It's been a couple crazy months since Nugget was born, hasn't it?
Parfait was bed-ridden for the first week, but you had help from Charmin and Ro. Toot headed back soon after, needing to get back with the Candies after a long absence. Turns out Ro's great with babies, who would've guessed? He taught you a couple things about swaddling and gave a couple tips on not being peed on, both invaluable things.
Nehi put you back to work as her trade liaison as soon as Parfait was healthy. She set you up with some actual housing in return for your services.
Speaking of those services, let's see how things have fared for you. Why don't you roll+ Sharp for me?
On a hit, choose options. 7-9, one is true. 10+ all are true:
* the negotiations with the river tribe for Stayman went well, they liked you and gave you a gift worth 1 barter, you detail
* you've cleaned the area around Oasis from all Wendy control, the roads are safe to Bubble City now, your choice if that is known to be your doing or not
* Faille is nearly healed up, she's anxious to get moving again with your crew
Regardless, I know you've been itching to get a caravan going. Parfait wants to get on the road, too. She's loved Oasis, but you both are most at home on the road. Ro has declared himself part of your tribe now, he wants to go when you go.
We pick up on a bright and sunny morning. Your son is with you, cooing and laughing his young baby laugh. You're headed to see Faille this morning. Parfait gave you something to give to her. What is it?
(Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 6, 2. Total: 8)
Nugget was, apparently, highly amused.
In any case, I feel surprisingly rested compared to the last couple of months. The negotiations with the river tribe for Stayman went decently, I think, and we've gradually been working at the Wendy presence ... For the most part.
The real good news is that Faille is finally showing signs of real improvement, and I believe she's almost ready to get back on the road with us. We're anxious to get moving with her again. Parfait even gave me a piece she's been working on for Faille for quite some time now, a beautiful pearl pendant, set in silver wire, and hanging from an impeccably crafted chain. Considering Parfait did the whole thing by hand, I am beyond impressed. She has continued to amaze me these past few months, as a wife, a mother, and an artisan.
I look down to nugget, who I'm holding against my chest, and whisper in his ear, "I'm hoping we'll be able to bring aunt Faille home with us today, my son... She is like us, you know! But she is not practiced in the ways of our gift, so you must go easy on her." I smirk to myself, and kiss his temple as we approach the door to the doctor's shack. "I won't have you crying like you did with uncle Ro when he came home from a particularly bad losing streak at Stakes' casino should it turn out Faille is in a sour mood."
I reach for the door's handle, and enter the shack, looking around for Faille.
You notice she's wearing a beige tank top that reveals her tattoos, and of course, the huge scar in her chest, still an unsightly pink gash that has a layer of skin over it, but still seems like it could open up. Now that things are warming up, she's wearing a pair of soft cotton shorts, no shoes. Her journal sits on the small table by her bed, closed, the chacoal pen beside it. A bag sits on the floor by the table, all her worldly goods, including the gifts the clinic staff have given her for her scribblings.
After she has a moment to react, I follow up with, "how are you feeling today, my dear?"
"She is so good at this!" Faille says with a catch in her voice. Then she's putting it on, and the pearl pendant hangs down right in front of the mark the Wendy gave her, nearly taking her life. "I don't know why you're so good to me."
She takes Nugget in her arms, hugging him tight. You see them lock eyes when she pulls him back. There's something going on there, between them. A connection, like and yet unlike your own with him. "Your son is so amazing, Jack."
I look up at Faille when she addresses me, "please Faille — Parfait has told me how you kept each other company while she was waiting for me to return from various work outside Oasis, and during her time in recovery here. You've more than earned our friendship... And our son has taken quite the shining to you." I look around the clinic for the doctor, then add, "has there been any further discussion about when you can leave? I'm looking to purchase a vehicle before the end of the season... I'd like to get back on the road again."
The three of you head up the short road to the clinic and head inside. As usual, the place is busy. Ivory is directing traffic, and believe it or not, the very beautiful Melody is taking in patients. There's a heavyset, dark-skinned man named Shreddies. He smiles when you come in with Faille. He knows you, of course, you're a "frequent customer", as he calls it.
"Is the little bird flying out of the nest now?" he asks in that deep voice of his.
Faille nods, suddenly a little shy, or nervous.
"Can you look after her, Jack?" he asks you, narrowing his eyes, just to make sure.
"We will of course do our absolute best. Faille is all but blood in our eyes... We'd like to obtain Melody's blessing, and settle up before heading out." I can't help but have a listen to the whispers, to see what is on Shreddie's mind.
(Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 6, 1. Total: 10)
Shreddies is glad she's well enough to leave, sad to see her go. He enjoyed her spirit, her insight and well, she's easy on the eyes, too. That never hurts.
Melody gives her blessing, stating that Faille's paid up from the work she did selling her art. Not that Melody admits it out loud, but you can tell she bought a few herself.
Then, unless you have more to say or do, the three of you... or two and a half at least, head out. "Jack... what is it that I should be doing for work? I mean, with you?" Faille asks it with an air of hope that she can fill a role, but has no idea what it would be.
I hadn't honestly considered what Faille would do once I'd trained her... I bite my lip and consider the prospect. "You could," I answer plainly, "if that's what you'd like. Your skills as an artist clearly paid your bills here, but if you're interested in helping me, then who knows what we might accomplish together?" I smile and gently put my arm around her shoulder.
I know I often speak too much, but I take the opportunity to give Faille a hint of exposition regarding my plans... "Faille, I've spent a great deal of time out here in the Flats, but my heart clamors to see the rest of the world... I wonder what is out there, and how I may best serve it. I come from a place that is entirely foreign to the ways of the people here, and living in the shadows of these people has left me without a real home. It has left many people without a home. This convoy I'm assembling is a chance to give people like Ro, and Parfait, and even yourself a shot at belonging. We will find our own purpose, and build on it!"
I'm truly excited about this. The open road calls me.
You're heading through Market now as you talk. People who know you through Nehi wave pleasantly. A few hawkers try to stop you to sell wares, so your conversation is paused. Did you pick anything up?
Once you're on the other side of the Market, Faille's brows knit, and she looks at you for a moment before asking, "A caravan travels between known places, on roads used by many people. How are we making a new home... there?"
Once we're walking again, I shake my head, "a merchant's caravan, yes. What I have in mind is less limited — imagine something like Tradertown, where instead of a single, monstrous machine that houses a black market, and overzealous merchants, you find people who have visited countless cities, and accumulated an endless amount of culture. They trade that culture freely, along with whatever services they can, to spread awareness of the world around us. A convoy with proper protection."
I look off onto the horizon, feeling restless, "over the years of my travel, I've found that home is merely a place where you can be with the people you love. A safe place. With someone like Tootsie Roll, and the proper vehicles, there's no reason we can't make our home the open road."
You describe the idea for this caravan to Faille and she slowly chews each bite, letting it linger in her mouth for maximum enjoyment. At the end, she swallows, "A bit like Proper's thing, except without the..." she looks at Nugget, "thing they do there."
She walks alongside you for a moment, thinking, "Parfait makes jewelry. I sell my pictures. Uhm... Ro... gambles their money away? Well, it isn't a proper carnival, but it could maybe do on the fringe. Better than going solo." She gives you a solid look, "I'm in."
You see your abode ahead, and notice that for the last block, Faille has been leaning on her stick, and moving a bit slower, her left hand softly over her scar. She notices you looking and says, "Sorry, longest I've walked in... well, since. I'll be alright. Just need to sit down soon."
Ro's outside, putting clothes on the line. It's been a week since Toot was around. She should be back before long, which is what Ro has mentioned maybe twenty times now.
What have you seen between Ro and Faille? Which one seems to, well you're the Brainer, which one seems to fancy the other?
I suppose you might consider the convoy to be something like Proper's show — with the exception being that we would be travelling for the purpose of travelling, rather than simply maintaining business. I smile back at her, glad that she's willing to join us — even if she doesn't understand Ro's value beyond his luck. "Excellent! And we'll take it a bit slower next time... I hadn't expected to walk you quite this far today, but Ro swears the sofa is the most comfortable thing in our entire shack — and you're welcome to it."
Speaking of Ro — I am fairly certain that Faille has been "fancying" Ro for quite some time now. The gift is something of a double edged sword, in that when you start empathizing with people, you can sometimes mistake people's emotions for your own... Infatuation is so powerful that once it seeps its roots into your brain, it doesn't particularly matter if it was developed legitimately or not. I would imagine Ro's infatuation for Toot, coupled with his excellent storytelling ability, were a great comfort to Faille during the past few months. I can certainly understand it, at least.
Parfait greets you at the door, smiling, putting out her arms to hug Faille. Faille thanks her profusely for the gift and they both look at the pendant, and talk about how nice it looks. You're able to head inside.
Tell me a bit about this shack you're in now. How big is it? Where is it within Oasis? What's your favorite thing about it?
