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Things to do and people to see and a shyke ton of things to buy before we sleep.

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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Noven on November 24th, 2014, 12:29 pm

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Fall, Day 67, 514AV

If there was one thing he loathed more than spending his coin, it was every tedious, mind numbing task attached to said spending.

Crowds, noise, haggling, hassling, and the eternal presence of pickpockets--the five basic ingredients to a general shyke day for Noven. Not to mention all of that time invested in an activity that brought him neither pleasure nor satisfaction. If the man could get someone else to buy stuff for him and have that not somehow backfire in a horrific shower of betrayal and financial ruin right in his face, he'd never set foot in the markets again.

Unfortunately for him--and the rest of this merry lot stuck in the Berth--nothing in life was ever easy.

The cook rose early that morning, as he always did. A quick, no-nonsense routine and wolfing down of equally simplistic breakfast later, he was out the door, ready to dive into that sodding mess sometimes referred to as the Seaside Markets.

As he made his way toward the telltale hustle and bustle, Nov did a mental checklist of everything he needed. A new shirt, new belt, some more treats to keep Mira satisfactorily rewarded after her lessons with Caela, and some supplies in preparation for the approaching Winter. He could already feel promises of its arrival in the icy breezes that occasionally flowed by, as well as the way people were rushing back and forth between their homes and the market with warm clothes, firewood, and other wintery necessities in tow.

Nov huddled deeper into his coat and stuck his hands into its pockets. He didn't blame them for hurrying. Winter saw more deaths than any other season in the Berth. It was only a matter of time.

As soon as he stepped within the din and clutter of the markets, hawkers began to work their crafts.

"Fish! Fresh Fish! Only two silver sir, absolute lowest you'll find."
"Real charms and artifacts to keep you and your loved ones safe. Guaranteed!"
"Young man like yerself needs a dagger or two, no? Come on, wudya say? They're cheap but finely made, don't pass this offer up..."

Noven ignored them all for fear of bringing on a premature headache. He just strode determinedly forward, hands still stuffed in pockets, and glowered at anyone who looked like they were thinking about turning him into a target.

Absorbed as he was, alternating between glaring and outright ignoring, Nov almost missed the sight of a familiar figure. He had to slow down and double take, not trusting himself to speak until he was sure he had the right name in mind. The cook was good with faces but absolute shyke when it came to names.

Jade. That was her name. He could tell it was her, by the look of her dark features and surprisingly well-maintained hair. The lass had come by earlier in the season--well, more like he'd ordered her to stuff herself in a pantry to evade an angry pursuer--and proven herself to be genuinely interested in the happenings of the orphanage. Curiously enough, Jade seemed rather attached to Roan, the new babe that had been accepted into Sunset's care. And Thomas still hadn't stopped sighing over the thought of her anytime he thought no one was looking.

Normally, the cook would have found a way to avoid unnecessary contact. He was impatient enough as it was without having to make small talk with acquaintances along the way. But Jade had gifted the orphanage a goose not long ago...allowing them to feel like they were kings and queens feasting that night. It was no small gesture on the lass's part and Nov felt he ought to thank her for it.

That, and he could already see several shady characters eyeing the young woman greedily. Probably best he at least figure out what she was up to, coming to the markets all by herself, before deciding whether or not to stick around.

"Oy, Jade," he called out as he strode up to her and tapped her lightly on the shoulder. "Long time no see. Wutcha doin' out here in the markets? "

Some of the seedier looking predators sniffed or spat in disdain and moved away for easier prey. Nov showed no sign he noticed them, appearing solely interested in greeting the young woman.


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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Mirian Jade on November 25th, 2014, 10:04 pm

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For the first time in a very long time, Mirian was walking through the Seaside Market without nefarious intentions. Well, her definition of nefarious perhaps wasn’t one she would apply to her usual intentions; thievery was just a way to get by, after all, and it was probably one of the least nefarious kinds of nefarious intentions that one could have. Nevertheless, she wasn’t in the market to steal, at least not today.

