A Path for Petra

Continued from Kitchen Conundrum


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.

So on through the caverns the Weyrwoman heads, light conversation offered to the young girl as they go. Nothing heavy, nothing serious, just something to put her at ease while they walk. Striving for informal despite the shiny knot and the imposing office, Thea ushers Petra into the office and waves her to a seat in one of the chairs before the desk. Rather than heading around to her seat that would put the desk between them, she settles into one of the others in the front. "So now," she begins with a bright smile, "You want to remain in Xanadu. Why don't you tell me what sort of work you're most interested in?" How's that for easy?

Petra is happy enough to provide the otherside of that light conversation. Sure, that shiny knot intimidates her at least somewhat, but if it didn't there would probably be something wrong. Offered that seat she settles into the chair, smoothing her skirt in one clean movement. "I do," she replies, repeating her wish to stay on a the weyr if they will have her. "Hannista is not a place I would have chosen for myself." As for what she would be interested in, "I can cook and clean. I've helped care for my cousins and I'm willing to learn to be of help where you need it."

She’s doing her best to put the girl at ease, at least somewhat because she is well aware what that knot does to people and she’s not really altogether pleased about it, even four turns into wearing the Senior's fancy one. Thea mulls Petra’s comment over. "Hannista," the Weyrwoman repeats with a shrewd look at the girl beside her. "I thought might have seen you there. Were you amongst the fosterlings of Lord Evyndar's Lady? Or a companion to Lady Izellah by any chance?" There's a hint of an odd note to her vocal timbre, a faint underlying tension that has likely nothing to do with Petra herself. The list of things the young girl is willing to do is set aside in favor of asking, "What would you have chosen, if not Hannista?" She seems quite interested in knowing and sincere in asking it.

Petra picks up on that hint of tension whether or not it's directed at her. "No Ma'am," she replies with a shake of her head, ever polite. "Not exactly. I have been expected to accompany her on occasion and I must admit that I've had some training from the same, but in all honestly I don't care so much for either of them." Evyndar's Lady or daughter. The question that follows causes her to pause a moment and consider her answer, "There was a time when I wished to be a starsmith, Ma'am."

If that wince of sympathy the Weyrwoman makes at Petra's commentary of having to accompany or be trained by either of Lord Evyndar's ladies is anything to go by, neither does she! But she says nothing aloud regarding that, so the teen is left to draw her own observations there. Instead, Thea leaves the subject of the Hannistans in favor of the Starcraft. "Was? But not any longer?" Her dark brows lift while she gives the girl a rather penetrating look. "We do have a well-equipped Observatory here as well as access to the Yokohama if you'd be interested in something in that area. We can always use eyes on the telescopes or scribes and clerks in there."

Petra is observant if nothing else, but she to leaves that subject alone, allowing the conversation to continue on. "I wouldn't say that," she replies to the question of no longer. "Just," she continues trying to form her answer, that look from the goldrider unsettling, though the mention of an actual observatory has her trying to keep her excitement of the prospect under wraps. "It has been some time since I've had access to anything to do with the craft."

Call it woman's intuition, call it speculation or perhaps simply she's projecting her own thwarted dreams as a young girl, the Weyrwoman reads into something intangible she's picking up from Petra. "Well, I'm offering you access," she says smoothly and perhaps a touch too lightly for the wistful expression on her own face. "You don't have to enter the craft as an apprentice if you don't prefer that, and Faranth knows the expense can be off-putting. There is a way, however, to engage in independent study and yet receive marks for doing so by working there as a scribe," she tells the girl. Then she casually dangles another option before her, "Unless you'd rather work in the kitchens or laundry like a drudge, then of course they can put you to work there." And her smile is serenely sweet, leaving the choice totally up to the girl.

Not so long ago Petra was open to do either of those things to leave Hannista in favor of the weyr, but with the added option of working at a real observatory there's no contest. "I would be more than willing assist the craft," she replies, "though as you said the expense… well it's not something I can afford right now." She pauses a moment, and then, remembering her manners, adds, "I do appreciate you taking the time to speak with me."

"Of course," Thea replies, rising to head around her desk, reaching for a sheet Weyr letterhead from the stack of paper with one hand while opening one of the drawers with the other. She selects a pen, writes something on the sheet, signs and dates it at the bottom and extends the sheet across the desk to Petra, "Take this to Master Envory over at the observatory when they've cleared a path from the meadow to the ridge. This should suffice to get you a job over there as a scribe. He may want to get you cataloging stars, which might involve some night shifts and hours looking through the telescope. I hope you can manage to stay awake." She levels a questioning look at the girl before she opens a leather-bound ledger lying next to that stack and writes something in there. Closing the book, she informs her, "I've added you to the Weyr's payroll. You'll need to speak with Ocelara about getting set up in the resident's dorm and she'll authorize a visit to the storerooms for some clothing to tide you over until we can spare a dragon to take you to Hannista so you may collect your things."

"Of course," Petra answers quickly as she accepts that sheet that's handed to her. She'll take a nightshift or four if she needs to. "Thank you Ma'am," she adds looking from the paper back to the goldrider. Happy would be an understatement. She keeps her exuberance under wraps well enough though it does shimmer in her eyes. "You don't know how much I appreciate you taking me in, but I'm sure I've taken enough of your time already," she continues raising from the chair, "If you'll excuse me?"

"It's been my pleasure," replies the Weyrwoman warmly, a little grin working its way onto her mouth at that bit of shimmer she sees in the young woman's eyes. She inclines her head slightly, an agreement and permission both for the girl to depart but then, "Oh wait. You'll need-" She opens yet another drawer, removes something from it, steps around the desk, strides over to Petra and extends her hand. Dangling from her fingers is a resident's knot in Xanadu colors. Once Petra has taken it Thea walks her to the door, her sincere, "Enjoy your starsmithing, Petra," called after her.

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