An Expression of Intentionality

Xanadu Weyr - Journeyman Jethaniel's Quarters

The stone of this cavern dwelling has been made comfortable, with rugs to cover the floor and hangings on the walls. Comfortable, but hardly stylish; the hangings seem to be a combination of faded remnants from the storerooms and apprenticework that wasn't up to standards. They still keep out the chill well enough, and apparently, that's what matters.
The room is lit from overhead with a soft glow - many small lights laid out in a pattern of the night sky. They're adjustable in brightness; from mere faint sparks for sleeping with, to a mid-morning shine suitable for many tasks.
Many tasks; but not all of them. There's also a pair of swivel lamps, mounted to a wooden workbench that juts out into the middle of the room. The lamps are adjustable to bring the light precisely where it's needed and cut down on annoying shadows.
There's not space on the bench - or in this room - for any major projects, but there's a never-ending series of minor ones, whether it's fixing the stars above when they burn out or else optimizing the small space heater tucked beneath his desk to keep his feet warm. One way or another, there always seems to be something there, its parts spread out across the scratched white plastic sheet of non-conductive surface. Not to mention the tools - a set of jeweler's magnifying lenses and tools for fine-work, scaling up through the wrenches and screwdrivers for medium work, tucked in a toolchest beside the workbench - or else in the worn canvas bag used for bringing the right tools for the job, to the job.
Sharing a chair with that workbench is a small desk. The desk is up against the wall, making an L shape with the workbench. Atop it is a computer terminal and a few books, along with a stack of notebooks that look well-thumbed… and a pile of paperwork that looks barely touched.
Tucked in the back corner, there's a bed. It's got plain white sheets (smudged with grease), and a navy blue blanket. It, too, is comfortable, and it never seems to be made.

This morning, Jethaniel was in his office working. Paperwork moved according to the formalized patterns thereof, and documentation was both read and written. In the portion of the day which is, according to the pattern suggested by the schedule, reserved for lunch, he rose from his desk and locked the door to his office. The remainder of his day is, according to his calendar, a restday. An actual restday, not merely a day of medical leave. He has been continuing to take those as well, though with decreasing frequency. He has not yet had a discussion concerning their potential impact on his salary. The Weyrleadership is entirely capable of recommending a suitable adjustment. Until such a time as that occurs, Jethaniel has left the numbers unadjusted. The budget continues to have income and expenditures suitably balanced. It suffices. This, however, is a (half) restday, and so after locking his office, he limped his way to Darsce's. This was not because he intended to spend his restday in her office; while her company is something he desires, regardless of day, those environs are not ones suitable for that purpose. Jethaniel's purpose for visiting the office was, instead, to leave a note requesting a tray of dinner be brought to his room at the end of the day. This request is well within the perquisites of the position of Steward, and - according to the general procedures in place - could be delegated to any number of errand-runners. Having made this request, Jethaniel proceeded to locate himself in the location in which he had informed others he would be present. His limp across the clearing was slow, but not overly problematic. His key still turned the lock and let him into his room - a place where he has not been here in some time, but it is much as he left it. He has spent the afternoon here, sitting at his workbench. His ankle is up, set atop a storage box. His wrist… may have been used excessively, but at the moment, Jethaniel's expression is primarily one of attention as he dismantles an apparatus on his desk, unscrewing a clamp. The cloth is neatly folded and set aside.

Darsce 's day has been comprised of her Headwoman's duties, which in the weeks since the change in Weyrleadership, have been undertaken with a more deliberate and singular focus, though she was giving it what she intended to be her best effort before then. She is not, nor will she ever be, a workaholic but she might be developing a tendency towards perfectionism in her job. She doesn't always succeed. There's no way anyone can achieve perfection. Things happen. But the caverns are run as efficiently as she can make them. The meals are on time; the menus kept interesting and varied; the living areas sparkle with cleanliness; and her manner, while less inclined to her spirited, vivacity, is professional, bordering on cold - or perhaps remote would suffice as a better descriptor - while in a certain office. Those refreshment trays continue to be delivered, each as to specified preferences for drinks and edibles, save for one of the persons working there. She isn't unwilling to adjust that detail but hasn't received the impetus to do so. The delivery of the note to her desk finds her out of the office doing yet another sweep of the caverns but she notices it upon her return and knows exactly where the tray is to go. When she locks her office door for the day shortly before dinner is served, she sees to this errand personally. So it is that the tap - the toe of her shoe against the base of Jethaniel's door - heralds the arrival of Darsce with loaded tray in her hands with enough to feed two, if he doesn't mind company for dinner.

