Material Girl

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on May 31st, 2016, 6:43 pm

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88th Spring, 516AV

Amelia was hunting.

And like any good huntress, she employed a method to improve the likelihood of her making a successful kill: divide and conquer.

She had sectioned off part of the field, narrowing down the area her selected prey might be found in and thus increasing her chances of coming out victorious. She had even employed the services of a helper, to filter out the weak and lame so she could focus on the plumpest, healthiest of prey.

Her eyes were sharp and critical, watching her comrades’ every move as they herded and swept the potential victims into two herds. Neither of them could afford a mistake at this critical point

“No no no!” She barked, jabbing out a finger towards the timid-looking woman who was wrestling with a mannequin almost as large as herself. “Didn’t you hear me? I said this was a wedding. White material is needed white! That’s ivory, you dolt!”

He words were harsh and brutal, but Amelia held no prisoners when it came to hunting out a material to make a dress out of. She too great pride in her designs, and only the best would do. “Sorry Amelia.” The woman murmured, her cheeks flushing and her teeth grazing nervously on her bottom lip. The mannequin, which was swathed in white ivory taffeta, was lumbered to the left side of the room, where the other rejected materials had been unceremoniously dumped.

Amelia’s greedy eyes were focused on the other side of the room, which was a world of delicate white lace and silk. Dozens of rolls of material were laid preciously out on top of the several tables that Amelia (though more her unfortunate assistant) had pushed together to create a large working space for the fashionista. She licked her lips hungrily, a lioness eyeballing a juicy deer that was ripe for the killing. “That’s okay, Isobel. I know I can be demanding, but it’s only because I want the best.”

The girl made a feeble noise that was intended to argue against Amelia’s declaration of being a diva, but Isobel knew better than to disagree with the seamstress. Amelia Trisswell was a force to be reckoned with at the best of times, armed with a sharp tongue and an eye that seemed to be gifted in picking out the traits or features you were most self-conscious about. Within the first thirty ticks of them meeting that evening, Amelia had identified Isobel’s chin, eyebrows, height and posture in a single sentence (“Well, I suppose the only way to balance out that chin is with those eyebrows, but do stand up straight, a girl like you can’t afford to lose precious inches from slouching!”). When this sudden cruelty had bought tears to Isobel’s eyes, Amelia had given a smell tsk and commented further on Isobel’s emotionality (“Oh, don’t start with the tears, I’m far too exhausted. People are going to say things much worse to you than that, and I’m family.”)

Some petchin’ family, Isobel had thought bitterly as she watched her cousin flounce off into the store, humming merrily away to herself and completely oblivious to the severe insults she had just delivered to an already self-conscious thirteen-year-old girl. They were not close, the two cousins, and on Isobel’s account. Amelia was not only intimidating, but seem out rightly cruel at times. She seemed to take great pleasure in picking apart other peoples’ appearances, with no care or interest in how it made them feel. And though she did not appear to appreciate how blessed she was in terms of natural prettiness or grace, Amelia gave the impression that whatever good looks she did possess were of her own effort, and nothing to do with her father’s impressive bone structure or her mother’s pretty eyes.

Ah, the eyes: the single trait shared between Isobel and her tyrant of a cousin. They were also shared between their mothers, who were sisters. Amelia’s mother Jona was three years older than Juliette, but they had been close as girls. When Jona married Cliff – a wealthy foreigner who would sire Amelia – a distance had grown between them. Isobel remembered how her mother would sigh and sway at the memory of her beloved sister, lamenting the close geographical distance but vast emotional. When Cliff decided to run off with a girl barely older than Isobel was at the time, the young girl remembered feeling smug. Her own parents’ marriage was perfectly well, a humble and romantic relationship that had culminated in three children and fresh roses always being placed on the dining room table. Oh, how the mighty would fall without Cliff’s healthy income and lavish lifestyle!

