"I think you should come hang out next weekend," Calgary told Autumn, over the last beer of the last day of Faire. "Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur are building a house."
"Seriously?" she raised an eyebrow. She was far too drunk to be polite when faced with that.
Calgary grinned, and quaffed her beer. "Three friends of mine, been together since college. Not Faire folk but fair folk, if you know what I mean. And they're house-raising."
"Sounds like fun." She set her mug down with exaggerated care. "I'll be there."
"I know you will," Calgary grinned. "And you'll love it."
The location was as out in the middle of nowhere as it was still possible to get in a northern state, a two-acre lot in the middle of two hundred acres of field and half-wild forest. And it was a mess, a mass of machines and parts-of-buildings and everywhere people, people in a cacophony of color and personality, like the Ren Fair only a hundred times louder.
And there was Calgary, at the center of it, waving Autumn down. "Come on! Huey, Dewey, and Louie want to meet you! I've told them so much about you!"
And that was a danger line, but Autumn was in a good mood, so she smiled and let Calgary lead her to what looked like it would be the front door.
"Caetlyn, Gemini, Xavier, this is Autumn. Autumn, this is Larry, Curly, and Mo," Calgary cheerfully introduced her to a buxom blonde in a pink flannel shirt, an androgynous person wearing a yellow t-shirt, and a tall man, head shaved, wearing a blue polo.
"Pleased to meet you," Caetlyn smiled. "Calgary told us that you might be able to bless our threshold? You know, in the weaving way?"
Autumn smiled, nodded, and resolved to have a word with Calgary later. "This would be easier if I had my brother with me. He's very good at the orderly things. But I can lay down a foundation for you, and I'm pretty good with a hammer and a trowel, too." She gave them a smile to soften the ambivilance. "Do you mind if I paint a little, where it won't show?"
"Heck," Xavier grinned, "we'd love it if you'd paint where it would."
"See?" Calgary was unrepentant. "Flora, Fauna, and Meriwether are good people."
"I see they are," Autumn agreed sincerely. She'd come prepared to help hammer nails and wrestle building materials, but it seemed the trio had enough people for that. So she settled in what would be a doorway, and began to weave and twist the Strands.
She laid down a solid foundation of welcome and kinship, pulling from everyone who was here, every bit of love they poured into the building, and making it a tangible, knowable thing: this house was built with love. Enter it with love as well.
While she watched them place two stained glass windows, she painted a design that would be hidden by the doorjamb, a secret series of imps: Don't forget the humor. Come here with a smile.
They put up an interior wall, and she got to work on the art that would show while, behind her, three people carefully installed a hidden door and three hidden compartments. Into her mural, a tree reaching for the sun, with three trunks woven together, she added: respect one another's secrets, and keep them.
Tired at the end of the day, drinking a beer with the trio and Calgary, she sketched them a doodle: Chance encounters are the best sort. Smiling, she bid them a good night, and kissed their doorway in benediction as she left.