As Kirill escorts Amy towards the open prefab, a large vehicle comes lumbering down the road. It's a construction vehicle of sorts, built in the same rugged, durable fashion as many of the other vehicles throughout the outpost. The only difference is that this one has a large arm with a bucket extending out from the front of it. Kirill stops to talk with the driver for a moment, climbing up onto the step by the driver's side door to
#Traveler'sGorge – July 9, 2019
greet the dark grey turian within. Seems like he's assisting the others in fixing the wall. The pair exchange pleasantries with a familiarity that implies they've known one another for a while before going their separate ways. Kirill moves at his own pace. Something that's mirrored by the outpost as a whole. Life here is slow. Simple. People go about their work as they chit chat with one another all throughout the outpost. The tiny
prefabs that surround the trio of roads through Traveler's Gorge are nothing to be impressed by. More along the line of glorified closets rather than bedrooms. They're certainly not suitable for more than a single person. Still, unlike the tents that rely on battery-operated electronics, the prefabs are powered, which begs the question as to why one is left unclaimed when so many tents decorate the mouth of the canyon. Some of the
prefabs are stacked two-tall with narrow staircases leading up to the top unit. Many of the units have personal touches added. Some have canopies extending outward from the unit for the inhabitants to sit beneath during more suitable seasons. Windchimes, similar to those outside of the 'guest house', decorate a number of the prefab units. The specific one Kirill leads Amy to is the bottom unit of a two stack. The top unit of the prefab
is painted from top to bottom. It depicts a pack of wild carashan in an open field as the sun rises, the horizon still dark enough that Litae is displayed in all her splendor. It encompasses the entirety of the top unit, painted all the way around it like a panorama view. The sun has been incorporated into the prefabs design, centered on the door, barely peeking over distant mountaintops. A custom nameplate is mounted just beside the
door, displaying the name, 'Paige'. The bottom unit, the one Kirill and Amy are stood outside of, has something a bit more simple. Just a few stars of varying sizes that decorate the door. If Amy were to look around, she'd notice that a few other prefabs have designs of their own, implying there's a painter amongst the outpost.
Kirill uses his boot to try and clear a bit of the snow that has accumulated in the doorway of the unused unit. Drawing in a breath, he glances back at Amy and offers a small smile. "Like I said, they're not much to look at." he reiterates before assessing the small unit. "
Amy doesn't seem to mind waiting as Kirill catches up to the turian, her attention wandering the Gorge with no shortage of interest in the meanwhile. Once they move on to the prefab she finds herself stopping to admire the mural that covers the top unit, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. Kirill's words bring her attention to the bottom unit with a slightly uncomfortable sound. "It's four walls and a roof... that's more
than I had when I got here. I'm definitely not about to complain..." she assures. "Thank you. Really. I-... is there really nobody using this?" she says with a gesture towards the simple housing unit, looking Kirill's way.
Kirill looks back to Amy, her question prompting his gaze to lower slightly in discomfort. He forces a small smile and shakes his head. "Not anymore." he says simply before gesturing to the small interface beside the door. As his hand nears it, the small, orange square expands into a full interface. "Code is-..." he begins before shutting an eye and lifting his head as he tries to recall the door code. A few moments pass before he
gives a few nods, as if assuring himself that it's the right code. "Three-eight-two-five." he says before pausing, eyes tilting left for another moment before he nods once he's sure that's correct. He keys the code in and, sure enough, the door slides open. The inside is barren aside from a single, bare mattress in the corner of the room. The unit has a window along the same wall as the door, but it currently has a shutter slid
down over it, keeping out the light from outside. Kirill steps half way in to reach for the indoor interface and, a moment later, the light in the ceiling comes to life. "You can change it and sync it with your omni-tool if you want. Just make sure you give the new code to Paige." he explains as he looks back to Amy. "Don't worry, nobody else will have it. It's just-... uhh-..." he shrugs, "...just in case you decide you got
somewhere else you'd rather be. We don't want to have to take the whole dang door apart to get back in if you take off without tellin' anyone." he explains with mock exasperation, as if they've been through that before.
Amy shuffles a little in place when she realizes she hit a sore spot, looking away towards the prefab again. "Oh." Once Kirill opens the door she takes a peek inside, discomfort giving way to a mix of nerves and excitement as she eyes the cramped, barren space. She nods in response to Kirill's info-dump. "I-... yeah, okay. Got it." she assures.
Kirill takes a step back, boots crunching some snow underfoot as he gives Amy some space to look over the room. "There's some spare sheets and pillows and odds and ends in a tent down the road if you need something." he explains, looking off in the indicated direction. He lifts one hand, holding it vertically and thrusting it back down the road. "It's just past the 'guest house'. Can't miss it."
Amy nods again, one hand gripping the doorframe as her gaze wanders the corners of the room, up at the ceiling and around. "I'll have a look." she says. "The-... the ATV, is it alright where it is?"
Kirill gives a few small nods as he leans against the door just outside of the small prefab, large arms folding across his chest. "So long as you keep the road clear and aren't blockin' in any of the other vehicles, you're good to park it wherever you can find the space."
Amy nods once more, remaining by the doorway. She seems anxious to get moved in, but she's waiting to see if there's more instructions. Waiting for the go ahead.
