Moontree Manor Basement Party

Summary:
August 29 2014: There is a dimensional tear in Rain's basement… which is exactly like an invitation to drop by, right?

Moontree Manor

Victorian Gothic Splendor… right in the middle of a Queens park…


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Rowan had been minding his own business. He had just been swimming close to the shore, watching the surfacers and waiting for everything to play out. And slooooooowly loosing patience with how long it is taking. Then suddenly there was a riptide - in the middle of nowhere - and a rush of current and… - bump -.

Okay. It's dark and the Blue is no longer sure where he is. So he calls out. "Um… Hello? I… um… where the hell am I?" So help him if he's landed in yet another dimension…

*

Rain was minding HER own business. She's actually got a soldering iron out at the kitchen table and is watching something akin to Mythbusters. She is in fact, nerdy. A mirror, saying something about wanting more cuties in the house promptly gets covered by an older, tattooed succubus who looks like she might do Roller Derby in her spare time. "That's enough of that," The demoness grumbles.

"Thanks," Rain smiles up and sets the soldering iron down. She goes to get some soda when - is that a voice from the basement? She furrows her brows and heads over. A careful rap on the door. "Hello?" And soon, she opens it, to turn on the lights. Captain follows. "I hope it's not necromancers on zombie bears again."

*

While not a stranger to Moontree Manor, Jim was NOT anticipating being brought there. No. He was actually at a small hole-in-the-wall bar in an undisclosed part of town meeting with *redacted* about *redacted*. There may have been profanity and heavy drinking involved. And when there is heavy drinking, there is the need to use the rest facilities.

So he opens the door…

…and finds himself in a basement, reeking booze and really having to 'go'.

Rowan is wet and smells of sea water though that's not unusual for him. He also can't see a thing until the lights turn on. What Rain sees is a young-ish man in tight shorts and what looks like an underarmor shirt, looking like he just stepped out of the shower… or… the beach. "A house?" He looks at Jim then up and Rain and Captain. "How in the tides did I wind up in a surfacer house?!"

*

Jim is wearing work clothes, reeks of booze, and looks a bit… distracted, to say the least. The smell of wet and sea water doesn't help, and Rowan's presence baffles him. He clears his throat and tries to think of something to say, fails, then sees Rain.

"Oh, hey. RainmeetRowan. RowanmeetRain. Gottabathroom?"

*

Blink. Rain looks - kind of surprised. Her violet eyes widen and she tilts her head.

"A mansion. You're in my liquor cellar, to be precise," She offers to Rowan. "I uh. That seems to happen an awful lot, actually."

She rubs the back of her head.

"It's hard to explain." Pause. "You want a towel or anything to eat or drink?"

She's a good hostess.

"If you grab a bottle from there, let me know and you can take it with you."

Wait. Is someone behind you?

"Did you bring a friend?" she asks.

Captain snrrrrrts softly, as cats are wont to do, "Oh boy."

And then - yup, that was Jim.

"Yeah, up this way and just to the left. Help yourself," she offers.

*

Rowan slowly climbs up. The stairs, pausing to let Jim hurry by as he may feel the need to be elsewhere very fast. There's hint of magic about the muddy-brown haired man with the haunted stare. Not like a mage, but definitely something arcane about him. He eyes the Cat, seemingly both impressed and not as impressed as he should be.

"You have a gene-spliced servitor cat?"

Slowly Rowan's clothes begin to change, and in no time he's in casual attire to match Rain's.

*

There's a careful yet speedy pace up the stairs from the heavy-set fellow, stairs creaking quickly as he moves like the wind!

Actually rather impressive, given his bulk.

He's going to be distracted for a few, details thankfully omitted.

Huh. Rain blinks again. She moves aside for poor Jim, too. She waves to him, and looks to Rowan.

"He's my familiar. But no. He's just intelligent and somewhat magical," she offers.

"Also, I have a human," Captain jokes. You can almost hear the feline smirk. It's true. Cats often own their people.

The servant putting the cover over the mirror cranes her neck, somewhat impressed.

"And your clothes- wow. Um. May I get you anything to eat or drink? I'm really sorry about this."

