Minus One Weyrsecond

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office

Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the eastern wall, quite close to the southern end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the eastern wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis. The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The western wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.

On the south side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

It's been a relatively quiet day in the offices, at least there haven't been a million interruptions and problems coming through the door, so that paper stack in the Weyrwoman's outbox is far higher than her inbox is. Lunch has come and gone - and she actually got to go to it and eat something. Afternoon is advancing and with most people out enjoying the cool, crisp flawless sky and riotously colored leaves, the caverns are even quieter now than they were this morning. Though the working conditions are conducive to speeding through whatever's left and making good her escape, it's with a long breath out that Thea slides her chair back, rises and paces over to the window to gaze out of it.

It's been a generally quiet day, indeed, with little in the way of bothersome riders, exploding crafters, whining holders, or any other issues. In fact, the only thing of note was when Xe'ter left his desk and duties at some point whilst you were on lunch and away from your own desk. And now, he's come back, entering with a thoughtful expression that he wears all the way over to the big window…which he gazes out of with his grey eyes distant. Communicating with Romth, perhaps. Or just lost to his own thoughts. His own inbox is demolished…the outbox stacked high. At least you cannot fault him for DOING his work, unlike some riders who abhor paperwork with a passion akin to their ancestor's hate of Thread.

Ex…….plo…ding cra…fters? No, Thea doesn't even want to know. Though really she cannot fault the Weyrleader on his work habits, like - at all. Though there's been a time or two where she's fleetingly given the door an idle glance perhaps wondering where he's been since she got back. There's a curious sidelong glance as he enters and joins her at the window and she waits a beat or two before asking mildly, "Everything all right out there?" She tilts her head as if listening for the approach of feet coming after him, but the corridors are quiet, blessedly so.

Xe'ter glances towards his Weyrwoman with a still distant glance, and then nods, "Oh, aye…Kaletta had her babe, but the little one's run a fever." He turns and then goes to sit at his desk…then seems to change his mind, and leans on the edge of it, instead, with his arms crossed over his chest. Protective? Defensive? Maybe just…shoring himself before he opens his mouth and asks a stupid question? Maybe all of the above. He's been so very careful to keep conversations in this room /about/ business.

He has? And here she never even noticed! She's probably chattered about the twins and D'had's family time and again without even noting that he hasn't done the same. Though, really. This usually tends to be a busy place with interruptions, so bringing up delicate subjects isn't usually done. And this is simply weyr-news then, right, about Kaletta? At least that's the general expression on Thea's face as she turns to watch Xe'ter leave the window right after getting there, eyes growing a touch puzzled at his indecision on sitting. "So…" Why she's hesitating asking if he's really alright is beyond her, but something stops her.

Xe'ter leans against his desk…as if it were somehow the foundation he could draw strength from. And then picks himself up again, to move to the less formal seating area in the middle of the room, but not without swooping past the long, low table with its usual mix of freshly drawn water, juice, wine, and the like. He grabs a pitcher of the water, and a glass…then two, and gestures as he settles them down. But he looks downright awkward.

Thea tracks Xe'ter towards that table and back, growing a bit more… aware (but still clueless) that the Weyrleader's got something on his mind. She's stifling the urge to ask though, so instead of peppering him with questions, she inclines her head and allows the drapes to fall back to where they were hanging, steps around the desks to join him in a seat. Where he's awkward, she remains relaxed, dropping casually into a chair and nodding sure, she'd like some water. And then she gives him a small smile of encouragement.

Xe'ter stares at the water glasses for a few moments, before he thinks to pour them, and then offers a very halting, "So." So. "How are…things?"

Thea gives Xe'ter a bit of a concerned look, but it's fleeting and cleared by the time she reaches to accept the glass he's poured. Taking it with a murmured thank you, she answers evenly, "Things are about the same as they were this morning." Except for one minor (well, major) detail, but he's obviously got something on his mind so she's not going to drop that on him right this moment. Keeping her voice light, she adds, "The fall crops are in the process of being harvested and stored for the winter. A'dmar is doing some research for the rock you want from Igen, Ocelara's got the caverns well in hand, things are running along smoothly for once." Perhaps she's just giving him time to collect himself.

