Logs:Lost History - The Many-Feathered Marquesse

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Lost History - The Many-Feathered Marquesse

Characters: Charity, Eva, Nicolas & Simin with Slip as ST
Date: 2020-07-30
Summary: How much do secrets cost?

The way to Tumbledown Market hasn't changed much, though that pesky gate no longer requires lockpicking in order for the Lost to get to the actual hedgeway behind it. From there, it's just a matter of singing that catchy little nursery rhyme referencing a reportedly dead might-be-Gentry to unlock a shouldn't-be-locked hedgeway then stepping on in through the Barrux Door. A sign on the door for the Wayward Company, just a right turn away from the entrance, indicates they are OUT, but the rest of the market is bustling as usual. The group earns fewer odd looks this time around, the market hobs growing increasingly used to changelings coming in from the New Orleans side these days, even if visits are still few and far between. A potentially familiar well-dressed gator chats flirtatiously with a mossy hob not too far from where the group lets out, should his services be required. Elsewise, all of Tumbledown stretches out around them, any inviting tangle of tables and stalls, deals and dealers, all awaiting exploration.

Simin is probably following along close by Charity and Eva's side, trailing after Nicolas, with his hands clasped behind his back, humming under his breath as they make their way through the Market. The dragon's not shopping, but it doesn't mean he can't crane his head over and get a good look at some of the things being hawked at as they pass by, even while he asks, "The Marquesse IS waiting for us, right, or do we need to entreat someone for an audience?" He glances at each of the other faces, assuming someone has made arrangements already.

This is Nicolas' first time in this part of the Hedge, though the Autumn doesn't seem overly concerned. In fact he looks quite keen to see the sights. Today the doctor's outfit is clearly new, and much more outdoorsy than his usual clothes -- a lightweight flannel shirt in various shades of brown, olive trousers, and black hiking boots. A small backpack is slung over his shoulders, packed full to within an inch of its life. He's not obviously armed but, with his shirt unbuttoned against the heat, is clearly wearing some body armor under his clothes, at least on his torso. Nicolas is perfectly willing to be somewhere in the middle of the group. He cocks his head at Simin's question. "If not, then I can probably arrange something." He looks to Eva for the full answer here.

The fox-bright eyes of Charity are flicking here and there, ears twitching as well to catch sounds. Near to the dragon, the satchel she's carrying on the side between them. While not planning on browsing, it doesn't hurt to have bits and bobs to trade just in case. The faces in the Market, at least those immediately seen, are not familiar.

Eva is dressed neatly, if still slightly uncharacteristically in slacks and a blouse; today she's wearing dark purples and greys, her hair pulled up into a French twist. She has a smooth microfiber satchel resting against one hip and over her shoulder, and a string of faux black pearls around her neck. Those white-traced violet eyes skim the inhabitants of the market square as they reach it, then she winks at Simin's remark. "Actually, I owe that lovely gentlehob a cravat, and he's quite likely to be willing to point our way to the Marquesse - although he may ask another price. We shall see." And at that, the Wizened starts towards the rather well-dressed gator, smiling warmly. "Mister Lafitte," she says by way of greeting, raising a hand cheerfully.

There is so very much to see, so very many strange and wonderful--and entirely ordinary and mundane--trinkets and knickknacks and treasures to peruse, and the market hobs are eager to show them off should they catch any of the changelings browsing, lofting this vase or that map, this bushel of sweet-smelling turnips, that pair of cheap plastic sunglasses. The hobs themselves are as varied as their goods, some resembling local flora or fauna while others seem plucked right from a child's dreams, some more pleasant than others. Need a name? A dream? Some direction? A cure for homesickness? A lost memory? Whatever one wants, it's sure to be found here. Sort of. In some form or another.

Especially if what one wants is the company of an ever-charming, well-dressed alligator. Mostly well-dressed, anyway. Lafitte's suit has certainly seen better days, but that doesn't seem to slow him down any as he chats up his mossy friend. He might continue in that fliration, oblivious to potential business, were his companion not distracted by the approach of others, a straying gaze followed along toward Eva. The rest of the party is considered as he rises to his feet, but it's the wizened who earns his wide, toothy smile and a low bow, one hand upon his waist. "What a delight! A return customer?" Is she a customer? "Pardon me just one moment." A quiet word with his friend earns a nod, a smirk and some shambling away to leave the gator to his work. "How might Lafitte be of service this finest of days?"

