an arrival [iris mood/intro]
#1
I can almost see you
Standing there
A dim reflection
In a foggy mirror
A subtle vision
Hanging in air
A gentle spectre
And a soothsayer
CLAVVS - Spectre

On a late summer day, the sky uncharacteristically overcast for the time of year and a taste of impending autumn rains on the cool breeze, she slipped into the city nearly unnoticed. Her coming had been forewarned, not by prophecy nor any manner of correspondence magickal or mundane, but by construction. Or rather renovation. It started with a small handwritten sign, strung with twine and pinned to the inner side of a florist shop window: 

Pardon Our Dust
Thumbelina's Enchanted Garden
Coming Soon!

It continued with orange cones warding pedestrians away from the open doors through which contractors came and went. The renovations didn't take long, it being far simpler (and cheaper (not that it mattered, not when the work was paid for with someone else's dime)) to acquire a space already outfitted with the basics necessary for this endeavor than to tear down and build up from ashes. A month or two to install new fixtures and updated appliances, to affix panels to the walls that would give the space a wooded feel. By mid-August it was ready to receive customers. She was already there by then, but only barely.

She arrived a little over a week before she would open the doors for customers, so that she might watch as the last pieces of her new life in this new city took shape. She would be there to meet with local greenhouses, putting a face to the voice their overseers had heard over telephone many times over many weeks. She would be there to accept terms of a rented living space, a room in a house near the University of Denver, with two college-aged Sleepers. This last had been a sore point with her benefactor. Better to live alone. I can find you a place, somewhere downtown, perhaps, where you can have privacy, they'd said. I'll have privacy, she'd said.

But, what if--

A low chuckle, little more than a huff of sound. What if, what if. I can't live my life by What Ifs, darling. 

Wouldn't, they'd said in the cadence of a familiar recitation, and not for the first time sounding reluctantly relenting, even if you could. And that was the end of that.

Which led to her arrival. On a cool late summer day, before the shop opened, before the home was settled, even before the first call to suppliers was made, she walked the city. Those she passed had a sharp, sudden brush with brilliant incandescence, a sense of lush verdant greenery, a rush of summer refreshed before it passed and the promise of autumn returned. Those who looked at her saw a woman who was lovely enough, dressed comfortably, her wavy brown hair twisted up into a kerchief at the back of her head, loose locks brushing against a cheek that - if one looked long enough or closely enough - bore light and strange scarring that continued down her throat to disappear beneath the collar of her shirt. Not one of the Sleepers she passed looked long or close at her, however. Even though she seemed amiable, smiling warmly whenever someone's eyes chanced to meet hers, there was something, some unnameable air about her that sent a shiver up the spine. Were they in ancient times perhaps they might be able to put a name to their sudden discomfort. But, they are not in ancient times, and so they quickly averted their eyes and hurried on their way.

Thus did Iris Raz come to the city of Denver.
My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations. -- John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
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