(2018-03-18) Shop Talk
Shop Talk
Summary: In which our Heroine gets some blunt and probably unhelpful advice from a Summer.
Date: 2018-03-18
Related: None
Player Characters: Tyla, EmmahSue (ST)

Shop Talk

The undergrowth and woodsy bits of the countryside have been allowed to grow untrammeled by the fuss and bother of mortal man. Instead, a clearing houses a bit of ramshackle home: a single-story building, probably quite old and made by hand back when such things were done. It has a large, open shed near the front where a forge fire of the long-ago variety burns constantly. The house behind the shed is closed up tight as a whistle, not for the casual visitor.


It's mid-afternoon; the sun is still high and bright, and if the day isn't quite warm enough, that's because it's only just now turning away from the winter. It takes a bit of driving to find Alice's home, and then a bit of hiking to push through the mess that is her 'yard'. But eventually a body moves out of the underbrush and into the clearing.

Alice herself is seated inside the open shed that faces the 'front' of the property. There's a scrap of metal in her hands, a generator humming along quite nicely at her feet for power, and a dremel applied to the former. The work makes a high-pitched screech of a noise that announces what she's doing from all the way back at the car.

Tyla raises her hand up to her face to cover her eyes, squinting at the brightness. She unshoulders her backpack and digs around for a bottle of water, takes a sip, and slips the backpack on again. "Um…excuse me?" Tyla speaks slowly and carefully, though not very self-assured. "Excuse me?" She calls out again, hair rolling slowly and flickering slightly. "I'm looking for Alice?" She adds, not really sure what to say.

The woman - yes, that's probably a woman - stretches out a foot to tap a switch down on the generator. The sound of the cutting metal stopping is almost as startlingly as the sound of Tyla's voice; downright shocking, that silence. Alice looks up and over, peering through the safety-goggles she'd been wearing. An impatient shove pushes them up and back out of the way.

"Who're you and what do you want?" The demand is blunt and straight-forward, and accompanied by a distant sort of glower. It's the sort that suggests this is her Resting Face, not directed at her visitor in specific. She sets the metal aside and rises from the stool. Standing, the woman is all knotted, twisted muscle, short and slightly hunched at the shoulders. Her hair is thick and grey, pulled back in a tight knot; exact age isn't clear, but she's no spring chicken. An apron tied 'round her waist is host to a great many pockets, and a low drift of soot when she moves. When the ash settles to the ground, it fades away out of sight. Behind her, the forge simmers with banked coal heat.

Tyla's hair pulls closer around her a little bit as if she's trying to hide. She shuffles her feet a little and swallows. "Tyla Wilson, ma'am." She chews on her lower lip, pausing and thinking about what to say next. "Honestly, I don't know." She admits finally. "I was going through my old diaries while I've been cooped up, trying to see if I could remember anything, and I found your name and number and where you were… so I was hoping you might know me? Or more likely why I might have your number? I circled it three times, so I figure it must be important." She speaks timidly, and extra slowly, so as not to stutter.

"Kid, everyone's got my number." Alice's voice is a grating sound, the opposite of the younger woman's dulcet tones; she sounds like she smokes twelve packs a day or more. An abrupt gesture indicates a spot in front of her, closer to the shed. "C'mon over here where I can see you better. You don't look or sound familiar, so you prob'ly haven't come looking to get someone's knees broken before… maybe you were thinkin' about it before everyone's head went fuckup?" Her suggestion of casual violence is thoughtful, maybe a touch speculative. "And for crap's sake, stop acting like you think I might hit you. It only makes me want to hit you when I didn't before. Walk like you own the spine God gave you."

Tyla swallows but steps up, tilting her chin up a little. Her hair extends out around her a little bit, tendrils here and there making her look a little bigger, like a puffer fish. "Well I don't want you to hit me." She admits. "And if I wanted you to do that before I honestly don't know. Do you… only beat people up? Do you teach people how to defend themselves? Or maybe act as a bodyguard?" Tyla offers, still trying to figure it out. "It was around the time… I had a friend… Do you recognize this?" Tyla pulls out a bracelett from her pocket, diamonds in the shape of icicles and holds it up and out to the other woman.

She grunts, a harumphing disgruntled sound. "I don't beat people up anymore," Alice informs bluntly. "Lost the arm for it." When Tyla moves closer, so does the older woman, stepping right on up into personal space without so much as a byyourleave. A gnarled hand comes up - she's missing two fingers to the knuckle on that right hand - to tuck under Tyla's chin. There. That lets her lift it up so she can peer at the angles, tilting this way and that with every expectation that there will be no protest. "Hm. Not Lost. Who opened your eyes, kid? Nevermind, it's not important." She lets go and moves back into the shed. The heat from the furnace (or is it from her?) remains a low, steady warmth and the scent of hot metal is strong in the air. It's just this side of uncomfortable, the heat and the scent, like an old car that's been sitting out under the sun for too long. "It looks familiar, but I don't do jewelry," she adds with a shrug that sets muscles rippling up and down her shoulders. The tank-top tucked into the apron and jeans doesn't hide much, greyish-tinged skin marred by scorch marks and scars and all manner of dings. "The only kind of bodyguard I can give you is having someone go take the hand off whoever's bothering you."