Kirill draws in a breath as he tries to consider anything else Amy might need to know. "You already know where the mess hall is..." he mutters, moreso to himself than to Amy, "The rest facilities are just across the road from it." he continues, nodding his bearded chin towards the indicated building which is obscured by the large, antennae'd prefab that's on the opposite side of the road between them and it. He shifts in place, brow
furrowed as he tries to consider what else she might need to know, seemingly unaware of her desire to get to work. "If you have anything that needs charged, we got a battery farm just inside the utility building." he continues, dipping his head in gesture towards the prefab containing the large antennae. Another moment passes as he draws a breath in through his nose and something seems to occur to him, causing him to peer at
the young woman through the doorway. "You-... uhh-... you need to call anyone? Let them know where you are...?" he asks, his words tempered, as if unsure if he's tiptoeing around a sensitive subject. "We don't get much of a signal out here but, so long as too many others aren't trying to make calls and you stay close to the utility building, it's usually good enough to get the job done."
Amy 's lips thin to a line as she sucks them in, shaking her head stiffly. "No." she quickly replies.
Kirill sucks in his lips, the act almost obscured by his bushy beard, and drops his gaze, merely nodding a few times in understanding. "Alright." he's quick to respond, his words quiet as if to reassure her that he's not going to push for an explanation. A few more moments pass before he pulls in a breath and steps away from the wall. "Well, I'm sure there's plenty I'm forgettin', but you don't need me overloadin' you with
information." he says, forcing a small, hollow smile into place to try and sweep that hit to the mood under the carpet. "If you realize you've got questions there's plenty of good folks around that would be happy to answer them for you. And my place is just over there." he says, taking a step back from the door to give Amy space to peer out as he nods towards a prefab down towards the other end of the road. It's simple with
little flair outside of the windchime hung from it and a shovel leaned against the wall beside the door. "I don't get to spend a whole lot of time there but, if the lights are on, I'm always willin' to lend a hand." he offers, "So don't hesitate to ask, alright?"
Amy 's unease lingers for a while, but a small smile returns as Kirill continues to speak, his welcome-briefing met with an almost embarrassed appreciation. More nods follow as she continues to confirm that she's heard everything, although his concern of 'overloading her with information' is not far off.
Kirill takes a step back from the door with a nod. "Alright then, suppose I'll leave you to it, then." he says before, like a concerned parent, he's suddenly hit with another bit of information to pass along that he seems to find far more pressing than it actually is. "Dinner is usually put out around seven." he says, as if trying to get it in there before she has the chance to close the door. "Important to know these things so you
don't end up with cold stew." he emphasizes with another step back. "Alright then." he repeats with a small bow of his head, slowly taking his leave, backing away from the prefab, looking as though he's making sure she has nothing more to say.
Kirill remains for an awkward moment longer as he awaits any pending questions she may have before realizing she's doing little more than waiting for him to leave. "Okay." he says, repeating the young woman's sentiment with a dip of his head and taking another step back. He lifts a gloved hand in a small wave- little more than an extension of his digits- as he sees himself off.
Amy steps into the empty prefab once she's on her own, closing the door and letting out a long breath as she looks around the unfurnished space. It's hers. At least for now. The thought brings out a smile despite her overwhelmed, tired state. She's made it. She can figure out the rest. First up: Getting her things! The next half hour or so is spent bringing over everything packed on her ATV, fetching bedclothes from the tent Kirill
mentioned, trying and failing to change the door code, and turning the shutters partway open to let in a bit of light, while still providing decent privacy. After that she collapses into bed, just listening to the muffled sounds of the settlement around her. It's unfamiliar and oddly soothing. Finally left with some time to herself to process, it's not all that long before the relaxation turns into exhausted tears. She hugs the
borrowed pillow, eventually dozing off, catching up on the sleep debt she's accumulated during her journey.
It's unclear what time it is when Amy's door buzzes given the lack of any sort of clock in the room, but the light has ceased filtering in through the shuttered window.
Amy startles awake, gaze darting around as she blinks to clear the fog from her eyes. It takes her a moment to realize what's going on. When she does her eyes widen a little and she sits up. She runs a hand through her hair but it does little to help the fact that her ponytail has gotten messed up from sleep, and her eyes are a little red - well, mostly the left, given the bruises that surround the right. She straightens out her
Paige is stood outside the door, tuque uneven on her head. Her faded black jeans are tucked into winter boots that nearly reach to her knees and are laced up tightly. Her ungloved hands are tucked into the armpits of her thick winter jacket as a temporary solution to keep them warm. As she makes eye contact with Amy she gives a raise of her brows. "There you are!" she says.
Tucked away in the canyon- hidden from Litae's gaze- could make for pitch black nights. Thankfully, light shines out from the windows of the nearby prefabs. Crates are located along the roadside in random intervals with lanterns placed atop them to ensure those passing through can find their way. Soft, distant laughter spills out from the mess hall just across the road and the faint sound of insects permeate the air.
Amy winces slightly when she comes face-to-face with Paige, a mixture of self-consciousness over her appearance and worry that she's messed up by falling asleep. "Sorry!" she exclaims, sounding hoarse. "Crap, a-..." she cuts off as her voice breaks in an awkward way, cheeks reddening as she tries again. "Am I late?"
