Logs:The Magical Senator from the State of Whoever

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Charleville, Madeleine Chevalier, Nevermore Usher


The Assembly Hall


Charleville said he could meet the pair at the Assembly Hall after he got his work done for his mom. And that took longer than expected. By the time he's welcoming the pair into his office at the Assembly, it's well past the usual hours of the place being open to most of the members. There are still a few stragglers in the Makerspace, but the shared office area only has the running lights on, all the other systems and track lights and such are out.

Charleville's office is full of musical equipment, mixing gear, and a three monitor set up for his computer and mixing software. There's a bunch of posters on the walls, most of them figures as varied as Fred Hampton, Arthur Rimbaud, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Rosa Luxembourg. His bookshelf is full of poets and philosophers, as well as several graphic novels of the Boondocks. He's currently vibing to the Weeknd while schooling some newbs at League of Legends, waiting for his company to arrive.

Nevermore is nervous. No, excited, no nervous. No, excited. No... okay, they're both. They're jittering like a smoker who hasn't seen a pack in 3 days, but they realize they're doing that, so they're trying to push the jitters down so they won't be annoying. To... mixed result, admittedly. They will not, however, admit how long it took them to decide on the outfit they're wearing for this meeting - swashbuckler boots, jeans, a T-Shirt with a rose on it that, with the shadows and curves caused by the petals, also kind of looks like a skull, and (of course) their everpresent coat. They follow Maddy like an overeager puppy.

Maddy is wearing a sun dress and barefoot when she shows up. It's not dissimilar to the first time that Nevermore saw her, in fact, except that it's a different dress with a different pattern. Once again, there's a crown of woven flowers on her head, and the flowers resting on her brow match the ones patterened into her dress. Neither of the two she's meeting with now is likely to be surprised that this is how she made an appearance. This is completely normal for the druid, especially during the spring. She might not be a Thyrsus, but sometimes she can certainly fool people.

"Relaaaaax," she says when she first sees Nevy, and with a laugh she adds, "I've got some really good weed, if that'll help you?" Way to start off being a good example, right? She does lead the way in, skipping along like this isn't anything serious at all, or perhaps like she doesn't take very many things more seriously than she has to. When she gets to Charlie's office she knocks on the doorframe and gives Nevy a big, eager grin.

"C'mon in, waffle lady!" From some people, such a nickname could be taken as a sign of disrespect. But Charleville says it like it's a high honor. The kid loves waffles, okay? And Maddy's waffles are the very best waffles in Philly. It is known. His mousing and whacking at the keys comes to an end, and he slides his keyboard away, tapping his monitors here and there to get them to turn off so he can dedicate his attention to his guests. He even gets up from behind his desk and rises to his feet like he's some kind of gentleman. "It was Nevermore, right? Around here you can call me Charleville. Around normies you can call me Charlie still. Can I get you anything to drink or eat? Oh, and what pronouns are you rockin' today? Jus' so I don' step in it again."

Nevy steps forward, offering a hand to shake. "Yes, Nevermore - and I'm they today, thanks. And, um... Thank you for meeting with me. I, uh... hear you're... kind of a big deal, so..."

Maddy bounces on in when invited, smiling, and makes a flourishing bow with hands extended toward Nevermore like she's presenting a prize. "I believe that it still is Nevermore, unless something changed in the last couple of days that I wasn't aware of," she replies. "How's your mom doing?" For the moment she seems to be alright with letting the other two do a lot of the talking, unless she has to do otherwise. That will probably come soon enough.

"Her sciatic is buggin' her, so me and my brother helped her with the gardening today. Front garden looks great, though. You should check it out next time you're in the hood." Charleville gestures to the chairs in front of his desk, still grinning. He waves away Nevermore's anxiousness, "Nawh. I mean. Yeah, but nawh. We're an organization that believes in lateral organization, not hierarchy. So I'm a politician, kinda. I give speeches, I delegate for projects, I sort of herd the cats, but I'm no more important to the assembly than Amity, here. Or Ethos. Or anyone else." Charleville drops down into his chair and steeples his fingers before himself. "I dunno what all you've been told about us, and I don't like talking down to people. So can you tell me what you know and I can help fill in the blanks for you?"

