1963-07-28 - Garden of Enchantments
Summary: The Enchantress teaches Scarlett about forking paths in her garden.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Odesza - Bloom
amora rogue 

In the aftermath of a hot day, most villagers take to the cool comfort of their night clubs, their jazz bars, their little cubbyholes carved out from the brownstones. Couples stroll arm and arm down the sidewalk, and music seems to trickle out through every door and open window all the way through this melting pot of creativity. The muses don't wear their chitons here, but belled skirts and cutoffs, jeans and swing coats, encouraging every last country boy or country girl with a guitar, a set of pipes, and ten bucks in their back pocket.

Further along where space is at a premium, and Greenwich blends into the campuses of its sister universities, a community garden opens its arms. Stakes hold up runner beans and bushy tomatoes stand ripe with ruby jewels inside wire frames. Green plants stand in tidy rows, the humped beds and plots, available to all who want to help out.

The redhead known as Scarlett to acquaintances and friends has forsaken the veggie patch for the flowers, armfuls of nasturtiums and powdery begonias flowing over onto the ground. Snipping and clipping is a simple process. She fills a basket with the blooms, a bucket set aside to capture waste. It is thoughtful, contemplative work, and no one questions a girl wearing garden gloves.


Amora appeared in a manner befitting the mortals that tended to their gardens and plowed their fields. Those that would have been serfs or thralls in past eras. She seamlessly blended into the motif of flowers and growing things. She wore an equally floral skirt that swayed with each step she took, and a tight fitting shirt that drew the eyes. Her feet were bare, stepping silently among the weeds and soil that surrounded her. Beads woven into braids in her long, golden hair, clicked and were the only sound she made.

Her verdant gaze swung over the red-head, alighting on her tending with a singular intent. The intent that made rabbits flee in terror of being trapped in a fox's gaze.

A hooked smile pulled at her ruby lips and she came up to Scarlett's side. "Many a hedge witch has tended her garden in such a way. But from you I sense naught the same power. A different thing, you are. Yet you know of the Old Ways. Tell me, who taught you?" Carrying on the topic of their previous discussion without pause. As if, of course, the mortal would follow her conversation.


Herbs and flowers hold their place in every garden, a collection of simples fed tenderly by the rain barrels and the buckets of water. Natural fertilizers have their place to enrich the soil, along with bloodmeal and bonemeal, and all these elements together unite with the fire of the sun to set forth lush growth. Scarlett kneels on the earth that retains heat of the day, a tarred roofing tile underneath her shins to keep them fairly clean and unmarked. Pristine skin may not be a hallmark of a real gardener, but she clearly knows what she is about. Her skirts puddle around her in a jade flood, dissipating to a diaphanous flood past her toes. The lacing of her bodice is stretched in honey thread against a muted background, the same patterned scroll of antique gold leaves over a dimmed moonlit cream. It's a throwback to another time resurrected by the bohemian age, especially with her hair piled up in a high ponytail.

Someone else moving through the lavender clumps and the bushy rosemary gives her pause, and she murmurs, "Good day, ma'am," in a polite tone. At the first her cheeks are brushed by leaves as she arranges the vining leaves to climb a wooden trellis. Then she raises her gaze, the luminous can't through dusky lashes beckoning to another contemplative side of her entirely.

Scarlett exhales, and checks her reach, hands going to her knees. "They are a simple resource to keep others content and contribute to the community," she says quietly. "Beauty and purpose, there are few things that blend these elements so well. I fear though your question isn't one I can answer easily. I have always known, I suppose. Somewhat it comes innately. Do be welcome here. Anyone can get their hands into the soil, if I they wish."


Amora swaggered around the plants and delicate vines, moving until she was beside the red-head. She bent, settling herself down with a feline grace as she knelt there. She hmmed under her breath, reaching out a green painted nail to scrape against the soil and test its merit between her fingers with a roll. A curious tilt of her head followed, golden hair pooling down the side of her shoulder as she let the dirt fall back to the ground safely.

"Such ancient things have been long forgotten by your kind in many of man's modern ways. For all the progress," She sneered the word. "That your kind has managed, many of the simple things have been left on the wayside. Such things.." She trailed off and sighed with an aching beauty that made kingdoms fall into strife and war.

Emerald eyes turned to gaze at the mortal beside her, noting the powers that swirled about her personage. Yet made no moves to touch her either.


"I dare wonder whether Paris sat upon the walls of Troy, hearing such a sweetness behind him, and convinced himself the bravery of spiriting you away from a loathsome marriage to a boor who could not appreciate the quality of the wife he obtained against all likelihood, all sense," murmurs the redhead, her loose copper tresses spilling in flaming waves across the crest of her cream shoulders. "For surely there could be a ship launched in the longing gaze, the sorrow rich and full upon so forlorn a sound. I do not dare to pretend what stirs your emotions."

