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Cycle 3


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Jingai - 1
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Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

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Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:45 am

(ooc: This thread takes place on the Jingai Archipelago. It is about impossible to get to unless you are born on one of its islands. As a result, this thread will be a solo thread of Aili learning the, uh, thread. ;) )

Twelve years ago:

Aili's eyes shot open. The room was dark, no light but what little the moon allowed in. She was crying, wasn't sure why. She closed her eyes again for a moment, then remembered she had a nightmare. It was so scary that she had forgotten about it, now she wished she didn't remember it. Her tears were beginning to well up in her eyes again and she turned her head... riiiip!

Well, now she had something to really be upset about. As if the nightmare wasn't enough, now one of her horns just ripped right through her pillow. It was an unfortunate side effect of still being a young Jingai. Her horns were growing faster than she was at this age, already gaining considerable thickness and length. She's been scolded time and time again by her father to file her horns after brushing her teeth before she goes to bed and she forgot to do that tonight.

She slowly lifted her head off the pillow, inadvertently pulling more on it with her horn caught, and ripping more. Some feathers were now spread over the gaping hole in the pillow, what little she could see in the dim light. She sat up, tears still falling out of her eyes, and tried to pack the feathers back into the pillow as best as she could. Then she picked it up and, trying to not let any feathers escape, somewhat dragged it into the main room of the house. A bit of dim candlelight illuminated the main room where her mother was sitting with some fabric over her lap, pins in her teeth, and a needle with thread in her fingers, skillfully pushing the needle through the fabric. The bundle of cloth didn't look like much yet, but eventually it would look like a wedding dress for one of her older sisters.

"Mama, I, I, I..." She was choked up a bit from crying. Slafina would look to Aili and carefully begin to rearrange things a bit, pulling the pins out of her mouth and placing them into a pincushion on the nearby coffee table, folding up the lump of fabric that was only barely held together with pins, then she placed it on the table as well. Aili was still approaching her mother, sitting on a chair. She stammered a bit more before Slafina noticed the bit of feathers in her daughter's hair and the chunk of cloth still hooked onto her horn.

Her mother just looked at her with compassionate eyes, then stood, moving closer to both comfort her and clean the grey down feathers out of her white head. She sighed, then picked the bit of cloth off her daughter's horn. "My my, what am I gonna do with you, lovie?"

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:34 am

Slafina picked up her daughter and hugged her, with Aili's head under her own chin. Slafina's own horns were very large and she not only had one pair, she had two on her head, one similar to Aili's, but more developed, and another that grew above those and wrapped back behind her head. Every point was neatly filed or clipped off every night and Aili often watched her mother do it. Due to their horns, hugging like humans can be a bit uncomfortable. So Jingai have their own type of hug where the shorter one places their head under the taller one's chin.

Her mother began to run her fingers through Aili's hair, then over the ribbed surface of her horns until she lightly tapped the points of each. "Yooooou forgot to file last night, little lady." Aili gripped her mother more and buried her face in her breasts. She wanted to disappear at the moment. There she was, guilty, yet still clinging to her accuser. All she could do is moan from the feeling of both guilt and helplessness. She couldn't really sleep right now because she had a bad dream, she was afraid to have it again. Plus, she didn't have a pillow anymore anyway. "I think little Aili needs a bit of a punishment, don't you?"

Aili shook her head no while still clinging to her mother.

"Ohh, I think so~" Aili could feel her her body being moved by her mother. The gentle swaying as she stepped while still holding her up, though Aili was supporting most of her own weight, which wasn't much. After a few turns, her mother gripped under her arms and pried Aili off of her. It was dark again, still. Aili was set down on a surface where she could sit and her head was still level with her mother's chest. Slafina's fingers lightly touched the wick of an oil lamp and it lit up on fire. She twisted the small knob on the lamp and the room slowly filled with light. She had been taken to the bathroom? Why?

"Alrighty, you're old enough to learn how to do it. So pay attention to how I do it, okay?" Aili was confused, wasn't she going to be punished?

Her mother moved both of her hands to her own left horn, the one similar to Aili's. She ran her fingers over it and began to tap lightly on it with her fingernail. Aili couldn't figure out why, so all she could really do is listen and pay attention. She could hear the tapping of her mother's fingernail on the boney surface of her horn, but nothing really more. What was she doing?

