Higher Standards

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.

Ka'el has not been in the office long. In fact, the Weyrleader is just arriving, after having left the Weyrsecond's and Junior Weyrwomen's shared office for a rather impromptu meeting. And now, it's from one meeting to another! The story of his life. But this one is being initiated by him. Kanekith has sought both the senior and a junior queen, his voice a silken string of thread to weave through the minds of the queen. « My rider seeks the presence of yours. » Meanwhile, Ka'el heads to the table to pour himself a drink from the ever-present pitcher of water. Glass in hand, he moves closer to the window, eyeing the afternoon. It looks cold outside, with the near naked branches of trees quivering in the wind. The glass is brought to his lips and water swallowed as he replays his conference with the Weyrsecond and assistant weyrlingmaster, forgetting that he should be checking his calendar, looking for things that now need to be shuffled. Or perhaps he's merely leaving that for someone else to do. He should've looked in on seeking a new assistant before firing his former.

Luraoth's response is an easy one, her thoughts a warmth of sunlight. « She will come. » Perhaps not immediately, but what is time to a dragon? To a dragon's rider - oh, to her it's a matter of meetings scheduled and appointments made and every now and then a few moments to herself. At least until something calls for her attention! Like… a message from Kanekith requesting her presence. Fortunately, it doesn't seem like an urgent one, so she takes the time to finish what she was doing enough so that her departure can be a graceful one before she makes her way to - where was it again? - the Weyrleader's office, opening the door without knocking and slipping within to see Ka'el's back. She smiles slightly, despite the fact that this is going to be a meeting. "Hey." Just because it's a meeting doesn't mean it has to be a formal one.

Thea's desk is vacant when the Weyrleader re-enters the office. She's been here most of the afternoon, and from the look of things on her desk, a half-finished document, pen left atop it, she'll return shortly. Or… she might not, you never know with these things, given chance encounters of folks seeking problem solvers. Those could drag on and on. The mindhealer that's been stalking the office folk for interviews? That would be a very short one. Seryth's response is a serene one, the breath of a far-off spring to waft the scent of fresh growth through Luraoth's warm sunlight to stir the silken threads of Kanekith's, sharing with both that, "Mine is on her way." And it's true, not more than a minute after Soriana has enters, there's the sound of the Weyrwoman's voice as she speaks to someone in the hall, in passing it seems, as the door opens right afterwards and Thea enters with a tome from the archives in one arm. She greets them both with a quietly upbeat, "Hello, you two," as she makes her way to her desk and sets the heavy volume beside her paperwork. There's always something; a paper needing both their signatures, a joint decision to be made. So she is not alarmed by the summons, merely half-curious as she offers both a smile and seats herself.

Totally not a formal meeting. In fact, that drink in Ka'el's hand probably would be somehting stronger than water if it were immediately available. But somehow, calling for a pitcher of ale to be brought to the Weyrleaders' offices doesn't seem like the wisest of ideas. So, water it is! And staring in abundance to the landscape that is home on top of that until his reverie is disrupted by the arrival of another. He turns upon hearing Soriana's greeting, and the thought-lines of his brows disappear with his light smile. "Hey," he greets before moving to set his glass back down upon the table near the pitcher that it was poured from. He approaches her to further greet her with a soft, peckish kiss to the cheek, and it's here that Thea's arrival is noted. Eyes sweep to her and her loaded arms, and he bobs his head to her. "I hope I didn't pull the both've you from something important. Or educational…" he quips, glancing to the Weyrwoman's heavy book. "Light reading?" A smirk, then, "I've news I wanted to share that was shared with me. I feel as if I shouldn't be the only one carrying it around in my head." So he'll share the burd- er, love! He nods in gesture towards Thea's desk where she's seated before moving that way himself to sit. "Or maybe it's been shared with you already. Have you heard anything about the Candidate-Weyrling dance?"

Soriana smiles as she slips her arm around Ka'el lightly, a half-hug to go with the cheek-kiss. Because they believe in doing things by halves! …at least when they're in the office and there's business to be conducted. Which there is, as soon as… "Hey Thea," Soriana offers easily, looking back as the door opens again and the Senior arrives. She's in no hurry to move away from Ka'el; it's not like they're being inappropriate or like Thea doesn't know. "Nothing that can't wait," she says for her own pullings-away. Most everything is important according to someone, after all. She's quite willing to be here to deal with what's important according to Ka'el. Her arm does slip from around him as she follows him desk-ward, taking a seat of her own. Curiosity grows, then… gives way to a frown. The dance. She… well. She can make some guesses. She's clearly not happy about something to do with that dance (or maybe Ka'el's bringing it up? Or the fact that Ka'el's bringing up the something to do with… that dance), but she doesn't say anything about it just yet looking to Thea.