He nods, and notes, "I saw the briefings." Yeah, he does actually pay attention to those things, too. And then he spills it, "Romth…is being coy with me. He and Seryth…talk." He makes a bit of a face…and then looks up, to search his weyrwoman's face again. Not long…it's still awkward, and he glances away again. This time, at the water he poured for himself.

Thea is lifting that glass to her lips, nodding about the briefings. He is nothing if not thorough, she knows this and yet that rhetorical question had seemed to need answering for some obscure reason. His comment about Romth has her brow knitting in confusion and her glass lowers without having been sipped from. "Coy? In what way?" She nods about the fact that the gold and bronze talk, unsurprised perhaps because dragons will do that. A dark brow lifts slightly at the face he makes but she meets his searching look, brief as it is, with an open one. What? His awkward is obvious and thus she finally comments on it. Not because she's impatient, but because a problem may walk through that door at any moment and they won't have the privacy he seems to be needing. "Xe'ter, maybe you'd better tell me what's bothering you. I don't usually listen in when Seryth talks. Kinda get sidetracked with my paperwork, y'know?" And a million other things that come with running a Weyr.

Xe'ter says "Romth," he notes, "Doesn't share much by way of sharing in…" He fiddles with the glass in his hands, and then looks up again, "Said something…happened. That I should talk to you, but wouldn't say WHY…but now he's driving me up the wall about it, not saying why. He thinks he knows best, you realize. He's quite sure that, if we gave him a big enough pen, he could run the Weyr without me." It's almost laughing, almost not… but then he's serious again, "Are you alright?" But his gesture asks more…outside of this room…are you alright?

It's a sympathetic look he's given for that, because yeah, having to guess your own dragon's mind? Not an easy task. At 'something…happened' she flinches, her lips press together, keeping the sudden want to tremble from them, but he's still speaking and thus, her "Maybe we should offer Romth a giant pen so we can go on vacation sometime?" is flippant and a touch brittle even for her usually easy sense of humor. It's his last 'are you alright?' that brings the brightness to her eyes and she blinks rapidly to keep the sudden moisture collecting in them in check. "Yeah…" Her voice is husky, so she swallows, tries again and croaks a not much better-sounding, "Yes." Now it's she who drops her eyes to the glass she's holding.

"So…no. You're not alright," comes a slightly more confident reply. "Something did happen…" Heh. It's a little like hearing a young bronze figure out he can DO something…like order his siblings around. "So…what happened?"

Thea flashes him a look, the expression in her eyes is one that he's probably never seen in them before. Dazed denial mingled with incomprehensible loss - it's fleeting and swiftly hidden by dark lashes in the shift of her eyes towards the window as her shoulders tense. "After lunch-" she chokes and has to stop, take a deep breath before she can continue. Oh yes, she knew she'd have to tell him but the stark words, unfettered by her emotions, are written on that half-finished sheet over on her desk. They were supposed to keep her from this vulnerable moment. "D'had-" She can't speak, but rises, carefully sets her water glass on the corner of her desk before heading around to open a drawer and return to him. When she does, there cupped in her palm is the Weyrsecond's knot and she is speechless while silent tears trace the curve her cheeks.

Xe'ter's eyes go from his weyrwoman's tearful face, to the knot, to her face again…before his lips tighten a little. It's troublesome, of course. He needs a new Weyrsecond now…and the balancing act that will take will be hard for the young Weyrleader. But moreso…his silvery eyes dart back up again, "He dinnae jus' resign from his position, did he." well…that's obvious…but subtlety and Xe'ter don't always go hand in hand.

Confusion reigns in Thea's eyes at that question and for a long moment she stares blankly at Xe'ter. She appears to be casting around in her mind for some meaning to the question. With a half-squint and a slight tilt of her head, she adds a fourth word to the previous three and her befuddled, "What?" comes out just as thickly. The fingers of one hand curl around the knot while she swipes at her cheeks, first one then the other with the back of her hand.

