[Closed] Rhythms and Dynamics (Madeleine)

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Melody
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Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:49 am

27 of Intas, 2719 Melody's Room Image

They ran through streets lined with streetlamps, slowing to a walk when it became crowded, then picking up the pace on empty stretches. Melody's bag was heavy, thumping against the small of her back with every running step, yet it all started seeming funny after the first few minutes of awkward sprinting. By the time they entered the entrance hall of the dorm, they were both laughing, somewhat hysterically in Melody's opinion. Madeleine was glowing, there was colour in her face from running, and nothing in her field to give Melody any concern. Melody pressed and rubbed beneath her ribs, she had an ache there from the unaccustomed exercise, but thankfully it subsided after a few moments.

They climbed up to the first floor, Melody leading the way. The dorms at Brunnhold were assigned by gender as well as year, so all the rooms in this building were taken up by girls in their ninth year of studies. She listened as Madeleine chattered on happily about being glad to have a room to herself, now that she was in the 6th form. "I wouldn't like to room with anyone now." Melody admitted easily enough, "More than privacy, I want the freedom to set up my space and my routines as I like. I don't want to worry about inconveniencing someone else, " They had reached her room by this time. Melody unslung her bag and held it between her body and the wall, rummaging inside the outer pockets for the room keys. Taking out the keys, and fitting them to the lock she continued, "To be honest, having to interact with people all the time would stress me out, so my room is my refuge." She gave the door a push, and smiled over her shoulder at the younger girl.

"Come in!" then paused, "Oh. I should have warned you, I keep a pet osta... You don't mind do you?" Madeleine seemed agreeable enough and the girls entered the dorm room. Cinder jumped down from her perch on the top of the shelving with a loud chirrup and walked over to Melody. The bag she placed on the floor against the desk and gestured at Madeleine to do the same. "This is Cinder," Melody picked up the grey cub in her arms and gestured to the single bed that had been pushed against the wall the room shared with the corridor. "Make yourself at home, just give me a few minutes to put my things away." The affection in the older girl's voice for the small creature in her arms was unmistakable.

The room was typical of the dorms, not huge, but spacious enough for a single student. The standard arrangements of the furnishings had been changed around somewhat to eke out a little more space. A long desk stood against the wall, and Melody had had additional shelving fixed to the wall above the desk. Books, grimoires and art supplies could be seen neatly stacked there. A few sketches had been tacked to the wall above the bed. Melody hung her cloak on the hooks near the wardrobe and drew the curtains closed over the narrow windows. She let the osta cub down, and ushered it out of the room with a nudge of the foot. "Go on.. Go find something to hunt." The cub arched its back and padded away, Melody removed her boots by the door, let the door swing close and finally turned to Madeleine.

"So Miss Gosselin," she tried smiling awkwardly, "when you had a roommate, how did you spend your time after curfew?" It was an awkward question, but Melody had visions of herself and Madeleine just sitting and effectively staring at one another. Surely any talk would be better than that possibility?
Last edited by Melody on Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 664

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Madeleine Gosselin
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Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:58 pm

Dinner Hour, 27 Intas, 2719
The Cafeteria, Brunnhold
Madeleine knew the ninth-form girls’ dorm well enough – she had gone to see Angelique once or twice this year already – and it was an enormous relief to the young galdor that they didn’t go near her sister’s room, but, instead, Melody took her another way down the halls, into a different part of the same wing. She was happy to simply follow along, and hoped, she thought quite reasonably, that there was no reason for Angelique to be on the other side of the dorm during the dinner hour.

Melody confessed that she wouldn’t want a roommate either, and Madeleine sighed a little in relief, glad she hadn’t made a mistake yet. “Oh, yes,” she agreed, happily. It was hard not to still feel happy from all the running, from the laughter, and there was a motion like a little skip in Madeleine’s steps, carrying her forward down the hall. It was oddly graceful, almost dance-like, that little happy swish.

“Oh, no, I don’t mind,” Madeleine said, nervously, hanging back at the door of the room. She watched the osta with wide eyes. They had never had pets at the Gosselin residence, and Madeleine wasn’t entirely sure without osta. They were cute, of course, and very fashionable, of course, but Madeleine never thought they liked her very much.

