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Shepherd's Grove



 
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Gideon Abernathy

Shepherd’s Grove - the community - has been present in NorCal for about a month now, and they’ve finally gotten enough stock to open up the market in Los Angeles. It’s a way for the self-sustaining group to gather funding, but also a front to stake out new members. There’s an air of secrecy around the place, but the vendors are friendly enough.

Booths range from hand-made clothes, fresh produce, butchered and cured meats, children’s toys, jewelry, and the like. Anything that you could possibly imagine at a Farmer’s Market is surely somewhere in the vast maze. All of it is homemade, and the people are very proud.

Children from the commune can be seen, running to and fro, laughing and playing rambunctiously. They are carefree and happy in their homespun outfits and dirt-smudged faces. The place is boisterous with noise, but the feeling of eyes on you is always present.

It should be. They are always watching.

Gideon and Quinn Abernathy, the highly esteemed founders of this community, are usually about as well. Sometimes they come together, sometimes apart. If you seek their audience, all you need do is ask.

They’ll come to you.
July 15, 2018 07:06 pm

Weston Norse

People could say what they wanted about his brother, but the man was a wizard when it came to botany. Some years back, when Wes had begun experimenting with ways to manage himself during the full moon, he’d asked his brother to find sources of the aconite flower - better known as Wolfsbane. As usual, Derek knew a guy, and would ship him what he needed every month.

This month, he’d planned a visit to see his brother in LA that also happened to coincide with the full moon, so he figured he would simply pick up his poison himself this time. He rarely got out to Los Angeles, and more than two days off in a row for him was even rarer. A chance to get out and stretch his legs in the city without the possibility of being called to investigate a homicide was a welcome reprieve.

Despite the temporarily lifted weight of duty from his shoulders, the full moon would loom large tonight. Its pull was impossible to deny, and the closer it got, the harder it was to contain the animal within.

Wes had found the florist with relative ease, and stood waiting in the labyrinth of color and scent as the florist went to the back to locate his order. Leaning on the counter, he drummed his fingers in mounting agitation as the minutes ticked by. It wasn’t the wait as much as it was the hundreds of different species of flowers surrounding him. The smell was powerful enough with just a single bouquet, but the garden that surrounded him was giving him a headache.

When the man returned, wolfsbane in tow, Wes straightened. “I thought I asked you to bag it.” The flat tone surprised the older, graying gentleman.

“Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to mention; we’re totally green in this shop. No plastic at all! I can put it in a box for you, if you’d like?” The man gestured toward a small pile of open topped cardboard boxes, but Wes was already shaking his head.

“No, just.. forget it. How much do I owe you?”

Money changed hands, and the man slid the plant toward him in its little biodegradable pot. He consciously stopped breathing as the acrid stench became unbearable. Wes slid his backpack from his shoulder and gingerly grasped the pot, eyes stinging relentlessly with the proximity, and just shoved the entire thing inside his bag. Thankfully, the plant was small enough to fit. Too bad he would have to toss the backpack after this.

Studiously ignoring the bewildered stare of the florist, he muttered a word of gratitude and quickly left the shop, breathing deeply once outside. Mercifully, that had been his final chore for the evening before the event that would take place later that night. Time to find himself a buzz.

On the street outside of the flower shop, a farmers market had been set up with a multitude of booths selling a wide variety of items. The bustle and noise was a pleasant distraction, and he found himself meandering through the booths, interested in the home grown goods that surrounded him.

A somewhat familiar scent suddenly caught his attention, and he glanced around for the source, pausing when a familiar face came into view.

“Quinn?”
July 15, 2018 09:03 pm

Quinn Abernathy

Off to the side, Quinn stands out like a sore thumb. She simply doesn't quite belong. Despite the obvious belly upon her small frame, she isn't clothed like the rest. She has obviously gone shopping, refusing the handmade garments of those she resides with. They would surely be far more comfortable, but the girl just.. she can't. She has a certain way about her, and she just refuses to completely give herself to the cult.

"Okay, you can get ice cream, but," she is talking to a small girl with fiery hair and wide, round eyes. Sam is not hers, though the way the two interact, it would certainly seem that way to anyone watching.

To Quinn, it feels that way.

"Just at that shop right there. You get your ice cream, and come right back, and Cassie goes with you."

The older child she names, standing at a nearby booth with her parents, is instantly at attention at the sound of her name. With a little grin, Quinn reaches into the pocket of her skirt (that's right, ladies. Pockets.) and pulls out a twenty, pressing it into the hand of the small child before her. A kiss is pressed to Sam's forehead, and she stands, watching the two girls walk off.

