The first Ramble of the Gethrang
|Dramatis Personae|| |
24 September, 2016
The Founders aren't present, but most of the others in the Gethrang are - Sammy, Elvis and Rags of the Antiquities, loveable loser Saul, Dandelion and Hugo, and others. Everyone was asked to bring something they like, from a canned veggie or soup to a cut of meat or a dessert, for Jacque to prepare as the evening's chef. He's been busy all day in the kitchens as a result.
Sammy serves drinks from the makeshift bar he tends, playing barkeep for the night. The various tables and chairs are filling in with Created, and things will soon be underway.
Indeed, Jacque had been busy, and still is, preparing the various things that had been brought to him. He'd recently cleaned up, trimming down his beard considerably though a shadow of it remained along his jaw and cheeks. Currently he was wearing jeans and a white a-shirt, a towel over his shoulder as he tends to the stove and various pots and pans that were simmering or boiling, trying to keep up without letting anything burn or boil over.
He dresses through mechanical obedience to the patterns of every day prior and that is enough for Alan's fashion palate to bear. Today being one of his days off, he's adrift to a degree, so he settles for the path of least resistance: plain button-up shirt, slacks, and a pair of tennis shoes, which he feels guilty about wearing because tennis confuses him. Taking a stand by the food preparation area, he brought his own tray, a thing he borrowed from the firehouse, then proceeds to wait patiently for food to be available. A new quirk: he's learned how to appear nervous and does so, because it seems the thing to do. There are new people present to his mind, meaning he should be ill at ease, at the minimum.
Hugo is trying to lead a few of the Copper and Iron followers in a bit of yoga with his trademark Zen micro-management. It goes about as one would expect.
Sammy polishes glasses and chats with Elvis and Rags, his whiskey-soaked-chainsaw voice hard to miss as it caries throughout the hall.
Honeybunny has brought the stereo system in from the main hall, with a little help from the Osiran Saul, and is setting it up while people filter in. Or rather Saul is setting it up while she encourages him and plays moral support. She catches sight of Alan and beams in his direction, waving with enthusiasm. "Hi! Where'd you find a tray?"
Iofiel will never turn down food...or standing near flames...and she's trying to be sociable since these folks did help her find the diary. Clad in sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt - it helps hide her body - she waits patiently. She brought some steaks which were legally acquired and everything! They were not rats she found on the street and skinned. She doesn't need to do that anymore. An upnod to Jacque before she wanders over to the bar. "Do you do cocktails?" she asks Sammy hopefully.
"Sure, darlin'," says Sammy with a nod to Iofiel. "What's yer preference? Got stuff t' make most mixed drinks." If Sammy is good at being bartender, it's because he actually has been one. He'd work in dives and roadhouses until he'd wear out his welcome, then move on.
A person speaking to Alan sees him blink before he replies. "It is from the firehouse where I work." He holds it up, showing off the dents in it. "I did not think to bring more. This reduces the amount of dishes which would need to be cleaned after the meal." The nervous look worsens and he tries a smile and succeeds. Recently, his confidence is bolstered through some deep thinking and self-analysis. "Do you wish to use it?" Iofiel draws his attention and he seems confused, then comes to a quiet realization. "Oh. Drinking. May I have a boilermaker, please?" He looks to Honeybunny and to her stereo system, then smiles a little more. "Do we have Creedence?" He's that kind of guy.
There still wasn't any exclimations coming from the kitchen, so it appeared that Jacque hadn't at least started a fire or anything. Right now he's pulling some of the vegetables off the stove and pouring them into collanders, rinsing them off with cool water before putting them in their own seperate bowls for serving. He returns to the soup pot, a lobster bisque, stirring it up and making sure the cream hadn't burn along the bottom before he pokes his head out of the kitchen to take a quick count of heads, giving a slight wave to Iofiel and Honeybunny before disappearing again.
It would be a minute or two before he'd return with a stack of bowls and start putting them on the table, wiping at his face with the towel upon his shoulder.
"I can make that," Sammy confirms for Alan, and sets about doing so.
"It's yours!" says Honeybunny to Alan. "You keep it. But thanks for offering!" A blink. "What's Creedence? I'm not sure I've heard of them before. What kinda music are they?"
"Let's keep it simple to begin with. A Hemmingway Daiquiri" Iofiel replies to Sammy. She's not totally sure where her knowledge of drinks comes from but she is sure they taste good; or perhaps she just remembers they do from a different life. A fingerwave to Honeybunny. "I need to meet your friend for a job. Sorry I have not been around too much. Busy." She looks curiously over Alan with her mistmatched eyes before there is a little frown at his music choice. "I hope you have music a bit more...happy" she smiles to Honeybunny before watching the arrival of bowls with a hungry look - even before there is any food in them.
"Hemmingway," Sammy rumbles. "Been a while, but yeah. I gotcha covered."
"Creedence is music from the previous generation," Alan explains, sounding like a very drab version of a Wikipedia article. "They were opposed to the conflict between America and Vietnam, using their music as a platform to spread this sentiment." He's technically correct but missed a whole lot of the basic concept for the minutae. He smiles to Honeybunny and elaborates further. "They have happy songs, as well as the anti-war sentiments." Then he turns to Iofiel, confused by her drink order, then does what seems natural: "I would like one, as well. If ice is involved, extra ice. If there is not any ice, then no ice, please." It's about learning and gaining experience, isn't it? So, that's what he'll do.
"From many generations ago" Iofiel corrects about Creedence heritage. "I do not think I have any parts as old as that group." A pause. "They have happy songs?" She looks confused by this revelation before shrugging it away. "They come with ice" she explains to Alan before adding, "The drink...not Creedence."