Nevy takes both a seat and a deep breath. "Um... Not... a lot. I know that secrecy is... really important for... pretty much all the, um..." They wave a hand vaguely. "Groups out there. I know you're called mages, and that you're still human - you're not like... vampires or werewolves or anything like that - but... something about you lets you do magic. And I know that at least some of you are warrior monks, like the Jedi. And, um... that you recently had a couple new people show up, and you had a party yesterday, and there were some kids there that you let borrow your Switch, which is... really cute, and Auntie Dandy was there and played with the kids, too, and..." They catch up to their babbling and take a deep breath. "But... not a lot more than that. On a, um... metaphysical or societal sense."

"What?" Maddy asks, feigning affront. "Your mom needed gardening help and you didn't tag me in? You know I love that shit. You can always call me for garden help. At least, when I'm not out of cell range." As much time as she spends teleporting around the world, that's often enough. "Charlie's a big deal because of what they do to help a lot of us be less of a chaotic jumble. You've met Auntie Dandy enough to know the way that she leads people, right? It's not about authority, it's about having people's respect. Think of it a lot like that." She plops herself down in one of the chairs then pulls her legs up to sit cross-legged, with only a momentary checking to be sure her dress is actually covering everything. With a little surprise she says, "that's a lot of pretty specific information, and a lot of missing broader strokes."

"Wow! You know a lot, actually! That's cool!" Charleville is not, needless to say, anything like the Guardians of the Veil. So that's nice. "But, yeah. Everyone's got theories about the how and the why, and all of them are probably equally credible and equally bullshit. What is known is that it's our souls that let us do magic. They stretch out beyond the barrier of perceptual reality to a place we call the Supernal Realms. By going there and connecting with the powers there, we're said to Awaken from our slumber. Once you go there, you're forever changed. Once you wake up you can never go back to sleep. So it's one of those double edged sword kinda things. Great power, great responsibility. Like my boy Miles Morales." He gestures to Maddy with a nod of the head, "And yeah, it's like that. I have respect, not power. Not authority. People listen to me because I listen to them back, and I'm not above asking for help unless it's with mom's gardening." He grins back to Maddy at that crack. "Anyway. We refer to people with powers like yours as Sleepwalkers. Which I'm not a big fan of. You're half-awake, half-blinded to the magic in the world. Which I also don't like, cos it's ableist as hell. But those are the terms we use right now, so I'm gonna keep using them just so you're learning the terms most commonly used. Even if they suck. Is that okay?"

Nevy's concentrating so hard on understanding things that they're squinting slightly. "Right. So it's... kind of like the Dr. Strange movie? Pulling power from other universes to affect ours?"

Then they frown. "That terminology is also pretty... condescending, isn't it? 'poor little normal people, asleep to the world...'"

"There's a lot of quibbling in some circles about whether souls are a thing. They are," Maddy adds. "Sometimes it's really annoying to hear people debating that in public places and not just be able to tell them that you actually know people who can prove it." She stops to look at Charlie, look at Nevy, and then laugh. "In a lot of ways, yeah, it's a little bit like the Dr. Strange movie. Except that a lot of people in our world take the whole thing way more seriously. There's a lot of condescension, unfortunately."

"Oh, enormously condescending, yeah. Mages have to fight their hubris every day. When you can toy with the fabric of reality and make the world bow to your whim, you can get super arrogant and start treating people like things. Like chits, currency, property. There's actually a group of mages we call the Seers of the Throne who serve what we call the Exarchs. Mages so powerful that they built a way to reach the Supernal Realms and then destroyed the way, trapping humanity down here while they try to run the show up there. They're the ones keeping everyone from reaching their true human potential. Which resides in you, Nevy, the same as it does in me. The Seers are self-serving egotistical selfish assholes. They use people up and spit them out, all in service to their masters on their thrones. Our side fights them every way and everywhere we can. I even shaped my soul to be able to fight them special. Defeating them is my calling, the way Amity's is exploring the Mists of time. So I'm really invested in helping people out, in keeping them safe from the Seers, helping them learn about the Lie and helping them to see past it. That's why I'm so excited to meet you!"

