Dersk's Medal

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.


The lingering fog has finally slipped away, leaving a bright crisp Weyr in its wake. The leaves have begun sporting their vivid autumn colors, and particularly in comparison to a few grey days, it is downright lovely outside. Still, as lunch time nears the caverns are busy, even if handfuls of people here and there load baskets or kerchiefs for outdoor picnics. Matrin is not one of those types today, seated instead with a book and steaming bowl of soup as well as a pair of rolls and a glass of juice. His table is otherwise unoccupied, and not far from the serving tables. Now and then he glances up at some choice bit of gossip that reaches his ears, suggesting that the book is more cover than pastime.

Xe'ter arrives out of the Administration Hallway, carrying with him his usual notepad of organizationalneses, and with it, a small, heavy looking box that seems weighty for its diminuative size. He pauses, considering the landscape of the living caverns, and when no one immediately rushes up to him with an issue, he glances towards the lunchtables. It'd probably be better for the young bronzerider if he ate more frequently than Romth.

Keziah moving slowly into the caverns is one Kezi. She's looking a little big now, belly leading the way and perhaps looking a little larger than one might expect for being only about halfway through her pregnancy. She's looking tired, but she must be hungry since she's heading for the food table. But for the most part she's staring at it and instead of filling up her plate like usual and is instead picking a little here and a little there and ends up with a plate that actually shows and only a few slices of meat and some toast with a little bit of fruit and vegetables. She also grabs juice.

Derin moves in from the clearing, blinking his eyes as the light changes, he's not very good with daylight stuff anymore, perhaps Dersk's night vision is wearing off on him. Once inside he takes a moment to blink and glance around, noting who and where and what before moving towards the serving tables, he's a growing boy and needs food.

Thea is here under duress, apparently, if the reluctant way she follows in Xe'ter's wake. Not that she's sullen or anything, mind. Simply dragging her feet about getting up to the serving tables, taking little interest in the food available when she does get there. She simply grabs a plate and loads it with whatever's in reach without really taking any time to pick and choose. So she winds up with salad, mostly. And a roll. She's turning to head for a table when Keziah walk by and so she pauses to give the woman a warm smile. "How are you today, Keziah?" She doesn't keep her, noting the fatigue, but steps over to the table Matrin is seated at asking the harper quietly, "Mind some company?"

A dart of blue eyes takes in each of these newcomers as they enter, though it's Keziah that first gets a smile that is softly sympathetic around the edges. He pushes with a toe, inching his seat out like he might go to help her, but when she appears to have it all under control he shifts the motion into a setting aside of his book in favor of a bite of soup. He's chewing when Thea approaches, but he gives her a smile and a welcoming wave toward one of several open chairs at his table. Luckily there's not much chewing involved in soup so it's only a moment before he is dabbing at the corner of his mouth and offering her a brighter smile. "I never mind a bit of company when it takes the form of a lovely lady, you should know that." It's more teasing than rightly flirtatious and there's actually concern in his eyes in spite of the curve to his mouth. "How are you today?"

Xe'ter takes a bit of time waiting to see that Thea gets food. Then he gets his own. Then it's he that follows her, and winds up looming a bit over her shoulder as she addresses Matrin. And while he's no lovely lady, he offers a deeper, slightly creaking, "Greetings to you too, Harper." He lays his organizer down, and the box as well…though he reaches out to gently nudge Thea, making a gesture towards Dersk's handler.

Keziah returns the smile, though it's a little wan. "Tired is all." she murmurs as she follows Thea, for lack of any other destination in mind and then she notices the Harper. "Okay if I sit as well?" Though she does look a little warily at Xe'ter and that loomingness (Yes, it's a word because I say so) over Thea and the creaky voice. She looks at her plate "And maybe a little forlorn. I've been ordered to watch my diet and eating only specific things and portions and ugh."

Derin isn't a dainty eater, never has been and probably never will be. He piles his own plate high with meats and cheeses, avoiding those dreaded vegetables, and then gets himself a bowl of soup. And the whole meal is topped off with a glass of ale. Hmm, now he has to balance the food and drink as he seeks out a seat. And so he wanders towards the tables, regarding Matrin and Co.

Thea hasn't bothered with a tray, so her things take a moment to arrange, plate, mug and then silverware settled before she has her hands free to pull out her chair. Her smile is genuine though there's a lingering hint of melancholy about her eyes when she answers truthfully, "A little better, thank you. Did you ever get out to go hide in the fog?" That question is a touch wistful; she probably hopes he did. "I wish I cou-" The nudge from Xe'ter interrupts her and she turns her head to him, "What? Oh!" She spots Derin when he's pointing and she simply nods, her smile turning somewhat gleeful. "Now, huh? I agree!"

