Thawing by the Fire

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.

The heavy clouds seem to press down, bringing an early twilight to the already gloomy skies while the wind moans menacingly over the rocky monolith that houses the main caverns. The snow falling upon the area is indeed drifting, despite being the heavy, wet sort of stuff that tends to cling to trees, swathing them in robes of white. The caverns are relatively empty this early evening as most folks remain hunkered down in their cottages, taking their dinner there rather than brave the trek cross-Weyr to the Caverns. Those who reside within the resident's caverns can, of course, get here without even going outside, but some of them are as yet scattered around the Weyr in the various places where they work. And yet, despite the scarcity of folk about, the Weyrwoman is there, directing some adaptive measures. Blizzards may be cold, but they tend to make things hot for some! Through the open door to the administration hall, the crackle of the radio, manned by one of the Junior Weyrwomen can be heard as different holds report in. Thea? She's just finishing a meeting with the cook and the workers who will be taking dinner to the weyrling barracks, turning away with a glance towards the entrance. What next to do?

Alas, visiting riders have little choice as to where they eat, especially during snowstorms. Despite having family and friends in the area, their cottages (or ships, as it were) were even farther back through the cold and the wet than even the caverns, and to a rider visiting from the hot and sunny beaches of Ista, the less he had to trek through the snow at this point, the better. Darting across the clearing from the Dragonhealing Annex to the caverns, S’gam manages to keep his balance through the slippery drifts right up until he bursts through that entrance. You know. Because he's smooth. But no one noticed, right? Recovering quickly from the slip, the dragonhealer leans a bit to peek towards the administrative hallway, perhaps expecting to see a familiar blonde head emerging from a room or alcove therein. No such luck. Maybe he'll just grab something fast before heading back to I— "Thea?" Despite his previous visit, the two of them must have been ships passing in a storm (or a blizzard, as it were), never quite meeting. S'gam seems quite ecstatic to have found her, weaving through the mostly-empty caverns, lingering back a bit just in case she isn't actually through with whatever conversation she'd been having.

Her name has been called from various directions all afternoon and so there's a patient sort of, "Here," spoken as Thea turns towards what surely is the next person needing something solved. She double-takes as it sinks in who the bundled and likely snow-encrusted young (because anyone under 80 is young, right?) man is. Ice-green eyes light up, "Siggy!" It's a squeal of delight to see her oft-busy longtime friend, so happy in fact that she takes a few half-running steps to give him a hug, dripping or no. "What brings you to Xanadu?" And oh yes, he looks nearly frozen, so she adds, "Grab something hot and come sit by the fire. You have time, yes?" Behind her the cook heads back into the kitchen while the workers shoulder boxes, baskets and bags, hefting jugs and file out to fight their way across the Weyr with the picnic-dinner so the Weyrlings won't risk getting stuck here away from their young dragons.

S'gam's face lights up in response to her enthusiastic recognition, just managing to pull back his snowy hood before Thea manages to close the distance with a hug. He returns it with a laugh, trying not to get her too soaked, and likely failing miserably. "I was paying your weyrlings a visit," he explains, nodding agreeably to her invitation to get something warm. "Muscles and numbweed lesson. One of them…," he says, pausing for effect, "decided to lick the numbweed. I don't think she'll be doing that again." This is said in a very droll tone, eyes dancing with mischief as he moves to retrieve himself a hot cup of klah. This accomplished, he pauses to wait for the workers to clear before crossing back to Thea. "But to answer your other question, yes. I always have time for you, silly." He's totally edging towards that fire though, likely leaving little drips in his wake. "And how're things with you? Besides that lot keeping you busy." It's hard to tell if he means the weyrlings or the workers that have disappeared into the snowstorm. Maybe both.

