This particular patch of forest is relatively unremarkable save for the path - wide enough for a good-sized wagon, though not smooth enough for the wheels of one - running through it; a skunk browses on low-hanging raspberries planted alongside the path while songbirds flit from branch to branch overhead, and there's the sound of underbrush being cut away somewhere in the middle distance.
Sounds good! He's also a good one to talk to if she decides she doesn't like the area and wants to live somewhere else - he knows people all over and often gives people advice on where they might like to try living.
She'll keep that in mind, thank you!
Has honeysuckle ever traveled? Is there anywhere she particularly likes? Mabel honestly never traveled much at all in her home world so she's not that familiar with different places and what makes one preferable to another.
She hasn't gone very far but she did spend a couple of summers at the beach, that was pretty neat - the climate is different and there are different animals, plus of course she didn't know the people, which was strange but not in a bad way or anything. She got to talk to a dolphin once.
That sounds both scary and interesting! Mabel's still really fascinated at the idea that people here can just communicate with animals, that's pretty neat.
In Mabel's world there are people who look a lot like a type of animal -- like cats or birds -- but there's still usually a pretty clear visual and everything else difference between people who you can talk to and animals who you can't, unless you have special crafting.
(Mabel is thinking about druids; she doesn't think crafters probably have this concept so she's not going to try and explain enough to see if she can get the word.)
Yeah, that does sound like it'd be a change. She doesn't think of it as hard to know who can talk and who can't - there's like half a dozen families of species that can, plus a couple of surprises here and there - but of course she grew up with the idea.
That makes sense! Mabel usually knows intuitively who is a person and who is not, although of course there are some edge cases or groups they only realized were people later, like the robots... but she also grew up with that.
Actually, speaking of people, edge cases, and robots, do they have... "death crafting?" One group of people in her world is, well, dead people from all the other groups. Her friend who is very interested in bacteria is one of these; he used to be in a group of people without horns or fur and now he is a skeleton.
...no, nothing like that. Skeletons are just regular matter as far as crafters are concerned.
That makes sense! Not a lot of people do death crafting, except specific very powerful people, and a lot of other people are generally against it. It makes them uncomfortable.
Yeah, it's intuitively kind of creepy. Probably good to be able to keep functionally-living, though.
The idea of people being more powerful than others at crafting is a little weird, too, but that might just be the word she's choosing for it, usually they say that people are more or less skilled than each other.
Yeah, the thing Mabel is calling "crafting" is not really crafting? It's just the closest word for it and she doesn't have another. There are certain parts of the thing she's talking about that are almost exactly the same as crafting but a lot of parts that are very different. Mabel uses her tools to craft-like-activity, for example, but not everyone does or has to.
People who are more powerful than others at crafting... there are variations in skill for sure, but there's also certain individuals who are more powerful, don't die, and don't spend time with normal people. They often provide normal people with the ability to craft-like-activity, even. The person who brought her friend back is one of these people.
Huh. She'd caught that Mabel was talking about something different, but she wasn't expecting it to be that different.
Yeah! That's kind of why she said at first that she couldn't craft, although she doesn't know if honeysuckle's mom would have told her that -- Mabel was thinking crafting was referring to one of the types of "crafting like things" in her own world, which does have its own name when you want to specify. She guesses technically crafting does still refer to this specific thing only, but she still needs a way to talk about the broader concept so she's probably going to continue to call it all crafting.
Yeah, she'll want to be clearer when she's writing to other people, at least at first - 'the superset of crafting' does what she wants - but honeysuckle gets it.
Anyway. Honeysuckle's starting to want lunch; does Mabel have any requests now that she's got some taste- and texture-related words to work with?
Thank you! That will be helpful. There's definitely a lot of things that will need some explaining, probably. She will do her best to be more precise when writing new people.
She likes soup, and fruit, and bread -- any or all of these sound good, if they're available?
Good soup takes a while, or at least she's not aware of a trick to speed it up without sacrificing flavor. Bread and fruit she can do, though, and she can ask blue-streak to put a pot on for dinner if he's not busy.
