Saoire Soiree

A Gift of Confusion

Stronghold of education and learning, this fortress is in one of the coldest areas of Idalos and home to many knowledge seekers in a variety of disciplines. However, unknown to most, below the city are those who suffer for the sake of science. While all are welcome, not everyone will be treated as they expect.

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Linika
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Saoire Soiree

Saoire Soiree
20th Trial of Zi'Da, 716th arc


Always there was a period of stagnation in the progress of her mission between leaps of advancement. Linika endured one now, but stoicly. It would not do for her Videnese "superiors" to view her as unappreciative of the latest degree of trust they'd placed in her. She was now a fully accepted fixture in the Viridian Wing of the Academy. It grated on her pride to have to be constantly giving thankful curtsies to the higher members of staff, especially the insufferable eidisi, whenever they passed. But she assuaged this annoyance with the anticipation of their future devastation when she eventually worked her way into the inner circle and had the opportunity to discover the secrets of Yvithia's work, and sabotage it beyond salvage.

With any luck, she'd be "forced" to kill one or two of them along the way...

For now though, a routine had once again been established, and she followed it dutifully. She knew that it was still a form of hazing that she'd been given the weekly task of deliveries and pick-ups on behalf of those possessing material contracts with the Wing. Whether she was picking up raw materials, or delivering refined ones and bringing back any remuneration, it was her job to go out in the heart-stopping cold of Zi'Da in Viden. These natives were at least some degree more accustomed to the frigid temperature of this city. But really, it was alright. In fact, it was to her benefit to have more opportunities to gain more resistance, so she told herself.

Today her destination was the Aranaz Estate, with a few lesser stops along the way. The packet was labelled "BF", and had an odd feel to it, as if it was full of dust, rather than seed stock. Fortune was with her as she realized that whoever had packed the thing had used a 'sail stitch' to close it. Usually they used the slip loop, where the entire binding at the top could be undone with a single, long pull on the right string.

This sail stitch was one of the few she was familiar with, having been one of the skills she'd learned associated with sailing, as she earned her keep on the trip north after her false 'exile' from Augiery. It was not that it going to be easy to undo, but she knew how to replace or repair it. It took a few bits, but she was able to cut the string without leaving evidence of her tampering. She poured a small handful of the contents into her hand, funneled them into one of her ever-present vials, and set to restitching the opened corner.

Only when she was done with this repair did she consider the contents. It was no difficult task to realize that they were frozen Brightfern spores. The 'BF' initials, the pink color, the spore consistency. This actually explained the use of the tighter 'sail stitch'. The tiny Brightfern spores would leak too easily through the looser slip loop stitch. There was no doubt, the Aranaz estate was being given a decent start in Brightfern. It was not a dramatically lucrative venture, but it was a hardy plant, and would bring a good return. Linika smiled at her own small vial of it. With care, she could begin her own garden. Not at this time of arc, of course. She'd need a green house, and a lot more light than Zi'a would provide, to have any hope of success.
OOC
This thread is serving two functions. One is to catch up to Linika's gift exchange thread. While not truly necessary, it would be a nice opportunity to engage in some alchemy; making the 'Frostbite' doses that ended up being her gift for the holiday event. The other purpose is to set up a possible future collaborative scenario that needs to start with her becoming familiar with the grounds of the Aranaz estate.
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The trip to the estate would wait for now, however. It was just some gift package anyway, honoring the Saoire custom, the naer assumed. That was something Linika wanted nothing to do with. She would never acknowledge it to herself, but a major part of her coldness toward this seasonal custom was the likelihood of her getting nothing in return. As well, there was no one here she felt particularly motivated to befriend this way.

There was a brief spike of malice as she considered falsifying one such gift in order to foster some inconvenient obligation between two rivals, hopefully resulting in a resentment between them that she could capitalize on. But she set the thought aside as she rifled through her personal freezer compartment for the three ice worms she'd stashed there. It was one of those medicinal compounds that had an easy capacity to be misused to deadly result.

