The old church is dark, dimly lit by outside light coming in through scum-encrusted windows during the day, and tomblike during the night. There is a coatroom in the back of the nave, with separate doors leading off to mens' and womens' restrooms, and two staircases, one going up to the balcony and bell-tower, and the other leading down to the basement. The double doors leading out to the street are at the back of the coatroom.
The hard wooden pews in the sanctuary are, for the most part, still intact. There are even Bibles and hymnals left in the shelves along the back of each row, although many of them look rather chewed on. The altar on a dais at the front of the church is empty, and the lectern that once stood next to it has been knocked over. Rotting red cloth hangs at the very front of the church; there might once have been a design on it, but it has long since faded or been eaten away.
From warehouses a few blocks away from the river, across a chunk of city more than a dozen blocks wide, factories brood over the streets like dark dragons over their piles of treasure, greedy and all-encompassing. Huddling around the factories are smaller, less imposing buildings that are probably warehouses, or storage locations for trucks. The factories spill fumes into the air, darkening the area and blanketing it in a stench to mark humankind's domination over the world. Some of the warehouses stand empty, some are boarded over, and some, on the northern and western fringes of the area, have been converted to bars, with bizarre lighting, frequent brawls, and music that blares loudly at all hours of the night. There are no residences here for anyone to complain, and the factory workers populate the bars thickly. Throughout the area, trash and oil mingle together on alleyway streets, impeding the paths to the dumpsters at the ends of many of the alleys.
Once a home to the backstage antics and off-stage life of actors from the grand Shakespearians to the slapsticks of vaudeville to the props mistresses, this broad room parallels in size the stage above it. Old and gaudy couches, chez-lounges, and rockers sit in haphazard groups about an old but functional pot-bellied stove whose smokepipe leads off into the bricking of the back wall. At one end of the room, near a sink and counter, sits a full-sized Frigidaire.
Pairs of dressing rooms lead off at each side. To one side, stairs lead up into the theater itself. Off to one side, a wide door leads into the darkened alcoves of the props and costume closets. Opposite those closets, a bricked up archway leads nowhere.
Homey is the first word to come to mind when looking at the farmhouse's kitchen. Dark, wood-paneled wainscoting covers the walls to about waist height, dark beige wallpaper continuing to the ceiling. Twin refrigerators occupy the north wall, facing the large six-burner stove on the south. The kitchen counter runs the length of the eastern wall, broken only by the double-basin sink. Cabinets run above and below the counter and a twin-pane window is set in the wall above the sink. A small pantry is set into an alcove alongside the refrigerators, presumably holding the deep freezer as well as shelves of dry goods.
Some twelve feet above the floor, a large chandelier hangs from the ceiling, lighting the dining room and casting long shadows over the bar to the kitchen. A long table occupies the center of the dining room, three chairs setting along each side, and one on each end. On the west wall, a large window looks out on the trees alongside the western pasture. Set into the north wall is a large cabinet, its glass doors closed on shelves containing a full compliment of fine china and glassware as well as a few decorative nicknacks. On the east, a wide bar separates the dining room from the kitchen.
An opening in the southern wall allows passage to the front entryway of the house, while a sliding glass door in the kitchen opens to a clearing behind the house.
Rotem currently has his back to the door, he seems to be standing in some strange stance, moving slowly.
Kaz and Bernie push in the door, Kaz gesturing with a bag in one hand and a large squirt gun in the other. "Yeah, see, it works good f'cats, an' if I get stuck tryin' t'deal with a kid on patrol, I can just give it to 'em. It's the little things that count."
Bernie grins, nodding as she follows Kaz in. "Not to mention, 'f it gets real hot in th' summer, you c'n use it t' cool down too, I s'pose..." She tilts her head slightly, regarding the other cub's odd stance and slow movements with some interest.
Rotem sways, ignoring the two, as he moves to the next possition slowly, unahppy at the disturbance, but remaining calm none the less.
"Well, sometimes I fill it with bleach, f'th'less savory parts've stuff, but so far, I've managed to remember when it's water and when it ain't." Kaz says this somewhat quieter, as she watches Rotem.
Rotem finishes off with Grasping the Bird's Tail and stops, arms hanging loosely about his sides, giving up on this with the two new arrivals, he turns and looks to the two. "Ain'tcha heard of knocking?" He crosses his arms over each other, looking at the two.
Kaz says, "Sure. I just ain't never done it in my life."
"Ain'tcha heard of public places?" Bernie retorts, mildly, before nodding ot Kaz again. "Yeah, I c'n see how th' bleach bit could be kinda a downer inna unintended drenchin'..."
Rotem motions to the water-gun. "What's the squirt ga-gun for?" he looks to Kaz.
Kaz explains, "Sometimes, on th' Realm patrol, there's stuff you gotta deal with that ain't, like, huge, right? But it's somethin' you gotta deal with. So a water pistol, sometimes it's useful. No big thing, I was just comin' in from it with Bern."
Rotem shakes his head. "Huh? What d-do you mean? Not gonna stop a f-fomor with that are ya?"
Kaz shakes her head. "Nope," she says, cheerfully, "But then again, fomor ain't the only thing we fight. Specially on the Realm patrol, often what I'm doin' is makin' sure people ain't idiots to each other. This," she hefts the gun, "Is occasionally part've that. Incredibly minor kid or cat control. Or, with bleach or somethin' worse in it, it can actually hurt someone. But no one's gonna take it away from me, right? Just a water pistol."
