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Old April 6, 2015, 06:41 PM   #1
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[The Gypsy Dragon] Grand opening

The half-elf woman would only be alone for the briefest of moments before a voice reached her from behind.

It was doubtful she would have heard him approach. However, that wasn't due to his attempting to be quiet. The water features that surrounded them bubbled happily, masking most slight sounds. Especially the sounds of his soft-soled sandals on the smooth wooden planks of the path below them.

"Ah! A customer! How exciting!"

He was a short man, even compared to Rhystlin's own squat frame. He was dressed in plain gray robes, and walked with a large quarterstaff that he appeared to be using as a walking stick. His bald head, marked heavily from an uncountable number of brighteningse under the suns' light, sat atop a smiling face with a long goatee protruding from the chin.

He looked up at her, apparently not at all concerned with the fact that she had a few inches on his own height.

"Welcome, welcome. This is The Gypsy Dragon. What can I help you find?"
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Old April 6, 2015, 09:17 PM   #2
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The half elf was caught off guard by the voice that came from behind her. She had not heard anyone approaching and her attention had been settled on the small little garden art pieces. She felt rude for having possibly ignored the speaker, and she couldn't help but wonder if she had walked right by him at some point since her entry.

Rhystlin smiled at the person who addressed her, determining at once that she had never seen anyone quite like him. It was rare, as well, that she was able to stand taller than another person and it felt unfamiliar, if not a little odd. But he had a kind and welcoming appearance about him, and despite her initial startle, the mercenary felt immediately at ease with him.

"The Gypsy Dragon. That's a lovely name," she observed. Her expression, however, slowly became one of confusion. "Well... actually, I don't know, really. Your shop is beautiful, even outside in the yard. I was just happening by, really, and your work caught my attention. Did you do all of this?"

She pointed a slim finger towards the miniature gardens she had just been perusing, clearly impressed with the displays.
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Old April 7, 2015, 12:26 PM   #3
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"Many thanks," he said, in response to her praise for the shop, including its name.

"But no. I am but one of the artists that creates all that you see. I work in tandem with the Malinconico's. A lovely family. Have you been in Demios long? Perhaps you have met them?"

A blue bird swooped in and landed on the man's head. He paid no attention, and continued talking. The little creature looked at Rhystlin with a cocked head, taking little steps across the man's bald scalp.

"Unsure, eh? This is good. We use our spare time to build a resevoir of items that can be easily purchased as decorations for a home. But for the more discerning individual it is much better to tailor fit a creation. One especially for the customer. Come along! Let me show you!"

He walked through the garden, stopping every once in awhile to remark on one of the pieces that stood on a small ledge. None of the artworks were marked, perhaps so that a customer would have to question the price of it.

"Hay'aan is a wonderful artist. She sculpts or carves the miniature props, be they chairs or cabinets or entire homes. She is a wonderful painter as well, which is the finishing touch needed to make all these so lifelike."

They passed a piece that had a miniature castle built in and surrounded by a tiny moat. It would be unclear whether the castle was actually made of tiny pebbles, or if there was an altogether different medium used with a coat of paint that made it seem completely lifelike. There were also a number of trees surrounding the castle, that upon closer inspection appeared to be flowers with green petals.

"Annuals, unfortunately," he said. "I have been working on cultivating plants that will last longer, even indefinately, without the need for replanting. As it is now, however, I will gladly replant any purchase every era as necessary."

He finally made his way into the shop, guiding her over to a rather large pot. It was large, and had a mural of very lifelike people in celebration in a circle around it. In it were a number of different plants, resembling tiny versions of bushes and trees. In its center was a couple, supposedly man and wife, cleverly crafted and painted. They worked off of some mechanical device that fed water up and through a rock that was placed to the side, with a little creek that ran below the two figures. As the water flowed below the pair of miniature people they seemed to dance, and then the water was somehow fed back up through the rock to begin the cycle all over again.

"Klue is an artist as well, though in a different way. He is a genius at making, well, I don't know what he can't make, truth be told."
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Old April 7, 2015, 03:24 PM   #4
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The half elf's eyes lit up at the mention of the Malinconico's. She had not met the entire family, but she had met Hay'aan about a cycle ago, and the kind and charming gypsy woman had helped Rhystlin carve a gift for Myach. Rhystlin was pleased to hear that some of these art pieces were Hay'aan's work.