The smile for Xe'ter is just as genuine though it takes on an air of politesse in place of affection - due not to any animosity but because he doesn't really know the man. Still, it's with a light tone that he says, "Afternoon, Weyrleader. Please feel free to join us." And for Keziah he leans to push a chair out and quickly says, "Yes of course you too. Don't they know Keziah needs her food? Why have they limited you?" So it's a good thing Matrin picked a big table and an empty one because between Xe'ter pointing him out, Thea noticing him, and the lad himself heading this way it looks like Derin will join them as well. To hurry the process along Matrin gives the miner a wave and a grin before turning his attention back to Thea. "I did," he says with a grin that holds a hint of sheepishness. "Thanks for encouraging me to do so even without the little one. Next time you should try it."

Xe'ter glances between Thea and Matrin as they converse. Obviously, he's got no idea what they're talking about! But he does get himself comfortable, having neatly arranged his entire meal on a tray before he even sat down. The food on his plate is carefully and neatly arranged…a baker would have trouble finding fault with the eye appeal he's built into the symmetry and ingredients there! But he doesn't even seem to notice…he just starts cutting into his food, nodding to Thea, "I hardly think it needs an entire Weyr Council meeting…though we could call one if you'd like."

Keziah settles carefully into the seat "Thank you." she murmurs as she sets her plate down "Well, I seem to be gaining too much weight they said, they checked for twins, only heard one heart though, that and they siad I wasn't eating healthy enough and I need to stop slathering gravy over nothing but meat and tubers and all and to have less starches." she mutters a little. "So well." she pokes at the vegetbles. She then blinks "Hide in the fog? Whyever would you want to hide in the fog?" she asks with a little bit of confusion showing on her face

Derin shuffles over to the table, and settles his food down. Peeking at the rest of the scarce meals, he just shrugs, he is a big boy afterall. "What's ev'ryone up to o'er here?" Rin asks before settling into the seat and already making a sandwich with his various meats and cheeses. "Anyone seen Daoi 'round? I was tryin' t'find her fer a picnic." Aww, so cute, young love..or something like that anyway.

Thea's hands remain on the back of her chair for a moment as she pauses to watch Derin approach. The wheels are turning in her mind if her expression is anything to go by. Pulling her chair out and sinking into it, she sits between Matrin and Xe'ter. While she's unwrapping napkin from silverware, she gives the harper a sidelong sort of grin, seeming glad to hear he did. "Someday maybe. With the twins. They'll play." As opposed to who won't she doesn't voice. Nodding to Keziah, she indicates she's pleased to have the rider join them, looking completely sympathetic to her plight. "That's hard to do," she murmurs. Back to Xe'ter's comment regarding the wherhandler, "No, the council won't be necessary. We can do it." All while her ice green eyes are back on Derin. She's smiling though. Can't be too horrible, can it?

Keziah gets a sympathetic smile and Matrin reaches over to give the back of her hand a quick pat. It's barely a brush of fingertips then his hand is back at his own spoon - too quick for her to bite it off hopefully. "They have your best interests in mind I'm sure, but I agree, that's hard. Maybe the cooks can try some kind of new vegetable dish to perk you up." Her question about the fog has him dropping his eyes back to his meal and he mumbles, "I used to do it with my niece." Quick to glance between the Weyrleaders then, a dark brow arches. "You do have a Harper with a law specialty here if you want to know about precedents for… whatever it is you two are cooking up." And lastly to Derin a quick shake of his head, "Haven't seen her, Derin. A picnic's a nice idea though."

Xe'ter offers Matrin a quick, silver-green glance at his commentary about precidents…and then back to Thea he smiles, "No, I didn't think a Council was necessary either. Besides…I think in a way, this is a more … personal sort of thing." He takes up the small box, and lays it out onto the table between he and Thea. "Darin, we'd like you to know that we did NOT forget that it was you and Dersk that came to our rescue after the cave in. I'm sorry it took a bit of time to get here…the smiths were…" He glances at Thea, "I'm not sure they thought we were serious at first. But now it's here."

You bet it's hard. Kezi loves her food and her gravy. She does snort a little "I don't put on weight. Well maybe it's all the inactivity." she murmurs and she's eyeing both Xe'ter /and/ Thea warily now. Any talk of council is a scary idea. She's had her sahre of them to last her forever. She does oh softly at Matrin "That sounds like fun. I wish your niece could come for a visit. She sounds like a sweet little girl." she notes. There's a smile for Derin and then there's a blink at the box. A box. A look at Thea now and a thoughtful look on her face.