Jethaniel did not ask that Darsce see to this task personally, but when he opens the door - a process not conducted with the utmost of speed, given his limp - and sees her there, he smiles. He did not ask; he did hope, and the fulfillment of that hope curves his lips and brightens his eyes. He steps to the side, slow because of the necessity of easing into the motion, and holds the door open for her in invitation. "Thank you," he says, and while the mere opened door might - given the difficulty he would have in carrying a tray - simply be a request that it be placed on the desk, the fact that he will shut that door once she's entered changes the implication. So, perhaps, does his smile. Jethaniel has said little regarding the positions of Headwoman or Weyrleader, in recent weeks. Appropriate reports and documentation from the office of the Steward show up on the desks of each. He is polite to the point of formality, and performs the functions of his role - including, admittedly, a few nontraditional ones - with, depending on the particular function, a manner somewhere between dutiful and intrigued. He has not changed how he is working, nor does he intend to do so. He has simply been… acting professional, in public. Here, his posture is more relaxed, and that smile is an easier one.

Darsce enters demurely - though her natural inclination is anything but - a quick survey spotting the cleared spot on his desk. It is to it that she steps, there that she places the tray, then turns around. A flicked glance notes that the door has been shut, prim melts from her posture and iceblue eyes warm in a slow smile for him. "You're welcome," she drawls implying it's for more than simply the tray. She pushes away from the desk, moving closer to him, rises on toes to offer her lips to his. "I hope you're hungry." Well, it has been a long time since lunch? And then tipping her head further back, she smiles at his stars overhead. "You missed them, didn't you?" So simple that statement. The question is, as asked what she means primarily. But also… is he remaining here? She doesn't ask why he wanted the tray; it stands to reason having made his way here, that the back and forth would be wearing.

The door having been shut, Jethaniel follows Darsce back toward his desk. Slowed as he is by his limp, he meets her partway, and his head lowers to press his lips to hers with gentle affection as his braced arm slips around her. That arm remains in place against her as she looks up to his electric stars, and though Jethaniel also smiles, his gaze remains lower. "There is a certain character to the light, yes." At present, he seems to be observing what it does as applied to the contours of Darsce's face. "I also had something to finish here." That fact may be more relevant to the implied question than the stated one, but does not entirely answer it. "Will you be eating with me?" It is a simple question; perhaps she already ate, or has somewhere to be - in which case he will have to remove that arm from around her. It, as asked, is a genuine question. It could also imply another part of the answer to the question Darsce implied, via a simple substitution of one verb in the present participle form with another. He is, certainly, not proactive in the slightest about removing his arm.

The muted glow from above washes Darsce's face, softened from the mask of aloof she's been wearing in public to honest pleasure, adding myriad points of effulgence to the iceblue eyes that behold them. An agreement, "There is; you made them." Their ambience creates in her a tranquility and they are pretty - but - he made them. This is what pleases her so much about them. Her gaze drops to him when he speaks. To finish? This brings a curious cant to her head, a half-smile and a questioning brow, "Not something I could have fetched for you?" But to the other, her smile shifts into something else entirely. "Yes," she answers with a simple, straightforward decisiveness, which could be an answer to questions verbalized and implied. Indeed, she makes no move to depart, for in the process of star-gazing and Jethaniel answering, her arms have wrapped about his waist. "I'm glad you took some time to get away," from the office, and all that goes with it these days, "and relax." She hopes he did anyway!

Jethaniel smiles fondly for Darsce's claim concerning his lights, and tilts his head to the side in order to brush his lips softly to her jaw. The positioning is intended to be such that he does not obscure her view of the ceiling, but he may not entirely achieve that aim, particularly given the shift of his hair as he leans. As for his project - "No." A simple answer. A very simple answer, because he offers no clarifications as to why not, nor apologies that he did not ask, nor… any details whatsoever. Not that he seems displeased; rather the opposite, considering his smile and the lingering nature of his gaze. There's also that arm around her, though the other is unfortunately occupied with his cane. He nods at the information she will be remaining with him for dinner, and the smile increases. "I did not go far," he notes, and his lips quirk a little more deeply. "I am, however, glad you find the day well-spent."

