An Excuse to Quilt

Xanadu Weyr - Wanderin' Wherry Tavern

It is often whispered in the crowds that converge here, that a certain Weyrleader was asked what he wanted in the remodeling of the pub that was not so long ago given a refreshing. He muttered back over the rim of his ever-present mug, "I don't care what you do with the place, just so long as there is plenty of ale." With that in mind, cask after cask of ale lines the walls of the tavern, the remodeler's idea of a jest. As they age, the casks bring a real rustic atmosphere to the pub, along with the deeply wooden flavor that seems to be the theme throughout.
The lighting is dim, as it should be in all good pubs, and the tables and chairs are plentiful. A long mahogany bar, intricately carved with runner beasts, stands vigilant duty at the head of the bar, lined with stools for those patrons that seek the bartender's company.

Early evening at dinnertime in Xanadu sees the caverns ringing with the banging and clanging of pot and pans interspersed with the clinking of flatware and china. The place is crammed with people and noise, hustle and flurry, families feeding children who are cranky and tired giving voice to this with wailing and whining and knocking over stuff they have to clean up - it's just chaos over there! Seeking the relative quiet of dinner elsewhere, Thea has come to order something to fill her stomach and calm her frayed nerves - hey it's been a long day! And so she sits, waiting for her meal in a booth by one of the windows, a glass of wine in front of her with her chin propped in her hand while staring out the window.

Soft warbling precedes a familiar, but nearly forgotten figure into the tavern. Jessamin seems in a bit of a hurry to slide into a booth of her own, pausing only to flash an apologetic smile at Beldar. He only grunts and turns away from her to tend to another customer. Ah, sweet, sweet relief. She settles down into another booth in a flurry of crimson and white, a pretty gold firelizard clinging possessively to her left shoulder. Home free—or is she?

Thea lifts her glass and sips listlessly pretty much ignoring the in and out traffic passing by her table. Folks are walking past the tavern on their way to and from the caverns, but they're not really focused upon; apparently her mind is elsewhere. Warbling is likewise tuned out since it's a common enough sound in and around Xanadu. Thus it is that Thea misses Jessamin's entrance altogether, only roused from her daydreaming as the 'maid brings her a plate, receives her marks and departs, leaving the weyrwoman to her meal.

Empress squawks as the 'maid passes by her table, clinging that much more tightly to her human's shoulder. MINE!

Jessamin looks to Empress, shaking her head and reaching up to her shoulder. With a gentle yet insistent little nudge, she tries to ease the queen's grip, clucking softly to her. "Silly, I don't think she means me any harm. Behave yourself now, hmmm?" Squawk! "Oh, shush. There'll be a nice treat in it for you if you behave, hmm?" A chance glance upwards draws a smile to her face. "Thea? Shards, where have you been hiding yourself?" She waves over to the junior Weyrwoman, scooting farther into her booth to make room.

If anything, that squawking causes Thea to hunch her shoulders and mutter, hunkering down in that booth just a little with an irritated grimace as her fork is laid on the plate and her glass is lifted and sipped from. She has no curiosity at all which firelizard or where it is, apparently, for she doesn't even try to look for it. Her name called, though. That draws her attention and the look on her face when she looks up is one of a 'what now?' sort of weary patience. When her eyes light upon Jessamin, her expression changes to pleasantly surprised, "Oh hey, Jessa!" Rather than juggle plate and glass to move, she indicates the seat opposite. "Join me?"

Jessamin grins, abandoning her seat gladly to join Thea - much to her flizzen's vocal dismay. "Western's duties and all that, but damn, it's good to see you!" Azure eyes sparkle brightly, a welcome contrast to the fading remnants of a bruise - healing rather well—on her lower left jaw. "How have you been? It's been ages!" Squawk! "Oh… introductions, before -someone-…" Here, she thumbs over at the flit on her shoulder. "…gets offended. Thea, Empress. Empress… behave yourself, this is my friend, Thea."

Thea replaces her glass on the table quickly when Jessamin starts moving, lifting her arms to offer her friend a hug, while a genuine, if tired smile lights her own eyes. "Good to see you too! Xanadu's duties to Western as well." She tilts her head quizzically at the bruise, eyes flicking to Empress with a nod and a murmured, "My condol- er, congratulations." The droll smile that pulls her lips accompanies her teasing as her gaze returns to that bruise. "So what happened-" her fingers flutter over her own jaw, "-and what brings you to Xanadu?"

Jessamin says "Bit of a row here a good sevenday or so ago. I was just popping in to bug M'nol, got here in time to find he'd had a couple and was trying to extricate Niva from a tight spot. Tanner and Starcrafter were going at it, turned into a pretty nasty little brawl." She shakes her head, her smile wry and somewhat self-depreciating. "I couldn't let him go in there alone, he's as close to a little brother as I've got. Riders pulled us both out before we got seriously hurt, but I did take a bit of a glancing blow. It's been seen to by the Weyrhealer and Leader both, so I've no doubt it won't leave so much as a mark." The wryness of her smile turns into an out and out grin, at the mention of condolences. "Hee… thanks, I suppose. It's been a trip with this one, but she's got pretty good sense about her, keeping the riff-raff away. And, as it's turning out, she's surprisingly helpful when I volunteer in the infirmary. As for why I'm here… frankly, I needed a change of scenery, and it's always good to run into old friends."

