2018-10-09: White Flowers and Balms

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  • Log: White Flowers and Balms
  • Cast: Riesenlied, Noeline, Mariel
  • Where: New Petra
  • Date: 9th October 2018
  • Summary: Mariel comes to visit New Petra on Riesenlied's invitation to see the Outreach's garden...

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

The Wayside Outreach has been working hard at New Petra for a few weeks now; what was just rubble from the outcome of the battle with the Demon of Elru is now something resembling a second Wayside, a small circle of pre-fabricated buildings, tents, caravans and other shelters for the displaced Azadians as well as the Tainted and their companions all.

It's homely, in that humble but hearty way; there's a kind of kinship and camaraderie that's just a little underscored by the anxiety and uncertainty of what the future holds for a people displaced from their town, and by a sea of stars too... but they're hanging in there.

Today, Riesenlied is working hard with the others on what can positively be called a heart of Wayside -- their garden.

It's... something of a work of art, in a way -- countless large planters on wheels that usually take residence on their ramshackle, dragon-headed airship the Fereshte, but moved outwards to receive sun and light now that they're perched in one place for a while. It's a veritable garden of various kinds of plants -- potatoes, carrots, parsnip, suedes and the like, alongside a lush section of Lunarian soil containing the bounties of Taben's Peak, including chestnuts, collards, endives and carrots.

"You're doing good," Riesenlied encourages some of the children she's trying to get interested in basic planting. "Make sure to give them a bit of space as they grow, though..."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline has long-since accepted and come to peace with the fact that she is never, ever going to be a green thumb - she can just about be trusted to water the plants, but even her most well-meant attempts at doing anything more than that have ended with a couple of the kids wrestling the trowel from her out of fear of roots getting accidentally hacked off.

On the other hand, she wouldn't miss the sight of Riesenlied teaching for the world - pleasant times like this feel few and far between as of late, and it's terribly heartening to see the Tainted leader encouraging the children through the motions.

As such, she's been putting her strength to use instead. There's a collection of chairs and benches that have been carried over near to the gardenside to allow people to appreciate it - not least of which Noeline herself, currently curled up comfortably in a battered armchair with a collection of slim books balanced on one armrest.

The only reason her nose isn't in one of them right now is because she's developed a little following of her own, a couple of girls sat around her and listening raptly to a story that the spy appears to be spinning on the fly. It started out as the tale of a heroine leaving her town to face down some nebulous 'bad guys', but with various animated gestures--

"... of course, it wasn't going to be that easy. The Lady of the Dark swept forwards, cackling as she exploded into a thousand-fold swarm of bat-like shapes..."

--it seems to have, ah, meandered somewhat.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel had never really made it to Wayside. She could have, after giving Riesenlied the plants for the garden, but she never worked up the courage to actually do it.

But, apparently, she cannot avoid Riesenlied anymore. She's close to one of Mariel's very few friends since she started travelling, and that means it's time to accept an invitation to... well, not Wayside, anymore. The Wayside Outreach. Mariel isn't sure what to expect from New Petra.

This probably wasn't it.

Mariel does not just barge into New Petra. She approached it on foot, and she takes her time doing so; taking it in as she arrives. It's honestly nicer than she expected, but she can't stay on the outskirts forever...

Mariel approaches the garden, a little hesitantly - either because of the Metal Demons in it or because she wasn't expecting a crowd of small children. Honestly, she looks like she might not be all that much older than them; someone just glancing at Mariel might peg her age around fourteen, though a closer look shows she's more just on the small side. She's wearing her travelling robe, which is a little sturdier and comes with well-wearing trousers and boots, and has her satchel slung over one shoulder as she often does.

She doesn't interrupt the story or the lesson, but instead stays near the lesson. Perhaps she's listening in too?

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Of note for someone of Mariel's age and experience would be that...

... well, the Metal Demons... aren't exactly up to scratch with her memories. There aren't any battle-ready ones (save Noeline) of the warlike kind here; gone are the Metal Beasts that roam around and prowl, ready to savage and pounce anyone who goes too near. The few that she does find amongst the Azadians, well--

There's one guy that's got accordion tubing for legs and he kind of bounces up and down as he walks, whistling as he passes a hammer to another of his coworkers, whose torso seems rigged up of an old jerry can and various Gear parts welded on around it.

And in the midst of the garden a row away from Riese is someone who's got a refrigerator for a torso, singing a song to her... own plants? Grow, grow wide and tall...