She did not truly have enough for a dose certain to bring death under normal circumstances. But at this time of year, a dose that would only bring cooling relief to a body fever during Saun, would bring an hypothermic death. She wondered if there was some way to bring disgrace, through the appearance of an incompetent dosage, to one of her superiors.

She waited for an opening in the schedule for the lab. It was to her advantage how easily "Frostbite" could be processed. She ran a measure of water into a pan and set it on a high level over a small flame, for a slow increase of temperature. The worms would react to the slow heat, by producing the enzyme they used to create the cold they needed to survive. This could be accomplished with room temperature water, but even a moderately trained chemist could glean much more result with a closely monitored flame.

It was more in having access to some cool water and adding just a bit when the worms began to twitch excessively. Their behavior was the best indicator of when the temperature was productive. But it took a keen eye, because the very release of the enzyme caused an appearance of boiling, which distorted the view into the water. The enzyme had a slightly milky look as well, causing an opaque difficulty for any visibility. But seeing this milkiness was all the chemist really needed to know she was getting the result she desired.

The thing to do now was to add just a few drops of cold water and then let it slowly warm up again to repeat the cycle. Linika did this four times before deciding that the fifth and sixth time had not added any further enzyme to the now pure-white liquid. She retrieved the stiff bodies of the worms from the water, essentially cooked in water that had barely reached a temperature sufficient to warm her hands. She cut the length of them and stripped the skins free, discarding the remains. The put the skins now over some serious heat until they began to smoke. She put a mortar and pestle to task, reducing them to crumbled ash.

The skin, now free of the flesh of the worms' bodies, acted as an inhibitor to the next process, which was simply boiling the water out of the milky liquid. Once she stirred the crumbled skin-ash into the milky solution, she could freely boil it dry, leaving a white powder coating on the inside of the pot. What she scraped free of the metal was essentially the compound called "Frostbite".

The important thing now was to smother it with a chemical preservative. There was no shortage of that in the facility and she soon had three small vials, each containing a single medicinal dose. She placed these in one of the small wooden boxes created for this very purpose and set it beside the package of Brightfern. She had not really taken that much note of the card that accompanied the Brightfern. If she had, she might have noticed that it did not specify that the Brightfern was to be the gift.

So a few breaks later, when she went to run her errand to deliver the Brightfern to the Aranaz estate, she was furious to find the Frostbite and the card gone. The Brightfern was still there, but she knew she could not get away with not delivering it. Whoever had intended it to be sent would surely follow up with some sort of confirmation that it had been delivered. So, someone had stolen her Frostbite, but she still had to deliver the Brightfern.

Linika did not even feel the cold as she she stewed in the heat of raging anger as she made her way to the estate with the bulk of the Brightfern...
word count: 806
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Tasar
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It was only the second time that Tasar had been allowed to leave the compound of the Aranaz Family Estate. Having been a slave of the family business, she had only recently gained enough trust from her superiors and masters that they knew she would not spill the dark secrets of the business and the illegal production that happened within the city. Her heart swelled with pride and a small smile played on her face at the knowledge that her owners trusted her enough. They were pleased with her… and that meant everything to Tasar.

Her tasks within the city had been completed and she began the fast walk back to the compound. Ordinarily, she might take her time walking back; she had completed her chores quickly and the family were not expecting her back for at least half a break more. But Viden was bitterly cold, a stark difference from her home, Athart. Not even the citizens walked at a leisurely pace, unless they were in the Fortress or the Cliffs. And Tasar moved faster than most - the non native absolutely hated the cold.

The walk back to the estate was not a long one, and the redhead did it within a few bits, even with her arms laden with the now empty baskets which had contained cartons of frozen fruit she had been sent out with to hand over to a shop keeper.

As Tasar approached the gate, there was another, a woman who did not look anything like any of the people of Viden. She loitered in the background, trying to not eavesdrop on the conversation happening by the gate, nor appear to be hovering as if she was trying to pressure the guards. A slave should always be insignificant, and never get in anyone’s way, after all.

