Solo A Few Things

A completely normal errand day

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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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A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2019, 11:32 pm

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21st of Fall, 519



In a corner of the Azure Market, in a little ally between two small shops that kept off the worst of the heat, two people were arguing in soft, fierce voices. One was a short Inarta man, wearing a tiny leather vest and billowy pants, with a leather satchel at his side, had his hands up and open in a pacifying gesture. The other was a small blonde woman who blocked his exit. She was covered throat to floor even in the baking heat, and was dotted in precious stones that seemed to flash like drawn weapons. Under her sleeve something was flicking green sparks at the cobblestone. Her thunderous mood was lifting off the hard, high set of her shoulders and lightning flashed in her cold blue eyes.

"Yantavi, I get the feeling you've avoiding me", she hissed, the name twisting into a dark warning as it left her lips. "You're an incredibly hard man to find."

"Avoiding? Surely not", the man smiled wide, showing a perfect row of white teeth. "My dear I have been so busy-"

"No, no, I was your business. And I want you to explain, succinctly and honestly, why you stood me up last week. And do try to be honest. I've had it up to here with liars recently."

She had been waiting in the Scholars Demise for him all night, dead on her feet, before she was accosted by Ennisa instead. The exchange that followed had been less than pleasant, and that just made her apocalyptic irritation with the Inartan drug dealer worse. She needed his supplies to try and doctor Jomi back into some semblance of sanity. And while she eventually managed to get him back under control without the aid of drugs, that wasn't the point. Yantavi wasn't there when she needed him, and that was unacceptable.

"I was delayed, was all", the man's voice lowered, rounding at the edges as he attempted to placate her. "And it was lucky you found me when you did! I have everything your requested right here... if you'd just." He waved at the sparking hand held stiff at her side. Under the delicate spider silk the hand had darkened perceptively. She held the wrist behind her back and away from him. "Yes, thank you", he knelt and dug into his bag. Inside were several dozen small paper bags, all labeled in a shorthand of a language she couldn't read, and a small red book.

"Terribly uncouth, keeping my lady waiting" he was mumbling, and she could see a light sheen of sweat on the back of his bowed neck. "Now, it's in here somewhere..." He passed things from one bag to another, some with peoples names clearly marked on them, and in the end he passed her a small bag with indecipherable writing.

"There we go!" he held the bag in two hands, like it was a delicate and precious as a Faberge egg. "Two doses of Funkus, made from the sweetest mushrooms this side of Kalea, a talon full of Winger, to take flight, and a very special dose of Love Dust."

"I hope that comes at a very special price, too."

"For you? Always. Thirty four kina for untold days and nights of fun and pleasure."

WC: 557
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Madeira Craven
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A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2019, 11:33 pm

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"And how will you compensate me for all the time I've lost because of you?" Her eyes flashed fiercely, and behind them something seemed to move. Dijed pooled and twisted, pressed into the contact of their eyes. Where blue met brown it slid unobtrusive to shimmer in the back of Yantavi's thoughts. Defeat was a complicated emotion to convey. It was a puncture to the ego, a slow realization of inevitability, and a spiral into despair. Madeira was forced to layer and layer the hypnotism, to hold two baser emotions in her mind and meld them into something intricate and real. But slowly she could feel the Inarta bend under the weight of that feather touch.

"We can round that down to thirty, as appreciation for your patience", he smiled charmingly.

It wasn't much, but the point was never to protect her money but to cow him. He wouldn't forget that she beat him. Wordlessly she handed over the kina and took the bag from him. She tested the weight of it, not trusting the drug dealer to short change her, while the drug dealer bit her coins, not trusting her not to short change him. Once they were both satisfied she gave him one last withering stare and turned to leave.

"Miss Craven, if I may be so bold", the Inarta held up one crooked finger, asking her to wait. "A traveling salesman doesn't get far without making a few friends. I hope this little misunderstanding doesn't mean I can't count you among them."

