Goods And Services

Title: Goods and Services
Time Period: February 22, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: An exchange of such is arranged.

It's past noon when Mariah runs her errands through town. After all, she's up late, it's difficult to get her up and functional too early. But she is now, and dressed a little too provocatively to be considered proper, but at least in the winter, it's all hidden under a coat. It helps the faint of heart tolerate her presence a little better.

Of course, the problem with a smithy is that it's entirely too warm inside for a coat. Or close enough to give her the excuse of sliding it off as she makes her way in to see Niall. She sets it and her basket on top of a work table just before she leans a hip against it to wait for him to hit a lull in his work where she can interrupt. Or until he notices the excess of red cloth and exposed skin standing there. Either one works for her, really. She doesn't even seem to mind the soot currently getting on her dress. It's just another of her oddities.

By contrast, Niall has been up since the early morning hours working on various projects assigned to him. Even in the winter days, things need fixing, and fast fixes are one of the Dunmore forge's specialties of the chillier season. Part of the reason would be on account of Niall's skill with the hammer and anvil, and the other part is that skill with the fire magic. Perhaps that's why the heat is so constant within the establishment. But where magic may account for temperature, plain hard metal striking can account for the beating din. Where Mariah sets her things down on the worktable, she might notice a number of smaller work tools set for precision and finer manipulation. What Niall works on currently needs little precision, though. He appears to be bending a glowingly hot rod around the pointed end of the anvil, lifting it for inspection before sticking the metal back into the main fire. The job in progress is left to idle there while he wipes his brow and turns — to see Mariah leaned up on his workbench. The pause is one she's quite familiar with on many a one of the male gender. The break tics a couple seconds longer before the brains kick wits back into gear, and Niall manages to speak. "What can I do for you?"

His pause is filled with a wave of her fingers, teasing and playful before a smile curves her lips when he actually gets a word out. Mariah gestures toward the fire first, "I hope I'm not interrupting." She straightens off the table to take a few steps more in his direction. "I was hoping to put in an order. For personal use, not for the house." The Dovetail being the usual reason she happens by. When it isn't just to make him a little nervous. In a good way, of course.

"Are you able to fit in another project?" Ever courteous.

Niall looks back at the fire as she looks to it, her gesture serving as an added little reminder of the irons there. Her steps in his direction cause a brow to rise from sheer wariness of her proximity to the flame - it wouldn't do for her to catch a spark would it? "I could see about it. Depending on the job," he answers with a slight dip of his head, assent almost given already. Or he could just be bending his range of vision. "But, it's not for the house?" inquires the man further as he steps away from the forge, moving closer towards the woman - rather, the worktable with her things on it.

"No, it's… I was hoping you could make me something of a lockbox. Hard to get into, sturdy. It doesn't have to be pretty, just… functional." She's used to the idea that most of the town's craftsmen expect everything the girls tend to order to have pretty as part of their specifications. Mariah glances back toward the table, too, her steps halting a mostly safe distance from the fire. "And a key, of course." That she adds with a crooked bend to her smile.

Being one of those town's craftsmen, Niall visibly starts getting ideas the moment a woman mentions lockboxes or anything that happens to imply intimate secret things going into further securities. His brows pinch with interest, though, as she goes on. "And how big's the lockbox to be?" Piqued, Niall nevertheless tries his hand at maintaining his respect to the woman's privacy.

Mariah pauses at the question, her head tilting as she takes in a thoughtful breath. "Bigger than a breadbox," she starts on a bit of a laugh. "About like this," she adds, holding her hands just so, the crooks between finger and thumb acting as the imaginary box corners. "So it'll fit inside my wardrobe. You… do recall the size of my wardrobe, aye?"

It's equal parts gentle tease over it having been a while since she's seen him around the brothel and subtle reminder of being in her rooms there. She likes to make her words pull double duty. A hand gloved only in lace spreads against the table, while the other points beyond him to her things. "Feel free to move that, if it's in your way."

"Oy now, none of that sass when there's business to be done," Niall counters, though he hardly resists the crooked smile that quirks at his mouth corners. How could he forget? But still, they're both aware of his schedule, perhaps.

Seeing her dimensions pantomimed, he takes a 'closer' look for a few brief glances before turning to the indicated basket. "And the materials, you want me to choose them, or did you have something in mind? Some times, it depends on what goes in the box. Others, it depends on what you'd like to keep out of it," continues the blacksmith as he goes to move the basket to a different corner of the table. Beside it, Niall digs through what appeared to be a wooden wastebasket, but not - he draws up a crinkled piece of paper about letter size, followed by the removal of charcoal tucked against an ear. A gesture of his hand beckons her closer to him and the paper.

Mariah laughs warmly at being thus called out, his words certainly not putting her off. "I can do sass and business at the same time. Although the forge is a bit… open for my business," she says with a glance toward the wide arching doorway.

"I'm afraid I'm not knowledgeable enough in metals to choose one for something outside of jewelry," she says while she follows his gesture closer. She may even be a little more close than necessary, but he really should expect that by now. "I mostly want it for… trinkets. Letters, jewelry. Books. That sort," she says, her stubbornly held onto English slipping down into an almost conspiratorial whisper.

