Art Lessons
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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.


Winter breathes it's frigid winds around the Weyr, piling soft new snow up against the buildings and trees and whisking patches of ice to shiny clean mirrors that reflect the pale blue arch of the sky. The sun pours down, reflecting off of ice and snow alike, but with the temperature as low as it is, and the wind whipping through, there is little warmth to accompany the brilliant light. This sort of morning tends to make for a late start, particularly to such informal lessons as Matrin has offered Mishkia. While the other journeymen are off teaching children lessons, and the local apprentices work busily in the Harper classroom, Matrin has claimed their table not far from the hearth. A pot of klah swings over the low flames and between his cottage and here he swung by the kitchens to grab a platter of pastries and fruits which sit on the table along with a short stack of books and a narrow box of writing utensils. He's settled there with a steaming mug, idly flipping through one of the books as he waits.

miah has been up since first light as is her habit and yet she'd made no appearance in the caverns for breakfast. She enters now, dressed in fur leggings, thick, clunky, fur-on-the-outside boots and a fur parka. Cold-reddened cheeks and nose telltale where she's been - out there wandering around in that brilliantly bright day. "Good morning!" Her greeting is called cheerfully from the door where she's stepping out of her boots, shrugging out of her heavy parka and hanging it on a peg, stripping off mittens and stuffing them in the pockets. All it takes is a deft tweak of a knot on the outside of her thighs to unlace those leggings, which are then rolled and stuffed into her boots along with the rawhide cording. Underneath all that she's dressed in a grey, black and green plaid woolen skirt and sweater of moss green, padding over in her thick boot socks to stand close to the fire. With a laugh, the inevitable question is, "I'm late again, aren't I?"

Matrin glances up when the opening door is accompanied by a spill of bright sun and creeping cold tendrils of air. His eyes catch on the site of Mishkia bundled up in fur and rawhide, and dark brows skip upward even as a fond smile spreads across his mouth. Allowing her time to do the transformation from bundled up to ready for the indoors, he sips at his klah and waits until she pads over in her socks. Then he nudges his chair out and moves to stand behind her - close enough to briskly chafe her arms beneath the thick sweater arms, if not any actual pressure at her back. "Of course not. Days as cold as this, I declare late start days. It was all I could do to climb out from under my down comforter this morning myself." Which didn't apparently keep him from donning his usual pressed slacks and crisp dress shirt, which might be why he's cozied up so close to the fire.

As he rubs her arms, Mishkia tips her head up and back to give Matrin a smile, the movement causing her to sway back against him slightly. Her eyes have not yet adjusted to the less bright in here, so the silvery grey has taken them nearly completely over giving them a hazy serenity. "Thank you, it was cold out there after awhile." Fur notwithstanding. "I'm glad I'm not late. I got to following these animal tracks and forgot to come straight here." She's got her hands stretched out to the fire, flexing them as they warm so she'll be able to actually use them and not make a clumsy mess. For his reluctance to brave the cold she has a soft laugh. "You need something warmer. You miss everything that way. Midday's light is too bright to catch the beauty out there in the snow."

That backward drift encourages Matrin to ease forward until his chest is firm against her back, and he slides his hands down her arms until he ends up with a loose loop around her waist. "Well I am happy to adjust our schedule however it suits you best, you know. I have other things I can do in my early hours." Though tracking animals and enjoying the freezing dawn do not appear to be among them, as her comments about midday's light have him chuckling. The soft laughter is a low rumble against her, and he drops his chin to her shoulder. "Well, maybe some morning you can rouse me from my cozy slumber and drag me out to show me. For now I think I'll just take your word for it. I can paint it through the window, beside my fire, or go outside when the sun has had a chance to take the worst bite out of the air." He pauses, then releases her with a soft sigh. "For now though, klah if you'd like it and then we should get started I suppose."