Madeira heard the threat behind the candor and something in her snarled to hear it.

"Certainly", she replied coldly. "And if your memory fails you again I'll make sure to send someone to remind you."

"Good day, Miss Craven."

With one last loaded stare Madeira turned on her heel and left, emerging back into the burning Lhavit sunshine with her gloved hand wrapped hard and white around her innocuous paper bag. Emma had been waiting patiently while Madeira cornered her 'friend', and looked up from where she had been crouched, trying to pick up stray stones. On the roofs across the cobble street a kitten like beast was appearing and disappearing, yowling madly as it tried to catch flocks of terrified pigeons.

"You talked to your friend? Can we go now?"

"Yes, we can go."

The little girl jumped to her feet, excited to be moving again. "Okay! Where are we going?"

"Do you remember where the Shining Diamond is?"

The little girl picked at the crusted scabs at the corner of her lips. "Is that the one with the big sign that looks like a pretty stone? the one with the grumpy old man?"

Madeira smiled to herself, her mood lightening by just being in the presence of her little ghost. She tucked the paper bag away into her satchel. "That's the one. Do you think you can find it?"

"Sure!" And like that they were off. Emma led the way, skipping down the nearly empty market, with Madeira following behind. Spooks raced them across the rooftops, appearing and disappearing as he willed, sending up clouds of screaming birds in his wake.

The market was strangely quiet these days. Madeira liked to think it was because of the unseasonable heat, but she knew that wasn't the case. The threat of the unknown murderer hung over the city like a low cloud, dark and promising storms. Nobody went out unarmed anymore, not since the untouchable Crone was found dead in her shack, with the mark drawn in blood on her forehead. The news had spread quickly, and right on its heels came the rumours. Ideas that it was Penrose, her madness resurfacing and causing her to kill again, was a popular theory. The other was that Chiona Dusk, another woman with an unfortunate history, was to blame.

Both were troubling, firstly because she had a personal stake in both of those women, and secondly because this just added fuel to the stressful class divide between the Towers and the other citizens. Political turmoil had been ever present since the Spiritist set foot in Lhavit. And now she wondered, as she followed her ghost and kept an eye on the cat on the roof, she considered how she would fix it, if she were in charge.

She'd find a way to get the Akvina who supposedly ruled the city to speak publicly about it, she mused to start. She had only ever met the reclusive Zintia once, and her ruling hand seemed small and far away. Secondly she'd perhaps make a citizens counsel, something perfunctory, where people could be voted in and given tasks to keep them occupied and feeling important, while the the Shinya and the Towers made the real changes behind the scenes. As long as the regular citizen could vote, and feel represented, they would perhaps be sated.

It was more complicated than that, she knew. And surely Aldgare would have a few stern things to say of her political musings. But for now all she could do was muse. Her opportunity for real action would come later, and she had time to really get to know what made Lhavit tick before then.

WC: 871



Ledger :
+Winger: -8gm
+Funkus, x2: -6gm
+Love Dust: -14gm
Negotiation: +4gm
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Madeira Craven
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A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2019, 11:34 pm

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Eventually the small, unassuming and rather shabby shop, the Shining Diamond, appeared at the end of a branching lane, it's diamond shaped sign creaked in the breeze. Once spotted Emma twirled around, nightdress flaring and hands out as if to say ta-da.

Madeira laughed. "That's a good girl, Em. You've been such a big help today. I think you deserve some soulmist when we get home. How does that sound?"

Once Emma stopped squealing and had been set outside to wait patiently, Madeira brushed off her skirt and entered the jewelcrafter's shop.

"Master Li! How have you been?"

A bell tinkled above Madeira's head as she swept into the Shining Diamond. The shop was low lit and dusty, the fireplace in the corner doing nothing but adding to the dry heat from outside. Long flickering shadows laid across the display cases, but that did nothing to detract from the fine and precious jewelry inside which seemed to emit a light of their own.

