An Interesting Commission

Based on a personal event:

[Xanadu Weyr] Thea: Karona. You're asked to construct a metal sculpture of your own design for a Rider's garden titled, "Love". The payment offer is generous, but the stipulation: it needs to be 'sensuous'.


Xanadu Weyr - Smith Forge

Loud, dim, and hot is the large area set up for the Smith's forge area. It's been roughly divided into separate areas, the large common one holding the main forge lodged against the western wall, with bellows at the ready and a chimney rushing high to open in the ceiling outside. This is the area that the apprentices are taught in and are able to use, the nearby wall clasps a vast and unspecialized collection of tools, while the built-in shelves of another wall host jars of nails, crates of wood and metal scraps, spools of wire, sacks of sand, and heavy bins of Cromcoal, all decorated with a fine coating of grime and sawdust.

To the other side are the separate forges for the Journeyman's use, each one kept clean and neat, even when in the midst of a project. Behind and to the back lies the more private forges reserved for the few Masters that stay here.

There is a door to one side that leads into a hallway and to the dorms and rooms of the smiths that call Xanadu home.

A man in snug harper-blue leathers pushes past those entering the forge, with a smug self-satisfied expression on his face. His knot shows him to be a bluerider. Not far inside the forge is a red-faced and flustered looking journeyman smith, one Karona. "Uh, I'll, get right on that for you, sir…" she's mumbling, though the rider is long out of earshot. "Love?" she says aloud, sounding confused. "Sensuous?" Blink blink. "What do /smiths/ know about sensuous?" From nearer the forge, there's a crude call of "I'll show you sensuous!", really just emphasising her point. Karona leans on the counter, shaking her head in bewilderment. "That's… some order." she murmurs, /eyeing/ a fat blue marks pouch sitting on the counter.

Iosas had just entered the forge, in time to hear 'I'll show you sensuous!' He pauses…and is a split-second away from just turning around and walking out. But stops. He's been sent to retrieve something in particular. He needs that new glass blowing pipe. So he walks on in despite, and looks around, mildly confused….

"HEY, Karona, wake up!" comes a shout from elsewhere, as Iosas enters. Karona shakes herself out of her daze and turns her red face on Iosas. "Oh. er. Apologies. Didn't notice you there." She's probably assuming he's been there a while, if she's being shouted at. The marks pouch is hesitantly pocketed, and the woman straightens up. "Ah… what can I do for you?" she asks, business first. Though there's still a very perplexed expression on her face, she's still puzzling over something.

Iosas nods, still looking a bit confused. "I…um, I've been sent to retrieve a glass-blowing pipe that was ordered yesterday?" he says quietly. He reaches in his pocket, to pull out the marks pouch that he'd been given to pay for the item in question. A pause. "…Can I ask if there's something wrong…?" he asks politely.

Karona nods slightly. "Right, glass blowing pipe.." she runs her finger down a small stack of long thin wooden boxes, and then stops, pulling one out, very carefully. It's placed on the counter, and slid towards Iosas. "Huh? Wrong? ..uh. Well. Just got a strange commission. Hm. Could use some advice, actually." she says, eyes brightening. "I'm supposed to make a sculpture, metal obviously, on the topic of 'love'." she wrinkles up her nose, but it gets worse, "And it has to be 'sensuous'."

Iosas offers a smile as the box is pulled down, and counts out the marks as it's pushed closer. And as she explains the problem, he…blinks. "Oh. Well." He seems like he might be blushing. But maybe not. "Er…well, normally 'sensual' indicates, um…things that…deal with the senses. You know, like…sense of…touch?" Yeah, /now/ he's blushing. Since he's thinking of some things that could be wrought in metal.

Karona furrows her brow slightly, and shakes her head. "Metal is cold and hard, nothing sensual about it. Why /metal/? Should see the things woodcrafters can do with sandpaper and varnish, amazing." Though, woodcrafters weren't commissioned, she was. "Okay… touch. Hmm. I could make it look like something that's, uh, sensual, to the touch?" she muses. A firelizard nearby - a young brown - is eyed, contemplatively. "…but, hrm, the wings…" she murmurs aloud, shaking her head, apparently dismissing that idea.

Wow that floor's fascinating! Ahem. Yes. Iosas raises his gaze to Karona again, and nods. "Yes, something like that," he agrees. "Though…in the strictest sense of the word, it could just be a smooth, curving piece of metal. Or one that has an interesting texture…." Though given the association with 'love', he has a feeling that's…not what's being asked for. But he can't bring himself to say that.

Karona nods slowly, tugging that fat blue marks pouch out of her pocket with some difficulty, dropping it on the counter. "I think, for that, something more than a curved piece of metal is desired…" she says, grimacing at the pouch. "Love, though? Why /love/, of all things? Might as well ask me to sculpt a three-headed wherry, at least I'd have more of a clue." she snorts. Is she admitting she knows nothing of love, or does she just realise how subjective love is? Faranth only knows. "I love soft baby animals, I think they're adorable. Somehow I /don't/ think that's what the rider was after." She almost spits the word 'rider', not a high opinion of them? Evidently.

