(2018-01-23) Four Down
Four Down
Summary: The Antler Crown makes its appearance.
Date: IC Date (2018-01-21)
Related: None
Player Characters: Buck, Eddie, Finn, Grayson, Tyla, Velvet

| Yard - Farmhouse - The Flower Garden - East of PA |


Even when coming up the dirt road that leads onto the property, the rolling hills that can be seen in the background are easily viewed. It's a fairly open space that this farmhouse, greenhouses and shop sit upon, the area just outside of the city, yet feeling as though it were hours away. Sitting back along the property is the farmhouse, the windows sparkling whenever sunlight hits against them and the wrap-around porch offering an inviting place for people to sit and enjoy the view. Several tall trees are spaced around the house, their branches stretching out so that shade is offered over it, serving as homes to birds and wildlife that can be heard during the day. What used to be the garage has been converted into the florists shop, the door usually left open on the days where the weather allows it. Buckets of flowers and ready-made bouquets sit on either side of the door, waiting for people to sort through them.

There's not much grass visible in the front yard, instead replaced with gardens to either side of the driveway, the blooms of flowers vibrant during the warmer months. The garden on the right side is strictly flowers and flowering shrugs, lilacs and rosebushes easily visible, their scents mingling together. Flowers are clumped together, the various blooms changing with the months, yet all of them looking well-tended.

To the left of the driveway is a vegetable garden, each row neatly planted, the plants that flourish looking healthy and rather large. The leafy greens of carrot tops and lettuce take up one area, along with tall tomato plants, the fruit that hangs from it varying from greens to reds. Tall stalks of corn can be seen, as well, along with sunflowers, their heads turned toward the sunlight, their seeds offered up as feed for the various birds that visit the yard. The foot of the garden has been planted with lush herbs, their smells mixing together, growing together in an almost wild look.

Further to the right are several greenhouses that take up a fair portion of space, the doors always kept closed to care for the plantlife that is inside, the stages of life varying from newly grown sprouts to blooming flowers. Slightly behind the greenhouses there is an old barn, it's kept in decent condition; painted the same color as the house and it's trim.

The backyard is fenced in with a six foot tall fence, painted the same color as the trimmings on the house. A gate opens up into the well maintained back yard. There is a small patio with a barbecue, an above ground pool, with an attached jaccuzzi.


It's grey and misty. Tyla and Buck are sitting at the picnic table, and there is way more food than two people could possibly eat - a platter of cheeseburgers just off the grill, condiments and toppings, a couple of big bags of chips, and a family-sized bowl of potato salad. There's also an open bottle of vodka on the table. Tyla is currently medium purple on the blush scale.

"C-complicated like every t-time we try and go into the Hedge it's all grown over, and in some parts dying and…. oozy. More growing over and g-generally more bad than n-normal. And there may be a Freehold b-but… n-not in the normal way." Tyla explains, taking another big drink of vodka.

"This is going to be a long night, ain't it," Buck says with a smile of chagrin. He matches Tyla's big drink with one of his own, then swipes the back of his hand across his mouth and frowns at his burger, suddenly not as hungry. "Let's start with the Freehold, then. How is that different? You have a Queen or a King, I would guess, yeah?" Hoping he will have more luck with a potato chip given the flip-flop Tyla's words have set off in him, the antlered fellow pops one into his mouth and crunches on it, the sound suddenly echoing too loudly in his imagination.

The call of free food is one that Finn cannot resist. The aging fratboy makes his way out of the farmhouse carrying a cooler full of beer, of course. On top of it are a couple of containers of other sides, beans, salad, he can't see over it. He's in a jacket and jeans, with a tee shirt collar visible where it's not fully buttoned. "I'm here!" he announces.

It would appear Grayson still hasn't got the hang of this dressing thing. The young man has seemingly been here for a while as he appears from the direction of the barn and sheds. That wouldn't be that noteworthy in general, other than the fact that he's dressed in slightly too small, pink pajamas. Because he's so small of stature, they fit him fine, but the legs and arms are a little short due to his height. Not to mention the fluffy pink slippers. The clothes are a little dusty as if he's been working in them, and a screwdriver sticks out of one of the pant pockets. He only looks up after getting closer, noticing Buck. An unknown. At least Finn is identified as a friend to others. Though eyes go over him, too. A study. The last time he saw the man he was eaten by a plant. But he stays to the edges of the yard, watching quietly. Hard to be sneaky in that outfit, though.

Eddie never left the farmhouse last night. He was running on fumes when the evening kicked off, and once it kicked off it really kicked off. Factor in another hour or two negotiating a pledge with a couple of angry Summers and a full bottle of vodka remorselessly dispatched before bed, and he just got up an hour or so ago. The shower's been running since then, but it's finally out of hot water, so out he stumbles into what passes for the light of day up here. He's in his slacks and undershirt, shoulder holster openly visible. He looks around and squints, as much as he can squint. The guy with the antlers seems interesting, for a second, but then he sees that they're attached and lets out a grunt and makes a beeline for the burgers, not saying a word.

