Descending from the gilded cage with grace and poise, a winsome redhead named Zephyr takes in the bazaar. He's dressed in white, draping clothing and is adorned with jewelry that favors gold and opalescent stones. He is Pure, and one need not read his tattoo to know it. He exudes it. Pure, beautiful, lofty. He rarely leaves the gilded cage, so today is special. He walks among the booths, examining the wares on display.
Eden arrives from Sanctuary - Prime - Great Mess Hall.
Lyra has just come off one of the end stages where she was performing a longer set on her larger harp. She's settling in to one of the conversation areas, now, letting potential clients or others approach her. When she spots Zephyr, she gives him a little wave and a smile.
Faustina is on duty, Mark trailing behind her, as she watches transactions go by, making little notes in a small notebook.
Zephyr smiles when he spies Lyra, and he moves toward her. "Did I miss your performance?" he says. "That's too bad. I thought I might come look for poetry." Surely there are poets in the Citadel, and surely they write down their thoughts. "I'm looking for something new, I suppose. Everything upstairs is just so..." He gestures vaguely. This one is prone to ennui, alas.
Lyra laughs and shrugs at Zephyr. "You did, though once my fingers have had a rest, I may play a bit more later." She considers, tilting her head to one side. "I'm not sure who is writing poetry at the moment. Colorado know older poetry, of course. Any particular subject you were wanting, or just something new? And properly new, or just new to you?"
"Anything new to me," Zephyr says. "Something to pass the time. I thought about taking up an intstrument again. I still have a flute somewhere." Zephyr tends to have nice things. He's a popular companion. "I don't want anything stringed because of callouses." They display their hands, ivory pale and smooth. "I need them to be in this condition for the work I do."
Lyra nods. "Then flute is a good choice. Or a psaltery, they're stringed but you bow them or use a pick rather than playing with your fingers. Recorders would work, too. I've run across some recorder consort music while looking for harp books." She hmms softly. "Maybe one of the scavengers has found more books somewhere." Then she laughs, "Or I could recite old songs as if they were poetry. Some of them hardly make any sense or seem too fantastical to be real."
"Those old songs," Zephyr says with a wry shake of his head. "I don't know if they clarify my vision of the world before or muddy it. I can't picture a river, and rivers seem to figure into a lot of those tunes. I wish I had a talent for writing songs, because it would be nice to have more new music that wasn't War Children noise. They've turned even art into terror."
Lyra laughs. "I know, they talk about water as if it's abundant and just always there. It seems so odd. There are songs about people being swept away by rivers." She thinks for a moment. "If you wrote poems, I could write music to go with them, maybe? I'm not sure I have the talent with words to properly write poetry."
Ever a walking pinnacle of what she represents, Eden has chosen attire dyed as vivid as sapphires and amethysts, leaning the dark and vibrant shade of her blue eyes to a rarer state of near violet. Accent and figure lacing runs the sides of her long, slinky marble-dyed dress all the way down her ribcage and hips. Along with leg-slitting at the length, she's showing tantalizing flashes of flesh, v-drop baring more skin all the way to the woman's stomach on the bosom flattering bodice.
The woman knows how to get attention and turn heads, but while she's walking with motion that's made to draw the eye, you'd never know she's aware of it. Her good nature and social graces are often well intact to keep her from coming off as imperious.
After pausing nearby to answer a few questions of some very young companions about duties, she approaches where Lyra and Zephyr are situated. And apparently, she's picked up the tail ends of conversation once near, "Why would you need words? You can craft sentiment and whole stories with mere song, my dear."
"I don't have a talent for it, unfortunately," Zephyr says. "Or the life experience to write about anything interesting." His gaze strays toward the stairs. "I suppose I could write about my various clients, but they'd know who I was talking about, and confidentiality is part of what I offer." Looking back to Lyra, with a spark in their green eyes, they say, "I want to find a War Child poet who can write about life outside the Citadel, or a Scavenger with memoirs. All of our artists are basically navel-gazing while the things worth knowing about are happening elsewhere."
As Eden approaches, Zephyr smiles at her. "You're a vision, dear," he tells her. It's doubtful many of their clients overlap, tastes being what they are, and so he can afford to be without petty jealousy.
Lyra laughs again and smiles up at Eden. "I could, yes, but we were discussing poetry and old songs and how different the world in many of them is from what we know. So many songs about rivers and oceans and rain and fog. There's a pretty one called The Foggy Dew about a battle of sorts that I've considered trying to adapt for the War Children. I think they'd like it. And trees, so many different kinds of trees they talk about." Her eyes sparkle a little, "Zephyr was bemoaning the lack of new-to-him poetry." There's a small pause and then Lyra adds, "Remind me to talk to you sometime about my next pairing as a breeder, unless Cinder's already spoken with you."
