Early Afternoon, Last Seed 16
To Saddi’s credit, he seemed like every ounce the successful bargain-hunter he boasted himself to be. Sent yesterday as an intermediary between Wylendriel and the town’s leatherworker, the Khajiit brought two untanned fox hides. While not a true leatherworker, Wylendriel knew well enough how to properly skin an animal as many Bosmer do, so the desirable fur was in pristine condition, and apparently Saddi was able to run with that well enough with the help of a few coins and other goods to sucker the trader into an awfully raw deal that resulted in the peddlar leaving with arms full of wool, furs, some scraps of leather, and even some feathers and, somehow and for some reason, a knitted white tablecloth. He insisted that they would find a use for it.
In the meantime, the fox meat was stewing in a pot over the fireplace, prepared by Saddi, and in junction with Marcel’s surprise treats and sweets, would prove to be a quite satisfying supper for those not attending the banquet or those too suspicious of what would be served. Though the meat was gamey, its toughness was reduced overnight and was as tender as butter, and the smell of the pot was enough to overcome the musty scent of the old building. It took some convincing from Gustav and Edith for him to not throw in a pinch of moon sugar while he was at it.
He also made sure that she understood the message that while he could make clothing, it wasn’t really his profession and that it wouldn’t be a perfect article of clothing -- but as confident as he was, he still assured her that it would still be pretty good, so honestly, who knows how it was going to turn out? But with only a day ahead of them to finish it, the pressure was on, and an apprentice plus a novice would be hard pressed to finish it on time even if the clothing was relatively simple and one had an in depth knowledge of the inspiring culture. That was, of course, until more help had arrived, and Wylendriel recognized her immediately as the crew member who she worked with to save others while on board the Tear at the Smuggler’s Cove.
Carrying lengths of measuring string, a sharp knife, and a few spools of black thread in her arms while under her arm was cloth sack with her own dress. Hair pinned away, dressed moderately light without gloves or cloak Maj entered Used Sundries. Complaining half heartedly, “It’s one fucking thing to mend a few holes but another to be fancy feast ready when you couldn’t give another shit about what a bunch of rich nobles pat themselves on the back-” She stopped herself seeing Wylendriel, “Oh, hello.”
“Didn’t realize you were needing help too, Wylendriel.” She said somewhat sheepishly.
Placing her tools down on the nearest table, “I can work pretty fast but this deadline is bullshit.”
Before the priestess could even get a breath out, Saddi had already picked up where Maj had left off with a burdened tone, “Ah, yes, the priestess needs lots of help apparently, but nothing that I am not thrilled to accompany her with -- damned Tree Pact--”
“--keeping us from simply buying the clothes -- but I digress! Prima-- ah, naturalistic clothing shan’t be so hard, yes? And you, pirate? You say you work fast? Come, come! Help our chaplain look as ravishing as, well, furs and wools shall allow.”
Wylendriel sighed, shaking her head and trying to stifle a somewhat amused smirk before looking up at the redguard from her position sitting on the floorboards. In her hands as a rather long length of brown fur that would make up the lining of the dress, being punched through by a needle threaded with sinew. Despite her exasperation at Saddi’s eccentricities, she aimed her eyes to Maj with a humbled and inviting smile. While part of her wanted to ask her to pardon their new quartermaster, she opted for the more diplomatic approach of ignoring his forwardness.
“Maj,” she pleasantly greeted, “it has been a short while, hasn’t it? Join us, I don’t believe we’ve had the opportunity to appropriately introduce ourselves. I’m Wylendriel, the company’s chaplain. You can come to me for anything if there’s something troubling you.”
“Hi, yes.” She said a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth in spite of her sour complaints. “Yes, I’m Maj Noor. Apparently now a surviving member of the Corsair Republic.” Maj’s expression was pained, but she jogged on. “Meeting amidst a disaster is about as appropriate a place to meet new faces as it can get while at sea.”
Elbowing Saddi she said, “Complaining about working with leathers instead of silk? Let me tell you just how ravishing a set of leathers can be, my former Captain would adorn herself in feathers, bits of gold, and polished steel. Striking out against the backdrop of the sea.”
“Wearing metal out at sea?” Saddi questioned. “Little wonder then why she-- ow!”
The khajiit was quickly silenced as a wooden and stew-covered soup ladle came flying across the room and hit him in the chin, stopping Wylendriel from nearly punching him in his arm herself, and a quick look around the corner showed Dar’Jzo standing in front of the pot and facing the others with his arms crossed and needle-like eyes glaring into Saddi. A quick rub on his chin to massage away the sting, and Saddi instead finished with, “...I’m a fan of cotton, myself.”
With a sigh, Wylendriel attempted to move on. “The idea here is that I will be attending as a Spinner to act as a mediator by Gustav’s invitation. I know all of the traditional designs and I don’t intend on it being complicated, but I’m not a particularly skilled tailor, so Saddi has been doing most of the ornamentation and complicated stitches.”