Derin eyes the box in between shovelling food into his mouth. "We was jus' doin our job." Ooh, maybe it's payment for him working overtime. He continues to fill his piehole with the meats and cheeses and bread. Wherhandler just glances between Thea and Xe'ter and that box. "Daoi likes to picnic in the ruins." This is a delayed response to Matrin's comment about the picnic. And Keziah is smiling at him? Weird.

Thea catches Matrin's discomfort and after Keziah's comment, although it's quite a normal one, she winces, giving him a contrite look. From all appearances she's sorry for having brought the subject up. Her self-directed dismay lasts until his next words, which elicit a bright laugh. "Xe'ter we could ask-" Too late! Her lips close on the suggestion, although her eyes are merry as she turns them from Matrin to watch Derin now, staring at the poor wherhandler save to flicker a wink at Keziah. Back to Derin she says warmly, "A job that both Xe'ter and I appreciate. And I'm sure A'dmar as well. Open it."

"I thought with the Weyr Council it might be a matter of…" but Xe'ter's words make it clear that it isn't whatever Matrin assumed, so he just trails off and flicks his fingers in a gesture that's somewhere between dismissive and apologetic. Instead of elaborating he murmurs his thanks to Keziah along with, "I hope she can, someday." The faintly sad smile that accompanies the words lingers through a brief twitch of his head for Thea - not quite a negating headshake but hopefully it will put her at ease without intruding too much into Derin's moment. For which he summons a brighter smile and shifts his attention to the wherhandler and his box.

Xe'ter nods to Derin, though by now, the expression that flickers on the usually hard to read bronzerider's youthful face is a happy one. He's actually pleased as punch, and who can say that they've seen /that/ particular expression!

Something's gonna jump out at him, isn't it? Derin can just see it now. And he takes another bite of food, finishing off one of the sandwiches he had made. Of course, the wherhandler doesn't reach for the box just yet, he proceeds to wipe his hands on his pants. Napkins? What napkins? Once hands are wiped clean, the miner takes up his ale, washing that last sandwich bite down. He's gonna take his time about the box, still not quite sure what to think. Finally, though, it has to happen, and a large hand is reaching for the thing, curiously. What's with all the happy smiles anyway? It's weird.

Keziah ohs a little at the sadness on Matrin's face and she blushes. Not at all what she meant to cause and so she turns back to eating her miniscule amounts of food, even while watching Derin. Yes. Little greenie will be good and quiet. And not all because her mouth is full. She also doesn't want to miss any of this little bit with Derin. Boxes are fun. Well sometimes. Sometimes they're evil. But this should be good. Hero's need things. Yes. "Oh, I can't wait to see." Okay, so not completely silent. She is Kezi after all. She'll only be quiet the day she's grown too old to live. Most likely.

Thea's glanced back Matrin's way, reaching with light fingers to touch his arm briefly if he permits, an appreciative look coupled with a reassuring smile given for his mention of both his law skills and his gesture. She exhales a relieved breath and the line of her shoulders relaxes as she returns her attention to Derin. She could nudge the thing closer to him, but instead waits patiently for him to be ready, takes the space to unfold her napkin and place it on her lap. She even takes up her fork before lifting her eyes back to the wherhandler. Okay now that everyone at the table is staring at him, she gives in to the urge to tease him a little, "Speech!"

Most of Matrin's attention is on Derin, through the sandwich eating and the ale gulping. He's distracted by Keziah's quiet comment and he gives her a quick little smile that will hopefully also take away any regret she has for speaking. He's got this ping pong thing down, turning back toward Derin as the key moment approaches, and when Thea suggests a speech, he taps his spoon against his juice glass. "I agree. Tell us the harrowing tale of the rescue at least." It lightens his mood as much as that quick touch from Thea, and there's a bit of mischief as he flicks a sidelong glance her way.

Xe'ter chuckles at Thea and Matrin's teasing, but offers his own, rougher, sea-side sort of encouragement, "Or, Wherhandler, jus' open the thing and show it to the rest of 'em." He's apparently not the sort to needle Derin longer than necessary! That, or what's in the box is going to be FAR more amusing than any speech the miner could come up with.

Derin uhs, "I dig holes, I dunna make speeches." So there pthbbbt! Besides, remember, he was just doing his job. Box is slid towards him and finally the wherhandler is opening it up, under all those staring eyes. Oh dear. "Iff'n it bites me, I'm nay gunna be yer friends anymore." Haha! He really doesn't like this whole everyone staring at him and being the center of attention thing, so the sooner the box is opened the sooner it'll stop, right?

Ooo, ping pong Harper and she's about to add her own vote of the tale and then he's opening it. Matrin is given a soft smile in return. Though she doesn't reply on any of that. Nope. Greenie distracted by shiney. Which in this case is a Miner. Hee. "Awww, but I'll miss seeing Desrk around." she notes with a grin.

