"I don't sell my things for anything less than-" Imogen began.
A S H A N 5, 716
"It's for our protection!" Anessa Ieness interrupted.
"I am not a charity," Imogen responded.
She was in her home, surrounded by the homely comforts of living among trees and stones, and the woman before her was an intruder who dared seek her out without desiring to pay her for her services. This woman was little more than a stranger to Imogen: she had no dealings with her formally, and really likely could not point Anessa out in a crowd. It perplexed, and aggravated, Imogen to know that complete strangers were able to find her.
She at least had the woman's name, as that was important for her work, and she had readily offered up the name she took as well. Anessa Ieness was a former working woman, and she tried to dress in finery as if she still was. There were the distinct signs that she was an abused woman, though; her face was patterned as if struck, and she touched her scalp with extreme delicacy unfit for one with hair as pretty as hers. It spoke the story of a desperate woman, and though desperate women would make good customers, Imogen would refuse this one her business.
They were at an impasse, the two of them. The woman wanted magic to wreck the home of her enemy, some tax collector who had stomped in on her life and promised her in exchange for a favour, and Imogen... she would not sell her particular brand of 'magic' to anyone for nothing at all, and so she refused this woman her services until gold was brought forth, of which apparently there was none.
"I have nothing to pay-" The woman said, but Imogen lifted a hand to get silence to interrupt her, and she simply continued on over Imogen's gesture as if the pale lady had simply only insisted on more, "but I can promise you a share of our business when it is opened!"
Imogen seethed with fury. Her eyes, gleaming silver as she met Anessa's simple, quiet moments, were poisonous with wrath. She did not care for these half-assed bargains, or the promises that would more likely than not turn to garbage when it came time for her to collect. No, Imogen had a home. She had taxes of her own to pay. She needed to feed herself and the stringy girl she let call her mother. Promises did not feed the hungry.
When she said as much, the woman's face pinched.
"I can't give you money," she said again, and her voice was lower, darker, edgier. She sounded like she was threatening Imogen, but Imogen was only bemused at the attempt when she considered it. Whomever Anessa was trying to fool, it wasn't Imogen.
"I can't help you," Imogen responded.