When her mother tapped several times in a particular location, she moved her other hand to the counter, looked in the mirror, and marked the spot on her horn. "Alrighty, your turn." Her mother gripped Aili's left horn and sort of pulled it closer to the mirror, which subsequently dragged her along as well. Then Aili was lifted up so she could see her own reflection in the mirror. The sharpness of her own horns was apparent to her now.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:22 am

Her mother's hands were carefully feeling her right horn. Aili could feel the vibrations as it transferred to her head and was picked up by her inner ear as her mother's fingers brushed over the boney horn. "Aili, look in the mirror, now. Listen carefully, okay?" Aili would nod slightly and watched her reflection and her mother's reflection. Her mother bent down close to her, turned her head a bit so her ear was right next to Aili's horn, and using her fingernail, likely tapped her daughter's horn.

"Did you feel that, hon? I'm gonna do it again here real quick." And she repeated the taps in the same spot. Then, looking at her reflection, she could see her mother's hand moving further up her horn. Then she tapped that part. There was a very significant difference between how those two taps sounded. One was, the best she could describe it, dry, while the second tap sounded wet, almost. Slafina picked up on her daughter's new expression that revealed she understood that there was a difference at least. "You're growing up pretty fast, Aili. I didn't have to teach your brothers or sisters this until they were seven or eight. A little something you need to know about your horns, there's blood inside them."

"B-blood?" Aili didn't like the word. It usually meant she was hurt. She didn't like to see blood because that meant pain too.

"Don't worry, it's supposed to be there. You see, as your horns grow out, the tips will loose their blood, sort of. That's what you heard, right? It sounded dry and hollow when I tapped the first time, but the second time it sounded like is was thick and almost wet, right?" Aili nodded, then her mother continued to talk. "As punishment for ripping up your pillow, and because you forgot to file your horns' tips last night, I'm gonna saw off the tips of your horns."

Aili quickly grabbed her horns and tried to scoot away from her mother, who just hooked her own horn with hers and locked her in place.

"And I'll make a cute little necklace out of them, how's that sound?"

"But, I don't want them to go away..." She pouted, still trying to get away even though she didn't quite understand her predicament.

Her mother just laughed, pulled her back over to in front of the mirror by the arm, then unhooked herself from her daughter's horn. "You've seen me saw off my own horns before, haven't you? And you've seen me do all sorts of things with them. Heck, I proposed to your father with a medallion I made him out of a slice of one of my horns closer to the base. THAT one hurt, but I love your father enough to go through that. Still trying to use up the rest of that horn though... Anyway, if you pay attention, I can saw off enough of your horns so you won't have to file for at least a couple weeks. Deal?"

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:23 am

She wasn't really old enough to be able to think of boys in that way, to go out and make a medallion like her father's. It was really impressive looking, the medallion. It was a ring of one of her mother's left horn. In the earliest memory of her mother that she could remember, her left horn was still growing back. The medallion itself was a carving in the hard and dried material of the horn made to look like a large bird in flight. Being able to just hold and look at it from time to time made Aili happy. It was really sturdy and the detail of the medallion was so precise. Her mother has only made one and that was for her father. All the other jewelry she makes from her horns are gifts for friends made out of the tips of her horns. She wanted to do that, to be able to take a part of her, use her own hands, and make it into something someone would love to wear. Plus, the prospect of not needing to file for a few weeks sounded promising. Would save her some headache, at least.

She nodded, then her mother picked up her hands and moved them to her horn. "Now, like I did, tap tap tap, try to find the spot where the wetness ends and the dryness starts. That's the safest place to cut and to get the most material."

Aili used her small fingernails to try to make a loud enough sound so she could hear it, or feel it. It was difficult to describe the feeling she had with this. It's like chomping your teeth together, you hear the teeth meeting and also feel the vibrations at the same time. The problem was that the horn was further from her head than her teen were. Although she could feel and hear the taps, she couldn't easily tell the difference as she tapped further along her horn. When her mother picked up on her frustration, she started the help and guide her, putting her ear close to her daughter's horn to be able to hear it herself. Took some time, but when they were both satisfied, her mother marked the spot with the same marker she used on her own horn.

