Problems of the Privileged

Xanadu Weyr - Hot Springs
The warmth that flows from this cavern is almost overwhelming for some, the steam rising from the shimmering pools as thick as the morning fog that rolls in off the ocean. Numerous pools are scattered here and there with ribboned walls that are natural in their construction. The water has a somewhat green cast to it, but it is merely a reflection from the ethereal light which is the glow down here that was so noticeable from the Lower Cavern Tunnel. People can often be found down here washing themselves or just relaxing.
Situated along the walls are various racks covered in fresh towels ready for those who step out of the warm waters. A set of shelves have been installed towards the back wall, allowing people a place to put their belongings while they rest in the pools, and despite the white color that these have been painted, they are cast with that eerie green glow. Then, it's obvious. The ceiling of this cavern is covered in the fluorescent phosphorous matter that glows are made off. The mossy substance almost glitters and appears quite lovely.

The Xanadu morning is fair and bright. A clear dawn that promises a bright and hot day. An early riser, ka-el has already eaten his fill of a light breakfast of toast, preserves, and sausage and has settled himself in the hot springs. Better to come now and beat the crowds. Not that this place is too full in the midst of summer. The young smith has secured a towel for himself and has stripped down to trunklike shorts for his soak, but for the time being, he remains dry (other than the moisture of sweat that one can't much help when in such a stiflingly warm place) as he sits upon the stone floor with a vial of oil opened nearby. A bronze firelizard lies near him, rather kinglike in stature and lazy in posture as his a limb is lifted and oil is rubbed upon his hide. If firelizards could purr, rest assured such a sound would be resonating from his metallic body! As it is, he is making a noise of utter enjoyment, which causes Kale to smirk and roll his eyes. "Yes, yes, how else can I serve you, eh? Feelin' an itch somewhere?"

Marel lurks well when she chooses to. One of the few here in the springs so early, she's snagged one of the pools to herself and gone as far as to line the edge against which she lies with a couple of towels, softening its edges and making it more comfortable to fold her arms upon, her back to the world and her focus on the now faintly soggy book that she's brought in with her. It's plain to see, with her shoulders above the water level and her hair already soaked and down, that she's not got anything on for her own soak, and this doesn't appear to trouble her until Kale speaks and the rest of the world falls into focus around her, drawing her from her book. However long she's been like that, it's now that she looks back over one shoulder, and, a little startled, exclaims only, "You!"

More oil is rubbed onto his fingertips before Kale moves his hands to get beneath firery bronze wings, just at the joint where wing joins with body, eliciting another crooooon from Alloy. Yeah, that's the spot! The smirk on Kale's face grows fond now as he strokes the firelizard's headcrest, though the serene look that's settled on both of their faces is soon interrupted by that sudden exclamation. You? Him?! "What??" He jolts a little, startled, which in turns startles Alloy, who also jolts, tail whipping and knocking over that vial of oil. "Ah!" Kale reaches for it, righting the toppled bottle and saving what liquid he can, stopping it with a cork. An annoyed look is turned towards a pool, searching for the culprit, and spying the back of Marel's shoulders and the front of her face as she looks back at him. The look of annoyance slips from his face then, replaced now by an expression of blue-eyed innocence. "I .. didn't do whatever it is you might've think I've done." .. Heh. That 'you' was accusatory, was it not?

Sinking lower in the water and drawing her hair forward over her shoulders, Marel declares, "People only say that when they're guilty of something," in a matter-of-fact sort of way. "I met your girlfriend the other day," she informs him, with only a quick look down to make sure nothing unsuitable is to be seen above the pool's surface. "…She wasn't really like how you described her. I wouldn't have called her outspoken." She frowns, yet says no more about the girl in question than that, twitching one shoulder. "You might want to rethink the design of those flowers; I don't really know if they're the sort she'd like. I'd have gone for something more traditionally pretty."

