pt. 17 The Halfway House for Wayward Mages

Meet ...Everyone! Except Rose.

[10:24 AM] zuark: So since it wasn't quite clear yesterday… are you sleeping for the night and taking the bus in the morning? Or just going right away?
[10:25 AM] maquila: Hm. I'll sleep for the night and take the bus in the morning.
[10:28 AM] maquila: Marcie spends most of her night bugging Uncle Greg and carefully putting the wings and everything away in her fridge. She gets a little anxious the closer she gets to sleeping – "What if December 5th starts again?" – but does eventually sleep for a little while.
[10:29 AM] zuark: "If it does," Uncle Greg says, "I suspect yer immortal. Have fun with it."
[10:30 AM] maquila: "Oh," I say,  a bit discontent. "I don't think I like being immortal." And then I go and close my eyes, fidgeting a little bit-an then sleeping. WHAT DAY IS WHEN I WAKE UP.
[10:34 AM] zuark: Marcie wakes up to the sound of a street sweeper groaning past her window.
[10:35 AM] maquila: Noooo. I cover my face with my hands and roll around for a moment in my bed. I slowly climb up in my pajamas and go – glumly – out to the living room to get out the cocklamp.
[10:36 AM] zuark: She looks up and sees that the cock lamp has already been set up on her nightstand.
[10:36 AM] maquila: Oh. Oh! I flail a little bit and grab my phone to check the day.(edited)
[10:40 AM] zuark: December 6th!
[10:40 AM] maquila: I scramble out of bed, still, and go hurrying into the living room. "Uncle Greg!" I say. "It's December 6th!"
[10:41 AM] zuark: Uncle Greg is on the couch, snoozing, with his ankles crossed on the table and his hat over his eyes. "Mmh," he mumbles.
[10:42 AM] maquila: I galavant around a little bit, getting out some fruit loops and cereal and sitting own to quickly eat a bowl of it, and then I clean it up and put it away, and then hurriedly get dressed, get my bag, and hover near Uncle Greg. "Let's go to the address!"
[10:45 AM] zuark: Uncle Greg snoozes while she eats cereal. Her perkiness doesn't have much effect, but he eventually slides his boots off the coffee table and slowly pushes up to his feet.
[10:47 AM] maquila: As soon as we're out the door and I've locked up, my bag kept close to my side, the perkiness fades away to uneasiness of heading to a place I've never been before. I shuffle to the bus stop, carefully studying the address, and stick close to Uncle Greg.
[10:50 AM] zuark: Uncle Greg seems completely at ease, although he does regard the bus with some apparent disdain. He pays for his bus fare in change—and as he counts his change out, he very carefully avoids paying with certain coins. All of the coins that he avoids paying with, Marcie sees little floaty glowing numbers and shifting sigils washing over them.
[10:51 AM] maquila: I study the coins that have the numbers over them, interestedly, staring.
[10:52 AM] zuark: Colt puts them back in his pocket before Marcie gets a decent look. He nudges her and goes to sit down.
[10:53 AM] maquila: I watch them go into his pocket, and then move to sit down right next to him. I look around the bus and then fidget back into the chair. "Do some of your coins have magic in them?" I ask him, whispering.
[10:53 AM] maquila: "And wanna know something?"
[10:53 AM] zuark: He glances over at her, one eyebrow raising.
[10:54 AM] maquila: "They're gonna start implementing bus cards as required on all the buses," I say then. "I'm pretty sure they're doing it to track people."
[10:57 AM] zuark: "Reckon the folks wanna track people got better to do," Uncle Greg says.
[10:59 AM] zuark: The address Christopher gave her is in Park Slope, which is a decent but not hugely long bus ride across Brooklyn.
[11:00 AM] maquila: "Oh," I say to that. I nod my head a little bit, fidgeting slightly. I slip off when it's time, waiting on Uncle Greg to get off too, and then wander down the street to the address.
[11:03 AM] zuark: After the bus stop, and a short walk, the address leads to a corner building with a cone-shaped roof and old-fashioned brick-work: https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/2d/f9/b0/brooklyn-park-slope.jpg
[11:04 AM] maquila: I stare up at this building a little uncertainly. "It looks pretty big…" I say to Uncle Greg. I double check the address, and then move up to the door. Does it seem like you can walk in, or should I knock?
[11:06 AM] zuark: The front door is closed, so knocking seems appropriate.
[11:07 AM] maquila: I fidget, look up to Uncle Greg again, and then knock on the door.
[11:08 AM] zuark: The door opens—and Christopher is on the other side of it.
[11:08 AM] maquila: "Christopher!" I say then, seeming much more relieved – like all the trepidation has gone away in an instant. "Hi. Have you napped?"
[11:12 AM] zuark: "I'm sorry," Christopher says, eyebrows furrowing. He glances at Uncle Greg and then at Marcie. "Who are you?"
[11:12 AM] zuark: "Time travel," Uncle Greg mutters.
[11:13 AM] maquila: "Oh, right," I say then, extremely disappointed. "Later today you will travel back in time and help me with something." I hold out the address. "You gave me this and told me to come here so I could learn and be safe and that you would be here."
[11:13 AM] zuark: Christopher squints at the paper. "That is indeed my handwriting," he says.
[11:14 AM] maquila: I nod my head solemnly.
[11:14 AM] zuark: "Come along, then." He steps aside to let them in.
[11:14 AM] maquila: I step inside then, waiting on Uncle Greg to come in too, and then looking around.
[11:15 AM] zuark: The first room they step into is a cozy lounge. There's a fireplace, gently crackling, and a sitting area with some comfy looking couches. There is no TV, or any modern technology really, but there are lots of books on the walls, and there are chess and checker sets laid out.
[11:15 AM] zuark: Christopher shuts the door behind them as they step through.
[11:16 AM] maquila: I look over at the books and the comfy looking couches. Is this where Christopher lives? I quietly look around a little bit more and then peer at Christopher again. "Do you need to know stuff so you know about what to do?"
[11:24 AM] zuark: Phil wanders in from a side room. "Hey, sexy," he starts, but he freezes up a little at the sight of Uncle Greg. "Oh, Chromie," he says to Christopher, "this is what I told you."
[11:24 AM] zuark: "I see," Christopher says. "I had assumed you were simply blathering."
[11:24 AM] maquila: "Hi Phil," I say brightly to him then.
[11:25 AM] zuark: "Hey," he says, leering, "wanna see my rock collection?"
[11:25 AM] zuark: "Philip," Christopher says, with a long-suffering sigh, "please go away."
[11:27 AM] maquila: "Um," I say to that and look up at Christopher, and then over to Phil. "Not right now, but thank you. You also mentioned mamboing yesterday, and I'm afraid I do not know how to do that." I look up to Christopher again.
[11:28 AM] zuark: "Sorry, Chromie," Phil says, and turns and shuffles back from whence he came.
[11:28 AM] maquila: "He doesn't like being called that," I inform Uncle Greg.
[11:29 AM] zuark: "Reckon no sane man would," Uncle Greg says.
[11:30 AM] zuark: Christopher looks at Uncle Greg. "Are you also a person I ought to know?"
[11:30 AM] zuark: "Go by Colt in these parts," Uncle Greg says.
[11:30 AM] zuark: "Oh—oh." Christopher's eyes widen. "Yes, I know the name."
