Sure You Wanna Know?

Xanadu Weyr - Workshops
Some crafts are ill-suited to being tucked away in a cavern, too loud or too dangerous to be desirable. They've been clustered here, out in the meadow away from others. The central building is made of stone and glass, the roof shallow as it slopes away from the thick central ridge that holds forges and kilns for smiths, glassworkers, and others.
The smith forges are loud, dim and hot; windows here are covered with soot or have been replaced for safety. The large common area holds the main forge lodged against the central 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 of the main forge, set against the outer wall, there are separate forges for Journeyman and Master use, each one kept clean and neat, even when in the midst of a project.
Further back there are heating systems and molds for metal and plastic alike, and a set of machines used to grind gears and cast various parts. There's a pump to bring up water for quenching, though it won't stay cool for long given the heat this workshop holds even in winter.
On the other side of the broad central wall is the glass shop, brightly lit through the heat-resistant fixtures and many windows that show off the skills of the crafters of Xanadu Weyr. That central wall and the one opposite it are both lined with kilns and glass forges for the glasscrafters to do their work. The portion of the room near the main entrance seems to be devoted to teaching, as a number of mobile diagram boards have been erected there with desks arranged in semicircles around each. The central portion of the room serves as the production area, with barrels of sand and various additives arrayed beside several long tables and charts, and finally, the back wall is made up almost entirely of cabinets and storage shelves.
There are other workshops scattered nearby, smaller buildings for the various other crafts that are better suited to be where the wind sweeps out over the sea and carries fumes and smoke with it or for those who need to catch their breath after the din of the forges.

Who in their right minds would be anywhere near the forges on a summer afternoon? … well, most folks, but the Smithcrafters don't really have a choice! Even so, the work being done here is minimal, with a small group of Apprentices hard at work on a few simple tasks and projects fitting their skill and no doubt in the process of learning. Keruthien keeps an absentminded eye on them, even if they're not his specifically, but his focus is solely on the project laid out in front of him on one of the workbenches slated for Journeymen. He's humming to himself, while he works, setting down a piece of material in favour of bending over the hidework he has spread out. Never hurts to check measurements! And really, this seems ALL AT ODDS, to the man everyone sees outside of the forges! Seriously, nothing looks amiss here. Nothing at all! Just Keruthien minding his business, dressed in his work gear, apron and gloves folded aside, hair held back by a cloth band and some pretty visible bruising along one side of his face… wait, what?

LOOK. Risali has every right to be here, okay. She's the Weyrwoman. She might not have as much right to be SUDDENLY IN A JOURNEYMAN'S SPACE, and even LESS rights leaning over that hidework he's got spread out like she knows EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S LOOKING AT. She pulls back insufferably long hair so that it doesn't intrude on her vision, and then she looks up at Keruthien as if she means to ask what he's doing. At least, that's what that mischievious whisper of, "What are you —" probably started out as, as she was tilting her head back up to look at him. AND THEN SHE CAUGHT SIGHT OF HIS FACE. Have you seen a soul depart a body before? Risali's does, making her features that were in the beginnings of a smile just seconds before fall somewhat flat as that grey eye takes in his state, as she does some MATH LADY MEME FACES INTERNALLY and then presses her lips together as if she's biting back what she actually wants to say. Instead, she starts with a soft, "Are you okay?" Because that's safer, right? Right.

LET IT BE KNOWN, that if he were working on a weapon right now, Keruthien would say he's exempted from the 'do not brandish sharp objects' at Leadership rule! LUCKILY, that's not what he's working on today and both the project AND hidework in question are completely harmless. Keruthien, on the other hand, should come with his own warning labels! His eyes lift the moment her shadow comes LOOMING all doom-like over his work and he's about to say 'pardon me, you're blocking my light' but thankfully bites his tongue. Why? Because he's trying not to burst out laughing for the face Risali pulls! That's why. Not because he has any intention of saving his hide. "Huh?" Ruthien cocks his head to the side, genuinely puzzled for a breath as he has to refocus and realize she ASKED HIM A QUESTION. "Oh, yeah! I'm fine. Never better!" It's not a lie, there's nothing HINTING any sneaky work or shady business here. He takes a moment to reach for a well-used cloth and begins to wipe at his hands, acting all nonchalant like it's NO BIG DEAL that the Weyrwoman's come to hunt him down in the middle of the forges. "Something I can help you with, though? Don't normally take in new requests between projects but I can make an exception." Cue a wink, a half smug smirk. FOR FAMILY! Not that he's been crowing that out loud to just anyone.

