Realm of Kaeleer => Ile de Paon => Rosnay Island => Topic started by: Jin-ae So on June 28, 2019, 12:09:21 AM

Title: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Jin-ae So on June 28, 2019, 12:09:21 AM
Rosnay was different than Thure. It wasn't something she was sure other people noticed, and certainly didn't know how to ask about, but she could see it. Little things like how the streets wound together, or the way women tied their clothes. They carried themselves differently than on the other island, just enough that Jin-ae wasn't sure if she quite liked it. She learned quickly to keep her eyes down when she was out alone, only slightly more comfortable in the presence of Captain Nazaire's wife.

Lady Salome was as distant as one could possibly be without outright having Jin-ae live outside, and Jin-ae wasn't about to try and bridge that gap for all the good it might do. She would rather not anger Captain Nazaire through Lady Salome if she made some irreparable misstep, and any action taken on her part seemed likely to spark some kind of active animosity.

At the same time, total inaction was out of the question. She had been loaned to Captain Nazaire's wife with instruction to mind her as best she might be able, only seeking contact with him if the Lady 'pressed beyond her limits', as it were. Jin-ae, having no solid idea about what Lady Salome's limits had been prior to meeting her, assumed that meant closer to death than not. Lady Salome seemed like the type to insist on her own wellness even when she was ill.

Lady Nazaire was a formidable woman, proud and dark, carrying a Green and a practicing Blackwidow. Someone to look up to, if Jin-ae had been of any other caste or position and had come to her in any other way. Very much like Chihye, for all they were so visibly different. And that Jin-ae disliked to compare anyone to her mother.

But Lady Nazaire wore her Green in the same way that one might wear a garment from a particularly disliked relative when that relative appeared at a holiday. It hung heavy on her, thinning and consuming, but borne with determination and a type of dignity. She knew better than to speak up about it, feeling too keenly the gulf between their power, in Salome's standing on the island, and the pressure of childhood etiquette lessons at her back.

It was obvious that she was simultaneously unwelcome and unable to leave, and so Jin-ae found herself caught in a new way. She knew from her childhood the demand of a jewel as dark as the Green, knew how much her mother ate to sustain it and function day to day. But Lady Nazaire made her own food, and wouldn't accept anything Jin-ae touched.

She was nothing if not resourceful, however. She'd put herself through the Exams without being sponsored at a school and right under the nose of her family, and Captain Nazaire wouldn't have given her the task if he hadn't thought she could succeed in some way. She hoped.

The simplest thing to tackle, but definitely not the easiest thing, was how to get the Lady to eat more.

It hadn't been hard to learn which stalls Lady Nazaire favored -- she'd simply followed one day, inviting herself along and being as transparent as possible, touching nothing, speaking not at all, and none of the vendors had cared or took much notice. The parts of the market they visited were those that sold larger quantities of food for slightly less than their competition. Rice, uncut fruits, greens, food that kept longer than others, generally. She paid attention to the language of the sellers, the way they haggled. Anahi's merchants were just as shrewd, just about different things. Fish ran in abundance, as well as small game like lizards and birds; shellfish were more expensive depending on the island, apparently; meat from deer and boar were the most expensive. These were avoided, marks scrupulously pinched and counted, and Jin-ae regretted her own stores kept secure in her cabinet, sure that Lady Salome wouldn't appreciate any kind of assistance, least of all from her.

A slight that would only deepen if she found out those marks came from Captain Nazaire as well.

The vendors had taken considerably more notice of her when she had returned the next day, a pleasant, guileless smile in place. She'd practiced outside of the house, away from the Lady, and hoped with her entire being that she didn't look the fool. She'd only ever truly practiced lying to her mother, her family, who she knew intimately. These people were strangers.

She started her little act by looking over their wares, making non-committal noises at their comments and frowning or tutting at prospective purchases.

My Lady graces your stall with her patronage, she'd said. Allegiance, generosity. Dare them to make any kind of remark about the state of Salome's person. But I worry that may soon change. Draw a finger across an item, one brow up, arch, a touch dissatisfied. Disappointed. Her mother's face. So much coin, and for a quality undeserving of it. What would her husband say, if he knew what Lady Salome paid for goods his own hard work makes available? Surely the disfavor of Captain Isidore Nazaire is not something you would wish to risk, if he were to hear that you treated his wife so poorly.

A change of script here and there, a couple more careful comments, perhaps and insinuation that he was soon to visit, and most of them caved to her unsaid demand. The promise of Jin-ae's own marks to meet part of the difference they were to give Lady Nazaire smoothed the way after the dose of fear had been put to play. Those that didn't fall as much as she hoped or not at all she made sure to remember. Captain Nazaire appreciated her honestly, and she had been sent to keep an eye on his wife, yes -- but those people who didn't respect the power he held were those to watch, too. The connections and influence he had would affect those vendors more than Jin-ae's attempts at intimidation.

