Logs:Lost History - Wayward Stories
Lost History - Wayward Stories
|Characters:||Ashton, Darcy, Eva, Gilles, Juliette, Orion, Penny and Tristesse with Slip as ST|
|Summary:||Some hobs show up at a local flea market, trading trinkets--and other things--for stories.|
Darcy decided that if he was going to hang out with fairies and have one in the pack, he better show Penny what was up. At least some of it. It's unlikely she was resistant, but if she was, all it took was probably 'there will be fairy knick-knacks' to lure her away from her Trunk and to the Fae market. As they approach, he points. "See? Fucking fairies in New Orleans. Apparently Changelings weren't here _at all_ until very recently, so I'm helping some of them find out _why_." He shrugs. "Come on. I'm sure I know _someone_ around here." He nudges Penny and makes his way to the hob station.
The Trunk wants more knick-knacks. So it's a very good lure, honestly. Penny follows along with Darcy, and stares. She shouldn't be so rude, but she stares. Absorbing it all. "A city wide warding?" Then she shakes her head, "That'd be too obvious."
Covered up in a long and tattered cloak mostly made of green and grey patchwork and with a very modern-looking compound bow slung over his shoulder, Orion makes his way into the Fae market at a steady stroll. His yellowish eyes move at an alert skim, curious but not enchanted by the uncanny merchandise. He does take very keen notice of their stock, however, with only a glance over his shoulder now and then to regard the other patrons of this unusual marketplace.
Flea markets in general call to Ashton. What's not to like about places full of old history and pieces that tell stories of their owners' lives? Plus, it's part of Ashton's actual job to browse through all the chaff and come up with the glittering jewels that he can then sell off for more money. Add to that the rumors that a couple of hobs might be setting up shop, and it's a given that Ashton's going to show up at some point.
And there's the Darkling in question, dressed in casual hot weather clothing as usual and showing only a mild discomfort from the heavy humidity after finally starting to acclimate. He has a small, blue backpack slung over one shoulder, which bounces against his back every time he takes a step. "Oops... excuse me... pardon me... hmmm, nice vase..." Ashton dodges two separate group of people and then gets distracted staring at a porcelain vase with a rose motif on a table that's otherwise heaped with junk. "Actually, nah... Sorry to get your hopes up!" Off he goes again, searching for the stall he's actually interested in.
Gilles has come to browse around for a bit. He's still relatively new to life as a Changeling, having been free for only a bit over six months. Still, that's enough time for him to learn to take a swing through the local flea markets every now and again. After all, every now and again there will be an item with an interesting story hidden behind its dull and mundane mask.
Having decided to take a break from work, Juliette headed for the flea market, hoping to find something decorative for the cafe. Or her apartment. Whatever happens to catch her attention. She wanders in with a canvas tote bag slung over one shoulder and heads toward the first few booth so that she can check things out. All the while, she's glancing up to see the people milling around, taking note of anything, or anyone, that might be interesting.
Stepping out of the shadows, Tristesse's strange eyes sparkle a bit with amusement as familiar faces all seem to show up around the same time. Great minds think alike, apparently, or at least changeling minds. And werewolf friends. And their friends. "Kitten," she murmurs to Darcy as she steps past him, heading toward the hobs table and looking across the array of items, then at each of the hobs in kind. She doesn't speak yet, and keeps her hands in her pockets -- despite the humid heat, she seems coole nough in her dark leather, jeans and boots. The darkling doesn't seem to ever break a sweat.
"Nah. Okay. So. No lie? Apparently it was some big fairy goddess -- they call them _Gentry_ -- that had, as one of her _many_ titles, the 'Butcher Queen'. I'm gonna tell you the poem later, it's hopscotch-y goodness. Sounds like one of the creepy nursery rhymes that grampa used to sing us when we were kids." Darcy shrugs as they approach. "And apparently, she didn't like Changelings _at all_ so she just like, forbid them being here? I guess. Not sure how, though." Tristesse walks by and Darcy smirks. "That's Tristesse," he tells Penny. And then he stage-whispers: "//She thinks she's a ninja.//" He adds, after a moment, to Penny: "Not that I think I need to tell you, but make no promises, offer nothing. These ... hobs will claim things you didn't know they could take, if you let them."
The middle-aged mortal purchasing the plastic water pistol for a literal song giggles as he sings, "My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R." It takes some effort for him to get all the way through the old jingle, between his embarrassment and excitement, but Brigadaceous listens to every single note with delighted attention. When the guy concludes that, "Oscar Meyer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A," the hob hands over the toy and claps his hands together, declaring the performance, "Wonderful! Wonderful!" and thanking the guy for his business. It's perplexing, really, no exchange of money whatsoever, but the customer walks away with a story, happily chatting with the guy at his side about how silly he felt, how cool that was.
When Brig turns his attention from one customer in search of another, well... it's easy to spot the approaching Changelings in the sea of mortals. Werewolves, he's used to seeing around. But changelings? He makes a face before straightening, as much as his stout stature allows, and puts on his best, most salesman-like smile. "Friends!" Some of the stuff on the table might poke at keener senses, resonating with glamour, a touch of the Wyrd, but most of the doodads on display are innocuous: old toys and household goods, books and photographs. The sort of nonsense one might find at a yard sale, at several different yard sales. The sort of things that might have forgotten stories attached to them.
Ashton keeps moving along, taking note of the stalls that he might want to visit later, but still looking for the one supposedly hosts by hobs. His scanning eyes land upon a few familiar faces, but it's not until he spies Gilles that his trajectory changes to intercept the other Spring. "Hey, Gilles! How are you doing? Fancy seeing you here," Ashton greets after waving at Gilles. "But I probably shouldn't be surprised. I think I saw Sir Orion somewhere in the crowd. And that one really hot guy that hangs out with Miss Eva. And a bunch of other faces that seem interesting, but that I don't remember meeting. Are you also looking for the you-know-what?" The young man pauses, squints and points right towards where the three hobs had set up shop. "Actually I think I already see the you-know-what."
"No shit." Penny gives a very amused look to Darcy, "Eat nothing, drink nothing, never agree to anything...But seriously, just forbidding it?" She shakes her head, letting her attention shift towards the ninja in question.
