When Worlds Fall

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This is a Title.

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26 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:01 am

"I'm sorry-," I frown a bit, the bottle of soda pausing at my lips as I tilt my head again. "Jooba? L...j - what?"

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27 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:05 am

"L. J. U. B. A." I type each letter slowly, waiting for him to nod his understanding before I go on. 

"Tricky j." I type, grinning as he tries to mouth it. 

"Loo-" I say weakly, "Loobae." I wince a bit, "Lewwbae."

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28 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:10 am

"Ah, okay," I nod in understanding, the gears in my head turning it over as new ideas come to mind. "I like that, actually. It's unique. Bet your old mask had a hard time with one, huh?"

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29 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:11 am

"It said the J." I type with a slight sigh, opening my apple juice. "Tricky J."

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30 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:17 am

"Well, we'll have to fix that, hm?" I smile slightly as I hold my bottle up toward her.

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31 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:27 am

"Yes," I nod, raising my bottle and leaning forward to tap it against his before sitting back. It's in these moments that I always find myself at a loss for words. Small talk is odd when you're having to slowly type out each word, and that's if anyone lingers long enough for you to reach the end of your sentence. 

"Your mom tinkered?" I find myself asking, my fingers tracing the keyboard curiously as I glance up at him, "Family?"

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32 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:33 am

"Whole family did," I nod as I take a long drink of the fizzy beverage. "My brother owns a shop in the artisan district - we don't talk much. I'm the wasted talent in the family, apparently. Noisemakers aren't practical, as if anything is practical in a city that floats in the sky... I could be an umbrella maker, I suppose... or parachutes..."

I mull that over for a moment, nodding thoughtfully before shrugging my shoulders dismissively.

"Other than that, nope, no other family," I smile lightly. "Just me and my doodads. You?"

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33 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:37 am

"Wasted." I respond, hesitating over the already-typed word before continuing. "Trinkets. Baubles."

I set the keyboard down, twisting to grab a small stone from the window sill so I can stretch forward and hand it to him, humming towards him as I hold it out.

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34 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:45 am

I raise an eyebrow as I take the offered item, the cool touch of stone registering instantly as I turn it over in my hand. What she described as wasted makes my breath catch a little. Potential. That's what I see. An idea occurs to me as I bite my lip thoughtfully.

"Can I have some of your blood?" I blurt out, Ljuba's shock registering instantly as I shake my head quickly. "I mean for the mask! Not like - not to market or anything. I mean... I could tune it to you, to your magic. I could help you make these, but make them not... wasted?"

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35 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:52 am

My smile fades as I tense a bit on the bed, watching him closely as I shake my head. 

"Not a good idea." I respond once I've pulled the keyboard into my lap. "Magic is-" I stop, my fingernails tapping against the keys as I try to find the right word. "Tricky."

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36 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:58 am

"Not magic, just... a signature," I say a bit crestfallen before sighing softly. "Ah well, though. It was an interesting thought."

My lips purse thoughtfully as I turn the egg-like stone over in my hand, the rough edge of the geode pulling my attention back to it every time my fingers graze over it.

"What about one of your geodes?" I ask hopefully. "Could I put one of those into it? Crystals are remarkable resonators of sound - even help keep the timing right in clockwork. And if it's already cracked, there's no magic to it, right? Just a little shell of you."

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37 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:01 am

I nod absently, glancing at the crystal in his hand. It's one of my older ones, from Reach's End, composed of some of the finest ingredients I'd ever gotten my hands on. To be fair, it'd been one of my favorites, but I need to be able to talk. 

"Take it." I type, sighing as I sit back. "I have loads."

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38 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:09 am

"Excellent!" I can't help but grin at that, the geode slipping into the pocket of my jacket as I get to my feet excitedly. "Just you wait, you're going to love your new mask. I love making tech for witches. No one can tell if it's tech or magic, magic or mundane. It's a crying shame more of us don't work together, our crafts could meld together so beautifully. Well, you'll see what I mean when it's done, not that you have to take my word for it."

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39 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:05 pm

His flurry of excited words leaves me smiling awkwardly before it even registers, but by this point he's at the door and half out.

"Ooh!" I try to call after him, grabbing for the keyboard frantically, "New mask!?" I type out repeatedly, rising to my feet to go after him.

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40 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:54 pm

"Nice talking to you, too!" I call back, intentionally misunderstanding the flurry of chiming coming from the keyboard. "No time to waste, though. Ideas! I gotta write them down before I forget!"

