The Tears are all there in bottles, aligned in rows, arranged on shelves in the far corner of the shop, where the sun can’t harm them and the temperature is constant – no chilling breezes every time the door opens.
Many shops offer a few bottles of Maiden’s Tears, but Madeleine is the only Keeper who offers the full line, and there’s no dispute that hers are the purest, the most potent.
Maiden’s Tears are most plentiful, and Madeleine has them further separated by vintage – that’s the age of the Supplier, not the age of the Tears, you understand.
Most shops never see anything beyond a 12, maybe a stray 10 if an order is mislabeled, but Madeleine offers 8s, which are full of innocent imagination. 13s, she warns, tend to induce snark when not used in extremely small amounts, and for special customers she’s been known to procure a rare, full-bodied 22 or 25.
Mother’s Tears – those are the varietals with the greatest differences. A 21 or 23 might have the best Fertility, but they’re often laced with Self Doubt and Regret. The 35s, Madeline says, and the 40s are best for boosting Confidence and Reliability, but if used incorrectly they can cause a spike in Sexuality that’s a bit unexpected.
Crone’s Tears go in and out of fashion. Some years, people clamor for the Wit and Wisdom they offer; other years, people avoid them, unwilling to risk high doses of Sorrow.
It’s said that Madeleine was a Supplier in her Maidenhood, that her Hopes and Dreams were among the strongest.
It’s also said she’s a Supplier of Crone’s Tears now, and that’s why she’s able to have such an extensive stock.
No one’s ever seen Madeleine Cry, but if you look carefully, she has the crescent-shaped mark under one eye – the kind you get from years of Collection.
It’s only ever one eye, of course. The Tears of one eye are Cried for others, but the Tears from the other eye are for yourself.