Sammy makes three drinks - the boilermaker and two Hemmingways, one with extra ice. "I'm partial to blues, myself," he croaks.
Saul gets the stereo set up and Honeybunny applauds cheerfully. "Yay!" She bounces over and starts flipping through her CDs. "Something happy... Hmm." This? Could be bad.
Jacque returns to the kitchen since no one is dying to kiss the cook, stirring up the bisque one last time before grabbing the handle of the pot with his towel and bringing it out, "The first course is served, lobster bisque, a soup made with cream, a bit of milk, a few spices and of course, chunks of lobster." He explains as he walks about the table, ladelling the soup into the bowels, "It is sweet on the tongue and melts in the mouth, please do enjoy." He makes sure each bowl is filled to the brim, then quickly retreats back to the kitchen to attend to the rest of the courses that are still being prepared.
Sin throws on his coat and walks to the banquet. He brings a large bottle of cheap whiskey and a carton of cigarrettes. Cigarretes count as food as far as Sin is concerned. He looks around. "I never new all you people were such....gourmet types. I'm sure it smells great. Well done." Sin clears his throat and sits down, placing his guitar case by his side.
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua starts to play. That's upbeat and happy, right? Ooo! Food! Honeybunny bounces over to claim a seat and settles in, taking out a pair of fancy looking chopsticks to eat with. Others would have noticed by now, she eats everything with chopsticks. "Yay! Lobster!" It's not exactly rare in Maine, but still, for them it is.
Taking a bowl is a task Alan approaches with all due seriousness. Food is important fuel for normal people so it must be treated with respect. "Thank you," he says politely as he puts his bowl onto his serving tray, then looks to Sin. "Do you play that for money or amusement?" he asks with a wide-eyed look. Then he hears Honeybunny's addition to the soiree, and he smiles a bit more. "This is a happy song." As he walks by Iofiel, he speaks quietly. "Your shirt is too large. Clothing is supposed to fit." As if she were not aware of this concept and he's being helpful. Helpful people are normal people. It's not strange to be helpful.
Sin shrugs. He narrows his eyes at Alan "I got the case first, then I got the guitar. Case was handy for storing stuff, but someone got me a guitar and I started playin' it. Must have....played in a past life. I dunno about that. Anyway I play it, sometimes they give me money, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they give me money for the church. I use it to sustain myself and spread the word of the Lord."
'Barbie Girl' seems to get approval from Iofiel judging by the bobbing of her head and the shaking of her tush. Though if she ever listened to the lyrics she might think the song was about her...and possibly not in a good way. But for now she has a drink and a bowl of lobster...and comments about her clothes. "If they fit too much then people think I am for sex" she explains to Alan before sighing softly. "Which is what I was made for but I am trying to move on." There is a faint Dutch accent to her voice. Chopsticks aren't her style and it seems neither are spoons as Iofiel simply picks up the bowl and starts slurping directly from it.
"I don't understand sex," Alan says without emotional inflection save for the vague tinges of Boston, hints of Virginia, a dabble of the Midwest. "It's like music with too many drums involved. Complicated?" The words from Sin give him a confused moment and he considers a bevy of replies before settling on: "Do you mean Jesus? I think Jesus was one of us. He died and came back with a lot of people angry at him." He's a lot of confused thoughts being filtered through curtailed life experiences but he's not insincere or cruel. Just abnormal in a social sense. "I haven't given my name. My name is Alan, Alan Carver. I'm a firefighter." It's the world's weirdest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and he feels like he's taken the podium before anyone else.
The bisque was unburnt and palatable, but otherwise wasn't anything special and nothing to write home about. Jacque meanwhile is throwing together another dish from the various donated vegetables and mussels he had steamed earlier, finishing off the big bowl of mixed vegetables and chunks of mussel with a raspberry vinigrette dressing that he drizziles heartly over the food.
The Frenchman comes out carrying a big metal mixing bowl tucked against his chest in one arm, and several plates stacked up balanced in his other hand. He puts down the plates in the center of the table followed by the mixing bowl, "A salad made of all the combined vegetables, some thyme and rosemary, and topped off with raspberry vinigrette dressing, with steamed mussels mixed in as well."
"Why who else would I mean. It's the dominant religion in this region is it not? Jesus was one of us? You know, sure. I'd believe it." Sin shrugs. "We all see ourselves in Christ at times. And while a lot of people were angry at him, many of them were grateful for his sacrifice. Least way I see it." Sin narrows his eyes at all the stuff coming out. "I....don't know what half this stuff even is."
"There is not a lot to understand about sex" Iofiel muses to Alan between slurps of her brisque that leave her nose wet with the contents. "Pay. In. Out. Go home." Such a romantic she is. Discussion about religion leaves her a bit cold though as does the prospect of a salad. She stares at the greenery as if someone was trying to poison her before burying her face back in the lobster.
Selecting some of the salad is another serious task for Alan to undertake and he ends up with twice as much as intended. With a flat expression he's off to a table, sitting close to Sin and carefully placing his food down with a light touch. "What I know of Jesus' life sounds a lot like one of ours." He picks up a spoon, then sets it down, choosing a fork to work on the lobster bisque, spearing chunks of meat from it before they're chewed into oblivion. He's got some seriously dangerous teeth and he eats like industrial machinery. "Maybe he didn't die as one of us but he definitely sounds as if he lived like us. He was on the move a lot and he had very few real friends. People in power did not like him much, either." Theology isn't a science so he's not very good at it, then he looks to Iofiel. "The salad is good. Do normal people pay for sex?" It's not a question he can ask normal people, so contemporaries are a safer choice. It's also telling about his life experiences.