[11:31 AM] zuark: "I know ya do, boy," Uncle Greg says. "We hashed all this out yesterday, so why don't ya just wait fer the time travel so I don't gotta repeat it all."
[11:31 AM] maquila: I blink up at Uncle Greg then, my brow furrowing. "Why?"
[11:31 AM] zuark: "That's—fair enough," Christopher says, looking a little flustered.
[11:32 AM] zuark: "Shadow Name," Uncle Greg says, and pats Marcie's shoulder. "Ya need one."
[11:32 AM] maquila: "He's my Uncle," I inform Christopher then and then look uncertainly up at Uncle Greg. "Why?"
[11:32 AM] zuark: "Same reason ya pay cash fer the bus," Uncle Greg says to her. "Multiply by a couple thousand."
[11:33 AM] maquila: "Oh," I say worriedly then, my eyes widening. I dart a look to Christopher, and then back up to Uncle Greg. "Christopher called me Lattice in Arcadia, so that seems to make the most sense, especially with what happened."
[11:35 AM] zuark: "Lattice it is, then." Christopher extends his hand out toward her. "I go by Chromium. Pleasure to make your acquaintance."
[11:37 AM] maquila: "Oh. When I asked if you preferred Chromium or Christopher you said you preferred Christopher. Hello."  I eye his hand for a moment and then very gingerly slip my hand into his to shake it.
[11:38 AM] zuark: "Reckon that's 'cause you were still sleepin' at the time," Uncle Greg says.
[11:38 AM] zuark: "Yes," Christopher says, "I do go by Christopher when I am talking to Sleepers."
[11:39 AM] maquila: "Oh," I say, looking even more confused by that. "But I was awake at the time…I'd gone to the bank to pick up the magnifying glass and you were eating a donut…"
[11:40 AM] zuark: "Not sleepin'-sleepin'," Uncle Greg says. "Sleepin'."
[11:40 AM] zuark: "Prior to your Awakening, I presume," Christopher says.
[11:41 AM] maquila: "Oh." The Quiescence thing taht Christopher mentioned yesterday. I nod my head then slowly.
[11:42 AM] zuark: "Right," Uncle Greg says, turning to Marcie, "Well if this's where yer gonna hang yer hat, I'll head on off."
[11:43 AM] maquila: I look around then, slowly, and then look up at Uncle Greg, and then look at Christopher. "What is this place?" And then I look back at Uncle Greg. "Okay." I fidget. "Will I see you again?"
[11:43 AM] zuark: "Phone call away, li'l lady," he says.
[11:44 AM] maquila: I immediately feel relieved again – which probably shows on my face or in my shoulders as they sink down. "Okay," I say then. "Thank you, Uncle -" I falter for a moment, and then: "Uncle Colt?"
[11:47 AM] zuark: "You take care'a yerself," Colt says, with a nod and a tip of his hat. He looks at Christopher then. "You make sure she's looked after proper, or you'll be hearin' from me."
[11:47 AM] zuark: "Right," Christopher says.
[11:48 AM] maquila: I look around again, moving forward a little bit to stare up. "What is this place?" I ask Christopher again.
[11:52 AM] zuark: "This," Christopher says, "is the Halfway House for Wayward Mages." He gestures around. "This is the common room."
[11:53 AM] maquila: I look around for a moment.  I consider this for an even longer moment, quiet and thoughtful. "Am I wayward?"
[11:56 AM] zuark: "That is up to you to decide. Everyone who stays here does so voluntarily. This is a place intended for Mages who have had a difficult time adjusting to the Awakened life, for whatever reason. It allows them to study in a safe and secure environment, with the ultimate goal being eventual matriculation into society. Though some," he glances in the direction Phil went, "are more hopeful in that regard than others."
[11:56 AM] zuark: "Perhaps a tour might help you better understand."
[11:57 AM] maquila: I nod my head then. "You said I could learn and be safe here, and I trust you," I say – even though he doesn't know me, he will later tonight, I think. "So I will likely say I am Wayward. I would like a tour, though, please."
[11:59 AM] zuark: "Right this way." He leads her through the sitting room and down a corridor. The first door he passes, he gestures to disinterestedly. "Philip's room," he says. "You two are already acquainted." He moves on, apparently not intent on disturbing Phil.
[12:00 PM] maquila: I glancee to Phil's room then, and move to hurry after Christopher. "What did he tell you about yesterday?"
[12:00 PM] zuark: "Just that he had been wandering where he should not have been, and that I showed up to herd him away from a young woman. I assume he means you."
[12:01 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say, nodding my head.  "He was being lascivious. "
[12:02 PM] zuark: "We have told Philip time and again not to wander, but we are unable to stop him from doing so
-at least not without infringing upon his basic civil liberties to an extent that the mistress of the house is unwilling."
[12:02 PM] maquila: "Mistress of the house?" I ask.
[12:03 PM] zuark: "Yes," he says. "The woman who owns and maintains this place, entirely out of her own charitable impulses and flagrantly against the wishes of most of her peers. She the kindest person I know."
[12:04 PM] maquila: "Oh, " I say then, thoughtfully. "Then I trust her." I will base entire judgments around what Dad and Mom – or now Chr—Chromium and Uncle Colt say.
[12:07 PM] zuark: "This is Flash's room," Chromium says as he steps up to the next door. "He is quite shy, but perhaps I can arrange an introduction for you."
[12:07 PM] maquila: I nod my head a little bit and fidget. "Flash," I say, glancing up to him and to the door. "Okay." I'm not shy, but if Flash is then I will need to be careful to not make things awkward.
[12:08 PM] zuark: Chromium lightly raps twice on the door.
[12:08 PM] maquila: I glance to the door and wait quietly.
[12:09 PM] zuark: "It is possible that he will be invisible," Chromium says quietly, while they wait a rather long time at the door. "If that is the case, do not be alarmed."
[12:10 PM] maquila: "Invisible?" I ask. I look to the door and then back up to him. "Can I turn invisible?"
[12:10 PM] zuark: "In theory," Chromium says.
[12:10 PM] zuark: The door unlocks and then slowly swings open.
[12:11 PM] maquila: I glance to the door then, awkwardly shuffling closer to Chromium.
[12:11 PM] zuark: "Flash," Chromium says, standing in the doorway, "we have a guest. Her name is Lattice, and she would like to meet you."
[12:11 PM] zuark: Roll Wits + Comp.
[12:11 PM] maquila: Wits 2 + Comp 4 = 6…
[12:11 PM] maquila: …6s.
[12:13 PM] zuark: Looking at the floor, Marcie hears the soft patter of footfalls directly in front of her—and, very faintly, she sees the very slight imprints of footsteps on the hardwood, appearing in a trail away from the door. Looks like someone is walking in bare feet, leaving behind just the faint traces of natural oils and moisture from their feet on the wood floor as they retreat from the doorway. But there's nobody there.
[12:15 PM] maquila: I look at the floor then and then look up. I focus where I saw the footsteps end last, and awkwardly shift my weight back and forth. "Hi," I say, sticking next to Chromium. "I can see your footprints…"
[12:16 PM] zuark: Marcie notices some floating numbers and symbols appearing in the air, a few yards into the room, where the last of the footfalls was. A moment later, her cell phone buzzes in her pocket.
[12:16 PM] maquila: I stare wide-eyed at the numbers, opening my mouth – and then pause, pulling my cellphone out of my pocket to peek at it.
