Kitchen Conundrum

Xanadu Weyr – Kitchens

It seems that with the fire that destroyed much of the kitchen, care has been taken to restore it to a condition well beyond what it was orignally. And thus state of the art equipment has been brought in from the various crafts to be used - stoves and large ovens replacing the hearths, while thin metal sheets have been installed over each countertop, for both ease of use and ease of cleanup. A large pantry remains generally open, containing a all the nonperishable goods, while a similarly large icechest contains the perishable goods.

Now that the storm is over most of the crowds have emptied from the caverns. Children taken to the harper rooms for lessons, others incorporated into crews that help clear the snow from buildings and search for people yet stranded in cottages. Paths have been cleared through the shoulder-to-above-head-high snow that's drifted from the cavern's entrance through the clearing to the meadow and beyond while rider crews are out doing what they can to assist the surrounding holds. Thankfully it's quiet in here but there will be some very hungry people in later to eat and bathe, so with that in mind, the Weyrwoman is here, checking on the status of the kitchen now that the power has been restored.

Having managed to have a civil conversation with Keziah that didn't end with either woman screaming at each other or Lorelai hiding under a table, the petite baker apprentice is busy doing her job, helping to prepare a warm meal for those that brave the cold and snow to help rescue people. She's got her back to the door, focused on kneeding bread for meatrolls, and generally just blending into the background of the busy room until one of the older cooks ask her about her task, "I'm almost ready for the meat. Just another minute or two."

Petra only just arrived shortly before the storm hit leaving her stranded at the weyr for the duration. Being there's so much snow on the ground now ground travel is rather impossible and thus she's still at Xanadu. Whatever it is that draws her to the kitchens it does and she hangs in the doorway, quite and observant for the moment.

Into the clatter and clash of people working industriously, the yeasty scent of bread rising and baking, the splatter of water as drudges scour pots and pans strolls the Weyrwoman. She passes Petra there in the doorway, flashes a brief smile at the girl assuming she's waiting for someone to be free from their shift. Keeping to the perimeter and out of the way while waiting for the head cook to be free, Thea finally manages to catch her ear, have a word with her, jotting down some notes as they talk. As they part, she says, "I'll have Comet send a group to Ista for that fruit and vegetable shipment as soon as I can get them from their snow-removal duties." Which might mean tomorrow, so tonight's dinner may be a scanty soup and meatrolls affair. Passing by Lorelai, she drops her pen, the thing rolling right under the counter she's working on.

Lorelai can't help but look over at the Weyrwoman and head cook as they talk, smiling lightly in relief at the news that there are going to be fruits and vegitables brought in soon. It's a good thing that they're a Weyr so that shipments can be brought in quickly when needed. She goes back to the task at hand, humming tunelessly under her breath as Thea passes behind her and drops the pen. It doesn't take but a moment before she notices it rolling past and she tries to catch it with her foot to pull it back out, kneeling to pick up the object, "I think you dropped this, ma'am."

Who to talk to Petra wasn't sure to begin with but the apprentice seemed as good a place to start as any. She would certainly know who to direct her to and kneading bread is a task easily enough to continue with conversation. "Excuse me," the girl starts as she finally steps through the threshold to address Lorelai. This seems to come at just the wrong time for her as it happens to be but a moment before Thea walks by with that pen. "Ma'am," she greets a touch awkwardly upon notice of the Weyrwoman's knot.
Inuelle slips into the kitchens very quietly, trying to sneak in unnoticed. She's a bit late for duty, but the reason why is clear. Tired eyes red from crying, and a brown firelizard bundled in a heavy blanket, which she lays in a basket next to one of the warm warm ovens. "Here you are, you keep warm here…" The firelizard is very young, just a hatchling, so her obvious concern over the tiny shivering fellow is quiet obvious. "You shouldn't have tried playing in the snow, you're not big enough." She chides in her sweet voice, but its more loving than chiding. "Stay here now and stay out of trouble."

"Thea," the Weyrwoman corrects Petra automatically, the patience of the weary lacing her tone, although it is accompanied by a faint smile for the girl. Sea green eyes shift from neutral to a sharper focus and she asks, "You look vaguely familiar. Have we met?" Her hand is stretched palm up towards Lorelai to accept her pen and the thanks she's about to voice is changed as she blinks at the young woman. "Didn't you… yes, I'm sure you did. You're Lorelai, right? You were a Candidate a few turns back for one of Seryth's clutches?" Inuelle's voice carries and her eyes lift to spot girl and firelizard over by the stove. She tsks under her breath, flicks a glance towards the head cook, then dismisses it with a shrug. If trouble comes of the creature being in here, it won't be her responsibility to deal with it.