Honeybunny has opinions on lots of things. Religion isn't one of them. Sure, it's a major element of human life, but the Aurum Galateid has plenty of other things to focus on in her study of human life. Like sex! "It's not that simple," she counters Io between rounds of sipping soup from the bowl with her chopsticks as strainers, then using them to shovel bits of lobster into her face. "Sex is usually about fun, or even love. Not money. Though money can buy it."
Iofiel arches an eyebrow at Honeybunny at talk that sex is about fun. And love? "I envy Honeybunny's life" she smirks before picking out the last chunk of lobster with her fingers and tossing it into her mouth. And the continuing to talk as she chews. "I have not found it much fun but I am glad that someone does." Iofiel does have some Galateid in her but it obviously hasn't seeped into her world view yet. The brisque bowl is pushed away. "We are missing some of us. Ashe? Dawn?"
"This is not a sensible thing," Alan says quietly as he looks into his salad bowl, shaking his pale head with a furrowed brow. "Sex is a commodity, sex is for love, sex is for recreation, sex is for procreation, and sex sells cars." The salad is consumed in silent thought until he empties the bowl, his lips stained green as he chews the final bites down. "Religions seem to differ as to whether sex is acceptable or a crime. Sex can also be a crime. How do they do it? People just get this idea and it is working and none of it makes any sense to me." He holds his head in his hands, staring back at the empty bowl. "I understand people and why they drink alcohol a lot more suddenly."
"I've seen sex sold as a commodity. Many whould say that is some type of sin, but one that seems to be more on the buyer than the seller. I don't know much about recreation or procreating. Guess we can't procreate so that's not really an issue right there I guess." Sin pours himself a glass of his cheapshit whiskey. "Acceptable? I'd say not for most. Definitely not encouraged but it's different here I figure. I dunno much about the parish here and what they say about it. I just focus on the sins of others. What is considered sin is a sliding scale. Not entirely up to me."
"Haven't seen them in a while," says Honeybunny with a frown. "And I haven't, like, been in love and had sex, though for a while I thought I loved Ringo. But it was fun. Maybe it wasn't fun for you because you had to, for money." She picks at her salad, eating the mussels and some of the veggies with her chopsticks.
To Alan, she says, "Sex is the most central part of being alive. It's how you make new life. But it has all kinds of other meanings and ideas connected to it. It feels really good when done right, and because of that everyone wants to. But they don't always want babies. Most religions say sex is only for making babies, but that's because most religions are about restricting happiness and making you do what they want. People who aren't afraid of enjoying sex enjoy it. People who are hide it and do it in secret. That's why some people can sell it - more people want it than can get it."
"I did not always have sex for money. Only after I was thrown away" Iofiel clarifies for Honeybunny before shrugging. "Maybe one day it will be different. I think that is what we all hope for? That one day it will be different and we will no longer be monsters." A deep breath before she looks over at the beat box. "I think I will dance. It helps." She stands and does just that as she waits for the next course.
The words from Honeybunny do see Alan relenting in his contemplation. A look to Iofiel and Sin give him cause to pause before he speaks again. "We are not monsters. We're not choosing this path, it was chosen by our creators, all of whom had different ideas for us." He gives Sin's guitar case a few looks of something between envy and understanding and he turns to Sin directly. "Sex is like music, possibly? Music is not for everyone, because some are unable to hear it or play it or even enjoy it, but music is everywhere. Some people steal it, some perform it for money, some do it to relieve stress or to share something special." Then he smiles, a dawning realization forming, turning his eyes to Honeybunny. "Could that be true? That sex is like music." It's not quite stupid, at the least.
Jacque returns now with a large platter between his hands, one half of it covered in pulled pork doused in barbeque sauce, the other half containing a baked chicken that's been sliced up partially for folks to get pieces of without cutting off themselves at least to start with, "And the main course." He comments in his gravelling voice as he sets the platter down, briskly returning to the kitchen to get more plates, knives and forks, piling them up for folks to reach or ask for others to pass along before he takes a seat on the other side of Honeybunny, "An interesting topic you all have started up." He comments with a bit of mischief in his voice.
Sin sighs and shifs in his chair uneasily. "Our situation is what it is. I'm not gonna deny it it all. We might not have done anything to bring it upon us but we are punished for it nevertheless. By forces beyond our control. By a sin of creation, which hounds us. It's why I rain death upon those threats that exist as part of my punishment." He takes another long swig of whiskey. "Sex and music have always been good friends. I wouldn't know much about the former."
"I think that's all we really want," Honeybunny agrees with Io, watching the other woman get up and dance. "For tomorrow to be different. Better." She smiles at Alan and nods. "That's a neat way of putting it!"
Dick comes out of his room. He's still new and a bit shy by nature, this lad. His hair is perfectly combed, however, and a bow tie has been put on and tied just so, the way Mother taught him. If he's been seen around, it's mostly been just a shy wave and the sight of him scribbling in his journal. Still, he'd never be impolite and so he finds himself getting some food for himself, salad and a portion of chicken, modest as he takes a seat at the table. If there are napkins, he'll tuck one carefully into his collar.
The aroma of cooked meat soon has Iofiel dancing her way back to the table to admire the spread. "Looks good, Jacque" she smiles, which is probably the biggest compliment she has given anyone ever. "Oh...I am Iofiel" She realises that half the people here have no idea who she is. "But call me Io. Iofiel means 'Angel of Beauty' so I think it was my maker hoping for the best. I do not think I should be called that." She plonks herself down and picks up a handful of chicken to stuff into her mouth.
