Ganaivoh leaned back against a tree and looked out toward the ocean. North Woodhall was a few lengths from the coast, but the water still sparkled through the sparse trees.
In the long-fingered hands of the deep-copper skinned boy rested a smooth glass orb. It was clear and not green in the slightest as apprentice-made glassware often was. Not a single bubble marred the vessel, not even where the spiral of precious cobalt joined the wall. The mouth of the jar was tiny - perhaps the width of his pinky finger - and even, no drips anywhere. Even the cork was painstakingly shaped to fit snugly, but not so tight that it couldnít be easily removed. The inside of the spherical jar was smooth; a thick liquid rolled around inside would have revealed any variation in the thickness of the glass - but there was nothing. As far as Ganaivoh was concerned, this was his finest work; it was worthy of the prize the masters had offered to the crafter whose work could impress them the most. It was so perfect, and yet, heíd still lost. Heíd lost to... he didnít know who. He hadnít seen the other entries before the judging - he could have gone and looked, but he hadnít. He knew his work was good, and was definitely a challenge to anything heíd seen leave the workshop in the last month - and heíd been there quite a lot, working on his Journeyman project.
As a senior apprentice, he had done many projects - wineglasses with colored stems, gazing-balls for the gardens of lady holders, and many even-walled jars (for whatever suited the buyerís fancy) and about two hundred tiny perfume vials - and now, Ganaivoh was shattered. He cast his pine green eyes upon the globe, and wrapped his fingers around it, flexing his muscles and contemplating whether to smash this thing against the nearest tree, or to keep it as a reminder.
Sighing, Ganaivoh got up from the damp ground, and began to walk back towards the holding, the crystal-and-cobalt bottle winging precariously from his fingertips. On top of not winning the marks that were the prize for the contest, someone had found a clutch of firelizard eggs, and gave the biggest three to the steward as prizes for the highest ranked entries - and Ganaivoh hadnít even won one of those. Maybe one of the new firelizard owners would like to have the crystal ball to keep oil in for their new petsí fragile hide.
Ganaivoh was 6í5" tall, and very lean. It was conjectured that he could hide in the narrowest shadow. His dark hair was cut intentionally in uneven lengths, and hung in front of his somewhat round face. He was on the reserved side, but was more than able to enjoy an impromptu gathering though he wasnít likely to start one himself - too risky.
Ganaivoh was dressed in sleek black slacks, and black boots that laced tightly around his rock hard calves. Over a tight sleeveless tunic, he wore a long sleeved jacket with a very square collar - an old style once again on the verge of mainline fashion. Ganaivoh didnít care if it was fashionable; he liked it. He walked into the apprentice forms, and tossed the bottle towards his cot. It landed in the rumpled furs and lay there, unbroken, as Ganaivoh turned and stalked back out. What good was he?
Ganaivoh walked into the workshop, and at the tools and the sand and the furnace. Not today. Ganaivoh turned and walked back out. What heíd though would be his greatest work had become, in mere moments, his downfall.
"Master Denire, I have to leave." Ganaivoh said, standing before one of the craftmasters. "There is no way I can continue my craft in light of my failure."
The master looked Ganaivoh in the face. "Youíre no failure, Ganaivoh - if youíre referring to the festival contest, your work was bested by Journeymen reaching for mastery. You r work is impressive for a Senior Apprentice - and you are so close to reaching Journeyman yourself - what can we do to have you stay?" the master asked, genuinely concerned.
Ganaivoh shook his head. "Iíve lost the passion for my work; Iíve no desire to continue." Ganaivoh said, tears attempting to form in his dark green eyes. He blinked them away. "By your leave, Master Denire, I will go."
Denire sighed and set down his quill pen on the blotter. "Goodbye, Ganaivoh. I hope you find a new passion."
Ganaivoh quietly turned and left. Within a short while, Ganaivoh had packed his meager belongings and acquired a runnerbeast from the stable, promising to return or pay for the beast as soon as he could.
Nearly a sevenday later, the 20 turn old glasscrafter arrived at Ryslen Weyr. His runnerbeast was left at the Weyr stable, and Ganaivoh ventured into the depths of the Weyr himself, his packs slung over his narrow shoulders. The watchrider waved at him from high up on the rim, and the scattering of dragons basked in the late afternoon rays, ignoring him completely. A few dragons were being scrubbed on the lakeshore, eyes colored with pleasure, first-lidded as they relaxed. Weyrbrats and younger members of the Weyr staff darted about on errands, bidding Ganaivoh a good afternoon if they got within shouting distance.