"I actually commissioned a gift from Hay'aan. She did a beautiful job. I had no idea she collaborated with other artists."

The woman let off a half gasp and a start as the bird suddenly flapped in, landing on the old man's head. He didn't pay it any mind though, so she resisted stating the obvious and instead stared back it, her already large eyes wide with wonder. It was a pretty thing.... Its color reminded her of the natchkatze she had encountered with Ylva.

At the man's behest she followed along, eager to see what he had to show. She was attentive as he pointed out the individual pieces, happy that they were walking back through the beautifully landscaped garden. She paid particularly close attention to the sculpted pieces in each work, admiring Hay'aan's crafstmanship as well as that of the gardens themselves.

"Oh yes," she murmured in agreement, "She does do wonderful work. It seems that together, you make some extraordinary things."

She was particularly entranced by the castle. She wished her headquarters for the Farsteel Contingent was up and running; she would have loved to commission a replica. Well, she could always return.

She hardly noticed that the flowers were still green until the man mentioned the fact that they were annuals. She couldn't imagine what hard work would be involved with replanting things every year for people. Finding a way to cultivate plants that flourished indefinitely would certainly be a great thing for him, but the implications of that might spread beyond mere art pieces. She wondered who else might be interested in such work.

She continued to follow him, looking with deep interest at the pot he led her to. She 'oooh'ed at the creek and the way the water moved, having seen nothing like it before.

"This is remarkable," she said in earnest. "I had seen some interesting contraptions when I visited Hay'aan. He does seem like a genius."

She paused a moment, appearing apologetic. "Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to afford something so... intricate, although there's no doubt as to how gorgeous it is. But I wonder..."

She seemed to think. "A childhood friend of mine... he used to bring me snowbells every era right before winter ended. I know snowbells typically grow in the mountains, but they're purple bell-shaped flowers. I wonder if you have something similar?"
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Old April 9, 2015, 12:02 AM   #5
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He smiled in agreement with her. "Both wonderful people. And a wonderful family to boot. Any words use to describe the Malinconicos, sadly, doesn't do them justice." He looked on and at the many pieces, admiring them as if he had never seen them before, as Rhystlin continued.

"Snowbells, eh? I'm not sure, but perhaps..."

He took off, showing a speed of foot that might have surprised the half-elf. He certainly had no need for a cane, though he carried one around anyway. And though his stride was short, he used it to full advantage, walking quickly away.

His voice reached her from his turned back as he sped off. "This way, please!"

He rounded the corner and eventually stopped at a small group of pots. There were a number of different starter plants, all of different colors, shapes, and sizes. He looked over them for a few moments before smiling and grabbing one out of the group.

He held it up into the light. The pot itself was simple, yet far from crude. It was glazed and shiny, and within it was a single plant with three distinct, purple bell-shaped flowers.

"I know these as Clarabells. Quite common in High Peak, and hard to keep comfortable in warm climates." He looked at them and smiled at the plant like a loving father would a daughter. "Strong, this one is." His face took on a more somber tone. "Lost a few getting the knack of them, unfortunately. Taking a plant like this out of its comfort climate is no small feat, my dear. The trick is to dig the roots in a little deeper, and keep them in the shade for only half of the brightening. I originally thought to prune them in order to keep them from getting too warm, but instead, it appears that their leaves actually help them insulate, keeping their internal temperature more to their own liking. Extraordinary, yes?"

He looked over at the woman. "Is this your 'snowbell', by chance?"
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Old April 9, 2015, 10:26 AM   #6
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Rhystlin wasn't really sure if "snowbells" were the proper name. She and Altair had always called them that because they had poked up even through the late winter snows, blooming before the other flowers had even begun to grow. She was slightly disappointed when the old man didn't appear familiar with them, but then he turned and took off quickly, catching her by surprise. She was taken aback by how quick he was for his apparent age.

She followed at his behest, doing her best to keep up in the unfamiliar space, stopping quite suddenly when she realized he had paused right around the corner.

