Now That's a Clever Box!

Western Weyr - Open Market
The sweeping canopy of the lush, green tropics gives way in this place to a massive clearing, spanning what must be a great many acres in a bustling, hubbub of noise, color, and activity. Rich golden-red terra cotta bricks line the marketplace grounds, providing a clean, bright place to walk and a level ground to set up shop on. The central part of the marketplace is an open bazaar, where people come to set up temporary shops in tents, out of carts and wagons, and some right on the ground with their wares laid out for anyone to see.
The centralmost point of the open market is a massive, marble fountain rising up into a spire from who's top runs a cascade of water down the sides, gurgling over the intricate, mounted sculptures of all manners of Pernese creatures from dragons to whers to runners and all large and small, down into a large pool where silvery-white dolphins of stone leap and play. The smells of rich foods and sweet pastries and exotic tropical fruits competes with the less tantalizing scents of fresh caught fish and livestock for sale and those waiting patiently beside their owners carts or pastured in the temporary pens while their owners do some shopping. The colors of goods and the vivid swaths of tents and canvas wagons makes the place alive with brilliance, and at most all hours of the day there is a flurry of activity to behold.


In the mid-morning winter cool, the marketplace is a bustling hive of activity. But then again, when /isn't/ it busy? Traders and vendors hawk their wares, while islands from Hold, Craft and Weyr alike wander through the stalls, sample the goods, haggle, barter and bargain their way to emptier mark pouches. Currently taking a break from it all - and yet standing near enough in the centre of the square, where there's a particularly delicious doughnut-selling stall, is Fjorwynn. Bundled up against the chilly air and basking in the luscious scent that permeates the air around the popular little stall, the youth's curls half-cover his eyes as he tucks into a freshly-fried delicacy, while holding a bag of what one could easily assume is even more of them.

Kayse, after having no mentor to continue her training for weeks now and then not even getting a message from her family for her Turnday, has grown distinctly discontent with the current going-ons in her life. So instead of even trying to study today, the young woman has wrapped herself up comfortably and headed on down to the marketplace, determined to buy something nice since no-one else could be bothered to get her a present. Her firelizard leads the way, stalking through the air in short, fast dives and spiraling climbs, her wheat-gold hide glimmering with fresh oil in the bright, yet not nearly warm enough, winter sunshine. As Kayse makes her way through the ever-present crowds the scent of fresh doughnuts catches her attention and she whistles to catch Nala's attention, directing the gold toward the stall as she weaves that way herself. Spotting Fjorwynn chowing down on a doughnut she heads his way, asking, "Are they any good?" with a gesture toward the food he is eating, expression wistfully hopeful.

Fjorwynn pauses mid-bite to give Kayse a sugary grin, and an impish tweak of his eyebrows. "You kiddin'? You've never had Cass's doughnuts before?" He rolls his brown eyes, shaking his head at the terribleness of it all - surely /everyone/ must have tried the hot-fried bites of heaven that he's currently tucking into? "Here." The paper bag in his hand is held out towards Kayse, and he shakes it to invite her to take her pick. Inside are a number of round, sugar-dusted doughnuts, still hot and, if the smear of fruity filling just below Fjorwynn's lip is anything to go by, they're stuffed with jam, too. The curly-haired teen winks encouragingly. "You can thank me after."

"Uhm, no?" Kayse replies hesitantly, feeling decidedly awkward at the teen's manner. "I don't get food down here very often," she admits as Nala finds a suitable perch on the corner of a stall where she can see her person and everyone moving around her. She's a bit protective, is Nala, though not overbearingly so. As Fjorwynn holds the bags out to Kayse she waves it away, shaking her head. "No, I can get my own; I just wanted to be sure they were worth it before I bought some. Thank you for the offer, though," she adds as she moves past him toward the stall, looking over the offering for a moment before purchasing two un-stuffed doughnuts. Maybe she isn't a fruit filling kind of gal?