Rotem nods softly. "I guess that makes s-sence." He shrugs, motioning to the door. "I need to go get some supplies, can you take me out for a bit?"
Bernie considers the squirt gun, adding to Kaz, "...prolly might work t'short some shit out, too, 'f y'hadda. Anythin' that wasn' set up right, anyhow." She stretches a bit, and stifles a slight yawn.
Kaz nods. "I done that once. Gotta rip th' wires a little, but that ain't a problem." She gives Rotem a brief look, and says, "I just got here, kid, lemme relax for a little, will you? Oh," she adds, handing him the bag and then flopping into a pew, "Hope you like roast beef. S'how's stuff been lately?"
Rotem shrugs. "Stuff's been slow. Got one thing yesterday." He takes the bag and dissapears downstairs, returning a minute later without the bag, but with a small metal disc, about an two inches in diameter. It is rather scoffed up, but still a little shinny.
Kaz just starts grinning. "Man, kid, you're fixated. I meant, y'know, /things/. How /are/ you?"
Rotem tosses the disc towards Kaz, then replies. "I was ok until you two dropped in on my morning Tai Chi. I'm gonna be pissy all day now." He sighs and shakes his head. "Not your f-fault though."
Bernie perches on the back of the pew, feet on the seat, and balancing there. She grins too, and shakes her head slightly. "So do it again later," she suggests, shrugging. "Life's gonna suck 'f you can't deal with minor int'ruptions. Not t' mention, shouldn' you oughta be able t' concentrate on th' Tai Chi no matter what? I'n't that parta th' point there?"
Kaz catches it neatly. "Thankee, m'good sir." Jerking her head at Bernie, she says, "What she said. Plus, it's good focus t'do it more'n once."
Rotem shakes his head. "I do it the s-same time every day. And I'm /supposed/ to do it no matter what, problem is I'm j-just learning. Not that good at it yet."
Kaz tilts her head slightly. "What, you don' try'n vary times and stuff? Why not?"
Rotem shakes his head. "Says so in the book. Works best if you do it the same time every day. Something about body rythm."
Kaz says, "Huh," thoughtfully. "You want, we could, y'know, go away again..."
Rotem shakes his head. "Nah, too late now." He shrugs. "Anyway, I gotta get used to it." He motions to the door. "And there is some stuff I /need/ to g-go get."
Bernie considers that. "Does it say how t' determine th' same time? I mean, obviously it's gonna change with dayligt savin's, an' if y'go to another time zone, an' then there's jus' th' basic way that..." She blinks, trailing off, and looks sheepish, "...well, prolly I guess y' don' hafta be all -that- exact on th' time."
Kaz sits back up, and grins at Bernie. "I 'spect it's just t'get th' habit down and stuff. Or, well, f'/them/, it prolly means flows of Ch'i and shit, but luckily, I ain't them." Jerking her head to Rotem, she says, "Later, man. Patience is a virtue. So how was shit yesterday?"
Rotem would hit Bernie with a pillow or some other soft object if he had one, so instead he just gives her 'the look'. Stareing at her. "Ooookkaayyy." He rolls his eyes and motions to the door. "I gotta go to the pharmacy. This is like serious. Life or death shit." He blinks then looks at Kaz. "Yesterday was fa-fine. Yi took me to see the red light district."
Kaz says, blankly, "Pharmacy?"
Bernie is perfectly used to getting that sort of reaction from people, even if it hasn't happened in a while; she just ignores it. "Y'know, you're gen'rally s'posta refill prescriptions b'fore it gets t' be life or death, aren'tcha?"
Rotem shrugs. "Pharmacy, laundromat. Your place." He handmotions. "I need bleech, and green kool aid. Or a green marker. Or gotta go dumpster diving behind a salon."
Kaz says, a little warily, "Should I ask why?"
Rotem runs his hand through his hair. "Do you need to?"
"He wants to restreak," Bernie replies, sounding utterly unimpressed. "Damn, kid, that's just sad."
Kaz gives his hair a fixed, slightly dubious look. "Oh. Right. That. Yeah, sure, once I gotta brain, whatever."
Rotem nods softly, then grins, having thought up his first name for Kaz. "Ok, Scarecrow." He smiles to Kaz and sits down in the pew across from her. "Lemme know when."
Kaz apparently ignores the name entirely. "So, hey, red light district. What'd she do that for?"
Rotem shrugs. "To show me the other side of human life. Not that I a-already didn't know. Bunch of low life scumbags. I say we kill em all and devide up their stuff."
Kaz considers the young man for a moment. "The ones preying on people? Sure. But most've those folks, they're /stuck/. They /can't/ get out. So you gonna kill every single person there? Innocents as well?"
Rotem nods softly. "None of em are innocent. Kill em all." He pauses. "Don't worry, I'll behave, just because there are more of them t-then us, and I'd get people in trouble if I tried anything. S-still, I wouldn't actuall put any effort into saving any should some big bad evil thing have them c-caught in the crossfire."
Bernie slips down from the back of the pew onto the seat itself, feet moving to the edge, and slips her arms around her knees. She eyes Rotem for a few moments. "-Lots- of them are innocent," she disagrees. "You don't know halfa what you think you do."
