Log:The Ancients Were Assholes
Xavier is in the light brown caftan with head and face wrapped and hands gloved against the sun. Timmy trails after him, dressed similarly, but without the gloves and big woven hat to shade her face against the post storm sun glare. Spotting Lyra, Xavier approaches smiling, Timmy in his wake.
Lyra is settled in one of the conversation nooks with her smaller harp, playing the sort of gentle background music for which she is known. Her dress today is a pale sky blue embroidered with light green vines and leaves and small multi-colored flowers. She smiles warmly as she spots Xavier. "It's good to see you again? How did you fare during the storm?"
Xavier's face suffuses with delight, "what a pretty dress! I didn't die since Kisses saved me and Timmy here saved him earlier so Kisses is fine too and the Fungus farm is beautiful and there's a mostly intact ecosystem in the caves and Mushrooms are beautiful!" More seriously, "Are you and the.. the future baby well? Are all of you in the cage all right?"
Timmy bobs her head at the mention of her name, but otherwise studies the musician with a forthright gaze.
Lyra blinks wide-eyed at the flood of information from Xavier. "Well... it is very good that you did not die, yes. I haven't spent much time looking at mushrooms, but I will believe you. I'm well, yes. We were safe in here. And I don't, yet, have a future baby to be safe, but my children are doing well. If you meant Maylis', so far as I know, her pregnancy is proceeding normally." She gives Timmy an extra little smile. "So nice to meet you."
Xavier giggles, ducking their head, "Yes. I meant Maylis. It is good you all stayed out of the rain. We were tarping somethings up top and bring in some others and the storm caught us, but I spent the rest in the caves where it's safest. I am thinking of buying another pad. For, um, my hut."
Timmy smiles back. she's diminutive, but has presence. She smiles showing good teeth and sharp incisors. "I've heard your music before. You're good."
Lyra nods to Xavier and draws her current piece to a close, then studies him. "Oh? A pad for yourself or someone else? And spending the storm in the caves sounds restful." She flips some of the levers on her harp and then looks to Timmy. "Thank you. Was there anything in particular you wanted to hear?"
Xavier nods, "It was. It's the safest place I think and it isn't a good idea to work in a storm even if one is inside." They look away, "I make have... had a little too much fun, but no harm was done. I had the weirdest dream that last night... anyway, I was thinking a pad I could roll up durig the day would be better than a bed. Um, larger. More room to stretch out.
Timmy cocks her head, rather like her boss, "Something... green."
Lyra nods to Xavier. "Ah, yes, that could work, certainly. Particularly if you're able to get up off the floor easily." Then she turns her attention on Timmy and blinks. "You want... music that is green? Or are you talking about the pad? And if the music by green do you mean that somehow sounds green or that is about plants?"
Xavier nods, "I'm very healthy. I mean the... the reason I'm not clean doesn't have any obvious negative health effects I've noticed. Ican get up off the floor easily, and um... It should be fine."
Timmy grins, "I meant sound green, but plants are nice too. I'm just here to help carry the pad if the Professor finds one they like. The actual use of it and thus it's aesthetics hav nothing to do with me." She coughs into her handkerchief. "Got a bit too much dust," she lies, "It's nothing."
Lyra nods to Xavier. "Excellent, then. Did you want my help, or can you manage negotiations on your own?" She hmms at Timmy. "I have no idea what would sound green to you. I do have a number of songs about plants, though. Happy or sad?"
Xavier says, “I can probably manage, but it's always nice to have company.... Um, is all well with Cinder? I know Kisses saw him just before the storm."
Timmy shakes her head, "I'm not musical, so I don't know much beyond lullabies, Something... hopeful? I could use hopeful." She folds the handkerchief and tucks it away.”
Lyra hmms at Xavier. "I'm not entirely certain. He'd dislocated his shoulder again and was being somewhat anxious. There was a discussion with Eden about how much time Kat was spending in the cage looking after him, but I haven't heard anything more since then."
She thinks for a moment about Timmy's request, then starts playing a rather bouncy tune, "Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow. Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow. Do you or I or anyone know how oats, peas, beans and barley grow? First the farmer plants his seeds, stands erect and takes his ease, stomps his foot and claps his hands and turns around to view his lands."