Changelings seem to be emerging from the mist. Or, well, the barn and farmhouse, but they are shadowy and indistinct figures until they draw closer. Their approach makes the horned beast lift his head and freeze in a display of cervine mimicry. When Tyla doesn't bolt, however, neither does Buck. Instead, he simply resumes chewing on that crunchy potato chip, offering a nod to those arriving that bows his antlers to each in turn. "Heya." That done, he rises to introduce himself. Least he can do being the newest of the new. "Buck Flowers. Good to meetcha."

Tyla spots Grayson and blinks a couple of times, taking another big swig from her glass of vodka. Any and all questions are put aside as she says gently. "Everything fixed in the garage? Are you hungry?" She offers, gesturing to the food. "You might want to g-get another pair of slippers though, if your feet are wet." Tyla says with a smile to Grayson. "Also, I p-put your clothes next to your bed if you want to ch-change into them too." Tyla explains, but quickly adds. "B-but only if you want t-too."

She pulls a couple of pieces of bacon from the plate, and looks serious again. Well as serious as she can on the road to being drunk and pretty much just blushing as she sits there. "We d-don't know right n-now. Like I said, c-complicated." She chews on her lower lip thoughtfully. "I think there is a Freehold, b-but the pledge was different." She thinks about it a moment before continuing. "I think a p-pledge was made with something other than the Wyrd… somehow."

Finn sets the cooler down on the ground beside the table and works on setting out the sides he brought to complement Tyla's always exceptional cooking. "I know, I know, Finn brought salad, the Apocalypse is night. My daughter has been making me eat it. It really has helped keep…" he trails off as he spots the antlers. Then he straightens whip-fast and blinks. Not the crown. Not Herne. "Holy shit, you're a…?" he gestures at Buck.

Grayson stays skirting the crowd and moving towards the farmhouse. He watches the antlered man rise and introduce himself. Distracted then by Tyla, he nods the affirmative. He's been fixing things. He looks down at himself and shrugs. Apparently these clothes are just fine. Eddie told him not to wear his other clothes, that was it. He does wander a little closer to the table though. Listening.

Eddie eats like, well, a monster. Go figure. Half crouched over the platter of burgers, he digs in with both hands, tearing away great huge hunks of bread and meat and literally stuffing his face when that's not fast enough. It doesn't take him long to finish, but it probably seems like longer if you have to sit and watch it. The worst part is the noises. Then he's done, or at least done enough to recognize his surroundings, and he wipes a stream of grease off of his chin and onto his forearm, from the elbow to the back of his hand. "Oh. Hi. Eddie Brundle." He belches, and sticks a hand out to Buck.

"Wait. Sorry. You don't…know if there is a freehold?" Buck can't hide the look of incredulity that comes onto his face, and his green-eyed stare might bore holes into Tyla if it weren't for the sudden straightening from Finn. He waits a beat for the question to be finished, then risks a grin. "Whatever it is, you can say it. I'm sure I've been called worse," he half-jokes, grin turning lopsided. He pulls his gaze to Eddie's hand, then sticks his out for a firm shake that may be causing him some internal trepidation. "Pleasure," he says.

"You just look like something, uh, I used to know, in you know, the other place," Finn says, clearly thrown by Buck's appearance. He shakes off the wiggins and offers his hands. "Sorry, sorry Finn Walker." He gives the man a grin, his green hair bobbing in the misty breeze.

Far off down the property, in a small clearing stands a tall, dead tree. Hollowed and burnt out by a lightning strike. It's usually not exceptional, but now, faintly in emanates the feeling of magic. The power of the Wyrd. A gate opening, perhaps?

Grayson makes his way to the table, an end where there is less traffic, reaching across it to sneak a burger. He can't realty sneak it in plain sight, but the effort is made. Not to mention he's pink. It's pure failure. He sniffs it then and nibbles at the burger, taking it back a few feet from the table to sit on the ground. Now the pajamas will be filthy too. He has a tendency. Then eyes rise to the feeling of magic, very quickly. He stares at the tree, but he knows where that tree leads. Eyes widen and Grayson is finding something to cower behind.

"Good man," Eddie says, grinning. One gets the impression that Buck has passed a test. He looks around and notices the others, then notices the potato salad, then fights the urge to attack it face first. He manages, but his wings tremble for just a second. Finn gets a wave. Grayson, too, then a shake of the head when the detective detects Tyla's pajamas. "What are you? Never mind. What?" The question dies, whatever it is, as his eyes bug open with alarm and he spins to face the tree. "Concrete. Fire. Bulldozer." His holster is empty, now, and his hand is not.

"I hope it was good thing," Buck says to Finn with some genuine desire. There is a very brief smile flashed before the creeping feeling of magic bring his head round, eyes darting in the direction of the tree, muscles tense and alert. The three words from Eddie cause a cloud of confusion to pass over his face, and though there is little time to ask questions, one of his honey-colored eyebrows lifts curiously.

"The hell is that?" Finn barks out, suddenly really upset that he doesn't have his bow with him. The once-rider of the Wild Hunt is having a very weird day. He stares at the tree while murmuring back to Buck, "The White Stag led me out of Arcadia, twice." Fire, fire he can do! He digs a zippo out of his pocket.

"I said it was c-complicated." Tyla explains to Buck. Then everyone starts getting weird and staring at the tree that ones led to a Hollow. That a gate is there is nothing new to the fae-touched, she always seems to know where they are, but she doesn't feel anything special when one opens. She blinks at Eddie. "Still n-no?" She's not dumb though, everyone is looking that way so something has to be happening. "What?" She asks, looking as well.