"No," comes with another rake of that grey eye over bruises, an answer for if there is something he can help her with. AND THEN IT JUST GETS AWKWARD, because Risali keeps staring at those livid markers of violence as if she might divine answers from them, and then she closes her eyes, invoking long-dead queens for patience with a silent movement of lips. "Was it worth it?" comes her next question, when her attention comes back, when she focuses instead on his eyes instead of his bruises, and then makes a vague gesture towards her own face. Suddenly, inexplicably, the weyrwoman looks tired. "This, I mean. Was it worth it? Does Kyzen know?" WAIT, THERE ARE OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO GO WITH THIS ONE. "Are you going to cause paperwork for me?" Because LISTEN. SHE KNOWS ANOTHER HUMAN WITH A FACE LIKE THAT. "You or Stefyr?" JE'ACCUSE.

Is he sweating? Yes, he is, but that could be from the STUFFY HEAT in his place (and it is). Is there a sign of nervousness? Nope. Not a hint of it or remorse or anything for Risali to latch on to, aside from the obvious evidence colouring one side of his face — the opposite to Stefyr's, for the record! He pauses mid-wipe of his hands, brows furrowing for a moment as he keeps his gaze fixed on her despite the way she stares at him. "What was worth what?" he counters, frustratingly, again but there's JUST enough edge of genuineness to it that it's difficult to say if he's being a complete asshole or legitimately confused. It's best to say it's a 40/60 mix right now! "OH! This?" He points to his face now, chuckling heartily to himself as the rag is tossed aside. "Yeah." SHAMELESS is his NAME! "But uh… why'd Kyzen need to know? OY —-" Without skipping a beat, Ruthien is pointing to the grouped Apprentices, who all startle at his sudden attention. "You lot wrap that up, will ya? I gotta take care of something!" Satisfied, Keruthien steps around his workbench and gestures for Risali to follow him, like it shouldn't be the OTHER WAY around! He's not going far, just somewhere COOLER because hey… that's all that's on his mind. See? He's fanning out the collar of his shirt, even as he turns to face her again. "Dunno what you're getting at or this thing about paperwork. I mean… if there's headaches for anyone, it'd be my Masters?"

Even Risali jumps at that sudden 'OY' so rudely interjected into their conversation, the goldrider looking for just a moment as if she might make Keruthien Stefyr's identical twin instead of just his fraternal one. Then she's fixing an almost apologetic look onto the apprentices before her eyes roll and follow Keruthien as he leaves. Risali does not. She stays rooted to the spot, bringing her arms over her chest, observing gait and increasing distance before she parts with a sigh and gives up. FINE, BOSSY. SO SHE TAKES OFF IN A JOG TO CATCH UP and makes a VERY WIDE BREADTH OF SPACE to keep from accidentally brushing up against him. She's not completely lost to Leirith. Not yet, anyway. "If you don't want to tell me, that's fine. You and Stefyr both…" A beat, as her brows furrow, as Risali tries to find the right words and match Keru's stride with MUCH SMOLLER LEGS. "… Just be careful, please." And why'd Kyzen need to know? Risali looks momentarily as if she doesn't know how to answer that either. "He's your family," Risali says, in the way that might suggest she doesn't understand why he wouldn't tell the bronzerider. "Nevermind." Because NOT EVERY FAMILY IS AS COHESIVE A UNIT AS RISALI WOULD LIKE TO WISH. It's that last thing he says, the one that has her tilting her chin to look up at him and ignore what's going on with his shirt that has her breathing out a, "Right." Like she doesn't want to pursue a topic to futility. "But you're sure you're okay?" Because IMPORTANT THINGS.