Paige gives a number of nods, stepping in place to fight off the frigid cold. "Oh, just like an hour or so." she says with a raise of her brow, speaking candidly with a hint of annoyance in her tone as if they haven't only been around one another for a solid 20 seconds and exchanged a single sentence. "The others are waiting for us. Neighbor." she says, a small crooked smile crossing her lips. She cranes her neck slightly and
stands on her tiptoes, none-too-subtlety peering through the doorway- over Amy's shoulder- like a proper nosy neighbor. "Come on, get dressed and let's get going!"
Amy seems a little blindsided by Paige's blunt familiarity and rushing, nodding a couple of times. "Y-... yeah, I'll-... just give me a moment?" she asks. The room behind her is... well, still pretty barren. The bed isn't made, and the pillow is still in the middle of the mattress where she was hugging it while sleeping. Her bag sits on the floor, open but not unpacked. What's visible is mostly standard stuff - water bottle, her
toiletry bag, a little bit of spare clothing. Next to it is a rolled-up tent that looks to be in a less-than-ideal state, and the hunting rifle and shovel are stood against the side wall.
Paige tucks her hands a little deeper into her armpits as a gust of wind rolls through. She turns her gaze back out in the general direction she just came from while waiting for Amy to get ready, the fire little more than a distant spec of light barely visible through the tents. She allows a few moments to pass before speaking up again. "So did you really drive for two days to get here?" she asks bluntly, each word producing a bit of
Amy grabs her hairbrush from the bag, freeing her hair and brushing it back into compliance before retying the ponytail. The question causes discomfort to wash over her face, obviously not having been expecting it. She steps out of view to remove a bit of gunk from her eye as she answers the question with a quiet "Yeah..."
Paige mutters a soft, "...Shit." before casting a glance back into the prefab, gaze turning to the rifle resting against the wall. "The past few nights have been cold ones." she muses aloud, raising her voice so the out-of-sight Amy can hear her, "How in the heck did you manage it?"
Amy shifts uncomfortably, but doesn't say anything about it. "...not great..." she replies quietly, going to slip her jacket back on and put on her winter boots, sitting down on the bed to tie the laces. Once done she stands back up, looking Paige's way. "Alright..." she says with a slight shrug to signify her readiness.
Paige merely nods in the general direction of the main gate Amy arrived at the night before in a gesture for her to follow. She shifts her cold hands to the pockets of her thick winter jacket as she starts down the road. She gets a few steps before offering a follow-up question. "From out west, right?" she asks, further confirming that there's been discussion regarding Amy since her arrival. Probably not surprising given how small the
Amy seems a little surprised by the direction, but starts to head after Paige towards the gate, trailing slightly behind to her side. "Yeah..." she confirms, digging a beanie out of one of her pockets and putting it on as they walk.
A few of the prefabs- as well as some of the tents up ahead- have lights strung from them that have been turned on since the sun went down. Probably not the most ideal use of their limited power but when you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere, morale is equally important. Not to mention it makes for a pretty sight.
Paige gives a few nods of her head. "I came from out that way, too." she volunteers candidly. Unlike Kirill, she doesn't seem like the sort that values privacy. Her own or others. "Not two days west!" she clarifies, constantly glancing back over her shoulder as if to ensure Amy is following her. "But-... west." The dirt road is free of snow, but hard from the cold, offering little give to each step. "So, are you some kind of
Paige hunter...?" she asks, passing another glance Amy's way and offering a small shrug. "I noticed the hunting rifle. Tommy and I have a bet." she continues as she turns her gaze forward once more, "He thinks you're gonna end up in the greenhouse. Farmhand experience. But I've got you pegged as a hunter." she smirks.
Amy eyes the light, a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth at the sight. She seems content to listen to Paige speak until another question is tossed her way, causing a slightly uncomfortable expression when Paige's gaze leavers her. "I mean... I... I know the basics, but... it's not really-... I'll do whatever job you need me to."
Paige casts another glance Amy's way. "Oh no ya don't!" she insists. "I've got ten credits on the line! Besides, things are usually go a whole lot smoother if I know what you enjoy doing before assigning you somewhere. Otherwise we get another 'Tommy in the kitchen' ordeal and-..." she licks at the roof of her mouth and makes a disgusted face as if she can still taste the fallout of that misstep before shaking her head. "...nobody
Amy lets out a quiet snort of laughter, shrugging a little as they walk. "I, uh... I don't know, I guess. I'm... not much of a hunter though. Not... really." she says, her voice low and laced with discomfort still.
Paige lets out a sigh as she feels those ten credits slipping through her fingers. "But-... you're no farmer... right...?" she asks with a glance over her shoulder, already trying to come up with technicalities to avoid paying Thomas.
There's no telling how late it is, but the outpost is still alive with activity. People gathered outside of the tents up ahead, talking amongst themselves in small groups. Off to the left in the makeshift parking area, a few people are working on changing the tire on one of their hulking, heavy duty vehicles. They've repositioned one of the other truck's to use the headlights so they can see. And near the gate is the fire pit. Something
Amy may have seen when going on her journey for bedding. Just a ring of stones stacked up to contain a fire out in front of a canopied tent. A few chairs are set around it as well as a long log that someone seems to have taken on the painstaking project of converting into a bench of sorts. People are seated around the fire, though from this distance it's difficult to make out faces. The large frame and unkempt beard on one fellow makes
Amy seems a little amused by Paige's fishing for a loophole, distracting her from her discomfort. "I'm... more of a farmer than I'm anything else, I guess." she says, glancing to her side toward Paige. "Sorry..." Her attention is drawn to the firepit as they get closer, studying the crowd around it from a distance, her steps slowing just slightly as a bit of hesitation enters her face.
