A Meeting in the Complex (Flowerdene Arc)

Onlookers would be hard-pressed to find anything interesting about the stranger making her way through Flowerdene, except perhaps her skill in blending in with the rest of the people residing there and her destination. She had chosen to wear inexpensive attire, leaving all possessions at home, and parted ways with her white raven outside of the community. The observant might notice the little bat keeping an eye on her from above, ready to swoop down and warn her of any impending threats.

Ultimately the bat was unnecessary. While Sara was being watched as she made her trip to the complex none of them did anything more than keep an eye on this stranger. She took a direct route through Flowerdene, making her way straight to her destination and not looking around any more than would be expected of a pedestrian. Ayla the bat finds a safe place in the shadows to wait.

Walking up to the gate, the riflemen atop the ramparts watch her carefully. Sara does her best to keep her eyes off them, and speaks to a guard by the gate. A timidness creeps up to the surface in the face of danger, Sara lightly holding her arm as she makes her request. &quotMay I speak to Elias Lowe about the fundraiser?&quot

One of the riflemen adjusts the sights of his gun, ominously. The gate guard doesn’t seem the least bit threatening, rather jovial in fact.

“Fund…raiserrrr. Yes, he’ll want to see you.” The guard nods inquisitively. “I’ll get you processed, step right this way.”

If Sara chooses to follow him, she’ll be lead through a small side door that seems to have been built into the scrap metal that compromises the walls.

For the next thirty minutes, she’ll be in a small, wood-panelled waiting room. It looks to have been someone’s living room once.

Ezekiel steps through the door and holds it. “This One’s Master will speak now.”

Inside is Elias Lowe II, clearly in the middle of recovering from a work day. He hasn’t shaved in a couple days and might not have slept in just as long.

“We’ve met before.” Elias extends a hand to shake as Ezekiel nods and closes the door.

Sara follows the guard obediently, and waits patiently within the re-purposed living room. She almost wishes she had brought something to do, but it is best to be without anything in these situations. She nods when Ezekiel enters the waiting room and lets her know that it is time.

“We have.” Sara nods and shakes his hand. “I’m not sure if I ever introduced myself - I’m Sara Hysaro. I study at the University and work with the church semi-frequently. The latter is why I’m here, at least partly. Currently I’m organizing a couple charitable things to aid the community, one of which you’ve likely heard about, and since you know Flowerdene far better than I do your input would be incredibly helpful.”

She forces herself to take a seat, despite her restlessness. She could go on, but the man is clearly tired and would not appreciate a sudden bombardment of detail to take in. Better to take it slower, giving him time to take it all in at his own pace. “Would you like me to go over the details?”

Eli rubs his eyes and sighs, clasping his hands in front of him as he crosses one leg over the other. “I’ve lived in Spite for nearly a decade and a half and I’ve never once witnessed the Church do much of anything to help the people, beyond maybe a little bit of bread and a little bit of circus.”

“Please do go over the details, Flowerdene will be happy to give it’s assistance in anyway that it can, although I personally express… Skepticism.”

Sara gives a bit of a disappointed nod, not directed towards Eli but instead the Church. &quotYes, I can’t say I blame you there. The church has historically been terrible at following its own teachings, and lately they’ve been more interested in updating the mythology than anything that actually, you know, matters.&quot

If she had a stack of papers involving the fundraiser she’d have gathered them up and used them to give her hands something to do. Instead, she clears her throat briefly to signal the start of her exposition. &quotSo, the first thing I am organizing is a simple supply drive - food, clothing, blankets, that sort of thing. Ideally we’ll be able to provide for all of Flowerdene, but I’ve always considered it wiser to plan for failure than success. If you could let me know who the most needy are and what they need most I’ll make sure to at least get something to them.