Guancho Li, the owner and jewel crafter of the shop, grunted his greeting, not rising from his ancient threadbare chair by the counter. "You're late, Miss Craven."

"Impossible. I'm never late", Madeira denied cheekily, lingering by the display cases as she crossed the floor. From behind her came a flicker of soulmist, and a faint wiff of licorice. Guancho raised a single brow in what Madeira guessed was the most purest form of bafflement he was able to express.

"And what is that?" he asked politely as Spooks waddled into view. His yellow kittenish eyes were big and round as he studied the shadows on the floor.

Madeira glanced at the creature behind her and waved her hand in airy dismissiveness. "I'm not entirely sure. Shall we?" She stood resolutely by Guancho's private back room, and the finality in her voice seemed to say she wouldn't welcome more chatter about the topic. The master was forced to edge in after her, mumbling to himself and shooting the cat suspicious glances. Unlocking the door he stood aside to let her by.

The appointment room was lavishly but sparsely furnished, containing nothing but a richly appointed desk and three chairs. Madeira took her usual chair on the left and smoothed out her skirt while the jewelcrafter walked around to his plush red armchair on the other side.

"You letter said you have two commissions. One of which you cited as 'unusual'", he reiterated, a note of wariness in his voice. In his mind everything Madeira did in his shop could be classified as unusual.

Madeira smiled, either missing or ignoring the suspicion in his tone. "That's a good memory you have. Yes, firstly I'd like a masquerade mask, if you can do such a thing. And I'd like it to be made out of these." From a velvet pouch in her pocket sure placed three egg sized black diamonds on the table between them, one at a time.

"That is indeed... unusual", the man hummed, stroking his bristly beard as he considered the request.

"What?" Madeira blinked, confused. "No, master, this is the unusual request." From deep in the pocket of her dress she pulled out a velvet pouch, and she plucked a pretty little ring from inside. She held it by the edges of her thumb and forefinger, as if it was made of something foul. But to Guancho's eyes it was a simple, prettily carved ring of some sort of bleached animal bone.

WC: 577
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Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
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A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 21st, 2019, 12:23 am

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"Is there any way, to your knowledge, to cast this in gold?"

The jeweler picked the ring up off the table and bright it close to his eye. Madeira fought the sudden impulse to slap the thing out of his hand. The ring was a malediction fetish, and cursed. It was made from the rib of a dog and was originally meant to instill loyalty in the wearer. But a mistake was made in the collection of the bone, as the dog it came from was unknowingly in heat when it died. As a result the ring not only inspired overwhelming lust, but beheld a person to that base desire. Thankfully it had been made for a woman, and was appropriately woman sized. Guancho wouldn't be able to fit it on his finger, at least past the first knuckle, and luckily didn't try.

"What are these markings on the inside?" the master asked, ignoring his customer's question completely. His eyes had to be incredibly sharp to notice those scratchings at his age. He typically came across as indifferent and apathetic, but here with a puzzle in his hand she had never imagined to see him so focused

"I'm not sure. Glyphs, I'm guessing", she lied with a shrug of her shoulders. "I never studied the art myself."

"And why exactly do you want to cast a bone in gold? I would make you a gold ring, if you asked."

"I'm sentimental, I guess. The bone is my mothers." she watched, amused, as Guancho grimaced and placed the ring delicately back down on the table between them. "It's not uncommon for people to have small tokens of their loved ones, master", she laughed. "At least, not where I come from."

Another bold faced lie, but she needed some way to make him understand that she could not stand to have the bone destroyed, or why she wouldn't go for the less macabre option. The bone, and the circles inside, had to remain intact.

"Well, it is here", he muttered gruffly. "But that doesn't answer why you want it cast."

"Why would I want an old, yellow bone transformed into something sparkling and beautiful?" she chuckled to herself. "That's an easy answer. My mother was a beautiful woman, and I'd like her momento to reflect that. Besides, something so open and porous as bone would not last forever, at least not if I plan to wear it regularly. Gold is a bit more durable."