"I am going to consider this idea for a while," Alan says carefully as he dines on the remaining lobster bisque in his bowl in the center of his self-owned serving tray. "It is still being formed but there feels to be something in it to keep alive for as long as I can." Then he looks to Sin with an expression of gratitude, sharing it with Honeybunny, then even Iofiel. "I have not drank my alcohol yet. Pardon me." As he's getting up, Dick is sitting down, so he handles the introduction with the social graces he can actively muster. "That is a nice tie. My name is Alan, that is Jacque, she is Honeybunny, and that man with the guitar has not said his name to me." Then Iofiel speaks and resolves the final introduction of the tablemates, freeing him to go get himself that drink he so especially ordered and a trayful of pulled pork and roasted chicken.
"That beauty is in the eye of the beholder Io, but if you do not like the extended version, why not pick a new name?" Jacque says softly to Iofiel, smiling at her as she simply sits and watches the Gethrang enjoy the fruits of his labors, nodding in appreciation to Iofiel's compliment. "I am surprised no one brought in a deer or something of the like, perhaps next time." He chuckles faintly as he puts his elbows on the table and folds his fingers together, glancing at Honeybunny eating the salad with chopsticks, "I learned how to eat with those a long time ago, they're actually quite fun, if not always the best for the food you're eating."
Sin passes his whiskey bottle to Alan. "Here ya go. Knock yourself out." He tops himself off first though. He opens his cigarrette carton. "I'm glad I brought something people could use." He scrutinizes the food and takes a bit of the lobster. "I figure it's from the sea. Probably right up my alley. I do love the sea." He nods to the newcomer. "Right and I'm Sin if we're doing introductions."
Honeybunny falls quiet as the others talk and make introductions, though she gives Jacque a smile when he comments on her chopsticks. She's eaten as much of the salad as she's going to, and so takes a bit of both the pork and chicken and begins eating that.
Dick blushes, trying not to stare at the women in the contingent. He wasn't used to being around strangers and especially female strangers and his Mother had been very, very strict about that sort of thing. The compliment to his tie brings a weak smile and he says, "Dick...Dickie. I'm...Dick," he says. "My life is already different...better than it was," he says, that smile growing a little stronger. This was better than the house in which he grew up, if he could be said to have grown up at all.
Accepting the bottle from Sin is another task worth full focus for Alan. "Thank you, Sin, for both your insight and the use of some of this alcohol." That he can drink down several chugs of whiskey at speed without his eyes watering is quite a feat but he does so before he hands the bottle back to the preacher. "I do not like whiskey but that was very good." When Dick speaks, he listens, focusing his attention on the man in the spunky tie. "Hello, Dick. We were talking about music and sex earlier. Do you like Creedence?" Barbie Girl by Aqua was playing earlier, likely followed by another song of the same artist and this doesn't seem to derail the firefighter's train of thought. "This is not Creedence." Obviousness, meet Alan. Alan, enjoy your pork and chicken and stop talking.
A shake of Iofiel's head to Jacque's suggestion of a name change. "No...I think that would insult the people that died to make me. I need to remember their sacrifice...their involuntary sacrifice." Dick's name does get a surprised look...or is it more the way he mangles giving it. "I think the women I was made from had better lives than now" she notes with a faint smirk. "Or maybe not. Sometimes I have flashes of memory that do not seem very happy."
"Oh of course. You're welcome. Anything for my friends here. I spared no expense to get the best, top tier whiskey available." Sin clears his throat.
Jacque nods slightly to Iofiel, "If that is what you think best." He turns in his seat a bit to look over the rest of the gathered Created, watching to see if they're enjoying the food or if it didn't pass muster. Jacque was an Osirian, and as such to the Created he looked like a dessicated corpse, his lips shrunken and cracked to reveal his teeth, the skin a dark grey in color and pulled taut along his bones, the eyes little inky black blots deep within the sockets that shift as he looks around.
He raises a hand in a wave to Dick, then motioning to the metal mixing bowl full of mixed vegetables and steamed mussels covered in raspberry vinigrette and the platter of pulled pork and roasted chicken before his attention returns to Iofiel and honeybunny, "Are we going to start doing the Ramble while folks are still eating, or shall we wait until dessert is served?"
"You should start," opines Honeybunny in reply to Jacque. She's never really been to one, so someone else going first sounds like a good idea to her.
Dick doesn't really know very much at all, he just sort of made his way here once he was found and has been doing his best ever since. "I've never had alcohol," the young-seeming Frankenstein admits aloud, still a bit in wonder at being around so many people. Mother always kept it just the two of them as much as she could, afraid others would discover that Dick wasn't like other boys.
The loaded tray requires Alan's full attention and he devotes himself to the single task until it is completed and he is back in his seat at the table. Dick gets a little bit of his smile, one shared with Iofiel, Honeybunny, and a broader version for Sin, who was nice enough to lie about the cheap whiskey foisted off on the clueless firefighter. Jacques' words draw him into silent contemplation, yet he finds time to slide a bottle of whiskey toward Dick. He's too dumb to know he's inflicting it on a hapless newcomer. Sin must be so proud.
"I usually live alone" Iofiel shrugs to Jacque. "I think I rmble most of the time anyway" she snorts in amusement before gesturing to the chef. "I am happy for you to start. And someone get Dick some alcohol. These stories are best told and heard with fire in your belly and a haze in your head."
Jacque shrugs and stands up, picking up his chair and taking it to the front of the room. He turns the chair so the backing is facing the assembled Created, sitting down and crossing his arms over it as he glances about. "Well, I am Jacque, simply. I have lived a long time now, if you can call it such. My story starts in France... as a widow's attempt to bring her husband back. My Creator thought he was showing mercy, of course as we know it was not such." He pauses here for a moment as a look of saddness sweeps across his face and into his eyes, a slight crack in his deep gravely voice as he continues, "We were farmers, dairy to be specific, we provided the town with the cheeses and milks and the other farmers with the grain for their cattle and sheep and such. I only stayed with her for six months before the Disquiet fully affected her, it was not a peaceful parting."
