Cool As Air

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Oisin Ocasta
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:00 pm
Topics: 9
Race: Wick
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Post Templates
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: Amphion

Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:27 am

Evening - 19th of Hamis, 2719
The morning sun had proven little more than a cruel joke, the promise of clearer skies ripped away by a damp reminder that they were still in the depths of the Rainy Season. Not that such things were cut-and-dry, of course, and Oisin understood that; worse, part of him was almost grateful for the rain, a part that felt satisfied and reassured that at least the season was living up to its name.

That thought lingered with him as he stood, eyes turned halfway to the sky, a stationary island amid the lazily flowing river of pedestrians that swept back and forth through the Painted Ladies. It was often the nature of names, for a thing to be named after what it was. Now was the season when it rained, and thus, Rainy Season. The Dry Season, was, on balance, dry. In Mugroba, the Rainy Season had an even more evocative and descriptive name, the Flood Season, an accurate omen of what was likely in store. It stretched beyond such deliberate terminology, into the very core of language. Oisin found himself standing outside a bakery, in which bakers baked bread, and pastries, and other savoury goods. Oisin had even met a baker named Baker, once; though he'd also met a man named Baker who wasn't a baker, and that was where language slowly began to unravel.

Oisin liked to think that words were his salvation. Words, woven into stories, had given him hope amid the bleakness of his childhood. Words and stories were what had connected him to the mona, and provided him with a small ember of value, both in Old Rose Harbor, and then in Mugroba as a mercenary. Words and stories were now his stock and trade, a commodity he traded in to stay alive. He should have understood them, should have been able to trust them, but there were times when words became as confusing as people. There were times when words didn't say what they meant. One might be correct to describe Oisin as sinister, but only if they meant that he was left-handed, not ominous. Left could mean to leave, or what remains. Countless words, with countless meanings, some even opposed and contradictory. How did people cope? How could you rely upon words, when a change of circumstance could transform them completely?

A wince tugged at the left side of Oisin's face, as a raindrop broke free from his brow, and deviated off course a little too close to the corner of his eye. It was foolish to stand out here in the rain, and the few stray glances Oisin was sure he was getting no doubt established that the locals of the Painted Ladies felt much the same. But he wasn't here without purpose, and what he was doing couldn't be done inside; though the rain wasn't helping. Another silent lament that the morning sun hadn't been the promise of something more.

Oisin's head cocked to the side slightly, partly to guide the raindrop away from his eye before it began to look too much like a teardrop, and partly to better regard the curtains now hanging in the window of his apartment. He supposed that with clear skies, and more sunlight, the blue might be more vibrant and eye-catching, but for now it was just subtle enough: rewarding to look at, but without insisting that you did. Left to his own devices, his windows would probably have been lined with a dull brown or a drab grey. Good advice could make a world of difference.

He considered the name for them. Curtains. He'd looked it up, in the desperate hope of focusing his mind towards work, on a day spent mostly distracted. A distant cousin of court, something enclosed, or something built to enclose, like the curtain wall around a fortification. It seemed apt enough, depending on the curtains in question. At windows and doorways, curtains enclosed the privacy that they created, a safe fortified space out of range of the volleys of stray glances, and the javelins of unwanted attention. But court could mean other things, all distantly related and derived. A courtyard. A court of law. A royal court. A racquet court. Courtship. Cohort. All from the same route, spread out like branches, different leaves and different expectations shading and concealing the fruit of definition that hung from each. Bite from the wrong apple, and your words turned to poison in your mouth. Choose unwisely, and your curtains became courtship.

Oisin's eyes narrowed, nose scrunching in disapproval of the linguistic betrayal that the curtains had led him down, as if somehow he could compel them into an apology, in substitute for the one he hadn't yet found the opportunity, or the words, to provide.
word count: 831

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Ava Weaver
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:17 am
Topics: 8
Race: Human
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Plot Notes
Writer: moralhazard

Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:48 pm

Evening, 19th Hamis, 2719
Outside the Baker's Treat Bakery, The Painted Ladies
There were days and there were days. But for Ava, at least, today had been simply a day. It had been almost a sunny morning; she had started off with a sale straight away, and it had felt like the whole of the Painted Ladies was out and about, bustling back and forth, running errands. Between purchases and greetings, Ava was kept busy the whole morning, but there was a wonderful ease to most of it, from making light, pleasant conversation, to showing fabric, from carefully cutting wool, all the way to making tea for a tailor who came by during the quiet hours of the afternoon discuss more serious business.