Xavier looks concerned, "Maybe I should check on him. I, um worry." They lean close, "Don't worry, my interest is not romantic. I won't... do anything awkward." The Chemists sit to listen. Timmy is soon clapping along in time, expression cheerful.
Lyra continues on through the rollicking song as the farmer waters and hoes and finally harvests the plants. It's repetitive, but fun and bouncy.
Xavier bounces their head along, happily. Neither Chemist is a particularly sophisticated audience member, but they really do seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. They both clap enthusiastically. After, the Professor produces a small pot of bleach paste to hand over, "For you help with, um everything."
Lyra blinks and then takes it and smiles warmly. "Oh. Thank you. I certainly don't mind. I like helping people. It wasn't done in expectation of payment." She laughs, then. "Any other requests for songs?"
Xavier ducks their head, "Not payment, but a gift... hmm... in my dream, like, everything was glowing? and there was this really beautiful music. Sort of relaxing? And friendly? And weird? Do you have anything like that?" Timmy eyes her boss warily and as if she might slap a hand over their mouth any second, but her hands stay in her lap, so it must me okay.
Lyra blinks at Xavier. "I... could improvise something relaxing? Would that suit?" And she starts playing something in less of a standard meter, shifting time signatures, but calming, perhaps.
Xavier cocks their head, "That's... really lovely. It's a shame stones can't really sing though. I mean I know they can't... They can't right?" Timmy's looking really worried now. What might he say next?
Lyra frowns a little as she keeps playing, adding little runs and holding some notes longer or shifting where the beat seems to be. "Hmm, well, not like people, no, though if the wind blows right by holes in the stones, then they can make sound, yes. Sort of like a giant flute or ocarina?"
Xavier cocks their head, "Oh! Cool! I... don't really know that much about, um, outside now. I mostly read botany things and the like when I can get them. I don;t know much about stones."
Lyra nods as she continues the music, "I've never really heard it. Not with anything big, but it was described in a couple of books I saw." She glances up, "The dome was sort of making some sounds during the storm. Not always, but sometimes. It kind of sounded like moaning."
Both chemists look quietly relieved. The Professor smiles, "Maybe some of f the wimd got into the cave system and my dreaming mind amplified it. Made it purposeful. Like when you dream you need to pee and you want up and actually have to go?"
Lyra nods. "I know it was making some people have a hard time sleeping when it happened. So it's entirely possible, yes. It may be that there are vents in the cave system and normally it doesn't make sound, but when the wind blows strongly enough or from the exact right direction, it does."
Timmy nods, "Makes sense. Doesn't it Boss." Timmy gives Lyra a big smile, "As clever as you are skilled and kind."
Lyra laughs. "I'm not all that clever, but things need air to grow properly."
Timmy looks sad, "It's true. Everything does." Xavier gives Timmy a long look, but turns back to Lyra, "So id you enjoy the accidental vacation, or were you busy playing for your colleagues?"
Lyra blinks. "Oh, I was often playing. Mostly for the children, but others needed soothing, too. And we still had some visitors. And the Monitors are in this tower as well. So it was hardly deserted." She wraps up her improvisation and considers for a moment.
Xavier says, “Oh right! The catwalks were too dangerous, and the cakes come from our tower, so mostly the reapers kept things tended needing tended and the rest of us studied or helped out or the like. There's always books and notes to reread." Timmy nods agreement, "I ended up doing inventory. It really needed doing."”
Lyra grins. "Inventory would be important, yes. I'm told the Counters get grumpy if it isn't done properly." She starts another song, then, again, something restful. "This one is called O'Carolan's Dream. So it seems music can come from dreams, sometimes."
Xavier gazes off into space as they listen, "I like dreaming. This is beautiful. It really is." Timmy is have another coughing fit, wet and batterlike from deep in her chest, mouth covered with the cloth again.
Lyra looks worriedly at Timmy as she continues to play. "It was by someone even the former world considered to be old, but I love it. Dreams are good as long as they don't take over your life. Some people can live too much in them."
