| Getting to know a few of the mages in his Order was priority number one, after finally settling into his new job and place. This next woman is supposed to be smart? Something like that. He's certainly heard of her. Sage, that's promising!
He pulls up in a green 1965 Mustang Fastback, Kitt GPS aiding him in finding the shop. He parks out front, rather new engine roaring before he stops and removes his keys. He doesn't bother with a jacket or anything right now, just his usual green flannel shirt. "Huh, gingerbread house." he says to himself while standing outside the shop. Then he heads in and looks around. "I'm looking for a sage of knowledge and wisdom. Failing that, ice cream." he announces rather casually. He didn't make an appointment.
The first thing one may notice about the shop is that there is a deer. It's not a piece of tacky decor, no. There is an actual roe deer lounging on a dog bed towards the back of the ice creamery. This time of day, in this weather, the shop is empty. There are a couple of teenage girls in typical goth gear in the reading room off to the side, but they only pay Gin the barest of mind. It's from the back that Sage appears, wearing a cozy-looking red sweater over a brown skirt. She grabs her apron as she steps up behind the counter. Shaped brows rise above those dark eyes, amusement already shining within them. "A sage of ice cream?" Her accent is crisp and rather British.
Gin's accent is American, with a hint of British laced into it from more than ten years of living there. He stares at the deer for a long moment, a look that suggests he can't quite register the surrealness of the deer's presence. He doesn't even verbally address it, he just focuses on her instead. He walks up to the counter and leans his arms on it, nodding in a silent greeting. "I've gone by The Engineer for a while, but you can just call me Gin. It's less of a mouth full. And you're the first Sage I've ever met who was the complete opposite of an ugly old man."
"I'll take that as a compliment, Gin," Sage says, lips curling in amusement. She ties the apron around her waist, after pulling it over her head. "The name is a bit of a double entendre, though not in the fun sense. I enjoy gardening. It seemed..." she gazes off past him, eyes a bit distant. There's a shrug finally, smile still in place. "fitting. What brings you to Scotland?"
"Londinium stuff. Mostly here on my mentor's behalf, and doing scientific engineering experiments. Right now I'm on a very 'Let's check things out' type of mission. But I've got my personal missions too." Gin stares up at the menu, raising a brow. "Those are some interesting ice cream flavors."
"I see," Sage says, shifting over towards the cases that hold the ice cream itself. There is a glance cast for the girls, but they are fairly focused on a notebook set on the table between them. Her attention returns to Gin, "Well, I hope you're not seeking help on your... scientific engineering. I may be a wealth of knowledge, but little of it is scientific in nature I'm afraid." She glances up to the menu as well, laughing softly. Almost to herself. "Interesting, yes, but they are delicious. I assure you."
"I like to learn about people. One of the things I do is learn what makes a person who they are, and what makes people do what they do. It helps with getting better at awakening Sleepers. So I guess what I'd want from you is..." Gin stares down at the ice cream, dramatically pausing. "Knowledge of yourself. Now personal knowledge, necessarily, but, talk about yourself. I'd also like bourbon, Cornflakes, and Chocolate."
"I see," Sage says, tilting her head slightly as she regards the man. Short hair falls with the motion, draping against slender neck. "I don't recall anyone ever being interested in /me/ before. It's a strange place to be, to be certain." She looks to the case of ice cream. "Bourbon is nice. Would you like some chocolate and mint ice cream? It's got quite the kick, from the fresh mint." No mere flavouring here. Sage pushes her sleeves up to her elbows in preparation. "Well, you've heard my name already. We are from the same... place, as it were. Or do you wish to know about me beyond our shared Awakened life?"
"Whatever you're comfortable with. Not being comfortable with telling me something also tells me something about you. Beyond our Awakened life tells me quite a bit, though, so I'd appreciate it. And yes, I would like chocolate and mint." Gin watches her work, just as interested as he'd be if he were watching a robot arm shoot a finger laser.
"I suppose it would," Sage concludes, grabbing one of the waffle cone bowls the ice cream is served in. She puts a couple liberal scoops of the chocolate and mint ice cream into the bowl, soon providing Gin the treat -- complete with spoon -- over the counter. "Well, I came to Scotland to help show the Scots how much we," meaning the consilium, "have to offer by way of knowledge. The shop seemed a good place to operate out of and it fits in with my herbalist interests. We have a library, but it's a mix of the ridiculous and legitamate."