Rotem growls slightly at Bernie, maybe he wouldn't be so irritable if he had finished his Tai Chi. "I know more then anyone should have to. I got more shit to deal with the the Mule does, because of /those/ people."
Kaz's look deepens from confusion to outright annoyance. She looks to be counting to ten. "Really," she eventually says, sarcasm riding the tip of her tongue. "Do tell."
Rotem shakes his head. "Leave me alone, ok?" He growls crossing his arms again and sitting back in the pew.
Kaz, slowly, says, "No. Actually. I can't. Because... Well, think. We're the /Bone Gnawers/. What's that mean, t'you?"
Rotem rolls his eyes. "Look the tribe can protect them all they want, I'm not lifting a god damn finger to help em." He looks to Kaz, "And you're not gonna convince me otherwise. I have m-my reasons."
Bernie says nothing at the moment; this likely has to do with the fact that she's pressing her teeth together hard enough that it was audible for a moment there. She glares at the other cub, arms tightening around her legs.
Kaz looks from Rotem to Bernie. "Riiiiight. Kid, remind me to make you tell me what the fuck you got goin', later, because if /I/ don' scream an' leap at you, /Bernie/ will, an' gettin' /Bernie/ this angry, that's an /accomplishment/. I think I'm impressed, actually."
Rotem turns and looks at Kaz. "Lets just be hypothetical and say a crack addicted prostitute g-gave birth to you, abandoned you, you had to go through seven surgeries, lose a k-kidney, have the other one be hyperactive, need to go to the bathroom every thirty minutes for the rest of your life, EVEN in the MIDDLE of the fucking NIGHT, and your remaining kidney is expected to last you till the age of forty, no more. Also, you c-can't stop fucking stuttering when you get pissed. All because the bitch couldn't keep a needle o-out of her arm, and a cock out of her cunt. Wouldn't you be a little ANGRY!?!"
The metis takes a deep breath. Lets it out. Takes another breath, slowly. "Right," she says, surprisingly evenly. "I'm sorry your mother fucked you over. I'm sorry you're fucked up because of that. But if you're gonna go around wantin' to kill every damn prostitute in the world, guess what? You ain't gonna last long. Go find a fuckin' Umbral pack, become a damn Deserter, because in the real world, you're gonna have to face the reality that sometimes, we get stuck in situations we don't wanna get stuck in, we get stuck doin' stuff we don't have a choice about, because we don't got the money to do anything about it, because the fuckin' system sucks shit. It keeps people down, /stomps/ on 'em, and then spits the remains out. The folks in the red light district, they're the ones /we/ are doin' our fuckin' /best/ to try and help, to make /sure/ they don't get to the level of /your mother/. Because your mom? She's part of why the Wyrm's winning. It's the small things, that add up to the eventual victory of the Wyrm, and every small thing we can do to stop it, from offin' a fomor to gettin' a street whore off drugs, is a fuckin' victory, and if you can't get that into your brain, then you ain't worth talkin' to."
"Let's just be hypothetical," Bernie says, in almost disturbingly cool, calm and measured tones, the anger just simmering beneath it, "and say you grew up in a family where you got constantly put down, hit, or sexually abused, and when you got old enough that you thought you could take care of yourself, 12, 13, 14, you ran away to get away from it. Only you end up on the street trying to take care of yourself, and instead you get raped and beaten more by other people around, or you get scared you will, and then someone says they'll take care of you, if you work for them; or you're too young to get a legal job, but you can sell what people take from you anyway if you don't, and maybe someone introduces you to things that make it all hurt less, for a while at least, and maybe in the course of all that you get pregnant..." She shakes her head, "or you get told, in another country, that they can get you a job somewhere else, bein' a nanny, or some such, and then when you get there, you get told you owe them a lot of money for the trip, and you belong to them until you pay it off by doing whatever they tell you to, and they'll kill you if you don't. Or any of a number of other ways that people end up there, very few of them by saying, gee, when I grow up, I want to be completely dependent on drugs to keep me from feeling it if I'm dying inside while I rent my body out to other people for their pleasure." She stops there, apparently done for now.
Rotem shakes his head. "Look, I'm not gonna kill em, ok? I'm just not gonna go outta my way to 'save' em either." He growls lowly. "And I don't care what sob story they have. They wanna really get outta there. I'll help em get out, they wanna stay down there, let em die."
Kaz says, "Oh, sure, you gonna get 'em an education? Support 'em till they get enough money to live on their own? Get 'em through drug treatment? Get 'em counseling f'the abuse? It's /not that easy/. But I'm glad you ain't gonna kill no one, at least. /I'd/ stick you in the far Umbral reaches /myself/, if you were gonna do /that/."
Bernie nods in agreement with Kaz, feeling no need to elabourate on the Galliard's reply.
Rotem shakes his head. "Look, I'll fight the big smelly things with ten-tentacles, you save the crack whores. Ok?"
Kaz still appears to be having trouble wtih this conversation, though she only has to count to five, this time. "Like I say. It ain't that easy. If you got territory, you gotta /work/ in that territory. You c'n specialize, sure, but eventually..." She trails off. "Eh. Fuckit, you ain't gonna change in the space of ten minutes."
Rotem looks to Kaz, and then flicks a finger at her. "Bingo, give the cliath a prize." He then motions to the metal disc. "Can I have it back now?"
