It’s evening in Vesper and while some parts of the city are just starting to come alive, the other districts and streets are settling in for a quiet evening. The street outside of Sterling’s is quiet now that most of the foot traffic has moved on to other places. As the arcane lamp posts flicker to life bathing the street in a brilliant shade of blue, a weary Sterling returns after a day of haggling at “scrap day” down in the markets. He’s just about made it to his shop’s door when he begins fumbling in his pockets looking for something.
“Shiste. I didn’t leave it at the market did I? No no no no.” He fumbles a few moments more but seems content as his fingers glide over the ridges of a multi-faced crystal exhibiting a vibrant shade of jade. “Stars. That would’ve been costly” he smirks to himself. Snapping his fingers a spark of magic flies into the aether causing the pressurized lock to vent allowing the door to open.Shuffling along on all fours, Zyx had been enjoying spectating at the market, so long as there was a friendly person there to make sure someone didn’t try to smash her into little bits to sell. Now, she’s on her own, and she’s a little less comfortable about it. She’d caught the impression of a VERY tasty crystal nearby and started following it as sneakily as she can — which is, let’s be honest, not very sneaky at all. The trail of the crystal stops briefly at a door and she shuffles across the lane to catch up before it can disappear, putting her right up in Sterling’s personal space just as his door opens.
Sterling is about to step into the shop when the crystalline Zyx appears seemingly out of NOWHERE making hungry puppy eyes at his pocketed crystal. In his faint German accent, “Uh, hello there my little friend.”
Pause ensues as the crickets chirp and Zyx is just staring at the crystal. “I’m, um, going to go inside now. Y-you be a good” he looks at the underneath of Zyx to see if there are any discernable genitalia “it. Be a good it. Yeah.”
Sterling opens the door and begins to step into the shop.Zyx realizes after a moment that she’s doing something a friend warned her against, and steps back out of personal space range while straightening up to bipedal form. “Hello. Do you have some crystals to trade?” She’s guessing the man does, as he smells of them. And she hopes she’s not guessed incorrectly again, or her friends might have words with her. Again.
Sterling is two steps into his shop when suddenly the “it” becomes vaguely humanoid and begins speaking to him. The technowizard does the closest thing a human can do to a 180 degree head turn to look at the figure that just spoke to him. “Oh, I didn’t realize you were sentient let alone capable of talking.”
Sterling looks at the fading daylight, “Well it is a little late for customers” he pauses and smirks, “but Stars know I keep odd hours. Come on in my friend.” Sterling motions her to come inside the store as another spark of magic pulses through the store’s wall embedded crystal relays. The pulse finds its way to chandelier-like formation of crystals which upon receiving the magic pulse begin to glow a warm shade of orange.
Sterling steps towards the counter where he usually handles final transactions with a bit of a noticeable limp as he lugs the bag of scrap. Heaving the bag onto the counter the pieces inside clink and tinkle together as Sterling breathes a relaxing sigh. “Well, I normally do have spare crystals on hand, but I normally don’t get a request for just the crystals. Did you have type or elemental preference in mind?”Zyx follows Sterling inside, but then pauses at his question about a preference. “What is ‘elemental’? I like the resonance of some and not of others.” She hums a tone, sounding like a Tibetan singing bowl for juat a moment before stopping. It’s probably noticeable to anyone sensitive to crystals that some reacted to the tone and others didn’t.
Some of the more delicate materials in Sterling’s shop begin to resonate at Zyx’s frequency. Some of which begin to vibrate and tinkle rapidly. Suddenly CRACK! Zyx’s near perfect harmonious frequency cause some of the smaller glass coverings on Sterling’s instruments and tools to shatter. A surprised Sterling lets out a series of startled German obscenities.
As the frequency subsides a frazzled Sterling speaks softly almost as if he’s afraid his own voice will cause something else to break, “Crystal resonance, eh? I-I-I think I might be able to help with that.” Sterling goes into one of his side rooms where he keeps parts and materials. “Why don’t you have a looks through these and tell me which ones you like. You can sing to them” he hastily adds “b-but please don’t do it so loud.” Sterling looks nervously at his collection of gadgets and gizmos almost afraid to even disturb the very air with his breathing.Zyx startles and looks around when things break at her voice and she starts uttering apologies in her native language, sounding like someone swatted a set of crystal wind chimes. When he tells her to see which crystals she likes, she hesitates then offers in the language of the squishy people, “I can repair the damages first?”
Sterling takes one step on his wood floor. Creeeeeak. He pauses. Another step. CreeeEEAK. Once he’s satisfied that nothing else is going to break he relaxes the tension in his body. “I was just going to get a broom and pan for the glass, but sure if you want to try and mend them.”