Niall stifles a laugh about the woman's business; an uncomfortable laugh it isn't, but he too doesn't seem to agree that the here and now is the place. Not with that wide open doorway. Ahem. "Well, y'know how some people don't care for the little sprites sneaking in after winter's solstice to steal the baubles they so carefully gathered. Or a sneak's clever fingers wanting to snatch away the whole box while you sleep," he explains further, his volume dipping too as he scrawls a simple box out onto the paper with the charcoal. Perhaps not as simple a box, though, as the device he illustrates is actually a three dimensional render - a 3-D rectangle, sans shading. Clearly he's made a few boxes of the sort before, and maybe a safe. Turning to Mariah, he peers into her expression, seeking to discern a little more out of her.

"I suppose if they take the whole box, they're very determined to get at the baubles I find sentimental value in," Mariah says with a chuckle. "Although, I admit, I had intended for you to be the only one to know it was there. And me, of course."

She watches him draw, her head tilted slightly, as if the movement were a bit hypnotic. It takes his turning toward her before her gaze travels back up to his face. An eyebrow lifts, her eyes narrowing playfully as he tries to read her. She's just automatically difficult about that. "I see you've some ideas already."

The drawing is fairly crude but it serves the job in illustrating the basics: a top opening hinge, a lock in the middle of the front. Simple, functional, and definitely note pretty. Niall taps the charcoal in thought as he hits the virtual pause button. Is it suddenly getting warm in the building? "Have a look at this while I tend those irons a moment, Miss Mariah," he suddenly excuses himself to pace back to the forge. Now who's being difficult. "I can understand the sentimental value, but please don't think that putting them all in a box will fully protect them. You understand, right? Nothing guarantees security when it comes to material things." His back to her for the moment, she might not see the fleeting grim expression settled on his face. But, the man's posture is stiffly held, tension seeped into his shoulders and back. "I- I appreciate your confidence in me," he says after a minute. "And I will do my best to meet your standards on the project. How were you planning, ah, payment?"

Mariah nods before she watches him move away, but she turns to pick up the drawing and brings it with her as she pulls out a stool to sit herself down on. As one leg crosses over the other, a slit in her skirts becomes suddenly noticeable, where it was far subtler moments ago. In any case, there's a a fair amount of thigh visible and it seems for all the world like Mariah doesn't even notice.

"Well, I do like my things, Niall," she says, a bit of truth disguised as a playful whim under a teasing tone. "But I understand, believe me." After all, she too once lost everything. Although the smithy may be one of the few people in town who aren't completely familiar with her tale. "Well, you've earned it, of course. Your work is always impeccable. And discreet."

As payment comes up, she sets the drawing back on the table again. "I imagine, if you let me know when you've finished, I can have an appointment or two open, if you'd like." She doesn't tend to trade service for service around the town, that much is common knowledge. However. There's an exception to every rule, they say. At least this one, for her.

Niall gives the irons a quick turn, but doesn't yet take them out again. Instead, he turns as well, back to facing Mariah. A faint smile sits on his features that pulls a little more obviously given the position she sits in. The man enjoys what's freely given, at least for a good, appreciative moment. "I only do my best as what was taught me," he returns with a thankful nod to her compliment. But on to the subject of payment… "Just two? That may just be enough to cover materials." Oh, is he haggling? Seriously. Ok not totally seriously. His teasing grin proves that much.

And his teasing gets a playful hmph from Mariah before she stands up again. "Two nights with another girl may only cover materials," she says with a tilted smile as she walks over to him. She must trust the fires with him around, too, because she doesn't seem to mind getting close enough to press her palms against his chest and lean in to whisper against his ear. "I suppose I'll have to remind you what my nights are worth, aye?"

Her playfulness doesn't leave her tone there, but there is definitely a layer of suggestion added to it. That part is not so subtle.

Does he need reminding? Niall leans his head just a little bit closer to those lips. It has been a while, hasn't it. "Just making sure," Niall vaguely interjects, "since you didn't specify who the appointments you were going to clear up were with. And I didn't want to assume, you know. Assumptions can be dangerous." Still, that transaction seems to be agreed upon. "So you want I should send you notice when the job's done, aye?" A sidelong glance goes to the irons, but not too long. There's something much nicer right next to him after all.

Mariah lingers there just a few moments longer than necessary, and when she leans back, she doesn't go too far. Just far enough to eye him playfully. "I believe I mentioned this wasn't for the house," she notes teasingly. But it may be true that she doesn't mind his brain a little muddled in her presence.

"If you would. We'll make arrangements then." Her hands slide off his chest rather than simply lifting, but one is offered back out toward him for a shake. Perhaps to make the deal official. "I'll be looking forward to it," she says with enough of a sly tone to hint that she doesn't mean the box. Not entirely, anyway.

Oh, the flirt! Just good advertising of course. Niall's charcoal-stained, work-calloused hand joins with hers too make that verbal contract a little more physical, the rest of that physicality to be implied for later. "You did mention that," he recalls with a light squint of his eyes, as if he really is going to have to make that mental note somewhere deeper in. "And if you happen to need anything else, Mariah. Just ask," he adds. "Don't forget your basket." Hands release - reluctance slight - to return to those forge-heated rods.

"Don't you tempt me, Niall," Mariah says, her smile crooked and her tone dipping back into the suggestive, "else my bill will outweigh my endurance." She gives his hand a gentle squeeze and flashes a brief grin before turning to replace her coat, take up her basket and head back toward the exit. Leaving him to his ever-demanding work once more.