It’s yet another day in Market Town. With it being the doldrums of late winter, the entire place is just a bit on the quiet side. In her booth, Kthzyx is taking the opportunity to sort through and organize the crystals she usually carries with her in the leather pouch. They’re laid out on the booth’s counter space by color, and within each color group separated further based on some characteristics that are not clearly visible to the untrained human eye. It’s sure not sorted by size.
Jeshua had spent the day at the Restorium – much as she has for the past weeks now. She wasn’t sure if she was getting better or not, but at least now they recognized her and were no longer trying to hand her things like the pushbroom to clean up. After her first disastrous day there, Jesh considered that a victory. Which was likely a good thing, given that Gran’s kitchen had a new helper and Jesh had been trying to avoid him. Even if avoiding Dair also meant avoiding Kaji.
Just thinking about it made Jesh scowl. It was Dair’s fault Kaji had scolded her. And now she was sure he probably thought she was some silly git of a girl.. and yeah, even Jeshua had to admit it wasn’t *quite* Dair’s fault. She had been pretty horrible. Even if she still felt he’d deserved it.
Today, though, she had other reasons not to be rushing back to help out at Gran’s to pay for her keep – her necklace had broken, and her crystal was in danger of being lost. It was really the only thing of ‘value’ the girl had, and she didn’t want it to disappear. That and that strange.. uh.. creature? had said to wear it where it could get sunlight. Jesh still didn’t know why, but the words had stuck with her.
Which is why she was hunting up Zyx’s booth, hoping that this time her journey wouldn’t be interrupted by a random slug summoning ceremony. Oi. That had been weird.
Life had gotten easier for Dair since working at Gran’s. True, the work wasn’t exciting but it kept him fed and gave him a place to stay and the people for the most part weren’t bad. Oh sure there was Jesh, but she hadn’t been around much and he figured she wouldn’t hold onto a grudge over a misunderstanding for this long.
Regardless, he didn’t come to the market looking for her so much as he came to look at the market. He was still getting his bearings in Vesper and now that he was settled in at Grans he felt it was time to take in the sights.
Of course who does he see on his journey but Jesh.
Dair takes a breath and makes his way over, “Hey, Jesh, fancy meeting you here,” he greets.
Zyx has apparently been with the town long enough that people know her on sight — she’s pretty unique looking so probably not a surprise. She greets and chats with a few people, and completes a barter transaction with one person before going back to her sorting.
Seeing Jesh approaching, she waves hello to the young woman but then hesitates as an unfamiliar man greets the Gran’s kitchen-worker. Hm. No worries. She has things to work on.
Jeshua’s face lights up when Zyx notices her and waves. She’s a fairly new entity here herself, so being recognized by anyone is a good feeling. Especially when it comes with – well, it’s not a smile, but a wave counts. Right?
All good things come to an end, though.
Cue Jesh noticing Dair. Cue sour face. Cue a very muttered, and bitten off, “Hi” for the man. Great. Now he’s ruining her non-Gran’s time too. What is he? Magic? That he’s everywhere.
The girl totally ignores the dry part of her brain that is telling her how ridiculous she’s being. Jesh taking almost gleeful pleasure in stubbornly still holding a grudge against Dair.
Approaching Zyx, and otherwise now ignoring Dair, Jesh puts her crystal dow on the booth’s ledge. “My necklace broke. I was hoping you could help,” she tells Zyx.
Dair blinks at Jesh’s greeting. “Whoa, get you on a bad day or something? What’s up?” it hasn’t occurred she could still be mad at him. Hell, Miss Suss seemed cool with him now, so why should Jesh be mad. When she moves on to the stall, he follows, A glance is given to the crystalline creature and Dair smiles, “Hey, I’m Dair,” he greets. Clearly he’s not going anywhere.
With a wave hello to Dair, Zyx looks at the necklace that Jesh has set on her counter. “It’s broken? Oh, that’s not good.” Her voice sounds … inorganic. As if it were being created by wind chimes instead of vocal chords. She reaches for the necklace and spends a moment closely studying the crystal suspended from the broken leather cord.
“I don’t see anything damaged about it,” she admits.
Doesn’t see anything damaged about it?
Jeshua blinks at the broken thing on the ledge. The leather thong is clearly snapped where the leather had gotten worn and stiff from wear and tear and the elements. “But I can’t wear it? See?” She points to the offending bit of leather. “It broke.”
Dair. Well, he wasn’t going away. In fact, he’d followed her. So now she was mostly forced to interact with him. She could be pleasant, but she didn’t have to like it. The sour face returns, “No. It’s not a bad day.” Then, under her breath, “At least it wasn’t.” Then, louder again, pointing out the obvious, “I broke my necklace. See?” Like, d’uh.
Dair waves to Zyx. Then to Jesh, he nods slowly, “Ah, I see,” he says about the bad day and when he sees what he assumes is the cause, the broken necklace, he shakes his head. “That’s an easy fix, I probably have a length of leather that will do the trick in my things,” he takes off his pack to rummage in it. “Call it recompense for starting off on the wrong foot,” he says before he shoots a glance up to Zyx, “Not to cheat you of custom,” he says. “Didn’t catch your name by the way.”
