The air was hot and oppressive in the small crafting lab at Remyndal Hall.
The bellows were pumping air to keep the fire in the heart roaring. Rudy
was working with sweat streaming down his face and back. His small hands
elegantly turning the pipe to form the glass.
Next to him, Hiveca, a fellow student in the arts and crafts courses was
making glass beads. She'd stumbled on Rudy working and had figured that
trying to bend metal might be too risky in the hot atmosphere of the room.
Making glass beads was something she'd been wanting to do ever since she'd
heard about them. Hiveca knew better than to ask Rudy for help while he
was working. But maybe later.
At the entrance to the lab, sitting close to the door in the hopes of
catching some cooler air, a flushed Terrence sat at a table, waiting for
the deliveries to be made. As an apprentice scribe and accountant he was
often asked to take care of these trades inside the hall. He doubted his
work was actually necessary, but it was good practice so he usually didn't
While Terrence was fanning himself, Puissar strode in. The young man
looked older than the others but was actually the youngest in the room. As
a mining student, he'd been sent to bring their ores and precious stones
to sell to the arts and crafts students. Rates were fixed by weight,
clarity and rarity. Usually Puissar would have insisted one of the
merchant students be present for the classification of the wares but he
knew Terrence from back home and trusted his judgement on precious stones.
"It's hot in here." Puissar remarked the obvious.
"Don't remind me." Terrence sighed, "I'm to remain here
"Will they keep at it until then?" Puissar asked.
"You haven't met Rudy if you're asking that." Hiveca told him as
she came closer to take a break.
"I haven't." Puissar admitted, "How old is he? 15?"
Hiveca chuckled, "Don't let him hear you say that. Rudy is older than
all of us, he's 19."
Puissar looked closer at the small and willowy boy. Even knowing Rudy was
3 years older than him he couldn't shake the feeling Rudy was younger than
him. Knowing how frustrating that must be Puissar wondered: "Maybe he
should grow a beard."
"That worked for you, but it would look unnatural on Rudy."
Hiveca told him.
"Maybe I should try it." Terrence added, stroking his own bare
"You should, it makes all the difference." Puissar urged him.
"You'd need something neat and tidy though." Hiveca insisted.
The subject of beards was dropped when Terrence returned to the work at
"What did you bring for us today, Puissar?"
"A lot of coal, and ore that might contain some metal and a select
set of semi-precious stones that will need to be polished." the miner
Picking up the small magnifying monocle, Terrence set to appraising the
stones. It was a skill he'd picked up around his family home and not
something he'd taken courses in at Remyndal. He had taken some gardening
classes which had surprised the journeymen but they hadn't pried. Students
were free to take the classes they wanted so long as they didn't interfere
with the curriculum they'd selected upon entering.
After some time Terrence put down the monocle and started noting down his
conclusions and adding numbers to calculate the cost to the hall. Puissar
would leave a happy man and the art students would be happy with the added
Rudy chose that moment to stop working on his project and join the others.
He took stock of the materials and pointed at some ore.
"I want those, unless you want them?" he said, looking
dejectedly at Hiveca.
"I wouldn't know how to use them." Hiveca admitted, "Though
they're lovely as they are."
The stones Rudy wanted were jagged with lines of copper and gold colours
traversing the breaklines. They were too big to incorporate in jewellery
but she should be able to use them as a subject for one of her
"So I can have them?" Rudy asked, cutting Hiveca's reverie.
Hiveca shrugged, "Sure."
"If you like the colours and lines, I can give you this one."
Puissar said, drawing a small pebble from his pocket. The pebble wasn't a
precious stone but it was beautiful none the less. It was the deep blue of
night with specks of reflective metal that looked like stars. It's surface
was smooth and polished, telling Hiveca that it had been carried and
touched a lot.
"It's something precious from you." she said to Puissar, "I
couldn't take it."
"I don't mind really." he answered, "It holds some sad
memories, I'd rather give it away to make someone else happy."
Hiveca turned back to her workbench and returned with one of the beads
she'd been working on. She'd had an idea about a gold necklace with black
and red glass beads but somehow she'd been inspired to make a deep green
bead with swirls of brown. It would suit Puissar so she got a strip of
leather cord and tied it around his wrist.
"I'll give you this in return." she said, "You can do what
you want with it."