Paige punches at the inner lining of her pocket with a muttered, "Shit!" She continues onward, unaware of the fact that the woman at her back is lagging behind. "I'm usually so good at this!" she exclaims, as if to save face for miscategorizing Amy. "Well..." she continues with a sigh, "...Lucky for you we've got plenty of use for extra hands in the greenhouse..." She gets another couple of steps before asking, "...Are you sure
you're not a hunter?!" as if Amy might, somehow, have forgotten something important. As she casts a glance over her shoulder to get Amy's response, she realizes she's slowed her pace, causing Paige to furrow her brow and stop walking. "Umm... everything alright...?" she asks as she turns to better face the woman.
Amy 's gaze falls away for a moment, as she gives a flustered nod in response. "Yeah... yeah, I'm fine." she says with a dismissive shrug, forcing a smile into place as she tries to play off her nervousness as just getting lost in thought for a moment. She moves to catch up to Paige, avoiding her face and keeping her attention on the fire.
Paige blinks a couple of times before giving an, "Ooookay." Side-by-side she continues towards the firepit with Amy. "You missed out on dinner, by the way!" she points out. "There's probably still some leftovers, but-..." she glances to the woman at her side, bringing her hand from the warm confines of her pocket to point at her, as if what she's about to say is important, "...if you bring some back to your room, make sure you
return the bowl!" she reiterates Kirill's instructions, though seemingly more invested in the bowl situation than he was. "They just keep going missing!" she adds, throwing her hand up before slipping it back into her pocket. "We're down thirteen bowls from last month and I am positive Tommy is just hoarding them in his room to piss me off."
A bit of laughter erupts from the firepit up ahead. The tent beside the firepit is amongst those strung up with lights. A table is set out beneath the canopy attached to the tent and a young woman is seated at it, working on... something beside the light of a lantern. She looks to be in her early 20's. She has dark skin with a poof of dark hair atop her head. Colorful bangles adorn the braided hair along the left side of her head. It's
hard to make out what she's working on from this far. Aside from her and Kirill, Thomas and Caelus- the turian- are seated around the firepit as well. The woman Amy shared the 'guest room' with- Mayra- is also present, having taken a seat on the log-bench. The final guest, a dark skinned man, is sat in a chair beside Kirill and gesturing wildly. They all appear to be nursing drinks aside from the woman at the table who seems far more
Amy once again finds herself wincing slightly, nodding at Paige's instructions, although the final bit of speculation draws out a quiet snort. Her gaze scans from face to face around the fire as they near it, recognizing some, less so others. She doesn't say anything, sticking next to and slightly behind Paige.
As the pair get closer to the campfire, they catch the tail end of some laughter over something that was said. The moment Thomas- who has his back towards the gate and is able to see the approaching pair- spots Paige and Amy he stands from his chair and points towards the latter with his beer. "Farmer?!" he asks, eyes on Paige as he holds his breath and awaits confirmation.
Paige stops in place and tilts her head to the side as she shoots the man a dirty look, but it's all he needs to know he was right.
Thomas lifts his hands in victory. "Farmer! Knew it!" he exclaims. "The streak has ended! The queen is dead! Long live the king!" he cheers, which gets a few snorts of laughter from around the campfire.
Paige scoffs as she continues towards the firepit. "Wow. You were right." she says with about as little enthusiasm as possible. "For once."
Thomas' excitement doesn't seem hindered by Paige's lack of sincerity. "I'll take those ten creds." he says to rub it in.
Kirill brings an arm onto the back of his chair as Thomas and Paige bicker, a small smile spreading across his lips as he spots Amy. "I told her we should let you catch up on sleep, but she just wasn't takin' 'no' for an answer." he offers her apologetically.
Paige shoots a glance Kirill's way. "Because she shouldn't shut herself away in that stuffy shelter all night!" she says defensively.
Thomas points Paige's way. "No, no, no. It's cuz you, young lady, don't know how to leave anyone the hell alone." he teases. Despite the bickering, it seems to mostly be lighthearted ribbing.
Amy offers an awkward little wave to the group by the fire as they come to a stop. Kirill's words cause her to shake her head dismissively, although Paige speaks before she has a chance to reply. "It-... it's fine." she assures quietly. "I didn't mean to fall asleep..."
Kirill gives an exasperated snicker at the bickering, merely shaking his head as the two continue to go at one another. "Well, I'm glad you decided to join us." he says simply.
Paige gives Thomas the middle finger. "Maybe I'll leave you alone when you return those bowls you have stashed away in your room." she says matter-of-factly.
Kirill draws a long breath in through his nose, nostrils flaring as the two refuse to let up. "...Beer?" he offers.
Amy watches Paige and Thomas bicker until Kirill draws her attention, the offer causing her to hesitate for a moment, eyebrows furrowing slightly. "I-... uh, yeah. Sure." she says quietly, barely audible over the arguing pair.