Now, more than days out from when she had first stepped into place in Salome's home, Jin-ae's confidence in the market had grown. She passed from stall to stall to deliver coin, moving to those she hadn't felt confident enough to visit before. Jewelers, fabric merchants, booksellers. While her diet had adjusted to fit what her Lady ate so as to make shopping easier -- and to stymie what guilt she might have harbored at eating better than Salome -- she hadn't been able to turn away from the books and writing supplies that were offered.

It was at one such stall that she found herself then, morning sunlight still not quite strong enough to bake the ground beneath her shoes, debating books. A journal? Or a book for sketching? Or a painter's book, with it's thick pages and good grip. There was a stall close by, too, that sold novels and school books, and Jin-ae was always hunting for new things to read.

Living with Isidore would be the end of her, she was sure. She'd never had the ability to buy what she liked when she liked, and now she could. She'd at least get all three.

Turning, a smile on her face and books in hand, she intended to locate pencils and paints and then haggle for the next half hour over their price. While whispers tended to spark up briefly around her now, it didn't prevent the stalls she visited irregularly to put up resistance when she came to buy. But instead of a clear path to where the vendor sat squinting at her there was a body, and she bumped into them unceremoniously, hands automatically coming up to hold the books to her chest to keep them from falling.

Backpedaling, she bowed, eyes down. "I apologize for my rudeness," she breathed. Fear tempered her prior pleasure, bringing her back down to earth. "I was unaware of my surroundings. Please pardon my transgression, it will not happen again." She'd found it best to be as deferential as possible when out alone, not wanting to call either Salome or Isidore's attention to her if she misstepped. The few times it had happened she had bowed and scraped and prayed to the Darkness that they would simply think her stupid, light jeweled and on a mission for her mistress or master, and leave her be.

Please let the pattern hold, she prayed, eyes on the shoes of the stranger. Please let me go.
Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Paris Villeneuve on August 22, 2019, 06:46:54 PM

Paris licked the smile from his lips. Tongue hold his lower lip against his bottom teeth until they bit. It was a curious experience, fear angling toward his person. He couldn't remember the last time, if ever, he had incited it. Hand rising, he wipe the saliva his tongue left behind from his lip and chin and tried not to laugh at her bowing.

He recognized this one.

The sweep of her dark hair familiar. Caught in glimpses as she moved along the outskirts of Salome's house. The slave the lady's husband had brought to live with her. Salome was sure the girl was a spy, and Paris wasn't willing to risk Salome being right, so he did not argue, just followed along. More time spent out on the terrace that circled the house. Less time spent lounging in her bed.

"Forgiven. Jin-ae, isn't?" Dog-girl, Salome called her in that spiteful way she had. The lady herself was almost as terrifying as her husband. Fingers stroking down from the corners of his mouth to the tip of his chin, Paris shrugged. "No harm done. Are your books alright?" He asked, eyes bright against the sun, and internalized mirth. Salome would kill him for chatting up her slave in the market.

But she was a vindictive, sensitive soul, he'd learned quickly, and did not worry.

His eyes rolled around the market, body seeming to slump forward. If he'd had more hair it would have fallen into his face as he looked about. No one seemed overly concerned about them. But aware. He wondered if people knew and talked about his late night gossip sessions with the lady Nazaire. Or was it that the prince's slave was now conversing with him.

Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Jin-ae So on August 23, 2019, 12:12:25 AM
Eyes up, straightening from her bow but not relaxing, she tried to place the voice. It wasn't one she'd heard frequently, held at more than an arms length from Lady Salome as she was, but the face she knew. At least in part. An attache to her Lady's house, from the Temple where she'd taken to working. It caught her oddly, to find a Dhemlanese face among those that so frequently looked so different.

"It is." As unsurprising as it was, Jin-ae didn't know if she liked him knowing her name prior to being introduced. Face to a name, face to a name - ah. Somewhat even footing then. "And you're Paris, yes?" More eyes and hands to watch for. Careful, careful. The same kind of prickly caution that had infected her when she'd first met Captain Nazaire. The same kind of lurking threat, only it was in the idea of whatever returned to Lady Salome, rather than the presence of the man in front of her.

Chin dipped in a nod, Jin-ae kept her gaze at his cheekbones. "They are, thank you." She stepped around him, carefully, never quite turning completely away, and turned half her attention to the vendor. This was an exchange she was used to, and she haggled down her books to an acceptable degree before releasing her marks. Purchases vanished, the shop-keep fell from her mind immediately, focus back on Paris.

