[Open] Of Cleaning and Culture

In which Ezre continues to refuse to conform to Anaxi standards.

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Ezre Vks
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Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
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Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:52 am

The Laundries
Early Morning on the 79th of Roalis, 2719
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It was quiet in the earliest house after dawn, especially on the weekend, though Ezre usually waited until much later in the night to make his way to the laundries of campus, the past few days since arriving back from Hox had been a blur. When first registering as a student, his request had almost been laughed at by his entrance advisors—there were other Hoxians here at prestigious Brunnhold who certainly didn't feel the need do their own washing, they’d counseled him gently with their good and proper intentions—but the Hexxos Guide had simply informed them it was a religious expectation, even if it was merely a very deeply personal preference, that he be able to keep his own belongings clean. Much like acquiescing to his biological body in order to be assigned an appropriate dorm room instead of attempting to explain the gender norms, or lack thereof, of his particular people, for which there was no recourse for in living situations, Ezre had learned quickly to navigate Anaxi social expectations carefully.

He could have lived off-campus, of course, for there was no shortage of flats to rent in the Stacks, but he'd selfishly wanted to live closer to the Library and the Church of the Moon with all of its interesting Crypts underneath. Besides, he had no interest in being a financial burden on his family or his order, even if, as galdori with ancient connections, the expense was truly minimal. He already knew he would be wanting to travel again for post-graduate studies, and the dark-haired boy was certain his parents would appreciate his frugal choices now.

It was already sweltering and the sun had just risen, but the campus was mostly still this early before the breakfast hour as Ezre carried his basket along a now-familiar path. There were a few other ambitious students on their way to the Gyre (where he would be headed afterward) or jogging in groups, but it was the last summer weekend before classes began and thus it was otherwise a peaceful one where the Hoxian could be lost in his own thoughts about the East Garden and ghosts, about a particular Hessean, about trusting strangers, and about how the last half of his ninth year would unfold academically.

To say that the passive servants on campus had gotten used to his strange sense of self-discipline over past three years since his transfer from Frecksat would probably have been a putting things lightly: most of them begrudged the boy’s company just as much as they begrudged the airy brush of his Clairvoyant-laden field, though he made it a point to stay out of their way and not make useless, idle conversation. He’d learned the shifts—split into three ten-hour sections—and usually attempted to do his washing in between the ending of one and the beginning of another.

As if it just could not be any hotter before the sweltering temperatures of Yaris hit, the steam-infused laundry house was an assault on the northern temple boy’s entire being. The last of the linens for were being hung to dry and in another room, Ezre was quite sure uniforms were being ironed and pressed in order to be ready for students in time for classes to begin. Setting his basket down and hovering in a corner to wait for an open station once one of the blue-clad, sweaty, and admittedly tired-looking passive servants was finished, the dark-haired boy nodded and bowed at a couple of glances warily cast his way, his indectal field tucked close and his Hexxos tattoos impossible to hide.

It might have been his very presence upset the saatrilit. village culture in Deftung, in this context the passive work culture of the moment in the laundries, and he would have apologized if he at all felt it necessary to do so to the nonmagical children of galdorkind. He noted a few fell out of rhythm, and it was while he was watching one of the great wringing machines do its work, the temple-born galdor still fascinated by Anaxi industry and invention, that he didn’t notice two other servants staring as they walked by with a cart of wet linens ready for hanging. One misstepped, causing the other to stumble, and soon there was a tangle of limbs and a pile of heavy, still-warm sheets all over the floor as well as himself, the small-statured Hoxian comically bowled over by fabric and the hard edge of a sturdy cart.

He heard muffled voices, one of which was his own muttering in Deftung while he attempted to climb his way out of the wet pile. Once mostly uncovered and mobile, the tattooed student began to attempt to dig everyone else free without concern for who was at fault or what their social status might have been, aware that most of his laundry was still buried under clean, wet sheets,

“I am sorry for the distraction from your work. Here—let me just—assist—”
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Aurelie Steerpike
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Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:28 pm

Roalis 79 | Brunnhold Laundries
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Laundry duty was, perhaps, one of Aurelie Steerpike's least favorite of all of her shifts. The laundry rooms were hot, no matter the season, and the labor was tiring in a way that she never quite adjusted to, not even after a decade of living at Brunnhold. Likely this was not greatly aided by her own rather petite stature--it felt distinctly like everything was designed to be slightly out of her reach. Thanks be to the Lady for small mercies, at least she only had to work in the laundries irregularly. If she had her choice, however, she would have vastly prefered a slightly cooler month than Roalis. By the end of her shift, she and everyone else were all too sweaty and exhausted to even maintain the lightest of chatter to pass the time. Red hair stuck to her forehead; not for the first time, Aurelie kicked herself for her own vanity.