She was instead searching for something to purchase, which was also an unusual event for her. Typically, the half breed would simply use five-fingered discounts on whatever it was she needed, be it food or money or… actually, those were really the only two things she usually stole. Or sometimes she stole trinkets to sell for money, but she counted that as money all the same. What she was looking for was altogether too large for her to dream of stealing, and besides, she had money to spend.

There was an unusual confidence to her step today, as well. She was becoming rather fond of the shortsword that swung at her hip, not only for the comforting weight but for the impression it gave to those that might wish her ill. It was true that she was barely able to swing the thing without cutting herself by accident, but it wasn’t like anyone else knew that. And she had her knife, too, just in case.

Even so, the presence of a weapon on full display didn’t manage to stop the hungry looks she received from those less moral than herself. Some hungered after her body, some hungered after her money, at least one probably hungered after the sword itself, but although she felt just a bit more confident now, it was still only a bit. She could act confident, though, and for the moment it seemed to be working.

“Oy, Jade,” came a sudden, unexpected voice that was followed by a sudden, unexpected tap on the shoulder.

Mirian whirled at the contact, half-ready to punch whoever it was who had touched her, but managed to recognize the voice and figure in time to stop herself.

“Noven!” she exclaimed. “God damn! Do you always touch people that can’t see you?” Taking a deep breath to calm down, Mirian couldn’t help a nervous laugh. “I guess this is a hello, then. Good to see you, Noven.”

She didn’t need to fake pleasure at his company, at least, even if it had come on in a less that stellar manner. She hadn’t seen him in a while, not since… well, not since that whole business with the kidnapping, she figured. She’d dropped off the goose at the Orphanage not two days before, but she hadn’t caught sight of him. And she’d be lying to herself if she said that it hadn’t left her just a little disappointed.

“I’m out here looking for a punching bag,” she replied. “Heard tell there was someone sellin ‘em and decided I want one for myself. What about you, then? You don’t strike me as the shopping sort.”
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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Noven on November 26th, 2014, 10:55 pm

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He watched her whirl, saw the punch coil midway, and remained standing where he was, grinning like an idiot. Touching people who couldn't see him...

Heh, heh.

Nov nodded at her greeting, then listened as Jade explained why she'd come to the market that day. It wasn't exactly shocking to discover her reason didn't involve theft or conning, seeing as how they were in public amongst the very victims she might decide to target, but it still surprised him. And intrigued him.

Punching bags...he could name a few people, himself included, who would find having one or two of those to be extremely useful.

Winter was approaching. That meant less time spent in the streets and more time spent sitting behind locked shutters and barred doors. Noven hated sitting. Almost as much as he hated the things that kept people indoors themselves come next season. Things like snow, and frostbite, and souls hungry enough to slit your throat for a loaf of bread. Almost as much, but not quite.

Still, having a punching bag would be a fantastic solution to miserable idleness. There were only so many potatoes to peel and orphans to yell at before it began to wear on his sanity.

"Me?" The cook shrugged, not wanting to explain exactly how his shirt and belt had gotten ruined. Echoes of pain still lingered. For now, it was better not to remember. "Not much. Just in need of some basics. Preparing for Winter and...stuff."

Ehh. Not the most detailed of explanations. But hey, at least he told the truth.

Well, parts of it, anyway.

"And you're right, about me not being the shopping sort. What gave it away? Was it the hole in my coat or the hundred different patches on my trousers?" Nov joked as he gestured for them to continue walking. It felt good not to be cooped up in that kitchen, shopping or no shopping. And Jade, with her pragmatic and occasionally cheeky manners, made for fitting company.

Briefly scanning various wares as they walked down the market, the man considered the potential of enlisting Jade for help. He hadn't bought a single, new article of clothing in years. And women were supposed to be better at this sort of thing, right?

