Raine walks through the city, admiring the sights. Such as they are.
Thankfully Aloysius isn’t running about like a madman across rooftops today. He’s on the ground like normal people, dressed…in rather tame attire given his tendencies when he’s left to pick out his own clothing, his overcoat a chocolate brown over a dark blue vest, white shirt and dark trousers and boots. He has a tricorn cap on his head because he felt it was a hat-wearing sort of day, but then autumn in general was a hat-wearing season in similar opinion.
Whistling, it seems the young nobleman has decided to play taxi for a tiny passenger, as to which he doesn’t mind one bit as he navigates the busy market area.
Tucked in between the collar of Aloysius’ white shirt and blue vest on his left shoulder, Miss Frizz does a bit of people watching as well as sniffing at the air. She promised the cook at Grans that she’d keep her nose out for any particularly good foodstuffs for the kitchen, and she’s really hoping for some blackberries.
They’re her favorite.
She’s hanging on to the nobleman’s shirt with her tiny claws, her tail still delicately bandaged though by the way it’s resting against the fabric of the vest, it’s got a kink in it now.
Raine notices the nobleman move through the crowd, such that it is, and he seems interesting, a tricorn hat and some sort of ….something…wrinkling up his tunic. She is not really sure what exactly the type of hat is, and strides over to look, rather uncouthly at it.
“What is that on your head?” she asks, pointblank. At this range, she sees the mouse. Now, from her interactions in previous walks, she doesn’t know what to react, as the -food?- is wearing a cape.
“I am Raine” she says, clearly as an afterthought. “I am sorry if I am looking too boldly. I am unused to city ways”
“Mm?” Aloysius blinks, glancing at Raine. It’s not often someone asks him anything so directly, but at least he’s not the sort who would take offense. He smiles easily, unfolding a hand from behind him where he’d been clasping them, gesturing towards his head. “What, my hat? Nice, don’t you think? I think it was based off some old style even before the Golden Age, but common enough if you know a good haberdashery! Called a tricorn. Because it has three points, see?”
He doffs his hat and holds it out to the woman for her to have a better look, allowing her to hold if she would, perhaps even try it on. All the while he’s mindful not to jostle his tiny passenger. He’d been a bit concerned when he’d seen that she had an injury.
“Raine, a pleasure. I’m Aloysius. Ah, and this is Miss Suss. No worry- I appreciate a person’s honest curiosity. So you’re not from Vesper, then?”
<~ Hello, Miss Raine, ~> Suss replies to Raine telepathically. <~ And I didn’t know what a hat was either the first time I saw someone wearing one. I thought they had a creature trying to eat their head. ~>
She relaxes a bit on Aloysius’ shoulder now that he’s standing still and is mindful of her presence as always. <~ Did you happen to see any vendors selling blackberries? ~>
Raine shakes her head. “No, I am from outside the area, I’m relatively new to this area” She listens to the nobleman. “What sort of a beast is a haber-dasher? It’s hide is very interesting” She smiles, but does not seem to be joking. She turns to Missus. At least that’s the way she HEARD it, perhaps not the way it was SAID.
She inclines her head to Suss. “Hello” she replies, verbally, not seemingly disturbed by the mental contact. “I am sorry I thought you might be food for the Man” she says, again with a wan smile. “Many folk I have met here have odd eating habits.”
She turns back to Aloysius.
“I am from Coalition lands” she says, somewhat vaguely. Her accent does harp back to that area. “I am enjoying this place. Though, most…’hats’…I’ve seen around here are “caps” – Is that the right term?”
That puzzled look on his face lasts for about a few seconds before he laughs. “Ha! No beast in this one’s previous life, at least, I don’t think…” Aloysius says, wondering for a moment as he eyes his hat. “I think it’s only felt. Some kind of material. …I should ask.” He sets the thing back on his head.
And again he pauses as he realizes what Raine had thought of him and the little mouse. “Food?? Goodness, no! Miss Suss is a friend, and she helps out at Gran’s. I think Gran would be quite cross with me if I thought to eat her kitchen staff!” He lifts a hand carefully towards the little mouse in reassurance.
“Ah, I’m afraid I haven’t yet seen berries of any sort, Miss Suss. But perhaps around the next row…”
Aloysius’s brows lift high at what Raine says so plainly. “My, but you -are- from far off!” he marvels. “I would not say such things so openly though, miss. People here seem to be a bit anxious about the CS for their rumored presence this side of the coast of late.” His smile returns. “But I am glad you are enjoying it. Many would think that those from the west would not, as particular as I’ve heard they are about magic and d-bees.”
