Solo Business as Usual pt.2

Pregnancy has its perks…actually, no. There are no perks to pregnancy.

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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 pt.2

Postby Rosela on July 30th, 2015, 12:08 pm

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Timestamp: 7th of Summer, 515AV

”A little to the left…more…right there. Thank you, gentlemen.” Two hands resting over her belly, Rosela nodded cordially to the two Akalaks who lingered in her workroom. The door was propped open for the delivery and so Hudon could hear everything, but Rosela was unconcerned about being alone with them. Their eyes lingered long and often upon both her belly and the gold undan not quite hidden by the rest of her gold bangles. For all the pain and anger that her pregnancy had brought upon her, the protection from all Akalaks but her Talvis was at least a small upside.

The second Akalak, a tall, violet man with muscles the bulged attractively under his shirt, straightened the ottoman and smiled at her. “Will that be all then?”

He was just the type she would have made eyes at once upon a time. The face of a once-upon-a-time sweetheart surfaced in her mind’s eye and she banished it quickly. She hadn’t thought about Xalet in years, and she wouldn’t start romanticizing now. ”Yes, thank you. My clerk will have your payment at the front.” Stepping back, she gestured through the open door with a hand.

The other Akalak nodded once and proceeded through it, but the violet one lingered, once again glancing at her undan. “You’ve made some lucky Akalak a proud man.” One hand raised and stopped just shy of touching her wrist. Rosela’s heart twisted in disgust, but he spoke again before she could voice it. “After…you know,” He looked pointedly at her belly. “Maybe you and I could –“

”Your payment,” Rosela began forcefully, desperately wanting to, but refusing to move away. ”Is at the front.” Her face was a carefully chiseled stone mask.

The Akalak frowned, opened his mouth to say more, but thought better of it and left the room. With an unceremonious kick, Rosela dislodged the door wedge behind him, swinging the door closed. With a rush of air, she was safely alone. She wondered if Hudon would take the violet Akalak to task for bothering her, though he couldn’t have heard what it was about. Mid-thought, she realized she didn’t care.

With a sigh of relief, Rosela lowered herself into her newly-delivered rocking chair and heaved her aching feet up onto the ottoman. Even after that small amount of standing, her feet were throbbing. The gentle rocking of the chair soothed her nearly to sleep and she stretched languidly.

Snatching up a bundle of cloth before she did fall asleep, she arranged it carefully over her belly and reached again for the pincushion.

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Business as Usual pt.2

Postby Rosela on July 30th, 2015, 12:08 pm

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Rosela moved her hands in slow, looping unison, a needle clasped in either of her middle hands, and the fabric held in the other four. She could only sew in tandem when both hands performed the same motions, and had long since given up trying to change that. Though it meant she had to move slower than when she used one hand, being able to do two lengths of seams at once more than made up for it. She couldn’t imagine how tailors with only two hands managed to keep up.

Her mind wandered as she went through the motions, this day not unlike so many others. The quiet dark around her, the faint sounds of activity from the front, the warm needle between her fingers, the familiar sound of thread moving through cotton. Together, her hands pulled the needles out and she listened to that very sound as the stitch pulled tight. Her two upper hands shifted to take the needle back through the fabric, pulling once more.

How many days had she spent here, doing this very action? In this shop, in this very room? Supplies, styles, even employees came and went, only she remained. Remained, but…changed. She paused to glance down at her stomach, only to quickly force herself to continue. She’d come to Riverfall in the summertime, near the end of the season. At the end of the current season, it would be a full three years. Three long years in this city. Kuvan. Respected member of the community. Businesswoman and entrepreneur. And now, about to deliver one of the city’s precious, wretched offspring. They may have marked her forever as one of their citizens, but it was so easy for them to forget, wasn’t it?

All at once, she felt the tears come and she sniffled miserably. A walking womb is what she was to them. Even already pregnant, she wasn’t free of it. How could a city that had been a shelter and haven for her do this?

A hiccup escaped and she dabbed at her face with a hand, dropping the sewing for a moment. She’d cried so many tears over her sorry situation, no need to cry more. The child would be out of her soon. Perhaps then, the tears would stop.

Sniffing once in an attempt to drown out the mood swing, she resumed sewing. Ten men’s trousers were her goal before lunch, the start of her autumn line. Each was heavy cotton and required double backstitching along the side seams for durability. There was plenty of work to do yet, and tomorrow would be the same. And the day after that, and the day after that…

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Business as Usual pt.2

Postby Rosela on July 30th, 2015, 12:08 pm

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She was so close…almost there… Her fingers barely brushed the edge of the scissors. The tip of a nail starched futilely against the handle. Grunting, Rosela sat back with an irritated huff. Was she truly going to have to get all the way up to get them? Leaning forward again, straining against her boulder of a belly, a thin groan was squeezed from her throat as she reached over the table. The scissors remained resolutely out of reach.