Jacque continues to tell his tale, talking about how he traveled Europe on foot, getting caught in the middle of World War Two, his time spent in one of the concentration camps until he managed to escape during a train ride during transfer to another camp. He then speaks about going further east, retreating into the jungles of Vietnam to reflect upon what he had learned about humanity during such a trying time. "War is ugly, and people in war can be ugly, but at times, like I saw at the camp, people can be amazingly beautiful, and strong willed. Me, and outsider, was protected by the people, at least until Disquiet made them turn against me. No matter how ugly things get, there will always be people that refuse to become ugly as well."
He then continues, speaking of his time studying Aurum, moving through Asia and learning from wise old monks about the ways of chi and the soul, learning from noblemen how one is supposed to direct the pupulous, "There are many different views, some think fear and respect are the most important, while others value simply letting a people flourish and seeing what they will do when given freedom."
He finishes his Ramble speaking of his return to modern society, back in Europe, how amazed he was at how quickly things had changed since he had been there last, and ending the speech off in a less than serious matter, "I suggest do not take a boat, the confined space for so long... well lets just say the crewmen found it simplier to huck me over board than to attempt to kill me, believing I was bringing bad luck to the ship."
Honeybunny claps when Jacque finishes, beaming up at him. "Yay! That was sooooo awesome! You've, like, been everywhere!"
Dick considers Jacques' story with amazement before he speaks, "That's like...Melville or something out of...Graham Greene," he says. "What a tale! I knew such adventures happened in stories, but to know it happened to someone like us...it's astounding," he says. He reaches down into his pocket and pulls out a little tablet, flipping it open and scribbling furiously to record his thoughts, the Cuprum lad always in a self-reflective mode.
The polite, clueless Alan raises his hand before he speaks. "When you were in Vietnam, was there Creedence playing on the radio or was that not socially acceptable?" It's a relatively good question for his newfound concept.
Alan's question makes Jacque chuckle, and he shakes his head, "I was deep in the jungles, there were no people, this was also back in 1950-something, so I doubt your band existed. Any other questions before I give up the seat?"
Sin takes his hat to brush his head back. "Woah there. That's quite a story. I didn't realize you'd been around so long. You could write a story about that probably. Make it into a film even. People would watch the hell out of that. I've never been to Vietnam but I have read about it, and I can't help but be curious. Wonder if I'd been created earlier, if I might have gone there...."
Honeybunny looks around to see if anyone else has questions. No? "So, uh... Who goes next? That was really good. I don't think I can follow that."
Jacque stands as no more questions come forth, grinning slightly at Sin, "Aye, indeed, I have traveled, mostly on foot mind you, for a long time. 1934... or maybe it was 36, was when I was created, and I have retreated twice so far in my lifespan. I am getting old, but I am hoping soon I will find the secret to rebirth." He does a slight bow at the waist before he claims a new unoccupied chair to return to his position beside Honeybunny and start eating while someone else begins their Ramble.
When it is Alan's turn to speak he is quiet in his steps and disposition. The chair he brought is turned in the same fashion as what Jacque did and he sits on it with his hands over the back, but does not cross them, keeping his fingers splayed widely instead. He clears his throat and speaks. "My Creator's name is Newest. He worked for a frightening man in Haiti named Papa Duvalier as a sort of secret policeman and he was very, very good at it. Disquiet was his weapon of choice but he started to feel bad inside." He closes his eyes, drawing a deep breath before he continues.
"He made me from someone he killed the same night with a chainsaw. Before my body died, a lot of bad things happened and I can still sort of remember them when it is dark and I'm alone." Again, he swallows and looks to the other Created. "When he brought me back, I had no idea of who I was and still don't. All I know is the name Alan is important to me for some reason, and there were two children and a woman somehow involved in my body's life. I also know he didn't experience what he thought he would and he was upset at me but also himself." Looking to the floor, he sighs mournfully. "He made me leave by burning the building down and that was my first night alive. I am alive, I know that, because I move, talk, and understand things, but I get things wrong all of the time." He holds up his arm, showing where the glowing lines of ectoplasmic bindings keep him bound together as a body, whole in a sense while still very much the dismembered corpse. "Then I hid on a ship that was going to Miami and I hid in a hospital basement."
His story progresses into how he acquired new identity papers from a drug peddler with an extra passport who needed someone disposable to handle a few light errands. From there, he explores how he worked his way into new, more legitimate paperwork, eventually enrolling in college courses and using the night to keep himself camouflaged socially in the disparate outcast groups that attended classes with him, then the joy of graduation with a degree in Fire Sciences. What follows is bleak, as he joined a fire station as a volunteer, then a probationary member, enduring endless hazing rituals by people subordinate to him while Disquiet made his time there into fresh hells, week after week.
Then the story brightens as he first was able to demonstrate self-worth and utility, walking through fire with only his turnout coat and helmet to protect him, saving the lives of those who'd made him suffer, not even expecting the least reprieves. He certainly doesn't describe receiving one, just a transfer from Boston to Fallcoast. His new job is lonely and proof the Disquiet affects the firefighters in town already: code compliance checks, certification reviews, paperwork of every variety, and teaching CPR at community centers. He lives in a cell and owns one book, one printouf of a painting, and work-related clothing, but not much else. Somehow, he also owns a ring worth around ten thousand dollars but has no idea of what to do with it.
"And that's my story so far." He looks to the audience, ready to answer questions or receive commentary.
Honeybunny seems just as impressed with Alan's story, but in different ways and for different reasons. No great adventure, like Jacque's life, but one of trying and failing to fit in. She claps when he finishes, but it's more subdued and respectful than enthusiastic. She looks around to see who speaks up.