"So, uh," Noven began, clearing his throat to hide his uncertainty, "I was thinkin', Jade. How's about we make a little deal? I don't know what kind of punching bag you're going for, but I'll be willing to bet it won't be easy to bring back. I could help you carry one..."

He trailed off for a moment, feeling slightly unwilling to confess what he needed help with. That he needed any help at all, period. But to hell with it. It was either ask, or waste more of his time off struggling on his own.

"...if you would be willing to, er, give me some advice. On my new Winter gear, that is. Wudya say?"


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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Mirian Jade on November 27th, 2014, 11:36 pm

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He had a positively wicked grin plastered on his face at her reaction. Mirian liked to think of herself as a good sport, though, and her startlement was fast fading, so she scrunched her face up in exaggerated annoyance as a response.

He shrugged at her question and gave an answer that really didn’t answer anything at all beyond that he was out here for “winter and stuff,” but Mirian couldn’t help a chuckle at his self aimed joke. The hole in his jacket or the patches on his pants?

“Somewhere between those and the sad looks the hawkers keep giving you,” she replied.

The two of them began walking down the market, and for a moment silence fell as each delved into their own thoughts. Mirian didn’t mind; of all people she had to find herself shopping with, Noven was probably one of the least unpleasant. She didn’t have to put up any acts around him, at least; he wasn’t some misty-eyed man she was trying to lure from his mizas, he was just Noven.

She turned with a quiet “Hmm?” as he spoke up, words somewhat awkward but words that nevertheless gained Mirian’s attention.

Advice on winter gear? What in the world did that mean? Gear, as in tools and weapons and things? That was a field that Mirian had little to no experience in, and she wasn’t certain exactly how much advice she could give him.

Unless he meant other things, like clothes or blankets or more personal things? Mirian might know more about those, though not by much. She only knew as much as any Sunberthian who had wintered in the city might know.

But then again, his offer of exchange was still a tempting one. She knew full well that finding a punching bag to purchase would be one thing and that getting it home would be another, and if worse came to worse she had been planning on emptying it of whatever filled it and then just refilling it when she was ready to set it up. But that would also be much more labor in the long run, and that was something she wanted to avoid if at all possible.

And Noven had just offered to help her avoid it.

And it wasn’t like Noven knew that she was probably incompetent at whatever he was asking her to do for “winter gear.” And it didn’t sound like he knew much about it, either, so it was entirely possible that she could indeed help him. Either way, she just needed to sound like she knew what she was talking about, and that was something Mirian knew how to imitate well. In exchange for help carrying a gods knew how heavy punching bag, it was hardly a steep price to pay.

With a shrug and a smile, Mirian spread her hands in agreement.

“I can sure try,” she said. “Just where is this ‘winter gear’ you need help with hiding out, you think?” Advice was lighter than a punching bag, so she figured that it was only polite to attend to Noven’s purchases first.
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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Noven on November 30th, 2014, 12:31 am

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When Jade neither laughed at his request or turned it down outright, the cook's shoulders loosened a little in relief. Most citizens of Sunberth wouldn't stop to give him the time of day, if they didn't skirt around him completely, let alone agree to help him with something as mundane as buying clothes.

Granted, he had worded his offer as if 'winter gear' was something far more complicated and masculine than it actually was. But Jade would figure that out soon enough; all she had to do was take one look at the kinds of wares to realize the truth. And when she did, Nov could only hope she wouldn't find the situation too amusing. He didn't know what it might do to his battered pride if she did.

"Well," the man responded, doing his best to hide any hints of dread, "first stop would be Old Mack's. His goods tend to be more reasonably price and not as likely to fall apart in your hands as soon as you leave, even if the bastard talks more than a hundred, hungry hens at feeding time."

As they wove their way through the crowd, senses habitually alert for any too-casual brushes or stares, Noven remained silent for a chime or two before deciding to speak again.

"You know, I never thanked you proper..." he confessed, shouldering his way past a fresh throng of customers, "...for helping with getting back the children. And for the goose, too."

