The Little Sperm That Could

Xanadu Weyr – Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.
A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

It's raining hard outside and the wind howls as it tears around rocks and through the trees. It's early evening and there a number of residents that are seeking the relative safety of the caverns, along with the fresh food offered there. At least with the rain, the temperatures have cooled considerably and most people are in a better mood. Soup bubbles happily in the night hearth and klah and wine pour freely.

Over by the hearth sits the Weyrwoman. Her work is finished for the day, but with so much restlessness over the weather, she is here keeping a mild eye on people and half an ear out lest the cottages in the meadow or coastal road have problems due to wind and rain. Her twins are with her, Marella is curled up on the couch beside her mother trying to read a book while Muir, dressed in his very own suit of cardboard armor wields a cardboard sword in a corner, mock-fighting with his shadow.

It's been time enough that Ers'lan has been allowed back on active duty. There's still the odd coloration under his cheek from the skillet incident, but at least he's able to go back to full duty - just with a new smile, considering the one tooth missing. He wanders into the cavern with his hands rubbing against one another, leathers wet and showing signs he had just been on sweep. Of course whose to say he wasn't just standing in the rain? Dragonriders would know differently as his section had returned by the announcement of the watch dragon, safely and without too much trouble. Now's the time to warm up his hands with some of that soup.

Sometime after Ers'lan comes into the cavern, likely after he's already gotten his soup. Keziah comes storming into the caverns. The weather seems to perfectly match her mood. She looks around the caverns, her eyes missing most everyone in there, but the one who has caught her Wrath." YEs, capital W. "You lied to me!" she yells at him as she goes storming across the caverns "You wherry-brained, maggot infested, miserable excuse for a man!" Does she say what he lied about? Not in this round. And she is /not/ carrying a skillet.

Marella's forefinger touches each word, "The r-ab-bit hop hop hops and-" her halting reading pauses. "Mama, how do you say n-i-b-b-l-e-s?" The Weyrwoman's needle stops the stitching in the material she's holding, flicks a glance at the page and smiles, "Sound it out dear." Her gaze searches out Muir over in his corner, making sure the boy is still occupied and keeping out of trouble, then dips her head to resume her sewing. The peace, interrupted by shouting has her lifting her head while both children do the same. "Mama, why's that lady shouting?" Marella's finger is now pointing at Keziah rather than the words in her book.

The accusation flying across the room of someone lying to someone has Ers'lan peer up from having just ladled some creamy soup into a bowl. It's one of those scene stealer moments where regardless of what you're doing, you just -have- to look. Turns out, all eyes are on him as Keziah storms up to him. He stands there with the soup sloshing in his hand from the turn he makes to face the onslaught. Blink. There's a quick eye-dart around the room to make sure she -is- talking to him, then back to that heated wrathful face of hers. "Whar?" he asks, quietly, calmly, stone-faced, save for the jittering of his soup bowl and the slight indication of white knuckles and the glint of heat in his eyes.

"You said you were sterile! You said you were damamged! You said that you were having difficulties and figured you would never have kids at all!" Keziah screams at him "Shards! Even that ass B'rdian intimated just as much! You've played us all! You ungrateful… man!" She picks up a mug and starts to throw it at him and then there's a look around. Thea and her kids and then everyone else and she just drops the mug and bursts into tears all of a sudden like.

Thea's eyes remain on the tableau over by the tables, but her hand lifts to push Marella's hand down. "Don't point. It's not polite." She really ought to say don't stare as well, but she's doing it, so she can't really, now can she? Muir is… not really forgotten but not checked on. He's over near the wall, paused to watch like everyone else, then begins wriggling quietly out of his cardboard armor. "It's impolite to yell, isn't it Mama? Papa only growls when he's mad." Muir meanwhile sidles up to Ers'lan and proffers his armor. The eight turn old is enthralled with the light of battle in the Wingleader's eye, the raised mug and well, guys need to stick together in his mind. "You wanna wear this Mr. Ers'lan?"

