An Enchanting Evening

Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    There is some old bit of superstition about cross roads at certain times of day. Evening, morning, good luck or bad. It is the kind of thing that drifts through Elly's mind when she approaches Shibuya. The sun is, oddly enough, just about done with its setting for the day and there is a cross road here.

    The priestess gives the road a dubious look. To no one at all, she remarks, "Shut up. I have made my choice. I will make my own luck."

    There is no spurring-on of the peko she rides. The bird is already carrying a baroness and a yurt. Neither are particularly light burdens, even for a creature of its size. Elly has made a point of walking much of the way out of sympathy for the creature.

    Once they get into Shibuya proper, she slides from the creature again. A menu clean is done and her peko is taken to a stable. Elly knows little about animals, but she does know this journey was difficult. She'll be renting a proper cart for the return trip.

    When her peko is stabled and cared for, the baroness treats Shibuya to an odd sight. She carries a yurt towards Haru's shop. There are a few strange looks and a couple adventurers offer assistance, which, by the time the offer is made, isn't really required.

    The burden is set down carefully near Haru's shop, where it will not obstruct entry, nor prevent any window shopping that might occur.

    With a quick inspection of herself, Elly checks the shop to ensure it is open, and (if it is!) goes inside. It is, after all, now some 30 minutes past sunset.

Plot Room 2

Haru is a figure that would fit on a crossroad. The sort of young man that has his entire life ahead of him and drastically different paths to take. His personal crossroad demon could take him to dusk. It could give him reason to journey towards dawn. However he is not at the Shibuya crossroads. That path is one he has already walked down and is well within the city. Situated. Working hard to building a place where people can feel safe. Happy. Taking something broken and making it whole again, be it when it was originally founded as a ruin of a previous owner or when it was occupied by a foreign power. It persists. It has a kernel of hope within it that refuses to die out in the dark night.

The Atelier Nox is easy to spot in Shibuya as a store off of the market square itself. The building is tall and angular, having a pitched roof to one side at a sharp 60 degrees up. This contrasts with the traditional Edo period Japanese buildings like a mineral that jutted from the ground. The walls are made of a glossy black substance. Tinted glass so dark that it makes the whole building look obsidian. It wouldn't look like a building one could enter if not for the large upside down U type door in the front and the equally large circular window with an 'X' framed in the center. N. O. X. Clever. Even more so is that it is situated next to Pela's cafe, making it a topic of conversation during tea and sweets.

There is a little jingled when Elly goes through the front door. Even as it is dusk outside, the lighting in the Atelier has a magical feel to it. Glass displays gently glow to show off the accessories on them. Bracelets. Rings. Necklaces. Wands. Lanterns. Marbles. Lenses. Goggles. Glasses. Yes, even tiaras and crowns. The floor plan is wide and open with the walls holding the goods on the display shelves except for the center. It is a large circle in the center where the clerk stands, and stationary display cases show off some of the finest works there around her. It makes the simple Lander girl, Yumi, look like a princess even if she is a simple Shibuya girl with brown hair and brown eyes. Since working here she upgraded her dress, wanting to look and feel fancier under Haru's employ.

"Welcome to Atelier Nox!" she says with a cheery smile to Elly. The legendary Baroness herself! "Oh, you are," as she realizes it, "you are very welcome! Here." Look, not every day the Beyonce of Yamato stops into your stop. "We close in an hour, or two, or whenever!" Hop hop. Fluster. "Our best stuff is here." Hands on the glass counter, smudging it. Realizing the smudge, she looks around for a cloth to clean it with, still talking, "We have specials on... earrings... and," head flipping around. Cloth! Where is that cloth! She finds it, whipping around like she needs to defuse a bomb in smudge form. "Potions!" Wipe wipe wipe.