Zyx doesn’t have eyes per se, so she seems to stare at Jesh for a moment before looking at the leather cording. “Oh. I…” And then Dair offers a replacement piece of leather. “Thank you, Sir. I usually barter with another vendor for the strings. I, never really knew what was needed.” She illustrates by taking an oval cabochon of black fire opal off of where it’s suspended just below what would be her neck if she were human. It’s like it had just been stuck to her person, no necklace cord required.
“My name is,” she says something that sounds like someone swatted a crystal wind chime before adding, “But most people call me Zyx.”
Jeshua had been about to answer Dair when Zyx removes her opal, leaving the girl to gape rather in the manner of a fish. “You mean it just sits on you? How? I mean, how does it just stay there?” Never mind she’s staring, gaping, and possibly being rude with her questions.
It has thrown her enough, though, that’s she’s forgotten a moment to snark at Dair, looking at the leather he’s offered and fingering it. Telling Zyx, “I only know to wear them with a cord. Well, some people have chains. We didn’t have money for that. Don’t really remember how I got this one.”
Dair gets something of a nod. “Zyx is nice. She told me to wear my crystal where it would be happy.” Jeshua’s brow furrowing as she says that. It still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to her. It’s a rock. Rocks aren’t happy.
“Huh,” Dair says when faced with Zyx’s name in her native tongue. The band on his arm tingles with the sound but he doubts very much that his tongue could replicate it so when the shortened human friendly version is offered, he’s gateful, “Zyx it is. Good to meet you.”
The gem though has Dair equally fishified as Jesh, staring at that, though the fish face turns quickly into a smile. “That’s amazing,” he breathes before nodding to Jesh’s questions. The same ones had occurred to him as well and he was eager for the answers.
Dair nods, “She seems like it,” he says offering a smile to Zyx when he says it, “Though where is a crystal most happy or does it change from crystal to crystal?”
It takes a moment for Zyx to remember how humans seem to think of crystals. “Your stone’s … resonant frequency? Yes, resonant frequency, it harmonizes with you when you wear it. But it can’t if you’re not wearing it. Let me see if I can illustrate.”
She picks up a fairly dark amethyst and holds it for a moment before starting to hum. It’s about midrange in human hearing range, and she continues the hum as she offers the stone to Jeshua. With her other hand she offers Jesh’s stone to Dair so he can put it on the new bit of leather.
Jeshua has no clue why she’s taking the stone, and yet, she holds out her hand obediantly, letting Zyx place the amethyst in her palm. Admonishing Dair even as she does so, “Don’t drop it and break it!” As though the thing were that fragile that a simple dropping it would break it.
Dair nods, “Makes senses, the resonance is how your people talk, isn’t it?” he asks basing his guess off the sound of Zyx’s full name. “So, a happy crystal sings in harmony with its wearer?” he says following up the first question with an eager second.
When the stone is handed to him, he takes the leather back from Jesh. “Trust me I can handle this, dealing with valuable treasures is sort of my thing,” he says before proving his words by nimbly threading the leather through the crystal and tying it off, all without a single drop or even a minor tremor of his hand. “See. Safe and sound,” he says offering the thing to Jesh.
When the amethyst lands in Jeshua’s hand, it’s vibrating ever so slightly in response to Zyx’s humming. She stops humming, and the amethyst settles. “Yes, exactly,” she says to Dair. “Though from what I’ve seen, most people in this city can’t /hear/ their crystals, so there are as many people wearing crystals that are dissonant as not. More, probably.” She picks her fire opal back up and reattaches it to resemble a necklace pendant.
Then she addresses Jeshua more directly. “So having a crystal whose resonance is already in harmony with you is a very good thing.”
Jeshua regards the amethyst in her hand as it stops vibrating once it hits her palm. “Oh. It..” she hesitates to use the word ‘died’, but that’s how it strikes her. “So, everyone vibrates differently?” The thought makes her nod. “Sort of how I think differently, right? Like how my magic is me, and not someone else’s – because they can’t think the way I do.”
Which, again, makes sense to her, and makes her smirk to herself. Though now she has to ask, as she holds the amethyst back out, “So, is my crystal happy with me?”
Which has her looking Dair’s way, trying very heard not to keep that smirk on her lips as he lives up to his word and doesn’t drop her small precious thing or break it. “Sort of your thing, huh?”
Dair tucks the info away in the back of his mind. “Interesting,” he says about it. “I can’t hear the crystals at all unless you sing to them. If I ever find myself a crystal though I’ll bring it by your stall to make sure we resonate together, hate to have an unhappy crystal.” He’s not even joking either. For all that he’s a scoundrel and a pain in the ass, he’s is curious about the weird world that he lives in.
It’s only when Jesh asks him about his comments that it occurs he may have volunteered too much. There’s a moment’s hesitation to give away his lie before he answers, “I did some scrounging in Old Richmond, the place is mostly picked clean, but I’d find a thing or two. Sort helped keep me in food and shelter.” Of course Old Richmond and its ruins have been picked clean for ages.