In my haste, my awareness suffers a bit, and I manage to knock into a couple of things as I hurry off down the hall in search of the exit. I nearly walk into the toilets and showers at the end of the hall before remembering it's the door on the right before that and I double back, the chiming from the keyboard still following me a little ways down the hall. I wave quickly at Ljuba and disappear out the door, now far more oriented than I was and less clumsy without the welcome mats and knick-knacks of residents to trip me up in a narrow corridor.

If I weren't so excited for the new addition to her mask, I might feel a teensy bit guilty about not telling her I've taken on a larger project than she originally asked for. A small part of me wonders if maybe I've made a mistake, if maybe I've ruined some sentimental gift from someone. It's a thought I dismiss quickly, though, because I can't imagine anyone nice being cruel enough to give her such an ugly mask as though they were doing her a kindness. And as I arrive back at my shop, that's the last thought I give the possibility, my attention quickly running away with the new project before me.

***

Days pass after my visit to Ljuba's little apartment, a trip that turned out far more fruitful than I had anticipated. Just being there in her cozy little home, taking in all the smells and shapes around me, had given me ample inspiration on how to make this new mask her own. After learning her name and getting a better picture of who she is, I scrapped the previous design almost entirely, and burned my fingers moulding a new vanity piece from the old brass from the previous mask.

I don't know how many days have gone by before Ljuba finally shows up in my shop, but I know it's more than I had quoted her. I try to act surprised when she comes in the door, but I know I wince visibly as she comes up to the counter with an expression that can only mean what the fuck, man? I'm nowhere near finished with her piece - in fact, I'm only in the front half of the shop now because I'd managed to cut myself while thinning the edges on one of the leather panels for the neck piece.

"Hey there, Lju," I smile innocently, still nursing the bloody rag tied around my hand as I dig around under the counter for the first aid kit. "What can I do for you?"

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41 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:46 pm

I can't help the annoyed huff I let out as I set the keyboard down and type out NEW MASK?, but I am able to refrain from knocking my fist against the counter in my haste. 

"I need my mask," I type more evenly, "I need to work."

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42 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:54 pm

"Ah, right, yeah," I frown, my smile faltering as I put the first aid kit on the counter next to the keyboard so I can open it. "I've hit a small snag, but it should be done in a day or two. I just need to assemble everything, and then we can do some fine tuning.

"If you like, though, I could use some help around the shop?" I offer apologetically. "So you're not stuck at home unable to work?"

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43 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:55 pm

I frown a bit at the offer, shaking my head. 

"I owe you already." I type out, "I have rent, food, other things."

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44 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:59 pm

"Suit yourself," I shrug lightly as I unwind the rag from around my hand so I can clean it off and smear some ointment on it from the first aid kit. "While you're here, though, do you mind if I get some measurements from you?"

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45 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:03 pm

I hum a response as I tuck the keyboard back into the small pack I'd fashioned, following his lead as he gestures for me to step around the counter. I'm careful to watch where I'm walking, not wanting to knock anything over as I step around.

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46 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:08 pm

After sticking a sloppy bandage on my hand, I pull out the measuring tape by the register before situating myself in front of Ljuba, my fingertips brushing over her shoulders as I center myself in front of her. I can sense her skepticism as I start my measurements, the tape brushing lightly over her shoulders and around her neck.

"Can you take the mask off for just a moment?" I ask before shaking the tape toward her lightly. "It throws off the measurement."

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47 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:13 pm

Nodding softly, I pull my bag from my shoulder and set it back on the counter before tugging off my coat, using it as padding for me to lean back against the counter on. I'm watching him curiously as I unfasten the mask, grateful that I'd only worn it for the trip down here and there was no lingering smell or foulness to it. 

Setting the mask off to the side, I hum a soft okay to him as I let my hands fall to my sides, wondering to myself if all tinkerers were this peculiar.

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48 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:17 pm

I can feel her eyes on me as I work, my lips moving of their own accord as I mumble to myself. I can tell she's uncomfortable as I take careful measure of her facial features, my fingers grazing over her skin softly.

"Hold your arm out," I instruct as I nod toward her dominant hand. My hands hesitate for a moment after measuring the length of her arm, my thoughts reeling for a moment as I try to find a plausible excuse to obtain the next measurements I need. Unable to think of anything, I simply say nothing as I work back up her arm to measure underneath and across her chest.

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49 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:19 pm

As soon as his hands work the measuring tape around my ribs, I can feel my chest inflate and tense with the proximity. I grab his wrists firmly, my nails sharp against the soft flesh there as I clear my throat angrily. 

"Why?"

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50 Re: This is a Title. on Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:24 pm

"For proportion?" I offer lamely, my cheeks flushing with embarrassment. "Not for what you think... I need the full picture so I can set the mannequin properly. Otherwise I can't cut the materials to make it fitted comfortably."

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