[AW] try and look your best
Quote:SSWM Challenge 3: Have a thread featuring one of our illustrious pNPCs.

Quote:Stylist 1: You notice a tear in someone’s clothing ‒ but it’s nothing a bit of thread and your trusty needle can’t fix! Offer your services to this poor packmate.

Set for January 4, the morning of the Call to Court. Come get some last minute repairs to your outfit! (pNPC: Penelope Resnor) [+586]

The morning of the Call to Court was upon them, and the energy inside the Dye Studio felt like it was practically buzzing. The air was thick and warm with the heat of the fires, the steam from boiling pots, and the scent of hot cotton. Through this, three individuals milled around at breakneck speed, flitting from task to task like little hummingbirds. There was barely any discussion between them as they worked, focused as they were on their solo tasks, but any outsider could see that this group was solidly a team.

Normally Calan wouldn’t find himself on the factory floor, but with mere hours to go until the big event, all hands were required to be on deck. They’d started at the crack of dawn, making sure the tapestries and other fabric decorations had been properly pressed, and were now in the process of completing their last finishing touches for garments still waiting to be picked up. Hems needed to be pressed, buttons needed to be secured, and loose threads needed to be clipped away. Everything had to be perfect for this night.

Caledonians of all ages came and went through the old schoolhouse door, eager to get their hands on their new or improved outfits. Most excitingly for the blond Escal, gossip poured freely over the countertop - who was planning to dance with whom, who was going to get the most drunk, and what special announcement the King had in store. Calan let his greedy ears soak up each and every rumour, relishing in the stories he heard. He’d been so busy preparing for the past month he’d barely had time to keep up with the social scene, and he missed being in the know.

“Do you have those last adjustments to the King’s tunic?” he called over his shoulder after the last customer departed, not looking up from his own handiwork. In front of him lay a beautiful cape of brilliant dark blue-black, rich and resplendent, which he was currently in the process of pressing a hot iron to. It was really something else, even if his opinion was more than a little biased towards goods of their own make. Amal’s skills in the dyepots were only growing more with each passing day.

From behind him, Pippa piped up. “Yes, boss!” She was the newest face to their little group, scouted by none other than Fennore herself, but her seamstress skills far surpassed anything the rest of them could ever attempt. With her strong work ethic and no-frills personality, she’d been a welcome asset to the team.

She came up to his side, the tunic in hand, and set it on the counter beside the cloak. He could feel her strong indigo eyes staring him down from out of the corner of his eye. “Are you going to run it into town? Or should I?” Calan considered the question for a moment, moving the iron to the side to avoid burning the fabric. It was an altogether easy decision. “I will in a moment. Just need to finish this up first.” He knew that she would be missed more in the half hour it would take to get there and back than he ever would be.

He was about to start ironing the cloak once more when a blast of cool air let him knew their next customer had arrived. The blond looked up, trying to see who it might be. “Greetings! Happy Court Day! What can I do for you?”
She wasn’t sure what had attracted her to the Dye Studio for the second time. Pippa had been full of the sort of personality that Indis had always aspired to – but somewhere along the way she had been ground into pieces that were difficult to put together again. She had spent the past few days patrolling the Caledonian border, wandering its dips and ranges while she pondered the potential future that lay before her.

Indis wanted nothing to do with her Fathers crown and the relationship between her parents seemed strained. She would forge something for herself, but first she needed something to wear to this so called Call to Court.

It was a tradition that was new to her. In Old Caledonia she had watched her parents each pray to their chosen deity as she had attempted to navigate her place beneath their watchful eyes. The gods had never seen her, never chosen to watch over her. Instead she had wandered into Pax’s arms and become one of his loyal followers.

Sometimes when she was on the cusp of sleep she heard him whispering her other name: Calliope.

She had been stronger than. More competent. When she spoke now it sounded trembling and unsure.

The Dye Studio loomed, and she timidly peeked through the open doorway. The scent of dyes and freshly brushed wool wafted towards her immediately, and the sudden voice that rang out halted her in her tracks.

