Fish Are Bad Models

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 alluding 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.

In what some may consider to be a very rare event — because they've never seen it — it's break time for Ajral, and the healer-candidate has managed to get herself out of both the Infirmary and any close to hatching menial chores that have been placed upon her mantle; instead she has found her spot near the pond with her fold-up easel and watercolors. She's working on yet another koi painting, though this one is miles better than the one she did during her very first candidacy. (If she does one per, which she does: this is number seven.) Occasionally she looks at the koi and is making lines on the easel without actually looking at it. Where is Averil to tell her this is either incredibly stupid or kind of avant garde or maybe both? "Can you turn your tail a little bit?" she asks a fish, "I haven't managed to get that angle, and the shape you've got there is stunning." The fish is totally not listening because it is a fish.

Free. Gloriously free! For once, Kasle doesn't have any chores, so, mostly out of habit, the gardener-candidate has found her way to what she considers 'her domain'. There really isn't anything for her to do, though… The other gardeners have preparing for winter well under way. Her personal projects have all been taken care of until the weather warms up again. Therefore, the dark haired woman is left with nothing more to do than wander through the garden, sticking to the paths, for once. She comes up to the pond, behind the artist, and stops to watch her work. She smiles a little at the request for a certain pose from the fish, covering a soft chuckle with one hand, "I don't think it's listening to you."

"Oh," says Ajral, who — her watercolor is good, but that's due to hobbyist determination, it is a gift to call her an artist — anyway, she laughs softly, "They never do. I make an effort, though." Brush, brush. She's filling in the water more now than the fish detail: it's not a full background color, but various accents of blue and green to create a watercolor-style image of 'this is a pond.'

Kasle chuckles, nodding, "Never hurts to try." She moves closer, not uncomfortably so, but still close enough to see the painting better, "You're pretty good." She laughs, "A lot better than I am, anyway." She couldn't paint her way out of a paper bag. The dark haired woman turns her attention to the pond, folding her arms over her chest to ward off the chill in the air, "The pond is an awesome subject, by the way. Very peaceful." And pretty, too.

Ajral turns to glance over her shoulder at Kasle, braid falling down her back awkwardly — it's a mess and falling out in parts, though the rest of her is as neatly organized as always — and assesses her conversation partner and fellow candidate for a moment. "I think I've had more time to practice," is a light way of saying 'I am a lot older,' though she isn't a huge degree older for most purposes: in the isolated realm of candidacy, seven turns is a big gap. "I'm certain just about any Harper could out-paint me, but i did get a few lessons. I find it soothing. And the first time I was Searched I was doing a pond fish painting, so now I do one every time I Stand. I was worried I was running out of time, so," she shrugs the other shoulder, "Here I am. Scolding fish for bad poses."

Kasle's own bell woven braids chime as she nods, "Perhaps." Her creativity tends to be expressed through growing things instead of on canvas. She chuckles, "Maybe they could, but your painting is nothing to sneeze at, either." One should never belittle their own talent. She nods, "It's nice having a tradition, even if it's just one for yourself. Not to metion it lets you see how you've improved over the turns."

"Quite a lot," Ajral agrees with a small smile that turns into a more critical expression as she looks over the painting again and adds a couple brush-presses of green for underwater leaves. "The first one wasn't bad, but — there's considerable improvement. This one might actually get to go on a wall instead of in a dusty box, we'll see." The fish are still not cooperating one bit, not turning the way she wants OR holding still. "Usually I paint just plants, so I try to avoid living things because they are bad models."

"That would be neat!" Kasle smiles broadly, "It's always nice to see improvement in your work, right?" She gestures toward one of the flowerbeds that's alread started fading for the season, "Like I've gotten better at designing flowerbeds that actually survive the season." She chuckles softly at that, seeing as the plants are clearly well past their prime.

"That one's important." Ajral can identify the difference between simple arts and importance, and art with importance. Hers is neither, but she isn't judging it as lesser so much as just not something that matters overall, whereas flowerbeds? Important. "Garden design is far from simple, and flowerbeds are crucial for local morale, I would think. Everyone gets a bit sad when there aren't flowers." Even people who don't like flowers!

"Actually, that's one reason I became a gardener, in the first place." Kasle nods, "I wanted to make Xanadu more beautiful. I'm not really the guard type, which is what I thought I'd do when I was my brother's age, so at least this way I'm able to give back to the Weyr." She reaches up to absently run one of her braids through the fingers of one hand, "Honestly, sometimes I like plants more than people."

Too bad Ajral's looking at the canvas when her smile makes its fleeting way across her face to disappear again. When she looks back at Kasle it's to turn her whole body this time and give the young woman more attention. "I can understand that," she says, which is benign: she can understand most things from most people, it's her gift. Understanding and agreeing aren't the same, though in this case it's probably that too, "But you're doing a public service with what you do. Your brother is … one of the other candidates, I think?"

Kasle nods, bells tinkling, "Logain. The really young kid that was a hunter before he was Searched." Who, oddly, looks nothing like her. She shifts her weight to stand with one hip cocked, absently studying a nearby bush, "Thank you. I try." To give back.

There are so many people that Ajral can't keep track of half of them she hasn't actually seen as a Healer. Although if she has, she remembers them forever, even if it was just something uselessly seen like a broken toe (treatment options: nothing and nothing). "Right, yes." She probably has siblings; she doesn't have a clue who they are, so it's a prevailing non-issue what people look like! Just tell her you're related, she'll believe you. Family is weird. "No Guarding in his future either, it sounds like, but hunting's not a bad way to contribute either."

The healer-candidate may have actually seen Kasle's baby brother a time or two. He was accident prone as a kid and they were both involved in a… hunting accident a couple of months before Learith clutched, after all. She shrugs, "I wouldn't put it past him to change his mind. He's only thirteen, after all." She lifts her arms over her head as she stretches, "But, I have a wherry hatchling that needs to be checked on." She makes a face, "Hopefully that blasted feline hasn't gotten his claws on it." And her own firelizards haven't decided that it would make a good snack. She lifts one hand in a little wave before heading back to the barracks, "Good luck with your painting."

Someone definitely did! Ajral may have gone by; she ignores trauma, as a rule, because it is not her thing, unless they need her — she's neat, so her sutures are perfect. Even the ones she does on her own feet! "A wher — oh," light laughter, from Ajral, then. "Of course you do, because one got left on your bunk. That's how I got my dog a long while back … have fun with that, good luck to you too," she offers with a wave of the hand that isn't holding the watercolor brush. "I appreciate the luck exchange." Her focus trails back to the painting as soon as she's alone again, though before too long she's also got to go back to the infirmary.

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