"Or," says Kale who collects Alloy onto his lap a moment, "it's said by those who are truly innocent an' feel as if they're bein' accused of something and want to make sure their spotless name isn't mistakenly tarnished," he points out with a grin. Alloy, already over his startlement, clambers off of Kale's lap to flop back down on the fluffy towel. Now, where were we? A brow is quirked at the mentioning of his girlfriend, and he peers over at her with a curious look as he listens to the description given. A look of dawning touches his face, and he rises to his feet soon after. "Idrissa? Heh. Yes, you're right. She isn't outspoken. Usually, anyway. That arrangement wouldn't fit her at all." Feet gently slap against stone as he makes his way over to her pool, pausing at the edge a few yards from where she is. Distance is purposeful, as he seems aware that she's less clothed than I am. "I met your brother a few days back at the forge." He toes the water. "May I join you?"

"But you can be too quick to protest your own innocence," Marel counters, a teasing spark of humour visible in her gaze. She nods agreement of Kale joining her in the water, not terribly uncomfortable in her lack of clothing, merely more conscious of it than she would be alone. "She seemed sweet," she says of Idrissa. "I liked her." But, wait, wait, wait. Processing. Then: "So the flowers were for /another/ girl? Who is also more than a friend? Do they… know about each other?" Just so she doesn't put her foot it in at any time in the near future. "Muir? Yes, he said he's interested in the Smithcraft. Idrissa said you'd be a good guy to talk to about it too. For Muir, I mean." With her leaning weight no longer anchoring the towels, one of them slips into the water. Whoops.

Kale hops off of the pool's edge to jump feet first into the water. His splash is slight, and he submerges beneath the warm surface, peering into a bubbly underwater world. The image of her, some short yards away, is thankfully distorted, but he has sense and politeness enough to look away when the colors of green walls is interrupted by flesh tones. Eyes squint as he resurfaces, dark hair matting before his eyes before a hand is brought to his face to swipe both water and tresses away. He keeps his knees bent, lowering himself chin deep into the water as he listens. "She's hard not to like," he comments of Idrissa, chuckling vaguely. And, oh there's the dawning of enlightenment! "Yes, and yes," he confirms, head nodding. "Well … nearly yes. I don't know if she'd consider me a friend anymore. If she even wants to. But yes, we were more than friends once. And yes, they know about one another. I think I'd be treadin' dangerous waters if they hadn't." He moves back a bit til his own back is against a wall, though with no towel to make things comfortable. "Muir.. Yeah. He stopped by. I spoke with him. He seems alright, though I told him to really think on it."

Marel starts to fish the drowned towel out of the water with a grimace of disgust for its soggy, almost slimy state, wringing it out bit by bit and draping it over one shoulder tipped higher. "Well, what's /her/ name? I don't want to say the wrong thing in-front of her by accident, if I ever meet her." She continues twisting the towel bit by bit and flings it back onto the side of the pool once it's not quite so soaked through, her attention on Kale - what she can see of him above the water - the whole time. "…No offense - I mean, you're not bad to look at and all - but isn't one girl enough?" Said in the straightforwardly platonic way of a girl who has yet to really consider boys as more than friends. "Our circumstances have changed a lot recently. I think… we need something to do. We're not little anymore, Muir and I. I got a job in the shop, you know, with the flowers, but I think he wants to join a craft."

“You'll meet her. Soriana gets around. Plus, being a daughter of a weyrwoman, she's difficult to not know." As he's sure Marel herself is aware! "Junior weyrwoman, anyway," he corrects as he rises up from the depths a bit, lowering the water level from chin to chest as he relaxes back. "Yes, one girl is more than enough," he agrees. "Though, sometimes, things work out differently than you'd ever imagine them to. An' … well, when your heart says one thing an' your mind says another.. they always say to follow your heart, don't they?" A half smirk follow, though it's a look that melts a little as she speaks of changed circumstances. "I suppose that's true. Your da isn't weyrleader anymore. That has to be different for you. And, hey you got a job there?" he says, grin re-emerging in earnest now. "And since we're budding friends, any future flower purchases can be made on a deal, right? Half off?" he says in a joking tone. "Joinin' a craft is a good thing, though I jus' hope he doesn't do it .. just because, you know? I had a sort of feeling that walkin' into the forge that day was somethin' he decided to do because he was passin' by." He raises a hand from beneath the water, holding up a palm. "Could be wrong. I just got that feeling."

