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Some Like it Haute

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"She'll hate it."

"Without a doubt, master. It looks vile." 

Nisnav spun the deft fingers of his one remaining hand through the air, willing magical forces to undo his cravat and send it flying across the room. Nisnav, always so calm, took a deep breath and exhaled purposefully. He could not get angry. His anger was outside of him, contained in the wretched creature who stood beside him: the mottled pygmy humanoid called Vert. Vert was a homunculus, and had never worn clothes. Nevertheless he proved to be a strict critic. 

"And the blue, master. The blue. It says ocean and the rest of you says something entirely different. She will laugh you out of her studio." 

Nisnav waved his hand through the air again, rejecting the sash around his waist and the pocket square which matched its deep blue. They flew across the room to land haphazardly where they may. Yet without them he was all white and orange.

"Now I look like an autumn leaf, Vert. Make me into the sun."

Vert did as he was commanded, choosing an paisley necktie of various oranges, a fiery pocket square, a white glove with red brocade, and a sash of rich gold. He adorned his master's brow with a fire opal circlet and pinned red civilian badges to his chest, giving the sorcerer an aspect of the generalissimo. This white fire ensemble met with Nisnav's approval, and he decided it was a fine outfit to impress the new darling of his eye. 

Of course, it was also an outfit he intended for her to replace. 

"Much better." Nisnav promised himself.

"Indeed." Vert agreed, "Though the canvass is somewhat damaged, the painter's art shines through." 

Nisnav ignored the insult and strode out of his walk-in closet, past the hundreds of fine outfits and shoes he had accumulated from tens of worlds worth of fashion. Now it was time to start his Dali collection

A collection that would begin with Evienne. 

It was not so much later that Nisnav was at the woman's doorstep. He was, as always, a horror to look upon. Though he was fully, mercifully, clothed, he was still very visibly missing an arm and the injury that had stolen it from him crept up past his high collar and spread over the right side of his face, robbing it of the skin and flesh that normally filled out a man's jaw. Instead, he looked half-dead, the sinew and tendons of his face red and raw and exposed. His appearance had earned him a peculiar nickname: Nisnav Ghoulface. 

And Nisnav Ghoulface had an appointment. 

Nisnav had not brought Vert with him to shop, indeed he rarely let the miserable homunculus out of his tower, so as to spare the world the free flow of venom that poured from the creature's lips at every occasion. Alone, he used his magical will to open doors for him, and his own voice to announce his presence. He'd come by way of horse-drawn carriage, but its jockey had a thick accent and made for a terrible herald. 

"Excuse me." he said, as the glass door entrance gently swung open at the wave of his hand. He strode in on his white boots and took in the lady's studio. He admired the noble offshoot families of Dali, they were all so purposefully organized. Breeding mixed with business: the finest cocktail of qualities in a free-ranging humanoid. He expected great things from this Evienne he had traveled so far to meet. 

Her studio made a good first impression. Despite it having mirrors everywhere, which he didn't love, the workshop had a pristine presentation which showed an overall sense of aesthetic not only in clothing, but in room arrangement, color combination, judicious decor, and a few scattered hints of hard work. This was not just a parlor for the trying on of clothes, but a true showcase of artistic skills.

"I am Nisnav of Blairville, I have an appointment with Lady Goldencourt."



Edited by Vansin

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tumblr_o2ecet8idV1s9g8apo1_1280.jpgAs a child, Evienne often had nightmares. Often, she found that her ghouls reflected beliefs that, during the day, were held as the absolute, immovable truth, crumbling under silly and often, illogical words and actions. One such specter was her mother, returning to collect Evienne from Papa. Her skin was always warm, and they were always happy. Up until they left the manor; then, she'd turn cold and spiteful, and it was worse than no mother at all. Another, was Vesper, dragging Evienne to sea and forcing her to swab decks with a red broom, slowly turning into locks of crimson hair, sometimes Merida would be hung as a flag. In these dreams, her shrieking would continue to ring in her ears, hours after waking.

Either way, such dreams were easily dispelled come morning. The Lieutenant was often awkward, but it was never spiteful. Eventually, it was accepted that Vesper, no matter what she muttered, would never so much as drag Evienne out of bed without her consent. And her Mother's silhouette never so much as crossed the threshold; there was simply no basis behind her nightmares. No grounds for them to hound her during the day, none to darken her mood or to bestow her with puffy bruises under her eyes.

She dreamt of Godric now, turning old and insipid, accusing her of crimes she had committed, unknowing. And snippets of dark hair transforming into something monstrous. She often woke up sobbing, with images of Leizhen, dear Leizhen, hovering over her body, gleeful. One thought resounding, turning into a cacophony with each torturous moment she spent awake. Papa knew and did nothing about it. These proved to be fare more parasitical, they feasted on her, playing behind every closed door, sneaking into every conversation, winding her up until she was exhausted before noon had rolled in.

Even her husband has begun to take notice. Even Merida, blessed girl, who should not be noticing anything.

She was fraying at the edges, when she and Godric had stampeded back homes, she was fraying. But no matter what Papa, or Erin or evene Godric demanded, business would not wait, so, on the Second day, armed with Leizhen and a new silver dress, she ventured into the atelier.

There were no comments made on her fraying.