Of course Isobel’s smugness had avenged her in the form of Amelia. Those bi-yearly meetings, which had been filled with awkward silences and humdrum conversations, were suddenly replaced with weekly lunches, dinners and even breakfasts. The girls were expected to play nicely whilst Jona and Juliette filled each other in on their lives. And now Isobel was expected to help her bully of a cousin work, simply because she had made the casual comment of that woman’s dress is nice to her mother. Juliette had been delighted in this apparent shared interest between the cousins, stating that Isobel must simply ask Amelia for any guidance in the fashion industry! When Isobel backtracked and explained that she really had no interest in such a mundane and pointless venture, her mother had interpreted honesty with shyness, and instead took it upon herslef to organise a cousin day out! for Isobel and Amelia.

And here I am. Isobel thought miserably as she tugged yet another roll of material to her cousin.

“Nope, no way! That’s the wrong shade of white. Totally wrong! Are you blind?”
Last edited by Amelia on June 30th, 2016, 3:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on June 28th, 2016, 8:13 pm

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Unable to stop herself, Isobel rolled her green eyes and stared challengingly into Amelia’s own, “How can it be the wrong shade of white? White is white.”

The seamstress chortled, threw her hands in the air and pleaded with ceiling, “Gods, why do you punish me? Why do you give me this cousin who is not only a dolt, but a blind dolt? What have I done to deserve this?”

Thrilled at the opportunity to answer that very question and finally tell her cousin what she thought of her, Isobel opened her mouth. But Amelia had darted to the right side of the room, holding up two rolls of identical-looking material. “You are honestly telling me that these two colours look the same to you?” Confused by this challenge, Isobel glanced to the roll of white lace and the roll of white cotton held up by her cousin. Was this a trick question?

The sound that escaped from Amelia was not human, but pure frautrated animal. “Urgh! How can you even be interested in fashion if you can’t tell the difference between brilliant white and pure white?”

Because I’m not a brainless moron who trots around thinking that fashion is the only thing that matters in the world.

Isobel managed to swallow down here rage and instead plodded back to the rear of the store. “Last one.” She murmured glumly, bringing back with her another roll of material.

To Amelia’s credit, her brattish outbursts were forgotten as quick as they appeared. Her expression softened slightly, her lips pouting in concentration as she carefully investigated the material. She laid a manicured hand upon the lace. “Possible. Very possible. It’s not quite pure white, but not as blinding as brilliant white, either.” (At this stage Isobel merely kept herself lips sealed, knowing better than to ask for the difference between the two) “It’s almost soft white, but there appears to be a silver thread weaved in with the rest.” Amelia stooped down, bringing her gaze level with the material in the same way a jeweller investigates a gem. After a chime, and stood upright and gifted Isobel with a smile. “I like it. Put it on that side.”

Isobel half-lifted, half-dragged the roll to the tables, huffing and hefting the weighty lace onto a clear space. “What now?”

Please say I can leave. Please say I can leave.

Still beaming, Amelia clapped her hands enthusiastically. “Now we need to calculate how much material I’ll need, how much it will cost, and whether I can get a good deal on it. If not, back to square one!” Her hands dropped to the cluttered desk she stood at, before they searched through the piles of parchment, lumps of charcoal and samples of materials. “I just… need to find the design for this wedding dress. I wrote down the bride’s measurements…” Her voice was lost to distraction and concentration. A moment of searching, and Amelia soon grew irritated. “Shyke! I could have sworn it was here. It’s not on that table, is it?”

Isobel glance dbehind herself, eyeing the rolls and rolls of whiteness that stared back at her challengingly. The idea of wrestling through all that material (single-handedly, because Amelia never did the heavy lifting herself) was enough to make her lie. “Nope! Not here. Could you have left it elsewhere?”