Nevy blinks at that. "That's... horrible. really horrible." They tilt their head. "But... if they broke the bridge, how do people still... um... wake up?"

"Jeeze, Charlie," Maddy laughs. "You're just 0-60 in 1.5 seconds, hit the ground running, no holds barred today, aren't you? Here I've been trying to figure out how to bring up some of these topics carefully and tactfully, to avoid overwhelming my unseelie twin." She starts watching Nevy most of all at this point, being careful for signs that there's it's too much, too soon. Not doubting Nevy, really, just trying to be aware if it's too much before it's way too much.

"I don't do half-truth. They need to know the stakes if they're going to fall in with us, Amity. If hearing that world-controlling archmages sit on thrones in the Supernal Realms and try to control the world through their agents here in reality has them asking only how we awaken if the way there is broken? They've got the stuff for this." Charleville's answer is given with an approving smile. Both of Maddy's concern and Nevy's curiosity exceeding their worry.

"So great questions, first off. The answer is that they literally physically, bodily, traveled from here to there. They stopped existing in this world and started existing there, having traveled through a bunch of realms in between, which we can talk about in more detail later. Now-a-days, just your soul makes the trip. Like I was saying. Your soul doesn't need a ladder to get to the roof, it just flies up there. You know what I mean? Ever read about people's near death experiences? Flying up out of their bodies, looking down and seeing their bodies and the EMTs and all fussing around them while they have this profound sense of peace? It's like that, kinda. Your soul makes the trip, your body is just vibing on your couch or whatever. You do your Odysseus business and come on back into your own head, filled with new power and unleashed potential."

Nevy nods slowly, then narrows their eyes at Charleville. "And... what do you mean by 'fall in with you?' I... I'm glad you think I'm ready to learn all this, but I'm... not a secret agent, or freedom fighter, or even a badass exorcist like Auntie Dandy." They sigh. "As for the world-controling archmages et cetera et cetera... I mean, I live in America. Pretty much the only major difference between what you're describing and day to day life is magic versus money."

"I run a diner and go off exploring other realities," Maddy says with a little shrug. "We all find our own ways of furthering our understandings of the universe. Some people go explore the Underworld, but that's definitely not my thing. Some people perfect their crafts." She laughs and points at Nevy. "I like this one, though; not really so far off with the money thing."

"Hell nawh! You're better than all that! You're an artist. Soldiers kill, agents spy, and they do it for the truths artists render out of ideas. You create a portal from your mind," Charleville points at his head, "to a page," he points at his desk, "to another mind," he points at Nevy themself, "and that is magic. That is magical. Cold words on a page stoking the fires in the chest of the hopeless? That shit changes the world. That is Prometheus on the mountain. That is Noah checking Accuweather. That is Muhammed, peace be upon him, licking the quill and setting that shit down for his brothers."

"As for what I mean by 'falling in with us', I mean just that. You're the one that pointed out how fucked up and condescending our world can be. You're the one putting the finger on the problem in our society. The money, the power imbalances, the voiceless crying for help while those with the means to provide it check the stock ticker. I'm offering you the chance to be a voice that gets heard. I'm offering you the most powerful thing any of us get. A vote in what gets done around here. Same as me, same as Amity. Representing people like you. Speaking for their needs. Advocating for them. We're not an army, we're a movement. We want to raise humanity up like the golden child of God it is. You can walk away from that if you want, I won't blame you. But you don't strike me as someone shit just happens to. You don't strike me as someone who sits passive and lets events play out come what may. Or you wouldn't be in my office." Charleville gestures to Maddy with a confirming nod, "And like Amity says. We all change the world in our own way."

Nevy blinks at that. "A vote in... your... movement?" They frown thoughtfully. "I'm... I'd want to know more. What would I need to do? What would the risks be? What is your movement?"