Iosas chuckles nervously. "I don't think it's a rider thing…I think it's more a 'person who wants a crafter to make him something, but he doesn't know what he wants, so he's going to give the vaguest possible definition'," he explains. "I've seen that a lot in the glasscraft…they'll ask for 'something pretty' and then not say exactly what."

Karona snorts. "No, a /rider/, asking for something 'love' and 'sensuous', probably wants something relating to flights. I won't do it. Nope." she stands her ground, though the marks pouch is eyed with a hint of greed. "If… If I make something cute, like a baby feline or something, I wonder if he'll still pay. To have a baby feline set up in front of his weyr, for all to see." She frowns slightly. "…probably not. But, I think, I think it might be worth it."

"To see the look on his face?" Iosas inquires. A snicker. "Probably so. Would definitely teach him to be more specific when asking a crafter for something. Even if it's not the ultimate aim of doing that." A smirk. Pause. "I didn't say that, though." He looks sheepish.

Karona tips her head at Iosas in a half nod. "See! Yes! Teach him to /say/ what he wants! What he loves is not what I love, and vice versa. I find stroking young felines to be a nice … sense? It feels nice. He might have had something else in mind, some other sense maybe, but I've no way of knowing it. Like, like with you, glasscrafting, and people saying 'something pretty', bet there've been a few differences of opinion there?" she prompts.

Iosas nods wholeheartedly. This, at least, is something he can relate to. "Exactly," he agrees. "I've had someone come in wanting a spun flower of some kind, and say 'make something pretty'. So I make a panel. And they don't like it." He shakes his head. "Besides that, if you make him /say/ it, he has to suffer whatever embarrassment outright saying what he wants causes, and not just leave the embarrassment of making it to you." Boy does he have a skewed view of thing, if he thinks things like that can embarrass a rider.

Karona nods firmly. "That he does. I think it's worse, not knowing, because the mind conjures all these… images. Not at all appropriate. I'm just trying to figure out what he wants, really. Terribly distracting." she mutters, face red. "People need to just /say/ what they want. For this many marks, you /ought/ to have a good idea." she says, prodding at the fat blue pouch with a finger. "I… did they pay you? For the panel?" she wonders, eyeing the marks pouch with obvious greed in her eyes.

"Likely the most inappropriate one is what he meant," Iosas teases lightly, with a snicker. Perhaps he doesn't quite share her opinion of riders — he's not about to say one way or the other — but he does indeed share her opinion of this particular situation, and that he doesn't mind talking about. The panel? Iosas nods. "Yes. Though only half of what was originally agreed upon. They didn't specify, and I didn't ask for more information. So we determined we were both at fault." He shakes his head. "I really hate it when people say 'surprise me' when commissioning things. I'm not a terribly great judge of 'good' surprise as opposed to 'bad' surprise.

Karona lifts the marks pouch, as though gauging the heft of it, then pops it back in her pocket. "Hm. I suppose I can live with half." she decides. "I'd never tell the rider, mind, but I think he over-paid a tad." is noted, with a smirk. "I suppose I ought to /try/ and make something… decent. Fuzzy feline, while tempting, is perhaps… not warranted." After all, she has to present it to the rider, later. "Hm. I suppose I could ask around, get opinions from various people, see what they thing… What would /you/ make, that says love and sensuous?" she asks of Iosas.

Iosas snickers a little, but nods. "Well, the more you're paid the more you can advance in your craft," he reasons. Not that he'd ever overcharge anyone. But it makes sense, anyway. A nod to the mention of fuzzy feline. "That might not be a good idea, yes. He might accuse you of trying to hurt him." A snicker. Though suggestions? "Ah…n-no, I don't know…I can't really offer any suggestions," he stammers. None that are appropriate, anyway.

Karona frowns slightly, glancing down at the counter. Very interesting counter, yes. "Er… right. I'd ask that lot," she jerks a thumb over her shoulder. The other smiths? No doubt. "but they'd be only too happy to answer. Crudely." she grimaces. Crude is not the answer she's looking for. "Well… he did give me a generous deadline. I suppose I can take some time to think. It /is/ advancing my craft, isn't it? I've been making nothing but runner shoes for so long, I'd forgotten what commissions were like. Nice long planning stages, I have to /design/ this thing." Suddenly, she seems much happier with the commission, perhaps even looking forward to it. An excuse to get away from the forge? Well, it's not so wet and dreary any more, is it?

Iosas chuckles a little, nervously. "Well…maybe," he notes. "If you ask them not to give you crude ideas, maybe they wouldn't?" Maybe not. However, he seems to cheer slightly as Karona ruminates on the good things about having time to design the commission. "There you go," he encourages. And then he suggests, "Maybe you'll get an idea around the Weyr?"

