Late at night on the 36th of Achtus, 2718
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"I do like clothes, but—" Xavier stopped themselves with a guttered giggle, suddenly blushing and rolling bleary, violet eyes. They weren't sober enough to take themselves seriously, and this child didn't need to hear that being without clothes could be pretty fun sometimes. Too soon. Just barely in enough control of their tongue to leave that comment unfinished, they chewed their bottom lip instead, "Fake writs 're expensive, mind. Bought mine 'n th' Harbor. I ent any more s'posed t' be here than y' are, but there's money t' be made here, so ... dze."
They shrugged, the sound that left their lips a dismissive, blaise noise of displeasure and dismissal. Leading the way through the streets, attempting to be at least a little careful to not get caught out past the law-imposed curfew for tekaa, Xavier listened to Lee talk about her own life as an orphan, as a street urchin here in Anaxas' capital. While they could imagine what factory life was like—a building full of complicated machines must have been like being in an airship's engine room—they weren't even entirely surprised to hear of the dangers. They'd lived aboard airships, high above everything, since childhood, crawling in tight places, living a life that could at any time be cut short by a terribly long fall.
"Ye whatnow? Clock th' damn Circle, that's awful. Th' world ent a nice place, ye chen. Cant say I ent seen m' share o' bad, too. 'Specially as a pina thing not much older 'n y'are." That sounded horrible, and, well, perhaps a bit more detailed than Xav was immediately prepared for. Not a stranger to violence, not ignorant about the dangers of life nor the sight of their own blood, let alone the blood of others, it was never less disturbing to hear about the suffering of others, "Glad ye made it outta there with all yer bits an' bobs then, boch. I ent ever lived a safe life, neither, but not like that."
The pale musician emphasized those words with a flourish of their bejeweled hands, waggling fingers into the chilled night air and laughing, the heated cloud of their breath fading into the glow of phosphor lanterns on the street,
"Brunnhold's prob'ly borin', full o' stuck up erseholes. If ye want m'opinion, oes, ye could pass as a golly jus' as well as I could." The intoxicated wick grinned and made an exaggerated flip of their bone white hair, "Jus' that glamour makes a wee bit o' difference, but only 'cause they say 't does."
They sighed, not in the mood to drag things down, to dwell on their mixed feelings on social justice, on how the races treated each other across the Six Kingdoms,
"Fifteen's m'haps one or two times too many. Jus' a lil'. We'll see what we can do 'bout yer clothes, too, ye chen." The shift in subject was welcome and the willowy Gioran offered a warmer smile, laughing about curls once the girl introduced herself, "Junta. Lee 't is, then."
Leading them both into the Book and the Bell, the albino wick made their way toward the stairs that led to the room they'd rented, digging for their key and waving a hand at Stu who was busy wiping down the bar while a few late customers lingered. The older man paused, eyes drifting to the girl with the musician, noting the blood and the clothes, concern flooding his rugged features. Aware that the albino wasn't much trouble, the concern wasn't accusation so much as honest care—he had Ginny to look after, obviously.
Xavier sighed, passing Lee their key, "Room Eight. I'll be right there. Lemme make our arrangements, oes?" Not particularly wanting to be accused of kidnapping, of exploitation, aware that all of those things weren't out of the realm of possibility here in the Dives, they moved toward the bar to speak in hushed tones with the proprietor, whether the younger wick chose to follow them or follow their request. Explaining they'd found the child injured and wanted to offer them somewhere warm to sleep, totally leaving out pickpocketing from the conversation in their sense of pirate's honor and personal kindness, aware of their own drunkenness, they slid a few extra coins on the bar for the girl's breakfast and some fresh towels.
With that off their chest, some understanding reached between Xavier and Solid Stu, they made their way upstairs, relying on the railing and aware that they were just a bit more tired than they would have been had they not been drunk and used a bit of magic. It wasn't their habit to take in pina strangers, but at the same time, the pale musician didn't really run into too many in taverns and bars. These days not even really on airships, either, but it didn't matter now, the albino wick was aware they had a habit of making friends wherever they went.
Up the stairs and through the door of the small room that was more bed than anything else. The Book and the Bell wasn't a large establishment and each pair of rooms shared a tiny bathroom that was mostly a tub. Closing the door behind them and leaning on it with a yawn, the delicate creature slid their oud from over their shoulder and tucked it in a corner,
"Well, yer fami for now s'far 's anyone's concerned, ye chen. Let's getcha cleaned up. I ent got any boch-sized clothes, mind, but we'll jus' wash whatcha have an' figure 't out when I'm not guttered, hmm? Make yerself 't home a bit an' I'll get things started."
They slipped out of tall boots, wavering on their feet with intoxicated balance, chuckling at themselves before shrugging off their coat and making their way toward the little room with a tub, not knocking at this house of the night but making sure to lock the other door, not even confident if they had a neighbor renting the other bed or not. Turning the taps and letting the water run before putting in the plug, the willowy Gioran washed their hands and used the still chilly water to wash their face with a bit of soap, hissing and sputtering at the cold while they wiped away kohl and lip stain, glitter and blush from skin that had no color of its own beneath the layers of decor.
Once the water began to get warm, Xavier reached for the plug to let the tub fill and then for a towel to dry their face, speaking in muffled tones while they wandered back out into the room. Performance for the evening over, the albino wick relaxed, the richer tones of their voice far more obvious once comfortable and tired,
"Mmmgive th' bath a few minutes an' then it's all yers. Let's see if I've got a shirt 'r somethin' t' sleep in since it ent all that warm. An' I'll poke at th' stove." They had very little in terms of personal belongings as a musical vagrant, but their bag was more full of clothes than anything else anyway.
All kinds of clothes, really, and Xav began to lay things out on the dresser, fussing and unsure. Not a conservative creature, their fashion was perhaps not conducive to tucking young people in for bed at night, but a couple of shirts at least were long enough and buttoned high enough to provide some sort of coverage, the lithe Gioran tall and long.
"One 'f these 'll do, eh?" Holding a couple of choices in Lee's direction, they laid the shirts on the bed before turning back to remove rings and baubles, slipping necklaces and dangling earrings from their person and piling them all nicely onto the top of their clothes on the dresser, pausing to rub their hands together and curl hands into their long hair, tying it back away from their moonkissed features,
"Wash for ye. Fire fixin' for me."