The next matter I hope to accomplish is something that would provide more long-lasting change. I haven’t begun collecting funds for it yet because I’m not certain what would help most, and I’d rather not assume anything about a place I know little about. I have a few things in mind, but if you have a suggestion I’d like to hear it before I potentially alter your answer with my own thoughts.&quot Sara pushes a bit of hair behind her ears, forcing herself to slow down a bit. &quotNow if that succeeds then that’ll be great, but again - I keep failure in mind. Should it fail I would like to donate any funds I do get to an existing public establishment within the community, so the money at least does a little something. If you have any recommendations there that’d also be incredibly helpful.&quot

Having finished her briefing Sara falls silent, waiting patiently. While she expects to get at least a few answers, there is no question that Eli will likely have some inquiries of his own about her. While honesty is the best way to navigate these sorts of things, it never hurts to consider one’s phrasing.

edited by Sara Hysaro on 8/27/2016

“I admire your pragmatism, but it’s difficult to say which areas need the most and which the least. Everywhere between here and the Veilgarden Honey Dens is considered a rookery by economical standards. I mean, there have been bombings by Western Wolfstack in the last three weeks and they could use relief efforts. Plus there are all lot of disenfranchised ex-urchins that could use help settling down. Really, every little bit helps, but it is best that you distribute them independently from Flowerdene. Less paperwork that way.”

Eli adjust his glasses and steeples his fingers, a cigarette still smoking in the ashtray. “As for a public establishment, I can offer Flowerdene Fletchers to help with the construction efforts or renovations if you can’t find able bodied workers, although I’d prefer that you did find freelance builders. But, I have to ask, I appreciate everything you’re doing for The People, but what is your end goal? Perhaps I can help you achieve it, in return for your continued efforts. Philanthropy or not, every little bit helps.”

Her end goal? Not an unusual question, though not one Sara was anticipating. She glances to the side as she ponders. Eli couldn’t accomplish her true aim, nor point her in any solid direction to find the necessary steps, even assuming it were possible. On what side would he fall? She doesn’t know, and asking questions would reveal far more of her precarious situation than she can afford. Instead, Sara takes a different tack - one that is honest, but less risky. No reward, but she can’t afford to be taking chances.

&quot…I was homeless, eight years ago. I’m not going to say I know what it’s like, my circumstances were better than a lot of the people here, but it wasn’t easy. If I can help other people get out of that situation it would be a nice way to repay the kindness and good fortune that helped me.&quot

She takes another moment to think. There has to be something Eli can do, even if she can’t let him in on the whole picture. Asking him to look out for people making inquiries would only make him suspicious of her. Being more specific would be dangerous. Perhaps a little lie? It’s only slightly away from the truth, and if he’s been in the Neath as long as he claims then he may even watch out for the more hidden ones. &quotThat said…I’m ophidiophobic, so if you see any of…them, I’d appreciate a heads up. I doubt I could bring myself to do more in Flowerdene if I have to worry about it - just being remotely near the Forgotten Quarter is nerve-wracking enough.&quot

edited by Sara Hysaro on 8/28/2016

“Snakes? Uh, okay. Will do.” Eli shrugs and moves on from the benign but odd request. “Like I said, you have my thanks. We do all we can to help the people of Spite economically and militarily, but we’re fighting a war on two fronts here. Any assistance to the people will be a load off my mind. I’d recommend talking to my wife, Siobhan Lowe. She’s head of the relief efforts in the Green Quarters of Southern Spite, by the docks… and… Yeah! They’ve been hit with several supply line cuts, so blankets and supplies would benefit them superbly! Wow, this worked out better than I thought.”

Eli stands and shakes Sara’s hand warmly. He grins politely, stubbing out his cigarette instinctively. “Can I offer you some coffee or brandy, I’ve been rude!”

Sara offers a smile and nod, shaking Eli’s hand. “Alright, I shall speak to her about the supply drive.” She considers the offer of drink. “Brandy would be nice - never been one for caffeine.”

One matter is out of the way, though there is still the outcome second fundraiser to consider. Perhaps she could discuss it over the brandy? It may be worth speaking to Siobhan about it as well. As a personal project Sara has complete and total agency over the fate of the second charity, enabling her to speak to whoever she wishes and make it whatever she pleases. The freedom is more intoxicating than the brandy.