Megana has been hard at work gathering information all day. The Shifter is dressed in short black leather boots, black fishnight tights, denim shorts and a black shirt with a pink flower pattern and some lace beneath her duster. Daggers protrude from both boots and her hips and her hair is in a tight braid down her back. Little metal spikes, meant to discourage hair grabbing stick out of the braid occasionally flashing a bit of light as it catches on the metal.
Currently she’s settled on the edge of the fountain sipping a travel mug of something steaming with a far off expression on her face. At her feet is a group of five street kids, two simian, two human and the fourth some sort of reptilian humanoid. They’re all busy eating food bought from a nearby stall. Once they finish the two humans hug Meg and the little crowd starts racing off. Her eyes follow them until they become lost in the crowd but Meg keeps her seat.
For someone who’s apparently been targeted for assassination, Varos certainly doesn’t behave like he’s recently had his life threatened. But he’s still got a business and things to do, and those things won’t handle themselves.
The objective of today’s outing is notions, and the masked clothier is now returning from that task, a small, flat bundle, tightly bound tucked under an arm, mostly hidden from view for the dusty grey cloak he wears, just a shade or two lighter than the off-black of his usual clothing. His favorite half-mask with its six eyelike slits inlaid in amethyst covers the upper portion of his face, as always, giving him the appearance of someone out for mischief whenever he might smile.
It seems he’s also stopped by one of the food vendors for a snack, as currently he’s nibbling on some kind of steamed meat bun. As he nears the fountain he brings up his other arm to shield himself from the inevitable spray as he feels a breeze pick up before lowering it again. “Oops!” he says, standing tip-toe as he spins and deftly weaves between the little horde of children that abruptly arise and dash off. With them cleared he settles firmly on his feet again, sighing although it’s with a grin. Out of habit he makes a quick check of his pockets and belongings, but that bunch didn’t look like Saphra’s, at least.
“Usually people feed birds or something in that number,” he quips, stopping a few steps from Megana.
Across the way from the food vendors, Zyx’s booth appears to be slowly garnering more attention, chatting amiably with a couple of customers as one holds a nearly perfectly matched pair of ametrines up to the light and another picks through an assortment of quartz points.
She looks over as a movement catches her attention, then waves hello to Varos after he narrowly avoids being tackled by a pack of children. Megana smiles. Her urchins do pick pockets but they have Varos description from her. The Shifter shakes her head and laughs. “Birds don’t usually have a problem feeding themselves. Besides, that little gang likes to chat and I learn a lot.” Like the fact that a certain Noble from Dogwood was in the City the other day.
“How are you today Varos?” Megana asks. “Sorry they almost bowled you over there. I sent them on a treasure hunt and they got a bit excited.” Even before she truly felt anything for them, Meg had always looked out for children. At first simply to be the exact opposite her mother in tht regard. Now of course it’s something more.
Megana catches the wave from Zyx’s direction and nods. “Hiya Zyx!” The Shifter calls out in a friendly tone. She’s glad to see business seems to be going well for her friend.
Smiling crookedly, the clothier waves the apology off with his free hand before hoisting it higher to wave at the crystalline one as he catches the glint of her movement and her greeting through the eyes of those who’ve glanced over.
“I’m all right. Able to function, obviously.” He grins, turning his head as though to catch the last glimpse of the children that have filtered into the crowds. Idly he wonders just what sort of treasures they would be on the lookout for, and if they would have previous owners.
“Learn anything interesting?” he asks, offering her his hand as he nods over towards Kthzyx’s booth. He’d heard she’d opened up shop finally, but hadn’t yet stopped by to see her wares.
It takes the quartz buyer a few moments more to decide, but then they move on, and Zyx turns her attention to the one looking at the ametrine. They discuss things for a moment, then Zyx takes one of the buyer’s stones in hand and holds it against something else for a few moments. She offers it back to the buyer who again compares it to another one and then seems satisfied.
It’s not until after that transaction is completed that she calls back across to Megana, “Hello, Meg.” The not-quite-natural tone to her voice is more apparent at higher volume.