"Twenty minutes, girls!"

This is one of her better days. Her patience is present, and she feels warm inside and out. Chocolate hues sweep the small market, taking note of everyone, before her eyes land on Gideon.

Catching his gaze, her grin turns into a full on smile.

She is about to make her way to him, a natural gravitational force between them pulling at her, when she hears her name. Quinn recognizes the voice, and she pauses for a mere second before turning to face the man. Her smile barely faltered before returning, full force.

"Detective Norse!"

It isn't that she isn't happy to see the man. He was kind to her at one of her most irrational times, and she is sure that wasn't just him doing his job. But seeing him here.. well, it's concerning. Especially with Gideon just a dozen feet away. She can only hope he doesn't come near. The less Weston sees of him, the better.

"Wow," unsure of what to do, she laughs quietly. "What brings you out here?"
July 15, 2018 09:26 pm

Giovanni DiGiorgio

His plane had only landed in the SoCal but a fortnight ago. Thou he did find the NorCal a bit more lively. He had all but manged to find a coffee shop he'd enjoy other than godforsaken Starbucks, and a good Italian restaurant up past Hollywood and Beverly hills. On his morning runs after he left the gym he'd like to venture out and find something new while he still was new to the area. Today he thought he'd find a park or a museum. Instead the 6'3 monster of a man that he was ran past an open valley of luscious beautifully well displayed market.



The man wore his hair up due to him on a run. A skin tight grey v-neck covered in sweat, and tan sweatpants rolled up to his calf of his legs. He had on brownish Vibrams and had a pair of ear muff like beats over his head. He lowered the headphones to his neck as the song 'Whatever it takes' plays through pretty loud. He pulls out his phone and looks at it as he turns down the music, and then begins to look around, he had left his shaker bottle at the gym and grew rather parched, going past a drink vendor he grab a water and kept looking around.



As he did he saw tons of people shopping and having a great time, he'd never been to a farmers market quite like this. He ran past a few vendors selling produce and managed to grab a Fuji Apple to snack on while he took down a stroll. He then came past a few children playing with toys. One little girl was being hazed my the latter of the boys, two of them had water guns and were spraying her down, she was telling them to stop but they didn't they just laughed the other boy mocked her in place. Grabbing one of the squirt guns from one of the children and began to squirt him the other turned on Giovanni spraying him down.


Hey Mister stop it, what are you doing your ruining the game?!


Giovanni stopped as he requested the girl only laughed. The other boy ran off to his mother and the other stood with his hands to his side in anger.



"You shouldn't play like that, it's not nice and you won't get many friends going off on someone like that now will you champ?"


The boy kicked dirt at Giovanni and then snatched his gun back before running off with his friend and his mother with his tail between his legs. "Are you alright love?" he asked the child in duress.



Yes, but why are all boys so mean?


He smiled and gave her a slight pat on her head, as he went to his knees to speak to her.


"Not all boys are mean, was I mean to you?"


Hearing his words she made a scoff at him, she didn't like being proven wrong.


Yeah but your not a boy your a grown up it's different.



He smiled then stood up, facing the rest of the market and the boys mother he waved at her, and then after getting a wave back acknowledging that everything was fine he gave a smile.


"Exactly and boys need a little more time to grow up than girls. You'll see one day."


He then tugged at her little chin and smiled as he took down the street towards the rest of the crowd where he saw a woman speaking to an old friend it seemed. The man wore a bag, and the woman uniformity seemed different from the crowd then again not everybody just came from the gym from a 3 hour workout either.
July 21, 2018 08:16 pm

Gideon Abernathy

Detective Norse!

Gideon is halted, mid-step, dark eyes narrowing. Instantly, he takes in the form of the man she is currently preoccupying, committing each detail to memory. However, his attention is garnered elsewhere, in the form of an indignant a child’s voice.

Turning, but careful to listen for any signs of distress from his wife, he watches the scene play out.

The star of the show is a gym rat, a large beast of a man, and Gideon finds himself quirking an eyebrow at his antics. A smirk threatens to pull at his features, but he keeps a straight face as the boy takes his gun and runs off. The Shepherd’s eyes follow after him, locking on his mother as she casts a wave and a smile in the Outsider’s direction. Yet, as if she can feel his gaze on her, she snaps her attention over to Gideon, and they share a wordless communication, which she concludes with a curt nod.

