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Old April 13, 2015, 03:53 PM   #16
Rhystlin
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The half elf's earlier fear of somehow completing this task the "wrong" way had melted off, and she couldn't help but beam at Li Bai's appreciation of her choices. She felt a little like a child again, getting her hands dirty with earth as her father had taught her how to track beasts in the wild. The smell of soil added a richness to these memories that she had not expected.

She came forward to breathe in the flower's scent, giving Li Bai a look of surprise at what was apparently an unexpected result. "It smells wonderful. I can tell why it's so popular." It was actually odd to her that something so sweet and vibrant would steal nutrients from the flowers around it. She hadn't realized some plants were more demanding than others.

She smiled at what he said about his friends. "It's just as good to form your own family in those you know you can trust and rely upon. I don't have many I consider family, but those who are ... are very, very dear to me. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world." Her gaze fell to the man's work before she continued. "Myach isn't my birth father, but he's still my father. The bond we have is stronger than any I've ever shared by blood."

She nodded at the "child" plants he separated and placed about the pot. She didn't have siblings, but she knew what it was like to cling to the relationships one held dear. It had been hard for her and her father to separate, but both had concluded that it was necessary for her to find her way. So these plants were like her, then?

She chuckled at his observation about grooming. She had been a grubby child, and Myach had always struggled with trying to make her presentable. Children had not been his strongest suit - and little girls even less so.

Her last choice of flower was a purple one with white spiraled stripes that tapered and met towards the top. It was shaped more like an unopened bud than a flower, really. As she passed it over to her temporary gardening mentor, she considered his question, wondering what he might think of her after knowing.

"I am a mercenary," she said simply. "Soon to be a captain."
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Old April 14, 2015, 04:21 PM   #17
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He gladly took the purple flower, and then leaned over, pulling the pot it came from even closer. "Watch this..." he whispered, before pulling a great number of them. He went back to work on the new pot, dutifully planting them in a long row around the outside rim. They stood taller than all of the other plants, and seemed to create a wind-break of sorts. Of course, on such a small scale such a thing was unnecessary, but the illusion was part of the art.

Then his eyes lit up in response to her answer. "Ah! A warrior. A sad truth it is, but Telath needs them. And soon to be a captain, eh? But what of that? Is such a station testament to you ferocity, or your wit?" he asked, phrasing it as if it were a rhetorical question. "Both, I wager," he answered himself with a nod.

Her size certainly gave him no pause, for he knew as well as anyone what can sometimes be contained within a small package. He also knew what life can be like for those of smaller stature, and therefore he decided that to overcome in such a business she must have been quite worthy foe herself.

He leaned over the pot, cocking his head in different directions. He made little sounds as he inspected it, noticing every piece of the growing work of art.

"It is almost done! And so fast! See how two minds are better than one?" He stood up, and then looked at the pot doubtfully. Almost instantly he seemed like a feeble old man.

"Be a dear and grab that, won't you?" he said. He smiled at Rhystlin expectantly, motioning her to once again follow him as he grabbed up his staff.

He made his way into a tiny shed off of the side of the shop. In it were a number of shelves, many covered with little containers full of tiny pebbles, others with half finished wooden carvings. On a table in the middle sat a collection of different wooden ornamentation, apparently complete and ready to be used.

"This is where we can choose the finishing touches! This is exciting, is it not?" He quickly looked set about searching through the finished miniatures, many of them looking like little homes or barns. There were also a few pieces covered with tiny stones, some looking like fountains, others like bridges.

Li Bai walked over and grabbed a container holding stones before carefully dropping a few into the pot.

"Go ahead, my dear, choose one." He said, pointing to the miniatures on the table.

"I wonder," he said, moving the tiny stones around before dropping a few more. Apparently, his inquisitive nature had won over. "What kind of mercenary work you do. Who is it you are charged in protecting, or fighting, perhaps?"
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Old April 14, 2015, 04:40 PM   #18
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The little wind-break setup Li Bai madewas a pretty one in Rhystlin's mind. She inspected it as the fellow gave his opinion on her job without skipping a beat, leaving the half elf feeling glad. Oftentimes, people sought to lecture her on the dangers of her job or question her about the morals of such a career path, but the lively old man did none of that. The level of respect he showed towards her despite her gender and size sparked a fondness in the mercenary's heart.

She moved to stand and lift the pot as Li Bai readied himself to move on, surprised at the unexpected heft of the thing. She followed along as he moved to the shed with its shelves full of neat little carvings. She wondered if Hay'aan had made all of these.

When he told her to choose one, she pondered a bit, letting a hand hover various ones in turn. At first she looked as though she was about to choose a bridge, but ultimately settled on one of the little homes. She held it in her hands as he went about rearranging the stones.

"We are a military unit for the lord baron of Arium, but in times we're not needed for that purpose, we will take other work to help contribute to our patron house and keep things running in general. Artifact or ingredient retrieval, protection or guard services for towns and travelers, escorts for research teams... that sort of thing. I'm hoping that the company can help contribute to Arium's steady rebuilding in the beginning, including the securing of its smaller townships and trade routes."