That would be Rain speaking. The middle aged roller derby succubus is goggling at Jim's speed.

*

Rowan blinks. "I um… well… I'm not sure…" He looks about from Rain to the demonic servant and back again. "Where… where are we?"

He tries to see out a window… there are no windows.

"Mmmmmm… I'm Rowan. And you're… in charge here?"

*

With more details thankfully omitted and out of the way, Jim makes his way downstairs, clad in a much more relaxing outfit that Rowan and Rain may both recognize from different times.

On the plus side, it doesn't reek like the other outfit did.

"Hey, um… sorry about that, last I saw I was at the bar talking to someone about some spatial disturbances elsewhere in the city."

He makes a mental note to himself 'Ask John if the fluctuations are 'clingy' or contagious.'

He'll take his time enough for Rowan to get comfortable and/or situated before heading on over.

Rain looks over her shoulder.

"You're in Moontree Manor, in Queens, New York City," she offers. "House is still in the same spot."

She takes a deep breath.

"I go by Rain. Pleased to meet you, Rowan," she smiles politely.

She pauses.

"For now, yeah. Seems I'm the only relative anyone found," she shrugs. "Would you like to sit?"

And then Jim reappears. She waves to him. Captain sniffs.

"Really? That's kind of - ironic because in the basement… there seems to be some sort of conduit…" Rain gestures with her hands. "Ehm. Let me explain it. Do either of you want a drink or food before I begin?"

She motions them to the living room.

*

"No… I recently ate." Ish. Underwater eating is not a thing most surfacers would understand. Primarily because it involves lots of recently caught raw meat.

"Rain…"

Odd name for a surfacer. Even more odd that she doesn't seem to have two names like most surfacers do. Shrugging, Rowan follows to the living room, giving the staff an odd glance or two again and then sits himself down.

"So… how did I end up in your basement?"

*

The heavy-set fellow adjusts his shirt a bit and coughs politely.

"I could really go for a cup of coffee right now, thank you. Was touching base with someone and wasn't watching how much I was drinking, really should sober up even if I'm in the neighborhood and a short distance from the apartment, right?"

He glances at the succubus warily. Thankfully, the demonette hasn't tried to do anything demonish, because that could become quite an issue. And he resists the urge to make a snarky quip to Rowan's question, because the way his own life has been going lately, it's better to almost *not know* these things.

Oh, Rain does have a surname. She just doesn't like it. Really. Moontree. Aie.

"Sure, let me know if you get thirsty, then," she offers.

"And that's a good question. The dimensional conduit seems to work locally and across planes slash dimensions. I've honestly only begun to scratch the surface. I'm just glad no one's ended up drinking too much booze in there," she sighs softly.

"Sure. I'll put a pot on."

The succubus pays no mind to Jim, grunting softly and going back. Likely to do house work or watch TV in another room.

Captain sighs. "Well. Couch's this way," The deep voiced cat offers. "At least this time nothing that wants us to die came through."

Captain is an optomist.

"We believe the conduit may either choose randomly, or that some greater mechanism, such as wormholes that appear only a moment - it gets kind of quantum physics-y - may do it." Sigh. Nevertheless, Rain steps into the kitchen. A man who looks like he could play for the NFL carrying a box of organic, grass fed steaks shuffles past. He's a golem. But he has magiced himself up to look normal.

"Hey," Rain offers in passing to him. He nods, looks to the others, nods and goes to do his thing. Golems aren't always the most social. But he's probably easier to bear for those with aversions to demons.

"Don't worry. He has been working on his steaks. Guess there's a BBQ competition at some point."

Life is odd in the manor. But it seems friendly.

*

"So this house is a… dimensional weak spot of some kind?" Rowan has a military mind and it shows. "Seems awful… vulnerable. Doesn't that worry you?"

Couch. Couch is good. And couch looks very, very comfy. So Rowan flops down on it. The little cylinder (looks kind of like a flashlight) rattles at his side.

"You mentioned the house moving. Does it do that often?"

