A New Friend!

January 02, 2016:

Morianna meets someone unexpected while waiting in the park.

Bronx Park - New York

Bronx Park covers more than seven hundred acres along the Bronx River, its history reaching back to the late 1880's. Most of the northern end is occupied by the New York Botanical Garden and much of the south is claimed by the Bronx Zoo. There are three major biking paths which pass through the park following the Mosholu Parkway, Bronx River Parkway, and Pelham Parkway, while the park itself is split almost in half by Fordham Road. In addition, two hundred and fifty acres of the Park have been reserved for the New York Zoological Society and another sixty-six at the southeastern end, now known as Ranaqua, is home to the Park's headquarters.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Morianna sits on a bench with her legs extended, both crossed at the ankle, hands tucked into a black leather jacket for warmth. Her breath comes in cloudy puffs as she watches people travel through the park. Though she is doesn't appear to be in any hurry, her gaze occasionally drifts toward the distant points of the path as if she were waiting for someone in particular. It's just after noon, and Bronx Park is covered with a dusty layer of half-melted frost. By this hour of day the footpaths have been worn clear of any snow, but the occasional footprints can be seen where people took shortcuts over still-frosty grass to get onto another paved walkway.

There is a statue nearby of a female gargoyle. It might seem a little strange because their seem to be odd ornaments adorning different parts of the statues body. A star shape in the center of her forehead. Rings along the back of her neck and piercing her ears, seeming to grow out of her arms. Another odd thing is the clothing carved onto her. It seems to be a a sleeveless shirt and pants. Her wings even have all the many little lines to appear as feathers. It's a very detailed statue.
Still, most people don't pay alot of attention to it or notice when the stone seems to start crumbling all of a sudden. She shakes and a crumbling of rock dust falls to the ground as a dark skinned woman steps forward and unfurls metal-feathered wings. The same metal graces her in all the places it did a moment ago. Purple eyes gleam as they look around in confusion. It is not morning and she has overslept greatly!

Morianna does glance often toward that peculiar statue nestled in the center of the park — decidedy modern, given its clothing, for a gargoyle. However she doesn't pay it much mind before too long. That is until it begins to shake and tremble, sending bits and pieces of stone crumbling to the ground. Blue eyes hone in on the 'statue' at once, and her freckled nose crinkles with uncertainty. She eyes those surrounding her and, given their lack of a reaction, offers little of her own. Though Esme will be hard pressed not to notice the woman staring at her from afar.

Breaking her silence with a bemused, "Huh," she cants her head to one side to get a better look at the former-statue. A pair of illusory wings identical Esme's own manifest just behind the staring woman, though they're translucent as if holographic. The moment that the crimson-dyed woman peels her gaze away with an awkward fidget that mimicry of Esme's metallic wingspan fades at once. Just like the stoneborn woman, none of the people walking up and down the path seem to notice her fleeting, illusory wingspan.

Esme looks around in confusion and then her eyes focus on the woman on the bench and she blinks. Had there been wings? Why did she sleep so long? Maybe it was the people drink she found? Quickly she looks down at her clothing and gives it a pat. When it doesn't fall off she seems relieved. It usually doesn't hold up for long when she sleeps in it. She is getting a few more stares now as she tries to figure out what to do. People often see only what they want to though and a seven foot tall winged woman isn't reassuring a lot of the time and she's used to seeing people hurry away. Esme can't just disappear, her skin has to stay human for the next hour. "Hi?" She offers shyly as inches a few steps closer to the bench.

When Esme approaches Morianna, she flashes the rather tall woman a winning smile and raises her hand is greeting. "Hi there." Though there is curiosity writ clear in her bright blue eyes, she is utterly lacking in the apprehension that other passers-by display. Scooting over, she pats the spot on the bench beside her as invitation to the stranger. "Why don't you join me? I think I've been stood up, so I may as well meet someone new. And you're… interesting." That last word spoken draws a bright, cheeky smile to her lips as she studies those metallic wings.

Esme visibly brightens and smiles as she bounces forward to sit on the bench. Strangers usually hate or fear her and she so desperately just wants to be one of them. She doesn't seem to mind being called interesting at all. "Th-thank you! I am Esme! It's very nice to meet you. I am supposed to hide a lot but I.. I overslept. That doesn't usually happen. I can't hide right now." She could fly away but this person is being nice so far and so she doesn't want to leave. Besides, its much, much colder up in the air when she's soft skinned. "I am sorry your friend did not come." Esme sits sideways and draws her legs up in a lotus posistion. Whatever her wings are made of, they look metallic but seem far more flexible than any metal should be and they flutter a bit as she talks. The metal on her skin looks as if it's piercing in some places and simply growing out of it in others.

Following Esme's lead, Morianna brings her legs up beneath herself and tucks them underneath her form. It's more of a typical cross-legged sit than anything else. Fingers are wiggled into the spaces between her legs to retain some of the warmth lost by keeping them in the open, but her hands otherwise remain in her lap. "Esme is a pretty name. I'm Mar-" She pauses, purses her lips, and gives Esme a once-over. "Morianna." A smile brightens her features as she wriggles one hand out of its hiding place to offer it for a shake. "You have pretty wings. I've known people who had wings before - mutants - but they weren't like that."