Easy to pick out, even in a crowd, he finds the man easily, making what seems like a beeline for Quinn. Jaw locking, Gideon moves to intercept him, stepping directly into his path and forcing him to stop abruptly. His wife is currently preoccupied with a situation that he wants handled immediately, and that is getting the detective out of the market at once. No one is going to interfere with that.

A bright smile stretches his lips and bares his white teeth, though his eyes remain devoid of any real feeling. “A word of caution, my friend. These children are not as helpless as they’d have you believe. They tend to be rather... mischievous, in fact.” A low laugh punctuates the statement, and he offers a hand for the large man to shake. “Name’s Gideon, and I’m the founder of this market place. Perhaps there’s something I could help you find?”
July 22, 2018 11:43 am

Giovanni DiGiorgio



There seemed to be an odd shroud over this place, it seemed perfect. Almost too perfect in fact. Children having fun playing with toys as their parents shopped around. Seemed like something from the late 80's to mid 90's the world had changed though since then. Crime had scaled to huge numbers trust in a neighborhood no where in the world was hard to find. Maybe everything was fine and the place was just as perfect as it should be.



But that question would be in the back of his mind the rest of his stay here. Why was it so...perfect. After hearing the conversation between the two. He moved towards them not in meaning to eavesdrop on the conversation but to simply look deeper into the market. Soon he lost his train of thought and was suddenly struck by a man coming out of nowhere it was as if he were in a casino and the man had been watching him from above. The eye of the man in the sky so to say. He took no offense the man seemed to be welcoming to him at least for now. Hearing his words of welcome. He took the mans hand firmly, as he shook down.



"Ah, yes greetings. The names Giovanni I just moved up here not to long ago. Well SoCal but hey one can walk the streets to find the rest of California just fine."



After shaking the mans hand he looked into his eyes. Once again it seemed to perfect and Giovanni could only feel like as if things around him were too goo to be true. After all after just being in the market a mere 10-15 min period he had already met the guy in charge. Maybe it was just luck or fate or what have you. But the question still remained. What was the grove?



"Great day for all this. I'd say about 78 degrees haven't checked the weather today. Probably should have before I came all the way out here. But it hasn't given me any trouble so far. So what gave you the idea of doing all this. What's the cause of it all?"
July 22, 2018 12:23 pm

Gideon Abernathy

Gideon easily meets Giovanni’s gaze, holding it with a definitive stare. Though his smile doesn’t falter, there is a somewhat mischievous flash in his own gaze.

Unable to suppress his facial muscles, he can’t help but arch an eyebrow; are they really going to discuss the weather? “Oh, we’re out here, rain or shine,” he counters, his shoulders shrugging automatically. “Our booths are sturdy and we take whatever nature hands to us.”

He questions their motives, and Gideon considers. There is only so much that can be divulged to an Outsider such as Giovanni, but it isn’t the first time they’ve been questioned, and it certainly won’t be the last. People are naturally curious, and the Grove is naturally distrustful.

“We are a self-sustaining community. All of these products are homegrown and handmade by the people that live within it. Our goal is to garner funding and spread positivity in the form of getting back to our roots. All the vendors you see and all the children that are milling about make up that community.”

Turning back to the man, he smiles widely once more. “We are merely surviving, is all.”
July 22, 2018 04:22 pm

Giovanni DiGiorgio





Survival was a word the man knew all to well. He'd been doing it all his life. Gideon had seemed to stand his ground as if he wasn't using a cover for something but Giovanni always knew when he saw a distrustful situation. It just as before all seemed too perfect. The Grove, the people who filled it, even the woman whom seemed different then them all.



Giovanni had heard of vampires and werewolves mixed into the latter of society these days, they banned together to form cults and covens. Though his hand wasn't cold of death becoming the living, and Giovanni would appear more of a wolf man than the man before him. But something made him cringe about the place. But something else drove him to stay.



Curiosity



Though it did kill the cat, Giovanni would still try and push fate a little harder. To make the code crack. To put his foot in the door just a tad bit more. Giovanni hadn't been asking all the questions he wanted but then again he did want to leave The Grove at some point. Preferably alive or unharmed. So if not blood drinkers or wolf men what then? Blood-Peddlers? Perhaps not.



"Quite the supporting family then, it would seem. How did you get it all started?"



Perhaps he should stop wasting the man's time but he felt inclined to know the real reason the man had stopped him. He then looked around him for a reason for him to have stopped him when he did. He looked around, was it the children he had scolded? He did make a comment about them. Or was it something else? Giovanni couldn't put one and two together to make out three.
July 22, 2018 05:16 pm

Weston Norse

Wes noticed the moment of hesitance from the sunny woman before she gave her hearty greeting, and he was pretty sure he understood why. Running into each other all the way across the continental United States? Same city, same street? Hell of a coincidence. It was part of his job to be skeptical of such things, and if the situation were flipped, he’d probably be a little weirded out too.

