Eteri replayed the words her father had said in her mind, over and over again, but she only managed to sell a moderate amount of her wares – it seemed people would not pay much for them, lamenting their colors were a little weird, and the shapes out of fashion.
Now that the sun hung perfectly above, she slumped in her chair, looking at the crowd enjoying a meal as they waited for the Zalethi’s procession to start. It would pass by that stretch of the Whitepath further in the afternoon, and at least she had one more thing to look forward to.
She only hoped her father and mother would come back soon, her stomach was beginning to grumble and-
“Do I have to ask a second time?” Pondered a female voice. Eteri started, turning to her right. There stood a Rasena woman, her grey hair well-kept, her plump body covered in rich clothes, green and lined with gold. She wore the emerald eyeshadow that was in vogue that year (or so she remembered hearing from Tatia) and her red-painted teeth, as was the use of aristocrats, showed a dissatisfied sneer.
She was a noblewoman.
“Oh Twelve above! My apologies! I was thinking about the Zalethi’s arrival today, and I lost my mind. Peace! Can you please repeat?”
She shook her head and Eteri bowed even further, trying not to provoke her. She hoped she did not lose an important customer because she was thinking about something else!
“I was wondering about these,” she said gesturing towards Eteri’s own wares. “I wonder if they might be good decoration for my table. I noticed you have woven holy writing inside the decorations.”
“You have good eyes,” Eteri stated, trying to impress her. But then again, she did single out of her wares. “These are made according to a special recipe that’s privy to our own family,” she hushed as if to reveal some big secret. “And one the one hand they aim to marvel the eyes with the intricacy of their patterns while also delighting the soul by reminding one of the glory of the Twelve. They would surely be the perfect gift – to eat on such a splendid plate and then to have one’s spirit lifted by reading poetry and holy verses!” She tried to push as much hot air as she could in her own pitch.
As she stopped to take a breath and look at the noblewoman, she only then noticed she carried a Daimon with her.
She had never seen one so close. The gorgeous glass statue stood naked next to her, carrying a few trinkets and jewels in its see-through hands. The smooth glass glistened to perfection, catching the light of sun and scattering it in a thousand directions at once. What struck Eteri the most, though, was the statue’s serene smile. Its hooded eyes seemed to see right through her, as if she was the one made of glass. It seemed to hold in its mysterious smile all the secrets of the world, and be glad it was keeping them for itself.
“I will be taking three,” the noblewoman said in the end. “I really like this idea of vowing a prayer with the geometric decoration… quaint. Your workshop’s style, perhaps?”
“Ah, my own idea, to be fair, o high-bloodied!” She bowed again. “I am not surprised someone as keen-eyed as you noticed it!”
“My eyes are not as keen as your tongue is honeyed,” she chuckled. “But that is to be expected of a merchant. Your name, young one? Perhaps I will share these wares with my peers, if they will enjoy it as well.”
“Ah! I’m Eteri, second daughter of Tesru of firecane district, here in Velathri. You can find us…”
She waved her hand and Eteri shut her mouth.
“If I will want to find you again I will make sure to ask. Thirty silver tarì would be a fair price for your wares, young artist?”
Eteri’s heart beat a little quicker.
“Y-Yes, o noble blood. That would be a fair price. Most fair.”
“My thoughts exactly.” The noblewoman grinned as she snapped her fingers and the Daimon next to her picked up two small bags of coins from her purse, poured a few out of the smaller one and gave it to Eteri.
“The Z-Zalethi may conserve you,” she babbled as she held the heavy silver in her hands.
The noblewoman laughed at that, but she accepted her words together with her precious plates. They got lost in the crowd and Eteri fell on her chair, holding the bag of coins close to her chest.
She sold it.
Her chest felt so warm. She sold it for a crazy price.
Thirty silver tarì.
And that woman might as well talk about her to her friends…
Eteri looked up from her chest and the bag to notice ati and apa walking towards her. She looked at ati as she raised the bag of tinkling coin, feeling as glad as a banner caught in a sharp gale.
“Eteri!” ati beamed, reaching the stand as quickly as her legs allowed her to. “Was that… oh Twelve above, it was not a mirage or an illusion, was it? You really sold your ceramics to that pompous noble?”
“I did! Look, look!” She opened the bag and showed the glint of silver to her. Her smile was like a balm on Eteri’s heart. She had felt a little guilty about leaving her alone that morning, and now she could finally show her that she did want to come to the festival for a good reason, that she was a daughter to be proud of even if she would not get married soon like Tatia.
“What did I say? What did I say!” Her father pulled her in a hug, threatening to tilt the rest of the ceramics over, but at this point Eteri did not really care.
“It was a stroke of luck,” Eteri replied blushing. “But yeah, thank you apa. Perhaps you were right.”
She hugged him back, ati set her weary arm around them, and the joy Eteri felt in her chest was the most perfect she had ever felt in her life.
She would never experience such a beautiful moment again.
Thanks for reading.