Mishkia remains where she is, comfortably relaxed although she sends a sidelong look at Matrin when his chin drops onto her shoulder and she presses her cold cheek to his for a moment in an affectionate gesture. "You miss all of the color that way. A tragedy for an artist! The snow turns from purple to pink to gold, there is no wind until the sun rises and then when it does the first breath stirs the loose snow on the trees and there are golden motes drifting about…" Her hands lift, fingers wriggling in a comical pantomime of falling snow crystals. "…Can you paint that without seeing it?" She too sighs when released, sending a glance to the window and shakes her head for the view of mostly buildings out there. "Klah, how thoughtful you are. I would." She pads after him the few steps to the table and eyes the books with bright interest. "What are we doing today?"

That press of cheek earns Mishkia a pleased sound in the back of Matrin's throat and an echoing gentle press of his rough cheek to her smooth one. Then he listens quietly as she speaks, his smile growing. It isn't until he pulls her chair out for her and then settles lightly into his own that he finally replies. "I think I could paint it without seeing it after that description. I really do need to make sure you spend time with one of the lyricists, Mishkia. You've a real talent." And if there is something beyond simple approval in his bright eyes as he looks her over, well, the words are no less true. So consumed is he by watching her, when she asks her question he blinks himself out of his reverie and takes a moment to spread out a few of the books before answering. "Some local history. I thought we could practice researching a bit, see if we can find the holding where Jardi met Letola." He slides a notebook across to her with a small smile. "And then you can compile your notes into something with a bit of calligraphy or a copy of whatever images we might find. If that sounds good to you."

Mishkia is so focused on relating the scene and the flight of fancy it again steals her off into that she is, for the most part, unaware of the harper's gaze on her. "You might, but hearing is not the same as seeing. A person misses much relying on the perceptions of others." There's a wistful tone which is explained a beat later with her, "I… do?" Mishkia is pleased by the praise. "Maybe it's having to work with the records so much. I read so many entries and wish they'd have described things or sketched illustrations because I want to know beyond the pale words written there." She settles into the chair he's pulled out with a grateful murmur. "That would be very interesting. Our records described the layout of holding where Jardi met her in detail but did not name it." She reaches for the notebook, nodding at him and opens the cover. She's ready and eager to begin.

By the time she's got herself settled, Matrin has his eyes more appropriately focused on the books in front of them. Her pleasure does draw his gaze up with a flicker of a smile, and he nods. "You really do. Mire's fortunate to have you there, and we are even more fortunate to be borrowing you. Every day I feel a little more like I should be putting you to work instead of trying to teach you what you already mostly know." He winks, then spins one of the books around to face her. "The timeframe you gave me was a little vague but I marked what I think is the beginning of it. You can just skim through until you see anything mentioning outlying holds, and mark those pages. I'll do the same. Then we can go back and see if any match." He pauses, tipping his head as he eyes her. "Unless you have a suggestion of a better way to go about it," he suggests with an unfurling of fingers and keen eyes ready to pluck out any ideas she might have.

"Then teach me something I don't already know." It dawns on Mishkia a beat after just how that might sound and her cheeks once again blossom with color. Her eyes drop to that book he's slid in front of her. There's a moment where she sort of just sits there while her face cools, then her eyes drift over the text briefly. It isn't long at all before her brows knit and she lifts her head to consider his comment. "Well, we can narrow it down by weeding out any holds farther away than one day's walk from here. The records say he found her the day he left Xanadu. And he left in the afternoon, so…" Then she brightens, "Do your books have any maps or sketches of the holds?"

Dark brows climb but rather than seeming irritated, Matrin smirks and his bright eyes sparkle with amusement. While she takes that moment to will her cheeks of color, he reaches out a foot and nudges a sock-covered toe gently. "I bet I can think of a thing or two, but…" he trails off, that boyish grin lingering, and he clears his throat to cover an abrupt change of tack. "Perhaps you should ask questions instead. Your education doesn't follow the normal paths so I'm never sure what you know and what you don't." There, professional and appropriate, a good prologue to his quick, encouraging nod. "Perfect, that will help a lot. And to be honest I am not sure what these books contain, which is why we're working through them today. I just grabbed them out of the records room last night. Maybe a quick skim for diagrams is a better first step."