Amelia’s waved a hand helplessly in the air. For the first time, Isobel heard what her cousin sounded like when she was worried. “Oh, there’s always little cupboards and boxes filled with designs. But I wrote down the words don’t throw away! Design for the McLennan bride! On this one. It wouldn’t have been scrapped.” Her bottom lip was nibbled anxiously. “Look in the drawers on those tables, will you?”

Not a please or thank you in sight, Isobel huffed as she turned away from her cousin and crouched down. Each of the tables featured a pair of small drawers directly underneath the table top. The first two that Isobel slid open contained nothing but thimbles, thread and needles. The third was filled with ripped pieces of silk in every imaginable colour. The fourth was most promising:

“There’s some pictures here.”

“Designs, not pictures. I’m not a child.” Amelia huffed.
Last edited by Amelia on June 28th, 2016, 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Amelia
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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on June 30th, 2016, 3:10 pm

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Isobel bit her tongue to stop herself from coming back with a poisonous retort. She began to work through the pieces of parchment, all of which were crinkled and torn, as if they had been ripped or screwed up in a moment of frustration. Half-finished sketches of women in fabulous dresses, men in smart shirts and jackets, and feathered hats flittered past Isobel’s gaze as she sifted through the papers.

And then a different picture: a large rectangle featuring an archway in the centre at the side. Isobel frowned, tilted her head and then turned the paper to a different angle. Certainly not a dress – but what had her mindless cousin been sketching now?

It was a building.

That archway was a door, Isobel eventually realised. And the squares were windows, with the shaded in rectangles underneath flowerboxes.

There was a sign above the door: ATB.

Isobel remained quiet, puzzled as to why her cousin had taken to designing buildings. Had Amelia decided to play architect now? The thought made Isobel grimace as she imagined the type of structures her cousin would design.

There would be pink everywhere in the city…

The puzzle deepened when Isobel turned the paper over. On the reverse side was a collection of other rectangles and squares, all of different dimensions. Most featured writing inside: changing room, occasion wear, children and baby, candles, make-up.

“What are you doing?” Amelia’s voice was terse and snapped Isobel’s concentration in two. The girl glanced slowly up to her blonde cousin, the confusion evident on her face. But Amelia misread Isobel’s perplexity for something else, something critical or even cruel. She snatched the paper out of Isobel’s limp hands. “You shouldn’t be going through peoples’ stuff. I asked you look for something, not to root through my things like a pig looking for truffles. Don’t you have any appreciation for privacy?”

Still silent, Isobel gazed at the confusing piece of paper that was now clutched preciously to Amelia’s chest. And then the kina dropped. “It’s a shop.” This realisation did not explain what the sketch was doing in her cousin’s possession, though.

“And? You think it’s stupid, do you? You think I should just spend my days sitting here, making wedding dresses for ugly brides and trousers for their perverts of a fiancé? The inner leg measurement only needs to be taken once!” Amelia’s voice reached a new level of emotionality and speed. The words tumbled out of her mouth like she was a mad woman, which, as she rambled on, she was dangerously close to becoming. “Well, I’m sorry but I want more from life that that. This, this is what I want—” The scrap of paper was waved manically in Isobel’s face. Amelia’s cousin could only make out those three letters, ATB, at the top of the page before it was snapped away again. “You’re only a child, Isobel, so what dreams and wishes could you have? But you mustn’t judge people for wanting more than life. It’s not a bad thing, or stupid. It’s. It’s admirable, if anything.”

Amelia had finally stopped talking, but her chest rose with every heavy breath, and her hairline was filmed lightly with sweat. Isobel had never seen her cousin sweat before, and had even started to hypothesise that, because of all the layers of make-up over the years, it was simply an impossibility. But as she watched her cousin try to regain her lost professionalism and sanity, Isobel felt closer to Amelia than ever. “You want to open a shop?”

Amelia snorted, shaking her head silently.