His expression grew slightly wistful and his tongue salivated of its own will as he remembered the night they'd roasted Jade's offering. "It was damned good. Don't even know where you managed to find a bird that fat, but I was still dreamin' about it days after we'd eaten it. You should've seen the look on those runts' faces..."

Nov trailed off with a look of mild chagrin. They'd arrived at Mack's stall and he felt a bit ludicrous for having gone on as long as he had about a goose. Petching delicious as it had been.

"Well, here we ar--"

"Oy, Noven, my boy!" interjected a gruff voice from somewhere in the back of the heavily laden stall, followed by a hearty chuckle. Not long after, the grizzled head of a fellow who looked more boar than man emerged from the piles upon piles of garments, scarves, gloves, and shoes to greet his new customers. "Haven't see you in a while, kid. Thought you'd finally died in The Pits. Had it comin', if I don't say so myself. But hey! Good to see you're still alive."

Nov shook his head as he grinned and opened his mouth to speak, but Old Mack was plowing onto the next subject long before.

"And who's this fine looking lass? A special friend 'o yours?" he blurted, eyes widening at the sight of Jade. "I see you haven't been fooling around after all. And about damned time too, I should say. How long has it been anyway. A year? Maybe two?"

"Mack," the cook sighed, looking skyward before returning his exasperated gaze to the beaming old man. "Do us a favor, will ya? Make this quick and clean so I don't have to waste another tick of time my time dealing with this shyke." He nudged a thumb in Jade's direction. "Also, this here's my friend and occasional colleague, and if you've heard anything at all about the kidnappings, you'd do well to show her some respect."

Mack chuckled again and held up in his hands in mock defeat. "Alright, alright, we'll do things your way, as always."

When the old merchant looked toward Jade, however, his eyes took on a glimmer of sobriety and genuine regard. "Might I have the honor of knowing your name, miss? Since this fool of a boy was too busy admonishing a poor, old soul like myself to allow me the pleasure of an introduction."

Nov narrowed his eyes. It'd always unsettled him how smoothly Mack was able to talk once he put his mind to it.

"And I take it you're here to lend him a hand, eh?" the geezer grinned toothily. "No surprise there. This kid here's always been a complete disaster when it comes to clothes. Look at that filth he's wearing. Absolute nightmare. Old Calyn is probably rolling in her grave at the state you've fallen in, bless her soul."

It didn't escape Noven's notice that Mack had refrained from mentioning Nona. The old bastard had at least that much decency.

"Well then," Mack continued, clapping his far too wrinkled and calloused to be a mere garment seller's hands together. "What should we start with. A new shirt, or trousers? Gods know you need both."

Nov ground his teeth a little.

"Shirt," he practically spat.


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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Mirian Jade on November 30th, 2014, 7:54 am

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Mirian nodded along with Noven’s words in acknowledgement, although she didn’t have much to say in response. The name of their destination rang a bell or two, but she’d never had cause to step into the place herself and wasn’t quite sure what was sold there. She supposed she’d find out soon enough, though, and surely helping Noven with winter gear wouldn’t be too daunting of a task.

Then he moved on to other topics, namely to their previous interactions. And the goose. Mirian felt a small twinge of relief; she’d been half-worried that the man she’d handed it off to would run away with it, or the goose would run off on its own, or any of the other hundred things that might have kept it out of Noven’s hands and off the Orphanage’s tables.

His gratitude lay in the faraway thoughtlessness of his words, not fully spoken but clear nonetheless. And the kidnappings were another thing altogether…

“Ain’t something you need to thank me for,” Mirian said quietly. “Just trying to be decent.”

And her newfound decency was still too uncomfortable for her to think about, much less make sense of an accept. She hoped that Noven would take her relatively offhanded comment to heart, although it wasn’t like she’d put any particular emphasis on it. She wasn’t sure how to talk about it at the moment.

