2017-11-06: The Meaning of Johnny Appleseed

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  • Log: The Meaning of Johnny Appleseed
  • Cast: Avril Vent Fleur, Dean Stark, Gwen Whitlock
  • Where: November City - Downtown
  • Date: November 6th 2017
  • Summary: While doing a little research, Avril and Dean cross paths with Gwen, who has a little information for them. A realization is had.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.


Within the reading room of one of the many public libraries scattered throughout November City, Avril frowns thoughtfully as she turns another page of yet another book on the history of the Nisan faith she's been reading through.

She was curious about something, she'd said, had wanted to read the official histories. Thus began the sidequest: take Avril to the library.

It's quiet in here, conversations in the library kept to a dull roar by the rules posted on the wall.
(well and the librarians, it's stereotypical but in this case, it's very true)
(they're probably not all that fond of obvious Drifters either)

Rebecca is... elsewhere. An exploration of the stacks will find that she has hidden herself away in the romance section, but there's probably a good reason she's sort of quietly crept away to do just that.
Which leaves Avril to the history and religion areas, and Dean to...
It's entirely possible this might be a challenge for Dean, actually.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

Dean is, naturally, reading a penny novel about Golems. In a tiny frontier town with no TVs (never mind a previous continuity error that stated otherwise), how else would he become such a fanboy of not just Golems but Nightburn in particular?

Just as naturally, these penny novels have large print, small words, and lots of pictures.

It's hard for him to read without gushing over how cool everything else every so often, but the librarians have made themselves *very* clear, and he manages to keep himself to just the occasional chair-jiggle of excitement when something particularly amazing happens. Those pages are turning quite fast, actually! ...but it also means that, uh, Avril's the only one doing any... actual... kind of research.

To be fair, no one said he COULDN'T just read penny novels. And Rebecca's over there buried in the romance section, so who's going to scold him for wrapping himself up in action adventures?

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

There's some very good reasons why penny novels were and still are popular with a lot of frontier towns- it being made via a mode of communication that is able to be shipped worldwide is one, rather than being limited to a technology that may only be available to certain classes in specific areas. Can't read? Follow the pictures! Want to read? Match the words to the pictures, it worked for Gwen. It's probably the main reason she managed to learn how to read in Little Twister, even if her vocabulary was... limited, to say the least. Then she got adopted by a woman who was not in any way a secret space alien, and that just complicated matters.

Despite Frea's attempts to elevate Gwen's taste in literature, penny novels still hold a nostalgic place in the courier's heart.

And, like comfort food when someone is sick or stressed out, Gwen just craves them. Especially when there's a bounty on her head.

Especially when she doesn't have anything to *do* with the void of time currently in her life.

So, there's Gwen, rea- no, she's asleep. Turns out, libraries are relatively quiet enough for a courier to fall asleep in, provided she's just... there, with books.

including one sagging from on top of her head to drop on the ground, which startles her awake. "nGh! Nh... guh...." She rubs her eyes, then winces as her back complains of its time spent in a wooden chair. "... Mnph..."

Blearily, she sees the quietly excited Dean. "... N. Dean. Good... morning? Afternoon. I think it's afternoon." She yawns. Keeping low is a very exhausting job!

Wait, wasn't there something she was going to tell Avril and her friends at some point? "I met Nightburn again." No, no, that was for Dean specifically. "Recommended you. That was before the bounty, so, uh, maybe that won't stand now?" SHe itches her head. NIghtburn strikes her to be be the sort to stand up against a man like Shakhan.

That makes her feel better.
        She belatedly puts a hand to cup over her mouth as she whispers. "Don't tell anyone I'm heeerre."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

To be fair, this is a piece of information that Avril had come across on her own, so...
It's fitting in its own way that she's the one doing the heavy lifting, insofar as research goes.

"Just as the Matriarch had said... I've found no mention of any place called 'Nimrod' in the histories of the faith." Even mention of a certain monastery is only in passing, almost elided entirely by the text.

"Perhaps it was a nation that was lost in the Day of Collapse?" she murmurs, voice low. She glances over at Dean.
"What do you think, Dean? Here, have a look for yourself." She points at a line of text, helpfully.

