At first glance, this run-down efficiency seems barely lived in. The door opens onto a nearly empty living room, painted institutional white and containing only a lime-green couch with fuzzy yellow pillows and an oak coffee table. It is reasonably spacious, and is obviously intended to be the main room of the flat. The current light fixture is a hanging industrial fluorescent, which gives the room a slightly unhealthy, antiseptic feeling, unmitigated by the ancient blinds covering the windows. The left wall from the door shows signs of a mural in progress, though the faint pencil lines leave the intended design still unclear.
To the right upon entering is a small kitchenette, with barely enough space to stand between the stove and refrigerator on one side and the sink on the other. A boom-box style radio relaxes on the counter, broadcasting soothing celtic music. Just above the sink is what little cabinet space can be had. There is a small dining table and chairs right outside the kitchenette, defining an eating space.
Just past the kitchenette, still on the right, is the bathroom, then both bedrooms. Between them is a small coat closet, empty except for a surely breeding collection of wire hangers. The door to the closet is perpetually ajar, as it doesn't seem to want to latch properly.
Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few steel-and-wood benches set firmly into concrete, and a flagstone courtyard that is dominated by a large fountain.
The fountain is a wide circular pool of water some fifty feet across and about five feet deep in most places. The sculpture in the center is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern: eight concrete-and-stainless-steel slabs about six feet high are set in a rough Stonehenge-like circle around the center of the fountain. Water flows from their tops, cascading in bright mesmerizing sheets to the pool below. Rising above the steel circle is a large marble statue of the Water Bearer, an androgynous figure draped in robes of flowing water. It bears a large jug carved with various Greek symbols, from which pours a seething torrent of water into the pool at its feet.
Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. Recent construction work is creating an earthen berm several feet high all along the borders of the park in all directions.
The Umbral ground beneath your feet here is lush with vegetation, an oasis of life amidst the concrete and webbing of the scab. Trees stand proud and tall here, their branches full of leaves. Shrubs line the outer edges of the park, tangled with encroaching webs. The fountain stands out boldly from even the surrounding area, the sleek lines sharper and more pronounced. Clean pure water roars and cascades from the figure in the fountain's center, falling into a cold clear pool that looks quite inviting. Spreading out from the fountain, the rest of the park is a green veldt that seems to radiate life and strength. The river banks the east shore of the park, bridged by a massive rusty bridge. On this shore, the glade seems to have spread out on to it, vines winding around the supports. Further across the river, the bridge melds into the scab again, flaked with rust and covered in webs. The river itself is clean within a few feet of the shore, but black ooze seems to encroach menacingly from the murk of the rest of the river.
A walkway leads out of the Glade-like atmosphere of the park from just north of the fountain. Eastward, the dark span of the bridge stretches over the vile river. Dark streets lead west and southwest into the blighted Umbra of the city.
In another era, she might have been considered terribly attractive. As it is, she sits just on the prettier side of average. At about 5'6", the girl looks to be carrying around a hundred and sixty pounds, giving her a rather full, hourglass figure unusual for a girl in her mid-teens. She has quite a pretty face; it's a bit plump and tawny freckles are scattered across her nose and cheeks, but otherwise her complexion is unblemished, and her features are well balanced. Full lips frame almost-straight teeth, often revealed in a cheerful grin, and large, almond-shaped eyes, the irises a warm, gold-flecked shade of brown and the lashes thick and dark, peer out brightly through wire-rimmed glasses. Her mass of unruly black curls falls untamed to the middle of her back, stray strands frequently dangling before her face. It looks as though she might be wearing an almost imperceptible bit of makeup, perhaps a light dusting of gold eyeshadow and some sort of very pale peach lipstick; the only thing resembling jewelry, though, is a silvery key hanging about her neck on a dog-tag sort of chain.