Lorelai looks over at Petra when she speaks, dropping hte pen in Thea's outstretched hand at the same moment. The stranger is given a polite smile, "Yes? May I help you?" Then Thea is asking if they've met and she nods, blushing faintly, "Yes, ma'am. When Ers'lan and Fl'ynn's dragons hatched." She glances over at Inuelle, frowning faintly at the sight of the bundled up hatchling, "Inuelle, it might not be a good idea to have him in here… Kaled and Miani both found it a little too tempting when they were that age."

Petra offers a smile to both. "I just.." she starts, "I wasn't sure who to speak with, if there was anything I could be a help with," the girl explains her interruption, cutting herself off when the Weyrwoman speaks. A shake of her head comes as her answer followed by a, "No Ma'-Thea, I don't believe so," correcting herself with the woman's name this time.

Inuelle looks up at the sudden sound of Lorelai's suggestion and blushes. "I was keeping him in the room I'm sharing with Mum. The weather's made her sick and I've been looking after her. But Mum yelled at me to get him out of there, he was annoying her," her eyes start to water again, remembering whatever argument she had been having with her mother before coming. "I just want to get back to the apprentice dorms with him soon but Aunt is too worried about the twins getting the same cold to have Mum stay with them. So I keep Seaweed with me, its the only way to keep him from getting into trouble everywhere." She rolls her eyes and looks down at the brown admonishingly. But the little fella doesn't seem to be in any mood for trouble now. His jaunt in the snow has frozen the wits out of him and he nests himself deep inside the bundle of warm blankets, giving them a look that says, 'I'm staying right here thank you very much!'

"Lorelai. Thanks." This time the Weyrwoman does express her gratitude for the retrieval of her pen. "I hadn't seen you since the hatching I don't think," she goes on to say to the baker. "I hope you've been well," she adds kindly. Once a Candidate, even if they don't impress, she tends to mother them a little. Her attention returns to Petra then, guessing, "Maybe in one of the nearby holds? I do visits there now and then." She lets it go with a shrug, however, flickering a compassionate look at Inuelle's plight. "If he obeys you and Cook doesn't mind, perhaps he could remain. But be prepared to anticipate his impulses. There's a lot a firelizard might want to get into in here." She waves a hand at the deep sinks of warm, soapy water and the trays of wherry meat cut fine for the meatrolls. But here Petra is wanting work, Inuelle and Lorelai need to get back to it and she is in the way. "I'll let you girls sort things out," she says easily, taking her leave with a nod for the trio and steps away.

Petra will remain silent on the issue of firelizards. The suggestions of others surely outweigh anything she might know about the creatures, though she does steal a glance in Inuelle's direction to catch a peek at the hatchling. Its as Thea turns to go on her way that she blinks, attention falling back to the task she'd had at hand. "Ma'am?" she questions the woman, turning to follow her movement. "If I could have a moment of your time?"

Inuelle nods, face turning slightly red with her embarassment at the attention she had been trying to avoid. "Yes ma'am, I'll keep a close eye on him," she says to Thea, and then goes to assist Lorelai with the bread making. As soon as Thea is out of earshot she slips over to Lorelai and says quietly to her, "To be honest, I wouldn't have brought him at all and left him with her, if she didn't go on constantly about him, how careless I was to Impress one and how I'm not ready for such a responsibility and on and on until I want to throw something," she shakes her head and bites her thumb as if she can't believe she said that out loud and is now embarassed to have admitted it.

Thea pauses, pivoting on one foot to face Petra, dark brows lifted in mild enquiry, "Certainly. Although, didn't you just ask Lorelai to put you to work?" From the glance she sends 'round the kitchen she seems to think there is plenty of it to be had. She gives Inuelle a reassuring smile, foregoing the so-frequent correction she's been giving on the m-word and simply says, "I'm sure you will." The girls behind her speak in low enough tones that she really can't hear what they're saying. Returning her attention to Petra, "What can I do for you?"

"I was going to offer, yes," Petra replies, a cringe flashing across her features for that realization of her terrible timing. "Though," she tries to make up for it, "if there's somewhere else I would be of more use I'm not sure." A look over her shoulder goes back to Inuelle and her firelizard as the Weyrwoman comments to her, and follows back to to the goldrider when she addresses her again. A slight bit awkward given the setting, but she'll ask anyway given there's no way of knowing when she'll be given the chance again. "I was wondering if I might be able to stay on here at Xanadu?"

Thea considers Petra, lips twitching in an attempt not to grin outright at that cringe. Since the kitchens are busy, they're not the best place to discuss this and thus she suggests, "Why don't you come with me to the office and we can see what you'd be suited for?" As for the girls, they're given a glance over her shoulder, a nod and then she starts for the door, clearly expecting Petra to follow. As they head off, she says, "I'm sure we can find you something, if not, Ocelara has need of assistant headwomen. Have you any experience organizing…" Her voice fades into the cacophony of the meal preparations as the distance between them and the two bakers grows.

Coninues in A Path for Petra

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