Bernie shakes her head, staring over toward the dias of the church, when something seems to register in her consciousness. "Deserter?" she asks, looking back to Kaz.
Kaz tosses the disc back, not actually looking at him. For someone not looking at him, she's got surprisingly good aim. "Yeah, Bern. Ain't no one told you about Camps?"
Bernie half-smiles, "Not since I was in Girl Scouts, nah. 's Camps, here?"
Rotem grabs the disc out of the air and pockets it. "Me neither."
Kaz shakes her head. "It's like... Groups've Gnawers with common goals. Around here, we don' really got no one doin' that kinda shit, but some've us, we're kinna doin' the same things, just not coordinated." Giving Bernie an interested look, she adds, "And some of us would fit like a glove t'one've 'em, if they was in, say, New York. Anyways, the Deserters, they're the ones goin' out t'the far Umbral reaches, tryin' to avoid the Apocalypse. Basically, they're wusses an' I don' wanna cope with 'em. Folks like the Frankweilers, though..." Her grin suddenly reappears. "Ever read EL Konigsberg, Bern?"
Bernie blinks a couple times, and grins back, "Yeah; that's why I was livin' in th' museum an' library some days when I first got here. Seemed like a pretty good idea an' all. Always liked that book."
Rotem shakes his head softly, "Never heard of it." He replies, school being one of the less important things in his life.
The metis blinks. "Sheeyit, you're already /one've/ 'em, you jus' don' know it. Yeah, anyways, they hang out in libraries or museums or whatever, learnin' stuff that'll be /useful/ f'us, passin' it on -- and, of course, enjoyin' the hell out've 'emselves." She notes, to Rotem, "It's a kids book called, "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler". These kids run away from home and live in a museum for awhile. Anyway, 'terms've Camps, there's also th' Hood, kinda the Robin Hood people, an' the Ratfinks -- that'd be me, if I gave a shit. Investigative types, invented th' Barkin' Chain, stuff like that. There's also Hillfolks, which's just th' hillbillies out'n the country. An', well, th' Maneaters, but we try not t'talk about /them/."
Rotem points to himself. "What camp would I be?" He asks softly, an eyebrow raised.
"Oh-oh here she comes," Bernie sings softly to herself, then asks, "...I'm guessin' they're kinda what they sound like, huh? Ew. Just... ew. An' cool! 'bout th' -other- camps, I mean..."
Kaz looks at Rotem intently. "You ain't no Hood person, thass f'sure, not given this last discussion we just had. You don' really seem t'fit any've 'em, really. Which ain't no crime, it just means you're, y'know, unique."
Kaz then adds, "Yeah, th' Maneaters -- they don' last too long."
Rotem grins, and puts his legs up and his arms behind his head, he looks to Bernie. "Ya'hear that? I'm Unique." He chuckles and motions to the door. "Can we go yet?"
"I'm hopin' t' hell so," Bernie replies dryly, adding, "an' impatient much?"
Kaz shoots a quick, bright grin at Bernie, and then looks back to Rotem. "Dude. I been up all night. Gimme a break, huh?"
Rotem sighs and leans back. "Sorry. I'm not ussually like this. Tai chi."
Kaz says, mildly, "We could go away, let /me/ sleep, an' let /you/ finish what you started. Then we could come back later."
Rotem shrugs. "I'd feel like I'm kicking you out, and its /your/ place to s-start with."
Bernie nods, "'s a thought, there. 's not kickin' someone out 'f they're offerin', not t' mention th' pews aren't the comfiest places ever t' sleep."
Kaz says, "Yah. I got better shit at the Rialto, see."
Rotem motions to Kaz. "Where?" He asks, softly, curious now.
Bernie looks to Kaz, figuring this is definitely her question to answer.
Kaz says, vaguely, "Old theater. I'll bring y'sometime. 's kinda a fun place, although it's scheduled f'demolition any day now."
Rotem nods softly. "Sounds like f-fun. Anyway, I've gotta get back to my practice, or I'll end up killing someone today."
Kaz mutters, "You betcha. You comin', Bern?"
Bernie nods, hopping up. "Yes'm, comin' with." She follows the Galliard toward the door.
Kaz waves to Rotem, and wanders out, hands stuffed in pockets.
[Jermantown Avenue, Industrial Sector]
Kaz's back is tense as she walks, hands stuffed in pockets. Eventually, she says, "/Jesus fuckin' Christ/," fairly explosively, and quite briefly, and keeps walking.
Bernie shakes her head. "Y'know, every so often I really wish I could slap him."
"I," Kaz says, kicking a rock, "Would like to beat the stuffing out of him, but that ain't gonna help the fact that he's a shortsighted asshole with no fashion sense. Jesus, why I didn't take the chance when I coulda to just get him outta my misery..." She doesn't really seem to mean it. Not completely.
Bernie mutters. "I still spend half th' time he's around thinkin' I shouldn'ta talked Adam inta noticin' he wasn' gonna heal by himself. Not that I'm 'zactly -prouda- thinkin' that, but my god!" Her hands also find themselves deeply in her jacket pockets.
Kaz, as she gets nearer the Rialto, grunts. "It's like, ok, I've met a few Fangs with their heads up their asses? He's /worse/."
[Green Room -- The Rialto]
Bernie follows Kaz down the stairs, still looking annoyed. "No chance they'd take him off our hands, is there?" she asks, not really expecting there is or sure it'd be such a good thing anyway.