Repeating Soriana's name in less than a murmur seems to go hand in hand with a glimmer of recognition, but mention of one of the reasons she's known makes Marel herself look distinctly uncomfortable for a moment, betrayed only by the thinning of her lips, her green eyes giving nothing away. "Follow your heart down every path?" she counters skeptically, brow arching as she sets the first matter aside. She glances down, sobering, correcting, in a murmur, "Daddy was weyrsecond." And that's all she'll say of D'had, determinedly putting that matter behind her too, squaring her shoulders as she forcibly eases the tension edging her jaw. "I could let you sneak off with a stem or two, if you promise to put them to good use," is stated with an attempt at a smile. "I'll talk to Muir about the craft. Couldn't he… I don't know… sit in on some classes or teaching and see what he thinks? Would that be allowed?"

"Second," repeats Kale, rolling his eyes at himself. "Shards, you'd think I'd know the difference between 'leader' and 'second' huh? Especially after nearly bein' given the knot myself." He grins at the memory and leans forward a bit, removing his weight from the wall. "That was an interesting afternoon." An arm is lifted and he rubs his opposite hand down and up, watching water droplets fall. "As for heart followin' … maybe not down every path. We do have minds for a reason," he remarks thoughtfully. "But maybe it's at those conflicted ones where heart and mind battle that we should put our judgment in our hearts." A shoulder is shrugged after a while, and a smirk returns at the flower comment. "Cross my heart. Always to good use," he says, her managed smile met with a grin from himself. "I've never seen anyone sit in on a class before. Sort of like a trial run, huh? He could ask. I told him who he needs to speak with. M'sure bein' Thea's son is going to give him a bit've an advantage."

"You… /What/?" It's a harsher demand for information than Marel means it to be and makes her back up to the edge of the pool again and lean there in a faintly ashamed and defeated way, her shoulders slumped and gaze downcast. Given a few moments to collect herself, her expression not once altering to something readable, she looks up again, and, with her careful detachment, she asks, "Do you think I only got that job because I'm Thea's daughter?"

Insert foot in mouth! Kale drops his arm down back within the water at that heard tone, watching her now with a look of question that strengthens to a 'what did I do??' expression at her posturing. Her question sheds light on the situation, though it's a bit late now for Kale to retract any words he said. "Huh? No… no that's not what I meant," he says, shaking his head afterwards. Could being a child of the weyrwoman have helped her secure that job? Well it definitely didn't hurt, but he's wise enough to not voice that bit. He pushes away from the wall now and moves through the steaming waters towards her. "Remember? I told you myself you were good enough to work there. Doesn't matter who you are, as long as you've the skill."

Marel is quite contrite in the wake of that answer, though she keeps her head held high, remorse a mere flicker, there and gone as she opts to watch Kale rather than stare straight ahead with distant focus. "Yeah, but I guess that doesn't matter as much as it might for some, if they think you're going to go crying to your Weyrwoman-mother," she says plainly, her regret not for her own status, but the way things are. "…And I meant, well, how come you nearly ended up weyrsecond? Who—?" The possibility of it having been her mother makes her hesitate and bite down on her lip. "What happened?" Safer question.

"True.." says Kale, who has never really contemplated how status could complicate things. "But what can you do? Other'n show everyone you're not just a weyrwoman's daughter and can earn your own keep." He continues forth til he's beside her, and he opts to lean back against the wall there, now in a closer vicinity. "It's almost like bein' an apprentice, really, if you think about it," he says after a bit. "I mean, when we wear our knots, we're judged in a different way, but still judged. And we could be apprentices all our lives unless we improve an' show that we're able worth more'n that. Same for you. Like it or not, most are going to probably want to give you want you want jus' because've your mom. It's up to you to change their way've thinkin'." Water is cupped in both hands, lifted, and allowed to run over his hair. "Your mother gave me the knot," he admits, snickering. "Like I said. Was a weird day. Seryth rose, an' everything turned upside down for a while. Granted, she fired me about five minutes later, but in those five minutes, I was Xanadu's weyrsecond." His chest is pressed out a bit in an exaggerated stance of pride.

