05.30.3013: Fit for a Sauveur
Summary: Sophie goes shopping, and has an encounter at a fabric store.
Date: 30 May 2013
Related: None
Sophie Elspeth 

Grand Esplanade
Although the Grand Esplanade is centered on a double lane for ground vehicles and carriages, the majority of the broad street is held for pedestrian use. Smooth pavement extends out around planters that keep vehicle traffic away from people on foot, exposing a broad expanse to the feet of passers by.

The Esplanade leads past scores of little hole-in-the-wall shops and kiosks selling everything from daggers to scarves to jewelry. Light posts are interspersed with the planters, casting a warm glow over the Esplanade at night, while electrostatic shields blur the skies but keep off any rain from above, leaving the Esplanade crowded day or night, rain or shine.

Towering over the Esplanade to the west is the shimmering steel spire of the Citadel, while the Gardens of Erkwin and the Landing Stadium lie to the east. Directly north is the magnificent Palace Towers, seat of House Sauveur.


The evening is cool, with a light rain falling - although that rain is diverted harmlessly from the shops and the shoppers below by the arching shields above. Still, the steady hiss of it against the electromagnetic shielding forms a soothing counterpoint for the busy Esplanade. There are significantly more soldiers about, and Watchmen on street corners, watching the proceeds for profiteering, theft, and other possible dangers of the war here at home. Prices HAVE risen, in some areas, but the Esplanade is under close enough watch that things are still pretty fair. Many of the shops are taking advantage of the increased police presence to have their wares out on the sidewalks, displayed to best effect. At one shop, skeins of brightly colored cloth flutter in artificial breezes like butterfly wings, with everything from silk brocade to simple cotton on display. In sealed cases under the fluttering cloths, there are jewels and electronics meant to be incorporated into clothing; they glow and glitter under artificial lights, tempting the senses. Or, at least, tempting Elspeth. She's standing under some of the cloth, her hand lifted to stroke ivory cotton, her expression thoughtful.

Sophie enjoys the sizzling hiss of the rain as the droplets strike against the electromagnetic shields, a small smile curving her lips while she idly walks across the Esplanade. Though the area might be busy, it is almost certain that most individuals give the obvious Royal and her guard a comfortable amount of distance. For those that do not, the large and towering guard that stands beside the diminutive girl helps silently warn off such brave pedestrians. A clothing shop catches her amber gaze, glancing in the direction of the establishment and casually heading on over. She admires a particular ivory cotton fabric, running her slender fingers along its soft surface while her guard remains a constant shadow behind her.

Elspeth glances to the side as she feels…well, really, the looming presence of the guard, at first. She instinctively edges away, out of his ward's personal space, before even looking at Sophie, herself. When she does, though, she smiles, faintly, and offers the low bow appropriate to an obvious Royal. She begins to move away, so that Sophie can examine the cloth undisturbed, but in doing so she steps right into the path of the shopkeeper, who was dashing out to greet such a distinguished maybe-customer. "Oof!" They don't quite fall down, but they both stagger, with Elspeth having to make an awkward crowhop to the side and grabbing one of the cases to keep from looking even more silly than she already does.

The shopkeeper recovers more quickly, giving the older woman a glare, before turning a bright and beaming smile on Sophie and her guard. "Please, my lady, if there is anything that I can do for you, I will be more than honored to oblige. I have many fine skeins of cloth for all manner of dress, and some few items tailored to exquisite perfection."

"The definition of 'perfection' seems to have changed just slightly since the last time it was used," Elspeth mutters, running her hands down her vest to straighten the cloth. "And let's not even get into the abuse of 'exquisite'." Charitably, it might be thought that she doesn't realize other people can hear that.

Sophie only just notices the other woman when she crashes into the shopkeeper, blinking with surprise as they both stagger about. And then she bursts out laughing, though her amber eyes betray a peculiar intensity throughout. She smiles widely and nods her head to the bussinessman, lips parting to provide the poor shopkeep a reply. When the woman speaks out of turn, she giggles lightly once more, "oh, I am certain the good man has a perfectly fine clothing selection. I must admit that I was largely only browsing, though I am curious if you would have some sturdy hunting leathers. Not for me, mind. My Knight has a squire, and I thought I might take the opportunity to enjoy the Esplanade while seeing what these shops might offer." She looks to Elspeth now, more intently, a small grin plastered about her pale features, "now if only the two of you could stumble into one another again. It was just the perfect happenstance for a drawing…"

The shopkeeper sends another glare Elspeth's way. "The lady is quite right. My clothing is the finest—"

Elspeth is still irritated enough by the crash to raise a hand and cut him off, her words clipped and precise, "Paulo, you have a beautiful fabric selection, and a positive divine gift for finding the best deals on materials in all of Haven. But you cannot /sew/, and yet, you insist on trying. Please, for the love of the Six, show the lady what you're good at." He sputters in outrage, and it only gets worse when Sophie expresses a desire to see them crash into each other again.