The woman’s conversation seemed to be going badly: there was something about the woman that the guards didn’t like. Something that, apparently, the entire city did not like. The slave wondered what could be so disgusting about the woman that an entire city (a city which was apparently so enlightened and forward-thinking) could have so much vitriolic hate for someone, given the language they were using towards her. Tasar’s discomfort grew.

It was short-lived though, thankfully. For the woman had managed to persuade her way through. The gates opened, and the guard, finally noticing Tasar, waved the slave through after her. She nodded her thanks, keeping her eyes downcast. It took a moment of hesitation for her to decide, but she then hurried her pace to meet up with the woman. “Excuse me, Madam?” She spoke softly, clearing her voice as she slowed to walk beside the woman, then spoke louder, “Sorry, Ma’am. May I…” and then the slave faltered, remembering that it was not her place to pry. She did not ask the question she was burning to ask. “May I assist you? Direct you to the location you are searching for, Ma’am?
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She had not even had to fake her interest. Where barely restrained anger had been the manner in which she'd first dealt with the gate guard, his own angry response that they had seven greenhouses, brought her anger up short. She had been concentrating more on where she might have misplaced her 'Frostbite', and had not been as focused on civility as she should have been. For a moment she honestly thought the guard was not going to let her in. But even distracted, she was able to launch into a lucid, if unnecessarily wordy, explanation of the many ways the Brightfern could be ruined if not placed in properly set greenhouse environment. The simple fact that it was the truth, and she knew it, made it easy.

The guard finally relented to her expertise, shaking his head and waving her through before she was even finished reciting growth patterns and inhibiting factors based on temperature and humidity, light starvation and harmful filtering if the glass panes had the wrong levels of silicon or lead content, premature germination or stasis, stem clotting, root dwarfing, leaf glazing, infestation vulnerability...He was still shaking his head and telling Linika to 'knock herself out' as he waved her through, undoubtedly accepting that the entire package of Brightfern was doomed to be ruined if she did not find the best greenhouse situation for the seeds' storage.

Her credentials were entirely legitimate, the delivery authorization signed and dated, so he had no real reason to doubt her anyway. But of course, she was naerikk, and that automatically made her suspect. Her sneer as she entered the estate grounds turned to triumph upon seeing the first greenhouse, then to wonder as she saw the second and third greenhouse, the glass rooftops of the fourth and fifth showing in gaps between other outbuildings of the estate.

A voice caught her attention. It seemed as if it had sounded a couple times already. It was so odd to have a respectful and courteous tone being directed her way that she had ignored it at first. But there were no other females present other than the one speaking. So she'd had no reason to assume she was the one being addressed. But she turned briefly to look over her shoulder and saw a woman demurely facing her, looking uncomfortable.

Troubled expressions on the faces of those talking to her were nothing new in Linika's experience here in Viden. But this woman seemed to be on the low side of the status barrier here, as if she was overstepping some boundary. Linika stopped, curious wy this should be. She was the stranger here. If this woman was going to ask for the same credentials the guard had demanded, Linika would not have been surprised, or hesitant to offer it up a second time.

Guardedly, Linika turned fully, holding the package of Brightfern out just a little more prominently. "I'm sorry? Were you addressing me?" she asked with just a slightly defensive edge. "The guard waved me through. I'm delivering some Brightfern seed, and it needs a few particulars of storage parameters to be observed." she prattled, trying to sound convincingly scientific. "Are you my escort to the right greenhouse?"
Last edited by Linika on Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 551
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Tasar faltered at the guarded expression on the woman’s face: it was almost as if she was nervous of a save and how she would be received. Tasar had never experienced that before, and she wasn’t sure that she liked it very much. An odd sensation flurried inside her stomach for a moment, something the girl had never experienced before. It took her a while to work out what it could be, but then it hit her. This was superiority. The other woman’s defensiveness made her seem almost nervous, as if Tasar had all the power, as if Tasar had any right to question the other’s presence in the compound.

She didn’t like it.

