Of Flowers and Firelizards

Xanadu Weyr- Wildflower Boutique
Whitewashed walls form the canvas for the colourful array of flower, garden and decorative goods that are to be found lining the shop's polished shelves and smooth granite countertops. Around the edge of the room, a slim metal frame supports deep glass buckets in which a variety of freshly-cut flowers sit to be selected for bouquets and arrangements from as few as half a dozen stems to much grander affairs. Above them, shelves contain a selection of clay, glass and stone vases, handheld gardening equipment and decorative stock, such as ribbons, small cans of waterproof paint and fancy paper wrapping. Fertiliser, pots and troughs are kept on display outside and beneath an adjustable awning in-case of rain, a wider range available upon request.

Three islands in the centre of the shop floor provide space for gift items and the like, including metal flower pins, single ornamental stems for vases, and taller metal blooms to be stood in gardens. A price list notes them as crafted by Ka'el and also available in precious metals such as gold and silver. Other items on the counters include a range of small bouquets deliberately designed with firelizard delivery in mind, meadow-themed silver jewellery, and small gift-baskets containing the seeds and markers needed to start small herb gardens and plant window boxes.

The main service counter is situated along the back wall, where a list of bouquet prices and other fresh flower products, including circlets, arrangements for special occasions, and petals by the bag can be seen on a large chalk board hung on the wall.

Eltanin ambles in, head down, focused on a kinda large map. Narrowing his eyes on the blue print he walks at a rather dangerous pace considering he's not at all looking in front of him. After a second or two, he luckily doesn't bumpy into anything but realizes the light and smell is different in that room. "Oh…That's it, I'm lost again…" He says, letting out a soft sigh. Rolling his map his gaze eventually reaches the far end of the place. "Afternoon…" He briskly says, perking at the rider's presence. Insert a shy smile here.

For a couple of hours now, Marel has been sat at the main counter, working on the shop's accounts and dealing with customers as they wander in and out of the place. The arrival of someone new makes her look up from the books for the umpteenth time that afternoon, and though it's clear from his first words that he's unlikely to make a purchase, she still slips down from her seat and crosses past the counter to greet him. "Afternoon," she says in turn, her steps a little laboured, the slight limp in her gait clear. "Where are you looking for?" the brownrider enquires. "I'm Marel, brown Isyriath's. I own this shop."

Eltanin closes his eyes for a moment as he takes a deep breath. Alright. He is lost and silly again. A small shake of his head and he looks up at the brown rider again, his smile more apologetic now. "I'm Eltanin and…." He trails off, making a kind of grimace and finally adds. "…lost? I was looking for the Plastics workshop. I guess I took a wrong turn…again." A quick glance makes him finally realize where he is even though Marel's words were explicit. "I didn't mean to disturb….err, are you alright?" He can't help but asking as he notices her slight limping.

"Nice to meet you," Marel replies, her manner rather proper. She gives a slight twitch of her lips when her limping is addressed, yet she remains calm and nothing but matter of fact when she states, "I'm fine. Something and nothing. Something neither you nor I can do anything about anyway." Folding her hands before her, she stops a little way away from Eltanin, and idly leans against one of the shop's counter islands. "You're in quite the wrong place, I'm afraid," she regretfully informs. "I assume you… work there?" It's a guess hazarded. "I could send for someone to show you the way? I'm afraid I can't myself, as there's no-one else here today."

Eltanin's shoulders drop and he sighs again. "I guess I'll have to search again…" His words more for himself then he literally winces. "…sorry I often speak to me aloud and…" He reaches out to scratches the back his neck, deliberately not inquiring more about the limp and quickly adding. "I'm sorry I'm forgetting my manners. I'm the newest Starcraft apprentice around and still have to find my way." He lightly chuckles. "Thank you for your kindness though. I will just…walk and figure my way. I just hope it'll be before dinner time…" His voice lowers again as his gaze is attracted by the small bouquets…

"It's okay," Marel assures. "I grew up here, but I know it's not easy to find everything. You'll want the main caverns for the Plastics room - you know, in the Crafter's complex? I think so, anyway. I don't usually have much call to go near the Crafters' rooms." She's not slow to notice where Eltanin's gaze roams, and rather than gesture at the bouquets themselves, she instead points to the rafters of the shop and the twists of driftwood dotted around that form perches for, if he looks carefully, at least three firelizards: a green, a brown and a blue. "They're for your firelizards to take to people, if you want something more immediate than ordering a bigger bouquet," she explains.

Eltanin listens carefully then slaps his own forehead. "Right. The crafter's complex. Just where I came from." He shakes his head again but his eyes dart from the wooden perch and the firelizards to Marel and he slowly nods. "I was just wondering about. It's lovely…" He begins, looking at the bouquets again closely. "Do you sell a lot of them? I mean…I guess it'd be a nice present to offer." He's nearly stammering now. Looks like he's also not used to send gifts. And especially to a girl he barely met at Landing and just a couple of days ago.