With all the commotion it would be easy to miss that the door to the back room opened. The Atelier itself has a calming aura about it. Even the window to the outside seems to case gentle moonlight inwards instead of the warm hues of the setting sun. The silver haired Artificer looks to his employee and then to Elly, "The burdens of being a local Legend," asks Haru as he puts a faceted blue gem to his monocle, appraising it. He holds his breath as the data flies across the back of the lens to inform him of the properties. He exhales. Gemcrafting leads to expensive mistakes if not done right. The gem is put in his Adventurer inventory as he walks further in to greet the friend.
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    Elly stands just inside Haru's shop, looking around with a relaxed smile. It is like entering a fairy tale. There is so much to be taken for granted in a world like this and Elly is as guilty of that as any. Moreso than most, honestly. But at this timme of day, worn down from journeying and worry, part of her opens up to it.

    "This is a fairy tale," she whispers.

    That childlike wonder is so delicate, though. Each year makes it ever more fragile. And so it is that it is lost, like a wisp of steam off a boiling pot. One errant breath or the slightest motion of water and it is gone.

    Yumi calls on the attention of the baroness. She regards the young woman calmly, waiting for the welcome to glide into a curtsey. She waits for Yumi to finish her greeting and her list of specials to speak. It is best, she finds, to let people express themselves fully.

    "And you are Yumi, the lovely and skilled clerk of the Atelier Nox. It is my pleasure to meet you. I do like earrings very much. Blue gems are my favorite, though when I buy for my wife, I like pink and green."

    There is a way her attention shifts, from formal, polite greeting to something closer, warmer, and personal. Her eyes focus on Haru. The smile curves more, her eyes open ever so slightly more than they had before, and she moves closer.

    "There are times it can cause disruption, but Yumi handles herself with notable grace and shows true kindness." A moment to shift her attention back to the Lander, to meet her eyes briefly, and then back to Haru. "Hello, Haru. Are you well?"

Plot Room 2

Haru looks at Yumi, who is acting like a cat who was just put into a princess dress, and then to Elly, "Yumi is precious." Kind Haru is Kind. Less Kind Haru: Yumi is a hot mess right now. She might die of being starstruck any moment. "Yumi, can you go to Pela's and pick up my lunch?" he asks. Yes, it is dusk. No, he hasn't had a moment to eat lunch yet. The Lander can't tell if this is punishment or a reward. "And grab a cup of tea for yourself," he adds in. Reward. Also get some mellowpan, girl, and calm down.

The white haired Adventurer makes his way further into the show room, his feet barely making any sound against the polished marble flooring. "Evening, Elly. Am I well?" Haru asks. He has not given it much thought. The young man is often in his head. He isn't 'present' often. People in Strange Moods get this phenomenon and forget to eat, sleep, bathe. Haru is always in this state and thankfully does the later three due to good habits established in his upbringing. It makes Weird Moods a little easier, since they are automated, but it makes that question more difficult. "I am aproximately the same I was yesterday. It has been largely uneventful while I was working on Ayame's wand. I have not had questions about homeless people camping outside of my shop, so thats a net positive." A pause. "Yourself?"
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    Elly's eyes twinkle with amusement as Haru saves Yumi from the whole Legend paralysis thing that so often plagues Landers in her proximity. It occurs to the baroness that an off switch might be helpful. It also occurs to her that this is how Tae must have felt when someone recognized her on the street and had a meltdown.

    Then there is the matter of how Haru is doing. That focus settles on him. With Yumi off on her own little mission, Elly need not divide her attention. She does not inspect. She just notes every little thing she can. Which in her case, is considerable. Cue very gentle, motherly smile to soften anything she might say.

    "I hope I am able to improve your day, in that case. I have arrived, thankfully, just in the nick of time." That smile warms up and she moves just a little closer. "And I'm doing well. It was a smooth journey, and Sapphire did all the work. She is a very good peko. She put up with a heavy load. It is those who bear the greatest burden that seem never to mention its weight." Not the peko, in that case, but the young man before her. What Haru takes on, though, is his own to decide. "Perhaps I might entice you to take a few hours away from all this?" A brief moment to let that linger, her face changing swiftly to an apologetic smile, "And to ask for your help with a present for your sister."

