Title: Salesmanship
Time Period: June 5, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: She wasn't going to buy anything. She really wasn't.

On the edge of town a stoneworked cottage sits. To an outsider, it looks like a simple four room home, possibly for a small family, but to someone who knows better, it's a store. The doors are opened to let the cool air in, and smoke rises from the chimney showing that one of the forges or the kiln is heating. The back area has no glass in the windows, just steel bars to keep people from going out and wooden shutters to close in the winter, while the front actually has bubbled and distorted glass in the windows.

Outside the shop, a large tortoise sits out, nibbling on the grass in the lawn and soaking in the warm rays of sun, looking up as she moves in slow, determined steps, to find the next patch. Never the most vocal of familiars, Sarva-vata-saha does look up at all who pass, even as she slowly eats her food. The fact she's out front at all is a bit suprising, really. She rarely is. Or so large a tortoise.

Inside, Niyati Malik moves around, checking the shelves with a notebook in hand, with her fine strange handwriting from another land far away on the pages. From the way she counts the various pieces of pottery and the jewelry that's laid out, she seems to be taking stock.

It's one of those days when Mariah has the day free to do some shopping. Less frequent now, not for lack of time, but for lessened income. And while she may not have cause to buy any new jewelry, especially when she's supposed to be getting things for Sorcha's shop, but she can't help but stop in.

She blinks at the sight of the turtle, but pauses a moment to dig a radish out of her basket to set down in front of her. There's a quick wink to the familiar before she steps inside.

"Just me again," she greets, friendly but with a gentle, regretful sigh that might give away that she's really just looking.

This one I like.

The voice in the back of her head, often a hiss under different circumstances, makes Niyati smile when she turns around to face Mariah, closing the book after marking her spot on the inventory list and laying it right where she was. "It is good to see you again," she says in her accent, something not quite from the isles, even if she was born there. Came from speaking another language in her youth, no doubt.

"I heard you've changed professions, recently," she doesn't sound as if she's trying to voice an opinion on it, though. Even if it could mean she'd get less business than before… "Do you need anything repaired or…" Yes, she caught that sigh, the sigh of many a town girl who steps inside despite knowing she can't buy anything. "Or are you just here to look today?"

"And you, as well," Mariah says with a grin as she shifts her basket to hang from the crook of her elbow. "Ah, I suppose it's about time word got around about it. I'm officially an apprentice seamstress now. Putting clothes on people instead of taking them off," she says, her smile turning crooked.

"Just looking. Even i I say I'm going to buy something, I'm really just looking. You don't have anything new I could pine over properly, do you?"

"Not everything here has a high trade value," Niyati says, as she moves away from the current shelves, around to the counter where she always keeps her best things. "And if you're working with Sorcha now, you can pick up one of the samples I carved for a button she ordered. I'm still working on getting the moonstone for the buttons, but the wood carvings will give her an idea of the shapes I was thinking of."

What she pulls out is a small tray of rings and earrings and a few bracelets, but there are some empty dents that haven't been refilled yet. "Almost everything is quartz, of course, but this one is especially nice— green quartz is rare." And her magic likely brought out the green to make it brighter and more vibrant.

"Ever the temptress," Mariah says, her gentle laugh just a bit ironic. "Oh, I can certainly do that. I am officially out on a shop supply run, after all." Although, not everything she has in that basket is for the shop.

While it's probably not the best idea, she steps over to have a look at the tray. "I never should have let you know my favorite," she says teasingly. Like the constant green she has around her neck wouldn't have given it away, anyway. She picks up the piece, to try it on. "It is lovely." Learning not to indulge may just be the hardest lesson she'll have to learn out here.

"It is a jeweler's job to notice— though I do not suppose it will be traded for anytime soon," Niyati adds, leaving the tray where it is as she leans down to pick up the carved button, and a second tray, this time with more simple jewelry.

The button is pushed forward first, a flowery design, with no holes, and instead the kind with the loop in the back. The wood she picked was light colored. "I usually don't work with wood, but it's good for practice pieces," she admits, as she holds it out.

"These are less, took less time to make, or were made from left over pieces. Some of them are for men, as well. Sailors like their earrings."

"This? I'm afraid I'm rather attached to it," Mariah says, her fingers brushing the bloodstone at her collar. It's an understatement, but then she tends to speak in them by habit. She does manage to put the green piece down again as she comes over to look at the others.

"Not just the sailors," she idly notes, smiling lightly as she takes up the button, looking between it and the tray. "I don't think I ever noticed you had any for men before." It isn't something that would have caught her eye until recently, but it seems to now.

"I usually never showed you the cheaper trays, either," Niyati says with a small smile, as she looks over the bloodstone quietly, perhaps trying to figure out if she'd made it or if it came from one of the trade ships. Most likely a tradeship, by the length of time she looks over it.

"There are some, though. Men don't tend to trade as much for their own as they would for one of the girls at the Dovetail— " From her smile, that would be one of the reasons she would pay attention to that.