Light reading. Thea chuckles at Ka'el and quips back, "All the romance novels were checked out. This was the next-best thing. But I'll try to contain my eagerness to plunging in." Her fingertips brush the indented gold title lettering the spine. It's a record of marriages, weyrmatings, births and deaths all the way back to Xanadu's founding. Oh…joy? Her dark brows twitch up at the word 'news' and her levity fades as she considers her Weyrleader. She's making no attempt to disguise her attempt to discern what 'shouldn't be carrying' means before she answers slowly, "I heard it went off very well and that the weyrlings had a good time." When she turns seagreen eyes to Soriana, they crinkle at the corners as her smile returns, "And that you were a perfect host and the food was the talk of the evening." There's nothing but genuine pleasure in hearing such, no double-meanings, no tease. "I'm sorry I missed it," she continues regretfully upon seeing the frown, assuming that might be the reason for it. "My meeting at the Healer Hall went overtime." Woe! Tedium! She could have been discussing edibles with Western's Weyrleader and dancing with the ancient Weyrlingmaster, but no, she was discussing infirmary supply lists and dancing around certain journeyman postings (we won't say whose). Her gaze moves from Soriana to Ka'el and her head tilts to regard him. "Or… did…I miss more than music and dancing?"

There's a record of such things? That's …. a lot of marriages. And weyrmatings. And births. And deaths! Since the founding of Xanadu? Ka'el lifts his brows as he eyes the tome with a new sort of appreciation. Or is that apprehension? This isn't something that… he has to know, right? In fact, is it even something that she has to know, or is she merely doing it for…uh, recreational reading? Not that any of that sounds rather fun to do. A bunch of unknown names, some long since dead and gone! Well! Don't ask don't tell right? If he asked, he may be roped into it! So instead, he listens to the Weyrwomans account of the dance with a growing grin. Oh there was plenty of good! In fact, he knew nothing other than the good up until a few short days ago. And so he nods to all that she says, blue eyes shifting to Soriana with an accompanied smile. "It was a great dance," he concurs with a nod. "I never did tell you that, did I? It was excellent. You were excellent. Everyone really did enjoy themselves. You've always pulled together good parties." Shell, she pretty much coordinated his weyrwarming party tuns ago! A memorable night if ever there was one. But now his smile begins to slip and a slow breath is exhaled through the nose. "But," there's always a but, isn't there? "apparently there was an issue with the Western Weyrleader. I wasn't aware of it until after. Mur'dah caught me in my office and gave his report. He told me that Western's Leader was speaking..uh, crudely about our Weyrsecond. Telling them to ask her about his…eh, sausage." Sure he's worked with Thea a while now, but somehow, speaking about … 'sausages' is kind of .. awkward.

Weyrmatings and births are like romance. Or at least, there was probably some romance involved with them at the time. Not very novel, though. More… old and dusty, because, well, records. Soriana's lips tug sideways as the two give their reports of the event, working toward a smile. There were good parts, weren't there? If Thea'd been there… well, maybe Zi'on would have tried to start the dance with her instead of Sori. Senior instead of Junior Weyrwoman! …assuming that was his motivation, which, well, she's not going to be certain it was. So yes, the dance went well. (Mostly.) But Ka'el wouldn't have called two Weyrwomen here just to say that Dances Are Cool. That could have waited until a regular meeting or been relegated to a memo. Or a trophy! Soriana, Dance Organizing, First Prize. That would get the idea across. Buuuut… Soriana suspects there's something more. The suspicion's not enough to keep her from nodding, smiling back to Thea like she believes both compliment and excuse for not being present (because she does), then looking back to Ka'el as he makes a pretty decent case for that trophy. It's easier now that she can use the weyr resources without having to wheedle her way into them. "The weyrlings had a good time, from what I heard." Both after and at the event. Buuuut. Oh, there is is. She knew it was coming, and her mouth tugs sideways as Ka'el says the word. The weyrlings had a good time, but. She's unsurprised that Mur'dah was the one to report it, giving a slight nod for that. She's… unsurprised by what was said, too, because she heard some of it herself. "There wasn't a confrontation." Just quiet needlings. Soriana glances to Ka'el. "It's… Zi'on." Business as usual.