Plot Room 2

Haru is in an industrious mood as his mind wanders to Randian litature. The weight of industry, versus his own. "Until Atlas shrugs, no?" he asks Elly somewhat rhetorically. He consider the time of day and his projects before he plans on calling it a night. The door to his workshop closes as he then turns to Elly. "I'd say we should talk about it over coffea and sweets at Pela's, but I fear Yumi's nerves wouldn't handle it," he says, blue eye drifting to the side as his consideration comes out in acts of service and gifts. However not words of affirmation, as may be more useful. "And the square would draw undue attention," he goes on, "so as long as we can have the conversation here, I'm open. The work can wait until tomorrow. Won't be saving the world with rings and bracelets any time soon."

Until there is one ring to bind them all!

"Anything for family," Haru says as he heads over to the window. There is a little table in front of it. Two chairs. One glass vase. No flower. As is his manners, he gets the chair for Elly before his own, taking a seat. His 'consultation table'! Also a great place to people watch. "What sort of gift were you thinking?"
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    Elly nods slightly at the mention of Atlas and again at poor Yumi. It is... difficult sometimes. Particularly with the younger women. Perhaps it is a bit too much of that whole hero-worshipping fangirl trope in their presonalities.

    "Here would do quite well, Haru. I appreciate you taking the time for me. I truly enjoy it."

    She is used to expressions of etiquette and frankly, delights in them. But that she particularly enjoys it when Haru draws the chair for her and helps her settle in. "This shop is a place of wonders, Haru. I hope it brings you pleasure. I feel like a little girl walking into a storybook when I come here."

    This is allowed to glide into the air gently. The topic shifts are given a pause, but they do occur. "Uta has, for some time, wanted to get a yurt. She will use it to support her work as a doctor. After careful consideration and Tae obsessively reviewing merchants with some professional help from friends, we have one that is to her liking. However, a yurt requires several people and several hours to setup." There is another break then. Emotions are so powerful when she speaks about Uta's feelings. Even for an expressive woman like Elly (or perhaps especially for her) these need to be carefully controlled.

    She mostly succeeds.

    "I want this to be perfect for her. I would like to have it enchanted, so she can use air to set it up swiftly, on her own. Independence is so important to her and she was so excited to pick it out and to use it."

    A pause, an intent meeting with Haru's eyes. Her shoulders round, head drops. "Can you help?"

Plot Room 2

Haru is familiar with the need for perfection. It is something that has been woven into the fibers of his personality and is not easily untangled when lesser solutions would be acceptable. There is first place and there is everyone else, and if you are not perfect then someone else is. And you've lost.

"The place was constructed purely of enchanted glass," Haru tells Elly as he taps his foot on the ground. It may look and feel like polished marble, but it is not. "The enchantments on them absorb the residual Dark mana that is expended when doing enchanting and accessory forging. The panels outside soak up moonlight, wind, and rain. The sun as well, though as I have no mastery over that element, it only grabs heat and not light." He does enjoy talking about his crafts. It requires thought to put them together. A puzzle that has to be solved. "All those technical details lend to this faerie tale atmosphere inside. A mix of a wizard's grotto atelier with a touch of the old world jewelry store regality. Sales are subjective as a notable enchanter and goldsmith of moonlight, but just as often we deal with theft." He motions to the calm atmosphere, "which dulls the nerves, like a sedative, and thieves need their wits about them as much a potential customer needs calm nerves before a purchase."

Haru looks to Elly for a moment and the request. A yurt. The gear start turning. "Has she settled on the material for the yurt," he asks, swiping a menu in front of him to draw parchment out from his inventory. Notes start to be taken. "Yurts are a lot like tents, correct? Mobile homes for the nomadic. Traditionally harder to put up and more durable than a tent." Ye olde schoole mobile home. "Enchanting methods can ease burdens, particularly Air and Earth for assembly." A self-assembling Yurt.
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    The discussion of how this place was made fascinates Elly. She cannot help but repeat his foot tap on the glass, as well. It has a pleasing sound to it and feels as solid as any place she's ever stood.

