Solo Lights in the Dark

Job Thread I, Winter 517 AV

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.

Lights in the Dark

Postby Avela on February 2nd, 2018, 12:37 am

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26th of Winter, 517 AV

There were, Avela thought, certain challenges to her delivery runs in Alvadas. It wasn't that she was lacking in orders. In fact, for a novice candlemaker, she had quite a few orders to go through. It was just that, the city being what it was, delivery often took a while. Which was fine. No one in this city would expect to get anything that they ordered quickly, and if they did, they would certainly go to a different source. Avela herself didn't really mind it that much, except for the fact that sometimes orders piled up, and delivery locations were especially difficult to find, and when that happened, Avela found herself wandering the streets with an increasingly heavy backpack, trying not to break any candles and praying, to Ionu or Avalis or anyone who would listen, that today she could at least walk home with her pack significantly lighter.

So far, though, Avela hadn't had much luck. There were a few locations that were more or less findable, if you knew the trick. The Surf and Turf was one--just walk along the edge of the caldera and it was sure to turn up at some point--and Avela had dropped off a stack of (plain, unscented) candles with Kay'Layza, enduring the other Konti woman's comments about how awful Avela's Kontinese was. The Sanity Center, because, well, it was the Sanity Center, was another. But for the most part, Avela's delivery days went like this: a morning spent carefully sliding all the new candles from their molds and packaging them in wax paper, and an afternoon spent wandering Alvadas, just waiting to see what came up.

She fingered the straps of her backpack as she walked, trudging through the snow. Somehow, when she'd told herself and her family that she was going to make a living selling her candles after moving out, she'd thought that making the candles would be the hardest part. Turned out, that was almost stupidly optimistic of her.

Oh well. Sooner or later, she thought, the city was going to bring her to something on her list.

As it turned out, sooner. Avela smiled as she caught sight of a striped tent out of the corner of her vision, making a beeline for it. As she walked, her mind turned to the package, wrapped in wax paper, that had been sitting at the bottom of her basket for quite some time...

Jasmine scented candles, in faded red and yellow colors to match the tent. To create those candles, Avela had started by melting the wax, then had gradually added drops of coloring to the mixture until it suited her. She'd been sure to mix in some white and gray dyes, to keep the colors from getting too bright. A few drops of jasmine oil into the mix--not too many, or the scent would be too strong. She'd poured the hot wax into molds, each with a twine wick carefully placed in the center of the mold, and held in place by a pair of wooden sticks. The candles had cooled, like most of her candles had, overnight. She'd burned one to check the quality--it had left a pleasant smell in her cottage for most of the day, and had packaged the others for the next time she happened to see Okana...

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Lights in the Dark

Postby Avela on February 6th, 2018, 3:12 am

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The fortune teller was waiting inside of her tent, seated like a statue on the rug that was the tent's only decoration. Avela put a smile on her face as she neared, raising her hand.

"Hello, Okana!" she said, speaking out in accented Kontinese. Avela tried to inject some cheer into her voice, but Okana only lifted her head and turned towards Avela, fixing her with unnerving, emotionless eyes.

Avela drew in a deep breath, her smile faltering silently as she kept her eyes on the Konti woman, and decided to speak in Common for the remainder of this interaction. She shrugged her backpack off onto one shoulder, digging in it for Okana's package. Inside her bag, neatly wrapped packages of candles jostled each other for space, each marked with the name of their recipient and the date that she had finished making them. She found Okana's with some hassle--the candles really were at the very bottom of the bag--and tried to look at least somewhat professional as she cleared her throat and handed the package to her with both hands.

"There you go," she said. "Jasmine candles, just as ordered. Let me know if you need anything else!"

Okana took the package from her, carefully unwrapping the package to check on the candles. She lifted and turned each one, testing the weight and looking for imperfections. Avela tried not to show how much that bothered her. Surely, she should have been able to make a standard candle by now. She kept her hands behind her back, but she had never quite been able to be as impassive as Okana. She was sure something showed on her face.

Okana, however, didn't seem to notice. She simply nodded, handing Avela the payment they had agreed on. Avela slipped the coins into her coinpurse.

"More of the lavender," Okana said, in Common when she was done. "Half a dozen."

"Your wish is my command," Avela said, hoping that she managed to not sound too sarcastic as she slung her backpack back onto her shoulder. Six of the lavender. She'd have to write that down, but she didn't want to fumble for her notebook in front of the Konti woman's impassive stare. Avela simply smiled and nodded her head. "See you around!"