Simin oos and nods slowly at Eva's explanation, murmuring softly, "Got it." With that said, he seems quite happy to hang back a little closer to the back of the group and wait for the conversation with Mr. Gator, while idly twining the end of his braided hair around with the hands clasped behhind his back, like his own little worrystone. Lefitte is flashed a small smile but he makes no effort to add to the conversation, he just casually gets that notebook out after a moment and jots down a couple of comments. After all, gotta know who to hit up when he comes back, right?

"It's as if you planned it that way," Nicolas says after Eva fills them in on the details, offering a wry smile. Then he's distracted for a moment by the dubious and possibly grotesque specimen jars on offer at a nearby stall, and has to take a few quick steps to keep up with the group. He turns his attention to Lafitte, giving the hob a moment of quiet and very intent scrutiny. Is that a beast-type or some sort of amalgamation? He at least has the good manners not to ask.

While she's not browsing, Charity's ears swivel and her gaze briefly goes to the hob that's hawking a cure for homesickness. A tempting thing. But she's here on other business, and there's a murmured, "When we can, we should come back here sometime," to the dragon. An amused look as Eva greets the gator-in-a-suit. Dipping her head to him, but the violet-eyed one is left to the chatting.

Nicolas' side remark is rewarded with a wink. The Wizened's eyes then twinkle at Lafitte's greeting. "Well, first things first," Eva replies warmly, reaching into the bag at her side and withdrawing a neatly wrapped paper package, stamped with the stylized flower and name of her business; the package is offered to the gator. "This is your payment for last time. You're welcome to open it now, or later, as you like."

The spindly-limbed hob at the jar-laden stall which catches Nicolas' attention steps aside to allow a fuller view of their impressive collection of oddities, some bobbing about in fluid, others simply piled or slumped into their glass containers. Some move, others glow, and at least three appear to be watching the doctor as he hurries off, even if only two of those specimens had anything resembling actual eyes. A dejected, "Next time," is rasped from the merchant to their goods, an assurance that the strays and stray parts will all find their appropriate homes someday. Surely, the same can be said for homesickness remedies and all the other bits and bobs spread across tables, dangling from awnings and piled upon shelves.

Lafitte presses one clawed hand to his chest as if taken aback by Eva's thoughtfulness as the other reaches out to accept the package. "Why, it is a genuine pleasure to be in the company of one who remembers their debts. Can't say the same for everyone. Whole lotta folks are of a very outta sight outta mind mentality, and it just warms my heart to know you are not of that variety." While it might be the more gentlemanly thing to do to wait and see to the gift later, the gator sets right to opening it, tugging the tag into a jacket pocket before peeling away paper and plucking out the yellow cravat made to match his eyes, to complement his suit. As he goes about putting it on tout suite, he looks among the four Lost and wonders, "Now, is there anything else the best dressed gentleman in all of Tumbledown might be able to offer such fine folks as yourselves? An evening tour of the market? A guide to all its strangest places? Have you visited the Sans Merci yet?"

Simin mmhmms softly at Charity and murmurs under his breath, "Market is a dangerous place to go browsing. You come here not sure what you are looking and the right merchant has convinced you of what you need by the time you leave. Better to come here knowing exactly what you want, and stick to it." He leans in to steal a kiss from the foxgirl's shoulder before he adds in amusement, "Otherwise entirely too easy to want to give away something you really should not be parting with." he trails off as LAfitte asks them What Can Gator Do For You, and the dragon chooses that moment to look at Eva rather than answer, apparently quite happy to let the smiling Wizened keep doing the chatting up.

After his close call at the stall-of-jars, Nicolas overhears Charity's remark and gives an agreeable nod as he glances between her and Simin. "There are any number of interesting things." The doctor seems unworried about getting lost in the browsing. Then he moves up to stand beside Eva, though staying a step back so as not to physically interject himself in the conversation. He offers the gator-hob a polite smile in greeting but leaves the talking to Wizened.

"I'll keep that in mind," Charity murmurs to Simin. The Lost wolf is new to all of this, still, after all. When the dragon kisses her shoulder, her head turns to do the same to the top of his head. One ear turned out, to keep listening to things around them. Her head lifts, and she watches as Eva presents the gator with the package, watching as he opens it up. "Oh, that's lovely, Eva," she offers, bright and genuine. "You really do have an excellent eye." A quick wink over to Nicolas, before shelooks over to Lafitte.