    Something Haru mentions in the explanation catches her attention. Heat and no light. It is a matter she has not considered in great detail. "The elements have great power," she says in turn. "Fire without light, though. That is an interesting thing to consider."

    Heat without illumination, passion without virtue, destruction without hope. These filter into her mind, even as she begins to work with the missing element. It is her most powerful of all, but here she demonstrates a deft touch, careful attendance to detail, and perhaps even a little playfulness. She is making a yurt out of thread-thin beams of raw light. A gentle yellow shade, that comfortably fits with the atmosphere of the shop.

    "So this is a yurt. A lattice bundle for the walls, a set of ribs to make its ceiling, many covers to fill in the gaps. It is heavy for one, but I carried it here. Uta is physically stronger, but I did not wish to make this gift into a source of strain. I want to wrap her in safety, comfort, a place to be familiar with when the rest of the world changes. To be more than a safety blanket, but safety, warmth, and a symbol of those who care for her all in one."

    She goes on, more confidently. "I am no woodworker or tailor, and so Tae found a craftsman in the Westelande. His work is sitting just outside your door here. Out of the way so as to not bother your customers. Having worked to clear the front of your shop from such bothers, I would never think to add another. Now, to return to the track of thought."

    She has spent much time with Uta lately. It has opened her mind almost as much as it has opened her heart. She loves that girl dearly, and her every word glows with affection. A little figure appears next to the yurt. For scale, certainly, but the little slimes bouncing in front of the figure are surely extras.

    "More than any other enchanter's skill, this work needs her brother's touch, I believe. So that feeling I wish for her can be real. To know that she stands in a place brought to her and prepared for her by those who love her and will never stop doing so."

Plot Room 2

Heat without Light is an interesting concept. Haru is an elemental summoner. He deals with alchemy, which is like chemistry in that it deals with the base elements. He enchants, which is like dealing with the elements to create effects. So seeing the elements in different perspectives is deep into his abstract, Aquarian brain. "Think of a beating heart. There is heat there, no light there, outside of the spiritual nature. Skin and organs tend to block it out. Magma and Ash are another example. The concept of Passion. Rage. Wrath," he continues on as his right hand begins to spark up. A flick of it sends embers, like sparks from a camp fire, across the floor of the Atelier. "Since bonding with the Divine Beast of Fire, I've become more of an authoritative source on the element than anticipated."

Focus time. Yurts. "There are people that take comfort in the mellow lights of twilight," he lets Elly know, making a motion to the dim lights of the Atelier. "Though it would not be difficult to create multiple enchantments. Not at my level, at least, being one of the best Enchanters in Yamato," pride, "and only needs the right materials. The skills are there, as is the love and care placed into a successful craft. Crystals, primarily, to be obtained. Pela's batteries. Uta will need to keep them charged with her own mana, but it would be like 'casting summon Yurt' when done." Its a very architectural conversation, but Haru often falls into that loop. Problem. Solution. Vision. Stategy. Milestones. Destination. Always moving somewhere on a large scale.
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    "I would like to hear more of that bonding," is Elly's soft reply. She is soaking up what he says, and watches the embers closely. It is not concern, exactly, in her eyes. Curiosity, mostly, with a touch of uncertainty for good measure. She no longer gives in to immediate fear that something like this reflects a problem that demands her attention.

    "Of course, in this world, it seems light is entwined with the idea of the divine, of the life force itself. Spirit. I have much left to explore to claim more than passing familiarity with all its influences."

    Haru demonstrates a growing mastery. Elly, if anything, feels that every ascension to growing skill has generally made her aware of just how much she has left to truly understand. It is something that guides her to proceed more slowly, to ask questions.

    "Twilight is a lovely time, certainly. As is the night, whether it be full of stars or the world is free to bathe in the deepest darkness. The gentle light in here is calming, and helps cast the spell of wonder that falls upon me when I enter."