Smiling again Esme flutters her wings a bit more. "Thank you. I like your name. Morianna." She will remember it. "Esme is.." She pauses and shakes her head. That isn't right. "I am not a mutant. I did not know of them until recently. I am told there were not so many when I was born." She looks out through the park and the city in the distance for a moment.

"Things were so very different then. I do not remember a lot, it's true but.. the world has changed so much. I begin to think I will never learn it all. I think there are only so many things you can learn just from watching people."
Morianna taps a finger to her lips as Esme speaks, and gives a nod after a thoughtful pause.

"Have you tried a library? There are a lot of things you can learn there that people-watching don't do." She only sounds half-serious. Her hands fold behind her head with digits weaving into the warmth of her bright, sunny hair. "So where are you from, Esme? Or… when? That may be a better question." Squinting now, she points at one of the woman's wings with her elbow. "And… can I touch one?"

Esme's skin seems human just now except for the fact is a bit more of an ebony color than one would find on ordinary people. It makes it easy to notice that she blushes because her cheeks lighten and turn more of a dusky rose. "I can't read yet. It was not a thing that it was necessary to know my Masters thought. I came from England. I am not sure when. I was asleep for a very very long time. When I finally awoke it was here." Her outer wing folds around her shoulder and side and reaches over towards Morianna. "They aren't real feathers. I can fly but I don't think it is because of these. They are more for decoration."

Morianna 's face reveals just a hint of disappointment, but it's quickly masked by a bite of her lip. She pulls her fingers from her hair and reaches out to touch those decorative wings. "Wish I could fly. That would be useful." When she looks back to Esme's face, that blush is noted with a crooked smile. Her legs unfold and stretch out once more, crossed at the ankle. Both of her hands are buried deep into her jacket pockets for warmth. "They have audiobooks too. You just put some headphones on and listen. I doubt that your Masters had headphones but, uh, they're pretty simple to use. If you want I could show you sometime."

A look of sudden understanding comes over Esme's face. "I have seen those! And seen that people wearing them don't hear well. Now I know. Thank you, I would like that. I could learn more things if I could listen to the books! May showed me how to make inside wings. I would be very careful not to break anything. Maybe they would let me inside." She looks hopeful. "They did not have many things then. This all.." She gestures towards the city. "I thought it was all magic. The metal carriages and flying boxes. Um. Cars and.. airplanes. Clint took me in his car once. It went so fast!" Her eyes light up. "I could take you flying if you want. You would need more warm clothes and it would have to be after I change or we would freeze!"

"That sounds great! I'll get you some audibooks and you can use my headphones. That way you don't have to worry about getting into the library. But I should probably show you anyway so you can do it on your own. In exchange, you can fly me around sometime. You've never dropped anyone have you?" Morianna grins a toothy grin and, before Esme can answer, gives her a playful nudge with her elbow. She brings her attention toward the overcast, cloudy sky as new flakes of snow begin to trickle down onto them. "I don't know any Clint, but if you've only ever been in a car before you're in for a treat. You can listen to all sorts of things on a pair of headphones. Do you like music?"

Esme bounces in excitement but quickly stops when the bench creaks. Her eyes widen as she notices the snow. "I have been hearing music sometimes. When I perch by people's windows. It's beautiful. Clint found me when I escaped. Or I found him. I live on the roof across from his building now. It was a very small car and I had to not move at all but it was so much fun!" For her at least. Clint, not so much. "Sometimes the restraunt and bar buildings have music too." She spends a great deal of time watching people. She has no idea it's at the very least rude and weird and by most standards creepy and illegal to peer inside peoples and watch them. She doesn't know how else to learn than by watching. It's why she's so excited for the audiobooks. "I won't drop you, I promise!" She adds.

"People will get angry if they catch you spying on them," Morianna suggests, gently, as she leans in to whisper to Esme in a low tone. "But I won't tell anyone. That's a hobby of mine, too. Although I don't stick to the windows." She brings a finger to her lips in a hushing gesture to Esme, mischief spreading across her lips as she leans back to a more comfortable position. Draping her arm across the back of the bench, she drums her fingers against the wood and gives a few bounces of her own — ones which fail to make the seating creak. "You're staying on the rooftops, then? If you show me where I can swing by with those things when it's warmer."

Esme smiles. "I like to watch them. I usually hide well. When I am in my stoneskin I turn invisible if I want. As long as I don't move. Then it doesn't work." She stops and frowns and then looks surprised. "I.. I am not sure where it is. I can't read the signs. I don't think I would know how to get back there from down here. I am always flying. Usually I get back before dawn when I need to sleep. That way I don't scare people when I wake up." It's also safer for her because she's vulnerable for the first hour. "Oh! But I have this." She has a small but cheap looking cellphone in her pants pocket and pulls it out to hand to Morianna. She doesn't know how to make the calls but she can answer them. Realzing something else is in her pocket she pulls it out too with a slight frown. "Oh. a waste rock." It looks like a fifty cent piece chunk of uncut sapphire.

