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First Day Jitters

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1First Day Jitters Empty First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:32 pm

I'm a little relieved when my new hire isn't there bright and early at open, leaving me to my morning routine in silence as I open the shop and set about my tasks for the day. One of the older family's in the city has commissioned a headpiece for a costume ball, and while it's not my normal sort of work, I get these commissions every year. They're time intensive, but worth it - with the payments helping make whatever winter ahead a much more comfortable one.

The morning has passed without much conflict, only one couple stopping in to peer at the rings on their way to lunch. It stings not making a sale when I have to leave projects in the back to linger with guests in the front, but the well-mannered ones can become a welcome break.

The base of the headpiece is established once lunch has passed, and I'm plating the horns when I hear a bell from the front, cursing softly as I set the half-coated antler down the flecks of silver in my hand going back into their cup. Pulling my glasses off, I head up to the front to see who's arrived.

"Just past lunch, respectable," I smile at Aoifa as he enters the shop, lingering in the door to the back. "I set up a spot back here for your things, your own little desk in case you get bored."

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2First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:49 pm

"Thank you, " I smile as I follow her into the back, already pulling my cloak off and dusting the stray strands of fur from the black ensemble I'd managed to piece together overnight. It's like night and day compared to the more weather appropriate layers I'd been wearing the night before, making me look as homeless and wild as I usually am when I first arrive in the city.

But not today. Today, my hair is done up neatly, my clothes fairly new and properly pressed, and for once, I feel more comfortable and less out of place in this overwhelming city.

"I hope this is okay, " I comment as I put my things away and look her over, as much admiring as comparing what she's wearing to what I'd put together to work in her shop. "I don't have a terribly large wardrobe here in town. I actually had to run home to find something black."

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3First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:03 pm

"You look fine," I assure him with a grin, "You clean up well, in fact. Almost didn't recognize you."

I take my seat back at my worktable, looking boredly at the headpiece before turning back his way. "I don't think I've ever had anyone work for me before, so... I don't really have a task for you."

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4First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:46 pm

"That's alright," I smile as I begin unpacking a few things from my bag. "I actually have a couple of things I can work on while it's slow," I admit as I bring a container over and set it down on the edge of her work space. "In the meantime, though, I believe I promised you a wildling meal. Caught fresh and harvested from the garden this morning."

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5First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:05 pm

My expression pinches curiously as I reach out for the container, lifting it to my nose without opening it. It smells rich and gamey, an interesting combination given what the city regularly has to offer.

“Well, thank you,” I say, scooting away from my desk before rising and bringing the container to a small table near the front wall. “I needed an excuse to get away from stupid headpiece, I’ve been staring at it all day.”

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6First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:07 pm

"Oh yeah?" I ask curiously as I linger near the workbench to inspect said headpiece. "I didn't see anything like it up front; is it a special order?"

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7First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:12 pm

“Yeah,” I sigh, rifling through the small table’s drawer for some of the silverware I store there before settling in to the small meal.

“There’s a costume ball every winter, some of the attendees will commission pieces.” I say, “Especially if their costume is, in any way, related to colossus. They like to brag about it being authentic and straight from the source.” Rolling my eyes, I gesture to the half-plated antlers. “They’re from a deer one of my other suppliers found dead on the road to Green Hill.”

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8First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:19 pm

"Hmm," I nod as I roll the antlers over in my hands, the dark tint of my hands creeping further up toward my wrists as I get a feel for how the animal died. What I gather is not a pleasant feeling.

"I know they're for a ball and for vanity's sake, but might I offer something else to use in their stead?" I ask a little hesitantly. "Something that was gathered a little more neatly, and with less bad energy - but still just as dramatic for your client?"

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9First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:58 pm

"I mean-" I start, prying the lid off of the container as I peer into it curiously, "They're not giving me no bad energy money, if you catch my drift... But feel free, if you want."

I laugh a bit as I start poking at the varying components, separating them into various corners before spearing a carrot onto my fork. "Orif you want to save those for something with a bit more clout, I wouldn't blame you."

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10First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:09 pm

"Mmm," I nod as I take the antlers in question over to my desk, smirking at her as I pass. "My thoughts exactly. This creature didn't die an easy death, and I can think of much better things that energy might go toward than some tart in a dress.