Those lips to her jaw please her and easily caught will be the subtle chypre scent reminiscent of cedar, spice and exotic florals she tends to use. Jethanie's hair. Mmmm, Darsce likes it! Even when it partially obscures her view of his stars and tickles the tip of her nose. She tilts her chin just enough to nuzzle - oh look - an ear! Her arms tighten to keep him from escaping as she playfully continues,pressing the attack to his poor, defenseless ear. Is he ticklish? She's a little sidetracked, snickering quietly, perhaps for the first time in weeks, but relents before she knocks him over, mindful of his healing injury. Her eyes dance up at into his, drift over that lingering smile, mystified, but she casually accepts the answer. It was probably something technical that she either couldn't have brought him all the pieces-parts of or he needed to use his workbench for and so she smiles up at him. Working on things, being creative is good for the mind, relaxing and thus, "I do," consider his time well-spent, "but I'm glad you didn't go far." Truth! "Do you want to eat now?" If not, she can return her attention to giving his ear some serious attention.

Jethaniel certainly did not go beyond Darsce's reach. Nor is his ear beyond that reach of hers. The degree of transit was intentional. The positioning that permits that teasing… may have had unforeseen consequences. He makes a noise somewhere in his throat, a sound of surprise that comes with a tensed arch of his spine that can be felt all the way down to where Darsce's arms wrap around his waist and where his own fingers twitch against her back. Ticklish? He is trying very, very hard not to be, but that does not entirely count and may, in fact, be evidence for the opposite. Jethaniel makes further noises, somewhere between protest and laughter, as he attempts not to squirm and his hair sways back and forth across Darsce's face. Perhaps it is attempting a tickle of retribution, but that seems unlikely. Nowhere in these attempts does he attempt to lift his head sufficiently as to render the teasing impossible. If anything, his head ducks slightly lower. From the perspective of avoidance, this is exceedingly suboptimal, but Jethaniel still appears to consider his time well spent. Does he wish to eat now? "No, but-" will he have time to finish this statement? "-there is something I wish to show you."

Darsce is silent while awaiting Jethaniel's answer. No? But he asked for a tray- She eyes his ear speculatively and her mouth begins a curl of anticipation. But wait- he has something to show her? "Something I haven't seen before," she drawls but somehow, suggestive isn't something she expects from Jethaniel and so he has her full attention. Well, he had it but before but her attention is more on his intent than hers. "What?" She flicks a very curious look around the room.

Jethaniel did ask for that dinner. He will, at some point, eat it, but at the present his attention is elsewhere. A nontrivial portion of it is on Darsce, but not the entirety; if he were completely focused on her… "Yes." To the fact that it is something she has not seen before, not what she might wish to do with him. Insofar as that is concerned… Jethaniel changes the angle of his head, moving that ear out of range as he lifts it. He does not, however, move it far out of range, and instead of continuing to lift his head, he pauses to bring his lips into contact with Darsce's. She assuredly has a large portion of his attention, and the character of that attention is such that this kiss, while no less affectionate than before, also presses more firmly, such as to quite coherently constitute a statement of desire. His intents? Most assuredly include such intentions as may be the subject of glaring interrogation by certain family members, but - given that he does also have other intentions - he draws away before the kiss can deepen too far. Jethaniel inhales, relatively deeply (for the purpose of regaining a focus other than Darsce herself), and lifts his head the rest of the way. Tempting as he may find it to alter his attention to her intents, he has presented his own to her and Darsce has, as a consequence, asked him what. Jethaniel now intends to answer that question rather than - or, at least, prior to - showing her things she has already seen. There is value to novelty, though her inspection will reveal little obvious change to the room. The cloth-covered project that was here last time is partially dismantled, and certain of his books and papers have been neatened and rearranged. Neither of these has an obvious significance. Jethaniel steps toward his workbench, encouraging Darsce's proximity by retaining his arm around her. He leans on her a little as he props the cane against the edge of the bench and carefully leans in, sliding open a drawer and extracting a small wooden box. It is cubic in shape, a light golden brown in color, and opens on a pair of hinges but is otherwise unadorned. The quality is average; the work of a competent apprentice. Jethaniel, once he has it, nudges the drawer shut with the back of his hand, then straightens once again. He turns his head to look at Darsce, and smiles. His jaw moves as if he is about to speak, then his lips quirk further and he ducks his head, leaving those words unsaid as grey eyes flick to the box in his hand. Those eyes return to Darsce, and his arm around her tightens briefly before he lifts his other hand and presents that box to her on his open palm without explanation save for one clarification of attribution. "I did not make the box."

