Xanadu Weyr - Garden

An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place. On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.
Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.
The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also eluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic. The two paths leading away from the entrance have come full circle, wrapping around to meet each other on the other side, yet still continue on to the far left and right. One path leads off deeper into the surrounding woods, while the other wider; cheerily decorated with brightly colored slabs of painted stones.

Winter has finally come to Xanadu, the sky a low, overcast grey that promises snow within the sevenday. Bundled against the slight chill of the morning in a coat and scarf, Esiae is out and about regardless, winding through the garden with a rather unwilling feline flopped over one shoulder. Judging by the look on its feline face, the cat has resigned itself to his fate, but is going to issue loud, plaintive meows anyways. "Shut up, I'm taking you to see the fish." Completely at odds with her neat and tidy getup, Esiae's voice has a sarcastic, somewhat annoyed edge as she shifts her cat so that it can claw at her other shoulder instead. Indeed, their destination seems to be the cold pond and its slow-moving occupants, but she seems to be in no hurry to get there.

Already present in the garden, Inuelle is dressed for the weather in plain comfortable warm felted wool overjacket, in blue, and heavy blue felted boots. Her hat is a knitted blue thing with two bobbles which she is playing with as she looks down into the rather cold pond where the fish would be. The meowing feline causes her to look up and her mouth curves into a round O shape. "Oh, how cute!" she says, then realizing that she said that out loud she blushes and covers her mouth with a blue mitted hand. Might be a bit overdressed for the weather at that.

Esiae, who clearly hasn't been paying attention to anything but her feline and the lingering beauty of the garden in winter, startles a bit at the sound of Inuelle's voice. How she didn't notice someone dressed in all blue is a miracle, but Esi's been gradually letting her guard down in the cushy confines of the weyr. "Oh, uhm… hi." The teen comes to a halt acros the pond from Inuelle, an attempt at a smile faltering and then failing at the loud MROOOOW over her shoulder. "Sorry," she mumbles, rolling her eyes in the other girl's direction. "Not my idea of fun, but his owner insists that he enjoys this." The grey lump of fuzz is held out Simba-like over the pond, which he does /not/ approve of… until the fish are spied. Then it's impossible to tear his yellow eyes away. Targets acquired!

Inuelle smiles. "Oh thats all right," she says, breathlessly. "He's not yours then?" She reaches out to try and give the kitty a pet. "I was just out here taking a break and getting some air. Its never winter in the kitchens," she says, with a slightly embarassed laugh to her voice. "And its our busiest season, if my Aunt is to be believed." More laughter, this time less shy than the previous. "My name is Inuelle. But everyone just calls me Inu."

"No, he belongs to my…" Esiae halts, not quite sure what to call the sister of the best friend whose family she's living with, "Well, my foster-sister I guess. She spoils him rotten." A wry, sarcastic tone indicates just what she thinks of /that/. Oblivious, the grey cat purrs when he's pet, but doesn't even glance away from the fish. "I can imagine it's quite boisterous in there, though. No one wants to go out and pick their own fruit, or hunt their own meat when it's cold out and you can just walk to the kitchens." Esi nods, understanding this aunt's logic before glancing over and studying Inuelle, as though tying the face to the name so she'd remember it later. "Inuelle. Nice to meet you. I'm Esiae." One gloved hand is extended for a shake, a brief smile lifting one side of her lips.

Inuelle accepts the hand to shake it. "Yes, my Aunt is usually right about these things," she admits, and giggles. "Which is why Mother wanted me to learn from her in the first place. But now that Mother's in a Weyr with a nice big kitchen with all the modern conveniences she complains. Its not the way SHE would do it. My Aunt can hardly stand her most days," she covers her face to giggle a bit. "Its nice to come out here when they start at it and get away. I like to bake, and learn, but when your teachers are relatives it can be aggravating…"

Inuelle shakes her head. "No, I haven't been living here long," she admits. "And my mother doesn't like me wandering around. I have to sneak away to get away from her sometimes," she rolls her eyes with a heavy sigh. "I love her, and I know why she's so protective, but I'm not a little girl anymore," she chews on one of her hat bobbles, and giggles watching the feline. "I don't have any pets," she admits. "My mother never stood for having furry things underfoot."