While he struggles to make coherent words, Elspeth inclines her head to Sophie, a hint of a smile softening her own features. "My lady, as much as I would like to oblige, I regret to say that no moment can be exactly recreated. The next collision might be much less aesthetically appealing, don't you think?"

Sophie watches like someone might enjoy a movie, or a good theater play, grinning lightly while the pair exchange words. She chuckles softly at Elspeth's words, "yes, indeed. Truly quite regrettable. I shall simply have to recreate the event from memory." She taps her chin lightly, "so, Mister…" She pauses for a name before adding, "is what the good woman says correct? I must at least agree with her, your fabrics are quite entrancing, at least. And you acquired the materials inexpensively? How fortunate. Still, if you cannot sew…" Her vision flickers to the other woman and she inquires, "might I know your name, miss? As I am certain you already know, I am Sophie Sauveur."

Paulo's last name is Bauti, and Mister Bauti is more than a little indignant at the characterization of his sewing abilities. "My technique is unique. Tailors of lesser talent," a marked look at Elspeth, who just grins, "simply do not comprehend the advantages of the form."

"Oh, come now, Paulo. Your 'form' involves a ragged hem that comes undone within a few weeks, at best. There's nothing wrong with practice, but one does not sell one's practice," she chides. Then, as his face starts to turn red, she softens, and steps up to lay a hand lightly on his arm. "The lady said she was looking for leathers. I know you have those beautifully tanned Valen skins in the back. Fetch them and let her take a look, hmm?" He stares at her a moment longer, then throws his hands up. Ranting at the air about ungrateful customers, he retreats to the back to fetch the leathers.

Elspeth watches him go with a shake of her head. She turns back to Sophie with an apologetic smile. "Perhaps I should have introduced myself before butting merrily into the conversation, Lady Sophie. I am sorry. I am also Elspeth Adeyemi. I'm with the Academ."

Sophie continues to very much enjoy the exchanges between the shopkeeper and the other woman, the constant smile evident upon her face. She arches a brow at the mention of Valen skins, hoping to at least marginally calm the poor man down with, "Valen skins? Oh, I would quite wish to see them. If you would, Mister Bauti? The Vale is such an exquisite continent. Perhaps we shall even decide to hunt in the very place the skins were found. I should think such an act might be ironic enough to elicit at least a chuckle from the Six." She watches the ranting man disappear into the back of the shop, before her attention is turned towards the other woman. She waves a hand placatingly in the air, "it is fine, it is fine. Miss Adeyemi. We have certainly met under unusual circumstances." She blinks, "might you mean the Naval Academy? Funny, I pegged you as a competing tailor."

Sophie's interest puts a spring in Paulo's step, and sends him fetching even faster. "I believe you might be right," Elspeth says, with a smile of her own. "There's an ancient saying that says every animal has just enough brains to preserve its hide…these, of course, were cured in more modern fashions, proving the saying wrong on several levels." She pauses at the reply, looking down at herself, then bursting out laughing. "Oh, good heavens, do I somehow look like Navy material? No, my lady. I'm with the /Academ/." There's a pause. It's only after that pause stretches that she clears her throat and adds, tentatively, "The center of learning and research in Haven? Producer of Scholars? Really large buildings with lots of students?" Before she can get any MORE simplistic, Paulo returns, with armfulls of very fine leathers, ranging from stiff-cured stacks that could be molded into sturdy near-armor, all the way down to butter-soft leathers that are almost as smooth and flexible as cloth against one's skin.

Sophie laughs lightly, "still, it is the thought that counts, I am sure. I at least appreciate the…tenacity with which the animals have preserved their hides." She frowns lightly as Elspeth begins to laugh, finding her cheeks lightly flushing in embarrassment, "o-of course…I knew that. Granted, most people look like Navy material compared to me. But I have not once set foot in the Academ, so you will forgive my ignorance." She tilts her head curiously, hoping against hope to change the subject, "tell me, Miss Adeyemi. What is it you study in the Academ? What do you intend to become?" And then the shopkeep returns with loads of varied leathers, all of obviously fine quality. She smiles, "it would seem as though Miss Adeyemi was correct, Mister Bauti. You do have a beautiful selection of fabrics." She shuffles forward, amber eyes peering closely at the collection. Finally, she nods her head and declares, "I think I would most prefer a sturdy material. Utility is far more valued than luxury when it comes to the squire's needs. Though it should at least be flexible enough to pull a bow string."

Elspeth shakes her head. "No forgiveness needed, my lady. Although perhaps you will consider changing that in the near future - while we're a bit short on hunting grounds and wilderness, we do have one of the most immense libraries in the system. You may find it inspiring for your art." She falls silent for a moment as Bauti shows each of the leathers, his eyes practically glowing as he hastily moves the sturdier, thicker leathers to the front of the stacks. "I'm actually a Scholar, my lady. One could say that I've become what I am going to become - I'm a researcher on Awakened abilities, as well as mathematics and electronic design." She grins. "The sewing is only a hobby. But, speaking of - if you have a good tailor on staff who works with leather, I might suggest getting some of the sturdy examples for the main part of the leathers, but the more flexible varieties can make for an excellent backing, as well as flexible joints that help the leather move more easily for things like running or climbing those giant trees they have."