"As are you, pet." Eden replies to Zephyr with a dusting of easy smile that encompasses the whole of her features, considering his desire on War Children stories converted to poetry, "You only need the stories from them. And many have your ear, no? Perhaps you could give beauty to words if you had the proper inspiration..."
Moving from hand-clasped pause, Eden listens to Lyra's explaining and commentary with a knowing nod, then settles to seat herself on a near lounge, "And snow and trees and stars..." Eden gives a click of her tongue with small dismay for the beauty of metaphor often lost on many of the denizens of today's ruined earth. After a beat of pause, though, she makes light note as if to serve as a pick me up, "I suppose we still have stars."
Then, curiosity piqued, she addresses the second bit, "Oh? You may speak to me about it, if you like, but I intend to corner Cinder soon for breathing exercises and some relevant talk."
"I'm no wordsmith," Zephyr says with a small shake of his head. "But I've gotten to a point where I would trade stories instead of Lux just to know something interesting. I suppose I could at least write down what is said and give it to someone who can weave a tale."
The mention of Cinder causes him to pull a face, and he looks away as though the little clay pots on the table beside him are just so very interesting.
Lyra smiles, "We do still have the stars, yes. And some of the flowers." then she shrugs a little and raises an eyebrow at Zephyr before glancing away and looking over the Bazaar and the people making deals. "I know the Patrons have been discussing my next pairing. Cinder suggested that we might be paired again. Our daughter, Aloy, is doing well." She finally looks back towards Eden. "We do seem to work well together and he's a good father."
Eden looks at Zephyr with consideration that extends onto Lyra over one thing or another, but then she's attentive for the explanation on breeding preference. After a tilt of her dark head, one of the woman's hands comes up to play with one of the tiny woven hair braids laced through the riot of her curls and waves. After a noting moment, she speaks.
"The Patrons that have more breeding experience will be the ones to decide, but I can have their ear with reason if you think it favorable." She does, however, look a bit quizzical at the compliment over 'fatherhood' because children are raised by the breeder collective and placed appropriately for further raising in caste. She's not sure what constitutes a good father, but she thinks she knows what Lyra means, "He makes himself supportively available when he need not, yes. Just so."
Then she lowers her voice to look at the harpist more seriously, "You must take care not to show too much favor beyond a wish to breed favorable traits, however. Do not be too eager about this when you express preference."
The brunette looks at the other woman with a watchful air, more than likely trying to gauge whether or not it's understood //why// she's advising in such a way.
Lyra blinks at Eden. "Aloy is pure and healthy. His blood type is needed." She waves a hand. "I more meant he is good at offering support while one is carrying his child and, while he takes an interest in all the children, he's particularly invested in those he sired. I'll be paired with whomever the Patrons decide, but if they see fit to pair us, it wouldn't be..." She shrugs again, searching for the words, then finally shakes her head. "If it suits them, neither of us would be distressed by the match, is, I suppose what I mean."
Then Lyra settles back in her seat a bit and laughs, "He's a friend and I care about him, but we're hardly in love or anything as silly as that." She shakes her head. "I think I've taken too many of the old songs to heart. Love leads to betrayal or death or sadness. There are a few that end happily, but far more that warm against it."
Eden moves her head into a small, satisfied nod at Lyra's given reasons and relents the watchful air to lean back against the lounge she's seated on. With shifting roll onto a hip and drape of arm across the back, she's practically posed even when relaxing seated, but then, this is the Bazaar and everything should be on display just so, much like the wares, "If you turn out nice children, perhaps repeat breeding will suit then, yes."
Despite the easy diplomatic speaking of satisfaction and reasoning, Eden gives Lyra a tiny slip of a smile. Occasionally, getting too close to the offspring or other Fortunate (or even Callers) can cause internal discord or ripples, because at the core, despite the caste system, people are still human. It's clearly what the Patron was trying to head off and be assured on.
After drawing in a breath, though, she changes subjects, looking at Zephyr, then Lyra in turns, "I may have news to alleviate any restlessness. But if I tell you now, you must not get attached to the idea until negotiation is finalized. Yes?"
As the topic of Cinder continues, Zephyr withdraws further, inspecting the wares at the table with a keen eye for quality. It isn't until the topic changes that he turns his attention back to the two women, and he smiles. "Darling, a lack of attachment is how I live my life. Never expect, and one is never disappointed. I'd love to hear about anything that might break up the monotony."