"Really? Me t-" Before Morianna can voice her own agreement, she bites her bottom lip and clears her throat. Despite interrupting herself her eyes remain wide with excitement at Esme's notion of invisibility. "Well, that sounds pretty cool. There are still ways people can catch you but not many if you can turn invisible." Chewing the insidde of her cheek she watches as Esme pulls out the cheap cellphone. One corner of her mouth quivers with a hint of a smile and she nods her head. "That's useful. Can you call Clint with it? Figure out where he lives?" She eyes the stone Esme pulls out of her pocket and arches an eyebrow. "If, uh, you're going to throw that away I'll take it. It looks pretty and is probably worth something."

"I can try! He is away a lot with work so it might be a little bit before he calls back." She looks down at the rock. "It is pretty but I have lots of them on my roof. I can't eat it again so usually I throw them away. You can have it if you want." She clearly has no idea that what she thinks of as waste rocks are worth anything. "I gave some to someone once when they got hurt. The clear ones. I make all different colors. Sometimes they are mixed together and sometimes they have metal in them too." She thinks for a moment. "I do come to this park a lot because the scary guy lives nearby somewhere. I'm not sure exactly where but the bad people avoid this area more than most places."

"There's a scary guy at this park? Huh. I've never seen him," Morianna says, drumming her fingernails against the back of the bench. She sweeps her gaze across the expanse of the park and makes a face. "Although maybe I should count my blessings and hope I don't. If he's capable of scaring someone who has stone skin and metal wings, I should stay well away." Drawing a deep breath she arches her back then stretches her arms overhead. "Do you know how to use that phone? I'll give you my number and we can meet up again some time."

Esme nods. "Near it, yes. He came to me not long after I woke up. To see if I dangerous. Astryd.." Esme quiets and looks around with a worried expression and then lowers her voice. It's not quite a whisper though that seems to be what she's trying. "Astryd called him Fenris God-Wolf." Her wings flutter and she looks around again and titters nervously. "Astryd scares Esme! So scary." She seems to refer to herself as a thing more often when she becomes stressed or overly excited. It had been very ingrained in her to think that way and while she's overcoming it, it's a slow process. "Not a bad scary. She helped, but she is.. she is not a person like others."

"Mmm. Sounds like some people I should avoid. Maybe they're helpful, but I don't think I'll risk it." She rises from her seat an stretches both of her arms overhead. Both of her legs are shaken out, one at a time, before she turns about to face Esme. "I've got to get going, especially if there are scary people that prowl this park, but it was great meeting you Esme. I'll keep my eyes open for Clint and your place. Do you have any paper? Or…" She rummages around the inside of her jacket and produces a pen. Biting the tip of her tongue, she holds her hand out to Esme. "Can I see your hand? I'll put my number on it. But, uh, I don't think it'll last if you turn to stone again."

Esme nods excitedly. "I would like that! I will wait outside Clint's window until he comes home so that he can tell me how to do the calling. I think I have the phone only so the Oracle can check on me but they are nice and the phone works." She looks at the phone and shakes her head. "It's not magic either. It seems like it though. "If he isn't home then i will make a.. a picture of the numbers.. wait." Esme blinks as she realizes. She can't read, except for numbers. She's just so unused to the idea of being able to do it that it hasn't occured to her til now. "I can do this! I can call you. I will be able to remember the numbers. I was taught to count because it was needed. I'll find out where it is and then tell you. Oh I am happy and very glad I fell asleep here. It was so good to meet you Morianna!" She claps her hands in excitement and shakes like an overexcited puppy.

Although Morianna regards Esme with some muted skepticism, she grins and writes her number on the woman's skin. After sharing her digits she caps her pen, tucks it away, and warms her hands by rubbing them together. Esme's excitable nature is infectious and soon the skepticism is gone as her grin broadens. She reaches out to ruffle Esme's hair in a playful manner. "I'll be waiting to hear from you. It was real nice to meet you, doll. I think we're going to get along great."

Esme becomes even more excited visibly restrains herself from jumping on the bench so as not to break it. "Yes Yes Yes. It is good. Very good." She looks down at her hand and murmurs the numbers aloud. She can remember them, she's sure. And if for some reason it doesn't work then she will ask when she is finding out where they live. "I am glad you were here. If I can't find him then I will look for May or Oracle and ask them where it is." She might even ask Astryd though that would be terrifying, she knows how to contact the Valkyrie and to make a friend, a new friend! She would do it.

After a few moments of watching Esme, Morianna smiles. It's a smile of sincere warmth and affection even if it does last for just a moment. "See you around, Esme." She tugs a hand from a pocket and waves before heading off, breathing foggy breathy against her fingers to keep them warm.

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