"Oh, but you /should/, because you don't know what you're missing!" Fjorwynn leans back against the stall and watches Kayse buy doughnuts for herself with a pleased little grin. Maybe he's on commission from the stall owner? Who knows. When the older girl's got what she wanted, he meanders back to her side and brandishes another doughnut from his bag. "How come you don't eat down here, then? Is the food better up at the…" He squints at her, trying to guess where she's from. "… I can't remember seeing you around the dinner tables in Half Moon, so… I'm going to guess you're from the Weyr? Or one of them other places, maybe." Which is totally throwing it open, of course.

Kayse takes a bite of her sugary confection as soon as she has moved out of the way of the next person seeking to make a purchase at the stall, and her eyes roll with delight at the flavor. Through a mouthful of doughnut she mumbles, "You were right, these /are/ good," though it is anyone's guess how clear those words came out. She then hastily swallows to clear her mouth so she can answer the questions the youth has launched her way. "I don't usually have time to come down here, and when I do, I'm after something specific," she explains before taking another, smaller, bite. After she's swallowed she continues, "I'm actually from Half Moon, but I haven't lived there in Turns. I am posted to the Weyr, officially, but I normally spend a lot of time travelling. You're from Half Moon as well, then?"

Fjorwynn clicks his tongue in that 'of course I was right way!' that vendors everywhere have perfected for when their spiel about their products is proven true. He grins at Kayse, tilting his head for them to move off a pace or two to the side, out of the way of the other people queuing up for yummies. "Shame you don't have time to come on down. Betcha you'd find plenty to spend your marks on, even if it's all on doughnuts." When she reveals where she's from, he cants his head to one side and looks at her, brushing his hair back behind his ear when it falls into his eyes. "Yeah? You from there, too? I still live there, have done since I was born, actually. First generation after my folks moved here from Igen."

"Well, I have time now, so I'm sure I'll find something, yes," Kayse agrees readily between bites. It doesn't take long for her to polish off both doughnuts, leaving her hands sticky with sugar. "My family is all still there. Parents are Seacrafters. Not sure what my siblings are doing right now, though I'm sure they've each gone the crafting route. My mother's parents started our family out here, while my father's from Ista. My aunts each have a healthy brood at the Hold, too, so I've got quite a bit of family around here," she offers. Deciding that licking her fingers wouldn't be very mature, she glances around to orient herself toward the fountain. "Ah, I'm Kayse, by the way," she adds as she glances from the fountain to Fjorwynn, considering whether or not to invite the young man to walk around with her, since he doesn't seem all that busy and two people always fare better in a crowd than one.

"You don't speak to your siblings so much, then?" Fjorwynn fills his mouth with another bite of doughnut, wiping away a trail of jam that dribbles down his chin. "Kayse. K/aaaay/se. Why is that familiar?" He taps his nose as he thinks, eyes turned skywards. "Nope. Can't place it. Pleasure to meet you though, Kayse. I'm Fjo." He draws the 'eff' out a bit, before rolling onto the 'yo' to soften the double syllable. "My da's got a stall down here. That one over there, actually. We both run it, only I'm on loan to Cass for a few hours, boosting business." So he /was/ on commission.

"I suppose I don't, no," Kayse acknowledges in response to the question. When he draws out her name she glances at him in surprise, wondering at his manner. "I haven't a clue why it would be. I'm not anyone special, just an apprentice in the Woodcraft," she responds before nodding at his introduction. "Nice to meet you as well, Fjo. Ah, so you are a trader, then?" She looks where he indicates, taking note of the stall, before she laughs when he admits his current job. "You seem to be doing a good job of that," she offers before looking at her sticky hands again. "I'm going to go rinse my hands off, I'll be right back, and then you can tell me what your family sells. If that doesn't interfere with your work for Cass, that is?"

Fjorwynn points to the fountain; they're close enough to it, after all. "Why don't you just use that? I'd wash mine, but they're only going to get covered in sweetner again." He shrugs his shoulders - who cares about sticky fingers? Really? He doesn't, but he'll walk with Kayse if she wants to take his suggested washing-place. He'll even offer her a corner of his scarf to dry her hands on. "We're not traders in the official sense. More merchants, really… which I guess is /almost/ the same thing, so maybe we /are/ traders?"