The man who stood behind the counter was blonde all over, his hair bound in a low ponytail that saw it cascading between his shoulders. His eyes were the same shade of blue as her own, sharp and cut like pieces of sky. Indis stood stiffly, as if his greeting has pinned her in place – her arms immediately crossed awkwardly across her midrift as she glanced over his shoulder at the more familiar Pippa.

”Uh, hey-“ She ducked her head so that she could pull on the end of her own golden braid, ”Happy… Court Day… to you as well?”

Pippa waved cheerily from where she worked, her mottled ears pricking towards the pairs conversation.

”I was um, hoping for something to wear?” She brushed her hair back and breathed deeply and held out her hands, ”I mean... that is to say...” It was suddenly evident that she had come unclothed and unadorned.

(///) | NPCs: N/A

There she was. The most beautiful woman that he’d ever laid eyes on, bar none. And yes, he’d said that about the last one, but this time it was for real. Even her voice felt lofty and angelic - at least, from what little he could hear of it. It was hard to make out exactly what she was saying over the din of the Studio’s hum.

But he heard enough to realize that she was here for him. Or at least, for his help. Close enough, he supposed. Those dainty hands of hers lifted, gesturing to her unclothed appearance, as she murmured her plea. A sort of sorry explanation for her state, though Calan thought there was little she needed to be sorry for. Dressing her almost felt like a crime.

Still, the customer was always right. “Of course!” he chirped, a big grin on his face, even as his inner voice bitched and moaned. Who on god’s good earth would come in to the Studio on the day of a big event and expect there to be something ready for them? Did she not realize how long it took to get a garment ready? What was he supposed to do, pull it out of his ass? Wave a magic wand? Did he look like a fairy godmother?

But if he messed this up, he might lose his one and only chance with his muse, the love of his life, and the future mother of his children.

Oh, how could life be so cruel?

He sent a hurried look back to Pippa, hoping that she might be of more assistance. Luckily, the auburn wolfdog had been listening to their little interaction. Her eyes flitted between Calan, then this golden goddess, and back again. “I’ll see what I’ve got in the back,” she replied - but as to which one of them she pitied, he couldn’t tell. 

With Pippa gone and Amal toiling away, the two of them were left blissfully alone. The blond locked his blue eyes with hers, a gentle smile gracing his lips. “If she can’t find anything here, I’m sure there are options up in my shop. I’ve a few cloaks that may suit your needs. Do you know of it? It’s right in the Town Square - hard to miss.” Was he puffing up his chest? Perhaps. But so what if he was bragging a little bit?

Their conversation came to its natural close just as Pippa returned, carrying in her arms a fine bundle of delicate pinkish-orange fabric. “Here’s what I found,” she huffed, setting it down on the countertop. The Escal moved the finished midnight cloak to the side to give her more space to lay it out. He would have to deliver it to Maethriel when he delivered the King’s tunic, or risk their Moon missing the biggest part of her duelling costume.

The dress was of a lovely cotton, long in length, and with the gentlest wash of warm colour. He recognized the use of bloodroot in a heartbeat, but had never seen it handled so subtly. It had been fitted at the waist, and cleverly constructed from a collection of various overlapping patches, giving the finished product an interesting visual texture. Who had this been intended for? He looked towards his partner in crime, the slightest crook of his eyebrow belying his question, but she seemed to ignore it in favour of plucking away a couple loose threads. Her eyes seemed focused only on the imperfections yet to be fixed.

“It still needs a sleeve, and we’ll need to alter it to fit —” “I can handle the alterations, Penelope,” Calan butted in, his eyes never leaving his customer’s. As such, he missed the way that Pippa reacted to him calling her by her full name - a rarity in their work life. His pale hand gestured to the garment lying on the counter, his gaze lingering. “Is this to your impeccable taste, madame?”
The men of New Caledonia were just as varied as the women. Unlike Sanctuary, they were humorous and warm – eager to show off their talents and make friendships that were not reliant on trickery and manipulation. Indis had watched once, two nobles approaching one another only to grasp arms and grin, as if it were the simplest thing in the entire world.

Indis often felt as if she walked through the world in a cloud of self-doubt; a gauzy suffocating thing that made it difficult to see.

There were so many words, flitting and dancing like birds that she struggled to make out the silky edge of the man’s form.