This one seemed to like Melody at least – which made sense, if it was her osta – and the older galdor swooped up her pet, cuddling it, and gestured for Madeleine to sit on her bed. Madeleine nodded – it was normal enough to sit on another student’s bed when you were visiting, there wasn’t usually enough furniture for anything else. Madeleine hoped she wouldn’t also be required to cuddle the osta or even pet it – what if it hissed and scratched her?

Madeleine sat on the bed, resting her bookbag on the floor next to it. She sat very straight, knees together, hands resting on her lap. After a moment, awkward, she shifted them to the bed next to her. No, Madeleine thought, filled with a faint tinge of dread – that was worse. She promptly brought them back to her lap, bringing them together in a little ball.

Madeleine looked wide-eyed at Melody when she spoke again. She bit her lip. How had she – spent her time after curfew? When she had a roommate? Was it – different? Madeleine shifted on the bed. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t want to lie! But she thought maybe Melody was expecting her to say she’d stayed up talking with Daphne late into the night, or that – Madeleine’s imagination utterly failed her. She had no idea why Melody was asking it like that.

“Just… studied, I suppose,” Madeleine said, slowly. “I guess it isn’t really any different,” she blinked at the other galdor. Was that what Melody had meant? “I – but, you know, sometimes I would still be studying, and she’d want to go to sleep, or the other way around, if maybe I was tired from confisalto practice, so…” Madeleine hesitated, voice trailing off. She had very little idea where she had intended to go with the sentence she’d started, and so she just ducked her gaze, more or less giving up on it.

The creeping awkwardness settled into the room like a thick heavy fog, one of the ones that drifted through Brunnhold in the early morning. It made it hard to see, then, if one happened to be outside early; the air should have been clear but instead it was thick and gray and almost wet, and sometimes it wasn’t possible to see more than a few feet in front of one’s face. That was how Madeleine felt in conversation, more often than not – like she couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of her face. Even now, after talking together, after their shared moment of understanding, after dinner, after running through the rain, after all that laughter, Madeleine still felt lost and confused, like the fog had closed up behind her as well, and she didn’t know how to get forward or back.

“Do you – ” Madeleine tried, faltered, and failed, shoulders hunching up. She took a deep breath, squared her posture, squared her chin, and looked firmly at Melody. “Do you want to hear more about confisalto? Do you know much about it?” She asked. There was more than a little hope in her voice and field, and maybe just the faintest edge of desperation, with a tiny growing excitement peeking in at the corner at just the thought.

“I mean,” Madeleine shrank in again. “I – I’d like to hear about – your art? Too? Or instead, instead is – I mean – instead is fine,” Madeleine bit her lip. She should have just asked, she told herself, furious and upset. She should have just asked about Melody’s art, only she’d been a bit afraid to in case that wasn’t what she was supposed to do, and so instead she’d offered to talk – but what if Melody thought she was selfish or uninterested? It was too late, the words were out and so Madeleine would face the consequences of them. If Melody wanted her to leave, she would leave; her bag was right there, her books in it, and she would – if Melody asked her to go, Madeleine would just go, just like the little osta.

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Melody
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Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:28 pm

27 of Intas, 2719 Melody's Room, The Dormitories Image

For some reason Melody had thought conversation would come easier in their room. It was a private space, and she'd vaguely assumed that some of the formality and awkwardness would fall away within its confines. When she'd gestured Madeleine towards the bed, she had intended for the younger girl to get comfortable. She would have expected her to to have chucked the shoes and scoot up with the wall as the backrest. That was how she typically sat. Madeleine, however, sat as if she was sitting in a formal sitting room. Her back was straight, feet together on the floor, hands in her lap.

Having a guest in your room was.. odd. In the usual course of things, Melody would have changed out of the uniform and into something more comfortable. But with the girl here.. She wasn't sure if that would be acceptable. Was it rude to be comfortable if your guest couldn't likewise be comfortable? It wasn't a question that had ever come up before in quite such a context. So it was as much to gain some time as to avoid awkward silences that she asked the younger student about her schedule at her room after school ended.