“Yeah, wow.” He laughed, walking the few steps toward Quinn’s booth, moving his sunglasses to the top of his head as he stepped into the shade. “I’m out here visiting my brother. He owns a pot shop in the city.” Pausing, his lips pressed together in a knowing smirk. “I know how that sounds coming from me, but it’s totally true. And legal.”

Reaching a hand up to scratch at the stubble on his chin, he gave a short huff of amusement. “Man, running into you all the way out here. Weird. It’s weird, right? Small world.” Briefly shaking his head at the anomalous meeting, he decided to settle for simply being pleased to see a familiar face besides his idiot brother.

Glancing briefly around them, he prefaced his questions with a curious brow raise. “So, you work at a farmers market in LA now. Did those plantation ghosts finally run you out of town?”
July 22, 2018 08:38 pm

Gideon Abernathy

Gideon’s eyes narrow infinitesimally, though he remains steadfast in his calm and welcoming demeanor. Something to be understood about this man is that his tolerance for curiosity, especially when it comes to the marketplace and the community that he has worked to build, is very low. However innocent Giovanni’s intentions are, the protection of the Grove trumps all, and there’s only a small window that Outsiders can see through to the other side.

Still, he laughs, and it is a genuine sound.

“People of a like mind tend to flock to one another, right?” There’s that flash of mischief again, and he rolls his shoulders in an innocent shrug. “I’m not sure what you’re expecting, my friend, we’re simply humble merchants, supplying our wares for the demand that it calls for. We live, we breathe, we eat, we sleep, we work, we love. What more could we ask for?”

He begins to make his exit, opening his arms to the surrounding vicinity in a gesture of welcome, to drive the point home. “Look around, if you like. You might find it appeals to your most intrinsic desires.” A grin, and he turns, slipping back into the crowd to disappear from the line of sight of the Detective.
July 22, 2018 08:38 pm

Quinn Abernathy

"These are way better circumstances to meet under, I think."

Quinn is fixed on Weston. She knows that Gideon is aware of what is happening, and she trusts that he is being safe. So, as she grins up at the Detective and listens to his musings and offers up an explanation, she glances toward another woman nearby before waving her over. Only then does she make her way out from behind the booth.

At his question, she lets out a quiet laugh. Amusing, but it wasn't a ghost. And she knows it. "Well, those were originally slave quarters, so..." A well meaning shrug is given, as if that alone explains it all. They'd talked about this when she'd called him, and it had concerned him then. There is no doubt, it would still make his skin crawl just a little.

"Yea... I work at a farmers market. In LA. Weird. But you know what, I think it's a change I needed." What is left for her to do? What would bring her to move here? Weston's brother brought him here, but for her to leave what he would know as her home, and go so far? "I figured a change would be good, and I'd never seen California. So, here I am. The things we do to get away, right?"

Only kind of a lie, if they were going to get technical.

"So... a Detective, and a dispensary owner. That is... somehow perfect." A giggle escapes her, and shakes her head gently. "So, you're on vacation? Big plans?"

The cheery, sweet thing is slowly leading him away from the booth. Her attention is all his, and she is all smiles. Everything he just said makes her breathe just a little bit easier.
July 22, 2018 09:03 pm

Giovanni DiGiorgio





Watching Gideon move from him, questions still filled his mind. Adventure in his soul, quickly as he would disappear he would soon feel eyes to the back of his head. He was very good at these things. Quickly he tampered into the shadows to disappear from sight of whatever it was that watched him. Little to know the grove was not some place eyes were easily sealed shut.



He saw man no older than the age of nineteen or twenty peer off at him and then back down to produce in his booth, next to him was the woman of the two smaller children. Giovanni gave him a second look in puzzle. This place was calling him, and consuming him all at once. The man looked up again briefly and then noticed Giovanni's eyes following him. The man didn't make a scene but he did begin to walk vastly away from the booth and down an ally.



The only alley Gio could see, or was let to see. Quickly he moved at a faster rate other people started to notice the man or the stranger they would identify him as chasing almost it would seem the young man into the back ally. Surely there was no more to the market beyond that point so why flee to the back like a man who'd been caught.



