"No flaws, no flourishes either, but no flaws." Said the scribal master, his tone even but not altogether cold. "Good. Now do it ten more times."
Sian looked up at him, totally flabbergasted. He couldn't be serious... could he? The Scribe handed her back the flier and moved on to where the next apprentice was waiting for him. Across the archival lair, an unfamiliar man smiled encouragingly at her, quill pen held lightly and expertly in his hand. Sian half smiled back at him, then looked down at the stack of paper before her, the original she was copying, and the unremarkable copy she had just finished.
Some feedback. Sian muttered to herself. 'Good. Do it again.'
Isn't that better than being ridiculed and having to start over anyway? An unexpected but not wholly unwelcome voice asked within her mind.
Sian looked wildly about the room, but noone had spoken. Even that strange man had his head down and was hard at work copying something. Sian drew a hard deep breath and held it as if deciding whether to scream or not. After a moment, she slowly exhaled and reached for the quill resting beside her pot of ink. She'd spent how long on that page? They'd better appreciate this... Sian thought, and set to work on a fresh sheet of paper.
Three copies later, the scribal apprentices were released for midday meal. Sian shook her hand, trying to ease the tigntness in the tendons from gripping the pen as she had been. There weren't oo many people in the dining hall - it was a gorgeous late spring day and practically all the farmers and herders were out in the fields.
"I'm not that strange, am I?" A masculine voice said, startling Sian out of her reverie.
"No... It was you, wasn't it? Talking to me?"
The man chuckled and sat down at her table. "Sorry, but no. It wasn't me." He said, smiling at her. "Eilboteth, on the other hand..." The young woman blinked a few times. "Where are my manners?" He wiped his hand and extended it to her across the table. "Q'wic, of Ryslen, rider of blue Eilboteth."
"Sian, Scribal Apprentice." She replied automatically.
"Well met, Sian." Q'wic said with another smile.
"So your dragon talked to me?" SIan asked, lifting her mug to her lips.
Yes. Eilboteth replied as Q'wic grinned brightly. It was all Sian could do not to spit her klah all over the dragonrider.
"Eilboteth fancies himself a Search dragon. He likes to talk to people."
Sian wondered if the great beast was rolling his eyes. "So you're a Search team?" Sian asked once she was sure she wasn't going to choke.
"Nope, sorry again. Eil' and I are just messengers. Prima Jeyann sent us to get some census information." Q'wic took a big bite of his sandwich and somehow managed to smile and chew at the same time.
"Prima?" Sian queried.
She's Weyrwoman Tiyanni's daughter. Eilboteth supplied.
Q'wic swallowed. "Ryslen has chosen new titles. You can call her Weyrwoman if it makes it easier for you. We're pretty flexible about it."
Sian nodded and comtemplated her lunch. The cooks had put on a quite pleasant spread, actually.
"I took a look at your copywork on my way out. You have a very steady hand." Q'wic said, changing the topic somewhat.
"Um... thanks?" Sian said.
"You should write a letter to introduce yourself to Prima Jeyann. I'm sure she'd love to have another steady-handed scribe at Ryslen." Q'wic said between bites of sandwich.
"But I'm not..." Sian protested.
"We've got folk who can train you." Q'wic said with a smirk. "Trust me."
When Sian returned to her seat in the Scribal room, there was an unwelcome surprise for her. The stack of new paper had almost tripled in size.
"Ah Sian..." The scribal master began, "None of the others are having much luck with this set. I'm going to try them on something easier." Sian looked at him, her face blank save for the pained look in her eyes. "It's only a few more. Thirty-five total."
With the four she had completed, that left Thirty-one. "I'd better get started then." She said, far more cheerfully as she felt. Q'wic smiled at her from across the lair and then bent over his work again. Sian drew a fresh sheet of paper into place before her and dipped the quill pen carefully into the pure black ink.
It took a few days to complete the fliers, but the scribal master was pleased with the lot. Sian waited for criticism which never came, but no praises came either.
"Sir?" Sian asked as the scribe tapped the sheets into a neat pile. He looked at her and once she was sure that she had his attention she continued. "May I have a sheet of paper? I'd like to..."