She felt increasingly ridiculous standing in front of the bed, perhaps she ought to sit down on the chair? Or should she ask Madeleine to scoot up and curl up there like usual? The mention of confisalto drew a smile from her. The girl truly did seem passionate about the dance form. And she couldn't wait to talk about it, Melody's smile grew to a grin and she waved a hand in a gesture meant to tell the girl to carry on. "Eh, art isn't something I can talk about as such.. If we have time, I'll show you some of what I'm learning currently..."

She turned away, deciding she would change. It was her room, and it wasn't as if Madeleine was a boy, or someone older, like a professor. They were both more or less similar in age, and circumstances, and she was tired. "Do tell me about confisalto... I have heard the name and I keep feeling mirrors have something to do with it," she smiled at Madeleine over her shoulder as she took out the clothes from the wardrobe, "but I can't figure out how." She moved to the corner of the room before casually mentioning, "I'll just change into something more comfortable... Don't mind me, I'm listening."

It took only a few minutes to change, the uniform was thankfully not the complicated affair that the formal gowns could be, and it was easy enough to unbutton as needed. She did feel a little conscious changing like this, but she had turned her back to the younger girl, and it wasn't like she hadn't had to change in front of the maids when getting ready for social events. And if she admitted to feeling conscious, even to herself, it'd just feel worse. So she'd just not think about it any more.

The split skirts she slipped into were dark wool, and she had ended up wearing a men's button-down shirt that was a little too large for her frame. Melody turned back to Madeleine, rolling the sleeves up so they didn't fall over her hands and picked up the blankets that had been folded at the end of the bed. She was barefoot and the floor was cold. She gestured for the younger girl to scoot over. If Madeleine made the space, Melody would unfold the blanket and spread it so the younger girl could use it as well. She'd drag the chair closer and sit with her legs and feet on the bed and under the blankets.
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Madeleine Gosselin
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 3:54 pm
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Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:21 pm

Dinner Hour, 27 Intas, 2719
Melody’s Room, The Dormitories
Melody waved a dismissive hand, and told Madeleine she couldn’t explain. Madeleine nodded, quietly, accepting the rebuke, gaze dropping to the floor. It came as a surprise that Melody offered to show her what she was working on, and Madeleine looked back up and nodded, hopefully, glad that Melody wasn’t angry with her for asking such a stupid question.

Melody did say she wanted to hear about confisalto, at least, and Madeleine brightened, cheering up a little more. “Oh,” she smiled when Melody said something about mirrors. “Maybe you’re thinking of miroir? It’s one of the forms that - umm -“ Madeleine frowned, her small face scrunching up. “No, I don’t think that was the right place to start? I mean - I - um -“

Madeleine was still puzzling over how to explain when Melody said, quite casually, that she meant to change. The little golly almost squeaked, and she clapped her hands over her mouth. Change? Clothing? Right now?

Madeleine blushed, deeply. Mugroba, she thought unhappily, must be a very horrid nude sort of place. She almost didn’t believe Melody was really going to do it until she started, and then Madeleine didn’t see any more because she had covered her eyes with her hands. She, Madeleine told herself, would do her best to maintain propriety, whatever strange, foreign-raised galdori might think appropriate!

It wasn’t as if Madeleine had never seen anyone else change before. Of course she and Daphne had changed with the other in the room. Madeleine, of course, had always done her best not to do it in front of Daphne but sometimes one simply didn’t have a choice. Servants had seen her change, but that was quite different, naturally; they didn’t count.

There were, Madeleine supposed, changing rooms at dance performances - but that was different. That was confisalto, not someone’s dorm! Madeleine was very, very clear on it being extremely different, even though she absolutely could not have explained how.

“Confisalto is a dance form,” Madeleine said, resisting the temptation to peek through her fingers to check if Melody was done (she wasn’t). “It’s danced by pairs of dancers, and when you dance it, your relationship with the other dancer mirrors the relationship of the galdori with the mona. It’s about trust and confidence and how - together, you can do things you couldn’t alone.”