There was also, of course, the matter of the boy. Aurelie would likely not have noticed him, so focused was she on her own tasks, had Bernadetta not elbowed her sharply in the ribs from the tub next to her. At first Aurelie had to bite back a scowl, thinking the girl meant to tell her of some romantic lie or another she had heard from a wick at the market, but a sharp gesture with Bernie's chin made her cast her gaze to the corner where the Hoxian boy stood. Aurelie frowned, puzzled as always by his presence. It wasn't that she had not seen him before, but rather that she continually did not understand why he was there. She wasn't the only one staring, Aurelie noted.

"What do you suppose he's here for?" Bernadetta's tone was conspiratorial. Inwardly, Aurelie sighed.

"I am certain I haven't any idea--and neither, I suspect, will we ever. Who knows why the young masters do anything they do?" Her tone was mild, but it brooked no arguments. "Come on, let's get this load to the lines, or they'll never dry."

Bernadetta raised her eyebrows at Aurelie's seeming disinterest, but after a moment shrugged and joined her at the cart. Aurelie was often difficult to engage in gossip, they all knew. Both women grunted in frustration as one of the wheels stuck. Their eyes met and they smiled just a little--that poxy thing would be the end of one of them yet.

Still, Aura wouldn't have predicted said end to come so swiftly.

It was her own fault, she supposed--had she been paying more attention to Bernadetta than the golly boy, she might have seen her stumble when the wheel stuck. And had she seen the stumble, she might have been better prepared for what came next. Alas, she did not and was not, and so was caught in surprise as linens, carts and bodies fell into a tangled heap.

Her hand flailed out as she swam out of damp linens and caught another. A moment later, she realized she had caught on to the Hoxian student as he attempted to help--how very strange of him--and she pulled it back again as if burnt, sending her tumbling back to the floor.


"Oh bells and chimes--" She bit back a further curse and glanced at the boy, flustered and at a loss. "Ah, no, sir, you are too kind--you mustn't trouble yourself..."

Last edited by Aurelie Steerpike on Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 604
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Ezre Vks
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: better with the dead
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:33 pm

The Laundries
Early Morning on the 79th of Roalis, 2719
Academic study had confirmed that it was, as far as anyone had been able to determine through many ardent attempts over the past few thousand years, utterly impossible to determine the course of the future because of time's inexorably linear nature. There was an overwhelmingly staunch belief that the course of events in the Vitan world were fixed, nearly pre-determined, and impossible to alter, but Ezre Vks had been born of a woman whose soul had slipped, forgotten, abandoned, from the supposedly perfect flow of the Cycle and so his trust in any similar claims to perfection were tenuous at best. Clairvoyant conversation perhaps did not have the limitations placed currently upon it so much as it had been limited by the practitioner's own fixed, foolish beliefs.

Whatever the case, however, the dark-haired boy had not been busy divining the various possible outcomes of his trip to the laundries this morning not only because he didn't know how but also because he didn't know it would have been helpful. At least not until a cart had buried him and a couple of passives in cold, wet laundry and so much shame—his own neatly bundled bed linens and clothing lost somewhere in the same pile.

The Hexxos Guide did not hesitate to help once he could stand safely, immediately beginning to reach for the heavy sheets in need of hanging without even thinking twice about the motion. A hand found his tattooed wrist, and dark eyes widened, wrist twisting not to wrest free but to attempt to curl fingers around the passive's own, only to have her pull away quickly in surprise. Or fear. Had she thought he would harm her? He blinked, aware of all of Anaxas' various rules about touch and imagining them all so much more strict and harsh for those who had the misfortune of being born without magic,

"TzzchHoxian: A sound of displeasure, chiding, or simply ambivalence depending on context. Really, just a lot of expressive consonants smooshed together.. It is certainly not your fault." Ezre offered quietly, not placing the blame on the pair of passives any more than himself. He used his inked chin while folding the sheet he'd picked up, holding it there with one arm before he bent to help Bernadetta right the cart, dark eyes wandering over the mess in hopes of spotting his own laundry instead of meeting the woman's look of surprise.