"Alright, Aili," her mother pulled a small gigli saw. A gigli saw is a saw with sharp wires instead of a metal piece with a serrated edge. On either end is the handles for the saw. "Watch what I do, here. Okay? First, I make sure everything is lined up by looking in the mirror." Her mother has likely done this hundreds of times in the past. This kind of saw was the best way to get a clean cut on the horn. Her mother looked at herself in the mirror, laid the wire over top her horn, then by holding both ends of the saw, she moved it into the groove nearest to the spot she marked. She held the saw taught. "Just like this, hold the wire where you want to cut. You can't move your hands too much or your cut will be uneven." She positioned her hands so the wire was right along the groove of her horn, then began to move the handles opposite of each other, up and down. The hollow sound of wire scraping against bone was now audible. "See, just like this, but you need to hold your head as still as possible, and move the wires as fast as you can and put pressure on them. Don't be afraid to really pull down hard. Our arm strength alone isn't enough to tear our horns out of our heads." She then began to saw very quickly. So quickly that Aili could see little puffs of smoke rise up from the cut from the friction. After a few long seconds, the saw broke through the other side of the horn and it went flying forward and onto the counter. "Then all you got to do is file off the edges and you're good for a few weeks. See?"

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:32 am

"Now to saw off yours." Slafina wasn't giving Aili any option, here. She didn't want to file her horns, so she has to now have then sawn off. If she doesn't like this, then this will only convince her to file them like she's supposed to. If she prefers to just saw them off, then Slafina will continue to teach her until she can do it herself.

Her mother moved the saw over her daughter's horn, fit it into the grove nearest to the mark, and held the saw wire taught. "You need to keep your head up and stay as still as you can, okay? I'll go slow at first and then speed up, okay?" Aili hummed an acknowledging yes, knowing if she nodded then she would just have done exactly what her mother told her not to do. "Good, girl. Here I go." She pulled on the saw, which put pressure on Aili's horn and wanted to pull her down with it. She gripped the counter and kept her head up and as still as she could while the grinding began. At first she thought is was painful, she almost started to cry before she realized there was no pain. It was just a weird vibration, a great deal stronger than any on her horn's that she's ever felt before. Slafina began to speed up and the vibrations began to even out. She still gritted her teeth, but it was bearable. Like filing, but more violent, in a way. She took long blinks, but tried to keep her eyes on her reflection in the mirror. It felt like an eternity, but the wire finally broke through the other side and the tip of her horn fell to the counter.

She immediately reached forward and grabbed it along with her mother's horn tip. At first, she was comparing the two, her mother's clearly much longer and thicker. Then she moved the tip to the nub on her left horn, as if pressing both ends would fuse them back together.

"We aren't done yet. You've still got one more horn to saw." Her mother was happy she didn't cry like she thought she would. Her sisters didn't like this at all the first time. They always file anymore even if Slafina wanted to make something out of their horns. At least now she had Aili. In all her 400 years, perhaps Aili would be her daughter that would take up her craft. It always disappointed her how Aili's older siblings didn't see the use of what she did. But Aili seemed like she would love to do it. To be able to make jewelry out of horns. Maybe even sew and make clothing like she does when she gets older.

The rest of the night was spent with her and her daughter sawing off the tips of their remaining two horns, ignoring Slafina's remaining two because they were slightly different than the ram-style variant that they both shared. After they filed the rough edges, Slafina would let her daughter sleep with her mother and father for the night.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:09 pm

During the next two years, Aili would slowly pick up her mother's art. She usually just made dolls at first, though. Her mother would help her make the bodies, then let her experiment and make clothing out of scraps of fabric she no longer needed or had a use for. When she was about seven years old, she was able to saw the tips of her own horns off and also use those to make various things for the doll and for herself.

It's midday now, Aili hasn't started any formal education other than the aerokinesis classes she took when she was younger, so she spends most of her time with her mother.

"Mama, mama, look! I'm almost done with her dress!" Aili was working on a small blue sundress for her newest doll. The thing that's always bugged her about the dolls she makes, though, is the lack of horns on their heads. The cloth color of the doll didn't bug her as much, though. It's not like the doll was meant to be incredibly realistic, but it didn't look like her.