Faustina strolls closer on her way around the Bazaar, pausing to consider the clay pots Zephyr has been studying. After a moment, she picks one up to examine the glazing. Mark gives the gathering of companions a friendly grin, though, as always with him, it feels a bit like a veneer of friendliness obscuring something less jovial underneath.
Lyra, for her part, tilts her head and allows, "I'm generally not one of the restless ones, but I do promise to not share the information without permission or get attached to the idea, whatever it is." And it seems her hand have rested long enough, now, because she pulls her harp over and begins the soft, soothing background music that she plays when in the conversation areas.
"I am glad that sentiment comes with a smile and not ennui. It might sound dismal rather than tactical, but there is a certain truth and use in such a view." There's a touch of wry smile before Eden's words take turn for briefly contemplative acknowledging of such a practice. Noting the two Monitors' familiar presence coming nearer, the woman returns the smile and tips her head in genteel, cordial acknowledging to the pair before carrying on for the other Fortunate near.
"The details of acquisition and location are not for mention, of course, but..." the slender hand drops out of Eden's hair to rest against her lap before she continues, "There is a party that would like 'entertaining' as part of their trade terms. Naturally, in anticipation of that, I am turning eyes on those suitable that might find such travel beneficial to their well-being."
To his credit, Zephyr's outward reaction to this news is that one poignant brow arches ever so slightly. "That would be diverting," he says, "and if you have the ear of whoever is making the arrangements, I hope you'll remember my name, dove. I've been told I can be quite entertaining." That is to say he's been trained since he came here at age two to live for the amusement of others.
Zephyr inclines his head to Faustina and Mark, and as he has nothing to hide, there's nothing cagey about him. The Monitors are there for his protection, and he knows this. "A fair day to you both."
Lyra nods. "I am fairly sure that there are others to whom the travel would be more beneficial, but I do, of course, serve at the pleasure of the Patrons, and, should my skills be needed, I would be delighted to go." She does use her lux to leave every so often, but usually to go to places like Bartertown with markets in search of music or instruments.
Faustina looks up from her study of the pot and blinks at Zephyr. There's a pause before she responds. "A fair day to you." Though from her it sounds like an automated response, especially as her expression doesn't change. Mark, on the other hand, grins. "Hey. Nice ta see ya." He says to Zephyr before giving Eden an inclination of his head back. "Everything been quiet 'round here? Any problems?" This seems to be addressed primarily to Eden, but Zephyr and Lyra seem included in the question.
"I admittedly do not know what kind of 'entertainment' they seek, as yet. For instance, to have intimate access to companions, I cannot see that guaranteed, save for rare and limited cases with a tribe leader, perhaps. The intimacy itself would have to be under watchful guard, as per outside protection protocol. But company, stories, and performances may well be on the table."
Eden lifts her hand again, this time to rest a cheek in it while she leisures against the back of the lounge, "Either way, it bodes well as an opportunity for the restless in the near future. We shall see." While lapsing into quiet, the Patron's eyes sweep out over the bazaar somewhat thoughtfully before she supposes, "We are rare, beautiful creatures to much of the outside world. It is easy to forget that bringing mere joy for a matter of moments to those without is currency for trade. We are surrounded by so much."
After some delay, Eden bats her lashes and speaks up to the pair of Monitors, then, "No problems so far as I can tell. I would say that it makes for a lovely day, but ah. Some people like the kick up and dust when things happen." The woman looks just a wee bit knowingly at Mark and puts on a hint of a smile.
"It's a peaceful day in the bazaar," Zephyr says, "devoid of War Kids stripping naked or showing off their goods for the entertainment of all." He's heard of the pink, ah, display. Even though he wasn't here to see it. His smile lingers a little for Mark, and he winks. He's known for being all about the Lux, but he's never begrudged a Monitor his (or her) leisure.
"I'm afraid flesh is my forte, but if we're just there to talk, I suppose I could drum up a few topics," he mentions. "I suppose just getting to sit with us is more than most of them ever expect. I'm sure your music, Lyra, would be heavenly to their ears."
Mark laughs heartily, though to the companions' practiced eyes, it may read as every bit as much a performance as their own demeanors. "Oh, well, sometimes a quiet day is good. Too many dust ups get tiring, even if they do break things up and justify our privileges." Faustina looks from Eden to Mark and her eyes narrow slightly. "It is better for Sanctuary if there are no problems. Arguments and problems are inefficient." She blinks at Zephyr a few times. "Did that cause a problem? I didn't see a problem when that happened. Though it was unusual and unexpected."