Yet perhaps she can, gathering a few stems of nasturtium and twisting them off the vine. She drops these in a pile of such vermilion and golden blooms already gathered upon their lily pad leaves. Scarlett's regard is averted respectfully, her sunglass still tipped on her nose. "I would agree that ours is a history punctuated by terrible calamities and the loss of great knowledge, practices forgotten by those who turned their backs on their forefathers for something new. We are not meant to completely toil in the fields with oxen when we've mechanized agriculture, though we cannot forget how the best strains of a flower might be bred with care or respect, or the value of bryony or black willow instead of some compound with a name miles long suggestive of all its molecules." She can speak at least somewhat competently of science, of chemistry and more. "I prefer to think a happy balance between innovation and respect for tradition is best, to look back and honour where we have come from as we strive for a future. You surely have some proof of that, for as you grow in your knowledge, you reach heights unreached before. Yet your foundations are not to be forgotten or given no honour."


The smile that lit up her features was a terrible thing, beautiful and horrible all at once. She reached to toy with a plant's frond between two fingers idly, her gaze lingering upon it. "Paris was a foolish boy, he choose beauty and beauty will always lie. A war between such kings was inevitable and doomed to happen regardless… beauty stolen or not. The tragedy of mankind.." She murmured softly, turning her gaze back to the woman beside her.

Then she plucked the leaf, rolling it between her fingers and then quietly let it fall to the ground.

"I shall gift you with the truth of my presence here, mortal. I did not choose to be here this time. I harbor only irritation at such, and as such must find my amusements where I can. You currently, hold my attention. For I find you a curious thing. Knowledge out of time as it were. A mortal that knows and recognizes us at first glance.." She paused and glanced over the woman again.

"The only one of my kind that has been here before me this time, has been the Trickster.. And leads me to believe that he too, has some manner of interest in you.."


"My lady, do I know anything of the stories and poems collected, I know well the folly to offend against you. All I can ask is that you look not with dissatisfaction upon the imperfect education I have thus far." She is, after all, only human. Terribly ethereal as she stands on the threshold of a realm, the weight of her abundant foxfire hair and luminous green eyes the envy for many a woman, though even these things are a pale shadow to the rose of Asgard. However not? They are what they are.

The brush of her thumb along the edge of a spike of lavender dislodges a few drying blooms baked to a dull grey lilac by the excessive heat. She brings her palm to her chin and blows away one of the bells to sail off like so much chaff on the wind. But there is no wind here, its trajectory short. "Unwilling travel is cause for much discontent, the more so to be exiled from those you care for and the places which matter. Others must appreciate how hard that is for you, no?" Her softened tone carries no pity, but an understanding bred deep into the words, each shaped for a conversation under the cloying weight of what the Enchantress is. How easily beguiled she might be.

The soil, it should be said, is rich and carefully worked, tilled lovingly to provide an ample root hold for any fortunate plant or seed put here. Improvements have turned the floodplain of the Hudson into something worthwhile. Labours of care leave their dividends, and proof that such efforts by mankind are not impossible, even if small.

"I'm sorry that you find this not to be to your liking, at any rates. If it is any small consolation, they no doubt appreciate having you near like a sunbeam warms the long shadows of winter." Manners still accord themselves without hesitation; this, too, is deep and engrained. "You mean it. An interest? Some days, ma'am, the best we can do is strive for the wisdom just beyond our grasp and fight, struggle, and grow for it. If you find that interesting then you've a deeper wit than almost anyone else I've met here."


EDIT: At any *rate*


Amora chuckled a gentle vibration of mirth that colored her eyes. She shifted her weight, a simple twist of her balance to her other knee as she clapped her hands on her skirt, cleaning them of invisible dirt. "You are a rare flower to bloom in such a city, rank with such decay, misuse and rot as plagues it. How terribly clever a clever tongue you own." She slid a hand out toward Rogue, ghosting over her form in a gesture.

"Mark me, child of the Old Ways.. such a tongue is a blessing of sorts that many might say would lead you into trouble." She smirked, a pulling of ruby lipsticked lips that clashed against the paleness of her skin.

As she pulled her hand back a lime green illuminesence colored the tips of her fingers, and a flower seemingly twisted and grew out of the palm of her hand. "But trouble has forever been an amusement of mine. The doom of many a kingdom and many a man. You have potential.." She breathed, and crushed the flower in her palm into a glitter of golden sparkles that faded and died upon the ground like fairie lights.