Miss Frizz tilts her head in momentary confusion. People here eat mice? She’s seen the wide variety of odd meats Grans’ kitchen uses, but… she’d be barely a single bite for most Vesper citizens. Wouldn’t rats be more substantial? Not that she’d WANT people eating rodents of any sort, mind you. <~ Felt? If that means the same thing here as where I came from, it’s fur that’s been washed and washed and washed until it’s clumped together so tight it makes your skin hurt. ~>
Coalition? She’s heard that word before, she thinks. From Mr. Vargr. It never sounds like a good thing when it’s mentioned. But she keeps those thoughts to herself for now. <~ I hope so, Mr. Aloysius. I haven’t had a good blackberry since I got here. ~>
Raine says, “I pride myself on being more than my upbringing” she explains to the tricorn wearing man. She sighs, and nods. “I am never clear who to tell what, since these rules are very difficult. If I don’t talk to folks, and stick to one word answers, like at home, it gets on most folks nerves. And now you tell me that talking the truth to folks can get on their nerves too. Is there a book or something that I can read that will tell me when to tell the truth and when to not talk? With examples and illustrations?”
She grins and turns her attention to her new small friend. “Oh, it’s a made thing? Then why did he say it came from a Haberdasher beast? Was he joking with me?” She shakes her head, sadly. “Or was it telling me things that aren’t true, and trying to make me think they were?””
“…is that what felt is? Oh my. Now I wonder that I should ask…”
Raine gets another glance then. “But no! I said nothing of beasts! …did I? Anyway, a haberdashery is a hat shop. That’s just…the fancy name for it I suppose. Honestly I’m not sure why it’s called that.”
Chuckling, Aloysius waves his hands. “Ah, I hadn’t meant anything nearly so strict! Just be vague if you must, about where you’re from. People here are generally accepting of travelers from elsewhere. But the deeds of the Coalition States runs deep in some memories, deeper in history, and now with rumor of some of their forces mucking about this side of the Appalachians, fresh enough for some to be paranoid more so than others.”
<~ Perhaps honesty without being too specific? Such as, you are from far away? ~> Suss tries offering the safe and neutral answer she hears so many people use. Herself included, actually, as she would have no way to explain where she’s from.
<~ Is that what hat word means? Hat shop. ~> Again, she isn’t entirely sure why such a shop would be needed, but then mice don’t typically have any reason to wear hats.
Shifting about before settling on Aloysius’ shoulder more comfortably, she offers an addition to the nobleman’s words. <~ The people in this city are friendly and accepting, but they’ve seen lots of bad things in the past, so they tend to associate some names with those bad things. I’d feel bad if someone acted scared of you because you came from the same place that bad things in the past did. ~>
Raine nods sagely at the advice she gets. “So, it would be better to say I’m from a small village to the west?” she asks, trying the advice she’s received. “Haberdahsers are hat shops? Why don’t you call them hat shops, instead of using many long words that mean the same as a few small words. Are you running for an office? I’ve seen that in my small village to the west”
“I’m not here to do bad things” she reassures Suss. “Perhaps I can get Felt for a hat in this hat shop. Is it nearby?”
“I didn’t make the thing up! I just shop there,” Aloysius says, nearly shrugging, freezing midway through the movement as he remembers Miss Suss’s presence. He very carefully relaxes his shoulders again.
“But yes, that sounds reasonable enough, Miss Raine. Or you could just even forgo saying direction, or just say you’re passing through. Plenty of ways to dodge a question- and oftentimes you don’t even need to say where you’ve come from if no one asks. But I don’t believe you’d have come here to mean any ill towards us. You’re quite friendly!”
And Aloysius is at times incredibly naive but he still trusts Raine just as Miss Suss seems to.
“-I… wait, what? Running for -oh no! Haha! I just felt like wearing it. I doubt I’d ever wish to get into politics. Then I couldn’t go out exploring!”
Blinking, he looks around as he tries to place where they are. “Oh, the shop? It’s…down that way, heading towards downtown.”
Suss bobs her head and arches her whiskers forward briefly. <~ You’re too nice to do bad things. ~> And, well, if Raine did try to do anything mean, the mouse would likely ‘shove’ her over. Because she can.
She unwittingly gave the felt a negative connotation, as she’s not familiar with the concept of cutting the fur off of creatures BEFORE felting it. But then as Aloysius indicates the direction of the hat shop, her nose lifts a bit as she catches the scent of … something.
<~ Mr. Aloysius, I smell berries. ~>
Raine looks that direction, and squints her eyes. “Is it the dark red one, the light red one, the green one with wavy lines, or the pulsing blue one?” What precisely she’s referring to isn’t clear, but she does seem to be looking at shops.
