Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that 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. The stone is carefully leveled 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 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. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.
There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, 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, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.
Early evening in the caverns. Usual noise from usual activities here. Many silhouettes cross many others with the common greetings and chatting. Everything seems normal here. Normal save maybe for another tall silhouette leaning against a table and emptying what seems to be a barrel of water. A wet towel across one shoulder, Tani exhales a rather loud noise of contentment as he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "Shards….It seemed easier when I was a weyrling…" he says aloud and obviously more for himself. Looks like someone did a late running session.
Early evenings are often the time of choice for one bluerider to prowl her usual haunts inside the Weyr. Kiena is alone today, her children with their foster families and Mur'dah working a few late shifts. So she's here in the caverns for a change and she'll forego joining any of the larger groups. Which may explain how she ends up near that tall silhouette by the table. "What was easier?" she muses curiously, head tilting a bit.
E'tan has just the time to wipe his sweaty forehead with the towel before Kiena comes into view. A large smile greets her with a faint touch of embarrassment. "Exercising." is his reply, mixed with a soft giggle. "I have so many things to get done the only time left for me seems to be at dusk. I hope you'll excuse my sweaty me, Kiena."
Kiena's eyes blink for a half second and then she laughs, low and slightly gruff. "Don't apologize. You forget I'm a Smithcrafter, E'tan — er, Weyrleader?" She fumbles a moment, giving him an uncertain look before continuing on as she clears her throat. "I'm used to being surrounded by sweat and other less pleasant smells. Trust me, I am far from offended." Gesturing to one of the empty chairs, she gives him an inquiring look. "Mind if I sit?"
E'tan has another bottle of water glued to his lips as he doesn't seem able to keep from drinking. At her worried look his smile widens and he playfully throws some water at her. "I won't apologize only if you call me Tani. It's definitely not a formal meeting. I had more than my share today." An amused snort follows and he dips his head once at the chair. "Please do join me. As a starcrafter I only experienced sweat during my weyrling classes. Then….everything happened so fast…" He muses taking another long sip from his bottle.
Kiena curses out loud (it's a bad habit!) when E'tan throws water at her and at first she thinks perhaps she's crossed some sort of line but seeing that it's anything but she snorts and tries to flick some of the water back… which is totally ineffective as it hardly soaked her. Still, she'll flick her fingers and then flop herself down rather ungracefully into a chair. "Informal is fine by me, Tani. Heh, part of that knot. I remember the meetings," she drawls and smirks, "Seems life goes in fast forwards past weyrlinghood doesn't it? You adjusting alright?"
E'tan leans more in his chair, one arm over the back of it and extending his sore legs. Completely informal. See? He smiles widely again at her vain attempt to counter attack. "Someday I have the feeling I went through a black hole and that minutes turn into centuries." He shrugs at her question, almost helplessly. "I'd say that I'm surviving and so does the Weyr. Luckily, Innes is helping a lot." He then suddenly narrows his eyes on the bluerider. "You do remember meetings…Mmm. Oh yes, you were Weyrsecond not that long ago, right?"
It works! Kiena relaxes too, slouching in her chair and stretching her legs out under the table. She snorts again, "Well put." she mutters and then signals for a server should one be nearby in hopes of snaring a drink for herself (and food too of course), "Glad Innes is helping. Been awhile since I've seen her," she admits and then frowns when he gives her that narrowed look. "Ah, yeah… I was." She doesn't deny it, but neither does she sound entirely thrilled for bringing it up. Most know that Kiena came to love her position but few know exactly what made her step down. "The meetings I sort of got used to. It was the paperwork that was tricky! Hated being stuck too long in the offices…"
E'tan throws both hands in the air, nearly spraying waters again but accidentally this time. "Ah…paperwork. Something I was used to during my apprentice turns but this…." And he points over his shoulder at the administration hallway. "No one warned me about it…" He does grin again but the slight change on Kiena's face and the tone in her voice makes him coughs and he gains his serious again. "I totally know what you felt back then." He pauses, smiling apologetically. "I didn't want to bring bad memories tho.."
Kiena instinctively ducks a bit and glowers at him in a joking way, "You mind putting your glass down before you give everyone an impromptu shower?" she drawls and then shakes her head. "What'd you expect, with becoming a Weyrleader? Fame and glory?" More teasing, as it seems her mood doesn't stay down for very long. She waves a hand dismissively. "No, don't worry. Past is past and I've buried that."
Buried things are better that and Tani knows it too well so he gladly replies the teasing. "It adds some more credibility to my theatrical speech." He shakes his head at his own silliness as he puts said glass down. But then he points a finger at Kiena, raising his voice some. The lack of accessories has to be replaced after all. Maybe he should have chosen Harper rather Starcraft? "I didn't expect anything, mind you. All of that is Saburath's fault. This big lazy bronze bul…." A tremendous bugle suddenly cuts his words short, making Tani winces. "Yes you are…." He quickly adds good-humouredly. "One day I was a weyrling close to his graduation and the day after that…" And this time he points at the shirt at the end of the table and the knot tied to it.
Kiena is tempted to swat at that pointed finger but she'll resist that urge and just smirk all the more at Tani. "You didn't expect anything being Weyrleader or to be Weyrleader to start with?" she answers dryly and clearly still teasing the poor bronzerider. He's making it too easy! At the bugle, she snickers and then looks relieved as her drink finally arrives. She'll lift it in mocking toast and sip at it appreciatively. "You're fate seems similar to my own brother's."
