'Innaminnit's have him relaxing further. He looks at hte hob with those dark, alien, inquisitive eyes. "The door's broken. What do you know of it? You know who built it?"


Molly pulls back from the doorway, stretching her long fingers, then curling them again and putting them away. She's still got her phone in hand. "It was worth a shot, right? But then I thought the breaking it open was worth a shot, too, so..." she glances in Darcy's direction and lifts a shoulder. As Mingzhu heads off, the feathery-haired woman tilts her head to watch, then briefly scans the rest of the street again with a sniff and a renewed tilt of her head. "Could maybe... get here from the other side and open it? Maybe it's one of those doors got a lock on one side? Like it's bolted or something?"


The offer of licorice from Darcy was probably more for Eva's sake than her own, but once Darcy offers, Tristesse studies the bag for a moment before slipping her hands in to grab a piece, a very small smile and "thanks" offered to the very large wolf-man. She nods to the other Winter as Mingzhu takes her exit, then looks to Molly. "I think that's what Jacob went to do, though I know you mean not through that same route. I can't go the way he did." Presumably most of them can't, since they didn't try it. She looks to the door curiously, then brings the piece of licorice to her mouth to chew.


Darcy smiles at Tris and Eva, snarling a short, "No problem," and then he glances up and down the street. "I think I'm going to take a look around." Tips his chin at Eva and sets the bag of licorice in Tristesse's hands. "She has my number," he says, of Eva, grinning at the other Changelings with a broad, be-fanged maw. Then he turns and walks away, his bones and flesh crunching and tearing again under his clothing until the figure walking away from them is just the same ol' Darcy from before: pretty eyes, great smile, nice ass -- he hums while he walks: "da-da-DA, da-da-DA, DA da da da da. Da da-da da da da-da, da da da da-da-da." _Fuck_.


"S'not broken," grumbles the big hob. "Ain't nobody built it. Doors be doors, right? Always been there. Always done as doors do." If there's something more Jacob's getting at, the hobgoblin doesn't seem to understand, thick fingers rubbing at the back of his bristle-haired head. "You comin' in or goin' out?"


Jacob nods and chuckles, "Yeah, yeah. But you didn't expect someone to be coming through it, which means there's a story to it. What is it?" As long as the 'boss' doesn't seem to be getting any closer, and he has that reassuring doorway to the back, Jacob suddenly seems to have the time to ask a couple questions. "Do you know the Ghostmother?" He has a /little/ time, after all, right? Even if it'll take him a moment to dive back through the door. But he's so close... so close to answers. Not to mention it's /Tumbledown/, or so the hob says, and that along deserves just a little peek. He'll only be a moment...


The Wizened finishes off the licorice, glancing over towards Molly and Tristesse with a thoughtful look and nods. "It's too bad we can't tell exactly where he ended up, but since he's not back yet, clearly he's /somewhere/." Eva smiles wryly, then considers the door again. "On the other hand, he could be stuck. So maybe I should try to see if this is going to work. After all, you never know how a door is made until you try looking; there could be a hidden mechanism, after all." Closing the parasol, she props it against the outer metal gate before she reaches up with both hands, those delicate, slightly too-long fingers probing the surface of the hedgeway door as she hums idly under her breath, expression thoughtful. It almost looks like she's searching for a hidden panel, perhaps the kind triggered by a pressure point? Press, click, open...or at least, that's the idea.


"I got no idea where he even went," Molly confesses with a glance in Eva's direction, face scrunched in a confused look. She doesn't look too bothered by not knowing, nor too worried, though she keeps that wary watch on the street, frowning slightly as Darcy wanders off. "That's kinda disturbing and all," she comments to no one in particular, then goes back to her phone, carefully texting someone, scrolling through social media, that sort of thing. Snickering.


Oh, gifts. Tristesse's hands curl around the bag, but she holds it out for Eva to take more if she likes. "See ya," she murmurs to Darcy as he turns back to something less frightening. Her attention shifts to Eva when she begins to poke and prod the door. She tips her head in that slightly avian way of hers, dark eyes blinking. "Can't hurt," she says, though that's probably not true. "That song's gonna be in my head forever," she says to Molly, as Darcy hums the song on his way out.


"Expected someone," the hob disagrees. "Jus' not you." He really doesn't seem to comprehend the questions about doors having stories, but something in there makes sense. "She's a ways out, yeah, but I know 'er." A clatter echoes down the alley, followed by footsteps nearer than the din of commerce further down. That gruff tenor grumbles back, "Wuzalldisden?" though the individual to whom it belongs isn't quite yet in view yet. It's only a matter of seconds. The big hob answers, "Gotta Lost, boss. Came through one of the Butcher Queen's doors." Oh. So, it does have a story.


Eva's inspection of the door, in the meanwhile, returns success! There is, indeed, a hidden button behind one of the wood panels. All it takes is a gentle press of gloved fingers, and the thin veneer of black-painted wood folds down to reveal an aged brass button that looks like it'll probably squeak when pushed. It doesn't, but there is some give, indicative of age and disuse, fitting the feel of the building itself. When pushed, a lock clicks, and the door is able to be opened. Unfortunately, t doesn't look much like the Hedge on the other side. It looks like the foyer of an unoccupied apartment, where nobody was home to hear Molly's knocking. Pamphlets for a local realtor sit on a nearby entryway table, though they've gathered a considerable layer of dust; nobody's even looked at the place in a while.


They expected someone, but not him. It's Tumbledown. He tries to take note of the alleyways he can see. He tries to commit the voice to memory. He looks at the hob and smiles, "I'm sorry, I gotta go. See you soon!" With that, he begins to dive, once more, his intent to head back through that door once he's in Twilight. Butcher Queen. That's a /new/ name. In the meantime, he knows the Ghostmother is near, and who to track down to find her. Just not now. So he dives. And once again he's lost in the bliss of being between worlds. At least until he finds the other side.


Eva has been too distracted, her attempt at opening the door to do more than 'mm' absently at Molly and Tristesse's remarks, missing the offer of licorice entirely, it seems. As her efforts result in the door opening mundanely, she sighs, making a face, and pulls it shut again after a cursory assessment of the interior. "Wrong side." She brushes her hands against themselves, then squares her shoulders and reclaims her parasol. "I suppose that would have been too easy. At least it looks like nobody owns the place on this end." She sighs, then peers towards the licorice bag, if it's still out, adding, "Well, if he isn't back soon, we'll have to figure out exactly where this goes, even if we can't get it open from this side. I don't want to have to tell Ian we lost Jacob."


And even as Eva's giving up on the door, the door shimmers and Jacob comes stumbling through. There's a bit of a step, though, so he hits it and stumbles, landing on the pavement with a grunt. He got his suit dirty! "Guh.." He pushes himself up, looking around to make sure nobody saw that (which of course they did), and starts brushing off his suit. "We need to talk. Somewhere privately."