Dean may be spared having to provide an answer. It turns out they're not precisely alone in this corner of the library, as Gwen awakens a little rudely.

"...Are you alright?" Avril queries, tilting her head to one side as she sets down the book she's holding, finger still hovering over that section of text.

"...Isn't that Nightburn someone Dean admires?" she asks, after a moment's pause.
And blinks, her forehead crinkling in confusion. "A bounty?"

...She doesn't know what on earth a bounty is. That is as plain as day on her face.

But she reorients towards the more important piece of information at hand here: "Did Nightburn have something he wished to say to Dean?"

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

Penny novels are great! They're practically a treasure in the boondocks town of Capo Bronco, and between them and Old Man Tony, they're pretty much why Dean loves Golems so much. Dean can't say he's a *big* reader--Rebecca's a lot more wide-read and knowledgeable than he is--but it's something they've been able to enjoy doing together growing up. ...Even if Rebecca decided she wanted to go read over there. Dean didn't didn't anything of it; it *is* a library, and they *are* supposed to be quiet, so it's not like they could chat together as they read like when they were younger.

So absorbed is he in his novel that he absolutely did not notice Gwen sitting (sleeping) nearby. He doesn't even quite notice when he hears his name. No, it's not until Gwen mentions Nightburn that he looks up, going, "Huh? Wha?"

*Now* he sees Gwen, and focuses in on her. "Oh, hey, Gwen!" he whispers, remembering just in time to keep quiet. "Wow, you did that for me? Thanks a lot!" A pause. "...What bounty?" A blink at her follow-up remark. "...okay??"

He notices, very belatedly, that Avril is holding out a book to him and pointing out a line of text to him. "Oh, uh," he utters, looking back over at it. Having not been paying attention at all, he has no idea what he's supposed to be looking at. Fortunately, Avril is just as confused about this bounty as he is, albeit in a different way, saving him from having to comment on something he wasn't paying attention to. "Oh! Yeah, can you tell us more, Gwen?"

Still keeping his voice low, thankfully, but he looks over at her with interest. At least he's put his novel down.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

Nimrod. It's one of those words that makes Gwen pull out the random memories of various afternoons spent in Auntie Frea's sadly now deceased library of documents, where more sensitive ideas and concepts were safely walled away by a thick wall of incomprehensible words and concepts.

So she thinks on it. And something comes up.

"... Doesn't Nimrod mean that you're an idiot?" A pause. Gwen scratches her head. "Or hunter? I can't remember."

Getting up from her chair, Gwen places her penny novels on the library table, then pauses to plant both hands on the edge of the table and work over a few stiff spots in her neck. "Sorry," she says, her syllables bleeding through an oncoming yawn. "Okay, okay, I'm awake. Just gimmea sec."

"A bounty is..." Gwen plays with the idea of explaining what she did, but decides against it. "Don't worry about it. It ain't nothin' you need to worry about."

... For better or worse, Gwen took Avril's confusion to be about the meaning for the bounty, rather than what a bounty itself was. "Ah, naw, I was just mentioning Dean's name to him. Wanted to yank him over for a few tips on something. But enough 'bout that."

"I got some info on Johnny Appleseed. Probably stuff you already know, but it's still somethin'. The redhead settles into a chair. "So I asked my auntie Frea if she knew anything. She told me first that it was the name of a popular wine out of Gounon. Which you probably already knew. Really rare, and really, *really * good if you can get yer hands on it." She holds up two fingers with her left hand. "Secondly, that wine's named after the person who discovered and founded the town a long time ago. It's gone on to be a term to talk about pioneers and those that lead people to new lands to settle, from what she's gathered."

She frowns, then sighs. "Man, that sounded a *lot* more amazin' when I got my hands on that info than when I actually said it."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

Honestly, Avril didn't notice her there either. Then again, judging from some of the old men scattered here and there throughout the reading room, taking a nap in the library is not unheard of.

(good news, none of them are snoring)

Gwen asks a very important question about Nimrod.

Avril continues to tilt her head to one side like an over-curious puppy. "Does it possess that meaning? I was unaware of it," she states. Her forehead creases. "Hmm...."

At last she moves her hand -- probably for the best since it means that Dean doesn't have to look at the section she's semi-indicating or provide his input on it -- and closes the book she was looking at.

