Lockie has an interesting problem, and upon meeting the residents of Rowanwood House, he finds a possible hope and a new home.
Tuesday is as good as any to "do the brewing." Nessa speaks of alchemy as breezily as most would discuss washing up or laundry, and she didn't hesitate to invite Myrtle to join in. Even Aidan was asked to come along and practice reagent preparation. After all, so long as he's living here, he might as well learn something! They're just getting to making a basic base potion solution in Nessa's own particular style--ideal, in this case, for restorative draughts but not at all appropriate to a projectile or offensive potion--when the knock sounds at the door. She makes her excuses, urging the others to continue, and goes to answer the door.
There she encounters Lockie, takes him in with one glance, and hardly giving him a chance to explain himself, she takes him by the hand and draws him inside. Leading him through the kitchen, she hands him a blueberry-cinnamon muffin with a crumb topping and says, "Here, dear. You look a bit underfed." And then she takes him back to the workroom, gesturing to a stool. "Now, have a seat--don't touch anything, mind you--and tell me what's brought you here." She winks covertly at the others, then returns to chopping her dragon's nails, which she had previously explained were actually a particular kind of fungus that grows on trees in old growth forests under certain phases of the moon, if one knows how to find it.
"Well, go on, dear. Speak up."
When the young man is shown in, Myrtle exhibits no real reaction of shock or surprise. This is how Nessa operates, and she is well used to it by this point in their friendship. They're so easy together, there's nothing about the other that seems to come too unexpectedly.
Of course, Myrtle stands out of the way of any movement, any walkways and passages that might bear much traffic, and there she stands with a sleek box that has a rod pointing up like an antenna and a loop on the opposite side, more horizontally. And the sound coming from it, or more accurately a speaker on it, is the mysterious music of the celestial spheres. It's odd, and to some might be unsettling, but to others it's relaxing, inspiring, enjoyable.
It's definitely the good things, to Myrtle, as she plays her theremin without so much as a pause. She does offer Lockie a soft smile of welcome.
After getting what he was going to say all set up in his head Lockie knocked on the door, barely getting a 'Hello' out he's then lead though the house by his hand, given a muffin and instructed to sit down, he's a little dumbstruck for a moment, thats not how it usually goes right? He's not crazy, mos people don't lead you though the house and feed you cause you look 'underfed' like a kindly grandma. He looks between the three people in the room and the odd instrument being played and when he finally speaks up it's not quite as confident as he planned, "I think theres ermm something wrong with me, magic-like and kinda heard you were the one to talk to?", he's kinda in awe, takes a lot to throw him off.
Really potions were something that Aidan had a fair hand at, maybe not to Nessa's level but he's pretty good at things. "Hello ma'am." He says in greeting to Myrtle. His blue eyes watch Lockie rather carefully. The other lad didn't strike him as all there the last time they met. "Your work area is really impressive." He says looking over at Nessa with a grin. This place was really impressive and the sheer amount of reagents was impressive.
"Well, one collects things and gets them 'just so' after enough time goes by, dear," Nessa says brightly to Aidan, and as she looks over his handiwork remarks, "Oh, very good! You're either much more practiced than your age would suggest, or your a natural born alchemist. Either way, bravo!" She turns to Myrtle with a knowing little smile and remarks, "You know, that really does make such lovely brewing music. It suits the appropriate sense of fluidity, to say nothing of allowing the mind to be reflective while the hands are busy."
And then, finally, she turns to Lockie and approaches him, arms folded loosely across her abdomen. "Wrong with you," she echoes, looking thoughtful now. "Well, let me have a look at you." And she proceeds to... feel his forehead with the back of one hand, then touch his cheek, peer into his eyes. For all the world it looks like a mother checking her child for obvious signs of illness, but she does it with the confidence of an expert practitioner.
And after a moment, she stares at him with a look of quite open concern. Not shock--she's clearly surprised by his condition, but it doesn't seem to be anything that really takes her that off-guard. But she looks worried for him, even sad, and says quietly, "Oh, dear. I see what you mean." Glancing back toward Myrtle, Nessa asks, "Do you think you might have a look, too? I'm afraid it looks... serious."