Kaz snorts, as she heads for the fridge. "No such luck, no. Christ, you'd think someone that'd grown up on the streets would have some kinda clue." She stares at the fridge as if forgetting why she was there, and then asks, "Wan' somethin' to drink?"
"Sure," the cub replies, wandering toward the couch and taking a seat there in the corner of it, "whatcha got?"
Kaz peers inside. "Coke, Coke, milk--" She stops to sniff it, "That ain't bad yet, some Kool aid that Max's addicted to... And some roast beef."
Bernie considers. "....Coke'd be great, I think," she decides, "thanks. .....what -kinda- Kool-aid?"
Kaz tosses one of the silver cans Bernie's way. "Um. Red. I dunno, I think it's s'posed t'be raspberry. It mostly tastes like distilled sugar, though." She gets herself a Coke, as well, and settles onto the arm of the sofa. "Thing is, I don' believe in killin' cubs, unless they /keep/ bein' as stupid as he was as when he first got here, but he's one kid I'll be glad t'get Rited so I can fuckin' ignore him f'the rest of my life."
Bernie catches the can with some difficulty; it goes just to the edge of her range and she almost falls off the couch getting hold of it. Depite that, she pops it open, and quickly sips up the liquid that tries to overflow. Once it's safe, she replies, "Well. I never killed anyone yet, I mean, -people- people, not Wrym things, an' I'm not 'zactly in a hurry..."
Kaz takes a long swig of Coke. "I hadda kill a cub, once." She sounds a little terse. "Not good. Couldn't avoid it, though."
Bernie winces slightly, drinking her own. "How comes? What'd he do?"
Kaz says, slowly, looking at her Coke, "He was a really nice kid. He was almost's close t'me as Max was, b'fore her Rite. He had clue, he had motivation, he had... He was a /Gnawer/, y'know? But -- then we took 'im on his first hunt, Umbral." She continues looking at the Coke. "He got Tainted, only we din' know it. An' it -- it took him over, basically."
Bernie nods a little, and sighs, looking down to her coke as well. Anyone passing would think soda had mystic divinatory powers. "I'm sorry," she says. "That seriously sucks. A lot."
Kaz finally looks up, though not quite at Bernie. "Yeah. I -- I'd practically adopted him. So. I tol' my bossman I'd do it. B'cause -- well, I'd want /him/ t've done it, if it was the same situation. Th' kid, I mean."
Bernie nods, silent this time, and takes another sip of her soda.
Kaz looks down at her Coke again. "So. Anyway. I don' like whatsisface there with the hair, but I know better'n t'do shit when I'm pissed. Because I really /would/ hate myself in the morning."
Bernie nods, "....yeah. I c'n see that. I mean, I'm not always happy he's still around bein' a pain in th' ass, but I'da hated myself 'f I'd noticed he wasn' gonna make it on his own an' -not- said anythin', anyway." She sighs, and drinks some more of her Coke. "...but damn, he gets on my nerves."
Kaz says, slowly, "You'd've hated y'self, and you'da become someone else entirely. An' I'm glad y'didn't. I like who you are now. Him dyin' like that, that woulda been murder, basically, an' I ain't never had to do that yet. I've hadda kill a lotta people, but I ain't never killed someone outta dislike. I came--" She stops. Her Coke seems fascinating. "I came real close a time or two." Dragging her gaze up to Bernie, she adds, "So know how hard it was not to, y'know." She shrugs, and then adds, less intently, "I figure, we all of us with sense--" This definitely seems to include Bernie -- "We gotta responsiblity to at least try'n get him some brains, before we loose him on the world. Once we loose him, well, hey, he can go fight banes and I can ignore his ass. 'Course, you don' gotta do anything with him if you don' gotta, you're cubbish still."
Bernie nods, twice. "'Yi tried t' several times, t' give him some brains an' stuff, I mean, only he doesn't listen, or didn' anyhow." She makes a face. "'m 'mazed Yi c'n put up with him so much."
Kaz says, firmly, "The woman has the patience of a fucking saint, and I have yet to tell her to her face. Remind me, next time we're in the same room with her, and I will, about 30 times. /Shit/." She shakes her head. "I just wish th' ahrouns we got took more time with him."
"I'll be sure t' bring it up," Bernie agrees, and curls more comfortably into the corner of the sofa. "How come they don't? Does he jus' piss 'em off too much, or they too busy, or what?"
Kaz just shrugs, as she leans back slightly. "Well. Chugs was doin', like, a shuttle service between here an' where the hell ever he's been, so he ain't been around. Baney's depressed out of his fuzzy little head, and Junior --" She shakes her head. "Don' ask /me/. Kid don't do much, I guess." She sounds... disgruntled.
"I thought Junior was gonna do it, 'cause he met him th' first day an' all, when Yi an' I were tryin' t' give him th' Lit'ny..." She thinks, sipping her coke. "I don't see him all that much, though, which's kinda weird... well, maybe not -so- weird, 'cause I'm not at th' church all th' time, an' if he's there, then, well. That's where I -do- see him when I see him."
Kaz says, "Well, an' it ain't like you see Max, say, all too often, either. Or," she adds, sounding glummer, "Elan. Anyways -- you. Like, gibbous moon. Couple days. I gotta take you patrollin' with me Umbral, show you a couple things."