Megana laughs softly. They had had quite a bit to drink last night. “Good to see.” The Shifter murmurs. The Shifter smiles in pleasure as she takes Varos hand and rises to turn towards Zyx.
“Yeah. Someone I know was tooling around here in Vesper. One of the most irksome sonsofbitches I’ve ever met.” After a short sigh Meg goes on. “He’s had his uses though and..” She simply isn’t willing admit a part of her cares for the old man now. So Meg shrugs instead. “Hi.” Megana answers as they move closer. “How’re you doing Zyx?”
Certainly Varos is up now, but he’d had a late start this morning because of those drinks the night before. He’s quite sure that the concoction he’d drank at the club had been his favorite with a hit of something else. That’ll learn him for asking for the bartender’s recommendation. He won’t make that mistake twice.
It doesn’t take a psychic to figure out whom Megana speaks of, partially because of what she had said of him last night, and mostly because Varos had spoken to the very man not two days prior. He debates on putting a name to the man, wondering if the little street urchins had caught Greyson visiting his shop. Well, he’ll just ask later.
Coming up to Kthzyx’s booth, he smiles, making a show of looking at her display, admiring them through the eyes of those giving them closer inspection. “So good to see you’ve got things set up. How’s business?” he asks, on the heels of Megana’s inquiry.
Maybe it’s a good thing Zyx doesn’t — can’t — drink. When Megana and Varos approach to say hello she waves again. There’s also that whole inability to smile thing.
“Hello, Miss Meg. Mr. Varos. How are you both today? Business is improving steadily. I actually have a couple of special orders to fill even. How have you both been?”
Megana does in fact know Greyson visited Varos and she’s.. a mixture of feelings. Anger at what she’s sure is some kind of interference and for a change, understanding. She has an idea what the Seer is up to this time and can’t entirely find fault with it. She’s had a lot of time lately in the aftermath of her life falling apart again, to think and consider all the stuff she wouldn’t usually. So Meg is unlikely to murder the guy but isn’t exactly pleased at the moment either.
“I love watching you work Zyx. It’s beautiful.” Will that mean anything to the entity. Meg tries again. “It’s really special to watch what you do, since it’s something that I have never seen before I met you and most people here can’t do anything like it.” That’s a better explanation she hopes. “That’s great about the orders! I’m doing alright.” Megana smiles. She will not talk about the headache this morning or her mouth tasting like a compost pile.
Varos happily pushes the man and his scheming far from his mind for the time being. “Good to hear, Miss Zyx.” He can’t help but ponder at how long it might take before she’s harassed for business again by Hodgkins, but at least there’s no sign of the man right now.
“I just may consider placing an order from you myself. I’m no jewelry designer, but I can see a few of these making some very striking insets for buttons or cuff links.”
Zyx is genuinely pleased by Megana’s compliments, though it’s difficult to tell any kind of facial expression. She does flush a lightly peridot green, though. “If there’s ever anything I can work on for you, Miss Meg, do let me know.”
And then Varos offers and Zyx almost visibly perks up. “Whenever you want, Mr. Varos. Buttons are the…” she gestures to a fastener on Meg’s duster, “…yes?” She reaches into a pouch she’s taken to carrying her wares in, and pulls out an already shallow tiger eye cabochon. “I could make a stone like this into one of those easily enough.” Not just inserts for buttons, she’s suggesting shaping the buttons themselves out of the stone.
“Ooh that’s a good idea.” Megana burbles. She seems in a good mood today. Of course why wouldn’t she be? Last night, despite the surprise and her original dismay, turned out pretty well. She had fun, Varos hadn’t run screaming and is talking to her now and Zyx’s business seems to be going on quite nicely.
“Have you had any problems?” Meg has not forgotten about Hodgkins or the fact that she’s decided that he most likely needs to die. However, she’s got a lot going on at the moment and if he hasn’t done anything else yet, he can wait a little longer. “I will let you know, thank you.” The Shifter quiets to watch the two discuss business with an interested expression.