    The focus on the yurt demands her attention to return wholly to it. Listening, understanding, and nodding. Haru's comment about his skill with enchanting gets a smile and a comment, "The best I have ever met or even heard of." And Elly hears a great deal, indeed. The explanation of how easy it can be for Uta, though, gets her biggest reaction. A smile of pure joy, punctuated by a face of a mother relieved of some great stress. "Thank you, Haru! I appreciate it so much!" She would hug him, but somehow it feels.. off to do so in this moment. As if she the hug would just be an inconvenience to pile on top of her request. In short, she sees the gift she is giving to Uta is more Haru's effort than her own. However, what Haru's sister needs, Elly will get. Even if all she can do is ask Uta's brother to do the hardest part.

    Of course, Elly has another request that is rather more selfish than helpful of others. At least on its face. There is a shift in her expression. A communication of uncertainty and even, perhaps, a little embarrassment.

    "I have been thinking of staying a few days in Shibuya," she begins. "I would like to see firsthand more of what you have done here and, if you have time, talk about a few other matters. Nothing of official importance. I just want to talk." A pause, an uncertainty in her expression. "Would that be okay with you?"

Plot Room 2

The bond that Haru has with Feng Huang, the divine beast of Fire, is an interesting one. A story is there for certain, however the conversation is at a high level. Clinical. Board level. "Of course," he tells Elly in the interest of the bond. "I have told Uta much of it already and I feel there is much more to be told as the Mind Guardian persists." However when Elly goes into the element of Light, it is something that the silver haired man doesnt have as much to speak to. Not much to agree with. No more than a glacier has something to say about magma. "Light is a foreign concept to me," he admits, "and I have yet to let its abandonment of me deter my goals." Strong word usage there, yet held in such stoic tone, in as much neutrality as 'I am not a fae, I have no wings, but that doesnt stop me from using Air' or the werefangs with Transformation. In truth, the Human race in Yamato has been left behind in features that put them as a species that has an advantage. Yet. Here he is. Undaunted.

"I prefer the Twilight," Haru concludes there, "as is my name, Nox, and the Atelier's." Darkness. Night. "It gives the other Enchanters plenty of room to shine in the path that suits them. Fuka is talented as well, albiet applies that in the distribution of ice cream." There is a pause there. Going further is both pointless and looks bad. A different topic, perhaps.

"Shibuya would be glad to have you," the young man says, an ambassador to the Adventurer city as well as a resident and store owner, "besides my own store I can recommend Pela's and Erufu's place for a cafe and an inn. The market street is lively and I lead morning dance there." That is probably the most uncommon thing said yet. Haru. Dancing. Well, it gets people moving! "Im open to talk about other matters," he says. People have called him 'aloof but approachable' in the past. Like a cat. It may be why Eve, his black cat sprite, is the one most often seen near him. "Personal matters, I assume. Best over a drink and a meal. Pela's, then, for that. She has found new dishes that inspire the soul as well as the tongue." A simple moonlight smile, "Else the single malt at Erufu's handles what spirit and sugar does not."
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    "Is it, now? How interesting."

    Her attention does that hard to explain shift that goes from casual to unmatched levels of focus on the person before her. The hundreds of little social cues that others subliminally notice (or fail to) are all observed consciously. Simultaneously. It is what it means to be her, perhaps. To be deliberate in gesture and in comprehension of social matters.

    "What we seem to lack is rarely enough to prevent us from achieving great things, Haru. Not yet mastering a certain type of magic has done nothing at all to prevent you from achieving notable things."

    She is, in that moment, posture, and tone, a mother praising a son's achievements. If, notably, at an 'appropriate distance'. It is a role, though, a posture. Felt in one direction and not the other. Strangely comfortable, easy, and remarkably distant, professional, and cool.


    "But would Haru be glad to have me?"

    The distinction is made with a calm smile. There's a shift in that expression just moments later. Slight curving, different body language, and it remains honest, but also self-deprecating. She is aware that she would be taking his attention away from the work he seems to love best.

    "I would very much like to learn this dancing you do, if so. If not, perhaps another time. I am, I suppose, a being of light as much as others are of their elements. Perhaps moreso. Yet even the sun can be gentle, cloaking itself in clouds. I do not wish to make things difficult, or dwell overlong on topics that you would rather not discuss."

