The Zombies Are Spreading!

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the southern wall, quite close to the western 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 western 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 eastern 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 west 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.

IF Risali was capable of barricading the door, she damn well would have done it by now. There's no D'lei to be found at his desk, but that's not unusual these days - not when the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman keep swapping infirmary duties, or handling complaints, or dealing with trying to keep Xanadu's public calm while complaints come in from their Holders demanding reparations due to gross negligence and the sufferings of their children. And perhaps Risali is reading another one of those now, because despite the fact that not only is it winter, but there is snow, Risali is not out in the fray chucking snowballs or making snowmen like she might usually be. No, she's inside, bundled up from head to toe, nursing klah, looking like she hasn't slept in at least a week, and staring hard at a three-paged letter with white knuckles. She slams it down, slams her mug down on top of that and - one, two, three heartbeats, she makes a frustrated sound and just - SWIPE! - sends all of the papers on her desk flying off of it, littering the area of her desk as Risali's forehead makes a resounding THUNK when it meets with wood. Yeah. It's that kind of a day. Week? Too long. TREAD CAREFUL, S'VAN. TREAD VERY CAREFULLY.

Why does S'van always forget about winter?! Probably because there's like… no such thing in Monaco. At least he's clothed in riding leathers, so he's got SOME sort of protection from the cold, and the snow. But there's definitely a curse or two, muttered not quite beneath his breath, as he makes his way through winter and into the warmth of the caverns. And right on down the hall, taking too long of strides because he is a freakin' giant, and he does not want to be stopped, and he knows where he is going and… And then there is a door. And he pauses. And he gives serious, serious contemplation to knocking, or barging in. Which might say a little something about where his head is, given this is S'van and he does what he wants and to hell with the consequences! (and doors). But yeah, he's going straight through that door, slushy-boots and all, just in time to catch the fluttering of papers flying from the desk to settle like snow (only a lot less cold and fun) on the floor. *THUNK* goes Risa's head. And *UP* go S'van's brows. A breath. A pause. Another breath and… "Clearly, this is a bad time," because he just can't help it. But there is sympathy in his eyes, and a sad little smile that tries to turn up the corner of his mouth as he carefully navigates the field of frustrating letters to take up residents before her desk. "Hey."

Risali jerks upright, blinking grey eyes THAT ARE DEFINITELY NOT SUSPICIOUSLY WET SHUT UP up and onto S'van, her mouth forming a soft little 'o' of surprise as she stares and then keeps on staring as if she isn't quite sure that she isn't hallucinating. "Oh," she says intelligently, as if the man before her is not the man she was expecting to see. And let's be honest: he wasn't. He isn't. Slowly, slowly, Risali's gaze drops to that knot on his shoulder, fixated on corded threads as if she's trying to decipher exactly what it means even though she DEFINITELY (she's pretty sure) sent him a congratulatory basket full of obnoxious amounts of glitter and confetti JUST TO RUIN HIS LIFE. "Are you here as a Weyrleader," Risali whispers softly, quietly, finally, and her gaze rises again, back to S'van's where he stands before her desk, TOWERING OVER EVERYTHING in a way that she hates because he PROBABLY DOESN'T EVEN MEAN TO and she can't loom like that. "Or are you here as my friend?" A heartbeat, and then what might be a stab at humor if it's not an honest protest: "Because one of those requires an appointment." But her tone doesn't change, her voice doesn't raise, the woman herself remains seated (though on the edge of her seat, as if prepared to settle further into it for one answer, or launch out of it for the other); no, Risali just sounds… tired. Not quite defeated, but definitely tired.

Oh yeah. He definitely has a basket of confetti-and-glitter that has been shut in a closet somewhere, out of sight but never out of mind (and just waiting for the day Jae stumbles across it and throws a fit). Half of it is probably on the floor, forever glittering-away with those little flecks of silver that will never, ever, no matter HOW MUCH HE SWEEPS AND MOPS go away. Maybe that's why he didn't bring food this time. It is a deep breath, and a long sigh, that comes in the wake of those questions. "Can it be both?" he wonders, and this time there's no real tease in it. At least he can fix the looming problem, even if requires a bit of a hunt to claim a chair and bring it over. *WHUMP*, and down he goes, a heavy sigh exhaled. "Would it help to say that I'm here as Weyrleader to offer assistance? Though maybe that's the friend talking," he admits. "I'm not exactly here on official orders." Even if he is the one who gives the orders now. "Not yet."