Ganaivoh peered through a large double-doorway. It led into a foyer lined with benches. It was a pleasant place to sit an chat, or to strip off wet outerwear when just coming in to eat before heading out again.
"That leads to the dining hall." A young voice said, first to his right, then behind him. "But evening meal isnít for almost four candlemarks." Ganaivoh finally spotted the young girl. She was slim and tall, and had long dark hair. She had about 13 turns, or Ganaivoh had lost his objective eye.
"Thank you." Ganaivoh said softly.
The girl laughed as she ran off. "Youíre welcome!"
A smile curled the corners of his mouth, and he stepped into the foyer. He left his bag there, and continued into the dining hall. Ganaivoh looked around the deserted room, wondering how the Weyrbowl could be so busy and this vast cavern be so empty. At one table sat an older woman; she had long dark hair, silvered at the temples and heavily speckled with silver throughout the rest. She was reading through a stack of records, taking notes on a wax slate. Silver bangle-bracelets jingled on her wrist as she reached for her mug. She looked up, saw Ganaivoh looking at her, and beckoned him over, taking a second draught from the mug before she set it down. "Greetings." She said pleasantly.
Ganaivoh smiled awkwardly. "Good Afternoon." He responded automatically.
She smiled. "You must have just gotten in - you look tired. Have a seat." She waved him to a chair.
Ganaivoh sat down. "I came by runnerbeast; last of North Woodhall." He volunteered.
"I see." Said the gypsy-like woman. "Come to present yourself as a Candidate then?" So many youths came to the Weyr when they found a lack in their life that a craft just couldnít fill. Some were found by a dragonet, and some Impressed firelizards, and some were just fulfilled by the sense of community the Weyr fostered.
Ganaivoh shook his head. "Not exactly. I just had to get away for a while." He didnít look her in the eye; he was ashamed of his failure, and didnít really want to tell her, though he felt very oddly comfortable in her presence.
"I see." She said again. "Youíre more than welcome to say here if you want to... What did you say your name was?" She looked to him expectantly.
"I didnít. Itís Ganaivoh." He said, still not meeting her eyes.
"...Ganaivoh. Youíll have to pull your own weight though."
Ganaivoh shrugged slightly. Maybe weyrlife would take his mind away from his troubles? "I know how to work. Thank you, Maíam." He said.
"That means youíll be staying? Youíll need a room then..." She looked around, but didnít get up. "Ahh... Ikara..." she said, hailing a pleasantly plump woman wearing the insignia of Headwomanís second on her shoulder. "Ganaivoh will be staying at Ryslen for a while; heís on leave from Woodhall. See he gets a nice room." She wasnít bossy; not really - just stating the facts and making a reccomendation.
"Sure thing, Weyrwoman Tiyanni." Ikara said, then looked to Ganaivoh. "If youíll follow me..."
Ganaivoh was in a daze. The Weyrwoman... "Thank you" he said again, rising slowly. It was almost dreamlike with the amount of adreniline surging through his system.
"Where did you leave your things?" Ikara asked as they moved away from the table so Tiyanni could resume her work.
"In the foyer; just over there." Ganaivoh said. "Is she really the Weyrwoman?" he asked Ikara quietly.
"Oh yes. Tiyanni is one on the nicest women youíd ever want to meet, and she really knows how to run the Weyr. We can only hope her daughter Jeyann can do as good a job when she takes over in a few turns." Ikara babbled good-naturedly.
"I thought sheíd be much more..." Ganaivoh began, then trailed off, not having the word he wanted.
"Unapproachable." Ikara supplied, to which Ganaivoh nodded. "I donít know where the Ďvicious Weyrwomaní rumor got started, but Iíd sure like to see it stopped." Ikara said.
"Why?" Ganaivoh said. "If the holders and the others decided the Weyrwoman was a pushover, the Weyr would have no end of trouble."
Ikara beamed. "You have a point there." She siad, then opened the door to a room. "This will be your room for as long as you care to stay." Ikara said, walking through the room to open the window.