She continued to sew the small blue dress with the needle and thread. Her fingers still weren't very long, so at times she would accidentally poke herself, which usually just resulted in her sucking on her finger for a bit then returning to working on it. The straps on the dress had been the most difficult to cut, and she figured they would be difficult to sew onto the dress, so she was saving those for last. She sewed over one of the pins holding the cloth together, then pulled it out, placing it into the pincushion her mother was also using. Slafina was making a white beret someone had ordered. On the table was the tip of that someone's horn that her mother planned on using to decorate it a bit. Aili wasn't sure how, though.

Aili put down the little dress and turned her attention to her mother, who was focused on making the hat. She scooted over to her mother's leg and look up at the piece slowly taking shape. Her mother's fingers were nimble and precise when she worked, unlike Aili's, whose fingers lacked the same experience. How long her mother had been doing this, Aili didn't know. Perhaps all her life. Which meant her mother had a little under 400 years of experience over her. Every poke through the fabric, right next to the other with the thread following it was so evenly spaced, so perfect. Each poke through the fabric was followed by two threads tied to the needle, allowing the seam to be double-threaded so the fabric would stay together more strongly.

The piece was just a pattern and fabric this morning, now it was just about finished. While Aili had been slowly working on the dress for a few days...

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:01 pm

Aili sat there, just watching. She wanted to try to help, she wanted to ask to help, but she didn't want to mess anything up. She didn't want to take the risk of ruining her mother's work with her own fingers. So she would watch. Her mother finished the seam that made the stretchy part that would fit around the head. When she was satisfied, Slafina checked her stitching, pulled out the remaining pins, and turned the beret inside out, or outside in, rather. It now had the shape of a beret with eight seams that radiated out from the middle of the hat. There was a small clumpy bit at the top of the beret where all of the seams met.

Her mother looked down at her daughter, who was lying against her leg looking up at the hat. "Can I have my leg back, sweetie?"

Aili scooted back and stood up along with her mother, who placed the beret on the table and picked up the horn tip. It was a cloudy white color with some specks of black in it. It was pretty rough on the outside as well, like it was old and weathered. Some people's horns were just like that, though. Very rough.

"Come along, follow me. I'm going to make this horn into a couple buttons if you'd like to watch." Her mother then walked toward the back door of the house. Aili followed behind her like a shadow. She was still growing, nearing three and three quarters feet tall and at a little more than forty pounds. She stood at about her mother's waist. She followed outside the house and into the bright day on the island. In the distance, several more islands were chained with huge chains, but from this distance they were like strings. The floating archipelago that was her home was a mass of hundreds of floating islands all chained together, some of the islands were a good distance from each other, but all were chained to an island that was chained to another island that eventually met up to the central huge island in the middle of it all. They were too far out to see that island, though. A gust of wind blew through Aili's hair. She closed her eyes and let the warm day soak into her face. Then she caught up with her mother.

There was a smaller building nearby their house that housed her mother's more unique tools. When Slafina entered, she lifted a heavy brown apron over her head, put on some older glasses, perhaps a couple centuries old, and moved to one of the machines. Aili followed, picking up her newer glasses and putting them on. Safety glasses in case anything gets chip off and flies near their eyes.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:59 am

Some of the machines in here belonged to her oldest brother's father. That would make them over three hundred years old. They sit, either in disrepair or without a purpose. As time goes on, new machines are invented and the old are usually left as reminders of the old. But her mother made use of one of the old machines almost weekly. It's a machine that she uses that acts like a saw. She pumps a pedal with her foot to get the blade to move really fast, then she carefully cuts horns with it down to a more workable size. She watched as her mother did this, carefully guiding the fragile horn under the blade and letting the blade to it's work. And before long, a nice circle piece from the horn was cut out and fell to the work area. Her motor blew the dust out of the way and pushed the circle aside to cut the horn two more times before she was left with three circles and one little extra bit of horn tip, perhaps enough to make a decent piercing out of?