Risali watches S'van carefully, trails the way that he moves, the way that he sits and - when he speaks - Risali's attention wanders away from Monaco's Weyrleader to where Xanadu's might normally be. Her lips pull, half as if she might be forming words, half as if she might be combatting emotion and finally, finally, Risali closes her eyes and presses the heels of her palms in against them. One, two, three moments, a deep inhale, and Risali's dropping her hands to her empty desk, pulling her Klah closer to herself with one hand while the other turns palm up towards S'van', fingers splayed as if she's showing him that she has no idea what to do. "I'm honestly not sure how much help you can be, unless you've come with answers." And now grey eyes are holding grey eyes again, no humor in her words, but certainly no heat. "We've been so busy that we're rotating people who aren't even healers through shifts at the infirmary. We have people tracking the spread, we have people pouring over healer textbooks for something similar, and our healers are so busy being healers that they don't really have much room to do more than… try to treat the symptoms." Which, you know… is kind of what healers do, but MAYBE THEY COULD BE RESEARCHING A CURE INSTEAD. "And I'm considering halting trade to and from the weyr, which…" An exhale. "Given the rumors I've heard of Half Moon Bay and Fort Weyr… might create a domino effect." SO WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE HER? Confused. "Want to trade knots? You can stay here and read over all of this," a gesture towards the scattered paperwork, "and I'll go catch an hour of sleep."

S'van would totally do it, if he could. But he can't. It is a sad fact of life, and as much as he might want to break them, there are rules that he must follow. "No," comes in apologetic response for the first. "Support and sympathy, but no answers." And possible he has bad news but he won't speak it just yet. That can come later, by official means, with official seal and everything, to join the pile on the floor (because yeah, Monaco totally has a rashy kid or two, and Sev's pretty sure it's the same thing) BUT FOR NOW, there's just a sad smile that holds no amusement and a lot of worry. "If I could…" but he doesn't finish that thought. Because this is where the line between Friend and Weyrleader has to be made. He cannot send his own healers here. Not when he might need them at Monaco. "I'm sorry, Risa. I know that doesn't help but…" He is sorry. Sorry it's happening, sorry it's her that has to deal with it — that has to make difficult decisions. There's a grimace, and a glower, and brief anger for things that are out of control and no one's fault. "What does the Hall say?" Because he is assuming she has contact them. But before he can get too far down that path, he offers something… a little bit lighter. Even if, given the circumstances, it might be a little bittersweet. "Reya had a kid. From the flight." Meaning it's HIS kid. "A boy we named Revyn."

"They don't know, but they're looking," Risali answers, about the hall. Because that's the unfortunate thing about it: nobody seems to know. "It doesn't seem to have any real… lingering effects, but the sleepwalking is" A nightmare. Alas, no deaths, nothing worse than a rash, a fever and accompanying somnambulance to really drive the awfulness home. "The scary part, I guess. At least initially, when you suddenly get one, then two, then eight reports about children missing inexplicably after going down for a nap." And then you search, and… sometimes you don't get lucky. But, Risali doesn't stray into that; she lets it go to get up out of her seat instead, to trail fingers along the top of her desk as she makes her way around it to S'van. And - THUMP. She leans forward against him, brings her arms around his shoulders and presses into a hug that IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER OR NOT HE RETURNS IT. Because she's CLINGING. HARD. "Congratulations," there it is, there's a hint of her usual humor, her usual mischief; it's still an integral part of what makes Risa Risa, and she… she can still appreciate the good things in life. LIKE BABIES. NEW ONES. "But maybe you shouldn't have come here. Or at least… make sure you bathe really, really thoroughly before you go home. It seems to have a preference for children, and the younger the better. Every single one of ours caught it. Every single one." Which is JUST FANTASTIC. "But Revyn is a good name. How is Jae taking that?"

