A Commission (2/2)
"Oh?" Lorican started to sit up in interest before remembering he wasn't
supposed to move. He'd never made instruments for a healer before - the
journeyman at the sea hold had brought his own with him from his Hall -
though scissors and needles were frequently requested items. Or perhaps,
he thought hopefully, she might want a decorative piece, for herself
alone. "Of course, if my strength is up to it. After all you've done to
patch me up..." He tensed as another stitch came out. It did sting,
though not as much as he'd expected. "What were you thinking of?"
"Hold still, Lorican." The chiding was scolding, but light as she
paused. Once he was still again, she continued. "We're almost done."
Another snip and a quick tug followed before she continued with her
previous thought. "It's nothing you'll need your strength for. I don't
want to press your shoulder for at least this next sevenday. No," she
looked up at him briefly, offering a quick smile. "I'd like a portrait
of me similar to the style you used in your drawing." She snipped the
final stitch and with a quick jerk of the tweezers, removed it and
straightened. "I liked what I saw very much. And of course you'd be
paid for your work."
His heart lifted. She'd really liked it - she'd hadn't just been being
polite! "I'd be delighted, but I couldn't accept payment. I'm not a
Harper, and I owe you so much, for the healing. And..." He tried to
think of a way of saying what he meant without it sounding like a
particularly clumsy attempt at flattery. "Well, drawing a picture like
that one is its own reward." He hesitated. "Would you be able to sit for
it? I could draw from memory, but it would be better, if you have time."
"Nonsense. You'll be paid." Urlene said firmly. "My healing is offered
to anyone and the Weyr supports me well. You'll need the marks at the
Weyrhold, I'm sure. I'm afraid I'll have to insist." Her smile lifted
at the expression on his face and there was certainly warmth blooming
in her own belly that surprised her with it's depth. She suddenly
wished he was staying longer; he was sweet, attractive, awkwardly
charming, and seemed so respectful of her in her craft, which was rare
coming from a masculine craft such as his. She had to admit that she
did indeed like him very well. Instead of balking at the subtle
compliment, she felt her cheeks warm. "Since you're being officially
released from the infirmary for treatment and aren't under my care
now, I could sit for it. Perhaps this evening?"
"This evening would be perfect. I can make a pencil sketch and then I'll
copy it in ink tomorrow or the next day. It'll be done before I have to
leave, never fear." Lorican remembered how he'd stayed up into the early
hours that night before he'd left the Weyr, working on her picture, so
anxious to get the lovely form he'd glimpsed onto paper that he hadn't
realized how late it had grown. This time there'd be less urgency. He
could take care.
Ideas began to form in his mind and he tried to put them aside, feeling
his cheeks grow hot. She'd want a more decorous portrait, this time.
Unless... Perhaps she wanted it as a gift for her lover? It would
explain why she wanted to pay him; if he'd given it to her freely, she
might not feel comfortable handing it on to another.
With an effort, he concealed the distress that thought caused him and
managed a smile. Inwardly, he vowed to make this picture even more
beautiful than the first, so the Headwoman would look at it every day
and realize how lucky she was.
"Where would you like it done?" he asked. "In your office, here, or...?"
Urlene knew what she was about to say might strain his craft-bred
morals; it certainly strained hold-bred ones, but they weren't at a
hold, or at his crafthall. "In my quarters would probably be best.
Here lacks the privacy needed for concentration and in my office, I'd
be tempted to work." Her lips curled just a little. "And there's a
chance that we'd be interrupted and your focus broken." She paused and
tilted her head at him. "Unless you'd be uncomfortable there."
"Oh - no." It reminded him of how far he was from home, where an
unmarried woman inviting a man into her chambers late in the evening
risked scandal and disgrace. He'd been at the Weyr long enough to know
it was different here, but the prospect still brought the color rushing
to his face. "That is, if you think it would be all right. You know the
customs here better than I."
"It should be fine, Lorican." From the flush, Urlene could guess what
he was thinking. Had she been fresh from her hold, she would have never
offered, but the turns spent in the Weyr and the knowledge of her own
reputation among many residents here made the suggestion of impropriety
rather laughable. More likely, _if_ anyone bothered to notice, which
she doubted, Lorican's reputation among the Weyr residents would
probably improve. She found the thought a little amusing, especially
since he most certainly didn't seem the type for casual relations.
She checked the fresh scar again, and believing that it would hold,
stepped back to examine his bare shoulders. The burns were healing, the
skin peeling as it should. "Your back looks like it's healing well. I'm
going to give you some salve that'll help with the itching, but don't
pull off the dried skin. Let it fall off on its own."
"Thank you. If I can get back to work, it'll help. Take my mind off it."
The itching had been troubling him, especially in the evenings when
there were fewer distractions. "Seems hard to believe that just over a
sevenday ago I was dragged out of a burning building and brought here,
half-dead. That's quite a feat of healing and I'm truly grateful. I..."
He hesitated. "I won't forget it."
"Thank you, but most of the healing came from you, Lorican, not me. If
you were less healthy, it would have been worse. And you weren't
half-dead; burns are just more painful. It was far worse the first
time you were here. Then, I was very concerned about your recovery. "
Urlene admitted, turning to rummage in a cabinet. "You're a very
resilient, healthy man. I have heard that they're building a large
healing hospital at this new Weyrhold, so you'll be well taken care of
when you get injured again." There was a slight tease to her voice as
she pulled out a small jar of salve and handed it to him. "This will
help with the itch." She turned and gestured to the door of the
infirmary. "Take this corridor and then the first one to the right. My
quarters is the large door on the first right of that corridor. You
can come any time after dinner."
He accepted the jar with a rueful smile and pulled his shirt back on.
"Until this evening, then, Weyrhealer. And thank you, all the same."
"You're very welcome, Lorican. I'll see you this evening. " Urlene
inclined her head and gave a brief smile before slipping out of the
Last updated on the August 19th 2019