Calan Brecours was vibrant. He was every shade of gold that she had ever seen. The booming pride of his voice forced her to take a step away – as if the brilliance of it was somehow blinding. It was evident that he loved his work, and Indis could feel a subtle excitement building in her as their energy became infectious.

Pippa watched her as if the entire situation was happening in slow motion, and she narrowed her eyes for a moment as if cataloguing her collection before trotting off to find something for the dreamer to wear.

Indis forced herself to gaze at the mans feet, uncertain as to how to meet his eye.

”I-I don’t know much about the Town.” Her ears flattened again and she pressed her hands together nervously, ”I-I actually don’t know who you are.” Suddenly her brows rose and she glanced at him fleetingly, realizing for the first time that their eyes were a similar shade of blue, ”Should I?”

Pippa returned a moment later, a dress proudly lain across her spotted arms.

They arranged it on the table like proud parents; cooing at its ruffles and folds as they were padded into place.

The colors reminded Indis of the pastel wash that dawn sometimes gave, or the way that morning dew tasted on her tongue. Without thinking the girl reached out to touch the bottom of the dress, her eyes wide with disbelief.

”It’s-It’s beautiful.” She glanced at Pippa and whispered, ”Are you sure I can wear this?” Indis shook her head in quiet disbelief.

”I-” She touched her lip thoughtfully and managed a tiny smile in response to Calan, ”I think so?”

She had never had impeccable taste before. Is this what it felt like?

(///) | NPCs: n/a

Pippa: "this is from our Spring line"
excited!pip is excited :sob: [+520]

She was a golden ray of sunshine in this hectic world; a constant in what was otherwise a chaotic storm. The room seemed to create a perfect sphere of tranquility around her as she stilled, her gaze drifting nervously down to her feet.

Most of his clientele had dashed in and out all day, sparing their harried little Studio no more than a passive thought; Calan, in turn, had treated them the same. Only she took up some sort of space, no matter how much she seemed to not want to.

In other words: he was smitten. When could he start designing his clothes for the wedding?

“How rude of me,” he exclaimed, flabbergasted, as if her question came as a surprise to him. His hand came to rest on his pale chest, and he cleared his throat. “My name is Calan Brecours, my lady. I’m an Escal of the Realm - a noble, if you will - and the one in charge of this little Studio.” Though Calan really was in charge only in name - most of the work fell to Pippa and Amal, whose hands were far more capable than his own. She would have elbowed him hard in the ribs if she’d had heard him.

And it was a close call, at that. He’d been just about to ask for her name in return when his spotted assistant returned and set down the patchwork dress. At this, his still angel finally moved forwards, her delicate fingers playing with the hem of the dress; as if to reassure herself that it was actually there. Calan could have seen that wistful, incredulous look from a mile away, so plain was it on her elegant face.

So, it seemed, could Pippa. The coydog let out an easy smile as she spoke, her words gushing out so fast they were almost hard to catch. “Absolutely! Oh, it’ll look perfect on you!” She clapped her hands together in joy.

“It’s the same bloodroot from before, you see, but I added a bit of madder to the pot, and only let it steep for a few minutes, tops, so it made this kind of pinkish-orangeish colour… oh, oh! And then I thought about doing another wash so that it’s darker on the bottom - like a gradient, you know? - but then I thought, ‘is that too much with the patches and all?’ and Amal seemed to agree with me, so we left it like this…”

It was then that the seamstress seemed to realize just how long she’d been going on for. She stopped, her smile now somewhat sheepish. “I, er. I think you should wear it.”

“Wonderful,” Calan cried, breezing right along, while stopping Pippa from launching into another impassioned ramble. He matched his customer’s small smile with a grin of his own. Bit by bit, his natural and impeccable charm seemed to be bringing out of her shell - or so he was telling himself. “Why don’t you try it on, Miss?…” He paused for effect, giving the golden woman the opportunity to finally entrust him with her own name.
”I’m uh,” The girl gulped loudly, ”Indis Nartholiel.”