[12:17 PM] zuark: She has a text from an incoherent garble of unicode symbols. The text reads: "hi"
[12:18 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say. "That's neat." I tilt my head a little bit.  "If I reply to this would you receive it back?"
[12:19 PM] zuark: The room around her looks to be decorated like a teenage boy's room. There's a computer at the desk, some books on bookshelves. There's a poster of Anne Hathaway on the wall that looks like this: http://wallpapersdsc.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/512.jpg
[12:19 PM] zuark: Her phone buzzes again and she receives a reply: "no but i can hear you"
[12:20 PM] maquila: "Oh." I say then. I Look at the poster then. "Did you see Interstellar? I like it, because it's in space." I pause. "Oh, and it has to do with time travel."
[12:23 PM] maquila: Anne Hathaway was in Interstellar.  I liked that movie. I remember I watched it with Dad. He thought it might be too much but then Mom pointed out I liked weird movies and so what was so different about that one.
[12:23 PM] zuark: Her phone buzzes with another text: "good movie but no way would there be a planet orbiting a black hole like that"
[12:23 PM] maquila: I look at the phone. "It is just as plausible as a planet orbiting a sun," I say. "Which is what we are doing…"
[12:23 PM] zuark: Another text: "also clouds don't freeze"
[12:24 PM] maquila: "Do they not?" I ask then, concerned. "Where does hail come from?"
[12:26 PM] zuark: Another text: "from clouds but the ice falls it doesn't stay floating in the air like magic, and the black hole would have to be 100 million times the mass of the sun and spinning really fast and that would rip the planet apart with tidal forces or else the planet would get smashed by things falling into the black hole or would be full of radiation or the atmosphere would be fried"
[12:26 PM] zuark: Chromium stands there awkwardly. "So," he says. "This is Flash…Flash, this is Lattice…lovely…"
[12:29 PM] maquila: "Well, yes," I say. "But one could say that them forming into ice and then falling is the clouds technically freezing, though I do agree it is not as it is shown in the film. I had always hear at the planetarium however that Black Holes – while they shifted about in either the figure eight spiral or the circular spiral – did not do any, if you will, sucking in like they do in shows like Futurama, but instead simply caught things in their gravity which then orbited them. But," I acquiesce, "you seem to know more of this than I, whereas I just know simplicized notions from the planetarium." I pause and look up to Chromium, and then into the room. "It is a pleasure to meet you," I say, earnestly.
[12:31 PM] zuark: Her phone buzzes with another text: 'nice to meet you but please leave"
[12:31 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say then, and look up at Chromium.
[12:31 PM] maquila: And back out of the room, of course.
[12:33 PM] zuark: Chromium steps out and shuts the door lightly. "He is a decent chap," he says. "Very shy, as I said. But he needs all the social interaction he can get."
[12:33 PM] maquila: "He seems very nice and interesting," I say then.
[12:37 PM] zuark: "Indeed." He gestures to a bathroom at the end of the hall. "That is the boys' bathroom," he says. "I recommend steering clear of it. This way." He walks past the open door of the bathroom, and around the corner, and then he opens a set of double doors in the center of the next hallway. "This is the study," he says. "If you need a quiet place to sit and read, or to practice your spells in peace, you may go here—as long as the spells don't disrupt others." He gestures into the room, which contains a few tables, a few sets of chairs, and a couple of wooden dummies at the far end of the room. Notably, this room has no windows.
[12:38 PM] maquila: I step in then, looking around for a few moments. "I am uncertain how to do spells, other than the microscoping eyeball thing you taught me," I say then. "And you say that is because th Quiescence is gone."
[12:38 PM] zuark: "You will learn," Chromium says, sounding unconcerned.
[12:39 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say then, trusting what he says. "Is your friend the bug lady here?"
[12:43 PM] zuark: "You must mean Eunomos," he says. "Her room is just up here." He walks her down the corridor, around another corner. He passes another bathroom, and then another door, of which he makes no mention.
[12:43 PM] maquila: "What are those?" I ask as we walk past them.
[12:44 PM] zuark: "The girls' bathroom," he says, "and Rose's room."
[12:44 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say, glancing to the girl's bathroom, and the other door. "Who is Rose?"
[12:45 PM] zuark: "A young lady with certain…difficulties," he says. "Depending on the day she can be quite the handful."
[12:45 PM] maquila: I nod my head quietly to that. "What are the difficulties?"
[12:46 PM] zuark: He sighs a bit. "It would be too much to give you a proper explanation now. I would have to settle for a quick and grossly oversimplified description."
[12:47 PM] maquila: "All right," I say. "I will wait until it is time for a proper explanation. You always tell me things and they make sense later, so it makes sense to wait on a proper explanation."
[12:53 PM] zuark: This response seems to please him. He nods and leads her further down the hallway, stopping in front of a door that has a plastic "KEEP OUT" sign over it, along with this: http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/c6f21b3a38f04cfaa65f99b54fd5b4fd/sign-warning-of-poisonous-snakes-and-insects-at-a-rest-area-along-cw5w4w.jpg
[12:54 PM] maquila: Oh good, I pleased Chromium. That makes me feel good. I study this sign for a few moments, consideringly. "Does she stake care of her poisonous snakes and insects?" I ask him, looking up.
[12:56 PM] zuark: "The sign is a bluff," he says. "Eunomos is not permitted to keep poisonous snakes or insects," and he raises his voice slightly and leans toward the door to complete his sentence, "no matter how many times she may ask."
[12:56 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say then, looking toward the door.
[12:58 PM] zuark: There are some clunky footsteps on the other side of the door, and then the door swings open to reveal a girl who looks maybe 12 or 13. She's pretty short, pudgy with chubby, eczema-ridden cheeks, and has a bouncy way about her. All over her body, head to toe, are swarming insects—mostly beetles, at a glance—that buzz and flutter in an aura around her while crawling all over her skin and clothes. A brief look past her reveals that her room is mostly covered in bugs, too—from centipedes and worms to fluttering cicadas, this place seems like a shrine devoted to insects and their care. The only other real fixtures in the room are a bed and a bunch of plants—presumably insect food. The room is also, Marcie can tell from here, kept at a significantly warmer temperature than the rest of the house.
[12:59 PM] zuark: "Hi!" the girl says cheerily. "Are you a new guest?"
[1:00 PM] maquila: I study the bugs for a long moment – this would probably be more shocking to me if they were racoons, but I am used to seeing roaches and scorpions. When we lived in Arizona (Mom hated it) because sometimes scorpions would get in our house at night, and we'd have to use a flashlight and find them and gently trap them and get them out. "Hello," I say to her then. "Yes, I am going to be. I am Lattice."
[1:02 PM] zuark: "Hi, Lattice," she says. "I'm Eunomos." She stands a few feet back from the doorway, rocking on her heels a bit. A roach crawls across her cheek and nose, and she doesn't bat an eye.
[1:02 PM] maquila: "Hi Eunomos," I say then. "Do you have any scorpions?" I pause a beat, and look to Chromium. "Or are those considered too poisonous?"
[1:03 PM] zuark: "I'm not allowed to keep scorpions," she says, with a narrow-eyed glance at Chromium. "Thanks to a certain tattle-tale."
[1:03 PM] zuark: "All of our guests are promised a safe environment," Chromium says, tilting his nose up at her. "Safe."
[1:04 PM] zuark: Eunomos rolls her eyes.
