07.08.3013: Beyond the Myst
Summary: Nithya and Demos discuss art and society
Date: 8th July 2013
Related: None
Nithya Demos 

The Gardens of Nora
While these gardens act as the courtyard between the Heartwood and the Elder Seat, they have managed to obtain a peaceful ambiance despite all the foot traffic. There is a gently angled esplanade that leads up from the Heartwood, interrupted here and there by short segments of stairs. When it reaches the main promenade of the gardens, it flattens out and continues to provide a pathway directly toward the grand doors of the Elder Seat.

Flanking either side of the esplanade are parcels of well-kept garden that are divided by smaller pathways that lead off from the main esplanade. These parcels vary between thick carpets of moss and forest flowers to clusters of wild roses to a very small orchard of fruit trees that bear red apples and pale peaches in the summer. Natives and visitors alike are encouraged to wander throughout the Gardens of Nora — named for the first High Lady of Arborenin, the daughter to Hugh Arboren — but there are also Arborenin guards who equally frequent the area.

July 08th, 3013

A cloud has drifted in amongst the realm of Arborenin, atesting to the state of the trees in and around the city itself; that is why the grow so large and are so well kept. It hangs heavy between the trees with some dew collecting enough to trickle down leaves and feed the vegetation that grows amongst the branches as well as the Garden of Nora itself.

Amidst this morning in the garden, one Demos Osteros, man of little note, has found his way into this morning solitute to take advantage of the few people that would come at this time of day. In that silence he has a pad out and he is making quick gestural sketches of the world around him in a study of some sort. If one looked over his shoulder, they might see he isn't so much drawing the tress or garden as the morning light that is breaking through the fog and forest and the play of shadows therein. Putting his utensil down, he looks up from his tablet to see what else is going on finally.

Among the very few other people out and about this early in the dawn is a dark-haired woman of peculiar intensity. She is out with a camera rig — quite an expensive one, but well-worn, anybody with a professional eye could see — and a sketchpad, now closed, leaning against the camera's tripod. She seems fascinated by the architecture around her (or, perhaps, the nigh-seamless blend between it and the carefully-cultured "natural" features surrounding it). Photos she takes aplenty before she relaxes and squats next to the rig, breaking out the sketchbook and … staring at the blank page before her.

Between his own figurative work on the page and noticing some that could well be kindred (kindred enough at least) in a similar situation, Demos decides against caution for the moment. Taking what he has with him, he crosses the gardens for the photographic woman who is pondering a sketch of her own. He'll not try to startle her but approach as to be seen, announcing himself at a respectful distance by simply stating, "I'm unsure if I'm truly contemplating a new work, My Lady, or simply making excuse to enjoy the intrigue of the natural climate." Or, in short words, taking a moment to enjoy morning in the garden. A smile is on his face, warm, touching at the lines starting to grow at the corners of his mouth.

The woman holds up her hand in the universal sign for "hold on a moment" while still staring at her sketchbook. A (hand-sharpened! physical!) pencil is moved toward the paper, hovers over the page while its controlling hand wavers, then is set down again in disgust. A long, hissing sigh escapes from between the clenched teeth of the woman.

"Sorry about that," she finally says, breaking her silence with an accidentally too-loud voice. She looks a little startled and modulates the voice down quickly, all intensity fleeing her face as a neutral, almost vaccuous, expression takes its place. A polite, almost professional, smile is pasted carefully in place. "I'm sure it's probably both. That's why I'm here, after all."

"You know," returns Demos, holding his own pad and utensil behind his back, which is more just a stylus and digital tablet of some device versus physical pencil and paper. "If I'm interrupting your process, a simply wave would send me on my way." Spoken like someone who makes no intention to retreat from anothers solitude. While not moving closer, he doesn't move away just the same. Instead he ponders. "Perhaps we could swap notes, maybe find some mutual inspiration?" An I'll show you mine, if you show me yours. His hand holding the tablet comes out from behind his back, as if to finalize that offering, his own head looking at the camera. He is not sure if its digital or otherwise, or whether he could see some of the imagery thus far captured.

"I could show you," Nithya says, standing swiftly and smoothly, "a lot of photographs. Some of them even have perhaps some artistic merit." She gestures diffidently to her sketchpad. "That thing, however, is currently filled with a lot of pictures of swans in a snowstorm or ghosts shovelling whipped cream in the arctic." She approaches Demos by way of breaking the distance and signalling that the interruption, if not necessarily welcome, is not actively discouraged. "I'm trying a new technique I've heard of, but it takes more concentration and, to be blunt, skill, than I've got I think. I'm trying to do a single-line sketch."