Sophie offers a small bob of her head in the affirmative, "perhaps so, Miss Adeyemi. Unfortunately, I do not believe I know anyone from the Academ. I would be grateful for an escort to provide me with a tour, but I do not know who I could ask…" At the mention of what Elspeth specializes in, her gaze shoots up and she stares intensely at the other woman, "indeed? Truly? What have you discovered? Is there a means by which Awakened can further their powers, beyond the slow progress that practice brings?" She shrugs her shoulders lightly as the conversation at least momentarily moves elsewhere, searching idly through the selection of leathers when she replies, "I have no personal tailor, but I prefer to look elsewhere besides. I enjoy doing precisely what I am doing now, which is walking through the city and purchasing what the citizens can provide. I should think it unfair if only one person has the honor of clothing a Royal, don't you?" She nods her head slowly nonetheless, considering for a moment of silence, "I think I shall purchase the material here, and have it delivered to the palace. If Mister Bauti here is not a skilled tailor, then it might be in my best interests to find another…" She shakes her head, "but do not worry, Mister Bauti! You have already become a favorite in materials by a Sauveur. You should be proud."

Elspeth chuckles. "Lady Sophie, you would hardly be the first person I've shown around the premises, even if on an unofficial basis. I'm becoming a rather effective tour guide, even if I do say so myself." The intense scrutiny pulls her up, and she returns the younger woman's gaze frankly. "It's a work in progress, of course, but that /is/ one of the areas of my research. Right now, I'm attempting to investigate how it is that we apply our abilities under different conditions. Sadly, I am always short of willing research subjects…the Academ has a lot of competition."

For his part, Paulo looks like he might have a heart-attack from joy right there on the sidewalk. "Of course, my lady! And at a discount, to be sure, if I can only share how pleased you have been with my wares?" The man is practically vibrating in place, like one more peace of good news will cause him to explode. His assistant has to gently take the leathers from him, and start packing them in boxes to be couriered to the palace.

Sophie beams at Elspeth, "well, then. It is decided. Give me your contact information and I shall send a missive when I am ready to tour the halls of the Academ." Her ears perk up and her amber eyes gleam, "oh, how terrible, to be lacking in research subjects. It just so happens that I am Awakened myself. This research…is it safe? Perhaps a trade can be arranged. A tour for a research subject, even if only once, depending…I should think when your colleagues hear news that your research has garnered the attention of a Royal, you will never again be short of subjects." She simply cannot help but laugh lightly when she notices the overwhelming joy in Paulo's eyes, though she waves a hand at the offer of a discount and declares, "there is no need, Mister Bauti. Knowing my Knight's squire is adorned in the best of materials is reward enough. I shall purchase them at full price, as is fair."

Oh, dear. The reminder that Sophie is, in fact, Royal and her presence might have an effect on Elspeth's career, good or not, does seem to throw the Scholar for a moment. Her brow furrows, and she looks briefly more worried than she has the whole conversation. But it clears swiftly, replaced by an easy smile. And an electronic contact card that she produces from a pocket hidden in her long vest. She offers it up to either Sophie or her guard, as appropriate. "I would be delighted, of course. And my research has always been quite safe for the subjects." Her smile widens. "I try only to test the risky stuff on myself, as one should. At any rate, if you would like to, please contact me whenever it would be most convenient for you."

"You are too kind, my lady," Paulo says. He takes the small reader from his assistant, and shows it to Sophie, with the total displayed. "Your fingerprint, right here, my lady." He's not quite dancing in place, but dancing will probably happen as soon as he's not under Royal eyes.

Sophie cants her head ever so slightly when Elspeth appears momentarily uncertain, though a smile continues to remain across her lips. The guard silently takes the contact card and pockets the item, before returning to the background of the scene. For Sophie's part, she replies, "good, good. I shall be certain to do so, Miss Adeyemi. You can likely expect be on the morrow." She then glances to Paulo and nods her head, "you are quite welcome, Mister Bauti. Thank you as well." She presses the pad of her thumb against the surface of the fingerprint reader, before stepping back and pronouncing, "well, it was very nice to meet the both of you. Miss Adeyemi. Mister Bauti. For now, I think I might continue on my search for a talented tailor." At that, she begins to head elsewhere, her guard not far behind.

"Tomorrow?" Elspeth blinks several times. "…tomorrow. Of course, my lady. Ah, have a lovely evening." She sounds a little stunned at the idea, and shakes her head to clear her head as Sophie turns away. She's a little slow to dodge Paulo's excited sweep of the Scholar into a hug, but soon extracts herself and heads out in another direction, still shaking her head.

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