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Hester Blue, Austan Rat catcher

NameHester Blue
GenderCis female (She/Her/Hers)
TimezoneCalifornia UTC -6

I'm not in it. it's beautiful

For once, Hero is behaving himself. It’s more likely exhaustion from their trip up here than real obedience, but Hester honestly doesn’t care: it’s a pleasant surprise to have him dozing off on her shoulder instead of running around in a bout of hyperactivity. His slight weight radiates warmth against her neck, and his whiskers tickle her jaw with each breath. He can be cute sometimes. As they walk, Hester rests her hand on top of him, both in an absentminded attempt to pet him and a way of keeping him away from prying eyes. (Maybe it’s not the most inconspicuous way to hide him, but she does what she can.)

That’s the whole reason they’re in this awful, too-big, smoggy town anyway. Hester can’t spend the rest of her life freaking out when Hero sneaks outside, or living in fear that another rat-catcher will mistake him for vermin before she catch up. There’s a place here, supposedly, that makes custom goods, maybe even a collar for her slippery little son—she’s embarrassed just thinking about it, but there’s not much of an alternative; the Blue family’s skills don’t extend far past rodents, if at all, and she hardly has any friends to ask for favors. The hand that isn’t petting Hero fidgets nervously in her pocket. The collection of coins she turns over in her fingers is much smaller than she’s comfortable with.

“Here’s hoping we can make a deal,” she mumbles to Hero, and squeezes him just a little tighter.

Hester hasn’t been to Kastali since she was a kid; in fact, she tends to avoid it at all costs. The noise, the smog, the smells, it’s too much. It makes the hairs on her neck bristle. Her jaw is clenched and her teeth grit as she slinks through the streets, her whole body vibrating like a taut string, her pulse beating hard in her narrow wrists. Heat is building between her skin and her shirt (though, thankfully, not enough to leave a sweat mark). The merchant district is rife with liveliness. The clanging of metal howls in her ears. People, fae and horses go up and down the streets, carrying baskets overflowing with fruit and bolts of brilliant cloth. Shouts echo across the alleys as women argue with shaking fists, but Hester keeps her eyes down and her gaze trained only on the shop at the end of the street whose sign is cut into the silhouette of an iron fox. 

When the heavy wooden door opens against the push of her shoulder, it releases the recognizable scent of… soot. Hester lets out a tiny sneeze as she steps through the threshold. Her face flames with heat. Inside, it’s dimly lit by sunlight and various hand-smelted lanterns, and she can’t help being somewhat awed as she looks around—by the sheer variety of weapons hanging from the walls, the roaring fires, and the stunning jewelry displayed on the countertop, behind which a man is standing and looking at her. Hester stops abruptly. 

“Hi,” she says breathlessly. “Sorry—“ His eyes are blue, too blue, and it nearly makes her shiver. “I heard you could do custom… orders?” On her shoulder, Hero is finally waking up, wriggling against her chest with an indignant squeak as she holds him back. Hester twists her hands together and flashes the shopkeeper a smile that glows with sheepishness. 

@Tristan Black <3

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Tristan Black, Kastalian Blacksmith

NameTristan Black
GenderMale (He/Him/His)
TimezoneWestern U.S. UTC -6

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing

With clientele steadily increasing as news of the Iron Fox spread throughout the city, Tristan found himself thoroughly busy but enjoying the daily grind. His days were pleasantly consistent with orders that needed tending to and income was steady, providing him with enough money to buy food, supplies for the smithy, and general goods whenever he needed them. All in all, it seemed that the livelihood of the smithy was thriving, much to the brunette’s joy, but there were times where he couldn’t help but wonder just what Marthul would think of it all.

As the morning pressed on and he tended to the needs of his orders and the smithy itself, Tristan found some time to tend to the jewelry arrangement of the counter inside the shop when a customer stepped inside. Hearing the door open, the brunette straightened up and leaned against the wooden counter with a broad smile, taking in the appearance of the young woman who entered.

There was an uncertainty about the way that the woman held herself, the furtive glances left and right as she took quick stock over the wares of the shop. Tristan felt no concern or wariness from such an action, as this young woman didn’t seem the type to attempt to steal anything. Luckily that hadn’t happened yet, but he knew one day it might. The white and black of her thick hair contrasted nicely against the tawny ochre of her skin, her eyes a warm color despite the uncertainty that danced within them. He’d never seen her before, but that wasn’t exactly anything new, not for him.

Allowing his smile to soften as she stepped closer to the counter and admired the jewelry, the blacksmith spoke gently. “Welcome in,” he greeted, keeping his tone soft yet cordial, taking note of the rat held against her chest without concern, Both of you.”

’I heard you could do custom… orders?’

Arching a brow, icy blue eyes remained locked on the tawny skinned woman and her rat but his smile didn’t wane. If anything it only grew and he nodded. “There’s no need to apologize. I’d love to help you with a custom piece. What are you looking for?” Then, as though remembering his manners, he straightened up a little and introduced himself. “My name’s Tristan, it’s nice to meet you, miss…?”

I think I thought I saw you try

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