Tyla stands the inspection, trying not to tremble giving the warning from earlier. "I'm touched." She agrees. "I've been able to see you guys since I was about ten." She explains, slipping the bracelet back into her pocket. "It used to belong to a… friend." She doesn't sound too sure about the last bit, unsure about the memory. "I think she was anyway, it's really hard for me to remember. It's annoying because I used to be so good at remembering things. I think she called me T." Tyla offers. "But looking at my diaries to right around when things might have happened? Your number was there. I thought… maybe she gave it to me or something. She takes another sip of her water to stave off the heat and comes to some sort of decision. Grimly she says, "What's the cost of removing someone's hand, exactly?"

"Proof that I'll accept about it being worth that hand, and whatever price I decide after I hear it," Alice answers without much in the way of excitement. Like it's just a thing, people buy hands getting removed all the time, why get worked up. She sinks back to sit on the stool, staring up with narrowed eyes and Resting Glower Face. Her arms come 'cross her chest, bulging in the oddest places; is this what body-builders look like? "Depending on what he did, I might say we'll break a knee, or take an eye, or just thrash him within an inch of his life. Death's off the table. If your friend asked us to collect a toll before shit when sideways, it's none of your business, just like it won't be anyone's business if you do."

Tyla thinks about it a moment, hair twirling and flickering briefly. "I have a couple of things in my possession." She explains finally. "One I got from an angry Summer, the other was left in my possession by someone who was living with me. It was given to them on my property, but they… I don't know if he's working now or what." She admits. "There is someone who thinks that she should have possession of one of them, but I don't know her. She wants it too badly, you know? Anyway, she's convinced people that I shouldn't be the one to decide who should have them. I say convinced because a couple of other people have come at me trying to convince me to give them up, but using the exact same words." Tyla chews on her lower lip, thinking. "One of the reasons I don't trust her is that she fucked up the wind. There are others, but that's the big one. I can't use these things." Tyla admits. "But no one can until we find the last part. But it's imperative that they don't fall into the wrong hands." She tries to explain, hoping it's important enough even though it's super vague and all.

Still and silent, that's Alice. She just watches and waits, Summer heat a low burn behind and through her; what she's hearing isn't making it explode at least. When Tyla finishes her bit of ramble, the old woman demands bluntly, "Are they trying to take this nonsense from you? Or just being pushy billy-boys?"

"No one has tried to take anything yet." Tyla admits. "But she did try and take it from the previous owner, before I asked him for it. She just walked up in the back yard, un-invited by me anyway, I might add, walked right up to the other Summer and try to take it off his head." She shrugs a little. "So it feels like it's just a matter of time. They've run out of people to send to me to try and sweet talk me out of them."

The snort that shakes Alice's body is a loud one. There's no surprise to be seen at the description of what happened; that's how a Summer is supposed to act. "And if I take these things, are you gonna want them back? Or are you gonna wash your hands and walk away cuz it's easier?"

"Oh I wasn't suggesting you take the things." Tyla admits. "I'll die protecting them, if I have to. Which I may have to if they come after me." She takes a deep breath and lets it out quickly. "But it would be easier if you made her go away. I don't care if they say it's not up to me who decides who gets them. It's not up to them either. And they are safe now… mostly."

A sharp nod puts paid to that idea. Alice looks at least a little satisfied at this answer. "I could put out the word to have her beat to crap. If she's got any Summer in her for real, she won't care. I could put out the word to take her hand. If she's Summer all the way through, she'll just get a new one. The only thing that'll stop her is death, and that's not on the table. You don't want the Tolltakers, we won't solve this problem." Her answer is forthright at least, and if her glower is still there, the dial remains at a steady… let's call it a 6. Not getting worse, that is. "Put that shit in a lockbox in a bank, keep your yap shut about the fact it's not in the house anymore, and quit acting like you've afraid someone's gonna steal your family jewels. If you get hurt protecting them, then you come talk to me and we'll see who gets hurt in return." A breeze filters through the shed, stirring the ash away from her apron so that it lands in a drift against Tyla's shoes, then fades away a breath or two later. "Then you grow the hell up and stop caring what these people tell you to do. You're a grown woman, kid. What's yours is yours. Act like it."

"They're already locked up in a safe, and that's in a saferoom." Tyla explains, shaking her head. "I won't put them in a bank though, too many innocent people could get hurt that way. At least right now they are out of the way." Tyla says firmly. "And just because I talked an angry Summer out of one, I don't consider they are mine. I can't use them. All I know is they can't fall into the wrong hands." Tyla explains, and takes a drink of her water again and gives a little shrug again. "I should get back, in case anyone notices I'm gone. It was nice meeting you, ma'am." She says finally, offering her hand to shake, trying not to sound too defeated.

"What's yours is yours, until you lose it or give it away. You won't find the right person by hiding away in your damn house," Alice points out. "It wasn't nice meeting me, kid." She reaches out to enfold Tyla's offered hand in her own, and firm doesn't even begin to cover the feel of her skin. Iron beneath flesh, and hot iron at that, just this side of painful. "It's never nice meeting me." When she lets go it's with a bit of a push: conversation is done. "Go on. When you need us to help you get your revenge on, stop by again."

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