Saileach: Flowers by the Temples of Your Head

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Operator Record
Flowers by the Temples of Your Head
Saileach icon.png

She wants to wait with them for the spring, but they want to search for the spring with her.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Saileach to Elite 2 Level 60.
  • Have 200% Trust with Saileach.
Male Londinier B icon.png
Female Londinier icon.png
Haggard Woman
Male Victorian A icon.png
Lean Man
Reserve Operator - Caster icon.png
Medic Operator
Siracusan Girl icon.png
Thin Girl
Male Victorian Soldier icon.png
Victorian Barracks Officer
Victoria Square
Victoria Streets
Victoria Streets Night
House Room
Under the tense pressure of the wartime atmosphere, Saileach contemplates cutting the long hair she's cared for so many years.
<Background 1>
Janie ...Are all these people here to see me bear the standard? I'd better not slip up...
No, I need to triple-check after all.
[Janie examines herself and her equipment.]
Janie Banner's brand new, no wrinkles, good. My clothes are prim and tidy, good. And my saber and boots... Alright, all polished clean, that's fine too.
Oh, right, my hair too! Oh, good, good, it's still neat.
[A wind blow hits her.]
Janie The wind was gusting so hard just now... I wouldn't want to mess it up right here, not when I spent all of yesterday treating my hair. That would've been such a waste.
Victorian Barracks Officer Now begins the flag-raising ceremony! All units, attention!
Janie Phew...
Victorian Barracks Officer Flag, forth!
[Janie starts walking.]
Marching through the square, she feels the gaze of every soul in the crowd concentrate on her, and straightens her back even higher in response.
Hooking the ensign to the halyard, pinching a corner of the flag, she begins to await the signal.
Three, two, one, and the sound of drums finally quells. Quickly she throws the fly to the air, allowing it to unfurl in the wind of the morn. Thereupon, she hears applause behind her last and last.
[The crowd is clapping.]
Taking a deep breath, she pulls her posture tighter, straighter, but cannot help but let a smile slip from the corner of her mouth.
<Background 2>
[Saileach puts a package down.]
Saileach Wil, that's seven crates of pharmaceuticals total, all here.
Medic Operator Thank you so much for running this trip, Janie... but it's funny, we paid for twelve at the caravan.
Saileach No, I know... they turned their entire hold upside down looking, but this seven's all they found, none more than that. And, well... they're not wanting to refund you the surplus money.
Medic Operator But didn't we get the price settled all early this morning?
Saileach They lost a lot of freight coming here cutting through a combat zone, so they're insisting on ratcheting their prices up to cover the damages.
Medic Operator But, Janie, we don't have much funds left.
Saileach Have resupplies from the landship still not made it?
Medic Operator No... We haven't even had an update on them for the longest while now. Janie, you know, with all the turmoil at Londinium, you don't think the landship got...
Saileach Wil, stay with me. You said it yourself, times are turbulent. Odds are something's just held them up.
Medic Operator So, then... what do we do now?
Saileach It's best we keep the patients' needs put first. Having these seven crates is better than none, and no matter how expensive, we've got no choice but to accept. Anything else... we'll have to make what savings we can.
Medic Operator We can't just save our way out of this forever... All we've got left in the basement's some sprouting potatoes.
Saileach I'll keep thinking of what I can once we get back this evening. It's almost time I saw Mrs. Sheila—her chimney's blocked, I need to take a look at that.
Medic Operator Do that. I'll head back to the office for now, then.
<Background 3>
[A woman comes running to Saileach.]
Haggard Woman Miss Saileach, Miss Saileach!
Saileach Mrs. Sheila, what did you come out here for? Your health is... Let me help you back in.
Haggard Woman The wind's going so hard today, best we take a seat inside. You were off leaving the moment you pulled out of the chimney—I didn't even get the chance to thank you proper.
Saileach Oh, it's—it's alright, I can't really stay long, there's people sick at the office.
Haggard Woman Weather's been nipping lately—are you and Wil bundling up well enough? I've got a few dresses here you two could wear—they're getting on a bit, I know, but they're good nice ones.
Saileach Thank you, I appreciate it, Mrs. Sheila. Still, Vouivre don't catch colds that easily.
Haggard Woman Ah! None of that, you can still wear it even if it's not to keep warm. Your clothes right now are getting to be patchwork with those repairs, and I've never seen you wear a thing else. Don't you go anywhere, now, I'll run back in and fetch them for you...
Saileach R—Really, it's fine! I'll be out of your hair as soon as, Miss!
[Mrs. Sheila leaves and a girl with her father pass by.]
Thin Girl (Hushed) Da, look at that lady, her hair's so pretty...
Lean Man (Hushed) Pah. Cloistered, that's what you call types like her. Can't live without her daily haircare...