Her style of dress is equally unlikely to get her on the cover of Cosmopolitan, but it wouldn't be out of place in the average high school. She's clad in a deep green tanktop of some stretchy, slightly shiny fabric, which clings to her curves, the v-neckline scooping low enough to display quite a bit of cleavage. The shirt does absolutely nothing to disguise her bustiness, in fact playing it up for a change. The hem is tucked into a threadbare pair of baggy dark blue jeans, cinched tightly around her surprisingly small waist by what appears to be a seatbelt -- the buckle even reads "GM". The frayed hems pool around the ankles of her decrepit black Docs, laced with sparkly silver laces which have also seen better days. Atop all this is a huge and ancient black leather motorcycle jacket, the cuffs of which constantly fall down over her hands. Slung over her shoulder is a bulging canvas backpack, probably military surplus, dotted with patches and pins in various colours and states of repair.
This is some sort of crazy lady. She's got a wild, curly shock of sandy hair that frames her head in a tangled mane, and a rounded triangle of a face that teeters on the line of what could be considered acceptably human. Her body is a bundle of sharp edges, wiry muscle wrapped a few times around sturdy bone. She's got to be around five and a half feet tall or so and fills out her clothes pretty well-- A black t-shirt with a white star on the front, baggy, frayed denim jeans and blocky black shoes. When she smiles, her canine teeth are a good deal longer and sharper than they have a right to be at all.
Beautiful, this woman isn't. Most people wouldn't even call her interesting, although there is a spark of something, deep down in there. Even so, most people would call her homely, if they bothered to call her anything at all. She's about 5'6" tall, and burly. Not fat -- It's the kind of burly that's all muscle, just not well defined muscle.
Her hair is brown, distinctly curly, and in her eyes. Constantly. The part that's not in her eyes is about shoulder length. Her eyes are distinctly odd, although it's hard to tell, given how often she hides behind her hair. They're yellow, and look almost cat-like. The rest of her face isn't offensive, just boring. The nose is a bit big -- maybe it's been broken, or maybe she was just born that way. Her chin is broad, as are her cheekbones. Classic features for a man that don't at all work on her. There's a wry, cynical smile often playing about her lips that does nothing to add to her mostly non-existent charm. Makeup, it's clear, is of very little use to this person.
"Battered" would describe her choice of clothing quite well. Grey trenchcoat, tired blue jeans, an oxford shirt hanging open, with a t-shirt underneath. Her sneakers are black, and she often has a black hat jammed over her head.
At a little under six feet tall and wiry, Matt is trim the way a cross-country runner would be. His hair is white-blonde and short, gelled spikey. His eyes, the blue-grey of rainwater, stand out from his pale skin, the most striking part of his countenance. His hands are firm and workman-like, with scars on the knuckles from a few rows in his recent past, a motif that is echoed, for different reasons on his back. Where they can be seen at the nape of his neck, a maze of wire-thin scars trail onto his back, which is presumably cris-crossed with them.
Matt is dressed for comfort in an SCCU sweatshirt, faded blue jeans, hiking boots and his father's leather jacket, covered in embroidered patches from British punk bands like the Sex Pistols and the Stigmasochists. At his neck a thin chain catches the light, with a small Star of David pendant on it, resting at the base of his neck.
Telepathic pack communication makes for a quiet Fianna. Matt seems to have a hard time carrying on several conversations at once, so he quietly putters around the kitchen, frowning occasionally as something comes down the link.
Bernie doesn't make it difficult for him by striking up another, though that might be partly because she's busily changing after a quick shower. That largely accomplished, she pads barefoot to join him in the kitchen, slipping her arms loosely around his waist to lean up and kiss his neck lightly. Her hair is still distinctly damp.
Matt stops cleaning to encircle her in a hug, and kisses her damp hair. He then blows it out of his mouth, scraping a few stray hairs off his tongue like a cat.
Bernie laughs, and wrinkles her nose at him, leaving her arms where they are. "If you cough up a hairball, I'm not gonna be th' one dealin' with it, just so's we're clear on that."