Plot Room 2

The idea of Light being foreign to Haru gets a slow blink of a blue eye. "When I took up Wave Artes in Elder Tales, I focused on the elements. I summon elemental sprites. I bring the elements to bare on enchantments like a composer brings notes to life on a score. However," Haru looks away a moment and out of the window, "no Light. As I understood it then, this is due to the nature of the element being rarer. An element of healing. But as I researched the elements further I saw no such correlation. No more than extoling Fire as the only source of 'burning'. Then what of Acid with Water? Drowning with Water. What of Suffocation with Air? Speed with Air. What of Gravity with Dark." His eye wanders back to Elly, "I mean no disrespect to those that hold Light in high regard. Nor do I have a sense of spite out of being rejected by it. It simply." A thought there. "Isn't me nor is it mine to command. No more than the physical attributes I sacrificed in order to master these things." A hand waves it off. Clearly he is doing well enough without having access to everything. When one door closes, another opens. He agrees with the later sentiment of achivement, "Precisely, Elly."

"Hmm?" Haru asks on the notion of being glad to have Elly. He is not often to having people ask what he 'feels' about things. It is in the realm of what he thinks about something, planned upon. What can be done, actioned upon. Things that are given or taken. Transacted. Then its clear that he breached etiquette, "Ah, yes. It is more than the city that would be glad to have you. I would be glad to have you here as well, Elly." It feels a bit forced, that. Like he is saying it to respond to Elly's feelings and not search his own. A prosthetic limb masking as the real thing. An Artificer's heart. The very actual realization that a normal person would be capable of both saying they want someone to be nearby and mean it effortlessly. The demeanor to not cause discomfort in this reality where Light fails him. "Its just a saying," he goes on, giving a smile and a tap on the table, "as I have put a lot of myself into this city, this shop. It is its own language and I hope you see why I am so endeared to it. I would be glad for you to see it through your own eyes and judge the good and the bad for what it is. Though the scars of the war have left Shibuya undeniably marred, the spirit of its people inspires people to live on. It would make me glad for you to experience this."

A happy doll always knows a good dance. Sometimes literally one. "Its a real bop," he says with a laugh, "as the kids say. Inspired by Uta, Kau, and a number of the Neros that come through. It shakes people up an makes people happy. Thats enough for me."
Baroness Wake
Plot Room 2

    Elly listens intently as Haru reviews the elements. She has, in some ways, thought little along this path. "It can be rather overblown, to give to light all aspects of healing. After all, Goldenblade uses water to do the same, and just as well. Light is often associatd with the divine, as well. Though I question how true that is. And what does it mean that I touch all the elements? I have no answer to that."

    It takes considerable effort, but Elly is able to make each element dance above the fingertips of her right hand. Admittedly for only a moment. "You call my attention to something. Air and water, fire and water, earth and air, water and earth, earth and fire, all of these mix in ways that I can understand easily. But light and dark? Hm. I think I am curious enough to devote some effort to this."

    Her own interest is expressed like a hobby, a trifle that has little value. This is, after all, a toy to play with another day.

    "If you would like me to stay a few days, then I will be happy to do that. I try not to impose. My presence can, at times, be a bit of an issue."

    Politically, she suspects there are always annoying little issues. She idly wonders how many rumors will spring up, or what various spies will whisper. But no. That is of not importance right now.

    What does matter is that Haru appears to be somewhat less than forthright in his expression of feeling. It's a ripple on the pond of her calm. Not enough to change her expression, but something to note and carefully, gently explore.

    "I hope you do not trouble yourself over the scars. They are signs of character. We all accumulate them over time. They always hurt, but if we work hard, we can make them serve a purpose, rather than just go on to trouble us. I am sure that you have all done much to set things right. Of all the people in Yamato, you suffered the most, losing your homes for most of the invasion. But in time, you wrested back what was rightfully yours."

    She leaves that lingering in the air, though she is very happy to hear about the dance. It sounds lovely. "I will look forward to learning it! I think the people in Eas would greatly benefit from a new dance. You dance every morning?"