Losing all grace, Rosela tossed the trousers in her lap aside, along with the ends of her dress, and heaved herself out of the chair. She had half a mind to chuck the scissors across the room, but she wouldn’t enjoy having to retrieve them, if she could even make it to the floor and back up again. Gingerly sitting down again, she lifted the first of the trousers she’d made and began clipping stray threads. She’d do the hems afterwards, then the fly buttons and button holes, then the belt loops. So much work for pants, something she would have never had to make in Ahnatep. Dresses and kilts all the way, far simpler and, in her opinion, better looking.

Seams clipped and tidy, she set the scissors aside, well within reach this time, and rethreaded her needles. Awkwardly putting a hand in each pant leg, she began running stitches around the circumference. They were not as sturdy as backstitches, but they looked better, since they would be visible from the outside. Herringbone stitches, her usual stitch for hems, were too fragile for men’s pants, especially the men of Riverfall. Every year she attempted to put a few articles away for the springtime trade with Endrykas, but she’d yet to find a method of storing them that didn’t make it obvious they’d sat in a box for two seasons.

Two seasons. It was difficult to think so far ahead. She wouldn’t be pregnant anymore by then. In fact, she was due to ‘not be pregnant anymore’ in a fairly short time. How could she think of her life after? Rosela felt in that moment that she had always been pregnant, and somehow always would be. What would her life be without the crying, the gold undan on her wrist, and the child in her belly? Without the child… What would happen to it, anyway? It was something she was supposed to negotiate with Likhren, the beast, but she couldn’t stand to be near him. As loathe as she was to do so, she should have counted herself lucky – Likhren was awful, but he could have been much, much worse. The Oathmaster was not happy to hear she’d driven him off.

Likhren had given her space, probably because in the end, he was getting what he wanted – a child. He’d get the respect he always craved, and Gods would have to lay mercy upon the next Nakivak the man took. Hopefully, that one would at least be conscious.

”Ah!” Rosela cried out in alarm and pain, immediately dropping the needles and staring at the small droplet of blood on her index finger. Popping the finger into her mouth, she stared at the pair of needles dangling morbidly at the ends of their threads.

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Business as Usual pt.2

Postby Rosela on July 30th, 2015, 12:09 pm

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Even so late in her pregnancy, goat cheese was still euphoria for her taste buds. In her life, she’d never craved something so much, let alone cheese. Beef jerky was the same, but the goat cheese was what made it.

If only cheese weren’t so miserably fattening.

Rosela sighed in pained euphoria as she chewed, relishing the tang of the cheese. After she’d begun ballooning early in her pregnancy, she did her best to limit fattening foods, but by the gods, she couldn’t go without her beef jerky and goat cheese sandwiches.

Trouser supply now finished for the day, she turned her mind to design work. Her two biggest holiday sales in autumn were the Fire Festival and Beautyfest, and she intended to be well-supplied for them this year. Both offered unique challenges she had to design around, and she hoped her extra time preparing would benefit her when the time came. Beautyfest could easily, and indeed would, require several bells of design on its own, simply for the sheer number of styles she would need to create. The Fire Festival, in contrast, offered her the chance at a contract from the city for creating the fire dancer’s robes.

Because the event took place at night, that meant subtlety was out the window. Anything designed would have to be comfortable to sit in, as well as free of any trailing ends that could get snatched by the flames. They would have to be light enough that the wearer wasn’t sweating buckets while juggling the flames, but not so light that they billowed away and into the fire. It was a narrow box to design in, but she knew with the certainty she felt in all her work that she was up to it.

Sitting as close to the table as she was able, she sharpened her pencil with a few flicks of the knife and began drawing. She started with the basic male croquis, a sketch of the body, and paused to consider from there. The type of clothing would be determined by the requirements of the job it was for:

Sleeves? Short or none at all, as these would be the pieces closest to the flame. Perhaps something stylish that attached to the wrists instead?

Pants or robe? They were typically long robes, which contributed to a more solemn feeling of their duty. Too long though, and they would contribute to tripping. The event was on the beach as well, so maybe something kapri length?

Two piece or one? Two pieces would make the look more casual, and it would be more difficult to create a streamline design. One piece would be necessary, so long as it was easy to get in and out of.