"You actually work with them?" Iofiel asks of Alan. "Be around them every day? How?" She wipes some chicken grease off her lips with the back of her forearm. "You interact with them every day and they do not try to kill you?"
"A life to be proud of. Let no one diminish your accomplishments, I would not attempt to play with fire beyond used for cooking." Jacque adds, though he appears to have no questions for the man Rambling.
Dick nods to Iofiel, "That was my immediate thought! That and about the chainsaw and what kind of things were done wit...but really, about the Disquiet. Is it...affecting them? Making them...wrong somehow?" he says.
"Huh.....with a chainsaw huh?" Sin shakes his head. "Huh don't know why I chose to focus on that. I hear of people kicking people out but a burning building is a helluva a way to do it." Sin takes a sip of whiskey. "Interesting how some of you were....at least in part able to do some normal stuff in yer lives. But I guess where there's a will, there's a way."
The applause from Honeybunny has Alan looking meek but honored, bowing his head before he releases the chair. To Iofiel and Dick, he covers both lines of inquiry. "The Disquiet makes me an outcast at the firehouse and whatever they want me to do, then that's what I have to do," he says quietly, "It's not their fault. They don't know why they do it nor can they stop themselves. I don't hold it against them. Deep down, there's part of me that knows that I would be just like them, if I was normal." He continues. "The people I work with make sure to spend very little time with me and keep me away from where they socialize as often as possible. Putting me on code compliance duties is enough to have me away from the firehouse for ten hours a day and I just take a bus or walk home." It's a rotten, lonely life, explaining his late hours and erratic appearances at the asylum. He releases the chair and makes room for the next speaker, smiling a little at Dick. "The chainsaw is the detail I remember the most, too." Back at his seat, he takes a drink of whiskey because it's as close to normal as he can feel: numb and nothing is sometimes better.
Dick has had a few sips of the whiskey that Alan pushed over to him, finding it bracing and frankly not entirely sure how people drink it. It reminds him of the cold medicine Mother would sometimes give him if she grew ill, desperately afraid that somehow he would grow pneumonic and die - again.
He goes before everyone, clutching his notebook close to him, "Um, I was created, but I don't know by who. Mother never...let me meet him. Mother was a surgeon, you see, and she knew...people. Even some like us. One, at least, who...made me. YOu see, she had lost Dickie. Her son, of whom I'm made, although there are other...parts, parts that were lost in the accident," he says, shuffling his feet a little.
"I stayed with Mother for many years, in the house. I wasn't allowed to leave. I had a lot of...anger about that. Tin, I guess it's called. She gave me a room in the basement, where I could hit the walls or where she'd chain me if I got...bad," he says.
"My job was to be a good boy. To keep her company, to listen to her stories, to make her...feel good," he says, his eyes darting off to the side. "I was forbidden to talk to anyone. Sometimes I would help her with surgeries - she'd lost her license, but she knew people who wanted...plastic surgeries, but couldn't have them anymore because of their insurance. I would help her cut..." he says, trailing off.
"Then Mother died," he says, very quickly, "And there was a fire and she was gone and I was free and then I just walked, I walked around the city for a very long while until they found me and brought me here and taught me about Gethrangs and gave me the brand and now i know all of you."
"My...my name is Dick," he says at last.
The applause from Alan is heartfelt, showing his support of Dick. "It's good that have new friends, Dick." He checks to see who else is demonstrating acceptance of Dick because the poor fella is in a vulnerable state of affairs. "I think you are brave for making the journey." The firefighter has nothing further to add so he's quiet again. Alan pages: That should have a 'you' between that and have, sorry.
This time, Honeybunny gets up and moves to give Dick a hug if permitted. ""That was soooo brave!" she tells him. "You're here now, with us, and we'll take care of you. We all take care of each other."
"That you made it here shows your strength" Iofiel offers to her fellow Frankenstein. It even comes with a warm(ish) smile. She could do the hug thing but Honeybunny is much better at it than her.
Jacque lets out a brief amount of applause, and flashes Dick a thumbs up as Honeybunny gets up to hug the fellow, grinning slightly before he returns to eating, since he'd let everyone else get their fill before he had. Sin tilts back in his chair. "Good story Dick. Tin is an interesting path and the one that many of use start of with. Of course any number of us go in different dirrections I suppose." Sin puts a cigarette in his mouth and lights up. "I hope you don't mind. I usually smoke after a good meal."
Dick accepts the hug with an uneven blush, his broken features having blood flow in different facets of his face in different ways, "I...thank you," he says, clearly a bit overwhelmed by all the good feeling and appreciation. He's always been told, after all, that he's an obscenity, that, without Mother's love, he would be shunned and killed. Sometimes she tried to kill him, of course, but that was his fault, because she couldn't love him the way she wanted to.
"Thank you," he says softly, taking another sip of the whiskey and going to return to his seat, patting Honey on the arm where she hugged him.
You should share with everyone," Alan says to Sin. "We are all about to breathe your smoke so give us the chance to control our intake level." Since he's not able to enforce a no-smoking zone, he can make it socially awkward to smoke in mixed company for Sin. He's learned about that sort of thing. "I would like one of my own, please." He holds his hand out to the preacher, his fingers beckoning to be delivered unto him an item of vice.
"Ooo, can I have a smoke?" Honeybunny asks Sin as she returns to her seat and looks to see who might go next.
Dick perks up, "And...and I? Mother smoked sometimes, but told me it was filthy. But she said a lot of things were filthy..."
"Here you go doll." Sin says with a little smirk as he hands Honeybunny a cigarette and even offers to light it for her. "Of COURSE I'll share with everybody. That's why I bought a whole carton. For everyone." He turns to Dick and shakes his head. "Don't listeN to yer mother all the time. That's no fun."
