Firelizard Hazards

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 and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

Such a nice, sunny, unusually mild sort of afternoon. The Caverns are somewhat quiet; anyone in their right mind is outside, enjoying the surprisingly warm day. Or doing chores. Or being as responsible or irresponsible as they care to be. Ocelara, it seems, didn't get the memo. She's sitting in a quiet corner, usually reserved for a bit of light paperwork, with a basket overflowing with a huge mass of brilliantly dyed fibers; emerald green and ruby red, citrine yellow and a blue that would rival the Sea of Azov for brightness. She's almost idly plucking at them, a little bit at a time, as she concentrates on drawing out thick, silky looking strands, turning the vibrant clouds of fluff into a plump single that is a riot of cheerful, tropical colors.

Xanadu has been having the oddest winter - bitterly cold, spitting snow one day, almost warm and rainy the next with freezing during the night that has brought several ice storms this season. Interspersed in there have been several thaws and today's break is indeed being thoroughly enjoyed by many - at least the ones that don't have to deal with the recent departure of the Headwoman. Although Thea is spending time on the sands with Seryth these days, she's taken her work with her, making the trip to caverns several times a day as the need arises. The balmy day has done nothing to cool the heat from her cheeks and thus it's a muddied foot, still perspiring Weyrwoman who steps inside, knocking as much of the claylike mud from her boots before she crosses the cavern towards where the drinks are. Sipping her iced fruit on the way towards the Administration Hall, her eye is caught by those bright fluffs and she wanders closer to have a look.

Ocelara glances up, when someone approaches, and then offers the now Senior Weyrwoman a sheepish, even sly smile. Ah. Caught 'doodling' with yarn whilst on break! She stops her pregnant-with-fiber spindle, and parks it by looping the single over and around to hold the leader taut, as she greets, "Weyrwoman." Can I help you with something? comes as an unspoken question.

"Ocelara. Hello." Thea's greeting is warm, her manner easy despite her own cares and the irritating heat. Her eyes are on the yarn for the moment and a gentle smile accompanies her head-shake that dismisses the question. Not needing anything at the moment, apparently. "Those colors are lovely. What are you making?" She's holding a stack of folders in her other hand, but manages with two fingers to pluck at her light tunic pulling it away from her body, fluttering and fluffing the thin gauze-like material to let in some (hopefully) cooler air while her sea-green eyes lift to Ocelara herself. As always there's a faint puzzlement and regret when she regards the girl that was once such a close friend, although cheerfulness is predominant, as always.

Ocelara smiles a little more, with the sympathy many tend to reserve for a woman hugely great with child and all that. "Just playing with colors. I spun this the other night." She picks out a spindle, still stuffed thick with very fine, threadlike coils in the same range of hues. "I thought I'd ply them, thick and thin, and see what came of it. If it's too ugly I can always dye it black and try again." But there is something like familiarity there. Just…respectfully distant, still. Maybe it's all still far too up in the air; just last night two of the old headwoman's assistants were at each other's throats, disagreeing because they agreed in principle to something, but wanted to go about it slightly different ways. "You'll catch your death, you know, running between the heat and cold like that."

If by being mind-linked to a clutching dragon associates the non-pregnant Weyrwoman to being great with child, Thea has no objection to that sort of sympathy, although she certainly isn't encouraging it. Tilting her head to one side a little, the movement meant to both allow her a better view of the spindle and shift the fall of heavy, dark hair way from her neck while she presses the glass to cool the skin there, she eyes the yarn once again. Confidence in Ocelara's ability rings in her assurance, "Oh, you won't have to do that!" And she's going to take a break now, it seems, for she sinks gracefully into a nearby chair with a sigh. She’s heard rumors of discord between assistants, for her look is keenly concerned when she asks, "How's everything going with your duties?"

Ocelara laughs a little, "I'm holding my own as best I can…though I think someone's flit's been chewing up papers." She lowers her voice, "Maybe on purpose." Uh huh. Nothing like a little lower caverns cloak and dagger mayhem. Or something. "But you know me…I can keep my tail end out of the stewpot. Let them fuss over it all." She's got better things to do. Like spin.

Belated though her answer is, Thea responds to the admonishment with a rueful half-laughed, "That's what D'had keeps telling me too. But I hold that germs cause colds while heat makes one crazy." Lowering the glass from her neck, her pale green gaze sparkles over the rim with devilment, a grin quirked 'round that long sip she takes. The implication is clear; he has to live with crazy, so…. While Ocelara might not worry about the paper-eating menace, Thea certainly does. Lowering the glass, almost sharply, "Paperwork? Or just… paper?" There is a difference in her mind and though she heard that cloak and dagger, for the moment she'll focus on what sort of paper is being destroyed.

There's that knowing flash of her soft brown eyes. That'd be paperWORK. "No one's claimed responsibility or knowledge, of course. And some suggested the tunnelsnakes chewed on the laundry tickets…this is why I don't have a flit." Or children. "Honestly, you'd think we were all a bunch of new craft students, jostling for positions with a handsome journeyman."

Paperwork that will have to be redone, which draws a grimace from Thea with a soft snort about journeymen to follow. "That would annoy me enough to find out just which 'lizard is doing it and whose it is. In fact," the Weyrwoman sits up just a bit straighter, "I'd like you to get to the bottom of it. Employ any method you need to find out." So if she needs to set a trap and spy on people, there's blanket permission, it seems. With a flick of her fingers, she brushes the topic of firelizard hazards away, speculating, "I bet you'd have sense to train yours properly." Of course that doesn't explain Ruin's resistance to her training of him/, does it? The whole Weyr knows the bronze's predilection for disaster and suffering. soaking it up rather than causing it, but still.