Lyra continues her soft playing. "As Colorado has declaimed, 'Music doth have charms to sooth the savage beast.' I certainly have no objection to going, although, yes, I would expect intimate access to be tightly controlled in such a case." There's a sideways glance at Zephyr amd she nods. "There are certaily those who just enjoy time in our company in a relaxed environment. Still, perhaps you could sing? Or dance? Honestly, if they're from other places, they're less likely to know that you aren't the best Sanctuary can offer in either of those; we were all trained to be at least competent, if it was possible, after all."
"We are all rare and beautiful in our ways and have much to offer. Perhaps I will hear something soon." Eden says, rising up in one fluid motion to look through the bazaar where she's being beckoned by a monitor regular, "I will leave you to your company, someone is requesting my company. Excuse me."
After making small hold of dress outward with tiny semblance of curtsey bow to the Monitors present, and then slipping a more familiar smile to the companions after, she heads off.
"Yes, I can sing and dance," Zephyr says, "and I'm not even in the lower rungs of talent for those. I'm just better with, you know." He smiles a little. "Let's just say my callers aren't usually in the mood for a song." He inclines his head to Eden. "Take care, lovely." He then says to Faustina, "The only trouble it caused is who can compete with entertainment like that?" They laugh, and it's a light, musical sound. "I'm only sorry I missed it."
Faustina blinks a few times, "Ah. I... would think that you all... It was... Surprising, but not... schooled." She turns back, rather abruptly to studying the pots. Mark, though, laughs again. "I missed it, too. More's the pity. Kitten's always good for some less cultured entertainment." At a cutting glance from Faustina he adds, "Good mechanic, too. Keeps the engines runnin' well."
Lyra watches Eden go and refrains from comments on Kitten and their dye experiments, instead asking quietly, "Still not getting along with your brother?" Even as she continues playing. "What did happen between you?"
"A pity the poor thing's contaminated," Zephyr says, "we could use their burlesque in the cage." While Zephyr may follow all the rules to the very letter, he can still dream of joyous mayhem. "There's something almost enviable about just how free the ones with a half-life are, in their way."
At Lyra's words, his demeanor grows less jovial, though he's still quite pleasant in his tone. "He's never liked me. I don't know what insult or slight it was I must have given him, for I was too young to recall it. Drak sees only his Utopia and Cinder is a friend to everyone else, and I've learned that my family are my fellow companions."
Mark grins. "Wouldn't that be a sight?" He shrugs, "When you know you only have a little time, why waste it?"
Lyra studies Zephyr and offers gently, "I'm sorry for that. He... Well, I care about him, but sometimes he gets an idea stuck in his head and it becomes very hard to dislodge. Maybe his ideas about you just got stuck early enough that nothing is getting them out. I'm certainly willing to treat you as family even if he's being stubborn."
Zephyr shrugs a shoulder, and for all the world, he's good at looking unbothered by it all. "I'm sure he's just a peach, and good for him with all his success and high regard. I suppose he had to take it out on someone, hmm?" He smiles a little. "Thank you, dear. I find my family in those who care for me." To Mark, he says, "I wholeheartedly agree. Whatever you do, don't languish, and they certainly don't."
Faustina seems to have determined whatever it was she wanted to about the clay pots and is moving on, causing Mark to shrug and follow after her, with a nod to Zephyr and Lyra. "Sorry, the Boss is moving on."
Lyra studies Zephyr as she plays, just watching him for several long moments. "He's far from perfect, but then I've yet to meet anyone who actually is perfect."
Zephyr inclines his head to Faustina and Mark, and to the latter, he says, "Maybe you'll come visit sometime." It's rare that Zephyr extends an invitation unless there's something in it for him, but it never hurts to get in good with the Monitors.
To Lyra, he says, "That's interesting, because he has so doggedly reminded me how much better he is in every way. I was hoping he was perfect, after all, I can't hold a candle to him." His tone is effortlessly playful. Complain? Perish the thought.
Mark laughs again and casts an appraising eye and a bit of a leer over Zephyr as he goes, "Maybe I will."
Lyra watches Mark go and then raises an eyebrow at Zephyr. At his comments on Cinder, though, she snorts. "I see. I think... you want different things. Or at least you go about getting them different ways. But I could be wrong. I know him better I do you, after all." She returns to studying Zephyr as she plays. "If you could have a good relationship with him, or at least a less antagonistic one, would you want that?"
Zephyr tilts his head as he listens to Lyra play, and the music does seem to lull him into comfort. "Lyra, for the longest time, the only thing I wanted was a brother who loved me. As for now? Sure, I want a less antagonistic relationship, because it's easier for me to ply my trade if he isn't yelling disparagement at me from across the cage."