Another warm smile greets Lafitte's response, and while it may be ungentlemanly, Eva looks pleased as he tears open the paper and dresses himself in the cravat. "Perfect," she says cheerfully. At his question, the Wizened says, "I seem to recall that the last time we were here, you had suggested speaking to the Many Feathered Marquesse, although events...progressed in such a way that we weren't able to make a visit."

Lafitte spends a few seconds preening as he listens, his reptilian head tipping to try and angle an eye down at his neck with limited success. Still, he manages well enough on feel alone to get his newest accessory nearly straight and well-tied before those yellow eyes peer back up at Eva. "It has not escaped me that your more fightsome friends are not accompanying you this evening." Is that amusement in his tone? It's awfully dry if it is. Whatever the case, he straightens further and sweeps one arm out to the side in a fairly universal right this way sort of gesture. "I am certain the Marquesse will be as enchanted with your company as I am." The first turn comes up quickly, only a few yards after the gator's begun, a look cast back over his shoulder as he notes, "Lotsa talk bout the lot of you looking into Bou-Cherie's old business. Hope you understand that most here are just lookin' to move on now." It almost very nearly sounds like a question.

Simin rumbles softly when the observation is made about their company or lack of it, considering for a moment before he does manage to offer, "Well, we were hoping to not come looking for a fight this evening, If you bring fighters to the Market, people expect you to want to fight?" But with that said, he trails off and ducks his head a little, resuming that hum under his breath as he trails along with the other three to follow Lafitte's lead.

Nicolas' smile goes up a notch when Charity winks at him, though the Fairest seems more amused by the gesture than anything else. Then he returns his attention to the conversation between Eva and Lafitte. There's a moment where it looks like the doctor may try and intervene to assist the hob with getting his new tie on properly, but restraint wins out. "Indeed," Nicolas seconds' what Simin's says, then falls in with the group as they move on.

Charity takes a moment to admire the gator, once he gets the cravat on. Very nice, yes. "We'd let ghosts rest, if they didn't have such an impact on our present," the Brit murmurs softly towrds Lafitte. Following along with the group, lingering by Simin's side. Sans Merci filed away in her mind for later adventuretimes.

Eva gives Lafitte a wry smile for his remark about fighting. "As my friend says, sometimes that is not always the impression one wants to make." She falls in with him as he gestures that they start walking, then mms softly for that mention of Bou Cherie, nodding at Charity's observation. "People are curious, although we can try to be polite about it, at least." A smile. "Our goal isn't to upset everyone."

"Hers isn't one we much want haunting the place anymore than it already is," Lafitte notes to Charity. "A spectre best kept to the metaphorical." Eva's remark earns a gracious nod, a sidelong murmur of, "Not everyone's so thick-skinned as Lafitte. Your delicacy by and large will be appreciated."

After another couple of twists and turns and intersections, "The Rookorrery," as the gator-guide calls it, can be seen in the not-too-far distance, thin pillars shooting skyward and casting shadows across the market. Each one is affixed with both nest-like hemispheres and intricate moving parts, from looping semicircular limbs to orbs of various sizes and transparencies. Currently still, it presents a strange silhouette, potentially elegant architecture all set oddly askew. The nearer the group gets, the easier it is to see the signs above the arched entryway to the semi-enclosed circular structure, none of which actually bear its name. Instead, the signs read: QUESTIONS ANSWERED!; MYSTERIES SOLVED!; SECRETS REVEALED (or hidden)!

Lafitte has to duck to step in, the door held for the Lost in his way as he calls, "You in here, Marquesse? I got a round of customers come to Tumbledown just to see--" A creak overhead tips one of the nest-like bowls, a pair of bright turquoise eyes peering down past a short, curved black beak, below an array of many-colored feathers. The gator looks up toward the sound and smiles his most amiable smile. "--you." To the changelings, he presents, "The Many-Feathered Marquesse." Who has yet to issue a peep.

Simin cranes his head around slowly when he follows the group in, arching a brow and pulling that notebook back out, rummaging for his pencil to start jotting down little phrases, maybe just taking notes of what they actuallky run into, who knows? Either way, the dragon seems to try to stick close by the fox girl's hip, all but hovering over her shoulder as they trail inward. When the Marquessa is introduced, he pauses and glances up at the feathers, before offering a small bob of his head. Hey, its a guester of respect, right?