Riesenlied pauses, though, smiling warmly as she looks to Noeline and then noticing the -- well, the Elw. She feels bad that she accidentally found out about Fei, so she resolves to not bring it up unless Mariel does.

"Good morning, Miss Mariel...!" Riese waves, her only good human-shaped hand left kind of dirty from all the digging they're doing. She's got her Fereshte dress on today. "Children?"

The three gathered around pause and wave as well. "Good morning!!" They're very energetic.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Even Noeline does not exactly look like your typical Metal Demon; though she has the strength to match, she's rather diminuitive, purposefully built to look as human as possible. After all, the original intention was to build a spy rather than a fighter. How she got from that to a flamboyantly-dressed self-proclaimed 'Crimson Noble' spinning a yarn in the village of New Petra is rather a long story.

Even her ARMs seem to be taking it easy; the two spherical pods are currently being terribly lazy, one of them allowing itself to be used as a soft toy as a girl hugs onto it in her lap, the other slowly digging into the earth by means of a scoop attached to its side. Apparently, it's better than Noeline at gardening.

At least she seems genuinely content. When one of her more grandiose proclamations catches Riesenlied's attention - something about how the Dark Lady will make the heroine hers, prompting a bit of a squeal from Noeline's audience - the Hyadean glances over at her partner with an amused grin. She's apparently ready to ham it up even more, but the combined greeting makes her pause, and blink across.

"Ah-- you girls as well," she directs, and though she doesn't actually stand up, she does at least join them in a bow of her head. "Can we offer you some water? I can't imagine the walk here was very hospitable."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel has actually seen relatively few Metal Demons in the flesh (or whatever) - less than one might expect, anyway. But none of them looked quite like this. She doesn't stare - rather the opposite; Mariel tends to try to avoid their gaze and doesn't address any of them. But she does glance at them out of the corner of her eyes, and she sees what she sees.

She ends up waiting near Riesenlied until she's noticed, and noticed she is. Mariel puts on a smile for the Metal Demon, though it looks slightly brittle, perhaps a little less than honest; it turns into a real one at the children, because although Mariel is fairly hopeless with young children, she likes them.

"Good morning," she says, politely, as she looks Riese over. She doesn't look fantastic, to Mariel's eyes. Mariel saw her not that long ago, but still... "I, ah, wouldn't mind some water. The walk was long, but it wasn't as dangerous as it has been some times."

Mariel looks around again, at the garden. "Did you bring all this?" Or was some of it here before, she means.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied hasn't had a good time as of late. She has a pallor about her, and the scales have been spreading further over her flesh, as if they'll one day take over. But... despite all of that-- she's still got a smile on her face, as she takes the days on with Noeline and her own children... there's a strength there that is not unlike a plant in Filgaia -- fragile, but with an underlying strength.

"The... ones in the green planters are from the Old Moon--" Riesenlied pauses, before correcting, "Lunar," still terribly unused to terms. "I'd actually been meaning to give you some saplings and seeds... a lot of the plants from Lunar are a lot healthier -- they grow a lot larger. And the ones you gave us from a year ago-- are down there..."

And indeed, some of the largest and most enduring plants are the ones that Mariel has granted Wayside long ago. They've taken good care of them, it would seem.

"We wouldn't have been able to survive and feed everyone without your help, Miss Mariel. And now it's grown into something really wonderful. I never... got a chance to thank you," Riese gives her a warm smile, bowing her head.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

"Of course. Really, at this point, I think I prefer Filgaia to Lunar as far as danger is concerned. I'll take heat and dust over randomly Malevolent animals any day," huffs Noeline to herself with a quietly amused smile, and then looks to one of the quieter girls around her as she starts to untangle herself from her chair.

"Sarah, would you mind getting some, please? I think everyone could use a bit of a break and a drink, don't you? Let me know if you need a hand," she encourages brightly, letting the shy girl bob a little before she scurries off in the direction of their water purifier. For a moment, the Hyadean watches her go-- then chuckles again, a flick of her hand sending one of the little floating pods after her as assistance.

She's quick to move to Riesenlied's side, ready to steady her partner if needed - but for the time being she instead plants her hands on her hips, snickering pridefully at the sight of everything laid out in front of them in rows. "... I am appreciative as well, though I have to admit it seems the best way for me to aid the gardens is to stay well away from them," she admits ruefully, but with amusement dancing in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel may be experienced enough to be a doctor, but she's never been a doctor to Hyadeans, and she doesn't know a whole lot about their physiology. She can make guesses, especially on the more - for lack of a better word - human-like ones, but she does not entirely understand Riese's problems or how to treat them.

