A Man for Flowers

PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of EsterportSomewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 794 ✭✭✭✭✭
Background: Throughout the war, Daren has proven to be a consistent frustration whenever Phoe has been scouting, doing stealthy things, or engaging in combat. To express her frustration, she sent him two flowers: a foxglove (cunning, trickery) and a chicory (obstacles, invisibility, patience).

Much to her surprise, she receives a response in the form of a letter with her mark containing an oleander (caution). This interaction happens the following week after questioning Daren about whether or not he was the one who sent it.

[spoiler]She is an agile Yeleni of Human heritage and stands at roughly five feet, six inches in height. Pale, peachy skin covers a slender yet sturdy-looking frame, an odd patterning of tiny blue splotches covering the surface in thick lines over the tops of her arms and the sides of her back and legs. Long, dark hair falls in thick locks to roughly halfway down her back, though it has been loosely braided and left to drape over her right shoulder with the exception of the thick fringe of bangs that falls over and covers her left eye. Though her hair appears black, closer inspection reveals it to be a very dark shade of blue. A pair of large lavender eyes peers out from a youthful-looking face, the same blue freckling covering her body dotting the flesh near her cheeks and eyes and over the bridge of her nose. A pair of thin, wire-like insect antennae sprouts out of the top of her head a few inches from her hairline, the antennas sweeping forward from a sharp bend in the middle of their length and appearing almost like dowsing rods. A set of four prismatic wings emerges from her back, appearing to be a combination of insect and faerie. The wings seem to be made of light, the colors shifting and sparkling periodically. Though difficult to detect, her body emits a faint glow, enhanced by the tiny glittering flecks that coat her form. Part of the flesh along her neck between her left shoulder and the base of her jaw is slightly warped and discolored - the remnants of some sort of burn. The scar's shape is rather unusual, the vague image of a phoenix with its wings spread out in flight burned onto the skin. The faint scent of a sweet, flowery perfume lingers around her frame.

She is wearing:
a set of prismatic wings of light, emitting a shower of glowing motes
a pair of brown leather bracers, fastened snugly around the forearms
the Historian's Tome, strapped to her kitbag
an entwined ornate white lily hairpiece, tucked into her hair behind her left ear
a flickering elemental brand, flickering on the back of the right hand
a pair of black silk stockings, pulled up to mid-thigh
blue and white lace garters, tied around her thighs
a sapphire blooming rose pendant, dangling from the neck
a suit of scalemail, covering the body
a white, ruffle-tailed, longsleeve blouse, tail brushing the back of her legs
a pleated cobalt skirt with white trim, hanging airily from the hips
an underbust bodice of brown leather, cinched around her midesction
a simple sash of pale blue silk, tied around the waist
a pair of cuffed, brown thigh-length boots, covering her legs
a pair of brown leather gloves, worn on the hands
a cobalt mantle trimmed with white fur, draped over the shoulders
an azure silk hair ribbon, securing her hair in a loose braid
a silver gryphon cameo brooch, fastening her scarf
a gold and coral brooch of the Silverain, pinned to her mantle
a ruffled white neck scarf, looped through the collar of her blouse
an azure rose collar, fastened around the neck
an iron-inlaid cherrywood ring, worn on a finger [/spoiler]


[spoiler] He is an athletic Idreth of Human heritage with a natural sort of slouch. He stands a little below average height, with a lithe, sinewy figure and a perpetually bored look about him. His disheveled hair is raven-dark and kept short, if unevenly cut, and his sallow complexion lends itself well to skulking just beneath notice. His features are unremarkable, his nose a tad on the larger size and his jaw stronger than some. His dark blue eyes are often half-lidded, his expression typically lax and distant, a perfect match for his poor posture. Overall, he is easy to overlook, and doesn't seem to mind the fact one bit.
He is wearing:
a simple pair of charcoal trousers, worn on the legs
a simple, collarless sable shirt, covering the torso
a black leather weaponbelt, loosely sitting on the hips
a pair of soft-soled black boots, worn on the feet
a buckler, worn on the back[/spoiler]

The Azure Rose.
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A set of grand, glass-paned double doors opens up into this large floor space. Polished white marble covers the walls, accented by oak paneling at the base, and illuminated by a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Underfoot, a thin red carpet softens the footsteps of those who tread upon it. The shop has been separated into two distinct sections. The front of the shop has been converted into a seating area for customers with several tables and chairs set up close to the large windows looking out to the road to the north. The back of the shop is lined with shelves, tables, and display cases covered with various wares. Along the west wall is a long glass counter that the shop clerk presumably sits, which also doubles as a display case. Spread out throughout the shop are vases filled with white roses set upon squat stone pillars. A plush, white couch sporting floral embroidery sits here. A simple deposit box has been left here. Several radiant, night-blooming elindes flowers grow here in a flowerpot. A glass jar stands here, a label on its side indicating its purpose for collecting tips. A wooden pole has been driven into the ground here, a large firefly lantern hanging from it. A dye kit has been left here, contained in its box. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A round glass fishbowl has been set here. A large, inviting fireplace has been set into the wall here. You see a sign here instructing you that WARES is the command to see what is for sale.
You see exits leading west (open pine door) and down (closed pine door).

You read what is written on an elegant white letter:

[[ There are no words on this letter, only a single, pale pink oleanderb blossompressed flat against the page and plastered there with a clear lacquer. ]]

Daren slips quietly into the shop, looking around curiously as he lingers near the walls in the hopes of evading notice.