There are quite a stack of thick history volumes, all concerning Nisan, or religion, and so forth. Hopefully they find their way back to the cart for reshelving.

Gwen's assurance that it wasn't for anything in particular -- least where Nightburn goes -- is met with a nod.
Her assurance, on the other hand, that the 'bounty' is nothing to worry about earns a more puzzled look... but not one that lingers, either.

Particularly not when the next thing Gwen has to say is about Johnny Appleseed. Her blue eyes widen. "Have you heard something about Johnny Appleseed?" she asks, straightening further in her seat as if suddenly rapt.

'It's a wine,' Gwen explains. "Ah," says Avril, her lips pressing a little thin. Her gaze tilts away from the courier briefly. "Yes. We... had found that out, when we went to Gounon. However, if you have heard anything else..."

Pioneers. People who venture off into new lands.

Avril visibly hesitates, expression screwing up as if in contemplation, or perhaps, near-realization. "...That's..."

She glances over at Dean. "...Did someone say something like that to us already, Dean? It sounds familiar but I'm afraid I cannot recall where I might have heard it..."

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

"Nimrod?" Dean echoes, staring at Gwen. "Uhhh. I dunno either." Why are they talking about that? He's not sure. Wait, was that something to do with what Avril wanted him to read? Good thing he doesn't know anyway!

Oh, Dean.

He scratches his head when Gwen starts to explain a bounty, then chickens out. He already knows what a bounty *is*, he just didn't know why she was bringing one up. "Okay? If you say so," he says. Avril doesn't seem to know at *all*, but it doesn't occur to him to actually explain what he knows to her. Which is probably for the best, since it'd be an oversimplified explanation anyway.

It's a shame that there's not much to say about Nightburn, but--info! On Johnny Appleseed! He brightens. "Oh man, thanks a ton, Gwen! What'd you find out?" A famous Gounon wine. Dean nods when Gwen admits they probably knew that, and again when Avril says so explicitly. "Yeah. We actually helped deliver some to this temple a while back." But... someone who founded the town, and refers to pioneers...? He looks over at Avril. "Does that sound right to you? Ring any bells or anything like that?" He grins when she says it sounds familiar but she can't place it. "No, I never heard of that stuff before! If she's right, then maybe Johnny Appleseed's not a person at all!" He looks back at Gwen, smile encouraging. "Thanks a ton! We didn't know that second stuff at all!" He thinks. He presumes. Avril could have always heard of it while not in his company, but that, too, doesn't occur to Dean.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

"I mean, that probably didn't really help ya none," Gwen says with a sheepish laugh. "If ya want, I can ask my Auntie if she's heard anything about Nimrod next time I see her. She's a scholar of a lotta stuff, so..." She looks back to Dean. "Asked my auntie. She's been studyin' stuff from all over Ignas since forever. She had a lot of really neat documents until... uh..." Another awkward laugh. "They kinda got lost in a fire. But she remembers what was in them! Mostly. She always tells me not to worry about it."

"Maybe Johnny was a person once, but then the name became a title? Things like that happen, sometimes. Maybe the first sheriff was a guy named Sheriff!" Gwen's pause lingers, along with the finger she sticks up to make her point. "... Or a gal. I mean, who knows, y'know? But anyway! It could be both. Which means, even if you find *a* Johnny Appleseed, they may not be *the* Johnny Appleseed you're lookin' for, but they'd still be a clue. Or maybe it was vice versa? It was always a title, then it became a name. Or maybe it was a title, then a name of someone famous, and then it became a title again."

She's getting off point. "So even if you just find a wine, sometimes it's just one of many breadcrumbs to the truth. Trouble is, you never know how many crumbs it's gonna be until you're starin' at what you were lookin' for. I guess."

