Too Easy

Techcraft Workshop, Igen


It was the next day, because the clutching had been followed by a clutching feast which was then followed by, well, clutching drinking and no one was at that point working, before Kytaer managed to find his Journeyman to discuss the whole candidate's knot thing. That was completely okay with him, because he'd felt bad enough about Quillan - and about how it seemed as if he'd orchestrated his own Search, in a way, with what he'd said - and didn't feel the need for another awkward conversation.

He also didn't feel any real enthusiasm for that awkward conversation. 

Hamiathes had been a good mentor to him, giving him his senior apprentice's knot and encouraging his studious and odd inventing tendencies. Tae didn't want to let him down. Or allow even the illusion that he was trying to leave his Craft, or was interested in even momentarily diverting from his Craft, or anything more than that he was providing a body to a large clutch and that he had a sister on a dragon who would kill him if he didn't agree. 

That, and he probably would've said no if he hadn't talked to Janja so recently beforehand. If she hadn't made it clear that Igen encouraged their riders to stay in, even advance in, crafts. That made the unlikelihood of Impression an acceptable event, because he'd only be minorly delayed by weyrlinghood, and not stopped from his path to mastery entirely.

The white knot was in the front pocket of his shirt, not actually on his shoulder, when he approached his mentor's desk and cleared his throat nervously. 

"Yes," Hamiathes answered, his brown eyes still magnified to a ridiculous extent by his glasses as he peered intently at the nest of hazardous-looking wiring tacked out on his desktop. "Just put it off to the side for now, would you?"

"Put what off to the side?"

"Your —"

Hamiathes glanced up, peering at Kytaer, and then frowned a little. 

"Weren't you bringing me that new set of pliers?"

As a matter of fact he had been, Kytaer'd just also forgotten. "Right," he mumbled, and pulled them out of his belt where he'd placed them the day before, putting it off to the side as requested, "yes, sir, but I actually needed to," and at that point his voice squeak-cracked a little, "speak with you about something." 

There had been a little bit of an uptalk, so maybe it was more of a speak to you about something? but the idea was the same.

First, of course, Hamiathes grabbed one of the smallest, thinnest-nosed pliers out of the bundle, having ignored his own request that Kytaer leave it off to the side — the rest of them could stay there just fine! — and carefully weaseled a blue wire out of the rat's nest on his desk, letting it dangle nearly to the floor when he was done. "What about?" he asked almost absent-mindedly as he was concluding that.

Silence, a hard swallow, and the removal of the white knot from his pocket, dangling in midair.

"I only agreed 'cause there's a lot of eggs and I figured they could use the bodies," Tae continued to half-squeak, not meeting Hamiathes' eyes, "and I made it pretty clear that, uh, I still needed to have time to work on my craft and so on and so forth."

"Bodies?" Hamiathes mouthed to himself, gaze finally traveling up again, until he could peer and identify the white lump in Kytaer's hand as not, in fact, a potato. Or a weapon. (Mostly.) "I — oh! Congratulations, lad! I didn't realize they'd started passing those out already!"

"Since it happened at the clutching," he replied, swallowing a little and trying to shake the instinct that that was way too easy, "I think I was probably first?"

Again with the uptalk.

He had to stop uptalking. His mother always yelled at him about it. So had the Apprentice Master. 

"I have no idea if it counts as first when there are probably leftovers from the last clutch," the journeyman mused, distracted by the notion — until he shook his head, sharply, and smiled again. "But well done, you!"

"I -"

Right, this was definitely too easy.

"Thank you, sir," Tae said first, and then, "But, er, you're not. Upset? Or. Anything?"

Blink. Blinkblink, said Hamiathes.

"Why should I be upset?" he answered/asked, quizzically. "Did you want me to refuse? Did you not want to accept?"

"I was expecting you'd be at best displeased," Kytaer murmured, making excellent eye contact with the pile of stuff on the desk. "'cause it takes me away from training time, and, y'know, might make it look like I was trying t' not work on my, um, work, anymore. Which is not true. At all. Mastery's still, y'know. Life goal."

At least he always sounded about that awkward and unsettled, and it wasn't limited to this situation. Otherwise he would've crawled into a hole and died, figuratively speaking. He didn't want to be a rider. That had never been anything he'd considered. Thought about for two seconds when Rylia Impressed Seheriyath, sure, but only as 'guess we have riders in the bloodline,' as opposed to something that he, personally, would ever do.

Because he was going to be a master inventor.

Which apparently … wasn't mutually exclusive.

"I'm glad to hear it," Hamiathes answered simply, spreading his hands (and snarling one of the red wires briefly). "I think you've got a real gift for inventing, and I'd hate to see you squander it. Nothing wrong with riding while you're working, though. Gives you something to do. Keeps your body active along with your mind, and sometimes a dragon's eye gives you just what you need to see what you're missing."

This was really not the anticipated response line.

"And the eternity of weyrlinghood?"

And, and, Tae couldn't resist asking, "And, uh. Why? 'cause most of the masters, they didn't seem so keen about people being Searched." Not out of Landing, anyway. Maybe that was the difference. Maybe Hamiathes secretly had a dragon.

Or, well… no.

"Because I know too many craftriders," was his journeyman's easy response. "My boyfriend, for one. Don't go telling him he's a failure at being a rider or a crafter either one, he'll talk your ear off about how you're wrong."

That was not something Tae'd ever expected to learn; he'd rather come to assume Hamiathes had no personal life to speak of. He was always working, and therefore Tae was hard-pressed not to ask how he managed to have a romantic relationship. 

What with the fact that he never, ever seemed to not be working.

And that they'd been at Landing until recently enough he wasn't sure if said boyfriend was even an Igen rider.

"Er. Of course not. Thank you, sir," he said, instead.

"Well, then, what are you waiting for?" The pliers got waved at Kytaer in a shooing gesture. "I'm certain you've got work to do, and you have to represent our Craft as a Candidate! Go be impressive, whether or not you Impress!"

And with that, he went back to untangling his nest of wiring, and not quite setting himself on fire.

Kytaer, meanwhile, did as ordered — with a half-sheepish, semi-tired, somewhat beleaguered smile.

He'd have preferred to stay in the workshop, of course, but with the tacit permission to go be a Candidate and an impressive one at that, it made more sense for him to be doing candidate chores.

Maybe he could make some improvements to the average tuber peeler.


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