So she has said nothing. She's not sure she's comfortable doing so, anyway.

"Lunar," Mariel repeats. "I know you've been, but... I haven't. I have seen some plants from there, but not so many. Only a few stored seeds and cuttings someone was trying to grow... The Caravan, actually." Mariel knows Riese and Noeline know of it, though she doesn't know how many details they know. She's never asked.

Mariel doesn't smile a second time, but she gives a slight nod. "I'm glad the plants have worked out. I, um, didn't think you would have managed to keep them, going to and from Lunar without expecting to. It isn't as if it would be easy to pack, if you didn't know ahead of time."

Noeline having a black thumb mysteriously does not surprise Mariel. At all. "Malevolence..." Mariel shivers. "I've seen it here, and that was enough. I don't know if I would ever want to go somewhere there is more of it."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

The children laugh as one of them goes, "Wait, I'll go with you!" as they run off to go fetch water; there's a real mixture of kids -- some of them have a distinctly Filgaian look to them, while others are still wearing their Lunarian garments. But as is childrens' wont, they seem happy enough to have company.

"Your company is encouraging enough," Riesenlied says sweetly, cheeks pinkening as Noeline moves next to her to support her. She is withering... but then again, cough medicine worked on her, back when Mariel first met her in Marze-- maybe some of the same medicines would be of at least some relief.

"I understand that feeling. When I first arrived on Lunar, I... was actually too ill to do much," Riesenlied admits. "It wasn't until a few days that I could get used to the low... ambient levels of it around the air."

She moves slowly towards those green planters. "The Fereshte crash-landed on a mountain called Taben's Peak there -- the bounty over here's from its slopes... please feel free to take any seedlings you find interesting, Miss Mariel."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

"Ah... I was not aware they were trying, and at the same time, I cannot bring myself to be surprised," Noeline huffs in response to Mariel's news. "Miss Barber does have a tendency to be overly curious, not to mention push herself much too hard. It's something I've gotten used to identifying, over the months," she adds with a wry grin in Riesenlied's direction.

That rueful sort of pride continues when she flicks at some of her hair, letting out a breath. "We've gotten used to moving very, very quickly when we need to, and we were already somewhat aware that we might need to change our location. Transplanting everything was a bother, certainly, but we were able to salvage a reasonable amount. ... we were already on the Fereshte when everything happened, even if Solaris had decided to more or less ground us," the Hyadean adds, irritation flicking across her features at that name.

She pauses to slip a hand around Riesenlied's waist, watching diligently for any sign of a wobble - and then she chuckles. "But leaving it /all/ behind, I doubt that Riese could ever manage to do something like that. It wouldn't exactly have boded well for our promise, after all."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel frowns at the discussion of Malevolence. It's a bigger frown than before. She really doesn't like it and she doesn't like hearing that the Old Moon is full of it. What does that mean, she thinks? How do they manage? But the Moon is far away, and she can't do anything with it right now.


Mariel apparently decides it is not a secret; it's not exactly something they couldn't find out if they were interested. "I am actually travelling with the Caravan now, so I'm taking care of them instead. So I'm grateful they brought them back. There were a few herbs we don't have here, or ones that look like regional variants... I wish I could see more of them."

She realizes that, in fact, she was rambling, and stops, cutting herself off with a faint flush to her cheeks. Well, Riesenlied did offer. "I would like to see the seedlings," she says, "if it isn't too difficult. Maybe there will be something else there that's new to Filgaia, but would fit in well..."

Mariel trails off again. "Solaris?" This isn't the first time she's heard of them causing trouble - Lydia told her some too. But honestly, Mariel doesn't know much about them. "Do they cause you trouble, often...?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied can tell the discomfort from the discussion of Malevolence, so she puts its aside for now-- though her attention is rather curiously drawn when Mariel tells them they're travelling with the Caravan Kinship. "Oh, are you...? That's good to hear -- Miss Jacqueline's helped us a lot, and you'll be in good hands with her," she smiles.

There is a moment in which Riesenlied wobbles, but Noeline catches her. Her balance is still a bit of an issue, it would seem, since she's not the most steady on her feet. But she moves along and inspects some of the plants, that said. "The Caravan spent most of its time in the Meribian plains... so we probably have some things from Taben's Peak that doesn't grow on the flatlands," she muses. She offers some samples to Mariel; she's not exactly the most knowledgeable or keen-eyed of gardeners, but she's begun to learn what someone like Mariel may be after. "These are especially healthy, even after we moved back to Filgaia..."