Belatedly, Gwen looks over and notices the golem penny novel Dean was paging through. "One of these days, Dean, I'll get it in me t'show you somethin' you may be interested in. Just... not, uh, golems exactly, and not today." Turning her face slightly towards Avril, she waves a hand. "I got some time. Lemme see if I can help you guys dig some stuff up. I ain't a scholar, but I lived with one." She stands up from her chair. "Besides, I'll feel a bunch better if I'm at least helpful to som-" A loud shush from a nearby librarian reminds the courier to lower her voice once more. "Ahaha. Sorry. I get excited 'bout this stuff. Shall we?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

"Hmm. Perhaps, if it isn't trouble," Avril considers, folding her arms over her chest lightly. "We ran across an ancient letter in the Linga Sacred Grounds," she explains, glancing over at Gwen. "...Something relating to the Nisan faith, it seems. We spoke with the Matriarch who is responsible for the libraries in Nisan, but... I am unfamiliar with the religion's teachings and history, so I felt it best to reach what I was able." Her gaze flickers over towards the books, hooded.

"...I suppose I have enough of my own mysteries to be concerned with one involving those long-dead. Still, I could not help but wonder after it." In spite of herself, she manages a small smile. "Please, ask your aunt if she has ever heard the names 'Nimrod', or 'Ashura Monastery', or a 'Bishop Penuel'. ...Thanks to the Sisters, I know some of the context concerning these names but little else."
For example, two of them are places, one of them is a person, and only one of those three names shows up in Nisan's records. Or anywhere at all, really.

It's a fairly strange situation where Avril is concerned. On one hand, she's demonstrated considerable intuition with use of a Gear, numerous pieces of ancient (lost) technology, and is fairly skilled with a hammer and other assorted mechanical tools.
On the other hand, a number of fairly typical day to day things are a complete mystery. Maybe that's just how it is when you have amnesia...

She remembers the incident with the temple well, since she's the one who got trapped inside. But it had all turned out fine.

At any rate, all Avril can do is shake her head and say that she thinks it sounds familiar, at best.

"Hmm," she considers, frowning faintly. "I feel as if... that isn't entirely correct," at Dean's suggestion that Johnny Appleseed might be a reference to someone else -- or at least certainly not someone's proper name -- but she does seem to be mulling it over. Not a person's name, but...
She sits upright, as if a thought occurs to her. She has the thread, but she can't quite find the needle's eye--

"Maybe Johnny was a person once..."
She glances over at Gwen, eyes widening a touch.

"Not a name, but a title... enough of a title to pass onto a wine, at that..." she murmurs, turning the thought over in her head carefully.

"...I think you're right."

Her gaze slips off into the middle distance for a moment or three.

"But I wonder, who am I searching for? The Johnny Appleseed, or someone who has take on that title? Or perhaps, not a person at all... Perhaps it was not merely wine that bears that name." But she's one inch of the way closer than she'd been before.

Gwen makes an offer.

"Oh? Hmm. Well, we should search for the statues, shouldn't we. Making an expedition to nearby ruins may be in order. Did you have any recommendations, Gwen? Ah--"

The librarian is giving them all The Look now. Forget shushing -- the true librarian can silence a room with a single glance.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

"Neat! Was that the auntie who taught you about... wait." Dean scratches his cheek as he realizes he was about to ask Gwen about her auntie who taught her how to be a mechanic. ...except Gwen's a courier, not a mechanie. "I think that was Lunie's auntie. Sorry." Also wasn't that a grandma, not an auntie? Oops. "That's a shame about the fire, though."

Gwen suggests that maybe Johnny Appleseed was maybe a name first, then a title? Or a title, then a name? Or a name, then a title, then a name? Or a title then a name then a title then a name then a -- Dean starts feeling his brain overheat. "Uhhhhhh... maybe? I mean, basically, it's not a person anymore... right?"

He looks over at Avril. She seems to confirm that it being a title feels 'right.' Who is she searching for, though? "Well, it couldn't be the original Johnny Appleseed, right? It sounds like he lived a long, long time ago. He must be dead by now," Dean points out in an unusual moment of insight. "So it must be someone with the title. Right?"

Gwen suggests she show him something he'd be interested in. He lights up. "A Golem?!" *No*, not a Golem, and not today. He deflates. "Aww. Okay. I'll look forward to it, though!" he adds, already bouncing back. Then, he too is glared at, and Dean gives the librarian a sheepish grin. "Maybe we'd better get out of here for now?" he adds in a whisper. "I'm definitely all for looking for the Guardian Statues some more. You guys go on ahead for now, though, and I'll go get Rebecca."

It'd be mean to ditch her in the romance section, and more to the point, Rebecca would never let Dean hear the end of it.