Who Jeltje, Thys
What An honest conversation over some honest work.
When Summer, Turn 2711
Where Smithcraft Forge, Fort Weyr


Fort Weyr - Smithcraft Forge
Just beyond the Weyr's Smithy repair shop, off the tunnel leading to the inner sections of Fort Weyr, there is a dedicated area for Smiths to practice their craft. It's relatively large, with forges at the back where chimneys carry the smoke away to outside of the Weyr's walls. It shows signs of wear and tear, especially one little alcove - there are signs of char and attempts to brush soot from the walls where there's obviously been an accident involving fire in the past. And while the rest of the benches are open-use, that one alcove, with its tiny forge and giant safe, is very clearly off-limits, as there's a barrier in front of it.

The Forges are abuzz with activity on this Fortian afternoon. There's rarely a time when they aren't up and running, making this room hot and smoky - especially in the summer months when everywhere's just a little too hot. That's probably why Thys is dressed in a heavy leather apron over an otherwise forge-inappropriate outfit of shorts and a tank top, paired with safety boots and a bandana to hold her growing-out pixie cut back from her face as she hammers a glowing metal rod on one of the forge's anvils. She's not working in her own area, which remains shut off, but is instead in the public area. Given the sheen of sweat on her skin, she's been in there for a while already.

When Jeltje should be at her craft, she is. When she could be at her craft, she most often is. And even when she shouldn't really be, she usually is. She must have completed the duties she owes the Weyr as a Candidate already this afternoon, for her steps carry her from a more mundane - to her mind - task to one she is at least better suited to, if only suggested by her rank. Not dressed for the heavier work, she weaves her way towards one of the benches and rolls up the sleeves of her blouse a little before placing a neat case upon the worktop. As she sits herself down, she looks over at Thys and enquires, "What's it going to be, ma'am?" with a nod towards the metal rod.

Thys, upon hearing her name, raises her head and gives the Candidate a nod. "New buckles for Rhenesath's straps." She lifts the hammered rod up, where it's cooled enough to make the hammer-strike details visible in the brass finish as she holds it towards Jeltje for her to look more closely. "If I ever get to finish them." That's said wistfully as she turns to plunge the rod back into the forge, heating it for further manipulation. With her back to Jeltje, she continues talking. "You're… Je.. Jet? No. Sorry, it's something like that though, isn't it? I believe you're the one who made Inri's turnday present."

"I suppose it must be nice to be in a position to make them yourself." Jeltje leans a little into the bench to get a better look, giving a shallow nod before she retreats again and moves to release the clasps on her case. "…Jet serves well enough," she confirms, on the heels of a slow, controlled exhalation. "It's the name the craft gave me. Jeltje, otherwise." Some of the same letters, yet entirely differently sounds. "And yes, I made her turnday present. She seemed to like it. If she was humouring me, I won't be hurt. But I saw the stone and I thought it was meant for her, so she has it now, either way." From the case, she draws a half-finished pendant, its sharper edges not yet quite encased by silver wire.

"Jet - you could be related to me and my siblings, with a name like that." Thys grins, turning around with the red-hot rod, and begins tapping at at the opposite end so it matchs the first. "If she was putting it on to humour you, then she did a good job of hiding it. I can confidently say, Jet, that she was thrilled with it. It was a very thoughtful touch to a wonderful event, so thank you." Tap tap tap. "Perhaps you know I'm a jeweller myself? Not that I have much time to make things nowadays, but I do still take the odd commission here and there."

"All gemstones?" Jeltje queries, settling a small square of cloth beneath the pendent. "In that case, I'm glad she liked it. I tend to think that most of my pieces are given one to another in more private settings, and I rarely get to see them gifted unless a person commissions for themselves. Having so many eyes there to see it happen was… a little unsettling." She flexes her shoulders, as though trying to ease away that sense of tension. "Inri suggested that we should meet properly, or talk… or something to that effect, I believe. It was implied." Dark eyes dart between the work before her and Thys at her own. "Do you not having the time owing to the colour of your dragon and nature of your duties, or solely because you've a dragon?"

Thys lifts her eyes from her work, grinning. "All gemstones for us girls; there's Ruby, Jade, and myself, Amethyst. The boys are Flint and Coal - or they were, before they Impressed. You might've come across Fl'n here? Rides brown Rideth? Thank Faranth none of them decided to name their children after stones." She pauses, then smirks and shakes her head. "And yet I've named that poor little girl Silver. Ah, well." She shrugs, running a gloved finger over the metal rod she's been working. "I don't have time because of Rhenesath and the Weyr's duties, which are mine because I happened to Impress a gold. And while I used to put my craft before myself, I've learnt that I probably ought to come before it." Seemingly satisfied with her work, she sets the rod aside for the minute and wanders over to join Jeltje. "Will you continue Smithing after you've Impressed? If you Impress, of course."

"Pretty names, all told, though if I were one of the boys, I'd wonder at ours being of a darker nature." Jeltje's smile is not particularly soft, but it bears wry humour, rather than a sharper, nastier variety. "The girl will likely earn her own nicknames in time, but at least until then she has a designation that makes her distinct. Not a bad choice of name, I'd say." Wire and pliers emerge from the case, both set down to allow her to think on the question Thys puts to her. "…I think it's foolish to believe that I'll Impress, so I assume I'll continue to work on my craft. I've heard a dragon speak; maybe he will be the only dragon who ever speaks to me. If I Impress, my life will change, and maybe I'll understand that purpose than any better so far. Perhaps I won't need to craft any more. And if I don't Impress… my intention is to be at a Hold again not so many nights after." Even if she can't quite look at Thys while she speaks, she is unflinching in her honesty, and when she does eventually look up.