"That's a good response," Maddy says when Nevy expresses wanting to know more. "I'd point out that the answer from Charleville about some of these things is going to be different than mine, but both of our groups believe in giving people a voice. We both believe in the inherent value of collective voices, and not just looking to the person on top for all the answers."

"Oh, for sure. Maddy's people took ours in when we were first coming up. We had our origins in the revolutionary movements of the 18th century. The enlightenment and all that shit. Maddy's people have traditions dating back... a long time. To before they started writing their history down, so who really knows. But we found common cause, and we work together to this day. It's meant our movement, at least locally, is pretty well decolonized. Very egalitarian, very open to diverse opinions and people. And I'm really fucking proud to work with them to that end." Charleville is beaming as he talks up his allies over in the Children of the Tree.

"Anyway. The movement is called the Assembly. Assemblies of this sort were created by the Free Council, which is the order of mages I represent. The Assembly is a governmental organization of voting members-- kinda like Council Communists, if you're familiar, or maybe like the original Soviets of the Russian Revolution. Anyway. The Assembly's purpose is to organize likeminded mages into aiding humanity towards Awakening. We respond to threats, gather and allocate resources, support our membership in their study and research, and plan for the future. I can give you some more specifics about the Free Council, if you want, but the movement is the Assembly. And it needs more voices from people like you. You're why we do this shit to begin with, and your point of view would be invaluable. Sorry if I seem to be talking in circles, I just don't want to get to a point where I'm putting words in the mouths of others, you know? I'm speaking in broad terms, because the second you start voting and influencing decisions, it'll be what you make it, too. It's not a static thing, it changes to fit the vision and needs of its voting members."

"The risks are pretty substantial. Not gonna lie. We have enemies in the Exarchs and the Seers of the Throne. There is a war underway, if a shadow war. It takes place all around you every day, and you probably don't recognize it for what it is. The war of ideas. The war of minds. Sometimes, yeah, literal war, too. You could be caught up in that war, have your mind fucked with. Have your soul yoinked out. Your body destroyed by nuclear fire. Thing is, that was always the case. You were always just a number to be spent to these people. And at least we can help you protect yourself from all that bullshit and help you magnify your voice and your work. All you need to do is be yourself, keep our secrets as best you can, and vote your conscience. Share your ideas. Your gifts, your talents. Ask for help when you need it, let us support you when you need it. Keep an open mind. Value other cultures and points of view. Internalize the difference between constructive criticism and judgment. Stuff being a freelancer probably already taught you a lot about."

Nevy nods slowly. "So. I'd be called on to represent... what? Mediums, like Auntie Dandy and me? All of humanity?" They run a hand through about 2 inches of hair before it snags in their frizz and they pull it out with a moment's annoyance.

"That's... a lot of responsibility."

"Those risks are one of the reasons I reached out to Charleville about having this conversation," Maddy explains, since it seems relevant at this point. "I noticed that you were a sleepwalker, and I noticed that you were already spending a fair bit of time in the company of a number of mages. My concern is that there was a possibility that would make you a target, or put you in the path of problems you didn't even know were possible, let alone ones you were prepared to deal with. I was worried about the dangers of you not knowing all of this. I want to be sure you're informed enough to make your own decisions, educated decisions, about the risks you're going to take."

"You'd be called on to represent yourself," she explains. "Like I represent myself."

"I'd answer differently than Amity. I'd say yes and also no. You represent what you want to represent." Charleville leans forward onto his desk, clearly excited about the conversation. "How cool is that? Motherfuckers be out there trying to rep their set, their block, their boys. We in here repping the world if we want to. When I was a kid--" he is still a kid, mind you "--I looked around my hood and I could see all the shit that needed to change. Even if I couldn't articulate it. Now I spit fire and the world listens to me. My verse moves people. So when I vote, I vote for my block. I vote for the kid who lost his brother and his dad to gun violence. I vote for the single mom trying to decide which bill ain't getting paid. I vote for the junkie selling his plasma for his next fix. The world's sick, and I want to fix it. I want to help people, even if it kills me. I'd rather die for a better world than live out my life content in this one."