Yes, Ma’am,” she finally replied, and she did something she had never done in Viden, and looked directly into the woman’s eyes. “I am a slave of the Aranaz family… I know the compound well. I was…” Tasar swallowed, unable to keep eye contact anymore and lowered her gaze. It was strange enough to be using pronouns to describe herself - she had been so used to never referring to herself, as all slaves were taught, lest she begin to think of her own needs above others. Here, however, it felt the most natural. “Perhaps I may help you find… places.

She was not an official escort, but there was no one else around. And no one has ordered her to be back by a certain time so she doubted that she would be in trouble for assisting the woman. If anything, she was surprised that the guards had let her through alone at all, given the many secrets that could be found within the estate. Anyone could easily happen upon them. Surely if Tasar ensured that this woman did not happen across the distilling areas of the business, her masters would be pleased?

It was unclear why, to the slave, but Tasar could see plain as day that the guards did not trust the woman, no matter what reason she had to be here (which seemed like a fair one, though she did not know what Brightfern was). “I will be your escort, yes, Ma’am,” the slave finally confirmed. At least, until someone better came along. “I have been named Tasar, if it pleases you, Ma’am.
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Linika
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'Ahhh. a slave...' Linika thought, immediately calculating what this would mean. There was no guarantee that this would place herself on a tier higher than this slave. In Augiery, of course! But even there, this was someone else's property, and was not to be arbitrarily abused over a matter of insult. Augiery was not the sewer Athart was! No, if she felt any level of defiance on the part of a slave, it was to be reported to the owner, who would then see to matters of discipline.

But being naer may well give this...subject...rights that could come as a surprise to her. And she was only now getting the academic foothold she needed to make progress on her mission. And it was not as though she had offered any insult anyway. She had little doubt that this girl was duty-bound to state her status up front. There was a curiosity, not entirely benevolent either, to see just how this girl handled being treated as an equal. Also, there was the chance that if she could set this slave at ease, the newly relaxed tongue may divulge secrets to her new 'friend'. Rich families always had secrets.

"Yes, that pleases me very much Tasar. And you may call me 'Linika'." she said warmly, through a cloud of breath-frost. "So, I will need to see which greenhouse is set up to store this seed. Or which one can be adjusted to do so. It is fairly delicate, and is currently in a 'Zi'Da state'. Many plants' seeds do this in anticipation of the coming of Cylus. But it is a long-term cycle that will have to be broken very carefully, so I need to check both current and functioning greenhouses, and closed, cold ones. Many factors other than just temperature are involved in determining the proper facility."

The lies came so easily; especially when she knew that the recipient would be socially bound to believe her. A slave accusing a guest of lying would be in big trouble indeed. She just needed to be sure not to give her outright cause to fetch the master. "I fully trust in your ability to guide me though an estate you surely know better than I do." she laughed lightly, as if entirely at ease, while she watched her "escort" out of the corner of her eye.
Last edited by Linika on Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:50 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 407
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Despite herself, Tasar found herself relaxing at the kind words of the woman. It was a rare occurrence in her life that the auburn-haired slave was met with anything even close to kindness; not only was she born into slavery, but she was also half-aukari. Everywhere she went, she was followed by either mistrust or disgust. Viden was little better, for her time in the compound had been met with traditional treatment for slaves. She had been whipped, beaten, used, even raped. It was just another day for her.

For the first time, she felt something akin to empathy for the woman walking beside her, and she knew that the woman felt the same way. To the naïve girl, she thought that Linika was radiating genuine kindness and interest towards her. “Seed. Is first stage in making of fruit, yes?” She knew the answer, but wanted to ensure her words were the correct ones, for she was still learning the language of these peoples. “It is, in logical sense, found in Greenhouse One.

The girl nodded in the direction of the greenhouses, of which Greenhouse One was the closest. “All Greenhouses kept at warm-ness, from south climates of Hot Cycles. It makes fruits grow properly, yes?” She did not know if this was what the woman was after, but it was the line Tasar had been given to pass on to any visitors with trade goods. Above all, she was not to reveal anything sensitive to any guest. That was a role for her Master, or a member of his family, not for the slaves. “If it pleases you, Miss Linika, please follow… me.

