Xanadu Weyr - Craft Complex

The large area has been separated into a variety of smaller sitting areas, couches and chairs organized into rings and squares, tables set where they can be used easily. A few desks for studying are pushed against one wall, while another has a variety of doors spaced along side it, opening into private quarters for the ranking crafters posted at the weyr. A set of double doors opens to the general apprentice dorms, and a long hallway stretches outwards, providing access to the various workshops.

The fog is incessant, turning the Weyr into a mist-shrouded dreamland where color and sound are both dulled by the drab mist that obscures the view. Without breeze or sun to cut through it, the damp chill is the sort that soaks through into the bone and makes it impossible to get warm again. These are all great reasons for the outside spaces to be less than popular, leaving the caverns bustling, busy spaces. Here in the common area shared across the crafts the crowd is thin, and from the sounds echoing down the hall it is partly because the workshops are full of workers. Matrin has staked out one small sitting area near the crackling hearth, but he's standing rather than sitting in front of an easel. He seems to be adding the final touches to a small canvas made up of greys and whites and blacks like the landscape outside, with a woman in dark violet beneath a weeping willow the only bit of color. The sleeves of his thin sweater are rolled up, and for once he wears denim and boots to round out his casual attire.

The shrouding fog tends to muffle sounds - at least outdoors, creating an ethereal pocket of privacy around a person walking around in it. Perhaps it is this solitude that the Weyrwoman has sought, out walking in it rather than ensconced in her office or in by the hearth in the crowded cavern. That she's been out there for awhile is evident in the moisture-beaded strands of her hair and lashes, the damp clinging to her jacket and darkening the garnet skirt brushing her calves. Her entrance into the complex is leisurely or perhaps to the discerning eye, reluctant and she pauses by the door with an effort to re-gather her thoughts, shrugging some sort of invisible weight off. She's spotted Matrin, ahs to herself and heads that way. Instead of walking right up to him however, she hangs back several paces to wait quietly for him to spot her. Never startle a harper with a wet paintbrush! On the opposite side of that easel, she simply watches him paint, not willing to assume she may look just yet, but she'll ask when he's greeted her.

It is just that sort of feeling Matrin seeks to capture in his painting. Isolation in the midst of cool monotony, with a sense of motion in the woman's steps but almost flat stillness to the rest. He is absorbed in his work, if it can really be called that, and does not see Thea enter or gather herself or creep along behind his easel. It is only when he lifts eyes that have darkened with the intensity of his concentration, glancing toward the window across the way for some inspiration that he notices her, because instead of glass his gaze finds her face. A blink takes him from the unshuttered transparency of submersion, to a flicker of surprise and finally straight on through to a hint of a smile a nod. "A mist-jeweled Weyrwoman, just the muse I was looking for." His tone is as rich as the deep aubergine he dips his brush back into, and he dabs a bit onto the canvas before letting his eyes flick back up. "Please, sit. There's tea?" The end of his brush indicates a steaming, cozy-covered pot and a trio of delicate cups.

There's a tiny flinch at the eye contact from Thea, for while watching him paint, despite the bold strokes and dipping brush, since she cannot see the emerging picture, she's been lulled back into her own thoughts and thus hers are shadowed with them when he looks up. She blinks, immediately brought back to the present and though her quiet smile doesn't quite reach her eyes, it is her real one, "Is it now? It looks like I'm tardy for the sitting, how sad. How are you today, Matrin? Tea would be nice though, actually. It's chilly out there. Don't let me interrupt you, though. Shall I pour for you as well?" Though lacking bright humor, her words are as easily spoken as ever. As she steps around the easel, "I was hoping I wouldn't startle you by creeping up on you. May I?" One hand gestures to his painting as she pauses before the chairs.

A meeting of two mutually introspective souls then - darkness touching darkness and both flinching instinctively away. It softens something in the deliberate charm in Matrin's expression, leaving his eyes less than sparkling, his smile a gentler thing with no glint of straight white teeth. "A Weyrwoman is never tardy, My Lady. Your timing is impeccable as always, as I need a muse for final touches. Xanadu herself inspired the basic scene." Amusement lingers but walks with light feline paws, fading rather than dying as he nods. "I would appreciate a cup, please. I think there is cream and sugar at the serving area if you'd like it." A shake of his head is easy dismissal of her concern, and he turns the canvas so she can see. He has skill for sure, but today it's for himself so the painting is dark, somber, more passion than detail.

"Did it really?" The Weyrwoman flickers him a half-smile as she takes a step forward to eye the painting, her "Thank you" uttered absently as she focuses her attention there. It's the pale reflection from outside the window that steals the light from her irises giving them a dreamlike quality as she takes in the scene. "I don't think I recognize the place, but it looks quite tranquil. You have a way of instilling emotion in there I think. I feel like-" Her voice wavers at the last three words and she stops with a short laugh and a shake of her head, "Maybe it's just my mood. I'm silly." She takes a steadying breath, "It's very nicely done." Then more briskly, "Now where is the serving area? Ah!" She spots it and heads over that way, returning with sweetner, cream pitcher, two spoons and cloth napkins.