Nevermore nods slowly. They look thoughtful. "So. If I say yes, I become... the magical senator from the state of whoever I want to represent with my vote. If I say no... what happens?"

"I'd still argue that our answers are the same, yours just provides more detail to who you are." Maddy's smiling as she responds, enjoying this conversation immensely, but she also doesn't take this as the time to wander off into the weeds with their discussion, and she's happy to let Charlie's expansion on these ideas stand. It's possible she said what she did knowing he'd run with it like he did.

This question she lives to him to answer, too. This is fairly new territory for her.

"I'll be sad cos I was wrong about you, for one. I'd point out that discussing anything that we talked about in here would put you at enormous risk from our enemies and other mages who are obsessed with protecting our secrets. I'd point out that Amity and myself couldn't protect you well. And you'd live out the rest of your life wondering what could have been. And I'd also point out that courage isn't a lack of fear, it's doing what's right while you're pissing your goddamn pants." Charleville spreads his hands wide in a gesture of finality, then reaches for the candy dish on his desk, offering it towards Nevermore. "Want a Smarteez?"

Nevy snorts at that. "Thanks, but not right now. And... you'd just let me walk away if I did say no? No magical..." The waggle their fingers near their head. "Stuff?" They hesitate. "Sorry, but... I've read enough about situations where power and secrets collide that I have to ask."

"Sure!" Maddy says, and she leans foward to hold her hand out as far as she can without falling off her chair, since she's still sitting cross-legged on it. "I definitely don't have the skills to make you forget all of this," she says. "I'm definitely definitely not going to kill you or something to keep you quiet. I might ask you to promise not to blab, cross your heart and hope to die, without any actual dying involved."

"Oh, there's definitely mages out there who would fuck with your mind, unwind time to make it so the conversation enver happened, or whatever. There's a whole order dedicated to," and here he makes scare quotes with his fingers, "protecting the secrets of magic." His hands fall back down. Though he does grab himself a roll of smarteez and begin popping them into his mouth. "That's why I warned you to keep your mouth shut. But, honestly, what are you going to do? Tell someone else that a secret society of all powerful magic users control the world from another plane of existence and that's why Jeff Bezos has a trillion dollar market cap and Trump can lie 24/7 on the television and people still believe him? Good luck with that." He pops another one into his mouth. Crunch.

Nevy nods. "I know I'm asking a lot of questions. I just.... I feel like signing up with something like this isn't the sort of thing to do without a lot of understanding." They give a little lopsided smile. "Plus I feel like I'd be just as disappointing if I went "Oh, okay!" And went along with everything like a good little girl."

"Trust me, Nevy? Nobody here is going to blame you for asking a complete and utter shitload of questions. You're asking good ones, and that means a lot, but we're also all a bunch of nosy people who question everything. It's like a hallmark of the Awakened experience." Maddy laughs. "If you weren't asking a million questions, we'd probably be doubting whether we were right to have this conversation with you."

"Yeah, for real. You'll notice we just keep answering them to the best of our ability relative to the time we have. Ultimately what I'm going to suggest here is that you should come to a meeting of the Assembly as our guest. You need to be on your best behavior, cos what you do will reflect on Amity and me, but apart from that you're free to talk and learn and ask questions and see how we operate. You'll have to attend a few before you can be made a Voter, anyway. So best to get some of those attendance ticks taken care of while you're still on the fence. But let's not kid a kidder. You're a meddler, a chronicler of the human condition, and you're curious. Plus I can literally see the eddies of fate and the whorrels of time. So. Yeah. Give me your digits and I'll letcha know when the next meeting is." Charleville again nudges the candy dish their way again before settling back in his chair to finish off his own Smarteez with a few more crunches.

