Slight Misunderstanding?

Xanadu Weyr - Archives

The the walls and ceiling of this large, windowless room have been fitted with wooden paneling and flooring. Kept polished, the dark finish gleams, covering cold stone, the thick tapestry on the floor muffles footsteps and further insulates from unwanted noise. Set with tall shelves that contain ledgers and tomes, maps and diagrams from the first founding of Xanadu to the present, arranged by topic, one can find records of domestic Weyr management, wing statistics, weyrling management, diplomatic efforts, weather reports, events and vital statistics all dating back over one hundred and fifty turns.

Though kept scrupulously clean and in glass-fronted cabinets, it's impossible for the older tomes not to have gathered some dust and mold over time, so the scent upon entering is of antiquity, musty, earthy and rich. Electricity provides ample lighting with which to see. A large wooden table sits in the center of the room with several seats arranged around it. Placed on the polished top is a stack of paper, a container of writing instruments, a large magnifying glass and basket of emergency glows.

On one shadowy corner, almost invisible behind the panel that forms the door, is a service access, given away by the brass key hole set at waist high in the wood. As it is kept locked, one would need a very good reason for wanting admittance and seek the appropriate person having the key to unlock it - the steward, the headwoman or one of the weyrleaders.

It's a hazy and hot afternoon, where the sun glares down on this early summer day and certainly a preview of what may come in the later weeks… or would be a preview, if there were any windows here. The archives remain cool (for now) and the only light here are from the electric ones above and it is a perfect place to "hide" in. Not that Kiena is hiding, per say, but she needed a change of scenery from the offices but couldn't exactly go outdoors. Then that would seem like the Weyrsecond is slacking which… she is also tempted to do. There's only so much of same-old, same-old routine that the bluerider can take before she goes a bit funny in the head. Stir crazy, some call it or some just whisper that she's just a bi— grouch. So the archives it is for her place to "haunt" today and currently she's browsing the many tall shelves under 'wing statistics' and muttering to herself under her breath as her fingers gently glide over the spine of a few tomes, only to pass on, blue eyes scanning and searching under a light scowl.

It certainly is hot and if this is a prelude to what summer has in store, the Weyrwoman will need to re-introduce herself to one of the glaciers in the High Reaches and cling to it while her body heat sizzles a puddle into one. Twenty turns living in Xanadu haven't really helped this High Reachian to acclimate. The humidity and heat are almost too much for the cooling system the main caverns uses - possibly the thing is offline for maintenance, for the temperatures have certainly reached the point of discomfort for Thea. It's perhaps in an effort to seek the inner sanctum of the caverns that she opens the door to the archives - it lies deeper in that stone monolith after all, so it should be cooler than the offices, right? In her arm is a stack of books - perhaps that's the real reason for her entrance. Though it could be another thing altogether, because she says brightly, "Ah. Kiena! Just the person I was looking for!" G-ulp?

If the summer remains this hot all season, many more may be flocking to the cooler climates! Having been born in the more tropical climates of Western and the Emerald Isles, Kiena is used to humidity and heat and does not mind it. That doesn't mean the Weyrsecond seeks it however and so she's content enough in the relative coolness of the archives. At the sound of a bright voice and a fairly familiar one at that, Kiena's head darts up first, swiftly followed by the rest of her as she stands from the semi-crouch she had taken in order to hunt down the elusive item she seeks on the lower shelves. No such luck! So Thea's arrival provides ample distraction! Awkward distraction. Kiena doesn't gulp, but there is a bit of nervousness lurking there and under the crooked smile she offers as a way of greeting. "What'd I do now? I swear, if there's a mixup, it ain't my fault!" she answers, hands up in a mock defensive gesture and realizing that may be a touch to informal, she adds with just a hint of sheepishness. "Afternoon, Weyrwoman."

"Not a thing. Everything's as it should be!" is the cheerfully serene response of the Weyrwoman as she closes the door behind her with a soft click. Now there's no escape, Kiena! You've been trapped in a room with no windows to jump out of! Thea's smile … is that as sunny as it appears or is it a tad… predatory? She moves closer. "I hear I'm going to be a grandmother." Is she… sharing newsy chatter or… is she going somewhere with this? She places her stack of books on a corner of the table, selects the first one and eyes the title prior to heading to the appropriate section. Her steps have taken her to 'Xanadu area - hold history' and she's in the process of turning the book to spot the call number on the spine when Kiena adds a greeting. Green eyes flick back to Kiena. "Thea, please," she says automatically and then her smile re-appears. This one is almost crocodilian - or maybe it's just imagination as surely is the insinuation of just who the mother might be. "Mur'dah told me about you two. I couldn't be more pleased." What sort of afternoon is it now?