"Hello dear," Myrtle answers Aidan, her hands effortlessly gliding through the air near both hoop and rod, which clearly affects the sounds coming from the strange and wonderful instrument. She doesn't miss a beat, although technically speaking there isn't one -- just a sort of rhythm that steadily continues from each and every movement in concert with the air around the metal. Her tone of voice is as soft and delicate as the humming notes lingering in the air of the room around them, though by comparison her voice is warmer, and it has the particular cadence of kindness.
She's so happy at Nessa's compliments, smile widening just so. Her smile is subtle, which contrasts literally almost everything else about her, right down to her extraordinary aura. But she looks up when Nessa asks her, and the last note fades as she switches the instrument off, for now, so that every movement around it doesn't send bizarre music into the air.
Strolling with purpose and intent over to Lockie, she crosses one arm over her chest and, with the other, taps her chin thoughtfully. She walks in a semicircle around Lockie, placing him under open, deep scrutiny, before crossing back again. Her smile has, by then, faded to be replaced by a soft frown. "Oh yes," she murmurs, voice nearly a whisper. "We must do something. This is most troubling." With a nod, she speaks louder, a bit more reassuring. "You did the right thing, coming here, you know," this to the young man with his muffin. "You can get help here if you can get it at all."
Ok well theres some releif there, he's not going nuts there is actually something wrong with him then comes the mind numbing terror that can only be caused by the words 'I'm afraid it looks... serious' and 'This is most troubling', he's half convinced Aidan's gonna walk over and announce he has magic plague or something. "It's really that bad? Is it perminant? Whats going on?"
"Well my parents said that I was good at it. It was a compensation for having no active abilities." Aidan says seriously as he continues his work with the potion reagents. He closes his eyes for a moment before opening them with his abilities to try and see how the boy looks to that sight. He licks his lips a little bit as he does so. His eyes focus on Lockie, trying not to look towards Nessa or Myrtle. He just has this sneaky suspicion that it would be a bad thing.
"My dear," Nessa says gravely, "I'm afraid you've been born with... let's call it a 'magical handicap.'" She reaches over to squeeze Lockie's shoulder gently, and then she gestures to the muffin. "Do eat, dear. It will help." Then she steps to one side, where a kettle sits simmering on a smal, pot-bellied stove, and goes to prepare a quick pot of herbal tea. (Of course there's a tea service in this room. There's a tea service in nearly every room of the house.) Soon enough, the scent of the tisane fills the air--something sharp and sweet--as she lets it brew. "Like all handicaps, though," she continues at some length, "it can be adjusted to. It may even be that you can recover completely, given time. But you will need to work at it quite diligently, I think."
"Yes," Myrtle voices her agreement with Nessa, nodding once and minding the tisane while Nessa occupies herself with her visitor and the other matters. It's best if the mistress of the house isn't having to deal with a thousand and one background affairs, and Myrtle understands as a guest how to fulfill her role here. "Some gifts," she quietly notes to Aidan, "take a little longer than others to blossom. But one day, through your own diligence, you will come into them. Just like this young visitor. Sometimes what it takes most of us a little elbow grease and time."
Lockie Mitchell does as he's told as if convinced the muffin is some sort of magical cure all and to be fair it is bloody good, "Magical handicap? my magic isn't working properly?", he continues eating the muffin very confused but calmer now that he thinks he isn't dying, he wonders what Adian's power is exactly, he's also fairly impressed, he still has trouble with potions and the kid seems to have them down.
"I am not concerned about it any more. I have my own gifts." Aidan says laughing a little bit. "My mom's family was mostly passive abilities." He says as he keeps his hands rather busy. "So for the time being I focus mostly on what I can do rather than what I cannot." He says shaking his head a little bit. "He really is... different." He cannot quite put his finger on what it is that he's seeing but Lockie's definitely different to his eyes.
"I suppose not technically magical," Nessa concedes, readily letting Myrtle take over the tisane's supervision. "It's more... spiritual, I suppose." She draws a soft breath, as if searching for a way to approach the topic without it being too dramatic. After a moment, she settles for stepping up beside Lockie, resting a hand on his shoulder, and just giving it to him straight. "My dear, it seems you suffer from a particular sort of... syndrome. You were born without a soul. Now, considering that, you're actually doing very well. First of all, if you're concerned about it... that's the first indicator that you're on the right path. When you stop caring, then perhaps it's more of a worry. The other bit of good news is that you have... something of a nascent soul. A... protosoul, I suppose you might say." She gives his shoulder a squeeze. "In time, it could even become fully developed. But for now, you're just... carrying a unique burden. There's no shame in it."
