Success at Any Cost

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Writers Rift

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Shopping

Submitted: October 16, 2017

Reads: 91

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Submitted: October 16, 2017



The group eventually abandoned their hand in hand walking in favor of a tighter formation to better suit the crowded streets of the city. The harbor was surrounded by the landing district something between a slum and a business district. Poor merchants shouted back and forth with each other, pick pockets lift cash off unsuspecting foreign sailors, and old men paw at any woman they can find thinking that they are all docksies who failed to land a gentleman caller. One of these men reached out for Brooke and was quickly kicked away as she continued walking. Two shops up another poor fool attempted to do the same to Piper.


An older man put his hand out and pulled at her pant leg causing it to become slightly askew. Piper grabbed his arm and pulled him into the street bent at the waist she brought her knee up into his chin. He went stiff as a board and fell back to the ground. She shouted “ Don’t anyone try to touch us again. I’ll be sure cave all of you lot in.” Brooke shrugged and with a smile pulled her along to go down the street. Piper leaned onto Brooke’s shoulder and asked “is it too late to go back to the boat?”


“I think so, but I don’t think they’ll be forgetting that lesson anytime soon.” She gently placed her hand on the side of Piper’s head as they walked on.


After a few minutes of walking party started to see the general grime of Landing District fall away in favor of the bright colors and new buildings of the warren district. Brooke lead the group to a large courtyard, every structure there was brand new with small wood paneled buildings or brownstone townhouses, there was one exception to this trend a squat black box in center of the square. Once upon a time it was an arsenal for the island’s security forces but has now become part of a network of banks that ran under the island through a series of tunnels. Although the building was stark and windowless attempts at making it more friendly had clearly been made as warm and welcoming statues dressed in flowing clothing holding cornucopias and the Tome of the Ancestors.


Brooke and Piper pulled out their pouches and marched in there happily, chose to stay behind and remain out of sight, they had a good deal of cash in their hands and they didn’t want to draw attention to their ork companion.


The girls took what Balil guessed was a full two hours to come back out of the bank. As they walked out he eyed  them up and down searching for huge coin purses, filled with the gems used for Fesiptn currency. He walked up to them somewhat sullen. “Where did all of your money go”


Piper smiled “Why it's all right here my good ork.” She playfully waved a small booklet in front of Balil. “This ridiculous little booklet allows me to pay for anything I could possibly want by simply writing down some things and allowing the seller to just take gems from the bank. This way if some pickpocket tries to rob me I’m no longer destitute.”


Brooke was somewhat less enthused by the whole premise “I don’t know I’d rather hold the gems in my hand then just hoping they’ll be there when I need them.”


Piper smacked Brooke lightly on the shoulder with her booklet “Come now its going to be so much easier lets go out and buy you new clothes you don’t have to meet with the captain untill sundown any way.


Brooke cracked her knuckles and looked around the square. “Fine but we can't waste it all in one go we will need some of this for later.”



Brooke fidgeted as she followed Piper up and down the city. Every time they walked past a tailor she would reach into her breast pocket, which was the one with the bullet hole in it, and go to pull out her booklet, suddenly Piper would look at a dress in the window and declare it not good enough and they would continue on. To make matters worse if Piper saw something she liked they would go in it’s at this point that Balil would look at the material on clothes and whisper to Piper something about it being fake or moth bitten, which would then result in them promptly leaving.


They had wandered into a district so upscale that Brooke had failed to recite it’s name. Had she found herself here as a child the city watch would have arrested her for vagrancy. She still crossed her arms to hide the stains and damage in her clothes just in case.


Yet again Piper stopped at another tailor’s shop and started staring at one dress in particular. Brooke groaned “Pipe, I don’t know how much longer I can do-” She charged in without Balil’s approval of the shop, Brooke sat down on the street side “You enjoy this more than I do, why you don’t you go get her?” Balil wanted to protest but Brooke shot him a look that could have stopped a charging bull let alone an expat ork. He choked down his reply and walked inside.


Left alone now Brooke looked around her, she had never thought she’d be with someone who could shop on a street like. The cobbles were even and the walls were clean, anyone who passed was dressed in their finest clothes. Brooke although she had been dragged across half the city and was well outside her element she found herself very content. She closed her eyes and took it all in.


That comfort lasted right up until she felt a tapping on her shoulder. One eye opened to see a dainty finger hovering over her shoulder. She looked up to see very well dressed gentleman with a thin blonde beard and no hair on the top of his head. He spoke in a comforting voice that somehow made her want to trust him, but at the same time she knew something in his words was mocking her. “Excuse me ma’am I run a small tailor’s shop just down the road and I couldn’t help but be awed by your striking beauty were you to wear one of my designs I would catapult me into the upper echelons of society.”