The main point has been made about why they feel the need to look into Bou Cherie, but Nicolas adds a further bit for Lafitte's benefit. "And of course we expect to pay a fair price for the information." Narrowing avoiding a stop to study the strange architecture, the doctor makes it inside the Marquesse's place before he indulges his curiosity and stops to look around. He looks up and, spotting the feathered something looking down at them, inclines his head in a well-mannered greeting.

Charity dips her head to Lafitte, though her eyes stay on the gator with the gesture. "I will keep that in mind," she offers to their guide, "And will always keep it in consideration when here." Her gaze flits about as they move, taking in the new place. Every now and then she glances to the dragon's notebook, and murmurs softly to him. Pointing out things here and there. When those eyes are spotted, her own amber ones focus on them. It has far more feathers than she does, for sure.

"Understandable. I suspect that once people have more answers, there may be fewer questions." Eva's eyes twinkle. "Or not. Sometimes questions lead to questions. Still, one can still be polite." The Wizened takes note of the twists and turns as they're led through the market; the signs on the building has her expression turning amused. Following Lafitte in through the door, she glances about before her gaze settles on the feathered creature. Offering a warm smile and bow, she says cheerfully, "Hello."

The nest-bowl tips back as the Marquesse, with a blue-eyed blink at the group, disappears within it. For a second, anyway. When the bowl tips again, its to spill out the Marquesse in full, a flap of feather-draped arms which nearly mimic wings slowly her descent. Theoretically. It's almost certainly the Wyrd aiding with that, but she flaps all the same, even if her descent might be more graceful without it. Most of her reported many feathers appear to be on her head or her clothing, the slender, bird-beaked hob wrapped in a colorful kimono-like coat of woven silk and feathers. "Lovely!" the Marquesse trills as her black-taloned hands clap together. Her head bobs as she considers each of the Lost in turn, as she chirps, "Oh, I expect you have such secrets! Such puzzles! Come, come! Tell the Marquesse what mysteries we will unravel today!" The thought seems incomplete, interrupted by a clearing of Lafitte's throat as he lays an expectant look on the avian lady. Who makes a tch sound and shoos him with a muttered, "After, after," before brightening for the group again and welcoming them closer. "Come, come! Tell me!"

Simin murmurs softly when the Marquessa begins to move and that kimono is better on display, causing the dragon to murmur, "Oh, that's pretty..." He's only distracted for just a few moments, clearing his throat and trailing off s he addresses her greeting, offering one of his own, "Greetings and thank you for taking the time to speak to us this evening..." His hand lightly reaches out to slip around to Charity's other side, leaving fingers lightly touching her hip, perhaps just providing a bit of an anchor while they are in here.

Charity can't help but watch, either, as feathers and flapping happens. Definite kimono envy, there, in her expression. "Right?," she murmurs quietly to Simin. Refocusing, to dip her head in greeting as her eyes stay on the Marquesse. "Thank you, Lafitte, for leading our way here," is asided to the gatorman.

Eva steps away to allow for the Marqesse to descend; that kimono-like coat of silk and feathers is given a rather professional once-over, then she smiles again at the chatter. Lafitte's throat-clearing is rewarded with a briefly thoughtful glance before the Wizened adds her smiling thanks to Charity's. Looking back towards the birdlike hob, she says, "Puzzles and secrets? Do you offer like for like?"

"Of course, of course!" The Marquesse can't quite smile with that beak of hers, but her eyes flash delighted at Simin, her polychromatic crown flaring prettily for the compliment. Nevermind that it was for her robe. She doesn't know. Lafitte echoes the sentiment in his own way, a low-toned, "Of course," rumbled to Charity with a dip of his scaly head. He watches for a moment before seeing himself... well, not quite off. He wanders to the edge of the Rookorrery, studying a few of the meters and gauges and knobs, minding his own damned business while he waits for that promised after, after from their hostess.

"Certainly!" the Marquesse chirrups to Eva. "I am a creature of le mystère!" Her bright eyes go comically wide, unfocused, as if she were staring into some unseen otherworld. When she refocuses, it's with another cheerful flare of her headfeathers, curiosity tilted toward Eva. "Puzzle away, pretty. I am all ears." She is, in fact, earless, by all appearances.