There's a peek up through lashes at Matrin when her toe is nudged and in spite of fresh color rising to her cheeks, a smile teases its way across Mishkia's lips. "You're not making it any easier to think up decent ones," she murmurs as she eyes that boyish grin of his. Beneath the table's edge she presses the palm of one hand to the flat of her belly. Be still butterflies - your wings tickle! She reaches for one of the pencils, more for something to do than anything else and considers. "Well, learning to sketch would be helpful, can you teach me that?" And she takes his cue, returning her attention to the book, flipping a few pages in silence. "Here is one, a Ressac Hold. Where is that?" She's eyeing the diagram of courtyard and hold, her pencil hovers over the page. "You don't want me to… actually mark in here, do you?"

That little demure upward glance and the return of the flush to Mishkia's cheeks only deepens Matrin's grin. "Mmm, well maybe we will have to take a break sooner rather than later." Teasingly, he runs that playful toe a few inches up her calf, then forces himself to straighten and lean forward to catch a peek at the book she holds. "Probably best to note the book title and page and any brief notes you want, in your notebook. Then we can go back to them." He turns to rummage in his satchel and comes out with a packet of paper scraps. "And you can mark the place with this. Ressac is on the coast of the Azov Sea like we are, just southwest of here. To be honest I'm not sure how long it would take on foot or by runner, but I am sure I can find out." For his part, he makes a note of the Hold name absently, most of his attention on her. "I could definitely teach you to sketch. Would you rather do this instead? I can always have some apprentices do the preliminary marking for us." Eager to please her, he flits from one topic to the next, trying to find her preference. One of the many reasons it's best not to mix profession and pleasure but, what are you gonna do?

NOW how's she supposed to concentrate on the book? As if pretending to give this some thought, Mishkia tilts her head to give him another look, coyly sidelong this time, yet just as lash-veiled. Hiding perhaps, the expression in them while the eraser end of that pencil taptaps her parted lips. Then she seems to think the better of whatever she might have quipped back with and closes them to simply grin instead. Taking those scraps and fitting it into the page while he's making a notation about the hold, he's tweaked a memory, "That reminds me, the records also mentioned that the hold was a coastal one. So that also narrows our choices a little, yes?" She can't hide the eagerness that sparkles in her eyes at his offer to teach her to sketch. "Well if apprentices need the busy-work, by all means. Or I can work on that in the evenings, since this information is important to the Weyr also."

See? It isn't easy to focus sometimes. So maybe she will have a little grace for Matrin's easy distraction when she gives him that coy glance. His eyes follow the tap of that eraser against her mouth and his breath comes out slowly through pursed lips. "You're killing me over here. I should go send you to the workshop to make your notes so we can both focus." He says this but he's clearly teasing as that lopsided line remains along his lips. The expression in his eyes is hidden by dropping them to his own thin notebook where he jots down a note about coastal holds. "Narrows them considerably actually," he murmurs, then pushes his chair back abruptly. "I will give some to apprentices and you can take a few, and we'll sketch for now instead." Maybe that will engage their focus better. Or it's an excuse to drag his chair around to her side before flopping down in it and eyeing her sidelong. "You pick which ones you want to take," he instructs before rummaging in his satchel for a sketchpad and more appropriate pencils.

Mishkia is learning the art of flirtation? And after all, art… falls under the jurisdiction of the Harpercraft. So it should be no surprise at all when she gives him a slow smile and says smugly, "I think your focus is juuuuust fine." She watches him move around the table, eraser to her temple bracing her head while she leans on her elbow. She's slow on the uptake, or so it seems when she echoes, "Which ones I- Oh! You meant books. Of course!" Though there's a smirky-smile fighting to come to the fore of her feigned look of chagrin and she's not looking at him, lalala as she makes a show of peering intently though the books. She selects two with a decisiveness that is telling. She's been giving them a surreptitious study for some time now. "These will do for now." And she's finding it hard not to snicker suddenly. Drawing. Ahem!