Ack! Coldwetstuff!!! A few icy drips make it down her neck and inside her shirt, but it's just one wee shiver Thea does, quickly subdued. Her now-damp shirt will be ignored, probably going unnoticed in favor of pointing needlessly towards the hearth where a crackling fire casts a warm yellow glow. She snags a pot and another mug, follows S'gam to the hearth, sinking into a stuffed chair, all the while listening raptly to the dragonhealer. When he gets to the part about licking the numbweed, she makes a comical face of overdone horror. "Besides the effect, if it tastes as nasty as it smells while brewing it? I'll bet she won't." She pours into her mug, sets the klah pot on the stone hearth where they both can reach it, kicks off her shoes and curls her socky-feet under her. "Things are… good," she says. While the tone and answer is a touch evasive, it’s quickly followed up with, "Marel and Muir- Mur'dah seem to be settling into their new roles." She's obviously quite proud of them both there. "And you? How's Sygni?" She sips, watching him over the rim of her mug.

S'gam remains standing for a moment, warming himself by the fire before setting his cup down and shedding his jacket, more to get the damp coat spread across the back of a chair and drying than because he's actually warming up, judging by his immediate dive and snuggle down into a nearby comfortable chair. His mug is retrieved, both hands curling tight about it before he finally glances back at Thea. Wince. "Sorry for getting you all wet," he says in a somewhat chagrinned tone before smirking. "I haven't had to taste any before, so I'm not sure, but I imagine you're right," he says with a shudder of his own. "Let's hope she never bites her tongue when chewing firestone, because she'll already know what it tastes like." Bleh. Despite his nose-wrinkling dramatics, Sig catches that evasive tone and pause, eyes narrowing with mild suspicion, though he doesn't prod at the subject yet. "Are they? Excellent. I was pleased to see that they'd impressed, once Esiae managed to point out which white-robed speck they were on the sands," Sig says with an amused rumble. "I've yet to meet Marel as more than a face, but Mur'dah seems like a nice young man, if not a little concerned for his lifemate." Klah is sipped at, sighed at, and then settled back into two hands again as the man issues his infamous bark of a laugh. "Sygni. Shards, she's something else. Wild as anything. Smart, though. Maybe too smart." Eyes shift subtly, as though perhaps it's a combination of smart and Sig being a little soft. Shock, right?

"I'll dry," is Thea's snickered response to that apology and indeed the damp material, woven from soft camelid seems to be doing just that in the dry heat radiating from the fire. "If she bites her tongue, I'll wager she won't care about the taste," chuckles the Weyrwoman. "When Mur'dah was a toddler he fell and put his top teeth through his lower lip. The numbweed helped so much that he must have thought more would be better. I found him with a mouthful, thankfully before he swallowed. He couldn't speak coherently for a couple of hours." That account is given in the wistful way only a mother could reminisce about her child now grown. S'gam's proud papa comment is understood, even if one brow is lifted knowingly and her eyes dance merrily. "Too smart, eh? What's she been up to?" And of her own offspring, "Were you?" She asks that with a curious tilt to her head as S'gam speaks of the twins’ impressions. "I… had mixed feelings about it, but they seem to be doing alright so far. I'm glad they're… adjusting. Their dragons are nice beasts."

"Mmm, I suppose that's true. She may also forget in the intervening time," Sig says in the wry sort of tone that implies that he hopes she doesn't try licking some again. The story about young Mur'dah elicits a laugh, as well as a shudder of disgust. "The things kids will put in their mouths. Sygni tried to eat mud on more than one occasion. Sometimes she succeeded." Then again, adults often consume things children considered disgusting, so maybe it was a fair trade. "He must have been a drooling machine, though. I know people who've had teeth pulled and the like, and that's always an amusing side-effect if it hits their tongue." He snickers a bit before rolling his eyes in equally merry affection. "Oh, she tries getting away with everything but murder. She 'borrowed' someone's pet feline last sevenday and has been begging for one of her own ever since. When I said no, she started appealing to Aunt Cai." His head shakes. "And of course, if not only because the world could use a few more sane riders," he says, frustration over his own daughter turning into an amused wink. "Adjusting? To being weyrlings, you mean?"