She looks to Noeline, and nods as she says, "... our newfound wings... bother them, as best as I can tell." She gestures towards the airship that's parked just in front of them. "They urged us to cease, but..."

A pause. "The Fereshte airship... will be deeply necessary with our new cause. To provide aid and relief to people who need them, in the wake of Filgaia's growing problems... whether it is war, or the desertification of our lands, or illnesses such as Zopt Syndrome... I imagine they will continue to cause us trouble, yes, but..."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline looks quietly surprised when Mariel points out she's travelling with the Caravan Kinship, her eyebrows going up as she helps bring Riesenlied back up to standing. "Really... forgive me for saying so, but you didn't exactly seem the type to move around all that much, especially given the garden you had grown for yourself. Did something change your mind?" she adds, not really expecting an answer from the girl who is still kind of cagey around them for entirely understandable reasons.

"They apparently took exception to our escaping the Quarter Knights' wrath - not because of what we are, but simply because we had chosen to take to the air to do so," she plucks out the words carefully, her pride evidently rather dented by the mysterious group. She takes a moment to huff at Riesenlied's description of the event: "I would not call what they did 'urging', however. More like 'bullying someone who is already down'."

Noeline goes quiet when Riesenlied starts to explain their mission going forwards; she shakes away the irritation, leaving a fond smile as she steadies the other Hyadean further. "... of course, it will be rather difficult to help anyone with the rest of our race targeting attacks. Like it or not, we are probably going to have to go to Elru first - there's already a great deal of rumbling in that direction, from what I can pick out of rumour. ... still, it suits our own needs," she adds towards Mariel as she places a hand in her hair.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel catches that wobble. She even guesses the cause, glancing down toward Riesenlied's feet for a moment before she pulls her gaze back up. Her ears flatten against the side of her head slightly as she looks back up.

"I travel sometimes," Mariel says, almost defensively. She always has, at least a little bit - not the whole year around, but often enough to doctor some of the smaller villages that wouldn't have anyone else, or to sell flowers and herbs to buy the few things she needs for her life that she can't make herself.

But that's not entirely what the Caravan does. Mariel is being evasive, though she helps slightly by adding, "I have some places that I need to see. And... they were going in that direction." She glances toward the plants, taking a few moments to examine them. "Oh!" she says. "These are healthy. I will have to take some seeds back, and maybe a cutting."

Mariel listens to the words on Solaris while she looks through the garden, taking a step or two. She removes one of her mittens, revealing mostly human hands except for what are either short, blunt claws or particularly long but also blunt nails, then digs one finger into the soil to get the feel of it.

She doesn't like what she's heard about Solaris before, and Riese and Noeline are not changing her mind very much. "Well... be careful." That's as much as she can say about Solaris. She doesn't know anything else about them, and for all she isn't terribly fond of Metal Demons, she has to admit that Riesenlied's goal is a good one. It's the kind of thing she should be doing...

She looks at the plants, momentarily overcome by a feeling of... something. "Riesenlied," she says, using her name for almost the first time. "How long have you been... getting worse?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied thinks a little bit, to more than a year ago... when she passed all her accumulated wealth and assets to Jacqueline, after the battle of Adlehyde. In a way, she'd been the Caravan's secret benefactor, but... it wasn't something she liked bringing up -- in no part because it was a way to make amends for what she'd done. Even if it didn't feel...

She glances at Noeline, but doesn't really comment on Gebler kicking them when they're already down because... well. Complaining about what's already happened isn't really her thing. And Noeline voices her own frustrations enough!

"I'd be happy to prepare some of the younger saplings for transplanting for you too," Riesenlied nods as Mariel comments on the health of the plants. She watches her for a moment, but...

"... me?" the question almost takes her off guard, as much as hearing Mariel call her by her name does.

"... my condition... has been with me since birth," Riesenlied admits, glancing around as she expresses, "Virtually all the Hyadeans -- Metal Demons -- you see here are Tainted, in some way or another. It's in our blood, our bodies..." There is hesitation, though. "But in my own case, I think it rapidly got worse when I was first exposed to... Equites," she recalls, glancing back to Noeline for confirmation. "It's been a year since then, and..." A hesitant pause, as she tilts her head and scratches her cheek.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

The twintailed demon's eyebrows raise at the small girl's explanation. Noeline seems to accept it readily enough, though the slight nod is paired with a hum of thought and an edge of curiosity still in her voice. "Well! One could hardly blame you for travelling, I suppose. Especially not with the land in the state it's in," she admits, glancing off towards where the barren hills around them encroach onto the settlement they've made. Not everyone has a water purifier of their very own, after all.