"Do you really want to know? Is it that important?" At the start, he comes off as being serious but by the end of it, Keruthien's grin is all the warning she needs that this is a setup and TRAP! In fact, he doesn't even let her walk into it and snaps it shut himself, as his arms cross lovely over his chest and he leans forwards just a bit. "Because what if it were something like we just had some intense sexy times?" His expression morphs, suggestive and teasing, to match the crooked grin. "Y'want the details of that, huh?" Straightening, he begins to laugh throatily, quietly and mostly to himself. "I'm always careful!" he tangents right off, gesturing vaguely to his face and not even stopping to apologize for his behaviour. "This is nothing! I mean, look where I work! How do you know that this," He points to the bruising. "Isn't from here." Wide sweep of the very room they're in with plenty of injury causing materials and tools. "Could just be coincidence, y'know?" Family? Keruthien does pause a breath for that, blinking and then starts snickering. "Uh huh." Doesn't seem like he's keen on hashing out family either, right now. Instead, he relents in his behaviour long enough to give what he figures is a convincing enough: "I'm fine!" MOM. "Seriously. Appreciate the concern but…" His shoulder lift in a light shrug. Not necessary?

I DON'T KNOW, KERUTHIEN. DOES SHE REALLY WANT TO KNOW? Suddenly he's leaning forward and Risali isn't giving up any of her space to match the distance his movement eats; she just watches him, her face set with a furrow of brow that's definitely concern, and then she's flushing. BOTH of her hands come up, both of her hands come down on Keruthien's face without SO MUCH AS AN APOLOGY to pressure being applied to bruises when she PUSHES HIS FACE AWAY. "You wish," comes seconds before a whimper, before she jerks her hands back towards herself and then crosses them over her chest with a deeper flush and a sudden refusal to EVEN LOOK IN KERUTHIEN'S DIRECTION. She's ashamed of you. Truly. "If you don't want to tell me," she manages, a smidgen more waspish than intended, "then don't." And now those grey eyes are back, hyper focused on Keru in a way that's almost angry. "But don't bother telling me lies, either. I don't appreciate being treated like I'm stupid." … Welp. LISTEN. BE THANKFUL YOU ARE NOT YOUR COUSIN, WHO HAS TO DEAL WITH THIS SPITFIRE ALL OF THE TIME? So his shoulder lifts, and Risali's eyes drop to it, and then she's looking away again. "I'm glad you're okay," this time it's softer. It's honest, but… perhaps a little deflated, like she has resigned herself to this. "What were you working on?" Because that topic is safe, right?

"Ow? Ow! Ow." Keruthien's probably muttering that mostly under his breath the entire time Risali has his face pinned between her hands. Did he hear anything she said? Probably. Will he pretend he was listening? Also probable. Is he noticing that flush of hers? YEP. THAT has him grinning like a fool, even in the face of her impending anger — he's not afraid! Consequences, what? "Aww, I wasn't lying! Was just teasing… maybe." HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT? Lifting both his hands, he'll place them in a warding gesture to show that he gets it before she starts tearing into him (reasonably). "Don't think you're stupid, neither. Wasn't my intention to make you feel stupid, either!" He's being honest, for real, this time and shows as much by the smile curving his lips. Might be the CLOSEST thing to an apology too! Keruthien does look a little taken aback by her repeating concern and maybe just a touch sheepish — oh look, she's asking him about work! In an instant, he's back to grinning like a fool. "AH! Now that? That I can show you!" His hands come together gleefully and he's gesturing for her to follow him BACK to the workbench they left. In case she doesn't follow fast enough for his liking, he'll gesture for her to HURRY UP! "Now… come here. Stand like so…" Will he try to guide her by the shoulders or upper arms? You bet he will! And without skipping a beat, he'll point at her. "Stay there." What is she, a dog and not the Weyrwoman? "…just a sec!" His back to her for a fleeting moment, a few things are moved aside and then he's right back in her space, reaching past her shoulders to fix something about her neck. If she hasn't completely freaked out by this point or attempted escape, there will be the cool touch of metal against her skin. Stepping back, Keruthien surveys his work. If Risali looks down, there will be a simple, but not-so simple, necklace on her, sculpted from some type of bronze-like metal shaped in delicate gingko-leaf like replicas.