"That is the best approach, I find," Myrtle nods once again in agreement with Aidan. "What one can do, rather than what one cannot." Once the tisane has done, she pours it up and sets the cups on saucers, and then all of them on a tray, carrying them around to each person in turn. "Here. This will calm your nerves," she informs Lockie, when of course the others will know that and thus don't require such information. To them, she offers her subtle, small smile.
Lockie Mitchell lets that idea sink in he doesn't have a soul? "H... how could that happen?", an protosoul, is that why...he fades an reappears on the other side of the room, "Where did it come from? I'm... I'm a sociopath, I always have been, I've never been burdened by things like guilt or love but over the last couple of weeks I've started caring about people, hell I can't even stand being on my own cause the guilt gets too much and it is driving me insane, why is this happening? why now? Is it some sort of sick cosmic joke? Make a monster then make it feel?"
"Well you being a sociopath and having no soul sort of fit together." Aidan says to Lockie,"What's a protosoul? I've never really heard of that sort of thing." He says laughing softly. His blue eyes close and he banishes his sight before he reopens them. "Metaphysical conditions." He says shrugging a bit. Souls and such aren't something that he has studied much at all. A good potion he can do, recognizing people for what they are too, but souls... He's not so sure.
"It looks as though it may have been a spell," Nessa offers, taking a cup and saucer from Myrtle with a grateful smile. "Oh, thank you," she murmurs politely. She has a slow sip of the tisane before responding to Lockie any farther, and then she says in a gentle tone, "As to why it happened, dear, the universe isn't a place without accidents. Sometimes, things simply go awry. But someone--recently, I suspect--cast an enchantment over you that's resulted in the beginnings of something that could become a soul. Much of how this develops will depend, entirely, upon how you respond to it." She pats his shoulder again, holding her cup and saucer with her free hand. "Guilt may be painful, but it's a good sign. It means your psyche is adapting to your... metaphysical state. Much like an injured limb, sensation--even pain--means a better chance of healing than numbness does."
Myrtle, meanwhile, finds a nearby comfortable seat and sits with her cup and saucer, setting the tray to the side and holding the saucer with one hand, the handle of the teacup with the other. The aromatic steam, fine and tender, drifts up with its divine natural perfume. Nessa would seem to have this completely under control, but she'll be there if her friend should need the support.
"An enchantment? This is a curse, a punishment for the things I've done, guilt or not, somethings can't be taken back", Lockie was hoping for some sort of cure but Nessa is acting like this is a good thing, he's a killer and all he sees is the faces of his victims, "You should be getting rid of me, I'm dangerous, what is this protosoul slips and I start doing bad things again", he gestures at Aidan, "Like the kid, what if I did something to him?"
"You'd be surprised at how hard it is to kill me. Demons have tried." Aidan points out with a bit of a shrug of his shoulders,"Well I think it would depend on your definition of curse. It could be construed as something that is outside of the normal course of nature." He says smiling a bit at Lockie,"Perhaps instead of looking to get rid of it you should be looking for how to make it rather sticky."
Pointedly clearing her throat, Nessa says, "Don't make threats, dear. It's unbecoming, for one. For another, it's a good way to upset someone. And I assure you, you do not want to consider doing anything to harm my ward." Her expression remains placid, but there's a plain note of do not press me on this, dear in her voice. Then, brightening, she says, "But I do happen to think that Aidan has the right of it. Your newfound feelings can be a guide to you as they are to others. There's often a bit of discomfort associated with healing, but you can learn to adapt to it and grow stronger for it."
Myrtle nods once, sipping delicately at her drink. She sits not stiffly but with elegance and propriety, though try as she might, it's practically impossible for her to really blend into the surroundings. It's likely impossible anywhere, given her eyecatching sense of style.
Lockie Mitchell shakes his head, "That wasn't a threat, thats a what if, before this all happened I did bad things to people that upset me because I didn't care, now I care and I don't know how to process it and I know I don't want to do it again but there are these moments when it's like I was before", he bangs the side of his head as if to bump it back into working, "There have been near misses".