The dishes on that dinner tray are each covered and as such will remain hot for some time, so Darsce doesn't fret about him not sitting to have it right at this moment. Especially with him kissing her like that she doesn't. There's dinner? What dinner? Her mouth softens from that impish grin, inviting his to linger, answering his unspoken intentions with agreement and welcome. Brief though the kiss has been, she's a touch breathless when he lifts his head, her eyes remain lifted to his, mystification mingled with the emotions he's stirred in the iceblue. Her attention follows his and she's easily drawn along with him to the workbench, her arms still looped about Jethaniel's waist and willingly helps support him as he puts the cane aside to open that drawer. The box is seen as he lifts it out, but her eyes lift to his face, expectant of some explanation, observing his expression, eyes crinkling at the corners prompted by a fond smile for that head duck. He's so endearingly shy (or something) sometimes! Her eyes only drop to the box when he comments and then it's to stare at it in apparent confusion. He did not make the box…okay. Uh… One of her arms leaves his waist lifting to touch the box with a brush of hesitant fingers, iceblue eyes flit up to his grey ones questioningly. He wants her to open it, yes? She assumes so. Why else would he show her a box he did not make? And so… leaving the box still held in his palm, with a flick of fingers she manages to pop it open while peering curiously to see what it holds.

So long as Darsce's attentions toward his ear were not motivated by her hunger, Jethaniel is quite willing to delay dinner. Her response to the kiss serves to provide supporting evidence regarding her motivations, and as such… the food can wait. Jethaniel has other things in mind. He smiles to her curiosity, but does not actually produce verbal answers. Her fingers touch the box, and he nods, providing a confirmation to that unspoken question. He wants her to open it. He still offers no explanation, but he watches her - a flick of his eyes to her fingers as they touch the box, and then those grey ones return to her face, lingering there to observe. His own curiosity is for her reaction; he knows the contents of that box, but Darsce's opinion of it… he will discover, as she opens the box to discover both that it is lined with dark cloth, and the contents.

A band of hammered silver composes itself of a series of planes, the inner surface smooth but the outer carefully dented to provide textural complexity. The shapes are irregular and their interactions are non-repeating, at least over the surface available for observation. This is, however, not a ring of infinite dimensions; it has, in fact, been carefully sized according to observation of similar artifacts. A round setting, approximately twice the width of the band, overlaps it. This setting holds a domed moonstone, the gem's surface polished to smooth reflectiveness but the depths a soft, faintly bluish grey that almost seems, due to the internal refraction and reflection of light by the crystalline structure, to glow from within.

Darsce's attention to Jethaniel's ear were most definitely motivated by hunger, but her appetite is not for what's over there on that tray, so yes, though she hasn't eaten either, she's quite forgotten about food. The box flips open and the contents revealed; the ring displayed there in the dark material commands Darsce's full attention. At first there is mild surprise and she does not move a muscle, not to touch it, not to breathe. She does study it with an intensity that she's never given to a piece of jewelry before. This is no flashy, gaudy bauble cranked out by the hundreds to clutter jewelry boxes of the anonymous, gathering dust save for being worn casually once or twice a turn, but dignified in its simplicity, meant to be worn, meant to say something. He did not make the box he'd said and her eyes are wide wonder as she continues to behold the creation, the tip of one finger tentatively traces the curve of that band, feeling the textured planes, her face is soft with a sort of enthrallment. The stone is almost a perfect melding of iceblue and grey, which meet as she looks up to him with her heart in her eyes and a tenderness curving her mouth. "You made this." Not a question. And then she breathes, "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." She means it.