*

Inwardly, the partner is cheering. Patch 667.1: DEATH TO DEMON POSSESSING SCUM! is working to expectations! Just as planned.

"It actually moved here recently, crushed a member of her family. At the sake of being crass, don't consume and cast. It doesn't end very well?"

Jim appreciates the golem's work ethic and steadfast movement. That's someone who knows how to get a job done.

The comfy couch claims another victim in him.

"I think what should be more worrisome is that — " The man cuts off. " — sorry, I have totally lost my politeness filter today."

The coffee maker is burbling and boiling cheerfully. In a few minutes, the warming scent of high grade coffee from somewhere - likely middle eastern - wafts through the rooms.

"The house itself? No. Only the oddity in the basement," she explains. "And I can't find much about it in my aunt's notes."

Rain seems quieter at that. And oddly, the demons in the manor seem content with - enjoying mortal life, and doing their own thing. What an odd refuge.

She nods at Jim, "That's about the long and short of it. She'd had a drinking problem for years. It finally caught up to her. She was a witch of considerable power and lived at minimum 700 years. I cannot pull off the magic she could."

And in Rain's defense, she's 22 and far less powerful than most of her clan.

The couch is quite nice, and clean. Although Captain hops up onto the back. It is his right and domain as Lord Catte of the land. The golem would likely appreciate being appreciated. And he's become alive enough to have hobbies. Rain doesn't seem keen on suppressing it.

"It's alright. Coffee's not done yet, anyhow." She smiles weakly. "It must be awful to just be dropped in here. If your friend knows much about these fluctuations, they'd be welcome."

*

"Friend?" Jim may well have friends but Rowans only seen him the one time and he wasn't acting schizophrenic back then.

"Nevermind, sorry. So the basement randomly pulls things into it? Like me from the middle of the ocean? But… you don't know why and can't turn it off. That kind of sounds like a place that should have a very thick, sturdy locked door."

*

Which friend is she referring to? The partner or the mad mage? Jim blinks a bit in confusion as he tries to parse that in some sort of intelligible fashion, reducing himself to providing some limited homage to the masterly feline.

"Sorry if I'm off my 'game' today. Two days without good sleep really does a number on the brain, and it ain't helped by having drinks with someone very early in the morning. Yeah, the partner actually gave a 'sign-off' on that. I think Hell may be freezing over."

He nods to the comment about coffee, then considers.

"I'll let him know, though he has his hands full with that stupidity over by that one tower place."

The portly guy shudders a bit in some recollective moment.

*

"Oh, sorry. Partner or person you met," she offers. Rain listens. "Surely," She agrees. The nerd fidgets a little bit.

"It can. Sometimes. The door's really heavy, and a lot of things get distracted by old, high quality booze," A pause. "That probably works out kinda nicely," She admits. "And don't feel bad. We all have those days."

Joyously, after many minutes, the coffee will be done. It smells strong, ancient and inviting. Coffee beans men drank beneath the stars to warm their bellies and go herding. Beans that goats would graze upon and dance joyously, full of energy. It's an amazing bean when one considers it. Nevertheless, she will fetch a couple of cups and offer one to each. If they wish it. The mugs have math jokes on them. Of course they do. Groan.

"If it helps, actual conduit mishaps are rare. And I saw that tower. I - really am not sure just altering reality was better than a new tower, but then I have nothing to do with that," She admits.

*

The displaces soldier feels… so lost.

"Reality altering tower?" Just to make sure he hasn't landed back where he started and is being hosted by an eccentric ally… "We're not expecting an attack by the Psychic Overlords any time soon are we?" If they know what he's talking about, he's potentially in quite a bit of trouble.

Still… coffee. Even in math mugs, coffee is good especially when it's hot, which this is. Rowan sips with relief as his mind spins.

*

The working man nods respectfully to the hostess and takes the cup when offered, sipping at it. Black is good today, especially right now.

"It isn't better. It was apparently someone trying to pull far more than their weight, not dotting the 'i's, not crossing the 't's, and expecting to pay back the loan in the future interest-free."

At least, that's Jim's take on what he was told by a presumable expert on the matter. Saint John does count as an expert, right?