Since Kayse had planned to use the fountain anyway, she's perfectly willing to walk right on over with Fjo's accompaniment and rinse her fingers clean. The water might be cold, but cold is better than messy, especially if she is going to be handling goods at any other stalls. It just wouldn't do to get a book sticky, for example. Nala glides to a closer perch when they move, keeping an eye on the proceedings from her lofty vantage. "You don't have to be part of a caravan to be traders, I wouldn't think," she replies with a shrug, accepting the corner of scarf for dabbing her fingers dry. "Thank you. So, what do you sell? I'm looking to buy myself something, but I haven't any idea what. I just want something, well, nice." There's a plaintive note in her voice, though she doesn't explain it unprompted.

"This and that, and some of the other, too." Waving his hand about to suggest something of everything, Fjo grins and tilts his head towards the stand he indicated earlier. "C'mon over and have a look - maybe you'll even get a discount." He grins conspiratorially, clicking his tongue and gently nudging her with his elbow. "We just got in a nice box of rings with Istan gems, or maybe you're more of a fancy clothes girl?" Those brown eyes of his travel the length of Kayse in quick appraisal, followed by a nod. "Fancy a pair of fur-trimmed boots for this cold weather, maybe?"

Kayse can't help but smile a little at his expansive gestures and vague answer, amused by the easy way in which he handles her questions. Here was a lad who is comfortable with his life, and she felt a stab of envy for him. Her smile falters for a moment but she pushes her envy aside, focusing on responding to his question as she let him nudge her toward the stall. "Fancy boots, hmm? Those do sound nice. I don't tend to wear jewelry much since I'd be likely to lose it, or mar it, while working, but boots have potential," she offers as he leads her along, his cheerfulness a balm to her ego, bruised by being ignored on her Turnday.

The stall, when they get to is, has a couple of people already lingering at it. Two women haggle with a man who could only be Fjorwynn's father given their near-identical looks, and Fjo gives him a wink as he leads Kayse to a quiet corner. There are things piled up everywhere, up to the top of the stall in some cases, and there's a rickety little stool amongst the boxes that is offered to Kayse. "You wanna have a seat? I can bring you the boots, if you want. /Or/ we'll play a game that my mum taught me… it's a game to guess what it is your /heart/ really wants, rather than being swayed by a pair of pretty boots."

As Nala wings her way over to their destination to find a place to continue her patient watching, Kayse takes a look at the vast array of goods filling the stall. Her eyes widen as she realizes that Fjo wasn't kidding when he said 'this and that, and some of the other, too'; why, there had to be things from all over Pern tucked away in the tent, at least in Kayse's estimation. "Ah, I would like to see the boots," Kayse says as she takes the offered seat, staring around at all the /stuff/. "If I don't like them, or if I have marks leftover, we can try that game, I guess?"

Fjorwynn nods in reply to Kayse's question, though he seems a little disappointed. "Alrighty, then. Tell me… what size are you?" A stack of boxes not too far from the stool is pulled forward, and Fjo runs his finger down the side of them, reading what each says the content is. "We've got a few different fur types, mostly feline… some stripes, some spots, some… oh, these ones are plain. Plain…" He opens the box, pulling out a pair with a solid black trim. "Black. We could always /dye/ some of the lighter ones if you wanted something more unique, of course?"

"Wait, feline?" Kayse's expression tightens and she shakes her head, tucking her feet beneath stool unconsciously. "I don't want any boots made out of feline fur," she responds sharply. "What do you have that isn't feline fur?" she asks, refusing to even look at the boots until he can assure her that felines were not involved in their making. While she is looking elsewhere she takes stock of the items stored nearby, trying to find something to distract herself with. "Uhm, what are those?" she asks, pointing at a basket that has some kind of fabric sticking out, enough in the shadows to not be clearly identifiable.

"Er… no feline?" Fjorwynn looks at the stack of boxes he was prepared to go through, then to the pair of boots in his hands. "But feline's the /hottest/ thing this winter. All of the ladies want feline." So why doesn't this one? He looks confused, but doesn't press the matter. Instead, he lovingly sets the black-trimmed boots back into their box, and pushes the stack back where it came from. Kayse points to the basket while he's got his back turned. "What's in what one— /oh/. That? Yeah, you won't want that." Edging in beside her, he flips back the fabric to reveal… eggs! It's a basket of eggs. "Chicken eggs."