The loud shattering of glass has Gertrude out from the basement underneath to assess the situation. Matronly tone, “Kaspar what in Earth are you doing up here? I swear you can’t go a day without having an accident in the shop-” she notices the customer, “Oh, I didn’t know the shop was still open for the day. Pardon me” she looks Zyx up and down “miss?” Looking at the broken glass the gurgoyle sighs “I’ll get the broom. You finish attending to the client.”Zyx looks about as bashful as pile of faintly grey quartz can look, and she plucks a small piece of pinkish rosy quartz from one arm and steps toward the nearest shattered glass and with a MUCH quieter hum of a small harmony of frequencies, she starts using the pink quartz to ‘glue’ the glass back into place. She’s tried repairing glass directly before and it’s too … lacking in structure to listen to her. But she can weld it with something else, and that’s what she’s doing, leaving translucent pink lines in the now intact glass covers.
Gertrude finishes sweeping the pieces that can’t be repaired, but she notices Zyx has to some good extent put most of the larger pieces back together. “My, what an interesting talent you have miss. If only my boy was that attentive and immediate in fixing his projects.”
Sterling’s voice is heard from another side room along with the sounds of rummaging and sorting of scrap, “I always get around to fixing my stuff. It just takes a little time.”
Gertrude harumps, “Your ‘a little time’ is about the size of a small store house nowadays.”
Sterling, “I heard that!”
Gertrude pats Zyx on the shoulder thanking her for the repair. “Did you find what you wanted, deary?”Zyx watches Gertrude a bit confusedly. “…no? I broke them, wanted to fix them first.” She then looks toward where Sterling went into the parts and materials room. She can ‘hear’ several crystals in there already, including some that sound like they might be excellent food starters and some that…
Suddenly rushing forward, Zyx all but bursts into the room and goes straight toward one pile of crystals, digging her hands in until she pulls a cloudy greenish crystal out from under the rest and drops it on the floor as if merely touching it is bad.
Gertrude is startled by Zyx’s sudden movement. “Miss! Please do not run in the store!”
Sterling was just about finished organizing when Zyx bursts into the parts room and begins digging into the crystals. When she pulls out the Cloud Gem Sterling looks at her funny. “It’s a corrupted air elemental crystal. Somehow it has taken on noxious properties that make the air foul or poisoned. I trying to see if I could use it in some way but I have yet to think of a constructive use for it.”
Sensing Zyx’s dislike of the gem, “I take it the gem bothers you?”
The gem pulsates reacting to Zyx’s presence. As she stares at the gem she can feel some presence staring BACK at her. She begins to feel a tug in the back of her mind; whispers barely audible to make sense. Something about this gem is more than just corrupt. It is evil.After dropping the gem to the floor, Zyx stares at it for a second before recoiling visibly and grabbing more crystals from the pile — all simple quartz — and starting to mold them into a new shape, almost like faceted putty. When most of a container shape is formed, she uses it to scroop up the crystal then finishes encasing it inside, grabbing more crystals from the piles as needed to complete the structure. “It’s looking at me. It’s mean. It wants bad things. Make it go away. Howie can make it go away.”
Sterling gives a partially I-am-not-sure-what-to-make-of-this nod to Zyx, “If you say so. I don’t have any use for it, but if you can purify it I would be willing to trade for it.”
“Were there any other gems you wanted?”“No. No. It’s too… Keep it away.” It’s honestly nauseating to her, or whatever passes for nausea for a crystalline individual. She pushes it away from herself, then looks at the pile she’d been digging through. She’s so unsettled now that picking out the best ones is going to be a struggle, but she tries to claim a few relatively tiny pieces. She also picks up a larger crystal that would likely be useful if it weren’t badly cracked through the middle. She studies the large crystal and after a moment of concentration repairs it tonear perfect flawlessness, even pushing some inclusions to one end where they won’t affect the majority of the structure.
Sterling takes the cage and places it on one of the higher shelves. “I think I met Howie once. I’ll see if he can do anything about it. Well, if you have what you like let’s get you away from the crystal then.” Sterling ushers Zyx back to the main shop room. “So you mentioned trading for gems. What kind of goods do you have to offer?”
Meanwhile Gertrude has finished filing the scrap, “I’ll be downstairs in the lab if you need me, Kaspar.” Sterling, “Thank you, Gertrude.”“I… only have myself.” Kthzyx offers the now better-than-flawless crystal to Sterling absently, as if returning something she’d merely borrowed. “But I can try to grow crystals. They don’t listen so well here, but I can. It is slow.”
Sterling takes the crystal and appraises it. “Remarkable quality. And you can do this to most crystals? If so I’d be more than willing to trade in exchange for your repair services.”
Placing the newly repaired crystal on the counter, “That crystal is much more useful to me now and should be ample payment for your gems. Please feel free to drop by miss. . . you know I didn’t ask you your name.”
Zyx offers her name in her native language, again sounding like a crystal wind chime, but then adds, “Most call me Zyx.” She examines one of the pieces of quartz (very faintly amethyst) she pulled from the pile, and then promptly eats it.