"But," I add as I dig out a key from the depths of my pocket before flipping it in my hand as I look around the room for a door. "If I could borrow one of your entryways, I can pop home and grab a few options that might suit your needs, if you like. I'll just need you to keep the doorway open while I'm on the other side so I don't have to walk back."

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11First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:12 pm

I hesitate as I look up at him, frozen a bit over the bowl with fork in hand as I think it over.

"There's the bathroom door," I say after a moment, gesturing over my shoulder, frowning as I hear the bell ding out front. "It's shoved in the back down that little hall, just prop it open- I'm going to step up front, though."

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12First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:30 pm

I nod in response before following her directions to the bathroom. After checking that it's empty, I take a moment to wipe the door down - more a symbolic gesture than because it's actually dirty. Glancing over my shoulder to make sure Sylviane is still preoccupied up front, I trace a few symbols over the door with a long nail. As a faint glow lingers where I've traced them, I insert the key into the lock and turn it. The sound it makes is heavy and it reverberates in the small space, like the tumblers of an enormous door falling into place, the dull glow of the runes flaring brightly as the magic follows along the path I had traced.

The next time the door is pushed open, it lets out into the front garden outside my home many hundreds of miles to the North of where this shop stands. Snow is already dusting the ground leading up to the door of the cabin beyond. Shivering slightly, I look around for something to prop the door open against the wind, securing it firmly before I step through.

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13First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:22 pm

***

The person who'd wandered in was just looking for directions, something that happens annoyingly often given I've the first store front on the street. Once I've sent them on their way, I make my way back to finish eating, trying to keep my mind off of the fact the hybrid wildling I'd just invited into my life was using magic that's bordering on illegal in my back room.

Once the food is gone - and it was delicious - I find myself wandering back towards the bathroom, the sound of wind whistling through the hall only piquing my intrigue. It seems rude to investigate, given how little I know about the man, but I'm curious to see where it is he calls home that the city is a step up for the winter. Cold air cuts through the hall as I get to the bathroom door, small dustings of snow come in before melting in the warmer air of my shop.

Aoifa is nowhere to be seen as I step through the open door, peering around to take in as much of the wooded area surrounding his home as I can, the crisp air and rustling limbs entirely separate from what I'm used to in the city.

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14First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:35 pm

The second my new companion steps foot through the door, I can feel it - first from the sapping of energy required for her to pass through the door, and second from the multiple wards that go off around the house and the surrounding woods. I nearly drop the box of antlers and horns I'd grabbed as I miss a step on the stairs. Cursing as I balance the box on the handrail, I yank down one of the poppets and stick sigils dangling from the ceiling before crossing them out to deactivate the wards. It'll take a minute to reset them, but given the fierceness of the winter weather setting in, it's not something I find myself terribly concerned about fixing right this instant.

"Watch where you're stepping," I call out the front door as I finish making my way outside. "I don't keep them near the witch's gate, but there are some nasty wards scattered around the property. Wouldn't want you losing a leg or growing a third one or anything."

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15First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:50 pm

I stop cold as he warns me to watch my step, my jaw set in a tense look of contrition.

"I shouldn't have come," I call apologetically, look down at the ground warily.

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16First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:55 pm

"Nonsense," I respond as I make my way down into the garden, offering her a polite smile. "I invited you. I hardly expected you to wait on the other side of the door when I asked if you would hold it open."

My voice trails off a little as I get closer to her, my head cocking to the side slightly as my pace slows to a stop about ten feet from her. I hardly notice the cold as I stare at her, the hair on the back of my neck standing on end as I become more aware of the particular wards that had triggered upon her arrival.

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17First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:08 pm

“It’s lovely out here,” I remark as I look around again, not quite noticing his apprehension until I glance back his way.

“Are you okay?”

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18First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:15 pm

"Fine," I respond a little belatedly, my mind only catching up to the question she'd asked once I'd weighed her demeanor against what the wards had indicated. Realizing that my smile has faded, I throw on another one and then nod back toward the door. "Lovely, but very cold. Shall we return to the warmth of the shop?"