[1:04 PM] maquila: "There used to be scorpions at my house when my family lived in Arizona. We had to pick them up and carry them outside at night," I say.
[1:05 PM] zuark: "Scorpions aren't dangerous," Eunomos says. "They only sting humans in self defense. And anyway, they prefer to kill their prey with force rather than use their venom."
[1:07 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say to that. "I didn't know that. I just know Dad was worried about stepping on them if he needed water at night. I did not mind them." I pause, looking more ominous. "But I don't like raccoons." I look to Chromium. "Are you a tattletale?"
[1:08 PM] zuark: "A deathstalker could easily kill a raccoon," Eunomos says.
[1:08 PM] zuark: Chromium sighs and looks at Marcie. "I am a believer in proper enforcement of rules which are designed for everyone's well-being."
[1:10 PM] maquila: "Is a deathstalker a kind of scorpion?" I ask Eunomos. Then I look at Chromium and nod. "Okay."
[1:11 PM] zuark: "They're the most deadly scorpion," Eunomos says, nodding. "They have a venom that could kill a weak human in one sting."
[1:12 PM] maquila: "Oh," I consider that then. "That is not so bad, then. There are many things out there with deadlier venom. It is no wonder that they would rather rely on force, with that in mind."
[1:13 PM] zuark: "Their venom is more than enough for their prey, and enough to deter any would-be predators," Eunomos says, defensively.
[1:14 PM] maquila: I consider this and then nod. "I suppose that is right. It would bring down what they would want to eat which is the important thing."
[1:14 PM] zuark: She nods firmly.
[1:15 PM] zuark: "Right," Chromium says, "lovely, but we must get on with the tour."  Eunomos moves to step out of the door, saying, "Oh! I could help—" before Chromium cuts her off with a hand gesture. "What did the mistress of the house tell you?"
[1:15 PM] zuark: Eunomos sighs and looks at her feet. "Bugs only in my room," she says quietly.
[1:16 PM] zuark: "Bugs only in your room," Chromium repeats.
[1:16 PM] zuark: "But I'm not done with their playtime," she objects.
[1:16 PM] zuark: Chromium: "Then you shall have to stay."
[1:16 PM] maquila: "Why do you call her mistress of the house? Is that her name?" I ask, thoughtfully, and then I look toward Eunomos and then to Chromium, and then to Eunomos. "Are you allowed to take some with you?"
[1:18 PM] zuark: Eunomos gives a long-suffering sigh. "I only get ONE."
[1:19 PM] maquila: "Oh." I nod then. "In that case, you should ensure they have a good playtime. I will be back." It is important to me to be where I say I will be.
[1:28 PM] zuark: Chromium nods and leads her further along. They circle around back to the front of the house, and he heads for the staircase leading up out of the sitting room.
[1:33 PM] maquila: I move after him then, my head looking this way and that. "Do you live here?" I ask him, looking up to him, moving to the stairs, and then slowly following after him.
[1:34 PM] zuark: "I used to," Chromium says as he ascends the stairs.
[1:34 PM] maquila: "Oh. You don't anymore?" Once we get to the second floor. "Well. Used to implies that."
[1:36 PM] zuark: "Flash took over my old room," he says. "Up here is the library." The stairwell ascends into a wide open room that takes up the entirety of the second floor and is filled with books stuffed neatly onto shelves.
[1:37 PM] maquila: I spin around once we're in the library, my eyes wide. "Wow," I say. "There are a lot of books here." I begin to move slowly along, looking them over. "I've never lived somewhere with a library that wasn't down the street before."
January 14, 2017
[10:58 AM] maquila: -——
[10:59 AM] zuark: "Yes, well," Chromium says, "these are mostly not the sorts of book you will find at your local library. You may read these at your leisure. Come—we've two more floors to see." He takes the stairs further up.
[11:00 AM] maquila: "What? What kind of books are they?" I ask, moving to peek at one before turning and hurrying after him.
[11:01 AM] zuark: "Books about magic," Chromium says.
[11:02 AM] maquila: "I'll be able to read them?" I ask, wide-eyed.
[11:05 AM] zuark: "Yes, of course. So long as you do not show them to Sleepers."
[11:06 AM] maquila: "Yes. Uncle Colt says I must not tell this kinda stuff to reg'lar folks."
[11:08 AM] zuark: "That's right."
[11:08 AM] maquila: I move to the stairs then, and follow him up.
[11:10 AM] zuark: The next floor somewhat resembles the first: hallways around the perimeter which lead to different closed doors. On the center of this floor is a large communal kitchen, which Chromium walks through briefly. "For all your culinary needs," he says, and without further comment moves on.
[11:10 AM] maquila: "I only eat ramen," I half say to myself as I follow after him.(edited)
[11:11 AM] zuark: He eyes her pointedly, and then walks over to one of the pantry cabinets and pulls it open. It's stocked full of ramen. He points also to the stove and to the microwave.
[11:12 AM] maquila: I blink a little wide-eyed at this, and peek over his shoulder. "That's more flavors than I normally get."
[11:12 AM] zuark: "The mistress of the house disdains the stuff," Chromium says. "But Eunomos enjoys it. As does Rose—sometimes."
[11:13 AM] maquila: "I do not know how to cook otherwise," I say. "It is edible and delivers nutrients."(edited)
[11:15 AM] zuark: "That is debatable," he says, but shakes his head and moves on.
[11:16 AM] maquila: I move along after him, my head swiveling left and right.
[11:25 AM] zuark: "Many of the rooms on this floor are empty—reserve rooms for new or for temporary guests. It is likely you will be staying on this floor, if you choose to stay here. I will show you one of the rooms."
[11:26 AM] maquila: "Okay," I say then. "You told me to come here and I could learn and be safe, so I will be staying here."
[11:28 AM] zuark: Chromium walks to one of the doors, and opens it, revealing a room of about the same dimensions as Flash and Eunomos's rooms. It's furnished with a bed, a dresser, and some empty bookshelves, in a neutral color scheme, but is otherwise empty.
[11:29 AM] maquila: "This will be mine?" I ask, glancing inside. "I will bring all my stuff here by bus." I nod my hea then, nodding a few times.
[11:30 AM] zuark: "If you ask the mistress of the house I am sure she would be willing to have a car brought to you for that purpose."
[11:30 AM] zuark: Chromium stands outside the door of the room, letting Marcie poke around in there to her heart's content.
[11:31 AM] maquila: "Oh. Where is she?" I step inside and go – for some reason – peek under the mattress and stick my head under the bed.
[11:32 AM] zuark: There's an empty space under the bed. The mattress is of a high quality.
[11:33 AM] maquila: "I don't see any signs of cameras," I say then, pulling my head out then – and moving to the dresser and the bookshelves to scan them, before I move back out to Chromium.
[11:34 AM] zuark: Chromium furrows his brows. "Why would there be cameras, for god's sake?"
[11:35 AM] maquila: "People are always watching and listening," I say, earnestly. "Especially them, my Mom always said. And Uncle Colt had spells to stop people from tracking him or peekin' in on us."
[11:37 AM] zuark: "If anyone peeks in on you here, it will be Philip," Chromium says. "But he is not so sophisticated as to attempt to install automated surveillance. And if he were to try, he would be severely reprimanded."
[11:38 AM] maquila: "Oh. What about his assassin part?"