“. . .I am a fan of cotton as well.” Maj said, not missing what Saddi had meant to say originally. “You got it, need some of the basics done to bring the pieces together.”
While the thought of missing Captain Sette hung onto Maj’s mood, she couldn’t help but continue her line of thought. “I used to help the Captain make those alterations, lots of details.” She scooped up the leather running a hand through the fur. “She was - er well, is a master illusionist, never missing a detail in whatever she crafted whether that was creating a intimidating pose of a cut-throat pirate, a speech to inspire fear in the target, or telling a ghost story. . . She always looked good while doing any of those things.” Maj said rolling up her sleeves.
Clearing space she laid out the pieces preparing a thicker needle for the leather, “We’re pulling off an illusion by dressing nicely, painting our faces and drinking to the defeat of those savage pirates.” She said through gritted teeth as her hands methodically began to thread the needle. “That’s how I see it.”
“Folks hide a lot with tiny illusions all the time.” She glanced to Wylendriel, “Clothing, the way the hold themselves, what they carry. I could go down a list that’s as long as a coastline.”
“That’s quite insightful of you.” Wylendriel commented, Maj’s words causing her to reflect upon herself for a moment. She’s been hiding quite a lot, but she wasn’t sure if she was so suave at it that she’d call it an illusion. It then made her question if the woman had noticed that and would begin prying, so she made the decision to turn the conversation around.
“It sounds as though you’re rather smitten by this captain of yours.” She said. “You must miss her quite a bit.”
Maj paused momentarily to laugh, “I was at first! Whether you fancy lads or lassies, you could be swept away as easily as the tide by Captain Sette.” She clarified. “She offered me a new life, mentored me. I miss her, I miss the crew but I’ve got this deep…” Her hand clenched around her stomach, “Deep as the marrow of my bones ache for Nephelle.”
Brow furrowing then softening as her thoughts shifted to her. Digging out from her pouch she quite proudly showed Wylendriel her sketchbook sketches of Nephelle’s profile, the narrow nose and cheeks, tall peaked ears signalling her Dunmer heritage. Written in Dunmeris below it was Nephelle’s name.
“I could go on for days about the Capn’ but Nephelle would take me an eternity.” Maj said as she resumed, needle prepared now and ready to begin piecing together the leather.
Wy listened and nodded on as Maj told her story, accepting a finished portion of the piece Saddi was working on and overlapped it with the fur, lining up the edges where it was appropriate, and pulled it over for Maj to work on while Wy got started on the other end. She found herself smiling fondly at the picture the redguard had drawn over her dunmer lover, and at the tenderness in voice as she said her name. She tried to think back if she, herself, ever had the fortune of being so close to someone -- then quickly retreated from such thoughts, knowing that only dismay had awaited her there. It sounded as though Maj was missing them sorely, and from the sounds of things, lost them in some tragic accident. Whether or not they were dead was yet to be determined, but there had to have been some turmoil there.
“There never is a true end to life.” Wy softly said as she worked at the stitches. “We simply change form. Us Bosmer believe we return to the Earth Bones -- the Ehlnofey, and our spirits are returned to Green, the land around us. Death, to us, is seen more as… a transition to a different phase of life, as it were, where we’re no longer bound by convention. Likewise, her spirit is kept alive through your art and love.”
The priestess huffed a sigh as she thought of her parents, then added, “Two wise Spinners told me once that your eyes are where the world begins. I’ve no doubt that there is a world beyond this one where Nephelle is waiting patiently for you and is eager to hear the exciting stories you have to tell.”
Kinder words than Maj expected and words she hardly felt she deserved to hear. “Th-thank you, Wylendriel, that is kind of you to say so.” Setting to work on the new pieces, sniffling under her nose she said, “Anyway I’ll try to finish this up quickly.”
“Thank you too.” Wy said again. The three of them worked together to finish the handcrafted robes just in time. Green-dyed wool was layered over the brown fur, Saddi taking care of the embroidery, and minimal stitching was used in favor of wrapping both ends around her torso and securing it to her waist with a stylized leather belt, accented by tuffs of strings and fur -- somehow Saddi figured out how to actually incorporate a tablecloth and some feathers into the dress while making look like it belonged there. Finishing up the dress, they scraped together some leather to turn some ordinary looking sandals into something slightly more fanciful by extending the straps to crawl halfway up to her knees. They'd then help Maj with the finishing touches of her own clothes.
Wearing non-traditional robes and masquerading as a Spinner sort of felt like sacrilege, and it didn’t have the same sentimental value to Wy as her old robes did -- but after hours of working with pleasant company, it had value all the same, and it still reminded her of home. With a new set of replacement robes, it was like she rediscovered her identity.
And she sort of felt pretty.