Louisa pages the room: Hot, hot afternoon, wasn't it?
Gerard pages the room: Oppressive, hot, muggy afternoon, dark clouds, still air, we're behind the forge by a pile of scrap metal that the three have just finished heaping up against the back wall.
A tall man makes his way down the Farm Road, his stride long and trail-wise. He seems intent on the forge, rather than the Farm. In the heavy, still air, his pleasant baritone hums, words inaudible.
Rabbit pushes sweaty hair away from her face with both hands and nods to Louisa. "Yah. S'hot."
Gerard looks embarassed. "I do not know 'ow to swim."
Louisa turns to regard Gerard with a puzzled expression. "How is that possible?"
"Euh," Gerard says, nonplussed. "I deed not learn ever?"
Rabbit cocks her head at Gerard. "S'easy! We'll teach yuh, yah?"
The man's pace slows as he draws near the forge. He goes to the front doors and seems to linger there for a while. Then he appears around the side of the building, regarding the trio with a raised eyebrow. One thumb is hooked in the strap of his pack, the other in the pocket of his jeans.
Of the three, it is definitely Louisa and Rabbit who catch the eye. The young man in the middle seems wholely unremarkable, and not just because he is dishevelled and stripped down to a singlet over his trousers. He just...fails to be of interest. But he ruins this effect himself by jumping badly when the tall man comes around the corner and jerking backward, face suddenly white as chalk and clammy. One hand goes to his chest, which rises and falls visibly with his suddenly alarmed intake of breath.
"Don't mean to startle," the man drawls in a deep, resonant voice. "My apologies. Just wondering whose forge this is... who's the smith here?"
Louisa nods once, twice, her smile growing slowly. "Want to learn?" Then her gaze turns to the newly arrived stranger, her smile fading at Gerard's startlement.
Louisa has rolled up her pants and tucked the cuffs just so, fashioning makeshift, semi-stained hemp shorts. The matching, natural shirt has been divested of its sleeves as well. Still, the Gaian looks a trifle warm for her walk down the road. The sound of the cursing speeds her steps a bit -- she's heading in that direction.
She's a tall, lanky sort of girl somewhere in her teenage years -- probably the latter ones. Not quite six foot, she's all arms and legs and pale, pale blonde hair that falls wildly around her face and down to the middle of her back. Her face is angular, with a somewhat prominant nose and sharp, often quizzical gray eyes.
She wears a plain brown dress that comes down past her knees and looks to have seen quite a lot of wear; it's patched at the shoulder, rather torn at the hem, and stained. Her arms and legs are bare, dusted with a thin layer of pale hair, and her hands and feet are large and calloused. A small brown cloth bag hangs from a strip of braided rawhide around her neck.
Slightly built and not tall, this young man is far from an imposing figure. His sleek black hair trails across the nape of his neck and falls across his eyes. Eyebrows like quizzical caret marks, long lashes and dark eyes, a narrow-bridged nose and a thin but expressive mouth all lend a sharpness to the youth's pale face, and great mobility of expression. His hands are long-fingered and slender, the deft instruments of a surgeon or a card sharp.
He generally wears a long black coat with many pockets, and carries a fairly new, olive-green courier bag slung across his shoulders, along with a long, narrow bundle wrapped in black. Today he is wearing a white blouse beneath a pale gray waistcoat, and darker gray trousers. A white scarf is wrapped once around his throat, ends hanging one in front, one behind. His black coat hangs open in heavy, somber folds, the graceful lines somehow unmarred by the weight of the well-stuffed pockets. He is clean and clean-shaven, his hair is combed, and he is accompanied by the faintest scent of sandalwood.
His French accent is inconsistent, but it is never entirely absent nor ever so strong as to obscure what he is saying.
Once this man was slender; now he is lean. Once this man was beautiful; now he is merely handsome. Years and weather have transformed him from a striking, heartrending youth into a powerful, magnetic man. His hair has been bleached almost white by the unrelenting rays of the Sun, but his eyes are clear, dark, and piercing and his skin is deeply tanned. A pale scar runs a good five inches from just under his right eye to the edge of his jaw, just under his ear. Long, capable hands are covered with scars large and small. His clothing is practical: a shirt of natural cotton under a leather vest; heavy, pale blue, denim jeans; and thick, ancient leather boots. He carries a dense, heavy pack with ease, and a broad short sword at his hip, moving at all times with easy, watchful, yet strangely languid grace.
Louisa looks like a cross between Huck Finn and Debra Messing's plain kid sister. She pushes to her feet and takes the impressive gentleman in, head to foot. "Friend of yours, Gerard?" she asks mildly.