That sounds great, thank you!
Probably honeysuckle's not going to do any cooking or crafting the plants to grow faster now, but Mabel's interested enough in how things work here that she's going to watch her and see if she does anything interesting. You never know!
Mabel can totally come watch her if she wants; does she?
Yes! Will it involve leaving the house? Mabel Will leave the house if so but she will probably have to do a few deep breaths about it.
It will; honeysuckle doesn't seem to think there's anything odd about this taking some effort, and offers her a hand over the threshold.
That's very sweet! Mabel will take it and follow her out. She's unsure if the handholding is only for the threshold, so she's going to keep holding it and watch honeysuckle to see what she wants to do about continued physical contact, which as a bonus distracts her from being outside.
She doesn't comment or pull away, just leads the way down the path to the main building - peach themed with a rainbow pastel splatter overlaid - and helps her inside. It's put together in the same physical style as the cottage; the bulk of the interior is one large room, with different areas set up for different purposes. Closest to the door is a pastel-rainbow-themed workspace, with a long table flanked by seating and storage; behind that are freestanding island countertops and lower worktables and chairs themed for the three crafters she's met in the household, with various storage along the wall behind them. Off to the side, there's lounge space - a recessed seating area with an elaborate chandelier hanging over it and some cozy-looking rounded couches behind it. On the far wall there are four bed-cabinets like the one in the cottage, one in each theme including the rainbow pastel.
Honeysuckle guides her past the worktable and to a cabinet by the islands; it turns out to be refrigerated inside, and she takes a container of dough from it over to her island to craft up a pan to bake it on and a countertop-sized oven to bake it in.
How's Mabel doing? Honeysuckle is going to go craft up some fruit from the gardens next; it's not far, but she can drop her back off at the cottage if she's having trouble.
Mabel's okay! She's interested enough in what's going on still that she's less anxious than she'd usually be, or at least is not considerably more anxious than she was at her house.
Everything is so lovely and different. She nods to indicate that she's okay with going to the garden.
The path between the main building and the cottages continues past them out of the clearing, turning a bit not long after it enters the forest surrounding them, and a few minutes' walk past that they come to another clearing off to one side of the path with five huge, cage-topped platforms sitting in it, each with half a dozen insect-style legs tucked in close to it. Four of the platforms, including the closest, are full of plants, while the fourth houses a tree, a small internal building, and some two dozen chickens, who stop their pecking and gather to watch the pair approach. Honeysuckle broadcasts that she'll get them a melon on her way out, and leads Mabel to where the nearest platform has steps leading up to a door in its side, where the peach theme of its bars is interrupted by stripes of green and gold and black and blue around the doorframe. She helps Mabel across the threshold again, and takes a basket from the stack just inside the door.
They can get things to freshen up the food supply at the cottage while they're here, if she'd like? Or there's always the option of coming back another time for that, if it's too much for today. Anyway, all the stuff in here is good to eat; she'll identify the plants as they walk through if Mabel doesn't recognize them, and grow out whatever she wants.
Mabel has essentially never seen a farm; she's seen gardens and parks, but mostly the fancy curated ones full of flowers meant to be beautiful and not useful.
So: identification, please! She's glad she thought to bring her writing pad -- she writes that they can get a variety of foods now, she likes most foods. And then another "thank you"!
A variety it is, then! The garden is about half and half fruit to vegetables, generally only with a plant or two of each though occasionally with a cluster of different varieties of the same species, like the four kinds of strawberries and seven kinds of potato that honeysuckle explains are better in different recipes or according to different members of the household, or the five kinds of corn they keep to cater to the preferences of guests. There are a few trees in the back of the garden, espaliered almost to unrecognizability but still producing quite tasty apples, peaches, plums, pecans, and chestnuts on demand; nearby, trellised vines offer squashes and melons.
There are a couple of plants that honeysuckle warns her away from - the grapes, avocado, onions, and garlic - explaining that since they aren't sure of her species' food tolerances they don't recommend she eat anything that can make non-crafter animals sick, or that she at least stick to very small quantities at first.