Solo Beautiful Things, Day One

Job Thread: Spring 517

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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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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Maria Talwa on June 1st, 2017, 3:56 am

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10, Spring, 517 AV

Today was Maria's first new day on the job at the jewelry store in Riverfall known as Beautiful Things. It was early in the morning and the town was just starting to properly wake for the coming day. With the sun still rising and casting its golden rays across the landscape, there were some people who were already out and about. Yet given an hour or so this would pick up considerably. It was the same every morning, the early risers often preceded the flood of people that would follow in the morning, then things would die down as everyone got settled in for another day in the life. Maria was no exception in this regard.

Beautiful Things was a small building, the domed roof easily recognizable as were the two stone pillars on either side of a large metal door. The hinges were well oiled so the door didn't creak as Maria walked in, the bell above making a small dingling to announce her entrance. The round room where the jewelry was on display was quite lovely to look at, the glass cases enticing customers to part with their hard earned coin for some shiny bauble. As he had been the first day Maria came here, Arikamiss had deposited himself in the corner and was reading something, but still ever vigilant for any sign of trouble.

The Akalak looked like a professional body builder in height and width, and wasn't someone most people would likely want to tangle with, though that was no doubt the point of having him guard the store. The large man glanced up at Maria and the two exchanged a small nod, then she walked into the back of the store to speak with Sumithal, her new employer. Like most jewelry stores there was a small metal working shop in the back for melting and recasting gold, but there were also other tools there as well. These were meant for etching and other fine works, though Maria wasn't familiar with them or how they worked.

Sumithal was in the back sitting at a table looking over a number of rings, and judging from both the heat and how new they looked, they were likely pieces he'd just made. The two small gold bars sitting by the small furnace were also a good clue. Trying to fall back on her etiquette Maria pulled up a chair opposite him at the table and sat, but didn't say anything. At the moment the Akalak had a jeweler's loupe in one eye and was looking over a ring. He'd glanced up at her approach, but didn't say anything, so she waited, and soon after he removed the loupe.

“Good morning Ms. Talwa,” Sumithal said, looking up from his work

“You can call me Maria, don't really care,” Maria said. “What's up boss man?”

“Not sales, that's for sure,” Sumithal said.

“That sucks, any particular reason?” Maria said. While talking with Sumithal she picked up one of the rings set with a quarter karat ruby and began to look it over. Still gently warm to the touch, now she knew for sure these were literally fresh out of the oven.

“No, it happens with every business from time to time,” Sumithal said. “Just a sales blah as it were.”

“Right, so now that I'm officially on the payroll, let's talk duties and expectations,” Maria said. “If I'm going to work here, I need to know exactly what I am allowed to do, what I'm not, and what's expected of me.”
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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Maria Talwa on June 1st, 2017, 3:57 am

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“Right then, let us indeed discuss these matters,” Sumithal said. “The first would be personal appearance. I expect employees here to be neat, clean, and dressed in a professional and respectful manner at all times.”

“Never was into slutty clothing really, I bathe every morning and night, and I never lose my temper with or smart off to customers either. If I'm going to be selling jewelry I will in many ways be one of the faces of the store,” Maria said. “Words to remember, a happy customer might tell one or two people, a pissed off customers will tell ten.”

“Precisely,” Sumithal said. “My personal office is off limits, period. You'll be responsible for keeping the front of the store clean, recording all jewelry sold as well as the coin. If the till comes up short, I'll be looking to you for answers.”

“Naturally,” Maria said. There was another small dingle of the bell above the door which drew the both of them to look toward the door leading to the floor.

“Let's see how you handle customer service,” Sumithal said. They both walked to the front of the store where Sumithal made it a point to look busy while not actually doing much. For her part Maria didn't particularly like people, but in this business you had to be able to put on a good face, so she did exactly that. The man who walked in was human, older in appearance with a gray beard and bald head, but also well dressed. He didn't have the look of a man who was rich, but of enough means to afford something worth some coin. Maria made it a point to approach from the side, well within his peripheral vision.

“Good morning to you sir and welcome to Beautiful Things. My name is Maria,” Maria said. “May I be of service?”

From the bronze works near the door the man looked Maria over with a fairly neutral expression, “Good morning to you as well,” the man said.

“Have you seen our selection of silver and gold?” Maria said.

“I've not,” the man said.