Thys drags over a seat and settles on it, resting her arms on the Candidate's workspace. "Faranth, you're almost like me 10 turns ago. I was travelling Pern with my mentor, creating jewellery in each stop that was inspired by the place, putting on shows of my work - all to go towards getting my journeyman's knot. Then we got to Fort. And when I was offered the chance to stand I took it, thinking it wouldn't ever happen to me. Or I thought perhaps I might Impress a nice blue… and then look what happened." She grins wryly, looking down into her leather-covered lap for a moment. "If I hadn't have Impressed, I would've continued on our tour, I would've had my knot a sharding lot sooner than I ended up getting it, and I probably would've been having babies with some other Smith." Honesty deserves honesty.

"Do you regret it?" It's a point blank question, delivered out of nowhere and rather too directly, and after a second of staring straight at Thys, Jeltje looks down and tilts the pendent before her a little towards better light, the summer-sky quartz within almost glowing where its blue hues are deepest. "…Perhaps it's as foolish to discount it as to assume," she murmurs. "To assume or expect has never turned out well for me before. To be taught to expect, even worse. And, well…" She twitches one shoulder. "The only person I think I'd remotely consider having babies with in some distant future is to be put to the eggs as well. So, I try not to think of any of it, really. What happens, happens. At least I chose to Stand as an adult, and not a child with no alternate path yet decided."

Thys shrugs. "Some days I regret it? Not Rhenesath, though. Never her. I don't think I would ever be complete if she hadn't found me, and I can't imagine ever not having her. But… I know I said regret, but it's not regret as such. It's more… more thinking about what could have been. If she'd been any colour but gold, I like to think I'd be leading Haast. If she hadn't been there, I… well. No. I like to think we were meant to be, there's no alternative out there in which she isn't with me." She gives another little shrug. "If there's one amongst the Candidates who you've pondered a future with, take my advice and wipe it from your thoughts. At least until you know where your paths lie. Until you know what your lifemate will be like. If you Impress, Jeltje, your whole life could change - everything's up in the air right now, until the eggs hatch, until weyrlinghood ends for both of you or one of you… there are too many variables. And," she exhales, rubbing a sooty hand across her brow, "love - or whatever you have - can pull you down."

"So… she is your world. Essentially." Maybe Jeltje believes her phrasing to be too flowery or romantic, for she grimaces the faintest bit on the heels of those words. "She was meant for you in any iteration of your life." Her focus goes slightly hazy, but only for a fraction of a moment, since she's back to present and matter of fact pretty swiftly. "I don't assume that anyone or anything will be how I expect or might want it," she declares, tipping the pendent again as she picks up the pliers and makes a slight adjustment to the coiling threads of silver wire flanking the quartz. "I will continue on, in one way or another; I'm accustomed to a range of disappointments. All too often, love is weakness. Whether that turns out to be the love of another person or of a dragon… is all to be decided. Perhaps I will lose either way."

Leaning forward, Thys rests her chin in one hand. "She's my world. You'll understand if you Impress, and otherwise… there's no way to explain it, other than to say it'll never cause you disappointment, no matter what happens." She smiles, and her brown eyes go hazy for a second before she closes them, sighing happily. "My first love was after I graduated from weyrlinghood. What I felt for him was nothing in comparison to Rhenesath, and I think that drove us apart in the end. He's a Glasscrafter. Not a rider. There was no way he could possibly understand why he couldn't be a priority in my life, and that drove a wedge between us. Oh, there were other things too, but I genuinely believe that was the straw that broke the draybeast's back." This time when Thys sighs, it's heavy with emotion. Regret, possibly. "I've learnt from it. I restrict my relationships to dragonriders only. They can understand. And…" She winces, biting on her lip for a second. "I suppose I don't really have relationships. It's hard to class it as a relationship if it only lasts a night or two."

"If nothing else… I know I already made the mistake of first love and have those memories to flog my heart to stone with." Jeltje's tone conveys no greater hurt than one speaking of a time they skinned their knee, yet the chill in her gaze betrays her far better than anything else could. "And, in the end, I have to consider that a dragon would not leave me and I wouldn't get to choose them. Neither of us would get to decide we had made a mistake a dissolve the partnership. I might not know everything a Weyr-born Candidate might, but I know that much. It's in my power and not. But if it's to happen, no-one could take them away from me." Though she has listened and plainly processes what she's been told, she still insists, "I'm content to have my priorities rearranged, but I'll do everything in my power to keep a dragon from dictating my private life - whether my dragon or someone else's." But, even so, she can say, "I think a relationship as works for you, for however long, is still a relationship."

"You may be the most sensible candidate I've come across in this batch," Thys says with a grin of approval. "And possibly the most sombre, which I mean in a good way. Perhaps you'll rub off a little on some of our, ah, brighter characters." She winks, stretches out her arms in front of her, then raises them above her head with a little grunt when her joints crack. "Relationships are too much effort. What I have are… limited period needs fulfilment sessions. Even if," and she adds this bit with a little laugh to herself, "one of those engaged in needs fulfilment seems to be the 'method of choice'," finger quotes acted out for real, "lately." Her cheeks flush as her eyes glaze over in the manner that suggests she's speaking with her lifemate. Thys bites down hard on her lip as her hands curl slowly until her nails dig into her palms. "I, uh… I ought to go. I have someo- something to do." Her tongue flicks out over her lips, and she lets out a shuddery little breath. "Oh. Faranth. Excuse me. I have to…" Suddenly flustered, she gets up quickly from her seat, pushing it back fast enough that it screeches against the floor and almost falls over. That makes her blush even harder, and makes her look even more flustered. "Sorry. Excuse me. Nice to, uh… my pleasure, Jet." Her work, the abandoned glove are left behind as she dashes for the door, rubbing her hands on her leather apron as she goes. Not that that's going to get them any cleaner!

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