|Drawings for Cherise|
|Summary:||Apprentice Journeyman Arthfael is sent with drawings for the new Highfield Sept design to meet with Lady Cherise. She's a hard woman to please but somehow Arthfael manages not to screw up. Mostly.|
|Reading Room, Highfield Keep|
|Standing in the modes Reading Room of Highfield Keep, one feels the warmth of the fires crackling in the small hearth set on the wall to the left. A few low bookshelves sit along the right. Each of the four shelves has a shelf or two filled with tomes of many different likes, and old scrolls dedicated to a hold a shelf or two as well. Though room to grow it has, the room's two large windows with their heavy curtains sport an equally large cushioned bench with many pillows for comfort laid about it, give off a cozy feel to the space. A large, rectangular, table and a number of chairs sit in front of a pair of bookshelves, and a couch with two small tables to each of its sides and two large overstuffed chairs sit in front of, and facing the hearth.|
|September 4th, 289|
The latest drawing to be delivered was once again denied the lady's approval. The Sept was to be designed perfectly and no matter how often the carpenter had altered the charcoal outlines Cherise had found a new flaw time and time again. It was their legacy after all she was having constructed, a new foundation of religion to bless the Oak's once savage idolatry. While in the reading room, entertained by wine and silence she waited for the new altered drawings to arrive after changing her mind upon the appearance for the … no one dared to count. One guard was standing close by, as was her maidservant, ever ready to refill the glass their Lady of Highfield had been slow to drain. Seated, she draped one arm across her silk covered abdomen, legs crossed beneath the fine fabrics that felt rich against the skin. "There's a sickness there? Really…" The lengthy blonde haired woman nearly purred over the mouth of her cup. "Serves them well. The Seven do not see fit to bless those who shame their virtues."
There is a light rap upon the door to announce someone's arrival. When the door is opened, there stands a boy of perhaps 14 or 15 years with a long wooden scroll case tucked under his arm. Presumably the awaited drawings are within for the Lady's consideration. Arthfael has washed himself up and put on his best nubby brown tunic and least worn pants, yet they do everything to indicate his smallfolk position of no particular import. The lad's eyes are nonetheless bright, his sandy brown hair clean, his young face promising soon to broaden with a man's jawline.
When he is ushered to step in, the boy bows low, his tenor not yet changed to the baritone he'll one day carry as a man grown, "M'lady? Me granpa, he sent me wit' th' Master Carpenter's drawin's fer ye tae see." He starts to remove the cap from the end of the tube to offer it, not yet straightening from his bow as he holds it out in offering.
Not that the guard should be on high alert while standing near the door. His presence certainly wasn't to safeguard any possible threats within the halls of Highfield. Ever watched the lady continued as though only she and the maidservant existed, until the arrival of another broke their catty candor. Cherise lifted her eyes, still seated, as the boy entered. "Has he?" She queried and soon after came the flick of a few fingers, careful not to loose possession of her afternoon nectar. "Well let's see it then." Certainly she wasn't expected lay out the drawing herself. Both arched brows raised suggestively.
If no guard steps forward to take the drawings from him, Arthfael straightens and is glad to step forward. Carefully, so not to knock over anything or seem presumptous, he begins to unroll the large parchements. He'll use whatever is reasonably to hand to secure the corners, such as the wine bottle and various things upon the table (or desk) to keep the papers laid out flat. The lad is nervous, evading direct eye contact with this woman and trying to orient the drawings to her best advantage. "He says I'm tae make any alterations ye be lik'n, Lady Cherise. Right here under ye supervision, lest th' changes ye wish be more than a little. In which case he be prefer'n tae meet with you himself tae get'm just right. Whatever be ye pleasure, m'Lady."
The boy produces a thin piece of charcoal as well as a rubbery bit of uncured tree resin to be erasing out any parts she wants changed. No need for her to dirty her hands unless she wants the impliments directly.
The twang of common tongue entered her ears though the lady's eyes were focused onto the drawing before her. As an artist she had an eye for detail and was all too quick to point out a flaw upon the parchment. "Good." Though it may have been difficult to know what she was praising. As the drawing had been set before her, the lady's eyes combed over the etchings of charcoal. Her frame twisted a little for all the better to study the eighth… ninth attempt. As both pale blue eyes were lowered Cherise spoke easily, "You must be gifted for your master to send a boy to ease a lady's temperance." The right corner of her mouth tucked inward, "Just because the rest of the lands are thickened with fauna both twisted and gnarled, there's no reason for this Sept to appear as though it raised from the earth herself. Less vines. In fact none at all. Not a lick of the earth shall soil it's structure."
