Log:Of Clothes and Cages

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Of Clothes and Cages
Characters  •   Phoenix  •  Visa  •
Location  •  Sanctuary - Prime - Fortunate Bazaar
Factions  •   The Fortunate Ones  •
Date  •  2019-11-12
Summary  •  Phoenix and Visa meet in the bazaar and she agrees to make him a new piece to perform in.

The Bazaar is teeming with people most evenings, and tonight is no different. There are performers on the stages at either end of the Bazarr. At one end, a bellydancer moving to the beat hammered out on the lids of old garbage cans while a tin flute and various other rough hewn instruments play the music. At the far end, a man chews on lightbulbs and inserts things into his nose, to the cheers of the crowd gathered around his stage.

In between, there are the booths of the artisans, selling their wares, and the lounges where Companions linger to entertain the company of those who might choose to spend Lux on their time and attention. Phoenix is not performing tonight, but is instead merely browsing the market, himself, wandering through the stalls in a pair of simple grey trousers and a loose fitting shirt along with comfortable boots, no adornments visible, but the sharp black outlines of a couple of tattoos are visible at the collar of the shirt.


Visa's fashion choice is more bold perhaps, but certainly not out of place in the color-drenched bazaar, with her leopard print dress, combat boots, and the sparkling cat-ears she's often sporting on her head. She's currently browsing as well, a swath of richly dyed material draped over one arm, no doubt a prize purchased from a recently returned Scavenger or some such. Spotting the fire performer in the crowd, easy to do with his looks and physique, she makes her way over with a bounce in her step that is simultaneously carefree and sultry. "Are you performing tonight?" she asks without preamble, her honey brown eyes sweetly inquisitive.


Phoenix's clothing is decidedly different when he's performing or out entertaining than when he's simply taking some quiet time for himself. There's usually far more flesh on display, and more leather. But right now there is not. His attention shifts over to Visa as she approaches with that familiar bounce in her step. He shakes his head and says, "Not tonight." His eyes drop to the material over her arm and he asks, "Have something in mind for it?" clearly wondering if she has some project in mind already for the fabric that she just purchased.


"Not yet," Visa admits, stroking the material with one finger thoughtfully. "But the colors caught my eye and I'm sure something will come to me." She takes in his attire when he gives his answer regarding performing. "I figured as much," she says, not bothering to hide her disappointment. "But that said, I really did want to compliment your outfit after the last one," she notes earnestly. "But you were kind of mobbed by people and I didn't want to trample anyone - or be trampled," she adds as an afterthought. "You looking for anything in particular?"


"Perhaps you can work on one for me, if you have some time," Phoenix says as he studies her once more, looking up from the fabric. The disappointment evident on her features draws an eyebrow upward and he says, "If you want a show that badly, you can always arrange a private performance." His lips quirk slightly and he gives a slight shake of his head. "I don't draw those kind of crowds. But I'll take it as a compliment that you think there might be that sort of danger." He shakes his head though when she asks if he's looking for anything in particular. "Just looking to look."


"Oh forgive me, they must have been talking about some other glistening dancer then," Visa laughs, undaunted. "I might actually take you up on that idea; it's been all work and no play just recently, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased with how the pieces turned out," she muses, so clearly self-satisfied as she recalls her own efforts. "But what sort of attire might you be looking for? Something flashy for the stage, or something more subdued?" she wonders, biting her bottom lip in contemplation. "And I'd need to take your measurements, of course," she adds, sizing him up by eye appreciatively.


"Something for the stage," Phoenix says when she asks what he's looking for. "I could use a pair of lighter pants, something looser and more breathable. The leather's fine, but some days I need something else." He folds his arms lightly in front of him and says, "I can come for measurements whenever you have time to work on it." He then nods toward the bazaar and asks, "Looking for anything else in particular?"


"Variety in one's wardrobe is a must, of course," Visa agrees. "As much as I'm sure the leather pants steal the show, you can probably work all sorts of complicated moves into your set with a bit more flexibility." She cants her head slightly. "I've got time if you do; I was here with a friend but she was claimed and whisked away," she pouts, but her eyes glitter with mirth all the same. "Couldn't be helped; she looked ravishing, thanks to yours truly," she adds.


Phoenix nods his head at her assumptions regarding the variety in clothing, not seeming to find flaw in what she says. "I have time tonight," he says when she indicates that her friend was stolen away. "Such modesty," he says with a little sidelong smirk at her taking credit for her friend's disappearance. Then he moves away from the booth and begins to walk once more, a slow easy pace along the central run of the large vaulted space, not seeming in any particular hurry, and seeming to assume she'll join him.


"Modesty is for people with something to hide," Visa opines, ever the open book. "Or do you find it charming? I like compliments, even the ones I give myself." She falls into step beside him, easily keeping pace with the slow saunter, though she tucks her fingers around his arm for whatever reason, perhaps just in case. "Who usually does your stage pieces?" she wonders. "Is it anyone I know?"