Xe'ter takes a bit of a breath, and then offers his hand out…it's surprisingly fine, considering. A writer's callous contrasts with the older scars of a life grown up around fishing boats and sailors. "Tell me whar's goin' on, Thea. Jus tell me, so I don't go makin' things up in my head that's wrong. Ye look like yer grievin'." His voice, not lifted and not carefully controlled, rolls and swells into those strangely gravelly, creaky tones that sometime escape him when he's not trying to abandon his thickly accented past.

He wants an explanation and so Thea makes herself say it with an effort not to choke up this time and she manages even though it comes out in a whisper, "D'had wants to retire." There she said it out loud. When he offers his hand over, perhaps thinking that he's wanting her to hand him the knot, her other hand joins the one curled around it, drawing it to herself. She murmurs, "We'll have to order a new one from Ierne. I'm keeping this one." It doesn't explain why she's so upset, but maybe it will help him know that nobody went *Between* or anything.

Xe'ter presses his lips together, and then says quietly, "Don't see many women weepin' that their men've given over a stressful post, Thea…" But his hand falls back a bit. Apparently…he didn't want that knot. "I'll send fer one from Ierne…as it is, I'll need tae appoint a second. I swear…I'm going to tap Derin at this rate." But the humor's black at best.

Yes, most women would be kicking up their heels with joy, but she's the odd one. There's a watery, wan smile from Thea. A smile that disappears at the mention of appointing a new Weyrsecond. His humor regarding the wherhandler falls flat on her as well and she simply stares back at him numbly. Of course there was that aspect too. Her mind hasn't clicked that far yet. There's an unenthusiastic, "I guess so."

Xe'ter takes another breath, and then sits there…mute as if he's run out of options in his questioning. "And you? And the twins? He's not takin' off on ye, is he?" Yeah, folks will jump to that conclusion.

The look Thea flickers at Xe'ter is a startled one, then she shakes her head. Still if he wants her to explain why she's so upset it seems the best she can do to clarify is tell him, "He's been Weyrsecond since before…" Well since before everything. Before they loved each other, before she became Senior. But all she says is, "He's done it for nearly eleven turns. He's just tired." She rises, slips behind her desk and returns the knot to her drawer. Then paces restlessly, almost aimlessly about the office, finally ending up by the window where she stares out with unseeing eyes. Poor Xe'ter! This is not a Thea he's used to dealing with.

No, no it's not! He follows, with his eyes…and then asks, "Do you need to take a day or two? I can gather up Briana and Sianne…we can hold things down until you get things…straightened." But now he sounds somewhat skeptical…as if he can't quite follow all of this. It makes…no sense, in a way. No sense at all!

Thea turns her head, blinks at him blankly. "Get… what straightened?" Her eyes drift around the office, back to him, then remain there, puzzled perhaps by his skeptical tone. "No I- I don't need to- The Weyr will be fine." Like she's trying to reassure herself, maybe. Her cheeks are dry now and though her lashes are spiked together no one out there will know she's been upset. "I'll be fine," she says firmly.

Xe'ter purses his lips a little, but it's obvious…he feels like that's not the entire truth…and that he feels he has absolutely zero tools with which to deal with it, either! "If you're…sure. Everyon' needs a day or three off, now an again."

Thea laughs shortly, "Oh I'll take my usual days off, D'had will be sure I do." Then she steps over to her desk, reaches for her pen and writes the last few words on the document she started. Her pen hovers for a beat over the line at the end, she draws a deep breath then signs it, swiftly and resolutely. She turns with the document in hand. "Right now though, I need to pick up the twins from lessons." She walks over to the Weyrleader and her eyes lift to him still a touch vacant with shock but with a hint of her usual warmth beginning to return to them. "Thank you, Xe'ter." She offers over the document and slips out. In his hand? The order releasing D'had from Weyrsecond of Xanadu. Whether he stays in Quasar will be up to the Weyrleader and the bluerider.

Xe'ter takes the paper and has to read it for a few moments…before he nods, and rises up. He'll just take that to his desk, and deal with it…he doesn't nod, or even acknowledge the spoken thanks…as if perhaps he didn't feel like he earned them…not yet, anyway.

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