Saileach ......
Lean Man On, now, Ema, stop gawking. Move, move. It's almost time for the hairdresser's.
Thin Girl Da, can we not go...?
Lean Man What?
Thin Girl Pleaaase, Da, I—I want it like that lady, not so so long, just down to my shoulders.
Lean Man Ema, don't you let her influence you! It's a massive company what sent her down—she's not here to live our ruddy life.
Your ma's sick and I'm looking after her for love-long and a half—when am I going to find the time to sort your hair if you let it grow out?!
Thin Girl ...But I... I—I really really don't want a buzzcut...
Lean Man For god's sakes, budge it! You don't want me to hit you now, do you, Ema?
Saileach Excuse me, sir, but if you're talking to children, talk to them. What are you raising your hand for?
Lean Man I... well...
Thin Girl (She uncontrollably sobs.)
Lean Man No, you... naughty kids, you see, I was just disciplining her a little, just... it's just a little discipline.
You shouldn't be bothering over us, madam, really, I'm sorry about that... excuse us if you will, excuse us.
Alright, come on, Ema, we're off now.
[The father leaves with his daughter. Right after, Mrs. Sheila returns.]
Saileach ......
Haggard Woman Miss Saileach, I thought you'd up and gone already. Here's your clothes, and here's a little sack of flour we had left over. You take it, now.
Saileach That won't do... Mrs. Sheila, do you have enough food for yourself?
Haggard Woman Course, course I do. My other half's eating soldier's meals on the front. It's just me eating dinner alone at home, fat chance I'll run out, don't you worry.
Saileach Thank you. Thank you, Miss.
<Background 1>
[An officer approaches Janie.]
Victorian Barracks Officer Janie, how long have you been sitting here?
Janie Sir! Tw—Two, maybe three hours?
Victorian Barracks Officer What did you come so early for?
Janie It's my first time raising the flag in the square today—I was so worked up, I couldn't sleep a wink last night, so eventually I imagined I'd just come here first thing and wait.
Victorian Barracks Officer Oh? You certainly don't look like you spent all night awake.
Janie ...I had to find something to do while I was waiting for the sun to come up.
Victorian Barracks Officer Grmph. Fine of you. You do look quite beaming.
Janie You flatter me, Sir, really. It's a guard of honor's duty to mind their appearance!
Victorian Barracks Officer At ease, guard of honor, at ease. The sun's rising now—go and see that the flag flies too.
Janie Y—Yes, Sir.
[The officer leaves.]
Combing her silken hair behind her ear in the dawn breeze, the girl straightens herself and makes for the flagpole stood in the center of the square, the flag held in her hands.
As it gracefully ascends, enthusiastic claps come from the masses that have waited for this since the wee hours.
In all the applause, the girl catches a few sunken mutters.
??? It's queer business. Did they really have to send our town of County Hillock a whole dedicated guard of honor, just to raise a flag? It's like we haven't even a say in the matter.
??? Heh, I wouldn't crawl out of bed at daft o'clock just to watch Lord Snooty hoist a flag up. At least seeing this warms your cockles, nah?
??? If it were up to me, they would've sent us a few film posters instead. One for each of us to stick on our walls and admire every day—that's how you raise a spirit or two.
??? Ah, shut, don't you start. A guard of honor's what it is—isn't having a sight for sore eyes enough? What are you so greedy for?
Looking through the crowd, the girl attempts to pick out who's talking.
But each and every one of their faces brims with a lauding smile, and she has to wonder if those voices weren't just the wind talking.
The morning gusts blow bitter cold through the square all asudden, the air digging under her collar.
In the breeze, she cannot help but give a shiver.
<Background 4>
[Somebody rings the bell to Saileach's room twice before opening the door themselves.]
Medic Operator Get up! Janie, wakey-wakey!
[Wil takes the blanket off Saileach.]
Saileach Wil... what time is it?
Medic Operator Gone five, but we're only off at six. You've got time to plait your braids.
Saileach No... don't mind that, I'm leaving it today. We can head off straight away.
Er... Wil, do you know where the hairdresser's is in this town? I'm thinking of getting my hair cut.
Medic Operator Y—You what?!
Saileach If... If there's not one, I'm just as okay cutting it myself.
Medic Operator No, not that... of course there's a hairdresser's here, it's the last house at the end of the street. But, Janie... your hair's so nice. The waste of lopping it off.
Saileach It does tend to get in the way awfully at work, growing it out, see... Could you take over my shift tomorrow afternoon then?
Medic Operator Whaa—what's the hurry? You're not gonna wait a little longer?
Saileach You don't want me cutting my hair short?
Medic Operator I mean, it's fine, cut however short you feel... If it'll make work easier, plus I'm sure short hair would look just as fantastic on you.