Esiae blinks, mouth turning down slightly on one side in what might be concern and stubbornness. "Well, that's unfair. Girls are allowed to have adventures." Judging from that tone of voice, Esi's had a lifetime's worth already. "Tell you what, next time you have a day off, we'll go on one. I hear there are marshes and ruins and all kinds of interesting things to get lost in around here." Yeah, leave it to her to get excited about getting lost again. "We never had pets back at Ista, either. I mean. My father had a firelizard, but that was to send messages when they were out at sea. Moving here was… interesting. Foster family has a whole farm. You can take this one, though. I wouldn't mind." The cat is pointed to. His owner probably would mind, but who's counting?

Inuelle's mouth goes into an O again. "Oh no, its not that I'm a girl. Its just," she pauses. How much to tell this person she just met? "Well, when I was a little girl father drowned while out at sea. And ever since Mother has been afraid of me being away from her. That's what my Aunt says anyways. Mother does that with my little cousins too, and all the littles around here," she looks over at the cat. "He's darling, but I don't think so," she giggles.

Esiae's shoulders relax a bit, face softening with sad understanding. "Oh… I'm sorry to hear that. I know that risk. My father's been a seacrafter his whole life, and my brother followed after him. They've lost a few good crewmen over the decades, my uncle included, but… the sea is a fickle mistress, and does what she wants." A sigh, and a shake of the head. "That doesn't mean you can't get out and explore on land." Yes. Stubborn. If nothing else comes to mind about Esiae, there will at least be that. "Oh well, maybe some day." She cracks a half-smile for Inuelle's refusal. "I don't blame you, though. With you in the kitchens all the time, he'd be taking scraps left and right and not leaving any for the rest of us. Tsk."

Inuelle giggles, and puts her gloved hands over her nose to protect herself from the chill. "If we're going on adventures, then we'll need snacks to take with us. I'll see what I can bring," she smiles brightly and sticks her hands into her pockets. No need for cats to nip things from the kitchens when she can do it herself. "When should we go on our adventure?" Friend made? Check. Excitement? Maybe a little.

Esiae brightens immediately, rolling up onto the balls of her feet in a quick bounce of excitement. "Sounds excellent. I can definitely get my hands on some of the cheese we make from the milk from our caprines. It's surprisingly tasty and will probably fit into a pocket of my pack where it won't get squished by everything else." Evidently, she already has a whole stack of things in mind. "Maybe after the first snow. I haven't seen any in /turns/, and it'd be nice to have some prettiness, if we have to suffer the cold." Even she's rubbing her hands together, but it's in an energetic, thrilled fashion. "Where do you think we should go? There's a thousand possibilities." Check indeed!

Inuelle hmms. "I can ask my Aunt for an extra pair of these warm mitts and a hat for you," she touches her hand and her hat. "She's not a Weaver craft or anything, but she does like to knit and they're warm enough for a Xanadu winter…." she pauses. "After first snow. Um, maybe we should just go anywhere? Explore a bit? We can meet here and then just pick a direction," she grins, a little excitedly, but she's still blushing a little bit, a bit embarrassed by her own enthusiasm.

"Would she? I mean, I have gloves, but if we're going to be out for a long time, I'll definitely need better ones. I'd be willing to help her out with chores in exchange." Ah, chores, the currency of the young. Not that Esiae didn't have skills of her own left over from harperdom, but that wasn't quite a path she was willing to go back down yet. "Alright, that sounds reasonable enough. Completely random exploring has its merits." Esiae is, dare I say it, grinning as well, totally unabashed. "I'll bring one of my friend's firelizards just in case - he listens to me and will help out in case we get /completely/ lost." Completely lost is not a route she's willing to go down again, judging by her expression.

