Louisa pauses on the road at the gate, climbing over it rather than opening and closing it again. Her clothes have been modified for the summer, pants cropped to shorts. Shirt divested of sleeves and knotted at one side of her waist. She crosses the area between buildings looking as if she's somewhat familiar with the place. Catching sight of Sunshine she half-waves, headed for the forge.
Sunshine's eyes follow the newcomer. "I don't know if Lucas is there," she calls quietly. Her wide skirts swirl as she closes the lamp and steps down the stairs.
Louisa half turns, stopping 2/3 of the way there. "Oh." A pause. "Have you seen Gerard around?"
Sunshine shakes her head, head face in shadow now, as her wide-brimmed hat shiels it from the light. "Not recently, no." She's quiet for a moment, as if studying Louisa.
Louisa turns and approached the house and Sunshine. "I'm Louisa, Little Mother." she offers evenly. "Gerard and I are friends." The introduction isn't pushy, but it does carry a hint of expectation that the Gaian can't quite cover.
Sunshine's smile is hidden in the shadows, but her voice carries gentle warmth. "I'm Sunshine." One name is all she gives. "A friend of Gerard's is always welcome." There's question in her voice, but it's buried beneath the warm welcome.
Louisa stops a few yards from the porch, a pleasant expression warming her gaze. "Love your name." She crosses one foot in front of the other and lifts her hands to rest them on the back of her hips. "You live here?" she asks.
Sunshine steps to the ground. "Thank you," she says simply. "This is my home, yes." She gestures to the Farm at large, rather than the Guest House in particular. "You, though, you are new in town?"
Louisa shakes her head. "Been here just over a year. You related to Lucas Maker?"
Sunshine laughs gently. "Not in the least. We are friends, however." She glosses over the question of where she's been for the past year that she hasn't run into Louisa earlier.
Louisa looks entirely comfortable standing there. "Maybe you could tell me a little about Gerard."
Sunshine steps sideways so that she can get a better look at Louisa's face, perhaps accidentally bringing her own into clearer view. Her eyebrows are slightly raised. "Surely a friend of Gerard's can ask Gerard about him?" The question is gentle, rather than pointed.
Louisa's laughter is warm, genuine. "Fair enough. But it's much more fun to tease him." She adds, "The Smith, he has some very interesting friends."
Sunshine nods, smiling. "He does, indeed." It's not said as opinion, but as a statement of fact.
Louisa casts a glance up toward the dark sky and looks back to Sunshine. "Have you seen the Hunter?" she asks abruptly.
Sunshine's eyebrows rise again. "The Hunter?" She glances at the sky. "The Hunter appears in the Fall..."
Louisa shakes her head mildly. "The Warper who hunts a cursed Doe. He has followed Gerard here once or twice, I believe."
Sunshine frowns faintly. "No... I don't believe I have. Here to the Farm, or here to the Town?"
Louisa lifts a hand and waves it indicatively. "The Farm." She then confides obliquely, "I think mostly at night."
Sunshine's frown becomes more pronounced. "I trust that the Circle knows about this Hunter?"
Louisa's brows draw together a bit. "Which Circle is that?"
Sunshine's frown clears into a faint, almost enigmatic smile. "Lilith's Circle, child," she explains. "Did you think this place would flourish without Her help?" Again, her tone is simple, matter-of-fact.
An expression of mingled curiosity and awe is born across Louisa's sometimes even but more often expression face. "I've never heard of those. Who... what sort of Children does Lilith choose?"
Sunshine's smile warms again, just slightly. "Ones who suit Her purposes, generally." There's faint amusement in her tone. "You have never heard of a Circle?"
Louisa shakes her head, her hands still on her hips. "Are you born to service or do you choose it?"
Sunshine considers the question thoughtfully, finally digging into one of her many pockets. Finally she comes up with a river rock, worn smooth by water and sand over millenia. "This rock once tripped me," she says, apparently apropos of nothing. "Were you born to service, child, or have you chosen it?"
"Both," Louisa replies. "Though one before the other." Her brown eyes twinkle.
Sunshine smiles gently. "Then you know the answer," she says simply.
Louisa enjoys watching the progress of Sunshine's gentle smile. "You are a Warper?" she asks innocently.
Sunshine spreads her hands. "I am a Healer. I am not familiar with the term 'Warper'..."
Louisa hmmms, pursing her lips as she thinks. "You have the gift of shifting the world and perception of it?"
Sunshine's eyes widen slightly, and then she laughs aloud. "No, child, I am no Mage, though I've been accused of it before."
Louisa's lips form the word 'mage'. She doesn't look offended by Sunshine's laughter. "Accused? Why?" The philodox is apparently full of endless questions.
Sunshine glances past the other, into the night. "You are full of odd questions, child. Come inside, and I'll set tea." Sunshine turns and heads up the stairs without waiting for a spoken answer.
Sunshine moves into the kitchen with the assurance of someone completely at home in her space. Water is set to boil, and teacups are readied. "Peppermint?" she asks over her shoulder.
Louisa walks a slow circle of the main room, taking everything in with an admiring expression. "Peppermint would be excellent," she replies, moving toward the kitchen.
Sunshine measures some dried peppermint leaves into each teacup. "There is something... odd about you, child," she says quietly as Louisa approaches.
Louisa stops near a chair (?) and sets one hand atop the back. "Strange-odd or funny-odd?"she asks with a half-smile.
Sunshine busies herself, setting cookies on a plate, rather than look directly at Louisa. "Out-of-place odd," she clarifies gently.
"Possibly," Louisa replies with that same candor, "Because two years ago I was in 2004."
Sunshine ahs, surprised, perhaps, but also not surprised. "I see. That does explain a great deal."
"What does it explain?" Louisa presses, watching the tea-making with idle interest.
