10th of Vhalar 721
Since leaving Lonely-Hands in Anther's Ettyne, Zemos had been left in large part to his own devices. It seemed strange, that now that he was coming into his own as a mage, he was left alone. He almost wondered if his mentor had an urgent business, as he hadn't called on his pupil since their meeting when they shared dinner and a Graft initiation. Even so, there was nothing Zemos hated more than being idle, and so he hadn't been. He'd continued his research into Toxicology, although with all the travel he was undergoing in around Viden and elsewhere, Zemos found it difficult to spend enough time in the actual city of Viden in order to attend such studies.
In the meantime, the Egg had been eerily silent after the initiation. Zemos wondered if it lost its will to communicate. Having never been sure exactly what the Egg was or from whence it came, this still worried him. He had quite gotten used to the impulses and thoughts it put in his head. He almost felt lonely without it, although Motsi was there with him, as ever.
Some of the advisors and other students offered that perhaps Zemos should take it upon himself to travel. He was in agreement, and so booked the first boat for Scalvoristown in the final days of Saun. Now, after a dozen or so trials, he'd arrived on the wharf of Scalvoristown, entirely lost in the middle of a bustling urban center.
He did want to check in with the University, but for the moment was suddenly taken by the crowded streets, such a stark contrast to Viden's desolate and cold isolation. That wasn't to say it was entirely devoid of the population in Viden, but there was a definite contrast between Scalvoristown and the frozen fortress of Viden.
Zemos' attention was immediately captured as he heard the sounds of celebration and people laughing and chattering. He followed these friendly sounds, drawn to them like a fly toward honey.
He walked toward the sounds and found his way through alleyways and streets until coming to a square, where an exquisite canvas tent was propped up, and many beautiful dancers plied their arts for all to see. Zemos's eyes squinted as they perceived the bolts of cloth, which appeared to be on offer, from all he'd see people dealing from his vantage point in the corner of the square.
He must have looked quite out of place, as one of the dancers, a female human approached him, smiling and holding her arms out in the invitation to join the festivities.
"Hello there! Do you want to join our dance?"
"I... Can't dance." Zemos confessed but returned her smile with one of his own. The skin at the top of his forehead glistened with the tarry mutation that marred it.
She didn't seem put off by his appearance, however strange it might seem. She took his hand, and smiled with reassuring grace, "Yes you can! I assure you if ou can move you can dance. A common misconception is that dancing is difficult, but anyone can simply move to the music and hold their partner close."
Zemos thought about that and reflected that he liked the idea of being close to other people, particularly attractive dancers, their flesh unspoiled as yet by disease or bugs. Still, the thoughts of disease didn't bring the Egg back as it usually did, and Zemos' worry must've shown on his face, as the dancer pulled him along to make him feel welcome at their celebration.
They performed a slow, close dance, holding each other as their feet went through the motions. She caught him looking down at his feet a few times, but corrected that behavior with the tip of her finger under his chin, so that he'd keep his eyes on hers. "The key to dancing is to maintain awareness of your partner. Losing sight of them, of their motion, and where their eyes are looking, will always lead to stumbling. So you watch where my eyes go, you respond to my touch and lead, and so the dance goes."
She of course was leading him in the dance, as the more experienced among the two of them. Zemos didn't know if he'd ever danced with a woman, even in the time before the White Darkness that he was borne out of in Viden. Yet he seemed to remember, or at least his body did, the concept of rhythmic attention to another person's movements.
The music went on, and in tune with it, they moved. Zemos was feeling caught up in the moment, and almost made a rash move. His hand lowered on the dancer's back, trailing toward the curve of her hip. However, she corrected this with a smile and graceful dip of her arm to set his hand back where it ought to be. This failed attempt at seduction was Zemos' only concession to humanity for the evening, and though he was disappointed that she wasn't interested in that sort of dancing, he would resolve to enjoy the rest of what the night had in store.
She snickered at his disappointed expression, "They teach us not to dance with men who are only out for their own gratification, and I think that's a good rule of thumb for choosing a dancing partner." She slapped his shoulder lightly in mock admonishment. "There's a give and take to dancing, and such shallow concerns for dalliances cheapen the act." She smiled nevertheless, and allowed him to dance with her until the music ended.
At the end of which point, he was invited by one of the seamstresses of Daia, to attend the materials they had on offer. His eyes widened at the rich and luxuious silks, in all colors that intrigued him. Pinks, greens, blacks, and whites. Even some monarch shades of orange. He was enthralled, and forgot all about his prior failed attempt at seduction.
"I would like to try weaving some of that fabric. You really need to show me how you did it? Where did you find such fine fibers?..."
The woman standing at the materials stand shook her head and laughed, "It isn't plant fiber cloth. It's silk, woven by silk worms."
Zemos's eyes flew even wider. He'd not known that a bug could produce such a cloth! What wondrous things couldn't bugs do!? He idly wondered if there were any that produced toxic cloth...
"Would you like to trade for some bolts?" She asked, gesturing toward the stands where they were rolled up around wooden cylinders.
Zemos swallowed hard, and then took a few steps forward toward the woman. "Can you teach me how you made such a fine weave? What tools? Yes I am interested in buying your stock."
"Very well... Take a seat, and I'll explain the process." She waited for him to take a seat opposite her, which he did, and then she began, "It begins with two spools of thread, fed through a warp and a weft... You know how yarn and other fabrics are spun on a wheel? Well, the string or line that is produced for the spindle is then fed through a planar lattice. What we call, the warp, and the weft. One aligned up and down, and the other aligned left to right. The process for operating a loom is very simple..."
There, she explained how the both planar lattices were interwoven so as to produce a fabric with contiguous material. Zemos felt all of this very familiar. He knew the basic processes for producing small bolts, but to produce ones that were the size of cloaks and blankets? That fell outside his experience. He didn't know they made looms that large, or at least didn't remember ever having seen one. Even in the fur shop in Viden. But then, the proprietor there had only let him spin flax into spindles.
"But the color..." Zemos began, "How do you produce such a vibrant green, orange, pink, and a black?"
She explained to him the process of dying, how it was also very simple. Once the fabric was properly woven and its ends sealed properly, it'd get soaked and drenched in a dye. The richer dyes produced dark colors, the liquid nearly black, and then rinsing out into a vibrantly bright color. Zemos consumed this knowledge with the voracity of a locust through a berry field. Soon enough, he had glutted himself on more knowledge almost than he could reasonably digest, and yet he felt satisfied. He bought the bolts of cloth, enough for a few pairs of outfits to make himself.
Then, he took his leave of the Daian dancers and seamstresses. It'd be a good and productive next day, he felt.