R'zel, Ilaria


R'zel and Ilaria have a brief meeting in the secret garden before business interrupts again.


It is afternoon of the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month of the twelfth turn of the 12th pass.


Southern Weyr - Secret Garden

OOC Date 29 Oct 2017 05:00


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Secret Garden

Ornate brass handles are kept shiny and bright, their age belied by tarnish in deep crevices. Brackets on the wall hold glow baskets to keep the smallish sized cavern lit up. On sunny days light spills through an iron-framed window fitted into a natural break in the weyr wall, invisible to the eye from above.

The sound of running water echoes like a ghost from a small pool set back just beyond the reach of the light. Fed by some subterranean stream that remains unseen, the water is cool and crisp. Small, dark fish dart in the shadows of stones and water plants. All around the little pond a soft carpet of mossy grass and ferns grow, some of it having gone over the carefully laid stone barrier to keep it in check. It would seem this place was at one time an indoor garden, but whether for work or recreation has long since been lost to knowledge. It is now a place of quiet and repose. Retreat. Vegetation abounds in raised stone beds, herbs and flowers alike. Though the growth in beds is wild, there was certainly a lot of thought put into the delicate but functional layout. Chairs, couches, bookshelves and desks fill the space forming clusters of seating areas. In the shadows, there's the outline of another door.

A garden in a cave! Who'd have thought it? With Southern's iutside temperatures still knocking on eighty, and wet weather to boot, this is a pleasantly temperate spot to meet someone, and quiet as well, with very few people around. R'zel's arrived a little while ago, and now he's standing peering into the shadows of the pool, trying to spot a fish or two. He's still in his leather trousers, but he's wearing a cool tunic, and he's laid his flying jacket over the arm of one of the couches. There's a padded bag that looks like an instrument case there, too.

Schedules can suck almost as much as the drizzly autumn weather, but at least Ilaria was prepared for it. The smith woman appears in the entrance of the cavern wearing an overcoat that would probably be perfectly suited for any Seafarer's rough weather gear. Before going too far inside, the hood comes down and she proceeds to shake off a little bit. The vegetation can always use a little help, right? Once she's slightly less soaked, she glances around the room and spots the person she was expecting. "R'zel!" There's a wave and off she goes over towards the pond he's looking at. "Anything in there?"

R'zel turns towards Ilaria, smiling broadly at the sound of her voice. "Hello! Yes, there are some little fish, but they're hard to see. Dark fish in dark corners against dark rock. If you watch, though, you can see the movement." He steps aside to make room for her in his chosen viewing-spot.

It's a lot easier to see the little fish when you're closer to them and Ilaria doesn't hesitant to kneel down next to the water to get a better view. After a moment of observation, "They're so different from the koi pond." Yes, both places have flowers and fish, but that's about where the similarities end.

"Aren't they? I haven't a clue what they are, though. Or even whether they're put here on purpose or they just live here." R'zel doesn't kneel, but he does bend to see better. It puts his head quite close to Ilaria's. "I think I like these better than koi. Less showy. Have you seen anything like this garden before?"

Being in close vicinity to Ilaria's head can be a bit dangerous at the moment, seeing as she shakes her head at the question. Hopefully R'zel doesn't get a mouthful of curls. Humidity + curly hair = POOFINESS GALORE! "Sorry!" About the hair. The woman scooches back a bit so she can stand up. "But no, nothing. I mean, there are plenty of gardens in Boll and caves in Telgar… but haven't seen a garden in a cave before."

R'zel straightens up and gives Ilaria space to stand. "Neither had I - it was a real surprise the first time I came here. I like it, though. It was a good thought to fit it out with places to sit, and so on." He starts to move back to one of those place, specifically the couch where he left his things. "How's your day going?"

Ilaria successfully stands up without sending either herself or R'zel into the pond. That would probably have been traumatic for the fish, not to say what would have been like for the people. But successfully standing, she'll now follow over towards the couch as well. "It was a good thought. Almost like a second library." The day question gets a shrug and a small sigh. "Taught a class this morning… had one of the apprentices fall asleep during it."

R'zel winces. "Oh dear. I don't think I ever did that to one of my teachers." But he doesn't sound entirely certain about that. "Though I wasn't exactly attentive to some of them. What were you teaching?" He settles himself on the couch, next to his things, and holds out a hand towards the rest of the long seat in a silent invitation to Ilaria to join him.

Ilaria quickly settles herself down on the couch as well. "It's not the first time with this one." Apparently he's the problem child this turn. "We were going over proper lamination techniques. What woods work best, which adhesives to use, practical applications…" Which might sound as interesting as watching those adhesives dry, but she at least sounds enthusiastic about it.

"Makes you wonder whether he's just bored with his Craft, or staying up all night," R'zel says dryly. "I mean, that's obviously useful stuff. It's not like you were droning on about some long-dead Lord Holder or the succession problems in Seventh Interval Telgar. Or was it eighth?" He shakes his head; guess what R'zel's least favourite subject was! "But talking of practical woodwork…." His hand strays towards the instrument bag.