Ah dragon memories! Thea probably has the same thought, if the chuckle following his comment is any indication. She erks at Sygni eating mud though, one eye winky-closing as the tip of her tongue sneaks out past her lips while she's making a screwed up face of distaste. "No feline, hmm? You don't like them or are you allergic?" she asks idly, pausing to sip her klah. Sane riders he says and she nearly chokes as she swallows, sputtering a laugh as she manages to say, "You're talking about the one who came into the weyrbarn with a baby toad in his mouth and when asked what he was eating, opened up and let it hop off his tongue." Kids! They will remain ever so in the minds of their parents! Her humor fades a touch at the question. "Oh aye, adjusting to being weyrlings - and being back home to find all the changes," she admits with a vague hand waved gesture in the direction of the coastal road.

S'gam nods at that scrunched up face, making a similar, but not quite as silly because he had to clean it up, face himself. "Yeah. It was special." Twitch. "And no feline because she stole the first one from someone," he says with a laugh. "Alas, I don't allow thievery." And then — shudder! "Okay. So maybe sane is a strong, word," he says, with a slight gag, "But you know what I meant." Sig's humor fades a bit as well, only to be replaced with curiosity. Dark eyes flick to follow her gesture, perhaps understanding the direction, but not the implication. He's quite behind on these things, after all. "Changes?" Despite the tipping of head, that's asked lightly, giving her the chance to evade if she wishes, but if one thing hasn't changed about Sig, it's his willingness to listen.

Ohhh. Thaaaaaat kind of borrowing! Thea snickers at herself having been slow-to-catch the implication there, but nods approvingly for his firmness on that issue. "Yeah," she agrees, "can't have them stealing. Let them take a kitten and the next thing you know it'll be someone's… pants." He gets a slyly twinkled smirk right afterwards. What else has she heard borne on the breeze of gossip from Ista over the turns? "Hum, yeah. Their father and I aren't together anymore, Sig. It was a case of me taking matters into my own hands, making a decision without consulting him and he can't forgive it. I sent Mur'dah to be hold-heir to Cold Stone to a man D'had hates, so I guess I can't really blame him." Her gaze swings to the fire, looses itself in the flames and though a touch somber, she's had months to deal with the loss so isn't going weepy on him or anything.

S'gam's expression is suddenly bland, eyebrows straight and tame and everything. "Pants? I know not of what you speak," he says in a too-even tone. Too bad his eyes give him away, glittering with way too much mischief to be innocent. The expression is quick to fade, however, lips pulling sadly off to one side. "Yeah, I know how that is. It's interesting how the choices you make, you try to make for the better, but there's someone that won't see eye-to-eye." There's an implied 'and it really sucks when that person is your weyrmate' that he just doesn't say, instead sinking a bit in his chair. A soft snort is offered for the 'can't blame him' bit, lips pursing tellingly before he offers a slow shrug. "I mean, you can, but I guess it would be wasted emotion on your part. I'm sorry to hear it, though." His own gaze goes to his klah, not sure what else to say without knowing more or dredging up his own bitter memories.

Thea's eyes lift from the fire to her friend and she laughs lightly, "Of course you don't," she agrees smoothly, her own expression nothing like his. Hers is downright mischievous as she teases with a saucy wink, "Just don't be surprised to find her streaking though the Weyr someday, her nudity rainbow-painted. It's in the genes." Genes - jeans, pun perhaps intentional there. A deep breath is drawn, but her reply to his observation is casual, perhaps deliberately so, "It happens. Nothing much else to do but deal and move on despite regrets, you know?" His expression is not lost on her and she's heard no mention of F’yr for a long time, so she can put two and two together. "Thanks, Sig. I'm sorry about yours too," she says lowly, reaching light fingertips to bush his arm in a show of sympathy.

