Karona's Dilemma - Thea's Solution (Karona is Searched)

Follows on from Commissioned Awkwardness.


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.

It's mid-afternoon, and the forge is relatively quiet today, what smiths there are seem to be keeping to themselves, there's very little chatter. Karona is seated in a chair over near the meadow exit, balancing a metal board on her lap, with sheets of paper spread across it. The sheets of paper are all blank, and the journeyman is chewing on the end of her pencil in frustration. "No. No no no." she mutters, shaking her head. "Not /that/." she declares, with a firm scowl.

Sand-bound Weyrwoman getting away for awhile for a break from the heat winds up in the…Smith Forge? Go figure. But yes, here comes Thea, strolling on in and right on by Karona and that doorway. She doesn't seem to even notice the heat of the place, already perspiring as she enters. She gives no more than an absent swipe to un-stick the hair clinging to her temples as she meanders, pausing here and there to silently watch over the shoulders of folks working. Finally winding up back over by the door, she stops to eye Karona's empty sheets with a lift of one dark brow and a faint smile. "Not what?" she finally asks the woman idly.

Karona's face colours at Thea's question, but she doesn't look up. "Not … not polite to state in mixed company." she decides, scowling at the blank pages. "Supposedly working on a commission, 'sensuous' sculpture titled 'love', it's a real pain in the—" she raises her head as she's talking, and then clams up when the very moment she sees who she's talking to. "Ah! Hello ma'am, anything I can … help you with?" she asks, shifting the blank papers aside and getting to her feet.

If it's possible for the normally serene and cheerful Weyrwoman to look mildly irritated, Thea does it with the clamming up and rising Karona does. It's more of a slight grimace for the ma'am, though. "Sit, sit!" It's more of a seeking to put the woman at ease than a command. Stalling for time before she comments on that commission, she takes her own advice and sinks into a nearby empty seat, scooting it closer. All the while she's working diligently to mask the amusement bubbling up after hearing that answer, lips twitching to restrain a grin. She'll wait for Karona to sit back down, head tilting after a quick glance-round to see the 'mixed company' seemingly busy with their own tasks before she offers, seriously, "You can write the idea on the page in teeny tiny little letters and show me." Her expression is dead-pan? But there's definitely a devilish dance in those ice-green eyes.

Karona hesitantly retakes her seat, eyeing Thea slightly warily. "..er. Right. Sorry." she murmurs, looking sheepish. It takes everything she has not to add 'ma'am' to the end of that. Her eyes go wide at the Weyrwoman's suggestion, though. "Write it down?" she practically whispers, tone hushed, "N..no. It was… impolite. /Lewd/." she shakes her head. "…but I fail to see what /else/ 'sensuous' could refer to." she has to admit, a little cryptically perhaps. "It… it's to go in his /garden/, for all to see. It can't be lewd." Seems the problem's been sitting in her head so long that she no longer bothers to explain it.

Thea continues that steady regard for Karona all throughout the woman's whispered protest. Were it not for the merriment glimmering in her eyes, she might almost be a scientist inspecting a newly-discovered species. Curiously, "Who's garden exactly?" Because yes, this is SO going to help Karona calm down.

Karona busies her hands shuffling the papers, tidying them up into one neat pile. She fusses at the edges rather a bit, getting them to line up /just/ right. Procrastinating? Never! But she has to answer eventually. "I… ah, a bluerider, gave me a deposit," she digs a fat blue marks pouch out of her pocket, and drops it on the papers. "…and asked me to make a sculpture for his weyr's garden. Metal, obviously. I have to title it 'Love' and it has to be 'sensuous'. His exact words." she frowns at the paper, face reddening even further. "I," she begins in that hushed tone, "I can't think of anything that'd be polite to put on display."

"Oh a /bluuuuuuuerider/." The Weyrwoman draws out the word, her tone seemingly much enlightened. "This explains everything." Still sober in expression despite the tiny crinkles now crimping the corners of her eyes, she appears to give the situation some serious thought. Finally, "I have just the solution for you, Karona." She's having more than a hard time containing herself, but she has yet to give in to the urge to grin or laugh. "Have you tried asking around for some dragonrider opinions of what might fit both Sensuous and Love?" Poor Karona.