Ers'lan stands there with a stoic reaction. It's like the words hit a block wall and they weren't sinking in. Except for the screaming part and making it loud enough so that everyone could hear it, right as rain, that he was sterile. The screaming would be enough for all attention to be pinned on them. A little too calmly, he turns around and places the bowl of soup on the table, turning back in time to see her with a raised mug. Then there's a little gaffer beside him, asking if he needed to wear some of the armor. There's a hard stare for Keziah, he even steps forward and grabs a hold of her wrist to prevent it from being thrown, "Keziah. Thar be children here. Throw it 'n ya might hurt 'em." He will WRENCH it free from her hand, squeezing her on a pressure point until she drops it or loosens enough so he can grab it with his other hand. A look back down to Muir, "Stand back little man, reckon I don't want ya to get hurt." Surprisingly calm and level toned. The mug is then returned to the nearest table with a loud 'bang,' nearly splitting it. A steadying breath is taken as his eyes are drawn back to the Wingleader, a blue stare that contains a deadly ire to them. His hand actually slides up to his knot and he strips it off his shoulder, "Yer as bad as B'rdian. Calling me down like this in front of everyone. Reckon I should've listened to the advice I was given sooner…" He leaves it by the mug, lifting his finger, "Ya know something Kezi… ya dun narh have the right ta humiliate me like this. In front of the Weyrwoman no less." Oh yes, he recognized Thea's child and knew she was lurking somewhere behind. He shakes his head in disapproval, moving already to leave.

Oh yes, lurking. It's what Weyrwoman do best, don't you know. Into the brief silence that follows Keziah's shout, while the wingsecond is taking off his knot, there's a little gasp over by the hearth, but not from Thea. It's Marella, her voice like a clear bell in the pin-drop silent room wanting to know, "Mama, what's sterile?" Little ears never fail to catch what you DON'T want them to hear. "I am NOT a little man! I'm big. Mama says so and Mr. Matrin said so too!" Muir's scowling darkly up, up… and up at Ers'lan. He lifts the cardboard sword as Ers'lan turns away. "HEY! Don't run away from her! I'll let you use this!" He looks like he's all set for action and barely pauses before latching onto one of the rider's legs, wrapping his arms and legs around in a leg-tackle.

Keziah is startled as Ers'lan wrenches her wrist and she just drops to the ground, onto her knees as he coldly walks away. "Just go. Leave the Weyr in a lurch. Forget about your shardin' resposibilites. What do you even care? You who will just walk away from me and your baby." She speaks fairly softly more to the floor than to Ers'lan. She makes no move to get up, let alone get up. "All you're good at is man-handling. I can't see how Laera ever says you're a gentle man. You're not gentle, you're cold and unfeeling." and with that she finally does stagger herself back on her feet and anyone trying to help her up is vaguely pushed back and away as she slowly walks towards the admin hallway.

The brownrider used to be sailor, so the additional weight that suddenly attaches to his leg doesn't throw him as off balance as most could anticipate. He lurches forward as the expected step drags, blue eyes peering down to see the kid clung around his ankle. "Kid," a little shake of his leg, "off…" he demands quietly. He was trying to get out of there with what dignity he had left, which wasn't much after Keziah's little tirade. Having a kid cling to him added onto the humilation, his cheeks and neck showed patches of red. "Thar be some battles that be better walking away from. Hitting a lass be one of those battles. Ya dun narh fight 'em. Ya dun swing a sword at 'em. Tis narh right. Ya only fight other men, ya hear?" A short lecture to young Muir. Meanwhile, he's kept there as Muir clings, folding his arms and glaring at the door. All he wanted to do was leave, that was obvious by his body language alone, and if that didn't speak for itself, his eyes could bore a hole in the wall. Ers'lan hears the remarks from Keziah, spoken softly or not - the caverns had gone silent to watch the drama ensue. He felt their gaze. Their judgement pressing on him. He does something about Muir first and foremost. He leans down and scoops the kid up, by the legs… so that the kid is doing a hand stand holding onto Lan the way he is. Completely comical, considering the situation. He walks only a few paces like that, long enough to say to Keziah, "Whar it narh ye who be askin me why I put up with B'rdian and his mouth? Whar it narh ye who be saying I should've been—" he stops and sputters, "Whar? Whar shellin baby?" Yes, he completely MISSED the connection earlier. "Shardin women…" he mutters, looking down to Muir, "Yer going ta be nice ta them, reckon so?"

Muir's not trying so much as to bring the man down but rather to be dead weight. He's prepared to ride that leg on off into the sunset in his attempt to keep Ers'lan there, apparently. Yeah, good luck prying him loose. Thea rises from the couch, one hand firmly pressing on Marella's head, "Stay right there." She's spotted her son and though there's not much she can do about the situation between Search and Rescue's wingleader and wingsecond… or ex-wingsecond, as the case may be, she can help peel her son off Ers'lan's leg. Keeping her voice easy as she strides towards Ers'lan, she says, "I know the secret to unlock him-" But then there's her son hanging upside down. "You need to teach me that one," she murmurs as she kneels and peels Muir's fingers from around the man's legs, unwinding his arms and hefting him onto her hip. "I think you two might need a quiet spot to discuss this. How about my office? I'll have some klah sent up, hmm? Since it's storming outside?" No judgment whatsoever in her tone.