Simin rumbles softly at Charity, "I would love to know where she found a rope that pretty..." but trails back off when the Marquessa addresses the group, clearing his throat softly and settling down - dragon does not wnat to be misheard and cause any confusion for this conversation, falling quiet to let Eva handle the question asking so they can be sure ot be coherent in the asking, "We know we are bringing up the past but such things are important for us to understand so that we can be sure we do not repeat the mistakes that others have made."

Charity's head bobs in agreement with Simin. But the focus is beyond the robe, now. Her gaze moving between the Feathered One and Eva. The Spring is their voice for the question, and she looks intensely interested.

Nicolas steps aside as the Marquesse descends, remaining silent but keeping a quiet eye on both the feathered hob and the gator-guide. The Many-Feathered Marquesses' area of interest causes him to adopt a thoughtful expression, already pondering what they might have to offer in exchnage for what they want to know.

The Wizened smiles at that headtilt, then she glances towards the three other Lost. At Simin's remark, Eva gives the Marquesse a wry look. "We certainly have a bit of a puzzle, and we are looking for the answer to it. Whether it is a secret or not is hard to say, but certainly none of us know it, so." A small, rather French sort of shrug, her eyes twinkling. "What is the cost of that sort of thing?"

The Marquesse blinks twice at Simin and nods her feathered head. "Of course," sounds less certain this time, a descending trill lending it the gravity she imagines it's due. Extending her neck to tilt toward the dragon, she wonders, "And whose mistakes are we aiming to evade, mm?" Another pair of blinks is angled toward the wizened as Eva requests specific pricing on an unspecified puzzle. The bird-faced lady dips forward a little as she considers each of the Lost in turn--and maybe Lafitte beyond who is very busy pretending not to hear one little lick of this as his business is, for the moment, done--and then straightens with a little bit of fussing at her feathered robe and a contemplative droop of her crest as she considers. "I will accept payment in the form of charts and maps, nebulas big and small, exquisitely sourced feathers, puzzles of all varieties though most especially boxes where one might hide even more secret secrets, fitting fixtures for my rookorrery, interesting books on stars, birds and miscellaneous enigmas and, mm, those teensy little pies with the grubs in that the Pie Man bakes just for me." Her taloned fingers hold just so, indicating their itsy bitsy size. Satisfied with the list, her feathers rise once more, and she concludes, "We are all so very cautious these days."

Ooo, ooo, she's listing things. The dragon almost forgets his notebook , settling down to try and hurredly write down what she says she might accept from them in return for their consideration, though an odder expression is shot when she starts talking about the little pies that get made for her, eyeing what she's doing before making a few extra notes to 'ask about grub pies later'. Ha makes no promises about what they can or cannot provide, he's just writing down what she said she'll accept. You never know what might become important later, "Thank you, Marquesse."

The Marquesse rattles off their list of acceptable payment and Nicolas is busy trying to commit it to memory. He shares a look around the group of Lost, noting that Simin is writing this down, and offers the dragon a grateful nod. While he's not speaking for the group, it's clear the doctor is more favorably disposed to these items than trading in ghosts and memories.

Things like this? One of the reasons that Charity appreciates the Winter in their midst. Because that's a lot of things that the Feathered One just rattled off. A lot of them getting thoughtful little furrows of her brow. Time for a book-thief? Yes. Amber eyes lift to the Marquese, and she dips her head. "Caution is certainly something I understand. And reasons behind it, sometime."

Eva gives the Marquesse a wry look at that question about mistakes, then tilts her head, the gesture almost birdlike itself as she listens attentively to that list. "All very exciting things," she replies, then grins a little. "I rather like teensy pies myself - although more of the floral kind, if I'm being honest." Clasping her hands in front of her, she says, "I assume, however, that a specific price accompanies a specific question. What would the price be for this question, then: how and why were Changelings prevented from entering New Orleans and whatever the details surrounding that you can provide?" An inquisitive look.