There had been plenty of smiles too – soft, polite ones that were businesslike and almost neutral – bright, friendly ones, maybe even accompanied by a laugh at some unexpected joke – strained ones meant to discourage some unpleasant hint of conversation, anything that strayed too far into the flirtatious especially – smiles that seemed to convey some secret truth shared between Ava and whomever received it, smiles that acknowledged worth and beauty and left whomever received them lighter in the heart than they had been. Some transactions required one smile, some two; some went all the way to four, or even beyond. Ava gave them all with a free and easy heart.

Once her day had started, Ava rarely took a break, and there was no such thing for her as a lunch hour. Some days, the afternoon was as busy as the morning; today, she had at least had a chance to sit, and the tailor had brought some fruits and biscuits to share alongside their conversation. There was plenty to discuss, but Ava had carefully chosen an orange and peeled it slowly with black-lacquered fingers, and she savored the soft faint scent of orange peel on her fingers for some time – at least, until she needed to touch her fabric again, and needed to wash them clean.

But the rain began to pick up, slowly but steadily, and foot traffic into the shop slowed, a few muddy footprints smeared across the floor.

“It’s going to pick up,” warned Rosie, a tall woman with straw-colored hair pulled severely back off her face, leaning on the edge of Ava’s counter and gazing out the door. “So Jones says anyway – big storm coming, he says. Maybe the biggest of the season.”

“Oh, dear,” Ava studied the windows, leaning forward against the counter herself. “Well,” she glanced around, rueful, at the empty shop. “It’s been a quiet few hours – perhaps I’d better close the shop and run my errands before we’re all swept away,” she grinned at Rosie.

“I’ll just send my husband out,” Rosie said, cheerfully. “It’d be much quieter at home if the flood gets him.”

Ava laughed, grinning at the older woman. Her small delicate hands stood in stark contrast to Rosie’s rough, red-chapped ones, but there was no hesitation or constraint for either of them when Ava reached out and squeezed her hand; Rosie’s turned, clasped Ava’s, and squeezed back.

Ava swept and mopped the floor once Rosie had gone, leaving the shop open a few minutes longer through her chores. Only once she’d finished and still no new customers had come in did Ava draw the curtains over the shop’s big picture window, setting its small sign to closed. She fetched her rainproof cloak, settling it over her tan-colored dress, adjusting the small turquoise ribbons at the sleeves to lie flat against her arms.

Ava locked the front of the shop behind her, waved politely at Mr. Brickman from across the street who rose as if to venture into the rain, then stopped and settled back down in his chair. Ava stepped out of the shop, checking once that her window above was shut tight to keep the rain out, and joined the crowds streaming down the street below, shifting seamlessly into the flow of people, a basket settled over one arm.

Ava had a mental list of what she needed, particularly if she were to be cooped up inside by the weather. Soap, first; she made her way to a small nearby store, buying a new bar of soap. She had, she thought, enough lotion to make do for now; there was no need to tempt fate by buying more. She took the small wrapped package from the shopkeeper with a smile, tucking it into her basket and continuing on.

Next, Ava bought half a dozen eggs, nestled neatly together in paper, and settled them in next to the soap. Milk would come the next morning, rain or shine, so there was no need to worry about that. Last, she thought, she would buy some bread; Ava usually bought her bread at the end of the day, preferring to a few saved coins to the freshest bread. She made her way back towards her shop, intending to stop at Baker’s Treat on the way.

From a distance, walking carefully amidst the crowd, Ava noticed something strange ahead, a spot where the crowd seemed to part and flow around some strange obstacle, no natural feature of the sidewalk. As she came closer, Ava realized – to her surprise – that it was Oisin Ocasta, standing there squinting up at the window above the bakery, where blue and white curtains could be seen even in the dimming evening light. Ava smiled a little to herself, this one secret and private and smoothed it off her face in the name of politeness.

“Good evening, Mr. Ocasta,” Ava greeted him politely as she stepped around him, turning to make her way into the bakery.

word count: 994
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