It’s much easier speaking to Megana than trying to ignore her outright, and after her performance last night, he’d felt it a little easier to speak to her. Of course, a drink or two hadn’t hurt to help that either. If there’s anyone to be wary and upset at, it’s that darned noble…
The crystalline figure is fascinating in her own right to watch. Varos grins as Kthzyx produces a sample. “Those would compliment amazingly!” he says, delighted. “Ah, I might have a better sample of what I’m looking for, shape-wise.”
He pats about his pockets before producing an almost spherical object, little bigger than a standard pearl, slightly flattened so it’s more disc-shaped than circular. The top half is smooth while the bottom just slightly more protruded, with a hole drilled through so that it’s threaded from the side rather than straight from the front. “Is it possible to shape them in such a way?” he asks, holding it out.
“I haven’t seen or heard anything strange lately,” the crystalline entity tells Meg. “I’m hoping that that Mr. Hodgkins accepted my refusal and has moved on.” Of course, she’s prone to thinking the best of people, as she’s not really learned otherwise. Yet.
Zyx accepts the small pearl button from Varos and examines it. “I won’t be able to work with this material — what is it? But, I should be able to emulate this shape easily enough. What stone would you like me to use? Quartz,” she’s learned the local names to most stones from Leo, and that has helped considerably, “is the easiest to get and use.”
Megana looks at the button and then let’s her eyes wander over Zyx’s wares..and occasionally Varos. She’s so happy that he’s here and talking to her instead of avoiding her but is trying her best not to really think about it so she doesn’t upset or remind the Clothier of what happened before.
Megana is well versed in the art of patiently cultivating trust and prepared for this to take a long time if it happens at all but, it’s a much better start than the other day and she’s grateful. Grateful even to forgive a meddling Noble Seer? Hm. Good question that.
“I shall have to go over my gear and bits and clothes and see. I’m sure there’s something and this is so unique. Totally fascinating. “Pearls come from a small ocean animal. It’s not actually a gemstone or rock.”
It’s all right, Megana. If you still want to kill Greyson or scare him into thinking you will, Varos is totally on board with it.
He laughs at Zyx’s observation. “Oh, I just meant that as an example for shape and…cut? I think the hole’s drilled, but yes, if you can recreate the shape with other stones, that would work out wonderfully.” Nodding at Megana’s input, he then considers Zyx’s question. “I do like the look of the tiger eye. Something like those would stand out nicely against a dark material. Do you have any recommendations for something that might almost glow when it catches the light? Fire-like, maybe.”
Taking a moment to consider, Zyx reaches into her wares pouch again. Oddly, she never seems to have to rummage about to find what she wants from its contents. She produces a nearly-clear stone with a tiny bit of orange to it.
“Something like this? I can reshape the color so that it resembles a flame.”
“Wait, the tiny white not-stone is from an animal? How is that possible?” Now she wants to go ‘swimming’ again, to see if she can find more of those pearls.
“I.” Megana laughs. “I don’t know but they make them. They ar in a seashell and the animal is a meat that people eat and pearls grow inside the shell. It can take a long time to find them. Kind of how people use antlers from animals to make knife handles or buttons or even drinking horns.”
She’s no longer a huge fan of fire these days but has to admit a flame inspired button would look pretty grand. “That sounds like it would be beautiful I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
“Oysters,” he supplies. “They’re considered a delicacy, although how people can stand to eat them raw, I doubt I shall ever understand.” The clothier shakes his head, shuddering.
He tilts his visored face then, appearing to look down at the little stone that Zyx brings out. With Megana’s observations he can quite agree, and so Varos smiles, nodding. “Now that would be amazing. I was thinking more in terms of color looking as though it actually holds a flame, well, that would be even better!”
Zyx tilts her head at Megana, as if trying to decide if the Shifter is trying to mess with her. “Small ocean animals in shells make them? And people eat them?” Well, she really has no place to complain about eating living things, as where she’s from all crystals are alive. “Maybe someone ate one on a dare, and found they were not so bad?”
She nods to Varos then, one gesture she picked up quickly. “I will see what I can do, then. This color of inclusion is not the most common, but I can get it. How many buttons would you like?”
Megana flushes slightly. She has of course, eaten the things raw. “I dunno.. I mean, there’s worse things you can eat..” Oh. That’s not better is it? “I mean, if you’re like starving or something.” The Shifter attempts to cover. She should probably not admit some of the things she’s eaten to someone she is attempting, however awkwardly to court.
