Harmony in Opposites

Xanadu Weyr - Garden
An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

A lovely autumn morning for Xanadu, though how long fickle weather keeps being benign remains to be seen. For now at least, the air is crisp and the climbing sun bright and cheery, maybe a bit nippy if one happens to be used to warmer climates, but certainly no more than light jacket or shawl temperatures. A nice day for a walk, perhaps, and the garden still providing plenty of pretty to be enjoyed. It's in the centre where one apprentice Glasscrafter kneels on a bench, her back to the plants as she leans her elbows on the stone wall surrounding the pond, sketch pad nestled between her arms. Though no drawing is taking place at this precise moment in time. "No, no, no! Malaise, you little monster!" Ashkeia is scolding, her hand firmly clamped around a sickly-looking green firelizard. "These fish are not for your breakfast. Brainless little—" the tirade fades in volume to muttering, punctuated by squawks and squeaks from the captive flit, for all the world like a real argument back and forth.

With the break in the weather also comes more work for the gardeners, and it's one of such that appears in the garden followed by the greyhaired Headwoman. The pair seem deep in conversation, little bits and pieces floating towards those that they pass but little attention paid to anything until the sight of Ashkeia scolding her firelizard is enough to make Hisolda pause and watch for a moment. Her conversation with the gardener is quickly concluded, the man heading off to being on his task of the day, but Hisola wanders over in the direction of Ashkeia. "Good morning."

"—now shoo, you horrid little creature," Ashkeia's lowered voice will become audible as the Headwoman nears, whatever earlier irritation there had been lost entirely to fond exasperation. Malaise chirrups, her wings fluttering as the apprentice uncurls her fingers from the skinny green, hops a couple of times before launching herself into the air and disappearing *between* almost immediately. Turning to look over her shoulder at the sound of a voice, the plump young woman colours faintly. "Ah. Good morning, Headwoman," she greets in return, scrambling a little to back off the bench so she can adopt a slightly more decorous position. "It is lovely out here, isn't it?" Cough.

Hisolda can't quite help the little smile that Ashkeia's scrambling brings, but it's amusement in her expression and nothing else. "It's certainly shaping up to be a lovely day, though they are planning on digging up one of the herb beds today so I don't know how much longer your peace will last." She pauses a moment, then asks quietly, "The green looks to you?" Yes she saw, but she doesn't seem too inclined to scold - yet.

Ashkeia can't help but smile back, still somewhat awkward but her manner beginning to ease. "It's the fish's peace more than my own that interests me at the moment," she confesses. "They're much easier to draw when they're just swimming lazily, than darting about or trying to hide." Which probably explains the scene the Headwoman happened to walk in on. Dipping her chin in a quick nod, she confirms, "She does, yes ma'am. I— Should I not bring her here?"

"Oh psh. They go where they please, nobody would be able to ban them no matter how much I don't like them." Again faint amusement in Hisolda's voice, though her expression is one of sympathy clearly intedned to soothe rather than scold. "Besides the children are far worse, at least the lizards are working on instincts, children just seem inclined to throw things. You may want to see about getting her a little training, though. For your own peace of mind if nothing else. So drawing is it?" The topic changes in a flash, "I was always jealous of people who were able to do that, may I see?"

Ashkeia's chuckle is a trifle uncertain, brown eyes glancing skyward as if that expression of dislike is a cue for winged trouble appear. When no firelizard appears in the air — at least not in the immediate vicinity — her smile grows a touch rueful. "I am working on it," she assures. "Sometimes I think she is a bit like a child, and just misbehaves so I'll pay attention to her when she wants me to." Another nod follows, the topic change bringing a bit more animation to the apprentice as she turns to pick up her sketch book. "Working on some concept designs for my etchwork," she explains as she offers the pad out for Hisolda. "I've been instructed to create a presentation that evidences harmony in opposites." The topmost page illustrating this with the upper left corner already possessing a branch of a blossoming tree with a pair of Darters caught in mid-flight, and the lower right dotted with water lilies and what presumably is going to be a fat fish of one of the varieties lurking within the pond.

Hisolda nods, happy to accept the reply, "Well you never know it may well be that. For all we know about hte little beasts we'll never really know their motivations I suppose." As the pad is offered she takes it happily, glancing at the pad with a look of definite appreciation for the work, and then blinking back at Ashkeia a moment after, "Harmony in opposites?" She laughs a little at her own confusion, smiling as she adds, "Imagine you're trying to explain to your little green, though without grabbing would be appreciated."

"As near as I can tell, hers are 'feed me,' 'love me,' and 'leave me alone,'" Ashkeia says, her eyes beginning to sparkle with unvoiced laughter. Stepping a little to the side, she backs up to lean against the low wall, next to the bench. "Mmnhmm. It's a lesson in interpretation… I think. The ideas I come up with will show how well I paid attention to things other than what was said aloud as to what sort of picture was being requested." Her brows pull together slightly, a small indication of her own uncertainty about the task. "So, I /think/ I've been told to create designs that have things that are opposites as their subject, but presented in a way that makes them complimentary to each other." Squinting a little, she tilts her head as she considers the Headwoman to see if that made any sense at all.