KERUTHIEN YOU ARE DOING THIS ON PURPOSE!!!! But we will get to that in just a moment; for now, Risali is watching Keru go back the way they CAME and NARROWING HER EYES as if she might will him into a pillar of dust with her LAZER BEAM GAZE ON THE SPOT. No such luck; he's still alive and she's being gestured to come hither faster. So eyes, Risali looks VERY PUT UPON, and ROLLS HER EYES, and then stalks after the journeyman. "Here?" She's right in the middle of asking when Keru's hands come down on her shoulders, and Risali's entire body trembles. She draws in a sharp breath, and bites down on that whimper, and tries not to press into those DAMNABLE HANDS and then he's gone. He's gone, and Risali can bring her arms back across her chest to rub at her own upper arms as if warding off a chill and — "Faranth!" it's a squeak of sound, another shiver, an insult or a plea rising in her throat that ends on an abruptly sharp hiccup of damn near hysterical laughter. SHE'S IMPRESSED BY THE WORKMANSHIP, HONEST. THAT'S WHY HER HANDS ARE STILL SHAKING. "It's beautiful," comes instead, a touch somewhere-else, a lot breathless. "pleasetakeitoff." TAKE WHAT OFF, RISA. Just kidding, you should know what. "And don't… try not to touch me while you do it. Please." SHE'S BEING POLITE, OKAY. ONCE IT'S REMOVED, she will ask the proper, "Did you make this for somebody?" Because, like, that's what she should do. And then maybe she's also squinting into the distance like she's hearing something and that something is making her very put upon and — "Can you make one dragon size?" A beat. "Don't actually answer that. Or do it." But the first question. He can answer that, though.

OF COURSE THERE'S A PURPOSE! There's always a purpose behind what Keruthien does and 95% of the time, it's purely selfish! Like right now, where much of his behaviour is wanting to see how Risali reacts, how far he can push this scenario and also, to completely distract her from her witch hunt about the bruises he and Stefyr sport! So far, he's checked all his boxes AND got some positive feedback for his actual Craft work! Score. Has he noticed how she's reacted to physical touch? Of course but he's not stupid either and isn't about to address it beyond a little knowing smirk and all the wrong assumptions. "Thanks and… wait, what you don't want to admire it a little more?" he teases but doesn't leave her to struggle. "Hold still then and I'll try!" Though he is mischievous, he actually DOES avoid touching her unless absolutely necessary which, thankfully, ISN'T for the removal of the coveted piece. Which is thus promptly returned and he has his back to her once more. "Mhm? Not this particular one, no." he answers with a low chuckle and a fond sigh. IS SHE READY? Because Ruthien loves to stroke his ego and ramble about his passions. Does she want to listen? No? TOO BAD. "This one I came up with when working with scrap. That's what a lot of my work comes from, at least for the jewelry pieces. Metal is precious, y'know? Expensive, not easy to come by, trickier to work with depending on the type. So it seems a shame to waste any of it, if it can't be smelted down and reused. That's what I try to do! Pick up all the unwanted, unloved bits and bobs and rework 'em to something someone'll desire." Uh. He's uh, still talking about the jewelry, right? Turning, he's grinning all the more now. "At least, it's what I do when I'm not making tools and other things." THINGS, Risali. Blinking, his brows furrow and it's TOO LATE! His mind is racing off and he's tapping the side of his chin. HMM. "Dragon sized? Probably. Wouldn't be of metal though. Would have to find something durable, movable and… in large quantities…"