Orion is making his way over towards the place where the group of hobs have staked out their mechant stalls, striking a distinct silhouette in the crowd of mostly normal dress: how many cloaked people are carrying around bows? Orion offers a subdued wave of the hand in the direction of Ashton and Gilles as he breaks free of the ebb and flow of the crowd to become visible for a few passing moments, making his way over towards the same area. He's humming to himself, a quiet little tune that might have been picked up from one of the street buskers as he makes his approach to pursue the knick-knacks available thoughtfully. He half-grumbles to himself, the annoyance in his low voice not reaching his stoic countenance, "So many things I need, after losing it all to that waterfall..."
"Bonjour," Gilles says as he draws closer to the stall, meeting Brig's salesman like smile with his own more genuine and genial expression of friendliness. His voice carries a relatively pronounced French accent as he speaks though he seems to have little problem with English grammar. "I have not had the pleasure to make your acquaintance yet. I am Gilles. You are from Tumbledown?"
So many people to look at and so many tables of items to look over. Juliette has moved onto the next table, stopping so that she can pick up a copper jelly mould, turning it over so that she can see the various details. There's a big of haggling back and forth before a price is settled on and she hands over the money, the mould being tucked into the tote. And then she's on her way again, this time wandering further into the crowd.
"Not true. I don't even own a katana," says Tristesse over her shoulder with a smirk. She gives her fellow changelings a small smile. "Apparently we all felt the call of carefully curated fine goods," she tells Gilles, Ashton and Orion, all of whom she's met or at least stood nearby while hiding in the shadows somewhat recently. "How's business?" she asks Brigadocious, reaching out to touch one of the items that doesn't have that magical pull or glimmer to it.
"I'm just _saying_," Darcy tells Penny with a shrug. "Never hurts." He sticks his tongue out at Tris and then tips his chin up at Gilles. "Hey, man." He taps the man's arm with the back of his hand. "Nice to see you." And then he gestures Penny to all the knick-knacks. _So many knick-knacks._ "Broga. Thump." Darcy remembers them. He smiles a wolf's smile.
Look. Some girls like diamonds, some furs, some anime bobble heads. Penny is a knick-knack girl, and when all of them are gestured towards she forgets what she was saying. "Darc." She points, towards one among the many, "Buy me that one. Oh...and that one. Maybe that one, too."
The cloak, really, is stranger than the bow. Another layer in this weather? Orion certainly attracts a few odd looks from others, but most are content to go about their own business without worrying about other people. The hobs don't care at all. Hell, the youngest one is wearing a hooded cloak of her own, though mortals likely perceive this as a pretty normal-looking hoodie. She edges closer to Brigadaceous as the changelings and wolves descend upon their booth, though the big guy in the back just keeps contentedly playing his harmonica like he hasn't got a single care in the world. Certainly, not one about the Lost. It's a good day to be Thump.
Brigadaceous scans those approaching, his focus settling on Gilles as his hands settle on his stomach. "I wouldn't know what you mean," he says when asked of Tumbledown, though he quickly adds a quieter, "But yes, of course. Wayward Company at your service." With a charming smile for Tris, he assures, "Business is fantastic, though I suspect it would be better without you lot crowding our table." Leaning in a little, he adds, "Unless you're looking to buy? I'll take a good tale for the trouble of crowding out my customers. Just one. From anybody." Like maybe Darcy. Nevermind the sour expression which suggests he remembers that the werewolf was traveling with Stasya.
"Mssr. Darcy," Gilles exclaims, taking the werewolf's hand in both of his own to give it a shake of greeting. "It is good to see you again." He turns his attention back to Brigadaceous and gives a slight incline of his head. "My apologies," he says, "I am not familiar with all the forms, though I suppose there probably are not that many in place right at the moment, changing circumstances being what they are." He pauses for a moment to peruse the wares on the table. "You are traveling merchants?" he asks, "Completing a circuit every now and again or are you based out of somewhere?"
Looking aside at Tristesse with a brief smile when addressed, Orion nods his head slightly in agreement with her sentiment. "I'm definitely thrilled at this opportunity to be fleeced properly," he agrees in a deadpan, eyebrows raising slightly in accompaniment. Juliette gets a look out of the corner of his eye, just for how unusually... normal, she appears to be. But then he's looking back to Brig as the conversation picks up, listening quietly for the moment. He shifts his weight from foot to foot briefly at the mention of telling a good story, thoughtful, but doesn't speak up yet.
Ashton hums softly to himself as he shoulders his backpack and tags along behind Gilles. A wave accompanied by a broad grin is sent Orion's way. A more subdued smile is given to Tristesse, who he hasn't directly interacted with, and the werewolves merely get interested glances for now. Upon reaching the Wayward Company, Ashton touches his left palm to his right fist and bows at the hobs. "Apologies for crowding your stall like this, but you have an interesting collection that catches the eyes." A friendly flash of translucent teeth. "Would it be that shocking if at least some of us are potential customers?"
Juliette has moved to a booth that's all books, taking her time going through the titles until she finds a bunch of cook books. It's a theme for her, it would seem. Anything pertaining to cooking, or baking, she seems to have an interest in. After flipping through one or two books, she hands over some money for them before tucking them away in her tote, then starts to move on once more.
"Oh, our lot, is it," Tristesse says with a laugh. "Are our ... stories and songs," she glances at the signs, "worth less to you than others? Surely you know our tales are probably richer and tastier than most. For instance..." Her strange eyes sparkle with a little of that mischief she's capable of when she doesn't look like she's about to cry or throw a knife at someone, "Have you heard the one about the little boy who was left all alone in a big house, while his family went on a journey? Little did he know that two nefarious strangers were trying to steal from him..." And she launches into the plot of Home Alone. She's not giving them her stories, that's for sure.
Darcy grins at Gilles and then looks at Penny as she points at things she wants. "Are you batshit or is that just guano that got stuck in your ears?" He laughs, shaking his head. Tristesse has the story part down, though, so he doesn't offer anything yet. Though he does grab a few of the things Penny asked for and lumps them into one spot. "You got any cool stories you wanna share for some loot, Pen?"
Gilles smiles to Tristesse and says, "We might have things other than stories to offer as well. I have an apple I was given just a little bit ago that they might be interested in trading for." Turning to Brigadaceous he says, "I regret I did not bring it with me. It really is a lovely golden color, but it might cause some problems in a crowd such as this."
"One story for the lot?" Penny wonders, because she figures she might as well drive the hard bargain first. Then work from there. "I've something in mind, sure. It's a very cool story." She tilts her head, popping her neck while waiting for them to look her way so she can pay for the knick-knacks.