[11:39 AM] zuark: "Far cleverer. But he does not surface while he is within the confines of the halfway house."
[11:39 AM] maquila: I nod my head to that and then quietly close my door, making sure I know where it is within the hallway.
[11:42 AM] zuark: He walks further up the hall, passing by a bathroom, which he indicates with a hand gesture, before he comes to a final door at the end. "This is where the mistress of the house lives," he says.
[11:42 AM] maquila: "Oh. Should I ask her for a car?"
[11:44 AM] zuark: "If you like." He walks up to the door. He taps it once with his index finger, and then in a practiced manner he traces a triangle, a circle, and then a square, and then knocks three times firmly with his knuckles.
[11:45 AM] maquila: I watch his finger as he does this. "Why did you trace those shapes?"
[11:46 AM] zuark: "It is a mundra which acts as a key to unlock the door," he says. He grasps the knob and opens it up—revealing an interior to what looks like the living room of an entirely different house.
[11:50 AM] maquila: "So if I did that, it would unlock the—oh," I cut off then, staring wide-eyed through the door. I lean to peer into this other house then, staring around wide-eyed.
[11:53 AM] zuark: It appears that somehow this door leads back to the ground level, as looking out the window reveals a grassy yard. This also appears not to be within the confines of Brooklyn or even New York City proper—definitely it's a suburban area, maybe even rural. The living room is very expensive-looking and very tastefully decorated, arranged in a similar manner to the sitting room she saw down below on the first floor of the halfway house. But there is a large, wide, open staircase that ascends to a second-floor balcony under a twinkling chandelier.
[11:54 AM] maquila: I seem immediately a lot more worried and uncertain about what to do here. Stepping in seems like a bad thing. I knot my hands together in front of me and stand still as a post in the doorway, my eyes wide behind my glasses.
[11:55 AM] zuark: Chromium steps forward, seeming unconcerned. He glances back over his shoulder and waits for Marcie to follow.
[11:55 AM] maquila: I stare at him for a moment, and then shuffle in after him – though I stay a good six inches behind him.
[11:58 AM] zuark: Once they're inside, Chromium stands near the base of the stairs and waits for a long moment, seeming to expect something. And after a while of waiting, Marcie hears a chipper female voice call out from somewhere on the second floor: "Just a minuuuuute!"
[11:59 AM] maquila: I stare wide-eyed up the stairs and look to Chromium. "How'd she know we were here?" I whisper then, as quietly as I can. "You never said anything or made any noise…"
[11:59 AM] zuark: "This is her house," Chromium says quietly, as if that somehow explained things.
[12:00 PM] maquila: "But…but if I didn't hear you talking on the phone then I wouln't have known you were in my house," I say.
[12:03 PM] zuark: He doesn't respond to that—simply waits. A moment later, a blond woman descends the stairs. She's strikingly gorgeous, youthful in body type and demeanor although it's clear she's in her late 30s at a bare minimum. She's well-dressed, but not haughtily so, in a tasteful and winter-appropriate dress with a shawl draped across her shoulders. She lays one hand smoothly on the bannister as she descends, smiling. "Chromium," she says happily, and steps forward to embrace him and kiss his cheek.
[12:04 PM] zuark: "Hello, Trixie," Chromium says, returning the gesture in a reserved way—his cheeks very slightly pinkening.
[12:04 PM] zuark: "How are you?" Trixie says earnestly, taking a step back and searching his face with her eyes. "You look great!"
[12:05 PM] maquila: I feel more nervous now, my stomach twisting. I knot my hands more tightly into my shirt I'm wearing (a giant baggy sweater that Dad used to wear – it's threadbare and made of a lot of colors).  I glance up to Chromium and shuffle just a bit to stay firmly behind him. Trixie.
[12:06 PM] zuark: "I'm well, thank you," Chromium says. He indicates Marcie with a gesture. "This is Lattice."
[12:07 PM] zuark: "Lattice," Trixie repeats with a nod, and sets her eyes on Marcie then. "Hello, Lattice. It's nice to meet you."
[12:09 PM] maquila: "Hi." I say, shuffling a little bit – and then with a quick glance at Chromium and a look back to Trixie, I do what I do best. "Chromium helped me out of a groundhogs day loop and then told me to come to the Halfway House and I would be safe and able to learn there and so I was wondering if I could have a car to load up my stuff at my apartment and bring it there please."
[12:16 PM] zuark: "Absolutely, we can arrange that! We have plenty of spare rooms on the third floor, don't we?" She looks to Chromium for confirmation, who nods, although Marcie gets the sense that Trixie is already well enough aware that she's right. "Good."
[12:17 PM] maquila: Chromium says she's very kind, and she does seem to be at least. I nod my head a few times to that. "He gave me a room by the kitchen," I say then, fidgeting.
[12:18 PM] zuark: "Well," Chromium says, "I indicated a room by the kitchen—if that's all right."
[12:18 PM] zuark: Trixie smiles and nudges Chromium. "Ever precise with words," she says. "Of course it's all right."
[12:21 PM] maquila: "You did not tell me no when I asked if it was to be my room, which is more than indication, I would think…" I say then to Chromium then. Is this another alongside situation. I shuffle a little bit and curl my arms around my middle and look to Trixie. "Thank you."
[12:22 PM] zuark: She can tell at a glance that her response irritates Chromium, but he makes an effort to swallow his objection by plastering a flat smile onto his face.(edited)
[12:23 PM] maquila: I fidget. Do I tell her my address, or is there going to be a driver who I tell my address to…Oh, I will need to tell Louis I am leaving…
[12:30 PM] zuark: Trixie pulls out her phone, and looks at Marcie. "Just tell me where to send my assistant, and I'll make sure someone is available to help you move your things?"
[12:30 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say then, fidgeting. "Um." I rattle off my Brooklyn address then.
[12:33 PM] zuark: Trixie types something into her phone and nods. "Ah," she says, "that's practically up the street, isn't it?"
[12:34 PM] maquila: "Is it? Uncle Colt and I had to ride the bus for a while to get to the house…"
[12:35 PM] zuark: "Considering we are in Oregon right now," Chromium says, "it is quite close, relatively speaking."
[12:36 PM] maquila: "We're in Oregon?" I ask, staring agog at Chromium again – and detaching finally from my spot at his side to go stare out a window.
[12:39 PM] zuark: She sees a really rather rural landscape as she looks out the window—no other houses in immediate eyesight.
[12:39 PM] zuark: "Yes," Chromium says, like this is no big deal.
[12:40 PM] maquila: "How'd we get to Oregon?" I ask then, looking back to the door to the Halfway House.
[12:45 PM] zuark: "My house here is co-located to the Halfway House in New York," Trixie explains. "Anyone who uses the appropriate key mundra will trigger the co-location and allow instantaneous travel between them."
[12:46 PM] maquila: "Chromium had mentioned the key. I thought it just unlocked the door – and then I saw this was rather big but I thought perhaps New York Suburbs. It did not enter my mind to question further until the statement of Oregon came into being." I look around a little bit. "Oh," I say a moment later of co-location. Not that I know what that is.
[12:47 PM] zuark: "I like to keep my house outside of New York City, ever since…well." Trixie smiles and shakes her head. "Let's just say that I like to live a little off the beaten path."
[12:48 PM] maquila: "Ever since…?" I ask then, and then nod my head. "It's for the best, anyway. It is much harder for people to watch you surrepticiously if you are off the beaten path."