"Why are you a herbalist?" Gin asks, latching on to what he sees as the important piece of information. Then he starts to casually take spoon fulls of his ice cream while listening. "And what exactly is ridiculous? I think most of my books on lasers are ridiculous. No matter how much you know about lasers, they're still pretty ridiculous."
"In school I rarely did well at anything other than natural sciences, but mostly anything relating to plants," Sage explains, undoing the apron. She hangs it on a hook, stepping around the counter. There's a glance cast to the deer, perhaps as assurance of its presence. Yes, it's still sleeping on its plush bed. The woman gestures absently to a small table off to the side. "My first real job was at a garden cafe. I found I loved being surrounded by nature, even just that little slice of it in London. I'm sure you understand how it's our passions that guide us." She glances towards the reading room, smiling faintly. "The sort of books that Sleepers write when they believe they know all there is to know about the occult."
"You can find wisdom in everything, even misinformation and misunderstandings. You'd be surprised at what can cause a Sleeper to awaken." Gin follows her over to the table and takes a seat, pulling the chair up with one hand after sitting his bowl down. "I have a lot of passions. I think my number one passion is learning about particular individuals. It's like unwrapping a present. You'd think I'd have gone to school for psychology, but I wanted to pursue science instead."
"True enough, which is part of why we keep them around." Sage settles into a chair, settling back comfortably. "But they'll be of no help to you, I'm afraid. But there are some gems in there, with solid information and details. Mostly in the historical and mythological texts." She settles hands in lap, folding them. "Why do you enjoy learning about people so much?"
"When I was a teenager, I used to think I was the center of the universe. That the world I saw, the way I thought things were, that's all there was. I was the rich kid who got everything handed to me. I could barely wrap my mind around someone less fortunate than myself. They were just the invisible ghosts my parents would sometimes complain about." Gin pauses briefly to take another bite of his ice cream. Apparently he likes it. "Then I became too much for my parents and they sent me to London when I was thirteen. I've basically been in Britain since, except for the occasional visit back to America. I've got dual citizenship now. But anyway, I met chavs, homeless people, everything. It all gave me perspective, living in that all boys school."
Sage listens, head tilted slightly as he speaks. There's a small smile from her, lips curving. "Whereas I could never understand such a lifestyle. We were always poor... Londinium set me on the path to owning this place and now..." She chuckles, "Now I'm too busy to take advantage of it." A shift, one leg crossing over the other. "So you want to better learn about the way people live, in contrast to one another?"
"I want to know what exactly the human experience is. I want to know what the consistancy between all people is, when it comes to experience. I can't even say we all die or we all grow old, I'm sure there are powerful Mages who can get around those things. And don't get me started on all the transhumanist Sleepers I've met." Gin he stares at her for a long moment, as if attempting to discern something, brows furrowed in curiosity. "How old are you? If you don't mind me asking."
"You'll find some interesting Sleepers that come in here," Sage says after a time, still smiling. It's a soft, almost distant smile. Not so distracted, but just enough to show that she's listening and taking in what he's said. "Whether or not we all die, we still all experience death. Even one who finds a way to evade death will watch those around him die." At the question, she blinks, coming more into focus. "I don't mind, but I would like to know why you ask. I am..." she thinks a moment, perhaps calculating it, "thirty-two."
"And here I was suspecting you were younger than me. Just curious. Knowing someone's personality and their age tells you a bit too, though I wouldn't say there's an age we're supposed to be a certain way." Gin seems to be burning through his ice cream. Figuratively, at least. He eats in a very neat and practiced fashion, but somehow he eats deceptively fast as a result. He's almost done! "I'm twenty-seven. You married?"
"I've heard tell that we Asian women don't seem to age until we become grandmothers," Sage says, with a vague twinkle in her eye. It's clear such a joke doesn't insult her- it's merely an amusement! "Arriving here was the furthest I'd ever been outside of London. I suppose it has made me... young in a sense that I have much to learn once again." The last question draws a mildly surprised look, but she takes it in stride. "No, not married. Nor do I have any children."
