Solo Business as Usual

Balancing a pregnant woman on the head of a pin.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Business as Usual

Postby Rosela on July 27th, 2015, 6:16 pm

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Timestamp: 5th of Summer, 515AV

”Ow. Oww.”

“Too hard?” Courlut looked up inquiringly, eyes bright and concerned through the mop of hair flopping over his forehead.

”No, it’s fine. That’s good, really.” Rosela reassured him tiredly, gesturing for him to continue with a free hand.

With a look of concentration she rarely saw on him, Courlut returned to rubbing her feet. Rosela sighed and returned her own attention to the mess of pinned silk draped over her massive belly. One hand pinched a tiny needle and wove it back and forth in miniscule stitches, the rest of her hands alternating between shifting the silk and keeping track of the almost-invisible silk thread. Her feet were laid on Courlut’s lap in front of her, perched as he was on the chair’s matching ottoman.

Finely manicured nails pushed the tip of the needle between the strands of silk weave in another stich, slowly drawing through, and out again. ”What are we having for dinner?”

The comforting hands on her feet stilled and she didn’t need to look up to know Courlut had stopped to stare intently at nothing. “It…it is…pie!” He announced proudly in his thick, Tukant accent, returning again to rubbing her feet. “Shephard’s pie. I remember.”

”Good. I like your pie.” Their talk was simple, as always, and it was how she preferred it. The needle descended again, a few, precious stitched behind the first, and wheedled its way between the weave once more. She was desperately thirsty, but she dare not touch the condensation of the cup next to her and risk it getting on the silk. For a time, the only sound in the house were the locusts outside. She worked in the shadowy interior of her home that day, not willing to make the arduous walk to the shop. The shadows were more comforting than Syna’s heady glare anyway.

A few more chimes and Rosela reached the end of the seam, and she knotted off the expensive silk thread carefully. ”Here,” she grunted as she sat up, and Courlut immediately placed her feet delicately on the cool stone floor. ”Hold this up.” Shifting the fabric so she held it by what would be the shoulders, she handed it to him. He held it up next to him with delicate fingers, looking back for her approval.

Rosela sighed and looked the dress up and down. It was a spring green silk sheath, intended for a Konti client of hers. There was some big to-do somewhere in the city, to which Rosela had not been invited. It was petty, but she resented knowing so many in the city through her business, yet being excluded from much of the social aspects for that very same reason.

”Drape it over the divan and help me up, would you?” Despite her thirst, her bladder was bursting, again, and she began shuffling towards the water closet.
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Rosela
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Business as Usual

Postby Rosela on July 27th, 2015, 6:16 pm

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Rosela groaned loudly as she eased herself back into the chair, now dragged over to the window to watch Courlut as he worked outside. The courtyard pond had turned swamp-like during the transition from Spring to Summer, and now Rosela would have the treat of watching her butler work on it shirtless.

The silk dress was once again laid across her belly, though now her needle was threaded with a length of thin wax thread. There was to be some mild ruching in the shoulders, and she didn’t want to risk marking the silk with a common cotton basting thread. Carefully folding the fabric with two hands, she worked the wax thread through the folds with another, holding them in place. Glancing up, she saw Courlut wipe sweat from his brow, leaving a swipe of green algae across his forehead.

With both shoulders held together with pins and basting threads, Rosela moved to rethread her needle with the fine silk thread. After it was knotted, she popped it into a pincushion as she picked it up. Two hands were already at work on the left shoulder, carefully rearranging the folds into strategically careless positions. Two fingers folded the edges under and she began pinning them in place under the edge of the back panel of the shoulder.

Outside, Courlut was moving with exaggerated care, hands clasped in front of him. Rosela paused in her stitching to watching him circle the pond and set down something small that immediately began hopping away – a toad. For a moment, she considered letting him keep some birdseed in the courtyard, as he’d once asked, but immediately dismissed it on account of the mess.

Back on the dress, she took the needle from the pincushion and began the same, painstaking backstitches she’d employed along the side seams. The extra layers of fabric from the shoulder ruffles made it difficult to manage her stitches thread by thread, but she moved through it with smooth efficiency. How many silk dresses had she made at the helm of Red Diamond? Hundreds? For a moment, her mind slowly spun around how long she’d spent in the city, how deep her roots there lay.