"Well, I don't. I don't like felines, I don't like their fur, and I surely don't like their meat," Kayse answers hotly, scowling. There's a story there, if Fjo's brave enough to ask. At least the basket provides a suitable distraction, and she leans forward for the reveal. "Why do you have chicken eggs in here?" she asks tilting to head to try and see if there is anything special about them. Decorated with paint and paper? Hollowed out? Turned in to smoke bombs?! They have to be special in some manner, or why would they have them in the stall, right?

The eggs are, sadly, 100% normal chicken eggs. "People like to buy them," Fjorwynn replies with a shrug. "Actually, we traded this basket for… what was it again? Something this morning, anyway. A lady came, asked how much - oh, /fabric/, she wanted a new dress, I remember now - anyway, she wanted to know what we could give her for a basket of eggs. So we took the trade and she's probably stitching up something now." A trinket box is picked up from beside the basket, and he shows it to Kayse. "Have a look at this while you tell me about the felines, if you want."

Well, that was far less exciting than Kayse expected, but still, it got the offending shoes put away. "So you don't just sell for marks, you also exchange for goods. That explains some of the variety, at least." And here she had thought they had deliberately stocked the place with such an odd mix of items. There is a reason for it, apparently. Then the eggs are put away and a trinket box is held out to her, which Kayse accepts out of reflex. "What's this?" she asks inanely, turning it over in her hands gently before looking back to the youth. "Felines are the worst," she starts, frowning. "They are sneaky, and dangerous, and have a tendency to show up in the worst place at the worst time. But I can't believe people actually want to /eat/ the things. Did you know some of the hunters do that? They make jerky out of their meat, after they take care of the hide." She shudders, clearly disgusted by the idea. "This one hunter, I don't remember his name, he tried to get me to eat some. How awful."

"Ew." The face Fjo pulls says it all; feline meat is disgusting - even if in concept only. "I've heard of people eating it, but I didn't think it was true! That's disgusting… we only trade in its fur, here. Sometimes teeth. Sometimes people even want the bones, but that's kind of gross. We don't do that." He shifts the attention back to the trinket box being held by Kayse by opening the lid - which starts the playing of a clockwork tune as a little firelizard pops up and spins. "Pretty, right? It's a keepsake box."

"Absolutely disgusting, you're right! I have no idea why he liked it, or why anyone would want to do it, but eeeew!" Kayse agreed with an expression to match her words. "He was all about not wasting the meat, but aren't there other ways to put it to good use other than /eating/ it?" She's not a hunter, she doesn't deal with food, she doesn't know what it takes, and really, she just doesn't care. "Other people can use their fur for things. I just don't like being anywhere around feline… stuff. They're /creepy/." Her opinion so clearly given, Kayse is perfectly willing to be shown the interior of the box, and her expression turns from upset to enchanted delight as the music starts to tinkle out. "Oh! Isn't that clever?" she says with a smile, tilting the box to get a better look at the firelizard. She shifts her grip so she can balance the box on one hand, reaching out to ever so gently touch the spinning figure. "What makes the music?"

Music boxes are much more something Fjorwynn is comfortable talking about, and he picks up another one from where the first came from, flipping it upside down so he can show Kayse how it works. One he's unlocked a little panel, he shows her the music barrel inside, and all of the little moving pieces that make it play. "The bits all turn around together, moving one another. And then when the lid's opened it releases that one in there, which causes the firelizard to pop up and spin. Do you like it?"

Kayse watches as Fjorwynn retrieves the other box to show her the function, curling her hands protectively around the open box in her lap as she leans forward to see the gears at work. "Oh! Wow, that's a lot of little pieces that have to work together to make the music. /Very/ clever. Do they each have their own songs?" Because that makes them all the more interesting, of course. "Oh, yes, I like it very much," she admits, still holding the box to herself without realizing that she is cradling it like a precious object. Looks like she might have found her Turnday present.

Looks like Fjo's made a sale, too. At least, he's predicting one. The tanned teen grins at Kayse's interest, picking up another couple of music boxes to set them down on the edge of a table. One by one he opens them, lets them play their tune, then closes them. "They're all individual, all unique. Some have the same tune, but they /sound/ different because the pitch may be different, or the cogs or something."