The moment the stranger speaks, Gerard's fear drops by more than half. Some of the color returns to his damp features. But he is clearly still on edge as he steps back to Louisa's side and regards the man narrowly. "Why?" he asks ungraciously, for the moment ignoring Louisa's question.
From afar, Gerard notes that right now, Gerard has taken off shirt and coat, and is wearing only a very simple and cheap home-made-looking undershirt which has some roughly sketched white-on-white embroidery on the front, hard to make out the pattern. He's very sweaty and rather unimpressive, and the charm on his shirt inclines the viewer to find him utterly dismissable - far from his usual performance persona.
The moment the question is out of Gerard's mouth, the man seems to grow a foot taller and wider, though he actually does nothing more than straighten up a touch and raise a pale eyebrow higher. His eyes, which had been inclined to pass over Gerard in favor of Louisa and, secondarily, Rabbit, lock on with nigh-painful intensity. "So defensive," he murmurs, just loud enough to be heard by all, and his mouth quirks slightly, though whether it is in irritation or amusement, it's hard to tell. Louder, he says, "I heard Lucas Maker had a forge around here. Is this his?"
Gerard licks his lips. "I'm sorry, m'sieur," he says, his voice strained. "I must 'ave missed your name." Probably only Louisa can tell that he has become tense to the point of shaking.
Louisa straightens a bit -- albeit unconsciously -- as well. Her tone remains neutral now. "It is. I'm Louisa, Little Mother." She steps forward toward the intimidating man, offering a hand. "Who are you?"
Rabbit remains silent, her head tipped slightly to one side as she regards the stranger. Of the three, she seems the most at ease, and her posture remains rather slouchy and casual as she scratches at the side of her neck.
The volume of his presence -- so to speak -- get turned down, and the man shifts his focus to Louisa. He engulfs her hand in his own. At close range, one realizes that he is really *very* tall, and the thick, cord-like muscles in his forearms are clearly lined under his bronzed skin. His voice turns warm. "Good to meet you, Little Mother," he says. "I'm called Arrow's Flight Maker."
Louisa shakes Arrow's hand. "It's a distinct pleasure, Arrow's Flight Maker. What sort of business do you have with the Smith?"
Gerard's eyes widen. He seems to reced a bit, without actually moving at all, and lets Louisa take over the conversation.
Arrow's Flight cocks his head slightly and smiles. The smile transforms his whole face, giving a glimpse of the lovely youth he must have been once, though his eyes remain old. "Well, it's more of what his business is with me, you see. I've heard that he's been looking for me."
"Oui," Gerard whispers. "Oh, yes. I sink he has."
"Really?" Louisa returns. "Forgive my forwardness, Arrow's Flight Maker-rhya. But would you indulge a near-melted halfmoon her curiosity and tell us why?"
The smile remains, a smaller sun shining coolly down on Louisa. "We're old, old friends, Louisa-kun."
Gerard crosses his arms over his narrow chest, hands rubbing at his bared upper arms as though he is cold, in all this heat.
Rabbit's eyes shift from Gerard to Arrow's Flight and back again. Frowning a little, she edges closer to Gerard, protectively.
Louisa smiles a bit herself in return, though her gold-brown gaze remains somewhat level. "You're Garou?" she asks.
The dark eyes of the visitor continue to meet Louisa's. "Oh, yes. Gaia's Sentinels. You?"
Louisa pages: ToG on the last bits of conversation.
You paged Louisa with 'Yep. True, true, true.'.
"Gaia's Daughter," Lou returns easily. She'll ask questions, apparently, until the utterly impressive man chooses to stop answering. "Lucas needed your help with something?"
Gerard eases back another step or so.
The utterly impressive man's mouth, still smiling, quirks further to one side, and his body curves naturally to very slightly encompass Louisa's space. "I think... he simply wished to renew our acquaintance."
Gerard opens his mouth but says nothing, breathing silently and watching.
Rabbit crinkles her nose, giving Gerard a worried look.
Louisa remains where she stands, to her credit. "When did the two of you last see one another?"
Arrow's Flight cocks his head to one side thoughtfully, without loosing his gaze's grip on Louisa. After a long moment, he says, "Before he left his home. A very long time ago."
"I suspect that /that/, Arrow's Flight Maker, is a tale I would very much enjoy hearing." Louisa replies, her smile warming enough to reach her eyes.
Derrick decends from the track across the hill and enters New Moon Farm.