Melody was done, finally, and she came to sit on the bed. Madeleine happily drew the offered blanket up over her lap, and scooted over promptly, as commanded. Was that a boy’s shirt? The pants looked nice - like pants but also like a skirt. Madeleine wasn’t sure entirely if one could wear them outside - she thought not - but surely in one’s room that was all right, wasn’t it? It couldn’t be a boy’s shirt, Madeleine reassured herself.

“There are different ways that dancers can move together,” Madeleine explained. “Miroir is one of them - it’s where you act like a mirror of your partner,” she grinned at Melody. “Especially for miroir, they always used to make people who were the same height dance together! And while you’re learning that is best, of course. But nowadays there is lots of modern choreography, and there have been some really incredible pairs of dancers who - they - they find the harmony in the disharmony,” Madeleine was sitting even more upright now; oddly, she looked much more comfortable than she had curled up in the chair. Her eyes were bright, almost glowing, and her smile was as wide as Melody had ever seen it. It was, Madeleine thought to herself, a shirt meant for boys. It was!

“Ekain Da Huane and Giovanna Markos were the best, I think, but of course they don’t dance together anymore, they haven’t for ages,” Madeleine would have shrugged, but shrugging was not dignified. “Ummm... oh! There’s also a la fois, where you move together in the same direction - not like a mirror - and suivre, where you trail one another. Naturally you can do different things too! That can be used to reflect how the mona let us achieve things we can’t on our own - although the paired movements show that too of course - like your partner might lift you for a jump.”

Madeleine paused, looking very seriously at Melody. She shifted, slightly, beneath the blanket, and then blurred out in a long rush of words. “I’m sorry but - I think you’re wearing a boy’s shirt! I - I wasn’t sure if you realized.” Madeleine’s face was bright red, but she set her chin and held, trembling faintly beneath the blanket. Someone, she thought, had to tell her.

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Melody
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Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:21 pm

27 of Intas, 2719 Melody's Room, The Dormitories Image

As Madeleine began explaining about confisalto, vague images began building up in Melody's mind. They weren't clear, the figures in her head didn't have faces, and details like what they wore was irrelevant in the moment. But her mind built a sequence where a figure gestured in front of a large mirror, watching her reflection, and then the reflection morphed subtly till it was no longer a reflection but another dancer. The mirror in between the two figures disappeared, but the synchronized movements kept going. La fois made her think of a field of flowers bending in step with the gusts of wind... But it was the description of suivre that captured her imagination.

She listened to the rest of Madeleine's words with half her attention, nodding at the renewed comparison of the scope of movements that could be achieved in the dance form with the effects that a sorcerer could achieve in concert with the mona. However, the rest of her brain continued to examine the explanation of suivre that the dancer had offered.

In the usual course of things, Melody tried to pay conscious attention to the people she was conversing with. However, if she was trying to take in complex information or trying to visualise something, her gaze would slowly turn abstracted, and soon slide away till she was no longer looking at anyone's face. It was a way of limiting information while predominantly busy with other concerns. This was exactly what happened here; by the time Madeleine finished her explanation, Melody was gazing at the patterns woven into the blanket, while lightly wrapping a tendril of hair around her finger. As a result, she failed to understand the actual concern behind the words of the young teenager in her room. She simply glanced down once, and nodded, "Yes, I know." She met the blue of Madeleine's eyes with her own darker blue gaze, and offered a quick lopsided smile, "They are a great option to have in your wardrobe..." Her eyes glanced at the set of paints on one of the shelves nearby, "Especially if you need something unfussy and comfortable to work in..."

She paused for a few seconds more, her mind already having moved past the somewhat unexpected comment about her fashion choices, and then stood up with a decisive movement. She turned to her desk, and the supplies arranged in the shelves nearby, "Miss Gosselin.. I have something I'd like to try out... Your description of confisalto has sparked an idea I'd like to capture before I lose it..." She stopped for a few moments, and carefully reached overhead on her tiptoes to pick up a moderately heavy-looking cardboard box. She then brought it to rest on the floor and removed the lid. The box held a collection of paper sheets of different sorts. Different weights and textures of paper, most of it (but not all) pale pastels or near white in colour. She then quickly took out a sketchbook and a fistful of pencils and turned back to Madeleine. Her eyes were wide, her movements had a leashed sense of urgency, Melody knew that she needed to at least get the sense of her idea on paper right away, or else by the time she had time to think about it, she'd be left with the pallid ghost of the inspiration. The urgency of it banished any feeling of constraint she might otherwise have had in asking for the younger student's cooperation.