Sunshine smiles as she pours the boiling water over the peppermint leaves. "Many things. The words you use. The way you carry yourself." She hands a teacup over. "Lady bless you, Louisa."
Louisa takes the cup of hot tea and replies carefully, "And you, Sunshine." She doesn't drink until Sunshine does, trying to be careful to observe whatever rituals the Child of Lilith demonstrates.
Other than that short blessing, there doesn't seem to be much ritual to Sunshine's tea-drinking. She heads for one of the more comfortable chairs in the common area.
Louisa follows Sunshine and takes a seat near her. A sip of the hot tea draws a quiet sound of pleasure from the Gaian. "What is it like to be Lilith's Daughter?"
Sunshine's eyebrows rise, and she's startled into a little laugh again. "Lilith's Daughter? I'm not a part of the Circle, child..."
A bemused smile tips at Louisa's lips. "I'm not typically this dim," she says by way of wry apology. "You are a healer. More by art or by science?"
Sunshine takes a sip of her tea, smiling. "No, not dim. Simply out of place, still. Healing is both, always, but I was not taught by the hospitals."
Apparently Lou is content to question until her wrists are proverbial slapped. "How were you taught?"
Sunshine sits in one of the comfortable chairs in the common area, a cup of peppermint tea held carefully in both hands. She apparently answers a question of Louisa's. "I was an apprentice to one of the Healers here on the Farm. Everything I know I learned from Dolores or my patients."
Louisa is also sitting -- somewhat near Sunshine -- a cup of the same sort of tea in her hands. "Do you use arts or simple learned knowledge?"
Sunshine's eyebrows rise again, and a smile plays on her lips. "Arts, child? Life is an art, and so is knowledge."
Outside the house, through the open window, a faint, cheery whistle becomes audible, coming closer.
Louisa smiles. "Do you take pupils?" The whistle eventually seeps from Lou's unconscious to her conscious thoughs and she turns to look out the window.
Sunshine glances towards the window, listening to the whistle. After a moment, she purses her lips and whistle quietly in return. The tune is somewhat shaky, and not loud enough to be heard beyond five paces past the window, but it might be familiar to someone familiar with the other tune. Once through the chorus, and then she breaks off. "No, child, not recently."
Louisa takes a sip of her tea and looks back to Sunshine. "I would be interested in Studying if you have the time and inclination."
At first, the louder whistle overrides Sunshine's response. Then it falters, falls silent, and then picks up the second tune with a flourish. Indeed, it does not stop at the end of the refrain, but begins a new verse, until a sharp, piercing "Mew!" like a well placed stumbling block causes the melody to disintegrate into laughter. "Oui, petite," says a familiar voice, still laughing. "J'en suis sur."
Sunshine takes a very slow sip of her tea, closing her eyes for a moment as she swallows. When she opens her eyes, she shakes her head slightly, almost regretfully. "Not right now, I'm afraid."
Louisa nods once, a simple dip of her head. She opens her mouth to reply and hears Gerard's laughter, a small, particular smile drifting tellingly over her features.
Sunshine smiles at the sound of Gerard's whistling and voice. Her smile warms further as she notices Louisa's smile. "Hello, Gerard," she calls gently. "Do come inside."
In the meomentary silence that follows it is easy for anyone familiar with the young man to imagine the surprise tugging at his sharp features. Then the door cracks open and Gerard's touseled head comes around the edge. "Oh!" he says, seeing not only Sunshine but Louisa. Without quite thinking about it, he steps into the room, his hands entirely full of a striped ginger cat, somewhere in that awkward stage between kittenhood and adulthood: gangly, quivering with energy and clumsy curiosity - not unlike the young man whose elbow it is so very vigrorously attempting to burrow into.
Sunshine smiles gently at Gerard. "Tea, Gerard? And perhaps something for your friend?" She sets her teacup down and stands, her skirts shifting around her ankles.
Louisa remains where she's sitting, settling back into the chair to watch the Frenchman et son chat.
"Merveilleux," Gerard says, smiling. Without selfconsciousness - or any stiffness - he settles himself on the floor at Louisa's feet. "Reynaud," he tells the cat, "You must stop digging and show ze face, now. Eet is only polite."
Sunshine chuckles as she heads back into the kitchen to set another cup of tea. While the water heats, she finds a handful of small cookies.
Louisa leans over the arm of her chair to gaze down at the elbow-burrowing cat and its friend. "Bon jour, Reynaud." she murmurs, her 'j' a bit too hard.
Sunshine stops in the wide doorway between kitchen and common area to watch the other two, well, three, for a long moment. She smiles faintly.
The young man lifts the young cat up underneath its forelegs, and holds it in the air. "You are uncouth," he says repressively. He turns it around in his hands to face Louisa, the tawny body wriggling and squirming, purring almost inspite of itself. Long orange paws bat toward Louisa. Gerard says, "Madmoiselle Louisa, Reynaud. He was a pest wiss 'is brozzers and sisters tonight, so I take heem for a walk."
Louisa rises and carries her near-empty cup to Sunshine. "I hope we can talk again another time, Sunshine."
The tea kettle whistles, and Sunshine turns back to the kitchen to pour Gerard's tea. As Louisa brings her empty cup in, the Healer smiles. "I hope so, too," she says gently, exchanging the empty cup for the full one. "Would you give this to Gerard, please? Along with these, for M. Reynaud." The handful of small cookies are offered as well.
Louisa takes the offerings. "Glad to."
Sunshine smiles, brushing her hands off. "Excellent. I will leave you two alone, then." Without waiting for the younger woman's reaction, she heads down the hall to her room, leaving unasked and unanswered questions in the air behind her.
Louisa watches after Sunshine with some surprise in her gaze. She isn't given time to argue , so she doesn't.