Then, the baby kicked against her belly underneath the silk and her own sundress and she was harshly reminded of the reality of her current relationship to the city. Her life was not her own, something that changed all too quickly. She still didn’t know the contract on her womb, whether more children would be demanded of her once this one finally fell out of her, squalling and screaming into the world. ‘Fell’ was likely an overly optimistic description; there was no denying that she should be so lucky to escape the ordeal intact.

A sudden knocking at the window wrenched her from her thoughts and she nearly pricked herself on the needle in her hands.

“Miss Rosela? You want to keep the, ah…” Courlut, messy and sweating from the high summer sun, dragged a dirty hand through his hair as he looked back at the pond. “The, the flowers? Lilies, yes?”

Rather than try to shout back through the glass, Rosela merely sighed and nodded. She supposed flowers would be nice.
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Business as Usual

Postby Rosela on July 27th, 2015, 6:17 pm

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“And…down.”

Releasing Courlut’s arm, Rosela settled into the kitchen nook with a groan. Two hands settled around her belly as the rest fussed absently with her hair. Even with Courlut assisting almost every move, she still felt exhausted. Even more so, knowing he was leaving soon. Tears sprung to her eyes and she fought them back enough for Courlut not to notice as he set the steaming bowl of shepherd’s pie in front of her. Her stomach turned with hunger.

“Have a good day tomorrow, Miss Rosela,” Courlut grinned down at her, oblivious to her brief descent into depression. She preferred him that way.

Her smile was enough to fool him into leaving after a peck on the cheek, blowing out the last candle as he left. The last of his footsteps faded to the front of the house and after the echoing boom of the front door, she was left alone with the shadows. They blanketed her in the dark and she drew a small comfort from it. Like Courlut, though for a different reason, they didn’t notice her sadness. Or if they did, they didn’t act on it. It was strange that she should surround herself with those who could support her every way but emotionally.

If she couldn’t stop herself from crying, at the very least she could keep it to herself. She’d gotten close to Hirem, hadn’t she? And just look how that had turned out. A nasty letter from the Oathmaster about not having “relations” outside of her contract – as though she’d even considered such a thing with Hirem. True, he’d been a friend, a good friend, and maybe someday she might have considered…after the baby had been born of, course… In any case, it didn’t matter now. She was on thin ice with the Oathmaster after her explosion at Likhren, and she had no interest in getting herself locked up.

Sitting in the dark, Rosela chewed her food automatically and without feeling, like the steady pedal of a spinning wheel. She could hear the hissing whispers of the shadows around her and she strained to listen. Bits and pieces fell around her like dead leaves and she wrapped herself in the small comforts of hearing about the mundanities of the outside world. Objectively, the information was useless, passed around with the strange diction of creatures not of normal society. The red one next to the box had fallen; the tall one made much noise; the three in the blue room moved in a circle.

The whispers had faded to white noise by the time she finished her food, and she shuffled in a slow, waddling gait to the other end of the house, towards her office. As ever, she still had work to do.

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Rosela
Bring me pretty things.
 
Posts: 906
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Business as Usual

Postby Rosela on July 27th, 2015, 6:17 pm

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Her office space had windows, so the shadows peered at her from corners and under boxes, banished there by the evening sunlight. With a groan, Rosela eased herself into her chair and attempted to compartmentalize. Whatever her feelings on her present situation, she had to stay on schedule.

Maternity wear was on the docket for the evening, and while she’d made maternity wear before, she’d never approached it with the same design precision as everything else. She didn’t care to cultivate the self-awareness to decide if she’d avoided it because it presented plenty of design difficulties, or she simply didn’t want to face the reality of pregnancy, but it was a market she wanted to dominate like any other.

Pulling out her basic sketching pencil, she drew out her female croquis, her basic figure to design upon, and added a large circle to the midsection – a pregnant belly. After a moment’s consideration, she erased the belly and redrew it, smaller. If she could design for the middle ground, she figured, it should be no problem to scale up or down.

Figure finished, her pencil hovered, hesitating. Where to start?

