Ketzi woke up to her black cat Beatrix headbutting her, demanding food. "Dammit, Beatrix, go away," she murmured. Her brain moved sluggishly and the idea of getting out of bed seemed to take too much energy. She hid for an hour, before accepting that she had to get up. Her shop -- her shop? Imaan, that still sounded ridiculous -- needed to be open so she could maybe earn a few pennies towards the debt that she had found the luck to inherit. It was doubly important to open today, since she hadn't had the energy to open the shop until afternoon the day before, only crawling out of bed long enough to feed the damned cat. She had known she needed to open the store, but no matter how much she tried to find the energy to go downstairs and open the store, she just couldn't find it.
She tried not to beat herself up too badly for the lost day but, as always, that was a losing battle. As always after a day where Ketzi didn't have the energy to open the shop at a proper time, she wondered if she should take the quick way out and just give up. She knew she couldn't, though. If she thought she was cursed now, killing herself would just make things so much worse in her next life. Suicide was a great offense to the Circle and, as much as Ketzi sometimes wanted to die, she knew she would have to carry on until her time was up.
Ketzi slid out of bed, her every motion slow, as if she was fighting against invisible weights dangling from her limbs. She went through the motions of her morning routine numbly -- feeding the cat, starting water for tea, brushing her hair, picking up clothes from the floor to wear for the day. She made her usual breakfast -- a piece of toast and some cheese -- and ate it woodenly. She never had much of an appetite when she was depressed. She was darkly amused at the situation sometimes. At least she was saving in food costs.
Ketzi avoided looking in the hammered copper mirror hung on the wall as she rinsed her face and brushed her teeth. She knew what she would see -- dead turquoise eyes hidden in grey circles of exhaustion. Hair that was torn and split and desperately needed to be trimmed. Cracked, swollen lips that desperately needed some lip balm. Her siblings used to tease her that she looked like a corpse when she fell into cycles like this. Ketzi knew they were right. She just didn't care, unless she was forced to notice how she looked.
She made her way downstairs, Beatrix weaving around her feet as she did so, and opened her store. It was only a couple hours after she should have been open, so she counted it as a success. She went to her workspace at the back of the store and started working. First, she checked the pottery she had been cooling in the kiln for the past two days and gave the tiniest of smiles. She had been working on a series of ceramic dining sets for this firing, playing with glazes and designs that Gauthier had left behind when he died. The main theme had been nature, with small mountains and trees carved into the edges of the dinnerware and accentuated with glazes. But one set in particular had been experimental, with snowdrifts carved into the blue-glazed pottery and painted white. The smile was for that set. It had turned out gorgeously, the deep night-sky blue contrasting with the white of the snowdrifts.
Ketzi carefully moved the new dining sets out to the sales shelves, placing them by the door so that they could be seen through the window. She checked the drying shelves at the back of the store and decided which pieces of pottery would be ready to go into the kiln today, carefully moving them to the shelves within the kiln. The kiln wasn't a large kiln, just big enough for an average-sized Anaxi galdori to stand in it. Ketzi had to watch her head when she was in there, but it was more than enough space for her needs. Since she didn't have the energy to actually open the kiln and move her goods to the sales floor the day before, she had a few days' worth of plain pottery to put into it. Dinnerware, simple jugs, vases, and pots with their respective lids all found a space in the kiln.
Once Ketzi was done putting the pottery in the kiln, she sealed it and threw some coal into the fire chamber to start heating it up. Getting the kiln up to temperature would take a house and a half, and then she'd have to work on keeping it at temperature for two houses. After that, it could cool naturally. Once she was done stoking the fire, she threw some red clay on the potter's wheel and started spinning, shaping it carefully with her hands and turning the lump of clay into a wide-brimmed bowl. The dead look in her eyes lifted some as she started carving a design into the edge of the bowl. The plain edge turned into a group of rabbits, captured as if they were dancing in joy.
As the day went on, she continued to work on the set of pottery in silence, making 4 bowls, cups, plates, and a water jug. Beatrix would occasionally come down and rub against her, her purring breaking the silence and almost feeling like encouragement to Ketzi. She got up occasionally to throw more coal on the fire, but outside of that, every moment was spent working on the set of dinnerware. She bit her lip in concentration as she tried, mostly successfully, to keep the carvings on the dining set looking precisely the same. She moved each piece to the drying shelves as it was done. Every time she got up, she checked the kiln and, when it was up to temperature, she relaxed a bit. She flipped the sign to "close" long enough to go upstairs to grab another piece of toast and cheese, make some tea, and give the cat more food.
Once she came back downstairs, she decided to work on something different. She took a block of grey clay and started carving it with her tools. She got lost in her work and barely noticed the bell ring as the door opened.