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Ysabat: 3, Lilfluff 2, Inspector Caracal 2, Rix_scaedu 1 – currently posted.
It was the first day of the Faire, and it was, as luck would have it, a rainy day, chilly, and thus mostly attended by the locals, the die-hards, and people who had planned their vacation around this fest and were going to enjoy it, damnit, come hell or high water (both of which seemed possible).
Autumn was hawking her wares as best she could – she paid rent on the booth whether business was fair or foul – and entertaining herself by offering free body doodles to anyone who bought a piece of art, however small. It just so happened those doodles drew with them a little bit of magic.
The first patron to buy something was a skinny boy in goth-and-bondage street clothes. He did an awkward turn at Shakespearean english as he asked if her she would draw the skulle of deathhe most foulle on his hand.
“But is death-thu so foul-leh?” she mused, “for you who invites his appearance?”
She was rewarded with a surprised look that said you’re not supposed to notice that and a little smile when she just lifted her eyebrows at him.
She sketched him a realistic skull, one tooth chipped just where his had clearly run afoul of something, and twisted in with walnut ink a line of show me, just to see where his skulle of deathhe took him.
There wasn’t such a crowd that she couldn’t see him moving, just by the strands he trailed . There were some bright ones , for someone wrapped in so much darkness, shiny lines of hope and one tenuous thing like a crush. The skull-leh let her see the way he was reaching, grasping for something. Did he think he’d find it at Faire? Did he think he’d find them at Faire? Most grasping like that was for someone, for some emotion, for –
his strands lit up at the archery stand, and Autumn found herself grinning.
Her second paying customer was a woman maybe twice Autumn’s age, in such absolutely perfect early-Elizabethan garb that she had to have sewn it herself. She bought one of the bigger originals, asking Autumn to hold on to it until the end of the day, and then pushed aside her partlet for Autumn to draw a design on her ample chest.
“Make it a sun,” she offered, “for this day has need of some light.”
“But the light is always with us,” Autumn teased; “it is merely we that cannot see it.” She drew the sun, heedless of the way the chest jiggled with suppressed laughter. “There, my lady. May it warm you.”
“If only that touch of yours does, I shall count myself lucky.” The lady curtseyed and exited.
Autumn made herself concentrate, despite a blush she hadn’t been expecting. Sunshine-lady went the opposite direction from skull-leh boy, heading around the wool vendor with a set of strands that wiggled like a song. She made friends easily, it looked like, but her connections were light, brushing over people before moving on. She didn’t touch anyone deeply… oh.
Autumn breathed out in something very much like pain. She had touched someone deeply once, far too deeply.
The woman slid into a jewelry store while Autumn considered her pens, her heart pounding.
Her next customer was, he said, looking for something for his girlfriend. She wasn’t sure why she knew he was lying, but he was definitely not being truthful.
He was tall, blue-eyed, very tan, with sandy blonde hair and a chin so square you could use it to level-and-true buildings. He settled on a unicorn that had a touch of frustrated need worked into it, an original – some people could tell the difference some couldn’t, but she’d only ever managed to work magic into one print and that one sold like hotcakes – and tried to turn down her body-art offer.
“It doesn’t have to show,” she cajoled, and he asked her for a hammer.
Hammers were interesting. She followed the construction he was trying, watching the strands that didn’t really touch him, even though they wrapped around him. He was here for a reason. He was here with people, but had slipped off. He wasn’t here with a girlfriend, although he was here with a girl.
There were stories she could tell, but the one she could trace in his strands looked like a faire booth: It had all the parts of a house, but it wasn’t a house. Walls, floor, roof.
But something was missing.
Autumn was still puzzling over her third customer when a group of women walked through.
She could tell rental costumes; she could also tell that they were here to have fun and were determined that the weather wasn’t going to stop them.
One of them, a beauty with short-cropped brown hair and startling blue eyes, shyly told Autumn that she would buy every single piece of art that looked like her here, if she could.
Autumn couldn’t help asking her to model, with a little coy grin that usually didn’t offend. “I think you’d make a lovely dryad? Or a princess.” When the girl demurred in a way that said it might not always be a no, Autumn drew the body art she asked for in iridescent green around a slender wrist.
Leaves. Had she been inspired by Autumn’s dryad comment? She watched the girls giggle off out of sight, the dryad-princess’ strands twisting past the echo of the skull-leh boy – still at the archery stand, and still flickering with joy.
She liked her friends. She had a comfortable group with the nice tight weaving you got front long association. She was reaching for something, something a little more, a little higher up on the tree.
She really would make a lovely dryad. Autumn kept an eye on her strands as she called to some passing, umbrella-sheltered guests.