"Perhaps something with seeds?" the Marquesse wonders to Eva as if the pair were planning an afternoon tea and not considering the pricing for as-yet-unspecified puzzles. Mysteries which are made explicit very shortly thereafter. That helps refocus the feather-crowned hob, a little shiver of her slender body letting the feathers on her kimono flutter a bit, an intentional gesture to be sure. "The simplest answer to that question is most certainly free. Ask any hob. They all know, any who know enough of the world beyond the Hedge to know what a New Orleans is at all, and will tell you the same: the Butcher Queen wished it so and so it was." She holds up one black-clawed finger, sleeve drooping to her elbow as she does. "Now. If it is a more esoteric examination of what empowered our recently deceased--" She hesitates, a couple clucking sounds issued in lieu of whatever it is she opts to omit. "--leader to be able to do so, well, mm. Such an exploration would require time." She sweeps a hand up toward the peculiar structure around them, overhead, all the bowls and orbs and gears and gauges. When her hand drops, it settles on her chest, talons taping out a thoughtful rhythm as she draws a deep, swelling breath. With a huffed exhale, she declares, "Time for time. Service of one moon, preferrably by one of suitably clever or celestial disposition and restrained but not dull temperament." The little uptick of her chin after the price is specified comes with scrutiny of the Lost to see how that initial bid lands.

Simin frowns as he listens to the initial description, but its when the bartering is mentioned and that amount of time is asked for that Simin winces a little, scrunching his nose as he listens, then jots down what she's said. He glances at Eva, chewing on his lower lip for a moment while he considers, and finally clears his throat softly to ask, "Begging your pardon, Marquesse, but what sort of service would you require of this individual for this moon? That is a long time of service. I am sure the information traded is worth it, but you you understand one has to be cautious."

And there's the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Nicolas looks toward Eva as she explains what they're after, but his gaze goes sidelong toward the Marquesse to try and gauge their reaction. And so much for the extensive list the hob had offered; now it wants services rather than goods. "Hmmm." The doctor sounds a little skeptical, sharing Simin's concerns. "Yes, does seem like a long time. But ... perhaps. With the right conditions attached."

Charity's eyes follow the sweep of the Marquesse's hand, towards the structure. Brows furrowing, as she lets out a breath. Her gaze stays upwards for the moment, fox-bright eyes flicking from bowls to orbs to gauges thoughtfully. Not saying anything, just gnawing on her lower lip.

"Seeds can be delightful, too. I rather like poppy seeds," Eva says, perhaps unsurprisingly, with a smile. At that response to the initial question, her expression turns wry again. "Truth. I suppose the question is more how such was accomplished - although we can clarify the wording before anything is formalized. But you say time for time - should I take that to assume that you would need time to discover the answer?" Those white-traced violet eyes turn inquisitive once more.

"Assistance with maintenance," the Marquesse begins with a blink of her turquoise eyes. "Errand-running, of course, of course. Gauge-reading and note-taking, most certainment. Research, peut-etre? If the assistant proves particularly literate. Occasional tea-taking, should they prove good company with good taste..." It seems, for a moment, like the list could go on, though most of it seems to fall under assisting at the Rookorrery or keeping its owner company. Rather than continue, the feather-crowned creature nods to Eva. "Quite. I must consult the Wyrd, of course. That is what I do. For small questions, which most questions are, it requires very little time to measure the substance of the secret threads tied to the answer and exact a fitting reply, but bigger inquiries require more complicated study."

Simin nods slowly as he listen, getting distracted for a moment as he looks around the Rookery as if taking in the gauges and things again for the first time. He doesn't ask any more questions, just writes down the conversation that goes on and makes note of what she says she might accept and what she says she needs to do, while jotting down a few more notes in his notebook.

Nicolas is quiet for a moment, listening to the exchange between Eva and the Marquesse, and nodding to himself. It seems he considers this generally acceptable, given the proper safeguards, if not something he's in a rush to volunteer for himself. "Interesting," he finally concludes.

"Very," Charity agrees with Nicolas, though her gaze is still lifted. "And the moon. As it passes in New Orleans?" Only then does she levelher gaze back on the feathered hob. "And must the whole time be spent in service, or will that person be able to travel back and forth? We'll want to have the specifics, of course, when we approach with the bargain. If it is one we'll consider to begin with."

Eva smiles at that list, eyes bright. "Tea is always lovely," she remarks, perhaps a bit non-sequitor. "Well, if it is to be time for time, that seems reasonable enough as long as no one is being committed to anything that violates their ethics, and they are capable of still living their life." A nod towards Charity's questions suggests she also finds them useful. Nibbling her lower lip, the Wizened then glances to the other Lost. "I assume at this point we are interested in knowing exactly how the previous...ah...leader of this place accomplished keeping the Changelings out?" The question seems directed towards them.