"That's what I'm trying to do," Marel says softly, telling the far wall those words rather than Kale himself, though she does look up at him not a moment later when he settles beside her. "Maybe Muir's got the right idea. Maybe it would be better to be an apprentice: Journeymen and Masters can't show favouritism in that way, right? And nobody can help you really prove yourself that way; they can't work for you. You have to do it yourself." She shakes her head a little. "But I /want/ to work in the shop. I guess they can fire me if I turn out to be rubbish. I just… don't want people thinking I'm a layabout." Her discomfort at that relayed series of events is well hidden, her held breath creating tension in her small frame that melts away when she finally exhales. "Get yourself a dragon and I'll ask Mama to make you weyrsecond again," she says dryly. So she /can/ poke fun at herself, or her situation. "You /know/ I'm the person to persuade."

"They're not supposed to," remarks Kale. "An' they usually don't. We had…have a smith whose family's rather privileged. Came to Xanadu thinkin' she'd get special privileges and rights and got a bit of a rude awakening. But," he continues, eyes lingering on her, "you should do what makes you happy. That whole, 'follow your heart' thing? If you're happiest workin' in the Pots and Petals, then work there. You may or may not've been hired because of who you are, but you'll be kept because've what you can do. And people'll do what they do best: Talk. And the talk of Xanadu'll be what a success you are." His smirk remains, and he flicks his fingers against the surface of the water, sending a small spray of water her way. "Weyrsecond Kale. It has a certain ring to it, but Xanadu's better off without. I'd make a horrible diplomat. I don't understand any've that…politics stuff. But," he leans towards her, "if you can somehow make me Master dessert taster of Xanadu, I'd owe you bigtime."

Marel blushes faintly as so many often do when they perceive they're being praised, but she's not so distracted by the thought of herself as a success that she can't splash him right back, mirroring his smirk, though hers is slightly duller thing. "I'll see what I can do," she assures, adopting the same tone as before. "But you know it'd mean you'd have to taste the burnt stuff too, yeah? And the apprentice baker stuff, when some poor kid," and how old is /she/? "has put salt in there instead of sweetener." She hesitates again, but lifts up on tiptoe, meaning to press a chaste kiss to his cheek. "Thank you." Starting to scrabble for the remaining dry towel on the pool's edge, she requests, "Now, be a gentleman and look the other way," deadpan.

Hm. Salty cookies. Burned cakes. Has there ever been a more depressing thought? Kale's eyes squint at the returned splash, though she's spared further retaliation. Splashing about is certainly saved for places like the beach! "I took a baking class once, for the shell of it. And uh…I don't think the kitchens knew a sadder than than the day a smith tried to bake. You're probably right. I'll spare my poor stomach." And it seemed like the best sort of job! He exhales a theatrically disappointed little sigh, but perks at the kiss and thanks, offering her a smile in return. "Welcome," he offers before laughing. "Leavin' me to shrivel, are you?" he asks as he indeed closes his eyes and does one better by pressing his palm over them as well. Double blind! "S'good talkin' to you again, Marel."

"I'm sure you'll survive," Marel answers sweetly, waiting until she's /sure/ he won't see her slip from the water before she hauls herself up out onto the pool's edge and quickly wraps her towel around herself. "You can look now," she says through a burble of laughter. "And you too. Remember to show me how those flowers turn out, huh? I'd better get ready before I get fired for being late." She might even be gone before he uncovers his eyes, gone to claim another dry towel for her hair and locate her clothes.

There's no peeking from Kale, who nobly keeps his eyes shut and covered til he's given the ok to unveil them again. He even waits an extra few seconds, just in case! The mentioning of flowers has him perking again as his hand drops and eyes open. "Oh, they're nearly done. I changed the design a bit. Some of the metals were a bit too heavy, but I had an idea…" Ah cue a metal rant, as he's prone to do whenever his work is brought up in conversation. He turns around, folding his arms atop the rim of the pool as she heads off. Alloy has fallen asleep. The combination of being oiled plus warm steam is the perfect combination for a lazy firelizard. "I'll show you, definitely. Take care. Don' get stung by wasps." Seems like a proper thing to say to a florist!

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