Setting the neatly folded, still in need of drying sheet over the edge of the cart, the dark-haired galdor offered the redhead his tattooed hand again as if to help her up,

"It is no trouble, really. I am the one in the way of your work here, so it is not in kindness but with responsibility that I help you both, uh, vumei—Misses. I understand it is very un-Anaxi of me that I do my own washing." A flicker of a smile washed over his delicate, otherwise deadpan features and there was a hint of humor in his soft-spoken tone of voice. He dampened his airy, Clairvoyant mona-laden field as if to make himself less obtrusive and overwhelming, though it was hardly impossible not to notice in a room full of bodies that did not possess one at all.

Whether the passive allowed his help or not, Ezre would set about returning sheets to the cart while also looking for his own bundle of personal effects.
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Aurelie Steerpike
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:37 pm

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After taking such a thoroughly undignified tumble, setting Bernadetta to fits of barely contained laughter, Aurelie decided it might be better to accept the hand that was outstretched to her than to continue to make a spectacle of herself. Still--which was more unseemly? To flail about like some kind of headless chicken, or to take help when help was offered from such an odd source?

"Oh for pity's sake, Aurelie--stop being such a moony little twit and get up!" Bernie's complaint from where she stood trying to rightside the cart decided her. Resisting the urge to shoot a glare at her companion, Aurelie took the outstretched tattooed hand and hauled herself up from the floor with only a little wobbling. It was very strange, to be so close to one of the students in such a benign way--most of Aurelie's duties kept her out of the path of the student body of Brunnhold, and she was unused to speaking to them beyond a simple order if she was spotted in the halls by someone who needed something. Even with his field drawn in around him, in such close proximity she couldn't help but take notice. Tattooed and clearly not Anaxi besides, he stood out.

"Thank you," she said, her tone as polite as she could manage. When she stood, she realized with dismay that all of it had gotten mixed together, and most of what was on bottom surely needed to be washed again. The floors of the laundry were always slightly wet, and the shoes that trod upon them were not often particularly clean. On top of this, what washing the student had been holding was thoroughly mixed in. She didn't quite know what to say in response to his own admission of oddness--while it was very true, and she agreed, it seemed rude to do so out loud.

"Oh--but your things! Don't worry about the linens, we should find your things first, Mister, ah...?" Aurelie paused, unsure of how to address the young man standing before her. She didn't precisely need to know his name, but it seemed prudent. Even as she asked, she began rooting through the pile of damp linens to find the student's laundry.
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Ezre Vks
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
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: better with the dead
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Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:16 pm

The Laundries
Early Morning on the 79th of Roalis, 2719
"Not Mister. Not really. I mean, here at Brunnhold I am technically a m—it does not matter. Never mind. Please, my name is Ezre Vks, but just Ezre will do. I do not have any need to be addressed formally. I will not report such perceived transgressions—are you willing to also share your names?" Did passives here in Anaxas keep their own names? Was he asking an acceptable question? Did it matter?

The Hexxos Guide shouldn't have become flustered over a situation he'd not even bothered to be concerned with for most of his time in Anaxas, but his recent trip home to Hox and conversations with others had, for whatever reason, brought such cultural thoughts as his own personal identity back into his consciousness. He felt a warmth rise to his cheeks even though his expression was still inexpressive, mostly deadpan—Ezre was quite comfortable in keeping his rhakor even as embarrassment and any number of other uncalled for emotions fluttered beneath the surface.

The two young women in front of him were passives—hardly considered people at all by galdor standards, though Ezre was aware they possessed a soul. They lived, and thus were still a part of the Cycle he sought to be such a source of light to, and unlike most Hoxians, he could not entirely say he bought into the belief that one's deeds in life determined the position one found themselves poured into for the next life. Nor was he quite convinced that one's transgressions necessarily affected the future generations. He'd seen just enough mystery, tasted just enough of the sweetness of exceptions to those rules, to believe them as truth.