Maria smiled and motioned further into the store, also noticing the man carried himself with a slight air of authority. Straight standing, shoulders back, chin ever so lightly up. Perhaps he was military, an important merchant, or maybe some sort of inspector.

“Are you looking for a personal piece, or a gift perchance?” Maria said.

“A gift, my wedding anniversary is in a few days,” the man said.

“A husband who considers buying jewelry for a wedding anniversary, and shops at Beautiful Things?” Maria said. “A lucky woman indeed.”

“Yes, but the question is, what to buy?” the man said, looking down at the display. Thinking about that for a moment Maria knew the only thing she could really do is draw from personal experience and opinion. However this would also prove to be a good chance to sell something with a jewel that would increase the price. Though not a marketing genius, you did not need to be one to see the obvious, better sales equaled more money.
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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Maria Talwa on June 1st, 2017, 3:59 am

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“If I may ask, what color are you wife's eyes?” Maria said.

“Green?” The man said. By his expression it was obvious that he wasn't sure what she was getting at. Despite this Maria was getting at something indeed. It was something she'd observed a man doing some years ago when presenting a woman with a gold necklace that had a jewel in it. Moving past the plain silver necklaces, she walked around the counter and opened the back of one of the cases. From there Maria took out a lovely silver necklace with a half karat jade stone in it.

“Now this is a piece I think would be just perfect. See the way the color matches my eyes?” Maria said, letting the man see her own green eyes clearly. “If you really want to make her happy, why not put this lovely little piece around her neck, and tell her how it makes her green eyes all that much prettier.”

The man stroked his beard for a moment thinking about that, then nodded in a seemingly approving manner. “How much?”

That in itself presented a problem as Maria wasn't familiar with the pricing at the store. While the man was still looking at the necklace, she glanced up at Sumithal. The Akalak was standing across the room from her and looked at the piece himself. Instead of saying anything he fingers to indicated a price of 307 gold miza.

“Only 307 gold miza, quite a deal really,” Maria said. After the man paid for the necklace, it was placed in a rectangular wooden box with a felt interior, and she was left holding a bag of coins. Once the man left, Maria looked over at Sumithal. “Where's the till boss man?”

As if in answer to that question, Arikamiss made a small whistle and she looked over to see him hold up a hand. Since there was no one in the store at the moment besides them, she tossed the coin purse and the large Akalak caught it. He then placed the purse in the till which, not too unsurprisingly, was fairly close to him.

“So, how was that for customer service?” Maria said.

“Not too bad, but let me ask you something,” Sumithal said. “Why not try to sell him something out of the locked case? I have several custom pieces that could use some people to for decoration.”

“I didn't think he would buy anything high end,” Maria said. “The way he was dressed told me money, but not tons of it. So, I tried to direct him to the silver area thinking it would be in his price range.”

“Good eye, but also consider this strategy,” Sumithal said. “Start off with the highest priced pieces in the store and let the customer work themselves down to an area they're comfortable with if need be. Then try to sell them an expensive piece there.”

Now it was Maria's turn to think about that for a moment and nod. That wasn't something she'd thought of before, but in certain situations it would be a sound strategy. The main point here would be figuring out who to do that with. There would no doubt be customers from all strata of of life coming in here, so this would be part of the skills she would need to learn while working here.
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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Maria Talwa on June 1st, 2017, 4:00 am

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“Right, so let's so have a look at the books then, shall we?” Sumithal said. In silence Maria followed him to the back of the store once more. Near the door there was a small wooden box on a table from which Sumithal took out three normal sized, leather bound books. One of them had Purchases/Sales pressed into the leather on the front, another was market Inventory, and the third was Itemization. The books were set on the table next to the box and Maria looked the two of them over carefully. The three books were no doubt something she would need to become intimately familiar with working here.

The first book was fairly straight forward, it was a ledger that documented all of the purchases and sales made by Sumithal. Most of the purchases were refined metals and gemstones, along with a few complete pieces here and there. The second book had a more detailed accounting of the specific pieces. There was only one entry in the section for silver pieces that had a listing for a jade necklace. The third was a very specific book accounting for every stone, ounce of metal or other material brought into the store. It also had a lot of writing in exact measurements of what was being used. It was obvious that Sumithal kept very accurate records and could easily tell at a moment's notice exactly how much and of what should be in the store, both front and back.