“But yeah, that sounds like it would turn out well!” Eager to seize back on the subject of buttons Meg goes on “Ooh and what about.. something that looks like a flame but instead of the color of fire, the colors of ice. There are lots of types of ice, lake ice, glacier ice, dirty ice, ..okay maybe not lots of types but still. Ice flames would be cool!” Is she thinking of her nickname at Pandemonium now? Maybe so.
“Hmm, perhaps,” Varos concedes, nodding at Zyx. He pauses at Megana’s fumbling, his lips twisting in something uncertain in whether to be amused or slightly disturbed. “No, no, that’s quite true- I imagine there’s plenty worse.” He just…can’t quite think of anything that isn’t raw.
His attention returning to Kthzyx, he nods at her again. “You needn’t hurry with this, especially if you have other requests to see to. But…hmm….” He taps a finger against his chin. “Would twelve be reasonable?” His head turns slightly in Megana’s direction, and the Shifter’s eagerness pulls a smile from him. “Oh, an icy flame? I do like that idea…”
“An icy color?” Zyx looks between the pair. “I… what is icy?” It is entirely possible that she has never seen frozen water before, having arrived at the beginning of the warm part of the year, and having not yet gone through a winter.”There’s more creatures in heaven and earth..” Megana grins at Zyx then shakes her head. Not many are like to know that quote. She so loves reading its-“Uhm.” The Shifter blinks. “Ice is.. it’s water but, frozen. Cold. The water becomes a solid instead of liquid but it can melt if it’s too warm. I’ll find some pictures later to show you, if you want.”
Or maybe she can just Rift out and grab some. “You’ll likely start to see water freezing over now that it’s getting colder.” Meg is so relieved they aren’t talking about food now. Then chagrined that she cares so much about what Varos might think, then amused. This is all so new. Some of it is.. annoying. But it is not at all unpleasant. Besides there are definitely some things that probably, she should not eat.
The visored clothier looks a little hesitant as he tries to think of a good way to explain it. Nodding at Megana, he jumps back into the conversation after she’s given her response.
“Icy is cold, yes. Ice in itself is…well, actually just like a clear crystal. It’s what happens when water gets too cold, as Megana said. But if it gets really cold, then it’s possible it can burn- maybe not quite the way that a fire does, but touching it wouldn’t be pleasant. Ah…for beings of flesh and blood, anyway. I’m not sure if it would affect you- which could be a good thing, really.” Abort, abort! “-er, in some cases, ice can get so cold and layered that it slowly becomes less clear and more opaque. Whites and blues- I’ve never been anywhere to see it to such an extreme, however.”
Zyx ohs. She’s familiar with materials changing states when heated or cooled, so she doesn’t question further. But, having never seen ice before, she’s not sure exactly what color they’re talking about. So, she empties her pouch onto the counter in front of them, then starts pulling out anything that isn’t white or blue. And she does so without picking each one out. It’s almost like her hand is magnetized so that only the non-blues stick. Those go right back into the pouch.
“Something of these, perhaps?” There are milky quartzes, a few shades of blue in the topaz and aquamarine families, and even a very tiny piece of deep sapphire there.
Smiling, Megana squeezes Varos hand slightly. That is a good description. “Yes, exactly. Some ice is very much like a clear crystal. Glaciel ice can be different colors.” Megana decides not to explain snow, that is something Zyx will probably need to see to believe.
She does nod as Varos continues. “Yeah, I’ve been on a few glaciers. It’s ever so cold. You have to take extra care not to die from it, and to have enough to eat and drink. There are many dangers there but it’s a kind of beauty that is hard to describe.” And she also thinks most people would describe it as bleak and barren and lifeless rather than beautiful but.. Megana is not most people.
‘I’ll have to show her snow, if she could make snowflake gems, she’d make a fortune. People would love that. Snowflakes are gorgeous and I don’t think I’ve ever seen two that looked alike. How cool would that be. It’ll have to wait until she sees though.’