It is a lot! They're all in there - or they're going to be, the Weyr populace, some of them written in there three times. Someday, hopefully a long, long time from today, someone will enter their names in here. It's nothing Thea's reading for enjoyment or research; the paper on her desk is a formal letter bearing Xanadu's letterhead and crest with blanks for names and her signature at the bottom. Apparently a letter of notification (it may very well be happy rather than sad) that needs names and dates and details before she sends it off. It's likely for a rider, for the headwoman would be handing the weyrfolk. Thea nods agreement with Ka'el as he praises Soriana, her smile almost motherly-proud of Sorrin's daughter. Her world may be blissfully short of details on those other parties, but the ones she does know about has her approval. But, Ka'el says, and the Weyrwoman turns to hear it. Her expression turns grave, slowly tuning to one of distaste. Not for Ka'el's mentioning of specifics, but of how the Western Weyrleader's comments must have made Kiena feel. Her pale eyes slide to Soriana, note the lack of surprise on her features. Not a question, but of amazement, "In…public." She plants both elbows on her desk and tips her head to where her fingertips can massage her temples while her eyes shut. Yes, let's pretend we're not having this conversation between the winner of Seryth's last flight and the one he ended up with while his weyrmate is sitting right there. Awkward? Yes, yes it is. And Mur'dah's involved, greaaaat. She draws a breath, no, better not go there, so she doesn't even ask why her son is mixed up in this. Her eyes open again as Soriana speaks. No, there wasn't a confrontation or she'd have heard about that and so she nods. Slowly, "I'm glad there wasn't, I don't want-" She just levels a look at her junior when she says it's Zi'on. "You overheard?" She keeps her head braced in her fingertips, but tips it to peer at Ka'el. "I take it you hadn't had a chance to go have that chat with him then?"

Ka'el nods to Soriana. There was no confrontation. None that he saw. None that was reported to him, and definitely anything like that would've bene brought to someone's attention, right? Right. But.. There's that word again, if only said in Ka'el's own thoughts, at Soriana's explanation. It's Zi'on. … It's Zi'on? "I don't see that as an excuse," he says with a vague shake of his head though. "And.. I think it's been used as an excuse for as long as the guy's been a Weyrleader. I think it's more of the priniciple of the matter. The dance was fun, yeah, but it was also supposed to be a chance to practice and learn etiquette and proper ..inter-Weyr behavior, right? What do his actions tell any of our Weyrlings that overheard? And what does it tell his Candidates? That mocking Xanadu's leadership is acceptable behavior? That a rider's rank doesn't matter when personal history is involved?" He pauses, pressing his lips together in thought as he leans forward, elbows on knees. "It's the publicness of it that bothers me," he says, nodding to Thea. "And the fact that it seems that our Weyrsecond, to him, is not worthy of proper respect. He mocks her. Makes light of her. Mur'dah also says he wouldn't acknowledge her rank when he introduced her to the Candidates.." He lightly shrugs a shoulder, fingertips pressing together afterward as his eyes settle on Thea. "I .. decided not to go, after thinking of it. Figured you were right in saying it was more personal than business." Another shrug. "And he hadn't been back since I spoke to you until the dance, so letting it go seemed the better option. But this.." his nose wrinkles briefly. "I sent Mur'dah to speak with him about what he heard, since he was the one who heard it, and as an assistant Weyrlingmaster at the event, I felt it his right to speak his concerns. He came back without having the chance to speak with him. I plan on going myself, as I don't think it'll be as easy to dismiss another Weyrleader as it might've been to dismiss Mur'dah, if that's what happened."

It's not an excuse; Soriana nods to that. It is an explanation. Thinking the best of people… only takes you so far, because then it runs up against repeated experience. She meets Thea's gaze, lifts one shoulder in a shrug. "Some of it." Not everything. The only one who heard everything Zi'on said to Kiena is… Kiena. Soriana turns her head to Ka'el, listening to his thoughts. "What he shows his candidates is his business." From the shape of her mouth, that's a very sour - or perhaps bitter - statement to make, and yet she makes it nonetheless. She's quiet for a moment, thinkings about it, then, "This…" She frowns. "This shouldn't be… it isn't about rank. So Kiena's Weyrsecond. Zi'on's a Weyrleader. It'd be polite for him to use her title. It's not required." They wouldn't be having this meeting, if that's all it was. "The problem is that he's mocking her because she broke up with him, and I certainly hope we'd care about that if she were… a wingrider, say." Soriana bites her lip, then releases it. "We probably wouldn't." She glances to Thea, then returns her gaze to Ka'el. "But that's the principle of it. It's not about titles. It's about being disrespectful to a person. If it were a pair of weyrfolk, I'd tell them not to meet if they couldn't get along. Make Darsce arrange the duty rotas to match." She frowns for a moment, then shrugs. That's what she'd do with a pair of weyrfolk, but… that's not who the problem is. "If being weyrleader's not an excuse, being weyrsecond's not a reason why it matters."