Her mother stopped pushing the pedal and let the saw blade grind to a standstill, where it would sit until she needed it again some time in the future. Slafina moved over to one of the work benches and placed the horn segments on the table. Under the light from the window, Aili could see the three round pieces more clearly. The inside of the horns looked rough and dusty, probably from the saw. Her mother pulled something out of a drawer and picked up one of the horn pieces. Aili could hear the sound of something grinding on the piece. Sounded like her mother was filing it, but instead of a file, she was holding a brown fragment of something. Being curious, Aili reached up and felt the bit of the fragment and it was rough against her fingers. It wasn't rough like a file, but it was coarse. Like sand, perhaps. She let go of it and her mother worked faster, now. Aili felt some guilt for perhaps slowing her mother down because of her curiosity. Aili just watched, not really touching. She looked up at her mother's hands as they quickly rubbed the brown fragment over the horn piece. When her mother was satisfied with one end, she turned the piece over and continued on the other side.

When she was done with one of the pieces, she handed it to Aili to look at before she picked up another. The piece was all smooth on both sides, now. She could clearly see the pattern in the horn, splotches of black mixed in a sea of ivory. It was a bit shiny now too. So her mother sort of filed off and smoothed the horn piece.

After her mother smoothed the other two pieces, she pulled out a small box full of tools. Aili watched as her mother cut the pieces with the tools. Slowly they all began to take shape, one at a time, into buttons with four holes for the large one and two for the smaller two.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:33 am

There was so much Aili could learn from her mother. But eventually, Aili grew older and began to seek out an outlet to expand her knowledge.

Five years ago:

Aili was in her fourth year of schooling. Some of the sections of islands on the archipelago were divided into specific districts, which determined where a Jingai student would attend a school. The would attend school from the time they are eight until their eighth year, when they will be offered the chance to continue learning at the university at the large island near the center of the archipelago, not the central island but one chained to the central island.

Aili was twelve, now, and this was about the time she began to become a victim of the bullying she received as a teenager at the hands of the other girls she was forced to be near. Although she liked school and learning, she hated the girls. Although she began to have feelings for the boys there, she was afraid to act on her feelings or she was beaten if she did, but the other girls. She just wasn't strong enough.

Aili's feet touched on the island and she started walking toward the settlement toward the center. She had just been let out of class for the day and she was trying to avoid others her age as much as she could. Although her mother didn't know about the bullying, she had her suspicions and sent Aili to come here and meet with an old friend. All Aili was given was directions to the island and an address on a piece of paper. She didn't really know what to expect.

The cool air blew through her hair and sent a bit of a chill down her spine. The archipelago seemed to be drifting into a cooler climate. Hopefully it wouldn't drift too far, or there could be a long winter. She heard in her history class that a long time ago, the archipelago drifted all the way up to the north pole of the world. With no winds all the way up there, it idled for years before everyone on the archipelago worked together with aerokinesis on all the islands and generated enough wind to force the landmass to move south again. It is an event that happens very very rarely, but when it does, the temperatures are so cold they can kill…

She made her way into the settlement near the middle of the island. Surrounding it was part of a forest and some houses further along. She looked at the paper again and spotted the building she was meant to visit. Some sort of shop, it seemed. The name of the shop was on the front of the shop, but she couldn't make out the characters. She opened the door and the smell of textiles and the air of sewing wafted around her.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:32 am

She could see why her mother sent her to this place. Around the walls hung various types of clothing. On racks in the middle of the main building, cloth was placed for others to flip though. All of different textures, patterns, and sizes. Some better suited for rugs, others for regular clothing, some lacy enough to be made into lingerie or frilly light dresses. On another rack fitted with metal shelves housed a couple hundred different types of spools of thread, various other sewing equipment, and some stuff Aili's never seen before. Something looked like a tiny glass jar of clear liquid. She began to run her fingers over the cloth on the other rack absentmindedly while looking around the rest of the room. She was wondering now if this shop belonged a friend of her mother's or if she just shopped her from time to time. Whoever the owner was, she sure had a huge selection of stuff. Aili didn't have much money on her, otherwise she would probably buy everything she could.

"Ahha! Got an intruder!" The sudden pounding of large hands on Aili's shoulders forced her out of her stupor. A loud voice of a man boomed behind her. Aili turned around slowly and looked at the man. He was a short and fat older man, though not as short as she was, with a wide smile.

"A…a… Er, I, um, I… s-s…" Aili couldn't really find her voice.