Her brown eyes shifted to the pot he presented, beautiful in all its simplicity. Right there in the center were three pretty purple flowers that surprised her with how they made her heart sing with nostalgia. She had not seen Altair in so many eras.... Perhaps...

She offered the little man a brilliant smile as he looked over at her.

"Clarabells. I... yes. If that's not my snowbell then it's pretty darn close, I have to say." She laughed as her glee seemed to bubble over. "Wow, I can't believe you got them to bloom even here! That's amazing!"
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Old April 9, 2015, 03:14 PM   #7
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Rhystlin's enthusiastic smile delighted the old man.

"Not amazing, no. It's art, my dear." He nodded satisfactorily. "Though not what most people think of when they think of art, this is true." He nodded. "But the more time I spend here, I find it just as profound, if not more so. There is nothing static about the art that we make here, it all grows and ages, and changes just as the rest of us do."

He looked over her as an idea occured to him, his eyes wide.

"Ah! I've got it." He placed the pot back into the crowd.

"I'll tell you what! I like you, oh yes I do, so I will make you a very special deal!"

He crossed his arms, and stared at her shrewdly. His staff leaned against his shoulder as he rubbed his chin with thin fingers.

"You let me create a piece just for you! Yes, that sounds wonderful... and once I am finished with it, I will pay you for this kindness... with, with these Clarabells! What do you say?" He looked at her without emotion, as if wondering what her answer would be. Rhystlin could only guess as to whether the crazy old man actually realized that he was offering her two products for the price of none.
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Old April 9, 2015, 03:35 PM   #8
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Chuckling, the half elf shrugged. "Well it's amazing art," she responded, meeting their two opinions halfway. She smiled again when he expressed his love for the art he created. "Those are things that make it incredibly unique, and I would imagine that the aging of the pieces allows you to express yourself through your art in a very special way."

Her eyes widened as an idea seemed to dawn upon the man. She stood there awkwardly as he stared at her, hoping she didn't look grubby after having spent the earlier candlemarks running as she often did. She wondered what he might be considering.

When he announced the "deal" he had so thoroughly thought upon, the half elf tilted her head to the side in confusion. She blinked at him a moment, at a loss for words.

"But... Sir..."

She frowned. "You realize you are giving me two things for the price of... well, nothing?"

It certainly would not due for her to take advantage of such a kindness. She laughed, hoping he would not think her ungrateful for her hesitation. "I would love for you to make a piece just for me! But... please, let me pay you something for the piece and for the clarabells. I don't know if I can afford what your custom art is worth, but I would also be happy to offer more than coin. I can help you clean your shop... or run errands for you... or ..."

She trailed off, at a loss of what else someone as uncreative as herself could really do for the man. But she most certainly would not accept his work for free, that much she had quite adamantly decided.
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Old April 10, 2015, 07:52 AM   #9
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Li Bai smile as she commented on the uniqueness and the special quality of his art's ageing.

"Yes, well, if there is anything I know well enough to bend it into a form of expression, it is certainly ageing." He chuckled at her, winking.

Li Bai's heart sank. She didn't like the deal? He thought it rather inarguably perfect. Now she wanted him to find work for her as well? My oh my. He was so busy, how would he find time to do that?

"Very well, very well. You drive a hard bargain."

"My name is Li Bai," he said, sticking out his hand to shake it. If she took it, she would notice it was covered with dirt, and his skin was loose, though warm. "What is your name, my dear?"

He eventually began looking through the ground, running his dirty fingers through his goatee.

"Let. Me. See...." He looked back at her. "How about you stay awhile, that is if your not too busy, and help me build a few pieces? Sometimes an untrained eye is the most adept at pointing out obvious flaws in any job, yes?"

He looked at her questioningly once again. His eyes sparkled brightly in the suns' light. There was a fountain off to his left, spitting water into one direction, before pausing and spitting it back the other way. Unfortunately, the other way happened to be straight at Li Bai. With a resolve of stone, however, the old man appeared not to notice, even as the water trickled down the side of his face.