"Pfth. eck," Matt replies. "You do /comb/ this mop, roight?" He kisses her again, this time pushing her hair out of the way. "We're goin' ta see the Rodent, roight?"
Bernie pushes her bottom lip out at him poutily. "'course I do. Hmph. Maybe I'll just shave it all off, do the Sinead O'Connor thing." She shrugs, and lets go, nodding. "Yeah, think so. Ready? I gotta put my boots on."
Matt nods. "Guess so, yah." He grabs his jacket and slips it over his shoulders. He holds the door for Bernie and locks up after her.
Bernie follows, the booting process quick and streamlined, and claims Matt's hand after the locking, leading him down the stairs but abandoning it as they head out toward the park.
[Harbor Park -- Fountain]
Kaz is perched on the back of a bench, reading a comic book. Though she has an air of anticipation.
The rumble-putter of Matt's scooter announces the arrival of both the Fianna and Bernie. He pulls the scooter up near the little knot of people and shuts off the engine, then pulls his helmet off. It doesn't appear to have flattened his spiky hair much at all. Amazing.
Anneka is near Kaz, pale hands curled on the lip of the fountain, streamers of curly hair trailing down towards the water as she watches something in it. Her reflection, the water itself, it's hard to say. Her knees are muddy, her jeans streaked with dirt.
Bernie's hair is rather more squished, but this seems to have more to do with the fact that it's apparently just been washed than with the helmet per se. She hands the helmet to Matt as she dismounts, leaving its disposition to him, and bounces over toward the fountain, with a cheerful, "Hey!"
Anneka straightens up at the jangle of familiar sounds-- the scooter, then voices. She looks over towards the pair, grins bright. "Hi!"
Kaz brightens. The comic gets stuck under the bench, and she hops off. "Yo, y'all! Was just wonderin' where you'd got to..."
Matt shrugs. "'adda make sure th' kitchen looked like a Fianna lived there. So Oi cleaned up and left a few cans o' Guinness strewn aboat." He regards Anneka critically, as if he's never seen her before. "This th' new recruit? Little scrawny, isn't she?"
Anneka wiggles a brace of fingers at Matt, glances off towards the fountain then back at the fellow again. She grins a bit more.
Bernie giggles at Matt, and settles herself on the edge of the fountain proper, drawing a finger through the water. "How goes?" she asks Anneka, aside.
The metis looks her over assessingly. "Well, yeah, but it's a /toned/ kinda skinniness." Kaz then shakes her head faintly, as she ambles over to Bernie, "Umbra-cakes, people. Ree, or here?"
Anneka grins at Bernie, bright and cheery. "'s okay." She gives Kaz a look, then sticks her hands into her pockets, bright green eyes watching now, the folks about her.
Bernie sticks her tongue out at Matt, and shakes her head. "I dunno, with me it was 'aren't you kinda fat to be a Gnawer?'; wish people'd at least make up their minds." She grins again, though, and leans over to peer into the water, dangerously offbalance a moment, then sits up and glances around critically. The places looks empty enough. "Here," she says firmly. "I vote here."
Matt frowns, muttering under his breath. Something like ..."An' oi'm 'ard to unnerstand?..." Clearing his throat he asks, "Whot are we votin' on, exactly? Though I'm sure 'ere is fine, unless it's not."
Kaz grins at Bernie. "/I/ never said nothin' like that..." She trails off. "Umbra. I ain't much worried on the Veil front, so let's get hoppin'." Suiting action to word, she in fact, with the ease of long practice, peers into the fountain, and fades through. She's in crinos, alertly, almost as soon as she reaches the other side.
"Oh. Roight." Matt isn't as flashy, but he gets the job done, fading into the real world shortly after seeing his reflection.
The fountain's caught some of the sandy-haired young woman's attention, certainly. More as Kaz draws down into it, reaches into the Umbra. Anneka grins, almost beams as she steps forward, once, twice, almost running as she steps towards the water, fades as she reaches over to the other side.