"Lovely," Kayse breathes, listening to each music box play. "Who makes these?" she inquires as she looks at the selection, grip on 'her' box never loosening; she's clearly made her pick with the first one she was shown. "They're amazing." She holds her box out, looking from it to Fjorwynn with wide, hopeful eyes. "I can buy this one, right? Erm, how much is it?" Her worried expression makes it clear that she's just realized that maybe something so clever and lovely might be out of her price range, and that idea is not a cheerful one.

"These ones came from… erm…." A notepad is pulled out from where it's attached to a string underneath the table, and Fjo skims through it to find the right item. "From Lemos, actually. Lemos wood, Lemos craftsmanship, Lemons movement too, if I'm reading this right. Dad's handwriting /sucks/ sometimes." He pulls a good-natured face at his father, then grins warmly at Kayse. "/Course/ you can buy it! It's… two marks, but I'll give you a discount, on account of us being friends now. How's one mark to you?"

"Lemos? That's a ways away. That gives it a story," Kayse muses to herself as she admires the box that is about to be hers. When Fjo gives the price as two marks she looks relieved, pulling the box back to her lap and opening her money pouch. The offer for a lower price is, like the earlier bag of doughnuts, waved away. "No, it's worth the two marks, and I can afford it. I haven't been shopping in a while, so I have a bit saved up. The friendship, though, is absolutely accepted," she adds as she draws a two-mark out of her pouch and offers them to Fjo, along with a warm smile.

"You, lady, are the worst haggler I've ever come across." Fjorwynn laughs as he pockets the two marks, winking cheerily at Kayse. "Do you want me to wrap that up for you? I've got some paper back here and some string, I'll wrap it up and pop it into a bag for you too, even." A glance of his shoulder confirms to Fjo that his dad's been watching the exchange and that he approves, while the younger trader puts back the other music boxes that he showed to Kayse.

"But… it's my Turnday present. Why would I want to haggle? It should be worth something, shouldn't it?" is Kayse reply as she clutches the box that is now really, truly hers to her chest with delight. None of the other girls in the dorms had anything like this, and it was so lovely and clever and perfect for a present, even if she had to buy it for herself. "No, no, don't wrap it up. I want to be able to see it!" she objects, then hurriedly adds, "Uh, I'll take the bag, though. I don't want to drop it." Her expression is sheepish as she stops clutching the box so tight, so she will be able to hand it off when Fjo has a bag ready for her.

Kayse's response about haggling makes Fjorwynn laugh. "But that's the whole point of haggling! You get something for less than what it's worth - you save money /and/ walk away with what you wanted." He holds up a finger as he turns to go to the back of the stall, returning with a paper bag after rummaging about a bit. "Here. And listen, Kayse, I want to give you a Turnday present, ok? Next time you're free, come on back down here and I'll take you haggling. /Proper/ haggling." Just before he hands the bag to her, he reaches out to the display table nearest to him and picks up a small bottle of perfume to drop inside. "And that's a little something for now, to make up for what you didn't just haggle off me." Winking cheekily, he takes a step back and makes a sweeping gesture with his hand towards the marketplace - an invitation for Kayse to lead the way out, since the gift isn't up for debate.

There isn't much Kayse can argue about the point in haggling; she understands it, mostly, but really, haggling over a gift? That just seems wrong. At least to her. So she'll just stay quiet on that subject and let Fjo do his thing. Which is a quick process, it would seem, as it takes only a moment for him to retrieve and present to her the paper bag - now stocked with a vial of perfume! How does she keep getting free perfume from traders? It's a mystery. "Oh! Well, thank you," she says softly, blushingly pleased by the gesture as she accepts the bag. She tucks her box inside with appropriate reverence for such a treasured item, careful to not damage the vial it joins. "I'll make sure to come by, and I'll even send Nala ahead to see if you're free as well. I wouldn't want to take you away from your work too often," she says with another smile for him. She rises at his gesture and leads the way out, murmuring another 'Thank you' to him before she returns to the Weyr, Nala flying in escort above her.


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