Thea nods agreement to Ka'el's objection and tries not to grimace as she mutters, "If I had a mark for every time I've heard someone say that about him…" She's been to enough hatchings and gathers and meetings that she's aware of Zi'on's…sense of humor, seen the fond headshakes, heard, "That's our Zi'on," often enough. But this thing with Kiena. It's particularly troubling now that it's moved to formal joint-Weyr situations. She nods to Ka'el's comments about it being personal. "I did indeed. But personal is one thing, public is another. It's not only disrespectful and a poor example, it's degrading." She directs a curious look at Soriana," Did Kiena stand up for herself at all…that you know of?" Since she didn't hear all of it. And then she's hearing that Mur'dah was sent to Western Weyr. Ohhhh - that boy has his father's temper! She doesn't protest this, but her fingers leave her temples and slowly rake down her face as she tips her head back to look first at Ka'el and then Soriana. Can things get any worse with this scenario? Oh whew! He didn't get to see Zi'on! That might be a blessing. She is silent as Soriana speaks, considers it and then, thoughtfully, "It's not even about using her title. It's about being decent." She snorts under her breath, "Sausage!" Then said more audibly, "Decency is something we can't instill in him if he doesn't already have it in him. We can require him, as we'd require our wingriders, to be civil when in public. That's all I would ask of him." Soriana is awarded a thoughtful look about duty rotas. She says not a word about Darsce. Not. One. "I personally wouldn't cater to personal ire and shuffle the wings." But that is her how Ka'el and the wingleaders handle their wings is up to them. "However…she has a point." she tilts her head to regard Ka'el. "Maybe Soriana should go with you."

"It's about titles. It's always about titles and rank, else I wouldn't be sitting here now discussing any of this. Else I would've went to Western months ago after talking to Thea," says Ka'el to Soriana. "Rank and titles will always be a factor as long as there are ranks and titles. This isn't just about titles and rank, you're right. It's about expectations. It's about our expectations of how our officers should be treated." He vaguely tilts his head. "You may not care if she were a wingrider with the same problem with a Weyrleader. I would. The riders are my responsibility." He sinks back in his chair, brows knit in thought. "I've already advised Kiena about meeting with Zi'on. In her defense, this didn't happen because they planned a meeting or because she sought him out… " A snort, "Though she and Mur'dah seem dead set on going over there, again, at some point, and talking to him. I'm not going to dictate where they can and can't go in their free time. If that blows up in their faces, that's on them." And maybe they'll learn something. He snorts a breath. "In. Any. Case. I'm tired of his name reachin' my ears and coming out of my mouth as much as it has lately. I'm going as soon as I can clear a time and send word to Western. I," a look to Soriana, "would rather go alone." To Thea now. "And civility is all I aim to ask from him."

Soriana frowns at the question of what the Weyrsecond did, and it's after a moment's thought that she says, "Mostly? Kiena laughed." Which… doesn't really count as standing up for herself, does it? Even if it was an awkward laugh, or an avoidant one, it was still… a laugh. Something that can be read as approval. As that same thing Thea's seen at all those meetings. If Soriana had heard the innuendo-ish comment Mur'dah made about how good sausage is (in moderation), she'd probably be saying something about that, but she didn't, so she doesn't. That it's not about not using Kiena's title receives a slight nod, at least, but… the titles aren't irrelevant here. If Zi'on were just a rider, things would be simpler to deal with; fewer politics. If Kiena were, it might not have been reported to the Weyrleader. Who notices one rider having an awkward time? But he's Western's Weyrleader, she's Xanadu's Weyrsecond, and so that's the world they live in and the situation they have to deal with. And that's what Soriana was trying to explain, but she doesn't pursue it now. Ka'el's talking, and Soriana's frown deepens as he says she wouldn't care. There's a jut of her chin, a lift of her brows… but then Ka'el says he would care, and that gets a satisfied nod of her head despite the defiant cast to her features. "Good. Then care. But do you care about how your rider has been treated, or your officer?" Soriana stares at the Weyrleader for a moment, then casts her gaze aside, to Thea. "It's not about personal ire. It's…" she trails off, gives her head a shake. It's not something she's going to try to justify, apparently, just something that makes her lips curl sourly to the side as Ka'el talks about how Kiena didn't seek this out, her eyes returning to him and then lowering again as he explains how Kiena and Mur'dah plan to go to Western. Hello, desk. She's going to frown at you now. As for Soriana going… she doesn't get an answer in before Ka'el speaks, and when he does, she nods. "It's none of my business and none of my personal." Soriana glances up to Ka'el. "Your Weyrsecond." Or was that his rider? "So. Go explain your expectations."