Lyra sighs softly. "I'll see what I can do. I can't make any promises, but... I can try." She shakes her head, even as her fingers continue moving. "He would never have put up with Porter treating Aloy the way he treats you." She frowns a little. "It's not the same, of course, not quite, but still. If nothing else, maybe the thought that acting that way is unbecomming in a Patron will sway him."
Zephyr starts to speak, then bites his tongue. He takes a moment, and that moment affords him calm. "I don't want him to get in trouble," he says. "The fact is he is good for Sanctuary, and for that to be compromised would detract from the greater good, and while I hope Drak's dreams of Utopia are true, Sanctuary is where we are, and where, for the moment, we will remain. Thank you for seeing what you can do."
Lyra gives Zephyr an amused look. "I don't want him in trouble either. Which, I will admit, is part of why I feel like this situation should probably be addressed. At least in terms of public and semi-public behavior." She smiles, "And I agree that he is, generally, good for Sanctuary. But I also think that you have value to Sanctuary. You provide a service."
"I bring comfort," Zephyr says, "and an ear to listen, and arms to hold. I hold myself to a high standard. I know I have a reputation for being cold until tokens change hands, but when someone is in my care, they are my whole world. I need that emotional distance, or I would be consumed. I need that line in the sand, because that much care without boundaries would break me. I know what I do is important, and I do it well. But to bear children and sire them is considered particularly noble."
Lyra watches him again. "Both your brothers have sired children. Would you want to? I know many of your clients are men, but that doesn't always preclude the ability to be with women."
"I'm able to perform with women," Zephyr says with a nod. "I think it would be an honor to sire a child. I'm not particularly good with children, but I'm not all that bad. I talk to the Meanies without any problems. I wouldn't say I have my brothers' parental natures, but I would take good care of the mother, and I'd care what happened to the child."
Lyra shrugs again. "There are also those who sire children, but turn them over to the Breeders for raising. Not everyone needs to be as involved as your brothers. If that is of interest to you, you might let Eden or another Patron know. Certainly you also have good genes and a desirable blood type."
Zephyr says, "Perhaps I will if things calm down between Cinder and I. He would find some way to make it my fault, or turn it into some conspiracy against him." As if Zephyr is sooooo innocent in all these interactions. Surely baby brother would never do anything wrong! "I might mention it to Eden in passing. We'll see."
Lyra laughs. "The patrons are always looking for good sires. More for good mothers, since one man can sire several children more easily than one woman can bear multiple children, but... If they look at your brothers' success rates and think you'd be a good choice, that's hardly a conspiracy against him. We have several female breeders who will need matches again soon."
"You and I know that," Zephyr says. "Well, we'll see what happens. It can't be my fault if the Patrons realize that females in need of a good pairing can't all go to him and Drak. And if the Patrons think I should wait, that's all right. I do enjoy my work. Everyone has stories about their lives, and it's nice to hear them."
Lyra nods. "I think even he wouldn't hold it against you. He might say something foolish about the Patrons' judgement, though." She considers, "I'll see what I can do to work on him." Then she smiles warmly, "Hearing stories from client is nice, yes. I think I get more of the types who want to forget all their worries, but it's nice when they talk."
"They come to me wanting to forget," Zephyr says, "and at first, they do. Sometimes, though, when you're relaxed and feeling safe, and raw, and open, the words come. I think that, deep down, most people want to be known and understood, and it's impossible to really fully know or understand someone, and that can be lonely. We're not meant to be alone."
Lyra considers. "Maybe it's that I don't make them feel raw. More often than not with me, they sleep." She laughs again. "Or maybe I'm just boring. Except they come back." Still, she nods. "It is good to be understood. And better to feel not alone. Connection and caring is crucial, yes."
Zephyr lays a hand on Lyra's arm and tells her, "Not at all, darling. You're soothing. Your melodies are comforting, and you sing of a better world. You're beautiful and kind. You're perfect at what you do. We do different things is all. We draw different sorts of callers. For some of them, the most healing thing you can give them is rest."
Lyra grins at Zephyr. "True, very true. Rest is, often, the best cure." She draws her playing to a close. "Though, speaking of clients, I believe one of mine will be here, soon, and I should go freshen up and switch harps. I'm sure I'll chat with you more later."
Zephyr says warmly, "Be well, Lyra. Thank you for your time today. It's always a pleasure to talk to you and listen to you play." They linger behind for the moment, though surely not for long. He rarely leaves the nest, this one.