Bernie nods, running a hand through her curls. "I wish I saw Max more; I wanna know how th' Rite went an' all, an' stuff. Plus she's just nifty, but hey...." She bites her bottom lip lightly, "...okay. So what do I need t' do t' prepare for that, then?"
Kaz's grin turns fond. "Nifty. Thass one word, yeah. I dunno, you can't find her around, just look down here, she crashes here a lot. As f'Umbra... Um, don't die, and wear dedicated clothes. Th' combat stuff, we're workin' on anyways, an' the scoutin' stuff, well, it's jus' practice. T'be honest, I'm gonna try'n take you on a light one, first time around."
Bernie finishes off her soda. "Don't die. Check. That's us'ly real high on my list of things t' do anyhow, t' be honest...." She toys with the empty can, looking a little bit worried.
Kaz can't help but grin at that. "Yeah, me too." She pauses. "'s wrong?"
"Well... partly just gettin' nervous 'bout bein' in situations where I gotta r'member t' keep 'don't die' on my t' do list," Bernie replies, leaning over and setting the empty can aside. "...an' partly, jus' suddenly goin', damn, there's a lotta shit goin' on at th' moment."
"Other'n me draggin' you to meet with random spirits, what all's goin' on?" Kaz sounds honestly curious; supportive-like.
Bernie sighs very softly, and shifts position again, curling further into the corner. "...I dunno. There's this mafia stuff, but I don' hafta worry 'bout that 'cause other people are handlin' all that, an' ev'ryone got all pissed at 'licia, but she says that all got cleared up, so that's good anyway, an' then she got moved t' that compound place, 'cause a bad influences, 'parently, so now I dunno 'f I'm a bad influence or somethin', I guess if they tell me not t' visit her that'll be a clue right there, an' I wanna help with th' Veil pro'lem, an' Tecmessa said I should, but I haven't been able t' find Leda yet an' talk t' her, an' I found out how much marble costs, which's oh my god 'spensive, so I gotta figure out plan B, I think, an' I'm all worried I dunno how t' do shit well 'nough, like fight an' scout an' all, an' Matt's -still- not back..." She trails off a moment, feeling in danger of losing her composure, and takes a second before concluding, "...an' sorry t' babble atcha an' all."
Kaz blinks slowly, as she listens to this. "Yeah," she eventually says, after a brief pause, "I'm real offended you're babblin', Bern. I mean, horrified." Flashing the briefest of grins, she sobers quickly. "I mean -- Y'know /where/ Matt is, but that don' help. Max went t'visit her folks, an' I was tense all week 'til she came back. An' I didn't even realize I was tense, most of the time. You gonna practically /melt/ when that guy gets back, I bet. As f'bein' a bad influence on 'Licia -- probably, but fuck 'em sideways. She needs all kindsa influences, an' /friends/ is one she needs real badly. It don't matter if people look at you like you're gonna eat their young, 'cause she /is/ y'friend, an' that's the only part that matters." After a moment, she adds, as if reviewing thoughts in her mind, "...Marble?"
Bernie half-smiles at most of that, and nods a bit. "'s better'n not havin' any idea, I guess," she says, "...but... I dunno. Yeah. An' 'least th' one person who was there when 'licia showed me th' place didn' seem t' think I shouldn' be there, so..." She sighs, and uncurls a bit, stretching out further on the sofa. "Yeah, marble. 's what th' fountain useta be made of. So, t' make it jus' like it useta be, we'd hafta have a shitloada marble, an' someone'd hafta be able t' carve it, an' I read up on it, it's 'parently really difficult. Oh, an' it weighs a tonne, 'course. I went t' city hall an' told 'em I was doin' a school project an' found out th' sorta history of it all, too... so, anyway, yeah. Marble, expensive, hard t' work with, heavy, gen'ral pain in th' ass. But it -looks- nice..."
"Way the fuck better. This way, you're only worryin' about the when, not the 'where' and the 'why' and the 'how'. Don't make it much easier, but at least you got /less/ t'nibble y'fingers over." Kaz hops off, to get some bread from on top of the fridge. "An', well, the good thing about the Bawn is, it's /big/. So it ain't like people can stumble across you'n her, if they get pissed about you." She heads back to her seat, and perches. "Yah? Well. Hm. There somethin' that works as good as marble, but don't look as good?"
"I was thinkin' 'bout that," Bernie replies, "...an' yeah, there's act'ly sev'ral options... y'got metal, though you wanna get somethin' that isn't gonna rust or otherwise oxidize too bad, an' y'got concrete, with or without usin', like, tile t' decorate it, an' y' got ceramics." A pause. "Technic'ly, I s'pose y'could make a wooden fountain, too, but someone'd, like, burn it down or somethin', or at least carve their names in it an' all."
Kaz shakes her head. "Wood'd suck hard. I think concrete'd prolly be best, 'cause then you /can/ make it better, once you make it to begin with. Once you get more money, an' shit."
Bernie nods, "Yeah -- that's pretty much th' conclusion I came to, also, really. Then, also, we gotta fix th' pipes, an' I bet they turned th' water to 'em off. But," she gestures toward the bathroom, "I'm thinkin' that, we shouldn't have -too- much trouble workin' 'round..."
Kaz grins. "This is the advantage of havin' illegal hookups. I could ask JD -- without tellin' her why -- how to get a longer hookup set up."