Sev is absolutely returning that hug, arms tight in return, until she initiates that separation. A hint of that smile, though it doesn't reach his eyes, and he drawls a faint, "Thanks," in answer for the congrats. "I am being very careful," promises S'van. "I'll bathe thoroughly." And he will, too. Even if being wet in winter is not high on his list of 'fun things to do' (even if it's a steamy bath chamber). "And honestly… I'm avoiding the nursery right now. Just… just in case." Even if it's too late and Monaco is already infected. As for Jae? "Heh. Pretty well. Which is good, considering he's got his own new baby with Jaz." RIP Sev for outing his weyrmate on that one, but he just can't help it. "I swear, it's like they planned it." The dragons? The women? BOTH?! (no, just the dragons). "Freakin' tiny terrors, if you listen to the nannies gossip. And before she can ask… "A little girl. Hazyl." But the knowledge that her own are sick? That has him tightening those arms right back up, a stricken expression crossing his face. "Oh shards, Risa… I'm so sorry…" Because he can't imagine it. He can't. And he is a dad too and the idea of one of his kids getting sick?

"If you don't want to get stuck here for a while, you might want to leave before Tineangrath rises," Risali confides. "Actually, given that it's Nessalyn, I'm not sure you'd make it home ever." The insinuation: MURDER. You thought Risa was bad? YOU HAVE NOT MET THE RESIDENT TERROR(ist). The news about Jaz and Jae is what has Risali drawing back with her brows raised and a look of genuine surprise on her face - which is silly, when you consider both men are bronzeriders. But then she hiccups a laugh, the first hint of genuine mirth (and maybe just a hint of excitement) in her expression as she listens, and studies S'van's face and… nods her head. She abandons him only then, fingers sliding along his shoulders, grasping at his arm in a momentary squeeze as she makes her way back around the table, back into her seat opposite of him. "I haven't seen Jae in a while." A beat. "I miss him, but I understand why." TINY CUTES, AND ALL. "Hazyl is a good name. I like that you got a boy and a girl." RISA WANTS A GIRL, but… there are more pressing matters, and being pregnant is not exactly ideal given the circumstances so… she gives S'van a soft smile for his stricken expression, and then drops her gaze to her hands on top of the table. "Thank you," she whispers, "but they're okay. Whatever this is, thankfully, doesn't seem to be the 'killing' type." THE ZOMBIE-MAKING TYPE? FOR SURE. But no death. "Besides, there's me, and D'lei, and Kyzen, so having three adults on board most of the time makes it a little easier to breathe." And then, of course, Ila, and R'hyn, and Cita are here. SO MANY HELPS. "Anyway, congratulations Weyrleader," there's another smile, a hint of teeth, a glimpse of mischief. "How is that treating you?"

"I'll be sure to leave just as soon as we're done." Done with what exactly? Talking? Sure. "I don't think Fuerioth would appreciate Aedeluth chasing another gold." He's not even gonna consider him catching that gold. But talk of kiddo's definitely takes precedence to goldflights, and there's a hint of a smirk for the mention of them having 'one of each'. "If you ask Jae, he's got too many daughters." He'd totes give her one, if she asked for it (the mama might not be as willing, tho). "As far as I know, Jaspyr and Riley are his only sons." It is a point of teasing, to be sure, and a little of it leaks into his expression — a flicker of glee and mischief in an otherwise weary world. Made all the wearier by this plague affecting those very children. Slumping back into his chair, long legs left to sprawl before him, Sev lifts a hand and rub-rubs at his brow. "Still. I know it's gotta be rough. I can't…" He can't imagine it. And maybe talking about it's not such a good idea either. But that weyrleader knot tho… "Heh… you know… in some ways it's not as bad as I thought it would be. But in others…" a grimace, and a sigh. "It's tough," he admits, though he knows without asking that she already knows that, too. "I want to do right by Monaco. But freakin' people man…" Ugh.