Kiena breathes a sigh of relief and one that will likely be her last for a span of time. Later, she'll likely tick off the 'Archives' as one of those places "not to be cornered by the Weyrwoman or other person(s) of Rank" in her head. Silly bluerider! Always make sure there's a window for those necessary emergency escapes. Kiena's smile remains crooked, though her eyes settle in a sort of uncertain glance to Thea's sunny (yet predatory) smile as the Weyrwoman moves closer. Kiena will move back a step, as she's no longer focused on searching for whatever it was she was hunting down and not wanting to bar Thea's way either, though from the way she's blinking, it's clear she's a bit stumped as to how to answer. "Uh… is that right? Congratulations, then…" Frown. Wait a minute. Kiena's aware that Mur'dah has a twin sister and a half-sister, so already her mind is ticking. Which one is it? She hadn't heard news about either of them. She's about to ask, mouth opening with the question on her lips only to have it sputter and change into a sort of awkward half-cough, half-chuckle. Ooh, boy. What sort of afternoon is it? An awkward one. With no escape! "Um. Thank you. I'm relieved to know you approve…" Kiena murmurs, only to grimace a bit. Relieved? Ugh, she needs to work on her wording. Then her expression goes blank and she back-pedals a bit. "Ahh… about the grandmother thing?" She's NOT IT. "… he told you we're just dating, right?" Or is there something SHE doesn't know?

Well, there is the service access, but it's kept locked most of the time. But Kiena might get lucky? With… the door, not… Mur'dah. Not that the Thea-brain is even remotely close to where her player's went, nope! The Weyrwoman nods blithely and replies, "It is indeed,." Obviously this is something she's been wishing for since N'shen's Alishe made her appearance and the Weyrwoman, while not giddy, is certainly pleased as she beams, "Thank you." Her fingers pry an opening space, the one she's holding is slipped neatly into place between two books on the shelf. The look she throws Kiena next is a touch concerned for the cough, but her only remark after the Weyrsecond's 'relieved' is, "Good then. You can relax and call me-" …mom? …Thea? She doesn't get that far because there's that blank look on the other woman's face. She tilts her head. What? But she doesn't ask. Instead she reaches absently for another book on her stack. "Hmm?" Oh! The grandmother thing. Things click in her mind. "You thought I-?" Merriment dances in the glass-green of her eyes, the corners of which are laughter-crinkled, but she doesn't actually do the chortling she'd like. Instead she manages to control that. "Yes. He did. Well, actually…" Her mirth subsides somewhat. It's her turn to cough, "He told me a little bit more than that." Does that mean she thinks Kiena's having a third child? With all these unfinished sentences, it might be hard to tell.

Suuure! Get lucky with the door. That's right. Kiena is not aware of just how long the Weyrwoman has been waiting for such news, at least concerning that of grandchildren. Relax? Pfft. For a moment she almost bursts out laughing at that, but instead only chews at the corner of her mouth to keep that held back. Thankfully, the sentence is never finished and after a moment to watch in awkward silence as those books are turned (and she still empty handed), Kiena blinks again and darts a look up to note the merriment in Thea's eyes. That's… good, right? "Might've thought you meant me…" she finishes, her smirk crooked and sheepishly amused, only to have it drop again when she coughs this time and goes on to elaborate. More than that? Frowning, she turns her head a bit to glance back towards that door. Just a quick look! But she's not bolting for it quiet yet. "Ah, well…" she mutters, lifting a hand up to brush back a few strands of her hair which have escaped the loose and messy twist she's wrangled it in in a futile attempt to keep it contained. How she survives in such hot weather with so much of it is anyone's guess, but anyone who's asked her if she'd consider cutting it… usually regrets asking that. "… I'm… not pregnant." Sorry? Is this the part where she runs after bursting Thea's hopes and dreams? "Dunno why he'd say such a thing." Maybe it's Mur'dah who needs to run, from the way Kiena frowns. The bluerider has certainly got the wrong ideas!