And thankfully, it seemed that she wouldn’t have to talk about it any farther at all. They’d arrived at Old Mack’s, apparently, and Mirian arched an eyebrow when she saw that it was a stall filled entirely with articles of clothing. Before Mirian could ask if this was what Noven meant by winter gear, a man erupted from the back of the place with a hearty and somewhat unclear greeting and recognition of Noven. It sounded happy, at least, although he didn’t seem particularly supportive of Noven’s… well, existence. But perhaps that was just how he greeted people in general?

As soon as one hello was done, the vendor turned and shot one at Mirian, making her blink. Her eyes crinkled in amusement at being labelled Noven’s “special friend,” although she refrained from a full smile out of respect for her companion; this was the second time someone had called her that, and she was wondering if it would be time to tease Noven about it when they were done here. After all, it sounded like Noven hadn’t had a special friend in quite some time.

But the past was past, and Noven had no compunctions about setting the old man straight. Mirian sobered, surprised, when he attached her to the kidnapping business and demanded that she be paid due respect. That was more than a tad unexpected, but… it certainly made her ego fluff up. Just a bit.

“Name’s Jade,” she replied, inclining her head. “An absolute pleasure to make your acquaintance.” If the old man wanted to talk smooth, there was no reason she couldn’t do the same.

The clothmonger returned to the business at hand, and Mirian’s suspicions were confirmed: Noven’s idea of ‘winter gear’ did, in fact, mean clothes.

The cook managed to grind out where they would start. A shirt. Simple enough, but too simple for Old Mack. As if amused by the younger man’s apparent sea of annoyance, the vendor turned to Mirian.

“A shirt,” he repeated. “Not too hard. What do you think, lass? You see a color you think would suit him?”

Mirian didn’t burst out laughing. But she really, really wanted to.

“Uh, I… don’t… know…” Every word was a struggle to keep her straight face, and she had to bite down on her tongue soon afterwards. Hard. She looked about the stall, and her eyes immediately landed on a red tunic. The dye was just a bit faded, but it was still clear and easy to identify. The sleeves were long, though, which was about as wintery as Mirian could advise, but red tunics in general just didn’t seem like Noven’s style. Which was exactly why she wanted him to try it on.

She didn’t trust herself to speak just now, not without breaking her already cracking mask of sobriety, so she just pointed at the article she had chosen, hoping to the Ukalas that he would try it.
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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Noven on December 1st, 2014, 5:56 am

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His rust-colored eyes darted from Jade to Mack to Jade again before scoping out all possible escape routes. This was a bad idea. Nov could tell just by looking at his shopping companion's mammoth efforts to keep her face straight. Not only had she figured things out, she'd also, judging from her now upraised hand, decided to play along. Mack glanced back at the tunic Jade chose and waggled his bushy eyebrows in approval.

Yep. Time to make a run for it.

Too late. The red garment was already flying his way. Noven caught it right before it draped over his face and yanked it downward to reveal a scowl of confusion. He looked at the tunic in his hands, then at Mack.

"So I'm just buying whatever she picks, then?"

The old merchant let loose a wheeze of laughter. "No, you sodding fool. You have to try on the thing first, don't you? Whatever it is you've been wasting your time with, it's got you beefing up twice as fast." He slapped one bear-like, weathered paw against Nov's left bicep. "What are you eatin' every morning, anyway, raw eggs and live orphans?"

Mack threw back his head and guffawed at his own joke. The cook might've found it funnier, had he not recognized the comments for what they were. All these years and the old man never failed to figure out what the troublesome youth was up to. Except this time, there were no gentle admonishments or twinkles of amusement in his eyes when Mack discovered what Noven intended to do after Nona's death. It was partly why the young man had avoided coming around this stall and purchasing desperately needed new clothes.

He couldn't face his old mentor's judgment. His disappointment. Nov needed every ounce of conviction he could muster to fulfill his ultimate vendetta.

But his clothes were in tatters and he couldn't very well fight naked.