Bernie grins back, and sits up a little. "Tha'd be cool, yeah. An' I gotta figure out how we wanna design it, an' th' logistics... with th' plywood walls there, we c'n prolly do it in bits without people noticin' too much, but... ther'es pretty much nothin' left there, right now. Which at least we won't hafta do a lotta clean up."
Kaz snorts. "Hey, an actual advantage t'fuckin' urban decay."
Bernie hehs. "...act'ly, it's morea a 'vantage of th' times they started out t' fix it, I think..."
Kaz blinks thoughtfully. "Think they got the plans from them times? Or'd you already cover that part?"
"Oh, they do, f'r sure," the cub replies, "only, see, they had a big donor, who was givin' a craploada money, for th' marble, an' all. So they were plannin' t' do it up like it useta be."
Kaz says, "Um," and then stops. "Um. We got rich Garou. If, y'know, you wanted to expand it a little. Um."
Bernie considers that a little, regarding Kaz silently for a few moments. "It's -really- 'spensive," she says, "...an' there's still gotta be someone who c'n sculpt it, an' then we gotta get it where it's gotta go, which, maybe a buncha us in Crinos could do, but that'd be kinda breachy...." She gnaws on her lower lip a bit, though, considering it.
Kaz says "I ain't sayin' I wanna get 'em t'help /do/ it. I jus' wan' their money. /We/ can do the /work/."
Kaz sounds fairly stubborn on this point.
Bernie giggles. "Gold digger," she teases, and pushes a curl back behind her ear, where, as always, it refuses to stay more than a couple seconds. "Well, a'ight. Say we figured out how t' deal with th' sculptin' an' th' installation, an' d'cided t' go th' marble route. Who'd we wanna be askin' t' help on that front, then?"
Kaz says, promptly, "Sure am, if it gets me what I need. An', well, I was figurin' Miss Tall an' Whitearsed, Brittany. She's this Fang lawyer, only she's bein' a Guardian for a bit..."
Bernie huhs. "Met her once, only she was ina hurry an' ran off 'fore we could do proper intr'ductions." She considers. "Th' donor'd given a quarter mil t'ward it. An' that was, like, five, six years 'go now."
Kaz says, practically, "How much we talkin' about, with this marble stuff? So I could at least have a figure for her. If you said it was ok."
Bernie fingercombs her curls again. "...like, fifty thou, at least. Just for th' blocka marble itself, y'know? No carvin' or polishin' or anythin', jus' th' block. Oh, an' no matter what we use, we gott replace th' pipes, 'cause... well, they look bad." A thought seems to occur to her, and she opens her backpack, pulling out a paper Wal-Mart photo wallet. "I got some pictures, 'f you wanna see."
Kaz says, "Huh. Yeah, ok. I bet we can get more off've her. I mean. If it's ok." She hops off the couch, and peers at the pictures.
Bernie pulls the stack of pictures out, putting about half the stack back into the sleeve and handing the others to the Galliard. "...see, all th' pipes've gone rusty, an' got twisted an' screwed up in th' 'splosion..."
Kaz sucks her teeth in. "We got any good plumbers in this crew've yours?"
Bernie shakes her head. "Not t' my knowledge, nope. I mean, I figure we c'n learn it 'f we gotta, though..." It doesn't exactly sound as though she thinks this is likely to be trivial, but she does seem fairly confident in the ability of the small group to learn things, if needed.
"Yeah. JD, she's a Get, she's damn good at shit like that. With plumbin'. I'll try'n pump her f'stuff." Kaz shrugs. "It's worth doin', so."
"Yeah? That's cool, then, yeah. Def'nitely worth doin'." Bernie looks at the pictures herself, and adds, "...'s a mess. You'd never guess they started t' work on it a couple times."
Kaz peers at it again. "Sure I would. They got to fuck it up worse. It's like when y'clean y'room, it's always dirtier f'awhile, once you've actually started doin' it."
Bernie laughs. "'s true. Only, they did act'ly clean it some; they took away all th' leftover bits of th' old fountain, which, that's helpful an' all..."
Kaz says, "Huh. Yeah. Means we don't gotta rip it all up."
"'zactly," Bernie agrees. "I'm still not sure 'bout goin' for th' marble, though... even if we got it, I dunno how we'd get it carved. Though, it -was- a -fairly- simple fountain, b'fore, from th' pictures... still, th' books I was readin', they say it's real tricky t' work with."
Kaz says, "Hm. Yeah. I hate t'say it, but I think I'd go with th' concrete -- which I will note still costs buttloads -- an' be able t'have the flexibility. We can do a lotta research, but marble's, hell, that's hard. Lookit Michaelangelo."
Bernie nods, several times. "Yeah, prolly t' way t' go... so then we get t' d'cide, d'we wanna make a fountain that looks like th' old fountain, or do we wanna make a new design for it? Y'know?" A pause, "...plus, given th' history, I'm thinkin' there's a decent chance whatever we do's gonna get blown up 'ventually anyhow." She smiles a bit wryly at that.
Kaz shrugs. "So? Then we build it again. It's kinda one've them symbolic stands." After a moment, she adds, "You any good at sketchin' stuff?"