It would make the tabloids? It's been eight long turns that Thea's been waiting. Poor N'shen and Natali must have heard plenty of hints by now about having more offspring. Relieved…relaxed, same diff, right? Only…not…apparently. Merriment is indeed better than disapproval or ire. "Oh." Blink. "No. I meant-" She handwaves, a gesture to the Weyr in general, which could mean Halimeda, for all anyone knows, for she's claimed relation to pretty much all of D'had's spawn (the ones he's aware of and live here, anyway) as well as her own (except Mur'dah - he's talented but not quuuuite that talented). She drops her gaze to see the title of the tome she's picked up, ironically it's, 'Demographics of Xanadu Weyr and Environs', steps to the section marked Social Sciences and searches for… Wait, what? She turns a very confused look over her shoulder at Kiena. Stares. It takes her a few minutes to connect the dots. This time she does laugh, a quiet but nonetheless uninhibited merry peal as she turns fully around. "Nono, Mur'dah didn't say you were." She pulls out a chair at the table and sinks into it. Still smiling, she explains lightly, "He told me he was seeing you. He also said things might be… serious. He asked me about love." And here she sighs, shakes her head yet still with a fond smile for the young man in question, lifts her eyes to Kiena and with lips that twist wryly, adds , "He's not his father. He'll figure it out sooner rather than later."

Kiena wouldn't quite know what to do if she started receiving hints. Panic? Probably. She'll at least relax, eventually, in Thea's presence and it's aided along a little bit when she hand waves the misunderstanding aside and the Weyrsecond looks a touch embarrassed for the mixup. It could mean anyone, but so long as it isn't her, well… that's just peachy. Now she'll ignore the urge to go find a hole to crawl in for her fumbling of the whole 'grandma and not pregnant' fiasco and also ducks her head a bit to hide some of the blush that rises to her cheeks as she flops into one of the nearby chairs. No graceful sinking for her! The laughter on Thea's part helps though and soon Kiena's chuckling along as well and scrubbing at the side of her face. "Right. Should've known that'd not be like him. Didn't mean to assume… 'n all that. Just been working lots. Heads a bit full." She taps a few fingers to the side of her temple with a grimace. Again, her expression shifts rapidly and this time to guarded neutrality. Her brow quirks up as well and then she exhales heavily. "… did he?" Ahh, so that's what the Weyrwoman knows? Kiena isn't quite sure what's worse: thinking she assumes she's pregnant or that the Weyrwoman knows that she loves her son. Equally as awkward? Kiena tilts her head, however, to Thea's last remark, latching on to it rather than discuss the seriousness behind her feelings towards Mur'dah. "I don't think I've met his father…" Nor would she want to, would she? "… but he's told me a little about him. They're not alike at all?" Do tell.

Thea’s known N’shen since before she knew he was D’had’s son, back when he was one of the scruffy weyrchildren horde she loved on and made blankets for. They share a unique and close relationship, having also led the Weyr together for a time, so she gets away with the hinting where he’s concerned. She’s not about to start hinting to Kiena, not at the dating stage, but give it time? Her grin turns rueful at the mention of work and a full head; she nods understandingly. That’s a malady shared by the Weyrstaff, herself included obviously, because she was just as clear as mud. “Hush, that’s not your fault; it’s mine. I should have been less vague.” But even now she doesn’t say which one of her daughters, step or otherwise, is expecting. No, that’s left in favor of nodding confirmation that, yes, in fact, Mur’dah discussed his love life with his mother. Oh joy! Or, well, skirted around the edges awkwardly? “He just wants to know how to recognize the real thing when it happens.” There’s a little ah of comprehension for Kiena’s not having met D’had. Like his father? “Yes…and no.” The twitch of pain on her lips gives way to a smile, “Mannerisms and looks, yes. Flirts like his father used to. But… he’s not running from the idea of what it all means.” Hence their conversation about love and what it is.

Normally Kiena’s a little sharper and on the ball than she is now and part of her is kicking herself for muddling things as she did with the Weyrwoman and not catching on that things didn’t quite add up. She’s about to protest or apologize again, only to be hushed and promptly takes that too literally for she doesn’t utter a single word while Thea speaks. Could be she’s being respectful too, since this IS the Weyrwoman and though she knows in this case they’re on slightly more casual terms, Kiena isn’t about to interject or talk over her, even when her mind springs so many questions upon questions. She won’t pry for which daughter is pregnant then. Mur’dah will suffer later for her inquisition. For now, she just grimaces. Of course he’d talk to his mother about his relationships! Duh? Stupid bluerider! “… oh. He…” How does one even BEGIN in a conversation like this? Kiena fidgets in her seat and exhales softly. “… wasn’t sure.” Obviously. “I told him it was fine. That there wasn’t any… hmm. Pressure? I don’t want him to rush.” And there’s a twist to her expression there, a brief flicker to her eyes and perhaps Thea will catch on to it. Kiena made that mistake. She’s not about to see Mur’dah do the same. Not that she’s aiming to crush him or break his heart as badly as she was wounded. Her features clear and smooth again and it’s back to being guarded. Thea’s twitch of pain is noted and Kiena’s not so quick as to hide that she’s seen and she’s not so brash as to call the Weyrwoman out on it. Instead, she frowns thoughtfully. “D’had would run?”