"No. No Psychic Overlords that I'm aware of. Not much in the way of stuff like that. Most folks are all about explosions or super-strength or weird stuff. Not so much on the brain-scrambling madness thing."

He smiles a bit.

"It's okay, man. I trust Rain. She's a great hostess and opens her doors to those who are not horribly narrow-minded."

*

Poor displaced soldier. Rain feels sympathetic. She only gained her magic a couple of years ago.

"Not that I know of? What are those? It sounds like something I saw during a sci fi marathon," Rain admits. Yes, she's dreadfully nerdy. "And let me know if you want sugar or cream. I uh - getting used to having people over."

She was homeless, and while she's cleaned up, there's a definite scruffiness to her that can't be shaken off.

Captain takes his place and curls up a bit.

She winces.

"That's - not good," She sighs. "Contracts and spells like that are so sensitive," Rain bites her lower lip. "I don't know this is going to end well, if that's what he did. I wasn't there and I honestly still am learning a lot about magic in general." Rain is fairly knowledgeable, given how long she's had hers. But. Her magic is in and of itself highly unusual. An exception to the rules. But Jim's kind words make her smile.

"Thank you. That's kind of you. And yeah, I tend to let the wayward stay here a bit. I seem to collect them," She considers. "I don't mind it too much. This house is powerful and significant in its own way."

And everyone needs a stop somewhere, yeah? Captain perks and looks over.

"I wish I could tell you more. I've been going through notes and trying to reverse engineer stuff. I have to pay attention because I disabled a lot of wards with snooping people about. I didn't want someone to end up turned into a newt for good."

*

Rowan nods and, suddenly curious about the nature of the house, closes his eyes. He has, essentially, only one magical trick, but it's quite versatile. Well, potentially. There's a shudder and Rain can sense the sudden tug as he calls Air into him. Not air, the thing people breathe, but Air the elemental force. His skin becomes pale and his features sharp. There's a scent of ozone hanging about him and a lightness to his movements as he opens his eyes and looks around once more.

*

Jim could give a care less about the nerdiness. In his eyes, the fact that a person has a clean house — well, portal downstairs excepted — and in general is hospitable is far better than someone with more money than sense who doesn't *get* it and throws companies into bankruptcy because they hit some nerve.

"You're welcome. If you'd ended up with it a few weeks earlier I might have been seeking you at the end of the month, but that all got sorted out with good hard work ethics."

When the elemental features start kicking in the partner wakes up a bit, scolding the man for his over-drinking and then poking him in his brain-meats.

"The partner just woke up because of something you did there, Mister Rowan. It wants to know what it is you're doing and why you're doing it?

Captain merps, curling into a full 360 catball and peering at those gathered. Rain tilts her head, feeling the sudden tug. Her eyebrows lift.

"Huh. Well, just be careful. No calling lightning or water on the rugs, please," she seems to trust him.

Captain stares evenly. He's ready to smackdown if he has to. He just has to remember he's a housecat and not a tiger.

Rain smiles faintly. "Ah. Well, I am glad you found a place. Though, having you around would probably be pretty awesome," She considers it. She seems curious about Rowan's spell in turn, violet eyes peering intently.

*

Still curious, and kind of lost in his experiment at the moment, truth be told, Rowen releases the Air. It wafts off him like white smoke which then shatters like glass and vanishes. No sooner has his skin returned to normal coloration than he calls Water to him. Now he has a bluish cast to him, smells faintly of the sea and his movements seen fluid and graceful.

"Interesting. It's much easier to call them in this place…"

*

Jim glances at Rain after her comment about having him around sinks in.

"You… no offense… it really isn't what you'd think. I snore when I sleep and you look like you could be my kid. Not that I have any kids or that there's anything wrong with kids I mean… gah."

Foot-in-mouth syndrome. Jim appears to be really developing a case of it today.

When Rowan doesn't respond to his inquiry he lets the partner know to warm up the standby… just in case.

In the enclosed environment of the room when the smoke shatters like glass he instinctively covers his eyes, then peers warily at Rowan.

"Do not summon up that which you cannot put down?"