"Shopping for yourself, or the Temple?" She inquired, stepping carefully out toward the next stall on her list. Paints, next. A hat called to her hand, wide brimmed, and then she was looking up at him beneath its shade. Limiting her field of vision but not the awareness she had of the crowd around them, and hopefully not of the man before her. "I imagine there must be much to buy, with all its goings on." That was safe; a topic not her Lady or her Lord, and couched in enough avenues that they could pick and choose without stepping on each other's toes about it.
Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Paris Villeneuve on August 25, 2019, 06:58:44 AM

Paris' head tilted ever so slightly. She stood, she recognized, but he sensed she didn't really look. Eyes like water, that slid off rather than cling. But not servile. Maybe she was too new to it for the proper sort of humbling. Some never learned it at all. "Yes." Sometimes they died, because of it.

His father had never stooped or shrank. Sandals stirring the dirt of the marketplace, Paris shifted so she could glide by without becoming to close. The angle of his body changing with the direction of his hips. "You're welcome." He couldn't help the amusement that curled the corners of his mouth. His smile deep rather than wide.

Paris should have left then, but he lingered. Fingers moving over goods as he listened to her barter. Half attentions paid to each other. They looked familiar in a sea of strangers. But Paris had been born to Paon, and he very much doubted Jin-ae. She wasn't afraid enough. When she was done, her focus returned to him, and Paris' fingers fell away from manuscripts he had never intended to purchase.

"Myself mostly. But a little of both." He took her attention as invitation and matched his pace to hers, his stride only slightly longer. Side by side would have been too much. An admittance that they walked common ground. There was too much questioning about Paris status as it was. And he was likely to be flayed if Salome suspected him of prancing about with her spy.

"The temple has others to do its shopping. Housekeepers and seneschals who know what is needed all over." He explained, tipping open a bottle of paint. The slowing of Jin-ae's steps leading him to her destination. "Probably many of them. There is much to organize there." He admitted with some surprise. He had never much thought about it before.

"And yourself? Who do you shop for this day?" He sniffed a small pot of ink and put it aside with the air of someone all to familiar with the product. Telltale traces still staining his fingertips and nail beds. "This shade of red is imported. That deeper color will be half its price." He informed her solemnly, tipping the offending color on its stand, his voice pitched so that the stall keeper was less likely to listen in.

Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Jin-ae So on August 30, 2019, 03:19:44 AM
Eyes to the side while her unexpected companion walked beside her. In front of her, to a degree. His stride was so long! She had seen taller men on the islands, but she had not had to walk beside them. Jin-ae wondered at the deliberation of it. There was something inscrutable about Paon and its people, and it was off-putting to find that same air on a face she could have seen at home. It took a fist of control to not try to match his pace, aware in some way that the distance between was deliberate.

"I see," a network not unlike a house then, which made sense. Eyebrows lifted at the at the surprise in his voice. Jin-ae had been inordinately interested in the workings of her home, likely some pull over from when she'd known everything that had gone on at home. "I imagine they purchase for you as well then." Jin-ae had never worked at any of the temples in Anahi, although it likely would have been something her mother would have pushed for, had she any perceivable talent for it.

Well, she had talent. It was best ignored that she had had to be captured and enslaved for them to become relevant, but they were there. There were many adjustments Jin-ae had to go through mentally, some of them still in progress, and there was always the lingering fog that this was, somehow, not real. It faded, day by day, but it was still present in little things. The moments she had to herself on Isidore's estate, or in the routine of the market. She would outlive most of these people, which was something she'd never had to consider before. Surely, if she could outlive them, she could return to the mainland?

Not a question for Paris, admittedly.

"Myself, inasmuch as it may be of service to my masters." That was language she was becoming more accustomed to, deference and diversion. Not that she dared to speak much in Lady Salome's presence. But... "Paints, and drawing pencils. Stitching cloth and thread, if there are any vendors." She had her own frames, circle, square, and rectangle, and while she'd never been overfond of embroidery there was a certain calm about it. Additionally, it kept her hands busy and her eyes down while she was in Lady Salome's home.

Attention up, cheekbone, down, hands, paints. "Thank you." Reaching for the darker red, adding it to her hand, attention switching to blues. Perhaps not so terrible a companion to have on a crafts finding mission.

"What do you do, in your spare hours?"
Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Paris Villeneuve on September 09, 2019, 04:13:39 AM

Paris glanced briefly in her direction. Repeatedly. Careful slips of the eye to both keep from being caught staring, and to also not been seen as furtive. There was a trick to it he was not certain he'd exactly mastered. "They do." Paris allowed with a faint shrug of his shoulders. "But we have a difference of opinion on what makes for a good pen tip." He explained.