Thea has that effect on some people? Ask D’had someday how confusing she could be! Just… catch him sober (good luck!) The softly-gruff admonishment had come with a self-deprecating smile and Thea follows that up with a reach across the table in effort to ease the Weyrsecond’s discomfort. Her smile changes to fondness as she speaks of her son, “The feelings he described to me seem sound and wholesome, quite deep, to be precise. I think…” She wrinkles her nose, “…he’s trying too hard to put a label on them.” She nods, unsurprised by Kiena’s assertion of not rushing things, lifts a hand to wave that worry away even while noting the self-directed ruefulness in the other, “I’m sure you did, but Mur’dah…” her eyes lift, wander the shelves as she seeks for words. “He’s always been looking for something.” A laugh, “He’s gone from trying to be his father’s shadow, looking for that blue dragon and seeking reckless thrills to overly-careful.” Her eyes return to the young woman across from her, “I think he already knows how he feels here-” her hand lifts and fingertips brush over where her heart beats, the lifts to taptap the center of her own forehead “-but he wants to define them.” Her smiled headshake and chuckle, again fond, clearly says what she thinks of that - over-caution! Her amusement fades at the question and she’s all seriousness as she considers. “D’had… was not the settling type,” she says slowly, then half-smiles. “Sea traders! Girl in every port. When he did fall, he fell hard. She… was killed in an accident; he blamed himself. After that it was wine, women and song - and Siebith, of course.” She draws a breath, eyes shadowed with the memory, “When I met him he was a drunk- it’s how he dealt.” A sad smile plays across her lips and she nods, “Yeah, he ran from his feelings - at first.” She laughs quietly, then adds, “I don’t think Mur’dah is quite as wild as his father was. And…I don’t think he’ll run.”

Reaching across the table to ease discomfort may work for some, but Kiena’s odd in the sense that contact, even in such a gesture, has her tensing first rather than relaxing. That will follow, but not before she looks a touch sheepish for her bristled and defensive reflex. She knows she has nothing to fear of Thea (right?) and until now has greatly respected the Weyrwoman for the few times they have crossed paths. Only this is different, since their conversation has nothing to do with the Weyr and has delved far deeper into personal matters than the Weyrsecond ever guessed. Her keen eyes miss little in the expressions Thea shifts through and each is noted and tucked away in her mind and she’ll listen intently, head tilted in a slight angle but curious all the same. “That sounds about right.” she agrees and slowly, so slowly, her mouth curves into a smile that starts small and then broadens to something more or less genuine. “Heh. And a good way to describe him.” Always looking. There’s more to the bluerider’s opinion, but she either can’t find a way to articulate it or she’s uncomfortable still to be so open to Thea. “Has he changed so much? I sometimes think he still has that… recklessness to him. Which isn’t a bad thing!” In case she assumed that’s what she meant! Kiena’s eyes follow the movement of the Weyrwoman’s hand and despite herself, her cheeks flare a bit with color and she coughs. “… I’m not so sure…” she admits quietly, which could be truth or a lie to cover up that the bluerider is trying not to let herself hope too much. Just in case. On to the description of D’had and Kiena is just as attentive as before, if not more so and in the end, she fumbles again to find something of which to answer with and not cross what she thinks are unacceptable lines. “That’s what I had heard… the drinking,” she murmurs, stops herself and then grimaces. Okay, not a good start. “But I didn’t know the rest.” Especially about the accident and Thea knowing him as a drunk to start… “D’had… he was a good man? Despite his faults?” Too personal? Maybe. She takes a slow breath and exhales, “I don’t see Mur’dah as the type to run either.” But?