"It's open," Eddie says, and that's all. The gun comes up in a two handed grip, and he walks quickly in a slight crouch to get a better view of the gate, almost like he knows what he's doing. His mantle goes to work doing the little bit that it does, mostly making him seem somehow further away. Quieter.

Grayson can still be seen, he's a pink flag, but he's found something in the yard to hide behind. His gaze just stays steady on the tree. He looks a little frightened. Eyes flickering her and there as if planning an escape route.

Buck is motionless a moment longer, then bounds into motion, moving to approach the gate from the opposite angle as Eddie. Unlike the other Lost, he makes no effort to hide himself. His approach is steady, but not fast, and for those who have the presence of mind to notice it, his booted feet leave hoof-shaped marks in the damp ground. The drizzle slicks the curls of his hair and plaster them to his forehead, but he pays that little heed as he keeps his focus on the hollow tree.

"Finn, there is a compound bow in the shed near the b-barn." She offers, standing up and looking somber. "Swords t-too. Guns in the house if anyone n-needs them. But I d-don't think that they work in the Hedge? I know my flashlight d-didn't work for long." She moves over close to Grayson, close but not hugging.'

Finn reaches for the bottle of Vodka. It's flammable right? Hopefully it's at least 40 proof. Oh thank God. "Awesome," he mumbles before he hauls butt to the shed to dig out the bow and arrows.

Eddie settles up near another tree, a live one, without a gate in it. The gun in his hands is aimed directly at the portal to the Hedge, and his eyes are aimed directly down the sights. He doesn't seem inclined to go any further, settling in to watch what comes through, and take cover if need be.

Grayson continues to peer over his hiding spot. He doesn't look up or at Tyla when she comes near. He's still preparing for what may or may not be coming out of that tree. She can see he is shaking a little. In a whisper, that probably only Tyla can hear, Grayson says, "I'm not going back…"

Finn gets the gear together and moves to use the picnic table for cover. He jabs a handful of arrows into the earth beside him, except for one that he nocks to the string of the bow. In the moment, he looks painfully like who he was in Arcadia.

Buck, too, pauses some distance from the tree, unarmed, hands out at his sides, palms facing the lighting-struck tree. The drizzle collects and runs in small rivulets down his antlers and into his hair. His weight drops, perhaps ready to charge, perhaps ready to flee, and he keeps his attention fixed firmly on the gate, though his head dips, antlers tilting ever so slightly forward.

"D-don't worry." Tyla says to Grayson as she tries to hug him protectively. "You won't go back. N-no one here will let happen." She tries to reassure him, then gets in front of him. She undoes her hair from the ponytail and it spreads out, wild and free like last night, although tonight it's not as agitated or flickering like it was last night. She's not much of a wall, but she's trying her best.

The gate doesn't do anything as Eddie approaches, it just shimmers faintly. When Buck gets close though however, the shimmering intensifies and a feminine hand peeks out of the gate holding a crown adorned with antlers. The hand is covered with blood and a black-ish ooze. It trembles weakly, and there are feathers stuck to the blood. As the hand emerges further Eddie and Buck can see that it is wrapped in vines and thorns, piercing and and pulling at the flesh of the arm, ripping it off of the bone, trying to pull the hand back through the gate.

Eddie takes a deep breath to steady his nerves, which seems to have the opposite effect. His eyes widen, wider than usual even. He sniffs the air again. "It's the crown!" He shouts, a moment before the hand bursts through the gate and proves him right. "Grab it! Grab it and run, I'll cover you!" His voice is weirdly muffled, even yelling.

Finn shudders for a moment as the crown is handed out. Only the fact it is corporeal and not the true crown keeps him from screaming and running away. He still has nightmares and flashbacks on occasion of his utter failure as Spring King. The bow lowers a moment as he collects himself, then it's back up and aimed at the hollow in case anything else comes out.

Buck is pale to begin with, the hints of the white stag still present in the colorless nature of his skin. Still, the sight of that arm and the vines and thorns that cling to it, makes him look even more bloodless. An audible gasp is heard from the beast. He rocks in indecision, but only for a moment. Eddie's voice, distant though it may sound, cracks his indecision like an egg. For reason he doesn't fully understand, he bounds forward and grasps the antlered circle. He pulls.

It's Tyla getting in front of him that seems to bring a little courage to Grayson. He nudges his way back to sort of in front of her. He's not going back, but for some reason he feels the need to protect her like she is him. And then the gate is opening, a crown is being produced, and his eyes simply widen and watch. His mouth even opens, a little agape. Maybe it's something about the crown. Maybe it's the arm that reaches through. Then lips slowly start to form into a frown. Still silent. Unmoving.

Buck doesn't need to pull, once the hand feels the resistance of someone else holding the crown, the female hand releases it almost immediately being pulled back into the Hedge. The vines whift slightly of being burnt, a few sparks jump off of the Hedge material before the bloodied and now limp hand get pulled back into the gate.