"I already said yes, guy, I don't know what else you're looking for," Brigadaceous tells Gilles when asked about where their company is based out of. To those bargaining one story for a whole lot of unspecified whatevers, he quickly says, "One story for the trouble of dealing with you cuz, yes--" Looking to Ashton. "--it is surprising that you might be customers. Bet you're here with questions. Been talk about you locals. All questions, no trade. Bou-cherie this, Bou-cherie that. But where are my stories." Those paying attention might catch the three-armed hob reach one of her hands over to her one-armed side, as Brig talks, arm curled about herself defensively. But Brig is quick and recenters on Penny with a big, winning smile. "But you. You can pick out almost any three trinkets, some restrictins do apply, for one very cool story please and thank you I'm listening." The ithaeur has damned near all of his attention.
Gilles gives a friendly laugh to Brigadaceous and says, "My apologies. With a name like Wayward I thought perhaps you were a traveling group and so I just wished to be sure. The last time I took the market road it was in need of some work. I hope your travel was not too difficult."
"I once passed through a village which sat next to a river that ran with the color of molten silver," Orion begins, at the second mention of telling a story by Brigadaceous. He's not the most impassioned storyteller, but his voice is smoothly consistent and pleasant to the ear. His emphasis on syllables is subtle and his accent is strange. "Where they hunted using songbirds. Literal falcons made from music, they would take a song's performance and capture it in glass wind-chimes, then reshape those chimes with fire into eagles and hawks the size of dogs to hunt with." He shifts his posture again, yellow eyes briefly burning gold from within as he reminisces.
"There was a girl among them who was especially adept with the songbirds, and made herself a set of glass wings infused with song to fly among them. A great tempest swept through the village while I was traveling through, driven by a beast in the clouds, and she conducted an orchestra of the songbirds in the sky to shout down the thunder and lightning." A pause of two beats, before Orion adds flatly, "And then I shot the storm beast in its great reptilian eye with a glass arrow the size of an arm, forged by their village's artisans and slew it."
Orion considers Brig with the same cold, level expression in his yellow eyes. "Mortal names, do you have any? A man's, no crime. I'll accept a new cloak, scarf, or coat, if not." Orion picks at the tattered patchwork of the cloak he's wearing with a faintly nostalgic expression, before he looks back upwards again.
Eva makes her way into the flea market dressed entirely not for a flea market in a pearl grey, fit and flare dress, the hem embroidered with white flowers with crystal centers; white lace gloves, heels, and a matching lace parasol complete the outfit. She idly wanders through the aisles, peeking at wares here and there, occasionally picking something up and examining it, at least until she reaches the hobs at their table. White-traced violet eyes twinkle as she catches the hob's remarks about questions, but she remains quiet for the moment, tilting her head as she listens.
Nearly. Almost entirely. There's a nudge from Brigadaceous to the smaller hob at his side, nudging her toward Tristesse--the only one who's seen the hooded hob before--to accept the Story of the Boy who Was Left Alone as right and proper payment for crowding up their booth. She listens attentively, silently, with her eyes flashing wide at appropriate moments. Brig, meanwhile, spares a thread of attention for Gilles' offer, assuring, "It's not a long walk," and asking, "Whatcha looking for?" When Orion launches into a story, he holds up a thick finger apologeticaly to Penny and calls, "Thump! We got a lot coming in. Need ya to help me collect!" The harmonica song dies a sad, fluttery death that concludes with a, "Okay, boss," as the big guy gets up and settles in to listen to Orion's tale. "Ooh! I wants one. Boss, I wants a songbird." But it's the boss who looks this particular tale-teller up and down and nods, "We got names. Giving the big guy a dream like that seems fair exchange. Lemme hear the pretty lady out, and I'll show ya what we got."
"Well, customers and questions aren't exactly mutually exclusive..." Ashton comments soothingly to Brig and spreads his hands to the sides. And there goes some of the others working on their trades already. His solid silver eyes land upon the three-armed hob, to whom he gives a smile of friendly concern. "Speaking of which, are you well, miss? You look like you might be in pain or discomfort of some kind." He also adds on, hoping to avoid being called out for 'only' asking questions, "Uhh... I'm also not much of a storyteller, but I might attempt a song if that other sign speaks true. Mainly looking to see if there are any interesting contracts in stock, or barring that, some interesting knick-knacks that might have some collectable value to a human dabbler."
By this point, Juliette has neared the table that everyone is gathered around, although she doesn't seem to be paying much attention to anything that's being said. She absently toys with the strap of her tote while walking, taking her time to see if there's anything being offered that she might want. At least there's plenty to choose from today.
Darcy is definitely going to let Penny take it from here. Neither of them are Cahaliths, but they've been around enough of them that they know how to tell a story. He flashes his cousin a smile and then crosses his arms, taking a step back and glancing at the Changelings. When he spots Eva, he waves with a smile.
Of the knick-knacks that she really wants, Penny separates out three, indicating them as her choice. "There was this money lender back in Romania...he had this whole thing, lend you money, you'd be able to pay it off at face value if you paid him back in two months. But if you went over that, it was twice the amount for every month you were late. With this system he was making so much money...but one day a very clever milk maid made a bet with him. She would borrow a sum, and if she paid it back within the two months he'd owe her twice what she borrowed. See, no one had ever been able to do this before.....so he jumped at the chance. The girl went to the villagers, explained what she was doing, and how she would get them all their money back. If only they'd help her pool the money each time to pay it back."
Penny pauses, glancing at Darcy a moment before she waggles her brows, then finishes up, "Within six months everyone in the village had made their money back, and just enough to give them a little cushion. And no one needed the money lender ever again."
"That's a bit for taking your time and crowding your booth with 'our lot,' but if you think that it's worth more than that, I'd like to give my credit to this one," Tristesse says, with a nod to indicate Darcy (an apology gift, without apologizing), before stepping aside to make room for others. Juliette is given a quick smile, and Eva a more familiar one. "That's my 'other people' quota for the day," the darkling says, before drifting away and into the crowds
Eva glances towards Juliette as the other woman also idly wanders the market, then smiles warmly at Darcy's greeting, lifting a gloved hand in response. "Hello, Darcy," she says cheerfully. Penny gets a curious look, but she doesn't interrupt the storytelling and haggling that's currently happening. As Tristesse slips out, she nods, expression sympathetic for the remark about 'other people.' "Next time," she promises.