The man lifted his hand and patted her on the head a bit. "I'll be, like a munchkin version of your mother." He ruffled her hair up a bit, then stepped toward the door to lift a stick and beat at a bell mechanism above the door that looked like it had seen better days. "Damned thing. Gonna have to have someone come fix it eventually, I suppose. I guess I could call you brother to work on it sometime later." He rested the stick behind the door where it was and turned back to Aili, who hadn't moved. "So, little Miss Ibe. Welcome to my little business! Kinss' Tailoring! Serving this little corner of the homelands for the last one hundred years! So, you got a name or should I just stat calling you Mini Slaffie?"

"Eye…eye…Aili…" She managed to stutter out.

"Well, Aiaiaili. Can I ask you a couple questions? Have you ever made your own clothes before?" Was he making fun of her?

She was still nervous, but managed to correct him at least. "J-just, Aili."

"Aili, then." He walked toward the counter, lifted a counter segment up and walked through. Then he turned and leaned on the counter, eyes still on her. "Well?" He still wanted an answer from her.

"Yes, b-but they didn't… really fit well…" She's made several attempts at shirts and dresses, which end up just becoming her night clothes because they were always too baggy.

"Well, your first job today is going to be making yourself a proper piece of clothing yourself." He said, lifting the counter segment inviting her in.

She just stayed where she was, though, confused. "Huh, j-job?"

"Yes, silly girl. Slaffie's asked me to make you my new apprentice since I owe her a favor. Girl's never been the best teacher, but I should be able to fill in the gaps. Now come on back here and we can get started."

Aili took almost half a step forward. A tailor's apprentice? Is that why she's here? Well, it would be rude to try to get away, now. Even if she would rather just be at home. And maybe she wanted this anyway. She gave a partial smile, then walked toward the counter and through the risen counter piece.

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Re: Will like a thread (Flashback/Solo)

Post by Aili on Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:14 am

The scene behind the counter wasn't all that impressive. A few bundles of clothing and cloth under the counter, some tools in the corner of the room. A room likely for changing. The real meat of the building was further back past the typical business stuff. Through a cracked door, Kinss led Aili to a huge room full of much more cloth, this stuff sitting on racks in the wall, machines she's never seen before, and tables covered in paper, cloth, pins, tools, and various other scraps and bits. A huge rack with pegs full of thread was mounted on the wall. A few boxes lined the opposite corner of the room, likely filled with things that wouldn't fit anywhere else. It was a mess, but a mess of new.

"Alright. What do you want to make?" He asked. Like it was just that easy, to just walk in and make something. Maybe it was. Was he doing this to gauge her skill or something?

"I, uh, well, a sweater." She answered.

"Ahh, good choice, that. been getting a bit nippy outside anyway. Alright, what's the next step?" He asked, this was likely that test to gauge her.

She honestly didn't know. Most of what she knew now was just from helping her mother where is was appropriate. She never really did anything outright herself or needed to know the steps herself. "Eh… fabric?" She asked, quietly.

"Ahh, this is gonna be harder than I thought." He turned, picked up a tool of some kind and held it out to her. "What's this?"

She looked at the object. It looked like a long string of some kind. A wide shoelace? But it had marks on it and numbers? She probably wasn't describing it right. "A, um," She remembered, now. She saw her mother using something like this on someone to measure their body. "A measurer?"

"Measuring tape. Before you even begin looking at what you make the clothing into and of, you need to know how to make it in the first place." He placed his hand on her back and guided her closer to one of the tables. He picked up a notebook from under piles of paper and fabric, then placed it on top of the pile, and pulled a small pencil out of his pocket. He placed the pencil above his pointed right ear and uncurled the tape with his left hand. "For a sweater, we have a bit of leeway because the fabric will be stretchy, but with things like formal attire, a form fit is an absolute must. The dimensions of the wearer need to be written down and referred to at all steps in the process. Lift your arms up a bit."

She would lift her arms up from their idle position of right at her side, or partially behind her. And he would wrap the tape around her small body. The first thing he measured was the circumference of her hips, then her waist, then her bust. The suddenness of this moment coupled with the fact that a strange man was doing this to her made her face turn bright red.

He would write the numbers down on his notebook then look her in the eyes, obviously picking up on her embarrassment. He would poke her nose. "Be that way all you like. I'm just doing my job. What are you gonna do if you have to take a boy's measurements, hmm? A tailor has to get these measurements or the tailor can't do the job. Now, arms down, I gotta measure your shoulders now."

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