Xe'ter might not be one to needle, but Thea is! The spoon-banging - it's sort of infectious and she joins right in, clinking her knife against her mug while answering that sidelong glance of Matrin's with a little grin of her own. The noise is drawing the attention from others in the crowded caverns and people are sidling over to have a peek at what's going on. She stops her knife as Derin opens the box, the clatter dies away. "And fine holes you dig too!" The Weyrwoman says heartily into the silence before applauding the miner.

Somewhere, from over near Ocelara's nest of sticks that she calls a chair, there's a sputtering SNORT.

The box is hardly wrapped for presentation, but it is a finely made clamshell box. The sort that could easily hold a few important treasures, or a declaration inside. But as it opens easily under Derin's working hands, it reveals a rather large, round, heavily inscribed metal disk: Bright brass in color, it exactly mimics the shape of a heavy, even archaic, breast-plate meant for a dragon's straps. The design inside the cartouch, though, is no dragon. It's a wher, placed into the traditional image of a rearing dragon, and around that brass wher's form are the very heavily inscribed words: DERSK of XANADU. On the reverse, neatly but deeply engraved is the formal inscription: To Derin and Dersk, in eternal gratitude for saving our lives in the Cave In of <insert proper date here>. Weyrwoman Thea of Golden Seryth and Weyrleader Xe'ter of Bronze Romth.

Unlike Derin, Matrin is just the sort to revel in a little extra attention or take any opportunity to make a speech. It's pretty easy to read Derin's lack of comfort with the whole situation though, so when the miner pulls the box open, the harper relents and sets his spoon back down. There's lingering amused mischief there until the heavy brass piece is revealed. He lets out a low whistle and gives Thea and Xe'ter a brow-raised look of approval. "That's incredible. Congratulations, Derin."

Derin peers at the disc with brown eyes flickering over the engravings. "Wow." Yep, that's about all he can say as he removes the breast-plate from its box. Blink..blink blink. One calloused finger trails over the picture of the wher, and, yes, the wherhandler is speechless, his cheeks colouring deeply neath dark skin. "…thanks?" He's just so good with words, isn't he?

Xe'ter chuckles a bit at Matrin, and nods. But his smile is for Derin entirely, "You're welcome, Wherhandler…but it's just a bauble…a bit of shiny metal. Nothing could pay enough for you and Dersk saving Seryth and Romth." And well…the two riders attached to such beasts. "Oh, and your next payout…the marks for the extra time and trouble will be there for you as well."

Keziah is silent though her mouth is open in an 'O'. She then smiles "Congratulations Derin. Xanadu would be lost without you and your Dersk." she notes softly as she then returns to eating, letting the handler have his moment and just enjoying have a chance to share in that moment. Yes, she'll take her pleasure vicariously.

Thea needs to get back to the office and thus she's starting in on her salad as soon as Derin has opened his gift. She does nod in agreement with the Weyrleader. "We are very grateful to the both of you, Derin." It occurs to her then and she taptaps Xe'ter on the forearm to get his attention. "Have you met Matrin formally? He's the harper we sent for to map the ruins. Xe'ter, Matrin, Matrin, Xe'ter."

Matrin nods his agreement to all the well wishes, working on finishing up his soup and starting on the rolls that sit beside it. Thea's introduction catches him in mid-bite, so he wipes his hand on a napkin and hastily swallows before leaning across her to offer the hand to Xe'ter. "Not formally, no. Nice to officially make your acquaintance, sir."

Derin traces over each side of the plate with that calloused hand, then he carefully tucks it back into its box so as not to get it all dirty and fingerprint-ey. "Wow guys, uh…I dunna know what t'say. Y'didna hafta do this, we woulda been there fer anyone e'en if it weren't th'weyrleaders that needed rescuin'. An' we're happy t'be of 'ssistance anytime." He smiles a little. "Dersk'll wanna wear it ev'rywhere. Iff'n I kin get some sorta straps t'hold it on 'im."

Xe'ter turns his silvery pale gaze on Matrin again, his gaze flashing like small fish in shallow waters. But he smiles. It's a strange expression, because it's rare to /see/ Romth's rider smile at all! But it's also very genuine, "Oh! Not formally, no. I apologize for the rudeness, Harper. It's a pleasure to have you here, and I hope you've found your accomodations and board to your like. Welcome, belatedly, to Xanadu." Yeah. The young Weyrleader can get wrapped up in his paperwork.

There's a warm smile of approval for Derin, a laughter-bright one for Matrin but Thea says no more while tucking into her lunch. She's lingered longer than she's wanted to and thus eats more quickly than she would normally. She eats neatly and efficiently and when finished, wipes her mouth bids her table companions farewell and slips off to her office.

This scene continues in Vistor From Ierne

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