"You help me out, and we can just talk! At the end of the brightening, if you feel as though you haven't spent enough sweat to offset the crowns, we can work out a price. How does this sound?"
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Old April 10, 2015, 10:58 AM   #10
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Giggling at the old man's insistence that she drove a "hard bargain", Rhystlin shook Li Bai's hand with both of hers. She certainly hoped that his kindness was not taken advantage by others, but if Hay'aan was ever present here, Rhystlin knew he had good friends on his side.

"My name is Rhystlin; it's a pleasure to meet you, Li Bai."

She listened to his new idea of a deal, nodding her head as she considered. She had already stayed in Demios longer than she had originally planned, but that hadn't been a real issue to her, given that it was such a beautiful place. She almost wished she lived here, but then again she couldn't help but feel nostalgic for the mountains. Regardless of any of that, she found she didn't mind staying just a little longer, as she technically didn't have anywhere specific to be.

"That sounds lovely if I won't be getting in your way. I- oh!"

She jumped a little as the fountain sprayed water in Li Bai's face, but remarkably enough, the old man was like a mountain himself, unmoving and seemingly unaware. He even continued speaking.

She blinked at him, dismissing the fountain and the bird from earlier as special quirks of a special man. They made him all the more fun and lively, truth be told.

"I - sure!" she said when she had recollected herself. "That sounds excellent!" Maybe she'd even see Hay'aan again, if she happened to wander through.
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Old April 11, 2015, 09:27 AM   #11
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"Great! It's settled, then!"

He smiled and bobbed lightly on his toes before looking around again at the garden before him. "Let's see... Oooh!"

He walked with a slight bounce in each step over to a group of unfinished pots. Many of them had more than a single plant in them, though only a few were full of vegetation. Most seemed incomplete or dull.

"These I have been working on. Come take a look." He waved her over before leaning his staff against the railing and quickly dropping into a cross-legged position. He reached over and grabbed one of the pots, pulling it close.

He pointed at a small viny plant, snaking around the ground. "You see this? It is a munsvine, and it grows very slowly. Not very pretty, but it has its uses. Watch this." He patted around on the floor boards, then, having not found what he was looking for, reached over and grabbed a small twig out of another nearby pot. He stuck it into the dirt beside the munsvine, pushing it in far enough that the stick stood straight up. He then wrapped the small viney plant around it. When finished, it looked like an odd, yet completely believable tree.

"You see, everything just takes a little bit of imagination. The stick has been soaked in a fluid that will keep it from decaying, and the vine itself will take era's to grow thick enough to overwhelm and knock the stick over." He nodded in satisfaction. "Here, you take this."

He shuffled around in the group of unfinished plants, eventually producing one full to the brim with soil, but without any plants at all.

He pushed it towards Rhystlin, saying, "This, is the canvas." He then pointed over to the pots that had a number of different plants in them. "And those are the paint."

He looked at Rhystlin expectantly, waiting on her to choose one of the plants. He found himself excited at the prospect of showing her a little about the arrangements of miniature plant sculptures while they talked and got to know one another.

"We'll do it together. Now, don't be shy, choose one."


He waited patiently, and would let her make her decision of plants, or multiple if she chose, before he broke the silence once again.

"If you don't mind me asking, my dear... You don't seem like a local. How long have you been in Demios?"
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Old April 11, 2015, 12:57 PM   #12
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Pleased at Li Bai's acceptance, Rhystlin turned her attention to the pots he indicated, dropping to sit across from him as he demonstrated his twig tree. She 'oooh'ed at how it did, indeed, end up resembling a tree. His explanation that it took imagination, though, made her scrunch her nose a bit. She had always been imaginative in regards to adventures and physical places, but never in terms of art or craftsmanship. She didn't say anything about this self doubt, however, accepting the pot as Li Bai requested.

By the time he pushed the "empty" pot to her and indicated the plants, she had realized that she would be taking part in how this art piece was formed. She couldn't help but feel nervous that Li Bai might discover just how terrible her art skills really were. She smiled politely, then looked over at the flowers, grateful for the man's urging that they would do it together. That took the fear out of things.

So, she went about inspecting the blooms, not knowing the names for any of them. As she did so she said, "No, not local. I've been here a few cycles, and I'm not sure why anyone leaves! Have you lived here for a long time, yourself?"