Saileach ...Thank you for that, Wil.
<Background 5>
[Saileach enters the hair salon.]
Saileach Excuse me, are you open right now?
Hairdresser Miss Saileach?
Saileach Do you know of me, sir?
Hairdresser Who wouldn't in this town?
What brings you here today? Hair treatment?
Saileach No, no, I'm here for a haircut.
Hairdresser A haircut, then... Take a seat, Miss Saileach, I'll fetch the scissors. If you need a sip of water, it's on the table...
Saileach Thank you, sir.
Hairdresser How short are you wanting it?
Saileach About to where everyone has it, please.
Hairdresser Okay... I'll be starting, then, Miss Saileach?
Saileach Mm...
[Saileach sits down.]
In the mirror, the hairdresser lifts a lock of the girl's hair between his fingers. Blade crosses blade, and in one go, the hair falls away from his hand.
The girl stares at the lock, fallen to the floor in a pile, and empties her mind, waiting for the scissors by her ears to snip a second time.
She waits a good moment, and it doesn't come.
Saileach Sir?
Hairdresser ...Eh?
Saileach Why did you stop cutting?
Hairdresser Miss Saileach, news doesn't get around our parts as well as it does yours. You're from some big old company, you've a million channels open to you versus us run-of-the-mill folk. I wanted to... to ask...
Saileach That's alright, sir. If you need it, then of course I'll help you. What did you want to inquire about?
Hairdresser It's... no, it's not like that, I just wanted to ask—you lot see something out of sorts about the town, don't you?
Saileach What makes you wonder that...?
Hairdresser Why don't you tell me, Miss Saileach? Here you've come to get a haircut.
Saileach It's—a haircut, is all it is, sir.
Hairdresser Miss Saileach, isn't this the way you've always looked? What makes you want your hair short all of a sudden now?
Saileach I just... only have so much time and energy, I—I can't afford to mind this sort of thing...
Hairdresser Something's about to happen, isn't it?
Saileach I—I haven't had any info of the sort suggest that. Everything seems... fine for the moment.
Hairdresser No... that's lies you're telling, Miss Saileach. Be honest with me. Those Sarkaz are soon to come storming this way, aren't they?
I suppose you think we'd all be crushed by the truth, so you're keeping quiet from us, zipping your lips. That's it, isn't it?
Saileach Sir, I haven't hidden a single thing from any of you!
Hairdresser Okay... if things aren't turning for the worse, then why are you coming here for a haircut?!
Saileach Sir... don't get so worked up, please, can you—can you calm down?
Hairdresser You show up at mine today out of nowhere, asking me to lop off your hair, and apparently the shorter the better—you sound to me like you plan to cark it and spend the whole next life not even giving a shake that hair grows on your head.
No matter how miserable it's ever gotten, you've—you've never up and said you'd get a haircut, right, so what's making you get one today?
Saileach ...Sir...
Hairdresser I'm sorry, I...
Saileach I think I'd best find the time to come another day, sir.
<Background 3>
[On her way back, Saileach passes Mrs. Sheila.]
Saileach Mrs. Sheila?
Haggard Woman Miss Saileach? What brings you around?
Saileach Nothing, I just came because I wanted a haircut. Work's been busy lately, and I can't find the time to sort it all.
Wait... Mrs. Sheila, are you wearing lipstick today? No wonder you look like you've perked up. This red really suits you.
Haggard Woman I...
Saileach's praise doesn't seem to bring any delight to the woman, who hastily uses her own hand to wipe the carmine off her lips.
She then lifts a corner of her hem, and rubs the remaining dye from the back of her hand.
[Mrs. Sheila keep rubbing.]
Her sheer vigor chafes the skin of her hand raw, yet the color just won't come fully clean.
Saileach Mrs. Sheila, wh—what are you...?
Haggard Woman No, I was just going silly—as if this is any sort of time to be bringing out lipstick—when we've got even people living respectable lives like you losing the will to—... *sigh* This is awful.
If you'll... Miss Saileach, you'd better go on back to work, I'll—I'll just get myself home.
[Mrs. Sheila leaves hastily.]
Saileach Mrs. Sheila...
<Background 4>
[Wil enters Saileach's room.]
Medic Operator Hm? Janie, weren't you going for a haircut? I was looking forward to seeing your new style, you know?
Saileach I—I booked a new time with the hairdresser's. I'll go back in a few days.
Medic Operator Good thing they didn't trim you, really, or you'd be hard-pressed putting this on.
Saileach A paper flower? Did you fold this?
Medic Operator As if I'd have hands that skillful. No, a little girl brought it by—she said she hoped you'd like it.
Saileach It's so pretty. Folding a flower out of such a thin napkin must've been incredibly hard for her.