It was a name that carried a certain amount of weight to it, weight that Indis didn’t fully understand. Fennore had thoughts about the strategy behind the name, how the golden woman would fit into the pretty crown that adorned her fathers head. Indis was no gemstone, no master manipulator. She was little more than a thoughtful whisper at this point – and had no idea of the power that came with her name.

To Indis, the Nobles held more power. They were a besotted bunch who wielded a certain level of shimmer over the Commoners – each one she swore was more beautiful than the last. Fennore carried herself as if the floor she strode upon were made of gold, and Indis found herself willing to believe it. The others too – names she couldn’t quite grasp, they were all pressed and perfected; prepared to live lives that would see them crowned as Courtiers and Royalty.

”It seems like a busy place.” She blinked as Pippa explained her work hurriedly – the passion in her voice palpable as she pointed and fussed with the ruffles on the dress. ”Oh it is! Everyone’s been placing orders for the Call to Court. It's the busiest day of the year.” She clapped her hands together excitedly, as Calan took over the presentation. It felt strange to think that somehow, by wearing this dress that she would fit in with the other members of the Realm.

She felt bulky – as if the shadows of her past filled her in and made her take up too much space. The dress looked so delicate that she was afraid of breaking it just by looking at it - but somehow the pair of Artisans were infusing her with confidence that everything about the look would be alright.

She tugged at her braid before tossing it over her shoulder with a firm nod of her head.

”I’ll try it on.”

Indis picked the dress up as if she were on the verge of breaking it – each hand held carefully as she twisted and turned in an attempt to find the opening. She slid the skirt over her head adjusting the one-shouldered number so that it would hopefully fall into place. She shimmied and hopped until she finally was forced to pause, her arm trapped against the bodice of the dress.

”Um.” She sighed deeply, her large eyes sheepish as she sought out the Brecours, ”I think I’m stuck.”

(///) | NPCs: n/a

hello, did someone order a ham [+509]


Calan blinked once, then twice, as the pieces started to click into place. How could he have not seen it? The golden hair; the regal height; the somber eyes. Those subtle hints to her lineage were hard to miss when you knew what to look for.

And now he felt a bit like a tool for not realizing sooner. Why hadn’t Pippa said anything to him? He would have rolled out the metaphorical red carpet had he known. A princess deserved to be treated as such, and no less.

“My lady. Please forgive me for not recognizing you,” he said, lowering his head in a solemn, apologetic bow. ”I’d heard of your recent return to your parents’ side, but I hadn’t the fortune to set my eyes upon you yet.”

Beside him, he could feel the way that Pippa stiffened, holding back her laughter. Laughter at his words? At his ignorance? Calan didn’t know. He only just stopped himself from sending daggers her way with his eyes.

The blond was saved from most of his embarrassment by the sheer fact that Indis was more interested in the dress in front of her than in him. For once, Calan considered that a good thing. Her eyes scanned the pale pink fabric, deliberating something - what, he hadn’t the foggiest. But whatever mental argument she seemed to be having, she seemed to make her mind up a moment later. He greeted her nod with a smile.

However, before he could so much as offer to help, Indis had already made to put on the dress herself. He watched as Pippa, too, stopped herself from rushing up to the taller woman’s side. They both watched as she wiggled and writhed under the light fabric, trying to slip the bodice over her frame. And when Indis stopped a moment later, her arm squeezed tight against her side under the fabric of the dress, the two dressmakers shared a look with one another.

I should be the one to help her. Don’t think I don’t know what your plan is, Pippa’s eyes seemed to say, her jaw firm. Calan raised an eyebrow, the hint of a challenge glinting in his own. Just watch me.

Then he came forwards with a confident step, ready to rescue his damsel in distress. “Oh, dear! Here, let me help you,” he cooed, his hand gently resting on her free shoulderblade. She still felt slightly cool from the outdoors. “Please bend over slightly,” he said, planning to shimmy the dress off the same way that it had come on.

Once she had done just that, the blond made swift, practiced work of stripping the garment from her body. The gods had to be looking down on them; nothing ripped or tore off the dress in the process. He gestured for her to raise both hands above her head as he fed the dress over her once more, this time taking care so that no body parts were ungracefully pinned.