She smiled, offering him the wooden carving.

"But who knows. With time we may grow, and perhaps we can help other provinces as well."
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Old April 15, 2015, 10:31 AM   #19
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He looked up at her, taking the wood carving.

"Ah, Arium! It's been years since i've been." He placed the wood carving in the very middle of the pot. "Sounds like it keeps you busy. This is good. Idle hands are Jorel's plaything, yes?" He bent down, looking at the pot now at eye level. He reached in and moved the carving ever so gently, first one way and then the other, trying to find its perfect placement.

He listened as she spoke of hoping that her outfit would grow beyond Arium. "I find that growth is inevitable, given the correct seed, of course. And something tells me that you are, indeed, a good seed. I wish you and your captaincy good travels and masterful fortunes, Rhystlin."

All...most...there!"

He leaned back up, his chest puffing with pride as he propped his fists on his waist. Having been particularly happy with each objects placement in the pot, he continued to place stones in it. He moved them around until the stones made a little path, seemingly going past a stand of trees with pink-shaped leaves, and eventually moving up to the little wooden house.

"See? It all comes together in the end. In life, and in art..." He looked at Rhystlin in satisfaction. "What do you think?"
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Old April 15, 2015, 11:02 AM   #20
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Chuckling, the half elf nodded. Yes, idle hands were certainly something the mercenary couldn't stand. She was a restless spirit through and through, as she had been told her parents were in the prime of their lives. She wondered if that was something that could be passed down to younger generations.

It was only fitting that the man find an analogy based around planting. It fit very well. She bowed her head respectfully to him as he wished her well.

"Thank you very much, Li Bai. I wish you well, too. But judging by what I've seen so far, I am quite certain you are already doing well."

As the shapes of the stones began to form the visual of a little road, the half elf couldn't help but offer a small clap for the man. She hadn't understood just what he was doing, but now it all came together to form a lovely little idyllic scene. And even her choices seemed to fit on a whole, as some of the flowers were looking like trees! She hadn't expected that her random decisions were still something Li Bai could work with so well.

"I think it's beautiful!" she responded with complete sincerity. "I don't even know how you did it. One minute it was a pot of flowers and the next it was... this!"

It was true, it had come together, and quite nicely at that.

"Please, let me pay you some coin for it."
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Old April 15, 2015, 04:18 PM   #21
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Pride welled up inside of the man, giddy at the product. And when Rhystlin clapped, he couldn't help but clap along with her.

"It is beautiful... and it is, and always will be, one of a kind! But it wasn't just me, my dear, we did it together!" He smiled while offering her a respectful bow, holding his long goatee against his chest.

Then he held his hands out in front of him, palms towards the woman. "No no. I have heard your story. And that is payment enough for me. A good story is worth a king's bounty, my dear."

As he said it his gaze fell upon a small tree sitting in the corner. He had tried to transplant it into the fertile soil of the garden, as he knew the beautiful little flowers that sprouted from it during the summer time. However, after only a few brightenings, it had begun to wither and sicken, so he quickly pulled it up placing it in the shed.

"One minute a pot of flowers, and then the next, it was something else..." he said in a voice that could reach Rhystlin, though it was obvious he was speaking to himself. He squatted down in front of tree, staring at it.

"You know, on second thought, I will let you pay me for it. On one condition: You come back on the morrow. I'll want to show you something..." He didn't look up from the tree, his dreamy gaze captured by the plant. He gave Rhystlin a fair price for the work of art, and one that was more than comfortable with her wealth tierSterling atm.

She could, of course, refuse. But if she accepted the proposal, he would continue to stare at the plant while offering her a very courteous good darkening.
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Old April 16, 2015, 01:22 PM   #22
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Rhystlin felt that Li Bai had really done all of the work, but who was she to argue with the amiable shopkeeper? She returned his bow, but contemplated pressing the issue of payment when he initially refused. Certainly, a story was a wonderful thing, but it didn't keep a shop open or put food on the table. She realized Li Bai was probably not the type to run himself into the ground, but she couldn't help but feel guilty taking his beautiful work without offering some tangible payment.

She opened her mouth to speak but he went on inspecting something and talking almost to himself, as if he was just resuming his work as he had before she arrived. When he turned back to her and second-guessed the payment issue, the relief in her expression was obvious.

His condition, though, confused her. She quirked her brows at him but resisted the urge to question, instead bobbing her head up and down in acquiescence. He might not have seen that, though, as she realized he was still staring at a tree that had caught his attention, so she also said "Of course. That's no problem at all."

She would dutifully return the following brightening, around the same time she had the one before.
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Old April 17, 2015, 08:24 AM   #23
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When she arrived the next brightening, Li Bai was waiting for her.

"And a very good brightening to you, young lady," he said. He rubbed his palms together excitedly. "Do I ever have something to show you!"

He continued to ramble as he turned and walked on, motioning for him to follow. "I think I have figured it out! Or rather, you figured it out, while you didn't even know you were trying to figure out something. But it was what you said yesterbrightening that got me thinking..." Without further explanation, he took a step off of the decking, crossing a small patch of grass. A young tree stood in the middle of it. He stopped to admire it, leaning over to Rhystlin.