Keziah has continued to walk away. It's not prideful walking away that she's so good at, or even an utter dejected walking away either. It's more like there is a since of ennui surrounding her. It's as if she's lost and adrift and is at a complete loss at what to do. There might have been a quirk of a smile at seeing Muir upside down, but she doesn't see it. Nor does she really see the people that step aside. Quiet as she is. Most are familiar with her temper and her penchant for kicking, hitting biring and well it's usually safer to not. Even Thea's words don't seem to reach her, except there is a barely noticable wince. Ers'lans question goes unanswered.

Derin has appeared in the doorway, dragged inside by a healer threatening to lock him in the infirmary if he didn't eat something soon instead of hiding away in his den with his wher all day and night. "Fine..Fine." Derin is muttering, that is until he feels the tension in the caverns so thick it could be cut with a knife. He peers around briefly, looking to see what the cause may be.

Ers'lan flashes his attention to Thea as she steps up to collect her errant son. Saluting looks stupid, but there he goes and does it, one hand holding the kid up in a hand stand position - as much as a hand stand as a leg stand since Muir is still holding on at that point. "Reckon yer arms need ta be much bigger fer it-" since he did work out and had good sized muscles built on his arms. "Aye, reckon I do be thinkin it best… these folks have seen too much as it is." He waits for the kid to be pried away from him, stepping away as soon as out of arm reach and letting the kids legs back down gently. "That would be good and well Weyrwoman." A respectful tone but laced with a hardness caused by the situation. As he does start to stalk after Keziah, he mutters curses to himself as he goes back for his knot and scrunches it in his hand, stuffing it in his pocket. Apparently he didn't want to relinquish it so quick after all. He's off and following her, his own stride one not to get in the way of. It's a walk of I will stomp on you.

Thea's grin is a touch strained. Someone's going to get it when they get home and it won't be Ers'lan, most likely. "Probably," she agrees in a wry tone, though she's fit with the caring she does for Seryth, Muir is only going to grow larger from here. When the boy is settled on her hip, she manages a return salute gravely, the usual twinkling tease completely absent from her eyes, replaced by a kind understanding instead. "There's a comfortable couch in my office and the door locks." Unlike their ready room. True to her word, she'll give them the privacy they need, remaining in the caverns, but sending up a tray with that pot of klah, a pitcher of iced water, a small bottle of hard liquor from the stock she keeps for special occasions… and a box of tissues.

Keziah doesn't seem to realize that she's being stalked as she slips into the back hallway, intent on heading for her ready room. Yes. Hers. Chairs work real well. Usually. Maybe she can push a cabinet across. Or the table. or.. or.. either way there's a hand quipes across her eyes.

From the hallway, there is a high-pitched scream that is suddenly cut off.

Derin blinks at the scream, "What in the.." He starts to head that way, that is if that evil healer doesn't try to stop him and force feed him.

There's a Thea to bar the doorway and give Derin the evil-eye. "They'll be fine, we just need to let them work this out without an audience." And she'll guard the door while having Seryth to at least keep in contact with both Alosynth and Zhaoth juuuust in case. But she doesn't really seem too worried.

Derin frowns, "But..what iff'n she breaks 'im 'gain?" Cause, you know, Ers is his drinkin buddy or somesuch.

Thea remains unmoved. "He'll be fine and so will she." Because really. If she were worried at all, she'd be in there, wouldn't she? "Go eat," she orders with a firmness that will not be argued with. Her eyes lift to the healers and she adds, "Don't make me sic them on you. You know I will." It's no idle threat.

But Keziah is _skeery_. Derin sighs, "I'm nay hungry." But, you know, the whole threat thing, it kinda unnerves him a little bit. Not that that's difficult. "Yes'm." And he turns to move to the food tables, like a good canine.

Derin plops down in his chair with just a small spread of little finger foods. He mutters this and that about women and Daoi and poor Ers'lan. Yes, yes the miner is going crazy and talking to himself, where's the asylum?

Right now? It's in Thea's office. But there is a No Vacancy sign posted and as long as it takes, Thea will be there to make sure it is lit. Even if it means her offspring fall asleep on the couch before the hearth. Most likely it is D'had who comes to collect the twins and bundle them off to bed while the Weyrwoman guards the door, keeping the world at bay while Ers'lan's is rocked and Keziah's is… re-ordered?

Continues in Mr. Deaf and Oblivious

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