A moment later something comes flying out of the gate, and plummets to the ground, burnt feathers and cooked meat waft from the bird on the ground.
"Dead women hanging in trees, distributing crowns is no basis for a system of government!" Finn Pythons. Jokes to cover the fear that's clenching his chest hard.

Eddie almost starts shooting when he sees feathers. If Buck wasn't in the field of fire, he probably would. As it is, he just hollers: "Get away from the gate!" Whatever the burned dead thing is, he doesn't spare it a second glance. It can wait until the gate is closed.

"What…?" Buck staggers back a few steps and then twists the crown in his view, studying it from different angles for a moment until his gaze goes to the smoking ruin of the bird. And then Eddie's voice cracks through once more and he…leaps. His legs bunch and with a great thrust of his feet against the moist earth, he hurls himself away from the tree, and the smoldering corpse, and the singed vines, awful mystery. Though he says nothing, his eyes are haunted with a hundred questions.

Unfortunately, Grayson is doing the opposite. In a flash, he's moving away from Tyla and towards the gate. The crown and the gate. It almost might appear like another instance of last night, a vying for a crown that isn't yours. That's what it looks like, but the quick little Ppring runs right past Buck and the crown, trying for the gate maybe, but he dives out as the ladies arm is pulled back in, possibly tumbling and slamming into the ground. Maybe tripping over the bird.

Tyla was okay with Grayson getting in front of her, it;s just easier to keep an eye on someone when they are in front of you. But then he's taking off towards the gate right after saying he didn't want to go back. "Hey! Grayson! S-stop!" She calls out as she takes after him. She's not really fast though and only makes it about halfway across the yard before Grayson trips over the dead bird and falls into the hollowed out part of the tree. Job complete, the gate closes behind the hand, and the changelings no longer feel the presence of it's magic.

Nothing is stoping anyone from opening up the gate and going in, though.

Finn follows the movement of the boy who falls headfirst in the hollow that's just a hollow again. Then his eyes trace the path of the burnt feathered thing to train an arrow on it.

The bird lies there, smouldering and smelly.

Eddie watches the gate for a long time after it closes. When it doesn't open up again, he lowers the gun, slowly. His hands are shaking, just a little. He stares them down until they stop and lets out a deep sigh. "That leaves one." He's not addressing anyone, in particular. Stepping away from cover, he slowly approaches the smoldering bird. He nudges it with the toe of his shoe, then crouches down to inspect it more closely, at least if it doesn't start moving.

The bird lies there, smouldering and smelly, and in a slightly different position.

Buck's gaze swings wildly from the bird, to Eddie, to Grayson, to the Tree, to Tyla, to Finn. Unlike the little guy in pink pajamas, however, he seems to have absolutely no interest in discovering what was pulling the flesh off that arm and so he goes full retreat back to the table with the burgers. Not that he is eating. He remains on his feet, his breath coming in foggy puffs in the drizzling air. Only when nothing else seems to be falling or coming out of the tree does he turn his eyes on the crown once more, studying it closely.

"I uh, need to go fill Jamie in," Finn rasps, laying the bow on the picnic table before he stalks off back to wherever he parked his Jeep.

Grayson pushes himself back up from the ground. Now the front of the pink pajamas are a mess, too. He doesn't push himself all the way back up though, just to his knees. He sits there, his face not really visible to many with his proximity to the tree. He just stares at the tree. Or sits there transfixed on it. Unmoving again from his knees. His arms hanging at his sides. He's not, thankfully, trying to open the gate and go back through.

After a moment longer of study, Buck stops looking at the crown, the frowns, casting a look back toward the tree and the Lost who kneels before it. Letting the circlet dangle loosely from his fingers, he slowly makes his way back in that direction, calling out, "Hey. Are you okay?" His head tilts curiously.

"Like I said, c-complicated. D-don't put it on though!" Tyla cautions as she passes Buck on her way to Grayson, slowing down since he doesn't seem to be going anywhere. She settles close to him, not close enough to touch, but to be in his eye-line at least. Gently she asks the same question as Buck. "Are you okay, Grayson?"

Eddie turns the bird over, leans down to give it a sniff. He frowns, and stands, and heads back over to the table. He picks up the bowl of potato salad, dumps it on the ground, banging it on the table to dislodge whatever sticks. "Welcome to Port Angeles," he says to Buck as he passes on his way back to scoop up the dead animal. He seems content to let the others deal with Grayson.

Grayson seems to continue to stare past Tyla, it's not even clear if he hears Buck, or knows he's talking to him. He looks very pained, sad. His chest heaves a little as if fighting back strong emotions, trying to shove them back down. There's a long pause and then his shoulders slump. "Couldn't save her." It's barely a whisper. "Why does someone always have to die? Why can't we save them?" His hand reaches out for the tree, but doesn't exactly touch it. A deep sigh, head turning to Tyla, finally. And then it falls. Maybe a tear starts to fall, he wipes it away quickly, smearing dirt across his face.

"You don't know she's dead," Buck says softly to Grayson. It's a bit of a stretch, however, and, unseen by the other Changeling, he fights a shiver that rips through his body. "Maybe we got the crown from her in time to turn and fight…" He tosses a green-eyed gaze to the smoldering bird. He stands behind Grayson and Tyla in the grey drizzle, that pair next to the hollowed husk of a dead tree once struck by lightning. A table near the house has been loaded down with food: burgers, chips, fixings, vodka, side-dishes, though a pile of potato salad seems to have been dumped on the ground. Eddie is stalking away from it holding a suspiciously empty bowl.