“I think that’s the dark red one. I sense pies there, I’m sure they have berries there. Maybe even sugar syrup and baked goods.”
“Will you lead us to the shop with Berries, then perhaps we can go get me a hat. What sort of hat do you think I need? And Missus? She can get a hat too? Do we need to give them crystals for that? One of my friends keeps telling me that crystals are very valuable”
Distracted easily it seems, Aloysius glances at the mouse, beaming. “Oh?” He tries to sniff as well, but there’s a lot of scents going on around here that he seems to pick up the wrong one, nose wrinkling. “I’ll take your word for it.”
Squinting back down the line of shops he’d pointed in the direction of, he’s about to answer when Raine goes on. “Green one. Haberdashery. Ah, the red one- you’re a sharp one! That’s a bakery. But… I think Miss Suss was looking for berries not yet made into things. Some of the farmers bring in fresh produce to sell here in the square. Hm. What say you, Miss Suss?” He grins. “Hats all around! They take cash, but perhaps they’d be willing to trade in crystals if that’s all you have, granted they can appraise well.”
Miss Frizz sniffs again. <~ Oh. Yes, cooked berries smell … not as good. And… hats? ~> She looks up at the man whose shoulder she’s riding on. <~ I’ve never worn a hat. ~>
She then moves to stand up on her back legs, but goes back to all fours quickly — it put pressure on her tail.
<~ I think I have money, Mr. Aloysius, but coins are too heavy for me to carry. ~> The larger coins weigh more than she does. <~ Would it be all right if I reimburse you after we’re done shopping? ~>
Raine says, “Well, I hope to be able to turn in one of my crystals for enough for both of our hats. I have quartz, graphite, pyrite, carbon, and beryl. Some must be worth something!” She nods to the mouse.
“I remember seeing a Bowler hat. You’d look good in a Bowler hat. I’m going to get a red cap. Red caps are popular in my small village, it would make me feel at home”
“I’m sure a pie shop would have uncooked filling. Or we can go to a grocer. They might have bannanas. Potassium is quite tasty” She walks towards the indicated hat shop along the street, and passes a street grocer.”
Aloysius smiles brightly. “Quite understandable, Miss Suss. That’ll be just fine. And also I think everyone should own at least one hat.” He nods at Raine. “If they’ll not take your crystals, then I’ll vouch a down payment until you can get them exchanged for something they’ll take.” Because. Everyone needs a hat. Hats make people happy! …not that it’s a proven fact but he believes it!
“A bowler? Hmm. I think I have one of those. For Miss Suss though, I’m not sure. Maybe a little straw hat? Or one of those bonnets that the ladies wear- oh, oh! With tiny flowers and a ribbon!”
He follows along after Raine.
Raine moves off towards the hat shop, leaving the pair behind. Her social skills just don’t work too good.
Suss looks after Raine as she leaves them behind. <~ A straw hat? I don’t know. My head isn’t as … um, round. Maybe we can just go find berries? ~>
She really does have her tiny heart set on some blackberries. They’re usually what she grew up knowing as the crops heralding the last of the harvests before winter would set in and most mice (amongst other rodents) would curl up in the nests to sleep the worst of the winter colds away.
“Oh, it’d look cute! I can picture it! Although…mmm…tricky to get your ears into, even if tiny holes were made. Hmm. What? Oh yes! Berries! I…”
Aloysius pauses and glances around. “Yes. We can do berries. I…suppose Miss Raine will understand. Hm. Perhaps I should have told her to drop my name if she might have trouble with purchasing something?” He strokes his chin and then abruptly snap-points in another direction entirely.
“I see it, I see it! There’s the stall! I can juuust make out the little fruit sign they’ve got hung up.”
Suss cranes her neck to see what Aloysius is pointing out. <~ You do? Let’s go! ~> She’s leaning forward now, but not so much that she’ll fall off of her friend’s shoulder. Her whiskers are twitching rapidly as she clearly tries to isolate the smells of the fresh produce.
<~ It won’t take too long. Cook told me to have the foods delivered to Grans so we won’t have to carry them back. ~> She hooks her claws into the nobleman’s shirt in preparation for his heading toward the stall he’s noticed.
Expertly weaving his way through the general flow of foot traffic, Aloysius nods at the mouse’s words. “Oh, good! I wouldn’t have minded carrying a basket or something, of course, but if it’s for use at Gran’s then I’m not quite sure how many you’d be needing,” he laughs. “-whoa! Watch it there!”