'Just as soon as we're done.' Risali's smile takes on a touch of the wry, a shift in her seat as she… nods her head. "You did say you were here as a weyrleader and a friend, didn't you?" Meaning… Risali doesn't actually believe it's going to be pleasantries the entire time. And just like that, she looks tired again. "I sometimes forget that Leirith is her own special brand of dragon," Risali confesses, as if it's alien to her that queens might not cheer on those around them when the reality is quite contrary. "We have Selene, of course," Risali amends, because she does have a daughter, "but we have one girl to three boys, and it'd be nice to have another little girl around." MAYBE SOME DAY. But today is not that day. But she does let the woes of being a mother with ailing children slide to the wayside; the fact of the matter is that she doesn't really want to talk about it, if only because she doesn't want to abandon what she has to do for everybody in order to go check on those children whom are recovering and - according to Leirith - are currently fine. So ONTO LEADING. Risali listens and… she laughs - not really a humorous laugh, more a huff of air, a hitch of breath in her lungs that's half-agreement, half understanding. "Whenever something goes wrong, it's always your fault. Did you… need help with something?"

Help? "No. I didn't come to ask for your help," admits S'van. "I came to see how bad it was." And not just to offer sympathy, even though he's definitely doing that too. "I needed to see… well." He needed to see if Monaco needs to take action to protect themselves, even if it's too late and they're already infected. "I needed to see the extent. So I know what to expect." Because as unfun as being Weyrleader might be at times, he's gonna do it. "We've got a kid or two that have… a suspicious rash." It's not suspicious. They know it's the same thing. "So maybe I do need help, but you've already given it," he adds. "If there's anything your healers are doing that seems to be…" working? Helping? Fill in the blank, because S'van won't.

THERE IT IS. Risali's face crumbles, and she presses into her hands as she listens and nods and stays hidden for one, two, three, four moments. It takes an awkward amount of time for the Weyrwoman to finally drop her hands, and those shoulders lift in a shrug when she does. "They don't have anything, S'van, but I will have them send records to Monaco regardless. We also have one of our computer-savvy riders tracking it and trying to see if we can find where it started. Her name is Meion, I'll… I'll be sure to get you in contact with her, so that if you set up something similar in Monaco Bay, they can share information and hopefully narrow it down." A heartbeat, and then, "Faranth, this is a disaster." It's a whisper, but clearly Risali was hoping that, if nothing else, they could at least keep it confined to Xanadu. "I suppose it's too late to cut off trade, isn't it?" So… was it a mistake made? Or would it have even made a difference. "I had to get an assistant; there's… there's a lot piling up, and our holders are starting to make demands for reparations." Which is a real position to be stuck in, when you consider that they do a lot of trade with those holds. "Her name is Rhodelia, so she will probably be the one to actually make sure you get what you need. And she'll be the one you need to go through if you need me in some kind of official capacity." You know, like… to schedule a meeting. "I wish we could do more, but so far all we've managed to do is overwhelm our healers and nobody seems to have any answers."

"It'll be okay." He doesn't know that, but S'van says it anyway. Because he can't help it. Because it's his nature to want to fix things, and make it okay. "You said no one's died. That's a good thing." Something to hold onto, at least. "The holds…" but Sev doesn't have an answer for the Holds. Sev doesn't have an answer for any of it, even if he'd dearly like to. "I'm sorry, Risa." And this time, it's an apology for bringing her this. For having to be A Weyrleader and not just a friend. "I'll have Jae work with her," for the computer part. "We've only got a few that are sick." So far. "And if we learn anything…" Well. It should go without saying: He'll share whatever info he might get.

"Okay," Risali says, and there's a quiet smile there. Maybe there would have been more, but suddenly she looks distracted and then… tired, but angry. Already she's rising from her seat though, moving around her desk to give S'van one last hug. "I have to go," she tells him, though her words are slightly clipped in irritation. "If you want to visit the infirmary, you can just tell them I sent you. D'lei is there now too, but either way just… make sure you get cleaned up before you leave." And probably cleaned again when you get back to Monaco. "Let us know, okay? And Rhodelia will reach out to you with what information we have." But then she's stalking for the door, chin up, looking as if she's about ready to TAKE SOMEBODY OUT as she shrugs back into her coat and busies herself with wrapping a scarf. ONWARD.

"Okay," echoes S'van, though his is in deference to all that instruction. He'll definitely poke his head into the infirmary, doing his best to keep his giant-self out of the way, and be as quick and efficient as possible. Definitely no chatting up the healers (or attempting to BE a healer). It's the look on her face that has a bit of that smirk back, dry and humorless as it might be, and a murmured, "Go get 'em," offered in quiet support as he follows her out and they part ways.

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