Eddie collects the bird in the bowl and trudges back to the table. He takes a seat and drops the bowl next to him and pats his pants pocket. "Shit." He left his cigarettes in his coat, inside the farmhouse. He sits there and breathes the clean smokeless air, then spits on the ground and flips it open. "Velvet?" he asks, looking up to watch the others handling Grayson. "It's Eddie. We're at the farmhouse. You better get over here." Leaning forward, he grabs a handful of potato salad off the ground, to eat while he waits.

"I so want to hug you right now." Tyla says sadly to Grayson. She's not really affected by the death, maybe she's just seen it too much. She's probably too concerned for Grayson right now. "I'm s-sorry, Grayson. Sometimes we c-can't." She says gently. She doesn't move to hug him though and sighs. "If I thought it would help I'd sh-share a joint with you n-now." She glances back at Buck, her cheeks going that deep purple it does when she blushes. "N-not the best idea right now though." She smiles back at Grayson sadly and just waits.

You better get over here is never a good way to end a coversation. But it does ensure that Velvet flies like a bat of hell to get to the farmhouse quickly. An Uber speeds up towards the front and squeals to a stop. A large cash tip is thrown towards the driver as Velvet steps out of the backseat, her bow slung over one shoulder and a look of determination set across her features. She starts to stride towards the group, glancing around from person to person, and then finally the tree that looks like it was hit by lightening. "What happened?"

"She's dead." Grayson intones sadly to Buck, looking up at him. He nods, he knows. He's skilled when it comes to such things. His gaze goes sideways then, maybe at the mention of Velvet's name. Eyes widening just a bit when he sees Eddie eating off the ground. There's not judgment, just surprise. A large sigh and he turns back to Tyla and the tree. He doesn't move for a hug, he seems to keep his distance. A look of resignation. A nod, and this is why sometimes telling Grayson things are bad, he's too honest. "Because it makes you horny." He remembers that from yesterday. It isn't said maliciously, just a matter-of-fact statement. Like someone giving a report.

"Hey what's wrong with being horny?" Buck offers what he hopes is a charming smile, one hand lifting toward his antlers. It falls away uselessly a moment later. "Perhaps what…she…was doing was more important to her than her life," he offers. It is a dark kind of hope, but that may be all that there is to find in Port Angeles. He glances to the crown in his other hand, then holds it up. "What should we do with this? I take it you know what it is?"

Tyla goes about as purple as she can right now, going still herself, just staring straight at the tree. "Yes, Grayson.. b-because it m-makes me horny." She agrees quietly. "B-but that's p-private, okay. So p-please d-don't g-go telling p-people that." She says really quietly. Mortified, she doesn't notice Velvet's arrival. "We know there are f-five of them. Yours m-makes f-four we've f-found." Tyla tells the tree, as she stares at it, eyes wide. She can't go any more purple.

Eddie is licking his fingers clean by the time Velvet arrives, sitting in the same spot. There's a wet spot on the ground where the potato salad used to be. "Another crown, another corpse," he says, rising unsteadily to his feet. He grabs the bowl and walks it over. It smells like burnt feathers and mayonaise. "You hold onto it until we need it. Then you pull the chord on the side, and the propeller starts up."

The frown creases Velvet's lips as she pushes the bow backwards a bit, making sure it's out of the way since it doesn't seem like it's needed. "Was it the Spring crown or the fifth crown?" Her eyes are unsettled on a color kaleidoscoping through the colors as she takes in Buck and the crown in his hands. "Spring. Okay. That just leaves one more." Tyla is a strange shade of purple and Grayson is wearing pink pajamas. "Good look for you, Gray." But it's Eddie's approach that gets her full attention, her eyes dropping to the bowl. "You really do bring me just the best presents," she coos, reaching in to grab hold of of the bird if Eddie doesn't protest.

Grayson shrugs at Buck, not having an answer for his inquiry. He's just repeating what he was told, it seems. He's usually pretty perceptive about these things, but Grayson doesn't seem to pick up on the fact that he's done something wrong with Tyla. How will he ever learn? He nods though, to her words. "Private, okay. Won't tell anyone. Sorry." But she's staring at the tree still, so he does too, following her gaze curiously. Social cues will take time. Velvet's voice stirs him and he gives her a faint little smile at the compliment before he stills it. Like he shouldn't smile. But that smile is intoxicating when he does it. Watching now between Velvet, Eddie and the bird in silence.

"It was joke. You know? Um…horns?" Buck once more lifts a hand, this time, actually touching his antlers, but it seems that perhaps the embarrassment has taken too deep a root. He looks back to the two, opens his mouth, then closes it again. Finally, with a little shake of his head, he steps closer to Eddie and Velvet. "So each of the crowns that has appeared has been seasonal? Where are the rest of them?"