Besides, he may never willingly admit it, but the cook was starting to miss the gruff old bear. The amount of people he could call friend numbered few enough to count on one hand. Those who were still alive, that is.

"Well what are you waiting for?" Mack practically roared. "Go on then, give it a try. Looks like it might even fit. Jade here's got a good eye it seems."

The merchant moved over, prodded his reluctant customer forward, and then stepped to stand beside Jade. Nov glared back warily at Mack, who had both, hairy arms folded over a chest burly enough to fit a keg. "Thought you wanted to make this quick and clean, eh?"

Sighing, the cook looked around for a relatively tall stack of clothes to strip himself behind. He picked one at random and, as soon as he was reasonably blocked, pulled his ragged shirt over his head. Two ticks later he was pushing his arms through the long sleeves of the new tunic as he stepped out for the others to see. It made him feel distinctly vulnerable, as if he wasn't wearing clothes at all, to have his appearance judged. Nov tugged down at the bottom hem self-consciously, straightening the fabric a little.

"Well?" he asked, coiling an arm back to test the fit. It felt strange wearing long sleeves and was slightly more restricting, but he could still move around well enough, and if they got in the way Nov figured he could always cut them off. Worst case scenario Mack would cuff him over the head for ruining perfectly good clothes.

Ye gods. He never thought he'd be asking this, but Nov could see no way around the subject. Better to just get the whole thing over with. Holding both hands out to his sides, the cook splayed his fingers, one eyebrow cocked as if daring one of them to laugh.

"How's it look?"


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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Mirian Jade on December 1st, 2014, 6:45 pm

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Well, he had asked her to help him. Those were the words Mirian repeated to herself as Old Mack sent the chosen tunic practically flying towards Noven’s face at a speed that had Mirian marveling that Noven didn’t flatten the old man out of reflex. Pulling the thing off instead, the cook gave a decidedly displeased scowl to the both of them and growled out something that wasn’t quite a protest, but was bordering it.

Mack laughed and pressed on, and Mirian came to realize that the two of them were sharing laughs like more than shopping acquaintances; they knew each other well. There was a gruff fondness to the ribs and jibes on both sides, hiding just beneath weathered exteriors and scarred masks. The thief felt oddly… privileged to see it, although she did her best to seem as if she hadn’t noticed. There were other things to focus on, after all, and Noven’s personal past was none of her business.

After a bit more egging on, Noven submitted to the vendor’s demands. After a moment of searching, the cook made his way behind a wall of clothing to try on the tunic properly, though he didn’t seem particularly happy about it.

It was partly a sense of mischief that moved Mirian’s feet towards the clothes he had hidden himself behind, though there was also some genuine curiosity. She moved as quietly as she was able, halfheartedly scanning the clothes themselves as if they were the reason she was growing closer to Noven’s dressing area. That was the story she’d stick to, anyway. As soon as she was within range, though, the façade was all but dropped; she craned her neck around the racks and piles, attempting to see what Noven looked like with his shirt off, but there were too many clothes and not enough time to find a way around them.

Noven emerged in the new tunic, strangely awkward in his motions, and stood for them to look at.

‘Well,’ indeed.

Mirian’s first thought was that Noven looked good in red. Her second thought was that he looked silly in large sleeves. Her third was that this was supposed to be winter clothing, so sleeves were important whether he looked silly in them or not.

She still really liked the way the color looked on him, though.

Mirian opened her mouth. Then she closed it. Paused. Opened it again.

“Red’s a good color,” she told him. That was the easiest thing for her to say for certain; Noven didn’t seem the sort to care for style as much as practicality, so she wasn’t sure what he’d think of the sleeves. Then again, they weren’t bad-looking as much as they simply… didn’t look like him.

In the end, Mirian chose to leave the rest up to Old Mack. He seemed to know Noven better than she did, so he was probably a better choice to handle the cook’s outer wear. Whether Noven would detest the sleeves or whether he just wouldn’t care was something Mirian knew nothing about; she thought it was alright, but this was them shopping for him, not her.