Regardless, he nodded as if he agreed about the suggestion to find his belongings in the pile of spilled laundry, only to reach for another one of the wet sheets and begin to fold it and put it in the cart again, one by one, "I am sorry you may have to wash these a second time. I have wasted your efforts."

By Bash's immovable patience! The floor was moist and the need to wear shoes in the buildings on most of campus meant everywhere the inside was also so dirty. The Hoxian found this all so ridiculous, that galdori would choose to live in ways that required so much outside assistance as if this whole Kingdom actually enjoyed relying on the sweat of others. He supposed they did, and the thought made him uncomfortable, dark eyes taking in the two young women, passives though they were, fussing over finding his laundry instead of worrying about their own.

The temple-born creature was efficient, tattooed fingers lithe and quick to snatch a uniform shirt here and a linen coat there, setting them aside. While Ezre possessed very little shame about his body, his shape, or the clothes that covered it, there was something fundamentally awkward about sharing all of his more private wardrobe. The realization that Anaxi galdori considered such things normal—handing over everything they'd soiled to someone else, to sometimes a stranger, to deal with—was such an odd, confusing feeling.

Ezre continued to separate things, making sure to recreate his pile of laundry on top of his extra pair of sheets so that he could rewrap it all into a tidy package once the two servants' cart had also been reloaded,

"Will you have to clean all of those yourselves? I have given you more work through my inattentiveness." The tattooed boy asked quietly, his voice soft and even, dark eyes drifting to the cart before glancing back at Bernadette and Aurelie, "You must allow me to help. I have washing to do, anyway. It is not as though I do not know what I am doing with laundry."

There was not even a hint of doubt in the dark-haired galdor's tone, though there was hardly any apology either, as if all he had said were mere observations from some distance away. He accepted his own fault without any excuses, which was, admittedly, something that set the Hoxian apart from his Anaxi peers.
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Aurelie Steerpike
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Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:31 pm

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Aurelie didn't understand what Ezre meant by asking them both to call him by name, but was willing to chalk it up to obvious foreigner eccentricity. It wasn't as if he didn't have plenty of that in evidence already, so what was one more thing to add? Still, it made her uncomfortable. All her life she had lived by a carefully established set of rules, and an understanding that there was an order to things. This was true even before she came to Brunnhold, when she was still a child at her nurse's knee. More and more, Aurelie found herself stepping outside of these rules. One day, she felt, this would come back to her.

Before she could decide how to respond, however, her roommate cut in and decided for them both. "Well, that's awfully strange of you, if you don't mind my saying so, sir. I'm Bernadetta, and this one here--oof!--this one here is Aurelie."

"Bernie!" Aurelie hissed at her dark-haired roommate, aghast. Propriety and manners had never been the woman's strong suit--five years of sharing a room made Aurelie keenly aware of that--but to be so brash as to call Ezre strange outright was beyond the pale, even for her. To Ezre, she turned with apology writ large on her face. "I'm sorry about her, Mister--er, Ezre. She's--well." Bernadetta rolled her eyes at Aurelie, clearly of the opinion that Aurelie's actions were excessively... passive-esque. She could think whatever she wanted. Aurelie had no interest in hearing from some matron if it turned out that this boy took offense after all.

As she watched the student gather up his things, she found herself evaluating his motions. Ezre was awfully efficient. Faster than either of them could sort out his things from the Brunnhold linens, he had almost gathered together his own pile once more. Aurelie wouldn't be lying if she said she wasn't a little impressed. Still, to allow his help... Aurelie was at an impasse. She did not want his help--it was strange and unnerving and would possibly get them in trouble besides--but neither did his tone brook any argument. She glanced uneasily at Bernadetta, who shrugged as if this didn't concern her at all. Helpful.

"Well, I don't want you to feel obligated... Really, that cart gives us no end of trouble..." Her voice trailed off, uncertain. The last of the sodden mess was piled onto their cart, ready to enter the scalding water once again. "Are you quite certain...?"
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