DIVA: The DYAL Goes To Eleven #2

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Sun Apr 3 21:55:21 PDT 2016

After cranking out this month's Medley (and next month's, because the inspiration struck) 
I managed to spare some brainjuice to finish up the next chapter of this storyline - and I 
had a lot of fun writing it, too!  Even though I should probably be asleep now...

But, here it is!

The DYAL Goes to Eleven: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Colin Stokes

Chapter 2: The Very Model


"And that be how I met Dark Lord Tasraelin Glade," Solyra finished, sipping her 
morning coffee quietly as she reclined on one of the reception area couches.
   Julia, the receptionist - in reality a young man on loan from one of Sol's 
acquaintances, who was supposedly training him in the illusionary arts - arched a 
neatly waxed eyebrow.  "I suppose that /does/ explain a lot of things," she mused.  
(It was hard not to think of Jules the way she presented, by now - the clients 
never mentioned it, either.)  "The original, or the second or third?"
   "There be a /third/ now?" Solyra returned with a little laugh.  "That title be 
changin' hands enough t' keep it warm, ey?  But no, the Glade I know be the 
original, t' my knowledge."  She grinned, and took another long swallow of coffee.
   Demurely, Julia sipped her spiced citrus tea, as she usually did.  Looking over 
at the salon's clothier, she smiled warmly, the expression that melted hearts even 
in the coldest metaphorical weather.  "You have the most /delightful/ tales, Ms. 
Minx," she remarked.  "I should come in early more often, I think!"
   Sol smiled right back.  Jules was such a treasure.  Maybe she could convince her 
to stay on after her training was complete...
   The front door swung open with a flash of morning light, and Dazzler fairly 
pranced into the salon, looking none the worse for wear after last night's trip.  
"Miz Minx~!" he called out, as overly energetic as before.  "We've brought you the 
items you requested.  I /do/ hope they're what you were wanting."
   The sun's glare continued streaming in, forcing Sol to shield her eyes, until 
Archer stepped inside and closed the door behind her, bearing a large gray sack - 
actually her cloak at second glance, the woman now wearing only her tunic, tights, 
and boots.  "I look forward to the next challenge," she intoned with the kind of 
excited formality that only the most accomplished of warriors seemed to manage.  
"This one was... invigorating."
   "My goodness!  Welcome back then, I suppose," Julia remarked brightly, placing 
her teacup lightly on the saucer with a soft clink to give the newcomers her full 
attention.  "Do we have new suppliers already, Ms. Minx?  The last handful seemed 
reliable, if a little tardy on occasion."
   Solyra shook her head, already rising from the couch to approach Archer and her 
spoils of victory.  "This be a special case.  Archer, Dazzler," she nodded to each 
one in turn, "they be clients.  Payin' me in materials 'stead of money."  Peeking 
into the sack, she froze for an instant at the sight of the teeth she had requested 
- easily double the size she had hoped for, doubtless pulled from the most ancient 
and wily of the lizards, and glittering like stars in the light from overhead.  And 
perhaps most importantly, quite clean of any blood or other organics.  "Payment be 
good, too," she managed, clearing her dry throat.
   "/Lovely/!" Dazzler exclaimed, clasping his hands under his chin.  "I'd ask when 
we're getting our dresses made, but I suppose we have at least /one/ more session 
of hunting to do before my darling Archer gets her fill of /excitement/."
   Julia tilted her head just slightly while Solyra took the collection of lizard 
teeth over to temporary storage.  "'Our' dresses?  Is that what you've decided on?"
   Archer sighed heavily, while Dazzler simply nodded enthusiastically.  "Oh yes!  
Well, we didn't really /discuss/ it with Miz Minx beforehand, so..."  His lips came 
together in a little pout.  "This isn't one of those places where only the /women/ 
get to wear lovely dresses, by chance, is it?  That would just break my heart."
   Solyra returned, offering Archer her cloak back.  "Certainly not."  She actually 