Inuelle shrugs. "Well, if she won't make new ones I have old ones, the holes in the thumbs would be easy to mend…" the cause for holes in the thumbs is obvious, for she's already chewing the hat bobble almost off the hat. A nervous habit much? "I'd like that. My Aunt doesn't like having firelizards around. They eat everything they see, she says," but Inuelle looks skeptical about this. She likes her Aunt, but now she has a friend to confirm things for her.

Esiae nods, clearly pleased by the idea. "Sure, sure. My mum's a seamstress, so I know my way around a needle." Amused eyes do, indeed, spy the obvious reason for the holes, but she doesn't point it out. Instead, she adds a subtle, "Could mend all of them in fact, if you'd like. There's nothing a bit of string can't fix. I'm a little rough with clothes." Her eyes roll again, marking this as an understatement. As for the firelizards… "Really? The family I'm living with has eleven betwixt them. My half-brother has eight all to himself, so… I'm not a very good judge of how much they eat all by themselves. The first week is the worst, but after they get big enough you can make them go hunt for themselves," she says, clearly hoping to relieve Inuelle of her skepticism. "I don't have any myself - don't need to now, obviously - but considering they eat just about anything, they're not too bad. Certainly more useful than felines." Though Esi's clearly pro-flit, so she may be a little biased.

Inuelle is rather relieved that her used mitts are accepted. "I can't sew a stitch. And the only thing I know how to weave is a pie crust top," she grins a little sheepishly, then finally lets go of the chewed bobble to nibble nervously on the self same mitted thumb. "If they're useful and all I can probably convince Mother or my Aunt to let me have one. They approve of me owning useful things," she bobs a bit in place.

Esiae contemplates this news for a second, eyeing Inuelle before saying, "Maybe we can teach each other, then. I never really got to learn cooking, but my sister makes it look easy as pie - excuse the pun. I don't know any fancy stitches, but surely enough to make repairs." She shrugs, showing it's no big deal either way. "Regardless, if you bring them by I'll fix 'em no problem." The idea of firelizards being useful is nodded to, and heartily. "Oh yeah. Takes a bit of time to train them up, but they're good for sending messages, pest control, keeping watch… I could go on, but but yeah. They're darn useful and aren't /too/ hard to come by, either. If I come across someone with a clutch, I'll let you know," she says with a little smile.

Inuelle is now bubbly with excitement. "Okay, I'll bring you the mitts tomorrow in the morning, before we start baking bread," she pauses. "Its a bit early, but maybe I'll just leave them in a bundle outside your door? It'll look like laundry but you'll know its from me," she easily makes the agreement. "And if you are awake I can take you with me to the kitchen and show you how we make bread dough rise," she gives a mysterious sort of look to the other girl, as if she's holding onto some sort of great mystery or secret that she's willing to share.

Esiae tosses one shoulder carelessly. "I'll probably be up. Got used to being up with the dawn, and I kind of enjoy it, so feel free to knock." Her head tilts to one side, clearly buying into the mystery. "It has to rise first? I thought you just sort of… made the dough and shoved it into the ovens." Interest officially piqued. "Well, it's a deal either way. You can show me the secret of making bread, and if we get a break, I'll show you the stitch I use to patch holes in knitting. I have several colors of thread with me, luckily, so it shouldn't be /too/ obvious that they were patched up." Esiae pauses, obviously realizing she's prattling on now that plans have been made. Whoops. "Anyways, it sounds like fun, and thanks." Sheepish!

Inuelle dances on the tips of her toes. "Okay then, its a deal," and then she lifts her head up to look at the sky. "Oh Shards, I have to go back. Tomorrow morning then?" she waves her hand, very happy. "Its nice to have a friend here," she admits. "I'm glad to have met you," and very politely gives a little bobbing bow before she turns to rush hastily back to the kitchen. "Bye!"

Esiae nods, scooping her batting cat up off the flagstones. "Yeah, and I should get him back to Bri before she gets back from lessons. Tomorrow morning sounds great." She returns the wave, equally pleased. "Likewise. Foster siblings are great, but it's nice to talk to someone you don't have to live with," Esi says with a chuckle. "I'm glad, too. See you later!" Imitating the bow, she turns and heads back towards the coastal road, humming a pleasant tune to the meowling feline along the way.

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