“There, my lady. Much better. How do you feel?”
Indis was never sure what to do when others realized who her parents were. It was difficult for her separate who she was and who she had been – and others saw her for a glittery member of the nobility, a notion that made her feel sick to her stomach sometimes. Iomair and Vodeva had become different people in the wake of her absence, and when the woman looked upon who they had become she was left wondering what it was about the pair of them that had forced them to remain together for so long.

It complicated what she thought about love and made her frightened all the more for the way it would eventually control her life. I was like a monster which lurked in the dark, waiting to pounce while she was unaware. There were many who looked at love and pined for it, but Indis wasn’t sure if it was a weakness or something to aspire to.

She guarded herself stalwartly, her heart rimmed with barbed wire.

She struggled against the confines of the dress and grunted as her arms proved immovable. She could feel the slant of her ribs against her forearm, and her golden hair had piled to obscure her view. She sounded again, pleading that Calan would find a way to get her out of the predicament while preserving the pretty garment that he and Pippa had made.

At his instruction she bent awkwardly, dropping her eyes the moment she was able to see him over the edge of the frilly dress.

She raised her hands when instructed and like a pro Calan removed the dress, shimmying it up over her head before taking a moment to assess. With no tears in sight he set about dressing her properly, this time assuring that her hands were raised and that she did not twist herself like a pretzel.

Indis could tell that this was how it was supposed to feel. The dress hung in places and had a pretty drape to the skirt which she could feel against her legs.

”I feel…” She reached for the ruffles and ran them through her fingers before offering a timid smile, ”Pretty?”

Was this what it felt like to be a member of the court?

Pippa clapped her hands.

”It’s wonderful! Some of our best work, I think.”

Indis nodded her head, quickly tearing apart her mussed braid before righting it with nimble fingers that restrung each lock of hair. The new braid which emerged was smooth and she lay it to rest along her shoulder with a sigh.

”Will you both be attending the Call to Court?” She hummed softly, ”What will you wear?”

(///) | NPCs: n/a

tyvm for your patience! [+464]

When he was certain that Indis would be able to get the last bit of dress on by herself, Calan took a step back, taking in the full picture. He definitely liked what he saw - and not just because a lovely she-wolf was his model.

“Pippa is right. You look marvelous.” More than pretty. Radiant, really. The dusty pink was a unique choice against the blonde’s coloration - light against light - but it suited her surprisingly well, all things considered. Its delicacy matched that of the wearer’s speaking voice, while its fit accentuated the power in her muscled arms. She would no doubt be a star at the ball that evening: a true warrior princess.

Not bad for a last-minute option. Far from it, actually.

The blonde matched Pippa’s excitement with a hearty smile of his own, his eyes still focused on the garment. “Mmm, yes... With a little alteration to the waist, I imagine this will do quite nicely...” Then he looked up, his eyes meeting Indis’s. The twinkle of a shy smile in her eyes was all he needed to see to know she felt the same. “That settles it. You have to wear this tonight. I won’t take no for an answer.”

Precluding any complaints that the Narthroliel might utter, Calan sauntered back to the workbench, grabbing the small box of pins they used for various adjustments. He returned just in time to hear the Indis’s questions.

Pippa responded first. “Oh! Well, I just have an old thing in the back... nothing too special, but it’ll do,” she chirped, her flapping hands already reaching for a few of Calan’s proffered pins. He didn’t miss the way that the dappled tailor kept her eyes off their client’s, or the extra bit of cheer she added to the tone of her voice. That sneaking suspicion he’d felt about the dress earlier returned, sending a pang straight to his stomach.

He caught her eyes, blinking slowly in silent gratitude. Thank you. But if she noticed, she didn’t respond.

So he spoke up as well, handing his companion another handful of pins. “She’s only trying to not ruin the surprise, of course. You’ll see tonight. But I’ll give you a hint: think purple.” He wasn’t about to say that he was wearing a repeat of last year as well, even if Indis hadn’t been at last year’s Court to see it. They’d been so busy crafting everyone else’s garments that he’d barely had time to adjust his own, let alone make something completely new.

He’d thought that Pippa was in the same boat. Clearly that had been an error. But whatever the case may be, that was how it was now. They’d clearly just have to show off in other ways that night.

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