There's a difference in simply saying something is good versus directing a person to vouch for it in regards to her personal experience of it with him in front of an audience. But that's something that goes unsaid because Thea heard neither comment herself. The Weyrwoman hms to herself about Kiena laughing. There are many types of laughter, derisive disbelief, nervous or even amused - all could be meant as deflection of degredation from self or avoidance of confrontation. Or, could be read by Zi'on and others as approval. So Thea nods, but does not comment on that. "I agree with Soriana that Zi'on's disrespect isn't with the rank, it's with the person. He wouldn't be so disparaging of me." She looks at Soriana and her brows lift questioningly, though she seems to expect that regardless of the Western Weyrleader's unconventionality, he didn't denigrate her junior weyrwoman. She meets the eyes of Ka'el and Soriana without wavering as she continues, "And yet it is about rank because we're the ones who work together to rally the Weyrs when there's a crisis. I…" Her expression is troubled, "I recall a time when Ista's then-Weyrwoman hated ours so much that she refused medical help during a great earthquake. She wouldn't accept augmentation of our wingriders. She left the medical supplies we sent to moulder in the rain. People… died." She shakes the past off and rises, nodding to Ka'el's decision to go alone, though it's to both of them that she says, "Zi'on's behavior is… not acceptable. There are higher standards of behavior that come with leadership. Whether that's fair, I can't say. But that's how it works; we set the example. Zi'on or not, I don't want him back here if he can't be at least professional when the situation calls for it." She turns and heads for the door, "If he can't let the past go and be ready to work together for what Pern throws at us next, then…" she shrugs and finishes firmly. "He can just stay out." Where's she going? Somewhere…else. Later, she'll be seen sitting with Seryth up on the starstones. Alone.

Does he care about her as a rider or as his officer? The look that Ka'el gives to Soriana is a quizzical one. "What does it matter? Does it not matter enough that I care at all?" he asks, staring right back at her with vaguely knitted brows, trying to read her. This is simple, to him at least. The complexity of it was figuring out the best way to approach it. Gauging the reaction of a Weyrleader that he doesn't now. Risking offense, though generally not caring about offense being taken as, as much as this may be business, there is a bit of personal. Personally, if the Western Weyrleader never again showed his face upon Xanadu grounds, he'd be happier for it! That was his level of complexity. It obviously differs from Soriana's, whose questions and wonders are irrelevant, in his unspoken opinion. Rider. Officer. Either/or, she's his responsibility, and the complaint was made to him. His eyes peel from her now to look to Thea, vaguely lifting a brow at the mentioning of past events. Events before his time here, perhaps? Events that sound incredulous to the ear. "At least ours isn't a life-or-death situation," he says, lightly. They need some lightness thrown in the mix of this heavy topic, but the smirk he gives is only brief and half-made. He gets her point, and he nods in firm agreement to the end. "Couldn't've said it better.." he murmurs. She has risen to her feet, and Ka'el does too out of habit, and the look in his eyes borderlines concern at her abrupt departure. His head tips in slight question, but he doesn't ask where she's going or stop her from going to wherever she's heading. For a second, it looks as if he's aiming to follow her. There's a slight shift in his body. An angling of his weight to take a sideways step away from his chair. But, he stops himself and watches her leave instead, head angling up a little. A silent breath is exhaled when she's gone, and he looks back at Soriana now. That frown, be it still be there or gone, was noted. "Why does it feel like you're against this?"

What does it matter? Soriana frowns, but she's got no immediate counterargument. Or… less immediate one, either. She makes no comment to Thea's look, which is presumably also a no to the questioning there. The importance of professionality, yeah, she can agree with that. Even nod a few times, here and there, but she doesn't add her own words to it. At least the frown eases. She's too slow to rise when the Senior does, but she'll be up in a moment. Just… oh, but Ka'el is talking to her, and Soriana turns to look at him. "I'm not." The frown was gone, but it's back again. "I just…" Soriana shakes her head. "I want you to know why you're there." Kiena the Weyrsecond, Kiena the friend, and why's it matter? "Because if he… picks a fight…" How personal will the barbs be? She shrugs, and looks away as she rises to her feet. "I guess it doesn't matter." He asked it, before. She agrees, now. "Good luck." With what he's doing, whatever the precise motivations. What does it matter? He'll go, he'll say some words. Zi'on will say some words back. Either things will work out, or else they won't. Soriana? She'll go back to the rest of her work for the day.

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