That reach is culminated in but a light brush of fingertips to forearm, if indeed contact was made at all, before Thea withdraws her hand back across the table to her own space. It’s true, Kiena deals more with Ka’el than she does with Thea, since the Weyrwoman has followed the more traditional route of Weyrleadership, leaving the wings to her Weyrleader while she focuses on Weyr management. The times the Weyrsecond and she have crossed paths haven’t been prolonged, but they’ve probably been frequent enough seeing she shares an office with the Weyrleader. Thea’s always been cordial, relaxed, informal, but oh, so preoccupied! It’s unfortunate. Of her son, there is definitely more (oh isn’t there always?) than what she knows. But she nods firmly despite Kiena’s doubt to the thought that he’s changed. “Perhaps it was impressing Kalsuoth, perhaps his run-in with Ka’el.” And yes she knows about that - don’t ask her how. “But he used to be more devil-may-care until…” She exhales, drops her gaze to the tabletop, “Until I sent him to Cold Stone Hold to be its heir under Thadan.” He tone becomes brisk - what’s done is done. “I wish… he could recapture some of that…spice he had…before.” So yes, they’re in agreement that his recklessness is a good thing. “Oh he was,” says Thea firmly of D’had being a good man and she doesn’t seem to mind personal questions at all from Kiena. But then… she has a reputation for being easy-going and open with most people, especially in these later turns. “He stopped drinking when we weyrmated. He steadied, seemed happier. He was a good father to Muir and Marel and…” More quietly, almost to herself, “…he was stronger than he thought he was…and he was good to me.” She lifts her eyes. But? “D’had runs rather than seek answers .” Obviously to booze - and why he’s gone back to it is not elaborated upon because Thea’s focus is elsewhere. “Murdah does not. He looks for them” There’s undisguised appeal to the other woman in the cast of her green eyes. Unspoken: Be patient? Something like that!

Kiena has never had an issue with Thea, nor would she wish to or seek to. She respects her as Weyrwoman, but also on a different level that is edging closer towards personal and not because she is currently involved in a relationship with her son. Ever since she became Weyrsecond, the bluerider has begun to realize just how much Leadership does for the Weyr, even at their own personal sacrifices. That Thea is so cordial and relaxed and opened with her startles her but she admires it and welcomes it. It is probably what keeps Kiena calm, in the end, despite her lingering awkwardness in discussing Mur’dah and his father and their past and Thea’s past tied in with them. Normally this would be topics that Kiena would keep tucked away and locked down under key — or her old self would. Slowly, she’s coming around to trusting others but it still is no easy task for her. “Impression does tend to change a person,” she agrees with a faint but crooked smile that falters at the mention of a run-in with Ka’el. Kiena’s eyes flicker, troubled, and she doesn’t even question how the Weyrwoman knows. “Perhaps and Faranth knows I’ve tried to understand that.” she mutters, only to lift her brows up in silent interest. Heir? Cold Stone? Part of Kiena’s mind seems to cling to that. Had Mur’dah told her? Perhaps or alluded to it. Done is done and past is past and she holds no judgement for Thea’s decision. “He may still go back to how he was? Maybe not entirely as he was but…” A little closer. It’s possible! Back again in discussing D’had, Kiena is quiet and attentive as she listens and her expression almost seems to soften when Thea elaborates. “It must be… difficult to see that.” she says carefully and her mouth quirks up at the corners in a ghost of a smile. “Mur’dah does seek answers or looks for them. He’s like a sponge, at times.” For what is unspoken, of being patient, Kiena knows and will be. “He’s a good rider, a good young man and he’s… helped me, through a lot.” she admits, albeit far more cryptically compared to Thea’s openess.

Something Thea is very glad for, though she has had her run-ins with folk from time to time. As Keina will likely have heard, A’dmar’s tenure as Weyrleader was a rocky one between them and ended… unconventionally. Her smile echoes Kiena’s. “It does,” says she of impression changing a person. She merely grunts about the office prank, offering no personal opinion either way, but it’s likely she wasn’t all that thrilled. And after her last flight there were definitely things Mur’dah didn’t share with his mother - but she can guess. “As to that, Mur’dah is possessive, like his father. I suspect things turned awkward between them after Kanekith caught Seryth.” Of D’had, she nods and says simply, evenly, “It is.” A long breath is exhaled, then she stirs, shaking off her reverie as she pushes slowly to her feet. She should get some other things accomplished, but pauses for Kiena’s last comment. “He is,” she says firmly and with both professional as well as motherly pride. “He’s a good boy and a fine rider.” She smiles slowly, “And…for what it’s worth…I approve. You two are good together.” As what? Friends? Lovers? Weyrmates? She doesn’t say, merely winks as the curve of her mouth deepens and she scoots for more paperwork and meetings, leaving the rest of those books stacked for a Quasar rider with clerical rotation to re-shelve.

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