Medic Operator Aren't you going to try it on and see? It must go great with your long hair.
Saileach I'm... getting it cut, soon enough... I'd just have gotten people's hopes up, wouldn't I?
Medic Operator That's a few days from now, isn't it? Seize the moment, go on, wear it... Just put it on and see, look how nice it's folded and all—as pretty as any real flower.
She puts the paper flower up to her nose and gently sniffs. Through the girl's eyes flashes a hint of enchantment.
Medic Operator Mmm... I think I can smell a flowery sort of scent from this... just vaguely...
Saileach Wil... it's not a real flower, no matter how much it resembles one...
Medic Operator I know that, but it's almost winter, spring's a long ways away, and it's not like there's any real flowers about right now...
Saileach No one says you can't admire the flowers again in spring, now. Winter has its own demands to meet.
Medic Operator But all that we do in winter's exactly so we can await next spring, you know.
In the long, long midwinter, even a tiny little paper flower can remind us all, spring'll come on time.
Saileach And without that paper flower...?
Medic Operator That I don't know, Janie... a paper flower's just a light in the dark, and no matter if we're with or without one, spring will come.
Saileach But even so, Wil, people are longing for the same thing. Not just that it'll come to visit them, but that it'll come in their hearts...
Maybe one won't live in winter forever, but one's heart can.
Medic Operator True... true, that.
Saileach Phew...
You can hand me that flower... Wil.
Medic Operator Oh... okay, okay!
Stroking its soft petals, Saileach pinches the paper flower in her fingers, gives it a few turns, then nestles it by her ear, and as if out of bashfulness, lightly lowers her head.
They're silent, for a while. Finally, she lifts her head, and looks her colleague in the eye.
Saileach What do you think?
<Background 2>
[A young girl runs to Saileach.]
Saileach Huff... so cold...
Thin Girl Good—good morning, Miss Saileach.
Saileach G—Good morning, young miss, did you...?
Thin Girl I folded that flower on your head yesterday... I'm—um, I'm really happy you're wearing it today...
Saileach Oh, this flower was from you? Thank you, it's very beautifully folded. I love it a lot.
Thin Girl That's really amazing, thank you... Miss Saileach, can—can I touch your hair?
Saileach Of course, of course you can.
Thin Girl Your hair's sooo so pretty. My ma used to have really long hair just like you, but they cut it off after she got sick...
Saileach I'm sure she can grow her hair out again once she's better, and when she does, it'll be even prettier than mine.
Thin Girl Um, that's going to be a really really long time away, Ma's never... gotten any better... It's been making Da really sad.
Saileach Don't worry, you never know—once spring arrives next year, she might perk right up. Then you can take her to the park, and fold some real living flowers. I'm sure nestled in her long hair, they'll look wonderful.
Thin Girl Nobody's hair grows that quickly...
Saileach That's okay, I'll come along with you then, and she can borrow some of mine...
Thin Girl Borrow?
Saileach lifts up her hair, and lets it drape over the girl's head. A sea of golden blonde wraps around her, sheltering her.
A lock that falls into her hands is gripped, then once more let go.
Realizing how nervous the girl is, Saileach plucks the paper flower that adorns the side of her own head, and places it by the girl's ear.
In an instant, the girl flushes red.
Thin Girl Am—am I pretty, Miss Saileach?
Saileach You are. You're very pretty.
[The haidresser exits the hair salon.]
Hairdresser Ema, I'm done giving your daddy a trim, it's your turn now to... Oh, Miss Saileach... Can I help you two?
Lean Man ......
Thin Girl Um... is that you, Da?
Seeing her father come out from behind the door, the flustered girl brushes Saileach's hair away from her head, and the white flower nestled in her ear is swept off onto the floor in her panic.
But unexpectedly, her father does no more than give her cheek a light caress, after which he picks the flower up, and puts it back safely in her hands.
Lean Man Bet you got bored waiting. Cold?
Thin Girl I wasn't bored! And I'm not cold.
Saileach Good morning, sir.
Lean Man Good morning, Miss Saileach...
Hairdresser Um... Miss Saileach... It's looking like I won't have time the next few days, so about your haircut, well... you'll probably have to wait a bit longer for that.
Thin Girl Ah, Miss Saileach... are—are you cutting your hair?
Saileach No.
Hairdresser You aren't?
Saileach Yes, I've changed my mind...
Hairdresser So, how about you, Ema...?
Thin Girl Da... Can—can I keep my hair?
Lean Man ......
Through the avenue sweeps a gust of wind. Saileach combs the hair blown out of place back behind her ear, and looks at the man.
The girl grasps her paper flower tight. The hairdresser rubs the doorframe with the tip of his shoe.
Under all their expectant gazes, the man clears his throat, and finally answers.