"You d-don't have to apologize." Tyla says quietly, shaking her head a bit. Since Grayson doesn't seem like he's going to try and get through the tree, Tyla stands slowly to head over to Buck and talk to him, maybe actually getting a little more purple. "S-so you know how I was saying we d-din't know if there was a freehold or not?" She asks the tall man. She doesn't look up, more straight ahead at his chest. "This is a p-part of it. We know there are f-five crowns because of a prophecy. S-so n-now one left. I used to think that maybe a courtless, or a fae-touched like me would n-need to wear it, but courtless c-can't hold crowns and fae-touched c-can't have courts so…" She gives a little shrug and continues to explain and not meet his eyes.

"Eddie has one, Jack t-too, they are both staying either here or the Sit N Spin, and Lucas has one t-too. No idea where his is, though I'm s-sure it's s-safe." Tyla pausing to think. "P-people who have b-been here, most of us c-can't really remember the p-past seven and a half years. Other p-people like you are b-being drawn here." Tyla stops for a breath, then keeps going. "I think that the p-pledge was made with something, or some kind of thing that is d-different. Like how you g-guys pledge with fire to d-do things with it. N-not the Wyrd like n-normal."

Eddie gives Velvet a little mock bow as she takes the bird. It ought to be safe to touch by now. It's not smouldering anymore. "Same kind we ran into the night we met. Romantic, isn't it? You're just lucky I already ate today." When Buck approaches, he finally takes a good look at that crown, then up at the man's antlered head. He holds his hands about antler-width apart, crown width, trying to work something out. A shake of the head, he dismisses it. "Winter's in a safe, locked up and under guard. Autumn, I don't know. Somewhere real spooky, I'm guessing."

Buck tries for a bit to catch Tyla's eye, but she seems determined to look at his chest instead, and he doesn't seem inclined to force her to confront something she doesn't want. "That's…clearer. A little. I think. That woman…" He swallows back bile at the memory of her shredded arm. "Do we know what she i— was? It seemed like the hedge, or something in it did not want her to pass this on." He holds up the crown, then watches Eddie to his calculations with a grin and a shake of his head. "Not a chance," is all he offers, his smile mysterious. His green eyes travel next to Velvet. "I'm sorry. I'm Buck. Recently arrived from Portland." He bows his antlered head in her direction.

Velvet eyes Buck for a moment, unfamiliar with the man. But then he's introducing herself. But there's suspicion even as he does so. "Velvet." Her eyes swirl again, settling on a sterling silver, unblinking for a little too long. Tyla and Eddie snap her out of it, forcing her to blink as she glances between them again. "We need a not-quite-Freehold pledge for everyone, I think. If people are going to keep coming into town during this fragile time, we need to ensure that there are no Loyalists among them. Such a vulnerable time and all that." She scoops up the bird, bringing it towards her face, head tilting as she stares at it. Grayson's seen her with the birds before, but atleast she isn't making this one dance. "So romantic," she agrees as she wiggles the bird, making the wings bob a little. "What happened to it? Where was the Spring crown, and why is Grayson in pink PJs? Unless you two hooked uuuuup." Brows waggle as she looks at Grayson and then Tyla.

Nothing more to be done at the tree, Grayson rises himself. He gives it one more sad look, even brushes his hand lightly against the bark and then joins the rest of the group, though on the outskirts. "All the crowns except Eddie's given by dead people." This Grayson says sadly to Buck. Dead people in hedge. A deep sigh. He finally settles somewhat near Velvet, filthy and wet both front and back. He just falls silent. When Velvet starts teasing Tyla, he just blinks as if not quite understanding. So he answers her rather straight. "Clothes were dirty. Didn't want to talk home. Tyla let me pick out some."

So apparently Tyla CAN go more purple. "N-no, his clothes were wet s-so I told him to g-get something more c-comfortable last n-night." Tyla explains, moving to the table to grab the open bottle of liquid courage, commonly known as vodka. "The hollow had wards, I remember. Maybe there is still one there and it g-got burned up on the way through?" Tyla offers, but it's p-pretty obvious that she isn't sure and it's just a guess. She takes a drink, right from the bottle and sits back down at the table where she started eating dinner not that long ago even if it feels like it. But at least the burgers are still warm. "I t-told you it was c-complicated." She explains over her shoulder to buck, then stand up suddenly. "Fuckit, I'm getting a joint." She proclaims, and heads towards the house, taking the bottle with her. There is still the little bar out here though. And Finn's beer.

Pledges. Eddie snorts, spitting onto the ground. "Way ahead of you." When Tyla runs off for the house, he calls after her: "Grab my coat?"

"Eddie's um…crown-giver…was alive? Is she still alive?" Buck watches Tyla leave for a moment with a half-smile playing on his lips, then turns to look at the other three. "Was yours the first," this question, evidently for Eddie. "I mean…is the Hedge getting more violent with each attempt?"

"Mmhmm." Velvet grins between Tyla and Grayson for another moment before she looks back towards the bird. She drops it back into the bowl with a thunk. "I will add it to the others. Though they really haven't given me any information. Mostly just normal birds. Just an odd assortment of them." Velvet offers a smile towards Grayson as he comes closer, studying him. "You want my coat?" She starts to shrug it off. "Good, Eddieking. Good."