Speaking of which, she turns at a yell - the orphans from before have come back, doing their best to handle a couple of jugs of water between them. At their side is the little ARM-pod from before, a bag of mugs clinking softly as the little weapon carries them along. It gratefully sets them down on a nearby table set up next to the benches, only to let out a low mechanical whine as it gets patted by a couple of the children.

"We always are," notes Noeline with an amused raise of her eyebrow. "We do rather have to be." She stays silent after that, not wanting to interrupt Riesenlied's tale - though she does punctuate the end of it by hovering a cup into Mariel's vision, offering one to her and another across to Riesenlied.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel did not have a water purifier. There were some years when she could have done with one. "Thank you," she says, solemnly. "I can help with that. I know what plants I will be looking for."

Let's see. If she's been suffering since Equites...

Mariel thinks about that for a long moment. She flips her satchel open and, once she's gotten her glove back in place, starts to rummage through it. She pulls out, after a long search, a small jar of something, wider than it is tall. "This might help with, um, the scales. I don't know much about the rest, but... maybe I can think of something that would help."

Mariel feels... guilty. She doesn't even know why; she should hate the Metal Demons. She does hate the Metal Demons. But talking with Riese and Noeline in particular makes her feel guilty for not helping as she can. Mariel is the sort of person that hates seeing people hurt or struggle; it's why she makes a good, caring doctor. Apparently that extends to Riese.

But on the other hand, there may be nothing. If the life flows of Filgaia and the Metal Demons are so incompatible, then... it will be as she told the people at the horrible garden. They'll never be able to live together.

But then the children show up, and Mariel smiles to see them. She does not bring it up in front of them, because children should be children as long as they can.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

There's a soft smile at Riesenlied's lips as she watches the girls come back; she accepts a cup of water with a nod. If there's one thing they did have as an advantage to running their village, it's the water purifier ARM that's been with them since Wayside... there's certainly been times when they didn't have access to potable water, and without it...

"Noeline helps keep us vigilant, when I get into trouble," Riesenlied bashfully expresses, smiling at her partner. She squeezes her hand for a moment, then looks back to Mariel with a look of faint surprise.

"... thank you... I'll try applying this," she quietly nods, accepting the jar of cream. "Miss Jacqueline is something of an apothecary to me, so I can update her with any progress. And-- ah," she flushes further. "Thank you for coming today. I know it... couldn't have been easy... it means a lot to me. To us, too."

And she means that. Going to Lunar had taught her so much of how everyone had a hand in what happened... and it's driven her belief that if they're going to survive in Filgaia -- co-existence was going to be necessary.

With the children back, she seems happy to return the conversation to child-friendly topics -- like gardening, as she kneels down again and begins explaining about how to plant new seeds.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Taking up her own cup Noeline sips at it, watching over the rim as Mariel rather awkwardly presents Riesenlied with some salve. She can't help but chuckle softly at the sight, squinting a little and picking at her hair as she tries to decide what would be the right thing to say.

"... we understand your reticence. It is not something to feel so guilty over," is what she ultimately decides to go with, letting out a breath as she plants a hand on her hip. "Especially at times like this, it is entirely understandable to be wary of our brethren - because I can guarantee you, there are many whose hearts and minds will not be coming around to our way of thinking any time soon."

She leaves it that, not least because Mariel is looking significantly better what with the children around her, and instead answers Riesenlied's smile with her own. "Well. I suppose I have a thrilling story to get back to - but let me know if you need something to kneel upon. Why do you think I brought so many cushions out?" she huffs pleasantly, fooling absolutely no-one.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

It absolutely was not easy for Mariel to come out here... but she was hoping, perhaps, that the Hyadeans didn't see through it quite as easily as they seem to.

She isn't sure what she can say in response, and so she doesn't say anything for a few moments, looking down at her boots a little awkwardly. Her ears are pressed tighter against her head than they sit when she's comfortable and not thinking about them.

"Yes," she agrees with Noeline. "There are." And though Mariel still doubts, perhaps, whether the races can live together, at least Noeline and Riesenlied aren't trying to kill or capture her. And if they're trying... she owes them that much, to try to be less afraid.

She'll spend the rest of the time... thoughtful. But attentive, especially to the children, and the plants. She even has something for the children who seem interested; some small white flowers, kept in a special part of her bag where they can be upright and in a little leather slip, like a waterskin, keeping them hydrated. When her bag is open, they even get the sun.