Upon seeing the colors Zyx keeps Megana nods with a delighted expression. Yes, like those. Those would look icy.
There’s something about ice and snow that tends to make him uncomfortable. He can’t say why, exactly, although he would probably account it towards bleak snowscapes where there’s nothing to see but whiteness for miles, and the chill he can relate to that loneliness again. But he’ll admit beauty in ice, in scenery like snow-dusted trees and fields.
Varos looks in eager anticipation as Kthzyx brings out her collection. For a moment he seems more interested in watching as the pieces she sorts through stick to her- talk about hand-y! He grins at his own pun that he hasn’t even spoken aloud, but as Megana looks over the assortment of blues that remains, the clothier nods.
“Those are lovely. I think a combination of those colors would work well, if you were to substitute them in for the varying colors of a flame? The paler blue would be the hottest, this shade of sapphire the outer wisp. …if that makes sense.”
“I think I understand.” She picks out a clear bit of quartz then one that is milky with inclusions. A few moments of holding the two together, and the clear quartz now has a sort of backing of the milky white. She then takes up the sapphire and getting the darkest blue to form a small bead of color inside the quartz takes several minutes. It’s almost like watching grass grow. But finally, she sets aside the now slightly paler bit of sapphire and takes up the topaz. It’s another several minutes, but this color leeches into the quartz faster, pushing the sapphire outward and starting to resemble the shape of flames. Finally, when the topaz is nearly clear, she sets it aside and takes up the aquamarine, creating the heart of the flame.
She then offers the finished picture crystal to Varos. “I can do a simpler version of that for the buttons. It will be faster and less … taxing.”
The Shifter smiles a little though it seems sad. “I was on a glacier not so long ago. It was.. inspiring.” It is not a happy story however and Megana decides not to tell it. “But yes I agree. That should turn out quite lovely indeed. You are very skilled Zyx and it’s a pleasure to watch you work.”
Maybe it’s weird but Megana finds it soothing, watching her friend make her crystalline creations.. it is if not magic, similar in a way but it’s.. creation and transformation.. Not any kind of destruction and that does something nice and happy in her that she isn’t really ready to admit to.
Megana quiets, settling on her heels content to watch and stand with Varos. “It’s gorgeous.” She finally comments again once Zyx has finished and leans over Varos for a moment as if aiming to get a better view but really sneakily desiring the closer contact, however brief.
He’s never seen anything of the like. There are glassblowers who create things with such ease and but a twist of a hand and a measured breath, transforming a glob of molten glass into a colorful, fragile orb or a twisting spiral. That’s about the best that he can compare Zyx’s work to as he watches her form the flame, drawing color from one gem into another until its completion. Varos watches through both Megana’s and Kthzyx’s own eyes (does she even see normally? Is her eyesight faceted? That would be a headache…) but the expression on his face is completely his own in reaction, pure awe.
“Not just a pleasure,” he murmurs as he watches. “I’ve never seen anything like it. You are truly an artist, Zyx.” When he’s handed the crystal for inspection, he holds it with care between his fingers and thumb, turning it ever so slightly to watch through Megana’s eyes (-woman stop looking at me and pay attention to the other goods) at the subtle shifts of color with the light. He grins, holding it out to Megana so she can have a better look at it, because he knows that’s what she’d wanted to look at, right? Riiiight.
“Simpler would be just fine, especially for buttons. I think this one you’ve just made would make for a striking pendant.”
Zyx is VERY glad that they both seem to very much appreciate the icy flame crystal. “Thank you. I might offer it to a jeweler, then, as they seem to be the most intrigued when I make pictures like this.” Of course, if Megana is sufficiently enchanted by it, she might just ask a jeweler to make the pendant and then give it to the Shifter as a gift. A thank you for helping her out.
“The buttons will be much easier, then.” With another magnet-like sweep of her hand, the crystals she’d used to color the ice-flame are picked up and returned to her pouch.
Grinning slightly, Megana does finally focus her attention on the crystalline ice flame replica. It’s incredible and like what she’d imagined only better. The fact that its a representation of ice fire and not regular fire makes it easier to look at. There’s no painful reminders of the past and Meg is very glad for that.