"Well foster it. Make choices that are good." Aidan says shrugging a little bit at the whole thing,"You're really going to have to work hard at it though." He says smiling at Lockie all friendly like,"It's not a bad idea to come here. She really won't take no for an answer."
"First of all, dear," Nessa says placidly, "A threat can be implied as much as it can be stated. And one must be careful what one implies. Second, you won't be harming anyone here, intentionally or not. The wards on this place protect all guests, as do I. It's quite safe." She sips her tisane, then says thoughtfully, "Where are you staying, young man? I'm beginning to think it might be... healthy... for you to spend more time here." She nods along with Aidan, again approving of his judgment. "Well said, dear," she says warmly.
Myrtle gives a dip of her head too, although she doesn't add a verbal component to that at the moment. She's thinking, of course, but then she's always doing that. The cup meets the saucer with a click and a ting, resonant and piercing the air, and then fading to a mere memory of humming. "This will quite simply be the best place for you," she finally decides to chime in.
"I own the Mitchell estate a few miles from here, thats where I live, though I've been trying to limit how much time I spend there", Lockie looks between the three at the offer, "And I really can't hurt people here?", for a moment there theres a spec of hope, he can be both unable to hurt people and be somewhere where the guilt isn't always at it's strongest, "I can pay you".
"Well I'm sure that there would be something that can be done to bind you so you cannot hurt someone." Aidan says seriously,"I'm not sure if it is a good thing though since you really need to work on developing the trick to do so yourself."
Nessa scoffs gently, fixing Lockie with a look. "You'll do no such thing," she says in a brooks-no-argument tone. "What you will do is move in as soon as you can and begin learning to adapt to your condition. Here, you'll be no danger to yourself or others... and you'll have the sort of support you need." She smiles at him gently. "Now, you said you 'own' the estate, dear? But you hardly look old enough to be your own legal guardian. Does... no one look after you?" She glances toward Myrtle with a grateful expression, then drifts over to rest her hand on Aidan's shoulder, in turn. It's an affectionate gesture, but it's just as clearly one of protectiveness.
Myrtle slowly rises, in much the way sails would unfurl, a flag would unwrap in the breeze. It's a gesture that holds strength, presence, and character, all in one. It's not like it's easy to stand up like that, especially holding a cup and saucer still half-full with herbal tea. But her expression is that same small smile, and she moves to a place somewhere in the room between Nessa and Aidan and their guest. Taking another sip of the tea, she lightly parts her lips once her mouth is free. "I'm sure the Witches' Council could offer some assistance."
"I'm the sole heir, I have staff who run the house, between them and a little magic it wasn't hard to keep social services off my back, it seemed easier than getting the place sealed in red tape till I was old enough, I'm still sixteen", Lockie frowns confused, "Witches council? I didn't know there was one, would they just bind my power like he said?", he nods to Adian.
"Give in Lockie. It'll be easier." Aidan says laughing at Lockie,"Agree to move in or she'll have you moving in before you realize what is happening." He says sounding highly amused,"Anyway, I have some work to do that I promised I'd take a look at for Lucas. Is it alright if I go to my room to work on it?" He does ask for dismissal here since she was teaching him something.
Nessa raises a calming hand. "That is enough of that," she says in that even, steady tone of her, as warm and gentle as it is unyielding. "I will see a solicitor about the formal arrangements, including making certain that your ownership of all your property is assured, but I already have an appointment with one for Aidan's sake. Now I will see them about two. But you'll be staying here from now on, dear, under my direct supervision." She turns, and gives a slight but deferential bow to Myrtle. "And, of course, of the Council. I don't foresee the need to bind you unless matters worsen." She smiles bracingly then. "Don't worry too much, my dear. We'll see things set right... in time. And until then, you will have a home here and people to look after you."
"Nessa, mon amie, please don't put yourself to trouble. I'll handle our young friend's arrangements. After all...I have much experience." Myrtle's smile widens just slightly more, and Nessa will know -- Myrtle has been the most active of the Council in arranging students to learn about their magical abilities...even ones they regarded as curses. And most especially the dangerous ones, the ones that would otherwise have been on a quick path to the darkest side. "I am Myrtle Snow," she offers to Lockie. "This is Nessa Du Valle, and she is one of my oldest and dearest friends. You can trust us...and I hope that, in time, you shall."