Now that everyone was done eating the main course, Jacque excuses himself for a moment, taking the bowl of salad back into the kitchen and covering it up for it'll keep at least a few more days in case anyone in the Gethrang gets hungry and decides to finish it off. He returns with a bottle of red wine, a cheap one that was made less than a year ago. He pours himself a glass and then leaves the bottle on the table for anyone else to drink from if they wish as he settles in to continue listening to more Rambles.
Honeybunny takes the cigarette and accepts the light. "Thanks!" she chirps. She looks around again, then takes a deep breath and sighs it out as she pushes to her feet. "I guess I can go now," she says a bit quietly.
The Galateid strikes a practiced pose, like movie stars of the silver screen when they'd smoke, and she begins her story. "I was made by Ringo, though I don't think it was the name his Creator gave him. He was a movie buff, and Pulp Fiction was his favorite. He made me to be his Honeybunny."
Another drag off her cigarette, affected, like she's copying what she's seen rather than truly living the moment. "We robbed diners and went to all the coolest clubs on the West Coast, all up and down, and we'd stay in the poshest hotels, but never for very long. We were always moving. Things were crazy and fun, and we loved each other. Or I thought we did. Then I found out he'd murdered the girl I used to be so he could make me."
Sin grins. "Here you are madame." Sin also offers to light it for her. He bows his head. "That sounds like a blast....until that last part." Sin purses his lips.
"He was obsessed with her, whoever she was, and when she wouldn't love him, he killed her and made me. I didn't know any better, so I thought I did, but it was just what he taught me. When I learned the truth, I felt so sick... like I was stealing someone else's life. I tried to kill myself, but we all know how hard that can be for us, so I decided to kill him, instead. I shot him in the heart 'cause he broke mine."
Honeybunny has tears trailing her cheeks now, though whether it's affected like so much else she does is hard to tell. "I ran. Maybe he's dead, maybe not. I didn't stick around to find out. I danced where I could to make money, stripped where I had to, and I just kept going East. Eventually I ended up here." There's probably a lot more in there during the journey East she isn't telling, but maybe she's not ready. She takes her seat again and keeps her gaze down as she smokes.
Jacque contemplates Honeybunny while drinking his wine slowly, absorbing her Ramble. When she returns to her seat he gently places a hand upon her shoulder and squeezes it affectionately, "It was a charitable act, not seeking revenge for the woman he had slain. Hopefully you can find love like that again." He comments softly before removing his hand.
Dick has been somking his cigarette slowly and shakes his head softly, "That's terrible. I'm sorry you had to go through that," he manages to say. So much going on. Part of him thought her story was thrilling, that she'd had an adventure, something out of pulp fiction. Part of him wishes he could have seen the blood or felt the excitement himself. And part of him was horrified and revulsed and thought he should go back to his room and hide for another long time.
Instead, he just smoked and drinks and huddles a bit into himself. Iofiel sighs and gets out of her chair to give Honeybunny a hug. "He deserved it" is her cold assessment before she too takes a drag on her cigarette though she pats the ash onto her flesh and rubs it onto the skin. "Sin?" she says to the preacher, "Got a story to tell or want me to go?"
Honeybunny accepts the pats and hugs in silence, still looking raw and shaken from having told her story. She continues smoking her cigarette. It's probably the only time any of them have seen her like this instead of her usual, cheery and bouncey self.
Sin takes a drag off his cigarrette. "My story is long, complicated and unhappy like most of our stories. You go. I don't tend to find myself terribly interesting anyways..." He takes out a bible from his guitar case and pages through it. "I'm sure you tell a great story."
Iofiel may be offering Sin a 'thanks for nothing' glare but she does find a chair to sit back on in the seemingly traditional way of back to front. "Fine." A deep sigh as she considers her tale; bluntness always works. "Okay. I was created to be a sex toy. I was made from the corpses of at least seven Amsterdam prostitutes. Made up of the parts that my maker liked. Everything was...'okay'...for a while until he decided he wanted a newer model. Isn't that always the way? And he expected me to help him kill his new donors. I objected...and burned the castle down." A little snort of amusement. "Yes, I was brought to life in a castle...though it was falling apart. My maker may have burned in that fire but I don't know."
"Then I roamed the world as best I could. A homeless vagrant. Sometimes I would work as a prostitute since it is in the blood but never stayed anywhere for long. We can't. I was never a high class girl...purely street." She purses her lips in thought. "A few years back I heard about a diary that could help us. The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. So I had a quest...just like in the books. But I was not the only person looking for it. The trail led to here and the Wiedergeburt...neo-Nazis...followed. With Honeybunny's help and some of the others, we now have the diary and some undead Nazis are angry at us. See how I make the world a better place?" Another drag on her cigarette and tapping the ash onto her hand. "The book was worthless anyway" she adds nonchalantly. "I've spent weeks trying to figure out something I took years to find and what did I get out of it? Nothing."
That snaps Honeybunny out of it. "It was worthless? But I thought..." She looks to Jacque, then Sin, both of whom were there when they got it.
"Oh yeah a book....oh RIGHT. I was there!" Sin tips back in his chair again. He's mostly just sitting there, drinking and smoking and nodding along like he's listening. "That's a really messed up way to be made. But I suppose that's part of the nature of the beast when your a member of your lineage. I suppose the technology wasn't there to make one person from multiple bodies." He strokes his chin. "Undead you say? Now I don't remember that...."
Jacque looks between Honeybunny and Iofiel for a moment, shrugging a shoulder as he reaches forward to refill his wine glass. Setting the bottle back down he swirls the red wine in the glass for a moment, "Why do you say it is worthless? Perhaps you should take more time to study it, the words might not mean much but perhaps understanding them is the path you are to follow."
