I will be adding to this in small installments of backstory as it comes to me. :)
“Are you Tharnor?” Ciraire’s voice cut crisply through the air, a bit louder than she had intended.
The Bosmer glanced up from the mortar and pestle he worked at, his naturally wide eyes catching hers for a heartbeat before returning to the rhythmic press and twist of wrist. “That’s me,” he replied.
Lowering her voice to a more sedate tone she continued, “I was told you could do some work for me.”
“Someone may have misspoken. Clothiers are back the way you came, in the market.”
“I am not looking for a tailor,” there was a huff to her tone that made him stop working with a sigh.
“I don’t think you understand what you are asking for, Lady.” Tharnor straightened from his labors, the table he worked at rocking as he let up. Various dyes lay spread before him, bowls containing various liquid and dry components waiting his attentions. He gently flicked a black stained finger over Ciraire’s shoulder, indicating roughly to the west where the masts of ships in the harbor could just be seen. “Do yourself a favor and turn around. Walk yourself right back to that fancy ship and sail back to where you came from. The likes of you aren’t meant to step foot from the Isles and well you know it.”
Ciraire’s eyes followed his motion back towards the water and, beyond sight, eventually, Summerset. It was sheer force of will that she managed to not scowl. Instead, she settled for the slow grind of her slippered foot into the hard packed earth on which his small shop was built. Truthfully, she didn’t think she could stomach another crossing of the straits.
The crossing had not agreed with her and as tempting as it may be to take rest at the inn she had found the night before, she was too close to home to take any comfort in the accommodations. The inn was clean, the room was dry, the food was edible, the people friendly, but there was something alien about it all and the temptation to cave beneath the enormity of her perhaps rash actions was all too readily at hand.
Every pair of eyes that had met her own since she set foot on the dock had seemed to size her up; to judge her by the stitch of her dress and the sole of her shoes. She had spent that morning staring at herself in the small mirror in her room, trying to see past herself to what it was everyone else saw. Green eyes, unmarred almost golden skin, waist length hair bound in braids draped back from her face. She was noticeable. Too clean, too young compared with those few other Altmer she had seen, and too fresh. She stood out and the moment her father realized she had done more than lock herself in her room in pique, there would be far too many able to point the way straight to her. She would have preferred a few days to gather herself, to plan her next step, but those were precious days she knew she would not have. Word traveled, too fast, and if she knew her father, they would already be searching.
“I have not asked for your opinions, I have asked for your services. Are you capable of performing as advertised or aren’t you?” She struggled to put every ounce of the limited authority she had ever had into her words. It seemed only natural that her chin tilted upward, her green, almond shaped eyes narrowing as she stared down the length of her nose at the Bosmer. The tone was stolen from overheard conversations between her mother and the household, but the look was entirely her father.
Tharnor took her in once more, from head to toe and back again before he swiped the back of one hand across his cheek, leaving a faint sheen of rich brown dye behind. By the hint of other colors across his face, it seemed a habitual movement and gave him a unique coloring that wasn’t unpleasant just unusual. It was with care that he set the pestle down, its rounded end marred by a rich brown paste. After a quick glance at his hands, he wiped them across the front of his tunic, his dark eyes once again on hers, not in the least bit intimated by her show.
“How old are you?” He tried to keep the suspicion from his voice without great success.
Ciraire rolled her eyes and turned to go. “Enough of this. I haven’t the time to spend discussing things that are beyond your need to know. I will find someone else to do as I have asked.”
He debated letting her go for a moment, weighing the factors in his head. She was grown, sure, but still acted like a child pretending to be an adult, no matter how she tried to hide it. He would bet a gold for every word she had spoken that she had never before been off the Isles let alone unescorted beyond her household walls. The Altmer were a secretive bunch but the rumors that did come across the water were both wondrous and monstrous. She would be untouched, likely an only child, and completely ignorant to how the real world functioned. The mere thought of someone else fulfilling her request turned his stomach. Of course she would have been sent to him, one look at her and anyone would have known the type of trouble that could arise. He felt the blood drain from his face as the scenes played behind his eyes. He at least was honorable.
Altmer could be touchy about… well being touched, but he had to stop her and quickly. The table rocked on its legs as he sprung around it, grabbing her by her arm and bringing her to an abrupt halt.
“I will do it. Just tell me you aren’t bringing trouble down on us.”
“No trouble,” she replied with a triumphant smile, her eyes barely flicking to his hand. She freed a small pouch from her waist. Her long fingers rolled the supple material so that the coins within whispered against one another. “When can you do it?”
“If you are sure,” Tharnor trailed off, releasing her and drawing back with a sigh. “Let’s go.” With a tilt of his head to indicate the structure behind him, he led the way past his work bench and to the door.
“Now?” Her voice hitched on the word.
“If you are so sure, then there is no better time.”