It was as she was walking that it occurred to her--Okana was a fortune-teller! And as a fortune-teller, she might actually be able to tell her where some of her clients were. Avela stopped dead in her tracks, thinking of the other order that had been sitting in her backpack for entirely too long. "Actually, do you know where Matilda's shop is, by any chance?" she asked.

Okana blinked at her, tilting her head to the side expectantly.

"Please?" Avela said. "I'll give you a discount on your next order!" That was going to sting a little. The lavender candles were still somewhat difficult for her to make. But if she never got this order out of her backpack, she was never going to get paid.

Okana frowned, as if considering, but nodded.

"Red, black, and white. The path in front of you is marked with those colors. Follow those, and you should find what you seek."

"What?!" Avela said. "That's a riddle, not directions! Come on, Okana, please?"

Okana's only response was to hold her hand out, as if looking for a fee. Avela sighed, muttering under her breath about fortune tellers, and Konti women who thought they were better than her because they were older, and walked away.

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Lights in the Dark

Postby Avela on February 10th, 2018, 5:50 am

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Red, black, and white. Avela scowled, turning the clue over in her head as she made her way down the street. She was sure it had to mean something, but it was so obscure that Avela would have to be a fortuneteller herself to ever figure it out.

There was a thought. Avela stopped in her tracks, tugging at the strap of her backpack. She could always...try fortune-telling herself. Not that that ever worked out for her. For every time that it did, there were about four times that it didn't. Avela snorted in disgust. At that rate, she was better off leaving it to random chance.

No, she told herself. She could do this. Okana had given her a riddle and a riddle had a solution.

What was red and black and white?

Candles, she supposed. Candles could be red and black and white. She'd made candles of different colors before. A little bit of red dye, a little bit of black dye, and for the white, she could just refrain from coloring the candle. If she was making a dipped candle, she could save on colored wax by creating the candle as normal, and dipping the candle into colored wax only at the end. That would probably be easier for small batches than creating an entire batch of red candles, black ones, and white ones. But she supposed that Okana wasn't talking about candles, unless that was the world's most obscure order. So she had to be talking about something else.

A signpost? Or perhaps she was supposed to look out for someone wearing those colors? Avela looked around, but Alvadas was a riot of color on a daily basis, and picking out three colors on its own in that mess was more of an art than fortune telling. Perhaps it was symbolic in some way? The colors were standing in for something else? Red was often used for passion, or blood...black for darkness or mourning, white for purity. Maybe she was going to have to walk past Ionu's Mercy? Or perhaps the Divine Legacy--Avela shivered at the thought.

No. Wait.

Avela stopped walking, her eyes widening as she spotted a building out of the corner of her eye, coming to a realization. She was right, Okana was referring to a building, but she was overthinking the rest of it. Red, white, and black. Red, white, and black roses. The Rose! Avela had never dined at the Withering Rose--she was fairly certain she wouldn't be let in through the door--and she hadn't quite worked up the courage to offer to sell candles to them, but the restaurant was standing on the next street corner. Closed, of course, it was the middle of the day, but standing there nonetheless.

And there was an alley beside it, leading further into the city.

Feeling pleased with herself for drawing that conclusion, Avela tugged her backpack up, making her way into the alley. Hopefully, Matilda's shop stood at the end of it all, or Avela would feel as though she had just wasted her time.

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Lights in the Dark

Postby Avela on February 13th, 2018, 4:54 am

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Matilda's order had been somewhat challenging to put together, mostly because of the small batches in which she had ordered them. The jeweler had ordered votive candles to place around her shop, but although she had asked for plain white candles (because anything else would detract from the jewelry), she had asked for a variety of scents. Her order had taken Avela some time, mostly because she had had to switch out the pots that she was using, cleaning them out between each batch. At the end of the day, Avela had done Matilda's candles over a period of several days, banking on the fact that Alvadas being the way it was meant that Matilda wasn't expecting her order any time soon.

Of course, she hadn't expected to have the candles sit in her backpack for as long as they had, which was why she was grateful to spot Matilda's shop at the end of the alleyway. Avela sped up, a smile on her face as she approached the front door.

Votive candles weren't the hardest to make, all things considered, although their small size always made Avela feel like she was going to ruin them, or make a mess. To make them, Avela started with melted wax as always, melting the wax over the fire in her hearth and watching it carefully to make sure that it melted evenly. When it was at the consistency that she wanted, Avela added a few drops of scent, some of which Avela had made herself by soaking fragrant herbs and spices in oil until the oil was infused with the correct scents. In this case, Matilda had ordered vanilla, cinnamon, lavender and jasmine scents. Lavender, jasmine, and vanilla were some of Avela's staples, and she had many of those scents on hand. Cinnamon had proved to be a little difficult. Avela had used the ground spice, and had mixed it carefully into the wax. Her first mixture had been scented too strongly, and the smell was overpowering. She had had to throw that away and basically start from scratch, which had not particularly helped her mood. Her second batch was a lot better. For each, the important thing was to keep stirring. The scent had to be dispersed thoroughly through the candle mixture, otherwise it would be uneven.