That draws a Spock Eyebrow from Nevermore. "You already know what I'm going to do?" They shake their head. "That makes me want to turn you down just to be contrary. I'm not making the decision yet, but..." They smirk for a moment, then look more thoughtful. "What about... all the other groups out there? I'm sure you know about them, if you guys are as curious as it sounds. How would this affect my friendships with them? Would I become..." They shrug. "I don't know... That Medium Who Tags Along With The Mages?" They give a lopsided smile. "I know you can't really predict what the other groups are going to think, but... you know. Officially, on never-written-down-because-all-this-is-supposed-to-be-secret paper."

"Hey Charlie?" Maddy queries. She continues in a casual tone, but there's an air of something ritual to the way she's talking. "Would you say Nevy's being a guest of the Assembly constitutes at least affiliation, even if not full membership?" The wink wink that comes with the question is literal even if the nudge nudge is not. He can probably guess she's asking this because of the Keys surrounding her diner's portal. She takes a candy from the dish and pops it into her mouth, then talks around it. "I think the most likely effect it would have with other groups is that they'd think twice about fucking with you, but it's not like you can't talk to them. I talk to them all the time. It would be likely to cause a lot of problems for me and Charlie here if you started telling them things they don't really have any need to know, though. Think of it like our grandmas will tan our hides if they find out we let you know the secret family recipes and then you went and told the neighbors."

"Nah. Just what you're likely to do. Time's a bit like quantum mechanics in that regard. A fuzzy probability wave until events are observed. But I'm right most of the time." Charleville stretches his arms up over his head, then laces his hands behind his head, heaving out the sigh of a kid talking with adults about adult things at length. He's doing his best, but he's still getting a little restless.

"We don't make any limitations on your association with other mages, except for the servants of the Lie. Or those who serve dark powers. Or the ones who are just completely lost in their own heads. But the other groups? Whatever. Go knock yourself out if you want. You won't find them as accepting as we are, though. Or as progressive, as a rule. Or as dedicated to improving humanity. Or as egalitarian. They're pretty hidebound, all about tradition and hierarchy. There's A Way things must be done, and so on. Here, we are all about Miles Davis and Thelonius Monk. Motherfuckers up there be Bach or Brahms. Excellent, beautiful music, but little in the way of variation. No sense that the music is in the moment, just for you. So if you enjoy 4/4 and the harpsichord, bless. Enjoy. If you want to shove a mute in your trumpet and blow the fucking doors off a room, come play Jazz."

Nevy peers at Charlie, trying to determine if he missed the question or is ignoring it. "What about the other people out there who know about all this strangeness but aren't Mages or mediums or normal people?" They lift an eyebrow. "And don't try to pretend you don't know they're out there. I know they're out there, and I don't have phenomenal cosmic power."

"I'm pretty sure they mean vampires and changelings and werewolves and all them," Maddy says more bluntly.

"Oh!" Charleville snaps his fingers and points at Maddy, "Thank you."

He rolls forward in his seat and rests his arms on the desk again, "I've got friends who are Changelings, I've got friends who are Vampires, I've got friends who are similar to you. I mean, they won't know you're with us just to look at you. I can tell a vampire from a human, or a changeling from a person who hasn't been through what they've been through. And I can tell someone who's Awakened from someone who hasn't. But I can't tell a human who is with us from one who isn't, and I doubt they can, either. So. Practically speaking, day to day, it won't make much of a difference for you. But certainly where official shit is concerned, it will. And if you let peeps know not to fucks with you on account of we roll deep and got your back, they'll back down. Usually. And the ones that don't will regret that decision." Charleville shrugs his shoulders and flops back into his seat again, lacing his hands atop his head this time.

Nevy nods at Maddy. "Exactly." They give a lopsided smile. "I didn't want to be the first to reference them directly, because... I mean. What if you didn't actually know about them in spite of your phenomenal et cetera et cetera. Besides, they like people spilling their secrets as little as you guys do. But... doing this would be basically signing on as an... um... a Mage Protectorate, of sorts?"

"Yeah, I'm on your wavelength. Twin-wavelength." Maddy points between their heads. "Discretion has its time and place. This was a good time and place to demonstrate it."