"Well I'd say that's a boon for any woman to have, if true." Gin snickers and pulls a straw from his flannel shirt's pocket, then pulls it out of the plastic wrapper and unfolds it for the rest of his ice cream, leaning down to suck it up. "You should visit America. It's definitely an experience, to be in New York. And I don't have any children either, nor am I married. Children... it's hard to imagine myself being any good at that. I'd probably make an alright husband, but I still have a long way to go as a person."
There's an expression somewhere between bemusement and surprise as the straw is brought out. Sage does not comment on it, however. "I would like to, someday, but it can be expensive. We'll see how things unfold here in Edinburgh for me. Best to handle the present before planning for the future." She shifts slightly, brushing at her skirt. "My mother raised us by herself... Were I to ever have children, I would want to ensure it be in a solid home situation. Thus far, I've been unable to find that."
"We seem to be completely opposite in a lot of ways. From how we were raised, grew up, and eventually in the ways that we matured. I cut myself off from my parents' fortune, I couldn't quite live with where it came from." Gin finally finishes his ice cream, looking over at the deer in thought. "Thirty-two..." he mutters, then his eyes shift in her direction without moving his head. "Do you drink? Smoke? I drink, don't smoke, though I guess if I finally learned some Life magic, smoking wouldn't be so bad. I just don't like the taste."
"I used to smoke," Sage admits with a smooth shrug of her shoulders. "When I was younger, nearly flunking out of school. It was just... what people did. Now, though... I don't smoke cigarettes, no. They numb my senses too much. I like to be able to taste and smell." Her eyes are a bit bright as she continues: "I do, however, drink. Sometimes even to excess." She winks.
"I usually use the time inbetween asking if a woman drinks, and her answer, to re-evaluate my ethics. Looks like I still have them. Always good to know." Gin smiles that casual sort of smile, turning his head back to her finally. "I guess I take finding myself a bit seriously. Wanting to know who I am, what kind of person I am. One day I expect someone to just tell me, and I'll listen. But I understand what you mean, about the cigarettes. You wouldn't believe how many people were in the all boys school just for that."
"Is that the only time you re-evaluate your ethics?" Sage's lips twitch, spreading in broader amusement. There's no outright laugh though. "I likely would," she says with a brief smirk. "One runs into many of their ilk in London. Some of the all girls schools were the same. Cigarettes and sleeping around. It never solved either."
"I've had to re-evaluate my ethics on many occasions. This is just a thing you do when you build robots and radioactive machines for a living. The question of 'What could I do if I added magic' comes up a lot, in my head. I've never really gone through with it." Gin can't seem to stop shifting his eyes over to the deer. It's as if they're having telepathic communications. But he's already stated a lack of knowledge when it comes to Life magic, so he's probably just having deep deer-related thoughts. Maybe. "Sleeping around. I suppose I did have a brief period like that, when I discovered chav girls. Not so much anymore. Though I've never been adverse to sleeping with a random person I thought was interesting. In that case it's more a matter of 'why not', and my overall curiosity to learn as much about people as I can, including seeing them at their most personal and private."
"What could you do if you added magic?" Sage clearly has no idea. Technology? Not her strong point. The deer in question must know it's being watched, because it wakes up and... heads out the door. Sage doesn't seem to notice. Or she's really good at tuning it out. "I had my time doing such also. I figured a man might be able to make things better. Meet the right one with the right money and he'd take me away to a better place. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way."
"So now we're not only opposites, but our past lives were apparently perfect for eachother too. Except I'd have eventually stopped being rich. Now I'm just comfortable, given my job. My chav girl phase was mainly the realization that I didn't have to buy diamonds and impress aristocratic girls to have sex. I just needed to say 'Hey, I'm rich, come ride in my fancy rich guy car'. But back then I didn't really see sex as this thing for two people to enjoy, it was just a kind of in and out deal." Gin definitely follows the deer with his eyes when it simply walks out, and even glances at her as if to see if she'll stop it. Maybe it's an outside deer? "And I'm not sure what would happen if you added magic to technology. That's the great thing about that sort of experiment. You can't necessarily figure out the results with math. For all I know, you could create a walking paradox machine."
"Alas, you are young enough that we wouldn't likely have crossed paths during that time in my life." Is Sage merely stating a fact or sounding a bit disappointed? Stop the deer? Sage does not. "From what little you've told me about it... I am glad I never found an affinity for technology. I'm happy with my nature and books."