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19First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:26 pm

Nodding, I twist in the spot I’m standing to trace my foot prints back, my hands out to hold my balance as I go. The wind is still tickling at the stray hairs at the nape of my neck once I hit the hallway, the click of my heels a little muddled as a bit of snow and mud clings to them.

“Your place looks very cozy,” I remark as I turn back his way with a slight laugh, “I don’t understand why the city looks more appealing than that.”

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20First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:08 pm

"It only looks cozy now," I smile lightly as I return through the door to place the box on the floor in the hallway. "But it's a ways up in the mountains, and the winter is cruel. Survival becomes a constant battle of finding food, firewood, and keeping up with repairs so you don't freeze to death. It's not worth the beauty; not when I can partake of other beauties in warmer, safer environments."

I hesitate for a moment as I glance back at her before closing the door and taking a moment to not only seal it, but to ensure that it can't be opened again through any magical means without the key. I try not to glance at Sylviane as I do this. Still, my smile feels a little forced when I return my attention to her and grab the box up off of the floor.

"So, did you enjoy your meal?" I ask as I nod back toward the workshop where she can go through the box.

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21First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:17 pm

“I did,” I nod, making my way back to the shop and clearing a place on my desk so he can set the box down. “Thank you, I haven’t had anything that fresh in awhile.

“I’d offer to cook you something as thanks, but I’m useless in a kitchen.” I chuckle lightly, “I have some nice wines and teas, though. Can’t really mess those up.”

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22First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:24 pm

"We'll have to make an evening of it sometime," I smile lightly, not really offering a concrete time when we might do such a thing. In fact, I find myself wandering further away from her as I head back to the desk she'd offered for my own work. Now seems as good a time as any to busy myself with one of the projects I'd brought along, if not the poppet and talisman I'd brought back from undoing the wards.

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23First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:02 am

I watch him absently as he settles in at his desk, something about his demeanor slightly off, though I don’t dwell on it too long. I’ve known him less than a day, it’s not like I know the various quirks he has to offer. Instead, I pilfer through the box he’d brought before settling on another set of horns, ram-like and colossal in shape, and much better suited to what the client had in mind.

Working with the tease of his scent and thumping of his heartbeat proves to be more distracting than I’d anticipated, though, and more than once I find myself staring blankly at the metals pinched between my fingers or the horns they’re meant to adhere to. At this rate, I’ll fall behind on this order and risk a longtime client, something I don’t love thinking about.

“Would you mind if I cut on some noise?” I ask abruptly, pushing back from my desk and padding barefoot across the workshop. “Something instrumental, I don’t know... Just something to help me focus.”

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24First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:19 am

"It's your shop," I answer absently, her movement causing my body to tense and still in my own project. A small box lays open in front of me, the poppet from the house disemboweled and stuffed with fresh herbs and other tidbits. The only thing missing is the tiny lambskin scroll currently flattened out on the desk, two stones holding it flat as my fingers rest on it, waiting for Sylviane to settle back into her seat so I can give it my full attention.

My breathing eases when she isn't moving around the room, the quiet pad of her feet and the slight rustle of air displaced by her passing having sent shivers across my skin. I take a moment to allow a cleansing breath to pass through me before I return to the tiny scroll, my lips moving with each rune my nail burns into its soft surface. Despite the few runes needed to make the poppet work, it takes some time to complete the task, each rune requiring perfect concentration and energy to empower before I can move on to the next.

Still, fully anticipating what I expect to happen, I'm not quite prepared for the ward to go off the instant I place the scroll inside the poppet and pull the strings to secure it inside. There's an icy breeze that kicks up through the still air in the shop, and the lights dim and sputter out as the music is distorted by an unearthly interference. My eyes are wide as I look around, eventually landing on the startled expression of Sylviane.

"Er, sorry-," I stutter, quickly pulling the stitch in the poppet that will let me remove the scroll - the room returning to normal almost instantly once I have.

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25First Day Jitters Empty Re: First Day Jitters on Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:36 am

Glasses poised at the end of my nose, I stare at Aoifa in confusion before glancing back to my own work, setting down the warped metal I’d been applying when the room’s atmosphere shifted. It’ll require undoing and replacing, I realize, leaving a vaguely annoyed pinch in my expression as I look at him.

“What are you even doing?”

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