Having watched Zyx at work has only strengthened the Shifter’s resolve to protect her friend however and she begins considering which plan to set in motion in order to achieve that. These days she often tries a warning first and though it seems doubtful a man like Hodgkins would stay himself over a mere warning.. she should at least try that. Alright then.
..Later she’ll start the pieces moving. “It’d make a lovely pendant for a necklace.” Megana nods. Best not to give her plans away and worry anyone.
It’s a subtle change in Megana’s mood that Varos wouldn’t have otherwise noticed, but at the moment it’s just the three of them, and his focus has been set to the two. …and then he mentally smacks himself for leaving his guard down by minimizing his psyvision’s radius when THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KILL HIM.
“Could I trouble you to make two sets of twelve, then? One of the more traditional flame, and then of the ice blue? Again, no hurry with them,” he asks as he eases his range of Sight back out, letting the views of the streets and the passersby filter back through his mind.
While he’s not sure what Megana might be meaning to plan, he does nod as she shares his agreement in regards to the pendant idea.
“A pendant, then. And yes, two sets of twelve,” Zyx replies with a nod. She’ll need to make a trip out to her ‘farm’, but that wouldn’t be too much of a hardship, really. Of course, she hopes that her friend Malie is around to go with her. It makes swimming easier, less walking along the bottom of the water.
She looks around and notices that it’s nearly time for the vendor booths to change over for the evening. So she again uses that handy magnetic capability to pick up all of the pieces she had out to display and they all disappear into her pouch. “I’d best step out of the way,” she tells them, then drops to all fours and clambers out from under the booth’s counter surface as easily as can be.
Though it doesn’t show, Megana’s awareness of their surroundings hasn’t faltered. Anyone approaching too closely is like to come down with a sudden case of knifeinthegut. A sniper would be a bigger problem but she’s been checking the roofs occasionally too.
It’s not just cause she’s heard someones out for him but habit and the desire to keep living. Paranoia has helped her far more than it hasn’t and while she wouldn’t say that it’s a rare day someone isn’t gunning for her.. well.. she is who she is. It’s entirely likely there’s a minion out in the crowd watching too.
Oooh a pendant. She’s gotta think of a way to repay Zyx. For letting them watch her work and for making such wonderful things. “Thank you for letting us watch you. It was grand, Zyx. Truly.” The Shifter smiles.
He’d been a little too drawn in by Kthzyx’s crystal tricks and wouldn’t blame anyone but himself if he’d ended up getting hurt or in another close call. At least with Megana’s vigilence, that was at least one way of keeping out an eye, although he’d still narrowed down his range, and that’s simply not permissible.
“Wonderful! I look forward to seeing how they turn out.” His grin is as bright as they come, but partially because he always gets a laugh at saying such things, and it’s just sad that no one else gets the joke.
“Oh, is it that time already?” How long had they been dawdling about here? Varos steps back and watches Zyx clean up before withdrawing from the booth space. “Yes, thank you for your time. Have a good rest of the day, Miss Zyx,” he says, giving a polite bow of his head.
“Thank you both as well. Have a good evening, and maybe I’ll see you back at Gran’s.” She offers them a small wave again, then drops back to all fours to shuffle off into the crowds of the marketplace.
“Yeah, and a goodnight. I’ll see you again soon. Don’t think I’ll be making it back to Gran’s tonight.” Meg smiles. She’s still got things to do and besides, Nighttime in Vesper was always her favorite time. The Shifter is rather pleased to be around to enjoy it again. Maybe it won’t be all so bad, living here. So far it hasn’t at least.
It takes her a moment to decide if she should offer, after their conversation before about manners but Meg would like to walk Varos back. After going back and forth a few times, she mentally rolls her eyes at herself and then holds her arm out. “Walk you back? I’m headed that way next..” Hehe. She is, now at any rate.
Waving back, he watches as Kthzyx tromps off. Megana’s offer doesn’t come as a surprise, and as he ‘glances’ down at her offered arm, he smirks. “Are you implying I’m unable to do so myself?” But he shrugs and snags her arm anyway. Well, perhaps they’ll get to talk about that old annoying meddler and other things.