Xavier sighs, "It's almost exactly like my dream...." They look down, "I... I'm starting to realize that, Lyra. I'm trying to do better. Kitten deserves better. Sanctuary deserves better." Timmy is watching the Biochemist with real empathy and concern, still trying to get her breathing under control.
Lyra nods to Xavier and gives them a gentle smile. "Trying is all we can do." She looks around. "Here we create a dream for others. Visiting is a rest and grace, but I see the people who get lost in it."
Xavier studies Lyra, "How... how do you do it? Stay so... um, balanced? Grounded? With... with everything?"
Lyra considers and looks around the Bazaar, then back to Xavier. "I don't know. I think... fighting it all just isn't in my nature. I do what I can to make things more pleasant, but..." she shrugs. "I know that this is all we are guaranteed, so I try my best to be kind and enjoy what we have and not worry too much about what we don't. My job is to help people set their worries and troubles aside."
Xavier says with real sincerity, "I really respect what you do. It's so incredibly hard and I... couldn't have done any of it. just the... way you are with people? I wish I had even a quarter of your skill. I love my work so MUCH, but it's the rest of..." They gesture with their hand, "Of everything that's hard and mst of your work is that everything else. And to be so... so kind with it." Timmy is drooping a bit, but her breathing is normal again.
Lyra laughs lightly, her smile still warm and sincere. "But I would have a difficult time with the chemistry. It would be a problem if we were all good at the same things and bad at the same things. We're suited to different tasks." A slight frown drifts across her countenance, "The problems come when we don't like doing what we are suited for or we constantly wish we were doing something else. Also if we're very good at one portion of a job, but very bad at some of things which go with that job. And I don't have a solution for that other than to say, that I can not spend my life in wishing for things which can never be. I choose instead to enjoy what we can have and try to let other people enjoy it, as well, even if only for a little time."
Xavier nods sadly, being pretty sure Lyra is thinking of pretty much what Xavier is thinking of, "You are wise, I think, Lyra. Do you... Are you planning to try to become a patron or are you... content as you are?"
Lyra smiles. "I like what I do for the moment. Maybe later, but I'm not sure. It seems like a lot of work and I'm not very good at meddling in people's lives when they haven't invited me to."
Xavier giggles, "Me either. I can barely manage meddling in my own." Timmy rolls her eyes at her boss, but smiles at Lyra, "What you are doing really does cheer a person up."
Lyra beams at Timmy. "Good. It always makes me happy to hear that. I can't... solve most of our issues, but I can make people a little happier or calmer and that..." She shrugs again. "I always like making things a little better, even if only like that. People need a rest."
Timmy says with feeling, "Oh it helps. People's spirits need feeding too, not just their bodies." Xavier bobs their head, "I... didn't really understand that until recently, but I'm starting to."
Lyra blushes a little and smiles, "I do like the sad songs as well. Sometimes it's nice to have the sadness... sort of contained." She considers again and then starts another tune, sadder this time.
Both Chemists nod. Timmy says, "Some times the sad ones make you feel better about... whatever you're sad about instead of worse. They can turn tears into beauty." She falls silent and they both listen, sitting side by side, not touching.
Lyra nods and sings softly, "Don't sing love songs, you'll wake my mother. She's sleeping here, right by my side, and in her right hand, a silver dagger. She says that I can't be your bride. I wish I was a tiny sparrow and I had wings and I could fly. I'd fly away to my own true lover, and nought he asked, would I deny."
Xavier sighs softly, "I wish I could fly for real... I hope birds really were real and that they are alive somewhere still." Timmy is watching him carefully out of the corners of her eyes.
Lyra finishes the song and then nods. "I do, too. Maybe somewhere all the things from the songs and books still exist. We can hope, even if we'll never see them."
Xavier nods, "We hope that too. My, Timmy here, KissThisThen. It's important to... to not just keep all this going, but to build and preserve for a time when, um, if, we find the green again. To save the knowledge and memories for your children and great grandchildren." Not theirs. It's clear neither savvy is clean.
Lyra nods back and looks over towards the stairs to the cage with a little smile. "I hope we do. I hope as many of the children as possible survive. I can tell we've lost a lot of things, but we preserve what we can."