"Well, his father is a Smith up in Telgar…" And Ilaria just gives a look as she lets that statement trail off. Clearly there's a reason why said smith apprentice isn't getting training in the main Smith hall. The harpers don't have a monopoly on stranger inner hall/family politics. They're probably just better at it with all there harpering practice. She just gives another shake of her head. "Not everybody's as interested in woodwork, especially if they plan on focusing on metal." If she's going to be generous and not assume illicit late-night activities on the part of said problem apprentice. The mention of practical woodwork does draw her attention back though, eyes widening as she looks at the bag. "Ohhh. Did you finish your mandolin?"

The problem-child is forgotten as R'zel pulls the instrument bag onto his lap. "I did! The strings arrived a couple of days ago." He unfastens the buckle and removes the small instrument. It's fairly plain, with only the simplest ornamentation round the soundhole, but the neck is straight, the joins are clean, and really, there's nothing obviously wrong with it. R'zel fishes in the bag's small pocket and pulls out a plectrum. "Of course, it would sound a lot better if I could actually play it!"

Plain doesn't necessarily mean uninteresting, especially for someone with an eye for craftsmanship. Ilaria looks closely at the instrument as it's revealed. She's smiling, so apparently no secret mishaps in the work are jumping out to her eaither. The last statement has her tilting her head a bit to look up at R'zel. "You spent all this time building an instrument you don't know how to play? I thought you had a mandolin before…"

R'zel shakes his head. "I played a bit at the Hall, but I didn't take it up until a few months before I got posted, and I didn't have my own to take with me, so I hadn't touched one for turns until I put the strings on this. I can remember one or two things, though." He's plucking strings and tweaking pegs as he speaks. "New strings," he explains. "They get out of tune quickly until they've been played a bit." And a mandolin's paired strings double the potential for sounding awful!

"Huh," Ilaria hadn't really thought about that, but she'll shift on the couch so her legs are crossed as she's facing R'zel. "I think that makes what you set out to do a lot more impressive. Making an instrument that you weren't really familiar with, when you're not an expert woodcrafter…" She waits patiently as she watches the string tuning. Luckily, she's not an expert on instrument tuning… so as long as it's not really awful, she might not notice!

R'zel listens to his strings with a critical frown as he tweaks, but he's soon satisfied. He starts to play. It's a teaching ballad, one that every child should be taught, and the arrangement is simple, but it's quite a pleasant tune and he makes a reasonable job of it. It doesn't sound as if this is the first time he's played the piece for turns - someone might just have been practising! He plays the melody through a couple of times before he stops. "It's really different from playing gitar."

The acoustics of the cave itself also help contribute to the sound being more interesting than a simple teaching ballad might normally be. When it's clear the song is over, Ilaria gives a polite little clap. "It is different, but that's part of what makes the sound so unique, right? If it played like a gitar, it'd sound like a gitar…"

R'zel nods. "And the metal strings, and the plectrum - the technique's quite different. And of course, it's half the size. I need to find some music, and get some practice in. It'll be a while before I'm ready for a turn at the Treble Clef with it." He fingers the fretboard, then starts idly picking out the melody of a different and less educational tune: 'The prettiest girl in the Hold'. "Maybe this one next." He looks up from the strings with a shy smile. "Then I should come and serenade you."

Ilaria nods along with the list of differences. "You'll have to let me know when you decide to play at the Treble Clef." It takes a minute for her to recognize the new tune, but when she does, the woman blushes and looks down shyly. "I uh… that would… maybe a different song?"
"Oh, I don't know," says R'zel, still smiling. "I think it's rather appropriate." He stops playing after a couple more bars, though. "Actually, I haven't played at the Treble Clef for months. I don't have as much time, since I got promoted, and then there was this." He lightly taps the strings of the mandolin. "But I'll certainly let you know if I do."

Ilaria might still be blushing, but at least she's looking up again. "Yeah… it gets busy when you get a project. And more responsibilities." She just going to gloss on over whether the song was or wasn't appropriate. "With the winter rains, you're going to be busy again soon?" Rain equals flooding, which usually means someone needing rescue, right?

"Winter's usually busier on the Search and Rescue side," R'zel agrees. "Floods, mudslides, snow in the places where it snows. And anywhere north of Southern Barrier is too warm for Thread to freeze, really." So not much respite there. "But at least you don't melt every time you step outside." That's a big plus in R'zel's book!

Ilaria nods along. "That's what I thought… Summer might get hot, but at least you're not having to worry about washing away." Says the girl from Southern Boll. Humid jungles are kind of what she grew up with. Heat over drowning in her book!

R'zel seems to listen for a moment, then wrinkles his lips. "Sorry, it sounds as if something's come up. I'm going to have to go." He slips the mandolin back into its case and the plectrum into the pocket, then gets to his feet. "See you soon?" He sounds as if he's hoping for a positive reply.

The smile that was on Ilaria's face slightly disappears when R'zel announces that he's going to have to leave, but she quickly puts one back on, although slightly smaller. "Yes. Soon. Maybe for dinner tomorrow?" If that doesn't work, surely they're figure out some time for plans in the near future. They both have to eat after all, even if emergencies do sometimes come up and demand attention right away.

R'zel smiles again, pleased at the suggestion. "Tomorrow dinner it is. I'll meet you at your workshop?" He doesn't really wait for an answer, though; another piece of news from Verokanth has him gathering up his belongings and heading for the door in a hurry.

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