Seeking a Path

Xanadu Weyr - Smith Forge
Loud, dim, and hot is the large area set up for the Smith's forge area. It's been roughly divided into separate areas, the large common one holding the main forge lodged against the western 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 are the separate forges for the Journeyman's use, each one kept clean and neat, even when in the midst of a project. Behind and to the back lies the more private forges reserved for the few Masters that stay here.
There is a door to one side that leads into a hallway and to the dorms and rooms of the smiths that call Xanadu home.

This afternoon, the forge is a chorus of banging and noise. To one unaccustomed, it's a raucous, ear ringing sound, but to the smiths that call this home, it's a melody of work. Summer plus the heat of fire and burning cromcoal make this one unappealing place to be, but one wouldn't assume that from the racket of laughter and shouts coming from the main forge. A small group of apprentices, numbering only four, are gathered with a burly, bearded journeyman onlooking, a half smirk hidden within the course hairs of his black beard. ka-el and another slightly older fellow of a meaty girth are both fast at work, both wearing heavy aprons, gloves, and goggles, both pounding at glowing metal rods. Sparks fly as metal pounds metal, misshaping the pounded portion the rod thinner and thinner. Surely, it'll eventually split in half. But that is the goal. Who will win this fiery race? Go! Go!

Muir steps hesitantly into the forge, more of a peek than an actual exploration. The boy takes another small step forward and then pauses once more, eyes scanning the forge. Surely he's been in here before, right? He grew up here, after all. Dressed in attire that is completely inappropriate for such a place, he lifts his hands to hastily button the last three buttons of his light, blue linen tunic, and wishes he wasn't wearing sandals. Maybe he should just stay by the door. Or go. But something keeps him standing there, looking around, trying to catch someone's attention without having to shout for it. The contest gets his own attention though, and he leaaaaans forward to try and see what the boys are doing.

*BANG!* Clang! With one last heavy blow of his hammer, the older apprentice, a lad of perhaps eighteen or nineteen with dark skin and even darker eyes, successfully bludgeons the rod, breaking it in half with an impressive shower of sparks. "Arrgh!" Kale grips his hammer, lifting it in agonized defeat while all boys erupt in laughter and cheers and handclapping of the victor's shoulder and playful shoving of the defeated. Grinning good-naturedly. Sweat dripping, Kale points his hammer. "Luck's on your side this time Tej. My arm's still sore from the last time I beat your arse." More jostling ensues before Journeymen Orik steps in. "Alright ye rowdy lot. Lunchtime. Back in an hour, an' Apprentice Kale, you'll be cleanin' this, won't yeh?" Cue another refrain of laughter as Kale is left to pick up the pieces of his lost bet. Snickering, he dismisses them all with an arm wave and is about to turn and get to it but… huh. Who's that kid? Goggled eyes narrow a bit as he peers towards the rather well-dressed Muir, and he steps away from the forge to approach him. "..If you're lookin' for textiles, I think y'took a wrong turn."

Muir watches the outcome of the race curiously, and when Kale turns to speak to him the boy looks down at himself and clears his throat, straightening his posture. "Not looking for textiles," he says firmly. And he doesn't mention he did just agree to model his big sister's clothing line. "I, uh. I'm thinking about becoming a Smith. Wanted to come and just see, what it's like, and stuff." The boy shrugs, pushing hair out of his eyes.

Kale watches him a moment as he explains himself. Gloved hands are lifted up to peel his goggles from his eyes, letting them come to a rest upon his head. He's left with a bit of a backwards raccoon look. Clean around the eyes where goggled shielded, yet the rest of his face is a bit ashen with soot. "If that's the case then, congratulations. Y've found the right place." He smirks, a brow vaguely lifting as he looks him up and down. "Heh. Well, at least you're not a girl. You're sure this is what y'want to get yourself into? I promise you, you'll never find yourself a clean shirt again," he says with a bit of a laugh.

Muir laughs a bit along with the 'girl' comment, shaking his head. "No, not a girl," he agrees. Thank goodness his sister isn't here to remark on that little comment. Glancing down at his shirt, he shrugs again, chuckling. "Not sure, but I figured I'd give it a try? Maybe I'll be good at it. I'm Muir," he says, extending a hand towards the boy but still not walking further into the forge. Sandals were a stupid, stupid idea.