Okay, potentially inappropriate, but words for magi with talent to live by?

Rain blinks. She stares at him sidelong.

"I'm 22. And I meant you could have a room." She turns red, eyes widening. Cough. She looks to her coffee.

"There's more coffee and also plenty of Greek takeout should you get hungry. The mint lamb kebabs are great. For now-" She blinks at the white smoke and Rowan's display. "Huh. Wow."

She does put an arm over her face and Captain looks miffed, hopping down.

"Was that summoning?" She seems curious. "That's pretty impressive. Although, I can't say I'm shocked it'd be easier here. My aunt was old hat at summoning."

*

Rowan smiles. It's the first time he's smiled since he got here. Well, really smiled anyway.

"No… I was just calling the elements to me. It's something I was taught to do. Really the only thing I know how to do…" He turns and Jim may recognize the familiar signs of transformation, the cat slitted eyes he's developed and the sea blue scales now creeping over his form like so much armor… and the long, finned tail sprouting from his behind. That, curiously, doesn’t seem to be magic. Oddly.

*

"Yes, but what would the neighbors think?" Oh God, Jim, shut up! That was an EPIC FAIL attempt at humor. Okay, this seems to be a recurring thing.

"The partner is getting really cranky right now and I can't say as I blame it. The coffee is awesome and I—"

There's a bit of a pause as Jim's eyes glaze over and his voice takes on an ancient spiritual cast briefly.

"This one apologizes for the actions of one's partner. This one did warn him about the effects of too much alcohol in too short of a time. Please accept this one's apologies on behalf of our team."

The intonation stops and suddenly Jim is a lot more awake and blinking a bit.

"Ah, hell. It didn't swear at you or anything like that, did it?" Yeah. AWKWARD. Jim has it.

Yeah.. that whole body transformation thing isn't something the partner is going to sit still for. That could be a possible threat. And with Jim being socially dysfunctional…

"Ahem." There's a brief shimmer and there is something bigger and winged and black sitting where Jim was. Birdly.

*

Rain tilts her head. She smiles faintly, seeing Rowan that happen.

"Oh? Well, it's pretty impressive." Though, she seems curious. "You have a tail?"

She pauses. "I'm not being a pervert." It's more a curious fact than oooh, you have a tail~ And really, she's never seen someone like Rowan.

Rain snorts and laughs at Jim.

"Considering the household help…" She waves a hand. They'd fit right in.

"I am glad you like the coffee," she murmurs. Then a blink. Her eyes widen and she stares at Jim.

"Uhm. It's quite okay. He's been very polite," She offers. Then again, Rain was homeless. She heard a lot worse for being such.

"No, no swearing."

Then Jim gets with the word. Cuz bird is the word. Captain makes chittering noises, and his tail flicks.

"Oooh, baby. Those are some nice—"

"NO, CAPTAIN. He is a friend, not food!" Rain interrupts sharply. In defense of the cat, a dude with what might be a fish tail and a bird guy just showed up. It's like a giant troop of tacos rolling up and going 'eat meeeee'.

The cat sighs.

"You owe me sashimi for this."

Pause.

"That's fine," Rain replies. "No eating guests. Or trying. They're still big and powerful."

"Yeah, yeah, once… just once…"

*

"Only sometimes…" Rowan says quietly. That seems to be his default mode of speech: quiet. Just barely loud enough to be heard. The tail vanishes and his coloration changes back to pale. Rowan's clearly enjoying experimenting. Truth be told he hasn't had a chance to see what he can still do. His memory is full of holes and he's not entirely certain how this all works still. As the scales give way to white and the tail vanishes a set of colorful feathered wings - four of them to be exact - pushes out from Rowans back. Corvinus should remember this one.

*

The avianoid sits up a bit, cracking various joints as if waking up from a long rest.

"This one does not seek violence, but rather understanding and contemplation. One should be warned, however, that this one is fully capable of lethal force and autonomous defense algorithims and is standing by for any indication of hostile intent." That seems to be directed to Rowan.

And no, there's no magic on the bird. If anything, there's almost a 'null' or a 'lull' in magic around it.