Jethaniel's hand is steady, holding that box - though it is, of itself, unimportant, serving merely as a container. It is the contents that have taken him a great deal of work, begun months ago but with the completion delayed by his injury. His own breath is held as he watches Darsce, seeing the study in her gaze. Jethaniel conducted assessments of his own at various jewelers. He considered a great many rings. He discovered none that were sufficient, and that he was, furthermore, not satisfied with the prospect of sufficiency. He found smithcraft jewelers who were willing to discuss the rudiments of the craft. He found minecrafters with unset stones for sale. He considered and assessed and practiced - metal can be melted and reforged; gems are more fragile and require careful precision from the outset. Jethaniel is not an expert, but as he watches Darsce react, he smiles; a slowly growing expression that begins with his eyes, a pleasure of satisfaction that draws up the corners of his mouth as it spreads. Her eyes meet his, and there is a discontinuity in the otherwise smooth graph plotted by the degree of his smile, a leap of pleasure as gazes meet. He nods, despite the lack of question to her tone, and his gaze remains on hers as he does. He made it, and - she states her opinion, and the expression of Jethaniel's pleasure in his face undergoes another discontinuity in its rate of increase. His time - today when he finished and polished it, and all the other days spent in working on it - was well spent. He squeezes her gently with that arm around her, providing an increase in the pressure it applies as his eyes, earnest and loving, stay on hers. "It is yours." And so is he.

To the announcement that the creation is hers, Darsce's throat works. She can't speak. Her eyes remain on his, warm with deep feeling - awe and gratitude - more for the time, effort and creativity spent in making it than for the object itself. No one has ever given her anything of greater value and much like the stars on his ceiling this ring will be uniquely speak something of Jethaniel to her. Her smile is both radiant and tremulous and there's a sheen in the iceblue that continue to meet grey. The arm she has still around him tightens, answering his embrace. Without a word, her left hand leaves the ring she'd been touching and is presented to him. After a couple of shaky breaths she manages, "I will treasure it - and you - always." The words are choked but her smile assures him that she is deeply moved.

As steward, Jethaniel has gained skill in assessing value in marks, but he finds that particular valuation - in this case - entirely irrelevant. He made it for Darsce, from the selection of materials to the design to the construction. It is an expression of intentionality. For her, he would do many things; for her, he has done this. He sets the box down on his desk, and his eyes leave Darsce's in order to extract the ring and slip it onto her finger. Once he has done so, he lifts that hand in order to touch his lips to the back before lifting his gaze to hers once more. "I am glad," he says, his tone quiet and those grey eyes warm with earnest affection. Words are insufficient; so is any gesture he is capable of making, but Jethaniel intends to make them nevertheless. His other arm goes around her, leaving his cane behind to let Darsce be his support as he holds her and says words that are, while insufficient, exceedingly important. "I love you."

For her he has done this and to Darsce the fact that he wanted to - took the time to - and did so - say more than words ever could. She watches in with reverence as he slips the ring onto her finger. While words might be insufficient to express the depths to which he has moved her, she tries, her voice husky with feeling, "Thank you." And then, elaborating her intentionality as his lips touch her hand, "I will never take it off." When her hand is released so both of his arms may hold her, she likewise returns her arm to its original position, her head tipped up to smile back at him. Her inadequate, but also important answer is an echo of his, "And I love you." If he doesn't protest, she'll leave words behind and demonstrate her depth of feeling. When they get to that dinner? It will be stone cold. But as one of the Aivas file reads, "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

Up in space, the Yokohama floats in the reflected light of two moons. It was there that Jethaniel first admitted his attraction to Darsce, and something else - a protestation that his aesthetics were insufficient to her. Now, he has presented her with the work of his hands - and his own aesthetic choices - as an enduring symbol, one met with pleasure and her own desire for that persistence. The words may be insufficient, but he still smiles for the intent. She will wear what he has made for her, and Jethaniel is glad that she wishes to do so. His arms hold her close, another expression of the love stated verbally. There are a variety of potential forms of expression; the application of several may serve to create an overlapping system of meaning wherein the layering effect is conducive to establishing a sufficient depth of emotion. Jethaniel is also pleased to engage in further forms of expression; the continued touch of hands, the renewed touch of lips, further touches and extensions of contact. His bed is only a few steps away. Darsce will continue to wear her ring, but the rest of their clothing, Jethaniel considers optional. The dinner, he does not consider for quite some time, because his attention is entirely on Darsce.

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