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1 This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:44 pm

Humidity. Everywhere you go in Skycrest, humidity. It's been like this for weeks now, and it wasn't expected to change for several more. It was peculiar, the humidity being so densely palpable while the air still held onto it's usual briskness. Most of the city's dwellers were used to it, but given it's my first 'Summer' in the floating city, it wasn't something I was accustomed to yet. 

No wonder the city seemed to creak and whine, with every building having it's own worn facade of rust and tarnish, so unique it could be it's fingerprint. Just ahead, Gahagan's General Shoppe, with its walls peeling in flecks like old paint, or MechDonald's Market, whose wall's patina shoots and branches up it's side like a lightning strike. For the first several weeks I was in the city, the buildings and their markings were my only map. The lightning streaking across Mech's marking the left I'd take, and beyond that the remnants of Baggins's Bearer Bonds & Balances lettering standing brown against the green tinge of tarnish marked the block where busking was safest. Baggins's had long been closed, it's sign ripped from it's facade and innards gutted to allow for flats. Flats that were rented to those only a rung above myself in the economic standing of the city. Plenty of children running in and out, and plenty of children to woo with cheap baubles in exchange for a few coins. 

Coin I would need, and soon, if I wanted to get my vox system fixed. Only a few of the buttons even worked anymore, and being new to the city, I couldn't even fathom where to bring it. The tech's in this city are far less welcoming to the witches than I'd anticipated, and it didn't take me long to figure out that what I'd thought would be a cheap fix is going to be quite expensive indeed. It had me longing for Reach's End. 

The hours it took to get through my wares dragged on, my inability to properly get anyone's attention a horrible hindrance on my ability to sell my wares. When the day started, only 10 letters on my keyboard worked. L, O, I, U, Y, T, R, E, D,  and X. Turns out, 'Loox,' isn't quite as charming as you'd think. 'You Loox' actually gets some annoyed glares.  If it weren't for the children, I'd have sold nothing. These brave little children, who gather around my table just after lunch, to watch the 'scary witch in the big mask' make her crystals. They'd ask for certain colors or shapes, begging for horses or birds, but those requests were beyond me. No, with my limited means and muteness, the best I can offer them are cracked orbs and misshapen ovals.

A child had just offered me their broken doll in exchange for one of those orbs when the rain started, sending the children inside and along with them the last of my goods. I'd only made a third of what I'd hoped to, but it was better than nothing. Packing up my things, I load the pockets of my coat with the empty potion satchels and mixing bowls, collapsing my table and breaking it down so it can fit into the bag slung over my shoulder. 

Swinging the bag back around, I can hear something crack, then a rattle. Defeated, I raise the keyboard positioned on my arm and start testing the remaining keys. None of them work. I'm growing frantic as I push at them hopelessly, turning my arm over and shaking it gently as rusty water drips out, a few tiny screws and gears hitting the pavement. It's shot. Fuck. 

I'd been holding onto those few remaining keys in the hopes I could find someone decent to work on it. Someone who wouldn't quadruple the price based solely on my profession and my reliance on the machine. I'd been to almost every shop on my route home, each one giving an ungodly estimate for what was - at the time - a simple fix.

Starting home, I go one block further out on my sweep of the shops, hopeful that one of them will be willing to at least look at the vox tonight. I try to take my mind off of the helplessness I feel with my voice gone, instead curling my arms tightly under my coat as I take note of the buildings and their fingerprints. Walls aged like a chessboard, tiles of brass and iron alternating for an earthy pattern of rusted and patina'd squares. Buildings where the whole of them are tarnished except for a line at hip height, where children run by and drag their fingers across the metal, keeping the sheen clean and bright. 

The street is hardly full this late in the evening, but the rain is beating down just enough to keep casual shoppers indoors, so they're nearly desolate. Honestly, the only sound on the entire street is coming from a block up, the mechanical whir of gears churning as a door opens, and out from a storefront sign, a bird pops, chirping off the hours.

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2 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:42 pm

The rain has chased away the steady flow of looky-loos and the occasional paying customer that had filtered through the shop earlier this morning, leaving me with nothing but time and the soothing pitter patter of rain hitting the cobbles and stained glass of the storefront. The noise and humidity triggers a new set of noisemakers outside the store, the musical chirping of birds joining the sound of rain in a cheery song.

My own humming and whistling joins the noise as I work on one of the many projects behind the counter, my back to the door. I'm still vaguely aware of people passing the front of the shop, the occasional person stopping to admire the mechanical birds fluttering down to the window sill just long enough to chirp at them before popping back up to the sign before their clockwork can wind down.

The chime of the front door catches me off-guard before a voice pitters out of a speaker next to it inviting the customer to browse at their leisure. There's a grainy sound to the voice that grates on my nerves, hardly noticeable to anyone else, but the less than perfect quality of it offends my sensitive ears. I'll need to fix that before it gets worse.

My gaze never leaves my work as my attention turns to the newcomer. Her footsteps are light, if a little shifty, her presence almost apologetic as she looks around hesitantly. Still, there's a purpose to her presence that tells me she isn't here just to gawk.

"Something I can help you find?" I call to her absently as she starts looking around in a slow beeline toward the counter.

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3 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:50 pm

I glance towards the man at the counter, clearing my throat a bit in hopes he'll turn to face me as I look around the shop. Aside from the noise emanating from various baubles, it's not too unlike the other shops I've visited in the past weeks. Still, the way the songs seem to work together are pleasant, no one item seemingly out of place in it's occasional whistle. 

Noticing the man still has his back to me as I approach the counter, I tap it lightly as I watch him, frowning inside my mask as I clear my throat again. Look at me, I will him as I begin unlacing the leather wrapped around my wrist.

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4 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:03 pm

As she gets closer, I can smell the cloying aroma of potions and magic. Her continued silence puts my teeth on edge, my thoughts bounding toward her motives. The only witches that come into my shop are either friends or instigators of drama, and since I don't know this woman, I can only speculate on what harassment she might be aiming toward.

She continues to tap and humph at the counter, her impatience becoming palpable. I roll my eyes silently. Waiting for me to turn around so I can be shocked by her appearance, no doubt. The last witch that played this game with me wound up horribly embarrassed. I wipe my hands on a rag and turn around to rest them on the counter, my friendliest smile plastered on my face as I stare vacantly at the darkness in front of me.

"Take your time, doll," I say patiently, waiting for her to spit out what it is she wants. "I've got all day."

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5 Re: This is a Title. on Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:17 pm

I'm perplexed by the vacant stare until it registers, a half-laugh/half-whine sticking in my throat as I set the keyboard on the counter and tug at my gloves. He's blind, of course. I consider, for a brief moment, just leaving his shop, but a blind tech might be the best hope I've got as far as fixing my vox mask goes. 

Gloves tucked into my pocket, I reach up to pull at the lacing at the back of my mask, loosening it and releasing the cord that feeds from the speaker through my shirt to the keyboard sitting on the counter. Removing my mask in public is something I haven't done since it was given to me in Reach's End, but something tells me this man won't react in horror. It takes me a few moments, working it off of my head and removing the rag that sits just inside the chin of the mask, fitting into the hollow of my missing jaw. It's damp from the rain as well as the drool that's impossible to avoid when your face is missing some of it's key components. 

I shove the dirty rag into my pocket quickly as I drop the mask onto the counter as well, shoving it towards him. 

"Mm!" I practically huff, tapping the speaker roughly.

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