Chapter 9: Another Mistake

Magical talents may only have a single ability but creativity has endless uses. — Noman Kortz

Lily spent the entire morning working on Nirih’s dress, wondering what Mindil would be like. She had no idea what to expect from Hasan’s wife other than she was probably a few years younger that Lily and half a decade Hasan’s junior. It was not uncommon for there to be a five to ten years difference with debutantes.

Unfortunately, because of her distraction, her work on Nirih’s dress suffered. She thought she had the right pattern, but after two hours of sewing, she realized she had attached the patterns wrong.

It took her the rest of the morning to pull stitches. The short threads soon littered the ground around her. With every cut seam, despair filled her. If the tiny holes were visible to her expert eye, they would also be noticed by the critical eyes of High Society.

Lily considered finding a way of hiding the holes but it was too important to risk. As soon as she finished cutting the seam, she hurried into her stash to get more fabric.

Even the confined hallway lined in fabric wasn’t enough to temper the edge of her concern. She had thousands of yards worth of materials, but it was a bolt here or a partial bolt there. The colors were an eclectic array of colors but she had sorted it on texture and weight, not appearances. The smooth fabric for Nirih’s dress was at the end and she hurried down while trailing her fingers over the fabric. There was a faint light in the back of the closet, where the enchanted clothes glimmered from the top shelves.

When she reached her destination, her eyes focused on the empty shelf. Frowning, she tried to remember using the entire bolt but it came back in memories blurred with exhaustion. It was for a dress last year. She had forgotten to order more bolts in the rush of the season.

She ran her fingertips along the surrounding fabric, trying to find something that matched, but everything felt wrong. One had too much tooth, another too smooth. None of them matched the shimmering. In her head, she focused on the pattern with the alternative fabrics and felt the frustration growing. She didn’t have anything that could replace a dress so important.

Dejected, she returned to her sewing area. The enthusiasm of the morning had crumbled and she bore down, trying to repair as much damage as possible while she considered her options.

She could try embroidery along the holes to mask the removed stitches. She was a good enough needle-woman to pull it off, but it wasn’t part of the style and would stand out to anyone who knew the inspiration for Lily’s pattern. Needlework had to be used consistently to create a balance, but that would deviate from the pattern Djulian and Nirih agreed to.

Lily cringed at the idea of Djulian ranting at her. The woman was difficult to work with, but she also stood high enough in High Society that she could make Lily’s business far more difficult with a few vindictive words.

Setting her jaw, Lily forced herself to focus on working with the marred fabric. She couldn’t find the line she made before with a bit of chalk. She held it up to the light and tilted it back and forth.

She couldn’t.

Inspiration struck her. She concentrated on the fabric and pushed her magic through it, focusing on a dark color. At first, blackness leaked out from her fingers and spread through the fabric, but it was too dark for her. She lightened it, waves of bright colors rippling along the material until she settled on a deep purple.

With the new color, the chalk lines stood up starkly against the fabric. She found the line; it had started at the same place but then split along the one she had followed. The tiny tail would have ruined the fabric even more if she had followed it.

Lily shook her head with annoyance and then lined up the fabric to sew a new line. She steadfastly ignored the dotted holes of her ruined seam in hopes that something else would come up that would help her salvage the remains.