And in the end, it was his shirt and his money to spend on it, so it was his decision to make.
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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Noven on December 2nd, 2014, 7:45 am

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There was a strange look on Mack's face. On both of their faces. And was it just his imagination, or had Jade somehow gotten a hell of a lot closer?

The lass was the first to speak. It was a relief to know he didn't look a complete fool, assuming she was telling the truth. But suspicious activity had gone down...he could smell it in the air. And in the way Mack was eyeing Nov's shopping companion like she'd just done something infinitely amusing.

Brow furrowing, the cook look left, right, up, and down, trying to discern if anything was unusual or out of place.

Krysus. There was no way of telling.

"The young lady's right," Mack nodded, rubbing the underside of his bristled chin with thick, weatherworn fingers. The man was almost as dark as Noven, and where a person could get a tan like that so close to Winter was an utter mystery. At least to the likes of Nov's untraveled self, that is.

"The color suits you, lad. Wonder why you've never considered wearing red before..."

"Because it makes me stick out like a sore thumb," the cook answered honestly. "But it'll be covered by my coat most of next season, no doubt, so that shouldn't be a problem."

He turned to head back behind his makeshift changing area, then stopped mid-step as an idea struck him. "You got another one of these in, uh, something less colorful? And a belt. On second thought, make that two belts. Can't afford to lose my only one and be forced to wear ro--"

Realizing Jade was still present, Nov choked down the rest. He'd suffered enough embarrassment for one day.

"Aye, aye," the old merchant grumbled as he shoved his way through some more stacks of goods. "Whatever you want, your highness, just say the word and Old Mack will go fetch it for you. Honestly, kids these days...no respect..."

His voice trailed off as he disappeared into the over-packed stall. Noven snorted and rolled his eyes toward Jade. "Don't be fooled. It's just a stunt he pulls anytime there's a pretty face around. He thinks of himself as a real lady killer with his 'oh woe is me' grandpa act."

"I heard that!" roared Mack from somewhere in the hills of garments.

Nov merely grinned in response.

Not a chime later, the clothmonger was back, this time with a black, brown, grey, and dark olive tunic in the same cut as the red one, as well was a handful of belts. "Well, take your pick. Haven't got all day."

The cook fished out the black one and made to duck behind his garment tower once more. Normally, he would've just shucked off one thing after another, no damns to be given. But that was with Mack as the only witness. Jade's presence triggered years' worth of scoldings and lectures doled out by multiple matrons.

"You can pick the last color, Jade," he called out as he threw one tunic off to trade it for the other, "I'm feeling fashionable today."

Which was a lie, of course, he firmly told himself. No matter how invigorating it might've felt to be wearing new things. It was just practical to buy more in preparation for Winter. Who knew what kind of trouble he'd get himself into next? The thought of potential fights got him thinking about his most recent wound and Nov looked down, running his hand over the scar slashed across his stomach. Had circumstances been different, it would've just been one amongst dozens of others. But this one...this one held far more memory than most...

The man shook his head and resumed stuffing his arms through long, black sleeves. By the time he came back, old Mack had bundled two tunics and belts together and wrapped it all in one package.

"That'll be four gold and seven silvers for the tunics, and eight silver for the leather belts."

Noven raised his eyebrows, looking first from Jade to the merchant. "Should I even bother?"

"Nope."

With a non-plussed tch, he fished out the proper coinage and exchanged it for the bundle. "Good doin' business, you old bastard."

"Aye, kid," Mack nodded. Then he smiled at Jade. "And make sure to bring this charming lass with you the next time you come back in tatters. Which ought to be soon, knowing the likes of you."

Nov waved him off and exited the stall with neither long, over-drawn farewells nor fanfare. The clothmonger was right. He'd be back soon enough, no doubt, and looking even sorrier than he did before setting foot inside.