Rather than start altering that much of the drawings, Arthfael tries to make a subtle notation on the edge about 'no vines'. He can apparently read and write some. The lad licks his lips, "Th' Master, there was a beam 'n it was dropped, slid from th' roof 'n landed on 'im. Broke his leg up bad, m'Lady. He nae be able tae come tae show ye th' drawings himself. So me granpa, he was tae come, but he has a cough 'n it was thought ye might … " Arthfael glances uneasily to Cherise, "With ye babe tae tend, ye nae be want'n him tae be cough'n on ye. Most of th' carpenters, they ha' gone wit' th' march tae work on repair'n wagons, build siege engines 'n th' like as Lord Alesiter pleases. So there nae be many o' us left behind." The boy says this carefully, not wishing to anger the Lady. "So they sent me 'n be hop'n it pleases ye."
Very carefully, Arthfael starts to erase the vines along one small portion of the drawing to clean it up. As an example of what it would look like without the vines, though he's being real careful to draw back in and add nothing else, not to muddy up the drawing if he can help it. Arthfael's nervous though, worried he might anger her.
<FS3> Arthfael rolls Carpentry: Success.
"How thoughtful I was given their leftovers." As some dogs, the siege weapons took a higher priority over the construction of her sept. Cherise sighed softly, disgruntled though obviously not at the boy. "I'll set a prayer for your master's speedy recovery and that his wound shall not fester." Should they loose another craftsman… "That's right. Clean. Sharp. They spin tells of such constructions in the free cities. Where craftsmen are free to let express their heart's originality. I want this different, unique without appearing too ostentatious." Cherise pointed at the roofs with a finger. "More slender here. There are plenty of trees about and no need to conceal the structure from natural sunlight. When one gazes upon it they should feel welcomed, secure. Safe from various amounts of possible threats."
The lad blushes, to be named a left over. There is a great deal of weight on his young shoulders not to offend this woman. Arthfael swallows and tries to smile, "Thank ye, dear Lady, for th' prayers. I'm sure com'n from ye, his chances o' mending will be redoubled." There's something familiar in the lad's smile, as if he has some simularity of feature to someone she knows. The boy looks to where she points to the roof and listens carefully. As he's not too good at reading or writing, Arthfael makes the simplified notation of 'light' to the side by the roof, then tries to erase out some of it to make it thinner. The tiny tip of his tongue sticks out between his teeth as he concentrates, completely unaware of how it makes him look as he focuses upon the work.
There, does that please her or did he botch it?
<FS3> Arthfael rolls Carpentry: Failure.
He was almost there, at least until the boy's efforts drew a loud scoff from the lady's lips. "Oh for the Seven's sake." She sets her cup down, not too harsh, no reason to spill delightful wine. Cherise stands upright as if already flustered by the boy's attempts. She stretches a hand outwards expecting the charcoal. "You're concentrating far too hard. Give it here."
Cherise's actions /do/ fluster the boy, likewise. Arthfael stops at once and backs off a step to look at her, then at the drawing. He starts to open his mouth to object, and instead, he quietly hands over the charcoal as well as the erraser, "Yes, m'Lady." The boy /can/ speak more properly than he has been, a sample slip of it coming from 'yes' rather than aye. "I ha' only recently been promoted from Apprentice Novice tae start me journymen apprenticeship, m'Lady. I ha' nae ever worked on such an important project. We will do /anything/ tae see ye pleased with our efforts. We want ye tae be proud o' the Sept when it be completed." Arthfael should probably shut up now. So he does so, trying not to figet.
With the small cube of charcoal in hand the lady, accompanied by the whisper of silks, rounds the table to now stand beside the young boy. "I expect nothing less." She remarks before lowering her eyes to the drawing. The shoulders relax, her poise visibly slackened as she leaned forward a touch. "Then as a novice you should learn where your talents lie. You perhaps began emulating your master's work until you develop your own style. That is what I wish to see. Your master is too crisp… too common. I want something different and not a sept that can be a shadow of all the others." As she talked the lady soon began to scrawl over the young novice's attempts. "Once the structure is completed do you wish to say upon it's completion I drew what they told me or I drew what they admired?"
<FS3> Cherise rolls Painting: Good Success.
The lad is careful to give her room, but Arthfael is also very curious to watch what Cherise does with the charcoal. His young eyes drink it up as her strokes come easily and with experienced confidence. He glances from the drawing to her, "I .. nobody's gonna be ask'n me that, m'Lady. Only th' Master will be gett'n credit fer th' work, except for what you direct yeself, nae some apprentice. But if'n I stay a carpenter 'n become a Master someday meself, I will be keep'n ye words in mind, m'Lady. Thank ye."
His words suggest however that Arthfael hopes to do something else with his young life than woodworking. He carefully rubs the excess charcoal off of his hands and onto his tunic so he won't make smudges all over the paper when he's to pick it up and roll it for the tube when finished. "Ye draw beautifully, Lady Cherise."
"No they wouldn't, though it wouldn't stop you from spilling the song over a pint or two." As everyone desired praise and recognition, the Master would receive the credit as his apprentices grunted through all the work. Cherise only corrected some of the works on the drawing, adding windows near the roof for circulation and more sunlight. Seven pathways that cut through the woods to all meet at the very center. There was still the matter of those damned carved pillars that needed some placement within the structure. At the compliment Cherise swept her eyes over to the youth, watching him from the corners. "Thank you." After staring for a moment she returns to the parchment before her and straightens her posture. "Now…" The charcoal is offered back to him. "Take a deep breath, exhale, and pretend I will not have your head removed for displeasing me and try again young novice." Ambryl, her handmaiden is already coming with a dampened cloth to cleanse the lady's fingers. "Seven archways on the paths."