Gilles glances over to Ashton as he mentions contracts and human dabblers. "If you feel the need I could offer you a backroom where you could discuss private deals," he says to Brigadaceous. He pauses to think for a moment and then adds, "In fact, if you could do me a favor and promise to deliver something I would be happy to feed you all before you head back."
After coming to the conclusion of his tale, Orion nods and steps to the side to wait patiently in response to the hobs. He's returned to a statuesque poise, barely even breathing.
The three-armed hob gives a little rub to her side before she notices Ashton paying her some mind. Her hand drops, and she chirps, "I'm fine!" fairly cheerfully. Look at that smile! The kid's alright. Ducking down, she looks beneath the table for something, eventually coming back up with a shoebox holding an assortment of Wyrd-touched knicknacks that she sets in front of Ashton. Shouldn't contracts be... written out agreements? Maybe. The Wayward has theirs bound into easily portable doodads: a wobbly eye toy; a keychain with a long, pointed tongue; a neon pink rabbit's foot with slightly peculiar proportions. "I would love to hear your song, sir."
Thump, who, to the wolf-blood, appears to be a very tall, broad-shoulder ginger with a spattering of freckles across a face that looks a bit too old for them, smiles to Juliette as she draws closer, calling to her, "Any old thing on the table for a story or a song, miss. Any sorta story, any kinda song."
Brigadaceous, meanwhile, keeps his eye on Penny, listening to the tale of the moneylender. "Psh!" he says at the end. "That's what the greedy get. That's why we give our goods away for a good story. Good story, miss." He nods and nudges the odd little items over, asking, "Would you like a bag?" So much time spent in the human world. Gilles and Orion get an apologetic hand. Just one more moment, gentleman. Maybe having these Lost out here wasn't so bad!
Darcy winks at Eva and then almost chokes out a laugh when Briga offers Penny a _bag_. He mutters something about _paper or plastic_ and then flashes the hob a grin. "How are things across the door, Briga? How's the bag-beaked dwarf?"
"No thanks, I'll just carry them." Penny replies with a bright flash of a smile, then she grabs the items, hugging them to her like she's a proud duckling with new baby ducks. "Look, Darc...New things!"
Juliette smiles at Thump when he calls out to her and walks closer to the table so that her reply doesn't have to be spoken so loudly, "Believe me, you don't want to hear me sing anything. I may be able to think of a story that might be worth something, though." The rest of the group catches her attention, hazel eyes skipping across each of them, although Darcy and Penny get a longer look.
Being literally a statue-man underneath his Mask, Orion has no problem with waiting in stillness. He doesn't even blink... until Juliette speaks, and then he glances towards her with yellow eyes, curiously. And then he looks back to the stall, patiently.
Ashton only notices Eva just then, and the Darkling lifts one hand to wiggle his fingers at her in greeting. He doesn't have time for more than that at the moment, since he's still mostly focused on the three-armed hob. "Huh... if you say so, miss. But I do know a bit of healing magic. It's no good for regrowing anything, but might at least ease some aches and pains."
After having that out there, the cloud-haired Darkling goes into a thoughtful silence as he tries to think of a song that he might actually be able to sing. He snaps his fingers after a moment. "Ok, I think I have it. I learned this one when I was very young. Always thought it was romantic at that age, if a bit tragic." Ashton clears his throat softly and inhales, but he doesn't sing right away. His solid silver eyes glances at the other faces all around. The situation isn't ideal. Too many people watching and he's not a good singer, but embarrassment is just another type of experience, right?
"I shall tell of a hunter, whose life was undone!" Ashton starts, concentrating on stay on pitch. "By the cruel hand of evil at the setting of the sun..." The lyrics are slow and moody, speaking of the hunter's arrow as it flew through the darkness and found its mark on a swan, only for him to discover that it was his own true love that he shot. "He bore her away to his home by the sea... Cryin' "Father, oh father, I murdered poor Polly!" The Darkling's voice cracks a several intervals, and he resolutely doesn't look at the rest of the people around him while he gets into the chorus. "But she'd her apron wrapped about her, and I took her for a swan... And it's oh and alas it was she, Polly Von..." Ashton's tone softens into the melancholy ending, slowly trailing off at the end of the final chorus. "And it's oh and alas it was she... Polly Von..."
The box in the hob's arms is given an interested look, then Eva hides a smile at Darcy's rather impertinent question, her eyes glinting with humor. At Ashton's greeting, she smiles brightly, lifting her hand in return. She remains silent at the singing, not watching the Darkling directly, perhaps noticing that reluctance to have an audience in the set of his frame.
Gilles remains quiet for now, letting the overworked team of hobgoblins take care of the people who have gathered around making the various trades.
"Aren't you a peach," Brig says of Penny with a smile that lingers as he looks to Darcy with a mildly confused, "Who?" But the stout hob isn't standing around to wait for answers. He promised names to the man who gave Thump something new to dream about, and so he's shuffling off to the stack of boxed goods behind their trio of chairs at the back of their modest lot. No, not that box. Hrm. This one? Nope. No. Ah! He pulls the lid from a photobox covered in a print of travel stickers and sorts through it, pulling out a few items to bring forward. In front of Orion he stands up a white rook from a plastic chess set, explaining, "This one belonged to a little boy who disappeared long, long ago. Wasn't us. Not our schtick. This one--" He sets down a single cufflink in the shape of a single playing card, an Ace of Spades. "--belonged to a river boat gambler, no record. And no record of what became of him either, though I might know a thing or two if you know how to ask nice. And this one--" A wobbly hula girl that might go on a dashboard. "--belonged to an older gentleman who settled into a nice quiet retirement after a life on the road. Lots of stories. Good man." But also gone, from the sound of it, his commentary about the brevity of human lives cut short, here.
To Juliette, the big dude smiles and says, "I'd like that," of the possible story and wonders, "Whatcha looking for, miss?"
Pris, the littlest of the hobs, assures Ashton, "Only pain I got is inside," with a sad sorta smile and a tap to her flat chest. When he starts to sing, she leans in with a smile, two of her hands set on the table to brace herself while the third absently scratches at her hip. "Oh, you sounds so pretty," she croons at the end. "Did you know her?" Bright-eyed, but maybe not so bright.
Darcy rolls his eyes at the hob and then shrugs, turning to look at Penny's haul. "Awesome. You got some plans for that stuff or are you just turning into a hoarder like grampa?" He flashes her a grin -- one he turns on Juliette when he catches her watching him and Penny. He lifts both brows at her and says, "Hey."