Well then he is teaching her something she doesn't already know. Something like that. Her smug reply only encourages him, and he inches his chair over until his knee can rest lightly against hers. An almost innocent little gesture, leaving him with enough propriety and attention to agree, "Yes, which books," with a wry smirk. When she has her choices made he deftly stacks up the remaining books and scoots them back to the other side of the table, making space for his large sketchpad. It looks fairly new and the first few pages have been torn out, leaving it blank. Next he sets out a few pencils. "Light to dark, and the darker ones are harder tipped," he explains with a wave of his hand. "Sketch the stack of books," he instructs lightly, "and I'll give suggestions as we go. Unless you'd rather take a break?" One dark brow arches, impish, and he wiggles one of the pencils at her.

Demure once more, "Oh we should stick to the current lesson." Which is… *cough* drawing! Mishkia actually does pay attention to what he's saying about the pencils, leaning to squint at the leads with interest. Her hand hovers over the array, uncertain which to begin with, flashing him a laughing look at the mention of break and the merest shake of her head and a prim, "Not yet." It's completely ruined by a barely-there up-down dance of brows before she selects one of the lighter pencils and begins drawing. Her eyes flicker from books to paper, paper to books as she makes her lines, concentrating so that the tip of her tongue peeks from the corner of her lips. Even though she's intent on the challenge, she's aware of his knee there, of course, and that's one of the reasons her drawing isn't very good. The other is… she isn't very good. There are flattish and very long rectangles emerging but they lack and sort of depth or shading.

Demure is it? Matrin's eyes flicker up in a way that could be a precursor to rolling but they never get that far. Her intent peer at the pencils is too enduring, and when she quips 'not yet' he just flashes her a rogue's wink. He watches as she draws, eyes narrowing a bit, tipping his head to watch the dart of her gaze from books to paper. At one point he scoots back enough to lean around her and gently tugging at her elbow. "Sketch from here, not from your wrist." He can't get where he wants to be so he stands and bends over her, lining his forearm up with hers to guide her through a few sweeping strokes. "Your outline and perspective is decent," he murmurs, closer to her ear with hair-stirring warm breath than he needs to be. Distracting her with a smirk before leaving her just as abruptly to skirt the table and make a frame of one corner of one book with his hands. "Now draw just this. Flesh out this bit of what you have." A finger brushes a suggesting line here and there to encourage her to add depth.

So intent is Mishkia that she jumps when he moves and her pencil stops, her head turns first to her right to see what he's up to, then to her left as he touches her elbow. She's been drawing with her left hand and yes, moving just the wrist. "Oh that's… really awkward-feeling," she comments, giving it a few experimental strokes. It takes her a moment to loosen her elbow and let him move her arm through those strokes, but then her pencil goes awry when she shivers slightly at that whisper. Oops? The line is a bit wavery now. She swallows and squints at the corner he's framing and she gets onto that, working on shading. "I think practice will help." Whether that is a double entendre is unclear as she steadfastly keeps her eyes on the books. Probably not says the carefully-kept neutral expression but the corners of her mouth curling up fractionally might say otherwise.

Though the jumping and shivering did not stop Matrin's forward progress - she did say she wanted to continue with her lesson - when he finally lifts his eyes from the stack of books they are pleased, with a touch of heat in their depths. Still his words are straightforward, and if not quite cool and distant enough to be strictly professional, they are far more matter of fact than his gaze. "It doesn't feel natural at first but it will get that way. If you are too tight with your lines they won't be as fluid, and it's easier for them to end up crooked." The last said with a little dip of his head to her less than straight line. Yeah, that totally had to do with sketching from the wrist. He quiets to let her sketch then, planting his hands to either side of the books and leaning into them with feet knocked back, bent at the waist. Lounging there, though his eyes are still intent.

Mishkia is focusing much better now that he's over there now or perhaps it's because she's just keeping her eyes on the books and her lines show she is at least listening to his instruction. For a time there's nothing but the sound of the fire crackling, the soft fall of embers in the grate and the scratching of her pencil. She stops finally. "My arm is tired," she notes leaning back in her char and shaking out her arm. Her fingers curl 'round her left forearm massaging up towards her elbow and she raises her chin only to find his eyes… like that. From flirt to flustered in zero seconds flat.