[12:53 PM] zuark: Trixie smiles. "Something like that," she says. "Well, is there anything else I can help you with? I don't want to delay your settling in."
[12:54 PM] maquila: "No, thank you," I say and – like a magnet attaching to a fridge – attach to Chromium's side again.
[12:54 PM] maquila: "Do we do the symbols to get back?" I ask, glancing to the door.
[12:55 PM] zuark: Trixie nods. "The key works both ways," she says. "Let me give you my phone number. If there's anything else you need, don't hesitate to ask me, or Chromium."
[12:56 PM] maquila: "May I do them?" I ask Chromium then, and then turn to look to Trixie, shuffling slowly to get my phone out. "Okay," I say then.
[12:58 PM] zuark: Trixie gives Marcie her phone number. It has a New York City area code.
[12:58 PM] maquila: I take it down carefully in my phone. Contact information: Trixie. MistressofHouse.
[12:58 PM] maquila: I also carefully add Uncle Gregs while I'm thinking of it. I store him under Uncle Colt.
[1:04 PM] maquila: "Okay, I have it down." I fidget a bit, and then turn to move to the door.  I stare at it, tap it once with my index finger, and then trace a triangle, a circle, and then the square, and knock three times with my knuckles. I pause a beat afterward, and then try the door.
[1:06 PM] zuark: Opening the door reveals the hallway on the third floor of the halfway house.
[1:06 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say. "I did it." I look over my shoulder to Chromium and Trixie.
[1:07 PM] zuark: Trixie nods and gives her an encouraging smile. "See you again soon," she says.
[1:08 PM] zuark: Chromium moves to follow.
[1:08 PM] maquila: Soon..I step out into the hallway then, waiting on Chromium to get out, and looking up. "Is the floor above the room where you do rituals?"
[1:14 PM] zuark: "It is," Chromium says. "Would you like to see it?"
[1:14 PM] maquila: "Yes, please."
[1:15 PM] zuark: He nods and escorts Marcie to the stairs, heading up.
[1:18 PM] maquila: I follow after him then, shuffling quickly up the stairs and looking around.
[1:22 PM] zuark: The top floor is nestled just under the cone-shaped roof, and is more of an attic than a proper floor. But stepping into it makes her feel a bit weird—not in a bad way, but rather like she's stepping into a zone of infinite, or at least increased, possibility. As she reaches the top floor, she starts feeling like she's hearing whispers in the corners, gentle voices telling her stories about the past and the future, things that are just barely on the edge of her comprehension.
[1:23 PM] zuark: At the center of the room, there's what seems to be a prepared space, a circle inlaid in the floor not unlike the circle she saw in the room with the timecube. Off to the side, there are some shelves and racks, containing a variety of knick-knacks: candles, cups, mirrors, lots of stereotypically-magicky looking odds and ends.
[1:24 PM] maquila: "It feels weird up here," I whisper then, pausing and turning my head to listen to something. I shuffle, listening as hard as I can and trying to understand what is being said. I stare for a beat and look to the circle on the floor, and then to the candles and cups and briefly poke through looking for chalk.
[1:27 PM] zuark: "This is a Desmesne," Chromium says. "It is a special place where magic is more powerful."
[1:27 PM] zuark: There is, of course, plenty of chalk.
[1:31 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say then. "Do you always hear people talking that you can't quite make out? This is where you cast the spell and go back to yesterday."
[1:36 PM] zuark: "Yes," Chromium says. "This Desmesne is attuned to Arcadia, so that Time spells cast here are easier and stronger in effect."
[1:37 PM] maquila: "That makes sense. Will I learn how to cast Time spells here?"
[1:40 PM] maquila: "Or will that be downstairs in the room with the dummies with the…with the …targets on them?"
[1:42 PM] zuark: "Depends on the spell," Chromium says.
[1:44 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say to that. "Should I tell you what you need to o when you go back?"
[1:45 PM] zuark: "Yes."
[1:48 PM] maquila: "Okay. You go back. As I am walking down the street, you say '427' to me. I do not know what this means. The next day,  I hear shouting that 427 is they keys' numbr you are the one telling me that."'
[1:53 PM] maquila: "And. And you say it is on the key that I found. It is rubbed away." I nod. "And most everything else you seem to figure out as you go as I do…"
[1:54 PM] zuark: Chromium nods. "That will be sufficient to get me started. When am I traveling to exactly
-yesterday morning?"
[1:54 PM] maquila: "I wake up at 12:08PM." I nod my head once that way.
[1:55 PM] zuark: "I see. That should not be terribly difficult for me—but the spell will take some time for me to cast, and I suspect that while it will appear like a relatively short time to you, it will be quite longer for me."
[1:56 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say. "I go through a great many fwimbles." I nod my head a few times. "At least," I consider in my head and count on my fingers. "At least twenty."
[1:57 PM] zuark: He tilts his head. "Fwimbles?"
[1:57 PM] maquila: "Yes. You will understand," I wave my hand. "We had arguments about words."
[1:58 PM] zuark: "I see."
[1:58 PM] zuark: "Is there anything else I should know before I proceed?"
[1:59 PM] maquila: I consider this for a long drawn out moment. "Um." I consider. I open my mouth to warn him he does not like the healthilicious, then close my mouth because no, I tell him that in the past. "I first bump into you outside a panini shop." And I inform him of the name.
[2:08 PM] maquila: "Oh. The key is to a safety deposit box." I hold up a finger.
[2:09 PM] zuark: He nods. "That is useful information. Thank you. If there is nothing else, I will proceed."
[2:09 PM] maquila: "Okay. I will go get moved. See you when you are done," I say to him then, and turn to shuffle off down the stairs, quietly heading for the front door so I can go and meet th car to get everything brought back here.
[2:20 PM] zuark: Outside, after waiting a short while, a car pulls up with a U-Haul trailer attached to it. In the driver's seat is a well-dressed young man, broad-shouldered and slightly pot-bellied, with short-cropped dark hair and eyes just a little too close together. He looks like a dork who is trying his best to appear prim and professional.
[2:21 PM] maquila: Oh,  that must be the person who is going to help me. I duck down and peek in. "Hello," I say. "I'm Lattice. Are you the one Trixie sent?"
[2:22 PM] zuark: "Good afternoon," he says. "Yeah—um, yes—I'm Rowan. Nice to meet you."
[2:22 PM] maquila: "Hello," I say again. I turn to head in to my apartment.
[2:24 PM] zuark: Rowan gets out of the car and follows Marcie inside.
[2:24 PM] zuark: "I'll just—help you carry your things?" he asks.
[2:25 PM] maquila: I stare at him blankly for a moment, and then nod my head a few times. Most of my things are – fortunately – already in boxes since I hadn't unpacked from the move. I go and gather several things to put them away into the boxes, but I keep two important things out – both Jellybean and the Cock Lamp. I put them in the front seat, where I will ride next to Rowan.
[2:27 PM] maquila: Everything else I load As Usual, not seeming especially concerned.
[2:28 PM] zuark: It takes some time to carry all the boxes into the U-Haul, but there's room for whatever she wants to take.
[2:28 PM] maquila: I takee most of my stuff, and then go knock on Louis' door.
[2:30 PM] zuark: Louis comes to the door after a few moments. "Oh, hey," he says. "Hi, Marcie."