Bernie nods, "Well, yeah, we do. It just seems like it'll be less annoyin' 'f we don't go through tryin' t' make it marble, th' first time." She grins. "An', yeah an' no. I'm okay, but 'licia's a lot better. For one."
Kaz grins slowly. "Is she. Well, put 'er to work on new designs. Me, I think I'd like the old one, but you never know what people might come up with."
"A'ight, yeah. I'll see 'f she c'n draw up th' old one, too, from th' pics I xeroxed..." the cub muses, and sets the photo folder aside to pull her little notebook form her bag, and make a note or three in it.
Kaz grins faintly. "Rock."
[...later, at the Farmhouse...]
In the back of the house, Valoran returns to stacking the contents of the bag in the freezer.
The front door swings open, and shut again, Bernie passing through in the intervening time, backpack over her shoulder as usual. She looks a bit preoccupied.
In the back of the house, Leda mmmmms. To Val, she says, shortly, "Leda."
In the back of the house, Valoran looks back and nods, smiling again. "Nice to meet you. Are you two.. y'know...family?"
In the back of the house, Tecmessa says, "Sisters, you might say."
Bernie glances toward the voices in the kitchen, and looks slightly startled. "Kick," she murmurs softly, and heads into the kitchen to join the party.
Valoran says "No, I mean... *my* family..."
Tecmessa says, patiently, "We would, I think, be somewhat related to you, yes. Just -- not directly so." Giving Bernie a glance, she asks, "You know this one?"
"Heya," Bernie greets Tecmessa rather cheerfully, before looking Valoran over and adding, "...and, nope. New t' me." She steps in a bit and offers a hand to him. "Hey. I'm Bernie."
Valoran nods to Tecmessa as he take's Bernie's hand. "Ah.. ok, then. Well I guess a more formal introduction would be in order. "I'm also called King's-Gambit, Cliath Ragabash of the Silver Fangs. I'm a new member of this sept."
Tecmessa shoots a brief smile to Bernie, and then returns her attention to Val. "Ah. Welcome to it. Myself, I am Tecmessa Ardenas. Feels the Balance. Mother -- that is, half moon -- of the Black Furies. Packing with Chiaroscuro as a daughter of Raven. I'm also the Elder of the tribe, here."
"That explain th' chess piece? Bernie Rosenberg," she elabourates, "sometimes called Reads-In-Darkness, Ragabash 'Gnawer cub. Niceta meetcha." She reclaims her hand, and pulls out a chair from the table.
Valoran nods to Bernie. "Yep that's what it's for. I'll tell you about it sometime. Had to do with my Rite of Passage."
Tecmessa suggests, drinking her water, "How 'bout now?"
"Cool," Bernie replies, and grins, "rumor has it I'm s'posta have one of those myself, someday, but I say it's lies an' propaganda. Didn't catch alla your name, though; what d'you get called when King's-Gambit'd make people look atcha weird?"
Valoran grins. "Just call me Val. Stands for Valoran Grey. Ok, I'm no Galliard, but... My Rite of Passage took place in the Legendary Realm, like most Silver Fangs, but before I could even go on that quest, I had to beat our sept Alpha in a game of chess. Then if I won, I had to move in the Legendary Realm like the piece I used to win the game. Anyway, I beat him using the King's Gambit... and they gave me that name after I came back from the Quest. Had to hop everywhere I went, even when I was fighting in the Umbra. Sometimes it was fun. Other times it was just a pain." He shrugs.
Tecmessa murmurs, "Sounds interesting, actually." Rising to her feet, she adds, "Your pardons. I must find a tribemate." She's out the door fairly quickly.
Bernie grins. "Musta been hell on your calves... int'restin' way t' do things, though." She leans forward a bit and crosses her arms on the table, chin atop them.
Valoran grins. "Yeah, my calves are great now... see?" He turns and pulls up a pant leg, flexing. "Pretty nifty, eh?"
Bernie laughs, and admires the calf a bit exaggeratedly. "Oh, yeah, lovely indeed. You must never have trouble gettin' a ride hitchhikin'."
Valoran chuckles. "Nope. I just take cabs."
"Better give 'em back, or th' drivers will come lookin'..." the cub replies idly, and pushes up from the table, wandering toward the fridge. "So what brings you here, then? 'sides th' cabs, obviously."
Valoran shrugs. "My old sept wasn't really my style, and I'd heard that the Fangs needed some help re-establishing themselves here, so.. I hopped the first plane I could."
Bernie considers that, or at least is silent a moment or two while she considers the array of beverages in the refrigerator. She plucks a can of Guinness from the far recesses, and heads back toward her previous seat. "Nifty. Where was your old sept, then?"
Valoran says "Sept of the Jess and Hood, in Colorado. It was kinda... serious. Almost like monks there. I didn't really fit in all that well."
Bernie looks almost horrified for a moment, "They made you move like a chess piece in your Rite... without havin' a sense of humour? Not really? That's just -wrong-." She pops the top on the can, and takes a sip. "..then again, anythin' named after a jess an' hood 's gotta be kinda restrictive, by rights..."
Valoran says "I gotta get back to the city, actually. Brittany is expecting me for dinner... Just came over here to drop off some food."
Bernie tilts her head at the other ragabash, and nods. "A'ight, then. Have fun, eat well, et cet'ra. Nice meetin' you an' all." She waves with her free hand.
Valoran grins. "You too... later!" The Raggie runs out the back door with a spring in his step.