Oh, he's a quiet one, that Alan. The words from Iofiel and Honeybunny have given him food for thought and other than applause, he's mulling over the emotional meal of both portions in silence. He has a cigarette, one kept in a paper bag inside of his pants, looking at it with further contemplation before he lights it up and lets it burn. Several moments spent looking at the smoke is enough to have him try it, and for the first time, he coughs loudly, flushing with shame at the odd action of it. A sympathetic, if bleary-eyed look is given to Iofiel and Honeybunny, then he looks attentively to Sin.
Iofiel narrows her eyes at Jacque for a moment. "You're probably right" she shrugs. "I could just be stupid. I wasn't made for my brains after all. Maybe someone else can make head or tails out of it and I'm just missing the code. Ashe is the smart one, he can look at it." Then it's Sin's turn. "You don't remember those soldiers that attacked us? I don't think they were human...or at least alive."
Sin narrows his eyes. "Well alright, but before I tell you my story, because it's an important part of this, I'm going to need all or at least some of you to be honest with me. I'm going to need to know what's the worst thing you've ever done. It's....relevant and don't lie to me because I will know. Just think of me as your friendly neighborhood preacher and this as confession. I'll begin. Worst thing I did was kill a preacher, steal his clothes, put them on and come up here and basically let everyone think I was one." He takes a drag off his cigarette. "Incidentally that preacher was my best and only friend but before I continue my tale I'm gonna need some of your past sins."
Raising his hand again is the firefighter. "Murder, arson, and failure to report illegal activity while in the service to the community." He says the words as if he's casting a spell that will condemn him. Yet, he's looking honest enough that it is probably as accurate as Sin is likely to receive from him freely. "There's more, but those are the big three." He lowers his hand, folding it onto his lap with his other, fingers intertwined nervously.
"I've killed" Iofiel replies to Sin. "I don't know if any of them was worse than another. I shouldn't have killed any of them but I did. I can fool myself into thinking it was self-defence sometimes. Or maybe it was the only way out of a situation." A shake of her head. "But death is death and they're all bad."
Blink-blink. "...Why? I mean, well, I dunno if was the worst, but I tried to - may have? - killed Ringo." Honeybunny looks around as others chime in.
Jacque raises his glass of wine, "I have killed, though not directly, I allowed men to sweep into a village and kill or take hostages, and shortly thereafter I was also taken to the camps. Attrition, or apathy, has lead to many people's deaths in my presence..." He looks a bit sad at this confession, and drowns himself in the rest of the glass's contents of wine.
Sin takes in a deep breath. "Well...those are some real sins. I'm sure they won't be your last." He smirks at their stories. "Well alright. Most of us have killed. I have too. I did what I needed to survive. Kill, steal, whatever is needed really. My story starts in a little place called Cairo. Not in Egypt though. Many seem to assume Egypt but actually it was Cairo Illinois. I remember being created. I remember I was left two things." He gestures, making a two with his fingers. "A shotgun, and an apology. My creator abandoned me. Said he was sorry, not just for leaving, but for what I am. He wrote I would have a hard life and should head east. Said I should follow the voices of the faceless angels. That I had great power in me. "
Sin takes a long drink from his whiskey. "That I should use the power to help others when I can. Great evil follows me after all. I tried to fight off the Pandorans and keep moving. I followed the bestowment of iron. I wasn't strong but I had a shotgun and by god I knew how to use it. No home, no friends. I strived towards redemption. I thought if I was quick and strong and would help people that I would reach my salvation."
He shakes his head. "No friends. Nobody. Until I arrived at a small town in North Carolina. I met two people, one a young homeless girl, the other a preacher. By then I had done my share of fighting and stealing and conning but despite this I had a growing interest in the word of God. I thought maybe, just maybe if I could embrace that, all this." Sin gestures to himself. "Wouldn't be for nothin'. I became good friends with the preacher and Carly, the girl. We would play games and talk and I would tyr and keep her safe. I lived around that town for 9 months. Best time of my life. Then one day I came back." Sin purses his lips. "She'd been torn open by the Pandorans. I went away from the town because I heard that there were some marking reminiscent of the Pilgrims in a nearby area. Apparently the Pandorans went on a spree. They tore up a number of young people, mostly homeless. Nobody would miss em. Carly was carved up, strewn all over the place. The normals, who don't know better, bless their hearts, blamed it on a serial killer. The were looking for a scapegoat and by god they found one." Sin points at himself. "After that everyone turned against me, even the preacher who taught me about Christ. He started accusing me, torment took hold, so I took my gun and sent the buckshot through his brains. The church was a wreck so I ditched my clothes and took everything on them. I put his clothes on me. I figured I looked good and maybe people might like me better. Maybe I could reinvent myself. Ever since that event I commited no shortage of sins. I watched others commit their share of sins so I vowed to understand sin, to gain control over torment. And that's how I found my refinement." Sin lets out a big cloud of smoke after his story.
Alan applauds when Sin finishes his offering to the Created in assembly. "Thank you, Sin, for sharing your story with us." He holds out his hand to the man, standing on both feet, not looking away and conveying he thinks no worse of the preacher, even after hearing his tale.
Honeybunny applauds softly, her expression solemn but sympathetic. Understanding. "We've all done stuff we wish we hadn't," she says, "And been blamed for stuff we didn't do."
"Heck of a story, Sin" Iofiel nods though she isn't sure what else to say. Another drag of her cigarette before she stubs it out on her hand. "I should go have another look at that diary. Quite the ramble." She manages a smile before rising.
The Created begin to disperse, to put their dishes in the dirty dishes bin and go their separate ways. Soon the cafeteria is empty and dark.