A Lesson in the Library

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Library

A haven for all seeking a moment's peace, the library is tranquil, quiet, comfortable, a space to escape the chaotic bustle of weyr life. Half Moon colors prevail here, unsubtle but tasteful and eked out by dark, polished wood, flickers of white fabric, and a dazzling array of chandeliers. Rows of false stained glass windows line the room's far wall, giving the room an open, airy feel without risking climate damage to books, scrolls, and hides, of which the weyr has plenty. Rows upon rows of recessed shelves climb one upon the other along the left wall, reaching towards a high ceiling and accessible only by book ladders that have been cleverly angled to allow use of them all simultaneously.

Smaller free-standing bookcases crawl through the rest of the space, some low-slung and tucked up against banisters and raised platforms, others standing freely back to back to best make use of the space given. Chairs and couches are woven betwixt and between, sometimes standalone, sometimes accompanied by endstands or low-slung tables, plush rugs breaking up the polished grey tile of the floor. Most furnishings are of a dark purple or teal, accented by ebony woodwork and white and gold pillows.

One corner has been dedicated to more serious studies, circular tables and wooden chairs clustered about one another, rigidity and quiet camaraderie meant to encourage focus rather than comfort. A mobile server tucked against this wall features a small pot of klah, hot water for tea, and finger-foods to keep minds stimulated, all carefully watched over by the librarian, whose desk looms nearby. The other corner features two computers, neither terribly fast or efficient in the way of such public things, but available for free use for those in need nonetheless.


It's late afternoon, and a time when the candidates are given a reprieve from chores for some much needed relaxation. It finds Sevran in the library, a place he had no idea existed until Elixyvette told him about it. With trepidation he steps into the foreign place, a fish out of water. As he moves through the space, he is careful to touch very little, as if it might crumble beneath his fingertips. His eyes scan the room, seeking the familiar face of his fellow Harper turned candidate.

Whether a conscious choice, a bad habit or a lifetime of insomnia, Elixyvette isn't seen terribly often actually sleeping in the Candidate barrack, or doing what others might consider relaxing during her breaks, and unbeknownst to many the library has become something of a second home for her. It might be that she seems a little too comfortable at the table she's chosen, a mug of tea clasped between her palms as she waits for Sevran to arrive, a variety of writing implements and pieces of paper both blank and with writing on set out before her. When she spots him, she lifts a hand to beckon him closer, nodding to the chair opposite her.

There's a noticeable change in demeanor when Sevran spots the Harper. Some of the tension he had been holding leaks out, and a good natured smile splits his face. He heads her way with careful steps, as if overly cautious in this room of learning. "Hey," he greets, sinking into a chair beside her, a look of relief on his face once his destination is released.

"Hello," Elixyvette replies, keeping her voice a little quieter than normal just in-case she should incur the wrath of the librarian. "I thought we'd start by seeing how your writing is, just so that I know where to go from there," she proposes. "If you could write out the alphabet, I can see how you form the letters, then see how things look when you copy out a short passage?" She sets down one of the pieces of paper in-front of Sevran, this one with faint lines drawn across it, then gestures to the various pens she's brought with her, some akin to fountain pens, weighted and not, while others appear closer to a modern biro. "Pick whichever you'd prefer to write with. You don't have to stick with the one you choose if it doesn't feel right."

"Ok. Sounds like a good place to start," Sevran agrees, his voice matching her hushed tone. He rubs his palms against his thighs, ridding them of any sweat before he reaches for a pen that looks like it wouldn't double as a weapon. He exhales slowly as he puts pen to paper. He grips it in a fist, very clearly incorrectly, but he is the picture of concentration as he works, a furrow in his brow as he does his best to carefully write out the letters. They are wobbly, clearly from an unpracticed hand, but legible enough. He has a hard time keeping to the line on the page, and several letters find themselves floating above, or dipping below, when they shouldn't.

For her part, Elixyvette doesn't interfere even as missteps become apparent, taking note without making comment. She's patient, not always directly watching the letters appear on the page and what Sevran is doing, but she keeps a closer eye when he reaches particular stages and a gives a little more focus to how he forms vowels, treading a fine line between observing and not staring so much as to be off-putting. Only when he's finished does she seek to draw the paper towards her, her expression one that gives away nothing of any judgements she's made. "Thank you." Next, the passage she spoke of is no more than three sentences, none of the words particularly long, set down in-front of him with another clean sheet of paper. "Now put the pen to paper and I'm going to adjust how you hold the pen, if that's okay? Don't worry about the ink pooling."

Sevran lets out a low breath and nods his head. "Sure," and he will allow her manipulate his hand on the pen, adjusting to the alien feel of it. He works slowly again, but has about the same difficulty and wobbly-ness as the alphabet. The letters have a hard time matching size and shape, but he's more than willing to let her assist if she wants to .