There’s a brief moment where he has to nearly pirouette about as saurian shopper brushes by, and the young man brings a hand up to gently cup over Suss as he dances back a step or two to keep his footing.
“Heh, that was a bit close. You doing all right, Miss Suss? Ah, here we are.”
The near collision with the Saurian has her clinging to Aloysius’ shirt with all of her strength, and if it had been even a bit more jostling, she’d have stuck her teeth through the collar of his shirt as well.
<~ Well, that was exciting. And I’m fine. I just hope I haven’t pulled a hole in your shirt. It’s very soft. Are you alright, Mr. Aloysius? You didn’t get stepped on, I hope? ~>
There was a time when a human’s hand so close to her was intimidating, but so many people she’s met in Vesper have only ever been gentle and kind, and she’s more and more equating their hands with protection and concern.
“It’s fine, it’s fine! I would have been more concerned about you getting toppled or any more injured than any damage to my shirt,” Aloysius chuckles. “Ah, don’t worry about me. I’m quick on my feet! Although that was a very near thing. People in the marketplace can be in such a hurry sometimes!”
Drifting closer to the stall he skims over the assortment of fruits, offering the seller a nod. “Hello! We’re looking for some… ah, which were they? Blackberries? Yes, blackberries… See anything you like, Miss Suss?”
Once they’ve made it to the stall she looks at all of the wares on display, her whiskers and nose again working full tilt. <~ It all smells so good. May I examine the items closer, please? ~> She asks the owner of the stall politely, though she’s expecting at best a polite refusal. After all, how would it look to other potential customers to have a MOUSE walking all over the produce?
The fruit seller does look a little hesitant, especially as she hears the mouse’s inquiry. Aloysius apparently hasn’t noticed or hasn’t thought of the possible concerns the scene might bring as he extends his arm out for Miss Suss to use as a bridge to the edge of the stall.
“She knows much more about this sort of thing than I would, I think,” he assures the seller when he does glance over at her, completely misunderstanding the look. “But whatever she wishes to purchase, I’ll be covering, don’t worry.”
The fruit seller finally pulls her eyes from the mouse to stare at the young man before finally blinking. “O-oh! Well then. Ah, please take your time?”
Miss Frizz stops and looks up at Aloysius in surprise, as Grans is known for going through large amounts of food, considering how popular the place with both travelers and locals for a good, relaxing meal. But, if he wants to pay for it, she’s pretty sure the cook will NOT complain.
She climbs down the nobleman’s arm quickly but carefully and moves along the edge of the stall straight toward the berries on display. Being extra careful to not actually touch any of the produce, she sniffs at the berries for a good few seconds before standing carefully up on her hand legs.
<~ Yes, we’d like the blackberries, please. All of them, to go to Grans. ~>
At least Aloysius knows that the survival of businesses depended upon support from the consumer. He may not handle the trading end of his family’s business but he has the basic understandings of how things work. He’d be helping support two important branches with a simple purchase of blackberries! …well maybe not ‘simple’, but that’s about the gist of it in his mind.
“All of them? Ah, to Gran’s? Of course. I can have them delivered right away- ah, that will be an additional cost since I’ll have to send someone with the cart…” the seller says, but she proceeds to add up costs once Aloysius nods at her. He pauses from poking through the wallet he’s brought once she gives him the total.
“Hmmm. Seems I haven’t brought enough… Ha! Who knew fruits would be so much? But then I guess that -is- a load of berries. Can you bill it to the Haberdeens? Here, I’ll use my seal and we’ll have it taken care of before the end of the day.”
The woman’s eyes nearly bug out at the name drop, and she nods her head, writing out a receipt so that he can make an impression of his ring on it, adding his signature beneath it. He hands it back, smiling happily. “Thank you so much, miss!”
<~ Yes, thank you so much! Oh, may I take one for myself? ~> Miss Frizz waits for approval before eyeing the blackberries then picking out one bigger than her head. She’s now stuck standing on her hind legs holding the berry like a human would carry a watermelon.
… maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The seller is much more agreeable when all is said and done that Frizz could have gotten away with several berries if she’d so wished. Then again given the problem she looks to be having with one, perhaps that wouldn’t have been wise.
“Oop! Careful there, Miss Suss,” Aloysius laughs. He leans slightly against the side of the stall, watching as the mouse sizes up her fruit and the seller begins to have baskets of blackberries loaded up in the cart behind her.
Mission accomplished! Perhaps they’ll have time to breeze by the haberdasher’s when all is said and done.
Aloysius and Miss Frizz are out 'shopping' and happen into Raine Douglass.
October 07, 2411
Vesper Market Town