“I’m not making fun. I honestly didn’t realise. I never knew you wanted to open a store.”
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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on June 30th, 2016, 3:21 pm

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“Not a shop. An emporium. Of beautiful things. Clothes, make-up, candles, perfume, jewellery. I want to create a world inside this one that lacks the ugliness and pain of real life.” Though Amelia now spoke quietly, slowly, there was something about her tone of voice and the tightness of her jaw that made Isobel realise just how determined she was. This was no idle daydream that Amelia had sketched out on a quiet day in the office. This was a constructed plan, an entire world.

“What does ATB mean?”

The faintest of smiles touched Amelia’s eyes. All Things Beautiful, what I plan to call to my world. I named it after myself.”

Isobel almost groaned. Of course you did. But something didn’t quite make sense. Frowning, Isobel realised that something needed clarifying: “Your name is Amelia Trisswell. AT. Not ATB.”

“Yes, well.” Amelia’s green eyes – mirror images of Isobel’s own – flickered to the carpeted floor below. When she next spoke, Isobel was surprised that her cousin did not sound like a demaning tyrant as before, or even an aspirational young woman. She sounded like a hurt child. “I don’t want to be Amelia Trisswell anymore. Not after my…” She swallowed, eyes still glued to her feet, “not after he left. I want to change my name to Amelia Trisswell-Barker, to take up my mothers’ maiden name. I refuse to be just a Trisswell, but I refuse to run away from the name, either.”

For the first time in her life, Isobel felt sorry for Amelia. The girl couldn’t imagine how she would feel if her father left her mother, destroying their marriage and family in one single act of adultery (or, as in Cliff Trisswell’s case, several acts). Before it had been impossible for Isobel to imagine her cousin emotionally effected by her father’s departure. Yes, Amelia would miss the luxury and wealth Cliff bought with him. But Isobel had done her cousin a grave injustice in assuming that was all she cared about.

“I think that’s fair enough.” Isobel said quietly. She had never liked her uncle Cliff, anyway.

Amelia said nothing. The infinite space that had separated the two cousins had been shrunken, just slightly. They were now mere universes apart. Isobel turned awkwardly back to the table, sifting through the remaining sheets of paper. “Here’s that draw—sketch. The design you were looking for.” She passed over her shoulder a charcoal-sketched image of a redhead in a white gown.

“Ah, yes, perfect! Bring that last roll of lace, will you? Lay it out of the floor as much as you. I’ll get the tape measure.”

And with that, Amelia bustled off into the rear of the store, head held as high and proud as before. Isobel watched her go, wondering if perhaps she’d just imagine the last conversation with her cousin. It was dangerous to attach words like human and vulnerable to Amelia, so Isobel was wary. Regardless of her cousin’s desires or dreams, she was still largely unpleasant to work with, let alone be related to.
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Amelia
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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on June 30th, 2016, 8:02 pm

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Five chimes later, Amelia was on her hands on knees, uncoiling a thin strap of material along the length of the lace. The infamous sketch lay on the carpeted floor beside her. Every so often, she muttered to herself.

“Bride is five foot, two inches tall. Five inches from shoulder to armpit….”

With one hand on the tape measure, Amelia twisted herself around and made a note on the parchment piece. “Meaning that I need four foot eleven inches of material for the dress to reach the floor…”

“Four foot nine.” Isobel murmured quietly, craning her neck to see the notes her cousin furiously wrote down. “And do you want me to write? That position doesn’t look comfortable.”

Amelia glanced up as if surprised at Isobel’s presence. The sudden movement of her neck caused her muscles to twitch and crick. Wincing, she nodded and surrendered the charcoal piece to Isobel, who crouched down beside her. Touching her neck delicately, she explained. “I add on two inches for heeled shoes. What’s her upper bust measurement?”

“Thirty-five inches.”

Amelia measured thirty-five inches across the horizontal of the lace. Twisting back to face Isobel she asked, “a quarter of that is... Eight?”

“And three quarters. Why…?”