Brooke smacked his hand away “Cute, but I don’t really enjoy dresses all that much.” She stood up, “Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go somewhere where I don’t feel like I’m about to be murdered and then vivisected good day sir.” She started walking away towards the dress shop that Piper and Balil were in.


The gentleman yelled over to her acrossed the street “But you’d be perfect for our Ruby and Opal lines!” Brooke stopped with one foot on the steps to the dress shop. She knew she shouldn’t be that shaken by those names, gems were a common motif in Fesiptn culture she felt like she should just walk up those stairs and watch Piper try on some beautiful dresses. But something about the way he spoke, the way she knew he was smiling as he said the names. He had said it to make her stop, to get her attention, to make her listen, and it worked.


Brooke bolted up to him, surprised he took a step back and held up his arms in a gesture surrender. “I want to see these dresses right now.”


“Well I should warn you they’re not quite dresses.”


“All the better then.” She rolled her eyes.


Brooke stepped into the store but didn’t move any further than the doorway though. The sign on the door said Mr Alton’s Fine Suit Shop, true to its name there were all manner of beautiful outfits universally designed for women. Behind a counter stood a young woman in tight fitted blue waistcoat, and matching blue riding pants. Brooke took a few tentative steps forward until Mr Alton stepped behind her.


“Now just allow me to let you try on one of my designs and you can have it for free.” He snapped his fingers and the attendant ran into a closet and pulled out one outfit on a mannequin “This is our Ruby line designed highly active professional who needs to look good and keep mobile.” He gestured over the calf high laced riding boots and the high waisted black pants that ran all the way to the mannequin's ribs. He moved up to the short red vest that complemented a black cravat. The ensemble was completed with black and gold tailcoat with red velvet lining.


Brooke looked it up and down for a she loved it but she had to remain critical of the strange man. “It’s beautiful and all but where does the name come from.”


The tailor furrowed his brow “My other models don’t usually ask about the names I give my designs.”


“Well of course they don’t but I’m not a model yet.”


“You’re not wrong. Very well, I based it off of a young woman I met many years ago.”


Brooke’s eyes closed to slits “What color was her hair?”


“Well it was very similar to your, even had similar curls.”


Brooke bit her lip desperate to press him for more information, but she couldn’t look vulnerable. “Thats interesting, now whats the next outfit.”


“Very well, as the sibling to the Ruby outfit, the Opal line was designed with the same principle in mind.” The attendant pulled outfit in the style of the lawless lands to the west. “Much more rugged than Ruby Opal speaks to the lure of the wilderness.” A double breasted green greatcoat buttoned all the way to mannequin's neck was the main focus of the design. “Underneath you’ll find a lightweight silk shirt” He unbuttoned the great coat revealing the shirt he mentioned. The pants were tight black riding pants, along with complimenting boots.


Again Brooke was very interested both outfits were amazing but she still didn’t trust the man selling them. “I’m guessing this was inspired by another person you met?” She said with hints of sarcasm.


“Why yes indeed it was” He pushed his glasses back up his nose “A boy who was actually Ruby’s fraternal twin of all people.”


Brooke felt a strange fire burning inside her she wanted to keep asking him everything she could but something about him left her very unsettled. It felt like he was flaunting knowledge of Brooke’s old life right in front of her. She had to learn more but if she let too much out in asking her old life could come back up and it could kill any chance she may have at getting ahead or living a happy life with Piper.


“I’ll make you a deal, I’ll model both of these and any other clothes you may want for the foreseeable future. I’ll happily tell everyone I meet where I acquired these clothes. On the condition that I can by this shop every week and discuss future and current designs with you.”


Alton’s arm shot out and grabbed Brooke’s hand happily shaking it. “That's a brilliant idea Ms… I guess I should introduce myself if we’re to be partners. I’m Maximillian Alton, but you may call me Alton.”


“Gains, Brooke Gains.”


“Very good Ms Gains please write down your residency here in the city and I’ll send them to your home with the utmost haste.”


“Perfect Alton, I look forward to doing further business with you.” She put down Mccavern’s address and left after another handshake.


As she left Alton swung the open sign around and declared it closed.


Brooke found Piper and Balil as they were leaving the Dress shop, Balil was dragging a massive trunk behind him.

“Piper! I see you were finally satisfied in your quest” Brooke threw her arms up happily


“Barely, Balil wouldn’t let me buy half of my choices but I think I finally beat him down.”


Brooke shook her head “You two are completely incorrigible. But we need to go it's almost dark and the captain’s expecting us for dinner.”


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