Phoenix gives a slight snort and a shake of his head. Charming probably isn't the word that he would have chosen, from the sound of it, but neither does it seem to bother him at all. Her fingers around his arm don't seem to bother him, either, and he lets her hold onto him as he walks through the throngs of people. But tonight, his company is his own, so he isn't paying much attention to those around them other than that cursory wariness and awareness of his surroundings that he always carries with him. "Nobody specific," he says. "I just pick up what I need from whoever when I need it."


"Well that's good then, I won't need to try and emulate anyone else's style," Visa reveals her reason for asking with this statement. It's a busy evening, one would be hard pressed to ascertain whether the hand on his arm was truly to keep them from being separated or perhaps just a bit of showing off. In any case, as they head onward to somewhere more suitable for taking measurements, she asks, "Were you in Bartertown when someone brought a whole trunk of performance costumes for trade recently? So many sequins and feathers, I wished I had enough Lux to claim it all," she says wistfully. "But now I'm slowly but surely working on a feather headdress, so if you know of anyone trading feathers, you'll tell me, right?" she asks, tugging lightly on his arm as she presses him for committment.


There's a little bit of tension that goes through Phoenix at the mention of Bartertown. It's rare that the Fortunate get to leave the cage at all, and he is one of those very much restless to get out and into the world, and yet he is also one of the ones who rarely gains permission to go -- perhaps because there are those that are more than aware of how much he'd prefer to be out of the cage. "No," he says flatly in answer to the question of whether he'd heard of all the costume things coming into Bartertown. And his mood doesn't seem to improve after that, the slight knotting in his shoulders evident. "Sure," he says, though, when she asks if he'll tell her about feathers. "If I see any." It certainly costs him nothing to look.


"What's wrong?" Visa asks, ever so innocently, when Phoenix tenses under her fingers. "You've gone all surly on me," she observes. "Was it something I said?" she wonders, her expression instantly turning contrite. "I'm sorry," she offers, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth as she peers up at him looking for a response to her apology-for-what-she-knows-not. "Was it the feathers?" she asks, jumping to the easiest conclusion. "Don't be cross with me, I don't like it."


"It's nothing," Phoenix says with a shake of his head, brushing it off, and giving her a bit of a look. "It's fine. And it's not the feathers." He then asks, "Where do you want to do the measurements?" Since he assumes that's what she'd meant by saying that she had time that evening, waiting to see if she wants to go down to the workshops below the bazaar or back up to the cage.


"Okay," Visa says slowly. "If you say so." She rifles her free hand through her wavy chestnut hair as she considers. "Down in the workshop is fine, unless you're shy then we can head up to the cage; pretty sure I have the newest material samples up there actually. I'll follow you," she says, easygoing now that Phoenix claims he's not mad about the feathers, though she seemingly ignores the look he levels in her direction, daring to ask one more time, "Are you suuure it wasn't the feathers? Some sort of phobia? I know a guy with a crippling fear of ruffles," she says in some attempt to make him feel better about the feather thing if necessary.


"It's not about the feathers," Phoenix says in a tone that is pretty flat. It's not likely that he has a crippling fear of feathers, though it would be ironic with a name like Phoenix. He nods toward the workshops and heads in that direction. There are many workshops beneath the bazaar where various Fortunate artisans do their work. Some of them are textiles, other art of various types with kilns, looms, paint, sculpting tools, whatever they've pooled together communally in order to create. Once they have descended in that direction, Phoenix lets Visa lead him to her workspace.


A strong wind blows from the ocean, showing a new way.


Visa arrives from Sanctuary - Prime - Fortunate Bazaar.


"Good," Visa says with a warm smile, before leading Phoenix to her work station. A table is littered with silk ribbons, yards of lace and linen, buttons and whittled bones, but there is a tall mirror situated near a plush chaise, fit for purpose. Draping the tape measurer around her neck, Visa directs Phoenix to stand in front of the mirror. "Feet shoulder-width apart, please," she instructs. "And I'll keep my hands visible in the mirror, so you needn't worry about any funny business," she adds solemnly.


Phoenix moves in front of the mirror. It's not the first time that he's been measured for the creation of clothing, or for some of the gear that he uses in his performances. He sets his feet apart on the floor and watches her in the mirror, one brow rising slightly at her assurances. He nods, however, and says, "Go ahead." He doesn't seem too particularly worried.


The measuring tape winds around Phoenix like a well-choreographed gift-wrapping; Visa taking quick notes as she goes, her style of writing a fanciful calligraphy. Around the waist, around the hips, the widest part of the thigh. Her movements are graceful, even the way she sinks to her knees. She lifts the measuring tape to his inseam, jotting a note, and her pen lifts from the page on the floor where she kneels, her expression guileless as she looks up at him. "Do you dress left or right?"


Phoenix is entirely still throughout the entire process, relaxed and standing steady while she goes about measuring each part of him. He doesn't fidget or budge or seem to be impatient at all. Instead, he merely looks around the workshop at the various bits that are set about the place. When she addresses him, though, it brings his attention back to her and he looks down at her and says, "I am right-handed.. so I assume.. right?" He's not sure exactly what it means to dress left or right, but he makes a guess.