"So, to punching bags, then?" he suggested. Then Nov looked down at the package and asked, "What color did you pick, anyway?"




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Noven
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[Seaside Market] A Sunberthian Shopping Spree

Postby Mirian Jade on December 2nd, 2014, 6:05 pm

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After a tense pause that felt a bit more awkward than it should have, Mack continued Mirian’s observation. He didn’t make any mention of the sleeves, either, so the thief assumed that Noven would not care about them after all.

But there was still the matter of the something else in the atmosphere. Noven looked as out of the loop as she was, glancing suspiciously about the stall and between the two of them as if he feared they were plotting against him, so he surely wasn’t the cause… and why was Mack looking at her like she’d just told a joke?

Since she was not privy to the inner thoughts of the clothes vendor, all Mirian could do was stand and wonder.

Noven’s feeling towards the color of the shirt itself, well... they seemed lukewarm at best. Mirian pulled an exaggerated pout onto her face at the cook’s comments towards the one she had chosen, although it fell halfway through the word “rope,” instead changing to sympathy. She knew the woes of poverty; Noven wasn’t the only one who’d ever had to keep his pants up with a length of woven hemp.

Old Mack ambled off grumpily, mumbling about ‘respect’ and ‘kids these days,’ and Noven flashed her a knowing grin. Mirian smiled right back.

“I’ve heard worse ladykilling acts,” she assured both of them. At least he wasn’t trying to shove alcohol at her like so many of the men that decided they wanted her attention; for all his gruffness, Old Mack remained a gentleman. Or at least, as much of a gentleman as one could expect to find in Sunberth.

Something that could be just as easily said of Noven.

Old Mack bustled back, arms full of cloth and color. He offered his findings to the cook, who surveyed them and eventually selected the black one. He angled towards the cloth wall again, turning to toss one last offer at Mirian. One that made her blink with sudden indecision. She was already somewhat near to his makeshift dressing room, so she might be able to catch a snatch of shirtless Noven this time… or she could pick a tunic.

The decision was hardly a difficult one to decide in terms of enjoyability.

Mirian turned towards Old Mack as quickly as she was able and was greeted by a grin as wide as the Suvan. He knew exactly what her dilemma was. Mirian paused, gave a simple “Darker red?” and when she received a knowing nod, she returned to her previous pursuit. Around the piles, following the sound of skin on cloth, looking for just a peek…

… and a peek was just about what she got before she had to retreat. A flash of tanned skin, a glimpse of corded muscle and tendon, and then it vanished beneath black fabric and she had to take a hasty few steps back and find a way to make it look like she hadn’t just been doing what she had just been doing. She busied herself with a nearby pair of trousers that were a bit worn and altogether too small for her, but she couldn’t afford to be choosy. If staring holes into ill-fitting trousers had any chance of keeping Noven off of her scent, then that was what she would do.

He emerged in the black tunic––a color that suited him almost as well as red––and Mirian did her absolute best to look casual. She didn’t know how well it worked, but it wasn’t exactly like she could ask; she had to act like nothing was unusual and just hope for the best.

Old Mack had wrapped Noven’s purchases into a bundle, eyes still twinkling as he named the price. Noven glanced between him and Mirian, but she couldn’t break her mask of nonchalance. Not now. The money was exchanged, last words were exchanged and their business was done. The thief departed with a nod to Old Mack.

And that wasn’t an embarrassed blush creeping into her ears. Peeking at Noven was not blush-worthy.

It wasn’t.

Punching bags. Right. And the color?

“You’re the one with the package,” Mirian said. “Why not just look?” She was half-suspicious that Mack had chosen a shirt that was not dark red, and she didn’t want to risk giving herself away in case that was true. As for their other errand…

“This way, I think,” she continued, jerking a thumb farther up the Seaside Market. “A trinket trader. Shouldn’t be far. I don’t know how heavy it’s going to be, though; I haven’t exactly owned one before.”
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