Rudy had long since returned to his workbench and was planning what to do
with the stones he'd gotten. He was certain that if he could separate the
metals from the stone they'd make for nice embellishments. An other
idea was to use the stone as base for a goblet. Pairing the rough rock
with the delicate glass would make something amazing he was sure.
Terrence coughed and said: "I think we should get ready for dinner,
the bell is about to sound."
"Is it that late already?" Hiveca asked, "Where did the
"I can vouch that you were here the entire time." Terrence
"I'm sure of that." Hiveca chuckled.
Puissar waited for Rudy to finish
tidying up his workbench before heading toward the cafeteria. He knew he
was probably asking the wrong person, but Hiveca had left with Terrence
and no-one else had been there.
"Do you think Hiveca meant something special by giving me this?"
Rudy looked puzzled, sighed and shook his head.
"I think she just wanted to repay the favour." he said
carefully, "Tough you should ask her."
"I can't!" Puissar exclaimed with red cheeks.
Rudy shrugged and realised the other boy was a bit younger. He wondered if
he'd thought about romance when he was 3 years younger. Probably not. For
as long as he could remember he'd only wanted one thing and that was to
make pretty things. Not everyone understood his fascination with glass and
he'd learned early on that you could only count on yourself.
"You gave her a pretty stone, so she might not be opposed to the
idea." Rudy added carefully.
'That was nothing special." Puissar sighed, "I'm glad to be rid
"It seemed like you'd had it for a long time." Rudy shrugged.
"I wanted to give it to my mother at one time." Puissar said,
"But I realised she wouldn't want it anyway. Not from me."
Rudy felt a hurt there that reflected his own. He'd never known who his
parents were and missed the warmth some of the other students talked about
as if they hadn't a doubt as to whether or not someone would always be
there for them.
"Don't let it get to you." Rudy offered, "You'll make it on
Thanks." Puissar said.
He felt down, but at the same time also a bit supported by this gloomy,
quiet presence. Because Rudy had instantly realised what his plan was. He
wanted to grow up and become independent and leave his entire family
behind. He'd do things differently.
Rudy patted Puissar on the back and said: "Hurry up or all the food
will be gone."
Terrence waited for Hiveca to
continue walking but in stead she'd taken out the little pebble again and
was staring at it.
"Are you happy you got it from him?" Terrence asked.
"I'm thinking about what I can do with it. It almost seems like a
waste to use it for something to sell."
"Of course it is!" Terrence told her, "I'm pretty sure he
wants you to keep it."
Hiveca looked up a bit uncertain, "You think so?"
"I would." Terrence admitted.
He'd always been taught that giving a girl presents equalled wanting to
court her. As of yet he hadn't found anyone yet, but somewhere in the
future he'd marry and have children. His mother was likely sifting through
potential candidates whenever she was invited to parties. He only hoped
his intended was sensible and easy to get along with.
"Wait..." Hiveca said, "Do you think he likes me?"
She hadn't thought about that when she had accepted the stone. She'd just
wanted it because it was pretty and had been delighted he'd been willing
to part with it. And to thank him she'd given him something she wouldn't
have any use for anyway. Had she made a mistake?
"I don't know honestly. But giving a girl gifts often has that
meaning." Terrence said.
"But it wasn't a gift, I traded for it."
"You might have hurt his feelings with that."
"Damnation." she cursed, "Well I'll just have to wait and
Because trying to ask him about it would be even more awkward.
Dinnertime was nearly finished and
only a few students who'd gotten in late remained. Blanca
was pleased to see the four she'd needed today were present. It was always
nice to finish her work early. Requests for candidates had been plentiful
these last months and she was happy to see so many of their students going
out and bonding dragons. Some of them stayed at the weyrs, others returned
to finish their studies and take on the places they'd been meant to fill.
Times had changed much since she'd been a student herself. And much for
the better in her opinion.
Blanca coughed and said, "Hiveca, Puissar, Terrence and
The four of them looked up.
"Requests have come in for candidates at Weyrs in the vicinity and I
believe most of you can take some time off from your studies. If you'd
like to try for a dragon that is."
Students were never pressured, but few declined. She made sure to only ask
those she knew would be open to the idea after all. And her people skills
were unparalleled. Looking at the expressions on the youths' faces, Blanca
knew she'd made the right choice once more and started to give them their
assignments and telling them what items they should pack.