"Ah, no," Visa laughs, gesturing toward Phoenix. "My apologies, it's seamstress-speak for do you hang to the left or to the right," she clarifies. "I hope that's not an awkward question for you, I just need to adjust that trouser leg to compensate," she explains, still smiling up at him as if they aren't discussing his manhood.


"Left," Phoenix answers once the explanation is given. "First time I've been asked that." But it doesn't seem to bother him to be asked the question, or to answer it, once he knows what information she's looking for. There's no shyness about him.


"I like that you didn't blush," Visa says, though she doesn't give any details as to why that might be. "All done," she says after just a few more minutes of note taking and some final measurements, and she rises to her feet once more. "You did so well," she says, as if having one's measurements taken is an achievement. "No squirming or accusations of being tickled. If only all of my clients were so well-behaved," she laughs lightly. "Please, won't you have a seat?" she gestures toward the lounge chair beside the mirror. "I'm assuming that your leather pants are black, and you'd like these in some other scintillating hue?"


Considering how many people have seen him perform in very little, to all those with whom he's spent time as a Companion, to the communal sleeping and bathing arrangements in the cage -- it's probably not surprising that he doesn't blush. "It didn't tickle," is his only response to her praise, but he does go over to the chair when it's pointed out and settles into it, drawing one foot up onto the cushion and propping his arm on his knee. "They are," he confirms, regarding the leather. "The color isn't important. Choose something you like."


"If I could dress everyone as I liked, there would be a lot more blood-pink and glitter around here," Visa says almost wistfully. "I think you'd look positively edible in pink, but it'd clash a bit with the flames. How do you feel about dragon's egg purple?" she asks. She apparently doesn't expect him to know off-hand what this color is, and she goes over to the table where she'd set down her latest purchase to pick up a battered binder in bright colorful hues with the name Lisa Frank down the binding. She flips through the pages, which are splashed with paint, what looks like dried blood, oil, smears of clay, and bits of material. She skims through to a thin streak of what might be recognized as nail polish, the color nearly black but with a silvery-purple cast. "It's a bit like this," she says, offering it to him for closer examination. "There's enough for a pair of sleeves as well, if you'd like."


"No glitter," Phoenix says with a shake of his head, "Probably a darker color too. The fire should be brighter than my clothing." Though it's not said with any particular aversion to pink. The issue seems more that yes, it wouldn't likely go with the aesthetic that he's got going on with the flames. He waits while she looks for an example of the color, sitting comfortably where he is. When she brings it over to him, he leans forward and examines the page, giving a nod. "That would go better with the fire. But I don't need sleeves. I prefer the ink to show." The tattoos along his shoulders and arms that are currently concealed by his shirt.


"Oh that's right, I almost forgot about the tattoos," Visa exclaims. "No sleeves. Maybe a necktie?" She considers for a moment. "Or a collar, I've got this amazing silver buckle and lead, but the collar they'd been attached to rotted away long before they were scooped up, I could make a new one." She eyes Phoenix speculatively, taking liberties as a couturier to blatantly imagine him in mild bondage gear. "Could definitely work if you were into it," she says, eyes shining.


Phoenix leans back in the chair once he's done looking at the color, one arm still propped on his raised knee as he regards her from where he sits. There's a faint smirk that touches his lips at the mention of the collar and he says, "It wouldn't be the first time that I've worn a collar." Or bondage gear for that matter. "If you want to make one, go ahead."


"Was it by choice, or part of an assignment?" Visa asks curiously as she puts the binder away. "There's a different feel to pieces you wear because you love how you look in them, compared to things you wear because someone else loves how you look in them." She looks back at Phoenix. "Unless the cage has convinced you that the latter is the same as the former," she says as a caveat. "I have some clients who don't even know what looks good on them anymore. The 'How Do I Look' people. You can dress them in anything and there's never any real joy." A pause, and renders her verdict. "It's sad."


Phoenix's eyes flash, their pale hue taking on a slight edge at the question. There are definitely several layers of response to what she continues to say, but whatever emotion first flashed there, it is quickly subsumed by a more impassive look, a hooded gaze as he watches her from where he sits, some bit of tension in his body that wasn't there before when she was taking his measurements. "There's little joy in a cage," he finally says, to sum up everything that he might feel about that. Joy isn't something that Phoenix really knows.


"There is joy to be found everywhere," Visa counters with wide-eyed conviction. "My friends and family are here, I get to do what I love, I'm not out there half-dead from sickness," she lists off swiftly. "Are those not things to be joyful about?" she asks with a naive hopefulness that Phoenix will perhaps change his worldview all of a sudden.


"I didn't say none," Phoenix says. "Little." And then he pulls himself rom the chair and rises to his feet. "I'll see if I can find you some feathers. Decide what else you'd want in trade for the pants and let me know." He then begins moving toward the exit, heading back the way that they had come down. He pauses though, long enough to say, "Thank you." At least the beast has some manners.


"You're welcome," Visa says warmly when Phoenix remembers his manners, her own joy radiant even in the dim lighting. "I'll think about it and let you know, and of course I'll get started on them right away."