Guancho stared at the ring between them, his bushy eyebrows lowering like a shade over his dark eyes. He chewed his cheek as he thought. Madeira knew better than to interrupt him. She sat there with her hands folded in her lap, waiting for him to acknowledge her again.

He could take all the time he needed, as far as she was concerned. She had big plans for that ring, and she wanted everything to be perfect. She watched it glow yellowy in the light, and imagined how pretty it would look resting resplendent of Lhelie Dawn's finger.

WC: 522
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Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1623
Words: 1429383
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
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A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 21st, 2019, 12:23 am

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Chiona's current girlfriend didn't know she had a rival for Chiona's affection, and that how she planned to keep it. She would lose if she pitted herself directly against Lhelie. But if she removed the other girl from the picture entirely... Her thoughts turned to daydreams, and she imagined all the fruits of her labour converging. All that time learning seduction from Belladonna, all those long afternoons alone with Chiona in their private lessons, learning about each other. All that effort putting herself into Chiona's fathers good graces, hiding her hypnotism and her eager ambitions, all so she could one day get down on her knees and ask the Dusk's heir to marry her.

They would have a beautiful wedding, and all of Lhavit would be there to see Madeira Craven inherit her wife's name. Madeira Craven-Dusk, as she would be called, would bring back the power of the Towers and make something of Lhavit. She would be powerful and wealthy, responsible for the convergence of two incredible families. She would make Rune Cartif rewrite the Craven records, and have her children written in as legitimate heirs of their most powerful mage, and no longer the bastards of a failure and a madman.

She was so lost in her daydreams that she missed Guancho coming out of his own deep thoughts. He cleared his throat with a cough and Madeira startled upright from where she had been starting to slouch.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?", she willed away her flushing cheeks as she fussily fixed her collar.

"I said it would be pointless to try and cast this. I don't know much about working with bone but I doubt it could withstand the boiling point of gold. However, if we were to make a clay mold of it first..."

Madeira shook her head. "The point was to wear the bone. just having it just look like the ring isn't enough. I want it to be the ring."

"Alright, if your set on wearing it unaltered, the other option is to coat it in gold leaf."

"Gold leaf?" Madeira's head tilted to the side, imagining the master bent over his work table, dipping leaves into gold to wrap around the little ring.

"Through a process called goldbeating one can make sheets of gold thinner than the finest parchment. Then through a technique called gilding you can coat nearly anything in a thin layer of gold; which is often more practical, and cheaper, than making it out of solid gold."

Madeira's eyes lit up. "That sound like exactly what we need!"

"Understand that this gold coat will be extremely thin", Guancho cautioned, seeing the enthusiasm in her eyes. "It works well for large or heavy objects. But for jewelry like yours it wouldn't last forever, not if you were to wear it on your hands. It'll dent easy and will need constant touch ups in order for it to look its best. Frankly a solid gold ring would be cheaper and last longer in the long run."

WC: 521
User avatar
Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1623
Words: 1429383
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
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Medals: 10
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (2)
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Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
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2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

A Few Things

Postby Madeira Craven on November 21st, 2019, 9:04 pm

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She didn't need a long run, she only had to fool an intelligent mage for thirty ticks. Madeira smiled.

"If that is how to make it look its best then that's what I want to do. You're a genius with your jewels, master. I'm sure you'll create something amazing."

Guancho looked up at her from under his heavy brows. "If you insist, I'll make it for you. But don't forget that I've advised you against it."

"I won't regret it, master. Not if it's made by you."

The jewel crafter nodded, his gaze dropping back to the ring. She was sure he wasn't paying attention to her anymore. She cleared her throat. "How much do I owe you, sir?"

Guancho shook himself out of his stupor, and she could almost see his gear grinding to a halt and switching in another direction as he considered the cost of his labour. "Two special requests won't be cheap. Neither of these items are something I normally supply."