Karona bobs her head, glancing past Iosas to the exit, then back to the glasscrafter. "Mm. Maybe I will. You're a veritable font of good ideas, you know that?" she compliments the teen. "Ah… I suppose I should introduce myself, huh?" she realises, looking a tad sheepish. "Name's Karona, I'm… well, I'm a journeyman smith. Just journeyman, though, if this commission goes well, it /just/ might be enough to push me to Senior Journeyman at last." Here's hoping! That may be the /real/ reason she dismissed the 'fuzzy kitten' idea.

"Heh…thanks. I try," Iosas replies, looking sheepish at the praise. He gives a nod to the introduction, and offers a hand to shake. "Iosas. Senior apprentice in glasscraft," he returns pleasantly. "Good to meet you." A nod. "It could possibly do that, if you do really well on it. Even if it's not what the rider really wants."

Karona bobs her head. "Well, the rider's feedback will play a /part/, I'm sure, but mostly it'll be the Masters inspecting the workmanship, that sort of thing. Does it meet the order, by any reasonable definition? Is it sturdy? Does it look professional? There's this whole list of things they look for. Making journeyman seemed a lot easier, I just had to demonstrate knowledge of various ores, and they judged me based on the quality of ores I'd purified and smelted." She makes light of it, but it sounds like a lot of work at the time. But then, she's learnt so much since, of course she'd think that 'easy'.

Iosas nods. "Sounds like it's more complicated than that," he observes. "But then, I'm not a smith, so it probably /would/ seem that way to me." He chuckles. "Well…even if it's not what the rider wants, I hope he at least likes what you make for him. I bet it'll be beautiful, whatever it is." She's putting a lot of thought into this creation, and with a creation with that much thought in it /has/ to turn out beautiful.

Karona reaches for a scrap of hide, scratching out a couple of words - 'love, sensuous', the keywords of the order. For memory's sake. The hide gets pocketed with the marks pouch, and Karona frowns. "I hope it'll be beautiful. I've made nothing but runner shoes for a while, those don't really have to be anything great to look at, for obvious reasons." She shakes her head slowly. "But… hm. Yeah. Hopefully it will be suitable, I'd very much like to be paid in full, and maybe earn a promotion." But the marks are her main desire, clearly.

Iosas nods. "That's perfectly understandable," he agrees. "You'll be putting a lot of work into it, and I imagine it's pretty dangerous, if hammering and liquid metal is involved. It'd be awful to do all that, risk getting burned, or having your finger or hand flattened, and then not get paid or even recognized for it." A pause, and he thinks. "Tell you what. When you finish it, send a firelizard my way, I'd like to see it when it's done. Woudl that be all right?"

Karona chuckles slightly. "Dangerous? Well, suppose it is that. But I'm used to that, it's just… part of work." Not that she'd be saying that when a minor burn sends her running to the infirmary, as it occasionally does. "Send a firelizard? Well, I'll /try/, my older two aren't much for 'listening', but hopefully this one gets useful." She pokes at that same young brown firelizard she'd briefly pondered sculpting, though he doesn't even wake. "I'll… find a way to let you know." she promises, with a nod.

Iosas looks to the snoozing firelizard as she pokes at it, and nods as he listens to her account of her other firelizards. "Ah, I see," he notes. "I don't have any firelizards. Though I'm told that's actually a good thing, so…." He chuckles Though as she promises to try and let him know, he nods, looking pleased. "That would be great," he declares happily.

Karona shrugs slightly, eyeing the brown. "Honestly, I wasn't that sure about the first two. But they've kind of grown on me now. Someone left this egg on the counter here, I suppose because it's warm in the forge, and I happened to be on my lunch break when it hatched. Snatched my meatroll right off my plate." But there's affection in her tone, she couldn't deny the little brown. "I'm hoping I can train /this/ one to carry messages, third time's the charm."

"I'm sure you'll have more luck," Iosas encourages. "I mean…you've had two to practice on, right? Now you probably know as much about firelizards as you'll ever need to." And maybe a bit more than she wants to know! Iosas chuckles, and notes, "They tend to do that when they're hungry, I'm told." Pause, blink. "Oh! Faranth, I need to get going." He leaves the payment for the glass-blowing tube on the counter. "Thank you again, and I'll be waiting to hear how your commission goes!" thus saying, he hefts the box with the tube in it, offers a parting wave and a broad smile, and makes to get back to where he was supposed to be. Hopefully he won't be in too much trouble for lingering….

Karona chuckles, and pokes again at the firelizard. "I sure hope so. Thanks for the chat, really helped." she says, offering a wave to the departing glasscrafter, before sinking into thought. Before long there's another shout of "OY! Karona!" from the rear, and she's pulled out of it to see to whatever that was about, with a sigh. A smith's work is never done.

Further exploration in Commissioned Awkwardness.

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