Do you need… cold places?” Tasar asked, as she opened the door to the first greenhouse. She spoke with an apologetic tone, eager to please the woman who was being so kind to her. “I will be needing to alert my Masters if greenhouse is not sensible place.” She bit her lip nervously as she hoisted the basket up higher and placed it on a shelf just right of the greenhouse door and turned back to the visitor. Waiting for an answer, she watched the woman, taking in her clothing, her features, and the odd make-up upon her face. Finally, she worked up the courage to ask what had been bugging her for the entire walk, “Sorry, Ma’am. The face.. paint. What is it? Why?
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It was working. The slave girl was looking more comfortable, despite the cold. She directed their focus to "Greenhouse One", commenting in her broken common about the first stage of plant growth. Linika waited a moment to see if this girl, Tasar, would add the word "germination", before confirming that she was correct.

"Yes, Tasar, seeds are the initial 'state' of fruit. But I don't know that I would call it the first 'stage'. Seeds can be kept for quite some time before the actual stages of growth are begun. That is called 'germination' and actually I don't think we want to risk that yet. I was only told to deliver them. I was not informed whether or not the family intends to begin sprouting them right away." She knew that the heat of Greenhouse One was not going to have any impact on that, but she wanted to see more and doubted that the slave girl knew any better.

But just in case, she drew on her innate ability to fabricate unverifiable details to stall for time. "But in such an exceedingly cold climate, it can trigger a stasis within the seed, so that a normal storage temperature could then be mistaken as a thawing season by the affected seed, and can actually 'awaken' it to the point that it might self-germinate. In truth, the whole package could start tying to root itself. Needless to say, very little could be saved. And that only with immediate action."

She slapped a look of mild concern across her face, relaxing it though as she continued. "But you clearly have more than one greenhouse, or you would have no need to call this one "number one", eh?" She gave an easy laugh and looked casually around, smiling. "I'm certain they are not ALL currently in a heated state. I think if I take a measure of how they compare, I can find the best place to ease them into a condition where they will remain dormant, without falling into stasis. If it will not get you into trouble, could you show me the others?"

They conversed in amiable tones for a while, Linika agreeing that a cold location would be best, but not one so cold as the out-of-doors. "I imagine that an unheated greenhouse would soon fall to the same sub-zero temperature as the air outside, even with the glass walls acting to brace against the wind." deceptive inspiration stuck her in a manner that allowed her not to have to hide the sudden thought. "Oh, hmmm....That's a point. Do you happen to know where the glass for the structures was obtained?"

Se made a face to feign embarrassment. "Oh, I'm sorry. No, as a slave you would probably not be made privy to such matters. it doesn't matter, I can tell what I need to see if you can just let me look at each one. You see, the glass provided by the blowers in Nashaki, have an acid binder that can slowly disperse into the air with repeated heatings and coolings, and can eventually be harmful to the flora within. Not many know this, and all too often, high ranking, privileged families just assume that the most expensive product is the best for their needs."

She made an exaggerated face, and dropped her voice to mimic some master-of-the-house caricature, "Get the finest money can buy. Spare no expense." She chuckled when she finished, returning to her own voice. "Most of the time, that policy is fine. But with greenhouse glass you actually don't want the very best."

An additional element of deception occurred to her and she allowed another somewhat concerned look to cross her face. "Look, Tasar, I suppose you are not looking forward to having to tell the master that if he spent a lot of money on the glass then, it was a bad business decision. I can tell by looking myself. there's just a small crafter's guild symbol that should show in the corner. Unless he actually bought Nashaki glass, he needn't even know. And if he HAS, I will be glad to be the one to tell him. I will even say that you were the one that brought it to my attention if you want. Will that be alright?"

She recalled that the girl had asked her about her cosmetics while she was thinking her deception through, and now a new one landed right in her lap with the girl's question. All the details about the greenhouses was useful, but learning about the social dynamics of the Aranaz family could be far more useful. She made as if only now recalling the question, "Hmmm? I'm sorry, what? my face? OH, the cosmetics!" She laughed as if it was a minor thing. "Just some make-up. We naer are maybe a bit over-the-top compared to other women, but it's nothing most women don't indulge in from time to time."