[2:31 PM] maquila: "Hi. I am moving into a new home that will help me learn so I am leaving, I have gotten almost evereything out. Thank you, have a pleasant day." I gently press the key into his hand and without further ado, turn to wander to the car.
[2:31 PM] zuark: "…Okay," Louis says.
[2:32 PM] zuark: "You need to sign the release," he calls after her, "and I'll have to keep your deposit!"
[2:33 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say. "I will sign it later. Text me with the time. Thank you." I climb into the passenger seat and gently put the cock lamp between my feet and arrange Jellybean on my lap. To Rowan: "Do you have scissors?"
[2:33 PM] zuark: Rowan glances a little worriedly at the cock lamp. "I—not on me right now," he says. "I can get you a pair?"
[2:36 PM] maquila: "No, it is okay. I will wait until we are back at the halfway house." I gently squeeze Jellybean and look to the cock lamp. "What's wrong?"
[2:39 PM] zuark: "No, nothing," Rowan says, shaking his head as he starts to make the drive back to the halfway house.
[2:40 PM] maquila: "My dad called this," I say with dramatic tension – and a strange sense of timing considering I have rarely shown a sense of humor. "The cock lamp."
[2:41 PM] zuark: "I—can see why," Rowan says, nodding.
[2:43 PM] maquila: "Yes." I nod my head a few times.  "It is my favorite lamp." I touch it. "And this," I say lifting up Jellybean. "This, is Jellybean."
[2:45 PM] zuark: "Looks like you've had Jellybean for a long time," he says.
[2:45 PM] maquila: "Yes." I say. "And he has a cube in his belly which is what I will be using the scissors to get out."
[2:45 PM] zuark: "…I see," Rowan says.
[2:46 PM] maquila: "Do you want to feel it?"
[2:50 PM] maquila: I poke gently at Jellybean's belly, and then proffer it toward him for feeling.
[2:52 PM] zuark: "Thanks," Rowan says, "maybe after I'm—done driving."
[2:53 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say. "Okay." I put Jellybean back down on my lap. "I got him for Christmas when I was little."
[2:57 PM] zuark: Rowan makes the drive back to the halfway house rather faster than the bus would make the same trip. He pulls up at the curb outside. "Okay," he says. "Let's get you loaded in, then…"
[2:58 PM] maquila: "Okay. I am on the third floor," I say then, climbing out. I very carefully pick up the cock lamp and Jellybean. These are apparently what I want to take on my first trip, as I deem them most important. I shuffle inside and head up the stiars.
[2:59 PM] zuark: Rowan gathers up a couple of boxes and shuffles after her, grunting as he pushes through the doors and up the stairs. "Third floor," he mutters under his breath.
[3:00 PM] maquila: I get up to the third floor and open the door that Chromium said was mine near to the kitchen. I hold it open for Rowan, and then move to carefully arrange Jellybean on the bed and the cock lamp on the bedside table, adjusting both several times.(edited)
[3:02 PM] zuark: Rowan carefully lays the boxes down on the floor a few feet inside the door, and then goes to trudge back out to the car.
[3:02 PM] maquila: I follow after him, slowly. "I will see if Phil," he's the only other one I really know, "will help carry things." I shuffle to Phil's door.
[3:04 PM] maquila: Knock knock.
[3:08 PM] zuark: The door opens, and Phil is standing there in his boxer shorts, leering.
[3:08 PM] maquila: "Hello," I say. "Will you help Rowan and I carry my things to my room?"
[3:08 PM] zuark: "Hey, sexy," he says. "You gonna do something for me?"
[3:09 PM] maquila: "Do something?" I ask then, squinting. "I will also be actively participating and carrying the boxes up to the third floor apartment yes." That is actively doing something.
[3:10 PM] zuark: "I mean something for me," Phil says. "Huhuhuhuh."
[3:11 PM] zuark: Rowan moves back to the car, doing his best to ignore Phil.
[3:12 PM] maquila: "I suppose," I say then, moving for the car after Rowan then to pick up the box containing the N-Power magazines.
[3:17 PM] zuark: "Yeah?" Phil raises his eyebrows, seeming surpsied by her response, and now intrigued, he trails after her, laughing in his pervy way. "Huhuhuhuh…"
[3:17 PM] zuark: When he encounters Rowan in the doorway, the driver sighs and says, "You could at least put a shirt and some pants on."
[3:17 PM] zuark: Phil says, "Not gonna need 'em soon," and steps past him, heading out to the car. "I'm getting laid right after this…"
[3:19 PM] maquila: Getting laid. I believe that is a synonym phrase for intercourse. I thump the box of N-Power magazines (and other junk) into Phil's arms, and pick up a different box. "I did not mean intercourse," I say, moving for the steps, climbing up, and wandering insie to head to the third floor.
[3:20 PM] zuark: "Oh," Phil says, disappointed. He stops moving right then and there, standing in the doorway—and getting in Rowan's way, to the driver's consternation. "Oral?"
[3:21 PM] maquila: "…Oral?" I ask then, from the stairway. I have a brief nightmarish flash to when we were in Milkwaukee and I had to give an oral presentation and ended up mumbling through it. "…Oral what."(edited)
[3:24 PM] zuark: "…Oral sex," Phil says, with an unspoken tone of duh.
[3:25 PM] zuark: Rowan stands in the doorway with the boxes, trying to edge past Phil. Phil is in the way.
[3:25 PM] maquila: "I do not know why I would do that. When you implied do something I supposed a later favor…"
[3:25 PM] zuark: "Yeah," Phil says, "a sexual favor."
[3:26 PM] maquila: "I am not sure I am comfortable with that," I say then, resolutely.
[3:29 PM] zuark: Phil mutters sourly, "Wasting my time, then," as he trudges back to his room irritably.
[3:30 PM] zuark: Rowan sighs and pushes forward, heading up the stairs with the next load of boxes.
[3:30 PM] maquila: I carry my box up the stairs then, and gently settle it down. "Thank you for carrying my many-things," I inform Rowan, even as I move to head back down the stairs.  "When I moved, I did this all by myself."
[3:34 PM] zuark: Rowan nods, huffing and puffing as he carries yet more boxes up three flights of stairs.
[3:34 PM] maquila: I help him too – though after three boxes or so, I just sit down on the stairs then, silently. "THis is very hard up three flights of stairs," I say to Rowan then.
[3:39 PM] maquila: "If mages do not live here," I ask Rowan – after I catch my breath and slowly push to my feet. "Where do they live? Oregon?"
[3:39 PM] maquila: "Oregon and Texas?"
[3:42 PM] zuark: "Huh?" Rowan says. "Lots of them live here…"
[3:43 PM] maquila: "Oh." I say then. "I was not aware." I slowly totter to my feet and move back to the U-Haul. "Where do they live?"
[3:47 PM] maquila: "Do you also nejoy Time magic? I think it will be what I enjoy learning the most."
[3:47 PM] zuark: "All over," Rowan says.
[3:48 PM] zuark: "I—don't have any magic," Rowan says. "But Trixie is fond of it…"
[3:48 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say and pause. "…So am I allowed to talk to you about magic…?"
[3:49 PM] zuark: "Yes," Rowan says. "I'm what's called a Sleepwalker. I'm like a Sleeper, regular person I mean, but I'm not affected by the Quiescence. So it's safe to talk about these things with me or cast spells in front of me."