S'gam tries to keep up the angelic facade, but it rather cracks with that wink, the man practically coughing into his klah cup that he had raised to his lips to take a dainty sip. "Alright, alright, you got me. But they deserved it," he says with feigned righteousness, bouncing his fist off his knee. And then there's a kak for the notion of Sygni running around the weyr naked and rainbowed… A kak and then a miserable admitted, "Yeah, probably. But she did spend most of her young life raised by the same people who raised me, so I blame them." His mirth recedes quickly, however. "Indeed. Doesn't make it suck any less, but the world does spin on." The man has had quite some time to come to terms with things, longer than Thea, even, but his voice is equally casual. "Kids need caring for. Weyrfolk need your attention. No rest for the wicked, isn't that how it goes?" There's a little bit of a smirk there, and a sideways glance shot at Thea. "Thank you, too." Sig's free hand lifts to cover hers, squeezing gently in appreciation of her gesture.

Thea chuckles, her eyes watching that emphatic fist. "No doubt they did," says she, and whether she knows the details is unclear for she says nothing further, moving on instead to his reaction to her teasing. "If it's any comfort, she'll probably settle into a fine, upstanding, responsible adult just like her father," she says and despite her merriment just prior to the words, these are sincere. "I must be wicked indeed," she agrees, lightly facetious. "What is this 'rest' you speak of?" Probably if this were months ago and they were drinking something stronger than klah, sitting somewhere others couldn't overhear, she might be 'crying in her beer' but there's the need to make light. He knows her well enough and she knows him - likely her eyes give away the sorrow, however dimly seen pushed down where she can handle it. She lifts her mug and toasts, "To better times, eh? And living through the terrors offspring inflicts upon us." Terrors she says, but her eyes are dancing.

S'gam nods emphatically. "There are just things that half the weyr just doesn't need to hear." Whether or not she knew beforehand, it's definitely clear now! "And ha. I would have to disown her if she did," he says, but it's clearly a joke, the corners of his lips softening into a fonder smile. "One can only hope, though." And then there's a snort and several nods of agreement. "Me too. I don't know if I've ever known the meaning of that word. Rest. What is that, even." A smirk is levied her way. "Though rumor has it you've been scheduled for rest days." Ha! That grapevine works both ways. "So you're not allowed to tease me anymore." There's a defiant lift of his chin and a good old cocky grin, but his hand does give hers a second squeeze before grabbing his mug and lifting it in a toast right back. "Indeed. And may they never induce cardiac arrests or aneurysms, no matter how hard they may try."

Oh that's just TMI, right there! The Thea-brain will skitter away from that, choosing instead to laugh outright at him disowning his daughter. "I have indeed," she smirks of her restday-marked calendar. "I may come visit Ista on one of them and see if you're really working over there in paradise," she threatens with a mock scary-face to go with, withdrawing her hand after that second squeeze to wrap around her lowered mug. "And see how Syg-" Oh and there's an interruption in the form of a taptap on her shoulder, a message whispered in her ear and her grin fades. "I have to scoot and see why the radio is dead," she tells him, placing her mug beside the pot on the hearth. Her legs uncurl, feet shove their way into her abandoned shoes, she rises and says with a smile, "It was nice catching up with you. Don't fly home in this weather - Esiae can find you a room and a bed." And off she goes, her mind already on the next series of problems.

S'gam laughs along with Thea, nodding for her indication that she may come to Ista. "You should. There's nothing quite as satisfying as sprawling out on a towel in perfect, balmy beach sipping a cool drink in this kind of weather," he says, jerking his chin entrance-wards. "In fact, I may go home and do that right now," he says with a 'See! I vacation!' expression. The interrupting human is eyed, an understanding jerk of his chin accepting her excuse. "Of course. Good luck with that." This is said with an amused nose-wrinkle, likely actually wishing her luck with the technology. "And same here. Always a pleasure, and please do come visit. I'll make her set me up in that ship of hers if I make it there without icing over. Take care." That last bit is tacked on along with a wave, the man settling deeper into his chair to enjoy the klah and the warmth until said sister is ready to leave.

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