“Yes,” Zyx replies to Jeshua. “Searching for a harmonious resonance is difficult here,” not nearly so much so where she came from, “so to simply already have one is the best kind of fortune.”
She then nods to Dair when he says he’ll bring any crystal he finds to her. “Or, if you wish, I can search for you.” She seems to study the man for a moment before reaching out a hand toward his sternum. “May I?” she asks before coming into physical contact with him.
Jeshua nods slowly, though she’s not entirely sure what she’s agreeing to. Other than the possible venture, “So mine like likes me.” She repeats it as a statmeent, not a question.
“That’s what it sounded like to me,” Dair says throwing in his two cents to Jesh.
Dair considers Zyx’s offer and asks, “What would I owe you for that?” he asks, though he makes no move to stop her from touching his sternum, even as he fights to keep his bracelet asleep in the presence of the D-Bee.
Zyx actually sounds amused. “Your crystal is actually displeased right now that you’re not the one holding it.” She does then put her hand against Dair’s chest and begins to hum faintly. In reality, she’s humming outside of human hearing range with some faintly audible subharmonics. They’re likely also felt through her hand. Some seem to offer no sensation at all, some border on decidedly unpleasant as she varies the pitch.
Jeshua’s eyes widen with a guilty little start as she reaches for her necklace and cradles it protectively – not that Dair or Zyx had done it harm, but something about the notion of it being displeased has created this reaction within her. Not unlike a mother hen clucking about her chicks, only a lot less hen, and no actual clucking. Definitely protective, though. Almost apologetic. Though if someone had told her, ever, that she’d be grasping at a stone as though she needed to worry about its feelings, she’d have laughed at them.
Then again, weeks ago, if someone had told her she’d be voluntarily going to an establishment and using her magic, she’d have called them a liar and given them the stink eye.
Sometimes life was like that.
Zyx’s ministrations to Dair are mostly innocuous. Mostly. But for the frequencies that hurt her ears. That is until she tends to that little matter on her own, merely adjusting her own reaction to the sound/sensation – totally unconsciously, as it happens – and it’s merely the awkward silence of waiting for whatever is happening to finish.
Dair flinches slightly as he moves from feeling nothing through Zyx’s hand to feeling one of the more unpleasant sensations resonate through him. His bracelet awakens setting the air to crackling around him and doubtless changing the pitch of his own inner harmonics considerably as a second set of vibrations joins the first. Dair scowls at his arm, “Stop it,” he tells the bracelet then looks to Zyx and apologizes, “Sorry, I am sure this is messing the whole thing up. If you give me a second I can get it back under control.”
Zyx spikes up in startlement and flinches away from Dair when the bracelet reacts to her attempts to ascertain the man’s resonant harmonics. “You have a protector?” Her spikes smooth back down. “That is no reason to apologize. It’s a good thing to have a protector, even if it seems to be a bit jealous.”
She also watches Jeshua for a moment, amused again by the amount of care the woman is now showing her crystal.
Dair looks at his arm and then back to Zyx. “Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s what it is or not,” he explains. “I found it and it sort of attached itself to me. It seems to react to all sorts of stuff, really it’s a bit of a pain in my ass, and expensive. Didn’t want the thing and I still ended up paying for it,” he explains before he shakes his head. “Anyhow, if you give me a second I can get it back under control, I am still curious to find out about my resonance and if there’s a crystal out there that’s going to work for me.”
“Well, that might be difficult with your guardian. It changed your resonant frequency.” Zyx doens’t specify if that is a good thing or a bad thing. In her mind, it’s a simple fact. A bizarre one, but still a simple fact. “I’ll have to figure this out the old fashioned way.” She picks up a random bit of greenish crystal from her display and offers it to Dair.
Jeshua merely listens to this all, her fingers stroking over her own crystal. She’s yet to put it back around her neck, as though that simple act would somehow break the silence and spell of the illusion that she does not exist here. That somehow her words would make them remember they are not alone and somehow change their dialogue. A thing she is unwilling to do. She’s not sure why, but it seems to her, seems on a level she can’t express words to, that something is going on here. A something she is reluctant to disturb. And not only because she and Dair do not have the firmest of footings between one another.
Dair nods, “I though it might,” he says before casting a look Jeshua’s way rubbing the place where the bracelet is bound to his arm. “Guess all this makes me as weird as the rest of the crew down at Gran’s huh? The Scrounger with the living bracelet,” he offers her a smile, still oblivious to her grudge.
The offered crystal is taken into his left hand, the one furthest from his bracelet. “Speaking of my guardian, do you guys know any of the Mages here?” he asks. “I wanted to ask about my bracelet.”
Zyx considers for a moment. “I can’t think of any offhand, but the University seems to have lots of very knowledgeable people.” She then turns to address Jeshua, who’s PETTING her crystal. “Do you remember Professor Ingerhast? Maybe she can help.”
Jeshua seeks out Kthzyx to repair her broken necklace, Dair invites himself along to chat. Dair's armband does not care for Zyx, not one bit.
February 09, 2411