“Some brides loose weight before their wedding, others stress-eat.” This was offered matter-of-factly to Isobel, but it didn’t wholly answer her question. At her cousin’s puzzled face, Amelia sighed. “I always add a quarter of the original measurement when cutting the material, just a precaution in case I make this gown and it’s too small. With bridal gowns it’s always best to air on the side of caution. Plus, I believe this design will feature a corset back, yes?”

“Um…”

“In which case, I’ll need the extra inches to close. I’ll add an additional nine, just in case.”

With another piece of charcoal, Amelia made a faint mark on the lace at the designated measurements. “So four-foot eleven by three-foot six. Write that down, please. Can you see the label on the end of this roll?” She nodded up to the far end of the laid out lace. On one end of the wooden roll that that lace was wrapped around was a small piece of parchment attached by a thin piece of thread.

“It says 45Ki.”

“Make a note of that, please. That’ll be the price per yard, which is equivalent to three feet. So this dress will cost…”

Amelia held out her hands. Mathematics had never been her strong suit, and usually she had the assistance of Mae or Lae Tsang to help her calculate area and costs. “Four times three is…. Twelve…”

Petch, now I’m stuck.
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Material Girl

Postby Amelia on June 30th, 2016, 8:19 pm

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Isobel’s voice broke through the concentrated quiet, smooth and confident. “It’s best to calculate the inches first. Makes the later multiplication easier. So four foot and eleven inches is fifty-nine inches, rounded up. Three foot and six inches is forty-two inches.”

Amelia watched, silent and already horribly lost in all the numbers her younger cousin had said. Slowly she nodded. It all sounded correct, even to a girl who had no clue what Isobel was saying.

“So fifty-nine times forty-two is…” Briefly she scribbled down numbers on the parchment. A tick later, Isobel concluded: “2478 inches of material is needed. That equivalent to 206.5 foot. And you said that a square is equivalent to three feet?”

Amelia nodded dumbly.

“So that divided by three…” More scratching of charcoal to paper, more confusion on Amelia’s behalf, “is sixty-nine yards of material, rounded up.” Isobel gave a low whilstle, “and it’s 45Ki per yard? That’ll be an expensive dress.

Without trying to give away how utterly lost she was, Amelia nodded slowly. “Yes. It’ll be at least… A thousand Kina?”

“More like three thousand!” Isobel interjected, her eyebrows shooting up her forehead. And then, somewhat sheepishly, she added: “If my numbers are correct. Which they’re probably not…”

“I’m sure they are. That was… amazing, Isobel” Amelia said breathlessly, glancing down to the parchment and her cousin’s harried mathematical notes. They made no sense to her, but from this vantage point Amelia could truly appreciate the level of detail she had dedicated to the sketch. “I didn’t realise you were so… academic. I always thought you’d be too busy being physical active to bother about mathematics.”

Isobel frowned. Her life, as a teenage girl, did not particularly encompass a huge amount of physical activity. More evidence of the closeness between us cousins… she thought irritably. “I don’t spend all my days running around, you know. I’m not a child anymore.”

“Oh.” Amelia retorted flatly, not best pleased with her cousin’s sudden frostiness. “You just have nice legs, that’s all. When your older you’ll have to let me design you some dresses to show them off. Us Barker girls always have good pins.”

Now it was the younger cousin who stared in surprise and confusion.

Was that a compliment?
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Amelia
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Material Girl

Postby Izuyanai on August 31st, 2016, 6:53 am

Grades :
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Grades


Name: Amelia

XP:
Planning +2
Organisation +2
Intimidation +1
Observation +1
Socialisation +1
Fashion Design +1
Math +2

Lores:
Fashion Design: White for Weddings
Fashion Design: Wedding Dress
Isobel: Cousin
Fashion Design: White is Not White
ATB: All Things Beautiful

Notes: This was written from a very interesting perspective. I enjoyed it! I hope Amelia gets to open her emporium. Let me know if you think I’ve missed something.
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