"As the moon passes in the New Orleans," the Marquesse confirms for Charity, not quite precisely verbatim. "Requiring that only one third of the hours be spent in my immediate service, with no assurances offered in regards to ethics." The slight widening of her eyes implies she might not even know where to begin on that question, a stipulation she'd certainly rather not touch. When Eva poses the question to her compatriots, the Marquesse waits. And looks to Lafitte who just grins her way as he shrugs.

Simin considers for a long moment, listening to the conversation, but something finally registers with the Dragon and he stops, looking at Eva, then Charity, then Nicolas, before clearing his throat, "Forgive me, Marquesse, we've spoken to many people and each time, they state that the Butcher Queen is dead. And yet, we know They do not really adhere to what we consider dead or gone or never to return. Might we know HOW she was eliminated? I am sure you could understand that for those of us that have suffered under those like her, we might be a bit...paranoid about her return even if you are sure she is gone never to be seen again."

Nicolas directs a small, knowing smile toward his fellow Autumn, though with Charity looking heavenward the gesture may be missed. Then turns to give a quick answer to Eva's question. "Yes, I think so." Simin's question gets a raised brow from the doctor, though he too is interested in how the Marquesse might respond to that. In the meantime he murmurs to the other Lost. "We can come up with more concrete safeguards to discuss with the Marquesse later, I think?"

Charity, now that her gaze is back down on this level of things, glances to her companions. She nods to the clarifications given by the feathered hob, and shifts a little as she stands. "We can," she confirms to Nicolas, quietly.

The Marquesse's response with regards to ethics is met with a thoughtful look from the Wizened. "There are also other ways to pay time for time, should that become a sticking point. The time I spend in my shop, among other things." Catching that exchange between the birdlike and gator hobs, Eva quirks a smile at Lafitte, then she glances back towards the other Lost, nodding for a moment before she turns her attention to the Marquesse again.

"That sounds like a second mystery," the feather-crowned hob trills in wide-eyed reply to Simin. "You have my list of prices. What might you find fitting to know not only how you were kept out but how my kin and I were set free?" With a flick of her bright blue gaze between the changelings, the Marquesse says, "It sounds as if you haven't quite made up your minds. Why don't you come back when you know what it is you want and what you're willing to give in order to get it."

Simin chews on his lower lip and nods at the Marquesse's words, clearing his throat softly, "Understood, thank you, Marquesse." With that said, he trails off and tucks his notebook in against his chest, arching a brow as he looks to each of the others present, as if not sure if they want to keep asking questions or of the group is considering that a good sign to take a leave for the time being and come back, or maybe see if someone's already ready to agree to her terms.

Nicolas offers the Marquesse a polite, vaguely apologetic smile, and nods. "Thank you for your time." The doctor looks to each of the others, confirming they're finished before he gets ready to make an exit. "It's been illuminating."

"Yes. Your time is appreciated," Charity murmurs. "We have been given much to consider." She dips her head to the feathered one, and then turns to follow the others out. Looping her fingers around Simin's arm, as they go.

"An excellent point," Eva says with regards to the second mystery, then she gives the Marquesse a somewhat apologetic look. "I have to admit that walking in here is like a child walking into a candy shop. We'll beg your leave, then, and return when we've managed a bit more composure." Her eyes twinkle at that, even as she offers the birdlike hob another small bow. "I look forward to meeting with you again."

"I do look forward to that as well," the Marquesse trills at the prospect of a return visit with more willingness to solidify a bargain. "It has been very peculiar--" Spoken too cheerfully to be meant in any sort of derogatory manner. "--meeting all of you." As she turns from the Lost, she angles something of an apologetic look toward Lafitte, her feather-crowned head bowed slightly. He seems to know what it means, a shrug-and-nod in answer and acceptance before he refocuses his attention on the group. "How's about I show you some of my favorite landmarks along the route back to the Barrux Door, mm?" By landmarks, the besuited gator means stalls, assuring the best deals at this vendor or that, talking up his favorites like they were family despite any absence of resemblance.

Behind the Lost, as they leave the Rookorrery, metal groans and squeaks as beams and bowls and glass orbs are repositioned, the machinery set to motion, the Many-Feathered Marquesse set to work.