The man seated beside Kirill is quick to lean forward and rise out of his seat. "On it." he says as Amy accepts Kirill's offer and he treks over to the cooler situated on the table beneath the canopy. He takes a moment to look over the work the young woman is doing. She has a number of doodads spread out across the table in front of her. Little knick-knacks cut from metal and simple bangles that she's stringing together with some sturdy
line- possibly fishing line- to make a windchime similar to those strung up all throughout the outpost. "Not bad. Not bad at all." the man assesses her work. The woman looks up at him with a sheepish smile on her face. "Thank you." she says, her words tinted with a heavy batarian accent.
Caelus ignores the bickering pair with an indifference that seems to imply this is the norm. He gives a small lift of his hand to Amy. "Good to see you back on your feet." he greets, though seems to realize she may not have been in any condition to recall his presence and gives an apologetic tilt of his head. "Caelus." he introduces. "Me and Thomas were on gate duty when you arrived last night."
Thomas gives a small shrug of his shoulders to Paige. "No." he says, "Because I have better things to do than waste my time thinking about dinner bowls." he smirks.
Thomas lifts his hands out in front of himself, beer held by the neck of the bottle as a big grin spreads out across his face. "Just saying!"
Amy remains standing where she is. As Caelus addresses her she blinks, her head jerking back slightly as her eyebrows furrow in confusion. "Uhm... w-... I don't speak-..." she gestures vaguely in his direction, and her gaze darts over to Kirill briefly before going back to the turian.
Kirill furrows his brow and it seems to take him a few moments before he realizes what the problem is. "You don't-...?" he begins before, instead, looking Caelus' way, who looks equally confused. "She doesn't have a translator." he explains.
Caelus turns his gaze to Kirill, blinking a few times before it sinks in. "Oh..." he says, seemingly unsure how to respond to that. It's certainly not the first time he's encountered a member of another race who was lacking a translator. But, given the diversity of Aite, it's far from a common occurrence. "My apologies." he says with a glance Amy's way despite knowing she won't understand.
Kirill clears his throat as he looks back to Amy. "He-... uhh. He was just sayin' that it was good to see you back on your feet. Him and Thomas-..." he gestures towards the man bickering with Paige whom Amy has already acquainted herself with, "...were the ones that brought you in last night." he explains. Almost as an afterthought he adds, "Uhhh-... Caelus. His name is Caelus."
Caelus opts for the tried-and-true greeting when language fails him, merely lifting a hand to wave to the new arrival.
The man who went to fetch a beer for Amy remains for a moment longer, using the bottle opener on the table to open Amy's bottle before stepping back over towards her, bottle extended her way in silence as to not interrupt Kirill.
Kirill casts a glance up towards the approaching man. Deciding it's probably not a bad idea to introduce the others, he gives a lift of his chin towards the man. "And this is Rafe."
Paige gives a roll of her eyes at Thomas, though a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. "Uh huh... Just saying." she repeats in a mutter.
Amy 's attention shifts back and forth between Kirill and Caelus. "Oh... uhm... thanks...?" she says with her gaze on Caelus, looking uncertain whether he can understand her. "Amy." she blurts out after a moment's hesitation, although it seems the entire settlement already knows who she is. When Rafe offers her a beer she accepts it carefully, offering a small, awkward smile, and a "Hi." when he's introduced.
Caelus' mandibles twitch, reactively responding, "So I've heard." He gives a shrug of his shoulders, "Small outpost. Word travels fast." It's another moment before it settles back in that she still can't understand him, causing him to let out a frustrated breath and shoot a glance Kirill's way as he takes a long pull from his drink.
Kirill looks from Caelus to Amy, a smile showing through his thick beard. "Uhhh-... he says it's nice to meet you." he settles on for simplicity's sake.
Rafe gives a small nod of his head. "Hey." he responds. There's a short pause before he winces, realizing she's still standing. "Sit down. Relax." he suggests through a smile, reaching out to pat the backrest of his own seat, offering it up to her. He opts to join Mayra on the bench.
Amy shoots the turian another small, uncertain smile when Kirill offers his translation, although Rafe draws her attention before she can muster up a reply. She nods a couple of times, taking a seat in the chair, both hands holding onto the beer in her lap as she looks across the group around the fire. She... doesn't really look very relaxed, but at least she's sitting down!
Kirill glances Paige's way once Amy has gotten settled into her seat. "Think you already know Paige and Thomas." he continues with the introductions, gesturing to each of them in turn.
Paige tears her glare away from Thomas to look back to Amy, lifting a hand and giving a quick wiggle of her fingers.
Thomas is quick to drop the bickering when Kirill addresses him, causing his gaze to turn to Amy. He gives a dip of his head in greeting and lifts his beer slightly. "Me and Amy are already good friends." he assures Kirill playfully. "Ain't that right?" he asks the young woman through a gentle smile.
Amy looks to Paige and then Thomas, her response to the latter an uncomfortable half-laugh and a small smile. Her gaze falls to the fire for a moment, turning the beer in her hands as she watches the flames, hunched up a little in her newly acquired seat.
Kirill's smile grows a little at Thomas' attempt at making Amy feel welcome. He glances towards the woman seated on the bench beside Rafe but, before he can open his mouth to introduce her, she speaks up.
Mayra has shoulder-length dark hair and looks to be in her early thirties. A hand is rested around the neck of her beer that's held in her lap. "Mayra." she offers, "We sorta met last night."