"Would you mind demonstrating a few of the typical movements in confisalto? Preferably something that involves large movements that you can sustain positions in?"
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Madeleine Gosselin
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Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:06 pm

Dinner Hour, 27 Intas, 2719
Melody’s Room, The Dormitories
Melody’s casual, nonchalant answer caught Madeleine off-guard; beyond off-guard. She had truly thought that Melody didn’t know; she had been embarrassed in advance of the embarrassment she was (surely) about to cause the other student by pointing it out. But Madeleine could never in her wildest dreams have imagined that Melody would just – smile and say that she found them – comfortable?

Madeleine stared at Melody in silence and something approaching horror. Comfortable? But those shirts were for boys! They were for boys, not girls. Did they wear boy’s clothing in Mugroba? Madeleine’s mind conjured up strange images of half-naked women in pants and – her imagination failed her – and of men wearing dresses that probably exposed the entirety of arms for the whole world to see. It was shocking. Why, Madeleine wondered, if someone was barely going to wear any clothing, anyway, would they wear men’s clothing?

Did Melody know it wasn’t allowed in Anaxas?

Madeleine was busy working up her courage to speak again – she was really almost there – but Melody rose and crossed to the shelves, and took down a box. Madeleine’s eyes widened in a different kind of surprise. “An art idea?” The middle Gosselin shifted forward on the bed, intent and curious, suddenly excited.

Oh, even better than hearing about Melody’s art would be to see it! At least for the moment, Madeleine had forgotten all about Melody’s horribly scandalous shirt and the impropriety of her changing and even the chastising hand gesture – there was something about the way Melody was moving around the room that made Madeleine feel delightfully excited, as if – as if she was part of something wonderful.

“Of course! I – ummm,” Madeleine pushed the blanket off her lap and rose. She looked down at her shoes. She couldn’t go en pointe in these shoes, she thought, her mind working busily. That was all right; anything she could do en pointe she could do flat-footed. The uniform skirt was a bit longer than a tutu, naturally, but…

Madeleine stepped off to the side of the room. She turned her feet, her left foot forward side the side almost squarely in front of her, the right turned and tucked behind it. She straightened her back and squared her shoulders, and her arms swept to her front, fingers soft and slightly curved, extending before her.

Madeleine swept her arms up to the sides, then back down. In a careful, controlled motion, she lifted her left leg slowly off the ground, toe always pointed at the floor. Her leg shifted back without any noticeable strain, her thigh flat to the ground and foot turning and extending backwards, toes pointed directly behind her, her torso edged forwards only slightly. Her arms extended, still circular, in front of her, and stretched out, until one was reaching straight forward and the other back and off to the side. Both legs were perfectly, flawlessly straight, the back leg almost completely parallel to the ground.

“This is first arabesque,” Madeleine explained. There wasn’t even the faintest sign of strain in her voice; she was glowing again, as much or even more than she had when she spoke about confisalto.

Carefully, seamlessly smooth, Madeleine swung her arms around, smooth and even, so the arm extended forwards was on the same side as her leg, and the other stretched back and to the side. “This is second arabesque,” she continued.

Just as smooth and slow, Madeleine’s hands came forward; her leg stayed back and fully extended the entire time, neither leg ever once wobbling. Her right hand stretched up and left down, palms flat and pointed towards the ground. "And this one is third arabesque."

Now her left leg lifted ever so slightly more, rising up above parallel, then swung forward and down, landing solidly on the floor in front of her. As if by habit, Madeleine's back right foot lifted, the toe of her boots resting against the ground, her arms stretched out to her sides.

Now her right leg lifted off the ground, straight and straight back; her left arm stretched forward, and her right arm back over her leg. Her back leaned sideways, slightly, the plane of it still perpendicular to the ground. She faced away from Melody now, and although with her head turned to the side, her gaze stretching forward over her left arm. Madeleine turned her chin, ever so slightly, a soft break to the delicate line of her frame, and smiled at Melody. “This is an arabesque croisee,” she explained.