Until he saw Gideon, Giovanni halted in his tracks. Gideon had been kind to him. But he couldn't bare to feel as if he had given him a kind warning to not wander off into the woods to far. He wanted to stay off Gideon's radar at least for now. What was this place. And who was Gideon.
July 23, 2018 01:41 pm

Gideon Abernathy

“Hey, Gideon, I’m out of berries, do you know if we brought any extra?”

Ryan can pick Gideon out fairly easily, if only because the Shepherd needs him to be able to find him whenever he needs to. As it is, he remains on the outskirts of the market, leaned against the wall, watching as Quinn leads off their problem detective. Consumed by his own thoughts, he hardly hears the younger man approach.

“Yeah, I had James store them back here, so they’re out of the way but still accessible.” He leads Ryan down an alleyway, lifting the tote into his arms just in time to catch him pulling a strange face. Gideon follows his gaze, only for his sights to land on the large man from earlier.

Again, those black eyes narrow.

“He was giving me strange looks a minute ago, at my booth.”

“Merely an over-curious sight-seer, from the looks of him. Nothing to worry about.” Gideon claps the man on the back, and Ryan seems reassured by the gesture. When he exits the alley, passing right by Giovanni, he offers a warm smile in greeting, though he’ll look over his shoulder to make sure his Shepherd is not in danger.

Gideon meets the man at the opening of the alley, a somewhat cooler smile gracing his features. “Giovanni, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were following me.” He chuckles, shaking his head with a dangerous glint in his eye. “Good thing I know better, hmm?”
July 23, 2018 06:38 pm

Giovanni DiGiorgio




Damn, he was everywhere. This man had eyes of a hawk. This place was like a hippie fortress, he saw nothing but the man disappear into the back and then Gideon leaving walking behind him he saw the man pass but paid no attention to his eyes big mistake on his part little did Giovanni know. Those eyes were everywhere.



"Yeah... Good thing..."



Was all he could muster to say, he felt like he'd been caught a shake of adrenaline shot through him as if he'd been guilty of something. Had he toed the line that was grey was he walking on glass that only got sharper. Was he the sheep among the wolves den. Any thought of him being the alpha in this place had surely gone out the window.



Sink or swim was all that remained on the table, the man had nothing to defend himself with except his silvered tongue he waited a bit. For Gideon to pass him by. The man never came back from the alleyway and the woman's eyes departed from his face. In order to slip through this place he would have to avoid eyes at every cost. They seemed to make way back to the man who kept finding him.



Giovanni could hear music, music he'd enjoyed in his past of recreational lifestyle. He followed it, it was a house of some sort. Not anything he'd live in but a house. The music played inside were self-made candles that lit the place. Candles that were sold in the market place. Something around the corner in the other room shifted and moved. Giovanni her something clutter around and make a noise the man seemed to being in a hurry hiding something maybe. Giovanni shifted to the darkest spots of the room he was in to avoid detection. He hid himself in a shutter door filled with something he could tell it reeked of foul things. Things he couldn't explain.


July 23, 2018 07:11 pm

Gideon Abernathy

The discomfort on Giovanni’s face is blatant, and Gideon manages to turn his back before the smirk spreads across his features. Once more, he becomes just another face in the crowd, though he is sure to keep eyes on this newfound nuisance.

“He broke into a building nearby.”

Cyrus’ words are mere breath in his ear twenty minutes later, and Gideon gives a curt nod. Honestly, he has no idea what Giovanni’s intentions are, but his antics prove bothersome, to say the least. The cult grows restless, which makes them more off-putting, by nature. It’s their defense mechanism. However, to run a market, your vendors can’t be standoffish.

Detective Norse, however, proves a nuisance himself. Had he not shown up when he did, Gideon would have taken care of this long ago. As it is, he can’t be on a cop’s radar…

So what to do.

“Cyrus… Do me a favor…” The younger man nods quickly, eager to please. “Could you let the Messenger know everything you saw involving our visitor? Don’t worry about interrupting whatever deep conversation I’m sure she’s having. This is more pressing. Oh, and Cyrus?” He stops in his tracks, turning back to Gideon with wide eyes. “Remember. To Outsider’s, she’s Quinn.”

It only takes him a few moments to find the pair, and he clears his throat to announce his arrival. When they turn to acknowledge him, he launches into a breathy explanation, voice shaking only slightly.

“There’s a strange man lurking around, very large. I just saw him break into a building, off one of the alleyways, and he hadn’t come out since I left to find someone. He was acting very strangely around the market, scaring the children and making odd faces at the vendors. I just thought you should know…”
July 23, 2018 07:54 pm
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