Xavier nods, "I... I don't enjoy children to young to understand the work, but I do like teaching and I... Children are so incredibly important and I desperately want them to have a better world. One where they have more choices and get to live to be really old, like Mark the Monitor."
Lyra grins. "That's alright. We can take care of the young children. If you teach some when they're older, that's enough. I hope for a world where everyone has choices that suit them."
The Chemists smile, picturing it. Timmy says, "We're trying so hard to recreate the old medicines. Maybe this next generation will be healthier."
Lyra nods, eyes shining just a bit. "Maybe. It's a good hope, that each generation will be slightly healthier and live longer. I've found songs that talk about people living nine hundred or a thousand years." She pauses, "Though I think one was labeled something like 'the great liar' and another seemed to indicate that nine hundred was extremely old, almost ridiculously so."
Timmy blinks away tears, "I can't imagine a life so long." She'll be lucky tolive another five years herself. Xavier looks skeptical, "So maybe exaggeration."
Lyra nods and shrugs. "It's possible. It's sometimes hard to know what was real and what was fantasy or exaggeration. When I find old song books or sheet music that's not too damaged I try to find the songs that will still make sense. Some just seem... strange."
Xavier nods, "It's hard to figure out what they are thinking. Most of the formulas and recipes we find are correct, but we have a partially burned copy off some compendium where all the really interesting things have a mistake in them, but other things don't, making it hard to tell what to trust. It's like the ancients wanted people to think they could make useful drugs and explosives, but were actually tricking them, but why would anyone play a trick like that on Chemists. After all, chemists work for the greater good." Timmy nods emphatically.
Lyra shakes her head. "I don't know. Maybe the burned parts would explain. Or maybe it was a test of some kind. Or maybe it was a code? If you knew the secret, then you could use it, but if you didn't, things would turn out wrong so only the right people could use it? Maybe? There are a lot of songs of war. It seems like people sometimes kept secrets or worried about their things being taken."
Xavier nods, "That's my best guess. It's just... weird. Human nature persists, I suppose." Timmy says, "Sometimes I think the ancients were assholes."
Lyra laughs. "I'm pretty sure at least some of them must have been. I don't think the world today would look as it does if they weren't. If only because when whatever happened, happened, many of them turned on each other instead of helping, but... is that so different from what happens out there?" She gestures towards the door to the great mess hall, and presumably the world beyond."
Xavier shivers, "I hope I never travel further than the market. I... I'm not suited to Outside. Thee idea ofit terrifies me. Kitten is so amazingly brave. All of them are."
Lyra nods, again. "I've gone at times, but I don't feel the need to go. Some people enjoy the thrill. Some are more afraid of other things, like sickness."
Xavier says quietly, "It's why I wrap up. I don't know if sun makes a person more likely to have sik skin, but the correlation is there so I don't risk it in case it's factor along with rain and contaminated food. It's why I'm careful about all sorts of things. A lot of time and resources went into training me. I am trying very hardnot to waste them."
Lyra considers. "It's a good thought, yes. I hadn't known that there was concern about that, but I will keep it in mind." She returns to her sort of idle playing.
Xavier shrugs, "Correltion isn't causation, but better safe than sorry, I think. If food and water's gone bad, why not the sun too." They look rueful, "I like being above average covered up anyway. I mostly don't like people I don't know well looking at me. It makes me feel weird. Still, I don't often bother with head wrap and gloves after dark." Timmy points to her over sized sun hat. She hasn't taken X's elaborate ercautions, but she has made a small efort and her Savvy caftan covers her pretty well.
Lyra sighs softly and pulls her playing to a close. "I'm afraid I have an appointment, but I am sure I will see you later. I'll keep looking for songs you might like." Then she smiles at Timmy, "It was very nice to speak with you, as well. I hope you'll return."
The chemists rise. Xavier looks at Timmy's stoicaly exhausted face, "We should see about that pad. Thank you again for everything." Timmy flashes her a quick grin, "I will. Be seeing you."
Lyra gives a little wave and packs up her harp into its cover before moving towards one of the covered alcoves.