"Every item has a use, Darcy. Grampa wasn't a hoarder, he was a collector of fine and useful objects." Penny rolls her eyes a bit, sounding amused either way before she glances at Juliette, flashing a smile. "I'm going to go put these in the Trunk."
At Orion's look, Juliette offers up a smile of greeting before her attention returns to Thump, "Anything cooking related, really. Still decorating my cafe, so I need things for shelves, to place on the walls or the counter. Stuff like that. The older, or more colourful, the better." She's staying just to the side of the large group, not wanting to crowd into their space. "Hi," the greeting is given to Darcy, it would seem, since she's looking back toward him again.
Stepping forward when the name-dreams are presented, Orion considers them in silence while their origins are explained. His hand reaches out to hover over them... first the cufflink, and then the hula girl. But finally he settles on the rook, picking it up with a nod. "Very well. This one." A beat. "Thank you," he says to the hob he's trading with, followed by an incline of the head. "I am Orion. Should your company have need of protection in the future, I am willing to make another transaction." The rook is tucked beneath the folds of the voluminous patchwork cloak of grey and green fabric that Orion is wearing, its fabric cascading strangely beneath the ambient light of the market as he moves his arm under it again.
Where most people's faces would turn red from blushing, Ashton's cheeks simply become an even paler gray. He's still not looking at any of the people around him. "I don't, but I've sang that song so many times as a child that I almost feel like I do," he tells Pris wistfully while awkwardly rubbing at the back of his neck. "I used to wonder what it'd be like to have someone love me so much that he'll spend the rest of his days weeping and roaming the spot where he killed me... and now I realize that's kind of morbid. Ahem!"
Switching the subject from himself to Pris, Ash leans forward slightly to give the three-armed hob a sympathetic smile. "But since we're talking about inner pain, I'm sorry that I don't have anything that can help with yours. At least the cause of that pain is gone, right? No one else that you know will ever be initiated into that suffering ever again." He idly runs his fingers repeatedly across the three items that are set in front of him, lingering at least a few seconds on each one every round to feel them out. His fingers keep returning to the wobbly eye toy most often.
"Text me when you're home," Darcy says out of pure reflex to his cousin. Most muggers and street toughs would be in for a rough surprise if they tried to assault Penny. She may be a nerdwolf, but she's still, you know, a _were_wolf. He glances her way, then back to Juliette, smiling. "I'm Darcy."
"Yes dad." Penny offers flippantly, wiggling her fingers in Darcy's direction before she heads off to stash her new prizes away in safety.
As small items are claimed one by one, Eva finally drifts forward a bit, eyeing the collection curiously. "So have I heard correctly, it is a song or story for one of these, yes?" A gesture to the variety of items littering the table as she gives the hobs an inquisitive look. "Do you ever trade a story for a story?"
"Good choice," Brigadaceous says of Orion's selection. With a bop to the hula girl that sets her in motion, he says, "Not the best, but good. Good." The guy's biased, clearly, remembering an old friend. Well, an old and reliable customer, anyway. Either way, he packs up the other names and sets them away as he mutters, "Thumpleton handles our security, but if the threats change with all the other things changing these days..." Well, it sounds like he might keep that offer in mind. As he returns to the table, he nods to Eva. "We do." So pleased.
Thumpleton, as seems to be his full and proper name, holds up a cake or jello mold in the shape of a palm tree to Juliette, smiling wide beneath freckled features. "I like this one," he tells her. "The Pieman once baked me a berry pie shaped like a tree with this. It was very, very good. And it can hold other things, too!"
"Sounds romantic to me," chirps Pris to Ashton, not at all troubled by the morbidity of the song. Her smile skews a bit wry as she tells him, "It's the goneness that causes the paine," and pats the spot where her fourth arm used to be. Not that there's any scar visible beneath her clothes, but there's certainly an asymmetry with that extra limb on just one side. "But yeah. That's the hope. The world's definitely changing. For the better, I think."
"Juliette," the brunette tells Darcy. "It's nice to meet you." A smile is given before she looks back to Thump and the cake pan that's being held up. "Oh, I like that one. I'm always looking for cake pans in different shapes. You never know what someone is going to request when they come in."
Gilles watches as Eva approaches Brigadaceous. "You are looking for a particular story?" he asks her, smiling a little and arching one eyebrow.
The Wizened brightens at Brigadaceous' words. "Can one request a specific subject, or is it the dealer's choice with regards to stories?" Eva queries. "I'd like to trade a story for a story, should you be willing, sir." Her violet eyes twinkle cheerfully at that. Gilles' words are met with a laugh. "Isn't everyone?" she replies.
Offering a faint smile at Brig's remembrances, Orion tilts his head to the side and considers the items before smiling briefly. The comments are allowed to pass in quiet, and now that he's completed his transaction, the hunter takes a step back from the stall and watches the others for the moment with apparent curiosity. A roll of his shoulders slightly shifts the weight of the bow slung across his back.
"Color me intrigued." Brigadaceous stands a little straighter, his hands folding onto his stomach as he looks between Eva and Gilles. "What story might I sell you today, friends? Looking for romance? Mystery? Adventure? Espionage?" His attention strays just long enough to call, "Good doing business with ya," to Orion as the Lost steps away. Then it's back to the wizened, waiting.
Ashton nods his head gently at Pris. "Yes, now that the Butcher Queen's influence is gone and that won't happen again." He not so subtly eyes the spot where the three-armed hob's fourth arm used to be. "And another nice perk of that is that my people can mingle more freely here with yours. That'll probably be good for the coffers." Ashton's solid silver eyes glances downwards, to where his hand is lingering over the little toy shaped like an eye. "May I?"
Eva smiles warmly at Brigadaceous, then nods to Gilles before she replies to the hob, "A story about the Butcher Queen, if you like; if you don't like, I entirely understand that many find the subject disturbing, and I'm happy with a story of the historical type for this area." Her eyes twinkle again at that, and she clasps her hands in front of her, holding the white lace parasol.
Watching the gathered group for a few moments more, Orion turns with a flutter of his cloak, vanishing into the crowd and then down an alleyway.
After a long moment and watching Eva, Darcy finally glances at Briga and takes a step closer to the table, looking down at the knick-knacks. It's almost like he's searching for something he might like, though his eyes don't look for his own tastes. He takes the ring on his right pinky with his left forefinger and thumb and turns it as he inspects, waiting for Eva to finish her transaction.