"We did n-not have sex!" Tyla doesn't shout, but it is abrupt as she's saying it as she comes back out, bottle and now a joint in hand. "I d-don't even know when the last t-time I g-got laid was because I c-can't remember the p-past seven years of t-time. Who knows how long it's b-been!" Tyla proclaims to the back yard. "We think she's d-dead." Tyla answers Buck's question, not sure if anyone answered him while she was in the house, but she heard it!

Grayson's finally picking up on the mood here, but he looks confused. Maybe it's the slang Velvet used, but he's not quite sure what's going on. He watches Tyla curious as she goes more shades of purple and stammers. All the way until she goes in the house. Ill unsure exactly what's going on. He listen to what Buck has to say, but he has to shrug, he wasn't there for that one. A little smile comes to his lips briefly at Velvet's, but he shakes his head about the coat. He has something far more important to ask. "What's hooked uuuup?" He even says it like Velvet does. Then Tyla shouts and he jumps. Is it starting to sink in? He knows THAT word.

"We don't know. There wasn't a body. I'm looking into it," Eddie says to Buck. "First one, yeah. The Hedge…" he balls up the thought in his hand, blows it into the night, "Who knows? It's ugly, every time we go in, that's all I know." He waves off Velvet's offer with a smirk. "I don't think I left my smokes in there, unless I had a real good time last night I'm sorry I've forgot about. Anyway, it wouldn't match my pants."

"Well, if you /weren't/ getting laid, at least you've forgotten your dry spell," Buck offers, helpfully. He holds out his hand for the bottle of vodka, on the off-chance that Tyla will part with it. "And I'm sorry for the all the questions. It's a lot to walk into. I know we're not exactly the trusting type, so I appreciate you even talking to me at all." He hold up the crown. "What do I do with this?"

"Hooked up means," Tyla is yelling, Velvet pointing a finger in her direction. "Exactly. Having sex. I was teasing her because I think it's adorable when she turns purple." Velvet grins back at Grayson at his hint of a smile, wordlessly trying to encourage more. "Believe me, Eddie, if anything had happened between us, not even this weird memory alteration would let you forget it. Also, I doubt you'd already be up and moving again so soon." Lashes flutter. "There was a lot of blood left behind from the woman Eddie got his from, but yeah, no body ever found." She shrugs. "As for the crown, I would suggest putting it in the safe with the Winter one. But maybe seperate, not touching or anything."

"That is a really good p-point." Tyla agrees with Buck, still purple but she hands over the bottle. She hasn't lit the joint yet, but is looking at it, thoughtfully. "And it's okay, there is a lot g-going on, and we d-don't even have all the pieces, yet." She looks down at the joint, then over at Eddie. "Light?" She asks, hopefully. "I have another safe, and a safe room here t-too." The fae-touched offers. "You c-could stay here t-too, instead of the apartments if it would make you feel b-better?" She goes a little more purple. "Lots of rooms, b-but we'd have to share the bathroom."

Grayson has now caught on, but surprisingly the topic of sex doesn't bother him. It doesn't even embarrass him. He just nods his head as Velvet points. There's a small frown. He then looks at Tyla with a great deal of curiousity as if trying to figure out some puzzle escaping him. It doesn't seem to be coming to him. Well, he doesn't get it. He's silent, still trying to figure it out.

"I'd rather not have all our eggs in one basket," Eddie says, eyeing the crown and rubbing his chin, "but unless you've got somewhere safe to stick it, that might be best. As far as trust goes, well," he makes a so-so gesture, "I haven't shot you yet. Let's see where it goes from there." He barks a laugh when Tyla offers yet another room to yet another Changeling. "I don't think I'd be stashing anyone here. Not until this is all sorted out, or you come around to my way of thinking on the fire and concrete. Just a minute." He heads for the farmhouse to collect the stuff he left inside.

Buck just smiles. "I'd love to stay with you for a bit," he says simply. "And if you have a safe place for this, then so much the better." A nod is offered to Eddie's back. "Maybe it would be best not to have it in the same spot as one of the other crowns. Seems a shame to hide it away though." He frowns and turns it over and over in his hands. "Maybe I can find some answers in my sleep tonight," he finishes with a roll of his shoulders before pouring more vodka in his glass and passing the bottle back.

Eddie comes back out after a minute. Coat, jacket, all that stuff. His tie hangs untied on his neck, and there's a cigarette already dangling from his lips. He tries and strikes a match with his thumbnail, gets it on the second shot, lights Tyla's joint first. "You're one of those?" he asks, when Buck mentions dreams. "Doc was looking for one of those. I'll put you in touch."

"T-to be fair, I already collected him." Tyla explains to Eddie. "I mean, he has an apartment at the Sit n Spin already, so it's n-not that new, even if he is n-new." She looks over to where the tree is and gives a little shrug. "I still say I'm wrong about the c-courtless thing that I thought earlier." She just sort of babbles on. She takes the bottle back with a little smile. "Thanks." She looks a little guilty and pours herself some more. "Dreams, why dreams?" Tyla asks, looking quizzical.

Grayson 's still just the silent observer as he often is, but his head tilts, looking between Tyla and Buck for a moment now. Eyes flicker to Eddie's hands as he lights the joint and then back to the other two. If you're not looking at him, you might not notice the quirk at the corner of his lips. An almost smile that he once again tries to still, but he seems to be losing the battle. So there he is oddly smiling suddenly, and it really is a thing to behold. That is until they start talking about dreams. It fades, and he looks more specifically at Buck. "Sometimes I have dreams, too." Who doesn't?