"You see, trees grow up and out. It is ever been so. In a hundred eras we might find this tree magnificent and huge, its very limbs reaching up into the sky for hundreds of hands." Then he pointed at the ground around its base. "But it is also growing underneath. It's the roots! The growth stays somewhat symmetrical from the top to the bottom, and as the limbs grow longer and taller, so do the roots, but just in the opposite direction..."
As if paying no mind as to whether or not the half-elf was following (in body or in mind), he continued walking. This time, he made a straight path toward the shed.

"I hope you won't be too mad, but I've spent the money you paid me for the piece we worked on together. I needed a suitable pot, my dear! One that... well, you'll see"

They made it to the threshold of the shed as a gasp leapt out of Li Bai, a smile spread across the face. In truth, he had been working on the plant that stood before them for the vast majority of the previous darkening, but every time his gaze fell upon it he became elated.

He continued to explain as he neared it, motioning for her to take a look. "You see, what you said got me thinking. Why not use a tree in my art? If the tree is small enough, why not use it? But then, of course, how to keep it small... And then I realized, its the roots! I bought a much thinner pot, one that will keep the roots from growing too quickly and too far, and perhaps the tree will always stay this size! So when you said, 'One moment it was a flower, and the next...", I simply thought, 'One moment it was a tree, and the next it was a flower!'" He started laughing as he clapped his hands excitedly.

 
In front of them stood a small plant, thick at its bark covered-base and curled up towards the sun. It swept down, having been recently picked clean of dead twigs and branches, and now stood tall and healthy, with green visible from its numerous fingers and arms.

It was a tree, but a rather small one. The roots underneath were held in by a simple clay pot. The container itself was shallow, keeping the roots of the tree itself contained within a small space, hampering the plants ability to grow at the same rate as a normal tree.

The flowers on the tree had a small white tinge to them, but were otherwise remarkably translucent. Underneath the flower-covered branches were planted a number of purple, bell-shaped clarabells. The stood up and away from the soil in the pot as if reaching to touch the clear flowers of the fauna above them.


 


He smiled at Rhystlin.

"It is perfect, my dear! The tree should stay this size for eras on end. Light will travel through the trees flowers and get to the clarabells. But they will also retain most of the heat, keeping your 'snowbelles' nice and cozy. Genius, eh?"
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Old April 17, 2015, 05:04 PM   #24
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Although Rhystlin was slightly confused as to why Li Bai was so excited, she was happy to see him so upon her arrival. She wondered if he had figured out some new way to perform his special type of art, but still wasn't sure why he wanted to show her in particular. Did it have something to do with their project from last brightening, perhaps?

She listened to him explain as she followed along, not sure what it was she might have said to inspire any sort of new discovery. She had figured it out? Figured what out, exactly? All she could recall was picking subjects for his art as she exchanged pleasantries with him yesterday.

Then he started talking about trees. She nodded at the one he was currently observing, knowing what he said to be true. Well, so far she was following along well enough, she supposed.

"Li Bai, it was your money once I gave it to you. You are free to spend it on whatever you like! Of course I'm not mad... not at all." Besides, a pot seemed like a business expense for one such as this.

Li Bai's gasp sparked her interest even further, and she stepped in closer to get a good look at what he was gesturing towards. As soon as she saw it, she couldn't help but gasp as well.

She had never seen a plant like the one she first laid eyes on at that moment. The flowers upon the tree were tinged with white - but mostly translucent, appearing almost like flower-shaped dew drops hanging from stems. As her eyes traced the shape of the tree, they finally landed on what was beneath, the beautiful purple clarabells he had produced for her yesterday.

She turned to him with wide eyes, at first unable to speak.

"Li Bai, you used the clarabells!" Well that was obvious, silly girl. But the fact that he had done so for this beautiful new revelation of his felt almost as though she held some part in it somehow. She laughed.

"You're right, it is perfect. I feel so... honored that you would share this with me. Li Bai, it's absolutely beautiful. You are the genius. I've never seen anything like it in my life!"
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Old April 17, 2015, 06:25 PM   #25
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Oh how he loved it when others shared his enthusiasm. He walked over, throwing his arm over Rhystlin's shoulder while not taking his gaze from the plant.

He sighed long and proud, then walked forward and picked the plant up.

"Now, I won't hear any more about this, my dear. But what you've helped me realize will make this shop much more profitable. My art has evolved, now with miniature trees, which is a surprise for even me! I was trying to figure out a way to make the flowers grow back every era, and as it turns out, I shouldn't have been looking at the flowers at all!"

He smiled at Rhystlin, holding the pot towards her.

"It was a fair deal from the beginning. You help me out, you get the flowers. And since the flowers are happily under my tiny tree here, it is only fair that you take them both. Wouldn't want to separate them, now would we?"
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Old April 17, 2015, 07:12 PM   #26
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OOC:

+2 exp, levelup to Initiate... Gardening?
+1 exp for Rhystlin towards the same, or basic lore if she doesn't want the skill
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