Kirill gives a nod, looking from Mayra to Amy. "Mayra is from up north. Freedom Falls." he explains. "She stopped by to give us a hand patchin' up the wall." He glances off to the length of wall in question that's caved inward. In the dark it's hard to see a whole lot, but what can be seen is the construction vehicle that passed Amy and Kirill earlier is now parked up against the backside of the wall. It seems as if they're going to
use it to try and prop the length of wall up while they work. "She's a good chunk of the reason that anything in this place even functions."
Mayra waves off Kirill's words, looking a bit uncomfortable over having so much praise laid on her. "Truthfully it's just a good excuse for me to get out of Freedom Falls for a few days. The good company doesn't hurt, either." she smiles, lifting her drink to her lips.
Kirill gives a soft snicker as he shifts in his seat, casting a glance towards the only person who has yet to be introduced. The woman at the tent is still working away when Kirill raises his voice to make sure she can hear him. "And this bundle of sunshine is Gaz."
Gaz looks up from her table, gaze first resting on Kirill before realizing she's being introduced to the new arrival. A bit of embarrassment seeps in over him having to do it due to her being so focused on her project. "Oh!" she exclaims cheerfully, a big bright smile spreading across her face. "I'm sorry, I was-..." she begins, gesturing to the mess that's all over the table. Rather than explain, she levels her gaze back on Amy,
Amy lifts one hand slightly from the bottle, offering Mayra a small wave when she introduces herself. She eyes the beer in her hands as she listens, considering for a moment before taking a small, investigative sip. Gaz' introduction causes her to look over towards the woman by the table, offering another small wave. The big smile draws out a faint one of her own.
The beer is pretty light as far as beers go. A little skunky, but otherwise fine. There's no label on the bottle so it's probably purchased locally on Aite. Thomas returns to his seat when the introductions come to a close, leaving all eyes on Amy.
Rafe is the first one to speak up, casting a quick look at the others around the fire as he rests his bottle against his knee. "Kirill said that you're from a homestead out west...?" he asks, briefly peering past Amy to Kirill for confirmation. Once he gets a nod, he looks back to Amy. "We've been all over this rock. Any place we might've heard of?"
Amy shifts a little uncomfortably as everyone looks her way, gripping the bottle more tightly as she shrinks into her seat a little. Rafe's question causes her to freeze. "Uhm... uh... I don't-... I don't know." she mumbles quietly, focusing her attention on the fire.
Rafe furrows his brow, a confused snicker escaping him. "You don't know?" he asks. "This place have a name?"
Kirill shifts uncomfortably in his seat, having already assumed that, given the circumstances of Amy's arrival, there's no happy story behind it. "Plenty of homesteads out there, Rafe." he says to bail Amy out from having to answer.
Thomas seems to catch Kirill's intent, nodding along with him. "Yeah." he agrees. "Besides, it was a two day trip to get here, right?" he asks with a look to Amy. It's not a question he's expecting an answer to. He shrugs his shoulders. "Probably a whole lot of places that far west that we haven't seen." It's a throwaway statement without much meaning behind it. But it seems to do the trick on cluing Rafe in.
Rafe gives a few shallow nods of his own. "Right. Right." he says, never having intended to make the newcomer uncomfortable, just a bit of overzealous friendliness. He forces a small smile as he glances Amy's way once again.
Amy just sinks further into her seat as Kirill and Thomas thankfully absolve her from answering. Her discomfort is obvious, and she remains silent, staring at the fire to avoid looking at any of the people around her.
An uncomfortable silence overtakes the others around the fire as well. It was an honest mistake on Rafe's part, but they've been through this situation enough times with other arrivals that he probably should've known better, a fact that's not lost on him given by the guilt on his face as he passes an apologetic glance Kirill's way. Outside of the passthroughs, rarely does someone arrive in the Gorge without a reason. Most of the people
Kirill reaches out, clasping a gloved hand on Amy's shoulder and giving her a friendly little jostle.
Paige draws in a breath. "Well!" she says, interrupting the rapidly souring mood as the others try not to consider what might have brought Amy here. "Since we're here to celebrate, I brought something special." she says, a small smile spreading across her lips. It seems to do the trick in taking the attention off of Amy, pulling all eyes onto her. She dramatically backs up towards the canopied tent before disappearing inside.
Amy flinches slightly as Kirill pats her shoulder, but shoots him a faint and shaky, but appreciative smile at not being questioned further. Paige's distracting dramatics come as a relief, a bit of her tension lifting as she too joins the others in watching her disappear into the tent. She hesitates slightly before giving the beer another sip, her nose scrunching slightly at the taste.
The others look around at one another as they wait curiously for Paige to return. It's not long before she steps back out through the tent's open flap, bowl-in-hand.
Paige looks down into the bowl as she steps forward. "This is just a taste!" she warns as she takes a position near the table and lowers the bowl low enough for Gaz to reach into it. "One handful!" she says to her.
Gaz passes a glance up to Paige, big smile on her face as she pulls a hand free from the bowl. A small, pale purple sphere nearly falls free, her eyes going wide as she just narrowly catches it with her other hand.