It turns its head to Captain. "This one merely appears edible to one's sensibilities. It would be exceptionally unwise to attempt to consume me. For one's own safety, it is not recommended."

Then it turns to face Rowan once more. "This one should indicate that such a display is going to become counter-productive if the extrapolated form is any measure. Or partner terms: "DUDE, you WON'T FIT IN HERE, stop!" The ancient sagely thing shakes its head.

"This one does not truly understand why this one's partner would be concerned about profanity when he is the one usually dropping partner term 'f-bomb'."

Pause. Rain tilts her head. She looks to Rowan. She gently offers, "Well. Just be careful. I know my servants often wear human faces, but sometimes we let them go as they are."

Then she looks to the bird fellow.

"Hi there," She greets him politely.

"You're not a tengu, are you?" Captain huffs. Grumpgrump.

"And uhm. Do you mean not fitting in size wise? Please don't turn into anything that would wreck the house," she seems concerned. "Reasonably sized transformations are fine. Not so much… Honestly, I don't mind some getting a feel for oneself. Just please be safe about it."

She'd rather not be responsible for anyone getting hurt or her home being smashed. Then she looks to the birdman.

"Generally speaking, it's not polite to swear. I don't mind too much because I heard worse but." She shrugs. Rain is tense. She likes them both well enough, but.

She moves to scoop up Captain. "Either of you want more coffee?"

*

Rowan's unusual features abruptly fold back in on himself and vanish, leaving just a human looking man.

"More coffee would be good."

Corvinus gets an odd, odd glance.

"Why would you assume I was about to hurt you. Do surfacer champions commonly display their abilities before combat? I would have thought they would have wanted to conceal them."

*

"Greetings, Miss Rain. One is the temporal commander of this location. This one will abide by the words of promise the partner made in regards the hospitality one provides."

It tilts its head as if attempting to listen to something.

"Tengu: Term unknown. Stand by. Processing. Data discovered. Updating."

"This one completely understands the lack of a need for such terms. They simply infuriate and agitate and prevent proper Enlightenment. And in regards one's previous question, this one could theoretically fit within the paradigm envelope of entities termed 'Tengu', however this one is arguably not. This one is The Corvinus, an Extrapolated Intelligence tasked with the bringing of the Client People of Thanagar to Enlightenment. Term of service: Currently on standby." The bird thing gets a mirthful tone when Rain asks about coffee.

"A full pot, if one would please?"

Oh, man, Buddha Bird be trollin'.

"This one has noted a particular tendency for the sentients of this world to partner term 'Display their colors' immediately prior to entering combat or intense negotiation periods, it is true."

Rain nods, and is quiet a moment.

"If it helps, I think you looked neat," She offers to Rowan. "But yeah, most people don't just bust out transformations and magic on a whim or as a hello."

She pauses.

"Most of mine is pretty subtle though."

So she has that going for her. At least, until someone's pants catch fire or someone gets newted. Then it's on like Donkey Kong.

Rain looks to the bird. An owlish blink. Her violet eyes seem distant as *she* has to process that.

"I see. Pleased to meet you, Corvinus. Er. Yeah, sure. I can get you some. Just be sure to eat something with it, or you'll get an upset stomach," she remarks, unaware of Buddha bird's trolling.

She stands again, and will go to fetch that coffee. Captain is just doing his best not to think of Corvinus as a deluxe KFR bucket (that's Kentucky Fried Raven).

*

"I'm sorry if I frightened you. I could not… remember everything that was involved. And my erstwhile 'hosts' seemed quite nervous about my transformations as well."

As well they might be for in truth Rowan is a weapon. One that has lost a great many of his memories.

"You are Homo Magi then, Rain?" He's generally well disposed toward them. They were his allies after all in the war.

*

"One's plumage was impressive. This one is curious as to the derivation of such. Was it nanonetic? Or perhaps side-dimensionally linked?"

The bird thing offers that to Rowan quizzically then gives a slight flourish in Rain's direction. "Subtle and low-key is the best method. Better to end a fight with the right word than engage in a battle that destroys countless valuable resources."