Again the look of sympathy, "But I suppose you are not allowed to do so. Ahhh. That's too bad, you're really a lovely girl. but I suppose the wife, or 'mistress' I suppose I should say, would be terribly taken back if you were to outshine her. I suppose she is from one of the noble families as well. High status in a man needs high status in a woman these days. Who is she, if I may be so bold?"
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Not only was the woman kind, but she was also teaching her something. The lesson wasn’t even relevant to the expectations of a slave. Yes, Viden, by law, provided education to all slaves in the city, but it was a very basic one - Tasar had gained literal and numeracy skills alongside some history of the city and the Immortal Yvithia, nothing more. It was not that she was ungrateful for the chance, and she had never considered the desire to have knowledge above her station. But it was… nice. Nice to learn more.

The knowledge wasn’t entirely useless to her either - a welcome spark of pride surged within her at the chance to impress her superiors with her knew knowledge of germination. “It is when something is dead can become living, germination?” She asked, trying to process it. Her cheeks blushed as how foolish she must sound to the woman. It was not what she meant: no one could spark life out of death. But she did not have the vocabulary to explain herself clearer. An apologetic smile fell upon her face. This woman would not bother to teach her more if she thought Tasar to be of lesser wits. “Not dead. But woman not make baby alone. Like that?

You need seeds to not germinate yet? And heat might?” Maybe her theory was wrong, the. Tasar scraped the hair out of her face as she considered the options. There were a number of greenhouses, each performing a different function, depending on the time of year. None of them were used for storing things. But there was a small stone building round the back of the compound. She bit her lip, staring at the other for longer than could be considered normal. That was dangerously close to the distilling facilities. Could she take Linika there?

The naer was kind, though. Genuine. Tasar found herself trusting to the fact that the woman was here for a purpose, nothing more. “There is a building. With…” she fought to remember the word, “yeast. It is colder.” Turning, the slave, held the door for Linika to exit through and they turned right, down the side of the greenhouse. As they walked, the woman began to talk about magic and glass. Again, the girl blushed, unable to even contribute to the conversation. “This slave does not know…” her language reverted back to that of the third person; the idea of suggesting anything to her Masters was unthinkable. She even hated the idea that her name would be mentioned if Linika were to tell them of a better solution. Her Master was kind… at least, he had nothing to do with his labour slaves. But his son was not. Panic flashed over Tasar’s wide eyes as she slowed her pace and looked at the other woman. “Please don’t,” she whispered hoarsely, “Not mention this slave. Master would not like it. You are kind, to try helping. Maybe you do it but not speak about slaves?

They continued down the path, Tasar staring downwards in an attempt to calm herself. The woman’s own demeanour or calm happiness did not make it hard, and the girl was fascinated by the information she shared, “There is no Mistress,” she replied softly, “Though it is said she was beautiful.” She considered the concept of make-up, and thought it nice that Linkia’s culture almost demanded a woman to care for her appearance. “Master Julian likes slaves in his rooms being beautiful.

Approaching the yeast stores, Tasar once again dutifully held the door ajar for the naer to enter first. Before Tasar could follow in, a voice sounded from across the path, “Slave!” Tasar instantly dropped to her knees, recognising the voice at once as her Master. One hand remained raise, holding the door, but the other rested upon her knees, which were already protesting the freezing snow. “What are you doing?” The man noticed the shadow of a woman just inside the stores and approached faster. “Tobren Aranaz. Can I help you, Madam?
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Saoire Soiree

It was becoming a struggle to remain civil. Linika felt there was a benefit to having a friend "inside" this compound, even if it was only a slave. She'd seen from experience, and read from historic accounts that slaves had often been the component of great social upheavals due to the very fact of their seeming insignificance. Many masters blabbed freely of dangerous house secrets in front of slaves, somehow feeling that they could not possibly bring any repercussions about. 'They are only slaves!' the being the general attitude leading to their downfall. Linika was more than happy to capitalize on such an oversight.