He felt less guilty when he inevitably ended up taking one home. Tucked into a pocket or behind his ear. Vanished thoughtlessly or chewed upon. Better they were already his own. He looked again. A strain at the corner of the eye because she walked behind him to some degree and Paris was too afraid of what turning his head to look would appear like to the marketplace.

Her answer was clever enough to still his tongue. Or was she simply that devoted? He did not think she was overlong on Paon, but Paris had no real way of knowing. Lower lip tucked beneath his tongue, he tipped his head in acknowledgment. "I do not see where there should not be." Best to let the first comment drift by. It was only right that her purpose align with her masters' needs. She was a slave.

Paints first. A dizzying array of colors and jars. The pots of ink were less thrilling in their display, being black only. But there were differences there too, though Paris did not speak of them. Nodding acceptable of her thanks because welcoming a slave in public would not stand, no matter how softly he said it. "I enjoy walking." The markets were a good place to hear gossip.

Or become it. Paris picked up a small jar of blue, the vendor smiling broadly and proclaiming it 'peacock blue'. Nodding, Paris smiled and put the jar away, body angling subtly toward Jin-ae. "I find it helps keep me connected to the people the temple serves. Plus my legs need stretching after work." He traded blues with her, half a smile curling his lips.

"Everyone has their own version of peacock blue. Or priestess blue, depending on how pretentious they are trying to sound." His smiled turned clearly into a smirk, fingers pressing a dry brush across his palm. The hairs spread and tickled his skin. "All of then trying to get closest to the birds color. It is something of a competition, and a joke."

Trading a single coin for a pot of ink, he turned away from the table, and scanned the market. He could not say if the market looked back at him with any vested interest. Half leading, they moved on together. "How long have you been in Prince Nazaire's service?" He asked, stepping around a scene in the road with little interest. A child broad tears of no interest to him while it was chided by its mother. She was not important either.

Title: Re: Not a Spider or a Fly
Post by: Jin-ae So on October 07, 2019, 11:42:47 PM
She was reminded, with no little humor, of the horses her mother kept, the ones bought from the more nomadic Blood they'd considered neighbors. There was a wildness to them, a caution that lingered no matter how long they were held safe. Paris, who Jin-ae fought not to look in the eye when she caught a glance, was much the same. There was a caution in him Jin-ae didn't quite see in others, and she wondered at it.

"And what does make a good pen tip? I have yet to find one I favor." She wondered at the manners of people, too. Paris was the first person she'd interacted with who was not above her in station. Or, what height he might have was achieved through something she could not have. Her legs were not so long, after all. The thought made her fight to tuck a smile away, head tilted down, and berated herself. He was of the island longer, at least, although the minutia of the space between them was lost on her. She felt the irrational desire to reach out and grab him, and she put that away too. Likely the same reason he had not responded with courtesy to her thanks would be the reason for the way he kept himself from her space.

Best not to cause trouble for Lord Nazaire while out with his Lady's... man? His Lady's servant, at least. Best not to cause trouble for her Lord while in the market.

"I enjoy walking as well, although the people I see are only those my Lady frequents." And doubtless it would not be lost on him that he fell into that category as well. Her mother would be proud; at last, some tact upon her tongue.

Soured by the thought, she redirected. "I must confess a preference," she admitted, eyes moving between the curve of Paris' chin, his hands, and their exchange of tints. "I find the estate much more peaceable." She could deal with the birds and the monkeys and whatever other animals circled Lady Salome's yard, or Captain Nazaire's, but Darkness she had never disliked the attention of people as much as she did at the market. Even Anahi's vendors had not been like this, leaving an edge of apprehension to her.

She tempered a laugh at his smirk and his jab, amused by the idea of any kind of contest around a hue. "And I suppose simply crushing the bird's fallen feathers doesn't make any kind of satisfactory color," she stated, pitched low and almost a question. It had been one of the first things impressed upon her, the importance of the bird. It hadn't changed her opinion on them, in that they were strange, if pretty, and somewhat annoying, but it was still a sentiment best kept to herself.

Paying and following, Jin-ae lifted her chin as they passed the crying child and its mother. Such displays were infrequent in Dhemlan, and her own household had not tolerated open tantrums any more than fits within the walls of their home. She had lagged and stared the first time she'd seen a child weeping here, but had quickly overcome her desire to either comfort or reprimand. Now, her pace barely slowed, and she prayed Paris' wouldn't recognize any hesitance in her or make any inquiries. "A year this summer," she replied. How little and how much time had passed, how little and how much change. Darkness. "How long have you been with the temple?"