"This one has an amazingly resilient stamina and is quite capable of processing the fluids with minimal upset, Miss Rain, though this one does appreciate one's concern.

"Feline unit designate 'Captain', this one truly is not edible. This one would offer one a feather to prove the point, but this one currently has none that are in need of removal."

"Fear is a trait that needs to be acknowledged for the destroyer of Wisdom that it is, but at the same time the primal reaction that is the savior of the font of Wisdom." It does pause at the comment about 'Homo Magi'. It has no context and is unfamiliar with a term for humans as such.

*

Rain is quiet as the two speak. She pauses as Rowan uses a term. She looks a little confused. "A what? I'm a witch, and magic runs through my blood if that's what you mean. I guess … that seems right." She considers. She does lean in from the kitchen, to talk to them from her spot.

She just smiles faintly. "Alright, if you're sure. And ease off, Captain. If you're hungry, there's cut up salmon."

The cat grunts and trots off into the kitchen to claim his salmony prize while one cup of coffee is poured, then refilled. She has to bring out the salmon for Captain.

"And to be fair, if you have a soft, squishy body, fear is quite useful."

Rain's kind of a coward on some days. A lot of them. But can one *blame* her necessarily? She was homeless in Gotham for a time. It was a survival trait. Nevertheless, she offers Rowan his cup of coffee.

"Pot's going," she offers. "And man. This gets more and more interesting. is Wisdom something you seek often?"

*

"Er… Homo Magi. The lineage of mages." The dragon-soldier pauses. "Do you not use that term here?"

He sighs, sinking back down on the couch.

"So many differences. I apologize. Where I come from things are the same and yet not the same."

So much to explain. The war. The end of the world. How it kept going even so and that made pretty much everyone miserable.

He takes the cup of coffee and takes another drink.

"I need to find my people again. Or at least my 'hosts'."

*

"Witch. Cross-referencing. Many works. Many tales. Many — Miss Rain, this one is sorry for the loss of one's kin. It is never a comfortable feeling to know that one's Wisdom and Knowledge may be detrimental to the development of some."

It pauses as it nods to Rain. "This one had no inclination or awareness of the 'fear reaction series' prior to the partnership with the current partner. Most other partners in the past were closer to this one's mind, and the distinction is important. However, partner terms 'Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.' This one commends the writer of that tale for his… insight."

It tilts its head then considers.

"Thanks to one for starting the new pot. All should seek Wisdom and Enlightenment every breath of their lives. It is through such growth that a people evolves. It is the continual search for such that destroys the ignorance of the past and builds a brighter future. And no matter what learned figures may say on the matter, the path to development is not through others, but always through the Self. Enlightenment is a very personal and partner term 'full contact sport'. Nomenclature uncertain."

"This one met one's people the other night at the horribly named 'Burning Human' event. This one was impressed with their restraint and care."

"Then that would be the proper label," Rain offers. "I just never heard it. It might be a more formal name, like a latin species name. So yeah, I'd be one of them," she smiles to Rowan.

Then a pause.

"Don't worry. A lot of people - and I mean sentient beings in general - struggle with it. Even those who live here," she offers. "Who are your people, may I ask? I can try to help out if I see an— hosts?"

Eye. He's not gonna go all chestburster on them, is he?

"Huh, interesting."

Well. She will trust him, then.

Rain looks to Corvinus. "I - thanks," she nods. "I appreciate it. And yeah," a soft smile. "You're welcome. You're my guest. It's sort of how it works."

Rain believes in Guest Rights. Her clan does, really. One of the few things they seem to.

"Burning man is sort of an off-shoot of a revived pagan festival. Supposedly - supposedly, many, many centuries ago, a certain civilization would burn an effigy of a wooden man in a ritual. Some argue a person was in there. Some say otherwise. We really do not know. And I am glad to hear that."

For her part, once she's more used to the idea, Rain seems content to play hostess and offer them food and drink as they chat. The conversation waxes and wanes, Captain has salmon and drags it about to a happy spot where he eats. And the afternoon gives way to evening, as time does. So it passes, so people come and go.


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