<FS3> Arthfael rolls Mind+carpentry: Good Success.
Arthfael is wise enough not to correct the Lady Cherise that he's been recently upgraded to journeyman. He only smiles a little at the part about spilling the 'song' over a drink since his latest attempt at wordsmithing has become a rather popular tune with the men marching to Stonebridge. He accepts the charcoal back and draws the breath to try to relax, but it's hard to not be keenly aware of who's watching his every move. Arthfael glances at the handmaiden before he sets to trying to draw the arches. His tongue tip sticks out briefly from one side of his mouth as he works, before he very, very faintly sets to humming that very tune. Nothing to relax the body and even out the breathing like a song! It works to sooth fretful horses and hounds as much as a lad.
This time, though he starts out a little stiffly, Arthfael's linework smooths out and once the first arch is drawn in how he likes it (and hopes she'll like as well) he then moves on with a bit more confidence to sketching in the others. The song he hums half under his breath as he works takes on words, barely whispered to himself as he draws, mindful not to smudge other work upon the parchment.
"… Many a manly heart was beating for the blessed warning light
Murmurs rang along the valleys to the banshee's lonely croon
And a thousand pikes were flashing by the rising o' the moon!
By the rising o' the moon, by the rising o' the moon
And a thousand pikes were flashing by the rising o' the moon!"
<FS3> Arthfael rolls Singing: Good Success.
Rather than bid him into silence she encouraged the talent to grow how it may, apparently through song. Fingers cleansed the lady soon made her way back for the chair she had previously occupied as the young journeyman soon relaxed into song. Proving her right his scribbling had improved, at least by her own her tastes. She quietly drank from the cup as the soothing musical resonance of both timber and scratching had filled in the reading room's silence. "Well look at that Mistress Ambryl, looks like he has a few more talents tucked away." The handmaiden appeared pleased by the song, as did the lady Cherise who relaxed against her seat. "Easier when you feel as though you can be yourself, isn't it?"
Woops! Was the song her words had conjoured up into his head spilled out of his throat and mouth? Startled, Arthfael stops abruptly and stares at them like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He blinks, then looks at the drawing he was working on … and, well, he didn't screw it up this time. So Arthfael smiles shyly, pleased. "Thank ye, m'Lady. I … nobody much likes me sing'n. They tell me tae shut it up. Especially me p-.." Nope, he doesn't finish that statement and amends quickly, "Granpa." Yep, that's what he meant to say, wasn't it? Arthfael touches up a few parts on the parchment and then steps back, "Do ye be want'n any oth'r changes afore I be tak'n this tae th' Master, m'Lady?"
"We all have our little pleasures." Cherise comments vaguely enough as her eyes study over the works completed thus far. Finally she gives a nod of approval. "That will be suitable." Unless she conjures up another last minute change. "Tell your master to begin breaking the ground at once. I wish to have a somewhat decent or near finished Sept by my husband's return." The lady starts to raise her cup to her lips before adding, "You have a name don't you?"
Wow, either she expects her husband to be gone for a while with his current occupation (and he may well be) or she's expecting miracles on the part of the few stone masons and carpenters left behind in Highfield. The boy nods, uncertain. He tucks away the charcoal and the eraser, then wipes his hands again before he's carefully rolling up the drawings. "I be Arthfael Carpenter, m'Lady. From Holyholt. Me granpa, he ha' come down on contract fer Lord Aleister 'n I 'm me next elder brother, Stephan, we be here tae learn. Me granpa, he be very good, a Master 'n he'll be doin' much o' the work on ye Sept wit' ye Highfield Master who's leg got broke. I'll be pass'n on ye instructions."
The parchments are slipped back into the tube and the end fastened. Arthfael bows low to the Lady of Highfield, "If'n me sing'n please ye, I be delighted tae come'n play me lute fer ye anytime."
Evidently she had high expectations or at least lived out the realm of extreme plausibility. Whatever the case was Cherise was finally content with the drawing and was managing to conceal her anxiousness for the sept's completion. "Young Arthfael." She repeats. "A friend of mine may appreciate your song and musical talents. I should let her know there is another who is gifted in these lands." The guard moves to open the door for the departing journeyman. "Good day young Carpenter."
The drawings secured, Arthfael tucks the tube once more underneath his arm, then bows low to the lady, "Thank ye, Lady Cherise. For everyth'n. We'll be work'n hard tae get things started." As he has no authority really to be speaking for his Masters, he leaves it at that and departs.
Cherise might however glimpse the lad later in the day taking fighting lessons outside of the keep from one of the Men-at-Arms, using the axe. Seems the boy keeps busy and works hard even outside of his carpentry duties.