With the books open, Maria used an inkwell and quill on the same counter top. Her writing skills were and spelling were horrible to begin with, so in the ledger she wrote 'sold necklace' as neatly as possible along with the amount in the box next to it. The only reason she spelled the words correctly were because Sumithal had written it several times for other entries, so she copied. In the second book she studied it for a moment, then followed the established pattern of placing a check mark next to the entry.

In her mind keeping a second record like this didn't make a lot of sense, however she imagined it was more along the lines of a personal system that Sumithal used. The ledger itself was fairly standard and straight forward. That in mind he no doubt used the second book to keep tabs on specific pieces that were sold, then it occurred to her to just ask.

“So why the second book?” Maria asked.

“It helps me track of what's being sold specifically,” Sumithal said. “It also helps me keep on top of what's popular at the time. Trends change, so when sales are down, like they are now, I review this book. Along with paying attention to what people in town are wearing, I make note of what people want at the time and adjust my stock to suit.”

“That's actually a really good idea,” Maria said. “I doubt I would have thought of something like this to be honest.”
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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Maria Talwa on June 1st, 2017, 4:01 am

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“So why don't you look at the book and tell me what you think,” Sumithal said. Instead of jumping straight in, Maria tried to think about this from a jeweler's point of view. If this was her store, how far back would she review? Reading the dates for the entries she went back a month and started to read through the listings of what was selling. Her mind also began working on something else that it brought to the fore as well, she started tracking the prices of the pieces that were being sold. Almost immediately Maria's mind went into overdrive trying to correlate all the information.

“I'll be damned...” Maria said.

“What do you see?” Sumithal said.

“Over the course of the past month both gold and stone sales have fallen off,” Maria said. “Copper and plain silver seem steady, but that's not all.”

“Go on,” Sumithal said. Now with the new idea in mind she went back another two months beyond the first and began the same mental calculations.

“With records like this you could get a general idea not only of jewelry trends, but the state of the local economy as well,” Maria said.

“Really?” Sumithal said.

“Yes really, when the economy is booming people spend more. During recessions they spend less than...” Maria said, then stopped and looked over at the Akalak. “But you already know that don't you?”

“Of course I do, I just wanted to see if you'd realize that too,” Sumithal said, offering a small smile. “You've a good eye for business. Those without a sense for trends or economics don't stay in business very long.”

“So tell me, will I have the chance to learn about the trade itself?” Maria said.

“You'll learn about the trade just by working here, though I imagine you're referring to something a little more specific,” Sumithal said.

“Yes I am,” Maria said, putting the books away. “I want to learn about making jewelry not just selling it. I want a viable trade skill.”

“For right now let's get you settled in with store operations and how everything works. If that goes smoothly we'll look into training, deal?” Sumithal said, hold out a hand.

“Deal,” Maria said, shaking his hand.

“One last thing,” Sumithal said. “No swearing in front of the customers.”

“Of course not,” Maria said. After that they both went back to their business and she returned to the front of the store. It was a slow day and so far she'd only seen one customer, so Maria did what came naturally, she cased the place. This time it wasn't from the perspective of someone looking to commit a robbery, but rather the exact opposite. In the event someone was dumb enough to try, she thought about what would be the most advantageous place to be, how to take someone down the fastest, and other things of that nature. Having grown up in Sunberth, it was in Maria's nature to be paranoid and always make sure she had some sort of advantage should a hostile situation present itself.

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Beautiful Things, Day One

Postby Shaqira on July 4th, 2017, 5:04 pm

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G R A D E



xp

Socialization +2
Negotiation +1
Acting +1
Observation +3
Intelligence +2
Interrogation +2
Copying +1
Rhetoric +1


lores

Sumithal: Jeweller at Beautiful Things
Riverfall location: Beautiful Things
Arikamiss: Imposing guardsman of Beautiful Things
Negotiating terms of employment
A happy customer will tell two people, an angry customer will tell ten
Acting: Putting on your best face
Intelligence: Estimating the wealth of a man by the quality of his attire
Interrogation: Asking direct questions
Fashion: Match jewel colour to accentuate eye colour
Persuasion: Painting a pleasing scene with words
Tactics: Start with high prices & settle for lower
A jeweler keeps up with fashion trends to stay current
Intelligence: Inferring economical clues from jewellery & spending trends
Maria: Wants to be a jewel crafter
Maria: You can take the girl out of Sunberth, but not the Sunberthian out of the girl


notes - Great work! Don’t forget to deduct living expenses for Spring 517AV from your ledger.


  
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