Carefully, Madeleine stepped back down to the ground. She hesitated, adjusting the skirt of her uniform to fall properly again, and looked back at Melody, a little worry pinching her face. “Was that – like what you imagined?” She asked, soft and almost shy once more.

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Melody
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Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:59 am

27 of Intas, 2719 Melody's Room, The Dormitories Image

Melody quickly propped up the sketchbook against the easel, and selected one of the harder pencils to sketch with. The pencil would leave only light marks on the paper, thus allowing her to sketch quick studies in order to capture the range of motion Madeleine would display. Once Madeleine started her demonstration, Melody swiftly began sketching three inch tall figures aimed at capturing the line of action in each, and the rough positions of the underlying skeleton. It wasn't an especially difficult thing to do, but she wanted to capture as many poses in sequence as she possibly could. She sketched intently, eyes flicking up to capture Madeleine, pencil moving in quick, sure strokes. She tried to be looser in her strokes, trying to capture the motion more than the details, reminded of Gus's comment about her needing to learn to be comfortable with a looser, less exact style.

If these arabesques, as Madeleine termed them, were anything to go by, confisalto looked to be a graceful sort of dance. Every movement seemed deliberate and poised. It also seemed especially suited to be sketched or drawn, even the poses that were momentarily held for pauses had a certain tension informed by the dynamics of the skeleton and the musculature underneath. Madeleine was a good model, considering she had been given no directions whatsoever, she had picked movements that showcased a range of movements of arms, leg and even some torso. She even paused at the stretch of the pose for a few moments, though that may have been a factor of the dance-form rather than her own idea. In any case it helped.

Madeleine eventually stopped, both feet on the ground, and Melody kept furiously sketching for a few more moments. She looked up with a smile at the younger girl's question and beckoned her over to look at the four pages she had completely filled. "I didn't really know what I imagined, I just had this vague idea..." She stepped to the side, allowing Madeleine to look at the sketches without herself hovering over her shoulder.

Moving to the clear space Madeleine had left, she continued even as she gently massaged her right wrist, "Confisalto seems like it'd be a graceful, almost dreamy sort of dance form..." She absently tried to mimic a movement the girl had shown, sweeping her arms up and down in an over-slow wave-like motion. "I think it's very well suited to what I had in mind.." She repeated the movement, her gaze abstractedly focused on the movement of one single hand. "Say, it takes five slow seconds to raise this hand to the top position..." She swung to face her guest, "The motion picture device! You must have heard about that? It uses a series of photographs taken sequentially..." Melody stuttered to a halt, suddenly, acutely aware of the disjointed nature of her words.

"I'm sorry, I must be making very little sense. I'm not used to speaking about the thinking or the vision that precedes creating an art-piece... I'll try to explain better." She moved closer to the easel and the drawings there, waiting a few moments as she tried to find the right words. " When I heard you describe suivre, it made me think of something similar to a sequence of images, something like a series of photographs taken moments apart.. or a series of posed paintings..." She traced her finger lightly from the upper left to the right and bottom, indicating how the poses varied till the movement was complete. "If one stacked the images in front of each other.. along an imaginary axis that would represent time..."

Unexpectedly she noticed the sketches as Madeleine must have had, the figures had no defined features. The head had been sketched almost as a silhouette, and there were hardly enough detail to make out the identity of the figure beyond that it was female and possibly a student. Had she offended Madeleine by choosing to sketch her thus? "I'm sorry.. I didn't mean to not show your face..." She turned a worried gaze to the younger girl's face. "You are very pretty. Not that it would have mattered either way I mean. Since you move so gracefully..." Melody stopped, mouth open, mortified colour staining her cheeks. There was an endless moment composed of pure horror, before she clapped her hands to her lips and stumbled a step back. How come she had never managed to learn the Mugrobi penchant for graceful compliments? Circle save her, she couldn't even be trusted to not make things worse. And this was the first girl, no the first student she had felt a meaningful connection with...