Gently, Elixyvette reaches for the end of the pen, slanting it a little as she uses her thumb to adjust where Sevran's own lies so that his hand turns and fingers with it, the latter adjusted so that the pen is held between thumb and fingertips, balanced against the middle joint of said fingers. Thereafter, she lets him continue without any further interference, her gaze straying to one of the pens that's a touch shorter than the others. When he's completed the passage, she picks up that pen and offers it to him, suggesting, "While you're working on how you hold the pen when you write, this might help. It's back weighted, so it encourages you to keep the pen slanted and is really too awkward to write with and be comfortable if you don't."

Sevran bobs his head in acknowledgement, happily swapping on the one pen for the other. A moment is spared to feel the weight of it. Carefully, with the aid of his other hand, he positions it the same way he had just been shown. "Never knew there were so many kinds of pens," he admits, though he does seem to find this one a bit easier to work with. He gives it a test, making a few lines on the paper to get the feel of it.

"Some people will only ever feel comfortable writing in pencil or charcoal or wherever they began, and I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that," Elixyvette remarks, giving a twitch of one shoulder. "The only problem is that pen is the accepted method for communication and documentation, in most instances. Sometimes, I think it's nice to write with paintbrush, but it takes forever and then it's only really worth hanging on a wall." She's a measure wry with it, the quirk of her lips an offer to ignore her ramblings. "Anyway. I think it would be best to keep working on single letters, for now; getting them sat where they should be on the line and the shape of them proportionate. Then we could work on full words on the lines, meaning to take the lines away, when you're ready."

"I remember learning with pencil as a child," remarks Sevran. "I guess it was so that we didn't make a mess with pens." Her ramblings her a brief flash of his eyes and a friendly smile, but he has no real comment to add. It's all too foreign to him; he'll take her word for it. "Alphabet it is," he decides, pushing his paper up a bit to get started on the bottom. He's still as slow and careful, but the weighted pen along with properly being held, seems to help him keep the letters at their proper place on the line, Still a bit all over in terms of size and shape, which will certainly just take time and practice. Half-way through, he gently sets the pen down to rub the thumb of his other hand along the muscles of his palm. "And people do this all day?" he wonders, flexing his fingers to dispel cramps.

Elixyvette allows a small smile to surface as she agrees, "Yes, ink in the hands of a little one is a disaster waiting to happen. I started my boy - and my daughter - on their letters earlier than their true lessons began and learnt it the hard way, with him. One can have too much faith in their child's abilities." Again, she watches as letters are formed, seemingly loath to outright correct too much so early in the process. "People do this all day," she confirms, the words sighed out. "I'd rather read than write, truth be told, but I've had to spend many an hour writing up documents. Often repeatedly."

Sevran works at releasing the tension in his palm, letting his fingers flex away from the unfamiliar hold of the pen. A few more rubs and he's game to pick up the pen and get back to work. It takes a little less time for him to position the pen correctly. He finishes the rest of the letters with slow, methodical movements and a stern look of concentration. By the end of it, he sets the pen down and leans back in his chair, rolling his shoulders to rid the tension in his back and neck. "Never been a fan of reading, really," he admits. "Couldn't get into it, though one of my older sisters loves it."

"Maybe you've never read the right story," Elixyvette suggests with a touch more warmth than she's shared with most in the barracks so far. "Or been read the right one. I read all my lessons and lots of stories to my best friend when I was a girl." Her gaze goes distant, the beginnings of another smile curving her lips. "…It might be nice to have story time again. If those in the barracks wished it…" Still, she lets that thought go for the moment and collects up the first alphabet Sevran has produced to hold onto. In exchange, she sets down more lined paper, ink barrels for the pen and some pages of exercises that direct a student how better to form letters, through diagrams with dotted arrows to show the path of the pen. "Finish these for me," she asks. "Not now, but another day. You've made a good start, but working too long at something to start out is often no good."

There is a clear look of relief on Sevran's face when it appears his lesson for today is over. "Thank you," he says with genuine warmth. "I really appreciate you helping me with this." He slouches a bit longer before leaning forward to gather up the items she's leaving him. "I'll finish them over the next sevenday, and leave 'em on your cot for you if that's alright." Pause. "You're probably right about those stories, too. I'm sure I'd like the ones about the old days of Pern and Thread better than the silly stuff my sister is into." Grin. "Thanks again, Elixyvette."

"Of course," Elixyvette confirms, giving a shallow nod to accompany her words. "You're welcome. Anytime, Sevran." Indeed, she appears more at ease now - more sure of her purpose - than she has since she crept into the barracks for the first time all those days ago now. She waits until he's slipped out of the library and the librarian doesn't have their gaze on her before she ducks her head and actually smiles a proper smile, slouching in her chair while there's no-one to watch her.


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