Mariah blinks and then laughs at that explanation. "I suppose I have had expensive tastes." How she feels about rating the cheaper tray now is hard to say. But she does set her basket down before resting her arms on the counter to peer at the tray.

"I should be in soon enough for something more substantial. I lost a bracelet in the move, it looks like. Not one of yours," she assures, "but given that you're the best, when I set about to replace it…" She trails off, but her meaning is clear enough anyway. She looks up from the tray, following her fingers that draw out an earring on the copper side of brown. "Not bad, that. Aye?"

"Your customers did too," Niyati says with a kind smile, likely meant to compliment the young woman on her value as well as her tastes. Despite the fact she's now moved toward the cheaper of the trays.

"Often I can make bracelets that are just as nice looking and feeling that don't quite belong on either of these trays— " Likely meaning a middle ground. There's a thoughtful look on her face for a moment, but she seems distracted by the choice. A single brownish piece. "Ah— you have someone to shop for this time, I take it?"

It's taken as a compliment, by the way Mariah's smile warms. Whatever negative feelings she might harbor for her old job, she doesn't seem to have much in the way of shame over it.

"Straddling between the two, I think that would be perfect." But she's distracted, too, by the question. It's odd to think of someone with her experience blushing, but there's a hint of it on pale cheeks all the same, "I might."

A good business woman never says no to a potential purchase, most likely, though Niyati leans over and closely examines the small piece. "Ah, yes, that was made from left over wiring for a ring. It is plated to keep it from tarnishing quickly, but that will eventually wear off, so you may need to warn him of it."

There's a pause as she looks toward the window that lets light in, but very little in the way of imagry. The glass was too cheaped, too distorted. "I think Sarva would like more of those turnips, so if you could spare another… two… we could call it a trade."

Mariah turns to look toward the window, too, a smile slowly growing on her lips. She sets down the earring so she can rummage through her basket to pull out a little mesh bag that she sets on the counter. "I think that's a deal."

She folds her arms back on the counter again, smile turning more amused as she looks at the other woman. "If no one's ever mentioned it before, you're quite good at this." And from a merchant's daughter, it's a high compliment.

Something they had in common, though Niyati rarely speaks of her life before Dornie. Instead she just takes the two turnips and disappears them into a pouch in her vest, even as a slithering dark grass snake goes through the doorway and slides up along the wall out of the way. "Later," the shopkeeper says outloud, though the word is unrecognizable. It's a different language, after all.

"Before you go— did anything else go missing besides the bracelet?" she asks, even as she begins to put away her trays, all except the one piece traded for.

There's a smile when the snake comes by, and Mariah laughs a bit at the single word sent that way. She doesn't know the language, but she can guess the gist.

"Well, actually," she says when she straightens up, picking up the earring as she does, "Nothing else of mine, but Sorcha's missing a couple things as well. We're clumsy over there, it would seem. But on the look out. I'm just hoping her menagerie didn't get a hold of them." Sorcha does like her animals.

Bending down, Niyati returns with a much smaller version of the tortoise that was around outside, though notably with no radish of her own to munch on. The snake may have been able to climb up eventually, but the tortoise with her small legs wouldn't have managed.

After a silent moment, likely of communication between mage and familiar, the woman gives a nod and meets Mariah's eyes, "We're missing a few things from stock as well. Just a few pieces, nothing I would have noticed if I didn't do inventory once a week." There are a lot of things of value in the room, after all. Likely she has lock boxes for most things.

While Mariah might have been able to dismiss two incidents as chance, adding a third makes her brow furrow. "You, too?" Her fingers are slow in tucking the earring away, and there's a glance toward the window again.

"I hate to think there's a thief about." Which might be true, but the words give away that she is, in fact, thinking that. "Seems to like pretty things," she adds in before leaning to address the turtle. "Might have to go on night watch, yeah?"

"Sarva always keeps watch, but even she has to sleep sometimes," Niyati says quietly, looking down at the turtle who slowly shifts her head from one woman to the next. After a few moments, she reaches into the pocket the radishes disappeared to and sets it down. Being so tiny, it should last a lot longer than the first one did.

The store gets to hear munching in response to the two women talking. Somewhat juicy munching.

"I'll definitely be keeping an eye out— and we should ask around. See if any of the other shopkeepers have noticed anything in the last few days."

"Not a bad idea. I'll see about the ones who'll actually talk to me," Mariah says it as a joke, her lips crooked, her tone wry, but there may be just a little truth in it, considering some don't like her tainting their fine profession of salesmanship.

"Must be a very sneaky thief, to be able to get past Sarva. And come to think of it, into my packing." It's puzzling, that last one. Easier to believe it was simply lost somewhere along the way.

"Even sneaky theives slip up eventually," Niyati says with a nod, as she finishes cleaning up the display items. There's still some things on the shelves, mostly the pottery, but also others she was cataloguing. "I'll take to a few of the others as well." Though she's never been known to be the most social, she does have a few friendships among those in the city.

"I'll see what I can come up with for your bracelet— and tell Sorcha to get back to me on the button design." And perhaps other things.