Paige's smile widens when she sees Kirill's reaction. "The first yields from the hydroponics test are ready!" she confirms which gets a whoop out of Thomas and big smiles from the others. She moves on to Mayra who grabs a handful of the berry-like fruit, cupping it close to her jacket to keep it from spilling.
Rafe is up next and he casts a knowing glance Kirill's way, big smile across his face. "You knew about this?" he asks as he gets a handful for himself.
Kirill gives a restrained snicker and a sheepish shrug of his shoulders. "It ain't much, but it's gonna be a while before we're able to see any real results from the greenhouse, so..." he shrugs his shoulders.
Paige shields the bowl from Thomas by swiveling her waist away from him when he steps up to get his handful. "None for you, bowl-thief." she says matter-of-factly as she moves on to Amy, holding the bowl out towards her.
Thomas blinks a couple of times. "Seriously?!" he asks, which seems to amuse Paige whose smile only seems to widen. "I didn't take the damn bowls!"
The bowl is filled with small, pale purple berries roughly the size of marbles. They're local and Amy may recognize them. Greshk, also known as 'sour fruit' for their aftertaste. It seems like this is a big deal for everyone. Unlikely due to their love for the berry but more for what it means. A successful outcome to a whole lot of hard work.
Amy takes only a few berries, mumbling a quiet thanks and nodding slightly. Recognizing them, she pops a berry into her mouth as her gaze scans across the others.
Paige moves on to Kirill, who gives an appreciative nod and takes only a few for himself. She gives an apologetic wince as she passes by Caelus, but he doesn't seem too bothered about being excluded. The implication behind the harvest is more than enough to lift his mood, too. As she starts back towards the tent, she crosses Thomas path once more, pointedly snubbing him again. The frustrated sound he makes gets a genuine laugh out of
her but she only continues for a few more steps before turning back his way and extending the bowl towards him reluctantly, big smile on her face. "I know you took those bowls, Tommy." she says matter-of-factly.
Thomas glares at Paige as he reaches for a handful, looking like he's expecting her to pull the bowl away at any moment. When she doesn't, a slight smirk crosses his lips and he lifts a berry into his mouth.
Kirill seems more interested in looking the berries over than eating them, turning one between his fingers for a few moments before finally popping it into his mouth.
Paige sets the bowl down on the table and scoops up the few berries that remain with her hand. Taking a seat on the edge of the table, she looks out over the others who are testing out the berries.
Kirill settles back into his seat, rolling around the few remaining berries in his hand. At the very least, this news seems to have brought the mood back up. "This is just step one." he says as he glances about at the others. "We're still a long way from being self sufficient. We've got our work cut out for us." he says, looking Paige's way as he speaks as if to let her know he didn't just dismiss their earlier conversation. She gives
a small, appreciative nod in turn. "But this-..." he continues, lifting one of the berries between his thumb and index finger and looking it over. "...This proves that we can do it." Another moment passes as he looks at the others around the fire, "...Right?" The others, all smiles, give nods as they nibble at the berries.
Amy chews in silence, seeming perfectly content with listening to the others talk about the colony, relieved that the focus is no longer on her.
The night continues in high spirits, the successful yield seeming to have lifted spirits. It seems as though the greenhouse isn't their first attempt at raising crops. Unfortunately, due to a combination of bad soil and a whole lot of carashan troubles, their first go at it didn't end so well. The greenhouse has been a large-scale project they've been working on for many months and it seems like they've put a whole lot of eggs into that
Thankfully, after the first kerfuffle, nobody attempts to squeeze any information from Amy. They're a friendly bunch, constantly trying to include her in their conversations in small ways. Stories are passed around about the Collectors and people they've come across who were affected by them, though it doesn't seem like any of the people present had any direct fallout from the Collectors reign of terror. If anything, it seems like the
Kirill is quiet. Reserved. He doesn't do much talking but, when he does, the others listen. It's not hard to see that the others have a great deal of respect for him. Paige, on the other hand, is about as high strung as they come, often steering the conversations back towards work that needs done around the outpost. That is, when she's not butting heads with Thomas. Caelus is mostly quiet throughout the night, undoubtedly a bit of unease
Little is said about any of their reasons for being here. Perhaps none of them are any more eager to talk about their past than Amy. Kirill is the first to head to bed, a fact that doesn't go unnoticed by the others. Apparently he's quite the party pooper. He's also nursed the same beer for the past few hours. Mayra retires back to the guest house shortly after him. Caelus and Thomas are the next to go, leaving Rafe, Gaz, and Paige.
Rafe has abandoned the bench in favor of Kirill's seat since it has a backrest, legs extended out close to the fire as he clutches a beer close to his stomach.
Paige is still half-standing-half-sitting at the edge of the table Gaz is working at. "...I should probably get some sleep soon, too." she sighs, tilting her head back and craning her neck to look up towards the sky from beneath the canopy. "So much to do tomorrow." She casts a glance towards Amy, her head lulling to the side against her shoulder. "How about you? Ready to turn in for the night?"
Amy has been more comfortable listening than talking, her reaction mostly limited to a quiet snicker here and there. There's a couple of times when her attention drifts and her expression darkens but the company seems to help distract from whatever is going through her mind. When Paige addresses her she nods, still holding onto the now-empty beer bottle as she gets up from her chair. She's only had the one.