Hisolda nods at Ashkeia's assessment of the firelizard, smile staying firmly in place as she does so. it only fades slightly as the drawing explanation is given, but mostly because she is looking, listening, and understanding - finally. "Ah, so the blossom is calm, the darters exciteable. The lilies sedate and the fish full of life. I see." She nods, offering the sketch pad back, "Well I hope they're as impressed as I am, they're lovely."

Colour blooms in Ashkeia's cheeks again, though this time her blush is one of pleasure as she accepts the sketchbook back. "And together they create a circle, creatures of the air and of the water, with the flowers able to exist in both elements," she adds. "Thank you, ma'am." For the compliment. "I'm hoping so, as well. I've grown rather fond of the concept, and I would love to be allowed to etch it onto a panel for silvering to become a mirror. But I can only do that if it's approved." She trails a finger down the edge of the page, contemplative, before glancing up again. It's quite belated, but, "I am sorry if my little tiff with Mal interrupted your own peace."

"I'm sure they will, though I can't imagine it as a mirror." Hisolda replies, "I suppose it would be something that would have to be seen." At the apology she raises a hand, waving it away, "Oh don't be silly, if I hadn't been interrupted then I wouldn't have been able to see your sketches, I think it worked out rather well really. And your sketches are far more fascinating than the diseases of plants."

Ashkeia nods, her shoulders lifting in a small shrug. "I think the finer lines would be lost with light shining through, were it a window," she attempts to explain her reasoning for making it a mirror. "I always find it interesting, how different people see things different ways. It makes for a wider range of possibility." Brows raising slightly, she glances around at the nearby beds, corners of her mouth pulling down in a small frown. "Disease? Is that what you meant by them possibly tearing out one of the herb beds? I do hope it's nothing too serious. It would be such a shame to see this garden succumb to a blight."

Hisolda nods in reply, "Perhaps if mad small it oculd be something to hang in a window? To catch the light?" Suggestion made she lifts a hand, using it to add a small shrug before nodding once more, "Only one, apparently it's quite susceptible to… I think he called it white spot. Not enough to destroy the whole garden, but enough that w need to take action to stop it spreading. I'm sure the kitchens will be able to survive without it for a season or two until it regrows, but it is rather irritating that it's happened at all."

"Ohhh, etched into stained glass?" Definitely a possibility Ashkeia hadn't considered, as she again drops a thoughtful look towards the pad. Lips pursed, she taps her fingers against the page, then promptly smiles brightly. "Yes… yes I can see that now. Light shades, perhaps with an open centre to hang a prism inside…." Looking up again for that explanation, she wrinkles her nose slightly. "I can imagine so. Do they know what caused it? I mean, to prevent it from coming back, if possible?" A pause, a blink, and she looks a little sheepish. "I'm sorry. It'd probably be better if I pestered a gardener with my curiosity."

"It wouldn't need to be big, just something.. pretty." Hisolda offer, confirming the thought and looking very pleased when Ashkeia not only approves but expands on the idea. The reaction to the disease idea is met with a simple nod, "They think it came from a batch of blighted seedlings, but there's no way to really tell what the cause was. It could simply have been as simple as someone bringing whatever causes it on their clothing. I'm afraid if you want more than that you'll have to ask them, all they wanted was my permission."

Ashkeia tsks softly, shaking her head slowly as her gaze remains upon the nearby vegetation. "It's such a shame that such things exist to spoil beauty," she notes quietly, audible but it seems more to herself than actually a part of the conversation. At a more 'normal' volume, "I do hope that their measures succeed and this — white spot? — is eradicated." She nods then, smiling, "Yes of course. Perhaps I can find someone after my—" she stops abruptly, eyes widening. "Lesson! Oh, shells. I think I'm late. Please forgive me, Headwoman. It was very nice to speak with you, but I really must run." Flustered by her lapse in keeping track of time, the apprentice fumbles a curtsey and waits only long enough for a sign of dismissal before heading out of the garden. At a fast walk and not a run, but definitely hurrying.

"If it wasn't for the ugly, we'd never properly appreciate the beautiful." Hisolda replies with a slightly rueful smile, "But at least this is one ugly that can be fixed with a little hard work, others are not quite so lucky." As Ashkeia gets flistered about class, and hesitates, Hisolda is quick to wave her off. "Go, go. If you're late you can happily tell them it was my fault, I'm sure they'll be forgiving. Especially when they see that sketchbook. Clear skies to you!" She waits until Ashkei is gone, taking a moment afterwards to look in the pond before wandering off to find the gardener again and press him for more details.

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