Ganaivoh set his bag on the desk, and a thought passed fleetingly through his mind - this was one of those stereotypical candidate rooms - bed, desk, chair, window, tapestry, and clothes press. That observation was flushed from Ganaivohís thoughts as Ikara asked if he had a color preference for bedding. Furs come in colors? Ganaivoh thought to himself. "Umm... surprise me." He said, and set about unpacking as Ikara smiled and went out.
Ganaivoh settled in well at Ryslen; he woke early and helped the nighthearth cooks prepare breakfast and bake the bread for the day. The adage "if you cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" never really applied to Ganaivoh - after hall, he had worked with molten glass.
Iora bounced through the kitchens, clutching a glass jar. "Can someone tell me if this is okay to use to melt wax bits in to make candles?" She asked. It was nearing noon, and the kitchen staff was bustling about trying to get things done.
Ganaivoh was stirring a big pot of chili and looked up to see what it was. "Let me see it, Iora." He said loud enough to be heard over the din. Iora danced over to him and held out the jar. He gave the chili one last stir, then took the container from Ioraís outstretched hands. It was a quart canning jar; no chips or cracks, no bubbles in the walls, and it appeared to have relatively even sides. On the bottom of the jar were two small marks set into the clear glass - a "J" and the letters "De." Journeyman Denire? He thought to himself. He handed the jar back to the girl. "Looks fine to me. Have fun making candles."
"And how do you know?" she aksed, wanting to be certain.
"I was almost a Journeyman in glasscraft, Iora. Trust me, okay?"
"If you were almost a Journeyman, why are you here?" she asked, then bounced away, not really caring what his answer would be.
Ganaivoh sat at the table eating his own lunch, and smiled as a friend came around with a read wine to complement the hearty chili. Wine was an ordinary choice of beverage, though usually reserved for dinner. "Can I have a little of that, Takej? Just half..." the weyrbrat poured out the wine into a clear goblet with an emerald green stem. The glasses were common, but Ganaivoh had a bad feeling about this particular glass. He waited to check the bottom of the glass until he had drank all the wine - no use wasting it. On the bottom of the stem was a mark - a star. That was all. No "J" for Journeyman. This was apprentice made glassware...
After the meal, Ganaivoh went to his room. His shift in the kitchen was over, and he was tired. He flopped down onto the green-and-blue quilt Ikara had brought him almost a full turn ago when he arrived, and stared at the ceiling. After a few moments, he got up and walked over to his desk. There, on a towel, rested the blue-swirled ball jar that had triggered this whole thing. Heíd not smashed it, or given it away. He rolled it around in his palms and sat on the edge of the bed.
He didnít know how long Tiyanni had been there before she spoke. "Ready to go back, Ganaivoh?" she asked softly.
"Yeah... but no..." he said, looking up at the silvering Weyrwoman. He still thought of her as he did when he met her - casual, welcoming, kind...
"What exactly does that mean?" she asked, walking in and sitting beside him.
"I miss it - all the lessons, the workshop... but I donít know if I can go back."
Tiyanni put a hand on his back. "If youíre even thinking about it, youíve broken through whatever barrier you felt about your craft - itís time."
Ganaivoh looked to the Weyrwoman. "Maybe it is, Tiyanni." He said, lifting the ball to meet his eyes. The Weyrwoman plucked the jar from his hand like a ripe fruit, and looked at it, turning it over and over in her hands before looking back at him.
"Did you make this, Ganaivoh?"
He smiled at her, his dark green eyes full of hope. "Do you like it?"
"Like it? Itís beautiful! I love it!" Tiyanni exclaimed. "If you can do work like this, I donít see why you ever left, Ganaivoh."
Ganaivoh laughed half-heartedly. "Yeah... silly huh?" He stood up. "If you like it that much, I want you to have it Tiyanni." He said, and began to pack his things.
Tiyanni smiled. "Thank you, Ganaivoh." She said, then stopped. "Ganaivoh - your runnerbeast was taken back to Woodhall ages ago."
He stopped. "Shards..." he muttered.
"No matter - weíll get someone to take you back. Granted Dragonriders hate being used as a taxi service..." she smiled. Not even the most bitter rider would disobey the Weyrwoman. She was quiet for a moment. "Tírinn and Yuraith would be glad to take you." Tiyanni said with a smile. "How soon will you be ready?"
Ganaivoh looked around. "Is now okay?"