"Ah," responds Demos, a slow nod of his head indicating understanding, "I once heard tale of two old masters, one the student of the other. The old master came to visit upon his student who was out of his studie and thus he left a single-line as proof he had came by to visit. The student was so impressed that he practiced and did not return the visit for many years. When he did, it was the same, his old master was out of the studio, so the student left a single-line as proof he had returned. The master, when seeing the student's line was so impressed, he retired brushes and never took worked again as an artist.

"Perhaps some truth somewhere in that, I wish you all the luck. I am better with solid form and working with rock and chisel, I'd be a fool to try and master the sketch, let alone a single-line sketch." That said, he does hand over his tablet, ready to browse images he's sketched at, most solid looking probably. "Besides, who doesn't like swans in snowstorms?"

Nithya accepts the proferred tablet with both hands and casts what is obviously if not a professional eye at least a professional grade one at the work. She nods at some, wrinkles her brow at others, pauses and stares off into space at yet others.

"This isn't your usual form is it?" she finally asks. "You have a very good eye for things but your expression shows unfamiliarity. Consider this one, for example…" She pauses, then grins sheepishly. "That's … extreme even for me," she chuckles. "I'm sorry. I'm Nithya Katiyar. I'm mostly a photographer, but I do sketching and I experiment with light sculpture when I can afford the equipment."

Grins, nodding, and taking everything she has said at face value, accepting well the constructive criticism. "You are quite right Lady Nithya," begins the man, affording a more respectable title and not assuming she is merely a citizen as of yet. "It is not my form, simply sketches meant to remind me of the moment when I can return to my form. Even then, here, the trees, this amount of biodiversity, it may be too much." A pause then, "I am Demos Osteros, my native environment would be the desert and the Light of Inculta. In a manner, it would be natural light sculpture, by use of stone form simply to achieve the play of light I might desire. I would be interested in seeing your sculptures if I may be permitted."

A sardonic smile flits across Nithya's face and then vanishes. "I believe," she drawls good-naturedly, "that you have elevated me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay above my station, Lord Demos." It's hard to tell if her own elevation of Demos is ironic or natural. "About the only relationship I would have with any Noble house is being the dirt that's cleaned out from between the cleats of their war boots. Just Nithya. Or Natty if Nithya is too hard to pronounce."

She steps over and separates the camera from the tripod, flipping out its display screen and configuring it for display mode. "Honestly," she says, proferring the (heavy) camera for Demos to take, "this is my main form. I don't have the resources to do proper light sculpture practice; I don't have an Academ grant. I dabble in it and dream. And I do sketching to keep my fingers supple and my eyes clear." She points over to one of the buildings she was taking photographs of earlier. "I'm doing a thematic practice right now of blending contrasts. The natural world and the artificial, in this case, but I'm also trying to play tricks with shadow and depth. I've taken about three hundred photos this morning. Four of them I might put into a display the next time I get some space in a gallery sufficiently desperate for materials to accept my meagre talents."

A grins on his face, and a shake of his head regarding the misplaced elevation, "Let us simply leave it that, you look well enough the part. Though, lease I offend your good sense, I shall be pleased with Just Nithya." Going with her offered name, and making the best case of it with his vernacular, or accent. His eyes move over to the building, watching as the cloud continues its presences, at time wrapping tendrils at the structure like a lover's fingers finding the face of a muse, or other portions of the 2000-something body parts. Then he moves to look at the camera and the stored works, "By your work, you may well be more practiced than I - simply Demos, Mr. if you're one for that sort of thing, but Demos. One of those few lucky bastards to be granted a Crown Scholarship, but it wasn't for my artwork, it was for my knowledge in the realm of geology. I'd much rather craft stone, formal and artistically, but it wouldn't pay the rent. I spend my working part of the day with a team of researchers on the Ring, this is something of a get away from the formal rigidity of that life." Looking up from where he browses imagery, "I'd say keep the dream, never stop dabbling, if this is pretense to your light sculptures, I imagine they're something intriguing indeed." Though, in his words, he might look beyond simple aesthetic and enjoy the play of of conceptualization itself.

Nithya pulls out an editing stylus and makes a few strokes over one of the simpler pictures. "See what I'm doing here in 2D with the lights and shadows? I'm erasing the direct image of the building and its surroundings, but leaving a distinct impression in its place. What I like to do in light sculptures is similar, but in three dimensions. High resolution, installation-grade holo displays are EXPENSIVE, though. I've got one at home that can fill about one thirtieth of a cubic metre and … I didn't eat well for a few weeks after buying it, let me tell you.

Nithya pulls out an editing stylus and makes a few strokes over one of the simpler pictures. "See what I'm doing here in 2D with the lights and shadows? I'm erasing the direct image of the building and its surroundings, but leaving a distinct impression in its place. What I like to do in light sculptures is similar, but in three dimensions. High resolution, installation-grade holo displays are EXPENSIVE, though. I've got one at home that can fill about one thirtieth of a cubic metre and … I didn't eat well for a few weeks after buying it, let me tell you."