"If you become a Voter in the Assembly, you're a member in good standing on par with every other voter in the Assembly, yeah. Protectorate has a colonial connotation I don't fucks with. You'd be a citizen of our society. With rights and responsibilities attendant to that citizenship." Charleville's shoulders shrug again, hands still laces on his head.

Nevy nods. "I... think I'd like to visit, to see what goes on in the Assembly. And... think about all this. There's been a hell of a lot to take in."

"So yeah, Amity. Good enough for me. If they want waffles, I mean." Charlie finally answers Maddy with a glance and a small nod.

Nevy glances between them, then looks at Maddy. "Okay. What is all this about waffles?"

"Cool!" Maddy turns sideways in her chair, legs still crossed. "I run a diner that's magically hidden from anyone who isn't part of one of the major supernatural societies in town. A sort of supernatural neutral ground. There's magic that prevents people from finding the alley where the entrance is, and which prevents them from seeing or passing through that entrance. If you go to the corner of [streets] and walk up toward [another street], and spot a dead end alley, go into it and you'll see what I mean. Be mindful of the posted rules when you get in." She grins and winks, and doesn't explain any more than that. "Also," she reaches into the pocket of her dress, because this is fantasy and it has pockets, and takes out a business card. "Call me any time if you're in trouble. I can get anywhere pretty quick."

"So. It's like. Late? And my mom is in pain. Which makes my mom real short-tempered. So. I'm gonna kick you both outta my office and the hall so I can set the alarm and get my black ass home." Charleville rolls up and out of his seat, plucking the last of the Smarteez from the dish. "Shoulda taken it when you had the chance. Enjoy your butterscotch discs and peppermints."

They blink. "Okay." They take the card, read it, and look at Maddie. "You... run the Restaurant Between Worlds. That's... kind of cool." But they're grinning. They blink at Charleville. "Oh! Right. Thank you. They smile. "Honestly, I've always been more of a peppermint fan anyway." They take one from the dish. "But yeah, by all means, I'll let you do what you need. And whatever I wind up choosing, please let me know if you need a hand with anything. Including the gardening." They pop the mint in their mouth, hopefully not making any kind of metaphorical statement by their preferences in candy, then offer Charleville a florid bow. "Thank you again - for the information, for the offer, and for the meeting in general."

Maddy goes from cross-legged to standing on her chair by just pushing herself up with her legs. "Do you want a lift, Charlie? Nothing is really out of my way, so I can drop you off near your house if you'd like to get back quicker." She also beckons him over. "Come here, too. I've got something for you."

"That'd be awesome of you, yeah. I hate walkin' home this time of day." Charleville slides his chair into his desk and comes around front with the guileless trust of someone who toys with fate and time for a hobby. He does eye the bow a bit oddly, clearly not knowing what to do with that beyond offer a hesitant thumbs up. "You're welcome. But. As my man said in Black Panther: We don't do that here."

Nevy giggles. "I know - I do. I'm weird, I know." They return the thumbs-up and start heading toward the door, in case the Mages need privacy.

"Fallen fucking world, man," Maddy says to his comment about walking home at night. She reaches up and takes the crown of spring flowers off her head, then reaches out to put it on Charlie's. "May it bring you any luck you forget to bring yourself," she says before hopping down from the chair. "Everyone ready to go?"

"I'm the Waffle Prince!" Charlie shoots his arms up over his head, "Fuck yeah!" He is genuinely stoked about his flower crown, apparently. "Thank you! Yeah, let me grab my backpack and we can jet." He jogs back around his desk to grab it and sling it over his shoulder, then leads the procession out of his office so he can lock it up. Then he's plugging in the alarm code and pressing the arm button. It starts beeping. "Out we go!"

"Onward," Nevy Pronounces. "Into the dark, but not into fear."

Maddy hurries out when the time is right, after laughing at Charlie's excitement for the flower crown. "You okay making your way off wherever you're going on your own, Nevy?" she asks once they're all outside. "I'm not asking because I doubt you can take care of yourself, but because I'm the kind of person who worries about people."

Nevy nods. "I'll stick to the paths well-trod." They smile. "And call you when I get home, if you're really worried."