After a few false starts, Ganaivoh was back into the swing of his craft. A month and a half had passed since his return; but it was as if heíd never left. Ganaivoh was nearly done with his Journeyman project when an anonymous order came in. The masters brought this directly to Ganaivoh. "Sirs," he protested, "Iím only a Senior Apprentice. Journeymen take the commissions."
The masters scoffed. "Ganaivoh, if you canít handle this, I resign." Master Denire said, and handed him the slip.
Two dozen spherical jars with tiny mouths, corks, and decorated with spirals of cobalt, jade, and amber.
Ganaivoh did a double take. "Write them back and ask if theyíd prefer I tried for a light, middle, and dark amber to represent gold, bronze and brown - and how many of each color." Ganaivoh said, clearing a space on the table.
"Ganaivoh - how, by the egg, did you know that order came from the Weyr?"
He looked at the masters. "Simple. Weyrwoman Tiyanni has the spherical jar I made for the festival contest. Who else would know what we were capable of?" Ganaivoh replied truthfully, placing the seventh bottle from his project on a shelf in the cabinet.
Master Denire laughed. "I never would have guessed you spent that turn at Ryslen. WE thought youíd gone home for sure."
Ganaivoh smiled. Ryslen had felt like home from day one.
When Ganaivoh had completely finished all twenty-four identical (in all but color) bottles, a dragon was drummed for. There was no way on Pern that they would survive a wagon trip all the way to Ryslen.
A blue dragon gently landed in the clearing a bit west of North Woodhall, and Ganaivoh carried his work out to the dragon. The blue had his back to Ganaivoh, and didnít see him walk up. "Oh! Hello Amitath!" Ganaivoh said cheerfully. The dragon whirled to face him, almost taking out those standing nearby with his tail. The blue lowered his head and gazed intently at him. "Patience Amitath. Let me set these down; then IĎll scratch your eyeridges. If they get broken, Tiyanni will have both our hides!"
Jírin stepped around the blue. "Amitath says if theyíre that important, youíd better come along to carry then - and be sure to bring your things. Youíll be paying a visit to White River Weyr."
Ganaivoh grinned. "Iíll be right back then!" he said, "and donít let anyone near that box!" he charged the dragon, and started for the hold.
Master Denire shouted yelled after him. " Ganaivoh! Where are you going?!"
The glasscrafter replied "To the Weyr! You donít argue with Amitath!" The blue snorted to emphasize the crafterís words. The masters sighed. The fittest among them ran back to the hold.
Within moments, Ganaivoh was packed and beside the Searchdragon. The masters looked to him expectantly. "Senior Apprentice Ganaivoh, you are hereby promoted to Journeyman." Master Denire said, handing him the rank pin. "Weíre sorry you didnít get to walk the tables in front of all your peers, but..."
Ganaivoh smiled. "No matter." He said, "I did it - and now Iíve been Searched - itís a grand day."
Jírin just leaned against Amitath and beamed. The master to Denireís left handed a pouch to the new Journeyman. "Your share of the commission." She said. "You deserve it - and besides, we couldnít have filled Tiyanniís order without you. She was very specific..."
Ganaivoh nearly blushed.
With a hand from Jírin, Ganaivoh got settled astride Amitath, holding the padded box full of bottles before him. Jírin carefully planted himself in front of the box, and then they were off.
Tiyanni was glad to see her 21 turn old friend again. "It was hard," she admitted, " to find a way to get you near an actively Searching dragon." Ganaivoh looked at her blankly.
"Search dragons wonít choose a potential candidate unless there is a clutch. Since East Rock has so many weyr-alliances, weíre searching most of the time, but when there is a lull in the clutching..." Jírin explained from the doorway.
Ganaivoh nodded, and Tiyanni continued. "Iím not sure what Iíll do with all of these, but... I was worth the price." The Weyrwoman said, smiling. "I keep scented massage oil in the one you gave me." She said with a smile. "Youíd better go - that Hatching will come sooner than you expect, you know."
Ganaivoh stepped across the room and hugged Tiyanni, not caring what unwritten rules he broke. The Weyrwoman hugged back. "Thank you Tiyanni." He said.
"No, thank you, Ganaivoh." She said, "and good luck!"
Does Ganaivoh need luck?
Ganaivoh is a candidate at White River Weyr