"Master, you should already know money is no object. You're worth every penny", Madeira's voice dropped slightly in pitch, the words purring out of her in a contented rumble like Belladonna's did when trying to please. She was aware that she was blaspheming the very concept of negotiation and inviting him to hike up his price, but frankly she didn't care about the money. She wanted him sweet, in the hopes he'd work extra hard, and extra careful, on her ring. She would gladly hand over thousands of kina if it meant these items would come out flawless.

Still, Guancho was a man of value. He offered fair prices and took no negotiations. Not even Madeira's silver tongue could get past the wall of his stubbornness. So when he finally spoke she wasn't terribly surprised to hear his reasonable price.

"I assume you want those black diamonds faceted, yes? Then it'll be two hundred and ten kina for the lot. The ring you'll have returned to you in several days, the gilding itself wont take long but it needs to cure afterwards. The mask is a different story. You might not have it until early next season." He glanced at the flawless black diamond orbs casually lined up on the edge of his table. "Where do you get these gems anyway? Such stones are incredibly rare. I haven't worked with a black diamond in years. I could make beautiful things if you would refer me to your dealer. Are they from Sultros?"

Her dealer was the business end of a chicken owned by the ghost of a snarky dead bastard. But this was information best kept to herself.

"My seller has asked to remain anonymous, but I'll let you know if they change their mind."

Guancho looked up sharply "Is this trade illegal?"

"It's nothing of the sort", she rolled her eyes. "You would hear of it if a hundred thousand dollars worth of easily identifiable polished, spherical gems were stolen."

"I suppose so."

Madeira rose from her chair, leaving her entire purse on the counter, extracting only a few coins from the hefty bag. "Two hundred and ten kina, sir, for your very best work. Be careful with that ring, would you? It's very dear to me."

"Yes, yes", he answered gruffly, bored at having to reassure her. "I appreciate your business."

Madeira reached across the table and shook his hand. "I must be your very best customer, aren't I, master?" she teased at his frown. "Until next time, sir."

She let herself out, finding Spooks and Emma waiting for her. Collecting her menagerie she made for home, and let her mind wander as they led the way. Everything was in place, now all she needed to do was fulfill the plan. Dispose of Lhelie, and she would be one step closer to Chiona Dusk, and one step closer to Chiona meant one step closer to everything she ever wanted.

Madeira's smile was sharp and savage as she wound through the city that would one day be hers.

WC: 672

Ledger :
+Mask, faceted x2: -180gm
+Ring, gold: -30gm
User avatar
Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1623
Words: 1429383
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 10
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (2)
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) Lhavit Seasonal Challenge (1)
2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

A Few Things

Postby Ennisa on December 8th, 2019, 5:08 pm

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Grades Awarded

Please edit your grade request, thanks!
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Madeira Craven

Skills

+1 Hypnotism
+1 Negotiation


Lores

Yantavi: Inartan drug dealer
Hypnotism: Influencing feelings of defeat
Drug: Funkus made from muchrooms
Drug: Winger
Drug: Love Dust
Politics: Thoughts on a citizen's council
Cursed Ring: Destined for Lhelie Dawn
Metalsmithing: Basic understanding of gold leaf
Guancho Li: Offers fair prices


Penalties/Awards

Ledger: -30 ki (drugs), -210 ki (2x mask, faceted, 1x ring, gold)
Item(s): +2 doses Funkus, +1 talon Winger, +1 dose Love Dust, +2 masks, faceted, +1 ring, gold (cursed)
Health: n/a

Notes

Short but sweet. I do love the way you wield NPCs to construct an immersive narrative. Watch out in the last post - some dollars sneaked in instead of Lhavit's kina, just as a head's up! If you have any concerns, please pop me a PM.
Sharai | Shinyama | Zintia (home) | Tenten | Sartu (work)
4-6, Dawn Rest | 10-12, Noon Rest | 16-18, Dusk Rest | 22-24, Midnight Rest

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Ennisa
Miss Chievious
 
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