In any case, the shack itself is laid out in two separate levels: the ground floor is a lounge area with a wood-stove, the aforementioned sofa, a rocking chair, and a hammock Ro set up for himself. The upstairs is slightly cramped, but we've set up a small desk under the skylight where Parfait can work on her jewelry, and a double mattress on an old box-spring for Parfait, Nugget and I. All in all, a beautiful little arrangement a few minutes walk from the lake proper. Private — like all properties in Oasis.
I let the ladies catch up, handing Parfait her food with a complimentary kiss, and bring Nugget inside to assist his development of object permanence... What was it Nehi called it? Peekaboo? After all, we've only just gotten home, and I'd asked Ro to join me in negotiating for that RV later.
Ro arrives a few hours later, and you notice Faille sits up a bit straighter, greeting him with a little smile, "Hi Ro! I'm free!"
To that, Ro chuckles, "That's a shame." He walks near Faille, then past her to get some fruit from a bowl, turning to add, "Now you can escape when I regale you with my stories."
Faille looks down, like she realized maybe she was looking at Ro too long, and says, "Well, I can't really run or anything. I'm sure you could catch me."
Ro misses that bit, or the parts you catch. He looks at you as he opens up a banana-like fruit. "We gonna buy ourselves a vehicle today, Jack?"
I walk over to our icebox and take some water from a bottle crafted by one of the merchants here. He filters and bottles it himself. I offer everyone a glass, then answer Ro, "I won't lie to him, but I'd need to see the size of it before I could pass judgement on it. I would like an RV as large as they come — so let's play that up. Convince me, in front of him... Or her... That his RV is the correct size. Unless the thing is a monstrous affair, I'll presume there's something bigger, and he can side with you... Make him feel like you're both on the offensive when in fact he's alone on the defensive."
"I like this plan." Ro says. "The merchant's name is Pixajoy. He's from the Valley. I knew him when I was little. He was a ganger, but gave it up."
Parfait calls you over for a moment, "Jack, Nugget is scratching his face when he sleeps. We need mittens, or something to bind his hands. And I need to file his nails, but they're so tiny, it takes a while. He hates it." She looks up at you, suddenly serious, dropping her voice, "Do you see him in your dreams, Jack? Like he's another person, not a piece of your own dream?"
Hmm... This is not good. Children are not a very lucrative market out here in the salt flats — but I'm sure someone in the market could either make us some, or might have some on hand. The bit about Nugget being in her dreams though catches me by surprise... My mother was not aware that I was in her dreams until I was able to tell her bits of her dreams in my waking state. Parfait is a sharp woman. I nod, "Yes, I have... It is not something he's able to control, sadly. You'll find your dreams are likely guided by his curiosities — in a way, see it as an opportunity to share your resting hours with our son!"
But then it occurs to me she wouldn't be asking if it didn't bother her for some reason, "why do you ask? Are the dreams... Troubling?"
Faille waves you goodbye as well, a linger look for Ro as he goes. Then you're heading out. Anything to discuss with Ro on the way or do we skip ahead?
Pixajoy is in his fifties, probably. USed to be muscular, now his skin sags and he's got scars that show that moving around too much is probably painful. He's sitting outside a concrete hut smoking from a hookah when you two come up. He nods to Ro, then to you.
Ro gestures to the RV, "See, Jack? This thing is a palace! A bit of gentle use, but places for each of us to sleep and eat, it can tow other vehicles, the thing's been fortified, even has a diesel hybrid engine, too!" He runs ahead to point at the top, "Annnnd, turret! Who doesn't love turrets?!?"
OOC: Reading Pixajoy. Roll+Weird*.
(Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 6, 1. Total: 10)
OOC: Holding 3.
Q1: Is Pixajoy telling the truth about those repairs?
He's hoping you don't know too much about RVs. The thing will run, but the engine needs an overhaul, like yesterday. That is worth half as much as the RV, really.
"I'll cut thirty percent off the top. If you go with a Tradertown mechanic, then you're good to go, brother. I got a cousin who can set you up with their guild."
Ro seems interested, but he doesn't say it out loud. He likes Tradertown. They love his good luck.
Q2: How can I get Pixajoy to absorb the full costs of the repair?
Walk away. Actually walk away. He'll come back to you.
"Hell yeah, man. And the best part is, we can watch her work. The apple didn't fall far from that tree, no sir." Ro falls in step with you.
Pixajoy lets you go, but when you look back, he looks pissed.
Where to now?