You have emoted: Phoenecia watches the other man go, her antennae twitching and swiveling in Daren's direction, her eyes following after. "I can see you, you know," she calls out, idly flicking a knife into the air and catching it before tucking it into her bracer. "I'm rather skilled in your tricks."

"Apparently not all of them," Daren counters just as smoothly even as he steps away from the wall and more fully into the room - and into view. "You were still surprised by at least one."

You have emoted: "Almost three hundred years I've lived, and in that time I've only known two people who know the language of flowers before knowing of me," Phoenecia replies easily, her lavender eyes tracking you as you move through the shop. She shifts her posture, pivoting slowly on her heels and not letting you out of her sight. "I did start publishing a few books on the subject, but the oleander wasn't in it."

Eyes flitting over you once more and narrowing in amusement, you say, "Seems you've got a copy of it after all."

Daren wanders over to the back half of the shop, though he carefully keeps the same distance between himself and you, wary of approaching any closer. He gives a short little nod and sets a simple book entitled, "The Language of Flowers VOLUME I: Flowers A-F" on a shelf at random. "I can't read it," he admits. "But the person who said you were probably sending the flowers thought I might."

You have emoted: As you traipse between the shelves, Phoenecia follows after you, though she almost seems to disappear and then reappear in your path, casually leaning against a nearby shelf and watching you through a fringe of dark hair that cascades over the left side of her face, only the barest whiff of her perfume the only indication of movement. "So. Why the oleander? Do you know what it means?"

Daren fluidly changes course, taking a sudden turn to continue wandering aimlessly amongst the shelves without letting himself be easily cornered. "Yes," he replies, simply. He pauses to examine something that's caught his eye, then moves on again after a moment.

You have emoted: Phoenecia is not easily shaken off Daren's trail, continuing to follow and still reappearing against another shelf. "Still doesn't answer where you know it from," she goes on to say. "Not even most nobility know of it now. It's obscure knowledge except to those who care to know it."

Daren gingerly skirts around another shelf, keeping it between himself and you as he explores the rest of the shop. "My mom liked them," he explains ambiguously.

You have emoted: Phoenecia's antennae twitch, her lips pursing thoughtfully. She disappears again, this time reemerging by the counter near the front of the shop and moving to lean against it, folding her arms over her chest. "I see. Not many with an appreciation for that sort of thing."

Daren pauses where he's running a finger down the array of items on one of the shelves. He tosses a quick look over at you. Only then does he come closer, drifting toward the counter once he deems your presence to be nonthreatening enough. He remains a little standoffish, lingering a pace or so further along the counter. "She didn't have a lot else to like," he explains unhelpfully. Then he hops over to: "What about you?"

You have emoted: Phoenecia gives an idle flick of an antenna, still watching Daren, though not quite as hawkishly as before. "What about me?" she echoes. "I like flowers. Spent most of my time in gardens as a child, and it was a custom I frequently observed when I would travel."

Daren gives you a guarded sort of look, carefully appraising. "Why chicory?" he presses further. "Or was it merely incidental?"

You have emoted: "Nothing I give is without significance or meaning," Phoenecia says cryptically. She stares at Daren for a long while. Watching. Scrutinizing. Considering. Eventually, she continues, her tone still casual. "Well, you're a fellow flower expert. Humor me. Can even make a game of it. What do you think I meant?"

"Could be simple," Daren grunts in response. "As literal as can be - but it followed a foxglove. Forgive me for being a cynic, but I'd guess the two combined to mean you making a mockery of my attempts at stealth."

You have emoted: Phoenecia snorts softly in response, the gesture sending her bangs flying out and away from her face. "Not quite," she starts, the corner of her lips curling in the faintest hint of a smirk. "Foxglove - means insincerity, but also trickery and cunning. Chicory - frugality, but also patience, invisibility, and overcoming obstacles." She nods to Daren, adding, "It's a compliment, actually. The frontline engagements in the war the past few weeks, you've continued to elude me, and given me the biggest hassle."

You wryly say, "Call it my way of respecting your ability in addition to expressing my frustration."

Daren suddenly looks uncomfortable at the mention of the war. He glances off to one side, gaze roving across the counter as he looks away. "I got a commendation for that," he admits. He sounds - sardonically bitter, rather than proud of the fact.

You have emoted: Phoenecia rolls her eyes and lets out another snort as she pushes herself away from the counter only to round the end of it to position herself where a shopkeep usually would. "It's Spinesreach. They'll commend you for anything so long as it's trouncing people from the south," she notes dryly. "Not too different from when I was up there."

That brings Daren's attention back around to you. "When was that?" he asks, more than happy to turn the subject back on you instead of himself.

You have emoted: It takes Phoenecia a moment or two, but she eventually responds with, "Oh, I don't know. Almost a hundred and fifty years ago? Before Spinesreach was known as the Republic, and the Syssin went by the Syndicate. I was a Dhasan then, a member of the ruling council."

Daren loses interest again just as quickly when he realizes the topic has little relevance to him. He sort of nods. "Guess we don't have anything in common but the flowers," he points out.

You have emoted: "It seems we don't," Phoenecia agrees easily enough, folding her arms over the counter as she glances to Daren. "But flowers are still a decent commonality.""

Maybe," Daren replies, uncertainly. "I guess we'll find out. But you should take the oleander to heart." With that, he starts to back off, stepping lithely toward the door again without taking his wary gaze from you.

[This was sent to Daren after he had left Phoe's shop.]

You read what is written on an ivory, ribbon-bound letter:

[[ A purple iris and a pale pink oleander have been carefully tucked into the letter. ]]

I already do take it to heart. Perhaps you should as well. I play a dangerous game - I'm not one to be underestimated.
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