"I'm happy to do what I can. Especially if it will help sort things out," Buck says with a nod to Eddie, lifting his glass as if in toast and throwing back a swallowfull of the clear liquid. The glass makes a hollow sound as he places it back on the table and then looks to Tyla. "I'm a…I can move through, and shape dreams a little bit. And because of that, I'm sometimes good at…collecting the things that people are dreaming about. The wyrd finds its way into dreams in…odd ways and sometime you can learn things if you watch and listen closely." He turns his attention on Grayson and nods, then adds, "We can all work with dreams. I've just spend some time working on it. Not all of us do. They can be dangerous."

"Dreams are memories, sometimes. Memories are in short supply these days." Eddie takes a drag off his cigarette. Nothing exciting, like Tyla's smoking. Just good old fashioned tobacco. Probably not more than forty percent shredded Chinese newspapers, even as cheap as he buys them. "I never had much use for it. It's nicer out here."

"An oneiromancer? Fascinating! I've always been curious about that sort of thing. I will have to sit down and pick at your brain sometime." Velvet grins. "Then we can talk." Haha, she's probably kidding. "There's a group of us that can use Dreams to heal," she explains to Grayson. "Mostly mental trauma, though. I believe."

"Thanks." Tyla says to Eddie after lights it and inhales deeply, closing her eyes and savouring it as she holds it in, then blows it out again. She takes another couple of quick tokes and then passes left. She doesn't look to see who is left, but she passes anyway.

Grayson looks to reply to Buck, but instead of that, his mouth just opens and closes. Once more he seems confused, as if unsure of what he was going to say and thus didn't say it. A look up at Velvet breaks his little thought. "Oh. I see. That seems good?" Anything healing seems to light him up a bit. He's interested now and smiling a little again briefly. "Maybe I can learn this?"

"It /is/ nice out here," Buck agrees with Eddie, pouring just a touch more of that vodka into his glass. The trauma of the sudden appearance of the gate and the crown seem to be retreating beneath the fuzzy blanket of the first kiss of intoxication. To Velvet, he offers, "I'm always happy to talk about it. And willing to teach what I know." He accepts the joint from Tyla and takes a small toke, the paper crackling before passing it on to /his/ left. As he blows it out, he nods to Grayson. "You can definitely learn it if you want to. Come find me and we'll do some basic sculpting."

Taking the joint as it's passed to her, Velvet takes a hit for herself, eyes shifting colors again, but slower this time. She offers it to her left, to Grayson. "When you are showing him, please keep in mind that he only just escaped his durance. He may need some additional guidance. But having another Spring around to show him the ropes is a good thing. I have no idea how to teach someone to heal outside of mundane means."

"I'd better split before that thing makes it to me," Eddie says, watching the joint make its journey through the group, "Makes me paranoid. Can you believe it?" He takes another drag off his cigarette, then chucks it to the ground and stomps it out. "You're all okay, tonight?" He looks around, but his eyes linger a half second longer on Grayson than the rest.

Grayson nods very passionately to Buck, once more that smile of his touches his lips. He must have been crafted for that. "I will find you!" It almost sounds like a light threat, it's said with so much enthusiasm. He doesn't even realize what Velvet is passing him and takes it. He's seen them do it. It's easy. Puff, and then he's coughing and coughing some more hacking out a lung. Vile weed. He doubles over a little coughing harder. What has she done to him? Poison! His eyes go a little wide as forced tears start to well from coughing so hard. Well, he can't answer Eddie's question. He just pushes the joint back at Tyla like it's a terrible weapon.

"There's more potato salad in the house." Tyla offers to Eddie, if he's leaving. He seems to like it. Then she realizes that there is more potato salad and she stands up. "I'll be okay. Staying here tonight though. N-not much of guard but I'll d-do my best." Tyla says, relaxing and seeming to be a little less purple now. She laughs a little at Grayson's reaction, but catches herself mid-giggle and takes the joint back and takes a nice long hit.

"I'll keep it in mind, for sure. We'll find some good things to dream about." He shoots Velvet a quick smile, then matches Grayson's with one of his own, bright in the foggy dim of drizzle and pot smoke. It causes deep lines to form along his cheeks. "I'm okay," he tells Eddie. "Thanks. You be careful out there." He gestures vaguely into the night, then stands and stretches. "That hit me just right. I might curl up somewhere, if you'll show me the best place," he tells Tyla.

Was it on purpose that Velvet gave Grayson no warning? All signs point to yes, but she's offering him the most innocent of wide eyed looks. "It's a little rough the first time, Gray, but I promise you'll understand in a minute when you feel its effects." No apologies! "Pleasure to meet you, Buck," she offers to the man, grinning to Tyla a moment later. "You should go show him all the places, dear."

Watching Grayson's failed assault on the stick of tea seems to do Eddie some good. "You'll be okay," he chuckles, shaking his head. Even Tyla's plan to stay so close to the gate tonight can't spoil it completely, though he does stare at the tree for a little while longer. "It's your funeral," he finally says, "Keep the doors locked. I won't be far off. Buck." He nods, and heads off.

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