"It isn't a specific place here, but the general sense of things, yes." Matrin's explanation is a murmur as light as her thanks, and the latter earns her an easy nod in response. He watches her look the painting over, crossing one arm over his midsection and using it as a base to prop his other elbow. Fist curled near his mouth, the line of his lips pensive, he awaits her verdict. Tranquil makes his brows lift, and her compliments draw the curve of a smile back. "Well thank you, though you are not silly. My favorite art plays into the viewer's mood, enhances it or is enhanced by it. It is the highest compliment you could pay." He lets her go get the accessories, cleaning his brush and capping his paints though the canvas is unsigned and perhaps unfinished. When she returns he takes a seat and lifts the teapot, ready to pour. "So, what do you feel like? I promise not to put it in a song." His tone is light, but his smile doesn't quite reach his eyes.

Thea slides Matrin a look bright with admiration for his ability to tap into her mood, though her expression, when her eyes cut away to that painting again grows a touch haunted. So when she does speak only to cut herself off, her movement away to get the tea things is brisk, the small thunk and rattle of her setting crockery and silverware the only sound while he's cleaning off his brushes. Shrugging out of her damp jacket, draping it over another chair, she sinks into one of the soft chairs, uses the toe of first one foot, then the other to pry off her shoes so she can curl her sock-feet up under her flowing skirt and sit half-facing Matrin and the table. For a moment she is silent and it might seem she isn't going to answer his question. "Like crying," she says abruptly with a frank honesty, a little tilt of her chin is all that betrays her effort not to. Though there is no tearing up at this admission, there is no smile, nothing said to lighten it right afterwards either. Tipping her chin down, her somber gaze now on a more direct line with his, she asks, "It's only fair, now that I've told you. What were you feeling when you painted it?"

The harper either accepts her admiration or pushes it away - the slow close of his eyes and the downward slant of his chin could be read either way. When they open again it on the sight of ghosts dancing again across Thea's delicate features, so he gives her the space of silence as she goes about getting comfortable. He pours hot herbal tea into the pair of cups, then settles hers on the small table beside her, along with a spoon, sugar and cream. He'll take his straight it seems, as he curls his hands around it and settles back in the chair's embrace, one ankle crossed over the opposing knee. For all that the posture is comfortable, his eyes are still intent in a face that is carefully arranged to not push too hard. Her sad admission draws his dark brows down and he shifts his his weight forward again, his eyes searching hers. "Not quite so sad, wistful maybe. A little alone." But he shrugs it off, reaching a hand toward her knee but abandoning the motion at the last. "Do you want to talk about it?"

The aborted gesture draws a flickering smile to Thea's lips, a hint of amusement ripples though her comment, "For all that they say Weyrwomen bite, I assure you this one doesn't." She reaches for the sweetner, adds a half-spoon, pours a bit of cream in it, stirs then lifts cup and saucer to her lap. "I'm not sure I could put it into words," she says finally dropping her eyes to watch the last of the cloudy swirl dissipate in her tea. Lifting the cup to her lips, she blows gently, regarding him over the steamy surface for a beat or two. "Alone pretty much sums it up, though." So there's a common thread, if woven through different tapestries. "Is there someone back at the 'Hall we could have transferred for you then? I'm sure we can find a place for another, be it harper or laborer."

Caught. Matrin's grin is quick and sheepish, paired with dropped eyes and that awkward hand straightening the v-shaped neckline of his sweater. "I would never think that of you. I heard you're Holdbred, and I've been accused of being too… touchy. I think Keziah darn near took my arm off the other day." But there is amusement there, lightening the lingering shadows in his eyes a bit. He sips, wincing at the heat but swallowing past it as he watches her with a narrowing of those dark lashes of his. "Mmm," is his thoughtful acceptance of her words. "Some would be surprised that someone in your position would feel that way, but I am sure that those heights can be lonely ones. I'm sorry." It sincere but more empathetic than sympathetic - no pity in his tone. Her offer draws a soft, sad smile to his face and he shakes his head. "My thanks for the offer but I'm afraid not. I'm just missing my little niece today. We would play hide and seek when the fog came in like this. She's in a good place though."

Thea makes a concerned sound in her throat about Keziah, expression grave as she sips her tea. The clink as she lowers it to her saucer is counterpoint to the soft crackle of logs in the hearth. There's a thoughtful, "Huh. So it's not simply Ers'lan." Seeking to reassure him, she elaborates, "She's… defensive where it comes to men I gather, from what I've seen lately. I don't think it's you, personally." She lifts her tea while he's speaking, sips. Her eyes crinkle as her mouth forms a crooked semi-smile, "Oh, call it borrowing from tomorrow, the lonely." An odd statement she leaves unexplained for, "Is that so? Well then," she lowers her cup, extends one hand palm up, an offers warmly, "I'll have a dragon at your disposal within the hour to ferry you off so that you may whisk her here to play in the fog while you take the rest of the day off." She adds a bit slyly, "The least I could do for your turnday."