Juliette gestures toward the cake pan, "How much for it, anyhow?" She's sort of listening to the other conversations, seeing as how she's so close to everyone else. But a lot of it doesn't make much sense to her. Sometimes you just hear the oddest things and don't know what to do with it.
Pris taps a finger to her nose and smiles crookedly at Ashton. He gets it. "It's been interesting," she tells him of the changes as she nods at his request for permission to pick up the wobbly eye. "Strange, having people coming in through our door. It had been ours for so long now. And strange, too, seeing y'all on this side. We come out here for other sorts of stories, to get people who don't dream enough to dream some more. But this is nice. Songs like yours and stories about birds."
Brigadaceous nods to Eva and tells her, "I've got a lot of stories 'bout Bou-Cherie. Figure we all do. They aren't all mine to tell." He glances over to Pris who clearly has her own narrative in that regards, but it's a momentary consideration. "Once upon a time," he begins with what he seems to consider appropriate formality, the right introduction to a proper story. "there was a beautiful tyrant who ruled over her subjects with a wicked cleaver. Chop chop chop! She took from them when they didn't give to her what she felt was her appropriate due. This is how it had been for ages. How it had always been! Queen of the Red Market. The Butcher Queen of Barracks Street! All the business was hers, she said, that all of it was nothing without her, and so we all, on both sides of the door, owed her her fair share of all our profits." He crinkles his nose at that. "As time went by, she took and took more often. She said it was because they gave less and less, that they grew greedy under her generosity. And maybe that was true. And maybe it wasn't. The market was cut off from its closest source of revenue, save for a brave and loyal few she allowed out." His hand presses to his chest, though it's hard to tell if that's meant intentionally. "Though she turned on them too, eventually. Tensions grew until suddenly, without warning, it all snapped! Gone. The Queen went missing, and nearly all of her magic with it. The skies were clearer and nobody was losing their fingers anymore. No more chop chop chop." Tilting in toward the parasol-toting Lost, he says, "Some hero saved them all. Unnamed and unknown. The Queen Slayer! Hip hip!" A hand thrusts up as he straightens again. "But that's the end of the story. The Queen is dead, and nobody, not even the hero, is looking to take her place."
Thump, meanwhile, tells Juliette, "Just a story. Or a memory." His eyes widen as he adds, "Or a recipe for your favorite pie please."
Gilles listens intently to Brigadaceous story of the Butcher Queen, then waits for Eva to tell her story.
Ashton slips the wobbly eye into his hand, and then makes it disappear into a pocket once he's given leave to do so. He leans a hip against the table, smiling in agreement with Pris' comments. "I definitely agree. Sharing of new experiences makes the day a bit brighter. I'll make sure to keep the Wayward Company foremost in my mind, I ever come upon an interesting story or song that might be worth sharing, or any items to trade that have stories of their own to tell." And after making that statement, Ashton goes silent for a bit as he's caught up by Brig's story.
Eva glances towards Darcy and the ring on his finger, arching a thin eyebrow; as Brigadaceous begins to speak, however, she smiles and looks back to the hob, tilting her head, gaze attentive as she listens. She makes all of the appropriate expressions and sounds as an audience, then applauds lightly as he finishes. "Thank you; that was lovely. It does make me curious about the hero, but it's a good story. Now, here is my story for you:
"Once there was a small town, and in that town was a very simple man named Beetle. One day, he was walking down the street when he noticed a new shop had opened, one selling eyeglasses. Curious, he went inside where he found the owner overseeing a customer trying on glasses. The customer had a pair of glasses on, and was looking at a card with words on it. "I can't quite read this yet," he said, and gave the glasses to the owner, who nodded and took them back, supplying a different pair. They went back and forth like that until finally the customer was satisfied. The customer paid for his glasses, and Beetle, deciding that he, too, needed a pair of glasses to help with reading, approached the owner of the shop, asking to try on glasses. The owner, of course, agreed.
"Handing Beetle a pair of glasses, the owner then offered him the card to read. The first pair was no good. Neither was the second, nor the third, or even the fourth or fifth. Finally, the owner asked, "Can you not see any of the words?" to which Beetle replied, "I can see them just fine; I just can't read them." The owner then inquired, "Do they need to be clearer?" to which Beetle responded, "The letters are clear; I just can't read them. When do they start to make words?" Finally, the owner said in exasperation, "Do you even know how to read?" to which Beetle answered, "Of course not; your glasses are supposed to fix that!"" Eva's lips quirk at that last bit, her eyes dancing with mirth.
Darcy lifts both hands and claps softly for Eva, giving her a bright smile. He reaches over and slides his finger under a bracelet. It looks really nice, for a knick-knack. He spins it once in his hand and then looks at Briga. "I'll tell you a _really good_ story for this one. One of _our_ stories."
Gilles laughs at Eva's story and claps. "Well, perhaps Mssr. Brigadaceous will have a story for us about that hero," he says, "if he does not have another story of Bou-Cherie." He smiles to Brigadaceous and says, "It is funny, in many ways I think my story is just the opposite of yours. It was a story ma Mere told me when I was young. I didn't understand it at the time."
Pris smiles a little more warmly to Ashton and nods, but as Brig starts in on stories about the Butcher Queen--and angles that look her way--she steps closer to Thump, marking her disinterest in sharing the specifics of her own trauma. Brigadaceous settles in, then, to listen to Eva's payment, his smile stretching nearly ear to ear by the end as he tells her, "We got glass that can do that," in a tone that implies he thinks she already knows this. Either way, the gentleman seems satisfied with the deal and turns his focus to Darcy and Gilles both, a nod to acknowledge their desired purchases of bracelet and heroic tale. "How about you two tell me your stories and I'll sort through what I know of this hero?"
The offer of payment with a recipe has Juliette smiling brightly, "Oh, that I can do. Actually, it's one that I've been making for years and people seem to really like it. I mean, it sells out quick when I have them at the cafe." She goes on to give the recipe for a strawberry rhubarb custard pie, adding when she's finished. "And with strawberries in season right now, it's a good time to make it."
Eva smiles brightly back at Darcy, bobbing a small curtsey for that applause, then grins a little at Gilles before winking at Brigadaceous. "I'm not surprised," she says cheerfully. Falling silent, she looks towards the other two, waiting to hear both stories and responses.