Hm. Now isn't this a bit of deja vu. He had this, 'don't I know you' feeling just a day or so prior. The given name rings a bell somewhere in his mind. His glove is pulled off with his teeth and left to hang from his mouth as he extends his hand to take the offered one, giving it a few shakes. "Kale," he says, once the hand is released and the glove can be taken from his jaws. "Well met. And…I know that name. I heard it, just the other.." A-ha! "The boy twin of the girl twin. Your sister's Mabel, right? I ran into her the other day, flower shoppin'." He glances back at the still lit forge, then to him, eyes flitting to his feet. "Mm. I'd recommend boots next time unless you're lookin' to losin' a toe or two."

Muir's shakes are firm, his hands only slightly roughened. No where near what a Smith's would be. "Well met, Kale. And, uh, yeah. That's my sister. Flower shopping?" he asks, eying the boy. The question is clear in his eyes - what was he doing shopping for flowers? Brown eyes lower to stare at his toes and he shifts, curling them a bit. "Yeah, sandals…well I was on my way to the beach and just thought I'd…" Make a live changing decision, spur of the moment? "Just see what it was like in here."

"Aye, for your mother," replies Kale, making it as clear as mud whether he means he was shopping for the weyrwoman or Mabel. A sixteen turn old buying flowers for their seriously attractive, secretly available Weyrwoman? … Sounds legit. "Hot, loud, and sweaty," he supplies. "That's what it's like in here most times. But the time the heat was out across the weyr durin' the dead of winter? We had to beat people off with an iron rod," he snickers. "Hey, I've to tend to that," a hand is waved to the forge in the corner. "Your feet aren't going to fall off jus' by setting foot in here. Just keep away from the fires, huh? I don't want to be responsible for flesh peelin' burns.." He turns then, plopping his goggles back on. "If you're really serious about smithin' though, talk to the Journeymen here." A pause. "An' your mother, if you haven't already."

Muir ohs. "I was going to get her flowers…" he mutters. Figures his sister would think of it also - and then follow through with it. The idea that Kale was there to buy flowers for Thea never even enters the boy's head. Because eww. Taking a few more steps forward, he nods to Kale to go tend to whatever it is he was going to do. "Burns…?" he asks, looking around with a dawning realization. This is kind of dangerous. And kind of awesome. "What's the Journeyman's name?" the boy asks. As for his mother, he doesn't reply to that, just frowning at the older boy.

"Orik. He's the senior around here," says Kale who gestures for Muir to pause, not too close to the forge, but not far enough away that conversation can't continue. "Sort've in charge of everyone, and also a bit've a *dick*" he says, turning to mouth the word instead of saying it. "But, he's also fair and the best smith I know. I apprentice under him." After pulling his gloves back on, he sets forth picking up the broken pieces of rod to set aside and kneels to tend to the coals, no longer needing a high heat. "Speakin' of mothers.." he continues as he works. "Don' think I haven't noticed you hadn't spoken of her. You have told her your intentions, yes?"

Muir stops a safe distance away, even putting a table between himself and the forge. He quirks a crooked grin at the mouthed word and nods his understanding. No problem, apparently. He's dealt with worse. "Fair is good." But then he frowns, balking a bit at the older boy pressing him about asking his mother's permission. He's fourteen, what's he need permission for? "What's it to you?" he asks, voice sharpening just a tad.

"Trust me," says Kale who twists at a lever, opening up the hearth a bit more, allowing heat to escape, "I'm only savin' you strife. Orik'll ask you too. He asks everyone under the age've fifteen, an' you don't look fifteen." He stands then, brushing off his knees before collecting the tossed hammers to place on a wall. "An' even if he didn't, it's good practice. Havin' your ma hound you durin' apprenticeship isn't going to make for a very happy time. It's difficult enough doin' drudge work for turns. Even worse when you don't have someone backin' you." He grabs a broom and leans on the handle a bit, watching him. "The last thing on Pern my mother wanted me to do was this. Yet," insert a boyish grin here. "It isn't impossible to convince them."