Avela was not generally known for her patience, so that was always the most difficult part for her. But she learned the hard way what happened when she cut corners at that step.

Pouring the mixtures into molds had been tricky, delicate work, because votive molds were small, and she had to make sure that the wick stayed perfectly in the center of the candle. But once that was done, Avela left each set of votive candles on her desk overnight to harden, then had carefully scraped each candle from its mold, trimmed the wicks, wrapped the candles up in wax paper and placed them in her backpack to await delivery.

Delivery which would finally be happening. Avela smiled as she pushed open the door.

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Lights in the Dark

Postby Avela on February 15th, 2018, 7:15 am

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Matilda Horrens was inside when Avela arrived, arranging the stock on her shelves. Although it had been a while since Avela had crossed paths with the short, business-like woman, that had clearly not been the case for the other residents of Alvadas. The shop appeared to be doing steady business as usual, and there were several shiny new baubles that caught Avela's eye as she stepped in, most of them finer than an jewelry Avela had ever had. She tore her eyes away from them, her face flushing as Matilda turned to look at her.

"Avela!" Matilda said, delight in her voice as she stepped off of the step stool she was standing on and made her way over to her. "It's so good to see you again, dear. Can I interest you in anything?"

"Um, no thank you," Avela said, giving the array of jewels behind Matilda a half-nervous, half-covetous glance. She swung her backpack off of her shoulder, pulling open the flap and fishing around in the bag with one hand. "I'm actually here on a delivery. Uh...the candles you asked for?"

Matilda blinked in apparent confusion, before her eyes rounded in realization. "Ah, yes!" she said. "The candles. I'd almost forgotten. It's been quite a while."

"I know," Avela said, flushing. "I'm sorry. I tried to find you..."

Matilda cut Avela off with a tut and a wave of her hand. "Don't apologize for that," she said. "Ionu does as Ionu wills in this city. We all understand that. You have the candles now?"

Avela nodded, handing the package over to Matilda. She watched with bated breath as the jeweler placed the entire paper-wrapped package down on the counter, carefully undoing the paper wrapping and examining the votive candles. Avela's breath caught as Matilda reached down, picking up one of the vanilla candles carefully. That candle had been in the corner of the stack, and it appeared to have broken in half, exposing the wick.

"I'm so sorry," Avela said quickly. "It must have broken in my bag."

"Well, it can't be helped," Matilda said, although her disappointment was written clear across her face, not making Avela feel much better. She looked over the other candles with a more critical eye. "I'll pay you for the rest. As for the next order..."

"I'll give you a discount," Avela blurted out, interrupting her.

Matilda looked up at her. "A discount?" she repeated.

It was what her stepmother did when one of her pies did not meet the customer's desires. It was meant to mollify them, to build a relationship between the proprietor and the customer, and it was the only thing Avela could think of to do at that moment. "On your next order," Avela said. "Erm...ten percent of the price?"

"You don't have to do that," Matilda said.

"No, please," Avela said, a smile coming onto her face as she relaxed, sinking into the role of negotiator. "I insist. I'll be more careful next time."

"Well..." Matilda rested one hand on her hip, looking over the candles laid out in front of her as if seeing them in a new light. She nodded. "Alright then. Come over here. I want to talk to you about my next order."

Avela breathed a sigh of relief, moving closer to her.

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Lights in the Dark

Postby Madeira Craven on March 8th, 2018, 7:10 pm

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Grades Awarded!

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Avela

Skills
  • Land Navigation: 2xp
  • Planning: 2xp
  • Organization: 1xp
  • Perfumery: 2xp
  • Candlemaking: 2xp
  • Socialization: 2xp
  • Negotiation: 2xp
  • Persuasion: 1xp
  • Logic: 1xp
  • Observation: 3xp

Lores
  • Socialization: appearing professional
  • Alvadas: changing location
  • Okana: fortune teller
  • Candlemaking: dipped candles use less dye
  • Location: Matilda's Jewles
  • People: Matilda Horrens
  • Candlemaking: votive candles

Awards & Retribution


Notes
A neat little work thread. Very well done! I hope you got everything you expected. If not, give me a shout. :nod:
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