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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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The Smell of Leather

Postby Yvaleth on November 1st, 2019, 11:52 pm

15th Fall, 519AV

It had taken some doing to convince the Good Book’s proprietor, Masute, that Yvaleth did not know, and was not interested in knowing, how to make paper. His family trade was in crafting leather, including sometimes the production of parchment, not the inferior, more fragile element of paper.

And anyway, handling certain types of plant fiber made Yvaleth sneeze, and having to live and work here among the humans was already undignified enough.

Sequestered into a back corner of the shop’s recesses, the Symenestra formed a huddled shape amid the racks of drying paper, where he was least likely to interact with customers (or frighten them off). He was still able to enjoy the open air that Masute allowed to flow through the shop, which thankfully diluted the acrid odor of glues and lye, as well as the the cloying melodies of Masute’s absentminded singing.

Yvaleth pulled a sheet of leather before him, already tanned and softened before Masute had purchased it in bulk. A long limb snaked off to pluck up a half-moon shaped knife, a familiar tool of his trade. Smoothing the leather over the desk before him, Yvaleth began to trim off the uneven edges of the leather, employing a peculiar rocking motion to press cuts into the material.

The woody, rich scent of leather summoned forth an onslaught of memories from his childhood. Yvaleth tried to shake them away and blink them out of his eyes. It had been ages since he had assisted in his family’s shops. Before the death of his father, it had been where Yvaleth had spent the majority of his time. An enthusiastic youth, he’d been eager to witness the process of an animal transforming into utility: armor, clothing, cord, weapons, sandals, backpacks. It helped Yvaleth feel a part of the cycle of life to see slain creatures used in this way.

Then his father died abroad. Grandfather had ripped Yvaleth out of the comforting atmosphere of the shops and pitched him ruthlessly into apprenticeships to older Harvesters. Only the unprepared and unlucky died visiting the surface, and Grandfather would not allow Yvaleth to be either.

It was cruel, but even in his youth, Yvaleth understood. This was how Grandfather grieved for his only son. Yvaleth, possessing only a sister, was the last male of his bloodline, and it was imperative that Yvaleth carry on his family name. Not only for his immediate family, but for the entire dwindling Hyacinth Web.

The Symenestra paused in his work and carefully pressed his fingertips into his brow. This wasn’t a helpful place for his mind to be. His chest tightened as a flurry of questions flashed through his mind: How long would he need to stay here? How would he tell his family of his failure? What would he tell his sister? Should he lie? Could he even confide in anyone about what truly happened?

Briefly, Yvaleth bared his teeth in frustration. He forcefully shook the memories out of his head. They had no place here.
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Yvaleth
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The Smell of Leather

Postby Yvaleth on November 2nd, 2019, 2:30 pm

After cutting off the rough edges of the leather sheet, Yvaleth was left with a piece of leather that was roughly trapezoid shaped. He brushed both sides of the half-moon knife against his leg, then set it aside for a moment. From the desk, he plucked up a piece of string and held it taut from one edge of the leather to the other, creating a straight line. Once he cut off this piece and its mirror on the other side, he’d be left with a perfect leather rectangle and spare leather pieces.

With one claw, Yvaleth pierced through the leather next to the string, then did so again roughly an inch further. He continued until the end, leaving himself with an imperfect perforated line. A guide along which to cut.

The Symenestra suddenly paused and lifted his head. His jeweled eyes gazed over the tops of the shop’s wares: stacks of freshly made paper bound in twine, leather- and wooden-clad journals with clasps, old fashioned scrolls, all arranged on tiered wooden shelving. After a wispy white lock of hair flew aloft on the gentle breeze, Yvaleth pulled further over his head.

Masute was busy compressing soggy wood pulp into a fine thin layer. Unsurprisingly, he was singing again. Most of the time the melody had been disjointed and unrecognizable, and most of the words were in some unfamiliar language. It hadn’t been worth the effort to listen.

But suddenly the cadence of the foreign words had struck Yvaleth as familiar. It was Arumenic, the language of the Eypharians, a race of people living far east within the desert. Yvaleth’s Arumenic was weak, but he could identify a few stray words: “to,” “with,” and “my”. The rest was too obscure.

The only Arumenic Yvaleth knew was related to trade. He could remember the words for “leather”, “buy”, and “sell”. None of these featured in Masute’s peculiar song, and why would they? The melody sounded simple and soothing, like something one would sing a child.

He recalled standing at his father’s side as the Hyacinth trading party invited Eypharians into Kalinor, no more than nine years of age. Ranevar's Arumenic had been flawless, and the best young Yvaleth could do was listen, stay close to his father, and greet the many-armed visitors as they cautiously entered the caverns.

The Eypharian traders always sent all-male parties. Typically older males, never anyone even close Yvaleth’s age. Something always felt remotely hostile about these meetings, as if they were enemies cautiously meeting to sign a treaty. Yvaleth never understood why until long after his father had died.

The Symenestra sighed and wiped his brow with his wrist.

Against his better judgement, Yvaleth thought decided to inquire. Any line of conversation would
be a welcome distraction.

“Mr. Masute?”

The human’s aged head popped up. He smiled at Yvaleth, much like the guide at the gate of Lhavit had smiled. Cordial. Shallow. Untrustworthy.

“Might I ask what you’re singing?”

“Singing?” Masute asked quizzically, tilting his head. He looked utterly bewildered by the question. “What do you mean?”

“You were—” Yvaleth caught himself. The rest of his sentence came out as a long, breathy exhale. He lowered his head and went back to work. “Never mind. I was mistaken.”

Masute mused to himself with an audible hum, then did the same. Moments later, the song resumed. This time, Yvaleth decided to simply listen.
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Yvaleth
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