"For in my long life, amusement is all that is left to me at the end of the day. It is a terrible thing, when Gods become bored.."


The glittering flower formed of eldritch sparks holds the young woman's attention rapt, its radiance shown in her fair complexion and the bright, hammered emerald mirrors of her eyes. They rise slowly, marking for an instant the shattering presence of Helen of Troy's better looking sister, fully divine and more. How difficult to remind herself how to blink and swallow, to turn away as the succession of mental functions and physiological ones under some measure of control hiccup. But the bursting points vanish and leave Scarlett once more herself, a termination of the spell effective enough to give some space to think again.

The rise from the tile laid upon the ground takes no great effort, an elemental display of self control when her slim calves tense and propel her upwards. The skirt falls in leaves over her knees, settling in a rush that sways. "One of the gardeners here claims to have resurrected something from the old world. Whether true or not, I could not tell you with perfect certainty. Though he has tried and searched through Libya and Tunisia for twenty years, he claims these are the seeds from the authentic product. Are you familiar with silphium?" The question floats over her shoulder as she approaches one of the plots raised from the ground, filled by sprigs and fans of a fluffy, light green plant. "The resin held value equal to saffron, greater, to the Romans. Many held its medicinal qualities exceeded anything known to man, but most importantly its pods were conjectured to be a manifestation of love, and most potent in matters of the heart. A cure-all, he's tried to recreate it. That's the latest attempt there. Bored men and women sometimes conjure invaluable things, and those who remember long ago may usher in some hope of the precious not being lost. I cannot conceive a finer purpose to turn one's attention to, even if we call them amusements. Amusements have generated some of the greatest achievements in history. Story. Anywhere."

The metaphor stands. Her gaze once more returns to the woman's vicinity. "As it is worth saying, I am not flattering you for purposes of power or influence or… I know not what one would even petition the gods for, or those above them. I don't scruple to such a purpose, though others might." Her shoulders rise and fall, a graceful execution of the subtle motion. "If you say there is potential, I will not argue it. It seems necessary to say I respect you for who you are, or what you are, and would treat you accordingly. Old way or new way, it's what I know to be proper."


Amora watched the woman rise and in turn followed with an easy grace. Her steps languid and measured carelessly as she trailed along side Scarlett in a thickening silence. Her gaze flitting over the plant with a vague interest. "I know little of such a plant by that name, but names occur in many tongues and much is lost in translation of time. It is possible it grows in other realms. Such things are not unheard of to me in similar veins and roots." She finally murmured, her arms crossing beneath her bust as she settled her weight upon her bare toes.

"Once many a lives ago, I taught mortal women skills that such has not been seen here since. Seidr they called it. A weave might hide her son from evil eyes. A woman scorned by wanton lover might curse him and the lady he took to bed. Such things are common in my realm. The household magic that is ambient in Asgard." She spoke softly, her gaze distant as she raised it to the sky briefly. A look of immeasurable aching was encased in shimmered in her gaze before it was gone.

"The magic of your realm, for some reason that I have never known, is choked. It is limited and it is a sickly thing. But if you have an interest.. mortal. Your politeness, your innate learning.. intrigues me."


"A reminder of home even very far from it. How then that must be comfort and torment both. I cannot answer for why the arts here are choked. There are enough traditions about all of them, especially the English, the Hermetic, the Greek, the western reimagined. Much of that interest began in the last century, I think? The Victorians were mad for it. The Native American traditions are rather popular now, aside from more natural ones." Natural would be the substitute for the skyclad revelers in the rain, of which Scarlett is going to keep her mouth shut. It might not be polite to suggest how one dances on the ground to the moon or in the cloud tops to the sheer freedom and joy.

The drift of her fingers across her lips stills those thoughts, and she finally resolves to tip forward slightly, offering one of those delicate dahlia blooms. A spike of gold, tinged pink to the core, unfurls above a stiff stem cut loose by a twist from the stalk. Amora has her flowers. Scarlett presents the one she formed, at least in part.

"An offering, Lady. In whatever name you would have it known." And then, quite simply, she settles lotus style upon the ground, feet tucked neatly over her thighs. Acceptance, it would seem, to be what may.


A delicately manicured hand reached for the offering, and twirling it between her fingers with an idle grace. She waved a hand, and green smoke pooled around it, gilding the edges in light before it disappeared from her hand. A smile played on her lips, a coolness settling in her gaze as she settled down beside Rogue. "Your realm's position in the world's tree might be why. Beyond that I cannot say. It has always been such. Though that has not stopped those with power from being born. Oddly enough.." She murmured softly.