"Well, they're a little quicker and cheaper than the bigger bunches of flowers," Marel answers with a rueful smile. "And they don't say too much, if you're looking for something that isn't going to be… over the top." Her smile broadens a tiny bit. "You know, you send a girl enough flowers to weigh her down and she wonders if you're trying too hard or after something." Pushing away from the island counter, she promises, "You don't have to buy something just because you got lost and you think it would be rude not to, you know?"

Eltanin continues to listen, nodding approvingly to all her words, his own smile widening a little just as a faint blush is slowly coloring his cheeks. "Oh but….I'm glad I got lost and met her to be honest." And here he goes on scratching the back of his neck nervously again. "As you realized, I tend to get lost often but since I met her, it's like I completely lost my way…" His voice now carries a hint of nostalgia and he carefully keeps for him the fact that her vibrant amber-brown eyes are haunting him even in his sleep. "I just want her not to…forget me too quickly?" He asks, his gaze on Marel, searching for approbation.

"I suppose it depends whether you have a real romantic interest in her or not." Marel glances at those small bouquets, then over to the fresh cut flowers available by the bloom. "You could send her a flower. Or two, or three. Nothing too… strong. Nothing that makes any kind of commitment to anything, if you met her recently?" Her lips pull to one side again before she says, "Some girls like flowers and will find the attention flattering. Others… they're just not that kind of girl. Until you find out - if you find out - I suggest something not too over the top."

Eltanin completely forgets about the plastics workshop and his constellations map, totally oblivious to anything but Marel's precious advices. He keeps nodding. "You're right." He begins, sighing and nodding. "I don't want to scare her. But can…firelizads deliver a single flower or even two? And if it won't be too strong as you suggested, I'll need something that refers to our first encounter. Mmm…I will need three flowers. One bigger than the two other…and with different colors….Oh my…I need your help…" Here he stammers again, his obvious nervousness making him speak his mind without any reserve.

"They can manage that," Marel assures, only to pause. "I assume you have your own firelizard to give an image of the girl to? A short trip Between won't do much damage, but trying to send someone else's might mean a longer trip and some not-so-happy-looking flowers by the time they arrive." Moving off, she gestures towards the fresh-cut flowers that line one wall of the shop, suggesting, "What about this?" as she selects a simple, large daisy-like blossom in white. "It's simple and not overwhelming. Then two smaller, in those different colours you want?" She's not pushy, but patient, her tone as calm as can be.

"Perfect. Those are just perfect." Eltanin replies with an enthusiastic tone, almost jumping from one foot to another. But the his smile fades a touch, at the mention of a long trip between. "My little Akrab is only a month old and I fear he's not strong enough to go to Eastern Weyr. Plus it'll ruin the flower, won't it?" Frowning, he slowly rubs his chin, pondering an alternative. "I don't want to take all your time tho…" He finally says, smiling again. "You've been kind enough to listen to my overly romantic speech…'

Marel hesitates at that news and slowly slides the flower back into its glass bucket, frowning as she glances about the shop. "If there's even a chance he'll be lost and carrying anything will make things more difficult for him, I'm not sure I'd like to risk it," she confesses. Then: "What about one of these?" she suggests instead, gesturing to a series of small, decorative metal flowers. "They're pretty and they'd last longer than a real flower anyway. They're made by the Weyrleader. Akrab could pass the image to one of my lot and I could send him," for the green up there is likewise too young, "on his way? My blue, Flynn, is dependable."

"Would you do that?" Eltanin asks, his voice already carrying all of his gratitude. "It'd be simply perfect." His eyes staring at the small metal flowers now as he follows. "And made by the Weyrleader himself. Now I'm not sure if I can afford them…"

"They're not too pricey," Marel promises with a ripple of quiet laughter. "The Weyrleader is a good friend of mine. We had no desire to price them out of the market. And since you're lost and you're polite, which is more than I can say for some of my customers, you can have it for half the price; how's that?" The flower she selects and holds out is in a shade of silver and mimics the shape of the daisy she selected, though the whole thing is no longer than her hand.

Marel accepts the marks with a quick little nod and slips them away into her pocket without making much of the exchange of money. "You're welcome to take it back and write your note," she agrees. "I'll be here for at least another hour, but I've my dragon to get back to after that. As long as you're back here before then, I can get Flynn to send the flower to your girl." So, there's no real rush, but there is a bit of a time limit. "And of course you're welcome for everything else too. It's my job to help, after all." She flashes Eltanin a small smile and begins to retrace her steps towards the main counter. "I'll be here," she promises. Back to the books and accounting.

Eltanin keeps the small flower close to his chest as if the most precious thing on Pern and nods vigorously. "I will be back in no time. I've already monopolized you too much, I wouldn't want to upset your lifemate." He grins and rushes out, forgetting his maps hanging against the island counter…

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