 Either Mrs. Sedley and her workers didn't notice the purple blooming under her eyes, and her ashy complexion, or they didn't particularly care. Congratulations boomed, and champagne flowed, and the infectious, pragmatic air of the studio revived her in a way that neither Papa, nor Erin, nor Godric would understand.

It turns out there was more to be celebrated than her nuptials.

Orders were had been streaming in since the Reverie. In fact, they had pulled clients from The House of Threads, earning over forty commissions in five days.

This was how he found her, having gone over the books, and pondering over the name, Nisnav of Blairville, who had paid a small fortune to secure an appointment for today. Mrs. Sedley had immediately begun speculations over the nature of the spender, and when he was announced, had all but ran to the greeting room.

It was the scream, a demonstration of vocal prowess, that had her bounding in after the matron, book in hand.

"Dear boy! Oh, wretched boy! Oh, I am s... so sorry." Mrs. Sedley quivered, like gelatine left in the sun for too long, patting the guests' one remaining arm in a fashion that was much too familiar. "You gave me a fright, oh! yes! Her Ladyship will be with you shortly, oh yes... erm, I'll bring the tea."

With the pleasant chime of a bell, she was gone- and Evienne was left standing quite unnoticed by the portiére. 

The hours whiled away under the cheer and merry of what was irrevocably hers, had dispelled her unease, as easily as the Sun had used to, when she was younger. Now, it returned with a vengeance, and Evienne took a moment to collect herself, smooth her hair down. He was dressed abominably, full dress in cravat and crown, as though the man had descended from an old court painting, that seemed to have some sort of autumnal motif. The beautiful, sumptuous fabrics, the exquisite workmanship, however, did not escape Evienne's notice, it was hard not to. The horror that was Ninav of Blairville made it impossible not to know exactly how many button were on his doublet at all times, she almost felt sorry for the mutilated man. 

And yet, relentless unease coiled into a knot in her belly, sweat pooling on her palms.

Her husband was a double amputee, but those were clean cuts. There was something nefarious, in the way this stranger stood, perturbed, perhaps. Still, she was a Goldcourt, and a woman now, a good hostess. She forces the shakes from her hands, her voice, her mind.

"Don't mind Mrs. Sedley, Sir. She's quite a silly old Hen, as talented as she is, I'm afraid all artists have a quirk and she? Well, let's just say Mrs. Sedley is a strong argument for the increase in eccentricities along with her talents." Her laugh is as light as the silk she donned and Evienne makes a point to play with the ring resting on her left hand, "I am Evienne Goldcourt of Dali, though perhaps not for long. How may I help you Nisnav of Blairville?"

Edited by LikelyMissFortune

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Nisnav said nothing to the portly woman, Mrs. Sedley. She spoke, jiggled, touched him, and left, all without any response from him aside from a heavy-lidded stare. She was no different from the hundreds of people in his home city who looked upon him with pity and horror when he walked down the streets. He had long ago banished the parts of him which reacted to such heedless revulsion. He had excised his emotions. They festered in Vert now, and returned to him only when he needed them most. 

He would need them soon, he would need to be whole for Evienne. But first she had to trust him, and the Nisnav he was now was the trustworthy one. This him was calm, thoughtful, dispassionate. It was with these qualities that he greeted her when she approached him finally. 

"Gold-court, you say? Delighted." the faux pas was a gesture to put her at ease: frightening-looking Nisnav was no one to worry about, a distracted merchant mage after nothing more than a modern wardrobe. 

"I am, as you can see, in need of a custom outfit." he said, after taking her hand and kissing it courteously. His manner spoke gracefully, but his eyes spoke nothing at all. If he had no eyes, his face would have been more expressive. 

"I am told you are the best, and I am looking to form a relationship. There is a bond between a clothier and a body, and my body is one that requires an intimate bond. I possess terrible wounds which cannot be irritated, yet I cannot appear to be anything less than fashionable. They say art flourishes in the space between liberty and limitation. I believe I present such an opportunity: my tortured figure and my vast resources...I could provide for your business, if you are the artist I require." 

As he spoke, he turned toward one of the room's many hateful mirrors. Without his passion, Nisnav cared little about the pathetic image his ruined body presented to the world. He would need to present it far more if Evienne was going to clothe him, and further still if she was going to serve his true ends. 

"Forgive me." he said, as much to himself as to her. 

"But before you answer, you must know with what deformity you are dealing with." 

He gestured, gently pinching his thumb and forefinger and running it up his chest as though zipping some invisible zipper. His fine clothes wound themselves off of him, floating and fluttering in the air around him as his torso was stripped bare. The shirt and sash and necktie folded themselves neatly on a nearby shelf. In his pants and shoes Nisnav stood, his dead eyes never leaving the mirror before him. He stared at himself, in awe of the emptiness in his heart where horror would have blossomed. 

Yet he could feel no evil. Only desire for Evienne: the lady whose soul he was destined to consume. 

For her part, Evienne would see a man whose body had been ravaged by a fire so hot that it had cut him like an ax. The skin was pink and raw, even after all these years. It was so thin, so weak, that the shadows of his organs were obvious through the translucent flesh. 

"There are times when I am like this, and there are times when I have the use of an artificial arm. Any clothing I purchase will need to adapt to either scenario. Perhaps optional attachments?" he mused aloud. His casual conversation stood in sharp contrast to the revolting display of his body. He lifted his arm.

"Would you care to measure me?"

Edited by Vansin

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