Anneka darts through the gauntlet, into the Umbral park like she was running, leaping into the fountain. Perhaps she had. She tumbles along into a crouch, a cheery, lupine grin plastered on her face as she stands and brushes herself off. Her hair sticks out everywhere, a crazy tangle.
Ears, meanwhile, crouches vaguely warily, glancing around, taking everything in. Even here.
Anneka catches this, quick enough, reaches up to brush her hair away from her eyes as she looks out along the darkened green. At a thought, her form begins to blur as well, drawing swift up to the war form. Her hair, a tangle in human guise, swiftly becomes a leonine mane in crinos.
Bernie arrives last, and not too anxiously: this is the park, her park, after all. Even so, she's alert for any sign of things that aren't right.
Matt is expecting Trouble, but not necessarily trouble. At some point he seems to have dedicated an aluminum baseball bat, as he has slid it out of the sleeve of his coat into his hand. Maybe not a klaive, but you can't replace /those/ at Wal-Mart.
Ears grates, ~Don't mind me. I'm just bein' th' lookout.~ Indeed, she's not overly /alarmed/. Just observant.
Bridge-Mender circles about the base of the fountain, takes for a moment a place opposite her elder, in crinos, on the opposite side. She scents the air, then settles back on her haunches.
There is a rustle in the nearby trees, a pair of eyes glinting with reflected light, surrounded by a mask. A furry, chubby form wiggles to the end of a branch, bending it almost to the ground, then drops to the ground, sending the branch back into the tree with a Whoosh! and explosion of leaves.
Bernie's hands slip into her jacket pockets, and she's just started looking the fountain over to check for any changes when the activity begins, startling her into a little jump as she turns to look, then grins, when the culprit becomes apparent. "Hey there," she greets him informally, with a little nod.
Ears doesn't whirl toward the sound; she just turns quickly. She relaxes almost immediately, and grins, just slightly. ~Yo, 'Hood. 'Sup?~
Bridge-Mender darts an ear towards the sound, her head following it a moment after. She's quick enough to just catch the branch swinging up, cants her head, then chuffs a greeting as she catches sight of the spirit. ~Hi, hello,~ she says, smiling in the wolf's fashion. Her tail stirs, a bit.
Matt grins, and salutes with the ball bat. "Nos Da, gyfaill," he says.
Hood smiles at everyone, tongue lolling a bit, and strolls up to Ear's feet. ~I'm hungry,~ he comments. ~Been waiting forever.~ He sits, taking his tail between his front paws, and grooms.
Ears mutters, at Matt, ~English, motherfucker, do you /speak/ it,~ but the fondness in her tone and posture completely belie her words. She crouches down next to the raccoon, radiating amusement, and shifts back into glabro, to remove the Ding Dong she brought along, and offer it to him. Then she's back into crinos.
Bernie digs in her pocket, withdrawing a small ball of tinfoil, which she partially unwraps before setting it down as well. From what peeks through, it looks like pizza-topping style anchovies in there.
Matt digs in his jacket as well, bringing forth a hood ornament. From a Jaguar no less. As it isn't food, he shrugs. "Poncey git nearly ran me down, so Oi took a souvenir. 'e didn't deserve an XJE anyroad."
Bridge-Mender stands, sweeps her tail once behind her before drawing herself down into human form, in the umbra's odd light like something had smeared the wolf's paint out, then back into something that looked like a skinny young woman. She peeks out around the fountain, then steps out, not far from Kaz and Hood. She looks at the pair, then starts to poke about in her baggy pockets. From one, she tugs a little wrapped bundle. A sharp, gingery scent follows it. Opened, a bit, there's little clusters of something in there. Candy?