But she realized she'd opened a proverbial can of worms in being so friendly with this wretch. The girl now seemed to think she wanted to act as a free textbook on herbalism and agriculture. She decided she could put up with it until she'd had the chance to check out all the estate's greenhouse resources. It was possible she could set up a small niche in one that could enable her to pad her own secret cubbyhole at the academy.

The slave's question brought her out of her thoughts, "Dead? No, not dead, really. More like hibernation, an ongoing sleep, from which they must be awakened. Some outside force bringing them out of it. But as I said, an extreme shift in temperature is the usual method. After that, they can be germinated productively, under controlled conditions. It's mostly the seeds searching for water, and nutrients, sprouting roots with the effort. But this expends a great deal of energy, and if there is no gain from this effort, they'll soon die."

Now the girl was comparing it to sexual fertilization. Linika considered this in some amusement. "Well, plants are different the world over. To be honest, I'm not sure at what stage such an outside element as pollination will need to be introduced. There's undoubtedly a wide range of stages where this occurs from one species to another. I'm really not sure where Brightfern stands there. I only know this package is ready for storage, so it has already gone through this stage. My field lies more with the processing of the plant, not the growing of it. But you pick up a few things. One of them, yes, being that they need to be kept from getting warm, coming out of stasis and trying to germinate."

It was somewhat counter productive when the slave, Tasar, mentioned some other housing, specifically attributing it to yeast storage. Linika knew that would be ideal, and though she could easily fake her way through it here and now, when the truth came out, Tasar would know she had lied. Also, the hesitant demeanor prior to her mention of it, made it seem as if it was something secret. She tried to make as if she'd not heard, and went on discussing other things.

She was a little surprised when the young woman got upset with the idea of taking credit for a warning of possible glass poisoning. She thought about saying she hadn't noticed any Nashaki guild symbols on the panes thus far, but decided to leave it vague yet. She decided she would act as if only realizing the oversight after checking out the yeast storehouse, to have cause to check the remaining greenhouses still.

The news about this "Master Julian" having no mistress was enlightening. It was unfortunate that the slave had no details on who the lady of the house had been, but her use of the phrase 'It is said...' indicated it had been this way for quite some time. There would probably be no source of scandal-based extortion after such a stretch. The follow-up remark about Julian liking beautiful women came as no surprise either. Linika pocketed that knowledge for future exploitation. Not that she would be seeking marriage or anything so absurd as that. The chance of a seduction-based scandal had promise though. If Julian had such a penchant for beautiful women, she knew she could manipulate that well enough.

She was just stepping inside the building when a man's voice echoed across the gaps between buildings. She had to come back out to see who she assumed was going to be "Master Julian". Tasar's immediate contrition set her pride on edge. The presentation of a woman being so subservient to a male filled her with disgust, and for a moment, she had to fight the urge to pull the girl to her feet.

It came as a small surprise when the approaching figure announced himself as 'Tobren', rather than 'Julian'. Linika shrugged mentally at the mistake though. She she knew she should have figured there would be more than one male Aranaz. She wished she knew if this one was also unmarried with a rampant libido. Had it not been so cold, she'd have "inadvertently" let slip a button or two and seen how his eyes responded. But as it was, she stepped back out to greet him with a smile.

"Yes, Lord Aranaz..." she began, leaving up to him to make any title corrections. She did not offer her name, figuring to judge the man's disposition towards her in whether he felt any inclination to ask, and how he did so. "I am from the Academy. I was given the task of delivering your Brightfern, and was trying to find the facility with the right conditions for safe storage. I was told to try to find something akin to food-storage parameters..."

If the man did not rudely interrupt her, she would give him some song and dance about getting poor directions at the gate and being intercepted by this "young woman", who tried to accommodate the food-storage setting priority on storage conditions of "this valuable package". She wanted to give this man no reason to punish his slave, as well as to let the slave see her go to this effort with her slight adjustments of the truth.
word count: 1019
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- Poison -

"Shelf Life'...What an ironically contradictory concept."
- Linika Amarinthine -
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