"Say no more. That paper was allotted for this task, and seeing that you haven't used it all up, I see no reason why you can't have a sheet or..." he paused momentarily as he counted the short stack. "Seven. As a reward."
Sian was truly shocked. Even though offworld technology had allowed paper to be made much more quickly, efficiently, and uniformly, it was still expensive to make. A few apprentices within earshot glared daggers at her. "Thank you sir." Sian said, blushing.
"And the rest of the day is yours to spend as you please."
The scribal master just smiled and walked away with the completed fliers. Sian sat looking at the blank papers for a short moment, then gathered up the precious sheets and her personal quill and bottle of ink and slipped out of the scribal area.
Sian wandered to the farthest edge of the hold courtyard and stared off into the distance. What should she write? Q'wic was so adamant and... persuasive about it. On the horizon, for just a moment, Sian thought she glimpsed a dragon before it slipped between. With a thoughtful expresson gracing her face, the scribal apprentice meandered back towards the dining hall.
Jeyann shuffled through the stacks of papers on her desk, and stopped to look at the flier announcing some event held by a narcissistic lordling who'd paid extra for fancy paper. Jeyann set it aside and continued her searching. A second sheet of the same paper caught her eye. A second flier? Jeyann tugged it out of the stack - no it wasn't the flier. Definitely not, even though the hand was the same. Jeyann sat back in her chair and read the neatly penned letter."When did this arrive?" Jeyann asked herself and then picked up the lordling's flier. It became immediately apparent that Sian had done the tedious copywork. "Mezireth...?" She called to her queen, and the sinuous gold stirred from her nap. "Are Q'wic and Eilboteth in?"
Greetings unto Prima Jeyann of Nidus Ryslen
from the hand of Apprentice Scribe Sian, formerly of Bynor.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with your courier Q'wic, rider of blue Eilboteth. Q'wic claimed to be impressed with my work, and Eilboteth was also quite pleasant.
I am the daughter of Herders Kentar and Eryka, and I have no siblings. I have 19 turns, and though I began my apprenticeship late, my masters are pleased with the progress I have already made. I am 5'7" tall (16 and three-quarter hands if you'd rather) and have curly brown hair and deep brown almond-shaped eyes.
Though my thoughts are scattered, I actually enjoy my scribal duties and look forward to more complex tasks.
I would be most honored if I could meet you in person the next time you visit Keilac Hold.
In Service, Sian
No. Mezireth responded slowly as she stretched. Q'wic will come see you when they return.
Jeyann rolled up Sian's note and the flier and secured them with a leather strap.
I'd love a quick jaunt to Kielac. Mezireth said, following her rider's train of thought.
Jeyann grinned and slipped on her jacket.
"What do you mean she's not here?" Jeyann demanded of the scribe before her.
"Sorry Prima, but Sian accepted Search to Draco's Inferno Weyr about a sevenday ago."
Jeyann pursed her lips and thought a moment. It wouldn't be hard to go to Draco's Inferno; they were already out and about. But... "Could I trouble you for a pen?" She asked with a sly smile.
The scribe smirked. "I don't know if we have any of those..." He said, quite sarcastically. Jeyann smirked back and the scribe led the way.
Sian had her hands quite full of dirty dishes when the Searchrider arrived with a note and an excitable flit.
"Sian? This is for you, I think."
The young woman set down the stack of plates and wiped her hands. Aislinn dropped the rolled up note in her hand. The paper looked oddly familiar. Sian opened the note carefully.Sian: Congratulations on your Search. Much luck to you. -Jeyann. PS. If you haven't a journal, send back, and I'll have one couriered over special.Sian grinned as she read it.
"Sounds like you've friends at Ryslen." Aislinn said.
"One or two, I guess." Sian laughed.
The firelizard circled around their heads and then vanished.
Sian is a quiet girl - she doesn't complain, no matter how odious the task, but she does not really assert herself either. (Not pushy, but not a push-over.) She is a responsible, hard working young woman, and she would be an asset to any Weyr. -B'wen
© TyGryph / Ryslen