That sound is as easy to translate as words, at least for someone as cued in to the way people express themselves as Matrin is. At least when he's paying attention. He is quick to shake his head, his own tone sobering. "It wasn't as bad as all that. She really does seem to be making an effort, though I have to admit I am not sure it's…" Brows pinch together as he trails off in search of words. "The right sort?" A quick shake of his head declares that insufficient but what he adds is, "It's none of my business of course." And neither are the worries of her tomorrows or her todays, but this time when he leans forward he does lay a light hand on the very cusp of one curled, skirted knee. "Hopefully I'll be here tomorrow too. I'll always share a cup of tea." And so he's leaned in that way with nowhere to escape when she makes her offer. His face goes blank, jaw clenched for a beat as his eyes go suddenly glossily bright. "My Weyrwoman is too good to me," is a little rough, and he clears the sound out of his throat, pulling back into his own chair and hiding behind his cup as he murmurs, "Her father wouldn't like that. We've agreed it's best for him to make the rules, now that she is back with him. But thank you." And for that bit about his turnday, when his sip is done, he manages a weak grin. "Ah, yes, those pesky files they send along with us Crafters."

Very troubled and very unsure herself, Thea admits, "Keziah baffles me greatly." An understatement if ever there was one! But it's clear that she does care very much about the greenrider and her problems distress the Weyrwoman. It's just that sort of conversation where the slightest nuance can do it: Matrin's comment brings a great big huge lump to her throat and she has to swallow hard before she is able to whisper, "Thank you. That means a lot." The harper's emotion is unmistakable, Thea would be blind not to notice it. Dismay washes over her features, "I …see. I'm sorry, Matrin. When other people have the right to decide matters that affect your heart… " Her eyes slide away to gaze out the window and the words carry the weight of experience, "…it can be very difficult." Drawn back to him at ‘pesky files’, she smiles wyrly, "Indeed." Her eyes grow impish and lifting a forefinger she shakes it at him in mock admonition, "So if you cannot play in the fog with your niece today, you go find someone who can. Build…a new memory in honor of the old."

There is obvious, straightforward agreement for Thea's thoughts on Keziah and he murmurs something that sounds an awful lot like, "At least I'm not the only one." But there's a certain amount of fondness even in the indistinct words. He flicks a glance at her out of the corner of his eyes, taking in the way she swallows and whispers, and by the time she is impish he lets out a chuckle that is clearly lacking in actual mirth. "Well, since the two of us are basically crying in our teacups-" he breaks off to snort another short laugh. "And doesn't that make me sound like an Old Auntie. At least it could be ale, right?" Wry, he shakes his head and the lopsided grin he commonly sports finds a way to claim his mouth. "Anyway. How about you?" Up go his dark brows and he sets his cup aside, standing in the same liquid motion and reaching for her hand. "Come hide in the fog with me, Thea?"

Thea can't help it, her mood evaporates into a light laugh, "Ale or whiskey, while they would seem more manly, might make things worse?" Her clear-hued green is shadowed for but a moment and she deliberately doesn't go there. Instead she finishes the last of her tea and then cradles the empty cup in the hands that rest in her lap, her head tucked with eyes affixed to it absently. Taken by surprise, she turns her head, eyes wide, innocent. "What about me what?" She's supposed to take her own advice?? His fluid movement leaves her openmouthed, speechless for a beat. She doesn't try to evade his hand and she rises too, uncurling her legs to stand there in her socky-feet shaking her head laughingly. "What? Oh surely there is some young gal who would better suit? One who won't have a growling, punch-first-ask-later mate at home?”

Matrin arches a brow, but he doesn't disagree. He is, after all, sitting here drinking tea. He catches the shadows in her eyes and it pulls a bit of the curve from his smile, but can't banish it completely. Especially as he ends up with her hand in his and those stocking feet curilng at the wood near his toes. "You," he confirms. And her laughing suggestion about D'had has him lifting a hand to his chest. "Oh, you wound me. I am but an innocent Harper. Though to be fair I did get a warning from his daughter too." He pauses, quick to add, "She warned me because I said hello from a separate table in the caverns, which makes me think you might be right that hiding in the fog with his mate is right out." He tsks, shaking his head, and gives her fingertips a gentle squeeze. "Bring Marella and Muir. Or lend them to me for a few hours? I…" He clears his throat, dropping her hand. "I don't want it to seem a romantic thing. That part of my heart isn't present today."

Not surprised in the least to hear about Darsce, there's a fond sort of head shake from Thea, "The man is an odd combination of possessive and permissive I have to say that." Her smile is bittersweet, but she says nothing further save to assure him, "Oh I had no illusions regarding romance, none at all. But convincing D'had otherwise?" Her whoosh of breath might suffice as a laugh, a snort or both. Lost cause, there. He hasn't yet seen the man after her gold has flown. Yeah the Weyrwoman running around in the fog with the harper would probably be frowned upon. "I really need to head back to the office, but Muir and Marella are in lessons. If you wish to borrow them, you may stop by and collect them. I'll warn you though. It might be more traumatic than fun. You might prefer to rethink and find a more… pleasant alternative?" Not teasing, not in the least, the wee twinkle in her eyes as she slips her feet back in her shoes, reclaims her jacket and thanks him for the tea. If she slips a casual question or two in there about his new student and how the lessons are going? Totally coincidental.

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