On impulse, she swiped a line over the bottom of the belly, where a shirt would normally fall. She wrinkled her nose at that, something that would just emphasize the width of the belly. There was certainly no hiding the belly, but no reason to emphasize it either. Erasing the line, she moved it to slant low over the hips, making the torso look more streamline. From there, the elements of the outfit were more familiar: a low bowl cut across the bust, a slight flare at the short sleeves.

For a moment, she considered the bottom hem again. Certain materials would stretch over a belly, but would it be comfortable? She made a mental note to try something that wasn’t fitted over the hops, but in the case of this shirt, she added small loops at either side of the hips, intended to be small ties. That way, the shirt could be just loose enough to fit over the belly, but could be cinched in at the hips. She’d figure out the colors later, but imagined the collar and the hem ties in a highly contrasting color, such as black to a red shirt, or white to a blue one. Noting her thoughts in Arumenic on the side, she looked over the figure again, humming in satisfaction.

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Business as Usual

Postby Rosela on July 27th, 2015, 6:17 pm

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Rosela’s exaggerated croquis was drawn hastily next to the other, long legged and with the small swell of a pregnant belly. Her only idea for this design was the option she failed to take with the previous design, a bottom hem that fell loosely instead of fitted to the hips. She added a wavy line low over the hips, still intended to lengthen the figure, and added a couple vertical lines to indicate the looseness of the fabric below the waist.

Biting her lip, she considered the drape of the shirt. Without some way to fit it in, it would fit about as well as a potato sack. Doing any fitting around the waist would defeat the purpose of the loose hem. The shoulders could be fitted, and she drew a close line over the shoulders, opting for a tank top instead of a t-shirt.

Experimentally, she draw a line between the bust and the belly, testing the waters of an empire waist. She’d created maternity wear with the high waist before, but did it truly work? Going over the design to erase spare lines and further define the shirt with some minor shading, she considered the effect of the waistline. It did give some definition to the shirt, and would allow for some additional bust support built into the shirt, an entire avenue she hadn’t considered. Keeping the shirt as a tank top would help keep it something light and airy, especially during the hot summer months.

She twirled her pencil over the bottom of the shirt, thinking on decorations to finalize the design. Vertical stripes would slim the overall look, but it would be a pointless effort with such obvious width. She drew stripes anyway, deciding almost right away that she was right. If anything, draping them over the belly emphasized it. Erasing them from the bottom up, she stopped at the bust, leaving the stripes there for a moment. It seemed to work there, and she erased the stripes from the sleeves to concentrate them over the bib area. If the rest of the fabric were solid, or even patterned, a couple thick, vertical stripes here seemed to draw attention away from the belly, without making it too obvious.

After some erasing and redrawing, she found the optimal stripe width: just four stripes across. As an afterthought, she added a small tie at the top, only to erase it again. Adding more decoration there crowded the area and defeated the subtlety of the stripes.

Sitting back, Rosela considered her two designs with a sigh, glancing out at the fading sun. Once she had the design principles down, she would need to return to timing herself when designing. While it was important she have a solid foundation, she couldn’t very well spend all evening on just a couple of items.

The baby suddenly kicked out, making Rosela grunt in discomfort. Looking down, she saw a hand, or perhaps a foot, shift under the skin of her belly. It sickened her, and she looked away. Her time could very well be running out, her life resting unsteadily in the hands of the invader in her belly.

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Rosela
Bring me pretty things.
 
Posts: 906
Words: 739794
Joined roleplay: August 24th, 2012, 7:54 pm
Location: Riverfall
Race: Eypharian
Character sheet
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Plotnotes
Medals: 8
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
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Business as Usual

Postby Kiva on February 2nd, 2016, 12:51 am

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Such a Beautiful Thread . . .

Knowing Rosela's story and her disgust with her body/invader baby, I really do feel for her. I think you write her response realistically and seeing Rosela try to make the best of it by designing maternity clothes was nice to read.


 
Rosela
XP
  • Art: Fashion Design | 2
  • Drawing | 2
  • Logic | 2
  • Planning |2
  • Writing | 1
  • Intelligence | 1
  • Singing | 1
  • Leadership | 1
  • Endurance | 1
Lores
  • Using Wax Thread For Silk
  • Designing Maternity Clothes
  • Feeling Emotional During Pregnancy
Miscellaneous
  • N/A


. . . I brought it a Treat.
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