Karona nods slowly. "N-not sure if he wanted it for his weyr or someone else's, else I'd give his name. Don't… don't want to spoil the surprise, if it is a gift." she furrows her brow slightly. "I… should /ask/ him that." she murmurs, then shakes her head. "Ask… ask riders, ma'am?" she says, blinking slightly. She glances down at the papers, then up at Thea's knot, obviously /Thea/ is a rider, then back to the papers. "Er, I, um… well… No?" she says hesitantly, eyes fixed on the papers now, fingers running around the edges. Are they perfectly aligned? All of the papers? Must check. Yes. "I…" she squeaks, then clears her throat, trying in a more normal pitch, "I'm… afraid to. Of what the answers might be." she admits, /eyeing/ the sheets of paper. "Asking that lot was bad enough." she jerks a thumb in the direction of the forges, the other smiths.

Thea's lips twitch slightly, the corners curling up the tiniest beginnings of a grin that could possibly go unnoticed. Her lids lower while her eyes scrutinize those paper edges along with Karona. Lashes lift, her eyes seek the smith's. "Afraid? Becauuuuuse… all riders must certainly have dirty minds, hmm?" She seems to come to a decision, a hand-wave of don't-answer-that negates her question. Instead, she reaches into her pocket, holds it there while casually noting, "Then I guess the only other solution is to become one yourself." And when she withdraws her hand, extending it to Karona, there's a white knot balanced on her palm.

Karona stares at Thea in horror. "I… no… what? I didn't mean… I would never… not /all/ riders!" she babbles, mortified. Is her embarrassment because Thea guessed correctly? Maaaybe. "I…" Blink blink. "…white. White knot…" There's more blinking. "…why not." she says, with a slight shrug. "One last time, break from the craft, might… might help." she's murmuring, running her decisionmaking through out loud. A hand tentatively reaches for the knot, but hesitates. Karona shuts her eyes tight, takes a deep breath, and then nods, snatching up the knot before she even opens her eyes. "I… yes. Thank you." she accepts properly verbally, eyeing the knot in her hands. "D… does this mean I can't do the commission any more?" she asks, struggling to keep her expression neutral, though her eyes keep drifting back to that fat blue marks pouch.

Dry-voiced, "No, of course you didn't." The Weyrwoman agrees simply, then waits calmly while Karona goes through her internal debate. The knot remains there for the taking although Thea doesn't appear to be too terribly concerned whether or not Karona takes it. When finally she accepts, her own hand is dropped to join the other in her lap and she bestows a sunny smile upon the smith. "Congratuations Candidate Karona." With a formality she usually reserves for times such as these, she adds, "Of course this means you'll need to move into the barracks- you know where those are- not leave the Weyr without a rider-" A definite twinkle of mirth flashes in her eyes at that. Obviously she's thinking that there'll be a chance for the smith to poll Riders on Sensuous. "-no getting drunk, no fighting and no sex until the eggs hatch." That last question of Karona's reminds her and it's a breezy reassurance that follows, "Oh. Yes, that. You'll have Candidate chores, but you'll still be doing your craftwork in the afternoons." So yeah, she's still on the hook with that commission.

Karona is quite happy to just pretend that mortified moment never happened, so she moves on to the knot, nodding at Thea's words. At the rules - no getting drunk, fighting, or sex, - she nods. "Nothing I don't already live by." she murmurs distractedly. "R-right. Afternoons for the commission…" she picks up the marks pouch, and frowns at it, then stuffs it in a pocket. "Well, payment's generous, and so's the deadline." she reasons, with a slight shrug. She'll have to hash out the finer points of the commission later. "…er, if you don't mind me asking, er… what would /you/ think would represent 'love' and 'sensuous'?" she asks, apparently deciding to start the polls early.

Having already risen and taken a step towards the door, the Weyrwoman pivots as Karona's question recalls her. "Oh that's easy." Her hand lifts, fingers flick the dilemma the poor smith has been wrestling with into obscurity. "Hands," she says simply as she turns and continues those few strides towards the door. Just before she steps out, she gives Karona a slow smile over her shoulder. "Hands can communicate both love and sensuous. Go-" her hand waves in the general direction of the beach, "-people-watching and you'll see what I mean. If you don't…well, come ask me again." Dark lashes flutter an encouraging wink and then she is gone. Does she cackle once out of earshot? You betcha. All the way back to the Hatching Arena.

"Hands?" Karona repeats, blinking, and eyeing her own two hands, turning them over and opening and closing them thoughtfully. "…hands." she repeats, confused. Nope, she doesn't get it. She sighs, and goes back to her blank paper.

Further exploration in A Commission Breakthrough.

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