Hood abandons his tail quickly, grabbing for the Ding Dong. He unwraps it carefully, enjoying the cellophane almost as much as the little bits of chocolate he gets on his paws, and quickly licks off. A thin black finger scoops out the cream filling, ~best part,~ he comments. He licks his fingers again and trots over to Bernie's offering. Anchovies and Tinfoil. He sits at her feet for a moment as well, stuffing anchovies into the Ding Dong. Matt's offering gets an approving glance; a sentiment Hood can appreciate, but can you eat it? No.
And finally, the new person. Hood nibbles on his anchovy and chocolate treat as he approaches Bridge-Mender, sniffing.
"Hey," Bernie exclaims quietly, looking at Matt's gift, "I've got onea those..." Her nose wrinkles at the combination of the foodstuffs, but she's not the one who has to eat it, at least, so she just watches, quietly, and doesn't protest.
Ears watches the raccoon move, a soft, fond smile on her face, in place of the general slightly cynical one.
The wrapping's not quite as shiny as foil, but it glitters a bit. The candy inside is ginger, sharp and spicy. Anneka crouches down on her haunches, brushes her hair away from her eyes, then sets the bundle down before the raccoon. She grins, a quirk turning up a corner of her mouth.
Hood approaches Anneka and takes the crinkling paper. ~You're the new one?~ he asks, sniffing the ginger.
Anneka nods twice, watching the raccoon. Her curly hair shades her eyes, but they're bright, curious. "I am."
Ears leans forward, slightly. Watching.
Matt leans on his bat, a grin of wry amusement on his face.
Bernie watches as well, of course, weight shifting slightly from one foot to the other.
The spirit lopes around Bridge Mender, one paw holding his anchovy Ding Dong while he chews thoughtfully. He clambers up onto the side of the fountain and finishes his treat, then washes his hands in the water. He turns back to Bridge Mender and climbs up onto her shoulder, grabbing handfuls of fur for purchase as he climbs. When he arrives, he whispers in her ear.
Anneka almost squeaks as the raccoon climbs up her, but she remains still, glances towards him as he whispers in her ear. She blinks twice, then grins. "Yes."
Ears mutters, ~Hey, no fair.~
Hood's tongue lolls. ~Okay. Then hand me that candy.~ He perches on her shoulder and waits, imperiously.
Anneka laughs, scooping the little bundle off the grass, then lifts it up towards the raccoon. The candy has a peculiar, sharp scent. Ginger, condensed, sweet and spicy.
Matt grins. "Oi fink she's on 'is good side, Tens."
Ears says, with no small irony, ~Gee, ya think?~
Bernie laughs, and uses Matt as something handy to lean against while she watches. "I dunno; which one's the good side?"
The Raccoon takes a piece of ginger and carefully examines it, then carefully examines the wrapper. To keep himself in place he wraps one paw around Bridge Mender's forehead, just above her eyes. Finally he pops some into his mouth, sucking on it loudly. `Shee'll dhoo fhine,~ he manages around the candy.
Matt frowns. "Tens, is there anyfing we ought ta be doin'? I'm no feurge."
Ears tilts her head. ~Mender. You bring that thing I talked about?~
From afar, to the room, Matt did we lose Annlet?
Pack> Ears eyes that idle. 39 mins. Sometimes she loses connection. (And she has screen.) So it might be that. Sigh.
Pack> Matt says "We got most of the good stuff done."
Pack> Ears says "Well, except the actual "Poof, you're a packmember, come, hear our thoughts" thing. But oh well."
Pack> Ears thinks it's good enough for government work, if we can't get us together sometime again.
Pack> Matt says "Details...I agree. She's gotten the anchovy Ding Ding Dong Ginger Stamp of Approval."
Pack> Bernie says "Sounds almost obscene, really."
Pack> Ears says "Well, an anchovy Ding dong IS obscene."
Pack> Matt certainly wouldn't eat it. But I'm not a raccoon.
Pack> Ears admits this is very true.
Pack> Matt acks at the time and beds immediately. Good night!
Pack> Ears hugs. Night.
Pack> Bernie says "Night!"