E'tan narrows his eyes again tho the move very fickle and quick. He obviously noticed something here and finds himself fighting an urge to stick his tongue out at her playfully. He snorts instead, grinning. "Didn't expect becoming Weyrleader in the first place!" He begins, shifting on his chair again to finally sit more straight, one fist on the table now. "But even without much of experience, I'm not a man who run away from responsibilities." There's a dramatical pause here. He doesn't smile anymore, his face stern…..and it breaks into a goofy grin again. "I just wasn't aware I was gonna suck at it that much." A laughter now, from his own exaggeration. "You brother shares the same fate? My…is that a malediction here or?"
"Don't think you can ever expect to be Weyrleader, as it's all up to who's bronze catches the gold, eh?" Kiena quirks a brow as E'tan shifts position. She'll stay slouched in her chair, the epitome of relaxed — maybe too relaxed? She sips at her drink, not buying into that stern look he tries. "Who said you were sucking at your position?" Curious mind would like to know! Then she laughs, "No, nothing like that. Just that you both earned Weyrleader in the same way. Fresh out of Weyrlinghood. He's still Weyrleader at Fort Weyr and if he can do it, being the strict stick in the mud he is, then I'm sure you're doing just fine."
E'tan falls in his chair again, shamelessly relaxed. So relaxed he tilts his head to make his neck creak, a bad habit he kept from endless nights at the observatory. "No one said I was bad at it, it's just my usual pathologic self exigency." By the look on his face, he's quite interested in her brother's situation. One thing he had to learn fast -since he completely skipped it during weyrlinghood- was leadership around Pern and he idly taps his lips with one finger. "You're The'ro's sister then? That I didn't know." He narrows his icy blue eyes again perfectly knowing another stern look won't have any effect, especially when fainted. "It's not a way to talk about your brother tho…"
"Your pathologic self what-now?" Kiena can't help but chuckle as she asks that, amused both for the big words and the fact they soar right over her head. Maybe it was a long day! She smirks again and tips her glass, "I am!" Nope, she's not phased by that narrowed look! In fact, she tries to match it. "What? That was me being polite about him. Most know he and I don't often see eye to eye. Our — lives weren't always easy and our relationship touch and go." Mostly on Kiena's fault. "Don't get me wrong. He's a good man. He must be doing something right? He's been Weyrleader over ten Turns now, through many Senior Weyrwomen."
E'tan echoes her chuckle tho a tad nervously. The all sibling relation he knows about, yes, but it ended up so soon and so abruptly that it triggers some painful memories he tries to fight back as far as he can. Something he learnt to master with turns so he doesn't look totally devastated as he chuckles again. More heartily this time. "Ten turns…Wow. He's certainly doing right. And through many seniors as well? Shards, I /need/ to meet him!!!"
Kiena has no idea she's touched on a sensitive subject but her talk of her brother seems to be waning all the same and the bluerider doesn't seem too keen to keep going on about it (or she's running out of options to be nice). "Heh, well… be my guest? He'd probably see you right way. Y'know. Weyrleader and Weyrleader," Kind of hard to brush off another of equal rank! She flicks her hand in idle dismissal again and drains more of her drink. "So, how've you been lately? Rank aside."
E'tan seems to ponder hard a possible Weyrleader meetings for several seconds, which can be quite long in a conversation. "See me right away yes…" his voice raises again but it does sound absent as he's still intently drown in his thoughts. He does finally perk tho, his eyes back to life and focus on her. "Me?" He points at his own chest rather stupidly. "I guess I'm alright. I still need to manage my emotions sometimes but…" He coughs there and adds. "I succeeded in having a regular sleep cycle so…Hurray! How about you?"
Kiena doesn't mind the pause in conversation! It gives her the time to finish the last of her drink and set the empty glass aside for pick up. She laughs when he seems so surprised to be asked how he's fairing. Again, her brows knit. "Manage your emotions? Why? Or is that a Weyrleader thing? Because I sure didn't do that as Weyrsecond…" And maybe that's why she failed at it in the end. She grimaces and looks understanding, "Eh, I'll hear you on the sleep. I'm doing alright. Can't complain! I'm enjoying my work as a Craftrider, my family is healthy and growing… It's nice."
E'tan takes a deep breath. Holds it for two seconds and releases it rather noisily. "Not a Weyrleader thing, no. It's just me. I can be…too easily overwhelmed?" He shrugs. Not that it put him in trouble but in rather delicate situations sometimes. "I'm glad everything is alright on your end tho. It's always nice to see that there're normal people…." And his voice suddenly lowers as he spies a brownrider entering the cavern and scanning it. "…around….Oh shards, he found me again. It's been month now that he's tormented me to transfer him in another wing…I'm sorry Kiena…gotta go!" He says, grabbing his stuff, ready to have another running session. A flee kind of running. Of course he doesn't say a word about how hard it is to transfer a rider no one seems to want in their wing. Ahaa diplomacy. "Say hi to Mur'dah and kiss the kids for me…." And with that…he's gone.
"That I can understand too, being overwhelmed…" Kiena begins to say, only to blink and crane her head as he reacts to the arrival of that brownrider. She gives him a look that is close to sympathy and a mock salute to go with it. Run, man, run! "We'll talk another time — maybe away from crowds!" she teases one last time. "Will do. Clear skies, Tani!" And while the Weyrleader flees, maybe she'll be nice for once and try to throw that meddling brownrider off his trail. That or she's just itching to mess around with someone tonight for a few giggles and see just how long she can confuse the rider. She's a terrible joker!