"The Pie Man's gonna love this," Thump tells Juliette as he breathes in deep as if he can imagine that strawberry rhubarb custard pie right in front of him right now. Or maybe a different pie, given that he says, "And I'm gonna love the pie I get for it." Ah, the barter economy! If the cake-tin hasn't been collected yet, he tucks it into a bag and happily hands it over, pleased with the exchange.
Darcy sets the bracelet down and puts one hand on either side of it, leaning in to look Brigadaceous in the eyes. "This story is true.
"It came to pass that a divine being visited the hall of King Lycaon in the land of Arcadia. The visitor was tall and beautiful, a terrifying vision of grandeur in gold and silver and lightning. It strode to where the king sat on his throne, scattering his fearful sons," -- and Darcy sweeps an arm across the air, scattering invisible whelps to the four winds, "-- and told Lycaon that it had a task for him. At the god's command, Lycaon had his youngest son butchered and served as a feast. With heavy heart Lycaon obeyed, and ate of his own child’s flesh and blood." Darcy presses nails to the surface of the table, dragging them over, marking it, as if to show the anguish of the King. "The god told him thus:
"'The spiritual essence of humankind lives within the body, within the heart and the meat. The gods need sacrifices to hold up the heavens and keep the world in order. For your devout obedience, I shall bless you to become a vessel for this essence, and your hunger shall become a sacrament.'
"When the god left, Lycaon called after it, daring to name it Zeus." Darcy glances up at the clouds above, and then lowers his eyes again at the hob. "It said it was merely a messenger. That night, as the moon rose, Lycaon became a wolf -- and ensconced in his castle with his remaining children -- his hunger took hold." Darcy finishes the story by making a slow fist near his chest, as if it were the hunger clutching at Lycaon's heart.
Gilles waits until Darcy has finished with his story and Brigadaceous has given some sign as to whether or not he accepts it as payment before beginning his own story.
Ashton remains hanging around the stall even after finishing his transaction, interested in listening to all the other stories being offered. At the same time, he also catches the words "strawberry rhubarb pie" and moves slightly closer to Juliette. He can listen to both the story and dream about a making a pie recipe that he doesn't have the skills to correctly follow through, can't he? Either way, Ashton's not heading off for a while.
The story that Darcy is telling catches Juliette's attention, her gaze drifting over to watch him for a moment before she catches Ashton's movements. Smiling at him, she gives a small nod of greeting, although doesn't say anything.
The exchange for the pie tin is met with a smile, and Ashton's sidling is rewarded with a cheerful wink. As Darcy begins to tell his tale, however, Eva tilts her head, listening quietly, expression thoughtful.
The drama of Darcy's story not only quiets the business at the Wayward Company's modest stall, but even draws the attention of some others around it, a few folks who meant to just pass on by the junk dealers stilling to listen, to consider the assorted goods out on display, to wonder how this greek tragedy about... werewolves related to any of the business actually going on her. "Well," begins Brigadaceous as he considers the elodoth with wide eyes. "I don't think I've ever heard one like that before." He looks down to the marks left on his table, considering whether to be upset about that or not. In the end, he says, "Hold a moment," and dugs down to rifle through a few things. "Ah. Here." When he comes back up, he hands over a Grateful Dead pin with a cartoon wolf and a lightning bolt. "Very nice." With that, his attention turns to Gilles curiously.
Gilles begins his story. Although he speaks with a French accent there is little difficulty in following his story. In fact, he seems to have something of a talent for storytelling, possibly due to his background of running a tavern.
"Three soldiers trudged down a road on their way home from the wars," he says, "They were tired and they were dirty, but most of all they were hungry.
Now the peasants of that place feared strangers. When they heard that three soldiers were coming down the road, they talked among themselves. 'Here come three soldiers. Soldiers are always hungry. But we have little enough for ourselves.' And they hurried to hide their food.
They pushed the sacks of barley under the hay in the lofts. They lowered buckets of milk down the wells. They spread old quilts over the carrot bins. They hid their cabbages and potatoes under the beds. They hung their meat in the cellars. They hid all they had to eat. Then they waited."
Darcy grins when he gets a supplemental pin for his troubles. He pins it to his collar and then takes the bracelet, slipping it into his pocket, flashing Brigadaceous a smile and winking at Eva, quiet, to listen to Gilles' story.
Gilles continues on with his story. "The soldiers stopped at one house. 'Good evening to you,' they said. 'Could you spare a bit of food for three hungry soldiers?'
'We have had no food for ourselves for three days,' said the Husband. His Wife made a sad face. 'It has been a poor harvest.'
The three soldiers went on to the next house. 'Could you spare a bit of food?'
'Oh no,' said Husband. 'We gave all we could spare to soldiers who came before you.'
At the third house the answer was the same. It had been a poor harvest and all the grain must be kept for seed.
So it went all through the village. Not a peasant had any food to give away. They all had good reasons. One family had use the grain for feed. Another had an old sick father to care for. All had too many mouths to fill.
The villagers stood in the street and sighed. The looked as hungry as they could. The three soldiers talked together. Then the first soldier called out, 'Good people!' The peasants drew near. 'We are three hungry soldiers coming home from war. We have asked you for food and you have no food. Well then, let us make stone soup.'
The peasants stared. Stone soup? That would be something to know about."
Gilles smiles slightly as he continues. "'First,' the soldier said, 'we'll need a large pot,'" Gilles says. "The peasants brought the largest pot they could find. How else to cook enough? 'That's none too large,' said the soldiers. 'But it will do. And now, water to fill it and a fire to heat it.'
It took many buckets of water to fill the pot. A fire was built on the village square and the pot was set to boil.
'And now, if you please, three round, smooth stones.'
Those were easy enough to find for farmer's fields seem practically to grow them. The peasants' eyes grew round as they watched the soldiers drop the stones into the pot.
Soon the water was boiling and one of the soldiers took a spoon from the bubbling pot and tasted it.
'These are good stones," he said to his friends, "and they will make a good soup, but oh, if there were carrots, it would be much so much better, but no use asking for what you don't have.'
'Why, I think I have a carrot or two,' said one woman, and off she ran.
She came back with her apron fill of carrots from the bin beneath the red quilt.
'A good stone soup should have cabbage,' said the second solider, 'carrots are good, but cabbage is better, but no use asking for what you don't have.'
'I think I could find a cabbage somewhere,' said a man and he hurried home. Back he came with three cabbages from the cupboard under the bed.