That look that has her so flustered softens just the slightest bit as she shakes her arm out and rubs at sore muscles. Matrin tsks softly, slowly pushing himself upright, but staying on his own side for the moment. "I didn't mean for you to work until you hurt," he murmurs, his smile half flirtation and half concern. "Why don't we take a little break. This is something you can practice on your own too, but not to the point where it's unpleasant, hmm?" He finally ambles around the table, dropping a warm hand to her forearm and giving it a gentle squeeze that turns into circular rubbing. "We could walk to the caverns for lunch, get out of here for a bit?"

She might've been doing it wrong. "I think writing uses different muscles. Or something," is Miskia's take on it since it didn't take her all that long to wimp out. Does he delight in turning her all shades of pink? Because with that rubbing of her arm… "Lunch! Already?" Grey eyes fly to the window in that 'where did the time go?' sort of dismay. "I forgot totally to eat breakfast, so I am a bit hungry." She rises, drops her eyes to the tablet for a moment, then says sincerely, "I can't say how much I appreciate you teaching me to do this. I'll keep working on it until I get better." Her smile this time is a radiant one as opposed to the teasing flirty one.

Matrin nods, his hand sliding up toward her shoulder. "It does use different muscles but you should also try to relax a little. Flow with the lines, don't try so hard." Which, granted, might be easier if he wasn't watching her like he could devour her from across the table. When she rises, he drops his hand away and steps back enough to give her space, and his eyes are softer as he returns her smile. "I am glad to have the chance to teach you /something/ you don't already know. It's a bit of a challenge sometimes," he teases. His eyes stray to her mouth but only for a beat before he offers his hand and nods toward the outside. "It would be early for lunch but we can beat the crowds and take a slow stroll if you like? I try not to keep you too cooped up."

Returning his earlier quip, "I'm sure you can think of something!" And there's a glimmer of laughter in Mishkia's eyes as she tosses him a look over her shoulder on the way to get her coat. It's not quite as frigid as it was at dawn and thus, she dumps the rolled up leggings from her boots – she won’t need them - stuffs her feet into her boots and slips into her parka, leaving it undone. Her mittens are likewise unneeded and so there's no awkward mitten clasp when she reaches her hand out to accept his. It is obvious, isn't it, that she's so used to living in the wilds? Because the way she's hastening to get out really says it all. "I saw some children skating on the river ice this morning. I've only read about it but never tried it. Do you know how?" Because if he does, there's another, albeit non-harper skill he can teach her.

"Uh huh," Matrin says with a roll of his eyes and a nudge of his elbow in her vague direction but not likely to actually connect. He isn't quite as deft at slipping into his heavy wool coat and he's a little fussy about the lay of a thick azure scarf loose around his neck. Still he's ready to take her hand when she reaches hers out, and he tugs her closer even as he reaches with the other hand to open the door. "We can sketch outside too sometime, even when it's cold. Especially if we find a sunny spot." A little squeeze of her fingers is hopefully reassuring, and he encourages her to precede him with guiding pressure against her hand. "And if we use my studio, it has French doors we could open up and a firepit in the clearing." He suggests it lightly but watches for her reaction, and his study is only interrupted for a chuckle and a shake of his head. "I used to skate some at Bitra but it's been /Turns/. We could go and you could laugh?"

Mishkia goes with the tug, stepping closer with a soft smile for that brief pressure of fingers on hers. She precedes him out the door, blinking in the change of light from muted to bright. The mention of his cottage draws a pleased look up at him, "You have your own cottage? I'm glad you do not have to live encased in stone." And here she shudders briefly, "But you've seen mine, so why not? Turn about is only fair." As for the skating, she comments casually as they walk, "It looks like fun. I will have to try it and we can both laugh." But then, this is from the girl who likes riding a flying mattress through the underbrush. Who knows what else she'll try to talk him into on the way to lunch?


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