She ended up settling on a branch of pale cream-colored blossoms, looking over at Li Bai as though he might tell her whether the choice was right or wrong.
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Old April 12, 2015, 01:30 PM   #13
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Li Bai nodded at the woman's choice, before smiling. "Oh yes. Very nice choice."

He dug his fingers into the soil around the plant, before pulling up and away. The plant came free easily and Li Bai held it in front of her in cupped hands.

"We must be careful. Roots are both strong and delicate at the same time." He placed the plant down on soil of the empty pot between Rhystlin and himself. He then looked over at the group of full pots, searching for another plant. He continued to peruse the different multicolored plants as he answered her question.

"Me? Oh no. I've lived nowhere and everywhere, and all at the same time." He said it very matter-of-factly, as if it made all the sense in the world. "Apparently," he started with a smile, "I can't think of a reason to leave either."

He grabbed another flower, this one a bright green with an oddly purple stem. He placed it beside the one that Rhystlin had chose, then dug his fingers back into the soil, quickly planting the two side by side.

"Demios is a very beautiful place. You are correct. And something new to see every brightening. Even to these old eyes. Let me tell you, no matter how old you get, you'll never be able to see everything."

He motioned back over to the pots, hoping that the young woman would pick another plant.

"How about family? Do you have any?" he asked.
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Old April 12, 2015, 03:41 PM   #14
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Nodding her head at Li Bai's advice about roots, watching as he went about transferring the plant she chose from one pot to another. She admired the one he chose to go along with it, although she appeared confused at his "nowhere and everywhere" remark. She wasn't sure what, exactly, that could mean.

She chuckled at his observations of never learning everything. Myach had always said something very similar to her in the past. One could never learn enough, and "enough" would never mean everything. Even this brightening could attest that one learned something new all the time.

As he motioned for her to choose another flower, she took a moment to single out the ones that were most appealing in shape and color. She settled on one that draped downward, its pink leaves almost the shape of little hearts.

"I have a father," she responded. Well, she technically had a birth father and an adopted one, but she only had one real father as far as she was concerned. "He's in Nexus Prime. A few close friends, as well." She smiled. "What about you?"
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Old April 13, 2015, 01:14 PM   #15
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"A father, eh? That is good." He nodded as she picked out the flower, digging it out as he did the two previous. He set it into the pot they were working on, planting it a distance away from the other two.

"Very nice choice once again. One of my favorites, actually." We motioned for her to lean into the plant. "Come smell it." If she did, she would at first notice a slight citrousy odor, followed quickly by a lingering sweetness. "Very popular, this one. Though it is greedy for nutrients, and will steal nourishment from other flowers. It is best to, well... let me show you."

As he once again rummaged through the pots, he answered her question. "No family. At least, not the conventional kind." His face lit up as he found what he was looking for, digging in his hands and pulling it out of its small yellow pot. "Maybe a long time ago, but that time is gone, and this is a different life. I have many now I would call friends, and those friends are greater than any i've had before. I oftentimes consider them my family now, though mostly out of forgetting we are not actually held together by blood bonds."

He carefully dropped the plant on soil, dug several little holes around the heart-shaped flowers, and then separated the new plant into three seperate ones by carefully working the roots apart. He set one in each hole before covering the roots up with the soil. "You see these? Much like children. They cling together at the beginning, afraid of being apart. But to flourish they must eventually seek the suns' light on their own. Once that happens, they will thrive." He looked closer at the green plants. They were green and had no flowers. The tiny stems and branches were covered with a thick bark scratchy bark. He frowned at one of the branches, now poking at the stem of the flowers.

He reached over, and with a quick snap, broke the little branch off. "And just like children, sometimes they need a little grooming to be presentable." Huh. He hadn't thought of that before. He knew that the loss of that little branch wouldn't harm the plant. However, how much could he trim off before it did? He put the thought away, deciding he would have to try it later. Maybe shape it into a neat shape?

"I think one more should do it, if you don't mind?" He said, offering to let Rhystlin choose another.

As she chose he went on. "It appears you have me at a disadvantage! You know what I do, at least a part of it. Tell me, what do you do?"
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