had a Dark Lord who insisted on nothing but dresses for his wardrobe; one of her 
better clients, truth be told.  And regular, too, which always helped matters.  "If 
that be what you want, then I be makin' you a dress, but..."
   Dazzler leaned forward.  "But~?"
   She had decided on this course the moment she saw Archer's cloak today.  "This 
next time you go out, I be goin' out /with/ you," Solyra returned, in a tone that 
brooked no disagreement.  "Be bringin' my sketchpads t' catch you in action, really 
make dresses t' suit you, fit how you move, yah?"
   Archer's eyes narrowed just slightly.  "... I /prefer/ to focus on the battle."
   Sol smiled expansively.  "That be the idea.  Just do what you always do, while I 
be there t' see.  I know how t' be stayin' outta trouble, yah?  And even if trouble 
be on my arm, well."  Her smile turned slightly hard-edged, drawing a slight look 
of apprehension from Julia; it was a rare expression for her.  "Just because I be 
the tailor here, don't you be thinkin' of me as some delicate /flower/ who needs t' 
be /handled/."
   "I offer my apologies for any offense I have given, Solyra Minx," Archer intoned 
gravely.  "I had not considered your skills outside this establishment."
   "Then that be fine," Solyra returned, back to her easygoing demeanor once more.  
"Take your time, and let me know when you two be ready t' head for the narrows.   
Second trip be longer, and not a warm-up like before, yah?  You be /workin'/ for 
your dresses this time."  The black-haired woman rested both hands on her hips.  
"And not just the beasts.  Rough country; rough /people/.  Jealous, too."
   Dazzler smiled cheerily.  "Why, Miz Minx~.  Are you implying that we might have 
to, ah, /defend/ our little resource-gathering expedition from... /bandits/?"
   Sol nodded firmly.  "If we be too slow on the exit."
   "Bandits," Archer announced flatly, "will not be a problem."  Her eyes narrowed 
once again, though not directed toward Solyra as before.  "Whether they are brave 
enough to die for their cause or not."
   "So she says!" Dazzler exclaimed brightly, leaning against one of the couches.  
"Really, I think we're good to go at any time, so long as /you/ are, Miz Minx."
   Solyra tapped a finger against her chin thoughtfully.  In this case, the hunting 
grounds were more than a simple afternoon jaunt away; they were past the kingdom's 
border, in the unclaimed Northern Wilds where no legitimate organization asserted 
dominance.  'Legitimate' being the operative word, of course; the Wilds being full 
of resources, living and nonliving both, those on the fringe of society fought each 
other constantly for the valuable scraps they could exchange for some measure of 
comfortable living, even if only briefly.
   Only two kinds of Wilds bandits tended to survive: the desperate, and the highly 
skilled.  Solyra hoped to be fortunate enough to never run across both at the same 
time - and certainly not on an empty stomach, come to that.  "Then we should go," 
she returned, rising from the couch, "and quickly, before the rush be startin'."
   "To battle, then?" Archer inquired, cracking her knuckles quietly.
   "T' /lunch/," Sol returned with a laugh.  "Jules, you be okay t' handle things 
while we be on our little stroll?  Might be a day or two before we be finished."
   Julia gave the clothier another enchanting smile.  "Certainly, Ms. Minx!  I'll 
do my best to keep everything running smoothly, and there's always the standby 
roster if something comes up that's too much for me to handle.  /Do/ have fun!"
   Solyra smiled back.  "Be no doubt of that.  You two," she continued, turning to 
her patrons, "be ready outside in a few, yah?  Got some materials t' bring, won't 
take long t' gather them all."
   Dazzler spun over to Archer and slid his arm around hers, gently tugging her 
towards the front door.  "Come, dearest, let's not get in Miz Minx's way~."
   A few minutes later, all three were gone, and only Julia remained.  She took a 
sip of her tea, took a look at her makeup in the mirror, and smiled, quite content 
with the state of affairs.
   "Today is going to be another lovely day, I can tell!"

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