Lockie Mitchell listens to everything being said and takes a moment to let it sink in, "And can you find a way for me to start making up for the things I've already done?", he takes a deep breath looking at the people in the room before flashing a smile, "Thank you and I'm Lockie Mitchell though you'll have to kill me before I ever tell you what 'Lockie' is short for".
Nessa arches an eyebrow at Lockie and says, quietly, "Less dramatic, dear. Less dramatic. No killing needed." She smiles softly. "And yes, I think we can help you find some karmic balance." Then she turns to Myrtle with a grateful smile. "You're a dear friend, Myrtle! And ever so much better at managing such things than I am. I shall most happily accept your help." Looking back to Lockie, she says, "Well! Now we're all friends, I'll have to go and make up a room for you!" She says this with a bright enthusiasm, seeming pleased.
Myrtle looks equally pleased, letting Aidan leave the room before she does, and then Nessa's on her way as well. So she opts to stay with their new lodger and acquaintance, heading back to her theremin. She sets the cup and saucer down on a nearby table, accessible enough when she needs it, and switches the instrument on. Soon, with her graceful movements, the strange and wonderful music of the cosmos fills the room again.
"Sorry, toning down on the theatrics", now the Lockie is a lot calmer it's supprisingly easy for him to slip into acting like a normal teenager, he's had a lot of practise from before to avoid people feeling something was up about, he watches as Nessa heads out after Aidan, "And she definatly won't take any for of payment? or would you?" is asked of Myrtle, the two eccsentric witches are oddly comforting, "What is the thing you're playing? I've never seen one".
"This is a theremin," Myrtle answers, obviously pleased at the interest taken in the strange instrument. "It operates by the manipulation of magnetic fields. And we certainly don't need you to feel obligated to pay us, dear boy. It would be simply gauche of the both of us. I dare say we would feel much like the gasping hucksters you see on television these days, trying to raise money for their sports car mistresses..."
Lockie Mitchell watches the theremin, "Is it some sort of magical instrument?", he carries on watching for some sign of magic being used, "I don't watch tv, I prefur to read, I kinda think tv is making people stupid, people watch tv then they talk about it and eventually everyone is watching and talking about the same things and no one has anything new to add".
Myrtle shakes her head softly, motioning for Lockie to approach her if he likes. It gives a series of fluttering notes. "It's completely scientific. Developed by a scientist, in fact. I must agree with your thoughts on television...here, why don't you try? It's a very easy instrument to learn. Difficult to master, but simple enough to learn. The antenna here is the pitch, the loop is the volume." She almost whispers, "I find it soothes my soul."
Lockie Mitchell walks over to have a look, while he is pretty intelligent when it comes to accedemics like science it's been a while since he attended class so honestly it's more mysterious to him than magic is, frowning his puts a hand towards the instrument and quickly pulls it back when it makes a noise, "Wow, it's strange".
Myrtle steps to the side, walking to collect her tea and pick it up. She chuckles softly, nodding to Lockie. "Don't be afraid of it," she encourages, tone still gentle and warm. "The strange, the uncommon...l'etranger, all of that makes the world so much richer and more splendid. Embrace it! Feel the tones of the universe through your fingertips! You..." she leans her head slightly forward, "can make it happen."
Lockie Mitchell takes a deep breath, hey he can move things with his mind, how much harder can this be, he puts his hand in again but doesn't pull away from the noise, obviously he doesn't make any sort of tune not actually knowing how to play the thing, still he has a go before pulling his hand away, "What made you want to learn it?"
"Its sounds resonate with the very soul." Myrtle sets her cup down again, listening to Lockie's experimentation. "Let the music move you...don't be constrained by preconceived notions of music. Express yourself! Be free!" She has another sip, then, mulling it on her tongue as she seems to really lose herself in all the sounds. Fairly enough, it is a particularly nice tone, and probably a higher-end instrument of its type.
Lockie Mitchell shakes his head, "I'm a Firestarter, if I get too 'free' things can tend to catch fire but thanks for showing me", he smiles, "I'm just gonna quickly see if Miss Nessa needs any help, thanks again", with that he jogs out of the room.