Muir chuckles faintly, but Kale's words have planted a seed in the boy's mind. What /does/ he want? He'll have to think about that. But a moment after he considers it, he looks guilty. He can't - shouldn't - take advantage of his mother's emotional state right now. "Yeah? What was it like? Always looks so fun…" Then he chuckles quietly, looking briefly at his feet. "Yeah, well. Sometimes we just ain't cut out for what our families do. I wasn't too good at Holdin'.'

"Search? Candidacy?" Kale pauses to think on it a bit, a grin slowly emerging. "Yeah … it was fun. I didn't know what the shards was goin' on when that rider and his blue landed and started askin' me ten thousand questions about Alloy." He pauses. "My firelizard," he explains. "Then he offered a knot and it was a blur from there. But, it wasn't all too different. Since I'm a crafter, I kept with my duties here. But…" he leans forward, his grin growing. "We did go…" he points a finger straight up. To the roof? "Up there. Yokohama. Your mother took us on a trip." Sweeping seems to have been forgotten for the moment, and a questioning look is given to the younger boy at his last statement. "What do you mean?"

Muir listens attentively, a hunger growing in his eyes. A hunger that just isn't there when he talks about Smithcrafting. Alas, Smithing is controllable while Search is not. Hence…he's here. Then he gasps, eyes widening. "For real? Mom never took /us/ up there. We just went between for the first time a few days ago." Jealousy is clear, but he fights it back, shrugging as if it suddenly doesn't matter. Whatever. "Oh, uh. I - we - was at Coldstone. I was the heir, until my uncle came back. Had all these lessons and stuff, and I wasn't that good…"

Kale shudders. "Ugh. Betweening is rough. I've never liked it. So…cold." And he's a guy that loves heat! "Ah, if there's one place I wouldn't mind betweening to again though, it's there. It was so shardin' amazing. We were flying like firelizards. Someone kept messin' with the gravity controls.." he snickers at the memory. "There's a viewing room where you can see the entire…er, -ty of…space. It was crazy to see those stars up close. Oh! And then, in the cryosleep room," he says, voice lowering, "there's this…pod thing where the first people came to Pern were put into this … sleep state. And there's still one there!" His brows raise, both at that and the mentioning of being heir. "Heir as in … you were to be in charge of it all?"

Muir seems more interested in the Yokohama than Coldstone, shaking his head in wonder. "I've got to get up there," he breathes. "Maybe mom'll take us now…" He trails off, adding it to the fast growing list of 'things he wants'. Thanks for the idea, Kale. Thea is sure to love it. "Yeah, as in Holder of Coldstone. When my - when the current holder retired or died or whatever. We never quite got to that part."

"Huh. That would've been…a lot've work," remarks the smith, wrinkling his nose. "There's a certain type've person that can do that .. diplomacy and politics stuff. Not me. An' not you either, I guess." Kale's grin returns. "No matter. That just means you're meant for something else. Smithing, maybe. Yokohama visiting, definitely." And speaking of, he has another story to help fuel the desire to visit, but alas, it doesn't seem as if it's meant to be heard for soon, senior apprentice Tej returns with a mouthful of meatroll. "Oi! Kale, y'ain't done yet? Lunch is nearly over!" A glance to a timeclock confirms that, and blue eyes widen in alarm. "Ah, damnit he's right. One thing you'll learn with apprenticing, Muir: Time Management. I've to go, but think on what I said about your smithing and mother, alright?" he says as he stores away the broom.

Muir shrugs, "I was trying to get good at it, but…" He trails off with another shrug, silencing when the other apprentice arrives. "Uh, yeah. I will, thanks, Kale," Muir says, tossing up a crooked grin that's a little bit forced. "See you around, okay?" he says, taking a step back towards the exit, mindful of where he steps.

"Anytime," replies Kale with a wave to the younger fellow. He strips himself of gloves, goggles, and apron, hanging everything in appropriate places before he moves off with Tej to an adjoining hallway. "Whose tha youngblood? He lookin' to get in?" is asked of him, causing Kale to glance to the exit. "Maybe," is Kale's reply. "Guess we'll see… You shardin' better not've eaten all the meatrolls!" is heard before they both disappear.

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