That draws more of a look of surprise than pleasure. Hey, she was keeping her nose out of the whole affair! But there's almost a slight wrinkle to her eye, not quite a smile. "What? Now I'm a harper and a headwoman's assistant?" But it's lowly said, lest it be overheard and held against her. "I'll keep an eye out, of course. I'm sure things will settle down once there's a headwoman. No reason for nonsense when someone's got the wooden spoon of authority in hand."

Thea's hearing is sharp in the only way a mother who has twin toddlers can be. Whether she heard that remark or no, she doesn't let on. The look of surprise is met with a lofted brow, a silent challenge as it were. Unspoken, the question of whether Ocelara thinks she can do it is mingled with a 'dare ya' glitter her eyes, lid fluttering in a barely-there wink. For someone who was in on several such spying ventures back when they were both under the tutelage of the Masters at Weaver Hall, she looks as if she wishes she had the time to join her. "I'm sure they will settle down," she says mildly, fingers smoothing the edges of those files absently as her gaze wanders the room casually. "Until then," her attention is back to the assistant headwoman with a brisk, "I'm counting on all of you to pull it together."

Ocelara nods a bit, but there's bemused resignation, "Of course, Thea." She laughs, "Things /will/ settle down…" She's sure of it. "We're all just a bunch of silly wherryhens anyway." But there's a little more certainty in her tone. Of course. Shards. That means more work, less loafing. How disappointing! She contemplates as she picks up her spindle again, "With the clutch, do you think the Weyr will ride search, or just take them out of the Caverns this time?" Nevermind, it's a question that's probably been raised several times, with the small clutch size.

But this is Xanadu, where sheep go on the rampage and end up in flames, the place where cupcakes can have unexpected consequences and thus Thea's grin is a little wary of the sentiment she'd just espoused. As for the question, she's not really sure where that's coming from, a slightly baffled glance giving testament to this, "Oh we rode Search when she laid her last eight. We always ride Search," she assures the younger girl. "It helps to maintain good weyr-holder and weyr-craft relations when theirs impress." With a slightly wicked smile, she then asks, "Why, are you interested in standing for them again?" Because once searched many do remain for subsequent clutches. Talk about more work, less loafing.

Ocelara is quick to shake her head, with a laugh, "No…no, not me. I was just curious. You hear the prattle, is all." The gossip and the bantering. And then the truth, "And it's hard to find a conversation topic that doesn't involve ovines, burdenbeasts, wool, fiber, dragons, or babies anymore." She offers a more wry grin, daring another glance; it's a hint of the girlish student she WAS. Before. "Or paperwork being eaten by firelizards."

Teasingly, "You sure?" Because being a Candidate was SO much fun, wasn't it? As for Ocelara's list of topics there's a faint snort from Thea, "Springtime will sort that out soon enough." Then all the girls will be sighing and tittering over the newly-posted craftsmen. She chuckles, catching a glimpse of the girl she once knew, "That last one there is easily solvable." You know, catch the rotten pest and the interest will die a natural death. One would hope. She drains her glass - the sands make for a terrible thirst - and rises reluctantly. "I should get these to the office and back to her." And yet she makes no move to depart. "Did Hisolda… say anything lately about being unhappy or tired?"

Ocelara purses her lips a little, and stops her spinning spindle with a deft touch. "Not…as such, no. But she was. Quiet. Quieter?" She admits after a moment, "I can't say I was in her inner confidences; maybe some of the older assistants?" Ocelara found herself there, among them, BECAUSE of her hard work during her one Candidacy…she could be trusted to get her work done. She considers, and then inquires more gently, "Would your lifemate let us bring you food and water out on the sands? There's no reason to parch yourself, you know."

There's a resigned nod, the manner of which says the Weyrwoman has already checked with those sources and has found nothing out. "Ah well. I'll not wait any longer to find her replacement then. I'll…" The thought dwindles to her muttering a reminder to herself and she's already taking those steps towards the office, albeit absently, when Ocelara's voice recall her. "Hmm?" She turns around, taking a moment for the question to properly sink in, then blinks. "Oh! Yes, she would. Someone… usually does." Faint frownlines dance across her brow and it's clear she can't recall if someone has lately. Likely not with all the little snags in the day-to-day routine as yet. "Cook knows I'm usually up in the ‘level." Her temporary office and bedroom until those eggs harden.

Ocelara nods again, but makes an obvious mental note. Make sure someone's taking food and drink to the Weyrwoman while she bakes herself. "Things have just been out of sorts." It's an apology for the entire Weyrstaff at once, though she's got no real reason to take on the blame for it quite so personally. She's doing her job! Now why can't everyone else?

Thea's smiles flashes, fleeting though it be, it is a warm one for Ocelara meant to reassure or perhaps bolster herself. "Things will get sorted out. They always do. Faranth knows we've seen worse." Because the assistant headwoman was here for the fire and flood that followed it a few turns ago. That or she's certainly heard about it. "Let me know what you find and when you do, I'll have a word with the 'lizard's owner." With a vague nod - her mind is likely already off on a number of things to sort out - she murmurs, "See you later, Ocelara." Then she takes her leave to trade finished paperwork for undone, stopping back by that beverage table on her way back to the sands for a cold refill.

Ocelara offers a more cheery, "Take care, Thea…if you need something, find me? Or…try and send Ruin?" She'll be about. She's always about!

With the door half-open, Thea pauses to smirk back at her friend, "Send Ruin! Ha - that's a good one!" Ruin… if he would deign to carry a message, would likely lose it somewhere in the infirmary where he often lurks while soaking up the misery of those in pain, basking in the ire of folks wanting to get out of there. Or he'd torment poor Ocelara by refusing to let her have it and then leading her far, far astray. "I would never do that to you. I'll send Shep if I need anything." With a wave of fingers, she allows the door to swing shut behind her.

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