"You avoided a bit of unnecessary sexual disappointment, so it's all for the best." Gin snickers at that, looking out towards the reading area when she mentions the books. "Technology is great, once you understand it. Nature's always been a bit messy to me, even though people always mistake me for a hippie. I like my nice, sterile labs. But, hey..." He shrugs his shoulders, before casually throwing out, "In honor of our past lives, why don't we go have a drink or something? Not in excess, of course." a slight smirk is added to that last bit.
"I'm still convinced that all sexual encounters as a teenager are ultimately disappointments. Whether you know it at the time or not." Sage offers a chuckle of her own, leaning back a bit in her seat. "Hippie... I suppose I could see that. People don't appreciate nature as they ought to, so it's strange, those of us that do." The offer earns a raised eyebrow, then a soft laugh. "Sure, why not."
"I guess I'm a hippie of the mind. I very much believe in enlightenment. I see myself as enlightened in some ways, but awakening is just the first step to the highest enlightenments." Gin sits back and considers her previous comment, crossing his arms. "For most men, me included, I would say that they certainly //seem// fulfilling. But once you know the pleasure of actually being able to satisfy your partner, the teenaged stuff doesn't really hold a candle to it. And going back to a particular partner, learning from their mannerisms and reactions. The ability to keep learning is basically the only reason that I don't particularly enjoy sleeping around a whole lot."
"I've always wondered if Buddha was Awakened," Sage says, looking thoughtful. "It'd certainly explain a lot, wouldn't it? Unlike many mythos, there's no... magic, really, but he certainly seemed more aware than any Sleeper... and most Awakened I've met." She smiles, coming back to herself with a laugh. "Learning with the same partner is rewarding, yes. It's the finding balance between a rewarding sexual life and a rewarding relationship that's always caused difficulties for me."
"I was usually always too busy to have any sort of romantic relationship. With internships and making robotic surgical tools, I had very little in the way of a personal life when I hit my twenties. I found the balance by just having particularly close friendships, where the demands aren't as, well, demanding. I'm a bit less busy with this new job, but I'm not even sure where I'd start with a relationship." Gin holds his hands up as if weighing things on a scale. "Where does a friendship end and a relationship begin, anyway? It's certainly not with sex, the two aren't mutually exclusive. I ask myself these questions a lot."
"If you ever learn the answer to that," Sage says with a small shrug, "please let me know. It's one of the things my books have never been able to tell me. In those, everyone just seems to know."
"The second question is, does it matter? If you look at your close friendships, if you look at your sexual life, are you fulfilled? More could come, but I'd look at romantic relationships like the icing on the cake. I could surprise you with flowers and you'd probably be as happy and fulfilled by it as you would a lover. Maybe even intrigued, because you wouldn't quite understand my intent." Gin reaches out, trying to take her hand with the intent of leaning down, then kissing the back of it. "If I speak to you in such a matter-of-fact way, you'd get the impression that I'm speaking to you on strictly platonic terms. But then I lean down and kiss your hand, and suddenly I create all sorts of confusion, uncertainty, flattery, possibly optimism, hope, arousal, all sorts of thoughts and potential. A relationship is the end of your romantic journey, but we're //having// the journey."
"And yet, despite it being the icing... we seem naturally inclined to... seek it out." Sage's speech is caught a bit by him taking her hand and kissing it. Her expression more speaks of confusion than anything else. "Everything we do is a journey. Relationships do not last... they are just another aspect of the journey. Pleasant sight-seeing."
"Icing is pretty great. Who wouldn't want icing? But if you picked all of the icing off of a cake, you'd still have a cake. And, you know, that's not completely true. Some relationships really do last forever, at least until the other dies. And, well, even now we know that death is not entirely the end, so maybe some relationships last even beyond that." Gin releases her hand and returns to speaking as if nothing even happened, folding his arms on the table. "I think you need something. Not even necessarily a person. But you seem as if you want something new. Should we go buy a Furby? It could change your life."
"Are you sure those happen?" Sage asks, eyebrows rising. "Our grandparents, perhaps? But how much of that was love and how much was due to societal expectation?" She leans back once her hand is released. "A... what?" The confusion only increases. "I... do not think I need a children's toy, no."