Basic questions decided, Rosela turned again to the croquis. With light, quick lines, she sketched out lines from the waist, making a dress-like appearance. She stopped mid-calf and connected the lines in the front. Drawing up from the waist then, she hugged the body until she flared out slightly at the biceps to create a loose short sleeve. Before she even drew the neckline, she didn’t like the idea. It looked too much like putting a sundress on a man.

Moving to another section of the page, she drew another croquis. Going with pants instead, she sketched out straight, loose pants cut off at the calf, as the robe had been. She’d liked the form fitting torso, so redrew that as well, but then finished it as sleeveless. The look wasn’t bad, so she added a low V-neck to complete the look. After a second thought, she erased the neckline and redrew it much lower.

She liked it, overall. It had a lot of potential, and she was sure the Akalaks would like it, as it gave plenty of space to breath and show off sweaty muscles. As an afterthought, she added three small circles, buttons, in a row below the apex of the neckline. Looking it over once more, she decided on it and continued onto the rest of the design.

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Business as Usual pt.2

Postby Rosela on July 30th, 2015, 12:10 pm

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Shifting to another section of the page, Rosela drew two more croquis with the robe design already on them. She could very well only need one more, but she didn’t like to allow herself to only draw one idea. Her seconds were usually better.

On the original croquis, she picked out her orange pencil and began doodling in loose, fluttery flame patterns along the bottom hem of the pants. It was her original idea for the design, saved for when she got to this stage. It would have to be painstakingly embroidered, but hopefully the effect would be well worth it. The rest, she assumed would be black cotton, and she made a note to this effect in Arumenic to the side. To distribute the color a little more, she added a ribbon of orange at the hem of the arm holes and the neckline, creating an inconspicuous band of color at each point.

With one idea more or less complete, she moved onto the next. She wanted to try something that brought the focus to the waist, instead of the extremities. Without thinking too much about the exact placement of them, she drew flames fanning out from the navel, spreading out like wings laid across the cloth. It was an interesting effect, bringing a lot of focus to the center of the body, as planned, but it ultimately looked strange. She erased some of the longer tendrils along the body to make the effect more muted, but then it just looked like one’s stomach was on fire. Casting off the idea as broken, she marked her preference with a small ‘X’ in the corner of the area.

She hesitated starting the third idea, tapping her pencil on her chin as she slumped over her belly onto many elbows propped up on the table. She knew there was something better on the line of bringing the attention to the center, she just had to think of it. Instead of adding something to the cloth, she could add more cloth? Accessories and the like. With that in mind, she began drawing short, arced lines around the hips, building up a wrapping of draped orange cloth there. It was visually connected at the navel, and she switched the orange pencil quickly for her regular to add another button down to it. A bit of fine-tuning with the eraser removed any extra puff from the wrapping, to make sure the men didn’t end up with too womanly-looking hips. Taking up a rust colored pencil, she added another layer to the wrapping – a thin band of color, off of which, small containers were hung. She imagined water could be kept there, or some fire retardant solution she assumed they had. The look was less refined, and somehow seemed more in line with the more casual setting of the festival.

Looking over her two likeable designs, Rosela surprised herself by leaning towards the last. Not only would it be significantly less work to not need embroidery, work that would be essentially wasted in the dim light, she felt the spirit of the festival was more in this one. She smiled to herself as she looked it over once more, and drew out a clean sheet to do the final, submitable draft on.

Ledger & Note :
Rocking Chair (Arm Chair, Fine) – 20gm
Ottoman (End Table, Fine) – 2gm
Total: -22gm

*There’s no mention that the Fire Festival takes public entries for their fire dancer’s costumes, but I figured they have to get them from somewhere? I obviously will not assume her entry was chosen, though I will mention it to the presiding ST when the festival comes around.


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Rosela
Bring me pretty things.
 
Posts: 906
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Business as Usual pt.2

Postby Kiva on February 2nd, 2016, 1:19 am

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Such a Beautiful Thread . . .

Your writing has very nice details that give it "oomph". and each post feels fresh, even when your character is doing the same activity of designing. It makes reading your job thread very easy to enjoy.

 
Rosela
XP
  • Planning | 3
  • ArtL Fashion Design | 2
  • Drawing | 2
  • Writing | 1
  • Business | 1
  • Logic | 1
  • Philosophy | 1
  • Leadership | 1
  • Interior Design | 1
Lores
  • Rejecting Akalak Advances
  • Rosela: Kuvan or Walking Womb?
  • Business: Considering Future Opportunities
Miscellaneous
  • I always appreciate characters who go through the trouble of calculating ledger expenses correctly. You've already done the leg work, so thanks!


. . . I brought it a Treat.
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