[3:50 PM] maquila: I consider this explanation as I load up another box, wait for him to do so, and then wander it upstairs. "Okay. Uncle Colt had told me to not talk about reg'lar folk about this sorta things and I was trying not to. So you are okay. That is good."
[4:08 PM] maquila: "Do you need a breather?" I ask him doubtfully, since I did.
[4:09 PM] zuark: "After this run I'll take a break," Rowan says. "Thanks."
[4:10 PM] maquila: "All right," I say, and slowly rise up to get another box and carry it up the stairs. I put it own, and the begin carefully removing things from boxes, putting my large number of conspiracy and monster books on the wall, getting things delicately hung on the wall, and making my bed with my sheets.
[4:10 PM] zuark: Rowan sets down his boxes and breathes a bit. "I will just be getting a drink from the kitchen," he says, and veers off that way.
[4:11 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say. Once my bed is made, I settle Jellybean on it. I pause, and touch his belly, and then go and get a knife and come back to gently open Jellybean's belly.
[4:13 PM] zuark: The little timecube is in there—a small square about the size and shape of a die, but heavier, and made with a metal like polished silver, carved with tiny golden runes.
[4:14 PM] maquila: I take it then, carefully in my hands. I roll it in my fingers and then lightly touch Jellybean's belly.  I will have to find sewing stuff.  I rise up and then dig through boxes looking for string to delicately wrap it around the cube to put it around my neck.
[4:16 PM] zuark: Without Crafts, Marcie doesn't really have a great intuition for how to get a cube that doesn't have an obvious drill-hole for a string or anything around her neck. She ties some string around it, knotting it, and that'll serve for now, but it's awkward and a little unstable. Could break or fall out.
[4:16 PM] maquila: Hmm. I carefully put it down for now then. I settle it next to the cock lamp.
[4:16 PM] zuark: Okay.
[4:16 PM] zuark: There's sewing stuff around.
[4:17 PM] maquila: I awkwardly and clumsily sew Jellybean's belly up.
[4:19 PM] maquila: I probably use way too much thread to do it, an repeat the same move far too many times so he ends up with something of a belly button – a thing dinosaurs frankly did not have as that ias a mammalian trait – but I cut the string and tie it off.
[4:23 PM] zuark: Around that time, she hears Rowan going downstairs for another run.
[4:24 PM] maquila: I lift up Jellybean and kiss his nose, and then move quickly after Rowan. "Hello," I say, despite him knowing I am there. "Do you know  how to make things into necklaces."
[4:26 PM] zuark: "I—don't have any experience with that, no," Rowan says.
[4:26 PM] zuark: "Maybe talk with Chromium? I know that he is a student of Matter magic."
[4:27 PM] maquila: "He is busy right now going back in time to help me ensure I can come here today." I nod my head. "I will ask him after his nap, yes."
[4:28 PM] zuark: Rowan nods and keeps hauling boxes. The moving and unpacking process takes a few hours, all told, after which a sweaty Rowan wipes his brow, gets another drink from the kitchen, and then looks about ready to leave. "Okay," he says. "You're all set."
[4:28 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say. "Thank you, Rowan. You are an appreciable mover." Marcie: Queen of Compliments!
[4:31 PM] maquila: I get my computer set up. I connect it to the wall, and make sure it's good to go. I get my books undone. I get clothes (half mine, half clothing I took of Mom and Dad's) and put them in the dresser. I actively actually empty the boxes this time, hanging things on the wall.
[4:33 PM] maquila: I then wander around into the kitchen, and make myself some ramen, and stare at the stairs. I wonder when Christopher will be here.
[4:36 PM] zuark: While she's making ramen, Christopher descends the stairs, looking a bit tired.
[4:37 PM] maquila: I perk up then, visibly brightening as soon as I see him – the microwave heading down to 1 minute and 27 seconsd remaining. "You did it!" This is some very rarely noted Marcie excitement.
[4:38 PM] zuark: Chromium smiles a bit as he enters the room. "It would seem so," he says. "And you've arrived."
[4:38 PM] maquila: "Yes. Rowan and I got everything moved into my room," I turn to look toward it and back. "And Phil was going to help, but he requested oral sex, so I declined."
[4:39 PM] zuark: He scrunches up his face irritably at that. "Please do not ask Phil for any favors in the future," he says. "He always reacts that way."
[4:40 PM] maquila: "Oh. All right…" I hold up a hand. "Wait please." And then I disappear into my room, and come back out with the mini cube. "Do you know how to make this into a necklace?"
[4:41 PM] zuark: "Yes," he says, sighing a bit. "Do you have a chain?"
[4:48 PM] maquila: "I have a string," I say then. I eye him a beat, and then tuck it away. "But not today. You need your well-deserved nap."
[4:50 PM] maquila: "My apologies, you are tired." BEEP BEEP BEEP! goes the microwave – and I flail and go to gently remove my ramen from it.
[4:51 PM] zuark: "Yes," Chromium says, "thank you. Get yourself a chain that you'd like to wear around your neck, and I will set it for you next time I see you."
[4:51 PM] maquila: "When will I see you next time?"
[4:52 PM] zuark: He tilts his head. "When would you like?"
[4:53 PM] maquila: I hesitate. "How long is your nap going to be?"
[4:56 PM] maquila: "No," I say then, half to myself, half to him. "In the morning? Make your nap a sleep. You helped me through twenty fwimbles, easily."
[4:57 PM] zuark: Chromium nods a bit, looking relieved. "Right," he says. "I will see you in the morning. How does nine o'clock sound?"
[4:58 PM] maquila: "Nine o'clock in the morning," I say with a nod. "I will meet you here." I mimic him then, pointing right down to where I am sitting.
[5:00 PM] zuark: He glances down at the floor where she points, and nods tiredly. "Very good."
[5:00 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say then, fidgeting. "I will see you tomorrow morning. Sleep well."
[5:00 PM] zuark: He nods again. "Have you settled in all right?"
[5:01 PM] maquila: "I have gotten my room set up." I turn to look at it. "Mostly. I was going to eat my ramen and wait on you and then go to read in the library. Now I am adding going to get a chain to the list."
[5:03 PM] zuark: "The room I showed you?" He points in that direction.
[5:05 PM] maquila: "Yes." I nod.
[5:07 PM] maquila: I stand up then – leaving my ramen out for now since it needs to cool anyway – and walking toward the door to open it. There are still boxes out, but the rest of the room is set up. The cocklamp is on, and glowing, the bookshelves are filled with my conspiracy books, my computer is set up, my sheets are on (they are paisley), and I have delicately hung up the pictures I ripped out of the Nintendo Power magazine of the cubes.
[5:10 PM] zuark: It's strange to be settling into a new place—especially after all the times she's repeated December 5th. But there's a kind of easy calm to it, now. Marcie feels good!
[5:10 PM] maquila: I like it being December 6th. I am used to moving too – we moved all the time, this is very similar to that. I look inside for a moment, and then turn to look back to Chromium.
[5:12 PM] zuark: Chromium followed her to the doorway, but then just leaned on it and watched her a bit. "All right," he says. "Good that you're all settled. I'll be off, then."
[5:12 PM] maquila: "Okay," I say then. "Sleep well." I pause a bit, fidget, staring at him. "ThankyouChromium."
[5:13 PM] zuark: "You're welcome, Lattice."
[5:13 PM] zuark: With that, he turns and leaves.




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