She glances back at the building cluster she was studying. "Ever been inside one of those things?" she asks rhetorically. "I have. The people inside have no idea what they're living in; what impact their buildings have on their surroundings. They're blind and often banal. Meanwhile people like you and I have to do jobs we don't necessarily like so we can spend some time doing things we actually do like. Sometimes I think this is all backward."

"Sounds fascinating," says Demos a she looks at the images where she has pointed out the play of light and shadows and the reduction of the building itself. He actually means it, not merely an, oh yeah, that's nice, as if trying to sound like he's interested while not being so inclined. "As much as the display sounds intriguing, I find myself also pondering what sort of play you might have given a full holo-suite and breaking borders into the 4th-dimension and beyond." As if it is his own personal interest, so its a natural conclusion.

He then looks up at the building cluster, pondering the truth of other things she has said. "Most of them wouldn't even consider. Especially here, you know, they feel that because they live practically next door to the citizenry, that they live equally as do citizens. I chose not to remain a Scholar of the Academ, to hopefully have more of that freedom. I was mistaken, but I am allowed to conduct research amongst the Moons of Oculus. I suppose, I've been given opportunity, but rarely am I not reminded by them of my true station."

A passing cloud casts a shadow over the pair in synchronicity with a shadow crossing Nithya's mood. "Don't get me wrong," she says after a period of contemplative silence. "I understand what they're doing. I understand why it's necessary. And as of … recent events … I understand all too well the sacrifices they make on our behalf." Her voice is growing thick and pained; in contrast her face is a perfect mask of vacant neutrality. "But at some point they have to understand that they're part of a system, don't you think? That all of their sacrifices would amount to nothing if they didn't have we 'little people' at the bottom building things, making things or even just BUYING things."

Nithya takes a few paces away, turns slowly, then paces back. "I was in the Chantry today when the wounded were pouring in and being treated. I offered to help. I was snubbed by the Lady in charge. Why? Because I was not 'Academ-trained' and thus not even suited to shifting boxes in her eyes."

Listening quietly, Demos watches the woman pace as the dakness of a dense shadow swells and passes amongst the cloud and trees. Less concern over imagery on the camera or the building beyond the mists of the trees, rather he focuses on the woman as he listens. "I've always found that a fascinating curiousity. Even at the Academ, gods forbid a citizen should excel there. Certainly the learned scholars appreciate contributions to the idea of copious knowledge amongst the learned. Yet, classmates that have yet to attain that level of understanding take it competitively, it is best not to stand out, least the focus of untoward attitude arize."

Though even as he talks about his own circumstance, there is perhaps some understanding inside that it isn't really helpful or requested and turns his thoughts once again locally. "I am sorry for your misfortune Nithya, I only wish I could assist you in contributing to such efforts. We are all part of a system, but in order to operate properly, we all must mesh." Being of the Ring, he might elaborate on machines and meshing, but that would be redundant over simply saying it at face value and he leaves it there.

"It's alright," Nithya says after considering (and perhaps decoding) Demos' pontification. "I've found a niche of sorts in this system. I enrich myself sufficiently to live if not comfortably at least not in poverty. Sometimes I can get nice stuff. I can live with the sneering and the superiority."

"That is all one could ask," though, perhaps even Demos doesn't believe those words, not wholly at least. "I would ask curiously what such a niche is you have found, simply because I would be curious if there was some relation involved with your interest in the play of light and shadow." A slight smile and a shrug, "But that could pry to much, then I also ponder if it is either too metaphorically close while not aesthetically and substantively relative to your artistic interests."

Demos' question about the niche and the aesthetic interest struck something. The usually vapid look that Nithya cultivates vanishes and is turned into something more calculating. More cold even. She cups her chin while gazing at and around Demos, tapping one finger against her cheek. Yes, indeed, a nerve was struck.

"You're a remarkably … perceptive man, Demos," she finally comments, her voice now more the voice of a scientist discussing a specimen. Then the serious look is shattered into shrapnel by what appears, at any rate, to be a genuine smile that reaches the eyes. "I think I can understand, perhaps, your classmates' irritation with you at the Academ."

Lifting a brow at her deductions, Demos watches the play of emotions with curiousity and intrigue. Truth and revelations within them even if the thoughts are not laid out for him to see. More as if, he doesn't care so much what lies underneath other than the interest in the way it unfolds before him. When she smiles finally, and it dances at her eyes, he is content enough to leave well enough alone and instead take teh compliments as they were offered.

"I cannot shoulder all the blame for such irritation you know, I was given insight at a young age by a loved mentor, Mr. Cordatus Metamus," he explains in return, "But its a maddening world to open up a mind too. Simply in concept, complex in implications. Everything has a cause and a goal, that is it."

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