CURSE YOU, KERUTHIEN! Whatever. AHEM. Back to what's important. Keruthien helps to remove that necklace, Risali politely listens to his passions (actually, she seems genuinely interested in what he has to say), and then she's looking back to that work he just removed. "Please don't." Make anything for Leirith, she means. "She has charmed a few crafters into making dragon-sized things, and they are —" They are what? Risali doesn't finish. She pinches the bridge of her nose, and shifts her hips, and GLARES UP AT THE CEILING like maybe there's a MASSIVE GOLD HOVERING SOMEWHERE ABOVE IT. "Have you… ever given any real thought into… doing something else? I… well, you can still pursue this, actually. But what if… Would you…" BREATHE, RISALI. She's digging in one of her pockets for a moment, and pulling out a white knot, staring at it as if she's RETHINKING THIS WHOLE THING, and then holding it out for him. "I'm…" she's what? "Sorry the offer isn't coming from Kyzen instead. It would probably mean a lot more, if Zekath was asking you to stand." There's the hints of a smile at the corner of her lips, something that hedges more towards self-deprecation and uncertainty than humor. "But, Leirith is… awed by your prowess," which is DEFINITELY THE WORDS OF THE GOLD, "and she's… wondering if you would stand. For us. You… we don't do traditional candidacy here. You still get to focus on your work — except for mandatory plans — and you can even drink. Just… no getting drunk. You and Stefyr can…" a beat, as that grey eye roves over those livid spots of SECRECY, "can continue your illicit love affair. So long as you're discreet." Dry comes, "And nobody gets pregnant." And then she's holding it higher, looking nervous. "You can't fight, either. It's against the rules." That time it's a whisper, because maybe her voice doesn't have much strength left in it.

"They are what?" Keruthien's going to pick up where Risali left off, though by then it's POINTLESS because the conversation is moving on and he's going along for the ride. His head tilts further and he's the picture of intrigued puzzlement though he's not trying to interrupt her for once. Then? THEN it all starts coming together as she pulling out a familiar white knot and looking like she's regretting the whole action! Sure, she's holding that knot higher and there's MORE at play here, by her tone and actions, but a lot of that is going WAY over his head right now. His gaze has fixated on that woven white and before she or ANYONE (including Leirith!) can change their minds, he's moving to snatch it right out from her hands — politely, if abruptly! Even on the cusp of that action, he's already begun to laugh in his strange way, starting from a low chuckle to a more robust sound. The Apprentices are probably staring at them by now (they're just jealous, ignore them). "Wow, I did NOT think I'd ever see one of these again! And it's fine that it isn't K'vir. That'd be weird and too… anticipated, I guess? Though you don't look anymore thrilled than I assume he'd be…" he makes a light teasing jab at her nervousness, while the knot is held tightly in his hand. There's a nod to the rules, or lack thereof and a low appreciative whistle. "Damn, you guys are trusting! Last Candidacy I stood for, it was all strict business. This? I like what you guys are offering! Drinking, but no drunkeness? I can do that. As for THAT," Her assumption of ILLICIT AFFAIRS! He starts to snicker. "Alright. Got it." That's all! And a wink. Fighting? He shrugs. "Wasn't much of a brawler," says the one with the bruised face! "To begin with, so y'got nothing to worry there." Uh huh. Risali's off the hook for a bit, as his gaze drops to the knot in his hands and he sobers enough to do things PROPERLY. "Yeah, I'll accept it. May as well, huh? Before I get too old for this."

WHAT HAPPENED DURING YOUR LAST CANDIDACY, KERUTHIEN? Actually, Risali asks. "Why would you never see —" But then she interrupts herself, holding up her hands. "No. I don't want to know. I'm working on plausible deniability here. I don't even know who gave you that knot." SHE IS TEASING. Maybe. Because she doesn't stop. "I trust you know what to do then. The weyrling master or one of his assistants can fill you in on the rest, and figure out your sleeping arragements. Me? I — no. Don't you dare open that mouth. No!" And then Risali is SLAPPING HER HANDS OVER BOTH OF HER EARS AND MAKING A SHOW OF GOING, "LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA." as she heads for the exit, turns around to walk backwards and announce more LALLAALAs, and then just like that. JUST. LIKE. THAT. Risali is gone, leaving Keruthien to his devices… and certainly not any wiser about WHAT THE HELL TROUBLE HE GOT UP TO BEFORE THIS.

And Keruthien's just left standing there, mouth open but nothing spoken as Risali makes her escape And LALALA'ing the whole way out. What just happened? He looks a bit dazed and confused, but that doesn't last long! "Thanks." It's said with a genuine smile, since NO ONE IS THERE TO WITNESS IT and then the knot is carefully stowed away in a pocket. He's got work to finish, a bench to clean, Apprentices to boss around one last time and a few messages to write! Then it's off to do the official business, which, YES, he has done before and there's probably going to be a FEW who question his addition to the ranks but… that'll be a later story~

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