'If we only had a bit of beef and a few potatoes, this soup would be good enough for a rich man's table,' said the third soldier, 'but no use asking for what you don't have.'
The peasants thought that over. They remembered their potatoes and the sides of beef hanging in the cellars. They ran to fetch them."
Gilles comes to the end of his tale, wrapping up the story and delivering its subtle moral. "A rich man's soup," he says, "and all from a few stones. It seemed like magic!
'Ah,' sighed the soldiers as they stirred in the beef and potatoes, 'if we only had a little barley and some milk, this would would be fit for the king himself, but... no use asking for what you don't have,' the soldiers sighed.
The peasants brought their barley from the lofts, they brought their milk from the wells. The soldiers stirred the barley and milk into the steaming broth while the peasants stared.
At last the soup was ready, the smell of it making the peasants' mouthes water.
'All of you shall taste,' the soldiers said. 'But first a table must be set.'
Great tables were placed in the square. And all around were lighted torches.
Such a soup! How good it smelled! Truly fit for a king.
But then the peasants asked themselves, 'Would not such a soup require bread... and a roast... and cider?' Soon a banquet was spread and everyone sat down to eat.
Never had there been such a feast. Never had the peasants tasted such soup. And fancy, made from stones!"
Ashton listens with the rest of the audience. Gilles' story is one that's somewhat familiar to him, but he'd never heard it delivered so eloquently before, so the Darkling's held enrapt by the tale even though he knows what it's leading towards. At its completion, the young man lifts his hands to applaud. He gives Gilles a broad grin with thin streamers of mist curling out from the corners of his mouth.
The corners of Eva's lips quirk at that offer of the pin to Darcy, then she smiles at Gilles as he begins to tell his own story, hands still clasped before her as she holds her parasol. She nods contentedly in the appropriate places, clearly familiar with the tale but enjoying it greatly all the same. As he finishes, the couturist applauds brightly.
"When I was young," Gilles says, "I thought it was a funny story about how the soldiers tricked the villagers. Now though, I understand it better. Each house only had a little bit of the feast. They could eat, but they could not eat well. It was only when they came together that their individual gifts became the grand meal."
Juliette can't help but turn a bit so that she, too, can listen to Gilles' story as it's being told. It's one she's heard before, but she smiles as she listens to it being told again.
Thumpleton, of all the Wayward, delights most in Gilles' story, a big dopey smile on his maybe-freckled face as one hand intermittedly pets his stomach. "Ain't had a good stone soup in ages, boss." Brig smirks and nods. It's a familiar tale, at its heart, though the framing and delivery are certainly exceptional. "Clever magic, that," says the mareketeer who's certainly raking in a bounty of his chosen goods today. He looks the frenchman over and considers. "A hero story then? Hm." With a gesture back toward his chair, Thump sets to motion and nudges it in behind him, allowing the boss to sit, his legs stubby enough that they don't quite touch the ground.
"Now, the Queen Slayer, Hero of Tumbledown, has never been seen, never been identified. Not a single soul has stepped forward plausibly to take up the title though it is widely accepted that yes, oh yes, the queen is very much dead." He gives a little wiggle as he gets more comfortable. "There are rumors, of course. Some say it was a mortal kid who dreamed up something big and different, but that's just silly. That's not how dreams work. Not really. Some say it was a werewolf--" With a look to Darcy. "--who contested the Queen's claim to this territory and gobbled her up like Lycaon did his own kids. I think it's gotta be trickier than that. The Butcher Queen held dominion for over two hundred years. Whoever outsmarted her was clever. And probably not alone. I say there's more than one hero. Maybe a whole band! Because what binds someone like that, for so long and so well? It isn't singular, is it? That was an awful big story to untell, but somebody or somebodies did it." He might look just a teensy little bit too proud--vindictively so--at that. "Probably best nobody ever knows. Best for the market. And best for you."
Darcy considers the story the hob tells, and by the end, he furrows his brow, already thinking of something. "I should go," he says, patting the pocket with the bracelet and then flicking his finger on the pin with a smile. "See you later, Brigadaceous. Eva. Juliette. Gilles." The remaining get a quick up-nod, and then Darcy's melting into the crowd.
Gilles thinks on Brigadaceous story for a moment and nods. "Something I do not think any of us had considered," he replies. "If the hero wanted us to know who he, or they, were then no doubt they would have made sure people knew. They must have reasons for wanting their anonymity."
From his expression it can be seen that he is turning the puzzle over in his mind, trying to see what he can infer from this absence of evidence. Eventually though he shakes his head and returns to the here and now.
"Thank you very much for that story. I think that is quite something to think about," he says. "Please, before you return stop by and have some dinner. I am afraid stone soup is not on the menu but I am sure I can find something for you."
Eva nods to Gilles at his observation. "It is true," she says. "There are many things in life like that, I think." Her lips quirk wryly, then she shifts her attention to Brig as he begins to tell the tale about the hero. Her gaze shifts to a thoughtful sort again, then she gives him another wry smile at the conclusion. Darcy's departure is met with a warm smile and wave, then she looks back to the hob. "Perhaps, perhaps not. There are still many puzzles, I think. However, I can respect your not wanting to dig too deeply all the same. Regardless, you're a very good storyteller and it's been quite enjoyable. I should go, but I would hope to perhaps see you again."
Brigadaceous lets out a quiet grunt on the point of intentional anonymity. Both Thump and Pris perk at the prospect of dinner, looking between Gilles and their boss eagerly. Brig waves to them and says, "Yeah, yeah. Sure. Yes. We'll stop by," with a tap to the side of his nose to assure he knows the way. "I might've been wrong about you lot," he admits. "You all come back any time, this side or that. But, for now?" He makes little shooing gestures. There are mortals trying to peek in at their stall, new deals to make, new stories to collect.
The young man glances at Eva and Gilles, musing softly for their ears. "What are the chances that those who she took from might have taken back from her in return. Maybe literally, and that could be a reason for secrecy. Just a thought, but something I wonder about."
Ashton hooks his hand into the strap of his backpack and leans a hip against the table as the tales keep flowing. It's been a bountiful day so far, with a personal prize in one of his pockets and his mind all the richer with new knowledge. He gives Brigadaceous a little bow. "It's an interesting story, and one much appreciated. It's ironic that the Butcher Queen was possibly butchered by the very people who she claimed dominion over."