"Oh, were you in on that?" Thea looks amused with a glance sent Beldar's way. And will you look at that? The man is glowering in their direction, now why would that be? She turns her attention back to the girl across from her. "It sure sounds like you've got a lot going on with her-" a nod given to the little gold, "-and your volunteer work." She lifts her glass, eyeing Jessamin over the rim, "You having anything? Dinner maybe? Something to drink?" Perhaps a silly question, as most folks don't enter just to sit and so she isn't waiting for her friend to answer, but lifting her eyes towards the bar to catch the waitstaff's eyes.

Jessamin 's eyes flicker with just a hint of a shadow in their depths, but it is quickly masked by a smile. "Keeping busy's better than idle hands… or minds." Beldar's glower is met with a lofted eyebrow, the seamstress lifting her chin just a touch defiantly. Keep her from her friends, will you? "The younger patients seem to love the soft toys and pillows, and it gets rid of scraps." Empress just warbles, settling back once she sees that Thea means hers no harm. "Maybe a bit of wine, I'll leave the choice of vintage to you."

And it's Beldar who arrives at that table with a rather grumpy look for the Westerner and a mild, "What'll it be?" for Thea. "Another glass for my friend with some of the white that I'm having please, Beldar. Just bring the rest of the bottle too if you would?" After he is gone, she smiles slightly at the man's retreating back. "Some of that you just ignore, you know?" This as she's turning back to Jessamin and pushing her own fatigue aside, "Oh, really?" A dark brow lifts at that flicker in her friend's eyes, "You take some time to play, too I hope?" Concerned, "Everything alright?"

Jessamin says "Play? What's that? Oh. Swimming, right." She shakes her head, rolling her eyes a little. "There's too much to be done to play. Not that I don't hear it from T'burk and A'ven, too. About playing that is." Nibbling her lower lip, she offers a touch hesitantly, "Maybe I should just take a hint from the example and advice of dragons and just live in the moment more."

"Maybe you should," Thea's eyes crinkle in the corners as she smiles faintly. Beldar returns with glass and bottle, pouring and setting both on the table before departing without a word, thankfully. "Life gets pretty busy if you let it," she tells her friend as if she doesn't already know that. She glances down at her plate, picks up her fork and pushes some of the food around, "I think I'm due for a vacation myself," she mutters listlessly.

Jessamin says "It can be. Volunteer work is a vacation for me." Here, her expression melts, a smile turning her lips upwards and crinkling the corners of her eyes. "It's wonderful to be useful, and wanted, and needed. Every time I can bring a smile to the kidlet's faces, it just makes so much go away." Reaching out, she touches Thea's forearm lightly, offering her a sympathetic look. "I heard about Seryth's flight, and if she weren't so close to clutching, I'd say come on over to Western for a bit. Nothing like swimming in the lagoon on a clear day to rid yourself of your cares."

Thea's eyes lift from her plate at that touch, "Glad you're finding something rewarding, Jessa." She lifts her glass and sips silently for a moment, cradling the glass in her fingers. "Would I love to come see Western. That's where I was when I knew I loved D'had." Her eyes drift out the window as a reminiscent smile touches her lips. "She is egg-heavy and I'll bet it's nice there, but I couldn't leave Xanadu regardless." Sea green eyes return to her friend, "Muir and Marella are too young to travel with."

Jessamin 's eyebrows raise. "Muir… Marella…? Too young to travel with…? Oh, my." That smile turns rather impish, eyes dancing with mirth. "Did I miss more than I thought in all this time?" Enough said. Even Empress seems to be paying closer attention—no doubt picking up on her human perch's change in mood.

Thea's smile is softly radiant as she nods, "Yeah, you missed a lot. I have twins - a boy and a girl. Born up in my home hold while we were there three months ago." It's fun watching the expressions on her friend's face and thus some of that tiredness seems to drop away only to return as she says, "They're with the nannies right now."

Jessamin says "You mean you were going to deprive me of an excuse to quilt? Shame on you, Thea, shame on you!" A hint of the shadows returns to her eyes for just a brief moment, but are gone again just as quickly as she bursts out laughing. "Congratulations, both of you… and send a letter by flit next time!"

PLOP. That's the sound of Thea's hand as she facepalms. "I, yeah. Didn't really send out any sort of notes, Jessa. Sorry. You weren't the only one left out." She lowers her hand, "Had some upheaval back at home - my ma wasn't well. And You know, went into labor there and then there were two-" She stops suddenly with a short laugh, "I'm making excuses aren't I? I'd love one of your quilts, though." Lifting her fork once more, she takes a stab at something on her plate, "So, tell me about your love life?" Since hers is now nonexistent. While waiting she actually takes a bite of her dinner and chews it.

Jessamin turns flame red at the question. "Ummm… love life? What love life?" Oh, how she squirms, setting off her little queen into a series of sounds that all too closely resemble cackling laughter. "Oh hush, you little gold mischief-maker!" Suddenly, her wine glass becomes a LOT more interesting, with the usually inflappable seamstress swirling the pale golden liquid around and admiring the color more closely than she should. "Umm, nothing to report. Really!"

Well that reaction, amusing as it is draws a knowing smile and a nod. Okay, there's likely quite a bit to report, but Thea isn't going to pry. "When you're ready to tell me his name, you know where to find me, hmm?" She eyes the plate and it's just not getting any emptier. She's just not up to the task it seems. Covering a yawn with her hand, she apologizes, "Sorry, long day." She finishes the rest of her wine, sets the glass down. "As much as I'd love to stay, the nannies are due to bring the babes any time and D'had… doesn't, ah.. cope well if I'm not there to help." He doesn't cope well when she's there, either, but she's not saying that. And she's off to the rescue…

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