Arrow's Flight leans in a bit closer, a few strands of his pale hair falling into his eyes. "I wish I could tell it to you now, Louisa Little Mother. Sadly, I have to move on -- there is pressing business calling my name, and I merely chanced by this place and thought I would... stop in for a visit." With a reluctant air, he straightens and releases the air around Louisa from most of his presence. "I hope to be by again someday... soon. Perhaps then you and I can... talk."
Louisa pages: That can't be as insinuative as I'm reading it. Can it? :)
Long distance to Louisa: Arrow's Flight beams.
"No--" Gerard blurts out. Then he blushes.
Louisa ends up tipping her head back to maintain eye contact with the closer now larger-than-life Arrow. "I will watch for you." she replies, as if the second half of a call-and-response. Whatever else she was going to say is left off as Gerard speaks. She tears her gaze from Arrow to look inquisitively at Gerard.
Arrow's Flight transfers his gaze to Gerard in a look that seems vaguely incredulous for just a moment. He shifts one shoulder forward slightly, and lowers his chin so that he's looking at the Frenchman from under his eyebrows.
Rabbit gets the furrowed-brow look of a puzzled dog. Her head tips to the other side, and she continues to frown.
Painfully, Gerard clears his throat and mutters, "Eet would be good of you to stay, m'sieur. I am sure m'sieur le smiss will return soon. I can--I could make you tea, peut-etre." Has Gerard ever offered to make someone tea?
Derrick doesn't seem to come to New Moon Farm particularly often; perhaps he's in search of someone, now. Or, perhaps he just wants to visit the oak tree. In any case, he comes wandering down the track, humming quietly. Voices draw him to the back of the forge, humming not disappearing yet.
Louisa pushes that same strand of gray hair behind her ear yet again, looking between Gerard and Arrow now. When Derrick comes into view, the Gaian doesn't even look his way, though there's little doubt she knows he's there.
The smile returns, though it is perhaps a little more tolerant than warm. Arrow's Flight glances briefly at Derrick, flicks his eyes over Rabbit, then Gerard, and then returns to Louisa. "You are very kind," he says, presumably in response to Gerard, although he seems to be addressing Louisa. "But, as I said, I have urgent business elsewhere. Lucas, it seems, will simply have to wait. Please do tell him that I was here."
Oddly, despite knowing and liking Gerard, most of Derrick's attention seems to go to Arrow's Flight. Indeed, it looks as if he doesn't even quite /notice/ Gerard, at least not at first. "Hey," he says, as he stops humming.
Louisa dips her chin. She's already spoken her farewell.
"I will tell 'im," Gerard says unhappily. "Unless--" inspired "--you could write him a note? Zere is paper and pen inside."
Arrow's Flight laughs, a rich, sonorous sound, and turns a wicked smile upon Gerard. "Oh," he says, still laughing just a little, "oh, no. I think I owe it to Lucas to at least show up in person." With a decorous, courtly bow to Louisa, a swift nod to Derrick and Rabbit, and a tossed wave to Gerard, he strides back onto the road, heading toward town at a fast, miles-eating clip.
Gerard watches the charismatic man walk away with a resignation which is surprising considering the lack of welcome he showed the stranger to begin with. "Merde," he says softly.
Derrick looks after the man. Leaning against the corner of the building, he asks Louisa, thoughtfully, "Who's Charisma Man?"
Rabbit, still looking concerned and bemused, leans over and murmurs to Gerard, "Whassa mattah?"
Gerard says woefully, "M'sieur Luca' is going to be--unhappy."
Rabbit crinkles up her nose. "How come?"
Louisa watches the bow and the departure with a half smile playing over her lips as she answers, "Arrow's Flight Maker, Gaia's Sentinel, and self-proclaimed /Old/ friend of Lucas's." She shares a long look with her packmate and then also looks to Gerard.
An eyebrow raises. "/Old/ friend. I /see/." Derrick, whose hair is dripping slightly, swivels to look at the man striding away into the distance, then to Gerard, who he peers at somewhat curiously.
Louisa pages: No lying?
You paged Louisa with 'Nope. Not once.'.
Gerard sighs and turns away, heading to where he has left his shirt, coat, and scarf neatly folded. He says, "Zis is someone 'e has been looking for--very much--for a very long time. Eet was not good zat he leave wissout seeing him." He stands loooking down at his pile of garments, a rather pale version of his usual self. "Not good," he says again.
Louisa stirs, finally, from where she stood all this time and heads over for Gerard. She touches lightly at his elbow. "Come swim," she suggests, querying.
"I cannot swim," Gerard says, looking up at Louisa, a glimmer of affection piercing his gloom.
Derrick looks at Gerard as if he said he couldn't breathe. "Can't... swim?" Immediately, he adds, "Lou c'n teach you. Lou's good at that."