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Madeleine Gosselin
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Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:22 pm

Dinner Hour, 27 Intas, 2719
Melody’s Room, The Dormitories
Madeleine had heard the quiet skritching of Melody’s pencil; of course she had. But it hadn’t exactly - she hadn’t realized Melody was really drawing until she stopped dancing and looked up. Melody certainly was drawing! Her hand was moving fast - so fast - and Madeleine couldn’t quite imagine what she was doing.

Everything Madeleine knew about artists drawing people was - mostly - portrait painting. She had never had one done of course, but her parents had and she had heard people talk about it, and as Madeleine understood it it involved sitting very still for a very long period of time. And she had been moving - quite a lot. Had she done it wrong? But Melody had asked her to move. And she was drawing!

The seconds that ticked by before Melody answered were interminable. The feelings of joy and calm that the dance had left her with felt like they were evaporating, and mingled anxiety and fear were beckoning. Something in Madeleine’s mind was warning her: you didn’t do it right. You don’t do anything right.

Melody looked up at her and smiled, and the middle Gosselin’s whole body relaxed. Madeleine smiled back at the older student, and crossed the room in a few quick steps when Melody beckoned, pushing her hair back out of her face.

Madeleine gasped at the sight of the drawings, her eyes wide. “Oh!” They were lovely - it was just like the dance. It wasn’t proper for a galdor’s mouth to hang open, so Madeleine shut hers very quickly. Her face glowed as she looked up at Melody, although she shook her head a little when Melody said confisalto was dreamy. Madeleine almost spoke - she wanted to tell Melody it was done quickly in practice - but the other galdor had already rushed forward, and Madeleine couldn’t figure how to interrupt.

Madeleine nodded a little at Melody’s mention of the picture device, but a little frown creased her brow. She didn’t understand. She supposed it must have been obvious she was too slow for Melody, because the other girl seemed to take a step back, and began the explanation again.

This time Madeleine did understand, and her face lit up. “Oh,” Madeleine breathed. Her gaze tracked Melody’s finger over the figures. The physics student had no trouble figuring out what Melody meant about an axis of time, and she was nodding enthusiastically.

“Yes! I think even like this - it’s like you drew the motion - if you lined them up -“ the words burst out of the little galdor, and she was beaming at Melody. It felt so special to be part of something; Madeleine almost couldn’t even begin to describe how special. Melody had gotten this idea from something she had - had wanted to draw her -

The other galdor paused, then, and Madeleine froze too; she didn’t understand. Melody changed gears abruptly, talking about - her face? Madeleine blinked at her. Was something wrong with her face? She hadn’t thought of it at all until Melody said it. She glanced back at the drawings, then at the other galdor, suddenly worried.

Melody said she was pretty. To Madeleine, it sounded like the way someone would reassure a little girl that they looked nice for a party, and the younger student didn’t quite know what to say. She didn’t understand anything that was happening, and it was a terrible shock. A moment ago, she had felt like they were moving together - a la fois, the little golly thought miserably. Now, abruptly, Melody had taken another turn and Madeleine couldn’t follow.

But Madeleine had made a mistake somehow, somewhere, because now Melody was staring at her, horrified. It brought back a rush of feelings; it was every time the little galdor had ever said the wrong thing, that look people gave when you had done something so wrong they didn’t even know what to say. Her mother had looked at Madeleine that way, once, when she had said something at dinner. Angelique had explained afterwards all the things she had done wrong, so at least Madeleine could try to do better.

That look hurt.

Madeleine looked down. She had been holding one of the papers, she realized, and she set it down on the easel. Was Melody angry that she had touched it? Had she ruined it? The little galdor was aware of an all too familiar heat behind her eyes, that feeling that always came before crying. The paper looked the same. Had she done something else? Maybe she shouldn’t have suggested anything? Maybe Melody had realized she wasn’t a good model. Was there something wrong with her face? Madeleine couldn’t figure it out.

“I’m sorry,” Madeleine didn’t know what she was apologizing for, but she thrust the words out anyway. Her lower lip trembled, and her field blue-shifted in the air around them, a dark, trembling color, paired with a soft sort of aching misery. “I didn’t - I didn’t mean to do anything to upset you.”

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