A step, and another and Amora had turned in a slow circle before settling down opposite of Rogue. "Show me what you know?" Her head tilted to the side, a predatory lean bringing Amora closer still before she settled back and watched.

"Child of the Old Ways.. what do you know beyond manners and your slivered tongue?"


Scarlett considers the question within the privacy of her own thoughts for several long, quiet moments. She closes her eyes to blot out the intrusions, even as she spreads her hands in front of her. "The question is hard to answer. I've associated with someone who calls himself a rune priest of Odin, and he taught me how to read the futhark; I've talked to three who practice Asatru, and call friend a girl from Iceland who claims to remember the old ways to succor the demons and wild primal spirits who dwell there. I can recite a good number of the Eddas, or tell you about the ways to propitiate Freyja or Frigga as much as the sea, the sky, the earth. The legends of foundation and Ragnarok to come. How much of this is at all real and not the preserved folk traditions made incomprehensible to you, I don't know. I know as much about the Vedas as the Valkyries, it feels, though as ever it's within the scope of what people remember. What they reconstructed."

A rueful twist of a smile lingers there, elevating the statement from a dry hue of mirth to something much more in keeping with rue. "In no way do I claim to be great. One begins learning the uttermost basics, and compiling what they have to understand if it's even correct. I feel like there is no proper answer I can give you."


Rogue has reconnected.


Amora settled her hands on her own lap in a mirror image only for a brief moment, and then she's drawing her knees up and propping an elbow up there. She crossed her ankles, and leaned back with a soft sigh and smile gracing her lips. "You know a great deal more than many a mortal. How interesting. A very fascinating puzzle you present me, child. To know of such things, so close to those of your ancestors and yet so placed beyond their ken." She tapped her chin with a finger, eyes glittering in thought as she passed her gaze over Rogue anew.

"I know not, if you will be able to draw power from the Old Ways. But then, the only way to know is to try, no?" She reached out a hand between them over the ground, and several odds and ends appeared on the ground. One was an old, weathered crystal of hazy clarity in the shape of a flat square. The next a sprig of holly. A spindle wrapped in grey wool. A piled set of runes in what appeared to be bone.

"Choose one."


Rogue has partially disconnected.


Was there ever any doubt, any question? This tangent draws Scarlett to still, leaving no motion in the garden. Greenery flourishes and the distant pulse of music teases through the heavy air wrought in thick, torpid stillness atop the city.

"O the holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown, of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown." Her idle song hints to a purpose, even as she ignores the sprig and forsakes the runes after a moment of hesitation. One gloved hand hovers over the crystal. But she is child of the fates, and the rule of destiny lies very light upon her by conscious volition and unconscious affinity. Her fingers pluck the spindle from its care, and she holds it up, quiet. "This, lady voluspa. I think it appropriate."


Eyes that had seen the rise and fall of empires of man stared as she watched the mortal take the choice that she had seen so many take. As the choice was made a smile curved her lips and with a wave of her hand, green smoke enveloped the others and they disapeared. Returned to whatever space they previously occupied. Amora propped her chin up with a hand, a golden brow hooking upwards as she considered Rogue again.

"Of the norn and the wyrd. A spinner of fate and of man and God's ends. Long has it been that I have seen a mortal recognize it for what it was." She smiled, and this time it appeared to be less predatory. Her expression was warm and perhaps even kindly. Warmth the likes of which was rare indeed to grace upon her lips.

"If you prove handy with such skills they may serve you well. But remember, you must never forget what you spin with.."


A sweetness done between two women seals what has long been sacred for the distaff line, a sharing of knowledge forbidden to the warlocks and the sorcerers, the potentate—the would be king, the high prince, the heir in the wings. But of course she would walk for this element that defines the threads, the course of illusion and the control of fate, for one who would not be subject to the whims and headwinds of fate must be willing to play the active part.

Eyes that hearken to the upheavals of an age turn to the ancient in youth's likeness. What terrible woes are brought low upon the earth when deities grow tired of their immorality? When lust no longer counts an amusement, when vice no longer satisfies? What is left but the renewal of terrible conviction, and the purpose for which they were made all those years ago in the untarnished past? Woe to the ancient; woe to the young; weal to the brave, and all between.

Scarlett measures the thread and holds out that offering as mute as one can be. Whatever choice she has made forsakes a pile of stones, the wealth of the world, windows and who knows what else. Either she will know or she will not.

"I am too blank a slate to forget, my lady." It could be a bitter statement or a promise, an oath or a mild statement. The dahlias in her hair gleam. "I thank you for the consideration given to me."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License