Rafe doesn't even register Paige's words at first, gaze settled on the fire. He's a number of beers deep and his mood has grown a bit somber as things have quieted down around the fire. He reaches up with his free hand to stretch as he casts a glance between Amy and Paige. "Going to sleep already?" he asks, sounding like he's not ready to pack it up.
Paige gives a small nod, almost seeming apologetic about not sticking around. "Afraid so. I need to be up early tomorrow."
Rafe draws in a breath, giving a few nods. "Right... yeah. What about you?" he asks, glancing over to Gaz.
Gaz looks up from her project with an apologetic wince implying that she, too, is planning on heading to bed soon. "I'm almost finished. When I am done-..." she trails off, gaze flicking downward before that gentle smile returns to her face. "...I can stay for a while." she decides.
Rafe seems comforted by the fact he won't be staying by himself at the firepit. Casting a glance over his shoulder, he looks to Paige and Amy. "Goodnight, you two." he says softly. Forcing a small smile into place, he adds, "It was nice meeting you, Amy."
Gaz is quick to jump in at the tail end of Rafe's words with a nod, that big, genuine smile now leveled on Amy. "Thank you for joining us." she adds.
Amy 's attention lingers a little on Rafe, his mood not unnoticed. She shoots both him and Gaz a small smile when they address her, lifting the empty bottle a little in a half-wave. "Goodnight." she replies. The truth is between the late morning and unplanned afternoon nap she's not really ready for sleep, but sticking around with the group whittled down to just Rafe and Gaz brings more attention to her than she's comfortable with,
Paige looks to Amy, gives a silent nod back towards the prefabs and begins to lead the way. She looks back over her shoulder at Rafe, a sympathetic look crossing her face before she tucks her hands into the pockets of her jacket and continues on her way. There's not many people out and about, but light bleeds out from tents and the prefabs up ahead, implying some are still awake. That now-familiar sound of Gaz' windchimes fills the
air as a gust of cold winter air blows through, causing Paige to lift her shoulders so the collar of her jacket shields her neck. It doesn't take long before the fire's absence to be felt and for the night's chill to begin settling in. "Poor thing is heartbroken." she says in little more than a whisper as she glances over to Amy and then shoots one last look over her shoulder towards Rafe.
Amy stuffs her hands into her pockets as they leave the fire behind, using them to hold her jacket closed rather than zipping up as the wind blows. Paige's words cause her eyebrows to furrow, casting a brief glance back herself. "Oh..." she says quietly, hesitating a little before asking: "Has he lost somebody...?"
Paige gives a small shrug, head down to keep out of the wind as best as she can. "I don't think he ever really had her." she sighs. She takes a few more steps, gaze settled on the dim road, looking momentarily lost in thought before shooting a glance Amy's way. "...Sorry." she says with a small, embarrassed smile. "I shouldn't-... it's none of my business." she continues with a roll of her eyes, seemingly feeling a bit of guilt for the
Amy seems briefly confused before she catches on to the implication. She doesn't say anything in response to Paige's apparent guilt, although she can't help but look back towards the fire again as they continue down the road.
Paige falls silent as she continues on to the split in the road, her mind elsewhere. Back behind them the front gate opens and the flood of headlights hits their back, casting long shadows on the dirt road in front of them. It causes Paige to glance back, but she doesn't pay it too much mind. She does shift off to the side of the road just to be safe, however, and looks to Amy to make sure she's following suit.
Amy almost seems a little startled by the sudden flood of light, looking back to identify the source. When she notices that Paige has moved aside she's quick to join her.
Paige continues to lead the way down the left road, heading straight towards their prefab. The sound of the truck grows louder as it slowly passes through the outpost, but she's not paying it any mind. Eventually the truck leaves their sight, hidden by the larger prefabs that blocks their view of the central road. Shortly after, the truck comes to a stop as it waits for the back gate to be opened. "Home sweet home." she breaks the
Amy stops as they reach the stacked prefabs, looking them both over as she considers Paige's words. 'Home'... is this her home now? The thought is both exciting and nerve-wracking. But the first day had gone well, hadn't it? Lost in thought, she offers no reply, awkward silence taking over as she stares at the building.
Paige merely turns back and forth at the waist a few times, hands tucked into her pocket as if waiting to see if Amy has anything to say. When nothing comes, she draws in a breath. "Well... Goodnight..." she says, forcing a small smile as she slowly starts to make her way up the narrow staircase. She only gets a few steps up, however, before she stops and, gripping the railing, looks to Amy. "Uhh-..." she begins, looking none too
comfortable with whatever it is that's on her mind. "...I don't know what brought you here, Amy. But-... I think most of us have probably been where you are right now." A deep breath and an attempt at a smile follow. "...Tomorrow will be better." she assures, sucking in her lips and giving a small, sheepish shrug of her shoulders. As if too uncomfortable of a thing to linger on, she's quick to add, "Try and get some sleep."
Amy nods faintly and offers another half-mumbled "Goodnight.", starting to move towards her door. She stops when Paige speaks again, her unexpected words bringing out a faint, but sincere smile, her gaze falling to the ground for a moment as she lets out a breath. "Thanks." she says quietly once her attention returns to the woman on the stairs, offering a nod in response to the final addition before heading over to her door and
Paige remains at the top of the stairs for a few moments once Amy has disappeared into her unit, merely watching as the people on gate duty let the truck through.